​​[M] What Goes Around ... [Closed]

Benjamin Tolsby gets what’s been coming to him.

The capital city of Anaxas and the seat of the government.
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Rhys Valentin
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Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:01 am

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Vienda, O Vienda
end of daylight on the 8th of Intas, 2719
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Part One:
​​The Sparrow and the Snare
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​​Clock's Eve had come and gone. The Queen had supposedly been ill this year and all of Vienda was buzzing with worries that she was dying, that this last year of the Symvouli cycle for the Kingdom of Anaxas was doomed before it started. As if the Anaxi government hadn’t slowly been strangling itself for decades, centuries even. Gods. Please.
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​​Not that it mattered to Special Enforcement Sergeant Rhys Valentin. He’d learned who to trust and it wasn’t at all the people he’d spent his life upholding the law for so much as the people he’d walked among to uphold it. Then again, truth be told, perhaps he’d always known that little tidbit of truth and only recently chosen to man up and swallow it, bones and all. The morning of Intas 2nd arrived and he showed up to work in a freshly pressed uniform, the bruises having long since faded and the broken bones Captain Damen D'Arthe had assisted in inflicting having knit back together. But scars remained, both visible ones like the line carved through his blond left eyebrow and the pink wrinkle in the curve of his lower lip and invisible ones like the night terrors and the voices that woke him in the dark and the aches and pains that haunted his nerves from magically-accelerated healing, like the rift of trust that had been opened and scabbed over again between himself and his wife.
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​​He said nothing, he told no one, dismissing the brief questions with a smirk and a wave of his hand. A barfight. A home accident. An icy trip down the stairs. Not a vicious, life-threatening beating to shut him up and keep him out of Damen’s fucking business. The tall not-galdor didn't even tell Captain Haines that he'd been attacked and beaten, that Charity had been violated just days after the joke of a trial and his suspension from duty from the Seventen.
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​​Instead, he spent the week sorting through the papers that had piled up on his desk over the past two months of his absence, closing old cases, prioritizing any that were even remotely still open. As far as anyone could tell, Rhys simply blended back into business as usual as though nothing had ever happened, as though nothing would ever happen again, but this time, oh this time, he was a quieter, more focused man than he’d been his entire career. He could hardly bring himself to joke with Constable Pots or to smile at Constable Hours. He avoided Constable Delacore's office, seething in silence.
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​​Days passed and if anyone noticed something was different about the Sergeant, no one bothered to speak up. He had a lot to adjust back to, after all. New year. New wife. New shame to live down. New whispers behind his back.
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​​Meanwhile, unassuming and careful, the young Valentin gathered information in his spare moments. Late nights. Early mornings. Lunch hours. He took time when he could, time he wasn’t fixing up the house or brushing up on his magical theory or loitering around a particular forge. Time well spent had its rewards, however: Benjamin's address. His entire criminal record. Every snippet of hearsay jotted down on an official sheet of paper. Diaxio's visa. Her family connections. Her addresses. He squirreled these things away piece by piece with rather shocking efficiency, having risen to his rank in less than eight years by no mere coincidence.
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​​By the 8th of Intas, he'd planned long enough.
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​​The weekend had finally arrived and he'd had two long months of painful recovery to delicately plot out every moment of his first move. Restless, the below freezing chill in the air made the still-tender bones of his left arm ache and the winds stole the bitter breath from his still-sluggish lungs, but no one questioned the tall Seventen when he packed up his desk and closed his office door in the middle of the afternoon as if he had somewhere else to be, as if he had a case to solve (he didn’t; no one had dared to hand him anything remotely important since his inglorious return and he wasn’t even angry about it). No one said a word because it was normal, because he'd been gone just long enough to enjoy the ignorance.
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​​Nodding to Potiphar and waggling fingers at Captain Haine’s door, he tugged on his coat and stepped out into painfully cold Intas sunlight, heavy leather bag thrown over his shoulder and all the air of a man with a purpose. Still boldly in his green-dyed uniform, the tarnished Sergeant made his way through Uptown, hesitating only for a nauseated moment in a particular crossroads near the theatre district, ears ringing, heart racing, dizzy with a surge of anger it would take the rest of his walk to preen carefully from his glamour.
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​​Spitting bile on the cobblestones as he passed the familiar alleyway, Rhys didn't head toward home in the Painted Ladies and he didn't head toward the forge he knew so well. Instead, he cut toward the Arova, winding his way to the Soot District, to some shitty old collection of rusted-out warehouses he'd paid a pretty concord to rent for a week. It was as good a place as any to meet: spacious, quiet, unnoticed, and best of all, hardly patrolled. When it was clear he arrived first, he took the time to change out of his uniform and into plain clothes, folding the lovely greens and tucking them away into his satchel after emptying its contents.
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​​The rest of his time waiting was spent in almost meditative silence, the not-galdor setting up his first prodigium since probably his years in Brunnhold. A thick chalk circle, sprinkled with quartz dust, four points delineated by very personal items for the Seventen Sergeant: his snaps, carefully knotted piano strings of Charity's, a chunk of cobblestone from that godsbedamned alley, and a pebble from the yard of his new home. Drawn slowly and with great care, Rhys was quite aware of what he was and what he was not, but the mona had yet to refuse his requests or shy away from him pushing himself further than any wick he knew into studious galdori magical formalities. Whatever the mona thought of him, he was grateful for the perceived lack of animosity, and he looked forward to conquering his enemies—conquering erseholes who abused their power and turned a spell against its own normal intentions to bend and break his arm—through the power he wielded with far more respect than he’d been given.
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​​Set up complete, the tall blond was left to wait for his accompaniment for this meticulously premeditated excursion. He knew better than to go hunting alone, and even if surprising Benjamin in his own home would be more like breaking and entering than hunting, the jittery nervousness that fluttered about beneath the honed and sharpened edge of anger he’d tempered over the past season reminded him that something could still go wrong if he wasn’t careful, if he lost sight of his purpose, or if he let the real fires of his helpless frustration consume him completely. He didn’t want to make mistakes. He was a good officer, and he wasn’t ready to walk away from his accomplishments, his career, and a kingdom he still longed to serve.
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​​He just had to serve this justice first. He had to … because who else would?

It would be dark soon. Thank the Good Lady.
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word count: 1356

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Gale
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: Artful Gunner
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Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:01 am

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Somewhere | getting dark
08 Intas 2719
Gale was ever a quiet creature. Rarely a speaker, more of one who awkwardly shrugged and shifted away from topics and conversation. They were the one who lingered upon the edge of crowds, who would slip in and pass through only for the sake of destination – never to dally too long upon a point and draw unnecessary attention. Gale hated attention; good or bad it had a tendency to place one upon a pedestal and draw in those hungry, judging eyes. As consequence, Mister Saunders had existed beneath the radar within their new forge. Plying trade and not going beyond the need of simple, cold, hard business. It was for the better, it gave them the freedom they needed while protected their interests.

