• Mature • 5. So Why Didn’t You?

Atop a stony plateau overlooking the lands of central Idalos, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from the rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence; firm in its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the many factions set aside their conflicting agendas and see this through?

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Llyr Llywelyn
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5. So Why Didn’t You?

Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:34 am

52 Ymiden, Arc 719
The Steaming Dream
Commercial Ring, 2-2-o-9


Llyr stood beside the bath, grimy with sweat, dirt, and ash from the smoke that clung to the Etzori atmosphere. The petite biqaj woman hadn’t moved for a few bits. She stared at a glittering well in the palm of her hand. Finally, she seemed to come to a decision for an unspoken question and placed the well on the bench.

A bathhouse likely seemed an odd place to conclude such a long-standing deal, but anyone who knew the mage couldn’t honestly claim that Llyr - Zarik - was all that usual of an individual. On their walk to the place, she’d promised Kasoria they would exchange the coin properly… but only after they were both clean.

Or as she called it: cleansed.

There was more than just dirt and ash and sweat on her. Llyr looked at her hands, rinsed from the cool water basin in the corner. She felt filthy, as filthy as she used to feel when curled up under the workroom table to sleep on the stone floor while listening to the nearby whimpers of a tortured victim. It was the sort of filth that needed hot water, and fragrant oils, and perfume salts, and wealth spent on such luxuries. She wanted to forget the scents of rot and plague and charred flesh… if only for a short time.

And the young mage wanted to share this with Kasoria.

She’d offered to pay for a private bath, outside of his compensation, as usual with most everything. It was preferable over the communal bath, she supposed, because of the possible conversation the two of them could exchange that she’d rather not be in direct public witness. Not only did she pay for the bath, the salts and oils, but she also arranged with the service assistant to acquire new clothes for them. Simple cotton tunics and leggings, and slippers, but clean and not torn from hard travel. The two outfits were already on the bench, folded beside the spot where she’d set the well.

Her other request, upon settling payment, was a pitcher of drinking water and two goblets. They’d been offered wine, but she promptly refused on the behalf of them both. All she wanted was good, clean water. Near the stone inset tub, she’d set the tray for ease to drink the water while bathing instead of having to get out for it.

Llyr rinsed before she even dared approach the hot water. She used the cool water basin to scrub the first layer of ash off her hands and feet, then her neck and shoulders. As she peeled off her ragged dress, she continued along her limbs and body. She took a long drink from a goblet of water, rinsed her teeth, then spat it out in the basin. Once finished, the brunette kicked aside her discarded clothing to a corner. She didn’t want to keep any of it, not even the boots. It would all burn, either by the service attendant taking care of it or by her own hand later.

She held the pewter goblet loosely in her hand while she approached the bath. The biqaj examined the water, an oily sheen over the surface and foam along the edges from the salts. It smelt of mint and flowers and herbs, and she inhaled deeply. Her eyes shut for a few trills. She appreciated the aromatic steam that rose in a heated haze.

The biqaj woman slid into the bath next. A quiet, but involuntary hiss escaped her. The heat invaded her wounds, the numerous tiny cuts and tender bruises, and the jagged laceration on her calf stung terribly. She closed her eyes again while she adjusted.

Her mutations remained like always, the crystalline legs glimmered bone-white while the water lapped against the slender limbs. On her backside, the ever-moving inky tattoo twisted and flared in morphed designs. No halo, though, nor wings either.

When she opened her eyes, the irises had lightened into colors as flowery as the scents of the bath. Pink and yellow, she glanced toward Kasoria - who seemed, through-out it all, positively pleased with the concept of a bath. He’d been just as dirty as her, maybe even more so.

Whether the service attendant thought them related, or didn’t care about shared baths between opposite genders, Llyr didn’t know - nor did the biqaj even think to wonder about it. Bathhouses weren’t usual for the young mage, only the rarest of visits in Lair had proved that all Quacians would share the communal pools though. He’d never visited the ones in Shanty nor the Gleam, other than the private one in the noble hall.

From sun up to sun down, and through each night, Llyr had traveled with Kasoria for many trials of wilderness. The Becomer had already seen most of all there was to see in Yaralon, and curiosity didn’t even strike her.

Llyr sighed. It was a noise of conflicted relaxation. She drifted lower in the water until her chin touched the surface, then she ducked underneath. Submerged, she hovered in the water until she lifted and shook out her short black hair.

Murk drifted to the surface, but the fragrant oils lifted the dirt away to the sides of the tub. The scabs on her body softened. She scrubbed unceremoniously at her neck, at her pits, between her legs, behind her pointed ears, then - and only then - did she regard Kasoria in an actual way that meant business.

“So…” she cleared her throat.

What was there to say? What wasn’t there to say?

The Quacian concluded, “We made it.”

Well… most of us, anyway.

Foster’s Landing felt as if it’d been decades ago. Graeslin’s ship felt eons away. Their fleeting shared dreams in Emea, a mere remnant of ancient centuries lost to time.

Llyr lowered her gaze, the irises of her eyes having turned an ocean blue color. She drifted under the water’s surface again. She held her breath, remained submerged for an extended time, enough that bubbles gathered and then she lifted with a gasp for oxygen. She leaned over the side of the tub, grabbed the goblet from before and took a sip of water.

Another sigh, then she rested her brow on her forearm. She glanced at the lanterned candles placed along the ceiling.

“Maybe I’ll simply give you everything I have and die here. Slit open my wrists, be done with it.” Her gaze slid over to look at Kasoria. A slight smile hinted at the corner of her lips. “All that way to murder myself in an Etzos’ bath. Poetic, yes?”

Llyr drifted in the water to press her back against the edge. She lowered again until the nape of her neck lolled against the stone ridge. Her feet lifted in the tempered gravity of the water. The crystalline skin glittered in the lantern light. She lightly kicked at the surface, the slightest of playful splashes. Her smile tilted. The irises of her eyes flashed in a flurry of vivid colors.

She sharply kicked once to splash water at Kasoria.

The biqaj giggled once the droplets sprayed out, then hurriedly retreated her legs. She ducked underneath the water, as if that would hide her, as if she even needed to hide. She kept under for a few trill, then bobbed up. A dramatic gasp left her as if she’d spent entire breaks holding her breath. Her freckled cheeks blushed from simple enjoyment of the mediocre and childish play.

Llyr’s smile faded, however. She swept her arms out, wading, though the bath was hardly deep. With her gaze locked on the Etzori, she asked with a rasp to her voice, “What will you do now?”

word count: 1406

Etzos

The following visuals are not applicable in the Etzos territory during Ymiden: Gossamer Wings, Halo.

Eyes

Llyr's eyes are constantly changing based on a blend of his emotions.
When an emotion dominates, the pigment expands past his irises to the entire eye - faintly glowing in that emotion's color.
See Color References here.

Mutations

  • Gossamer wings resembling a cross between the wings of a dragonfly and a flying ant.
  • An iridescent halo that hovers over his head.
  • Crystalline legs from his toes to the mid of his thighs (like stockings made of quartz embedded into his skin).
  • An ever-moving inky tattoo, with Rorschach-like designs, on his back.

Scars

Llyr currently has 9 major scars, referenced on his CS.
Most noticeable is two parallel lines, with an triangular arrow point connecting them, on the center of his forehead.

Totems

When in a totem's body, Llyr's mutations persist but his scars do not.
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Kasoria
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Re: 5. So Why Didn’t You?

Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:57 pm

Image
It had been so long that soap was naught but a memory in his mind. Not the scrape or scrub of the stuff, but the smell. Waxen and fresh, both at once. The way it had smothered the grime and stink pervading him, until they too were but a memory. Usually the Etzori had waited a generous span of trials before bathing; the reek of a beggar was all part of his facade, after all. True, it mainly came from his clothes, which he kept fastidiously filthy as an ordinary man might do the exact opposite, but a little muck on the skin or in the beard made the picture whole. He just made sure that he didn't have to much on him that the sores and scabs and ominous bumps he saw on other vagrants never made an appearance.

But this has not been the usual season. Hells. Hasn't even been the usual arc.

How long had it been? He pondered as he disrobed, surrounded by scented steam and the soft lap of fresh, hot water. A span as old as the arc, he'd wager. The last time he remembered taking a bath - a real bath - was the cold season, and not the back end of it. Before Ilos' betrayal on the canal. That mad, inevitable day when all had turned against him and his master. Vorund had died. Kasoria had lived. Barely. Then he'd been trapped and tortured and, of course, hygiene was not a priority. The flight to Andaris City, after that, and that madness with Little Finn and his necromancer "friend".

Hmm. Got clean after that. But not bathed.

Killing the Mantis Lord. Escaping the castle. Ah. The moat? Would that count? Probably not. His exit had been through a shit-pipe, after all. Even a swim through a moat couldn't wipe that stink away. He'd shed his feces-covered clothed and bolted for the coast. Kept going until he was in Rynmere. With the skin-changer. Bounty hunting after that. Working down, down towards Volta, claiming heads as he went. A ship to Yaralon. Becoming the Shark of Yaralon Bay, and then-

Always another "and then". Fates, man. Listen to yourself.

The old man chuckled as the last of his clothes bunched at his feet. His son would never believe all of this. He could tell him every detail and swear across his black heart it all happened. But Martyn wouldn't believe him. Boy was too shrewd. Even with three whole seasons of time, even with magic aiding him, could a man travel such distances, do all these things, survive all those perils? Kasoria wouldn't believe it. Why would his cunning little boy think otherwise?

Have to make it convincing, won't you?

Slowly, gratefully, Kasoria sank into the bath. Heat hissed and bit at him as he went down. Toasting his skin until the temperature between his body and the water reached something like a compromise. When it did, he could feel the slackness seep into his muscles; the ache lessen; the weariness of old bones and hard traveling diminish. A sigh leaked from his lips a he got all the way down, elbows at his sides. A normal-sized man would be able to rest them on the sides of the tub, but he was smaller than most. So he kept his feet at the bottom end, his arms to his sides, and let his face just poke out from the surface.

He submerged himself for a trill. Long enough for the world to go blurry and fuzzy. Then come back up and instinctively check his weapons were still propped up against the tub, handles and hilts facing him. He'd killed too many men on the shitter or while bathing to assume his own assassin would be so honorable, and show so little pragmatism. But all he saw in the room was her. Stating the completely fucking obvious.

"Aye," he said, smiling despite himself. Sharing the moment. "We did."

What was that about stating the fucking obvious?

Kasoria chuckled again and swept his hair back over and around his skull. He reached over the tub and found the items he'd requested: short, sharp scissors, and a razor. Before the soap, he took care of this matter, under the eyes of the woman that used to be a man. He was fortunately well past the point of being self-conscious when naked around others, even women. It wasn't often an issue, given their lack of mutual hygiene on the road across Etzos and then back the other way, but now and then, it had come up. He'd caught her looking, just once, and it hadn't been disinterest or wild passion (ha, yeah, really fucking likely) he'd seen in her eyes, when he'd undressed one night to wash his clothes.

No. She'd taken one look at the patchwork plethora of scar tissue across his torso, and winced instead. Looked away with mingled pity and disgust dripping from her gaze. Kasoria had clenched his teeth but not spoken. That was to be expected. She was not of his world, or knew his history. He knew that she had more hardness in her than he'd first thought, when he'd seen just a waif of a boy being menaced by scum in a Foster's Landing alley. Funny how that iron had only really come out when they'd changed into a woman.

He shook his head as he sheared the hair from his face. Funnier how it became normal to think in such ways. That your client, your partner in travels, could flit between man and woman and hey-ho, that was just part of life, now.

Like an empty city. Like the constant stench of decay. Like his home and country ravaged and-

Kasoria smiled again at her words, but it was a hollow thing. Even in here, comfortable and clean and surrounded by comparative luxury, he could smell the slow death of his city beyond the windows. Thousands of bodies still had to be disposed of; thousands more had already been burned, but their massed ashes coated the city from highest tower to the sewer grates. Llyr's words of an exotic, theatrical death in Etzos held more black comedy that she realized.

"Worse ways t'end a tale," he murmured, giving her a lopsided smile as he saw her watching him from her own tub. "Can't imagine yer audience'd be too thrilled, though."

A patter of water showered him. Like a child, and a particularly immature one, she'd kicked water at his words and Kasoria felt a brief swell of anger wash over him. But it rolled off him like the water did, a trill later. Instead he just grunted, and shook his head. Still a child, that one, in many ways. Young enough to be his daughter, he'd realized. When did he become so old?

"Better."

That was his sole opinion of himself when he looked in the precious mirror they'd been given. Warped and twisted, if you turned it just the right away, you could see your face without it being warped by imperfections. Now the assassin bore just a mustache and short beard, with none of the fur trimmings covering the rest of his face. His hair had been trimmed, too. Shoulder-length, instead of flowing down his back. Kasoria studied the image for a while, making sure his cuts were even... and wondering if he'd need that old mask again.

For that's what it was. Overgrown, unkempt, filthy, raggedy, raggedy, the Raggedy Man. That street myth had died with the streets of the Oh'Pee. His name, that still lived, and was still useful. But his legend, his binds to the underworld... they had died with Bangun Vorund. Then died again with the death of the city and the obliteration of anything resembling the families and syndicates of the old day, which were but a season beforehand. What would take their place, he did not know. Or particularly care.

I won't be here to see it, or partake in it. I'm done.

He settled back in the bath, chugging down from the water cup before refilling it. Fates, but a man sweated in here. He stared at the foggy window opposite him. Beyond it was what was left of Etzos. Missing a whole perimeter, pretty much. The Comm'See had been ravaged, but only in its inhabitants. The structures, the buildings, the businesses and houses, they had largely survived. But the Oh'Pee? City and dwellers both had suffered. Not even one house in twenty still stood; not one citizen in ten had returned. Kasoria closed his eyes and thought on that. The immensity of it. The scale of savagery and hatred it took to unleash such power.

The insult. The affront. The threat, the eternal animosity it represented.

"Stay here, fer now," he answered her. His form was relaxed, but his words still hard. "Until they march south, which they're gunna, mark me when I tell yeh. Plague Cunt ain't gonna stand by fer this. Not when she got so close. People that're left, they ain't gonna, either. Not after... all that's happened."

He didn't need to say anything more. She'd seen the same horrors as him. Most of a season they'd crisscrossed Etzos, from the shores of the Orm'del to Westguard on the opposite border. They'd seen corpses and battlefields beyond count. Villages turned into charnel houses. Towns burned or burn, dead or dying, but never unmolested. When Lissira and her hordes did not devastate, paranoia and fear and chaos had done the same. Kasoria sighed and thought of the Free City of Etzos. The legend, the history, the noble thoughts it conjured in the mind when its name was said to the world. Would that ever be again? Wold rebuilding even be possible?

"Either it dies, or we do." He seemed to sum up the whole war to come in that sentence. Fatalistic, ruthless, undeniable. "So it's gunna be her. Then we'll come back an' worry about rebuilding. Fer now, though?"

