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* Plot Information for Little Terreille

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 little pile of ashes where my old life used to be  (Read 176 times)

Description: Attn: Kora

Offline Darien Embers

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a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« on: May 24, 19, 05:08:38 PM »
Early Spring 194-Tottering Otter Tavern


Darien hadn’t been to the Tottering Otter in months, but nothing had changed. It was still charming and catering to a crowd that one wouldn’t find in the hoity-toity bars near that eyesore masquerading as the Territory Court. The tables were full and several waitresses was running to and fro, taking orders from a rough-looking guy here, a well-dressed lad there that seemed woefully out of place, and even a drug-dealer and her cronies over in a booth in the far-corner. That last group caught Darien’s attention, if only because he knew more than his fair share of drug-dealers. After what happened to Sean, the Sapphire Prince was loathe to let anyone else get involved with them, especially when they got all touchy about people cutting in on their “territory”.

That worry extended to an old friend.

Darien saw Kora behind the bar and made his way over, sliding into the barstool to her right. Her attention was elsewhere, currently, making sure that some burly-looking longshoreman got his fourth ale of the evening. Darien settled in and watched her for a bit, looking for any of the telltale signs that something was off with the Black Widow. Goth was safer now than it had been in past years, but Darien would never consider Goth a safe place. The rest of the Unchained were doing their own things, leaving Darien to try to figure out what he was going to do with the rest of his life. But he didn’t want to think about that right now. He was barely managing what he planned to do with the rest of his day, and he still had to see Tylmandra again at some point.

Excuse me, barkeep. Who do I have to sweet-talk in order to get a drink around here?” he asked, his tone teasing. He hoped that Kora took it that way. He’d seen a few men make what they thought was a “harmless” joke in a Black Widow’s direction, only to learn that it was the last joke they ever made. A Black Widow’s sense of humor could run a little dark and their moods were hard to predict. Kora Amarrant was no exception and Darien decided that survival was better than dying on the floor of a bar, or in an alley, over a terrible joke.

Of course, if sweet-talking isn’t your thing, I brought money too.” he grinned.



Offline Kora Amarrant

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    • opal2sapphire
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      Little Terreille

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      Isa

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 19, 05:22:28 PM »
Kora couldn't shake the thought of the dead man in her alley. She could still see his face, a mixture of pleasure and absentia. The description wouldn't make sense to most, except for addicts. The escape was the goal, the euphoria that lingered with a sense of relief was secondary.  It all sounded so romantic until one saw the reality of it. There was no sweet release, only the scent of piss and the pale pallor of flesh that lost its health long ago.

Kora remembered what that was like, looking in the mirror and not recognizing the urchin staring back at her. Seeing that man was like finding that same mirror all over again. She never left.  So yes, there was some self-pity involved but she had a whole night to let it slowly eat away at her, whoopie. Wiping a rag over the counter she eyed the drunken male. He was three deep and would be on his ass on the fourth and this wasn't even her special cocktail.  He leaned over, almost slurring and fit her with what she assumed was an attempt at a charming wink. “Another pert, pretty lady.” Kora’s brows lifted reminding herself she only had a couple more hours in her shift.

Already she could feel the irritation settling in. She’d taken to carving out an hour of quiet time to herself each day. Geir had approved it, mostly because it kept his black widow mixologist in a better mood and his customer’s alive. Only today her mind kept traveling back to that man, the scent of him, the rancid odor that clung to her memory. Something felt wrong, something was wrong so close to her home. Sure he could have wandered in and decided to die in the alley, but she had seen this man in the Tottering Otter, not a day before. No, something was creeping closer and she couldn't keep the feeling of anxiety from spreading over her bones. This was her territory, unwritten or not. Geir had a no drugs policy in his bar and she expected it to be followed.

So her hour was a wash, which was fine considering the dinner rush was upon them and they needed all the help they could get. She filled his pint and set it before the shoreman again before turning to set a bottle on the decorative bar. She wore a low cut lace shirt that hung off her olive shoulder and a pair of tight leather pants, her brown hair was loose, tucked behind her ears displaying a long silver arrowhead earring on one ear and a simple stud in the other. “Isn't your kind supposed to be off, poisoning men, whittling webs in Court?” He asked with a smirk.

“Why do you think I'm here?”

The man paused, straightening a bit.

“Enjoy your drink.”

