Don't Mind the Smell

(Faith)

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Faith’s answers only confirmed Yana’s deductions, not only the age of her oldest mark, but also the way she thought were exactly like she’d suspected. Deft work indeed. And yet, the girl did cross her boundaries once, speaking up when Yana had not commanded it. It was possibly a misunderstanding on the slave’s part, believing she had been required to give her opinion due to the mercenary’s expression. Yana frowned. “Speak only when you are spoken to,” she reprimanded when the slave had the guts to tell her she was wrong in her assessments. Still, it was more than likely that this was the closest thing to talking back or falling out of her slave behavior that Faith would display, and Yana did not order her to assume position two again. “But it is good you know your place and worth.” That, the slave did know very well, it seemed. Indeed, calling Faith a dog was wrong. Entirely wrong. It was like calling a homeless bum with lice a nobleman. “You are indeed nor a person, nor a pet.”

At the mention of Faith’s birthplace, Yana made another note in her book, nodding to herself. Athart, yes, that did make sense. If her memory served, the Yludith believed the city was quite famous for its slave business. “So, any special reasons why you were chosen?” Athart was located far to the south, Yana knew, and it would take a whole lot of coin to travel there, or have a slave transported from Athart to Rhynmere. Frankly, the journey would probably cost more than the slave itself, which Yana found peculiar. Either there was something more to Faith, something she hadn’t thought of yet, or Jamal was willing to invest in a slave that would be entirely submissive of her own volition.

Perhaps the undertaker had plans for Faith, plans which were worth spending lots of coin in order to get his hands on her or someone like her. She had mentioned her training was nearly complete. Was it just slave training, or special training? Hm. “What are your uses ? You work with the corpses, yes, but aside from that. Housework? Pleasure?” The last option had only a low possibility of being true, Yana reckoned, as pleasure slaves usually were more defined in the chest and hip area, and weren’t so underfed. Well, her face was pretty enough, at least. Then again, Faith was still young and should still be developing, so the possibility couldn’t be ruled out without being certain.
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Faith was used to Jamal and his ways, she considered, for had he spoken as this woman did and looked at her that way, he would have expected an answer. But each person was different and she was expected to be able to see that. This one, she realised, would have the facial expression of a question but did not wish her to speak. So, remaining in position one, for such she had been instructed, she kept her head down and her eyes downcast. "Yes, mistress" she said, in response to being instructed to speak only when spoken to. It was good, Yana said, that she knew her own place and her own worth; Faith quite agreed and it was something that she and Jamal had worked hard on to ensure that she knew. Even after all her arcs of training in Athart, after starting to meet people, especially those who treated her like she was a being with worth or value, there was a temptation to fall into the trap of believing that she was more than chattel. But in this final stage of her training, Jamal had ensured that she did not forget who she was.

Were there special reasons why she was chosen? Faith kept her eyes to the ground, remaining stock still as she answered that question "Yes, mistress. My owner chose me for specific reasons, which he has told me of. But they are his reasons, not mine, and I must not speak them" Unwavering and complete loyalty was something built in to her and so she spoke clearly and refused to answer the question, no matter what she thought the consequences of such might be. If she considered that Yana might react badly, then she did not show it, her demeanour did not change at all.

But what were her uses. "I tend to my master's needs, mistress. I cook and clean and make his clothes. Sometimes, I act as the table from which he eats or the stool on which he rests his feet. I run errands and I undertake tasks for him. I do not, nor have I ever, acted as a pleasure slave, but it gives him pleasure to set me impossible tasks and then punish me for not completing them, mistress" she answered as fully as she could, quite clear that she should do just that. In truth, all of what she did was in service to Jamal and she would have done whatever he told her. There were girls much younger than her in the slave pits of Athart who were pleasure slaves, but she was not and never had been. It did not do, Jamal had said, to combine her specific training with something which might just complicate things further. Remaining in position, she waited then to see what the next barrage of questions would be (which was something she was quite used to, Jamal spent a lot of time questioning her on her feelings, her thoughts, her reactions) or whether she would be released to deal with the corpse.
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Indeed, as expected, the slave wasn't a random pick. While Faith refused to name the reasons of her owner, likely either due to having been instructed not to, or because she herself found that sort of information not something she should disclose lightly. It mattered not, this inquiry was just something to keep Yana busy, something to stave off boredom. By not knowing the undertaker's reasons the Yludith could ponder on it, thinking of reasons and schemes. It worked out either way. The mercenary blinked, studying her subject's face and body for a moment, noticing some form of confidence. “I see.”

