Old January 30, 2018, 07:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Ziel Aerca] Sanctuary (Sliucha)

”So-!”A clap echoed through the darkness, trailing behind a soft male voice. ”What have you stolen lately?”

An oak table fades into view, barren save for two plates and matching goblets with a candlestick separating them. Laughter filled the void as a slender hand entered the scene to scoop another bite onto the fork.

“Every time we have Pracenda, that’s the first question you ask. Have you ever noticed that?”

The voice laughed, but it was never given a face. ”I told you since the day I caught you all of those years ago. I’ll always be supportive of what you do - as long as you’re careful.”

The last word echoed through the darkness as blood began to crawl across the table toward her. She tried to get up, but a set of hands - burly and strong - wrapped themselves around her throat.

Instinct kicked in as her hand jerked toward the dagger she always had on her person.

It wasn’t there.

Everything began to fade.

Desperate clawing at the assailant’s hands slipped away into attempts at slapping them. An unfamiliar chill wrapped itself around her limp frame.

It was so dark.

’Careful.’

‘Help me.’


Tali jerked upright, her chest heaving as it tried to catch the breath she had never lost. Her cognac gaze scanned her surroundings, finding comfort in the lush forest. She took a deep breath, bowing her head. ”It’s alright. You’re safe.” She openly assured herself, a common habit that she couldn’t seem to shake.

After packing up what little she had, she made her way into town. This was the second she had visited since her narrow escape. The first was simply to swipe some casual attire so she didn’t stand out so much.

Dark brown rags, torn and a bit dirty from her nap under the tree gave the appearance of a helpless woman who had nothing to her name.

She could only hope it was enough to keep her assailant at bay.

Her aimless wanderings led her to the Moonstone Academy. It seemed like a high-class hospital which meant her chances were slim at best.

Due to not having much of a choice, she walked in. “V-Vedui?” Fear constricted her throat, leaving her voice quiet and lacking in any confidence.

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Old January 31, 2018, 04:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It seemed to be a rather slow day, there weren't many other people around. Nobody paid Talindra much mind, though, save the people at the front desk. That was the job of the receptionist, after all, to tend to those who entered the location.

"Is there something that I can help you with, ma'am?" one of the clerks asked, a middle-aged woman. She gestured for Talindra to come up a bit closer to the desk, so that they could talk properly.
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Old January 31, 2018, 07:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Tali’s gaze scanned her surroundings, a common habit when entering a building. She tried to make note of any potential exits and obstacles. As she did so, she found the scene rather surprising. There wasn’t nearly the amount of people she had expected. Maybe that will work in my favor - at least give me a darkening to sleep. She let out a short chuckle at her own thought. With the nightmares she had been having, that was nearly impossible to obtain.

She inched closer to the desk, cautious not to distance herself too much from the exit. Her gaze shifted from her surroundings to the middle-aged woman who had gestured to her. A faint smile spread across her pale face while her mind took notes on the receptionist’s appearance. “Yes, I’m afraid that I’ve b-been forced out of my home. Is there a chance I could s-stay here for the darkening? Or is there somewhere n-nearby you might recommend?”

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Old January 31, 2018, 09:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, there was always the set of double doors she'd just come in through. A few windows, of course, although Talindra would need to break through the glass - if that was even possible to do quickly. A hallway to the left, a hallway to the right, the directions showed that those both led to doors that could get her outside. It wasn't too bad, it seemed, the layout of this place seemed uncomplicated.

"Well, I wouldn't know about that, unfortunately." This wasn't... you know, the sort of place where that usually happened. "That being said, the governor does work just above here. Since she also runs the Aedile's office, I'm sure she'd be able to find accommodation for you, if necessary?"

The receptionist didn't really otherwise know of anywhere that Talinda could stay the night, not without some sort of payment involved. She assumed, anyway, that the elf wasn't capable of paying right now.
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Old February 1, 2018, 03:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It was a response that Talindra had expected, although it had a bit of a twist.

The governor? I doubt she'd be willing to give me the time of day. She probably has better things to do than try and help a frightened woman running for her life. A small sigh escaped her lips. At this point, she was desperate and willing to try anything for a simple night of sanctuary.

