Connections

28th Cyclus, 719

The fortress-capital of the Ivorian Empire and the seat of the Immortal Ethelynda, which she protects alongside her Mortalborn children. Known as the safest place in Idalos thanks to its iron-clad military presence, it offers a welcoming hand to all honourable visitors.
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Pharan
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Connections

Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:36 am

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28th Cylus, 719
T
he men had entered as a group—half a dozen burly figures in the rough-spun weave of sailors. Hard-faced and wary-eyed, they crossed the crowded taproom with disciplined, measured steps. Some of them were armed. Knives and daggers mostly, but Pharan could also see a gladius or two. The groups’ leader carried an axe of some sort or other, ill-concealed beneath a wrap of sailcloth. Although the group bore no common insignia, they moved with the familiarity of men who had fought and bled side by side.

“More soldiers?”

Inya’s voice, as soft and quiet as it had been, cut through the busy susurrus of the tavern. The scribe sat at the other end of the table, nursing a cup of mulled wine. Her long fingers clicked against the side of her wooden mug like stray hail over cobblestone. Pharan sensed anxiety in her movement.

“Possible,” he said, watching a tall Ithecal lead the men towards the bar and out of sight.

“Then it is true,” Inya said, leaning forward. “They are going to dress up some poor fools as bait for the pirates.”

“Not just as bait I could imagine,” Pharan said with a wry look. His eyes found his fellow Avriel. As always, the woman’s dress was impeccable. The deep blue of her gown accentuated the pallor of her skin and the severity of her features both. It wasn’t a new piece, but well-kept. He had come to suspect she tended to all her affairs with the same exacting, unrelenting precision—whenever it was work, clothes or holding grudges.

That last was, at best, unfortunate.

Across the table, Inya met his eyes. She lifted her cup in his direction, the trace of an almost-smile playing around her lips. He resisted the urge to will her tangle into view. Somehow, he had liked her better angry, flinging accusations.

There was an honesty in open threats he could appreciate.

A girl stopped beside their table to unload platters with food and another tin pitcher of too sour, too heavy wine. He sent her to get more water. On the table to the left, two merchants talked among themselves. They discussed the rumors Pharan had heard in a dozen variations since his arrival. Whispers of ships gone missing before the coast, fishing trawlers and patrol boats, even some merchant vessels. As to what or who was responsible—people seemed unsure. Pharan didn’t feel like hazarding a guess.

The girl returned with the water and two letters a messenger had dropped off. Pharan had expected both, but only recognized the handwriting on one of them. Sensing Inya’s attention, he slipped them into the pocket of his tunic without opening either.

“So, how is the list coming along,” he asked towards Enori, as he pulled his plate close. “Please tell me you won’t need the entire morning to finish it.”

The girl beside Inya looked up from her work as if the entire conversation so far had slipped past her notice. Maybe it had. “I am almost done,” she said lowering the stack of correspondence she had been sorting. She cleared her throat. “I am going to take all letters to be delivered outside of Yithiral—since I am going to stay here for a while. In turn, you get all my correspondence for Ethelanum and Yithiral.” She sat up straighter. “It’s not quite an equal trade, but almost.”

“That’s just not right,” Inya said from the side, her lips thin. “You are responsible for these letters. You. We are not to—”

“And we will see them delivered,” Pharan interrupted as he wiped off his hand to reach for the stack of correspondence Enori offered him. “After all, it’s not like we couldn’t trust each other.”
Last edited by Pharan on Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 656
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Pharan
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Re: Connections

Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:23 pm

I
n the twilight of his room, Pharan’s fingers whispered across the breast of his robe. The dark fabric was worn at the seams, thin. In hindsight, he should have asked his sister to pay him in advance, to cushion her demands with a new tunic or two. He could have used them. Now Inya’s immaculate attire reminded him every morning of his lapse of judgement.

