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Chasing Dreams and Memories


Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Twik on

The Hammer and Spring was a strange sort of establishment, but the oddness grew on one slowly. The restaurant was situated in a low building that had been sunken a yard into the earth so that a person entering had to descend three stairs when they entered. The ceiling of the place was quite low, no more than 7 feet, and illumination was provided by flickering yellow lights in sconces at waist height along the wall. The low angle of the lighting gave the patrons a rather odd look, with shadows moving sideways across their faces.

On this particular evening a woman stood up from the audience and stood in an open place near one wall, a cittern in her hand. The Hammer and Spring often had entertainers but there was no formal stage; the ceiling was too low for one. The woman with the cittern was more than usually tall, six feet or perhaps an inch or so more, and her body was lean and lanky. Her skin showed green in the odd lighting, and her hair was long, thick and black. She wore a skirt made of burlap dyed black that fell to just below her knees, and a blouse of the same material that left a band of green skin visible about her midriff.

The woman tuned her cittern quickly, then began to play, the metal strings sending out a wailing plangent cry. She sang in a melodic alto, her voice both low and distinctly feminine; a song about a lost soul wandering among the stars. For a time she seemed to be in a private world, but as the song ended she cast her eyes out over the audience as if searching for someone.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Jeeko on

In the dull, flickering light, at a small table in the corner, sat Jeeko. With his head lowered as it was, his face was obscured by the hood of his cloak, though the light shone at an angle that highlighted part of his jaw, revealing the straight, thin line of his lips. He sat still and silent, lost in that empty meditative state where thoughts were scarce and the subconscious ruled.

He could feel that thin barrier between himself and the astral plane, but did not cross it. He could feel that gentle prickling in his lips and fingertips, the touch of magic. When he immersed himself in it, the feeling would cover his entire being, pure energy rushing through his skin and blood and bones. Now, however, so far from the source of it, it was faint and flitting.

There had been a few performances already this evening, but Jeeko had barely noticed them, too lost in his own world. It was not that he did not enjoy such entertainment, though. In fact, he loved to watch others perform, and to perform himself (though he would not be trying that in Marn again anytime soon). He also loved the atmosphere that was The Hammer and Spring, a place he wished he had found the last time he had visited.

This evening, however, he had been in a dreamy and distant state, for the most part, and it was those times he chose to sink into his mind for a while. Over the years, with all the practice he had put into meditation, it had become easier to draw the magic to him, and so he continued to practice it from time to time.

There was a slight hush before a cittern began to play, but it passed by Jeeko like a faint breeze, barely noticed. Then the vocals began, so soothing and strong that he felt himself suddenly pulled towards that magical barrier in his mind, faster than he was comfortable with. In his surprise, his eyes shot open, and his concentration was lost. A heavy sigh escaped him, replaced by a slow, deep breath, and then another sigh.

He turned his head slightly, towards the sound of the music, and his interest was caught by the woman's strange appearance. Her height, her strength, the odd shade of her skin, and most of all, the way she was so lost in her song. The music seemed drawn from her soul, and his lips curled into a smile at the thought. I will have to talk to this woman, Jeeko decided, as he watched her finish the song.

There was applause, though sporadic, and Jeeko contributed, hoping that the woman had more to play. If not, he would introduce himself, and perhaps she would allow for a conversation.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Twik on

As Twik scanned the audience, her eyes met and locked on Jeeko’s. She could not be sure in the poor lighting but something seemed familiar about him to her. Most of the people Twik had known had wished her some grisly sort of harm, and such recognition was likely not a good thing. She shook her head briefly, as if to clear it, then took up her Cittern and began her next song.

As she began to sing again, a new patron came in the doorway and for a moment there, allowing his eyes to adjust to the lighting- or perhaps for another reason. The figure he extended its right arm so that it extended out over the open doorway, and his fingers made several quick twists and jerks. He then took a seat at the back of the room, leaning back in his chair in a relaxed attitude but not divesting himself of his cloak, which fell to cover his face. A barmaid came over to take his order, but he waved her away with a gesture. His hands were delicate and white, at odds with those of the workers who were the more common populace of the Hammer and Spring.

Twik’s second song told of a crew of sailors sailing through the fog, the eerie cry of sea birds passing around them like ghosts. She had not gotten far along when the new man at the back of the room raised his arm suddenly, clenching his fingers into a fist. The light gleamed momentarily on the white mask that covered his face, and then the room was plunged into darkness.

