a reply to: Lumenari
Ariel tensed, or tried to... she was still a captive of this man. Her mind whirled, trying to think a way out of this situation. She knew that
there were many different ways to use the Earth magic inherent in her people... but she had never heard of someone being able to do what he was
doing. Her trained ears picked up the sounds of guards crashing around on the bottom floor. Another sound also, one she couldn't place for a
moment... a pet's whimper? The robed man continued.
" Ariel-Torrir, I'm aware of who you are and why you are here. It seems that I am in need of assistance on this night. Here is your choice." He
paused for a moment, then with a twinkle in his eye he continued. "If you choose to help me, your other mission will be completed, and you will be
given a gift, one that will allow you to pursue your trade more... comfortably. Helping me this night is probably the most important thing you will
ever do in your life." His eyebrows drew together as he peered deeper into her eyes. He seemed almost surprised at what he read there. "Make that
the second most important, but you must accomplish this to do the other."
The thief listened to him as she mentally charted the progress of the guardsmen by the clamor downstairs. They were onto the second floor now, and
she was on the forth... not much time left. Panic rose in her anew as she tried to determine the best course of flight, if she could indeed get out
of her immediate predicament Her right leg was starting to cramp and she had no idea how long this paralysis would last.
The man continued. "Your other option is far simpler... you will wake up on the roof of your building and will remember nothing after you triggered
your little insurance spell. Your real mission here will not be completed. You will never remember speaking to me. That is your choice, my dear.
Blink once for the first option, twice for the second, and remember... if you don't answer quickly, I'll go with the second. We don't have much
Think, think.... she had no idea what this man was asking of her. However, he could have killed her at any time and had not. Her attention was
suddenly drawn to the woman on the bed. The whimper came again, but not from her. To her right, underneath the threadbare blankets provided to this
hostel's customers, there was movement. A small hand shot up, tiny fingers curling into a fist. The bloody towels and basin suddenly made sense...
this was the scene of a birth. She looked into the eyes of the mother and by what she saw there made her choice.
Ariel staggered sideways as she was suddenly free to move again. A hand shot out and grasped her upper forearm to steady her and she mentally noted
that the man's grip was surprisingly strong. She resisted the immediate urge to bury a knife into his side and straightened, all the while listening
to the noises coming from downstairs. The guards were on the third floor now... they were too close. "What now, mage? You freeze them and I send
them to Sh'Ad? What am I to help you with?"
Instead of answering, he strode over to the woman on the bed. The darkly garbed man lowered his head to hers and a short whispered conversation
followed. He then made an odd series of gestures over her head and Ariel would later swear that she saw an aura encompass the woman for a moment.
Then he straightened, child held in the crook of his arm. The mysterious figure once again approached Ariel, opening the front of his robe as he did.
She glanced at his bared chest and was shocked yet again this night.... there was a tattoo there, a circle within a circle, arcane figures inked
into the man's flesh. It was a stylized symbol of the Church of Vlarak, versions of which she had seen before. What was inside the circle was another
matter altogether. Something moved within the confines of the tattoo, something alive but it couldn't be... something swirling under the skin, with
claws and too many eyes...
Ariel's breath caught in her throat as he clasped her hand in his, blade and all. He gave her a quick smile as if to reassure her and said "This is
the quickest way out of here, but only the beginning of tonight. It is time to go." He pressed their entwined hands to his chest and Ariel's world
Her nose tickled.
Ariel's eyes opened a mere slit as she took stock of her situation as only an assassin could. She lay on rock, crafted stone... a building top.
The sun's position put her time at less than an hour after sunrise. Without visibly moving a muscle she quickly took stock of her own body. She was
still dressed in her leather garb and if what she felt pressing against her at different points was correct, her weapons were still with her. Two
throwing knives in her left sleeve were missing, with one remaining. Pain and stiffness in her right shoulder meant a wound, however flexing the area
revealed no major damage that she could tell. The use of her right arm she was unsure of until she could move it freely... There didn't seem to be
anyone behind her, no telltale prickling at the back of the scalp that told her that someone was watching her. She could smell or hear nothing that
would be out of the ordinary for her present time and place. This was the rooftop of the building she lived in, actually... she recognized the
stonework on the chimneys in front of her. Focus.... what happened last....
She found herself 12 feet away, back to the chimneys and knives drawn, as memories poured back into her consciousness.
[Cold, shattering cold, she was dying, thrown through a field of colors]
[A courtyard, the robed man beside her, guards frozen in surprise... two thrown knives, two lives ended, someone behind her...]
A D'raga buzzed over the rooftop she stood on, otherwise it was deserted... a child's toy of sticks and twine fluttered in the morning breeze. The
sounds of people going about their lives came from below her.
[She spun, someone was too close... she watched as the robed man gestured and the guard was flung several feet away. She judged by the angles of his
body as he slid from the wall that he was no longer a target. Running now, towards a doorway]
[later? yes, past the doorway, a room... something guarded, but no longer... an alarm raised as she was handed something, then her hand pressed to
Her heartbeat was way too fast.. calm calm... nothing is happening here, it has already happened and you are all right.
[Cold again, familiar yet terrifying... falling into another room]
[Looking at a man sitting at a desk in a poorer hostel room... the flash of recognition on his face mirroring her own... the target. A dagger thrust
into the top of his head, the other slashed across his throat, watching an arc of blood spatter across the wall behind him as he falls backwards, the
grate of metal on bone as the blade is pulled free...]
[Cold again, Oh no not this ever again, she was losing her mind]
edit on 25-4-2019 by Lumenari because: (no reason given)