"Is it possible I could s-speak with her? I'm sorry to bother you with this odd request. I have s-some coin, but I fear I'm unfamiliar with the area." She tried to speak with a bit more confidence despite her voice cracking in rebellion to the idea. To try and compensate, she forced her shoulders back and keep her gaze focused on the kind woman. With the layout of the building set in her mind, she had no reason to wander anymore.
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Old February 1, 2018, 09:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well! The receptionist wouldn't have offered as much if she didn't think that the governor would do so. "Oh, no, that's really not necessary," she waved off the very notion that somebody needed to pay their way in to see the governor. Even luckier for Talindra, a quick check of the ledger showed that the schedule was actually clear at the moment, the governor could meet with her without a problem.

"Just up the stairs, that's where her office is. Knock before entering is all. Good luck!"
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Old February 1, 2018, 09:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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“Thank you for all of your help.” Tali flashed a warm smile as she made her way over to the staircase. As she ascended, her anxiety attempted to spike. She wasn’t sure what was up there or if anything would change down below in the time she would be gone. It was possible that she could be pinning herself to a corner with nothing but an old dagger to protect her.

Not that I know how to use the feth thing beyond swiping at my enemy like a child.

She pushed forward, however, and got to the top of the stairs. As requested, she approached the door and gave it a gentle knock. In the time that she waited for a response, she let out a deep exhale to ease her racing mind. Treat this like you’re about to break into this room. Calm and collected prevent you from getting caught.

”Really? That is the exact opposite of how you should be thinking right now.” She scolded her own train of thought under her breath.
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Old February 1, 2018, 10:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The receptionist offered a friendly wave as Talindra set off towards the stairs. A short climb later and she was faced with the large double doors that led to the office of the Steward-Governor of the Principality of Moonstone. Fancy, you know?

A quick knock on the door, and there was a bit of giggling and shuffling around that could be heard from within. In just a few short moments, though, a "come in!" could be heard from inside. Assuming that Talindra managed to calm herself to the point of actually opening one of the doors?

There was a large, open area in front of her. Many drawers and filing cabinets lined the sides, presumably filled with all manner of paperwork and forms. There were a few tables in the center, where the governor's administrative assistants sat when they weren't out on the job. Another set of stairs led up to the governor's personal office, segregated from the rest of everything.

At the moment Sliucha was standing next to one of the occupied tables, smoothing out the skirt of her dress as the young woman did her best to make it look like she was busy with paperwork. The governor regarded Talindra with a warm smile. "Hi! What can I help you with?"
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Old February 1, 2018, 10:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Tali blinked. A single knock had caused quite a rushed commotion from the other side. Maybe I should come back later? Her question was soon answered with an open invitation to enter.

She took note of the room upon stepping through the doorway. Overall, it seemed like very little would be in her way should she need to retreat downstairs in a hurry. As she scanned the area, however, she made note of the Governor’s actions as well as the woman’s attempt at looking busy.

Definitely interrupted something I shouldn’t have.

She disregarded the thought, allowing it to pile up with all of the questions that followed it, and instead fell into a respectful bow. “Vedui, Madame. I was speaking with your receptionist downstairs and she suggested I come and speak with you personally. I’m afraid I don’t have anywhere to go for the darkening nor do I know my way around town. Would it be possible you could point me in the right direction? I have coin, if needed.”

A small sigh of relief escaped her lips upon realizing her voice didn’t stagger as it had downstairs. She hoped this improvement in confidence would increase her chances for success.

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Old February 2, 2018, 03:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Ah, well. Sliucha made her way over to a nearby table that was currently unoccupied, shifting a few of the papers on the desk and gesturing towards the empty chair opposite. She and Talindra could sit down for this, yes?

"I'd be more than happy to assist you with this." Although, it was a rather strange request, wasn't it? If Talindra had coin then... well, problem solved, right? She could just find an inn or a tavern or something. Even if she was new to town it should still have been possible to get directions somehow. It was a little bit difficult, sure, if you weren't a gregarious sort of person, or perhaps you were in a rough part of town. Still, coming all the way here seemed a little excessive. But then again, had Talindra come here on purpose?

Mmm. Really, what Sliucha needed right now was information. Now, the question was whether to be coy, or get right to the point? Oh, that wasn't really too difficult. Sliucha had never really been one to tease.

