Title: Go ask Alice
Dory - January 17, 2012 12:20 AM (GMT)
((Short... but this has taken me too long to post already.))
((Xanthe is a character.... but good luck finding her.))
True falcons, distinguished by their notched beaks, are widely distributed. In flight their wingbeats are rapid and powerful, and they swoop hundreds of feet at speeds of up to 200 mph (320 kph) to capture their prey—chiefly birds and small mammals. They kill cleanly, usually breaking the back of their victim.
The birds, usually peregrine falcons, employed by falconers are taken when young from their nests. They are subjected to a rigorous course of training, in which they learn to fly, when released, at the quarry; to leave the prey untouched after killing it; and to sit quietly, when hooded, on the falconer's wrist.
~ The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition; on Falcons and Falconry
Three identical carriages arrived in Ascantha that night, all at once, but from three separate directions. Unassuming though they may have been to the naked eye, they were anything but quiet. Each one was filled to overflowing with metal; and it only became progressively more obvious with every lurch and jump of thin wooden wheels. The jingling of chains, the clank of pot against pan, the scream of hundreds of bells-- music without it's rhythm was little more than chaos, in the end.
Only two of them were manned. From the west, came the quietest of the carriages-- the one guided by a woman with hair the color of flame; and eyes the color of clear water. Her face, like the one from the east, was veiled by a slip of turquoise blue; but showed no signs of fear or question despite the task at hand. From the North came the carriage baring only an empty seat, though the reins hung suspended as though by invisible hands, and the horses never strayed from their secret, albeit obvious, path.
Unanimously, they moved toward the castle; without glance or hesitation to spare the city around them-- as though driven by determination alone.
Inside one of them, bright cerulean eyes opened to face the darkness filling the windowless cabin in which she had been placed. She was awake. This much she knew, but the differences were only very subtle. The carriage was moving-- she could feel it's violent sway, feel the metal outlining it's edges when she reached out, but there was nothing to hear above the chaos. Nothing to see below the black; and nothing to do, but to wait.
((Dh: You are in the carriage coming from the west.
Corite, if it can be sensed, would be sensed from the east; but Xanthe's aura is nowhere to be found.))
NPC - January 21, 2012 08:35 AM (GMT)
Guards had been alerted to the noise, and from the alleys they strutted out, armed and armored, to encounter the wagons laden with jingling pots and other nonsense. There were five to a team, and they surrounded the wagons, putting their hands on the sides and forcing them to a stop, all at roughly the same time throughout the city.
"What's all this?"
Dory - January 26, 2012 04:39 AM (GMT)
The slightest of shudders passed through her frame, little more than a tremble until it reached her shoulders, and brought her blind gaze toward one of the carriage's walls before it drew to a stop.
What's all this? The heads of two women turned, smiling broadly behind their colored veils.
"A shipment from Enteregon." Both tender would answer quite easily. "I'm a bit late. We were supposed to be here by noon, but there were some problems with the stables."
Her consciousness swayed as her body melted, caught on the wisps of a dream of bells which whispered, and pots which swung like pendulums without the movement of wheels underneath.
Had she lips to grin, she might have.
"Kitchen wares, by one Tracy D'Caparte." Said the one from the West.
"A gift, from an anonymous client." Said the one from the East.
"Would you like to look?" Both would make the offer.
NPC - February 24, 2012 08:46 AM (GMT)
They had to have made it in to the city using a similarly believable excuse, and if they had passed inspection at the gates, then there was only one problem remaining. Policy violation for noise was a mild misdemeanor that usually ended with a verbal warning. No further contact was often needed. Everyone knew that their overlords in the castle were watching sites and sounds everywhere in the city, in every home, and with every person so long as they wore the corite necklaces. It was a point of fear, but the benefit of the safety that the implementation of the crystals granted outweighed the paranoia of being watched every second of every day.
Needless to say, people in the silver city stayed in line. Visitors did their business and didn't cause a stir. It was the makings of utopia. Utopia wasn't a fabled paradise, though. It was a place that was slightly, and equally uncomfortable for everyone.
The squad leader at the west road shrugged to his companions, and addressed the driver again. Half annoyed that he had to get out of his chair in the barracks, and half too-tired-to-argue, he waved the cart off.
