Private Tales The Far Fallen..

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Neith

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Happiness was something long passed but not entirely forgotten. The moment served as a blissful evocation of that feeling, the absence of all negative emotions and the presence of a positive one. She wasn't worried about Cyrus or Russo, she wasn't even worried about her father, for this one selfish modicum of time she'd allow herself to think only of Cassidy and allow the comfort to sink deep into her bones like a warm ocean wave, washing away the stresses.

It occurred to her in that moment that she'd never in her life met anyone like him. Someone so selfless and gentle. Someone who had put her before even himself, something her own father had failed to do. It was a notion so foreign and fascinating to her that she couldn't help but be drawn to his embrace, to lean into the comfort and warmth he offered, like a stray dog being offered affection. Neith was not generally the trusting sort, but his actions alone had all but demanded that she trust him, and who was she to question his worthiness of her trust? She was a thief, a spy, a tracker, a drug trafficker and a collector for one of the most notorious crime lords in Elbion, and here he was wrapping her in his arms and talking of their future.

She couldn't stop smiling at him. She drank in those promises of future and freedom and bit on her lip to stop her grin from widening. Her fingers were still tightly furled in his shirt but they slowly slackened, as though she'd needed assurance that he wasn't going anywhere to loosen her grip. A sigh tumbled from her lips and she rested her cheek against his chest, her arms wrapping around his waist.

"Promise?..." she mumbled, her eyes closing. She'd have been content to stay there for a while if not for the voices outside and Mar appearing. A lock clicked, and Neith's eyes shot open.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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It was poetic, that both of them found the other so flawless, while each saw deep-rooted flaws within themselves. Perhaps it was that they truly had been fated to find each other, to fit together as though they were two pieces of a simple but incomplete puzzle. There was still some worm of doubt, some inkling of hesitation in the back of Cassidy's mind...

Did what he felt so passionately in this moment for Neith betray his memory of Ariella? It was that lingering guilt that plagued his mind, feeling love for another when his previous love had been stolen without any semblance of closure. Every time he felt that negativity crawling into the edged of his vision though, she would kiss him again, replacing it with that rapturous euphoria she'd unlocked within him. "Neith... I want to make sure your father is saved... I want to be with you. I think I've f--"

What sounded like it could very well be a confession was interrupted by the clicking of the lock, followed closely by a glowing Mar, shining with alarm. Damn, he would normally have felt it if Mar had been approached, but he'd been... distracted. Damnit, why couldn't this have come about this morning and not when they were already out and about? Quickly he pulls Neith tight against his body, dropping onto his back and bringing her down on top of him. They'd been behind the counter, so they would be hidden unless somebody looked down over it. He could only pray they were so lucky.

In any other circumstance, he would have been on the edge of his nerves in this kind of a situation, but the feeling of this newfound... love, and the presence of her atop him did wonders to help him slow his breathing. He couldn't be found. Not yet. He'd only just found what he was looking for...

Who the hell was it though? He'd taken care of Jimo for the day... who else could be on their tail?

"Look around, I know the bastard's working for Jimo, so try to find a book of appointments or something."

Beneath her, Neith would hear Cassidy inhale sharply.

"What the hell would Cassidy be doing workin' for a drug boss anyways? Is he that low now?"

It was Jerrok, and Rae as well.

His Mother's men.


Neith
 
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Neith

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A gasp caught in her throat as she was suddenly falling, her face only inches from his as she landed atop him and despite the predicament, she couldn't help but grin and silence a laugh against his lips. She didn't care who the fuck it was, she had to answer him, and since her answer had to be silent, she'd make it count.

I want to be with you too, it said. 'Ackerson', the smirk added.

Then there were voices, and Neith stared down at Cassidy whilst holding her breath. Her brow furrowed at the gasp he drew in, seeing the recognition and apprehension in his face. They were looking for him, and it was more than apparent that they weren't friends. Her teeth latched onto her lower lip and she bit down, listening to the boots walking the floor and kicking over baskets and vases.

They were getting closer, and Neith pressed a hand to Cassidy's cheek, giving him as stern a look as she could before she pushed herself up to lean against the counter with only a moment to spare before they reached it.

