Welcome to Gaia! ::

Project marked: PRIVATE

[Access Granted] +1 1 100.0% [ 9 ]
Total Votes:[ 9 ]
< 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 32 33 34 > >>
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

    - - Evelyn Alinari
      User Image
                                  Evelyn stopped playing with her knife and stared at Abel, the firm and steady gaze of her eyes more piercing and dangerous to him than her innocent blade toss game would have ever been.

                                  “Very well. I may accidently lop them off with you distracting me so.”

                                  Certainly, she was practiced enough with her knives to safely divide her attention when using them, so with a smile and a friendly pitch, the line might have resembled a joke. Accompanied by a glare, the line might have been a mutual promise of violence. But coming from Evelyn’s lips it was nothing of either but something entirely different. The words were delivered with a tone that thoroughly embodied indifference, exemplifying the barest trace of emotion, and had been said as if their sole purpose was to be part of a remark on an assumed truth. She used Abel’s words, but the question of whether that was out of anger or simply because she didn’t bother with rewording could not be answered.

                                  One thing was clear though. Since she had been assigned to following him around, she had been reconsidering her opinion of Abel. She knew him to be older and assumedly believed him to be wiser, probably not as much as others, but still with a good head on his shoulders. Yet here he was, carelessly telling her off, the brainless fear for the wellbeing of his beloved earlobes overshadowing any common sense. She wanted to think he was better than that. She was thinking she ought to have believed better than that. She thought wrong.

                                  Not only was Abel a twit, but he was also a self-centred brat who only cared about himself. It was a wonder how he had ever gotten along with his family.

                                  They set off. For a while she was silent, unconsciously flipping her knife over and over in her hand. A gentle breeze graced her already windswept hair and she took its touch as a prompt to begin a survey of the boisterous sights around them.

                                  There was the woman leading, and then there was Abel before her. Her eyes followed up his figure to stop at the back of his head. So he had expected her to slice his ear out of all things? Hm. Could she do it? Slowly, the tip of the knife was brought up to point at the place of the farmboy’s left ear, in spite of the crowds. Her hand weighed the blade, already calculating a throw. If she hurled it, how likely under current circumstances would it meet that modest curl of flesh and cartilage? There was that light wind in the air, though obviously it not enough to steer an airborne projectile off course.

                                  And... What was this? She held it there for a moment, both eyes trained on a blemish in the silver of the metal. How had she not noticed it before? Bringing her knife back, she scraped the speck of filth off with a fingernail. When she was done, she returned the weapon to its sheath.

                                  Now her attention was on their task. The woman said she knew where it was. Could she have meant the water? Intrigued, Evelyn increased her stride to pass Abel and approach the woman in front. “That is quite helpful. How had you come about such information?”

Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      The chapel was magnificent, in its own quiet and insignificant way. As they passed the wan man of whom Linus relieved his box to, Velius idled behind. Smiling pleasantly at Malcolm, he dropped one gold coin into the miserable wooden box. It would exchange to a number of coppers, plenty to buy a couple dozen pastries to distribute amongst the needy. Either that or some quality wine and cheese to enjoy with his mistress after a long, lonely day praying. He nodded at Malcolm, a twinkle in his eyes wishing him luck with his decision making, before he spun around and bounded away to the others.

      He joined the others at the alcove just in time for the discussion on the rules of their expedition to the spring. No running, no weapons, no touching the water and no stealing the water. The rules were easy enough for even the simplest of minds, and yet hadn’t anticipated that they were going to be there. He was allowed in, but wasn’t allowed to get close to it. What had he expected? That anyone could walk up to the spring once they were let in the room? He had made an oversight that would now bar more than one of his intended plans. Several of them involved getting a hefty sample of that water.

      But believe it or not, his heart dropped not even a tad though his hopes had been dashed. As a consequence of some strange optimism that repeatedly hit him at the weirdest times, he decided that what could be done would be adequate for the time being. Nothing was lost by seeing the spring; it was probably best to scout the area before coming up with ways to take from it anyway. Plus, regardless of what happened, the sacred water was not the only, nor was it his preferred, solution....

      One small problem. “I have this.” His hand patted the butt of his sword’s hilt. “It will be returned to me afterward, I presume?” His sword wasn’t decorated, just practical, so there wasn’t much chance anyone would think of taking it from him for keeps out of greed. He figured that much, but he decided not to risk it. The trouble wasn’t so much the cost of a replacement as it was the difficulty in finding another blade that balanced in his hand as well as his current. The rest of his equipment – his belt purse and whatever was left in his pastry bundle – did not pose similar issues, though it did make him wish Eve was there to hang on to it. He preferred his belongings not be searched.
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      Velius actually walked into that quiet girl Linus had totally forgotten about. “Ha...sorry,” he offered briefly. Archer? His ears perked up and he turned to find the woman looking away from him. How interesting.

      Though without another thought, he renounced his pointy things to a sentry’s outstretched hand. “Oh, please please please do take care of my sword. It is most precious to me.” The guard blinked at Velius’ innocently adorable comment and stared at him. The deliberation was obvious on the sentry’s face: whether or not he should actually return the weapon. It must have been an easy feat; if the pretty boy asked, the guard could lie and tell him he wasn’t allowed to return it. Or maybe he could push the blame onto some other guard. Chaos would ensue, and in the middle of it all, the little man with the red eyes and mop of black hair would stamp his pretty little feet in pent up frustration, and the guard would get a nice sword to add to his collection.

