Private Tales A Dangerous Lesson

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Dysmas Hatas, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. Dysmas Hatas

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    Dysmas Hatas Member

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    [​IMG]

    The Harpy Den
    A lean Komodi male rose from the plush comfort of a lounger, the pale scaled body made stark by the extravagantly colored silks wrapped around his body. Red, greens, blues, patterns in all manner of design. He had been called, to the office of their Matron. A stern hard woman who had very little patience for Dysmas, and only kept him for the mere money flow of those who sought to spend time with the creature in many ways.

    "Yes? Madam?" He spoke softly, walking in and closing the door behind himself with his tail. She was of a ruddy complexion, and seemed a darker shade of human from the norm. Her face was red though, at this moment, a crumpled page of vellum in her hand.
    "Dysmas. You cursed lizard." She ground out between a clenched jaw. "You've ruined us." She was seething, her rage barely contained behind her normally cool facade. Dysmas canted his head to the side, the decorated horns on his head causing the trinkets that dangled from them to shimmer and tinkle softly.
    "Mi'lady? Ruined? May I ask how?" He spoke, keeping an even tone, even as his tail twitched in irritation.
    She closed her eyes for a moment and opened them again. It had felt much longer than a minute to Dysmas. She tossed the missive across the room, a bit of ribbon falling from a broken wax seal. She drew herself up as tall as she could manage, still shorter than the male by several inches.
    "The Ambassador, Joau X'en. He died this morning. Of a common disease. The family is threatening to close me down. To bar the business from practice."
    Dysmas' breath caught in his throat. Surely it hadn't come from himself. He took greater care than most here in the brothel to ensure none such business took place. The Ambassador X'en had been his best client, having paid for Dysmas' company on many more occasions than was publicly and socially acceptable, and daring anyone to say differently. With him dead now, the family could ensure he was well and truly ostracized from the lively Courts. Dysmas had few other clients, men and women alike, who could afford to take the place Ambassador X'en had etched for himself. Dysmas kept a neutral face on, keeping his opinions to himself. The Matron shivered, still raging.
    "Hipwe! Oejir!" She called the names of the two out of three males allowed to carry weapons inside the establishment. It took a moment of heavy footfalls before the pair appeared, their arms laden with Dysmas' belongings. Books, letters to his clients half written, inkwells, papers and ink quill, clothes and pillows. It appeared they had even
    stripped his bed. He imagined his room was indeed bare now.
    "Lakei!" She shouted another name.That was the third one, the largest and by far scariest. He was a mercenary, and was some amalgamation of half-orc.
    The male followed behind the other two.
    "Remove this disease ridden filth from here. And ensure that he may not return...."
    Lakei smiled, his snaggle-teeth yellowed from chewing herb, and grabbed Dysmas, restraining his tail against the back of his neck with one hand and wrapping the other around his trim waist. They walked through to the back of the brothel and Dysmas was thrown into the back street. His items thrown onto the dusty ground. Apparently that wasn't it, he watched in dismay as his items were torched, and the four of them retreated back inside.


    [​IMG]

    Back Alley Doubts

    Dysmas normally calm face soured as soon his belongings turned to ash. The only bit he had was the robes he wore, and what he had in his coin purse, on his waist band. The Komodi male scratched through the ashes, looking to retrieve some measure of item, succeeding in pulling one copper pen nib, the metal ink well, and what jewelry that hadn't been damaged by the flames. He could sell off the jewelry if he needed to. With the rumor going around that he'd killed X'en, it would be difficult trying to find work as a Courtesan, let alone anything else. He pulled the robes tighter about himself, stowing his now smaller hoard of worldly possessions in the many hidden pockets of his innermost robe. He rubbed the small bit of tail that had been handled in such disgraceful ejection and stood, walking slowly down the alley, trying to run through scenarios in which he doesn't die in his search for shelter and food.

    Soon enough, the sun grew low in the sky and Dysmas had failed in successfully finding shelter. He wasn't quite hungry yet but he knew with time, it would come. He found himself on the roof where three houses met and huddled against the chimney of the most protected overhang. He was most certainly not happy, but for the moment, it was out of the elements and warm enough against the chimney, that he could feel his blood warming. He wasn't sure how long he could stick it out like this. His mind wandered to leaving this place, but it was all he had ever known. He wasn't even sure what tribe of Komodi he had hailed from, his markings giving the only clue as to his lineage, but he had no resources to find out.

