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  1. #1
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

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    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
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    Telgradian
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    The Anomaly [closed to Ulrich Craggenmoor]

    Shinsou hadn’t felt rain since he last saw Storm Veritas at Whitevale.

    The rain of Stonevale wasn’t like the warm drizzle of the Brotherhood's township headquarters. It was cold. It was punishing. Each drop hammered against his pale skin, but even so the Telgradian felt uncompelled to seek shelter. He simply tugged the hood of his white coat down over his forehead as he leaned against the wall of a closed bazaar.

    Though a thoroughly unpleasant evening, the town was alive. The squelching of sodden boots on the pavement as people passed by and the buzz of chatter defied the elements. There were several lights up ahead in the windows of some of Stonevale's establishments. Shinsou blinked through the watery veil splashing down on the world, until his eyes rested upon the door of the building that he had been searching for. Standing just outside the door were two bouncers, as tall as they were wide.

    They don't know it yet, but they are wasting their time.

    Shinsou didn't consider the pair any further. He approached, pulling his hood back to reveal his face, and slipped by the venue's 'security' without addressing them.

    The Telgradian opened the door and peered inside.

    A typical, city centre pub. It was abuzz with people, conversation and merriment, and all too cheerily lit despite the absolute disrepair of the place. Shinsou took care to avoid the worst maintained areas by meandering through the labyrinth of tables and chairs to the corner of the bar furthest away from the crowds. The strong scents of ale, sweat and piss clung to everything. To make matters worse, he could feel the vulture-like eyes of the clientele picking his unfamiliar face apart piece by piece.

    Shinsou nodded to catch the attention of the lone bartender.

    “Whiskey, neat.” The Telgradian asked of the short, moustached fat man with a lowered voice.

    “Sure thing, pal.” The pug like features of the barman screwed up as he grabbed a bottle of amber liquid from the shelf behind him, barely even glancing at his customer. "Miserable evening, isn't it?"

    “Could well be.” Shinsou quipped.

    The retort surprised the bartender as he fumbled with a tumbler he had been cleaning up, and looked up to meet the slitted, golden gaze of the Telgradian. "Sorry, sir, I don't follow. Are you ok?”

    “It could be for someone in here,” Shinsou said vaguely. “...a miserable evening, that is.”
    They are rage, brutal, without mercy. But you. You will be worse. Rip and tear, until it is done

  2. #2
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    Ulrich Craggenmoor's Avatar

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    Hustle and bustle. The smells of every other pub on the planet encompassed Ulrich in its stale embrace. The smell of sweat, alcohol, joy and loss was almost as universal as the colour of the sky. To the man in the corner, hidden from anyone who didn’t bother too look, it brought feelings of waywardness and sorrow.

    But you don’t go to the local to dwell on your feelings of hopelessness, to get drunk and forget about your life. Ulrich didn’t anyway. When you’re bored and have nothing else to fill an otherwise empty night.

    You go to eavesdrop.

    A few years of intense training had honed his ears beyond what anyone would think was normal for someone who stared, empty eyed, at a full glass of ale. Dew sliding down the glass To rest on the beaten Yew table. His attention seeming to follow the liquid in it’s jagged journey.

    A drunk couple were fighting with broken slurs over the best baker in the city.

    Someone was singing their woes to a bored looking barmaid, too polite to say anything to the lonely old man.

    Across the bar there was a broken line as someone new sat and discussed with the bartender, Discussing the weather and, Philosophy?

    No, all of this was par for the course and not interesting in any way. As the weather worsened and lightning lit the streets in momentary, temporary photographs of the streets, it was always silence which caught the attention. You just had to know how to listen for it.
    It was too rare for many people to find and if it found them then it was a horrid, clumsy thing to handle.

    The wizard’s fingers twitched as his senses roamed around the bar. Trails of magic. The threads which Ulrich manipulated the world with flowed from the tips, like golden after images of his hands.

    Someone wasn’t making much sound. Any sound at all for that matter, in the centre of the room. Ulrich had walked right past him when he arrived.
    The gentleman had been surrounded in the cacophony of noise, like a cocoon against the world, but only a moment ago he had been interacting with it. With someone. The stranger hadn’t been alone.

    Now, head drooped low he looked, in a passing glance to be asleep. But.

    But.

    Ulrich was up and weaving through a crowd of people and around another. A table of mis-matched wood and colour. In the centre of the pub common area. Ulrich, his back to the front door and the bar brought himself to eye level with the unmoving fellow.

    The Blue lips, bulged eyes and swollen tongue. Already dead.

    The silence that fell, was deafening.
    No Gods or Monsters. Only Men.

