• Mature • 1.11 The Lonely Mark (Graded)

5th of Vhalar 719

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Llyr Llywelyn
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Posts: 1927
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:24 am
Race: Mortal Born
Renown: 830
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1.11 The Lonely Mark (Graded)

North Outer Perimeter
Last Break of
5th of Vhalar, Arc 719


The Lonely Mark was a soldier-only establishment, meant specifically for those in the Etzori army looking for a night of discreet company. With Lisirra’s siege, and the sack on Rhakros, a fair number of the populace now held some sort of military position, or had fleeting moments of doing so.

This showed, the moment one walked through into the foyer. The walls were lined with weapons. Decor of sculpted visages of prominent military minds displayed on pedestals near the doors, which at night had two rather large bruisers to check whether someone was legit or not. There were, on occasion, exceptions however. Llyr was an exception, until he’d joined the force southward and now he was considered as legitimate as any Etzori Mark even if he didn’t plan to return to the ranks after Rhakros.

He nodded, with familiarity, to the bouncers who opened the doors and allowed him a rather grand passage. It was too much, he thought, but then most of the soldiers came to the place with a few buddies so it was likely mostly automatic behavior.

Music greeted him. Four people, two women and two men, sang on a small platform while one strummed on a what looked to be a tiny guitar. He surveyed the common room. It was lit up in gentle greens and blues, never red. Much of The Lonely Mark was meant to soothe, not stimulate. As the proprietor had told him on his first visit: it’s a place of healing.

Sometimes that healing included pleasures of the flesh though. He heard the bubbled tea brewing in a glass vat behind the counter, and smelled the sweet smoke that he could only ever find in this place. Everything about the place, from taste to music to scents, was thinly sweet but not in a cloying way. There were enough herbal scents to ground it down in a pleasant blend.

Immediately, Llyr felt tension in his shoulders peel off. He stepped to the side and sat down on a padded bench. A hostess drifted over, a tray of dirty dishes and glasses held against her side with the crook of her elbow. She had pale brown hair twisted up in braids and an apron stained with a busy night’s work. At her ears were slight points, the only hint of her mixed-blood. Across her round cheeks were a spattered dusting of freckles.

“Misser L,” she greeted him. “Been a bit. Youse looking purdy,” it was a jest as Llyr could feel his cheek still swelling and the sting of his cut lip. “Did yeh need anyt’ing?”

“Evening, Pattie. I need a room. Hot water,” he told her. “And company.”

“Any par'icular body you wantin’?”

Llyr lowly hummed. He glanced aside, looked at some older men who were resting on lounge couches with a few attendants to them. They looked like commanders if he ever saw any. He looked back at the hostess. “The usual.”

She smiled, as if she wanted to say something but couldn’t. Instead she nodded, then walked away to settle his requests. In no time at all, she returned without the tray and a keyring instead.

He followed up the stairs, to the second-floor and then one more, to the third. They reached a gilded door and she knocked, waited a pause, then opened it with a key. She smiled again and said, “You need anyt’ing more, you know 'he bell.”

Llyr muttered thanks, then slipped inside the moderate-sized bedroom. It wasn’t the bed that interested him, but the polished stone tub filled with hot perfumed water. He undressed, belt hung up on a hook nearby, and then slipped into the water with a heavy sigh.

From beside the four-poster bed, a side door opened. Emmalee walked through, light on the feet, and a satin rob barely tied around their slender form. Black hair twisted up in a bun with a hair pin that had enough metal decorations that it glinted against the room’s candlelight.

“Did you get into another fight?” greeted Emmalee.

“This time, the fight came to me.” Llyr dipped under to rinse his hair, then returned. He leaned against the side, closed his eyes, and sighed.

“Did you want me to join the bath?”

“No, sit here.” He gestured to the space beside the tub. “And tell me what you have to offer tonight.”

Emmalee nodded. The Etzori whore brought a simple wooden chair over and said, “I got some new offerings since last you were here. There’s the usual, o’ course, but also I managed to acquire a rather spicy set of letters between a Tower minister and his mistress.”

