Fable - Ask The Tides of Fate

A roleplay which may be open to join but you must ask the creator first

Ruvsá

Nordenfiir
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Ruvsá was content to let the guard lead the way and just observe the city and its inhabitants. She observed everything with intention, noting alleyways, the number of armed guards, and the appearance and demeanor of the city's inhabitants.

The way the people in the marketplace turned to gawk at their presence was quite telling. They were not used to outsiders, but at least the guards were not immediately assuming they were enemies.

She did, however, listen as Kol questioned the guard. A watch tower...

Ruvsá's eyes scanned over the city. A watch tower would be near the gates and the city walls, and she spotted it not too far ahead of them. Quietly, she snagged Kol's wrist again, and leaned in to whisper, "Same story we told the orcs?"
 
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Kol

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Kol slowly shook his head. "No."

It would not behoove them the same way this time. People did not trust outsiders, they most certainly did not trust those traveling alone. The orcs were the true threat, Kol and Ruvsa had to make sure that they did not appear to be in the least. He frowned for a moment, then gently leaned into her.

"We are husband and wife from the north." He whispered. "Taken by the orcs, but we managed to escape."

This place will have surely traded with the Tundra before. There were ships in the harbor that had the tell tale sails from Kjos and other northern cities. Though Kol knew almost as little about them as he did the place they found themselves in now. "Our village was burned an-"

His voice cut off slightly as they reached the Guard Tower, his arm reaching around Ruvsa in a caring touch. The guard turned to them, and then motioned towards the gate house.

"Through there, ask for Captain Aldrich and report what happened."

Kol nodded his head. "Of course. Thank you for saving us."

The guard just nodded, then marched away.
 

Ruvsá

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Kol's whispers were cut off, but his plan was clear enough and as he reached around her to pull her closer, Ruvsá leaned into his touch. When the guard walked away after giving them instructions to seek out Captain Aldrich, she leaned further into Kol, gently pushing him to the side of the path.

"Put your arms around me, like you're comforting me," she whispered. Posing as husband and wife was a sound plan, especially in this case to garner sympathy. But for them to have been taken when their village was burned, and only the two of them escaping was... less plausible.

"Rather than our village being burned... we're newly married," she spoke quickly, softly. Being newlyweds would account for any awkwardness that might appear between them. "We were out fishing in an isolated area when the orcs came across us. If pressed, we tell them the truth: that we told the orcs we were crew mates to prevent them from killing you."

She pulled away slightly, and looked up at him, a soft smile on her face. "Now, kiss me. I doubt even these strange folk will balk at us taking a moment to comfort each other after our kidnapping before making a report to this captain."
 
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Kol

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Kol did as Ruvsa asked, his arm wrapping around her in a gesture of comfort that's as utterly foreign to him.

Such things were utterly impossible to even think of in Nordwiir culture, and this was one of them. Love was rare, comfort even more so. Marriage was often a game of who was strongest, relationships filled with less trust than between enemies in other cultures. It was strange, broken.

Just the way the Dark Gods wanted it.

His lips pressed against hers, earning no real ire from anyone around them. The Sorcerer stretched out his back as he pulled away, motioning for Ruvsa to follow alongside him into the gatehouse.

They were greeted with a large empty hall save for one desk in the back of the room. A dozen tunnels lead to other part of the building where he could hear noise coming from, but Kol moved towards the desk.

Behind it sat one of the ashen skinned elves, his head turning up to look at the couple.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá rolled her eyes as Kol stepped away. If he wanted to pose as husband and wife, a crash course in affection was going to be necessary it seemed. As they walked, she slipped her hand into his again, lacing their fingers together.

It was cooler inside the hall than it was outside, which was no small relief for Ruvsá. If they were here long, she would need to acquire more appropriate clothing somehow. She should probably get something new anyway, after the several days in the ship's hold.

As Kol strode toward the desk, Ruvsá easily kept pace with him. She eyed the tunnels, trying to make out the sounds coming from them. There was definitely the chatter of voices, though she couldn't tell if it was casual banter or training instructions, and the distant echo of weaponry.

