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Los Angeles

Discussion in 'West Coast' started by Drakey, Jun 3, 2017.

  1. Drakey

    Drakey A shape-shifting Dragon God

    @MJK2431 @SedentaryCobra

    Please continue any stories here.

    For specific areas (I.E. the Boneyard) please make a secondary thread. Name the thread in this manner: Los Angeles (Boneyard). If it is a one time only event, then please post that it is a closed event. A GM will come after it is completed and will post the date in thee title.
     
  2. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    @SedentaryCobra

    Azayla Aquus - Los Angelos

    The female knew she was trapped. She either had to fight or flee and the adrenaline pumping through her veins was preparing her for either route that she would take. She knew there was a slim chance of her being able to target the man with the bad leg and that she could perhaps escape this way, but there was little to no chance of her going up against two men, one of which held a weapon. The light was fading so quickly and even though the blindness didn't blind her as much as it would a normal human, the lack of light was still debilitating in a sense. However, this receding light did make her aware of the door nearby which flickered with faint candlelight, something she would not have seen if there had not been such a heavy presence of darkness.

    She withdrew her own dagger, realizing that despite the good opportunity the door offered for escape, with how fast the men were approaching it was long since past the time that she could get to it without her plan being noticed. Thus, she would have to fight...or at least appear to be.

    She knew she wouldn't kill the men, but there was no chance she would be giving them her hard earned money, especially since it was the last bit she needed to escape this place. "Sorry boys, but I have earned the gold in my pockets and I don't intend to give you any of it." She did not wait for them to get any closer, the girl hoping to have the element of surprise as she ran towards the sailor with the bad leg. It seemed as if she was going to attack him, the girl raising her blade above her head. She hoped this would make him hesitate or expect the opposite of what she was doing, the girl diverging her path at the last minute to duck down and slide beneath him through the slightly larger than usual gap provided by the limping leg he dragged behind him.

    She winced as the skin on her shins was ripped, the warm blood oozing down as it was torn by the rough stones set into the ground of the alleyway. She did not know if she would be successful, but she also did not want to shed blood unnecessarily if there was some way she could get away. Spilled blood was always a big temptation, once she could avoid easily if there wasn't the blood-lust and thoughts of fighting and battle flowing through her mind. These things would surely be present if she defended herself against the men and she knew her leaving the sea-side town would be close to impossible if she was responsible for three mangled corpses. Sirens usually relied on seduction before killing, but she knew that heightened emotions could be as much of a trigger for a feeding frenzy.
     
  3. SedentaryCobra

    SedentaryCobra Outhouse Poet

    @MJK2431 GM - Cobra

    The gimped thug crossed both arms in front of him to block the dagger that never came. He whirled around as fast as he could to catch Azayla, but grasped nothing but air as he made one final desperate lunge. He gave an inarticulate scream, and began to chase after her, despite the futility. The other two men on the other end of the alley began to rush forward as well, but the head start was too great, and chasing a Siren was no easy feat. Azayla rounded the edge of the alley, cutting a sharp right turn as she dashed towards the inn. The short dagger spun and arced into the cobblestone wall on the other end of the street in one last desperate, failed attempt to stop their quarry from fleeing.

    It was nearly too dark to see where she was going, but Azayla continued to sprint down the flagstone road to put as much distance as possible between her and her pursuers, and get to save haven before anyone else tried to do something similar. She navigated by the candleight of windows and memory, and in almost no time at all she reached the inn. A torch on the wall cast an orange glow, illuminating the swinging sign just above that read The Battered Flagon.

    Beyond the sturdy door was the main dining floor of the establishment. It was empty and quiet, the barkeep putting the old furniture up on the tables, wiping them down and mopping the floor as he prepared to close for the night. The bartender, an old grey scaled lizardfolk named Nazek, gave Azayla a nod in greeting as she entered. "Azayla. You're a bit late. Nothing too serious?" He asked with a raised brow, noticing her somewhat ragged breath, and bloodied shins. "Oh, yes, and the caravans need some extra hands. I know you've been wanting to get out of town, so this is probably your chance to do it, and make some money while you're at it." He jerked his thumb over shoulder at a handful of papers nailed to a message board on the far side of the room. "East, North, South, you'll probably be able to find a caravan to wherever you want to go." He resumed wiping down a table with an old grey washcloth.

    The door creaked open once more, and a cloaked and hooded figure walked into the room. In the aging torchlight, it was difficult to tell even what race he was beneath his dark hood. He gazed over the room once, eyes stopping on Azayla. He stared at her a few moments before turning to Nazek. "An ale." He said, before taking a seat in a booth in the corner of the room. The mottled brown cloak spread out as he sat, exaggerating his size and giving him an almost intimidating aura. He continued to watch Azayla, almost as if he was expecting something. Nazek placed a pint in front of the stranger, and gave Azayla a reassuring nod. Old Nazek wouldn't tolerate any trouble in his establishment, and his guests were safe for the night.

    [OOC]
    Azayla deftly escapes, and reaches the inn, The Battered Flagon. She is greeted by the innkeeper, Nazek, who informs her that the caravans are looking for hands, and are heading almost everywhere. An unsettling figure then enters the inn, and watches Azayla intently. The innkeeper lets Azayla know that he has her back, if the stranger causes any trouble, and she'll be safe for the night.
    [OOC]
     
  4. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    @SedentaryCobra

    The girl nodded her head thankfully to the innkeeper, her chest still heaving heavily from her efforts at running away from the sailors who had so rudely tried to rob her. Azayla could still feel the blood on her legs, the red ooze there beginning to dry and sticking to her legs irritably. "Thanks for the concern you have shown Nazek, I appreciate it. It's been a rough start to the night and knowing you are willing to help means the world to me." She sighed, running her fingers through her hair, eager to wash off the blood and grime from the days work but she first had to investigate the notice board and the caravan notices it held.

