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  #26  
Unread 28th of February, 2013, 19:48
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"I ought to be," Lynn casually lied. "They don't make just everyone one of the Empress of Kesh's prized knife fighters."

Awkwardly turning her back on Shade so she couldn't see what she was doing, Lynn shuffled with for clothes for a few moments, having secreted the knife away by the time she turned back.

"I don't suppose you've found any water?" she asked, giving the broken bottle of wine a disappointed frown. "I'm about to die of thirst."
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  #27  
Unread 1st of March, 2013, 02:41
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"Kesh is it? You must be good."

Shade leaves the rest of her thought unsaid, not wanting to start any argument. One had only to look at her hands to know she wasn't a knife fighter - they had scars in abundance from honing their craft against each other. She looks around the interior as Lynn secrets her knife once more, noting the apparently unspoiled feast set out for nobody. Not even animals had been at it yet, which caused her to frown behind her veil. She absently hands Lynn her waterskin when the other woman asks about a drink.

"I filled it from a stream on the way here. In my opinion the well in the square is safe enough to drink from - we would have seen some evidence if there had been any sickness. These people left suddenly; there is no sign of struggle or death at all."
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  #28  
Unread 4th of March, 2013, 10:54
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Lynn snatched the proffered waterskin and greedily gulped it down, forcing herself to stop when she had drunk nearly half, offering it back with obvious reluctance.

"Probably safe means maybe dangerous. If it wasn't those creatures, what do you think happened to these people? I've not seen any locked doors, but they're all pretty much closed. Who takes the time to shut a door but doesn't lock it?"
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Unread 6th of March, 2013, 04:46
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"It isn't a city we're in - these folk will likely bar their doors at night, but you can't very well do that from the outside."

Shade shakes her head as she answers almost absently. Lynn's other question was the more important of the two, and the harder one to puzzle out. The place was empty, not deserted, if one was inclined to make such distinctions. It was like the entire population had suddenly disappeared without warning rather than that they had fled or been destroyed. To avoid heightening the other woman's obvious discomfort she changes the subject.

"Well, whatever happened to them doesn't change our situation any. We need to get ourselves outfitted so we can hole up for a few days until we figure out our next move. Food and water, for starters, but we should keep an eye out for oil and other weapons that might be useful against those creatures we do know are out there."
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  #30  
Unread 8th of March, 2013, 14:23
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"Of course, oil." Lynn rolled her eyes. "I should have remembered that from the lessons with my tutors. Needlepoint, dancing and preparations for small wars. "
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  #31  
Unread 11th of March, 2013, 05:22
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It was the lack of animal sounds that was really beginning to get to Blarth as he explored the town. It being obvious that he was the strongest of their group, Blarth had decided to worry about barricade material first in this scrounging expedition. The good stuff was bound to be large and heavy, and besides, there appeared to be plenty of food and drink around for the taking.

As he was moving about heavy furniture and doors (augmenting the supplies already at the smithy), however, he kept coming back to the lack of any animal sounds. By all rights Nicos' singing should have been accompanied by the birdsong of at least 6 species which would not yet have abandoned the area for warmer climes. Plus he was finding the usual evidence of rats and mice under and behind some of the furniture, but he never caught sight of one: not on th food left unattended, not under any of the heavy furniture that clearly hadn't been moved since it was put it, not even out of the corner of his eye scurrying across a floor. Instead, it was like the dead of winter with a heavy layer of snow on the ground. Beyond the noises he himself was making, or the sound of Nicos' voice floating around now louder and now quieter, there was absolute silence.

It's this realization chewing at his consciousness which probably sparks Blarth into following the dog he spots darting around a corner. Normally such a sighting would be unremarkable, but this is the first animal he's seen since finding the town. Heck, since the entering the fog the night before during the panicked flight. Putting down the oaken door he was carrying, Blarth quickly darts after the dog, turning the corner just in time to see it dart through a doorway. Following after it, this sort of thing continues for several minutes. Always, the dog is just disappearing as Blarth reaches the point where he last saw it. Just when it seems about to get away, Blarth will turn a corner to find it disappearing though a nearby window. Just when he seems about to catch it, the dog will be three or four houses away around the next corner.

After a dozen or so minutes of fruitless chasing, Blarth pauses to catch his breath in the kitchen of another house. Looking at the floor, Blarth spots a bag of flour he had tripped over several minutes earlier and realizes that the dog was leading him in circles.

About to resume the chase, Blarth stops cold an looks at the white flour on the floor. In it he clearly sees his own footprints: two sets, confirming that he was running in circles.

There are no signs of any dog tracks, however.