"Can I help you lads?" she asked chirpily. "Shop's closed today, but you knew that.. Lookin' for somethin' in particular?" she asked with a forced smile as she studied the two men gaping at her.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy didn't need to hear her to know what that last kiss, and the smile that followed it, meant. His desire to pursue these feelings that had crept in on both of them was not one-sided; Neith had every intention on staying with him when all of this nonsense was done and over with, and the redheaded mercenary felt his chest swell up with emotion. He had to get out of this now. He was a man of his word, and he'd given Neith his word that the two of them would be just what they were pretending to be on the way here to the market.

"Check behind the counter, see if he's got anything back there."

First, they had to earn it though, and they were in one hell of a bad spot. Heavy footsteps quickly approached their hiding spot, and Cassidy knew what they would do once they found him. It wouldn't be pretty, and Neith wouldn't be spared.

Neith, though, seemed to have a plan in mind. With one last comforting, yet stern gesture from his newfound lover, he watched her as she sprang off of him and to her feet. His eyes going wide. What was she thinking?!

Rae, the burly, emerald-skinned Orc who'd been approaching the counter, nearly jumped a foot back in surprise as Neith emerged so suddenly. For an Orc, Rae looked rather prim and proper. His jet-black hair was groomed neatly into fine braids, and even his leather armor seemed expensive and far more colorful than it needed to be, splashes of purple and green covering his outfit.

The one behind him, a much slimmer creature with an extravagant and similarly colored rope wrapped tightly around his body, and a strange dragon-faced mask covering his face was Jerrok. It was unclear exactly what he was. Neither of them responded right away, casting a look at one another. Finally, the Orc spoke.

"Thought this was Jimo's shop. Who're you, girl?" The heavy suspicion in his voice was apparent. "If you're closed, what the hell are you doin' under the counter? Got your boyfriend under there?" He sneered.

A small hand came to rest on Rae's broad shoulder, Jerrok stepping forward. "Forgive my angry friend. What he means to say is that we're here on business, and Jimo hasn't been seen all day, evidently. Do you know where we could find him? Or perhaps... an associate of his?" His voice was low and polite, but there was an arrogance behind it that spoke to danger.

Neith
 
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Neith

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Neith's casual grin widened at the orc's attitude and she hopped up onto the counter, crossing her legs and huffing as she threw down the ledger book onto the counter next to her. "I wish." she murmured with a roll of her eyes. "Inventory. You boys interrupted me mid-count. Thanks, by the way." she smirked.

Her brown eyes shifted between them, not bothering to hide the scrutiny in her gaze as she looked them over from head to toe, committing them to memory. There wasn't a doubt in her mind that they were from Oban, and now she understood.

"Jimo's under the weather, poor bastard ate some bad shellfish." she snickered. "You'll find him three streets toward the west docks, shit hole of a place, you can't miss it. Tell him Lina want's paid double this week, eh?.." she winked.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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It wasn't Neith's ascent to the countertop that the well-pampered orc's eyes were drawn to, nor was it the ledger she tossed aside. It was the collar of Neith's outfit that his beady, yet powerful eyes chose to focus on. He could swear he saw small red hairs stuck in the material, standing out against the color she wore enough to bring some level of attention to it. A grumble bubbled up from his throat, one of doubt and suspicion.

Jerrok seemed to take note of Rae's discontent but did not appear to make the same connection that his partner just had. No, the smaller male was focused solely on his assignment, and in his eyes, every moment they spent chatting with this girl was a moment wasted, that they could be spending in pursuit of their goal. They did have a bonus promised for swift action, after all. His expression was unreadable, but his head would cock to the side as 'Lina' offered her explanation.

"The fat fool, his gluttony will be the death of him..." Jerrok's mutter seemed to indicate he believed the tale, but Rae still gazed a hole in Neith. "Didn' know Jimo hired em' right off the corner." He spat, before turning to face his partner, muscular arms crossed over his chest. "I thin' she's lyin' Jerrok. She's got red hair on her top."

Jerrok paused, looking at Rae briefly before shuffling forward to take a closer look at this 'Lina' woman. Oh, he saw it too, little specks of red around her neck. A long, thoughtful hum escaped the ornate mask, before Jerrok began to speak in a voice with a degree less gentleness to it. "Tell me, Lina. Have you been seeing a boy? Perhaps one that works with Jimo?" He pries.

"Ey Jerrok. Get a look a'this."

