Private Tales Behind the Mask

Wren Kingsley

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Wren's eyes widened, and in that moment she wanted nothing more but to repeatedly punch that smirk from his face.. Who was he? Regardless, Wren slipped a small blade apparently from nowhere and pressed it against his stomach. "Say that name again and I'll cut you balls to brain right here. I don't give second warnings." she warned..

"I'm going to go collect my friend over there, and we're going to leave, and you're not going to utter a single fucking syllable.." her head titled and she eyed a couple who passed and started chuckling to herself as though he'd told her something amusing.. "Oh you are hysterical!!" she grinned and draped herself against him as though falling for those charms, her blade pressing a little more dangerously against his stomach.

"So we have an agreement.. Good." her lips twitched into some semblance of a smile and instantaneously returned to a scowl.
 
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The Knife against his belly wasn't the first that he'd felt there. From what he could tell it was stiletto, but he kept his eyes fixed on hers as he gave her the same charming smile as before.

Val had absolutely no doubt in his mind that if given the opportunity she would happily gut him and leave him there on the floor bleeding. It was doubtful she would make it out after that, but, well he could well understand the need to be petty.

"Now now." He said softly, his fingers curling as he wondered if he could snatched the blade from her. "If we're gonna play like that I'd like to be the one holding the knife."

As she draped herself against him Val quickly reached up and attempted to snatch at her hand.

He'd always had fast fingers, but this was probably a very stupid move. As fast as he could he tried to wrap his hand hand around her own, not to move the knife, but simply hold it in place so that she could not plunge it into his guts.
 
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Wren Kingsley

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Wren's jaw clenched irritably as she felt his hand grip hold of her own, and within another two seconds she had another blade pressed between two of his ribs. "No we're going to play like this." she growled at him through gritted teeth. Despite her apparent confidence, her heart pounded in her ears, palpitating so fast she felt it flutter in her chest, skipping beats here and there..

Options.. She only needed a half a minute's head start to get herself out of here. She didn't enjoy killing people but if she had to in order to save her own skin, or get her sisters out of trouble she would. Her sisters were here somewhere, they could provide a distraction if necessary, but she had no way of getting their attention and Theon was off being hopeless, burying his bristly face into some squirrel's neck.

"Who are you?.." she asked. If conversation was what he wanted she'd use it to buy herself time to think. If he got her caught she'd be thrown in a cell and subjected to the Prince's torture, and she'd cut her own throat before allowing either of those things to happen..

She was extremely aware of people watching the pair and she tried her best to conceal her weapons between them both whilst appearing to look as though she was very much enjoying their conversation..
 
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"Oh so it's like that is it?" Val didn't go for the second knife.

He could already feel the blade start to draw a little bit of blood, and if he tried to grab it she would very likely stab it directly between his ribs and into his heart. That wasn't a wound anyone could survive, not if she pulled the knife back out.

Fingers tightened for a moment on her other hand, almost as if daring her to try and stab it into him.

"Why don't you take off my mask?" He pursed his lips. She was likely in no mood to play any games, but the longer they stayed like this the more likely it was somebody would walk over to them and at least pretend to be scandalized. "Easy way to find out, My Lady."

She would likely have absolutely no idea who he was even if she pulled back the mask, at least he doubted it. His father's face was famous. His own? Well only among certain skirted circles.
 
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Wren huffed at him.. "And lose my advantage? I'm not a complete idiot.. Who you are doesn't matter that much to me unfortunately." she frowned. If he was any sort of authority he wouldn't have spoke of alerting the guards, he was playing with her..

"I have no desire to ruin my dress with your blood, Lord Fox. So if we could come to some sort of agreement, I'd appreciate it very much. But know that I've no intention on going down without killing you first.." she pressed against him a little more, her lips grazing against the underside of his jaw..
 
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"Shame. I'd rather enjoy if you went do-" He shrugged. "Nevermind."

It didn't take a genius to figure out why she was here. Their purposes weren't all that different from one another, and it made sense in a strange sort of way. All three of the sisters were wanted throughout the city, runaway nobles after what they had done.

"I am Valren Damyr." If she did not recognize his first name, then she would certainly recognize the last.

His father had been the King's right hand man almost as long as he'd been in power. There were a thousand rumors about the Damyr's being the true power behind the throne, though of course such talk was complete and utter nonsense.

"I think we can make a bargain." He said softly, still keenly aware of the blade against his ribs. "Provided you do me a favor."

A smile touched his lips.
 
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The blade at his ribs would push a little harder against his ribs before he cut himself off, clearly unamused at where he was heading with his smart comments. With his name though, she felt her blood run cold and if it were at all possible for Wren to be any lighter than she already was she'd have paled. "Constantine's son.." she muttered with a quiet huff, she hadn't meant to say the words aloud, but half the time she didn't realise she was speaking at all. Things clicked into place and she recognised him better now.