There was a small twinge in their left shoulder. That pinch where the scaring had knotted into the joint. A roll back and a probing rub of fingers eased that. A silent message that served as a reminder of what would happen if they exposed themselves. It could have been worse, Gale attempted to reason; but that quickly was overtaken by the realisation that it would have been still equally worse just instead stretched across a broader field.

They were dirty, as always. There was no difference there with the blonde hair near blacked from soot, coal and sweat. It was the layer of grime that marked them out as part of the soot district; a particular stench that once it clung to you it would simply never let go. They should have washed more, some false sense of pride to them. Yet the reminder of what she was not would present itself in ugly ways and serve as a startling reminder. It simply was not worth it until truly necessary.

A thumb rubbed a smear of grime across their cheek. Their hands were covered in thick machine oil, their world laid out across one of the work benches out back. A disassembled bicycle, or more parts of several different ones, were laid out for study and analysis in the hopes the metalsmith would understand its deeper, inner workings. It was the inevitably product of some fevered dream, and one the mind refused to relent until something was truly done about it. And so, the metalsmith began the side project of creating a motorised bicycle.

But currently that was not important. Wiping their hands off they hear the faint distant bell marking the hour and with it their intention turned outwards. Callosed fingers moved over tools, wiggling as their eyes pulled upon the various scratches and marks upon their surface. Old, well used. But necessary for their trade. They shifted this way and that laying out the pieces upon the bench; mallet, chisel, screwdriver, wrench, a long hard piece of wire – all laid out upon a leather tool roll. The eyes scanned it, mentally calculating what the plan of action was. A wrought iron knife was put alongside it before being neatly rolled together. Tied off, put to one side, they shifted through the shelves and draws, pulling together the hidden pieces of the forge. A twelve inch piece of piping with a screw thread in the end, the rectangular piece of wood, the curved piece of metal and the small but thick hook, and the u-bent frame.

It was a prototype piece and while apart it looked like nothing but a jumbled mess of pieces. Another draw they found the thicker drawn iron cartridges, confident now in their design and function and counted out a half dozen. Bundled up, they grasped upon the last few necessary pieces, slung on their coat and hoisted the pack across their shoulder. Scarf tight around their neck, they were out the forge door and locking it securely behind.

Gale travelled with the scent of tobacco – a different brand than usual. This one had a heavy, almost cocoa flavour to it. And with a deep enough inhale they were certain they could smell vanilla. It was a sharp contrast to the usual stench, and the whirling, turning smoke clung to their hair and their clothes. Gloved hands deep in their pockets, they shifted, stopping only briefly to fight with lighting a second cigarette and lure it into lighting. Their ears burned in the cold, features pinching as they trampled past the people, past the canals and inevitably between the tall warehouses. Shoulders squared, eyes forwards, no one stopped them as they walked ever with purpose.

Even as they reached their destination they did not stop, picking out the small details – peeling paint, the door being not quite straight, the hinges sighing as it was opened. It was closed behind them, the head shaking a the cold was shifted. The silence maintained, an exhale as the smoke was inhaled from their nostrils. They saw him as they paced around the territory, weighing it up and deciding. Solid floor, while covered in dirt was probably originally some heavy stone. Little light, two entrances - a smaller side one and the larger main one. Four supporting beams. They paused at one, eyes narrowing with suspicion at the way it seemed to bow beneath the weight of the roof. Damp, the beginnings of rot.

Gale moved, standing before him and promptly dropped the sack between them. A clatter of noise, the green orbs flickered over the face as it searched. Scar, brow, recent. Lip. Thin stubble barely poking few – shaved this morning? Fingers, clean, nails seem crooked however. The smith would have pretended to understand what he was doing, but there was little point. Instead they did their own mimicry, scarf unwrapped, load separated and reorganised. They threw another broad scarf down alongside her own, before throwing down a pair of iron masks. The sunken eyes, the mesh over the mouth, a mimicry of the mask they wore as Gunner.

From there they set about with their making, arranging the tools for the night. Where he was surrounded by quartz, Gale was surrounded by metal. Each piece screwed into another, clicking and forming the shaft of the barrel being screwed into place, hammer, trigger, the heavy hinge that was pin locked in place to allow them to open and close it without dismantling the entire piece. It was a single shot piece and realistically the best that could be made given time and circumstance. Pulling the pin out the top, the barrel eased down and the cartridge was put in. Slipping it back up they returned the pin to secure it.

Gingerly, the gunsmith reached forward then to tap him. A small snap of fingers before his face, the orbs resting upon the nape of his neck. The hands moved in gesture, a silent hello that resisted going into a string of questions. Instead they hesitated, and gestured down to what was supplied.

“Kov, ye ready t’ show a spitch what’s worth? Or ye want more time.”
word count: 1159
When the last of us will disappear
Like shadows into the night
The broken ones, the fighting sons
Of ignorance
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Rhys Valentin
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Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:53 am

Vienda, O Vienda
after dark on the 8th of Intas, 2719
The act of plotting out his prodigium had brought some focus, Rhys very aware that he had made the decision to break his oaths of Seventen service, to step outside of the promises he'd made when he'd sworn to protect Anaxi citizens, to step outside justice as it had been defined for him in order to bring the truth to those who'd fooled themselves into believing they were above it. He'd spent a season wrestling with his own commitment to the uniform he wore, but the memories of Captain Damen D'Arthe standing over the Special Enforcement Sergeant as he bled on cold cobblestones with his Seventen-issued baton and the purposeful manipulation of patrols for hours so that the tall blond could suffer in isolation were far too fresh to not bias his ability to process things.

He could not let any of them—Benjamin, Damen, Diaxio, and only the gods knew who else—slip through the loopholes of galdori high society, not anymore. Even if the truth was he'd never been a galdor to begin with, even if his life had been a lie, he had to do something where no one else would.

Moving about the space brought him to a welcome place of clear-headedness, the physical motions of drawing out such a large circle several times allowing him to disappear into the moment, to reflect inward on how despite his heritage, the mona still obeyed him. While he'd been taught to believe wicks were lesser casters—and perhaps he wasn't the most powerful of sorcerers, in all fairness—no one had ever theorized on what a galdor-crafted education and a truly respectful relationship with those sentient particles could mean for one. Rhys was proof that his unique and thoughtful bond with the mona held more meaning than his half-blooded birthright. He dedicated his plotting of a magical sacred space to the gods, reminding any of the Circle who would clocking listen while he dusted quartz around the space that his plans were an act of conquering those who opposed him.

Benjamin had nearly suffered his own backlash while misusing the spell of bend to fracture bones and torture the tall blond not-galdor, and Rhys had not forgotten the sensation of both the angry mona buzzing about the confined space of the alley and the sensation of snapping tendons deep in his own body.

This was not just mere vengeance, though the vigilante feel of it all wasn't an unwelcome one.

