... now they must watch their abundance of luxuries fall away, making room for the tools of survival, and witness this time of relative peace wither into the same fears that harper's ballads had warned them about for generations.
 
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 A Deadly Game

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Attica



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PostSubject: A Deadly Game   Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:36 pm

The sky was very dark, cloudy and full of cold misty rain. It was downright miserable and that is what Radkaen was counting on. Not many would be out in this weather and certainly not at this time of night. Except drunks maybe. But they were easy to avoid.

He had a task to do and it was going to get done, rain or not. Slipping soundlessly into one of the warehouses in the shipyards, he sought the darkest shadow he could find and took stalk of the situation. An involuntary shudder was given as cold water dripped off his hair and ran down his neck. He did not let his discomfort distract him though. Stealing was dangerous work. Especially near the docks. More guards seemed to patrol there than anywhere else. At least in his experience.

Dripping water onto the floor in the shadow he hid in, he wiped a hand over his face to clear the mist from his eye lashes and then put all of his focus on listening and looking. This was a well-stocked warehouse and should hold exactly what he needed to make the needed repairs to his ship. Yes his ship. The Red Star's Revenge is where he called home. He grew up on that ship. He wasn't captain but he was the boatswain. It was his duty to keep it in perfect working order. And to keep it supplied with the necessary tools and materials to keep it that way.

What he had come for now was a hammer and a rope pulley. Those things shouldn't be too hard to find here. And they could both be slipped underneath his long black coat and tied to his sash belt.

When his eyes and ears did not detect any movement or sound in the nearby vicinity, Radkaen snuck along the edge of the inner wall and then angled towards the area that looked the most promising for the wares he had come to steal. There was only one small problem. On his way, his eye caught sight of something far grander than a simple tool. A small crate lay half-hidden under a canvas. Stamped on the side was the word 'silver'.

This was one word he could read and it was something he could not pass up. If Thatch were here he'd definitely go after that crate too. Right? Not likely. What Radkaen did not know was that for something so valuable, it would certainly not be stamped as such and definitely not left unguarded. Actually he did know these things all too well. But his midnight escapade, his dreams of impressing Thatch and his own curiosity decided his fate this night. Radkaen was about to make a very foolish mistake and Kyo wasn't there to stop him.

Moving the canvas further off the crate he saw that it did not say 'silver' but 'wooden silverware'. Wooden!? Why call it silver if it was wooden? Something seemed off. Some instinct was putting up red flags but he stubbornly ignored them...just for a little while longer. Maybe there was something better hidden underneath the canvas. Something worth the extra time to check it out maybe.

The canvas he had so carefully moved again was booby trapped. Attached to it were very loud trinkets that gave off a sudden and loud racket as they shifted. "Shardit!" Radkaen swore under his breath and then turned hurriedly to disappear back into the night to try a different warehouse. But as he stood up from his crouch and turned, he came to realize with a sick knot in his gut that he was no longer alone.

Putting on a fearless smile, he called out pleasantly, "Howdy boys. Great night for a stroll." Then he turned and attempted to scramble up and over the pile the canvas was covering so he could make his escape.


Last edited by Attica on Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:52 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:05 pm

Though night had fallen, and the day's trade was done, the work of those employed by the Dragon's Venture had not yet ceased. A final patrol and assessment of utilized warehouse space needed to be made, so that the following morning, the cargo masters from their incoming trade vessel could be stored without delay. Of course, the Dragon's Venture had their own secret to protect, so it was not strictly for the sake of precious inventory that they were exceptionally guarded and alert. It was for that reason, when suspicions arose that there'd been an unwelcome entry into one of the warehouses, their privately employed Guard quickly stepped in to take action.

However they might resemble the Hold Guard in some ways, the Guard of the Dragon's Venture were different in at least one notable aspect -which was that, under such circumstances, they tended to act quietly, so as to conclude matters on their own terms, instead of involving the general authorities. Doing so was the best way to preserve their own interests; even if they had to bend the truth later, to make things appear politically correct.

The Dragon's Venture did not shy from even the most extreme measures, to protect themselves. They felt the need to answer to no one.





When red flags started appearing in his subconscious, it may have been wiser of the thief to turn and run, as his instincts had warned him, because soon, the only two portals in or out of the warehouse were cut off to him. Dragon's Venture guards stood at the doors, both in and outside of it, while Changhui, Haran, and two others entered into the dark store room. 

Having taken protective measures, the three men beside Changhui, the apparent leader amoungst them, had drawn their blades, leveling them in the direction of the thief who'd likely made his final mistake. Having rushed forward to surround him, Haran was the first to speak, "Who goes there, and what is your purpose?"

It might not have been completely rash to assume that at this time of night a person could only have entered the storehouse with criminal intentions, but the Dragon's Venture couldn't afford to make stupid mistakes, so it was better to play it safe, and make sure they knew who they were pointing their swords at.

While the Guardsmen had the thief surrounded, awaiting his answer, Changhui stood back a couple of strides from them, eyes adjusting to the dim light therein, as he observed. Eyes having fixed on the accused, his expression was unmoved by events that were unfolding. 


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Wed Jul 02, 2014 10:53 pm

Sometimes the best perceived lie is the truth. So when he found himself on top of the canvased crate pile and was confronted by sword-wielding guards, he smiled brightly and spoke the truth. His voice was calm, cool and collected. There was no sign of fear at all in his countenance. Even his eyes were bright and keen in their focus.

"I came to steal a hammer and rope pulley. I don't suppose you'd like to barter instead?" As for who he was, he did not answer. He wasn't about to get the Red Star's Revenge involved in this little mess. He could get out of it just fine. No need for Thatch to be bothered at all. Nope.

Fingering the hilts of his dual daggers, his right hand going for the one on the left and his left hand going for the one on his right, his belly was protected as he gazed around him at the three and then fixed his gaze upon the obvious leader who was standing back a ways and had questioned him. His feet upon the top crates were shaky at best. Not because he was scared but because the crates themselves under his feet felt like they would tip out from under him at the slightest shift of his weight.

