Private Tales The Far Fallen..

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Cassidy Ackerson

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Ackerson froze in place as he hear Neith's voice behind him, going as still as a teenager being caught sneaking out at night. Fuck. He was hoping she'd sleep in after the night she'd had. The fact of the matter was that no matter what Neith said about Cassidy not getting involved, he was already very involved. He was hoping to go out and get some info from Jimo before she woke up.

He turned around, his jacket half on and hanging off of the side of his torso, tongue running nervously across his bottom lip. "Mornin' Neith! Nah, I was just getting dressed. Figured you'd appreciate it if I didn't go making breakfast in the buff." It was a lame flirt, but he hoped it was enough to cover him; She was going to want to go back to Cyrus, even though they'd established he was probably trying to kill her. He had to try and keep her around... at least long enough for him to figure out what the hell to do. "So look.." He finished sliding his jacket on and went over to the shelf stocked with food items, picking out some decent items for a small meal for two. "I know you don't want my help with Cyrus, but I figure you should at least let me help you get Russo. That way you can prove to Cyrus you've got use, and he doesn't know I exist. Sound more acceptable to you?"

He filled a bowl with water, placing it over the furnace to heat it up as he began tossing some ingredients in. He wasn't the most skilled cook, but he knew how to do a hell of a soup. "You hungry? I thought we'd eat and then head out and do some digging?"

Neith
 
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Neith

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Neith's brow slowly lifted at the fluster he seemed to be in. Had she just caught him sneaking out on her?! They hadn't even... Her head shook and she rolled her eyes at his answer, though her lips twitched with a tired smirk.. "Hmm..Right." she murmured and nuzzled into the pillow as she rolled onto her side with a deep sigh, fully intending on stealing another hour's worth of comfortable sleep before she had to leave.

Her brown eyes narrowed as he moved, listening to his proposition with a tired frown. She took a moment to consider, lips pursing in thought before she arched a brow and gave a short nod.. "I can run with that.." she answered sleepily and pushed herself up onto her elbow, running her hand over her face and through her hair.

"Bed and breakfast?." she smirked and chuckled quietly.. "Food sounds good, thanks Cass..." she mumbled.

"Will Jimo know where he is? Lusso?.." she asked curiously as she hopped out of bed, dragging her hair up and into a knot as she wandered toward the window to peek outside, her eyes squinting a little at the light. She was clearly not a morning person.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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He smiled at her as she struggled to shake off the shackles of sleep from her mind, hoping the guilt he felt for attempting to sneak out didn't show. A more negative part of his brain wondered why the hell she'd care; especially when was so determined to go back to Cyrus anyways. It wouldn't be long before he'd be out of her hair anyways, would it?

Nah, that wasn't fair. She didn't have a choice.

He chuckles at himself, shaking his head at his own negativity as he uses a knife from the pocket of his trousers to chop at some vegetables that had been up on the shelf. "I know, right? I just keep spoiling you. When am I gonna learn?" He joked back. These weren't the freshest in the world, but they were better than most of the canned shit in the room; Cassidy had brought them in himself just a few days ago.

The boiling water hisses as he tosses in the diced greens. "Russo passed through here a couple days ago to talk with him. It's not a stretch to think he might have a clue as to where he was headed next. We just gotta follow the trail..." He left the bowl, reaching into his pack to retrieve some spices from his belongings. These were the good stuff, straight from Dalriada's capital city. He'd swiped some when he'd ran away. The three small bottles were sitting at less than half. "Hey, uh..."

Satisfied he could let his soup boil a while, he turns around to lean against the shelf of food as he looks over at the sleepy-eyed girl. His teeth bit down slightly on his bottom lip for a moment, as he pondered how to put his words. "Sorry if I came off pushy. Last night, I mean." He'd shaken her with his proposition to break her father out, and it'd been obvious she wasn't comfortable with the topic. "I get hot when I hear about scumbags taking advantage of people like that. I didn't have any right to push like that."

Cassidy wasn't the worst looking guy in the world, and he strived to be a kind soul with good intentions. Despite all of his positives, it was quickly becoming obvious just how awkward he was. "I was raised to chase down your problems head on, and squash them. I forget that not everybody has that luxury..."

Neith
 
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Neith

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Gods, people were actually up at this time? Neith squinted out at the people in the street, already about their business, running errands and carting their goods. She groaned quietly and stretched her arms straight up, rising onto her tiptoes with a yawn before turning back to grin at him. "Are you this charming with all the girls?.." she teased as she wandered closer to watch as he cooked.