When the elf at the desk looked up, Ruvsá spoke. "We were instructed to ask for Captain Aldrich to make a report. Can you take us to him?"

Hopefully, they'd get some small tour of this place from her request. And hopefully, these elves of Sheketh were not offended by a woman taking the lead. If so, then at least Kol would be able to intervene on her behalf. Better to find out now than later.
 
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Kol

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"That is me."​

The Elf looked up at the couple, there was something strange about his eyes. They seemed unfocused in a way, though perhaps a tad more natural than the others he had seen in their short path through the city. Lips thinned for a moment.

"What report?"​

"We have recently escaped from Orcish raiders." Kol said slowly, as if not quite sure what to say. "We escaped and were saved by your Guards."

The Captain watched quietly.

"I see. Where were they from? Where are you from?"​

"We are of the Tundra, newly weds. They captured us on a fishing trip and." The Captain frowned again, but held up a hand to stop Kol from continuing to talk. Ruvsa would likely be surprised by Kol's demeanor. He seemed almost meek, mousey.

The opposite of what he usually presented.

"How many are there? Where are they?"​
 

Ruvsá

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Kol's choice to appear meek was not entirely a surprise, but how well he was able to pull it off was.

"When they captured us, there about one hundred fifty," Ruvsá answered, forcing a quiet tremble into her voice. "Some have been swept away in the storm. They... mentioned the blightlands, so we assumed that was where they came from."

She glanced over her shoulder then, feigning fear. "They got off course, and came to see if this place was able to be conquered. They're anchored just outside the cove, but some had come to shore in longboats, and when the storm hit they brought us rather than lose their only..." Ruvsá didn't have to feign the shudder that ran through here now. "Their only goods.

"Some of them followed us up the road to the city, but I believe your guards stopped them all."

Ruvsá turned her gaze back to Captain Aldrich then, nervously biting at her lip, her eyes wide and frightened, clutching at Kol's hand and arm. "Please... don't let them take us again," she sobbed.

Would Kol be shocked by her act, she wondered? Or would he see through it as quickly as she had seen through his?
 

Kol

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The Captain stared for a few moments, then reached down and pulled something from his desk. It was a small slip of paper, he wrote something upon it, then stamped a wax seal onto one side before slipping the paper in the middle of the desk before Ruvsa and Kol.

"Ordinarily runaway slaves are returned to their owners."

Kol's fingers tightened, curling as he prepared to summon his rune knife.

"But you are in luck. Menalus has denied the Emir Councils treaties and thus we are not inclined to friendship."

Politics.

Kol had watched how these southerners played as such things. Deals scribbled in paper and ink, negotiations carried out with lies and half truths. It had seemed...silly to him, but at least on this one occasion it seemed to help. Lucky, most would have called it.

"Vyren is a city of laws, and they will be followed. This is your passport. You have three days to find your way out of our city. After that you will be fair game for the catchers."

"I-t-thank you." The Sorcerer wanted to ask more questions. What was the "Emir Council", what were these "catchers", what was happening within this city. There were a dozen questions, but none of them seemed right for the character he was playing to ask.

He glanced at Ruvsa who was putting on a masterful performance herself. "I...we don't have any mo-"

Before he could finish the Captain pulled out a small bag, throwing it to the side of the 'passport'.

"This will buy you three nights at a local Inn. Leaving the city will have to be by your own means."

Kol nodded, motioning for Ruvsa to take the bag so that he could better hide his scars.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá felt Kol tense when Captain Aldrich said that runaway slaves were returned to their owners. Fear and rage started to churn hotly in her stomach. If there was one thing to quickly get under a Norden's skin, it was slavery. Queen Maude had banished the practice entirely in Nordengaard. But she bit her tongue, for just a moment longer, to see what the captain would say.

Her relief was palpable, and definitely not faked, when Captain Aldrich said he would not be turning them over, though.

The lack of detail that the captain went into after stating that the city's laws must be followed felt like a trap, though. As she debated whether to question the captain further or to let things be, Kol at least got some money from the captain. She eyed both the bag of coin and the passport dubiously, though, before she reached out and took them.

