The Iron Dragon of Destiny (Epic Fantasy) (Adventure) (Freeform)

Discussion in 'Role Play' started by Erik-the-Enchanter!, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. mmarage

    mmarage The Detective Contributor

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    Joseph had been about to launch another set of attacks, when the crystal barrier in front of him suddenly had one of those awful devices against it. He was sent back by the resulting blast. Now that the crystal was out of the way, there was a decent gap in the floor of the train. He was sitting on the ground dazed as the rogues progressed to the rest of the car. He blinked a few times as he came to his senses, glaring at the rogues that were standing over him. He grabbed a decent hunk of crystal that had landed behind his back, keeping it behind him for the time being as he glared at the leader of the group. He couldn't do anything, not without him killing the old woman. "Bastard..." He mumbled. He needed to look for some kind of opening to attack. Some means of freeing his hostage.
     
  2. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    Quickly taking shelter behind a corner, Katarina shielded herself from the exploding barrier. She screamed again as the explosion happened to emphasize terror she wanted everyone to think she had. A rogue flew near her after the blast, knocked out, possibly dead. She rifled through the pockets and found little of interest, except a spare sonic resonator. Hastily, it snuck into her boot and she went back to pretending to be afraid of the body.


    "Anyone move and she dies,"


    The black woman's dreads were pulled tight, and large axe pressed to her head. A large, and more viscous looking rogue had her. He cast an aura of a leader, which Katarina was waiting for, but likely not a mastermind. And the intentions of the situation still weren't clear. They had a purpose here, and it certainly wasn't pickpocketing or petty theft. She thought they wanted someone to come out as well. Hopefully the same she was looking for.


    The symbol glow on the head of the old woman with a sort of beautiful, yet terrifying luminescence. Rage in her expression and the familiar symbol made Katarina think the rogue over confident. She had seen it before, some time ago, but the memories weren't flooding back as usual. They felt distanced and erased, as a memory called by reference. All she knew was that it wasn't something to be trifled with.


    Katarina pulled a blade from her boot and held it behind her back, ready to come off the fine dress she loved. She had to capitalize on the moment if the target showed up.


    She looked at the overconfident boss, and to the old woman ready to explode with anger. He felt he was in control, but she had a hard time believing it. Something felt staged, someone was hiding. Her mouth betrayed her mind momentarily as she breathed out a quiet, yet clear "I sincerely doubt that." She gasped slightly, then smirked. Now the fun begins.
     
  3. Erik-the-Enchanter!

    Erik-the-Enchanter! Senior Member

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    "What do you want from us?"

    The Axe-Rogue scowled at Fallow. "I want Merlin, that's what I want," he barked. "All the rogues in the land are looking for him. We were tipped off by an anonymous benefactor. He says he'll give us a million gold if we bring him in. I even heard through my network of spies that the Golden Huntress was also hired, but I guess she isn't as good as they say, because I don't see her anywhere."

    The five other rogues laughed nastily at his joke.

    Mance had woken up and groaned as he rolled onto his back. His jaw was bruised darkly from the kick and he rubbed it gently. "Stupid rogues," he growled. "A disease to society, they are."

    "Shutup or I'll kick you again," Axe-Rogue threatened. He yanked on Lacey's locs and she cried out in pain, tears flowing from her eyes. "I want Merlin and I want him now!"

    "You won't get Merlin," Lacey answered in a low, dark tone. "But you will get karma." Her horned moon tattoo was glowing more fiercely and her eyes shined out like twin stars. The same silver glow spread through her frosty grey locs and they lit up like ropes of fire. Gone was the fragile old woman and in her place was a fearsome, otherworldly creature.

    Axe-Rogue gasped in shock and started to slit her throat, but he was too slow. Lacey spread out her arms and there was a blinding lightning flash. When the light faded, Axe-Rogue was flat on his back...cold and dead. Lacey stumbled and her silver glow vanished, and she passed out on the nearest seat.

    "What the...?" Mance muttered.

    The last five rogues looked stunned. They glanced from their dead leader to the old woman and back again, uncertain what to do.
     
  4. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    Katarina loved fools. They gained an inch of ground, or took any sort of leverage on a situation, they then thought nothing could happen to them. Nothing could go wrong. They would talk and talk and let everyone know the whole story. Stupidity was a beauty to behold. Katarina listened to his spiel with excitement.

    "I want Merlin, that's what I want," he barked. "All the rogues in the land are looking for him. We were tipped off by an anonymous benefactor. He says he'll give us a million gold if we bring him in. I even heard through my network of spies that the Golden Huntress was also hired, but I guess she isn't as good as they say, because I don't see her anywhere."

    A measly million? I pulled more than that upfront, she thought. That explained a lot. These were the pawns, and she was the ace-in-the-hole. Put a million gold bounty on his head so the rogues will draw him out. They never would stand a chance, but they surely could find him. Then let the real payday go to the professional. Of course, they probably would never try to pay her, maybe even go after her too, but she wanted this anyways. And as before, they would either pay in coin, or as so many times before, in blood. The thought gave her a warm feeling of pleasure inside. She didn't know which form of payment she liked better anymore.

    Well at least he called me by the cleanest of the titles, Katarina mused. Most men chose coarser language to describe her when they figured out what was really going on. But still, she would rather not be called out or on anyone's mind on the train. This may make the job more difficult.

    "You won't get Merlin," Lacey answered in a low, dark tone. "But you will get karma."


    As the old woman began to glow white hot, Katarina once again thought how she loved fools. Rushing in, thinking the brazen approach will show real results. Give their lives unintentionally for her information. It made her giggle slightly as he died. Stupid man. Thank you. She is not Merlin, but she knows. Katarina saw the cut on the old woman's neck and saw opportunity. It wasnt deep enough to be of any real danger, but enough to be convincing.

    She stood up quickly, and rushed towards the woman. She pushed a rogue standing dumbstruck in the aisle to the side. "Get out of the way, half-wit." Katarina approached the woman, seeing the blood ooze out slowly. The cut seemed just enough to build the narrative. Too deep and she wouldn't be able to talk as well. Katarina needed her to tell everything. She ripped off a piece of the rogue leaders shirt, with some difficulty by hand with care to not show her knives. A large enough strip came off and she fashioned a makeshift patch for the wound. Katarina raised the woman to an upward sitting position, handheld the slight wound.

    The others were still staring, awestruck at the power of the old woman. Katarina turned to them. "Are you done with you're tough guy show yet," she told them all sternly, "chilled water and some hot towels would really do us well." A motherly approach to the situation might be convincing. Time would tell.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  5. mmarage

    mmarage The Detective Contributor

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    Joseph blinked as he saw Lacey suddenly transform before his eyes. He had to avert his eyes from being blinded. However... now was the chance to strike. He blinked a few times to clear his vision as he got to his feet, the rogues distracted by the loss of their boss. He summoned a new volley of ice crystals, ready to gouge them deep into the bodies of the rogues... when that noblewoman he'd noticed on the train suddenly rushed through the bandits. This... caused Joseph to pause. The nobles that he'd met over the years had been vain, arrogant, egotistical, and selfish to a fault. They hardly do anything to help another without some ulterior motive, and wouldn't even risk that if it meant their lives might be in danger. This woman rushing to another's aid, especially through bandits that would be more likely to just slit her throat and be done with it, rather than actually obey her orders. This woman is not what she seems.

