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Life in the sands; Chapter 4: Jade and the others plot their escape.
Topic Started: Jul 19 2015, 11:45 PM (499 Views)
Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
The oubliettes of the palace of Nabil were like any other, deep holes dug in e ground in a far off corner where prisoners are sent to be forgotten. These particular two weren't meant to be left there for very long but the oubliettes were the only place that could contain the magic of the zodiac stones.

Walker and Raka were led respectfully at spear point with a following throng of spectators, eventually they were stopped at the prison gates. They were led deep into the building, down damp stone steps and your only light came from torches. They didn't stop until they reached the bottom where the ground ahead was bumped like a toad's swarthy skin. The humps were the oubliettes.

Four soldiers moved amongst the humps and pulled heavy grates off of two locations. When the work was done WLker and Raka were directed to individual pods and forced to jump in. The fall sent great but it was enough to jar the body when you landed. Walker snapped his teeth shut on the very tip of his tongue and he slammed his hand off the side on his way down.

The guards were quick to leave and they locked a thick door behind them.

Walker: Good work burning the son of a bitch.

He said to the darkness wondering if Raka could hear him.

The boys dragged their leader to his quarters as were there standing orders of Edgar was ever injured. Thug and Bruiser were the last two except for a young serving woman who was preparing bandages.

Servant: If you can remove his clothing, I will tend to the burns.

She offered with a curtsy but diverted her eyes from the leering pair. Bruiser snorted a laugh then they left the room and slammed it shut. E servant screamed and rushed to the door. As she struggled vainly against the locked portal, Edgar rose up. Smoke smouldered off of his charred skinas he stomped toward her.

Thug and Bruiser giggled like idiots at the screams. Their boss would be right as rain by morning.
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Oru
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[ *  *  * ]
Raka let himself flop like a broken puppet after the landing in the pit. He rolled himself over onto his back and took a deep breath. It was a little painful - maybe a small fracture, but no breaks. He was surprised. Maybe he was getting acclimated to Edgar's beatings. The thought made him smile.

Raka heard the guards receeding and then Walker spoke. It was strangely disembodied sounding, echoing off of the ctrange oibulettes and the low open spaces above the grates. Raka snorted. "I'd have done more if I could get a good grip on the slimy pig." He laboriously roled himself over and pushed himself into a sitting position. The walls of the pits were damp from their distance underground, but otherwise a small steel drain grate was the only other feature of them. It stank a bit like old rags and mold.

Mid'gha moved through theh alls as naturally and as in place as some of the tapestries or pillars in the palace. No guards paid her any mind, no other servants stopped to question her. In fact, she had to take a moment to clear away a pair of smooching lovers in an alcove on her way. She was always firm but gentle in her scoldings, which garnered her both respect and a deep devotion from many of the staff.

When she arrived at the Harem, she took her time as usual picking through wardrobe pieces, suggesting wear for the next day, and laying out any evening apparel the women suggested. She helped one of the youngest wives into an appealing neglige and then bowed out for the evening.

Next was the Sultan's quarters. Slipping easily inside through one of the Servants' entrances, she waited int he shadows by the draperies of his balcony for him to finish his pleasures with sives 6 and 2. The man was not of a very hearty constitution, so their waves of pleasure were quick and efficient, leaving His Magnanimousness sleepy and content. The two wives slipped out on his command, and Mid'gha waited still.

If she had been caught or seen, it would have meant death for her, she knew. But she knew no one would check. Not here, and not for her. SHe slunk forward, quiet as a cat towards the sound of the Sultan's gentle snoring. She bowed three times in respect to his heavenly form and amde her way to his armoir, where he kept his precious jewels.

She knew he didn't wear the bracelet. It would not go with all of his things. She had noticed when he dressed in the mornings. Instead, he had it on an ivory peg in his armoir, beside his scepter and an ornate crown he reserved for the most important of events.

The armoir opened with a soft click. Mid'gha froze and listened. No response. She reached in and gently plucked the bracelet off of the peg, and slipped it into a rich, velvet pouch, then tucked that into the hem of her long burka. Then she pulled out a simply gold chain, one of the wives' many bangles left around, in its palce before gently closing the armoir and slipping out the way she came.

Shara returned to the room where her mother had asked her to wait. Heart pounding, she started packing a bag. Jade watched her with a curious look in her eyes. Her mistress still trembled, curled up on the cot.

"What are you doing?" Jade asked, quietly.

