Private Tales A Thief in the Night

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Fife

Terrible Thief, Worse Empath
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The night was cold. A winter gale blew through the streets of Elbion, brought down from the mountains and winding toward the river. Hidden behind gathering clouds that threatened to bring rain from the gulf, the moons played peekaboo with the dark figures who shuffled through the scant lamplight. It was late -- late enough that the barkeeps and tavern proprietors were beginning to yawn and their patrons had gone to their beds. Doon, it might have been called, but the winter nights wore on longer than those of summer, and the sun lingered beyond the horizon.

It was in this cold, bitter darkness that a small figure moved. A boy, it would seem, but Fife was no boy. She clung to the shadows between lamps and brightly lit windows. The wind whipped at her short, wild hair and her dark green cloak, stained and tattered and little protection against the biting chill of the wind. She slipped through the darkness, occasionally peering into a window until she lifted her eyes over the sill of
The Lucky Pilgrim.

Inside, the elven barkeep polished glasses that didn't need polished. A small group of young mages laughed and spoke amongst each other, and a single patron was slumped onto a table in the corner, sleeping. Dropping below the sill, Fife continued toward the alley. She had cased this inn for several weeks, learning the habits of its barkeep and proprietor. She had watched the young mages for several days, memorizing their routine. Specifically, how they rose late into the day to leave or carouse in the tavern. Raising an eye to the second floor of the establishment, she counted four windows and guessed that, at most, there could only be three rooms -- four, at most.


The alley was shrouded in darkness, unlit by torch or lamp. This part was too narrow for a cart to pass through but the cobblestones were wore smooth down its center from years of foot traffic. It opened into another alley that ran perpendicular to it, wide enough for a very small hand cart to be brought through from the street at the far end. Two doors broke the exterior of the tavern's back wall: one to what she could only assume, based on deliveries, to be the kitchen, and the other she had seen only patrons using.


A back door -- a way for those staying in the rooms above to come and go with a bit more...
privacy. She'd caught glimpses of hushed meetings, and even seen a few patrons open the door for pretty ladies who didn't ever stay the full night. It was locked but never guarded, and it was her best chance at gaining access to the building.

Lockpicking wasn't a particular skill of hers, but as she slunk toward the door to give this burgeoning skill a go, she heard the sound of laughter and muffled voices on the other side. Darting past the doorway, she pressed herself against the wall and held her breath as the door opened, shielding her behind it as a man bid a woman farewell in a chorus of giggles and smooches. Fife pressed her eyes shut, praying to the gods that the woman would take the alley the other way, lest she be spotted before her heist ever began...


Whatever god had sustained her thus far in life provided once more, and the woman began down the alley away from Fife. The man whispered
goodnight to her loudly and lazily swung the door shut behind him. Moving quickly and silently, Fife managed to catch the door just before it latched but held it near the jamb as she waited in the darkness for the woman to turn the corner and for the steps within to recede. Her pulse was still whooshing in her ears when silence fell in the alley once more and the woman turned without seeing Fife standing there with her hand on the knob. Loosing a long, shaking breath, the young thief took a full moment to gather her wits.

This was her only chance; she
had to get better. There wasn't a place here for her, as a young woman whose only skill was silence or as a pitiable young boy. Carity wouldn't keep her through the winter, and the thieves' guilds wouldn't take her without any proof of her skills.

With her resolve fortified by necessity, Fife slipped into the door. She placed a folded piece of paper in the doorway, between the latch and the hole to keep it from locking behind her, then turned toward the stairs. Fortunately she was light and quick, and ascended them with relative silence. Arriving in a narrow hallway, she counted not four, but five doors. Five? She mentally counted the windows again. Perhaps the room at the far end had no window? Fife was uncertain and looked at the nearest doors with hesitation.


After a short and careful investigation, she found that doors one and four were silent. Behind door two she heard very loud snoring, and someone was up and moving behind door three -- most likely the fellow who she had followed in. Standing there in the hallway wasting time, Fife took a moment to gamble on which room she'd try opening. How many people could be boarded in each room? In what order did the proprietor let them out? She didn't know, and there wasn't really a way to know, so she picked a door at random: door one, closest to the rear exit.

