• Solo • Prying Eyes

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• Solo • Prying Eyes

Postby Yanahalqah » Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:57 am

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Saun 20 Arc 716




She first spotted him while she was eating lunch in Ye Olde In. As per usual, Yana was sitting by herself, shoveling food into her mouth without really paying attention to taste and the kind of food she was eating. While the Yludih could enjoy a meal, she more often than not had been forced to eat not the most tastiest of meals, especially in the army. Thus, she had forced herself to become less picky when it came to food, and had learned to eat just about anything. Nutrition was more important than taste anyway. While she ate, she leafed through her journal, until she arrived at the section she’d dedicated to the Iron Hand. Over the course of her stay in Andaris she’d added notes about various aspects of the organization, but she still hadn’t gathered much. From the lessons in both tactics and swordplay, to riding a horse and working in team, she had gotten a glimpse on how things were handled by the knights, but she still had not been able to put those things into practice. Nor had she seen them being put into practice.

She sighed as she chewed on a piece of boiled potato, her mind drifting to the war, which seemed to be inevitable. Veljorn Burhan was approaching the city with an army, most likely to lay siege and slay the king. Warrick had taken claim of the Skyriders, and Burhan of the Sailors. Not to mention Krome drawing part of the knights away too. There weren’t many left in Andaris anymore. War stood knocking on the door and the king only had –what?- something of an eighty thousand trained swords? Perhaps one hundred thousand if they were optimistic? Not enough to combat an army of twice that size. The Yludih sighed again. Perhaps she should start thinking about what to do if the King was indeed slain. If Burhan questioned the loyalty of the remaining forces of Andaris. Change sides? Well, she had never been loyal to the king or anyone for that matter. The ideals of the Moseke Knights meant nothing to her. Only her wage did. And her life. If the war was won by the enemy, it was only logical she defected to their side. She could care less about that crap called honor and loyalty. Those things did not keep you alive, nor did they earn you money with which you could sustain yourself.

Still, if Veljorn did not win, if the child king somehow managed to trump him in the war –which she believed would only be because of his generals, strategists and tacticians- things were bound to change. A betrayal such as this one would not remain without consequence, she knew. The child-king would make new laws, and make existing ones more strict. Perhaps there would be prohibitions and curfews. Tyranny. Zero-tolerance. Things would affect her for sure; no-one would remain unaffected. But such actions would provoke just another uprising, another rebellion, another attempt at a coup. Where would she stand then? Between the rebels and the king, or with the rebels? She wasn’t sure which would be preferable, which would be the most profitable. Another sigh, another potato in her mouth.

Yana placed her head in her left hand, elbow on the table, and her gaze drifted idly through the room. A question she did not have an answer for yet. A problem she couldn’t solve. Annoying. Her eye caught someone hastily indulging themselves in an edition of the Rynmere Gazette, its large pages concealing their face and the part of their body that stuck out above the table. Only the black mop of hair was visible. The Yludih frowned slightly, and turned back, impaling a slice of carrot on her fork. She felt uncomfortable and slightly nervous for some reason, and had to suppress the urge to look over her shoulder. She found the newspaper person suspicious. She had to know.

With her right hand she changed the angle of her eating knife slightly, having smeared the splashes of gravy that had clung to the surface onto a potato. Slowly, she shifted the knife, pretending to be focused on her meal, still shoving bites of food into her mouth, though her eye stared at the reflection in the knife’s blade. The newspaper person had lowered his gazette in such a way that he could quickly pull it back in front of his face. But his head was not angled down, like it would be if he was reading. Instead, he was staring at her. He was watching her. She was sure of it.
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Prying Eyes

Postby Yanahalqah » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:04 am

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Her first impulse was to ignore it. Perhaps he was merely curious. But no, she did not think it was mere curiosity. His gaze was too intense. And from what she could see in the reflection of the knife, he did not cease his staring even after having had more than two bits to watch her. He was observing her, that was what the man was doing. He’d even positioned himself in such a way that would make it hard for her to spot him. A few tables away from her, to her right. In her blind spot. That was no coincidental choice. It was calculated. Yana found it to be extremely suspicious. This was something fishy.

