• Completed • Seeking Evidence - Part 5 (Graded)

3rd of Cylus 720

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Seeking Evidence - Part 5 (Graded)

The 3rd of Cylus 720


Staggering a little, Oberan found his way back to the entrance of the darkened tunnel. The initial high of the struggle and revenge having worn off, the wound in his side made itself known once more. As if the knife was still in there and being twisted, sharp stabs shot through the bloodied flesh. It’d started gushing blood again too, or rather, the bandages could no longer stop the flood. He applied pressure on the area with one hand while the other lighted the path with the Daylight Stone. Every step pulled on the injury, sending jolts into the nerves. Attempts to minimize it resulted in a slight limp. Breaths taken were shallow for the same reason.

There was no time to treat it now though. Oberan had a mess to clean up, before it grew out of proportion.

At the end of the tunnel he was met with a wall. One with hinges, he knew, that swung open when a button was pressed. The thief didn’t have any real recollection of the exact location of the mechanism. Unlike the visions, the fragments of memories preened from Recluse’s mind, the knowledge of the hidden door, the buttons and their positions had been habits. A vague idea, bits and pieces of information that popped into his mind when relevant. Less of the mind and more of the body. Muscle memory, in a sense. He’d known how Recluse had escaped without consciously knowing it. A hunch. And when in the correct spot, his body had pretty much acted on its own, driven by the thought of pursuing the fleeing webspinner.

As soon as the link between them had been severed, all that subconscious knowledge was lost to him.

He could see now though, so perhaps finding the button wouldn’t be that difficult, despite the loss of the link.

* * *

Mandi strained against her bonds. The rough weave of the rope chafed uncomfortably on her ankles and wrists. The piece of cloth forcibly stuffed in her mouth, as well as the fabric used to keep it in place made her drool quite a bit. Though most was absorbed by the gag, saliva leaked from her mouth, running down her jaw and cheek, moistening the carpet. She moved the fingers of one hand up and down in a rhythmic motion. Between the digits sat a tiny blade, slicing slowly through the rope, fiber by fiber.

Several minutes ago, Recluse had detected an intruder in the chamber, hiding in plain sight. She hadn’t been able to see him, but following the instructions of the old Webspinner, she’d managed to catch him by surprise. Only, the dagger hadn’t completely sunk into the intuder’s flesh. Wounded and surprised, he’d managed to overpower and disarm her, then tie her up.

Utter failure.
But not all had been lost. She’d seen –or heard, rather-- her superior outwit the brazen intruder effortlessly. Verbally maneuvering him into a position where he’d have to follow a predetermined scenario, though keeping the intruder unaware. A gamble for sure, and for a moment she’d believed the sneak had called Recluse’s bluff. Yet the dagger pierced the floor rather than her flesh, the thief unwilling or unable to kill her after all.

Of course, Mandi had thought she was actually going to die. First she’d struggled and cried. Then she’d accepted. Punishment for her folly. It was only right. An intruder had infiltrated the office without her noticing. They’d been on the cusp of reading important correspondence, the spy able to listen in. A huge blunder unworthy of Mistress Sintra’s favored. Death was perhaps too light a punishment for that, as Mandi preferred it over having to face Sintra –be it in person or not—after such a monumental fuckup.

But the intruder didn’t kill her. Recluse made sure of that, using speechcraft that paled in comparison to the Mistress’s silver tongue, but was more than sufficient for swaying a mere spy of Audrae. Although, he wasn’t exactly just ‘a mere spy’, was he? Recluse’d sensed the Shadow Queen’s blood within him, although he hadn’t said anything about its purity. Nor had he mentioned that fact in the message given to his familiar. Usually, Mandi wasn’t one to question Recluse’s decisions, but mentioning that detail felt important to her. An addendum to her superior’s message was in order.

Unfortunately, her own familiar had been crushed. The only one available for carrying any message was she herself. Good thing she’d been working to free herself the moment the intruder had shifted his attention from her to Recluse, believing her to be taken care of.

Mandi had hoped to cut through the rope in time to launch a surprise attack while Recluse fled down the tunnel and kept the thief blinded. Unexpectedly, the intruder had followed the old Webspinner, giving Mandi some more time. However, she worried for Recluse’s safety. He had his tricks, but so too did the intruder. She couldn’t shake the feeling that things could go horribly wrong real quick.

Cold sweat coated her body as she increased her efforts, worry only growing the longer the intruder remained in the tunnel. If she was quick she could perhaps aid Recluse. If something had happened, perhaps she could assist. Her hand and fingers cramped, but she kept going, focusing on the sensation of the blade biting into the rope.

Then, suddenly, it snapped. Her arms pulled away from each other, no longer connected. Quickly she removed the gag, coughed for a moment, then untied the rope around her ankles. Her legs trembled as she stood, half asleep due to an interrupted blood flow. Rubbing her wrists, she was faced with a dilemma.