    She began to hobble over to the board, the fading adrenaline making way rather for the sharp pain she felt in the lower, front part of her legs where she had slid along the stony, jagged road with great speed. She hissed and pulled in a sharp breath, gritting her teeth together while her face contorted into a brief expression that showed the hurt that coursed through her body. So much to get used to. Fighting on land has its perked when it is compared to fighting against the resistance of water, but it still takes some getting used to.

    She forced herself to push the sensations of pain to the back of her mind, making her way to the board and tracing the roughly placed pieces of parchment there lightly with her finger. "What to choose...what direction to go in....what job to take...." She muttered to herself, trying to make decisions on where she would be heading the following day. She could still feel the strangers eyes on her, his glare making her skin feel hot and prickly even though she couldn't directly tell he was looking in her direction. It made her uncomfortable, but she was eager to help out Nazek after how he had helped her in the past few weeks.

    "Would you like me to fetch the ale for you?" She asked, her query aimed at the innkeeper as she already made her way towards the kitchen. "Or perhaps you would like some help finishing the cleaning up?"
     
  5. SedentaryCobra

    SedentaryCobra Outhouse Poet

    @MJK2431 Cobra - GM

    Nazek chuckled at her offer. "You've been a good customer, caused no trouble, and payed on time. I'd like to turn you down, but my old bones are telling me not to. If you could get the ale, that would be much appreciated." He said, smiling as he continued to wipe down the tables. His smile quickly faded, though, thinking to the odd stranger. His thoughts couldn't help but drift to the longsword under the bar, near the taps. He hoped it wouldn't come to that.

    The stranger, meanwhile, began to remove his gloves, revealing pale skin, and white scales on the back of his hands. Another siren, it would seem. The cloaked man ruffled around beneath his cloak, searching for something. He acted fairly oblivious to the tense atmosphere he was putting in the room, and continued to perform his actions slowly and casually. Finally, he retrieved a scroll, and unfurled it in front of him. He shifted in his seat to settle himself in a more comfortable position, and began to read it aloud.

    "Azayla Aquus, siren of just over two decades, with long blonde hair and silver scales. Carries with her a silver pearl amulet bearing her family name." He rolled the scroll back up and put it back in his pocket. "I'd say I've found you." He said, still watching her.

    Nazek's serene expression flickered. He thought over all the possibilities if things went poorly. Perhaps he and Azayla could fight till help arrived, or they could run, and try to get a guard, or rush upstairs and hope for another ally to aid in their fight. Jump out a window, and leave that way, or perhaps the two of them could take the stranger on, although from his demeanor, he was either very confident or very foolish. He decided to try to defuse the situation before it got any worse. "Stranger, I'll have no trouble here. My patrons are under my protection. I don't want to see any vio-"

    The stranger swiftly unbuckled his sword, a well crafted rapier, and tossed it onto the table, just out of his reach. It would be easy enough for him to grab it and draw it quickly, but he wouldn't take anyone by surprise doing so. Nazek frowned again. The stranger was too confident. He had to have some other card to play.

    "So, Azayla." The stranger said, "You could have easily killed those three in the alley. They weren't the match for any siren worth their scales, and they would have never been seen again if they were dumped in the riverway. So why did you choose to run?" The stranger said, leaning forward.

    [OOC]
    Nazek accepts the offer, and asks for Azayla to get the ale. The stranger then reads off a paper with Azayla's appearance, throws his sword on the table, and asks her why she didn't kill the three in the alley.
    [OOC]
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  6. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    Aazyla was more than happy to take Nazek's acceptance of her assistance, the female skimming over the notices one last time before spinning with some small stab of pain shooting up from her leg. She grimaced, about to go into the kitchen when she felt the hair on the back of her neck bristling with the sudden tension within the room. She turned, seeing the man removing his gloves while still seated. The small glimmer from his hands seemed so familiar, but yet so unlikely that she thought she must be dreaming.

    Sirens were rare to be seen in water as it is. To find another one like herself both out of water and in the same vicinity as her seemed altogether impossible. She squinted, rubbing her eyes before forgetting her initial path to the kitchen to fetch the ale. It can't be that? Another siren, here of all places? Most would have migrated away, the waters are beginning to get cold to be staying around this late. What could be his purpose here?

    She remained where she stood when he removed the scroll, her face suddenly paling as she listened to the words he read. His eyes felt like they saw right through her, the gaze making her skin prickle as she stared at him with narrow eyes. "The only time someone reads a description like that is when there is something of a bounty hunt involved. I hard;y understand what I've done to deserve such attention though."

    She was trying to play it cool, keep her rising nerves and anxiety unseen as she resisted the need to withdraw her dagger which seemed to weigh heavier on her hip where it hung. Her keen, sea-green eyes flicked over to Nazek, noticing the look of panic he had on his face and the tense way he was poised. Almost as if he was ready to pounce. Don't do it....don't do anything that will spook this stranger until I know what he wants. I don't want innocent people getting hurt if it's me that he's after. Don't act just yet Nazek, please.

