SIGN-UPS [New]The Cult of Thieves - Sign-Ups

Discussion in 'OUT OF CHARACTER' started by Effervescent, Sep 30, 2017.






  1.             
    The Cult of Thieves




    Information is power, and power is easily acquired. It can be bought, inherited, or even sold for the right price.

    To that, money is the catalyst for power. It is the universal tangibility to denote status.
    Weapons are the tools that power uses be it inanimate or living. Evidence riddles the land in more ways than darkness.

    All of these things are visible. Tangible.
    But there is something far more valuable: invisibility.
    A count may fall prey to the sifting of grain slipping from their grasp, their power lost.

    A duke may find his purse featherlight with the disappearance of coin.
    A dull blade in the hands of the oppressors cannot cut through flesh nor uprising.

    We are the stick that stirs the pot; the whispers that form cohesion. We are the shift in the peripheral and the unsolved upon the mind.
    We are The Cult of Thieves.



             Plot



    Faledrin has always been cast to the wayside. It was a sorry pock upon the glittering face of the Allied Kingdoms. Were it not for their expert whalers, they would have very little importance. Fallenites look to their king with quiet disdain as the gap between the rich and the poor broadens. What little farmland they had was picked dry each harvest with far too little in return for the labor. The people had to choose between suffering or rising up in retort.

    The capital of Windfeld rested upon the crest of the Glassy Sea; a port town that expanded to house the nobility among the royal house. They separate themselves from the common miscreants that poured through the ports by a guarded wall. And while the common citizen toiled through their work and drank away their sorrows, whispers grew within the city's underbelly. The Cult of Thieves had finally heard the cries of Faledren.

    Known for more than just common criminality, the Cult of Thieves is more rumored to be for the people. Their activity rises during Faledren's darkest days, often working against the rich to provide for the poor. While no one knows of its members, they are revered as heroes, at least among the commoners. They are the bane of nobility and the saviors of the common citizen. No one often witnesses them at work, for most of it is expertly performed without the slightest hint until the morning when tables have turned.

    Those within the Cult of Thieves are few, but they know their anonymity is critical. An uprising is in order as the rich grow fat on the spoils of the poor. And perhaps it is time to focus efforts on the greater concern: he who wears the crown.



    OOC




    This roleplay takes place in a fantasy setting having themes of espionage, assassinations, and criminality. The setting is within my current expansive world of the Ascender Chronicles, but no prior knowledge is required to join this roleplay. While their title suggests petty theft, their thievery is in more than just lining their pockets. They can take gold or lives or livestock. Whatever the job may be in the realm of their expertise. Please see the below details on what's new for the coming recruitment phase as this is an ongoing roleplay.









    The Coming Recruitment




    The Cabal, an organization of powerful Shadow Casters located in Edros, is rumored to have taken over Dradmida, an essential ally to Faledrin hailing from Edros. This organization was once regarded as a helping hand to those in need granting riches to help Kingdoms in their endeavors. Not many know they have taken over Dradmida, holding the royal house hostage as they operate from behind the veil of the king.

    Those who do know are essential in protecting Faledrin. A war is brewing, further stirred by Prince Jerian of Faledrin the night of Lady North’s Masque. For years the kingdom’s nobility had been funded by the Cabal to create an army of Tainted to which they could turn on command. They were successful, and while they anticipated revealing their efforts to a Cabal representative the night of the masque, Prince Jerian informed them of the traitorous turn of their benefactors who had a similar deal with Dradmida before it was taken over.

    And so they sought to send a message to the Cabal by executing who they thought was the Cabal representative that was actually a member of the Cult of Thieves under cover. The execution would also be a demonstration of their achievements with the Tainted thereby showing the Cabal that they would not be so easily taken.

    With this, the Cult of Thieves will need to bolster their ranks for the coming tribulations. Not only are their own corrupt, but war threatens the kingdom that struggles to survive on its own. Members and allies of all different assets and professions would be of great value. Some will be individuals the Cult has actively been watching for some time, and others may be ones to approach the Cult of Thieves to form an alliance.



    Available Roles


    All new CS submissions must adhere to the following roles. More than one player is allowed to make a CS for one role, and out of those CSs the best one will be chosen. Questions regarding lore or help are welcome, but does not guarantee a spot in the roleplay. I currently have a very dedicated group of roleplayers that understand this story can take us a year to complete as we all keep our real lives priority.