The interior doors weren't locked, thankfully. Silently lifting the latch, Fife cracked the door and slipped inside. Carefully shutting it, she calmed her breathing before she turned toward the dark room she'd chosen. By what she could see in the faint ambient light through the window, there was a small table near the door with a ceramic wash basin, a heap of gear beside a single straight-back chair, and a bed.

And, to her horror, in that bed was a sleeping figure.

Fife sucked in a quick breath and froze in place, watching the steady rise and fall of the figure until she was certain that they were, indeed, sleeping. Perspiration was beading up on her face in spite of the chill, and she drew a long, steadying breath before she crept toward the individual's gear.

She was trying not to panic because panicking was the best way to mess up and get caught, but her heart was beating so hard that she was sure it would alert the person to her presence. They'd wake up and grab her and they would finally kick her out of Elbion for good. Or, worse, she'd lose a hand or be sent to rot in some dungeon like the delinquent she was...

Fife's plans were quickly dissolving, and she was struggling to see in the lack of light. Running her shaking hands over the bags, she fished her hand into one and felt around. It was either food or goods, and at the moment she didn't care which. Drawing the bag from the pile, she clutched it to her chest and began to back toward the door with her eyes fixed on the faintly outlined sleeping lump on the bed. All she had to do was get out as quietly as she'd come, and she'd be home free!

But her luck had run out. Her heel caught the leg of the chair and she stumbled back, her hip bumping hard against the table. The water basin teetered, and she half-turned trying and failing to catch it. The basin tipped over the edge of the table and shattered, water and broken porcelain scattering across the floor.

Horrified and afraid, Fife spun back toward the bed with eyes gone wide and the satchel clutched to her chest.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Hey!" the gruff voice cracked. Raigryn's throat was parched. It made the sound more of a growled threat than the intended warning.

Raigryn pushed himself up onto one elbow, his other hand stretching underneath a pillow, searching for that reassuringly cold sliver of steel. He hadn't survived this long by being slow to rouse, but he was still trying to blink away his blurred vision and get sight of the danger. There was little moonlight streaming through the murky glass, nor was there much coming through the door from the bar below. It must have been late.

He felt a flash of fear that someone had snuck into his room so easily and that now their shadow loomed over his bed. That cold sensation slowly galvanised into anger at the unwelcome intrusion. The sheets slipped from his broad shoulders, revealing a pale night shirt. His white hair was neatly bound behind his head, catching what little light there was.

With one foot finding the floor he reached for the intruder whilst his fingertips brushed against the pommel of the knife he kept close, under a pillow.

Finally his vision started to sharpen into focus. He saw the silhouette of a young boy. He saw one of his bags clutched in their hands.

"Thief!" he croaked.

Fife
 

Fife

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Of course, the figure awakened with a gruff exclamation that had Fife shaking in her too-small boots. What was she going to do?! The man (as of course it would have to be) began to rouse, and her control over her fear snapped. Her eyes scanned the routes of escape: the window or the door. The man began to stand, and she only had a moment to decide what she was going to do.

As the man got his bearings and began to reach for her, Fife darted for the door. Or, at least, she tried. The smooth soles of her boots slipped in the water around her. She caught the brunt of the fall with her shoulder, a heave of air escaping her lungs in one great whoosh of sound, but her face cracked against the floorboards. Disoriented and afraid, she began to scramble blindly for the door. But she was dizzy and slowed -- prone to the man pursuing her.

More afraid than determined, she somebow managed to keep a firm grip on the bag and ignored the pain that thundered from her shoulder -- and the sharp burn from her bicep and cheek. Fife could worry about injuries later. Her present concern was to make her eyes focus. She was pushing herself up onto her hands and knees and aiming herself toward the door, which seemed leagues away.
 
