Private Tales The Far Fallen..

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Cassidy Ackerson

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Whatever that spell that those goons had cast was had been aimed to keep Cass out like a light until they'd dragged him back to Oban, so Cassidy doubted Russo would be causing them any grief in the near future. Even if he did wake up, the man didn't seem to be a very physically imposing figure. Hell, Neith could probably beat him up with no issue. Cassidy sure had found himself a woman...

With a soft groan, he sat up on the bed he'd put together, one of his arms rubbing slightly at his sore ribs as the other rested back on the floor to hold him up. The pain was slowly lessening, and the double-vision he'd been suffering was almost totally gone. It seemed that he'd gotten lucky, although he had no doubt in his mind that he was going to be awfully sore for a while. "Any place where you can take a moment to catch your breath is invaluable. Especially after a stunt like that." He chuckles, though it turned to a slightly pained groan as he brought his hand back to his midsection.

Even through the sharp pang of pain, he watched through his messed hair as the lovely woman slid off the jacket and boots. Cassidy wasn't so naive; he recognized the mistake he'd made. He hadn't been worried about himself, he had only been concerned about Neith, getting what she needed.

Yeah, in retrospect, that had been a little bit foolish of him, but he supposed it was true what they said about affection leading you to do silly things. This whole thing was crazy, the way he felt around her... When she knelt beside him, taking his hand as she expressed her concern in a breath, he took the liberty of interrupting her apology, spinning his head to meet hers and pressing her soft lips against his own in a sweet, lingering kiss.

"It's not your fault, Nee. We both underestimated them, and I should have been watching my back..." Cass's reassurances met her lips softly, his face lingering inches from her soft, beautiful features. "Luckily, I had one hell of a girl watching mine." Quietly, the hand that rested on his ribs found her wrist, his palm slowly sliding up her arm, and across her shoulder before it rested gently against her cheek. "We did it. That's what matters, right? Let's not worry about what happened." He leaned in to kiss her again, deeper this time. "Right now, I just want to relax. With you."

Neith
 
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Neith

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Her eyes closed as he kissed her, her brow still furrowed from her vexations but she made a soft sound of appeasement, his kiss slow, gentle and passionate in a way that sent wild tremors racing along her nerves, inflicting sensations that were too rapid to keep up with. Her hand slid onto his cheek and she breathed him in as he spoke, his voice as soothing as his lips.

Luckily, I had one hell of a girl watching mine.

Neith laughed under her breath, giving him a grin that was all teeth as she did so. "Yeah you did." she answered smugly, her brow quirking. It did feel nice to have someone to look out for her too, someone who cared where she was or where she slept, whether she was in trouble or not. Her father's mind had been long since addled by lyrum and Cyrus? He only cared when she wasn't making him enough money. With Cassidy, everything felt warm, from her head to curling toes, and it was something she hadn't felt before.

She nodded almost drowsily at his question and her eyes drifted closed as his lips found hers once more. This one was branding. Her heart surged, and in the moment of their tangled kiss they were their pure and vulnerable selves, the world itself ceasing to exist, blurred and indistinct as a wet painting left out in a torrent of rain. The kiss, the look, a stolen moment that could have just washed away but instead was set, colour-fast and indelible. She breathed him in as he looked at her again and she lay down beside him, melting into his side.

Her hand slid cautiously to his ribs, resting over his injury as she left a small trail of kisses along his jaw. She had no idea if what she wanted to try would work, but she hoped at least that it wouldn't hurt him. She'd been learning to channel the magic that she carried, but it belonged to other people and so she didn't really know how to control it. All she could do, was will it to help him. A warm light grew under her palm as she focused her mind on trying to heal whatever damage had been done.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Every time he felt the soft lips of the mysterious young woman that fate had brought him together with press against any inch of his skin, Cassidy felt all the troubles and worries that rested heavily on his mind melt away like ice to a flame. But now, with the pleased sounds that tumbled from her throat and fell upon his ears as softly as silken sheets, he felt it so much deeper in his core.

Something about Neith awoke something within him that he'd never known he'd had. A craving, a need for the company of another. In the short time they had known one another, she had already become the most important person in Cassidy's life. He wanted her to smile. To be happy. To feel good. His skin burned, begging to be close to her every time she would pull away even the slightest bit. His muttering continued, lower, almost husky. "We're gonna get you out of here..." A soft kiss again. "Then you'll never be alone again..."

It wasn't the mission he'd come with, but it was the mission he had now. If the last kiss was passionate and enticing, then the one that she shared now as her eyes seemed to droop and her thoughts seemed to leave her was perhaps the most arousing and invigorating kiss that Cassidy had ever felt in his life. The hard floor beneath them turned to air, the walls of the boat house fell apart, and there was nothing but the pair of them, soaring through a void where nothing existed but the fury moving between them through their hands and their lips.

