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Random Intermission story

Posted by Anke 
Random Intermission story
July 08, 2012 07:47PM
Well, that much was true. "Look. It's rarely personal, but..."

But what? Sebastian considered, glancing at a butterfly passing by and feeling irritated even though the butterfly was more colourful than the form in which Luck had shown up in.

He frowned. "It's still stupid," Sebastian said in a low voice, a smile trying to force its way into view. "You may have me there, but, I will admit, there was some calculation involved. Just as much as I'll admit that I bottle up my anger. Kaisre? Poor bastard was just trying to make ends meet. Brice? No say in it at all."

After a moment's consideration and squeezing Sylvie's hand, he said dejectedly, "I just see victims in the unlikeliest places, I suppose."
Random Intermission story
July 08, 2012 08:19PM
Sylvie looked at him with raised eyebrows and drew out her affirmative hum, still smiling. She had a suspicion why, but didn't want to argue.

She leaned a little on her forward foot, wanting to get moving again.
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July 08, 2012 10:32PM
The smile was met with another, and he kept his mouth shut until Sylvie next spoke. But he walked.

And they walked. Hills, valleys, the highway, it all disappeared and turned flatter at points, but on one of the hills along the way, Sebastian stopped and sniffed the air. Frowning, he shrugged as they continued their walk, weary and dirty. Just beyond the ridge, however, he caught another whiff.

"Do you smell that?" he asked, eyes squinted as he skirted a rock.
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July 08, 2012 10:52PM
She took a deep breath. A smile spread over her face. "Ahh. This is proper air. Salt and seaweed." Not only that, but these parts were definitely new now - but since she had grown up in a harbour city, it felt like coming home. Her steps grew longer.
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July 08, 2012 10:56PM
"I sense a bias," Sebastian chuckled, enjoying the slight breeze as he hurried along at her pace. "I'm not complaining. I'm a connoisseur when it comes to nature, admittedly with a dislike of wolverines and insects, but even so."

He breathed in the scent again. "Smells like home to you, does it?"
Random Intermission story
July 11, 2012 06:57PM
"A bit like it, at least." Sylvie grinned. With her mind split between the here and now, and the immediate future--finding Nico--she still had curiosity left to ask, "What's a wolverine?"

From their vantage point they could see the river widening abruptly. On its other side a settlement climbed up the slope of a steep hill that jutted forward into the water, making it hard to say if the hill ahead, far enough away to look hazy, was on an island or connected to land. The street curved to their right, keeping some elevation. The next settlement in sight might be a village, or the first outskirts of Menurin.
Random Intermission story
July 11, 2012 07:04PM
"Er," Sebastian said, and tried to explain to Sylvie exactly what a bastard a wolverine was.

But he stopped the moment he saw the scenery. "Well, that <em>is</em> pretty," was all he managed, eyeing the buildings, the harbour, the way Menurin spread around the water. He'd seen many such, just as packed with sails and floating wood, people working on the docks -- like ants, from where he and Sylvie were standing, actually. Large warehouses near the docks.

This was different. It was close to home, as it was promised.

"Pretty," he repeated wistfully.
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July 11, 2012 07:41PM
Laughing, Sylvie pulled him to the edge of the street, before anyone got too grumpy about them blocking the way. She leaned close to him and said, "A fish you are."
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July 11, 2012 09:02PM
"A fish I am? Trust me, mermaids are prettier. You'd make a good one," he shot back, mock-huffing as he surveyed the streets. "No, I like the sea. It's mysterious. Dangerous. Scary, even. But it's so full of delicious things," Sebastian admitted.
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July 11, 2012 09:16PM
"You'd fit right in there, then, after all."
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July 11, 2012 09:18PM
"Oh, flatterer. Are we competing on who's going to come up with better compliments, queen of the sea?"
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July 11, 2012 09:35PM
"Can't say I'm interested in a competition, love." She stretched a little and looked down the street, still smiling widely.
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July 11, 2012 09:38PM
"Ah. That certain that you'd win, then. I give up," Sebastian grinned, weaving along the street with her. He sniffed the strange mixture of civilisation and sea winds, finding it far more tolerable than inland civilisation. At least the sea air blew away some of the rank smell. "So, where exactly here are you meant to meet Nico, if you don't mind me asking?"
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July 11, 2012 10:06PM
"She wasn't sure where she'd be staying, so she gave me the name and address of the mage she's doing business with, and said she'd leave a message with him. It's in my diary."
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July 11, 2012 10:08PM
More mages? He only knew one he liked, and she was walking next to him, but Sebastian settled for looking perplexed -- as he was. "Well, um. Best we look into that. Dinner, next? I'm fairly certain there's fresh fish here. Maybe even with a bit of dill and citrus."
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August 14, 2012 10:31PM
They followed their noses to a promising place.