Shara smiled at her, reaching out to grab her hand. She saw fear in her friend's eyes and wished to dispell it. "We must go, Mistress. We must free the shadow and the flame and flee to the desert. I will go now and fetch some of your things, and a cloak from my mother's supply. Stay here, eat the bread and fruit and drink some water, I shall return in moments!"

She saw the spark of hope rekindle in Jade's eyes and the notion spurred Shara into quicker action. She left her own small bundle with Jade and slipped out with the empty bowl of fruit. Her steps were light and quick, having learned from her mother. She picked up a bowl of fruit for the angel fromt he ktichens on her way, and then back tracked to Mid'gha's workshop. There she plucked a cloak off of a hook, a dark brown one, and another light dress in green. It was the only thing of JAde's her mother had been working on, it would have todo. Shara did not dare risk going tothe bird house and being seen.

While Shara was gone, Jade Fretted in the chamber. SHe closed her eyes and breathed slowly and deeply, trying to ease her nerves. It's over. He's dead. We're going to escape. We're getting out of here. It's over. He's dead. We're going to escape... The mantra repeated until her trembling stopped. She felt herself smiling. Dust would have been proud of the resilience of her soul.

He'd said so once. She remembered. She opened her eyes to see Shara return and they shared a smile together, filled with hope.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
Walker chuckled as Taka downplayed his role in the fight. So hungry to be the best but the first to deny his skills.

Walker: You managed it all. I only succeeded in having my sword broken a second time by that goon. That last fire strike was intense.

He remembered the flames washing out everything above him, feeling the heat through his magical barrier. Walker shifted into the most comfortable position that he could and stretched out. The confines were cramped but years spent living in caves made the oubliettes a second home for him. And the darkness never bothered Walker.

Walker: We're terrible at fighting together.

Walker stated then chuckled.

Dima as meditating in his ritual circle with three candles lit in a triangle formation with him in the center. His eyes were rolled up in his head but he was still seeing.

Wretch was curled up on a beam of the ceiling in Edgar's room. As Thug and Bruiser brought their injured leader home, the lizard began watching and took in everything. Wretch waited hours, Edgar returned to his bed after his feast and his skin regenerated. At an urging from his master, Wretch crawled on the ceiling until he positioned above the man then let himself drop.

The impact woke Edgar but barely. While mending he was in a weakened state but he managed to raise his head to see a man-gecko standing on his chest.

Edgar: What the...

Wretch opened its maw of tiny needle sharp teeth and clamped down on the side of Edgar's neck. The magical poison Dima included in his creation entered the man's bloodstream.

The lizard hopped off his bed and scampered away. Dima returned to himself and started to laugh. That should be the end of him.
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Oru
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[ *  *  * ]
Raka felt the corners of his mouth twist up. It was a dark cell, no one could see. He ran his hands over his arms, and pulled his knees up slowly, resting in a knotted ball. He didn't say anything about Walker's blade. But when Walker mentioned that they fight terribly together, something about it struck Raka as funny. He shickered. Then, upon imagining what they pair of them must have looked like, scrambling around Edgar like rodents int he branches of a tree, Raka started to laugh.

It was a hearty, painful laugh, raspiong with unused energy. He squeezed his eyes shut, unable to stop the laughter, and hence the minutia of pain that erupted with every breath. He gasped out, "So... bad." He shook his head in dismay. "Like... shambling drunks." He burst into laughter again.

Mid'gha returned by her usual route. She passed several weeping servants crowded around the healer's room and winced. This was prone to happen on occasion, so she didn't stop to ask aboput who or what had happened. She had her guesses. They were most likely true.

When she arrived at her quarters, she found both Jade dutifully waiting. Mid'gha gave her a sly smile. "Do not fear, Angel, we shall soon have you beneath the starry sky." She pulled out the velvet pouch and pressed it into Jade's hands. Mid'gha put a finger to her lips. Jade smiled.

Just then, Shara slipped into the room. "Alai will hold five horses. He begs us to take several of the new ones, for they will be difficult to train. He wishes us luck, but cannot be seen there." She smiled anxiously at the other two in the room. Jade mirrored her nervous energy, while Mid'gha was the picture of poise and confidence.

"We wait until the guard change. Then we get the Shadow and the Flame." Mid'gha had a good memory for all things. Not one of the small things were the names of all the guards and when their shifts changed.

