Difference between revisions of "User:Arrow Quivershaft/Nathan Meets Louise"

From Shifti
Jump to: navigation, search
m (fix the categories, add the Universe tag)
m (add a defaultsort)
 
Line 1: Line 1:
{{Universe|3P}}{{title}}As the sun went down in the sky and the arranged meeting time approached, I gave up on my search and headed to the temple.  I had really wanted to bring Dawn with me, but she must have gotten hooked up with a friend of hers or such.  It’s happened in the past, and she can take care of herself, so while it was a bit odd when she said she’d be back, I wasn’t overly concerned.  We’d meet at the RI outpost later on tonight as per our emergency protocol.
+
{{DEFAULTSORT:Nathan Meets Louise}}{{Universe|3P}}{{title}}As the sun went down in the sky and the arranged meeting time approached, I gave up on my search and headed to the temple.  I had really wanted to bring Dawn with me, but she must have gotten hooked up with a friend of hers or such.  It’s happened in the past, and she can take care of herself, so while it was a bit odd when she said she’d be back, I wasn’t overly concerned.  We’d meet at the RI outpost later on tonight as per our emergency protocol.
  
 
I’d arranged for the Athene temple to be the meeting point because it’s the only place I knew of in this city that was relatively...secure.  I could be reasonably certain of no eavesdropping, and no one would dare attack me on its grounds, because they wouldn’t leave the building in one piece.  And if it was a message, explicitly for me, it was probably best to receive in private.
 
I’d arranged for the Athene temple to be the meeting point because it’s the only place I knew of in this city that was relatively...secure.  I could be reasonably certain of no eavesdropping, and no one would dare attack me on its grounds, because they wouldn’t leave the building in one piece.  And if it was a message, explicitly for me, it was probably best to receive in private.

Latest revision as of 18:49, 31 March 2013

Icon
3P story universe

Nathan Meets Louise

Author: Arrow Quivershaft
As the sun went down in the sky and the arranged meeting time approached, I gave up on my search and headed to the temple. I had really wanted to bring Dawn with me, but she must have gotten hooked up with a friend of hers or such. It’s happened in the past, and she can take care of herself, so while it was a bit odd when she said she’d be back, I wasn’t overly concerned. We’d meet at the RI outpost later on tonight as per our emergency protocol.

I’d arranged for the Athene temple to be the meeting point because it’s the only place I knew of in this city that was relatively...secure. I could be reasonably certain of no eavesdropping, and no one would dare attack me on its grounds, because they wouldn’t leave the building in one piece. And if it was a message, explicitly for me, it was probably best to receive in private.

Heading into the temple, I bowed slightly and nodded to the attending priest, walking over to him. We exchanged pleasantries in Hellenic briefly, and he congratulated me on my recent marriage. I then informed him of what was going on; that I needed one of the secured, private discussion rooms, and that someone I didn’t know would come in looking for me to deliver a message, and that they were to meet me there. He nodded and pointed off in the direction of an available chamber, saying he’d send in the messenger when they arrived. I thanked him again and headed over, opening and then re-closing the door of the room.

The chamber was relatively simple, as most of them are. At their most basic, they’re just a hewn and polished stone room, with solid walls, and a bench around the edges which is right into the wall, and that was pretty much the exact description. No secrets. They’re supposed to be magically impenetrable too, though I don’t know exactly how accurate that happens to be. In any case, it would suit my purposes. I sat down on the bench, taking off my backpack and laying it to the side. I checked my gear. I didn’t have a sword or anything because this was a tourist run, but I had my knife tucked in my boot, where it’d be easy reach if needed. After making sure I was ready, I just leaned back against the wall and went into a partially meditative, prayerful mood, trying to calm myself. What could this be about? Who was contacting me? Why? RI would’ve just sent a note at the outpost, and Athene would’ve just called me to the temple...so I really didn’t have a clue.

I was there about fifteen minutes when I heard the door creak open. Returning instantly to the world, I looked over, leaning down, arms on my legs, hands clasped, looking for who was entering, and for what. The first thing I saw was the human head and hair, both slightly greasy and grimy, but far less than expected for her species. The feathers, though...shining like polished silver. A stormwing. I checked the mark; the burning, hostile sensation I got back confirmed that it was a Typhon mark. I wasn’t surprised, really...there’s nobody else who marks to stormwing. The body was human from mid-torso up, including two breasts, but the rest was pure bird. Typical stormwing, really...she was pretty small for one, so was probably a recent forcemark. She had a courier pouch attached to her leg with a clear courier insignia...a good idea, between the war between Typhon and Echidna, and the fact that Typhon and Athene aren’t on great terms either. She seemed uncomfortable, and that definitely made sense to me. I’d have been edgy too, really, being on such hostile ground.

