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PostSubject: NEW RP   Wed 15 Jul - 18:07

Sacrifice wasn't always a choice, she supposed, but could it still be noble even if it had been forced upon her?

It hardly mattered now while her wrists burned from the frayed hemp rope that bound them and her neck, clammy with sweat, ached beneath the relentless sun that shone down on the executioner’s stand like a spotlight. Still, there was some solace in the numbing self-reflection that dulled her eyes as she looked out across the small gathering of fearful villagers that had bothered to leave their homes in the high afternoon heat of the southern deserts, each of them eagerly awaiting the fulfilment of her sentence.

Some said she had slighted a god, bringing her curse upon herself with some measure of blasphemy, indecency, or karma. Others, sometimes with pity or feigned empathy, suggested that she was a victim of fate, and that her illness was just that - a matter of chance, but a plague and a danger nonetheless. A demon, perhaps, or a witch - or maybe even a beast in disguise, set to destroy any who got in her path - there were many theories, and for all she knew, each held their own truth. Either way, with the sleeve ripped from her arm and the grotesque glowing patch of violet and purple made visible to all, she could not blame them for their fear.

“For terror against the people of the town of Se’fena and the destruction of life and livelihood, this cursed girl - one ‘Sayatia Leyn’ - has been sentenced to death by order of commander Ise and the right given unto him by the Sultana herself.”

The broad shouldered man who was speaking looked not at her but into the crowd, hands clasped officially behind his back. He didn't bother so much as a glance her way, but she recognized him clearly enough. Two nights before when she’d woken in pain and panic on her knees amidst burning rubble and confusion, it was he who had come out of the smoke, blade drawn, and knocked her unconscious. The next morning it was also him who had come to question her and inform her of the havoc she had caused.

To her the scenes he described were like pockets of memory between which only an unsettling knowing lingered, as if she had been aware at the time but had chosen to forget. A wall torn down in a single strike by an arm of violet flame, guards tossed like dummies, innocent people narrowly escaping their burning home - she couldn't quite remember, and yet she knew everything he’d told her to be true. It was exactly as her family had feared when they finally bent to the will of her village elder, banishing her with nothing more than a warm coat and a week of supplies.

One month, or little over. That’s how long she’d managed to survive on her own. It had been better than curling up to die, she supposed, but looking back now her desire to see as much of the world as she could before her curse took her seemed greedy. The little bit of hope and wonder she’d felt when the range beyond her village gave way to the forest, tundra, and finally desert beyond had kept her going, but each step along the way had been a lonely one, and when finally she gave in, something always gave out. Only now, this time, she wasn't going to bother running.

“Evil.” A voice growled low at the front of the crowd, becoming other voices to it.

The many words people had for her had long since lost their value, but forced to her knees in front of the executioner’s block, their eyes found a way beneath her skin and she began to shake. Tears would not come, not of fear, regret, or frustration - she would not let them - but when her chin touched stone, the wave of silent panic nearly drowned her.

Why her? Why now? She wasn't even an adult yet by age, finally travelling the world as she’d once dreamed, and yet it was a dirge not a diary that she would have to show for it in the end - if even that.

“By the wind, sun, and sand,” The commander spoke again, his words echoed by the crowd. “magic like this has not been seen in centuries, and let it be known that Se’fena will not be the place where it will rise again.”

Se’fena wasn't the first place Sayatia had offended, but it looked to be her last. Instructed by the priest in her own village to seek out scholars, travellers, and any who might know more that he about her illness, she’d moved from place to place, dropping little bits of hope as she went until reaching the small desert town whose angry eyes were now upon her.

The sound of the heavy cloth that had been covering executioner’s axe hitting the ground was all Sayatia needed to cue her to close her eyes, and though her heart beat heavily in her chest as if it alone could will her free, she appeared docile and dazed as if in shock. Maybe if she could time her movements right she could slip away and catch a lucky break - after all, she had yet to give them a reason to expect her to run - but she could not bring herself to move, reminded by the cold throbbing in her arm of the fact that fate already had it out for her. Three years without a break; that wasn't likely to change now.

The crunch of dirt underfoot, a calloused grip being tightened, the silencing of the crowd - she squeezed her eyes closed even tighter. It would be over soon.




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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Thu 16 Jul - 15:13

“Halt!”

A voice rang out from the crowd, neither panicked or high-pitched, but calm, deeply timbre'd, and full of self-assured authority. This was a voice that common men unquestioningly obeyed and which uncommon men instinctively admired. A king himself would struggle to deny the quality of divine right to command in this voice.

“Stay your ax, executioner.”

The crowd parted without resistance to allow unhindered passage to the owner of this magnificent voice. This man hardly needed his voice, however, to part a crowd. Head, neck and shoulders above the rest of the crowd, he easily stood at seven feet tall. Broad-shouldered and vast, he stepped up to the platform upon which the condemned girl knelt. His dress immediately announced himself as a member of the aristocratic elite: leggings, shirt, and vest all of the most quality cloth, thin and breathable in the desert climate, but durable and suitable for walking or riding. A sable cloak only half-fastened over one shoulder draped down his back on the left-hand side, and his felt hat sat high, that his features may not be shadowed. These revealed him to be young: a man in his late twenties with auburn hair, thin, graceful lips, a hooked nose, and eyes of stern gray.

In a giant hand the size of a dinner plate, the man held out to the executioner a scroll tied and sealed.

“I hereby invoke the decrees set by the Sultanate Declan IV, conferring the power of any citizen of sufficient means to buy the blood of the condemned upon the scaffold with coin and with the blood of a willing innocent.”

At his beck, three of the men standing behind this giant stepped forward and climbed the steps, approaching the executioner. The first bore a purse containing the executioner's fee. This he handed over with a deep bow. The second, wielding a dagger, stepped up to the prisoner, unopposed, and cut the rope binding her hands. Taking her by the arm, he stepped to the side of the platform, allowing the third and final man to ascend. This final man knelt before the executioner and offered up a thick envelope containing the certificate of his birth and citizenship, a letter of innocence obtained from the sultanate's attorney of the guard, and a notarized copy of his last will and testament.

He was thin and small, his hands as delicate as a woman's and his posture humble before the world. He spoke quietly, but firmly. “In the name of my lord, the Protector of Ganell and the Potentate of Oldknew, I present myself as innocent for the condemned Sayatia Leyn.”

