25th of Yaris, 2718
OUTSIDE of VIENDA, BALDUR'S CIRCUS | MIDDAY
SidekickBOT | Last Sunday at 12:16 PM
6d6 = 1, 3, 4, 1, 2, 6
These are Tristaan's six shots with the Defender: miss, hit, hit, miss, hit, dead.
The dark-haired passive was forced to make too many choices at once: he needed to get Sarinah down, he wanted to help Taegan with Clarabelle, and he knew he'd like to help more people. But Tristaan was only one man, and his most important focus would always be his lovely witch, the brunette dancer carrying his child.
Inside the tent had quickly dissolved into panic and chaos, and he focused on lowering the hoop while gritting his teeth to ignore all that was loud and insane around him. Once she was on the ground and his calloused hands held her tightly, the dark-haired passive was, at least outwardly, the epitome of calm, "Oes. I know 't, hama. Stay close t' me. I want t' get t' th' kint."
Tristaan held Sarinah as close and as tightly as he could, aware that he would be flowing with the crowd toward the opening in the tent he'd made, but also aware that in the panic, no one would be careful about their personal safety. The chrove behind them, normally quite sweet and tame, was terrified and lashed out, the sounds of crunching bone, snapping jaws, and screams of pain. It took everything in his being not to turn around and offer to help, grip loosening on the olive-skinned witch as people shoved and swarmed around them. The dark-haired passive cursed and attempted to keep them together, feeling the tight press of bodies and fighting to keep his own panic from setting fire to the scarred cavity of his chest.
Tucked under his jacket, the weight of his firearm, the Defender, stung against his ribs when some stranger nearly elbowed into the thing, stealing his breath for a moment and eliciting a string of curses as Sarinah slipped farther away from him in the tide of bodies. He attempted to shout above the cacophony of sounds around them, "Jus' keep goin'. To th' kint. Don't stop. Don't stop for anythin'. I'll meet you there."
He felt it, too, the jarring twisting of reality as someone brailed, the backlash dizzying and Tristaan was forced to shove some rough rioters aside, attempting to make his way closer toward the small, brightly painted wagon he shared with his lovely witch. Something more familiar brushed against him, like the whisper of a field he knew, but there was far too much chaos for him to concentrate on anything but making his way toward his destination, toward their things. Desperately, he paused to scan the crowd, aware suddenly that Sarinah was off course, turning back to him, reaching for him through the crowd,
"Ne—keep goin'—wo chet. Augen? Ne—" The dark-haired passive was too jaded of a creature to find the witch's father convenient, and his grey eyes widened in both fear and surprise, worried for a moment that all of the magic in the air had simply made him hallucinate. He'd shoved fear into the dark recesses of his mind, but the minute the older wick's apologies left his lips, all of it came crawling back out again like a wave of vicious nausea.
"Havakda! How could y'—" Calloused fingers were already reaching into his coat, body tensing with the worst kind of expectation. The voice that reached his ears through the terrible horror of the crowd made every nerve in his body ignite as if lit by a match and Tristaan turned in time to see her, to see Yulina grin at him like the predator Silas' henchwitch really was. There was no mistaking the dark-skinned witch with midnight black hair and the long, deep scar that ran from one cheekbone to the other across the bridge of her nose. She'd spared him once, just a handful of years ago, when she should have gutted him and left him to die like the rest of his tyat friends.
But she'd liked his spark, she said.
But he'd owe her a favor, she'd said. A debt for his worthless, magic-less life.
Alioe, have mercy.
His narrow frame was already taking his own initiative to place himself between Sarinah and the other witch, one sidelong glance taking in the bodies that were revealing themselves as not belonging to the panicked crowd. He counted, heart burning against the back of his throat and gut twisting in panic. His free hand was reaching for his brunette dancer, using the movement to hide the fact that his calloused fingers had already curled around the grip of his pistol, six shots loaded and ready.
Augren attempted to explain his mistake and Tristaan grit his teeth, about to shout at him to shut his head when one of Yulina's thugs, simply drew their firearm and moved to aim. The passive leapt into action then, Sarinah behind him even as the crack of a single gunshot sent the older Eye to the dirt. Tristaan didn't even wait for Yulina's retort, having taken in the positions of her entourage who now stood unmoving, surrounding them at a respectable distance in the crowd.