Edited by Oru, Jul 20 2015, 12:49 PM.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
Walker shared a laugh then felt a familiar tickle at the back of his neck. It gave him relief but ignored it for now.

Walker: How long do you think before Edgar is back up?

He wondered. He'd seen the man skewered through the guts and nay bat an eye.

Walker: How did you make that inferno anyway?
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Oru
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[ *  *  * ]
Raka calmed quickly, a few renegade chuckles slipping out between breaths as Walker spoke. He shrugged. "Two days." No doubt Raka had attempted to burn the man before, but this was as far as he ever got. The first tiem it had happened, he'd just gotten his stone, and Edgar's poking and prodding had bend him over the limit. He'd thought Edgar was dead. He had been wrong.

When Walker asked how, Raka was silent a moment. Almost as if he wouldn't answer, but then he said, "...There are... different aspects of the stone. One is what you're practicing - diciplined control, mitigated effects. The other is... the element itself, the stone itself. It... if you have felt it, they have.... identities." He struggled with how to explain it. "...Aries and I have anger in common. I use that."
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It was Walker's turn to be silent. He agreed that he felt a separate identity in the stone, a scorpion. It had even invaded his dreams a few times. But he never felt connected to it, never actually acknowledged it.

Walker: I feel the sentience. It hasn't made any clear intentions, it seems more into sneaking its power through when it can, as if it's playing a game with me. It doesn't feel...angry though.

He thought some more with this new perspective. Was there an emotion or thought that he shared with the stone?

Walker: What happened with the Cancer stone then? Why did it go out of control like that?
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Raka was glad for Walker's perceptive nature. Raka was not a man of many words, and the ones he used were rarely for instruction or opinion. The thought made him frown. He didn't use his words for much of anything other then shouting, cursing, or scolding. It fit with his scowl, he supposed.

At Walker's next question, he shrugged, answering with, "I don't know. Maybe... Maybe Cancer was too different from the Kelkerry. They are a desert people, maybe an air stone or a fire stone would have conencted, or even Earth." This was all speculation of course, and Raka was quiet for a long moment before he added, "Maybe They didn't understand one another."

Jade and the others made their way quietly to the stables, Mid'gha in the lead to clear the path. JAde had ont he cloak to hide her wings and Shara suported her arm, giving the illusion of an old woman with a hump. At the stables, Mid'gha carefulyl chose a stall and had JAde wait. It was one of the horses already prepared, a grey mare. The ones Alai had readied had blankets thrown over their backs, to mask the polished leather of the saddles from any passign watchmen.

As she waited, Shara and Mid'gha made their way to the kitchens for a plate of food and a pitcher of refreshment. They had their plan.
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Walker: So Scorpio is water then. That makes a lot of sense. Sensible why we're so badly matched up.

He thought about the emotions comment and considered his training. Long ago he'd learned to accept his emotions as energy triggers that he would take and channel through his will. It was focused and used to fuel him. How was Scorpio fitting in?

Walker: So it's a bit obvious that Scorpio is a scorpion. What is Aries? You've lived with it for e longest, what's it like?
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Oru
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Raka nodded to himself within the confines of his cell. He called on a touch of the flame, and he curled it around his fingers, softly illuminating his hole. "Aries... Aries has a bad temper. CHarges into everything. Is passionate about everything. Can't stand sitting still." He smirked. "Aries is... a Ram." He ran his othrh and over the filed down nubs of his own horns and snickered quietly to himself.

It made sense, in a way.

Shara and Mid'gha made their way towards the dungeons, laden with snacks and drinks. Shara had a tray with stacks of cups and four pitchrs of cool nectar. Mid'gha had a trauy laden with chilled fruit and figs and dried spiced meats. They were greeted by the guards with a smile.

Mid'gha bowed at them. Shara smiled (Her mother said just to smile.)
"We know your troubles this night. Pray allow us to bring refreshment to those within." The guards needed little persuading. Mid'gha rushed them down, deeper and deeper until they reached the final set of doors. As they walked, Mid'gha explained quietly, "We must wait with these men guarding the stonemasters. The sleeping poison must kick in before we attempt. We will know those behind us have also fallen asleep. We offer to all who pass."

The wives of the sultan, omn occasion, needed assistance sleeping. They were administered several heavy sleeping toxins when the occasion called for it. Mid'gha knew where the draughts were stored. Many others owed her favors.

They passed many more guards, and for each they fed fruit brushed with sleeping, and drink laced with sleeping. When they reached the bottom, they were down to half a pitcher and several figs with the dried meats and one bushel of grapes.