"Fabulous..." her eyes narrowed and she laughed incredulously as he asked her for favours.. "Really? I swear to the gods if you suggest anything that involves me touching you with anything other than a blade I'm going to enjoy ramming this knife between your ribs." she glared..
 
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"Well I do like a knife or tow in the bedroom but..." He cocked his head and smiled through the grimace that wanted to force it's way through at the touch of her knife.

It wasn't that he really minded, but the pain was a little bit unnecessary. Wasn't it?

They could have been wrapped in a few set of sheets by now and that would have been much more fun than this. Plus, they would have gotten to defile the Rellin manor and he would really have enjoyed that. "You don't have to do any touching."

Val told her with a smile.

"I just need you to make a little bit of a scene." He smiled at her. "A slap to the face, a curse of how good I am in the bedroom, a cry of just how much you'll suffer without me."

He had a reputation to keep up. "Easy enough, no?"

The more focus was on him now the less people would believe that he'd come to clear out the entire place after the party was done.
 

Wren Kingsley

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Wren's smoky eyes blinked up at him in disbelief "Are you serious? You want me to help your bedroom reputation?! You're unbelievable.." she laughed and shook her head before slipping the blades back into the folds of her dress..

"Fine. If it gets me rid of you.. Betray me and I won't forget it.." she added with a scowl under her mask and pulled in a deep breath, channelling her inner Lottie.

Suddenly, she gripped at Val’s collar and yanked him into a deep, passionate kiss.. one she’d at least let herself enjoy for a moment or two before drawing back with a gasp and smacking him hard across the face.

“How could you!! I gave myself to you! Am I not enough for you?!” She yelled at him in a most perfect Kaliti accent and turned away before gesturing around the room, all of whom were once again staring at her “Please tell me where I will ever find a better lover?! You have RUINED me for other men. I am... but another discarded husk for your collection...” she shot Valryn a glance and a half smirk as men, and a few women, flocked to her and she gladly accepted each and every one of their words of kindness and consolation, even the sleazy man who had wrapped his arms around her, holding her a little tighter than necessary.. Fucking nobles.

She was sniffling under her mask and listening to their words of ‘there there, there are plenty better men who will treat you right sweetheart’ and men squabbling over who should ‘see that she gets home alright’ whilst Val earned a few looks of disgust ‘you should be ashamed of yourself!’

Finally, Theon came to her aid , muscling his way through the throng of people and wrapping her in her cloak. “Come, my niece, let us get you some air..” he rumbled, keeping a protective arm around her and shooting Val a deadly glare as they passed him..
 
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Val immediately earned the ire of one half of the room and the adoration of the other.

He could see his father from the other side of the crowd, staring hard at him from beneath his mask. Val only offered a simple shrug of his shoulder, a quick smirk, and then he turned around on his heel and began to walk in the opposite direction.

The little distraction were making people stare at him, and there was no doubt in his mind that it would be talked about for the coming weeks. That was the whole point. People would speak of his public 'Humiliation', rather than the fact that the Rellin Manor was robbed the same night as the party.
The walls around the Rellin estate were about as low-security as you could get in Oban. There were a few guards at the gates, a single watch tower in the right corner, but other than that? Breaking into the place was about as difficult as finding a fat man in a pastry shop.

Val slipped over the wall, now wearing dark green leather armor with a low clinging hood, his head slowly turning as he glanced around the Gardens.

After he'd left the party things had apparently gotten fairly gossipy. People talked throughout the night about Valren and his 'shame', though his father had come home surprisingly happy. Apparently Val hadn't entirely ruined whatever deal the old man had been working on.

It was a pity, but his aim had been achieved.

No one in the Rellin household expected a thief tonight. The coast was clear, and thanks to a bit of exploration he knew exactly where to go.
 
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Wren Kingsley

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Wren didn’t have to break in, she hadn’t ever left. She’d changed outfits three times, and now that the party was over and silence fell throughout the manor, she was dressed in her usual black garb, her hood drawn up and her scarf half covered her face.

She had already filled two sacks with the help of Theon who had been on the other side of the wall to retrieve her acquirements for her. "Just one more thing.." Wren whispered, and ignored the older man's protests as she made her way back through the gardens to the scale a lattice of ivy and pull herself onto a balcony that stood at the end of a long corridor of their flaunted, priceless artefacts. They were mainly vases too large to carry, tapestries and paintings that were too much hassle to bother with, and suits of armour. But at the opposite end of the corridor, the centrepiece of a mahogany table that sat at the top of the main staircase, was an large, ornate egg that she'd been hearing so much about at the party.