    Dysmas' tail wrapped itself around the chimney, and he soon fell asleep, with all manner of worry and doubt filling his mind. He would likely end up dead on the street somewhere, with the relieved sigh of passerby as they spied one more dead lizard. Dysmas slept terribly the first night, and for every night after for the next three days. He had scrounged up a hunk of bread before retreating to his safe place, somewhere the other scavengers couldn't find. Even amongst the rabble of society, he was unwelcome and disgraced. Dymas rubbed a small bit of blood stained scales, trying to ease the ache of the bruises his beating had caused. Amidst the rough treatment, his tail had done the work to hide the bread. And so he was sitting against the wall of his secret place, trying to surmise what his plan should be.

     
  2. Volker

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    Volker was a man who had spent the majority of his life on the streets. He was born to stalk back alleys and narrow spots between buildings. As a child he had been an unfettered terror, luring men with horrid thoughts on their minds to their deaths in rat-clogged gutters. As a man he was ignored, and disregarded....exactly how he liked it. Oh, he had honest work as all men had need of it. He worked for a butcher killing, gutting and hanging cattle. He worked as a personal chef for some of the most expensive clients who, after taking a chance on the man after a decent bath and shave, were beside themselves with the results.

    It was a strange life he led. He would cater some of the best parties by the best people, serve nobles who ate hawk and pheasant on the regular, and then sleep quietly in his alley. To Volker's credit he'd lasted the longest here. Usually what happened was what happened to any killer: he got caught. Suspicions were raised about him concerning mysterious deaths in the area, and he would vanish to the next city.

    But here? Now? He had made a temporary home. He'd scrubbed an alley pinned between three homes clean. No roach or rat dared enter here. He had strung glass lamps filled with small candles all around the alley for light, rugs on the cobblestone for cleanliness, and had formed a somewhat nice bed of cushions. An area in the corner held a chamberpot, and the other corner held a cooking fire and grill. Volker lived a simple life but he had wont for nothing except to be left alone. As alone as he could get.

    There was always Oor to consider. The alarming-looking spirit who looked like someone had propped up a corpse rescued from a severe house fire. Oor looked frail and delicate, his skin as grey and thin as parchment. His was lipless, teeth and retracted gums expossed. He had no nose to speak of, and likewise no hair or eyes. The corpse had only one hint as to his supernatural origins, and that lay in the soft red light glowing from his ribcage like an obscene paper lantern. A long funeral shroud hid everything from the waist down from view.

    'I don't like it. Three fucking days that thing's been up there. He lets go of that chimney or rolls in his sleep and all of a sudden he's pitching down the goddamn roof and landing in your living room.
    ' Oor groused, his eyes fixed on the edge of the nearest adjacent roof. Volker was quietly brushing down the carpets and preparing for the day. His home was rather cozy, for an alleyway. He'd hung waterproof canvas as of late with the rains threatening to fall.

    "Stay here then. Protect it until Iget back." Volker grunted.

    'And what am I supposed to do, bark at him?'

    "You are concerned, not I. He is a fool. He will starve and freeze when the rains come."

    'Enh least then we can use him for something
    .'

    Volker snorted and picked up his knife roll, straightening his clothes and heading out of the alleyway. Oor sighed and vanished into the shadows, drumming his fingers on his arm boredly. The idea that someone would stumble upon their idyllic little area wasn't a new one. Oor had been warning Volker for weeks to pack it up and move to another alley. Staying for too long in one place was a death sentence.

    To Dysmas, it might have been a ray of hope. The scent of coffee drifted up from the cooling campfire, where Volker had left a kettle on. The man's breakfast had been similarly cooked on the same grill, sending tendrils of spiced bacon and eggs wafting up over the edge of the roof where Dysmas sat. Volker enjoyed having a well-stocked larder with breads, fruits, and dried meats. To the unaccustomed observer it would appear the camp had been temporarily abandoned with all of its goods unguarded.
     