"Alright. Just... Keep it down, there. Park for the night. We've got kids sleeping in the houses. Right?"
The eastern road group contained the guard captain, and he wasn't so ready to call it done and done. Gifts and such were great, but the driver hadn't announced a name. Shipments from the dwarven city weren't uncommon, but in the middle of the night and from a nameless benefactor... It smelled like trouble. How did the cart make it through customs without being checked? Why wasn't he informed from the gate watch that there would be deliveries coming through the city?
"Where's your load headed," he asked suspiciously, cocking an eyebrow at the driver.
Dory - February 25, 2012 01:00 AM (GMT)
((Edited. Xanthe has places to be, soon.))
((Don't forget the middle caravan... I'll put a bit more detail in to this one.))
((For the record: Xanthe didn't kill Archivad; Darken did. But then he gave her the body.))
All in all, it was a best case scenario.
The driver of the caravan from the East nodded apologetically, undoing the clasp of her veil as the guard spoke. The poor man looked tired... they all did, and she couldn't very well blame them. It was the middle of the night, after all, and she was being terribly rude-- a fact which she would pretend she hadn't simply ignored until that very moment, as her eyes moved over them each in turn.
"You're right." She lowered her voice with the words, just as though she hadn't noticed the silence they had so cleanly shattered. "Of course. I'm so very sorry to have disturbed... I'm-- I'm very new at this. This is my very first delivery..."
She looked downwards with a deep frown, and a sniffle as she lifted one hand to wipe the backs of her fingers across her eyes. "And I've done so poorly, already. The Lady will be so very cross with me..." But she shook her head and lifted her eyes again with a weak smile. "I'm sorry, I know it isn't your problem... If you could please point me in the direction of an inn, I'll be out of your hair just as quickly and quietly as I can be."
"Castle Laubholz." Stated the driver from the east. "Duhh."
If looks could kill, the poor Guard captain would have been a puddle of mush in seconds. He was only doing his job, of course; but at fourteen (and a half), Halley was the youngest of the lot, and not exactly familiar with such a concept. One might have thought the man had insulted her mother, her mother's mother (and everyone who came before), with his rightful suspicion of plainly suspicious activity; but she dropped the reins with a flourish to put even the most temperamental of tantrums to shame.
"It's for a... a..." She paused, seeming to forget the name as she crossed her arms over her chest and looked pointedly toward the rooftops. "uh..." and then the alleys, "a Mister Caspian! Yeah, that was it... Wait, no, it might've been a... but I thought it started with a... but it could've been..."
"Damnit! You see what you did?! Now I forgot!"
The center caravan bore no signs of life, but the reins hovered still, suspended and motionless as though altogether exempt from the laws of nature and time. Unlike the other two, it's ornamentation continued to sway gently to and fro; but the shining bells did not chime, and the cookware did not clatter. A sleepy, peaceful hush descended upon the streets as though the quiet had never been disturbed. Even the horses seemed to come at ease, as though some great burden had suddenly been lifted.
But if one listened closely, a lilting, haunting melody resonated quietly from within caravan-- muted chords from a metallic violin, somewhere deep inside; and gently the door would sway open.
A dark iron casket, lined on every side by locks with no place for keys, would take front, center, and the majority of the space inside; but it would be the statue behind to call first for attention. Gleaming silver, the Valkyrie's wings bent inside of the lightless chamber, eyes closed, with arms outstretched to present an intricately etched silver platter... with the bloodless head of Archivad Covenant resting at it's center.
And the words, "One down, two to go." Scrawled along it's edge.
Of course, they were all only there for a moment. The statue crumbled silently in to nothing more than pots and pans, leaving the platter to tip, and the head to roll as the words vanished as though they had never been there at all.
Xanthe burst from the caravan to the east; her armor from the one to the west. The woman would be upon her avatar in seconds-- only two steps from door to seat, and she rested a hand on Malaya's arm before she keyed the rune in her boots, and the pair were gone in a flash.
The armor, however, scaled the Caravan before coming to perch at it's front edge. Leering over Halley's shoulder, as though the empty helm sought to make eye contact with the captain of the guard; but the girl lifted a hand to grasp the metal one, and the light which swallowed them was her own.