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Thread: No one expects the Eteri Inquisition!!

  1. #1
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    No one expects the Eteri Inquisition!!

    I had somehow gotten myself lost, one minute I was following Anubis, well, stalking him...the next he was gone! It’s like he didn’t even want me following him! I mean, ok he told me not to, and he told me we had to part ways but I thought that was more of a suggestion than anything else. I guess he probably snuck away when I was sleeping. The nerve!

    So here I am, trudging through Salvar, of all places. Cold and wet, two things I hate the most. I shivered and wrapped my arms around myself, rubbing my arms as I felt more of the slushy mess soak through my boots. I was grossly unprepared for this place. Who the hell chose to live in a place where it snowed most of the time?

    “I wanna go home to Akashima…..” I whined, my voice becoming lost amongst the twittering of the birds, greeting the first rays of the morning sun. My ears fell flat against my head, I hated that noise, almost as much as I hated the snow.

    It wasn’t before long, that I came upon a small clearing, and in that small clearing stood a man (at least I think it was a man, they had really long hair) who wore ragged and paled robes, ones that elicit feelings of nostalgia deep in my chest.

    An Akashiman

    I felt my heart skip a beat, what was another Akashiman doing in the dead of Salvar? Was he stalking Anubis too!? Was the Salvarian some sort of playboy with a fetish for us? Toying with our hearts?

    I needed answers.

    I approached him from behind, tail swishing wildly with excitement behind me, I grasped his shoulders and my hand slid down to wrap around his chest. He was so...so….warm

    “Hiya! Whatchu lookin~ at?” I nestled my chin against his shoulder as I looked down on what looked like some sort of camping grounds.

    “Whats down there?”

  2. #2
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    The sudden encroachment caught the Ronin off guard. He was not used to being snuck up on, though he knew of a few people capable of the job. The chin resting on his shoulder was an intimate act he was only used to from one person, and the fur told him this was not that person. He stiffened under the woman’s body as he carefully disengaged and turned to see a Nekojin.

    He raised an eyebrow to the cat person as he spoke, “You are a long way from home aren’t you?”

    She clasped her hands together, her yellowed eyes practically flashing in sheer delight. “Haiii~ As you!” She stepped closer, her face mere centimeters away from Takas, her brows furrowed. “Would you lookit that soul, ne?” She reached out with a clawed hand and tapped his forehead, his chest and his stomach. “From there to here, you gots an icky on it.”

    “<I see that some things never change>,” Taka muttered to himself in his native tongue. The cat girl was a distraction from everything about him. He could see she wasn't full blooded, she lacked the fur coat. However she still had several attrjibutes of a Nekojin, including the insufferable cheeriness and lack of the concept of personal space.

    “How are you still alive?” he asked her, seeing she was wet.

    She seemed to be distracted easily. “Et tu!?” She looked down at her sodden feet, “My feetsies are freezing, but don’t see, you?” She pointed to her neck, “Have very warm scarf , keeps my neck and shoulders warm with a sorta buzz buzz warmth, bzz bzz~” She grinned expectantly. “Isn’t it pweety?”

    “That must be quite a scarf,” The Ronin replied, not seeing anything around her neck. His gaze returning to the camp as he saw people moving about the area. Moving back from the hill he spoke, “Would it be possible for you to be quieter? I don't the folks down there to know I'm here…”

    “Ehhh!?” She exclaimed. Loudly. The halfbreed woman clasped onto his shoulders with her hands, peering down at the compound. “Why - are you stalking them?” She whispered, her ears falling flat against her head. “I smell chi down there~ chchchch, old and new.”

    He frowned at the word before he spoke, “Do you know how many?” maybe he could get something useful out of her after all.

    “Mmmm…..” The woman let go of his shoulders and fell to her knees, crawling to the edge, her nose wrinkled. “Smell dripping, tis very much fresh.” She pointed to a building that was further away, on the outskirts of the Inner Sanctum. “Lots from in there, bad things happen there. Can smell death.” She glanced up at him, “You no smell that?”