He reached over and patted the weapons by his tub. Then he spoke with his eyes closed, groping briefly for his drink, then for the soap. He asked the question while only half-caring. He'd never concerned himself with his clients after the terms of the contract were paid up and dissolved. They were a means to feed his belly and keep a roof over his head. Not his friends. But he was not the Raggedy Man or a sellsword anymore. So he asked.

"'bout youse?"

Only half-caring. But half is better than none.
word count: 1826
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
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Llyr Llywelyn
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Re: 5. So Why Didn’t You?

Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:45 pm

Image
Soon, they would need more water. Cool water in the basin, fresh water in the pitcher, hot water in the tubs… perhaps not the latter. Llyr wasn’t sure. She considered staying forever in the bath, even after she’d scrubbed the last dried bit of grime from her hair with soap.

She observed the new styled look that the assassin had given himself, while she asked him what he might do next. A sincere question. Llyr didn’t know if she’d get an answer, partly expected a refusal, and thus she smiled when he actually said something of worth.

The young mage rid herself of the smile soon after, due to the actual contents of his answer. Why was it that she often found herself nearly grinning whenever Kasoria spoke about awful things like Lisirra and such. She hadn't smiled all that much since Westguard, but now that she was back in a city surrounded by civilization - no matter how besieged - she allowed herself the usual habit again. Besides, maybe she was just happy that he spoke to her at all, no matter the morbid subjects traded between them. She cupped her hands, scooped some water, and returned to scrub at her hair while she listened.

He drew her attention when he patted the nearby weapons. Llyr surveyed them, then nodded. A quiet hum muffled behind her lips. Her eyes darkened for a trill or so, then returned to the blue color when she heard him return the question.

“’bout youse?”

She hadn’t thought he would ask.

The biqaj grinned.

Her cheeks blushed again.

She turned in the tub, set her arms on the edge, and looked at him. The irises of her eyes brightened to a vivid rose pink color. Llyr twirled a few strands of her wet hair around her fingers.

“Me? What about me?” Llyr teased him, only just enough to make him regret asking. With a wave of her hand, open palmed, no scar showed where it would have been on the mage’s natural born self. She chimed, “Pleasant of you to ask.”

Her smile faded. She glanced around the area, a conspiratorial attitude to her. Her voice lowered, to not be so easily overheard, though ultimately you couldn’t help such things in cities - no matter how private you thought it might be, it didn't matter when even the walls had ears. She leaned farther over the edge, chest against stone, so Kasoria could still make out her words.

“What I damn well came here to do. Speak with Lord Vuda.”

Llyr slumped back in the bath. Her legs slowly lifted to move the water about. The oils continued to soak into her skin. She let her voice return to its previous volume while she continued, “When I’m good and ready, though. I can’t meet him like this. He expects the man he saw in his dreams, not some flounce of a waif.”

Awareness seemed to be lacking there.

“Perhaps I might stay here, in Etzos Prime that is. I’m not keen to travel again, not any time soon. Even with my magic limited like it is,” she mused aloud. “Or perhaps I’ll go to Rynmere, find my spark, be burned alive for it? Or maybe I’ll return to Quacia, throw myself at the Theocratum's feet, then dust off the empty houses and open up the library. I could reclaim lordship over the isla- …ah.”

She stopped. Llyr disappeared from sight, except for a foot that remained with the heel against the edge, as she sunk under the water.

After she returned with a quiet gulp of oxygen, she concluded, “Or maybe I’ll stay in this body forever, be… was it Shay? Find a nice brothel, make use of what is my actual merit in life.”

“As the mercenary can attest. Could marry him, he's not that bad looking, eh? Probably wouldn't smack me around too much. Might even be kind enough to avoid the face.” The tilted smile returned to her lips. She gathered water in her hands, lifted it up so she could watch the liquid pour through the spaces between her fingers.

She hummed, in a sing-song thoughtful way, then leaned over the edge to look at Kasoria again. It seemed Llyr had a great deal of energy, as she hadn’t kept still in the bath for longer than a single bit since she’d gotten in it. Her eyes mixed the colors of blue and amber in the rounds of her large irises.

“I could stay though,” she said in a more serious tone of voice. “I could stay and… help. Know that might seem daft to you, and you likely don't care to hear it considering, but there’s other…”

“There’s more than Lisirra out there. Vulnerable times like these can expose weaknesses to all those who intend harm or seek to wrest control. Some could have even encouraged The Pestilent One, simply to create that vulnerability. There will be those who aim to take advantage of this horror while strong-minded swordsmen like yourself concern themselves with fighting the obvious, the immediate.”

“How could you not, after all? One doesn’t ignore a wayward flame when they see it jump out of the hearth. They stamp it out. But while they do so, they can miss what happens in the shadows behind them. Some of these attempts will be as blatant as firelight, but most others will not be. If you… You greatly care for Etzos, yes?”

It was a rhetorical question.

“It is good to care for something so much. To not neglect it or leave it to rot because you are busy with what seems to be more pressing at the time. Since I am here... per-perhaps I might be able to…” She glanced aside, tapped her fingers against the stone edge, then concluded, “…assist Etzos with those other possible dangers.”

She shrugged, scratched the back of her neck, and added, “At least for however long I remain.”

word count: 1030

Etzos

The following visuals are not applicable in the Etzos territory during Ymiden: Gossamer Wings, Halo.

Eyes

Llyr's eyes are constantly changing based on a blend of his emotions.
When an emotion dominates, the pigment expands past his irises to the entire eye - faintly glowing in that emotion's color.
See Color References here.

Mutations

  • Gossamer wings resembling a cross between the wings of a dragonfly and a flying ant.
  • An iridescent halo that hovers over his head.
  • Crystalline legs from his toes to the mid of his thighs (like stockings made of quartz embedded into his skin).
  • An ever-moving inky tattoo, with Rorschach-like designs, on his back.

Scars

Llyr currently has 9 major scars, referenced on his CS.
Most noticeable is two parallel lines, with an triangular arrow point connecting them, on the center of his forehead.

Totems

When in a totem's body, Llyr's mutations persist but his scars do not.
User avatar
Kasoria
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Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
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Re: 5. So Why Didn’t You?

Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:53 pm

The soap stopped scrubbing and scraping against his skin when he heard that name. The amused smirk that was growing on his face (for well now he knew her playful nature) stopped, froze, and shattered. She was sure to notice. But it was hardly a surprise. As she would learn - if she didn't know already - everyone in Etzos knew that name. Even if they'd never meet the man attached to it, or anyone directly under him, they knew the name, and the power that it carried. The only spoken words that he'd ever seen Bangun Vorund react to with any... disquiet, had been those.

Lord Vuda. The Eyes of Etzos.

Kasoria managed to cover his surprise with a chuckle, imagining the implacable Lord Vuda taken aback by the waif becoming a strong young man in a few, muddled trills. It was quite something, seeing the Quacian... change. He wondered on that, remembered the time he'd seen that change in detail, and forced himself not to ruminate on why the noble wished to meet Lord Vuda.

He was traveling with a diplomat from here. He's a noble from a foreign city. Probably delivering some message or offering some deal and either way, it's got fuck all to do with you.

That last thought seemed to harden in his mind and lodge there like an anchor. He knew what he had to do now. He'd known since Westguard, when he'd learned of what had happened to Martyn and the boy's mother. The future, his future, was a simple thing. He would help his city and his people. He would eliminate this vile threat to them, and thus to his boy. Rhakros. Lissira. Her followers, human and monstrous. All would be burned from the world and their ashes ground into the mud of history. Just as she'd tried to do to them. After that...

Whatever it is, it won't be here.

"Youse need t'let me help yeh wiv' yer magic more," he said, surprised at his own words even as he spoke them. "Fuck knows why a mage like youse ain't got yer Spark back yet, but a scrote like me has." He shrugged, water splashing gently against his shoulder. "Could prob'lee fix that for yeh."