She heard a familiar voice call out to her and she turned her attention toward them. Yet another charmer. The moment her eyes settled on his face she grew still. Speaking about faces from the past. Darien Embers sat at her bar and for a moment she wondered about that hollow-eyed woman staring back at her. He’d met her before and she wasn't sure he would recognize her the way she was now. Once a fuck up, always a fuck up? “I'll take your money. It's the only think of value you have.” Recovering she gave him a big smirk and walked over, standing directly in front of him. He didn't look different. “Prince Embers in the flesh. Hi. How are you?”

Offline Darien Embers

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 19, 05:25:39 PM »
I saw you take a moment to come up with that one.” he said, thought there was no malice in it.

All the same, top marks for a good burn. You look great, Lady Amarrant. Do you mind if we drop the formalities, though? I’ve dealt with more Lords and Ladies today than anyone should have to. I’d rather check in on a friend and enjoy her skill with mixing things.” Darien said.

He smiled, taking a moment to undo his tie and vanish it. The light blue shirt had a row of brown buttons leading down below the end of the bar-top, and Darien undid the one closest to his throat so that he could breathe a little easier. It didn’t help that the longshoreman was now lighting a cig to go with his drink, and Darien grimaced in the man’s direction before returning his attention to Kora.

His eyes flicked down to her arms and then upward toward her neck before reaching her eyes. From another man, it could have been sexual interest, sizing her up to weigh his odds of taking her home after her shift. But Darien knew the Black Widow well enough to worry about her habits. Not long ago, the idea of her holding down a job was unthinkable. She’d had some bad times, but she seemed to be on a better path. He liked it even better than he liked the cut of her top.

I’m good. Got a lot of things going for me these days, so I’m mostly happy. Decided to stop in again when I heard you were working here. I was here a few months ago on business. Good times.” Darien said, rapping his knuckles against the counter-top. More Midland wood, like the tables out on the floor. Once more, Darien admitted to himself that the owner of this joint had damned good taste.

I see why this place is so popular, though. Heard that one of the bartenders here was damned good at what they do. Should’ve known that there would be a Black Widow behind the counter. Definitely should have realized that it was you.” Darien said, grinning.

I’ll have today’s special, if you don’t mind. While we’re at it, you can tell me how you’re doing. You like it here?” he asked.



Offline Kora Amarrant

  • Character Account
    • opal2sapphire
    • bw
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      Little Terreille

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      Isa

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 19, 05:31:00 PM »
She was caught, the surprise in her expression was not lost to him. He wasn't a face she expected to see anytime soon, though he wasn't special in that regard, she didn't like running into many people from her past. After a while a sense of embarrassment eases in with the guilt once the drugs fade. “Yeah well, if you didn't hear, I'm dropping some venom into each glass and betting on who croaks first.” She smirked, the shore man eyed his drink again for a long moment before relaxing against the bar. “Guess he decided to take his chances,” she whispered to him and smirked softly at the compliment. “The burn is free.”

She nodded once when he asked to drop the formalities. He’d come in well dressed which was a change. Not that he was ever dirty, just casual which Kora very much preferred. The last time they interacted was a haze, she remembered him trying to convince her to come inside, and she thought she did. The lack of much real memory was more of a blessing than a curse. “I'm clean.” she answered the question on his mind as he surveyed her.  Kora’s smirk faded but she was being honest. Her skin held a healthy tinge to it, her cheeks were no longer sunken and golden speckled eyes were clear. He would note that the track marks on her slender arms were gone and she was alert. “Two years now. I usually work nights in the back but I'm pulling a double. You must have just missed me.”

Kora smiled and tilted her head at the compliment. “You're going back to sweet-talking, but I'll bite. I don't think you really expected me here. I didn't. I owe it to Geir. Though I know you
tried...thanks.”
   Taking in a deep breath she exhaled through her nose. “Coming right up.”   It was the best customer service anyone could ask for. Plus speaking with darien was preferable to serving anyone else. Her mind just wasn't in it, she needed the distraction and here he was in a tie. “Where did you come from all dolled up?” Kora collected a few bottles and poured ounces of liquid into a shaker filled with ice without the use of a jigger. The last one she collected was bright green and swirled with Craft. A teaspoon was enough of that and soon she was shaking the whole thing and pouring it into a tumbler with an orange peel. Setting the glass in front of him she wiped down her station and made another., though this one with considerably less bourbon and more of the green stuff. “Not the special, but its on the house.”