She finished her meal shortly after, doing her best to ignore the staring and the man, to avoid looking directly at him again. If he was indeed watching her, she did not wish to make him aware of the fact she knew about it. Still, it was entirely possible she was just mistaken, but she doubted that possibility. Why would he have hidden behind the gazette when she turned in his direction, then? For the sake of absolute certainty though, her first priority would be to find out whether or not he was indeed observing her. To see if he would follow her. And if he did, well, then she’d have to lose him.

The Yludih placed some copper nel on her table and headed for the counter, asking for her weapons. Once having acquired them, she headed out, pondering her next action. Would she go left, or right? Did it even matter? She headed left, somewhat tense, deliberately not breaking into a sprint. She did not want to alarm him. Thus, she figured mingling among the crowd might work. Only, her copper hair stood out among the more common browns and blacks and blondes.

Where to go, where to go? What to do? She didn’t know if he was following her, and she did not want to look over her shoulder to see if he was there. Too suspicious. Listening for footsteps was not an option either; firstly she was not some sort of cat, and secondly, there were too many people around her. The noise of the city drowned her chances of being able to spot her shadow by ear. She would have to use some more trick, it seemed. Watch the reflections in windows and polished metal objects. But she had to be inconspicuous about it. She did not know what her possible follower would do if he found out she knew about him, but she dared to bet it wasn’t much good.

Perhaps the best spot to both find certainty about her shadow, and lose him was the marketplace. With its lots and lots of stalls and people, surely she could slip away? And, it would not be suspicious at all if she stopped there to take a look at the wares. She’d find some with reflective surfaces there too, she believed.

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Prying Eyes

Postby Yanahalqah » Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:17 pm

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It turned out Yana was not entirely correct. Sure, there were lots of stalls strewn about the marketplace, but there were no whole lot of people present. The few people traversing the streets should have been an indicator of the small amount strolling about the market. Not to mention, she should have taken into account the time of day; it was a bit past noon. Most people were having lunch, taking refuge inside to avoid the blazing saun heat. Yana was not left unaffected, even though her body was fake it still produced sweat, and felt uncomfortably hot.

She slowed her walking speed considerably, giving herself some time to stroll past stalls while deciding they were worth investigating or nor. The Yludih stopped at a stall that sold clothing, fabrics of all colors on display, transformed into garments by needle and thread. Almost immediately the owner of the stall stepped out from his spot in the shade, gave Yana a quick look-over and offered his assistance. For the sake of acting like she was here for the market itself, she allowed it. The man poured into his own act instantly, smiling delightfully and speaking in a fast, excited voice.

“I have a whole bunch of new garments in stock for the season,” he smiled beamingly, “Loose and light to combat the heat! Cotton, linen,… ” A wide gesture to his wares, “the best to keep the high temperatures at bay! What do you think about a blouse? Not too tight, not too loose. Stay stylish and cool. A matching skirt to accompany it? Stops just below the knee. Modest, but refreshing!”

“I prefer wearing pants,” she said dryly. The tightness of such garments were not always comfortable in the hotter seasons however. But wearing a skirt made her feel rather uncomfortable, just like that dress had done. Bah. Feminine clothing was just not for her.

“Ah!” the merchant exclaimed, slapping his hands together, “Then I have the perfect item for you!” He beckoned her, moving to the left side of his stall. He picked up some pants with a baggy shape, its pipes wide, though catching at the ankle. The fabric seemed light able to allow the body to cool itself. “This is what they call Harem pants,” he said, “inspired on the clothing worn in the exotic city of Nashaki.”

Yana shook her head. She didn't really like the model of pants, whether they kept her from overheating or not. “No thank you.”

“No? But it is the latest trend! I mean, it will be! You can be a trend setter! A pioneer!”

“I have no interest in fashion,” Yana stated, about to back away, paying attention to the people behind her.

“Perhaps, but surely you would like an eyepatch made from a lighter material? That old leather thing looks very hot to me. Your skin can't breathe! You must be sweating like crazy underneath!” Though he kept his composure, it was quite apparent that the merchant was about to give up trying to sell her anything. This was his last shot. But Yana was interested.

“Continue. What did you have in mind?”

