Private Tales Arm For The Poor

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Nathaira

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That was about as much information as she herself had, and it seemed like that was enough for just about anyone. She shrugged as Kala mentioned the golem. It would be a difficult puzzle, but there were few things Nathaira couldn't kill when she really set her mind to it.

She stood ready to leap back at the first sign of a spark or gleam or steel... but none came. She supposed she could have offered to go first seeing as she had two functional arms, but found a quiet respect in Kala not letting such things slow her down. At the thief's reassurance, she followed up after her.

It was a thoroughly ordinary room. Dim, but clean and well-kept. It didn't have any baubles or mechanical wonders flitting about as the study or the main rooms of the tower had. How refreshing.

As she studied the room, a gnawing curiosity came back. She wanted to know what had happened to Kala's arm, but felt the question was too personal. She shouldn't care, she reminded herself. It wasn't important for the mission.

She pressed her ear up against the simple wooden door and, hearing no noise on the other side, gently cracked it open. The coast was clear, and she poked her head out further. There was a narrow hallway that was lit with gently glowing orbs on the walls. It stretched to the right to some other closed doors, and to the left it opened into another side of the large, first-floor landing she had encountered before. The automaton was nowhere to be seen.

"It's empty," she hissed, and flicked her tongue through the air. She couldn't smell anything except metal, wood, and something acrid that she couldn't quite place.
 
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Kala

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Kala kept low to the ground even as she moved behind the snake woman. Nat, though Kala didn't know that was her real name, had claimed the place was empty.

She wasn't in the habit of listening to others when it came to her safety.

Just about the only one she trusted when it came to that sort of thing was Kek. Her Rous friend had long ago earned her trust with such things. She supposed that she trusted the Reckoners when it came to things like that too, but...well they were sort of required to keep her alive.

One of the benefits of the magic they all wore. "You know."

Kala said as she looked around the empty room, her eyes flowing over odd machine parts and strange artifacts that lay scattered.

"This place is really kind of mundane." Slowly standing up Kala wandered up to one of the tables. "I expect more...floating lights."

She gestured as she moved an odd gear thing across the table. "Let's find his bedroom."
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira had to agree that the room was quite... ordinary. Aside from the odd trinkets set about it was a relatively plain room. She could see why the tower had been so thoroughly sealed, though. The amount of metal, gems, and odd glowing blue liquid would fetch a hefty price on any market.

She approached a desk opposite Kala, and traced a finger over a bundle of wires. ”It’s jusst metal... how do you think it workss?” she asked, her curiosity getting the better of her for a moment. She assumed the blue liquid must have something to do with bringing the artificer’s creations to life, and she remembered with a shudder the glowing blue eyes of the metal man who had forced them out the window.

As she spoke, a quiet humming approached her with a glint of gold by the her face, and she recoiled instinctively, drawing in a hissing breath ready to fight.

A tiny, glimmering hummingbird floated before her. Its wings were a blur, and its tiny body was formed of gold filaments. A shimmering, sharp beak jutted forwards from its featureless face, and a tiny ruby heart was visible through its chest. A dull blue glow emanated from tubes so small they were hardly visible.

It just... floated there, humming. ”...hello,” Nat said quietly, uncertain of what else to do. The bird didn’t seem to do much of anything.

"Let's find his bedroom."

”Yess,” she took a step back, and the hummingbird flitted forwards by the same distance. ”I would think it is upsstairs.” She couldn’t help but crack a small smile as the tiny creature floated around.
 
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Kala

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Kala took a step back as she watched the hummingbird float in front of Nathaira.

There was something distinctively....uncomfortable about the scene. She did not know what, but whatever that bird was...it wasn't natural and she didn't like it. Not the least because she had absolutely no explanation for what it was.

Her lips thinned and she suddenly nodded. "Yes."

Was this what the Artificer did?

Make living things out of unliving material? Her eyes quickly flickered towards the stump on her left side. Would the arm she received from him be the same? The question made her entirely uneasy, and slowly she moved towards the stairs.

The sound of thunderous footsteps echoed up above, and she turned to Nat before ascending further.

