Echo Souls (IC)

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Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Cascade » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:05 am

Isaac Wieder liked the countryside of Aventia. Orizzonte was by most forms of reckoning a more beautiful country. It was filled with canals and pastoral scenery, all compacted neatly in an appealing bundle situated by the sea. It was a gilded palace entirely unlike Galheim, where the clouds were perennially gray, the ground was balder than a geriatric head, and the wind and storm kept most indoors, or otherwise tightly bundled in longcoats and cloaks.

In comparison to his time by the sea in the West, Aventia was beautiful, but staid. There was not much particularly remarkable about its tall grass and rolling hills; the nettles stuck in you if you walked through the brush too long and there tended to be entirely too many gnats. The city of Old Aventia was also an eyesore. Larger than many of the largest cities in its neighbors smashed awkwardly together, it was at least visible as a speck from any corner of the kingdom.

That being said, the simplicity and quiet calmed his nerves. His assistant perhaps would have said he had no nerves to calm. All was placid within Isaac, and he sported a smile whenever he could.

He had grown up a simple merchant's son with some minor ties to the administrator of Sigur Province in the Northwestern corner of the republic. Par course for many middle class citizens in Galheim regardless of province, his purpose in life was to become a vendor or business owner, commanding some small squadron of craftsmen and merchants to mass produce tools, dried meats, toys, glass, and so on. The alternative was the substantially less savory exploitation of Galheim's skill with fire and steel. Of all nations in Calux, none were as infamous for their sellsword trade as Galheim.

Isaac found a hireling to scout talent in Galheim, finding a few worthy subjects (by standards unfathomable even to him) in one of five provinces positively choking with men-at-arms, unemployed and looking to eat meat once again. It was that hungry look in their eyes that made Wieder shy away; he himself had no combat skill, and had no interest in being exploited. He traveled far across the continent to the bustling Orizzonte city states to browse the human catalog that was the most diversely peopled state in the continent. Traveling the rivers ruled by the fleets of the Khet Nal queen, he ended in Aventia, purchasing a small plot of land on the outskirts of the great city. Here there were nothing but farmers and unused pasture, in case his new division of accumulated allies needed a supplementary source of gold. He after all was mired in the unending paperwork necessary to establish a division as a foreigner in Aventia, let alone do business with their infamous Offices of Holy Corpses and Sacred Blood.

After months of soporific busywork, he finally had managed to obtain a contract for his flock of sellswords. This cost him no small penny out of his own pocket. Aventian ducats even had an unfavorable exchange rate with his own state.

He'd sent them on his way late the night before. Rather than sleep, he'd chosen to read by oil lamp and await their inevitable return. The white haired doll on his window sill stared silently at the purple horizon and numerous glowing orange fireflies lining the city sky line the mercenaries had plunged through. The farmhouse was pitch black save for the glow from Isaac's lamp, a red-orange signal he was awaiting them.

('Bout 5 AM, on the farmland outskirts of Old Aventia, the capital of the New Aventian Kingdom. You have all just finished cleaning up the mess teamed with agents of the Kingdom's undead troubleshooters, the Office of Holy Corpses. You know, however, that due to the expense of setting up shop in Aventia, the division's coffers are running low and it's unlikely Isaac will be able to pay you; thus the tacit understanding that you were free to loot whatever wouldn't be missed, though such actions are technically against the company charter. Anyway, feel free to describe your characters arriving back from the city in your cart, or on horse for those of you who own one.)
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Aura » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:15 pm

It was the time before the sun showed its happy, yellow, completely eye-melting face that Fiorella loved and usually worked on. Add being petite and agile to near-darkness and easy targets to loot and she would pretty much believe it was her birthday, twice a year, or more, depending who she was trying to scam. Not that she did that sort of stuff so often. No, it was funnier to do the whole 'I'm in your base, stealing your goods' act, and put one or other knife in some backs for kicks rather than being lovely dovely for a man's wealth. Well, most of the times.

Damn, it was such a nice feeling; almost not being there before the breaking dawn and BAM, hello world! I stole your moneys.