      The guard must have noticed the way the pretty boy was eyeing the beggar’s dual sais currently in another guard’s hands, ostensibly unawares to the harsh cruelties of the thieving world, the kind that’s easiest to take from. Of course, whether this scenario was true or whether it was merely a figment of the noble’s imagination couldn’t be confirmed. As well, whether the guard would really do something of this sort was just as indefinite for the guard became suddenly conscious that the pretty boy’s eyes were trained on his. The resigned priest and the rest of his lot were already gone, so why was he still here?

      It was clear he had been waiting for the guard to place attention on him, for Velius’ eyes turned dangerously foreboding the instant it happened. The grin on his face did not help matters. Neither did the tone he used to address the guard, despite its thrillingly cheerful quality. “See you soon, Mister Guard.” The pretty boy even gave a wholehearted wave before leaving.

      Practically skipping his way over to the others, he pondered on what he had seen. The sais gleamed in the light as good as new. Maybe that’s because they are. As in, just bought, not used. It would have been rather convenient of the woman to have had time to shop while on her perilous voyage to Belorner’s sacred holy springmajig. And Archer... His eyes slide over to train themselves on the back of Esther Archer’s head. Her hair flowed out behind her, forming familiar waves...familiar to little more than an hour ago. That memorable long braid. It wasn’t blonde any longer, but blonde wasn’t the only colour he had ever seen the Archer sport. Stupid girl. It was like she was asking for him to realize it was her all along.

      As of the moment, Velius could have stood closer to the woman to get a better look at her and get decisive proof of his suspicions. But instead, her odour irritated his sensitive nose more than his curiosity irritated his mental state. He gave a glancing look at Linus, waiting for him to open the gate. “You’re not really on good terms with those guys, are you?” He wasn’t being Captain obvious for no reason. Despite the strange priest, the shifty guards and Lucia, the trip to the spring was getting quite monotonous. Rules...tunnels...Hey! fancy fake wall...gate...person...another person...more tunnels...another gate. Oh joy. “I don’t suppose you get requests to visit the spring every day.”
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      He wasted no time climbing the steps to the spectator’s area above, his pace only slowing once he reached the top. “This place is amazing!” He twirled around with his arms outstretched to his sides as if welcoming the girl following behind him to the lines of granite seats. “Don’t you think?” His voice was clear to the both of them, but its intensity was not yet loud enough to create echoes, let alone audible for the folks below them involved in the ceremony and, hopefully, the ominous shadows above. Chuckling softly, he spun on his heel and hopped down the carved terrace of steps down to the lowest set.

      His fingers ran atop the smooth surface of the stone ledge that parted him from those involved in the sacred healing as he made his way along the inner circumference of the observer’s area. It was only once he discovered the perfect place did Velius finally stop. Leaning on the ledge, he was silent for a moment as he studied the verdant scenery before him. A cool draught that never existed aboveground in the religious city wound through the chamber and moss decorated the curves of the magnificent archways. It was stunning how even in such a dank environment flora could flourish in mass abundance. The stage had been built, but then left untouched by civilization save the few holy men that frequented it. The quality of natural isolation must have been a form of purity in itself, for it was in such an untainted environment that a divine substance existed.

      And how close was he to this substance. Absolutely aware he was completely visible to everyone within the room, both seen and unseen, he reached a hand past the space above the edge towards the spring many lengths away. He pointed his index finger at Linus. “Pow pow pow!” With each spoken sound came a little bounce of his hand, his fingers casting make-believe curses at each of the figures below in turn. Then, he sat down and propped his elbows on the edge of the seat behind him, throwing his head back with a childish grin on his face. His eyes made a sidelong glance at the girl, themselves shimmering in the faint light with their own juvenile property. “And then we would be the only ones left in this big room.”

      His gaze left the girl as the ceremony appeared to start. The chant was barely perceptible and quite anticlimactic, although the banter between the clergymen made the wait worth it. Velius’ hands laced together to form a platform for his chin to rest on. “Sure looks like they’re trying to drown him, doesn’t it?” Velius admired the clerics’ struggles to bring life to the ritual – he truly did. He didn’t see it necessary, but it sure was entertaining to watch. Holy men and their desires to look like fish.
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

    - - Evelyn Alinari
      User Image
                                  Evelyn’s eyes remained on the road as she nodded in agreement with Abel. “The desert is a natural barrier that separates your homeland and this city. As a result, the two societies develop autonomously and independent from one another. Arising from this detachment would be countless differences, population density being one of them.” The brief and formal lesson in human geography offered out of her free will. As young as she was, she shared Abel’s candid wonder, understanding his marvel associated with seeing new places with one’s own eyes and his surprise coupled with the discovery of an unfamiliar world. Her life thus far had not been spent entirely within the walls of Shahrazad, although much of it was. Each of her few trips outside the Jewel of the Desert had been made in accompaniment with other individuals, usually a member of the Kirta family. This particular venture was would add to her list of experiences, as well as the first of such she had made with Velius.

