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Author Topic: A Silenced Pulse  (Read 434 times)

Description: tag: Sway & Nailah

Offline Niccolo Faa

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A Silenced Pulse
« on: Aug 13, 19, 02:40:30 PM »
Spring; 194 AP

Trance had been a Journeyman for a relatively short amount of time, but in that time, he had closed a few contracts.  Contracts whose details had required a particular set of skills, skills that he had acquired thanks to a particular sort of life.  He had always been a killer, and in many ways, he still was, but now he was an assassin.  No, he was more than that, he was a Myos.  He was one of the legendary bogeymen of Dena Nehele, and their reach was as long as their solutions were final.  Striker was no his Guildmaster, and between the Red First Escort, and the Red called The Pugilist, Trance’s skills were only growing with each exercise and sparring session and beating endured.  It was no surprise when he was called into the First Escort’s office.  The two Males had daily duties, and while Nick Faa largely fell under the command of Prine Bane as Master of the Guard, Nick had been marked early as an Escort fo the interim Queen, and that was squarely Drake’s duties.

Finding Sway already in the office when he arrived told him that this meeting likely had very little to do with his duties.  She had taken on a contract, in Raej of all places, and she had specifically requested that she be accompanied by Trance.  Together, Striker and Trance considered all the reasons that Nick Faa might be absence from the Court.  He was, he had confessed, concerned about Sora’s well-being in his absence.  In his opinion, the interim Queen was surrounded by fools, or worse.  Her Bonds were unreliable, in his view, but she would still have Jeremiah, and of course, Drake was still there.  Once a reason was concocted for his absence, Trance was informed about the contract they would be undertaking, and with Sway decided that he would leave two days after she did.  Someone might see the timing as suspect if they had reason to, but it was far less suspect than leaving on the same day.

Trance had never been past the borders of Dena Nehele to fulfill his duties as a Myos.  He could, and did, put an end to people all over the Territory.  He was Dark enough to Ride the Winds, which he now realized meant that he could go anywhere to kill people, save perhaps Pruul--though even that desert deathtrap was not entirely beyond his reach.  He prepared a stash of clothing and equipment as required by his limitations; he could not conjure or vanish anything, and while he didn’t need much in the way of equipment to do his work, he had been trained to err on the side of caution.  In the intervening two days between Sway’s departure and his own, he and Striker fine tuned the reason for his absence, and instead of stealing away in the dead of note, Trance as Nick Faa made a quietly public exit at dawn.  He disappeared once he was in the streets of the City, and from there, he made for the rendezvous.








Offline Narcisa Ciora

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #1 on: Aug 13, 19, 02:51:39 PM »
The last time Sway had been sent to Raej, the Decimation followed.

It wasn’t quite that neat of a line, but for the one who she tricked into being taken from his people and family and sold into slavery in the streets of Raej, it might as well be. Sway knew at some point there would be a reckoning. She had crossed a Black Jeweled Healer and her instincts told her that the usual protections the Myos operated under would simply not apply.

Time would tell. There wasn’t fuck all she could do about it for the time being. There wouldn’t be fuck all she could do about it when the time came. It was what it was, and Sway would deal with the consequences when they came, for she never once doubted that they were coming.

Striker knew the terms of the contract and Trance was coming with her. She had let Shift know that she would be traveling on a contract for a week, maybe two, but had reassured him that she would not be gone months like before. That had been hard on both of them and she didn’t want to see a repeat of what happened before in her absence.

Sway had two days to weave dead end trails throughout Bidea and into the other Provinces of Dena Nehele. Should anyone seek her out, the tangled and interweaving lines of places she had been seen and hints she had left would be more than enough evidence to make it seem like she was taking multiple contracts throughout Dena Nehele. Which is what she wanted. No one needed to know they were going to Raej, and hopefully no one ever would.

She’d spent the night before their travels going over what was in her bags. Since she’d lost her Summer Sky, she couldn’t carry as much in her psychic cabinet and Trance couldn’t use his at all. She needed to make sure they had everything they needed while also traveling light. By dawn, everything was set. She waited in the shadows near the landing web that would allow them to take the Red Wind most of the way there. She saw him approach, and stepped out to take her place at his side, matching his long stride.

She didn’t ask if he was ready. She knew he was. Wrapping her arms around him securely, she smiled up at him. “It’s time.”











Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #2 on: Aug 13, 19, 02:57:51 PM »
Auntie Aleia had seen to it that his clothing was spelled and sewn with hidden pockets. He was careful to always have fuel on hand, high energy snacks hidden in his jacket, in pockets or anywhere else on his person. Jerky was a favorite, but Lady Sala also made good hard tack, biscuits that did not go bad that were best eaten with water, to soften them, but were ultimately tasty enough to make them worth the effort. Nick had long since learned to feed his Red. Sleep was easier these days, thankfully, even though he needed less of it, what he did get was solid thanks to Jeremiah and to Sora. Nick hidden pockets were prepared for the trip, and while there was food, there were also several slender knives, suitable for throwing or for breaking off in someone’s flesh. The majority of his gear and supplies were in a messenger bag of a cut that let him strap it tightly against his back, keeping his silhouette slender, and his balance largely easy to maintain. He preferred this smaller leather bag to a backpack for the freedom it allowed in his movements.