Rae stood beside Damascus, still propped up on the wall where Cassidy had left it, its faint blue glow unmistakable to those who knew the blade. "Ain' this Lady Ariella's toy?" He tapped it with his knuckles. Jerrok looked back between the sword and Neith, fingers tightening where he'd gripped the counter. "Indeed it is... Tell me, Miss Lina, where did that come from? A gift perhaps? Or did somebody leave it behind?"

Neith
 
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Neith

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The girl's cheeks dimpled as her charming grin grew and she fought hard to keep it as Jerrok moved closer with his questions. Her brow quirked and her grin shifted to a coy smirk, her shoulder lifting and falling.. "Might've had a bit of a tumble with a dashing lad, but I ent quite sure what business that is of--"

Neith's head turned to what Rae had gestured to, her brow furrowing. "Ey - best be leaving' that thing well alone. I still ent worked out what it does quite yet." she warned, lifting a finger to point at Rae. "An' no, it's mine." she turned back to Jerrok, her gaze narrowing despite the smirk that curled once again on her lips.

"Won it fair n' square last night. Some red head guy uh, Cassian? No, Ca-aahh fuck I can't remember, he was cute anyway." she chuckled and shrugged, rubbing at her head with a sheepish smile. "Beat him at dice an' I weren't even griftin'! So it's mine, an' he went sulking' toward the east dock, ent seen him since." she shrugged finally.

"Now are you boys gonna let me get on with my work, I ent paid to sit and chat all day." she huffed, her fingertips tapping impatiently on the counter.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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There now came a point where the two men had to make a decision; They could choose to believe this woman's stories, that maybe she'd just had a proverbial romp in the hay with their target before winning his sword in a game of dice. Of course, they didn't believe it was that simple for a moment. Both of them knew good and damn well Cassidy cared too much about that sword to gamble it so freely with some woman. It didn't add up, not at all. That blade was all that remained of Lady Ariella. Cassidy would have been heartbroken to lose it.

On the other hand, they could try to force some more information out of this Lina, apply a little bit of force and see what happened. The downside to that was if she actually did work for the fat bastard, Jimo, he'd get them into hot water for roughing up his help. The two men looked at each other, seeming to have a silent conversation with their eyes. Underneath Neith, Cassidy kept as silent as could be, controlling his breathing to be unnoticeable in the brief silence.

Finally, Jerrok speaks up, his body beginning to turn away from Neith even as he did so. "Alright then, Lina. We'll trust you, for the time being. We really need to have a chat with Mr. Ackerson, so we'll be heding down to the East Dock... If he's not there though, you can bet we'll be back to press you for some real answers. Are we understood?" He spoke with a sneer, obviously not believing Lina's claim, but seeming to decide that a confrontation wasn't ideal, for one reason or another. Even the orc seemed to avert his gaze, choosing to look out of the door they entered from as he sauntered back towards the entryway. Neither of them waited for an answer, shuffling out the door and leaving Neith, Cassidy, and Damascus alone once more.

Cassidy waited for several minuted before he dared release the breath he'd been holding, moving to sit up slowly, using the counter to climb to his feet in the cramped space behind it. Those assholes... they'd followed him all the way here, to finish what they started. Between those two, Jimo, Russo, and Cyrus... He was looking more and more like a dead man, espcecially considering he just wanted to help Neith.

"Thank you..." He finally said, a somber tone about his voice. "I didn't want you to get dragged into this, but... I'm glad I'm here with you, and not alone."

Neith
 

Neith

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Hells, even she knew how unbelievable that story sounded, but a thief wasn't about to admit that they'd stolen something so valuable and she hoped they'd assume that was why she was lying, and not that Cassidy was hiding behind the desk. Still she remained as nonchalant as she could, picking up the ledger and flicking through it as the two made up their minds. She didn't entirely care if they believed her story or not, she just needed them to leave so that she and Cassidy could make a run for it.

"Mhmm.." she murmured irritably, lifting her hand in a quick salute to Jerrok as she understood his threat. "I'll be here all night by the looks of this." she lifted the ledger with a huff and hopped down from the desk.

"And remember what I said!.. I want double!" she called as they shuffled out of the door before finally letting her tension ease when she was sure they'd gone. Her hand ran across her brow and into her hair as she took a moment to breathe.

Neith turned to Cass as he spoke, a soft smile curling at her lips as she leaned against the desk with a sigh. "Are you kidding? I'm having fun.." she mused with a dauntless grin. "But, we should get goin' before they come back to press me." she laughed under her breath and picked up the music box.

