A quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore (Evil Pigeon & Dreamless)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Dreamless, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. [​IMG]

    He was dressed like a prince, and nobody would suspect him; or, more important, nobody would find him.

    The thing about necromancers was that they- by nature- had a tendency to deal in shady affairs, to touch on matters to which no other soul would dare, to wrap themselves in swathes of death and finality and love every second of it.

    Shady affairs, in turn, attracted the shadiest of people, some of whom could shed a favorable light on even a necromancer: vagabonds with desperate desires, ordinary merchants of questionable honesty, influential high-society of extremely questionable morality. They came from all classes of humanity, of all manner of backgrounds, with all manner of methods to persuade and to bribe, for a necromancer’s services were unique, hard to come by and, consequently, not all that affordable.
    However, those foolish and desperate enough to contact and/or raise the dead were usually more than willing to fork out the funds.

    And typically, so long as someone was willing to pay and had the necessary means to do so, a necromancer would not hesitate to perform the services that the client sought (and would leave the poor fool to deal with the consequences himself, and then be on their way).

    Vitali Kristeva was no exception to any of the above, except for one small additive fact: while he was just as (if not moreso) amoral than his death-meddling kin, he possessed a sharper sense of how particular consequences unfolded and, thus, did not always see fit to play things up to the best interest of the client. Particularly not when they had a noteworthy hunger for power that should not be theirs to wield, a weakness for corruption, a finish primed to tarnish. Such traits were most commonly found in- ironically- those who already weighed heavily with power: kings and queens and the wealthy, governing families of cities and towns through the Northlands, and they weren’t hard to pick out. They were the ones who, in the deepest dark of night, arrived with a sack full of more gold than any mere commoner could dare to imagine, coming forth with their willingness to provide a very generous down payment, should their request be accepted.

    In fact, the most recent fool client to approach Vitali had been so eager to have his wish fulfilled, and so confident that the necromancer simply couldn’t turn him down had paid- and handsomely- up front. And Vitali Kristeva- who was nowhere near daft enough to turn down enough currency to easily keep himself luxuriously afloat for approximately a year on the road- accepted the job.

    And stole away that very same night, money securely tethered to his side underneath the long coat, without so much as a whisper of his departure or tracks to follow.
    And without fulfilling his end of the bargain.


    There had been murmurings of him throughout the tavern all afternoon; not of his name, however, for he gave it to no one, not in a very long time. But even if they had known his name, he would not have registered as familiar, nor did he fit his own image anymore: his ink-black hair, once long and in a perpetual state of tangled or tousled, was now cropped to his neck, and the tattered, threadbare longcoat that had clad his medium stature for almost a decade had been discarded for a rich black blazer lined with glittering gold trim, ornate enough to be dashing but thick enough to be useful. The tailor who had crafted the suit fit for royalty had asked no questions when he had offered double the payment to have the outfit ready within a day, as he was eager to be well on his way before it finally dawned on his client that he had been cheated out of his money.
    And, so as to ensure the old man’s secrecy, he’d slipped him a few extra coins before taking off into the night.

    So it was not the necromancer of whom this hostelry was full of curious murmurings, but of the unfamiliar aristocrat in his place.

    “Ha’e ye seen that bloke? Th’one who been drinkin’ for hours?” One of the tavern’s regulars leaned across the counter to murmur to the Whistling Willows’ owner-and-barkeep, whisky already strong on his breath. “He been here longer th’n me, now! Hasn’t moved in hours! Maybe his ale finally took ‘im under?”

    The barkeep glanced up at the man in question. While he could only see the back of his dark head from that angle, the drunk had a point: it had been a good hour, at the very least, since he’d moved a muscle. And the bar-maids must have refilled his mug five times since he’d pushed through the doors, earlier that afternoon.

    “Y’think he’s some kind o’ royalty? Look at them pretty clothes. Not e’en his Lord Township comes a knockin’ on a tavern door in threads like thems!”

