Shaben sat at the table and spoke a last few words before he proceeded to drown his sorrows. "It isn't running and the legend still lives."
He then took a large gulp of ale and said a little more. "This is all I can do to live with myself."
And with that he downed the rest, showed his card the bar maid and said. "Keep them coming."
His head fell back against his chair, allowing the soothing potion to rush through his body, causing him to feel numb, surreal. He felt the five draughts of the heavy, syrupy ale rush through his system. He grimaced as placed the half-empty pewter mug, his fifth, down on the table, sloshing some of the liquid. With an almost absurd curiosity he raised his hand to his face, noted its minute trembling and then barked a soft, unassuming laugh. His eyes slipped closed.
His friend had become next to useless a pint ago, and even his own near-legendary tolerance for liquor had not been enough. He ran his tongue over suddenly dry lips. It never was enough. His eyes snapped open with surprisingly clarity, as if he realised that he was most likely making a fool of himself. He sighed.
“With all due respect’, he murmured slowly, “ I believe I have to take myself out of the running.”
If you had been allowed a snap-shot view of him you might’ve been stuck by the pale grayscale quality of his lithe slender body, tall, elegant-- the pale shifting grays that toned his flesh and the hollows and shadows that fell naturally over him. His hair floated over his pale, handsome face, a deep moonless black for how dark it was, how dark he was, but for a single streak of white, a single white lock that curved over his brow. He seemed oddly penciled in.
Ben rose precariously to his feet and slapped down a few extra coins on the table. His eyes roved over the party, lingering for a few extra seconds on the half-elf bard. Even in his state, his gaze was sharp, calculating, wise with three thousand years of evolutionary precision. “Can I talk to you alone for a moment”, he inquired to Evani. A few drunkards looked up in sudden interest. “Its not what you think”, he retorted sarcastically.
He turned back to her, amused.
“After all…I don’t frighten you, do I?”
There was no hint of lust, of anything that was beyond complete candor. It was almost as if he had been playing at drunkenness when, as always, his mind was churning at full speed. He smiled.
“ Uich gwennen na 'wanath ah na dhín.
An uich gwennen na ringyrn ambar hen.”.
“You are not bound to loss and silence.
For you are not bound to the circles of this world.”
For a faint, almost terrifying moment he spoke a soft phrase in Elvish, the tongue of her ancestors, before her line was tainted by human blood. “Yes, I speak your language”, he whispered. “And no, you do not fool me. I believe we have more in common then was previously thought. “ He spoke with authority and clarity. His voice mingled, coloured like the conflagration of a sunset, dark as the sea.
A deep sadness overwhelmed him then and he placed his hand lightly on her slight shoulder. Beyond the calm precision, there was a regal fierceness, wildness in his gaze, a woodland creature’s eyes.
“You have no idea who I am”, he mused, “but I do believe I know who you are”.
He tilted his head to her. “Orphan”.
Posted on 2008-03-25 at 20:18:31.
Edited on 2008-03-25 at 20:30:53 by Septimus Sandalwood
Quirath riches forward to get to his drink he has a sip and thinks quite nice"Shaben, Benjamin don't you think you have had enough to drink your getting drunk and if you don't stop, get us a round of drinks Shaben mine is running out." hopping he wont have to pay for another drink.
evani stole away with him, the handsome tranger who seemed to know the main routes along the map of her life, and was terrified of the spoken work by which he named her. She stared at him, then blinked twice.
"Yes," she confessed. "But I was still loved. How many like us can say that?"
She wished he would speak of other things, of the coming storm they would soon flee, the weather, the average flight speed of an unladen swallow, but when she saw his resolute stance, the gleam of pupose in his eyes, she sighed.
"There was once an old temple, whose gods had gone away, and the people prayed to them anyway. THey tok in children who were unwanted, who were left upon doorsteps in the rain under darkened skies, and the children were cared for and loved like blood and sent into the world to find their own fortunes. But the light in the darkness was too terrible a eauty for some, and those who remained were slaughtered by cowards and left in a line as the only home they ever knew burned to the gound beside them."
She paused, looked off into the skies. "And now I am left to find the cowards, and deliver them into the hands of the souls of those passed."