"Lets get out of here, 'Mr. Ackerson'.."
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Despite the grim situation they were in, something about the way Neith grinned at him was infectious; he found himself smiling right back. Between that, and the unexpected direction his mind decided to go when she leaned herself against the desk and expressed her enjoyment of the situation... he was seeing her in a totally different light now. Jerrok and Rae's presence was unwelcome, but Neith was right, there wasn't any sense in griping about it. After all, if they played their cards right they could even use those two idiots to their advantage.

"Hell of a performance you put on there, Nee. You ever consider taking up theater when you're out of the whole 'being a slave' business?" He joked with a snicker, taking a brief glance down at the music box she seemed so taken with as she scooped it up, before hurrying himself around the counter to grab Damascus. As if on cue, Mar emerged from the blade, and all put pounced onto Cassidy's chest. The redhead clutched the cat tightly to his chest, stroking her head slowly as he cooed down at the animal. "Sorry buddy. I didn't mean to leave you out there like that... Tell you what, soon as we turn in for the night I know somebody who's getting a bowl of milk."

That seemed to satisfy his feline companion if the soft licks to his face were any indication. Cassidy laughed, lowering Mar to the ground gently, and hoisting Damascus back onto the sheath on his back before turning to Neith. "You're right, can't have them gettin' handsy with you. I have to admit, I kinda want exclusive rights to that." He shoots her a wink, holding the door open for her as Mar clambers into his shirt. "After you, darlin'."

The marketplace has gotten a bit busier in the midday rush, but walking out of an alley was a bit less suspicious than walking into one, he supposed. The two of them didn't have much trouble blending in, using the same strategy of hooking arms and pressing close to one another as they headed for where the hustle and bustle faded.

This time though, it wasn't an act.

"So..." Cassidy muttered as they cleared earshot of any eavesdroppers. "As much as I'd like to go somewhere and grab some lunch, maybe talk about what just happened in there before those guys showed up... I figure we probably have more work to do, huh?" He paid a brief thought to what had been written in the planner. "Russo and Jimo are having a meeting tonight, where I was supposed to be given up. It's not for a few hours, and the location written is... vague." His arm shifts, slipping out of hers and looping around her waist. "Obviously Jimo won't be making it, but we can still crash the party. Of course, that's assuming we can figure out where 'The Blue Ribbon' is." It was all that was written, but the time of the appointment seemed to indicate it couldn't be too terribly far.

"Watcha think, Nee?"

Neith
 
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Neith

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Neith waved her hand theatrically in dismissal and gave a conceited shrug. "Ah it was nothing." she insisted, lifting her chin and flicking her hair back from her face with a bored sigh. The nonchalance didn't last, and another bright smile broke across her face, her dark eyes glittering with amusement.

"Spose it could be sorta fun.." she pursed her lips in consideration, joining Cassidy as he held Mar to his chest, her fingertips scratching gently at the backs of her ears. Though her eyes were on Cass as he spoke to the feline, her lips curled absently. The smile only faltered as he teased about getting handsy with her and she let out a breathy laugh and dropped her gaze as he winked at her. She wished she wasn't so quick to blush, she could feel her cheeks warming and it just made her look shy and awkward as she turned to head back out into the crowded street.

Neith leaned into him a little more than she had done on the way here. Her cheek rested against his shoulder as they walked and her fingers entwined with his as his arm found its way around her waist. There was something about him that just made her feel safe. It was not a feeling that she was used to, but one she hadn't realised how much she'd needed.

Her lips quirked at his nickname for her and she cleared her throat.. "I think... I... Didn't catch a word of that.." she admitted with a laugh and squeezed at his hand with a grin.

"But, uh.. Why don't we figure out where that meetin' is and suss it out?" she asked, her brow arching in question.
 
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Cassidy Ackerson

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It wasn't lost on him how different this felt from before, the embrace the two of them were sharing as they made their way out of the crowded market and back towards the sparsely populated backroads. Cassidy had notably turned them around so that they headed in the opposite direction of Jimo's lodging. She'd sent them that way, so they were going to get as far away as possible. Her face was warm against his shoulder, her fingers wrapping around his tightly, wantingly was she pressed against him.