"I am no one." He finally answered as he balanced there. With his chances looking pretty grim he should have given up right then and surrendered. But true to form, he was not one to quit...ever. So he drew his dual blades slowly and with a slightly narrowed gaze as he got ready, he kept his balance on the crates and said, "I'd really hate to kill you. ...Shall we call a truce since I haven't taken anything and I'll be off?"

He seriously doubted these guards would be agreeable to that idea and so, he did not wait for their answer. Jumping off of his place, he tried coming in feet first towards the one that looked most inexperienced, his daggers were in his hands and already being put to use to clear a path for him towards the exit. He did not yet know that both exits were also blocked.

He was trapped with no way out. Even if he did know this, he would not have given up. He had overcome impossible odds before, he could do it again. Why admit defeat so soon before he had even tried? That was just foolish and cowardly. As a result, Radkaen fought as hard as he could. With daggers, hard kicks and elbows to faces if possible. He fought as if his life depended on it.
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:14 pm




Changhui may have just let the man come down to talk, if he hadn't moved rashly; though that didn't mean he'd walk away from the encounter any more freely. The thief however, took alternative options, before he could speak to direct his men. 

The young Keroonese man's eyes followed the thief as he leaped from the crates, and all of Changhui's men went after him.

Their thief might think it was foolish and cowardly not to attempt escape, but it was equally as foolish not to have a sense of self-preservation enough to realize when one was faced with unbeatable odds. Both his claim to no identity, and his attempt to run was just as likely to make the men of the Dragon's Venture even more suspicious of him. 

Thus, while Haran and the other two guards fell into a formation around the young man now wielding small blades, Changhui uttered under his breath, "A nobody? Better off a dead man."

Likely, the words were not heard by anyone but himself, as they were for his ears alone; and it was by just about that time, that the rest of the men were all caught up in an exchange of stabbing blades, anyway. 

Remaining beyond the reach of their new enemy, Changhui stood watching. The three guardsmen nearest the thief were quick to provide a dogged barrage of parries and counter attacks that would have been enough to set most opponents back on their heels. The trio of men arranged themselves in the room so that they could gradually force the thief into a corner, caging him in, at the point of their swords.


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:01 pm

This had suddenly turned into a very deadly dance. These guards were not fooling around now and neither was Radkaen. Was it to the point of life or death yet? No, not really. He just wanted to slow them down so he could run. He sure wished he had been more careful but now was not the time for regrets. It was useless wishing that Kyo or Thatch was there too. He had made a mistake and had to deal with the consequences.  

As he fought with his dual daggers, high and low kicks and elbow thrusts --if he could get close enough-- he was creating havoc. He may be young but he had been born on a smuggler's ship. He knew how to fight and he knew how to 'play' with daggers. And it really was like a dance.

It was clear by their counter-attack that they had no intention of letting him walk away. Would they kill him? Would they apprehend him for questioning? He did not like either option very much. He'd actually prefer death than captivity, no matter how short a time it might be. His need to be free was extremely strong in him. He becomes almost feral when that freedom is threatened. Like now.

Three against one was not good odds but he did not let that cower him. He kept his head firmly in the battle and with one of the younger guards falling as he grabbed a non-fatal wound to his neck, there were only two. But they seemed more experienced. Keeping his breathing disciplined, he was working on keeping his stamina and not lose his rhythm or breath. Because if one could not breathe, one could not fight.

As he broke through the defenses of one of the two remaining guards and sunk a dagger into the man's side, Radkaen also felt a hot searing pain in his own flesh. He could feel the hot blood on his upper left arm. His fingers felt a little tingly now too showing the wound was deep. Backing up when the last remaining guard of the three pressed his attack hard, Radkaen tried to gain higher ground by jumping on another canvas-covered pile but this one was even more unstable than the last one.

One small crate near the top tipped, sending him landing wrong on his right knee upon the floor below. The pain shooting up and down his leg from his knee made him cringe and grunt. Having dropped one of his daggers in the fall, he made to reach for it but stopped and followed the sword at his throat up to the man wielding it. Baring his teeth, he spat off to the side but could not do anything else. The prick at his throat was painful and he could feel a subtle trickling of blood leak down onto his chest.

Radkaen was in a hold right now and with a bum knee he would not be able to twist out of it. He did not accept his defeat though as was evidenced by the fact that his one dagger he had not dropped was still firmly gripped in his hand. But he did not move to fight back anymore either.
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:06 am

Indeed, where youth did not grant its stamina or speed, life experience could pose as equally beneficial. So, when the other two guards had fallen back to nurse their injuries, Haran's became more serious in his fight. Luck played in their favour when the crate that their thief climbed upon, had toppled, rendering him unable to fully use one leg -and thereby, unable to fully defend himself.

Setting the tip of his blade to the offender's throat, Haran grimaced when the young man spat in detest. "I'm interested to hear why you seem to despise us so much, but I don't think you'll live long enough to tell us." 

Without further warning, Haran moved his sword with the intention of taking the thief's life.



"Hold!" 

From behind Haran, Changhui issued the command in a firm tone.

Haran's blade stopped short of cutting the man any deeper, as  his master stepped in. Haran however, did not remove the point of his sword from the throat of the criminal.

Searching the eyes of the thief with growing suspicion, Changhui -who couldn't have looked any older than the thief himself- addressed the guard with a new set of orders. "Bind him and take him back to the headquarters. There are some questions that need to be answered on his behalf..." 

If the thief met him then with ill-intentioned glare, then Changhui's own gaze was equally as unkind, just before the young man turned to head back toward the main entrance of the storehouse. Signalling two more guards to provide Haran with backup, they moved quickly for him, and provided the cord with which to tie Radkaen's arms behind his back, once they'd disarmed him of the second dagger. Two more guards were then sent to assist those who'd been wounded. 


While each man played his part to clean up after the whole mess, the side entrance was secured with a lock, and those who manned that entrance moved around the building toward the front, to assist in other ways.

If the thief no longer put up such stubborn resistance, then they would be able to return soon to the Dragon's Venture headquarters, where the man would be held as their prisoner until there was time to question him the next day.   