The giant allowed a moment for the executioner and the crowd to take in this turn of events before he took command once more, speaking for all to hear. “Executioner, take this man into custody and order your sergeants to disperse this crowd. There will be no execution for them to witness today.” According to law, his innocent would be held for one fortnight in lieu of the condemned. If, in that time, no third party rose to redeem his life with that of another, he would be taken to the block as Sayatia Leyn had been. This period, of course, also served to allow the proper authorities to confirm the claims offered up by the innocent and to administer his final will.

As he spoke, the first two of the giant's men guided Sayatia down the scaffolding and through the crowd. They conducted her to a waiting carriage two blocks away, and assisted her ascent, taking seats on either side of her. The third man at last turned to look one last time at his master, and an imperceptible nod and salute passed between them.
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Thu 16 Jul - 17:06

It was a voice she would never forget - that, at least - was certain, but the towering man who carried the gaze of the entire town with as much ease as his cloak was a sight she could hardly comprehend. All eyes were on him, silently sizing him up, but not one person so much as moved their lips in protest while his casually made his way between them with three men in tow. Face still held down onto anvil, it was only until they reached the stand that she could see them, their footfalls planned and purposeful in a way unlike the guards’ uncomfortable shuffles that creaked the boards while the men behind her did their deliberating.

About what?

Her?

Even before she could begin to hope for something beyond the precious few seconds the intrusion was granting her, the broad man made his offer, and she felt the hand on her back loosen, though it did not lift. Standing would not come easy to her anyway as his words and what they meant sunk deep into her chest and kickstarted her already tired heart, try though she might to stay it. It was then that she realized just how scared she had been, beginning to tremble even before her binds were cut and she was pulled to her feet and pulled aside.

What happened then came to her in a daze while she watched a man, made especially meek by the brutish frown of the commander and executioner as he begrudgingly took the documents, scanned them, and pulled his brow in tight. His silence was enough of a reply for the crowd, and a few bold souls spoke up, heckling the intruders and calling out the commander who could only grimace and order his men to see to their new prisoner whose face Sayatia fought to get a glimpse of. He was going to die in her place? It made no sense, any of it, and though her eyes were already wet with relief, guilt was slowly dawning. Even still, no words of protest would come to her, and to her shame it was all she could do to bite her lip while the mysterious group led her away through the anger and disbelief of the townsfolk and into the carriage.

One on each side of her, Sayatia didn’t know whether to feel trapped or protected by her mysterious saviours of which she knew only one thing: they appeared to be unquestioningly loyal to the man she could only assume was their superior, lord, or something of the like. So much so that a nod between him and the man who had willingly taken her place was subtle in way that suggested an understanding between them. This was not a forceful sacrifice, she guessed, but a willing, dutiful one.

Mouth dry, she turned her eyes down to her hands, rubbing absently at the sore spots before remembering her bare arm and the mark that had been made visible. It accomplished nothing, but she pulled it in tight, comforting herself just enough to avoid looking back outside before the carriage began to move.

“What’s happening?” Her voice was flat and undescriptive, as if even she wasn’t quite sure what she was asking. In fact, she looked only at her knees while she spoke.

---

“I’m going to need to know who you are, too.” The commander huffed, folding his arms and looking to the tall man with as much contempt as civility would allow. It was clear that he was not used to having his power questioned, nor did he appreciate the gesture in front of so many onlookers. Regardless, he motioned for the executioner to clear away the rabble, hardly acknowledging the innocent prisoner, but the gold he kept close by.

“That woman needs to be put down, and I would know what kind of man would deny these people their justice.”

The crowd tightened in at his words, but no man was willing to earn the tall man’s scorn just yet.

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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Thu 16 Jul - 18:39

“We are taking you away from here,” the first man said, rather unnecessarily. He was an average man, of nondescript features, dull brown hair, a common height, and possessed of an unremarkable voice. No one who had merely seen this man once or twice would fail to forget him, especially when he stood in the shadow of the giant. Not a single aspect of his person or character suggested anything unique, including his speech, which always remarked upon the ordinary, the obvious, and the moot.

His companion, the one who had slit Sayatia's binds, was a little more reassuring. “You needn't fear for your life.”

“Everyone dies eventually,” said the first, unhelpfully.

The second sighed heavily and only refrained from rolling his eyes because, sitting on the same seat as they were, neither of the others would see the gesture anyway. In certain situations, he laughed harder than anyone at his companion's monotonous litany of inescapable fact. But this was inappropriately timed. What they said must be calculated to comfort, for being snatched away from the executioner's block was not something that happened to you every day.

“My name is LeCre, and this is Portho. We are taking you to Kronstead, the home of our master. You have no need to fear him or his motives for freeing you. You are in safe hands.” He leaned down and from underneath the seat drew out a hooded cloak. “This is for you. To hide the mark. And your face if you wish it.” None of the three men nor the giant had known what to expect in the girl's reaction when they freed her, and so the giant had insisted upon preparing for every eventuality. “We have food if you hunger, and wine if you thirst, that we may reach Kronstead as quickly as possible,” he continued, pulling out a woven basket next. “But the journey is not short. It will span no less than four days.”

--

The giant neither faltered nor lost his air of ease and command at the challenge. “My name is Jacques Lecuyer,” he said, the name flowing like liquid from his lips. He gestured to the small man taken into custody in place of the girl and continued, “and these people are being denied no justice. The crimes they have suffered will be atoned for. They came for a spectacle today and were not denied one. Nor will they be denied blood. But you are wrong in one thing: the girl does not need to be put down. The sun needs to rise in the morning and the crops must have rain to grow. And when a crime is committed, true, it must needs be atoned for. That atonement need not be made by her, as decreed by Declan IV.”

Lecuyer did not turn around or shift his eyes from those of the commander, but he sensed the tightening of the crowd around him, and he knew that their anger ran deep. It was rare that his words produced anything but good-will and unquestioning agreement. But some wounds ran deep, and he knew that extra care must be taken. “Seyatia Leyn will trouble Se'fena no more. Never again will this town see her face, hear her voice, or feel her curse. In the eyes of the law, the unmarked graves which hold the bones of your criminals and murderers will, in two weeks, hold her bones too.”
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Thu 16 Jul - 21:58

LeCre, Portho, herself, and the cloak that she had taken (perhaps a little too quickly) the moment it was offered. She was hungry too of course, but though the two came across as kind and honest enough, she doubted her stomach would be willing to cooperate with the stress. Reading situations wasn’t exactly her strong suit, and though she was fairly certain that her escorts meant her no harm, she knew better than to be so naive. That said, there was a certain charming dynamic between the two that felt genuine, and she was inclined to believe them - at least until given reason to believe otherwise.