    “I don’t know. But the clothes really aren’t my first concern.” Heaving a sigh, the barkeep walked around the counter , with every intention to attend to yet another inebriated fool who clearly didn’t have the good sense to know when enough was enough. Pretty clothes or not, no one was going to lounge about in alcohol-induced unconsciousness in his establishment.
    “Come on, now. You can’t just sit here and-” No sooner did his hand encircle the rich-looking young man’s upper arm that he turned to stare at the barkeep, very much awake and- judging by the clarity of his unusually bright eyes- very aware.

    “Is there a problem?” He asked in a velvet-smooth voice laced with subtle ire, looking pointedly at the hand on his arm as though he desired nothing more than to burn a hole in it.

    “Oh- ah, no. No, I guess there isn’t.” Quickly unlatching his fingers, the barkeep took a step back and bowed his head in apology. “My apologies, Mister… uh…”

    “Rochefort. Baron Ilium Rochefort.” Emphasis was put on the title of Baron, and Vitali looked and acted very much the part, brushing off his sleeve as though the barkeep’s fingers had sullied the fine material of his blazer. “I am traveling through your town on my way to attend some important business affairs and thought I might take some time to myself before I resume my ventures. Although, it seems as though a man isn’t permitted to enjoy a quiet afternoon in a tavern which- I have been told- is supposed to be quite reputable.”

    The barkeep was positively red in the face, at this point, and wrung his hands while his flabbergasted mind raced to better this positively embarrassing (and, possibly, detrimental) situation. Should someone as affluent as a Baron spread word that his establishment was not accommodating, then the Whistling Willows would nary see another wealthy traveler walk through its doors. “Please accept my sincerest apologies, Baron. I beg your forgiveness for this misunderstanding… Here.” Before Vitali could comment, he withdrew a plain cotton handkerchief from his pocket, clean and white and looking just as neat as the day it was made. In the corner, the initials E.H. were stitched with gold thread. “Whether or not you’ve got a room for the night, take this to the hotel across town- the one with the bright green doors. It’s our best accommodations, and the lady who runs it… Well, she’s fancied me for a while, see. Show her the handkerchief and tell her that Rhys sent you, and you’ll get a room on the house. It’s the least I can do…”

    “I believe the least you can do would be to waive the fees on the beverages, to top it off.” Pulling off the best aristocratic scowl he could muster, Vitali took the handkerchief and rolled his shoulders back. “Do see that this indignity does not happen again.”

    More sputtered apologies followed, then faded into the background when the barkeep returned to his spot behind the counter, and the necromancer returned to what he had been so focused on as to have appeared to be asleep. The broken pocket watch in his hand- one that he had confiscated off of a recently fallen cadaver a few days back- spoke to him faintly, but not yet clearly enough to discern its story. Its previous owner simply hadn’t been dead long enough; perhaps the spirit was still stuck in a post-mortem state of denial, something not uncommon among the newly deceased.

    Since he was getting nowhere with it (and probably look more than a little out of sorts, staring at a broken watch for hours), he replaced the trinket in a pocket on the inside of his blazer, contemplating refilling his mug one last time before he would be on his way. But he’d already done so about four too many times, and undoubtedly that had been the reason as to why the barkeep had wandered over in the first place (after all, it wasn’t exactly a common trait to be as impervious to the effects of alcohol as he was).

    Figuring it best to stop while he was ahead, the necromancer rose and made to leave the Whistling Willows, holding his posture straight and his chin high as any aristocrat would. Really, with the right clothes and the right attitude, it wasn’t so hard to come across as one of the affluent socialites with whom he’d had many dealings in the past. As long as he was careful, nobody would suspect him as the necromancer Vitali.

