Private Tales Crouching Urchin, Hidden Templar

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Lyssia D'avore, May 20, 2019.

Tags:
  1. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Thunder growled low in the distance, getting further away as the minutes passed by. Even from inside, she could hear the steady flow of water down gutters and pipes, the steady drip of water leaking through the roof of this warehouse somewhere in the back, in a moldy corner that was perhaps even more forgotten than the rest of this place was.

    Lyssia lay on her back, staring into the cobweb infested darkness above. It was late in the day, though the sun still had hours yet to settle behind the distant hills out on the Reach. She couldn't have slept if she wanted too; her mind was completely wired, and the topic of that intense interest lay on the piled, threadbare clothes and sheets she had stolen - a twinge of guilt at having done so - that made up her bed. The air was still chill enough at night to require all of these things, and the day only slightly warmer.

    The object was a simple slip of paper. The words were tiny and cramped, scrawled across the thing that had itself been stuffed into a tiny tube and shoved between the planks of her little hole. It was written in the only cipher she knew, making it something from the retainers or others within her House, though the cryptic words were infuriating to her.

    The cowbird has settled its new nest. Under the Eagles eye in the pale, seek me.

    It had been a day or two since she received it, and she wondered if it was even worth the effort to go and check up on it. She was almost certain it referred to a business in front of the Parliament building, nearest to the palace. There, an upscale Inn called The Headless Crown did business, mostly with the few dignitaries that came in from other parts of the world, and scions of the great and mightiest of Houses in Mericet.

    She sat up, rubbing her eyes with the palms of her hands. The sparse place she called home - for now anyway - was quiet and dimly lit from above by fly-haunted windows near the roof. There wasn't much to see here. Maybe if she'd been born a boy, she'd have had the strength to move things around a bit more, to make the space more comfortable. As it was, she had managed to make a space between some boxes, piled with the clothes and things she could find to soften the floor enough for her to sleep on it, and stay relatively warm. A cracked basin to wash in, though she had not used that in days. A pitcher with water, collected from a rain barrel outside.

    She looked at her humble setting, and for a moment she felt the tears, always lurking somewhere, threaten to spill over again. She deserved to sleep in a real bed. She deserved to be able to be warm, and to not starve. She didn't look as though she were missing any meals, but hunger was a constant companion to her. What her people gained out of the world around them was one thing, but it was not enough to sustain them by itself, anymore.

    She looked at the slip of paper, frowning. What would Father have done? A single tear did cut a track through the grime on her face, then, at the memory of what was lost. Likely, he would have sent someone to investigate it, probably Azure.

    But she had no one. Azure was off doing what he needed to, and might never return. He's a traitor anyway. Better of doing it herself than relying on the hand that had already stabbed her once.

    She scrubbed the tear from her face angrily, stood and walked around a stack of boxes that shielded her sleeping area from the entrance to the warehouse. She pushed the board that was, more or less, the door to her foyer to one side. She laughed bitterly at the thought of this being her manor. Heedless of getting the rags she wore any dirtier, she got on hands and knees and crawled outside.

    It was still early enough in the afternoon that the streets would be thronged, but here at the riverfront docks it was all men working the warehouses, bringing supplies and goods up from the river traders moored down below. None of them even looked twice at the dirty young woman as she scurried out from between the warehouses, sticking to the side of the streets and trying as hard as she could to go unnoticed. The attention she got was sometimes less than pleasant, and she had had enough unpleasantness to last a lifetime already.

    -

    She crouched behind a barrel, uneasy at her presence in this place. Once, she had walked the halls of the building across the way - as daughter to the Duke, she'd had free rein of the Parliament. Now, that august building stood dark despite the white stone it was built from. She could almost feel the malevolence radiating off of it, as the people insdie went about the duty of ruling the city.

    It was here, right here in front of this place, that her father had been killed. Beheaded by the sword, as was customary for the nobility, although there had been some talk from others that he should be hanged like some kind of commoner. She shook her head, dispelled the memory of that day before she could weep again, as she had many times since.

    The Headless Crown was to her left, and appeared as quiet as it ever was. The streets here were clean, kept clean of horse manure, the paving stones well fitted and smooth. She could see Royal Armsmen standing at rigid attention at the gates to the Parliament building, and a few others nearby, walking the streets, keeping the peace. The House of Lords was not in session now, as evidenced by the face that the activity around that white stone building was minimal.

    She turned away, and went back into the alley, deeper. There was a way, if she squeezed through a fence, to get to the back yard of the Crown, which was the only place she figured the message could mean. Why anyone would send her a message was anyone's guess, except maybe...

    Hope surged in her, and she took hold of it like a drowning woman would a piece of flotsam in rough seas. With a mighty surge of effort, she managed to push through-

    -and felt rough hands grab at her. Startled, she let out a startled squeal, and back-peddaled, squeezing back the way she had come so fast and hard she left some of her skin on the wooden boards. She didn't feel the pain, nor notice the blood begin to flow.

    "Don't run, you goddamned waif," someone yelled from the other side of the fence, and then a pair of heads poked up over, glaring at her from under steel caps. Royal Guards, perhaps? Didn't matter to her, she didn't want to deal with them any more than she did with the House Armsmen that had come in the night, a year before.

    Bare feet slapping on stones, she took of running, leaving a trail of blood behind her, a drip here, and there. Behind her, the curse of men. "What are you looking at, you goddamned idiots? After her! Keep your eye out for anyone else!"

    She barely heard them. She had never expected a trap, someone preying on her willingness to reach for any possible branch that she could pull herself from this mire with. She felt betrayed anew, and felt stupid besides. Such a fool, but there was no time to berate herself as she fled, hoping she could outdistance those men. She didn't know what they would do if they caught her, but her memories of the last time were not very pleasant.

    Of course, there was no escape when she left a trail for them, either. She didn't even consider that.
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  2. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    It had been weeks. Weeks travelling through the mud and the abrupt climate changes in the region. The vast hills of the Reach bearing witness to all that's happened below them like crows awaiting their moment to fly down. Aldren had seen quite a share of merchant wagons, travelers seeking the glories of an early grave and even tricksters luring fools by the side of the road to take their coins. He didn't pay much attention though, as his duty called to even greater distances ahead. As he galloped into yet another night, Aldren felt that much closer to his destination, a city called Mericet. He had heard from innkeepers that it was a place of noble tradition, schemes and lustful machinations between the lords and ladies of the courts. The monster hunter certainly didn't miss the intrigues of city walls and cozy houses after living from village to village these last years, always on the road. But alas, he had no choice but to heed his call.

    Heed the call... Aldren's master talked about that 'honor'. To serve and protect, to hunt and kill, to stand as a shield for those who couldn't defend themselves, from monstrosity and humanity alike. That last part was something that Aldren had picked on after some time on the road. Sometimes, humans could be as evil as the vampires and lycans he fought against. Hell, sometimes they were the monsters he fought against!

    It was something that always escaped his grasp of understanding. The reason he never went through with his proper oaths, his lack of purpose. And so he travelled and roamed and fought, hoping that one day it would eventually click. If nothing, he would've at least died a brave warrior's death, to join his master in the glorious embrace of the afterlife that he always bragged on about. Sadly for that old man, Aldren had no desire to give up his life so soon.

    The young warrior took a sip of water from his canteen, leaving a few drops on the side of his mouth as he tasted the sweet moisture running by his throat. Aldren propped his fellow mare to go on a bit faster as the night began to approach and those roads could be swarming with all kinds of nasty characters seeking the tiniest of purses or even raw meat.