A church was fine too.

"I think I need a horse", muttered as she walked, largely ignoring the rest of the party at the time being. They weren't half bad, but not half good on her books just yet. And she didn't trust them; it was more a guideline on the way she treated people. She would still crack a joke at them if conversation happened though. Nothing like a good joke in the morning.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Redsnow » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:16 am

Kei sighed as she swung her giant fullblade into its strap-sheath and tightened it over the blade by pulling and latching it using a strap on her shoulder, making a small "oomph" as her shadow energies left the weapon and bore its full weight upon her. Once she had steadied herself, however, she quickly jumped into the cart with the others, pulling her mask down and taking a deep breath as she did so.

The ragtag bunch of mercenaries that had formed her group seemed to define itself by "Self-righteous" and "Aventians", although the two usually went hand-in-hand anyway, at least by Khet Nalian standards. Not that she wanted to return to Khet Nal, either - they were just as bad, if not worse sometimes. At least you knew what Aventians were thinking what they were saying - it was far more infuriating to know someone was saying something but thinking the exact opposite.

She felt she could deal with most of them, but some better than others, to be sure. While Kei had been indignant at first that Fiorella had been chosen to scout ahead instead of her, she had been forced to admit the older girl's talent, especially for one having had no training, and was keen to become better acquainted with the self-styled thief.

Speaking of thievery...

Kei spoke up loudly and said, "I want to divide the loot right now, before we're completely out of sight of the branch office and while there's no one around. It's going to be a pain to do it later."
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby TheLivingCouch » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:41 pm

“Ah, shut it.” Lucia quipped at Fiorella from her seat in the back of the cart, looking cross. “If you didn’t want to walk you should have got in the cart.” Of the lot of her new ‘companions’, Fiorella was the only one who hadn’t shown up to the battle. As pathetic as their enemies were, it didn’t sit right with her. It was also way too early, and she wasn’t near drunk enough to be dealing with idle complaints. She huffed and crossed her arms, where was the alcohol when she needed it anyway. It would certainly make this long slog more tolerable. Good thing it was almost over.

“Don’t you even think about it.” Lucia snapped at Kei, her temper beginning to flare up immediately suspicious of the suggestion. “Butterfingers already lost us near 30 gold pieces standing still. I’m not chancing anything being thrown from a moving cart in the dark. We can divide it easy enough when we get back.” Lucia huffed again. “That way, things will be less likely to disappear.”
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Redsnow » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:34 pm

Kei scowled at Lucia, although her childish face made her look more petulant than genuinely angry.

"Oh, I should've seen this coming," she snapped back. "Of course the Khet Nalian specialist is a thief and a moneygrubber. As if you have any right to be superior - for all your prayers and big flashes of light, we're all thieves here today, and some of us don't wear...Whatever in the nine hells that armor is. There'll be light soon enough, and we can stop the damn cart a second."

She put her hands behind her back, taking care to reach around the sharp edge of her blade. "If you want, I can blindfold myself and nail my feet to the floor, too, if that'll make you feel better," she said sweetly.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby counterfeitself » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:36 am

Leaning back, resting his head upon his pack, Jon overheard the two females speaking. "Oh I`m sorry. Are you talking about me Lucia? And you, Kei, is it? Is that sword big enough for ya? Compensating for something are you? It's better that they are smaller. The get in the way a lot less in battle. Or at least that is what mum always said." A slight smile crossed his face. "Either way, it's better that we can all see when we split the goods up. Less lost goods. Not that I'm pointing fingers at anyone, it's just as Lucia said, some of us have buttery fingers and others may have sticky fingers and it's better everyone's fingers can be seen." As he spoke, he checked to make sure the pouch he had taken from the aristocrat was still tied securely to his belt.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby TheLivingCouch » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:59 pm

“You know it really would.” Lucia grinned, it was almost sinister. “Then we can make off and just leave you behind. More for the rest of us that way.” She chuckled. “Ah, its good for you though that I don’t turn on my fellows. That is unless they owe me, then things burn. You see," She began to explain. "we mercs don’t like it when we don’t get paid. Most Khet Nalian folk are just peachy sure enough, but sometimes your merchant captains need to be taught a lesson on paying on time. One that has taken more than one ship straight to the bottom of the river bed. We don't like being screwed over.” Lucia laughed again, smiling knowingly leaving any involvement with said captains and their cargo left hanging in the air. “We wait. We split the money fair where everyone can see. You don’t like it too bad.”