He would gather strong notes of bourbon, rye whiskey, and bitters with some other flavor. The drink was designed to burn the back of the throat but release a soft unbalancing wave of lightheadedness that lingered for only a second then disappeared. Like the pleasant sensation of a very temporary buzz. “I do like it here. It's home. The bar is doing well, and I have an apartment not far from here. I'm good, I take it day by day but I'm very good.”

Offline Darien Embers

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 19, 05:32:12 PM »
A chance to become a spirit with my spirits? Man, I came to the right place tonight.” Darien said, laughing. He couldn’t help it. Anyone foolish enough to think that a Black Widow would poison good customers deserved the anxiety. Kora wasn’t a stupid woman. Any bar where the patrons ended up dead soon had no patrons. Darien had been the reason a couple of bars shut down once upon a time, on account of dead patrons. The situation had nothing to do with alcohol, though, and everything to do with people who didn’t know how to listen when a woman said no.

Then again, someone had to kill the stupid people now and again, rather than let them trouble the living.

Count me among the people willing to take their chances tonight.” Darien grinned.

She said that she was clean and Darien gave her a last look before nodding and leaving it at that. He wasn’t her jailor or anyone she needed to report to, but he’d tried to help her in the past. It had not gone well, but it worked out in the end. Kora looked healthier, more alert, and just more alive than she did back when she was slowly poisoning herself to death. Darien was glad that she got the help that she needed, even if it wasn’t from him.

I was checking in on a friend. He’s recovering after a run-in with the seedier side of Little Terreille’s populace. He shouldn’t have been dealing with them in the first place, but people do things they shouldn’t if the chance of a big reward is involved.” Darien said, watching her make his drink. His eyes scanned the bar out of habit, looking for anyone paying too close attention to their conversation. Darien had his suspicions, but he didn’t want to alarm Kora yet, not while she was working.

He accepted the drink gratefully and raised a toast to the longshoreman. “Cheers, mate.” Darien said, before taking a sip of his drink. The bourbon was there but it was so smooth that he’d have missed it if he didn’t know the favor. The gentle wave of lightheadedness made whole thing better. Darien held up the glass to look at it, then to Kora.

You make stuff like this all the time? I know some people who could use a good bartender for their swanky parties. I could refer you if want.” he said.

Damn, that’s good.” he said, taking another sip.



Offline Kora Amarrant

  • Character Account
    • opal2sapphire
    • bw
    • Role

      Employee

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      The Tottering Otter

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      Isa

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 19, 05:38:09 PM »
“You’re a risk taker.”  he had certainly taken one on her and found himself on the losing end of that bet. She tried not to let it get to her. Darien was an old face, but one of the welcomed ones. There were plenty of other people she would rather see in the business end of a bear trap than he. “A real rebel.”  she teased and set the rag down behind the counter.

“Anyone I knew?” Lifting the cup to her lips she took a long sip, smacked her lips and smiled. “I am good.”  the playful grin was short lived.  It was the perfect balance of bitter and sweet with just the right buzz.  Kora took one more sip and then set her drink on the counter. Her’s was a bit stronger but had significantly less alcohol, it just made the mix that potent. “The drink was never my vice. Plus working here has had the opposite effect. Its like cooking chicken all day and night, when you get home the last thing you want is more chicken.” It was the best example she could give. Somehow it felt like she was excusing herself, or letting him grant her permission to drink, which she didn't need.

Maybe she was just a little nervous. “All the time. I mix it up, I'm trying to get a secret menu going, but its usually whatever I have on hand. Specialty Craft drinks are well, my specialty, while yours are terrible, terrible puns. Spirit with my spirts? Really?” her brow arched but it was good humored. “I wouldn't drink it too fast. That's the trick with this one. The buzz doesn't stack up unless you let them catch up to one another, then you're on your ass.  How about you? Are you keeping out of trouble?”  she was curious, what had become of his life since last they met. “I'm sorry, about before, about all that stuff with me.”  She shook her head, brushing her hair back. “I never caught back up with you and I don't like to talk about it, it's humiliating, but uhm I just want to say I apologize for being a burden that night.”

Offline Darien Embers

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 19, 05:49:57 PM »
You know what they say. Rebels rebel. It’s in the name...or something like that. I try not to listen to that tripe much.” Darien said, taking another sip from his drink. He was glad that Kora was alright. He wasn’t the kind of man to sit at home and brood over people or worry about their lives (unless it was Isbeil, Tylmandra, or one of the Unchained), but Kora had earned a place in his thoughts after his attempt to help her had gone so awry. He knew very, very little then about helping a person through a drug habit. He knew more now, enough to handle it differently, but things with Kora had left a bad taste in his mouth and he’d wondered after her now and again.

