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18+ The Corrupted Guardian: Death in the Family

Discussion in 'Active Stories' started by The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. fellowknight

    fellowknight Private Lil' Num-Nums

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    A few minutes after the team's first duel...

    Somewhere in the now enlarged Talos District, carelessly hidden among the filth, an esquire of Imperial guardsmen hauled a nordsman to his unknown fate. He was bloodied and brusied and had been beaten into submission, his escort providing a crude display for those who happened to be around. Another victim to the city who had gone too far, crossed the line, and needed to be disposed of. The thought that this city had been drawn to such depths stirred Baroth's quite damaged stomach. What unsettled him even more was the irony in where he knew they would take him.

    For the past few weeks, Baroth had been observing the rather immense increase in crime, famine, and poverty following the newly elected emperor, Frigus. Not only had he enlarged the city to two times it's size, but now rumors had spread that he was funding the renovation and reconstruction of the arena. Though this activity alone wasn't what drew him to investigate. Over the past millennia, Baroth traced, and in some cases personally tampered with, the success of several businesses and service-based companies. While his involvement with the East Empire Company brought jobs to many poverty-strucken Nords, it was short lived following Frigis' rule. Baroth knew he was outsourcing the company, but what he didn't know was why.

    And when he arrived, he'd realized it was worse than he thought.

    The situation with the Emperor's two daughters was the hardest thing to dig into. Not only was their location kept a secret, but the security regarding the palace had near tripled in size. Though having practically the whole city after the daughter's heads was beneficial enough to hide his efforts, drawing security to the palace left the districts lightly guarded. And that gave criminals an ample breeding ground. After conducting said digging, a few interviews of laid-off captains and unemployed shop owners, Baroth was certain the funneling the funds from within the city, but that could only be added up as a fraction of the cost.

    Eventually, Baroth had been forced to bribe one or two of the Arena Guardsmen to leak a couple bits of information regarding the going abouts of the Arena itself. He didn't get much, however, as later that day, that same man had his throat slit and was tossed into the market district. Someone blew the horn, and decided enough was enough. And if being beaten and pumped with crackling electricity wasn't evidence enough, Baroth was just really unlucky. In this city, in accordance with the arrest records he was able to obtain, it was no longer a secret where lowlifes and traitors ended up.

    The carriage ride there was unforgiving, especially without his padded steel armor to shield his several wounds. And no shortage of thanks to the uneven roads. The trip did give him time to reacquaint himself, somewhat, and patch up his bruises. Even so, the sore spot on the small of his back would need to heal in its own time. At least I broke the bastard's nose, Baroth thought both fondly and haphazardly. Maybe not such a great idea, though.

    "He's here." A man stated. Baroth guessed he was imperial, his voice was rough and deep.

    "So that's him, huh? He'll make for a good show... Bring him in." The other man behind the door almost whispered in finish. Definitely an Imperial. The smug tone of his voice was a dead giveaway.

    The next thing he knew, he'd been shoved into a large room and had the bag removed from his head. To his right, against the wall, was a long feast-table, occupied by several small crowds of finely-dressed people. They spoke in hushed whispers, gathered at the center of the table, some pointing to him occasionally, raising their coinpurses to each other, laughing. Others were dressed in gladiator-type armors of varying colors, most of them with their arms crossed, dully engaging in conversation with one another.
    The crowd that seemed to be the most official-like, garbed in lush robes and tucked tunics, stood with their back straight and their brows lowered, surveying the muscled behemoth of a Nord before them.

    It was clear where Baroth was and why he was here. They were testing him, to see how reacted to forced confinement and, by the looks of the room, perhaps even combat. He looked down to where he was standing. Sand. Sixteen-feet circle diameter of it. He nuzzled his booted foot down into the grains of rock, until he felt the bottom. One foot deep. He glanced to his left, and saw three weapons racks adorned with just about any weapon he could identify, with one weapon per type and material. They were sharpened, all of them. Even the arrows. To the left of those three racks of weapons were similar sets, only more dull and less lethal. Another test. Either way, all of the weapons, lethal or not, were quite expensive. Especially ebony.


    One of the men who identified himself and those closest to him as evaluators, a man roughly in his forties sporting a plump gut, raised a hand, calling quite loudly for silence as he began to speak.

    "Allow me, on Behalf of our esteemed gamblers," He gestured to his right, his chunky face forming a smug expression. "And our team leaders," He again gestured to his left. "To welcome you to the Arena, Pride and Soul of Cyrodiil! Now, choose your weapons."

    Just as Baroth began moving towards the weapons, the man once again called out.

    "Oh, and if I were you, Baroth, I wouldn't try anything hasty. This room alone has two guards for every one of us. And even if, by some astounding miracle, you could escape this room unharmed, you'd never make it out of the halls. Let alone fight your way out, with the guards hounding you every second of the way."

    Baroth froze at the mention of his name, relieved that he was facing the wall and not the people behind him. He ran possibilities through his head, and frowned slightly as none of them worked out. He had no idea how they knew who he was. Or at least, his name. He left no trace of himself, and never dug so deep as to draw attention to himself. Which meant they were watching him just as much as he was watching them.

    Silent, he reached and grabbed a steel sword and a steel shield from the sharpened rack, returning to the center of the sand, all the while boring his cold gaze into the man, who seemed unaffected by it.

    Then suddenly, the doors opposite him opened, and out walked three men, in a lagging line as they approached cautiously. They were armored in black-dye cloth with their faces uncovered as they closed in. Baroth quickly surveyed their weapons; from left to right, one man wielded a heavy iron longsword, the middle held a wooden bow with what looked like steel arrows, and the one on the far right wielded two identical ebony swords. Their eyes, their facial expressions, and their statures were all strikingly similar, such to the point that they nearly walked at the same pace and in the same way. Baroth knew what to expect when he found that he'd been taken the Arena and this wasn't it. This was different.

    These men were professionally trained killers. Assassins. Sent by...him.

    They came to a halt around the sand circle, evenly spread out by their weapons and waited for their evaluator's command. The fact that they waited for the evaluator's command and even took up tactical positions with their swordsmen in closer and the archer placed further back only proved his analysis correct. The man had let the silence drag on for a few more seconds, before raising a hand and giving the order for the blood-letting to start. This was, in his opinion, the most interesting part. The Nord seemed attentive enough to at least keep them entertained for a few minutes.

    "Begin." He said idly, as if the word meant nothing to him. He reached a hand down and grabbed his gold goblet of wine, sipping loudly as the three assailants honed in on their prey.

    And in an instant, the two swordsmen charged forward into flanking positions as the bowman notched an arrow, aiming for the kill.
    ...............
    After an unsettling few minutes in what one guard called one of the "most out of control lots in the prison" and an oddly pleasant meal in the mess hall, Baroth sat back in his chair and looked about the thick of drunks and brawlers, looking for events of interest. Now that the alcohol had hit and the prisoners had indulged themselves, they'd gathered and migrated to tables from across the mess hall, indulging in further alcohol and various activities. The group gathered at his table were rather quiet, since the stabbing in their lot that resulted in a live execution of three of their own.

    The young Breton woman to his right, Sira, was mate to one of those executed and nearly had her own head cleaved off trying to save her lover. From what he gathered, she was diverse in archery and had a certain love for reading. And she was a terrifyingly accurate shot. Her slim stature and nimble movements attributed to theses deadly skills. Though, she did have trouble handling any longswords or axes or any type. Daggers were another story, though she had more trouble swinging them than throwing them. Baroth took note of how she had a tendency to anchor herself in place when she started to fire arrows in more quick successions. Even before the execution, she was quiet and seldom left her cell without her mate. Together they were a collaborative team with strong communication and connected battle movements, inseparable. After her mate was executed, Baroth could only guess Sira would heal on her own and would soon become a force to be reckoned with. If he absolutely had to, and couldn't defeat her in combat, he'd use the memory of her mate against her to throw off her focus . Other than that, she'd prove to be a useful ally if he was given more time to connect with her on some levels.

    The orc across the table from him, Tugog, was one of the few in his cell block to have nothing to do with the stabbing. He looked to be a loner who had no qualms with putting down anyone who got in his way of rising to fame in the Arena. And he took this goal very seriously. Every second he had to himself was spent by himself, exercising every inch of his body in some way, and improving on his excellent sword skills. Given his sharp muscle tone and quick reaction time, this was natural to him by now. But, he had a habit of being jumpy in combat and often anticipating the next move of his attacker. If Baroth could get in close and stage a feint, he'd go for it and leave himself exposed. Besides that, Baroth might be able to consider him an ally, if he could best him in a match.

    And then there were the two twins whose names Baroth hadn't caught yet. They in themselves were a mystery to Baroth still, even after the stabbing. All he could tell clearly from them is that they also work in a team, with one as a spearman and the other as a rogue in the shadows. If he could catch one off guard and eliminate him, the other might lose control and attack without thinking clearly. Besides that, Baroth was unsure of how they'd turn out as allies. He'd have to keep tabs on them in the meantime.

    Thankfully, Baroth hadn't been arrested and transferred to many large prisons. But in the few cases he had, he gathered that things like this were how the prisoners relieved their stress a little and got intoxicated to the point that they saw unicorns playing cards with the goblins. It was their own little tradition, he concluded, and would remain so for a very long time.

    One group of inmates gathered at a table where a fight of some sort had broken out between two prisoners, though the nearby guards seemed less than interested in breaking them up as they drank ale and watched with interest. Another group of inmates a few tables over laughed loudly and angrily shuffled cards as they gambled with intent expressions.

    A rather loud roar of a nearby crowd caught Baroth's attention and he looked to see a bulky orc easily outmatching several prisoners in arm wrestling matches. Considering how most of the competitors were similar in brawn when compared to the orc and had still lost let Baroth know the orc was a heavy-hander who was fond of using heavy weapons. While an axe was Baroth's main accusation, he left the matter open to be looked into later on. He could become a possible ally in the hellhole. He took note of the orc's facial features and armor.

    On a side-note, Baroth took note of the odd guard patrols and the tails following him since he arrived in his cell block. Though they managed to remain incognito thus far, Baroth had a right mind to know they were still watching him.

    Baroth shifted in his chair, gaze searching the room for other points-of-interest as he idly rubbed his bruised knuckles. He crossed the sight of two men a few feet away, looking around the room the same as he was, occasionally leaning in to talk about something. One, with a hood thrown over his head, stood in such a way as if he was injured. Likely thanks to his evaluators. The other leaned against the kegs, making idle conversation with the other. Observers.

    The second man's hood lead him to believe he had a good reason for hiding his face. Maybe he was just a thief. But what was clear to Baroth was that these two men were searching for something in the room. Or someone. They could've been working together by themselves, or were on part for a larger group. Either way, Baroth refused to wait and find out. Lunch would be over soon and they'd be sent back to their cell lots. He knew for a fact they weren't in his, so this was practically the only time they'd be able to communicate freely. Otherwise, they'd meet in the Arena eventually, and there never was too much talking in there.

    Casually, Baroth reached over and grabbed a large pint of wine someone had left on the edge of the table and carefully poured it into his mug. When the two heard the sound and the injured one turned to study the group, Baroth put the pint down and offered his semi-full mug to the man.

    He nodded to the man's ale bottle. "Trade you. Wine for ale ain't such a bad deal on your part. Personally, I prefer ale over wine anyways. Unless it's Red Wine. Then we might have a different story." As the man was about to reply, Baroth added to his offer. "Or.." He pushed the chair in front of him out towards the hooded man, offering him a seat. He caught the leg of another chair at the table by him and swung it into the space in front of him, offering the other man a seat as well. "We can talk about what's in these damn drinks. Good antidote for a bad day. And it looks like both of you have had about the same. Well.." He looked the hooded man over. "Maybe not exactly the same." He then looked about the room and saw the liveliness of both the prisoners and the guards was waning, if only slightly. "But I will say that if you want that talk, we had better do it now while we have the time. You're not in my block and I'm not in yours, so we won't see each other again for a while, depending on the Arena's daily schedule. Unless we meet in the Arena itself. And we all know what happens up there." He put the mug down and slid it towards the hooded man, signifying his offer. He nodded, shifting slightly in his chair. "Your move."
     
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    #81 fellowknight, Dec 28, 2014
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  2. The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass

    The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass Sahrot Vahlok Spaan. Bahnahgaar. Minion #88!
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    From the perspective of Dolun Imp

    "Nathan. Alright." Dolun Imp said with a flat tone, leaning casually against a stack of kegs and flipping a coin between the knuckles of his free hand with little effort. He was an imperial, taller than average, and well muscled. He was dressed rather casually in earthy colors, though despite the word casually he had much more than most who found themselves within the confines of the arena. He wasn't just some common criminal or otherwise scum, he was a professional. The arena was his home and fighting was his life. His features weren't quite chiseled, but he was definitely handsome. He carried himself with a lazy confidence, his beard was shaved, and his black hair gave the impression of being rugged, though it was evidently groomed to look the part rather than being that way naturally. His eyes were light green, and piercing. Though his face possessed scars, they were the scars of experience rather than recklessness. He was armed lightly with a sizable dagger at his belt, to which the handle was etched with many, many notches. This man obviously knew how to handle himself and others.

    He'd been noticed by most of the novics (equivalent to newbs), annoyingly enough. Half of them he wasn't worried about, the girls and this Nathan fellow were obviously no threat. The orc would be trouble if he wasn't oblivious. The others, however, were vigilant, observant, and dangerous. They knew he was watching. And one in particular, well, he didn't have the look of a novic. There was something about him that seemed... off.

    "So what do you think?" Dolun asked the man standing opposite him, whom he had been feining a conversation with in a failed attempt to remain unnoticed.

    "Mos' o' em' er' no threat t' us. Cept' d' one... I swear e' looks-" the man was then cut off with a subtle gesture, as Dolun abruptly stopped playing with the coin and focused on his associate.