The girl's uses were next, and she listed them with quite a bit of detail. Yana took notes, scribbling away, also noting down the part of the impossible tasks. She contemplated whether it was worth asking more about. After all, every bit spent with the girl on her knees was a bit longer the merc would have to keep watch over the corpse. Unless of course she ordered the girl to start working. She did just that, telling her to begin her job. The Yludith even cut open the corpse's bag while she gave the slave her instructions, releasing a huge waft of decaying intestine scent that even the slave couldn't mask. Yana wrinkled her nose in disgust, seeing that the man's abdomen was sliced open, part of his entrails dangling out of the cut. She grabbed the other bag, the one which held the clothes and jewelry and took it with her to another stone table on which she sat down.

“You mentioned impossible tasks,” Yana spoke after a bit or three of silence, “give me an example.” The Yludith didn't quite need Faith to tell her why she got sent on those tasks, Yana was far from simple. She guessed they were meant to aid the girl in remembering what she was, along with her position in society. It seemed to be a recurring theme here, one that had been quite effective for as far as Yana knew. Jamal and Faith's previous trainers had effectively killed the ego she would have possessed should she have been born anything other than a slave. In other words, Faith was coming close to perfection, a masterpiece among slaves. Yana didn't know the girl's monetary worth, but she assumed it was rather high, thanks to the effort put in shaping her into a perfectly submissive slave.

While observing the girl working, the Yludith removed her eyepatch, removing the pressure on her head, as well as allowing the previously covered skin to breathe and cool a bit. Before losing her eye she'd never thought how much of a pleasant thing it was to take off such an accessory. After losing it though, she'd covered it up to protect it, feeling uneasy by letting it sit exposed. Plus, the ugly scar and the faded, unfocused and obviously blind eye tended to attract more unwanted attention than she'd anticipated. People's eyes wandered to it during conversations, or when she walked past. She got pitying looks from women and men alike, but especially the former did get under her skin. Plus, it felt more sensitive than before, even though it was fully healed. Thus, she covered it. However, eyepatch or no, from time to time it throbbed painfully, either seemingly without reason, or because she touched it. As Saeri, those effects disappeared, so Yana had deduced it had something to do with her mind, some sort of psychological wound.

Why she still took Rayna's form? Because she wasn't willing to give in to some sort of mental weakness. Because she thought that maybe it would go away after a while. Because it was not a valid reason to discard a perfectly usable form. Because it might get worse if she only rarely took Rayna's form and stuck to Saeri most of the time. For the same reason she also had made it a habit to touch the scar every day if she was in human seeming. She did so now too, tentatively reaching out with the fingers of her left hand, awfully careful and hesitant. She already knew what was coming. She flinched the moment her fingers touched the scar tissue, making a soft hissing noise as the closed wound burned under her touch. She withdrew her fingers instantly, disappointed, now having evoked the throbbing. It wasn't worse than the stabs resulting from her touch, but it still wasn't pleasant at all. Yana was quite aware she should go see a shrink, but her coin pouch did not yet allow it. Maybe next season, when it was filled a bit more than it was now.


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As per her instructions, when the mistress said that she saw, Faith said nothing and merely remained in position, eyes down and body rock still. She had no wish to do anything else, Jamal had gifted her to this woman, after all and so she was duty bound to serve him as well as she could. But then, the mistress instructed her to begin and Faith responded in her usual hushed tone "Yes mistress" and nothing else. Faith immediately got to work and she started by checking the parts of the deceased which had been open to the air. If it had gone past a certain point, putting them back in wouldn't work and as she considered it she realised that it was right on the brink. In truth, it was better to be safe and so she decided that the thing to do was to cut and sew those parts which were currently outside, so that she could put them back inside without them constantly emanating an awful stench. She deposited the parts which she was not putting back in into a bowl and put them to one side. The stench from them would continue but she had been instructed not to speak unless spoken to so she did not ask any questions.