A part of him resented the lack of free beds that once more had forced them all to room together. With taverns filled under the roof with foreign merchants and travelers bidding their time before the sun’s reemergence, their choices had been limited. The Queen of the Harbor had been their best option. Their accommodations were acceptable, if barely so. Pharan suspected Inya had gotten the largest of their quarters and it riled him, a little.

He hadn’t quite decided what to do about her. Maybe nothing. In the end, she only had her suspicions. He wasn’t sure if his silent benefactor would step in on his behalf if Inya figured out the truth about him and his magic, but he doubted it. No, she was his problem. To his surprise, he felt excitement nip at the back of his mind. The sensation came so sudden, so unbidden, it gave him pause. Not mine, he decided, sensing his spark stir.

Lately, the little bastard had developed its own, uncanny affections.

“Sometimes I think you only want to get us into trouble,” Pharan murmured as he stepped towards the battered bronze mirror hanging over the washing bowl.

Maybe I can sever this connection to Inya once and for all. There had to be a way, somehow.

For a moment, Pharan studied his reflection in the polished metal. The bronze distorted his image and tinted it a bright, angry orange. He let out an amused whistle before his expression soured. Some days the entire world seemed out to have a dig at him. He shifted through his belongings until he found a flacon with scented oil. The small nod to civility, as minor as it was, made him feel less like a savage about to crawl out of his cave.

His eyes fell on the letters laying open beside the wash basin. Black ink filled the parchment of the first in a thin spider’s scrawl. Orik’s reply. He could understand his sister’s frustrations with the man’s writing. Pharan wondered what language the locals used for their records, then pushed the thought aside. Focus. Orik would meet him in Yithiral once the weather got better. There were other tasks demanding his attention, here and now.

He nudged the message aside. The note beneath was different. Good, white paper, not parchment. The dark blue letters gracing the front were small and neat—not elegant, but full of curt efficiency. Pharan knew the hand, if not the lines. His heart lurched a little at the familiar sight. That, too, surprised him.

He read the note a fourth and last time, then tossed it into the fireplace.

Like Orik, his mentor had to wait a little while longer.
Last edited by Pharan on Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 540
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Pharan
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Re: Connections

Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:02 pm

T
hree deliveries marked off the list, another five to go. If only people would hurry up to receive him, he could have been done already. Pharan looked around the small kitchen, leaning closer to the fire burning in the open hearth. A servant had come and gone with little more than the demand for him to wait and the offer of a chair.

Pharan waited. One bit passed and then another. Finally, a door at the far end of the room opened to admit an old Avriel lavishly dressed in silk—and blind. Pharan swallowed his protest.

“My apologies. I am afraid we only heat two rooms in this terrible season.” The old man closed the door behind him. “Lyvan Dovaren. Gwyth mentioned you brought a letter, from Athart?”

Pharan looked from the blind Avriel towards Gwyth who had assumed a position in the nearby corner. The servant cast him a stern look, wiggling two fingers. Pharan’s lips set into a thinner line, but then rose to his feet to bow to his host.

“Pharan Elluin. The embassy in Athart—”

Before him, Lyvan rose to his full height. “See—”, the old man turned half to Gywth. “I told you these fools would come to regret getting rid of me. Without doubt they now come crawling back in need for my advice. Who sent you? Was it Pryven? Varathin?”

“I—”

“Ah, doesn’t matter. It’s always good to see people realize the errs of their ways,” Lyvan proclaimed as he dropped into a chair his servant had quickly pushed under him as he sat down at the kitchen table. “Elluin…”, he mused. “Your father’s a draper, no?”

“That’s—”

“One of my sisters used to be tailor. She was very fond of your silks—I believe it was yours and not from that weaving mill down in the harbor.” Lyvan frowned. “…or was it?”

“The letters—”, Pharan started but was again interrupted by the man’s emphatic nodding.

“Yes, yes. The letters. I am afraid you will have to read them to me—my eyes aren’t what they used to be. You could pen a reply to my son in Athart too. Gwyth will get you quill and ink. Gwyth!”, he shouted to the man standing half a foot behind him. “And get some wine, too.”