She turned her eyes to him again, watching his expressions, and soft music filled the space. She realized her fingers had begin to strum a light tune, completely independant of her intentions. She chuckled.
"I'm sorry. My fingers have a mind of their own, it seems. But you. Who is Benjamin Barker?"
She pointed off in the distance, to the docks and the masts of tall ships and the low dark clouds craling across the heavens. A chill gripped the land, she felt that wel enough, but she didn't understand, not yet.
"Those," she said, indicating the boats, "We'll be taking one of those, won't we?" It was less a question than her own way of working this out in her head. Perhaps it was only the drink, or the morose Shaben trying to crawl into his bottle, but she felt the need to go, and go soon, and knew that something in the dark was coming, something unpleasant.
"I've never been on one, you know. I wouldn't know the first thing about it. But if it keeps us all alive, I suggest we find our way to one with all due haste."
He took her hand in his and led her through the noisy and inane chatter of the tavern. Not once did he turn to look at her, his dark emerald eyes were focused and far-away. Not once did he stumble in spite of the great amount of alcohol he had consumed, his movements were swift and strong, with an untaught grace. His tall, shambling shadow was thrown over the filthy boards of the walls, flickering, wavering in the candlelight. He led her out into the dismal rain, and turned to her, wild flittering imaginings whispering through his mind, perhaps their history was shared.
She was the other, he could taste the woodlands on her blood before he got any nearer to her, but there was a sharpness of something strange that he had never met before, but it was somehow familiar. Moving closer he knew not only her scent, but her face. Something from a dream perhaps? He had always been alone in his travels since his love died, never knowing face or voice of any other, yet somehow inherently knowing. Just knowing.
What was this?
“Few can”, he replied resolutely. A smile tugged at his lips softening his pale features, dark hair like moonswept shadows fell around his shoulders blown back by a faint breeze that whispered of prophecy. Both young and old at the same time he was truly a demon, the darkness clung to him in familiarity, like a lingering perfume, like a dying lover. He sighed. “Certainly I cannot”.
His half-mad, lucid gaze sharpened slightly at her words, his head tilted in interest. ‘We all have our sob stories”, he whispered gently, and reaching out, he brushed back a strand of hair that had fallen in front of her eyes. He smiled his terrifyingly sad smile, ignoring the droplets of rain that spotted his expensive robes, that studded the pale flesh of his cheeks like diamonds, like tears.
“Now you have yours”.
“Benjamin Barker”, he inquired in a voice like rising smoke. He chuckled. “He is a man who has lost everything, my friend, and nothing more. He is much like your famed pirate, love, but at times different, very different”. He gazed off into the distance. “Wiser”, he murmured. “Older”. He smiled wistfully.
“I knew Septimus, aye, we were friends”, he whispered, “ and I am eternally grateful that he died on the seas. We cannot control our destiny but it is better if we die with meaning. But never with dignity, no, humans never die with dignity. We can live with dignity, but never die with it. “
He moved slightly closer to her, and shielded her from the rain. He smelt of musk, rose-petals, dances in the dark. His eyes were ancient, aware and heartbreakingly beautiful. He smiled mysteriously.
“There’s a riddle for you, love. You know the stories. Who do you think I am?”
He drew away from her and gazed off into the distance.
“A storm is coming”, he muttered.
A sudden revelation. “Come”, he whispered, and darted into the tavern. The dark man sped over to the table where Shaben was morosely trying to forget his troubles.
“We need to leave now”, he hissed softly.
Met with an uncomprehending glance, he took Shaben`s pewter mug and dashed it fiercely against the wall. It shattered and he turned to Shaben with wild eyes. “They are coming and if you want an opportunity to deal with your troubles, I suggest that we take a clipper as soon as possible. “
Posted on 2008-03-26 at 16:53:02.
Edited on 2008-04-13 at 02:40:00 by Septimus Sandalwood
Shaden was drunk, he got drunk on his forth but it was his fifth Sep has spilt.