But then, mistress did speak to her and Faith continued to work as she answered. "Master instructed me to find the cost of specific herbs from three herbalist shops when he knew there were only two in the vicinity he gave me" she said, very clear that she had only been asked to give an example, rather than to expand on anything else. This one, Faith considered, was a very power-focused individual and, whilst Jamal's treatment of her was harsh and painful, it was actually focused on her and her training. As far as she could tell, mistress that Jamal had left her with was concerned with her own position in society and used the power given to her as a gift as though it was something that she had earned. Faith knew what Jamal thought of others like that , but Faith had no such opinions. This was a person and she was less than that, so not entitled to hold opinions of her superiors.


Once she had answered, and as she answered any other questions, Faith continued to work on the body. Once she had sewn up and re-inserted the internal organs which were going back in and she had put the bowl to one side, she started the process of cutting away his clothes. These, she put in a bag and put to one side. When she was allowed to ask questions, or when Jamal came in and spoke to the woman as his equal, they would ascertain what it was that she wanted done with those things.

But then, there was a problem and Faith considered how to deal with it. She did not think that this would go down well with this mistress, but it was how Jamal worked and so she knew that it was what she must do. She looked up and made eye contact with Yana, as she had been instructed by her owner to do when admitting failure. "Mistress, forgive me for speaking when not spoken to, but in order to do this I must speak to the corpse, say ritual prayers and so on." she would be punished for that, she did not doubt, but that was how it was. Her loyalty to Jamal was such that she had to do this right and so she would welcome the punishment meted out by this new mistress, if she chose it. Because she had to give her prayers to Famula in order to ensure that this body was taken care of to the level that they had agreed.
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Faith did exactly what was expected of her, and Yana very much liked that fact. The girl refrained from speaking, and focused on her work entirely, only responding when she was asked something. More people should be this way, Yana thought for an instant, then immediately corrected herself. The world would be a very dull place if they were. No, they should be like Faith whenever they interacted with Yana. That would be nice.

Alas, they were not, and interaction remained an ordeal. But not here, not in this room with the dead and a slave. Apart from the fact that a lengthly stay in the morgue was mind-killingly boring, it could be considered a paradise of sorts. For Yana, of course, for Faith... probably less so when the former was present. Though the Yludith left her alone for the moment, merely watching the slave work. The slave had been something of a relief from imminent boredom, but now the deserter had gained answers to all questions she'd thought off when the slave girl had sparked her interest. Now, she was just about as fascinating as wooden floorboard. She could watch it for a while and discover the patterns in the wood, the shapes and circles. She could watch it curl up influenced by moisture, but all in all she wouldn't be looking if she hadn't been out of other things to do.

Yana didn't think herself a mean person. True, she did not care about what happened to other people, she didn't give a damn about their emotions, hopes and dreams. She cared about one person only: Yanahalqah. Herself. Did she believe the world revolved around her? No, she wasn't stupid or conceited enough for that. She had her pride, but she wasn't smug. She was cold and relatively rational. Emotions were mostly pushed aside to make apt observations and assessments. However, she wasn't going to do anything without reason. She had tormented the slave a bit earlier, yes, but it had served a purpose. It hadn't been out of spite, jealousy, or a need to show she was superior. It had merely been to satisfy a sudden desire to find out more about the girl, a desire fueled by lack of anything else that could be considered remotely interesting, admittedly. A very selfish reason indeed, but it had bore its fruits: information had been obtained. True, that brought her pleasure and enjoyment, but it was different from the reason others would have had; they did it to feel better about themselves. Clearly her cause was justified and high above that of the others.