    "I know." Dolun said quietly with a nod, both of them sharing quiet doubts with one another. There were several moments of silence, before Dolun slapped his associate on the shoulder and broke the tension that had been forming. "Tell the boys to have some fun." he gestured towards the weaker links of the group who had been left undefended. "The less help he has going in, the better. Should be easy, though try to spare the Nathan fellow. He's made himself the target of an Overseer's amusement."

    The associate grinned wolfishly, his eyes not quite seeing Dolun as his mind ventured to places in which the likes of Sanguine and Molag Bal might hold sway over. "Not im' we'd be interested in anyway."


    Dolun nodded and turned away, leaving the mess hall early. He despised most of the brutes who he'd managed to subjugate. He found them distasteful, and would probably end up slaughtering them in the arena at some point. And that was precisely why he didn't mind using them now. They were expendable and worthless, and so would make the perfect bait. Dolun, while surrounded by all manner of base men, still possessed a rough code of honor, and a strong sense of fair play. He reveled in challenge and adversity, and he wanted only the best to confront when the time came. And as far as he was concerned, there was only one among the novics who was truly proven, and a few who he had no reason to doubt. The rest would either prove themselves, or die trying.



    From the perspective of Skadi
    Have to live to eat, eat to live. Food is good, poison is bad. There is no poison in this food. No on here wants me dead. No one wants poor little Spero dead.
    Skadi had distracted herself from her fears with her inner musings, and so had managed to eat, if only at a snail's pace. Now that she had calmed down quite a few degrees, she began to eat with a much larger degree of manners. Not that she had been a particularly ravenous eater at the beginning of the meal, but she had certainly improved. She remembered that her learning proper table manners had been a form of spite, a personal victory, as she had often been considered a creature and a curse roaming the royal halls. She still felt the fierce pleasure that there shocked faces had given her. It had been simple. Easy. Once she'd put her mind to it, she'd picked up the nuances to it in seconds.

    Something that had been truly difficult was learning how to make that sword. It had taken her months get it down. Stupid fool didn't think I could do it. Wouldn't teach me, wouldn't let me near any of the equipment. Showed him too though. That hadn't ended with nearly as much satisfaction, however. He had returned early from being the Emperor's bitch, from what ever it is he does at beck and call. He'd nearly scared her out of her skin, and she was sure he had been going to try and kill her, or strike her. That was the sort of treatment she had become accustomed to in general. Then...

    Skadi hit the table abruptly, and began to massage her temples. Maere and Nathan both respected her silence, not knowing how to deal with her. She was just an odd creature to them, she supposed. It was at that moment that she looked up and noticed three guards approach their table. One of them was sporting the armor of the Elite Guards, marking this as something important. She assumed they were after someone who was causing too much ruckus or shanked one too many people, however they marched right up to the table, causing Nathan to tense, as if he was ready to fight, and Maere some profound confusion. The two lesser guards took positions on either side of Nathan as the Elite one pointed a forceful hand at Maere, not slowing his pace towards her, and stated, "You are to come with me. Easy way or hard way and all that." She got to her feet, confused and alarmed, about to raise her voice to say something. However, quick as a snake's strike, the Elite Guard extended his hand before her face and used some sort of magic to put her into a docile state. He put a hand on her shoulder, and began to lead her away. Just like that.

    Skadi was too taken off guard to react properly. She managed to recover in time to demand, "What?!" The guard ignored her.
     
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  3. Daryl Dixon

    Daryl Dixon Well-Known Member

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    Nathan kept relatively silent, keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings. Belzebub was arm wrestling, winning each time. Nathan considered competing, for laughs, but didn't dare leave the women unprotected. Although Nathan wasn't a big man, he wanted to be here if Maere or Spero were assaulted. Out of all the females in the room, these were the less rugged. They had an innocent quality about them that made them more appealing, which would certainly draw some perverted attention. So far everyone had kept their distance.

    As he was beginning to feel comfortable three guards approached, one being an elite of a sort. Nathan tensed up and mentally prepared for a fight, although understanding the odds. Nathan remembered the quote, "We control who you fight," by an overseer. Would this be a shakedown? Nathan forced his body to relax and watched as Maere was told she was leaving the easy way or the hard way. She was then put under the influence of some form of calm spell, Nathan wasn't sure, he didn't recognize the magic. Maere began to be escorted away.

    "What?!" Spero said, the guards being ignorant of her concern. That just might be the first time he's heard her voice, Nathan thought. "Stay down." He ordered her, locking eyes. He had to think. She returned a downright murderous look, almost as if she was offended by him. He judged the environment around them, if he protected Maere Spero might intervene, they seemed to bond. An entire fight could break out, or most likely, everyone will side against him. This could end up with Spero hurt and Nathan dead. He glanced at Maere but she wasn't watching him. "I don't know what to do." Nathan said, furrowing his brow.

    In turn, Spero rolled her eyes. Before Nathan could come up with a plan she grabbed two nearby bottles of mead. Without saying anything she gave the Elite Guard an empty bottle, which was more forcing it into his possession. She then emptied the contents of the other bottle onto a nearby group of ruffians, removing any evidence before she could be pinpointed as the culprit. "Clever girl.." Nathan mumbled, her manipulative action rendered his struggle to come up with a plan irrelevant. The thugs started bickering with the guards before a fight broke out, it totaled to a four on one, with the Elite Guard nearly effortlessly incapacitating them. Almost immediately the other two guards joined in, it seemed these fights were common practice. He watched the effortless grace of the Elite Guard breaking the teeth of an unlucky man who was punked by a young girl.

    Nathan stood up and scanned around for Maere, noticing Spero has removed her from the violence and was trying to snap her out of her trance. A few seconds after his attention turned back to the fight he heard Spero scream, and looked back at her to see her writhing to break out of the grips of a bulky middle aged man. Nathan pushed his way past someone and stood behind two offenders, one with hands on Spero and the other making sly remarks. He thought of what he should do, if he was more merciful and tried to diffuse the situation he would lose his advantage. Having to act impulsively, he decided he would not risk his safety or the that of the girls for these thugs.

    Nathan gripped the neck of one of the men to his right and violently snapped it, it felt and sounded extremely discomforting. Before anyone else could react Nathan put the other man in neck lock to free Spero, he pulled back as much as he could to try and strangle the man. The man was resisting and Nathan's grip was barely holding until he felt a heavy hand hit his own throat. His grip released and as he turned to face his own assaulter he was jabbed in the throat and at a loss for air. Then he was put into a master lock, with Spero's attacker beating in his rib cage. Nathan lifted his legs and violently kicked the man, causing him to stagger back, then he thrust his head backward and broke a nose.

    He engaged in a fist fight in which he had the upper hand against the one who had held him, exchanging blows to the upper torso and head. Nathan blocked, countered and then kneed the man in the groin. Then he felt a hand clasp his shoulder followed by a bottle smash. The hand released and a body slumped to the floor. He turned to see Spero holding the neck of a broken bottle, with a body he didn't recognize on the ground behind her. He didn't mean to, but he let out a satisfied smile.

    He looked down and noticed a shiv loosely in the hand of Spero's most recent victim, he picked it up, inspected it and almost took it to conceal for himself. He then pointed the handle at her discreetly, offering it to her. She gave a small, closed mouth smile and went to lunge it into the body on the floor. Nathan grabbed her by the shoulders and got between her and him. "Are you trying to get yourself killed!?" Nathan sternly said, feeling hypocritical. "No I'm trying to kill them!" She said, looking at him as if he was an idiot. "Let go of me!"

    "Spero, please, hide your strengths. Save it for the arena. I've already got a target on my back, don't put one on yours." Nathan tried to calm her and avoid resistance, but he wasn't sure if she was listening. "Hey, go incognito and tell Gidian they're taking Maere. I'm going to try find out why, okay?" A loud yell was heard and slowly fights began to spread. Nathan noticed the Elite Guard pushing through to get to Maere. "Please Spero, I need you to be safe." She let out a sigh, loosened up, and said "Fine." In exasperation. She then headed off into the general direction Gidian was. She treated him like he was inconsequential and for one reason or another it bothered him.

    Nathan tried to meet the Elite Guard on his way to Maere, but the roughhousing made it difficult. Nathan was able to avoid serious fights and mostly pushed attackers out of the way and they'd go for somebody else. Nathan was hoping he'd be able to 'help' the guard by dispatching a thug trying to assault him, as many previously had, but was unable when he came face to face with the bulking armour. Nathan raised his arms in surrender. "Sir," Nathan said, raising his voice over the loudness that consumed the mess hall, "I'm not trying to argue or stir trouble, but could you please assure me the safety of that woman you're taking?"

    "That depends on her. But yes," The Guard brings up his right forearm to punch an oncoming attacker from the side, then as another man comes in from the left he grabs him and throws him to the ground, "she will be safer than she is here." Nathan could feel the suspicion of the guard, but his response removed some of the building angst. "That's what I was thinking- Ah!" Nathan yelped in pain as a fist collided with his cheekbone, Nathan grabbed a man by the throat and began punching his face before pushing him back, and having him fall the to the floor. The retaliation he pulled looked far less impressive than it was and damaged his knuckles far more than he showed. Walking backwards and stopping briefly, Nathan tried to continue dialogue, although many were after the glory of knocking the Elite on his ass. "May I please have your name and rank?" He asked, slightly extending his arm for a shake. He was expecting rejection, or worse, but was hopeful enough to try and establish a respect and understanding. After all, it wasn't the henchmen he hated, it was the ones behind the reigns.

    The guard looked a little taken aback at the offer of the hand, but very briefly shook Nathan's hand. Although, he was in a rush to get it over with, being pressed by attackers, and so his grip was that of a man trying to break bone. The distraction was enough however, for at least one of the would be attackers to score a hit that, while it did little damage, was vastly more effective than that of the others. The man had likely won a sizable amount of the pot that had been bet on the conflict. "Faus. And my rank-" he took a moment to point at the prongs on his breast plate, a silver "II", and left it at that.

    Nathan nodded and walked backwards a few more seconds before turning around and seeing Maere. By some work of the gods she was safe, most likely due to the Elite II having interest in her under the influence of orders. "Hey, Maere, you there?" Nathan asked, clicking his fingers in front of her face and getting no response. "Look, I don't know if you're hearing this but whatever happens just stay under protection, do as the guard says and you shouldn't be harmed. This place is unsafe, he'll protect you. He has to.. Hopefully we'll see you again." Nathan felt very guilty for letting her go, not knowing her own will. So out of the pity and guilt of allowing her to go into the unknown he gave her a brief hug and allowed the Elite II to to escort her away.

    Nathan made his way to Belzebub dragging his feet, and upon catching his glance asked a favour. "Could you please look after Spero? At least get her to Gidian. I know she isn't your problem but she isn't safe here, she was swarmed and assaulted. Please, make sure she doesn't get hurt. They won't mess with you and if they do... You're a lot tougher than I am." He tried to hold an air of confidence around the Orc, wanting respect. But it was hard to earn such a thing while asking for favours.

    "I can look after her. These cowards are no fun to arm wrestle with anyway."

    "Thank you, I will never forget that. She's just over there." Nathan said, very gratefully, pointing him in the direction Spero walked off.

    Nathan then made his way to a table that was mostly unoccupied, save for two Imperial females and a Breton man. He sat next to the woman in the middle, furthest from the other two. He made this decision based on how friendly she looked. She had long brown hair that was clean, as if she had only just arrived here. "Hey." He said, hoping to break the ice. "You need something?" She retorted.
    "No, I was just making conversation."
    The woman eyed him with suspicion, but rested her face on a tired expression. "I haven't seen you before."
    "Yeah I haven't been here long."
    "You know they're gonna be on your ass for killing that guy."
    "So how long have you been here?" Nathan asked, avoiding her attempt at talking about the murder. He didn't understand how she could have seen it, but refused to delve into it.
    "3 months."
    "Wow."
    "Yeah. It's not as bad as it seems if you know the right people."
    "And do you?"
    "No, I hate it here. But ask that guy and he'll tell you it's the dream." She said, pointing toward a guard separating a fight.
    "Why did they take you to the arena?"
    "I upset someone."
    "Don't take offense but shouldn't they have just killed you or put you in a real prison?"
    "They must have known I could fight. I used to work a shop in the market district. We sold weapons and armour. Besides, 'real' prisons are overflowing."
    Nathan gave a slight chuckle. "They must be happy."
    "Excuse me?"
    "Guys in prison."
    "How do you figure?"
    "Well they probably prefer being locked up with 3 meals a day and not being forced to fight in an arena."
    "I don't know if they're fed, but I guess you're right."
    Nathan was enjoying his conversation before it was cut short by an approaching group of ruffians, their eyes on Nathan. He noticed them approaching and decided to leave. "What was your name Madame?"
    "Sarah....Sarah Williams. Why?"
    "I've got to go. Hope I can talk to you later."
    "Yeah, see you.."
    Sarah was confused at his apparent interest and rush to hurry away, but continued to pick at her plate of food as he left.

    Nathan tried to walk in the opposite direction of the five men but stopped when one appeared to be in front of him. He turned around to see the rest just an uncomfortable meter from him. "Do you know what you've done?!" Spat an angry man. "Kill him Skull." Another, smaller and more frail man said. He looked like a skooma addict. "Easy.." Nathan said, raising his arms in surrender. "What are you thinkin?!" Skull said, inching his way closer with small but aggressive movements. Skull was a bald, however young, tan skinned Imperial. "Did he just call you Skull?" Nathan asked, taking hold of the conversation and noting there were three men behind him. "Yeah they call me Skull. I was a pirate before they come locked me up. With one of the most feared skulls in Tamriel across my flag." The man spoke with a sense of proudness. "How would they know it was your Skull? A skull is a skull. And why did you call yourself Skull when it could mean any old sk-" Nathan was buying himself time to size them up and evaluate his opportunities before the man grabbed Nathan's face with an iron grip. "You shut your mouth kid. You let the guard take that pretty lady, and you scared off the other one. Now you're-"

    "Yeah she was pretty but she wasn't that great. Now that girl eating octopus, she's got some-"

    "That's my damn sister and First Mate of The Iceberg." Nathan's confused look prompted the man to elaborate. "Ships way North get sunk by what? Icebergs. My ship was The Iceberg. If you know your enemy, they can't defeat you. And you don't know me, that's why I'm gonna beat your little head in!" Skull pushed Nathan back and let go of his lock on Nathan's jaw. Two big arms came around and grabbed Nathan's own arms, holding them behind his back. Skull looked satisfied, like he was about to enjoy himself. He brought a fist to Nathan's abdomen and sides repeatedly until he dropped to the floor. Then a knee was brought up to his face knocking Nathan onto his back. He was stomped by 5 men until one of them halted the beat down. "Keep him alive. Way I hear it he'll be dead in a few weeks anyway." Without further notice, the men left.