The door clicked open and Wren stepped inside, her eyes narrowing over the sight of the prize at the end of the hallway. She was exceptionally light on her feet, the floor boards had no idea they were being crept upon and uttered no protest. She slunk against the wall to peek around the corners, and with no sign of the household guards, Wren's lips curled as she stepped up to her bounty and lifted it carefully into her hands. It's foundation was gold, it's white enamelled shell intricately encrusted with precious stones that sparkled in the dim torchlight of the hall and reflected in Wren's grinning eyes.
 
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Val had been...not exactly pleased to find out that the Estate of House Rellin had been practically ransacked by someone else before he'd even gotten there.

He was not entirely sure who it was, in fact he had absolutely no fucking clue until he saw her sneaking through the House and towards the darker depths. His face had been a flicker of absolute shock and surprise as he'd seen her through the dark.

It had seemed impossible, and yet completely likely.

She had been at the party for the exact same reason he had. There had been no interest in socializing, but rather she'd cased the joint the same as him. For some reason Val felt a sting of annoyance at that fact, though he had no idea why.

Either way, as Wren grabbed the precious prize that she had returned for, Val sneaked behind her. He moved with surprising silence, using the tips of his feet as he moved up slowly behind her.

As her eyes caught the glitter of the jewels in front of her, Val slowly stepped into place. A knife flashed into his hand, and with two quick movements he reached to grab her. One hand would cover her mouth, the other flicked the knife over her throat. "Shh."

Was all she would hear as he clutched her to himself.
 
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Wren Kingsley

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Wren would have let out an involuntary scream had he not covered her mouth, her body jolted in fright and she almost, almost, dropped the priceless ornament but only just managed to keep it in her fumbling grip which then tightened possessively.

Shit... She wasn’t used to being snuck up on, short sharp bursts of air huffed from her nose as her breaths quickened and she growled under his hand at the knife at her throat. Not a guard. Guards were rarely so sure footed, they’d have raised alarm not tried to keep her quiet. Another thief?

Shit fuck shit...

Wren kept the egg tightly clutched against her chest with one hand as the other drew a small throwing blade of her own. At once, Wren tried to bite down as hard as she could through her scarf at the hand silencing her, and attempted to slam the blade back into her captor’s thigh, hoping his grip would loosen.
 
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The knife he'd expected. The bite? That seemed a little childish.

Val half stepped back as the blade swiped low towards his thigh, the blade slashing cloth leather grieves and cutting along the outside of his thigh as he let out a low hiss of pain. At the same time teeth sunk into his hand, sinking into his flesh and drawing a bit if blood as he wrenched himself free.

The young man bit back a curse, not wanting to wake anyone who might have a modicum of attention.

Before she could turn around Wren would feel a bloody hand at the back of her neck. Muscles flexed and tensed, and she would find herself practically thrown and pressed against the nearby wall. Val's knife knife disappeared in his sleeve as he reached and grabbed from the hand that clutched her already bloody dagger.

Fingers wrapped around her wrist, twisting the limb and pinning her against the wall in one smooth motion.

It was clear he cared nothing for the treasure in her other hand. He made no move to take it from her, and if she dropped it he would let it fall like a worthless cup of clay.
 
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Wren’s teeth clenched as she was thrown against the wall and pressed there, her lips parting in what would have been a cry in pain as her arm was twisted, but she managed to keep the sound in. Her blade fell though, and luckily the sound was dampened as it landed on rug and not wood. She used her body as a cage for the fragile egg she held against her, trying not to allow it to be crushed against the wall..

“Alright alright!” She whispered the exclamation and growled as she squirmed under the grip. “Be careful!” She writhed again, her breathing pitched to frantic as she turned to try and see who had hold of her, though the grip on her neck made it difficult.
 
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He could feel blood seep down his leg as the wound on his thigh throbbed with pain, lips turning to a scowl as she tried to look back and see who was holding her.

Val shifted just slightly, ensuring that the hood over his head obscured his face just enough that she would only be able to see a third of it. The moment she looked back his fingers tightened her on her body. One pressed against the nape of the neck, the other turned her arm just a little to send a spike of pain through her shoulder.

"Face to the wall." He told her firmly.

Val had no idea if Wren was the kind of person who could be trust, but given her history it was something he'd rather doubted. Everyone knew the rumors around her dearly departed husband, and Val had no intention of ending up in the same fate.

"Where is everything you stole?" Val asked with a hiss, doing his best to throw his voice.

House Rellin was wealthy, fabulously. The contents of this house could have he'd Oban thrice a day for the next year.

He wouldn't be letting that go.
 
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"Ow fuck, ease up.." Wren grimaced as he twisted her arm a little more, and she obliged as she felt it might snap otherwise. Her jaw clenched and she groaned irritably at his question.

"Everything?.. Technically I haven't stolen anything yet, you caught me in the act.." she lied.. "I'm sure there's still plenty left for you.." she laughed under her breath. She thought of reaching for another blade, she could stab him in the ribs, but that meant letting go of her prize and she wasn't giving it up that easily. She'd bide her time until he let her go..
 
