The City of Amran

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The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Wed May 01, 2013 10:58 am

Hans follows, and the pair walk through the brush until they're back at the deer trail, and then follow it back to the road and thus to Amran. "Ah. Home again." He walks through the gates, looking for a tavern.

There's a chill in the air tonight, reminding the travellers that although spring is coming, it's not settled in yet. Hilde lets Hans lead this time, and follows along beside.

He picks a tavern that looks mid-way between crooked and legit and enters. The reaction is as he expected. Not being regulars, the pair get odd looks. He smiles to himself, slips an old Guard badge of his father's out of his pocket and onto his jacket, and strides up to the bar.
"Firewhisky."
"We don't serve your kind here."
This seems to be going almost too well, but Hans is completely undisturbed. "I wasn't asking, I was ordering. Unless you want guardsmen crawling around your sewer of a booze-keeper downstairs all night for the rest of the week?"
The Barkeep glares at Hans but moves to get him his drink.
"For you, Hilde?"

Hans decides on an establishment, a rough timbered building appropriately titled "Sawyer's Rest". Indeed, from the state of it, it looked as if they had been. Crossing the threshold, Hilde lowers her hood, and then wonders if it was worth it. One of the regulars leers at her from a smokey corner. "Only if you are sure- we could always try a different- place?" she offers, almost shyly.

"We could." He waves his drink at one half of the tavern "But then we'd miss the company of these fine and lovely gentlemen."
All sound stops as one particularly overweight and slightly tipsy patron grinds his seat back to stand up
"Look *hic* mate, you guard scum ain't welcom' 'ere. *hic* so jus' leave yur' lady-friend 'ere with us and scram, eh? *hic*"
Hilde catches a hint of something dangerous in Hans' eye. "Care to repeat that-"
"Look- mpph!" The man finds Hans' loaded gun in his mouth, pinning his tongue to the inside of his cheek.
"I was going to say, care to repeat that without a tongue? Interrupting is impolite you know. I have a couple friends that would eat you for being impolite. Literally."
At the look of horror on the man's face, Hans grins and smashes his bottle into the side of his head, starting the brawl as the ruffians roar and throw back their seats.

The lady gathers her cloak tightly around her, and skitters out of the way as the floor erupts with drunken shouting.

Hans just laughs as the drunkard drops unconscious. The barkeep tries to grab for him but is met with an elbow to the face for his trouble. This is clearly not Hans' first bar fight. He pistol whips the next guy that tries to come close in the temple, sending him down like a sack of bricks. Some guy draws a knife and tries to charge him, but he simply turns and sticks a leg out and the heavily drunk man trips over his foot and crashes his face into the bar. "Come on, this isn't even a challenge!"

Hilde manages to get a wall against her back, ensuring nothing will catch her from behind. Fortunately almost all of the attention seems to be on Hans, who has just called every man in the house upon his head. She shrinks against the side of the building, and watches the chaos unfold.

The drunkards are pissed, in both possible ways, and the insults of the guardsman are only inciting them further. Hans, however, is having a whale of a time and appears to know exactly what he's doing. "Now, gentlemen, have you ever heard of a Shuruti fire-pit?" He grabs a bottle of fire-whisky and stuffs a rag in as the other patrons look for an opening. He tips the bottle upside down and lets the liquid flow into the rag, before cocking back the hammer of his gun and pulling the trigger with the protective case on, stopping the powder from igniting but still issuing a spark that sets the rag aflame. "Hot potato!" He tosses it to the patrons, who catch it and begin tossing it to each other out of fear, burns and a lack of any idea as to what to do with it. Hans just sits there giggling as the patrons toss it amongst themselves, swearing profusely, some even run out of the bar, not wanting to have to catch the damn thing. Hans keeps his gun trained on it at all times "Now gents, I'm looking for someone by the name of Half-Beard Jack. Anyone care to enlighten me before that bottle burns half your face off like it did him?" Some men pale, others just continue swearing amongst assurances of not knowing him as they toss the thing around.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Wed May 01, 2013 12:14 pm

She watches the flaming bottle bounce between the patrons, a look of uncertain fear in her wide eyes.
One of the less inebriated men runs past her safe place, but he isn't looking, his eyes trained on the fire.
In the blink of an eye, a booted toe flicks out, the man soars by, and his head lands perfectly on the edge of the bar.
He bounces off and lays slumped on the sticky floor, chest still heaving with breath.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Wed May 01, 2013 12:24 pm

Hans notes the crash of the man and looks vaguely impressed, before he starts humming a tune, then starts singing
"Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots-"
He fires his gun into one of the feet of the men, who screams in agony and drops from the circle
"And ruined your black tie affair. The last one to know, the last one to show, I was the last one you thought you'd see there..."
He sets about reloading his gun as he sings, noting how much that rag has burned.
"And I saw the surprise, and the fear in his eyes, when I took his glass of champagne..."
The gun is loaded and the song picks up in tempo
"I toasted you, said 'Honey we may be through, but you'll never here me complaaaaiiiiin"
He fires into another foot and their screams get louder
"Cuz' I got friends in low places, where the whisky drowns and the beer chases my bluuuuuesss away... and I'll be okay..."

Hilde stays where she is, and just watches the show.

"Now I'm not big on social graces, think I'll slip on down, to the oooooasis oh I've got frieeends.... in looooow plaaaaaces... You lot sure you don't want to talk? No? Okay! I guess I was wrong, I just don't belong, but then, I've been there before..."
He draws his sword menacingly and starts poking the patrons with it harshly, not enough to cause proper bloodflow but pain is a given. The entire time he seems totally detached and cheerful, but his eyes tell a different story.
"C'cmon mister! We don' kno' nothin'"
"Really? Oh, terribly sorry."
He pokes that one especially hard and he screams, oddly just as he was supposed to catch the bottle. It falls and smashes on the floor, sending fire between their feet, and Hans is now laughing uproariously
"That's it, dance!"

The facade of discomfort is slipping. Now she's mostly just confused. Hilde decides to just let him get on with it, and keeps watch for any alternative threats. She wonders absently if the Amranian guard are as thorough as their Gevellian counterparts.

Hans' laughter subsides and he grows serious. He murmurs an incantation and fires his gun at the flames and they vanish, leaving the floor clear, but still singed as the embers die off. The men are in much worse condition, coughing from the smoke and groaning in pain from their burns on their hands and feet. He picks one of the men that paled earlier and throws him onto a stool. The man looks up at Hans blearily, but the fear is obvious.
"So where is he, schmuck? Answer me or the stool will be on fire next."
The man whimpers and then starts pouring information out as tears and snot flow from his eyes and nose, causing the soot to run off his face. When Hans gets his fill, he smiles.
"Thank-you, you've been most pleasant hosts. I sincerely advise you to forget this ever happened."
This one gets pistol whipped too as the others have passed out from the pain. Hans grabs two bottles of fire-whisky, tosses one to Hilde and nods toward the door, striding toward it.

The show is apparently over. Catching the bottle, the madman's lady companion extricates herself from relative safety, and makes her way cleanly to the door. Outside, she steps away from the threshold, and takes a deep breath of the cool night air. "So, that's what the Norn did to those guns?"

"Hm? I barely used the gun there other than to put the fire out. The initial spark is normal for a flintlock, it's how we ignite the powder. But yes, it does fire magic too." Hans grins sadistically. "Fire magic so potent It can kill Fae and send Werewolves yelping... Anyway, perhaps we should find room and board for the night."

She frowns. "I know the principle. I just prefer something...more subtle."

"Subtlety is best used when you have time. Otherwise, Shock and Awe is a valued second. The best forms of getting information out of someone are the ones where you never even have to touch them, but that takes time, a lot of time, time that I usually don't have, and I had more than one person to check. This method was more time and effort efficient, if more brutal. It's the same when I use them for combat. Lesser creatures can be scared by the noise, and they're more time and energy efficient, putting down anyone I'm fighting quickly and without too much effort. The noise also serves to make me more of a target in comparison to my allies, so I draw the heat off of them and then run. They usually give chase and it gives the others some time to recuperate."
He turns down a fairly busy street and fades into the crowd, but makes sure Hilde keeps track of him. "I made a bit of money on my last job. I think I'll stay somewhere nice tonight."

"Can't deny the results. And your logic is sound." She follows him down the busy street. It's still fairly early after all. "Well, I didn't think you'd be staying there." comes the reply, with a wave in the direction they'd just come from.

He chuckles. "It'd be a bit difficult to set up a room, I did knock out the barman."

"Oh, I don't know...sometimes that makes it easier." she says, mostly seriously, but you detect a hint of humour.

He smiles and murmurs an agreement as he looks for somewhere to stay. Something catches his attention and he makes a point of 'not' seeing it. "Do you know any decent taverns around here? I'm sure Teya's visited a few."

"Not as many as you might think. Reputation and all that."

