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    Trail

    Rodadnuf
    Rodadnuf

    Player 
    Lineage : Anathema to Divinity
    Position : None
    Faction : The Ironheart Pact
    Posts : 248
    Guild : Silver Wolf
    Cosmic Coins : 100
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 2,561,089

    Character Sheet
    First Skill: Rollins & Schwartz-Brand
    Second Skill: Heaven God Slayer
    Third Skill:

    Trail Empty Trail

    Post by Rodadnuf 4th July 2022, 2:16 am

    Trail
    Job Details: Ring of Blood
    Sign-up: page 40, Post n°980



    In the month since Tim had started his search for the missing residents of Hargeon he had already traveled between two countries. A fortnight in Fiore, practically putting port towns upside-down before finally finding a hint in Minstrel of all places. Another week spent digging there through a friend’s contact in the military and now, another lead later, he was in a Nation in the Desert. It might not sound as much of an achievement, but the young man had never been out of Fiore, ever. The oddest part about his misadventure is it never actually felt like he was in a foreign land!

    Fiore had a diverse set of forests, different enough between each other that when Tim set off in the far villages in Minstrel it felt like he was just a good few towns away. Desierto felt the same. Tim had to cross along the edges of Fiore’s forgotten deserts when he was younger in hopes to escape the Neutral Grounds. Being in a dry, cloudless city was eerily similar. That is, until he had to try talking with the locals. Tim never learned another language other than Ishgar, and from the way the street urchins were looking at him funny as he walked along the busy fish market failing to keep the vendors’ attention, it looked like he wasn’t doing too well. Minstrel, at least, had locals who could speak in Ishgar.

    That’s when it finally hit him: He was a country away from home.

    With a sigh and a frown, Tim adjusted his flat cap. It was a good thing he had the forethought of not changing out of Servant, his cat-person themed butler outfit-slash-armor, else it would have drawn a whole lot more eyes to him. Tim was wearing the clothes he had before a client had given him Servant. This old outfit consisted of his old company jacket, thick jeans and steel-toed shoes. It was the very same clothes Tim would wear to keep him warm between the cold sea breeze of Hargeon’s night air; quite literally the opposite of what anyone should wear in the desert heat. But it was the only other outfit Tim had. Prior to becoming a member of Silver Wolf, the young man wasn’t well off, by far, and his sudden change in profession didn’t really give him the sudden urge to act differently just because it paid more. Hell, the wardrobe in his room back in the Guildhall was empty! Tim spent the latter part of his childhood in the workhouses and in the streets, he never gotten rid of the habit in keeping himself thrifty. In this case, it might have been a good idea to buy clothes that didn’t made him sweat.

    But now that he reminisced his days in the streets of the Neutral Grounds, an old memory popped up and made him let out a breath, letting a ‘well, that could work too’ before shaking his head.

    Tim needed to find a particular place: the Ring of Blood. It is a secretive fight club; one of the more subtle ones here in Desierto, fors good reason too. In the intel he found back in Minstrel, more than two-thirds of the male captured from the frontier since the war started were ‘gifted’ to them. Tim had an inkling of an idea why this fight club has been so secretive. After all, he was an avid participant of the ones back in Hargeon. But Tim kept his thoughts off the possibilities and focused on the leads he can pursue tangibly.

    Like the one he was about to do now.

    Not a few steps away from the vendor he was talking to earlier was a kebab stand. Tim pulled out a folded envelope off his back pocket and let the paper Zarah peek out of the envelope as he ordered. Tim pointed at the skewered meat and the vendor spoke in Desiertan. Tim pointed at it again and vendor finally took the hint and raised his fingers for the price. While they were talking Tim was slowly flashing edges of the money from the envelope before pocketing it again. Not long after Tim’s plan was set in motion, it took less than a minute for one of the children in the busy streets to bump Tim and—

    “Wow, they’re faster than the ones back in the city,” Tim muttered as he bit off some meat from the skewer.