    As the moon reached its peak in the sky and rain began to fall heavily, Aldren reached the sturdy walls of the city of Mericet, halting Helen with a soft pull on her reins. He could feel some suspicious gaze towards him, probably because of his well armored figure, or maybe the fact that he was crazy or stupid enough to be wandering those danger filled outskirts in the night. It mattered little, as people ran to find cover from the rain and the roaring thunders that followed. Commoners always seemed to fear the wrath of the gods above, as if they were preparing bolts of power from the skies to punish their sins. What sins, aside from an iron will to live amongst the scorn and dirt? Poor folk, always the little pieces in a greater game of power struggle.

    After safely putting Helen away in the stables nearby, Cordale made his way towards the entry gates of the town, declaring his business to a watching guard who put away his lance quite quickly after hearings the word 'Templar' fall out of Aldren's mouth. Even if he wasn't even a full pledged knight yet, people certainly seemed to fear the sight of one. Strange, considering what they do to protect the common folk, and yet receiving only disdain. It never bothered that young man though.

    As he went about the wet, dark alleyways and streets with his soaked clothing and armor, Aldren finally reached the front of a inn, judging by some travelers full of bags entering the place, seeking shelter and a good place to sleep. He checked his pouch to see how many coins were still left on him and decided to follow the travelers through the wooden door, but never went in after hearing muffled screams nearby. Plated, rushed stomps soon followed as Aldren circled by the corner of the street to see what was going on. After taking a few steps forward to check, he ended up seeing no one at all, save for drops of blood being washed away by the falling water.

    Even though his body ached for the rest of a warm bed and candlelight after many days on horseback, his mind was telling him to press on, and so he did. Aldren ran through the empty streets and alleys, following the swept blood. What he found at the end of the trail were a few guards, swords in hand pointing to a panting and scared girl. They blabbered about the girl being foolish enough to fall for that ruse, and in their distraction failed to hear even the loud creaking sound of steel as Aldren drew his sword, ramming the blade through one's back. The other guards realized that they were being set upon and rushed to meet Aldren. A foolish endeavor.

    Seized by anger, he let the magical forces deep in his body take control of his movements as his sword danced through the air, cutting rain and flesh alike with ease while the girl watched the bodies falling in lethal poetry, one by one until the blood was too much for the rain to sweep away. As he finished the deed by thrusting his blade through the neck of a kneeling and pained soldier, Aldren stood with his head up, feeling the drops of water clean the blood away from his face.

    He put the sword away after remembering that there was someone else alive and breathing, watching him from the wall that blocked that dead end alley. Aldren carefully took a few steps towards the girl, taking care not to scare her further and extended his hand, covered with leather, plate and blood.

    "You're safe", the man said softly, skipping his breaths after being drained from the fighting.
     
    Lyssia D'avore likes this.
  3. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Running.

    Something inside her was scornful of the fact that this seemed to be her lot in life, now. Running from the death of her family. Running from the end of her House. Running from street urchins, gangs. The weather. Running from everything, because she couldn't face anything. There was no strength for her to stand her ground on anything, and it was this fact that made her wonder, somewhere deep in her soul, if it was only proper that she had fallen so, come to this place. Maybe she just didn't deserve everything she had?

    No.

    A firm word delivered to herself from herself. Even in this plight, she had the wherewithal to quash the self deprecatory rhetoric in her head.

    Down a side street....only it wasn't a side street. Her eyes widened as she realized she had turned the wrong way, and as the rain continued to pour down, she came to a stop, turning to face her pursuers, a look of blind panic on her face. The wound on her arm didn't hurt nearly as badly as her ribs did - that injury had not fully healed yet. Gasping for breath, she backed up until her back came hard up against stone, shoulder blades trying to dig through thin, wet cloth and stone alike.

    The three that had pursued slowed as they realized they had her in a corner, and that there was no way out.

    "Is that really the one we're looking for?" one of them asked with disbelief as he looked her up and down. One of the others shook their head, spit to one side.

    "No. She's not important at all, but the Lord said that she was a key to finding the others." He looked at her, harsh light in his eyes. She recognized that look, and knew that the only was this was going to end was in more pain. She'd had enough pain in her life already, and her flesh paled visibly in response to those dead eyes. "Where are they at, girl? Tell us, and we'll let you go back to your rat nest."

    She shook her head in negation. "I...I don't even know who you are speaking of," she said, tone rife with fear. "Please, don-"

    "I don't think she's telling the truth, Alan. Maybe we should take her back to the jail and interrogate her?" The one that had remained silent to this point said, stepping forward. She tried to evade him, but he took hold of her arm in a brutally strong grip, blood squeezing between his fingers as she gave out a strangled cry of pain.

    "Should have just burned that message, girl. Would have been easier. You aren't part of the game anymore, not even a pawn. No one will miss another waif on the street." The speaker stepped forward to help her along, when suddenly his eyes went wide. A foot of cold steel, stained red, emerged from the chest of the man that had seemed to be in charge, and his mouth was open in surprise, a thread of drool dangling. The blade vanished, and he collapsed to the pavement like a marionette with its strings cut.

    What followed was a kind of ballet, although not one fit for any stage. The shadowy figure that wielded the sword that took the first took on the remaining guardsmen, dispatching them with contemptuous ease. The whole thing took the span of thirty seconds, and when it was done, the smell of blood and bile filled the alleyway, of split bowels and worse things.

    Lyssia doubled over and vomited noisily, collapsing to her knees as she did so. The retching sound would have been audible for a distance were it not for the rain, and blessedly the wash of water was removing the blood and the bile, and her last precious meal.

    After a moment, face as pale as a ghost, made more stark from the dirty, stringly red hair framing it, she looked to the stranger, cast in lurid shadow and light by flashing lightning. "What....what have you d-done...?" she asked, shock still clear in her voice and on her face. "Those were..."

    Whatever they were, she didn't manage to get out. Her eyes rolled up into the back of her head, and she collapsed in her own sick in a dead faint.
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  4. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Those eyes.

    Aldren could recognize those eyes with ease. He used to look that same way after the events that first broke him, many years ago. The feeling of desperation, without room for escape, without the strength to stand and fight. To only watch as life flows by you and you can't even reach towards it. A thin, melancholic thread, disappearing into the air as hope vanished, lifeless. He didn't even know the girl, never saw her before in his life, but already Aldren felt like he understood her perfectly, just by the look she gave him before falling unconscious after muttering a few words, her slim and tenuous body caught by Aldren's broad and armored arms, stopping her from reaching the cold ground first with her head and face.

    He had a quick glance at her, noticing her torn, bloodied clothing. The ragged clothes of a waif. She definitely took a heavy hit from one those brutes, but it was strange to see a lowly commoner hunted by heavily armored guards. He felt intrigued enough to check the corpses but as the rain deepened and the thunders quickened their paces, Aldren decided to put her across his shoulder, taking her back to the inn that he was close to entering a few moments ago. A small roll of paper was left on the ground near the bodies of the guards as Aldren passed by with the girl in his shoulder, the blood and rain rendering it almost unrecognizable, especially in that dark.

    The inn's doors were pushed open with haste, and much to Aldren's luck, there was no one at the hall save for what seemed to be the owner and his daughter, a young, blonde and fair looking lady that dashed across the hall to meet them. It was indeed fairly late in the night. The lass looked genuinely worried at the state they were both in, both covered in blood and soaked from the rain, but the sleeping girl rested across Aldren's shoulders warranting the most alarm. He felt bombarbed with questions about what they were doing but felt just as clueless as the lass as she cleaned the unconscious girl's face of blood and dirt and took care of her wounds. The old man, presumably his father, gazed upon Aldren with suspicion, but soon came to their aid as well, granting him some free water.

    "What's your business here, traveler?"
    , he inquired, inspecting the Templar crest in Cordale's armor. Aldren drank the whole cup of water in one go, cleaning his mouth soon after. He looked back at the man before answering, "Just passing by, sir". The inn owner took back the empty cup to fill it more water. Aldren grabbed his leather pouch from his waistbelt and put it in the table.