The script on the passport was not one that she recognized, and certainly not in the Common tongue. She hoped that this place was not like Vel Anir, known for their dislike of species other than them. Though she and Kol would stand a better chance in Vel Anir, if that were the case. At least she looked fully human at a glance.

She wanted to know who these catchers were, but that might a question better suited for the commonfolk. The most important question was about their... allotted time.

"Does the three days start now?" she asked quietly. "How is time reckoned here?"
 
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Kol

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The Captain looked up at her for a moment, seemingly bemused by her question.

"By dawn, four days from now. It is measured by the nights."​

That wasn't exactly a great answer, but Kol reckoned the time made sense. They could last for three dawns in the city, and on the fourth they would be fair game for any of these 'catchers'. Three days wasn't a lot of time, but it was enough.

The Sorcerer was tempted to ask more questions, but he did not want to irk the man who apparently had authority enough to consign them to slavery.

Kol had no doubt that he and Ruvsa could kill a dozen Guards before they were captured, but they would be captured eventually. If not outright killed. He did not need the Dark Gods whispering in his hear to tell him that fate. "I think it best we go now, love."

The Captain smiled up at Kol, but his expression said it all.
 
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Ruvsá

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"Thank you for your time, Captain," Ruvsá murmured with a gentle bow of her head. She ignored the look on Aldrich's face as she turned away at Kol's insistence.

She stayed glued to his side, ever the picture of an anxious, newlywed bride, as they traced their steps back out of the fortress.

She hated pretending to be weak, especially like this, in a situation which could all too quickly turn against them. They knew too little about these people, about the laws of the city. "We need to watch the people, see how they behave," she murmured quietly to Kol as they stepped through the main doors. "For all we know, even blinking wrong might get us arrested."

They needed to discuss some things, strategize. But that was best done in a private room at an inn, where it would be less likely that someone would overhear them.

"We should find a busy inn," Ruvsá spoke quietly as she looked around as if one trying to get her bearings. Rather, she was counting the number of guards. How many were armed with which types of weapons, and checking the height of the walls. If need be, they could scale them, though it would take some effort. "If we can find one with other humans staying there, so we could vanish into a crowd, that would be ideal. But it may not be possible."

She wouldn't complain about getting a bath, somewhere along the way, but she'd survive without one.
 
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Kol

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Kol nodded along, though most of his attention was on the city and the people around them.

Most folk that surrounded them were those strange elven folk, though mixed among them were other species. Every now and again men and women of red skin flickered through the crowd, horns adorning their heads and tails lashing behind them. He saw an orc or two, but of green skin and not the blighted blue of Menalus.

There were even a few humans.

What he saw that interested him more than anything else however was slaves.

They were easy to pick out of the crowd. None of them were of the Elven folk, but all other species seemed to be fair game. They wore metal collars, each one branded with a symbol of some sort. All of them, or most, were alone, not escorted by a master or slave driver.

Some even seemed...content, if not outright happy.

They were intermixed, and there was no rhyme or reason that Kol could tell of who was slave and who wasn't. There were humans in chains, but also ones dressed in riches and finery. As they drew closer to a busy market square Kol pointed out a large building in the corner of the room.

"There." He said as he suggested an Inn. "That might be what we want."

The place was massive, beautifully made of brick and marble. It was obviously more than they could afford with what they'd been given, but the clientele was exactly what Ruvsa had described. Human.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá had quickly caught sight of the slaves as well. And while many of them seemed... content, there was something about the collar around their necks that sent revulsion straight through her, and she found herself shrinking into Kol's side.

She would rather die than be collared like some tame beast.

When Kol pointed out the inn, Ruvsá shifted the bag of coin nervously in her hand as she dubiously eyed the brick and marble exterior, as well as the fine clothing of those leaving and entering the place.

"We don't use coin in Nordengaard," she said quietly. "But I doubt the captain would have given us enough to stay at a place so grand for three nights. Besides... we don't exactly look the part of wealthy merchants or minor nobles. Even if they're human, we'll stick out like sore thumbs."

