Orange Entry 1
The yearly festival of seasons was a time most people looked forward to every year. Those that could afford it gathered in the capital to take a night off of work to dance around bonfires slowly losing clothing in the warm night air, only to wake up the next morning with a stranger beside you and the feeling of restfulness. Those that couldn’t afford it stayed in their own towns and gathered up close under the furs, throwing caution aside for a night. On this night, everyone was made happy in one way or another.
A large burly man stood around a fire with a few others who passed mugs of ale and coaxed giggling women over to their laps. He waved his arms in wide arches and spoke with a loud voice in an accent not from this continent as his darker skin began to glisten the closer he stood by the fire. He told tales of the band of men sitting around, accenting one event or another to give equal glory to each man encircling. They were stories of adventure, betrayal, battles, and more to entice any listeners that might be passing by. Always the storyteller, the large man boasted about his own nickname, ‘Orange,’ as a large breasted woman made her way over with eyes aimed at him.
At first, he didn’t notice the figure that had mysteriously joined the band, and was just as shocked as any when the voice broke in the middle of his story like a knife slipping cleanly between the ribs. “You got that name because you were found as a stowaway on my ship living off of our oranges. Living only on Oranges for weeks left a stench so bad we only had to follow our noses to find him.” The group laughed once they had shaken off the surprise at their newest guest. Orange raised a brow and smirked.
“That’s why they call it embellishing.” Valentine shrugged, and diverted his gaze elsewhere with that smug smirk on his face that he always carried. There was something different, though. Something troubling him. Orange could only guess that since the guards weren’t upon them that it was merely the lack of company that was making the captain dismal.
With the majority of the stories dying down, Valentine had slipped back into his invisible state as the men and women crawled about each other and giggled in between small conversations. Orange had lost the interest of his buxom lady-friend since Valentine's entrance, and had slinked back to the keg mulling over the price of whores within the area and the potential risk of itching genitals for a week or so after. As he filled his mug, a voice came from the other side of the keg, "Pour me one." Valentine stood, leaning over the barrel and holding a mug directly under the larger man’s nose.
"Stop sneaking up on me. What are you doing back so soon? I thought you'd be playing with those nobles you always bother with."
"You know I don't try to. Anyway, I can't stand them anymore and their stuck-up noses. One day their eyes will go crossed if they keep it up."
"At least they don't get the piss scared out of them whenever you speak. Damn creepy how you walk about so casually and sneak up on folks."
Valentine grew a small smile, "folks? Since when are we folks?". His smile faded, and his gaze seemed to fade off in the distance as he grasped the mug with white-knuckles. Though he could tell that Valentine had sampled some of the recreational stock for the night, something else was wrong. Something troubled him that he was attempting to bottle down with the festivities of the night. Tightening his jaw, Orange leaned in closer, keeping a steady eye on the dark-haired thief.
“Something the matter?”
“Yes. Just about everything in the world is the matter, and all of it is far too quaint for my tastes. I need something. I need the thrill again. I--” he took a sharp inhale and blinked his eyes to wipe the dazzle from them or to assure himself that the wood-grain wasn’t talking to him. “It’s missing. Being around those nobles as they try to put on their shows is infuriating. I want to see them squirm. I want to see them fight to survive as they attack each other like wild animals.”
Orange stayed silent as he creased his brow. He knew of the plans Valentine had in store for everyone, and while the thief could be kind and gentle, there was a hunger there and a madness that was unlike any others. “Head back to your cabin. I’ll order the lads to bring something back for you.”
Valentine’s jaw tightened again, and his grip white-knuckled as he fought down the urges that plagued him. “No. The longer I stay around people the safer they’ll all be.” Thrusting himself off the barrel, Valentine slinked off to join the festivities. Orange hung back, grinding his teeth wondering what to do. He dared not interrupt the thief, though, lest it be him that was thrown into the bear-pit and forced to fight. No. He would follow as he promised he would since that day he was found among the oranges, no matter what dangerous road his captain led him on. He had promised he would be there when the whole world found out and turned around to bite the hand that pulled their strings and danced them into chaos.
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