The woman kept talking. Grand plans and simple, obvious follies. He could no more imagine her selling her cunt than he could Lord Vuda becoming a street beggar. Mayhap she'd change back into Zarik, and ply the same trade with his arse and cock? That was a thought that made him frown for a moment. There was an advantage of Becoming he'd never considered before: twice the market for a whore.

"Y'mean that Duncan bloke?" He said and snorted. He cupped his hands and splashed his face. Once for the bulk of the soap, twice for the remainder, thrice with a rubbing motion to finish the task. "Can't imagine he'd keep yer eye fer long, girl. Can't imagine his would'nae wander, either. I know the type."

He didn't insert a "trust me" or "believe me" into his words. Out of simple respect, if he was honest with himself. He lied, and often, but only when he had to. As such, he respected the value of truth as only a deceptive man could. He'd never ask her to trust him: he'd simply impart what he knew, and let her find the truth of that wisdom. He knew men like Duncan; he'd known them for arcs, hells, he was one. They were rolling stones, gathering no moss nor lovers, and if they did, they were hardly the type to settle down. Better one so roiling with life not to be shackled to a man like that. Disappointment only awaited her.

"Fates, woman, calm yerself. Spillin' all yer water..."

Her voice grew serious. Her words grew somber. Kasoria looked at her, and saw the face of a young woman seriously considering her options. Not just killing time with fantasies. There was an earnestness in her voice, that almost moved him. So like it had been, since he'd felt such conviction in helping others. She held no love or bonds to Etzos, yet she was setting herself on a path to help it, rebuild it. He told himself that was the best time for an entrepreneur to launch a business, though: when your market was so devastated that you could easily corner a chunk of it. But none of that base avarice leaked into her words. She waxed philosophical and metaphorical, and Kasoria grunted once or twice at her words.

Always an eye on the shadows. On plots in the dark. Her and Lord Vuda should get on fucking famously.

The old sellsword sighed and stared out the window above them. There was a city beyond it, or what was left of one. He wanted it rebuilt. Restored. But why? Because he was a patriot? No, he admitted to himself. Because you want a fine future for your son. And you want revenge. Because it's your city, your home, so it matters to you. If it was any othr city, any other land-

Got fuck all to do with you.


"I'll come back, when the war's over," he said, words coming out slow and measured. Almost robbing him of his gutter accent. He spoke without looking at her. Eyes fixed on the window. "City's all I've known. Grew up here. Spent me whole life here, save a few trips to Hiladrith, Foster's, places like that. Can't imagine no livin' here. Can't imagine it not... being here, like it was. In the future."

For me son. Not for me. I wish I could tell you that. But I can't.

Kasoria closed his eyes, and felt something wriggle in his guts. He ignored it, then stamped on it when it wouldn't go away. Nothing had changed. She was... friendlier, with him, than other clients he'd had. He owed her as much respect as she did him coin. But the iron rule that had led his life for eleven arcs had not changed. It could not. To break it invoked disaster. He'd killed to keep it, and would again if he had to.

No-one can know about him.

"You'll see me again," he said, almost sleepily. Lying through his teeth and not able to look at her as he did so. "When the war's over... we'll see about the future."

And I wish you a fine one, girl. Because once I march south with the rest, once Rhakros is ash, once that Plague Cunt is dead... you'll never see me here again.

There was a knock on the door that snapped his eyes open. True to form, he had a hand on the hilt of his sword before the echo of bone on wood had faded. An muffled voice outside asked them about lunch. Some thin stew, maybe a chunk of lamb or two. Kasoria grunted out a laugh at that. Lamb? Now? More like fucking rat. Which was not to say he wouldn't turn it down...
word count: 1224
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
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Llyr Llywelyn
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Re: 5. So Why Didn’t You?

Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:03 am

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The interrupt to the Etzori’s man scrub-down, and his growing amusement, proved obvious. Llyr had expected it, for she’d used Vuda’s name intentionally to witness a possible stammer of behavior in her companion. Only because she’d been looking for it, did she catch the slip of surprise before Kasoria smoothly covered it with a chuckle.

Drawn back in the bath, no longer leaned toward him, she mused about her options. Most of them weren’t truly possible, nor aligned with how she felt about things. She shared them anyway. Mention of the limitation of her magic provoked a…

...an offer to help? That resulted in a momentary deadpan stare at him, then she burst into peals of laughter. Between the breathy laughs, she said, “Maybe! Yes, maybe… you could… fix… that for me!”

She quietly giggled, splashed water against her face to compose herself. It wasn’t that the concept was far-fetched. It wasn’t that she didn’t think Kasoria could. It was that the offer itself had been spoken at all. However, Llyr assumed he’d want payment for such a feat as to help her regain her sparks’ connection to Emea.

So, she left that be and returned to consider her possible futures aloud, or the attempted aim of them. Llyr mentioned the mercenary, without name, but the other man brought it up quick enough. Upon hearing him snort and comment on the matter of Duncan, she quirked one of her eyebrows in an arch. She scratched her cheek, stared at the ceiling, then said, “Yes, you’re right. I got distracted from him the moment that closet door opened. My eye was far too fixed on you.”

Llyr paused, and for several trills, she considered to leave it. Let him decide what it could be: A cruel jest? A blunt confession? An absurd tease? To let the statement linger without anything else said, but insecurity gnawed at the young mage’s heart. Far too much to keep silent. She added, “I mean, b-because I didn’t think that… didn’t think it was gonna ever open again. The door. And you di- and that you came back and- and you didn’t... Ah-and you know what I meant!” She drifted under the water to hide the blush that’d risen on her face. Water sloshed around the bath in her hurry to hide. Most of it splashed on the floor between the tubs.

When she returned to lean against the edge, however, she took a few breaths and moved on. The blush faded from her skin, and she decided to speak more seriously about what she might do. Since she’d returned to sit in the bath, her posture turned rigid and she didn’t look over anymore. While she spoke of Lisirra and metaphoric contemplation on other dangers, of which she could already think of a major one, she kept her gaze stubbornly forward to stare at her own feet.

She considered telling Kasoria...

But what would she say?

Sorry, it might’ve been partially my fault that Lisirra ran rampant over your home?

That’d go over well.

Though much of her memory had been carved out and she couldn’t recall a face, could only remember a name between reminders when she unfolded the tiny parchment note that she kept near. She remembered what mattered most and...

No one else knew. Not even Jorsie had fully understood. How could she even start to try and explain the complexities to someone like Kasoria? How could she attempt to mention the very man responsible for Lisirra’s advantage over Etzos had been the husband she ran away from?

She’d made the bleak connection within the first early trials from Foster’s Landing when she realized the advantage likely came from the mages losing their connection to Emea. It’d given the Pestilent One a devastating edge over such strong people.

What would Kasoria think if he knew?

If she’d only just stayed with her husband, no matter how it hurt, maybe he wouldn’t have done what he did – then Emea might’ve remained intact – and Lisirra would’ve never gotten the chance… never besieged Etzos… all those corpses they walked past... so many dead... so many, so horrifically... even Hazel, the girl she'd adopted in hope to save from a terrible end only to bring her right to it.

Could she have prevented it all? Simply by staying? If she'd known... if there'd even been the slightest chance... but then, she should've known. On the very eve of her departure, the disgraced nobleman had massacred hundreds of innocents... people like Kasoria, just going about their lives in a home they'd known all their life, not expecting to be obliterated by some divinely powered interloper in mere trills. So she should've known, and maybe she couldn't have prevented it even if she stayed, but she could have tried...

But then… she wouldn’t be in Etzos, sitting in a tub across from Kasoria, either.