    “No, but I thank you for that,” He said. Moving along the outside of the encampment he began to circle around to the building. He knew he had promised not to avenge Amari and the treatment she would receive down there, but this was a different matter entirely. If people were dying he had to see if it was justice, or more cruelty at the beckoning of the Crimson Hand’s master.
    How something is said, is just as important as what is said. -Anonymous

  3. #3
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    “Hey! Hey! Matte! Me come too!” I shouted, I didn’t want him to leave so quickly, besides what he was doing...it looked sorta fun. Like some sort of sneaky, dirty deed. He also had a very, very unique soul. It shifted and danced, like water. There was no other way to describe it, then...there was a darkness, almost like a writhing leech, latched onto his chakra. It’s tendrils danced out and into the watery soul - but they were small. Weak.

    “Me thought you no like people here?”

    “I don’t, but that's no excuse for needless deaths.” He replied. I frowned. Why was he bothering with something like that?

    “Eh? Who cares?” I flicked my tail side to side as he snooped around to the back of the wooden hut. “Most of them are dead, ne? Can’t we just leave the others?” I moaned. I didn’t want to be around here, I didn’t feel safe here. There was a heaviness in the air and it was near suffocating. The few people who were wandering the open area of the compound… their souls were putrid shades of black and green and red. My new Akashiman best friend was right to not like the people here, they were bad news.

    “I care, and that's all that matters. People shouldn't be killed for one man's disgusting temper.”

    He spoke in such a stern manner, his brows furrowed and he took on an air of superiority and command. I wondered if he were part of the army. “Ohhhhh...so you warrior? So you hero? You save day?” I pointed to the wooden structure, the only window was too high for either of us to reach, and it wasn’t very wide. “Climb on shoulders and you look inside, ne? See what going on. In return you find me warmth. Yes? Yes?”

    He stepped back, seemingly not too happy with my proposal, or maybe he just wasn’t too happy with my enthusiasm. Frankly...I didn’t care about the dying people inside, there was no saving them. I just wanted two things, to get out of here, and to find someplace warm…. And his soul. Ok...three things.

    “Buuuut~” I began, picking at his robes. “If you die, can me have your soul? Maybe just a teeny tiny bit? Me snip it off and you no even notice!” I grinned, forming a pair of scissors with my fingers and made chopping motions. “It’s very pretty, except for dark stuff. Me cut around that.”

  4. #4
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    Taka was put off by the soul gazing neko to say the least. He tried to hide it as they got closer to the building, but it was there. He sighed, looking at the high up windows before he said, “I'll find you warmth, but your plan won't be much help in this case.

    “What? Why! Me thought it good!”

    “I think rapid movement will be what's needed. Move fast enough and they can't sound the alarm…”

    How fast that would need to be was an open debate. The Ronin sighed looking at the situation a bit more even as he felt the Neko huddle against him. He let it slide, he was warmer than her and she was cold. Carefully he went about the building listening for anything remotely like a voice as he did so.

    “Why you quiet?” She asked. Her voice echoing around them despite her poor attempts to keep quiet.

    Taka cringed before he turned to her and spoke, his voice low, “I am in the middle of people who hate what I stand for. These people, if they found me, would attempt to kill me and everyone with me. I need quiet to sneak in here and see what's going on. Do you understand?” She nodded with her ears flat to her head and her tail between her legs, she shuffled closer and clung tightly to his sleeve.

    Taka moved silently, the only sound the snow crunching underfoot as the walked before he heard it, the sounds of guard banter, “Scarlet came back today?”

    “You know what that means,” a second voice replied.

    “Three weeks of angry boss,” The first said.

    Taka grimaced hearing the words before he muttered, “Somehow I managed to find the Jaimie and Pell...this isn't important to him…” he looked back at the girl, “Stay here, I'm going to take care of them and be back for you and then we’ll get you out of the cold, okay?”


    She nodded, and pointed toward the sound of the voices, “There is third, on way.”

    Taka knew there was a reason for putting up with the Nekojin. He was just glad for affirmation in his beliefs as he peered around the corner. The two were beside the door, even as he saw the third hurrying up the pathway towards them.