Llyr quirked a brow. He glanced over, then said, “But it’s anonymous?”

“Nothing is anonymous. Nothing but my clients, and he ain’t one. So, a name will cost yeh lots.”

“What else?”

“Few traded stories from the soldiers about things that happened in Rhakros. Some discussions on the matters to the north of the city. We’ve go-”

“What about the gangs?” asked Llyr.

Emmalee hesitated, then twirled a strand of hair around their finger. “That’s complicated… and expensive.”

“This place is protected from the gangers though, isn’t it?” Llyr had learned early on that The Lonely Mark, having a client-base made up entirely of military law enforcement, kept detached from the underground influence out of the establishment. Least compared to the other brothels.

“As much as it can be. Don’t mean I want to give something that might mean my life away for free.”

“I wasn’t saying to do that,” replied Llyr. He rubbed the blood away from his face. “I’d like to know who is running things right now. That isn’t much to ask for, is it?”

A short laugh escaped Emmalee. They crossed their legs. “Oh no, that’s a right fair question, sure. If it had an answer. It used to, but after the South Lord kicked it last arc… and now the North Lord disappeared, rumored also dead… well, it’s been tumultuous for them underground sorts to say the least. Those who’re aiming to take the crowns will be recruiting fresh hot blood with the soldiers on the return from Rhakros. Fates know there is more than a few of them keen to take the power, now.”

“South Lord, North Lord,” he murmured, then he said, “Tell me about them. As much as you know.”

Llyr washed while he listened to the stories about the gangsters in the south and north side of Etzos. Vorund to the south. To the north, some feathery bloke who called himself Prince. How aggrandizing, or perhaps it was a highly ironic choice. Llyr suspected the former, given what Emmalee had to tell him about it all. Much of it seemed to be gossip, some obvious rumors, but among them were other comments struck far closer to the sound of truth.

He left the tub after the water had gone cold, and dried himself off. Before he would settle into bed, he took to stretching his body. He felt a few cracks in his joints from the fury of the fight earlier.

Emmalee joined him, as requested, to help him bend even further in certain directions. Llyr sighed, happily, as his transmutation spark shook further awake from the sensation of his limbs being tested to go farther than natural to him. It felt nice to twist and bend and stretch. Meanwhile, the whore continued to speak about the state of the underground in the outer perimeter.

“…and no one has really heard of those closest to either of them. Though some are saying the hound has sniffed his way back to the southside, seen with the army too,” mentioned Emmalee as they pulled Llyr further into the backbend.

Llyr hummed while he felt his spine stretch and his joints pleasantly pop. He waved a hand. Emmalee let go. He flipped onto his knees, then grabbed onto the whore and dragged Emmalee down to lay on the floor under him. He wryly smiled. “I’m tired of stories...”

word count: 1381
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Llyr Llywelyn
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Posts: 1927
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Re: 1.11 The Lonely Mark

Early Morning
6th of Vhalar, Arc 719

The mage scared him. Not that Emmalee would ever admit that aloud. The other prostitutes wouldn’t believe it anyway, nor had he been given much reason to feel that way. Mister L acted so nice, especially compared to the rougher soldiers who made their way through The Lonely Mark. Emmalee had more than a few Blackguard before, but only some mages, and this one… this one had something in him that wasn’t like those others. He didn't know much about magic though, and it was a mystery as to what exactly it was that differentiated Mister L from those other mages.

In the course of their nights spent together, there’d been a couple outbursts that reminded Emmalee of the veterans who sometimes took fight with the bed posts or thought enemies to be hidden in the wardrobes. All of the whores were trained to deal with such fits.

Mister L’s were different, though. He didn’t think the furniture to be an enemy, or mistook the room to be a battlefield. He seemed driven by an unrelenting passion to destroy something. Or maybe it was something else. Emmalee only understood the minds of violent men to a certain degree and Mister L’s mind was far beyond their expertise. Yet, there was no doubt that Mister L was a violent man.