    "I'm afraid i don't have much wealth, but what can these few coins buy me?", Cordale asked, more concerned about the girl than his own rest now. The lass looked at his father and went back to taking care of the girl while the old man took the pouch from the table and opened it to reveal the contents, the sound of metal being pressed against each other ringing like a tune. Frowning, the man put away the pouch in his pocket and answered, "And i'm afraid we don't have many rooms left. But we have a spare one at the top floor. Only one bed, though", his face was straight and his voice rough, but Aldren felt relieved that at least he wouldn't be thrown out into the street after that.

    He nodded in gratitude and left the girl in the cares of the father and daughter as he decided to go back to the scene of the ordeal to investigate.

    After reaching the place, he knelt beside one of the bodies and started to dig through the men's belongings, finding nothing but their purses. It wouldn't be very honorable or knightly to rob a dead man, and even though he now had no coin, he decided to go against his petty instincts and just leave the corpses alone to rest and pass into the afterlife. Carefully closing one of the dead's yet open eyes, he said a small prayer and rose up. The piece of paper that the girl dropped while being carried away was now long gone, washed away by the rain, with Aldren failing to even realize it was there in the first place, so busy he was with taking the girl away from that place.

    Seeing it as a dead end and finding nothing, Aldren went back to the inn. The old man informed that his belongings were already taken to his rented room, along with the girl, sleeping peacefully in the bed. The warm bed that Aldren sought the whole day. Aldren watched from the doorway, with a serious gaze.

    He smiled and let out a soft laugh after realizing how selfish of him to think that after everything that's happened, fully entering the cozy room, and shutting the door behind him. It was a small room, but it had a rather unique, comfortable and rustic feel about it, the perfect place to rest after a night of rain and days of travelling through the countryside. Aldren slowly took out his pieces of armor until he was wearing only a soaked leather jacket and trousers, along with a tall boot that went to his knees. After putting the armor pieces in a table nearby, he took out his waist belt along with his sheathed sword, placing it next to the only wooden chair in the room.

    Fatigued from the day, Aldren sat on the chair and quickly fell to his sleep.
     
  5. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Heavy footfalls, the rattle of chain and greaves echoed down the wide corridor, lit by the early morning sun streaming through windows at either end and by stand lamps at intervals. The man who made the noise moved with distinct purpose, passing courtiers and aides without even bothering to glance in their direction. Here and their, armed and armored Guards walked the hallway, stood guard on the stairs leading to the second and third floor from the grand foyer at the center of the building. He didn't even notice them, or the wealth that surrounded him.

    Devak Cole wore a grim expression on his features, such that people that strayed into his path soon found themselves moving out of it unconsciously. He turned in the foyer and took the staircase to one side, climbing to the second floor, and then to the third floor. The great domed foyer swallowed the sounds of his movements, that and dozens of others going about the business of governance.

    Down the upper hallway, polished tiles reflecting the hard lines of his face, the pair of scimitars at his hips. It was only a short walk down the hall, to a door guarded by a pair of hard faced men wearing the livery of House Farron, black and gold with silver trim. Armsmen of the House present, at least that meant that the Lord himself was in. They did not stop him as he entered the room beyond.

    The office within was comfortable, walls lined with bookshelves that contained texts of a variety of subjects, most of them to do with law and governance of the Realm. Seated behind a wide mahogany desk polished until it was as reflective as a mirror, High Lord Farron, Earl of the Western March, sat, quill in hand and paper before him. The scritch of the pen was audible in the silence of the room.

    Devak stood quietly at attention, and waited for the nobleman to notice and acknowledge his presence, a thing that Lord Farron did not do for long moments.

    "Ah, Captain Cole," he said as he stuck the quill pen into its stand, and leaned back in his great chair. Lord Farron was a middle aged man, the first traces of grey at his temples, close cut black hair clean and well trimmed. His face was well defined, cheekbones prominent with widely spaced eyes of hazel. There wasn't much spare fat on the man, or much spare anything at all. He had the physique of a fighter, and was renowned for his skill with a sword, at least in the fine art form of non-lethal dueling. Today he wore a well cut dark silk coat over a white undershirt, also of silk, with formal trousers bearing red striped down the hems.

    He set his spectacles down as he took his ease. "I trust you have some news for me?" The men manning the door would know now not to let anyone pass without prior warning. It was good to make sure the people that you chose to surround yourself were loyal.

    "I have news, my Lord, but not what you are expecting. Things...did not go as planned," Devak replied stiffly.

    The Lord simply looked at him for a moment, then gestured for him to continue.

    "We found three Guards dead in an alley this morning, my Lord. Savagely killed by a swordsman, we surmise. The girl was not present, but it is clear that she did not do the deed."

    "You don't say," Lord Farron replied drily. "That girl is less than nothing to me. Who is it that did the deed? Surely you know something." The words were delivered in perfectly crisp, nearly disinterested tone. The Lord did not stir, merely resting those disconcertingly avid eyes on the Knight.

    "We are investigating now, my Lord. There was mention of a swordsman in the area the night before, but as it stands right now there are no leads. Could be him that was at fault. Or it could be-"

    "Find out. If it is some other actor, we'll deal with it as necessary. If it is our dearest friend, the so-called Raven, then..." The Lord trailed off, not needing to speak further on the subject. The Raven was to be captured, interrogated, and then killed out of hand. Whoever it was, they knew too much. And that would simply not do.

    "Yes, my Lord. I will dispatch a team of the Guard to deal with this directly. If you will excuse me?" He waited for permission to withdraw and, once received, spun about and exited the way he came, stride purposeful.

    Lord Farron simply watched him leave, and then leaned back. A useful man, Devak Cole, but a commoner. Simply another tool.

    Just like everyone else.

    -

    Sunlight spilling through the great window, a rectangle bisected by the frames that held the window panes in place. Morning, breakfast just finished.

    Standing there, big tears streaming down her face as she cried, hurt the only thing that dominated her world. A little blood from a small arm, small hand clutched to it while she looked through red eyes at Mother, comforting soul filled with compassion. Father sitting at a chair, a thick book in hand, looking on with dispassionate eyes as his daughter bawled.

    Mother ministering to her daughters hurt, tender touch stopping the tears, quieting the hiccoughing and sniveling, tending fires of warm love within her soul, the all encompassing kind that can only be given by family to family, noble or not. In public, aloof and reserved as was proper. In private...

    A gentle hand on her head, a ruffling of red hair framing a cherubic face. Glistening cheeks turn towards towering figure, compassion in eyes moments ago completely devoid as Father reaches down to give comfort to his youngest.

    Face melting away, revealing bone in the rictus grin of the dead, and terror replaced the warmth of love. Consumed all.

    -

    "No!"

    The word pierced the living silence of the room, the chest of the man sharing this room with her slowly rising and falling. Sunlight made the curtains of the room glow from without, bringing just enough light into the small room to see by. For a moment, she was transported to a different time, when she could expect to wake in such a place - perhaps a touch more opulent than this, but certainly a far cry from the floor of some dark, damp warehouse.

    The girl sat bolt upright in bed, the memories of a dream fading from her mind slowly, like honey draining from a jar. Echoes only, now, but a profound sorrow lay within whatever nocturnal vision had beset her. Blinking, eyes grainy, she tried to recall how she had come here.

    And then the events of the night before came crashing back to her, all at once. She recoiled from the visions of the night before, eyes bulging as she recalled the sound of cold steel punching through flesh. The look of tendrils of muscle and fat caught on jagged parts of a blade, the look in the pleading eyes of the doomed. All at once, her gorge rose and for a long moment she fought being violently sick again.

    Men had died, and she had watched. Rooted in place, unable to change her fate. Knowing she was next...and then...

