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Old June 12, 2011, 07:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Private] The First Zattra (Shalafi or other mod please)

Timestamp: First cycle of Ulyris, Summer, Era XVIII (.p.f)

It was time.

The girl was now a woman, and the woman was skilled with a ranged weapon. The half elf never really fit in properly in the city of Aslangrad, her mixed heritage saw to that and the fact she was female certainly didn’t help matters in the slightest. But this brightening would be different. She had been told that it was time to head out on her first Zattra, something which she considered to be a great honour. Proving her worth was something that the young woman had been waiting a long time for, and that time had finally arrived.

As such, she had made sure her uniform was clean and tidy, wanting to make a good impression on the person that she called Master. As usual, she wore the grey robes and red belt of the Mage Hunters, the organization that she had spent all of her life raised in. Unlike the others within the compound, she didn’t care that she was doing the will of Aslan. She just cared that following orders kept her alive, with a bed to sleep in, a roof over her head and food in her belly. Now she had the opportunity to do something other than menial chores around the complex.

The Heavy Crossbow that she’d selected was clean and in good working order. The string had been replaced so it wouldn’t snap during the mission and her bolt case was full. All going well, those were the only items that she would need on her task. For now, she waited. Tatiana simply stayed in her room within the vast complex, awaiting word that the Master wished to see her, looking forward to the task he would set and prove that she was not a failure.

Yes, it was time to prove her worth, even though she was a half breed and a woman, Tatiana would prove she was as capable as everyone else on this world.
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Old June 13, 2011, 07:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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In the dark damp corridors of the Cheksteufel headquarters, a young red headed girl waited patiently. Her uniform, a light grey that would blend in well with the cobble stone and limestone of the city architecture, stood out against the darkness. Only the occasional torch illuminated the halls.

"Are you ready?" came the question. A hand on her shoulder told Tatiana that her master had arrived. The older man came around from behind her. His eyes steely blue, his face cleanly shaven but wrinkled with age. He did not smile, stoic as always. The man, whom she knew only as "master", walked down the hall, the expectation was for her to follow.

"Your Zattra has been decided. Like all missions, it has been tailored to best utilize your unique set of attributes and skills." he started as he walked. His accent was thickly slavic, but his common tongue good. He stopped for a moment, and turned back to Tatiana.

"Your target is a young male skrivnostka who blasphemes with the essence of Mysticism." he stated. The word, skrivnostka, was a derogatory term that translated into common as "Cowardly Mage". Tatiana's master moved along the dark hallway again. Soon they were both standing under a square hatch of thick wood.

"He can be found in the 5th Prihod where he cheats the flock with his mind games as an alleged psychic. Stasta Patrisi (Patrasi's Fortunes) is the business he works for. A woman, a fraud and not even a mage, is his employer. You can find him there. Be warned, the 5th Prihod is not an easy place to find someone, and if you get caught..." no more needed to be said. The duty of the Cheksteufel, success or death.

"If you are able to capture him, do so, and then find the safehouse where he will be acquired and transfered for...cleansing." the man said. "That is all." he finished. He then pulled a lever nearby, which opened the hatch above, for Tatiana to leave.

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Old June 13, 2011, 08:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The waiting eventually came to an end, marked by a hand on the shoulder and a voice ringing out in the air. It was her Master, the man who had been watching over her existence for an untold amount of eras. The silent command was obeyed by the half elven assassin, the woman silently falling in step behind the man as he walked down the corridor. Now she was to learn of her first mission, knowing full well that it would either involve her death or her victory. Of course, in her mind, victory would be the death of her target.

It seemed that she would be hunting a mystic. Given their love of mind tricks, this would prove to be very interesting. No doubt this person could cloud the senses and judgement and thus prove exceptionally difficult to actually capture. Taking him down from a distance would be the most preferable course of action, but then Tatiana knew that the order often preferred them to be brought in alive. Hopefully they wouldn’t mind if he was brought in wounded. Disabling the man and then dragging him in would no doubt be a very good idea.