"What have we here?" A guard said, admiring Shara as she smiled (and blushed.)

'We bring refreshment for you, good masters." Mid'gha crooned. The second man snatched up the grapes. The first smiled at Shara. Shara held up the plate of figs with a coy bat of her eye. Mid'gha was surprised at her next maneuver.

"May I feed them to you, good master?" Shara asked.

Gone were Mid'gha's days of seduction. The option had never even crossed her mind. The guard Shara flirted with was of a decent sort, and he knew who they were to each other. There was laughter and batting eyelashes and the gentle brush of a fingertip on a lip, and that was all. The second man poured himself some nectar. Shara poured her beau some as well.

Mid'gha waited with the trays.
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The oubliettes echoed with the rush of laughter that escaped Walker. It took several minutes and deep breathing before he got them under control.

Walker: Yes, Aries, a ram, very fitting. I can see why you and the stone have bonded so well.

He chuckled some more.

Walker: But seriously, the more you describe Aries the more I can see the similarities. You're almost a tanjuri version of Aries.

Those words flew out before he'd considered their meaning in regards to himself.

Walker: Wait, I think I hear voices.

His cloak flapped out around him spastically, he let it wrap around his hand and it calmed then enveloped him. Walker was out of his hole and standing near the door.

Walker: The guards are speaking to women. Damn, this door is a thick, I can't hear much.

He shouted to Raka.
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Oru
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Raka found himself chuckling along with Walker. It was strange, the first time he'd laughed in who knew long and he was in a dungeoun awaiting punishment. The world was a strange place.

When Walker mentioned hearing voices, he immediately quieted. Then Walker's voice was coming from farther away. He looked up through the grate and called, "You won't be able to get through the door. It won't burn either." He left the little serpent of fire twirling about his fingers, illuminating his ouibulette from the outside faintly.

Shara helped the soldiers finish off their figs and put the tray on Mid'gha's larger tray. Mid'gha gave her a speculative smile that spoke of how she disaproved of her daughter's methods, and SHara blushed from hea to toe.

And then the first guard went down. He wobbled, tilted, stumbled then fell. The second seemed momentarily stunned - and wouold more then likely have called out if his own eyelids hadn't betrayed him. He stagered towards the women, reaching accusatorially, and fell.

Shara had the o face of surprise. Mid'gha looked dutifully horrified. As soon as the guard was doen, they both began to search their bodies for the keys. Shara hefted them up in shaking fingers. "I have them!"

"Go, child, quickly open the door!" Mid'gha shooed Shara to the door, then positioned herself just out in the hall. There was a bit of the jerky left in case anyone should walk by. As she waited, she sprinkled a bit more of the sleep solution atop of them. Just to be sure.

Shara sitfed through the keys, one failed, another failed, she felt her palms chill and her stomach felt like it was filled with butterflies. The third key sunk and clicked and she turned the great steel bar, and Pushed with all her strength against it. "Mother, I have it!" Shara whispered urgently.

Mid'gha hurried to her side to help push and soon light from torches was streaming into the ouibulette room.

"Masters? Flame and Shadow?" Shara Whispered into the darkness.

Mid'gha, however, prepared as always, unfurled a coil of rope from her sleeve.

Raka called out 'Hear anything?" HIs firth thought was that Fiora as here to torture him. But instead he saw light. ANd he heard a very tiny voice calling for Shadow and Flame. His jaw dropped open.

No... couldn't be...
Edited by Oru, Jul 23 2015, 01:36 PM.
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The lock bar was pulled free, Walker shanked in his cloak, waited next to the door preparing an ambush. He heard the female voice and waited before revealing himself. When Shara entered with the glow of a lantern leading her, Walker stepped into the light to not frighten her.

Walker: It's our rescue.

He said for Raka's information then motioned for Shara, and including Mid'gha after noticing her, and escorted them to Raka's cell.

Walker: Have you grown comfortable down there or do you want help with this grate?
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"Unless you'd rather I blast the top off." He snarled in his classic irritated fashion.

A woman's voice, Mid'gha, called down, "Best not to use your gifts, Master Demon, I fear that the Magus can sense it."

Raka got himself to his feet and peered up through the grate - sure enough a gleam of lantern light approached on quiet feet. As he stared, a lanters was set down nearby, and three people unlocked and moved the grate. Raka was stunned to see Mid'gha and Shara lowering down a coil of rope.