    True enough, his envelope of money was nowhere to be found. Tim didn’t like his plan. With a frown, the young man walked towards the nearest alley, slowly eating the food be bought as he paced. Even in the busy fish market from a city he had never been to, there were constants.

    Along with beggars and thugs; street urchins and their tendency to pickpocket unsuspecting victims was one of those constants.

    With a turn deeper into the alley the young man found a crumpled envelope and sharp voices further ahead. The children spoke in Desiertan and, while Tim didn’t understand a word, it didn’t take to be a genius to figure out they were arguing about the money they just took off him. Tim kept walking towards them and, when they finally noticed, nothing but the noise of the market out in the street echoed around them as Tim and the children locked gazes. There was more than half a dozen of these children, all no older than ten.

    What Tim didn’t like about this plan was he felt like the bastards from the Neutral Grounds. When he was a child, there were a lot of older men and women who did a very similar thing to round up urchins. Some of them wanted kids in the workhouses like some twisted form of employment. But they were the luckier ones, others would just take the kids they wrangled up and ship them off somewhere. Tim never did find out where they were taken.

    Tim shrugged the memory away; this wasn’t the time.

    “Hey.”

    Not even another word left his mouth and the kids scrambled away from him like alley cats, they were scaling over dumpsters and trash bags. Three even climbed over a fire escape and into a random balcony, screams echoed from inside. While all of this was happening there was more than enough time for him to nab one of them with his speed. But his hands didn’t even budge.

    Tim just… froze.

    He was cold enough to kill someone, but using street children like this was different than giving a few jewels to a kid in exchange for them to buy the morning paper. It left a bad taste in his mouth. Tim frowned at himself and tried to walk back to the street.  But a sudden crash from the fire escape caught his attention. Above, over the balcony the three kids jumped was a heavy-set woman holding a broom. Two of the kids were scrambling out of the balcony, scaling up into the roof. But the third child was being held by the collar while the woman screamed at her.

    With a dismissive grunt and a spit on the child’s face, the woman sent the child barreling down!

    Tim tried to catch the child but an astral wolf materialized and jumped over the young man, clutching her by the scruff like some pup. Tim picked the child off the spirit wolf, gently cradling her with one arm. Tim was ignoring the woman overhead still screaming at them, he was more concerned about the child desperately holding her sides in pain. She was breathing heavily and teary eyed the entire time, he didn’t think she would’ve been able to stand at all.

    “What happened?”

    She didn’t answer, but her already dirty shirt was red! Tim pulled her shirt up slightly enough to look at her wound.

    “What the hell happened…?”

    This wasn’t a wound from the woman. A straight wound this big and this particular angle— this was from an incision! And her little climbing session opened it up again. Tim ran his hand over her side and commanded the wound to close itself. His hands were left bloody, so was the child’s clothes. Tim, all the while, had his brow furrowed knowing he could not ask directly and expect her to understand.

    What did you go through?

    Later, still bloodied and dusty, Tim and the child were sitting on a curb beside the street corner. The child was eating the same kebab he was munching on when he was pickpocketed. Apparently, Tim paid the vendor too much, or at least, that’s how he interpreted it when Tim saw him walk by the street corner with some change not too long after his encounter with the child. Tim let him keep the remaining money in exchange for some food for the child. The man even gave Tim rags to wipe his bloodied hands off. While waiting for the child to finish, Tim wanted to ask the vendor if street urchins having fresh surgery scars was a common thing in this place. From the way the man didn’t freak out after seeing them all bloody earlier, he knew some semblance of an answer, his face even looked as much.

    But the language barrier was a hurdle too high for both of them.

    With a sigh Tim stood up and walked. “This is pissing me off. I should’ve let Edna teach me other languages back then.”

    Tim then stopped when he heard a familiar huff. The young man looked back and he saw his astral wolf companion standing behind the child. The child was looking at him, eyes upturned and brows furrowed. Asena, the spirit wolf, nudged her closer. Tim shook his head and stepped closer— Since when did Tim hesitate in comforting a kid? These past weeks have taken a toll on him if he was this tired.

    The young man raised a hand, his palm looking up the sky.