    Joseph kept this idea close to the chest however. Five crystals raised around him, pointing at the bandits. "I would recommend that you do as the lady asks, unless you want to join your friends. You'll go to prison, but hey, at least you'll be alive." He said, giving a little shrug, he was out of the bandit's reach, and he was already aiming at the closest bandit that would be likely to try and swing at him if they decided to try anything.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  6. Erik-the-Enchanter!

    Erik-the-Enchanter! Senior Member

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    The bandits almost started to obey Katarina and Joseph, but they stopped when one of them snorted. "We ain't stickin' around for y'alls to call the law on us," he sneered. "We're outtie!" With that the rogues all jumped out of the broken windows of the speeding train as easily as a kid might jump over a crack in the sidewalk. Wings opened like parachutes from their coats to help soften the landing, and they rolled expertly to avoid breaking bones.

    "Good luck fighting off the other rogues, suckers!" shouted the same rogue, and the train sped away to the sound of them laughing nastily.

    "What a bunch of pricks," Mance said. He spit on the ground for emphasis. "I'll fix this right up, don't you all worry." The gnome picked up his tiny shovel from where it fell and he started waving it in front of the damaged parts of the train, walking up and down the aisle. The windows un-broke themselves, glass fitting together perfectly, and every other rip, scar, or dent in the train was magically mended. "Fixing stuff is in my power," Mance explained when he was done.

    "What, huh, where...?" Lacey was waking up. She blinked rapidly and looked around. "The...the rogues left? Good. Nothing but gassed-up bullies, they were. I've faced tougher foes than that lot. Though I'm afraid there may be more rogues to come." Lacey groaned as she sat up, and gently patted Katarina's shoulder. "Thank you, dear," she said with a smile, "but I can heal myself." She raised one finger and a pinpoint of silver light appeared on the end. When she touched the fingertip to her neck wound it resealed itself, leaving behind a faint line that was barely visible.

    "I see you fixed up the train with your gnome magick," Lacey said to Mance as she struggled to her feet. She had to use the nearby seat to hoist herself up, and then she leaned against it to keep from falling over.

    "Miss Lacey, you have a lot to explain," Mance responded. "What kind of sorcerer are you? That was some interesting magick you used there."

    "I'd rather not speak about it so publicly," Lacey said, glancing around at Katarina, Joseph, and Fallow.

    At that moment, Gregard the conductor roared like a wild beast and charged into the room. He was covered in bleeding scars and his teeth had grown out into fangs. His red glasses had been knocked off and yellow eyes shined out. "I just killed six rogues," he growled. "Are there any more left? Just tell me where and I'll get 'em!"
     
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  7. mmarage

    mmarage The Detective Contributor

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    Joseph watched as the rogues ran off. He didn't bother trying to send his crystals out after them. The threat had been taken care of, for now at least. With a snap of his fingers, his crystals glowed brightly, before disappearing, only leaving a few ice chips behind, clattering against the ground, before melting away. He watched as the gnome, Mance, he believed his name was, if he'd heard that country boy correctly, had begun to fix all of the damage in the train car. He felt a bit relieved that they wouldn't have to be dealing with the hole in the train car he'd created with his barrier. He could see someone not paying much attention and ending up losing a leg that way.

    He looked over at the old woman, Lacey, according to the gnome. He watched as she woke up, and began treating her own wound. He had to wonder what kind of magic it was that she had used... and if she was even human. He'd get those answers from her later, seeing as she wasn't exactly forthcoming with her information. Their eyes met briefly as she glanced towards him, though he did his best to keep that neutral mask that he'd become used to wearing on.

    Joseph blinked as he quickly got out of the way of the conductor as he charged into the room.

    "I just killed six rogues," he growled. "Are there any more left? Just tell me where and I'll get 'em!"

    "I dealt with four. Mance and Lacey dealt with one together. An accident in our favor incapacitated five more, and Lacey dealt with their leader. The rest fled after that. I'm unsure of whether any more are on the train." He said simply. He knew he must be a bit of a sight, his face and clothing were splattered with blood, and the bodies of rogues, both dead and incapacitated filled the cabin. "I would recommend that we restrain those that are living and get rid of the bodies of the dead. The last thing that we need are rotting bodies getting the passengers sick." He said as he took a look around. He wanted nothing more than to shower and get into a fresh change of clothes, but he knew that this wasn't over just yet. Those unconscious rogues could stir up far more trouble, and if there are still some on the train, then they were still at risk.
     
  8. Bewitched

    Bewitched Active Member

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    Fallow was immensely glad everything was over. All his life he had imagined being an adventuring type of wizard going on dangerous quests and saving princesses. When he found out he was a lowly Hedge, well, those ideas were quickly squashed. Now it seemed like he was forced into the middle of a great rollicking quest. Except Fallow did not feel the excitement he presumed he would. He felt drained and weak, almost sickly, after the big adrenaline rush of the fight.

    Looking about, Fallow saw the others seemed to be doing vastly better than he was. Gregard was riled up from The fight and looking more like a wolf than ever. The gnome was already up and walking around fixing the train with magick. Lacey was healing herself and standing up. Even though she needed to lean on a chair for assistance, the older woman was talking nonchalantly as if they were all gathered for tea and biscuits. Joseph was very brave-looking and composed. And the pretty rich lady...Fallow had expected her to be a complete wreck, but she had pulled it together remarkably fast and came to Lacey's aid, even pushing through the rogues to get to her.

    Better act cool like them or else they'll think I'm a coward. Fallow quickly wiped the sweat from his face on his cape (which was dark brown and wouldn't show any stains) and tried to keep from breathing so hard. His hands trembled a bit, but he hid those beneath the fall of his cape to keep anyone from seeing.

    "Lacey...are you sure you can't tell us?" Fallow asked finally. He glanced at Katarina, trying to look calm especially for her so she wouldn't see through his "grand wizard" act. "I know you want to keep your secrets, but if we are going to be traveling together...I think it would be better to be open. Oh, here. Your knife." He held out the long curved knife Lacey had dropped earlier for her to take.
     
  9. Erik-the-Enchanter!

    Erik-the-Enchanter! Senior Member

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    Lacey listened carefully to Joseph's words of concern abou the unconscious rogues and the dead ones. "I will take care of them," she said in a thoughtful tone. "But I might have to use...the Tablet." With one hand she reached into a secret fold of her layered robes and retrieved the large flat stone. It was blue-ish silver in color, embedded with aquamarine crystal veins, covered back and front with those carven spinning-and-swimming runes. Not at all something that the average person would possess, although in Paegan magickal items could be bought and traded on the free market.