The further Nick was from the palace, the more he shed the persona of Prince Nick Faa, Escort of the Territory Court. By the time he was with Sway, he was Trance, covered in shadows, and hidden from view behind aural and sight shields, keyed to allow her to see him. He had dropped the mask upon sensing her, because he knew she would not feel him. It was a small point of pride that he had learned to hide his nature so well. If she did not see him with her own eyes, he would be a void, no psychic scent, no sense of Caste, no whiff of either of his Dark Jewels. Trance stood in a specific lineage of Myos assassins, and he had learned his lessons very well indeed. In fact, he had done so with the dedicated and almost zen-like approach that had earned him his truest name. Sway moved to his side immediately. They did not need the Landing Pad, but the webs here would make the start of the journey easier. Trance embraced her closely, taking a moment to nuzzle against the side of her neck.

Trance did not warn her, but the way he held her changed and tightened, and the silent Red Myos caught the Winds and carried both of them into the unseen network of Power that crisscrossed the Realm. For Trance, it felt like hurtling through space. It felt like freedom, like that moment everyone feels when they’ve made a great leap, soaring high and higher, just before gravity reminds them that it exists. It must be what birds feel, or what Eyriens feel to fly, only it happened so swiftly, miles covered in moments, with only his instincts and his power to tell him the distance. He switched Winds well, perhaps not as smoothly as he would like, but that would improve with practice. The Pugilist had sent him all over Dena Nehele, and he was typically back to take up his duties before the morning. They crossed into Raej, and he pulled them out of the winds to get their bearings, using a shield to cushion their landing. Landings were still a bit hurried and rough. Alone, he simply tumbled it out, but with Sway in his arms, he could not.

”Welcome to Raej.” He offered Sway in an even tone. ”Just one more hop. I will not be using the local pad, so we will have to land again outside of the city. Are you alright?” Trance thought to check on her for the Ride. He had shielded her, of course, but the Winds were different for everyone, or so he had been told.








Offline Narcisa Ciora

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #3 on: Aug 13, 19, 03:03:18 PM »
It had been nearly a year since Sway had lost her Summer Sky. She had increased her training over that time, learning how to navigate the things that were most essential to her survival with her Yellow Jewel alone. Some things came with practice. Others continued to challenge her creativity and resources as she adjusted. Riding the Winds exhausted her still, much to her annoyance, but as she couldn’t solve that problem by stabbing it with a knife, she was still working out the details.

Riding the Winds with Trance was easier. It was his Jewel that was supporting them, his shields wrapped around them. He kept her safe. Once she had seen it as her job to protect him. Now they seemed to have found a more equitable footing, interweaving their strengths and skills together to bolster the other and cover for any weaknesses.

The Guild Master had known what he was doing when he left Trance in his Uncle’s grasp to be molded into the nightmare he now was, and had been further wise to have his training begin at Sway’s hands. He was no longer hers alone. Other Myos now had a hand in his Craft and each time he showed up with a new trick or improved skill, Sway felt fiercely proud.

Landing in Raej, she took a moment to get her bearings. The air itself felt hot, like if you stood too close to a cooking fire for too long and inhaled the heat of the flames. The sun beat down on them. There was an austere kind of beauty here, one that was so different from Dena Nehele’s wooded lands and snow capped mountains. “Yeah, I’m good. You?”

Sway called in the small pack she had packed for once they crossed into Raej. She pulled out some light and flowing fabric and began to drape herself so that she would more easily blend in. She still sounded like a foreigner, one of the few areas her Shaos training was still lacking, but she didn’t stand out nearly as much as she did wearing her usual ensemble of leather pants and softly fitting tops.

“Here,” she said, handing Trance a Raejan outfit she had picked up the last time she was here. “It should be loose enough to not confine your movements. If not, let me know and we’ll make adjustments.” She took a long drink of water from her water skin before handing it to him to do the same. When they were ready, she put everything away and vanished it.

Wrapping her arms around him again, she leaned forward and caught his lip between her teeth in an affectionate nip. “Let’s go.”










Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #4 on: Aug 14, 19, 03:35:16 PM »
Trance allowed Sway a moment to get settled.  Travelling the Winds would have seemed instantaneous, despite the effort of remaining shields, and he was doing that work for the both of them.  The air was thick, humid, much more than the worst summer in Dena Nehele.  Unlike his mentor and lover, he had no particular opinion regarding what he saw on the horizon.  It was a city like any other, buildings clustered together, albeit in a style he couldn’t recognize with any historical context.  When the breeze changed, and he augmented his senses, he could smell civilization as well, and from here it was a bit unwashed.  Trance wondered if he was picking up the slave pens he had read about.  The scent reminded him of a certain dank cellar.
 
