[Closed] This Isn't A Holiday

Khy is finally contacted by the Resistance, after the first meeting with Serro and the cell deep under Vienda. What could they possibly want, after being silent for so many seasons? Her anxious mind is full of questions...will she get any answers?

A wide stretch of farmland on the east coast known for the farming villages of Virthmore and Edmonton.
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Khymarah Theraldon
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Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:11 pm

Intas 10th, 2719
BRAYDE COUNTY SOMEWHERE | NIGHT TIME SOMETIME
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This was stupid. Really clocking stupid.

Khymarah’s knee bounced as she rode in the horse drawn carriage, dual colored eyes wandering over the farming countryside of Brayde County. She hadn’t been out this way in…well in ever! There’d never been a reason to head north east for her, not in her official artist and galdori capacity.

But this was not any official artist or galdori trip.

Her eyes flicked down to her hands, nervously brushing against her forest green skirts as the wheels bounced along the dirt roads. A message had arrived for her, a Resistance message. By the Lady, the red haired mage had thought she’d been forgotten, or intentionally cut out. After the first meeting so, so many seasons ago she’d not heard from anyone again. A galdor in the human Freedom Fighters was like a poppy in a hayfield. She was the oddity, and not to be trusted given her race’s tendency to arrest or even hang the lower races associated with the Resistance.

But now there was a message. A meeting, outside of Vienda. Frankly that was fine with the woman. Better to be away from prying eyes and listening ears. Gods only knew what would happen to her, should she be caught. What would Drezda think?!

Swallowing her fears down, Khymarah startled when the carriage came to a sudden stop, eyes wide as she listened to the driver jump down off the seat and crunch his way along the chilled dirt path to open her door.

“Here, put this on.” He grunted over the top of his scarf, throwing a thick old wheat sack at her. The galdor drew her field closer instinctively, seemingly to make herself appear less threatening. In reality, it was a comfort. A close field was protective, safe. You could cast faster if it was already collected. Not that Khymarah was going to cast, not unless she was going to be hurt.

Nodding, she pulled the thick sack over her head, taking the drivers offered hand as he helped her down. The gentlemanly offer was short lived however, when he shifted to put it firmly on her shoulder. The air was cold enough to cause her breath to steam under the hood, condensing slightly against her pale skin, though her warm beige cloak kept the chill away from her person.

“Walk.” He said gruffly, giving her a slight shove forwards. The temporarily blinded red head moved with a small shuffle before picking up her feet, listening to the sounds around her. It was night, and as such there weren’t that many. A few creatures not yet in their beds, and owls making kills in the farms of the county. Dim shapes of light and shadow projected through the hood, but otherwise there was nothing to see. If there were wicks or galdori around her, Khymarah would feel their fields, should they not be dampened, but outside of that the woman had no clocking idea where she was or who she was with.

Hopefully this meeting would provide some sort of answer. Why did they reach out now, after so long in silence? Had that prison break caused some sort of extra lockdown? Were they looking for a golly for something? Is that why they wanted to speak to her now?

By the Lady, so many questions! She needed to stop playing this game. The answers would come soon enough, and as long as she was honest then there was nothing to fear.

Nothing at all. Except for humans who hated gollies. Or wicks who had vengeance on their mind. Or passives who had spent years in servitude looking for a pound of flesh. Or galdori who would never ever tolerate one of their own helping the Freedom fighters.

Yep, nothing to fear.

word count: 671
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Adam Spencer
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Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:14 pm


Rented Farmhouse • Anaxas/Brayde County

On the 10th of Intas, 2719 • Night
Next time, he had to hire a better class of driver. To be sure, the hired carriageman had been practical about the job. Howeer, as Adam watched the pair approach, lantern held up to see what he could, his keen eye could pick out some level of anxiety from the galdori woman who approached the farmhouse on the dirt path, her shoulders drawn up in unease. Her field was smaller than he would have expected. A wick, maybe? But no, that couldn't be the case. Khymarah Theraldon's field felt too clinical for that. Probably on the defensive. Hopefully that would only be a temporary measure.