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Even half asleep, Raigryn could almost feel the impact of the thief's face striking the floorboards, such was the noise. Acutely aware of their fear, and that this was no assassin, Raigryn swung back to annoyance. Years ago no one would have dared to break into his rooms. Now he was a travelling scholar who chose these squalid hives because they were one of the few places he could safely renew is Aspects. No one complained about less fist fights taking place when he ate at the bar.

The knife span away from his grip and was abandoned under the pillow. There wasn't time to retrieve it and catch the thief. Raigryn might have made a different decision if he could have known what was being held.

His bare feet touched the wet floorboards and he pushed himself up off the bed. Unfortunately they hadn't managed to knock themselves out on the floor. The shadow was scrambling for the door. Raigryn closed with two long strides and tried to aim a kick for the thief's back, hoping to drive them back down to the ground before they could fully rise up and start running.
 
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Fife

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Points of light and swirls of color danced through her vision and her shoulder groaned as she tried to right herself, to somehow salvage what senses and strength she had left to get away. She didn't get very far before a heavy foot sent her back down. Disoriented, hurting, and more than a little afraid, Fife pressed her eyes shut and braced for the worst.

She was suddenly grappled, and the small scraps of hope she'd been clinging to unraveled. It slipped out of her as the man seized her and the realization that she wasn't going to get out of this predicament rushed in to replace it. The gravity of it was as awful as the strength that so easily overpowered her slight form. She was small and afraid, and this would be the last mark this heartless city would allow her. This was it.

Piercing her addled mind, a moment of clarity allowed her to perceive the room differently. Out of the chaos emerged the invisible yet bizarrely tangible emotions around her. Like opening a third eye, she saw her fear like a thick purple miasma -- a fog that cloyed her lungs. And there, cutting through that dark cloud in sharp angles of light that was simultaneously blinding and dark, was the glaring red haze of anger.

Instinctually reaching out with her mind Fife hungrily drew from that dangerous red well. She didn't know what she was doing or where it came from, but she felt the power slithering along the edges of her form. The pain in her arm and cheek dissipated and her muscles suddenly went taut.

She let loose of the bag and shoved at her assailant with far more strength than her small figure should have had the power to wield. The red energy flowed recklessly through her, channeled into every muscle she could use to break free. Her mind instantly began to roar in retaliation, a spear of pain blossoming between her eyes.

But she was free. Fife had only a moment to roll away from him, to finally scramble to her feet and stumble toward the window and...

And do what? The alley was too wide to scale down and the fall from this height could snap her ankles or worse. In the time in would take her to unlatch and open the pane, the man could be upon her again, and then what chance did she have? Breathless, she reachad out for the sill, hauled herself upright, and spun to face the man she had been attempting to rob while her exhausted mind grasped for a way out of this room.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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It was just a boy, Raigryn realised. A light slip of a creature. That didn't mean they weren't carrying a sharp knife. One didn't need much weight to slip a knife between a man's ribs. He had a hold of clothes more than anything else and tried to shift his grip to hold the thief down.

The strength with which the boy shoved himself up off the ground caught him by surprise. He found himself on his backside, leaning against the side of the bed with his bag in his hands. He was left watching the thief pull themselves up towards the window.

The touch of Empathy left a unique imprint. Raigryn had to dispel the fog of sleep and close off his mind as the implications of what had just happened. That red mist she had drawn on sublimated into the ether. His mind became closed off. Instead she would sense a verdant jade solidify around the windows. A simple barrier summoned from Avarice to seal the window.

Raigryn took a moment to sweep the errant strands of hair away from his face. With a deliberate, slow motion he put his bag down beside him. He stayed on the floor, palms held upwards.

"You should have gone for the scholars writing box. Worth a lot more than my spare washcloths." Each work was spoken carefully and quietly. It had been a very long time since he had sensed someone else using Empathy.
 
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Fife

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Without taking her eyes off the man, who seemed taken aback and delaying his pursuit, Fife reached blindly to the side, turned the latch, and shoved the pane outward. Whether it was a safe route or not, it was her only choice.

But it wouldn't budge. She could see the shadowed shape of the man putting down the bag, and her heartbeat leaped into her throat. Prying her eyes away from him, she desperately pushed her weight against the pane and ran her fingers along the edge of the frame. Why wouldn't it open?!