    "The Tablet gives me spiritual strength when I need it," Lacey told them, slowly, as if it was hard for her to give up her secrets. "But although the Tablet's stored power is Big Magick, it is not infinite. It is finite and don't last forever. I have to use it sparingly." She gripped the Tablet on both sides and closed her eyes, taking a long, deep breath. The runes wriggled faster in dancing spirals and the aquamarine veins burned brightly. It glowed with an intense sapphyre aura that bled into Lacey's silver aura. Suddenly Lacey's aura turned fierce platinum and her eyes snapped open with a sound like thunder.

    Gregard screamed and hid behind a chair in fright. Mance the Gnome simply looked amazed, grinning slightly.

    Lacey blinked again and her eyes went all platinum. One last time she blinked and the platinum light spread throughout her long locs with sizzling crackles of power. Every remaining rogue on the train disappeared from sight, as if they had never been. The bloodstains were gone as well as the blood on all the train passengers. Gregard stepped out from behind his chair, completely healed if his many scars. Everyone else was also healed of any immediate wounds.

    Without speaking, Lacey took back her curved knife from Fallow and hid it away in yet another secret fold, of which she obviously had many. She gave him a small nod before speaking.

    "Witness the Power of Merlin's Tablet," Lacey told everyone. "And you don't have to call me Lacey anymore, my compatriots. My real name is Priestess Ninnevah." She lifted her chin proudly and the horned moon on her forehead sparked white for a moment.

    "How's that for being open?" Priestess Ninnevah asked Fallow in a wry tone.
     
  10. mmarage

    mmarage The Detective Contributor

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    Joseph tilted his head as he heard what Lacey had said, confused. All they would have to do is dump the bodies out, restrain those that were alive, then some of the crew would just have to clean up the blood. Why would she need to employ magic for something like that...? He looked at the strange tablet as she brought it out. He listened to her explanation of the tablet, still somewhat perplexed as to why she would use a magical artifact to clean up a few corpses. Though, his eyes did widen when he heard that the tablet contained Big Magick. He was about to open his mouth to say something to stop her from wasting it on what was ultimately a small job... but it was already too late. She was drawing the magic from the tablet. He could feel the magic whirling through the air as the woman began glowing a bright silver. He winced when he heard that loud boom come from her.

    The next thing he knew, the train compartment was filled with a bright, almost blinding light. He felt some of the magic sweeping over him, painlessly, thankfully. When everything returned to normal, Joseph looked around. He saw that not a single rogue remained. Did... she kill the rest of them? He glanced down at himself and saw that the blood had been entirely removed from his body, not a trace remained, nor did any of the blood remain on the walls or floors of the cabin. He noted that the conductor also appeared to be healed. It was as if everything had been returned back to how they were before the incident took place.

    Joseph listened to Lacey, his eyebrow raising slightly as he heard the tablet's name, and Lacey... no, Ninnevah's true name and title. He'd have to wonder what religion she was a priestess of, but that was not really the issue here.

    "How's that for being open?"

    "...I would say that it's quite ill advised given the circumstances." He said simply, crossing his arms as he turned to face her. "For one, now everyone knows that tablet is in your possession, someone could leak this information to the outside world, increasing the odds that we'll be targeted, especially since there are a band of rogues looking to capture Merlin, the Tablet of Merlin will draw them like moths to a flame. Second, you used Big Magick, which you have stated yourself is finite, for a rather simple task that could have been accomplished by hand with relative ease. Third, and I can only assume this point because you were going under an assumed name, but you've revealed your identity to everyone in this train, who, going back to my first point, could leak it and put yourself, and the rest of us in further danger. Finally, I don't even know what you've done with those unconscious rogues, but if they're dead, then you've lost the opportunity to gain information on the person that has hired them out to capture Merlin, and perhaps use that information to send the proper authorities to deal with them." He said, before giving a slight shrug of his shoulders. "Just thought that I would point these things out." He said, before reaching beneath his seat to grab his forgotten cravat and suit jacket.
     
  11. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    Katarina subserviently kept out of the way when Lacey awoke and the rogues ran off. She elected to remain a non-factor and blend in to the environment rather than stand out and be discovered. The powers that be were quite strong, she assumed, and if her cover blew escape would be difficult.

    The door of the forward car burst open, and the wolf man, wild and bloody as a feral fighting dog, jumped through the passage. She didn't even listen to his words because she was too focused on the visage. She remembered the vicious monster she fought. The wolf man of the peasants, twenty five years ago. Flashes of teeth and claws scraping her skin, and coarse fur matted with blood filled her mind. The first time she truly fought for her life, and the first time she felt sweetness in revenge.


    ***


    Katarina was thirteen, and already one of the greatest hand-to-hand fighters in the city. Her notoriety as a child warrior was scoffed at by many a challenger, who didn't understand the perceived weakness was a ruse. She loved winning and taking from them. She wanted everything: their money, possessions, and even their lives. Katarina was hired out of the fighting circuit by the Montagues, which thought they need a dangerous, yet invisible guard. The money was too good to pass up, and of even more value was the attachment to the noble sector. She was moving up.

    It was anything but an improvement. The head of the house, Cedric Montague, wasn't looking for a guard, he was looking for a toy. The Montague men were sorcerers, notorious for taking a dark look at magic. They never really needed a guard. He simply wanted the powerful to feel powerless. Control was his drug. Katarina writhed in horror at every use of his paralytic spell he'd come to love, but could never succeed in escaping. She was his. Whether in body or in mind, she couldn't escape. Katarina instead found solace in the children at that home, learning the ways of noble dress and speech from them, but eventually they betrayed her too. At that house of horrors, she realized the blindness of legal justice, and the beauty of cold revenge.

    When the peasants rebelled and started storming through the noble homes, she was expected to live up to her near year of pay. They came to the mansion, eyes wild with bloodlust and rage. Other homes burned down the street, but the Montagues remained strong. Katarina believed the powerful magic of the men there would help her in defending, but quickly realized no one was coming. Bags and boxes could be seen as they quickly packed possessions. They were running, and she was the last line to slow them down. Stockholm Syndrome had taken hold of her over this time, and she felt it necessary to live up to her pay. Felt it was a noble decision and a glorious battle ending for a valkyrie.

    The peasants ran up to the front door, torches and pitchforks in hand. Katarina came out from around a nearby bush, elegantly slicing the coratid artery of passing peasant in a sort of pirouette spin, and throwing another knife into the back of one already passed. She pulled another knife out to replace the thrown, and rolled forward under stabbing pitchfork. Katarina came out of the roll with an upward jab through the jaw of the stabbing peasant, locking a gurgling scream in a skewered mouth. She removed the blade and let the blood pour over her leather armor skin. The warmth brought joy.

    Five more surround her before she could fully stand. They held pitchforks and blades out towards her to pin her. One blade closed in, but Katarina parried quickly. With the short break, she tossed her weaker left handed dagger into the face of one. It sunk into the eyes socket and he died before he could even react. The others looked in horror, and then rage. In the pause, she sliced a leg of one, and the chest of another. They all backed farther off, but more came. Then the chant started.

    "Roland. Roland. Roland!"

