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 Ghosts N Stuff, [Welkin, Galia, Derezzed]
Galia Baryk
Posted: Nov 20 2011, 05:21 PM


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Her attempt at assuaging the situation had nearly worked.

Nearly.

Derisive as the captain had reacted toward her, Galia had been called far worse in her life, and being amused was better than threatening. For a heartbeat, she thought it could work out. Welkin would finally reclaim his tongue and tell the man what was what. Then the aptly named 'Striker' had to get up and ruin everything with a fist. Sure, that's what he was trained to do. That's why they'd brought him along. But they all clearly needed to work on their communication skills.

If looks could kill, both Zaman and Drez would have been corpses on the floor, by the way she wound up glaring at the backs of their heads. For Damask, it was because he should have waited for a command, and for Jaraei, it was because he had decided to make a human shield out of himself on her behalf. True, she was the least armed and armored of the bunch, but if it came down to a fight, she didn't need him getting in her way. And her life was probably the least at stake here, besides.

Irritated as she was by the turn of events, there was no time to dwell on the slight to her ego. The damage had been done and it was time to mitigate the wound. Welkin came to the fore, instantly making himself the most valuable player in the room. She could've hugged him for his ingenuity, but that would not have gone over well. A drink later, then. But only the one.

They would have to have A Serious Talk, anyway. Just to be sure that his lie about joining up with the pirates later was just that. Provided they got out of this mess alive.

Richard was not the smooth talker he was meant to be, once again reminding Galia of the misfortune of her born gender. She'd have done better in the trousers and he in the dress, at this rate. Resisting the urge to smack and/or shove him, she stepped to Zaman's side instead, slipping her arm into his. Let them be partners, then, since he seemed incapable of managing intelligent speech on his own.

"No doubt you know the kid's a remarkably talented marksman," she addressed the captain, backing up Welkin's claim. Hiring him as a hitman wasn't that out of the realm of possibility, so long as once emphasized the right qualities. "Put him on any rooftop in this city and he's guaranteed to get the job done. There's a list, you see. Of certain officials who'd like to block some vital changes in store for the city. And that just can't happen."

It was pure bullshit. But Galia kept talking, not letting anyone else get a word in, lest they screw up the fine web of lies she was weaving. "Surely you recall the riots? Well, the hierarchy of the underground's been shaken up by it, now that Baltari's gone. We-- Richard here intends to make a stake in it. Any means necessary. Isn't that right, darling?" she cooed lovingly, leaning her head on his shoulder for added effect.

"Once the boy's contract is up, he'll be free to do as he pleases. There's no need to fight. We can all share. In fact, we might even have some common interests, hmm?"
Andrezi Damask
Posted: Nov 21 2011, 03:38 AM


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He'd been ready for a fight.

He'd wanted a fight, he realized. He wanted to break this man's face. Repeatedly. It was just something about him.

Or maybe it was something about Drez.

But Welkin stepped in, putting out the fire. He agreed to go with the man. Then there was more talking. Drez was surprised that all of this was . . . calming so easily. He'd been sure that the other two men would be on him. Sure that he'd have to use the knife tucked away under his shirt.

Drez remained quiet, but wary. His fists were still clenched. The one that he'd thrown into the man's face was aching faintly. He ignored it.

He waited for something to happen.
Welkin Njordson
Posted: Nov 21 2011, 04:42 AM


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Thank the gods for Galia. Welkin belatedly realized she was the only one who knew how good a shot he was among them. Zaman sounded like he thought the idea was ridiculous, but Welkin had genuinely thought of becoming an assassin. He knew he could do it.

So did the captain.

The captain gave Galia a shrewd look. "Yeah, I know how good he is," he said, smiling at her. There was a lilt to his smile that curdled Welkin's blood. He'd seen it before, and the women he directed it toward were always sobbing by the end. Suddenly he wanted nothing more than to stab the man in the throat.

He clenched his fists until the knuckles cracked to stop himself.

"She's right," he said. "After this, I'll be all yours."

The captain barely glanced at him, keeping his eyes on Galia. "What common interests?"
Zaman Jaraei
Posted: Nov 21 2011, 11:55 AM


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Welkin the Assassin was about the dumbest thing he'd ever heard.

