• Solo • Seeking Evidence - Part 3 (Graded)

3rd of Cylus 720

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Oberan
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Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:32 pm
Race: Mortal Born
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Seeking Evidence - Part 3 (Graded)



The 3rd of Cylus 720


Previously


Two people entered the office. Both were clad in the robes of the Webspinners, but that’s where their similarities ended. The first was a man who’d once been tall. Now his back was crooked, causing him to hunch. Paired with a balding head where grey hairs grew only at the sides and back of his skull, the man looked like a vulture. The sharp beak-like nose sitting prominently in the center of his wrinkled face did not help.

Having sent his Daylight stone to the Vault immediately upon hearing the turning of the door handle, Oberan had a little trouble making out details. What he did notice were eyes set deeply in their sockets, both faded and white. One of the old man’s hands carried a thin cane which he tapped on the floor in front of him.

Behind the Vulture a young woman struggled to keep pace. Her legs worked frantically beneath her robe to stay in his wake. She was short and, like the Vulture before her, most of her body was hidden by the Spinner robe. In her arms she carried a stack of papers and a lantern. With the light drenching her, Oberan could see a smattering of freckles on her cheeks, and pigtails in her hair.

She turned to close the door, then hurried towards the desk where Vulture easily found and slid into his chair. With difficulty, the young woman placed the lantern and the stack of documents on the desk, then slid a stool closer and sat herself down.

“So, Mandi, whenever you are ready,” the Vulture croaked.

She cleared her throat a couple times, shifted the documents so they lined up better, and carefully plucked the first off the stack. There were a few moments of silence as she read the letter herself.

“Okay, so the first one is the ten-day report from Legs. Nothing out of the ordinary. Some people tried to move into the underground, but were driven away by the spiders. By estimation, about thirty percent of the current population is starting to come around to the idea of Lady Sintra living among them. Fifty-seven percent don’t really care either way, and thirteen percent –more or less—want her gone,” she paraphrased.

While she’d began speaking, the Vulture had grown pensive for a few moments. A scowl replaced it not much later.

“Curious composition for a letter. Was that verbatim?”

Mandi sighed. “No.”

“What do I ask you every single time?”

“Read the letter word for word.” Another sigh. “But it’s so much faster if I--”

“We’ve been over this too many times. If you’re planning to continue to be stubborn about this, I’ll have you replaced by someone else.”

“Fine,” she said, giving in. With enough annoyance in her voice to make it clear she really didn’t want to. To her credit, the young woman did do as asked, reading the document out loud in a clear and professional manner. The contents weren’t of much interest to Oberan, who took a moment to adjust the scarf around his lower face. Vulture shifted his head the whole time. Despite his insistence on Mandi reading the entire letter to him, he seemed not very interested in its exact contents either. Mandi’s summary of it was pretty accurate too. Perhaps it wasn’t about the letter but about obedience. After all, when she finished, he was nodding to himself contently.

“Perfect. See, that’s not hard at all. Now, we’re writing a reply.”

Oberan raised an eyebrow, and Mandi opened her mouth to object, though she decided to hold her tongue. Was there anything in that report that required a response be sent? Perhaps it’d been written in a code only the Vulture and the sender understood. Mandi readied a pen, ink and a sheet of paper. After dipping the nib in the inkwell and removing the excess ink, the young woman brought it close to the sheet.

“Ready? ‘Two-five-oh-seven bee.’”

Mandi glanced up at him, frowning.

“What are you waiting for? It’s not going to write itself!”

Quickly, she returned her gaze to the paper and jotted the sequence of numbers and letter down. Vulture continued.

“ ’Never only tremble, always lie on naked earth. Definite oversight, we’ll help all thirteen, indeed, Sarah’s and yours. Probably reveal every possible and relative enemy, double army gather gadgets eastward rewarding.’ ” He paused, and Mandi scribbled for a couple seconds still, then reread the letter.

“Is that all?” she asked.

He placed a finger over his lips. “Shhhh. I’m thinking. Give me a bit.”

Silence fell once again over the office. The old man sat with steepled fingers and pursed lips. The creases on his forehead underlined his focus. Meanwhile, Mandi sat uncomfortably in her seat, straining to keep her eyes on the letter.

“Mandi,” the Vulture crowed, “can you get me one of the folders? I think it’s number six, but I’m not entirely sure.”

“Of course!” She rose quickly, walking to the closed looking rather uncomfortable. Oberan shifted a little to the right, realizing he stood in front of the shelf with the folders. Mandi didn’t notice, of course. She simply scanned the backs for the right number and reached out.

“No, not that one,” Vulture piped up.

Oberan frowned.

“More to the left.”

She did, and Oberan moved out of the way. He took a larger step this time, not blocking the folder shelf at all anymore.

“Which number is that?” Vulture asked.

“F-four.” Tense.

“Ah, it might be the first one on the shelf. I’m misremembering what was in six.”

Mandi shuffled to the first file folder, half-turning towards the old man. “This one?”

“Yes, that’s the one,” he confirmed.

She exhaled, then took a deep breath in. Suddenly, the woman whirled around, arm whipping out. A dagger sped towards Oberan’s stomach area. Caught by surprise, he was slow to react. Moving aside just a little redirected the weapon from his abdomen to his side, and his hands grabbed onto her wrist to stop the blade’s approach. Those measures prevented serious damage, but did not negate the dagger’s bite completely. It reached his flesh still, digging in a good inch or two. Not deeper fortunately. The searing pain caused by this surface wound was already bad enough.