The slave girl spoke up suddenly, making eye contact and maintaining it. The Yludith's hand stiffened for a moment, not sure whether to try and cover her blind eye, or to reach for the eyepatch to put it back on. In the end, it did neither, remaining on the table. As much as she disliked anyone seeing the scar, she decided to show no weakness. She hated idle conversation too, but that did not mean she never engaged in it. Besides, in her Eídisi seeming she wouldn't have either a scar or a patch, was she planning on reacting like anyone looking her in the eye would keep staring? Of course not. They wouldn't know. She shouldn't care. Heck, she shouldn't care now either. But the looks hurt her pride, which probably was the most human thing about her, and she couldn't really deal with it. Yana wasn't quite sure why though, she wasn't sure what emotion it was that made her uneasy when someone saw her eye. It wasn't shame or embarrassment, it was something else, but what?

“Just do what you need to do,” she finally spoke after just sitting and keeping eye contact. “Do your job like you need to.” There was no harshness in the deserter's voice, no demeaning tone. Her interest in the girl had faded, and only that was present in her tone. Disinterest. “Speak when you feel the need to do so.” And that was that. No position two, no angry looks, no outbursts. Just that. It might almost have seemed as if the current Yana was someone else than the one from before. In fact, she had reverted to how she'd been before Faith had piqued her interest. Passive. “The corpse needs to get the care it deserves,” she added almost as if it was tiring to speak, “Condition five in the letter.”

She broke the locking of eyes then, shifting her weight and unbuckling the belt she wore around her middle. She placed it and the weapons attached to it next to her on the table, and folded her legs so she sat in the lotus position. Yana pondered on going into the Uleuda, find her mentor and try to get him to explain her odd behavior. But, he probably wouldn't have an answer either, and while the idea was tempting, it would mean leaving the slave essentially alone in the room. Not that she thought Faith would try anything funny, but perhaps her master would come in. Sleeping on the job was not good if she wanted to make business connections. She'd have to stay awake and aware at all times for the two trials it took for the body to be prepared for the funeral. A bother, but it couldn't be helped. In this world, impressions were important, especially for a Yludith. She let out an internal sigh and contemplated how to make the breaks pass by faster.
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As she looked at the mistress in front of her, Faith realised that the eyepatch was enormously important to the woman. It was all linked to her self image and esteem. She was, in fact, completely wrapped up in the patch. Faith considered that the power relationship here was simple. The mistress in question showed her power, spoke her commands and gained pleasure from Jamal giving her access to his slave and she did it because she was powerless. Jamal had told her about people like this more than once, those who exerted their power, not because they were reminding the slave of their place, not because they were aware of their place, but because they were insecure.

The mistress in front of her was insecure and it was because of the eyepatch. Or the eyepatch symbolised it.

Faith had heard about people like that from Jamal, but she had been very lucky in her life, she knew, because she had never met anyone like this before. Still, it was not her place to be concerned about the woman, she was in control of her own life. If she didn't know her own place, then it was her responsibility and it was down to her. Faith knew who she was and what her place was; the lack of the same from this woman was not something that Faith could do anything about. So, she focused on the body and she started to undertake the washing of the body. That was the first step, and she got buckets of water and cloths, wiping the blood away from the body, cleaning it and whispering to it as she did. She made sure that her whispering was of a level that meant that Yana did not hear it, whispering to the body, into his ears. The prayer to Famula that she whispered was not for just anyone to hear, after all. Especially not to someone who did not know her place or how she served; that would be inappropriate towards Famula, this woman did not deserve to hear the prayers to Famula's name.

She washed the limbs, the torso, every crevice, nook and cranny. She made sure that the body was completely clean and she washed his hair. During the time that she did this, she kept him covered, every part except that which she was working on. Whispering her prayers in his unheard get ears, she focused and kept going. It might well take her a few breaks to do it, but she did not mind, she did not lose focus and she did not tire, she simply kept on washing him until he was completely clean. In truth, she kept the man covered because she knew that it was not appropriate for Yana to see him. He was in Famula's embrace now and only those who knew who they were and understood their place should be putting their eyes on him. Anything else would be disrespectful to the beloved Immortal.