"So she can sneak amongst rebellious Jarls without them knowing who she is, but taverns might ruin her. What a strange country we have..." Something small darts out of the shadows of an alley and sprints toward Hans, who has his back to it. From the look on his face however, this is what he was observing earlier and is perfectly aware. He grabs the urchin who was just about to try and pilfer his pocket and lifts him up by the back of his clothing. "Next time try someone less well armed kid. Not everyone's as nice as me when it comes to teaching thieves a valuable lesson. Scram." He drops the kid, who, wide eyed in fear, runs off back down his alley, and Hans moves on.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Wed May 01, 2013 9:57 pm

His companion hardly reacts to the would-be thief, but makes a mental note of both it, and his reaction.
"If you're just looking for somewhere to lay your head, there's a place called Wayfarer's down on Water's Edge."

"Sounds good, I like sleeping near flowing water. Good getaway strategies." He nods and sets off toward the river's edge.

"As long as it's not late summer. Everyone decides it'd be nice to be by the water- the noise- the smell..." A look of distaste, and then relief. "Won't be here then anyway..."

"It's not quite summer yet. Or whatever counts for summer up here anyway... Rain is more the summer weather than sun." He takes turns through bustling streets and down unnoticeable side alleys, and then they're at the waterfront. "So where's this tavern?"

She steps out of the alley, and looks right. Her gaze settles on a bland looking place, further down the road. "Eleven houses up. That way." She waves over her shoulder, in the opposite direction.

Hans turns on his heel and walks in the direction she pointed, whistling his folk tune from earlier to himself.

Hilde does not follow, but slips quietly back into the alleyway. Her eyes flick up to check the sky, and then her gaze returns to the house.

Hans notices her lack of presence and turns and raises an eyebrow at her, now walking backwards.

She can hear the steps, but doesn't turn to look at him. Instead he gets a silent indication that if he's going to join her he should make it less obvious.

Hans slips into a side alley and in a minute is back beside her. "There a particular reason you're not following?"

"Something's wrong...but I'm not sure..." she doesn't take her eyes from the building. From her line of sight you can work out where she's looking. It's decidedly unremarkable, just like any of the others. Mostly timber and stone, in fairly good condition, nothing wrong with it.

Hans watches the structure. "There's no sign of disrepair, it fits with all the other buildings..." His gaze switches to marginally more serious. "Do you want to check it out?"

"I used to know who lived there. Friends of my father's. They'd keep a lantern in the left window all night. If there was a problem, they'd put it in the window on the other side of the door." She frowns, unsure. "But there's nothing...maybe they just moved...it's been a while since I was down this way..."

"Maybe, or maybe the trouble was so bad that they couldn't move the lantern in time. I can check it out if you want. It'd be simple to pick the lock and get in." He turns to her and looks at her questioningly.

Well, it would be a good opportunity."...Alright. Let's go."


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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Thu May 02, 2013 3:55 am

Hans takes a quick look for witnesses. Seeing none, he slips into an alley by the house and then hops the fence into the back garden. The hour is fairly late, so he has the cover of darkness.
He moves quietly up to the door and slides something out of his glove, which he then slides into the keyhole on the door, and starts working, sliding another tool out of the set in his jacket and proceeds working with that as well.


Hilde follows him silently, and keeps watch- though snatches a couple of glimpses while he works.

There is a whisper of triumph as the door lock clicks and he removes his tools. Clearly, he loves the quiet parts of his work as well as the crazy ones. He checks again for witnesses before opening the door and entering quietly, disappearing into the darkness of the house. This is very clearly not his first break in, and he's gone from cheerful to professional in seconds. He knows the risks of what he's doing all too well.

The house inside is dark. There is no light anywhere, not even embers in the fireplace. There's enough light to see by- just. Hilde nudges Hans' shoulder, points to herself, and then points to the stairs. She then gives a non-specific gesture toward the ground floor- he should look around.

He nods and moves out of her way. She heads off upstairs without making a sound. Hans closes the door behind them but not fully. An escape route is always useful. He slinks through the kitchen area that they'd just entered, finding nothing, but his nose acquires a rather disgusting smell. He follows it, knowing it as well as his own. It smells like Cecil, which would mean...
He moves into the front room that Hilde said should contain the lantern should the occupants be in trouble. What he finds is the rotting corpse of a man, surrounded my blood-stained wooden flooring and the shattered remains of a lantern.
He is immediately deadly serious, and goes to draw his blade, but realises its length in this setting would be a disadvantage, especially with his inexperience. He instead draws a dagger from his sleeve and steps back into the shadows, moving to explore the other half of the downstairs floor. Calling to Hilde would reveal their presence should anything still be here, and she would likely find something to warn her for herself up there. He opens the door to the next room quietly, and peaks in, his night-vision, used to such conditions over his many years of thievery, is helping immensely.


Careful to step on the outside edges of the stairs, the ranger makes her way forwards. On the landing she wasn't sure if she could see signs of a struggle, or if it was just an old mark. Reaching out, she runs her fingers along the edge of the stair, and then rubs them against her thumb. Dust. Not a lot of movement up here for a while. And a scent- the smell of...
She skips over the last couple of stairs, landing with a light thud, and checks the upstairs rooms. Nothing. A chest of drawers stands open, as does a cupboard- but there is nothing here. Must be downstairs. She makes her way back down to find Hans.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Thu May 02, 2013 9:56 am

He hears chanted whispers, and listens quietly to the quiet language.

"We call upon the Nameless Dark, the infector, the destroyer. We pay you in sacrifice, in soul, our tithe to bring the soulless to our bidding, to give the great gift of undeath to the deceased, and this one her dark sleep..."

There is muffled moaning and crying coming from within, and Hans feels the ring pulse on his finger. He looks through the crack of the door and sees no-one, only the open door to the cellar. He carefully slips into the room and moves to the cellar door, sheathing his dagger and drawing his sword and gun. From the way they are chanting, they are not far through the ritual. He still has time to wait for Hilde, but swears to himself that if she doesn't find her way to him in time he's going in anyway.

A quick glance around reveals- no rogue. The smell of rotten death creeps into her awareness- but as she is about to investigate, she notices the door to the cellar is ajar. Stepping silently she approaches, and can hear faint whispers coming from below. Pushing gently against the door, she holds it firmly as it moves, and the hinges do not betray her presence. She can make out the shape of Hans in the darkness, his sword drawn, and a gun in his other hand. Laying a hand on his shoulder to let him know she's there, Hilde can't quite make sense of what's happening in the other room.

Hans lowers his voice substantially, to the point where she can barely hear him. "Nameless Dark cultists, they're halfway through a sacrificial ritual. I'd have interrupted but I figured I'd wait for you, and I'm not sure what kind of magical backlash will occur if I stop it. They've got a hostage, planning on sacrificing her." He cocks the hammer of his gun. "My plan is this, I fire on the lead ritualist with a spell if they haven't sealed the circle. If they have, an ordinary gunshot will have to do. The shot will interrupt the ritual, if unsealed my magic may cause adverse effects. I'll finish him off, you engage the others. With your skill it should be simple. I'll join the fray when I've dispatched the leader. Thoughts?"

Listening closely, she simply nods, putting her right hand on her sword hilt. The left waves towards the door, in a gesture of 'after you'.

Hans steps down the stairs into the cellar, taking care not to make any noise. He moves along the short tunnel that leads into a much larger room, where a ritual circle as been drawn in blood. Around the circle lay five corpses with their throats slit, evidently it was their blood that was used, as their bodies make five points along the outside of the circle. The lack of magical veil in the air indicates that the circle is indeed unsealed, likely the cultists weren't expecting an interruption.
The lead cultist starts raising his knife as the chanting increases in fervor. Hans starts hurriedly whispering an incantation which Hilde only catches.

"We sacrifice this one, this human, this woman-"
"I call upon the power of the breaking flame-"
"To you, our Dark Master, so that you-"
"-To drive its force into the blade of my foe-"
"-might feed on her soul and become whole again!"
"-TO PURIFY ITS DARKNESS IN FIRE!"
Hans' shout is matched by the roar of his gun, and a bullet wreathed in flame erupts from the end of it as his spell finishes. His aim is true, connecting with the Cultists blade as he tries to plunge it into the heart of the victim. It shatters into harmless fragments in his hands as the bullet carries straight through and into his chest, and he coughs up blood with the impact, stumbling backwards. Hans is on him in an instant, and the follower of the dark, weaponless and grievously wounded, cannot avoid the Seeker's blow as his blade slams through his stomach. The man coughs up blood in his last breaths, and slides off Hans' sword. The other four cultists, shocked at the interruption, only watch the Seeker in utter astonished surprise, making them easy targets for Hilde.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Thu May 02, 2013 11:05 am

Capitalising on the moment, Hilde launches into action, shooting from the doorway much like a bullet herself. The closest of the cultists has no chance to react as she pounces from the shadows and is upon him. He falls in two flashes of her sword. The others now have urged into action- two of them are armed with vicious looking blades, the third is making a hasty retreat towards the door. As Hans' blade is buried for the moment in their leader, she makes sure their attention is now on her, lashing out at one of them, and suppressing satisfaction when he cries out, dropping his weapon to the bloodied floor with a clatter. She leaps toward the second who would fight, and swaps the sword to her left hand as she does so. A blink later, her right arm flies out towards the would be escapee- and he crumples with a yelp as a knife appears in his knee. She lands on the remaining cultist and places the sword at his throat. "Yield!" she growls.