    To note: these roles are meant only as guidelines and to be used as a foundation you build upon. Personality, appearance, and background details are left up to you.

    Please choose from the following roles:
    The Whisper

    Hailing from the Edrosi kingdom of Krei, The Whisper is also a formal title for this character. They are experts at being unseen; the fly on the wall that not only gathers intelligence with ease, but moves in for a kill without ever being noticed as an assassin.

    The Whispers are a small order, much like Faledrin’s Cult of Thieves. Though where the Cult of Thieves has their focus only on Faledrin and its betterment, The Whispers are designed by the noble house of Kalset to gain power both in blackmail and in quiet assassinations of Krei opposers. Since it is only speculation they exist (as they do their jobs well), no one can rightly blame Krei for any strange deaths both in and outside the kingdom.

    Suggestions:

    This character will need to be a chameleon of sorts, and possibly charismatic. I likely won't accept any who are too edgy and unrealistic.

    They do not have to become a part of the Cult, but they will need to ally with them. To that I would suggest (after acceptance) we collaborate as to your character’s ulterior motives and if you'd like for them to be known.

    You do not have to have previous knowledge of anything in this universe, but I highly encourage questions even in your development so that you can build a strong character you will enough.

    Requirements:
    • Must hail from Krei
    • Must be human
    The Tainted

    A human afflicted by Shadow from the hands of Faledrin’s nobility, this character will have been a servant under one of the noble houses. The Tainted are this universe’s equivalent to the werewolves in supernatural lore, only their transformations are triggered by something specific to them.

    Suggestions:
    It's highly recommended that interested players read the most recent chapter of the roleplay.

    Requirements:
    • Must be human
    • Must have been a servant within Faledrin under a noble house
    The Scavenger

    This individual is an adventurer of sorts who procures artifacts around the world for profit. They're very knowledgeable in old things, and it is evident they would have had some sort of education at some point as they can read a fair many languages.

    Suggestions:
    They could really come from any background and would likely be a driven and intelligent person.

    I highly recommend they are looking for the tome known as Ambrose as it could tie them in nicely with current events.

    Requirements:
    • Must be a traveler/adventurer
    The Fading Light

    Inner Light is a form of unnatural magic by which relies on a morally good soul to be wielded. The Maldviri are commonly known to practice such magic, and in recent years have come to the Allied Kingdoms to trade and form alliances.

    They are also known for having fought against Shadow Magic for centuries, and is the best defense against it. Those with Inner Light are taught how to combat Shadow and protect the innocent.

    Suggestions:
    This character could be an ambassador, vindicator, or just a regular Maldviri in Faledrin for purposes of trade and learning of their new allies.

    They cannot be evil, but since the role is "The Fading Light" you are more than welcome to explore a "gray area" Inner Light practitioner, or perhaps one who is struggling with the concept of morality, or perhaps an individual who has lost their way but still carries the knowledge to combat the Shadow.

    Requirements:
    • Must be human
    • Must be Maldviri
    • Cannot be evil
    The Defector

    A warrior, soldier, magi, or fighter from either foreign or domestic, this individual will be someone who was once on the side of the Cabal and the growing Shadow Army. They will have valuable knowledge in the coming stages leading up to a possible war and will have the abilities to help combat it on the front.

    Suggestions:
    If you choose a warrior or a soldier, I recommend choosing an origin either in Faledrin, Dradmida, Bastillos, or Krei. Not much is public knowledge about the latter three, so feel free to contact me for any questions regarding Edrosi kingdoms.

    I do not recommend them having been part of the Cabal. It would make things a little complicated as it would require a lot more lore knowledge and I want you to be able to jump into the roleplay without breaking a sweat.

    They can be a Shadow Caster, though! Perhaps someone recruited by the Cabal to join their army and do their bidding. For more information on Shadow Magic, I highly recommend reading about it in the Encyclopedia section under "Magic."

    Understand that this role will come with the Cult of Thieves HEAVILY skeptical of your character. Trust will have to be earned through roleplay.

    Double crossing in mind is allowed and must be disclosed to me as the GM or in the CS before character approval.