Surprisingly she was being given no more information about the target. A single brow rose in curiosity. Thankfully she knew where he worked, so that was always a good start. The heavy crossbow was slung over her shoulder, whilst the bolt case sat at her hip. The woman was as ready as she possibly could be. Now she just needed to make her way towards the 5th prihod and actually locate the target. Thankfully it was the poorest and most crime-ridden area of the city, so a person wandering around with a weapon likely wouldn’t attract too much attention.

“If he comes to us injured or dead, you may assume he was being difficult.”

Clearly the woman had no issues with long-range violence. Tatiana gave a nod to her master and ascended into the city above through the hatch. She hadn’t been given a time limit on the mission, so there were a couple of things that the woman realised she needed to do. The first step was locating the safehouse and working out various different routes to get there. She needed to know if using the hidden passages would be possible, or if she’d need to go through the streets. Carrying someone injured or dead would arouse suspicion.

That was her first step. The second would be locating the actual place of business and trying to determine who worked there. Tatiana needed visual confirmation of her target, and she also needed to study the habits of the people working there. While it might be possible to get the mission done within a brightening, she was willing to take all the time necessary. If that meant waiting a couple of brightenings and assassinating the man during the darkening hours, then so be it. Plenty of different options, it would simply depend on timing and circumstance.
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Old June 15, 2011, 02:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Tatiana reviewed the mission in her mind as she made her way to the outer Prihod of the city. The 5th was notorious for lawlessness, as much as the giant city turned a blind eye to. It was also, however, a place that asked few questions, and expected fewer answers. One could walk unhindered if one kept to themselves, even with a weapon visible. In addition, the Cheksteufel were feared everywhere in the city, and that area was no exception.

From alley to alley, shadow to shadow she moved. Her uniform was specifically dyed the perfect color to blend with the stonework most common in Aslangrad, so often her figure would near disappear in the cobble and limestone backdrop. Even at a good pace, it would take nearly a candlemark to get from her original location under the Kremlin, to the inner edge of the 5th. When she arrived, she then had to determine the location of her mark. The city was designed in concentric circles, and the 5th Parish was the largest. The south west quadrant of the 5th was the most populated, and the most likely location of a "Psychic" conning the locals. After a few minor inquiries this was proven, as the location of "Patrisi's Fortunes" was revealed. A two storey house painted black with a large sign out front that read "Stasta Patrisi" and under the words, a symbol of half moon, half sun.

There are safehouses through out the city. Many in each quadrant of each Prihod, her master had said before she left. You must find your target first, and then look for a safehouse nearby. A simple marking of chalk, the triangle symbol of our faith, written at the bottom right of the house door will tell you you have found it. Do not go enter until you have your target with you. They are always watching, they will know when you come, the master had said, speaking in the end of "The Handlers", an element of the Cheksteufel responsible for "Processing" the captured Skrivnostka.

And just as it was told, Tatiana found a chalk marking not 3 city blocks from the Psychic's business, a single storey run down shack with a pale wooden door, and at the bottom right, the faint chalked triangle.

Safehouse found, routes plotted out, and now…now she waited. What was her plan, how would she set up, how long would she wait, and would she do anything but…wait.
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Old June 15, 2011, 11:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well she hadn't exactly followed the masters orders, but at least a safehouse had been located so that was a very good start. A little poking around and some gentle inquiry had also managed to reveal the location of the building, so that was a good thing as well. Though Tatiana was getting a little concerned at just how well things were going in complete honesty. Everything was starting to fall into place and almost seemed to be a little bit too easy. Given that this was supposed to be a test, the smoothness of the operation thus far was worrying.

Now she knew what the building looked like, it was a matter of identifying her target. She didn't have any spare clothes, which was a shame as dressing as a normal member of society and entering the building would be the best idea. However, there were other things she could do. For a start she tried to see just how many people were going into the building. It mattered just how popular the place was, as walking in and shooting someone would not go down well if there were a lot of the general public present.