"You should have gone for the scholars writing box. Worth a lot more than my spare washcloths."

Fife jerked at the sound of his voice. Whirling back to face him, she stood with her back against the window like a rabbit cornered by a wolf. Was he taunting her? She could still see him kneeling where he'd caught her. Her mind had closed back up, any chance of perceiving the emotions in the room was sealed as tightly as the window behind her.

Sharp, ragged breaths cut out of her as she raised her hands out in front of her. She couldn't answer him, only stand there trembling. Why wasn't he trying to catch her? Perhaps he knew as well as she did that she was trapped here.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Infendus," he whispered under his breath. In the corner of the room a thick candle lit up. It wasn't much of a light, but it brought some colour to the flickering shapes in the room.

"Don't tell anyone I used elvish magic," he said quietly. "My reputation isn't what it once was, but I'd rather hold onto the last of it."

He groaned as he stood up, grimacing at the aches and pains before sitting back down on the edge of the bed.

"Get down from there, sit," he said, pointing to a chair in the corner of the room. It was facing him, off to his left. Going to the chair meant going further from the door. However, a note of command had slipped into his voice, replacing the humour that had been there just a moment before.
 

Fife

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There was a whispered word, slipping past her understanding a moment before a flame burst to life on the wick of a candle in the corner. Magic?! Fife flinched and pressed herself deeper into the windowsill. Gods above, what had she gotten herself into? She was dead. Fife squeezed her eyes shut and held her hands up defensively against the light, as if she could truly fend him off if he came at her again.

"Don't tell anyone I used elvish magic," he said quietly. "My reputation isn't what it once was, but I'd rather hold onto the last of it."

Confused, Fife cautiously opened her eyes and looked at him over her hands. It wasn't one of the young mages after all, but an older man she hadn't seen before who rose with a groan and perched himself on the bed.

Elvish magic? And why was he telling her this? Fife's dark brows drew together in mounting confusion.

"Get down from there, sit," he said, pointing to a chair in the corner of the room.

Fife glanced between the man and the chair and took a moment to consider disobeying the commanding tone of his voice. It was further from the door, but she would have to cross the same space in front of him regardless if she were to make a break for it. Her eyes were still wild with fright as she lowered herself from the window and stepped sideways to the chair. She sat slowly, carefully, as though he could spring at her at any moment.

Which he could. Fife didn't know what he was about, but she wasn't letting her confusion lessen her guard. Regardless, she sat precariously on the edge of the chair. Her muscles were still taut, prepared to leap aside with a moment's notice, and she watched the man warily.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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"I'm not going to hurt you," he said quietly. It was true. For now. Raigryn still wasn't pleased with being woken in the small hours by a thief in his room, but there were more important matters to deal with.

All Empaths agreed that there were eight emotional aspects. They often didn't agree on their names. There were, of course, far more than eight emotions and an empath could draw from them all. So each aspect was in truth a collection of emotions. All the emotions under an aspect has a similar feel to an empath.

Fear was an interesting one. Different kinds of fear could fall within different aspects. The fear that sent adrenaline coursing through the veins and triggered a cornered person to lash out came within the bounds of Fury. This kind of fear was turning closer to desperation. A touch of despair in there. It bridged the line between Fury and Misery.

Raigryn skimmed a little away. More to try and dampen her own fear than to draw energy. It cautiously took just enough to take the edge off. Too much could lead to another surge of fear, causing an emotion by drawing it was a good way to turn an Empath mad.

A pair of circular dark eyes appeared over the lip of the wardrobe behind Raigryn. There was a quiet sniffle.

"Oh good sentry you are," Raigryn accused the Lunasloth over his shoulder. The small furry face retreated away from the candle light.
 
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Fife

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The man spoke and in spite of herself, Fife felt calmer. It was an odd feeling, but she felt some of the tension leaving her limbs and she sat more fully on the chair. Why was she so inclined to trust this man? He had every reason to be angry at her, to throw her to the city guard and seek satisfaction for the attempted crime against him. Yet there he was, relaxing and reassuring her.