[hope that works for you, Attica ^.^ I didn't want to assume too much, so tried to keep it vague, like we'd been doing. I'll move them to the Dragon's Venture in the next post, depending on what he does.]


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:29 am

Radkaen was going to die. He saw the man's elbow raise, his forearm aligning with that of his blade for the final thrust. He could see it as plain as day. And there wasn't anything he could do about it. His face turned into a mask of prideful honor as he raised his chin and dared the man to aim true with his narrowed eyes and his firmly clenched chin.

Its been said that life passed before one's eyes when faced with death. This was not the case for Radkaen. He had faced death so many times it would seem as if he'd become immune to the affects. In reality though he did see one face. He always saw that one face. His mother. Dark hair whipping about her on the deck of the ship and her daring smile being softened by the light of the moons.

His death was not to be this night though. At the last possible second a commanding voice halted his execution. Was he grateful? Not really. Because, in his book, something worse was ordered instead. Bind his hands? Nooo. He didn't think so. No one was going to bind the likes of him. No way! He really would rather die.

Two more guards appeared and the hard wrestling for the dagger in his hand was fought over. How he ended up disarmed with his bloody face pressed painfully on the ground of the warehouse floor as his arms were yanked painfully behind him, he wasn't quite sure. He fought them every step of the way though. His left upper arm still bled and was now soaking his shirt underneath his cut long coat. And it burned like fire being moved. His muscles protested movement but he would not give up. He would never give up!

His wrists were bound painfully tight now. But he still tried to kick and thrash even though his knee screamed every time he tried. He was in desperate straights. Should he abandon all caution and holler out his danger cry? Would Kyo or Thatch or the others even hear it? Not yet. Soon though. Maybe when he got outside again. For now he would try to fight in silence. He hoped the men did not search his person because he still had a few more blades hidden on him.
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:18 pm

Changhui may not have seen it, but Haran's sharp eyes did not miss the fact that only after capture was ordered, that the thief began fighting more desperately; when just moments earlier, he seemed willing to die with pride in tact. For a veteran Guard like Haran, that only led him to believe that this thief they'd found, had something to hide. Though, admittedly, it was Haran's job to be overly cautious about such things. That meant that, in this instance, he certainly wasn't taking any risks.

Instead of allowing the young man to fight him then, as the other two man took hold of his arms and disarmed him of the knife, Haran took the hard pommel of his sword to the back of the thief's head, rendering him unconscious.

At that point, Haran directed the guards at the door to clean up anything left disorderly by their scuffle, while the others took charge of hauling Radkaen back to the Dragon's Venture headquarters. Rad's body was laid in a hand-cart with sacks of wheat, rice, corn and wineskins packed around him, and one of the canvases thrown over the top of it all. If one of the Hold Guard happened by, they'd have to do some real digging to see him there.

Soon, the green-clad guards were all leaving together, pulling their cart behind them, and leaving no trace of a confrontation within the storehouse. Locking it securely, they traveled back toward the headquarters where they could set their business aside for the night.


Entering the gates of the walled estate, the guards brought their hand-cart and hidden captive inside, bringing them to an interior store room. For the time being, everything would be unloaded and stored there. Everything including their thief. Likely, Radkaen was going to rest rather uncomfortably, given that arms and legs were still bound, and his mouth had been gagged so that when he awoke, he wouldn't become a disturbance. Not to mention the hard ground he'd been left to sleep on.

Outside of the doors of that storehouse, a pair of guards stood watch throughout the night.






Come morning, Changhui bathed, dressed and ate, before Haran joined him, giving him an update that the man they now held captive was awake, and being delivered to Lady Sienne.

Though the young master Changhui had the final say in all matters, Lady Sienne was the only person noted for her high position, as the Head of the Dragon's Venture. Changhui's identity, and thus his true role within the Dragon's Venture, were concealed to the public; as was his name. For that reason, Changhui was allowed to attend official meetings that involved the Dragon's Venture, but only under the guise of a fellow guardsman -which he did fill the role of, well. Lady Sienne, on the other hand, who'd been his foster mother for many turns, became his voice on such occasions.

So it was then, that Lady Sienne, once the Keroon Lady Holder's handmaid, had arranged a segment of time in her day to conduct a brief interrogation of the man who'd broken into their storehouse. Could it be believed that he only had the intent to steal? It was just as likely he was an informant for Keroon's Lord Holder.


It was only moments after Lady Sienne had walked into the small meeting room, situated with a table big enough to seat four, that Changhui followed suit. Where Radkaen had been brought into the estate and seated at that table, Sienne sat across from him, and Changhui and Haran stood behind her, on guard. Of course, the thief's legs had been untied by that point, so that he could walk of his own accord, but his arms were still bound; The gag had also been removed, once they arrived to the place of meeting.


Lady Sienne was dressed in brightly coloured garb -a dress of bright green and black, with pink and yellow embroidery scattered throughout the satin brocade around the hems of it. Hair done up in a tight plait of black hair, though not lacking in attractiveness, the woman appeared quite stern; as was the manner of her demeanor on the whole. For the sake of the late Holders of Keroon, and their surviving youngest son, she had undertaken the task of building a vast enterprise of Beastcraft trade. Neither standing at the head of it, nor protecting the identity of the surviving son which the Trade business supported, were easy tasks. Nor were they tasks suited for a kinder, more gentle woman -even if she wore that kind of face, when she needed to.

Before the likes of a thief, and a suspected spy however, niceties were of little necessity, and so she bore the kind of countenance appropriate of her station and her purpose there. Likewise, she did not find it necessary to speak in overly patient tones. So, bringing her chair closer to the table, Lady Sienne sipped at the tea set before her there, before addressing Radkaen across from her.

"I have questions for you. That's all. If you continue to fight however, this will become much more painful an ordeal. If you agree to cooperate, as I'm sure you're thirsty and hungry, I will have you untied, and food brought to us, so that we can talk and eat. I may even be able to supply you with the hammer, rope and pulley you claim to have entered our warehouse in search of. Personally, I would prefer the latter option, but I'll leave that up to you."

Hands coming to rest in her lap after she'd replaced the cup back on the table, she waited quietly after that, for the man to respond.