"Ne." The dark-haired passive breathed, his draw with the Defender as quick as always, this pistol lighter than his old flintlock had been. Thumb on the hammer just as the masked Gunner had taught him, he had but a heartbeat or two to make his move: six loud, quick shots in succession so shocking and unheard of:
The first whistled past the ear of Yulina herself, causing her to duck and draw a pair of long daggers. There was a moment of expectant tension, everyone assuming that was the only shot of Tristaan's pistol, but his thumb found the hammer again and he fired again. The second smashed a bullet square into the chest of the gunwoman with the wide-brimmed hat, dropping her as fast as she'd dropped his lover's father. This was where Yulina hissed, and her ragtag team of Brothers began to press closer, to move inward under the assumption that the passive's weapon was now spent. It was not, and Tristaan smirked, the fiery burn on the pad of his calloused thumb a reminder. He turned again, half a step, free hand protectively keeping Sarinah against him, and his ears ringing with the sound of his gunfire and his own pulse.
He fired again, and no one even knew that was possible. The third barreled into the gut of the next man, a short wick who hadn't even seen it coming as he gathered his field to cast. Not even missing a beat, his arm swiveled and he was ready to pull the trigger three more times in rapid succession, no longer a creature of thought so much as a magic-less beast of action. The fourth shot missed again, skimming the bicep of some hulking, shirtless human he would regret not dropping. The fifth shot shattered the knee of another witch as she leapt forward, the Mugrobi woman with a shaved head gurgling in pain and buckling to her uninjured knee, barely keeping herself from falling on her face with a quickly outstretched palm.
The loud cracks of the pistol rang out defiantly against the rioting din and the sharp scent of spent gunpowder filled his senses like so much smoke. This was no ordinary weapon the masked human had made for him, this equalizing hunk of metal shaped to fit his hand. It was his own kind of magic and for the first time in his mona-abandoned life, Tristaan had no qualms about wielding it in stalwart defense of all he’d dared to call his. His aim had always been enviable, but with this lighter, meticulously crafted thing, he was a dangerous beast. There’d once been a time that he’d had harbored regrets about taking the lives of strangers, but Old Rose has stolen that from him years ago and today was not the day for him to steal it back. No, his singular focus was as clear as it was doomed to failure, but the dark-haired passive would at least make his point before a few well-places blows brought him down:
He was free, and so was the witch his heart belonged to.
The last shot was leveled by Tristaan at another wick, a wild-eyed thing with a black hand tattooed over his long face, was point blank enough to mangle that ink when the bullet splattered into his skull, covering Yulina and the passive both in his blood.
There was a shocked moment of silence, for no one in the Harbor, let alone the Kingdom of Anaxas, had seen a firearm that could drop six people at once. Even members of the crowd slowed or turned and scrambled the opposite direction. Panic filled the chaotic spaces and Tristaan shifted his grip on the weapon in preparation to use it to slam across the face of whoever was closest, leveling his steely gaze at the scarred witch who'd come to collect her what she considered hers,
"Fuck you. Fuck Silas. We ent goin' anywhere. Y' don't own me. N' one does. An' I bought Sarinah fair an' square accordin' t' Harbor rules, blood an' all."
Although, this time, he couldn't pay that price again. He had two lives to protect, and as much as he was the kind of man to defend them to the death, they needed each other too much for him to lose his mind and sacrifice himself. It would be meaningless, and he wasn't about to give anyone of Hawke's Brothers the satisfaction of his cold body at the King's feet.
A helpless anger filled him, rage roaring through his thoughts and singeing every nerve ending. He wasn't enough. He wouldn't be enough. Outnumbered, awash in whatever riot was unfolding in the capital, there was only so much he could do to protect his fami, and Augren was both their undoing and already proof of his imminent failure.
But he wasn't about to go back to the Harbor without a fight. The scarred witch before him wasn't through with him, it seemed.
"Oh, please, Tristaan. Yer mine until I say ye ent. Whatever kinda' vroo a scrap like yerself 's gone an' found here won't be enough, I'm afraid." Yulina sniggered, though her voice wavered with uninhibited fear, already gathering her field just as the burly human he hadn't managed to hit with a bullet leapt at the pair and the passive twisted to swing the butt of his pistol right into his face to keep him away from his lovely witch.
A wounded chrove will fight harder.
— Passive Proverb