No. I don’t think you hang ‘round his crowd anymore.” Darien said. He preferred not to tell her that Sean was a drug-dealer. Better to let her let that part of her life go. He gave her arch look when she related cooking chicken to being an addict, but there really wasn’t another way to put it, was there? He’d never been an addict and he prayed that he never ended up in that position. Something had dragged Kora down to that dark place and refused, for a time, to let her go. Darien hoped that she was done with that time in her life.

My puns are not terrible. You simply lack a sense of humor. It’s fine, though. You stick to making drinks and I’ll stick to making jokes, hmm?” he teased. He wondered if she was right, though, about the way she made her drinks. He wore the Sapphire and it was notoriously difficult to get him drunk or even buzzed. He’d been disappointed at more bars over the years than he cared to admit. Faking a good buzz for friends was fun, but damn if he didn’t wish that he could get super drunk from time to time. How much worse was it for Ishanvi and Silver, both of whom stood deeper in the Abyss than him?

He was tempted to tell her to make it as strong as she could. “I’ll keep than in mind.” he said, watching her.

Keeping out of trouble? Me? Of course…not, darling. I enjoy Fire Craft, my friend. I’m practically incapable of playing it safe or staying out of trouble. Most of my friends are allergic to playing it safe, too.” he said with a laugh.

But when she talked about how things had gone back when he found her, Darien’s smile dimmed and then disappeared, going back to that place. It was bad, then.

I never blamed you for that, Kora. You were in a bad place. When that happens, people turn to whatever kills the pain. For some people, that’s family or a loved one. Other people use a good fuck or three.” he said.

People like us cope differently, even if it steals a piece of our souls in the process.” he said, downing the rest of the drink. It had gotten uncomfortably morose between them, all of a sudden, and Darien thought about the number of people he’d killed or seriously maimed just because they had the misfortune of running into him when he was in a bad place. A Black Widow could do far worse than an angry Dark Jeweled Prince if she put her mind to it.

No hard feelings.” he said, looking up at her.

What time are you out of here?” he asked.



Offline Kora Amarrant

  • Character Account
    • opal2sapphire
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      Isa

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 19, 05:53:35 PM »
“I can see where that kind of depth would deter you.” Kora took a breath, what felt like her first all day and smirked into it as she glanced over Darien. Their last interaction was fuzzy. She remembered he had made an effort, a real one, not some half-assed attempt to lecture her into getting her shit together. Like words could make a difference in the battle of sobriety. He’d done more and she paid him back with disappointment. How many people had she run out on? Not so many, because not many of them gave a shit long enough to make an effort.

Now he sat at her bar like all of it didn't happen, and the last time she saw him she hadn't run away with some of his valuables in her pocket. Right, she had to make amends, she hated this part.  Nodding softly she let the topic go. Whoever Darien spent his time with was his business, and she knew exactly what he was getting at. Not her zoo not her monkeys.

Kora kept her lips politely sealed when he boasted about his ability to tell a joke. No one thought he was funnier than Darien himself. It was so him to think so.  “It's good to see not much has changed. Every big city needs a good arsonist. At least you're consistent.”

Apologies were not her forte. They always made Kora uncomfortable. It felt like she had debts to pay and owing anyone anything was her allergy. She hated it, the feeling of being beholden to anyone else when for so long she couldn't even take care of herself. The shit sucked. “Or four.”  she raised four fingers and wiggled them at him. “Take a sip of mine if you like it.  Just take it slow, I haven't cleaned this floor and I can't vouch for what you'll end up eating if you fall out of that stool. I can't handle anything harder than this, and yet I'm still no lightweight. It takes forever to get drunk. “ They shared at least one jewel, he would be able to relate. He was gracious enough to give her a pass. She didn't know if that made her feel better or not, but he was understanding, so the apology was more for him. “Thanks, for understanding and again, sorry.”

Clearing her throat she glanced about the bar. The Shoreman was asleep, at least she hoped he was asleep at the bar. Waitresses moved around the room balancing trays on their palms and serving customers. Someone shouted out an order to her and she pushed back from the station to gather what she needed. She poured, shook, and measured with barely a glass before stacking the colorful glasses on the counter. A waitress quickly collected them, grinning widely at Darien before rushing off.

