Open Chronicles Levels of Light

Finn

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Finn's blue eyes darted around Kellen's face.

10,000?!

She gulped. It was a large sum to her. Kellen may be used to it but the orphan girl and ex-gang member certainly wasn't. Arms crossed beneath her chest. "What? Why're you looking at me like that? I don't think Gristle would've ratted us out - ratted me out."

Thin shoulders shrugged.

"I'm thirsty. Any water on this boat?"
 
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Kellen

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Ah yes, Gristle.

He had oddly forgotten about the giant of a man that they had run into in the hallways. He'd seemed to know Finn rather well, in fact one might have guessed them as more than just old friends. He mused for a moment.

Petty jealousy?

The Underlord doubted it, the fellow had hardly seemed intelligent enough to grasp his own foot much less try and set them up for a double bounty. No, more likely it was someone else.

Someone in her gang? "The barrels."

He pointed towards the back of the ship.
 
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Finn

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With wobbly legs on deck and walking like a drunken-sailor, Finn maneuvered her way to the barrels. She wondered if she'd even be able to attend University now. What if bounty hunters came looking?

Maybe water travel just wasn't her thing.

Gripping the edge of the barrel, she scooped out a tin cup full of water and drank deeply. The girl noticed Kellen had followed her with a slightly amused expression on his face. "Are you going to tell me more about yourself and what you can do?"

Slurp, slurp.

Down went the water.
 
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Kellen

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"I can do many things." Kellen said as he leaned back against the railings.

It was a true enough interpretation of who he was as a person. He did have knowledge of many tricks and crafts that most would not have been overly fond of. It was a part of growing up in the slums and coming together in a place where one had to learn in order to survive.

He was sure she could relate.

"You'll have to be more specific." He knew what she was after of course, they all were once they figured it out. "Otherwise this will take all day."

Luckily she wasn't a scholar.

Just an inventor.
 
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Finn

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Back of her hand wiped across her brow. Sky-blue eyes narrowed on Kellen. "Haha. Very funny," voice was dryer than the desert air. "You know exactly what I'm asking about."

The girl looked around conspicuously.

Kellen was already helping her so much, she was hesitant to ask more. Fingers came up to pick at her bare shoulder. "I just um," a self-deprecating turn of her lips. "Didn't know if you could maybe help me with whatever I've got going on?"

Finn had no idea. She just observed things when the boss put her in specific places and used her gift much like what had happened in the alleyway with the city's mages.
 
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Kellen

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He frowned for a second. "I don't understand my abilities."

That wasn't exactly true. He understood them, he just didn't know where they came from or exactly what they did and why. It was more an instinctual practice rather than a magical ability. He'd listened to more than one mage explain how their abilities worked, and always it was nothing like his own powers.

Something that bothered him immensely.

"I've never gone to a mage or Scholar." He frowned. "I feared to be poked and prodded."

Kellen drummed his fingers on the side of the railing. "It's a natural instinct that I have to resist. If there is magic around me…it begins to pull into me, bind to me."

He shrugged, not quite sure how else to put it.
 
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Finn

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"I don't understand mine, either," she offered quietly, finally finding a settling within her seasick-stomach. Walking to the railing be leaving some good space between herself and Kellen, she leaned her elbows across the scratchy-wooden surface. Blonde-brows scrunched together in worry as he voiced something she hadn't thought about.

"Do you think they'd poke and prod me too if I went to a mage?"

In other words, to someone professionally.
 
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Kellen

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He shrugged. Who could say?

"I'm a criminal on my best days." Kellen told Finn quietly, a frown touching his lips for just a moment before he slowly continued on. "On my worst, a traitor."

The words were vague, but Finn didn't need to know everything about him.

"I have more enemies than I can count, and most of them sit in the same towers as the mages that would do the experiments." His frown deepened into a taxed scowl.

A moment of silence passed.

"You're just an innocent girl wandering into Alliria." He said softly. "It'd be easier for you."
 
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Finn

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Back of her hand cuffed along the tip of her nose as she eyed Kellen. A small smile wrapped around her lips. "Heh. Innocent. If innocent means having a criminal history, stealing for a living, and now a bounty."

The smile quickly faded. Thumbs jammed to the insides of the belt that lined her waist. A long, low sigh escaped her small mouth.

"We can part ways when we get to Alliria - if you think that's best."

She hoped he didn't. But it seemed like he was nudging her in that direction.
 
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Kellen

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"The Watch won't know that, or care much truth be told." Alliria only cared about Elbion's concerns when it impacted their trade. Otherwise? Well otherwise what was one girl in a sea of tourists and refugees that visited the city on a daily basis.

A shrug rolled over his shoulder.

"You can do as you please." He would not hold her to anything, Kellen intended on keeping his word. "Alliria is relatively safe, as long as you stay out of the slums."

A frown touched his lips. "Staying with me has its perks."

Though also it's detractions.

"I wasn't joking when I said I was a criminal." The Council of Merchants wanted his head, and the sooner they got it the happier they would be.
 
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Finn

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Taking a second, tin cup from the water barrel, she ladled some in and offered it to Kellen.