He spoke to something other in the room, even looked over his shoulder at it. Fife's eyes quickly followed, afraid that there was another person somehow crammed into the room. But her eyes only met those large round ones of some small furry creature as it slunk back to its apparent hideyhole behind the wardrobe. Her eyes were wide with surprise as she watched it disappear.

She didn't see many animals, having lived in the city. The children who had raised her had told her stories of many wonderous and exotic creatures, drawing rudimentary animal shapes in dirt and dust, or occasionally scratched onto a hard surface with a rock or knife. She had seen a few depicted in marketplace wares: tapestries, pottery, figurines and trinkets. But she never seen anything quite as strange as that fuzzy creature.

Her wonder was short-lived in its absence. Fife's eyes lingered for a moment before remembering the man. Placing her closed hands on her thighs, she glanced between him and the door.

Why was he keeping her here? Could he have used some sort of magical summoning to alert someone outside of her crime? Limited experience with charity left her watching him cautiously. She didn't trust anybody, much less men. She was breathing easier now, the sharp edge of her fear and panic smoothed. There was still a cloud of fatigue looming over her, and she knew she wouldn't have much energy should she still need to escape.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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He watched closely as the boy glanced furtively to the door again. Raigryn left it open for the time being, but mentally prepared to summon a construct to seal it off if he needed. Whilst he didn't have much energy to spare for such a physical manifestation of his power he didn't want to terrify the thief by closing the door now.

"That's just Jason, he won't hurt you," Raigryn said quietly. She he reminded himself. Every other Jason had been a he and he was stubbornly refusing to change his perception.

Raigryn didn't deal with children very often, but he assumed they still liked small exotic creatures. Especially those with bug eyes and soft fur.

"Come down Jason," he said, tapping his shoulder. The response was a soft, gutteral noise. Something between a bark and a grumble. Raigryn rolled his eyes. The females of the species did seem to be somewhat more willful and difficult to train than the males.

Raigryn stood up and turned around. Fife would catch a hint of motion. Just on the edge of her perception, almost impossible to discern in the flickering candlelight.

Raigryn marched towards the wardrobe, but as he did so a pair of eyes looked up at Fife from underneath the bed before receding into the darkness.

"When I..." Raigryn started before finding the previous nesting spot of his companion atop the wardrobe was now vacant. "Well...she'll come back when there is food I'm sure," he grumbled. Raigryn had not yet realised that he had a habit of changing the gender of the pronoun when Jason/Jocelyn VII was being difficult.

The thief was still silent. "Would you like some food?" he asked him.
 
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Fife

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Fife was uncertain what she was watching happen. The stranger explained that the furry creature -- Jason, as it were -- was harmless and called for his pet to come to him. Rather, he attempted to call it. The creature's sole response was what must have been some sound of defiance, and nothing more.

She couldn't do anything but watch as the man stood in frustration to retrieve the pet manually. There was some sort of movement at the periphery of her vision, however, and Fife turned to peer into the relative darkness that was the corner the bed inhabited. And there, nowhere near the wardrobe it had been a moment ago, were those wide clever eyes watching her from beneath the bed.

Fife leaned to peer after the creature as it slowly receded into the swath of shadows beneath the bed. When the man began to turn, she jerked upright. Was she to keep the secret knowledge of his pet's whereabouts?

The already strange encounter grew even more beguiling when the man's remark about his pet returning when he fed him (or her?) shifted to inquire if she would like food. For a long moment Fife just started at him, holding his dark gaze until she realized that he had, indeed, been addressing her. She blinked and her expression of blank bafflement crinkled into a creased look of true confusion and mistrust.

Why was he being so strangely kind to her? Fife was unaccustomed to charity of any sort, and hesitated to accept it when it did come her way. She was easy prey -- something she'd learned the hard way but refused to allow again.

