Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

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Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:23 pm

(( Note from the writer. The first parts of this story were written in 2015, and the original version had been tuned to the Archeage environment. Back then I 'bounced off' my text on "B." who wrote some of the Bel' reactions in those first parts. The orginally and intended story was far from finished, and I decided to continue it on my own only since recently. First I poured it into another setting, adapting it to the Faerun lore and then rewrote/adjusted/added several sections, trying to make it an even more enjoyable text to read. The entire new version is written mostly from the point of view of one personality now instead of two. But other characters are also highlighted within the tale, even if briefly. Finally, the new version is far from done... >.>  Enjoy! ))


...





Last edited by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:28 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:25 pm

I took the shot glass back from a young fellow listening to the name Franky, sloshing the substance all over our hands as I friendly tried to inform him he was still too wet behind his ears to collect shots like that. The inn was as black and as sinister as the martial temple of a sacrificial cult, the patrons rude and dirty, and the owners degrading, toxic and unhelpful.


Not exactly the place for lads like Franky to hang out. I didn’t often predict one’s future as it rarely mattered. Yet my cautious conclusion, drunken or not, forsaw Franky floating face down in the docks before the light of the stars would be extinguished. Or worse. The trouble bobble on the back of my head told me as soon as that boy would hit the doorstep, they would grab him and drag him down in the vast sewer system below the city, or in one of their damp, dark windowless basements, handcuff him to the wall and rip those fancy clothes off his pale, pitiful form. If he was lucky, they would slit his throat immediately right after making fun of him... after taking all his belongings. If he wasn’t… I guess I should pity the skinny lad.

However… this was not my business. And thus when Franky stumbled forward off his barstool, grabbed a moment my arm for support, clinging there slack-jawed and almost slumping over before regaining his balance and waddling through the crowdy, filty taproom towards the door… I didn’t stop him. I wasn’t his dad, nor his captain, and the last thing I desired was getting involved with pirates and likewise scum all over again. I turned and looked over, watching a moment what would be Franky’s last appearance, leaning with his elbow against the doorpost, his head hanging down on his skinny chest.

In the better parts of the city one would probably have felt sorry for how the boy struggled to remain standing, but around here there was always a lack of ordinary compassion. I shrugged and turned away. Soon they would put an end to his misery anyways. It’s not that I didn’t care. Heck, I even did him a favor by taking away his last drink. I knocked back the boy’s glass and wiped my lips with the back of my hand. Damn… I really needed to shave myself. Or rather... not... as then I would lose part of my disguise. I struggled a moment to get up from my seat, the dark brown leather I wore creaking when my hand reached for the distinctive blade standing next to the chair. Probably the reason why they left me alone. I glanced back at the entrance of the inn, the beaver brown timber door closed now.

Maybe he would have a chance...

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:26 pm

I turned around and started making my way towards the weathered wooden stairs. To me that walk felt like an eternity, but to anyone observing me it appeared as if I was just taking my time, moving without rushing, confident almost like the relaxed, purposeful walk of a jaguar, my fingers casually gripping around the dark grey scabbard I carried in my left hand. Almost there and not a moment too soon as I overheard an individual behind me exhibiting slurred speech.

“Eeeeyyyy! Where d’ya think yeeeer goin’!”

I turned my head slowly, very slowly, and as I kept my face in the shadow of my hood, I peered through the foggy taproom… only to witness how a sailor with the skin of the deepest ebony, showing off a frame similar to that of a muscular gorilla alpha-male, jabbed one of his impossible thick fingers into a smaller rat-faced man’s chest. Rather poorly dressed, sunburned nose, big oily hands, greasy fingernails and clearly outclassing the other man in every physical aspect. Laborer, dock worker high likely, I thought.

“Gerrofff me!” the small lad leaning against the bar hiccuped, fruitlessly trying to push away the hammer-like hand with his own greasy fingers. “Ye lame drunk!”

Here we go again, is what I thought. Exactly the kind of thing you could expect when walking into one of these establishments that lurked close to Muzhujaarnadah. Except here it would be unlike any other brawl. Usually in these parts of the city people tended to be a lot more nervous and knives were drawn in a frighteningly enthusiastic fashion. Before reaching the top of these stairs, blood would have been spilt on the plank floor and bones would be bruised over broken tables. The most passionate of thugs would be grateful having the opportunity to prove their mettle and ability, nourishing and sustaining the concept ‘Might makes Right’. It was an open secret that right after a ‘good’ brawl, sinister captains suddenly started organizing interviews with certain individuals over a couple of mugs and bloodstained gold. I could really picture it well… as I can know.

Since that... is how I once got into it myself so many years ago...



After observing how the small guy tore at the strong fingers at his throat, I turned back to the stairs. The exact date of that guy’s death was known as the vise-like grip would not loosen. After that… all hell would break loose. All I could see however were images in my mind, which repetitively continued to shift to one, single image. That of a dark-haired beauty straddling my waist, with sweat glistening on her cheeks like fairy glitter, and an eager glint in her eyes. The scent of jasmine and female spice, merely a memory now, deceived my nostrils.

I shook that recollection of events away and grabbed the handrail...

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:27 pm

Upon reaching the third step, a choking sound and the dull thud of a body dropping to the floor that echoed throughout the place, followed by a silence of people watching the scene with bathed breath, waiting for what would come next, told me my analysis was as accurate as a marking knife. Not bad for a near drunk guy… almost a shame I wasn’t in the mood for any of it. And hells, one could save ten lives down here every damn hour of the day. But I wasn’t responsible for any of this mess. My view on it was really simple and honest, even if I say so myself. If you didn’t know how to roll here, you stay away or just die. I smirked faintly. In the light of all these considerations, it was really ironic how this actually was one of the safer places for me to go below deck.

I could almost sense how cruel knives were drawn soundlessly behind my back, ready to slice and amputate, and by the time I reached the fifth step, the ringing sound of a much longer weapon slowly being pulled from a steel scabbard had me turn over my head briefly. Usually sheaths like those were used for military sabres, and for a moment there I wondered whether the local Amlakkar somehow was getting involved as well. Hmm… pirate captain by the looks of it.

I shook my head as I should have known better. Not even the most hardcore fussy Chawals would dare to poke their nose in here, let alone throw themselves between a horde that was ready to settle a matter with more than just a handful of blood, the pitted floor beneath their feet a silent witness to that. By the time I reached my room, everything was going just as predicted, and I closed behind me the miserable excuse for a door to shut out at least some of the screams and sickening cracks of furniture being crushed and bones being broken.


I sank down on the bed, the worn out mattress with sharp springs protuding from all sides creaking under my rump. Lazily, I glanced about my ‘personal quarters’. The filty carpet under my soft leather boots was littered with broken bottles, discarded and unwashed clothes as well as mouse droppings. The only table, which was holed and splintered and had most of its wooden legs missing, was found upside down in a dark corner. The single windowed room looked as if a mini cyclone had been gusting about the place… yet, unfortunately without taking along that deep penetrating musky odor originating from those triangular-shaped spots darkening certain parts of the walls, especially at the corners of the room. Even in my state of drunkeness I knew this room wasn’t just a mess... but a disaster zone, a biohazard that could seriously infect people. Even a pig hole was less disgusting. But I just shrugged, pulled down my wool woven hood, and reclined against the tattered mud-brick wall.

Why, I don’t know, but my thoughts twirled back to my meeting with ‘fancy Franky’. His dad -assuming there he had one- wouldn’t be all too euphoric when Franky’s mutilated corpse was to be found in the dirtiest cesspool this city had. Not really. Perhaps if he was a man of influence he would order these slums to be torn apart, piece by rotting piece, until he found his son’s murderers. I’d picture the lad rambunctiously forking over every bit of rags and dirt scattered throughout the darkest corners in this labyrinth of dark tunnel-like lanes and alleys that was the Dock Ward. Inevitably, it would lead to more bloodshed as the lid would be blown off of some of the other malovent and dishonest activities. Not good for business, and… perhaps not -that- good for my cover. Somehow I also doubt Sultan Batras would prevent any of it. Groaning I slowly started to scramble back up from the bed while convincing myself I was merely taking care of my own interests. People around here better show me some sincere gratitude afterwards for making sure things remained fairly ‘peaceful’, and their sinister business unharmed.

Yea… right. The hint of sarcasm in that being my typical own.


I opened the door of my room and peered in the direction of the stairs. By the sounds of it, the uproarious crowd was still actively wrecking the place. With an acute feeling for detail my mind produced crystal clear mental images of the exchange of blows amid the wreck of bottles and glasses, of tables being tossed across the room and a body dropping to the floor with every vocal grunt. Of deadly angry faces, of people choking as the airflow to their lungs gets cut off by hamsized hands, preventing them from grunting one final syllable. And of men being kicked so hard that they actually flipped over and smashed into a wall, the force of the crash leaving some debris and dust flying out over them.



Long after this brawl would be over, people would be still licking the blood from their numerous cuts, and several would be toying with the idea to do it over again, albeit more thoroughly, their thoughts a road of vengeance as they plotted ahead. If there’s one thing I learned, that is that there never would be an end to any of this...

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:29 pm

I suppose it was time for me to move on to another residence anyways, heh. And hey, looking at things on the bright side. At least I wouldn’t have to dredge up old memories by saving Franky in the public eye. The backdoor was just down the stairs leading to the stables. Or what could pass for such as it was more an run-down barn with a roof that was a patchwork of old tiles, tattered sailcloth and rusty stripes of metal holding it all in place at the corners of the mud-brick walls. Hopefully it would be enough to carry my weight as I wasn’t planning to travel on the ground level. Instead, I crossed the creaky plank floor of the long narrow hallway and opened the worn-out round top window. If there was a way to track down Franky more quickly, it would be by going across rooftops.

As I brushed aside cobwebs glinting like frost in the silvery light of the Moonmaiden, I glanced down into the dark abyss that was the alley separating the shabby stables from the inn. I estimated my jump would be no less than eight feet. While I focused, searching for things to grab for, puffs of white vapour rose up in front of my face as my warm breath met the moisture-less air of a cold desert night. Whether that was rare yet not entirely uncommon for Calimport. I muttered. A moon partially sheltered by murky looming clouds had its tactical advantages, yet also involved risks. I would have to watch my every step and every leap, assessing them very carefully before executing them. But hey, just like the good ol’ days, right? I grabbed the stiles of the window frame and rocked a bit back and forth. Focus… Ric… focus…


Boy, am I glad I have been rather competitive over the years, and I actually take pride in the things I can do. The feeling of a jump like this I would rather describe as heart-thrilling, surreal and… pretty much insane. Over the past years however I had developed enough feeling and strength to make such leap and I judged my chances for survival rather high. Next thing I knew I jumped up and out, my arms swinging back and then forward as I leaped, bridging that gap effortlessly. But then… Istishia’s buttcrack! #$@&%* !! Some frosty protusion or what??

