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Posts : 857
Join date : 2011-10-27
Age : 41
Location : Colorado Springs

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PostSubject: Chasing Shadows   Chasing Shadows EmptyFri Nov 29, 2013 12:07 am

((Below is the first installment of the quest Cy and Sabine are currently on.  As it is happening outside the server scope, I'm writing it as a story.))

The petite woman hefts her heavy satchel over her shoulder as she walks along the North Ride, going into Voonlar.  The message she received was clear - meet “Uncle Max” at the usual place and give an updated report.  This is to be her final report and will, most likely, result in her return to Thultanthar as a slave.  Her mission is complete, so there is no reason for her to remain in the Dales.  Her road soon branches off to the left as she approaches her destination and she can see the shady inn off in the distance.  Sabine stops and pulls her satchel off her shoulder to look inside.  Her precious parcel is still intact, though it is beginning to put off an awful stench.  She clears her throat and picks up her bag, before traveling the remaining distance to her destination.

The air is heavy with smoke and drink as she walks into the inn and she looks around in the darkness to find her handler.  She soon finds her “Uncle” sitting in a booth, at the very back of the tavern; he is motioning to her with a wide smile, though his eyes remain cold and cruel.  Sabine makes her way over to him, her smile matching his, even though she is filled with fear deep within her core.  Their movements are perfectly choreographed.  He hugs her tightly as she kisses his weathered cheek; greeting each other with the warmth of family.  He already has a mug of mead waiting for her and welcomes her to sit after making such a long journey.  It does not take long for the dance of words to begin; each response veiling the actual truth behind their words.

“My dear niece, what news do you have from your father?”  The middle aged man leans forward, seemingly eager to hear of his brother.

Sabine takes a sip of her drink before responding softly, “He is well.  He wants me to tell you that he has completed the well house and that we expect a good crop next year.”

He strokes his long grey beard and leans back with a pleased smile.  “This is excellent news.  And do you come bearing gifts?”

“Mm…I do, I do!  Though it is not something he would like for you to see within the public eye.”  She kicks her satchel across the floor, letting it rest against the man’s feet.  Her eyes dart around the inn, taking in every man and woman sitting around the bar and tables.  There are only six, but they are sitting in strategic locations so they may see into the dark corner she and her uncle are in.  Recognizing the distinct lack of privacy sends a warning shiver through her spine.

“Well then, I suppose we should get out of this dump and meet at my caravan.  I really have missed you terribly, Sabine.”  His eyes glitter cruelly as he speaks.  He then grunts as he leans down to pick up the satchel before standing and snapping his fingers.  

The six, seemingly harmless people, stand as well and soon escort them out of the inn and down the road.  No one speaks as they leave the little village and into the surrounding woods.  It isn’t long before they come upon, what appears to be, a merchant’s caravan.  Four colorful wagons are placed around a communal fire, like the spokes of a wagon wheel, creating a defensive perimeter. The five men and two women lead Sabine to the fire and look over at her expectantly.  After setting down her satchel, she pulls out a wrapped parcel that is now wet with blood and fluids.  She steels herself against the putrid scent and unwraps her precious gift, revealing a disfigured head, utterly destroyed by quick lime, with a mop of black hair that is still intact.  

Sabine smiles wickedly, and motions to the head at her feet, “I give you the head of Cy, otherwise known as Alac.  Please forgive the state of his head; I spent months sharing his bed and putting up with his constant pawing and endless declarations of love.  I absolutely hate the man so I made him suffer for it.”  She gestures to the burned skin and the grotesque disfigurement of his jaw, indicating the man died screaming.

Uncle Max stares at the head a moment, then looks up at Sabine with a pleased smile while nodding his head slowly.  “My my...this is excellent work.  I would have enjoyed seeing the head intact, but the pure agony of this vision… you have done well, Annalise.”  He points to the ground in front of him.  “Kneel before me, my dear.”

