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A naive Black Jeweled witch has destroyed the Territory Court. From its ashes a new court is being constructed, one run by a manipulative killer. As the blood runs in the streets of Goth from open gang warfare, the Steward of Little Terreille begins a gambit to rebuild the Territory from the ground up and challenge the Star of Kaeleer.
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Author Topic: A different kind of jungle  (Read 851 times)

Description: Hrodi's house (Sorry, Hrodi) // Tag: The Unchained

Offline Silver Thrax

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A different kind of jungle
« on: Nov 07, 18, 01:37:40 PM »
The message went out through Delarius, as it normally did when Silver didn't feel like tracking down each individual member of the gang one by one. It was short and sweet, though probably less sweet to the Warlord Prince who hadn't been warned of the impending meeting that was apparently going to take place in his home.

*Group meet. We've been propositioned. Hrodi's place, this time tomorrow.*

Hrodi would make it known if he had a problem with the arrangement, Silver had no doubt. He'd likely grumble nonstop about the matter once there, but the Healer was betting he'd allow it to happen anyway. Whether he liked to admit it or not, she felt like he enjoyed having everyone under the aegis of his watchful eye, once in a while. If they were a family, the Unchained, they were a fairly fucked up one. Still, they were something more than merely associates, and that was intentional. Even the ones who liked to feign nothing but annoyance and disdain (*coughHrodicough*) could be counted on to show up when it mattered, no questions asked. There was something valuable in that, Silver knew. She did reach out to Hrodi on a thread a few hours afterwards to check his temperature under the guise of telling him she planned to bring food, but she didn't expect him to do anything but gripe.

As was not entirely uncommon, the Healer wasn't the first to show when the next evening rolled around. She might've even been the last, depending on how far Ishanvi's wanderings had taken her recently and whether or not she'd made it back in time at all. When she arrived, she at least didn't come empty-handed. She hauled with her a number of bags, all packed full of cooked food, the heavy sort meant to satisfy Darkly Jeweled appetites. Her arms were full of said bags, and several more followed behind her, held aloft by Craft. In the world of Jeweled Blood, it was fairly uncommon to see someone with a psychic cabinet hauling things around manually like that, maybe, but Silver was convinced that vanishing food took something away from it. She was looking forward to the hot and hearty meal as much as she was looking forward to seeing the others, and wasn't going to risk it being diminished even if there was no proof of such a phenomenon actually occurring.




Offline Hrodi Boesson

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #1 on: Nov 07, 18, 10:18:39 PM »
Not for the first time, Hrodi wondered how he had managed to get himself into this nonsense. He had agreed, as usual, to host the Unchained. His house was out of the way and the main living area was plenty big enough for them all... sort of. Physically, it was enough space, but with enough hungry Blood around, that space could suddenly seem very, very small.

Which was how, despite Silver's promise of food, Hrodi had found himself at the market in the morning to get things for everyone to munch on before Silver arrived. Because of course she would not be the first to arrive. If she ever showed up first, Hrodi would ask who she was and what she had done with Silver. Or try to see if someone had managed to put a web on her...

Either way, the snacks he had set out were mostly gone and he was still hungry. Thankfully Silver arrived. Grumbling under his breath, Hrodi headed to the door when the spells around his property notified him of Silver's arrival. His grumbling cut off as he opened the door for her, and his greeting was only a raised eyebrow as he floated a few of the bags from her hands with Craft.

Then, still without saying anything, he met Silver's eyes and vanished the smallest bag.

After a quick visual sweep to check Silver for injuries, an action that had become automatic over recent months when it came to anyone he cared about, Hrodi turned around and headed back towards the dining table.

"Food's here," Hrodi announced. The finally was silent but obviously implied. He gently settled the bags he'd taken onto the table, figuring someone else could take it from there and arrange things in a way that made sense.



Offline Darien Embers

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #2 on: Nov 08, 18, 12:27:42 AM »
Whenever a meeting of the Unchained was called, it was something big. The last time, it had been about keeping a Gray Jeweled Warlord Prince from using Silver to do collateral damage to the world. The time before that, it was about busting up slavers and their enterprises. Darien had his hands full juggling his business proposition with Isbeil, this minor (hopefully to remain minor) issue with Lady D, and keeping Sean from getting himself killed by an angry Black Widow. Any of those things was enough to consume the bulk of his time, but the Sapphire Prince prided himself on his organizational skills.