I wasn't joking when I said I was a criminal.

"Neither was I," she spoke quietly. The little inventor didn't know what she was going to do when they got to the new city. She hoped they'd get there. No guarantees in this world.

"What kind of perks?" Sandy-brows lifted.
 
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Kellen

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"The kind that comes with a bed, some food too." He chuckled. "Not much really, but more than most have."

That turned dark fast.

"I have a few safe houses around the city, contacts in most areas. I'm a criminal, but those who run with me tend to live comfortable enough lives." Hunted, but comfortable.

Eventually that would change.

He wondered if they would stick with him then.
 
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Finn

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"Yeah, pretty good perks."

It's all she said. She made no promise or offer. Looked like the stars were coming out. Night was already expanding across the ceiling of the world. Blues traveled up to the crow's nest.

She'd always loved heights. Maybe she felt safer higher up.

"Mind if I go up there?"

Chin tilted to where she was looking.
 
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Kellen

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"Knock yourself out." Kellen said with a gesture.

The ship's mast was not tall, not as tall as some anyway. Generally it was only used for getting a good vantage on the docks.

Their small vessel was not one for seeking land, nor one for entering a fight.

"Just don't fall." He told her. "Crew hates cleaning up."

It was hard to tell if he was joking.
 
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Finn

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Blue-eyes bulged at the man's comment. Then narrowed. She may have seen his lips twitched. Or maybe it was a trick of the waning light. Turning, fingers tucked wayward strands of dirty blonde hair behind ears before going to the handholds etched out of wood.

She climbed with ease and of one that seemed to climb trees or buildings often.

Pulling herself into the crow's nest, she leaned her back against the mast, letting her feet dangle into the air below. Eyes took in Kellen's crew and then looked around the river, catching glimpses of flickering light along the bank that might've marked smaller towns or lone groups camping.

It was quiet up here and the wind wove through her hair like gentle fingers. Helped keep the water-sickness at bay. Head lulled to the side and she found it harder to keep her eyes open. She'd miss the shadows flying in the sky and coming from the East. Even though they were a long way's off, it wasn't a good thing to miss the beasts that were coming, flapping through the dark on sinewy wings.
 
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Kellen

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Time always seemed to move slower on a ship.

Kellen wasn't sure if it was an illusion of the sea or how the ship moved itself, but he had never much liked it. There was something unsettling about the whole thing, the feeling like time was crawling by at a slower pace.

Made him nervous. "Let's see if we can't get ourselves there faster."

Kellen said to one of his men.

Alliria lay well ahead of them, they still had days left to travel...but an unease had settled in on him. This bounty was bad news, and the further they were from Elbion the better.

The city had its own ships, after all.
 
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Finn

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Finn's head had dropped to her chest. Sleep had come rather quickly to the young, bony-limbed girl. There was a rush of air and a flap of movements that brushed against her face.

Then a caw-like screeching.

Eyes lazily opened as the sound of something sharp scraped just above her head. As sleep began to dissolve from her senses, she felt a sharp and sudden tug on her shoulders. A startled cry to arms came to her ears from a man below as she became suddenly airborn.

Feet managed to hook into the railing of the crow's nest as she yelped in surprise, staring up at a wide-toothed grin from a flying wraith-like beast. Fingers closed into a tight fist as she began thrashing wildly.
 
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Kellen

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"HARPIES!"

Kellen's eyes bulged as he heard the call, his lips thinning as his gaze wandered through the swarm of flying creatures. A curse rang through his head, though he didn't even have the time to say it as one of the beasts flew low.

It cut at him with her claws, doing it's best to grasp him and shred a part of his body into small bits. Before her touch could reach him Kellen turned to the right, hiding behind the mast of the ship.

"Shit!" He called finally. "What the hell are they doing this far off shore?"

Another screech, and a harpy slashed at him.
 
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Finn

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She struggled and heard a rip as the claws of the harpy trying to carry her off snagged free from her shirt. The fabric ripping, saving the girls life. Only. Now, she felt herself free-falling through the night air.

Past the mast.

Limbs flew out trying to purchase something.

Her fall was shortened as she fell on top of Kellen.

"Ow," she moaned. Then quickly rolled off him.
 
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Kellen

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On top of was not quite the right word. Kellen managed to move half to the side, sticking out his arms so that the girl would not fall onto the ground and break her neck. There was a loud 'oof' of pain as Finn's small form landed half on him.

He grounded himself, though there was no magic to help him.

It was the drawback of being a leech. His powers came from other people, not from himself. He had no abilities of his own, nothing that could him him hers, not without another mage nearby.

It was good then that he was strong enough on his own.

Still, they both went down, crumpling on to the ground just in time to avoid a pair of claws swooping above.
 
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Finn

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"Are you alive?" She mumbled, still trying to get hear bearings, hand coming up to move along his arm and press against his chest. Other hand went to press against the ship's decking. Solid ground.

Well, minus the swaying.

Stomach rolled slightly at being reminded. She gulped it down. There were more screeches and flapping of wings from above. Hand on his chest would transition to his own, rough palm, tugging him along.

"We have to get to cover. Have any weapons?"