What was the boy going to kill, conversation?

Stuffing his personal opinion back down into that pit deep inside his mind, Zaman forced himself to ease into Galia's contact. He leaned into her, his nose briefly touching the lobe of her ear and a gesture of affection that came far too easily. “That's right, baby,” he said, speaking against her neck. Zaman then rolled his head back to face the ship's Captain. “The Boy is spoken for—for now, anyway.”

The words, for all their sweetness, were like ash in his mouth. As he spoke, Zaman pictured himself ripping out all the man's gold teeth and stuffing them down his thick, disgusting throat.

The conversation then shifted to common interests—a concept Zaman swore Galia pulled out of her ass just to annoy him. There were no common interests. If there were, then these men would linger, and the last thing Zaman wanted was to negotiate a deal with Thickbeard the Sailor and his Merry Crew.

When he noticed the man wasn't looking at him, Zaman shifted again. He waved his hand slightly, drawing attention himself. As he did so, he wrapped his arm tighter into Galia, pulling her unbearably close.

Mine.

“I'm sure there are men in this city who've been giving you trouble,” Zaman said, keeping his voice low enough so that it was only shared between them. “Some of these men have been giving us trouble as well. Perhaps our interests overlap in such ways.”

The Captain fixed Zaman with a scrutinizing look.

“We've been having some trouble with the Dockmaster and his uh, 'thorough looks' into our cargo.”

Zaman beamed and clapped Welkin on the back. “Our boy here can take care of that quite easily.” Because whatever; now they were getting into the Assassination game—which was great because Zaman wanted a new job anyway. Who cared if none of this was relevant to task at hand. Who cared if this was only digging them deeper into conversation and meaningless smiles?

But then again...

He rubbed his chin in thought. From the corner of his eye he could see the door opening. Bodies were beginning to filter in. Shit. Work fast, Yar Zaman.

“You say you've been having 'cargo issues'?”

“Aye.”

“In and out of Kyha?”

“Aye.”

“And your man here can't buy off a few guards? Who is he anyway? Your contact here. tell me his name.”

The Sailor—pirate, or whatever he was—stiffened and scoffed.

Zaman let his jaw drop.

“No one?”

The man shook his head again.

Zaman's smile was so sharp it could have sliced an apple in two. He flashed it at the sailor. “Well my friend, you are in luck. I just happen have a friend who knows a friend...if you know what I mean.”

The man eyed him.

“Look; we can't talk here. Word is that there's Authority-types spying around here, trying to dig up evidence. Why don't you meet us outside in a few hours. Once I take care of business here, we can meet at your boat.”

“Ship.”

“Right. Your boat.” Zaman was going to drill it in because this man was getting on his nerves and there was no time.

The Captain glowered, his forehead crumpling into a massive landscape of wrinkles and lines. “I will need an assurance,” he said finally. “In case you don't come.” His eyes scanned each of them, starting with Zaman, following by Galia, then Damask, and then dipping down to little wetboy Welkin Njordson who Zaman was going to have so many words with.

If the man got his assurance—which, by the way, Zaman didn't have—then they could find out who the real smuggler here was. Welkin's buddies were small fish in a big pond. Zaman wanted a shark, and fuck everything, he was going to get his shark and investigate the shit out of it.
Galia Baryk
Posted: Nov 22 2011, 01:18 AM


miss hobbella mcgee
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It was hard to decide what was worse: the way Captain Neckbeard was focused in on her chest (she knew where her eye line was, and he was not meeting it) like a hawk, or how intimately positioned she was against Zaman...and how much, to her chagrin, she did not actually mind it. That this was all happening in front of their colleagues only distressed her more, though she had to remind herself that neither Welkin nor Damask had no idea of their personal history.

At least, she hoped they didn't know, and that it just looked like they were really good actors.

Galia had meant to answer the Captain's inquiry, only to find herself drawn even tighter against Zaman. The surprising motion silenced her quickly. Her cheeks felt warm, from humiliation and anger, and she hoped there was enough rouge plastered on them to disguise her flush. She had to wonder where their charade ended and his actual feelings of jealousy began, and there was no doubt in her mind that a part of him was genuinely possessive. The way they—or she—had left things was not as clean an ending as she had intended.

