Fable - Ask Rebirth

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Matias

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So he'd bargained his city for power. The life of his people for a chance at a nation.

It was a gambit that many had likely made over the years, though trading a life that was not yours to give seemed cheap to Matias. He frowned for a brief moment, glancing down at the notes and quickly flipping the pages. There were scant few actual details about these blood mages, just a few of the symbols they used and notations about their "work" in the city.

"Do you know anything else about these men?" Matias asked curiously. He couldn't help but feel that this 'brotherhood' would be the key to success or failure within the city.

"No. No. Not beyond what is written. They are...tricky. Their faces hard to imitate."

Matias looked at Harlowe for a moment, finally suspecting something about their little friend. He wondered if the Vampire had the same notion, though in the end he supposed that it didn't matter much.

The Frost Giant took in a breath. "Well. I know one way of getting information."

He offered, running a hand over his chin.

"We're just gonna need a bit of bait." He doubted any blood mage would come after him.
 
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Harlowe

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The little man's eyes seemed to gleam as they turned to Harlowe.

"They like pretty girls hearts," he purred. Her mind travelled back to the information she had gleaned from the working women of the tavern. They had all commented on the mages insatiable appetite when it came to women - in more than one way. A shudder ran down her spine and she began to shake her head adamantly.

"There's no way - they will be able to hear my slow heartbeat anyway. They'll know something is wrong," she frowned. It was a common myth that a Vampires heart was completely frozen. It was more accurate to say it just beat slow. Twice a day to be precise.

"Pity. Pity. Whores are the only ones exempt from the curfew."
 
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Matias

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Matias was about to point out that she was probably the only person in this room who could 'hear' heartbeats, but decided not to. There were few times that tact came to him, but this just so happened to be one of those rare moments.

"We'll get one of them then." The Frost Giant said with a shrug.

"Slip her a gold, tell her all she has to do is stand around and act normal." For a moment he wasn't going to add more, but then he decided it was best to make Harlowe feel okay about it. "Guarantee her safety."

They could stop this 'brotherhood' before they got to the girl.

Probably.
 
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Harlowe

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Harlowe fiddled with the edge of her cloak as she gnawed on her bottom lip. It was a wonder how she didn't slice it open with her fangs. The gnome-like creature watched her eagerly with that growing smile as she ran through the different options in her mind. Perhaps Matias didn't mind roping an innocent girl into their mission but she did. What if something went wrong?

"No..." she shook her head. "If we can buy someone with coin, someone else can buy her with coin," and the risk would be pointless if she turned around and went to the guards to tell them two monsters had captured one of the Brotherhood.

The gnome practically clapped his hands.

"I have dresses, yes, yes," he snatched at her hand before she could protest, pulling her with a surprising amount of strength towards another door. Which he promptly shoved her through before closing the door behind her and turning to Mat with a feral grin.
 
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Matias

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This thing is terrifying. Matias thought to himself.

While Harlowe got changed the Frost Giant decided it would probably be best of he acquainted himself more with the city of Olgren. From the book he'd been given he pulled out a drawn map of the place, studying it for a few moments.

"Well built. Yes yes. Made by Dwarves, they say."​

He frowned. "Dwarves?"

"Long ago, built tunnels. Many of them collapsed."​

Tunnels. Matias mused on that for a moment, considering. From the map he could see that Olgren was a massive sprawl of stone, there was no indication of tunnels. Perhaps though that was something that they would have to look into.

Perhaps this 'brotherhood' Would already know. It would make sense if they were snatching women.
 
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Harlowe

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The room she found herself in had probably once been a bedroom but now it looked like a nest. Odd treasures were dotted around the rumbled sheets on the floor in what an untrained eye would call a haphazard way, but Harlowe had seen how other monsters in the regiments hoarded things. Jewels, books, hair... Harlowe gagged and put a hand over her nose and mouth as she skirted awkwardly around it to the wardrobe bursting with clothes.

She tried not to think who they had belonged to.

It took her half an hour to climb into the outfit and do her hair in the smashed mirror but eventually she stepped out of the room in her costume for the evening. She had chosen a red corseted gown that left her collarbone and shoulders bare. Every curve had been pulled in or pushed up to draw attention to them. With her silvery hair she had pulled it half up to expose the curve of her throat.