He nodded when Sway asked him if he was alright.  It had not taken much of his Power to bring them hence, and the remaining jaunt was a short one.  They had preparations to make here.  He accepted the outfit he was offered, and after putting up sight shields so no accidental passerby would see them, he disrobed unabashedly before Sway.  He shrugged into the clothes, and tested the range of his arms.  In a hard fight something might rip, but it was fine for now.  Trance smiled slightly when Sway embraced him, and caught his lip.  He growled softly, and gave her a proper kiss, long and lingering, before he caught the Winds again and finished the final leg of their journey.
 
Trance brought them down more easily at the Landing Pad, but no one saw them come in.  There were other travelers, but thanks to their Myos masking and the Red Warlord Prince’s Sight and Aural screens, they were simply able to walk away and blend into the crowd once clear of the Pad and the officials that policed it.  Once they were in the city, the Red Myos Journeyman took the time to take in his surroundings as they walked.  The city was old, and not as well planned out as say, Bidea.  Streets seemed narrow to him, and there were a preponderance of awnings and other structures that simply offered shade over a vendor, or a doorway, or just a section of the street to provide a little respite for pedestrians.  Sway had the lead here, they would have to take up rooms, and then seek out their target.








Offline Narcisa Ciora

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #5 on: Aug 14, 19, 06:41:15 PM »
Through a combination of Craft and skill, they landed and blended seamlessly into the streets, making their way through the narrow alleyways that wound through the city. The Myos had all the vital information that they needed. Their target could be found in the Asyut District of Ta-Awy Province and was known to have a routine that would make them vulnerable at various times. Sway was familiar enough with the area after her last visit that she could lead Trance through the streets with intention, a destination clear in her movements.

Right now, she was following her nose. The scent of cooked meats with exotic seasonings permeated the air around them as they reached a thriving street market. Brightly decorated lamps hung from long cords that crossed over a merchant’s stall. Huge baskets with mounds of spice lined both sides of the alley. Richly dyed cotton was piled high beneath strung silks that fluttered in the gentle breeze. Nearby, a man stood with a series of covered baskets. Passersby seemed to give the stall a particularly wide berth. Sway understood why when she saw the large snake coiled around the man’s arm.

”We’re coming back to that one later,” she said to Trance, a mischievous smile curving her lips.   

Everything felt sharper here, like the details of life were simply more vibrant. It was louder, brighter, hotter than she was used to. Sway purposefully stopped at a few of the merchant stands, pointing out things to her Warlord Prince as she did. People would remember them being here. Which was the point. Sometimes the best places to hide were in plain sight.

As they moved throughout the market, Sway smiled and laughed, speaking haltingly as if the tongue were difficult to grasp. She held up fabrics to Nick’s face at one merchant, ran her fingers over the large jeweled rings they passed, attempted to ask about the different vividly painted tiles to yet another who was selling his wares.

No one noticed as she offered and gathered information from her contacts as they went. A coin here. A slip of parchment there. A key large enough she had to vanish it as it dwarfed her palm.   

The next several hours saw the happy couple go about their vacation. They got food from one of the vendors, eating while they meandered. They secured rooms at a local inn, the key reappearing and showed discreetly to the innkeeper who simply nodded and waved them through. Sway climbed the winding stairs higher and higher, until they reached the roof. There was a single room there, with doors and windows that opened out onto a rooftop patio. It was lovely, a perfect spot for lovers.

Or for Myos who liked to travel by rooftops.

“No one will come up here, but I wouldn’t leave anything lying around,” she said, as she unlocked the door and let them into the room. She set to opening the windows and doors before pulling out a roughly sketched map of the District and smoothing it over the table. ”Mornings seem the most likely time,” she mused aloud, tracing her fingers over the patterns of their target’s movements. “But it’s harder to hide.” She looked at Trance. “This is your specialty. What do you think?”










Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #6 on: Aug 14, 19, 09:36:33 PM »
Trance knew what his tasks were now. One of them had been completed. He was to deliver them as swiftly as possible to Raej, where they would then blend in as well as foreigners could. Travelers from other Territories were not unheard of, but they would have to play the part of at least somewhat wealthy people on holiday. Poor folk rarely moved between Territories, but they could not afford to be ostentatious either—well, in the sense of wealth, they probably could, but not where pragmatism was concerned. No, from the description in the contract, and their discussions afterward, that had to hit something of a a sweet spot; too wealthy, and risk being remembered, too poor, and risk having access to various neighborhoods restricted. It was a fine line, he was told.

Sway had been there before, and he was still a Journeyman, so it only made good sense to have her take the lead. It did not take long for his mentor and partner to get her bearings. In very little time, they were nearing the area where they would find their target, and she had already polled a handful of her contacts. Trance was certain they didn’t know Sway’s business, or at least not the extent of it, but they knew she had interests in Raej. He briefly wondered how many contracts came out of this Territory, if Sway had a network of informants here. His belly rumbled rebelliously, and he frowned as he pulled a bit of jerky from his bag, and began to gnaw on it. When she pointed out the one stand, Trance extended his particular senses, and understood what the man was selling; snakes, serpents of all kinds. ”Will not the big cat and the big dog back home have something to say about a snake?”