    At least, he had to count on that, until such a time that he left the Northlands completely. When you double-crossed people in power in this Kingdom, paving a new path was the wisest decision to make. Because if Vitali knew anything about people with more money than they had brains, it was that they did not forget.
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  2. [​IMG]

    It had been a long, but relatively productive day. The sun had been a bit hot, making Niamh sweat despite having the shade of a nearby building. Despite the heat, the market had been full and bristling with all manner of people. Getting business was always hit and miss. Sometimes people spat at her, told her to shoo out of town, or accused her of witchcraft. They were never entirely serious and never wasted much more breath than a few simple insults. But others were curious, walking past her little table where she sat on a small stool, passing by a few times while they did their errands. Eventually they caved and sat with her, questioning what she might do for them, and forking out a few coppers for her services. She had told seven fortunes that day; a lucky number! The money was more than enough to buy a good dinner, and a bed for the night. She was grateful too - she didn't want to camp out another night, waking up to the damp, muggy summer morning.

    She was looking forward to a nice little room, with a nice, clean little bed on which to flop dramatically. Perhaps she would overindulge a little and order a brew or two! The night was bursting with possibilities as she moved into the crowded Whistling Willows, hoping that the small tavern also had beds. There was a hotel in town but it was far too expensive, and she greatly preferred little inns and taverns. They were cozier, homier.

    "'Scuse me," she murmured, easing around a table. She wore a long white chemise, with a burgundy skirt atop that, decorated with black lace. An emerald green corset held everything in, and she couldn't wait to ease out of clothing and wash the hot day away. Her pack was heavy and bulky on her back, a tiny fold down wicker table and stool attached to the rugged, well-worn burlap and leather bag. Her little set up had seen quite the few cities and villages, and it was getting about time to buy a new table. The wicker was starting to fray and peel on hers. "Watch out, coming through," she warned, voice soft as she ducked her pale blonde head in apology to a tall man in black. She was so busy trying to move through the crowd without whacking anyone with her pack, she hardly noticed the strange air to the gold and black man.

    It took a bit longer than she wanted to get to the counter, and she ignored the annoyed look of a man sitting next to her at the bar as she unloaded her pack at her feet. A tavern hand working the bar was closest to her, and he raised his bushy brows in question. Niamh pretended to ignore the look he shot down over her body and back to her face. She was used to such things, and though she did not dress as colorfully as most of her gypsy relatives did, she did have a single feather and bead braided into her pale hair. It was a good luck charm, one could never forgo such a thing, no matter the stigma against her people!

    "Do you have any rooms here?" she asked hopefully, brushing her loose, long hair from her face. The bar hand scowled and shook his head.

    "We have a few, but they're all full up," he said. She frowned at him, a sinking feeling in her gut.

    "Oh please, you have to have at least one open. I don't need anything fancy," she insisted, and he shook his head. "No, really, we're out. Try elsewhere," he added, tone a bit sour. Niamh huffed a sigh, pursing her full lips in annoyance. She wasn't the best at figuring out liars, but this wouldn't be the first time she had been denied a room for being what she was. A thief, a criminal, a wandering vagabond. So what if she didn't pay for a solid property? Her home was the stars,the plains, the forests. She preferred it that way, even if it could be an inconvenience sometimes.

    "Well, in that case, could I get something to drink, and a meal, please?" She asked, easing down to sit on the stool. The bar hand began to open his mouth when another person's voice interuptted.

    "Looking for a room, eh? I've got one. You could shhhare," the gruff voice said, slurring a few words. Niamh looked over her shoulder, nose instantly assaulted by the smell of beer. The man behind her was a bit too close for comfort, his big brown beard doing little to obscure the fact that he was a stocky, well built thing.

    "No thanks," her lips curled faintly, turning her head back to tend the bar hand with any questions he might have. But she felt a rough hand, much too hot for comfort, press to her arm and turn her a bit forcefully.

    "Come on lass, you need a bed, I need a friend, come join me!" He laughed.

    "Yeah, join him! He's lonely," the man next to her at the bar snickered. Niamh frowned at the hand on her arm.

    "No thanks," she repeated. "Really, I'll have to pass. But I think that lady over there-" she started to point with her free hand, but the man brushed her off.