“But… why?” She eventually managed to answer back, voicing her temporary willingness to take their answers in stride. Leaving was likely out of the question given the price that had been paid for her freedom, but it wasn’t as if she wanted to leave either. They probably wanted something from her, that was how the world worked, but a small part of her was not willing to let go of the small chance that they had nothing but good intentions. Even if they did, however, they were one of a small few as she was reminded of by a booming call to stop from outside and the clamboring of armor.

Four, five men, each wearing some tattered version of the Sultan’s sun insignia, stood outside, the seriousness on their faces sobering. It was clear that the only way through the road was over them, but the way they gripped their spears she doubted even that was an option.

“Outside, now.” One of them shouted, a thick accent marking him as a born and raised local of the region. Sayatia briefly pondered if his grudge was personal but swallowed the grief. She hadn’t meant to cause any harm, and all she wanted was to leave, even if it was with a band of strangers.

---

The commander had known men like ‘Jacques Lecuyer’ before as was apparent by the look on his face as he withstood the foreigner’s skillfully chosen words like a veteran facing a volley, bemusedly waiting for him to finish before stealing a few more seconds to scowl. In any other circumstance he might have pulled strings, bent laws, and bowed to the will of the population who yet wanted their execution, but the yellow sun on his armor and sash held him back. The laws of the sultanate were as the laws of the gods in the sands, and not even he would so blatantly break them.

He wasn’t going to let it go so easily, however. Not with an audience.

“So you would trade the life of an innocent man for someone who is bound to kill again, whether she means it or not? Do you have any idea what you have in your custody? Who will you answer to if someone dies because of her?”

It was unmasked accusation, but delivered with surprising precision like that of a politician. He was not wordsmith like his opponent, but more more eloquent than the members of the crowd who nodded along with him or his guards who stood in high tension at his side.










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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Thu 16 Jul - 23:11

“Because Kronstead lies at a distance of exactly twelve-hundred footmiles. If we can travel at twenty-five footmiles per hour and the horses are traded at intervening post houses, allowing for the various road blockages and personal stops, then the soonest we will reach Kronstead is in four days. At all costs, our journey must not exceed six days.”

Portho spoke with text-book-like authority, though his measurements came across as rather more vague than he would have liked because of incalculable variables. For instance, what if Sayatia's curse reasserted itself on the way? Supposing the front axle on the carriage broke, the lead-horse lost a shoe, the back left wheel stripped and shredded itself? They may be set back an untold number of hours, losing an untold number of footmiles until the problem could be fixed in an unknowable amount of time. Before he could say any of this, however, LeCre, perhaps interpreting Sayatia's question more accurately, spoke over him.

“All will be explained when we reach Kronstead. More is not for us to say.”

At that moment, the carriage lurched to a sudden and unexpected stop. LeCre looked around, his mouth forming a silent O while, on Sayatia's other side, Portho burst out, “At this rate, it'll take us twelve days.” And without warning, he stepped out of the carriage and faced the officials blocking the road. “Gentlemen,” he said, advancing without fear. “This is a public road, is it not? What cause have you to stop a properly licensed vehicle with no cargo and without warrant? We are losing footmiles by the minute!” He strode back to the carriage, thrust his head through the window, and called to LeCre, “The passport, LeCre! These gentlemen require passport even though we have not reached the toll bridge!”

LeCre produced a scroll of parchment and handed it across the girl to Portho, who took it and thrust it into the faces of the four men confronting him. “You will find everything in order. Signatures from the Customs Officer of Sulan, the City Clerk, and Lord Shahrivar, on whose behalf we are traveling, for three passengers.



“We all play our part, Commander,” Lecuyer answered evenly. “And mine is more humble than you might suppose. I am not bound to answer your accusations, but I shall say this: is one who kills against her will more guilty than he who kills with a signature?”

And with that, he turned from the Commander. While he still held the crowd in thrall, they would part before him. And they did. He walked away from the platform with a calm and stately pace, his cloak swishing behind him. A lesser man may have feared to turn his back upon the Commander, but Lecuyer was assured by two unpleasant facts: the law was on his side, and his parting words condemned the very man who accused him. In farewell, he left five more words in his wake. “I will answer to God.”
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 17 Jul - 11:42

Portho was a nuanced sort of person, the kind that one only met on occasion and, as a result, didn’t always know how to deal with. Her question had gone well over his head and into LeCre’s lap who at least provided her with some sort of answer beyond the near nonsensical beats of Portho’s explanation regarding their - hopefully - no more than six day trip after which ‘all would be explained’ at Kronstead. It wasn’t ideal, but she was in no position to argue, and before she could risk another question, she was abruptly reminded why.

Apparently unwilling to let anything slow down their travel, Portho was out of the carriage before Sayatia even had time to tell him what a bad idea that was. It wasn’t clear whether or not his blindness was intentional, but for all his waving of papers and reinforcing of the rights granted within them, the only movement from the guards was the tightening of their grips on their spears. They had no intention of letting them go.

Already eyeing the side streets for way she might be able to escape to just long enough to out-maneuver the guards just long enough to find a hovel to hide in, Sayatia flinched internally as the head of the crew smacked the papers from Portho’s grip and stepped in to him menacingly.

“The girl,” He growled, three of the others already making their way to the other side of the carriage. “The girl stays, and then you can go.”

“Can you fight?” She managed to whisper to LeCre as heavy boots approached. Running was hardly her greatest skill, but in comparison to her combat ability she was a paragon. There wasn’t anywhere to run to in the desert, however.

---

The sultanate was law. The sultanate, for all intents and purposes, was god. He could not disobey if he wished to keep his own head, and yet the commander looked as if he might order the execution of the stranger at any moment. As he left he walked through the people with the same calm grace he had come through with, so strange in dress and demeanour that people moved aside for him without a thought. Many shared the commander’s fury, but a few dared turn their eyes to the leader of the town guard himself, glancing away when he challenged them.

“Curse your god.” He muttered just loud enough for those within a few feet to hear. It was all he could say, and all he could do to ensure the prisoner’s bonds were more than tight enough as he was lead away.



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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 17 Jul - 12:22

“Fear not,” LeCre breathed into Sayatia's ear. “We are not quite so alone as we appear.” He paused, and then answered her fear for Portho. “And he is not so stupid as he acts.”

Indeed, Portho continued to bluster as the papers were swatted from his grip. He stooped down and gathered them up, muttering under his breath about “incompetent small town officials,” and followed the man to the side of the carriage. “My good man, I think you misjudge the situation. The girl is pardoned, and clear in the eyes of the law. If you have business with her on any other front, you will have to apply formally to her protector. This is a civilized country, and you cannot go blundering about with spears and clubs like a feeble-minded thug!” He broke off, breathing a little heavily for all of his blustering, and the silence was filled with a rustling of wings over head as a flock of birds took flight.

