Private Tales Misappropriation

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Amos

The Afflicted
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Vel Zaphris - Kaeden and Amos' Workshop

"Your sister?" Amos said with a frown, pausing as he stopped in what he was doing. Flipping the small magnifying glass attached to his spectacles upward.

On the table in front of him sat a massive block of metal. It had been intricately milled and carved, created by none other than the fine Craftsmen at Ogrim & Son's in Vel Lameus. Throughout the entire construct lay lines of brilliant gold, or at least that was what it appeared to be. The two researchers had taken to calling them circuits, a name that Kaeden had come up with.

These circuits were meant to conduct magical energies. "No, I do not believe I've met her."

He said glancing over towards Kaeden.

"In fact, I'm fairly certain I could count on one hand the times you've spoken about her." Though the same could be said for any of his family. Though it was not as though there was much to speak about. "Why is she coming?"

Amos asked curiously, though he didn't mind the visit.

People popped in and out of their workshop almost constantly. Usually it was Professors seeking to take a peek at what they were doing, but it was not uncommon that some nobleman or woman would walk in. Those visits were far more welcome, if only so that they could drum up more excitement for the coming project. Investment was always needed, even in Vel Zaphris.
 
Hmm, yeah that’s right. I hardly talk about family with you,” Kaeden said.

But then, Kaeden gave a pause after Amos’s last question. He sighed.

If I recall, it was Father’s doing,” Kaeden told Amos, “Something about experiencing real work.

Sister is... interesting,” Kaeden began, “I’m sure she won’t do anything... serious to you but... I’m afraid you’ll have to be mindful of her.”

Looking at the construct from Ogrim & Son’s, Kaeden sighed.

We should probably put everything fragile back in storage before she gets here...
 
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"There's really no need for that, Kaeden." The bell above the door chimed, announcing the entrance of the red-haired woman. She scanned the room as she entered, almost disappointed at its size. She had never known her brother to prefer something so...homely...for any reason. Perhaps it was to make Amos more comfortable, given the bits and pieces she picked up from his past.

Interesting.

Niamh's arrival could not be complete had she shown up empty-handed. The girl produced a basket with various fruits, nuts, and bread for the men. As she moved to place it on a nearby table with some various shades of grey metal, she continued speaking. "Father said I should learn to appreciate the work Kaeden...and you do for everyone."

A complete lie.

Niamh was unaware what exactly their father had told Kaeden, but from his thoughts she determined this was more or less some set up for Niamh to meet Amos, fall in love and marry. Something Niamh was very much opposed to, though of course this was likely just a way for their father to tag onto whatever success the boys had rather than put a leash on Niamh.

"So, go on. The sooner I 'appreciate your hard work', the sooner I will be out of your hair." Her tone suggested that she was joking, but the eerily neutral look on her face always made it hard to tell.
 
Amos gave Kaeden and incredulous look. "She won't...do anything to me?"

His eyebrow raised and he shook his head.

"I would hope-" The door to the workshop fell open, and in stepped Niamh Banick. His perch of a small stool by one of the workbenches slowly began to swivel. Shifting as he kicked out his foot to turn himself around and face the door.

He stared for a moment as the Dreadlord placed a basket of fruits, nuts and breads onto one of the many tables. Pushing aside some of the components he had carefully laid out. Inwardly Amos cringed, but he smiled. "Oh...you shouldn't have."

Amos said, slowly standing up from his stool and gesturing to the basket.

"I'd be happy to give you a tour." He offered, glancing to Kaeden for a moment. "But I'm sure your brother would rather...?"

As he trailed off a cough racked Amos' chest, suppressed in his throat as his fist came to hover over his lips.

While the three of Anirians spoke in the little workshop, a dozen figures ran in the halls beyond. They moved as shadows, their forms blurring into their surroundings. Quickly, but silently, rushing towards the workshop.
 
Kaeden grimaced as Niamh walked in and haphazardly placed the basket upon precious parts.

With a cough as if clearing his throat, Kaeden said out of etiquette, “Yes, thank you, Sister. Now, quick introductions?

