Private Tales Arm For The Poor

  • Distant lands call to you, Guest. The next world event coming soon.

    A land once ruled by Dragons and Gods opens, but not every secret of Arethil's past is safe to uncover.

    Titanfall

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Kala

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Kala frowned for a few seconds, fingers tightening at her side as she quickly reached out and grabbed the railing in front of her.

She tried to steady herself, taking a breath to quell some of the roiling that already rocked her stomach as they began to Sail. The ship they were on moved swiftly, darting out the harbor faster than any of the great War Galleons that decorated the docks.

For a few seconds the Tiefling remained quiet, then she finally answered. "I made a promise to a friend, to free him."

Her lips thinned.

"But...I did it wrong." Was that an accurate description? He was not entirely sure. "My arm was consumed by shadows, a payment for my mistake."

One she would not make on her second attempt.
 
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Nathaira

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"I made a promise to a friend, to free him."

The sky was full night by this time, and there was something eerie and beautiful about stars that fell right to the horizon. Little time on the sea meant that Nathaira had seldom seen a skyline so flat, and she had to admit that it was a little frightening. She felt as though they might sail right off the end of the world.

How noble, for a thief, she thought. And free her friend from what? A dangerous tingle touched her mind. She desired freedom, but no one knew her well enough to fight for it. Most of the people who knew who she really was ended up dead.

"But...I did it wrong."

Well, no one’s perfect.

"My arm was consumed by shadows, a payment for my mistake."

That’s certainly odd, how did she try to free her friend and what was her friend even— NO.

Nathaira’s head turned so quickly that a few of her neck bones popped and her dreadlocks whipped her in the face with a soft tinkle of the various copper and bronze ornaments. Freeing her friend. And she was a tiefling. And she had been attacked by shadows after that attempt had gone wrong?

It was impossible, there was no way. The odds were simply too small to merit considering. Yet consider them she did, for was it any more reasonable that Kala’s story was mere coincidence?

While the waves tossed the little craft through gentle arcs, she timidly continued. ”Your friend... was... was he a tiefling, too?”
 
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Kala

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Kala blinked slightly.

She was not of course, a fool. There was an obviousness to the way that Nat's demeanor changed. An odd sort of timidness entering her voice for a few seconds as she asked her question. The Tiefling frowned for a second, her tail flicking back and forth nervously as she looked towards Nat.

The two of them were allies. Same mission. Same goal, as far as she was concerned, and she marked that as a good thing. Yet that didn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. Allies could stab each other in the back as easily as enemies.

Something she'd learned long ago. "Yes."

Kala answered slowly.

"He is a slave, held by magic." She frowned, deciding that perhaps she best explain a little more in case Nat suddenly decided it was time to slit her throat. "He did not even know his own people, our people, when we met. So I told him I would free him."

The Tiefling frowned for a moment then looked at her stump. "It did not work."

She said again quietly.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira tried very, very hard to control her face as Kala spoke, but her heart was racing (relatively speaking). It had to be Kasimir, it just had to.

She knew that she must tread very, very carefully. It could not be proven that she was talking about Kas, and that might be the only reason the brand in her neck hadn’t compelled her to kill this tiefling. Yet her curiosity threatened to explode out of her at any moment if she stayed silent.

Then there were confusing mixed emotions that came with this realization. Kasimir had not told her about any of this, although with very good reason. Even so she couldn’t help feeling left out, and an obnoxious edge of jealousy that he’d had a secret rendezvous with a woman of his own species.

”I... know someone ssimilar,” she answered, and did not feel any punishing sting from the rune. ”Both of us were... removed from our familiess.” She looked at the arm and how terrifyingly clean the cut was. ”I am sorry it did not work.”

That time the rune did give her an angry prick, and her head twitched at it.

The rest of the trip was spent in silence, save for the occasional order from their kivren captain. The water held an eerie mist above its ripples which served to obscure the approaching shoreline. Nathaira stared into it, acutely aware of how cold that water would feel should their small craft capsize. Her head burned with questions for Kala: how had she met Kasimir, where where they, how had she tried to free him? What else had they done?

“Look alive, we land soon.”

Javiki roused her from her stupor, and after squinting she could make out the shadows of land ahead of them. The fog had hidden it until they got within a hundred meters of the sandy shore, and Nathaira could just make out great twisting trees, held above the waterline by tangled stilts of roots.

”Where exactly-“

Nathaira was cut off by a deafening crack and the harsh slap of cold water as she plummeted face-first into the black depths. Unbeknownst to her, their craft had been sheared in half by a gargantuan tentacle rising up from the inky murk.
 