Hans takes advantage of the attention Hilde is getting to creep up behind the now unarmed one and slash into his back. The man falls to his knees in silent agony and Hans finishes him by punching him hard in the back of the neck with the hand guard of his rapier, knocking him unconscious. He loads his weapon, taking advantage of the fact that he is behind the armed foe facing Hilde and is unnoticed by the one trying to pull a knife out of his knee. He trains the loaded gun on the man on the ground and points his sword toward the one facing Hilde. He is about to affirm Hilde's statement when he catches the whispers of the man before her, knowing from his considerable experience with mages that it is some kind of spell, he slashes at the man's ankles, causing him to cry out in excruciating pain as his tendons are severed. "She said yield."

With a flick of her wrist, the butt of her sword hilt connects to his temples, and he falls. She strides towards the remaining conscious murderer, her steps heavy and clear. The tip of her blade rests less than a fist's width from his face. "Talk."

"Heretic! Wench! Do you know what you've done!? You've stopped the Blood Ritual! You have stopped the resurrection of Kha'hur von Erikson! The Nameless One will never accept us now. Die, bitch! You and your bastard murdering friend. I hope the Dark finds you and crushes your minds and turns you into soulless husks!" The following is similar such heresy-ridden babble as he splutters in rage at her. Hans has instead chosen to unbind the captive, who has fallen into blissful unconsciousness from stress.

With a sharp thrust, the sword enters with little resistance, and stops only when the tip is buried in the wooden wall board behind. A low gurgle rattles loose, and then silence, but for the sound of rope being pulled free, and the flickering of guttering candles. Hilde sighs, surveying the scene. The room is fairly bare, but for the assorted paraphernalia of such blasphemy. A nod from Hans tells her the woman is alive. From a glance, she doesn't recognise the face. She moves to inspect the leader. He lays in a pool of blood- most of which his own. The metallic tang is heavy in the air now. His robes are disappointingly nondescript- however...a gold chain glints amid the mess. Pulling a second knife from her boot, the Sentinel lifts it free- and brings with it a pendant icon. She mutters under her breath, something that almost sounded like a curse. Slipping the chain free of it's master's neck, she brings the thing to the middle of the room. As it hangs from her blade, the red slides off slowly in droplets, revealing the image beneath. Three triangles entwined.

"I get the feeling that symbol holds more relevance than I'm aware of." He picks up the girl softly and carries her toward the exit."Regardless, you can tell me later. We'll lock them down here-" He nods at the two unconscious cultists "And come back for them later. She needs medical attention. Now."

Leaving the pendant hanging on a nail in a supporting beam, Hilde retrieves her weapons, wiping them clean on the cultist's robes before sheathing them. As she does so, she takes a moment to bind the unconscious heretics, making sure they can neither cast nor escape. It doesn't take long. Hans leaves first, has his hands are full, and she makes sure to bolt the door behind them.
Back upstairs, she unlocks the front door, and checking first, opens the way out onto the street. There aren't as many people around now, most have reached their destinations by this hour. "Guard house. Collier's Road."


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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Fri May 03, 2013 12:07 am

He nods and starts running without a word, knowing the way back to his and his Dad's old guard station. He hadn't realised they were that close until she'd spoken the name. He doesn't sprint, instead conserving his energy for the run, and doesn't break stride.

Just as well that the streets are not as busy- Less obstacles, and less curiousity from strangers. A concerned couple watch as they pass by, but don't intervene. Their steps on the cobbles are enough to make what few people they meet step aside. It isn't long until they reach their destination.

Hans forgoes subtlety, instead shouldering the door that leads into the Guard House open with a loud crash as it hits the stone wall behind it with his force. "CLERIC! I need a cleric now!" The guards on station, who's hands had flown to their swords as the young Seeker charged in, immediately notice the condition of the woman in his arms and start calling for the resident Holy-man. Sure enough, he arrives quickly as Hans spreads her out on a nearby table, wearing a guard's outfit complete with a cleric's hood and an altered clerical version of the Guard's badge. "Right, looks like some kind of magical affliction, she's also not eaten in days and is suffering from multiple bruises and cuts." The Cleric frowns but places his hands on the unconscious girl's broken body nonetheless and begins chanting to the Wind Speaker as his hands glow in a pale grey light and the wind in the room picks up slightly. Her wounds begin to close as the winds stroke them, a thin barely see able and weak whirlwind encompassing the girl. When he is finished, she is still covered in bruises and looks in need of a meal, but colour has returned to her once cold, grey body. She breathes easier now, and settles into a comfortable sleep rather than a laboured unconscious state.
"Now." Says one of the other guards. "Who are you two and why are you carrying this poor women, bursting into our guardhouse eh?!"

"Forgive our entrance, good sirs. As you can see, there was a need." Her tone is open and reasonable.
The guardsman relaxes- slightly, but is not swayed. "Perhaps you'd like to tell us exactly how there became a need?"
"This woman was held by cultists, to be sacrificed had we not intervened." says Hilde, simply.
"Cultists!?" pipes up one of the younger guardsmen. "You expect us to believe that?!"
"Perhaps you would like to ask them yourself?" she offers.
He frowns, and opens his mouth to reply- but his superior raises a hand.
"You-" he says, pointing at the Cleric. "Keep an eye on the girl."
The Cleric nods, and continues to apply some balm to the bruises on her wrists and ankles.
"Gunnarson. Muller. With me. The rest of you. Carry on." He turns back to the them. "Show me."

Hans narrows his eyes but turns and walks out, walking toward the house. The guards follow.

Hilde's stride is carefully measured, not that anyone ought to notice overly. Quick enough to seem purposeful, without being slow enough to allow much conversation. The Captain follows closely behind, flanked by his two chosen men, in awkward silence. To a casual glance it could appear that the Guardsmen were escorting the other two- for whatever reason. But to watch them for longer, it is clear that they are in fact leading the way.

The group arrive at the house quickly and Hans wastes no time in entering. He knows from his days escaping his own bonds that they've nearly been gone long enough for their captives to have awoken and removed the bindings. "The cellar." He states, and opens the doors to lead them down. The guards pull disgusted faces at the stench of death as it wafts in from both the cellar and the ajoining room, but he is unaffected.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Fri May 03, 2013 7:55 am

"You two. Check it out." says the Captain, sending Gunnarson and Muller down the stairs. The door seems to still be bolted from the outside. He turns to Hans and Hilde. "I don't remember you telling me how you knew they were in here?"

Hans intervenes. "We heard a lantern break and some weird chanting. It seemed a bit off so we knocked. When no-one answered, we got suspicious. When I looked through the window I saw someone lying on the ground, but by the time I'd opened the door to help it was way too late. He looked like he'd been there a while." The lie comes easily. Effortlessly, and the Guard buys it.
"But why two of you?"

"I'm sorry captain, I'm not sure I understand- why two of us what?"

"Yes, why were two of you skulking around in here? I can understand him checking, but why didn't you go for help? Why didn't one of you wait here with these cultists while the other came with the girl and the message?" He stares at the duo suspiciously. "See, I think you were scoping this place out, and while he rifled through you were keeping watch, until he found a corpse and a girl and had a sudden drop of conscience..." He trails off implicatingly.

"Sir, if these individuals are what I believe them to be, I suggest you have larger trouble than wondering at our proximity to this property. Indeed, I would be wondering how they have become this established under your own noses! Unless of course there is something bigger at stake here?"

"Tch." The retort stings and just as he's about to reply one of the guards re-enters, wheezing and looking green. "Sir, they were right, there's, the basement, I just-" [/i]He heaves and then runs into the street, spilling his guts on the stone outside. The Captain growls and thunders down into the basement, leaving Hans and Hilde momentarily alone.[/i] "Hilde, I think it's best we disappear. This is a matter for the guard. Getting embroiled as witnesses to this would only hamper our movements. The back door is still open."

She nods, and they slip away, out into the yard and over the fence, into the dark.

When they've reached a satisfactory distance, they tuck into an alleyway. "Well, tonight's been slightly less interesting than average. Still haven't had my soul sucked out though, so that's a plus. You mind telling me why that necklace has you so worried?"
He leans against the wall of the alley and listens, totally unperturbed from the events of the night, as if it really isn't a break from the average for him.

"A pity. We could have asked those Valkur."

Hans shrugs. "We still can. Guard Stations aren't actually that difficult to break into, especially if you know the layout. But like I said, maybe it's best we let the guard handle this one and keep tabs on the investigation from a safe distance, metaphorically."

"We should keep an eye on it. Especially the victim. Was she unconscious when you got to her?"

"Yes, but I'm worried about her mind. Such events do not leave a person untouched, especially when Ritual magic is involved, and the dark kind is even worse. Still, I'm sure the cleric would know more than I would if something were amiss." He strokes his chin softly in thought. "But the hour is late and we really should retire."