Gesturing to Amos, Kaeden told Niamh, “This is Amos Savren of Vel Anir. We attended university together at Vel Zaphris, and have been partners in this side business to bring revolutionary ideas into reality. I like to think he’s this generation’s Volmar.

Volmar was a famous Anirian natural philosopher and engineer of centuries past. Several cities’ bulwarks were further strengthened by his designs and he made vast contributions to the Anirian war machine despite not being a warrior himself.

Then with a gesture to Niamh, Kaeden told Amos, “This is my younger sister, Niamh, Granddaughter of Lord Theodore Banick. She’s doing her duty as a Dreadlord Initiate in the Academy. From what I’ve heard, her skills have garnered her notice of the Guard. I expect a bright future for Sister regardless of the path she chooses when she graduates.

Kaeden said all this with a smile.

Then, Kaeden clasped his hands together. He appeared to not notice any of the figures rushing toward the workshop.

Now, I think it’s best to give an authentic tour! Amos could continue to work, and I’ll explain what I can about the workshop. Sound good?” Kaeden told them both.
 
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“Dreadlord, brother.” Niamh corrected Kaeden with an eyeroll. “I graduated months ago.” Quiet laughter followed. “Forgive him, he never was good at introductions. Then again, I suppose it is my fault. I can’t recall if I ever told you of my graduation.”

The graduation was a story for another day.

Niamh ignored Amos’ coughing, presuming it to be naught more than some residual ailment from his childhood as a peasant. Perhaps he lived near a mine. She would remind herself to ask Kaeden in private. Surely Father would not be fond of such a sickly suitor.

“Yes, the tour. Let’s get on with it.” She looked towards Amos, who was still covering his mouth. “Sure you don’t want to come? I’d hate to miss out on the modern Volmar’s thoughts on his own creations. I fear my brother won't do them justice.|
 
"Too kind of a compliment, my friend." Amos said with a shake of his head. Perhaps one day they would build statues of him like they did Volmar, but he very much doubted that he had enough time left.

Despite that though, he couldn't help the smile on his face.

He truly was rather lucky to have the life he did. "A pleasure to meet you, Miss Banick and congratulations on your graduation."

Amos said, not presuming to call her by her first name. Frowning ever so slightly as she tried to cajole him into the role of tour guide.

"Ah, I'm afraid Kaeden is far better suited to the task than I." The researcher said returning the small smile to his face. Though he would have enjoyed giving such a tour, the young man was well aware if he did it was probably all he would manage that day. Their workshop was expansive, and all the half finished projects within were enough to excite him into a dozen lectures.

It was best to keep his focus and not tire himself out, especially with the infection growing worse as it was.

"I'll be happy to answer any questions you have when you return though!" Amos offered, not knowing the intent of those figures still drawing ever closer.
 
Graduated? News must be travelling slow! My congratulations!” Kaeden excitedly told Niamh.

Revealing one trait of Amos, Kaeden backed him up with, “Amos could talk without end about the projects here. The quick tour you want, Sister, would take at least four days to complete!

Waving a hand toward Amos, Kaeden added, “You’ll at least be well educated by the end of that.

Guiding Niamh toward a door, Kaeden told her, “Now, let’s start with the forge. Wait until you see what we’ve done to it!

If Niamh followed Kaeden out of the reception area and toward the forge, Kaeden would ask her in the same tone he had been speaking before, “By the way, did you ever find out what Father really wanted you to do by coming here?
 
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“Thank you,” She offered an awkward half-bow to both as they congratulated her, stopping only after realizing this was not some mission to schmooze with nobles but instead a casual conversation. No need for her instincts to take over.

Niamh sighed, but accepted the declination. “Oh fine, but I do expect to hear about whatever you are working on out here when we get back!”

She followed Kaeden through the door with a brow raised. “What could you possibly do to a forge?” She asked, but only just before Kaeden began questioning her about their father.