Neith lifted the little bottles of spices when he was done with them, popping them open as she sat cross-legged back on the bed, holding each one under her nose and breathing in the familiar smells. "Hm.. You weren't pushy." she shrugged, a small nostalgic smile on her lips as she studied the spices. "Its not often that I have people look out for me, you don't have anythin' to apologise for, Cass. I appreciate it." she lifted her dark eyes to him with a nod in assurance.

"I'll be alright, though. I've been dealin' with those scumbags for quite some time.." she laughed under her breath and dropped her gaze to the spices in her hand. "How's your shoulder?..." she asked, clearing her throat.
 
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Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy couldn't stop the chuckle that left his lips in response to her question. Charming wasn't often the word that was used to describe Cassidy, but then he didn't go after women that much anymore. "Long as we're being honest, you're probably the longest I've spent with a lady in years, Neith." He'd had a fun night with a cute bard girl a few months back, a real cute brunette... but that had been a one-time thing. He wouldn't admit it, but a part of him feared growing too attached to anybody, especially after what had happened to his last partner.

He smiled back at her for a moment while their food cooked, his grin widening across his cheeks when she met his gaze. She was cute, and his flirtations last night may have been playful, but they sure as hell weren't untrue. Just as quickly as he'd had the thought she looked down suddenly at his spices. He hadn't even thought of it, but they must have been ones that she'd used in Oban during her childhood. Hell, they were just as meaningful to him, too.

When she mentions his shoulder, he smiles and gives his arm a spin. "Thanks to the very attentive nurse I had, I feel much better. Almost good enough to go get beat up for some more damsels." He teased with a wink. Turning back to the stew, he shields his hands with his duster as he lifts it off of the heat and sets it in the washbasin. Pulling two more bowls out of his bag, he fills one for her and one for him.

"Now, get your butt out of ~my~ bed and come eat this soup that ~I~ cooked." He snarked to her. It was a simple soup, with vegetables and potatoes. Spuds were versatile; you could haul those things around a long while before they started to age.

Neith
 
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Neith

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"Hm.." was the only sound she made in response to his honesty, a warm smile creasing at her eyes as she looked up at him. Neith didn't have any friends other than Kyril and now, she supposed, Cassidy. She didn't find it easy to make friends, she was standoffish and sarcastic, and usually scowling in effort to keep people away from her. But, she'd been in trouble and he had selflessly helped her out, and she'd been vulnerable in his presence and he hadn't tried to take advantage in any way. He seemed trustworthy and given his story, she couldn't help feel that they really weren't so different at all, and that no matter how their lives had gone they seemed destined to meet. The odds had dragged them both out of Oban and their wealthy lives and dumped them into the world with nothing, and here they were..

She chuckled at him as he teased her and pulled herself to her feet to retrieve her soup, her stomach twisting hungrily at the smell. "What would I do without you?.." she teased back and grinned at him as she lifted the bowl to her nose and breathed it in. "Mh. I've been eatin' bread and beans for a week straight, this smells so good." she sighed, sitting herself down by the fire to tuck into the meal.

Neith groaned at the warmth sliding down her throat and heating her belly, savouring the comforting aroma and flavour. "Not bad Ackerson." she muffled with a mouthful of potato.
 
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Cassidy Ackerson

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"Well, you probably wouldn't have been sharing a bedroom with such a strapping young bachelor all night." He snickers over at her, pouring her some water in a cup and handing it to her to go with the food. "I don't have too much of the stuff, but you looked like you needed it." It woulda been weird, for him to ask if he could consider Neith a friend; He'd stepped in on a bad situation, sure... but that wasn't something he did with expectation for a reward. He'd gotten kinda hot over watching her get felt up by those goons... In retrospect, he should have taken a more careful approach.

Hell, Retrospect... What was he talking about?

He had been just about to sneak out and try poking around the trading of illicit materials just to help her and her father get out of here. There was no incentive for him to do it; Neith was urging him not to get involved, and there was no pay waiting for him at the end of it all.

Damnit, it was just something he wanted to do... It was the right thing to do.

Mar seemed to appear from nowhere, jumping onto the bed and curling up in Neith's lap as she eats. The familiar seemed to take quite a liking to her. Probably mirroring the fondness its owner had for the girl. It was the first time he'd been treated like anything other than a sword with legs for some time, after all...