The patrons of the bar sat calmly in the dark, waiting for the power to be restored, and someone lit first one candle and then another. Shapes could be seen moving in the darkness, and then suddenly there was a horrifying scream, high and powerful which ended in a sobbing gurgle. People began to shout, and in an instant chaos ruled the room. A person, either unconscious or dead landed suddenly on Jeeko’s table with a great crash, and another followed it causing the table to collapse.

In the spare light of the candles Jeeko could see the second figure was the woman who had been singing. Bared fangs cast back a pallid gleam of white, and she pushed her face into his.

“I will not go back. Never will I go.” She hissed. Something she saw in his face seemed to mollify her somewhat, and she pulled back.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Jeeko on

Jeeko sighed when the lights failed. He was not afraid of darkness, but it did bother him a little; he much preferred to see the things that went on around him, sight being his favourite sense. After all, he was so close to light that he could bend it himself. Light powered by electricity was always harder to play with, because of the lack of colours within the light itself, unlike the pure white light which fell from the sun.

The singing had stopped, he realized, moments after the darkness fell. There was no silence, with the noises of people attempting to move about. Light flickered as candles were lit; they, too, were difficult to work with, but a fun way to pass the time.

And then, a scream: a catalyst, from which the entire room seemed to erupt in a frenzy of surprise and uncertainty. Jeeko remained still, waiting for either calm or an explanation. Instead, with a mighty crash, he found a body on the table in front of him. He was quite surprised it still stood, even more so when a second body followed suit. This person, he realized - his surprise only growing with each second that passed, it seemed - was the woman who had been singing. Or at least, it seemed so, in the darkness; the candles were, fortunately, still alight, though still difficult on the eyes.

“I will not go back. Never will I go.”

Jeeko decided that to remain seated here any longer might be rather unwise, so instead, he quickly slid from his seat, backing away a little. And just when he thought he was at a safe distance from disaster, a man knocked into Jeeko from behind, pushing him forward, against the singer and the man she had hissed at.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Twik on

The green woman moved very little when Jeeko fell against her; she was like a wall of muscle with a thin soft coating. She put her arm around him protectively, as a mother might do with a child, and pulled him rapidly around herself and to the side. Something shiny flickered in the candlelight, and the woman let out a moan, as the arm that wrapped around Jeeko dropped severed from her shoulder to the floor in a gush of blood.

The woman whipped violently to the left, and a shiny chain-like object she was holding in her remaining hand lashed out into the darkness to elicit a meaty crunch and an abbreviated cry of pain.

"They will kill all witnesses, we must go," she said to Jeeko, and moved past him towards the door, shoving everything in the way to the left and right. She staggered as she moved, drained from her horrible wound, but moved with decision nonetheless.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Jeeko on

Jeeko was much too shocked to even cry out when something wrapped around him, pinning him against a body. His vision was partially obscured by the hood over his head, and all he could see was a flickering of light and the few dark silhouettes of bodies moving about, accompanied by the symphony of shouting and bustling, while people attempted to escape the chaos.

Suddenly the pressure about him disappeared, and he ducked instinctively. Something wet splattered over him, and he gasped as he saw the thick, muscled arm lying, twitching slightly, on the floor. The sound of metal and a loud crunch very near his head caused Jeeko to turn, and looking up, he spied the arm's owner. The musician from earlier was bleeding heavily from a severe wound. She turned to him and spoke quickly - "They will kill all witnesses, we must go" - before hurrying towards the door, a path clearing in her wake.

Not at all inexperienced when it came to dangerous and hectic situations, Jeeko ran after her without a second thought, eager to escape the threat of injury. He was a small boy, after all. Though not exactly weak, he stood little chance against a grown man, and was certainly not going to wait around to be knocked about or crushed. Or murdered, as the case may well be, he considered, the woman's words finally making their way into his conscious thoughts.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Twik on

Injured as she was, the green woman did an excellent job of clearing the path to the door. Tables, bodies, people, she pushed them all violently out of the way as if they were toys. The door itself had been closed, and a man stood in front of it, the candlelight playing on the white mask that covered his face. The woman launched herself at him, mindless of his sword, and with both feet kicked him through the sturdy wooden door which exploded in a shower of splinters.