“Oh you know. He thinks I don’t work nearly hard enough. He wants me to learn the value of hard work and deter-” She stopped her nonsense as the door clicked behind them. “Of course I know why Father sent me.” She crossed her arms and rolled her eyes, walking ahead on the tour she couldn’t care any less about. “I must admit, I refuse to believe you don’t have the slightest inkling.”

She chuckled quietly. “Unfortunately his plans only seem to benefit him to the detriment of all three of us.” She referred to Amos as the third person.

“From what I’ve picked up, Father is disappointed in my lack of suitors. However,” She paused for a moment, looking back at the door and lowering her voice. “He seems interested in the future of your little workshop. Rather, whatever the two of you are working on. He wants whatever the future holds for himself…which he plans to do by arranging something between me and him."
 
Amos smiled, offering a small wave as the two siblings headed towards the partition door.

A small part of him wished that he could have given that tour, that this had been three years ago before he'd begun to feel sick. He would have happily shown Niamh every inch of the workshop, exploring and explaining every project they'd ever worked on.

Unfortunately, it simply wasn't possible anymore.

In his current state he would pass out before reaching the first door. "Ah well."

He said to himself, turning in his chair to face the workbench in front of him. One hand scooped up a small tool, the end of it a half curved hook.

"This is not so bad." Amos mused to himself as a shadow flickered behind him. The lamp light dimmed just enough that he noticed. A frown touched his lips as he turned around, wondering if Niamh and Kaeden were already returning.

As he shifted, he barely caught sight of the movement to his left. A yelp escaping him as something struck his forehead and knocked him unconscious.
 
Kaeden gave Niamh a doubtful side-eye as she started her initial nonsense. He then shrugged when Niamh suggested that he had an idea of what their father wanted.

Unfortunately his plans only seem to benefit him to the detriment of all three of us.

Sounds like Father,” Kaeden quipped.

From what I’ve picked up, Father is disappointed in my lack of suitors.

Lack of suitors? For a Banick?” Kaeden rhetorically asked, “Even if it’s you.

But then, his head tilted as Niamh finished her sentence.

But... I own the warehouse...” Kaeden incredulously said.

Or to be accurate, half of it with Amos having the other half of the stake.

Wait... he wants....” Kaeden said as a realization as he pointed at Niamh and the closed door behind them, “You two to... marry? Is that it?

Kaeden raised an eyebrow. Then, he closed his eyes and threw up his arms as if giving up.

Sounds like Father,” he repeated with a defeated voice, “Probably still gathering assets for the succession.

The father of Niamh and Kaeden was just one of many scions Theodore Banick, the head of House Banick, fathered. Thus, he would have a lengthy and drawn-out struggle for any inheritance despite whoever Theodore deemed to be the heir apparent.

Reopening his eyes, Kaeden looked to Niamh and told her, “Well, I won’t stop you two if that’s what you both – you and Amos – agree with. But Father never told me this was really his intention, so... I don’t know about this plan if either of you are against it.

After saying that, Kaeden gestured to a door that would lead to the forge.

Now, let’s at least do this tour...

Kaeden would give a quick rundown of the rooms and gadgets they would see. He gave more of a sales pitch than an in-depth technical description. The workshop forge, for example, was pitched to be heated beyond a normal one due to the crystals Amos and Kaeden manufactured. As a result, the workshop forge made it easier to work with metals such as mithril and orichalcum.

And the tour would continue, at least for now, as the yelp from Amos appeared to not reach Kaeden’s ears.
 
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“Yes, yes.” She waved him off. “Father seems just as disturbed, even if it’s me.” She rolled her eyes, adding on: “Though no one has even asked if I wish to marry.”

A quiet, insincere chuckle followed Kaeden’s defeated look.

“Obviously, Amos is clueless. His thoughts sound much more machine than man. I would break the poor thing.” No offense to Amos, but she did not think a spindly and sickly thing such as himself could compare to any of the dreadlords she had previously associated herself with. Perhaps this was too much information to share, but Niamh was not particularly known for her conversational skills.

“And Father didn’t tell me. I picked it out of his thoughts. Even after all these years…still thinks he can hide things from me.”

