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Kai
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Re: Obligatory Ramayana reference GO!

Unread postby Kai » Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:42 pm

Her brother's brief embrace was over before she'd noticed it, and she watched him go with some surprise. She was often confused by her older brother. The analytical voice in a corner of her mind told her that her perceptions and judgements were deeply colored by her own biases, her own loves and betrayals and old wounds. Shakti, the great observer, the trained anthropologist and ethnographer, the scholar indifferent even to her own fate, couldn't look past their history to see him honestly, and despite her efforts, it occurred to her in that moment that she likely never would.

Her hand still against her side, she looked down to see warm blood still trickling down to cover her fingers. "I think... ow. I think I should catch up with a healer before I go to bed. No use dying in my sleep before I can fix myself." She sighed.

She shoved off from the door and started making her way back home, figuring she could simply stop on the way. "That reminds me of something that's in no way related. I think...I owe you an explanation."

Without waiting for a reply, Shakti decided to forgo her usual vaguery and speak plainly. For once.

"About a week ago a friend of mine showed up at the Villa Pascha. An informant who's been helping me with my research. Her name is Sandy. Not long ago she learned she was pregnant and decided that she didn't want to be involved in that life anymore. A lot of people weren't happy with that decision. Those guys," she noted with a sweeping gesture to the warehouse behind them. "Were associates of hers. I'm pretty sure the first guy I killed was her pimp." Her lip curled in distaste. "A real dirtbag from what I'd heard. I supported her decision completely, and told her that if anybody gave her problems, I'd find a way to get her out of town."

She ran a hand through her hair, the purple strands becoming dark and sticky with dried blood.

"She showed up two days ago at Jeri's house. When I got her calmed down, she told me that she'd killed one of her clients. Gilleyin. I told her I would go check, see if there was anything I could do. I left her with Jeri and the girls, and when I got to Gilleyin's place... he wasn't dead." She shook her head. "She was wrong. She hadn't killed him. He would need medical attention to recover, but he wasn't beyond saving. Fuck, I could have saved him myself if I'd wanted. I know enough healing magic for that at least. I didn't. I stood and I watched him die on his floor. I started to leave and realized that if I left him like that, if anyone found out that Sandy was involved, she'd been in serious shit. It wasn't that she'd be convicted. A pregnant woman defending herself? Yeah, that's a tough decision."

"She couldn't go on trial, though. Being around in public like that was asking for trouble. Those guys... they told me she knows where a few bodies are buried. She found out about the activities of a few people who would kill her without hesitation if they realized somebody knew about them."

"I'm not an altruist, Silvar," she said. "This isn't Shakti sticking her neck out for the poor victimized whores. But she trusted me and I told her I'd find a way to keep them from finding her. I wasn't going to be responsible for letting her fall into their hands."

I've been failed by people I trusted, she noted privately. I've been turned over to self-serving bastards like that. There would be nothing left of her when they were done.

She shook her head, unwilling to be distracted by her own thoughts. "So, when I realized that, I turned around, walked back in there, and blasted it. I made sure that no one would bother looking too hard at what had happened so that there'd be no chance of anyone finding her. I'd go through all the legal procedures, and Jeri would have her sent off somewhere. We had a few ideas."

"Then my brother started to interfere. I knew he would, but I had no idea how I was going to stop him. I thought I'd placed things beyond his control." She laughed. "I thought my plans were so perfect."

"But they knew. I don't know how they knew I was connected to her, but they did. She wasn't supposed to talk to anyone, or even leave the house yet. I'm hoping that Jeri will have some answers for me when we get there." She tried to remember the location of a minor, run-down temple whose healers got most of their business from victims of gangfights.

"I don't know what else to tell you."

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=kai@rpgww60462>Kai</A]&nbsp; Image at: 9/5/06 22:14

Archmage144
 

Re: Obligatory Ramayana reference GO!

Unread postby Archmage144 » Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:41 pm

Hakaril absorbed Shakti's explanation with a reserved and analytical expression. Having heard her out, the mage scratched the back of his neck and shrugged sheepishly. "Your reasons for doing what you did are as good as the reasons I've heard from other people for doing anything at all. I'm no altruist either, Shakti," he continued, "but I can't stand and watch while people who've been my friends get screwed over. You seem to share that opinion. And I'm not here to save whores or uphold women's rights or anything like that, either. I came along to make sure that one of my knights didn't get himself killed trying to save his sister's life, because whether you'll ever hear me admit it again or not," added Hakaril with a cool smirk, "I have a certain degree of responsibility around here."

"Additionally," the General noted with a chiding wave of his finger, "your plan wasn't all that bad. I can't say I would've done the same thing in your place--in fact, I probably would've come straight here as soon as I found the gang's hideout and started spilling blood in the name of self-styled justice, but I digress--but the idea wasn't too bad."