"Can you..." She frowned. "Sneak?"

It seemed a silly question to ask someone.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira looked up as they heard the steps. She assumed it was the same automaton that they had clashed with before, but truthfully she had no idea how many of those things there were. At least they had not encountered any security down here, unless the bird counted. It still hummed just a few feet away from her left ear, and she didn’t have much reason to suspect it.

The tower was so secure from the outside that it likely never needed much protection from within. The secret entrance was extremely well hidden, and aside from wall-scalers like Kala the building itself was more or less impregnable.

To Kala’s question she turned, and allowed herself a sly smile. The lines of her lips split up the sides of her cheeks to reveal a tooth quite literally ear-to-ear. ”Oh, my dear, yess I can.” Without so much as a sound, she popped out of sight. The hummingbird shot back a half foot, seemingly astonished, and it zipped around in jagged movements looking for her.

She reappeared next to Kala, still smiling like a monster with a soft flick of her tongue. She didn’t get to show off very often.

”If we run into trouble, grab ahold of me.” The magic Nathaira had been gifted with enabled her to turn not only herself invisible, but objects that she was in physical contact with. This was how her clothing and equipment was able to vanish with her. Of course, bringing along an entire person would take tremendously more energy, and so she hoped they would not need to make use of it.

She began to climb the stairs, careful to step lightly at the edges so as to avoid any creaks. The hummingbird followed. She tried to shoo it away, but it was undeterred, so she gave up.

The staircase was arranged in a lazy spiral, looping around a large central area and was dotted with doors on either side. They neared the study where they had first met, and the footfalls were still coming from above them.
 
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Kala

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"Oh you're a chameleon." For some reason Kala had assumed the woman to be a snake of some sort.

Wait. Was that racist?

She frowned for a brief moment, hoping that the woman hadn't heard what she'd said before beginning to sneak up the stairs. A part of her had always been jealous of those gifted with the ability of invisibility, it would have made her job far easier.

Still, her own magics weren't half bad, though she was none too eager to use it here just yet. Fingers traced over the cards in her pocket, but she shook her head as she lifted herself and quickly followed up and after Nathaira.

Her head twisted from side to side as they crept through the study, looking at some of the things scattered around the table.

On one end she caught sight of what appeared to be a mechanical hand and her heart nearly jumped. Lips thinned as she glanced towards where she knew the other woman would be, and then back towards the hand. Biting her lip, Kala took a step towards the left, abandoning the path behind Nat and moving towards the mechanical appendage.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira also cast her eyes around the room, not needing to hide herself as there didn't seem to be anyone around to hide from, except for the hummingbird. It had followed Kala up the stairs, and had flitted excitedly around Nathaira when she had reappeared on the steps.

She saw Kala approach the hand and moved closer herself to try and surreptitiously get a better look. Curiosity overcame tact and she asked the tiefling "Do you know how it would work? An arm like that?" She glanced from the metal fingers to Kala's shoulder and back again. "Iss it controlled by a spell... could you feel thingss with it?"

She had only just recently learned that artificial limbs were a thing, and what a fascinating revelation it was.

Next to the arm she spied a small leather-bound book. Its binding was unclasped, and she swept around the desk to flip it open. A note was scribbled across the final page: Pneumonic springs require dampening. Replace with hydraulic?

She hadn't the slightest clue what any of that meant, but the page had been dated.

From over a week ago.

She huffed a frustrated sigh. "He's long gone," she hissed. "He hasn't written in this for nine days." This complicated matters considerably. The rune on the back of her neck itched with anxiety. She would be expected to complete her task quickly, no matter the cost.
 
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Kala

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"I don't know." Lia stammered, obviously quite enamored with the appendage.

The reason for that was obvious of course.

Without a replacement she was almost useless as a thief, and the idea of that ate her up inside now even more as she looked at the possibility of what was in front of her. Lips thinned for a brief moment, and she glanced over towards Nathaira.

Kala couldn't give up. "He had to go somewhere."

She said quietly.

Her eyes flickered to the journal that the Chameleon had been inspecting, looking at the man's scribblings for a moment before she peered around the laboratory. After a few moments she noticed something, a few things...out of place.