As she concluded her thoughts, she agreed that a tour was unfortunately in order and walked with him throughout the warehouse's halls. From her point of view, the tour was rather unremarkable. Black, white, and various shades of grey metals and crystal described in detail by her brother were lost on the girl who coasted by, solely listening into other people’s thoughts.

Speaking of…

The machine-like thoughts of the man left behind to continue his work ceased suddenly, catching Niamhs attention. She turned back toward where they had come from, but decided he must have stepped out for a moment.

She continued to follow her brother, offering an “ooh” or “ahh” at any random construct he showed her.
 
As Amos was dragged quietly from the workshop, the odd unseen figures slipped from the first room and into those beyond.

No footsteps echoed from them, no sound at all, their forms still obstructed and seemingly blurred by the light itself.

When they finally fell upon Niamh and Kaeden, the only warning would be a brief flicker of thought behind the Dreadlord. It came just as the sound of a blowpipe, almost serenely quiet beneath any sort of sound, echoed out in the workshop.

A long needle thrown in both the Banick's direction.
 
After Niamh said all she did about the arrangement their father sought, Kaeden shook his head.

You should still temper yourself with your... habit...” Kaeden told her.

In reading people’s minds.

And knowing this fact, Kaeden normally sought to dissuade Niamh from using her abilities on him by thinking of thoughts Niamh would rather not know or otherwise find triggering.

Nothing villainous or monstrous, just unpleasant.

For Niamh specifically, at least as far as Kaeden discovered over the years of being annoying siblings to each other.

As promised, Kaeden gave a quick tour. From the forge to an experimental carriage, to a way to transmit voices – of very low quality – from one box to another.

At the end of it all, Kaeden told Niamh, “Well, time to head back to Amos. Knowing him, he’d be too engrossed in today’s project to have missed us.

Kaeden continue to walk toward the reception door. He showed no signs of responding to the needle rushing toward Niamh and him, and would be struck by it if his sister did nothing.
 
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“Mmm. Perhaps.Niamh brushed off his comments. She wished it were that easy. If she could turn it off, she would have done so a decade ago. Until quite recently, as well, she learned just how invasive it could be when she was at the receiving end during some mission gone poorly and ended up spending a few weeks in the infirmary.

Probably would have tossed her in a nice Vel Anir asylum if she hadn’t fought them so hard.

Just another experience to keep bottled up forever, she supposed.

As she had predicted, the tour was boring and unremarkable and thank the gods it was coming to an end. “I think Amos has went on a break. He’s been gone for a bit.” She shrugged, still following along. “That or his brain has given out from the amou-”

She paused and turned in the direction of whatever outside thought had just crossed her mind followed by some breathy popping noise. Unfortunately for the both of them, Niamh struggled to make out the silver needle sailing towards them amongst the various shades of grey in the hall. She only managed to shove Kaeden towards the wall as the thing embedded itself in her hand.
 
One needle struck into Niamh, giving Kaeden just enough time to yell or shout, but he too would find a needle pricked quickly stuck into his flesh. This one shot from another blurred figure standing to the side of the two Banick's.

By the time they had any idea of what was happening, both would feel a wave of fatigue and exhaustion. Crashing to the floor of the workshop with muted thuds.
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Amos awoke with a startling and violent cough.

His hands were tied tightly behind his back, and yet his lungs and throat burned with fire. His eyes shot open immediately as he doubled over, the cough wracking and shaking his upper torso. Pulling him closer to the ground as it constricted his throat.

Again and again it came, until he felt like he couldn't breath. Every muscle in his body tightening as he violently threw himself forward. Black bile dripped from his lips as he croaked, a whining cry leaving his throat as finally he managed to snap back his breath.

He pulled himself backward, dragging air into his lungs desperately and for the first time able to take in where he actually was.

A small carriage, if it could even be called that. Little more than a box of wood, though metal bars had been welded all around the inside of it. Kaeden and Niamh both lay on the ground not too far from where he had his fit. The latter bound in runic chains instead of the rope used for him and his friend.