    Nathan sat up and wiped blood from his nose, head pounding, he tried to keep relatively still until his body felt like one big dull ache. He stood up and staggered over to the nearest table, using it to hold himself up before continuing to walk to the table where he lost Maere to the Elite II guard. He sat down and dropped his head into his arms on the table, defeated.
     
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  4. Skyrimosity

    Skyrimosity Fine Southern Gentleman

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    Belzebub did not really learn anything during his time "socializing" so was happy when Nathan gave him the option to do something. Granted, this task was to keep a girl safe amidst a crowd of prisoners fighting, but it was something at least. He quickly set off in the direction of Spero.

    He was pushing his way through the fights and over random occurrences going on in an attempt to reach her quickly. She was incredibly unsafe at a time like this, even if she thought getting to Gidian would make her as safe as could be. He was rather close, and could see Spero's head by this point. The sound of fights still raged all around. Suddenly, he noticed it looked like she was struggling. He could tell somebody had grabbed her.

    Obviously this made Belzebub cover the ground as quick as a giant, towering orc could. And probably as intimidatingly as he could as well, thought that was unintentional. He reached the man who by now had grabbed Spero with both hands and had her wrapped up. "I suggest you let go of her!" he said, in a booming voice. "Sheesh, calm down orc. This is none of your business! Now I"ll just be..." before he could finish, Spero managed to do something to break free for a split second. Belzebub quickly delivered a punch that knocked the man on the floor. The man simply lay on the ground, obviously dazed. And drunk.

    "Spero, I'm here to help to get you to Gidian." Belzebub let the girl take the lead as he followed only a few steps behind. They moved amongst the middle of the chaos, but encountered little trouble due to his intimidating nature. At this point, Belzebub had determined that this Spero girl was also plenty dangerous and not to be taken lightly. In fact, it almost seemed like she was used to being abducted? He put that thought off his mind, in favor of focusing on the task at hand. Whatever her past was, it was none of his business at least.
     
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  5. Blackdoom59

    Blackdoom59 BATMAN!

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    When the tall rugged-looking nord approached the two and asked Garret for a trade, he was quick to reply. But the nord kept speaking and changing the subject and Garret couldn't help but sigh. It was clear the man was up to something, either he was expecting an alliance or he was just gathering information. By the way he looked and acted, it was clear to Garret he was as new to the arena as himself, or at least not as old as Garret was looking for.

    When the nord was done talking Garret took the drink that was slided towards him. He brought it to his mouth at a fast pace and subtly smelt it. His expertise in alchemy made it very hard for him to get poisoned. Garret had to be very paranoid, he knew he had enemies, he knew they could be anywhere, and the way the nord approached him was somewhat suspicious. He washed down the wine in one swing, giving a short nod to Gidian before turning his head up to answer the man. Even when he was looking right at him, the nord could barely see his cheeks. "Great speech" He smiled, sliding his ale towards the man "I bet you woo the ladies with your stories" He looked around the halls "The ones worth it, at least"
     
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  6. fellowknight

    fellowknight Private Lil' Num-Nums

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    And in an instant, the two swordsmen charged forward into flanking positions as the bowman notched an arrow, aiming for the kill.

    With the swordsman halting in front of Baroth and the dual-wielder bringing up the rear, the perfect space opened for the bowman to let the arrow fly right between Baroth's eyes. He let not a moment go by as he released his grip on the bowstring, casting the swift arrow to strike it's mark. But he was too late.

    Baroth had already moved into action.

    The arrow was caught by the subtly swift flail of Baroth's steel sword.

    The swordsman swung his sword up from a low to high position with little strain, but missed as Baroth dropped into a quick slide, effectively avoiding the attack overhead and causing mild surprise throughout the room. The edge of his shield smashed into the swordsman's shin, cracking it and erupting in a groan of pain as the man stumbled off to the side, momentarily stunned.

    A moment came between Baroth and the bowman as he'd notched another arrow, promptly swinging his bow upwards to release the arrow. Baroth suddenly spun in place as the arrow crashed into his shield, shattering into shards as the bowman instantly raised hand to notch another. But not before Baroth's shield came crashing into his left shoulder, cracking it out of place and leaving a very nasty bruise in his Pectoralis muscle, in addition to knocking him off his feet.

    He was down for the time being.

    The first part of his plan had been executed.

    Now part two.

    He heard foot steps fast approaching behind him in the sand circle.

    Deal with them.

    He clenched the sword his right hand, bringing it into a two-handed grip as he spun back around.

    The dual-wielder had missed his chance to strike earlier, but followed quickly behind as Baroth turned on his heel, just in time to catch the ebony swords on his blade. In the time they'd met eyes, Baroth mentally memorized the detail of the man's facial features, saving it to examine later on. He pushed forwards and swung his sword, issuing in a shower of sparks as the dual-wielder quite quickly recovered, charging once more while swordsman behind him regained his stance, moving to assist.

    Their blades met once more in rapid back-to-back flurries and counters, with the heavy swordsman closing in to flank his prey. After having countered a dual jab to his ribcage, Baroth twirled his sword into an underhand grip and effectively blocked another onslaught, his sword-hand clashing with the man's skull, severely bruising it. He followed with a nimble kick to the dual-wielder's lower chest, sending him stumbling back in a less than graceful heap.

    Without a moment's rest, the swordsman was now upon him, his blade coming down heavy and hard but swift and precise, only to slide off of Baroth's own sword and into the sand. Baroth sliced downwards at the exposed side, but was countered with the man's elongated blade blocking the stroke. Like he did with the dual-wielder, Baroth once again memorized the man's face and committed it to memory.

    Bringing his clenched free-hand up immediately after, Baroth initiated a painful jab to the swordman's nose, breaking in with a crunch, causing him to recoil in pain. Not a second later, Baroth grabbed the man's collar and bashed his skull against his at just the right angle, kicking him in the lower abdomen when he once again recoiled, casting him to the sand with a bloodied forehead.

    Baroth turned swiftly to catch the blades of the dual-wielder once more in much brisk succession, with Baroth's blade up to par, they began their dance about the sand. Expecting Baroth to block the overhead strokes, the dual-wielder instantly drove his knee into Baroth's crotch, smashing an elbow to his temple when he attempted to stand.

    Even though these men were some sort of assassins sent to eliminate him, and even though they'd shown no clear signs of pledging a surrender nor a retreat, Baroth had given them every chance to cease their attack. Every stroke that could have ended them, every jab that he'd missed, he missed on purpose. He was trying to tell them to surrender, to put down their weapons and just give up, as unlikely as that was to occur. But it was clear now they would never stop fighting.

    Which meant whoever had employed them truly meant to injure or test Baroth. It only proved more that the same employer had a vast influence.

    The same name came to his mind.

    Baroth gritted his teeth as he hit the sand, his assailant offering no breath from the struggle as he fluidly spun his swords, quickly bringing them down to decapitate the Nord. But he froze just when his swords clashed into the sand, drooling blood over his lips as he realized the Nord he was sent to kill had been much faster than he anticipated. He swiveled his head around before he was pushed to his knees, lastly seeing two muscular arms wrap around his head and twist.

    Baroth yanked his sword free of the man's abdomen as he fell flat on his face in the sand, turning in time to see a blade pierce outward towards his stomach. In two fluid motions, Baroth had countered the thrust and spiraled forwards, leaving a deep gash in the swordsman's throat and severing several arteries. The man's hand shot up to grip his throat as he swung his sword once more, hoping to strike the Nord just once. He was countered, however, and felt a sharp, piercing pain as Baroth's sword stabbed through his chin and into his brain, killing him instantly.

    Baroth tripped the corpse into the sand as he strode over to the recovering archer, sitting up on his knees. He gave the evaluator a glance as he did so, his eyes conveying quite the clear message.

    I'm going to kill you when I get out of here. He squinted slightly as he paced towards the archer.

    The man raised his goblet and nodded towards the archer, offering his reply.

    I know. But for now...

    Baroth rolled his shoulders as he approached the last assassin, twirling his blade as the man stood, wielding a blade of some sort behind his back. He jabbed out towards Baroth with the blade, the wet, slick edge of his dagger barely missing Baroth by a hair's width. Poison. Quickly, Baroth staked his sword through the archer's knee, then wrapping his arms around the extended limb and snapping it with a sickening crunch.

    He shrieked in pain as Baroth retrieved his sword, stomped on the edge of his shield to catch it, and sliced deeply along the archer's side, tripping him and crushing his jugular beneath the shield edge. Blood flowed quickly from the man's mouth as he choked on it, his eyes darting around franticly as if looking for something, but never finding it.

    It didn't matter though.

    He'd never see anything again.

    Baroth stood from the final corpse in the room, his eyes fixed on the lead evaluator as he bellowed a deep laugh, obviously well-amused with the burly Nord's showy battle. So he was a good show after all, save the grit and grime of his executions. He was clearly coordinated in his attacks, but his face never let his emotions leak through. A level-headed Nord. Oddly rare. Maybe he'd last longer than expected. He couldn't wait to see his fight in the arena. Now that would be interesting.

    He raised his goblet as he sat up from his chair, the final kill echoing in a small wave of applause and expressions of respect, fear, and amusement mixed in.

    "Haha! Well done, well done! Quite the blood-letting indeed! That'll be all now, you can put your weapons down and proceed with the guardsmen to your cell lot. Keep in mind what I said earlier. But I know you're smarter than that, aren't you?"

    "You should ask your daughter sometime. She'd know." He remarked in Cyrodilic.

    Baroth spat in the sand towards the administrator after he'd dropped his weapons, dissolving his smug smile entirely. He waved a hand, and the bag was once again on Baroth's head, and he was once again under their watchful surveillance. But they hadn't seen his move in the heat of the battle. They hadn't seen him snap the two arrowheads off of the archer's arrows, or how he'd broken off the tip of the assassin's ebony blade.

    Or even the dagger he'd scooped out of the sand.

    ..........
    When the hooded man replied, Baroth couldn't help but chuckle a little with a smirk. He sensed the absence in his tone, as slight as it was, and caught his glance around the hall. A simple string of comments to keep their exchange rolling, or he'd lost interest. Likely the latter. But with that hood in the way, it was hard to tell. At this distance, Baroth couldn't even tell what the man's eye color was.

    He noticed how the patrols moved in slowly, keeping themselves casual but no doubt listening. He'd need to speed things along, if he wanted this to have been an informative encounter. He sat up in his chair slightly, as he began to speak in a more directed tone, after the people at his table moved off to occupy themselves.

    "Much obliged, but let's not dwell too idly. I don't know either of you personally, but the way you both carry yourselves seems familiar. Before I was brought here, I was informed of a new batch of arrivals just ahead of me, all unique in their means of arrest. Don't ask me who spilled, because he's dead now, so it won't matter," He paused for a moment, daring a glance about the mess hall. The guards were closing in.

    "What does matter is that I believe we all have some things we're not saying that need to be said. Things that can connect a few dots here and there. But we know here isn't the place to do it," He answered the slight expressions of inquiring with a subtle but directed gesture towards one of the distant advancing guardsmen. "We have a few minutes or so before this one and his partner come within hearing distance. If you have any questions you want to ask, you had better do it now."
     
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    #86 fellowknight, Feb 10, 2015
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  7. The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass

    The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass Sahrot Vahlok Spaan. Bahnahgaar. Minion #88!
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    Gidian let out an audible sigh as Garret gestured for him to take over. The man was certainly capable, definitely a warrior of some skill, based on his build, overall confidence, few scars, and of course, calloused hands. He was not green, and could make a very deadly adversary. That being said, Gidian was used to fighting deadly adversaries, and the team was already large enough to make dropping out on them difficult when he, Garret, and Skadi made their escape. Sure the man could be useful, but he could be a detriment by that very same token. This man was inquisitive and perceptive, and had found a source which knew some amount of information before disposing of them. That indicated he was diligent. But it also made him that much more likely to catch wind of their plan to escape, and Gidian did not want to deal with him. He could drag in the others, and he would be hard pressed simply to get himself out in one piece. He was supremely confident that he would die getting Skadi out of here, in fact. But he tried not to dwell on it.

    Now as for connecting dots, Gidian was fairly certain the man was bluffing simply to hold their attention. However, Gidian didn't like that this man may have sniffed out information rather hazardous to their stay here, and wanted to make sure he didn't know anything he shouldn't. He was forward and in a hurry, direct, and so this would likely be a rather straightforward affair. However, the man was either very green or placed a great deal of importance on his information if he feared the guards, who often didn't particularly care for the inmates anyways.

    And so, Gidian took a seat lazily, putting on a mask of disinterest and skepticism as he raised an eyebrow and gestured for this man to elaborate. "By all means, connect the dots." Gidian spotted some activity in his peripherals, his attention now elsewhere. The activity seemed to come from across the room, where he'd left Skadi. The crowd was shifting across the huge room, and his eyes hardened, betraying the mask of laziness for fierce alertness. The guards may not be of a huge consequence, but something that could shift a crowd in here, in his experience, was something indeed worthy of note.
     