    It took over half an hour for Tim finally pop a blood vessel.

    “We done here?” He practically sighed halfway as he asked the shopkeeper.

    Tim didn’t like having her walk around the streets with bloodied clothes. So when he found the closest clothing shop, he set aside his mission for a quick in-and-out for both of them. Unfortunately, for him at least, the store was run by an elderly couple, and the one of the shopkeep was motherly. Very motherly.

    Giving the child her undivided attention, she practically cycled through racks of clothing in trying to ‘make her stand out’. The only reason Tim let her little charade carry on was because she could speak Ishgar, and the attention she was giving to the child gave Tim precious opportunity to ask questions about the Ring of Blood. But somehow his questioning turned into idle gossip, before completely derailing into a separate topic entirely.

    “Oh, my stars. She is not your child?!” For once, the woman paused and turned at Tim.

    Tim was looking over the child. “Yeah…”

    “Really?” Her ‘R’ rolled as she continued to pick out an outfit for the child, but Tim noticed her perkiness trail off. “What do you plan on doing with her after buying her new clothes, if I may so bold to ask?”

    Tim stole a glance at the child in question, a pair of upturned eyes looked back and that was more than enough for the young man to let out a longer breath than he meant to.

    “It is an arrogance I find all too familiar here.” Tim could swear he heard a slight shake in her voice. “I cannot take any more of these angels as my own… Do not tease a better life for her.”

    Tim’s nose flared at that. “You haven’t answered my question—”

    “I am done with little Heba here…” She caressed the child, Heba, and rapidly spoke in Desiertan,

    Tim honestly can never understand fashion, in any form. All that time spent dressing up Heba and the woman ended up clothing her with a simple yellow sleeved sundress, blue leggings and a pair of white sandals. The delicate frills lining the hem of the sundress danced as the child twirled on the woman’s command. Tim would’ve been able to pick something like this in a shorter amount of time, though he didn’t have the gall to tell the shopkeep. She already painted him in a bad light with his answer to her question— or lack thereof.

    The woman then called for her husband and, after another rapid conversation that left Tim standing like a mannequin, she left without another glance his way.

    “My deep apologies about my wife,” Tim noticed the man’s eyes was thinking the complete opposite.

    Tim paid for the clothes, the sooner he is back on the streets the better. As the second shopkeep was punching in the cash register, he was also writing on the receipt. He then gave the receipt to Heba and gave Tim a few parting words: “I hope your purpose here is swift.”




    “This is taking too long…” Tim walked holding the child with one hand.

    The trip to the clothing shop was good for the child but a complete waste of time for the young man. He gained little to no information about the Ring of Blood, and somehow pissed the couple off. Heba was still holding the receipt, reading the writing on the back.

    Heba suddenly pulled herself off Tim’s grasp and ran.

    “Hey!”

    He didn’t want to chase her all the way, he has magic sensory for that. But was this because of whatever those two told her? Tim knew he’d get his answer soon enough, the girl stopped running when she was at the swinging doors of a rather fancy looking restaurant. Within the heart of the city, the place was literally a diamond in the rough. With clear glass balconies overarching a white stone building, even the ornate pillars towering over Tim as he caught up with her looked like it belonged in a set of ruins.

    Tim took a closer look at the girl. Heba was looking over the sign, then pulled out the receipt. Even with Tim’s blank knowledge about Desiertan, he could tell the symbols written over the receipt was close to the lit sign overhead.

    The girl turned quickly and almost gave herself a scare when she caught Tim looking over her shoulder.

    “What’s in there?”

    The girl pointed at the restaurant.

    Tim sighed. “You know what, we’ll figure it out once we get inside.”

    The young man patted Heba over the shoulder and stepped inside. It was a complete contrast to the outside visage. Everything had a warm orange tone. Lighter colored wood tables and chairs were helping with the sun’s natural glow. The glassy parts of the upper floors bounced, illuminating the whole interior in a very careful way. Tim haven’t met the owner of the place, but he could tell what sort of person they were just from this.