It only lasted seconds, but it felt like hours. Neith broke away, her lips softly trailing along his jaw as she slid her hand gently down his body. resting on the ribs he'd been nursing as she clung to his side. Cassidy's arm wrapped around her tightly, resting on the small of her waist as he felt the strangest of sensations, a tickle in his wound that turned to a tingle, then to a vibration.

The feeling drew a soft moan from his lips, and his grip on Neith tightened. It felt amazing, whatever she was doing. It was as though every kink was being simultaneously worked out of his body, every sore spot massaged until it felt as if he'd slept for days. "Nee..." He breathed. "You're incredible." It was almost a coo as he brought his free hand to her hair, running it slowly through her locks as he stared down at the beautiful creature snuggled up to him.

Neith
 
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Neith

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His words brought tears to her eyes and they glistened, unshed as she looked at him.

You'll never be alone again..

It was the sudden realisation of how alone she truly had been, and for how long. A decade had passed her by and she'd made a single friend in that time, now two, but Cass was..more. Much more. In such a short time he'd shown her more kindness than any had since she'd set foot in this city. The streets were a harsh place, and she'd grown used to not needing anyone else. At least, that was what she'd told herself, but now as he made his promises to her she had to swallow the ache in her throat as she realised how much she needed someone - needed him.

Nee.. You're incredible..


She beamed at him, feeling the power thrum through her, she felt it work. "I know." she replied with a smug twist of her lips. "You're not so bad yourself, Ackerson." she whispered against his lips and let a shuddered breath spill before claiming them once more. Her kiss was a brand, a claim on him and a need that had swiftly climbed to the top of her list of priorities. Her hands were on his face, his neck, her fingers in his hair and then sliding onto his chest to unfasten his shirt.

Neith's heart played a staccato in her chest, and she paused only to look over his face, making sure they both wanted the same thing.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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She'd told him only a brief version of her story, there was no way Cassidy could have possibly known all of the hardships she'd faced, all the trials she'd overcome in her life. He couldn't have known how much the five words he spoke meant to her, the rippling effect they would have as they traveled in through her ears and spread throughout her body like a wild fire.

His soft lips would press softly against the few tears that dare flee down her cheeks, a hand resting on the back of her head as his other held her tightly against his body. Cassidy hadn't thought he would have the nerve to ever love again after what happened to Ariella. How could he be so selfish? To be with him like this was to put her in more danger than she was already in!

No, he didn't care. If being with him meant living a life of danger, he would just have to protect her. He'd been so alone, for so long... Neith made him feel that warmth in his chest that he'd long forgotten. The cocky grin that curled her lips held much more than confidence; there was something else under the surface, something volatile, threatening to escape in a frenzy.

"You're not so bad yourself, Ackerson."

His eyes went half-lidded, a chuckle of amusement broken by the sudden reunion of their lips, her kiss now at a fever pitch. That unseen threat he'd seen behind her smile was no longer so mysterious; he could feel every ounce of need, of lust building within her, and he reacted in kind, every bit as desperate to have her. To claim her as his own. The soft lips of the fiery haired man beneath her parted to accept whatever she would give, his skin lighting up at her touch, hands roaming to her shoulders as she began to unbutton his shirt.

That look in her eye, the silent request for permission was answered by Cassidy sliding the fabric of her own clothing from her shoulders. "I need you." He breathed.

Neith
 
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Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy couldn't be too sure how long they slept after that. It had been the first night in years when his rest wasn't haunted by the ghosts of his past. When his eyes opened to at last look back up at the dilapidated roof of the boathouse they hid in, the smile that adorned his face was forced no longer. The mercenary without cause had forgotten what it felt like to have something to fight for, something that wasn't unattainable. That something was the woman pressed against his chest and wrapped in his arms, still breathing softly in the gentle grasp of sleep.

His fingers slid gently through her hair. In for a penny, in for a pound right? Cassidy had made a promise that together they'd get out of this city. They'd leave this Lyrum nonsense behind and start a new life. One where they were together. Cassidy was a lot of things, and not all of them good, but he was no liar. Neith was the first good thing fate had thrown his way in years, and he would never let her go.

Angling his head down to press a soft kiss on the girl's forehead, Cassidy gave her a gentle squeeze, trying to imprint her warmth into his skin before slowly unwrapping himself from her grasp, sliding from their makeshift bed, and gathering his clothes. As the fabric of his shirt slid over his face, he paid a glance to the boat they'd left Russo in, and found him still asleep, though he couldn't be sure for how much longer; things had gotten... heated... and Cassidy wasn't keeping track of time.

Honestly though, he thought to himself... If he'd gotten away because they'd been distracted, he didn't even think he'd be angry. The feeling in his heart right now would have been worth hunting him down all over again.

Fastening his pants and throwing his coat back on, he lowered himself back down to the mat of blankets with Neith, sliding in beside her and pressing his lips softly against her own, whispering. "Nee... Wake up love. We need to get moving again soon..."