Sylvie was distracted digging out her lately neglected diary. The last written-on pages were disjointed notes, hardly sketching events in Canyet, something she should not forget to amend. Before that, some information about useful local plantlife she'd copied out for herself during that little expedition for Garren, and before that, "Highwater, Ash street, Mart Lucian. Sign of the lantern. That should work."
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August 14, 2012 10:39PM
Sebastian listened and sniffed on like a bloodhound. Having considered the directions, he came to realise that perhaps he was not all that off the leash. Sighing, the half-elf tugged Sylvie's sleeve -- and pointed.

They were, as a matter of fact, on Highwater, and Ash Street appeared to be a business street in itself.

Just a little further away from what seemed to be an establishment selling noodles and dumplings, was a sign with a lantern on it.

Finally, Sebastian said in a morbidly amused tone: "I hope you won't get used to this." A pause. "Dumplings or noodles? I can smell something sweet and sour, pork, maybe."
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August 14, 2012 10:57PM
"And I thought you were hunting for fish. Up to you."
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August 14, 2012 11:08PM
"As long as it's not..." he blinked, chuckled and shook his head. "You know. Chicken. But I'm fairly certain I'm smelling pork."

It was. It was a busy shop, and though there were many options for spices, Sebastian for one commented that he couldn't quite identify some of them even as he ate one last dumpling on the way to the place that so proudly showed a sign of a lantern. Even so, as he licked his fingers, he commented: "Salty. Not too much. Seaside fare, pork though it was. Have you noticed, mind, that meat tastes different on other worlds?" This he said as he opened the door to the place, not quite sure how cautious he ought to be about the mage.
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August 20, 2012 10:27PM
"Can't say I did, not more than in one, anyway. Feed, breed, <em>species</em>..." Since he was holding the door, she went in first, getting her line of thought tangled. The floor was a mosaic of tiny tiles in shades of pale green, arranged in subtle curling designs. Subtly floral stucco decorations snaked up the walls, painted in green and sandy gold. The focal point of the room was occupied by a crescent-shaped counter. The wall behind it held a round stained glass window with a sun motif, which would form a splendid halo for someone standing in front of it, provided they were tall enough.

The effect did not work so well for the occupant, who cleared his throat to be noticed - distracting Sylvie from wondering if the window was artificially lighted, or open to a yard or lightwell - and asked "Good day. Can I help you?"

His dress seemed plain in the room he held down, though it was well-made, and his expression was carefully professional. She guessed his age around fourteen.

She gave him a friendly smile. "Good day. I'm looking for Nico - she said she would leave word of where she stayed here?"

The boy relaxed and tilted his head a little. "Nico?" He frowned. "Are you Sylvie?"
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August 20, 2012 10:36PM
"Granted," was all he said, trying to dislodge a bit of meat from between his teeth with his tongue. Subtly.

Admittedly, Sebastian had let her in first because he thought a mage was far better for dealing with another mage -- and again, he only trusted one. But as he took in the room, flitting from the boy to each and every detail, the half-elf blinked repeatedly. He'd cased many places, but he wouldn't have given a proper appraisal of what that glass half-bubble that contained a large dark beetle and seemed to be coming from the wall was worth.

Nor the rest of the items, Sebastian mused as he took his place just behind Sylvie, staring at the boy over her shoulder. Funnily enough, he didn't care about the possible merchandise. But his ears twitched underneath his hood when he heard the two names. He moved to stand next to Sylvie and looked at her from under the hood, returning then to assessing the boy. Hardly a danger, the lad, Sebastian surmised.
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August 20, 2012 10:54PM
"Yes," she answered without thinking, and involuntarily shifted her weight a little when she remembered she had been travelling under an assumed name.

