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"That is not a problem for I obviously do," said Thirilight, hoisting his pack onto his shoulders and leading the way to the tailor's. "A bath would not be remiss, either."

2/14/2009 #61
Chasing Skylines

Later that evening, outfitted in new clothes and fresh from a bath, Muffy approached Thirilight and questioned his method of tracking down the thief.

"What amulet are you using? How does it work?"

2/14/2009 #62

Thirilight tugged at a second chain around his throat, revealing a sword pendant. Crafted of steel, the minute hilt engraved with gold and the pommel inlaid with a blood red gem, the pendant was an exact replica of Wordy in appearance. It was inactive at the moment, and as Thirilight replaced the talisman within his shirt, he said, "I shall explain how it works in the inn as there are preparations that must be made to use it. By the way," Thirilight said without looking at Muffy as he walked towards the inn, "I hope you have no aversion to sharing a room. I have a limited amount of money, and it wouldn't do to waste it on unnecessary things."

2/14/2009 . Edited 2/14/2009 #63
Chasing Skylines

"I'm fine." She opened the door and went inside the inn.

2/14/2009 #64

Thirilight followed close after.

2/14/2009 . Edited 2/14/2009 #65

Tobias leaned back in his chair with his eyes shut and smoking from a pipe. His hands rested on his large belly as he lightly snored. One hand lifted unconsciously to scratch his balding scalp. He was awoken to the jingle of the metal bell over the door and, faster than one would think for a man of his size, was on his feet and smiling a porcelain smile that anyone in the business of dealing with people had to have. A man and a girl entered and he bid them come closer with a wave.

"Welcome! How can I help you?"

2/14/2009 #66

"Runida sent us," Thirilight said, shifting the pack on his shoulders so that it would be easy to remove.

2/14/2009 #67
Chasing Skylines

"You are Runida's friend? She says we can find a meal and bed here."

2/14/2009 #68

Tobias raised an eyebrow and his smile grew wide.

"Runida? Truly?" His laugh came hardy and thick and his belly bounced with each shake of his shoulders. "Oh how is the gal? It's been too long since I've seen her. That's a good woman, I assure you. Yes, yes. She's a good friend of mine. And she sent you, you say? Well any friend of hers is more than welcome in my inn. In fact, I won't take no for an answer."

He came around the counter and gestured for the two to follow. Silently he wondered how badly "Runida" had screwed up to need his help. Along a wall they passed was a door leading to a dining area. "Dinner is being served if you're hungry. Eat your fill and don't you dare worry about price. It's my treat."

Tobias led them up a flight of stares and down a corridor of doors.

"We're pretty packed tonight. Poor timing I'm afraid, but I can give you this room here." He opened one of the doors and let them see the simple room. Two beds along adjacent walls by the corner and a small dresser were the main features. "If you need anything, you just find me in the front, all right? Now I'll let you two get settled." He gave them overzealous pats on the back and returned to the front. It might have seemed like he returned to his happy dreams, but the dreams were darker than they seemed from his smiling fat face.

2/14/2009 #69
Chasing Skylines

Once the jolly fat man had left, Muffy asked Thirilight, "Well? Are you going to show how the sword thing is used? Or should we eat first?"

2/14/2009 . Edited 2/14/2009 #70

Thirilight set the pack onto one of the beds. "We should eat first," he said before heading to the dining room. Once he had eaten his fill, Thirilight returned to the room and placed the washbasin on the dresser onto the floor, filling it half-way with water from the accompanying pitcher.

Taking a seat on the floor next to the water-filled bowl, Thirilight removed the chain with the sword from around his neck and detached the pendant, placing the miniature into the water. It sank to the bottom of the bowl.

2/14/2009 . Edited 2/14/2009 #71

The hallway was cleared. Perfect. Tobias loved when things went his way. Everyone was either in their rooms or downstairs in the common room socializing.

He crept on the balls of his feet with the grace of a man half his girth. From within a small pouch over his shoulder, Tobias withdrew a miniature glass egg that appeared to hold nothing but a gem fragment. He crouched low and placed the egg in front of the crack beneath the door. With a soft crunch, his boot broke the egg and he kicked the fragment into the room. Once combined with the air, it dissolved into a liquid for half a minute giving Tobias time to lock the door and seal the bottom. Then it changed into a colorless gas that would knock out those who inhaled it. Another minute later it would dissipate enough for him to enter with a cloth over his face and open the window to air the room out.