He decided that his friend was right, who ever he was, and got up without a fuss and staggered out the ale house where he promptly tripped and fell face first into a puddle of mud. Picking himself up, with great effort as he couldn't hold his drink, he made his second attempt at making his way to his lodgings.
He entered his room, stuffed the key in the lock and turned it. He did however misjudged the location of the bed and flopped not onto it but into the cold water of the bath he had had earlier where he turned face up and came to his senses. Pulling himself up using the bedstead he reached to the strong box and grabbed a small tin from inside. He then took some of the item from within and stuffed it into his mouth before undressing and dressing into his night cloths and going to sleep.
Evani nodded, choosing not to answer questions any longer. She had a feeling Ben was closer to Septimus than he was letting on, but with the soursweet wind of impending disaster filling the wind, she felt it best that they have deeper conversations later.
"Ben," she whispered, her hand still in his a moment longer than decent, "let us go now. Right now. I will return to the tavern to collect the others, but i can taste the strangeness on the wind, and it does not bode well for any of us."
and with a lingering smile, she pulled her hand slowly from his and slipped back into the gathering dark.
She arrived at the tavern quikly and went back to her table. She found only the cleric and the third woman, and Shaben's absence was noticeably prominent.
"Where has he gone?" she asked them, feeling a chill at the back of her neck.
waits for a response
"I see. But come, if you wish to run with us, we sail sooner than not, and we have little time for anything more than the gathering of belongingss and such."
Looking at them, from one to the other, she paused. "Will you come?"
Death followed a winding trail that night, rising from the mist. The phantom hoof beats grew nearer. Was it death, gallant on a pale steed or his servants bidden to follow his crooked paths? The scent of old magic, mystic and wet crept through the sleeping streets as Luna gazed down with rapt approval on the staggering figure reflected beneath the dreamy, idyllic Tudor beams of the townhouses.
Staggering and unsupported, wandered one of the many unceremonious, habitually drunk homeless of Lantan, a product of a brutal and inefficient economy. Greasy strands of grey hair hung and swung listlessly in front of his lined face, his thin chest heaved. Intoxicated or mad, none knew or cared which.
It was this man who unceremoniously broke into the tavern at approximately midnight, just when the regulars were quieting, and the raucous laughter of the unemployed having a fine time dulled to a faint, half-conscious murmur. He had stumbled and the barkeep had come to his aid, considerately holding up his frail, crumpling form, and giving him an earthenware mug of brandy. The man’s gnarled old hands curled around the cup and he drank deeply from it. A tired half-smile formed on his lips, fading instantly as deep, terrifying vibrations began to shake his body. His body, hot and dry as firewood, collapsed to the filthy floor. The cup shattered, and stirred the tavern into an uproar.
Only one man seemed to have no reaction.
Ben’s dark calculating eyes never changed expression as he calmly placed down his drink and rose to his feet. He moved towards the old man slowly, cautiously, his pale visage completely and unsettlingly emotionless. The old man writhed onto his side. He pointed his index finger at him, yellowed with tobacco, with all the conviction of an accuser at a witch-hunt and only spoke two words.
“ Septimus lives”.
The barkeep furrowed his brow in a vain attempt to understand the situation. “But that is impossible”, he muttered, confused. “He died three years ago”. Ben smiled, and pulled out a beautiful rosewood pistol. For a moment he traced the intricate silver accents of the weapon with his eyes, caressed it in his hands. He gazed into the terrified eyes of the old man.
“Exactly”, he murmured, and shot him.
The report was very loud. In the sudden silence the patrons of the tavern turned and gazed at him in fascination and horror, their eyes round as school-childrens' after a particularly nasty outburst. A small round hole appeared in the old man’s heaving chest. He looked down at himself in disbelief. Benjamin blew the smoke away from the muzzle of the pistol and grimaced.
“You would not believe the cost of ammunition in this bloody town”.
Without giving him enough time to truly realise what had happened to him, Benjamin turned and shot him again, and was moving towards him when he was tackled by the barkeep. He grappled with the bigger man, his weapon falling out of his reach. He snarled and tried to twist out from under him. The bigger man pushed him down against the floor-boards and punched him squarely in his stomach. Ben’s eyes filmed and he fell limp. The barkeep swung again and punched him viciously in the mouth and then got off his opponent. Ben turned on his side coughing, and spat bright scarlet. “Its not what you think”, he gasped.