    The loud thud of the rapier being tossed aside made her flinch, the female knowing that it was still of use to him, although his actions would be made clear if he did in fact reach for it. If he's been looking for me, why not take me by surprise? That would seem like a far wiser option. Is he even hunting me? If he is, he seems to be making all the wrong decisions in doing it without making a scene. Maybe he has other intentions.

    She smiled, walking towards him slowly with her hands held behind her back. If he threatened her, her pose could be easily be interchanged with a defensive one since her dagger was a short distance away from her hands. "It would appear you know my name, yet I do not know yours. I don't enjoy that fact. I also don't make a habit of sharing my intentions or actions with strangers, however I'll make an exception this time. I just didn't think it would have been wise. I am a stranger in this city, being a species that is shrouded in mystery and having a reputation for blood-lust. If I was caught, there would have been dire consequences before I even got the chance to explain myself. I am trying to leave this area, not prolong my stay while behind iron bars. Running also avoided unnecessary bloodshed I didn't need hanging over my head while trying to travel."
     
  7. SedentaryCobra

    SedentaryCobra Outhouse Poet

    @MJK2431 Cobra - GM

    Nazek stared down the stranger. His face was tranquil, but the muscles in his jaw were tense, and his hands clenched and unclenched. He watched Azayla out of the corner of his eye. He would stand by waiting to see if she made a move. This was her fight, but he would do what he could to support her.

    The stranger nodded his head at Azayla's response. "A good answer." He replied, before pulling down his hood. His grey eyes, short, white hair, and sharp features cut a picture that the man was just as deadly as his weapon. "I am Cadmus Uzur, Azayla. A pleasure to finally meet you. And you as well." Cadmus said, turning to Nazek. The young duelist rubbed a thin, long scar along his cheek as he searched for the right words to continue. He drummed his fingers against the hard wood table, then sat forward and focus once more on Azayla with his piercing glare.

    "Now, Azayla, you must understand, I am not a bounty hunter, in the strictest sense. I'm not here for your life, or anything you possess. That being said, I will receive a tidy sum for bringing you to my patrons, if I get you to them. Although, I suppose that does make me something of a bounty hunter, then." Cadmus shrugged.

    "Back to the point." Nazek couldn't refrain from growling. He had lived his life by one main rule: toss out the troublemakers. The rule didn't work too well here, and Nazek was growing frustrated.

    Cadmus gave a slight smirk, and continued. "Azayla, the Aquus shoal is older than you know. The people who sent me are some very extended family of yours. Now, that amulet-" He said, pointing to her pearl necklace, "-is given to the favored daughter of the family. At least, that was its original intent. How you acquired or what it means matters little to those old urchins in the government." He muttered, the contempt in his voice for the 'urchins' almost palpable.

    "The family's matriarch is soon to pass, and in a strange twist of fate, they have no daughters to inherit the title. The council, bound to uphold the values of the shoal, would rather search for the next matriarch in a distant branch of the family, rather than pass the title to a son. And lo and behold, here we are." Cadmus said with a flourish.

    "I am here to escort you 700 miles down the coast, to Reef's End, Azayla. My purpose is to get you there safely, should you choose to accept. I will not force you to come, if that is not your wish." Cadmus leaned back into his chair, and became silent. He knew it was a lot to take in, and he awaited her response. He closed his eyes, and relaxed his body.

    Nazek was surprised, but still on guard against the stranger. He certainly spun a tale. As Cadmus closed his eyes, Nazek resisted the urge to draw the dagger in his boot and stab him before he could react. He restrained himself, though, reminding himself that this was Azayla's choice.
     
  8. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    She could see that Nazek was on edge, the man's posture making her feel as if he could snap if given half the chance. She hoped he could wait just a little longer at least, the girl surprised that she was more intrigued than threatened by the other siren's presence here. She wet her lips, feeling her throat dry out as her anxiety increased, along with some taint of excitement she hadn't felt since leaving the water some months ago.

    She narrowed her eyes when he praised her actions, knowing that many sirens would have thought differently. A lot of those she knew enjoyed the thrill of battle and the spilling of blood, something which had come to perverse her and make her skin itch at the thought of it. She already couldn't help being what she was, she didn't see the need to aggravate her species already tainted reputation further by allowing herself to so easily give in to any minor cravings for flesh and the oozing red liquid that pumped from them.

    He spoke, his words still keeping her wary but somewhat less afraid of him. So...he's not a bounty hunter in the traditional sense at least. She knew Nazek was growing impatient of the strangers presence and that she needed to still any anger or threat that was steadily building in the room. She listened carefully to what he said, not wanting to miss any important tidbits of information. The more he said though, the more she felt her stomach twisting and turning. That had been why she had left her shoal initially, was it not? To remove herself from the pressure and politics of the underwater world she had extracted herself from. Now here this man stood, wanting to take her back to it.

    She sighed, biting her lower lip as she chose her next words with great care. "I am glad to at least now know your name. I...I understand the requirements of you, although I do have to say that I am not exactly charmed at the idea of taking such a role. Perhaps, we can come to a different arrangement...." The man had a dangerous look about him and she knew from this aura he exuded that he usually did what he could until he got what he wanted.

    She breathed in deeply, then continued. "I get the feeling you won't stop popping up until this situation is dealt with. I wish to be left in peace, that is why I left the ocean behind for a short period of time while I try to figure out how I fit into this world and what my purpose might be. I just figure that there has to be more to life than family quarreling and battling, along with gossip and drama that seems to be associated with one's name. I want to make my own name, not rely on the one that I was born with. So, I shall come with you. But only to explain my situation and to hand over this amulet so that I different matriarch might be chosen."