The gnome hissed.

"Pretty, pretty, pretty."

"What's the plan?" she sighed, pushing the strap of her dress up onto her shoulder only for it to fall back down.
 
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Matias

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"Nice." Matias absently said as he looked up briefly.

He was focused upon a larger map of the city that the strange gnome creature had brought for him. It still did not have any of the tunnels on it, but he doubted that any map would. Lips were thin and he pointed to a part of the city.

"Here." He motioned towards Harlowe. "This is the Red Light district, we'll go down there and lead them down this alley when you catch their attention."

Matias was like a general planning a battle.

There was no jokes. No quips, no stupid comments. He was focused, collected, and utterly serious. "Once I see them I'll freeze them in place, knock them out, we get them back here as quick as we can."
 
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Harlowe

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Harlowe ignored the... the whatever he was and slid past him to perch on the arm of Matias' chair. Much like her fellow soldier her face was serious as she studied the map in his lap. Her eyes followed the line his finger traced down the left hand-side of the page then nodded slowly, committing as much of it to memory as possible. She was fast but speed wouldn't help her if she didn't know where she was going.

"Can you... unfreeze things?" her head tilted to the side curiously. "We don't want to leave any trace once we have him." After all, they didn't know if there were any other abilities these mages possessed. The last thing they needed was them somehow tracking them through the ice, if that was even a thing.

"We go now, yes? Before they find their toys for the night," their host flashed them a razor sharp grin and motioned to the door. Harlowe stood with a deep breath and curt nod. "One more thing, pretty girl," the creature purred as she stepped towards the door. Before she could protest he grabbed a hold of her hand. Pain shot up her arm, her neck and right to her eyes with burned as though a hot iron had just been rammed into them. With a curse she yanked away from him, pressing the heels of her palm into her eyes.

"What did you do?!" she was blind. Panic seized her heart.

"Humans do not have such... unusual eyes," he chuckled. Harlowe would have lunged for him; her hearing was good enough she knew where he was in the room, but slowly the black film disappeared and when she blinked one last time the red of her eyes had vanished, replaced by the deep blue they had been once before.
 
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Matias

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Matias summoned a spike of ice in his palm as soon as the strange Gnome thing made his move, hand shooting up before he realized that he was not slaughtering his companion.

The Frost Giant...froze for a moment, frowning as he studied what was happening to Harlowe.

Her eyes seemed to shift and change as he watched her, the odd red tinge falling away and turning to an icy blue. They were not as brilliant as his own, but beautiful in an innocent sort of way. Matias let himself relax for a moment, shoulders sinking. "Yes."

He said softly.

"I can unfreeze thing." Matias was not an elemental.

Navaia had needed to explain the difference to him, that he was not some force of nature, but a monster of legend and myth. Once he'd understood that, it had given him a strange sort of insight.

Slowly Matias lingered, then took a step towards Harlowe. He leaned into her. "Are you alright?"

It was the first bit of concern he had ever shown her.
 
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Harlowe

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"Y-yeah," despite her assurance Harlowe looked and sounded shaken up. There was a tremor to her whole body as though she had just been doused in ice cold water and her voice sounded... broken. The magic he had used, she simply couldn't explain. It had felt like he had reached inside and violated a part of her.

The young vampire took a deep breath, shutting her eyes briefly, and then let her body relax.

"Let's just go and... keep him away from me," her eyes flickered to the gnome warily before ducking out of the front door.
 
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Matias

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Matias frowned he followed after her. "Maybe we don't bring the man back here."

The Frost Giant had never been the most sensitive person. He wasn't entirely dead emotionally, of course, but more often than not he simply didn't care. Still, it was important to have a friend or two. Harlowe seemed close enough.

Better than that Fucking Werewolf that kept trying to groom him.

"I'm sure we can find an empty warehouse instead." Besides, that gnome creeped him the fuck out too.

Mostly because he still didn't understand what it was.
 
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Harlowe

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Harlowe took a deep breathe of the crisp night air. Even if her lungs didn't need it, it still settled her and eased the tension in her shoulders. It also rid her mouth and nose of the smell that still clung to her from inside that things... nest. Quietly they walked along the streets and she took extra care to make her footsteps silent as they went. It was eerily quiet.