When his fellow assassin began to play the vacationing Lady, shopping for clothes, even as she pointed out places of interest to their particular profession, he caught on quickly. Trance pressed close to her when it seemed right to do so, sliding an arm around her hips, and even smiling without looking like the expression was new to him. It was an easy ruse, the traveling couple, and after a few vendors and stalls, it was becoming enjoyable. Trance had rarely had the opportunity to spend time with Sway in public, and while they were wearing a facade, it was still the most public their relationship had been since they began seeing each other from that perspective. It was nice. By the time they arrived at their rooms, it was an easy guise to maintain for him.

Trance looked out across the rooftops, and acknowledged Sway’s warning with a nod. He helped with the rest of the windows, and joined her at the table to look over the map. ”People cannot find what they do not know to look for. My screens should be enough, but perhaps if we want to be cautious we simply walk the street hand in hand.” He ran his finger along one of the streets near their inn. ”This one had vendors, mostly food, I noticed. We need to eat.” Trance tilted his head slightly, ”Once we have identified hithe target, I can perform the Spell from anywhere in the city. I prefer to be close so that we can fully verify the target is truly deceased. It must be something subtle. An aneurysm perhaps? Those can happen to anyone. If they are too hale, a heart attack would be suspicious.”








Offline Narcisa Ciora

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #7 on: Aug 14, 19, 11:15:21 PM »
Sway called in several slips of parchment that had the specifics of the contract on it written in a code that Ventus had taught her. The detailed contract that Maseo no Shingetsu had written out for her was in the hands of the Guild Master, who had approved the contract and set the Guild’s fee. Only she and her father knew who had taken out the contract. There was no reason for Trance to know and doing so could potentially endanger him. Maseo no Shingetsu smelled like a predator, no matter how much energy he poured into posing as a docile lap dog.

”The requirements of the contract detail that it must appear as an accident or random fate. An aneurysm would qualify. And this ring,” she handed a slip of paper with the rough sketch of the piece to Trance, ”shall serve as proof of death. If we can arrange for the body to be found in the River Vaal, everyone would be happy with that result. And you know me. Always striving to bring happiness and joy to people everywhere through the brutal deaths of their enemies.” Sway’s smile lit her entire face at the last.

“There will be mourning after the death is discovered, which is what happens when a public figure dies unexpectedly. We will stay a few more days and then return to Dena Nehele.” They had discussed this all before. The timeline, the plan, the needs of the contract. But now that they were here, they could fine tune the details.

There were footsteps outside their door and Sway held up a hand to Trance in a motion to wait. A folded piece of parchment was slid under the door, followed by the sound of receding footsteps down the stairs. Sway wrapped her hand in a Yellow Shield and retrieved the parchment, holding it out for Trance to scan with Craft. Once he deemed it safe, she opened it and set it on the table by the map. A single sentence graced the page in a neatly written script.

Lady Nailah Abbasi and her brother shall share lunch together tomorrow at Case de Atholi.

Sway raised an eyebrow and looked at Trance. ”Then so will we.”










Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #8 on: Aug 15, 19, 01:31:51 PM »
Trance watched as Sway brought in the necessary paperwork for their task. Dena Nehele was made of secrets and compacts, and contracts were simply a fact of life, Guild or not. He looked them over when they were laid out, and memorized their contents, including the sketch of the ring that they would have to retrieve from the corpse. That was an added bit of nuance they would have to account for. ”It should not take me long to weave in that form of death. I will just need a moment or two once I see and sense the target, after that it is simply verifying that it has worked. I will make it swift, to prevent a dash to a Healer or similar resource.” Trance smiled slightly at Sway’s bright expression, her feelings were difficult to resist when they were in such close quarters. He cupped her cheek with his hand lightly, and caressed the skin beneath his thumb. ”Death is death, brutal or clean.”

He nodded, ”Leaving might seem suspect. I do not expect for my work to be detected, but if it is, remaining in place is best.” Trance put up Aural Shields when they were together out of reflex. So much of their relationship had been secret, that keeping that secret was as natural as walking. He nodded when Sway raised her hand, and listened to the heartbeat outside of their door, wondering if he would have to silence it, and pull the corpse into the room. Instead they received a simple message, one he had to check for threats, going so far as to enhance his senses and carefully sniff the piece of paper. It was as safe as he could perceive. Trance read it along with Sway.

The Red Warlord Prince nodded again at Sway’s words..”It sounds important. We may need to get reservations.” He tilted his head, ”We may even have to purchase the proper attire today.” His eyebrow rose slightly, ”Would you care to do a little shopping?” Trance gestured, ”I am far more used to uniforms or shadows than I am to Raejan attire.” Then he gestured at the note, ”A lunch should be more than enough time to get a full read on the target, possibly even work in some weaknesses, but if their company is too Dark, it may have to wait.”