Pain or no, Oberan retaliated. In a few swift motions he swept Mandi’s feet from underneath her, and twisted her arm behind her back. She had no choice but to drop the dagger and bend herself in odd ways to lessen the force on her limb. He planted a knee on her back, resting his weight on it.

“Recluse!” she grunted while writhing and struggling, “Help!”

The old man stood, but froze immediately when bloodied steel was pressed against Mandi’s neck. Oberan’s threat came simultaneously: “Move, yell, or do anything suspicious, and she dies.”

Beneath him, the girl stifled a little yelp and stopped her struggling.

“What do you want?” the old Webspinner asked, “How did you find us? How did you get in?”

Something tickled the hand holding the dagger for a moment.

“I’ll be the one asking questions here,” Oberan snarled, draining a small spider that skittered towards the door, knocking it unconscious. It flipped over and curled its legs into a ball. Unceremoniously, he crushed the arachnid with his free boot.

“Richie! No!” Mandi lamented, nearly choking on the words when Oberan pressed the blade a little harder into her neck.

“No more tricks out of you. I’ll have you go to sleep for a bit.”

She passed out not a moment later. Oberan, by contrast felt strength and energy rush through his body. The bleeding of his wound got worse, but the pain dulled until he felt it no more. From his Vault he took a set of ropes with which he handily tied Mandi’s hands and feet together. A crumpled ball of cloth was stuffed in her mouth, held in place by another cloth bound across her face.

A couple moments after he was done she woke back up. Reluctantly, Oberan returned the Thrill he’d sapped, feeling the pain grow more and more intense. He gritted his teeth and stood, pleased to see his knotwork held up. Mandi resumed her struggling now she wasn’t being threatened anymore, and muffled grunts came from the gag.

“I don’t suppose you’re going to be forthcoming with your answers if I question you, Mr. … Recluse, was it?”

“Depends on your question,” the vulture-like man responded dourly. He hadn’t moved at all since Oberan’d captured Mandi.

“Are you willing to exchange the girl’s life for keeping secrets?”

“Perhaps. You’ll find out. She knew what she was getting into. Sometimes sacrifices must be made. We must push our own wishes aside for the good of the collective.” The thief couldn’t tell whether he was sincere. Seemed Mandi wasn’t either, grunting and crying into her gag, struggling against her bonds. A futile effort.

“What are you up to? What’s Sintra’s plan?”

“I don’t know. I don’t claim to understand whatever goals a magnificent being like Lady Sintra might have. Us Mortals cannot comprehend the ways of the Immortals. We don’t look at things the way they do. We lack immortality and an excess of time. They cannot fathom mortality and the brief moment that is a Mortal’s life. We are but instances. A flash before their eyes. One eyeblink we’re there, the next we’re not. To us, they are constant and unchanging, but they simply function differently, not limited by time as we are.”

“Very poetical. But enough with the philosophy lessons. Why is she here, what is she planning to do with the city?”

He shrugged. “My Lady was invited into the city and she has simply chosen to take Etzos up on its offer of hospitality. She plans to protect Etzos and its people, as she already said in her speeches.”

“You’d have me believe you don’t know anything, then?” Oberan growled, crouching next to the bound girl. His wound sent a pulse of fire through his body, but he tried to ignore it as much as possible.

Recluse shrugged again. “I’ve already told you there’s no understanding the mind of an Immortal, let alone the Webmistress’.”

Once more Oberan brought the dagger close to Mandi’s neck, tip forward this time, pressing into her flesh.

“Last chance or the girl gets it.”

“Go ahead,” Recluse sighed.

Mandi cries were stifled by the cloth, but her tears streamed freely.

“Lady Sintra will reward you for your noble sacrifice, Mandibles. She might return you to us as one of her children. The greatest honor a Webspinner can receive. Rejoice! I’m quite jealous.”

“I’m warning you,” Oberan threatened, palms sweaty.

“You certainly are. You are also hesitating. Have you realized she’s the only hostage you have? Once she’s dead, what leverage will you use against me? Your threats will ring even more hollow than they already have.”

The Mortalborn let out a shaky breath. “I really don’t like killing people,” he said.

He raised the dagger, then brought it down in a forceful stab.

Continued

Last edited by Oberan on Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1924
Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.


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Re: Seeking Evidence - Part 3

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Oberan

Experience: 10 no magic

Knowledge:

-Stealth Capstone: doesn't work on those that can't see
-Stealth Capstone: you can still be detected
-Unarmed (Agudo): evading a stab to the abdomen
-Unarmed (Agudo): stopping a dagger
-Unarmed (Agudo): disarming an opponent
-Unarmed (Agudo): restraining an opponent

Renown: 5, you were detected.

Skill Usage: Appropriate to level.

Loot/Losses: none

Injuries/Conditions: none

Consequences: The Vulture caught you. Oberan murders Mandi :P

Comments: This was an interesting stand off. Unfortunately it doesn't appear Oberan learned much that he probably didn't already know.

When you describe webspinner robes, I wonder what they look like? I would've thought Webspinners go about in their street clothes most of the time, but who knows with cultists?

I think you played very well to your skill levels here, unable to intimidate the old man into giving you damning information on Sintra, and he reacted realistically to Mandi being held as leverage. Good job and enjoy the xp.

If you have any concerns about this review, please PM me about them.
word count: 177
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