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Poor Life Decisions

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11 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:59 am

“Good,” I remark coolly, dropping another card on the table. “And relay a message to your friend, if another hunter so much as breathes near my niece or nephew-“ I pause slightly, leaning in as I lower my voice, “I’ll personally torch their fucking homes and build a pyre of my own.

Sitting back, I smile back at the other man before glancing towards his forgotten hand. “Playing?”

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12 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:12 am

"And interrupt the show?" Varna asks with a smirk as I cut him an annoyed glare. "I think not."

"I'm not telling Emhyr a thing," I say, ignoring Varna as he watches the game - more likely protecting his damned cards in case he loses to the hot headed woman. "And while I appreciate your candidness, that's not the wisest threat to share with a hunter. Men not unlike Emhyr would take that as a challenge, and come after not just you, but your niece and nephew, as well - just to spite you for your audacity. Escalation is not always the best tactic to deter a threat - at least not one like the Temple."

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13 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:17 am

“I know what I said,” I retort, looking at Solas seriously. “Don’t think I need lessons on dealing with threats to my kind from a betrayer to his.”

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14 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:34 am

I raise an eyebrow at that, my expression carrying just enough confusion to leave the accusation unconfirmed as I look her over coldly. Varna's confusion is more genuine as he lets out a questioning grunt, his spiced chicken sitting forgotten as his hand rests on the plate hesitantly.

"I really have no idea what you're talking about," I frown as I pause to take a drink of my ale. "But you remind me of Emhyr."

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15 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:37 am

“He sounds like an asshole,” I shrug before grinning, something about Solas’s posture feeling forced. Still, my grab for information yielded little reward and I turn to my cards boredly as the barmaid brings me a drink.

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16 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:44 am

"Your words, not mine," I shrug as I adjust my cards, catching Varna's gaze as his brow pinches together. I shrug my shoulders at him, my jaw clenching in warning for him to leave it before I commit to playing another card.

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17 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:06 am

*****

The tension of Nell's unexpected appearance had not faded as our game carried on. It wasn't until Hylda and a couple others joined us that she eventually left, her departure unnoticed by the boisterous group. Varna kept his silence after the fact, his weathered eyes carrying all the words he had to say as he kept a watchful eye over me the next few days. It isn't until Elwinel has gone to spend a night working with Hylda that I finally crack.

"Solas," Varna's sharp tone catches me off-guard as I make my way downstairs, hurrying toward the front door. I hadn't realized anyone was home, and the old man sitting in the study startles me as he catches me at the threshold. I feel momentarily panicked as he comes out into the foyer, looking me over with a faint frown. My appearance is almost unrecognizable, my hair nearly white with the pale skin to match, and not a line of age nor sorrow in sight. It's an appearance I only ever wear when I'm about to do something stupid - or so Varna says.

"What??" I ask defensively, trying not to look too guilty.

"Don't let the witch goad you into doing something foolish," he frowns, his tone infuriatingly worried. "Remember what happened the last time you got tangled in the affairs of a witch."

"I'm fine," I respond more curtly than I'd intended before I correct my tone with a sigh. "Thank you. I'll be careful, I promise. Just - go back to your book. I may not return tonight. If I get bored, I may look into a barghest near Novigrad. I'll let you know."

Varna's whiskers bristle as he exhales heavily, his lips pursing as he nods and turns back to the study.  I can't decide if I'm grateful or bothered by his concern. Either way, it's not a thought I linger on for long as I pull my hood up over my head and go to the stable to fetch one of the stallions that I don't often ride. Etrielle huffs at my passing, my unfamiliar visage no doubt conflicting with my otherwise familiar scent. If a horse could express emotion, I'd reckon hers would be one of relief when I pass her by to take her more ornery mate.

My horse outfitted with a worn saddle, I set out toward town. My passing so early in the morning draws a few eyes, but once I make my way into the more occult part of the city, the curiosity dies and people avoid staring for too long. Normal as most witches are, the common people of the city still have the good sense not to press too far into the affairs of anyone who could hex or curse them with naught but a thought. And my attire leaves little doubt as to my belonging in this part of the city - even if my face is relatively unfamiliar.