Sensing that Portho was close to being skewered by the leader's spear, LeCre stuck his head outside of the carriage window and spoke, not to the guards, but to Portho. Keeping up a dialogue was key. They would spare him, if only to overhear what communications passed between them. “Portho, get back in the carriage; we are blocking oncoming traffic.”

The thunder of hooves slowly impressed their senses. Without additional warning, three horsemen burst into sight, rounding the bend, and barreled straight for the carriage and the guards. The lead and center horse was a massive war stallion, deep brown, nostrils steaming, mane caught on the wind, and hooves beautifully dangerous. The desert sun glinted off his chest armor, which patted lightly against him with every stride. The weight of armor and rider he bore with grace, and his rider was a giant himself: none other than Jacques Lecuyer.

Portho dove into the carriage through the window, landing sprawled across Sayatia and LeCre as Lecuyer made his thundering approach. The coachman in front flicked his whip to catch the lead guard on the fingers in case he grab for Portho's legs, and with a yell, goaded his horses to flight. Lecuyer and his two-man entourage were upon the remaining guards in the next moment, the other two wielding standard swords and defenders in liue of the usual shield and standard. Lecuyer, however, held in one hand a broadsword worthy of his strength. An ordinary man would struggle to lift this weapon with two hands, much less put it to good use in battle. In his left hand he wielded a pronged tool similar to the defenders wielded by the other two, designed not to parry oncoming attacks, but to catch and tug from his grip his adversary's weapon.

Thus arrayed, with cries of battle upon their lips, the three horsemen fell upon Sayatia's would-be attackers.
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 17 Jul - 13:06

The men had not been ready for a real battle, eyes having only been on the carriage and the two men who, in only cloaks so far as they could tell, were hardly threatening to the six of them clad in armour and what little training their backwater town had offered them in the use of their spears. Against beasts, thieves, and thugs they might have been prepared to put up a fight, but against mounted opponents who held even Sayatia in awe, they were laughably unprepared. Fumbling over themselves to escape before being cleaved in two or trampled by the glowing image of a man with whom one clearly did not wish to do battle, the angry mob was scattered before a single blow could be delivered with only one man limping from a tumble of his own doing.

Jarred but largely unfazed, Sayatia smirked, grinned, and finally chuckled at the chaos behind her, lead by the charge of the mysterious leader of her tentative saviours. He was like the statues she had marvelled at in the city of Eizae of brave men made of polished bronze, ivory, and onyx, their horses reared, their blades high, and their glory apparent. Something out of a story book, perhaps? A lesser god? A prince? They were all assumptions of a child, but it was difficult to think any less of the man who personified the sort of character she had grown up on tales of; the very tales that had captivated her in her youth, and kept her going even now.

“Wow,” She breathed, her smirk turning from amused to impressed as she turned forward in her seat. Yes, it wasn't smart to trust them just yet, but the excitement was difficult to quell. Safe or not, at least whatever time she had left would be exciting.

“Is that your master? Or.. leader? Commander?” The proper words for such things were beyond her, but their was an obvious loyalty and respect between them. She wanted to know about him - about them all - and what her role was in the shadow of a man whose time she already felt honoured to have somehow earned. It was too soon to wonder whether or not he had any of the answers she had been searching for about her mark, but it was hardly on her mind for the time being and that was just how she intended to keep it.

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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 17 Jul - 13:36

The carriage jolted into motion before Portho had managed to lift his tangled body from off the other two. There was a considerable confusion of limbs for a while until he sat back or Sayatia's left and wiped the wrinkles and dust from his clothes. He picked at a minuscule tear in his cloak and grumbled something about “ridiculous stunts.” Apparently, everything had gone as planned except the small tear his cloak had sustained as he dove into the carriage.

“I know,” he said heatedly, again incorrectly interpreting Sayatia's small “wow” as sympathy for his cloak. “The whole thing could unravel at any moment.” This time, LeCre could not resist rolling his eyes upward.

“Is that your master? Or … leader? Commander?”

Their responses for once united, Portho and LeCre burst out laughing. “Our master?” LeCre repeated, wiping tears from his eyes while Portho slumped against the plush cushions and gasped like a fish out of water. “No, that is Jacques. He's nobody.”

“Which is to say, he is anybody,” Portho added. “Being somebody is truly cumbersome. Restricting as a straitjacket.”

LeCre, regaining his breath, elaborated. The girl wouldn't get any sense out of Portho, no matter how hard she tried. “Jacques Lecuyer is an orphan. He is not a nobleman or a patrician or a politician or a soldier or a commander. But he can be any of those things.”

“He's also a very good cook,” Portho said.

“As I said before,” LeCre said, “You'll meet our master in Kronstead.”
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 17 Jul - 14:41

A ‘nobody’. That was difficult for her to believe, but the gasping laughter her question had incurred was undoubtedly genuine - so much so that even she couldn’t hold back a chortle over her mistake. The stars in her eyes did not wane, however, in fact they shone even brighter. An orphan with no claims, ties, or inheritance to lean on, and yet he was the definition of nobility in the eyes of a girl from a forest village whose name she might’ve already forgotten if her entire seventeen years of life hadn’t been spent there.

And he could cook. Somehow that seemed fitting.

Being somebody was indeed cumbersome, and it was the first thing Portho had said that she wholly understood, and she found herself wondering just who Jacques Lecuyer was and who, if not one and the same, he wanted to be. The child in her still yearned for a life of excitement, and though life in a forrester village had condemned her to monotony and the quiet life of her parents, her curse had granted her one single mercy: a second chance at the adventure she craved. Maybe they weren’t of the same thought, but she was in awe of the image Jacques had created, and if even the slightest chance presented itself for her to do the same, she was already willing to jump right in.

“So, then.. what kind of place is Kronstead?” Her eyes were already forward, even as the two brushed off their last giggles.

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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Sun 19 Jul - 21:16

“She asks so many questions,” Portho said, looking across Sayatia at LeCre.

LeCre threw a glare at him, exasperated by his continual stream of remarking upon the obvious. He glanced out of the windows to watch the desert sand pass by in a continual blur. Various shades of tan assailed his eyes and he could see little else. Most vegetation was dry and brown at this time of year, the houses and municipal buildings were built with cut sandstone, even the occasional vulture or meercat was sandy-brown. After a time, you began to wonder if it would ever end, if they were simply going in circles. Had they passed that boulder before? Lecuyer and his riders were nowhere to be seen. LeCre supposed one of them had gone to scout ahead while the others hung back, just out of sight, but always watching. Just in case they had any more trouble. He was surprised they'd been stopped once. All of the formalities had been attended to. Lecuyer had been thorough. And though their would-be attackers had melted away before him, it was the first time LeCre had seen his words ignored, challenged.