He disappeared around the corner just long enough until he was sure his victims were knocked out and then approached again with his hand on his dagger and a saturated cloth over his nose and mouth. A quick slice would do away with them both. He slowly opened the door.

2/14/2009 #72

Though Muffy didn't say anything, Thirilight knew she was curious, and he was acutely aware of her watching his every motion. Gathering his focus, Thirilight held both hands over the bowl and intoned, "Point me."

The steel pendant rose through the water until it floated on the surface where it began to spin, much like a compass needle. Exactly like a compass needle. The sword point quickly settled, pointing in the direction of Valmon and, little did Thirilight know, Runida.

"My sword lies in that direction, and it is fairly close. The pointer would not have halted so quickly otherwise," he told Muffy, a grin of satisfaction lighting up his face. Now that he had a bearing, it would only be a matter of time before--

A crush of glass and a quiet thump of an object hitting the floor nearby drew Thirilight's attention, and he glanced up at the door, only to witness a gem turn to liquid before his very eyes.

2/14/2009 #73
Chasing Skylines

She has reached Valmon, the rasped voice intoned. Muffy noted the specter's report.

She watched as the miniature sword rose and spun, before settling.

She only saw his smug grin before being aware of an interruption.

2/14/2009 #74
Chasing Skylines

Muffy snapped her gaze to the source of the crunch. There was a chip of an uncut emerald. It oozed into a sickly green fluid. She wrenched the blanket off the bed and threw it over the puddle, just as the door's lock clicked. Ignoring Thirry's reaction, Muffy rushed to the basin of water. She poured what remained in the pitcher into the washbasin. Grasping the miniature dagger, she grazed the pad of her forefinger and let a droplet and slightly more sink into the shallow tub. It solidified before misting. The chip of consolidated power she had left at the hinges of the void were in place, and so the energy flooded. By now the gaseous matter would've begun spreading.

The blanket burst to flames. A newly forged sentient shadow glimmered red. The smoke gathered and bolstered her specter's form. She caught its eye and made a fist motion towards the floor.

Part of the second floor soon became the first.

2/14/2009 #75

The moment Muffy snatched the blanket from the bed, Thirilight snatched back the miniature sword, clutching it tightly in one hand. He scrambled out of Muffy's way and watched in stunned silence as Muffy conjured something, and then he was falling, bits and pieces of floorboard flung all around him.

He landed hard on his back, the wind knocked out of him, his skull cracking against the hard floor, and his last conscious sight was that of wooden beams collapsing on top of him.

2/14/2009 #76

The sight that met Tobias was nothing like what he expected. Not only were the man and girl still awake, but they were moving about like frightened mice. And there was a fire in his inn! He didn't have time even for his assasin reflexes before the entire scene collapsed along with the floor. Tobias fell like an overstuffed ragdoll among the rubble. Grace only worked when he had balance and some sturdiness to the ground. Air didn't qualify for that.

Tobias felt something puncture his wide stomach an inch or two and he moaned, but soon felt increasingly weaker and sicker. He swore loudly knowing that his poison lined dagger was now in his belly. But perhaps...

If he could just find his prey soon enough...if he could just...

He looked around at the smokey mess of broken, smoldering planks and saw a familiar arm. Someone at such a high level of his trade didn't forget the features of his prey. He slowly crawled towards him, removing the dagger from his belly and raising it. If he could just...

He was just inches away...

2/14/2009 #77
Chasing Skylines

Amidst the chaos of the fallen floor, the red shadow had borne Muffy in its arms. It steadied her down to the shambolic floor.

The innkeeper, Tobias, emerged from the rubble and crawled, his gait causing him to lumber towards Thirry. He wrested the dagger that had been pinned into his stomach. His hand rose, and began an almost slow plunge as his plump fingers shook.

The shadow retracted its arm, and punched out.

How much weight does one lose with a lost hand?

2/14/2009 #78

One moment, the dagger was hanging over the man's head. The next, not only was the dagger gone, flipping through the air and landing beside the man with a small bite into his skin, but the hand that gripped it was gone as well. Tobias' eyes trailed to his maimed hand, pain taking its sweet time to register, but when it did, it struck with the ripping bite of a wild beast. Tobias screamed and cradled his arm while shouting every swear word he had ever learned from birth to that moment.

