Private Tales Arm For The Poor

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Kala

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Near Alliria
Nathaira

Being a one armed thief was about the worst thing one could be Kala had discovered. Stealing things was a lot harder, climbing over walls was impossible, and trying to get her trousers on in the morning was fucking impossible.

That was why she was here, trying to get to the top of a fucking wizards tower using only one arm and all the luck she could muster. The Tiefling could have used her magic, the Ways maybe, but she didn't want the man to get wind she was coming. He was a skilled mage from what she knew, a former Dreadlord or something that had hidden himself away.

He was an artifcer, and incredibly skilled one too.

Kala was desperately hoping he could help her with her current...appendage problem. She was coming to ask, but in truth...she sort of expected to have to steal something in the end. Eventually she reached a window, grasping onto the ledge with a last pathetic hop and dragging herself through.

There was a clatter as she fell on top of a desk, landing with a slight thud and casting aside half a dozen cylinders, pots, and pan. Her head twisted around for a moment, and Kala half expected to be screamed at. When nothing at all came she blinked in confusion.

Where was the wizard?
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira had been briefed on her current target more thoroughly than usual. While typical mission instructions were little more than a name and a location, and sometimes a face, she had actually been sat down this time and fed carefully prepared information. Curiously enough, a name was not included.

"The Artificer." That is all they called him. Nathaira had thought she knew what that meant, but it soon became clear that she'd had no idea. The things this person had created defied understanding, and his magical prowess was stated to her in no uncertain terms. As a traitor to the Kingdom, and a danger to himself and those around him, he was to be killed on sight.

Infiltrating his workshop had proven extremely difficult. There were no windows less than thirty feet off the ground, and the doors present were heavy metal. Only after a day's worth of observation and investigation had Nathaira discovered an entrance by hiding amongst a shipment of... something.

She had hidden, invisible, amongst barrels of glowing blue liquid. She didn't know what it was, but she very much did not wish to touch it. She slipped inside as the barrels were being transported, and as soon as the deliverymen left she headed into the home.

She didn't meet a single living soul, but the place was far from quiet. The sounds of steam and water rushing through pipes predominated, and the clank and clatter of metal could be heard around every corner.

Where the hell was he? A noise from upstairs caught her attention, and she moved silently towards it. Someone was definitely within. With daggers in hand Nathaira swept through the door.

She froze at the sight of Kala sprawled out on the desk. She hadn't been prepared for a tiefling. Her mind shuffled through options in the pregnant silence. This could not be the artificer, nor would a servant be so clumsy.

"Who are you??" she hissed.
 
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Kala

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A small groan escaped Kala's throat, her head lulling slightly as a woman...snake...thing hissed at her.

Was this the Artifcers assistant? No. That didn't seem very likely. From everything that she'd heard the man worked alone, preferring to keep his secrets even from those that could help him. Fingers on her remaining hand tightened, and she looked at the woman with no small amount of suspicion.

"I'm a..." She scowled.

What the fuck was she now? Not a thief, not in her current state, and only a fool would have claimed an identity like that in a moment like this.

"Customer..." The way she said it made it an obvious lie. "Just looking for the master of this House."

That was the truth at least. "Who are you?"

The Tiefling demanded back.
 
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Nathaira

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"I am... alsso looking for the masster..." her eyes narrowed, but seeing as she was also remiss to admit her true reason for being here, she didn't see any reason to dig deeper into this woman's story. Her eyes strayed obviously to her horns, her devilish eyes, and finally to her lack of limb.

She was about to speak again when loud and heavy footfalls caught her attention from beyond the door. She looked around frantically for a good hiding place, saw that the desk was the only option, and begrudgingly slipped back behind it. She hoped that this blue-skinner she-devil would not be foolish enough to try and attack her.

The steps reached the door with a muffled "Hello?" The door was opened by a tall automaton a moment later.

"Who is there?"
 
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Kala

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Kala didn't attack anyone when she didn't have to. She was a thief, not a fighter. That meant that combat was to be avoided if it could.

When the noise suddenly clattered up the steps her head immediately whirled around. Lips thinnde, and with her one good arm she launched herself off where she was standing and over the desk that Nathaira had just slipped behind.

With an odd amount of silence the Tiefling landed besides the strange snake woman, her lips turning to a grimace as she heard the automaton.

"Intruders will be terminated. Please exit the tower immediately."

Kala slowly turned her head towards Nathaira, her lips thinning as she pointed to herself, to the snake woman, and then towards the window opposite where they were sitting now. She shrugged, and then slowly began to creep forward.

There was no way she was fighting that mechanical monstrosity.
 
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Nathaira

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The automaton's voice was chillingly synthetic. The words sounded right, but the voice was so clearly unnatural that it made Nathaira's skin crawl. Its footfalls were heavy enough to feel through the floor, and a gentle hum permeated the room.