She glanced up at him, then.

"Unless you have some way to... persuade the folk running the place otherwise, we should look for another inn."
 
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Kol

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Kol glanced at her for a brief moment, looking at the bag of coin and then at the end.

For a moment the Sorcerer said nothing, then slowly he crouched down in the middle of the street. He searched for a few seconds, then found a sharp rock. He took it within his fingers, digging it's edge into his palm and carving away at his flesh.

Blood began to pool within his hand, and then he scooped up a handful of pebbles. Fingers squeezed into a fist for a few seconds, a wisp of that odd dark smoke rushing from within his fist. Then slowly he unfurled his palm.

"This will be enough persuasion, I think." Kol commented, showing Ruvsa a small pile of gold nuggets.

A shrug rolled over his shoulders.

The Gold wasn't real of course. He was no alchemist, but the illusion would be enough to fool even the greatest of merchants. It would last for a few days before returning to it's natural form, but by then both of them would be long gone.
 
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Ruvsá

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Ruvsá watched skeptically as Kol did his strange magic again, and eyed the 'gold' nuggets he now held.

"What if they try to melt them down right away?" she asked, tugging him out of the middle of the street. If they held up the foot traffic, they'd be more obvious. They needed to stay blended in with the crowd as much as possible.

She tucked her hand into the crook of his elbow and subtly guided them up the street toward the lavish inn, at a pace that would hopefully, to any observers, seem hesitant. She had not seen anyone tailing them from the watch tower, but that didn't mean they weren't being observed on the streets.

"You best tuck those away quickly," she murmured. "I'm sure even here there are pickpockets. Best not to tempt our luck so soon with how it's been lately."

The foot traffic thinned as they approached the inn, and Ruvsá couldn't help but gawk a little, though she played it up. Ruvsá the Shield Maiden had seen grand buildings. The royal palace in Nordengaard proper was carved from the very mountainside. The fisherwomen she was pretending to be, though... she would likely have never seen anything so grand.

The inn's entrance was framed by two large pillars of black marble, and the façade was made of black brick, likely because of the prevalence of volcanic ash. The door was wood, ornately carved, but she didn't take the time to investigate the figures etched there.

"Ready?" she asked Kol quietly as they approached the door.

Hopefully they wouldn't be thrown out immediately because of their... disheveled appearance. Several days in a filthy ship's hold had not helped their already-mussed appearance from the island in the slightest.
 
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Kol

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Kol slipped the false gold into his pocket. "Then I will cast another spell."

The Sorcerer seemed to have an answer for everything, but they both knew that the task wasn't so simple. Still, he would rather they pose as the wealthy than slaves who had barely managed to escape from their Captors. It was a better look.

He smiled at her and nodded, pushing open the heavy wooden door.

The scent they were immediately greeted with on the inside was a pleasant mixture of tabac and a roaring fire. It carried through the room and out onto the street, the smell of baking sweet rolls intermixed almost perfectly as they moved into the common room.

"We ain't takin no beggars."​

A voice carried out from the corner of the room, a woman dressed in silks speaking to them. Kol looked at her, then reached into his pocket. "We are not beggars Ma'am."

The Sorcerer said as he let one of the golden nuggets draw between his thumb and index. It gleamed brilliantly in the light.

"Just merchants who were shipwrecked up the coast." Kol could practically see the greed flash through the woman's eyes.

"Oh I'm terribly sorry sir! We have been having a problem and by your clothes...I am so very sorry."​

Kol looked at Ruvsa with a smile.
 

Ruvsá

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The inn smelled positively homey inside, and Ruvsá felt the tightness in her shoulders begin to unfurl, just slightly. It was also, however, positively warm. The roaring fire on the hearth made her want to duck back outside and suck in breaths of not-quite-cool-enough air, but she did her best to ignore the heat, listening as Kol interacted with the silk-clad woman.

Ruvsá had to bite back a laugh as Kol was called 'sir' but otherwise she just felt a sense of relief.