He heard the warehouse door groan open and close again, not looking up while carefully arranging the small, important personal bits he'd brought like offerings to amplify the spellwork he'd planned. There was, as far as he knew, only one other person who knew to be here, and the frigid wind that whipped from outside carried on it the scent of tobacco and hard work, confirming this. While perhaps an ungainly, uneasy thing, an unlikely and unasked for trust had been formed not just by the truth of shared blood but also in the stranger bonds of blood spilled. Where Rhys had always thought he could trust his own peers, where he had learned his most immediate family was all unsavory, he'd been wrong on all but one account. One human case.

Movement caught the edge of his vision, grubby fingers brushing his arm, and the the not-galdor straightened, stretching in the center of his carefully crafted prodigium while a chalk-dusted hand curled fingers into his unkempt blond hair in need of a trim. Tongue unable to leave the knot of scar tissue alone where stitches had once been in his lower lip, blue eyes met green ones before wandering to look over the scarves on the packed dirt floor, lingering over the pair of gaunt metal faces while a smirk creased slowly into his well-carved features,

"Masks? Nice touch." He grunted, glancing at the weapon Gale had assembled with calculated efficiency—a firearm, for sure, but nothing he'd seen before. Ambiguity was alluring, but the tall Sergant was aware there would be no hiding who he was from Benjamin Tolsby before he was through.

"This is like kerosine for magic, this circle, more or less, and, mmmnah, I'm done." Rhys waggled fingers at his spell circle as if explaining anything would really make sense, keeping it simple, rolling his shoulders with a hiss. The younger blonde didn't need to say much, the not-galdor more than capable of filling the space between them with words, "Alioe forbid I have any more time to think about this shit. It's time to do, brunno."

Not meant as a slight or a joke, the Tek was meant as endearment, choices deliberate, language not quite as natural as from the lips of other wicks. He dug out his pocket watch, glancing at its face with a slow inhale, "Rehearsal's out in half an hour. I can get us close to his townhouse in twenty minutes and miss every patrol from here." It was dangerous to know Vienda so well, to have memorized the schedule of his chrove-riding peers in green, if only because the tarnished officer therefore knew just enough to weave his way through it all without getting noticed. He knew the less watched areas of town and he knew the quicker paths, having used them to trail criminals and cut suspects off in pursuit. Which was he, again?

"We'll have enough time to settle in and wait like a pair of hungry hatchers."

Finally reaching for the mask with no small amount of undisguised curiosity, Rhys felt the weight of it in his hand and turned it over with a cold thrill of dark admiration clawing up his spine. Fingers traced over the surface, the dull metal not reflecting the mixed emotions that played themselves out over his face back at him, thank gods. Looking from over the rim of it to Gale, he pointed with his chin to the rather hefty looking gun they'd put together,

"I've been told Ben could be armed 'cause his spellwork is trash—mostly." The young Valentin considered himself an exception, left shoulder rising and falling as if in emphasis, "That looks like a beast."

He hoped they wouldn't need it, pausing to take the time and put the mask on with an awkward slowness. The chill of trepidation and caution pooled against the base of his skull and the tempo of his pulse skittered erratically, the metal heavy and the sensation of being closed in not an exciting one. Doubts were snuffed out by the bizarre empowerment of having no face, his field tightening and his breath catching against his finally healed ribs.

"This is interesting. I'm afraid I'm going to enjoy it a little too much." He murmured in surprise, tugging the dark wool hood of his coat up over his blond mess before running palms over his person to make sure he had everything he needed. Knife. Baton. Watch. Thick cloth sack. Rags. Restraints. He'd already arranged for a carriage of questionable origins to meet at Ben's home at a very specific time, the Seventen Sergeant too well connected for his own vigilante good and just wealthy enough to pay someone willing to not ask any questions to drive the thing.

"You don't have to come."

He offered one last time, quick and breathless while he snuffed out the lone oil lantern and tugged on gloves, the sound of his own voice a strange feeling from behind a mask even if he met Gale's verdant gaze with sincerity, "Prison's just a minimum sentence if we fuck up, but, gods, you know that already—I just—"

Rhys shook his head, taking a deep breath instead of finishing his words. He'd spent just as much time running through the consequences as he had planning this madness, but he was quite convinced this was the right choice.

"—thank you."

Those were the last syllables spoken before the not-galdor turned to lead the way back out into the now-dark, dirty Soot District streets, making sure to close the door and leave the place looking just as abandoned as it did before he'd set up this questionable snare there. The skilled Inspector had planned out a very specific route, and to stay true to the very strict schedule he'd organized, he set a swift pace under bridges, over the roofs of tenement housing, and through near-pitch black alleys.

His tall, narrow silhouette cut a bold path through the Dives and headed into Uptown with the kind of precision that had been drilled into him in Numbrey and the kind of discipline that had been honed over the past six years earning his coveted position in the Investigative Division. He knew what he was doing, of course, for the pair literally missed every blackback patrol with an uncanny accuracy, some just by a few precious seconds, staring at uniformed backs from the frigid darkness of the Intas evening, Rhys wary of the Patrol Division and worried about who was on Damien’s payroll instead of who was truly upholding the right kind of law.

He would say he knew better now. Or, well, maybe he still didn't.

Benjamin Tolsby's row of tidy brick townhouses was thankfully in the kind of neighborhood that was quiet after dark. It was the end of the week, after all, but the terribly cold weather most likely kept people in instead of encouraged them to go out. The ersehole would be coming home from rehearsal at the theatre, as far as Rhys had carefully observed, and he paused in the long shadows cast by bright phosphor street lamps, gathering his field and quietly speaking some phrases of Monite as if the sentient particles were their third companion—hushed, intimate words that sought to create a bubble of distortion in the perceptive reality around them, scattering the senses to make the otherwise suspicious pair far less noticeable. It wasn't much—not like Physical Conversation's ability to bend light and make the caster invisible—but it was simply misdirection.

The townhouse was dark, which meant the Sergeant's assessment of his schedule had been correct. He knew exactly where to lie in wait, too, signaling to Gale with a wave of his hand and a few specific motions of gloved fingers that a few streets over would be their destination. The alley familiar (Charity had been headed her own way home here all those months ago in Roalis), the cold air felt as though it was burning his lungs by now despite the mask. Finding a decent spot in the narrow shadows to wait in plain sight, Rhys hoped his assumption that Ben was the sort who went home alone far more often than not held true tonight.
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Gale
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: Artful Gunner
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Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:44 am

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Somewhere | getting dark
08 Intas 2719
“Kerosine? You sure?” the eyes shifted to the left, then down, looking to the circle with thought. The brow pinched, “But… that can be difficult to ignite despite the low activation temperature…” the cheeks puffed, the eyes shifting to the right, “But it does burn quickly. And is a combustion… and can be explosive… and cooking. I wonder…”

… if a motorised bicycle could be fed Kerosine. All upon the theory that a motor could be created small enough to fit upon the main frame of the vehicle.