    “Hey, hear what Scarlet is doing?” He breathed, “She brought back Noel, she’s standin’ up to him again.”

    “What’s he gonna do this time? Last time he had her skin ripped off,” The guard offered a grin. “Maybe he’ll let us fuck her again.”

    “Nah, I wouldn’t she killed the last men who did that.”

    “Aye, frankly I’d rather follow her than ‘im.”

    Taka tensed at the words, before he closed his eyes and released his anger. It would do him no good, Amari made him promise not to avenge her. He needed another reason to breach the Inner Sanctum. Looking at the Cat Girl he peeked back around as the third finally joined, “Got another one. Master Ulroke was getting vicious, he isn't long for this world.”
    How something is said, is just as important as what is said. -Anonymous

  5. #5
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    I watched as the man turned to peer around the corner. His sense of justice was sorta admirable, if not foolish. I didn’t like how he had dragged me into this mess. I didn’t even know his name, some best friend he was. Staring at his back I couldn’t help but notice one of the swords at his side.. I felt a little silly having only just seen them, but I was too focused on his soul.

    There was something different about one of them, if I didn’t know any better I’d say it had the soul of a commoner attached to it. I tilted my head, tail furiously flicking side to side, I felt an overwhelming curiosity. I wanted to know more, I wanted to know how he forged such a thing, and why he put such a soul into the blade. It’d be so much better with a virgin soul, or even the soul of a magi. I could probably put a different one in there, if he’d let me.

    My lips curled into a cunning grin, or… I could surprise him with it.

    Despite his warnings I crept closer toward him, I pressed my head against his shoulder peering around the corner with him. (It would have been romantic, if he weren’t so focused on saving dead people)

    I could hear the voices of the guards, talking about some girl who had returned, then something else. I wrinkled my nose at the familiar scent. Blood.

    Sure enough, a fourth guard rounded the corner, he held a bloodied and unconscious man who was not long of this world. I cringed and gripped the Akashiman man tighter. The man had deep lacerations on his head, arms and torso, thick and slick ichor dripped from his body and an eye dangled precariously from his face.

    I took a few steps back, shivering, trying not to throw up. This place was awful. How could anyone do that to someone? Why not just kill them and let them be? I shook with trepidation and fear, I wanted to leave… “W-w-w-we need go….” I managed to breathe through gritted teeth.

    The Akashiman glanced at me, he sighed and kneeled down to my level “You won't get warm in time if we go. We need to take a risk in order to save you at this point.” I didn’t care if he was right or not. Anything was better than having to deal with what they were doing to those people.

    “Me scared.”

    “<I’ll protect you.”> His words, spoken in our native tongue managed to lift my head. “Pwomise?” He nodded silently. I had no choice but to trust him, he’d owe me big time…

    “W-what do me do?” The cold was beginning to get to me, the tips of my fingers shook uncontrollably and my chest was heavy.

    “Just wait here, once one of them leaves we’ll get our chance,” The Akashiman replied. He was watching the men outside the door as he muttered to himself, “Is this where they pretend to work? Why so many men here…”

    I could hear a fourth approach, his voice joining in the banter of the others.

    “Scarlet slapped ‘im!”

    “What? Did he pummel her?”

    “No, it’s fuckin’ weird aye, he was chattin’ with her, calmly, till she refused to tell ‘im somethin. Now he got ‘er pressed in tha snow. C’mon, we gotta see this.”

    The banter continued, before three of the men left, I could still smell the blood, so assumed the man with the grotesque body was still around.

  6. #6
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    He didn't have long. He waited until the men were halfway down the hill before he carefully drew his Tanto, moving in carefully he caught the guard off guard and with a hard rap to the back of the man’s skull he felt him in a single blow. Seeing a letting on the man he pulled them off and quickly tried keys to open the door before finding one that worked.

    He opened the door and dragged both bodies in from the cold before he peered outside the door looking for the cat woman, “Neko-San, come quickly…”

    “Eteri.” She replied back in a huff, following closely behind, she shut the door behind her, loudly. She flinched, her ears pressed against her head. “Oopsie?”