Shifting, and still weak from his hacking, Amos gently nudged Kaeden with his shoulder. "Hey, hey, wake up."

He whispered.
 
Shoved by Niamh and striking the wall, Kaeden exclaimed, “Hey! What’re yo-

Then Kaeden saw a needle sticking into Niamh’s hand.

What’s going...” Kaeden began as he saw a shadowy figure that was standing behind them.

Rolling his shoulders and tensing his fists as if getting ready for a fight, “Oh, here we g-

DING

A second figure embedded a needle into Kaeden’s flesh. Immediately, the exhaustion washed over him.

D-damn i-“ Kaeden mumbled as he collapsed.



Prompted by Amos’s nudging, Kaeden stirred and slowly regained consciousness.

Ah.. eh.... Amos?” Kaeden said as he first saw Amos’s face.

What are you...” Kaeden began as he attempted to move – but found himself bound.

Wh-where are we?” Kaeden questioned with a lower voice. He shifted himself around to get a good survey of their new cage.

Once Kaeden spotted Niamh, he began shoving her with his feet with a bit of energy to wake her up.
 
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There was not enough time to warn her brother before the fatigue hit her. She stumbled forward a few steps before losing balance and falling forward, landing face first on the stone floors. Without even enough energy to scold herself for the careless mistake, Niamh succumbed to the shadowy attack.



Niamh’s awakening would take significantly longer than the boys and neither Amos’ coughing fit nor Kaeden’s kicking would rouse her.

Sometime between the needle striking her and when she would wake up, her mind would go blank. The thoughts of the blurred figures around her dissipated into an utter silence as they bound her in their runic chains.

A sort of silence that elicited the horrifying memories of Asile Couer. If either looked at her almost comatose body, they would see bruises on her face and her chest rising rapidly but little else for the time being.
 
Amos shook his head slowly as Kaeden threw a slew of questions at him. "I don't know."

He admitted quickly.

There were a few guesses, but none of them were really helpful. Telling Kaeden that they were in a cage or cart seemed semantics, and he didn't want his friend to think that he was mocking him.

"I don't...remember." His head shook as the cart seemed to buck, half throwing them all into the air for just a brief second as they moved over a bump in the road. "I don't remember anything, one moment I was at the work bench and the next..."

Amos shook his head with a frown, his eyes trailing slowly from his friend to Niamh. Noting Kaeden's kicks, his frown deepened as he saw that the Dreadlord did not stir. "Is she alright?"

He asked, shifting himself forward and crawling forward. His fingertips pressed against Niamh's throat, checking her pulse.
 
Wake up,” Kaeden told the unconscious Niamh.

His eyes caught a glimpse of her rapid breathing. So even before Amos could check her pulse, Kaeden could see signs of life. Though, Kaeden scowled at the sight of the bruises on his sister’s face.

Hearing Amos’s words, Kaeden told him, “Someone threw needles at us just before we returned to you. Guess they had some poison or drug?

Kaeden looked around once again.

To take us and a Dreadlord down, professional. Not some street gang,” he thought aloud.

We’re all alive, so ransom? They must know about your work if you’re alive too...” Kaeden continued.

Um... your reputation must be growing!” Kaeden told Amos with a bit of panic in his voice.

Anything in your pockets that might help? I had nothing when we were bagged,” Kaeden asked.
 
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Thoughts from either man would not find themselves in Niamh’s head. There was something about her chains- the magic which saturated them seemed to negate her own.

She flinched as cold fingers were placed on her neck, glassy eyes opening only halfway to stare back at Amos. They then shifted towards her brother before shutting again. A poor attempt to sit upright was abandoned just as quickly as she started. Everything hurt, and only because of her inability to protect herself before she hit the ground.

In her befuddled state, she just stared at them as they spoke, not really processing anything they spoke of until Kaeden’s last question. She was only visiting her brother and Amos for the day. She wasn't wearing anything that would identify her as a dreadlord nor did she carry a weapon. Hell, she hadn't even brought a single coin on this outing.

It really didn't make any sense. Nothing did.