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  8. fellowknight

    fellowknight Private Lil' Num-Nums

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    The hooded man issued a silent gesture and allowed his other friend to take over, whom sighed out loud before sitting down in front of Baroth. He took the moment he had to memorize the man's face. He also noted the man's noticeable disinterest with the situation, and Baroth.

    "By all means, connect the dots."

    And when the man's face twitched from indifference to attentive, Baroth then noted the substantial shift of noise across the room behind him. Baroth's attention and foremost concerns, however, were on this man and his reaction thus far to what Baroth had spilled. Both of the men seemed as if they were rather to the point and, halfway through the exchange, Baroth couldn't help but notice how they'd lost general interest in him.

    They can't be looking for anyone specific, otherwise, they wouldn't have even stopped to talk to me. He concluded, nodding ever so slightly as he leaned back in his chair. Things were about to get interesting.

    "As you wish." Baroth replied. First he'd need to draw them in, get their interest again. "You've seen the same things I've heard. Being that they put a sack over my head when they brought me here tells me, and you, that they don't like leak and what this struggle to remain quiet. They tested you and your friend there, along with the others you arrived with, by locking you in a small room and," His eyes met the man's. "Forcing you to fight, without killing. Then they had you all sent off to some cell block, likely a hell hole. But this is all relevant to you, as i'm sure you know this." He flashed a smile, shifting in his chair.

    "Now let me intrigue you." He leaned forward, planting both of his feet firmly on the ground. They made eye contact once more.

    "I heard some guard got stabbed in the Imperial Palace a while ago. They had some little skinny thing of a girl and a familiar man hauled off and thrown into a cart later on. Interesting, isn't it?" He turned his attention to the hooded man, who now returned his gaze back to Baroth. "Saw a noble woman not so long ago, b****ing about how some low life had tried to poison her and make off with her potions. Said he pulled a dagger on her. She said her guardsmen handled it, had him sent off to a," He raised his fingers to emphasize his next words. " 'Hole he'd never climb out of again'. Then again, how satisfied can nobles be, when a deal goes wrong?"

    He gave them a moment to come to realization, before continuing.

    "You and the girl have seen the same thing i've seen. Endless halls, torches, guards everywhere. Think about it. They don't care whether we kill each other or kill ourselves. So long as we don't escape and keep the people entertained. And whoever is behind this has gold enough to buy himself two whole provinces and a city of gold. I know because they tossed me into a room too, with racks of expensive weapons. Very expensive weapons." He began to lean back, letting the suspense soak in. "Me? I'll survive. I'm a fighter, as I'm sure you already know. I'll last enough to figure a way out. Though, those with a more..." He glossed over the men before finishing. "...shadier skill set, can find a way out quicker."
     
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  9. The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass

    The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass Sahrot Vahlok Spaan. Bahnahgaar. Minion #88!
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    Gidian was losing interest with the man more and more by the second as he practically read off the initiation rituals. Useless to me. Hopefully he won't become violent when we leave him, he thought to himself. Actually, he hoped this man wouldn't make a mountain out of a molehill by coming after them LATER. He would rather deal with him up front and here and now, rather than risk the dangers of Arena Politics. He doubted it would come to that, however.

    The man finally seemed to be getting to the point, making sure to make eye contact and everything. Both of his feet were planted on the ground, as if he was poised or braced for some sort of action. Gidian decided to humor him, since he seemed so sure of himself.

    "I heard some guard got stabbed in the Imperial Palace a while ago. They had some little skinny thing of a girl and a familiar man hauled off and thrown into a cart later on. Interesting, isn't it?"


    That woke Gidian up quickly. That put Skadi in direct danger. Several emotions passed over his face in the span of a heartbeat. Shock and anger, before turning to a cruel certainty and the stony demeanor of a killer. That was the only warning given, the next moment something apparently dawning on him, making him change his mind, returning his face to normal. He had also managed to stop his right arm from moving all the way across the table, which would have been followed by the rest of his body in attack. He managed to disguise this movement as merely shifting his arm onto the table and resting his weight on it. However, he knew he had revealed too much. He sighed inwardly, and decided it wasn't necessary... yet.

    The information this man possessed had effected Gidian, telling him that it was important even if he didn't know why. The changes in his expression revealed that he could kill quite easily, and had likely done so in the past. And the sudden, fleeting movement of his arm had possessed, just for an instant, a great deal of speed and strength, as well as control (there being no obvious indication or telegraphing of his actions beforehand, although shifting from a lazy position had cost him time, and he had been able to recover instantly, indicating he had not been moved off balance). All of this had transpired in a brief, flashing span of time. However Gidian had no doubt this man had noticed, and likely deduced what Gidian's mind had, if not more.

    There was little humor in Gidian's response to the man's next words. "No one survives long enough to escape." Which was mostly true. There were quite a few in the arena who had survived for a substantial amount of time. But no one had ever escaped alive. The closest had been... is no help to them here. Gidian cursed as the crowds in the background began to become louder, and more violent. However, he would have to deal with this man first. This situation was getting dangerous, as he still didn't know if there were more cards this new player had yet to play, and Gidian had dealt him a rather generous hand.
     
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  10. fellowknight

    fellowknight Private Lil' Num-Nums

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    He'd seen it. The millisecond window of time where the man had phased through several emotions, just before Baroth had switched his attention to the hooded one. He showed a bit of anger and shock in that one second, meaning it had worked. His arm had moved too, as if he'd been stirred from sleep. He'd seen that cold, murderous look before. The one of a killer. A damned good one, too.

    But Baroth had seen it in his eyes. Dilated pupils. The look one gets when he feels a lightning bolt strike through his back.

    Surprise.

    But the games were far from over. Baroth still needed a thing or two from the men.

    "No one survives long enough to escape."

    Baroth let out a small chuckle as he again shifted in his chair.

    "To the contrary," He began, his eyes wandering for a second to the advancing guardsmen, as they subtly moved in closer to hone in on the exchange. "You don't need to escape to survive, but if you want to spill the beans on all of this, which I find a highly ill action to take, then escaping is key."

    "All you need is a smart crew who doesn't mind getting dirty, a day or so to get the schedules down, and a little window of time to execute. Or you can go lone wolf, like the others. But even with a smart group, surely someone's going to graze the wire. So you leave a soldier behind. Then another. And another. You keep moving forward, until it's down to just you and the other one, the smartest one. The one who knows the way out. But it's all ok. Because it was the plan the whole time." He reached a hand up deliberately, stealing a patron's mead bottle before he could look back. He sipped.

    "Oh, it's possible to escape. I've lived long enough to know that there's always a way out. You just gotta have the drive and the brains to make it there." He sipped once more. "Clearly you two have both." He justified his answer quickly this time. "You're both quiet, and unexpressive, which might hint that you're rather good at hiding your interest and your emotions." He glanced at Gidian. "Most of the time anyways." He said, kicking the man in the ass for his reaction earlier. (not literally, of course.)

    He gestured to the hooded man again. Slowly, he was putting his second hand of cards on the table.

    "You're both looking for some one, likely persons of interest." He keyed their initial reactions. "Earlier, you both lost interest in me and my word. I'd have to be blind to miss it. Meaning you're not looking for me, you're not looking for one person because I can personally vouch that half of the people in here are brainless brutes. Like your orc friend over there. Well, maybe he's not mindless, but I've seen him arm wrestle..."

    He licked his lips, concluding his point.

    "So the question drops: Why do I matter to you at all? Unless, I know something you don't. Which I do. Like, for another example, this place is funded by one of two people. The first could be a High Ranking Dominion Chancellor. You have one guess who the second is. And if he's involved with this, the guards have specialized training, the maze is two times more complex, and the arena battles will be both deadly and 'glorious'. Meaning, both staying alive AND escaping are going to be harder than any of us can imagine."
     
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  11. Blackdoom59

    Blackdoom59 BATMAN!

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    Garret listened carefully to the nord while still giving the impression that he's not paying attention. This was a cruel game of cards they were playing, one wrong move and you already revealed your secrets. The man's words didn't reveal anything useful or intriguing, but rather information that Garret already possessed. That was until he got serious.
    "I heard some guard got stabbed in the Imperial Palace a while ago. They had some little skinny thing of a girl and a familiar man hauled off and thrown into a cart later on. Interesting, isn't it?"
    It is...
    He thought to himself as his eyes subtly looked over to Gidian, whom looked troubled, to say the least. Perhaps he and Spero where the ones the man talked about, but Garret couldn't be certain. What would he do in the imperial palace in the first place? Gidian used to take on a lot of weird jobs for money, and Garret had heard rumours that Gidian's home was sacked some years ago. That might just be it

    With the information the man revealed so far, Garret was able to connect some dots, but there were still more questions than answers. What job required Gidian to go in the imperial palace? What made him 'familiar' to the imperials? Who is Spero and what's her relation with Gidian?

    Garret couldn't brainstorm for too long before the man dropped another piece of information. "Saw a noble woman not so long ago, b****ing about how some low life had tried to poison her and make off with her potions. Said he pulled a dagger on her. She said her guardsmen handled it, had him sent off to a," He raised his fingers to emphasize his next words. " 'Hole he'd never climb out of again. Then again, how satisfied can nobles be, when a deal goes wrong?"

    He remained emotionless, as if lost in thought, but he couldn't help but smirk briefly at the man. It was clear the man expected a reaction, probably to give him certainty that his information connected to Garret and Gidian. He was, without a doubt talking about him, and that noblewoman was Arnosia. But him referring to her as just 'a noble woman' meant that he was new to imperial politics. Garret didn't knew much about her either, but she came from a house of stewards, councilors and courtiers for the emperor, and Arnosia herself was married to a distant relative of The Emperor, a cousin or an uncle. That gave her just enough power for her to enter politics, and she no doubt took a lead using the mixtures she stole from Garret.

    The man boasted, saying he can survive enough to figure a way out, and Gidian told him off, saying nobody survived enough in the arena. The man then expressed his view of the scenario, stating the difficulty of escaping.

    "This arena was built anew, harder to learn, harder to master, harder to escape. But it's still no more than a prison, with ways in and out. If you know the right people you can walk out using the front door, and..." he leaned forward a bit, trying to intimidate the man. "-make sure that someone will never walk out, or walk at all."

    He grabbed the man's bottle and drank from it, than friendly slid it back as he got comfortable in the chair. "We have different stories and we have different ways, but the one thing we have in common is the will of escaping this pl*** hole." Garret smirked again and placed his right hand on the center of the table, taking off his hood with the other one. He revealed his facial structure, his short brown-reddish hair and most obviously his eyepatch. "I say we trust and help eachother." he gently kicked Gidian under the table, telling him to rest his hand on the table as well.
     
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  12. The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass

    The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass Sahrot Vahlok Spaan. Bahnahgaar. Minion #88!
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    Gidian appreciated the man's confidence and bravado, even if it was foolhardy. He would need that kind of confidence.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Honestly, so many men were so worried about protecting their crotch they forgot they also had a face to defend. There weren't many things as satisfying as the crunch of breaking the nose of a would-be assassin (Skadi viewed most random assailants as assassins). Most were so predictable, though it always terrified her when one managed to grab her. She wasn't strong enough to do much once they'd managed to get a hold on her. Something not too difficult to do when the room is in utter chaos and there is more than one assassin at once. She was thankful to Belzebub and Nathan, though she would not thank them.

    When she'd finally caught sight of Gidian, sitting at a table, talking with another Nord (he wasn't very tall, which she found funny, however he was well muscled and strong), she witnessed, from across the room, a change in Gidian. She wasn't sure, but it looked like he had shifted his weight forward onto the table as he'd seen her approaching. She marked that as odd. A few moments later, and she was near the table.

    Gidian rolled his eyes, regarding Skadi dismissively. "I suppose you really do have a death wish. At least you had the sense to bring Belzebub with you." Gidian nodded to the orc. Skadi glared at him, reminding him of a cat with it's hairs raised and teeth bared. Her hair was certainly wild enough, at the moment, and her hands were balled into fists.

    "The guards took Maere." She said simply, cutting to the point, looking expectant. Gidian shrugged, as if to say, "So what?" And generally wasn't moved by this news.

    Skadi's glare intensified. "So go get her back!" She demanded rather fiercely. Gidian met her glare, realizing that this was apparently where the girl would draw the line in the sand, arrogant and haughty, and mimicking her father quite well. However, Gidian was unphased by the glaring and the posturing. He was used to it, and tended to not care. However, he was weighing values in his mind, considering the pros and the cons. If Skadi became more attached, it would probably become difficult to leave her behind. She would attract even more of the wrong kind of attention. She wouldn't be able to defend herself very well. However, by that same token, as a healer and up and coming practitioner of magic, she was invaluable. It was rare for a team to have their own personal healer. She would divert some of the attention from Skadi, and they would be able to look out for each other. All in all, she shouldn't be too much of a drain on resources...

    Gidian found himself as a thundercloud, quite frustrated with the situation altogether. This new person who was too inquisitive, Skadi demanding him to go after Maere, Garret kicking him under the table, and him weighing Mare's value as if she were not human. He got to his feet, cracking knuckles, letting a bit of his mood escape with his agreeance, "Fine." He let Garret's earlier kick slide, as he told him, "Do what you do best, and you..." he offered a firm handshake, giving the nord a look that said, only because I want you where I can see you. It might also be a fair question as to why he didn't follow through with his earlier attempt to go for the kill. He'd decided it would do more harm than good, attract to much attention, when he wasn't sure what this man knew just yet. If he was going to get rid of him, he would have to wait for a better opportunity anyways. He sighed inwardly again, and came to a decision that he would give this man a chance. He deserved that much.

    "My name is Gidian, and if you're so keen on joining us, then you'll follow me, whoever you are." Gidian's mask this time was substantially more controlled, and while it may seem as if he wanted a quiet place to finish it, and that he definitely wanted a quiet place to go for the kill, it wasn't so easy to discern for certain. To Gidian, this would be the man's test.

    To say Skadi looked impatient would be an understatement. Gidian looked her over, this time with more scrutiny, looking for injuries. She seemed fine enough, aside from some new bruises. She noticed his examination, and growled, "Go already!"