    Taka cringed when he heard the door slam before he lowered a wooden bar on the door. His eyes closed as he pinched the bridge of his nose and said softly, “With luck they'll mistake it for the wind.”

    The room looked to be some sort of body disposal site. Piles of clothing could be seen in a corner and he thought he spied the sky blue jacket of the Ixian uniform. Moving to the pile he pulled the jacket from it before he saw he was right and let out a long sigh, “I can't let this go…”

    Eteri approached from behind, her tail down between her legs and her hands over her nose and mouth, her exposed shoulders were shivering. “Let what go?”

    “I'm a general of the Ixian Knights, some of my people wound up here. My problem is that means I can't leave until I know if they're still alive and rescue those who are…” he answered, looking at Eteri, “You say you're a seamstress? Would you be able to get the patches off this jacket? I would give it to you in exchange....”

    She looked down at the jacket, “Mmm… maybe?” She plonked herself down on the floor, cross legged. She grabbed the satchel she always wore around her shoulder and tipped it upside down and started shaking it, nothing came out till she said the words ‘Empty All’ 4 glowing vials fell out, along with several empty ones. A pair of scissors was last to fall out, “Me work with souls.” She said, “Not sure these would work on clothing made of...clothing thingies. Try for you?” She said, looking up at him.

    “I just need this patch and this one…” Taka said gently tapping two patches. He then looked at Eteri, “After that keep what's left of the jacket and I'll see about getting you a ship for Corone…”

    Taka watched as she took the Jacket and got to work, she was surprisingly silent, and delicate, she worked the blades under the stitching of the patches, carefully snipping the threads as they pulled away from the jacket. After a few minutes she placed the first patch to the side and got to work on the second.

    When the second patch was done he smiled as he looked upon the catgirl, “Arigatou Eteri-San.” he then held offered her the jacket, “As promised the jacket is yours, use it to keep yourself warmer. Now, to get you back to a ship for Corone...and potentially send a message.”

    “Message?” She asked as she slipped the jacket over her. Taka nodded before he spoke.

    “A very important one. In return you can choose payment, but you must wear that Jacket when you get off the boat at Radasanth. It's the only way you'll be able to deliver that message,” Taka replied, tapping the patch that held the symbol of the Ixian Knights on its left shoulder.

    “Eteri choose?” She almost knocked him over as she jumped up, grabbing hold of his hand, “Can take a piece of your soul!? It’s unlike any see before. It like the water, very old, very strong.”

    “My soul is like water?” Taka asked slowly.

    She seemed annoyed, “Yes. Very unique.” She moved her hands to imitate a flow of water, “It dances and shifts like water, it even smells like water; but there big darkness like leech latched onto you chakra. is gross.... But can I? Promise me won’t turn it to clothing, will keep it and find other pretties to make soul for myself! That’s how good it is!”

    “How does that work?” The Ronin felt out of his depth, but with the way things had been that was something he knew he should be used to.

    “Easy!” She was practically beaming. “See your soul, it takes no effort for me to lightly pull it, and just snnniip a teeny tiny weensy bit off! But…” Her smile fell, “Yours is water, not sure if can grab it, or snip it...but want to! Yes….yes...soul like this...make good base for my own soul.”

    “Does it hurt? Will it grow back?” Taka asked eyeing the woman.

    “Eh? It’s soul. They don’t grow back.” Eteri crossed her arms, “Hah...you need super duper strong magic to heal something like soul. You have to be some God or Thayne.” She said jokingly. “Oh...but Eteri be gentle, it might hurt little, but not sure. People different reaction to it.”

    The Ronin seemed to stiffen at the implication. Looking about the room he saw a book and a quill. Moving to it he tore a page before he scribbled the note in what looked like barely legible trade speak. The fact it could be read was the important part. Handing the note to Eteri he spoke, “In exchange for a piece of my soul, I want you to go to Radasanth while wearing that jacket. There is an apothecary named Pierce Hawkeye, he will know what to do with that note. Any questions?”
    How something is said, is just as important as what is said. -Anonymous

  7. #7
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    I stared at the piece of paper in my hands, I could barely read it. Not that I was very well read in Tradespeak, it was a bunch of chicken scratch, it held none of the finesse of Akashiman literature. “Yes. Questions.” I folded the note in half, then in half again before placing it into the inner pocket of the jacket where it would be safest. “Radasanth big place. Give general location of Hawkeye?”

