Fable - Ask Mirrored Eyes

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Ysala

Daughter of Ysa'leth
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Myrra

It was quiet, far more so than it usually was.

The silence had been wrought by fear and violence, by events over the last few weeks. The Undercity had been shaken, a relative calm broken into a thousand pieces by one single act. The burning of a temple, the murder of a priest, the slaughter of a Noble.

No one knew for sure who had done it. Information had been blocked and suppressed by the Priesthood, three people who had been there slaughtered in their own homes just days after the event. Many thought it was the same culprit as had been at the temple, but Ysala knew better. The Priests had silenced those who would not be silenced.

Things were changing.

It was a shift, the change that her mother had whispered of.

Like others Ysala did not know what happened, but the rumors flooded like a river. Talk of revolution, of someone long forgotten, of those left behind and coming again. She did not know the truth of this, not yet, but she would. Her mother had given her a command, and as always Ysala would follow it. Fingers danced slowly over the hilt of her long-knife.

The slums of the Undercity were the only part of the whole metropolis not silent, and as she swept into it's streets she found the people there still wandering the streets as though nothing had happened. These people did not care, they had been dispossessed by both Priests and Gods centuries ago. They were the foul, the dirt.

Those who it was easiest to hide among.

Ysala knew this, and that was why her mother had lead her here.

A vision of eyes like mirrors.
 
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Myrra

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Myrra's head was in shambles. A few months prior she believed herself the orphan of selfish or drug addled parents. Now she knew the horrific truth. A priest had condemned her as bringing about a great catastrophe and her parents cared more about some silly tribal obligations than rearing their own daughter.

Watching the light go out in the drowish priest's eyes had brought her a degree of glee she was ashamed to confess to anyone but herself. Extinguishing the life wasn't the satisfying part. It was the knowledge that he could never hurt her again that made her feel so alive.

Unfortunately, in the frenzy after his death she had been separated from her two friends. She had no idea where Kassa or Nasir had hidden during the madness that followed. Now she was alone in a strange subterranean city, sticking to the slums, stealing food and what passed for coin in this alien world. It was like nothing had changed from her old life.

Minus the lack of humans and the prevalence of sights and sounds that felt foreign to her.

She couldn't help but feel like the more things had changed the more they stayed the same. Down in the slums, another night of finding no work. Another night of sitting alone in a dilapidated dive bar. Part of her hoping that a mercenary contract would fall into her lap. Some rough looking drow would waltz in offering good pay to rough up some son or daughter of who-gives-a-shit. More and more of the work she was finding consisted of some nonsense such as that. The only thing she had really learned of her people was to hide her eyes. Their red hue signaled nobility which proved a massive inconvenience as she tried to keep her hood pulled over the top of her face.

Of course, there was another part of her that didn't care for finding more work. The part of her that just wanted to sit at the bar, ordering more shots of whatever the locals called this particular kind of liquor, and forget all of those troubles. The alcohol that was popular here resembled vodka in appearance but it was far more bitter, far more potent, and it mixed well with a bit of mint and some kind of luminous teal mushroom that the dark elves grew here.

Myrra had planned on getting properly intoxicated now. She had a full pocket of the strange currency her people used. No work, no prospects. She downed drink number one of who-cares-how-many and raised a finger to order one more.

Hopefully no one would interrupt her while she forgot about being a great calamity or being on a list of the Undercity's most wanted.

"Another," she said to the barkeep with one finger held high.
 
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Ysala

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She stepped into the tavern with all the confidence of a Queen Parading through her city.

An eerie silence formed as soon as she opened the door. Denizens of the small Inn slowly peered at her, some shirking away from her gaze while others almost came to challenge it. A small smile touched her lips as she saw the latter.

Ysala made no effort to hide her eyes nor the gem upon her forehead.

There had never been any point in concealing who she was. A hood could hide her face. A bit of effort the gem on her forehead, but her eyes? Her eyes were not something she could conceal. Those within this establishment knew what they meant as well as any in the palaces.