As she started to clean up the buckets and water and rags, Jamal came back into the room. "It is time for my slave to prepare food. Will you eat in here or in the dining area with me? If you wish it, she can serve you in here after she has served me" he said, calmly. Whatever she preferred, he would be dining and Faith would be serving him, of that he was sure.
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Yana watched with little interest as Faith started her rituals, apparently speaking to the corpse, but silently. The Yludih couldn't hear what she said, she did see her lips and jaw moving, but she couldn't read lips. It mattered not, she wasn't trying to pry or eavesdrop anyway. Working with corpses wasn't her passion or something that fascinated her. The dead did not disgust her, nor did they make her feel nervous or sick. The dead were dead. She'd played dead, she'd hidden among them not too long ago. She'd doled out death while she was in the military, and she'd stared it in the eye, escaping just barely. There had been a price to pay, but because of it she was now here, back among the corpses. Sitting on the table in a morgue. Rather ironic, actually.

As the slave started washing the corpse, Yana leafed through her notebook idly, spotting the section she'd dedicated to her gambling exploits. It was filled with names, dates, sums of nel, numbers ranging from one to six, and either the character 'W' or 'L'. It was a giant table without pattern or order. She stared at it for a while, eyes scanning the page like she had many times before, but she found nothing. It was random. Everything was random. She needed more data, more data would hopefully yield better results. Actual findings, a breakthrough. Now all this table was, was a list of dice throws of several groups, and who of them had won. Ymiden 36 of this arc had been Jack's lucky day; he'd won three out of eight games he'd participated in. All others had only won once, if they'd won at all. But that was not what she'd wanted to know. That was not what her focus was on. Yes, she needed more data, far more data. A different approach maybe too. But here, there was little she could do. She closed the book softly, wrapping it in her cloak protectively.

Faith was still slaving away, doing her thing without making a ruckus. The slave seemed plenty content with her fate, with her life. But she'd noticed that before. She tried not to think of it too much, however, when faced with nothing to do, introspection was almost inevitable. Yana wasn't fond of it, usually it did keep her busy, but it didn't improve her mood. On the contrary. Thus, she refrained from slipping within her own mind, thinking of ways to both entertain her while it would serve her usual purpose. She'd just found something when the undertaker returned to the room, his appearance a distraction from the boringness of the morgue. He spoke with a determination, and the meaning was clear: he was going to have dinner, whether or not she joined him. Whether or not she wanted Faith to keep working on the body was not important to him. Yana didn't really mind though, it was his slave, and his house. He was the master of both, and could do whatever he pleased with them.

His proposition was tempting, but the Yludih had to resist. “I appreciate the offer, but I am afraid I will have to refuse,” she spoke politely, once more fighting her urge to cover up her naked eye, though this time succeeding better in acting as if nothing was wrong. “My orders are what they are; I cannot leave the body alone.” She gave him a slightly apologetic look. While she didn't mind being alone, a change of decor would have been nice. Then again, eating in the dining area would only lead to conversation, and she wasn't quite in need of that. “I'd like to eat here, if you don't mind,” she added, hoping that her food wouldn't be spoiled by the smell of the innards Faith had removed from the corpse. Ah well, it couldn't be helped anyway.

The Yludih hopped of the table swiftly though, approaching Faith before the girl could leave. “Allow me to search her,” she stated, choosing to be somewhat polite instead of just doing it. Nevertheless, she wouldn't take no for an answer, as he had already agreed to the terms spelled out by her clients. The search didn't take long, Yana let her hands slide over the slave's skinny frame, neither roughly or delicately. She didn't expect to find anything; after all, the mercenary had kept the valuables with her the whole time Faith had worked, and the girl hadn't been near her. It was no surprise she was clean, and Yana simply gave her the okay and went back to her table, hopping back on. She'd just wait there until the slave returned, killing time with small tasks that weren't really necessary. Like cleaning her blades with a piece of cloth, or pacing around the room like a guard on duty, sword in hand. Or she'd take position next to the door, so those who entered wouldn't immediately see her, allowing for the element of surprise. Should there be scoundrels trying to steal her clients' valuables. When and if Faith returned, that was where she'd find Yana, next to the door, blade unsheathed to save time. However, Yana wouldn't be on edge, just observant and ready to perform the bloodier tasks her profession often called for, should it prove necessary.
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Jamal nodded his head and exited the room and Faith stood, holding her arms out for Yana to search her. As Yana's hands roamed over Faith's scrawny body, she did not react in any way at all, just stood and submitted to what she had to submit to. She kept her eyes down meekly and she did not allow any emotion to stand out in her pale eyes, so that she looked to be completely shut off. That was how she had learnt to be and it was what Jamal expected and demanded of her. Then she whispered 'Thank you, mistress" and she exited to go and prepare Jamal's meal and serve it to him. This she did, kneeling next to him and watching him eat. It was true what she had said to Yana, she considered as she knelt there, being here she felt safe. Safe because she was in her place and she was where she belonged.