    She wanted to panic, to leap from the bed and flee from the strange man sitting there in silent repose, and it took a tremendous effort of will to not do so. It took long moments of fighting with the child within not to run, again, from her problems. One way or another, this man was now her problem, and what he had done would likely stain her soiled name even further.

    kicking back the sheets and blankets, she only realized what she was doing before catching herself. She was clothed, and he had seen nothing. She was clothed in proper clothes, too, if cheap. The rags she had been wearing were nowhere to be seen. A marvel, then, to feel soft wool, scratchy though it might be, against her skin once more.

    She sat there, legs dangling over the edge of the bed, and looked at the sleeping man, eyes full of question and, deep beneath, horror at what she had witnessed.
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  6. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    "Mum, what is a knight?", the little boy sneaked up behind his mother, a dark-haired woman in her early 30s, while she was doing the dishes. The child, no more than 8 years old, had a small wooden toy in his hand, a soldier wielding his little sword above his head. The look of excitement and curiosity clear on his face, his light hazel eyes shining like two bright stars. The woman just couldn't resist that innocent smile, and paused her duties to kneel in front of him, gently stroking his messy hair. The boy laughed with the gesture and raised his arms, begging to be taken up in the arms of his sweet mother. The woman kindly agreed, and took him in her arms all the way to the living room of their small house, in the outskirts of Edenham. It wasn't big or greatly decorated, but it was their own little place of comfort and love. A place where a family could grow in peace.

    "A knight, little Aldren, is a brave hero", the mother answered, bright smile covering her face as she took the toy from the boy's hand and started playing with it, garnering the gazes of admiration of the child. Cleverly enough, he answered, "Like my dad?", the woman stuttered for a second, her smile vanishing awkwardly. She averted her head to hide the look of disappointment on her face from her child and paused for a moment before answering back, "Yes! Your daddy was a knight, one of the very best!". The genuine smile on Aldren's face was the best reward the woman could hope for in that charade. She hoped to be strong enough to tell him the truth when the day comes, but certainly lacked that strength at the moment.

    "Can i be a knight too, mommy?", Aldren asked. The woman put his toy soldier down and now gently stroked his cheeks. "Anyone can be a knight, Aldren. You just have to find something to protect. Even if it costs you your life". The boy had a confusing look about him now, pondering about his mother's answer. "Do you have something to protect?", his mother asked again and with no hesitation, he rose up from the ground and answered like a true hero, pointing at her, "Yes! You, mommy! I'll protect you with my life, and with a big sward!". Forcing back the tears, the woman let out a soft laugh as she picked her child up on her arms again.

    "It's sword, Aldren! And i'm sure you will. You'll be a great hero!"

    A great hero...

    The man opened his eyes sharply, the memories and dreams still freshly branded upon his mind. A past life, with so many years behind that he almost forgot what was it like to live such happy moments. A life that was taken away by his own actions, his own... cowardice. That which defined the very essence of a true knight. The boldness, the bravery. Things that he lacked, and things that cost him many moments such as that. A life he left behind.

    He stood sat upon the chair for a few moments, just staring deep into the wooden ceiling of the room, lost in his own thoughts. By the light that slowly crept from behind the closed windows, he realized that the sun was already shining brightly outside. A new day. But with old problems, problems that seemed to fall upon his hands.

    That's what he thought as he came to perceive the young, red-haired and somewhat frightened and confused girl staring at him from the bed.

    "I'm not going to kill you, if that's what you're wondering", Aldren said with a awkward smirk as he noticed the girl preparing to get out of the bed. In his mind, he was almost begging the girl to not run, as it would bring even more problems for him. He was still in need of answers, after all, and he wasn't awaken enough to chase her through the city yet.

    Aldren slowly stood up from his chair, stretching his arms and torso. He walked straight to his bag and took out his canteen of water, offering it to the girl that still looked at him with some dismay. He wondered if it was because of the brutal dispatch that he gave those men that were after her. Maybe he did overdo a little bit, but those idiots deserved it.

    "Here, take it. I suppose you haven't drank something clean in a while", Aldren said while he gave the canteen to the girl.

    The birds started singing outside, and the man promptly opened the windows, letting the morning air enter and take over the room. He walked back to his chair, grabbing his sword and leaning on the nearby table with a intimidating stance while looking towards her. It was past time he was given some insight was to what exactly was going on and what it would mean for his near future. He leaned the sheathed sword on his legs and crossed his arms in front of his chest, gazing upon the lass.

    "My name is Aldren, by the way. And you owe me some answers, at least". She did owe him some money too, and her own life for that matter after what had happened, but he wouldn't wait too hard about that judging by the kind of life she was living, even though she had kind of a mesmerizing face and look about her. Definitely not a common waif, which raised even more questions on Aldren's mind. But that the girl barely had any meat on her spoke some volumes about the hardships she'd come to endure, struggling to survive in those streets.

    Aldren eagerly waited for her to drop out of that shocked expression and respond. He did have all day before him, but he was quite curious about that red-haired lass.
     
  7. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    She said nothing at first. Internally she struggled to master her fear, desperately trying not to show the emotion on her face and by and large failing. She didn't know how some people could school their faces to stillness! She had watched this man brutally kill three men right before her eyes. Oh, she had seen death before...but it had been distant then. Impersonal.

    Watching the blood flow was so much more intimate, and just the thought of the rich, red flood made her squeamish again. The horror of watching the light in someone's eyes fade... Looking into this man's eyes, she couldn't fathom how such a forthright looking individual could have the capacity for such violence.

    The streets are full of such...

    She tried to cover the suck look in the act of accepting his canteen, and drinking deeply. The water was flat; it was sweet as from a spring by comparison to barrels and they river itself. If not for the correct situation, she might have savored such a simple thing.

    Best not to get comfortable in the presence of a killer, though.

    "My name is Lyssia Rose D'avore," she said finally, slowly. Her speech was clearly not of common stock, with a certain lilt and cadence that spoke of her pedigreed upbringing. Her eyes danced, looking for any sign of revognition. And found none. Unease returned as she eyed the weapon, so casually placed as to be visible, and shuddered.

    "You should not have killed those men," she said with a faint tremble to her words. "They were Royal Guards. They will look for their killer." A pause. "Thank...thank you," she continued in a less certain tone.
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  8. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Aldren watched with a small smile on his face as the girl distrustfully took the canteen from his hand, pausing for a moment before finally taking in the water. He saw how badly she wanted to hide the way she clinged for the refreshment it brought to her, even though it wasn't much. He knew firsthand how it was to feel thirst and have nothing to drink. The desperation for a few drops of clean water, only to moist the tongue.

    He scratched his beard, noticing that it needed a new shave, just to at least trim the edges. He had completely forgot to take care of his outlook, travelling for so along in the wilderness. Gods, he almost feared he looked a true mad man, hence why the girl was so scared of him.

    Cordale was brought back from his daydreaming as the girl finally announced herself. And a proper name, to that. A pompous name, one that certainly didn't fit a simple commoner. A powerful name, noblish like, even though he didn't recognize it, but it sure sounded so. The questions only pilled up in his mind. Lastly, he saw the way she talked about his butchering of those men, still troubled by his display of sheer violence. And finally confirming one of his suspicions - those men were indeed elite guards. Even in the rainy night, he could see the distinctive and well made armor they wore, before being stained by their own blood.

    Aldren stood up from the table and started pacing the room, his face a mix of confused thoughts and concern. Now he probably would have the whole city guard after him. Definitely not part of his plan. But he still had to go deeper in this. His heart was just telling him to.

    With his sword still in hand, kept in its stylish, engraved sheath, Aldren finally came to a halt and went near the bed where the red-haired lass sat.

    "And why exactly were the Royal Guard after a waif?", Aldren confronted Lyssia, with now more questions than answers.
     
