Finding a Patron (Graded)

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Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:56 pm
Race: Yludih
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Finding a Patron (Graded)


28 Vhalar, 719

Corin shut the door and strode into the early morning light. The chill of the cold cycle was coming on surprisingly quickly and she had dressed warmly with her mirror dust cloak thrown around her shoulders.

She was on a mission, copies of the three letters detailing Sintra's involvement tucked securely in her bag, the artefact well hidden in her room.

The last dozen trials she had begun sneaking out, travelling to bars and inns around Etzos, spreading the word of Sintra's betrayal. The first few trials she had been challenged, drunk soldiers claiming Sintra's spiders had saved their lives, and becoming belligerent when Corin had insisted they had been betrayed. She was sure the slave mark branded across her face didn't help matters either, but she had hoped the Etzori would be more cooperative or gossipy than that.

Thankfully, once Corin had begun using Nightshade's face, things had gone far smoother. Few people were willing to argue with such a locally trusted face, and her reputation as a fighter had dissuaded even those drunk enough or devoted enough to consider brawling with her.

Only once she had been forced to defend herself against a man, overeager with a fresh scar dragging the corner of his eye down. Night had raked her talons across his hand, forcing him to drop the table knife he had tried to gut her with. It was easy to dance back and out of reach and let the barkeep deal with the man from there.

But it wasn't enough. No matter how many people she spoke to, or how earnestly she preached, no matter the proof sitting before them, it seemed like a drop in the bucket. She needed someone with power. Someone with influence, reach, able to spread the word to the million Etzori still in the city.

Her first stop was the inner ring.

The streets were empty, refuse piles steaming in the crisp morning and night soil men trundled past towards the outer gates, their carts full of the fragrant fruits of their labours. Corin sidestepped a putrid puddle, wrinkling her nose. Etzos had suffered and it seemed there was always more work than workers. Unsurprisingly, sanitation and waste removal was one of the first professions to lose workers.

The piles dwindled as she delved further into the heart of the city, disappearing entirely as she passed into the inner ring. Apparently it was acceptable for the poor to wallow in filth, but Aelig forbid the merchants and lawyers see so much as a dung pile. She hawked and spit to the side, eyeing the rich houses with narrowed eyes, the tight skin of her scarred face pulling uncomfortably.

The store front she was looking for was plain brick, rather uninteresting, but the hanging sign that read "Imp Pressions" was well made and freshly painted. A small bell tinkled quietly as Corin pushed the door open and stepped inside.

A large machine sat behind a half height counter running the full width of the room. It sat silent now, its rollers and gears sitting dormant, but the smell of oil and heated metal filled the building. Hanging on the walls were framed posters, obviously mass produced but well done none the less. A short man behind the counter raised his head as he heard the bell, turning and holding up a finger to Corin.

His hands were busy twisting a crank, tightening a vice around some wood and metal planks.

A forge sat to his left against an exterior wall, the source of the metal smell that permeated the room. He wore thick leather gloves, scarred and blackened from use.

Corin, meanwhile, wandered around the shop and gazed at the items on display, several with delicate, intricate filigree around the edges of the page, or impressively fine portraits for missing person pictures. The man had a talent, that was obvious, though she had heard enough of his ethics to be cautious of him - he was a man who was more likely to take his own side than hers she feared. Never the less, Imp Pressions had a firm hold over the opinions of the Etzori and Corin needed those.

"Good morning!" The man said, arriving at the counter and brushing his hands against a pair of well worn pants, somewhere between work pants and dress clothes. He stood almost a full foot and a half shorter than Corin, but his face bore a half-mocking smile that she guessed was aimed more at himself than her.

"Yeah, good morning to ye too," Corin said. She returned to the counter, withdrawing a sealed envelope from her pack. He seemed to tighten his lips slightly at her accent, easily placing her as growing up in the outskirts of Etzori lands.

Silence stretched for several trills, Mr. Lagely meeting and holding her eye.

"I've gotta package here," Corin said at last, unable to hold the uncomfortable silence any further, "which holds proof that Sintra betrayed us. Got letters between some o' her folk, Webspinners they call emselves. Shows that Sintra gave orders to slow down messages travellin from the front lines to Etzos. Shows that one of these Webspinners told Lisirra about the Etherstorms before they came."

She ended it lamely, staring at the man who had remained silent and expressionless during her explanation.

The silence stretched even longer this time, and Corin was left disquieted. She remembered the last appearance of Sintra, witnessed from her hidden location buried deep in the small crowd gathered to witness the Immortal's words. She had worn her old crone's form, using an unsuspecting bystander to hide herself further as they offered an arm to support her. Many had been moved by the Immortal's apparent honesty and humility, but Corin wasn't convinced. She saw it as more proof of a cunning and devious mind, but the possibility remained that this Mr. Lagely would decide to throw in his lot with Sintra.

At long last, he said, flatly, "And just what do you expect me to do with these?"

"I was..." Corin trailed off, scratching at her scarred cheek with a warped fingernail. "Well, I suppose I was rather hoping ye'd post these all over town."

The short man snorted, not even looking at the package Corin had left. "And what would be my benefit to that? Seems to me like Sintra's set herself up good here. I've got my share of enemies, and it might be I don't feel a need to add her to that list."

Corin felt her heart sink, shoulders slumping. She looked down at the package, then back up to Garrett. Was that a glint in his eye?

"Aye, I can't deny that. She timed it well. It'd be a shame if I were to take this back though, given I'd gone through the trouble o' havin it copied out just for ye."

