Author Topic: Idle Curiousities  (Read 535 times)

A humble sage

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Idle Curiousities
« on: July 10, 2022, 04:39:56 PM »
Well! Yer bein' right pushy on this, innit ya? Fine! Ah'll tell ya, jus so ye stops complainin'-like!

Ah doesn't talk about this kinda stuff very often, and is got reasons ferrat. Why? Is none o' yer business fer one thing! This is -my- past, ain't got nothin' ta do wit' you! Anna second thing'd be what it don't matter now. Ahm inna mists now, same as you. Don't really see the point in talkin' 'bout stuff what's gone an' stayin' gone. Is jus' a way to make yerself moody ta my reckonin'.

Ah didn't know much near anything of my homeworld anyways, not inna grand-like scope. When yer small an' hungerin', ye innit really care about things like who the king were, or wha' kinda exports yer city had. The place were called Cyrenol, an' it were an important tradin' capitol o' sommit. All ah knows is it were big enough what there was whole sections of the city where the "respec'able folks" would keep well away from, less they needed sommit especial-like. Is got a lot in common-like wit' Port. Parta the reason ah doesn't care ferra place overmuch. In case it weren't obvious enough fromma street-talkin' ah does, that's the part ah grew up in.

Ma weren't e'er really happy to see me. Kids is sommit what happened from time ta time in 'er line o' work, but she innit have the coin ta spare fer feedin' 'em, an' it made her work harder-like too. Ah doesn't remember havin' any siblings, but Ma left me out onna streets once ah were old enough what ah had half a chance o' makin' it on my own.
Is came home from beggin' one evenin' ta a locked an' empty room. Potter Cree across the street tol' me what he saw ma pack up an' leave an hour or two after ah'd gone out inna mornin'. Didn't even say nothin' or leave a note. Jus' left. Potter Cree were already too stretched wit' his twins to be able ta help an' feed me onna long-term, but he were nice enough to give me a meal when he delivered tha' news. Issa good'un, Potter.

Ah only met me Da once. Ah can remem'er it, but is might be onna those memories what're made up-like after the fact, cause ah weren't even a year old atta time. He'd made some kinda deal wit' Ma before ah was born, and we was supposed to go live and be wit' him proper-like after she had me. Ah doesn't remember too much wha' Da looked like. Likes ah said, is might be a made-up memory. Ah -do- remember he had some kinda fancy blue gem thing onna string what he waved in fronta my face ferra bit. Dunno wha' he were lookin' fer, but were sommit about me wha' he innit like. He an' Ma got into a -right- angry yellin' match o'er it, an he left still yellin' at her.
Is why my name is Quiliti, actual-like. Ma called me tha' onna 'count o' how ah "weren't quite Quality". Real nice thing ta tell a little'un, innit! Ah thinks ah were supposed to be sommit different-like inna deal, but Ma wouldn't talk about that stuff except when she were right drunk an' ah were too small to really know wha' to ask, so ahm only guessin' mostly.

Ah wouldn't say either o' them were really parents fer me. Issa streets what ah grew up wit'. Issa -streets- what taught me alla things ah knows. Taught me ah was born lucky! Ah were scrawny enough wha' ah could beg, quick enough wha' ah could nick stuff from stalls inna market, tough enough wha' ah could someitimes fight off a big'un lookin' to bully me, an' pretty enough wha' ah didn't get a real bad time o' it even when a guard did manage ta catch me theivin'. Nah get me wrong, ah starved plenty growin' up, but ah were right -good- at urchinin' ah were! An' tha' were even -before- ah figured out ah were born lucky!

Alright, lemme explain sommit right quick. Cyrenol's slums is split up into turfs, yeah? If yer onna streets and up to no good, ye gotta learn right quick-like who's runnin' the area your gonna be messing with, and ye gotta get their blessin' like. Ye can getta blessing from two dozen priest-folk what doesn't save yer hide the same way as a  crewboss can if they'll vouch yer allowed yer mischeif. They'll be expectin' yer filchin' yer stuff to give to -them- obvious-like, but a good crewboss makes sure what the little'uns that gets stuff fer 'em is gettin' enough of their take back that they sticks around.

Mind yah, nah erry crewboss issa good'un. Is plenty what're jus' meatheads with enough big'uns to help 'em keep little kids too scared ta do anything asides from what they're told. It all depends onna borders an' neighbors they're dealin' with. Issa same as wit' kings an' such.

