Tales Something Amiss

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Lia, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. Lia

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    Lia Allirian Ranger

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    Allir Reach - Black Forest

    Lia sat happily within her saddle, a rare smile decorating her face as they slowly rode down the dirt path. Around them were the tall trees that marked most of the Reaches, especially here within the Black Forest.

    There was a certain calmness to the air.

    Birds were chirping, the leaves rustled against the wind, and for once all seemed right within the world. After the Naga attack of Alliria things had been tense. Many Rangers had been lost in the fighting, and as a consequence there had been quite a bit of a shuffle within the ranks.

    The end result of that had been promotions, recruits, and of course new assignments. Lia had benefited from this, as unfortunate as the death of her fellow Rangers was. Those within the higher echelons of the Rangers had noticed her drive and had selected her for a rather special task.

    After the attack paranoia had grown throughout Alliria, and several of the Rangers more wealthy contributors had decided that the city was no longer the safest place. Some had fled the city due to this, while others had come to make rather surprising decisions.

    One of those decisions was Lia's task.

    A man by the name of Jerim Baldwin had come to the Rangers with hat in hand. He told the story of a possession of his families, an artifact of great power. Just what that power was Lia had no idea, but she knew that it was important, important enough for the Rangers to assign her and...ugh...Kaska to escort it to their Fortress in the Spine.

    It was an important task, and one that would bring with it renown. The artifact, a small bracelet, was reportedly worth her horse's weight in gold. If it fell into the wrong hands it could destroy a town, or so she had been told.

    To say that this was a moment in the limelight was putting it mildly, and that was exactly what Lia wanted.
     
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  2. Kaska

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    Kaska Allirian Ranger

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    Kaska kicked at her horses side, urging him to put on a burst of speed and keep pace with Lia. She hadn't heard about the woman's conversation with the elders. She didn't know diddly squat about what was going on in the woman's world. All she got was the order on paper.

    So needless to say, the woman's uncharacteristic smile had her on edge.

    She eyed her from the side as they rode. As she thought on it, she realized the two woman had never truly spoken outside of ranger business. But the way that girl was acting, and just as they set out to start their mission, well. That felt like ranger business to her.

    "You gonna tell me what's got your chain mail in a bunch?" She asked with that usual dry tone Lia received from her. She wasn't excited to be working with her either, she hated working under the woman. But this case was huge and for once, Kaska felt implored to at least try. Maybe she could get a promotion out of it. Become the woman's equal and shove it in her face.
     
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  3. Lia

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    #3 Lia, Oct 25, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2018
    Lia glanced over to her companion for a moment, her face remaining as impassive as that of a statue. She considered for a moment, and then answered.

    "Whatever do you mean, Kaska?" The Sergeant answered, her voice as neutral as her face.

    Of course she wasn't an idiot, she knew exactly what Kaska meant. Though they had never really conversed nor worked together much, Lia knew exactly the type of person the other girl was. She'd heard more than a few rumors over the last few months, that added with her general demeanor and attitude?

    It was all Lia needed to know.

    She might have been wrong of course, but every single sign pointed to the opposite. In truth Kaska reminded her of some of the other merchant daughters back in Alliria. Haughty, stuck up, and toeing the line of utterly foolish.

    Until she proved otherwise anyway.
     
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  4. Kaska

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    #4 Kaska, Oct 25, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
    "You're smiling," Kaska challenged bluntly. "You never smile. So unless you have a fuck boy on post, something about this mission has you smiling," she stated. "At which case, I should know. So. Which is it?" She raised a brow at the woman, kneeing her horse to keep her steady.

    She was aware of the rumors. If someone knew her better, they might think she was encouraging them. At any rate, she didn't care for their opinion. She could sense Lia's distaste for her and it remained mutual. Though, as it was, Kaska felt distaste for everyone.

    She flicked her hair over her shoulder, waiting expectantly for an answer.
     
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  5. Lia

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    "I'm simply glad to be out of the city." Lia commented dryly, and truthfully for that matter.

    She had never really enjoyed being in Alliria, or any city for that matter. It felt closed and confined. Even the Inner-city, with all it's splendors and spoils was too small for her. As a child she had often ventured into the Outer-City and even the slums, much to the chagrin of her father, but it had never been enough.

    Lia enjoyed being outside, she enjoyed being free. It was one of the traits that had drawn her to the Rangers in the first place, one of the reasons she loved doing what she did. "Is that not enough?"

    She mused, knowing that it would bother the other girl.

    "Some of us enjoy the simpler things in life." Of course that was all of it. The mission did have her pleased, or rather the potential of what it could bring her did. "We don't all need to throw ourselves into the sheets with some street boy to find happiness."