Neith
 
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Neith

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To forget about her world of trouble for even a few hours had been a gift. It'd been years since she'd slept so soundly, her subconscious soothed by the feeling of security she felt in his arms. She sighed deeply and her lips curled against his as he roused her from sleep in the most forgivable way. A soft, throaty sound of approval rumbled from her and she stretched before curling her limbs around him, her eyes struggling to open.

"Hm." she smiled.. "Lets stay here." she whispered grittily, having forgotten all about their captive. Her lashes slowly fluttered open, and she smiled all the brighter as she looked over his face.

"Morning."
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy smiled back, reaching out to wipe the hair from her face. The picture of beauty... how had he made it so long without her? It'd been so brief and already he felt as though everything made so much more sense in her presence. "Well, we could let Russo run off while I get nice and cozy with you for the entire day..." He drawled teasingly, looking towards the boat they'd stuffed him in. "But we'd probably have a hard time tracking him down again, and with those two mercs on my tail..."

Now that they had him, they were halfway through the battle. The next steps weren't going to be any easier though. When they'd first set out to find Russo, it had been so Neith could take him to Cyrus. Now though... after the kiss, after everything... surely plans had to be different? If they gave him away to Cyrus, he'd just keep Neith on a leash, wouldn't he?

"Trust me though..." He leaned down to place another kiss to her lips. "Soon as we're done, I have plans for you, missy. Now, come on." He sprang back to his feet, hurrying over to the doors of the boathouse and peeking outside. Sunlight, so they'd slept a fair deal. It wouldn't be long before Jimo realized Russo was missing, and then they'd be in much bigger trouble.

Cassidy made his way back to Neith, helping her gather her discarded clothes they'd strewn about. Not without letting his eyes take in the view of her as she rose from the blankets.

"So... erm... what's the plan now?" He handed over her clothes and turned to face their sleeping captor.

Neith
 

Neith

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Gods, right now, did she even care? She'd forgotten all about Russo, she'd forgotten about all of them and it had been wonderful. She drew in a deep breath and let it grumble out in a sigh of resignation, knowing that he was right and that they really should get a move on.

Still though, she wouldn't be tumbling down from her high just yet, not whilst he kissed her and promised her more. She wanted a lifetime of it.

Her dark eyes smiled at him as he drew back, and she stretched as she stood to gather up her clothes with a shy laugh at how frantically they'd been strewn around her little boat house. "Thanks.." she murmured as he handed her the bundle.

Neith followed his gaze to Russo as she began dressing herself. "I've a question or two I want to ask him. Then I'll get what he owes. Then I have to go back.." she frowned. She had to try to get her father out of there, and she couldn't do that from the outside.

After she'd pulled her second boot on, she wandered to the sleeping Russo and used it to give hi a harsh kick at his side. "Wake up." she demanded and dropped to a crouch beside him. The man had jolted awake, the confusion on his face as he found himself bound quickly washing away in favour of fear. Neith smiled at it.

"Morning sunshine."

"I'll get you the coin, girl. I'll take you to my place right now and we'll get it.. Just please..." he trailed off, glancing to Cassidy for a moment as he squirmed.

"Too late for that." she said calmly. He struggled against his bindings now.

"No. No no no, Cyrus doesn't care about what I owe, he had someone warn me you'd be comin' - told me when an' everythin'. He.. He knew.. Knew I'd have protection..He wanted to teach you a lesson, that ain't on me!"

Neith punched him square in the face with a sudden right jab. His nose burst and he let out a rather emasculate sound in complaint. "Protection?! You sent the worst sort of bastards out to murder me and worse." she spat, and reached to fist her hand in his shirt.

"N-no, please. You can have the coin, fuck Cyrus - No!"

Neith's eyes had gone entirely white, and then so were his and he quieted, unable to make any sound other than the harrowing rasps he made as she drew the magic from his very veins. Her mouth parted slightly, and she breathed in the tendrils of glowing mist.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Oh, there was more than one lifetime's worth of affection Cassidy wished to pour over Neith. Her mere presence made him feel drunk, and now that he'd felt her skin against his own he was going to have a hard time ever coming back down to earth. The only reason she was getting dressed was that they weren't safe yet, and Cassidy knew it. Neith would never be safe until she was out of Elbion.

Soon. They were closer than ever now, but confronting Cyrus would be the most difficult obstacle yet. Together they'd be strong enough to push through it. They'd made a hell of a team so far, hadn't they? He was confident; they could do anything as long as they planned carefully. That's why when Neith wore a solemn expression on her face upon the reminder of her inevitable return, he leaned down, pecking her lips one more time. "Not alone you don't. I'm coming with you."

It wasn't up for debate.

Cassidy stood close behind Neith as she broke away, sauntering over to their new friend and giving him a swift kick to his ribs. There hadn't been much in the way of entertainment in Elbion, but watching Russo turn into a sniveling coward beneath Neith's fury was the funniest thing he'd seen in months.

Neith didn't seem to find much amusement in the begging, however, and Cassidy winced as she poured another crushing blow to the man's nose, landing with a sickening crack. Perhaps a bit much, but revenge was revenge...