These people knew how to hold a grudge.

“Kronstead is very different from this place,” he said, still looking out of the window. “It lays past the southern border of this desert. On the foot of the Kronderan mountain range. Between the mountain and the great lake. It's very beautiful in the summertime, when the mountain flowers are in bloom, and there is still snow on the peaks high above. More colors than you have words for. The villages in the mountains are self-sustaining: they grow their own crops, and of course there are the mountain goats and herds of sheep. There's not much in the way of true forests, you know, with trees thousands of years old. Those are the only real forests. They tell you once place is like another, but that's just to keep the desert-dwellers happy. Kronstead is one of the happiest places I know.”
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Tue 21 Jul - 22:15

“It sounds beautiful.” She breathed, already trying to imagine it. It sounded like home, only more colors and life; a ‘happy’ place - Sayatia supposed she could use a little of that, far away from the stubborn ruthlessness that the desert bred, and even further away from her own little forest home which, even in peak season, sounded hardly half as fascinating as Kronstead. It had been wonderful to see desert for the first time in her life, certainly - to feel a sun so hot that the bare sand was made nigh untraversable, and the people, wrapped in scarves and dark leathery skin, somehow making due as if it wasn’t any sort of feat. Indeed it had been much like she’d imagined it, except for the fact that such was not a place she wanted to die. Then again, as much as she wanted to trust them, there was no telling what awaited her in Kronstead, but if someone there was out for her head, at least it sounded like a prettier place for her to rest.

There was no point in prodding for more information regarding what their master wanted with her she knew, but while the cart bumped along the sandy road her mind had little to do but wander. She thought of Kronstead and all the things she could see, people she might meet, and fates - good and bad - that potentially awaited her. What lay behind struggled tirelessly for equal attention, however, and despite her best efforts to prevent them from taking hold, the silence had already granted them access.

A whole season, give or take a few weeks. It hadn’t been worth counting the days after the first month, and even now thinking back the time that had passed felt irrelevant. North through the forests of the rocky Eillek mountains, the first month or so had been the hardest, for the only large city in the region was nestled deep within the range with only small villages or dying cities to guide her. She hadn’t run into much trouble passing through them besides the struggle of finding work enough to carry her to the next place, paying her way on merchant carts and caravans whenever she could. With places to go and time slowly running out, no place held her for long, and her quick pace had been just enough to keep her one step ahead of her loneliness. For the most part, at least.

“Well, if we’re going to be travelling together, I don’t suppose you could tell me more about yourselves?” A distraction from her wandering thoughts, perhaps, but it was better to beat them to the punch. She got the feeling that they already knew more about her than she was comfortable telling, anyway.

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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 31 Jul - 12:25

The rest of the day was spent in alternating spurts of idle chatter and stretches of silence. LeCre at first interpreted this as awkward, but Portho's complete lack of unease (no doubt assisted by his inept social dealings) soon smoothed the way to comfortable silence and small talk. LeCre told Sayatia a bit about himself: how he had been raised in Kronstead from infancy, his parents having made the long and perilous trek to the mountains through the jungles of Tai Xin Chua to the west. He told of his father's heroic guidance, whacking through the jungle vines and underbrush, his mother's strength as she carried him in a sling across her back to escape Mai Lin Tua, the evil spiritlord then residing in the jungle. They sought refuge and found it in those heavenly mountains of Kronstead, and there settled and changed their names, so that Mai Lin Tua would never find them. Unlike Portho, LeCre had a way with words, and his stories of the jungle and the mountains seemed to spring into being as he spoke. He entertained for hours with tales of his boyhood riding on goatback through the mountains, swimming naked up the freshwater streams, climbing to the clouds and bringing snow back to the village. Soon Sayatia knew his entire life story, and Portho (who had heard these stories a hundred times) was itching for silence.

The carriage rolled along without incident. Once in a while a rider would come up along them and speak to the coachman, and Portho recognized the horseman as one of their guard. The Giant remained out of sight somewhere behind them, a rear guard in case the townspeople decided to pursue. Meanwhile, the way ahead was scouted, though only as an extra precaution. No one expected any trouble, and none was offered.

Dusk misted into being around them, but still they rode on. Eventually they would stop, if only to accommodate LeCuyer's steed, who alone was irreplaceable. If not for the giant's needs, they would have switched horses at each post stop and continued on through the night and day and night again until they reached their destination. But a giant was hard to seat, and thus the party came to a halt outside Le Luam, a small city on the outskirts of the desert.
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 31 Jul - 13:38

LeCre was a wonderful storyteller, and for the first time in years she felt she could fully appreciate the art. At first her instinctual unease had made it difficult to envelop herself in the images he seemed to build so effortlessly, constantly reminding herself that such naiveté was both foolish and childish, but between the lull of the carriage wheels over the uneven ground and the numbing heat, it wasn’t long before she was dreaming of jungles, streams, and the plight of a young man and his family. She tried where she could to input relatable stories, but little about her own life was anything beyond mundane save for the last year, and that was a topic she did her best to avoid. Much to her delight LeCre didn't pry despite the circumstances in which they’d found her, and though she couldn't help but to wonder why, she was grateful for the painless conversation. Portho however, appeared less enthusiastic about the chatter, but Sayatia had only noticed long enough for her to assume that he’d heard the tales a million times. That, or he wanted to be on his feet again – a sentiment which she shared by the time they rolled to a stop at the edge of the sandy expanse they’d crossed.

“Hnnnnff,” She groaned in pain, stretching as she left the carriage. It was a cathartic sort of burn, much like the one she felt looking back over towards the horizon from which they’d come. Perhaps one day, she thought, she would tell stories of her narrow rescue from a desert village that would have taken her head were it not for a strange band of men and their mysterious master. Would it be the first tale of a new chapter in her story? She knew more about her travelling companions now, but not about what they wanted with her. Or, potentially just as important, what they knew about her.

“How far behind are the others?” There was no point in asking such heavy questions now, so she figured it best to wait until they were all settled in for the night. After all, if she wanted to avoid an accidental repeat of her night in Se’fena, it would have to come up eventually. Until then, it was too easy to enjoy the casual mood that the three had established.