                                  She wasn’t exceptionally proud of her accomplishments to date. Already, she had failed once, failing to successfully counteract a single member of the invading bandit forces, and now she had made another slip-up: falling short on basic knowledge on her setting. It could hardly be considered a matter deserving of unease, for she had not known of their destination in advance and thus had no opportunity to find resources on the religious city.

                                  But then again, she had one sure source of information: her charge. She had no intentions to further punish herself for not having asked him about Belorner however. Instead, she speculated on why he had not told it to her in the first place. This was not the first time, nor was it the second time, that he had neglected to provide her common knowledge. Only in half of those cases had she ever gotten a suitable explanation for it. It wasn’t to say she placed blame on him for what she lacked, although it did ease her heart to ponder on doing so. She would enquire for his reasons later, and she would leave it until that time came to decide on an appropriate course of action.

                                  That left her with the matter of tomorrow night, the current topic of deliberation. “A time of fear?” It was a suggestion offered at the woman’s murmurs, delivered in a tone as hushed as that of the others. Her attention travelled from one concerned citizen to the next, her ears incapable of discerning aught on the details of ‘tomorrow night’. Her eyes trekked further ahead of them, where the path opened out. Having seen the site before them not long ago from a different road, Evelyn was able to identify it in spite of the new angle. It was the Hall of Gods.

Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      Velius shrugged at the girl’s response to his fun. “I suppose it would be.” It was a nonchalant response to a topic he had no opinions on. A man like this noble, who possessed a rather sizable room all to himself back home, would never have paid much mind to the trivial matter of size. To be precise, if anything mattered to him in this situation, it wouldn’t have been the amount but rather the uses one could procure from such a large space after doing away with those that were occupying it. And, for a man like Velius, such uses were not difficult to come up with. This chamber could have served his family numerous purposes befitting to its dimensions. Gaining control over the sacred water, the family could exploit the fiscal rewards of being the well respected providers of the religious commodity. Or perhaps the mossy turf could become the new training grounds for the Alinaris. Or a storage space. Or simply a torture zone. Whatever was needed. Although if asked, Velius would have happily admitted that a bedroom of the chamber’s size was a short hurdle away from utter folly. He wasn’t quite that avaricious or foolish.

      “Some people can do that, you know. They just wave their arms and flick their wrists and they can draw whatever they want with water. In the air. As he spoke, his finger traced spirals in the air, his enthusiasm on the topic obvious on his face. The noble was a fanatic on gifts and powers. “Their work would only stay there until it dried up, of course. Some people can do that with wind too, if you can imagine. You just wouldn’t be able to see it unless stuff like sand happens to be blowing in it.”

      It was when she started talking about colours that his head tilted in question of her frame of mind. Colours? She meant crayons, right? Or paint? Coloured pencils? Aw heck. Even Abel talked a little more sense and used clearer terminology. Well, most of the time. Briefly, his eyes left the spring to look the girl over, his ruminative gaze thorough as it judged her. She was young, around Eve’s age, if not younger, and although he had never been able to consider Eve a child, he couldn’t make himself do otherwise with the girl before him. Her eyes, her speech, and her gait as well, now that he thought about it, denoted in great profusion a pleasantly staggering and whimsical innocence. He liked it.

      “Great,” he replied, turning back to the spring. “I wouldn’t mind having a look at it once you’re done.” He wasn’t going to be mean to her. He had no interest in toying with children. Not at this moment.

      In spite of the conversation, Velius had kept a close watch on the procession by the spring the entire time. Not once had his intentions for being there forgotten: to be educated on the secrets to this divine place. He had watched as they prepared for the healing. He observed when Archer stepped into the holy water. He commented on the ceremony. “Ah, now Father Linus is drowning Archer! The poor lady... She never had a chance.” He was a soon to be scholar worthy of countless participation marks. Perhaps he would have been docked marks in respect for others while he was at it. But no matter what boorish remarks he made, his attention always returned to the happenings about the spring shortly after. What a dedicated student.

      “Would you look at that.” This particular comment was not on the scene at the spring. The young man hadn’t even watched Linus in his huge rush to save Archer. Velius was no longer in his seat; instead, he stood with his hands in his pockets, a distance away from it. Leaning over the ledge, eyes focused on an unreachable spot right below. Once again clear but gentle, his voice made sounds only detectable by the girl. “Such a fanciful thing. I sure wish I could get it.”
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      His eyes widened and his jaw slackened in bewilderment, his attention fixated on the dull grey length extending from the girl’s arm. But his surprise soon transformed into absolute fascination, and upon sealed lips formed the beginnings of a bemused smile. There was no sign of effort on the girl’s face as she propelled her outline forward, to extend and slither down to the spot they were looking at the way no regular shadow could. Or should. But that wasn’t all; somehow the two dimensional silhouette could enclose itself around solid objects, intermingling with the three dimensional world. Like it wasn’t a shadow to begin with.

      And within seconds, she had the prize, which she flaunted before him like he hadn’t been watching the entire time, or as if she needed to make it obvious she helped him get it. With a soft chortle, Velius shook his head and gave a small roll of his eyes as she hid it away. He made steps to follow the girl back the way they came in, but as he picked up the pastry bundle he had left on his seat, something occurred to him.