    “Oh my,” A waiter who had been standing close to the entrance noticed them. “Welcome to Kyrie. You have come a long way, haven’t you, sir?”

    Tim walked over to the table he was led to, noticing the glances the other patrons gave him. Now that he had given the time to observe, most of the patrons inside weren’t ordering anything. There were over a dozen of them. Ten were sitting on a round table, five were walking around looking over the intricate paintings on one of the walls, and another three had their arms crossed standing still behind the ones on the table eyeing Tim way more than the others. Looking over them through magic sensory made things clearer, the three had a very notable source of magic energy while the rest didn’t pass as wizards.

    The waiter stepped between Tim and the patrons, giving him the restaurant’s menu with practiced motion. “If I would be so bold, sir. Please refrain from looking over the men behind me.” Tim looked up at the man, one glance from the waiter was all Tim needed to see.

    “If it’ll make your job easier.” He nodded.

    “Thank you.” The waiter let out a breath and his earlier smile was back. He then looked over Tim’s shoulder. “Oh, little miss. Please take a seat.”

    Tim noticed Heba was standing stiff, looking at the menu, staring intently at the pictures of the dishes. The young man pulled the chair beside his away from the table and tilted his head Heba’s way. She took careful steps until she sat beside Tim.

    “She doesn’t speak Ishgar.” Tim pulled her seat closer till the girl’s elbows touched the table. “If you don’t have anything to do, mind keeping us company? I need to talk to her and I need a translator.”

    It was a landmine of a request, Tim expected as much. But he didn’t have any better alternatives. Thankfully, the waiter nodded slowly.

    “For now, though, just tell her to order anything she’d like.” Tim handed the menu over to the girl.

    While the waiter was busy talking to Heba, Tim noticed a rather important looking man walk from the restaurant’s backroom and into the patron’s table. He was wearing a suit that could give Tim’s armor, Servant, a run for its money. Very intricate, and the cloth being used, Tim guessed, probably cost more than his old salary. There was a noticeable divide between his demeanor and his dapper that the young man noticed, and from the way the ones away from the table smirked at his dismay it looked like they were completely responsible.

    Tim kept an open ear, but turned back to the pair beside him. He was met with another upturned stare from Heba. He quired his brow at her in return.

    “She finished ordering, sir.” The waiter explained.

    “That’ll be all, just give me some cold water.”

    “Of course, sir.” With a bow and a step back, the waiter went to the kitchen with a practiced gait. Tim noticed he stole a glance over the important looking man before letting the kitchen’s swivel doors closer behind him.

    Now that they were left with nothing to do, Tim noticed Heba fidgeting. The girl was looking at the restaurant with wonder. It wasn’t without reason; the walls were intricately painted with very old looking Desiertan art. The girl had been properly behaving, a far cry from her attitude in the streets earlier. Tim’s thoughts than landed back to her wounds. It didn’t seem like it opened again.

    “Heba?” Tim leaned close.

    She froze. She snapped her neck towards Tim quickly and looked at him. The young man sighed, scratching his cheek. “Sorry. This is probably the first time you’ve seen something like this, huh.”

    The tilted her head. Tim clicked his tongue. “Not being able to talk normally is getting annoying…”

    Tim gestured his finger into making a square. The girl was perceptive enough it looked like; it didn’t take a second for her to pull out the receipt. She gave it to him, but Tim let her keep it. Instead, he spent the next few minutes trying to figure out what the words meant and why were they led here by the couple.

    Heba was intuitive. In the two minutes they were playing a game of charades Tim managed to figure out the message was about meeting a person in this restaurant. Heba was repeating the words ‘Akhnas al Qafas’ every time Tim wanted to know who they were after. It sounded like this Akhnas al Qafas was their target; a name for someone, or some sort of title?

    As if on cue, the waited walked back to they carrying a tray of hot food. Heba was faced with a bowl littered with rice, macaroni and a hodgepodge of vegetables. Beside it was a plate of roasted stuffed pigeon. Heba was drooling at the food in front of her, but looked at Tim when she noticed there was nothing on his side but a single clear glass and a metal pitcher of iced water.