What it was I’ll probably never know. All I do know is that my left hand almost immediately lost its grip, my fingers slipping from the edge. There I was, dangling from a building about fifteen feet above ground, my other hand holding onto a ledge for my dear life. I knew I couldn’t keep this up for long as the rather biting cold eventually would chill my fingers into clumsy numbness. Why again didn’t I bring my climbing gloves along? Oh yes.. I was drunk, right? But spare me the compassion whatever god you are who is watching me, snickering and rubbing your hands together. Bite me! I am not done yet!


My other hand reached now also for the ledge and I brought my knees into my chest, and then I pressed the tips of my boots into the crude wall. Next, I pushed hard, using my toes and hands at the same time. My shoulders cleared the top of the ledge and then I pushed even further, leaning away from the force of gravity that was pulling me down. As I shifted the balance in my body, I was able to climb on the roof, bringing my legs over the side first and then the rest. Not exactly my most fashionable jump ever, but hey!
In silence I gave the cold world a lewd gesture. In your face, Beshaba!

For a moment I looked out over the part of the city that I could I see from here, its overall structure reminding me a little of a chaotically created honeycomb. The nightly skyline was dominated by dome roofs, slim minarets featuring multiple balconies stabbing at the sky, and small arched windows filled with elaborate Calishyte tracery in nearly every building. Here and there was a glint of metal or glazed brick as I turned my gaze to one specific minaret in the distance. I bet ‘fancy Franky’ lived in one of those…



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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:31 pm

I turned around and started to make my way over two-story high mud-brick buildings, their roofs featuring a mix of thatch and wood. I headed in the direction of Palace Ward as that was the place where all the fancy people lived, the richest of this entire society. The Ward lurked against the Jewel Ward and I was headed towards the broad drudach wall that seperated them. In other cities those would be called thieves’ highways, but around here many were guarded, with merlons and defenses along the parapet. I’d have to watch out once I got there, but my guts told me Franky was one of the people living in that direction, and I really didn’t feel up to use the vast labyrinth of pipes that were used to empty the filth of tens of thousands into the deeper seawaters.

I stopped a moment. Unless... the fool was too damn drunk to even realize where he was heading. In that case, tough luck. Heh, at least I would have given it a try, but hells I wasn’t going to bust my butt for ‘fancy lad’. Also, several times when I tried to save someone it almost cost me my life. But that last time... it would have been worth it…

Friggin’ pirates, still pissing me off years after. I’m no chicken and those sons of seawolves murdered in cold blood the woman I desired. After they took pleasure in torturing her, the bastards fed her body to the sharks. The memory still freaks me out at times, shaking me up from my sleep and making me feel like my heart sagged down into the deepest, emptiest ocean one can imagine. Damn this. Not going to let it happen again. Even though not a single hair on my head would even consider to court a man, let alone Franky, I would try and do my best to save his sorry butt. I grinned only faintly about my own little joke. But… perhaps it would ease the pain of her passing a little bit, heh. And who knows, maybe one day, when a fair wind is blowing… I may get my revenge.


I made my way over old, weathered buildings, albeit more careful now as the wood creaked under my weight. They were in a rather poor condition but at least their slightly sloped rooftops had proven sturdy and long lasting over the years. Almost a pity things had gone downhill around here with all the crime... and some piracy. A reason also why this part of the city had fallen into disrepair and local government was unable to carry out any necessary renovations. Reality, neighbourhood gangs around hadn’t really taken interest in keeping up the magnificence of it all. But that could also be because most of them were rather short-living. Batras rather left actual business to the local guilds, and the syl-pasha as well as Batras’ enemies were only busy with plotting, manipulating and framing.

Within a few years any form and sense for urban structure had been erased. New, yet dubious masonry turned several streets and alleys into dead ends, sometimes literally their exact purpose, while on other locations entire walls of buildings were torn down. Or, heavy hammers had been consuming man-sized holes in them, making new passageways or creating escape routes. Everyone just did as they saw fit, altering this maze of alleys, staircases and walls for their own hidden stories.

Up here it was easy to get lost as well, the rooftops spreading in every direction like chaoticly curling sea serpents with irregularly arranged scales. But at least from here I could look into the labyrinth this borough was, the place right now in different tones of grey and black. Heh, so what, my sight was deprived of color as of lately anyways. During my last torture, and just before I managed to escape from their ruthless fists and crushing feet, my head had been severely beaten. I figure something happened within my brains, as ever since... I live in a monochromatic world.

The houses here were only two to three storeys high, but my view from up here would have to do. I leaned forward with one arm around a chimney while a frigid wind poked me with its icy fingers. Man, everywhere I go cold seemed to stalk me like a spectre death. As slow moments drag by I’m starting to regret my choice of doing this… until I heard them.

Yes… them… voices. Seemed Franky was one of them. How I know? Cause I’ve been chit chatting with him… or rather he with me for about the entire evening and some evenings before that. And I rarely forget a voice.

I slid down and started to crawl over a gently sloping roof, evaded two holes at the very last moment and peeked over the edge on the other side, carefully... as just a series of fireworks got launched from somewhere in the Palace Ward.

Fancy folks, always in need to show off their wealth...



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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:33 pm

These scenes were getting old and tiresome and she wondered for a moment again why she sticked around. Well, the main reason probably was cause she made rather good coin from those who lived and visited this port. She would never deny that. But damned if the wasted potential and the despair of the oppressed weren’t turning infecteous. Still, the ‘working ladies’, the tavern lasses, actresses and other artists paid her well for the various healing potions, perfumes and the occasional love potion. Any ethical considerations over selling such dreams she had lost long time ago. Besides, sometimes it did gave them joy and cheeriness, things that were more than needed in this shanty area.

Still, she rather prefered the other ways of making her own little fortune, though they took far more effort. Doing the hair of rich men’s concubines and some of the higher classed of the entertainment and upper class Wards were giving her a more respectable clientele as well as reputation. In the homes of these females, she learned of the beau monde, their habits, their mannerisms. She had a knack for fashion and for design, and she was a pretty good mime. She also knew many old tricks handed down by her clan, the least of which was the shamanic and ritual use of herbs, and some alchemy. Her essential oils and hairdressing products were slowly becoming known. And to these people, she was not just some Zakharan outcast. A few casual words strewn here and there had them all believing her to be the daughter of a poor noblewoman who went astray.


The only downside of being here were those who couldn’t keep their hands at home. She was cautious, and alert, avoiding to catch their attention. After all, these men were probably already cheating on their wives, and just looking for the next taste of something more dark-skinned and exotic. While she could not completely hide all her features, she did manage to cultivate an air of tragedy. Not that it was hard. It is not like she was living the best part of her life ever. Not really. But her modest and concealing outfit and quiet demeanor around them appeared to make them lose interest fairly quickly. Of course it was all an act, one she had been perfecting to make herself appear to be too much work. After all, there were many other more willing lasses to be had, ones that would not require so much effort. And never once did she let the offer of their gold tempt her. She would not become a harlot for any amount.

But the lure of the easy money selling these love and other ‘helpful’ potions still called. One lesson she had learned well, cold unconcerned coin could get one over the worst of situations. If she ever wanted to realize her own little dreams, something like a small place of her own to live, and a garden where she could grow herbs in peace, then any gold was gonna be required...


So, here she was, in one of the meanest, crummiest taverns in Calimport, praying that none of the sea lads would recognize her. Years had passed. Long years as a matter of fact. Yet the threat and the heartache still lingered. She wished she hadn’t noticed the thoughtless young male weaving in staggering steps between the patrons. But the flash of finer clothes drew the eyes. He stood out in this miserable place. And then… she saw his face.

-He-... was not her problem, so she tried to tell herself. So… what if she knew his aunt. So... what if the fine lady paid her well to help her around her house and attend to her hair. So what... if this aunt adored that young lad. She talked enough about him, confided her worries for him. Damn it, this ‘kid’ was the elder woman’s only living relative. Being alone is too damn hard, another lesson she had learned well. And it is one thing to lead a solitary life by choice,... and a whole other thing to have it forced on oneself by circumstance, or sheer bad luck.


Franky was on his way getting shanghied. She had watched the scene play out before. Some stupid young lads would get drunk, get pulled into a little brawl, stagger out into one of the shady alleys between shuttered buildings, and find themselves waking up on a vessel heading towards unknown destinations where they’d be given the choice of joining the crew or get fed to the sharks. Of course some didn’t mind so much of joining, but Franky... the young lad had never worked a hard day in his life before. It would become his version of the Nine Hells. In a way, it may make him a stronger lad. But his aunt...she did not deserve the heartache.

She could see the two sailors who stalked Franky were about four or five shots over the limit of good sense. They were nearly as drunk as he was, though a lot meaner and a lot more experienced. Her hand tapped the hilt of the blade that hung from her skirt. She couldn’t wield it very well as she was a healer, not a fighter. But sometimes, just the show of the wickedly sharp blade and a bit of acting could be enough. And by the looks of it, she was getting out of this place just in time…


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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:34 pm

She was glad she wore the worst dress she had, its color long faded over the years of washing and drying them in the sun. The alley between buildings was unremarkable for this part of the Ward. Wet sucking sounds rose up from under boots as she went in, and when a persistent smell from underneath the junk filled her nostrils, she tucked her skirt up into her belt, without shame baring legs covered by stockings and half high boots that hugged her calves. At some point her heel sank into a soft ‘something’, and she winced when she perceived an unidentifiable animal’s body, dung, and rotten food at her feet. Franky was getting into so much trouble. If not with those sailors,... then definitely with her.


The men had Franky cornered, and the young lad was near tears. She narrowed her eyes as she really hated men without a spine. Normally this would be enough to make her turn away. But the gods be damned, why did she have to keep picturing his aunt’s face in her mind? His aunt, who was a sweet old bird, who gladly gave her items of clothing and small gifts, and who spoke to her…no... with her as if she were a friend rather than an employee.