The boy looked at her a moment longer before shrugging. "She's a bit weird, then, your hair doesn't look all that red."

The moment he cleared his throat, Sylvie muttered, "Trick of the light."

"Sorry, yes. She's been dropping by, last thing she said was that she could be reached at the Vineblood."
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August 20, 2012 11:13PM
Sebastian was quite pleased with Sylvie's explanation, but then went on to being who he ought to be right now. "Where would that be?" Sammeh asked the boy, very sneakily giving Sylvie a calming pat on her lower back -- and another a bit lower. He had a faint smile on his face, an almost languid one.

Not too far later, having had his due from Sylvie for his behaviour, they arrived at an establishment that managed to surprise him, at least. Outwardly perhaps a bit lowbrow, inside Vineblood looked like a rather fancy deal. Or at least it strove to be such.

All dark reds and greens and browns, unlit candles and mahogany tables, fresher air than one would have expect and inn -- and this was decidedly not an inn pure bred. For one, all that pink wine. Still, Sebastian noted, there was no sawdust on the floor, no smell of lye. And there was even a minstrel that wasn't half bad.

Scanning the scene (nobody paid them much attention as they walked), he stopped and tugged at Sylvie's sleeve again, looking at her before nodding at a particular table... before taking a step back, adjusting his hood and trying not to look recognisable to someone who had seen him before.

Oh, it was just a part of his personality.
Random Intermission story
August 21, 2012 10:09AM
Sylvie walked to the suggested table and leaned her backpack against the wall before taking a seat, rolling her shoulders a little. She looked around, not seeing details. The whole identity confusion left her nervous, and looking relaxed took effort; worrying about being suspicious left her really no room to make fun of Sebastian's behaviour.

A group of three left just then, and in the jumble Sylvie nearly missed someone else crossing the room to the table it had just vacated. When she met Nico's eyes, Nico gave her a nod and a slight smile - <em>like from a stranger caught staring</em> - before continuing to collect the empty glasses.
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August 21, 2012 02:18PM
For his part, Sebastian had considered two options: either vanishing into the crowd or following Sylvie to her table. Hard choice. Both had merits. In the end, he supposed it was best to go with the latter after all; he came to this conclusion only after Nico continued collecting the glasses. Upon claiming a seat next to Sylvie (back against the wall), he lay his satchel down, crossed his hands on the table and seemingly stared at its surface. In truth, he was doing something else. "I didn't expect her to be working."
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August 21, 2012 04:41PM
"Mh? Did you expect anything in particular?" Sylvie watched Nico, trying to catch her eye.
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August 21, 2012 04:43PM
"With her, I wouldn't know what to expect," he said truthfully, taking his eyes off the table and glancing at Sylvie as he simultaneously reached a hand to rummage into his satchel.
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August 21, 2012 04:55PM
On the way back, Nico walked past their table, carrying a half-full tray. After a glance at Sebastian, she gave Sylvie a radiant smile and stopped. In a conspirational tone she said, "Hey, gorgeous, if you ditch your suspicious-looking partner, I could invite you for dinner later. How about it?"

Sylvie lowered her head and bit a knuckle to keep from laughing.
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August 21, 2012 04:59PM
By way of response, Sebastian grinned in amusement and wrote on a paper he had extracted from him satchel with a similarly displaced piece of charcoal. Then he tore a bit off the paper and handed it over to Nico, saying: "I'm sorry, but I'm her chaperone."

The note said: <em>Call her Eda, call me Sammeh. We're trying to lay low. Explanations in due time.</em>

He immediately began to doodle on the leftover paper.
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August 21, 2012 05:12PM
"Nico, stop bothering the guests and get back to work!"

"Right, boss!" She slipped the message under the tray without reading.

"When are you free?" Sylvie asked.

"Lllate, is planned. Will see." With a nod at the pair of them she left before the proprietor reached the table.

By-the-by, Sylvie asked, "What's a chaperone?"
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