Finger and thumb drummed upon their chin, eyes shifting down to their mask. It was an all too familiar piece, one fitted for them. Pulling at the strap they gave the Wick a single raise of the eyebrow, before releasing a smirk. It was hard to meet his gaze, always skirting around the face. Expressions were difficult, yet the mask hid all that leaving nothing but the voice for the mind to contend with.

“Brunno,” it rested well on their tongue; not a thick or unpleasant film and far from the sting that prodded at what they were, “I like that.”

The familiar cold metal was pulled across their face. A cold visage that marked the disappearance of Gale and the emergence of the Artful Gunner. Not that Rhys would know that, but for them it was a shift in personality, of being something other than them. With it the voice dropped, growing near monotone as the words slipped through the grill, “It is a trick I picked up over the years. People have a tendency to be more cooperative if they cannot see your face.”

Gale twisted the pin holding the barrel in place. There was a small squeak as it was held there, tight with only a small amount of give. Dark, blackened steel, dirty and yet to be polished up – a rough hodgepodge of an instrument. They were uncertain if it would actually work or serve better use as a blunt instrument. Or worse, be all sound and no substance. Their fingers tapped around the grip, before they firmly holstered at the base of their spine.

“We’ll hav’ to see how good a shot he is then,” there was a small shrug, “And see if he can keep up with my reloadin’. I mean… if it even fires.”

They were not exactly given ample time to test it, instead pulling upon information they knew worked and applied. Mathematically speaking it should prove to be effective, but actual practice needed to prove it.

The scarf was pulled up and around the back of their head, forming up into a hood that hid the straps and the hair. Every feature, every scrap of skin was covered. It was, for them at least, akin to any other day with the resistance. Yet they did not miss the way those fingers explored, the way the lip seemed to tug, as he weighed up what was before him. The small tip and tap, the foreign clothing, a stray thread, the loose and worn buttons. They reached across the gap, twisted, pulling and snapping it.

“I think, the correct jibe here is, and let you have all the fun? the eyes narrowed at the offending thread, before they pocketed it. Leaving a trail was just plain messy, “This is my life, I live it knowin’ that, and I haven’t been caught yet. Besides, Dyin’ ain’t for me. The travel arrangements are crap.”

There was one last look back at the warehouse, that final shift as they put everything just where they wanted it. Quick and easy to access, but mostly inconspicuous. The smith followed after him. Head down, shoulders high, hands hidden in pockets. As the cold air stung and the cooling metal stuck to their skin, did the lingering scents begin to be smothered.

Gale was ten steps behind him. Slower paced, eyes flanking the sides. He knew the way ahead, and he was easy enough to follow. Each step counted. Each small blip of time as they mentally drew out the route they were taking. Left, right, left again. Second. Pause. Go. Dip. Pull in. Out. Move. Oil, the air was cleaner here but the distinct scents did not escape her. Less dirt, less piss; there was something sweeter that made their nose curl. Behind the mask the expression pulled, before they reached their destination. There in the alleyway Gale eased themselves back into the shadows, the eyes adjusting.

They ignored the growing cold, instead hands shifting to the tools on them. What did they want? What did they need? Another step back and they were flat against the brickwork. The digits had curled around the shaft of the mallet, slowly pulling it out. The head nodded in the direction of the front door of the offender, before giving a glance back. Did they want to move in and get inside now, slip open a window and close it behind, or wait until he was at the front door? The street appeared to be clear. The faint glow of light from the adjacent homes creeping from between drawn curtains. Going around the back would take time, but it would potentially get them inside. The free hand gestured, before the low whisper of noise escaped. It crept out from behind their grill, “Remember to breathe.”
word count: 899
When the last of us will disappear
Like shadows into the night
The broken ones, the fighting sons
Of ignorance
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Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:29 am

8th Intas, 2718
UPTOWN | AFTER DARK
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“Ohhhhh, and if I were a rich man, dedel-didel-de…” Benjamin Tolsby sang as he threw open the back door of the theatre, pulling the collar of his thick grey coat up around his neck to protect himself from the chill night air. His breath plummed around a woolen maroon scarf and in one hand he carried his violin carefully tucked into its black case. As second chair in the orchestra, the auburn haired man stayed late for rehearsal, saying his goodbyes upstairs before making his way downstairs for a quick pipe with the crew. Slightly high, and carrying not a care in world, the galdor sung poorly and louder than required in the evening air as he strolled down the alleyway that began his journey home.
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​​ “By Alioe’s Grace I stand! By Alioe’s Grace I fall!” He belted out in a voice deeper than his own, brow drawn and mouth wide as he marveled at his own perceived skill. Why Basil and Lilian hadn’t yet offered him a vocal role in their performances, well it was beyond Benjamin. He had convinced himself it was probably because they felt intimidated by his prowess. Yes, that was definitely it.
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​​Humming the rest of the tune, the heavy browed man paused before the end of the cobbled alley end to put down his case and pull a cigarette from his coat pocket and a flintbox, taking the little device up to his mouth and striking the metal rod sharply against the flint strip. It sparked brightly, and he inhaled deeply, tucking the box back in his pocket and moving to hold the spliff between two fingers. Looking over it with a chuckle.
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​​ “Clocking hell, that is not a bad bit of smoke that.” Benjamin muttered to himself, enjoying the leaf that was most definitely not tobacco. A Bastian blend, so he’d been advised by their new supplier. It always paid to test the goods however before distribution. Now that they had lost Charity, the mediocre man had been required to double his rounds to pick up the slack. It was hard at the moment to pick up new gollies, everyone so uptight and on edge since the attention on the Seventen.
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​​Picking up his violin, Benjamin smiled to himself as he continued on. Taking the back way was better for coming home, Bejamin had always taken these routes. It was quieter, and he could smoke without getting odd looks from other galdori. It wasn’t very proper to be giggling and meandering along Uptown like some filthy wick.
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​​ “‘Twas my loins that gave this child life, and I will not let him gooooo.” The galdor caloodled around his cigarette, reminding himself of the last few weeks gone. His exploits to lure Rhys into Diaxio and Damen’s arms hadn’t quite been entirely explained to Mister D’Arthe, but then no one had entirely asked either. Even though the bastard had more bite in him than the auburn haired man had expected, it had been worth it. He had been advised by Xi to stay away now, the message was conveyed and the Valentin’s had not caused anymore issues as of yet.
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​​Oh but, what Mister D’Arthe didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him, right?
​​
​​Benjamin breathed in the smoke with a laugh, enamoured with his own cleverness as he considered next chances. The mistake had been consciousness. His spell work was never entirely great, but what magic couldn’t do a clocking whack to the head could. He lost himself in the daydream, only in his mind he would cut Rhys out of the picture and Charity would throw herself at him. In his mind, the woman wanted him she just didn’t realise it yet.
​​
​​And so, with his delusions and his smoke, it was quite clear that Benjamin Tolby feared nothing right now. No repercussions or ramifications from his activities. He was protected by the powers that be, by Diaxio and Damen.
​​
​​Or so he believed.
​​
word count: 703
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Rhys Valentin
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Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:39 pm