  3. Dysmas Hatas

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    Dysmas opened his eyes groggily. The sun was peeking above the rows of houses. He was cold, and it seemed the fire in the chimney had gone out, because his body was stiff, and the chimney was cool, his tail refusing to uncoil itself from around the bricks. Dysmas groaned, feeling terrible. It took him another hour and a half before the sun had warmed him up enough that he could move without much issue. He rose though, stretching out his sore muscles, and trying to get the blood moving a little better. The smell of breakfast wafted in the air and his stomach growled at him. It had been some time since he'd eaten. He followed the scent down the other side of the roof and down into the alley. Towards the edge, he'd lost his footing and collapsed in an unceremonious heap onto a rug.
    Dysmas brushed himself off before looking around. He sniffed the area well. Someone lived here, but they'd left. Left their breakfast and coffee unguarded. Ohhhh his stomach gurgled and hurt something awful. He groaned, eyeing the food. He really really wanted it. Super. Oh my skies, wanted it. The bacon called to him, the sweet succulent fat, to melt in his mouth the crispy crunch of the meat..... Dysmas fell onto the food like a ravaging beast, half crazed with hunger. When he finished, he sat there, with the fullest belly he'd had since finding himself on the street. He felt bad though. Bad that he'd taken someone's meal. But the food. It was left out. Anyone on the street knew it was first come first serve. Right? He eyed the surroundings. The least he could do was clean up? He set to washing the dishes, the pots and pans, and setting them up to dry, before setting things aright. He was a man of luxury after all. But he couldn't help himself, he felt like something was missing. He wasn't sure.

    Dysmas scratched his horn, the fire looked inviting still. Maybe he could get away with reading a book? He pulled the one piece that he'd stuck with all this time, and settled in to read next to the fire. Before long, he was snoozing, having fallen asleep next to the warmth, his body greedily sucking up the heat, as if it too were starving for energy.
     
  4. Volker

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    Oor watched Dysmas quietly. He heard the scuffling around on the roof, but he really hadn't bargained on the other man literally crashing down in the middle of Volker's camp. He'd barely missed the tea lights, making the glass lanterns shiver on their string. Oor was hidden in the shadows, quietly choosing not to manifest himself until he got to know the person who had been hanging above their heads for a few days. It seemed the other man was intent on food, as he fell upon Volker's breakfast...or what was left of it.

    Gods above, the kid ate like a wolf. He was taking bets with himself how quickly it would take Volker to string Dysmas up for making a mess of things when he...washed the dishes. Clever. That at least might save his skin. Volker was a very particular man, and from the surroundings he disliked things being dirty. A tough battle for a man who lived in an alleyway, but one Volker fought with aplomb. Oor was normally bored as hell when his worse half went off to earn a decent living. He was also the reason Volker wasn't robbed blind. Oor was allowed to mess with or destroy any intruders to Volker's home as long as he didn't stain the carpets.

    The horned man pulled out a book, and cuddled up next to the fire. When he was asleep Oor got to examine him properly. Pretty little thing. He crouched in front of Dysmas, watching him for a moment. Well, he wasn't harming anything, and he was curious to see Volker's reaction. He let Dysmas sleep, letting him absorb the warmth from the fire. Volker had banked the coals well; they'd be putting out heat for several hours at this rate.

    Oor knew the instant Volker returned. The other man tensed up like a dog seeing a viper, lowering his head on his shoulders with his eyes fixed on Dysmas. His lip curled and he showed his teeth, skirting around the edge of the camp while eyeing Dysmas. He swept back and forth, coming closer. He was up on the balls of his feet like a cat, picking his way across the carpet.

    'I wouldn't worry about him. He's skin and bones and half-frozen. He did the dishes.' Oor helpfully pointed out. Volker shook his head as if trying to get a fly away from it. He hated Oor's voice in his head when he was trying to listen. 'I mean, you could kill him now but that would be a bit pathetic, don't you think? Might want to make sure he keeps his trap shut about where this place is though.'

    Volker sat down next to Dysmas near the fire, looking at him. He could smell him. Man hadn't bathed in days. From what he could see he wasn't worth skinning either. Volker's larders were full, for now. So he waited, and watched, until he grew hungry. Then he busied himself. He sliced potatoes thinly, layering them with spices and butter in a pan and letting them crisp up. In another pan he seared off a chicken thigh, then moved it to a lower temperature part of the grill so it could roast slowly. He settled down next to the fire to chop vegetables up for a small salad, his eyes on Dysmas. A throwing knife balanced on his knee; he wasn't a complete fool. If he couldn't reach the knife, his preferred method of killing was always with him.

    Oor, as predicted, grew bored. He crouched in the fire in front of Dysmas. 'Wake the fuck up, you lazy son of a bitch!' he snapped at the vagrant.
     