If ye thinks about it right, the city ends up becomin' its own whole world, wit' kingdoms o' street toughs hasin' out who's allowed ta be where. issa diplomatic thing sometimes, but else wise ye ends up havin' to fight, crew against crew, until ye establish yer new turfs. Now, these innit grand an' glorious warfare's mind ya. Issa buncha street kids fightin' wit' clubs an' knives an' such. Little'uns tend to keep outtta this stuff, after all, we innit able to depend on priest-folk alla time like here inna mists. Back home the priest-folk innit want nothin' ta do wit' us orphans. Too many nicked relics ah thinks. Their fault fer makin' the things outta fancy metals an' stuff, ya asks me. Once yer big an' tall enugh to hold yer own though, some urchins starts -lookin'- for turf fights. Gives 'em a chance to hurt sommit ah thinks. Granted is also how ye gets a reputation-like. Is almost as important as food when yer on the streets. Your standing is onna few things you still got.

Ah made my reputation asa good luck charm. When ah were tall enough ta be considered a big'un, ah started to realize what ah were born different from other folks. Ah were lucky, like ah said, but ah was -so- lucky, ah could make other people lucky too. Things would just seem to work out better when ah were around. They still do. Ah'm nah sure if tha's due to my being a vrajablood but ah also found out that ah could infuse my luck into people's weapons or into their cloths. It were really basic sorta vraja, lookin' back. Ah innit even know what ah was doin' really. But inna back-alley scrape a'tween scrawny kids wit' knives an' clubs? It meant me an' my closest crewmates was folks to be -feared!-

is nah a permanent solution, street-livin'. issa certain size an' age where guards go from boxin' yer ears an' chasin' ye off to clappin' yer hands in irons. Ain't no future inna jail cell if nobody cared about you before you go in it, so if ye innit been stabbed or staved by a certain age ye gotta stop urchinin' and filchin'. Somma lucky urchins'll find a trade, a lot'll end up in desperate straits, workin' for real criminials or sommit nasty like that.

Ah weren't far from that crossroads before gettin' misted. Ah'd jus' crowned meself a crewboss o' a new bunch, mostly young'uns who'd split with me from our old crew when the crewboss got nabbed by guards. With my luck...my vrajablood... we was startin' to carve out enough of a turf what ah could try sommit crazy-like. is were considerin' tryin to make a deal wit' a -real- crime boss, see if ah could set up an orphanage fer him to use as a safehouse or sommit.

One night ah'm walkin' a back alley, normal enough, just a little foggy. Off to the side ah hear a muffled sorta sound, the kind what ye hears when a critter what's bein' quiet makes a sound on accident. Sounded like a rat, but too big to be a rat o' the furry kind. Ah go snoopin', figure it might be a new young'un out onna streets wit'out a crew to run wit' yet. Issa shout what sounds like a call fer help now. Tha' slows me down, after all, this fog is -right- thick now, don't want to stumble onna murder or sommit all out onna open-like. Lookin' back, part o' me wonders now if ah coulda gotten out at tha' point, but ah innit realize it were important yet, so ah crept further in.

Ah steps in sommit what squishes. lookin' down, my busted up boot is near angle-deep inna mud puddle. the stuff is seepin' into all the holes inna boot, right gross-like. As ah stumble outta that ah bump into a tree trunk. Now, is worth mention that there 's no parks inna part o' Cyernol ah were in, so this shook me a -good- bit. Ah wanted to shout or sommit, but ah can't make a sound what's anythin' more than a little whimper. Then ah hear the voice screamin' fer help again, only this time is sounds like it's comin' from back behind me, an' -right- close too.

Ah could swear fer alla fangs ah've got, ah think the voice what was screamin' for help sounded exactly like mine.

Ah ran blind inna fog, arms out onna desperate hope ah don't collide wit' a wall or a tree. it doesn't help. Some shadowy sommit appears outt the fog. Wham! Lays me flat out on my back, knocks the wind outta me, eyes go black. Ah wakes up here inna Core, simple as that.
Quiliti "Q" Kharnessa - Lucky charm
Shelved: Merrin Vlen - wandering scholar

A humble sage

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Re: Idle Curiousities
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2022, 01:06:48 PM »
So why does ah always call myself Q if tha's nah my name, and it innit even the nickname ah used onna streets growin' up? Well, that'd be due to Old man Gabriel an' Aethelric the Bear. Them two were maybe the most important-like to me figurin' out how things worked here inna core after gettin' misted. Red Claw, and alla the red claw gang were mixed up innat too, but tha's a whole other ordeal. Issa big'un too, so ah'll get to tha' story some other time. Old man Gabriel was the first'un, let me start there a'fore ah get side-tracked wit' alla Red Claw stuff.