His eyes regained their shine, he bit into her question like a hungry wolf. “A light fabric naturally. Cotton, perhaps, so your skin can breathe. You could perhaps consider dying it or have us sew a pattern on it as well?” He stopped there, but at the Yludih's frown he continued. “It is not because you want to cover an ugly scar -no offense- that the covering needs to be ugly also. A nice color or a fancy pattern can upgrade a functional thing to be both functional and pretty! An accessory to take pride in, one only you can wear! And if people stare, let them! Now they won't be pitying you for the loss of an eye, no! They will be jealous they have no reason to wear such a fancy item!”

The Yludih had to admit that they idea enticed her. She was a little self-conscious about her blind eye and the scar around it. While the patch helped a great deal, it was true that it was rather hot in saun, and it caused her to sweat a lot. If she took it off, the skin that wasn't scar tissue was moist of all the perspiration. And, if she was to get one made from a fabric better suited for the weather, why not have it be patterned? It could be her guilty pleasure. “How much would that cost me?”

“Depends on they color you wish, and on the embroidery, of course. Just the eyepatch in cotton would be... About two gold nels. It's white then. If you want another color, it will add another five silver to two gold nel to the price. Embroidery... is even more expensive. That would cost more than the patch itself, I'm afraid.” He scratched his head. “But I would think it worth it!”

Yana pursed her lips in thought for a moment, then spoke. “It is expensive. Really expensive...”

“But it is top-quality, you should consider that too.”

“I will think about it,” she stated, backing off and bumping into someone who was passing by behind her. It was not an accident. “Oh, I'm sorry,” she apologized while turning around, “I didn't see you there.” In the meantime her eye searched the area behind her for the man from before. The space to either side she had been keeping an eye on while talking to the vendor, though it was not impossible for him to have escaped her vision. The man was not behind her however, not even at the edge of where she could see. But there was someone else she had seen before there. Someone who was looking a little out of place between the stalls.

He was staring at her.

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Prying Eyes

Postby Yanahalqah » Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:10 pm

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He saw her looking at him, and a large grin split his face in two. Even the thick full beard could not hide it. The man raised his hand and waved, approaching with big strides as Yana crossed her arms and adopted a more defiant pose and expression. “Hey! ” the burly man greeted, the battered leather armor and large warhammer on his person making many people turn heads. He stared past her with a quick glance, an eyebrow raised. “I thought it was you! Couldn’t really be sure without seeing your patch. Didn’t think I would run into you here.”

“Me neither. What are you doing here, Bertrand?” Yana asked, not too happy to see him here. The man from before was nowhere to be seen, though Yana doubted she had lost the man already. Perhaps she had just been paranoid. Maybe the staring guy had just been some creep ogling her –though as the Yludih didn’t exactly wear formfitting or feminine clothes she found that somewhat hard to believe.

“Me? Ah well, you know, just got paid for a job well done. Thought I’d search for a leather smith to patch up this old chestpiece.” There were some tears in the aforementioned item, looking as if someone had been hacking on the mercenary with a claymore. Many dried bloodstains were also littered all over the armor, some looking fresher than others. Bert noticed the female merc’s gaze and idly brushed at one of the fresher ones, getting blood on his hands also. He cussed. “Bah. That ratty thief ‘ave gotten his blood all over me.” A frown crinkled his brow and he rubbed his stained fingers on his pants to clean them of the blood.

“You should consider another method than cracking skulls then,” the Yludih remarked, finding that particular way of killing while brutally efficient, far too messy to her tastes. Bertrand seemed not to mind that too much though, his tone more slightly annoyed and jocular than actually pissed.

“Nah, it’s not from that. Just clobbered the guy in the face. Thought it be the most effective and cleanest way to scare them off. But y’know what? He was way too fragile. I didn’t even hit him that hard and he starts screaming like a pig, nose crooked and spraying blood everywhere.” He shook his head in what seemed to be disappointment. “But the client was pleased, so I guess that’s alright.” He went silent for a brief moment, stroking his beard. “And you? Doing some shopping, yea? Looking for a nice dress to wear? You should find one that matches your hair.” He was poking fun at her, it being the most prominent reason Yana hadn’t been wanting to run into him. While she did have thick skin, his attempts at teasing were annoying to say the least. He seemed to be doing it because of her gender, or rather because she seemed intent on proving she was not like other women, but still had acted bashful when it came to her eyepatch and the scar underneath it. “So you do care about your looks!” Bert had called out in triumph when she’d refused to remove her patch, having responded that “it was hideous” to the question of why she wouldn’t let him see. It had been a major slip-up on her part, and she hated Bert for it. Though, the man was handy to have around, and the Yludih was not stupid enough to cross someone two heads taller and many times wider than she was. He could probably break her in half like a twig if he so desired. But on the other hand that meant that he could be of use. From time to time.