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:51 am

Waking up feeling pain in his bloody arm and a dull ache in his knee and everywhere else for that matter, Radkaen attempted to get up. Why was he feeling this way? Had he overslept after a raid? Was he in the ship's infirmary?

Feeling a tight pain around his wrists and ankles at his movement, brought his eyes wide open. A gasp of surprise also caused him to be aware of the tight gag in his mouth. Why he hadn't noticed that first was behind him. Sacks of goods he could feel were around him and a stone floor under him. He was tied and gagged and could not see a thing. It was too dark.

When it all sank in, his immediate reaction was to fight his bonds as hard as he could. He was making a mess of the skin on his wrists and ankles. Gaining some sort of reasoning back in his throbbing head, he twisted and tried to locate one of the other blades he had not used against the guards. One place after another came up empty. They must have searched him thoroughly because he was completely dry of weapons. It was not a good feeling at all.

Baring his teeth around the gag, Radkaen huffed out his disgust. Disgust at those guards. Disgust at himself. And where in shards sake were Kyo and Thatch? How long had he been unconscious? By the hunger in his gut he assumed it was probably morning by now.

No sooner had he guessed the time of day, the door to the storage room opened. The light on the other side blinded him temporarily. He heard footsteps come closer and blurry shapes reach for him. He tried headbutting one of those shapes but got a swift punch to the face for it. His gag was removed and so were his ankle cords. He could taste his own blood when he licked his lips as they hauled him to his feet.

His knee protested but it was not totally without function. Limping slightly, he squinted at the bright light (bright to him) as he was force-marched to a small windowless room. Around the table he was directed and shoved into a chair on the other side. The table was now between him and the door. And so were the guards and the stern-faced woman that entered, sat and began to sip her tea.

Sitting in the chair with his arms still bound behind him, he kept his eyes narrowed with brooding anger, upon the woman and two guards. He recognized them as the ones that had subdued him the night before. When the woman spoke he turned his defiant gaze upon hers.

Cooperate and eat and be able to trade for supplies? Riiight. And he was a wherry-headed son of a grub. The other alternative of pain was the one he fully expected. Why did he expect pain? Because he refused to speak. At all. Why should he tell them anything? Why would he ever tell them that he was part of the Red Star's Revenge? Why reveal his comrades or his captain to them? As far as Radkaen knew, no one was aware of the smuggler's ship's nearness to port. He'd like to keep it that way.

So instead of 'cooperating', he clenched his teeth, narrowed his eyes even more and spit to the side upon the floor, (still tasting blood from where he had been struck) and kept silent. They couldn't make him say anything. He would not betray his ship. Ever!
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:35 am

Unimpressed by the thief's apparent scorn, Lady Sienne appeared not at all moved by it. There was nothing Radkaen could do here, which could threaten she, her liege, or her men. In a place like the Dragon's Venture, he was dealing with people who were out of his league. He should have been able to realize that by now. Thus, the only person who was effected by his reluctance to cooperate, was himself.

Honestly, Sienne wished he'd put pretenses aside, whoever the kid was, and make things easier on himself. Those thoughts soon voiced themselves, "Your defiance will serve you no purpose, here, I can assure you." Before going on, the Lady of Keroon motioned for a drudge at the door to bring her her food.

It was probably apparent by her accented speech, that Lady Sienne was not from Fort Hold; and perhaps the young man recognized the origins of it. "The place you broke into last night, was a warehouse owned by the Dragon's Venture -Keroon's largest beastcraft trade organization. Due to the nature of our business, I cannot take the liberties of allowing miscreants to disrupt our important work. That said, I would not be taking more time to investigate this matter, should you not have come across as so suspicious. The longer you refuse to reveal your name and affiliation, the longer you will remain here in our custody. There is no one who can save you. Your life is in my hands, so you'd better consider wisely who it is you should please."


At about that time, the drudge re-appeared with a tray that was laden with food. The food was enough for Sienne herself to eat, as their Thief had yet to acknowledge he was willing to sit and eat and converse with her in a more civil manner. The Dragon's Venture had not treated him unkindly as of yet, so they'd given him little reason to despise them; thus, she had to be more suspicious over him each time he refused to speak.

Setting her tea aside, Lady Sienne awaited the young man's reply while she ate, knowing that the enticing smells of the food were probably bringing more attention to just how hungry he must be, by this point. So it was, while she ate, until that time he decided to respond, still with hands bound where he was, she paid little attention to him, focusing more on the meal before her.


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:50 am

Dragon's Venture -Keroon's largest beastcraft trade organization.

Shardit! Shardit! Shardit! WHY did he have to choose that particular warehouse? He was in some serious trouble now. Rivals and strong ones at that. Now there was no way he could say anything even if he wanted to. He was in the pit of the enemy. How could he have been so foolish!?

He came off suspicious? Of course he did. He had entered their warehouse with the obvious intent to steal. But he had a feeling that was not the whole of it. Something about him made them even more wary than that of a common thief. He had no clue what that might be and so he had no way of altering himself to create a better persona. Except maybe lying and hoped they believed it.

The food when it was brought in was looked upon and the smells were definitely making his mouth water. The delicacies there upon her plate was making his stomach growl without his consent.

After a long moment of watching her eat, he debated a new tactic. To fill them with so many contradicting lies that if he did let something accidentally slip they would not believe anything that he might say. But no. Once he started speaking he may not stop. And if he did let something slip, there was no guarantee that they wouldn't believe. So he did the only thing he knew to do.

He turned his eyes away from the woman's food, frowned at the guards and then looked off to the side at the wall and kept his silence intact.
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:27 am

For the moment, the Lady of Keroon had placed eating utensils back on her plate, as she looked across the table at Radkaen again. She hadn't missed that the temptation of food to fill his belly was enough to make him seem to consider speaking, momentarily, but it didn't seem to be enough to completely persuade him.

"I've been nice to you, and given you the chance to redeem yourself by revealing the truth behind your identity and your purpose at the warehouse. From here, you cannot blame me if you get hurt. There are those I must protect, and so I will not tolerate spies or saboteurs. If you are not a spy, nor a saboteur, then speak it now, and you can be spared the misery I will surely plan for you, otherwise."