“On top of losing our gold, you really are some kind of idiot aren’t you butterfingers?” Lucia’s glare turned to Jon, who apparently had nothing better to do than but in. “You and your momma should know that it doesn’t matter what size your weapon is, its all in how you use it. That and how many enemies fall before it.” She sneered. “But yeah, keep talking. That blade might just give you something to compensate for, if you catch my drift. Isn’t that right Kei?”
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Redsnow » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:31 pm

Kei turned her head towards Jon and said, fluttering her eyelashes at him, "I'm hurt, Mr. Jon. You're the one who said I should carry this heavy thing around, just in case, you know, yours doesn't function adequately. Weren't you the one who professed how cute I was when we first met?"

"And it's, 'good for me that you don't turn on your fellows?'," she said, giggling at Lucia. "Yeah, I suppose it would be - if I were a shambling zombie." She stopped giggling. "But I'm not, and you're not the one trained in murder as a way of life. So put your threats away - you're only embarrassing yourself."

She glanced upwards, where the rose-colored strands of dawn were slowly encroaching the cobalt hues of the night sky. It was light enough, wasn't it? She'd never been grouped with a bunch of incessant whiners as this one. Speaking of whiners - she glanced at Acacia, wondering what miracle had kept the girl from butting into their conversation.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Aura » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:06 am

Somewhere while they were talking, Fiorella had made a short run and gracefully placed herself on a side of the cart, eyeing them all in silence. "You all sound like a band of infants, geeze." She snorted as her eyes felt on the ridiculously large blade, but didn't say much. Kei had skills, and she knew better than simply ramble on a fact such as size. "As cute as they get, darling", shot anyway, giving her a playful smile.

A smile that changed into a full grin seconds later. "Ooooooh are we bragging now? Do we compare the size of our blades? Kei can't participate though; if you were a male you would be seriously overcompensating. Who wants to tell their body count? Maximun stolen ammount? Best sex ever? I'm in, ladies."

Was she still grinning? Yes, she was.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Cascade » Sat Jul 31, 2010 2:27 am

The group neared the farmhouse, where the familiar face of their organizer Isaac emerged in the lit window. He disappeared momentarily, and the flickering of newly lit oil lamps emerged in the windows near the front entrance. The party likely stowed their cart and horses in the fenced field behind the building before circling back around to the front and entering quietly.

All members of the Company were familiar with Isaac Wieder's story, though as with every member of the Company, many details seemed intentionally murky or rarely touched upon. He was a merchant from Galheim who decided to make money off of people's blood rather than trading goods. As unassuming of a man as can be, he resigned himself to the tedium of handling provisions and contracts for the team of hired fighters. Like the others he did his best to embellish or otherwise obfuscate his past. The romanticism veiled the lurid degeneracy of their work, respected as the profession might have been in Galheim.

(Feel free to think of whatever reason you might want for your character becoming a mercenary.)

Isaac found each member of his team in his travels around Calux. Lucia and Jon were perhaps the oldest members of the division, scouted on his first trip to Aventia. Borin joined him in Orizzonte, but he clearly did not hail from there, and Isaac didn't feel the need to ask questions. Kei he found doing merchant crime lords' dirty work in the seedy boathalls of the river people on his journey back from the West. He managed to scout Fiorella and Acacia on the way back as well, though he initially was skeptical of their suitability for the group. Despite being in an awkward place between strangers and friends, the guild performed admirably in the field and worked well as a team simply due to holding to simple rules.

1. Private property is yours, company property is everyone's.
2. Stick to the contract, unless the employer breaks it first.
3. Protect Company assets, whether they are people or capital.