  3. #3
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris had been expecting a much different night.

    The message had reached him hours earlier. His bodyguard, Raine, had been worried. Her brother Philisandre was a low level minister in Corone's Assembly, and had caused quite a stir for campaigning against organised crime on the island. It would seem that the wealthy crime-bosses that had so far evaded both the Brotherhood and the Assembly had taken this personally, and had decided to pool their considerable resources to silence the young upstart. Using her contacts, Raine had gotten wind pretty quickly and had immediately begged Shinsou to intervene.

    All he had was the name of the place the hit was allegedly taking place, and the name and quick description of her brother. The place was easy enough; The Lion's Paw in Stonevale. The brother, though? The Telgradian had never met Philisandre, and a brief physical rundown had done nothing to help him identify the man in a crowd. Dark hair, middle aged, no scars or tattoos. Usually dressed in finery.

    He could have been anyone.

    That being so, Shinsou had devised a plan to pick him out of a crowd. He could sense life forces, and relatives tended to be similar in their spiritual signatures.

    Just look out for a signature similar to Raine. Easy work, assuming he's in there. Then kill the hitman before he or she gets a chance to get their hands dirty.

    The musing of plans past was suddenly interrupted. A horrific void of silence had suddenly enveloped the tavern, and only moments passed before an emergency was heralded with a wild yell from the gathered crowd. A short man, with dark hair, was slumped against a table, as if leaning.

    He was dead.

    Shinsou felt his heart beat like a bass drum in his chest.

    Fuck. Dark hair, dressed in finery and middle aged. I think this is our guy.

    How had he not sensed Philisandre's presence? The thought ran around his mind as the crowd went taut around the man's corpse. He remembered walking past that table a few minutes ago when everything seemed fine. There hadn't been a commotion or even so much as an exclamation from that direction. Shinsou's eyes quickly looked for any sign of what might have caused the minister's demise, but the gathering was blocking his view of the source of the blood that now pooled at the man's feet.

    The spellsword meandered his way to a better vantage point, pushing his hip and side through the gaps between people and elbowing enough space to move. When he eventually caught sight, Shinsou felt immediately confused.

    Philisandre seemed to have been attacked from behind with some sort of garot; the wound in the man's throat consistant with a thin, razor wire or blade that had sawed through skin and flesh. Thick blood poured down the front of his dress shirt and, from his posture, it would seem that Philisandre had not known about the attack until it was too late.

    This posed serious questions for the Telgradian, whose eyes were now sweeping every inch of the room, albeit hopelessly. Whatever or whoever had done this was long gone.

    How the fuck did anyone do this, in broad daylight with all of these people around, and not get noticed?

    It defied belief, but however the hell it had happened, it didn't matter. The Telgradian had failed to keep his promise to Raine. Instead of delivering her brother to her safe and sound, Shinsou was now going to be asking her to make funeral arrangements. As he wrestled with this, the crowd around him hesitated. The two hapless and ineffective bouncers marched in from outside and started blasting questions – a natural reaction in a moment of abject shock and fear, before barricading the door and making it clear no-one was leaving until answers were forthcoming.
    They are rage, brutal, without mercy. But you. You will be worse. Rip and tear, until it is done

  4. #4
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    Ulrich Craggenmoor's Avatar

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    Once you point out that someone's dead everyone wants to have a look and say the same thing:
    "Yeh he's dead."
    "Wow, dead."
    "Didn't believe it myself. But, dead."
    "Another round? What? Dead? "

    Ulrich's hand moved inside the stranger's jacket and began to pat down the body quickly, before any attention drew to himself. He was looking for a motive. He looked like the bad guy, with his paw in the corpse's doublet, but he had to know for sure what this was. The stranger still had a wallet on him and unfortunatley, that made a lot of sense. This wasn't a robbery gone wrong, or a mugging.

    "This was a hit."

    There was an assassin running through the city. Probably already gone from here.

    A stranger had side-charged through the crowd to get an eye-full of the spectacle. Eyes filled with regret and sorrow. Someone filled with a functioning soul of empathy. The tavern was filled with curiosity.
    And growing panic. Ulrich, turned, hearing the mutterings of paranoia spread. and grow. The energy of the bar was growing, on a course to bubble over. If it did, that meant the local police force would arrive and they would all be jailed for the night. Then questions. All the questions, with noone believing that nobody saw anything. While a murderer wandered the streets in broad daylight. It wouldn't be right.

    The guards were not understanding. Already kettling the patrons away from the front door.

    The blade on Ulrich's back felt hot with purpose. If it could talk, he knew what it would be demanding. His eyes wandered around, window, kitchen. Behind the bar there was another doorway. Hopefully there would be a second floor. First step was leaving the bar without the guards clocking him as someone who was "Escaping".