Offline Narcisa Ciora

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #9 on: Aug 30, 19, 10:22:26 PM »
Sway had only started to explore fashion that went beyond simple practicality a few years before. She was still mostly seen in black leather pants and shirts worn thin, but it was no longer strange to see the lithe assassin wandering barefoot through the Court in a dress that was a size or two too big for her, the straps hanging loosely off her shoulders. Still, neither look was appropriate here. With Sway's loss of her Summer Sky and Nick's lack of a psychic cabinet, they made quite the pair.

"We definitely need to go shopping," she said far more cheerfully than she had likely ever uttered that sentence before. That cheer carried them through the streets as they set out to clothe themselves in appropriate Raejan finery. Here again their cover as well to do travellers on a luxurious vacation served them well. Sway’s tattoos didn’t even seem to raise an eyebrow as the witch selling beautifully detailed dresses helped her drape the fabric appropriately. She liked the flowing ease of the clothing, especially the loose trousers that were worn underneath.

Watching Nick be fitted was just as fun, if not more. Observing from a distance, Sway could really see the physical changes since the night they first met. Darkness bless Riley for feeding her Wards and Court so damn well. Both Trance and Shift were stronger and healthier for that alone, not to mention the daily drills and open access to the sparring rooms.

Their shopping adventures paid off. When they arrived at Case de Atholi the next day, they blended well with those there to dine. Not so well that people wouldn’t note a foreign couple in their midst, but that simply enhanced the illusion. They were led to a table near the open windows. The view was quite incredible. The smell of the water lingered in the dry air, the River Vaal a mere walk’s distance from where they now sat.

A Red Jeweled Priestess entered the room with her escort. She was quite stunning and there were deferring murmurs from all around. Sway’s eyes rose to meet Trance’s. Their target had arrived. 










Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #10 on: Sep 03, 19, 04:28:16 PM »
Trance had learned to wear many masks throughout his career as both Myos Apprentice then Journeyman, and as an Escort to the Territory Court. He was used to cycling through them, slipping in and out of certain mindsets for certain tasks, often balancing one face and another. It gave him the ability to both take control when necessary, and to surrender it as well. Sway knew Raej far better than he did, and so he had no trouble following her lead, and becoming a traveling or vacationing version of himself. He was Nick, but he was a version that did not have to hide his affection for his companion. He did not have to deny her, or pretend that she meant less. Traveling lover was a role that came far more easily than he expected. It was easy to discard the secretive habits they maintained at home, easier to smile in her company, though they remained limited, they also blossomed a little more easily.

He had never seen Sway in such a mood. He had been shopping for necessities, such as art supplies, and a time or three with Auntie Aleia to have small knives made to be hidden about his person. He had never seen it as an activity that was worthy of cheer. He had clothes, and most days, he wore the Palace livery. His own personal attire ran to pragmatism and dark hues, nothing to speak of, save for the hidden pockets sewn into the articles by Lady Sala. Sway attacked shopping as though it were more than simply a necessity, it was part of a show, and she seemed to be enjoying herself. It was an infectious display, which reminded Trance that Sway was a performer. She was either genuinely pleased, or putting on an act that was so true, it didn’t really matter. It made his companion effort easy to adopt, which was why he was smiling just a touch more often.

Trance let strange people touch and dress him, a testament to his trust in Sway more than anything else. He had no opinions on the local attire, other than it was far more comfortable than what he had arrived in. By the following day, he easily slipped into their roles, with Sway on his arm. He held Sway’s hand, or she his arm, and he kept her close, touching her often, occasionally slipping his arm around her waist to draw her against his side. He did this as they walked, pausing now and again for this street vendor, or that barker just outside a curio shop. It was easy to maintain by the time they arrived at the restaurant location. They were seated without issue, and even offered a romantic table, which he readily accepted, making sure that Sway was seated close beside him. It was not long before the target arrived, and once Sway indicated that, Trance breathed a slow sigh and unfurled his senses.

Butterflies. These people were like butterflies, with the exception of the Red Jeweled Priestess, but even her heart fluttered to his senses. People did not guard against this particular Craft in the same way they shielded against the expected intrusions. Shields were usually kept in place for incidental physical or psychic attacks, and so few masked their own biology, in Trance’s experience, only those that knew about him. He could hear their hearts, all of them, everyone in the plase, everyone out on the street, like the wings of a butterfly waiting for delicate fingers to pull them apart. He had those delicate fingers, they were made of Craft, and they promised Death in all of its varied forms. It was very fine work to slip about someone’s biology unnoticed, to feel the rush of their blood, the filling of their lungs, and the butterfly beat of their heart without being detected. Finer still was the work to retard the function of that beating heart, to feel the valves and chambers, to worm slowly inward until the spell to end this life could be tied off.

Trance reached for a glass of water, ”I can do this at any time. Should I start the clock?”








Offline Narcisa Ciora

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #11 on: Sep 05, 19, 09:16:57 PM »
Sway smiled and her eyes danced. There was something about the way she smiled. Too many teeth. Even here, in the midst of all the pretty people who surrounded them and were mostly unaware or uncaring of their presence, anyone who looked too closely at the Yellow Jeweled assassin might feel a shiver run down their spine as their instincts screamed at them.