    Gidian almost glared, before turning to Belzebub, him knowing what Gidian would say before he said it. Gidian said it anyways. "Watch her." He then turned his back and marched off trusting the newest addition would follow, revealing more than a little of his fury in his face and eyes. Most took one look, and backed off, deciding it wasn't worth the trouble of conflict. The crowd in some places astonishingly parted before him.

    There were a few brave ones, of course. Or drunk. Or stupid. Whatever the reason, one man charged him and swung a wide and clumsy right hook. Gidian didn't even take the time to observe his features, or focus his eyes on him as he moved his head to dodge, brought his own right upwards, and gripped the man by the throat. He then lifted him off the ground and slammed him into a nearby table, sending up splinters with a sickening crack, and then another as the man made contact with the hard floor. He did not move again. There was no wasted movement, no wasted effort, although the slam at the end had been overkill. He had let his anger show in it. Everything about its execution had possessed a very casual air of contentious ease. Like a fly crushed under a boot.

    Of course the man had friends, but at this point Gidian was not playing around, and they decided it was not worth their lives at this moment. Maybe after a few more drinks.

    A few moments later, he spotted Nathan. He memorized every face that assaulted him. Gidian was in no mood to offer mercy, and he would make examples of them if he crossed their paths. But, he made no effort to hide his disgust at Nathan. Gidian wasn't in a pleasant or reasonable mood. He could understand an Elite Guard being able to get away with Maere, but moping would do nothing. And besides which, presumably, he had turned to trying to get on some woman's good side rather than doing something to help get Maere back. And so, Skadi had come to Gidian. He wasn't pleased with that. "I know this isn't exactly your scene, but I will kill you myself if you're wasting our time." Gidian then spotted the Guards, making their way out, and followed with about as swift pursuit as was his norm. Which is to say, a swift walk. The guards were hampered by their surroundings, but still maintained a lead up until they got out of the doors. Gidian was on their heels as they left the main building, assuming the nord was still following him.

    "Hey!" he shouted after the guards, mostly to slow them down. The Elite Guard, despite having his back turned, was obviously rolling his eyes as he turned around.

    "What is it now? Not had enough yet?" His eyes hardened as he took in Gidian standing before him, who had now crossed most of the distance between them, and the other nord further back, who had apparently elected to merely observe for now. The Elite Guard, assuming the worst, opened with a lightning quick straight punch to Gidian's face.

    "Not nearly enough." Gidian declared unnervingly, quickly recovering from the punch, which had apparently only grazed him. "What do you want with my healer?!" Gidian demanded.

    "Your healer?" the guard raised an eyebrow, obviously not believing the statement and assuming Gidian was the kind of person the girl needed protection from. Which, Gidian reflected, was probably true. Though not in the way the guard imagined.

    Gidian took one look at Maere and realized she was under the effect of a strong illusion, and would probably be of little help to him now. He held up a hand to the nord who he'd told to come with him, indicating that he shouldn't interfere. "Yes! My healer! Why don't you dispel your petty illusions and ask?"

    "I don't take orders from you. Who I take orders from isn't even a concern of yours. But my orders are my orders, and your not going to change that."

    "I know exactly where you take orders from...!" Gidian then immediately feinted for the man's nearby and exposed face, resulting in him raising his arms reflexively in defense, and throwing an expertly executed punch in counterattack. The guard was no drunken convict, and had been ready. However, the mid conversation blitz had caught him slightly unawares. The fist, as a result, connected with empty air, Gidian taking one of his legs out from under him and grappling with him, getting him into a headlock. Instead of pursuing it further however, Gidian tosses the furious guard away, in the opposite direction of Maere. While he was rolling and trying to catch himself, Gidian unleashed an assault on the other two, who had initially been recklessly charging forward to help the Elite. As a reward, they got broken arms and ribs as Gidian dispatched them. Hand to hand, two grunts were no match for him. The Elite, however, was another story. Gidian put a hand on Maere's shoulder, turning her to face the Elite. And that stopped him in his tracks. This man seemed to have a sense of honor about him, and the implied threat Gidian posed forced him to rethink the situation, Gidian's right hand now resting atop Maere's head.


    The guard glared, now furious himself. "Tell me what you want. None of this medic pl***, either!"


    Gidian simply raised an eyebrow at him, and then laughed. This was no jovial laugh, however. It seemed as practiced as a trademark, finely crafted to be unnerving. The guard's eyes widened, as if he'd connected puzzle pieces and come to a frightening conclusion. Gidian planted his boot onto the neck of one of the guards, threatening to crush everything important within. He then addressed the nord he'd brought with him. "There is no question who is funding this place. Anyone who can't at least guess is nothing short of a fool. But remember, there are more imminent threats all around you here. I was able to get a reading on the others in our little group in our training session. I can trust them because they're Garret, and I'm going to need help, or because they're not overly inquisitive. Could you please do me a favor now, and make sure the man who was moping at that table hasn't made more enemies? Oh, and welcome aboard... nord" The guard did not dare to take his eyes off of Gidian, whom he now regarded with the utmost of his attention, as if he had just recognized he'd stepped into a Spriggan's clearing, and was surrounded by bears. For indeed, some of those words seemed to have an effect on him, even though they weren't addressed to him. The nord look amused by the show Gidian had put on, and he had his pride. From what Gidian could tell, he wasn't overly impressed on the outside. On the contrary, he replied completely uncowed and calm to the welcome, as if he was glad he had found with someone competent. Still, it seemed a backhanded reply. Gidian wasn't sure whether he had revealed too much by his display, but he'd hoped the man had gotten the intended message. "And ensure whatever you've seen and whatever you've deduced stays between us, if you would be so kind." he called as the man made his exit, though Gidian guessed he'd love nothing more than to stay behind and observe everything in order to put the pieces of the puzzle of Gidian together. He doubted the man cared for Gidian's request.

    The man under Gidian's boot began to struggle for air at that moment. Gidian's only reply was an unnerving smile at the Elite Guard, as he displayed what was under his hand on Maere's head. Something which he had managed to pull out of his pocket with frightening, practically imperceptible speed. It had the intended effect, as the guard sagged, recognizing it. "I'm afraid you're going to have to come up with a sufficient lie as to why your orders weren't carried out. It'd be a real shame if you and anyone you happen to care about were to disappear, after all. And remember, this stays between us." he ground his boot back and forth a little, to emphasize his point, then removed it. He stepped aside, directing Maere, as the Elite retrieved his guards and walked away, giving Gidian the evil eye. Gidian smiled back, genuinely happy there were some guards with standards in here after all. After the guard had disappeared, Gidian sighed, and leaned back against the wall. Now, he was tired, and he brought his hand to his face to rub his eyes, the mysterious object still in his hand. He'd taken a lot of calculated risks, and was playing a dangerous game. Even, to a degree, his reactions and outbursts were calculated. However, it all weighed on him in the end, and even if it was calculated, it had still been honest.

    He seemed to forget that Maere was still in the room, and had no idea how much she had observed, or whether the illusion had been truly holding her, and to what degree she remembered, or believed she remembered, or if she'd broken free at some point and decided to play along. Magic was tricky, after all.
     
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  13. fellowknight

    fellowknight Private Lil' Num-Nums

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    In the instant that the hooded man had revealed his face after sugessting how easy it could be to escape if someone knew the 'right people', Baroth immediately memorized his facial structure, eye-patch over his scarred left eye, crimson hair, all the way down to his short beard. The fact that he was unmoved and outwardly expressed no emotion over his part of the news told Baroth he was either expecting it or it simply didn't matter to him.

    But the way he'd replied had also told Baroth exactly what he needed to know about the pair.

    Seemingly, he'd went from complete uninterest to outright cojoinance in seconds, leading Baroth to conclude either he was viewed as a 'loud mouth' who asked too many questions, so he would now be accepted into this presumed 'group' to be kept quiet. Or, even more likely, he was considered to be a liability and these two would watch him to make sure he didn't make an untimely decisions. But more so concluding was the confidence the man's voice held as he described how simply it could be to escape, given the proper contacts. That gave Baroth the answer he was pondering.

    So you're the one who knows the way out, eh? Interesting... Have to keep an eye on you, then.

    A few moments later, and a small body approached the table with a rather built orc in tow. The body he recognized and identified as the man's, Gidian, companion of sorts as she quickly made contact with him. Gidian regarded to the orc as a sort of defender, and Baroth could support that with the memory of his arm wrestling earlier. Most of the opponents were rather bulky themselves, and they still lost. He noted him as a deadly adversary. He memorized both their appearances while he could.

    When the girl went on to inform Gidian of a "Maere" being abducted by a guard, Gidian offered a shrug of indifference but the girl persisted in Maere's rescue. Baroth had identified the name, along with Belzebub, and matched it with the intel he'd gotten from the guardsman regarding their arrests. But, so far, that was all he knew about them. Even that could tell him so much about them.

    There was little time for such piecing now, though.

    Resolved on the young girl's persistence, Gidian stood, remarked to the hooded man to 'do what he does best', then turned his attention to Baroth, offering his name and that the Nord should follow him, along with a firm handshake, which Baroth accepted. You'd be surprised what you can learn from a person's handshake. His hand didn't squeeze too hard but wasn't weak so as to be flung around or intimidated by Baroth's calloused hand. He had the right amount of control in it and stared Baroth directly in the eye for a moment just as he did it.

    Baroth was not physic, and would claim no such title. Hell, half the time he had trouble figuring himself out, though it never affected his actions. Even still, he had hundreds, if not thousands of centuries to study and adapt to such things as Psychology, Humanistic Habits and Behaviors, Evolutionary Studies, and Ethical Studies and Standards.

    And while that alone may not have made him a psychic or a fortune-teller, he had confidence in his ability to read those who deemed themselves unreadable, or at the very least, gather enough hints to make a plausible guess of their personality. Though, this Gidian fellow was proving quite troublesome.

    However, the fact that he told the orc to 'watch her', the girl from earlier, left Baroth with the impression that he cared for her safety in some way. Which meant, if things truly went bad, he could use that as weak point. Though, she'd made it through the crowds unharmed, in front of the orc. This lead to a number of conclusions, but he'd have to save it for later, it seemed.

    Baroth stood a few seconds after he marched off and followed him through the crowd of raving prisoners, turning on one another like rabid dogs. His saunter was more or less that of a puffed chest and calm canter, navigating the hectic crowds with patience and observant manners, easily dealing with those who were drunk enough to swing at him.

    Along with centuries to learn about humans and their habits, Baroth had also taking the courtesy of balancing those centuries out with the study of how to dispatch said humans in hand-to-hand combat without killing them.

    All of Nirn's cultures had incalculable techniques for inducing unconsciousness through submission in combat, and it took the most talented to balance these techniques to master the art. And by the time they had mastered it, they were either too old to use it, or had been killed. It took year and cost a fortune to travel the world learning such skills.

    Luckily, Baroth had both.

    Long story short, any of the drunks who found themselves swinging at the 'old Nord', would find themselves unconscious on the floor a second later. One was clumsy enough to throw a low jab towards Baroth's stomach, but found it caught in Baroth's palm, his nose broken and his feet swept from under him a second and a half later. Baroth had decided against his better judgment of giving these men chances of surrender. They were drunk, after all. But he never let his guard down.

    He also made sure to keep an eye on the Gidian fellow, noting his rather impulsive counter to one of the assailants. A lot of anger and little control in that one, but it was precise. The crowds parted in front of him and most of the drunkards backed off at one sight of him, treading like a wolf. He'd loosened up noticeably, however, from the conversation. Here in this crowd of chaos, Baroth realized, this man was right at home. He was no warrior, or an assassin, not even a skilled delinquet.

    He was a professional killer for hire. A swift mercenary. He, Baroth came to decipher, was the planner in this whole 'escape' process.

    Which then also tied in with his allegiance to the girl. A bounty he was to protect, perhaps? Maybe his true companion in hunting such bounties. And if she was a bounty, just who was she then, to be so wanted? A man of Gidian's strength and skill surely had the mind to only take the worthwhile contracts, assuming he was a mercenary. Though, none of the Dark Brotherhood assassins were at, so she couldn't hated. Could she?

    Later, Gidian came to a man who appeared wounded and beaten, ridled with bruises and splattered with blood, either his own or some other's, Baroth couldn't tell. Baroth memorized his face and listend in as Gidian expressed his anger with the man, who was appearently supposed to be doing something other than sulking about.

    Then he shifted his attention and went to pursue a small trio of guards escorting out said 'Maere'. Once they caught up with them, Gidian was quick in recovering from the Elite Guard's rather nimble jab to his face, which had only grazed him, and continued to question about the Maere, who he now referred to as his 'healer'.

    Baroth also noted Gidian's sudden change of tone; demanding and to the point, which quickly led them into a swift and rapid fist fight.
    Both, Baroth noted, were agile and precise in their bout, showing they both had sophisticated training of some kind but Gidian was faster and soon threw the Elite Guard to the floor, easily fending off the lesser guardsmen who followed.

    He then took hold of Maere the 'healer' and stopped the Elite Guard, adding extra tension to the situation by placing his boot on the throat of one of the downed guardsmen. Furious, the Elite Guard inquired to Gidian's point in holding him up. Gidian then addressed Baroth once more.

    "There is no question who is funding this place. Anyone who can't at least guess is nothing short of a fool. But remember, there are more imminent threats all around you here. I was able to get a reading on the others in our little group in our training session. I can trust them because they're Garret, and I'm going to need help, or because they're not overly inquisitive. Could you please do me a favor now, and make sure the man who was moping at that table hasn't made more enemies? Oh, and welcome aboard... nord"

    Baroth nodded but quietly replied, in a tone hushed and content.

    "Very well, Gidian. We'll meet again. Soon." And as he made his way back into the cafeteria, Gidian called after him.

    "And ensure whatever you've seen and whatever you've deduced stays between us, if you would be so kind."