    “Go on, eat.”

    The girl’s reluctance only lasted until the first bite off the roasted bird went down her mouth. Hiba gorged on the food without any sense of decorum.

    Not that Tim minded. The young man was completely full. Since he set foot in the country, he had never felt hungry for even a second. The cold water was mostly to give his dry throat a treat, but when it came to actually feeding himself the sun above was more than enough. It had been this way since Tim had learned his magic from Hemera. The young man was like a plant living off sunlight.

    “Hey,” The waiter was keeping an eye on Heba, but came closer to Tim when he called. “Do you know an Akhnas al Qafas here?”

    Tim always appreciated when someone had a terrible poker face. Not even a second after Tim mentioned the words and the waiter darted his eyes at the important looking man.

    “Is that him?”

    The waiter froze.

    “Thanks for the help.”

    Suddenly, a crash and a scream echoed the restaurant.

    Tim thought it was the rough looking goons who erupted. But surprisingly it was the man who snarled at them. He even pulled out an intricate looking gun and shot one of them. It looked like it was a one-move plan, however, when the man could only take a step back as the others pulled out their weapons.

    The natural sunlight illuminating the restaurant worked in Tim’s favor. Before one of the men could strike their weapon at the man, Tim summoned a wall of crystalized light. The three wizards noticed immediately who cast the spell and attacked!

    Heba shrieked and fell off her chair as the table suddenly jumped, the bowl and plates came crashing. Tim cracked his knuckles. Standing like a land octopus, the wooden table extended its leg-tentacles and tried to grapple Tim. With practiced steps, the Silver Wolf wizard avoided the attacks all the while noticing the non-wizard Desiertans were already hot on his trail.

    “Wolf!”

    Tim kicked the table and dodged a few of the weapon swipes from the goons. They were barely trained, something Tim took advantage. His astral wolf companion materialized on his command and, without Tim saying another word, picked up the girl and went out of the building. Tim weaved over a goon’s punch, disarming the other’s sword and hit the third with it by the pommel. He kept his moves arrogant and flashy as he could, keeping their eyes off the waiter who was slowly crawling towards the kitchen, barely keeping himself seen by the other goons.

    The table began to crush itself into a heavy looking ball, its smooth wooden surface looked like it could crush a man with enough force. The other tables also began to crush into the same looking spheres. One of the goons managed to hook his weapon over Tim’s neck. It was a bladed chain ripped off a chainsaw!

    The man screamed in Desiertan, Tim didn’t bother to listen and summoned a purple crystal ball of light. He threw the ball over the goons and let it detonate into a ball of sharp glass blades. But the way the men reacted to Tim’s attack caught him off guard. After their screams of pain, they gritted their teeth and hooked more of the chainsaw chains over Tim’s body. It was a fairly ineffective way of keeping him down, considering he was stronger than them.

    Or so Tim thought until the wooden balls slammed themselves into Tim and the goons. The young man didn’t even see any of them flinch, this was all part of their plan! The serrated blades of the makeshift weapons ripped through his flesh as the wooden spheres slammed his body over and over. Tim was fast enough to dodge the first few spheres, but with the goons taking way more space close to Tim and the fact them getting beaten to a pulp along with him was part of their plan was taking a toll on him.

    He needed to take out the wizards first.

    “Are you all insane or something—?” Tim mouth was being gagged by another chain, and not a moment later a wooden ball went straight for his jaw.

    The wizard knelt, blinking rapidly as he felt his jaw felt like it was ripped off his face. Blood slowly trailed from the chain and from the way Tim could taste metal he knew exactly what happened to his mouth. The young man frowned as he pulled a chain holding his foot and hooked it into a goon’s neck, pulling it as the goon snarled his way. Tim used the goon as a human shield as he stood up and dashed towards the wizards! When Tim was a meter away from the three, he used his magic and crystalized the light surrounding them.