“Then what is it then”, the barkeep snarled. He grabbed him by the collar of his robes. He dealt him a sharp punch to his chin and Ben gazed up at him, dazed and uncomprehending. “You murdered him”.
Barker shook his head. “Already dying”, he wheezed. “Poisoned”. He felt supreme blessed relief as the barkeep let go, and blessed air rushed into his lungs. He dragged himself over to the old man’s body and flipped it so it was face down. The barkeep grabbed for his shoulders, but he threw him off with surprising strength and searched beneath the old man’s lank hair. There. He smiled with relief as he showed the barkeep the single pinprick of the injection that had caused the shaking and would have caused eventual death. “I performed a mercy”, he whispered quietly. “And simultaneously kept him from revealing everything I have taken great pains to avoid revealing”.
“Who are you”, the barkeep replied a tone of awe and carefully concealed fear. “And are you completely insane?” Ben chuckled and spat again-bright red.
“I’m not insane”, he murmured, staggering to his feet.
The barkeep shook his head. “You’re him, aren’t you”, he asked softly. “You’re really him”.
The dark man shrugged. “Only one other man using the type of poison that killed your friend, and the man who could have in theory done it, is in theory dead. So you tell me”.
The barkeep furrowed his brow again.
“The government killed him?”
Ben grinned wolfishly. “You do recognise him, don’t you? After all that is no ordinary beggar. That’s Glenn Fenris, who was our hero in question’s old mentor. If the government are going after the old legends it means two things, both of which are exceptionally bad for me. One, is that they are hunting down anyone remotely connected to Septimus, in which case you should probably get out of town”.
He turned to go.
“And what is number two”, the barkeep inquired. Ben halted impatiently.
“What else does it mean?”
Barker mused. “It means that I should be leaving town as well. After all you do remember what killed Septimus, don’t you?” He nodded towards the old man’s body. “He was hit by a bullet”.
He made his way over to Evani`s table and hesitated. “Get Shaben`s room key”, he whispered.
“We are leaving right now”.
Posted on 2008-03-27 at 04:36:26.
Edited on 2008-03-27 at 09:10:21 by Septimus Sandalwood
Hoping he had left it lying about, she searched for Shaben's key but could not find it and looked again imploringly at the cleric and Quirath.
"Are you ready?"
and she cast a worried glance at Ben, who seemed far too cool for her comfort at the moment.
"Do you think," she asked ben, "he might have gone to collect his things? Quckly! Where is he staying?"
And the words had no sooner left his mouth before she was gone, and it occurred to her that she had allowed herself to become swept up in something she truly did not understand. She had always been a sucker for a good story, and this would make a tale for the ages, she was certain, if only they are survived. Yet the beasts breathing down their necks, what was it? Was it an imagined fear that drove them all now, that caused them to flee?
She knew something, it was there, in the back of her mind, on the tip of her tongue, something important, but its truth eluded her. There had been whispers, rumors in other towns, stories of people taken from their beds in the dead of night and never seen again. It occurred to her that those things she'd heard of might be tied in some wa to the things from which they ran and she suddenly realized, standing in the hall, that she had completely forgotten Shaben's room number.
"Shaben!" She called out, keeping her voice low, yet what came out was a scratching hiss. "Shaben, where are you?"
“He is sleeping”, came a murmuring voice from the darkness.
As if he had materialised out of the cheaply-painted corridor, Benjamin padded noiselessly down the carpeted length of the hallway. Although panic was in the air like bitter perfume, no sign of it was upon his features, he was utterly and disturbingly nonplussed. He smiled easily. “That is what he is doing, and what you should be doing as well. It is true, yes, we need to leave immediately, but the problem lies in the fact that no one will aid us until tomorrow. Unless you believe yourself to have enough skill to commandeer one of the government’s finest, our only option is to flee at dawn. Obnoxious, yes, but important”.
He paused, his expressions almost unreadable in the twisting shadows.
“Get some rest, love, you’ll need it”.