As long as these three rules were upheld, Isaac wasn't particularly concerned how they did their business so long as they were successful. He had no mind for strategic matters.

In any case he squinted over a pair of reading spectacles and invited them in. They had only visited the site once before and had not even enough time to choose rooms before being sent off to the city to get information on the contract, which had kept Fiorella busy even as the mission took place, a fact she was no doubt frustrated with.

"Welcome back," Isaac muttered, half sighing. "I trust everything went as planned? But judging by the looks on your faces, there wasn't much money in it. The Office of Holy Corpses is a cadre of highly decorated tightwads."

Jon and Lucia may have worked for the organization before under Isaac, and perhaps know this themselves. It's not often they hire mercenaries at all, let alone pay them properly. They are a tedious sort of people used to doing things by their own tried and proven methods. Outsiders work at their own pace, for very little compensation.

He wiped his brow, a look of frustration creasing it down the middle.

"I'm sorry the budget is so tight at the moment. As you can imagine, I've been at the books all night, trying to make sense out of this mess. The new equipment I sniffed out for you all was a pain to get a hold of."

He was alluding to the enchanted equipment most of the team carried. Galheim typically produced most of their gear and weaponry, and the process of arcane or divine enchantment meant the gear needed to be shipped to Aventia or Kuarl in the desert, which implied mountains of paperwork as the secured caches changed hands, crossed borders and switched shipping routes. Not to mention the expense of protection against the Demi-human raiders in the badlands of the desert and wilderness.

"Anyway, feel free to get situated. There's only two guest rooms and a storeroom though. I'll let you sort it out among yourselves. I've got to get back to work." Isaac muttered, sounding half asleep.

Isaac never shared his room with the others. He said it was "occupied" and that he needed his own space. The two rooms were fairly spacious with separate beds and each a window to the outside. They sat on both sides of Isaac's room. The storeroom was down the hallway, next to the entrance to the stables. The floor was hardwood and there were no beds, so the occupants would probably have to sleep in hammocks.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Jay » Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:00 am

Lavender looked forth undaunted by the darkness, his expression frozen in a look of gravity and seriousness. Keeping pace with the cart, he gazed forth unceasingly, never back or side: completely free of fear. He knew the importance of his task, taking it very seriously, as he followed on completely immune to the small talk tossed back and forth by the humans; it's not like he could understand their gibberish.

Around Lavender's neck were Acacia's arms lightly draped, her nose nuzzling into his mane. She slept soundly as he did the footwork, since he had taken a rest earlier on outside the church. Acacia drooled a bit on him but he took no notice. Lavender was a wonderful horse.

As Isaac came out to greet the group, Lavender shifted a bit, shifting his mane about and managed to stir the sleeping Acacia. Looking up from her slumber, she rubbed her eyes a bit and instantly put on a smile: "A morning to you, Sir Isaac. I'm happy to report that my armaments and equipment are in perfect working order, and served me well." With every syllable that left the girls mouth, a vague, naturally imperceptible sensation seemed to wash over everyone in the vicinity. It's not something one could really put a finger on, but it was undeniably there. Just being in this girl's presence gave a person better acting ability, and better memory when it came to finding just the right word. That slight boost though, cannot be compared to the ludicrous quality of rhetoric that came out of the mouth of the girl herself, however.

Without giving much of a moment's pause, the girl absentmindedly began leading Lavender to where he was kept. She didn't mention at all, and kept it behind a poker face, but her mind was actually at a faraway place, pondering about the dream she just had. Acacia had full confidence in the premonitory qualities of her dream, so she took them very seriously. It was unlikely anyone else did though.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby TheLivingCouch » Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:14 pm

“You can bet your bottom dollar that whatever pain you went through was more than any pains you took getting it.” Lucia said with a smirk, thumping her fist against her armor. It may not have been coin, but fancy new armor was nearly as good to the hot blooded mercenary. There was nothing like payment up front as an incentive to join this little group. As a boss Issac wasn’t too bad even if the pay was lousy so far. Of course, that had better change. “Damn zombies didn’t even scratch me. See if you can’t scare up a little more challenging for us next time huh? It might just make up for the low pay.” The most dangerous jobs always had the best pay anyway.