Still, it had been a bit of a hassle to get the woman out here. Finding a driver with a modicum of tact and discretion -- clearly not eough of the latter, however. Getting that message to the woman's house in the Uppers. Convincing the homesteaders whose farm this was to take the night off and go into Old Rose Harbor for a good drink, paid for -- unknowingly -- by the Resistance. Getting the woman all the way out here into the middle of the country. An expensive and costly venture like this one had better be profitable in the ethical sense, if not the financial.

He pushed open the door, the creaking one of a very few sounds outside of the wilderness nightlife that the galdor would be able to make out.

He dropped his voice about half an octave, intending to keep it deeper than his usual cadence for the first part of his discussion with the galdor. "Straight through. Mind the step. There's a sofa about a meter to your left. Careful; it's low. Feel free to have a seat." He expected her to respond affirmatively to the direction, but still felt a modicum of relief when she did.

He turned to the driver, giving the man a shill, telling him in Riverword with a little disapproval in his voice, "Wait here about an hour, don't say another gods-damned word, and you'll get a second for your trouble. And be kinder to her on the way back. We don't want to lose her because she didn't like the journey, and you never know with the toffins. They're particular about things like that." He'd made sure to hire a driver who spoke the language, in case he had to share a message he didn't want the Theraldon woman to hear. He had hoped it wouldn't be as disappointing a message as it had been, however.

Turning back, he stepped in through the low-hanging door. The place was supposedly a human farmhouse, but the owners had to be as short as galdori; he had to duck to see himself in or avoid banging his head on the lintel. Setting the lantern on the fireplace mantel, wishing it did anything at all to warm this borrowed farmhouse, he rubbed his hands together from the cold before he spoke.

"Sorry I can't remove that sack over your head yet, Ms. Theraldon. You understand why -- a hazard of the trade. You don't know me, and you don't need to know me. I already know that you were at one Resistance meeting, but it's been a while. You should count yourself lucky that it's me here and not one of Serro's direct people -- he'd have cut you out long before now. However, I'd like to believe you're a valuable enough resource to have around for the time being. It's your job to make me believe that. Go ahead. Demonstrations welcomed."

He folded his arms, leaning against the mantel, studying the redheaded woman, brows raised and focus intent on her to see what she'd reply to him with. "Oh, by the way," he added, mock-casually, "I'm sorry we don't have any Rodriguez Fireball Whiskey handy in a place like this." No offer of an alternative drink followed; it was offhanded proof that he'd done his research on the woman's connections.
Last edited by Adam Spencer on Tue May 07, 2019 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 734
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Khymarah Theraldon
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Tue May 07, 2019 9:05 am