      With a tap on her shoulder, he brought his head level with her ear and spoke. “Keep it out of sight, okay? Let’s keep it a secret between you and me.” A sly finger was brought against his smiling lips. The precautions were insurance. Just in case she hadn’t thought to do so. If it were anyone else, he might not have felt any of this necessary.

      As they turned the corner of the stairway, they were greeted with the sight of the priest and the woman, alive and well. The guard beside them was beckoning him over with two gruff fingers. Obediently, Velius stepped forward, ready to be searched, but the guard gestured for the bundle in his hand instead. Oh He passed it with a nod, his heart dropping when the guard unravelled it to reveal the scrumptious goodies within. There was only one left. The guard was just as disappointed it seemed, though probably not for quite the same reason. Scowling, he searched Velius next, his expression not any more cheerful when he authorize his leave. Next was the girl behind Velius.

      Retrieving his pastry, a decision was made to refill his stash later. He strolled over to the duo waiting for them, his eyes falling on the box in Linus’s hands. Constructed with sturdier materials, it wasn’t the same one he carried with him aboveground. This guy was serious about leaving and utterly prepared to do it. To think Velius left home with a knapsack.

      “Everything alright?” He looked at Linus, and then at Archer. “You’re much better looking without dirt on your cheeks.” Now with a plain view of her face, it was clear to him that Archer was indeed... Archer. Velius had no other name for her, and it was doubtful Esther was her real one.

      He glanced back at the girl in calm anticipation. Hopefully her shadows could keep objects concealed. Equally hopeful was he that she would think to use them for that purpose.
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      The girl was cleared. That matter settled, Velius began the trek to the chapel with the others. A jesting smile played on his lips as he remarked the woman with the tainted blonde braid. His earlier comment, in fact, had initially been made entirely for her benefit, for its purpose was to reveal his recognizing of her a long time prior. Perhaps as well to hint at some interest in doing business with her. Whether Archer was aware of this or not was irrelevant to him though. He was simply enthralled with the sight of her in her silent rage. It wasn’t everyday one got to see a mercenary lose her cool.

      At Linus’s suggestions for subjects of conversation, he chipped in, “Sounds to me like a marvellous idea. But before that, may I suggest we all be returned our rightful possessions first.” Although they were at the weapons’ checkpoint, where he was patiently waiting for the guards to fetch him his sword, the return of his sword was not the sole thing he was alluding to. With Archer’s appearance at the Hall of Gods, the priest’s behaviour at the spring, what the noble had seen there, and the souvenir he and the shadow girl picked up, it was hard not to notice something was amiss. Velius had exclusive facts on the circumstances, and with that a considerable idea of what exactly that something was. This understanding was the reason, among numerous others, that he now smiled at the blonde haired woman, egging her on to voice the burning questions that would eventually lead her to discover the whereabouts of that vial.

      It was also this understanding that created another key part for him to address. After tending a gratuitous silver for his sword, he passed the wooden doors and approached the young girl, matching her step. A movement of his hand brought a finger to his lips once again, his shrewd eyes daring her to abide by his earlier suggestion and be the one to fail at their little game of hush-hush. And then just as swiftly, the gesture was gone, the expression on his face wiped along with it.

      Departing the earthen passages, his lungs were thankful to be filled by fresher air, his body the same to be heated by the warmer climate of the chapel. He was slow to continue to the center of the chapel, taking his time to latch his sword back onto his belt and to pat nonexistent dust off his breeches. He wasn’t concerned about Lucinda the same way Linus was, for he was positive she had remained in the building. She, like others under that stained-glass roof, wished to join the Blue Caravan, and like the rest of them, she knew Velius was a sure-fire way for them to find it.

      “I admire your enthusiasm.” Done tidying up, he brought himself closer to the redhead and leaned against the back of a pew in such a way so as to have a convenient view of everyone in the room at once.

      “The Blue Caravan is well-established and the safest group to travel with, but it did not become this reputable by chance. Each of its members is skilled in their own respect, each volunteering everything in their power to protect or otherwise better the entirety of the group, no matter if they were blessed with control over air, foresight, potion-making or simple brute strength.”

      His crimson eyes landed on each of them in turn, his face solemn in preparation for the big question. “Keeping this in mind... What can you offer?” It better be good.
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      “Flying,” he repeated, disappointment plastered all over his face. “I find that hard to believe.” No effort was made to smother the cutting edge of those words, which had been spoken loud and clear. He seated himself without so much as a sound at the end of the bench closest to the redhead. His arm laid on the pew’s armrest, and with a slow finger he began tracing the dark swirling lines invading the butterscotch of the varnished wood.

      “You’ll find a number of urchins where I come from. Oftentimes, they are making their keep by dancing around the street and flapping their arms as if they were wings. They do a little dance for passersby and are rewarded a copper or two for their troubles. Of course, by the time the kindly men finally toddle on home to their wives, they discover their wallets to be an unexpected silver or two lighter.” The miserable tale ended with a bright laugh. “It’s remarkable the deeds one would do, or allow their children to do, in order to put bread on the table.”