    "Listen, I just want to compliment a pretty gal, so let's go have a chat!" His breath reeked. Niamh blinked, eyes burning at the scent, her skin itching uncomfortably, and she glanced sideways to the bar hand and the other stranger. Neither seemed to want to raise their voice to help brush off the drunken suitor. She shook her head, looking to the hand on her arm as she considered her options. His hand seemed to grow cold against her skin as she watched it, goosebumps breaking out over her skin. Her blue eyes grew distant, seeing past skin and hair, flesh and bone, and they paled in color for the briefest of moments. She hadn't even realized what she was doing until the man began to waver and his hand fell off her arm as he collapsed with a loud thud. She gasped and jumped in her seat in surprise, grimacing as she hopped to her feet.

    "What the fuck!" The man next to her yelped. "Drunken dolt!" He cursed, lips curling. Niamh caught the steady rise and fall of the drunkards chest and relaxed, air rushing out of her chest in relief. She always feared she might push a soul a bit too hard. She could never forgive herself if she accidentally killed someone. But it was just so...easy to nudge a life, to tickle it, to poke and prod and watch what happened. Scary easy. She had only been pondering what it might be like to make him leave. She hadn't meant to actually set anything off balance. But as her eyes moved over his body, she saw the faint light, the rippling green and yellow waves around his body as the energy settled. She hadn't pushed anything too hard. He would just sleep.

    "Can't hold his liquor," she mumbled, cheeks flushing red as she sat.

    "I think you should leave," the bar keep said. "You're just going to cause trouble. Out," he said, shooing a hand and Niamh looked over at him, gaping. "Excuse me? He was bothering me! I didn't-"

    "Another word, and I'll have someone force you out! Go! Shoo! We don't want your riff raff and stolen money," he snapped at her. She pursed her mouth and the dark thought crossed her mind that she should give his life, his soul, a bit of a shove too.

    "Fine," she muttered, grabbing her pack and wearily pulling it up. "I don't want your second rate stew and watered down brew anyways!"
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  3. Vitai seldom had any interest or reason to invest concern in the affairs of others. More often, it was their plights that kept him employed, as they turned to him to contact the dead for any reason: a question of wills, money, love or even revenge. It was an unforgiving world he tread, and one so acquainted with the essence of death did not shirk the fragility of life. After all, you only lived once.

    And if you lived again, gods help you, chances were it would lack the free will that you were awarded in your first life.

    But the situation taking place behind him--what very much sounded akin to harassment and blatant discrimination--appeared to be getting out of hand. At first, he was almost thankful for the diversion that drew attention away from him for the moment, but the woman's frustration and distress was too fervent to ignore. One glance over his shoulder, and it all made sense; he knew too well how gypsies were treated across this country, and was no stranger to that very treatment.

    Just as she was about to leave, 'Baron Ilium Rochefort' got to his feet, turning directly to the barkeep as he sidled up next to the woman. "I daresay, I am wilted by such rudeness abound in this establishment." Vitali admonished with an exasperated hand gesture. "Do mind who you choose to insult, good sir. I suggest you retract you words."

    "I... what?" The barkeep leveled his eyes on Vitali. "Mr. Baron Rochefort... I don't understand--"

    The necromancer's hand found the woman's shoulder. "She is my cousin, good sir. I asked her to meet me here, assuming she would receive the same respect that you have offered me. Am I wrong to have recommended this establishment?"

    "I... well, she..." The older man's face went from shades of pink to red. "Now, listen. You don't seriously expect me to believe--"

    But Vitali cut him off--with what, remained a mystery. The 'Baron' simply leaned in, whispered something in the man's ear that turned that rufescent visage several shades of pale, before drawing back just as quickly. Whatever he'd told him, the barkeep's eyes were wide with fear. Tiny beads of sweat poked through the pores of his receding hairline. "Most terribly sorry, Miss. And Mr. Baron. Ah..." Fumbling, he reached into a drawer and handed Niamh a key. "Room 9, two flights up. Best one I've got... I hope it will meet your standards."

    "And a meal for her, if you please. As full as you can make it," Vitali added, the corner of his mouth stretching into a suave smile. "I'm sure it will be no trouble."

    "No! No trouble at all, not at all..."