    She took the pendant into her hand, feeling a sudden pang of hurt at the thought of losing the treasured heirloom. It was dear to her, but she suddenly felt the weight of it around her neck much greater at the realization of the symbol it was to her family.
     
  9. SedentaryCobra

    SedentaryCobra Outhouse Poet

    @MKJ2431 Cobra - GM

    Cadmus nodded understandingly. "You'll find the council might make that difficult to happen, and just as difficult for you to leave. Difficult, but not impossible. Of course, you could always hold on to the amulet, and make your own way to the city, on your own time, should you ever change your mind. After all, the world is a large place, and one person can easily hide behind the waves and remain unnoticed." Cadmus said.

    "Now, before you get suspicious of why exactly I'm doing this, let me assure you, it's for my sake, not yours." He said curtly, and with some sarcasm. "The position of Matriarch is a powerful one. If I end up having to force you to Reef's End, or trick you into going, I'm afraid your first order of business would be to have my head on a pike, and believe me, I like my head where it is."

    "Now," He continued, "as a show of goodwill, I will answer any questions you have, honestly, and to the best of my ability. Should you choose to go to Reef's End, I can help you with any unfinished business you might have before we depart. Should you choose otherwise, I'll be gone from this town before midnight."

    "And just how do we know you're telling the truth about any of this? That you're not just some common bounty hunter, or thug looking for kicks?" Nazek asked, still on guard. He still had some bad feeling lingering in his gut.

    Cadmus reached for the rapier on the table, and tossed it to Azayla, sheathe and all. "You'll find the scrimshaw handle quite unique to sirens. That should be proof enough that I come from others, at least. The blade, if you care to inspect it, is quite fine steel. Hard, strong, sharp, and doesn't rust. It's not a common sword." He said, and smiled. "And as for anything beyond that? Well, it looks like it will just have to be a leap of faith."

    Nazek grunted. He didn't like the response at all.
     
  10. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    Azayla looked cautiously over the male, noticing the shimmering scales on his hands as well as the slightly curved shape of his ears. She didn't trust the male, that much was completely certain to her. She knew that his words must hold at least some truth, although to what extent he might be embellishing his information she was not sure. She sighed again, feeling the dried blood cracking on her shins as she shifted the position of her legs so that her weight was on her other foot.

    She caught the sword when he threw it, withdrawing the blade with a practiced hand and examining it.

    Her mind was reeling, trying to absorb all the facts and information he was giving her. She knew that in a state of shock she was in, it was easy to miss someones cleverly hidden intentions. This made her take extra moments to think over everything, knowing that he was right about the position of Matriarch. "Power has never been enticing to me, Cadmus. Life at sea has been turned into something of a privilege to an unruly battle for power and territory among the higher ups....my family included. You must know well that my family name holds some sway over the masses back in the shoal and it was for this reason I left once I came of age. I will not be a pawn in the chess game of politics, moved around in arranged marriages or military positions in order for those above me to gain a foothold and control over me and others. That life no longer looked promising to me. Terrestrial living seemed far more...independent."

    She looked at him with a set jaw and eyes like a bright turquoise gem, the hues there showing the mixed emotions she was feeling over this interaction. Distrust, fear, anxiety...even a little bit of excitement at the promise of travelling to a place she had never been, Reefs End. All of it was reflected there, despite her best efforts to hide it.

    The girl cleared her throat once more, her fingers of her right hand coming to rest on the bone handle of her sheathed dagger, mindlessly fidgeting with the weapon as she tended to do when she was thinking over something or analyzing a situation. "I don't trust anyone who says they'll leave someone alone. If there's money or gain for them involved of any kind they usually tend to do what they can to get it. You wouldn't have gone through the process needed to be part of this air-breathing world if you weren't seriously invested in this mission you've embarked on. So, I'll take my chances with following you instead....you think it will be impossible to leave, but I have become rather skilled at slipping away unnoticed. I'll simply drop off the amulet, then leave. I'd rather get this business done and over with, so I shall ask my questions once we have embarked."

    She turned to Nazek, saying kindly "Thank you for your concern, Nazek. You have become something of a friend and I appreciate the protectiveness you have shown. I have the last of my pay in my room, once I have packed I shall bring it down." She looked to Cadmus, saying "Wait here, I won't be long. I have few possessions. Help Nazek clean up and I'll be down shortly" She then went upstairs, her mind still mulling over the details.
     
  11. SedentaryCobra

    SedentaryCobra Outhouse Poet

    @MJK2431 Cobra - GM

    Cadmus stood up, and bowed his head. "You wound me." He said dryly. "But, it will be as you wish. You've agreed to come, at least, and more words on my part will hardly change things at this point."

    Nazek snorted, and tossed a damp rag at Cadmus, with a little more force than necessary. "You heard the lady. Get to work." Nazek said, before turning back to scrubbing down his own table, turning his back on the other man. He hoped it would take Azayla a bit longer than normal to collect her things. Putting the bounty hunter to work was at least some recompense for the stress he caused, what with his cloak and dagger shenanigans.

    Cadmus caught the rag, and shrugged. There was a short bout of silence between them, listening to Azayla's footsteps as she ascended the creaky staircase. A short time after the footsteps ended, Cadmus started to speak. "Still don't trust me, Nazek?"