Sabine shivers in anticipation while holding onto the tiny shred of hope that she has earned her freedom.  She kneels at the feet of her handler and lowers her head in reverence.  Uncle Max pulls out a blindfold and covers her eyes before walking behind her and gently braiding her long hair into one long plait down her back.  He doesn’t speak at all, which only serves to make the tiny woman at his feet grow more and more anxious.  

Once he has secured her hair, he moves around and gags her with a strip of linen.  Finally, he speaks.  “Yes, you did well, but you admitted to your hatred.  A good slave would not allow her emotions to dictate her actions.  You - are not a good slave and so you must be punished.  You will return to the City of Shade, your memories taken from you, and you will be retrained to be a good slave.  Your punishment begins now.”

Sabine trembles at his words and sucks in a quick breath as she is gagged.  She remains at his feet, obediently, for a few long moments, before hearing his voice in front of her.  “Hold out your hands, slave.”

She breathes heavily through her fear, holding her shaking hands out in front of her, waiting to feel the cold metal of shackles placed around her wrists.  Her muffled screams soon fill the wood as she is restrained with glowing hot shackles and a glowing hot iron collar around her neck as her punishment begins.  The last vision she sees with her mind’s eye is the burned and distorted face of the head she delivered, before passing out.
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Posts : 857
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PostSubject: Re: Chasing Shadows   Chasing Shadows EmptySat Nov 30, 2013 9:28 pm

Cy crouches in the hot sand, rubbing the sweat from his dark green eyes as he surveys the endless expanse of desert.  His body is covered in light gauzy robes that billow around his legs as he walks, and his head is wrapped with the same material, leaving only his eyes exposed to the hot and windy climate.  He watched the merchant caravan leave the secluded vale, but he didn’t see Sabine leaving with the rest of the group.  She is either dead, or inside one of the wagons; his mind settling on the latter as he cannot bear the thought of her passing.  Grabbing a handful of sand, he looks around while letting the sand pass through his fingers as he tries to determine where the caravan may make their next stop along the Black Road.

The soft rush of shifting sand was his only warning to the attack coming from his right.  Cy quickly rolled into the rushing feet, while pulling his rapier and dagger from their sheaths, cutting up at the legs as he rolls beneath them.  His dagger cuts into the hamstring of one of his attackers, slicing the artery and spraying his face with blood before he staggers to his feet.  His quick action saved his life, buying him time to get his bearings and see the full situation in front of him.  There are three men left standing, all holding large blades and eager grins as they see this wisp of a man holding such flimsy steel.  Cy stares back at them, quietly, watching their every move to determine any weakness he can exploit.  Within a breath of a second, Cy is moving, stepping off the body of the man he killed and twirling with a flurry of blades into the three laughing men.  As he rushes into, what he sees, as his own death, one word escapes his lips in a harsh and ragged cry; “Anna!”

The Bedine are caught off guard by his ferocity, but quickly recover as Cy’s blades dance around them quickly in a deadly, well practiced, tango.  One step to the side, two steps back, thrust, and parry; quick movements, never letting the enemy get too close or it will be his death.  Blood and sand swirl around the men as they do battle; steel crashing upon steel, and the soft rush of shifting sands around their feet filling the air.  With every thrust of his blades, Cy yells out the name of his love, “Anna,” using her as another weapon against the men.  

His rapier slides beneath the ribcage of the largest of the men, piercing his heart with an expertly placed thrust; but Cy pays for this by nearly having his head removed by another assailant.  He throws his head back to dodge the killing blow, but the tip of the blade bites into his jaw, cutting him deeply.  Cy responds by throwing his dagger and hitting the second man directly in the throat, severing his neck and dropping him immediately.  Taking a moment to wipe the blood and sweat from his eyes, he stares down the last man who is laughing at his, seemingly, weaker opponent.  Cy opens his arms with a lopsided grin, staggering forward, while holding his rapier in his hand loosely.