"Why are you in Ziel Aerca?" She tried not to sound stern, or as if she were interrogating Talindra. It was just a question born of curiosity. "Is it possible you require assistance beyond mere accommodation for the night?" Okay, that one was a little hard to spin as just plain curiosity.
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Old February 2, 2018, 10:07 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Tali took a seat as prompted, but instantly regretted it.

Didn’t think this one through, did you? Of course questions are going to be asked if you make the situation unnatural. You should have stuck to the plan. You’re homeless. You’re broke. You need help. Simple, no?

It felt as though her mind and her actions never got along too well.

There was still a chance to get out of it. The chair was simple enough as was the layout – she could sprint and be out the door before the Governor had a chance to react. She hadn’t given her name or where she came from. All that could be used was her appearance which she could change simply by stealing another set of clothes. While this was a possibility, it had repercussions that Tali wasn’t able to ignore. Make myself another enemy or try to climb out of the pit I threw myself into?

She tilted her head downward as she let out a quiet sigh. “I fled into Ziel Aerca after being nearly killed in my father’s home. I’m not sure why I was targeted, but I’m hoping to find somewhere safe I can stay for the darkening. I don’t have much in the way of coin, but I can offer all that I have in exchange.” It was the best explanation she could provide. She could go into more detail, of course, but revealing that Tali was nothing more than a petty thief might not be the best course of action.
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Old February 2, 2018, 01:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Mmhm. Mmm.

"I understand." There were so many unknowns in the given situation. Was Talindra telling the truth? Why was somebody targeting her? Was it possible that she had committed some crime? Perhaps somebody was trying to kill her because she'd killed somebody else. Who knew? There were so many possibilities, but Sliucha could only work on what little she knew at the moment.

Still, it was pretty audacious to come to the governor for help, if it so happened that Talindra was actually some kind of criminal. Of course, that was worst-case thinking, it was entirely possible that her father had just run into some trouble and she'd been collateral damage - or perhaps it was just a burglary gone wrong.

"I understand." Well, okay, she didn't, but sometimes it was important to create an illusion of authority. Sliucha had learned a lot in her time in politics! "The saaaaafest place I could think of..." Would probably be staying at the governor's home?

"Well, would you prefer a more long-term solution? Or do you really just need something for this darkening only?"
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Old February 2, 2018, 05:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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A long-term solution sounded appealing.

Tali could return to her old life – one of simple theft and taking contracts for some extra coin. However, the appeal was nothing more than wishful thinking. A fantasy where she was no longer hunted and her father welcomed her home with open arms.

The woven dream seemed to shatter instantly, her expression falling as a result.

Is he even alive? There’s so much I can’t remember…

She forced a quiet exhale through her lips. “While I would prefer something long-term, I'm afraid I can’t think that far ahead right now.” A slender hand scooped up the bag of coin that dangled from her side and set it down on the table between them. “This is all that I have. Would it suffice for a safe place this darkening?”

If it didn’t, she had alternate plans. Or plan, rather. The ground wasn’t a terrible place to sleep, particularly if she could cushion it with fallen leaves. Her main concern was being so vulnerable out in the open. All it would take was a second and she would never wake up again. The thought sent a cold chill down her spine, but she tried to focus on what was right in front of her. You’ll have plenty of time to freak out later.
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Old February 2, 2018, 07:58 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Mmhmm?

"Keep your coin." It wasn't as if Sliucha particularly needed it. "There's an apartment complex nearby that should have some free units. It's in a well-off part of town and there are plenty of people around. Routine patrols by the city guard. As things stand it's probably one of the safer places you can be in the city. How does that sound?"
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Old February 2, 2018, 08:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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It sounds like a challenge.

There was a pause before Tali corrected herself.

It sounds like a great place .

She was under the belief that her mind was split in two. One part took anything that was heard or seen as a potential target. The other was a bit more sensible, taking into account the current situation and emotion attached. There were many times one overlapped the other which made for a bit of a scattered mess up there.

Despite this internal chaos, Tali smiled. “That sounds wonderful, thank you. Please take the coin - if not for the temporary shelter, than for troubling you with such an odd request.” She leaned forward, bowing as best she could while seated.
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