So she found herself tapping her little blade, thumping its wooden haft against her open palm, and holding it so as if she mastered the craft of knife throwing. The wind had picked up, blowing strands of long dark and curly hair over her face. Moonlight lit the alley, but not by much. She would have to try and sound clever, and as she tried to stand there with a straighter spine, she addressed the little group.

“Now, now, lads. Isn’t that little fishy a little bit too pathetic? I’m sure even you can tell just by looking at him he wouldn’t even last a week. Why don’t you smart boys go have your picks elsewhere?”


She only hoped these guys would pick up the warning she put in her voice as well, the weapon in her hand maybe adding to what the consequences could be like.

Usually, these types are bullies. Usually, they’d try to avoid an audience, and they certainly didn’t like to face someone in a fair fight. She kinda had hoped that her unwanted and undesired attention would send them running over like the usual rats they were.

Said hopes disappeared however like a ice before a burning sun as soon as she caught their eyes turning her way. Crap, how could she ever have forgotten that with each shot a male drank, his perception of his attractiveness to the female gender grew. Both men forgot Franky and started to do their version of peacocking, one running his greasy fingers through his hair as if to straighten it out a bit, the hooded one flashing a wide smile that showed he was at least missing two or three teeth. That smile however was fake and faded just as easy as it had appeared. She swallowed when saw that one reaching for a dagger of his own...


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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:35 pm

It hadn’t been Franky’s lucky day. Not really. Actually, it was about to get way worse than having ‘just a bad day’. Hours before all of this he had decided to give way on his desires, being a warm lady of pleasure, plenty of booze and perhaps hang out with some friends. His aunt had shown him the door after a series of remarks on his laziness in an attempt to bring him to heel. “And do not return to my estate unless you at least found yourself a job… any real job...” were her final words right before he had slammed the door shut behind him.

He kinda now wished he hadn’t refuted her arguments and be still in her warm house, safe, and unconcerned. He was drunk, very drunk, but not -that- drunk to not realize this was the exact reason what had been causing these differences of opinion. For the first time in his life, Franky acknowledged he was lazy, careless and rakish. And with it… probably the last time.


They had trapped him in a dark corner and when he clumsily reached for his only tool of defense, he found his leather sword belt empty. The surprise in his eyes had triggered a soft chuckle from his pursuers. Not that he would have been a match for the sailors or hunters or whoever these guys were who were closing in on him. The rapier -probably stolen back at the inn- had been a gift from his aunt on his 16th birthday, now about three years ago. The hilt of that slender, straight-bladed weapon was guarded and looking brand new to the very moment he lost it, without even a day of usage. There have been intentions to get fencing lessons, but as with several other things he had just kept postponing it. In fact, for that matter, he had been postponing his entire life…

Franky’s heart beating against his ribs could be compared with the thrumming wings of a caged bird drumming and laboring to no avail as a reaction to a slowly impending hand. His breath quickened and his body started shaking. Franky had started to cry and his reactions prompted a grin on the attackers’ faces. A grin that grew more wide and toothy as Franky tripped over a pile of garbage and inelegantly landed in the hygienically dubious sludge. The young man held up his silky skinned hand as if that could ward off the impending doom, making him look even more miserable.


And then suddenly there was that voice of a woman involving herself, interrupting these crimps’ affairs. When Franky dared to lower his hand by an inch, he witnessed how the men who had been pursuing him in this jungle of winding alleys and dark narrow streets, turned away, their unprotected backs facing him. His eyes darted nervously left and right, seeking a way of escape or to defend himself. Not finding any, Franky’s shoulders sagged and his eyes turned to his ‘savior’, his at first hopeful expression turning into a sniveling prayer for a miracle once he fully perceived her appearance. Just a working girl wielding some knife, not a big deal for these burly pirates or whatever they were. They probably would have some fun with her right before they would drag him down in the below deck of their vessel. Just a small delay, nothing more…


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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:38 pm

Franky... you miserable, miserable coward…

I scowled silently when I saw him hunkering in the corner like a thoroughly beaten dog. And they hadn’t even laid a finger on his sorry rear yet! I counted three of them, and they were all facing some lass who had been foolish enough to interfere. What had gotten into this working gal I didn’t know. But what I did know was that things were about to get messy. I had to get off this damn roof. Though, when I looked left and right I didn’t immediately found something that could reduce the gap between myself and the street level. I smirked as my gaze shifted back to the scene below. Just like the ol’ days then, I suppose. Silently I rose to my feet and drew the slightly curved blade that hung on my back. I placed my right boot half way over the edge as my hands closed tighter around the blade’s handle. I turned the blade around so that the tip was pointing down, and then suddenly, with deadly accuracy I swooped down onto one of the men.



At the sound of leather stretching upon the rooftop, one of the attackers looked up. He uttered a curse to whatever god he worshipped, but it was too late to focus on the source of the sound. A thrust of air, a nauseating crack and before they all realized what happened, one of the attackers had been struck by a terrifying blow from a dark cloaked figure swooping down like a pitch black, predatory bird with a blade as sharp as a hawk’s talon, killing the alarmed man instantly.

Frankly blinked and crawled hastily away, like a spider, his movements rapid, somewhat sketchy and seemingly random until he bumped his head randomnly into a wall.

The other two pirates watched a moment with drunken amazement how what appeared to be a trained assassin turned to them, a pair of seemingly grey eyes glinting in the moonlight from under a crude hood. That short hesitation was all he needed. The hooded man dashingly parkoured his way through the debris and other junk, only to jump and digging his soles into the wall. Like a cat he leaped onto his next victim. With all the booze from earlier, the pirates’ sight had been too lazy to follow the assassin’s dazzling movements, and before the next pirate realized, he dropped to his knees with a gaping hole where his left eye had been. ‘Faster than a frustrated wraith’, were that man’s last thoughts before the metal entered his skull through his eye socket. Blood splattered everywhere, the violence of the attack leaving strings of dark liquid snaking down a nearby wall.


The dark figure swiftly withdrew the cruel blade that had been angling upwards through the man’s head. One more… The assassin’s face, shadowed by his hood turned in the direction of the last pirate.


Crap… almost broke my leg when I jumped down from that roof. I also noticed during my ‘manoeuvers’ my joints and muscles all appeared a wee bit sensitive and stiff. Heh, what else could I have expected when not performing in this line of work for the past years. At least I have made a great entrance, though a good massage after this would not be out of place. There was an eagerness in my blood to do it more often again, but it’s high time I first do something about my current physical fitness. And unlike his companions, it seems my third opponent wouldn’t just remain standing like a good boy… since he wasn’t exactlly in the same spot anymore...


Franky, who had passed out, lying like a hopeless bag of potatoes in the alley corner couldn’t tell, let alone warn his dark savior either...

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:39 pm

She really thought she had bitten off way more than she could chew on when she perceived another pirate emerging from the shadows. The gods must have had wicked plans for her as she was going to get eliminated because for trying to save Franky’s worthless hide. But she would go down fighting and taking as many with her as she could. She was not entirely defenceless. Not at all.

But then, near the end of whatever wicked game this was, a star player dropped from the shadows and took out one of the pirates in such a quick motion that at first she wondered if it really had happened. Franky… had dispatched himself. He had bumped his head, knocked himself out cold while drenching his pants in his own piss. The worthless curr. Though their savior appeared more like devil incarnate rather an angel of mercy. Still, perhaps it was better to wish and prey for a devil than an angel as devils are way more suited for jobs like these. And this specimen appeared some dark predator who came forward from one of the deepest pits of the Nine Hells. It did tickle her to watch as the hunters became the hunted, but the degree of violence… that sent a feeling through her as if some unforgiving cold ran down her spine. It was better to keep wary, just in case this dark hero had his own agenda.


Her clan once claimed she had certain gifts, gifts she more than once had deemed more like curses. But it was certain, she could see things others could not. Or sense them. This dark angel… or more, devil… was struggling. His stance showed a stiffening of his body, a flare of pain she could sense around his leg. He was off balance, and that last pirate, drunken or not, he noticed it as well.

All these years on her own, she still hated some aspects of those ‘gifts’ she had. And there were things she rather wouldn’t know about herself. But this ability she had to heal… could also be used to harm. Healing with a touch of her hand, could be hurting with that same touch, how much she disliked it. But right now she wasn’t thinking clearly. Anger, annoyance, it was a fatal flaw. Without thinking she reached out with her free hand. A current of power moved from her core to her fingertips, and towards the last pirate.


They could all hear his cry of pain, and she just watched coldly as their enemy faltered. Her other hand brought the hilt of her blade down upon his head. And be it fate, or luck, or just that man’s own drunken state… he fell like a ton of bricks, his head smashing upon the stone with a nauseating crack. She knew, she sensed that she had just taken a life. Bile rose in her throat, but she swallowed it down. She was not done yet here and her debts had to be repaid.


One step took her close to the dark cloaked man’s side. One word illuminated their surroundings with just enough light for her to see her hand reaching out to use her skills once more, albeit now with the intend to heal. Until… she saw a ghost when he turned to face her. That face… the face of a fallen angel. Those dark honey eyes against a tanned skin, a strong jaw, a masculine beauty with a rugged appeal. Sun kissed stubble shadowed his cheek and jawline. The male she knew preferred to be clean shaven… but that scruffy beard only added to his allure. Except, she was no longer that young girl he once woed…

... and abandoned.

“Ric…” his name was less than a whisper,... more a gasp, a curse.

Her hand, the hand she intended to use to heal… curled up into a tight fist and connected with that strong, handsome jaw...

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:41 pm

A series of expressions had rippled over his face, and far too quickly for the girl to get any clue of what he was thinking. Next, the man she had recognized as a pirate, an assassin... and more…, collected the quick and direct punch with the expression of the baffled. Taken aback by the suddenness and speed of the attack, Erickar needed longer than usual to recover from his surprise. Not from the punch itself, since that had been fairly insignificant.

My best guess here? Kelemvor was screwing me. Instead of me jumping off that roof, killing those men and saving Franky and that hooker heroically,... in my drunken state I tripped over a chimney, tumbled down the roof boards, and broke my neck unceremoniously on the dirty, rough-paved alley floor. Right now, those pirates were probably standing over my dead body, making me look more than a fool with their facetious remarks. In a way that was frightening distorted and perverse, the Judge of the Damned was somehow manipulating my memories in the Fugue, punishing me for all the crimes I have committed, -and- making me pay for all the grudging souls I’ve sent his way.