    No sooner did he scamper away to put in the order that Vitali removed his hand from Niamh's shoulder, as if her skin-kissed skin burned to the touch. "And you," he kept his voice low, that smile beginning to fade at the edges, replaced by wariness. "Your aura... I know that colour. Who do you run from, dark one?"
    He should recognize the colour; it was near the exact shade of his own. Such a dark shade of violet, it was almost black.
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  4. Wariness. There was never a more appropriate time to use such a word. Niamh's blue eyes stared at the hand on her shoulder, once more seeing more than just the physical reality of it. There was skin and bone, and fine little hairs. And there was a dark mist to it, so very different from the man on the floor's shade of yellow and green. Violent hues tinged the darkness there and she lifted her eyes slowly to the face attached to the hand, watching him keenly. She heard him talking, she watched him lean forward to scare off the stubborn barkeep. But his words flowed into one ear and out the other, completely irrelevant.

    She had only met one other person with the same shade of color as she, and that had not been a pleasant experience. Even now her heart trembled in her breast, her skin itching, her muscles tightening, ready to bound away for freedom, or fight if she had to. People with such rare magic as their's were not typically friendly. You had to be a bit...odd, cruel even, to entertain such powers. If you weren't, the power over life and death might drive you crazy. She often wondered if it wasn't the crazy path she was on. She knew she was more afraid of this man than her magic, but her magic had saved her from a few bad messes before.

    His skin left her shoulder and she rolled it, as if trying to brush off the feeling of his touch. Her cheeks tinged with color as she watched that smile fade on his mouth. What purpose would he have for helping her? It wasn't possible he knew Davoren... or what it? Surely, her old instructor knew of every person in this land with a penchant for death magic. She cleared her throat, brushing away his question as she regarded him. The key in her hand felt heavy and cold, but reminded her of manners.

    "Thank you, for your words. I appreciate a room and a meal." Always be polite to someone who helped you...even if they might have darker intentions. "But I'll admit, meeting you here is...not something I had ever expected." She glanced over her shoulder at the sleeping drunk sprawled on the floor and grimaced, before looking back to the man. Baron Rochefort, eh? He was dressed as rich as nobility, that was for sure. How did he afford such clothing and trinkets? Surely his fortunes didn't cost that much. She drew in a deep breath and tossed the bar hand a look.

    "Bring my meal upstairs," she told him. She and her cousin needed to...talk. Without so many prying ears. She looked back to the 'Baron.'

    "Shall we go inspect the quality of the room you just got me?" She asked, eyes flickering over his face. "It will be quieter there." Less distractions, less noise, less bodies. And she could not deny that she wasn't a little curious, if still wary and afraid of this man. He could have been sent by Davoren, or he might be a random stranger. She could find out, and assess whether he was a danger to her or not. She shouldered her pack again and stepped away, nodding over her shoulder to the stairwell, before turning and heading for it. She didn't need to look over her shoulder to see if he followed or not.
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  5. "I assure you, my dear, that I share in that sentiment." Not only had he not expected to so easily stumble upon another person with an identical aura, but that she seemed... Well, so very unlike him, in many other ways. It was an unsettling feeling, like a fingerprint that somehow didn't belong to the finger upon which it was found...

    Furthermore, the invitation to inspect her bedroom struck him as rather odd. His first instinct, of course, was to laugh and assure her that he wasn't looking for 'any of that' inn return for the meal and room he had... negotiated to obtain for her. But there was a look in her eye, and a catch in her voice that suggested she was not of the mind to repay him. This was about something else.

    And he would be a liar to claim he wasn't curious about what she had to say.

    "Don't forget dessert," he mentioned to the barkeep, with an enigmatic yet borderline threatening smile, before following the young woman up the stairs and to her room.

    For a small inn, the size of the bedroom was more than adequate; a four-poster bed with heavy quilts was situated near tall, bay windows, curtained by a deep, indigo fabric. Across from the bed sat a simple vanity stand, complete with a was basin, and then to the far right of the room, an oaken desk was situated at an angle, along with a cushioned chair. "Hm. And here I didn't actually think he would come through and offer his best room... Such is the consequence of blind assumptions, I suppose. And speaking of blind assumptions."