Browquirking at why TYPHON would want anything from ME, I raised a hand peacefully and greeted the woman in both English and Hellenic, as I was unsure of her language. She paused, looking at me, and spoke. American accent, sounded young. Again, probably a recent forcemark.

"Um, hello. I don't understand Koine, if that's what you assumed,” she said, shifting uncomfortably on her feet. She looked at the ground for a moment and then back to me.

I nodded at her, switching to solely English. “I was unsure, so I wanted to check.” I tried to keep an even, pleasant tone, to ease her own discomfort. “I was told you needed to speak with me.”

"Actually, I'm just a courier. As such, I wish to confirm since I'm sort of nervous about being in this place, that you will respect courier's amnesty regardless of the contents of your message,” she said, shifting again uncomfortably.

“I can confirm that, this is a peaceful meeting.” I tried to stay even, but some worry was creeping in. Was Dawn ok? Why did Typhon want me? Did they hurt her? Was this a bribe for hurting her on accident in the war as collateral damage?

I must’ve had the worry appear on my face, because she looked at me evenly, a flicker of sympathy appearing in her eyes. This wasn’t her choice to be here, she was being considered expendable by others. "I truly dislike delivering messages like this one, I think that's why they make ~me~ do it... Walker Renfrew, your wife is a prisoner of war, effective five hours ago. She is being held at an undisclosed location, and for the time being will not be harmed in any way."

I jolted back in shock, brow furrowing. "...she can't have...what...what do you want?" Five hours...there was less than a half-hour window in there that she was gone and before the original messenger appeared. They must’ve grabbed her as soon as she left...but how? She was alone, but an ambush like that...had to be some sort of inside job. SOMEONE had tipped them off. I mentally kicked myself for my idiocy. They fucking PLANNED this...STUPID. STUPIDSTUPIDSTUPID. I should’ve been more careful, now they were going to...well. I should find that out. My mind slowed down from 500 miles an hour. “...go on.”

"I don't want anything Mister Renfrew. I'm not loyal to Typhon, I've been pressed into service. Your choice is to decide whether to do similar. Typhon wants to give you a single task, in exchange for her freedom and life."

Betraying no further emotion, I croaked out, “And that is?”

"I don't know. I wasn't given your assignment, because Typhon's priests can never tell when approaching a Realmwalker for the first time whether he'll inform R.I. of his situation. When that happens, they want minimized connections so that they can "dispose" of all "evidence" in all haste." She again looked remorseful and sympathetic, but my patience for that wasn’t...terribly great at this moment. I just wanted her to get to the damn point. "Honestly, I don't think they fully trust me either."

Yes. Evidence. Living people, people others care about, and one of thier own forcemarks, all just pawns in thier game to win this damnable war, and to be disposed of if they happened to become ‘inconvienent.’

"So you're hostage in this too. I tip anyone off and they hurt you. This just gets better and better..." I rubbed a hand across my brown in disbelief. When I pulled it back, it was soaked with sweat. I hadn’t even noticed until now, but I was sweating all over in fear.

She paused, looking around as if to check if there was anyone else in the room. "Ah... If you inform your Walkers, and Typhon's agents will know very quickly if you do, then your wife will certainly die, and things may get very difficult for me and you too.” She lowered her voice to speak, “I’m sorry.”

I looked away for a moment, not saying anything. My mind was filled with images of reaching across the room and cutting her throat with her own metallic primaries and then letting her bleed out all over the floor. After a few moments, I turned back, speaking with a strained, but somewhat genuine tone, "I know...thank you...I'm sorry you have to do this.” I paused, evaluating. "So if you don't have the task, I'm guessing I'm supposed to go somewhere to get it."

"No. Upon your agreement to take it, I begin to act as your go-between." She again looked uncomfortable. That I couldn’t blame her for. The next time we’d meet I’d have weapons and she wasn’t sure on my self-control.

"So I don't even get to know what you want me to do first. Hell of a bargain, sign off on a blank fucking contract.” I lapsed into more vulgar and angry language. I wasn’t on the contract, I had no need to be diplomatic in this situation. I wanted to vent and there was a target RIGHT HERE.

She took it in stride, and shook her head. I would’ve too, if I was against an unarmed person and was covered in razor blades. "All I know is that they typically take ethical codes into consideration, because this would all be a waste of time if they gave their extortees anathematic tasks."