  5. Dysmas Hatas

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    Dysmas slept peacefully, his dreams opening himself to a field of green and a picnic. With others of his kind, all sharing in food. It smelled wonderful. Dysmas mumbled something incoherently, smiling slightly in his sleep. He was warm, the sun beating down on him in waves, causing a satisfied male to stretch languidly in the rays. He was happy. Dysmas smiled, his dream taking him back to the brothel. The Harpy Den. His dream turned slightly. He had been young when he'd been dropped off. Too young to do anything legally at the time, but old enough to know exactly what was going on behind closed doors. He remembered the beatings and the name calling. Dysmas startled awake to words that were familiar but sounded very, incredibly odd. He sat up quickly, trying to focus his eyes before falling back, an arm up to try to protect himself from the ghoul in front of him. Scared it would like, suck his eyeballs from his head.

    "I don't taste good! Please don't ea-..." He stopped, and actually looked at the creature. A ghost? Apparition? He blinked, turning his head to the only other object moving in the vicinity. A man. Dysmas' brows upturned in worry and a slight bit of fear. This man, he was grizzled. He had that look about him, the look that made Dysmas' skin crawl. It made him want to run away, to try to escape, but fear pinned him to the spot.

    He could feel his heart race, his body tensed. That fight or flight response begging for an answer. He even felt the pocket of venom in his throat expand, ready to spit fire onto the man in an attempt to get away. Should he need it. The male had to force himself to calm down. He was a courtesan after all. He had to be dignified and proper and- Who was he kidding? He slumped ever so slightly.
    "Just kill me and get it over with. I ate your food. I tried to clean up, but the fire it was so inviting. I couldn't help myself."
     
  6. Volker

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    Volker tilted his head. "I am not going to kill you. I have no reason to." he said. Dysmas was skinny and not edible at all from what he was smelling. He'd never liked the taste of reptile. He unrolled his knife roll in front of him, taking out each blade and wiping it delicately with a cloth, then sharpening it. Each one was hand-forged, with human bone for the hilts. The largest was hilted with a femur bone, the ball doubling as a club. He glanced up at Dysmas. "You have stolen from me. But it was not unwarranted. Oor was not doing his job."

    The ghoulish apparition snorted and folded his arms over his chest. 'Excuse you. I thought it was more fucking interesting for you to have company for once in your life.' he said, miffed. Volker took a moment to examine Dysmas. He was a pretty creature. He was clearly not accustomed to the streets. A true blue street brat would have robbed him blind of anything of value and trashed the place for good measure. That would have forced Volker into a hunt. He wasn't one to lay down and take that sort of behavior from vagrants. Dysmas seemed like another sort of vagrant entirely.

    "How is it you've come here?" Volker asked, putting away a tiny, curved blade tipped with a tarsal bone. "You could have stolen from me at any moment while I slept. Instead you stayed there for days before moving."

    He stood up and took the pan with the potatoes anna off the fire. He sliced it like a pie, and put two slices on tin plates. The chicken thigh was removed from the heat, rested, and deboned with an artful little flourish of his wrist. He cut it in half, put each on the plate, and offered it to Dysmas. "You are thin. You are not born of the streets." he pointed out. He was, but he cooked like a palace chef.
     
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  7. Dysmas Hatas

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    Dysmas had the proper sense to order himself, back into a sitting position. He ran his taloned fingers through the black hair of his, scratching at the base of his left horn idly, before running them through to the ends of his hair. He shook his head.

    "No reason to. Most wouldn't hesitate. I am nothing but a lizard after-all." He almost sneered at his own comment. It was a common thought throughout the rough life of the streets. He wasn't unaccustomed to the racial hatred. And with the black marr on his reputation he had no credit to use to pander for food or get back on his feet much anymore. His robes hid most of the telltale signs of his....race, but the horns stood out like a sore thumb. He tilted his head, eyeing the man. Curious.

    "The roof, the three houses created somewhat of a shelter close to a heat source. Without it, I cannot move. I am cold blooded. I followed the smell of bacon. I hadn't known there was something of a...." What would you call this little sanctuary amongst the filth of the back alleys? A home? Was it that? "...living area until I fell into it." He looked up at the roof where he'd been making his own bed for the last few nights. His pathetic excuse for a bed at least. But he was alive. So it wasn't terrible so.

    "I....cannot pay you for the food." He frowned at that. He had fell upon the leftover breakfast like a beggar, and now he was offering to feed him. He didn't take the plate. Keeping his hands in his lap, though his mouth watered.

    "I....used to work at The Harpy Den...but.... My client passed away from a disease recently. I've been pinned as the reason for it, and was forcibly removed from the establishment." He frowned, he needed a bath. He was itching for one, but for him he needed warmer waters. If he had tried to do so by the river, he would have ended up sun basking for hours to try to bring his internal temperatures back up. He slowly slid his book into his sleeve, setting it into a pocket that fell on the inside flush against his body.