    It grew louder and louder. The peasants backed away, dragging out their wounded. The blood soaked sweat rolled out of her hair and skin, seeping into her armor. She smelled and tasted the excess of death. She loved it, wanted more of it. Taking their lives in preservation of her own was so satisfactory that she forgot why she was even fighting. A blood drunk queen of blades hungry for more battle and more death. Katarina showed teeth like a rabid dog. Then a growl grew out of the darkness. Peasants off to the side started to laugh maliciously and spit vile words her way. "You're dead now, little bitch," cried the lowborn with a sliced leg.

    A wolf man lumbered out into the light, electing to transfer to all fours for a coming charge. Layers of blood caked his muzzle from a whole day's worth of killing and feasting. His fangs gleamed white through the red and grey of his fur. Pupils were dilated with animal survival reflex, as if he had been kept in perpetual battle for hours, maybe even days. It looked haggard, yet very strong. Katrina's bloodlust faded. This wasn't going to fulfill desire, it would simply cause more pain. The crowd cheered as the beast snarled. Katarina looked at the house one more time. The little girl she had protected looked cold and dead at her through the window. There was no love or care on her face. Katarina realized she was in this predicament for people with no respect for her as a person, only in her skill. If she made it out alive, she would never waste her time on others again.

    The wolf trotted forward, and then advanced to a full gallop. Katarina crouched down slightly to gain a spring force. In a perfectly timed dive right, she sprung out of the way of the incoming teeth. The wolf man corrected late and lost balance in a tumble. But to her disdain, it righted itself mid roll by sinking claws in soft ground. A new sprint by the creature immediately followed, more vigorous than the first. It dove forward with unnatural speed and shot out its claws towards her head. Katarina had barely enough time to stab he knife through the backside of one paw and push off out of the way, but the other paw diverted and sliced at her chest. It ripped open the armor, but barely scratched her skin. The beast then kicked her back hard on it's way past, knocking her forward and down.

    Once again, it reacted and spun quickly, instantly charging. This time she couldn't react fast enough. Teeth sunk into her left thigh, and then through her fifty feet away, in front of the mansion. She landed hard on rocks and a stick. Katarina cried out in pain as the crowd cheered. Her ribs felt broken from the impact, and her leg bled profusely. She looked up at the window to see the little girl wave goodbye and then leave. Rage enveloped Katarina's entire being. The beast hungrily charged her, bouncing off a nearby tree to pounce fully on top for the kill. In desperation she grabbed the stick from behind and pointed it up. Three sharp points of the fork slowly drew up towards the wolf man. It looked down at her in terror as it fell into inevitability. The pitchfork broke as the weight of the beast drove its shoulder to shatter and fold. It howled in agony, and the crowd screamed.

    "Enough!" bellowed a deep voice among the crowd. Their leader stepped out as Katarina rose, defying the pain to show no weakness. "What is it that you want? What have they done for you to earn this brutality?"

    She thought about it slowly, growing tired from blood loss. Her mind was a blank void. "They paid me."

    Looking surprised, the leader called out "is that it?" He thought momentarily and then came to a solution. "What do you want of theirs? Would you let us pass for anything?"

    She knew what she wanted immediately. The little girl had worn an amethyst flower collar since Katarina met her. She wanted that more than anything. Katarina wanted that ripped from the throat of betrayal. "The collar on the little girl's neck," she called out loudly. Some of the crowd looked uneasy. They knew she was the real animal here. The wolf man didn't live up to the monster inside this girl. The leader motioned them to move forward into the home. Screams and battle could be heard in the building, as a fire started.

    Katarina couldn't tell if she won or failed. The blood told one story, as the fire told another. She was a middle man with no true place or balance. Distinct voices from the last year of memory could be heard. She couldn't tell if she cared for them or not. Childhood confusion set in double for the girl. As she drifted in thought at the scene, her future self came back into the present.


    ***


    Her fingers caressed the detailed pedals of the amethyst flower on her neck, absentmindedly. She opened her eyes to a repaired cabin and a healed Lacey, as well as the wolf man moved on. She sat down in a seat and chose not to acknowledge her drift from reality, hoping no one else noticed. Sometimes the memories of past deeds and hunts came at such a rush, she felt they were the present.

    "Witness the Power of Merlin's Tablet," Lacey told everyone. "And you don't have to call me Lacey anymore, my compatriots. My real name is Priestess Ninnevah." She lifted her chin proudly and the horned moon on her forehead sparked white for a moment.

    "How's that for being open?"

    Acceptable, Katarina felt, pleased she didn't have to investigate her identity further. Now she could focus on simply finding Merlin himself. If there was enough trust here from Ninnevah to reveal her identity, then Katarina was doing enough right. She felt vilified in her efforts.

    The Lockridge boy went into a spiel about revealing identity in a scolding way. She had her it before, so it was a long and boring listen, but it was completely correct. It also let Katarina know that the boy was smarter than the average spoiled brat. He may become a real throne in my side if he keeps it up she thought. He would need to be led in a different direction to be kept off her trail. Katarina hoped more information would continually fall into her lap. Her hunt would make her an immediate target, and she couldn't afford it. Katarina was getting close to being a household name, just as she wanted, brushed needed all that money to spin it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  12. Erik-the-Enchanter!

    Erik-the-Enchanter! Senior Member

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    Priestess Ninnevah listened thoughtfully to Joseph's speech while still holding Merlin's Tablet. She did not sway or stumble as she stood, completely regenerated by the power of the Tablet that she had borrowed. She even stood straighter and her dark-brown eyes were crystal clear.

    "If you must know, I used Big Magick to clean up the mess faster because I plan to get dinner and sleep soon and didn't feel like waiting," Ninnevah replied at last. She tossed her grey-silk locs haughtily. "It was also convenient because I was going to draw power from the Tablet anyway to restore my strength and thought it would be a polite gesture to heal everyone as well. You should know I rarely use my personal brand of magick, or else I would have destroyed the rogues the moment they attacked instead of waiting until the Axe-Rogue nearly slit my throat. And as for the true reason I revealed who I am and that I possess the Tablet..."

    Ninnevah trailed off and looked around at each of their faces, her brow furrowed in deep concentration. "Well, I don't know how to say this without sounding all mysterious, so I guess I'll just say it," she deliberated. "You know how they say Druids like Merlin, the Black Druid, have a deep connection to Magick and Destiny? I have a connection to Destiny, but not magick, Big or Small. I cannot cast spells in the conventional sense. My power has to do with sensing and changing Destiny.

    "You see, ever since I was young I was able to sense when good or bad events were going to happen, which is how I knew the rogues were coming. My family thought I was a witch so they sent me to the local sorceress. Turns out, I couldn't cast a spell to save my life. I'd say the fancy words and wave my hands around...and nothing would ever happen. The sorceress was almost ready to write me off as just an oracle and send me home, but one day her house was broken into while we were meditating in the bookroom. Before the sorceress could zap the burglar, I stood up and shined like a star and the burglar froze in place. Even his eyes were paralyzed, empty and staring, not blinking.