She wasn't stopping there. She stooped over, that chilly aura surrounding her just like he'd seen in the alley the night they met. She wasn't going to... no! Cassidy stepped forward and grabbed her shoulder, pulling her back. "Stop! We need him in one piece, inside and out. Cyrus isn't as likely to be satisfied with a dead man."

Neith
 

Neith

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Neith flinched as Cassidy pulled her back, the mist dissipating. Russo fell back into a quivering wreck, hugging himself tightly. "Wh--" Neith looked up at Cassidy, the swirling smoke in quickly blinked away and her large, brown eyes glistening at him.

"I.. Wasn't going to kill him.." she frowned, her cheeks warming. Is that what he thought of her? "Cyrus doesn't tell me to kill people, he tells me to get what he's owed. He's been using Lyrum.." she swallowed, trying to explain but was flustering.

"I.. Take it back, whatever magic he has left. I'm a.." she but on her lip, trying to think of a nicer way of saying 'leech'.. she hated that term. She couldn't look at him now as she got up, running her fingers through her hair and stepping away.

"I wasn't going to kill him.." she repeated quietly instead.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy didn't see Neith as a killer, and he wasn't pretending to know what her intentions for Russo had been. He was acting on what he had seen; an infuriated and incensed Neith sucking the energy out of the worthless chump they'd come so far to capture. He couldn't take the risk that she get carried away.

Her sputtered explanations were barely intelligible, but the hurt in her eyes when he pulled her back and spoke the words to his worry was crystal clear. In that moment, he must have seemed the same as all the others, seeing her as nothing but a killer. As she turned and walked away, Ackerson's face fell in instant regret. You really do have a way with the ladies, don't you Ackerson?

"Nee..."
He muttered softly, following close behind her and placing his hands on her sides. She was trembling, though not nearly as much as Russo was. "You're upset, and you have every right to be.." Cassidy took another step forward and embraced her, looping his arms around her from behind. "But Russo doesn't deserve to have anything taken out of him. If we're going to make him face the music, let's let him face it while he still has his shit together."

A soft kiss was placed to the back of her neck. "I trust you. And once we're out of here.... You won't need to fight like this anymore." The red-headed rouge certainly couldn't promise that, not with the live he lived, but then settling down didn't seem so impossible with her around.

"Come on, let's grab him and get out of here."

Neith
 
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Neith

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The tension she felt as he touched her was quick to melt away as his arms curled around her waist. A trembled breath spilled from her lips and she wrapped her arms around his, gripping onto his hands. He wasn't leaving, even now he was still trying to see the best in her when she wasn't sure there was anything good left. And he was right... She was so used to working for Cyrus that this was who she'd convinced herself that she was, and she didn't have to be this any more.

Neith soaked in the warmth of him, savouring every second of the comfort that he offered. It was such a strange thing, being held this way, but Gods she could get used to it.

"You're right.. I'm sorry." she frowned, turning her head to rest it in the crook of his neck with a sigh. Something was gnawing at her mind and she mumbled his name as she looked up at him. Words seemed to turn to stone in her chest, overridden by fear and panic and so she swallowed them down and quietly cleared her throat instead..

"Lets go.." she sighed, pulling gently out of his hold to go and get a grip on Russo.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Every time that the two of them embraced it was like lightning in his veins. All of his worries and concerns seemed to melt away against the heat of her body. Cassidy in turn could feel Neith's muscles loosening, her stress evaporating underneath his touch. Now was not the time to panic or squabble. It'd only slow them down, and they were too close to the finish line to let up for a moment.

There was something else, something she'd wanted to say but didn't. Cassidy was no psychic, but the sudden flash of coldness in Neith's eyes couldn't lie to him. He had no intention to press her; any remaining reservations about the two of them that either held could be sorted out when the mess they were already in was put to bed.

Cassidy followed close behind her, moving to take one side of Russo as Neith took the other. Together there was no problem hauling the now thoroughly petrified man out of the boat house and back out onto the street. Ackerson wasn't sure what time they'd fallen asleep; last night all kind of... blended together... but it was early enough that it wasn't particularly busy. With some careful movements, they should be able to avoid any crowds.

"So, we ransack his place for the money, and then deal with the big boss?" Cassidy felt Russo squirm in response, silenced by a quick kick. "Even when he has the money, he isn't going to let you go. We'll have to take him on... you know that, right Nee?" Neith had been reluctant to move against Cyrus because of her father's predicament, but they were coming to a point where they really didn't have any choice in the matter. "Unless we do, you and your father will never be safe."

He wasn't really worried... Cassidy was tough, and was Neith backing him up Cyrus would have to be a real powerhouse to stand up against them. "So, where's this slimeball live?"

Neith
 
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Neith

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Nausea churned over in her stomach as she played over different scenarios in her mind. She had no idea what she was going back to. Neith had fucked up, and so Cyrus had used Russo to teach her a lesson. Perhaps he'd forget all about it when she showed up with him. At least that's what she had been thinking when Cassidy mentioned 'dealing' with him.