Besides, meetings like this meant seeing Tylmandra.

That thought quicked his steps as he made his way up the path to Hrodi’s rather large and spacious home. It reminded him of his father’s house in Midland, with the vaulted ceilings and hand-crafted doors. He loved that place and it was currently occupied by the worst people in Kaeleer. The injustice made him want to vomit, but Darien put that aside and steeled himself to be around his real family, the people who made life worth living. The Unchained was many things to him, but they were a better and stronger family than his blood family (minus Ishanvi and Gulshan) had ever been.

He entered and greeted Hrodi first, being that he owned the place, and then greeted the rest of the Unchained in attendance. Seeing them all together in one place made Darien smile. He munched on some of the snacks provided and looked around for Tylmandra. He hadn’t been there long when Silver arrived, and the food she brought was so welcome that Darien would help get everything unpacked and so that the others could start eating. Silver wasn’t one to mince words, especially when it came to a job. Darien was actually looking forward to some trouble.

Hey, Silver! How’s it going?” Darien asked, tossing off a mock-salute and leaning against a nearby wall.



Offline Nadja Rihsdotter

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #3 on: Nov 12, 18, 11:55:43 PM »
193, Fall: Hrodi’s home, Little Terreille.

Nadja winged out of the air, hoping she had managed to be the first to arrive. Her Psychic cabinets were full to bursting. Though the full cabinets ought to have no affect upon her flight skills, she landed upon Hrodi’s roof with a touch more velocity than she’d expected. The thump, and whoosh of air was satisfying, however impolitic. She had to hope that no one was here, save Hrodi himself. She did not intrude by forcing a Psychic thread, but she did unwind her aura and brush his gently with a wordless apology. The roof, she felt, was the best part of Hrodi’s home. The view was unparalleled, the sweep of the sky and sea calling to her. The wind gusted about her, and she laughed, a rich, sweet sound of unparalleled joy. Only when she’d gazed her fill at the wild sea, did she pirouette off of the roof. When Hrodi greeted her, the half-breed would wink at him.

 “I brought ale, real ale, from Rihland!” she paused a beat, to let her gaze wander over Hrodri’s rather sad yard. “Want me to bring you some plants next time?” she offered.

It was a habit born of having a dear friend who loved dangerous pastimes that caused Nadja to check Hrodi over for strain, injury or exhausted Jewel strength. If he’d gifted her with his habitual scrutiny to those who mattered to him, she’d meet his gaze and laugh warmly. She’d clasp him upon the shoulder before Appearing her sizable haul of ale. She would set it up where he indicated, before flipping her wings to the tightest, smallest shape they would take. She lounged easily upon the top several steps to the loft. As always, she politely placed herself just a bit apart from those who tended to find her existence a burden. It was neither shyness, nor shame; her eyes were bright with joy, and she’d call out a cheerful greeting to each person as they arrived.

Even Tylmandra!

Darien’s arrival won a bright laugh all his own, and a gesture towards the ale. He was always busy, and yet he always made time for Silver. Between that and how good a brother he was to Ishvani, Nadja found him one of her favorite people.

“Well met, Darien. Good to see you.” He, too, received a quick once over. He had a tendency to overwork, or so Nadja felt. It was nice to see him making some time for fun.

Silver received a bright wave, a smile, and a meticulous assessment of her mood, Jewel strength and general well being. She was both the most likely to be injured, and the least likely to admit it. Which ... made her the most fun, truth to tell.

“Help yourself to the ale, Silver; I brought it from Rihland.”

Seeing the bags and smelling the food, Nadja chose to sacrifice her usual exuberant greeting to guarantee the food was settled and distributed as soon as possible. Still, she was watching her friend close enough to catch Hrodi’s teasing Vanishing of one of the bags of food. Her laughter rippled free once more. Silver was skilled at vengeance, though; the Priestess felt a moment of sympathy for Hrodi.

Everyone here wanted a few moments of attention from Silver, so Nadja simply winked at her friend and continued to enjoy her ale. Moving about in a crowded, inside room that had not been designed with wings inside was challenging, even in a receptive crowd. With the Unchained, it was best she simply remain in place, especially as more people arrived.



Offline Delarius Winton

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #4 on: Nov 25, 18, 10:51:43 AM »
Dale arrived at Hrodi's place just a mite bit later than one might have expected from the Warlord. He was on the detail-oriented side, and when a specific time and place was given where he was expected to be, especially from his friends, he was likely to disrupt everything else to be able to be there promptly so. Now this wasn't always the case, of course, but he did try. Sometimes things came up.