    Lia never looked at Kaska as she spoke, instead she scanned the tree-line, watching for a threat that likely wasn't there.
     
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  6. Kaska

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    Kaska's lips pressed into a thin line, the woman throwing more bite in her quips than she ever had before. For a moment, Kaska was impressed by it. But that quickly passed, her contempt for her superior out weighing the shock of Lia's new personality development.

    "If that's the case, Ma'am, you should be smiling all the time." She turned, looking her superior in the eye as she leveled, "You're the simplest of us all."

    She kicked her horse up into a trot, leaving Lia to deal with a small cloud of dust as she took off. Ugh. Why her? Seriously? Of all the missions to give her, assigning her to this one just didn't make sense. Unless...

    No. He wouldn't do that. She had gotten here on her own. Somehow. Despite the clay mask incident last month...
     
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  7. Lia

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    Lia only smiled a bit more as Kaska sped past her. She had gotten to the girl, that was easy enough to tell. Generally speaking the Sergeant did not bite back, knowing that indulging the girl would only breed more conflict. She was in a particularly good mood however, and that meant she was a bit more loose with her tongue.

    Sort of like Kaska was with her...well, that didn't really matter.

    Kicking her horse in it's haunches Lia pushed the animal to catch up with her subordinate. They were in no rush, truth be told. Their mission was simply to get the bracelet safely to the fortress. No one knew the path they were taking or indeed that they had even left to go anywhere at all.

    If everything went according to plan people would think they were just two Rangers traveling.

    A common enough sight within the Reach. "We'll take an Inn at the first village."

    Lia called out to Kaska over the sound of the Horses. There was no need to camp tonight, not when they could be more comfortable in an actual bed.
     
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  8. Kaska

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    "I want my own room this time," Kaska shot back, not slowing her horse from the trot. It was one thing to share a space with the woman when they were in a group, it was common for rangers to bunk together after all. But now that it was just them, she'd rather risk an incident in the night alone then have to hear that woman's heavy breathing deep into the night.

    "And where is this bracelet, anyway?" She side glanced and scanned the woman quickly, before turning her attention back to the dirt road. "I should know," she insisted, before the woman could refuse her. "In case anything were to happen to you."
     
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  9. Lia

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    "Then pay for it." Lia countered quickly. Though the Rangers paid well in wages, they did not pay enough that they could afford to spend until the end of Arethil.

    Sure her father was wealthy, but Lia wasn't in the habit of throwing around more money than she had to. Especially for someone as miserable as Kaska. If she wanted her own room then she could take it out of her own pay.

    "It's safe." She answered. "If something happens to me something will very likely happen to you too."

    That was simply true. "Worry less about the bracelet and more about whats on the road ahead."
     
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  10. Kaska

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    "Not if we are not sleeping together," Kaska countered. She slowed just enough to be able to turn and speak to Lia directly. "But if you want to jeopardize your street cred because you were so snotty as to think you can handle this whole mission on your own, be my guest. I could stand to see you knocked down a peg or two," she stated, openly hostile to the woman for the first time.
     
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  11. Lia

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    Lia reached up and pinched the bridge of her nose. After a moment she let out a sigh. Kaska, as much as Lia hated to admit it, had a point. They were Rangers, they were both on the same mission, and they had to work together in order to actually get anywhere. "It's in my armor."

    The Ranger said simply, reaching up and tapping a small piece of her platemail. On the inside of it was sown a small pocket. Usually it held gold or a trinket from her childhood, but for now it would hold the bracelet.

    "I'll keep it close at night." She told the girl. "Now watch the road."

    There. She had done her duty and Kaska had fulfilled her obligation to be a brat at least once a day. She was sure that it would not be the last time before the end of this mission, but for now at least Lia hoped the girl would shut up. They still had a few hours to the Village, and she didn't want to spend the entire time bickering.
     
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  12. Kaska

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    "Ma'am."

    Kaska smiled a little at her small victory, it was more than enough for her. She turned back in her saddle, happily falling silent and reentering their usual habit of ignoring each other.

    The rest of the ride went as uneventful as expected, giving Kaska plenty of time to wonder why she was here to begin with. Everything about the rangers was political to her, so what was this move?

    They rode into town by mid afternoon, just early enough for hunger to be rumbling in her stomach. Kaska gave a sigh of relief and dismounted outside the tavern, petting down her horse as Lia did the same.

    "How many days ride is this fortification, anyways?" Her parchment had been frustratingly bare of fact, just giving her the vague terms and order. She had neglected to truly report to Lia for a briefing, instead gleaming information through these side remarks. It seemed to suit her well enough.
     