She caught Kala's motions and put together enough to see that she was indicating a way out, but they were at least three stories up. Nathaira liked her knees bending in only one direction, thank you very much, so she was reluctant to follow. Besides, she had worked so hard to get in here.

She raced through options in her mind as she peered around the desk. The metal man was tall and gleamed bronze. Circular eyes glowed an eerie blue, and the same color could be seen through various joints and running through tiny tubes.

"We must sspeak with your master," she called out, hoping the golem would not simply lash out at the noise.

It's head spun to the desk with a high-pitched vzzzt, independent of the rest of its body.

"The Master is out. Please exit the tower immediately."
The footfalls started towards the desk, and Nathaira swore under her breath, scrambling towards the window with Kala.

"Worth a shot..." she muttered.

 
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Kala

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Kala looked back over her shoulder to see Nathaira standing and opening her mouth. Idiot.

The Tiefling thought to herself as she watched the woman stupidly try to talk to the metal man.

Kala herself had learned quite a long time ago that when it came to the unnatural it was better to just run away than actually engage. Whatever the unknown thing was it was far more likely to kill you than help you. There was always another way.

It seemed her new 'friend' had yet to learn that lesson in her life, typical.

Of course, as soon as the woman spoke the automaton began to charge. It moved with a surprising speed, and as the foot steps rang out Kala let out a quick and curt curse. "FUCK."

Her voice boomed out as she scrambled to her feet and practically launched herself out the window.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira had no choice but to follow the tiefling as they leapt from the tower. She felt a wave of nausea as the ground came into focus below and immediately rushed forwards. She was light, strong, and flexible, but that did not mean the impact didn't hurt. She rolled forwards as she hit the ground and felt shockwaves run through her bones. She would feel that for days.

Ignoring the pain she darted forwards to avoid whatever hail of magic or metal retaliation awaited them... but none came. As she looked up she simply saw a pair of metal arms reaching out to close a heavy set of shutters.

She leaned against the building opposite the tower. "Damn it." She hissed. A day of planning ruined. She turned to Kala, "What were you doing in there?" she asked again. If the blue-skinned woman hadn't made so much noise maybe she wouldn't have been caught... then again if she hadn't tried to speak to the creature they might have been able to hide.

She noticed, for the first time, the odd markings that covered her skin. It was an obvious similarity to Kasimir. Was this common, she wondered? What were the odds that the only two tieflings she had ever met would both be covered head to toe in ink?
 
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Kala

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Kala scowled slightly, opening her mouth for a second to curse out the strange snake woman and make all of this even more complicated.

Her lips closed however, thinning a second later.

What the fuck was the point? She wasn't going to get anywhere by yelling at this stranger, and even keeping the 'secret' of why she was here didn't really seem to be fruitful either. The Tiefling frowned for a moment more, silence holding, and then she simply gestured to her arm.

Rather, where her arm should have been.

In the short sleeve of her furred vest Nathaira would see the stump of where Kasimir's shadow had ripped off her arm.

The memory, the pain of it, was still a strong one in her head. At times she could still feel the appendage, and a few times in the mornings she felt as though...as though she could still move it. A phantom limb almost.

Her eyes stared at Nathaira, Finger pointing at the stump.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira looked from Kala to her stump arm, and from the stump arm back to Kala. Was there some meaning she was missing? Clearly.

"I don't..." she was coming up empty. Then she made a connection. Of course, it was so obvious.

"He took your arm," she said matter of factly. The extreme violence of Nathaira's day to day existence made topics of vengeance and bloodshed very easy things to jump to. This made the most sense, in her mind, for why Kala would be sneaking in through an upper window: she wanted the artificer dead.
 
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Kala

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"No you Moron." That was probably a bit harsh, but she'd just gotten chased by a mechanical monstrosity and her patience had been rather short since her arm had been taken.
It was something she was...well no, she wasn't working on it in the least. Kala was allowed to get angry. She only had one arm and the damned thing hurt all the time. This was supposed to be her chance to get it back, but now...now it didn't seem like that was possible.

"I needed him to make me a new arm." The stump wagged slightly. "Because this thing is fucking useless."

A scowl pulled at her lips as she looked at where her arm had once been. "But doesn't seem like that's happening."

Kala sulked.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira’s tongue flicked out through pursed lips and a low hiss escaped her nostrils at the insult. How was she supposed to know that? Nasty retorts came to mind, as did an itch in her fingers to grab her daggers... but that seemed counterproductive.

She should have been more surprised that an entire replacement arm was even possible, but seeing as they were just ejected from the tower by an entirely artificial person, and arm now seemed quite reasonable. The reasons why Vel Anir wanted this artificer dead were becoming clearer, though it almost seemed a shame to remove such genius from the world.