He paled at the amount of blood lost and he felt his heart beating erratically, unable to pump the proper amount of tainted blood through his body to sustain life. Before long, the rocking faded with the man's color and he lay still. Poisoned, maimed and dead. His final thoughts were to curse the girl and the man and all his partners under the master.

But not the master himself. Never that. He feared that man to the point where not even death could force him to think ill thoughts towards him. Perhaps he feared retribution in the afterlife. Whatever it was, one way or another, he would see his master again; in hell.

2/14/2009 #79
Chasing Skylines

The rubble, torn timbers, and remains of the inn cluttered the area, restricting movement. Arm peeking out from the debris, Thirilight was trapped under a beam.

Muffy turned to the specter... who had managed to disappear all together. The ambience of Cyriel was negatively affecting its sentience. With no other method, Muffy resorted to physical effort.

She tugged at the wooden beam to no avail, before remembering her plan. She manually checked all his pockets; where were those trinkets? The miniature sword she had wrested from his grip was still in her palm, but that was useless.

Soon, the hospitable folk of Cyriel graced the sabotaged inn with their presence.

2/15/2009 . Edited 2/15/2009 #80

A steady rumble shook the center of Cyriel. People going about their daily business paused at the tremor. It lasted just moments before all eyes were on the Cyriel inn, flaming and collapsing into a heap of rubble and splinters. Mothers screamed and dragged their children away. Men who dared get closer were on the scene and scouting for a cause and innocent victims.

A number of battered and bruised people as well as those purely with mental scars were taken out of the smoldering wreckage. One man found the hefty inkeeper, but his fate was clear. And unfortunate man, his hand was cut clean off by something, but there was little time to think. A girl was struggling to help an older man, possibly her father from beneath heavy planks.

"Stand aside," he commanded and gave her a forecful nudge that would just get her out of the way. He grabbed the beam, but it was giving him trouble as well. "Allen! Help me out over here!" Another man hurried over and together they lifted the troublesome plank from the man and then carried him a safe distance away in case the building wasn't through raining splinters and men to the ground. "We'll get him some help, sweetheart, don't worry."

2/15/2009 #81
Chasing Skylines

"He'll be alright?" She doubted it. Splinters had lodged into his skin at random intervals, and bruises, blood, and abrasions covered the skin that could still be seen. It was possible his ribs had punctured his lungs.

She wondered if his heart was bleeding, and if the pendant had protected him from the worst.

2/15/2009 #82

"We have extremely talented healers in Cyriel. He will be just fine."

The man, Ed, let a reassuring smile overtake his face for the young girl's sake. He wasn't entirely sure how badly the victim was hurt, but he was confident in his town and its specialists. Allen had gone off for a few more free hands and soon returned to help Ed lift the hurt man and take him to another building where many others were being taken from the inn. Just a passing glance on the group caught a few healers' attentions and they were quick to take him for assistance telling the others to wait with the scarcely injured or the friends and families.

The other men rushed off to keep helping, but the girl look worried so he stayed with her a while longer. "Don't fret. He's in good hands. What's your name, girl? I'm Edward, but you can just call me Ed."

2/15/2009 #83
Chasing Skylines

"Thirilight, my... uncle, calls me Muffy. I have been traveling with him since the death of my mother. She made a horrible dive down a cliff." Muffy kept a straight face. "Where can I wait while my uncle is treated, Ed?"

2/15/2009 . Edited 2/15/2009 #84

"Muffy, huh? That's quite a name," Ed noted, his smile remaining strong, but it became sympathetic to Muffy's mother's fate. "Well, this here is the waiting area." He gestured around the long room. Seats lined three of the whitewashed walls, many occupied by loved ones to those in the accident and others by curious bystanders. Behind the fourth wall were a few doorways leading to where people were treated. "You can find a seat to wait for your uncle. I'm sure you'll be allowed to see him soon. Our healers will fix him right up. Do you want me to wait with you?"

2/15/2009 #85
Chasing Skylines

"That would be so kind. Thank you, Ed." She gave the sincerest smile she could muster. Eager in her search, she asked Ed, "You say the healers are skilled?"

2/15/2009 #86

"You're very welcome, little lady," Ed said. His smile grew, filling with pride for his home. "Some say Cyriel has the best healers. I would believe it. You had to have noticed the flowers all around here. They make for amazingly potent medicines and our healers are trained by some of the most skilled people you will ever meet. Saved me from an awful injury when I was just a boy. I was attacked by a vicious beast and nearly lost my leg to it, but thank the heavens for Cyriel's best and brightest." His laugh was rich with his sentiments.