    "Do you ever stop talking?" Nazek asked, not bothering to turn to him. He still didn't like the whole situation, but it was hardly his choice.

    "If I'm in a good mood, I can talk on for quite a bit. Things went better than I expected, all things considering, so I'm in a fairly good mood." Cadmus replied smoothly.

    "She said she barely trusts you, rejects the offer you're sending, and is only coming so she can deal with this problem you brought her. And that's better than you expected?" Nazek asked. The young man really ground on his nerves. There was something in the way he spoke, part glib, part sly, part sarcasm, all wholly annoying, to him, at least. Not very straightforward.

    "Of course. I didn't have to stab anyone, and I didn't get stabbed myself. I had my doubts about whether you would make the first move or not, but everything went smoothly, and no blood was spilled."

    "I still have half a mind to..." Nazek grumbled. Cadmus didn't reply, and another round of silence followed. Nazek was the one to break it, instead. "What you said about leaving her alone, if she wanted you gone, were you telling the truth?" Nazek said. He doubted Cadmus would tell the truth, but the answer would be interesting, nonetheless.

    "Most likely. I would probably have reached out to her again, as the ruling matriarch grew frailer, but I probably would have left her alone. I've been in her shoes, before, after all." Cadmus responded.

    "You've been in her shoes? You're hardly a princess." Nazek laughed, sharp and echoing in the large, empty room.

    "A chess piece, Nazek, a chess piece." He replied, a poorly suppressed grin on his face. The two continued their work in silence, the tension in the room just a little less icy as they waited for Azayla to return.
     
  12. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    Azayla could still hear his dry words echoing in her mind as she padded almost soundlessly up the stairs. Me? A Matriarch? The idea seems almost too bizarre to comprehend. I felt so relieved for a short period of time, but now it appears I am to throw myself straight into the messy underwater politics I tried so desperately to escape from.

    She could already feel the cogs in her mind turning, the art of strategy she had been forcefully tutored in since childhood causing her mind to toss and turn like a tumbleweed across a desert over the scenarios that may play out in the future. Would she truly be able to escape the 'urchins' (as Cadmus had called them) clutches, she had been full of false bravado when speaking of her slipping away quietly once they had the amulet. However, the truth was that she doubted herself.

    She was so lost in thought that she realized she had been standing outside of her room door for quite some time, the creaky wood barring her entry inside. She gently exhaled, deciding to distract her thoughts by ensuring she packed correctly and left nothing behind.

    She walked inside, the mostly bare space neatly kept, the bed done up already and the drab curtains drawn over the windows. Her body ached, reminding her of the little sleep she had had while doing whatever work she could, including the mildly heavy labor she had earlier that day which had ended in a scuffle with the greedy sailors. The female couldn't help but sigh while changing into the traveling dress she had, a simple frock made from grey material which went over a loose, long-sleeved white shirt. She laced up her boot, throwing on a cloak and then packed her things into a small rucksack.

    Aza went over to the stained ceramic wash basin, pouring water from the chipped jug standing beside it and used her dirty clothes to wash her face and remove the dried bloods from her shins with a mind that was trying to focus on the simple tasks at hand rather than the journey that lay ahead.

    Before leaving, she neatened things up once more, the final look over the room sending a small pang into her chest. It wasn't much, but it had been hers for a short period of time. A refuge away from the watery world she had escaped from. Something she had worked to keep. She was sad to close the door and leave, but she knew that she would know no true peace until this issue Cadmus had brought to her was resolved.

    Her boots echoed on the floorboards with each step, the female descending the stairs with her fingers lightly tracing over the railing. She approached slowly and quietly, enough that she could catch the last snippets of conversation between the two. Cadmus' words caused her to pause, her brows furrowing together. His presence had initially been something of an annoyance to her, but at the tone in his voice when he said those words made her feel some sort of empathy towards him. The emotion was unusual, considering that she had not intended on feeling anything but a necessary familiarity between him and her.

    What sort of chess piece were you forced to be I wonder?

    She moved down the last few steps, brushing hair from her eyes as she entered the room they were in. "I'm ready to go when you are." She told the male siren, walking next to Nazek and placing a small leather purse, tied closed with a drawstring, into his hands. "Thank you for the boarding and your concern, Nazek. I won't forget it."
     
  13. SedentaryCobra

    SedentaryCobra Outhouse Poet

    @MJK2431 Cobra - GM

    Nazek and Cadmus both turned as Azayla came down the stairs, halting their tasks. Nazek accepted the purse, curling his scaled fingers around the pouch. He felt the weight of it a moment, and let out a small sigh before dropping it into a pocket of his stained apron. "Thank you, Azayla. Stay safe, and if you're ever back in town, you'll have a place to stay." He folded his arms in front of him. "Keep him on his toes, and make sure he sleeps with one eye open." Nazek whispered, with a sly smile.

    Cadmus wiggled his hands back into his worn gloves as he moved towards the door. The cold air tumbled through the portal as he opened it wide. Swinging his arm wide, he motioned for them to proceed down the street. Cadmus shivered slightly, and pulled his billowing cloak tighter, but left the hood down. He took a deep breath, and looked around at the lonely inn. "Shall we?" He asked, looking at Azayla.

    -

    The flagstone path gave way to a dirt one at the edge of the town, as the torchlight faded out. Two lonely braziers, along with a pair of tired guards, marked the edge of governed territory. Cadmus took an unlit torch from the foot of the iron fire pit, and raised an eyebrow to the guard for permission. The guard waved a hand at him, uncaring. Cadmus shrugged, and lit the torch before passing it to Azayla, then taking another for himself, and repeating the process. They continued out along the road northward, passing through the thin forest of eucalyptus trees and low lying, waxy shrubs of California.

