Moving Forward, Not Making Up

Moving Forward, Not Making Up

Postby CherryStatic » Thu Oct 30, 2014 3:36 pm

After the events that had unfolded at the Floating Dragon, in which both she and the Lady Warden of Myrkentown had lost the only lead they had at that point in time, Bern Clydell had come to a decision. As Egris ordered her men to get the bystanders on their way and deal with the bodies of their assailants, Bern had nodded at her farewell and silently palmed the dead woman's unusual weapon, the baton that conducted small blasts of electricity upon contact.

She walked towards the South of town without looking back. The Lady Warden had more than proven herself that evening; she was no decorated fop who lounged atop plush status while hired hands did her dirty work. Her sword wasn't a conversation piece, either. She could feel the beginnings of respect for the woman somewhere within her. Even if she wasn't the noble's biggest fan.

I might want to learn how to play nice, she admonished herself, striding across the bridge just past the gate. Her line of work was simple at its core: negotiate a price, do the job, and get paid. No bells or whistles, unless she deemed it necessary. There wasn't much room for idle chats or making friends. But making enemies? She had something of a knack for that.

It couldn't hurt (could it?) to make a couple of allies in the town, especially if they were as capable as the Lady Warden. And the friendship wouldn't be one-way, by any means; they had her blades to rely on. She toyed with the idea as her destination came into view. Some of her tougher requests began with knowing her target thoroughly, so having someone with that knowledge on her side was far from a bad idea.

And it wasn't like the noble was hard on the eyes, either.

She cleared her throat self-consciously as she pushed open the door to the Broken Dagger, looking for the one-handed girl she had walked across town to see.
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Re: Moving Forward, Not Making Up

Postby Rance » Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:16 pm

"Upstairs," the bartender told Bern Clydell, if ever the inquiry came. "Third room on the left along the corridor."

And should Bern heed the directions, the door in the upstairs hall was slightly ajar, offering a sliver-glimpse into the room:

Bare and unadorned, there was little personality of note in the seamstress' apartment. On a nightstand stood a small pyramid of seven books stacked carefully from largest to smallest, and beside them, a porcelain plate wore a beard of wax melted long ago, the vessel's sole occupant being a fat, unlit candle. The bedclothes were primly tucked underneath the hay-stuffed ticking. On the edge of the bed sat Gloria Wynsee, her back toward the door and her head turned to admire the autumn colors sprawling well beyond the walls. The position, however, was a ruse. She slouched over her pregnant stomach, her face mostly hidden by the sweat-soiled bonnet that guarded view of cheeks and chin. Like a posed statue, she did not move--

Bosom rose and fell beneath a loose, wrinkled nightgown.

Her lone hand was sprawled, a dark protector, across her abdomen.

Sitting upright and chin sagging, she slept, capturing what few minutes she could muster.
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Re: Moving Forward, Not Making Up

Postby CherryStatic » Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:44 pm

Assuming that the girl was still awake (why else would the door be left open?) she let herself into the room, pausing in the doorway when the girl didn't turn to see who it was. Realizing that the girl was sleeping, albeit in an odd position, she hesitated, and she considered leaving and closing the door behind her.

Instead, she cleared her throat. When Gloria didn't react, she sighed in a long-suffering way and rapped her knuckles on the wall behind her three times.

Loudly.

She folded her arms as the girl stirred, watching her with the slightest hint of amusement dancing across her lips. If the girl turned to look at her, she would have seen the half-elf looking down at her with a somewhat softened expression, no sign of her usual bad attitude.

"The Kestrel? Are you serious?"

After a night full of partial electrocution and very nearly having her head crushed, she couldn't think of anything more eloquent to say. Despite the incredulous tone in her voice, she smiled, her eyes slipping shut, as the entirety of the events that night caught up with her all at once, her adrenaline fading.

And she laughed. Not in a condescending way, but in a decidedly girlish manner that went against her appearance, the side of herself that she willingly showed to others. It was more a betrayal of self than anything else, and she couldn't have cared less. Not when Gloria, the least likely person in Myrken to judge her for it, was the only witness. She covered her mouth with one hand, trying to bring the laughter to an end.

"Sorry. Sorry." She turned slightly away, breathing in. "It's been a weird night. I don't know why I'm laughing."
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Re: Moving Forward, Not Making Up

Postby Rance » Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:27 am

A knock on the wall--

somewhere sand under her feet under her toes shifting world without a foundation and you stand there stand there until it burns and the Glass Sun never stops screaming never stops shining never stops weighing like a thousand wild flames on your skin

--and with a gasp, eyes lunged open, a cheek angled toward Bern Clydell, The young woman's face, a plain and unexpressive expanse, was still half-callused with sleep, unkempt tendrils of black hair hiding the condemnation and confusion etched into the lines of her skin. "What about her," Gloria asked, regarding this jest of the Kestrel. "You could a least offer a more amenable greeting. This is my room, Bern; I was sleeping."

But at the risk of sounding too impetuous, she started to stand, pressing her remaining fingers against the bedding to unfurl from her repose. The burden of her stomach had become almost obscene in its proportion to the rest of her body, her firm shoulders and sturdy hips little more than a framework from which to hang a baby, a new life--

And whether at her, whether at something else entirely, Bern was laughing, didn't know why, seemed to overflow with some breed of misdirected mirth.

"Is she well," the seamstress asked. "The Lady Egris.

"And are you?" With all this awkward laughter, this humor. "You look like the bottom of a boot."
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Re: Moving Forward, Not Making Up

Postby CherryStatic » Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:51 am

"I was sleeping."