Vienda, O Vienda
after dark on the 8th of Intas, 2719
Gale didn't object to Rhys' awkward attempt at familial expression and had he not been so caught up at the moment at hand, perhaps he would have smiled warmly. Instead, the smith explained the mask and the shift in more than just their voice didn't go unnoticed by the often too observant for his own good Inspector. As an officer of Anaxi law, he'd experienced some strange things, found himself witnessing unusual personalities, but this was just enough out of his expectations that he may have held his breath for a moment. He kept the surprise from his view, thankfully, hidden as the expression was pressed against a metal mockery of a face,

"Is that professional advice, then? Noted." Came the retort to improvements in cooperation and their correlation to faceless individuals, the young Valentin not above sarcasm and dark humor, though it was short-lived. Just a spark before he darkened the cavernous space by snuffing out the lone burning flame.

"I can share the fun. Just this once, though." He offered almost like a deflection, any talk of death far too poignant and close to where he'd been, where Gale had once been, for him to at all be comfortable speaking to that comment, "Definitely not worth booking tickets for."

The streets were almost mind-numbingly cold, burning his lungs and making the mask feel even more strange and uncomfortable than it already was. By the time the pair had picked their places in the shadows, his face stung against frigid metal almost in spite of the trapped heat of his breath. He'd considered breaking into Benjamin's home, he'd considered lying in wait and catching him off-guard there, but there was the risk of being seen and greater risk of being heard. The alleys between neat little rows of townhouses led away from the main, well-lit thoroughfare and toward smaller streets, familiar streets.

Rhys picked a side street he was quite sure the auburn-haired ersehole of a golly would choose, a sinking feeling weighing down his stomach at the memories the walls and cobblestones brought flooding back to him in the dark. Tolsby had almost managed to have his way with Charity here, too, just as he had nearly gotten everything he'd wanted in the Sergeant's home, in his own bed, just months before. The sour taste of bile stung the back of his throat and a fiery heat warmed him from the inside out, visions of the galdor standing over his broken body making vile promises swimming thickly in his blurred vision. His chest ached suddenly, the lasting damage not to his bones or to her body but to their hearts and minds still lingering.

The grunt of a voice snapped him back to the present and, as if they'd actually known, the other blond inhaled sharply just like he'd been denying himself air. Because he had. He fumbled for his pocket watch in the dark, checking the time, distracting himself with the patrol schedules he'd memorized, and then tucked the thing away while exhaling slowly. He settled that pent up rage, making efforts to temper it all with his justification for this blatant breaking of all of his oaths, with the desperate grasp onto so-called reason: this had to be done because no one else would.

Because Benjamin Tolsby deserved the bitter taste of real justice.

From further up the alley, a voice he knew far too well rang off of cold bricks and any doubts Rhys may have still possessed in his mind were snuffed out, devoured by a singular focus. He pressed himself harder against the wall behind him, letting the hard surface dig into his spine, the sweet scent of whatever spitch the auburn-haired golly chose to inebriate themselves with preceding him as he sauntered and sang horribly in the darkness. Rhys' chilled fingers slowly and carefully slid the pair of restraints from his coat, gripping then tightly as he dampened his glamour, nearly completely hiding he had a field at all, wincing beneath his mask with the effort in order to stay better concealed.

The ersehole's own weightier but definitely inferior field became tangible in his proximity and the tall blond's whole body tensed in expectation, the sensation of fire racing through his veins. With a flicker of a glance toward where he knew Gale was hidden, envious for just a moment of how much easier it was for a non-magical being to be sneaky, all of Rhys' attention fell upon Benjamin as he casually strolled past just as full of his own clocking stupid self as always.

Like a coiled spring released, the not-galdor shoved himself from his hiding place and leapt toward his target's back, throwing his whole weight into the ersehole's violin case to knock him flat onto his face with it, shoving him as hard as possible down onto the cobblestones and making sure he pinned him using the protective instrument shell to lean down on with vicious strength, though he had no opportunity yet to reach for the other man because of his grip on the cuffs he was poised to bind Benjamin's hands with as roughly as possible,

"Good evening, Mister Tolsby."

The young Valentin's attempt to disguise his voice behind his metal veil were far less practiced than his sister's, but he made some effort, shifting his weight to dig the violin case into the galdor's spine for emphasis, feeling the man beneath him flail and grasp for the fabric of his pants in an attempt to struggle against the body on top of him. His free gloved hand dug into Benjamin's hair and tilted his head upward in invitation to gag the galdor before he screamed or whined or anything else, thankful for Gale's assistance now that it was all he could do to keep the writhing chroveshit down against the icy stones,

"A bit too early for you to be going home for the night, isn't it?" Rhys growled, completely hidden behind the mask and beneath his hood, before he shifted carefully, shoving aside the violin case with a knee and reaching for one wrist and then the other in the kind of well-practiced motions expected of a Seventen officer. Only his movements were completely without gentleness or concern for the galdor beneath him, stretching the man's arms too high to hurt him and making sure the cold metal dug into his skin as he bound him far too tight. There wasn't an ounce of mercy for the body of the ersehole who thought it their pleasure to violate his wife,

"Don't you have any plans? Tsk. I do."

Rhys still held his glamour tightly concealed, not ready to give himself away to his prey just yet. Instead, he fished for the heavy canvas sack he'd brought with his free hand, holding it up toward his willing accomplice. There'd be a carriage shortly, nonchalantly pulling up to Benjamin's front steps as if it was expected. Together, the pair would have to get the galdor to his feet and drag him across the street without causing too much of a scene.
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Gale
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: Artful Gunner
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Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:59 am

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Somewhere | getting dark
08 Intas 2719
There was one thing Gale decided. As the clunk of soles on stone sounded, the faint groan of noise that escaped. A distant click of some smaller mechanical device – lighter and not so deep as a firearm. It was between this chorus of breaths, wispy and light in their wheezing. But the one thing Gale decided, with their head low, the eyes peering out from the sockets of the mask, was that Benjamin Tolby was an awful singer.

It was not in the manner in which he sounded flat or off tone. Instead it was one that – for Gale at least – brushed upon the edge of irritation, a piecing noise that caused part of them to twitch. They could feel the muscles in their arm flex, the fingers resisting clenching as the prey came ever closer. Smelling him before they saw him, the laughter rattled off the alleyway walls, echoing as it traversed the stone walls.