Not that they had been so innocent. Not really.

But right, hey. Rosabel?? That one ‘do good’ in my entire life, and in which I had failed miserably?? C’mon…

For a moment longer there seemed no cure to bring my sluggard mind back to wakefulness. Not the warm blood rolling out of my nose, flowing down my upper lip, leaving a metallic taste there as it trickled further down along my unkempt chin. Not the wind picking up and seemingly digging its cold fingers deep into my flesh, penetrating my very bones. Nor my hand trembling so violently, that I dropped my blade onto the weathered pavers where it bounced off the hard surface with a resonating metallic clang and settled. It would seem I had turned deaf temporarily, and all I heard was my blood rushing and my heart pumping.

Wait... what? Heartbeat?


I peered at the face of the ghost in front of me and knitted my brows. It just didn’t make any sense… at ALL? One moment I had been reliving some of my memories up there on the roofs -just for fun-, and the next, someone decides to juice it up -just a little bit more-?

A brief jolt when through my body, and then I used all the self-control I could gather.
“B… Bel’ ?” My moving lips practically breathed that name.

Mind you, I had great difficulty in allowing that name passing through my lips. And it was not because of all the blood. But saying her name seemed an affirmation of what was currently taking place… was real.



The female stared at him, her mystical sea green eyes blazing. Even in his now colorless world he could remember very well how those beautiful eyes turned to him that very first time, and how they had held him captive. He got catapulted back to a time that seemed like an age ago, of a time where she had laughed one of her barking laughs and where he watched her in slight amusement as she wiggled her fingers at him in a wave. Of a time where her hips had swayed seductively under his palms, to where he pushed that gleaming hair aside in order to kiss her cheek. Of a time… on some gorgeous, untouched island far far away, where the rustling of leaves and the sound of labored breathing underneath him drowned out every other sound in the universe...


In their mutual surprise she had the time observe him. And, his response disarmed her, but only for a moment. Her name on his lips provoked a new storm... and a second attack...

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:45 pm

She heard him utter her name, and then her fist connected with his shoulder, sending pain up her hand and arm. But it was worth it enough that she hit him again and again. How dared he act surprised to see her?? How dared he disrupt her life again while she wanted nothing but put the past behind her??

How dared he look so damn handsome…


She heard her own words and couldn’t stand the sound of her voice as it turned shaky,... unsteady. She was going to cry, like a typical female. She hated it to be typical, or ordinary, or silly-girlish, or whatever. The direct sight of his lips, and his voice, deep and mature... wasn’t supposed to make her insides go all mushy, and make her lose her edge. No! She refused to do so!

“No! Don’t you ‘Bel’ me, you… dishonest, pilfering wharf rat… I waited for you...for tendays, months even. I would likely still be waiting had your friends not try to reclaim me...in YOUR name.” Words poured from her like whisky from a bottle at a pirate den.
It was like a sickness that had to be purged.


“Why you lied to me?! Why did you have to lie so hard that it came close enough to a truth, a reality I was ready to believe? All those lies which I even now can still see swirling around you! Was it fun?? Did you had a good laugh?? Did you pass?? Did you score with your crew?? I hope you’re suffocating in your lies and crumple inside like… like...” She finally realized she was ineffectively pummeling his chest, allowing a violence course through her that would have appalled her at any other time.

Was she really this weak? Letting this man enrage her into acts of violence? But he really did have the nerve to exist -and- to appear here like that! And why?? To shatter the remaining pieces of her heart? Suddenly she felt weak, and sick. All the color drained from her face, and her voice turned into a weak, creaking noise. “Why..."



The assassin lowered his hood, revealing the type of guy who would just splash some water on his face, run his fingers through his hair and move out the door without even casting a glance in the mirror as he rather bothers about other stuff. A familiar pair of small golden hoops sat at his right ear.


Nor the explosion of harmless hits on my torso, nor another short lapse of time did furnish me with an ample explanation on how this once so young girl, who combined every possible aspect of beauty and other elegant qualifications with a warm yet wild heart, could possibly still be so very alive. I witnessed how tears of rage and helplessness filled eyes of which I remembered they were green, and listened to the continous stream of words while I reexperienced the past with all its ups and downs of ecstasy and misery.

I found myself compelled to wrap my arms around this now somewhat more matured girl. Thus far I had maintained a lengthy silence as my tongue felt too thick and too clumsy, but my eyes were burning with the need to look at her lips and the air between us seemed to tingle when she met my gaze. I wasn’t sure if my heart had ever pounded so fast in my life when I silenced her flood of words by pressing the warmth of my mouth on hers, the touch sending a current down my very own spine. I inhaled the mesmerizing scent of magnolia lemon of this wonderful creature I considered born with saints in a sacred court of angles, and I inhaled it ever so deeply as if to convince myself this all wasn’t just a dream. And when she started to back away to proceed her foul-mouthed tirade at me, I simply pulled her back against me and reengaged our kiss, a new, more burning sensation surging throughout my entire body.

Crap, Ric… you are drooling, man…

Her scent, now filling my nose, merely amplified the memory of the passion that had existed between us, and for the first time since long I felt… desire. Heh, I had no idea what all had happened to her in the past years, and it was very possible she was married and all that.

As if I would care about that…


All I could see was a picture in my mind of what we once had…



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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:47 pm

The gypsy-like woman found her torrent of words halted by strong arms wrapping around her, her body pressed against the assassin’s and held against a form that was all whipcord strength. His arms caged her, stilling the ineffectual beating she was trying to dish out. For a moment, she fought it… resisted it. But she soon melted into the kiss, memories and feelings assaulting and overwhelming her.

His arms had always been so strong, that has not changed. And his body felt even harder, all muscle, with barely any fat on him, perhaps too lean. And his taste, he tasted of whiskey and mint...She wondered if he still chewed mint after smoking a cigar. Memories came rushing back, that connection between them. Their time had only been a few weeks, yet it was enough to have scarred her permenantly. She tried to pull away, only to find herself pressed against the wall. His mouth was firm against her own, forbidding any more talk from her. One strong, in leather encased thigh pressed between her legs, pinning her in place.

Her heart pounded fast. She knew she should fight this, but when he was kissing her as if doing so was more important than drawing his next breath...well...it… it was hard to resist. Too hard when she had gone without any affection for so long. Her hands ceased pummeling his shoulders and instead ended up entwined in his unkept hair. They would talk… after. They probably would fight too… after. She would have to guard herself… after. But she just needed a few more moments of this...just a few to last her a lifetime. She placed both her hands on his chest with her arms locked at the elbow… but didn’t push.


After what seemed to have last for a lifetime, or at least for a long while, the assassin broke the kiss, drawing in several deep breaths in an attempt to rein in his less... -cultivated- impulses.

And when I looked into those what I recall as sea green eyes, my chest went tight. The things she must have gone through. Trust… she had trusted me to catch up on her and I didn’t. But how could I possibly have known? And even if I had, I wouldn’t have been able to free myself earlier. A warmth expanded through my gut the more I looked into those eyes, like feeling lost on a wondrous ocean. I couldn’t resist myself of leaning in again albeit more careful, and nipping at her now moist lower lip. I leaned my forehead against hers, the tip of my nose brushing her cheek, and silently I cursed the dark shadows beneath and the tears pooling in -what I recall- wonderful eyes.

So… I tried it again as I caressed her lower back.


”...Bel’...”



Meanwhile, about five streets away, a man who’s reputation preceded him, stood on a mossy sea-wall in front of a black sleek ship with muscled arms folded over his chest, his large rough hands touching slightly tensed bicep muscles. He was very tall with long brown hair in ropey dreadlocks hanging about his scarred face. He cast a calculating look in the direction of the dock’s district before finally turning over to the men lounging and waiting behind him. Golden earrings, battle scars, scruffy beards, rows with yellowed and missing teeth had all been on the alert as they faced the captain the moment he turned over to them. His scarred face was frightening in its own, and proof he was able to conquer, those sunken eyes -dark as rum- commanding respect as they penetrated each and any one of them.

The men, all armed to the teeth with daggers and short curved blades, disappeared swiftly and silently in the night after a silent nod from their master pirate. Standing on the jetty not far from his ship, with the cold wind tugging at his dark red cloak, the captain awaited their return, his hand on the hilt of his sabre.


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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:48 pm

Her name on his lips awoke her from her moment of inner sunshine. How dare he kiss her so tenderly after what he had done? After what he had cost her? After she practically had sold her soul to him?? Anger bubbled back up, swirling with the passion. Her hand balled up into a fist and connected with rock hard abs encased in soft leather.

“Ow!!!!!” The cry of pain ruined what was to be her grand show of anger, her hand now throbbing with pain as she shook it. “You...you….bastard! You cur...you hurt my hand!” The absurdity of that statement was so utterly lost to her in her fit of rage. How comedic this would look to an outsider. And what a tragedy it was to the players. Fate was such a cruel and fickle bitch.


Erickar, who found himself incapable of bracing himself, including the incoming fist which he almost glady seemed to collect as if it were some sort of pay off, grasped her by the shoulders with a somewhat firm overhand grip. Then, as if it seemed to occure how petite she (still) was, he loosened his grip some, yet without letting go of her.

“Them be shoutin’ ye be dead, Bel’… fed t’ th’ sharks...” My otherwise steady and heavy accented voice suddenly seemed so damn tense, so tight and so husky with emotion. I wrapped my arms around her and held her close.


The girl could sense and hear the assassin’s strong heartbeat and for a moment they lingered there, relishing this moment of closeness. The smell, the feel and the touch of each other was swallowed by the darkness surrounding them. Then, Erickar drew a bit away and looked her in the eyes. “Ther’ be lot t’ shout ‘bout... but…” he cast a glance at the dead pirates and shook his head,” ‘s much I be likin’ t’ catch up, nay ‘ere.”
Especially while being assaulted by all sorts of sensations, overwhelmed by ‘ordinary things’ that should not affect him, the assassin didn’t seem exactly comfortable by sticking around so long and so close to his victims.


I wanted to grab her around her waist, sling her over my shoulder and carry her out of here as fast as I could. Strong evidence for… what, eh? The wind felt so damn cold on my now warm, moist lips and I looked at the one responsible for making me feel vulnerable and sensitive to things so suddenly. It were things I never even had cared for in the past years. But hells, I wanted to taste and drink her soul again, and I wanted to feel utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some of my choices once more.