It was just over a break later that Faith returned with a tray on which was a hot meat pie, potatoes, vegetables and gravy with thick warm bread and a tall cold glass of water. She stepped in looked around and saw Yana there with her blade out. If that caused Faith to be surprised, she hid it well and instead, she held out the tray, offering it to Yana and bowing her head at the same time, as she had been instructed. "How would you like to eat, mistress? How may I serve you?" she asked. Jamal had a number of means of humiliation around him eating, and Faith doing the same. She did not know if this would be something that this mistress would be interested in as Faith had already decided that she was more complex than she seemed. She might come up with a whole new means of exerting her power or she might decide that Faith wasn't worth it.

Either way, she would comply, because it was what she did. It was who she was. In truth, Faith was experiencing something of a superiority complex regarding this whole situation. She knew who she was and her place in life; this woman did not do those things and so she was not happy. Faith was happy because she knew her place and she knew who she was. So, whatever means of humiliation Yana might cook up, or not, Faith knew that she was better than her because, simply, she understood her place.

When Yana was done eating, Faith would take out the tray (submitting to another search if needs be) and then she came back in with a bowl of leftover food which she put on the floor next to the ragged blanket in the corner. Then she made her way back to the center of the room, equidistant between where Yana was and where the body was. "Do you have any other orders for me, mistress, or may I continue with the preparation of the body?" she asked, quietly and meekly, keeping her eyes down as she asked.
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Jamal sure took his time having dinner; it was something of a break later that the slave returned, a tray of food in her hands. Faith showed no emotion, as per usual, bowed her head and asked how Yana would like to be served. The Yludih told her to place her tray on the table, sheathing her blade in the meantime, placing it back among the rest of the gear she'd taken off. Then, she took place on the table once more, starting to eat almost mechanically. For most races, food was something to be enjoyed, but for Yana it was more of a necessity. It wasn't even that, if she wanted to she could just survive on alcoholic beverages, like the cheap ale she had brought in a waterskin. Food didn't provide as much sustenance as the alcohol, and it took longer to take it in. She didn't quite prefer one taste over the other either, having long since learned to eat everything, regardless of taste or texture.

She finished it in far less time than the undertaker had, though she hadn't hurried herself. Maybe a bit or twenty, perhaps thirty. In that time she had cleaned her entire tray, eating even the tiniest morsel. Free food was free food after all, she didn't know how long her wallet would survive, even when she'd rationed herself so she'd be able to reach Saun with a couple gold nel to spare. With this meal there was a higher chance of that happening, which always was a good thing. After she'd handed the slave her empty tray, Yana searched her again, not neglecting it just because Faith had been within her field of vision the entire time. Even if she'd seen the slave's every move -which she had- she still searched her, preferring certainty over the chance of having missed something while she blinked. She wouldn't have it. Yana wasn't lazy. She did what needed to be done, always. Orders were orders, and as long as she had a reason to follow them, she would. After the brief confirmation that Faith wasn't hiding anything, the girl was allowed to leave.