Cassidy moves over, straightening the bed up a bit and dusting his hands off. The food smelled good, and he quickly snagged a bowl and sat down beside her. "So, what I'm thinking is..." He began, speaking in between mouthfuls of the tasty broth... "We get you Russo, and you get the money you were sent to collect." She was still adamant he not get too involved with the situation between Cyrus and her father, but he had to do something. "I refuse to send you back empty-handed, Neith. I mean that. He'll just kill you, and then who's gonna nurse me back to health when I do something stupid again...?"

Neith
 
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Neith

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Neith grinned at him, her cheeks bulging with food as she suppressed a laugh and managed to swallow the mouthful before chuckling and taking the water.. "Quite sure of yourself, ain't ya?.." she mused, a sparkle of mischief in her eyes as she smiled at him.. She couldn't help but glance at his shelf as he mentioned not having much, and she appreciated the gesture that bit more..

"Thanks, Cass." she repeated, her words more weighted this time, as though she hadn't just meant the food or that he'd helped her, but for reminding her that people weren't all bad.

Mar, once again, stole her attention as she jumped up onto the bed and curled up in her lap, a quiet laugh tumbling from her lips as she met the feline's gaze. "Mornin' Mar." she greeted her softly, the metallic scent of magic tickling at her nose.

Neith continued with her meal as Cassidy laid out his plans, but despite the seriousness of the discussion, she couldn't help but grin and chuckle at him. "I'm not empty handed, Cass. What I took from those goons in the alleyway will appease Cyrus for the time bein', but.. I do wanna find Russo. So, I'm gonna let you help me, since y'seem so hell bent on it." she nudged against him with her shoulder.
 
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Cassidy Ackerson

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He offered her a proud little grin as she gave in to even a little bit more of the help he offered. "Awfully nice of you to humor me, you know? Not that I'd have let up if you'd said no." He lifted the bowl to his lips and took another long sip of broth, the heat of the soup opening up his nostrils nicely after a night in a stuffy old room. Her thanks was appreciated, but he only nodded again at her restatement, coupled by a soft mewl from the cat now curling up in her lap.

"She's not my familiar, exactly..." He looked down at the cat with a fond expression. Mar was usually pretty skittish around anybody besides Cass, so to see her making a new friend brought some warmth to his chest. "Mar was the familiar of my fiance, Ariella. As a token of her love, she enchanted a sword for me and tied Mar to it. My feline friend is really all I have left of her." He was no genius at magic; he couldn't cast a spell to save his life. Ariella had been talented though, prodigious in her abilities...

"That gonna be enough for you?" He interrupted himself, nodding to her dwindling supply of soup. "There's enough for another half-bowl if you need a bit more."

As he spoke, he lifted himself back to his feet and tossed his empty bowl into the wash-basin. As much as he was enjoying the time with Neith, the playful flirtation, and the conversation that didn't revolve around him working, he knew they were wasting time. To keep her here for his own happiness without getting to work would be selfish. "Alright, I figure we check out Jimo's shop at the Market. He won't be there today, and most of the other people around will probably recognize me as his goon for hire. Solid chance we can get info on Russo, seeing as they're partners." He left out the reason why Jimo wouldn't be at market today; a little drop of something extra Cass had slipped into Jimo's evening tea the previous night as he'd walked Neith to their room should keep him in bed most of the day.

He'd decided he wanted to help the girl out earlier than he'd let on.

Neith
 
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Neith

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Neith's lips twisted in amusement at him and her eyes rolled. "As long as it ain't puttin' you to much trouble.." she murmured shyly, her attention on the purring cat now staring at her. Cassidy's explanation caused her smile to fade and her chest to tighten as he spoke of his fiancé, and Neith fell into sombre silence as she considered his trauma. After all he'd been through, and he hadn't turned his back on the world like her father had. He was still moving through life, offering kindness to people like her. She flinched from thought as he asked her a question..

"Hm? Oh.. Aye, plenty, thanks." she nodded with a forced smile and cleared her throat.. "She must've been pretty special." she commented, her eyes narrowing with a solemn smile at him before she looked back down at Mar and took another mouthful of broth.

She nodded along with Cassidy's plans as she finished up the food and drank down the water, dragging the back of her wrist across her lips with a shrug. "Sounds good to me." she agreed. "And you ain't no goon.. I know plenty goons, and it ain't you." she smiled at him, pulling Mar against her chest and nuzzling her cheek against hers, the two of them both looking up at Cassidy.