Shara handed theo ther end of the rope to Walker with a blush. "Thank you."

Mid'gha chuckled, crouching by the opening in the ground. Raka wasted no time, and he started hoisting himself up and out as soon as it was secured. WHen he reached the edge he clamored up and dusted himself off. He looked at Mid'gha and Shara, addressing them both very sharply. "Dima will have your hides for this. It was a stupid thing to do."

Shara snapped back, "You're WELCOME." And immediately covered her mouth, flushing so red that she was liekly to burst into flame.

Mid'gha tapped Raka on the shoulder as if he was just being a silly little boy, and said, "Not half as stupid as Attacking Edgar while he is strongest, Master Demon. Now if you're done here, we best hurry. The drugs won't wear off for a while, but there may be guards on patrol."

Raka was still staring at Shara with a blank, disbelieving expression. He wasn't entirely sure how to take this - but it was better then being in a hole in the ground. A WET hole in the ground. He nodded mutely, and cast Walker a quick glance before falling into step behind Mid'gha.

---
Jade Kept company with the gray mare in silence. The animals, thankfully, didn't seem bothere by her presence. She didn't even mind the smell. After a few minutes of nigh-tension waiting, she very quietly gave a search of the horse, and found some provisions carefully packed in the saddlebags. There was a note, and doodled on it were a bunch of funny characters, that after a moment of staring, she was heartwarmed to discover that it was the five of them. No doubt this Alai person had a son, a very young son, who would miss Mid'gha and Shara.

SHe stifled a giggle behind her hand. SHara and Mid'gha looked like different shaped brown lumps with long robes maybe. Walker was a pair of eyes in a blur of dark charcoal, and Raka was a frowny, angry face amidst a copius amount of red berry juice in a messy slather around him. Jade was over top, mostly a bird, with her own slather of red berry juice behind her. She supposed those were her wings.

She tucked the picture back into the saddlebags and continued to wait.
Edited by Oru, Jul 21 2015, 08:38 AM.
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Walker: Let me lead the way, nobody will see me even if they are conscious.

As he pulled his hood over his head, his body was covered by the shadowy, almost wings. It was already difficult to see him, as if the eyes wanted to slide off the body but when he backed into the shadows cast by a torch, he became invisible.

He ran through the halls like he ran through the caves, there was little noise as his practiced feet propelled him faster and faster. Walker was impressed how easily and cleanly Mid'gha and Shara worked their way through the guards. When he was satisfied with e path ahead he rushed back to meet the group.

Walker: We're clear all the way out, at least so far.
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Raka shut up and brought up the rear. He waited in the awkward silence as Walker ran ahead. Mid'gha carried several trays of stuff, one of which had dried spiced met. Raka reached out to take one and Shara's hand lashed out to smack his hand.

"What -?" Raka hissed.

Shara looked horribly apologetic. "Oh Gods, I'm sorry. They're poisoned. Thats what made them sleep." She bit her lip and clasped her hands behind her back.

Raka scowled, but nodded. He raised an eyebrow at her when she kept staring, but she looked away, much to Mid'gha's obvious delight. The tailor chuckled humorously until Walker's return. As they quickly sped down the halls, Mid'gha deposited the trays in an empty barrel at the end of one of the servant halls. She whispered to Raka and Walker as they went, "The angel awaits us in the stables with five horse ready. All we need to do is get them down to the servants gate and we can be free to the sands."
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((I'm going to move us along a bit.))

Wretch left his victim dying in his bed as were his master's wishes. The Lazarus was bidden to return to the tower but a,long the way he picked up a scent. Dima was aware of it as soon as Wretch and commanded him to investigate. It was worth investigating smells of cinnamon and sweet flowers coming from the stables. Only the Sultan's fragrances had enough strength to wash out horse shit. Inside, the lizard found the angel anxiously peering into the darkness. Wretch found their saddlebags and without startling the horses (a true challenge around the black one) he crawled in. Dima knew by instinct who Jade was waiting for and decided to watch the drama play out.

At Mid'gha's directions, the group moved through hallways few outside of the serving staff knew existed. These back routes and detours allowed them to move unseen and unbothered all the way to the stables. Every step closer was a step closer to Jade, Walker found he couldn't contain himself anymore, he touched Mid'gha's arm to get her attention.

Walker: I should...go ahead through the shadows to make sure the path is clear.