"Does it...does it look like someone had a fight in here?" Within the chaos of the laboratory she hadn't noticed it before, but now it seemed more obvious. Things were scattered, tossed to the ground. There was an odd scorch mark on the wall. "Could someone have taken him?"
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira flicked out her tongue in agitation more than anything. This day was not going as smoothly as she would have liked, but she did have to admit that Kala had made it much easier. Well... after falling through a window. As if hearing the thought, Kala again proved her utility.

It wasn't obvious, at least not at first. The entire tower had a cluttered appearance to it but now that she looked more closely it did seem a bit more unruly than the rest. The floors were strewn with small objects, and papers lay haphazardly around the room. The scorch mark she had chalked up to some botched experiment, but there wasn't anything in the room that could produce such a thing, at least not anymore.

"It doess," she admitted, and she approached the scorch on the wall and dragged her finger through it. A layer of dark residue came off with her finger, and she snapped to tongue to it. "Thiss was recent. A day or two at mosst." That didn't make sense. Why would an open journal have been neglected for over a week? Unless...

"The journal could have been left as a falsse trail," she crouched down and examined some of the small broken objects on the ground. "He wanted uss to think he had left earlier, or someone did."

The hummingbird, which had been following them the entire time, had been hovering near a bookshelf. As she spoke, it began to move erratically and with more vigor.
 
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Kala

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"I think your friend has an idea." Kala said with a gesture towards the Hummingbird.

The mechanical bird seemed to be zipping all over the place, moving erratically and frantically as though it were trying to point something out. A frown floated over her features, and slowly she moved towards the bookshelf in the corner of the room.

Her eyes flickered towards the bird for a moment.

It seemed to peer back, zipping up and down and motioning towards one book in particular. A frown touched her face, and she shook her head as she reached up and picked up the book. A look of shock flickered over her features, and she showed the cover to Nathaira.

The book itself was unremarkable, at least from what she could tell, but the cover of it contained a bloody hand-print, it's edge stained with maroon. "Looks like he was bleeding and hid it..."

Kala said as she opened the book, finding it's middle carved out with a small piece of paper folded in the middle of it. For a moment she hesitated, and then she plucked the paper free and unfolded it in one smooth motion.

"Looks like a map." She said as she examined it.
 

Nathaira

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She watched Kala curiously, and a few green dreadlocks tumbled over her shoulder as she stood up. She approached quickly at the tiefling’s agast expression, and her tongue tasted the air around them reflexively. The smell of blood was faint, but clearly there once the book was removed. This, too, would have been recent.

She watched with silent and wide-eyed anticipation as Kala extracted the map. The glittering bird was flying around their heads now, whirring in rapid circles.

It certainly was a map, but beyond that Nathaira couldn’t tell much else. There was writing on it, but not in a language she understood, and the landmarks were not obvious at first glance. Maybe if she had time to study it she could make sense of it. It, too, was marked with bloody fingerprints.

”Kala, how badly do you want that arm?” she looked up, and she wore a sly face as her tongue did its usual darting dance. Things had just become much more complicated, and much more dangerous. It would have taken more than a common thug to break into this tower. No, this had been organized.

”I don’t know where thiss leads, but I can guarantee there’s death at the end of it.”
 
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Kala

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"What good is a one armed thief?" There was no accusation in her tone, but as soon as she said it Kala realized that she had likely given too much away of herself.

The Tiefling had never really been the best at holding herself back. Nat and Her had only met for a brief few minutes now, and she had lied out of habit, but...well Kala somewhat doubted she had fooled the woman with her talk of an "appointment". Such a thing was possible, but given her point of entry not at all likely.

"I can't be what I am with one arm." Even if it was her good arm she still had. "If I don't get this…"

She paused, unsure if what to say. "...fixed, I can't be what I am."

Which was simply not an option. She was a their, a burger, a member of the Reesh Reckoners. Some might have not thought it, but there was honor in what she did, pride. She would not become a beggar, she would not peddle cheap tricks. Kala had stolen from Barons, Kings, and she still intended to add Emperor's to that list.
 