Like today - which was fairly obvious as he slipped quietly in after the belated Silver, sporting a black eye and a bit of a swollen lip. There was also some bruising around his wrists, rather than his knuckles - suggesting to anyone who might note it that he'd been unable to fight back.

Considering all the trouble the unchained could get into - both as a unit and on their own - the injuries could have been much worse. Dale wasn't exactly a fighter after all. Oh he was a big guy and could swing his arms around with decent effectiveness against other average-to-fair brawlers, but there was a reason that when they got into a scuffle he tended to linger in the background. It was just as possible he'd get in the way as it was that he would do some good. Besides, there were plenty in the unchained who could take care of the fighting. He was a nice last reserve or lingering bodyguard for the Duchess.

"Sorry I'm late," he murmured with a flash of a smile around at the others. "Got a little bit held up." He didn't elaborate, though, and didn't seem especially bothered by whatever must have happened. What he did, do, however, was take time to at least pass nearby each of his friends. He'd touch them, just lightly, on the shoulder or elbow, and then move on. The nearness wasn't an odd thing for Dale but the touching rather was. It wasn't that he didn't touch people - it was more that he always had a reason when he did it.

"It's really good to see everyone," he said with another smile - one flavored with something like relief - as he began to make himself a plate of food. They really should meet up all together more often. Not just when there as a big job, either. They should meet for dinner. Maybe once a week. Everyone all together.


Offline Silver Thrax

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #5 on: Nov 28, 18, 08:51:38 AM »
"Oh, hey, Hrodi," Silver said, as though his appearance at the front door had surprised her. It shouldn't have, of course, but he'd saved her from having to juggle opening the door with her hands full so she was glad to see him. "Thanks," she murmured, when he took some of the food off of her hands. Her eyes narrowed curiously for a pointed beat when he proceeded to vanish one bag, but... well... whatever. It was weird, but she assumed he had some reason for doing it. As much as she imposed on the man, she wasn't about to object to him nicking some food for whatever reason. He'd find no obvious sign of significant injury about her, though her knuckles never quite seemed to heal completely.

"Hey, hey," she replied to Darien's salute and Nadja's greeting while she set her bags down. "Ooh," she intoned when Nadja pointed out the ale she'd acquired. "Nadja wins at showing up," she decreed, only half playfully. She moved to find a cup and pour herself a ration, and while doing so she allowed her senses to sweep the grounds, looking for others. "This is it so far?" she asked, with a note of muted surprise. She'd expected more of the others to have made it before her, though she knew better than to assume their current absence meant they wouldn't show at all. "More time to eat first, I guess," she said, shooting a grin to the Rihlander before lifting her cup for a mock toast. She was in decent spirits, mostly unharmed and mostly rested, content for the moment to sit among her tribe and feed herself alongside them.

It wasn't until she turned to plop down beside Nadja that she noticed the warlord who'd slipped in so quietly after her.

"Oh, hey, Dale, I didn't hear you c--" she started to say, before she realized that the sudden aching soreness her senses were whining about was coming from him. That registered before even the sight of the bruises on him did, and stopped her mid-word. She stared at him for a mute pair of seconds, as though the notion of him being hurt mystified her somehow.

"The fuck?" she whispered, setting her plate aside to move to her feet again. The closer to Delarius she got the more clear the bruises became to her. "The fuck?" The first had been a question. This one was a demand. Internally she could hear some more civil part of herself try and count out all the reasons she should keep a leash on herself. Her temper wanted to leap free and tear a scream from her lips, but for the moment she managed to keep it neatly contained in a box in the back of her mind. Dale was his own man, no matter how protective Silver might feel, and she knew better than anyone that being a little beat up didn't mean he wasn't still fine.

...but there was nonetheless a very large, very loud part of her that wanted him to utter a name so that she could rocket out of this very nice house and go make paste out of that someone's face.



Offline Hrodi Boesson

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #6 on: Nov 28, 18, 09:10:27 PM »
"You could," Hrodi said to Nadja. "I can't guarantee I'll be able to keep them alive." With his constant traveling, sometimes for a week or two at a time, he didn't generally make time for much work out in the yard. The yard was low-maintenance by design, as was the house. Though he didn't mention it, he sometimes wondered if he needed to find a way to reinforce the roof. Surely it wasn't meant to be taking the impact of someone landing on it very often.