    No point sticking around then.

    The magic crackled between his fingertips. Pushing through the crowd in a slow, deliberate manner. Moving towards the bar as he focused his steps into light pats, his total footprint diminishing to a pin. Slipping across the floor and over the bar using the bulk of the crowd to cover his exit. There was a free swinging, ornate door which was the barrier to the freedom he craved. He moved through.

    The back room was instantly cooler, larger than he expected and cluttered throughout with barrels and bottles. A staircase led upstairs to a private home, another door to the small pub kitchen. Delicious aromas of herb and stews conflicted with the chaos and panic growing behind him. Ulrich gripped a wooden banister and made to move upstairs. He'd slip out a window and across a rooftop before any more arrived to lock down a useless crime scene.
    No Gods or Monsters. Only Men.

  5. #5
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
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    "Stay here," The first security guard ordered, pointing a gnarled, pale finger at the tavern's bewildered patrons. "We'll need statements from all of you."

    The gathered men and women looked at each other, as if searching for guidance from one another. There was a heavy presence of doubt, and as Shinsou stood set slightly apart from the crowd, he kept his eyes darting about his perimeter. The likelihood was that Philisandre’s murderer was long gone, but that didn’t stop him from erring on the side of caution. After all, being too comfortable in a crowd had once led to him being shot, and there was still a small chance that the killer was mingling in with the innocents, waiting for the opportune moment to escape.

    One of the guards finally took it upon himself to preserve some of Philisandre’s dignity, draping a tablecloth over the corpse. As the rabble continued, Shinsou had barely enough time to look over his shoulder to watch a figure slip away into the shadows at the edge of the tavern. Without pausing, the man ghosted through the door leading to the bowels of the tavern, and quietly clicked it shut. Despite the close proximity of everything to the two burly men near the front door, this seemed to escape their notice.

    Nothing screams “red flag” more than someone slinking off from the crime scene. I think it’s time to shake this crowd and have a chat with our mystery contestant. In any case, if I get noticed here by some eagle-eyed do-gooder, it could cause all sorts of problems.

    Another glance round confirmed what he already knew. There wasn’t a man amongst them who could physically bring him to bear. Escaping loudly would represent no challenge at all; he could brush aside the security with little more than an iota of his power. This said, the Telgradian was cognizant of keeping things quiet. If he started a ruckus, it wouldn’t be long before someone fingered him for being Shinsou Vaan Osiris, co-leader of the Brotherhood. The attention would be, at best, unhelpful. At worst? All it would take is for someone to connect dots that didn’t exist and before long, “Brotherhood kills promising young Assembly minister” would be front and centre of the Radasanthian Reader. It would be a headline that the crime syndicates would adore, and one that would see him and his organisation framed for a murder they simply hadn’t committed.

    …and that’ll put a pin in any lasting peace between the Brotherhood and the Assembly.

    His hands clenched at his side as he tried to conjure a plan. A distraction was needed, but more than that, a subtle movement towards the back door. Quietly stepping back from the crowd, Shinsou deliberately bobbed and slowly paced in a seemingly random pattern. He clasped his hands behind his back, pretended to be half interested in a few conversations, all whilst maintaining a steady rate of movement towards the back door. A quick check confirmed that the guards, now speaking to some of the patrons, hadn’t noticed his movements and the crowd had not stirred from their own confused state. The Telgradian straightened his spine and slipped a hand gently over the brass doorknob.

    With a brisk turn, slip and click, Shinsou was out of the room and into the rear hallway.

    Cool air hit his skin immediately as the Telgradian drove into life. He meandered past the oaken kegs and containers, his white coat whipping the masonry either side, until he reached the only staircase out and raced up the stairwell. It seemed to lead to the landlord’s private accommodation and the pub kitchen, but those weren’t of interest to him. To the right, a large, single paned window had been left ajar. On the slate rooftop of an adjacent building below, the green moss that had grown undisturbed for years was churned into lumps of soft debris - tell-tale signs of someone having quickly but carelessly travelled across it. Beyond this, an alleyway stretched out from a stone archway; the only access to the back of the pub.

    A one way street leading back to the road.