Hakaril glanced up at the note he had tacked to the wall, cocking his head curiously as though reading it for the first time. He nodded slowly as he finished reading it over again, apparently satsified with it. "I figure I can be straight with you and say that I don't necessarily put a lot of faith in our government. Not as much as Cardinal seems to. The people at the top are pretty good, and the only reason I've still got the job I do is because I have a lot of respect for the king and queen. If it were anybody else, I'd go find something better to do with my time. I'm loyal to them because I want to be, and that means more than any blood oath made for ceremony's sake." The mage glanced aside at Shakti, an unusually serious expression on his face. "What I mean to say is that there's more honor in doing something good because you want to than there is in doing something good because you have to."

"I know a good healer. She's staying at the castle with my old roommate. I think the two of them might have...a relationship." He chuckled a little. "Feel free to pay her a visit. I'll make sure the guards don't arrest you on sight. The captain of the guard and I are going to have a chat when I get back to the castle. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you take care of those wounds." Hakaril gestured toward the bleeding woman and nodded emphatically. "I flunked healing class, so I'm afraid I can't do you any good at the moment."

Hakaril turned toward Shakti and threw up a lackadaisical salute. "See you around, Shakti. Keep yourself alive between now and the next time we run into each other. Who else am I going to get to transcribe my notes into reports worthy of interdimensional scholarly publications? And keep your brother out of trouble, too," he added. "He needs somebody to do that."

With that, Hakaril departed from the warehouse and headed for the castle, muttering something about needing a cold tea to rejuvenate himself after burning way more energy than necessary in the name of dramatic effect.


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Kai
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Re: Obligatory Ramayana reference GO!

Unread postby Kai » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:37 pm

Shakti chuckled at Hakaril's apparent frustration with his own love of drama. That poor bastard.

She made her way with some care to the temple she'd chosen, and told them she'd been mugged but to put it on the Villa Pascha tab.

When she got to Jeri's house, she opened the door to see Jeri right where she'd expected her: at her desk in the front room. She was in a new suit, one that hadn't been damaged by knife-slashes and bloodstains. The madame looked up from tallying up damages and saw Shakti in the doorway.

"Jeri? What the fuck happened here?"

Jeri stood up and walked to the door, looking Shakti from head to foot. So much blood, but no apparent serious injury. Shakti was too surprised to move or even protest when Jeri abruptly threw her arms around the irascible bodyguard of her bordello. "Shakti, I'm never going along with your plans again. Don't you scare us like that." She pulled back and pointed at Shakti's still-stunned face. "Tell me you didn't know that would happen."

"I...well, no." Shakti stuttered. "Of course I-- Hey! Waitjustaminute! How did you know about that?! Do you have a thing?!"

Jeri took a few steps back, walking around behind her desk and tracing her fingers along its surface. "I have no idea what you're talking about," she replied, perfectly aloof. "You really are going to have be more specific."

"Don't you fuck with me. You have a thing. You assigned me a thing?! Is it in your desk? Are you hiding it in there?"

"What I keep in my desk is my concern. All you need to know is that I keep nothing that does not in some way enhance the safety or comfort of my ladies." She smirked.

"I am not one of your ladies! You're spying on me!"

"Well, wasn't it good that I was? How long do you think it would have been before you were found if I hadn't made you a trace-stone, hm?"

Shakti couldn't argue with that. So she chose to ignore it. "Yeah, well. You look good. You must have had some fun."

Jeri smoothed her hair over with one hand. "I took about fifteen years from one of them."

"So wait. Where's--"

"Shakti!"

Sandy rushed down the stairs, throwing on Shakti the last thing the woman expected at this point in her evening. Another hug. "ACK! Cripes, woman. Easy. I'm wounded."

Sandy pulled back, and covered her mouth with her hands. "Oh, gods I'm so sorry. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. How about you guys? How did they find you?"

Sandy and Jeri exchanged a look. Jeri spoke. "She left the house to speak with your brother. I should have asked him to meet us here. They must have realized the connection when they saw me bringing her home."

"When she went to what? Sal? What the fuck is going on?"


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KingOfDoma
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Re: Obligatory Ramayana reference GO!

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:14 pm

Salvador got up from his seat, having secured a normal cane in place of the axe he "borrowed" from the scene. He hobbled slightly over to his sister, simply glad she was there. Before he stopped himself, he grinned like an idiot for a good two seconds.

He cleared his throat. "Oh, um... yes, well, they attacked here too, as a diversion to your kidnapping. We would never have known had I not plucked the information from one of the thug's minds," he grinned again, though not so foolishly, as he put his hand on his sister's shoulder.

"You are very lucky they are so dumb and I am so smart."