Neith paled and paused for a moment to stare across Russo's chest at him. "I.. We just need to give him Russo and a little of the coin I took from the drow. I hid a whole sack of stones under a loose board. I get that, get my father and get out. He has too many watching his back, Cass.." she reasoned, jerking her chin toward an alleyway.

"Down on Sailor's way.. The Bordello."
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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Cassidy wanted to interject, wanted to hammer home the very real possibility that it just wouldn't go that smoothly. Right now, though, Neith was still clinging to the hope that somehow there would be a diplomatic solution to this absolute shitstorm they were in. Cass knew better, he'd seen this too many times before, but cutting that last string of hope now would only serve to halt their forward momentum.

"Yeah, maybe... but we have each others."

hHe bit his tongue, nodding at Nee and facing forward. They would just have to cross that bridge when they came to it, then. Cassidy would be by her side either way, and that was all that mattered in the end.

"A brothel?" The seriousness of the discussion was slightly offset by a chuckle from Cassidy, "It's one thing that he lives in a bordello, but it's another thing entirely that if I hadn't just had the best night of my life I'd probably be interested in taking a detour to go check it out" The red-head peeked over at Nee with a cheeky smile, always eager to get a reaction out of her. The road was lonely, so sometimes a guy had to get by however he could.

"But if this sleaze lives there I'm probably better off for it." Russo groans something, but Cass smacks him on the back of the head. "Don't make me pull over and be a parent, Russ."

The rest of the walk was going smoothly enough-- now that he wasn't so worried about those two men of his mother's tailing them. "So, we should formulate some kind of plan on how we're going to do this now." They'd probably be getting close soon, and blindly confronting gang lords had never really worked out for Ackerson before. He'd tried, believe it or not. "I know they'll let you see him, but since we know Cyrus was in on the deal to cash in on my bounty, I somehow doubt I'll be as lucky. Granted, my attempts at stealth this far have been less than sublime." The robbing of Jimo's stall and sneaking into the Blue Ribbon had both ended less than ideally... "But, I can't have you going in there alone either. I'll have to find another way in and catch up, unless you think we can do it some other way?"

Neith
 
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Neith

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Neith shot the redhead a glance, half torn between scolding him for making the comment, or smirking at the 'best night of his life' part. She went with a little of both, and her lips curled as her head shook with incredulity. "Cyrus owns the Bordello. Madame Pinkett runs it.. And she has a thing for redheads so best just keeping out of her way.." she muttered.

She couldn't help as he chastised the rambling rat between them, her dimples winking into existence as she found herself chuckling despite the worry weighing heavily on her mind. Her smile soon faded as her attention was drawn back to the serious matter at hand, and she nodded quickly, her brow furrowed. She near dropped Russo when Cass mentioned finding a way in and she stopped, her eyes wide on him.

"No. No no no I'm going in there on my own. There's an alley out back and a few places that you could wait and watch for me. I'm not risking you being caught in there. I'll deliver Russo to Cyrus, deal with whatever mood he's undoubtedly in, get my stuff and my father and get out." she repeated.

"If it goes wrong.." she frowned and shook her head. "It won't go wrong." she huffed in assurance.

"That's it on the corner.." she jerked her chin toward the three-storey building, each window either dark or lit with candlelight behind red drapes. "Go on ahead, down that alley." she nodded toward it.

"I'll meet you out back." she said and turned to look at him, hoping he'd think of something to say to ease her worry.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

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If they weren't preparing to have a confrontation with Elbion's biggest drug lord at a major disadvantage, Cassidy would have prodded Neith about the possessive tone in her voice when she spoke of Pinkett's taste for red hair. It was adorable, and at the same time the thought of Neith fighting off some Bordello Madame for looking at him in the wrong way was strangely attractive.

Geez, Cass. Head out of the gutter, you can fantasize about her later. He shook the thought and smiled only for a moment at the mental image. There were other things to be thinking about though, like why Neith was once again insisting on doing this solo. Again she'd stopped and turned to him refusing to let him accompany her on this borderline suicidal meeting. True, Neith was still convincing herself that everything would go butter-smooth, but even if Cassidy couldn't convince her otherwise, he did know damn well that it just wouldn't be so.

"Neith... you can't expect me to just cross my fingers and hope one of the biggest criminals in Arethil decides to play nice with you." Even if there was a chance that Cyrus did everything Neith was hoping for, it was an unreasonable request. "We're a team. We have each other's backs. Neither of us would be her if the other hadn't been ready to jump in when it counted..."

But his love shook her head. She had made up her mind.

Cassidy's face fell a bit. "Fine. I won't go in." He didn't like it. Loathed it, even. It was clear she wasn't budging though. Looking down at the floor for half a second, he continued. "But I'll be there when you need me. Always, Nee." Looking back up at her suddenly, Cassidy stepped forward and pressed his lips to hers, his free arm wrapping tightly around her waist, holding her just as he had the night before for one more moment, before breaking apart and muttering softly. "I love you, Nee. So much. Give em' hell."