Leaving those words with him, it was likely the last chance he'd get, before the Lady resorted to less savoury methods of persuasion.


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:42 am

Turning back to the woman Radkaen huffed with disgust and said in a low growly voice, "If I told you I was not a spy, nor a saboteur, you would not believe me anyway." He shook his head and glared hatred at the woman. Seriously, she seemed intent on harming him anyway so what did it matter? He would not betray his ship. He would not even utter its name in his mind.

Standing up from his chair, he limped slightly as he placed it between him and those in the room. Then he slowly inched back so no one would be able to come up behind him.

With his hands bound, he'd have to try and do as much damage as he could with his kicks, head and shoulders. But even he knew it was only going to delay the inevitable. Should he go easy? Let them take him and ...what? Torture him?

Shards no. This day was just getting more wonderful by the minute. Huffing with irritation, he waited for them to come for him in silence once again.
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:09 pm

"I appreciate the forethought, but I will choose what I believe and don't believe. All you have to do is speak. Whether I believe you or not, you only make your situation worse, by not answering to me." A moment's pause, after seeming to consider his words a bit further, Sienne went on, "If you have nothing to hide, then it should be easy to share your name and your craft, or affiliation. If you are neither spy nor saboteur, I will need to approach your crafts master about reparations for damages done, and inform him of your deviant behaviour."

Sienne might have inquired more, but the man began to move. Immediately, the guards were motioned forward to restrain him, and place him back in his seat. 

Since Radkaen was unable to run, one limp leg, and no hands and arms with which to balance himself, retrieving him to bring him back to the table was hardly going to be a chore. 

Changhui reached out first, taking Rad's right arm, while Haran went to take hold of the left.


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:19 pm

She wanted to approach his craft's master? No way was that ever going to happen. Now it wasn't only his pact not to speak of his ship at stake but the honor of it as well. He would not disgrace his ship or his captain. Now there was absolutely no way he would cooperate. Was. Not. Going. To. Happen!

When his right arm was taken, slightly before the left one was, he lunged at the man on his right and tried to drive his forehead into the man's face. If the man was nursing an injury, it would be one less guard he'd have to face when he managed to get out of this place. One guard at a time. One breath at a time. With his left arm gripped hard, he tried slamming his left foot down upon the man's foot where it would do the most damage. But he forgot temporarily the own damage to his right knee and putting all his weight upon it was not the smartest thing he'd done. Hissing out with bared teeth he cringed.
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:21 pm

Persistent ruffian.

Lady Sienne managed an impatient sigh, setting her hands together, back in her lap while the two men collected their Thief. Radkaen still insisted on putting up a fight though, and Sienne was growing weary of prying him for more information. There were other things on her schedule to be attended; she had little time for this.



To Radkaen's right side, Changhui had taken his right arm, but in doing so, was met with an immediate head-butt, that cracked against his nose. He'd been expecting perhaps a kicking of feet, but had been thoughtless not to consider that the thief might come at him with such abandon. 

Having heard the crack, Lady Sienne rose from her chair in a start, eyes sharing a growing concern, "Young master!"



While his eyes watered from the stinging pain that affronted him though, Changhui refused to release their prisoner; his grip only tightened on Rad's arm -as did Haran's own grip. And when the man thought he could cause discomfort through a stomping of his foot, Changhui hardly acknowledged it. Instead, he brought his own foot up, driving his boot into Radkaen's already injured knee. From there, it took only a moment longer to buckle the thief's legs under him, sending him into a knee on the floor. And regardless of how much it pained him, the two guards held him there securely. 

Blinking the water from his eyes that had involuntarily formed there, Changhui shook his head a couple of times to shake off the disorienting discomfort brought upon him by the head-slam. Though he didn't think his nose was broken, it had certainly started to run with blood.

When it did, Lady Sienne called after a drudge to assist them. Crossing the room to where Changhui stood beside the kneeling prisoner, her hands raised to want to inspect him, making sure no serious injury had been inflicted. "Young Master, are you alright?"

Still discomfited, the young man raised his voice in slight irritation, "Enough! I'll be fine." 

The Lady took her hands away, giving more space between them. But seeing as how he'd been injured, still obviously bleeding, Sienne moved to Radkaen, hauling back a hand to slap him with as much force as she was capable of. Her brown eyes  narrowed for the first time upon Radkaen, with complete and utter displeasure. 

So furious at the thief's assault on her adopted son was she, that Sienne spat the order, "Haran. Torture him. Kill him. I don't care how you do it. Get rid of this tunnelsnake!"

The woman turned then, ushering the drudge to attend to Changhui, while Lady Sienne herself went to call more guards to assist them.




Once the drudge had come with a bowl of water and cloths to tend to Changhui's injury, and the other guards arrived in the room, Changhui sat where Sienne had been eating her meal, while the others came to take charge over Radkaen.

Since none were allowed to come into physical contact with him, Changhui leaned his head back to stem the blood flow from his nose, taking one of the cloths in his own hands, so that he could begin cleaning his face; and keep any more blood from dripping on his clothes. The drudge simply remained there, by his side, awaiting any further request from him.

Haran, on the other hand, had become the interrogator, handing Radkaen off to the other guards to hold in place. Like his Lady Sienne, Haran was not a completely patient man, especially when the wellbeing of Changhui was at stake. Radkaen had simply chosen to attack the wrong man. 

Thus, Haran drew a dagger from its sheath at his belt, and without any warning, pushing its tip into the Thief's right shoulder, so that if he ever wanted to wield a sword again, to any effective degree, he'd have to comply quickly, before Haran decided to drive the blade completely through the muscle there. It would be a long time in healing, if he did. But even before he asked Radkaen any other questions, he twisted the blade until he could see blood soaking through the front of the man's shirt.

"Tell me. Who commanded you to interfere with the Dragon's Venture? Or did you even know?" It was completely possible that a mere page, or errand boy, had been told nothing of the significance of what task he'd been given. If he was not in the need-to-know, the thief's own master may have kept such information a secret.