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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 31 Jul - 14:02

“Dunn is here now.” The black-clad scout appeared behind Portho, having already stabled his horse. “And LeCuyer is perhaps half an hour,” Portho said, peering back into the nighttime desert. Stars glittered overhead, thousands of them in brilliant patterns of warriors and giants and dwarves and chariots. They were not visible where Portho was from, where the lights of men shone so bright that they silenced the stars. Although he had been able to blend into the masses in the city, he could not deny the beauty of the unmolested sky. Creatures of anonymity may appreciate beauty too, he thought. They simply could not imbue beauty. And that, in itself, was value enough.

“Erich will join us in Kronstead by the half moon.”

LeCuyer drew up to Sayatia as Portho entered the inn to negotiate their room price for the night.

“His brother,” he said quietly. “The innocent LeCuyer offered.” He smiled and put a finger to his lips, urging silence on the matter until they were again secured in solitude. Sound traveled fast and far in the open air.

Though they had rode to the point of exhaustion, LeCre did not betray any of the fatigue he might have felt. He knew that, somewhere back in the desert, LeCuyer and their final escort had endured far more than he, reclining on the soft, plush cushioned seats of the carriage. The giant would never complain, of course, but LeCre knew that even he was not immortal, not insensible to the heat and the dust that brought on sleep.

“We made good time,” Portho said, returning to those keeping vigil outside. “But I don't want to depart later than six thirty o'clock in the morning. Better rest. We have the attic.”
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 31 Jul - 15:06

Dunn… and Erich. Sayatia briefly considered thanking the brother of the man who had taken her place, but feared what she might find in his expression. Relief climbed from the pit of her stomach and into her chest as LeCre unwittingly stilled her fear that the innocent man who had taken her place would not meet the executioner in her place, for he was to meet them in Kronstead by some previously arranged plan. Surely there was still some risk involved however if the villagers’ persistence was to be considered, and Sayatia could not imagine that Erich’s brother would be too pleased. Regardless, as she had been reminded it was best to remain quiet for the time being, and so it wasn't until they were making their way up the stairs that she dared to speak – or would have, had she not caught a glimpse of one of the other patrons paying them particularly close attention from inside.

It was a woman, no younger than twenty but hardly halfway to thirty, with the clothes of a traveller who was either wealthier than she seemed or not a traveller at all. Her interest in them had been subtle, but in a way that made Sayatia pull her cloak a little more closely around her shoulders. Had her hand had slipped from the sleeve and the woman had caught a glimpse of the violet patches on her skin? No, it was not shock or curiosity with which she stole glances between sips of her drink – she’d become fluent in reading bare expressions like those over the past several moons – but something deeper; something with intent.

That, or she was becoming much too paranoid for her age.

Making it clear though a brief moment of eye contact that she had taken note of the woman’s interest, Sayatia was glad when Portho returned though she was already dreading the conversation that they were going to have to have before she even attempted sleep. Or maybe it was the sleep itself she dreaded.

Either way, it wasn't a jail cell or chopping block.

“Now?” Everyone looked about as tired as she felt, but a walk around the town didn't seem like such a bad idea. It was nice to be off of the carriage, and the comparatively cool night was a refreshing change. It was the perfect setting for her to procrastinate – and avoid the woman inside and whatever it was she wanted.

“I mean, I could use a short walk if that’s okay.” Even now she wasn't quite sure what she was to them. Not a prisoner, but it was unlikely that she had total freedom to leave even if she wanted to. She didn't.

“We should, uhh, talk.”

Shuffling. Massaging her shoulder. It was obvious what the topic was, but she dared not say more where they stood.

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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 31 Jul - 16:10

LeCre glanced at Sayatia with the sharpness of an eagle's eye. She had no doubt overcome the initial shock of her sudden release from the executioner's block. But after having prepared herself for death, perhaps even expected it, there was no telling how her emotions would turn now that she'd spent hours slowly creeping to the realization that she was safe. He had done his best to distract her throughout the day, but now that the gentle motion of the carriage and the soothing stories had ceased, her thoughts could turn to nothing but the questions which roiled in her mind. Why?

And LeCre, no matter how many times he did this, felt unequal to the task.

But he could not abandon her to Portho, who would only make things more confusing and set Sayatia's guard higher.

“Not until Lecuyer arrives,” Portho said, turning back to go inside with Dunn. And while Portho retired to the attic where they would spend the night, LeCre watched Dunn settle himself into the darkest corner of the ground floor and settle in with his dagger and sword concealed beneath coat and cloak.

“He's right,” LeCre said. “Best not to wander without someone to keep an eye on us.” He smiled in slight embarrassment. “You asked me earlier if I could fight. The answer is, not all that well. We shouldn't have anything to fear here. We're quite far from Seyatia Leyn, but only a fool lowers his guard this close to the desert.” Another reassuring smile, and LeCre hoped he had silently conveyed that Sayatia was indeed wise not to trust them completely just yet. However, she would be justified in doing so.

LeCre and Sayatia waited outside the inn until LeCuyer and the last rider, Einigar, came into view. LeCre hailed them from afar, indicating that LeCuyer was needed. When they finally dismounted, Einigar took charge of both of their steeds and led them to the stables.

“No trouble? No pursuit?” LeCre asked.

“None that we saw,” LeCuyer answered. Back in Seyatia Leyn, his eyes had been made of fire, his voice of honey, his stature broad and inspiring. Now however, it seemed that he had muted some of that powerful personality. He stood before them a man. A giant of a man, true, but less intimidating. There was now a tenderness in his eyes when he glanced at Sayatia, though LeCre knew he would immediately claim fatigue if anyone else noticed it.

“Sayatia and I thought we'd take a turn about the town,” LeCre said. “If that's all right with you.”

It was not a question asked to one authorized to deny them their jaunt, but rather a request for escort.

LeCuyer looked around, but the streets were empty, few windows were lighted, and the only noise to break the quiet was a gentle night breeze. “It doesn't sit well with me,” he said slowly. “We are too noticeable. At midday it would be a different thing.”

“True,” LeCre said. “Perhaps a turn around the stables then?”

LeCuyer nodded. “It is more sheltered. And there is legitimate reason for us to be there. Come.”

And he repaired to the inn's stables.
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 31 Jul - 17:33

“Right,” Sayatia answered with a compliant nod. It wasn’t as if she wanted to be alone – far from it – and so she gave LeCre a small smile to return the one he’d given her. Her people skills were sometimes lackluster, but she did trust them at least enough to feel safe for the time being. Once they got to their destination perhaps things would be different, but until then she’d resigned to accepting the company. The only question was, would they do the same once they knew more about her?