    Vitali turned the young woman. hands clasped behind his back. "Since I am standing here, I can only assume that my aura is no more blind to you than yours is to me. Your skin is tanned, which, to me, speaks of travel--to which I can also relate. It is not often that people like us remain stationary for long. Vast ignorance and unpopularity associated with those who deal in death and dead things, and what not. So."

    Taking a seat in the chair, the so-called 'Baron Rochefort' crossed one leg over another, and folded his hands over his knee. "What is your story, then? Are you traveling or are you running? Although, I suppose the distinction between the two is largely subjective..."
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  6. Niamh was quiet as she moved up the stairs and found the free room Rochefort had seized for her. The key fit the lock and she pushed open the door, surprised by the quality of the room. She hadn't stayed in anything so nice, ever. Not even her chambers at her old instructors had been so nice. She walked in, eyes roaming the room before she slowly settled her big pack of goods and supplies on the bed. Damn, this was a nice room. She wasn't going to want to leave it! Maybe the inn keeper would feel ashamed enough to let her stay a few nights? She had made good money in this town so far. She could maybe even save up for once in her life.

    She looked over when the man began to talk to her, remembering that she was supposed to be wary and watchful of this being. He had helped her so far, but she understood help came with consequences usually. What would he want?

    "My skin is tanned because of my heritage more than anything," she replied, sitting on the bed. She looked the part of a gypsy, though her clothing was a bit muted to their typical attire. Her skin was olive tinted even in winter. The only thing that was wrong was her hair - her father had not been a gypsy, and she had inherited his wheat colored hair, instead of her mother's flowing brown hair. She supposed that only made her half a gypsy then. "And I travel because I have no home, and because...well, yes, travel is just something inherent to what you and I do." She had never understood the idea of staying put. It was terrifying. Davoren stayed put, but he was secluded, and unknown to nearby populations.

    She eased down to sit on the edge of the bed, watching the man curiously.

    "What's my story?" she laughed. "Listen, I am thankful for what you have done for me, in getting me this room and a meal, but that doesn't mean I'll just spill the beans to a stranger. A Baron, nonetheless," she raised her brows. "But since we are both curious about the other, being that meetings between our kind are so rare... I'll make a deal with you. A question for a question, back and forth. That way it's fair. And no lying," she added sharply. "So first, I will start with my name. It's Niamh." He didn't need a last name, not really. How many necromancers had the name 'Niamh' anyways? It wasn't like he would need to distinguish between them.

    "And you, what is your name? Are you really a Baron? Where's your lands?"
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  7. "Mmm. Gypsy heritage," Vitali commented, almost dismissively as he rolled his shoulders back. "I'm not unfamiliar. My mother, herself, was a gypsy. My father... mm, never quite knew. But I would assume not. From him, I inherited other... various and sundry qualities." Not unlike the young woman, his skin in hue was unmistakably olive, although far paler. For a nomad, he either had an impeccable way of hiding from the sun, or else he simply did not tan at all.

    And that would not be, by far, the necromancer's strangest quality. "Home is what you make of it. Personally, I choose to make all of the Northlands my home... Welcome anywhere, and everywhere, by my own assertion. Of course, I realize that is not the case with every nomad. But anyway... a deal, you say?"

    How curious, for little though she knew about him, Niamh had said the magic words. A deal... it was always about deals with Vitali Kristeva. It had been a deal, in fact, that had forced him to assume the flamboyant alias of Baron Ilium Rochefort. Or, more specifically, it had been the case of a broken deal... But a deal nonetheless.

    "I am all for the fair trade of information, within reason," the young man grinned, sitting further back in his seat to get comfortable.

    Niamh. Such a strange name, not common to the Northlands. It had a sharp, melodic ring. Pretty, like the one who bore it. "Correct me if I am wrong, Miss Niamh, but I believe those are three separate questions," the necromancer chuckled. "Though I am no less inclined to answer them. My name is Vitali; and I am, in fact, not a Baron, as I am sure you have already gathered. Therefore, these 'lands' you ask about... Well, they are nonexistent. Now, I believe, you owe me two more answers to two more questions."