      He followed this statement with a polite smile and a small nod of his head towards Lucinda. “I intend no offense in telling you that, mind you, for you are by far much too respectable to be put on the level of a lowly thief. But ... aren’t you a little too old to be making claims of flight?” He watched for her reaction, his stomach fluttery in anxious anticipation.

      And then he realized something. Casually, he turned away from her for the duo purpose of observation and hiding his face from her view. It was necessary, his eyes being the only things that could have betrayed his proclaimed scepticism. They landed on the shadow girl, who was near to tripping over herself in excitement at the thought of being airborne. He grinned mildly meanwhile he watched her, willing his heart to maintain a calm and steady beat. They shared a similar opinion, him and the girl. Further away were Linus and Archer, who had withdrawn themselves from earshot. With a flicker of his eyes he stole a glance at the pair, and although he could hear not a whisper of their conversation, a knowing inward smile crept its way out and onto his face.

      Soon, his gaze returned to Lucinda, and with it came the flash of a fresh and taunting grin as he leaned in towards her. “And not a witch, you say. Well, should a broomstick not be the means by which you fly, what would be it? Shall you sprout miniature pixie wings that you will use to flutter your way up to the ceiling here?” She could have had them hidden under her barrage of orange curls, unfurling only when she needed them. It was a complete and convincing lie of his to say he didn’t believe in her power. Flight was obviously as plausible in this world as any other gift, despite its utter disregard for the laws of the physical world. Magic and religion explained what could not be deduced by logic and numbers. But still, Velius wasn’t going to sound convinced until she proved him wrong and he got to see it with his own eyes.
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      “As light as a feather,” he remarked, his face alit with genuine interest and curiosity. The disbelief he had forced into his entire being was no longer necessary, evaporating the moment she pulled her demonstration. Then again, perhaps it hadn’t been necessary from the very beginning. To his complete and absolute pleasure, by taking the initiative to rustle up for him a display of her gift, the redhead had responded entirely as he predicted. He couldn’t blame her for her reaction. The cause was entirely his doing: by poking fun of her and her power, Velius had been asking for her to make him eat his words. It wasn’t in human nature to stand and be laughed at if something could have been done about it, whether that something involved bursting into tears or maintaining a defying calm. Lucinda had chosen the latter and decided to become hawkwoman. Or chicken lady. Same difference.

      He stood and extended a hand, not to take hold of hers but to decline it for the moment. He hadn’t quite seen enough of her talent, but it hadn’t been a goal of his to get a lift, not yet at any rate. Acrophobia was not what brought on the refusal; the countless tranquil evenings spent on roofs, balconies and window ledges attested to that fact. What he was declining was the exact opposite thing, which was the grand exhilaration that would come with no longer having solid ground under one’s feet. It was a tempting offer, one that would make fools of most who turned it down. Velius had said no, but he was no such fool. To soar and be graced by the gentle arms of the winds, to see the world from a new angle, and to have ridden from oneself a limit to travel, Velius could foresee all too well the sentiments that would accompany the joy of such freedom. It was in his best interest that he not be distracted by it right now. Plus, in view of the possible directions their conversation could go, he trusted the ground more than he did the woman’s temper. Shadow girl would most likely be a willing participant if Lucinda so truly wished for one.

      His curiosity carried him towards her bag, craving to be satisfied through inspecting the contents. “Is the magic in you or your feathers?” he wondered aloud. And how many birds had to be stripped of their lavish but indispensable plumes for her to amass that collection? He inclined his body over her bag so as to glimpse at its interior without touching it. His breath had become shallow without his thinking, as if attentive not to disturb the stack of feathers with the pure, restless awe that bubbled, though not uncontrollably so, in his heart. As much as he liked to inspect the feathers with his hands, he made no move to reach out and touch them; people could get quite touchy about their belongings after all, and upset people did not make good conversation. He leaned back and raised an eyebrow at Lucinda, an innocently inquisitive finger pointed at her feather sack. “Would I float up if I held one too?”
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      It had been wise not to have reached into the bag. The petite woman might have become fretful for the wellbeing of her crucial mass of feathers. Perhaps she would have become sassy as well, providing him with some fun seeing and hearing any verbal lashings she could and hopefully would have wished to reprimand him with. Yet, he couldn’t bring himself to smile at the possibility of neither an ear piercing scream nor an airborne kick to his noggin. True to say, neither was intolerable by his standards, but both would have been painful nonetheless. Plus, Velius was too vain a man ever to allow a mere boot to catch him unawares. That was the reason he was mindful of her position as she hovered above once she told about the limits to her magic. Admittedly, this concern of his didn’t go much further than that he would have given to an undone shoelace, but it was there.

      He glanced to the feathers before turning his eyes back towards the feather in the floating woman’s hand. The ease of which they could become useless astounded him. A mere touch and the worth of the now tainted plume was gone like the wind. This, Velius realized, was the catch to her power. There was always one, case in point being Aria, Evelyn... even himself, unfortunately. Whether the person ever revealed it was questionable, but there was always a catch. It was as if there existed some power in the world with a life mission to ensure such memorable sayings stayed true to their words, just for the benefit of making life harder for those who were beneath it.

