Private Tales Behind the Mask

Val

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"Should've added a gag." Val said to himself, hood still half drawn over his face as he leaned back against a stack of crates just to the right of her eyeline.

He was suddenly very glad that the warehouse was an isolated one, that and the fact that even if someone were to hear her they would likely assume it was the local criminal element. Even the fools who patrolled here usually kept away.

A sigh escaped him. "Quiet down, please."

Val didn't make any attempt to throw his voice, mostly because he stupidly hadn't done so back in the palace.

"Relax.' He called out to her.
 

Wren Kingsley

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Wren's mind was quickly spiralling in chaos. She was claustrophobic, and apparently that didn't only mean she was afraid of a cage, but by being restricted of movement. She ignored his request for her to quiet down with a loud growl as she continued to writhe and struggle against her bonds to the point that they burned painfully at her wrists and ankles.

"Relax?! YOU FUCKING RELAX!" she snapped in a fit of rage, and a swirl of wind circled around her chair for a brief moment, picking up dust and straw and letting it fall back to the floor. Her heart was hammering too quickly in her chest she thought it might burst free, and tears welled in her eyes until a few involuntary tears fell onto her cheeks and she looked up at him, her expression a desperate plea..

"Please, Valren, I can't breathe.."
 
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Val

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It would have been a lie to say the tears didn't strike something in his heart, that her words plucked at some cord in the back of his mind.

Then he remembered that she'd stabbed him once and tried to do so twice more.

"I can't trust your word." Val said as he pushed himself off the crates and took a quick few steps over towards her. He moved quickly, but there was an odd sort of silence to the way he crossed over to in front of her.

Squatting down he looked up at her.

"Deep breaths." He told her. "Calm. I'm not going to do anything to you."

It was unlikely she believed that. "I just need what you and your sisters stole."

The egg wasn't enough.
 

Wren Kingsley

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Wren was desperate, her chest felt restricted even though it wasn't, she knew she should have no trouble breathing at all and yet there she was, unable to pull in a decent breath, and the thought of being handed over only made matters worse..

"My sisters had nothing to do with it.." she answered, her voice strained and rasped by the invisible hand around her throat. "Fucking nobles...always wanting more... greedy fucking bastards the lot of you." she hissed at him with a sneer and threw her head back and pulled as hard as she could against the ropes with another frustrated wriggle..

"Untie me and I'll give you a cut.." she begged. She was trying desperately not to use any magic, for fear he'd never untie her if she did, but the small gusts of wind continued to swirl around the chair, tousling at her hair now and then despite there being no window or door open. "Keep the egg. I have a buyer, it's priceless.." she bargained.
 
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Val

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He didn't remember the warehouse being as drafty as it currently felt, but then again he didn't actually linger around here for that long. "I don't need a cut."

It was cute that she thought she still had possession over the egg, at least enough that she thought she could use it as a bargaining chip.

"I need all of it." Money, unfortunately, made the world go round. He could only syphon so much away from his fathers estate, and that already fed most of the poor of Oban. At least a good chunk anyway.

This little venture had been meant for a grander purpose however; the purchase of a small farming town just a few miles from the city.

Creditors were attempting to seize the land beneath it, claiming unpaid taxes and dues. They needed a large some, vastly large if they were going to keep their homes. "I promise it's for a good cause."

He doubted she'd believe that.
 
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Wren Kingsley

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Wren was dizzy and she blinked at the black dots that threatened to take over her vision. Her heart was beating too fast and she wasn't breathing nearly well enough, her body was trying to shut her down. "Allofit? Sss.. Fuckoff ..you pieceashit." Wren slurred as though she'd had several too many cups of wine.

"Can't breathe..Valrrr.." her words cut off and her head fell all the way back as she passed out.
 
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Val

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Val let out a curse. "Fuck."

The girl had tried to warn him to be fair, but he hadn't thought that she was really about to pass out. His lips thinned for a brief moment, and he glanced over towards the pile of weapons that sat in the corner of the room.