Perhaps he didn't need her to speak for them, though. The captain seemed to be buying their story as the criminal mastermind Richard spun it. In fact, he was doing so well, that the gold-toothed cockroach wanted to hear more. Later. On his ship.

Now Zaman was being too helpful, so much that the bearded bastard thought he could make demands and call the shots. Assurance was a codeword for money or a hostage, and they only had one of those resources on hand. Though he paused on each of them individually, Galia knew right where the captain's eyes would return once he was done surveying his options. Her stomach flipped.

"How about the wench? We'll make good use of her time with us." He winked. She wanted to gouge out both of his piggy eyes with her thumbs, rip off his beard, and shove it up his ass. Her disgust must've registered on her face, because he followed that charming suggestion up with another gem: "Now don't make that face, woman. Might not be as pretty, but I'll be a better lay than this fellow." He jerked his head at Zaman, still grinning. "Bet I can even show someone like you a few new tricks."

Galia could have lunged at him and torn a good chunk of his face off with her bare hands before getting them all killed, but she didn't. Her fury and her fear transferred to her fingers, which dug tightly into Zaman's arm. "No," she murmured softly, not wanting to go anywhere, not even for the sake of this mission. There was only so much she could sacrifice to the cause.
Andrezi Damask
Posted: Nov 22 2011, 02:52 AM


with the furies breathing down your neck
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They seemed to be doing well. Zaman was good at bullshitting, Drez realized. Probably a direct result of being full of it.

All the talk of Welkin's marksmanship was a bit odd, but, as the Muscle, didn't think much on it (and he tried not to think much on anything else, either, beyond whether this man was a threat or not). He was carefully eying the two men behind the captain, who were carefully eying him.

If he were Zaman, he would wink at them. But he was not. Being Drez, he mainly just wanted to . . . hit them.

When talk of assurance began, Drez figured that the man would suggest either Galia or Welkin. At the suggestion of Galia, Drez almost offered himself instead. He didn't like the idea of a woman being in the midst of these pigs -- any woman. But, that wouldn't work. Drez was the Muscle. It would hurt Richard's credibility to be without some sort of enforcer other than a woman and a child. He had no doubt that both of them could handle themselves well enough (alright, maybe a little doubt about Welkin), but no smuggler would take either of them seriously.

So he had to stick with Zaman. Luckily, Galia had no intention of agreeing to go with them, and something told Drez that Zaman wasn't going to let that happen either. If only for the sake of this facade.
Welkin Njordson
Posted: Nov 23 2011, 07:46 AM


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"No." Welkin grabbed the captain by his coat and almost shoved him away from Galia, and his voice was just a bit too loud.

The captain stumbled away only a couple of steps, and not very quickly. He stared at Welkin in surprise, then increasing displeasure.

"I'll go," Welkin quickly said. "I'll go. All right? You wanted me back in the first place."

The captain's expression relaxed a bit. "That I did, but what if I changed my mind, boy?"

Welkin, for the first time in his life, glared at the captain. "You're asking for assurance. You'll take what we give you."
Zaman Jaraei
Posted: Nov 30 2011, 12:56 AM


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Her fingers tightened into his arm.

Without really waiting for it, his voice came out in unison with hers. “No.” It was a flat, unfriendly sound. It came from his gut and struck out. She wasn't going anywhere.

Neither was Welkin for that matter.

“No one is going anywhere,” he snapped, breaking contact with Galia for the first time. He stepped forward, his thumb playing with the ring he'd put on earlier. Zaman looked up at the wall of a man who was standing between his success and his failure. The captain was impossibly tall. “Except you, of course.” The smile that flashed across his features then was cold.

Without really waiting for it, Zaman's hand snapped forward, his fingers closing around the man's wrist. With a whispered word—one he had to spend fifty minutes learning—Zaman activated the spell within the warded ring. Magic shot through the ring like lightning, charging through the bones of his hands and seeping into the man's skin as if it were a sponge. Zaman felt the recoil hit him, even as he forced himself mutter the next few words.