      Of course, there were always those with the iron will to stand up against this force. Before him was a perfect and beautiful example. The mentions about Lucinda’s reasons to be and her father were irrelevant, though granted they did bring about a pitying smirk from the noble. The way she said it made it sound oh so grand, like she was a beloved princess on a fairytale adventure to learn more about herself and the world around her because her fairy godmother told her to. Well good luck, fair maiden. Velius appreciated you telling him your goals in life. He even spared an ounce of thought to admire her determination. An ounce wasn’t much, but it was something.

      A bang, a gasp and then uncanny silence. At once the feather disintegrated having left Lucinda’s hand. Velius was aware of this occurrence although his gaze had left its sight long before it was finished its elegant decay. The resonant racket of wood on floor had demanded everyone’s undivided attention, and drew Linus and Archer into the limelight. Little effort was needed to identify the dropped box as the source of the ruckus, so Velius allowed shadow girl to complete that task on her own. The reason for its release required a bit more detective work.

      With clear and distinct footfalls that brought about some manner of reality to the situation, Velius approached them and laid a tender hand on Archer’s shoulder to halt her throttling of the stunned man. “We really ought to wrap up these two dreary matters of how to help people and what everyone can bring to caravans.” His voice was calm and soothing. His eyes, crimson as always but now also unusually benign, set themselves onto Linus’s dull brown. “And then perhaps have a nice chat about colors after having finished the ones about names, caravans and drowning?”
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      Simply put, Velius had a hunch: one that was based on his previous experiences with the mercenary; one that was proving easy to act upon without arousing suspicion. Of course, he was not aware of Lucia’s motives for playing a beggar, but he knew for sure she had one. He could count the reasons anyone would wish to visit the spring on his fingers: one, to get healed; two, to steal from it; three, to scout to steal it at a later date; four, to find a gateway to hell; and five, to die – to disappear from existence – trying to find it. Oh, and six for if one was jumping in for kicks, mindless to the promising threats of gut punches and seven year prison sentences. For Archer, the number of valid options was even slighter. Automatic null to one and three; those chores she could have done without becoming a hag. It hadn’t been long since they had last met, and unless Archer had developed a sudden love for death without his knowledge, numbers four and five were void too. That left him with two, Archer being a thief, and six, the minor chance that she was a delusional masochist. Velius’s preferring number two was a given.

      It was these thoughts that kept him rooted temporarily as Archer stepped off, although indecision could have been misinterpreted to be the cause. The sight of her blonde braid growing smaller as she got closer to the exit snapped him to attention. He smirked, knowing he would soon discover whether or not his premonition was correct. No sense in wasting time thinking about it.

      A tavern? He eyed the priest. They were trading one stifling place for another even more fitting of the description. Velius had no problem with it though. Following leisurely in Archer’s footsteps, he eventually passed her to push the door open, permitting a splurge of gold and orange to smear against the otherwise insipid floor. Swinging himself around the door’s edge, he gave a courtesy bow to Archer before leaning against the door to keep it ajar for the rest of the group. He placed his bundle on the palm of one hand and undid its folds with the other. The pastry appeared, miraculously still in one piece. “Would you care for a pastry, Miss?”

      Leaning in a little towards Archer under the pretence of offering the treat, he continued in a low voice. This was meant for her ears only and he was going to make sure she heard it. “We are heading for the Blue Caravan later, but I’m a little worried for Father Linus. A little run in with some magic and he’s already stiffer than a stick. It’s like he’d seen a ghost.” He chuckled. “You’d think he’s better off here in the chapel. Well, he’d be better prepared for travel than I was, I hope. I forgot to bring water.” With a minor shake of his head, he pulled himself away and straightened up.

      He glanced at the priest, then at Lucinda, before finally resting his eyes on shadow girl. “You would think that box to be quite heavy.” His words could be heard by everyone this time. He had not changed his intended listener though. He still very much liked Archer to hear him. Now, she was a wily one, no doubt about it. Would she catch his drift or would she give him a weird look and ignore him and his petty comments?
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

    - - Evelyn Alinari
      User Image

                                  Immortality. Rasheik was immortal. But he couldn’t – no one could have been immortal. But as farfetched as Abel’s comment had sounded, Evelyn couldn’t dismiss it. She knew it was true. She had the grounds to support it. Rasheik’s presence. A behemoth force that nothing contained. And now she had an explanation for that power. Immortality.

                                  No one save her and Velius knew that Evelyn could sense life force. Evelyn’s previous experiences had only exposed her to two distinct categories of innate auras. The first was people with standard gifts. They were unusual to begin with, their presence strong and bottled up until they made work of their talents. People without magic formed the other group, identifiable by a dilute and dainty aura that seeped freely from their bodies. Rasheik deserved a category of his very own. His aura was a long shot from the other two, having pummelled Evelyn the first time the bandit king had stepped foot in the same room. It was pure power, untamed and unrestrained, a million miles beyond anything she had ever experienced. Was it too much to say it was not human? It wasn’t. It was more than that. It was... It was...

                                  The woman summarized it all perfectly.

                                  “I think this is impossible; don't you?”