"Will you be staying at Wayfarer's? I have a couple of things to look in to. I'll meet you in the morning."

Hans cricks his neck. "Probably not smart staying so close to the crime scene and the guard house. I know a place further down river, I'll meet you here in the morning." He checks the coast is clear and then makes to exit the alley, enjoying a leisurely night-time walk by the river, with the moonlight dancing off the flowing water.

Hilde watches him leave, making an educated guess at a likely destination. She then slips away into the night.


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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Sat May 04, 2013 2:44 am

When he awakes, his mind is decidedly clear. He gets geared up and leaves the quiet little inn he picked and walks up river to meet Hilde again.

After only a few hours sleep, the ranger is awoken by a knocking sound. She taps in reply, and leaves her resting place without any further communication. Making her way back to their meeting point, she finds Hans is waiting for her.

Hand greets her with a pseudo-salute with little intent behind it. "Good Morning."

She yawns as she approaches, raising her hand over her mouth, then lazily returns the salute. "Morning. Sleep well?" she asks politely, running over in her mind what they might need to do next.

"I did. Lightly, but well. How was your evening?" He takes his goggles off and starts cleaning some dirt off of them.

"Long." The day is grey and overcast, but as yet dry. She remembers the events of Sawyer's Rest, prior to entering the house. "Do you have business to attend to?"

"Nothing that can't wait. You?" He looks up questioningly.

She nods. "I want to follow up on our victim. But first- let's drop that sword of yours in with a smith."

Hans winces slightly. "That's gonna cost me what I made on my last job. Oh well, can't be helped. There's a decent smith in the slums, knows how to work steel as well as the man that forges the Princesses' weapons. They were trained by the same master smith, I believe." He looks about, gets his bearings and then starts climbing up the wall of a house. The hour is still early so no-one is out to witness this odd act.

"Do you always travel this way?" she calls up to his disappearing form.

"Only when it's faster than walking." He reaches the roof and heaves himself up and onto it.

She climbs up after him, confident that he knows what he's doing. Staying low, she follows his lead.

Hans knows his route, it's just following it that's the issue. The rooftops of Amran have changed over the years and he's not as light as the boy that used to use this place as a playground was. Still, he sees the old routes across the place closest to the sky in Amran, where he could always feel the Wind freely. He crouches and then sprints, leaping off the rooftop and onto the next, sliding down the slate tiles onto the next rooftop and then he's moving again. The roofs of Amran aren't difficult to navigate, and there's nothing particularly obstructive, so he just follows the old paths the Urchins used to show him when he helped them out of a problem with the guards.

Watching his movements, she can't help but wonder how many years he's spent running around up here. She keeps pace well, though more accustomed to wild terrain than buildings. Strangely, it reminds her of Metsavartija. He'd make a good ranger. No- she corrects herself. He'll be a Sentinel.

He misses the city sometimes. He can't navigate the wilds like he can the cities. Not enough activity. He can get lost in the city. Forget who he is. Not like the battlefield. He knows exactly what he is then. And he doesn't always like it. He sighs as he lands and slides down another building, rolling off the edge and onto another roof. There's always enough shadow for him in the cities. Not enough darkness in the wilds. Not enough to lose himself in.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Sat May 04, 2013 10:16 am

A little further and they're entering the rougher end of Amran. The buildings are lower, and less well made here. There is starting to be people in the streets below, going about their daily business. None of them look up. The sound of a hammer on steel can be heard, and they head towards it. Dropping into an alleyway beside the blacksmith's, Hans strides ahead, and a different kind of hammering can be heard- his fist on the shop's door.
"Oi! Old man! Open up!"
There's a growl from inside, and the clanging stops.

<Insert Hans vs Arnulf chat>
They seems as if they could go on all day.

Hilde steps in to view behind Hans, and clears her throat politely. "If you would, we have work for you, master smith."

The smith looks at the woman, then back to Hans. "So, you get a lady friend and bring her down here to brag, brat?"
"Pssh, as if I'd waste my time bragging to someone not even worthy of licking my boots. And it's not like that. She's teaching me."
"Teaching you what, how to suck at life even more than you do?"
"You want me to beat down this door and show you how much I suck, asshole?" The face grins and unlocks the door.
"You've got balls as always, you insane little shit. Come in. Don't touch the hot things." He moves away from the door.
"Tch, senile old fucker." Hans slams open the door and strides in.

Allowing a moment for the dust to settle, Hilde enters, and closes the door behind them. Inside the smithy was warm and grubby, and almost everything was smeared with soot. The forge itself was in the center of the room, with various heavy or pointed objects scattered around it. There were a few irons in the fire, a couple in a water barrel, and one on the anvil, where he'd been working. However, with the arrival of Hans, the metal isn't the only thing that's heated. She listens to them argue.

Hans and the 'old man', a bald man with a slight ginger stubble, are arguing by the forge, with Hans waving the sword, luckily sheathed, in front of the man's face. "C'mon, it needs a service, and you know it-"
"Because you don't bloody use it. That blade used to be enchanted ya know. Now you've let the magic wear off and the blade's dulled."
"Yeah, yeah, I suck because I didn't learn to use it properly. Didn't help him did it?"
"That's beside the point, it was the drink that killed your Dad and you damn well know it. That sword didn't fail him, nor did it fail his father, or his father before him, but you've failed it."
"I hated how using it reminded me of him, okay!? I wanted to be away from everything Amranian."
"And walking away from yourself nearly cost you everything."
"My Father being himself DID cost him everything."
The two stare at each-other heatedly.
"Why now?"
"Things are stirring, thing I can't tell you about, and... I need everything I can use. You said that sword's never failed my family. I need it- her, to not fail me. I need the sword that Dad used to cut down the first thirty men that tried to take mother from him. I need the old girl to help protect others again, like she did for him, and for his father, and his father before him."
"I can't wreathe her in flames again, you'll need a magic-man for that."
"I'll need someone a lot stronger than that, but I know a few... beings that might help. If the price is right."
"Celestials are not to be dealt with idly, kid."
"I know that. But what's coming... I'm going to need everything I can get. The guns aren't enough anymore. Nothing is enough anymore." Hans stares at the old man defiantly.
"Tch, you've got your mother's fire about you kid. It wasn't just your Dad's sword you inherited, but her attitude as well. Alright, I'll see what I can do." He snatches the sword out of the Engineer's grasp. "Now get out, a master needs his space to work."
"Tch, I'll be lucky if I come back and it's still in one piece."
"You'll be lucky if you leave in one piece brat. Go on, get!" He shoos them out of the workshop.

Back out in the grey daylight, even the city air is fresh compared to the stifling heat of the smithy.
"Interesting friends you have, Yksin." she says, breaking the quiet.
Hans grunts amusedly, remembering Syuzannah, Cecil, Dende... "Tell me about it."He picks a direction and starts walking.
She keeps pace as they take the more conventional route through the streets.
"Celestials?"
Hans shakes his head. "A half cooked idea at the moment. Not sure of it, but I know a few." He continues heading for the guard station.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Sat May 04, 2013 11:28 am

As they near their destination, Hilde slows to a decidedly casual stroll. The guard house comes into view, and she's relieved to find it's still there. Not even any smoke. Considering the events of yesterday evening, some might consider it unwise-
But she walks up to the door, and knocks gently.

Hans blinks, then slides into the shadow of an alleyway and observes. He was planning on taking an alternate route that would've lead straight to the prisoner cells, but he's content to watch Hilde go about it the politically correct way for now. Even if knocking on the door of an guard house as a runaway witness probably isn't the smartest of decisions.

There's a grunt from within, and the scraping of a chair against stone.
The door opens.
A young guardsman stands in the doorway- possibly the one who didn't believe in cultists last night.
"Oh." says he, looking out with hesitant recognition.
"Your Captain. Is he still on duty?"
"He's asleep upstairs- I can-"
"That won't be necessary." she interrupts. "Your watch mates?"
"They're on patrol, if you-"
"The prisoners?"
"Uh...maybe you should just come in."

Hans watches until she's inside and then slips back into the alley and removes an old sewer grate he knew from his childhood. He slips in, covering the hole behind him, and maneuvers through the dark passages under the city toward the underground entrance to the Guard House

Inside, Hilde takes a seat. His seat. He hovers by the door, now closed, indecision on his face.
"So, you heard what happened last night, -?" she leaves the question hanging open, waiting for his name.
The lad nods. "Jorg. The Captain said it was a damned mess. I really think I should wake-"
"The Captain needs his rest." she assures him. "It was a rough night, by all accounts. Tell me, what happened to the girl?"
"She was healed- but asleep. We put her in one of the bunkrooms." He gestures toward the stairs. Hilde keeps him talking, asking him questions about the prisoners, the house, any clues they may have found...

As Hans passes under the guard house, he can't help but think of the many times he'd used this route to get away from his Dad before. But he had business this time. He pulls on a rope inserted into the brick wall and it comes away like a door, leading him to the holding cells of the House.