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 2:34 pm

Radkaen was hard put not to cry aloud when his injured knee was viciously kicked and he was forced to land and stay upon it in a one-knee down stance. Gritting his teeth hard to keep his voice silent, it was obvious by the beads of sweat beginning to appear on his forehead that the pain was great. Despite his extreme discomfort he was not too distracted to realize what the woman had called the guard he had headbutted. 'Young Master'. Sooo, this was a bit of information Thatch might like. And the accent he had discerned from the woman when she first spoke to him was another key to his puzzle. They were hoping to gather information from him? Didn't they realize how much they were actually revealing in return?

After the woman approached he met her gaze trying to keep the pain away from his eyes as he met her gaze squarely and defiantly. Her slap across the face was stronger than he thought it would be and again he tasted blood. His vision on that side of his face was sparking with little lights. He spat out the blood from his mouth as the woman ordered his torture and execution. He wished they would just get it over with. But noooo, he had to be tortured first. What fun that was going to be.

There was a changing of his guard then as the 'Young Master' sat at the table and tended to himself. He was trying to work things out in his mind about what he had just heard and was seeing. None of it made sense but his instincts said it was important so he clung to that knowledge and seared it into his brain. If he lived through this... if...

The dagger strike came and Radkaen jerked back and tried to twist his shoulders against the hold they had on him to relieve the point from his skin. A tight groan escaped his throat when the man called Haran twisted the tip in his flesh, though he did manage to bite back his groan quickly. Being a fighter from a young age he knew the significance of the area he targeted right now and he did not like it one bit. This was not going to end pretty. He had a feeling they were only toying with him at this point. This was a mere scratch. He had to toughen up in a hurry because things were going to get much worse. He could feel it as clearly as he could feel the blood leaking out of his shoulder.

The man wanted to know who had commanded him to target that warehouse last night? He was not going to tell them he had chosen that target for himself. No! Instead of answering, fearing he would give something away, he clenched his teeth even tighter and glared.
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:09 pm

As Radkaen jerked in place, one of the guards grabbed a handful of his hair to keep him from putting up any more of a fight. 

Since Radkaen had decided on being even more stubborn, Haran dug the dagger deeper into the flesh of his shoulder. Should he press the tip of it any deeper, he might just rip through tendons, causing more permanent damage. Of course, the man likely wouldn't live to see the shoulder heal, anyway. Few who had such unfortunate run ins with the Dragon's Venture, lived to speak of it. With that in mind, there was no reason for them to worry about their Thief picking up hints on what Changhui's true identity might be. Though, none of them ever called Changhui by his name -they had other guises for him to live by, so that the true nature of the Dragon's Venture trade group was not revealed. They'd spent more than a decade protecting their secret. It was something they did well. Something they were willing to go to any extreme to do.

"You obviously don't value your life." Haran growled, and his arm had visibly flexed to push the dagger up to the hilt, into the man's shoulder, but he was stopped by Sienne's re-appearance through the door.

Having rushed into the room like a whirlwind, the middle-aged woman hand the hems of her dress lifted by taking her dress up with both hands, just slightly, and when she appeared there, her voice was raised to stop them. "Stop, and take him away. We are about to have visitors, and this issue, doesn't need to become an attraction." It would only become the cause of more, tedious clean up later.


With those words, Sienne turned and in a whirl, was walking briskly from the room again, to make preparation. Similiarly, Haran stood back to his full height, withdrawing his dagger. Cleaning it upon Radkaen's own shirt, he returned it to its sheath. "Alright, knock him out. Carry him to the guest quarters, and we'll continue this, later."

One of the guards did as Haran had done the day before, and with the pommel of his weapon, struck Radkaen hard enough at the back of the neck to stun the nervous system, which effectively put the Thief back to sleep; at least for long enough for them to move him to a more private part of the estate. 





Having moved Radkaen's body to a guest quarters, far removed from the meeting and entertaining rooms situated more conveniently for visitors toward the front and center, the thief was not gagged again, and perhaps surprisingly, should he re-awaken soon, his arms were no longer bound, either. 

In fact, since the decision had been made to continue his questioning later, his bindings had been taken from him, so that while he rested, a healer could see to bandaging his wound. They were not allowed to apply any numbweed salve, however. So, when he woke, he would still be in a great deal of pain, but at least the wounds to his shoulder and knee would keep him from being able to make any other attempt at escape. Changhui wouldn't hesitate to target his injured knee again.



Since a couple of candlemarks had passed since the coming and going of their visitors, there was no need to worry about the Radkaen waking and deciding to make a racket. The walls were made of stone, and no person within earshot was going to make any move to assist him. He was alone, here, in that aspect.

Changhui and Haran however, both stood at one of the two windows within the room, almost out of sight from where Radkaen lay on a bed at the far side of the living suite. No words were spoken between them for the time being; both were standing quietly. Changhui's hands were clasped behind his back, and Haran stood, like an obedient canine, a number of steps behind the younger man.

Having changed out of the green Dragon's Venture uniform he'd been garbed in earlier, Changhui now stood dressed in a shirt of deep crimson satin, and an outer layer similar to a surcoat, of glossy black brocade, with contrasting colour in the pattern there. A sash closed the garment about his waist, and over it, a belt of fine leather. The weapon which had been strapped across his back earlier, was no longer present.


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 5:51 pm

Silently he cursed the choice he had made the night before. When Haran drove the knife in deeper he could not hold back the choking scream. He tried his hardest to contain it so it was not a full blown cry of agony but it was still noticeable to those in the room.

The muscles in his shoulder felt the burn of the dagger passing deeper and he gasped with the agony of it all. The subtle shifts in the man's hand was felt keenly through the blade. The twisting was bringing unwanted tears to his eyes. It was his body's natural defense to make his eyes water but he viewed it as weakness and hated himself for it. He was not crying!

With his full weight on his injured knee, his head yanked back by his hair and a twisting dagger deep in his shoulder, Radkaen's life was not very enjoyable right now. He could only watch with dread as Haran's muscles tensed for the plunge that would make the dagger slip all the way in.