Groaning, she rolled onto her hand and knees in the street. The silver moonlight fell on her, and vision was easier here. She staggered to her feet and Jeeko could see that the masked man's sword was now stuck through her stomach, protruding a foot from her back. She wrenched it free and dropped it in the dust. The man she had kicked lay still in the street, his chest horribly crushed.

The woman looked wildly about, unsure where to go, then took two staggering steps and leaned up against the wall of the Hammer and Spring, breath coming raggedly.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Jeeko on

Short of breath, but glad to be outside once more, Jeeko watched the one who - he now realized - may well have saved his life. His eyes widened as she tore a sword from within her, surprised at the ease in which she did so, particularly with the use of only one arm. For a moment she looked as if she may continue moving, but instead fell against the side of the building, seemingly exhausted.

Jeeko looked about the street, wondering at the level of danger here, and decided that he should not remain for long. Those odd people were still here, supposedly planning on murdering anyone who had been in the Hammer and Spring moments before chaos erupted within the old building. Why such an event had occurred, Jeeko had no idea, but he had seen enough in his lifetime to remain unsurprised.

As he decided they were safe for at least the next five or ten seconds, Jeeko hurried up to the woman who had aided his own escape. Though she was not at her full height while leaning as she was against the wall, she remained taller than Jeeko, who looked up at her face, now rather covered in dust, with a curious expression. "Do you need help? You are very badly injured," he said to the woman, though he had absolutely no idea how he could be of any assistance if she required it.

A few people were standing about them now, wondering at the noise, the smashed door, the few survivors who ran terrified from within the Hammer and Spring, and much more strangely, the tall, greenish woman with a missing arm, who seemed to be covered in blood.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Twik on

Twik watched Jeeko's face move, and after a moment she realized he was speaking. The searing pain in her guts began to fade, and she gave one last despondent groan. The sword had angled up into one of her lungs, and she could feel he hole slowly sealing as she healed.

"Hide" she said, coughing and spitting darkly into the road. She spoke again and her voice sounded less raspy. "We must hide. I cannot go to my house now, and I require two hours for my arm to grow back."

A man wearing a white mask ran through the doorway, obviously expecting that the woman and Jeeko had fled. Twik staggered forwards and delivered a massive punch to his face. There was a sickening meaty crunch, and the man fell backwards into the door way.

Twik suddenly realized that if there was a rear exit, her enemies would go out of it and come from both directions to surround her. Turning towards the building, she sprang suddenly into the air, catching the gutter with her one hand and pulling herself up onto the roof. She then leaned over, dangling her chain whip for Jeeko to hold onto.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Jeeko on

"We must hide. I cannot go to my house now, and I require two hours for my arm to grow back."

"Grow back?" Jeeko echoed absently, more to himself than anyone else. The woman seemed not to hear, distracted by the need to swing her fist at a man in a strange white mask after he emerged from the Hammer and Spring. His body flew back through the doorway, into the darkness of the ruined inn, and the green woman, after a moment of apparent consideration, leaped onto the roof of the building.

Jeeko could not help a smile from touching his lips. He loved such action and danger, always adventurous, and was glad to have been in the right place at the right time. He did not understand how the woman could remain so agile with wounds so severe, as well as the blood loss she had suffered, but in a world full of magic, it was no use to linger on such thoughts for long.

The woman reached down to Jeeko with her chain whip, supposedly to assist him onto the roof. Without hesitation, he reached up and wrapped his hands tightly around the metal, swinging up and climbing relatively easily onto the building with the assistance of the injured woman. As he did so, the hood of his cloak fell from his head, revealing for a moment the bald patches and uneven lengths of pale hair. Crouching beside his recent savior, Jeeko flipped the hood back over his head and eagerly awaited their next move.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Twik on

Twik reclinded backward onto the slate tiles of the roof, staring up at the sky. Quiet sounds could be heard in the alleys to either side of the building- possibly stealthy men or perhaps bold rats. The sounds inside the tavern died away, and then there was the minute sound of whispering from in front of the building, far to quiet to be heard. A minute later, and the sounds around the building seemed to have ceased, although they had never been loud enough to pin point very well.

Twik's outfit was torn and ragged, and soaked through with blood. Still, if Jeeko looked he would see that the stump of her arm was now covered with skin, rather than being a raw wound.

Twik raised her head and spoke in the faintest of whispers.

"Have you a home? We must be away."

