Tales There's Daggers In Smiles

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Takama, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. Takama

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    The girl was clutched to her mother, who still gave resistance as Takama tugged her from her. She had to wrestle her away, her guards restraining the woman. The Dreadlord gave a yelp, the girl had bit her on the hand. "Take her" she commanded to one of Elise's retainers. She wanted the girl spared this sight at least.

    Bared blades kept the family from resisting. Elise seemed to be savouring the moment as she sized them up.
     
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  2. Elise Virak

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    "You, you can't do this. We're your allies. We-"
    "Enough, Jerard." Elise said with a dismissive wave of her hand, inky black eyes watching as her guards ripped the girl from her mothers arms. There was a surge of screams, crying, though they were silenced with a quick strike of an armored fist.

    Elise watched her guard in silence, lips thinning for just a moment. A part of her was still unsure of taking the girl, but...she supposed she would indulge her Dreadlord for a time.

    "You know why you have to die." Her voice was cold. "Do it with dignity."

    She motioned to Takama. "Burn them."

    Elise couldn't do it with her own magic, this had to be the work of Dark Elf savages after all.
     
  3. Takama

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    Elise's captives were being manhandled out of the manor. The fighting was still going on at the main gate. Takama murmured a few last words of power and pointed her hands forward. The conflagration engulfed the family. One moment there were scared humans, clutching to each other for support. The next bright flames were everywhere, only shadowy outlines visible inside them. The screams were unnaturally high, the stench of seared flesh filling her nostrils.

    One tried to move out of the flames but Takama's blade struck them down. The heat of the fire drove her back and she was last out of the room, watching as the last movement in the flames died down.
     
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  4. Elise Virak

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    The fire caught to the rest of the building, wrenching to the walls and biting into the manor piece by piece. It seemed to dance and dance, only getting brighter as Elise turned and began to walk away.

    There was no quick path this time, there was no run, only a steady gait as she left the building behind.

    She heard the screams of a grieving daughters ahead of her, the whimpers of an Apprentice who did not know his fate. They fell on deaf ears. She smiled as they made their way to the front of the building, two double doors falling open as the flames began to consume the whole of the manor.

    Inky black slowly faded into bright gold.

    Fresh air and a Dark Elf man greeted them as they stepped outside. Slaughtered guards lay around the compound, as did a handful of the raiders.

    "You let some of them escape?" The Baroness asked the man as they came upon him. Her answer was a quick nod.

    She smiled. "Good, leave your dead."
     
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  5. Takama

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    Takama was disgusted watching the raiders take trophies. Head takers, some had mounted the skulls on stakes or spears. As allies they left much to be desired for. She'd have been happy if they'd all perished in the assault. Scum.

    Elise seemed satisfied which had her somewhat at ease. "We should leave mistress. The flames from this will be visible for miles. There will be patrols here before dawn". She was certain of it. She turned back to watch the flames rise higher, the blaze burning bright.

    The heat from it warmed her despite the night's chill. Her armour was stained red from the rival dreadlord's attack. She wondered if even a half hour had passed.
     
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  6. Elise Virak

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    She nodded her head in ascent.

    "Pull your men back to the quarry." It was still safe to hide the Dark Elves there. They were savages, but at least they knew how to make themselves scarce.

    That was part of the reason why she had selected them for this in the first place.

    The Dark Elf man nodded to her, then quickly headed off to gather his men and retreat from the Manor House. The place would burn to the ground, leaving nothing but rubble and the corpses of House Hothra remaining. Others would find it, and they would blame outlanders.

    Sentiments would be stoked, exactly what Elise wanted.

    She motioned to the girl and Apprentice. "Take them back to my estate."

    It was private enough that no one would look for them there, and even if they did proving anything would be all put impossible.
     
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  7. Takama

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    Their mounts were waiting for them, brought forward by silent dark elves. Takama could swear the beasts were smiling, their bloodlust sated by the night's work. Their captives were bound and gagged, thrown across the front of a saddle with an attentive guard for each.

    Takama took one last look back at the flames as they reached their zenith. For better or worse, Elise's desires had been accomplished.
     
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  8. Elise Virak

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    House Hothra burned, and by this time tomorrow Vel Anir would be abuzz with the foreign invaders that had done the deed.

    It was what she had wanted, what she'd planned for days now. There were some...circumstances around it of course, the girl and now the Apprentice, but both might prove useful before the end of the day.

    She hoped at least.

    The Journey home was about as quick as could be expected, taking the better part of the night. By the time they reached her estate Elise could already feel her backside begin to hurt, the comforts of a saddle leaving much to be desired. Her face scrunched as the gates opened before them.

    "Take the apprentice to the Dungeons." She ordered quietly before peering at Takama.

    "The girl is not to leave the estate." Her words were lower than before. "But as long as you keep her in check I will not throw her in a cell."