A gentle pinch at the back of her neck corrected this line of thinking. He had been marked to die, and so he would die.


“Doesn't seem like that's happening."

”No... it doessn’t,” she said looking back up at the shuttered window, an apt metaphor for where her mission sat.

She looked back at Kala, eyed her up and down once more. She didn’t really like the idea of working with a stranger, but this woman had known about the artificer and his work and had managed to scale a wall one-handed. And, if worse came to worse, a one-armed thief should be easy enough to dispatch.

”The metal... thing... ssaid the master was ‘out.’ Do you have any idea where that could be?”
 
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Kala

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Kala again opened her mouth to speak, then closed it as she thought about what she might say. After a few seconds she shook her head. "There were some papers inside."

Even with only one arm she still had the eyes of a thief. She could see things better than most and pick them out when she needed to. There was little doubt in her mind that the Wizard would not just have run off without leaving anything behind.

"A journal." She told the snake woman."If I had to guess."

Fingers tightened for a moment. "I don't think anyone would leave something like that behind, at least not willingly anyway."

Most people did not leave their journals behind, even with small trips.

"Perhaps if we got back inside we could read it." Kala suggested.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira sighed and put her hands on her hips, staring up at the tower. "The windowss will be locked now, along with the doorss," it would be a day at least before the next supply delivery, and she didn't know where it was coming from or when.

It was not like the Handlers to be unaware of a target's movements. Little details could be excused, but simply not being at his workshop? With no leads or suggestions? It was more than a little frustrating Of course, she was not the only one who had been taken by surprise.

She turned back to the one-armed tiefling. She had proven herself resourceful, strong, and fast... if not overly graceful. They shared a common goal, and although she still didn't feel excellent about the whole idea, Nathaira decided that working together would be the easier path forwards.

"Do you have any ideas how to get back in there?"
 
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Kala

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Kala looked at the snake woman for a moment, her lips thinning in consideration.

Being a one armed thief was not easy, and trying to find this wizard with those...automatons running around would be all but impossible. The last time she'd worked with someone they had damn well taken her arm off. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but then again so did this.

She let out a loud sigh, shaking her head motioning towards the back of the tower. "There's a secret entrance, an escape tunnel I think."

Of course there was a reason she hadn't gone that way before.

"It goes through a sewer." She could already feel her stomach turn.

Kala only knew about it because she had done her due diligence. Finding the secret route had been difficult, though a bag full of gold to a former servant within the tower had seen even that knowledge come free.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira's brow raised at the mention of the secret entrance. How had she missed that? She prided herself on being able to find a point of entry into any stronghold. The lack of information on this case was becoming more and more glaring. How much was there that Vel Anir did not know? How much did they know that they had chosen not to share with her? Why did an artificer need an escape tunnel?

Oh, right. Assassins.

"Alright then," she said with new resolve. "If there iss a tunnel, perhapss we can see if it's been used." If they were very, very lucky, the artificer might not be that far.

She stepped closer to Kala. "You can call me Ana," she said, extending a cold and long-fingered hand. An alias, of course, and not one that she'd used recently. "And I'll need to call you ssomething if we're working together."
 
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Kala

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Kala glanced down at the hand for a moment, frowning for a few seconds and then letting out a quiet sigh. "Kala."

Her hand wrapped around Nathaira's, goosebumps rushing up her fingers for a second as she felt the woman's cold snake like skin.

The Tiefling did not think it worth the effort to think of a fake name. She had garnered a reputation on purpose, and she was not about to squander that reputation after working so damned hard to earn it in the first place.

"This way." She said with another sigh, motioning for Nat to follow behind her.

The path towards the secret entrance was, well, through a sewer. They moved towards the street, with Kala pointing the way to a large grate which the two of them shoved to the side. A foul stench reached them almost immediately, permeating the air.

"Ugh." Kala scowled. "Strangle me now."

Her stomach turned.
 
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Nathaira

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They shook, and were off. Moving the heavy grate aside the smell was almost overwhelming. Nathaira sucked her tongue as deep into her head as she could, and pulled her thin scarf over her face from beneath her hood, which she also pulled tighter over her mouth and nose. "Come on." She'd been through much worse than sewers.

Kala's disgust had been warranted, but Nathaira steeled herself against the odor and dropped down. It was a tremendous mercy that her boots hit solid ground instead of knee-deep filth, and her pupils expanded from slits to circles in the darkness, the pits in her face scouring the inky depths for any flares of heat or life. She could spot a few rats scurrying away, glowing against the cool stone.

"Can you see?" she asked. She knew that Kasimir had excellent night vision, but did that apply to all tieflings? If not, she could guide the pair of them well enough.
 
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Kala

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Her nose scrunched slightly, lips thinning as she fell into place right behind Nathaira. The scent of the sewer made her want to vomit, and for a moment she was reminded of the less...glamorous parts of being a world renown thief.