Still, he was a man like any other. He wanted to be comforted at times, and he wanted to roughly fuck at others. The freedom that Emmalee afforded him, to allow him complete control of whatever he wished to do, wasn’t cheap either. But he paid for it all, without accruing debt with the establishment.

Emmalee wasn’t sure why Mister L liked him so much anyway. He’d always gotten the odder sorts though, or those soldiers whose friends hired Emmalee to play a prank. Emmalee didn’t care either way, as long as he got paid. But Mister L scared him because though he had that dangerous streak from time to time, he treated Emmalee so affectionately, like a fond lover might. Those caresses against his bruises while they laid on the floor, still sweaty from raw rutting sent rare jolts of fear through Emmalee at times.

There was simply too much depth, too much hidden beneath those color-changing eyes, decided Emmalee after he shut the door to leave the sleeping mage alone. Maybe it was the magic in him, maybe it was something else… Emmalee didn’t know and Emmalee didn’t want to know.

“Lee,” said Pattie, the hostess, as the freckled woman poked her head into the small changing room. “Youse go’ ano’her clien’.”

“What? Already?” He tossed the satin robe aside and started to scrub the dried sweat away from his bronze skin. “Youse not selling me for cheaper or something, are yeh? This is my fifth client tonight!”

The prostitute was more familiar with one or two clients that took up the entire night, but since he’d got in to work, it’d been back-to-back sessions. He sighed and said, “Are they a repeat? Did yeh ask ‘em which they want? Emma or Lee or Emmalee?”

“‘hey said ‘hey didn’t care which, and I haven’t seen ‘em before. Said ’hey were recommended by a buddy. But ‘hey paid upfron’, a lo’.” Pattie shrugged.

“Fek. Suppose Rhakros put these fellahs in a mood for something different. Okay, well, come help me get my hair fixed up again.”

Pattie hurried to comb out the long raven-black strands, then twisted them into a top-knot bun. The freckled girl grinned, despite that she was missing her two front teeth, and teased, “You looking more fancy ‘an usual, Lee. Did ya do somet’ing differen’ with your make-up? For Mister L? Tryin’ look like a Ci’adel lady for ‘im?”

“That’s enough help from you. Get on out.” Lee slapped the hostess on her rump, and waved toward the door.

The hostess giggled, then said, “’hey’s in Room Six, wai’ing for ya.”

Lee fixed up the rest of his appearance, then grabbed a new robe of blue satin. He tied it taut over his narrow waist, then took a moment to settle himself before he walked out of the changing room and down to Room 6.

Inside, were three men. Lee hesitated, if only because Pattie hadn’t said there’d be that many - then again, she had said ’hey rather than he but Lee had assumed that Pattie was just playing mysterious like she sometimes did.

The Etzori dryly swallowed, shut the door quietly with the smallest glance at the nearby bell. Yes, it was meant for clients to order food and drink with, and ask for other requests, but it also served as an alarm in the case of something going wrong. He walked further in with a smile, “I didn’t know this was to be a party.”

Of the three men, he vaguely recognized the one in the corner who’d turned around.

“Layton?!” Lee’s eyes widened. “What’re you doing here?”

“Evening, cousin,” the bearded man greeted.

The other two men seemed slightly familiar now, with the keener sense that Layton’s presence brought with it. Lee looked to the craggy-faced old redhead, though the curly locks were more copper than red; and then a similarly bearded younger man with dirt-brown wavy hair that framed the upper portion of his face.

“What’s going on? I don’t serve relatives,” said Lee with a sidestep toward the bell.

“It’ll be easy nel,” said Layton. He gestured toward the bed and then chuckled. “We’re only looking to talk.”

Lee narrowed his eyes, then nodded. He walked over to the bed and sat down at the edge. “Okay… what did yeh wants to talk about?”

Layton grabbed a chair, sat opposite, and said, “Tell us about Mister L.”