Giving up the pursuit, Blarth whispers a prayer to Gruumsh and hurries back to the smithy to finish erecting the barricades.
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  #32  
Unread 26th of March, 2013, 00:44
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Shade cracks an uncharacteristic smile, her grey eyes sweeping the room once more. Nothing new to see, and no movement save for the spreading puddle of dark red wine on the floor. She shakes her head, dismissing the memories it jogged. Instead, she looks once again at Lynn.

"Yes, I suppose it isn't everyone who needs to fight these sorts of battles. It's new ground for me too - I was a city girl and a gutter rat growing up, not all that long ago though it seems a lot longer. I guess life is like that when you're out in the world; you pack more experiences into a shorter time. What about you? I mean, Nicos can be quite charming but he's never wanted an apprentice as far as I can remember."
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  #33  
Unread 26th of March, 2013, 21:27
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“What Nicos wants and what he gets doesn't have to be related,” Lynn said with a smirk. “He can be an arse sometimes, but he knows his stuff and I want to learn as much of it as possible. Besides, whatever else you can say about him, he has fun, and a life unenjoyed is a life wasted.”

The last was added with an unmistakable bitter tone, before the young woman turned a critical eye on Shade.

“Why? Worried about me sniffing around your turf? Don't be, he isn't my type.”
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  #34  
Unread 28th of March, 2013, 05:07
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Her eyes narrow at Lynn's comment about enjoying life, wondering where the barb is directed. Shade was of the decided opinion that running around without a care was a good way to get yourself killed. Nicos was still alive, it was true, but the man was short an arm. She ignores the implication that she could be interested in the bard - anyone who'd spent any time around them would know they were friends, with no possibility of it ever being anything else. They were simply too different.

"What I'd say about him is that he's a good friend, and someone you can trust to have your back. He must be a damn good teacher, though, if you are willing to risk this kind of life for it."
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  #35  
Unread 30th of March, 2013, 11:16
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"To be honest I was expecting the danger to be more of the bar fight or angry husband sort," Lynn said. "The whole army of zombies thing is new, but I'm thinking it's too late to get my deposit back now. As to teaching?"

Glancing about the room to make sure they were alone, Lynn held out her hand, palm up. Humming a complicated melody, a faint mote of light appeared above her hand, pale enough to only barely be seen, it flickered and wobbled as it wove a circular path until she closed her fist on it and directed a questioning look at Shade, waiting for her reaction.

"Well he has a gifted student."
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  #36  
Unread 11th of April, 2013, 02:47
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Shade regards the wavering light with hooded eyes, steely grey in the uncertain light, yet Lynn fancies she can see a hint of surprise at this display. When the light winks out the one time assassin unconsciously adjusts her sword belt as she considers the implications. Nicos never advertised his magic, which might lead one to assume he had only parlor tricks but Shade had been on the receiving end of his healing spells enough times to know that his power was real and considerable. His restraint in its use lead her to believe that he had a healthy respect for its working, which likely meant he wouldn't be giving out such knowledge carelessly.

"He must think highly of you indeed if he's been teaching you. And if you've picked it up so quickly then I am impressed, with you both."

Magic was both powerful and dangerous, but she didn't see any point in lecturing the girl on things that were already obvious. Besides, this was the first display she'd ever seen, and they'd been traveling closely for some time now - Lynn obviously guarded her knowledge closely. Still, if there was no romantic interest there it begged the question of why Lynn was willing to risk her life for secrets that most would say were best left unknown.

"What do you plan on doing once you've learned what you want?"
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  #37  
Unread 15th of May, 2013, 07:41
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“Well I thought I’d build an empire, not over the entire world, you’ve got to leave somewhere foreign and exotic to be well, foreign and exotic, but a good chunk of it. Once I master magic I use it to gather a loyal following, build a powerbase based on that. Do it on the edge of civilisation where things are wild enough that you won’t be stopped at the early stages of your conquest, but close enough to the centre of things that you can launch an unexpected attack.”

She paused a moment to ruffle her hair, already a long way from the neat arrangement it had been when they two first met, and gave Shade a concerned look.

“Or maybe I wouldn’t be telling people my evil plans before I’m ready to enact them? That was a joke, the world domination thing. I don’t have a plan, I learnt how to do it for the same reason I let Nicos tag along with me, it was interesting and might be fun. Nothing more than that. Whatever else you can say about him, the fool knows how to enjoy his life.

“If you don’t enjoy every day of your life, they’re wasted,” Lynn added, dropping her voice as if she were speaking more to herself than shade. “And we run out of days way too soon.”
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  #38  
Unread 22nd of May, 2013, 02:31
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Shade smirks behind her veil at the story, but her eyes narrow at Lyn''s choice of words about Nicos. Certainly he'd done a number of foolish things in her company, but he was hardly a fool. And there was a difference - a rather large one, actually. Her observation and retort on the subject are cut off by Lynn's final words and her smirk turns to a frown.