Ah've been around long enough now ta hear about a couple o' times when the mists gets really aggressive. Pulls in a whole buncah folks an' them makin' a racket draws in a whole bunch o' more trouble-like. Is generally best to make yerself scarce when tha' happens, is a right lot o' chaos inna Vallaki area. Ye can imagine mah  confusion spendin' all me life on city streets, then endin' up inna forest watching sommit run fer his life fromma wolf what had hands an' ran on two feet. Ah innit know nothin' besides nah wanting to be near tha', so ah jus' ran ferra nearest safety, that old mornin'folk temple inna outskirts.

All sorts o' people in there, wit' weapons an' armor. The kinda folks you doesn't bother when yer livin' onna streets. Somma 'em might toss ya coin, but it's a risk. the meaner one's could jus' rob ye right back. There was lotsa bodies in there too. Folks would bring 'em back to the temple but would keep the coin, or not have enough to afford the vraja to revive 'em. A lotta 'em was just gettin' left inna middle o' the temple, but there was an old-timer what was draggin' the bodies off to the side an' tryin' to keep the place clean-like.

Ah tried to act all tough, started demandin' some answers an' such. Old Man Gabriel innit buy tha' ferra second though, jus' laughed in my face before explainin' about how ah was stuck here now an' allat stuff. Ah tell ya sommit, when it's all spelled out ta ya, is really somethin' what's hard to deal wit' at first. Old Man Gabriel musta saw me lookin' pretty scared an' desperate, a'cause he offered to feed an' shelter me ifn ah worked fer him, carryin' bodies and helpin' dig graves and the like. Is nah pretty work, but when yer scared out yer wits sommit sayin' they're gonna look out fer ya issa mighty power motivater to trust people.

Ah worked fer him a day or two, dealin' wit' alla chaos inna outskirts, werebeasts an' deaders, some lady claimin' she were Ezra herself. Then one night we got cornered by a werebeast. Old man Gabriel managed to chase it off, usin' vraja. He were a bit panicked o' course, sayin' he could teach me ifn ah didn't tell nobody. But ah were jus' o'er the moon to see sommit else could do the kinda stuff ah could do. He promised he could teach me about the kinda person ah was, and how ta use the vraja in me blood.

Now, it might be real easy to assume fromma stuff ah jus' said what old man Gabriel were a real nice guy ta me, the Pa ah ne'er had growin' up. Is should know things innit often tha' simple 'r nice inna Core. We was both usin' each other, really. Ah wanted to know how this stuff in me blood works, and he needed sommit to help 'im seem like a legiteemite gravekeep. See, ah innit find out about it 'til later-like, but Old Man Gabriel were a cannibal. He'd sneak back ta the charnal house, where we took the bodies no souls was comin' back for, an' he'd have a bite or three when ah wasn't lookin'.

Don't look at me like tha'! Ah innit know better! Sure ah figured Old man Gabriel ferra hard'un. He were always calculated-like inna way he talked. Taught me the basics o' how to get by inna Core as a vraja witch, how ye gots to be subtle-like, an' nah let many folks know about yer vraja. Ah figured he jus' acted the way he did because he'd had to keep his vraja secret long term, ya know? Wit' distance an' hindsight he talked about stuff right unnervin' sometimes too. Ah mentioned how pretty the ravens was sometimes, an' he talked about clippin' the wings o' one so ah could keep it inna cage-like. He also talked about the people we'd help venture like they was expendable. People was shields to keep a'tween hisself anna bad stuff out there. Ah were his apprentice, so he tried to help me, but e'en so... ifn push came to shove he were out fer hisself.

On the other hand, Aethelric were just a sweet'un. Ye wouldn't think it fromma glance, and ah didn't think it while ah knew 'im, but ah owes him near jus' so much as ah did Old man Gabriel them first few days. He were a big warrior fromma mists, didn't speak a word o' common. Only thing he could say wha' made any sense to me were me name, or rather, old man Gabriel's nickname, tha' bein' his 'apprentice Q'. Wouldn't mean he'd stop tryin' though. Him an' I had some right long conversations, neither o' us unnerstandin' a lick o' the other's speech. Ye can get a good sense fer folks e'en wit'out words sometimes, an' Aethelric definitely were a nice soul kinda fellow. He also tried to protect me, up an' carried me outta danger a time or two when we had ta run. Ah didn't much relish bein' slung o'er the shoulder-like, but 'e meant well. He were also sommit wha' needed help too. He couldn't talk inna way wha' anybody understood, so folks tended ta ignore 'im. Is reminded me wha' e'en though ah was in danger here inna Core, there was folks wha' needed helpin'. Jus' like the little'uns back home. Ah couldn't be as self-focused as Old Man Gabriel were. Aethelric were the one wha' made me realize tha'.