"We think you're alright."
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Cass let a chuckle escape him as he collected her empty bowl, tossing it with the other one with a loud clatter. Cassidy was still somewhat connected with the little familiar if only through the sword hanging on his back; he could feel the warmth radiating from it, the happiness Mar was feeling. It was infectious too, Cassidy found himself grinning as he turned back to Neith. Was she blushing? That's adorable... "Please, some human company who doesn't think I'm some hired lunk? Frankly, I should be paying you."

He pulled his jacket the rest of the way on, fastening it with the buckle just below chest level. It wasn't inaccurate to say that Cassidy was a lonely, desperate soul deluded with the idea of making something right that wasn't truly his wrong in the first place. On the opposite side of the coin, it also was true that he genuinely wanted to do the world some good. Hearing her say that, that he was alright... It was something simple, but something that meant a lot more to him than she probably thought it did. He nearly blushes himself, clearing his throat and turning around. "I'm just... doing my best."

It was with a pat of his shoulder that Mar craned her neck to softly lick at Neith's cheek before squirming free of her arms and clambering up Cass's body to perch beside his head. "You all set to go? Any last preparations you want to take before we get underway?" He wasn't worried about her, at least not at the moment. Despite his expressed concerns, he believed in Neith and her ability to take care of herself.

"I'll slip into Jimo's room and grab the key, meet me outside in just a couple minutes, okay?"

Neith
 
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Neith

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"Please, some human company who doesn't think I'm some hired lunk? Frankly, I should be paying you."

"Well pay up, Red." she chuckled, her voice strained with a stretch as her arms reached above her head and she yawned. She almost imploded with glee as the little cat licked at her face, and she swept her hand through her soft fur as she slunk from her lap to join Cassidy.

"Mhm.." Neith nodded, shuffling from the bed to pull on her own jacket and boots, both now dry, thankfully. "I'm all set.." she smiled as she fastened her coat and lifted up her hood as a matter of habit. Neith nodded firmly at her instruction and strode to the door, only half opening it before she turned back to him as though she'd forgotten something.

"Oh." she smiled, and stepped onto her tiptoes to press a quick kiss to Cassidy's cheek. "Thanks for taking me in." And keeping me safe.. Her cheeks warmed but she laughed under her breath as she turned back to head through the door.

"Alright, meet you outside."
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy stood there alone in the room for what must have been a full minute after she'd left him, his fingers pressing softly against the place where she'd offered him the brief kiss. Brief, but meaningful enough to leave him with a soft smile. Even Mar was purring against his neck...

He'd been lonely, and to be shown even chaste affection made his head cloudy in that funny little way... He breaks out into a laugh, sliding the hand on his cheek up to his hair and brushing it out of his face. "The things you do for a kiss, Ackerson..." He was glad that Neith was alright, that they were going to at least make an attempt to work together.

Slipping out of the bedroom into the hallway and quickly moving to the adjacent room, he slides his hand into his jacket pocket to retrieve the key ring he'd swiped from the rotund man of the hour a few nights piror. Clicking it into the knob of the door, he cracks it open just a few inches... Sure enough, the large man was out like a light, the cup of tea Cass had spiked sitting empty on his nightstand as he snored rather loudly from his spot hidden beneath the blankets.

A sigh of relief escaped the redheaded wanderer, sliding the door gently shut and pocketing the keys before slipping down the hallway of the repurposed inn and out the front door, no more Jimo and no more of the musty smell that seemed to fill his little gang house.

"God it's nice to be out of there..." He takes in a deep breath of fresh air, or as fresh as the air in this part of Elbion got. Neith was waiting there, and Cassidy could only prey the red shade on his face had faded in the time he'd stayed in the building. No time for dwelling on emotions; they had work to do! "Okay! The Market District! Let's get going!"

Neith
 
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Neith

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Neith stuck close to the shadows against the wall, her gaze searching the sky and rooftops. She pursed her lips and let out a long whistle, to which the large raven replied with a few clicks from a window ledge above her. Neith grinned, and the bird flew down to perch upon a stack of crates next to her, chittering at her as she reached to stroke at his puffed chest with her knuckles.

"Morning Rok." she smiled, the corvid's beak nibbling affectionately at her fingers. She turned back at Cassidy's voice and quirked a brow. "Market district hm?." she asked, skipping up to him and slinking her arm through his and lifting her chin.