    He looked around for a second before he spoke “<Akashiman?>”

    Was he that worried someone would overhear? I glanced from side to side, all I saw were the insides of a filthy log cabin, a few dead bodies, and a butt tonne of blood and other unmentionable messes that I didn’t want to linger on. <”Yes? Is the location really that secretive?”>

    <”The knights went into hiding for a reason. I would be loathe to give up the leader of our medical team so freely. He lives in an apartment overlooking the park in the merchant's district. It's the one with the Ixian Tomb. If you are wearing that jacket and show up in the park, I'm certain someone will let you deliver the message,”>

    This man had more secrets than I had questions, we’d be here all day if I were to attempt to sate my curiosity, and dammit I was still cold. <”That’s better. I can do that for you. Is there a name you would like me to give to this General Hawkeye?”>

    <“Tell him General Taka sends his regards, and hopes he is well,”> He looked about as if searching for something, and curiosity got the better of me.

    I tilted my head to the side with a small frown, <”What are you looking for, Taka?”> I chose to continue talking in our native tongue, even after the exchange of sensitive information. I found it much easier, and I was sure we understood each other far better than in my broken Tradespeak. <”Did we not get what you needed? Should we not go now?”>

    <”A General is beholden to his men. If there are Ixians still alive here, I must find them and give them the freedom to come home,”> he gently patted me on the head, I couldn’t help but let out a purr. God I loved when people did that. <”I have a job to do, and I cannot ignore it. I need to go into the Inner Sanctum, and pick a fight I cannot win.”> He continued absently running his fingers through my hair.

    <”You’re honorable, but stupid. This place reeks of death, the living who reside here are deplorable.”> He pulled his hand away and I huffed, wishing he’d continue, but it’d be rude to expect anything else from the man.

    I stood and smoothed down the jacket, appreciating its thick material. <”If you are walking into a fight you cannot win, I want my payment upfront. A dead man carries no soul.”>

    Taka nodded, <”I accept the terms. Do as you need and I will see if there is any warmer clothes to get you to the harbor. Knife's Edge would be your best hope as his influence is weaker there.”>

    <”His influence?”> I asked as I gestured for him to take a seat in front of me, he obliged and I grabbed my precious satchel, throwing back in the filled and all but one of the empty vials. <”Who is ‘he’ ?”>

    <”Licensithe Ulroke, the Crimson Assassin. He controls the compound we find ourselves in,”> He then closed his eyes and relaxed.

    <”Never heard of him. He cannot be all that great.”> As Taka spoke I struggled to take hold of his soul, the damn thing really was like water… <”There is no way I can cut this normally…”> I muttered, feeling frustrated, he had such a gorgeous glow and colour, it’d be a waste not to be able to claim at least part of it for my own. I decided to try a different tactic, instead, I tried to coax the parts of his soul that lapped at the air around him, much like waves into the bottle. Finally I succeeded, I quickly placed a seal on it and grinned, holding it tightly to my chest.

    <”This is the most precious soul piece I have, Taka.”> I looked up at him. <”I do not have a soul of my own, and I feel this, with its ever changing and flowing tendencies, would be a perfect base to craft one of my own. Thank you.”> I doubted the man realised how much this tiny piece meant to me.

  8. #8
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    He felt oddly hollow. Seeing the piece of his soul in the bottle was an altogether humbling experience. To talk of a soul was one thing, but to actually see it was quite another. She was right, it was like the water, moving and swirling, never settling. It brought a wistful smile to his face to look upon it.

    It brought a mute sadness to his form.

    He knew he was no longer whole. More than just the jar, he KNEW. The deal had been made, and he had not taken the offer lightly, and yet here he was, sure he had made the wrong choice. He wanted the fragment back, part of him pleading for it. He quickly stamped down the urge to grab the shard and reabsorb it. He had made a deal, and now it was on his honor to fulfill it.