    Leaning forward, he rested his chin in his palm contemplatively. "So you're a nomad, you've said as much. Much next two questions for you, therefore, are as thus: what or whom are you running from, Miss Niamh? And why?"
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  8. How interesting, that his heritage should mirror her own. She knew in gypsy culture, not all women married the men they took to bed. The road was sometimes lonely, and, well, you couldn't blame a woman for seeking companionship. And often, those men were unwilling to continue to travel with their gypsy woman, and thus the relationships were bound to fail. Mixed cultural children weren't uncommon, she supposed.

    She had not him the exact breeding she had, but she was ever wary of anything this man said for now. He was a necromancer. He was dangerous, and there was always the potential that Davoren knew him. But culture was inherited through the mother; why didn't Vitali show off his culture? Perhaps he was smarter than her and understood the troubles there were on the road. She had considered blending in once or twice, but how would that harm business? Who wanted tarot readings, or talks with the dead, from a regular person? No, being a gypsy was a boon for business, just not for getting an Inn room.

    She smiled faintly when he confirmed he was no Baron. So it was just an act, a costume then, to get him by as he traveled? He must make quite the pretty penny from his talents, then, to afford such a costume to travel in. How much did he charge? Or...was he paid by someone else? You're being paranoid, she tried to tell herself. Necromancers were so rare. There was no way Davoren knew them all. But his questions were most suspicious. Why on earth would he assume she was running? She couldn't be that obvious, could she? Her smile faded slightly and she frowned instead as she regarded him.

    "I told you. I'm a nomad. I travel; I am not running from anything, but simply, moving forward with my life. Seeing the world, making money, meeting new faces. It is what I do." Her tone was a bit harsh, eyes flickering over his face and indicating that this wasn't a topic she wanted him poking around in. Maybe one day she might find her family and continue traveling with them... Or just greet them and go her own way. She hadn't seen her mother in years. It probably wasn't safe to move with her family anyways.

    "My turn, then. Our kind is very rare. I'll admit, you're only the second I've ever met. Have you...met anyone like us before?" she asked, raising a brow, watching his face like a hawk. She had to figure out if he was trustworthy or not. If he worked for Davoren, he would have met another necromancer. He could lie to her, of course, but she would do her best to gauge if he was lying or not.
  9. "Of course, of course. Nomad by choice--far be it from me to judge," he said, brushing off concern with a hand gesture. "One of my brothers is likewise nomadic. It runs in the veins of gypsy kin." And in the veins of necromancers, regardless of their ethnic heritage. But he suspected that Naimh knew as much, and so it went without saying.

    "But as for your question." Vitali adjusted his posture in his seat. It was almost as if sitting still, even for so short an amount of time, was a chore for him. "By anyone like us, I assume you are referring to people who exert and derive power over and from the dead."

    There was no simple answer to such a simple question. So he did his best to explain. "People are as unique as their faces. So to say I have met others who are exactly like me or exactly like you would be incorrect; for there is only one me, and one you." Naimh had better have been prepared for roundabout answers. Coming from Vitali Kristeva, she might be hard pressed to find that he ever delivered information on the straight and narrow.

    "But I have met mediums, those who speak with and who are spoken to by the deceased. And then I have met necromancers, those whose harbour the talent to raise the dead. And then there is everyone in-between, some who may not even be aware of who or what they are. Though you are right, Miss Niamh. Individuals who possess such particular skills are few and far between.

    "By your interest and curiosity, however, I would venture to guess that you, yourself, have not run into many--or else your question would hold little relevance. So here is my next question to you." Narrowing his eyes, as if to see her better, Vitali laced his fingers together. "Who exactly did you have in mind, when you asked me if I'd many any others like us? A nomad like yourself wouldn't be so sheltered from the world as to believe no others exist; you would sense them, even if you do not see them. So if you are wondering as to whether or not I know of someone particular to your interest, then by all means, I'd be happy to divulge my familiarity or unfamiliarity with the name."