He turned again, beginning his return to his seat. "Anyways, we either cleared out the entirety of their cabal, or put a big enough dent in it that messing with anyone associated with Cassandra is known to be a grave mistake. They should be giving us no more problems. Or at least, not many." The mage plopped down in his seat. "Huh. I actually feel as if I've accomplished something excellent. Who knew?"

He then looked to Sandy. "You know, you may be able to stay in Doma City without fear of reprisal now... with the General knowing everything, I highly doubt this incident will be remembered in much of a legal sense. And even if it is, you have excellent defense. There's a very good chance you'd be let off the hook."


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Kai
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Re: Obligatory Ramayana reference GO!

Unread postby Kai » Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:17 pm

Shakti stared at Cardinal. "As a diversion to...shit. That would have been nice. Then they'd have had both of us. Cute. But I think he's right, Sandy. You're...probably okay at this point."

Cassandra crossed her arms and nodded slowly. "I know that... I probably can. But I think that I need to move on. Go someplace else. I don't want to raise my kid in the city where I spent years selling myself." Jeri nodded, understanding. Being a streetwalker was very different from the unionized business Jeri ran.


Archmage144
 

Re: Obligatory Ramayana reference GO!

Unread postby Archmage144 » Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:50 am

Having returned to the castle, Hakaril sat down at his desk and rested his face on his hands. It had been a long day, and the General had expended a great deal more of his personal energy than he typically did. The situations he had placed himself in today, as far as combat went, were things he considered to be of low personal risk. Overall, however, he felt as though the ordeal had been relatively draining. More than likely it was a result of the fact that he had decided to show off instead of simply killing all of the gang members threatening Shakti outright. Cardinal had technically slain more of them than he had. He would have to bring that to the more law-abiding man's attention at a later point. Hakaril assumed that Cardinal would be quite capable of explaining away any reason he should feel guilty for his mass slaughter of his enemies.

Hakaril sighed heavily and broke out a large scroll tube, removing an enormous roll of parchment and procuring a quill and ink from his desk drawer before spreading the paper out on his desk. He paused briefly before penning a title to his current report. After dating it appropriately, he began to scribble down a basic summary of the important events.

"Today, I apprehended a group of criminals associated with extortion and intimidation. They were unwilling to come peacefully, forcing their execution on the spot. Sorry about the mess. In other news, Shakti is apparently related to Cardinal, who was also involved. I am recommending her full pardon regarding her implication with a recent murder case, as well as the full pardon of any accomplices, including a pregnant woman who was apparently involved in unwanted dealings with several criminal elements due to her nature as a prostitute. It is my personal suggestion that a special task force should be formed to see to the specific needs of potentially oppressed sex workers within the boundaries of Doma Capitol; despite the government protection and legalization of their industry, it seems as though there is a stigma within the guard that prevents wronged employees of the local brothels from seeking assistance through proper channels. There is an overwhelming sense of fear from the common brothel girl that the guard will not support them or tend to their needs; this results in an overreliance on internal vigilantes and iron-fisted brothel owners that must stick their own necks out to protect 'their girls.' I fear that a lack of official backing will precipitate events such as this in the future." Hakaril stopped briefly, chewing on the end of his quill, and rose from his seat to pour himself a glass of iced tea. He always kept a pitcher of tea in his freezebox specifically for days like this when he required some sort of appropriate refreshment, and having given up alcohol years before in order to prevent his wife from becoming thoroughly addicted to it he had developed quite the taste for various teas, primarily varieties of Nekonian green tea. He sipped at the tea for a moment before continuing to write.

"In short," wrote the General, "I am concerned that the coercive criminal underground in this city may be diminishing the quality of life of some of our most valued citizens. The brothel girls as much Domans as you or I, and they should be treated with respect. The women of Jeri's House and other similar establishments need to be supported by government activity, not scoffed at by the local guard, which only results in their unwillingness to cooperate with local authorities when problems arise. It is vital that we learn to encourage their industry if only to secure the safety of its employees." Hakaril frowned, sipping again at his tea. "Additionally, I propose that Shakti be permitted full access to the castle library; she appears to be some sort of important scholar from a faraway land, and I have reason to believe that she is no spy. It is most important that she be allowed to understand the history of our country to its fullest."

With that, Hakaril signed the document in his remarkably messy style before rising and standing before his window, peering out into the castle courtyard with his tea still in hand.

"It's odd, the obligation I sometimes feel toward people I barely know," he remarked aloud to no one in particular. "Shakti is barely an acquaintence, but I couldn't let her be hurt by those bastards. Maybe I'm more altruistic than I claim to be, having just penned an official report intended to increase the protection of local whores."

Setting his tea glass aside, Hakaril rolled the report and sealed it with a wax signet, muttering something to himself about how long it had been since he'd had good Nekonian-style barbecue and how beating the hell out of numerous punks had left him with a terrible appetite.