A pause. “Of course, I will pay you for your time. No one should say I am getting parsimonious on my old days.” He laughed.

Pharan forced a smile. “It would be better your slave read the letters to you, I don’t know what they—”

“Gwyth can’t read,” Lyvan waved off. “Never teach your slave how to read I tell you—only gives them ideas. Look at Athart. So full of pretentious, insolent, haughty…”, he broke off as Gwyth stopped by his side to press a cup of wine into his gnarled hand. Briefly, he seemed lost in thought. “Anyway. How is the city?”

“The atmosphere is strange with the war in the north.” Pharan watched as Gwyth arranged parchment and ink before him on the table. “I don’t think I have ever seen so few of us around at the same time since my travels.”

Lyvan nodded. “See… that’s what I mean,” he said, his voice climbing. One of his wings knocked down a vase sitting on a chest by the fireplace. He didn’t seem to notice. “I rather be here, where the people have at least some respect for our kind.”

Watching Lyvan’s slave hurry to pick up the glass shards from the floor, Pharan had a good idea what sort of respect the old Avriel commanded in Yithiral but he remained quiet.

Lyvan continued to talk. The old man talked as Pharan read the first letter to him (a longwinded acknowledgement from the embassy in which they thanked him for his service) and he talked as Pharan read the second and third letter (messages from aging colleagues who wished him well in Yithiral and hoped to hear from him sometimes). No one asked for his advice or even if he was coming back, but the first writing seemed to have mollified his host as he didn’t bring it up anymore. But then, maybe he had forgotten about it already. Lyvan continued to talk about his time with the embassy even as he dictated his letter. He talked as Pharan made a second fair copy of his notes after having botched the first; stopping only to admonish him for his waste of good parchment.

For the most part, Pharan only listened with half an ear. It was the moments when Lyvan mocked former colleagues over past mistakes, when he mentioned their affairs and little ignominies, Pharan paid attention, filing away what he heard for later. Still, he remained quiet.

By the time Lyvan had talked himself hoarse and they parted with the promise that Pharan would give his father his regards (if indeed he happened to be the draper his sister had been so fond of) Pharan felt richer than before his arrival—and not just in coins.
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Strange
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Contribution

Re: Connections

Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:18 am


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Thread Review

Pharan

Pharan
Skill Points: +10 (cannot be used for magic)
Magic XP: None

Renown: None

Injuries/Overstepping: None.
Wealth Points: +1 WP (reading to a blind man, plus light work as a scribe)
Loot: Some gossip and potential blackmail material.

Skill Knowledges:
  • Detection: Taking note of a group’s armament
  • Discipline: Focusing on the task at hand
  • Etiquette: Introducing yourself to a stranger
  • Etiquette: It’s polite to rise when greeting one’s host
  • Socialize: Talking about home
  • Writing: Making a fair copy from notes
Non-Skill Knowledges:
  • Ivorian Empire: In Cyclus 719 ships vanished before the coast
  • Lyvan Dovaren (Flavor NPC)
  • Lyvan: Used to be a diplomat in Athart
  • Lyvan: Is (almost) blind
  • Lyvan: Has a servant named Gwyth
Notes: n/a.

This was an enjoyable read, especially about Pharan's interaction with his spark and the development of his empathy magic in regard to Inya. The thread felt very consistent to Pharan's character and the world around him. Lyvan is an interesting character who seems well-developed and perhaps he'll influence Pharan's perspectives to develop further.

The intros to each post were successfully written premises that quickly centered the scenes in descriptive ways.

Excellent job and enjoy your rewards!

PM me if you have any questions, issues or concerns.

Total Word Count: 2,066 words.
Review Request Link: viewtopic.php?p=116190#p116190
stampcodehere

word count: 254
“A piece of writing is like a piece of magic. You create something out of nothing.”

― Susanna Clarke
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