Head shook, and he quickly went over it to hide everything that he could in one of the random crates around the room.

After that he walked back over towards Wren, pulling the knife from his belt and quickly cutting free the ties around her hands and feet. As he did so he readied himself for her to jump up and smack him in the face, or perhaps draw a knife from the once place he hadn't checked.
 
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Wren Kingsley

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It took her a moment to come to, and as soon as she did she pulled in a gasp of air as she remembered her panic but she quickly realised that her wrists and ankles were free and she took a few, trembled but calming breaths as she glared at him..

He'd held a knife to her throat, almost broken her arm, smashed her head into a wall and tied her up. She decided she really didn't like this man a single bit. In fact.. "I really don't like you." she huffed..he might as well know.
 

Val

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Val took a few steps back from Wren, half clutching the blade that as in his sleeve just in case she tried to do anything funny.

At the end of the day he was still much larger than her, and without a weapon or places to hide one he was fairly sure that if they came to blows he would win. His father had made sure that he was well trained. Had Val not been such a disappointment he would have been in the King's Guard by now.

"Not many people do, to be fair." He told her with a smile.

His free hand reached up and pulled the hood free of his face, deciding that there was really no point in trying to hide at this point.

"The take?" Val asked. "Where is it?"
 
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Wren Kingsley

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Wren looked down and rubbed at the burns on her wrists, her jaw clenched irritably. "Can't imagine why..." she muttered to herself. Then again, Wren wasn't liked at all, but she'd made a point of being as standoffish as possible, particularly around people like him.

As he lowered his hood, Wren's eyes lifted to see his face for the first time in years. He was significantly more handsome than she remembered and it caused her expression to soften for a brief moment, and words caught in her throat..

"What do you need it for?.." she frowned at him.. "A new suit of armour? Shiny new sword? a haircut?.." her eyes rolled and she looked away from him. "You have the egg, you're not getting another coin."
 
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Val

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He gave a soft curse. "What's the matter, you and your sister need another few coins to add to your hoard?"

Comparing the sisters to Dragons was probably a bit...much, but at this point he was getting a little bit annoyed. Sure he was a noble, but so was she. A criminal, but still a noble nonetheless. It was like throwing stones in a glass house.

His gaze settled on her, and he bit his tongue for a moment before he began to speak.

"There's a town to the South." Val explained. "Their charter was bought out. If they don't get the money most of them will lose their farms."

Fat chance she would believe him. "Give me the money."
 

Wren Kingsley

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Wren laughed under her breath at his words and shook her head.. "I told you my sisters have nothing to do with it, this was my job and the take is mine to do whatever I please with." she answered him bitterly, a shudder of annoyance running across her back. "They won't miss it. They'll be pissed off for a while, up their guards, maybe send people looking for their possessions though I doubt they hold much sentimental value. But every single one of them will return to their manor, sleep soundly in their beds and wake up tomorrow and lavish themselves in all the comfort and food they could ever dream of." she ranted, her hands waving about and her face a grimace of disdain as she spoke.

She stared at him then, her gaze narrowing as though considering what he was saying and whether it was true. She was cynical, of course, but she found herself wanting to believe that.. It was the sort of thing Wren would do, and the sort of thing he wouldn't believe of her either..

"Is that true?.." she asked quietly, still unable to wipe the scowl from her face.
 
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Val

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"It is." If he had the papers he would have proven it to her right then and there to get the damned coin, but he'd needed to keep them in his fathers office so that no one would suspect what he was trying to do.

He knew that to her it must have sounded like a story, like something he was making up just to get the money. Lips thinned.

"Think about it." Val urged her. "My father is one of the...if not the richest man in Oban. If I wanted petty cash I could have it."

He squatted down in front of her.

She was right of course. House Rellin would not miss a single thing taken from them. They would be outraged, angry, but the reality was that they weren't any worse off. Not with the insurance they would surely claim from Alliria. "This isn't about a new mansion. It's not about a toy. People's lives are at stake."
 