“If I die today, I die fighting for Anna.  You cannot take that away from me.”  He drops his rapier into the sand and falls to his knees, suddenly feeling the loss of blood from his many wounds that he sustained in the fight.  His gaze never waivers from the man approaching him slowly, twirling his heavy sword in his hand as he moves to end Cy’s suffering.  At the last possible moment, Cy slips out a knife he held within the billowy sleeve of his robes and stabs the man in the gut, using the last bit of strength he had to thrust it deeply.  As the shock registers on the man’s face, Cy falls to his side and his world goes dark; his blood now mixing with that of the newly dead man and staining the perfectly white sand beneath them.


Cy wakes to feel cool hands removing his clothes and gently tending his wounds.  He squeezes his eyes closed and takes a few deep breaths before opening his eyes and looking around.  His gaze rests upon the older woman, silently looking down at him from the foot of the pallet upon which he is laid.  Her weathered cheeks quiver a moment before speaking in a soft voice, “Who is she?  This Anna you keep calling for?”

He struggles to sit up to properly address the woman.  “She is my fiancee, the other half of my soul.”

The strange woman shoos the healer away and kneels beside him, picking up a bone needle and thread made of lizard guts.  “Why have you come to Mother Desert instead of remaining at her side?”

“She has been taken by Sharrans as a slave.  I am here to free her before they take her to their floating city.”  He grunts as the needle bites into his face, but doesn’t flinch as the woman closes the gaping wound.

“You will surely die, Stranger.  You cannot take on these people alone.  As it is, you nearly died when only fighting four of my people.  Had I not called off the attack, more would have come and you would be dead.”  She focuses her attention upon her work, expertly stitching his face.

He grips the woman’s wrist, stopping her from her work and looking deeply into her dark brown eyes.  “Help me.  Don’t let them take her; please.”

She slaps his hand away and resumes her work.  “We have seen a caravan traveling along the Black Road.  They look to be merchants of some kind, not Sharrans.”

“They wouldn’t make their true identity known, now would they?”

“And why should we trust the words of a stranger, I wonder?  How do we know you are not sending us into a trap?”

“Because love is honest and true.”  His voice catches as he looks up at the old woman.  “And I love her.”

The woman grunts, then ties off the stitching and leans in to bite the thread.  She dips her fingers into a bowl, then spreads the foul smelling substance along his jaw, causing him to hiss with the burning sensation is creates.  She is quiet for a while as she looks over her work, then speaks in an almost playful tone.  “This will scar.  I hope your Anna truly loves you because you will be ugly.”

She sits back on her heels and speaks again, this time, her tone is curt and precise.  “We attack at dawn.  I suggest you rest, but I cannot force you to not participate in the battle.”

Cy gives her a ghost of a smile as he responds.  “I will be there.”
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Posts : 857
Join date : 2011-10-27
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PostSubject: Re: Chasing Shadows   Chasing Shadows EmptyTue Dec 03, 2013 2:17 pm

The gentle sway of the carriage wakes Sabine into a world of throbbing pain as the iron shackles and collar bite into her swollen flesh, painfully, while rivulets of blood flow from the open wounds on her wrists and neck.  She reluctantly opens her eyes to see Uncle Max watching her with a cruel interest, his hands folded loosely upon his lap.  "And she wakes; she has been asleep for two full days." He chuckles while leaning forward to inspect her collar, rubbing his coarse fingers against the deep burns. "I was beginning to think I took your punishment too far."

Sabine cowers from Max's touch while trembling from the pain and speaking incoherent nonsense.  "The lime sizzles, the head bleeds.  Not my head, his head!"

Max smirks and leans back in his seat, while continuing to watch the slave who is now curled up at his feet.  "That's a good girl, just rest.  You will need your strength when we get home in a few days."

An hour later, the caravan stops with a jerk, sending Max and Sabine flying into the front of the wagon with a painful thump.  Max grunts as his shoulder hits the wooden board, a grumbled curse upon his lips as he looks over at Sabine  She has passed out again so he scrambles to his knees and pulls his weapons, a whip and a long sword that he uses, in tandem, with deadly precision.  He pushes back the canvas to see what has happened to make the caravan stop so suddenly.  It is an odd spectacle of a single old woman, standing in front of the caravan with her hand held up with her palm out.  Her dark weathered skin glistens in the hot sun, while the wind blows her long white hair around her face, her dark brown eyes staring at the head of the caravan with deadly intensity.  Max grins and walks around to the front of the wagon, cracking his whip as he approaches the woman.  "Move along, Crone, you have no business here."