Nathaira

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She raised an eyebrow at the word “thief” but her mischievous glee did not fade. Who was she to judge, anyway? She’d come here to kill the artificer, not steal from him. As far as crimes went, hers was to be by far the more grievous.

”Then let’ss get it fixed.”

She stepped closed and took a better look at the map. The coastlines had been messily drawn, but as she tilted her head they came into better focus. The thin spit of land that held Alliria was obvious, as was the small drawing of buildings that represented the city. It directed them down to the south, to a hodge-podge of messy circles and splotches. There was also an area to the southeast that had been densely hatch-marked.

Nathaira’s expression sunk. She knew what the strange characters were now, and why Vel Anir was so desperate to have this man killed.

”He’s working with the elves,” she said gravely, and pointed to the map. ”Look, he‘s going to Bayou Garramarisma, but he’s indicated this area in the Falwood. This must be elvish writing. Maybe it’s a meeting location, or a pick up date.“ It would only be a short boat ride from the Bayou to the eastern Falwood. She was not pleased about going toe-to-toe with Vel Anir’s greatest enemy, but with a pinch from the rune in her neck, she knew she had no choice.

”If we move quickly, we might catch him before he leaves Garramarisma.”
 
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Kala

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Boats.

Swamps.

Kala began to wonder just how important a new arm was to her. Would there be another solution? She could always ask the mages in Vel Anir, but after what Kara had put her through...lips thinned, and she nodded her head as she made a decision. "We'll need a boat."

The Bayou was close enough that they did not need a ship, at least as long as the weather held, but Kala was no expert sailor.

"I have a bit of gold." That was an understatement. After she'd stolen the crown of Oban and ransacked it's vault alongside Kek she had more gold than anyone knew what to do with. She was not a thief still because she lacked for funds, but because she liked the thrill of it.


"I'm sure we can find someone on the docks." The Tiefling said as she motioned towards the way they had come from. "Let's not disturb our mechanical friend."

She'd rather avoid that monstrosity.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira tucked the map away and met Kala’s gaze, and although she was still wearing a dour expression her eyes had regained a small bit of light. She didn’t get to go on boats very often, nor have even a moment to enjoy the sea.

”Yess, I believe we are done here.” She was no more eager to face the golem than her new accomplice. If it couldn’t be poisoned, she’d just a soon leave it alone.

It wasn’t difficult to leave the tower the same way they’d come, although the metal bird seemed insistent upon following them. She thought maybe they’d lose it in the sewers, but the tiny thing didn’t seem to have any trouble navigating alongside them. She wondered how it saw, it didn’t have anything resembling eyes.

Maybe it was the giddiness of adventure, or maybe Nathaira was just happy to be back in fresh air after going through the sewers again, but she decided fill the silence as they walked to the docks. ”Ssso... how did you lose the arm? There won’t be anyone following uss to finish the job, eh?” It was a joke... mostly.
 

Kala

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Kala wondered if it was the right decision to go with the odd Chameleon woman.

She had never met someone quite like her, but there was also a chance that this would all go sideways if she made a wrong move. A glance at Nathaira was offered, lips thinning as she considered, head shaking after a few seconds. "It was a promise."

The Tiefling said quietly.

"A promise gone very wrong." Fingers tightened for a moment as the memory crept up. She had told Kasimir that she would find a way to free him, that she would rid him of the Forsaken mark upon his flesh.

She had tried, done her best. The Mage in Elbion had told her the solution, and instead of it working the Forsaken's magic had lashed out at her and consumed her arm. She could still remember the pain, the flesh being ripped from her arm.

It sent a shiver down her spine.

"I don't think It'll be a problem." Kala said solemnly as they stepped closer to the docks.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira thought on Kala's response for a minute. It was cryptic, but she could allow the woman her secrets. "Good," she said simply. The wind was picking up now, and she drew up her hood and pulled a thin scarf up to her eyes. Her face was... memorable.