    The restaurant became a labyrinth of glass and blood as Tim slowly stood up over the pile of bodies. There were some of the goons still alive, but the beating they took from the wooden spheres were overkill. Tim was able to keep himself from keeling over dead, but it didn’t mean the pain was going to just go away.

    It was an ugly brawl, to say the least.

    The fight did get the important looking man’s attention. Not even a few minutes later Tim was now talking to the important looking man, Akhnas al Qafas, and learned his story. The waiter was cleaning Tim’s wounds as the man kept talking.

    “Let me get this straight—” Tim spat blood over a bucket brought by the waiter and rubbed his jaw. “You blew the whistle over the whole thing?”

    “And as a ‘thank you’, they took my nephew.” He kicked an unconscious goon. “They even had the gall to demand ransom money.”

    “And you just gave it to them?”

    He pulled out a golden piece of paper, there was an intricate rune of blood written over it. “I was to follow these men using this ticket.”

    “Why shot one of them?”

    He frowned. “That monster was the one who personally took him.”

    Tim clicked his tongue. “That was way too reckless.”

    The man gave Tim a toothy smile. “With my death, my nephew would become the sole heir for my family. The Al Qafas would burn the Ring of Blood before they would allow themselves to break tradition.”

    Tim couldn’t help but crack a dry laugh at the man. “You’re just as crazy as them.”

    “Not as insane as a man who journey between lands for the sake of a few people.” He raised a brow. “If I give you access to the Ring of Blood. Will you return my nephew to me?”

    Tim’s ripped flesh slowly closed as he stood up. The waiter and the man looked up at him as he slid his jacket back. With a single look between them, the man gave Tim the golden ticket.




    The Gods had gifted part of themselves into certain people. These special people were called the God-kissed, or so she was told. She was told by the elders to be weary of the God-kissed, for they were as arrogant as the God’s shards they were given. They could shake mountains to their will, they could breathe fire as if their hearts’ rage were manifested into their enemies. All were stories to her, fairy tales. Until she found him.

    She did not know this man. He walked like any other idiotic foreigners she and the other children would steal from. He did not walk with his head held high; she did not even see him look at other people as if they were beneath him.

    Yet, he was a God-kissed.

    As she fell to her death, he had a spectral wolf at his command. With a single touch he healed her wounds. When the Ring of Blood’s slavers attacked. He turned light into glass. He killed three other God-kissed and more than fifteen other men. And when she saw him step out of the restaurant, he had the same tired expression.

    Yet, he was a God-kissed.

    He caressed her hair and spoke to her. She did not understand him, but he still does it. She didn’t mind.

    The entire time, she was with the man’s spectral wolf. The wolf reminded her of an old woman, strict and grumpy. The wolf would not let her play around while they waited. She sat on the restaurant while the wolf would turn invisible. He did not let her follow him into the Ring of Blood. She didn’t want to. The last time she went inside the other God-kissed took a part of her. She didn’t know what it was, but her tummy ached when it was taken from her. It was the same of the other children. They told her it was for the gladiators, for when they were injured. The God-kissed would replace theirs using ones taken from children like her. She didn’t like that place, and if he was going to stop it, she was praying for his success.

    It didn’t take long.

    The kind God-kissed returned. His body was bloodied, but somehow, she knew it wasn’t his. He entered the restaurant with a lot of people. Some of them did not look like they were from this land. But one of the people he returned with hugged the owner of the restaurant. She looked at them as they hugged even tighter. She noticed he was also looking at them. Why does he always have that expression?

    After a while, he went out of the restaurant along with the others he rescued. She was looking at him as he went out. Something in her chest tightened as she thought of him going back to his land. The lady from the clothing shop did warn her.

    “He is here for a purpose, little one. He will use you to fulfill that purpose. I will help him finish his business here so he can go on his way. My door is always open for you, little one. But please, take care of yourself.”

    But he looked back at her with a frown. He raised his hand, his palm looking at the sky. He spoke a language she did not understand, but she knew what he was saying.

    She smiled.


    Words:
    5088/5088


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    Trail M7VWYFe

      Current date/time is 12th April 2024, 8:40 pm