"What are you buying for me today, Mr Ackerson? A fine wine, a silver pendant? Perhaps a scarf, or some sweet cakes.." her lips pursed, but she couldn't resist the grin that spread across her face. The bird flapped its wings and flew off after them.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy had just exited the building when he saw the huge bird swoop down from the sky and perch beside Neith, causing him to stumble back a step with a swear. He wasn't the only one with an animal companion, it seemed. He smiled sheepishly as she reached over to pet the raven, realizing now that it was hers. "That's... a big bird." Rok, his name was? Well, he had a feeling that one wasn't a familiar at least. Even Cassidy's pet was more or less a fabrication, wasn't it?

No, that wasn't entirely true. Mar was part of the sword, and the sword may as well have been a part of him. He reaches into his jacket and giving the purring furball a gentle pet. "I figured we'd hit the markets, yeah. Get a few keepsakes, maybe break into some slime bag's stall and find out where a certain person of interest might be." He was pretty sure that stall was where they'd been going to have their talks that they didn't want heard by anybody else. Maybe he'd be out of a payday for this, but Cass had never been fond of Jimo anyways, and any chance he had to stick it to him was too good to pass up.

He couldn't help but wear a smug grin as she all but rushed over to him to take his arm in hers. She could play the flirting game too, huh? He supposed he deserved it after how playfully he'd been poking at her the night before. Still, he could only smile at her words, shrugging his shoulder that wasn't pressed to her with a wink as they set off into the city. "Oh, I think that's all doable. I always treat my woman to what she wants, after all." He snickers. "We'll paint the town red, you and I."

Their back and forth continued as they traveled the streets arm-in-arm. Cassidy found that her presence was actually quite helpful in keeping attention away from himself. Walking from Jimo's to the Market was usually a little bit difficult, if only because he stood out with his red hair and expensive-looking sword. With a young woman like Neith hanging on his arm though, most of the passer-by only saw what looked to be a young couple. It wasn't long before they reached the market, the midday hustle and bustle not quite in full swing, thanks to their early departure. "Okay, perfect... Nice and sparse crowd." He made a move to lead them towards Jimo's stand, but he paused... "I mean... unless you actually wanted to grab something first?"

Neith
 
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Neith

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"Hm. He's a good friend, he looks out for me." she told him as she looked up to watch the bird swoop. She chuckled as they continued their charade of a happy, wealthy couple, though it was obvious that they were anything but wealthy. Happy, though, wasn't really too difficult to portray as she grinned back at him.

"This town and the next, doll." she laughed, her lips twisting as she gave him a cheeky wink. Neith dipped her hand inside his jacket to scratch at Mar's ears. "What d'you think Mar?.." she whispered to the feline, smiling at the purring sound she made.

She cast her brown eyes across the market, keeping an eye out for anyone she knew and perhaps didn't wish to run into. That it was quiet could be both a blessing and a curse, it all depended on how well they had to hide. "Hm?" she looked at him as he paused. "Oh, no.. Perhaps after our business is done, we can treat ourselves." she nudged at him with her hip.

"Carry on, Ackerson."
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy shifted his body to move his chest closer to her as she gave Mar some always-welcomed affection, a light chuckle on his lips as she reached under his jacket to spoil the familiar. He could understand the appeal of Rok, Mar kept Cassidy sane during some very lonely times and he wasn't too sure he'd still be fighting if it wasn't for the parting gift his former lover had given him.

The idea that Neith would maybe be recognized by somebody here hadn't truly crossed Cass's mind, although it really should have. His hold around her arm tightens noticeably as she scans the market., biting the inside of his cheek in apprehension. In truth, he probably should have done this alone. The fact of the matter was though, that Neith would likely have severe objections to him doing anything for her alone, and that Cassidy was probably a little too happy to have human company to let her stay behind anyways.

"Any problems?" He lowered his voice to a murmur as she looked about, but she didn't seem to spot any trouble faces. Instead, she playfully bumped his hip and offered him something to maybe look forward to. That was later, though. Now it was time to put all his money where his mouth was, not that he had much of it. He slides his arm out from around hers and walks ahead of her towards the heart of the Market.

Some of these stalls may have well have been entire buildings for how big they were built up, while others were more or less little pop-up shops that could be assembled in an hour and taken down even faster. The smaller types tended to line up in rows up and down the market in an aisle-like fashion. Jimo's antique shop was somewhere in the middle; Cass knew it was situated on the end of one of these long rows of stalls, too big to be moved in a day.