It was a lovers embrace, and even Cassidy had to take a moment to catch his breath as he felt Neith push her body against his side as though he were some sanctuary. He supposed that maybe in a situation like this, they were one another's safe place. When they were together like this, nobody paid them any more mind than they usually would a young couple in love. Nobody spoke a word to them save for a few street vendors looking to peddle goods. Cassidy politely declined, and Neith... Well, he didn't think she could have said yes or no if she wanted to.

The brief allusion to activities a bit more intimate in nature had hit her quite a bit, it seemed. She'd turned her head, cheeks burning as red as Cassidy's hair as she avoided his eyes. By the time Ackerson realized it, he'd already laid out their options in detail. She seemed to have other things on her mind at the moment. He snickered, his lips curling into a grin.

"Did I set your imagination off?" He teased, leaning down to peck her cheek. "We can talk more about that later, Nee. For now, we should focus on finding out where this 'Blue Ribbon' is. Sound familiar to you at all? A bar maybe?"

Neith
 
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Neith

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Her cheeks flushed a shade of red to rival his hair and she bit down on her lip to suppress a wide grin in answer. It was ridiculous how shy and nervous she felt, but his kiss to her cheek tranquillised her and she let out a soft, throaty sound in approval.

"Hm, I think that's down by Cheapside. I should... Probably stay away from there." she laughed awkwardly under her breath and cleared her throat. Most people she dealt with were from the squalid little area of the city, many knew her face, some feared it, and a few wanted to peel it from her skull. Not that she was afraid, she'd kissed death and lived several times over, and now, she supposed, she wasn't alone.

"But, i'll just.. Keep my head down." she smiled and her lips twisted as she lifted her hood. A simple whistle to Rok sent the Raven off in another direction. He'd only give her away, but he wouldn't be far off. With a tug on Cassidy's arm, they were soon heading into the quieter, seedier streets of Elbion.
 
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Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy wasn't sure what exactly you called that sound that Neith made when he kissed her, but it sent some kind of spark down the length of his spine, and gave his skin goosebumps. Of course, he'd choose now to fall for her, when they had so much to do. Now, when all he wanted to do was pull her aside and bask in her presence for a while. Ah well, he'd always cursed himself for being ever the hopeless romantic. Even Mar had been purring non-stop since they'd left Jimo's shop.

He turned his head to gaze down at her as she tried to place the location that had been specified in the book. This was actually the first time he'd been in Elbion, and he'd only just gotten a general feel for where everything was. Needless to say, he had no idea where Cheapside was. Even so, he could tell from the awkward expression that seemed to come with it that Neith was none too fond of the place.

Cassidy was... conflicted. He didn't wish to force her to go anywhere she wasn't sure about, and he certainly didn't want to thrust her into unnecessary danger. For a moment he considered telling her to stay somewhere safe while he went alone. He didn't know the area, but he could make do...

She seemed to pick up on his worries though, and with an impish smile and the lifting of her hood to hide her face, Cassidy grinned. She was a fighter, just like he was. She wasn't about to run away from a fight now. "Well, since you'd probably be so lonesome and upset without me beside you..." He teases as she tugs him away. "Let's go ruin their day so I can take you home, sound good?" That cocky little grin settled on his face as they headed for the streets of undoubtedly ill repute.

Neith
 
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Neith

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Home..?

Neith paused in her stride and set her dark gaze on him, momentarily lapsed into a stunned silence as she considered the word.

Choose him for his soul, for his wish to protect, his soft hands that reflect his true self. Choose him for his quiet warmth, not the burning of one who possesses, nor the chill of one who is further away than he appears.

Home.

There was something about the word that seemed to wake something in her. Perhaps some part of her had believed that this feeling was temporary, but home. That word wasn't temporary. It was solid and real and safe. A steady warmth like a blanket drawn around her shoulders, and she leaned into it.

Finally, she smiled at him, her free hand settling against his chest as she leaned to press a lingering kiss to his lips in answer. She smiled wider still against them and let out a deep sigh that she felt she'd held for years. "Yes. Home sounds good." she answered softly, her eyes fixed on his as she drew back. She couldn't help the quiet chuckle that tumbled from her lips as she turned to continue down the street.
 
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Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy stopped as well, as her grip on him was still tight. Looking over at her in a moment of visible confusion on his face as she seemed stricken by something he'd said. As new as this was to the both of them, he almost worried he'd said something wrong. He had no way of knowing that a word he'd used in mere passing had such a powerful effect on the woman.