    "I try to stay very clean. I am a carrier but, I haven't had an incident like this before. So it's odd for it to have happened. I suspect he had made a few unsavory enemies, but I cannot be sure. He kept me in my comforts. I have no other real skills." He shrugged, he was a useless lizard outside of the work he grew up doing. His tail twitched besides him, curling some.
     
  8. Volker

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    Volker didn't judge people on race. He had others judging him far too often for his age, his demeanor, his diet, or the spectre that followed him constantly. He judged others on what they could offer him, and if they had offended him. He snorted at the idea of Dysmas being killed just for being a lizard. He was curious at the idea of him being cold blooded. He stood there, holding the plate of hot food out to Dysmas without retracting it. Other men might have gotten embarrassed and pulled it back. Volker simply waited for him to take it. The chicken was spiced with rosemary, salt and pepper. The potatoes were golden and crispy, dripping with butter.

    "You are disease ridden. They should have turned you out a long time ago." Volker told him. "As long as you are useful here, you may stay. I cannot have you rolling off the roof again." He set the food down in front of Dysmas and went to sit down in front of the fire, glancing at him. "What you need to do is find the man who set you up, and destroy him. You have killed before?"

    'Oh for fuck's sake look at him. I bet he didn't even kill the rats in his own basement let alone strangle a man.' Oor snorted.
     
  9. Dysmas Hatas

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    Dysmas stared at the plate before finally conceding and taking the plate of food. Dysmas stared at Volker, unsure if the man was bent on poisoning him or not. Dysmas shrugged, he was resistant to some poisons. Maybe if it was, he'd survive. He began eating from the plate, a bit apprehensive.

    "I was a commodity. I made money. That's what they wanted. I made good money. Now I make nothing but air." He was frustrated. He knew nothing else. He had no other useful skills than what was taught him. He played a lyre, poorly due to his claws. He only knew how to read and write, and that wasn't good for much. His kind weren't usually given scribal jobs. He ran a hand through his hair, scratching his scalp some. He needed to find a way back into making money. Or find a way to learn his history. Or the history of his people. Where he belonged. But why would that matter? If they got rid of him, perhaps it was no use.

    Dysmas visibly shrank as he tucked into his food, seeming deflated. The males' self esteem had taken a blow. He looked up at Volker at the mention of murder.

    "I don't know the first thing to killing anything. I've done nothing but use what I had to pleasure others." He pulled his robe closed around him, feeling somewhat threadbare despite the warmth from the fire. His tail flicked idly as he spoke. Somewhat dismayed.
     
  10. Volker

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    Volker looked at him. Dysmas was a courtesan then. "Since you do not have a useful skill, it is time to develop one. Self pity is for those rich enough not to worry about their next meal or a knife in the spine." Volker told him. "I can teach you to defend yourself, to kill, and to take revenge on those who have turned you out. Why do you mourn for a death you have not yet taken? Why mourn for a life lost? You are still here, and still breathing, so you can do something about it." Volker stood up and came to sit next to Dysmas, eating his food quietly. The offer was a simple one. Volker was offering education and survival, something that unemployed and homeless men rarely got. It was learn to steal, kill or starve in the streets. As far as Volker was concerned the man in front of him could do with a little hardening up.

    "Are all of your kind this way? Courtesans? Men who do not have to fight for survival?" Volker asked. He leaned in, cautiously, and inhaled Dysmas' scent. It was odd and unfamiliar. He hadn't seen one of Dysmas' race before....he wondered if they were a rare type. If Dysmas was some curiosity that men paid more to bed.
     
  11. Dysmas Hatas

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    “It was a useful skill…” He pouted some, looking down at the food. He enjoyed it well enough. He scooped another forkful of food into his mouth, chewing slowly, in thought. Defend himself? To kill others? He shook his head. He wasn’t sure he was capable of such a thing. “I…I don’t know if I can….” He frowned, kill someone? No. That wasn’t him. Was it?

    Dysmas watched as Volker sat closer to him, canting his head to the side to eye the man.

    “No we aren’t all courtesans. We’re slaves. Our ancestors were slaves. That’s all we’re good for it seems. Simple thought, simple tasks.” He frowned again, taking another bite and chewing. He didn’t want to be simple. Or thoughtless. He fancied himself a rather learned male all things considered. He knew to read and write. He knew about the political holdings here in this wretched place. He was familiar with quite a few of the aristocrats. He was on hard times though. He could use a few hard lessons.

    “…How…how do you kill a man?” He asked tentatively.
     

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