    Requirements:
    • Must have been on the "bad guy" side before defecting
    The Outcast

    This would be an individual who perhaps does not fit in, or perhaps they were exiled by their people for their beliefs or lifestyle. They would have valuable knowledge, skills that would be of interest to the Cult of Thieves, and will have been under their radar for some time. Faledrin is their home, whether they were born in it or came to it having no other place to go, and from this their skills were honed.

    Suggestions:
    The nobles, at this point in the story, are split between those completely unaware of what is happening and those who have sided with the Cabal to raise and army. It could be in the realm of possibility to create a noble character who disagrees with this, but they will have to have been disagreeing for months in order for the Cult to take interest in them. If the nobility route is chosen, they will need to be clever, cunning, and have found their way into the upper echelon to gather information about them and what they're up to. They may have even been at the secret viewing played out in Chapter 2 of the plot.

    Another suggestion could be an outcast from a foreign land. Elves and half-elves are not welcome in Faledrin, but not unheard of as Quinn's brothel has an elf under his employ and the Cult of Thieves has their own half-elves in recruit. If this option is taken, their backstory needs to be run by me and you will need to read about magic and choose a natural form of magic.

    They could also be a regular Fallenite cast out by their family for a reason of your choosing.

    There could be an orc outcast as well. The nature of why they were ostracized or exiled is up to you.

    A Maldviri outcast can be one who practices Shadow Magic or even one who chooses to reject magic and become a nomad.

    Requirements:
    • Must be exiled or ostracized
    • Must live in Faledrin
    • Must have a reason in skills for the Cult to take interest in them
    The Fugitive

    On the run from their oppressors or the law, this person will have skills such as slight-of-hand, understanding of combat, and a record that put them in their predicament they are now running from. This person is a Fallenite who was caught and imprisoned, perhaps even serving time in a foreign land, but once was on the Cult's radar as a person of interest. Having escaped their imprisonment, they are back on the table as a possible recruit, though with some hesitancy.

    Suggestions:
    You can have them escape a Fallenite prison if you'd like, but don't feel like that's what you have to do! There is also the option of serving time in an Edrosi prison or one of the Allied Kingdoms. They could have also been a slave in Baladur as Baladuri would often capture and enslave foreigners who wronged them.

    What they were in for is up to you, but bear in mind they would have conformed to what would be of interest to the Cult of Thieves. They wouldn't be entirely sloppy! Perhaps they were even framed?

    Requirements:
    • Must be on the run
    • Must have skills of interest to the Cult



    Current Players




    Current players will be allowed to make a second character after I close CS submissions to newcomers and choose the new recruits. Any roles not filled will be up for grabs at that point.

    New recruits will all be given someone currently a member of the Cult as a mentor to not only provide the new characters with someone they can turn to, but for the new players to have someone they can go to for easy collab roleplay to implement into the story should they choose.


    CS Requirements


    CSs can be coded how you like, but all CSs should include the following along with a realistic face claim (please no anime):

    Name:

    Age:

    Race:

    Magic: (must be pre approved by me via PM)

    Appearance: (describe in detail as well as provide a face claim. Photos and realistic artwork only. No anime! Due to lore reasons, no red heads are allowed.)

    History: (Please be detailed. 3+ paragraphs)

    Weapon(s) of choice: (be realistic please)

    Specialization for the Cult of Thieves (espionage, information, assassination, acquisitions. Choose one and describe how your character has this as a specialization as this will help define how they became one of the Thieves)

    A writing sample (3+ paragraphs of your character)


     
    • Love Love x 5
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  2. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Lyriana an'Benat (Left) and 'Captain Cersiana Caliviser' (Right)



    Name: Lyriana an’Benat
    AKA: Various; Lyri, Captain Cersiana Caliviser, Whisper.
    Age: 31
    Race: Human - Edrosi (Krei)
    Appearance: Lyriana’s skill in the esoteric art of face-changing (see blurb in Specialization section) is given testament by the memorable nature of her true countenance. Distinctly pale skin (a side effect of her masks shielding her from the sun) remains unblemished, her soft visage belying her age. Her eyes are held wide and a - rare for the area - piercing blue. The right eye, wide though it is, droops ever lower than the left in a case of amblyopia. Her thin nose and modestly full lips are rigidly set, pursed and aloof when duty calls.