Pinched behind the metal, Gale’s expression was neutral. The once whirling gears of thought slowing down into simple, cold, mechanical precision. The sister of the wick was replaced by the calculative and unfeeling Gunner. And this was not Gunner’s first excursion. It would not be their last – theoretically at least. It was all mere matters of time and experience. He may have been a member of the law, but this was his first time playing vigilante. As far as Gunner was concerned, they had been doing it for years more. The hands behind them were splayed flat against the wall, one last inhale as the lungs slowly filled before action began.

Rhys moved first, quick and eager – and clearly processing whatever was in his mind physically. Acting and choosing to think about it later. Gunner was slower, more patient. Where he sprung, Gale melted. Easing out, mallet in hand as the scuffle began, they stepped to the front. Behind the cold iron mask stared, weapon of choice picked. Rhys pushed, Gunner merely swung the mallet and treated Benjamin’s knee as an anvil. The inevitable end was the Galdor sent toppling down.

Leaning down, Gunner summoned the scarf, twisting the thin fabric in their fingers. With the prompt they pulled it taught, forcing it between the teeth and lips despite his struggling. Tight they tied it off, double knotting it to make sure. The dark hollows where the shadows collected over their eyes stared upon the Galdor, meeting that panicked gaze. He was struggling, unsurprisingly – all creatures did when faced with danger, it was an instinctive fight or flight response. The mallet, tapped his temple, the head tilting enough to one side. By now their brother had cuffed him, but that did not stop the man from struggling. Having a runner was always a problem.

Standing they stepped past Rhys to the twisting, turning legs, the violin case that had been unceremoniously tossed to one side. The booted foot pressed against the calf muscle, the right fingers contemplating it, before shifting down to the ankle. Silent, with a practiced precision one only gained from working in a forge, the mallet came down. It cracked against the ankle joint, raised, and then swung again.

And again.

And again.

Until that unpleasant crunch sounded, despite the muffled gags of the Galdor. The sack moved, Gunner’s taking it as was tugged over the struggling man. Head, shoulders, gloved knuckles cracked against his temple – if anything to get him to behave. Over down to the shoulders now, they planted a knee on the face, full weight pushing down as the emotionless mask looked to him. The shoulders shrugged, before the attention turned outwards.

Violin case. Relatively kept clothes. Relative expense to rank and position. The hands were notably clean and well kept. Presumed profession, something in the arts – a musician. Based on experience, people who called themselves such had a tendency to only have that in their life as their skill set. There was smoke too, that odd delicate scent that was far too sweet for their liking. Presumed, drug. Moving to the side, they grasped the man tightly by the elbow with one hand. The other hand reached out to sling the strap of the violin case over their shoulder – there was many a way to make a man break. Their foot tapping out a count to three. He struggled of course, yet they braced for the full weight to come down when he tried to stand upon that ankle.

The eyes were ahead, a firm nod as they waited for the sound of the carriage – that distinct clip-clop noise and the whirl of wheels. Dragging him to the mouth of the alleyway, the masked face stared out watching the shape pull up and the snorting of the steed that pulled it. The muffled, gagged noise sounded, but Gunner ignored it. Across the stone they moved with purpose. The head gestured for the carriage door, a distinctly square thing with a tiny slit of a window, before the body was forcibly shove in. As he squirmed, Gunner threw the case of the violin in – a stretched squeal of strings as it landed. As the body writhed, the cold metal face leaned into whisper close to Rhys ear, “You should take his fingers and destroy his trade. He did take from you after all.”

Once done they gestured for their brother for the sign to continue and follow suit.
word count: 911
When the last of us will disappear
Like shadows into the night
The broken ones, the fighting sons
Of ignorance
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Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:19 am

8th Intas, 2718
UPTOWN | AFTER DARK
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Too late Benjamin felt the brush of a moving body, like the rush of chilled Ophus air sweeping across his skin even under the coat, and too late he made to react. His instrument, encased in its protective shell, smashed into his back and was pressed cruelly into his spine as the auburn haired galdor stumbled. He didn’t fall, not at first, but as his eyes swung wildly and his feet scuffled for footing another figure melted from the shadows and smashed his knee with something heavy and hard. Roaring in pain, Benjamin crashed to the ground, cigarette flying and teeth rattling as his head met the cobbled stone road.

“What the fuck!” He shouted an exclamation as a man’s voice growled from behind, straining to reach for anything about his attacker he could grasp, bucking his body even as his definitely broken knee screamed in agony. Rough hands ripped his head back painfully, and a thick cloth was shoved into his mouth, causing the man to gag at the dry fabric that sought to violate his tongue. Muffled yells and whimpers escaped the galdor, still scrabbling at anything his hands could reach, another long pained yelp rattling in his throat as Rhys bound his hands with little care for over strained shoulder joints or incorrectly bending elbows and wrists. Looking up at the masked figure that stood over him, Benjamin called for help, though it was no more than strange dampened sounds. His eyes pleaded with whoever was under the metal, shaking his head wildly as muffled no’s were shouted through fabric, watching with fear as the mallet was hefted and a firm foot stood on his calf.

The first shattering blow was a pain Benjamin had not experienced before, and he screamed again, vomiting behind the fabric that gagged him. Half choking as he was forced to swallow the bile, his eyes streamed and his nose ran with mucus and vomit as the heavy tool came down again and again. It crunched, and the galdor sobbed in pain, curled as best he could be on the cold ground, field a pulsing and eddied mess.

Groaning, Benjamin tried to pull his head away as the sack came closer, sharp cries of pain gurgling from his throat as Gale forced him into submission. As the dull dimness of the rough hessian cloth covered his head, the golly whimpered and squeezed his eyes shut with another sob as a knee pressed heavily into his face. There was a moments pause, before the hands of his attackers dragged Benjamin to his feet, the violinist staggering with more sounds of pain as they pulled on strained bones and he limped on one somewhat good leg. The other was a mess, half dragging as they tugged him along.

Hooves, snorting, the sounds of a carriage. The galdor tried to cry out for help, to signal the driver, only realizing that it was no help but in fact a get-away vehicle. For them. For him. He braced with his good foot, dropping his weight to try and pull himself from their hands, growling against the pain that refused to let him just pass out. It was pointless though, the two of them stronger by far and all but hurling him into the carriage beside his probably battered instrument.

A sobbing, disgusting mess, the galdor dragged air through his nose and tried to caprise those around him. Nothing, or rather, mostly nothing. There was the hint of something…just the hint…not enough to tell Benjamin who or what had sprung him.

word count: 629
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Rhys Valentin
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Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:56 am

Vienda, O Vienda
after dark on the 8th of Intas, 2719
Perhaps it was for the best that the mask Mister Saunders had so thoughtfully crafted for him narrowed his field of vision, forced him to focus, and limited his ability to pay attention to everything happening. The rush of the moment, the need to be swift and decisive, and the carefully honed purpose that had been sharpened by his training meant Rhys was at least aware that his accomplice swung something into Benjamin's knee, but he didn't see what because he was busy kneeling against the galdor's spine and roughly binding his hands after Gale had so unceremoniously gagged the ersehole before he could make too much noise.