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KingOfDoma
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Re: Obligatory Ramayana reference GO!

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:30 pm

"Well then, Sandy, I wish you a happy life," Cardinal said, bowing low. "For I am about to head home to a very deserved tongue-lashing."

He turned to his sister. "Now, just so you know, like I thought, we can get you off for the murder. Since Sandy won't be around, they won't be able to charge her with anything, even though they wouldn't anyways.

"However.

"The charge of obstructing justice, sadly, can't be shaken. But, in lieu of jailtime, you can do community service. Mercenary missions for free, picking up garbage at the park, that kind of thing. But, hey, better than life in prison for some scumbag, correct?"

Before she could object, he gave her a kiss on the cheek. "I have to go." He tapped her on the nose with his cane. "You keep that nose clean, Esperanza. And do not, do not be afraid to come to me if you need help."

He began to walk away, then stopped.

"And try to start recognizing you need help sometimes. That'd make things MUCH easier."

He waved his cane in the air as he walked towards the midday sun shining through the door. "I'll see you all around."

And he was gone.


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Kai
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Holy crap is that it? Wow.

Unread postby Kai » Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:15 pm

Shakti stood stunned, and once again watched her brother walk away. Sandy crept up next to her and linked her arm around the irascible scholar's unwounded one. Jeri closed the door behind Cardinal and leaned with her back against it, looking at Shakti.

"He's right, you know," Jeri said.

"Shut up. He'll hear you."

Jeri smiled. "You seem like you're feeling better. If it helps, since you don't get paid for your work here, perhaps we can pull some strings and call this your community service."

Shakti rolled her eyes. Help from everyone else again. "Whatever."

Sandy gave her a playful little squeeze. "Come on. It's going to be okay. It's over."

Shakti shrugged sharply, and then shook her head violently, clearing away unpleasant memories of the last few days. It was still hard to pin down exactly what had changed and what hadn't. Most certainly it was no longer a secret that Sal was her brother. Most certainly it was no longer necessary to shelter her brother from her activities.

Less certain was what to do next. Where she stood. Was he always going to be watching over her, making sure she was all right and not in need of rescuing? Was she always going to be waiting for him to fly in and try to fix everything for her?

Shakti needed her own life. Her own agenda that was hers and hers alone. But really, what had she wanted from all this? What was her agenda from the beginning? With a sigh she looked to her right at the ex-streetwalker by her side. Sandy was safe. Jeri was safe, and the girls could continue their lives as they pleased. Hadn't she gotten it done somehow?

She smirked, her wry sense of humor coming to her aid as always. It's like Sanjaya always told me. Without women, men would never do anything. Men like my brother, like Silvar, who don't always see what's happening. But then again, without men...

She grinned. ...Women would never get anything done.

"All right, Jeri," Shakti answered. "I'll volunteer in your bordello. I'll be the official kukri-slinging volunteer bouncer until you don't need me around anymore."

Jeri sighed. "You still don't get it. We don't keep an eye on you because we need a bouncer." She walked past Shakti to take her usual station at the desk. She looked up. "We keep an eye on you because we care about you. So does your brother. I was hoping you'd pick up the habit, but since you obviously have not, we would all feel much better keeping you here where you won't do anything crazy."

Shakti scowled and muttered to herself. "I'm not crazy."

"You are," Sandy said. "But we love you anyway. So no more terrifying us out of our minds, all right?"

Shakti's muttering grew still more unintelligible and more profoundly irritated.

"So," Jeri said. "Now that you're officially working here under orders from the Doman Guard... go get some sleep. And take a bath. You're covered in blood. Then come down and eat with us like a damned family. Understood?"

"Are you...giving me orders?" Shakti gasped.

"I might be. Someone has to keep an eye on you, and it's either going to be me or your brother. You can always go back and live with him and that Farida."

Shakti stared at Jeri for another few moments and then wordlessly walked up the stairs to her room and collapsed on her bed.

This was home for her, and it seemed that no matter what she did or where she went, she couldn't escape the watchful eyes of people who cared for her wellbeing more than she did herself.

So be it. She couldn't think of anywhere else she'd rather be.

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=kai@rpgww60462>Kai</A]&nbsp; Image at: 9/10/06 23:20

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KingOfDoma
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Re: Obligatory Ramayana reference GO!

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:25 pm

<span style="font-size:large;"><center>The End</center></span>


Idran1701
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Re: Holy crap is that it? Wow.

Unread postby Idran1701 » Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:39 pm

I have to say, this was a great read, from all three of you. Quite well-written, and it held together nicely even with the three different authors working at it. Good job from the lot of you. <p>

"Never let your morals get in the way of doing what is right" - Salvor Hardin
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