The lack of a reaction from Silver to him vanishing some of the food was disappointing, but perhaps it was just as well. Hrodi didn't really want to start a fight in his house, and especially not with someone who wore the Gray. He called the bag back in so that it could be set out with the rest of the food.

Since the plates were already set out and waiting, Hrodi took one and began filling it with food. He moved carefully around Nadja so as not to bump her wings, feeling like doing so would probably be rude and contrary to popular belief, he was gruff but didn't want to accidentally insult his friends.

Hrodi's security spells had notified him of another person's arrival, but since he was expecting more, he didn't immediately react and look to see who it was. It wasn't until Silver spoke that he turned to see what she was reacting to. Then the air around him chilled a little and he had to work a moment to leash his sudden burst of temper.

Dale was talking as though nothing was wrong while Hrodi was busy fighting down his emotions. He set his plate down so that he didn't manage to break it and finally thought that he could speak without snarling.

"What happened?" His voice was a growl, which was marginally better than a snarl. Dale didn't seem to be acting any differently from normal, but unlike Silver, Hrodi didn't think Dale was one to go getting into fights.



Offline Delarius Winton

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #7 on: Dec 31, 18, 09:26:47 PM »
Several of the others seemed to be paying attention to him all at the same time, and for longer than was necessary for a simple greeting. Silver drew closer and Dale's brows knit together at the utter incompleteness of her sentence. He waited, confused, for her to follow the two syllables with the rest of her statement (or question) - but instead, she just repeated herself as if maybe she thought that he hadn't heard her.

Then Hrodi stopped what he was doing and spoke too.

Dale looked between his friends and let out a seeking tendril of Purple Dusk craft, sensing their emotions. Anger. They were upset! This was bothering, and Dale frowned deeply, looking between them.

'What happened?' Hrodi had asked. Maybe they were upset that he was late, but when he sensed again, he also caught a familiar tint within the anger that Hrodi had once explained to him as being protectiveness. Something in his chest warmed and he shuffled his feet a bit.

"Oh, well..." he looked from the Warlord Prince to Healer and then around the room at the rest of his friends before his gaze settled back on Hrodi (because he'd been the one who'd actually asked a question). "I'm alright. I was following a lead on my moms, or.. what I thought was a lead. It was just a trap though." The words started out casual and ended completely desolate, his eyes down and his hands balling into tight fists. "I got away though." This was an obvious statement, one he didn't really need to make but he did anyway because he wanted to reassure the others that it was alright. Well, it wasn't alright. He still hadn't found his moms - and he could find anything. But he wasn't badly hurt, he'd gotten away, and he'd even acquired a few things his friends might find interesting even if they had absolutely nothing to do with where his moms might be.


Offline Nadja Rihsdotter

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #8 on: Jan 31, 19, 11:46:28 PM »
193, Fall: Hrodi’s home, Little Terreille.

There was a distraction from conversation, as Nadja studied the terrain outside, considering the odd weather patterns in Little Terrielle. Surely there were hardy plants and shrubs alike that would benefit from benign neglect. Tylmandra would know; Nadja could ask for her advice on the matter later. Her smile flared again, and her odd gaze returned to Hrodri. “I’ll ask Tylmandra and the Duchess what plants they’d choose, later.” A pause, as she added deadpan, “When we’re standing outside. Wouldn’t want the ensuing lively debate to break anything.” There was a fifty-fifty chance either lady would be thrilled by the question, or offended; which made it something like a three-out-of-four chance that the discussion would be energetic enough to be considered an argument by those with more delicate sensibilities.

Dale slipped in just after Silver, and his condition won a long, appraising look from Nadja. Brawling, feats of strength and bitter tests of endurance were part of her world, more so than any not closely associated with the hated Eyrien oppressors could imagine. She had not thought Dale to wrestle with that particular daemon? The Warlord either had a lot broader tastes in sex than Nadja had expected or he had experienced (and handled) some serious shit since Nadja had seen him last. The ligature marks on his wrists were concerning, whether dangerous play or deadly fight. Yet Dale’s demeanor was both relaxed, and warm; he chose to step close to Nadja and grip her arm. She responded the only way she could, by standing and offering him a warm, one-armed hug. Casual appearing, yet carefully calculated so that he would not feel trapped or confined by her touch. Whatever he’d faced and overcome had reached inside him, changing him without breaking him. He appeared calm rather than anxious or terrified. Pride surged through her, that he’d faced such harm and let it make him stronger, rather than brittle.