Eventually we ran into Dagny, an' she could understand Aethelric as well as bein' able to talk common-like. She were able to interpret fer him, an' tha' made things a lot better. E'en so, Aethelric were the first'un what ah cared about tha' got mist-lost. Up an' vanished one day, no word, no sign, no body. Ah hopes he ended up back home 'r sommit, but tha's wishful thinkin' most-like. Mist-lost folks is jus' tha', lost inna mists. The group wha'd become the Red Claws convinced me ta stop workin' fer Old man Gabriel nah too long after. They was worried-like about me bein' alone wit' him, an' Lady Mira needed sommit to help her wit' her work, so ah told Old Man Gabriel ah were quittin'. He took it decent-like, tried to scare me a bit about whether ah'd be able to survive out here on me own, but tha's just because he wanted me to stay. Lady Mira walked by durin' that conversation-like anyways, an' told him wha' for. She'd look out fer me, so ah didn't have to worry. Ah stopped bein' his 'Apprentice Q', ah were jus' 'Q' after tha'.

An' jus' like tha' ah escaped from workin' ferra man. Found out a few weeks later he'd been burned atta stake fer bein' a vraja witch an' a cannibal. Ah doesn't much like to think wha' woulda happened to me ifn ah'd still been workin' fer him tha' whole time. Mighta been ate. Mighta made me be a cannibal jus' like he was. Mighta ended up burnin' atta stake right next ta him...

Quiliti "Q" Kharnessa - Lucky charm
Shelved: Merrin Vlen - wandering scholar

A humble sage

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Re: Idle Curiousities
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2023, 09:34:56 PM »

Alright, settle down for a moment an' ah'll tell ya a tale.
Issa story 'bout a lady called Dagny. Big tall lady, wit' a bigger, taller axe! Dagny's a pirate, she'd tell ya just as much ta yer face ifn ye met her. Got misted, ended up roaming wit' a ship from Blaustein. Gets stuck in Barovia, stranded again, a ways fromma seas.

Dagny don't care though. Is jus' a new place fer her to explore and get rich, ya know? Is only so many layers o' lost ye can get before ye just decides to embrace it. Is always admired tha' about Dagny. She were misted jus' like the rest o' us outlanders, lost er'rythin' wha' she knew, but ye innit -ever- hear her wishin' she could go back. Is could be cynical an' say wha' tha' meant she came from sommit bad-like, but ah thinks Dagny were jus' focused onna forwards-like, nah the past.

Now, Dagny innit happen to be in Barovia at a good time. There's some sorta fey festival goin' on, see? An' a whole pack o' werewolves prowlin' the wilds besides. All kinds of trouble. It was stuff wha' Dagny wanted to do sommit about, but it weren't the kind o' thing even she'd be able to handle on her lonesome.

Fortunately, Dagny ended up findin' some other useful folks. A couple o' Barovian natives had ended up inna Vallaki area atta same time. Mira, a smith woman from out east, an' a pair o' them singer types. Miss Crina, a right nice pretty lady wha' could whip up a song aboutcha after only knowin' ye a day! An' Razgriz, a right strange fella wha' never took off his armor.

Add to tha' group a bundle o' outlanders an' misted sorts. Akioth, a big ol' Mountain tribe youth wha' could turn hisself into a bear. Yenn'rys... Yennsystris.. Yenn. Onna them hissin' elves what could carve ye up wit' her axes as soon as lookit'cha. We used ta call 'er the blood fairy. Nero an' Kaz, a pair o' knights fromma fancy order-like. Ah doesn't remember the name o' it, but when Kaz gave me 'is cloak he said it were an honor-like to wear them colors in their homeland, so it was sommit important. Miss Francesca, she were a privy-teer who were an' old rival o' Dagny's, but they ended up havin' to band together when the wolves came a howlin'. Oh! Were also Booker and a pair o' dark elves, they was all mages what stayed a short distance outside o' town. An' last but not quite least, the apprentice gravekeep turned good luck charm wha' called 'erself 'Q'.