“Don’t mind if we do.” Lucia said walking forward towards the farmhouse fully intending to grab one of the rooms before anyone else. Acacia on the other hand was leading her horse away, apparently uninterested in room selection. She had been quiet the whole trip back, and hadn’t much of anything to add now either. She studied the Acacia's expression fiercely, but it was strangely empty of anything but the niceties she was putting on for Issac. It didn't even betray a hint of being tired after waking up from their trip. Lucia raised an eyebrow but shrugged her suspicions off even if some might have thought it strange. “If she wants to sleep in the storeroom from now on that’s her problem.” Lucia shrugged and resumed her march to the front door and the bedrooms.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Redsnow » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:03 pm

Kei materialized in front of Acacia, blocking her way, as soon as Isaac had gone back to his study. However, her ridiculously large weapon was leaning against the wall next to the door, so the diminutive girl didn't look nearly as absurd, or absurdly menacing, as she usually did. She landed lightly on one foot, and said, "Let's get the gold sorted now, before people go to sleep. Until we've divided the money, the job isn't over."

She shot a glare at the two males of the group. "I'm sleeping in the other room. And there's no way in hell I'm sleeping with either one of you perverts, so unless you want an attempted dagger in your crotch as a present every night, you won't even think of bunking with me."
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Jay » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:59 pm

"Hm? Split the money? Come now, let's get inside first, at least.... And careful where you put that thing, you might hurt something~." Acacia casually winked at Kei as she stroked Lavender along the neck and he leaped straight over the large sword. Acacia turns around and waves quickly with a smile on her face, "I'm just getting him settled in his stable. I'll be back before you know it."

And before they knew it, she was back.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Aura » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:49 pm

"Dagger-on-the-crotch, we are sharing a room."

Better her than the guys or the little girl, or anyone else, for that matter. If she seemed to be paying little attention to Isaac it was because her actual part on the whole deal hadn't been all that great, the money obtained from the party bieng more a consequence of other's actions. In her mind, she was letting it slip that one time, but she wanted in on the next confrontation.

"But first things first, of course." It was never too late to talk about money. Never.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Redsnow » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:55 am

Kei entered the building again with Acacia, and hefted her large weapon, still in its strap, over her shoulder. She nodded at Fiorella and looked pointedly at Jon.

"Can we divide the gold now, or do you just like the feel of something heavy weighing down your sack once in a while? No, I actually don't care; I'm tired, and I want to get to sleep already, so if we can just get this over with, it could do us all some good."
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby counterfeitself » Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:11 pm

Entering the building he took a look around before Kei shot him a glance. "Actually, yes it is quite nice. It's been a while since I've had any money, but if you insist we shall split it up here." Pulling out the pouch he had taken he dumped it's meagre contents on the table. After a quick count. "20 gold pieces. Split 6 ways is 3 for 4 of us and 4 for two of us I guess? Well get those gems or whatever you found out and lets have a look at them. Maybe we can figure out how much they are worth." He motioned to the group to take out the other items they had found.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Cascade » Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:31 am

"Well they ought to have, m'lady. Weren't cheap you know."

He seemed vaguely less grouchy when speaking to Acacia, but it was the same with almost anyone. Isaac scowled at Lucia's comment, but didn't seem overly angry. He rubbed the back of his head, mussing up his hair at the base of his neck.

"Be thankful for the easy work. I know you fighting folk are inclined to taking risks, but I doubt you're so starved for action that you'd rather be fighting those things in the southeast. Even if the Canal has been sleepy lately."

For centuries it had been difficult to receive word from nations across the continent, small as it was. Within borders overland couriers delivered news to all corners of each state, but even then that might take several days. They were dark times when one didn't know when to update the black splotch on the map near the southern peninsula until the wounded and insane started trickling back. The stories of what they had seen were never pretty.