It was almost enough to make the young mage cry. Llyr went quiet. She’d decided she wasn’t going to do that anymore though. No more tears. She’d made that choice after Hazel’s death. She gritted her teeth and turned away to face the wall instead. Llyr slid into the water to lay on her side while she heard the slow, measured words of the other man who knew her well and yet barely knew her at all.

She closed her eyes and listened to his careful speech, accent smoothed out, as he shared about his home. He loved Etzos so much. She could tell in the very sound of his voice as he spoke about it, not to mention how much she’d witnessed his bond to the place – ever since she’d crossed him between worlds from Yaralon to return. Llyr held a fist to her forehead, and silently cursed at herself to gather her composure – even if the composure wasn’t real. Even if it was a mask.

“You’ll see me again,” the Etzori assassin told her. “When the war’s over… we’ll see about the future.”

Llyr turned back around, what was left of the bath water rippled around her. She lifted to lean against the edge, looked at him and felt relieved that his eyes were closed. The Becomer rubbed her eyes, no tears had fallen even though she’d had the bath water to hide them in. She felt a moment’s accomplishment... but only for a moment. She dryly swallowed, then looked toward the door as swiftly as Kasoria’s eyes had snapped open. Her heartbeat jumped in reaction to the knocks, pulse racing.

…and then it was simply a service assistant to ask if they wanted lunch.

Llyr laughed, a nervous and high-pitched wild noise. She glanced over when she heard Kasoria had laughed at the same time, in his own way of course. The young mage smiled at him. She didn’t even have to fake it. She rolled her eyes, as if exasperated.

“Wait one moment, please,” she called, then glided out of the bath. She grabbed a nearby towel. Llyr didn’t cover herself, only rubbed at her hair while she padded barefoot over to the door. The floor had already gotten drenched in puddles from her earlier reckless movements. She unlocked, then opened the door a small width to peek out at the service girl from before.

The girl looked awkward, nervous almost. Llyr glanced around but saw nothing else of note. So, she returned her gaze and asked, “Stew you said? Does there happen to be any bread, or you don’t happen to have mushrooms? And…”

She hesitated, then said, “Another pitcher of water and, wait a moment more.”

Llyr walked across, past the tubs, to the far corner where she’d placed her belongings. She crouched, rummaged through a satchel, then gathered something in the palm of her hand before she returned to the door. She leaned past the frame and whispered a request. The girl’s eyes widened, then she nodded. Llyr handed over the nel with a smile.

She shut and locked the door. The lock was more for show than anything, a flimsy chain. Llyr’s gaze lingered on it before she walked over and sat at the edge of Kasoria’s tub rather than her own. Seated beside his feet, she glanced over him while she continued to dry her hair, then her shoulders and arms.

“I like your…” she tapped her cheek. She repeated what he’d said earlier with a cheerful smile. “Better.”

“Fates, what I wouldn’t do for a decent mushroom plate right about now. Does Etzos have many mushrooms?” She inquired in a change of topic, an attempt at casualness. Llyr set her leg against the long edge of the tub. She ran the towel along the slender, clean, and sparkling crystalline limb. “I doubt they have mushrooms like Quacia does. The mushrooms from Plenty are the best! I never thought I’d miss them, but then I’d never been away like this before. Farthest I’ve ever traveled.”

“Say, I’ve been meaning to ask, but do you like this body more than my real one? You enjoy fucking women more than men, yes?” she asked in measured curiosity. The same tone of voice as she'd asked about the mushrooms. She held up her dried leg and inclined her head as if appraising her own limb. She shrugged. The young mage walked away to stand beside the window.

She continued in the conversational chipper tone of voice that she often had when in her natural born body of a lanky blond man. “There’s this dish in Lair called Pray Soup made from mushrooms. Had it once. Makes you see things, hear things, feel things…”

She glanced over at Kasoria. A smile played on her lips. “Things that are both not there, yet there at the same time. In a good way, not in a… well, you know.”

Her smile faltered. She turned her gaze back to the window. Llyr ran her fingertip along the misty fog, traced a spiraled pattern into it. She rested her forehead against the frame and sighed. A few thoughts flitted through her mind, but she shared none of them.

Instead, she gradually turned around to lean against the wall. She crossed her arms in front of her, just underneath her bosom. She spoke plainly, though her gaze wandered around the room in a lazy survey. “Before we landed in Foster’s, I used to believe in destiny. In fate. Miracles and the like. That everything in life was a matter of what was handed to me by some unknown dealer. How can one change fate? Destiny decides the timing of things, decides who lives or dies… No, you don’t change fate because you can’t. You can only recognize and accept it or suffer in denial of it. It’s easier to lay down and take it. No matter how much it hurts, no matter loss after loss, you take it and better be fucking grateful for what you get… used to be what I told myself.”

“…Damn stupid of me,” she scuffed her bare foot against the floor in a light kick. “There isn’t any destiny. People aren’t meant for shit. Fate exists as much as any so-called gods. Fate doesn’t decide who lives or dies or meets or fucks. Even if it did, it wouldn’t bother with someone like me anyhow. Don’t understand how I got so twisted over something as obvious as that.”

“Kas, I’m not…” she paused, then shook her head. A knock sounded on the door. She threw aside the towel, body dried other than her damp hair. Llyr picked up the empty tray and pitcher.

At the threshold, she exchanged trays with the service girl. She could’ve let her in, but something instinctual told her not to. Instead, she had the girl wait at the slightly ajar door.

Llyr set the tray of stew and bread, no mushrooms though, on the small table beside the window. She took two new pitchers next. As she walked across to set them on the table, she smiled at Kasoria with a carefree wink, and said, “Water or wine, your choice.”

She returned to her belongings, dug around her satchel, and then returned to the door. Hushed murmurs exchanged, then coin handed over. Llyr laughed and thanked the girl. She closed the door and locked it swiftly.

The biqaj stayed near the door, with something awkwardly hidden behind her back when she turned around to face the room’s interior. A blush hinted at her cheeks. “I… Uhm, Kas… What I wanted to say is that, even with all that, even though I- though it wasn't destiny that made us end up here, or fate that I met you- I’m...”

“I am happy I did, even i-if you wanted to kill or abandon me. ‘Cause you didn’t though, did you? Even if it were for the kids’ sake… I know I haven’t been the best and that you don’t like me much, especially now after our travels and h-how I’ve acted. But- I- You see- So…”

“Here, this-is-for-you,” she brought around what she’d been hiding behind her back. Carefully held between her hands was a full, unopened bottle of Upton’s Economical. Least she hoped it was the right label that she'd recalled from Graeslin's ship. The petite nude woman averted her gaze, then walked over to the table. She set the bottle beside the tray. Llyr went back to her belongings and then swiftly returned.

On the last remaining table space, between the soup bowls and pitchers and bottle of liquor, she tossed a black velvet purse heavy with coins. “And this. Triple in full. Now you don’t have to pretend to listen to me anymore.”

A smile flickered on her lips, but it was gone soon after. Llyr went to the bench and started to get dressed in her new, clean clothes.

word count: 2414

Etzos

The following visuals are not applicable in the Etzos territory during Ymiden: Gossamer Wings, Halo.

Eyes

Llyr's eyes are constantly changing based on a blend of his emotions.
When an emotion dominates, the pigment expands past his irises to the entire eye - faintly glowing in that emotion's color.
See Color References here.

Mutations

  • Gossamer wings resembling a cross between the wings of a dragonfly and a flying ant.
  • An iridescent halo that hovers over his head.
  • Crystalline legs from his toes to the mid of his thighs (like stockings made of quartz embedded into his skin).
  • An ever-moving inky tattoo, with Rorschach-like designs, on his back.