The shadows opened a clear door for Walker into the rafters. He stepped along a beam and when he was happy there were no guards or ambushes, he dropped down and landed on the ground lightly beside Jade.

Walker: My hero.
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((Squee!))

Jade kept futzing with the robe and tugging the hood down over her face, afraid someone might pop into the stables. Nothing disturbed her or the horses, however, and she tooka soothing breath. As a familair voice whispered behind her though, she spun and flung her arms aroudn Walker's neck. "I was so worried about you! Are you all right? DId he hurt you badly? Are the others with you? There's a horse here for you." They tumbled out in an urgent whisper as she burrid her face in his shoulder, unaware of the two streams of quiet tears rolling down her cheeks.

Mid'gha chuckled softly to herself, and then she became the forward scout. They encountered very few people on the way, and the rest of them passed in silence. As they entered the stables, Mid'gha went to her own horse and the one chosen for Walker, and SHara led Raka to the black one. She smiled up at him and patted the finicky mare on the nose. "I think she missed you." She put the reigns in Raka's hand and hurried to her own horse, whispering urgently to the others in the stall beside,

"Hurry!"

Mid'gha pulled herself up into the saddle, a bemused grin on her face, as if delighted by the luxurious novelty of riding a horse. She clicked the steed out of the stall and said, "Follow me, and keep those blankets wrapped around you and your faces. We are bringing an injured servant to town for proper medical care, unbeknownst to our masters." She looked them all over. "It is unfortunate, though lucky for us that an incident like that is a common enough occurance not to raise questions."

None of them seemed to notice the Lizard.

Raka mounted up awkwardly, and heard a rattle on the saddle. Lifting the corner of the draped balnket, he saw a length of chain and a scimitar. He flashed Shara a smile when he noticed she was watching, and she smiled back at him. He'd only had his chain on him earlier, and now he would have a sword too.

Looking around, Raka was both elated, and filled with dread. How could it have been this easy? How... It was with a distant sort of disbelief that he quietly followed the others. He inwardly waited for the trap to spring, eyes looking around, darting from darkened corner to window, to side street frequently.
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Walker squeezed Jade back but a few of her questions were answered when Mid'gha entered with the others.

Walker: I want to ask you some of those questions too but there is still much to do tonight.

He moved to turn but stopped, hugged her quickly, then walked to an available horse. She was a chestnut with a calm demeanour that Walker liked. He climbed up and listened to Mid'gha. The woman was organized and precise, she was a gift of the moon!

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Jade smiled, and with Shara's help mounted her horse. She was a friendly one, a bit finicky, but not too difficult to manage. She had Shara make sure every inch of her wings were covered, and then let the hood droop over her face. Once they were all mounted, Mid'gha gave some brief instructions. She had Herself, Shara and Raka, and then Jade and Walker in the rear. She indicated that Raka was to be the pretend invalid, and told him to lean well over his horse to show as much. She told Jade that she was a very old hunched woman, and regrettably, Walker would have to stoop as well, fashion himself after another elderly woman.

There were very few male servants, and their absence or note would be remembered.

They wove through the palace streets, plodding quietly as they could. When they arrived at the servants gate, Mid'gha held up a hand as two guards approached. She bowed her head. "Gentle masters. We wish to bring ill to the city doctor. Pray lt us pass."

One guard snorted. "We've got a healer on palace grounds, dont we? Turn 'round and go back inside. There were villains about today, we're not to let people pass."

Mid'gha hesitated. In that hesitation, Raka balled his hands into fists. The black amre knickered and tossed her head uneasily. He could take them both out. Hell, maybe he could just take one and Walker the other. Or if he asked it, Walker could disable them in almost total silence. This did not have to be a moment worthy of hesitation -

Shara put a hand on his shoulder, and she squeezed. Then she moved forward beside her mother. "You do not understand, good masters. This IS the healer. She was... injured today. Please. We must pass to get her well. Master Edgar is in need of more care."

The guards exchanegd looks of discomfort, and after only one glance among themselves they both cleared the door and opened it for them, and their silent troop poured through. They were now withint he city walls, and yet free of the palace grounds. For JAde, it was the first time in four months. For the boys? Walker for the first time maybe without edgar leering over his shoulder.

For Raka it would be the first time in about 10 years he went without Edgar or Dima breathing down his neck. He felt irrationally tense, anxious, and kept looking left and right with darting eyes expecting something to go wrong.

((YOU get to get us out of town. What does Dima think of all this? hehehe))
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Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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