“You know I don’t wear dresses,” Yana frowned, arms crossed still. “They’re flimsy, impractical and I can’t have my blade at my hip.” Bert only laughed, eyes twinkling in delight.
“Poor girl, growing up in a band of mercs really did a number on you, didn’t it? No women around to teach you how to be a one yourself…” he tutted slowly, mock-pity in his words. Yana only sighed. “I mean look at you! You wear men’s clothes, you refuse to wear dresses… hell, you even became a merc yourself!”
“Better than having become whore like those that were invited into our camp every so often.”

“For you, perhaps. But I can only weep when I think of all those disappointed men… myself included.” He laughed again, winking. “Cause you know what they say: ‘when her hair is red, she’s good in bed!’”
“That’s not how the saying goes.”
“It’s the gist of it. It doesn’t matter.” He shrugged, grin not leaving his bearded mug.
“If you want a redheaded whore, go to the House of Roses. They have one there. I’m sure that she’d even take you.”
“Ohoh! Yes she has! Wait… did you just-?” he frowned, now only processing the insult.

“Now. Are you done? I thought you needed to have your armor repaired?” Yana interrupted, having had quite enough of the other mercenary’s “jokes”.
“Hm. Yes, I suppose I do.”
“Off you go then,” she gestured with her thumb, knowing for a fact there was a leatherworker in that direction. “And maybe if you’re quick about it you can get to your redheaded whore while she’s still available.”
“You do make a valid point,” the man conceded, stroking his beard as he considered. “Alright, I’ll leave you alone. See you around.” He took off with those words, leaving Yana free to release a deep sigh. Goddamn she disliked dealing with him.

The Yludih turned around then, her eye still searching the area for a sign of the man from before, but she couldn't find anything. There weren't enough people around to hide in, however, for her to be within line of sight, the man would have to be in specific places. Still, he was not there, and even when she pretended to be looking elsewhere he did not show up. He wasn't around. Perhaps she had been mistaken after all. The female mercenary started walking, taking detours and confusing routes while keeping an eye out for the man to make another appearance, though he did not show up.

In fact, that time in Ye Olde Inn was the first time she'd noticed him, and it was the last time she saw him that trial. Her mind told her she had been mistaken, but another part denied it. She did not trust it. Caution was important, especially for a Yludih. Perhaps it was paranoia showing its ugly face, or perhaps it was an instinct, but Yana was on the lookout for him ever since. True, she did not see him again that trial, however, one trial did not span an individual's life. Many a time Yana spotted him, at first by coincidence, seeing his reflection in a glass window. Sometimes by turning her head in the direction of her blind eye, and he would be there, quickly slipping away. She never caught him. She never could confront him, he always vanished before she could. But he was there. And after the first few times, Yana was on guard, paying attention to her surroundings. When she spotted him she made efforts to lose him. From time to time, if he'd been laying low for a while, she forgot about him, only to notice him by coincidence again.

After a while she started to assume that even if she had not spotted him yet, he was always watching.

And even if he truly was not there, if she was all alone, she still felt his prying eyes burning on her skin.
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Prying Eyes

Postby Kingdom » Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:46 am

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Yanahalqah

Knowledge:
Veljorn Burhan: Rebel leader of Qe'Dreki
Burhan: Famous for sailors
Krome: Famous for knights
Warrick: Famous for skyriders
Cassander: The Boy King
Detection: The feeling you get when you're being watched
Stealth: Hiding behind a newspaper
Detection: Watching someone in the reflection of an object
Investigation: Study the target
Tactics: A plan of escape
Location: Midtown Marketplace
Nashaki: Exotic desert city
Bertrand: Looking for a leathersmith

Loot: n/a
Injuries: n/a
Fame: n/a

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 0/5
Structure: 5/5

Comment: The story took a turn after the second post and morphed into a bit of a window shopping thread huh? Hahahaa. I like the part where she used her knife to watched the man, that's pretty cool (though I suspect blurry), and effective. Nothing major to report in the way of structure. Hope you enjoy the rewards.
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