    He confidently clambered out of the window, landing softly upon the shale-tiled roof of the adjacent shop, taking the only available path that his quarry could have taken. Vaulting down from the rooftop, the Telgradian hit ground level with bent knees and began to sprint ahead. At the end, the passage widened and split out. Faint sounds that sounded suspiciously like quick footsteps wafted from the right hand side, and as Osiris jinked into it, past a no longer functioning fountain, he caught sight of the figure he had seen leave the tavern. A nagging throb began to pound at the back of Shinsou's mind as his senses started to pick up. He knew the taint of magic well enough to know that the person in front of him was unmistakeably a “special”. It was a cheesy term he hated, coined by Storm Veritas, to describe people who wielded unusual or powerful abilities. It was not exactly reassuring, but better men had tried to kill Shinsou and failed.

    The Telgradian didn’t hesitate, kicking off from the wet cobbles and closing the short distance between them in a flash. Slamming into the man with his body, Shinsou twisted to catch his prey with his left hand as his right wrist had flicked out, conjuring the dreaded crimson energy blade that the legions of Tenebrae had suffered weeks before.

    The hand dropped an inch, fingers curled inwards, as the edge of the pulsating blade snapped parallel to the man’s jugular vein.

    "You better start talking, and fast. Who hired you to kill Philisandre?” A moment of exasperation crossed Shinsou. He wouldn’t pause before going in again. “I want names, places, everything. You give me what I want, and maybe you get to wake up tomorrow.”

    Filled with aggressive energy, his hidden left hand began gathering a small orb of Ardor’s Flame. He wouldn’t be caught off guard today.
    They are rage, brutal, without mercy. But you. You will be worse. Rip and tear, until it is done

  6. #6
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    Ulrich Craggenmoor's Avatar

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    The Glass was heavy and the shingles were wet but Ulrich had no plans to be questioned about a murder he didn't commit, while the murderer actually got away with... well. Ulrich could only keep his senses up to his maximum if he wasn't focusing on doing anything else. His training hadn't finished or progressed that far. He simply wouldn't be able to track this killer if he was trying to hide from everyone else.

    Or keep his footing.

    The slick rooftops beyond his sneeky exit awaited his foolishness hugrily. His heavy looking boots, made for mud and dirt, squeeked and squelched through this pre-curser to the next great flood. Moving to the next rooftop was almost a chore and as Ulrich bent his knees and pushed himself to the next point of his journey, the Rooftop struck.

    Feet flying in all directions at once, the momentum granted was little to none. Instead of a georgous curved arc to place the wizard on his feet across the alley, Ulrich was greeted by it's butch and flat cousin, the downward line of hurt. His upper chest impacted the gutter of the opposing rooftop, forcing the air from his lungs as flailing arms grabbed at the ledge and pulled him up.

    There was little dignity in the moment.

    Street level.

    The way down was easy. Wet cobblestones under his feet threatened to bruise his ego again, however he was ready for their tricks. He remembered his training at the temple of Panthor, Sure footedness and the senses were first learned by all the initiates, before the rest was preached. He blamed it on the change of scenery with a brisk shake of the head. Panthor was known to place people where they were needed . He trusted in that, at least. MOving forward, bringing the next street into view.

    The street was running a river on each side of the road. Noone was out there. Nobody clear anyway. Focus instead, let the world tell you where he went. His heart beat lowered as his senses sharpened, became more clear. The details around him seemed brighter, the rain felt crisper and the footsteps louder. Had the killer circled around him, Ulrich had been safe enough in the pub.this might have been his first and final mistake after leaving the order.

    Shit!

    Turning to face his assailent and bring him to justice Ulrich was filled with a moment of clarity. The assassin who killed in a crowded place without being noticed. Ulrich was going to bring him to justice, in a dark, abandoned, alleyway.

    SHIT

    He was fucked. A knife flashed out as the figure launched. Held high. A concentration of magic flashed up around his neck, before a blow was struck. A protective wrapper of shining gold magic threads. Melting away as fast as it was conjoured. Ulrich's hand was already rising to the sword on his back. A final desperate hope.

    Replaced by a non-final, decent hope as his assailent's rage demanded into his face hot bile crossing between them. He wasn't the killer, And Ulrich's hand froze halfway to the hilt of his weapon.

    But neither was Ulrich. And as his back was pressed into the stone cold of the alleyway wall the hope he had found faded as he scrambled for a way to communicate his innocence.

    "I didn't kill anyone!"

    Weak!

    The man was enraged, for whatever reason it appeared that he wanted Ulrich dead, personally for whoever the victime was he needed to not only convince the stranger, but connect. He didn't have anything to punch through this assault. Every strand of magic melted away near the red energy without a thought. Like it was simply not there.

    "We're hunting the same man. He killed my Brother!"

    When his life wasn't in danger he would pass along the unconvincing truth. That he was called to chase down this murderer by his minor deity. Or at least that Ulrich would like to have thought Panthor did.
    No Gods or Monsters. Only Men.

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