"I think... I know what he is and we might need his help," she said reluctantly. If he was what she thought he was anyway. She wasn't sure what else he could be with all those... skins hanging in the wardrobe. A shudder ran down her spine and she hugged herself. "I think he's a doppleganger," Harlowe explained slowly. "If he is... then... he could turn into the mage we capture. It could be our way to get closer to the duke."

She didn't sound particularly thrilled at the idea though.
 
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Matias

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"A changeling?" There was a difference between the two species, but Matias did not know it.

His knowledge of monsters was not as fast or as far as many others. Half the beasts in the Regiment had been just that for him; beasts of some sort. It had taken him ages to understand the difference between some of the few that looked similar.

Lips thinned for a moment. "Ugh."

It was clear that the idea was more than a little distasteful.

"Maybe we find out what out 'friend' has to say first." Matias said with a slight frown. "Then we can worry about...that part of the plan."

One step at a time.
 
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Harlowe

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Harlowe nodded in agreement; it did them no good worrying about the future when more information might change their plans anyway.

"You should go," she said as they got closer to the red light district. Shadowy figures appeared amongst the dim lamplight outside doors with soft, subtle music playing from within. Pleasure houses by the looks and smell of them. She stopped round the corner from view to smooth out her dress and check her makeup in a shop window. "I'll lead him to the alleyway once I get a bite," she gave a tight lipped smile so as not to show her fangs.

Without another word she slipped out of the shadows and began an easy swagger down the street, playing with her fan.
 
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Matias

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Matias only nodded, breaking away from Harlowe.

For a brief moment the Frost Giant looked around himself, glancing towards the different building until he found one with a flat slated roof-top. It didn't take long for him to use holds on the side of the building to crawl to it's top, small spots of ice lingering on the brickwork where he had dug himself into the wall.

Perching himself on the edge of the roof he peered down into the space that he and Harlowe had indicated their prey would be lead to.

A breeze flowed across the city as he crouched down. It should have been cold, but of course to him it felt like absolutely nothing. Still, almost as if natural response his shoulders shifted and he drew his cloak a bit closer.

At least he could look human.
 
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Harlowe

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Harlowe leaned against one of the buildings and ran her eyes over her competition. There were four other women in this street alone that she could see, but she could hear more further on. What disturbed her was the haunted look in their eyes which never quite met hers even when she offered a smile. These women had none of the confidence of those she had spoken to in the last city.

Her lips pursed as she wondered just how badly these men treated women in their own city. It was when she was lost in thought that an arm snaked about her waist.

"Not seen you here before," the voice made the hairs on the back of her nape stand on end. It was a wet rasp as though the mouth the voice belonged to was full of blood. She suppressed a shudder and turned towards him with a pretty smile. All that she could see from beneath the hood was his gaping black mouth and rotting teeth.

"I-I'm new..." she didn't entirely need to put on the fear in her voice which made the man grin. A boney white finger came up to caress her cheek.

"Come," he jerked his head towards an alley in the opposite direction to the one she had agreed with with Matias.

"Ah this belongs to one of the other girls... let's go over he-"

"Rose no longer works," he rasped again and closed his hand about her wrist, yanking her along behind him with a startling strength.
 
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Matias

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Matias was watching the alleyway carefully, peering at it's entrance.

His arms were resting on his knees, a yawn escaping past his lips. It was an oddly human action, one that he had almost forgotten about. He rarely felt tired now, exhausting only truly coming to him when he had used his magic too much.

Perhaps it was the night time air that got to him now, or the boredom. His eyes were almost half-lidded when he noticed movement.

It wasn't in the alleyway, not even in the square beyond. He would have missed it if he hadn't been watching carefully, wouldn't have seen it otherwise. A sudden jerking motion, someone resisting as someone else was tugging them a long.

Lips thinned for a moment, It wasn't the right alleyway but..."Shit."

Matias said to himself as he noticed the color of the dress.

In an instant the Frost Giant stuck out a hand in front of him. The air shimmered for a moment, and then a flow of ice suddenly appeared. It arched down onto the ground, and with two feet Matias quickly hopped down onto it, breaking into a sprint as he landed in the alleyway.
 