“In an hour, or now. Depends on my mood. Like I said, I'm pulling a double as a favor and in an hour this place will be dead. Why?” Did he want to go somewhere? Or was he just falling into polite conversation?

Offline Darien Embers

  • Character Account
    • bo2sapphire
    • prince
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    • OOC

      Gavin

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    • Burn everything you love. Then burn the ashes.

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 19, 05:55:00 PM »
Darien remembered coming home to find several things missing. He’d stolen a few (hundred) times in his life, so he knew to keep his really valuable items elsewhere, but she’d taken a few keepsakes that he’d had some attachment to. His mood had been sour for weeks afterward, mostly because he should have seen it coming. He’d gone soft for a pretty girl in need of help, though, and let his defenses down. Blaming Kora for that would be abdicating his own responsibility. Marks always did that to avoid the embarrassment of being taken for a ride. He’d tried to help her, she’d stolen from him and vanished, and he’d let it happen. That was the end of the story.

It was nice, however, to know that she felt bad for it.

Artist, not arsonist. I like to think that what I do isn’t as pedestrian as setting fires for something so basic as money.” Darien said, flashing that smile again. She corrected the number of fucks that she needed to get through a rough spot and Darien laughed, but there was something darker in his eyes as he watched, wondering if she exaggerated. He didn’t challenge the number, not even with a playful question. Kora was working. She probably had men staring at her ass on a nightly basis and trying to score themselves an evening with a Black Widow. Darien refused to be one of those customers.

Besides, he had something more personal and pressing to discuss.

He took a slow sip of her drink while she tended to her other patrons. He did, however, take a moment to drop several marks on the counter for Kora, for taking up her time. And for the wonderful drink. She’d given him his drink on the house, but Darien knew that places like this didn’t pay much and that the staff really made their money on the courtesy of others. He hated bad tippers and resolved to be a good one.

When she turned around again, he set the drink down. He did not want to become the longshoreman tonight, unable to stand up or remember the evening after he left his place.

I was hoping to catch a meal with you. There’s something I need to talk to you about, but it would be better if we didn’t do that here. The night’s young. What do you say? For old times’ sake?



Offline Kora Amarrant

  • Character Account
    • opal2sapphire
    • bw
    • Role

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      Isa

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 19, 03:34:06 PM »
It had never been her intention to hurt Darien. She’d never specifically set out to take advantage of anyone who was trying to help her. Assholes she’d steal from, guilt-free, but this had not been one of those cases. Then again, intent wasn’t worth shit when all she was looking for was the next fix. There was always that selfish voice in the back of her mind telling her it wasn’t that bad, that she could and would pay her debts back once she was clean. She just needed the fix to tide her over, to get her head on straight and then she would fine.

Everything would be okay, but she needed to feel better.

That’s what it boiled down to. Feeling like absolute garbage, like her skin was trying to peel itself from her bones and hunting for anything to make it stop. To make it better. Only there was one cure was also the poison. She could tell herself she was a victim to her own vices but that served nothing but to minimize her own guilt and she was done being self-serving.

Darien didn’t want to talk about it too much and for that she was grateful. For now, he hadn’t asked her where his stuff was, considering it gone. Most likely pawned or traded on the street for something more valuable. It didn’t seem to bother him that she felt some guilt about it either, which was fair. He wasn’t there to enable her. She just hoped she didn’t burn that bridge.

Smirking at him she listened as he corrected her and grew pointedly pensive when she threw in her two cents. Her brows rose, no, four fucks was about right and she wasn’t changing her mind.  The Prince recovered and took a sip of her more potent drink. She enjoyed that mix. It was just the right amount of whiskey and a special blend of sugar and extracts that gave such an unexpected buzz. For a Black Widow, drinks like this were tame compared to the hard shit they could get into, but it was just right for patrons. If Geir allowed her to make that secret menu, patrons like Darien could special order cocktails like this.

“You don’t need to do that. On the house, remember? I owe you anyways.” Of course, he did. Kora eyed the marks and jutted her chin out for him to take it. “For tonight only.” He could save his marks for later if he came back anytime soon. Darien was sort of a nomad, you never knew where he would spring up.