    Her hair is kept boyishly short, for the convenient adoption of disguise and donning of wigs. Outside of disguise, Lyriana is known to wear a wig of dark, lustrous hair kempt by various horse-oils - a mark of vestigial vanity.

    Not particularly tall, nor particularly short, Lyriana is lithe and hardened by years of grueling regimen, yet pliable and responsive when prompted. There is an economy in her movement, a quickness of reaction and fluidity, that she is capable of suppressing at a moment’s notice.

    Personality: Those who’ve seen the true face of Lyriana typically note her stoicism, and assume it pervades every portion of her being. This is untrue; Lyriana is passionate about a great many things, and dreams about richer matters such as fine foods and silks and beautiful men. What dispassion belongs to her is strategically - and dutifully - aimed. Lyriana will not find passion in the deaths of others, as a matter of both effectiveness and morality. Within the dispassionate rituals of procedure and execution lies the truest essence of the craft: the job. That it is, in the end, a job is not lost on her, and she remains ruthless in the line of service, making the most out of a talent for planning as well as improvisation.

    As a matter of personal preference, Lyriana tends towards assuming the role of personable and good-humored characters. While subdued on the job, Lyriana appreciates a well-constructed joke, a cordially held conversation and any opportunity to learn more about the various new streets and crowds she finds herself within. The characters she becomes on the job are an exemption from her policy of dispassion - there have been moments where she finds herself fantasizing of her pretend lives, envisioning what life would become if she adopted her new role and shirked her old duties. A matter of only theory, to be sure, for if nothing else, Lyriana is the perpetual master of bending to those above her.



    Magic: None.
    Weapons of Preference: Typically, favors twin daggers. Bountiful remnants of her hair, bound and treated by alchemical oil, can be used as if ad hoc garrotes, and sometimes figure their way into the wigs of her disguises.

    Specialization: Assassination. A skilled and steady hand with a knife (or two, specifically), combined with a talent for disguise make Lyriana an exceptional assassin with transferable skills in other departments.

    Lyriana an’Benat is an experienced practitioner of shifting; the art of changing one’s body and face through practical effect, material and theatrics. Through specially curated molds of clay and berry-harvested paints, Lyriana is able to create bodily prosthetics for limb, skin, and face, in essence changing her color, her very shape, and the details of her face. While marvellous in its own right, there are a variety of shortcomings to the technique. The primary one is the time required for application - hours of preparation for a disguise to last the day. Amongst others: inability to replicate extreme size discrepancies (with height as the primary issue), eye color, the challenges of imitating voice, overall discomfort.

    If time is of some concern, Lyriana is not opposed to less… architectural methods of disguise, understanding the core tenets of the craft. Wardrobe, theatrics, improvisation, voicework, posturing, the careful drawing of attention to choice details to hide others. Prosthetics are props; a part of the repertoire, but not the end-all be-all.

    Captain Cersiana Caliviser: Her current disguise of choice for her travels in Faledrin. Captain Cersiana Caliviser, the Whaling Princess, is an accomplished Fallenite whaler, known as much for her talents at sea and the procurement of sea-life (which Lyriana has gained as a matter of study and from her upbringing in Krei) as she is for her bawdry and belligerent charisma. A sturdily built woman with those same sharp blue eyes, and hair the color of the evening sea. This disguise is typically used as her ‘base’, a safe-form for every day existence, as opposed to being used for infiltration. That she remains primarily at sea when not scouring for information insulates her from outside threats.



    History: A soldier is a soldier, and nothing else, according to the dutiful man - but what of that which came before the soldier? Lyriana was born to two members of a travelling actor’s troupe. Her mother was ever the vibrant performer, favoring characters that were manic, noble, and adventurous in equal measure. Her father was responsible for the props - wooden swords and horses, and masks to turn men into monsters and clowns. Krei - with all its burning energies, and its peoples with their esoteric garb - agreed with the couple, who settled down not long after Lyriana’s birth.