After a little while, there's a noise from upstairs- the Captain's awake. Entering the room he gives Jorg a grunt of acknowledgement. He doesn't seem surprised to see their visitor.

Interesting fact about cells in Amran. Their entrances are on their ceilings. So when Hans dropped in on the two cultists, the man didn't see it coming, especially since Hans blindsided him with a boot to the face on the way down. "Gahh! YOU!"
"Yes, me. Now talk. I'm not as nice as my lady friend."
He pulls a bottle of fire-whisky complete with rag out of his pocket, and gets to work. A while later, when the two are dribbling burned crybabies, he climbs out of the cell and moves toward the medical area.

"Captain. You received my message, I hope?"
The man grunts. Jorg is looking distinctly uncomfortable.
"So, how did the interrogation go?"
No reply. Well, all his stalling will give Hans an opportunity at least...

Tch, where's the bloody medical wing... They've moved it since he was last here, though that was nearly ten years ago...Ah, there. Now, if only his little distraction would go off soon...

"We'll deal with it. There's no further reason for you to be involved." said the Captain, stubbornly. "Now if there's nothing else, I'd appreciate it if you would leave, and let me do my job, Ranger."


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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Sun May 05, 2013 1:44 am

Suddenly, an explosion tears through the guardhouse, kicking dust everywhere and making the place shake like an earthquake.
"The Powder Reserves!" Screams the Captain, but the guards are too busy coughing to notice.
Hans crashes into the medical wing and picks up the girl, sprinting out and back through his tunnel, closing it behind him. He makes his way up and out of the tunnels, muttering something about time.


The blast rocks the room, and Hilde leaps to her feet. She heads straight to the cells, the Captain not far behind her.
"Wait!"
"The prisoners!"
The Captain growls but follows. An educated guess as to the source of the explosion, she hopes that only one was set.

When she and the others arrive at the cell of the Cultists, they find them covered in burns and lacerations, but alive. They do little other than whimper in pain, however. "What the bloody hell is going on!?" Exclaims the Captain, less than pleased at how easily his security has been bypassed.

Hilde isn't sure whether to suggest he deal with the prisoners immediately, or to just watch to see what he does next. It doesn't really look like a botched escape attempt, or a rescue...

The cleric from the night comes sprinting in, panting. "Sir! The girl's gone!"
"What do you mean gone!? Find her!"
He turns to another guard. "You! Go with him."
And to Jorg "You, get outside. She can't have gotten far."

Hans waits by the entrance to the tunnels, and starts counting.
"Three... two..."
He sorely hopes Hilde didn't get too close to the Captain's quarters.

"Sir-" begins Hilde.
"Go back to the wilds, Ranger. You aren't needed here." he growls.
She offers him the hint of a bow, and does as he asks. On the way back up the stairs, an ominous fall of dirt drops from the ceiling above. Well, at least that wasn't her problem either.

Hans hears the explosion three streets away and winces. He didn't think the barrels had been THAT full...

The smoke plume rises into the sky, the Captain's wall having exploded outwards and into the river, taking most of his personal effects with it in his drawers. It occurs to him how ashamed his Dad would be that someone had managed to sneak into and disable his old station so thoroughly, but also how proud he'd be of his son's skill, even if it wasn't what he wanted him to become.
He slips away with the girl in his arms. Hilde will find him later. He didn't slip that note into her pocket in the confusion of the dust without her noticing, he's fairly sure. Or maybe he did. Either way, she'd find it.


A second blast rang out, and Hilde dived for the hallway as debris came tumbling down. Dust and noise engulfed her world. There was an almighty crash that she felt as much as heard. Stones shook, and some fell away, but out here the wooden part of the structure hadn't stood a chance. A beam crashed down behind her, narrowly missing, as floorboards fell from above. They were all around, but with as much luck as skill, she managed to avoid any serious injury. The Captain and his guards had been stood under one of the main stone-built supports of the lower floor. He'd already sent the others out to search for the girl. By her best guess, none of them were trapped or injured. She tried to listen for any cries to the contrary, but all she could hear was a high pitched whistling.

Hans lay her down in the Ritual Circle. He didn't want to do it here, but the lack of any other circle forced his hand. He set about cleansing the circle. Casting out the evils of the previous night's ritual, throwing the spirits out as Emris and Maldaenis had explained the theory to him. He didn't know if it was working, but it felt like it. He could feel the oppressive nature of the circle receding, being replaced with Calm.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Sun May 05, 2013 4:41 am

Half stumbling out into the street, the daylight seemed uncommonly bright, and the world was blurred. Mostly from the dust, she hoped, which had yet to settle. Unlike the crowd that had begun to gather outside in the street. Someone came to her aid as she stood blinking, shielding her eyes. They were talking, but she couldn't make out the words. She didn't remember being hit, but as she took her hands away there was a dark stain on her fingers. The road trembled again as something else slid inside.
Some people hesitated, and warned against going closer-
Others ran inside to help. Hilde managed to fend off would be samaritans, and takes shelter in the shadow of the neighbouring building. Leaning against the wall, she surveys the damage, and resolves to have words with Hans later...strong words.

Hans gives a fleeting thought as to what might be keeping Hilde, but he doesn't have time to think about her. Trying to maintain a magical link with no Mana was taking all of his concentration as it was. Thank the gods he had items he could use to focus the energy. He debates whether or not to close the circle, then remembers Divah's warning that circles should always be sealed. He can't pick how though, and then it clicks. He just hopes he can maintain this ritual on the positive side of sacrifice, otherwise it will go very badly for both of them. "In sorrow for those lost, I free them from this circle. Your souls are again your own, your sacrifice will not be in vain. Take yourselves into the afterlife, and all this circle holds to oblivion. I cleanse this place of its foul past, I consign the deeds that have been wrought into the void."
He sighs. Doing this alone is exhausting, and he's got no idea if it's even working, but he's got to try. If what those cultists said was true... "In the name of the Wind Speaker, Free and Unconfined in all things, I seal this circle from all that would enter, so that I might free another in his name from her curse most foul."

Leaving the civilians to deal with the wreckage, Hilde slips away into an alley. Out of the way here, she opens a pouch on her belt, and withdraws a small wooden pot. Finding a rain barrel attached to the back of one of the houses, she examines her reflection, and applies the salve to the wound. It doesn't take long before the ache in her head subsides, and her mind clears. To her relief, the ringing in her ears also fades. She uses the water to clean herself off, and pats the dust out of her clothes. No need to bring further attention. Satisfied, she considers her next move- and remembering such- retrieves the note from her pocket. "Meet me at the house. We have an issue." reads the hurried scrawl. With a sigh, she starts back again- though this time keeping off of the main street.

Hans thinks he feels the air shift, and takes it as sealed. What next, what next... "Guardian Spirit of this circle, I humbly request your council. Appear unto me, please spirit, and answer my call." Would that work? Would it answer him? Shit I'm so in over my head here...

There is a sudden chill in the air. It's enough to make you shiver, as breath turns to mist in the air. The house was already quiet, but now there is hardly a sound at all, but for your own pulse in your ears. Presently you notice another sound, as the girl lets out a small whimper, you notice her shoulders shuddering, and her teeth are chattering.

Tch, you'd think after fighting your way out of the spirit world twice you'd be able to handle this, Yksin... He thinks, stopping his teeth from chattering. He's rapidly approaching his anger threshold, but he holds it. "Answer me, Spirit! Appear before me as I ask, so that I might know your nature!" I've got no idea what I'm doing, I've got no idea what I'm doing, I've got no idea what I'm doing...

A icy shock passes through his body and he feels his heart skip a beat. Shadows and frost coalesce before Hans' eyes, and the sound of dead leaves masquerades as a voice. "You wish to know my nature, mortal?...You are a fool." The cloud does not settle into a form, but remains indistinct, with a sickening blurriness that makes it hard to look at directly.

"That I might be." He grits out. "I intend to use this circle to remove the second spirit within that woman. And I humbly ask your assistance, Guardian." Hans offers a slight bow, but doesn't take his eyes off the shifting creature.

The sound of rustling has no voice within it this time. Is it laughter? "Humbly ask? Ha. You know nothing...and what do you offer?"

Hilde arrives at the back of the house, and nips over the fence, as before. The door is no longer open, but trying it reveals that it is not locked either. Yet, Hans is nowhere to be seen- which means one of two things...

Hans nods toward the girl. "She possesses two souls. The second, that of a powerful and long-dead Necromancer. I offer his soul for you to consume freely. I sacrifice him unto you, as it were, for the greater good of the girl before us." He doesn't know if that's going to be enough. If it isn't, he'll have to interfere with the flow of magic within this place, which might cause a magical explosion capable of leveling the house and probably other houses. Still, at least that would mean no-one could use this foul place again. It would be sad to go out in such a shoddy manner, though. A pity, but a necessary sacrifice to end this place.

The spirit hisses. Again, it's hard to tell if it is offended or laughing. "And what is to ssstop me from taking all three? You are no magi...and you are alone..."