    "The sorceress couldn't explain it and decided to send me to the Order of Priestesses on Apple Island. The Priestesses there specialised in casting spells without words or movements, but with thoughts and feelings. They were an elite Order but the moment I arrived on a sailing boat they welcomed me as one of them. Apparently, the Priestesses all had the Power of Destiny, like me, but they allowed people to think whatever they wanted about their special magick. They liked the mystique that surrounded their practices and believed that secrecy was their best protection, because people fear what they don't understand and Apple Island is very rarely ever attacked for that reason. Pirates avoid the Island like the plague and rogues who go there are never seen again.

    "The Supreme of the Order of Priestesses taught me how to control my power and that I should never abuse it, because that could lead to the destruction of reality. I did not kill the rogues that were left here...I moved them from Present Time to Past Time, a few minutes after they boarded the train. Right now they're all layed out by the tracks, miles and miles behind us. Except for the five that escaped, of course. Rogues are known for being evasive like that."

    With a sigh, Priestess Ninnevah sat back down at her seat, laying the Tablet flat on her lap. "All that to say, I believe Destiny has brought us together for a purpose," she concluded. "It brought Merlin to me for a purpose as well. He came to Apple Island searching for a great mystery to heal his soul and he found it...in me." Ninnevah smiled sadly. "We fell in love and the Supreme officiated our wedding. We enjoyed twenty-five good years together, Merlin and I...had many epic adventures in Kamelot...but he was older than me and his health took a drastic turn after a particularly harsh winter. Every Priestess on the Island could feel that the Black Druid was near to death's door...his Destiny was closing. Before he died, Merlin made the Tablet for me and carved it with a Prophecy of how to save Paegan from something evil that he sensed was quickly approaching. The only problem is, Merlin carved the Prophecy in faerie script, which is only readable to faeries."

    "That's why you needed me, eh?" Mance grumbled, scratching his ear in embarrassment. "And here I thought it was a date. Got myself gussied up and waxed my hair fer nothing, I guess."

    "You look marvellously handsome," complimented Ninnevah.

    "Thanks, but...I'm afraid I can't help. I was born in Faerie but raised in Paegan. Never learned the faerie script, so I can't translate that Tablet for ya." Mance shrugged in apology.

    Ninnevah tapped her defined chin. "A minor setback, I'm sure. Our next stop on the Paegan Express is Oldtown. They are strongly Traditional there and have a rather large population of faerie. I can find one there." Now the priestess faced everyone again. "But before I boarded this train, I was able to bribe a drunk homeless pixie into translating the first line of the Prophecy. It said that I must board the Iron Dragon of Destiny to meet my compatriots who will help me become the High King Elect. When we reach Avareon, I will register myself as the Moderate Candidate and put my name on the final ballot."

    Priestess Ninnevah fell silent and waited for their collective reactions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  13. mmarage

    mmarage The Detective Contributor

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    Joseph listened to her explanation, his eyes never leaving her as she explained. After a little while, he pinched the bridge of his nose, letting out a sigh of consternation. "...So, let me just get this straight, you used a tablet with what I presume is intended to be world saving magick, which again is finite according to you, so then you could heal a little cut on your neck and clean this mess up so then you could stuff your face with whatever slop is available and go to bed just a little bit earlier, wherein you could have regained your strength naturally, with healing others as a mere afterthought. On top of that, you sent the rogues that we could have interrogated into the past and off of this train, potentially creating a paradox, mind you, and losing a lead on the person who is chasing after a dead man, or perhaps, just that tablet." He said, clearly annoyed with the woman's actions, before letting out another deep sigh.

    He then released his nose and began to put his cravat and suit back on. "...Though I suppose I should have realized that you were a priestess from the magick that you used. However, it's been a long time since I've read up on such an area of magick, and even the records that we have are quite scant due to that secrecy. Even Lockridge priestesses in the past have kept those secrets close to the vest, much to the chagrin of the rest of the family. If we were still at home, I'm sure there must be a book in the library on the faerie language and translating it." He mused as he made himself more presentable once again.

    Once he was finished buttoning up his suit jacket, he turned back to Ninnevah, his expression growing cold. "...Even supposing that everything that you have stated is the complete and honest truth, as the heir to the Lockridge family, I cannot and will not support your bid for the High King Elect. My father is running for that position. I would recommend that you let such a foolish notion as running for the position of High King Elect drop from your mind. No one knows who you are, your only claim to any form of recognition is a supposed marriage to Merlin, who you have stated is dead and thus can neither confirm nor deny this fact. As far as I can tell you don't have the resources necessary to run a successful campaign, and with your willingness to make rash and impulsive decisions, any other candidate will take advantage of this and leave you either completely humiliated or dead in a gutter. The best case scenario is that no one will even take note of you and you'll lose in silence." He said bluntly, his voice cold as he put his hands in his pockets.
     
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  14. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    Merlin was dead.

    Words floated around in auditory existence after that phrase, but ceased to truly register. What am I doing here, she thought, where do i even go from here. Her luggage in the storage car held one and a half million from an unknown source to kill someone already dead. The largest payoffs always bring the worst trouble. She didn't even really know what to do.

    Emotions coursed through her body as the many outcomes of this came to mind. She sat down and gazed blankly in the direction of the priestess. She could run off with the money, but she would eventually be found. Then she would a real fighting her hands. She could give the money away, but still would be hunted. Returning it seemed impossible. Even the thought of killing the priestess for the tablet as a trophy of proof crossed her mind. The fact was, this whole situation was a mess, and she was angry about it.

    Her gaze focused on the priestess laying out wild plans and memories. They seemed ridiculous and made Katarina more upset. She couldn't hold her irritation any more.

    "So you're telling I'm here for nothing then. That you knew I was wasting my time."

    She really hated any form of magic. It was always steeped in unnecessary mystery and time-consuming riddles. She was smart enough for them, but she simply lacked the patience. A seer would see straight through her too. There was nothing good about being on this train. She needed to get out and off.

    Katarina stormed off past Mance, who she refused to touch, and the boys she basically pushed out of the way. The door opened and slammed behind her as she entered the dining car, looking for some air, as well as something to eat. There was still a ways left in this trip, even just to the next stop.


    Katarina played with one of her knives in her hand. A nearby chef looked intimidated as he scurried about his work. She was so angry that she almost claimed him as a victim. She looked back through the car window to see the Lockridge boy berating the older woman. Katarina couldn't stand either of them, especially now. Backed in corner, things were about to get real nasty for her. Might even be close to time for losing the dress.

    But first, before the sweet solace in the reflectivity of a pool of blood, let's eat.
     
  15. Erik-the-Enchanter!

    Erik-the-Enchanter! Senior Member

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    Priestess Ninnevah rolled her eyes at Joseph. She couldn't help it. "Listen here," she began calmly. "When you get to be my age, Mr Fussypants, waiting even fifteen minutes for a meal or sleep is a problem. Forgive the old lady for using her magick to get a hot meal quicker so she can rest. The Tablet still has lots more power in it, this is only the first time I've used it since I came to Paegan. I restored my vitality because I can't afford to be weak. At any given moment whatever Great Evil that Merlin predicted could come for me, so I need to stay ready and sharp. I don't think interrogating the rogues would've yielded much information either. No doubt their financier kept his or her identity a secret. Don't know anyone that would hire rogues and reveal themself to them. That would be outrageously stupid.