"I can see fine." She said, beady yellow eyes giving off a soft glow within the darkness of the sewer. The excellent nightvision did indeed apply to all Tieflings, or at least all of those that Kala had met in her time.

Their species was born in the Underdark, seemed only natural they could see without light.

A quiet sigh escaped her, head shaking as she realized that this was what her life had come to. "It's this way."

Kala said as she pointed towards a direction and began to walk that way, her eyes narrowing and searching for any traps..
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira, feeling a little sheepish for ignorance, followed Kala through the murk. While her most sensitive smelling involved her placing her tongue directly into her scent centers, her nose still functioned like a normal human’s and was doing her no favors.

She noted how both of their footfalls made little to no sound. The true picture of Kala was beginning to come into better focus bit by bit. Sneaking in through a window, eye for detail, knowledge of a secret entrance and light on her feet? It was not difficult to put together that she was, at the very least, living on the edge of the law.

The rats scurried along ahead of them, frightened by their approach but too stupid to move anywhere but directly away from them. Until, that is, they reached an arbitrary point. Here they stopped, crossed to the other side, and continued their journey. Not one of them continued forwards, although Nathaira could see no barrier.

”The rats do not walk there,” she said, pointing in the dark. ”We should heed their warningss.”
 
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Kala

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Kala blinked for a few seconds, crouching down and looking at the arbitrary line for a few seconds. "Rats, huh?"

The idea of something like that had never even occurred to her before. Animals had a keen sense of these things, magic and the like floating within the air. They could feel, sense something within the air when a threat presented itself.

She had never thought of using it for her own advantage. "Alright."

The Tiefling said as she hopped over the small river of sewage to the other side. She landed softly, her footfalls barely making a noise as her tail thrashed furiously to offer her a better balance as she rose to her full height.

"I think..." She tried to remember the plans. "I think the entrance is just up there."

He pointed towards a small gap within the stone just a dozens meters away.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira followed Kala, grateful that the stream of sludge was narrow enough to do so. She could not help peering back at the spot they had avoided, but wished she hadn’t. Something in there was giving off a faint heat signature. It was not enough to be an animal... unless it were covered? It was fuzzy, but large and amorphous. As she watched, a thin, tentacle-like appendage snaked lazily in front of it.

She shivered, but was satisfied that whatever it was was not following them.

”How did you learn of thiss?” she asked as they neared the gap in the stone. It looked simple enough, but had it not been pointed out an average person would have easily missed it. Unfortunately, she did not see any footprints or other signs of recent usage around them.
 
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Kala

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"Rats." Kala gave the answer in a voice that might have been taken as sarcasm, but she was entirely serious.

Her best friend in the world, gods it felt odd even thinking that, was one of the Rous. Through him she had a connection to many places and things that most would never think possible. They controlled the sewers in almost every major city.

That was how she had managed to learn of this entrance, how she had managed to find out about the wizard in the first place. Kala shifted slightly, putting her hand through the gap for a second before taking a breath. "Tunnel."

She said as she gently motioned, and then slipped through the gap.

Beyond was a small tunnel, at the end of it a ladder that lead upward. For an entrance to a wizards tower it was surprisingly...unmagical.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira raised an eyebrow at the explanation. Was she joking? Was she making fun of Nathaira paying attention to the rats earlier? Whatever... at least she'd found the entrance. Nathaira folllowed her, sliding easily into the small opening.

The tunnel was short and lead to a very unremarkable ladder. Nathaira peered up, and saw that the trap door it lead to was simple wood. She breathed a sigh of relief that it was not another bronze-plated hatch.

"What else do you know about this man?" she asked. If the "rats" had told her of the passage, maybe they had other secrets that Vel Anir hadn't known. "I know he has weapons in there, maybe something we can use against the golem. We just need to get to them first."

She stepped forwards and peered up the ladder. "It might be booby trapped," she thought out loud.
 
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Kala

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Kala looked at the ladder for a few moments, frowning. "I know he's an artificer, one of the best."

All the information she had about the man specifically came from rumors and the words of thieves. Most of the time that couldn't really be trusted, but this time Kala had chosen to. She had...well she had very little hope otherwise.

A one armed thief was no good to anyone, and she dearly hoped that this man would be able to restore her arm, or something close to it. "I'd rather avoid the golem entirely if we can."

Kala said nervously as she looked up at the ladder and then towards Nat.

For a moment she lingered, and then took a breath. Without regard for her own safety she stepped forward, awkwardly climbing the ladder with her one good hand until she reached the up and pushed on the platform above her head.

The wood gave way and opened up to a small basement level of the tower.

Sack of flour and potatoes were scattered all around, most of them appearing full. There were a few kegs too, though what was in them she had no idea. "Don't see any magic."

Kala said as she crawled into the basement.