"Are you the one in charge?" she asked. "As you can tell from our appearances, my husband and I have been run ragged lately. We need a room, obviously. Is there someone who can go to the market and get us fresh clothing? And can we get a bath here, or do we need to visit a bathhouse?"

They probably could have asked for separate rooms, but Ruvsá wasn't sure what exactly was written on that passport from the captain. They had posed as husband and wife there, so it would be best if they stuck to that story, at least, in case they were stopped and questioned.
 
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Kol

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"We have our own bath house. A room will be made available and if you require I can send a servant to fetch you fresh clothes."

It was obvious that this establishment was meant for a higher class of people. The innkeeper seemed to almost be falling over herself in an attempt to try and get on their good side. Kol watched her carefully, glancing over her shoulder for a brief moment.

There one of the Dark Gods lingered.

It's eyeless grin peered down at the Innkeeper, a quiet whisper reaching Kol's ears as it spoke to him. He smiled a bit wider, then spoke. "Your finest room them, clothes we'll sort ourselves, but send up a meal."

"Of course, sir. Please, please come this way."

The woman swept out from behind the counter and immediately began to head towards stairs in the back of the room.

Kol followed after her, glancing at Ruvsa for only a brief moment before they ascended the steps. A few twists and turns later saw them standing in the doorway of a very large suite. Within it was a sitting room, a washroom, and then the bedroom itself.

The Sorcerer slipped the innkeeper a few of the golden nuggets, then shooed her out the door.
 

Ruvsá

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Ruvsá was hesitant about Kol's methods, especially the forged gold, but the way the innkeeper suddenly fawned over them made her feel only the slightest amount of guilt. The woman's greed was palpable.

She eyed Kol quietly when he said they'd take care of clothing themselves, but didn't protest yet, especially as her stomach let out a quiet grumble when he mentioned food. "Mead, too, if you have it," Ruvsá requested.

As they followed the innkeeper up the stairs and to the room, Ruvsá noted the twists and turns they took, as well as counting how many other rooms they passed, and noted any exits or dead ends she spotted. She had no idea what these catchers might be that the captain had mentioned, but if they ended up needing to evade any, she was going to make sure they had a chance to do so.

She looked the room over while Kol slipped the innkeeper some gold and dismissed her. The sitting room had a small table, a couple chairs, and a large fireplace. Ruvsá opened the door leading to the bedroom and was relieved to see there was a single window, albeit small. The bed was generously sized, and there was a chest of drawers for clothing.

Ruvsá waited until the door was closed and she heard the innkeeper's footsteps trail away before she spoke. "Wealthy merchants now, hm?" she smiled amusedly. "Also, if we're doing the newlywed thing, which is probably best since that's what we told the captain and who knows what that passport he gave us says, then we're going to need to work on your body language."
 
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Kol

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He chuckled. "Must be my upbringing."

It was not really a joke.

Kol had lived in a world where drawing close to someone was nothing but foolish. The closer someone stood the easier it was for them to slip a knife into your belly. There was no such thing as companionship, camaraderie when it came to the Nordwiir.

The strong survived, and that was that.

"But." He said with a frown. "That will have to come second."

Maintaining their disguise was important, she was right about that, but the most important thing that they had to do was...wash. "I can't stand this filth on me anymore."

The Sorcerer said as he began to strip off his clothing.

Days in that hold had been too long, and although he wasn't as sensitive to the smells as Ruvsa was it still clung in his nose.
 

Ruvsá

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"Must be." Ruvsá grinned wryly. She was absolutely sure it was his upbringing, and while she couldn't blame Kol for everything he'd done to survive, it seemed a burdensome existence at times.

When he complained of the filth and started to strip, though, Ruvsá eyed him teasingly, not bothering to avert her gaze or act coy. The stench had been part of why her seasickness was so bad in the ship's hold, though, and while she shared his sentiment, she was also curious about one thing...

"You realize that if you bathe now, you'll have to put filthy clothes back on, since you told the innkeeper we would take care of our own change of clothes?"

She did reach up and unfasten her cloak, though. Regardless, it was far too warm to keep wearing it. "It seems using your magic to clean our clothes would be a bit... frivolous."