With a line of concern still drawn between her brows, Fife dared to nod hesitantly. She was lucky to scrape up a single solid meal per day. Why this man was concerned about her hunger, she couldn't say, but she wasn't going to turn him down outright while she was still figuring out if he might be a rare case of genuine charity.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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There were many of questions swirling around in Raigryn's mind. Unleashing a barrage of them at the thief was unlikely to go down well. The kid didn't even reply properly to his question about food.

Raigryn rounded the bed and hefted his open pack up onto it. He made a small noise of displeasure at the reminder that the thief had gone through his things before he had woken. He took out a small leather bag and loosened the draw strings. Inside was a bundle of dried meat and a bundle of travellers biscuits. The latter were taxing on the jaw to chew, but could survive the road for months.

"It's not much, but nowhere will be open for breakfast for some time," Raigryn said, pushing them closer to the boy.

On the far side of the bed a six-toed paw slowly emerged and took a firm hold of the sheets. The face very slowly emerged after it. At the pace it would take nearly a minute for the lunasloth to cross the bed and reach the jerky.
 
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Fife

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She sat perfectly still as the man hoisted a bag and began to go through it's contents -- though, her eyes looked at the door when he was turned away from her. If she was smart about it, she could slip past him in a flash, turn the knob, and be on her way. Empty-handed, of course, but alive and well to try again. Yet for some reason, it seemed as though he was genuinely digging in his supplies for food. Perhaps she would have another such moment, after she had a few morsels in hand...

The moment of opportunity passed as she sat contemplating. He set down a pouch with a selection of dried meats and hard biscuits. Fife's eyes widened as she looked at it. What might have seemed to a meager offering to a man such as himself was a feast to her, days of guaranteed nourishment if she could stash it away properly.

Glancing between the food and the man and leaning forward slowly, Fife very cautiously took a sliver of jerky and a biscuit. She briefly made eye contact and nodded her thanks before eagerly tearing off a hunk of meat. It was tough, but at least it wasn't half-rotted scraps scavenged from someone's rubbish, and she wasn't fighting anything to get to it. Though her table manners weren't the best and she chomped on the meal noisily, not a crumb escaped her attention. All the while, she diverted her attention to the small creature as it began a long, slow journey over the bed toward the food.

// Raigryn Vayd //
 
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Raigryn watched the inexorable, but slow advance of the lunasloth across the bed. The mossy green-grey furred creature never took its eyes off the jerky.

"You should be out hunting moths," he told the creature. "Funny things lunasloths. If they're not being watched they're incredibly quick. Won't do it when they're being watched."

Rather than demonstrate this he simply took once piece of jerky and held it out. Jason stopped, eyes widening and reached for the sliver of dried meat. A mouth of sharp little teeth opened.

"Do you have a name?" he asked the boy. Raigryn deliberately kept his focus on Jason, giving the creature a fuss behind an ear as they ate. Just a few questions and then enough time to work out what to do next. A wild Empath was a dangerous thing and their remaining practitioners already suffered enough from their broken reputation.
 
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Fife

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Poking in her food, Fife listened to him speak while occasionally looking between him and Jason. Apparently the fuzzy critter was called a lunasloth. She raised her brows and nodded like she knew what that meant. The information he provided explained the odd blur when he/she had moved to beneath the bed. She watched with a small smile when he held out a treat for the pet, nodding sagely to this new knowledge she didn't ask for.

When he asked after her name, however, Fife faltered mid-bite and looked up at him. He was watching the sloth when he asked, and she was thankful she had a moment to compose her expression with some privacy. With her eyes downcast, he shook her head. No.

Very few people asked for her name. Fife had never really been given a name. In the isolation of her mind there was no real need to give herself a name and, when face with the challenge of what to call her, most people settled for "boy" or some mean word relating to their interaction with her.

But there was a name she liked and thought would be nice. Even if she never saw this guy again, it filled her with a strange warmth to feel... noticed? Treated like a human being? Fife didn't give it much thought.

Perking up, she raised her hands to the right side of her face to mimic how musicians held flutes, wiggled her fingers in an imitation of their playing, and whistled a high, pretty tune.