Open the hidden passage and aid Recluse, or head out the door and alarm the whole den, relaying the message while she was at it.

Which was most important? A single leg of the spider, or information of a potential threat?

Could she achieve both?

Mandi considered for a moment, weighing the options. She turned away from the closed off entrance to the hidden passageway. Swift but staggering steps bringing her to the door instead. Mistress Sintra had blessed Recluse more times than most within the den, and he had his wit and magic. Yes, he was old, but not helpless. Recluse could handle himself. He could hold out long enough for reinforcements to show up.

She pushed the handle, but the door didn’t open. Mandi frowned, pulling and pushing. It didn’t budge. Harder, wilder. Futile. Panic struck.

The key! The key!

With shaking hands she rummaged in her pockets, finding it after what felt like minutes. It took too long for her to fit it in the keyhole due to the tremor, but she managed. But it didn’t turn. The key resisted, sitting unmoving in the hole. She twisted with all her strength, first holding back to not snap the metal, but unconcerned with such banalities after the first few tries.

A victory.

The key twisted round, she could feel the deadbolt move, could hear it too. But the door refused to budge. She rammed her body into it. Full weight thrown against the wood with a runup. It felt like running into a wall. Frantically, Mandi searched the room for something, anything that could help. She grabbed the chair from behind the desk, dragging it to the door. A wide swing to build power and momentum. Wood smashed against wood with a thunderous boom. Splinters rained down. The chair fell to the ground, missing two legs, seat split. The door had caved in a little, but not enough. It was built to last. She needed something heavier. A sledgehammer, an axe.

She whirled around, hoping to find anything that could possibly serve as an improvised battering ram.

The hidden door stood open.

Hands cradled her head from behind. A sinking feeling settled in her stomach. He was breathing an apology down her neck. She barely heard it over the beating of her heart. One part of her mind reminded her to scream for help. A forearm forced her chin up, cutting off her airway. What good would screaming do anyway? The door refused to open.

Soon enough, her lungs started to burn. Her body screamed for air. She struggled. Kicking and stamping and headbutting. Pulling at the arms, clawing at the flesh. Some blows connected. He reeled, but did not falter. Her nails rent his flesh, drawing blood, and he winced, but did not stop. They fell to the floor together, but he did not lessen his hold. Instead his legs wrapped around her for extra leverage, and to restrain her own.

Her vision was growing fuzzy. Her struggle weakened. The whole of her body felt heavy and numb. Feeling was leaving her. She tried to fight again, but found her limbs respond sluggishly. Sounds echoed in a strange way. Running feet, loud voices. Cursing. Calling her name. Recluse’s. Rattling of a door.

Then everything went dark.

* * *

Oberan held onto the girl for a while longer until he could feel her pulse no more. As confirmation, she vanished into his Vault easily. Outside the office, what sounded like the whole den of Webspinners had gathered, using their combined strength to try and break down the door. It would hold a while longer, Oberan knew. Even when destroyed, the debris remained fixed in place, making it very hard to force a way through.

So much for them not finding out until he was already gone.

He sighed. At least he had a clue now.

In his hand appeared the Rupturing Orb he’d stolen from Graeslin. A couple quick motions traced a rune on its cloudy surface. It flashed for a moment, a sign that it’d recognized the command. Not even an eyeblink later an oblong portal boomed into existence, slicing the Recluse’s desk and several of his documents in two pieces that fell aside.

“Rupturer!” someone yelled outside the door.

Oberan simply stepped through the portal into the woods around Etzos, and touched the Orb onto the floor. The portal blinked out, and Oberan plopped onto the soft forest ground.

He cussed.
word count: 1732
Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.

Mortalborn Abilities | Die Roller | Capstones
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Re: Seeking Evidence - Part 5


Stealth capstone: perfect for assassinations
Stealth: sneaking up from behind
Medicine: Applying pressure to a wound
Medicine: Stab wounds need stitches
Agudo: Standing chokehold
Agudo: Cradle choke

Loot: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: Bruises and scratches in addition to the injury that Oberan already has. I suggest that you get treatment!
Renown: -
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Mostly appropriate to level.Oberan's Strength skill is a little low, and I found it strange that you didn't mention Oberan's previous injury when he took care of Mandi. Did it not bother him anymore?
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: I didn’t read all of the prequels, so I was a little confused at first, but I still enjoyed the thread. I like that you described Oberan’s injury in some detail rather than just referring to it in passing. I also liked the part of the thread was written from Mandi’s perspective. That really added to the thread in my opinion. I checked your CS regarding the orb that Oberan used in the final part of the thread, but I couldn’t read the link that supposedly contains more information about it. The prequel also doesn’t seem to have been reviewed yet, but Maltruism gave me the okay to review this solo, nevertheless.

Anyway, enjoy your rewards!

word count: 217





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