    Lyssia D'avore likes this.
  9. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    #9 Lyssia D'avore, May 23, 2019
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    She flinched back as he approached her, scabbarded blade in hand. She found that her eyes couldn't leave the damned thing, that the threat it represented could not be casually dismissed.

    "I...do not know," she replied, voice filled with uncertainty. She imagined she could still smell the blood on this warrior, rank in the air. Imagination only, surely. "I received a missive in my..." she continued, trailing off. In my squalid, peasant hole, her mind supplied for her. That sword. She did not speak the words, did not know of what pedigree this man might be and did not want to risk his ire.

    Taking a deep breath, trying to calm her frayed nerves, she forged on. "I received a message. I do not know who it was from, or why they would wish to speak to me," she said in her high pitched voice. "The Guard have ignored me since...since they..."

    Silence, a current of sorrow and loss underneath it.
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  10. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Aldren followed her gaze, noticing that it always fell on his sword. Maybe he was overdoing with the pose and intimidation. She was scared enough as it was. He looked at her, straight face and serious look before walking away from the bed and towards the wooden table with his armor on it. Cordale left the sword next to the pieces and leaned on the table, breathing heavily.

    The girl's answers were cryptic at best, filled with doubt and not in the slightest satisfactory to Aldren's heavily confused mind. He understood her concerns, even so. He was a complete stranger, killed three men in front of her like it was a afternoon dance and now they were confronting each other in a inn, in a city that he never even visited before.

    "Look, Lyssia... I'm not going to hurt you. I'm not some mercenary looking for the highest patron, cutting throats for a few coins", Aldren said in a calm tone, hoping to pass some sort of assurance to the girl. "I can protect you from men like those guards, that's what i do. But...", he paused and walked towards her again, crouching next to the bed.

    "I need to know why they were after you. Because you're not a common waif, are you?", Aldren meant to say that without sounding so intimidating as it did, but circumstances weren't helping him.
     
    Lyssia D'avore likes this.
  11. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Some of the tension in the girl visibly left her when he put his weapon down, and for the first time she really looked at the man in front of her, seeing him instead of a impersonal weapon. Her breathing slowed, steadied.

    "No, I am not," she whispered softly. A single year glistened in her eye, unshed. "I am of noble lineage. But my House is no more. You are s foreigner, so you would not know..."

    She took a deep breath. He said he was not a mercenary, did not take coin to do a job. But did that mean he could be trusted? She looked deep into his hazel eyes, liquid windows to the soul. There was forthrightness there, and she decided that he was safe enough. Though she was too young to make such assessments, she was all she had to rely on.

    "They took everything from me. From us," she began with a quaver. Her amythest eyes, aglow from within with a faint inner light, were bright with pain of recollection. "They came in the night - the Royal Guard - and arrested all of us. Treason they called it, against the Crown."

    Door to her room slamming open so hard it rebounded off the wall. She was sitting in her bed, the commotion downstairs having wakened her. Thin linen shift all she had on as the heavy booted feet of the Royals marched into her room, faces hard.

    "Out!" One of them barked at her, and she flinched back. "Get out of bed, traitor!"

    She never even had a chance to reply as they pulled her from the soft, down bed by an arm, sleep addled eyes bewildered and uncomprehending. Somewhere else, she could hear a shriek of pain, and knew it was no nightmare.

    "I am the daughter of the Duke D'avore. Was," she said, voice hitching a little, eyes glistening with unshed tears. "They executed Father as a traitor to the Crown, and probably Mother and my brother, too. They just...just..." She scrubbed at her traitorous eyes angrily, trying to rid herself of the tears. She was too old to cry. She was!
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  12. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Aldren's face conveyed the heavy sentiment that filled his heart as the girl went on about her story. To suffer so much at such a young age... He was no strange to that feeling of lost too. The tears, the void left on your heart as you looked back on a life that you could never go back to. The man slowly closed his eyes and faced down as she started crying, even though she tried with every inch of her body not to. But he knew it was impossible. He tried once. It's only human to do that.

    With a deep breath, Aldren stood up and said softly, his often rough voice now caressing the girl's sadness, "It's okay to cry. I cried once too".

    He walked next to her and put his hand on her shoulder, comforting her, "I cried until i was strong enough not to cry anymore". He ended the statement with a small, genuine and light smile. Aldren was always a uplifting individual, even though his rough shell of brute force and focus didn't help with his outlook. He knew he often intimidated people more than inspired, but it was something he could never change. He would not become as vulnerable as he was in his past. Never again.

    Aldren slowly walked towards the table, picking up his sword and removing the blade only slightly from the scabbard, enough for him to see that its steel was still in good shape, and just deadly as always.

    "You'll owe me no coin, nor will i ever demand gratitude or recognition for this. But you'll be safe with me, Lyssia. I'll protect you with my life, if need be". He fully took out the blade, the steel gleaming in the air as the sunlight touched it. He grabbed the handle with both hands, placing the long sword in front of him, pointed towards the ground, kneeling next to it. "That is my oath", Aldren said with a firm, strong voice. His eyes now a beacon of courage and determination to the girl shuddering in the bed, the tears still falling from her eyes.

    "The question is... will you be strong enough, to never again cry, helpless?"
     
    Lyssia D'avore likes this.
  13. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    The tears seemed to draw the pain from her body, but not the physical pain. A cathartic release, these tears, and they went on until her eyes were red and pale cheeks stained with salt, reddened from the scrubbing away of the poison. As they came to an end, shuddering hiccoughs and snivels, she felt somehow more empty than she ever had before. Hollow, and with a sense of aimlessness, a lack of direction and purpose.

    She tensed at his touch, but only for a moment. They were sharing something, now, and she knew it. Could feel it. A shared, common experience of some kind, something that went beyond familial ties, allegiance to nations. She could feel it in his words as he spoke, the echo of past sorrow. Distantly, she wondered if he, too, ran from the past. Or if he had embraced it, took all the pain in, and nurtured it.

    She thought not.

    Scrubbing at her face again, all of the anger gone, replaced by the same emptiness, she looked up through the fall of tangled hair, brushing it out of her face and back behind her pointed ears. "I don't kno-" she began, but the door bursting open hard enough to rebound off of the wall cut her short. Her heart leapt into her throat, quiescent emptiness replaced by stark fear, sudden and alarmingly powerful.

    She opened her mouth to warn this man, who had all but plead fealty to her in the way of the Knights of old, when she cut off with a gasp.

    The man in the doorway wasn't very tall, perhaps just shy of five feet in height, but those stark blue eyes and close-cut dark hair, along with the pointed ears, shorter than an elves, were easily and instantly recognized. He wore a drab brown cloak to ward off the chill of spring mornings, with his longsword - short, by standards of the man that had rescued her in an alley in the middle of a rainstorm - at his hip.

    "Alric!" she gasped breathlessly, and there were suddenly tears in her eyes again, but of a different nature. He's not dead. They didn't kill him too! The serious look on his face cut off any thought at introduction proper. She saw her older brother look to the man with blade in hand, kneeling before her, and look back at her with a question in his eyes. She nodded quickly, and he scowled at the kneeling man.

    "You are a fool," the boy intoned, looking back out into the hallway as if expecting someone to come upon him suddenly, and violently. "Killing the Guard in the streets, as bold as brass?" The boy's - man's - voice was oddly high pitched, as was hers, but definitely deeper. He looked older, if shorter than a man of his apparent age. "Devak has set a squad to root you out, and you've got my sister involved in this, too."

    "They were going to-" she began, in protest, but Alric was having none of it.

    "They would have taken you, interrogated you, and thrown you away. Again. You are not important to them, little sister." But I am, he seemed to be saying. And now I have to come and break cover. She didn't know how to feel about that. The familial ties of family amongst the nobility were not like that among the commoners. Everything was calculated.