Never have I ever forgotten how she once looked at me, on that day when we escaped for a moment, and I playfully handed over a fitting hat. Such a young girl, her dark hair looking brown in the light of the sunset and a sky adorned with brilliant reds and oranges...



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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:50 pm

The beat of his heart against her ear combined with the pleasure of being held so close to his chest and his warmth flowing into her, had her own heartbeat quickening. Thus the words then spoken were like a shower of cold water. She looked over at the pirate she killed and shivered. The shadows that played could be easily mistaken for ghosts if one believed in the spirits. She believed in spirits.

Her mind was whirling, her breath for a moment flowing in jerky gasps. Talk...he wished to talk, now...now after she had finally started to make a new life. A new life now in shambles since she killed a pirate to save a worthless boy’s life. She would have to go below deck once more, and just when she was so tired of running. The weight of it all seemed to crush the fight right out of her. All her senses told her to flee...to just take off and take off preferably with billowing sails. She struggled to accept the loss of another attempt for a life. But leaving Franky here, in his own piss, would render the life she snuffed out a worthless action. Her peace of mind could not allow that.


And like as if said mind had come to the end of a long list of considerations, she gestured vaguely towards the dark alleyway between buildings behind the unconscious Franky.

“His aunt lives in the Jewel Ward. It is not too far. And she knows me well...which is the only reason I was entangled in all of this in the first place…”

Her voice sounded so...bitter and jaded, even to her own ears. She was not the girl he once wooed and abandoned. Not anymore. She wondered what he would think of what she had become. She wondered if he would really care. Then she hated herself for even wondering. He was bad news, trouble walking on two legs. And she would be far better off if he did not care.



The assassin nodded and finally let go off her. “Mm… ‘ight, betta get goin’ then.” He pulled his hood back up and leaned over, his leather gloved hands reaching for the unconscious body.

So… basically… instead of tossing Rosabel over my shoulder, it was Franky who got privileged. Not that he completely deserved this service as I bet he never ever before had faced the consequences of his actions. But neither did the boy deserve whatever it was these guys’ clients or captain have ordained.


And neither did... -they-...

I turned a moment to look at the bodies at my feet and I actually felt pity for them. Young lads who once as boys had been lured into the romantic illusion that was pirate’s life, lads who had harbored merely notions of the dangers such contained. I bet to neither of these three lads it actually had occured to they could end up sailing into madness under the flag of a captain displaying bloodthirsty behaviour... or the possibility of ending up in dark, damp, perilous dungeon chained to a wall with merely nothing but a few scraps of cloth clinging to their bones, their skulls hanging down as if they had left to the life beyond this merely by dozing off.



Since, in their dreams many of these young lads saw themself showing off their bling while strolling hand in hand with some sexy pirate lass down sweet golden sand near a twilight blue ocean. The promise of wealth had something to do with this foolishness, along with the snare to catch these minds camouflaged in the numerous tales and songs meant to implant the idea of aspiring a life that escapes ‘tyranny’. I myself have actually been one of those ‘unknowing propagandists’, armed with a lute I had used for the job, a device which was now lying shattered to pieces at the rocky bottom of some unknown cliff.

But I couldn’t help it recalling the words and the melody. As… yes… I did recall them all too well.


song + lyrics : https://worldwideadventurers.bandcamp.c ... ate-shanty

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:51 pm

Not wasting any time, and without hiding the bodies I followed Rosabel wordlessly into a narrow alley, carefully stepping between debris and the waste inevitably disposed between it. Now, I may have lost my ability to identify color, but not my sense of smell. Here and there I picked up the scent of human and animal excrements. I was used to some stuff but at some point we crossed an area where the stench burned an unforgettable smell into our nostrils ever so deeply, so much worse than a leg displaying an infectious disease in the shape of multiple festering wounds. Something over there in a dark corner was rotting away into the very core of its empty, soulless shell. I shook my head. Something that was far far beyond any help. And when I glanced over at Rosabel, I noticed I wasn’t the only one whose stomach turned.


For a moment the girl had to stop, her palm flat against a wall as she leaned, the back of her other hand covering her mouth as she attempted to ease her gag reflex.

“Jist make fists, Bel’… make fists...” the assassin behind her whispered while exhibiting the nervous impulse to cast a few furtive yet worried glances over his free shoulder, the boy like a sack of potatoes over his other.

Rosabel could easily detect Ric’s behaviour, as if he was expecting a boat to show up, filled with black-robed killers paddling towards them. The leather of the man’s outfit squeaked softly as he shifted Franky’s weight. She could notice his eyes, noticing they never settled on one spot, alertly scanning their surroundings. Yet he remained without further words or other sounds.


So much suffering. Part of her gift was a higher degree of empathy. She could sense the pain of others, she was more aware of things others tend to miss. It did her well when pretending to tell fortunes. But in a situation like this, it was a liability. The scent of death was a sickening perfume, surrounding her in a suffocating shroud. She could not escape it. She had to escape it, but she couldn’t breath. All the while, there was a prickling sensation at the back of her neck as well. That feeling of being hunted.

Was death now stalking her? The spirit of the pirate whose life she had taken? She looked back for a moment, her knees going weak. Ric’s voice called her back to reality though, her hands balling into fists at the command. It helped...if only a little. But then she noticed, he felt it too. Perhaps it was not just her guilt chasing her. Perhaps the specter she felt was something far more mortal, and perhaps far more dangerous than any spirit she could imagine.

So she concentrated on Ric. Stepping where he stepped, watching the play of muscles that rippled under the leather as he carried the boy. She whispered directions, not surprised that he seemed to know exactly where to go and how to get there. He was always resourceful. He got rid of her quick enough after all…

Bitterness welled up. Fed to the sharks...was it true? Or just a handy lie to deflect her anger? She hated that small kernel of hope that was taking root in a heart that she long believed dead.

Just as dead as the child she had lost...




A pair of black boots stopped just outside the puddle of thick blood pooling from under one of the three cold bodies. And as if the owner wanted to make sure he didn’t ruin the fine quality leather, he took one step back before he crouched, sweeping a dark cloak back over his shoulder. There was of course an entirely different reason why he was so careful. A glacial calmness seemed to be running through this man’s veins as he fingered some blood-soaked cloth with the tip of a lengthy stiletto, his head leaning a bit to the side as he studied the entry wound which had been delivered from above. He peered up from under his hood at the roofs and quizzingly looked out into the night, a single ring glittering upon his finger as he silently put on supple leather gloves.

An instant later the ‘boots’ were gone and the pitch-black alley was deserted again, once more without anyone caring to close the staring eyes and gaping mouths on any of those corpses, let alone cover them...


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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:53 pm

At some point Ric stopped and scanned the alley ahead. The darkness was heavy like a tomb, the alley behind and in front of them seemingly desolate, but the man knew things could be deceiving. And so he remained in the deepest of shadows along with the young woman, his forefinger rising to his lips as a sign of silence. And they waited, -not- rushing things at all. The man smirked a bit to himself.

Unlike in the past.

And the longer they waited, the more their hearing seemed to improve. A drop of what was high likely waste water splashing into a dirty puddle somewhere in the distance, pieces of laundry rustling in the breeze above them, a woman hollering through one of those closed shutters, clearly having an argument with her man, and a door slowly squeaking on its hinges as it was opened and closed not that far behind them.


My trouble bobble had been itching for too long now. I looked at Rosabel and shook my head once to her. There was no way we’d be moving, not yet.
‘Expect the unexpected as whatever god may have something up his or her sleeve... anything… except a miracle. As for all you know a devil may be send in the disguise of angel.’ Wise words I guess from my once mentor, but at times they have proven more true than my very own reflection in the mirror.

This waiting was getting troublesome however. Franky wasn’t very heavy, but after carrying him for over more than half an hour while moving through this type of terrain, I started to feel his weight in my knees. Yet I didn’t dare to move. And another thing. The longer we stood there, the more I found it hard to not have my swirling thoughts on Bel’ distract me. How the hell did she manage to escape after she was thrown to the sharks? Or did they fished her up again, had a bit more fun before they dumped her in the conviction the sharks would get her? How much more had she suffered? Cause if they had made her su…

I cut off this maelstrom of thoughts with a pinch at my ear. See what I mean? -Dis-tracting-

And not a moment too soon either as I perceived two silhouettes stopping at the entrace of the deep alley we were in. I held my breath when I saw weapons clearly outlining against the background, the metal several hues lighter than the blackness surrounding them. But then the sound of a tiny stone dropping from a roof down an outer wall and clattering to the ground had those men turn their backs on us. One of them was making silent gestures and they took off in a direction opposite to ours. But dammit, I suppressed a curse when I stopped Bel’ with the back of my hand. Against which she almost ran into with her nose. But I didn’t care at this point. It’s not because there was no visible danger that the coast was clear. I ignored the fury briefly flaring her eyes, though I think she realized as she waited like a good girl in silence next to me.

So close next to me...

Dammit Ric… dammit…



After a stop that seemed to last like hours, they continued their journey through many more ‘useful’ streets and alleys, the assassin keeping his keen eye on the rooftops and any fast getaway routes by sight. Then, all of a sudden, where there first barely had been any light, the sky turned bright, the moon shining like a diffuse ocean above them as pallid clouds dissolved. Buildings became higher than the ones at the docks had been. Pitch black candle-like structures lined out, rising up against the night sky, some protuding from roofs.

The jungle of washing lines and frayed rope ends made way for clear and well-kept terraces, most of them featuring little gardens that seemed regularly weeded and kept in good condition. Rods had been used to hang oil lanterns, and the light these soft burning lamps spread, cast a play of light and shadow around the walls and tips of dozens of minarets, structures that dominated this city’s skyline. The height of these creations, build of stone cut from quarries in nearby hills, was usually designed in proportion to how deep ones pocket were. The higher the buildings got, the more wealthier the people living inside were.

It was that hour of the night were the pair found the balconies and terraces empty, and the assassin briefly squinted at the surrounding steep, narrow spiraling stone staircases before he motioned to continue. The two with their ‘package’ trudged in silence through the streets, -shadows cast on their faces-, and still none had crossed their path...