I spend much of the morning poking around from shop to shop, doing a little shopping, but mostly making myself familiar with the area. That is, more familiar than I already am. By the time lunch rolls around, I can feel my stomach growling, but it's a desire I ignore as I keep watch for Nell. I'm close enough to her house that should she venture out today, I should be able to spot her. And eventually, I do.

I make a point to busy myself with a small grimoire as I linger outside of a shop, jotting down notes and glancing up to watch her from under the cover of my hood. With practiced effortlessness, I fall into step several paces behind her, still halfway focused on my grimoire as I follow her for a ways. To an onlooker (or Nell), it would appear only as though we just happened to be heading in the same direction.

Thankfully, that direction leads us to a pub and not some private home where I would be hard pressed trying to follow her. My stomach growls again as I follow her inside, the smell of spiced potatoes and sizzling meats hitting me across the face as we leave the bright noon sun behind us. I take a seat at the bar a few stools down from her, nodding toward the bartender as he acknowledges me. For a moment, I'm a little startled by the man's odd appearance; he's tall. Very tall. But more alarming is the almost unnatural color of his skin. It isn't until he smacks a large mug of cider down in front of me that I can see the stone-like protrusions on his arms and neck.

"It's not often one sees a stone troll working in a human pub," I say mildly, my comment earning me a dubious glare which I'm quick to meet with a casual toast. "I'm pleased to see they've accepted you here."

His posture relaxes a little, though my greeting only receives a gravelly grunt as a response before he moves off to retrieve a menu for me. I flinch as he returns to toss it down in front of me, the wood framed parchment hitting the edge of my mug just as I'm picking it up to take a drink. I frown at the sloshed cider for only a moment before taking the drink anyway, and then setting it aside to pick up the soaked menu. The troll doesn't offer so much as a second glance as I give him a tight-lipped look, my eyebrow raising at his back before I flick the menu to rid it of some of its moisture.

"Charming one, you are," I comment dryly as he tosses a damp rag my way, leaving me to clean up the mess myself. I make no bigger deal of it than that as I sop up the spilled cider, and then hand the rag and the menu back to the troll. "I'll just have the duck and potatoes, thank you."

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18 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:21 pm

The pale man several stools down had caught my attention, my gaze lingering almost too long before I'm snapped back to the present as a menu hits the bar in front of me. 

"Hey, Art." I say with a heavy sigh as I grab the menu, sitting up so I can dig into my pockets as I look up at him with a feigned smile. "I got that stuff you wanted, by the way."

Art's gruff "Oh?" is so deep I can almost feel it in my chest as I manage to find the small parcel of bottled potions. 

"Same as last time, no doublin' up. You get sick again, don't come crawling to me." I continue quietly, setting the parcel on the bar as I glance back at the menu. "Bread, whatever's freshest and some of your lady's berry jam. Oh, and a room."

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19 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:39 pm

Her request for a room piques my curiosity as my mug hesitates at my lips. Taking a sip, I place the mug back on the counter and run my hand over the surface of the wood to make sure it isn't sticky.

"Have you been traveling long?" I ask as I pull the small grimoire from inside my vest pocket before opening it to my previous page and flattening it out in front of me - far from the dangerous mug of cider.

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20 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:49 pm

My eyebrows raise as I glance at the pale man, his question leaving a bit confused before it clicks and I shake my head.

“No, no,” I laugh vaguely, nodding my head to Art as he hands me my own mug of ale before turning in my order. “I’m not a traveler. You?”

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21 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:13 pm

"By trade, yeah," I nod as I look her over. She looks sallow and unkempt, as though exhaustion has long since taken root inside her bones. "If you aren't traveling, why rent a room?" I ask with a raised eyebrow.

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22 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:24 pm

"That is none of your business, is it?" I respond sharply, my eyebrows pinched as I look at him at a loss. My posture softens a bit as I shrug, shaking my head. 

"Just need some time away, s'all. Don't feel like being at home. Surely, everyone's felt like that before."