Predator.

Sway could not have been anything else. She understood that now. Learning that the Guild Master was her father and that his hand had been present in her life long before her foster father had found her in that alleyway covered in her attacker’s blood reaffirmed what her soul had always screamed. His very presence was at the Guild Master’s command. Far from making her respect him less, it had only granted him more of her admiration.

Training Shift and Trance had given her the opportunity to lure the predators within them to the surface and then turn them to do the Myos’ bidding. Both seemed to thrive in their roles within the Myos, a fact that Sway took a small amount of pride in. The work was theirs. The blood and sweat, pain and growth, loyalty and commitment all their own.

And yet they, too, were vicious like Sway was vicious. Rabin had molded her in his own image, soft clay being beaten until the desired object was obtained. But she had been a 12 year old witch, not a Warlord Prince nearing his Offering. She had taken hardened metal already forged and plunged it back into the fire, the feral beasts that emerged coming to her hand at the mere brush of her mind against theirs.

Her hand reached for his cheek as she brushed her thumb over his cheekbone. “By all means, darling. Start the clock.”











Offline Nailah Abbasi

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #12 on: Sep 09, 19, 06:59:35 PM »


Kontar,” Nailah said, placing her napkin on her lap as she looked across the table at her younger brother, “you do realize that there are other restaurants in Raej, don’t you?

The High Priestess of Raej wasn’t complaining about her brother’s choice in food. Casa de Atholi had a fun atmosphere, good food, and it was lively compared to other places that she could name. Nailah had come to like Hector Valdes de Atholi, the long-lived owner of the restaurant who’d become a close friend of her younger brother’s in Kontar’s early years. Even her bodyguard, Nafessa, enjoyed the restaurant’s spicier fare. Nailah loved the place, but the consensus had grown among Nailah and their sisters that Kontar enjoyed Casa de Atholi’s fare just a little too much, to the point that no one tried to suggest where to go to lunch anymore because Kontar would invariably turn the discussion back to Dhemlanese restaurant near the Vaal. Nailah had even shared some of the food with Syeira once, though her Queen seemed less interested in Dhemlanese food than classic Raejean fare. 

Kontar didn’t even look ashamed, for his own part. He was already tucking in to enjoy another lunch provided by his good friend. Something was bothering him, which led to Nailah accepting today’s invitation. She chose a dark blue dress and overlaid it with her robe of office, her Red Jewel hanging from its setting at her throat. Kontar wore loose brown pants and a brown tunic, his ring of office impossible to miss on his right ring finger. He’d been the First Escort of the District Queen, Lady Neith, for some time now. Raet had recently become her student in the arts of the Priestess and it made for awkward times among the three of them. Nailah and the District Queen were not close, but they’d fallen into an easy rhythm in their studies. Kontar seemed more at ease now that he did when he’d first heard that Nailah agreed to teach Raet, but there was still a distance between them that Nailah could not bridge. Kontar liked to have lunch with each of his sisters at least once a week, when duty permitted, but Nailah felt like this lunch was more important than the others.

Kontar didn’t wait long to prove her right.

I love this place, Nai. Besides, when you’re eating, you’re listening. I would have asked you to bring the boys, but I’m glad they’re with Ema today at the clinic. She loves having them there and I’m glad you’re letting them spend more time with her. Theoris agrees.” Kontar said.

Nailah smiled. “Well, Ema is good with children. She’s going to be a good mother when it happens. I’m going to ask her about that bodyguard she’s keeping around. Prince Anasi. He seems like a good man. What do you know of him?” Nailah asked.

Kontar held up his hands. “Oh no. No you don’t. The company Rehema keeps is her own business, so long as it doesn’t endanger the boys or herself. If you to pry into her business, you can ask her. Or better still, ask him. He carries a conversation well.” Kontar said. But Nailah tasted the semi-sweet tang of nervousness in her brother’s psychic scent, ever-present when he was trying to avoid saying something. She knew she was on the right track.

I’m not prying. I’m just looking after our sister. I think I deserve some recognition. I’ve waited for her to talk about him, but she hasn’t. I’ve also been utterly civil to Lady Neith. I daresay I’ve even been kind. Nafessa has seen it. She knows.” Nailah said, looking to her bodyguard and friend.

Nafessa gave a shrug of her powerful shoulders to indicate that Nailah was, in fact, correct, but said nothing else.

Kontar nodded, shifting in his seat. “That’s well and good, Sister Mine, but...you could do more.

Like what?

You’re wonderful with Theoris. You’ve been excellent with Rehema. But we have another sister who could use your attention.” Kontar said gently.

Nailah stiffened in her seat. “Our sister has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with me, Brother. I wear the Red, but even I cannot change the flow of the Vaal on my own.” she said, her tone bitter.

I’m not asking you to move a river, Nai. I’m asking you to reach out to our sister. Something is wrong with her and Rehema can’t reach her. I can’t reach her. I daresay that Theoris can’t, either.” Kontar said.