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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:54 pm

Almost too easy heh. But if anyone shows up and does ask, I have my story ready and I just will have to be faster than Rosabel’s chatty lips. Unfortunately, and as far as I recall, she’s an incompetent liar whereas I once used to be a master of pooring the truth into an all concealing masquerade. Or rather a master of deceit who decided who wasn’t worth the truth. I smiled sadly to myself. Back then I did had to watch out to keep truth and deception well seperated as my lies were at times so complex and good, it almost felt like they were true, even to me. Not always the best way to go as the more complex you build up a lie, the more complicated it may become to cover every aspect. A few times it even had been necessary to enforce lies into truth, making things happen that hadn’t happened. Just to cover our asses.
As long as we fared well I suppose.

We were clearly getting into the better parts of the city, so we better kept our eyes and ears open. And hopefully Bel’ will keep her mouth shut. Well… at least until we have delivered this lame drunk to his aunt. For me it has been a while since I last visited these parts. But the docks just proved to have more opportunities for a case like myself. Yea sure, it was probably at lot more dangerous, but around here I’d also have to take the Guard into account should my cover ever get blown. And the infrastructure about… well… it simply did not lend itself greatly to ‘neck-breaking solutions’.



How confusedly buildings earlier on had been heaped and piled together, and how very narrow streets and alleys had been, shutting out the cold wind, how well-arranged, spacy and windy the suburban street the young woman lead them into proved. There were even sidewalks and vegetation in the shape of tidy yards walled in with designful wrought iron between what appeared to be a main road and the homes. The homes around here were clearly older, yet almost each of them seemed to feature such refurbished, decorated facades and timber patios that it caused the transition from those shanty dwellings to this obviously flourishing neighbourhood to be universally shocking.


Fecking ‘home sweet home’.
At least those last three words is what I read from a wooden sign above one of the doors we passed. This ‘trip’ we were doing made me rediscover one of the other reasons why I hadn’t picked this location over the docks to go into hiding.

My aversion to the wealthy.

I know I wasn’t fair at all, and that my current thoughts were partially still affected by events from my childhood. Of course I realized that there were a lot of hardworking and successful citizens about who had earned their wealth in strictly earnest ways. And yea sure, I knew pirates these days were nothing but scum who often unprovoked and dastardly claimed such people’s belongings. Somewhere down the line though we forgot why we had become pirates, and that our actions were initially aimed at government policy and certain aspects of what they claimed to be the law.

Also unfortunately, our way of living appealed the most to the marginalized people at the bottom of every society. And the lack of some ‘force’ coordinating this increasing population eventually had caused our purpose and goals to fade. It degenerated into chaos and into a watered down culture of stealing, plundering and worse. It was really and truly hypocritical of those who claimed to have turned to liberated, unconventional lives, to be feasting and drinking on piles of gold of the hardworking.

I knew all of that, yet it still wasn’t enough to suppress the memories of a little boy being kicked out of his parental house by said ‘hardworking folks’ after his mother had passed away. And the memory of how no one seemed to want the responsibility over that boy, or even support him in overcoming his significant problems. Well, I guess by now some may have learned what a mistake such was,... and still is.

Such an easy target kids are, no?

At any rate. My vision of a spirited youth along with my dreams of rag-tag gangs of mavericks fighting inequality had been shattered already years ago.


After a few more left and right turns through neatly paved side streets, the young woman stopped in front of an older building on the corner. Fog had started swooping in from the direction of the docks, skirting around the roofs of the buildings and their respective minarets. The door and buildings in front of them mysteriously loomed out at them, bathing in the remaining blue-white light of the moon. Around them it was as if the world was slowly going blurry, like a painting worn by time, the decor and buildings coming across as two-dimensional as they poked out and silhouetted black against the impending mist, slowly envelopping the rest of the city.


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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:55 pm

Some weathered antique looking wooden sign above the door read : -Dr. Troy - Druggist-
The assassin stood still with the package over his shoulder, quietly looking up at the door as fog now also started curl about his form. Then he turned his gaze to the woman whose hair clung dankly to her head, his expression a moment like as if he was staring at the image of some half forgotten dream.


Dame Adelaide was in her comfortable bed, but she did not slumber. Sleep had become but a nodding aquaintance since the death of her brother and his wife. Her nephew worried her. He had no ambition, he had no prospects and he had no dreams but for a life of debauchery. A life that she did not have the funds to support. She had a modest fortune as a retired actress. The shop below was once her husband’s and now...her husband’s younger brother ran the shop and as what was right, he recieved the bulk of the profits. And she did not begrudge him that at all. And she would not see that taken from him, not even for her own blood.


Rosabel breathed easier as they had entered the Jewel Ward. While this was by no means as wealthy as the Grand and Palace Ward, it was the place where gemcutters and whitesmiths resided, and the area was well maintained, far better lit, and a lot more safe. The current Ward Ruler was a member of the Kindly Order of Silversmiths who seemed to do everything in his power to keep trade and wealth going. How he exactly achieved that, Rosabel didn’t know. But what she did know and did learn, was that a big share of the illegal weapons and magic trade happened in the underbelly of this Ward. If she knew this, the Ward Ruler knew this. Regardless, and aside from that, this Ward was one of the best places in whole Calimport to live.

Just two houses to go and they would find Dame Adelaide’s townhouse. A small drugstore was the bottom floor, the top two floors being designated as the once reknown actress’ abode. It was so neat and tidy, painted in faded pastels. The balconies on the upper floors were overfilled with flower pots in a happy explosion of color and scent.

It made Rosabel yearn. Perhaps one day… a place similar, for her. Something small. It would need not be so large, just safe. A place she could fill with flowers and herbs, a small workshop where she could ply her wares. It was not an entirely impossible dream, even for someone who had to start from scratch merely years ago.

Now that she was more in her own element, she took lead. Ducking beneath a ivy laced overhang, she made her way to the side door to ring the bell, cringing just slightly. The old dame had no live in help. At this hour, they would wake her, possibly frighten her. Her hand unthinkingly reached out, and then just smacked the unconscious Franky upside his head.


Franky was unconscious, the top of his head displaying a huge bump, and he probably had pissed his pants. But he was breathing. The slap didn’t seemed to add to his current condition and the assassin shook his head,” Pr’bably sleepin’ ‘ff th’ debauch.”
Then, he raised his head and looked up when shutters of a window on the next floor carefully opened a crack.


An older lady with permed hair and a woolen scarf wounded tightly around her neck peered down. As if a map of her life, the lady displayed a fair number of wrinkles around her eyes and mouth, her back stooping over like she was carrying an invisible weight. But there was a strength in those steel-grey eyes, her face soul-expressive and one could easily perceive she was a lady of respectable breeding.

Stout-hearted she gazed down at the assassin and her voice displayed authority, making her look even less frail,” Take your trouble and friend someplace else before I call for the guard. The shop is closed around this hour… especially for addicts. Try the docks if you need your brain stimulating stuff…”

At that point Belle took a few steps back and away from the building and stopped next to Ric, holding up her hand and waving, causing the elder lady’s voice to falter. The entire scene down below seemed to mystify the lady and when she spoke again she sounded slightly alarmed,” Rosabel? Is that you? What -on earth- are you doing down there in the middle of the night with…”


Scum…

I truly believe that is what she was about to say. But I see her think it over and wonder. Still… I guess I have this effect about me causing this and frankly… I couldn’t really blame the wariness and suspicion that had entered those old eyes. I actually had gotten used to the fact of being judged upon my appearance. If what people are observing doesn’t conform to what they have learned from past experiences, or on the contrary… did learn..., they promptly dismiss or reject it.

I guess I have been a shallow judge ever since my youth as well... when I watched those rich people in silence rolling by in their fancy chariots with lots of bling bling, while I was shivering in my rags, the wind and cold whisking any heat away my body contained. I’ve been naive at the time, hoping someone would take me along. But only for a few days. Coincidentally, my mother had been a jewelry maker and our home always had appeared warm and comfy to me. I was fed well every day and I had received a proper education until the day she passed away. Her employer however never had cared much about her or me, only about her work, and her money. The house, so I was told at the time, was rented by her employer. And I found myself being kicked out after she died, no remorse. Of course he cheated. But who cared?

I truly believe I would have been a totally different person if my mother had still been alive. Unfortunately, she wasn’t. And now, each time I see diamond brooches and fancy hats, -like as if it were some conditioned reflex- I turn as cold as the cold I experienced the day I ended upon the merciless street where I was emotionally incompetent to resist the temptations and opportunities I came across...

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:30 pm

Dame Adelaide was slightly shocked seeing Rosabel, her hairdresser, standing next to that man. The young woman had always seemed so careful, only once speaking of a husband lost at sea. When she saw the girl gently touch the ruffian’s arm and the way the girl looked at the man, her own head tilted. She regarded the male -who had pushed back his woolen hood- a bit more carefully, noting the sun-weathered features. A gleam of lighter revealed hair that had been kissed by the sun. His stance showed a male used to the deck of a ship, his feet braced slightly apart. Could this be the long lost husband? Then, she heard the soft words. “We have Franky here, he had a small bit of trouble…”

Adelaide sighed. “I will be right down, dearheart. We can discuss what trouble he found inside.”


Using the wooden railing for additional support and slightly side-stepping, the lady descended the stairs as she shook her head to herself. Franky was the child of a widowed mother, her brother’s wife, who had come to pass a few years ago as well. She herself was married once long ago but never had been able to bring a child into this world herself. She had taken care of Franky like he were her own son. Especially when his mother had turned to prostitution in order to pay Franky’s private school fees. More than often Adelaide had offered her sister to take care of that as she was fairly comfortable off thanks to her late husband’s legacy. Such conversations however often lead to fierce debates and bittersweet goodbyes each time her sister in law left for ‘work’, and in the end Adelaide had given up on it. So each woman did what she thought she needed to do, and for Adelaide it meant taking care of Franky.

Having Franky around hasn’t been and still wasn’t easy. Partially that was her own fault. Too much sugar, too many toys, and not enough rules, but she never had known an iron hand herself. Already as a toddler, Franky had had more bratty days than ‘less-bratty’ days. Back then she should have responded with a lot more authority each time he whined or threw tantrums across the room. She sighed. If Franky only was as strong-willed as his father had been back then. Maybe if she had countered him more often. If, if if. Nothing she could do about it right now. At this age Adelaide’s hopes had shifted to Franky finding a job… and a decent woman. Unfortunately Franky proved capable of ruining every contact she had carefully orchestrated. Including the contact with Rosabel...