“Take your men and leave.”

He'd been given the ring as a last resort—to compel whoever needed to be compelled. It one came with one charge, and even as he pulled his hand away, Zaman knew he'd used it. There was no flash of light, no great magical outburst. For all intents and purposes, Zaman had simply taken the man's wrist and said something.

The captain blinked, his eyes glazed over. Zaman knew the compulsion would last about three hours before the man would realize what had happened.

Then he would come back.

Shaking his head, the Captain lifted a hand to his grunts and nodded. “Okay.” His voice was faint, far away.

And then he turned his considerable bulk and left.

Zaman pivoted slowly, beads of sweat collecting on his forehead. He wasn't a Mage, but thats what warded objects were for, right? Pulling a smile out from some hidden compartment in his mind, he exhaled and let his shoulders drop. With his right hand, he reached to tug the ring off from his left thumb.

“So. Where were we?”
Galia Baryk
Posted: Nov 30 2011, 04:25 AM


miss hobbella mcgee
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She could've hit him.

In fact, she did.

Galia slugged Zaman in the shoulder as soon as he'd put that stupid smile on his face. It wasn't the full force she could summon, but enough to relieve some of her residual stress.

"For fuck's sake, why didn't you pull out that trinket earlier?" she hissed under her breath, finding it far easier to dwell on resentment than how absolutely relieved she was that they'd avoided a close call.

Grateful as she was that Welkin had been willing to sacrifice himself for her sake, she was also decidedly displeased by his decision. Ultimately, the refugee was a much more valuable tool for their plans than a pretend whore. She was expendable in this situation, and if the captain had even laid a finger on her while she was in their company, he would've lost it. And more. Still, she didn't bother chastising the boy. There was an easier target standing next to her.

"Or...did you just waste our ace on a small fish?" she sighed, bringing two fingers to massage her temple. Maybe she should have been more thankful for the intervention and an end to their obstacle, but it felt like they had lost sight of the bigger picture. Either way, it had been done. Galia pulled out the closest chair and sat down with a huff. "Let's review our plans, shall we? So we don't wind up with another mess on our hands?"
Andrezi Damask
Posted: Dec 2 2011, 01:49 AM


with the furies breathing down your neck
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Drez was silent. He didn't like magic. He felt that it was . . . cheating. Like magic was some sort of unfair advantage. This probably had something to do with his brother being a mage.

Maybe.

Still, he was glad that that was over with. Though he had to wonder how long the effects of that ring would last. He hoped it was awhile.

He sat down, slowly, in the chair that was facing the door. He would be ready if they came back in. But this time he wouldn't hesitate to use the knife he had stashed under his shirt. Or the one strapped to his leg under his pant leg.

"We didn't scare away the big fish, did we?" Drez asked, quietly. If their little spectacle scared away the ones that they were after, then this whole thing had been a waste of time. And Drez's knuckles would be stinging for nothing.

That man's face was hard.
Welkin Njordson
Posted: Dec 5 2011, 08:51 PM


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Welkin remained standing, staring out the door his captain had left behind. He stared at Damask, confused for a moment. He thought his old captain was the big fish. He was a slaver, after all, and wasn't that what they were going after?

Or was there someone bigger?

He pushed the thoughts away and looked at Zaman. "What'd you do to him?" he asked. His voice almost sounded accusing.
Zaman Jaraei
Posted: Dec 11 2011, 10:08 PM


i was a heavy heart to carry
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He weighed the ring for a second before pocketing it.

Then Galia punched him.

His grin sharpened to a happy little point—embarrassed but still unrepentant. “Look, he wasn't leaving,” Zaman argued, thumbing his own wrist. There was a faint tingle there, like a worm stuck in the confines of his skin. It itched. How anyone did magic was beyond him.

He slid into a chair and planted his hands on the table. “Don't start,” he muttered, craning his neck to get a better look at the tavern around them. It had filled up since the Captain had decided to show his handsome face. “Our plan stays the same. There are slavers here—real slavers.” He made a point to look at Welkin. The Captain had no contacts here, he'd said so himself.

It was around that time the boy asked his question.