    Just a little leeway.
     
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  9. Takama

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    The apprentice was seized and marched off. The dungeons would be a secure location even for a mage. Takama did not envy him the interrogation and torture he was going to endure. She bowed her head in acknowledgement as Elise gave her instructions. "Thank you mistress" she said, the words heartfelt.

    She knew this counted as a boon, she'd be sure not to presume on her favour too much for a while. "I will take her into my personal care" she promised her, dismounting before she hefted the girl off the saddle. "Will you to the city tomorrow after this news breaks?"
     
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  10. Elise Virak

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    She mused for a second. "No."

    It was a surprisingly good question, and if she'd not been planning this out for weeks she might have said yes. Her father would of course take such an action, moving from his own estate and heading into the city to take direct control of everything.

    He had no idea what she'd done, but he would react in exactly the way she wanted.

    "I will allow my father to take care of those affairs." Her fingers slowly pulled at the braid in her hair, slipping the tie from it so blonde locks would begin to unravel. There was speckling of red throughout the yellow braid, blood from the men she had slaughtered. "When the news breaks I'll pull my guard back to the estate."

    She smiled. "Protect myself from the savages."
     
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  11. Takama

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    Takama nodded, it made sense. Play the dutiful daughter, guard the family possessions while the head of the house rushed to the capital for the matters of state. A small laugh escaped her as she mentioned the savages.

    "What of them? Are they released from their oaths now? Or are they going to continue harassing the outlying farms?" She was mildly scandalised that they'd brought dark elves this close to Vel Anir itself.

    Her hand patted the back of the girl's head soothingly. "You should rest mistress, it has been a long night". In more ways than one.
     
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  12. Elise Virak

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    "They are bound to me until their death." Elise seemed amused by that, though she didn't extrapolate just how she'd managed such an oath from the savages.

    The tale would have to be told some day, but not today.

    "Rest will come." She assured Takama. "Meet me in the dungeons tomorrow."

    The Baroness flashed a frown, glancing at the little girl. "Ensure she doesn't run off."

    Elise had already said that once to Takama, but she wanted to beat that point into the ground if she could. The girl was a risk, a big one. Not only because of who she was, but because she very well might be recognized by someone wandering on the grounds of the estate.

    She couldn't have that. "Dye her hair, or cut it off."

    With that she stalked off.
     
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  13. Takama

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    Takama cocked an eyebrow. How had a lady of Vel Anir obtained an oath of servitude from eastern savages? She'd fought her share of skirmishes with their kind. They could be tough as nails, even when the odds were against them. Masters of shock tactics, leaving bloody remains as a warning to others.

    "I will handle her" Takama, said, keeping one hand protectively on the girl, "I take full responsibility for her" she promised.

    With the departure of her mistress it was time for Takama to deal with her new charge. She opted for dye as opposing to shearing the girl's head like a sheep. A few charms of obfuscation and then a tincture of laudanum to help her sleep. There would be more work in the coming days but for now she had to ensure the disorientated and terrified girl was put at ease.

    She was exhausted herself from the night's exertion. She'd killed another Dreadlord but the ruins of the manor would leave little for others to pick over. She forced food into her and slept until late afternoon. She felt a bit more invigorated but was still aware of the night before and its cost.

    The dungeons were nearly as secure as the Virak family chambers. Takama cast a charm of warmth on herself as she descended into the bowels of the estate, the pleasant weather outside replaced with a near constant chill down below.
     
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  14. Elise Virak

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    Bruises lined her skin, mars on her flesh that marked out what she had done the night before.

    They would fade in just a few days time, they always did, but for now they served as a reminder of the price her family paid for their magic. She knew the more she pulled upon the well the less it would mark her, but for now it would still take considerable time for it to be done properly.

    Still, the slight dull ache produced by the bruises was familiar...and now almost pleasant. She could not have said why, but as she stalked into the dungeons she felt almost a sense of joy. "Has he spoken?"

    Elise's voice seemed to ring within the dungeon, a song.

    The Guard she had asked shook his head, clearly afraid to even speak. She frowned for a moment, and then waved for him to open the doors.
     
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  15. Takama

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    Takama stepped inside, still silent. House Virak had many specialists in their employ. Experts in their own particular field. Some were assassins or warriors like herself. There were sages with esoteric knowledge. Spies with near perfect memories. And like every other noble house, they had those skilled at getting others to talk.

    Torture was not a field Takama enjoyed. She understood its purpose and had taken part in some quick bouts of it, mostly on the battlefield. But there was something repulsive about watching a man or woman broken down or taken apart piece by piece. She wondered how tough the apprentice was. Above average if he'd made it through the night.

    He would talk in the end though. In the end, they all talked. Even when they had nothing left to say.