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Wren Kingsley

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Wren didn't know whether she believed him or not and she stared at him for a while, searching his eyes for any sign of a lie before she huffed sharply.. "And what makes you think your cause is any more important than mine exactly? Pick another target, why should I hand over what I planned and worked for because you think you deserve it more?.." her brow furrowed..

"People's lives are always at stake, and yet you people never take notice. Why should I believe that you suddenly care about anyone other than yourself?.." she leaned closer and tilted her head in question.
 
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Val

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"Because I currently have you in a warehouse where I can easily kill you?" The answer seemed to be a rather obvious one to him.

If he suddenly decided to slit her throat and walk away...what was she going to do? Sure she could fight, maybe even get a couple of good scratches on him, but he very much doubted that she would actually be able to harm him all that much.

Of course, he didn't know about her magic.

"I don't rightly care if you believe me or not." He growled. "I've helped people my entire life."

Whether his father had wanted him to or not. "I have the upper-hand here still, so if you want to walk out alive just tell me where it is."
 

Wren Kingsley

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Wren's slender brow arched at his confidence and she nodded slowly at him as though what he was saying was entirely true. It was, but it was also true that she could kill him just as easily if she chose to.

She couldn't help but blurt out a laugh as he claimed to have been helping people his entire life. "Oh I doubt that.." she smirked, her eyes sparkling with amusement. Now he was threatening her life again, and he simply wasn't getting the point..he wasn't getting all of it.

"Do you think threats like those are going to help you get anywhere?.." she asked calmly, and slowly her fingers started to curl into a fist by her side as she stared at him, pulling at the air in his lungs..
 
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Val

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There was an odd shortness of breath in his lungs, fingers tightening for a moment as his expression dropped from confidence.

Could it be?

The knife fell into his hand in almost an instant. The blade felt cool to the touch. He knew magic well enough, he had been around those with gifts before, but could she? No he must have been imagining it. Paranoia getting the better of it.

"You're a stubborn bitch." Val said with a plain grimace, trying to draw more air into his lungs.

"Why even make it difficult?" He asked. "What's the point."

Val took half a step forward, just in case.
 

Wren Kingsley

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Wren twisted in her seat and stood up quickly, taking a few steps back from him as she continued to pull at the air, trying to stop him taking another breath in..

"Yes I am.. The point is that I worked for it, the point is that I have my own intentions for it, and just because some fucking man.." the word dripped with disdain as she looked him over "Thinks he can push me around and demand that I surrender it all to him or he'll kill me doesn't mean I'm going to fall at his knees and beg him to spare me." she growled.

"You men are all the fucking same, think the world is yours. If a woman says no they're a stubborn bitch, we're supposed to do as we're told, right? Well fuck that, and fuck you." her fist tightened.
 
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Val

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It was her.

He was sure of it as he felt the air wash from his lungs, desperation suddenly thundering in his heart as he realized what was happening. Magic was an insidious traitor. Something that he could neither control nor really do anything about.

"FUCK!" He swore as he suddenly jumped backwards and threw the knife in his hand directly at her chest.

Val knew very little about magic, less about her magic, but most of the time one thing was assured; you had to see your target. Without even thinking about it the young man dove back, wrenching as some of the crates and sending them scattering to the floor to block her view of him as he ducked down.

As soon as he broke her sight air rushed into his lungs and he breathed loudly. "I don't give a fuck if you have tits and a box!"

He shouted at her, a rasp to his voice as he tried to breath.

"I'm just trying to help people!" He growled. "Not scurry out of Oban like a fucking murderous rat!"

Of course Val still didn't know that their purposes were nearly entirely aligned.
 