    "So, Azayla." Cadmus began. Even in the poor torchlight, the signs of tiredness were beginning to edge onto his pale features. "I assume you are tired as well. We'll break for a few hours at dawn, to rest, then continue on before the heat rises at midday. We can rest normally at night, but I'd like to put some distance between us and the city. One siren often causes enough trouble, and I'd rather not see the reaction of two."

    Their boots beat along the dusty, hard packed trail. Crickets chirped, and the wind rustled through the plants. "This journey will be near seven hundred miles, following the coast. It will be some time before we reach Reef's End, some forty days, assuming all goes well. With a horse, we might cut it in half. With a good set of horses, we might manage to make it in as little as ten days. Of course, we have two problems with that." Cadmus said, with a frown. "I have money for food and other supplies, but not nearly enough for a horse and saddle. And I'm unsure if you can ride, although we are both light, and can ride the same horse, so that shouldn't be too much of an issue."

    Cadmus frowned. "If you want to escape after leaving the amulet, though, riding a horse will help you escape, too. But, still, we don't have one, and don't have the money for one. Of course, purchasing a horse isn't necessarily the only way of getting one..." He said, drifting off, leaving the decision to Azayla as he continued to scan the dark for signs of danger. His night vision was poor, holding the torch, but he listened attentively and stayed alert nonetheless. From his expression, it was clear he had little qualms with whatever the choice may be.

    [OOC]
    After leaving the tavern, Cadmus and Azayla leave town, torches in hand. Cadmus mentions a horse would speed up the journey significantly, but they lack the money. Of course, they could always work for some more money, travel on foot, or steal a horse, the money or both. Cadmus leaves the decision to her.
    [OOC]
     
  14. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    @SedentaryCobra

    Azayla gave the lizard-man a grateful but subdued smile, bowing her head briefly once he was done speaking to show the respect she had for the words he had said. She also let out a faint chuckle at his last statement, saying in a playful tone "Oh, I won't be passing up any opportunity to keep him on his toes Nazek, trust me. You stay well, I will be back here if I can to see you again." She patted the male on the arm, her arms coming to cross over her chest as she made her way to the exit.

    When the first bite of frigid air hit her, she couldn't help but let out a small shiver that sent goosebumps rising across any visible, exposed flesh. Her teeth chattered momentarily before she bit them down, pulling her sleeves closer to her hands before hunching her shoulder so that her cloak covered her more snugly. She looked over her shoulder one last time at Nazek, giving him a warm smile before heading into the cold night. She turned to Cadmus, nodding her head at his query and saying "Yes, let's go."

    ****************************
    The crunch of her boots on the suddenly stony ground seemed very loud in the quiet of the night around them, the lack of activity at the edge of the tone creating an eerie silence that made Azayla feel the need to keep checking over her shoulder and gaze into the shadows in case there might be something there. She had never been scared of the dark, at least not fully, but she would admit that she had never been a great fan of it. This darkness seemed thicker though, ready to engulf her if she was not careful and this feeling unsettled her. When Cadmus was allowed to take torches, she was all to happy to be provided with some form of light that would cast away anything she thought might be creeping around where it could not be seen by her. She held the flame high, wanting to be able to see as far ahead of her as possible.

    They trekked on for what seemed like hours, the lack of conversation making for a prolonged journey that seemed to make Azayla more weary than she had been expecting. When Cadmus finally spoke, asking if she wished to rest, she was all too happy to nod her head and wish for dawn to come. She had been wanting to travel out of the town, she had just been expecting to do it using a different mode of transportation other than walking. "We can rest at dawn. I can't walk forever....but the sooner we get there, the sooner I can leave this all behind me and strike out in a life of my own making."

    She soon grew more at ease with the lack of light, the faint rustling and sounds of insects moving about them providing a source of entertainment while they walked. She almost flinched when Cadmus spoke again, his voice interrupting the train of thought she had been on. "I can ride. I was planning on finding a horse once I had made a little more money working for some caravan folk before you arrived. However, that work has obviously not occurred so I am short of the funds necessary for a steed. If we find any odd jobs along the way, perhaps I can have enough to get one but I also do not wish to use all your funding for the journey. I came to this terrestrial life to be independent so I do not wish for you to support me financially throughout this journey."

    When he mentioned finding a horse through other means, she shook her head and said in a serious voice "We are not stealing anything. There's enough backstabbing and treachery that goes on where we come from, I would hate to perpetuate that already existing trend on land. We obtain a horse through honest means or not at all."
     
  15. SedentaryCobra

    SedentaryCobra Outhouse Poet

    @MJK2431 Cobra - GM

    A flash a surprise came across his face when Azayla said she knew how to ride, and he grunted in assent to her statements, but said nothing. A wry smile broke across his face as her tone became serious about theft. He let her finish, then chuckled. "Every time you speak, I find something different about you. You seem decisive, and you think ahead, and you don't hesitate when you make up your mind." He remarked. "Qualities that would be quite helpful for you as a Martriarch. Of course, there's also your morality. You won't steal, and you will not kill unless forced. You pay your debts, remember friends, and settle outstanding issues. An interesting mix of traits. If you could balance them-" He said wistfully, "-you would be a fine Matriarch indeed."