                                  Impossible. It was all impossible. Immortality. Invisibility. Tomorrow night. The warmth of the sun. The abrupt end to that warmth as they crossed the threshold to the tunnel and were surrounded by its moist cold air. The dew on the chilly stone walls she touched. The soft sound of their footfalls. The two gates, some guards, and likely plenty more that were waiting for them down that tunnel. All of this she had believed to be impossible. How very wrong she was. Every step she took into the passageway made her surer this was real. Every intake of hushed breath made each of her heartbeats a little more fervent than the last. She had a trickle of doubt at the severity of what was once Abel’s, now their, operation, but it had been wiped the same way the speck had been flicked clear off her blade. All that remained was an insane yearn for what was to come, for what she would have to face shortly.

                                  More impossibilities. This one brought her down from her reverie. Instantly, a feeling of foreboding washed over her. Oh no. He did not just do that.

                                  She had wanted to reach to him and hold him back. Tell him that whatever he wanted to do wasn’t going to work. But she didn’t. Her fingers didn’t even twitch in consideration of grabbing him. What held her back? Did she believe for a second that he could prove her wrong? To prove that he wasn’t a dolt? Perhaps. She couldn’t remember. All she knew now was regret. Distraction was his plan all along. It was a top-notch strategy when one was not traversing a tunnel, where there were only two ways out and many pairs of eyes and sharp pointy things in between. The guards were not stupid and more than one of them were blocking the path. At once, the sentries that did not have their eyes poked by Abel turned their attention in Panyin and Evelyn’s direction expectantly.

                                  They must not have expected a knife to fly at them. Nor would they have expected another, this time in the hands of a teenage girl. Although the guards had not been trained to handle odd pretty boys, they were trained to fend off intruders to the spring. Whoever was in charge of security knew what they were doing in hiring this group. Evelyn swung, but was then caught in the back by a sudden kick. She turned and must not have been paying close attention because the next thing she knew, she felt icy metal against the skin of her neck.

                                  She had the reflexes to ease herself out of that hitch before a guard pinned her from behind, but she made no move to free herself. During the split second she had taken to turn, she had caught sight of the woman. Shaking her head. No. Evelyn froze. While guards rushed up to restrain her, her attention was brought to Abel’s defeated form. Her eyes snapped back to the woman. Oh.

                                  Slowly, she sheathed her weapon before holding her arms up, knowing full well that dropping her trusted blade would guarantee her never seeing it again. Cross guards didn’t worry about your possessions. They just wanted to put you in a cell and let you rot there. Questioning would bring lapses to the time spent in the cell, but life wasn’t any better out of it. Whether the head of investigation was human or torture depended on the men in charge and the status quo. Every city was different. Evelyn knew it all too well, but had yet to experience it from this side of the law.

                                  She blinked. The clang of metal bar doors was enough to shake anyone into of their senses. Like all other prisoners, she had been stripped of metal and shoved unceremoniously behind bars. Taking hold of the metal bars in both hands she leaned her face near them and looked up and down the hall on the other side. The entire wing sizzled with the stench of many a man before Abel, the woman, and Evelyn, left there to decay and confess to their sins. Until they died.

                                  Or were freed.

                                  ...Impossible.

Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      “Let’s not antagonize her. She might be unstable and it would be such a shame to get blood all over these lovely carpets.”

      And to have shadow girl watch it happen.

      He sipped his tea peacefully, allowing time for his words to sink in. Over the rim of his cup, his eyes made a sweep of the vicinity. The music was lively and had a pleasant beat, but the smoky mood and atmosphere of the place was clouding his brain. It wasn’t unbearable, not like Aria’s wagon had been, but he knew it would soon begin interfering with his ability to think straight. The lounge was preferable for casual chatter, not business propositions. The woman in the haughty dress, having chosen this building – Kamala Akash was it? – looked like she was having a blast. She knew just how to find the perfect place to get everyone unsettled, it seemed.

      “On the other hand, I feel like there is something you’re not telling us, Archer.”

      He put the cup down, his ears trained briefly on the sound it made as it hit the wood of the table. Such noise allowed him to keep his focus. Bringing his fingers together in a steeple, he explained.

      “I’ve worked with Archer here before and I know the type of people she tends to work for. If I were her employer, I would have had her drink a poison before embarking on such a covert operation. A slow setting one so it wouldn’t interfere with her job, but a fatal one nonetheless in case she fails it or ever decides to run out on me. Can’t have loose ends.”

      His hand took hold of his half full cup and swirled the contents before dropping a sugar cube into the resulting vortex. He watched as it crumbled away into the spinning water. It was amazing that the substance causing the tension in the room was the same substance that was vital to their survival. The altering factor was magic. It always had a knack for causing difficulties.

      “Her plunge in the spring might have cleansed her of her toxins, but I wouldn’t bet her life on that assumption. It’s safer to say that, unbeknownst to the rest of us, time is slowly slipping away for Archer as we sit here enjoying tea. I can see why she would be so desperate for the vial.”

      Why was Velius helping her case? The answer was simple.

      “Like I said, I’ve worked with Archer before and I would hate to lose her, especially to such a trivial assignment from an employer despicable enough to ask her to steal from the sacred spring.”