Before Najda had managed to figure out how to ask what had happened and if it was handled to his satisfaction, Silver’s rage burst through her senses.

As did the chill in the room from Hrodi’s fury.

Darien’s anger was likely to be more calculated, but no less real.

Nadja’s smile turned wry, and she angled her head to the side, stepping back so Dale could answer the questions asked. Silver’s demand for information was as clear to Nadja as Hrodi’s more articulate one; both seemed to somehow leave Delarius speechless. Her pride in him, genuine affection, and trust would be crystal clear to his seeking senses. The way the bruises upon him pushed her to battle readiness might be harder to read, a more subtle thing; the desire for instant and profound vengeance tangled up in her acceptance that the Price was his to decide, not hers.

“Proud of you, that you got away.” Nadja stood, balancing her meal upon the stairs where she’d been perched. She reached out to grip his arm again, needing to address that glimpse of loneliness and despair he’d allowed to be seen.

“That’s hard to do, when the trap is custom built just for you.” Approval and a certain wry tone that spoke of personal experience flavored her voice. Nadja know what it was to be hunted and trapped like an animal. Silver knew. Hrodri, Darien ... there was a reason they were the Unchained.

Because they’d once been chained.

Her voice deepened in timbre, power shimmering through it.

“We’re here for you, Dale.” Tension shimmered in her, battling with reason. So she furled her lovely wings once more and leaned back. Forced her whole body to soften, and pitched her voice to humor, despite the clarion call to battle in it’s depths.

“And we won’t even charge, ’cause you’re family.” A humorous though self-evident truth, but Nadja thought maybe he needed to hear it, just then.

“So where do we find them?”

It was a rule, right? Her gaze once more met Silver’s, certain that Silver, Hrodri and Darien would all agree with her on this point.

No one messed with Delarius without inviting the wrath of all of them.



Offline Silver Thrax

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #9 on: Feb 04, 19, 10:32:08 AM »
It was just a trap, though.

Dale's disappointment snaked its way through the brusque Healer's bluster and pinged off of something soft and tender inside of her. Despite how well she sensed the associate ache, the bruises that marred his skin didn't upset her nearly as much as that mote of despair that the warlord let slip. Silver's temper was moved by that, and also by the indignation of some asshole having the stones to lay a finger on someone like Dale, someone who only ever tried to help others. Ironically it was the Warlord Prince in the room, and the way the air cooled a notch with his ire, that allowed Silver to take a breath and get a grip. Nadja congratulated Dale on having gotten out of whatever trap had been set for him, and Silver tried to wrench herself out of the knee-jerk anger that'd lurched out so quickly. She didn't miss the tension in the Eyrien, but Nadja's ability to act like everything was fine helped to ground Silver in the same premise for the moment.

"C'mon," Silver said, stepping back to let Dale proceed into the kitchen where the others were gathered. It hadn't been an intentional thing, but she realized she'd probably stopped his progress. A hand landed on his shoulder in an affectionate gesture while she encouraged him to continue on. "Get some food. Then you're gonna have to explain a little more, 'cause there's no way we're not kicking the ass of someone who's fucking with you, Dale. You know that." A trap. Who set up a trap for someone like him? Anger tried to flare up hot and quick within her again, but she stifled it for the moment. Her Craft reached out for him, taking inventory on a deeper level to make sure he was only hurt superficially. She'd offer to clean up his bruises once he was settled and not being interrogated, but she didn't refrain from making sure he wasn't worse off than he was presenting.



Offline Delarius Winton

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #10 on: Feb 21, 19, 09:46:04 AM »
Everyone's concern was rather surprising. It wasn't that Dale thought his friends didn't care - oh no it certainly wasn't that at all, they were basically a family and families cared about one another - but they had all definitely had worse injuries than this before. All of them got into all sorts of trouble both together and apart. Sometimes, he was sure the worst injuries they got were even from one another! (Though Dale really didn't like when his friends fought, it made him incredibly uncomfortable and so if he was ever around when such a bout might crop up he would inevitably try to stop it with varying levels of success.)

He supposed, however, that this was probably one of the only times that he had shown up injured and they hadn't known about it beforehand, where at least one of the others hadn't somehow been aware or involved with the issue.