The dock held a number of boats, big and small, floating in the high tide of evening. The bayou wasn't far by nautical terms but it would still be a death sentence to capsize on the way, so Nathaira's eyes looked for the craft that wobbled the least in the small waves. Truthfully she didn't know much what to look for, seafaring had never been one of her strengths.

"Excuse me," she lilted to a burly, tattooed man that was coiling thick rope around one sturdy arm. "My associate and I are looking to hire a ship. To whom would I address such a requesst?" she had tried to keep her words clipped tight, but a lingering hiss hung on her last syllable.

The man continued to coil the rope, gave Nathaira and Kala a skeptical once-over with a raised pierced eyebrow, and then said gruffly, "Dockmaster's in the pub." He jerked his head in the direction of small, noisy building at the water's edge.
 
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Kala

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Kala had always been rather good at getting what she wanted. Mostly because if she couldn't get it one way, then she'd just steal it. In this instance stealing a ship probably wasn't all that possible, but her eyes lingered on some of the vessels in the bay as they were told of the dock master.

Lips thinned, and she nodded in response, turning on her heel and heading to where the man had indicated.

The tavern she and Nathaira entered smelled of stale ale and tobacco smoke, a scent that she found strangely inviting. Her nose crinkled in a pleasant smile, and her tail whipped back and forth as she peered around the room. Eventually her gaze settled on the man behind the bar. "Dockmaster?"

She queried, the man immediately pointing towards another sitting in the corner of the room.

Kala dug into her satchel, pulling out a bag of gold. She hefted it for a moment, pulling just a few from it and placing them back into her satchel before she walked over towards the table and deposited it on the table directly in front of the dock master.

"We need a ship to take us to the Bayou." The man looked up on shock. "Now."
 

Nathaira

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The dockmaster looked from Kala to the gold, then from the gold to Nathaira, then back to Kala. He was obviously surprised not only by the amount of gold so aggressively placed before him, but by the appearances of the women who had delivered it. Kala’s yellow eyes seem to smolder from within her ashy-blue skin while Nathaira’s glistened like amber gems from beneath her hood.

He recovered after a moment. Shipyards like this were hubs of travel, after all, and he had seen a tiefling before... he thought. “Aye, we’ve a few craft can get you there. Come back at sunrise ’n I’ll have one waiting.”

Nathaira leaned on the table to peer down at him. ”You missundersstand. Now.” The snake’s eyes would be fully visible to him now, and the gentle light of the pub cast eerie shadows across her flattened face.

He swallowed. “Takes time to book a captain, ready a craft. Daylight is safer beside.” But she leaned closer, putting her face but a foot away from his and pulled the scarf back down to her neck. ”Perhapss, for my friend and I, you could sspeed thingss along?” This time she leaned into the hisses, and made sure that her maw cracked open to her ears wide enough to give a full showing of the myriad glistening daggers within.

The dockmaster went very pale and attempted to lean as far back as possible without tilting his chair backwards. “Javiki!” he called, not taking his eyes off of the women.

“Heh?” came a gutteral reply.

“Ready your ship, got a night job for you.”

“Yer shittin me dryskin? I just started the whiskey!” Footfalls neared the table, and Nathaira was surprised to see a Kivren saunter up to the table. Unlike the dockmaster he didn’t seem the least bit intimidated by the pair, nor very happy about their arrival.

“These... ladies need passage to the Bayou. Immediately.”

Javiki scrutinized them, as if deciding whether they were worth his time. Finally he swept up the bag of coin from the table. “Half an hour. Dock three.” The dockmaster seemed about to say something as he walked away (he was entitled to a portion of the coin), but seemed to decide against it.

Nathaira looked after their captain with glee. A kivren, how exciting!
 
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Kala

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She was really quite pleased with her companion now. Nathaira had proven herself to be very useful, and Kala wondered whether or not the woman would be interested in another partnership after all of this was said and done.

The Chameleon woman could truly come in handy in half a dozen other scenarios that she could think of off the top of her head. "Well, that was rather expedient."

She mused with a smirk, glancing over at the woman and shrugging her shoulders. There were few men who would not jump when they were directed correctly, a fact that apparently Nat knew just as well as she did. Her hand settled on her hips with a smile.