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Jeeko on

Realizing that this was where they would remain until the activity below them ceased, Jeeko relaxed slightly, seating himself carefully on the tiled roof. For a moment, he watched the woman beside him, who seemed to be watching the stars. From head to toe, she was a mess of blood and dirt, clothes torn and hair in tangles.

Her wounds seemed better, healing over fast enough for Jeeko to assume magic was involved. He could heal this fast if he wished to, though the pain and sickness it would bring might not be worth it. Besides, he could never survive such wounds as this woman had, especially with the need to run and fight alongside that of surviving the injuries.

Jeeko then also gazed upwards, at the stars, the moon, and the few clouds that rested near the east. His thoughts drifted, as they often did, to daydreams about what exactly those lights were all the way up there, whether they were perhaps the source of all magic, or simply an illusion. Jeeko knew illusions. He knew they could be made easily, difficult to control but very good at controlling the minds of those who saw them.

"Have you a home? We must be away."

Jeeko turned his head to the woman, realizing with surprise that the streets around them were now almost silent, apparently vacated. Home? Have I a home? He pondered the question for a time, not sure what exactly a home was. He knew the word, what it meant to others, but not whether any place be called Jeeko's home.

He shrugged, though unsure if the woman could see him so well in the darkness, and whispered back, "I suppose not." After another brief silence, he added, "Perhaps the forest."

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Twik on

Twik's whirling mind began to sort itself out, and her breathing began to slow. What ought she to do? The Men in the White Masks would never leave her in peace now that they knew she was alive. All that she could think to do was return to their lair and confront them, or more likely slay them all. She was not pleased by the idea but didn't see a way out of it.

Twik was displeased by Jeeko's response, and the emotions were plain on her face.

"I cannot leave the city now to go to the forest, they will be watching for people leaving town. I cannot go to my home. I cannot wander the streets with one arm or people will remember me and say where I have been. If you have no building to stay in I shall hide in an alley. I don't know if the men in the white masks will hunt you down or not. Perhaps they did not see you and you will not be murdered or captured for their tortures. If such is the case you would be safer far away from me. I will hunt these men down and convince them to leave me alone, or else I will slay them, or more probably they will slay me. You must choose to come or to go."

She lay back down on the roof and awaited Jeeko's decision, staring up at the endless sky.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Jeeko on

After his unlikely acquaintance had explained the situation, the first thing to cross Jeeko's mind was astonishment at the idea of running from such a prospect. While occasionally trouble did find him, as it did everyone, it was more often that Jeeko would find trouble; intentionally, hunting it down like he would a rabbit, makeshift bow in hand. To simply walk away, he would certainly need an offer even more exciting than the one currently held in front of him. To refuse at this point was barely even an option.

It was only after this that Jeeko began to consider the rest of what the woman had said. They would need a place to hide, to begin with, where the hunters could not find them. Indeed, it is Jeeko and the singer who are prey now, he thought with a smile. That is soon to change.

"Yes, Jeeko will go," he quietly declared after his moment of consideration.

And then he realized he had spoken once again in third-person, a habit he had always found hard to break, and would only remember when conversing with others. More often he spent his time alone or with animals, it seemed. To clarify his meaning seemed important now. "I am Jeeko. Who are you?"

Knowing that the woman would probably also prefer progress over conversation, her concern for the masked men being rather obvious, he added before she could reply, "I do not know well this city or these men in the white masks, but I will help if I can. I am good at climbing, and can see far, if we find a high place. I can distract also."

To demonstrate this last statement, Jeeko snapped his fingers, causing colourful sparks to fall from his hand - a quick and easy display which required little effort - and awaited an answer.

Re: Chasing Dreams and Memories

Post by Twik on

Twik did not turn to look at Jeeko as he spoke, and for a moment it seemed as if she hadn't heard him. But then she turned towards him, examing him for the first time. The sparks from his hand made her jump suddenly, but she remained seated and quickly regained her composure.

"I am Twik Pennywhistle. These men held me captive for most of my life and now they want me back."

She fell silent again, and a long moment passed. Slowly a smile appeared on her face, her teeth gleaming in the moonlight. The thought, whatever it was, passed from her mind and the smile faded.

"They are fearsome, but they make mistakes. They taught me how to fight and they will rue that decision bitterly. I am half troll, this is how I regenerate. We need to rest and I must wash the blood off. You must help me with this. If you do not have a room to stay we must rent one. I can give you money for a hotel room, you must rent a room on the lower floor so that I may come in at the window. Can you do this?"




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