Once she completed the drinks in record time she set them on a tray along with the waitress’s slip. She was exceptionally fast at bartending which didn’t compliment her skill set but matched it just enough to be impressive. Once that was out of the way, she set the bottles back, labels out and on display when Darien got around to the real reason he had come tonight. On nights like this, she preferred to go back to her apartment. The day hadn’t been particularly good. Finding a dead body behind your place of business tended to put a damper on the day. However, this was Darien and if it was something easy she had no doubt he would have brought it up right then. He hadn’t. She could be antisocial or get away for a few hours and share an awkward meal with someone she owed.

Bigtime.

Ugh. Fine.

“Sure. Im off in an hour we can go after that. Ill have someone else close up. Everything is okay right?” she wasn’t sure. Was that a question she could ask? Surprises were the worst.  “Where are you taking me anyway? Let's keep it simple? “


Offline Darien Embers

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 19, 06:26:48 PM »
Darien knew that his request would be a little weird. They hadn’t seen each other in a while and now he was suddenly popping up at her place of employment. How many other people had surprised her like this and lived to tell the tale? Black Widows killed people for less every day. Darien had no desire to end up on Kora’s bad side, but he still felt a little responsible for her. He couldn’t help back then, but he could help her stay alert now.

Fine. But next time there will be tips aplenty.” he said, vanishing the marks. He would just wait until she turned her back, of course, but there wasn’t any reason to tell her that.

She still seemed a little hesitant to trust him, likely a holdover from her more suspicious days. She asked questions, though, and Darien decided to forego most of the cloak-and-dagger routine just to get Kora to open and trust him a little bit more.

There’s a little mom-and-pop place just down the street that’s open all night. If you want to leave word with anyone here, feel free. Or I can walk right back here after we’re done. Simple and no frills, just a little food between friends.” he said, holding up his hands, palms out, to show that they were empty.

As for your other question...something is up, Kora. I didn't want to get into it here and make you jumpy. I also didn't want to draw attention in case someone comes looking.” Darien said.

He took another sip of the drink, marveling at the way the liquors blended together.

I’ve got reason to believe someone’s looking for you, Kora. I don’t know whom, but if I found you here without difficulty, it stands to reason that someone else with my determination could do the same.” he said.



Offline Kora Amarrant

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 19, 01:58:38 PM »
“I know the place. “  She didn’t even need the name to recognize the one he was talking about. Few places that weren’t clubs or gambling venues were open all night. Even the Tottering Otter closed at midnight. It was safer that way, and Geir kept a nice life-work balance policy so she wasn’t going to argue. “They have amazing fried potatoes and this spicy dipping sauce from some pepper. I really should go there more often.”  She mostly ate at home, or at the bar, but that place was pretty perfect for a quick bite. 

Distracted from her initial point of questioning with the promise of food she waited for him to continue. He didn’t let her wait long. Alright so now she was curious and yes a little spooked. “Quit the ominous shit Darien..” she warned in a sing-song voice. He hit dead center and it took her a second to absorb what he had just said. It wasn’t as though she was running for her life, just from her past. She hadn’t made it a secret that she worked at the Tottering Otter but she certainly didn’t advertise it either.

Didn’t she? Secret menus and craft drinks were starting to sound like a bad idea.

“Do you know what for?” she asked, unsure and trying to make some sense of the whole thing. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe Darien, it was that she -did- and that was the problem. Glancing around the bar she scanned familiar and unfamiliar faces a like. They never blended together, she was pretty good about remembering faces. Names she sucked at, but faces, those were simple. No one stood out, no one was looking in their direction.

At least not until an individual caught her staring.

"Forget it, we can talk at dinner."The all-night restaurant would have to do. “Okay, give me an hour. You can stay and drink, if you get ditzed I have something that will clear that right up, but you wont like the taste, or me for a while.”  She warned him. “Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.”  Someone was looking for her, but who? Her mother was dead along with her sister. Dreama. That was a nightmarish name that didn’t disappoint. Father was, well fuck knew where he was, wealthy and possibly far, far away. Did someone know about Dreama’s murder? Did someone piece the fire together? 

She was spiraling, she had to stop. Giving Darien a thin smile she tapped the bar in front of him motioning for him to stay.  The next hour was blur. It helped that the dinner rush would keep her busy and fill her pockets with marks.  A hundred simultaneous conversations were being had and she couldn’t help but push them out to the corners of her mind. She returned once to freshen up his drink once and then again when it was time to leave.