At the last possible moment, the stern-faced woman hurried in and commanded them to stop. Radkaen wanted to hug the woman but no... this wasn't over yet! There were visitors. Visitors that these Dragon Venture people did not want knowing about them torturing a captive.

How could he use this to his advantage? Could he undermine them even a little bit by screaming bloody murder? He opened his mouth to do just that but his effort was distracted with the removal of the dagger from his shoulder. It felt as if the man twisted it on the way out. Whether he really did or not, he did not know but it caused him to suck in breath instead of screaming it out. A second later he did not have the chance as a harsh blow rendered his world black. Going limp he knew no more.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Coming awake again he sucked in a pain-filled hiss of air through his teeth as his body stiffened in response to the pain he still had in his shoulder and knee and ...well, everywhere else too. He looked down at himself and saw that his shoulder had a rough, bloody patch over it. He was without a shirt. He was also without any ropes to bind him either. And the bed underneath him was softer than he had felt in...well, forever. This room he had woken up in was...rich.

Lifting his head to look around more caused the torn muscles in his shoulder to protest quite strongly. Not knowing at this point that anyone was in the room with him he hissed out quite a string of cursing. With his left hand he reached over and gently touched the blood-soaked bandage over his right shoulder. It was clear no numbweed had been given. He wasn't surprised.

"Shardit all between." He grumbled and then raised his head again, this time prepared for the spike in pain. It was then that he saw the two men. The 'Young Master' and Haran. Radkaen really wanted to kill those two. They were not facing him right now. Turning his gaze around the area he noticed that they blocked access to the windows but the door to the room was close.

With all the will power he could gather inside of him, he gritted his teeth, sat up as carefully as he could and moved himself to the side of the bed and stood. He had to put his weight on his good leg because his bad one was useless right now. A shuffled hop was the best he could do as he tried to hurry to the door, trying his hardest not to faint along the way. Reaching out, he placed his shaking hand upon the door handle and turned it.
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:09 pm

Even had he only been noticed as he reached the door, Haran was quick to take the few strides necessary to cover the ground between him and the prisoner. Since the door was near a wall, the guardsman took him by the left shoulder, twisting the Thief's body so that he could throw his back against the wall. There, Haran struck out sharply, with the heel of his palm, connecting a heavy blow against Radkaen's right shoulder, where the deepest knife injury had been made. 

The pain incurred, must have been severe, but Haran didn't stop there. He was tired of this pup causing more trouble than he seemed to be worth. His left hand struck out in a blow across Radkaen's face then, and with a brutal upper cut into the diaphragm, the Guard would have likely made it impossible for the thief to breathe for another few seconds. So, in that case, Haran beat him back to the ground, where he could remain until he decided to try and escape again. 


While Radkaen lay prone on the floor, Haran angled himself back toward Changhui with a bit of a scowl left marring his generally neutral expression. 

After a moment, when Changhui wasn't apparently going to make comment, Haran voiced his concern instead, "Young Master, let me kill him, as Lady Sienne ordered."

Changhui had gone back to looking out the window though, hands still clasped behind his back, unspeaking. 

It might seem that earlier, things may have been discussed between them, since Haran was now asking Changhui permissions, instead of taking the Lady's directive. Still, this was no hospitable place for the thief.


Another few breaths of time past, and Changhui finally turned and walked over to where Radkaen lay on the cold floor. There, the young man knelt, searching Rad's eyes if he could, as he bent to his level. Changhui's eyes seemed neither angry, nor spiteful, nor anything of the like, though there was a shadow of hardened emotion behind them that bespoke of a more disciplined and merciless spirit than one his age might typically be capable of possessing. That is, unless that person had seen some fair share of life's hardship. 

Turning Radkaen's head so that Changhui could better see into his eyes, the young master of the Dragon's Venture gauged him by what he saw there. And in that moment, his eyes seemed to soften just a bit; as though Changhui sympathized with him somehow. Then he spoke low, "It doesn't matter what toil you have suffered in the past. I cannot be merciful with you, even if it is the one thing in this world I desired." 

As he spoke, Changhui turned his eyes down, over the man's remaining attire, thinking back to the rest of the outer garments that had been removed from him. Changhui reached to inspect the man's hands and what callouses he bore, before looking back to his face again. 

"Which ship do you sail on?" It was all deductive reasoning, and then a guess... there were many signs that could point toward a life at sea. Not to mention, they were right here in the midst of Fort Sea Hold, one of the largest port-side Holds on pern. "Do you serve with a master seacrafter? A poor fisher? Is that why you were stealing? Or do you come from some more unsavoury background?"


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:40 pm

He heard the footsteps behind him only when they were nearly there. But it was too late to do anything about it. With a vice like grip on his left shoulder, he was twisted around and slammed up against the wall there. He nearly lost his balance but the wall held him up. Then came a sudden, hard palm thrust to his bloody shoulder. He could not stop the scream that erupted out of his throat. The hard blow across his face stunned him to where he could not even protect himself from the uppercut to his diaphragm. He couldn't do anything at all. It was like he was six turns old again and not having a lick of sense how to fight anymore.

Opening his mouth wide, breathless, as his good leg collapsed. Landing hard against the floor he opened and closed his mouth like a land-stuck fish. Until a breath finally shuddered into him with a sound that could have resembled an angry sob. His left hand gripped his right shoulder. His right arm crossed over his diaphragm and his knees slid up slightly to protect his belly.

Tilting his head so that he faced the floor, he closed his eyes tight and gasped in the air that was hard to come by. He wished Kyo were here. Kyo would slice these idiots from stem to stern. Another part of him was glad Kyo was not here. He did not want his older brother-figure to see him like this. It was...embarrassing. It was time to take this to a whole new level. He had to grow a set and get tough. He had to distance himself from his pain and quit crying like a girl. Okay he wasn't but, with watery eyes he sure felt that way.

When his face was turned to look upon the Young Master, he glared at the man. His own eyes were just as cold. It was not odd so see his gaze in this young man that gripped his face for he saw like faces and eyes upon the ship he called home. When his hands were taken and look at he yanked them away. When the question was asked about what ship he was on, his eyes grew narrower ever so slightly.