Scars

Llyr currently has 9 major scars, referenced on his CS.
Most noticeable is two parallel lines, with an triangular arrow point connecting them, on the center of his forehead.

Totems

When in a totem's body, Llyr's mutations persist but his scars do not.
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Kasoria
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Re: 5. So Why Didn’t You?

Sat Sep 14, 2019 11:00 pm

He was not, by the standards of the world, an old man. He was much older than her, true, but there were plenty of others older. He was in his fifth decade, but had not seen the end of it. His body and his mind were still strong, hardened by arcs of training and, of course, savage experience. The finest teacher of all. His emotions were... present, but dulled. That would be the most charitable way to describe it. He had lived to see many brutal and beautiful things. Surprise did not come easily to him, outside of the arcane and wyrd domains he'd been flung into now and again.

Magic, mysticism, the numinous and the supernatural? These could shock him still. Human beings? Far less.

“Yes, you’re right. I got distracted from him the moment that closet door opened. My eye was far too fixed on you.”

"... 'scuse me?"

Which was not to say it couldn't still happen, of course.

Kasoria blinked owlishly at her for a few moments, until his surprised expression was crushed by a frown. Exactly what she meant was a mystery to him. He didn't know whether to be worried or insulted or just annoyed by that. Her stuttering, stammering reaction should have amused him and yet, instead his eyes widened a fraction, eyebrows popping back up. Ah. He recognized that red-faced, embarrassed tone. Llyr hid her face and Kasoria was glad for it; it meant she didn't see the momentary look of panic flit over his face.

Oh, fucking hells...

Fortunately, lunch arrived and saved them both. Llyr trotted over, naked as a babe and now, damn him, Kasoria was forced to... observe her in a different light. The assassin kept his face as stoic as possible, and was grateful to the Fates that there was still a decent smear of soap suds atop the surface of his bath. AS the girl chatted quickly with the woman and gave her... something.

Kasoria's body may have been somewhere else, but his wits were not addled. Anything unseen in his presence aroused his suspicions. Anything. From anyone. The mage walked back over and sat near him. He kept his face neutral and his lower body under the water. Mentally ran down how fast he could reach his weapons... and that was only for the sake of efficiency. He didn't even bother running down how many ways he could end her with his bare-

Oh, for fuck's sake, man! Listen to yourself!

"I..." He swallowed and hesitated as she gave her appraisal of his new look. Finally he shrugged and stroked the rough but hairless skin where once there'd been impenetrable beard. "Don't need the disguise anymore, y'know? Even wiv' the Cold comin' soon..."

She twittered on about mushrooms and Kasoria heard, but didn't listen. The Cold Cycle. Yes, that would be coming soon. And Etzos would not be ready for it. The trials were still warm, humid, almost oppressive; dying of thirst and exposure was still a real concern for many. But he knew how quickly that could change. Mayhap this arc it would be even quicker. No time to harvest, nothing left to harvest. Herds and farms devastated, butchered and burned, roads clogged with regugees and corpses, not wagons and livestock. The city didn't have enough food, or shelter... and come Saun, what law and order it had would mostly march south with the rest of the army.

Even if we win, we could return to a city that-

When. When we-

"Huh?"

He heard the word "fucking". That got through to him. Namely because he suspected she was referring to the act, not the profanity. He blinked a few times and looked her over. Tried to be as dispassionate as possible, and shrugged again.

"Wouldn't kick yeh outta me bed," he rumbled. "Less so than when yeh had a dick, anyway. Always preferred cunt meself."

And lo, was a whole sexual history alluded to! But he did not provide anymore, instead internally wincing. But why? Why feel awkward? Was he courting this girl? No. No and never, in point of fact. He finally shook his head and rose, uncaring as to what she saw of him. He wouldn't stay in that bath, caged and unsure of emergence. Instead he grabbed a towel and started drying himself. She was back by the window now, always moving, always flitting about. It was her nature. Never constant, always moving. So many thoughts in her head that she crashed from one to the next without rhyme or reason.

He'd grown used to her, he realized. Who else had he spent so much time with, in so many arcs? Vorund didn't count, nor any of his minions. That was business. Martyn and Jessye neither, since that was family. Llyr, Zaril, whatever they were called... they were something else.

More than just business. Look at you, breaking the rules like a fucking idiot.

She talked about the Fates, as if she knew them personally. As if she could speak with authority, like a teacher about a subjected they'd dissected in their minds a hundred times. The little man sat down with his breeches on and naught else. Face inscrutable as she spoke. What had the Fates been to him, save for distant, unknowable things? His actions, his will, his appetites and needs had been the driving force of his life. The actions of others had directed it, when they clashed with his own wants. But he had never seen a tapestry of design to it. There'd been no thread of purpose. Just one trial following one season following one arc, until even arcs could be counted like trials.

Kasoria sighed as the girl got up. He spoke as she gripped the doorknob, appetizing aroma already sizzling at his nose through the cracks.

"The Fates don't care, girl," he said, as gently as she'd heard him speak before. His eyes held no mockery when she turned to him. Just a grim fatalism. "Jus' like the Morts. What we got comin', what we done, what we think... s'all the same t'them. Can't do shite t'sway 'em, or know 'em. So y'act as y'do. How y'need to survive."

She hesitated as the old man bowed his had for a moment. Not prayer. The opposite of prayer.

Contemplation.

"Ain't nothin' here but us," he said finally. "Us an' what we do t'each other. Even the Morts are part a' that."

The food came, and so did drink. She started twittering again. Stumbling over her words. Kasoria felt his irritation start to pulse and spread. He didn't like this... awkwardness. He thought they were both past it. By the time they'd been in the shadow of the Citadel, killer and mage had bother reached a point of balance with each other that he appreciated. They barely needed to speak to each other; actions were understood and relayed without words. No embarrassment or mixed messages. Now it seemed... messy. He opened his mouth to growl something and instead-

"... fuck me."

A bottle was pressed into his hand. He rubbed a thumb across the label. That same, cheap paper he remembered. He chuckled briefly, thinking this might be one of the few unopened bottles of Economical left in all of Etzos. A man could get rations for a dozen days, for this one bottle. Quite a resource. Quite a gem. Literally. But he didn't stow it away for barter. Instead he cracked the top, and poured them both a measure.

Just as the fat, heavy purse clinked onto the table. Triple rate, as agreed. Upon delivery to Etzos, as agreed. She was a woman of her word, and here Kasoria had thought mayhap she'd try to wrangle out of her deal by citing that change in gender. But no. She was true and honest. He opened the purse a smidgen and saw nothing but gold blinding him from the darkness within. Then, with practiced and mindless avarice, he pocketed it within his coat.

He looked up, and saw a small, sad smile. So fast it almost hovered in the air when she turned and walked away. They got change in silence. They ate almost in silence. Until the end, when their bowls were almost empty and bread was being used to sponge up what was left. A hard, almost moldy roll for each of them. Even in places where coin was still useful, rations were still in short supply. But at that time, Kasoria raised a glass, and Llyr had to wait a while before she realized he was actually making a toast.

He smiled at the look on her face. Not the only one who can still be surprised.

"To the Fates," he said, nodding firmly and adding with a quick grin: "Fuck 'em."

He downed the liquid and a thousand memories of his home and city came back as it burned down his throat. Those alone, conjured to ably by so potent a brew, were a gift all by themselves. Kasoria smiled with his eyes closed and finished off his food. The serving girl would be back soon, to take them away and then likely hover until they politely fucked off and freed the room up. He stood and walked to the window. Looked out over the scarred and burned yet standing city. Looking south, fittingly enough. To a horizon completely bare of any sign of their enemy, save the ether storms that flashed wyrd lightning across the skies like jagged grins of purple and yellow and scarlet.