Dagny were leadin' groups o' these folks on ventures, started callin' 'emselves the bronze-helm gang. Dagny and her axes were makin' themselves a noticeable nuisance to the were-packs what was huntin' the area. This got the attention o' one particular nasty-like wolf by the name o' Red Claw. Him an' his pack would fight Dagny's gang on more'n one occasion, but Dagny's band held firm against 'em each time, forced 'em back into the woods fer a bit, then each side'd run before they was in -real- bad trouble.

One night though, things went right bad. Is started wit' a simple enough mistake, a venture gone belly up, happens alla time. The Bronze helm gang were in retreat, wit' several bodies to bring back to the temple. They innit get away from the place before dark, battered an' bruised-like, fedin' off the noapte-y creatures as best they could. Jus' four o' them was still breathin', Nero Lady Mira, Miss Francesca, an' the girl Q. But they was carryin' Dagny an' some others wha' needed desperate help.

As them no-good mists would have it, the slow-movin' band reached the outskirts right about when the red claw's pack had chased er'ryone else indoors ferra night, an' were prowlin' the outskirts jus' hopin' fer any wander-lost. The Bronze helms ended up gettin' cornered behind the Lady's rest by three o' the beasts, Red Claw at their head. They was starin' at the Bronze helms wit' hungry eyes, but had skirmished enough ta know wha' it wouldn't be an easy fight fer either side, even wit' the bronze helms in bad shape.

...The girl Q made it easier fer them wolves when she ran...

Is had her reasons. She innit have any vraja left ferra fight, fer one. Her teammates had shouted fer her ta run since they wasn't sure they could protect her fer another. She had e'en babbled sommit about bringin' help fromma folks inna temple.

Tha's all fine an' dandy, but they're all excuses-like. Every one.

She were a scared little girl wha' innit wanted to get ate. So she up an' abandoned the folks wha' she owed fer savin' her jus' hours before! Red Claw weren't even interested in her. The weres let her run past wit'out so much as a swing. They had their eyes on a different prize.

The girl Q weren't even able to convince anyone to help, all she ended up doin' was waitin' helpless by the door until the few survivors made it in. Lady Mira'd fallen. Nero an' Miss Francesca'd managed to make it, draggin' in the other bodies, but they'd lost Dagny's. The moment wha' Red claw saw his chance the wolf nabbed it an' ran ferra hills.
Nero, Francesca an' Aki set out to look fer her immediate-like, but they wasn't hopeful about it, jus' too loyal to stop 'emselves, e'en wit' the night loomin' tall an' dark. The girl Q stayed behind to watch o'er Lady Mira. She were feelin' right badly fromma whole bein' dead business, and there were too many trouble-makers inna temple those days fer it to be smart ta leave 'er there alone. The girl Q sat ferra while, imaginin' what she was gonna find had become o' her new crew when the mornin' dawned. Were a real chance they'd all be dead.

The Bronze helms were lucky though, an' made o' stern stuff. They found Dagny eventual-like, thank alla lucky stars inna core, But the Red Claw had been brutal. Dagny were missin' a hand, an eye, an' her tongue when they was able to revive 'er. Even sommit as fearless as Dagny takes time to recover from sommit tha' foul, but when she were able to stand an' move fightin'-fit, she swore vengeance on the Red Claw. We all did the same-like. Tracked tha' monster all o'er Barovia we did. The sick beast slipped away from us though. Disappeared into the mists anna mountains somewhere.

Dagny told me later about wha' the Red Claw'd said to her at their last meetin'. What the beast liked to think o' himself as a livin' trial, a prover o' strength. Dagny didn't back down e'en when she were beatin' so bad she couldn't use her axes, strapped a shield onto her busted arm an' kept right on leadin' the crew e'en when she couldn't speak real words! The Red Claw were satisfied, an' told her he were done wit' their feud. Told her she'd proved 'erself.

Dagny ne'er told me wha' she said in response ta tha'un, but ifn ye asks me she told him ta get bent. The Red Claw weren't dead, he'd jus' left Barovia ferra time bein'. But we'd be ready for him whene'er he slunk back in. Tha' were the pledge we made. The Bronze helms was cast aside, an' we donned colors o' red. We'd one mission wha' marked o'er all our other business. Frommat point we called ourselves the Red Claw Huntin' company.
Quiliti "Q" Kharnessa - Lucky charm
Shelved: Merrin Vlen - wandering scholar