In Cassidy's eyes, the job was to find Russo, bullshit his way into freeing her father, and getting them both the hell out of Elbion. Home had been wherever he ended up ever since he'd had to run away, but it was the idea of finding something new with this strange, captivating girl that drove him forward.

"Nee? You alri--"

He was cut off by a sudden, powerful kiss. Her hand pressed against the flat of his chest as she let her soft lips linger against his, warmth spreading through his body as the sheer amount of affection in the gesture washed over him. The Blue Ribbon would have to wait, just one more moment... He wraps his arms around her body, pressing her tightly against him and smiling dreamily against her kiss.

His body would sway from side to side, cradling her as she rested on him. Gods... why did they have to be wrapped up in this? He didn't want to be running around solving crimes like some caricature, he just wanted to take her away. It wasn't fair!

But it wasn't fair to think like that. She was in danger. Her father was in danger. And she was counting on him.

They couldn't very well just walk into the place and expect a warm welcome, could they? No, they could use their couple status in the market, but they'd still stick out like a sore thumb here. They had to play this smart. Already, he could see Neith's eyes darting between faces, seeming to grow more unsure of this plan by the moment... They needed to cover up, more than that hood of hers was able to. "Alright... here's the plan." He began to slide his jacket off, leaving him in the old white shirt he wore underneath.

He turns around, wrapping the much-too-large for her jacket around her body. "You're gonna wear this. It won't do much, but it should make you a little harder to recognize. Now, the both of us are going to duck into that alley and clear out any riff-raff hanging around in there." Sliding his arm down to her wrist, he gently pulls her with him as he crouches down, hurrying down the street into an alley.

Most of the people here were either too drunk to notice them, or would assume they were ducking away for some not-so-private TLC. Either way, as the shadows of the alley engulfed them, Cassidy let out a whistle, and Mar seemed to stir from his jacket, jumping out into the alley glowing with a beautiful red glow that showed the coast as clear.

Cassidy leaned against the side of The Blue Ribbon, sighing in relief. "So far so good. You okay Nee?"

Neith
 
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Neith

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She couldn't help but smirk as shows wrapped up in his jacket and she held its warmth against her as though he were still inside it. She nodded and followed his lead, crouching low and ducking behind a few empty barrels and crates.

"Mhmm.." she confirmed, smiling down at the ethereal cat before looking to Cass. "I'll go first. Just, follow a few paces behind. Sounds like the fighting pit is in full swing, they'll be too focused on their bets to take much notice.." she shrugged, and watched the front door for another moment before letting go of his hand.

"Any trouble - we get out as quickly as we can.. Right?" she said, her eyes on the door of the shady establishment. After a breath, she glanced at Cassidy with a light nod, let go of his hand, and stepped casually out into the street.

She shuffled passed a few drunks pushing one another around outside. They were too embroiled in their own drama and dodgy dealings to take much notice of her as she slipped through the door. Inside smelled of stale alcohol and smoke, and there were far too many people that she recognised for her liking. She kept her gaze down as she wove her way between people toward the fighting pit in the middle of the room and quieter corner in the back.

If there was a meeting to be had here, it'd be there.
 

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Cassidy quickly opened his mouth to protest her going in first. She would be much more recognizable than he would, even hidden by the hood. Only a select few knew about him, so he figured even then he'd be able to be a bit more covert about things.

But before he could even get the words out of his mouth, she'd released his hand and stepped out into the street, followed closely by the quiet swear Cassidy let out into the air. He loved how bold she was, but she was going to get herself killed before he was able to get her out of here at this rate. Flicking his gaze down to Mar, he nods towards the street. "Stick close to her, girl. I"m sneaking around back."

Mar flung out from the alley, scurrying between Neith's legs as she walked. As long as Mar was there, Cassidy could keep tabs on where Neith was through the link between He and the familiar. For his part, he made his way around the back of the Ribbon, finding an old un-guarded back door. Cassidy grasps the handle and pulls, the neglected door struggling a moment before snapping open.

The door led into the back hall, wedged between the bar and the other staff rooms nestled behind it. He could see and hear the action from the pit from the bar door, and the bartender was far too distracted with the fights to notice Cassidy. The redhead traveled down the hallway, past the door to the bar. There was another door not far down that must have been another way out into the main room, nestled in the corner.

He swore he heard whispers, somebody saying Jimo's name. It was possible that Neith's 'Russo' had nestled himself in the corner to wait for Jimo... If that was the case, they could catch him by surprise. Of course, Neith had never really told him what she needed to do with Russo, so he was stuck watching through Mar's eyes from the other side of the door, waiting for her cue.