Neith
 
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Neith

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He said it again. He loved her, and not once had she said it back. The words kept getting themselves stuck in her throat and tied around her tongue, and the urge to say it but the inability she seemed to have to do so just hurt. If this went badly... If something happened to him and she'd said those words then somehow it would make everything so much harder to bear. If she couldn't get out of here.. If he had to leave without her..

She swallowed and gave a shaky smile at him, his kiss still a fresh memory on her lips. She'd try to hold onto it for as long as she could, carry it with her into this place as a reminder that he was waiting for her.

Neith clattered through the front door with a delirious Russo on her shoulder, his weight made more difficult to bear each time his legs gave way and he stumbled. The stairs were tricky, and the Bordello girls had a fun time watching from the balconies as the girl near half Russo's height dragged the bastard all the way to the top.

"Poor guy.."
"Poor? He's a dirtbag, I hope she made it hurt.."
"Yeah.. It's no wonder they're afraid of her though,"
"Tss.. She's a doll."
"A scary doll.."

They all chuckled.

Neith paused with a huff and ran a hand across her brow. "A scary doll with ears." she commented as she glanced across those watching her. Some smirked, some winked, some wriggled their fingertips in a little wave, and Neith shook her head and laughed under her breath before shoving Russo through the door of Cyrus' office.

Cyrus sat at his desk, his attention on whatever parchments were splayed across it, and the little stacks of coins and purses that he was currently sorting through. A few other cronies dotted themselves about the large office, their gazes turning to her as she made an entrance. Jax studied her. He was the muscle, and he had no qualms in roughing up a girl. She knew that from experience. He was the one who stepped forward to take Russo by the scruff of the neck..

"The fuck have you done to him?" he grunted with a sneer at her.

"My job." she frowned and looked to Cyrus who was looking at her now, his fingers steepled. "He didn't have the payment." she said, slipping a coin purse from the inside of her jacket and tossing it onto the desk. "Got this from a couple of goons he sent to find me before I found him, though." she arched a brow, aware that he'd known about that little detail.

"Seemed he'd had a warning I'd be coming." she shrugged and flopped herself into a vacant armchair. "But no matter. I'm in one piece, and that coin covers the payment I lost you." she waved a hand toward it. He tipped out the contents and counted through the silver with unnerving calm.

"You're late.." he said finally, sitting back in his chair, his dark gaze set on her. "The coin covers what you lost, but not your incompetence. You're gettin' sloppy out there, dollface.. Sure you don't want to work with the girls in here? I think you'd enjoy it..." he asked, his lips twisting with amusement. He knew how hard she'd fought to stay out of that line of work.

"I'm good thanks. I'll do better.."

"You'll do, whatever the fuck I tell you to do." he answered stiffly, a stern finger pointed at her.

"Right.." she answered quietly and nodded.

"We're runnin' short on Lyrum. Your old dad's gettin' slow, dollface... Won't be much use to us soon. Best get to it'.." he winked. "And uh.. We'll be keepin' a closer eye on things.. Make sure you're not gettin' yourself into any trouble." he smiled at her, but there was nothing pleasant about it. He glanced to Jax who wore the same smile as he gripped her by the arm and pulled her to her feet.

He took her to the room she shared with her father. It was where they slept on an assortment of blankets on the damp, splintery floor, and it was where they worked at a collection of tables and apparatus. It had one, small window that was too dirty to let much light through. An older man sat huddled over his work, his hands shaking as he attempted to pour the contents of one vial into another, the blue liquid shimmering with light. Neith strode forward and caught his hands to steady them before he could spill a drop of it in front of Jax.

"You got it.." she said in assurance, smiling back at the man who looked up at her with wild eyes, confused for a moment before he recognised her and smiled.

"Nee.."
 

Cassidy Ackerson

The Scarlet Bird
Member
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126
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There was some part of Cassidy that was dissappointed that Neith didn't return the words, but he also understoood: If something happened to her-- if things went awry and she never came back out, this would be the last time she saw his face, felt his kiss. To say it now would akin to a goodbye. To say it now would mean accepting all the worries gnawing at the back of her mind as real possibilities, and she needed every ounce of bravery she had inside of her.

Cassidy wasn't ready to say goodbye. Not when he'd only just found her. Cyrus would have to pry Nee from his cold, dead hands. So, as he held her tight against his chest, he quickly slipped something into one of her pockets: A shard of Damascus, his backup plan. The piece had chipped off some time ago, during a battle against a group of gnolls near The Spine. Rather than discard it, Cassidy liked to keep it on hand-- a little pocketful of magic, and a way to call Mar in a pinch if his sword was out of reach.