But who mirrors me? Ysala thought to herself as she slowly looked through the room.

Most within the tavern had eyes of gray, of bleakness that told a story of being worn down and wasting away. They were of no concern to her, not now. Fingers flittered slightly at her side as she searched, an odd quiet forming within the room as she peered across the people.
 
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Myrra

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Hushed voices in dark elvish tiptoed and danced around the tavern. Maybe that was the mob boss or labor leader looking to hire someone of her particular talents. Myrra risked a peek out from her protective hood.

The drow froze. Those eyes.

Why on Arethil was a mistress of what passed as the upper echelon of Undercity society parading around this part of town? Even without her crimson eyes the woman was noticeable with that damn gem or those fancy clothes.

What was worse was that the lady appeared to be looking for something. Or more likely, someone. Had they somehow tracked the murderer of the high priest down? Had they figured out that the strange dark elf hydromancer was slumming it up here?

Myrra didn’t wish to find out. Just as Ysala’s head turned towards her the rogue elf pulled the hood over her face. The stranger likely caught a ruby glint from her eyes but certainly didn’t catch a good luck at her.

The white haired drow tapped the bar top and stated, “on second thought, that’ll be enough. Thank you.” She doled out what she owed plus an appropriate tip and attempted to slink into the crowd of gaping elves.
 
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Ysala

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She did not command the same respect as other Priests, and most certainly not here. Still, the sight of her was enough to at least draw the eye and spark low murmurs of what someone like her was even doing here.

Fingers tightened at her side for a moment as she watched those inside. Most stayed where they were, either looking back or dismissing her presence after a single quick glance. Ysala passed most of them over, but then spotted one slowly moving.

A glint of red flashed from beneath a darkened hood.

Her gaze immediately fixed on the figure, watching as it shifted away from the bard and pressed into the crowd of the bar behind her. She moved lithely, quickly, but Ysala had caught the sight of her and that was enough.

There was a slight flicker, and then Ysala seemed to bleed into the shadows.

Another loud murmur ran through the room at the ostentatious display of magic, but before they could even curse the Priestess she reappeared upon the wall near the back door, her claw like hand reaching out to grasp Myrra's shoulder.
 
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Myrra

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For a washed up rogue living in the slums of a strange city she had to hand it to herself. The drow still had a talent for sneaking away unseen. Truly an agent of the night, she hadn't known how the agents of the city had tracked her down but clearly her luck was changing as she evaded this one.

And then suddenly, Myrra felt the warmth of a hand press against her shoulder. Perhaps she had overestimated her ability to slip away unseen.

"Yes?" she questioned in the common tongue. Just play dumb, you've never even met a priest. You're just a traveling uh, merchant or something. "Can I help you with something?"

Her heart pounded up against her chest as worry flooded over. There were too many people present in the rundown bar. Made violence a no-go, would attract more attention than it got off of her. But she wouldn't allow this stranger to take her to the gallows, she would deny any knowledge of whatever crime this person was obviously here to investigate. Fingertips danced across the hilt of her knife just under her cloak.

Just play dumb. You don't know anything. You're going to be fine, was all she could do to mentally reassure herself.
 
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Ysala

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Ysala gazed at the girl, smiling faintly as she stepped fully from the shadows.

Her skin seemed to shift for a few seconds, flowing out like a robe and descending onto the ground. It fluttered there for a moment, her eyes fixing on Myrra's. Her fingers unlaced from the girls shoulders as she looked down at her.

"I think you might." The elder Drow mused.

The odd gem on her forehead seemed to glow for just a brief moment, almost as though it were an eye that blinked. Ysala tilted her head for a brief moment, her smile growing a little bit wider before it quickly disappeared.

"Where are you from, Child?" She asked. "Your face seems oh so familiar."

It was not really a lie. "I cannot help but think I've seen you before."
 
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Myrra

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Odd. This elf before her seemed to almost materialize out of the wall. Like an origami shape coming to life. That was a neat little trick.