    He took a shuddering breath and carefully put his emotions behind him where they belonged. Shaking his head he looked about the room, seeing a few discarded tools and grimacing. This was not gear that would get her to Knife's Edge. Going through a few stacks he finally just grabbed an old frayed coat and wrapped it about a broken axe handle.

    <”Can you make fire?”> he asked.

    <”Do I look like a wizard!?”> She asked incredulously as she continued to press the vial containing his soul to her chest.

    <”In my experience it is better to assume nothing,”> He replied as he looked through everything. Finally he checked the unconscious guard and smiled. Flint and steel. Handing them and the axe handle he spoke, <”Head back through the valley and straight towards where the sun rises. If you continue your path for two days you'll reach a village and from there can get directions to Knife's Edge.”> He then reached into his pouches and produced a small bag.

    <”This should be all the money you need to reach Radasanth. Do not spend it frivolously, we had a deal and I upheld my end,”> he said sternly. Finally he tapped the coat on a stick and spoke, <”After tomorrow you can light that using the flint and steel for a torch and some warmth as you journey to the next town. I wouldn't light it sooner than that or you risk the Crimson Hand coming after you. Be guarded if anyone asks someone gave you the jacket, it's the truth and you should be left alone after that.”>

    Eteri glanced at me with big, golden eyes. She looked as though she was about to say something, but stopped herself. She reached out to clasp the torch. <”I am many things, but I am not one who goes back on her word.”> She offered a grin, <”Besides, I wouldn’t be able to craft a very good soul based on deceit and lies, now would I?”>


    The Ronin laughed, <”I suppose not.”>


    <”Will you be ok Taka?”>

    A sad smile graced his face as he spoke, <”I will not lie, everything is telling me to run. It would be much easier if I could just go and give up. However I cannot. This is about more than me.>”

    She carefully placed the vial back in her bag and stood with a sigh. <”I think you are a fool. If you wish to save those you care about, you shouldn’t do it alone, heroes are always the first to die.”>

    He nodded at her words before he said softly, “<Thank you Eteri-San, you brought a smile to a Ronin in his most troubled hour. If I should survive, and if I return to Radasanth, you will always have a home amongst the Ixian Knights.”>

    Eteri’s tail flicked side to side as she gave him a toothy grin. <”I may have to do that, I much prefer talking in my native tongue. If you survive, perhaps I can show you what I have done with your soul, if I make any progress at all.”> She turned and very carefully opened the door, before she disappeared into the flurry of the snowy white she turned back to him one last time.

    <”Stay safe.”> And with those words she was gone, and Taka was alone.
    How something is said, is just as important as what is said. -Anonymous

  9. #9
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    Level completed: 19%, EXP required for next level: 1,630
    Level completed: 19%,
    EXP required for next level: 1,630

    AP
    5
    GP
    255
    Eteri's Avatar

    Name
    Eteri Yoko
    Age
    24
    Race
    Halfbreed
    Hair Color
    Blue
    Eye Color
    Yellow
    Build
    157cm 60kg
    Job
    Soul Seamstress

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    The whole ordeal was ….something out of well, out of a storybook. A badly written one sure, but it was so surreal. My cold fingers clasped the torch tightly against my chest as I carefully navigated back around the log building. The jacket was warm, and helped steel my upper body from the bitter breeze, but it did nothing for my numb legs and feet. I sneezed, loudly, again and again.... As I made my way to the outskirts of the Innard Sanctum, or whatever it was called. Innard Sanctum sounded about right, especially with the grotesque things I saw.

    All I wanted to do was go home, back to Akashima, back to those warm days lounging on crates in Yanbo Harbour… before I could do that, I had a promise to keep. I needed to make my way to Radansanth, or whatever it was called - and I had to deliver the message to Taka’s friend. He had given himself a very important an very intimate part of him, and I hadn’t lied - it was quite possibly the most perfect soul to use as a base for my own.

    Taka.

