Title: Scorpion Heart
Date: Jun 20, 2008 at 9:13 AM
Divinatas – Jun 20, 2008 at 9:13 AM
[dot][i]Continued from the Scorpion Heart game![/i][/dot]
A way in to the home of a certain man was what she needed, and thanks to her hired arm, that is what she received. What she hadn’t expect was him being taken away – likely to where ever the invited guests slaves were being fed – and that she found disconcerting. Zahra didn’t like it when Rune was out of sight, and she hadn’t a chance to speak with him privately long enough to make some sort of plan.
Now here she was sipping a glass of wine, the last of three guests sitting at the dinner table. The others having gone to bed, one man being the one that had her scroll and the other one of his colleagues. The conversation then took a turn for the worst.
“Lady Zahra and her prized fighter. Imagine how surprised I was to find out it was the same Zahra from Antiquity Museum. She doesn’t look like that same little thing cataloging artifacts, does she?” spoke
“It’s like a mouse coming down the stairs in to the rat’s den. My, how surprising the quiet ones can be.”
Zahra set down her glass, showing no surprise or fear. That’s what they wanted after all. “If you know who I am, then there’s no reason to play pretend. I’d like the scroll.” She’d also like Rune, for if she had to pull one of her backup plans out of her pockets she might not be able to find him in the wreckage.
A scroll was produced from the man’s jacket as he chuckled. “I thought that might be what you wanted. I’m impressed that you actually went through as much trouble to purchase a fighting slave to get my attention. That must have cost quite a bit of money. Perhaps I would consider a trade…”
“He isn’t for sale.” she said without thinking twice about it. Zahra moved to the edge of her seat, when his colleague had stood up from the table and was circling around in her direction. “And if your man gets any closer, I might kill you both.”
“That’s an amusing threat coming from a mouse. Ah, but I did offer a fair trade. Instead I’ll keep your slave, the scroll, and we’ll see how much you can fetch us on the market.” He nodded his head as he tucked the scroll back in to his jacket. His colleague lunged for her.
This was exactly why she didn’t like when Rune was out of sight. Zahra jumped up from her seat, pushing the chair in to the lunger and dashed around the table for the other. She was reaching in to her pocket for something useful when he cracked out a whip and caught her around the legs. Zahra found herself hitting the floor and someone on top of her, one of the dinner table knives pressed so tightly against her throat that she could feel a warm trickle of blood.
Masquerade – Jun 20, 2008 at 4:48 PM
Rune was actually being treated fairly decently. Sure, there was heavy guard and they wouldn’t let him within four feet of a weapon, but the slave girls the master of the house kept were very… flattering. He might not be [i]young[/i] anymore, but he wasn’t old either.
Apparently, having the children of a prized fighter was a way to advance oneself, because they were not being very discreet about their advantages. Well, that and one of the guards made a remark about ‘whelping a strong one’ and then turned a blind eye. So it was that he had a very hard time keeping track of the hours, flirting on the thin edge between flattery and acceptance and trying to make sure his food wasn’t poisoned.
About the time Zahra’s identity was being discovered, Rune was wondering if he should try and seek her out. It was very late, and they hadn’t gone over a proper plan. He knew the general plan, of course, but… He gently slid one persistent young woman onto a pile of cushions and got up. At a look from the guards, he grunted something about the privy, and one snorted before pointing the way.
Half way there, one of the guests who had allegedly gone to bed intercepted him. Her heavy perfumes made him want to gag, but he bowed respectfully. She didn’t look at him– one didn’t look at trash– but she spoke softly, under her breath.
“Find you mistress and leave. This place is no longer safe.” Before he thought to catch a glimpse of her face or even a brooch with her crest, she was gone.
And then chaos erupted.
It started small, as the worried bustle of a higher manservant rushing by. Then there was a scream, and the screaming multiplied. Run broke into a run, expecting to have to barrel past the guards, but there was no need. They weren’t at their posts anymore. It took him one wrong turn and grabbing a serving boy by the arm to find out where the dining room was.
Meanwhile, in the dining room, it seemed that Zahra had met her doom when–
Screams! Running! An acrid burning scent! A servant rushed in and, apparently indifferent to the unusual circumstances, whispered urgently to one of the men. The man holding the whip cursed and kicked Zahra viciously in the head before sprinting out of the room, the man with the scroll only moments behind him.