The wait for the others was an uneventful one spent chatting about nothing and acquainting herself with the moonlit view of the town from where she sat on an old sandblasted crate up against the side of the building. The place was nearly as still as the desert around it, broken only by the odd person making their way down the street, disturbing the peace no more than the slight wind around them. It was so peaceful in fact that the sound of hooves approaching had caught her off guard, and for a moment she considered retracting her request in favor of a few more minutes of stillness.

“No trouble? No pursuit?”

Nothing to worry about from what she could tell. Even LeCuyer, the tower of a man who had been larger than life hours before seemed to have become smaller; more human. It was difficult for her to imagine him as the same person, and yet with a gentle smile which she couldn’t help but return, he made her confusion invalid. They were safe with him around.

Waiting until their pace slowed and LeCre and LeCuyer’s silence willed her to speak, Sayatia swallowed hard and realized that she hadn’t planned a single word of what she needed to say. The first word from her mouth, an uncomfortable ‘uhm’, granted her a couple of seconds while she fidgeted with the cuff of her sleeve. Without any explanation it wasn’t going to serve any good to admit that, at any point during the day or night, she or the monsters that lingered at the edge of her vision on occasion could harm or, as the town of Se’Fena knew all too well, kill. The problem was, she had no explanation for them, only warnings. That was, unless they had the answers which she lacked.

“I just, uhm… thanks.” It was a start. A bad start, but a start nonetheless.

“For saving me, I mean.” Also not the best show of gratitude, but where her words were lacking the delivery was heartfelt.

“LeCre already told me that everything would be explained when we get to Kronstead, but… has your master told you anything about me?” There it was. That ‘singled out’ feeling again. She swallowed it down, hoping that the question had come across as she had meant it: did they know the danger she posed?


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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Fri 31 Jul - 18:33

Instinctively, LeCre felt that Sayatia was talking this time to LeCuyer. With Portho, LeCre was the preferred conversant. LeCuyer returned, however, took charge if only because of the mere force of his presence, even muted as it now was. He therefore remained silent at Sayatia's question and allowed LeCuyer to answer for both of them.

The giant remained silent for a moment, however, and walked among the stalls until he found where his horse was bedded. He patted its massive flank and brushed back the coarse black mane, comfortable in its presence where others would perhaps fear. Then he spoke, and it was with a voice of understanding devoid of any particular, concrete knowledge. “We know what you are. Forgive me, that is to say, we know what mark you bear. Beyond this, though, no. We don't know anything and we don't need to. Unless.”

Unless you wish to share. The invitation was unspoken, but nonetheless there. They knew nothing of her personal history, who she was or what she aspired to be. All they knew was that she was too young to die for crimes that she had not committed. LeCuyer, however, did not articulate any of this. He felt no need to expand, and perhaps even that she would be grateful to be spared such explanations. After all, he knew her power and her potential. And he knew what she could do. Anyone would be grateful to forget such things.

“As LeCre said, things will be explained when we reach Kronstead. For now, all you need to know is that our home exists as a sanctuary for those who are unjustly pursued. And it is open to you. And now to make your mind easy on one last count: Erich Portho, the man who took your place, will be joining us in Kronstead within two weeks. You need not fear that another will suffer on your behalf. He is quite capable of taking care of himself.” He smiled. “Not all magicians bear marks.”
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Sat 1 Aug - 12:09

They knew?

A wave of emotions came with LeCuyer’s response, the most prominent of which was relief, followed closely by hope. Kronstead was a haven, and if LeCuyer and the others knew about her curse, then perhaps their master knew more. From ‘what she was’ to ‘the mark she bore’, It was never answers that she’d been chasing since leaving home for she’d been more scared of what she might discover, but if they’d come to save her just for the sake of it, then perhaps there was reason to believe that it was worth it. The shamen, preists, scholars, and specialists of all walks of theory and religion had doomed her to a short and tumultuous life, but not one of them had ever offered a hand. Not like LeCuyer and the others.

Strangely, she couldn’t remember the last time she had any reason, however slim, to believe that she would live to see her 20th year. There was still no reason to assume that, she soberly reminded herself, but her heart was already racing at the thought of having her own coming of age ceremony, travelling the world, and maybe one day, travelled and lived, returning home to the parents that had seen her off with tears of grief already in their eyes.

She was getting ahead of herself, though, and with a heavy sigh she took LeCuyer up on his silent offer allowing her to remain silent, already putting the topic behind her for the time being. If they had questions, she would answer, but until then it could wait.

“Good,” It was a genuine nod and smile.

“Good, I want to thank him myself.” And maybe hear how he escaped, she thought.

All that remained was to call it a night, she supposed, and even though the weight was slowly lifting from her shoulders, fatigue was setting in.

“Right, well, I’ll do my best not to be any trouble,” It wasn’t a promise she could easily keep, but honest nonetheless. “but for now the thought of a bed is too much to ignore.” A short chortle and tired smirk was signal enough that she had calmed down and, if she was lucky, was comfortable enough with the crew to catch at least a few hours of good sleep. Judging by LeCuyer’s caution, he would remain vigilant, though she briefly wondered who - beyond Se’Fena, anyway – they had to worry about. With so many men they would be a poor target for smaller crime, and off of the road there was no worry of bandits. Was there some other worry she was yet unaware of, or was it merely strangers and unknowns like the woman inside?

“And… It’s probably nothing,” She added, hoping to be helpful and not paranoid. “there was a woman inside, brown hair, big red silk scarf, who was watching us pretty closely. Might have just been curious, but I thought I should say something. Just in case.”



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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Sat 1 Aug - 12:50

LeCuyer offered a dignified nod and, in a few words, bade her rest until the sun rose to see them off again the next day. With that, LeCre led Sayatia back to the inn and up the creaking, weary stairs, up four flights, and then to a trap door in the ceiling at the end of the hallway. He climbed the ladder first, lifted the iron ring, and shouldered it open. Clearly, he was familiar with this stopover.

The attic seemed outfitted for just their sort of party: rough travelers not requiring the comforts of proper beds, a means of protection beyond a simple lock (for there were crates set next to the trapdoor for the purpose of barricade during the watchless night), and straw mattresses scattered about the floor (two of them were pushed together to accommodate LeCuyer's size, though his legs would still dangle off the edge).

LeCre murmured a small apology that there were no partitions with which the lone female could shield herself from her troupe of male protectors, but offered her the plumpest mattress he could find. In one corner, Portho was already snoring. Though not yet asleep, Einigar had already settled himself near the trapdoor, and seemed to be waiting until all of them had safely arrived before he would allow himself to doze off for a few hours. Dunn still sat below, watching the night and the inn with untiring eyes.