Silver, upon her scans, would find that really the worst of it was mostly bruising. There was, of course, the dark purple around his wrists - but there were also some more darkening spots here and there along his abdomen where he'd been struck while restrained. He had managed to get away before anything worse had been done - which he was incredibly thankful for, since they'd been threatening some pretty gruesome methods of getting him to tell them what they wanted to know. If it had gotten to that point, though, he would have hopefully been able to get a message out to someone in the group for some reinforcements. He had tried, initially, when he'd found himself all tied up, to get in touch with the others if only to let them know that he'd be late - but something darker than his own Purple Dusk had bounced his messages right back at him. He hadn't spent too much time trying to figure that out though, so it's possible he would have still been able to figure out a way though if he'd needed to.

Dale was nothing if not optimistic.

Along with everyone else, he went about getting himself a little bit of everything that had been laid out - and inhaled a healthy bit of it too - before finally answering the question his friends were staring into him.

"I don't really know who they were," he answered after refilling his water. "But they wanted those files I found a few months ago. The ones with all the names on them." Who had he handed those to...? He'd thought someone in the group would find them interesting. Something about the names.. or maybe some of the other information scribbled next to them... "Who did I give those to again? I've forgotten." He could remember, if he thought about it with enough dedication - but it seemed quicker and easier to ask the assembled group.



((I'm literally coming up with this as I go. Anyone can volunteer that they gave them to him, and add in what exactly it was, or what they think it was. I have no plan, and am just winging it because why not?))


Offline Hrodi Boesson

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #11 on: Mar 08, 19, 04:46:56 PM »
Hrodi had to force himself to remain silent because where Dale’s words seemed to pull at the softer side of Silver that Hrodi knew was buried deep, deeeeep, down, it only pulled his temper more to the front. His fists were clenched at his sides and he took several long, even breaths.

It did help that Dale appeared to be fine otherwise, but the whole situation rubbed Hrodi the wrong way. He felt the flare of Silver’s temper again and struggled not to let his own be influenced further. What he wanted to do was go out and find whoever had tricked Dale and introduce them to his fists. And then his Craft.

He stepped aside to allow Dale through, pleased that the group was showing him their support. It wasn’t surprising, though; it was just how the group worked. Hrodi hoped that more information would help him feel more in control: it could lead to a plan, which could lead to action and a real outlet for his anger.

Along with his temper, Hrodi pushed down the desire to fuss over Dale, who was a grown man who wore the Purple Dusk, which, while lighter than the rest of them, was nothing to sneeze at. Thankfully Dale was not at all opposed to eating, and so Hrodi got himself a plate and silently waited for Dale to tell them more while forcing himself to do more than pick at his food. A full stomach helped ease his temper, and by the time Dale began to fill them in, he was able to consider things much more rationally than before.

“I remember reading the files, but you didn’t give them to me,” Hrodi said. There was quite a bit of valuable information in them. “So it could have been someone whose name was on the list, or someone who wanted the same information.” That didn’t really do much to narrow their search for who hurt Dale.



Offline Nadja Rihsdotter

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Re: A different kind of jungle
« Reply #12 on: Apr 12, 19, 11:45:33 PM »
193, Fall: Hrodi’s home, Little Terreille.

Nadja looked on as Silver settled Dale in with food, ale and a stern assertion that anyone messing with Dale, would face all of the Unchained. It was always informative, to see the different ways the Unchained chose to interrogate one of their own. There was almost always food and drink. An anxious tension based not so much in what might happen as in being forced to wait until a clear path of action became apparent. When Nadja was nursing her third ale, Delarious Winton was ready to speak of what occurred.

It was disturbing to think of those hunting Dale as strangers. It was always harder to protect someone if you didn’t know the source from which the attack might spring. She had no notion of files or lists of names or even hidden notes. Nadja shot a curious look at Hrodi, as he mentioned reading over the files that their enemies so desired to obtain.

“Do you recall what the people on the list had in common? Where they were from, or if they had a Caste in common, or even a gang affiliation?” There’d been enough upheaval in the structure of the gangs of Goth that it at least possible to Nadja that the list was of gang members or allies. That would be the sort of thing their enemies might be willing to capture and torture someone for.

At least they hadn’t had time to bring in a Black Widow, and simply rip the information from Dale’s mind. Her gaze swept across the group, as she pondered what sort of people would set a specific trap, for specific person ... and then not have a Black Widow on hand to make certain they got the information they needed.

Or maybe they had had one, and Dale’s memory of what happened was already tampered with.



 

 

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