Wren Kingsley

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She wasn't fast enough to avoid his blade entirely, but she turned her body enough to take a nasty slash to her upper arm and she let out a pained cry as the pain seared. Her hand clutched at the deep wound with a growl and her magic fell away before he went diving behind crates. "You prick!" she glowered and lifted the chair she'd been sitting in to launch it in his direction. "You could've FUCKING killed me!!"

She turned to retrieve the blade he'd thrown which had wound up protruding from the wall behind her, and she pulled it free.

"And who are YOU calling a rat?! I did not scurry, I RAN, because your fucking precious Prince wanted to rip out my lungs through my arse!" she kicked a crate in frustration and it shattered..

"The only person you help is yourself, same as the rest of them. I've been feeding the people of this city since I was six years fucking old, and what do I get for it?! Thrown in a fucking cell to rot for months by my own fucking father. I stop the prince from raping my sister and what?! A bounty on my head. Fuck all of you!"
 
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Val

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"YOU TRIED TO STAB ME! THREE TIMES!" What a bitch.

Val scrambled slightly behind the crate, realizing that his bow had been leaning against it and that it was now likely scattered on the ground with a pile of wood. He let out a choice few curses, shaking his head and grabbing after the other knife he had on his belt.

"Fuck the Prince!" He knew the man, didn't like him much of anything. "I didn't throw you in that fucking cell!"

In fact he hadn't even known she'd been tossed into one. "I didn't put a fucking bounty on your head!"

She had magic, this wasn't a fight he was going to win without his bow.

"I just want to help people!" He screamed at her, slowly starting to crawl towards the left. "Hell if you help me I'll tell you where the fuck takes his vacations so you can kill him!"

Val thought it a good offer.
 
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Wren Kingsley

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"Yes well you shouldn't have called me out like you did! Or put a knife to my throat or smash my fucking head against a wall. Or try to take what's mine!!". She lifted another crate and launched it to where he was hiding again.

She hadn't expected the curse against the Prince however, most of the nobles of Oban were extremely protective of their precious Royal Family.. Arse kissers.

"YOU are part of the ominous THEY, dumbfuck!" She screamed back at him, too enraged to have even bothered to notice his bow..

"Help? That's the first time you've asked for my help! You just demanded that I hand over my take because you were too fucking late to get it for yourself!". Wren growled, and another crate was thrown.
 
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Val

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Val shirked slightly as the splinter of wood crashed just above him. What the fuck was this woman one some kind of steroid herb? Lips thinned for a brief second and he cursed to himself quietly. "Fucking magic."

He hated magic.

It didn't really seem fair that she had it, or that she was using it, though he realized that complaint would very likely fall on deaf ears if he offered it up. Thus he decided to just stay quiet, or rather...stay quiet on that particular topic.

"FUCK I AM!" He shouted back at her. "Would THEY steal from one another? Would THEY try to help a village being brought under? Would THEY steal from their own father to help the slums?'

He growled. "Fuck you! You don't know who I am!"

Just beyond the next crate he spotted his bow and quiver, a jolt of excitement filling him. He might survive this after all.
 
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Wren Kingsley

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Wren's arm bled freely and dripped from her fingertips, leaving a myriad of crimson spots on the worn floorboards as she paced furiously, her slight limp more prominent now that she wasn't bothering to try and hide it. She stopped as he spoke of stealing from and her brow knit in confusion, unsure whether he was talking about her, or himself?

"And you don't fucking know anyth-- ... Wait what?.." she snapped bitterly and clenched her jaw, trying to keep the rest of her insults locked behind her teeth.
 
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Val

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"You heard me." His hand slowly reached out as he wrapped around the middle of his bow, drawing it back and pulling to him even as he dashed back behind one of the crates that she had not yet broken.

The weapon at the very least made him feel safe, if only because it would actually let him strike before she dragged the very breath from his luck.

"I'm just trying to help!" Val offered again. "Ask anyone from the fucking Riverside!"

That was what Oban's slums were sometimes called. "Mother Mary knows me better than her own fucking daughters."

Mary had been a leader in the slums since...well before Val had been born.