    Baroth, contrary to what Gidian had seen, smirked inwardly at the comment, noting it for later but not over expressing his satisfaction with the man's revealing actions so far.

    "Very soon." He added, before pushing off into the mess hall once more, leaving Gidian to assumingly 'rescue' Maere.

    The mess hall was more or less a hectic jumble of brawling, but had more drunkards than genuinely angered prisoners, scattering the guardsmen, who were more concerned with calling in reinforcements than trying to handle this themselves.

    The man who'd been moping before hadn't gone far and Baroth soon weaved his way through a rather fiery group to reach him, snagging a cold bottle, observing him for a moment before addressing him, which gave him a little start. He tossed him the bottle, now icy-cold.

    "Apply that to your forehead." He tossed the man a nearby cloth that was mostly clean. "Take this, stuff it in your nose and take a deep breath through your nose." He heard approaching footsteps and turned in time to dodge a sloppy left hook from a drunk prisoner. When Baroth dropped low and jumped to the side, he then extended a foot and kicked the man in the back of his knee, grabbing the back of his head and slamming it into the edge of the wooden table, hard. Fair to say, he wouldn't be getting back up anytime soon.

    After a few minutes of studying the crowds and ensuring no more of the prisoners were close enough to attack them idly, Baroth turned back to the recovering fellow. He instantly though up a name.

    "Name's Hodlin Graves, by the way. How's your nose feeling?" He extended a hand and watched for the man's reaction, but not so intently, instead dividing his attention between the exchange and the crowd, searching for who he guessed was Garret. The hooded one who knew the way out, now undoubtedly hidden in the crowds.
     
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  14. fellowknight

    fellowknight Private Lil' Num-Nums

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    Baroth's eyes and full attention snapped to the injured lad as he took his hand, shaking it sternly. Their eyes met only for an instant before he recoiled in pain, though it was likely more of a throbbing agitation than a blunt raw spot. He almost asked him what happened but given the situation it would only prove pointless.

    "It's fine, thanks." He said, muffled through the rag he had.

    Baroth nodded. "Good. The bleeding should stop in a few minutes, the swelling in a few days to a week. Here." He grabbed the neck of a bottle and smashed it on a table, handing the glass shank to Nathan.

    He took it hesitantly and gave Baroth an obvious look of inquiry. So, he was level-headed after all. On the same coin, that could also make him combat capable and cunning. Baroth would have to watch his back. Investments and all.

    "You're injured very badly and you'll be sore for weeks, lad. Which means you can't fight, or move for that matter, without either great discomfort or excruciating pain. That shiv should make getting to that orc and little girl across the way a little easier." Nathan casted a glance his way and Baroth pointed to said orc and girl. "Get moving, kid."

    And with that, Baroth turned and left the man there to proceed as he wished, delving into the calming riot. Getting to a vantage point was easy enough and Baroth soon spotted a hooded figure, ducking towards a lone table before overlooking the room and setting his eyes on Baroth. They stared at each other for a solid five seconds before Baroth began making his way towards him.

    So he wants to talk.. Interesting...

    Upon getting close, Baroth casually leaned against a nearby table and nodded to the thief looking character, stabilizing himself with both hands. Discreetly, on the way towards Garret, he'd slipped the arrowhead out of his waistband and secured it in his palm with a thumb. Garret never had a chance to notice.

    "Go ahead." He said in a more serious tone than he used with Nathan.
     
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  15. Skyrimosity

    Skyrimosity Fine Southern Gentleman

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    Belzebub finally reached Gidian with Spero, and Gidian was talking to some man he had not met yet. It was clear from Gidian's actions and behavior that he was a bit flustered by everything that was going on. Spero demanded Gidian to go and get Maere. Belzebub was a little surprised, as he had not known Spero's intentions while they were walking. After all, why would Maere be taken? Belzebub was told, once more, to watch after Spero. At this point, he didn't mind it. He wanted to know more about Gidian and Spero, his interest piqued. Surely there was some sort of history between the two.

    Belzebub and Spero remained as the rest of the group walked off.

    "So... you're an orc, huh?"

    "Yeah."

    "Both of your parents?"

    "Yeah."

    "Well that doesn't seem right at all."

    Belzebub raised an eyebrow. "Huh?"

    "Well, orcs are... nevermind"

    A group of people approached Belzebub and Spero. Belzebub tensed up, ready to fight as hard as would be necessary. The group sensed this, however.

    "Calm down, we just want to talk."

    "Yeah? About what?"

    "Do you really think your group cares about you? Look at you. You're just a babysitter, watching over some girl. They don't care about you. They care about her. And that won't change. You'll always be the one at risk, the one who has to sacrifice to help others achieve."

    "So?" Belzebub could tell the men were thrown off by his short reply.

    "So, we fight as a group. And we fight to win. You could join us, be one of us. We could be champions of this Arena with you."

    "Sorry, I'm already part of a group." Belzebub could tell the men all had physical prowess and talent. However, he also could tell that Gidian had bigger dreams than to simply be a champion.

    "Your choice. But you should know, if you aren't with us, then you're against us. And you will go down." The group of men quickly vanished back into the crowd. He looked around for Gidian, and managed to catch a glimpse of him with Maere and a guard. However, he also noticed something else. Nathan, bloodied on the ground, trying to make his way toward them. Belzebub waved his head in his direction, and Spero and himself began moving to help.
     
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  16. The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass

    The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass Sahrot Vahlok Spaan. Bahnahgaar. Minion #88!
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    Skadi stood for a little longer, arms crossed, as Gidian took his time, and assigned the orc to guard her. Hey eyes bored into his back as he marched off with the other nord. Although her look did not soften, she felt a tremondous surge of victory, though she wasn't quite sure why. A few minutes later, she heard a resounding crack, presumably of someone getting smashed over a table, followed by a chorus of drunken laughter in the distance.

    With most of the group now having broken off and gone their separate ways, she turned a curious gaze towards the orc, and with a complete lack of tact and in a very forward manner, began, "So... you're an orc, huh?"

    The response was almost as profound as the question. Which is to say, a rather simple and forward conformation of something that should have been obvious.

    Skadi, having very little exposure to orcs, nodded to herself, thinking something over in her mind. "Both of your parents?"

    Again, such a profound question got the answer it deserved.

    Skadi knit her eyebrows together at this point, and pushed forward with her thoughts on the matter. "Well that doesn't seem right at all."

    It is rather impressive that she managed to catch an orc off guard with a lack of tact, all things about orcs being considered. It was Belzebub turn to question, although his raised eyebrow conveyed for than his monosyllabic speech patterns. Skadi attempted to copy the gesture, mimicking the raised eyebrow and general facial expression. "Well, orcs are... nevermind."

    She'd apparently come across something too abrasive and forward for even her own inexperienced sentiments to contemplate.

    After that, another group approached Belzebub, and Skadi shrunk back a little behind Belzebub. He was ready to fight, taking a guess at what they were after, and she decided her best chance would be to help him if it came to that, as he was all she had at the moment.

    She allowed an almost inaudible sigh of relief to escape her lips when it turned out they would not fight after all, though she did not believe for a second their intentions were anything less than malign, and so remained tense.

    They were trying to convince Belzebub to defect, and her face paled for a moment initially, her being afraid of losing her only line of defense. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath as Belzebub denied their advances in his monosyllabic ways, Throwing them off and sending them packing. It released some of the tension that had been building up, and once again she found herself thankful but unwilling to say thankyou.

    Shortly afterwards, before any more conversation cropped up, Belzebub spotted Nathan trying to make his way towards them, but evidently losing the struggle in that regard. He moved to him with Belzebub, though she wasn't sure what she could do. She mainly just wanted to stick close to Belzebub, even if she couldn't be of much assistance.

    Belzebub did most of the work, roughly assessing his wounds and manhandling him over to the guards stationed to deal with such injuries once it became clear that neither of them could properly deal with them. Nathan, showing he was truly made of sterner stuff, wanted to push on like a tough trooper, but ended up submitting to the infirmary none the less.

    With that taken care of, there was little else for Skadi or Belzebub to do. Neither of them seemed very talkative, and so a companionable silence prevailed for many moments.

    Finally, curiosity getting the better of her, she requested in a rather demanding way, "Tell me something about orcs."

    Her eyebrows were knitted together, as she had been trying to put together a puzzle without all of the pieces. Upon catching Belzebub's attention, she promptly mimicked his earlier eyebrow raise, then changed it to a commanding glare that seemed to absorb all else, mimicking her father and his airy ways, an owning posture and set jaws.

    And then she changed again, relaxing on one arm on the table, evidently ready to be out of the mess hall.
     
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  17. CapObvious

    CapObvious Gramos Goat-Shaker

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    Maere's body remained under the guard's will as they moved her on, but her mind was still her own. The spell that was placed upon her was familiar, a pacification spell that she had seen used plenty in her short time. But this was different than the simple illusions cast by those she had met in Do'Vassal's company.

    This was far stronger, and it kept her right where the guard seemed to want her.

    She still questioned where she was being taken, why she, out of all the savages that had surrounded them earlier, was being carted out like a mad animal. She had done no wrong. Not even looked at them funny since she had arrived. However, she did recall that something had happened to a captain before her original arrest. That much was known from what was said from the guards that had dragged her down to meet her new allies. But what had she done?

    As she went away from that dead end thought, her mind came back upon the word she had used to describe her new acquaintances. Allies? Could she call the people she had just met such? She looked upon each in her mind.

    Gidian, the stubborn man who had claimed she would be of no use unless she head betrayed her own morals. However, also had an air of compassion, or possibly duty, in his defense of Spero, and the others when they had battled prior. There was a lot more to him then he allowed her to see, and it had intrigued her over the time she had spent here.

    Spero, who had seemed just out of place as she was here. However, she could also see that there was much more to the quiet girl who she had quickly befriended, and wondered just how much was hidden behind the walls Spero had so carefully crafted.
    Beelzebub, who seemed like any other brute, but held something more she couldn't discern, unless she took the time to learn more about him. She silently promised she would take the chance to do so, if she ever got the chance to return to them again.
    Garret was much the same in the fact she knew little of him. Her only interaction with the thief was her cleaning what wounds she could before they were moved to the next room. her mind wasn't set on him yet.

    And then there was Nathan, who she recalled speaking to her as they took her away. Maere had felt a little hope, thinking he was going to free her, but was soon disappointed when he spoke of just following the guard, and doing what she had to. Her mind soon decided Nathan to be a coward, though she soon thought it may have been too harsh. She had seen what he was capable of, but there was no denying she wasn't upset with Nathan's decision to leave her in the custody of these men. As well as Nathan himself.
    Her mind returned to the present situation as they had entered a tunneled path, making their way in and heading down into something that built upon a sense of dread that had plagued her since the guard had spoken to her. She felt her will try to move her lips, and she nearly broke through, before a voice rang out from behind her. A voice that she had been silently begging to hear.

    "Hey!" She heard the stubborn Gidian shout from behind them. They all turned to face the source, moving her with them. When her eyes came upon Gidian, her soul calmed, and her racing mind slowed.

    He was going to get her out of this. Her eyes then moved to the man beside and a way's behind Gidian, and her brow furrowed. Or would have, could she move it. Who on Nirn was he? But there wasn't much time to ponder, as the guard's grip on her arm tightened as he spoke to Gidian.

    "What is it now? Not had enough yet?" The guard spat out, looking to Gidian and, without much warning, jabbed at him, adding injury to insult. Or that may have been the intent. Gidian looked unfazed by the attempt, and instead blew it off.

    "Not nearly enough." He declared, looking to Maere, then back to the guard. He pointed at her. "What do you want with my healer?!" Gidian demanded.

    "Your healer?" She heard the guard ask, but so found herself occupied by something else. The feeling of her pacification was wearing off. She then recalled where she had seen this kind of spell before. It was a channeled spell, one that had to be focused on mentally at an unbroken pace, or else the spell would cease. When Gidian interrupted his train of thought, it broke the spell, though it may have been only temporary.

    Her feelings of Gidian were improving greatly, whether he knew he was helping her in this way or not.

    Gidian continued, after glancing at her again. "Yes! My healer! Why don't you dispel your petty illusions and ask?" She felt herself smile softly, her will returning slowly. No need, you're doing it for him.

    But they were none the wiser, and the dispute continued. "I don't take orders from you. Who I take orders from isn't even a concern of yours. But my orders are my orders, and your not going to change that." The guard returned, before she saw Gidian's stance change.

    "I know exactly where you take orders from...!" Suddenly, the world around her turned to a violent flurry of fists, Gidian expertly dispatching the elite's wingmen. However, the Elite himself was proving to be a more resilient force. Things started to look quite matched before Gidian made an unexpected move. To her surprise, Gidian put a hand on Maere's shoulder, turning her to face the Elite. The guard paused, not moving as he noticed the tables we're turned. The guard stared them down, his frustration apparent. "Tell me what you want. None of this medic pl***, either!

    Gidian, paused for a moment, and then she heard a startling noise. One she hadn't expected in a situation as tense as this.

    He laughed.

    He spoke after, soon proving Maere's orginial assumption, that there was much more to Gidian then he let them see. He spoke again, this time placing a boot on one of the guard's neck. "There is no question who is funding this place. Anyone who can't at least guess is nothing short of a fool. But remember, there are more imminent threats all around you here. I was able to get a reading on the others in our little group in our training session. I can trust them because they're Garret, and I'm going to need help, or because they're not overly inquisitive. Could you please do me a favor now, and make sure the man who was moping at that table hasn't made more enemies? Oh, and welcome aboard... Nord." The guard stared on directly at Gidian, his pride bruised from him failing to follow his orders. Maere noticed that the last words from Gidian were not for the elite himself, but were for someone else. It took her a moment to recall The shadowy figure that stood behind him. Her mind raced as to who this might of been, but she decided to focus more on the task at hand. This Nord could wait.