LeCuyer waited in the stable until LeCre and Sayatia had disappeared, then quietly followed them to the inn. Instead of climbing the stairs, however, he slowly scanned the common room and found the woman matching Sayatia's description. Without a word, and without appearing to concern himself with her, he strode over and took a seat at her table. Though he did not look directly at her, he busied himself with a pointed ritual of stretching out and settling himself in comfortably.
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Sat 1 Aug - 17:09

There she was again, sitting at the same table, on to a new drink by the look of things. The woman’s eyes flicked towards the door as Sayatia and LeCre entered before making an attempt to look disinterested, but as soon as they’d crossed the floor, Sayatia could feel eyes upon her back once more. Whoever she was, she was not skilled in the craft of subtlety. Having Dunn not far away looking as intimidating as one could minding their own business at a lone table helped as well, and by the time they had made it to the upper landing, the stranger no longer bothered her. After all, LeCuyer had been made aware of the situation, and if there was anything to be wary about, she was certain he would be the wall between trouble and the rest of the team.

“It’s great, actually. Thanks, LeCre.” She smiled gratefully, honestly glad just to have accommodation. A room of men was of course hardly ideal, but not one complaint crossed her mind while she settled in. Despite herself, she was already coming to trust the group, and it was comforting to know that she would not be alone when she woke. Even if it was naïve, her tired self was not in the mood to care, and it was with that lethargic comfort that she found her bed and crawled in, nearly forgetting to remove the cloak that she’d been wearing since Se’Fena.

It was not easy to remove. In fact, she glanced around several times, reminding herself that she was among safe company before slipping it off of her shoulders. Instinctually her free hand immediately wrapped around her upper arm in a futile attempt to cover the spots that glowed even brighter in the dark attic, numbly throbbing as they always did. Even the dry, hot air felt nice on her skin which, whenever she could help it, was never bare, but she couldn’t help herself from tucking it beneath the covers.

---

There she was again: the girl, and her escort? Tag along? Bodyguard?

It didn’t make sense, but it didn’t matter either. The fact that she was still alive in any capacity was a wonder, but even more so was the reason why. As far as anyone had heard the girl, Sayatia, had been mostly on her own- one of the few things that eyewitnesses agreed on. Her new group, then, likely had something to do with what had gone down over there, and though it complicated things, it was a good thing overall. There would be no getting answered out of a headless prisoner, after all.

Another sip, and the two were up over the crest of the staircase, likely retiring for the night. The girl had taken notice of her, and whether she knew it or not, it had been obvious. It didn’t matter, really; between the man on the other side of the room, the others upstairs, and the giant outside somewhere, she was far too well protected if her travelling companions were indeed on the amicable side. If not, well, they were too formidable a group to approach for the time being, and any rescue plans were going to have to wait.

The ale was gross and warm, but the second sip of her third drink went down easier than expected, minus the giant of a man who had commandeered the seat across from her in the meantime, casually claiming her attention. She’d heard him enter, but his boldness hadn’t been expected. Nonetheless, with a brush of hair from her eyes and a coy smirk, she made it clear that there would be no fake shock or boring back and forth preluding the obvious. His boldness was appreciated, in fact, and had saved her time – and potentially a few coins if she could squeeze a drink out of him.

“Not very sneaky, I get it. The girl tip you off? Sayatia? The one with the -” She motioned to her arm, a brow raised high for emphasis. ‘Yes, I know’, her words said, while her demeanor hinted that it was old news. “Still quite aware, isn’t she? Quite alive.” She added in passing, posing it as both a statement and question.

“Kalin Suitone,” She thumbed towards herself. “And you, mister ‘rather large bodyguard’?”

His attention was hers now, of that she was sure, but now she needed to initiate a give and take. Politics weren’t her favorite, but she knew how these things worked.

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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Sat 1 Aug - 17:58

Not easily flustered, LeCuyer simply sat there as if he were casually sitting with an old friend—the kind you glance at once in a while, but don't need to look straight at during a conversation because of the ease and familiarity between you. Although Sayatia had been ruffled by the woman's apparent interest in her, LeCuyer's calm seemed impregnable. He noticed the slight grimace as she sipped her ale and realized she'd been nursing it for a while. So. She had been waiting for them. But for how long? Sayatia had noticed the woman before LeCuyer had arrived. It followed that she was not alone. Informants along the road had forewarned her of their arrival. Perhaps there were others like her, waiting at roadside inns. And their interest was in Sayatia alone. LeCuyer did not consider his suspicions easily aroused, but he would not trust the woman. And although he had meant to intimidate her by his casual demeanor, she seemed almost to appreciate the invitation to talk without the meaningless vagaries of introductory chatter.

His eyes narrowed as she spoke. Still quite aware? Still alive? Had this woman personal reason to wish Sayatia dead? Likely not. Her interest in the girl, like his, lay in orders from above. He was sure of it.

“Jacques LeCuyer,” he answered, leaning one elbow on the table and entering the woman's personal space for the first time. “And I consider it indecent during a first meeting between strangers to reference any of a person's abnormalities. Now let's not speak circles around one another. Why are you here and what is your interest in Sayatia Leyn?”
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PostSubject: Re: NEW RP   Sat 1 Aug - 18:55

Rude? Yes, she’d been called that many of times. As a member of high society – or at least high enough to bother keeping up the façade – she had a reputation for laughing aloud where a lady would giggle, and everything that insinuated. The Suitone family was like that, though, and she was one of them through and through. Jacques didn’t seem to mind half as much as he suggested anyway, and if he was trying to intimidate her or knock her off her game, he would be sorry to find that there was no such thing in play.

“Answers, mainly.” Kalin shrugged, took another shot at her bitter drink. Terrible.

“Better question is what do you want with her? None of you seem to have a personal interest in the kid, but I’d wager you’re well aware that she isn’t normal. Just how much do you know?”

Somehow, Kalin was sure she had the edge on the topic; She probably knew more about the girl and her unique plight than she herself did. Cursed, blighted, fated, chosen, blessed – there was a plethora of words for it, none of which were entirely accurate. Either way, her plight had been foretold, even if her name itself hadn’t been scribbled into the ancient parchments. Everything from the blotches to the monsters and lethal outbursts was predictable, expect for one thing: she wasn’t dead. Not yet.

Kalin wished no ill will upon the girl, in fact she came across as sweet enough that she felt sorry for the girl. Young, but old enough to start looking beyond whatever life she was born into, Sayatia was unlikely to have an easy last few months if Zeig had been right and, without fail, he always was. Perhaps before then they could help each other, but it was clear that she was going to have to go through the big guy at the table first.

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