    "And don't worry about any time paradoxi," Ninnevah assured him. "I didn't go through all that rigorous training on Apple Island for nothing. They had me stopping, starting, and resetting time for months, showing me exactly how to tailor the threads of reality to my whims. As long as I'm careful and focused and don't overdo it, Time remains perfectly intact. It is a priestess's duty above all to keep the Balance, my compatriot. And you may not want to help me become High King...but I sense that you have an important role to play in this, that much is certain."

    "So you're telling I'm here for nothing then. That you knew I was wasting my time."

    Ninnevah barely had time to register who was speaking before Katarina stormed off, pushing people aside and slamming the door behind her. "What is she talking about?" the old lady murmured. "Should I go speak with her? Well, I was heading that way for food, anyway. Might as well."

    "I'll accompany you," Mance said. Ninnevah smiled gratefully at him and they walked as a pair into the dinner compartment. Food was being laid out on white linen tablecloths: honey-roasted meats, seasoned potato crisps, cheese soup, brown rice, fruit salad, steamed vegetables of all kinds, buttery bread rolls, water glasses, and a spiced burgundy wine that made your tongue tingle after the first taste.

    "Care to speak your mind, fair lady?" Ninnevah asked Katarina as she lowered herself into a seat at the nearest table. She tucked Merlin's Tablet into her layered robes, out of sight. Mance sat beside her and immediately gobbled a hearty chunk of meat.

    Back in the passenger compartment, Gregard was scratching his chin and grumbling. "If that Tablet is from Merlin...and Merlin says a Great Evil is coming...maybe it's the real deal?" He shook his head and scowled ferociously. "I don't like goddarn Prophecies, especially encrypted ones. Why couldn't that old Druid just write it out plain?"
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  16. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    Katarina found herself a seat and calmed enough to stop drawing attention. She grabbed a plate honeyed red meat, and some interesting green vegetables. As the wine came into view, it caused her to pause. Drinking might be the most suitable option for this scenario. Katarina knew the coming days, maybe even hours, would be difficult, if not deadly. Time to celebrate the possible end. She grabbed a whole bottle to start, with a bright smile.

    The food was delicious, and she was apparently starving. She almost scarfed it down faster than the priestess and the other creature could enter the room. As soon as they came into sight. The food lost its flavor. As they sat down by her, she was no longer hungry. What could they need now, she thought, how much further would they like to ruin my day and possibly life? If anything, this was a further driver for drinking.

    "Care to speak your mind, fair lady?"

    The belligerence of this seer, Katarina felt, the gall to see a future in time and play with those around them. It was infuriating. But what could she hide? The game was already being played, and Katarina was a pawn. An insult to her objective. She breathed heavily through her nose, and then took a swig straight from the bottle.

    The wolf man said something as well, but she paid no mind to it. Just seeing him was enough to bring flashbacks, let alone listening. That wasn't a necessity to remember again for her.

    She took another, larger drink from the bottle.

    "I have a ridiculous amount of money in my bag in storage in forward payment to kill a man you tell me is already dead." Her voice was full of malice. "I have an unknown buyer who will likely try to kill me whether I find them and confess this, or if I run." Her voice grew as the thoughts rushed in. "And now I probably have to spend years trying to disappear again. You have no idea...well, maybe you do.. anyways you have no idea how long it took to build this identity!" She glared viciously at the priestess, ready to attack them all at any second.

    When Katarina heard the loud eating of Mance, she about had enough. She threw the dagger she had been previously playing with through the remaining meat in his hands, sticking it to the opposite wall. It was as close as she would get to living out her red thoughts without actually engaging in battle. She kept staring at the priestess while doing this.

    "And I'd prefer if you fed your pets outside." She paused the let it all sink in. "Is that enough speaking my mind?"

    Katarina took another large drink from the bottle and slammed it on the table. Half empty in about five minutes. She might just beat her personal record.
     
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  17. Erik-the-Enchanter!

    Erik-the-Enchanter! Senior Member

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    Priestess Ninnevah blinked in surprise. Then blinked again. "You...were...hired to kill Merlin? My Merlin? I...well, I guess in a weird way it's a good thing he's already dead. That wouldn't have ended well for anyone involved if you are who I think you are. That rogue mentioned the Golden Huntress. I'm starting to think that's you."

    Mance grumbled something about losing his meat and moved to another table to eat in peace, giving Katarina an annoyed look in the process. He drank wine straight from the bottle to wash down some rice and vegetables, and then started in on the bread rolls.

    Ninnevah daintily picked at her fruit salad while watching Katarina. She wasnt scared in the least, just intensely focused, a burning curiosity in her eyes. "I don't know everything, Golden Huntress, if that's who you are," she confessed. "I'm not a true Oracle. I can feel Destiny around us and tell when important events are going to happen, but I can't see anything I want like a full-blown seer. If that's what's bothering you, don't worry none. Your secrets are safe...unless you decide to share them."

    The Head Chef rolled in a cart of steaming pastries, sticky with white frosting and glistening cherry filling. He was shocked to see people had arrived before it was official dinner time, but quickly recovered and announced that he would bring out some more spiced wine, as Mance had already gone through three bottles all on his own.

    "You do realise if I become High King Elect, I could raise you up higher than any noble?" Ninnevah said casually, sipping on water. "I could make you Master of War. You would train the next generation of warriors. The Good Country's armies would be under your command. You would receive the Warhammer of your office and be charged with enforcing the rule of law, keeping the corrupt nobles in check. And something tells me you wouldn't have any trouble at all managing the scattered bands of rogues that still roam Paegan, despite the long, tireless crusade against them. What be your opinion on that, my lady...?"

    Now Priestess Ninnevah's focused intensity made sense. She had been trying to read Katarina to see what position she would most fit in the Royal Cabinet. Ninnevah was already behaving as if she was High King, her faith in winning was fixed and unapologetic.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  18. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    Katarina laughed loudly, nearly snorting. She finished the bottle and leaned back lazily with wide smile of disbelief, and partial drunkenness.

    "You would place a monster in your cabinet? You would willingly trust an animal to lead your military and make ethical choices on their behalf?" She leaned in forward, and the smile faded.

    "I know what I am, what I've done. I know what I think, and what I am willing to do. I am selfish, heartless, outspokenly racist, and an overall menace to the established society. I've hunted men and women, witches and warlocks, nobles and peasants alike. I even hunted the creatures you keep as...friends." a short lived look of disgust crossed her face. "I've driven death and deceit for nothing more than personal gain."

    "Some of them I've done for no other reason than I just wanted to." She thought of the long search for the remainder of the Montague household, and it brought her small joy, but she quickly pushed it back inside her mind for later. "And you think that is someone acceptable for a position of power?" Katarina leaned back to her original comfortable position. She reached behind her to sneak a spare bottle from the table behind and opened it.