      It would have been so easy if they weren’t involved in this in the first place. Just let the priest fetch his box and then show everyone to the caravan. Simple. As usual, life wasn’t that dandy. One could blame it on Murphy’s Law. It crowded and obstructed otherwise clear and direct paths with complications, bringing down the worst of the worst to the heads of the oblivious. But right now, all the bumps could be smoothed out and everything would be solved if Linus just handed Archer the vial. It wasn’t as if there could have been enough water to vastly impact overall society in Albrind. On top of that, Archer wouldn’t rat on the priest. She had to protect her own secrecy in the matter.

      “I’d rather have her carry out more meaningful tasks, like guarding the caravan. Actually, that might be a good idea. Have Archer protect everyone from bandits and other similar lowlifes. Less death and carnage we’d face and Archer would be helping to keep everything in order. All for the greater good and the world would be a more beautiful place. Better than letting her die a thief, I say. Plus, I’ll be in everyone’s good books since I’d be her employer.”

      He laughed brightly at the final sentence. The others didn’t need to know he already had Evelyn filling that role. Then, his short second of humour ended as suddenly as it had started.

      “It’s a selfish dream of mine, but you have to admit it’s exceedingly beneficial for a lot more people than just you and me. However, Archer’s busy and I can’t hire her until she’s free. The only thing stopping me is that pesky vial and this job she has yet to finish.”

      How inconvenient.
Watervoir's avatar

Dangerous Friend

      Ѵeȴɩus Kɩɾʈɑ
      ɳoble
      User Image
      The way things were going was suiting his fancy. Already he had learned a great deal, one being that Archer sincerely enjoyed going above and beyond the call of duty, insisting on sealing deals by blood. Two, she needed to work on her ability to abide by her tales, for she restated to her need to finish her job before the day’s end despite having vowed to drink the water herself. Three, Lucinda had extraordinary regard for her God and religion. Four, shadow girl was probably not the best person to bring to a theatre, especially to tragedies. Five, Velius much preferred this method of acquiring knowledge. And finally, when Linus directed everyone’s attention to the frayed end of his sash, Velius couldn’t stop himself from narrowing his eyes in acknowledgement. So that’s where it came from.

      There it was, rolling off the edge of the table and into Velius’s open palm. Of course, the cunning priest had only promised to show her where it was. No guarantee had been made to give it to her. And presently the vial, the root of all the madness, was in Velius’s hand, having been at one time stashed out of sight inside the wooden box. How had it snuck itself in there? That would be a discovery for another day.

      He tucked the vial away in his pocket for the time being. “She is whenever she wants the attention. It’s a wonder really because when you think about it, her theatrics are basically a highly developed form of a child’s tantrums.” With a small sigh, he got up before declaring with a sunny smile, “I say we ought to get some fresh air right about now.”

      He opened the door and, to his surprise, their gracious waiter was on the other side of the threshold, a kettle of hot water in his hands. Something told Velius the kid was not there to help Archer with her tea pouring, or at least, not any more. Words should have left his mouth by now, but unfortunately for him it seemed they were stuck in his throat. Curiosity then, curiosity was the reason. He had been snooping.

      The silence lasted for a second longer, during which the boy tore his eyes away from Velius’s red ones. They rested on a spot in the room and widened. Velius turned his head, following the boy’s line of vision to the bloodied curtain. Red on red. The kid had good vision. “Ah, no no. The miss here cut herself on her knife is all.” He smiled at the boy and merely told it as it was, making no effort to lie and claim the stain was an accident. Not even Velius’s most reassuring tone could have fully convinced their waiter there was no reason to be alarmed.

      “B-but-”

      Velius opened his coin case and the concerned babbler fell into silence. It was clear from the look on his face that he knew what was coming, that he knew what Velius wanted. Two silver coins, one to pay for the manpower and provisions to remove the stain, one to ensure that he, his family and whoever they employed stayed quiet. It was probably in everyone’s best interest for the boy to accept the bribe, which he promptly did. After giving the boy’s shoulder a comforting clap, Velius passed him and left the room, his pace not slowing until he was outside. With Archer undoubtedly on his heel thanks to her desire for the vial in his pocket, he knew the rest of the group would follow them out soon enough.

      At long last. A breath of fresh air. Velius whirled around, taking the vial in his hand and pressing it against Lucia’s. The glass container and its contents were his, his responsibility, and he was handing it to her. Control had shifted – what a spectacular occurrence. In the back of his mind there echoed the priest’s words to the woman, but whether Linus approved of this pass or not did not matter. He had no right to condemn him anyhow, having known full well before giving him the vial Velius’s intentions to have Lucia finish her task. “Run along and deliver it to your boss,” he told her, his voice soft. “I’ll catch ya later.”

      A wink and he was gone, having bounded over to shadow girl. “Feeling better yet? Here, why don’t we get you some colours after I’ve shown everyone to the Blue Caravan?” So far, the mention of colours always brought a smile to her face. He still had errands to run, but he had time to spare for colours. Maybe he would find out the girl’s name while he was at it.

Quick Reply

Submit
Manage Your Items
Other Stuff
Get Items
Get Gaia Cash
Where Everyone Hangs Out
Other Community Areas
Virtual Spaces
Fun Stuff
Gaia's Games