He led her right to it, it was about the size of a poverty level home by any other standards, probably only 2 or three rooms inside of it at most. The walls were wooden, obviously flimsy and falling apart, but Jimo'd had some men slap metal bars over the weak spots to discourage break-ins. That was fine with Ackerson, he had the easy way in.

"C'mon, round back. Mar, watch the front for me, buddy." The cat scurries out of his jacket on his command and dashes around to the front of the building as Cassidy swings around behind the building with Netih. He drops to one knee in front of the old door in the back of the shop, pulling out the key he'd swiped from Jimo and sliding it into the lock with a click. He grins, muttering. "And we're in..."

Neith
 
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Neith

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Neith smirked as Mar obeyed the gentle command to stand guard, and she glanced up at the raven as he swooped down to perch on a lantern, his feathers bristling at the sight of the cat. Satisfied that the pair were being well guarded, she followed Cassidy to the back and kept an eye on things as he worked the lock.

And we're in...

"Hm, not bad." her lips twitched and she arched a brow in appraisal as she slipped quickly inside. Brown eyes lit up as they scanned over the shop's various trinkets and treasures, and she let her fingertips trail over the shelved items with curiosity. How could she resist peeking into the past? Holding an object that had travelled through more time than a human could. She loved the rough textures of the old clays, the smoothness of the fine woods and the vibrancy of the later glazes. She could admire the craft of the maker all day, try to fathom how long it took them to hone the skills to make such fine artifacts. Each one was made by a master of their craft and once stood as her inspiration to master her own. Once upon a time she loved this kind of story, when she was just a child and the world was small and she dreamed of open doors.

Neith lifted an old music box from a table, the wood carved with intricate details of trees and mountains. A haunting lullaby started to play as she opened it, her gaze wandering the painted roof of the box in the image of the starry night sky. Her eyes teared, and she quickly closed it and held it against her chest, her jaw tight.

"What now?.." she asked, clearing her throat as she looked over her shoulder at the redhead.
 
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Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy didn't seem nearly as concerned about the trinkets and old keepsakes that lined the shelves inside the little old shack. Some of them were quite interesting and beautiful, sure. Even so, he had a sneaking suspicion most of them had found their way here through theivery, knowing Jimo the way he did. Getting in was the east part; now it all came down to whether or not there actually was anything hinting towards Russo's location stashed away here. This had been a shot in the dark from the beginning, but it was the best shot that they had at a lead.

He slides Damascus slowly off of his shoulder, leaning the blade carefully against the wall beside Neith as he strode to the front counter of the shop, dropping to a knee and searching the shelves behind the counter, rummaging through whatever he could pry open in attempt to find something that could give him even the slightest hint of a clue. Jimo kept the shelves of his store relatively neat, but his personal effects were in a mess. Anywhere not visible to the customer seemed to be cluttered with papers, junk, and broken antiques in the middle of hasty repair.

Still, anything could be a hint; he shuffled through every scrap he could get his hands on, not taking much care to hide the mess he was adding to the already cluttered counter. Hands finally closing around a thin leather-backed booklet, he pulls it out from under a stack of inventory sheets and cracks it open...

"Bingo, this might be our lucky day, after all!"

He rises to his feet, eyes met with Neiths as she clutched what looked to be clutching something close to breast, though whatever it was lay hidden from his view as she looked over her shoulder at him. Had something caught her eye? "Find something you like? We're already breaking and entering, so don't feel guilty about taking a souvenir." He chuckles, lying the booklet on the table and opening it. "Check this out. It's like a day planner or something; he's got all his appointments written in this thing, and there's one for tonight. Doesn't say it's with Russo specifically, but it's marked with an 'R' so I'd say the chance is high."

He read a bit further, confusion soon settling over his face. "What in the..?" It was the small bit of note written under the appointment that caused fury to begin to boil within him.

"That fat whoreson was going to sell me out!"

His hand came down hard on the counter, his teeth grinding as he realized why he'd truly been hired. Finding Cyrus? It didn't make any sense, if they were all in the same trade, even as rivals, they should know the general location of each other.

No, Russo and Jimo were going to offer him as a way to pay off their debt; A wanted runaway noble with an enchanted blade would be a fine addition to any burgeoning entrepreneur. If Cassidy hadn't cooperated, his sword alone would have fetched a small fortune. Those... those...