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Kala

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In the silence that followed their conversation Kala took time to study Nathaira.

She was not stupid, nor was she entirely blind. What the Chameleon woman had said, the way she had spoken, it had brought forth and inkling of exactly what she might be. Kala still remembered the conversations with Kasimir, what he had told her of the Forsaken.

There were others.

Not all of them Tiefling.

Was her new companion one of them? The Fates did enjoy creating such chance encounters, and Samedi the Trickster God of her people would enjoy playing such games with her. Lips thinned for a moment, and more than once she attempted a glimpse at Nathaira's neck.

The last one of these attempts came just seconds before the Kraken came. It's massive tentacle seemed to erupt from nowhere, rising from the sea and whirling forward against the deck of the ship before even a single scream could erupted from the Sailor's mouth. "WHAT THE FUCK!"

Kala screamed as she flung herself to the side of the deck, clattering onto the wood as the two halves of the ship were sundered and began to sink into the sea.
 
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Nathaira

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The cold struck her hard. Nathaira could feel her muscles seizing up against it and a few panicked bubbles escaped her lips. She couldn’t see anything in the inky depths, and her ears were filled with the rushing echo of her own blood and churning waves.

She willed herself to move and clawed up to the surface, breaking free with a strangled gasp of air. She was not a good swimmer. She knew how in theory, but the nature of her being meant she had ten, perhaps twenty minutes before the frigid water overtook her.

Kala!” she called out, trying to see the tiefling above the water, looking for two pinpricks of yellow. She saw something roiling where their ship had been, something dark and serpentine. With effort, she pulled herself through the water to the wreckage. She did not wish to find out what that thing was, but she needed to hang on to something if she hoped not to drown.
 
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Kala

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Kala still stood on one half of the sinking wreckage. Her tail flicked viciously back and forth as she bounded from broken plank to broken plank. She desperately scaled the wreckage, trying to stay away from the water for as long as she could.

A curse escaped her lips as she heard her name screamed out, her head suddenly turning towards where the voice had come from.

Lips thinned in an instant as she saw the chameleon woman, her eyes wide as her arms flailed. Fingers tightened for a moment, her hand reaching out to drag her up another level as the previous one slipped beneath the sea.

One of the massive serpentine tentacles raised, lifted from the water.

Her feet found even ground, her hand whirling back as she pulled free one of the cards from her satchel. "GET TO THE ENTRANCE!"

She shouted at Nathaira, the words cryptically ringing out as she suddenly chucked the card onto the wreckage just opposite her. The card latched into place there, and then suddenly the wood around it warped, twisted, and pulled into itself to form a gateway of utter black.
 

Nathaira

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Nathaira did not understand. The entrance to what? She looked around the wreckage, behind her was dark shoreline, and the water was boiling around her. Not knowing where else to turn she started to swim towards the tiefling.

Her vision was fragmented as waves slapped her in the face and she splashed her way forwards. She could see, little by little, the doorway forming on the ship. She knew it must be magical, and she only trusted it because Kala had directed her to it... that and she had no other options.

The sea in this part of the world was supposed to be warm, but the black water still leeched her strength. The salt stung her eyes and tasted sour in her mouth. She kicked her legs in spite of the growing aches, and tried to keep breathing.

She reached the sinking wood and threw a hand forwards into the shadows. She grabbed... something... and heaved herself out of the water and into the midnight doorway. As she did, the kraken pulled half the ship beneath the waves, and Javiki dove headfirst into the portal after her.
 
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Kala

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There was no sun in the place on the other side of the portal. No moon. No stars. No source of light that could be seen at all.

Yet it was not dark.

They landed upon a silvery path floating within an ebbing tide of utter blackness. A path that extended outward from a unadorned archway and split, reached, and ended in a thousand different directions. It was a glorious confusing maze that seemed to go on for miles upon miles, always coming to a close in another Archway.

None of them were marked or labeled, none of them showed what was beyond them. There was no logic to how the walkways bent or moved, no sense to how everything was arranged.

By the time Nathaira and their unwanted companion landed upon the Silvery path Kala was already standing. Her tail flicked back and forth in agitation, her eyes focused on the form of Javiki as he lay limply upon the ghostly walkway. Her lips parted, sharp canine teeth showing as she cursed. "Tha'kir."

Kala swore in the tongue of her people, clearly irritated. Though whether it was by the presence of the other or the fact that they were here it was impossible to tell.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira looked up slowly, her muscles felt heavy from the cold water. The pathway gleamed before her, and she felt moment of nausea as her eyes tried to make sense of it with no horizon. The ground was steady enough, and she stood, shaking off water from her hands and wringing out her hair into the abyss.