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23 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Fri Dec 29, 2017 6:39 pm

"My apologies for prying," I say less evenly than I normally would as I bring my mug to my lips. "I had thought perhaps you provide some healing services here during the day or something, since you just gave him a potion." I nod toward Art as I put my mug back down.

"My mistake," I add as I return my attention to the book in front of me. "But yes, I can certainly relate with the need to escape."

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24 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:28 pm

"Wow, you're nosy." I scoff as I shake my head, shifting on my bar stool so I can turn and face him curiously. "Art's an old friend of the family, we do little favors sometimes. Ya know, I don't think I've seen you in here before, where are you from?"

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25 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:42 am

"No where local," I respond, hesitating for a moment as I debate lying or telling her the truth. I cover my stall with another swig of ale before I glance at her, opting for some version of honesty. "I move around a lot, but I'm from Skellige originally. Trade there has suffered of late, though, with the war going on. Between the ice and the pirates, merchants don't often dare take a ship too close to the islands if they care to keep their lives. It's better just to travel here on the mainland, and sell my skills where they're needed.

"And you?" I ask.

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26 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:29 pm

"Close enough to be considered a local," I answer as I pull my mug into my hands so I can take a drink, "But this isn't my hometown or anything.

"So what skills do you trade in..?" My eyes roam over him curiously as I ask, not bothering to hide my intrigue.

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27 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:23 pm

"Now who's being nosy?" I quip with a crooked smirk. Spotting Art as he returns with my food, I manage to scoop my book up just in time to save it from the plate being smacked down unceremoniously in front of me.

"Honestly, there isn't much I don't trade in," I confess as I glance back toward Nell. "Though, most of my income comes from parts of the Craft that require some... discretion. Potions and tonics like the one you gave your friend here aren't what I would call my forte - frankly, I'm rubbish at those and they bore me to tears so much so that I can scarcely convince a drunk to buy a hangover remedy off of me twice.

"But if you ever need to waltz into a palace ballroom looking like the Comtess du Fiaere, I'm your man."

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28 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:50 pm

"I have not ever - nor do I foresee ever - wanting to be in a palace ballroom, but thank you." I respond dryly, sighing a bit as I turn back to the bar and smile up at Art as he sets my plate down with a distorted smile of his own. 

"You're in the wrong bit of town if you're looking to sell that shit, though." I add as I keep my eyes on my plate, tearing into the bread a bit eagerly.

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29 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:54 pm

"Mmm, I'm well aware," I nod solemnly as I smother my potatoes in thick gravy. "You needn't even ask how many times I've escaped a crispy end in Novigrad. Oddly enough, there is far more use for my skills in that town than there is here. Fortunately, I'm happy to sleep on empty stoops and save my coin for the odd meal here or there."

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30 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:21 pm

"Ooh, not you-" I start, dropping the chunk of bread I'd grabbed onto the plate as I laugh softly, "You're too pretty to be sleeping on stoops, I don't buy that for a second."

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31 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:31 pm

I can't help the bark of laughter as I feel my cheeks flush a bit. "Thank you?" I grin as I raise an eyebrow at her. "You're not so hard on the eyes yourself; I certainly wouldn't have any qualms bringing you in from the stoop."

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32 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:45 pm

"Well, see, I don't sleep on stoops," I laugh as I look at him with an amused grin, my gaze a bit more blatant as it drags over him, "I trade shitty potions for rooms over pubs so I don't have to go home."

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33 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:49 pm

"I've a clever pun for that somewhere, but it's probably not as funny or flirty as I'd like it to be, so instead I'll simply drink to not going home," I offer as I hold my mug up with a wry smirk before downing what's left of it.

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34 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:01 am

"I'll drink to that," I nod as I grab my mug, taking a long and heavy swallow before setting it back beside my plate. 

"It's still early," I remark, smirking a bit as I glance at him, "you only stopping for lunch before you head off to sell your fancy skills in the big city?"

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35 Re: Poor Life Decisions on Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:07 am

"Not exactly," I respond evasively as I gesture toward Art for another drink before I start digging into my food. "I'm rather like you at the moment - avoiding responsibilities... maybe considering doing something impulsive and potentially ill-advised." I smirk toward her at that before shrugging. "I don't know yet. The day is young."

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