"Fucking cockbites!" A kick delivered to the counter rang through the otherwise quiet shop as Cassidy's anger flared. As if in response, his sword Damascus began to shift colors, from blue to a red hue. "When I get my hands on that fucking lard tub of a man..."

Neith
 
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Neith

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"Oh, I won't feel guilty." she answered in a quiet grumble as she wandered over to see what he was so excited about. Her dark eyes skimmed over the journal, nodding casually until he paused and she sensed his mood shift. "What?" she asked, frowning at the book as she searched for whatever it was that he saw.

She flinched slightly as his boot was violently introduced to the counter, her eyes shifting to the blade as the thrum of magic stirred at her senses and caused a militia of chills to march across her back.

"Hey.." she said quietly with a soft frown, setting the music box down to reach a hand out to his face and pull his gaze toward her. "You can't blame a snake for being a snake when he bites you. You're smarter than he is. Just.. bite better." she gave a tight smirk, trying to soothe him.

She smiled at him for a moment before letting her hand fall idly to her side and chewed on her lip. "So...What are you gonna do?.." she asked delicately
 

Cassidy Ackerson

The Scarlet Bird
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Cassidy prided himself on keeping his cool through extremely stressful situations, but when he got angry, he did so dramatically. In fact, many of the true abilities that lied within Damascus were locked behind such anger, hence its reaction to the sudden shift of emotions. Were it not for the gentle touch of Neith's fingertips against his cheek as she directed his gaze to her, he would likely have boiled even hotter. His gaze softens, unable to remain too angry with somebody like her there to comfort him.

She was right, too; Cassidy knew better than to trust Jimo, and yet he'd still let himself believe the man wouldn't stoop so low as to exploit him. Cass was far too naïve for his own good, and that was likely the price of his privileged upbringing. It seemed to rear it's head at the worst times... He nodded softly, eyes shifting to look down as she offered him the words of comfort. He couldn't afford to let himself get too angry; Neith was counting on him.

He couldn't let her down.

For the first time in years, Cassidy felt he had somebody to fight for besides himself, for his attempt at atonement. He knew Neith was worried about her father, but... She couldn't do this alone, she would need him. It was slowly dawning on Cassidy that he needed her just as much, that he'd felt normal ever since they'd met, and he wanted to seize that feeling.

For the briefest of moments, his restraints drop. As her palm slides softly across his cheek, her touch warm and inviting, he leans forward and presses his lips to hers.

He wasn't sure what had brought him to do it, or what had made him think it was okay. Once he felt that first touch of her lips against his though, he didn't care. One of his hands raised, brushing through her hair as his eyes slide shut, indulging in the moment. It only lasted the shortest of moments, but it felt much longer to him.

When he would step back, his face was flushed a bit. The realization of what he'd just did slowly set in and his eyes averted from her as he bites the inside of his cheek. That... was too soon, wasn't it? I mean... she'd made it seem like she was interested, but with so much going on in her life surely she didn't have the time to be messing around with a guy. He'd been out of line.

"I...I'm sorry. I..."

Neith
 
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Neith

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She'd have been lying if she'd said that his answer hadn't been the one she'd been hoping for, and yet it still managed to take her by surprise. Her brown eyes widened for the briefest of moments as she felt his lips against hers, her body tensing only slightly and only for a moment before she let out a sigh and melted into it. All anxious thoughts seemed to stop dead in their tracks, none of it mattered, at least for a few blissful seconds where there was nothing else she need bother thinking about but the soft press of his lips and the gentle touch of his hand as his fingers combed into her hair.

The affection brought up so many emotions, hope being the most giddy-making of them all. She had a good feeling about Cassidy from the moment she'd met him, he'd been unnecessarily kind to her, hell bent on helping her and she found him somewhat soothing to be around. Hearts such as his were rare and so she took it as a good omen.

Her lashes fluttered as he stepped back and her fingertips pressed lightly against her lips as they tingled. She was vaguely aware of him apologising and she frowned at him, her cheeks just as flushed as his. "Please don't apologise. I'd rather you weren't sorry about kissin' me.." she laughed under her breath and dropped her gaze, her chest aching at the thought of his regret. She swallowed and curled her hair around the curve of her ear, unable to meet his gaze.

"I'm not." she shrugged, her eyes raising hesitantly to find his gaze with a sheepish smile.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

The Scarlet Bird
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Cassidy was well aware of how ridiculous this was, to feel this way about somebody he'd only known a scant couple of days. He might have told himself he was being unreasonable, that he was clinging to Neith as a way of coping with the building stress and loneliness that had accumulated over his years of travelling city to city, and road to road with only a magical fragment of his previous life shaped like a cat to keep him company. The more he considered it though, the more he knew that just the opposite was true...