Neith
 

Neith

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Neith had a well developed knack for scurrying around a place unnoticed. She was light on her feet and her movements were as fluid as water as she moved with the room, using people to shield her as they moved here and there, sticking close to their backs as they turned. People often called her Cyrus' "dog" or "hound" or, more often, "little bitch", but something more feline would have been more appropriate. At least she thought so.

Here and there she caught the strong, metallic scent of magic in the air, clinging to this person and that. She heard and felt the thrum of it and she felt its tendrils pull at her. Russo may not have had any natural magical ability, but she was certain that he had enough Lyrum in his veins that it'd practically sing to her.

She glanced down as Mar kept close to her feet. Neith had never been protected on these little errands, and they were rarely without some sort of trouble. She couldn't stop the quiet laugh that tumbled from her lips as she smiled at the thought.

"Right on schedule.." she murmured at the feline as she spotted Russo sitting alone in the very corner of the room. She settled her back against a splintered post and folded her arms, watching the table through the grisly fight going on in the pit. She was surprised to see that the man didn't seem to have enlisted any brutes to accompany him. He was more a weasel than a wolf, and he tended to delegate his dirty work to others who didn't mind a little blood on their hands. A muscle feathered in her jaw as she clenched it. She'd had dealings with him several times now on Cyrus' behalf, and if it hadn't been for Cassidy, the bastard might well have succeeded in having her killed or worse.

She let out a sharp huff and pushed herself from the post to stride toward the table. She'd lost patience with waiting, and the bone she had to pick with him couldn't wait any longer. Neith settled into the chair across from him, and the man only had the chance to sneer for a brief moment before whatever words he'd been about to say about the stranger's audacity died on his tongue as Neith looked up from under her hood. She witnessed the colour drain from his face and she relished it, her sweet smile twisting into something more sinister as she folded her arms on the table and leaned forward.

"Evenin'..." she said softly, her head tilting.

"The fuck are you doin' here?" Russo spat, though his voice hadn't mustered much mettle. He looked around, visibly nervous and apparently seeking some sort of support.

"As in, what the fuck am I doin' here in the Ribbon? Or what the fuck am I doin' here 'alive and well after I sent those brutes out after you' ?" Neith asked with a smirk and shook her head with a deep huff. "Either way, your greeting lacks manners." her lips pursed. Russo stood suddenly, his intent clearly to flee.

"Sit. Down." Neith growled quietly, and the man froze before slowly lowering himself back into his seat. "Wise choice." she smiled. "You know why i'm here so lets get to the point, shall we? You're in quite a bit of debt, and up to your tits in Lyrum. After your little stunt, your debt is now double."

"Double?! Are yo-"

"Obviously, i'd prefer to be paid in coin, but if necessary, i'll extract some of what you owe by other means.." Neith's head tilted, and Russo could only stare at her, his gaze wide. "If you have the coin to hire thugs, you have it to settle your debts. How 'bout you make the wise choice, and i'll be out of your greasy hair, hm?"
 

Cassidy Ackerson

The Scarlet Bird
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103
Character Biography
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Cassidy watched from behind the door leading out into the crowd through Mar's eyes as Neith finally found the one the two of them had been hunting for. After all the trouble Russo had given them, Neith even more than Cassidy, Ackerson had maybe expected him to be a little more... intimidating? For a man so steeped in the drug trade, he sure was cowering under the slightest bit of bite in Neith's tone. While he couldn't exactly blame him given Neith's... abilities... it was still a woefully pathetic thing to witness.

Still, the mercenary was frustrated. He'd hoped that by entering through the back he could find Russo first, maybe find a place to lie in wait in case this little exchange went awry. This spot was no good, though. He could see through Mar's eyes that a muscular man, perhaps some sort of bouncer, stood in front of the door he hid behind. There would be no jumping in to save the day, not unless he tried to execute a swap with Mar, which was both very dangerous and very painful...

He pressed his body closer to the door, straining to make out the words they were sharing. He could see through Mar just fine, but hearing was a different story. Now that Russo had piped down after being threatened, it was hard to tell what was being said. Still, it didn't look like things had gotten violent...