And you think she’ll listen to me? You underestimate our sister’s ability to carry a grudge. I could faster move the river with a spoon than change her heart.” Nailah said.

Nailah, I have done everything you ever asked of me, even when I didn’t agree with it. I have spoken endlessly of your ability to understand and forgive others, even to those who think you aren’t capable of either one. This once, just this once, I’m asking you to do this for me. You nearly died three years ago with this anger in your heart. Aren’t you tired, Sister?” he asked, reaching across the table to take her hand.

That’s not fair, Kontar. I didn’t start this. I shouldn’t need to--

It doesn’t matter who started it!” he said, his voice rising. He paused, then sat back and let go of his sister’s hand. He took a sip of his water. Nafessa watched him lazily, but Kontar knew that the Red Jeweled Witch would be on top of him in seconds if she thought he was getting out of line. Kontar put his glass down and looked at Nailah.

It doesn’t matter who started it, Nai. You surround yourself daily with people who need to hear Mother Night’s voice and you tell them to cleave to their families, the Darkness, and to their communities. Would they listen to you if they knew you didn’t follow your own advice? How can you talk about the importance of family, yet leave Masika to fend for herself?” Kontar asked gently.

I didn’t push her away, Kontar. She…

She stabbed me. Insulted me. Said that the man I loved died just to get away from me.

She hated me first.

She walked away from me first, Kontar. There’s nothing I can do if she won’t even speak to me.” Nailah said, sighing.

What if I can get her to talk to you? Today. Tonight. Would you make the time?” Kontar asked.

Brother, my schedule--

Nailah, you can spare an hour. Raej won’t turn to heresy if you aren’t at the temple. Think of it as an opportunity to test the leadership of your Second by letting them handle things for tonight.” Kontar said.

Nailah stared hard across the table. He was working her. She knew it. He knew she knew it. She knew that he knew that she knew it. And he knew that she would say yes because it was him making the request. The same request that Theoris had made several times that Nailah found a way to put off. The same request that she Rehema would make if she didn’t feel like she was risking one relationship or the other in doing so. Kontar was not going to let this go and Nailah could see it in his eyes.

You’re going to be the death of me, all earnest and puppy-eyed like that.” Nailah groused.

"Don't say that. Just say you'll do it. For me.

Ass.

The moment she slanders me, I’m leaving. And don’t tell Ema. I don’t want her feeling like she has to show up and mediate. I’ll tell her afterward if it works.” Nailah said. “Can we eat now? I’m starving and you’ve used up all my patience.” she said, half-joking.

Kontar smiled huge, the way he did when he got what he wanted...which was alarmingly often.

Let’s eat. You won’t regret this, Nailah. I promise.

Offline Niccolo Faa

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #13 on: Sep 18, 19, 07:16:15 PM »
Trance leaned into Sway’s touch, and it was Trance. Nick would not be so bold, this was Trance under a facade, a disguise. He turned to kiss the palm of her hand, and hold it there for a moment, and even inside the romance of that gesture, he did as she requested. He tied off the rest of his Spell, and the clock began to tick. ”The clock is ticking.”

It was just a matter of finesse and of time.  Here was Trance’s purpose, the reason he had been trained, even before he was a Myos, he was a killer.  He had to be careful with so much Power in one place.  He was masked, of course, three Red Jewels in one restaurant would make anyone nervous, but more importantly, his presence could make the other Red Jewels aware that a power potentially equal to their own was in attendance, and that would not do.  He did not want them to be alert for a problem; he wanted them to be comfortable.  One might serve as a guardian for the others,  but that was a waiting, passive danger, not active hunting danger.  Trance could even hear their conversation, though he tuned most of that out.

The target was in good health, but that meant nothing.  The body was a frail thing with so many complicated mechanisms that could go horribly awry for seemingly no reason at all.  Trance understood how these systems worked, and how they worked together.  The Pugilist had put him to work because of this very talent, because he could put an end to someone and leave no mark upon the flesh or even the scene.  He could ghost in, and ghost out, and leave the subject alive, if only for a short time.  Here, he had found what he was looking for, and now they could wait.  While his target enjoyed their meal, Trance decided that he and Sway should enjoy theirs.  He sat beside her, sharing his food as they would when they were together secretly.  His hand caressed her thigh beneath the table, and from time to time he whispered his intentions into her ear, just as a lover might.

For the duration of the target’s dining experience, they were ignored.  The work was done, and all that remained was verification.  Trance made certain that he and Sway ate well, ordering a selection of deserts, asking the waiter what was recommended, even as his Seduction Craft wove it’s way across Sway’s body, touching her skin while she remained fully clothed.  It was a side of him that he rarely got to display, though Sway knew that it lurked within him.  The Palace in Dena Nehele limited such expressions, but there was no reason not to show it here in Raej, no reason they could not completely play their parts, while they waited for their subject to die.  When the target’s meal was over, Trance’s Craft faded from Sway’s body, but he leaned in to steal a kiss from her, one that let him draw on her lower lip as the subject departed.  Then he called for their bill, and left the local currency on the table, pulling her to her feet.