Fife, she thought. My name is Fife.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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For Raigryn, emotions were not perceived as colours. It was almost impossible to describe it. When he was paying attention to someone else's emotions they each had their own distinct sensation. More like the difference between a smooth and rough stone than truly sensing their emotions. The boy's were more balanced than they had been just a few minutes ago. A little calm and a bit of food could do that. A method just as effective as skimming the excesses away with Empathy.

He turned to face the boy as he started to gesticulate. Raigryn furrowed his brow in confusion.

"Piper? Flute?" he asked before his brain caught up.

"You don't speak do you?" he asked. The world was a very large place. Entire civilisations had come and gone. Cultures lost to time. At any given moment - and especially here in the cities - huge numbers of people fell between the cracks. For a lone boy on the street begging would be a difficult endeavour with no voice.
 
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Fife

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Her imitation came close and her eyes brightened as he guessed closely to the name she wanted. She shook her head. That's not quite it. It was still closer than anyone else had been.

But she also saw the moment he realized she was mute and shook her head in response. The fact that she couldn't talk didn't tend to bother her; she had lived without it her whole life, after all. While it could be frustrating, she made do. Lifting her chin, she touched a hand to her dirty throat and tapped her fingers against her windpipe, then shook her head again in an attempt to explain that it had never worked right.

But his guess was still not her name, and she wanted somebody, anybody to know it -- even if it was just this strange man with a weird pet.

She tapped herself on the chest. Me. Spacing her hands apart at the length of a flute, she squished them closer together. Smaller. Then, raising her hands while keeping them within that close proximity, she imitated the playing once more. This time the sound was higher, more trilled as she whistled a tune she'd heard a piper playing at a military procession. It was the best impression she could manage. She lifted her hands in emphasis toward the instrument, not the person. The fife.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Piccalo, no wait..." Raigryn brought a hand up to his forehead and closed his eyes. The hand came away from his head and he wagged his finger. "I know what you mean and I can't quite think of the word."

He gave her an apologetic smile. "Promise I'll ask someone tomorrow. I'm getting old. Sometimes words and memories like to dance around my mind."

Raigryn could tell it was important that he found her name. It might have been a long time since she had heard it. He felt regret at having the name of that little military pipe on the tip of his tongue.

"I want to ask you something else. About when you forced your...wait...fife? Is that it? Fife?" From beneath white eyebrows his eyes widened as he felt he had recalled the word he was after.
 
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Fife

Terrible Thief, Worse Empath
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He was so close! In spite of her predicament, of having been caught attempting to rob him just minutes prior, Fife felt the mingling excitement and disappointment as he once more came just shy of the proper word. Her eager expression melted a little, but he offered the assurance that he'd ask about the name of the instrument at a later time and Fife nodded, her hands falling back to the bits of food remaining in her lap.

It was fine. She told herself that it didn't matter anyway. His reassurance shouldn't have meant anything, just like him knowing her name in the first place shouldn't have meant anything. But for once, somebody had almost spoken her name. Somebody had tried. The biscuit seemed drier, harder to swallow as she continued to eat.

The man began to prompt her for a serious question but his voice drifted off and there -- he caught the word he'd been looking for. Fife! She perked up and nodded her head emphatically. That's it! She was smiling like an idiot and feeling very pleased as she pointed to him and raised her eyebrows in question. Your name? Though Fife wouldn't be able to say his name, this was the first introduction she'd ever been able to successfully make. It seemed ridiculous that he might give his name to a thief (albeit an awful one), but he had been a weird fellow thus far.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 

Raigryn Vayd

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Fife

"Excellent!" he exclaimed, seeing the joy in the boy's - Fife's - eyes at hearing his name out loud. "Me? I'm Raigryn."

His name didn't carry much weight anywhere these days and regardless he neither had his full name nor the ability to share it with anyone.

"Yes, don't try and wolf down those biscuits. They're for the road really and won't sit well if you don't chew them. Yes...now...when you pushed me away have you ever felt like that before? A sense of anger that gave you more strength?"
 
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Fife

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Raigryn? Fife whistled the syllables in a melodic manner similar to the name and a broad grin stretched her face. It was a weird name, but a nice one.