On pure suspicion, Hilde decides to check the basement. Her stomach turns as she can see a faint light coming from below- She can tell it's not just candlelight.


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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Sun May 05, 2013 8:12 am

Hans has had just about enough.

"You think you can just take my soul, Wraith? I have walked the Spirit World and the Underworld twice already, and you are not going to be the one that sends me there again. You want a deal? Fine, here's my goddamn deal."

He unholsters his gun.

"This? A weapon enchanted by the greatest enchanters in known existence. If I so much as put some of my will into this, the magical repercussions will level this place and everywhere around it. Your circle will be condemned to silence forever more under a pile of dirt, ash and mortar. No more deals, no more pacts, no more sacrifices, no more souls. But you know the bigger problem?"

He pulls a small clear and sparkled orb out of his pocket and puts it in the gun.

"That was a gift from a Kallia, a spirit of chaos itself. Now, I wonder what would happen if I were to fire this Norn-Enchanted gun, loaded with a Kallia's Marble in the middle of a mid-ritually active Wild Magic Site, at it's Guardian spirit? Honestly I've got no clue. The explosion would definitely blow a hole the size of this whole neighbourhood at least. It'd more likely blow us all straight into Oblivion itself. Contemplate that for a moment. Allow the notion to form in your wafty little mind. I'm offering you a choice here. Best case scenario, you eat a Necromancer's powerful soul and I walk away and let others find their way here and sacrifice themselves here, an eternity of souls. Or, I blow this place with such a potent magical detonation It'd probably be felt all the way through the planes as we get blasted into Oblivion. Make no mistake, I may be no Mage, but I am so much more dangerous. And I have been threatened one too many times. What's to stop you from taking all the souls? I am. Hans Yksin. Planeswalker and Fae-Killer. Seeker, future Sentinel, and Bearer of the Ring of Sacrifice. Do not challenge me. Not today. Not now, not ever."

He cocks the hammer back on his pistol and aims at the shifting thing. His eyes are cold, hard, and infinitely more deadly than ever before. Even the spirit itself can see that he is totally willing to do what he's just threatened to do.

"That is my deal, Spirit. Consume her spare soul, that of the Necromancer, and allow us to leave this place, or your very existence will be erased before you can so much as whisper the name of your ender. I do not give in to anyone. Especially not tainted Guardian Spirits."

His eyes narrow further and the trigger tightens on the gun. It's clear that if he so much as feels the whisper of a compulsion or anything other than compliance from the spirit, the gun will be fired.

"Who the fuck do you think I am?"
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Sun May 05, 2013 8:46 am

As Hilde descends the stairs, she can hear a conversation taking place, initially hard to make out, but as she gets closer, Han's voice is clear. Knowing better than to interrupt a ritual negotiation, for fear of distracting him within the circle, she holds back, and as she listens, without notice also holds her breath. If what he says is true, there's nothing to be done- either it will work, or they're all going out- she hopes it's the former.

A wispy figure forms slowly in the air from the cloud of shadow and frost, barely defined, but it's a response.
It reaches out an umbral arm, and as she watches it stretches out, becoming more like the branch of a tree.
The tendrils snake smoothly through the air and fall down towards the shivering girl.
Where they touch, frost forms, tiny stars of white glitter and grow.

Suddenly a terrible screech, an inhuman howl, and a ghostly form is pulled, slowly but steadily away from the prone figure.
She has stopped shivering, and the soul, though visibly fighting, twisting, writhing like a nest of vipers, cannot escape the call.
The spirit's limb does not move so much as just return to it's centre, bringing with it the screaming warlock's spirit.
When the two forms touch, the struggling ends, and the ghost is swallowed into the mists, melting and becoming one with the circle's guardian. The guardian says nothing, and simply fades from view, with a rustle of dead leaves in a breeze.
As it vanishes, all of the candles within the circle wink out.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Sun May 05, 2013 8:53 am

Hans holds his position a moment, then exhales heavily and leans over, rolling the marble out of his gun and stashing it away, then holstering his gun.

"I can't believe that worked. That actually worked. Mental note, never ever do that again. Ever. Gods I might've blown up all of Xenos. Oooooh shit. I'm insane. I'm completely and utterly insane. That was insane. I just scared the shit out of a guardian spirit. And survived. Oh god I am so completely and totally insane..."

He lifts the girl quickly and turns, then sees Hilde.

"Oh, er, hey. Um... how much of that did you hear?"
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Sun May 05, 2013 9:28 am

"All of it."
And then Hans' world went black.

Having knocked Hans out cold, she manages to catch both him, and the girl, awkwardly, to prevent either of them falling.
Sliding him on the stairs outside for a moment, she wraps the girl in her cloak, guiding her out of the room.
Hilde closes the door behind them, for whatever good that might do.
She seems to be coming around. Pulling a small bottle from a pocket, she gives it to her. "Drink this."
The girl leans on her as they walk up the stairs- and then stumbles, falling into a deep sleep.
Carrying her to the bench beside the kitchen hearth, she lays her down.
That should keep her quiet for a while longer.

Taking a pitcher from the shelf, she goes out the back door, and fills it from the rain barrel outside.
Back down the stairs, Hans is leaning lazily to the left.
She empties the water pitcher over his head.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Sun May 05, 2013 9:32 am

Hans coughs and splutters awake before quickly rolling away from the torrent of water. "Okay, the punch I probably deserved, the water pitcher was just mean."
"Saves waiting for you to wake up." she says simply.
He stands up and shakes his hair dry. "Where's the girl?"
"She's asleep."
He groans and rubs his jaw from the punch. "Ah, good. She'll be fine. Necromancer's spirit is gone, she's a whole instead of two now. Much better. Erm... we may want to pick her up and get out of here. Not a good idea to stay in Tainted Circles for very long." He makes sure he has everything before moving toward the stairs.
Hilde gives Hans a skeptical look. "If I didn't expect someone to be coming here..." She moves up the stairs ahead of him, and heads for the girl. "Perhaps a chapel?"
Hans nods. "Sounds good. Wind Speaker, I think. Probably be the most lenient considering..." He pulls a face. "You seem just a teensy bit angry."
"I'll deal with you later."
Hans winces heavily at the implications of that statement.
"In my defence, It worked, and it's not like the spirit gave me much of a choice..."

Back upstairs, Hans takes the last of his fire-whiskey out of his coat and starts throwing it over the old furniture, then uses his old gun trick to set it alight before picking up the girl. "To make sure that place is never used again, and to cover our tracks. We should probably move before this place burns down." He moves out of the open door and into the empty street, as most of the local residents are distracted by the guardhouse explosion. "Heh, I'm better at distractions than I thought."

The dribble of whiskey on the chairs was hardly enough to singe them. It burned out quickly before the waxed wood caught, leaving a scorched burn, but nothing more. ~Hm, must have hit him harder than I thought.~

He turns and starts toward the Wind Speaker temple, located conveniently in the opposite direction of the guardhouse.
He runs to the chapel, smashing through the doors with the girl in his arms for the second time. If this is what being a Sentinel is like, then it's bloody knackering, fulfilling, fun, but damn is it tiring. "Cleric!" This is getting a tad monotonous.

The girl wakes up, and cries out as the doors crash open around them. "What- where- who- uhhh." She clutches her head in confusion. Confronted with a now suddenly conscious girl, Hans finally falters.
"Er, Bad things, Wind Speaker temple, not important. CLERIC!" Seriously, how slow are the Speaker's clerics anyway?
"I remember I was in- wait-" she takes a breath, and lets out an ear piercing scream. "Oh Gods! What did they do!? Put me down! PUT ME DOWN!"

"Whoa, whoa, alright." He puts her down hurriedly, and backs up. "It's alright, you're safe now, they... um..." He briefly recalls the state he left the cultists in. "Well, they're not coming after you anymore."

One thing was certain, the scream had certainly gotten attention. A pair of clerics approached hurriedly, eyeing Hans with distrust. One of them even had a wooden stave, and was holding it in a ready stance. The girl is unstable on her feet, but determined enough to stand.
"What is the meaning of this?" asks the first priest, his eyes flicking over her state, and back to the engineer, suspiciously.
"I was kidnapped!" she exclaims, and moves behind them.

Hans looks at the two Clerics, and then realises his gun isn't loaded. "Ah, shit." He backs up slightly, showing his open palms, but keeps his hand ready to quickly draw his sword. "I didn't kidnap her, I saved her and brought her here for medical attention..."
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Sun May 05, 2013 9:41 am

He groans and rubs his jaw from the punch.

"Ah, good. She'll be fine. Necromancer's spirit is gone, she's a whole instead of two now. Much better. Erm... we may want to pick her up and get out of here. Not a good idea to stay in Tainted Circles for very long."