    Time seemed to slow to a crawl as the two clashed, without having to move a muscle. The glare the elite was giving to Gidian was harsh, and she was certain the glare was mirrored right back at him. The tension in the air was heavy, and it was only a matter of time before another skirmish broke loose. She just hoped her head didn't remain beneath Gidian's hand by that point.

    The guard beneath their feet began to clamber for breath, his arms flailing about, fingers soon gripping at Gidian's soles. However, Gidian's did not relent. Instead he returned a smile back to the Elite, but this time, with something more. She could not see what it was he held in his hand above her head, but from the elite's glare, it was something quite important. Gidian's spoke again, sounding much more confident. "I'm afraid you're going to have to come up with a sufficient lie as to why your orders weren't carried out. It'd be a real shame if you and anyone you happen to care about were to disappear, after all. And remember, this stays between us." Gidian then released the guard beneath him, then positioned Maere away from the guards who were now preparing to lick their wounds. The elite gave Gid another cold stare, before storming off again.
    Gidian and Maere were then alone in the tunnel, Gideon resting against the wall behind him. His attention to her seemed lost for the moment, as he seemed to be recollecting himself after what happened. Maere spoke up, her voice coming as a whisper. "Thank you, Gidian. I was starting to think it was the end." She bowed her head to him. She started off toward the courtyard again, but as she did, she felt herself change again, a smirk crawling on her features. It seemed like she had more to say. She turned to look to Gidian. "I promise I will find a way to return the favor." She patted him on his arm, before continuing. "So don't piss anyone else off, okay? Or there won't be enough of you to return the favor to." He looked to her, noticing how out of her character the statement was, before she winked, and made her way back to the others.

    As she exited the tunnel, she felt the eyes return to her again. However, this time the uneasiness didn't overtake her. She didn't feel threatened by the savages that roamed this place. She felt as if she could best them all.

    What a scary thought. She shrugged it off, making her way through to find Spero.

    As she did so, she saw Nathan receiving some sort of treatment at a far off table. He looked quite hurt, from what looked like the work of a riot. She looked over him, but for once did not feel pity or need to help. Instead, she felt herself shrug. "And to think I would have helped you with those." She whispered to herself. She felt a heat build in her chest. "Serves you right." That nearly shocked her back to normal. Could she truly be that upset with him? Sure he hadn't helped her when she needed him most...but...

    Her eyes left Nathan, unsure of how to feel about it all. She had to find Spero. She thought she had finally found her when her eyes caught another figure, who was staring right back at her. Their eyes met, and they locked her in place. Her mind raced as the man stared back at her, his eyes burning holes into her. However, this wasn't the hungry stare the other men were giving her. No. This was far deeper than that.

    And to Maere, it was almost worse.

    Afraid to linger too long, she made her way off again, soon finding Spero and Beelzebub. However, she soon noticed that she had walked herself in a circle, as she had found them right where she had seen Nathan minutes earlier.

    It all didn't matter now. She'd finally found them. When she found Spero, her demeanor returned, the timid, caring cleric scanning over The two of them near frantically. "Spero!" She called, rushing for her. "Are you both okay? did anything happen while I was gone?" She scanned over the pair of them, looking for any signs as she waited for their answers.
    After a moment of gauging them for any injuries, her eyes began trailing around, looking silently for the man who stared holes into her, before seeing him standing, looking at the group of them. His hood was still up, hiding a good portion of his features, but showed enough for Maere to feel anxious.

    But just as she thought he was going to make his way over to her, a large man walked past him, and when the brute had cleared the line of sight, the hooded man was gone. Her mind began to race as to how he disappeared so quickly, but she soon decided to return her focus on her friends, awaiting their answers.

    Friends...Divines, she was going to need time to get used to that.
     
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  18. The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass

    The Honorable Gidian Diva of Sass Sahrot Vahlok Spaan. Bahnahgaar. Minion #88!
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    Gidian no longer knew what exactly to make of Maere. He almost sighed again with relief when she didn't question him too much, and didn't even seem to take much note of his so called "badge of office". Still, the fact that she'd taken it all in stride... he was just being paranoid. Surely. He was too paranoid. This was a positive quality, not a negative one. It would have to be, it needed to be. This was the team he would have to work with... for now. He nodded to her in reply, an eyebrow raised.

    After Maere had walked back inside, Gidian lingered behind. He let a muffled groan escape as he rolled his shoulders and popped his back, causing the groan to turn into a sharp grunt, before spitting a little blood to the side. His bruises HURT (courtesy of blunted bolts to the back), and the recent action hadn't done him any favors.

    He was slightly taken aback upon following after Maere, before she got herself into too much trouble, at her vehement comments to Nathan. He certainly hadn't been happy with him, but at the same time he understood the man's position. Staring down an Elite was rough business, especially unarmed and unarmoured. Gidian wasn't sure if he himself, a natural at fighting who had been training for most of his life, would have faired much better if he hadn't been able to play on the Guard's sense of morality. And he hadn't judged Maere as one so unsympathetic. He usually reserved such harsh judgements for himself. Still, he had no doubt this girl could give Nathan more of a wake up call than he ever could.

    As he caught up to her at the table, she managed to bring a bit of life to Skadi and Belzebub's conversations (Gidian was sure they had been having simply RIVETING discussions, those two being possibly the most antisocial members of their little team). Other than Maere being a little jumpy, and a few odd figures that put Gidian on alert, there was little other incident.

    The meals and general rambunctiousness were finally winding down to a close, and it wasn't long before guards, rather casually, marched in in a rough formation and called for attention and order. The entrance of an Overseer, escorted by more professional types, immediately saw these casual vanguards come to immediate attention.

    "Warriors, ARE YOU READY?!"

    The Overseer' gravely deep voice echoed throughout the chambers, as the man's strong features and scars indicated that he had been granted freedom from the sandpits only to be imprisoned in another form.The man's gut indicated that he was eating better, however, and had likely taken to indulgence to pass his time. He was almost a laughable sight in his old armor, complete with a cape.

    A massive, roiling, rumbling chorus answered him, which seemed so powerfully loud it filled the room with tangible force. These people were almost without exception ready, and were all breaking into their groups and getting ready for, presumably, something very important. In the moving and clamoring, Gidian did not dare take his eyes off Skadi. A professional speaker could capture attention in an audience quite easily, and he did not intend to lose Skadi due to even a moment's distraction.

    "Now THAT is what I love to hear..."

    The man chuckled darkly, enjoying the moment very much. He had spread his arms wide to recieve the uproar he had incited, and was drinking in it.

    "Ah, to be on that sacred ground again, to consecrate it in the blood of a worthy opponent... IS THAT NOT WHAT YOU LIVE FOR?!"

    The man seemed to be directing an orchestra as well as giving a speech, with impassioned gestures and a fire in his dark hazel eyes. His greying hair shone in the light of the room, light which seemed to be sticking to him, further enhancing the spectacle.

    Again, he received a roaring assent, as people pounded tables and stomped their feet in approval.

    "Haha! Well, with such enthusiasm I think I'll keep the speech a little short! TONIGHT, THERE WON'T BE MUCH SLEEP FOR US! DO YOU KNOW WHY?!"

    The man's fists were pumping with each word, and in roaring answer he was rewarded again. And so, with a dark smile, he ordered, "Then what say we step outside?"

    He turned with a flourish of his cape, and led the way, armed escort in tow, through the winding and twisting corridors at a brisk trot. The guards prodded people along, and in some cases had to carry those who weren't in much condition for moving. There were those that were too drunk and those that were too damaged, and more.

    The room that the march ended on could be described with one word. Enormous. Like the rest of the building so far, it was harsh, uninviting, and very spartan. There wasn't much color and the light wasn't too flattering. The temperature, as always, ranged on the hotter side. It also seemed to have been built as confusingly and haphazardly as possible, as if figuring out the puzzle were some test. Only if you failed, you died.

    There were men and women everywhere, strapping on armor and organizing into groups with all the hubbub of war preparations, for indeed it seemed as if people were getting ready for war. It was madness with a method at an absurd scale, with shouts of all manner from every direction, from those of confusion to the barking of orders.

    Many newcomers were absolutely confused as to where to go or what to do, as there was no explanation and no further directions. Often times the poor fellows ended up being forced into gear and hauled off, and they would learn or they would die. Many did die, in fact, and the room smelled acutely horrid in the heat. Dead bodies were not in short supply. The weak were weeded out, and were dying in droves. The previous meal, apparently, was the last meal of more than a few.

    People were leaving and entering in numbers ranging from alone to massive groups. Some covered in blood and wounds and some on a stretcher. Many with both and everything in between. Gidian eyes naturally never ceased to rove the room, taking in his surroundings and scanning for threats.

    Gidian grabbed Skadi and waved the team to him, where he walked with purpose towards a reinforced door, currently propped open and with warriors of all stripes entering and leaving, though this one seemed less crowded than most others. There were several other doors, each with some sort of necessary function being performed behind them, whether it be armories, infirmaries, just name it. This one in particular, however, seemed to be more of an administration room. Several officials of the arena, with armed guards, we're seated at a table, handling several forms of documenting and paperwork. This room was notably more comfortable and better lit then most other areas of the larger compound, but the guards dealt harshly to anyone caught loitering. There wasn't really any semblance of a line, just those at the table getting taken care of and those waiting haphazardly around the room, apparently following an unspoken code to decide who stepped up next.

    Gidian entered the room, Skadi following. He had long since given up hope of dragging her along, as she'd bitten his hand.

    That being said, he didn't give her any opportunity to react or argue as he shoved her out of the door before she'd even really made it in, attempting to back pedal himself to get out.

    She was naturally very angry about that, and gave him an absolutely evil glare and a low growl.

    "Wrong door."

    He said this matter of factly and without remorse, even adding a shrug, and selected another seemingly random room to enter, this one similar to the last one, only this time he was much more cautious to check the occupants of the room before barging in.

    When he did enter, he agressively approached the table and threw a man aside who had been hysterically arguing something with one of the officials. The official laughed, signed off on something, and thanked Gidian for the intervention.

    "My my, so eager. I must thank you for that quality, some of these... novices can be insufferable to deal with. You seem to be a new face yourself, and yet I already like you! So, what can I do for you, kind sir?"

    The imperial grinned mischievously and raised an eyebrow, as if this was some inside joke or secret experiment, and Gidian was the subject. Gidian snorted derisively, before gesturing to the team which had by now had time to assemble around him in a rough and tough, imposing semicircle formation. They too had caught on to the act, and they would look like they were the pinnacle of confidence even if they had no idea what was going on.

    "What else? Sign us up."

    The imperial nodded with a winning smile. "Just make your marks here... make sure your names agree with the ones provided during Evaluations. I would hate to be unable to properly document your untimely deaths, naturally."

    The man said this rather mechanically, as if it was merely his duty and obligation to say it rather than any particular want. Obviously, this was the bottom of the barrel, and the lives and deaths of the people here simply meant nothing. Hence the fact that there would be no real way to trace these names back to them if they were to die, nor would any effort be made to do so. This was a formality.

    Gidian signed for himself as well as signing for Skadi with the name "Spero". The imperial didn't question and didn't care. They were given a number. From there, there were no further instructions. One was simply expected to know what to do.

    Gidian, again seeming to be ahead of the game, marched everyone out when everyone was done. To wait for directions would mean waiting indefinitely, as directions would never come, and the guards would thrash one for loitering. It was wrongfully taking advantage of the better than average conditions of these administration rooms.

    From there, navigation was tough. The crowds thickened from a new wave of people, and the occasional dead body found entertainment by tripping up the living. Gidian cursed frequently, with little discrimination between beliefs or religions. He showed off quite a colorfully educated culturing, curses from the divines and the daedra too. For indeed, if there was one thing Gidian didn't discriminate in, it was his curses. He in fact had a list on his person of some of his personal favorites, and he would have enjoyed passing time by combining them in new and horridly unheard of ways.

    After one man was stupid enough to make a grab for Skadi, she promptly bit his hand. He let out a yell and jerked his hand away, worsening his wound, before Gidian knocked his lights out. He gave Skadi an incredulous look, and she wiped her face and gave him a winning, bloody, smile. Gidian shook his head and cautiously passed her a clean cloth from his pocket, and she cleaned herself off and spit ferociously as they walked along.

    She was still in the process by the time Gidian brought the group to stop before another large door, this one closed and evidently worn. Gidian knocked, a sliding panel opened, and a man revealed by nothing but his eyes appeared in the door and demanded a number in a deep, intimidating voice. The man's stature was evidently far above average based on the distance his eyes were from the ground. Gidian told the man number 3745, despite having been given number 3270. This, however, did not concern the giant in the least, and he disappeared from view and a red envelope slid out of the door, and Gidian took it and opened it. It was, apparently, the details of their next fight, and he passed it around as he prepared to walk away. But, just as he was about to, the door opened....

    The man in the doorway was, like the compound Gidian found himself in, much larger than life. He must have been at least 7 foot tall, clad in impressive looking dark armor which revealed mostly only his eyes, and possessing a spiked club that would have made Tsun himself feel inadequate. The monster of a man hefted the club now over one shoulder, his blue eyes displaying a shocking amount of piercing perceptiveness despite his bulk.

    Gidian suppressed the initial urge to gulp as the man towered over him, and leaned closer (having to stoop down even) to look Gidian directly in the eyes. Still, despite this evidently catching Gidian off guard, he remained in control of himself and did not falter. He refused to show weakness, although it was temptingly easier to do so. The man's eyes then found Skadi, whom had attracted his attention more by the spectacle she was causing by trying to clean off the blood and spit it all out, absolutely refusing to swallow any.

    She noticed him looking, and her face contorted in resentment and utter contempt. Teeth still bloody, she bared her teeth, raised her shoulders, and then realized how far back she had to lean to get a clear view of the man's helmeted face as he stood to his full height. Her bravado temporarily wavered.

    Feeling the need to draw unwanted attention away from Skadi, Gidian demanded, "Well? You've gone and made a scene. Now what do you want?"