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  13. Lia

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    "It depends on the route we take" Lia said with a slight frown touching her face, mostly because she was trying to do math in her head. It had never been her best subject, but she managed it after a few seconds. "Twelve days if we take the roads."

    Something that she did not necessarily want to do.

    Though no one knew where they were or even that they had left, her paranoia made her more than a little bit weary about just traveling on the road the entire way. There was bound to be a leak somewhere, though just where it would come from she wasn't able to say. "A few more on the path I have planned."

    She expected a fight on that, but Lia didn't care. She was in charge, not Kaska.

    The more people they avoided on the last leg of the trip the better.
     
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  14. Kaska

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    Kaska pursed her lips, taking a long moment not to respond as vehemently to her news as she at first felt inclined to.

    A month. A month. It would be a month. On the road. With her.

    Her loathing for the woman steamed from no particular incident. But it was there. And it was strong. And it only grew every time they clashed heads, whether or not Lia engaged with her. It was one thing to do the werewolf case with her, she had the freedom of the town and other faces to keep a buffer. This whole trip would be a test of her endurance. Just them. Together. On the road. Trying to not kill each other.

    Maybe that's the point of this assignment after all. She wouldn't put it past her father, he always had his fingers in her affairs. That meddling would only get worse if she climbed the ranks closer to him. Others said he meant well. She couldn't see it.

    Her low rank was the only buffer between him and her. So the fact that she was suddenly on a high profile case in the middle of rank upheaval after the war did not go unnoticed.

    She gritted her teeth, her fist clenching.

    "Fine," was all she said to Lia, the woman's frustrating decision left unchallenged as Kaska found herself with a bigger issue to stress over.

    She dropped her horsed reigns and left them both then and there, walking straight into the tavern and leaving Lia to deal with the stabling in the most childish display.

    You know what? Now sounded like the appropriate time for a drink.
     
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  15. Lia

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    If Lia seemed at all bothered by being left alone outside she didn't show it. In fact, a moment with Kaska was about as lovely as a moment in a hot bath. Although she was a fellow Ranger, there was something indefinably annoying about the girl, a weight that she simply couldn't seem to shake no matter what.

    Then again Lia somewhat doubted that she ever tried in the first place.

    At least she hadn't argued about the path that they would be taking. Lia thought that might have been because of the small courtesy she'd paid, telling her about the bracelet, but in truth she couldn't have been sure. Kaska was as unpredictable as a snake in the boot. Sometimes she'd bite, sometimes she'd hiss, and then sometimes she'd simply slither away and do her own little thing.

    "Oh well." Lia said to herself quietly, tapping the the chest of her armor where the bracelet was hidden.

    The mission was all that mattered.

    Without much more thought about Kaska or her attitude problems Lia finished stabling the two horses. One of the stable hands of the Inn came to her help, and she ended up tipping him a copper piece for doing so. The boy thanked her and then Lia finally followed after her Fellow Ranger.
     
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  16. Kaska

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    She'd come in to find Kaska not at the bar, but a solid table. Two tankards were already waiting, and two platters of the house lunch were just being delivered. Yes. She had ordered her lunch too. If this was out of the ordinary for Kaska, which it totally was, she didn't act like it. She sipped at her ale and picked at the crust of her bread, waiting for Lia to join her.

    Once she did, Kaska would take a firmer draft of her ale and start with her food, silent for the moment. Not even looking up as she mulled.
     
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  17. Lia

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    To say that Lia was surprised would have been an understatement. Though almost as soon as she saw the food suspicion bloomed within her chest.

    What had Kaska done to the food? Has she spit in it? Urinated in it? Had some oaf rub his armpit all over all of it? She frowned slightly and then inwardly shook her head, deciding that even Kaska couldn't sink that low. Besides, she figured that other people in the tavern very likely would have stopped her at some point in time.

    People respected Rangers in these parts. "Thank you."

    Lia said as she took her blade from her back and unbuckled the sword-breaker from her hips. Her crossbow she'd left with the horses, along with it's quiver. Placing the weapons gently against the table she observed the room, noting that most of the folk inside were trying hard not to look at the two Rangers.
     
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  18. Kaska

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    Kaska grunted in acknowledgement, her own gear resting in the seat besides her. She chewed slowly, ignoring the attention of those around them. Growing up with her father meant those side glances were a near constant part of her life. Unless he was dressed down. Which was rare. She was just something people wanted to get a double look at.

    She fussed with a steamed broccoli steam, trying to mess out the best way to go about this. But there was none. Kaska was not a girl with tact. So she moved forward in her usual blunt manner, glancing up to ask, "How did you get assigned this mission?"
     
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  19. Lia

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    "Dedication." Lia said simply, as though that were explanation enough on its own.