He makes sure he has everything before moving toward the stairs.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Sun May 05, 2013 10:57 am

At this point, one of the doors creaks open gently, and Hilde strolls in. "Ah, you made it. How is she? Awake at last? Good." she says to Hans, without letting him get a word in edgeways. Turning to the holy men she begins again. "My apologies, brothers, you can relax. I vouch for this man." she waves casually in Hans' direction. "I believe that our friend here-" she gestures to the girl- "Is in good physical health, but might need some divine attention, given her experience. Also, if you could arrange for a purification ritual of a tainted circle, and appropriate funeral arrangements for an unfortunate resident. The Guardsmen of Colliers may also need some assistance in disposing of some blasphemous filth." The priests blink at her, and the sudden rush of information.
"Now, I daresay that will keep you busy for some time, so we will be on our way-" she hands the closest one a few paper warrants. "For your troubles, and may the winds be at your back. Good day, brothers." She turns to leave, and holds the door open. "Come along Hans."

"Err, Yes Ma'am." He sends the girl a smile as he leaves, pretty convinced it's likely to be the last girl around his age he's likely to see before Hilde murders him and throws his corpse in the river.

Once they've left the steps of the church, leaving probably all inside wondering quite what just happened, Hilde picks up pace a little. She cuts through a few alleys, and they find themselves near the northern end of town. It's quieter up this way, as most of the trade routes go to the south- or indeed, anywhere but towards the wilds. Picking a small establishment, she holds the door, and expects him to enter.
Hans winces as he walks in, clearly dreading what is to come.

A small older lady greets them as they enter. Her grey hair is tied up neatly, and she wears a very clean white apron.
"Good day, m'lady- two stews with bread, if you please."
She beams at the two of them in reply, placing a jug of water and two clay cups on the table.
"Oh yes my dears, I'll get right to it. You make yoursel's comfortable now, and I'll be out as quick as I can."
"Thank you- oh, and don't trouble yourself, we're in no rush."
The lady nods, and disappears off to the kitchens. Hilde walks around to the side, and picks a table near the back. She sits down, and makes herself comfortable, then looks up expectantly.
Hans lets out a soft groan as he walks over and sits across from her, ready for an earful.
Watching him closely, she says nothing for a few moments. He fidgets a little uncomfortably.
"If you know what comes, then perhaps you should start. Quietly now. We don't want to upset the patrons."
The place is empty but for the two of them.


Last edited by Scribbler on Sat May 11, 2013 9:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Sun May 05, 2013 11:56 am

Hans assumes that by other patrons she means that there are either more skilled rogues here than he or that the walls have ears, either way it's probably best not to admit he nearly blew up the continent. Well, threatened to. But then he gets the familiar push in the back of his head that made him do it in the first place

"Look, she needed help and there wasn't any other circle that I knew of within distance to get to in time before the Necromancer ate her soul. I know absolutely nothing about magic other than what I've read in a select few specialist books and some theory explained by some colleagues, which is very, very little. So I was left, an Engineer no less, conducting a purification ritual on my own. That's not a good idea at the best of times. Then you throw in a circle tainted by gods know what and a soul-sucking Guardian spirit that's too greedy for its own good and I got a bit pissed off. I was out of my depth, over my head, I had no idea what I was doing, I had no back up, and I had an innocent to save, so I got creative, I got resourceful. I felt my survival instinct kick in and I went with it. I did the most stupid, fool-hardy, idiotic thing anyone on Xenos has ever done and it worked. In the meantime I also taught a Tainted Spirit a lesson about just how fucking deadly a cornered man can be, especially when it's me. Fine, I know the implications, but if anyone else from the guild had been in that position they never would've come out of it alive, and the girl would've died too, or worse. I know I should be sorry, but I'm damn well not. I saved a dying girl and prevented a prominent ancient necromancer from coming back to power. Consequences be damned, I did good today. Better than most of Xenos would've done in my shoes. Far better. I pulled us both out alive without any consequence, and that is insanely hard to do."

He pauses for breath.

"I'd do the same thing again if I had to. You told me to not underestimate what survival taught me. Well it taught me to use everything I have at my disposal to live, and that's exactly what I did. I knew that thing wouldn't dare try me. Not with the forces I was aiming at him. I had someone to protect. Maybe if it was just me in that position, I wouldn't have gone that far, but it was my job to make sure she came out okay, so I damn well did."

He leans back in his said, having said nearly all he would say.

"You can tell me I'm a failure if you want, but not many people have the strength of character or the will to make a claim like that and have the other party believe it. I made my ancestors proud today. I had the will of a Yksin, The Will of Fire, and I damn well made sure my adversary knew it. And he cowered, like I knew he would."

His gaze is defiant and full of fire. So much so that it may make even Hilde doubt herself.

Hilde just watches. She watches with a patience beyond her years. He speaks with passion and energy, of bravery, honour and glory. When she is quite sure he has finished, she lifts the jug, and pours the water. After both of the cups are full, she smoothly places the vessel back on the table, and slides one of the cups to him. Her expression remains calm, almost blank, and she has still said nothing.

He feels like he's stepped in dog crap. He didn't want to sound brave. He just wanted to sound... resourceful. He probably sounded stupid, reckless and impulsive...No, not the time for self-doubt. Never the time for self-doubt. Not anymore.
"Oh, go ahead, get it over with." His head drops onto the table and pours the water in his cup over himself.
"I'm a stupid, stubborn reckless asshole with master level skills in doing the most stupid and dangerous things possible because he's an idiot. I didn't want to blow up Xenos I just... eugh. Fucking Spirit. At least I can get the job done." He looks up and the light hits the ring, flashing lightly. "Oh yeah, I just do the wrong sodding jobs. For the wrong people. Eugh." He headbutts the table again, then lifts the jug and pours it over his own head.
Tch, No more self-doubt my ass. You're an idiot, Yksin.


Content that he has quite finished, Hilde takes a sip of her water, and places the cup on the table- away from Hans. She then lays her hand on his dripping shoulder. "You're right." she says gently, and he groans. She tightens her grip slightly. "On both counts."

Hans just headbutts the table again and groans. "And then I get accused of kidnapping. Sure, I blow a guard station to hell and then almost the rest of the continent but when one thing I didn't do comes along I get blamed for it. Cow. Should be more grateful for not getting eaten my a Necromancer's soul." Then he realises something. "Oh god I blew Dad's old station to hell, he'd be so pissed right now he'd probably skewer me. And mum'd be yelling about how sucky I was in that ritual. How I ended up so different from them I'll never know. God, that ritual sucked. Divah would strangle me for what I just tried. And spouting all that crap about being resourceful and brave and making the hard decisions, shit I've let Johann rub off on me. Euugh." He groans again, clearly spiraling downward ever further.

"Hans." she says, a little sharply. "Don't make me have to hit you again." Letting go of his shoulder, she removes her cloak, and offers him it. "Dry up before the lady comes back."

He grabs the cloak and dries his hair with it, before sitting up and passing her the cloak back. "Can I have some more water please?" The tone implies he's not likely to drink it.
With some curiousity, she simply slides her cup into his reach in reply.
He picks the cup up and splats himself in the face with it. "Aaaand now I'm done with the water." He puts the cup back on the table waveringly.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Sun May 05, 2013 12:59 pm

"If you want to spend your training under a waterfall, go find a Monk."
"No, he'll probably hit harder than you do. Though that'll be difficult."
The kitchen door opens, and the older woman comes out bearing a tray. On which sits two steaming bowls of stew, and half of a large loaf of bread. She looks slightly confused and dismayed at the damp that seems to be everywhere on one side of the table. Placing the meals on the table, she picks up the jug, and walks off with it.
He looks dismayed to see the jug go, but sets about tearing pieces of the loaf off and dunking them in soup, eating silently.

"Alright. Let's focus. No innocents were harmed. That at least is something." Hilde breaks the bread, and continues. "That, by luck or by judgement, is why we are still having this conversation." She nudges him under the table, to make sure he's listening. He looks up. "As for everything else you've just said. You're mostly right. On all counts." Hans sighs, and goes back to his food, but is listening. "You're right. It's hard to survive difficult situations. But it's not as hard as you think to avoid getting into them in the first place. You just need to-" the kitchen door opens again, as the woman returns with a fresh jug of water. "-just try to think about the situation before you're already in them." She takes the water jug from the lady, with thanks, and an apologetic glance. Although Hans might not see it, there is a nod of sympathy from her, and she disappears back around the corner, leaving them in peace.
"When you fight, you react- but there's beginning to be more to it than that. Especially after yesterday. I can see your mind working. I know you choose when to strike and when to dodge. Being in the city is the same thing- on a larger scale."
She pours them both a fresh cup of water, and places the jug at the other end of the table, and has a few bites of her meal.
"You know the streets- better than I do, I'd wager- so you know when, how, and where the trouble is likely to be. You know how it will strike. And you know how to avoid that. I know you do. And that in itself is a skill." There's a break while she takes a drink, and she hopes he's not only listening, but hearing. So many wouldn't know the difference. "Your problem arises when there are others involved."
He looks up and pulls a face that reads something like 'Tell-me-about-it'. "And not like that." she says, dismissively. "As soon as there's a cause- other than yourself, to deal with, you get reckless. Given the fallback of 'I did it for their sake, suddenly, all bets are off. I can tell that it's kept you alive, more than once- but with what you have to deal with now- it's just as likely to get you killed. And that-" she puts down the cup, "-is not helping anyone."