As the building was two story, she figured it was entirely possible that the two people might actually live there. At least it gave the possibility of another way in if she really wanted to explore that avenue of thought. Tatiana explored the exterior of the building while doing her best to keep to the shadows. She was examining the top floor and the roof where possible. She wanted to see if there were any windows so she could get into the building via that method, or anything in the roof that would allow access to the building.

Once she had an idea of what the building looked like, including any windows or doors, then there were other factos to consider. Next she was looking into the buildings surrounding the business, trying to see if she could climb up any of them and lie in wait, or observe the goings on within the building. Basically she wanted to sit near the building and see if she could identify the two people who worked within that place. Once she knew that, it was just a matter of gaining access and confronting the mage.

Given that he was a mystic, Tatiana figured that she would shoot him in order to cause pain and prevent him from casting any spells. After that, maybe she would be able to get him back to the safehouse in one piece.
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Old June 18, 2011, 03:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Both suns were in their descent, but just starting past midbrightening, when the safehouse was located, and the target's location was found. Quickly the half elf Cheksteufel, surmised she needed to get a clear idea of the logistics of the situation.

The building itself, was two storeys, and black, which did stick out a little (certainly purposefully) amidst the average greys and whites of the cobble and limestone. Albeit, in the 5th, the ratio of wooden shack to stone masonry was much higher, especially Poverty Lane and Da Blockti, but the landscape was still dominated with the sturdier stone walls as a rule. There were only two windows visible from the road side, one on the main floor, another small one on the second floor. One alley featured another small second storey window, the other alley none. To the rear was a back door, less announced then the front one, and a small window on each floor. all windows were presently closed, as was the back door.

Darkening was perhaps two candlemarks away as the survey of the building was finished. Now Tatiana focused on finding "a perch". The alley with the window was made by Patrisi's and another business, the local pawn shop. It was a single storey brick and stone house, and did not offer much of a place to hide. The other alley was made by the psychic house and a residence. It was two storey, and did have a window that sat opposite the house, but no windows were visible on Patrisi's wall there. The front was busy, not at this time so much with their business, but with general flow of pedestrians moving about the road. On the street side opposite the psychic's, a butcher shop and a small pub. Finally, at the rear of the building, was the small yard the business was allotted, and beyond that another personal residence, a single storey shack, run down, and of rotting wood.
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Old June 20, 2011, 01:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Lying in wait looked as if it were going to prove somewhat interesting. The area around the building didn’t seem to give her any good views of the building, or even its interior. There were windows around, but they all appeared to be closed. A back door also seemed to be present, something that she needed to be aware of in-case the target decided to try and make a run for it. So far it appeared that watching the inside of the building simply wasn’t an option, but maybe she could lurk on one of the nearby buildings in order to watch both the front and back doors.

That wasn’t exactly an ideal solution, but it’d work. Of course, Tatiana needed to know what the individual looked like, but she couldn’t reveal herself yet. If he wanted to escape, then running towards the rotting building might be the best course of action, though it was likely the mage might just end up in the pub after his shift. There were a lot of people around, and the woman decided that she needed information. She watched the crowd carefully, trying to pick out someone that didn’t seem to be particularly busy.

If such a person could be located, then she’d carefully approach them, making sure that her hood was up so part of her face could be seen, if at all. “Serale… Aslan has chosen you.” Given how devout people were within the city, Tatiana decided to try and play on that, hoping that the words would bring comfort and also some kind of trust. She turned towards the psychic building and nodded towards it. “There is a man within that building, a mage…” Most people hated mages, so again she was trying to play on that.

“…I need a description of him for the church, but I cannot go in and force a confrontation. Would you be willing to help a devoted servant of Aslan, and by extension, the god himself?”
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Old June 21, 2011, 07:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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With over a candlemark of light left, Tatiana cautiously moved about the area, in search of some answers. Most people in the 5th kept to their own business, and minded little else. This was extra true of their approach to the Cheksteufel. As the young half elf moved about the nearby streets and alleys, most people moved quickly away, fearing interaction with those who carried out the will of Aslan on the blasphemers.