The Sergeant caught just a glimpse of movement, heard the crunching of the hammer against bone, and panic filled him, flooding the narrow, freshly-healed space of his chest with magma. He paused, body tensing, a sharp awareness stinging his thoughts as if he should have moved to stop Gale, as if he should have kept them from smashing the tool multiple times against bone, but he didn't, he couldn't. There was a strange sense of disconnection, a twisted feeling of freedom, being both out of uniform, being behind a mask, being with someone who was not bound to his oaths, who didn't give a fuck about the Seventen's rules.

Rhys smirked against chilled metal, the gross gurgle of Benjamin beneath him far more satisfying than it should have been. He shifted to his feet and snatched the other arm, fingers curling roughly into a soft bicep beneath layers of expensive fabric, lifting the struggling other man on the smith's count of three. Taking the brunt of the bastard's weight both because he was resisting and because his ankle was clearly shattered, the strange trio only had to wait for a few moments in the cold before the carriage appeared. The tall blond should have checked his watch, desperately glancing down the street in both directions for signs of movement, for signs of a Patrol, but seeing nothing, made the decision to hastily lead the way across the street.

The galdor struggled and the Sergeant tightened his grip, bruising flesh and exerting his superior strength with a shove of his hips to keep the injured man staggering forward with them.

There were looks exchanged with the hooded driver hidden behind a thick scarf, the young Valentin having paid ridiculously well for this moment in coin without regret, opening the door and shoving Benjamin in without even a thought of kindness. The press of something cold so close to his neck and ear surprised him, eliciting a hiss while his fingers curled tighter into the hem of a dirtied trouser leg while attempting to get a kicking body further into the carriage, Gale's words heard above the gagging on vomit and the muffled gurgles of pain,

"I'll keep that on the table. Maybe a couple just for good measure. For a souvenir." Rhys grunted, hefting himself up into the carriage without any real care that the Tolsby ersehat was there on the floor of the thing, offering a hand to his sister out of habit before closing the door and rapping gloved knuckles against the front of the dark box.

The jolt of the vehicle moving again forced the not-galdor to exhale a ragged breath and with it, his glamour seemed to uncoil from its hidden closeness about him like a serpent slithering from its den, filling the small space with the tangible, buzzing tension of the moment. There was no disguising himself, the weight of Perceptive mona that clung to the wick as if he was just another galdor his unique signature to the world around him. He'd gone to school with the galdor at his feet, and while the other man was now blind to the world beneath an old sack that probably smelled of last weeks' vegetables, he made no efforts to hide who he was. There was no fear in the sixth sense of his glamour, only a fiery, twisted sense of excitement, a meditative sense of focused calm.

He said nothing, refusing to answer accusations, refusing to speak to the gagged galdor. Blue eyes watched the bastard while Rhys perched on the edge of the seat, one boot on the ersehole's shoulder, the other dangerously close to his face. Guilt and shame threatened to crawl into his thoughts like bile against the back of his throat, his Seventen training difficult to bury beneath the betrayal and rage that burned so hot within. He reminded himself that no charge would have ever stuck against Mister Tolsby, no accusation even from Charity's lips would have convicted him, and that, just like Captain Damen D'Arthe, the rich piece of garbage would have walked out of any courtroom with a slap on the wrist and a minor fine.

Prison was too good for him, anyway.

He deserved this.

If Rhys was meant to be an example, then he was returning the favor tonight. He was making a statement of his own.

The carriage ride was rough and quicker than the walk had been, though there was a bit of a circuitous route taken just to make sure Benjamin was thoroughly confused. A sudden stop and Rhys opened the door, emboldened by the moment to simply shove the galdor out and down with a swift motion of both hands and a knee, rolling him onto the cobblestones onto his back, totally unconcerned for the bastard's tailbone or skull. Though, he needed the man conscious.

Hopping out next to him, still in silence, he waited for the smith to grab Ben's other side to heft the man to his one good foot, free hand making a few specific signs to the driver before the carriage rumbled off and left the unlikely trio in the dark and the smog and the deadly cold. Dragging them toward the door, he used his arm and his elbow and finally his body weight to slide the heavy door open to the abandoned warehouse, the loud metallic groan filling all of their senses.

He waited to close the door again behind them before he once again shared the effort with Gale to drag Benjamin to the spell circle he'd crafted earlier and dump him in it, slightly off-center, making sure there was room for himself. Roughly arranging the ersehole into a sitting position, aware that to do so would remind him of his leg injuries and enjoying the sounds of pain he could elicit as he did so, he gestured to remove the sack while he stepped back to remove his gloves and shrug off his coat, tossing them both outside of the circle and letting the chill of the wide, open space seep through his clothing and claw at his sweaty skin.

He took the time to light the one lantern, moving with a detached sort of purposefulness and utterly ignoring any noises the other man made while he took his time making all of the arrangements he'd had two whole months to plan. Two months of pain and suffering, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally. Not just himself, but, perhaps more so, in the shadow of Charity's far greater, far less magically-reachable injuries: robbed of sleep, of trust, and of so much more by Benjamin's attempts to claim her body as his against her will.

Aware that this magical business was not something Gale could assist with, and also aware it would probably be strange and uncomfortable for a human, he'd already apologized in advance, allowing them the freedom to decide their participation in this first act, quite confident there would be more to do afterward.

Rhys knew there was no way he would be casting from behind a mask, but he also knew he had no desire to keep who he was secret from Benjamin Tolsby. Returning to the prodigium, he moved to sit cross-legged just out of the other man's reach but within the chalk and quartz circle, settling comfortably against the chilled dirt and slowly reaching up to loosen the straps and remove the mask, lowering it into his lap and gripping it tightly, white-knuckled against the metal. Blue eyes took in the still-gagged face before him, reminded of the mocking sneers and lies and threats the auburn-haired bastard had growled at him there on the street in Achtus.

The tall blond sighed, shoulders drooping, jaw clenching for a moment while he gathered his field around him as a fisherman gathered their catch in a net, "Don't act surprised, Ben. Surely, you knew this was coming. Turnabout's fair play—or so I hear."

He'd shared a hall with the man before him for years, schoolboys in Brunnhold green from first form until graduation, and the galdor had always been a fucking spoiled toffin. Far wealthier than the young Valentin, far more delicate in his musical, theatrical career direction, he'd always taken what he wanted from anyone—never shy about bragging the next day about his escapades with drunken, supposedly deserving female students, proud of his conquests and full of his own warped sense of self-worth. They'd never gotten along, but Rhys had been aware of his jealousy over Charity from the time they were both upperclassman, from just a few months before Damen had made the final decision to forbid their friendship in an effort to stymie the obvious direction toward courtship and marriage Rhys had wanted to steer them.