2/15/2009 #87

On the other side of the wall there was a frenzy of healers tending to the wounded, consulting one another for moments and then continuing about their busy business. The collapse of the Cyriel inn had many in a panic, but panic was the mortal enemy of effectiveness as the trained men and women knew. In one room, a man was placed on a bed and a woman entered behind, ready to examine the damage..or pretending she was.

Unfortunately, with the size of the catastrophe, the healers were spread thin and this man ended up with a skittish novice. Lynn bit her bottom lip as the men left her to her work. She looked over the many abrasions, splinters and possible breaks and scratched her scalp, hidden by frizzy hair.

"Okay, stay calm, Lynny," she said, but her voice revealed anything but calm. "Start with what you know for sure. That's what master Tallen said. What do I know for sure?" She looked over the man again, feeling her way around the beaten body with jittery hands. A handsome man he would be if not for the injuries. "Well, I know one thing." She searched herself and then the nearby table for splints, bandages and tweezers. She rested her hand a little too heavily on a fractured arm she was about to set without the aid of a forgotten anesthetic. "This man is hurt."

2/15/2009 #88

Thirilight felt something. What that something was, he couldn't quite tell; his mind was hazy and slow, but the something kept prodding at it, gradually bringing him out of unconsciousness. Suddenly, there was a searing lance of pain. That's right: the something was pain, and right now, his entire body was drenched in dull seas of it.

Another wave of jagged pain swept up his arm, and Thirilight's eyes snapped open as he reflexively screamed, the harsh shriek swiftly drowned by the froth of blood welling from his punctured lung. He coughed and gagged on the bright red fluid, desparate for air. He tried to sit up, thoughts muddled and eyes blinded by the pain, but his one arm was caught in something, and its mate would not respond. The entire right side of his body was numb, he vaguely realized as the lack of air weakened his struggles.

The last of his strength spent, Thirilight noted blearily that the numbness was spreading, and, though he knew he should probably be concerned, he found himself welcoming the lack of feeling - after all, it brought an end to the pain.

2/15/2009 #89

Her patient shrieked and jolted and Lynn did the same until the man's sound reverted to gurgling and blood spilled from his mouth.

"Oh no! I've killed him! Oh no! I've killed him! Oh no! I've killed him!" She shook as she spoke this new mantra.

Lynn hovered over her patient, failing to fully assess what she needed to do just as another healer who heard the commotion rushed in commanding a reason for the yelling.

"Nothing!" Lynn's instincts demanded she say as she had throughout training. She couldn't show fear. She had to have control and mental balance. ("Mental balance. Hah!" she always thought.) Her parents, both highly accredited healers back home, would hear nothing else of an occupation for their only child. Looks certainly wouldn't grab her a husband and that had held true. Healing was all she could do. Without it, she was nothing. Then again, with it she was pretty much nothing. She had the smarts, but putting them into practice was her problem. She ignored the wide eyes of her fellow healer at the sight of the blood pouring from the man's mouth and onto her wrapped hands.

"He has a punctured lung, Lynn!"

"I--I knew that! I can handle it!" Lyn turned the now still man on his side so he wouldn't drown and then grabbed a metal spike dripping in anesthetic. She plunged it into his chest and let the blood seep out. "That should do it. Oh no! It's going to make a mess of the bed!" She pouted as the white sheets were soiled. But at least her patient would live and he wouldn't feel a thing until he woke again. She let him rest on his back and tended to the rest of his injuries, still shaking, but completing what she needed to. A little more care had to be taken for a small, green-tinged cut on his arm. Didn't that mean something bad? Nah, she thought. The wound just needed cleaning. It would be fine.

"Good as new." She smiled when finished, but her voice shook as much as the rest of her. She replaced her potions and medical tools, but paused at the sight of her vial of anesthetic. It was only a quarter full when it had been completely full at the beginning of the day. Lynn looked at the sleeping man and her stomach dropped. Not only was he completely euphoric, but his skin was paling unnaturally. Anesthetic doesn't do that...

"Oh no! Uh, Hester?" Lyn backed away and then out of the room to find the healer that had just been there to administer a counteracting potion for the anesthetic that would otherwise have the man asleep for a month...if he didn't die of poisoning first!

2/15/2009 . Edited 2/15/2009 #90
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