"Help...?" Her voice was raspy as she plead for one of them to at the very least remove the chain around her neck. It was probably a useless plea, but it all Niamh had in her to say.
 
As soon as he felt Niamh's pulse, Amos pulled his hand back and looked back towards Kaeden. A frown touched his features for a moment. "I highly doubt that."

Perhaps he should have taken the words as a complement, they certainly sounded like it, but in the moment it was hard to. They were in a box, a cage really, and someone had kidnapped them. Amos wasn't sure if any words would make him feel better in the moment.

"More likely they just figured my corpse would make too much noise." The Workshop was visited more than a few times during the day by various professors, laborers, and other students.

With his hands still bound, Amos began to dig around his pockets. "I have this."

He said, pulling free one of the small devices that he and Kaeden had created together. It appeared as little more than a wrench, but had a slot for one of their crystals. When suffused with magic the device functions as a multitude of different tools.

Unfortunately, Amos didn't have any of the crystals. "I'm not su-"

"Help...?"​

He heard a voice behind him say, and Amos turned back. He frowned for a moment, glancing at Niamh with a rueful look. Slowly he reached over.

"I can look but..." Amos doubted there was any way to get the chains off of her. Outside, for the first time, voices began to echo out. They were were muffled, though clearly none of them spoke in common.
 
Kaeden saw Amos’s device. He knew instantly what it was.

Any crystals?” Kaeden asked.

For he had none in his pockets as well.

But his attention quickly returned back to Niamh.

Niamh?” Kaeden said as he shuffled over to give her a few pats on the cheek..

Niamh? Can you hear me?” Kaeden continued to ask with a worried look.

A groan followed – especially now that Kaeden heard the strange voices outside.

Slowly, Kaeden got on his feet. He had to stand a bit hunched over to avoid hitting the top of the cage.

Looking to Amos, Kaeden said, “That chain looks weird. See if you can figure out how to get rid of it? Meanwhile...”

Stepping toward the edge of the cage, Kaeden called out to the voice, “Hey! Is anyone there?!
 
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Niamh nodded weakly in response to Kaeden's question. Yes she could hear him- and she could hear the others just beyond the box they were crammed inside. Her eyes went wide when Kaeden got up and began to shout.

He couldn't be so stupid.

What little energy she did have was brought forth just to wriggle enough to kick Kaeden in the foot. "Stop. It." She tried to shush him.

How he had such little sense of self preservation, Niamh did not know. So smart but so stupid.

Until one of them freed Niamh from her chains, she thought it would be best to be as quiet as possible.

None of them knew what was beyond the crate, but if she could just get out of her own head then maybe she could figure out something. The number of people, the location, hell even the time of day could help. But if this buffoon was going to scream and shout, they could just as well be good as dead.

She would then turn her attention back to Amos and shake her head enough that her hair would fall backward and show her ears, or rather her earrings- crystal scraps her brother had fashioned into different types of jewelry for her last few birthdays. Her necklace and ring were absent, but whatever had knocked them out left the earrings untouched.

"Would these work?"
 
The voices outside did not grow any dimmer or louder, though as Kaeden stood closer to the wall he would hear a loud thud. A rebuke strong enough that it shook the walls, and a clear sign that those inside should be quiet.

"It seems our captors would prefer you do not yell." Amos said with a frown, still trying to remember...anything about how he had been knocked unconscious in the first place.

His lips thinned, but he returned his attention back to Niamh as she shifted her hair and revealed the small slivers of crystals on her earrings. A delighted smile touched his face for a brief moment. "Ah! Kaeden, you did not tell me you'd taken up in jewelry making."

It had to be him of course, only the two of them had access to the crystals.

With a gentle touch, Amos reached out and began to undo the clasp on Niamh's jewelry. Taking the piercings from her ears with surprising deftness.

"I believe I can make them work." He said, quickly beginning to fiddle with the metal around the crystals to free them. "Do either of you remember...anything?"

He asked as he used the inert spanner to pry the earrings apart. "It is not easy to get into the university."

Amos pointed out. "Much less getting three unconscious bodies out of it."