Eventually, Tatiana was able to find someone. About 5 to 6 houses away from the psychic house, a poor beggar was walking about with his mug held out for donations. Such people often had the true inside track on many things, and so the mage hunter approached him, and spoke of his helping her.

"Fine life Aslan has given me." the homeless fellow cackled. He chuckled at such a comment, but when Tatiana got down to her inquiry, he stopped his laughter.

"You want answers, I needs liquor. Coin will do, I can get the booze myself."
he said. he looked the girl up and down, licking his lips a little, seemingly full of courage, or just so hopeless as to not care.

"Let the lion put a crown in my cup, and I will tell you all I knows."
he said, smiling his near toothless grin at her as he did so.
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Old June 22, 2011, 02:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It was just typical that the only person she was able to talk to was a homeless man, specifically one that wanted money to buy booze. Most people would normally be quite happy to help out the church, but this particular individual seemed to only care for himself. Considering that, the mage hunter didn’t particularly wish to part with her money and aid this man in attaining a drunken stupor. However if he really had information about her target, then passing up this opportunity would not be wise in the slightest.

“I don’t think you should be spending money on booze given your situation.”

There was a shrug from the robed and hooded woman, a simple action that made the heavy crossbow on her back shift a little. She placed a hand within the folds of her robe and plucked a couple of golden crowns from somewhere, placing them into the man’s cup. It was double what he’d asked for, as Tatiana hoped for more than just information. “One for the information, one for your silence, yes?” To her it seemed to be a very reasonable arrangement, now it just depended on if this particular man actually agreed with her.

“Tell me what you know of the mage working in the psychic building.”
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Old June 24, 2011, 02:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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"A lot I see, and a lot I could tell you." the man began. Tatiana, on inspecting him a little closer, could see the man was not a young fellow, and had seen many days like the one he was having now on the streets. He took the crowns and smiled broadly, revealing the crooked fence of teeth (what few were left) once more.

"He is the real deal. People come out of there..." pointing to the building, "...they come out convinced. When he saw me this morning, he came over and told me I was going to meet someone who would ask about him today." The hobo grinned, "...and here you are." he finished. He wobbled a little then, the booze, or perhaps the absence of it, in his system making him off balance.

"I need to sit." he said. The bum looked to a nearby stair by a two storey, and sat.

"Where was I? Oh yes, Patrisi's young fellow, Drinzden. Yes, he is the real deal. Oh wait, I mentioned that." the older man seemed confused now. He paused for a second, then continued.

"He comes down here every brightening. Lives somewhere else, not sure how far away. He stays until the last person is gone. Not much business for him after the suns go down. Patrisi, now there is a fine one. She never could seem to get much right when she tried to scry. Her business would have been gone long ago." He looked up at Tatiana then,

"That all you wanna know?"
he asked her.
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Old June 25, 2011, 07:26 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The information that the woman was given set her on edge a little bit. She had expected a mystic to be able to read minds and maybe even see her if she was hidden, but she hadn’t expected a man that was able to read the future to a certain extent. Tatiana understood why the Mage Hunters tracked down and dealt with non-Thaumaturgical mages. They had the potential to be dangerous, that much was sure. This particular man seemed to be exceptionally dangerous if he had a limited ability to read the future.

When the man said he needed to sit, the woman simply nodded and walked with him, wondering what else he had to say regarding her target. At least she had a name now, so that was a good thing. Apparently he lived somewhere else, so the woman could always follow him back to his home and take care of him there. She even considered asking his employer where he lived, but it would be for the best if she tried to keep the amount of people involved to a very small number. Tatiana figured she could always kill the bum later if need be, just to cover her tracks.

There wasn’t much time left before the suns went down, meaning the man’s shift would be over. The mage hunter needed only a little more information and that would be enough for her to do the job she had been tasked with. “A description. What does he look like? That is all the information I need.” One thing was for sure, Tatiana was most certainly a woman of few words. She had a job to do and she wanted to complete it as quickly as possible.
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Old June 26, 2011, 08:50 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Indeed, the meanderings of the homeless man were odd. A simple Mystic would be unable to predict the future. Then again, how vague was the comment. That the homeless man would be asked by someone near the business, about the man who was the business. Was the man a true psychic, or one who had honed the fine art of predictions to a new height. Only time, and perhaps an encounter, would tell...