    "What has been done to him?"
     
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  16. Elise Virak

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    "Nothing too bad." Elise said as she stepped into the room, her eyes flickering towards the two men that stood opposite Takama.

    Her Orders so far had been simple; scare the man, but don't touch him otherwise.

    There was something to be said about fear, about pulling someones thoughts along enough that they did the torture themselves. Pain was of course useful, but only when you wanted to create a certain time of atmosphere. People would say almost anything to make the pain stop.

    Not always what you wanted.

    "He's fine for now." Elise said with a wave. "Though it is unlikely to stay that way."
     
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  17. Takama

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    Takama understood. They had time. There was no point in going all out on him until he'd had a chance to squirm. Quite a few would break down just from a calm friendly chat with an interrogator while they were shown the various instruments and devices that could be used on them.

    "What do you hope to get from an apprentice? That trick he had is useful but we still caught him". He wasn't going to be leaving this estate. He'd seen them kill the Dreadlord who had trained him.
     
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  18. Elise Virak

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    She nodded quietly. "We did."

    Elise wanted to smack the woman both for stating the obvious and not seeing the potential in what they had witnessed the night before. Just because a spell had been thwarted didn't mean that there was no use for it, specifically in a situation like theirs.

    Hers, she supposed.

    Takama was just a servant, a useful one, but still just a servant in the end. Just like all the rest of them. "But there is use for such an ability."

    "Imagine hiding an entire outpost." Elise urged. "Cloaking an army, pulling anything you want from sight."

    Yes...there was potential there.
     
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  19. Takama

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    Takama was doubtful, "It was mistress but the power required, that could burn one up. We saw it on one". In theory replicating it on a larger scale should be simple but magic was not a simple business. She was a warrior, not a scholar. "It will require research".

    Elise had plans but Takama was skeptical, especially when you could achieve almost the same via mundane methods. "But once he gives up his secret...it would be a fantastic talent for any assassin or spy to know">
     
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  20. Elise Virak

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    "Yes." Exactly why she wanted to know how it was done.

    Her fingers tapped against the table, nails clacking slightly as she considered. Torture would be of no use, not yet. Bringing the boy a bit of kindness would be more effective at this point.

    In truth thought, Elise was unsure if she could even do such a thing.

    "It must be a talent of some sort." She mused. "No one taught him this, not a Dreadlord anyway."

    What if he was the only one who could do it? Unlikely, but...possible. "I suppose we should speak with him."
     
  21. Takama

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    Takama shrugged, "Magic manifests itself differently in everyone. The boy might have come across it before he began his training as a Dreadlord. But it's the first time I've ever seen something like that".

    Dreadlord training was about forming one into a weapon, there was little room for subtlety. "Agreed. You should take the lead. His life is in your hands after all".

    She followed the lady into the room where the prisoner was held.
     
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  22. Elise Virak

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    The man was being held in a small cell, his hands chained to the walls above him.

    There was no small amount of terror on his face, though it seemed that he was doing his best to try and hide it. Elise couldn't help but smile, a small part of her cruel streak being tickled by the boys attempts. She mused for a few seconds, then motioned to the guard in the hall beyond.

    A moment passed, and then the soldier appeared inside of the cell with a wooden chair. He placed it directly behind her, and Elise slowly sat down. "That was quite a performance last night."

    Her voice was soft, no bite to it at all.

    "I've never seen the like." She mused. "Have you?"

    She already knew the answer as she glanced at Takama.
     
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  23. Takama

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    Nothing really had been done to the apprentice. He'd just been chained in an uncomfortable position and left go hungry in a cell devoid of any comfort. He perked up as they entered, trying to keep his face blank but the terror was easy to spot. Takama stood with her hands behind her back. A chair was brought in for Elise and she seated herself like it was a throne.

    "No mistress" she affirmed. The apprentice seemed tongue tied, paralyzed by Elise's penetrating stare. Takama kept her face deliberately blank, letting the silence drag out until the boy finally blurted out, "What are you going to do to me?"
     
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  24. Elise Virak

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    She blinked innocently. "Nothing."

    Golden eyes sailed over the Apprentice. He was a skinny little thing, barely eighteen if she had to make a guess. He was likely on the second or first tier of apprentices, unlikely to graduate to Dreadlord anytime soon.

    Even less so now.

    "Not as long as you cooperate." She stated plainly. "You just need to answer a few questions, perhaps teach a trick or two."

    Elise smirked. "Simple, no?"
     
  25. Takama

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    Elise's calm words seemed to terrify the boy more than any screamed threat or promise would have. He trembled, the chains clinking in response. He didn't believe her that nothing was going to happen.

    "I am cooperating" he rushed to say, desperate to insist her was. "I-I...I am just an apprentice milady. I could teach you nothing you don;t already know"
     
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