Aprons weren’t her thing, but Geir insisted she wore one. Pulling the straps over her head she motioned to a waitress who waved her off. Not before long they were enjoying the stuffy city air, her hand shaking out her hair as they walked. She wore a pair of ankle boots that slimmed out her legs.  The diner was open as always and they were directed to take a seat wherever they liked. Kora slid easily into a booth with her back to one of the larger restaurant windows. “So, what do you know?”

Offline Darien Embers

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 19, 12:01:05 AM »
Darien waited patiently for Kora’s shift to finish. He didn’t drink much after that, deciding that he wanted his head to remain clear for their talk once they left the Tottering Otter. He hoped that Kora would listen to him this time. He didn’t want her to get hurt when she seemed to have her life together. Goth had so many traps and pitfalls ready for anyone who wasn’t on top of their game every single day. Darien had seen people much better adjusted than Kora lose their way. He’d lost his way in the past, less than some, but enough that he regretted some of the choices he made in the past.

The hour was up before he knew it.

Kora handed over her apron to her co-worker and then came to join Darien on the other side of the bar. He wore the Sapphire, but the drinks had still taken a little bit of a toll. He had slight buzz going thanks to the brave bartender, so now was the time to really keep his mind focused. He escorted Kora from the Tottering Otter and into the semi-cool evening of Goth. He slipped his blazer on an led the way to the diner. They arrived and slid into a booth, where Kora immediately wanted to know what was going on. The waitress arrived to take their beverage orders, so Darien held up a finger asking her to wait. He ordered a coffee to start and waited for Kora to choose her own drink. He rubbed his face, trying to clear his head, until the waitress moved away. Then he focused on Kora and smiled.

Straight to the chase. Top marks.” Darien said.

Here’s the thing, I think that someone’s looking for you-know-who. I was in another bar on the other side of town last week. There was slimy-looking fellow asking around, flashing a picture of a woman. I spoke to him, got him to chat for a moment. Family’s been looking around for them for a bit.” Darien said.

He paused as the waitress arrived with his coffee and Kora’s drink.

I’ll have two orders of the eggs and bacon. Cheese on the eggs, please and thanks.” Darien said, falling silent to let Kora place her order. He looked to the door as another couple entered, engaged in their own conversation. Rich kids slumming it on this side of town. He shook his head and raised his coffee to his lips. The cooling spell it just before the coffee touched his tongue, making it comfortable enough to sip.

When the waitress stepped away again, Darien spoke up.

Got a look at the picture. She looked like you, but a little older. I thought it was you for a second. Then I remembered some of the stuff you used to say...back then.” he said gently.

I told him that the last time I heard from you, you talked about crossing the Dark Gate. If he’s any kind of investigator, he’ll know that was a lie. Figured that I should find you and get the message out first.” Darien said, leaning back in his seat.

Who would come looking for you, Kora?



Offline Kora Amarrant

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #13 on: Jun 19, 19, 01:48:19 PM »
“Coffee, black and a big piece of that lemon pie I see over there.”  Kora pointed toward a small display case sitting on the counter. There was enough for two pieces or one massive piece. She hoped for the latter, but was polite enough for now not to assume.  Lemons were the perfect mix of tarte and sweet to awaken her appetite.  Though she wanted to know exactly why Darien had popped back up into the scene, she could see her prospects for snagging a piece were too low to risk.  The woman smiled and wandered off.

Kora turned her attention back to Darien and settled back into the booth.  It didn’t take him any time at all to cut right to the chase, something she appreciated. Black Widows weren’t famous for their patience and she was no exception. Instant gratification was the key to keeping her caste happy. Darien was always pretty good about navigating social queues with more than just her. He could lay on the charm when he wanted and he was damn good at it. At that moment, however, Kora was anything but comfortable.

Alarm bells, all of them were ringing in her ears, but she didn’t feel panicked. There wasn’t enough information for that yet. Some man was looking for a woman and it had grabbed Darien’s attention long enough that he felt the need to investigate. She was about to strike him with a flurry of questions when the waitress arrived again, much to her irritation and set the coffees and a massive piece of pie in front of her.  Good, she didn’t have to share it. If anything she could stress eat her way through two inches of meringue while he spoke.

“Same, but sunny side up, no cheese, toss in some fried potatoes, extra crispy oh and that bacon club you have, hold the mustard.”  They could share that. After pulling an unusual shift, finding two dead bodies, dealing with drunk assholes and nice assholes alike she had earned herself a big dinner.

Kora didn’t interrupt him, but her hand may have shooed off the waitress.