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Harlowe

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"There's no need to be so rough, sweetheart... or rush, let's just take our time and--"

"You can save your pretty little lies for someone else. I saw you in Kressda and you certainly weren't a whore then. Not with that pretty sword and armour."

Shit.

Harlowe yanked down hard on his grip but suddenly her body seized. It was like she couldn't control any part of herself.

"Don't waste your strength, little vampire. We have a few questions for you and I can assure you, it'll hurt you more to resist."
 
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Matias

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A loud whistle echoed through the square.

It wasn't exactly the most subtle thing, and more than a few eyes drew over to him...including those of the man holding Harlowe. His head jerked to the side, and that was all that Matias really needed.

Still sprinting across the square Matias raised a hand. A flash of blue reached over his eyes, trailing over like the rush of a blizzard wind. His hand came up, and the man looked like he was about to jerk Harlowe in front of him like a shield.

Before he could fully turn a spike of ice suddenly rushed up from just beneath him, stabbing through his arm and impaling the hand he was about to raise.

He let out a gasped scream, his other hand letting go of Harlowe as he jerked back to try and pull the ice out of his flesh.
 
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Harlowe

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She couldn't breathe, couldn't speak, couldn't do a thing. She felt trapped inside of her own body and it made her frantic but she couldn't even scream her fears. Not even a whimper.

Kress. Kress. Kress.

Then suddenly she heard the whistle across the square and everything rushed back in a wave. Harlowe dropped to the floor with a hand pressing to her throat as she coughed and gasped. Tingles ran up her body as feeling returned to it.

"Son of a bitch," she snarled and was on her feet a second later. Whilst he was distracted with the ice she gripped his slammed her hand into the side of his head which was probably akin to having a ton of bricks falling on him. The man slumped, sadly still breathing.
 
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Matias

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The man crumpled slightly, his form shifting and only held up by the frozen spike that had impaled him through the shoulder.

Matias closed the distance between himself and Harlowe, dragging himself to a stop besides her. "Are you alright?"

He hissed, glancing at the other man. Before he could get back up and move the Frost Giant leaned forward, a single touch pressing against his form. There was a strange shimmer, a shift, and then the man seemed to stiffen slightly.

Head whirled from side to side.

"Come on." He told his companion. "We should go."

They had been a lot louder than he'd expected.
 
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Harlowe

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"Just... give me a minute," she panted, leaning back against the brick wall of the alleyway. Her body still didn't feel fully hers. Instead she felt like a puppet whose strings had been cut and had to relearn how to move on her own with the shadow of that puppeteers hand still looming over her.

Today, Harlowe grimaced, fucking sucked.

"He knew who I was, he saw us at the Inn. There might be more of them waiting nearby," she ran a trembling hand through her hair.
 
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Matias

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He grimaced. "The Inn?"

That was days ago, or rather, for ordinary folk it was days ago. Lips thinned for a few seconds and then he motioned to the frozen man. Without waiting for Harlowe to gather herself up he reached at him and threw him over his shoulder.

"We need to get the fuck out of here." He said. "Can you walk?"

Carrying them both would slow him down, but he would do it if he had to. "If there's more I don't have any intent on meeting them."

Not yet anyway.
 
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Harlowe

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"I'll manage."

Harlowe didn't want to linger any more than he did. She caught the gaze of one of the women who had poked her head round the corner to see what had happened and when the pair locked eyes the other girl only nodded in approval before disappearing. She let out a breath and pushed off from the wall.

"Maybe it is safer to go to our friends house than an abandoned building we don't know..." as much as she hated him and had had enough of being violated for one day, she couldn't deny if her assumptions were right then he would be good protection.
 
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Matias

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Matias grimaced. "You're right."

He fucking hated admitting it, but it would be safer. Whatever the gnome was, he at least had a home and a place that he could call defensive. His shoulders rolled with the weight of the man on his back, head turning a few times.

There were civilians on the street, but most of them were pointedly looking away from the Frost Giant and the Vampire. "Let's go."

Matias told her.

"Before more get here." Without another word the Frost Giant began to move, briefly glancing back every now and again to make sure she was keeping up.
 
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