    "Simply put, I dont believe you for a second. You keep a daft exterior, but you let out only as much as you want others to hear. I hear perfection in your suggestion. A beautiful world of everything I desire, but i deny it. I'm already trapped in a struggle from someone i dont even know. I've been lied to and cheated far more than once." She drank another large swig.

    "So what side are you really on? Where does your moral compass swing? What are you willing to do to get what you believe is your destiny? You married a man who killed thousands with a single spell, and you look back on him fondly. What is your purpose?"

    Katarina crossed her arms and gazed at the old woman intently.
     
  19. Erik-the-Enchanter!

    Erik-the-Enchanter! Senior Member

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    Priestess Ninnevah smiled sweetly, modestly. "I'm on the side of Good, my dear," was her plain answer, honest and simple. "The Priestesses that mentored and fostered me also introduced me to Goddess Abundaya, the Earth Mother. She came to us on one occasion and healed the apple orchards after they were sickened by poison rain. Abundaya kissed my forehead and put this horned moon tattoo here." She tapped the silver outline on head and it turned platinum-scolding-bright for the briefest moment. "Only a full priestess gets these, and I was still only a priestess-in-training at nineteen years old, barely coming into my full power. After I got the tattoo, the Priestesses treated me with greater reverence and let me attend important meetings with the Supreme of the Order. I took sacred vows on Apple Island, vows to uphold the Universal Balance, to keep the Darkness at bay and to protect the Light at all costs. I expected to live on the Island for my whole life, but I was chosen by Merlin to do this. Chosen by Destiny that worked through Merlin to deliver the Prophecy."

    Ninnevah finished the last bite of her fruit salad and traded her empty water glass for a wine goblet of her own. After a inhale the perfume if the drink, she took a healthy gulp. "Hmm...tongue-tingling...good stuff," she commented. "Merlin was a great man, legendary Highest of Wizards, Black Druid of myth. But he was still human. He made mistakes and exiled himself because of it. Merlin surely made up for it, I believe, by helping in my land of Kamelot to fight the Forces of Darkness that ran rampant there. And on Apple Island he refined his Power of Destiny to the point that his only equal was the Supreme herself. My purpose is the purpose Merlin gave me to fulfill, his final Prophecy."

    She shrugged nonchalantly. "The man I loved more than the number stars in the sky told me that I would be instrumental in saving Paegan, so I believed him. This is not the Destiny I wanted, quite honestly, but it is something much more and I will pursue it with every particle of my spirit. It is my duty."

    Ninnevah took another draft of her wine while looking Katarina directly in the eyes. "Huntress, rogue woman, fair lady...whoever you be," she said, grinning teasingly. "I'm offering you a new life, a new Destiny. You can use your natural-born, practiced instincts for Light or Dark. The choice has always been yours. The Dark Way offers instant gratification, it is the easy way and therein lies it's seductive appeal. In contrast, the Light Way is hard, and arduous, and twisting and turning. But if you are true and brave, it yields awesome rewards..."

    "Hear, hear!" Mance cried. He raised his goblet in salute and sloshed a burgundy stain onto his brown suit. "Oopsies..."

    "Pray tell, do you always do the easy thing, Huntress?" Ninnevah asked slyly.
     
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  20. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    Katarina thought of the Montagues. The final hunt for master of dark magic. The strife and struggle to bring him down. The satisfaction to end that evil line. Was that for light, or dark? The deeds and result were a string horrid things, but the result likely saved many from unspeakable fates. It was perhaps a question for the priestess at some point in time.

    "On the contrary, most things I do are quite difficult. Whether that be in battle, or in deep investigation, or in training and complexity for a job. My life is certainly not simple. The rewards simply wouldn't yield desired results if it were." Katarina talked as if she were lost in memory, eyes drifting low. She closed them slowly and memories flashed. There were so many. She had grown older throughout it all. She opened them and contemplated her own fate.

    "Do you consider killing an insufferable act, or an unfortunate necessity? I feel there are many who simply need to fall out of existence. I have relieved some of life, but for my own reasons or doing. Much of what I lack is direction."

    Katarina didn't know why she spoke so frankly. It must have been the alcohol. But she had no where to go and a hard road ahead alone. This string was a complex and complicated pull, with no true lead in sight. The money she had was a beacon to anyone searching for her. It was variably useless for the moment. Katarina thought it was about time for something new.

    "My name is Katarina Illenya. I am a lowborn assassin."

    Nobody has heard that name in twenty five years, she spoke under her breath.

    "If you would like, and have the stomach for them, I have many stories to tell, most of which I've never told. I'm much older than I look, but certainly not past my prime." She smiled to herself. This would probably be the death of her.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  21. mmarage

    mmarage The Detective Contributor

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    Joseph simply sighed and shook his head, seeing no further use in trying to debate with the priestess about this topic. "...Fine." He said simply, watching her walk away. He wanted to stop her to warn her about that woman. What she said almost exactly confirmed his suspicions. He watched them leave before he turned to the conductor.

    "If that Tablet is from Merlin...and Merlin says a Great Evil is coming...maybe it's the real deal?" He shook his head and scowled ferociously. "I don't like goddarn Prophecies, especially encrypted ones. Why couldn't that old Druid just write it out plain?"

    "I would say that it's either to keep it all secret in the event that their enemies get a hold of the tablet and use the events described to their advantage... but it could also be that Merlin simply had a flair for the dramatic." He said, simply waving it off. "...Anyway, I'm going to go get some fresh air. Make sure to keep an eye on that woman that went into the next car. She's most certainly not what she seems and may decide to kill people on this train now that she's realized her quarry is already dead and she won't be getting paid." He said, giving a casual shrug of his shoulders.

    With that, Joseph turned and began walking to the back of the train, passing through each train car in silence. Once he got to the back, once he was sure that he was alone and wasn't being watched... he rushed over to the railing, leaning over it, and expelled the contents of his stomach, coughing after he did, the bile quickly being left behind on the tracks behind him. He'd managed to keep it together in the train... but... he'd killed those men. He had never taken a life... and most certainly not in such gruesome ways. When he shut his eyes, he could still see the grotesque scenes that he had created. But... he knew that he had to keep pretending. A noble of his stature should have no problem taking the lives of common rogues that dared to cross his path. If anyone saw him like this... if word got out that he couldn't stomach the killing of rogues... his father would be furious. He'd be locked away for good in his gilded cage.

    He stayed there, clutching the railing, taking deep breaths, doing his best to calm himself down. Not even one day had passed and something had gone wrong with this entire trip. First rogues, then a supposed prophecy from Merlin claiming that Paegan was in danger, then a priestess that claims that he'll be assisting with her ascension to High King Elect? The one time he gets to travel alone and he's already been through such a disastrous situation. "...Hopefully that woman doesn't bother me any further with this." He mumbled quietly to himself as he leaned against the railing, taking in the cool evening air. It helped settle his stomach and calm himself down.
     
  22. Erik-the-Enchanter!

    Erik-the-Enchanter! Senior Member

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    "My name is Katarina Illenya. I am a lowborn assassin."

    Ninnevah had to lean forward a bit to catch Katarina's soft confession, and when she did, she looked touched. "I am honored to know your true name," the priestess replied sincerely.