When the Young Master asked if he came from a poor fisherman his mouth smirked ever so slightly. That would have been a joke to laugh at in better circumstances. But for now when asked if he had come from a more unsavory background, Radkaen was fed up with being the victim. Reaching as fast as he could he would try and grab the man's hair and spit in his face and punch him if he were able. Right in the throat. To break his windpipe is what he was hoping for. Yes, he was tired of playing nice.


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:25 pm

As soon as Radkaen's eyes narrowed in anger, Changhui knew his supposition had been true. He'd hit right on the mark -otherwise the man would have had nothing to get mad about. 

He wasn't expecting the thief to grab hold of him next, nor spit in his face, though his arms had already risen to protect himself by the time Radkaen tried throwing a punch at him. It only took ten pounds of pressure to collapse an esophagus, but even had Changhui not had his arms up in a manner of blocking and freeing himself from the thief's grasp, it was unlikely that Radkaen's deeply wounded right shoulder would have been able to produce any significant power behind it. At this point, it also appeared as though Radkaen also lacked that kind of discipline -the kind of discipline that produced results. 

Haran on the other hand, had also moved as soon as Radkaen came alive in action. The Guardsman's boot swiftly landed across the Thief's face, thusly turning his head aside, and when Radkaen's head moved with the force of his kick, Haran put a portion of his weight there, holding the boy's head to the ground with his foot. Out of anger alone, Haran drew his sword and placed the end of it to the Thief's throat, drawing a thin line of blood there, in threat. 

Had Changhui not been there beside the man, he would have beat him until he was lifeless. But, he could not. 

Managing to have worked his way from Radkaen's grasp, Changhui felt disgusted by what had just happened. He couldn't believe that he'd just been spit upon. That alone was enough to garner his severe distaste of the Thief, aside from anything else he'd done. 

Changhui was still unsure of what he wanted to do with the man -use him, or kill him? He would have to think about it, and consult with Haran and his fostering mother, Lady Sienne, over the matter, before making any other decisions. So for now, Radkaen was lucky to be alive... but as of yet, there was no telling what his future may hold. 


Standing to his feet, the young master of the Dragon's Venture found a cloth to clean his face with, before waving in gesticulation toward Haran. "Bind him. Gag him. But first put fellis in him. He can sleep until I've decided what to do with him."



At that, Haran loosed a thin cord from his belt, and after sheathing his weapon, moved to tie the Thief's arms and hands again. Then he tied his ankles and feet. 

Dragging Radkaen back to the bed, only a few short feet away, Haran hauled him onto the bed, and left him there, moving to the door where, once opened, the drudges waiting just outside were given orders for some water with fellis.

While they awaited the fellis drink, Changhui sat at a table within the room, continuing to clean his face. Then he tossed the cloth down upon its surface and leaned into his elbow there, forehead in that hand. He really wanted to go and bathe, but he would wait until the man was asleep. He wanted to be here, in case, before being drugged, Radkaen had anything else to say. He was growing weary of it though, and greatly considered giving up discussion of any other plan, just so that Radkaen could die with the rest of the men who'd paid the price for interfering with the Dragon's Venture. The price of protecting his life. The price of regaining his veritable throne.


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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:50 pm

Radkaen was failing miserably. What had come over him?! It was as if he didn't know how to fight at all. He was making stupid mistakes, not following through. Shard it all, he couldn't even produce a punch that would harm a baby cat. And the movement of his right shoulder was awkward at best and very painful. His muscles had been cut deeply. He could not use that arm. The fact it had moved at all was undeniably amazing. It alone showed his extreme focus right now. But even that proved fruitless.

He was like a little boy getting pounded on by grown soldiers. What was wrong with him?!

The kick to his face rendered him too stunned to move. The crack of his cheekbone was heard and felt. Did it break or was that the sound of the impact itself? Whichever it was, he knew that it would swell up good. He was not out cold though so felt the pressure of the boot grinding his head against the floorboards. And then the point of a sword drawing a shallow cut across his throat was felt. It made him jerk with instinctive need to fight but he couldn't. He couldn't even see straight right now. His breathing was ragged and he was sweated with pain and adrenaline.

His ears echoed strangely with words as they were spoken over him. The commands that Haran was given he could barely understand. When his body was pushed over onto his face his hands were yanked behind his back again which, considering the protesting of his shoulder made him moan even though he was still really out of it. That kick had sent him careening off of being a fighter and into a dark pit of helplessness. He couldn't even think straight or see straight.

With the cords tightening again over his already rope-worn wrists, and his ankles likewise he was drug back over to the bed and push up onto it. On his back now was he and his arms behind him hurt badly. Blinking, trying to clear his vision, he tried to think of something he could do to alleviate the pain. He could roll onto his side maybe. Would that help? Maybe. But he couldn't. Not yet.

"You nothin' but slimedogs. Stupid, miserable little gut pukes." He mumbled out barely above a whisper. "They'll come for me." A very shallow sound barely heard could have been the effort to laugh but it never materialized. "Just you wait....Just you wait."
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PostSubject: Re: A Deadly Game   Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:22 pm

Glancing back through the window, Changhui listened to what he would say.. but he made no reply to it. Changhui's focus was singular and his sights on his goal set sternly. 

If he could, he would have spoken to the Thief and assured him that his life, next to the monstrous web he'd found himself tangled in, was meaningless. It didn't matter to Changhui if his friends came for him or not. There were more important things at stake here than the life of one or two men. And if the secret protected by the Dragon's Venture were to be revealed because of some thieving dimglow's misadventures, all would be lost. Changhui wouldn't have that. They'd come too far, and accomplished too much to lose their grasp on that future they'd planned for. 

Changhui would slay the Thief himself, before he let that happen. 



The Dragon's Venture's young master was glad of the distraction when the drudge returned with a fellis drink. He stood, and strode out through the door, the drudges bowing as he passed, before moving into the room to sedate their captive. Haran remained there though, until the fellis drink was administered. And if Radkaen put up a fight over it, he'd simply knock him unconscious the good old fashioned way.


[phasing out scene here for further plotting Razz ]


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