Her childish excitement lowered her guard and made it easier to nod along as he instructed her not to eat the biscuits too quickly. She was hungry enough that she could have eaten the whole sack, but he must have known better to warn her against such notions. Fife had only eaten half if the jerky, thinking to save some of it, but she continued to gnaw through the biscuit.

His question was oddly specific, however, and she pause her chewing to eye him. Her look had an obvious dread that he'd noticed and, more specifically, that he knew what she'd done.

She nodded hesitantly and paused for a moment to think about the times the weird colors and feelings had been apparent. Fife generally had a natural affinity for detecting the feelings of those around her, but the mental sight of those emotions were a rarity she had yet to understand or master.

After doing some slow mental math, she held up three fingers. "Anger" had thankfully been rare in her strange repertoire.

She then pointed her finger into her mouth and made a retching expression to indicate another emotion and held up two more fingers. She had seen the green "sick" kind of feeling a couple of times. She wasn't sure what she had channeled that sticky green feeling toward, but she'd escaped both encounters.

When she thought he understood what she was saying, she then laid her hands together, pressed them to one cheek, inclined her head as if to sleep, and sighed. The "sleepy" feeling she had used lots more, having figured out how to spot it to find easy targets for theft. She flashed all ten fingers several times with a mischievous grin breaking her cautious expression. Her little hands had been in a lot of pockets over the last decade.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Fife

Raivryn itched at the grey stubble on the corner of his jaw. It was Fury, Disgust and Tranquility if he had to guess, but he couldn't be certain without seeing her use them. Every Empath had their own perception of the source of their powers.

Fife had drawn on them on more than a few occasions. His abilities would only grow, but there was danger if left unchecked. There had always been stories of unchained Empaths who could draw entire villages dry of their emotions at the expense of their own sanity.

"It is an art known most commonly as Empathy," he said quietly. "As you become stronger in it there are risks. For you, for those around you.

"Fife I haven't taught anyone in a long time. Whilst I'm here I would like to teach you a few things. Or at least a few important rules to make sure you're not going to harm yourself. I'm in the city for two weeks. Food, a room, a hot bath in exchange for giving me some of your time and..."

Raigryn trailed off as something tugged his hand. He took the bag away jerky further away from the lunasloth. The creature started to painfully slow journey around his back towards where it had been placed.

"...and now I've forgotten what I was going to say next."
 
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Fife

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"It is an art known most commonly as Empathy," he said quietly. "As you become stronger in it there are risks. For you, for those around you."

Fife frowned. Empathy? She wasn't sure she'd ever heard of it. Her brows knotted together. She'd been aware that she'd been doing something, but being told she was at risk because of an apparent natural abilities was... Intimidating? Terrifying? The hairs on her arms and neck rose up. Magic -- she had been doing magic?!

"Fife I haven't taught anyone in a long time. Whilst I'm here I would like to teach you a few things. Or at least a few important rules to make sure you're not going to harm yourself. I'm in the city for two weeks. Food, a room, a hot bath in exchange for giving me some of your time and..."

Raigryn's voice drifted off as he was distracted by Jason, and Fife was grateful for the moment to process what he was saying. Why was he doing this? Did he really want to help her just because he was a decent person (one of the first she'd ever met) or was there a caveat he wasn't mentioning?

"...and now I've forgotten what I was going to say next."

The lunasloth was slowly creeping toward the bag's new position, and Fife waited until Raigryn was looking at her again.

Her expression was dubious as she pointed to herself, small sharp finger prodding her own sternum. Me? Then she held her hands palms up and shrugged her shoulders, still giving him an uncertain look. Why?

Without pausing to consider if it was wise she pointed at herself again, but swung the finger to immediately point at the satchel she had attempted to steal. She had done that; he had every right to turn her in to the city guards, to want to see her punished or suffer or whatever suited him best. And yet, he was offering to feed her, house her, and teach her... why? Because it was dangerous for her if he didn't? Fife wasn't sure she trusted anyone to be this nice.

// Raigryn Vayd //​
 
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