Intas 10th, 2719
BRAYDE COUNTY SOMEWHERE | NIGHT TIME SOMETIME
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I​​t was the long slow creak of a door, in the absence of any other sounds of civilization, that made Khymarah realize they weren’t alone here. Her head turned slightly, listening carefully as a deep timbered voice spoke, not in a gruff way like the driver but more matter-of-fact. She obeyed the instructions, turning gently to the left with the aid of her escort and sitting in a gentle puff of deep green skirts.
​​
​​It smelt like the inside of a barn, the red head knowing the smell of hay and mustiness from her childhood. Hiding in the storehouse for the wheat and barley, it was a distinct smell that brought back fond memories—before Brunnhold. Of course, this wasn’t home and this wasn’t a childhood romp in the lofts. The soft sounds of words in a language she didn’t understand reached her ears, spoken by the same individual who had invited her to take a seat. Tugging her cloak closer to her, the galdor waited patiently for whatever was to come next.
​​
​​Listening carefully, the artist swallowed the concern that bubbled in her chest. So she was right, Serro had been planning on cutting her out, even before she began. The woman lifted her chin, expecting nothing. Galdori were the enemy, and no matter how much she tried to help or how much she symphathized, she was the enemy too. The man’s next words however threw Khymarah, realising he was expecting her to use her magic. To show him why the Resistance should bother with her at all.
​​
​​"Oh, by the way," he added, mock-casually, "I'm sorry we don't have any Rodriguez Fireball Whiskey handy in a place like this."
​​
​​The Bastian blushed under her hood, biting her lip and swearing internally. Whilst her last name wasn’t entirely difficult to find, nor to associate with the drink, it still felt almost threatening to know her unseen assessor knew that much about her. It gave him an edge, and a gentle implication that should she step out of line at all, it would be easy enough to expose her as a sympethiser or hold her family at ransom for silence.
​​
​​Well, hopefully it wouldn’t come to that.
​​
​​ “I uh…I’m a skilled Staticmancer, with begginers rather knowledge of basic healing. So I could, at the least, fly an airship and patch people up.” She laughed softly at her own joke, clearing her throat and grimacing under the sack. What a useless comment to make. What else could she do for the Resistance?
​​
​​Oh.
​​
​​ “Oh, I can do this too.” Khymarah released her field then, allowing the heavy ramscott aura to fill the space around her like a wave of warmth, lifting her hands to curl around themselves as though cupping a ball. Delicate syllables of monite began to flow from rapidly moving lips, the Profeccient sorceress weaving a spell of Hydromosis that drew molecules of moisture from the air around them. Slight nuisances in the sounds caused the water to pool together in her hands, hovering between her palms as though the laws of physics didn’t matter. Drawing her hands slowly apart, the red haired woman inserted clever words to invite the mona to rapidly reduce the temperature of the water. It cooled almost audibly, hardening into a ragged half foot long thick icicle. The makeshift knife dropped into her lower palm, as Khymarah panted slightly, her brow slightly damp from the exertion.
​​
​​ “There is so much more I can do, but displaying them in a barn is probably dangerous. A lot are…flammable.” Placing the shard of ice beside her, the galdor took a chance.
​​
​​
​​ ”Look. Magic and such aside, there is something of value I have which no one else does. I’m a galdor, and I have information at my fingertips. I can get information should it be required. I’m your best inside man, or woman, so to speak.” She pressed her lips together, pausing there, waiting to see if she had done nearly enough to convince the man of her worth.

word count: 723
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Adam Spencer
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Tue May 07, 2019 9:12 pm


Rented Farmhouse • Anaxas/Brayde County

On the 10th of Intas, 2719 • Night
Magic, especially golly magic, was always a little unsettling to him -- it was something that went againt his rationality, and it always felt like it didn't belong in the grand scheme of things. The galdori claimed to be in tune with the world around them but, if that was the case, why did all their parlor tricks make him want to push back against them, deny their reality? His pragmatism was always uneasy with magic. At least the wicks weren't so studied about it. He could believe they were working with some natural force, even if he wasn't entirely convinced it was benevolent.

Adam watched for a long moment, and was at least grateful the woman didn't see the surprise on his face when she produced an icicle knife out of nowhere. "Let's not burn down the building," he agreed a little dryly. "I've only rented it for the night. I didn't promise to rebuild it if it went up in flames."

He paused a moment. "And what makes you believe having an inside source is new for the Resistance? It might be. It might not be. But you, yourself -- what are your specific connections? And why the Resistance? You have no need for us. You could just be apolitical. Why the drive to help out? Think about it for a moment before you answer me; give me an honest and thoughtful answer rather than an impulsive one."

Reaching out to remove her hood without preamble, he at least did so slowly, to give her a little advance warning and let her eyes adjust to the glare of the fireplace lantern dead ahead. It was a bit of a risk, but not much of one. She might remember his face, but this was undoubtedly the first time she had seen it. His name -- that was the greater risk, and he didn't necessarily plan to give her that.