"He is a short man, and not much meat on his bones. I swear he's got Elven blood in him somewheres." the old fellow sputtered. He looked over at the psychic house for a moment, then back to Tatiana.

"Light brown hair on his head, and not a lick on his face. Chiseled jaw and doe eyes."
he finished. The man then waited but a moment to see if the Cheksteufel wanted anything else, before staggering away, likely off to the nearest inn or pub. The sun was now just about to set, and the time of near darkening approached...
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Old June 28, 2011, 05:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
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With the description given, that was all the information the woman needed to know. She had a time for when he’d be leaving, and now knew what he looked like. It sounded like he was half elven, which might explain the lithe figure and lack of facial hair. At least that would make him stand out a little more in this city, and thus make her job even easier. Now it was just a matter of working out how to deal with him. Regardless of how she chose to proceed, the mage hunter would need to lie in wait and carefully observe the building.

If the man had been seen leaving often enough for the homeless guy to tell her exactly when business was over, it seemed reasonable that he would be using the front door. Now the question was if he’d continue to use the front door as he believed someone would be asking about him this brightening. Tatiana knew that she’d take a different way out of the building if it were her, but watching both the front and back doors would be almost impossible. She needed to make a decision and take a gamble.

With that in mind, the woman decided that she was going to watch the front door. Her mind thought back to her survey of the surrounding area. There had been a butchers shop opposite the psychic place, along with a pub. Tatiana moved back to this area and checked to see if there were alleyways between the buildings. Most of the other buildings created such alleyways, and thus she wanted to use them to her advantage.

The plan was simple. Find an alleyway, hide in the shadows with her crossbow loaded and watch the building for her target. She’d decide how to deal with him once he was located.
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Old July 1, 2011, 06:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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There were indeed alleyways between the butcher's shop, the pub, and the other buildings. Choosing one such lane to enter, Tatiana moved to the shadows within it, created by the near set suns, and the tall walls nearby. Crossbow out and set, she stood stoically and cautiously in focused anticipation of what was to come. As the nearby crowds grew, most moving along the ways to their homes, some still heading into the pub for a drink and a meal, the city came alive like it did every evening. Keeping her position and purpose as hidden as she could, Tatiana watched the dozens of people move by the alley, just in front of her location.

Then he was there. At the door. A small man, no facial hair, matching the description given to her by the old man. He came out the door of the Psychic House, and looked about the street. Coming out after him, was an older woman, dressed in black. She moved around him and then in front of him, as he turned and moved to lock the door of the building.

Suddenly there was some movement in the alley. A rustling of debris from behind Tatiana as she continued to focus on her target...
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Old July 8, 2011, 10:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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With crossbow loaded and ready, the female mage hunter lay in wait, hiding in one of the alleyways near to the building where this mage worked. Tatiana assumed this was always the worst part of a mission, the waiting for the target to appear so they can be dealt with. Standing eventually started to make the woman feel stiff, so she decided to kneel down instead. Not only would that help with the stiffness in her muscles, but it would help her to hide a little better and might provide more stability with aiming the crossbow.

If she was going to have to shoot this man, then she didn’t want to miss.

Once he appeared, the woman’s muscles involuntarily tensed up and she brought her crossbow to bear on the man. She wanted to wait until he walked off and then intended to peg him in the kneecap or leg. That would cause pain, which would in turn prevent spellcasting and allow her to get him back to the safehouse alive. Her superiors would be happier with that rather than having to clean up a corpse, and she knew it. Personally, Tatiana would rather just shoot him through the head so Aslangrad and its citizens would never have to deal with him ever again.

A noise from behind startled the woman. She quickly spun around to face whatever had made the noise, speaking in hushed tones. Of course, there was a chance it might just be a cat, but if it was a person, they needed dealing with. She couldn’t have her attention diverted from her target for too long, and her crossbow would make short work of most people.

“Speak quickly.”
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