"That we do," she says quietly, "that we do."

How many times had she been pulled from death's bony grasp? More close calls than she could count, and despite her protestations of self-reliance without the help of Nicos, Blarth, Cadrius and Isac, to name a few, she'd never have lived this long. Her life, though, and some of it her own choosing. Lynn's fatalistic tone rings somewhat flat and she looks carefully at the other woman.

"But you're young. Be smart and stay out of trouble and you'll have a long life ahead of you."
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  #39  
Unread 2nd of June, 2013, 20:44
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“I'll be sure to take that advice” Lynn said. “And file it away where I always put such things. We should get a move on if we're going to be done by night. Oil? I'll search some of the other houses. Someone, somewhere in this place was bound to have used lamps.”
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  #40  
Unread 5th of June, 2013, 22:33
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Shade nods and watches Lynn go, gray eyes narrowed thoughtfully. It seemed Lynn wasn't ready for any sisterly advice, and for her part Shade couldn't blame her - after all, she had a history of ignoring similar sentiments from wiser folk herself. Sometimes the hard way was the only way to learn; hearing about a thing was very different than experiencing it first hand.

Lynn's footsteps recede and fade while Shade ponders, and shortly she is alone once more in this strangely empty village. The oddity of it all still bothered her, but so far there didn't seem to be anything harmful. Best to worry about the danger she knew was out there - the cursed, tireless undead that couldn't be that far off.

Shrugging to herself, she eases out of the home and moves to the street once more, looking for anything resembling a shop.
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  #41  
Unread 9th of June, 2013, 23:04
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Nicos kept singing as he walked, the song more instinctual by this stage than a deliberate plot. It didn't seem possible, but the more he walked the more it seemed that it was.

He had set out to walk the perimeter of the town, looking for the main road in. Blarth, Shade and Lynn had all entered the town directly from the forest, but it was far more likely for someone to come across the path and follow it to the town than stumble across it like they had. Their best bet would be to find the way in and leave a message for any new arrivals, the creatures hadn't seemed the reading sort, and that would leave them free to fort up without worrying about missing any of their wayward companions.

But after some brisk walking, he found himself back where he had started, the circuit complete without having found what he was looking for. It didn't seem possible, but there it was.

The bard let his song drop away and set out to carefully complete a second circuit, but there was no road, no path, no river. The forest rose up in a circle, an unbroken wall of trees. The place was completely isolated, cut off from the rest of the world. Which was impossible, how could the town exist like that.

Nicos' thought on the matter were broken by a flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning he was in time to catch a glimpse of a silver haired figure moving out of sight between two buildings. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, the blood surged through the body and his heart sang. She couldn't have been here, he knew that, an impossible vision of an impossible woman in an impossible town. He could full the narrative pull of the place on him, tugging him from his very bones to go towards where she had disappeared. The smart move, the sane move would be to go find the others, tell them what he had discovered and warn them about what he suspected was going on. The smart thing to do, the only thing he should do.

Instead, Nicos stepped out to follow after her.
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  #42  
Unread 26th of July, 2013, 23:28
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From building to building, corner to corner, Nicos followed after the figure, a glimpse of silver here, the echo of a footstep there until he came across a house with it's door still swinging shut. Inching it open, the bard made his way in on practiced, silent footsteps.

The house looked like many of the others he had seen in this place, perfect except for the mysterious lack of people. A creak from the next room alerted him to the presence of someone, and Nicos made his way over, the interior of which left him in shocked disbelief.

The room was shrouded with heavy curtains, the bed a disarray of tangled sheets, the air heavy with sex. Nicos remembered the room, remembered the heart break, the painful realisations, but also remembered it wasn't real. Swallowing freshly recalled shame, the bard reminded himself that the room was from distant years in his past, at this stage nothing more than fragmented dream of a bitter memory.

Someone – or something – in the town was trying to get to them with shadow games, but had made a mistake by targeting him. The bard was far too familiar a friend with deception and drama to be taken in by anything as simple as the phantasms and tricks that had been on display. The others however? Blarth was as honest and direct a man as he had ever met, Lynn's native talent lacked the weight of practical experience, even Shade with her intimate history of pain was no match for the depth of his ability with lies. They would need his help, he had to find them before they were taken in.

Turning to leave the room, Nicos found himself face-to-face with an intimately familiar, silver haired elf, and all of his confidence, all of his composure and self control came crashing down around him.

“Nicos?”
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