As her hand drifted from Myrra’s shoulder the hooded elf let out a sigh of relief. A few patrons were still staring but many had gone back to their drinks. Maybe this wouldn’t turn out so bad after all.

The two stared into each other’s eyes and up close Myrra realized they nearly matched hers. When Ysala’s gem illuminated itself and she began to smile the younger drow felt a natural inclination to smile back. Not that Myrra was happy but returning a smile was just what you did in these situations.

But then the older woman went for the jugular.

”No, I don’t believe we’ve ever met,” she said with sweaty palms and a pit in her stomach. Had this woman made her? Was she just being toyed with now?

Laughter in the background, glasses clanking, and the muffled sound of many voices in the pub all speaking at once served to accentuate each of her words.

The red-eyed younger elf parted her lips once more, ”I’m from Densyth, very small town, just passing through really.” It wasn’t the best name for a made up town but Densyth would have to do for now.

”I unfortunately must get going, my family is waiting on me just down the street,” she lied once more while turning her focus towards the exit. She doubted her gambit would work but stranger things had haplened
 
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Ysala

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"Densyth?" She mused. "I've never heard of such a palce. It must stand at the farthest reaches of our Empire."

Of course Ysala was well aware of the truth.

There was no Empire beneath anymore, not for a thousand years. Most of their people did not know that, most believed the lies of the Priesthood. For them it was ignorance, though it was all born a of a lie. She smiled still, looking at the girl.

Her confidence grew. "Allow me to walk with you. This part of town is very dangerous."

She cocked her head.

"I couldn't bare the knowledge that I let you off on your own only for you to get snapped up by one of the Kel'tha." The Kel'Tha were a criminal organization within the Undercity, a group famed for kidnapping and involvement in slavery. It was rumored that the nobility and priesthood paid them for young girls to sacrifice in rituals.

Though, that was just a rumor of course.
 
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Myrra

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This was actually working. Myrra could definitely sell the idea of 'Densyth' being a backwater town.

"Yes, very far reaches of the Empire. No surprise at all that you haven't heard of it, it's mostly a farming town. Very famous for yams. They asked me to come here for more yam seeds," she said before shutting her lips. No point in overselling it.

Right as her fingers loosened from the dagger beneath her cloak the stranger made an offer to accompany her. That was not good. She certainly didn't have any family waiting down the street and Myrra wasn't certain yet that this woman was truly fooled or wasn't actively searching for her.

At the mention of the Kel'tha the younger drow cocked her own head back at Ysala. What was the Kel'tha? An order of priests seeking out heretics? A gang of some sort? Myrra was still new enough to the Undercity that she hadn't heard of that particular organization. At least not until just now. "Right, best to travel in groups I suppose," she relented as she walked towards the door.

Once they were out on the street, alone, she considered for a second what her best option was. Attack the older dark elf? Flee down the alleyway? Both had their intrinsic risks. Both could have backfired horribly.

Myrra simply stood, in a darkened area away from the door of the tarven, and stared back at Ysala. Waiting to see what her next move would be.
 
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Ysala

Daughter of Ysa'leth
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Ysala looked at Myrra expectantly. "Well?"

Her tone was gentle, but expecting.

"Do you not know your way?" The Priestess was more than willing to play this little game with the girl. She was almost certain that her assumption about her was entirely correct, though saying so for sure was difficult.

For now. "Our glorious city can be confusing." She said with a tilt of her head as though she was thinking on something.

"Do you remember what their home looks like?" Ysala asked the girl. "Perhaps I have seen it before."

As the two women stood, a man stepped out of the bar behind them. He glanced at them both for a second, and then began to walk towards the left, tucking into a nearby alleyway.
 
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Myrra

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Myrra shuffled uncomfortably. Her arms had tensed up as she stared into eyes that reflected her own.

It seemed less and less likely that this woman was genuine but her tone was soft. She had kept up the charade whereas if she were there to arrest Myrra, well, now would be the opportune time.

The elf’s face broke its lock of Ysala for a second as it trailed the patron who had left the bar and only after he had swerved into the alley, after he was out of earshot, did she summon the courage to question Ysala.