At first she thought she was in Kasimir’s shadow world, but it wasn’t paralyzingly cold. She and Kala were also in full color, as was the Kivren she had just noticed.

The question was obvious. ”Where are we?” Thoughts of the monster that had attacked them paled next to the bizarre doorway that saved them. She flicked out her tongue, and besides the saltwater that covered them, she could smell nothing at all.

“Ya kabala,” Javiki muttered what she assumed was an expletive in his native language. “Fetunda kraken. Stolen my ship, my men. Where we now, devil?” he asked of Kala, appearing equal parts confused and frustrated.
 
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Kala

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Kala gave Nathaira and apologetic look, though did not offer the same to their other companion. "I do not know it's true name, but I call it 'The Paths'."

The Tiefling explained as she looked around the strange maze like abyss.

She remembered the first time she had stumbled upon this place, the first time she had used her magic to inscribe one of her cards with 'door'. She understood it as well now as she had then. Sure she could find her way around better, but what this place was or who had first made it she had no idea.

A few times she had been tempted to tell someone about this place. Bring a Scholar of Elbion or something of the sort, but she'd always been too scared that it would somehow be ruined. The Paths came with their own inconveniences, but they were her ultimate escape, how she had managed to pull off so many jobs over the years.

"Each doorway leads to a different place in the world. Some close, some far, some to places where no one should go." For a second she chewed her lip, looking down at Nat before turning away from her. "I can get us out, even get us to where we wanted to go, but…"

She took a breath.

"Time works differently here...what is a few seconds could be hours, or days...sometimes years." Her voice was low, somewhat haunted. Kala knew what that might mean for the two of them. She had no control of how long it would be, she could not manipulate or change time. This place itself simply worked as it did.
 
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Nathaira

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It was a lot to take in, but the gravity of the situation was clear. There was once a time, not so far past, that Nathaira would have wished to leap as far as possible into the future. Perhaps Vel Anir would be dust and her rune would hold no sway, or maybe they would assume she was dead and she could finally be free. She ignored the pain in her neck from these thoughts.

Now, though, the idea of skipping time was terrifying. She had people now, people she did not wish to abandon. Would they still want her after ten years? After twenty? How long would they even survive past today?

"If we go back, will it be the ssame? The ssame time?" The words escaped her throat before her mind had finished making them. Would she really rather risk the kraken than lose a year of time with Kasimir or Rumer?

"No back!" Javiki said in a guttural retort. "I not back te that kraken. Devil, get us home."

Nathaira ignored him, taking a few careful steps on the glowing pathway. Somehow she assumed that if she fell from it she would not be coming back.
 
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Kala

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Kala shook her head. ”No, it doesn’t work that way.”

She had once thought that it might, but had been proven wrong. There was a reason that she used this place as a last resort and a last resort alone. Coming here was always a risk. When she had taken Kasamir through the paths it had luckily only taken a few days of time.

When she had used it after that?

Three months had been taken from her. Three months for a journey that would have taken her a week. It was not always the easiest, nor most effective means of travel, but the Paths were a sort of sanctuary for her. As long as she was okay with losing a bit of time, or gaining it.

”That door.” She pointed to an archway that hunt above them on one of the odd spiral paths. ”Will take us to the Bayou. Once we’re out we can figure out how much time has passed.”

There was no way of telling beforehand.
 
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Nathaira

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She looked back at Kala when she answered, and at first there was fury in here eyes. She should have told her what could happen. She should have warned her...

But the anger faded quickly. Kala had saved her. If the kraken had not devoured her, she would have drowned in the chilling waves. She closed her eyes, calmed, then looked back.

”Alright. Let’s go.” All she could hope was that not too much time had been lost, and she moved to follow Kala along the glowing path.

Javiki was not so easily convinced. “No bayou, we must return! No ship, stranded in marsh.”

”Should I kill him?” Her voice had become impassive, and she regarded the Kivren as little more than an annoying branch to be trimmed away. His purpose had been served, so if he was going to get in the way she’d rather be rid of him.

Javiki’s face opened in shock.
 
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Kala

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Kala had killed before. She had fought in battles and run away from more than a few fights that had ended in death.

Yet she was no killer.

This man had done her no real wrong. Had committed no crime against her. He was rude, he was mean, but he most certainly hadn't done anything to deserve execution. Her lips thinned, and she decided to shake her head at Nathaira. "No."

She wasn't a killer, and she didn't want to be one either. If she told Nat to slaughter the man she would be just as responsible.