"Lemme know where youse are," he said after a while, not taking his eyes from the horizon. From the future. "Where yeh'll be. Fer when I get back."

What's one more lie, after all the others?
word count: 1673
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
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Re: 5. So Why Didn’t You?

Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:19 pm



“Fuck the fates,” the mage mused in agreement to the assassin’s toast.

She stared at the sepia-tinted liquor in the glass, her multicolored eyes still wide at the man’s expressed sentiment. The silence that had dominated after the food arrived, after the payment had been made good, continued to linger. Llyr didn’t mind it, despite how much she talked otherwise.

The silence between them felt comforting.

Her nervous anxiety about the gift had faded. Partly because she’d expected he might grab the velvet purse and leave without bothering to even eat. Leave her behind the moment he saw the gold, grab the bottle, and never look back. Maybe even mention how much of a pain she was or how he was glad to be done with it. Her heart had raced so fast, her face blushed so hot, and she wasn’t certain as to why she even cared so much.

Only for him to pour her a drink of the gifted liquor. What had been fear swung so opposite that the pendulum near snapped off in her excitement. She grinned, unable to hide her relieved happiness. While she didn’t want to drink, easily influenced by alcohol, in no perceivable sense of politeness could she have denied such a saccharine offer from Kasoria. So, once dressed, she forced herself to sit and stopped fidgeting with the hem of her new tunic. Though she didn’t want to eat either, one look toward the dark-haired man and she supposed she should…

While she observed his eating habits (of which, he maintained a lively vigor that she’d gotten used to), she felt the prick of tears in her eyes again. How she wanted to cry. This time, not from shame, but from increasing catharsis. It came in turbulent waves: the realization they’d made it to the city together. So many times, in the ashen shadows of the burnt villages and distant horizons of the foreign land, she had thought she would finally be taken from life. Even once by the man who ate and drank across from her now.

The young mage did her absolute best to focus on the meal and not on the surge of emotions that kept ebbing and flowing through her.

When the Etzori raised the glass, confusion came first. She blinked away the threat of tears. Then, he smiled. Her eyes widened and the irises shone the color of amber stone. His smile was far from charming. Kasoria’s smile was a shrewd affair, and she recalled the sight of it beneath the glimmer of a fire-lit night sky after he’d severed a bandit’s arm clean off… the jetting stream of crimson blood that flowed across the weathered face… and his brusque words, her pressured attempts to find out more, followed by the confession about his time in the Etzori cells. His home had locked him up, thrown him away to go mad and rot, yet here he was… aimed to defend Etzos and all the people within, possibly to the death if he truly planned to join the march south. It was the mage’s inherent optimism that led her to believe it was his love for the city, rather than hatred for the Immortal, that spurred such determination.

Llyr realized he was waiting for her to join the toast. She blinked a few times more, then hurriedly raised her own glass. Tears had gathered along the white of her eyes again, a dewy shine to the orbs.

She swished the barely-sipped liquor into her mouth, fiercely swallowed the entirety, then immediately regretted it. She coughed, choked on the shot as it seared her airway. The bridge of her nose wrinkled. She covered her mouth to muffle the whimpered noises she couldn’t help but make. It wasn’t anything like wine or ale. The biqaj lightly stomped her feet against the floor, shut her eyes tight, and whined behind her hands, “Merda, merda, shit, that burns. Fuck.”

The booze hit her quick too. Llyr had gotten better than that first true cup of wine in Ashan, after tentative explorations of laudanum, pray soup, and ale, but straight liquor proved something else. Something she hadn’t imbibed in before this moment. The petite totemic body was even less equipped than the Becomer’s natural-born form to handle the strength of it. A blush gathered on her freckled face. She kept sniffling every now and then, rubbed at her eyes which had reddened with held-back tears. But she was only a little tipsy, nothing more… nothing more… She focused on the man who seemed so different from her, yet she often found herself in agreement whenever he deigned to speak.

Nothing here but us, she thought while he finished off his food, as vigorous about the act of eating as before. Us and what we do to each other…

Llyr felt euphoria rise again and flood over her warm body. She adored this… easiness. She believed they had earned it. Time and time again, in fleeting moments and extended nightwatches, both mages had strained to learn the other, just enough to keep things operative. It came naturally to the youthful biqaj; though she’d gotten soft in the few arcs spent in the city of Quacia, not as keen with hard ground travel and never with children under her care before. She’d caught up quick though and the moment it was only the slave, things got simpler. It made her appreciate her father even more, to imagine how upsetting she must've been when a daft stubborn child during their travels through the southern jungle.

Though older than her, as most other adults were, Kasoria was a man who showed his frustration in glares and tensed jaws. He was far from anything like her father. Quick to irritate, perhaps, but he didn’t have outbursts and take his anger onto her. He didn’t train her behavior, because he didn't twist her limbs or pull her hair or strike her when she wasn’t expecting it. There’d been the one night when he’d put the blade to her neck, but with good reason. It’d been her stupidity that she’d prayed like she had. She couldn’t think of another time in all their journey together where something like that had happened again. Not even when she’d threatened to flay the sergeant.

Kasoria was a grim, growly, seasoned manslayer but in the young mage’s experience, he was one of the kindest men that Llyr had ever spent time with. Kind to her, that was. Her travels with him - from when they had blended the different colors of their blood, to now when she shared liquor with him - lasted ten trials longer than the entire marriage to her noble husband. The thought flitted through her mind while she watched him go to the window and stare out at the city.

A quiet laugh escaped her. She remembered how Kasoria had been naked in Yaralon before the blood pact. That’s something to come around full circle. Her blush darkened on her cheeks. She glanced over him again. He’d gotten dressed by now, but she’d seen almost everything there was to see when it came to the Etzori man’s battered body. She held the empty glass between her hands, then poured some water into it. It spilled slightly at the first rush of liquid out the pitcher. She swore in a murmur at the puddle of water on the table.

“Lemme know where youse are,” he said, still watching the ether storm outside. “Where yeh’ll be. Fer when I get back.”

“I will. As soon as I know.” She sipped some water, then rinsed her mouth so she didn't have any lingering tastes of food and spat it out into the empty goblet. It was a wonder that her stomach didn’t hurt, even with the harsh liquor, and Llyr didn’t feel a need to retch for once. She left the glass on the table. The petite brunette leaned forward, then stood in a high-spirited manner.

Buoyant steps, she joined him at the window and friskily sidled up to the man so she could also look at the colorful sky. She demurely smiled, then smoothed out the front of her tunic. The young mage fiddled with a thread on the hem and said, “You can call on me, if you want, no matter the time or reason… Even if it’s only because you need somewhere quiet to drink something warm.”

She raised a hand, open palm faced him in surrender gesture, then set it on his shoulder. Llyr placed a chaste kiss to a freshly shaven spot on his cheek. The hint of soap, mixed with the more recent scent of liquor, met her.

A trill’s hesitation, then she slipped between him and the window. She placed a second kiss to the opposite cheek in farewell gesture, like she had with Duncan beside the inn.

Llyr drew back against the window, looked at Kasoria with wine-colored eyes. Equal in height, she directly met his gaze. With a gentle touch, she set her fingers on his lips as if to shush him. She traced his lower lip, tapped the fleshy curve, then lightly pinched the center spot. She winked.

And then… she’d already let go and was on the move, of course. She moved around him with quick, dancer-like steps. Her hand caressed over his shoulder with a departing touch that slid away, while she said in the familiar chipper voice of heavy southern accent, “I made an account here, if you’d like to use it whenever. I’ve informed them you are approved, under whatever name you prefer to give. Bathe, eat, drink, sleep even. If you need a place to stay, for now, you know where I’ll be. I’ll kick the merc out.”