Neith had been the first person since he'd left Oban who he could confide in, who he'd trusted enough to share his story with. She knew the shadows of his mind, the demons and regrets he battled with every day. Their time together had been short, but already she knew him better than most anybody else did.

The fondness in his touch, his thumb slowly sliding across the skin of her cheek as he smiled softly down at her... It betrayed his words. He wasn't sorry, not even if he thought it would have been right to be. Both of them were at a crossroads in their lives, and they both had a decision they needed to make. Cassidy needed to allow himself to move on, to let go of that heartbreak that haunted him with every step he made upon the ground. Neith was worried about her Father, so much that it prevented her from fighting back against those who oppressed her, who caused her to slowly bleed her life away in this godforsaken quarter of Elbion...

He saw the fire in her eyes as he gazed into them. He knew she was strong enough to break free of the chains that held her here and seize her life for herself.

He wanted to be with her when she did it, wanted to watch her when she blossomed into what he saw inside of her, and that brief look of pain that flashed across her features when he'd apologized damn near killed him. So, taking another step forward, he pulled her completely into his embrace, wrapping his arms around her, hands meeting at the small of her back as he leaned down to capture her in another kiss. This one lingered longer, without the fear that had plagued him the first time. She was so warm, a warmth he hadn't felt in ages, and every movement of her lips felt like electricity against his own. He would pull back, mumbling softly.


"I want you to know, that when I kick Jimo's ass and hand you Russo on a platter, we're doing it for you just as much as for me. I know you didn't want me involved, but..." A grin creeps across his face. "There's this girl I'm interested in, and I don't see much future for me and her unless I help her out of this mess..."


Neith
 
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Neith

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She didn't have time to smile at him before his lips collided with hers again, but the moment they did she gripped hold of his shirt and stood up on her tiptoes, giving a throaty sound of approval as she kissed him back. She'd never had the sort of kiss that made her spine tingle and her knees grow weak, the sort that was steeped in passion that ignites a promise of realness, pure and vulnerable. She had never been treated so gently in her adult life as she was with him in such a short time, and she'd never known how much she'd needed such a thing. With his arms around her, for once, she didn't feel so alone. Perhaps she would let him protect her a little, she'd have been lying if she said it didn't feel nice.

As his lips broke free of hers she let out a shuddered breath, her head pleasantly light as she clung to him, appreciating the closeness and warmth. Her brown eyes studied his features as he spoke, her teeth flashing a bright smile as she let out a breathy laugh at his words.

"Oh?.." her brow quirked. "She must be pretty special, all this talk of futures..." she grinned, amusement dancing like stars in her dark eyes as she pulled him closer to graze her lips against his.

"I hope she knows how lucky she is.." she whispered, stealing another soft kiss. "And I'm sure.." and another... "She'll gladly let you help her out of that mess.." she smirked.
 
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Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy had been raised an aristocrat, just like Neith had in her earlier years. It was a life of privilege, where you never wanted for anything, just because anything you asked for was given to you at the snap of a finger. Ever since he'd been ousted from that lifestyle though, Cass had learned that life... well, it could be a lot simpler than that, if you were willing to look past all the superficial fluff. The man who held Neith close to him, with the embrace not of a friend, but of a lover, had discovered himself to be a pretty simple man. All that he wanted, all that he'd yearned for since losing it all was to be happy.

Neith made him happy, more than he could believe. He swayed lightly in place with her, cradling her as they reveled in the sweet moment they shared, where nothing else mattered but the two of them. This. Why couldn't it last forever? Standing there, with her staggered breath warm across his lips, those beautiful brown eyes looking up at him with nothing but pure adoration... Cassidy wished he could have forgotten about Elbion in that moment, and stayed here with her, indulging in her company for hours. The sensation that having this kind of emotion awakening inside of himself was almost overwhelming.

Their mouths brushed again, one of his hands slowly sliding up her back, resting where her neck met her body as he let out a soft little laugh of contentment. "It just occurred to me so suddenly... how special she is to me. There's a lot of things I'd like to experience with her, once I know she's safe. Once she's free." Those kisses she peppered onto him were each met in turn with his own, each one feeling just as special as the first. Gods, was he drunk on her? "That's good, because I think she's stuck with me either way..."

Neith
 
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