With an uneasy smile on her face, Neith broke away from him. She didn't say a word, but she didn't need to. There wasn't anything else to say at this point. Cassidy pursed his lips, trying to hide his apprehension as his love disappeared inside the ominous building.

And then, despite Neith's wishes, Cassidy got to work.

First, a quick, totally not-suspicious walk around the premises. Cyrus obviously didn't skimp on security; Not only did he count at least two goons of all shape, size and species at every possible entrance, but there were more loitering around the surrounding buildings too. Most of those ones were dressed more like regular citizens of Elbion, but Cassidy saw the way they kept casting little glances towards Cyrus's. If anybody tried to get inside by knocking the skulls guarding a door, they'd just get an arrow or an axe to the back for their trouble.

Alright. No time to waste then.



"You thin' he'll keep her aorun'? The little leech girl, I mean?"

Bron had been standing outside so long he felt like the soles of his feet were going to to peel off when he finally got to take a break. What was even worse, the other guy Cyrus had sent out to watch with him wouldn't shut the hell up. The half-elf snapped back at the stocky, bald-headed oaf of a human.

"I don't care. Cyrus keeps who he feels like keeping. Let him hear you questioning him and you'll be on the fast track out of Elbion in a glass jar. If only I could be so lucky."

The stout man huffs back at him, turning to walk away from their post towards a small alleyway where the building met another. Bron frowned, his brow knitting tightly at his departing partner. "The hell do you think you're going, you ass?"

"Takin' a piss ya damn shite."


Bron rolled his eyes and crossed his arms, trying to look as intimidating as he could with legs that felt like they wanted to snap in two. His partner disappeared into the alley, dipping out of his view. And he didn't come back, not for almost fifteen blasted minutes.

Bron knew he shouldn't leave his post to go check on the idiot. The door would be unguarded. IF Cyrus found out, he was dog meat. Goddamnit though, if he was going to stand here and suffer, then so was Hodge.

Quickly storming over to the alleyway Hodge had vanished down, Bron called out ahead of himself. "I swear, if you're sleeping I'll kill you myself, Hodge. Cyrus won't get a chance." He turned the corner, expecting to see just that. What he saw instead was...

"Boo."

"Who the fu--"


Damascus' hilt met the side of Bron's head, and he tumbled forward into Cassidy's arms in a sack of snoring meat. The mercenary rolled his eyes, dragging him further into the alleyway and dumping him down on top of an equally unconscious Hodge. "Sorry buddy, I'm spoken for." The clock was ticking now; the patrols around the surrounding buildings would notice one of the entrances was unmanned before too long, and if they did any snooping, chances are they would find the two stooges he'd just knocked the daylights out of.

Neith was going to kill him for this, but Cassidy just couldn't bring himself to leave anything to chance.

Not again.

Swinging his sword around and sticking it into the ground in front of him, Cass squatted down to look at the surface of the blade. "Alright, let's see where she's at."

Well, 'see' was one way of putting it. Cass couldn't actually see anything, since the shard was in her pocket. He could hear everything though, the sharp tone of Cyrus as he scolded Neith, the feeble voice of her father, and the smarmy, overconfident voice of somebody else. Cyrus's right hand, maybe? Sure didn't sound like they intended to let either of them go. That was about what he'd figured.

Pulling Dmascus up and hoisting it over his shoulder, the familiar orange haired jumped from her hiding spot inside his coat, stretching as she hit the floor with a satisfied mewl. Cass smiled down at his little familiar. "Alright Mar. Go find out where she's at, let me know when you have."

The cat gave an affirmative purr and scampered off, while Cassidy poked his head out of the alley. Sure enough, two of the men circling the building had noticed the lack of security and were poking around for Bron and Hodge.

Swinging his arm around, he struck Dmascus against the stone wall of the alley.

"What was that? Come on, let's check it out."

Too many people watching his back, Nee had told him. Well, Cassidy was going to pick em' off one by one until the big man found himself surprisingly alone.

Hopefully for Neith's sake, Jax didn't notice the cat staring through the grime covered window of her room.

Neith
 

Neith

The Vessel
Member
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257
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Neith smiled sadly at her father and nodded. There was that rare glimpse of happiness in his eyes to see her, and yet as quickly as it happened, they clouded over with guilt, sorrow and regret. It was difficult not to let him dwell on the past when they had no future, but that was about to change, she hoped.

"S'alright Papa." she whispered as she pressed a kiss against his head and knelt beside him, running her gaze over the work he'd been doing. By the looks of it, it wasn't much, and she glanced up at Jax who was watching her with a wide grin. "Let me help.." she said quietly as she turned her attention back to the table and lifted a small, onxy blade. Jax shifted, and she rolled her eyes at him before she pressed it into her palm and held it over a basin.

It was less blood that trickled from the wound than pure light, magic that she had collected from unfortunates who'd been unlucky enough to owe Cyrus. It was power in its purest form, and the more valuable than gold, particularly in a place like Elbion..