    She had worked hard to get to where she was today. Most of her life had been training to join the Rangers. Shed always been good with a sword, a natural gift her tutors had told her, but Lia had always worked hard to ensure that she was the best. That dedication had gotten her to where she was today, and she hoped it would push her even further after this mission.

    "I asked for more risky assignments." She went on, just to make sure that Kaska didn't feel as though she was purposefully trying to slight her. She had made the crack earlier, but she wasn't constantly attempting to antagonize the girl. "After the attack on Alliria and the...reduction of our numbers..."

    That was a polite way to put it. "They acquiesced to my demands."

    This was, if anything, a risky assignment. If word got out about what they were carrying they could have entire villages after them. Hell, the Great Houses of Vel Anir would send Dreadlords just for a chance at getting the damned thing. The value of power could not be overstated.

    Nor men's lust for it.
     
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  20. Kaska

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    Kaska resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Of course the woman would take that as a moment brag. But that wasn't what she was asking. Kaska could fill in those blanks on her own, she knew Lia's type. Prideful. Holier than thou. Thinks their better just cause they hit higher ranks. Well Lia didn't know a thing about what she was striving for. She couldn't see past her own nose. Dedicated, puft.

    "No," she said, her tone a bit forced. She took a deep breath, knowing she wouldn't be able to ply information from Lia if she got confrontational. "Who assigned it to you?" The question laid heavy in the air, the woman already suspecting the answer she didn't want to hear.
     
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  21. Lia

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    "Oh." Lia shrugged. "I have no idea."

    It was obvious from her expression that Lia wasn't lying to Kaska. She really did not know who had actually given her the assignment. "Sir Edricc gave me the Order, but I doubt the decision came from him."

    Mostly because he wasn't a high enough rank to actually do that.

    Lia hadn't particularly cared where the order came from truth be told. She was not the type to question that sort of thing even on her worst day. What had mattered was the seal on the envelope and the orders within. Apart from that it was not her duty to be nitpicky about where things came from.

    She'd gotten what she wanted, why would she care if came from one source or another? "Does it matter?"

    To Kaska it probably did.
     
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  22. Kaska

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    Kaska went tight-lipped, slowly pushing her plate away as her appetite withered away. Yes, it mattered. How could she be so blind? Did she never question where her orders came from? Kaska realized then she likely didn't. What a perfect little solider, she thought with great contempt.

    "Yes, it does." She gave into the long withheld eyeroll, sitting back and downing a solid chunk of her ale in a single go. She clanked it down and rubbed at her face, stressed.

    "Stupid, stupid girl," she whispered softly, shaking her head and pressing two fingers into her temples. "We can't do this mission," she stated, dropping her hands and looking back to her.
     
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  23. Lia

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    Lia almost laughed out loud. "Of course we can."

    The Sergeant said as she munched a piece of her food. Lia had never particularly cared about politics, both inside the Rangers and Out. She was here to do a job, that was it. Any other concerns were simply not hers to deal with. Sure some might have considered that foolish, but for her it was simply a matter of course. She could do her job, and when it counted she would stand up for herself.

    She would always get what was hers to get. Just because she was dedicated did not mean she was foolish nor ignorant. Lia knew what Kaska likely feared, but she didn't care one bit about it.

    "And we will." There was no arguing with her on that point.

    Glancing around them she smiled at the other girl.

    "Besides." Lia said as she steered the conversation away from their mission. The common room of an inn was not the best place to talk about this. Anyone could be listening. "There are worse things than patrolling the coast."
     
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  24. Kaska

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    Kaska's jaw set, a sense of panic mashing with indignant anger at the girl's blithe dismissal of her. "No there aren't," she murmured, amending to at least dropping her tone low. She leaned forward, eyes intense as they bore into her superior. "Lia. No. You don't know what's going on here. Listen to me, just this once. We need to turn around and hand this off to someone else. Please," she actually begged, a finger tapping on the table to emphasize her words.
     
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  25. Lia

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    Lia's eyes narrowed with suspicion at the girl. Was there something more wrong than what she had assumed the problem was? Her lips thinned and she tried to puzzle things out on her own for just a few seconds.

    Was there a danger? She doubted it. Kaska had said they should hand it off to other Rangers, meaning she wasn't trying to run from something. Though the girl was snotty and selfish as could be, Lia didn't think she was the villainous sort. The Sergeant doubted she would put other Rangers in danger. At least consciously anyway. So what was it then? Paranoia?

    Fear? Her lips thinned and her tone grew more serious. "Why?"

    Lia was not unreasonable. If Kaska explained herself then maybe...just maybe she would turn back to Alliria.

    Truth be told though she was loathe to even consider it. Handing off this mission meant she likely wouldn't get another shot for months.
     
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