Pulling the hood away, he tossed it to the side, a casual gesture. A glance to the window told him the driver was waiting there, at least. The lure of money must have done it. He looked back at the girl, surveying her. No hard edges to her countenance -- soft, naive, no doubt fueled by some more optimistic sense of righteousness than any more realistic analysis, for all that he could tell. She might be useful, but he hoped she wasn't just entering into this out of some idealistic notion of justice. She'd be quickly disabused of it if she was, but that wasn't his job to caution her about.

"Your answer," he said easily once she'd adjusted to her whereabouts. He stepped back to where he'd leaned against the mantel, staying there again. There was no threat in his words or manner, if Khymarah looked past the farmhouse in the middle of nowhere and the isolation in which he'd deliberately put her.

At least she hadn't said anything to get inside his head; he didn't understand a word of Monite, but if she had to speak the language to cast magic, he hadn't heard her say anything without a papable effect. Too bad, in a way. He'd have liked to know someone who could do that, for the task he had in mind for a galdor. But if she gave him a decent answer, she'd still be moderately helpful, so long as he could convince Serro of the plan.
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Khymarah Theraldon
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Tue May 14, 2019 7:56 am

Intas 10th, 2719
BRAYDE COUNTY SOMEWHERE | NIGHT TIME SOMETIME
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K​​hymarah held her breath as she felt the hood shift, moving slowly off her head to allow her to see her surroundings and her partner. He was human, that she already knew, around the same age by the looks and could maybe even be Bastian with dark hair and a somber face. Reaching for her red tresses, the galdor smoothed them over, considering his question carefully.

Why was she wanting to join? What exactly could she offer?

The woman’s dual colored gaze looked over the human for a moment, before turning on the barn around them with a soft smile.

“I grew up on a grain plantation, did your research tell you that? Theraldon land grows the wheat, hops and barley used in about forty percent of the alcohol brewed in Anaxas and Bastia. Big crops require big land, and big land requires farm hands. My father hired the wicks and humans that would come and go with the seasons, though there was a family of wicks that ended up staying with us for years. Noreia, that was their daughters name. She must have had a little mugrobi heritage, because she had the most beautiful dark skin and bright blue eyes. We were the very best of friends, and up until the age of ten I genuinely had no idea that it wasn’t normal to associate with the lower races. Father and Mother were never cruel as such, but they were not entirely accepting either. Still, I was a child, and I loved my little world. Noreia and I used to play in the store house, it was a huge barn with a loft and hay for the kensers. The way this place smells makes me think of it, and it’s lovely.” Turning back to Adam, her smile faltered, brow drawing slightly.

“I had to leave home to board at Brunnhold after I passed my magic testing, and I learned very quickly that galdori don’t accept what they don’t understand. My eyes, you see, can be considered not just a strange abnormality but a hint that I’m not a galdor at all. I was accused of being a wick relentlessly, to the point that the school had to get my parents to provide proof that they were genuinely my parents. It was awful, and by the Circle I was so pleased to go home for the first school break. I was excited to see Noreia and tell her all about the stupid school. But, when I got home Noreia and her family were gone. I asked my parents why, and the only answer I ever recall was ‘it’s for the best.’” The galdor’s field flexed with annoyance, shaking her head.

“It’s for the best? To this day, I still don’t know what happened to my friend and her family, but I have a fairly good idea. My parents probably planned to move them on once I was away, so I wouldn’t cause a scene. They were kicked out of the place they had made a home for so many years, uprooted and jobless, all because my parent’s couldn’t stand the embarrassment of their daughter being friends with a wick. I didn’t have anyone to talk to then, given my parents solution to my issues at Brunnhold was to wear an eyepatch like some clocking pirate. Better to be slightly put out with a patch then to be seen as a half-breed.” Pausing for a moment, the woman waved a hand and laughed nervously.