She gathered her belongings from the corner, though she pushed the filthy dress and boots farther into the shadows. Llyr snapped her belt on, checked the satchels, slung her travel pack over her shoulder, then headed for the door. She paused to glance at him.

The young mage grinned, eyes iridescent, and reminded him, “We made it.”

“Oh and if I decide to follow the time-honored profession of whoredom,” she added, eyes and smile still bright, “I’ll give you a first-time discount...

...For when you get back.”

Llyr softly bit her lower lip, thoughts aflutter like her wings might’ve been if she had the ether. She swayed her hips from side to side once or twice, then forced herself to turn and leave.

The door quietly shut behind her, separating them from each other.

Nearby, the serving girl held a bucket and glanced past her with obvious impatience. She asked, “Youse done yet?”

Llyr’s eyes turned black, color lost from them. She forced a couple gold nel into the girl’s hand, and hissed, “You let him stay as long as he likes in there. One bit or one break or one godsdamn trial. Don’t bother him to leave. I’ll find out if you do and take this nel back from you with interest and then some. Understand, girl?”

The serving girl nodded, a nervous glance at the door then to Llyr’s dark eyes. She took the coins and hurried to attend to a different room.

word count: 1943

Etzos

The following visuals are not applicable in the Etzos territory during Ymiden: Gossamer Wings, Halo.

Eyes

Llyr's eyes are constantly changing based on a blend of his emotions.
When an emotion dominates, the pigment expands past his irises to the entire eye - faintly glowing in that emotion's color.
See Color References here.

Mutations

  • Gossamer wings resembling a cross between the wings of a dragonfly and a flying ant.
  • An iridescent halo that hovers over his head.
  • Crystalline legs from his toes to the mid of his thighs (like stockings made of quartz embedded into his skin).
  • An ever-moving inky tattoo, with Rorschach-like designs, on his back.

Scars

Llyr currently has 9 major scars, referenced on his CS.
Most noticeable is two parallel lines, with an triangular arrow point connecting them, on the center of his forehead.

Totems

When in a totem's body, Llyr's mutations persist but his scars do not.
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Kasoria
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Re: 5. So Why Didn’t You?

Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:57 pm

Kindness without pretense was something he didn't know much about. You have to experience a thing to understand it, after all. Since he'd been only just older than this girl, Kasoria had been buried in a world where kindness simply didn't exist. Everything was a transaction; every decision weighed and measured by gain and loss. You kept your heart for your family alone, not your business, and even then the lines blurred. That went double for those like him: killers for coin that would change employers like others would change shirts. Kindness was a purchased, counterfeit thing. He hadn't known it after his father died; hadn't known it again until his son was old enough to process those sort of feelings.

The kisses were light and without any roiling sexual dynamic. Nothing in the physical sense, anyway. Instead, Kasoria felt more an... appreciation, by the waif in front of him in the window. A gesture of thanks, tinged with something more so, but not straying into fresher, more tangled territory. He'd almost shied away when first she laid a hand on him. Even now, even here, part of him bristled at the chance of betrayal. Then he closed his eyes for but a moment, enjoying the sensation. Nothing confusing, really. Nothing to overthink or extrapolate into scenarios grotesque or unlikely.

"Yer welcome."

It had been a long time since he'd said those words, too. She tugged at his lip and he managed a chortle, mussing her hair with a quick, deft glide of his hand. Some spark between them, still. Some seed that might take to nourishment. But for now? Kasoria was content to... no... he was happy to have such a friend.

"Thank yeh again," he said as she laid out how this simple but useful business was open to him. "Might come in handy, knowin' me work."

Will it, though? Is it still?

The wench came and Llyr gave her an earful. He didn't bother crushing the smile as he watched her show her claws. That was the thing about cats and women, he thought: you never knew they could rend and tear until the sharp stuff came out. Then, once the damage had been done, it was gone again. She turned to him as she heard his paces. All his world had been packed up and loaded into the bag over his shoulder. His weapons, his gear, his clothes and, of course, his money. As he made his way to the table he grabbed the neck of the bottle and-

-stopped.

Seemed to be deciding something. Warring in his mind and the battle spilled out through his gaze. He squinted slightly, eyes unfocused. Seeing options and possibilities she could not. All she saw was his minor consternation... and then, a decision made, with all the peace that came with it. He let go of the bottle. Took the cork instead and mashed it down tight with a single, judicious tap of his fist. As he passed her, he paused.

"Hold onto it fer me," he said lowly, voice a whispered growl in her ear. "Until I sees yeh again."

Kasoria walked away, and he did not look back. She heard his steps grow smaller and softer as he walked down the stairs. A door opened, then closed. A new beat of feet joined the muted clamor beyond the window, and was swallowed by it almost at once. Etzos ground on, weary and wounded and defiant. Now she knew her friend was among the rest of them. All he'd left behind was the smell of liquor and soap... and the gift he'd sampled, and not quite accepted.

The little man pulled up his hood and smiled under it. An Etzori would have understood. But she was not an Etzori, and it was still good to know he had a trick or two left on her.

Until that day.
word count: 667
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
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Doran
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Re: 5. So Why Didn’t You?

Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:03 am

Image
Llyr:

Knowledge:
Caregiving: Wash first, then eat.
Intelligence - Contact: Kasoria, the Raggedy Man of Etzos.
Intelligence - Location: The Steaming Dream (Commercial Ring, Etzos).
Psychology: Atonement.
Meditation: The Nature of Fate.
Resistance: The Faster You Drink, The Faster You Feel
Resistance: A shot of straight hard liquor.
Resistance: A long travel's worth of grime.
Seduction: An Untoward Confession.

Etzos: Location: The Steaming Dream
Etzos: The Steaming Dream: Open Account.
Kasoria: Approved on my account at The Steaming Dream.
Kasoria: Offered to share a drink with me, after payment.
Kasoria: Told me to hold onto the bottle of Upton's for him.
Personal: Fate and Destiny doesn't exist.
Philosophy: There is only what we do to each other.

Loot: +1 Upton's Economical
Wealth: - 30 WP
Injuries: -
Renown: 10
Magic XP: -

Points: 15

Kasoria:

Knowledge:
Caregiving: Shaving a Beard
Deception: Speaking a Barefaced Lie
Discipline: Keeping a Secret Even from a Friend
Medicine: The Importance of Hygiene
Meditation: Soothing Bath, Peaceful Mind
Rhetoric: Speaking (gloomily) About the Supernatural
Socialization: Showing an Interest in the Plans of Others
Socialization: Proposing a Toast
Socialization: The Value of Kindness

Etzos, Late-Ymiden 719: Whole City Gearing Up for the March to Rhakros
NPC Lord Vuda: The Eyes of Etzos
PC Zarik/Llyr: Master/Mistress of Stating the Obvious
PC Zarik/Llyr: Despite Everything Else, Still a Noble Ambassador from Quacia
PC Zarik/Llyr: Has Made Their Account at the Baths Available to Kasoria
Philosophy: Fatalism ("She dies, or we do.")
Philosophy: The Fates are Unknowable, So Don't Bother Praying to Them

Loot: -
Wealth: + 30 WP
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: -

Points: 15
- - -
Comments: Llyr and Kasoria sharing a bath – that was something I never thought I’d see! I wonder how bad Kasoria smelled before he took a bath! The interaction between your PCs and the way they cared about each other was interesting to read about.

I found the thread to be quite enjoyable. I didn’t read all of the threads that happened before this one, but I had no trouble understanding what it was all about as your posts were quite detailed.

Great job, and please enjoy your rewards!
word count: 366
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