    She had been born while the sun was at its apex, and perhaps it was fitting; she was a lively child, bouncy and eager. Her childhood had been a pleasant one - mother and father had been retired, yet would go to extravagant lengths to perform and entertain for their lovely daughter, donning clay masks and feather outfits, speaking in outrageous voices and clever rhyme. Lyriana’s earliest passions, then, were the crafts her parents had called their own, and her earliest dreams? To use the wonderful crafts of mother and father to travel the known world as they did.

    Still, even the brightest lands had a way of shading out the light. Lyriana was a passable thespian-aspirant - could memorize a line, could move well on the stage. Despite that, troupes seldom looked for ‘passable’. The most progressive of troupes deemed her to be without the necessary prowess. The lesser troupes overlooked her for the unevenness of her eyes, which had been much more pronounced in her youth.

    Unwilling to burden her family, she looked for alternative ways to advance her aspirations. Perhaps through some other labor she would learn more of the world, of life, and perhaps, when time had passed, she would be all the better for it. Lyriana chose the soldier’s route, believing that she would find glory in her travels, and thousands of stories to tell, to bring back with her on the stage. In hindsight, she had been hopelessly naive. The soldier’s path threatened to break her a dozen times over, and a soldier’s path was not so easily relinquished. She would learn to bend past her limits, or she would break.

    So, she bent.
    She had been weak of body. And in bending, she became strong.
    She had been weak of mind. And in bending, she became disciplined.

    The travels made her a more worldly sort, though there was little glory in it, and even less happiness. Military engagements were taxing affairs, after all, and Lyriana courted death on more than one occasion. Given her innocent appearance - and ostensibly the fact that she was a comely woman - she was often tasked as reconnaissance, finding her way deep into enemy territory when necessary. Still, she did not break. She bent, living daringly between the maws of death. Over the years, she found solace in service, in duty, bending in order not to break.

    Six years of soldiering was a long time, all things considered, to come home. She had found not glory in her travels, but steel. Yet even steel yearned to soften - Lyriana wished to retire, and once again pursue her dreams of thespianship. When she returned, however, there was an offer from the House Kalset. Eternal loyalty and service to the King, to remain mum while given the secrets of the Whispers.

    Perhaps it was because she was still naive. Or perhaps it was because she was naive no longer. But she, again, deferred the dream she once held. She recited the vows to her King, and then she bent.



    Writing Sample (open)

    Writing Sample:

    Instruction on the Art of Shifting

    “The face,” she noted, pointing towards the depiction of a grinning woman on papyrus, an outline for a future disguise. “should be more handsome than beautiful. ‘Pretty’ is fine, preferable, even, dealing with nobility. But unless the character needs it, never beautiful. A beautiful face will stay with someone in their lonesome, tender moments - their thoughts will wander back to you, and they’ll remember you like a man - or a woman - remembers the only dream they've ever managed to remember. No good.”

    Her fingers jumped from freckle to freckle on that papyrus drawing, and then to shaded pockmarks - not near so many as to be unwelcome, but enough to tell stories of the hardened woman with the storm-wind in her face. It was the subtle telling of a story, the inference to be placed in their mind, a tale that hid the sinister truth. She continued.

    “But a kind, handsome face, they’ll forget, just a few moments after. But when they see you again, they’ll smile. They’ll remember you as a happy flicker, and nothing more - they’ll speak to you, if you will it, and they’ll leave you just as fast, if you will it. That’s something we can use.”

    The new inductee was enraptured, she noted. That was good, perhaps - a point of focus for him to base his new fledgling career upon; in a craft that in many ways was worse than battle, but cleaner. The look on his face was not passion, passion required time, if it were to come at all - Lyriana hoped that it would never be passion. What she taught was only art in the hands of a performer, it was a tool in the hands of a Whisper. One did not, should not, wield a tool with passion, only precision. The two of them had been soldiers, after all, not pretentious artisans.

    “Still, these are just tools, meant to trick their heads into thinking what you want - to make them stare at your left hand, before you strike with your right. This,” Lyriana pointed to the papyrus drawing again, and the mounds of clay that would form the disguise, “is mostly worthless. Just ink and clay, clay and ink. A shifter who doesn’t understand the mind hides less than a naked old man, you understand?”