“Sorry that was dreadfully long winded. What I am trying to say is that I have no love for my own kind. We’re cruel and self-absorbed and entirely wrong about the world. We enslave our own children if they are tested and magicless because we’re frightened of them. We put children to work in the Soot District, and let them be mutilated in the machines or starve them in the factories. Children! We rule over wicks and humans with some sort of entitlement that magic makes us better than you. But it doesn't. Being magical doesn’t make anyone a better person, it just makes them slightly different. A great big powerful spell is useless against a pebble aimed at the caster’s head, provided it can interrupt them. How ridiculous is that? We can be brought down by a well placed slingshot projectile.” She sat forward slightly, perching on the edge of the chair, hands moving to emphasize her words.

“I want to help you, because I want to get rid of this archaic culture we have around races. Because I want to be able to see people as equals, not judged by their creed. Because I don't want to go to the Dives every day and see little soot covered starving faces barely making it through the morning, or not staring at me at all because somethings happened to them. Because I want a young galdor to be best friends with a wick child and no one care. I’m not political sir, but I am connected to the most powerful people in Anaxas. I am a portrait artist, I see everyone from the lower clerks in Vienda, to the Judges in the Courts to the very Headmistress in Brunnhold. I am invisible, a galdor in a sea of galdor’s. I can gain entry to almost anywhere, with a little clever discussion and name dropping. I have ties through my family to large business owners across Bastia and Anaxas. My clients give me all sorts of information as I paint them, most of it I throw away as useless small talk, but directed the right way and people will drop their most private secrets whilst distracted by the painting process.” Pressing her lips together, the scarlett haired Bastian paused for a moment, before speaking frankly.

“I have no doubt the Resistance has its own inside sources, and ultimately you will do what is right for you, but I am genuinely sure I can be of great value for you. I just need to be given the chance to proove it.”

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Adam Spencer
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Fri May 17, 2019 7:49 pm


Rented Farmhouse • Anaxas/Brayde County

On the 10th of Intas, 2719 • Night
Khymarah told him a sad tale, but Adam listened to it with a wealth of skepticism. It sounded like it came right out of a storybook. Poor little rich girl, with a servant friend she never saw again, unloved in the world that was her birthright. He wasn’t buying it, but he kept his face impassive through the tale, only a minute shake of his head betraying his thoughts about the story.

He didn’t pity her for an instant. What she had to go through, any human child or wick would have envied. The worst she suffered was being thought to be one of them. He believed her, but it wasn’t enough to convince him of her utility or her rationale for helping. The girl would have to do better than that. If she thought she was going to work on his sympathy, it wouldn’t work. He had enough sympathy for her situation without needing to let that affect whatever decision he made about pushing for her to be reintegrated into the Resistance.

“Do you know what I would have done growing up to study at Brunnhold? Not the magic so much; I don’t care about that. The mundane lessons. Knowing things. Understanding the way the world works. Having access to books and learning and ideas. When I was young, I would have been thrilled to have them. Instead, I had to teach myself. So spare me your sob story about being bullied while you were able to learn, Ms. Theraldon. Self-absorbed indeed.” His voice wasn’t unkind, but it was making a point that she might not have realized, all the same.

He might have been the same measure of self-absorbed about his own state, he thought. Here he was bemoaning the fact that he hadn’t had the opportunity to learn when young, but he had learned, and he could learn more, and that was more than some dirt-poor tenant in Old Rose Harbor could ever dream of. He pushed the thought down, watching her, staying still. From this far, he could barely notice the difference in her eyes, and yet she could have told from any measure of meters that he was “only” human.

“Your family’s worthwhile,” he admitted, “but I need you to prove your worth a little more, speaking personally. Tell me a secret you’ve learned. Something about a member of the Vyrdag. I don’t care whom, because I have a source in there I’ll check it with. If it checks out, then I’ve got a plan for you to be useful after the Symvoul lets up.” Regarding Dorhaven, he thought, but he didn’t share that part with the galdor. That could wait until he confirmed her informational abilities.

Curiosity got the better of him, though. Shifting position only slightly, so that he wasn’t quite so slouched against the mantel, he concluded with, “Let’s see your ability to read people. Read me. Tell me about myself. Judge my character as you judge that of those galdori whose portraits you paint.”
word count: 565
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