So why was Damascus burning such a bright red? Why was it searingly hot against his back as he shifted away from the door to look behind him? His blade reacted to danger, but there hadn't seemed to be anybody in this back hall to be worried about. At least, that's what he'd thought a moment before he felt a boot collide with the back of his head, sending him to the cold, hard floor.

"You musta though' we were right fools, little Cassie" The deep, throaty voice of the Orc called down to the man he'd just kicked. Cassidy's vision was hazy, his body still reeling from the powerful blow. Still, he sneered at the use of his Mother's name for him. Without thought, Cassidy tried to prop himself up onto his elbows, but Rae placed his massive leather boot on his chest, pinning him to the floor. "Ah ah. You ain' going nowhere. Yer mummy's been so worried abou' you, and me n' my friend are getting paid good money to reunite t'both of yas."

Cass could taste blood in his mouth. He hoped that he'd only busted a lip and something more serious wasn't damaged, but the double-vision of Rae standing over him was slowly fading at last, and he could see now that behind the orc was the dragon-masked Jerrok. "Hiding behind a girl again, Cassidy?" It was more of a hiss than a sneer, Jerrok's tone low and menacing. "I'd have thought you'd learned your lesson by now, but evidently we need to remind you what happens when you involve others in our business."

"F--Fuck you both..."
He spat, earning himself a kick to the ribs from Jerrok. He was deceptively strong for such a slender creature, and Cassidy felt the wind leaving his lungs. "Rae, put him to sleep and let's go. We'll send somebody for the girl later." He patted the Orc's shoulder, and he raised his foot once more, seemingly to stomp down on Cassidy's head.

He didn't have a choice anymore, he had to take the risk. Closing his eyes tightly, he focuses on Mar's presence; what she felt, what she saw. He needed to get through, to be with her. In his mind, he saw himself floating in a void of black, with Neith and Mar sitting so far away talking to some shadowy figure. He outstretched his hand, as far as he was able, and screamed.

There was a bright flash of light, and Rae's foot came down on nothing but the floor.

Mar had been seated on the table between Russo and Neith, but in the middle of one of her sentences had begun to hiss and glow brightly. This wasn't a hiss of anger, but of pain. Louder and louder the cat crooned, until the bright flash filled the room, leaving Cassidy on the table in Mar's place, panting for breath and looking frantically between Russo and his love.

Behind Russo, the door burst open, Rae grabbing the bouncer by the neck and tossing him aside. If there hadn't been any attention on the situation before, there was now. "He's in here! Com' on!" Eyes were turning away from the fight pit, albeit not all of them. What few patrons hadn't noticed the commotion surely did once a swirling green bolt of magic flew out from over the Orc's shoulder towards the table Russo, Neith and Cassidy were at.

Now there were screams.

Russo had taken the hit to his back, launching him onto the table and sending Cassidy into Neith's lap.

"Must have followed us..." Cassidy croaked. "Grab Russo and get out of here!"

Neith
 
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Neith

The Vessel
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244
Character Biography
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Neith's brow knit as she noticed Russo's face suffused in a glow and her heart leapt as she realised that it was coming from Mar. She reached a hand out toward the cat but quickly recoiled as she started hissing and yowling. "Mar?.." Panic flared in her chest and her head whipped around in search of trouble but she saw none.

"What the fuck is this!?" Russo yelled, only drawing more attention to the table. She'd been about to snap at him when there was a bright flare of light and Neith had to shield her eyes with her arm until it faded. Cassidy was not what she'd expected to see on the table and she blinked in confusion.

"Who the fuck are you?! What the f--" Russo continued to bark. Neith silenced him with a hard stare.

She didn't have time to ask the questions on her own lips before the door behind Russo was kicked in and Neith's brown eyes flared in realisation that they'd been here waiting for Cassidy. Shit. She'd been getting to her feet when the bolt sent Russo slamming into the table and Cassidy into her. She caught him with an 'oof' and nodded quickly, noting the blood on his lips as he spoke. There wasn't the time to worry about it, instead she reached for Lusso's slumped body, grabbing an arm and shoulder and dragging him from the table.

"Cyrus is paying big for whomever takes down the Orc and his pal!" Neith bellowed, and more heads turned, eyebrows rose and looks were exchanged. There were more than a few people here who owed Cyrus, many who wanted to be on the right side of him, and all of them would do anything for coin. If they were lucky, the mob would take their enemies down, but in the least she was certain they'd stall them enough for a decent head start.

"Lets go!"