Kora mulled through the information she was provided. Having a copy of the photo would have cleared things up right away. Then again, the fact that a photo existed meant that the investigator had gotten it from hands used to handling a lot of money.  Her brows knitted as she tried to think. She hadn’t spent the last two years making reparations to anyone she had offended or stiffed like Darien when she was high, but she also couldn’t think of anyone who would care enough to chase her down for a few marks.  Her eyes flashed back to him when he mentioned the past, her past.  Kora didn’t remember half of what she had told him, but it had been the truth, a weak moment of self-pity mixed with the desperate need to get that one more fix was enough to loosen her tongue. A big part of her had wanted to get clean, she wanted her life back and perhaps Darien had seen that desire to better herself, maybe that’s why he let his guard down.

Darkness she sucked.

“I don’t know. “ It was the truth. “What did the girl look like? Older than me? I haven’t had my picture taken in….I don’t know, five years maybe, not since…not for a long time. “  Taking a sip of her coffee she wrinkled her nose at the stark bitter taste before locating the sugar and pouring some in. A bit of Craft and it was all stirred in. “I really don’t know. I don’t owe anyone else money, present company excluded, Ive kept my head down. Im not really hiding per say, at least not well.”  Changing her name or appearance would have greatly helped with that. “My mother is dead, so that’s not her. I didn’t make it to the funeral.” It was certainly not her sister. “My father? I honestly cant tell you why he would even care.”  Dad didn’t know what part Kora had played in the downfall of her family or her sister’s death. Maybe someone else knew. Whatever the situation was, now she was getting a little nervous. “Thanks, for coming to me about it, no one has been in the bar and Geir knows if someone asks for me it better be by the name ‘K’, we have two Kora’s working at the Tottering Otter.  Did he give any other indication at all of why he wanted to find that girl? I don’t see why Lord Grosel would want anything to do with me.”


Offline Darien Embers

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Re: a little pile of ashes where my old life used to be
« Reply #14 on: Jun 19, 19, 10:44:15 PM »
Darien snickered as Kora ordered her coffee and pie. The Sapphire would always, always get its fill, no matter how long it took. His hungers, physical and otherwise, had always been sharper and deeper than most males he knew that held lighter jewels. His meanstreak and capacity for violence ran deep and he was one of the more even-tempered men that he could name. That made his empathy for Kora’s situation stronger, knowing that when she was riding the depths of her addiction, she would have said or done anything to catch her next fix. A less-scrupulous man would have taken advantage of Kora to get anything and everything he could before leaving her high and dry.

And yet you insist that you’re a terrible person, not to be trusted as far as you can be thrown.

A little older, I suppose. Well, you can take a look for yourself and tell me what you think.” Darien said, focusing his Craft. He passed a hand across the empty space on the table between them. One moment, there was nothing there.

Then a memory crystal lay on the table between them. He looked over a Kora.

I bought the guy a drink, got him talking. Then I got him drinking and talking a bit more. I managed to lift this off of him before he left. Whoever hired him probably won’t be happy that he lost it, but if it helps keep you off someone’s radar, I’m happy to do it.” Darien said.

He pushed the memory crystal across the table to her as his food arrived. Everything smelled great, but it usually did in the greasy-spoon places like this. Darien would take a hundred meals at a diner like this than a single one uptown where they supposedly had the best chefs in the Territory making “culinary artistry” that sat in one’s stomach like stone balloon.

I thought it was you at first, but realized it wasn’t.” Darien said gently.

You talked about Dreama quite a bit when you were drying out. Nothing specific, but you…” he paused, realizing that he was about to delve into a topic that Was Not His Fucking Business.

You would say her name, sometimes, when you were out of sorts. You’d ask her why? Never much more than that, but I figured she’d done you a bad turn. I did a little digging of my own. I would have asked you about it straight out, but then I came home one day and you were gone.” Darien said.

It wasn’t hard to see why she’d started down the wrong road in the first place.

Look, I didn’t drop by to dredge up bad stuff. I just wanted you to know that someone else might be digging into this, too. When I talked to the guy who had that crystal, he said that his employer was trying to get his family back together. I pressed him for more, but he wouldn’t talk and I didn’t want to try to get into his head.” Darien said. He was terrible at breaking barriers, even with his Sapphire, so he avoided it whenever possible.

Does anyone else know about...this?” he asked, spearing a forkful of cheesy eggs and chewing thoughtfully.