He grunts an agreement, but doesn't look happy at acknowledging it. "I know, I just... when things get serious, I can't hold back. There's too much on the line to not kick it into high gear. When I'm in a situation like that, with others depending on me... something in my head switches and suddenly I'm moving, in more ways than one, and I don't realise the gravity of what I've done until it's over and the devastation is all that remains. Well, that and all the people I've saved..." He trails off morosely, watching the jug in her hands.

"Maybe you can't yet- but I believe that if you want to, you will. You have a strong will. I've seen it. If you can bite your anger- which I know you do-" she stops to catch his gaze. "I can help. Let me."

Hans nods. "I'll take you up on that. I'd like to access the ability without going nuts with it..." He starts back on his stew.

She lets out a quiet laugh, as if she knew the decision was already made- and gets on with her meal.

When he's finished, Hans politely positions his spoon and whispers a prayer of thanks to the gods collectively.
"Should probably go grab that sword before he melts it down into a dagger and tries to stab me with it."

"Let's find out then, shall we?" Hilde finishes the water, and stands up, unfurling her slightly damp cloak. She stops by the kitchen door and knocks lightly. After she's paid and thanked the lady for her service, they leave.


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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Hans Yksin on Mon May 06, 2013 1:22 am

Once again at the door to the smithy, Hans forgoes, yet again, all etiquette, and starts pounding on the door. "OI! Fatass! Open up before the bone-stiffness set in too much would ya, you old goat!?"
Hilde lets out an audible sigh, but says nothing. This pair obviously have a routine. She resigns to let them get on with it.

The eye panel once again slides back.
"Hn, they're getting weaker in the taverns if they let you survive long enough to get back here brat."
"Stronger than you. Now gimme my sword back, or have you gone senile already?"
"You'll be lucky if I don't stab you with it."
"Like you've even got the strength anymore."
"Your hind is asking for a kicking, jackass."
"The sword. Give it already."
"Look, you impotent little crap bucket, these things take time-"
"Oh please, you couldn't-"
Suddenly Hans lashes out with an elbow backwards, crashing into whoever had tried to sneak up on him and sending him or her sprawling. A larger hole in the door opens and the sword is thrusted out hilt first. He immediately unsheathes it and the scabbard is pulled back inside, the porthold slamming shut.
When he about turns, one of the sneaks is helping up the other while a third draws a dagger.

"What, did you think it was that easy?"
He sends a look to Hilde, asking her to let him handle it.

The ranger offers an indifferent shrug, and steps back. She wouldn't want to spoil his fun after all.

He one with the dagger tries to charge, but Has simply sidesteps and the dagger is shoved into the wooden wall of the smithy. The idiot tries to pull it out, but Hans just smashes him over the head with the hand guard of his sabre. He slumps into the wall.
"Idiot." He turns to the other two, one of which has drawn a sword. "Please tell me you two are better."
The one with the sword audibly grits his teeth in anger and charges, engaging in a duel between himself and Hans. The other simply circles Hilde, trying to keep her out of the way of the two combatants.

Hilde raises her hands, showing him her palms are empty. She hopes for his sake he leaves it at that.

He stands simply between the woman and the fight. She is clearly not the target of this little roughhouse. Meanwhile, Hans is simply parrying and dodging effortlessly. He may not be the best with the sword, but his experiences with the seekers and his training had taught him much. "Is this it? Is this all you have to offer? This is not even the hint of a baseline. It's saddening."

The man doesn't make a move, but is standing a little close for someone who smells unpleasant. "I think your friend could use a hand." Hilde suggests helpfully. He shoots her a suspicious glare, and a growl for her trouble. "Oh don't worry, I'll stay right here." She even sits down on a nearby crate, to emphasise the point.

The man growls but turns to aid his fellow assailant, drawing his own sword he enters the fray. Hans accepts the additional competition easily however. The two swords are useless in comparison to Leif's skill with dual blades. "Hm, better, but I still find it lacking. I can barely hear the hint of a song." He decides to continue the stalemate for a time and see if they can come up with something more challenging.

She watches with vague amusement. "Perhaps you should fight them left handed, to even the odds?" she calls.
Hans answers her call with a smirk and with his next flourish switches hands. It definitely evens the playing field some, but not enough for them to yet be much of a threat.
Well, at least she wouldn't need to improve his confidence.
"Even the odds!?" Comes a shout from inside the smithy. "I'd need to help the boy for that!"
Hans' grin only widens. "Hah! Your wrinkly old ass would only get in the way! Settle down and let the young'un handle this, grandpa!"
"Oi! Anymore o' that y' sod, and I'll be joinin' them!" comes the reply. The two men are starting to get a impatient, and the shouting isn't helping their attitude. Hans outright laughs. "Ha! I want them more capable in a fight, not less!" He parries a particularly impatient thrust. They are getting angry...
"Ha! If you were that good, you'd be done by now!"
"Oh I'm giving them a chance to not get beaten too badly. If you were here fighting with them they'd only look even more embarrassing to their ancestors."
"Get it over with. Or are you not showing off to your new girl?" He laughs. "Maybe you should let her deal with them, I reckon the lady's got more fight in her than you, y'big girls blouse!"
"Says the man who hasn't seen a blouse in the last three decades! Well, other than the ones you wear yourself of course."
The men are getting quite frustrated by now- but one of them at least has the inspiration to check on the woman- who isn't where he left her. At the same moment, the smithy door opens with a roar-
Hans steps back from the conflict and waits for what is to come, smiling.
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Re: The City of Amran

Post  Scribbler on Mon May 06, 2013 4:08 am

The smith launches from his shop brandishing a hammer in one hand and a hot iron in the other.
He swipes for Hans- who ducks out of the way. "That's for scaring off my custom!"
And then he barrels toward the other two. At the sight of the big man coming right at them, one of them straight turns away and breaks into a run. The second stands his ground, and barely manages to block the hot iron that strikes against his blade in a shower of sparks. Arnulf cheers enthusiastically and brings the hammer around in a low side swipe, knocking the man from his feet and onto his back. The hot iron hovers an inch or so from the man's sword hand.
He makes possibly his first wise decision of the day, and decides it would be best not to try anything.
The runner ducks into the alleyway beside the shop out of sight- and is quickly met with a sudden thud.
In the alleyway, Hilde has her foot between the escapee's shoulders, his face in the dirt. "Going somewhere?"

"Watch what you do with that bloody hammer! You damn near took my head off!"
Arnulf shrugs. "Pfft. Missed ya didn' I?" he retorts, still holding the iron steady.
Hans turns to the grounded scumbag. "Who are you and why are you attacking me?" He glances at the red hot iron and then kneels down and whispers into the pinned combatants ear. "You know how gas lamps get their musty yellow colouring after a person's burned to death nearby? The burning, screaming victim's fat boils inside their skin and evaporates out of the pores on the skin, ripping them apart in the process. The evaporated fat then congeals on the lamps and gives the musty colour." Hans tone indicates that he really, really wants to try that... "Maybe I'll keep the bulbs I make from your flesh, light up my torture room with them..."

The man that ran away stumbled out of the alleyway, with his hands above his head. Behind him follows a sword- held by Hilde.
She guides him into the street, and towards the other two. "Lose something?"

Hans shakes his head. "Nah, I knew you'd get him. Would've been just as good for him to get away. Carry a message. Anyway, shall we conduct this inside, or should I just paint the street red with their blood?"
"Inside...No need to upset the locals." She doesn't need to guide her prisoner, he'd rather not risk it.
Arnulf lets the other one get up, and moves him around to the door also. They move the party into the forge.

Hans sets about tying the two to a pair of chairs, and sticks a few tools into the forge to heat up. He takes a look at his sabre as he waits. "Your craftsmanship is shit as ever, I see."
"Your manners are as shit as ever, I see." says the smith, watching him closely. "And mind my tools."
Hilde takes a seat, perching on an anvil by the wall. Best just to let them get on with it for now.
"Hn. It'll do I suppose." He sheathes the blade and picks up one of the red-hot tools, before crudely shoving it into one of the assailant's abdomen. The hiss of flesh is matched by the hiss of air that escapes Hilde's lips. "I do find it helps that if you want answers, you ask questions." she says, distastefully.

"Yes, but I've already asked. They just refuse to answer." He dispassionately tunes out the screams of the man, face hardened, but the man's companion begs him to stop, so he does for a moment. "We, we heard from the temple of the Speaker that you kidnapped a young girl, and then her Dad hired us to slot you. It's usually easier than this, please, we didn't know you were that dangerous!" Hans stares at the man, then shoves the brand into his arm and listens to him scream as the arm sizzles. "Tch. I've just about had it with this crap... Give me one reason not to just shoot the pair of you and let the river have you."
At this, Hilde moves. "Enough." She pulls his arm away. "They are not the enemy. Just misguided. Let them go."


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