And for ‘some reason’ she sensed how her last hope for setting up Franky with the girl for whom she was about to open the door, faded away…


Adelaide opened the door, allowed them to enter and quickly closed it behind them. Then, she turned around, watching the scenario with a certain interest.

Adelaide regarded the two carefully, seeing things many others might miss. Rosabel’s color was heightened and she was trying so very hard to keep from stealing glances at the man who had Frankie almost carelessly slung over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes. Not that she could blame the girl. Something about the male was extremely compelling. In the light of the torch Adelaide was holding, she could make out the sun-kissed skin that made his eyes almost startling. And with that hood of his down, his streaked light brown hair was consistant with what little Belle had spoke of her long lost husband. Also, the man stood with feet braced apart, as if still riding the waves aboard ship.


“And look at you, back from the dead, are we?” She lowered her glasses, shook a finger at him, not even waiting for the introductions as her own astuteness had taken the lead. “Young man, I know that once the sea becomes the mistress it is hard to resist the call, but our Rosabel is too pretty a woman to be left to fend for herself. You should think about either staying closer to shore...or becoming a captain in your own right and taking her with you!” She was leading them up the stairs and into her appartment as she continued on and on. “Ric, is it? Yes, that was the name… and you should get her a proper wedding ring as well, man. You left her with no protection at all...and the vultures will prey on pretty little girls with no male to protect them!”

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:31 pm

Rosabel had no idea if crying or laughing would be more appropriate. The topic of her ‘husband’ had come up once, maybe twice, and mostly when she was avoiding being ‘matched’ with some male. Ric’s existence had become a shield of sorts, so that role was easier. She has been playing the grieving, loyal wife, still married to the memory of a husband lost at sea, yet never forgotten. Only one tiny detail… they were never wed. She saw her carefully constructed story unraveling. Any moment now, Ric would reveal her for the liar she had become. She could only hope... Adelaide would still wish to retain her services. She paid very well and damn it… she was kind to her. She was aware of her eyes pleading with him, so she quickly let her lashes shield them. The last thing she needed was for him to see her beg. Then came the sudden realization that it really did not matter. Her life here, such as it was, was already over as a matter of fact. Yet, there was that part of her that did not wish this one woman to think ill of her. She liked her. ‘Damnit Ric’, was what briefly flashed through her mind.


The assassin watched the girl with growing amazement as the elderly lady carried on, his dark honey colored eyes were bright and glittering with amusement as he cocked his head, a little smile lurking at the corners of his lips at the mention of a wedding ring. Then, he abruptly interrupted Adelaide and patted Franky’s thigh. “Nay ‘ffense, lady, ‘tis matey ‘f yers is gettin’ heavy. Whar ye like me t’ dump ‘im?

-My- first thought? Wow! Crap... Ric, who’s the first class liar now?

Adelaide motioned us to a sideroom where I tossed Franky on an old sofa featuring a large dip in the middle. Figured, lazy as hell. His aunt rather rudely shoved two cushions under his head and threw a wool blanket over the lad. Then, we followed her back to the warm, cosy living room where a gentle snapping fireplace just seemed to invite me and Bel’ to curl up with one another.

So I dropped myself onto a rather deep couch, my body sinking at three-quarter speed. I rested my legs and weary feet on a low stool as Adelaide closed the thick drapes and took a seat on the edge of a winged-back chair. She looked at me with a level and levelling gaze, clearly assessing my mannerism. I didn’t care. Heh, I earned some rest after saving her nephew’s butt, and for dragging him all the way down here. Then, I looked up at Belle… anticipating...



Adelaide sighed a moment, memories of the past intruding as they tended to do. Once she had a handsome young man like that at her feet. Youth was wasted on the young, they wasted the time given until age stole the vitality from them. These two were certainly wasting their time. Perhaps they needed a little nudge.

“I imagine Franky got himself into a mess that his pretty face but somehow exhusting charm could not get him out of.” She waved a hand as if used to such. “I am sure you have quite the tale to tell...and I look forward to hearing it… in the morning, over breakfast where I expect to you both to show up, -on time-. The guest room is always kept prepared. I am sure you both will find it most comfortable. It is far too late in the evening to give whatever you tale it is you have a proper audience, and I am sure you can both use some relaxation. My cook does put on a rather extrordinary brunch… I just ask that you light your own fire there. My old bones protest such contortions now days.”

For a moment she watched the scenario with interest, her gaze shifting from Ric to Rosabel who was still standing in the middle of the room, indecisive. She exchanged a significant glance with Ric who first arched a brow and then grinned. Then, she got up and moved out of the room with a pillow under her arm, whispering something incomprehensible under her breath.


A silence descended over the room like a blackwinged owl striking from the darkness... as each drank in the other’s appearance. The girl’s heart however was racing as fast as a fireworks shot, her breathing everything but rhytmic. The man lounging on the couch seemed to experience fragments of thoughts and splinters of words uttered so long ago while his fingers ran through his somewhat tousled hair. Then, he turned to look up at her, and noticed her anxiety. He extended his arm, his hand reaching out. ” ‘t be real, luv. Jist say mi name,... Bel’,” he said. His now gravel-rough voice was genuine and clearly affected by this reunion. The soul-baring emotion when he uttered her name powerful enough to make her want hunker down and listen to whatever he had to say. Or sing… as she recalled him being a singer.

His request triggered a short, quick breath through her lips like as if he just had pulled her aboard a ship, with her sprawling on the deck. Her heart began to beat unnaturally fast as he grasped her by the wrist. And then he pulled her towards him while he leaned in, his mouth capturing hers in a slow, drugging kiss.

“Say mi name…” his addictive voice a husky whisper as he turned her over on her back, his fingers moving up to grip her trembling upper arms, the booze probably explaining his demeanour, partially.


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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:23 am

She didn’t know what she was expecting. Scorn maybe, laughter, excuses. Her emotions were too confusing to make sense of any of this. It was like some sort of obscure dream. Maybe that was it. Maybe she was not really here, but beaten and dying in that ally. His voice, so much said with such few words. When he held out his hand, damned if she did not just wish to crawl into his lap. She wasn’t given a choice. His hand pulled her to him, his lips found hers and she was just lost.

His kiss was intoxicating, it always had been. Even that first night when she was so young and so scared. But now, now he kissed her as if she was necessary for him to draw his next breath, all the while demanding that she say his name. What was a girl to do? Being kissed by a naughty devil as he wove such a spell? She said his name alright... moaned it against his lips actually. Then cursed herself after…

Mint and rum she tasted from his lips as she went to capture more. His reply was a soft and pleased groan, his hands seeking out the rest of her form. Deeper, and deeper they sank into the kiss and that couch, her hands threading through his hair. “Hold tight, mi litta humming bird” he whispered at some point, before she was lifted from the couch into his arms, and carried off to the room next door. Its door was shut with a careless swipe of his foot before he laid her down on the bed, his hands with fascination working on the upper buttons of her clothes that concealed her shape…


---


There’s nothing above a good night sleep after mind blowing sex. As a matter of fact, I haven’t fallen asleep so easily in ages. My intercourse with Rosabel was as if I had attended to a nine-course gastronomic banquet with my senses as cutlery. Every mouthful had left me tingling all over my mind and body, and curious for more I eagerly awaited what’d be next. In the end I had just felt joyful, carefree… weightless...

They say the ocean was once the cradle where all life began in this world and I just felt like -I- was the only one gently floating on top of its serene surface with a fair wind, and with tiny waves lapping about each other and my form. A sensation of tremendous peace in the boundless space of the birth-chamber of all life was to a sailor the sign for a very successful voyage, to lovers the promise of hot mutual affection and a long-term future courtship. And there I was, being both. Even through my dreams I seemed to be well aware of that warm body cuddling against my own, my arms wrapped around her.

So quiet, so peaceful… that I never would have guessed things could get so restless and turbulent again at such short notice...

Why couldn’t they just leave me alone, heh…



I was jolted awake in the middle of the night, and for a moment there it felt as if my soul had been sucked out of my body. While my spirit was still floating out there in that other vast realm, my body slowly became aware of a noise in the complex existence in which I actually lived. I still couldn’t move a muscle and I only slowly became aware of my surroundings. Soft hair tickling my cheek, the fragrance of feminine perfume slowly filling my nosetrils, the velvet texture of a warm skin against mine.

While it felt like some imperceptible force was holding down my arms, legs and head, I heard it again. A muffled thud, like something tiny being tossed against the wood of the shuttered window in the room next door. My eyes were already open and I found myself staring at the ceiling until another thud sounded… followed shortly by yet another one. I frowned and thus far that was the only thing I could do.

There had been a certain rhythm to it and when I moments later overheard three thuds again with the same time interval, I was convinced I had heard well. The rest of my body finally awakened. Carefully I detached myself from Rosabel, got up from the comfy rope bed and slid the sheer curtain aside. I slipped in my leather pants and put on my black shirt. Slowly I crept to the other room where Franky was snoring like a wart hog on the couch, his blankets beaten backwards and his armpits displaying embarassing pools of sweat leaking through his shirt. Trying to stave off the unpleasant underarm odor that assaulted my barely awakened senses by putting my forearm to my nose, I manoeuvred behind the couch towards the room. Funny... if you thought about the stinking, beer-swilling ratholes I’ve been in.

With my hand on the bar latch I glanced a moment back at the snoring Franky and wondered how a lad could smell this much after only one night out. That is assuming there Franky always did return to his aunt after each of his nocturnal escapades.
There was one guy who could use a hell of a bath in the morning and I couldn’t suppress a grin as I imagined how his aunt might take the lead there.


Back to the window I carefully unlocked the latch and slowly pushed open one of the panels which caused cold air to flow in the room.
Well, turns out I was wrong and right. It wasn’t the middle of the night, just rather close to dawn although the sun wasn’t even peeking at the horizon yet. Under a descending moon, the pearly mist -and with it my dreams- had dissolved until nothing remained but some tendrils of silvery hair curling like the smoke of the last flames of a fire. As I overlooked the street and my eyes shifted to the other side, a shade soundlessly emerged from the metallic shadows of the alley across the street and peered directly up at me. Then, the figure -clad in black-, took a step backwards, the soft edges of twilight and darkness like a magician’s cloak making him disappear from sight again.



But I knew he was still there, waiting. Waiting for me as his message with the tiny stones against the shutters had been simple yet explicit.

-Come-



...