”What do you want with me?”

It was a straightforward request. Myrra was prepared to fight or run at this point but the idea of harming someone who truly was just a good samaritan bothered her enough that she needed to confirm this stranger’s intentions first. If she had malicious intentions, well, Myrra wouldn’t hold back.

Her fingers glew white as the grip on her dagger tightened.
 
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Ysala

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The Priestess smiled for just a few more seconds, her eyes folding closed in a long blink as she wondered whether or not the truth would be thesimplest avenue to getting what she wanted.

Here in the Undercity such was rarely the case.

Most often times one had to lie, cheat, and murder. That was what she had learned over her long life, though she knew it was different for the commoners. At least, two out of the three were. She mused for a moment more, then her lips parted. "There was an incident some days passed."

Ysala began.

"An attack on a Temple. A man of blue eyes. A woman of Red. A human." She mused. "Descriptions that here are not unique, but together?"

Her lips pursed. "Very rare indeed."

It seemed even when she was being honest she could not be straightforward.
 
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Myrra

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Well, that answered her question. Myrra’s eyes went wide as the other woman regaled her with the tale of the priest’s murder.

”Not sure what that has to do with me,” she lied while glancing down the alley.

The time for deceit was over and she knew it. Whoever this person was clearly knew that Myrra was involved with the calamity at the temple. They’d been biding their time, though for what she was unsure. She didn’t particularly want to find out.

Myrra’s grip on her blade released.

Her face appeared calm, resigned.

Her muscles relaxed.

And then, in an instant she rushed down the alley, cloak aflutter behind the drow. Her left hand focused on the moisture in the air around her and then projected it towards the ground. Part mist, part frost, it’d prove to hinder movement and might buy her enough time to get away.

Briefly she had considered a brawl. People like that stranger seemed to be persistent. Even if she lost her now Myrra knew she’d see her again. But, she still held to certain morals. No sense harming or killing someone for doing their job. The priest had deserved it. Ruined her life and who knows how many.

The woman pursuing her? She might well be blameless. It’d be wrong to attack her. Besides, the icy path behind her would ensure Myrra’s escape.

Right?
 
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Ysala

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"You? Not much beyond what h-" Before she could finish her sentence the girl suddenly turned on her heel and booked it down the alleyway at a sprint.

Ysala let out a loud sigh and she was about to take off after her when the air seemed to shift.

She wouldn't have noticed it, not in the dark of the alleyway, but the way the girl twisted around and shifted her entire body spoke of something. Lips thinned, eyes narrowing, and then the haze within the air seemed to change and then suddenly drop. The ground itself shimmered with Ice, catching some of the bare light from the bioluminescent vines.

Lips thinned, and she stopped. "Clever."

Magic was not uncommon here, even with the peasants, but she hadn't thought the girl capable of it. Ysala lingered for a moment, and the she suddenly slipped into the shadows behind her.

There was a surge through the darkness cast onto the walls, something moving between the splotches of shade on the wall.

Then suddenly Ysala crept from the dark in front of Myrra.

"Stop!" She hissed at the girl. "I won't hurt you."

Ysala doubted that Myrra would believe her. Such a promise was always given by people like her, but rarely kept. Strangely enough though, she meant it here.
 
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Myrra

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In an instant, she appeared. The woman who had been accosting Myrra seemed to morph out from the shadows. Some kind of magic, the elf was certain.

Myrra’s feet came to an abrupt stop. She looked at the ground for a second before gazing back at the stranger.

Odd.

What could this woman possibly want with her? If she was with what passed as the government in the Undercity then Myrra assumed she’d be under arrest or assaulted by now. If she was a freedom fighter of sorts then she would’ve been up front about it.

So, then, who was this woman with a gemstone plastered on her forehead?

”Right,” the drow said huffing in oxygen, ”out with it, what do you want? One chance to be honest.”