    "Grab your things. We must go." He didn't even wait for a proper introduction to the man whom had saved her from the indignity of being captured again. Looking at Aldren with red eyes, she hopped down from the bed, barefoot. No shoes, no time for them. She stood in the door, waiting for Aldren as Alric descended the stairs, head dropping out of sight.
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  14. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Aldren propped himself up quickly as the door was opened abruptly. He put himself in fighting stance, prepared for whatever could come from the hallway but his expectations dimmed as a small man, with uncanny resemblance to the girl he was talking to, stormed the room. His expression was deadly serious and Aldren got surprised as he saw the girl shedding tears of joy as she leapt from the bed to hug him. Alric, that seemed to be his name. Or so the girl said.

    That man seemed to be Lyssia's brother, but there was something awfully strange about him, Aldren judged. He expressed no joy to see his sister again, as he turned his attention towards Aldren, calling him for a fool for killing the guards that would've taken Lyssia to questioning, like he said.

    Hah, someone was certainly a fool there. He even scolded his own sister, diminishing her own role in all of this while continuing to berate Aldren's actions.

    Cordale learned long ago not to give in to petty insults and provocations. He remained calm, putting away his sword and constantly looking towards the door as Alric always peaked outside, as if waiting for someone to come in and murder them on the spot. But there was something interesting to come out of all that mess. A name. A direction where Aldren could point his sword to. And it seemed to be a important name, one to be feared in the city of Mericet. At least, Lyssia and her brother certainly feared, by the look she gave to him as Alric spoke the name Devak.

    "Devak? Never heard of him. And i've faced things far worse than city guards, boy", he finally answered back the rude brother, his eyes showing no lies or fear for the things Alric said.

    But that's why Aldren never liked to hang around big cities anymore. The intrigues of the nobles, the eternal fighting between the courts, to grasp the limited power and influence that the stone walls give you. Take that away, put anyone in the forests in the night, alone and armed with a sword and those pompous fool wouldn't survive more than a few hours. A vampire has little care for how deep their pockets run.

    Nevertheless, Aldren would indulge in this little struggle for power in that city, if only for the sake of protecting Lyssia. She seemed to be an innocent in the midst of all that.

    "You're quite the fool yourself if you think that's everything they would do to your sister", Aldren spoke again towards the little man, confronting his assessments about the situation that he supposedly got he and Lyssia in, after he butchered those guards. To be fair, he would do it all again if given the opportunity.

    Still, the man seemed to pay little heed to Aldren's harsh words as he stormed out of the room, demanding that his sister pack her bags and follow. At least he must have some sort of planned action to take now, one that Aldren hoped that involved going after the men that caused all that suffering.

    Aldren picked up his own equipment, quickly outfitting himself with his set of armor and followed Lyssia, who waited for him by the door.
     
    Lyssia D'avore likes this.
  15. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Alaric grunted in response to the warrior's reply, not bothering to answer him for the moment. Lyssia hurried to try and catch up to her brother, but only managed to get between the two swords, short legs struggling to keep up.

    "Alric, I-" she began, but he silenced her with a curt gesture.

    "There will be time to talk, but we must leave this inn first." His words were clipped and business-like. He carried himself with a measure of calm control, radiating command and wearing confidence like a second skin. Inwardly, she was envious of that demeanor. He was fort three, though, far more mature than she was even if he was still technically a child by their parents' lights.

    She held her peace, hurrying along.

    At the bottom of the stairs, Alric halted. The common room was sparsely populated this early in the morning, only a few patrons breaking their fast. The innkeeper from the night before was down by the door, and a pair of men in heavy armor were talking with them, gesticulating towards the stairs. Alric immediately turned around, and went into the kitchen without a word. A pair of drowsy cooks were at work on breakfast, and they opened their mouths to protest before shutting them and bending back to their work. The expression on the young man's face broke no other response.

    Stepping out a back door, into the alley behind the inn.

    And once the door was closed, Alric spun and faced the pair. "I have a place to hide that they have not found yet, but it is across the city. Captain Devak did not set the usual people to this task," he said, tone grave. "Smells of Farron meddling to me. That bastard..."

    Lyssia stepped forward tentatively. "Alric, Mother..."

    The young man shook his head slowly, face softening a little. "Don't know, Lyss. We were separated that night. Maybe she feels as I do. Stay separate, make it harder to catch us all at once." There was buried anger there, deep rage.

    Alric turned to Aldren. "Thank you for rescuing my sister, stranger. I would have preferred not bringing the Royals into it. City guard is better, but not those boot-licking lackeys..."
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  16. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Aldren quickly followed the girl and her rough looking brother as they descended the steps which led to the main hall of the establishment. He figured it would be nice to part with some thankful words to the nice lass and her old dad, who took good care of them even after all that's happened. That thought was dismissed quickly as Aldren glanced towards the heavily armored men in the hall, their deadly weapons paraded in their hands as warning and intimidation to the people there, taken up in conversation with the owner. Aldren's heart skipped a beat, fearing that they were already onto his trail so quickly, but Alric thought faster and guided them through the kitchen and the spare door which led to the alleyways behind the inn.

    That was quite close, Aldren thought. It wouldn't do well for his honor to go down without a fight, but the inn was filled with people, innocent people, and in the heat of combat those innocents could be the first to die in a mad bloodbath. Another mess that would be caused by him.

    They walked for a few minutes before Alric stopped in his tracks, muttering a few words and talking with his sister. He would do well not to interfere in their business this time, but he was quite surprised when the small man conveyed his gratitude for saving his little sister. About damn time, actually.

    Aldren responded with a side smile, nodding with his head. And then Alric started to go on again about that strange name and the reputation it carried. Devak. He was honestly growing tired of all that smoke and mirrors, the hiding in the shadows, as opposed to making a stand.

    He walked towards the siblings, dead serious. "Enough of all this! Take me to this Devak and i'll see this done and your lives returned". His voice sounded rough and overly confident, his gloved hand grasping the hilt of the sword that lay at his hip. By the looks they gave him, Alric and Lyssia probably thought Aldren went insane. His chivalry and bravery were indeed exaggerated sometimes, but in his mind, that sounded like the perfect plan.

    A single combat, to the death. It seemed far more simple and less idealistic in his head, anyways.
     
    Lyssia D'avore likes this.
  17. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Lyssia turned and looked at Aldren, a look of shock in her eyes at his statement. "You can't do that!" she said, breathless.

    "My sister is right. I am sure you could find and fight him, but he is the Captain of the Royal Guard. He would not agree to fight a criminal one to one, and even if you slayed him, it wouldn't stop the machinations of the enemy Houses." Alric said patiently. "If you kill the Captain, they will just find another. And that is to say that you succeeded, which I cannot say. The real source of the problem is a selection of noble Houses, sir, and you can't kill them all."

    "You are but one man," Lyssia added, head shaking sadly. She felt...guilty, that Aldren had become involved in this story of hers, this pathological nightmare. "Earl Farron has his own armsmen, plus the backing of the Parliament. Which means he has access to the Royal Army as well."

    "You can fight one man. Maybe a dozen men. Can you fight hundreds? Thousands?" Alric continued on in his patient tone, as if explaining something to someone too thick to understand basic common sense. "Even if you managed all of that...the Lords and Ladies are not honorable people, by and large."

    Lyssia nodded, feeling distinctly ill at that assessment. Knowing it was true, and knowing her own pedigree fell among such snakes.

    "If they couldn't take you out by direct force, they'd have you assassinated, killed in an alley. In your sleep. Put a bounty on your head. The method doesn't matter to them."
     