Jamming his hand into his pocket, Zaman pulled out the ring and tossed it Welkin's way. “Compulsion ring. One charge. The Guild sanctioned it.” Usually it was bad manners to compel someone, but someone higher up had decided this was needed. And who was Zaman to argue with that?

Rubbing his hands down his face, Zaman sighed and then picked himself up slightly.

“And where the fuck are our drinks?”

He lifted his head to look at the bar again.
Galia Baryk
Posted: Dec 13 2011, 10:07 PM


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"One charge," Galia muttered under her breath, still irritated by the potential waste. Aside from Welkin's (relatively useless, in this situation) gift, they had no other magic tricks up their sleeves, as far as she was aware. (And perhaps that was the real root of the problem—she didn't know everything, this time. Her lack of complete control over the situation was agitating.) What she did know was that they had to be sharper than they were a few moments ago.

Taking a deep breath, she shot a look at Drez, sighing, "No more striking unless they take the first swing, alright?" That wasn't where they'd fallen apart, but they had come dangerously close due to a lack of proper communication. Words first. Fists second. Then, her cool gaze slid over to Welkin. "And we can't afford to lose you, most of all. No matter what happens." It was a firm reminder that Bait ranked higher than Distraction in their hierarchy. Much as it sickened her to think of going with the Captain, the last thing she wanted was for the boy to throw himself out there for her sake.

As for Zaman? Well, she'd already aired her grievances over his actions. And even then, he'd actually done better than she had initially given him credit for. But Galia was unprepared to admit she was grateful just yet. So she settled for silence, head turned in the same direction to look for their server.

As if on command, the crusty little man came shuffling back over, two overflowing, battered tankards in hand. One even had a little decoration, a slice of some brown, dried out fruit, perched on its lip—that was for her, presumably. Galia straightened (or, rather, arched so that her bosom was at its most prominent position), restoring her saccharine mask as he approached and set the drinks down on the wooden table top with a loud clank.

He grinned at her first, then dipped his head at Zaman. "Sorry for the delay, sir. Were waitin' 'til you had a little less...company." His eyes darted toward the door, then back to the would-be smuggler. "Didn't want to interrupt nothin'." Didn't want to lose another yellowed tooth in the potential barfight that looked to break out, more likely.

"Drink up. Game's on soon," said the man, almost conspiratorially, clapping a heavy hand on Zaman's shoulder, waiting for him to take a swig. Galia didn't even dare to sniff at her own beverage.
Andrezi Damask
Posted: Dec 22 2011, 03:06 AM


with the furies breathing down your neck
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He ignored the boy, thinking it not worth asking why he was staring at him. Instead, he looked around. People were looking at them. Not outright, but subtly. Well, not subtly either, but certainly not outright. A few glances here and there, mostly of concern or suspicion.

Or fear.

Drez sort of liked that. People being afraid of them. Even if it was more that they were afraid of being near them when they got themselves killed than anything else.

He looked at Baryk when she spoke to him, and nodded. She was talking to him as if he were a child. But, really, talking didn't get them out of the trouble, did it? As far as he could tell at that point, fighting was their best bet of solving the problem. Sure, it might have made it worse, but no one had died, or been taken hostage, or even hurt.

So, obviously that meant that he was completely and totally justified in hitting the man when he had. Any sensible person could see that.

Clearly.

He almost replied, but then the waiter came back over with their drinks.
Welkin Njordson
Posted: Dec 25 2011, 03:51 AM


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Welkin caught the ring and stared at it dumbly. It was magicked? So the captain would be back. He would still want to take Welkin with him.

He frowned at Galia's words, still determined not to let her just go off with the captain if it came to that. He had no doubt she was a strong woman, but she only had so much strength in her, and he would not let the captain or his men treat her the way they'd treated so many other women before. All while he hadn't fought to stop it.

He said nothing to her, however, and only sat down to watch everyone get their drinks. Everyone but him. He wasn't sure if he was still the bait or not. He wasn't sure what his place was anymore. The appearance of the captain had rattled him more than he expected it ever would.

He didn't have to try hard to look like a sad, dejected slave-to-be.
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