    "I would be interested to see just what you could do as Matriarch. A shame you're set against it." Cadmus raked a gloved hand through his short white hair. Out from the distance, a pack of coyotes began a chorus of yips that drew out into full fledged howls. Cadmus glanced out to the hills, towards the source of the noise, expression grim. The pack seemed uncomfortably close. Cadmus grew noticeably more agitated, eyes watching each muddy form in the shadows as they passed. He rubbed the scrimshaw handle of the rapier fondly.

    "'The coyote packs prey upon the lone travelers of the night, tearing them down to bones in a matter of minutes. Fear when the coyote pack is near, but fear more when it is far removed, for a far greater beast must stake its claim, and you tread upon it's land.'" Cadmus muttered under his breath, his voice out of its usual cadence as he recited the quote. He shook his head, as if trying to forget anything related to the memory.

    "The coyote pack should be no match for two skilled fighters. They prey on lone targets, with no torch of fire. We should be fine." He said to Azayla. "At any rate, you still have time to change your mind before we arrive."

    [OOC]
    Cadmus found Azayla's unwillingness to steal somewhat funny, and remarked on how she could be a good Matriarch. A pack of coyotes draw close, but there is still some distance between them, and they shouldn't bother them, in theory.
    [OOC]
     
  16. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    Azayla recognized the look of shock that crossed his face when she said that she could ride, saying quickly "I was taught when I was younger. It was an expected skill along with swordsmanship." When he mentioned how the characteristics she had displayed showed great promise in her future as a possible Matriarch, she couldn't help but scowl and turn her face away as her skin became lightly crimson. Whether the colouration came from irritation or embarrassment that she felt was unclear.

    "I...I understand that that is your viewpoint. That is not a position I am going to be filling though. There's been so much pressure I have had to face growing up, so many trials and challenges that were placed at my feet and goals I had to achieve to appease those involved in my upbringing. I do not wish to live the rest of my life in such a way. At least when I was younger, I knew that the majority of people surrounding me and placing expectations on me cared for me in some way. As Matriarch, the same pressure will be there except I will be surrounded by people plotting against me, watching my every move and waiting for me to crack. You as well as I know that the people within the Matriarchs company are much like the poisonous snakes that slither on land....they're also just as likely to try and squeeze the life out of you as some snakes would."

    She sighed then inhaled deeply, the cold air filling her lungs causing a small pain to bloom in her chest with how chilly the breath had been.

    "I'm too young. Too inexperienced. There must be one other person entitled to the position who would fare at it better than me in any case. I just need to find out who that is and give them the amulet so that they can take control." She didn't enjoy talking about it, it made her feel small and weary. Thus, she was thankful when the conversation changed to the topic of the nearby coyotes. Their yips and howls made Aza's skin itch, the female's hand instinctively curling into a fist around her daggers hilt. His words sent a chill through her, her mind unable to avoid the image of flesh tearing from bone as he had described. She sensed familiarity in the words he spoke, he formed the words with the same tender caution one would have when handling the steel rod you had just stoked a fire with. It made her wonder what the words meant to him and was unable to stop the question sitting like an impatient child stamping it's feet on the tip of her tongue.

    "Where did you learn those words from? I feel as though I may have heard them before-..."

    The latter part of the sentence was a bluff, but she thought it might make him talk about it more easily. The girl added after a brief moment, "-...and also, as you said yourself, I am a decisive person. I have decided that I shall be dropping off the amulet and so I shall not be going back until the task is done."
     
  17. SedentaryCobra

    SedentaryCobra Outhouse Poet

    @MJK2431 Cobra - GM

    "Poisonous is hardly the half of it. The council, the ugliest of the snakes, are also the hands of the Matriarch. Heads of various branches of the Aquus family, they are meant to be servants and advisors. The previous Matriarch was skilled at the great game, and beat the houses within an inch of their life in order to keep them in submission. The current Matriarch grows weak., and the council looks to the next Matriarch to make her their puppet. Certainly an ugly fate." Cadmus spoke of the council as if it were a dying animal with the plague, the disgust in his voice almost palpable. He spoke of the Matriarch somewhat favorably, but the tones were far more subdued.

    "The old crone on the throne beat back everything that came to her, except the march of time. Even still, she fights with it tooth and nail, and clings to life as strong as she ever has." Another round of howls sounded from the hills to the east. They sounded louder, but it was impossible to tell if they were closer, or merely more frenzied. Perhaps both.

    "The experience comes with time, and youth is rarely an issue, particularly when you wield power such as the Matriarch does. Wise men can fumble with power, and those young and hungry often drown in it. Personality is often the deciding factor that determines a good ruler." Cadmus said.

    "At any rate," Cadmus continued, his voice dropping its previously cordial tone, and his face taking on a bitter smile, "I'm unsure if you're lying to me about having heard the same lessons as me, or simply mistaken." The sound of his leather gloves tightening around the rapier was nearly as loud as his voice. His muscles tensed, and he seemed practically ready to draw his sword. "But I can guarantee that you haven't heard them before. I would prefer you not ask again." He said bluntly, his lips curling into a thin line. He furrowed his brow a moment, and seemed as if he was scolding himself mentally. He let go of the rapier, and relaxed his body, but wouldn't bring himself to meet Azayla's gaze, his expression complicated.