The effortlessly placed word ‘love’ coloured his otherwise mundane sentence, a fond nickname he applied to most attractive females his age, but uncharacteristically, the charismatic diplomat had hesitated. He ran a hand through his ebony hair, grown long since his escape from prison. His dark eyes, seductive and cool surveyed her for a moment and then shifted to gaze into the distance.
“I will be in the room 27. If anything occurs this night, there is no need to wake me, I have no intention of sleeping. “ With the same nonchalant air he unfastened the sheath of his dagger, and gave her the weapon, carefully placing the deerskin wrapped piece of metal with the handle angled towards her. “This is my most prized possession”, he whispered to her, “ and you would to well to take care with it. “ He ran his hand over the intricate metal sculptures of serpents that snarled and fought their way across the weapon’s hilt.
“It is stocked with sea-snake poison, for your enemies, and is extremely dangerous. If anyone or anything threatens you, it will kill them in screaming horrors, but remember, if you prick yourself with it, there is nothing that I nor anyone else can do to save you. Not a pleasant way to die”.
He smiled reassuringly.
“This will keep you safe…if only you trust me”.
He turned to go without another word, his strange loping shadow thrown against the wall. He carried himself like a rangy wolf, his thin shoulders loose and his step soft. A whisper on the stair, the creak of a door, and he was gone to his meager accommodations. Gone, not to sleep, but to forsake his cot, to wait by the door, and to measure his length against the hardwood floor. His head was on his arm, his hair tousled, his eyes closed, but his hand rested eternally on the hilt of his cutlass, dreaming but in passing. In world of shades, not quite asleep, not quite awake, he drifted, keeping a solitary and silent vigil.
The sentinel waited.
Posted on 2008-04-02 at 22:40:57.
Edited on 2008-04-02 at 22:43:21 by Septimus Sandalwood
AS THE DM
As Evani walks down the coridor calling for Shaben and elven lady walks out of her room and stright into Evani's side. As you recover the elven lady gives her appoligises, a lot of them, and continues down the corridor.
Posted on 2008-04-03 at 12:22:41.
Edited on 2008-04-03 at 12:23:16 by Loki
Though he was gone again, disappered into the darkness of night with her still standing in the corridor, staring at rows of doors, she swore his touch still burned along her skin. Her fingers tightened around the handle, then relaxed, and she considered his words, his word, his truth, and wondered not for the first time about his intentions. As she stood there, lost in her own thoughts, her body suddenly aching with the need for a warm bed, something pushed into her.
The unexpected jostling from an unfamiliar woman stole Evani's attention. The woman was exceedingly beautiful, surpassing the realm of attractiveness and transceding all description. For a moment, Evani was speechless, trapped by her own physical presence. Her heart pounded, her hand on the hilt of the dagger Ben had entrusted into her care, and something in her, some hidden dark part that regretted her existance, wanted to draw the weapon regardless.
Evani suffocated that instinct with the memory of the temple attendants, and the baser, vile thought disappeared as quickly as it came upon her. Rather she stood in the hallway, staring at the woman. Words were spilling from the other woman's lips, words that became appologies, many of them.
She'd been caught completely off-guard, and had it been someone with more sinister intent, she would have fared much worse than just a shove. She knew better, she knew different, and she was going to have to step up her game a bit if she was going to make it out of here alive. But the elf in the hall with her seemed anxious only to be out of her way. though that did not stop Evani from keeping a tighter hold to her belongings.
The woman was still offering appologies even as she was trying to slip away.
"No," she soothed, "please, forgive me. I should have been paying more attention...." a thought occurred to her and she cocked her head, memorizing the woman's face, each line and curve and angle, even in the dim hall.
Evani's lips refused to form an answer. rather she stood in the dim hall and watched the woman disappear. When enough time had passed that she was certain would be decent, she took a single step following the woman's exit and then paused. Her eyes shifted from the exit to the doors as she considered her options.
Shaben was most likely sleeping st this late hour, and waking him would do no good, since Ben had pointed out they'd get no help tonight.
Yet she could not sleep, or bring herself to go to him just yet, and now this opportunity to pass the time had arisen....