The woman doesn't move, except to turn her gaze upon Max and responding with a fragile voice.  "I am Kartha, of the Bedine.  You will surrender your belongings to me, or you will die."

Max snorts in amusement and flicks his whip, wrapping it around the woman's wrist and tugging down her arm roughly.  "You're too old to sell into slavery, but you will make a nice addition to my kitchen, Wench." He lifts his sword to her throat and leers down at her with violence in his eyes.

A surprised yell turns Max's gaze from the old woman, only to see one of his men fall face first into the sand, his throat cut.  Max turns and glares at the old woman and pushes his sword against her throat, creating a tiny drop of blood that slowly drips down her neck and into the soft tan gauze of her costume.  Her expression never changes from her calm countenance as she holds Max's gaze, keeping his attention upon her face and not the man moving, silently, behind him. Max's eyes widen as he feels the cool blade on his neck, just before it bites into his skin, slitting his throat in one clean stroke.  Kartha gives the assassin a small smile and a dip of her head.  Cy simply nods and turns to deal with the remaining Sharrans, who have now prepared themselves for the conflict.

The battle is short lived, yet fierce.  Bright flashes of magic pierces the growing light of day, while the, small, Bedine raiding party clashes their steel against the Sharran defenders.  Cy fights with the best of them, deflecting incoming blows and balls of magical fire, while delivering deadly thrusts of his rapier and dagger.  While he, himself, is already severely wounded, he fights through the pain and weakness, his mind completely focused on finding the woman he loves.  A sudden crack grabs his attention, turning to see a fireball hitting a wagon, immediately engulfing the vehicle in fast burning flames.  Without thinking, he runs to the wagon, covering his face with his arm to protect himself from the smoke and flames.  It is too late for whoever was inside, so he looks over at the other wagons, quickly sprinting to the one closest to him and begins his search.

Sabine wakes to the sound of of magical explosions and the clashing of steel, a moment of confusion fills her and a wave of nauseating pain hits her, nearly causing her to pass out again.  A tunnel of darkness forms within her field of vision and she tries to welcome the respite from the pain of her burns until a beam of light chases the encroaching darkness away.  She squints at the shadowy figure climbing into the wagon before scooting back and trying to make herself as small and insignificant as possible, so to avoid detection. Sabine watches the man survey the confined space until his eyes fall upon her, gasping softly as he quickly rushes to her side.  Suddenly, gentle hands are upon her, wrapping her up within his arms, softly whispering her name into her ear.  "Anna..."

After speaking her name, everything comes into clear focus, and her delirious delusions dissipate, as the sudden realization of what is happening dawns upon her.  She sobs softly and collapses against Cy's chest while he lifts her into his arms and carries her out of the wagon, just before it's hit with a fireball and explodes in a storm of flying wood and flame.  The man ducks and falls forward, protecting his prize with his own body, letting the debris fall all around them.  He grunts as the burning wood bounces off his back, but doesn't move until only ash is falling.  

Cy carries Sabine away from the fighting, then sets her down to inspect her wounds.  Seeing her flesh seared to the iron, he grits his teeth with anger and guilt.  "Gods, this is my fault.  Please forgive me, Anna.  I'm so sorry." He swallows hard as he strokes her cheek, trying to push his own feelings aside to care for Sabine.

"You" Her voice is weak as she speaks, using the the last of her strength to do so before losing consciousness.

Cy's voice is strained as he pulls her close and hugs her tightly.  "I will always come for you, Annalise - You never need doubt that I will always come."

Kartha's hand comes to rest on Cy's shoulder, "We must get her to the oasis and get that metal off her.  Come, we must go now."

Cy nods and lifts Sabine again, following the elder across the desert, the trio soon disappearing among the shifting sands.
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