    Gidian stepped closer for good measure, though his stature paled in comparison to this monster. The giant looked over the rest of the group, laughed in a booming voice, and stepped to the side, clearing the doorway and gesturing fancifully with his club. The intention was clear, he wanted them to enter the corridor.

    Feeling like they were already attracting too much undue attention, Gidian did not want to make a further scene. He cursed himself silently for not rushing to the armory sooner, but it was too late for that. Weighing and considering his options, Gidian decided it was best to comply with a resigned sigh, and stepped forward into the corridor. The door slammed shut with finality behind them.

    Gidian could not describe with words how much he hated surprises. The giant had to squeeze past everyone, which was a rather painful experience, to get to the front to open the next door. Apparently a giant wasn't enough security, and so there wasn't just the one reinforced door, but another behind that one. And apparently that giant hadn't been smart enough to realize he likely should have gone first from the beginning, to save this troubling inconvenience.

    Gidian did a double take upon entering the room. There was a table and a group of men and women around it, envelopes and paperwork of all stripes heading out through any number of doors. That however, wasn't what caused the double take. The people sitting at the table did. They weren't administrators, they were fighters for the arena. They, numbering at least a dozen, either stood around lazily or sat at the table, slouching and propping their feet up.

    One if them, apparently the leader at the head of the table, talked without lifting up his head. "You have no idea how hard this was to arrange, you sorry novics."

    Gidian immediately glared. "That's never going to catch on."

    The man suddenly started laughing, as if some clever joke had been exchanged. Gidian didn't share his laughter.

    The imperial introduced himself to the group at large. "Oh I'm afraid my manners were stabbed in the gut yesterday. I think this is the part where I introduce myself?"

    The looming giant nodded his head, and the imperial continued. "Of course. I'm Dolun Imp, you little novics, and you owe me a great deal. You'll pay that back in time, the currency being blood, but for now I imagine you have a very many questions. Well, walk with me."

    He gestured for one of his people to pick up where he had left off with whatever he had been doing, and gestured to one of the many doors, and proceeded to lead the way through, followed by the giant.

    Gidian, of course, had no questions as they traversed a corridor.

    "It's too bad really, what happened to your man, Nathan. Your first fight is going to be quite hellish, and he, the reason for it, is conveniently going to miss it."


    Dolun carried on with a rather upbeat gait and a cheerful whistle, obviously feeling he had absolute control of the situation. "He'll get his later though, if your afraid he'll get left out. Who knows though? Poor fellow might die in the infirmary. Wouldn't that be a shame?"

    "I would worry more about yourself."

    Gidian was glaring daggers at the man, and had been doing so since he had laid eyes on him. His fists however, remained unclenched. The eyes said murder and the body gave no indication of when it would come or with what severity. It was a rather chilling demeanor, though Dolun seemed to not notice it.

    It was going to be a very interesting walk.
     
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  19. fellowknight

    fellowknight Private Lil' Num-Nums

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    Baroth and Garret spoke in hushed tones, seemingly making no contact whatsoever as they both leaned on different sides of a long stretching feast table. With a drink in one hand and a half burnt biscuit in the other, Baroth didn't make any attempt to directly acknowledge the hooded man, whom had now taken a seat. Quite the elusive fellow he was. Naturally keeping his body language unreadable as well as his facial features told Baroth he'd been doing this for a long time and was rather comfortable in any setting, especially one like this where he had more room to loosen up his movements. A master at the art of stealth, left Baroth wondering if he had any ties to the Thieves' Guild.

    Baroth would have to check with Mercer about him, once he escaped, of course.

    As Garret spoke another line, Baroth lazily cast a glance over the brunch-hall. Bodies, food, chairs, spilled beverages, and a few crooked tables all spelled the aftermath of the previous outburst in the room. And though the general population had come down from their high of intoxication and rageful violence, a few lingered about the messy space, rousing fallen inmates and hashing new beef with others. Movement tickled his peripheral, and he spotted Maere the healer entering the hall, Gidian a few paces behind, looking less fortunate.

    The way he moved in his armor, if only in the slightest manner, showed Baroth he was experiencing a great deal of pain, though he was quite skilled at hiding it. Snaking through the crowds had left both of them spotted with bruises, and no short quantity of scrapes and small cuts, but Baroth wasn't the one who faced an Imperial Elite Guardsman and his two henchies alone.

    And the way Gidian had fought and matched the Elite's speed and technique let Baroth know he was a natural at fighting, most likely training years to become one such adversary. The man was certainly the calculating type, and had probably served many times as a merc-for-hire or a personal guard, which would explain his proximity to the young girl. The others had most likely unwillingly, and unknowingly, glued themselves to him and this Garret fellow in hopes of surviving and, what the tension suggested, escaping. Sadly, in such a highly-secured and massively-built structure, only a few escape routes existed. One such involving engraved markings on certain walls.

    Baroth's glance took him back to Garret.

    Wait..

    Just as he mentally drew conclusions to his pondering, guards marched into the room, in a rather cool manner, and called for attention and silence. Close behind, an armored Overseer entered surrounded by more professionally trained types, and gave a rambunctious and fervent speech. Scars and other battle-inflicted disfigurements implied the Overseer had once been a fighter who'd gained his freedom, though ironically, and now served as a sort of professional speech giver. At lease he was eating better, as his heavy middle clearly showed, and lack of impaired movement and sleep-rings meant the man didn't have much to worry or fight about. Maybe eating passed his time. He didn't look the reader type.

    Rallied and devout, the guards followed as the Overseer made his exit, assumingly leading everyone to another room. Baroth had promptly left Garret without a word, vanishing into the crowds and keeping a close encompassment with the others. People were either pushed, carried, or dragged along into the corridor and down somewhere into another room, that was massive in every sense of the word. Vast crowds of scarred and wounded individuals alike scurried around, some dazed and confused, others frightened and horrified, all of them preparing as if war was nipping at their heels.

    Instantly, Baroth made himself aware of his surroundings, checking those who nudged passed him while staying tightly close to the others. The heat in the room was uncomfortable and carried a rotten stench to it. Human decomposition. Every now and then they'd come across a dead body or a few, blood stained into the floor, pooling them in their own fluids. Flies weren't an uncommon sight, either. Some people had lost so much strength, they simply lay on the ground too weak to swat the flies away, teetering on the edge of death.

    Baroth swallowed hard, unnoticeably so, and kept moving.

    Hopefully they're going to a more forgiving place.. Lucky bastards..

    They arrived at a room and began to enter but were u-turned by Gidian, "Wrong room.", was their only reason. Shortly after, they entered another room, more on the lines of orderly than clean, and appeared to be an administration for whatever this place was. Gidian unkindly tossed a wailing man aside and received praise from the Imperial man sitting behind a table, though he didn't acknowledge it. The Imperial proceeded to ask "what he can do for him", and Gidian gestured to the intimidating semi-circle they'd formed instinctively.

    Baroth stared fire into the Imperial as Gidian responded with "What else? Sign us up.", to which the Imperial prompted they sign their names to match their 'Evaluations', and everyone did so. Gidian was handed a number after he signed for himself and the girl. Baroth, as the last to sign, was inwardly startled when the Imperial said, "No no, I already have you down on another charter.", and waved him off to follow the others. It made sense, if the Overseer, that almost had him killed, knew his name, but now it had become a recurring fact that they were watching him closely.

    He shrugged and joined the others, falling in behind and silently hoping they hadn't caught the exchange. He made sure to commit the list of names to memory. No one else seemed to be staying still unless they were dead or dying, and Baroth felt it would rub the guards wrong if they were to stand in one place for too long. Then again, no indication as to where they should go next or what they should do was given, so Baroth half-heartedly followed Gidian once more. The crowds had now become dense and moreso confusing when a new wave of people had arrived, and navigating such chaos was challenging.

    A hand shot out to grab Spero, and the girl reacted with terrifying speed, catching the appendage between her teeth and chomping down hard. The assailant foolishly chose to pull away, worsening the wound, and quickly met the cold floor, compliments of Gidian. He then produced a clean cloth and passed it to Spero, who cleaned herself and spit ferociously onto the floor. Baroth outwardly showed no concern in the matter, but inwardly he was stunned at how such a little girl could turn savage so quickly. She looked more royalty porcelain than prison wolf. He'd made a memo to keep extra cautious around her.

    Soon enough, they came before another door, more worn and used than the others, And Gidian knocked. A sliding panel revealed a set of eyes far above the ground, implying the monstrous height of the giant they belonged to. He demanded a number and Gidian provided one, though it wasn't theirs, and the eyes disappeared for a moment, returning with a red envelope. Gidian opened it and read it, then began passing it around as they made to leave.

    Then the door creaked open...

    Monstrous. Monstrous was the only word Baroth knew to describe the bulky giant in his sophisticated dark armor and unsettling large spiked club, which he held over his shoulder like a bamboo stick. Baroth possessed an impressive amount of evenly distributed brawn, especially for his age and contrary to his looks, leading him to often be considered more muscle than brain. A hefty warrior. He was absolutely certain the giant was the equivalent of himself combined six times in brawn and height. Most unsettling were his eyes, trapped under that large helmet of his, a piercing blue that indicated he wasn't all muscle.

    A few short moments and the giant had leaned down and stared Gidian in the eyes and bore his gaze into Spero, who returned it with what felt like enthusiasm, further adding to Baroth's "savage theory". Gidian then demanded a reason for the hold-up, taking the anvil off of Spero, resulting the giant's booming laugh. Vibrations shook Baroth's ribs and squeezed his ears. He then stood back and motioned for them to enter the corridor, where the previous door slammed shut and the giant pushed passed them to get to the next, leading into another room.

    Baroth gave a momentary look of inquiry as they stepped into the next room, one with a table that gathered at least a dozen -arena fighters?- to organize and deliver envelopes and letters of varying stripes and colors. Some stood around lazily and others sat with their feet propped up. One of them spoke, making himself the spectacle among the rest, though he continued doing whatever he was doing while he was talking.

    "You have no idea how hard this was to arrange, you sorry novics."

    A second passed.

    "That's never going to catch on." Gidian retorted.

    The Imperial then laughed hard like a joke had been passed, but Baroth didn't join him. From his position at the back of the group, Baroth only watched as he continued on.

    "Oh i'm afraid my manners were stabbed in the gut yesterday. I think this is the part where i introduce myself?"

    The giant nodded and he continued.

    Baroth received the letter in that moment. It was the details of their fight. He gave it a once over and passed it on.

    "Of course. I'm Dolun Imp, you little novics, and you owe me a great deal. You'll pay that back in time, the currency being blood, but for now I imagine you have a very many questions. Well, walk with me."

    He gestured for someone to continue whatever he was doing, and motioned for them to follow him through one of the many doors and into a corridor.

    "It's too bad really, what happened to your man, Nathan. Your first fight is going to be quite hellish, and he, the reason for it, is conveniently going to miss it."

    Dolun paced with a rather cheerful whistle and loose demeanor, implying he had the upper hand in the situation.

    "He'll get his later though, if your afraid he'll get left out. Who knows though? Poor fellow might die in the infirmary. Wouldn't that be a shame?"

    "I would worry more about yourself."

    Baroth glanced between the two and opted to remain silent as they walked on. The giant was close behind and he felt the weight of the ebony sword tip in the palm.

    It was going to be a long ass walk, indeed.
     
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  20. Skyrimosity

    Skyrimosity Fine Southern Gentleman

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    "Warriors, ARE YOU READY?!" a man who seemed to be in charge said. Belzebub sort of tuned out after that; he was not the type who needed a pep talk to smash another man's skull. He was thinking about the entire situation a bit; thrown in here and now grouped up with people he didn't even know. He'd probably die alongside them, too.

    Everybody began moving; Belzebub had no idea where though. He assumed that the majority of people actually had no idea where they were going, since so many people die in the Arena each day and so many are brought in. Everyone in the group clumsily followed Gidian, as if Gidian actually had any idea where he was going. Belzebub had to admit; at least Gidian walked like he did. They entered a huge room that smelled of death and despair.

    The group walked toward a large door, Gidian and Spero at the front. They opened it, and somehow realized they weren't supposed to be there. When they entered another door, there was a man screaming at a table. Gidian threw him aside; Belzebub could certainly appreciate Gidian's methods. The official commented on how eager the group was; Belzebub figured that all of them would rather die in the actual fights instead of this area. Soon enough, they were moving again, lost amongst the confusion. Somebody grabbed Spero; Spero bit him. Belzebub began to wonder if her teeth hurt, considering the amount of people she's bitten.

    The next thing he knew, they were at yet another door; they were slipped a red envelope detailing the next fight. Belzebub had his eye on the man guarding the door. He was not used to being short in comparison to somebody else, but this guy made Belzebub seem tiny. It almost made Belzebub laugh when Gidian got in the Giant's face, but soon enough they were inside the door and facing a table of men.

    The apparent leader of them spoke up. "You have no idea how hard this was to arrange, you sorry novics."

    Gidian, without skipping a beat, shot back "That's never going to catch on."

    The man suddenly started laughing, but Gidian's face was as solid as steel

    The imperial introduced himself. "Oh I'm afraid my manners were stabbed in the gut yesterday. I think this is the part where I introduce myself?"

    The giant nodded his head. "Of course. I'm Dolun Imp, you little novics, and you owe me a great deal. You'll pay that back in time, the currency being blood, but for now I imagine you have a very many questions. Well, walk with me."

    Dolun took the lead, and the group followed. It was nice to finally have a sense that the group was getting somewhere.

    "It's too bad really, what happened to your man, Nathan. Your first fight is going to be quite hellish, and he, the reason for it, is conveniently going to miss it."

    Dolun was upbeat and cheery; from the way he walked, Belzebub could tell that he felt in complete control. "He'll get his later though, if your afraid he'll get left out. Who knows though? Poor fellow might die in the infirmary. Wouldn't that be a shame?"

    "I would worry more about yourself."

    Belzebub thought about the giant, and the plethora of guards to be found at a moment's notice. He looked at Dolun's cheery face. "I doubt he has much worry."
     
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