Suddenly, they were lovers desperate to get somewhere private, and that was what the staff and the witnesses would remember.  Trance guided them this time, along streets and alleys, so they could catch up to their prey.  As fortune would have it, the path took them for a leisurely walk along the Vaal.  They followed discretely, stopping to kiss and grope at each other from time to time, partly to keep up the ruse, partly because Trance wanted to.  They followed for a time at a discrete distance, and then Trance whispered against Sway’s lips after their most recent breathless kiss, ”It is time.”

The subject simply collapsed.  Their legs weakened until they were on their knees, and then they just fell over.  Trance checked around, before they disappeared behind sight and aural shields.  He dashed quickly to the body, pulled the ring from the target’s finger.  He verified that the subject was dead, checking all the vital signs that he could sense.  It had, at least, only been briefly painful.  It was sudden, and deadly, and entirely internal.  A Healer would have to look very hard for the cause, and once discovered, it would be simply a natural misfortune.  Expressionless,  the Myos Journeyman used the toe of his sandaled foot and a bit of Craft-enhanced strength to unceremoniously roll the corpse into the river.  It fell into the water with a splash that no one heard, and with no witnesses save for his assassins, Kontar Abbasi floated away, face down in the River Vaal.








Offline Kontar Abbasi

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Re: A Silenced Pulse
« Reply #14 on: Oct 30, 19, 09:55:49 PM »
Kontar knew that his family needed Nailah and Masika to make peace. They needed it because it was the right thing to do. They needed it because it wasn’t fair to force their sisters to choose between them. They needed the peace so that Nailah’s sons, their nephews, understood the meaning of family and that no sin was too great to pardon. Kontar had seen families sundered by differences that should have been easily mended. His thoughts always went to Rais and Nima, parted by deep pain and wounded pride He did not want his sisters to end up like Rais and Nima. So if it meant begging, cajoling, or outright shaming Nailah into agreeing to speak to their sister, then Kontar would do it and sleep like a baby.

He grinned like the cat that ate the canary when Nailah finally agreed.

The rest of their meal passed with small talk. Kontar loved the food at Casa de Atholi and the atmosphere that Hector had created in his establishment. No matter the time of day, Kontar enjoyed the food and drink here. He needed to bring Raet here. Things between them had been difficult in recent months, since his journey to Dena Nehele, but Kontar knew that they would find their way back to each other and back to happiness they shared. Raet was his Queen and his heart beat in time with hers. He hoped that she and Nailah would learn how similar they were and that they’d find peace with each other. He looked forward to the day when he could bring his Queen and his sisters to this restaurant and listen to them tell embarrassing stories about him while his nephews listened. It was a good way to pass the years, to grow old, and maybe return to the Darkness, knowing that his family was united.

He and Nailah finished lunch. He hugged his sister tight and kissed her on the cheek. “Nailah, I have a good feeling about tonight. Just hold on to that, okay? Sika will try if you do.” Kontar said.

Very well, Kontar. Your nephews want to see you soon. What should I tell them?

Tell them we’ll have breakfast tomorrow morning, then. I can’t wait.

I’ll tell them." Nailah said.

Kontar walked out with Nafessa and Nailah, watching them head down the street toward the temple. He hoped that she’d keep up her end of things. He had to find Sika and make her agree tonight. He sighed. He needed to find the right words to breach her defenses and he usually found them during his lunchtime walks near the Vaal. There was some minor discomfort in the back of his head, but Kontar paid it little mind. Hector made his food a little hotter than the norm because Kontar loved Dhemlanese spices. Now and again, it caught up with him but he was okay in the end.

But today he wasn’t.

The discomfort continued as he walked near the water, making it harder to breathe. He’d never felt like this before. Rehema’s clinic was ten minutes in the other direction and Raet’s palace was fifteen minutes ahead of his current path. He decided to and see Ema. He could ask her for advice about Sika and maybe find a way to get her to agree with his plan.

Two steps and his legs failed him. He dropped to his knees, struggling to breathe. The ground rushed up to meet him, and he felt his nose break. The copper taste of blood was thick on his tongue.

He heard someone, tried to ask for help, but his tongue felt like it was ten sizes too big in his mouth. Some grabbed his hand. He tried to signal that he needed help, but then his ring of office, Raet’s ring, was being pulled off his finger! Kontar tried to grab the person then, but his body wouldn’t obey him. He couldn’t see anything. He tried to call for help, tried to call on his jewels, but his mind wouldn’t focus long enough for him to connect with his well of power. Fear stole his courage then, and Kontar Abbasi knew that he was dying. He was dying and he couldn’t even tell Raet where he was.

I can’t breathe...I can’t breathe…

Nailah was expecting him tonight. She was expecting Sika tonight.

He was supposed to see Nima tomorrow. They were supposed to talk.

I can’t breathe...I can’t breathe…

Darkness took him then, but the last sensation he felt was the cold of the Vaal as he fell inside.

He was dead long before he sank beneath the tide.

~End~