Rune dove around the corner and slammed into the man with the scroll. His superior weight knocked the man to the floor, but the smoke was growing thicker and Rune didn’t even stop to see who he’d run into. He rushed into the room, hoping against hope that Zahra would be there.
She was, although not as he’d left her. No time to worry about that now. He scooped her up and headed back for the hallway, but almost tripped on a body.
The body of the man he’d run into, still sprawled on the floor, but with the added bonus of having a bone-handled long knife thrust hilt-deep into his chest. Murder. For once, Rune gave pause.
“Uh. I didn’t do that.”
Divinatas – Jun 20, 2008 at 11:18 PM
Zahra was in a great deal of pain, but she masked that well. She couldn’t mask coughing from the smoke, and didn’t even try when Rune nearly tripped over the body. “The scroll! This one had it.” she said quickly, but upon inspection they found he didn’t have it any longer! He was murdered and the scroll was gone.
Someone else was looking for the scrolls now, Zahra was sure. That meant a great deal of problems for them in the future. But for now, the building was burning around them and the immediate present was more of a danger.
Zahra wrapped her arms tightly around Rune’s neck to keep herself close while he moved. “We have to leave the city.” she murmured in to his ear. “Or we’ll be dead too.”
Masquerade – Jun 21, 2008 at 8:13 AM
“How many of those scrolls do you have?” he murmured back. He was moving as quickly as he could, but he didn’t really know the layout of the house and most of the people had found their way outside already. He was beginning to despair when he nearly fell down some steps and, surprised, took in a much larger breath than he intended.
Heat seared his lungs, but the air was fresh. He staggered, trying not to drop his precious cargo, and realized he was in the gardens behind the house. It was perfect for an escape, provided that there wasn’t a crowd standing around just outside. People were attracted to disaster like crows to carrion, but he could use that to their advantage if they weren’t seen first. Shouldering his way through a tall shrub, he took a quick look around (no one yet, though he could see the crowd gathering around the corner) and walked as casually and quickly as he could while still holding a hundred pounds of girl.
They’d need to go through the south gate to retrieve their things, so he oriented for that first.
“Are you all right? Do you need a doctor?” He cursed himself for coming up with this stupid plan in the first place. And they hadn’t even gotten the scroll…
Divinatas – Jun 23, 2008 at 9:27 PM
“I’m not dying.” It was the truth. Especially now that she could catch her breath in the fresh air. But Zahra was cross and now quite a bit of things were going to have to change and be done differently. Rune wasn’t going to like a single bit of it.
“You can put me down now.” she muttered. “We’ll have to skip this scroll and get the next.”
Masquerade – Jun 25, 2008 at 11:36 PM
As they neared the outskirts of the town where their things were, Rune found that his adrenaline rush was finally leaving him. Despite his better judgment, he finally had to put Zahra down or risk dropping her. His arms were shaking a little, but at least his pace was steady as he bristled at her side like a wary watchdog.
“How many scrolls are there?” He tried not to pant when he talked, but it made his lungs burn. “And where are we going next?” Up until now he’d been assuming that it was like a scavenger hunt– they found a scroll and somehow that would tell them where to go next, and Zahra simply drifted from one to the other. But if it wasn’t like that, then how in the nine hells had she known where to get each one?
He didn’t realize he’d spoken the last part aloud until he heard the echoes of his last incredulous word.
Divinatas – Jun 27, 2008 at 8:30 AM
Zahra was wobbly on her feet, but she could walk well enough. As they reached the tree where they so cleverly stashed there things, Zahra immediately pulled her giant fur coat and put it on. It was a comfort to have it and all of her things easily within reach.
“Just five. Three left to find now, not counting the one we just lost.” she considered the other half of his question. “I don’t know yet. I’ll have to think about it.” it was an honest reply. Without that next scroll she was going to have to find them by [i]other[/i] means.
There was a [i]crack[/i] behind them! Standing there was a huge figured in blackish solid looking armor and a hood concealing most of his face. And unearthly looking weapon was strapped to his back. His smile looked more like a grim smirk than anything else. He didn’t speak as he held out his hand, displaying what looked like a ball of electricity! That wasn’t natural at all!
“Run!” Zahra shouted! [/dashed]