    "If you would like, and have the stomach for them, I have many stories to tell, most of which I've never told. I'm much older than I look, but certainly not past my prime." Then Katatina smiled.

    Ninnevah returned the smiled and raised one eyebrow. "I'd like to hear one of those stories, like how you got your honorific title, the Golden Huntress? My full titles are "Priestess Ninnevah of Apple Island by way of Kamelot", not nearly as spicy as yours. Although, I guess when I become High King then I'll be High King Priestess Ninnevah, ha!" She chuckled and raised her goblet in a cheers before swallowing the last bit of her wine. "Me, High King, ha," she mumbled to herself, shaking her head. "Paegan has never even had a female ruler, and yet Merlin thinks the first one should be a strange tattooed foreigner with unknown powers. Black Druid, you sure didn't leave me with an easy task to accomplish."

    Mance the Gnome was just starting on his fifth wine bottle when he burped and had to cover his mouth with hands. A waiter was shoved out of the way as Mance jumped up and ran out of the dinner car, through several more compartments, and burst out into the open air where Joseph was located. The gnome hurled his dinner over the rail onto the speeding track. Thankfully, it was getting darker by the minute and the stars were out, and the vomit was not so visible in the gloomth.

    "So...er...how be ye, fine sir?" Mance said, straightening up and fixing his crooked brown tie. He also flicked a speck of vomit from his suit jacket lapel. "Drank a bit too much, I guess. The wine's so spiced, it masks the alcohol taste. But the puking sure did sober me right up."
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
  23. mmarage

    mmarage The Detective Contributor

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    Joseph stood there for a little while, simply watching the scenery pass him by, the world only illuminated by the moon and stars in the sky. He let out a soft contented sigh, happy to be free... only to stiffen as he heard someone charging from the car behind him. He turned around summoning a volley of crystals, ready to fight his attacker, thinking that a rogue had still been on the train, or that woman was getting ready to murder everyone here... only to realize it was Mance. He quickly stood out of the way as the gnome emptied the contents of his stomach over the edge of the train. He... couldn't exactly judge him, since he just did that not moments ago.

    "So...er...how be ye, fine sir?" Mance said, straightening up and fixing his crooked brown tie. He also flicked a speck of vomit from his suit jacket lapel. "Drank a bit too much, I guess. The wine's so spiced, it masks the alcohol taste. But the puking sure did sober me right up."

    Joseph glanced down at the gnome before letting out a soft weary sigh. He snapped his fingers, the ice crystals hovering around him glowing brightly for a moment, momentarily illuminating the back of the train, before vanishing, leaving nothing but a few ice chips that clattered on the ground near their feet. "...I am fine. I am merely just on alert. I thought for a moment you might have been a rogue that was still aboard the train, or that fake noblewoman out to kill." He said stiffly, he hadn't yet completely regained his composure, he was just glad in the dim evening light his features would at least be somewhat masked by darkness, so then the gnome wouldn't see the exhaustion or the disturbed expression that he was doing his best to suppress.
     
  24. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    "I'd like to hear one of those stories, like how you got your honorific title, the Golden Huntress?"

    Katarina laughed mildly at the name. It was very theatrical and charismatic for a title, so she kept it around and lived up to it from time to time. But the real story was somewhat simple, yet fun. Bar the murder of someone, of course, but still a good time.

    "Silly title, and an easy prey, but I still had a good time." She paused for a moment for the right words to say. "You may have been on Apple Island at the time, but I was one of the first criminals to be mentioned on radio, as it was invented." She looked down at her hands, but smiled with a sort of pride.

    "It was a fairly easy job that paid well. Bookies always pay well when trying to find runners. The man I was after had a huge debt, and was trying to change his name and start over gambling, but I got to him before he could finalize it. People still recognized a player that obnoxious. The only issue was that he was so paranoid he kept hidden guards around constantly." She looked up at the priestess and smiled devilishly. "All that means is I have to let him find me."

    " I went around the entire town stealing some of the finest jewelry and an ostentatious, " Katarina giggled at the thought of it, "sorry, excuse me, golden dress. It was a travelling noblewoman's and I thought it was perfect. Of course, little did I know reporters for a local radio were at that same tavern I was headed to for my quarry, asking about a man who couldn't lose. As I strutted into the tavern, I was immediately hounded and whistled at by fifty men, but within only a few minutes of polite denial, I was called upstairs by a guard. As I expected, the gambler was waiting for the most attractive woman to walk in. I made myself bright and obvious. Made it look like I could only be picked up by the richest man there. I was right." She thought of it fondly, and took another large drink.

    "The guard brought me up to his room, and the John did the usual song and dance; alcohol and music and overly sexualized conversation. When he told me to take off the dress he got quite the surprise as it slid off." Katarina pulled a shoulder of her dress down to show the hardened leather armor underneath, then quickly hid it again. "Before he could scream for help, I was on top of him." She leaned in forward with excitement, clearly enjoying the details. "I had the bedsheets shoved in his mouth. I rolled him into a pillow to slit his throat, since I really didn't want to get covered in blood. That would make escape a bit more difficult."

    Katarina laughed to herself. "But just before I got the blade all the way through, it got hooked and twisted in the sheet and pulled. The whole body and i crashed to the ground. As i recovered, the guard blasted through the door, and the nosy reporters in tow. The shocked look on the guard and the excited looks of the reporters were a hilarious contrast. I immediately threw a knife their direction, just to slow them down, but it missed. I hopped out the window into a Bush and ran out of town."

    She drank another sip, and felt the haze coming on. "The reporter's made a ton off me. The paper two days later had a picture of the gold dress on the floor of that tavern room, with the title 'Golden Huntress Strikes! Wild Harpy Slays Outlaw!'. It was a smash hit paper, with an even more ridiculous story to boot, but it was a first. So that's my first claim to fame. A messed up hunt, and an wildly embellished account. I still enjoy that though. Made some good on it too." Katarina played back thinking wistfully of those times.
     
  25. Erik-the-Enchanter!

    Erik-the-Enchanter! Senior Member

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    Mance flinched at Joseph's ice daggers. "Aye, be careful with those deadly pokers," he grumbled moodily. After staring out at the train tracks for a while, he commented, "Katarina seems chill enough to me, now that she's had a few drinks and loosened up."

    The gnome petted his tiny shovel like a pet or a talisman. "Ya know, now that I think on it...I don't know much faerie script, but I do know a few scattered phrases," Mance confessed. "Should I...I dunno...should I try to take a look at the Tablet thingie? What say ye, nobleman?" Mance sounded uncharacteristically shy and shuffled his feet nervously. He was clearly ashamed of not being able to read his own native tongue.

    In the dinner car, Priestess Ninnevah smirked at the end of Katarina's tale. "You got caught and ran all the way out of town on foot?" she repeated. "My oh my, so you've got skills and smarts and endurance. I must say, Katarina, I'm glad you weren't here to kill little old me. Even with all my powers, you would probably have finished me before I could even make a move." Ninnevah laughed heartily and refilled her wine goblet to the very brim.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019

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