Faith wasn't gone for long, returning swiftly with a bowl of food which would be her meal when it was her turn to eat. She asked to continue working, which Yana permitted, telling her to keep working even if Yana would ask her questions. And she did have questions, not a lot, but a few of them. This time they weren't about the slave girl or her master. Yana whipped out her notebook and pencil, and quickly leafed to a specific page that held almost no information as of yet. “Do you know of the knights of Andaris?” she asked, eye flicking from Faith to her notebook a couple times. “The...” ah, what were they called again? “...Iron...Hand?”Yes, that was it, the Iron Hand. Yana had an interest in them, it being one of the reasons of why she came to Andaris specifically. “What do they do? How do you see them? How does the rest of the population see them?” Outsider perspective was an important part of her research, as it was always fascinating to compare how the military thought of themselves, and how the people thought of them.

There was of course a limit to how much information one could gather from the outside, so Yana was already planning to infiltrate their organization in time. First though, she needed more information. She kept asking, posing a new question as soon as Faith had answered the previous one. “Who do they answer to? Do they have privileges? How far does their authority reach? How many does their military force count?”

word count: 638
"Speaking" - Thinking - "Others speaking"
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Faith Augustin Champion
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Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:12 pm
Race: Human
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Don't Mind the Smell

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When she brought the tray in, Yana did not take the opportunity to torment or tease her and Faith wondered at that. She had seen the almost gleeful glint in the woman's eye when ordering her to position, had seen the way that she noted, oh so very carefully, just what Faith thought and felt as she spoke of how Jamal treated her. Yet, that glint had gone. Rightly or wrongly, Faith considered that it was probably because she had been seen in what she considered a moment of weakness, of vulnerability. Without the eyepatch. That was interesting to the slave, who lived her life in a state of constant weakness and permanent vulnerability; the way that those who thought they weren't vulnerable reacted to finding out that they were. Without realising it, Faith was engaging in the kind of analysis of Yana that Yana had done of her, just a break or so ago. To Faith's consideration, so much of the woman's identity was wrapped up in that patch, that missing eye, that it was something that she found uncomfortable. But she had not taken the opportunity, when given to her, to punish Faith for seeing her in a vulnerable position. Faith wondered why, wondering if it was because it would remind Yana of what she was punishing her for, remind her of the weakness that the patch represented. If so, it was probably on an unconscious, non-aware level, but that was still the most likely thing, the slave considered. Jamal would be interested in each of these observations, asking her what her insight was and so on.

As Yana ate, with a lack of orders from her, Faith went to the default situation and knelt next to her, ready to serve her with anything that she needed, but keeping her eyes down and her mouth shut. She took the tray back out, having been searched again.

Then, Yana gave her permission to continue working and Faith bowed her head "Thank you, mistress" she said and she set about the next stage of anointing the body. This was a quicker task, but one which was of utmost importance. Just because he was not a worshipper of Famula did not mean that he was not now in Her embrace and so Faith took out the anointing oil, a silver-blue liquid to match blessed Famula's hair, and began the process. Again, as she worked, she whispered in his ear, speaking the prayers to Famula that she had to speak as she anointed his forehead, eyes, mouth, arms, legs and heart.

Yana asked her something, though, and she looked up impassively as she fired off a barrage of questions at her "My apologies, mistress" she said, softly "I have no idea who they are. My owner only allowed me out on the first trial of Ymiden, that was the first time that I have been allowed to interact with anyone other than my owners" she did not say since when, because it was since... well, always. So whoever the Iron Hand were, she had not come across them, and as for how the rest of the population saw them? No clue.

However, as she finished with the last of the anointing, she considered something and she looked back up. "Although I met a man in the park who is a captain with a team of ten men he commands. Each of those ten had a handful of men to command also, I believe. Is that the organisation of which you speak, Mistress?" she asked, not quite sure if it was or not. But it would be bad of her to do anything other than offer all the information she could and Faith did her best to always ensure that she was fully and completely following orders.

Finally, after the anointing, Faith was ready to start dressing the corpse. That meant moving to take the clothes which had been provided. She then moved over to table next to the body and lay the clothes out, carefully and reverently. However, as she finished that she took a pair of scissors and started cutting up the back of the shirt, meticulously and with full concentration.
word count: 707
Life, Death and the In-Between .
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