Myrra’s magic tended to leave her dehydrated and alcohol only exasperated the problem. She ignored that for now, summoning a large and pointed icicle in her left hand while her right pulled back her cloak to showcase the long dagger affixed to her hip.

She had given the woman two chances to be honest, she wouldn’t afford the same kindness a third time. ”Let’s begin with names,” she stated with an anxious tone, ”mine is Myrra. Honestly. No more lies. I expect the same courtesy out of you.”

It may not have been the smartest strategy to lay all of the cards on the table but the dark elven girl was confident in one thing. Either both of them would leave that alley alive or just Myrra would. That was the honest truth of the matter, so far as she was concerned.
 
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Ysala

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"I am Ysala." She stated plainly.

There was no point in lying.

"I seek the man who was with you." She remembered him well, at least if what the Goddess had told her was true. It usually was, though even the Elder Things sometimes made mistakes. Something that Ysa'Leth readily admitted to her. "I want to know what he was doing in this city."

There was something to her tone, her expression. "What he thinks he can accomplish even now."

Ysala looked as though she was about to open her mouth to speak, but there was a slight crack of two stones meeting one another at the start of the alleyway. Her head shot to the side, and within the dark she saw three figures slowly moving forward.

A hiss escaped her throat.

"Walk." The Priestess said quietly, motioning for Myrra to continue on the path she'd been heading toward.
 
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Myrra

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Ysala. That was a pleasant enough name.

A brow furrowed at the mention of her male companion. She’d like to know Nasir’s whereabouts too. After Myrra had suffocated the life out of the high priest things got… complicated.

The trio had been separated and she didn’t know if they were hiding somewhere in the Undercity, if they had gone back above ground, or even if they were still alive. She had to hope that something that dreadful hadn’t befallen any of them.

Saliva formed around her lips as she considered her words and waited for Ysala to finish her thought. But the sound of kicked stones distracted them both.

”Damn,” the Drow said in a hush.

It had seemed they were getting somewhere until these goons showed up. She still wasn’t sure if this Ysala meant her harm. If she were a friend or foe. But these newcomers? They definitely had the look of the same grunts Myrra once associated with back in The Shallows.

Best to avoid ‘em.

In a fluid motion she turned and kept down the path. Not really waiting to see if Ysala kept up or if the brutes were pursuing the two elves.
 
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Ysala

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"Do not look back." Ysala knew what this was.

The Priesthood did not like to admit it, but things had fallen far and fast within the Undercity. The gangs here were running wild, and any semblance of authority had long ago been lost within this place. Ysala knew this, for she herself had employed some of these gangs.

She knew what these men wanted.

None of them likely even had a clue of who they were chasing. Both Myrra and Ysala in their eyes were just a pair women who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They would want to capture them, sell them into slavery, and then...well then that would be it.

Sacrifice or a life of servitude.

Ysala had no intent of that happening of course. "How long have you been here?"

She asked Myrra as her hand gently wrapped around the younger girl's arm, guiding her to the right of the alleyway and leading her deeper between the streets.
 
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Myrra

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Like an obedient child Myrra nodded and refrained from looking behind. Outwardly she was the picture of compliant, inwardly she debated trying to freeze the woman’s feet to the ground while she made for an escape.

The realization that the criminals following them would kill her, or worse, was the only thing stopping her. She still had some morals.

A question followed by a firm, but gentle, tug towards the proper direction.

Still keeping her voice low she answered nonchalantly, ”a week or two.” She gave a dismissive shrug after her answer.

When she had first arrived in the Undercity it had taken her breath away. The bioluminescent vines, mushrooms, and odd twisted trees. The utterly alien architecture. The prevalence of her people. Now it felt normal to see a dark elf everywhere she went. And the slums were far less splendid than the priestly temple district and upper class neighborhoods she had only seen for a day or so.

”We can turn and fight them,” she reminded her escort. Myrra tried to avoid combat normally. Especially when she was on the run from the law. But they were isolated now. They’d have the element of surprise.

And candidly she wanted to know if Ysala was someone she could fell in a fight. If it came to that.