“Typically. Not always. I’m pretty sure Typhon and I don’t agree on much morals, considering we’re even having this conversation.” I paused. “What’s my guarantee he even holds up his end of the bargain? You’ve already exploited my code, but Typhon has no equivalent.”

"Because stormwings have been putting effort into repairing R.I. relations of late, and killing hostages against conditions would be extremely bad for repeat business in the extortion industry."

Emotionlessly, I responded, "...I guess that's about the best I'm gonna get."

"Typhon is... Very chaotic, to outside eyes. But his priests are fair, when handled properly. I hate what they've done to me, but I can still say that."

That hit a nerve, and I went off like a keg of dynamite. “So you demand I respect your goddamn courier immunity, and say that Typhon holds up his end of the bargain, in an EXTORTION case, where he abducted an UNINVOLVED CIVILIAN for no reason?! He’s a fucking COWARD.”

She backed up, raising her wings defensively. “Stay back. THink about what you’re doing.” She seemed torn.

I considered going for her...but I’d be bleeding to death before she was in my arm's reach. Damn. Breathing heavily for a few moments to calm down, I masked my voice and said, "Understood. I believe a package was mentioned."

The stormie opened her pouch and removed a small bundle of feathers tied with twine. "For verification purposes." She hopped forward, set it on the ground, then hopped back.

I picked it up to look at. Flight primaries...yeah, these were Dawn’s. Cut from the edges...there was a good 6 to 8 inches of feather, but they weren’t plucked...that was good. Probably. I took a breath and said, "While I'd love to debate Typhon's definition of 'unharmed', I recognize you're only caught in the middle here. And that's not why you're here in the first place." I looked around for an answer, an idea how to fix this, but...there wasn’t one. Things are never that easy. "I don't have much of my equipment..." I sighed. "...but alright."

My face was still contorted with rage, clearly, because the stormwing phrased her words carefully. "Tell whomever you trust, because you'll need help to accomplish whatever your task is. But be sure you pick only those who will not leak your secret. With any luck, this can all be over quickly."

"The number of people who are in realm who I'm near is a fairly low number at this moment. And I'm guessing you don't want me to leave. But understood." So I agreed. But later, we’d get a discussion in about the reckoning.

She paused. "I don't know the protocol on leaving. I'd have to ask.”

"I ask that you check on that. I'm better with my own gear but I can make do if needed." Since this was my honeymoon, I’d packed light. Few weapons, mostly secondary gear. Nothing serious.

"I'll understand before I come back tomorrow. I suggest assembling what friends you can, but not more than a half dozen."

She seemed to be hinting it would be a good idea. I didn’t know what was worse, that she was asking me to drag friends into this, or the fact she was probably entirely right. Either way, six people was far more than I’d be able to round up in that timeframe without hiring people and I couldn’t trust mercs for something like this. "So here, tomorrow, same time?"

"Yes. And... I'll provide what help I'm able." The statement came out with emotion, apologetic and sympathetic feelings. It was at least a nice touch for her to add it. I smiled a tiny, strained smile in response.

“Thanks...but don't put yourself at risk."

The stormwing paused, and returned to business-mode. "Do you understand the full import and nature of the entire message?"

"The priests of Typhon decided I would be useful and planned to blackmail me. They've been waiting for a moment they could grab Dawn. If I don't submit to the blackmail attempt, they kill my wife. I'm to perform a yet-to-be-specified task for Typhon; if anyone outside of a small group of close friends finds out, she dies even then." I paused, then added scathingly, "That about sum it up?"

She nodded in a grim affirmation.. "Unfortunately, yes. My duty for this evening is concluded."

I tried to maintain a business attitude. "Alright, then. Go in peace." The stormwing turned to leave. I waited for several tense seconds until she was almost gone.and then say, very quietly. "I'm sorry..." To this day I don’t know who I was saying it to...me, Dawn, or the stormwing caught in the middle. In any event, she looked back and said, "Louise."

“...what?” I looked over..

"My name is Louise Cochrane... just thought I should tell you, since I think we're going to work together a little bit."

“Fine...I’ll see you tomorrow, Louise.”

She nodded once more, and headed for the exit. I didn’t follow immediately, sitting there and trying to gather my thoughts and come up with a plan...but I was too close to the whole situation right now, and emotions were getting in the way. Why her? Dawn was a civilian, she had no stake in this...damn it...damn it, damn it, damn it. If anything happened to her, I would...no. Nothing would happen to her. I’d do what they wanted and I’d get her back and we’d put this behind us. And if I was very lucky I might get a chance to clear my accounts payable to Typhon afterwards.