    The silent nod of the understudy indicated reception. “Good. And speaking of naked old men, let’s eat dinner... I jest. But I could use a feast or two before I face down months of fried whale meat. One of those Faledrin charms you might learn of one day.”
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • You Get a Cookie You Get a Cookie x 1

  3. ILIAS ARANTHON

    The Fading Light​
    Age: 27

    Race: Human - Maldviri Vindicator

    Magic: Inner Light

    Specialization for the Cult: Espionage
    The ability to transport his soul over short distances allows Ilias a distinct advantage when it comes to spying. From strategic vantage points, he can observe events up close without being seen, search for signs of trouble or traps without physically endangering himself, and easily listen to conversations out of physical earshot.

    Weapon(s) of choice: A staff used equally as walking stick and weapon.


    APPEARANCE​


    Standing at 6'1'' with a weight of 135lbs, Ilias is the very near walking visualization of a human beanpole. He stands ramrod straight and dresses neatly, preferably in varying degrees of white. His movements and gestures are stiff and measured, with an almost irritating calculated precision. His limbs and fingers carry the bare minimum by way of muscle (as if to protest even bearing their own weight) giving him a semi-gaunt appearance at first glance. His eyes are a deep, warm brown offset by a naturally dark skin tone, and light, fine black hair. Not one to maintain a perfectly clean shave, he is most often seen with the tell-tale signs of a five-o-clock shadow.


    HISTORY​



    Ilias never had the benefit of knowing his father, raised instead by a young, nomadic mother with a penchant for Shadow Magic. Most of his early childhood was spent traveling from one place to another, never settling down for more than a few months at a time. Bordering on neurotic even apart from Shadow Magic, his mother practiced with a greedy relentlessness, always pushing far past the limits of caution and lending herself to less than reputable actions.

    When Ilias reached his fifth year, his mother reached her breaking point. In her last weeks, she returned to Maldvir with her son and made arrangements for him to be cared for by her cousins. While her intention was to leave and end her life quickly before her rabid use of Shadow Magic could end her, her time was gone and it took her all the same.

    Throughout the rest of his upbringing, Ilias was firm in his resolve to follow in the opposite direction of his mother's ways. Having witnessed the corruption and agony brought to the world by the Darkness not only to those who made use of its power but those whose lives they influenced, he promised himself that he would spend his days eradicating it.

    In his early adult years, Ilias pursued the life of a Vindicator with abandon, dedicating himself to the pursuit of a pure, vibrant soul to combat the Shadow he would face. When the alliances between Maldvir and Faledrin fell into place, he took advantage of the opportunity to travel to Faledrin with a few others contracted to assist with troubling scenarios involving Shadow Magic.

    At the end of a year, a particular situation arose where Ilias suffered a difference of opinion from the official facilitating the duties handed to him and the others. Shortly thereafter, they parted ways and Ilias found himself working alone, chasing rumors of Shadow Casters that eventually led him to Windfell.


    PERSONALITY​


    STRENGTHS

    | Cautious | | Patient | Rational |

    WEAKNESSES

    | Passive | | Judgemental | | Closed Minded |

    Ilias is a quiet man who reserves his words for what he believes truly needs to be said. Being passive and entirely non-assertive, he will often wait to offer his opinions until asked to provide them. He is calm and evenly tempered, taking tension and stress in stride. It is difficult to raise his anger, and simply a matter of asking to earn his forgiveness when wronged.

    While he is forgiving by nature, he often harbors unspoken judgments of others, criticizing them by comparison to himself. He believes that all men have a far greater capacity for goodness than they typically portray, and is irritated when it is evident that a person is not endeavoring to apply themselves to the pursuit of such goodness.

    Perhaps his most prized possession is his reputation. He cares deeply about how others see him and how he will be remembered and strives daily towards the goal of leaving behind a legacy of good character.

    On occasions where he is asked to speak up or offer advice, Ilias is not one to sugar coat facts or ease the impact of hard truths. He is blunt and concise and would tell anyone who doesn’t like what they hear that they should not have asked to hear it, or that being upset by honesty and denying the truth of it will not help them.

    Contrary to what one might expect, he can at times seem to be more cynic than optimist. One might hear him profess such beliefs as that most men are inclined to be more good than evil, but less good than they should be. He also rarely assumes that people are likely to be honest or trustworthy, and is quick to note the extensiveness of their faults.