    The Akashiman Ronin with an old soul of water. It was an absolute delight to meet him, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know he offered me a place within the Pixie Nights. It was a shame he wouldn’t survive. I doubted anyone who would travel too far into that place would leave alive, or the same. There was a heavy aura of darkness that chilled me far more than the stupid snow.

    “Taka…” His names left my lips with notes of concern. A part of me wanted to go back and aid him. I paused, and looked back at my footprints in the snow. I couldn’t see the compound anymore...but I could still feel it.

    <“You are a fool.”>

  10. #10
    Member
    EXP: 22,803, Level: 6
    Level completed: 41%, EXP required for next level: 4,197
    Level completed: 41%,
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    5
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    Tainted Bushido's Avatar

    Name
    Taka
    Age
    21
    Race
    Akashiman (Human)
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    White
    Eye Color
    Grey
    Job
    Samurai (Ronin)

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    The Ronin watched the cat girl depart silently. He knew she was right, he should be waiting for the Mercenary company before he even attempted it, but he had to. He couldn’t wait, not if Amari would suffer while he waited for more men, if he acted swiftly perhaps he could stave it off and keep the focus on him, and the issue the jacket had created. He looked down at the patches, denoting a member of the Reformation Team, under Lord Duffy Bracken. He closed his eyes as he gripped the patch tightly, looking for strength to do the right thing.

    Finally, Taka committed to action. He opened the door, leaving the unconscious man behind him as he began his march, straight down into the courtyard of the inner sanctum, it was time for him to dispense justice. He knew that no one would approve of his action, that they were saying he was doing it for Amari, and to protect her, but he had no choice. That was what he told himself, there was no other path.

    It was a convenient half truth.

    He almost wish he had his Nodachi on him. It would have made the fight he knew was coming more comfortable for him. He hadn't taken the Rat’s tail from his chambers since the last of the Knights evacuated Castle Ixia. It was a small bit of nostalgia he indulged in as he walked clearly down the path. He knew he had been spotted and didn't care someone would fetch Licensith Ulroke, and he would get his meeting without demanding it.

    He was sure the appearance of an Ixian General in the Inner Sanctum of the Crimson Hand would warrant as much.

    Any hope he had of leaving was quashed once he stepped beyond the small building at the outskirts. He had found his answers, what he needed to proceed and keep his promise to Amari. He needed to confront Lye, as Seth called him, and teach the man what true leadership was. He let a soft prayer toothed Kami leave his lips as he reached down and grabbed the Porcelain Mask that hung from the saya of one panther twin blades at his hip, and placed it firmly over his face. This was not a time for the kinder, gentler Taka, this was a moment of Justice.

    He continued down the path and saw men running before him, some shouting out warnings as a crowd had begun to form before them. Taka was sure this was a once in a lifetime spectacle, and some of these people would get a second time to witness it. He kept up appearances, if only for their memories. He was going to March out, and he wanted them to know that as well.

    One of the men stood squarely in his path, and the Ronin stopped a respectable distance away before he spoke, “Are you to take me to your Master?”

    “Master nothing, I'm going to gut you and get his thanks. He'd elevate me for saving him the waste of his time,” the man replied.

    Taka shook his head as he continued to walk his footsteps always seeming to find purchase in the correct parts of the snow as he did and spoke, “Do not be a fool. I would not knowingly walk into a den of murderers and thugs if I was afraid of the common men there.”

    Taka slowly moved by him. He weighed an attack only to get a stare down from the Ronin that stopped him cold in his tracks. Somehow the man knew if he drew steel he was dead, there would be no offer of mercy. He casually raised both hands before he gestured down the Path, “He was putting Scarlet in lockup last I heard, I'll take you to the dungeon entrance. From there it's your stupid ass on the line, not mine.”

    “Many thanks, I am General Taka, Dark Blade of the Ixian Knights. If you should have need to make introductions,” Taka replied in turn. The man was taken aback by the polite demeanor as he moved. A few gangs moved to settle on the Ronin before their compatriot waved them off. It seemed no one wanted to put off what was going to be a wonderful fight for their master.
    How something is said, is just as important as what is said. -Anonymous

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