"Shall we?" Kala asked. "May as well watch them prepare."

What else were they going to do with their time?
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira allowed herself a one-sided smirk at that ran clear through her cheek and didn’t bother replacing her scarf. The snake was out of the bag, so to speak, and next to their new captain she was no longer the most conspicuous one in the group.

”We shall,” she replied, looking over the blue woman. She was quite fetching, in an exotic and somewhat demonic sort of way, and Nathaira’s thoughts drifted to Kasimir. She wondered what he was doing right now, where he was. Without bidding, and with an unpleasant twist in her gut, she remembered the second tiefling she had encountered: Malphias. So far Kala had been much more similar to the red forsaken than the purple devil. She sincerely hoped it stayed that way.

A breaking glass diverted her attention back to the present, and she pulled back her hood to shake her mossy dreadlocks free. A few quick flicks of her tongue brought back the pungent aromas of ale, sweat, and seawater.

”Have you been on the ssea, Kala?” she asked her horned partner as they made their way to the kivren’s craft. Kala looked the type to have done a little bit of just about everything.
 
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Kala

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"I have." The Tiefling said as she nodded her head.

The ocean was not...her favorite place at all.

There was something about the ocean that made her entirely uneasy. Tieflings were creatures of fire and rock. The Seas was...threatening to both of those things. She frowned for a brief moment, fingers tightening as she took a breath.

Slowly they wound their way through the Allirian city streets. "It is not...my favorite thing to travel on."

Though she would do it for a new arm. She would do almost anything for a new arm. Without it there was not much of anything else she could do. Something she was keenly aware of. She bit her lower lip for a few seconds.

"There is a..." Kala frowned. "Lack of control that comes with travel at sea."
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira looked thoughtfully at the tiefling, acutely aware of the lapping waves in the distance. They did not sound quite as inviting any more.

She had been on a boat once... maybe twice in her life (that she could remember). Her work didn't often take her anywhere that couldn't be traveled to by land. Moving by water would have cut some time off, but that was a luxury she was not afforded. Boats didn't give much room to hide and she was meant to be invisible. Of course this time she wasn't given much choice.

"A lack of control might be... interessting," she replied, watching the strange fish-man and his crew set up their craft. "Sso much of my life has been controlled. So many planss." It was exhausting always keeping on schedule, keeping to her job. If she deviated it was her fault, and she would be punished. Yet if the sea itself swept her astray... surely they could not fault her for that? Surely it would be out of her hands if their ship somehow drifted away... but a pinch in her neck warned against this dangerous notion.

Javiki's "ship" was modest, not that Nathaira could really tell. It was large enough to withstand coastal waters and house crew and supplies below its low deck (if they crouched), and it boasted a single mast.
 
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Kala

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As Kala and Nathaira clambered aboard she could feel her heart beating a bit faster than it had been before. Lips thinned, and she quickly frowned as she looked over her should and all around, finding that she was standing perhaps a bit closer to Nathaira than before.

"A lack of control is the worst thing I could have." She said quietly.

There were not many times in her life that she did not have control of things. It was an important part of being a thief, knowing when to back away. Knowing when the situation was no longer swinging in your favor and that it was time to leave.

"The last time it happened I lost an arm." She motioned to her nub. "I'm not eager for it to happen again."

Kala said with a frown.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira again looked at the stump left at Kala’s shoulder. She had felt impolite looking before, but since the tiefling was drawing attention to it anyway she allowed herself a good look. Whatever had cut it had done a clean job, and her curiosity bubbled again.

”Lasst time you didn’t have me. Or Javiki, he seems... adept?” she kept her voice low to avoid the kivren hearing. She hadn’t seen him sail, but surely someone who had spent so much time in the water had to be good at it... right?

She didn’t mind Kala sitting close. The night air was cooling, and while her leather wrappings were good at retaining the day’s heat they were dimming in comparison to the woman’s body beside her.

She couldn’t help herself. ”Really... what did happen?” she asked again. The journey was sure to take a while and a good story would let the time go by. Before she could get an answer, though, the boat lurched into motion as it was pushed from the docks.
 
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