    WRITING SAMPLE (open)

    Windfell was not a nice city. It was cramped, dirty, it stank, and even on sunny days it felt gloomy and depressing. On this particular day, the pouring rain and rumbling clouds pushed the air of the city past appearances into a pit of mud and chilling damp. Despite the months Ilias had spent in Windfell, only rumors and hearsay of Shadow Casting had reached him. Every idle comment or detailed account led nowhere but to the most reasonable conclusion of lonely, self-depraved people leading dull lives and making excitement for themselves through danger that was not real.

    Today, the common room of the inn where he lodged was filled with patrons in search of liquor to warm them from the inside as well as a roof and warm hearth to shelter from the rain. The crowded space filled the air with the musky scent of half-damp clothes and bodies washed in all likelihood most recently by the rain. Coarse laughter and the think-slosh of toasts banished all pretense of peace from the room. Ilias sat in the corner with a bowl of soup on the table before him, silently watching the occupants of the room while he ate.

    The front door burst inward, ushering in a gust of cold wind and wet mist in the wake of a short, gangly man. He latched the door to shut out the harsh outdoors, eliminating the brief draft to restore heavy, warm stillness to the air. Ilias tracked the man with his eyes as he barreled his way up to the bar and elbowed into a spot near the bartender, loudly demanding a drink.

    Quickly losing interest in another gutter rat looking for a temporary cure to his sorrows, Ilias returned to scanning the room. If the rain let up today, he planned to make a trip down to the harbor and inquire of any trade ships returning to Maldvir. The fruitlessness of his efforts to date was beginning to wear on him, and the urge to visit the family he hadn't seen in nearly two years grew strong with the passing days. Once rejuvenated, it would be time to return and begin the fight again.

    A tankard dropping heavily onto the table across from him jolted Ilias from his thoughts. He looked up to see the man who had entered several minutes before inviting himself into the only other available chair. He propped it back, and raised his feet to rest on the edge of the table. Ilias straightened and leaned back, eyeing the man with a frown.

    "Are ye from them Southlyn parts?" the man asked, taking a long, slurping gulp of his ale. He lowered it long enough to add, "Maldvir, is it?"

    Ilias folded his hands, holding the man's gaze with an even stare. "I am." The man chuckled, taking another long sip.

    "Thought so. I don't s'pose you be one of 'em - " he gestured with his hands, spilling a bit of ale out of the cup and prompting a curse, " - 'em sunshine dally-doers, er whatever they be called."

    "If you are referring to the practice of the Inner Light, it is the practice of our people, yes. But it has little to do with the sun. Is there some way I can help you, sir?" Ilias was curious as to why this man wished to approach him, but if as he expected the extent of it was to poke fun at a foreigner, then he did not intend to encourage it further.

    The man pounded his mug back onto the table and dropped his feet to the floor, leaning across the table with an angry flare to his features. "I jest been comin' from Caterly street. There me was, goin' about me business, when some god-fooled Tainted comes barreling down the street, hackin' n' slashin' at 'erryone 'e got close to. Some bloody fools got 'em down and turned t' normal looks, and we was right close t' beatin' the tainted life right out 'o 'is sorry hide, but one of 'em fools gets up an' flashes some fancy steel, and sends us all off." He leaned back slowly, shaking his head. "I cain't tell ya what them fools did with 'em, but" he slammed his fist against the hard wood of the table, shaking it hard enough to knock Ilias' spoon to the floor, "I ain't lettin' some masked fool bandits make off rescuin' some Tainted. Ought to die, it does" he added in a mutter.

    Ilias bent to snatch his spoon from the floor, and dusted it off with his fingers before setting it carefully back in place beside his bowl. "You say you just came from there? How long ago was this?" The man shrugged his beefy shoulders.

    "Not more n' an hour, I'd wager." Ilias pushed back his chair and stood, sliding his bowl of soup across the table to the stranger.

    "I bid you a good day, sir" he said quietly, turning to take his staff and cloak from where they rested against the wall. Throwing his cloak around his shoulders, he ignored the man's protests and demands, making swiftly for the door with staff in hand.

    He had business with a Tainted and the band of thieves that stole it.

     
    • You Need a Hug You Need a Hug x 1