"The longer we stay in here the more likely it is the outside world has more time pass." It was a lie. There was no real telling just how much time shifted and extended outside of the Paths. She had once spent weeks in here only to step outside and find that only a few minutes had passed. It was random as far as she could tell. "The Bayou will be safer."

She assured the other man, leaning down to pat him on the shoulder. "Come on."

Kala said as she turned around and lead them down the silvery path toward the archway she had pointed to. As she moved the Path seemed to arch and then bend upward almost vertically, yet as she stepped forward Kala seemed to stick to it like a spider crawling up the wall.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira shrugged and turned back to follow Kala while Javiki paused, went to say something, then thought better of it and followed. Her stomach did a little turn as it watched Kala walk straight upwards, although she couldn't say it was the strangest thing she'd seen today.

Tentatively she put a food on the vertical path and found that it stuck. As soon as she lifted her other foot her perspective didn't take long to adjust. It was all darkness after all, and now it was Javiki who appeared out of place.

She followed the tiefling, keeping her eyes on her swishing tail to ground herself. A question popped into existence in her head, one that shouldn't have been so easily asked. Perhaps the rune had less control here, or perhaps the threat of losing time meant she just didn't care as much. "When did you meet... the one who took your arm?" Maybe if she didn't say his name it would be enough to trick the binding magic.

The archway they approached looked more or less like the one they had entered from, as far as she could tell.
 
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Kala

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Kala was no idiot, and by now she had settled on the idea that Nathaira and Kasimir knew one another.

There had simply been one too many questions, one too many lasting looks. That same motion of the hand that Kasimir had always made towards his mark when he'd said something about those who ruled above him. She was not sure if their situations were entirely the same, but she could guess.

"I don't know." She said honestly, her concept of time was...warped. "Not too long, a few months maybe. I've only ever met him twice."

Her gaze flickered back towards the Forsaken. "Once when I was robbing a Manor in Vel Anir, and the second time when I attempted to free him."

Kala explained.

"He is a slave." As Nathaira already knew, though Kala would not say that. "I could not abide it."

She stopped in front of the other archway. "We Tieflings are a free people, more free than most. Slavery is..."

Kala looked utterly disgusted.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira felt a strange emotion when Kala said she and Kasimir had only met a couple of times. Good. Jealousy was new, but then again she had never had anything to be jealous about before.

She liked Kala, though, so her protective tension was not directed at this woman out of malice. Yes, her neck prickled at the notion of slavery being a bad thing, but it could not stop her from agreeing.

Tieflings are a free people. The words echoed what she had heard in her dream ages ago, when the great serpent people had assured her that Naga blood did not submit, that they were ones who enslaved. She hadn't had any other dreams, though, and she had started to wonder if it had been real in the first place.

She wanted to tell Kala that she had done a good things, that she appreciated her efforts and her sacrifice. She wanted to tell her that she, too, was a slave. Her jaw was locked.

The archway grew before them, and Nathaira could feel a cold tingle wondering what would be on the other side. Hopefully a fire at the very least, she thought, as she continued to drip on the ethereal path.
 
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Kala

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The Tiefling lingered for a moment more, watching Nathaira fall into silence.

If she was, it was not voluntary.

"Best be going, yeah?" She said to the other woman, offering a smile and then motioning towards the doorway. She did the same to their other companion, urging them to step through first. The portal would work best that way.

There was a moment of hesitation, and then both of them moved.

Kala was not far behind, casting one last glance around before she slipped through the empty black doorway.

What they found on the other side would be...well utterly what they had all expected. The portal had formed on the remnants of an old stone wall, bending in on itself just long enough for the three adventurers to step onto a sandy beach.

Blue waters lay before them, and behind them half hidden by the wall was a swampy jungle that seemed to go on for miles upon miles. A road cut into the underbrush, leading to places only the gods could know.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira stepped out and immediately shut her eyes against the sudden light. The sunbeams felt wonderful, and the hot sand radiated warmth up her body and she gave a satisfied sigh.

Once her eyes were able to adjust she saw the clear waters. There was no sign of the kraken or their boat, not that she could find anyway.

Javiki looked almost more relieved than Nathaira to be out of the shadowy pathways. He looked around nervously as though trying to figure out where they were. Nathaira didn’t bother, she knew they were lost.

”Do you think that path leadss to people? People who might know... him.” She stopped short of revealing their quarry’s title in Javiki’s presence.

“Bayomara. Bayou people.” Javiki answered in a gravelly voice and a foreboding tone.

Nathaira quite liked it here already, she may like the people just as much.
 
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Kala

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Kala was not as optimistic.

Though she did not make her home in any city, she had spent quite a bit of time in Alliria. Rumors swirled around the taverns there about what sort of people the Bayoumara were. Cannibals, mainly.