    [OOC]
    Cadmus explained some of the inner workings of Reef's End, and how the previous ruler dealt with them, but got very touchy upon the topic of where he learned the phrase.
    [OOC]
     
  18. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    Azayla looked up at Cadmus, surprised by the thorny way he spoke about the matriarchs hands, his honest almost-hatred of them shocking her a little at first but at the same time it comforted her to know that there was someone else who didn't hold the matriarchs company on a pedestal. "You seem to have personal experience with them. It's unusual to find someone who was part of that world yet did not remain and has come to hate the time they spent there. Or perhaps you've just heard all the same things I've heard over the years."

    If he was part of the company surrounding the government and parliament, I wonder what he could tell me about what I might be getting myself into...

    "Time is something we all have to fight a losing battle with. We can't ever beat it... It's just a pity that someone else's battle with it will overlap with mine and cause me to make a difficult decision I left the water in the first place to avoid such a thing. I would like to meet the matriarch, it would be an honor to be in the presence of someone who has managed to keep her head in that role for so long." She flinched at howls again, wondering if maybe the coyotes were closer than they thought.

    She sighed, the heel of her hands pushing into her eyes as she tried to remove the tiredness beginning to build there. She wasn't used to traveling through the night, but she also understood Cadmus' need to make good headway and get as far from the town as possible.

    "I just... Don't know how I would fare in her position myself. You say that I'm suited for the role, but you don't know me completely."

    When he suddenly became defensive, his hand moving to his rapier, she couldn't help but slow her steps to increase the distance between them. Her own hand moving to her dagger as her eyes watched his every move, as she had become trained to do so that the movement was instinctive. She had not known he would react so strongly, but now knew that he was not one to delve into any of his own secrets so easily.

    When his hand returned to his side, she released her own weapon, frowning as her brows furrowed. "I'm sorry to have brought it up. Please, forgive me."
     
  19. SedentaryCobra

    SedentaryCobra Outhouse Poet

    @MJK2431 Cobra - GM

    Cadmus placed his free hand over his mouth, hiding his expression, but he was clearly frustrated with himself. "No, the fault is mine, Azayla. I promised to answer any question you have. Allow me to change that to most any question." The pale siren still wouldn't look towards her, his eyes wandering aimlessly around the milky night sky. "My history is an open secret in Reef's End, but it's still not one I like to discuss." He shrugged, and sighed. "I suppose we will both discover more of each other's pasts in the near future."

    "At any rate," He continued, trying to leave the other subject behind, "I was, fortunate enough, to be privy to many of the inner workings of the city, so much of what I can tell you is firsthand. As for meeting the Matriarch, that could be arranged as well. It would make your goal of dropping off the amulet and escaping unnoticed more difficult, but it isn't out of the realm of possibility. That is, of course, assuming she is still alive. It's been several months since I left the Reef's End to find you, and I fear her state may have taken a turn for the worse. If that's the case, then the city itself may be in a state of extreme unrest."

    From the thick waxy brush, the sounds of coyote's began steadily growing in pitch and intensity. Their cries seemed different from their usual barking tones that so often marked their hunts, but rather resembled the panicked screams of the animals they hunted. They seemed to be running nearly parallel to the duo.

    "It could be skilled hunters." Cadmus offered, musing as to what caused the pack such panic. "A bear? Or perhaps a pack of hungry wolves..." He grimaced, and continued his walk, though his attention was focused much off to the right, where the sounds came from. To the west, on their left, there was a small stretch of land, some quarter mile, before the land ended abruptly to drop into the ocean in a steep cliff.

    [OOC]
    Cadmus apologized, and tried to cool himself, before admitting to Azayla his past was fairly widely known in Reef's End, but refused to talk further on the subject. He mentioned meeting the current Matriarch wouldn't be impossible, if she was alive, but would complicate escaping the city if they did meet. The pack of coyotes grew closer, but seem to be running away from something, and are very close.
    [OOC]
     
  20. MJK2431

    MJK2431 ✿❀❁

    She could see that he did not do well with scrutiny from others who gazed upon his reaction, the girl respectfully looking away from Cadmus so that he could compose himself without her watching. "I don't know anyone in Reefs End, let alone the history of those who occupy the place. I didn't mean to pry, Cadmus. I'm still sorry nonetheless for intruding on information that doesn't rightfully belong to me. I'll be sure to open up when you do, until then I shall not press for tidbits any further."

    The prospect of making her get-away more difficult was not appealing to her, her expression showing this when her face scrunched up as if she had stepped in deep mud. "Your firsthand experience might be useful to me when I disappear away from the court, but it might be interesting to hear anything that might be of use to me Reefs End before we get there. I'll have to rethink whether or not meeting the most powerful female siren in this region is worth the risk of being trapped." A sudden strong gust pulled at her skirt, the girl clutching her cloak tighter to keep out the cold clutches of the weather and chilly night.

    "Hopefully she is still alive. It will make it easier for me to not get involved if there is a powerful enough authority around to decide who shall take my stead." Her eyes narrowed, her voice becoming vaguely more serious when she spoke. "Then again... If she is deceased, the chaos there should be enough that I can get away unnoticed once I have rid myself of this...my... amulet."

    The coyotes changed their cries, the concern Azayla felt at their proximity rising. Camus' words did little to comfort her, the image of a frighteningly large, dark, looming beast overtaking her thoughts. "I've only ever read about bears in books." She said simply, swallowing the lump that was forming in her throat. "I wonder how far off dawn is..." She wandered out loud, the shadows becoming more menacing once again. "It is odd for the coyotes to be willing to be close to travelers unless they are hunting them, is it not?"
     

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