"I know." The half-elf sobered a bit, the laughter coming to a stop gradually but her green eyes crinkled around the edges, watching the girl. "I'm sorry. People handle stress in odd ways. I've seen it more times than I can remember."

Gloria did not look amused. After all, Bern had apparently entered her room in the small hours of the night just to stand over her and laugh. Her smile slipped a few notches, her eyes finding their way back to normalcy; that dull, lidded gaze that dismissed the world around her. She folded her arms over her chest, her out of place humor disappearing behind the fa├žade once more.

"She's fine." the half-elf said quietly. "And I'm fine thanks to her. Thanks to you. I've had some close calls, but that was a bit much, even for me. I'm glad she was there."

She met Gloria's gaze. "We found two of our mysterious red friends at the Floating Dragon. They're on their way to the Rememdium by now, but they caused us some trouble." She absently rubbed the back of her head, which still throbbed dully. "We didn't find Vixen. It looks like the other members of the group have her stashed away somewhere."

If Gloria reacted, Bern was quick to reassure her. "We'll keep looking. I'm sure Egris can uncover something. Don't worry. It didn't sound like they were planning to hurt the girl; if anything, it sounded like she's important to them. I came here to..."

She coughed in spite of herself, a tint crawling onto her cheeks. "Well, um, you're a part of this, so I thought they might come after you. So, I'm here to stand guard, I guess." Her voice tapered off quietly. She recovered quickly, remembering the object at her hip. She pulled free the baton and laid it gingerly on the bed next to the girl, warning her not to touch the shaft.

"I picked that up before the guards got to the bodies. It's made to stun, but I'm pretty sure you can kill with it if you try hard enough. Think of it as an apology for the things I said earlier. It should keep you safe. Both of you."

She paused. Eventually, she reached out to touch Gloria's stomach if the girl allowed her to get that far. Everything about her body language was careful and considerate. She knew that the girl's opinion of her wasn't the best.

"It's almost time, isn't it?" she said softly, with reluctant wonder in her voice. "I can feel her."
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Re: Moving Forward, Not Making Up

Postby Rance » Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:47 pm

For a long while she said nothing. First, her actions spoke -- she turned on the bed, pivoting her legs about that she might quarter toward the offered implement, examining it with that same dull, inquisitive stare she leveled upon everything else. Under the veil of darkness in the room, only a single candle offered the pair some solace, a wiry wisp of smoke curling incessantly upward toward the ceiling from the tip of flame that danced on the taper's blackened wick.

"I'm glad she -- she found you. You and the Lady Egris are women of considerable capability. What Jig needs, if -- if she's been pilfered by someone, is to be retrieved. Would that I could help, Bern, but until this child comes, I am useless. I want to help, but I can barely find the balance to manage the stairs let alone aid a friend in need."

Her voice maintained its composure, even as she lowered her chin and tried to hide her visage at the admission.

"But if they do hurt her, excuses won't assuage my guilt. As for apologies..." Her palm lowered onto the tool, the baton. In a trembling grip she lifted it by the carved handle, testing its balance at the extension of her arm. The sleeve of her nightgown rode up enough to give a glimpse of hearty wrist and forearm. The stained wood almost perfectly matched the burnt tones of her complexion. "You owe me none. I was as sharp of tongue as you were. But standing guard over me won't -- won't bring Jig back, Bern. Nor will criticizing yourself."

(It was somewhere under there, wasn't it? Beneath that hard, simple face and those razor-edged wits; hidden beneath the stern set of Bern's mouth, scrawled like a secret art on the backside of her teeth: a guilt, a regret; everyone had one.

Take it from a mother, danced the half-elf's old words inside her brain.)

Then, unexpectedly, the short-haired half-breed reached out, shattered the membrane of space and separation between them. As the woman's fingers brushed across the strained excess of Gloria's belly, the seamstress drew in a steadying breath. The fabric of her smallclothes didn't deny the stirring of the babe under her skin, its twisting, impatient little frame exerting pressure against skin and navel, a pulse and proof of tiny, curious life.

It's almost time, isn't it? I can feel her.

"Days," Gloria whispered. "Perhaps a fortnight at most. But should someone in red come to -- to inflict their displeasure upon me, they'll find that I have an awful habit of surviving, like you and Lady Egris. Like Jig."

She unhanded the baton. Her sleeve-hem, stained and crusted with black sweat, grazed Bern's knuckles as Gloria sought to touch them. A truce.

"Tell me how I can aid you and -- and I shall."
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Re: Moving Forward, Not Making Up

Postby CherryStatic » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:28 pm

Any tension that had existed between the two of them seemed to evaporate when Gloria's hand touched hers. At that moment, she was not Bern Clydell, the hardened bounty hunter who hid her thoughts and emotions behind a snarl; she was just another young woman trying to survive in the world, the same as Gloria. She offered a small smile, pulling her hand away from the warmth of the Jernoan girl's belly.

"Just stay safe. And keep your eyes and ears open. Maybe we'll be able to resolve this soon."

She gestured absently at the baton. "Keep that thing close. I'm serious."

She paused, thinking. "Do you know where Weaver alley is? I live across from the apothecary. If you hear anything useful, come find me, alright? You're welcome to stay there if you run into trouble. Gods know there's plenty of room."

She turned to go, some of her usual demeanor returning. She opened the door, glancing back. "Stay safe, Gloria."

She was sure to close the door behind her.
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