  18. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Aldren's hazel eyes rolled back as Lyssia and her brother went on, quite viciously, about his lack of tact and sense of danger. But it seemed a perfect plan in his mind! Aldren breathed deep while waiting for the little sermon to end, and started to think about other, less 'pointy-swords' and more courtly intrigue, ways out of that mass. The only thing clear on his head was that the Royal Guard was to be avoided at all costs. By the quick glances that Aldren had of the soldiers at the inn, they were very well armed, and presumably well trained also. Nobility's pockets run deep, and they seldom spend each on their own safety.

    He wasn't in the mood for more fighting in the streets, especially not while he had to protect Lyssia and now her tiny, infuriating brother, who's tongue was still flapping about with the list of things Aldren was supposedly doing wrong. Also, he had some proper fighting to do once this was all over. He still had some monsters to hunt in that region, but it seemed he now had some very particular monsters to deal with before that. And those monsters... were the worst kind. Human scum, at their best.

    After the sermon was done and over with, Aldren spent a few more seconds thinking, before taking a step forward and answering, looking at the siblings. "Then let's prepare! Or would you rather be sitting ducks for this... Devak? At least take me to this so called safehouse and let's discuss proper strategy". His voice was risp and commanding, rough enough to even scare Alric a bit, as noticed by the look the little man gave Aldren.

    "Blabber all you like, but i won't fail in my task."
     
    Lyssia D'avore likes this.
  19. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Alric's face tightened a bit at the Templar's words, but he did not reply. There was no reaching some people. Some people thought that there was a straightforward answer to everything, and it was just simply not the case. There were some things that could be handled in such fashion, of course...but this was not one of them.

    Alric turned, and headed down the alleyway. At the end, he paused to look down the street, then hurried across when he saw no one other than commoners moving along, the steel helms of the Royals not being present here, at least. Across the way, the alley continued for a ways, before forking. One direction headed into the more well-to-do parts of the city, where the wealthy merchants and lesser nobles lived. The other led toward the river, the docks, and the slums of Mericet.

    Alric waited until they were all with him at this crossroad, looking back the way they had come. There was no one there, no one following them, and no one to see what they were doing. "This way," the young man said. With a gesture, fingers flickering in an oddly specific pattern, Lyssia could feel the flow of magic suddenly come to life in her brother, and felt the answering flicker of life and light within her own flesh. She did nothing with it, of course. Alric walked into the wall a few feet down the path to the river, and vanished, the stone rippling oddly where he slipped into it. Much like a stone thrown into water. Lyssia followed without any hesitation, feeling the chill of the river stones wash over her.

    Within, there was a space that was completely walled off. It was dark, but a globe of light hung suspended over Alric's hand, casting a soft white light across the cramped space. In the floor, a dark hole gaped, ladder leading down into the depths of the earth. Lyssia could hear the sound of running water, could smell the dank odor of...

    "Brother, you can't mean to have me go down there!" She looked utterly appalled at the thought of going into the city sewers. The notion made her slightly ill to her stomach.

    "Yes," he said simply, curtly. He gestured with a hand, and the light floated into the opening, casting strange shadows. Below, she could hear the water but not see it. Alric started down the ladder without a thought, and as he went darkness took over this forgotten room. Taking a deep breath, the fay girl opened herself to the same power as her brother had, and felt it suffuse her flesh. She wanted to shout for joy as life assailed her in torrents that were almost mind-numbing. Careful. Forming the pattern of a spell in her mind, she deftly wove a pale orb of light, slightly redder in color, into being.

    "I don't want to go down there," she mumbled to herself childishly. Regardless of desire, she started down the slimy ladder, bare feet providing decent traction at least.
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  20. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    That little devil was starting to get on Aldren's nerves. He was hoping for some bright plan to come forward after his enlightning and inspirational short speech, but all he got was the callous look from Alric. Aldren's brow raised in antecipation for an answer to his dilemma before Lyssia's brother passed right next to him, as if there was no one there. The gall!

    But given the situation he was in now, Aldren had no choice but to follow Alric and Lyssia to the end of the alley, stopping in his tracks as he saw the little man scouting ahead, making sure there was no sign of danger nearby. Aldren kept his battle trained eyes sharp enough to the task but found no traces of any city and Royal guards. Before long, Alric was leading them through a few other alleyways and into the less adorned and clean area of the city, which could only be Mericet's slums, with the river flow cutting right through it. It would be quite a sight, if it weren't for the horizon of poverty ahead.

    Damn that cruel world and its wicked notion of justice. If only he were brave enough to actually make a change in the roots of all that mess...

    But maybe... just maybe, by helping those two desperate siblings, he would be able to make a difference. It all started with small actions, huh? It must've been that difference that his master always talked about. About doing some good to the world, other than killings monsters and bandits. There must be something else to this rotten world other than that.

    His line of thought was severed after they went through the river and into a dark, very secluded corner. Being the last one to enter, Aldren had no way to know what was there other than that terrible darkness. Then, a light surged as if by magic, which alarmed the would be Templar to his knightly instincts, as his hand went ahead to grab hold of his sword's handle, drawing it only slightly before Lyssia's voice broke the deadlock, making sure that they were the only people there, and not some obscure monster waiting to snatch them.

    Sighing, he put his blade back in place, and with Alric's light, he was able to see as Lyssia reluctantly fell through the hole in the ground by a ladder that went as below as a deep crater. And by the smell coming out of that hole, Aldren already knew he was in for one of the worst rides he could imagine.

    "You must be joking...", he said before coming to terms that it was only the way out of that situation. It was either that or facing the small army of Royal Guards that waited to bring his head back to Devak.

    Aldren swallowed whatever courage he could've mustered and fell down the ladder with haste, landing a bit after Lyssia.
     
    Lyssia D'avore likes this.
  21. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    At the bottom of the ladder, the girl stepped away from the ladder, but did not go very far. Certainly not so far that she couldn't easily see Aldren come down the ladder as well, booted feet landing on dark, damp stone that bore an unpleasant feeling fuzz of lichen and moss on it. The smell was not as terrible as it could have been - the sewers were more of a way for runoff to be carried from the city, rather than sewage. There was some of the latter, but with the heavy rain the last few weeks, the flow was less foul than it could otherwise be.

    It was still too strong for her delicate nose though. Lyssia struggled against the urge to vomit, one hand placed against the slimy, sloping wall. It was tall enough that she could stand easily, ancient worn stone arching within easy reach overhead. For Aldren, it would be a bit more of a chore, and Alric was forced to stoop slightly as well.

    The orb of light hovered in front of both Lyssia and Alric now, testament to their more magical abilities. Alric frowned, looking at the warrior thoughtfully. "Our destination is somewhere under the castle," he said in quiet tones, trying to avoid echoes as much as possible. "Mericet is an old city. The rat warren of old tunnels beneath it are not mapped, and few know all of them. Few even know of them."

    "But, brother...surely the Royals know?" she asked, looking to the Templar with uneasy eyes.

    "Devak probably knows some of them. The old Captain would have known more, but..."

    There was no need to finish that statement. The old Captain was dead, having suffered an...accident. The old fool had liked his drink, and had been an old friend of the current King. With the King's health failing, it seemed odd that all of his allies and old friends were being systematically removed, one by one. No doubt it was the work of Farron, though the angle was unclear.

    To Alric. Lyssia only understood the most rudimentary parts of the dynamics at play here.

    "If only putting a dagger in that bastard's heart would solve anything," Alric muttered to himself. In a louder voice, he continued. "Its not far. We can discuss this whole situation better once we're in a safe place."
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  22. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Aldren let out a sulky moan as his booted feet reached the wet, dull ground. Even short of light, he could see the dirt and moss in the stones, the water running down in between them. He went through a fair amount of dark coves and less than hospitable places in his journeys, hunting monsters, but the sewers were always the worst.

    The man slightly grasped the hilt of his sword as he analyzed the tunnels ahead, so short for his height that he felt he would have to walk on his knees to fit in. The small siblings were lucky to be of that size in this matter, now that they were dealing with infrastructure, rather than armored brutes.