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:54 pm

Moments later Erickar emerged from the building. After gently closing and locking the side door behind him, he crossed the street at a leisurely pace. As he briefly stopped on the gleaming cobblestones to take in his surroundings, the forefinger of his left hand curled inside the entrance of his wide sleeve, the fingertip assessing a mechanism that was set up to release a sharp, cold projectile from a device attached to his wrist. Then, his eyes hidden in the shadow of his hood shifted to the alley.

Whoever would pay attention to him now would conclude this man was dangerous. Ric’s step turned more reptile-like, and one could tell immediately this man possessed the predatory instincts honed by years of merciless hunting on unforgiving grounds to take a life silently,... if he chose to. In the cold, stiff night air he moved lean and with a lithe grace towards the alley where he melted into the awaiting shadows, keeping the center of gravity of his body low at all times. An asset he easily was able to maintain after Rosabel had cured his knee with her magic.

The alley he sneaked into was pitch-black, but as a result of the years of color blindness Ric’s sight had undergone a remarkable evolution which enabled him to stalk and eliminate targets under colorless circumstances since he had become better at penetrating certain color camouflages. Down the way he had learned to use texture and shape clues and therefore wasn’t as easily deceived by camouflage designed to mislead people with normal color vision.



The shade lurking in the shadows on an elevated balcony was all too well aware of Ric’s feat… and without Ric being aware that he knew...
It would only be a matter of seconds before Ric would distinguish the difference between his form and the even darker parts of the shadows. So, there was no point of playing for time even though he wished he had had the time to observe this ‘Prodigal Brother’ for a bit longer. Best to get this over with as fast as possible.



In Ric’s monochromatic world the man in a squatting position on that balcony was nothing more than a ghostly outline of a deeper grey-black. To any other however he probably would have been invisible. His hand instinctively moved in the direction of his knife at his thigh, while his other was standing by to operate the hidden wristbow as he observed the shade for furtive movements.


A smooth, yet to Ric familiar voice sounded,“ I trust you recall that the rules of the Knives are absolute. You’re either in… or you are out.” The shade rose to his feet and stepped into the weak light of the moon as he looked down at Ric with black beady eyes glaring from under darkened brows, his seemingly empty fists clenched at each side of his lean body. Ric gasped softly with surprise as the man resumed, the shadows at the shade’s legs now sharply defined puddles of blackness. “You still experimenting with that ballistic stiletto mounted on your wrist?” The man opened his gloved hands as if to show he was unarmed and placed them on the railing of the balcony as he leaned over. “I figured you’d be making a fortune in the West by now, Reverend.”

Ric’s lips parted at that, but words seemed to freeze on his tongue as the man remarked,” Then again, it might be a trifle problematic for them to allow a wanted pirate in their midst. Soo…” The shade leaped over the balustrade, swooped down and landed on a wooden beam that formed a bridge between buildings. “Where would you run indeed when there are people at either side eager to cut your throat.” Swift as a bird he jumped off the beam and silently landed merely a few paces away from Ric.


Ric had been ready to veer away but where would he go indeed. Instead he didn’t move an inch and observed the shade slowly approaching him. The man stopped only a three feet away from him, secretly admiring Ric’s composure and said,” So let us keep this as brief as possible even though I bet there is a lot of interesting stuff to talk about.” And then the shade extended his hand to Ric…


Sharks among a few others swim and hunt at the top of the food chain in virtually every part of every ocean. And yet… at least even they play a critical role in keeping populations of other fish healthy and in balance. This man was far more calculated -and- far mor ruthless than any type of shark I’d come across. Fernandez El Suave was one of the deadliest men I know as within the Knives he always had had the highest recorded number of confirmed kills. It represented the fact how much his talents were appreciated and how often he had heen deployed in the field which he more considered some sort of playground more than anything else. Some of the things he had achieved were insane and the fact he himself wasn’t insane made him all the more frightening, especially when he made an abrupt appearance.

So… I grabbed his forearm as he grabbed mine…

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Re: Erickar Avery - Between Corks 'n Anchors (backstory)

Post by Admin on Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:50 pm

After this rather unusual and what appeared to be a greeting, the man motioned Erickar to follow him deeper into the alleys, and further away from more commonly used streets. The two dark figures stepped through an old door and into a basement with a low ceiling, barely more than a crawl space. They had to hang their heads low just to walk through a warren of rooms and at the other side of the last room Fernandez opened a hidden panel. The space behind it was all damp stone and rotten timber and had no personality at all. It clearly lacked circulation of air, a stagnant scent making it dungeon-like, and the surrounding walls triggered a rather claustrophobic feeling. A small lamp spread a weak glow hung from the ceiling, its light barely enough to illuminate the floor.

Both men took a seat on a stool and Fernandez peered from under his hood up at Erickar, his elbows casually leaning on his knees. He had a smooth, well groomed beard, dark bristly brows and a hawkish nose. His midnight eyes resembled an inky ocean of unsettling coldness and darkness, each an endless pitch black abyss that was a pretty uneviable privilige to look at, especially when it was the last thing one would ever see.

“I see the years didn’t affect you that much,” Fernandez noticed.

“Heh, thanks, ya be lookin’ good ‘s well… given yer profes’sion…”

Fernandez smirked a bit and shook his head,” You did get sloppy however.”

“Th’ bodies?”

Fernandez nodded gravely.

“It be nay like me had ‘n lotta’ choice there. Th’ situa’tion required n’ fast conclu’sion ‘n me be happen’ t’ be ‘roun’.”

“Yes, you are around alright. And being hunted again as well.”

Ric arched a brow, his hand moving to his boot.

“Leave it, Reverend. If I wanted to kill you, I already would have. However… you do know I have to report irregularities in our territory within a day.”

“Dinna know th’ Knives be active ‘roun’ ‘ere.” Ric crossed his arms.

Fernandez barked a laugh and sat up straight again,” You haven’t been long enough among ours to discover how far our arm actually extends, my friend.”

Erickar rubbed his nose with his gloved hand, frowning at the mention of a friend.


As far as I recall within the Knives there existed no such thing as a real friend as there wasn’t much room for personal feelings. Friendship was classified as one of those ‘unhealthy’ emotions and although perhaps a somewhat odd philisophy, it did help keep temper in check. Uncontrolled anger can take toll on one’s health and may disrupt the ability to find sensible solutions. However, it’s not that the people of the Knives were altruists like those royal guardians who protect King this or Empress that, and fall in battle along with them. But their theology did show a few similarities regarding loyalty, a behaviour that oppossed the troublesome aspects of self-concern and represented the denial of the self. Every single member of the Knives was ought to be capable of self-sacrifice for the cause. That cause was always and forever... the continuity of the organisation. I studied the man’s expressions in front of me. Whatever Fernandez did, he was doing for his institute and it made me wary of the man’s definition of friendship as well as his intentions.


“So I be in trouble ey?”

“I would rather say double trouble, unless you make it out in time.”

Erickar frowned,” Wat’cha mean double trouble?”

“Those sailors you killed... their friends were after you. I was able to distract them just before you entered the next Ward… but… they seem rather persistent. Personally I would have chosen the roofs, but I suppose you were busy saving someone.”

“Thanks…”

Fernandez held his hand up,” Don’t thank me yet as the Knives will take measures once they are informed, probably they send someone after you to hunt you down.”

Erickar shifted on his stool, then shrugged,” He’ll ‘ave t’ be good…”

Fernandez gave him a direct look,” It probably will be me, Rev. As a matter of fact..., I’m expected to volunteer since I’ll be the one delivering the news on your whereabouts.”
His eyes grew dark on Erickar, and there was a thin line of tension around his jaw. “I’m offering you a 24 hour headstart, old friend, and may I strongly advice you to cross the Sea of Swords and head west as far as possible.”


There it was again, calling me friend. And it looked like he was letting me get away, yet I had one burning question which Fernandez could easily read from my lips forming the word.


The master assassin furrowed a brow at Ric. “...Why? Hmm. I suppose because you did what you had to. You were loyal to your crew and you put your life on the line for a cause greater than your own. If I ever were to find out that the Knives got betrayed from within, I probably would have acted in a similar way.” Fernandez paused a moment, rubbing his ear thoughtfully,” You would have served our institute well. Now, I’m sure if you manage to pull off an ‘sensational’ disappearance on us, and after me putting in a praising word or two for you… there is even a slight chance that one day the Knives may welcome you once more.”

“So I ‘ave t’ leave…”

“Pretty much. I’m glad we understand each other so well.” The other assassin got up from his stool and looked down on Ric. “One day, no more, no less. If you are still about, I won’t back away from whatever orders I will have to execute.”

Erickar got up as well, pulling his hood back up and turned to the exit.

“Oh, and one more thing.”

Ric’s face was cast in the shadow, only his eyes reflecting the soft glow of the lamp.

“Let the lass be. If she is caught in your presence by those sailors... or by one of us…” He paused ominously, his eyes intense as they gazed into Ric’s, ”...I think you understand. She’s not like you or me, Reverend. She’ll be defenseless.”



So much for ‘friendship’ I thought when I left that basement. I guess I should have guessed. But he was right on one thing. It had gotten rather unhealthy to stick around any longer out here, and since I had no other plans and intended on moving on anyways, I might as well better choose South. The question that would probably occupy me for the remainder of the night was on what to do with Rosabel. I followed the narrow passage until I arrived at an paved area between the backs of old terraced houses, a large heavy oak gate that used to be a way to prevent thieves and other scum from entering the rest of the city on the far end. I stopped for a moment in front of it, my eyes on the cold steps that led to the next Ward. I didn’t want to lose her again, but I also feared her death, and losing her would be permanent then. The choice I was about to make weighed heavy on me.

One course would have me my love at my side, but I would have to watch over my shoulder all the time, and the responsibility of the bond I desired with her would force me to take control of every nerve I had like all the time. And that wasn’t even the worst case scenario. The other option would be very painful at the start but gradually I may be able to forget about her, the knowledge of she being alive would be sort of soothing my soul. Sort of…

Dammit, just when I finally started to have my sex life back on track…


Suddenly these alleys seemed too restricting to me, just like the choices I have they were making me feel cold and suffocating. I hated it when events and people make me feel like this, but hells, I shouldn’t allow this.

What to do… what to do...

I climbed a building until I had reached a desired altitude from where I overlooked the night and inhaled cool air.





Last edited by Admin on Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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