After years of research however, the surprisingly straightforward researchers at Dynewalther had perfected ritual magic. Little more than heavily regulated, symbolic arrangement of material components, fetishes and arcane script based on the old ways of Inhumans, ritual magic soon became common in every nation of the continent, save perhaps Bourgundy. It simplified many of the more troublesome aspects of life, from sanitation to communication, though its usage was still controlled and few knew *why* or *how* the rituals themselves functioned.

Isaac supposedly was one of the earliest men in his trade to utilize contacts in every nation, who knew a few rituals here and there that allowed long-distance communication, typically only known by those in nobility or the trustworthy considering its usefulness for sedition and treason. Controlling that magic made it easier for each state in Calux to mold the perspective of their civilians to more "productive" outlooks. That meant the people Isaac got his information from could only be vagabonds of the most ill-begotten sort, such as enemies of the state, underworld spies, bureaucrats and nobles turned information brokers. The latter category would take exception to the epithet of "ill-begotten," but if they were from Orrizonte they were likely bastards anyway.

All it meant for his employees, however, was that they were rarely without valuable information before taking on an assignment, and usually knew the score well in advance of accepting the contract. There were of course miss-communications, but if it were more widespread, those couriers would likely riot, and it was certainly far quicker than carrier pigeons.

He shrugged at Kei, tipping his spectacles.

"Yes yes, well, I'm exhausted. Try to keep from stabbing your comrades over a measly 20 pieces, eh? You should thank John for saving you the trouble; it's certainly not a sum worth worrying about now. In any case, I already have another contract coming in the next three weeks."

That was a relatively short amount of time. Typically, the members of the division were free to pursue any alternative source of income while not engaged in combat, since they had other skills. At times the seedier members of the team were glorified thieves and brigands who would rob and extort locals, making sure not to wear the company signet and keeping their faces hidden. Isaac would permit that activity so long as he never got word of it. The company laws only extended to its members, after all. Naturally anyone caught would have their membership terminated, but the rotten branch gets pruned only when the gardener is watching; otherwise it tends to fall off of its own volition.

They were lodging on a farm and the city was not very far away. It was unlikely they would make much money competing with the locals, but they could certainly make at least as much as they did on the mission in three weeks. It'd undoubtedly make them wonder why Isaac accepted the contract in the first place.

"Congratulations on a job well done. Now if you excuse me, I have a date with the goddess of sleep."

No such goddess existed though, at least not where Isaac was from.
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Re: Echo Souls (IC)

Postby Redsnow » Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:42 am

Kei glared at Isaac's retreating form - she hated bureaucrats, and she trusted them even less than she trusted people in general, which wasn't much to begin with. Steel, magic, and shadows were things she understood, knew how to fight. Forging alliances in the light and dilly-dallying with words...she did not know where to begin to defend herself against such things.

She turned her glare upon the meager number of gold coins that were glinting in the approach of dawn, and wondered once more if leaving Khet Nal had been a mistake. It didn't take her long before she shook her head slightly; she could not know the answer to that, not yet. Not bothering to take her portion of the coins, she wordlessly picked up her weapon by its strap and slung it over her shoulder as she walked towards one of the rather spacious bedrooms.

She approached one of the beds - the one farthest from the door - and dropped her weapon with a dull thud on the floor next to it. She methodically began to remove pieces of her laquered-black leather armor, placing it in a neat pile next to her weapon. She left, however, her greaves and the weapons within them on her arms.

It was strange sensation, she thought as she sat upon the Aventian styled bed, her fingers running over the linen. She had been used to sleeping on the hard floor or on a mattress near the ground in a room crowded with others, while keeping somewhat conscious to make sure that none of the sick men under her lord's appointment gave into their desires. It was not just once that she had left her bedding in the morning, having relieved a man of his manhood in the dead of night. Her trainer had called her ability to sleep so lightly and so little with no repercussions a gift from the gods - she called it a necessity she had beaten into herself for survival.

With a sigh, she laid herself over over the flat surface of the bed, having tossed the pillow away somewhere. It did not take long for rest to take her, even as she maintained awareness around her.
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