She'd clearly rejected the auburn-haired galdor for years, stuck with his company as another musician. Stuck with his company because of Damen's dirty dealings.

The Sergeant offered a very threatening sort of smile, taking a deep breath, "I'm sure you'd love to ask about my recovery. I'm sure you'd like to ask how we're all doing at home. Hmm? Oh, but you can't. Allow me to share it instead. Just settle in. Get comfortable."

His glamour filled the space as he reached within it, the boundaries of the prodigium like the lines drawn between Kingdoms, containing his field that could be a accused of being weaker than the average galdor's but was admittedly terrifyingly strong for a wick. He knew far too much of Benjamin's mind already, the Inspector too well-trained not to be able to crawl into the ersehole's mind theoretically given their long-standing knowledge of each other and his behavior during their most recent chance encounters. Rhys' body was tense and ready should the man in front of him attempt to roll or crawl away, but he began to speak Monite carefully, first whispering the spellwords that allowed him to literally seep himself into Ben's thoughts, beyond the veil of his outer self and into his mind.

He sought first to paralyze him, to disconnect his thoughts from his body, to hold him captive just as the strong arms of human thugs had held the Sergeant still and helpless while Diaxio's other hirelings beat him. The spell circle allowed him a very sharp sense of focus, drawing in more Perceptive mona than usual, containing it within the gentle lines, attaching it to the personal affects he'd laid within its bounds. Rhys gave no further preamble, no warning, no kindnesses, carefully establishing their mental connection as if it was a familiar action—one he'd practiced far too often between himself and Charity—the spellwork and proper phrasing comfortable on his tongue.

He wove into his words with a Living leybridge a series of phrases that would, in fact, force Benjamin to feel true pain, not imagined, awakening his nerves with the blend of Perceptive and Living spellcraft with a delicateness that revealed he'd taken the time to prepare for this. The mona knew his intentions, and while they were, indeed, tainted with the unsavory sensation of vengeance, he truly wanted Benjamin to experience the full extent of the suffering he'd experienced out of a strange, persistent need for justice.

Once he'd prepared them both with a few careful set-up spells, his last bit of phrasing solidified the connection of their thoughts, entwining his glamour with the other man's field, the gag in place to keep him from even attempting any counterspell, and then, just like a sudden flood, he began to share his memories in the kind of rich detail only an Inspector of the Seventen was truly capable of, replaying only the track of pain from the first blow until the last in slow, agonizing detail, blue eyes fixed on the galdor's face even while the rest of his body was almost eerily still. Every sound of crushed bone and smashed flesh, every twinge of every nerve, every sense of confusion, Rhys had catalogued every bit he'd been conscious for, reaching deeply into his own mind through the focus the prodigium allowed to access even his subconscious, to access body memory instead of just his own, adding a richness and depth to the suffering that he couldn't otherwise have described out loud.

Of course, to the outside observer such as the smith, he'd just spoken a string of nonsensical things and then fallen quiet, staring, distant, while Benjamin would begin to erupt in obvious torture, visibly unable to move.
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Gale
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: Artful Gunner
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Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:54 am

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Somewhere | getting dark
08 Intas 2719
It was within a state of silence that Gale now existed. The hairs prickled in response to the field that throbbed and twisted, as if reacting to pain beyond the immediate physical. The expression behind the mask was still, jaw clenched, lips pressed, eyes pinched into calculating narrows. Even as the mess begged and struggled they found their mind growing hard; a cold metal that would not yield to the hammering. Every hiss was counted, every whimper of noise recorded.

It would be wrong to say Gale obtained no pleasure from this. They obtained their own more subtle kind. While they travelled, the carriage rattling around them along cobblestones – one, two, three, click, one, two, three, click – drowning out the sound of pain filled gags. The gloved thumb found the violin case, flicking the latch open and closed while their brother’s glamour filled the space. Another prickle, even they were not blind to the predator that was lingering beneath the surface. He was thirsty for revenge - but his was only spurred by a limited, personal nature.

It was short sighted, and would splutter out the moment it was done.

Gale’s want was something much bigger; something fuelled by oppression beneath the boot of the Galdori. But behind the mask of Gunner that was kept silent.

Click. Clack. Click. Clack.

The smith swayed when the carriage stopped, and with it did their clicking. A snort escaped as the Galdor was rolled out. Violin case swung over one shoulder; they lumbered out after the pair, firmly grasping Benjamin by the arm as they dragged him into the depths. He was in their lair, their domain; he was their prisoner to torment. While he was being pushed about by Rhys, the smith dumped the case – strings groaning as it made contact – and proceeded to pace the warehouse. Their first tour brought them to the open door. It was closed with a grind of wheels, screeching before an audible clunk rattled behind it.

It was a definite sound, one akin to ‘putting the nail in the coffin’. Or something like that. Idioms were difficult at the best of times. The smith ensured the door was sealed, before moving on. Occasionally they shot a look to Rhys, now unmasked, expression bared to the world. The green orbs danced around it, the stance, the way he lorded himself over his prey. They did not think too hard on what was going through his mind, but their shoulders curled in, the gaze averted, footsteps rolling as they lurked and lingered.

Briefly they moved in, namely to retake the violin case, before they retreated into one of the gloomy corners of the warehouse. Perching, the green eyes watched with interest yet saw nothing. They knew there was some form of magic at work, but it was beyond their comprehension – or their ability to even reach out and utilise themselves.

The cold steel of the firearm pressed against their spine.

Humans had firearms. They had to rely on their raw knowledge – if those above them would even allow them to reach out and grasp it. Oppression. Disregard. A cripplingly short life expectancy. It was why they resisted.

The thumb found the latch again.

Click.

Opening it this time, they studied the velvet interior the polished wood that had been lacquered and the dark bridge. Horsehair string, a bow – equally well kept - a gloved thumb gently plucked at it before both hands firmly grasped it. Pulling it out they turned it over making out some unimportant marking on its back denoting its make before righting it once more. Once or twice they had seen some tavern musician play, so rising it up to the shoulder, chin tucked over the chest they chose to ignore the magic that was currently going on. Bow raised, they brought it across the strings in a slow, drawing movement.

Wailing cats sounded better.

The sound cause them to reel, lip twitching in annoyance behind the mask. They tried again, the death screech of noise bouncing off the walls of the warehouse. It sliced through their eardrum, muscles knotting as it cut through the brain and firmly jabbed against something better left untouched. An impulsive rage came next, sparking wildly. The body moving before the mind caught up. By the time Gale realised what they had done, the chest of the violin was caved in, the neck hanging limply in their grasp by the strings. It twisted by them, turning as one of the pegs clattered to the floor alongside the shredded bow.

Gale straightened, rapidly snapped their head in the direction of Rhys, and promptly dropped the remains of the instrument. It let out a mournful whine.

“Oops.”
word count: 791
When the last of us will disappear
Like shadows into the night
The broken ones, the fighting sons
Of ignorance
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