“Oh no, my clients aren’t up for discussion.” Lee stood to leave, but when he went toward the door, the redhead brute now stood in the way. “Move.”

“I wouldn’t talk to my friend that way. He isn't as nice as I am,” mentioned Layton. He leaned back and picked some dirt out from underneath his fingernail. “Don’t be stubborn, Lee.”

“I’ll scream,” threatened Lee. “Bouncers will run all of youse through.”

“Would that work?” inquired the nervous younger brown-haired man with widened eyes.

“No,” said Layton. “Cuz we’ll knock yeh on the head so hard that you won’t be able to scream again until yeh wake up somewhere dark and cold, where no one knows where yeh went.”

Lee set his jaw. He glanced between the men, then angrily walked over to the bed and said, “Fine, but this better not spread. If clients find out I’m talking about ‘em, I’m not going to be getting anymore and I’ll hold yeh responsible. Now, what do you want to know about Mister L?”

Layton leaned forward and folded his hands while he stared at Lee. “Everything.”

word count: 1203
Please — consider me a dream.
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Re: 1.11 The Lonely Mark

Review Rewards

Name: Llyr

Points awarded: 10

[*] Intelligence: Underground Organizations in Etzos.
[*] Intelligence: Prostitutes can make great contacts.
[*] Intelligence - Location: The Lonely Mark tavern and brothel (Northwest OP, Etzos).
[*] Intelligence: What happened in the past can inform the present.
[*] Acrobatics: Stretching exercises.
[*] Acrobatics: Backbend poses.

Non-Skill Knowledge:
Etzos: Underground and their spheres of influence.
Etzos: Underground members.
Etzos: Underground gangs and their contentions with each other.
Etzos: Outer Perimeter’s Underground.
Layout: Etzos (Outer Perimeter).
Etzos: Outer Perimeter.
Etzos: Prince of Eternal Mercies, Warlord of North Etzos.
NPC - Bangun Vorund: Gang Lord and Crime Boss of South Etzos
NPC - Vorund: Ruthless but was accepted.
NPC - Vorund: Out of the picture; Killed.
Kasoria: Also known as Vorund’s Hound.

Renown: 5 points, for getting your face seen at The Mark AND not getting thrown out; clearly you're a man of substance

Ooooh, this was SO good. It started off very... I dunno, in control? Just Mister L, wheeling and dealing, master of his fate. But then there's forces in the darkness, watching, waiting, listening, pulling strings even he doesn't know is there. Quite the foreshadowing of what Sintra will do to us, hmm? This was all above reproach, really. Brilliant work and so much passion and life breathed into the characters. Honestly, though? This part:
It was lit up in gentle greens and blues, never red. Much of The Lonely Mark was meant to soothe, not stimulate. As the proprietor had told him on his first visit: it’s a place of healing.
Wow. Little things like that, casting a soldiers fuckhole as MORE than that, a place where soldiers aren't reminded of blood or death anymore - really made me smile. Takes creativity and insight to do that, mate. Great work.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns in regards to this review, feel free to PM.
word count: 314


  • Habitually dressed in boots, breeches, tunic, and cloak.
  • Long hair down to the shoulders, usually swept back or in a rough ponytail
  • Prefers a trimmed beard and mustache


  • Star-shaped scar on each palm.
  • Air around him seems to thicken and become more turbulent the closer a person gets to him.
  • Pitch black eyes, from tear ducts to the pupils.
  • Arms from shoulder to palms appear as if heavy chains are wrapped around them.
  • Wisps of black smoke constantly drifts around his body, forming the rough outline of a cloak. The more agitated he becomes, the thicker the layers get.
    Note: the torch-motif medallion Kasoria wears negates the visible effects of this mutation.
  • Roughly circular pattern across breastbone, constantly transforming, and resettling
  • Sunken, closed eyes in the back of hands; they open when stared at
  • Skin takes on the tone and quality of whatever material he's just Transmuted
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