A small hint of a smile ghosted over Garrett's face and he nodded slowly towards her. "That it would," he said, noncommitally.

"I'll tell ye what then," Corin said, starting to understand how it was going to work, "I'll leave those there. If'n ye decide to use them at some point, I'll owe ye. And not some small favour either- I'll really owe ye."

The words hung in the air for a long moment, again Garrett seeming to weigh his options. At long last, Garrett nodded.

"Deal, though no promises I'll actually use the words mind you."

Corin nodded her head, relief flooding through her. That was about the best outcome she could've hoped for. Without giving Garrett another chance to object or change his mind, Corin left the shop, nearly running.

Her second stop was even more concerning.

She ducked into an alley, switching forms swiftly and Valyeria emerged, green cloak up and around her head. This form, she knew, was already exposed. She had seen several wanted posters with her likeness, and knew that for what she was about to do, it would be best if the rest of her forms were separate.

She fiddled with her earrings, feeling the same flush run over her body. She had found them in the Webspinner robes she had stolen from Bolstrum, and the effect they had was remarkable. She couldn't have found a better enchanted item if it had been custom made for her. The earrings seemed to amplify her ability to disguise herself, drawing a veil over herself.

Provided she wasn't somewhere plainly wrong, or doing something to draw attention to herself, most people's eyes slid right off her, and they seemed to not notice her. It wore off in about two breaks, but it was her most effective method of ensuring she wasn't followed.

She still followed the same precautions she would've if she hadn't had the magic item, pausing, backtracking, and dodging into alleys. She kept her hood up, switching the color occasionally, but made sure her eyes were downcast and her face hidden in shadow at all times.

Finally, she strode up the steps to a small wooden shack on the outer perimeter. The door was ill fitting, flickers of movement inside visible as Val pounded on the wood.

The building seemed to shudder slightly as footsteps from within drew near, the door opening with a sudden jerk.

"And what do ye want-"

The voice cut off abruptly, the man's eyes widening as he peered beneath the hood. It seemed to take him a moment to stare at her before it clicked, and his face went pale. "Aelig's balls, Val? What the fuck are you doing here?"

She gave a toothy grin and he snapped his head up and down the street, but no one was paying any attention to them. He quickly rushed her inside, shutting the door behind her.

It had been nearly two seasons since she had seen Celian, one of her underlings in the Cauldron. They had vanished when Sintra had put out a contract for Vluharqih's assassination in retribution for Vluharqih's infiltration into her operatives.

Celain stared at her now, his eyes hard but softening as Val lifted the hood off her shoulders. He remained silent but shook his head softly, though whether it was in sorrow or judgement, she couldn't tell.

"I'm in trouble." Val said simply, meeting his gaze.

"Yeah, no shit yer in trouble! Ye were in trouble when Sintra put out that hit on ye, then you went and tortured a Etzori official? By all the Seven, what were you thinking girl?"

He kept his voice to a furious whisper, but Val felt the heat of his anger and frustration. Perhaps he had even felt a bit helpless, called away from her when she needed him most. Val hoped that was the case- a good dose of guilt would make this far easier.

"Didn't have much choice in either case, Celian. You think I wanted this? I followed what the Hood wanted and this is what I get. He basically hung me out to dry and-" Val stopped herself with an effort, heaving a heavy sigh.

"That isn't the point though. I've got proof that the Hood could make good use of- Proof Sintra was the one behind the Emean storm, proof she warned Lisirra of it happening beforehand, proof she told Etzori soldiers to stop messages meant for Etzos from reaching it. Proof enough to get her kicked out of Etzos permanently."

Celian's eyes narrowed, piercing her in place. Val kept her gaze locked firmly on his, making no effort to hide her thoughts. Let him see what he could from her eyes; Val needed him on her side.

The silence stretched again and Val noted with some humor that most of her trial was going to be spent in silence, if this kept up.

"Look Celian, what else would I do with this information? I want this bitch out of here, and sooner is better. I don't presume to know what the Hood wants, but I know enough to tell that he'd appreciate more information rather than less." Her voice grew softer, almost confidential, her eyes locked on his and silently willing him to take the information.

This seemed to make up his mind and he nodded. "Fine, I'll take it to him. Let him decide what he wants to do with it. Anything else you want me to pass on?"

"Only that the faster he deals with her the better for me."

Celian grimly nodded and took the proffered package, making it vanish into his clothing somehow. Val game him a soft smile and nodded her head.

"I'll be out of here now. If you see Trixie or Pug let them know I said hi." She said, her voice trembling slightly. She coughed to clear it, feeling the sudden need to be gone before Celian could make some comment or, seven forbid, look at her with that soft, pitying half smile.

Val pulled the hood of her cloak up, turned, and left without another word, an odd heat pricking at the corners of her eyes.
word count: 2229
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Re: Finding a Patron


Disguise: Using a Supporting Arm to hide
Disguise: Using a well-known face to avoid confrontation
Disguise: One in a crowd
Disguise: Using magical items to enhance your abilities to be unseen
Negotiation: Seizing the opening
Negotation: Showing vulnerability

Loot: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: 5
Magic XP: -
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: I find the current events in Etzos rather interesting. What exactly is going on in regard to Sintra?

I’ve read a couple of threads related to her machinations now.

Being a shapeshifter and skilled in disguise on top of it is definitely useful when it comes to trying to convince people of something or remaining inconspicuous!

I found your thread easy to read, and the dialogue felt natural.

I wonder if the people Vlu talked to will use the information!

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 135





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