"That's enough." her father cautioned her, speaking from experience. She recalled how many times she'd woken hours later after having passed out. Still, Jax was lingering, and she had to make up for her father's slowness. "Neith, I said enough." he barked out at her, his hand shooting out to catch her own and knocking the basin to the floor in the process.

Jax was already reacting, two heavy strides toward them and Neith stood to face him, about to speak when the back of his meaty fist collided with her face and sent her sailing into the wall and she crumpled to the floor, her head ringing. She blinked frantically at the black spots that formed in the corners of her vision and the dizziness that prevented her from getting back to her feet.

"He didn't mean it.. I have more." More didn't matter. Whatever he'd spilled had been worth more than his life to them, and so punishment was inevitable. She cried out at the sound of her father struggling and looked up, the frail man held in Jax's iron grasp against the wall, his feet dangling above the floor and his eyes on her.

"No! No no no please." she begged as she stumbled to her feet and clattered toward them, lifting something from the table. The crunch she heard was sickening, and the flare of shock in her father's eyes would be forever burned into her mind along with the sound of her own scream as she fell back to her knees. The room lit up with a sudden pulse of white light that seemed to strike the brutish man, for he dropped her father to the ground and crumpled like wet sand into a motionless heap. The empty vial in her hand clinked to the floor as she crawled to her father, barely breathing, his windpipe crushed.

Tears already blinded her as she pulled him into her arms and rocked him, hushing as he tried to speak. She could hear footsteps above, the others no doubt on their way in receipt of the commotion, but she wasn't about to leave him this way. She breathed in deep and settled a hand on his chest. She didn't know how to save him, but she could take his pain by stealing what was left of his life.

Doing so caused her more pain than she could have ever imagined, when all she wanted was more time with him, she was cutting his time shorter to spare his suffering, whilst bolstering her own. "I'm here. I love you.." she whispered as light formed around her hand and she breathed in, drawing his life from his body. His grip on her hand slowly lessened and she watched through her tears as the pain in his expression faded to one far more peaceful as his eyes slowly closed.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

The Scarlet Bird
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Messages
126
Character Biography
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With some sneaky footwork and a few close calls, most, if not all of the exterior guards to Cyrus' compound were lying unconscious in various alleyways surrounding the building. Cass wasn't sure how much they cost the boss man, but it really seemed like every one of em' he knocked silly was dumber than the last. Guess the Elbion rent-a-goon didn't offer much when it came to brains.

Dusting his hands off after dumping the last one where nobody who minded their own business would find him, Cassidy was just about to sheathe Damascus when he felt a sharp pain run through the hand that held the blade. The self-satisfied smirk left his lips as he looked down at the usually sky blue material of the weapon, not faintly glowing red.

Mar was angry. That wasn't good. "Show me, buddy."

Through the murky red and blue fog that swirled within Damascus, a scene began to take form through the eyes of the feline familiar and the blade she was connected to. Cassidy saw all that she saw, and what he saw, through the grime-coated class and the haze of anger the familiar felt...

Was horrifying.

Neith sat on the floor, sobbing over the old man she cradled tightly in her arms. Cass didn't need a clear picture to know who it was, and what had happened. Her father had passed, and their whole reason for coming here had been thrown out of the window. Jax, the muscle he assumed he'd heard earlier, lie in a crumpled heap on the floor too.

Cassidy didn't realize he was biting his lip until the skin broke and he tasted the iron of his own blood. This was the one thing Nee wanted before she left forever, for her father to be free and happy for the rest of his days. Cass had wanted that for her too, so badly. Now these people had the nerve, the gall to take that from her?

Cyrus, and everybody who worked under him, were nothing but wolves preying on the weak, and Cassidy would have left them here, would have pretended he never saw any of it happening if they'd just let Nee be happy.

They couldn't do that, and now they had to pay.

Cassidy clicked his tongue a few times, Mar's signal to return to him. After a few moments, the cat came scampering back, the hairs on her back still standing with anger as she followed Cassidy to the entrance Neith had gone through earlier.

"Alright Mar, you ready?"

An affirmative meow was the response he was given, and the last thing he would hear from Mar before she slowly faded away into thin air, nothing but scarlet sparkles floating in the air in her wake, slowly drifting towards Damascus as the familiar's power returned to the enchanted weapon.

It wasn't often that Cassidy used the gift from his late fiancee' in its full power.

The blue steel of the blade shifted entirely, the surface turning as red as the hair on Ackerson's head as the mercenary closed his fist tightly around the hilt, focusing what little magical power he did have into Damascus.

One could be forgiven for seeing what Cassidy carried and thinking it was alive, the aura that surrounded it then as powerful as the woman who'd put all of her strength into it. Ackerson could feel it, the seething rage bubbling in his mind only emboldened by the sudden surge of power that coursed through him. These animals wanted to be predators? Let's see how they felt when they were the ones being hunted.

The doors to the compound flow open, and the vengeful mercenary charged inside, blade brandished and ready to cut down any who stood in his way.

Neith
 
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