She wasn't entirely sure how that would work with a Tiefling and a...chameleon woman. It wasn't exactly cannibalism if the species were different, but she had an inkling that people who ate sentient flesh wouldn't particularly care.

Perhaps they could convince them they were poisonous. "I suppose we follow the road."

Kala said, as much a question as it was a statement.

After a moment more of standing in the sands she shrugged, then slowly began to make her way towards the dirt road. Much of the jungle had overgrown it, trees and vines leaning low enough that they nearly touched the top of her head.

The way was clear enough to walk though, and before long the swamp all but surrounded them. On either side of the road wet marshes stretched for miles, and a fetid stench echoed out.
 

Nathaira

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The heat and humidity did wonders for Nathaira's reptilian persuasion. She could move unencumbered by cool winds and had let her hood down to dry her hair. She felt energized, and she walked with a bit of a spring in her serpentine gait, weaving around vines and protruding branches.

Her tongue flickered in and out quickly to take in the buffet of scents that the bayou offered. Salt and sand were heavy at first, but this faded to earthy tones of thick leaves, vines, and fragrant fruits. Traces of animals grew heavier, and as they ventured deeper a tiny hint of smoke started to creep in.

"There iss fire ahead," she said eagerly, "But not much. A ssmall camp, maybe." Just as she said it her stomach growled noisily. When was the last time she had eaten? Surely she had made sure to do so before her mission... but events had been more tiring than anticipated since then.

Javiki kept stepping in and out of shallow pools and rubbing water over himself. It was clear he was more comfortable with a healthy sheen of moisture, or perhaps this was just what Kivren did when they were nervous? "Bayoumara..." he muttered to himself with an unkind expression on his tentacled face.
 
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Kala

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Kala was not comfortable in the swamp, not like her companions.

Tieflings did not mind heat, but they preferred it when it was dry. The sort of temperature that came with rivers of magma and hot desert suns. That was where they thrived. This? This just made her sweaty and miserable, her skin sticking to itself each time she moved to smack away another mosquito or other biting bug.

Quiet curses echoed from her lips every now and again, her lips turning into deep grimaces as she continued down the path until Nathaira spoke. She froze for a second, looking at her companions, and then shrugging. "What have we got to lose?"

The Tiefling asked as she stepped forward.

As they moved she could see the fire begin to bloom, hear the chatter of voices. The language was a guttural and quick one, Kala not understanding a single word as she waved her hand.

"Hello!" She tried to sound bright and chirpy, but as soon as she spoke all four men that had been around the fire suddenly grabbed their weapons and whirled to their feet.
 
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Nathaira

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What have we got to lose?

As a Forsaken, only a life of misery, which made risking it rather appealing from time to time. She followed Kala closely but could not keep her eyes from straying.

There was so much life here, and every other second she though she saw movement in the vines only to look at nothing. She heard an unyielding chorus of insects, birds, and creatures she could not identify.

What a bizarre turn this assignment had taken. It was definitely more interesting that the usual “break in, murder, leave” that described most of her jobs.

She was too slow to stop Kala from just walking up and waving to the tribespeople. Too slow to suggest watching them for at least a second before announcing themselves. ”Uh-“

But Javiki cut across her. “N’attek pas! Ji marina. Kraken balklat batte! Ji pax!”

It sounded like a broken and clumsy sounding sentence, and from the faces of the men at the fire they agreed. They passed quiet words between themselves.

”What did you tell them?” Nathaira whispered from the corner of her mouth.


“That we sailors and de kraken smashed our boat, that we peaceful.”

She nodded. ”What are they saying now?” The men were moving their hands, and one was making a chopping motion against his upper arm.

“I think...” he said in a dark tone, “...they saying a missing arm means less meat, but easier to kill.”
 
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Kala

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"EASIER TO KILL!?" Kala wasn't much of a warrior, or soldier for that matter.

She preferred not to get into fights. There was always another path, a path that wouldn't have as much chance of getting killed. Yet right now...that didn't seem like an option.

The Tiefling was tired, sweaty, one armed, and just all around getting fed up with her situation. What the hell was she supposed to do? She just wanted a fucking arm. She just wanted two hands again. She just wanted to be whole!

Gnashing her teeth she flicked her hand into her satchel.

One of the men stepped forward, clearly aiming to stop her, but before he could the Tiefling drew out another card from her bag. It was flicked forward, twisting in the middle of the air and then suddenly exploding outward in a wave of flame.

It rushed towards the four men in a singular slice, cutting into them like a bar of super heated metal adding the scent of burnt flesh to the smells of the swamp.
 
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