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He shook his head. "You make for a poor Liar Wren"

As he spoke Val's hand began to slide from the nap of her neck and down her body. The touch was not at all a lecherous one, he didn't grab and paw at her like a teenage boy who'd never touch a breath, but inste he patted her down.

Knives were drawn and dropped onto the carpeted floor, a grimace floating over his features as he did not find any of the jewelry or other more plain things that would have been easier to fence than the egg. People couldn't use a fucking egg to buy food.

"Where is it?" He prompted as he patted just above her hip. "Don't make me hurt you."

She'd feel another twist of her arm.

Val was in no mood for games.
 
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The sound of her name made her blood run cold and her heart felt like it stopped for the second time today.. Surely not..

Wren had attended the masquerade as three different people, she'd fished that pond dry and everything she'd swindled was now long gone, as was the jewels and coin and various other precious trinkets she'd gathered later on. The haul was massive, and she had a buyer for the egg already lined up for a small fortune.

"Long gone.." she answered with a stiff huff as his hand roved over her depositing her weapons onto the floor. "Though I don't see how it's my fault that you were too late.." Wren commented dryly and squirmed at his grip.

"Now will you let me go? I'm starting to get seriously pissed off."
 
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The thought of murder briefly flashed through his mind.

He did not know enough about Wren to realize that their purpose was actually rather similar, didn't know that she had stolen everything in the estate for much the same purpose as he would have done. To him she was just a petty thief.

A runaway noble who just wanted more riches so she could continue to live the lifestyle out in the Queen without ever making any money of her own. Despicable. "Or I could kill you."

As he spoke Wren would feel the cold tip of his knife against her neck once again, except this time it pressed hard enough to draw a thin line of blood.

"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't." As he held her, Val watched for any sign of movement.

He was just waiting for her to try and strike back.
 

Wren Kingsley

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A hiss escaped her teeth as she felt the blade slice at her skin.. "If you were going to kill me you'd have done it already. Instead you're standing here asking me for reasons not to.." she whispered and grinned under her scarf.

"That and you know how much I'm worth alive. A thief wouldn't be so fucking wasteful.." her brow quirked and she swallowed, wincing at the sharpness of his knife, a warm trickle of blood racing it's way to her chest..

"You've also already realised that I'm better than you are.. Must be killing you, right?.." Wren chuckled quietly. She rubbed her thumb across her fingertips and clenched her jaw.. "Now. Lower your blade and let. Me. Go." Wren growled.. "Last warning."
 
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Val frowned for a second at her words. "Last warning?"

He repeated the words for a few seconds and considered what she said, considered her. Wren was dangerous, probably one of the most dangerous people in all of Oban. Her sisters were likely close by, and she knew that if they were here too...

Fingers tightened. His grip on her arm did not loosen in the least, but the knife at her throat slipped away for a few seconds.

"Noted." The words came as she would feel his hand through her hair, fingers fisting within dark locks as he grasped her and then bashed her face into the stone in front of her with the intent of knocking her into unconsciousness.

If he succeeded, he would bind her hands and scoop up her unconscious form, taking the treasure with him as he departed.
 
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"No st-.." she'd known, as soon as he gripped her hair what he'd intended. It'd been the smartest thing he could have done, and if he was smarter he'd kill her or leave her somewhere far beyond his reach for her to wake. A sharp gasp was the only sound she made other than the thud of her skull hitting the stone wall and she fell limp, vulnerable and useless, into darkness.
 
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No one had ever accused Val of being smart, so when Wren had passed out he had simply scooped her up and taken her with him back to what most people would have referred to as his 'hide-out'.

He would never in a million years have titled it that, in fact the very idea sort of disgusted him, but it was probably the most accurate descriptor of the place. The hide-out was a small warehouse on the docks of Oban, ostensibly owned by a jolly fat man that Val paid to keep quiet.

It was a rundown sort of place, and as Wren awoke she would find herself stripped of knives and weapons, left only in her bare skivvies.

Hands and legs would be tied to the chair, thorough knots ensuring she would stay in place even if she began to struggle.
 
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It wasn't the pounding headache or restriction of her limbs that woke her, it was the awareness that she felt colder than usual, of how light her body felt without the leathers and weapons she wore. Her brow furrowed as she roused and she blinked the blurriness from her vision, her head had lolled forward and her neck ached as she lifted her head. She let out a few groans as she felt the throbbing head wound more prominently now, and her eyes widened as she realised she was tied to a fucking chair in nought but her undergarments.

"What the fuck?!" her voice cracked, gritty from sleep. She pulled at her restraints with a growl in frustration and her chest heaved with each panicked breath. "Untie me right fucking NOW!" she demanded as her body thrashed feebly in her chair.