    Cordale saw how Lyssia pushed back the vomit that sought passage through her throat. The smell was indeed as horrible as he imagined, but they would have to move on if they had any hope of reaching that safe place that Alric talked about. And quite frankly, he wasn't about to die in a sewer.

    Alric signaled them ahead, and they started moving on towards safety, crawling through the filth and the darkness.
     
    Lyssia D'avore likes this.
  23. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    There was nothing much to remark about the travel through the sewers. Despite all the tall tales told of heroic rescues that took place using these foul waterways as the sole means of entry and escape, the great chases through the hidden labyrinth beneath cities of grand scale...

    It was almost a relief from the boredom of the trek, to finally come across a set of steps and passage leading from the turgid flow, leading upwards and away from the damp and dark world beneath Mericet. Alric spent a long moment listening at the entrance to the stairs, but apparently was satisfied by what he heard, for he ascended them. Lyssia followed hurriedly, happy to be away from the filth below.

    The steps were well worn and as unclean as everything else since they had began their journey underground. As they ascended, dampness was replaced by dust, the stones less moldy and slime covered and now just looking flat out older. Lyssia looked upon it, and thought to herself that it was just another of those things that had been forgotten as time passed along, parts of buildings or castles walled off after being disused long enough. That such a thing could be in the Royal Castle, itself a holdover from different, more war-like times, surprised her. She had to wonder if the old Western Keep had similar things hidden within its walls, and guessed she would never find out.

    Ultimately, after a surprisingly long climb, they reached and ancient oak door, banded with iron. Alric pushed it open, letting in on a room that was dark and dusty, although it had been cleaned some.

    The magical orbs they held cast lurid light on everything within this place. The room had a tall ceiling of dressed stone with great wooden beams supporting the room. Many alcoves were set into the sides of it, and she couldn't even begin to imagine what they might have contained at one point in time. Sparsely furnished, it looked as though what had been brought here had mostly been salvaged from elsewhere. A table, with papers strewn across its surface, stood in the center of the room with makeshift chairs and wobbly looking stools around it. The ashes in the fireplace, to one side of the room, had the look of something a fair bit fresher than everything else in here, and the great cook pot over it looked free of rust and recently cleaned. A cot in one alcove, a pallet in another, and a couple of bedrolls indicated that there had been several people sleeping here at some point in time or another.

    And the reason for the apparent safety was evident too. The door leading out of this room was cracked in half and jammed into the doorway, but beyond it was crumbled stone that had filled whatever passage was there. So this room wasn't just some walled off part of the keep, but something completely isolated, and very likely forgotten by all who inhabited the great stone fortress above.

    "How did you find this place..." Lyssia breathed to Alric, who shrugged simply.

    "Some thieves were using it. Its been appropriated in the name of our family and some...friends." He indicated the table with a very serious face. "We have been planning a way to cause House Farron some trouble, but it hasn't been easy, dear sister."

    Lyssia turned and looked at Aldren as Alric moved to go light an actual candle, and work on restarting the fire to take the chill of the subterranean room. The globe she held in her hand cast strange shadows on his face. "Thank you, once again," she said, craning her neck to look up into his eyes.

    "Yes, thank you very much, sir Templar. If you don't mind my asking, what are you doing in Mericet, anyway?" Alric seemed genuinely interested in the answer to his question.
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.
  24. Aldren Cordale

    Member
    Aldren Cordale Templar, Monster Hunter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Unknown
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    It was a rather dull trek through the darkened maze until they were close to their destination. Aldren made a few remarks about the poor smell and the occasional rats here and there, but nothing too grand. They seemed like perfectly common subterranian tunnels, nothing like the fantasies that Lyssia kept talking about with her brother. In the end, even her seemed a bit disappointed. Which was actually a good thing, in Aldren's eyes, or it would be terrible to fight some mythical monster in those tight and short tunnels.

    The group eventually reached a large room, entrance opened by Alric. By its contents, it seemed like a proper hideout, and used for quite some time. Aldren noticed the chairs and bedrolls, realizing that they weren't really alone in that struggle. It would be nice to swell their numbers up, before taking the fight to Devak and his people.

    As Alric and Lyssia did some family catching up, Aldren used that time to better scout the place. It was quite organized, all things considered. He even noticed some of the entraces that were blocked by fortunate debris, preventing some surprise attacks that could be turned into a bloodbath in that tight space. It really did seem that Alric and his people had some things already taken care of, which meant that they weren't just swinging in the dark. Would be easier to stand against the malcontents that way.

    Aldren calmly walked back to the siblings, his left hand resting atop the hilt of his sword. He nodded in response to Lyssia's gratitude, but eventually stuttered at Alric's words.

    With some degree of hesitation, Aldren's otherwise straight and serious face gave way to a more nervous outlook as he answered. "I'm... not actually a Templar. Not a real one, at least. If there's even such a thing anymore". He evaded their judging gaze, walking towards the grand table set in the middle of the room, loaded with papers and maps of all kinds.

    "I never took any oaths, was never properly knighted. The only promise i made was to my master's grave, after he was killed". With an almost pained, grieving look, Aldren turned back to face the siblings, "And that led me here. In search for another monster to hunt and kill."
     
    Lyssia D'avore likes this.
  25. Lyssia D'avore

    Member
    Lyssia D'avore Just Another Waif

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2019
    Messages:
    58
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Bodies lying in the street, blood washing away in the rain. Lyssia shuddered delicately as she recalled how they had met, how he had brutally taken down those guards with nary a second though, at least by appearance. Hunting monsters. For the first time, she wondered what qualified as a monster, and with some disquiet she wondered if she could be considered such. She was of noble birth, and she was not human. And, looking at the clear, cold light of the magic she held, she could do things most humans could not.

    Alric lit the fireplace with a casual gesture, the flames roaring to sudden life though there was no one standing near them. Lyssia could see the woven threads of magic that comprised the spell, see the deft weaving. It was a level of skill she did not yet possess. Her brother had been practicing it far longer than she had, of course. She tried to replicate the trick, with the candle on the table where all the maps were...but failed the first couple of times. She blushed a deep crimson when Alric did it for her, and allowed the flow of sweet, enticing power to ebb away.

    "Not a Templar, eh?" the older sibling said, voice flat. "Well, I suppose it doesn't matter to me if you've taken the Oaths or not. The Templar still exist. Fragmented, scattered across the world." It was said with the flavor of something read, but not witnessed. Not surprising, considering they had not left home very much.

    "I...don't think it matters, either way," Lyssia said slowly, her high-pitched voice nearly echoing in the room. "You rendered aid to a stranger for no other reason than said stranger needed help." But she wondered if the man would have helped her if he had known who she was. Sure, he knew next to nothing about the Kingdom, but would he have been so eager to help a noble brat, instead of some apparent wayward waif?

    That she couldn't answer the question made her doubt that he would have.

    Alric moved around to the table, and looked at the papers scattered all over it. Two or three different maps of the city, all of various ages, were pinned in place, rolled open. Four others depicted the countryside surrounding the city, and then there were lists, almost as if supplies or manifests. The young man looked upon them, face grim.

    "Well, I don't know about monsters of the teeth-and-claws variety, but there is a spider sitting in the web of the High Court here." The young man looked angry as he thought of his enemy. "He smeared our good name, killed my Father, and has managed to bring to ruin the mercantile empire we had put together. Not to mention shattered the political influence the D'avore name once carried."

    "Why did he do it, brother?" she asked, voice clearly plaintive. "I realize that the other Houses are always looking for a place to plant the knife, but...why...?"

    "If only I knew. It cost them money and influence to bring about. What was worth that effort." Alric was looking to Aldren, as though the warrior might have some insight.
     
    Aldren Cordale likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice