Broken Jade

Stories from the lives of House Ilnaren and those whose lives intertwine with it.

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Broken Jade

Post by Sylva » Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:00 pm

Marketplace - Saturday (3/21) 7:12pm

Her mood was always brightened by music - something she was sure Doran was well aware of by now. Might be why he didn’t seem bothered when she went out to random places to dance. Usually out of the city limits or in the marketplace where traveling musicians gathered to make earnings for their daily bread. Today was no different.

The night was quickly starting to darken the sky, so she started saying her farewells to the handful of musicians and street performers. Spotting a familiar face marching down the street, she raised a hand she tried to flag the rusty haired young man. “Cratos!” she called out as she flailed a hand, causing the coin bracelets along her arm and hands to chime out. Really, her whole person had a scatter of the gold coins that created the lovely little sounds when she moved and they were a great accent to the opalescent fabric she was wearing. When it seemed he didn’t notice her, she excused herself from the small group she was with and started to follow.

She made it halfway down the block before a pair of men blocked her, getting in the way of her catching up with her friend. Blinking, she looked up to the nearest one with confusion but it was only when she focused on them that she realized - these guys looked like the blackguard from the night she helped smuggle a mother and her newborn across the city. That caused her to take a few steps back from the pair before trying to take a few steps to the side and just bypass them. No such luck as a hand that went out from the fella on the end.

“Hey, we are going to have to ask you to relinquish your weapons, missy.”

“Yeah, don’t forget those bracelets and belts of yours.” the other Blackguard spoke out as he gestured a finger up and down along Sylva.

A single word left Sylva’s lips, “No.” There was a touch of a pause and before either could speak, she continued, “My swords are used for my dancing and my decorations aren’t for men.” She spoke mostly to the first man who seemed in charge. His narrow dark eyes and black hair was completely different from his companion. The other man had dirty blond hair and grey eyes.

“Tch,” the dark-haired man spat, “A little girl like you shouldn’t even have weapons let alone be dancing with them. Come on, stop being difficult.” He reached out to grab Sylva’s arm.

“No. They are my belongings,” she grunted as she slid a step back, dodging the grab with grace. Just the simple movement seemed to cause a chained reaction. Sliding her hand down she pushed the sheathed swords over her shoulder to her front so she could hug them to her chest and so they couldn’t make a grab.

The second man grumbled as he tried to get to Sylva’s left while the other blackguard moved to her right. “Just leave them and we will let you go.”

The first man moved forward and on instinct, Sylva shoved the bottom of the sheath up causing the hilt of her sword to meet the man’s face. She flinched, almost instantly, when she heard metal and flesh meet. Long ago she had vowed she would never harm another person and while it didn’t leave a mark, more shocking the blackguard than anything, she regretted it. She almost apologized to him, in fact.

The blackguard cursed and shoved her back into the second guard who in turn sent her spiraling to the ground with a push. The moment her body hit the ground, he grabbed at the sheath. He yanked several times until the latch snapped, allowing the sheath to be pulled away. “We really don’t have time for this mess. Just give us what we want, already.” The second guard took the opportunity to reach forward, grasping her arm at the elbow so he could help himself to the bracelets and trinkets that Sylva wore around her wrist. “You are lucky we are feeling nice today.”

Sylva screamed, not because of the way she was being handled but what the second guard was putting his grubby hands on. Among those trinkets was one that was made of jade and she was a little more than protective over it. So when he pulled it free, she started flailing.

In response to the sudden thrashing, the second blackguard pulled his foot back and sent a well-placed kick into her torso, forcing the air out of her lungs and her eyes watering. Working the trinket free, he wrapped the fine strains of gold coins and jade between his fingers. His attention went to his comrade as he stood.

Before he could get out a word, Sylva sent a kick of her own as the man stood to admire his prize, aiming someplace that was far more delicate on the man. The man produced a howl was much louder than any scream Sylva had given and his reaction was almost instantaneous as he doubled over. In the moment of weakness, Sylva made a grab for the trinkets. She was not giving them up without a fight! But in doing so she left herself open.

The dark-haired blackguard saw her starting to move for the trinket and much like his friend, reeled his foot back to give her a swift kick.

When Sylva saw the boot from the corner of her eye, she tried to move out of the way only to be greeted with something she was not expecting. The steel-toed footwear met full force with her throat in a poorly aimed punt kick that sent her to her back. The force of it left an unusual taste of cooper in her mouth and her gasping irregularly for air.

“You f..hing lil bhch” huffed the second blackguard as he wobbled to his feet, shoving the trinkets of gold and jade in his pocket before unleashing several kicks at the stunned Sylva. After a dozen or so rage-induced kicks, he paused to remove a few more of the gypsy-like trinkets and pocket them, “Won’t need these where you are headed,” he muttered as he unsheathed his sword.

“Come on, Jol. Don’t kill her off. Just grab the shit and let's go,” the first guy muttered as he watched.

“You kidding me, right? She assaulted me! Don’t say you wouldn’t do the same, Dedrick!”

Sylva saw a flash of silver then red...rust? Then blue...She blinked slowly up at a familiar face that now was hovering her own. She knew this face.

“Huh? Where the hell you came from. Wanna die too?”

A young man had dived in just in time to take the sword’s bite to an arm, knocking it out of the path that it was originally meant. Gathering Sylva in his arms, the young man looked over his shoulder and flashed a wide grin. “Please. You couldn’t catch a cold.” With Sylva close to his person, the rusty haired man launched himself into a sprint.

“Motherfu-” Jol spluttered as he still strove to stand straight, which meant there was no way he was taking chase.

“Shit. Look what you did,” muttered Dedrick as he reached out to grab Jol pulled him along to take chase. More like dragged him along which meant the two were quickly getting away. “They won’t get past the guys at the gate. Bleeding and running like they are, they are going to catch attention.”

Not exactly easy running while carrying someone, but it didn’t take long before the fleeing pair was able to slip into a gathering crowd. “Hey, Sylva. You okay?” The young man puffed out the question and looked down at the young woman in his arms. He had only seen a little of what happened but it was enough to send his blood boiling. What he saw when he looked at Sylva, however, almost caused him to stop in his tracks. Sylva was just looked straight to the heavens, her eyes vacant as if nobody was home.

As he made his way to the outskirts of the marketplace, he could tell they were still being followed. It was one of the few times that Cratos appreciated his elven ancestry, though he didn’t exactly want to hear about another man complaining about his balls.

Shelter was taken in one of the rundown buildings forgotten by time or probably caught in one of the many explosions that happened in the marketplace. It didn’t matter how, as long as it was free from obstacles that meant entrance.

Entry was easy enough or would have been if he wasn’t carrying someone. Pulling two boards free of the boarded-up door took effort but once they were inside, they were able to keep out of sight. The place was dusty - that kind of dust that gave off hints that the place hadn’t been used in a month of Sundays. Furniture that was left behind looked like you could scrape off dust with a knife and still only break the surface.

Sighing, Cratos leaned Sylva against his side while he tried to dust off what he was sure was a couch. Hopefully, it didn’t fall through when he laid her down. “We are going to take a breather and wait for those two to scurry off, K?” He spoke quietly to her as he laid her down. The lack of response was worrisome. She needed a doctor but moving her at the moment was going to be difficult. Just clinging onto her while running had been difficult with the wound on his arm.

Slumping on the ground, he sighed. He shoulda ran towards the clinic but then again the blackguard had been pretty much all over the place so he just kind of ran on instinct. Pulling a strip of cloth from his shirt, he tied it around the wound while listening outside. Going out at night would be bad - They seemed to gather more at night. Leaving Sylva alone in her state was also a bad idea. “Ugh,” he sighed as he scratched at his head then looked over to see Sylva had fallen asleep. Well, that was good and bad. Slowly he lowered his hand to the bend of his knee and watched her sleep, keeping a close eye on the shallow breathing. “Doran is going to kill me.”
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Re: Broken Jade

Post by Sylva » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:39 pm


When Sylva woke, a couple of days later, she was unaware of what had happened during the time she was unconscious.

Cratos managed to get her to the West Side Emergency Clinic and made sure she got aid before he was off to find Doran. It didn’t take long, with Cratos full sprinting, to find Doran but by the time they had returned to the Clinic, Sylva had already been ushered to surgery - the delicate surgery needed to remove slivers of shattered bone, clotted tissue, and assess the cartilage damage. While the surgery was being performed, Doran had been informed that the laryngeal trauma would likely leave long-standing issues but the doctors were doing their best.

By the time Sylva was out of surgery, Maggie had arrived to comfort Doran (or stop him from doing something rash) and Cratos returned from giving the news to those who needed to know about Sylva’s state.

A close eye was kept on her throughout a few days but when she woke, there was no reaction to her state of being. At first, the doctors were disturbed by far off look Sylva had. Clearly, not all of the damage done was physical. Cratos explained how she had that same expression when he managed to rescue her.

Something happened within twenty-four hours of physically waking up. She still wasn’t even sure what had happened but it was like she had truly woken up. Snapping out of the state by some familiar pull - a call to her very heart, that brought her to the here and now. However, she woke up confused and scared. For someone who never been a patient in a hospital, it was all new to her. Looking back on it now, she likely caused more trouble for Doran, Maggie, and the hospital staff than she would have liked. Where her voice couldn’t speak, her eyes surely did. To Maggie. To Cratos. To the staff. And abundantly to Doran - for she had lost the very first thing he had ever given her and now she was causing him - no, them all, so much trouble.

I’m sorry.

That feeling hadn’t gone away. Ten days later and being released from the clinic, her eyes still screamed the apology to all she turned her eyes to. She couldn’t help it. She knew she was only being released because she had a somewhat above average healing, so her body was healing faster than a normal person, but the wrap-around her throat was still tight and she had been informed to ‘take it easy’.

The feeling of weakness she had before the event was still there. The MP3 player and music that Maggie had brought her to cheer her up had helped, a lot, to occupy her mind during the stay at the clinic but there was still too much time to think. Too much room for the self-doubt that was steadily accumulating.

She was skilled with a sword, and a few other weapons, very efficiently but the thought of them seeing her like that scared her. How would they react? Maggie, Cratos, Doran...none of them knew what her life had been like before and from what she gathered, Katt spoke very little of her past as well and for good reason. Sylva swore off using weapons and harming others because she didn’t want to be like how she had been forced to grow up. She was tired of destroying...

When they got to the treehouse, Maggie reiterated the ’taking it easy’ order and also informed Sylva that Nicole had given Sylva time off from work to heal up, that way Sylva didn’t have to worry about losing her job. Her boss was nice like that.

Cratos wore his guilt on his sleeve, hanging behind the group and muttering something or another. He waited so he could escort Maggie home, leaving Doran and Sylva standing at the base of the great tree that the treehouse was built in harmony with. She had good friends and they meant the world to her.

Standing there alongside Doran, she couldn’t help but feel the swell of guilt rise again. Like she had let him down. He must have sensed it because his hand settled on top of her head, brushing at some of her hair.

"We'll get it back."

His words caused both comfort and concern but she smiled all the same. That smile lingered on her way up the stairs. For now, she would focus on healing and where to put the charming bonsai cherry blossom tree that Doran had brought her during her time at the clinic. The rest could wait for a few days.
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Re: Broken Jade

Post by Azure Wayfinder » Sun May 03, 2020 8:49 pm


It was a few days later that Doran brought someone new to visit Sylva. New, but with a sense of familiarity to her, her features... and then she looked into the woman's eyes, solid blue in color, and it clicked. "Hello, Sylva. I'm Doran's aunt, more or less. My name's Azure."

The young woman looked from Azure to Doran, a question on her face, and he shrugged. "She comes from a different time, much like you... she was my father's younger sister, but in that timeline she lived while in ours, she died far too young. She does a lot of travelling, which is why you haven't met her before now."

"It's part of my calling, seeking out what's lost. Sometimes it takes me far afield, but this is home, where I always return." Pulling up a chair next to Doran, Azure sat beside the bed. "Doran says you're missing something, something that was taken from you. Is that right?" When Sylva looked down, she gave the girl a warm, reassuring smile. "Nobody is blaming you. Not one bit. All blame falls on those who attacked you, and I... am going to find them. And that which they took." There was a pause. "It may take some time, the trail is cold but I will search, and I will find them. That is a promise."

Looking from her to Doran, Sylva frowned and mouthed a single word. How?

"She is psi-gifted, like my father and me. Her focus is on the senses, finding connections that reveal the way to a goal, be it a person, place, or object." He took Sylva's hand and held it close. "She'll locate those men, find where they've gone and what they took. When she does, we'll be ready. However long it takes."

With a nod, Azure rose and pulled her chair back against the wall. "I'll be in touch, to let you know when I've tracked them down. It's a pleasure to meet you, Sylva. Take care!"
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Re: Broken Jade

Post by Doran Ilnaren » Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:21 pm

Stardreamer Manor, 7/10/20

It had been months since Azure had set off to track down the bastards that had beaten and robbed Sylva. There had been updates, potential leads that usually went nowhere but occasionally led to more promising trails. He had faith in his aunt, but it was hard to maintain hope in the face of time, and so he kept busy to avoid thinking about it. Outings in the city with Sylva, Cratos, or simply on his own. Working at the Shanachie, performing or rehearsing. Duels. Tutoring his foster siblings at the Manor or at the Harker Academy. There was a lot to occupy the young man's time, after all.

Yet every time there was a message from Azure, he felt that glimmer of underlying hope renewed. Sometimes it faded quickly, but other times it remained burning like a warm fire on a cold winter's night. The last news was that she had tracked the men to Gangos Port in the south--where they were protected by the rules that governed that city--and was watching them. Now there was a new missive, and Doran had to still his breath as he opened it.

Sylva and Doran,

Greetings from idyllic Gangos Port! I trust you are both in good health, and everyone at the Manor as well! I miss you all and hope to return there soon.

On that note, I have news! Jol and Dedrick have been busy here at Gangos. They are currently seeking work as bodyguards for traders on the route between Gangos and Cadentia. I've included sketches of both men for reference. Perhaps you might arrange for someone to be waiting for them there?

In the meantime, I will continue watching them from this end, and let you know if they go elsewhere.

See you soon!
Aunt Azure

With an almost feral smile, Doran took the letter and sketches, and went in search of his parents. Phen had been part of Rhy'din's thieves guild in her youth, and Ebon maintained a few contacts among the less-scrupulous folk in the city. Between them, he was certain they could secure backup for a pleasant chat with two thugs in Cadentia.
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Re: Broken Jade

Post by Ebon Ilnaren » Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:56 pm

Golden Perch Inn, 7/13/20

Ebon usually headed for the bar when he went to the Perch, but tonight he had other business. Scanning the room, he spotted his contacts at a corner table, looking very serious and scowling when they remembered to do so and otherwise laughing jovially while playing darts. Approaching the table, he greeted them all and took the chair that one pushed out for him. "Thank you for meeting with me, Fredelan."

The leader of the trio raised an eyebrow, though his frown quickly faded. "You can call me Freddy, boss. Your message said you had some business to discuss?" He nodded to his comrades, who proceeded to start up another game of darts, complete with excited whoops whenever a dart struck well and loud, comedic arguing about whether a point was valid or not. The cumulative effect was that anyone looking that way had their attention drawn to the pair at the dartboard, and away from Ebon and Freddy. "So who do you want hit, where, and when?"

"Not a hit... at least, not directly. More of an extraction." Ebon leaned forward, sliding a small pouch across the table. "The who is a pair of thugs, former Blackguard who attacked a young woman I consider family, injuring her gravely and taking some items most precious to her before fleeng the city. My son would like to have words with them. Where will Cadentia, but the exact when remains to be determined."

"So you want us to go out to the middle of the desert and wait for two idiots to show up? Then what?" The halfling's expression was a mix of amusement and incredulity as he half-stood in his chair. "Do you not know where they are now? How will you know when they get to Ca-?"

Ebon raised a finger to forestall further questions. "They are currently in Gangos, looking for work with the caravan, so you can see why I'm not sending you after them now." At that, Freddy nodded gravely and sat back, letting the man continue. "Once we get word that they have left the port city, I will get you to Cadentia to wait for them. Don't worry, I'll put you all up at Riad Alhazu until it's done, so you'll be quite comfortable, and there's plenty to do and see at the bazaar. Just remember, you'll be on an assignment, so no freelancing."

Freddy looked utterly shocked. "I am dismayed that you would even have to remind me of that! A few days of working vacation in an exotic locale? We're in!" He reached out a hand across the table, and Ebon clasped it firmly to seal the deal. "Just let me know when!"

"I will, and thank you." With a nod to the other halflings, Ebon rose and stepped away from their table, making his way to the bar for the rest of the evening.
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Re: Broken Jade

Post by Azure Wayfinder » Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:32 pm

Gangos Port, 7/18/20

Sipping chai on her boarding house's patio, Azure watched the people passing by on the street. The port was a bustling town, a center of commerce and a gateway to lands further south and across the waves. As such, it was easy be distracted by various goings on. Easy for most, at least.

When finding the way to people or things was one's business, however, being focused while appearing distracted was a necessity.

So she was quite aware when her pair of marks went by on their way back to their rooms from the caravansarai, paying them no apparent heed. A few moments later, a street urchin came along, holding his hands out to anyone who looked like they might spare a bit of coin and being generally ignored. The kid stopped in front of the boarding house, looking out across the street for a moment, and reached up to scratch the back of his neck with two fingers before moving on.

Two days, she thought, finishing the cup and setting it down before rising to her feet. A quick jaunt to the merchant quarter would give her an idea of how long the traders expected to take reaching their destination, and then it would be time to set the trap.


A few hours later, Azure entered a small shop that catered to those in need of scribes for messages, as well as delivery and sending of packages. There was an RPS counter there, so Azure took a moment to write up a quick note.

18 July


The two idiots have signed on with a caravan leaving Gangos for Cadentia in two days. I inquired with the merchant about how long he expected the journey to last. He said they would take it a bit slow to avoid overtaxing the camels, so they should be at the caravansarai in Cadentia by the following weekend, likely Saturday. So you've got your window!

If all works out, I will meet you back at the Manor soon.

Take care!
Aunt Azure

With a nod, she slipped the message in an envelope, addressed it to Doran, then went to the counter to hand it to the attendant for express delivery.
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Re: Broken Jade

Post by Doran Ilnaren » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:29 pm

Cadentia, 7/26/20

Having arrived in Cadentia earlier that morning via portal, Doran was enjoying a pleasant stroll through the bazaar. He stopped at many a shop, looking for little adornments that his mother or Sylva might work into their jewelry designs, a pattern or exotic thread for his sister Azure, or perhaps a toy animal for Olivia. Yet even as he shopped, the young man was keeping an eye out for his contacts.
His contacts, and his targets.

It was mid-afternoon when he spied the first of the three halflings, who gave a nod as he passed. The other two soon came into view across the street, and Doran watched them surreptitiously as the first one waited for a camel to pass before darting across the street towards his fellows. As he crossed, the halfling bumped into a surly, sun-beaten man, apologizing profusely to him and his companion.

Got you, Doran thought with a smile. Paying for his latest purchase, he asked the shopkeep to have it delivered to his room at the Riad Alhazu and turned away, scanning the shops across the way while keeping an eye on the two ruffians.

The one who'd been run into by the halfling had rounded on the little fellow, clearly upset and looking for a fight, while his companion urged him to let it go and not make a scene. For his part, the halfling started out apologetic, but as the man grew more belligerent, the halfling's mood shifted from apology to defiance. "Well, maybe you shouldn't be so big and clumsy! That's how it always is with people like you, never looking out for the little guy! Why, I ought to-"

"Yeah?" The thug stepped forward, looming over the halfling and his friends. "What're you gonna do about it?"

"Come on, Jol, let's just leave the runts alone." The second man laid a hand on his comrade's shoulder, but it was quickly shrugged off.

"Nah, I want to hear what the pipsqueak thinks he ought to do. Well? Come on, then!"

Crossing the street, Doran assumed the role of a concerned bystander looking to prevent a beating. "Hey, now, let's all just take a moment here and try not to lose our heads. Now I know that this halfling...?"

"Freddy," replied the little one.

"Freddy didn't mean to run into you, he was just excited to see his friends, am I right?" With a nod from the halfling, Doran looked back to the big man. "No harm done, and he's not worth the effort of a fi- whoa!" He ducked away as the man spun around to swing at him. Raising his hands as if to ward off another blow, Doran met his attacker's enraged eyes and held them a moment.

Then the man seemed to choke a moment before doubling over, first in dry heaves and then retching onto the sandy street. His companion was clearly stunned by what was happening. "Jol! You sick, man?" He looked over at Doran. "I don't know what happened! He was fine just a few moments ago. Did-did we eat something bad?"

"Could be," replied Doran with a grave look. "Come on, there's a healer not far from here, let's get him there!" While the other man hauled his sickened friend up, Doran glanced over at Freddy and the other halflings, giving them a subtle nod. Freddy slipped a small ring with a hidden needle from his finger, smirking, and all three halflings slipped away into the crowd. Then Doran turned and brought one of Jol's arms over his shoulder to help support him. "The healer is just off the street up ahead, down that alley. There, see?" The two men guided their ill burden along towards their goal.

"Thank you," replied the other man. "I'm Dedrick, this is Jol," as he indicated the man between them. "We both ate the same meal, do you think I'll get sick too? Here, let me knock!" Leaving Doran to hold Jol, Dedrick moved towards the door.

Then there was a soft thud behind him, and he turned to see Jol lying at Doran's feet, and the young man's gleaming with a faint sapphire aura. "Honestly, I don't think food poisoning should be your greatest concern right now." Then that sapphire glow seemed to fill Dedrick's vision, bringing with it first pain and then blissful oblivion.

At the end of the alleyway, the trio of halfling assassins appeared with a camel-drawn cart, and Freddy gave a low whistle. "I don't see how you even needed us... not that I'm complaining, though! Your father's money is always good!"

"Well, the poison you stung this one with," and Doran nudged Jol with his foot, "put them off guard and gave me a chance to get close to stun the other more easily. Come on, let's get them on the cart and back to the portal to Rhy'din."
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Re: Broken Jade

Post by Doran Ilnaren » Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:26 pm

Somewhere in Dragon's Gate, 7/27/20

"Wake up."

The voice was as cold as the water that splashed in Jol's face. As his eyes blinked open, they glanced quickly all around before settling on the young man standing before him. He lifted his gaze up to meet the other's hard expression. "Wha...? Where'm I?" He tried to stand and realized that he was bound to the chair. "What's going on?"

His captor raised an eyebrow but said nothing, simply moving aside to reveal another man bound in a chair behind him. Jol stared a moment, then realized who it was. "Dedrick?"

At the sound of his name, the hapless Dedrick cried out, his head jerking up suddenly to reveal wide, staring eyes. "j-j-jol?" His voice was soft, timid. Terrified.

"Well," said their captor at last, "since it is time for names, I am Doran Ilnaren."

Despite himself, Jol scoffed. "Yeah, I heard of you. You did a number on some of my friends."

"Indeed." Doran seemed pleased at the recognition, but his expression soon hardened once more. "As you and yours did to the people of Old Market. As you and your comrade," and he gestured towards Dedrick, "did to a young woman who is very, very dear to my heart. You beat her, and robbed her of much that she treasured."

"Heh. We had a good haul that last night!" Jol exuded smug arrogance, hoping to bait Doran.

The young man did not rise to that bait, his expression unchanging except for one slightly raised eyebrow. "Indeed, but in truth there is only one item that concerns me. A small figurine of a horse, carved from jade." As Doran spoke, as image of the jade figurine in question appeared in Jol's inner vision. "Your companion told me that you took care of everything you took on the Blackest Night. So tell me, where is it?"

For a moment Jol held Doran's gaze, before sneering and glancing down to spit at his feet. "Yer outta luck, kid! That little green horse went to a pawn shop down in Gangos, along with the rest of her stuff." He looked up again, and the cold rage in Doran's face gave him pause for the first time. "So what're you gonna do, kid? Break me like I broke your little girlfriend?"

"You may have broken her, but she's put herself back together again, for the most part... but you?" A faint sapphire glow appeared in Doran's eyes, a blue light that seemed to grow and grow until it filled Jol's vision. "You get to feel what she felt. What they all felt. The fear the pain, all of it... and with it, the guilt for the crimes you committed. Let's see how quickly you break."

The blue light in Jol's mind flashed with images, sensations, feelings. His jaw dropped open, and he screamed.

"Ah. Not long at all."


Some time later, Doran stepped out into the afternoon light. "Hey there!" called a voice from one side, and he turned to see his aunt Azure walking up. "I stopped by the Manor, but Ebon said you were taking care of things here in the city." She glanced up at the building. "You leave them living?"

"Alive, yes. They won't be having much of a life, though."

She turned her eyes sharply back to him. "What'd you do?"

An unusually vicious smile spread across Doran's face. "I used my gifts to lock open the doors of fear and guilt in their minds, so that for the rest of their lives, they will be forever afraid, forever hunted. And they'll feel like they deserve it. What's more, they will be unable to end their own lives to stop the torment." Then his face grew somber, and he drew a heavy sigh. "Unfortunately, no punishment, however fitting, will bring back what they stole from Sylva. It's lost in the markets of Gangos."

"Hmmm." Azure nodded, her face a mask of seriousness, before the facade cracked. "Actually, about that...."
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Re: Broken Jade

Post by Sylva » Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:47 am

Darkness was claiming the world beyond the doors of Nicole's Bistro and Pizzeria. From her spot behind a counter, Sylva spied the streetlamp’s light that poured through the windows. Shift is almost over, she noted as she turned her gaze to the main floor and the few stragglers were finishing their meals. The dinner rush that night had been particularly busy and she was looking forward to hastening over to a nearby metal store before they closed for the night to spend some of that hard-earned tip money. With the following day was her day off and she planned on working on a few things for the upcoming holidays - best to get on that early because the holidays come quick!

“Thanks, Miss! Leavin’ the money on the table!”

The gentleman’s voice drew her attention and she quickly smiled, “Oh! Let me get your change!”

“Nah! You keep that! Have a good one!”

She quickly nodded and raised a hand to wave, “Thank you! Come back to visit us soon! Be safe on your way home!”

The man smiled at her and flicked a wave as he headed out the door.

She didn’t rush to scoop up the payment and tip money. Instead, she moved off to ask the remaining pair if they needed anything and once they declined she moved to collect the plates and clean the table. She paused a moment when she realized how much the man left behind. She had to count it twice. He had left enough money that he could have paid for his meal twice and still have change. That was quite a generous tip!

Once the plates were put up and the money was tilled for the meal, she separated her generous tip in half and stuck one half in the jar for the cook. It was then she noticed several pieces of papers piled up on the countertop. What stood out to her most was her name was on one of them so of course, simply out of curiosity, she inched it out from the pile so she would read.


You had a call from Doran while you were working.
He wants to head home right after work.

She blinked a few times. The note must have been written by another employee and lost in the dinner rush commotion. What worried her was the wording. Doran usually didn’t call but came by to see her if he needed to talk so what was different about tonight? Did something happen? Was everything okay? What Ifs ran through her head until the last customers had left and she was free to head off. She smiled at those still working and quickly headed her way out the door.

She barely made it down the block when she saw a familiar person leaning against a wall in wait. For her? “Cratos?” She noticed how he flinched almost instantly at her voice. That caused a frown but didn’t stop her from approaching him. It was the path home, after all.

“Hey. Been a while.”

Her head tilted as if trying to look up at his downcast face. She didn’t like how he looked so...distraught. “Yep. Long time! No see.”


“What is wrong?”

He grunted at her and pushed from the wall, careful not to bump into her as he did so. “I’ve been trying to work up the courage to tell you sorry.”

She leaned away and blinked at him. She was obviously clueless about anything he would need to be sorry for. “I..huh? For what?”

His left hand rose to rub against the back of his head, his fingers semi-lost in his rust-colored hair. “That night you got hurt,” he started, his voice so quiet that it barely made the distance. As he looked up he saw that clueless look she wore when 2+2 didn’t equal anything. “I heard you but kept ongoing. I didn’t want to talk to you,” he explained.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“Huh?” Her question confused him almost instantly, “Why would you ask that?”

“You just said you didn’t want to talk to me,” Sylva’s tone held a ‘duh’ tone to it as she replied, her brows furrowing quickly.

“Oh. N-No. That wasn’t it.”

“Then why?”

“Because I needed time to think, Sylva. I needed to be alone and,” he paused, “I just didn’t want to be involved.”

This young man spoke riddles, as far as she was concerned. Instead of asking more about whatever he was going on about, she sighed at him. “So you haven’t been talking to me all this time because you felt bad about not stopping when I called for you?”

He nodded slowly.

“You thought I was mad at you or something?”

Another nod from him.

“Dummy,” she grunted at him. “Like you knew what was going to happen. You helped me when I needed it. You were there when I needed it. So stop being stupid, okay? I miss my friend being around.” She huffed at him after her rant, signaling she was done.

The way she brushed his guilt off so easily left Cratos speechless. She had a habit of doing that far too much. His shoulders hunched forward and he gave out a quiet ‘heh’. “Sorry. I am glad to see you are doing good though. I was told the chances of you being able to talk again was almost impossible.”

Sylva’s smile faded. “Still hurts to talk and if I talk for too much for too long it burns and gets scratchy and I start to sound funny.” There were a lot of ‘and’ there. “Sometimes it hurts so much that I don’t talk at all. Thanks to Doran and his mama, I can sign language!” That didn’t help with work but that is why she had a notepad!

“Not letting it get you down, huh?”

She grinned and shook her head. “Nope!” She blinked as if suddenly remembering, “Oh! I need to go!. I am supposed to meet Doran at home.”

Cratos chuckled at her enthusiasm, mentally thankful that what had happened didn’t break her. Rhydin was good for breaking people. “Tell my brother I said hey, will you?”

She smiled and scooped in to hug him, surprising him or not, she didn’t care. He was getting a squeeze. “Okay.”

Cratos returned the hug though it was a bit awkward at first. “Let’s meet for lunch in a couple of days. We can talk more.”

She nodded a couple of times against his shoulder. Hmm. He smelled of something she was unfamiliar with and had to stop herself from asking. She released him and quickly headed her way off, waving to him as she went.
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Re: Broken Jade

Post by Sylva » Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:50 am

As she made her way past the final step of the stairs that followed up the great tree that Doran had made his ‘treehouse’ in, she found herself nervous. And not in that good way. She couldn’t think of any time that Doran had just left her a message to come straight back after work. Or any time. Normally he would just wait for her to show up when she would. So whatever it was had to be important, right? Those what-ifs started running around in her head again and none of them pleasant though she could at least file away some of those concerns away. Like, say...the family or Maggie being hurt. He wouldn’t just leave a message and wait for her to get home. He would have come and got her during her shift!

She was starting to the front door when she noticed him by the porch swing - standing there with his back to her. He was waiting for her?

“Doran?” Sylva questioned as she approached him, both cautiously and making sure that she didn’t spook him though she was pretty sure he heard her stomping along the stairs as she hurried along. He didn’t turn around when she called him so once she was close enough, she stopped and called his name again. “Doran?”

He turned to her with a soft smile but the expression he wore was hard to read. Without a word, he dissolved the distance between them with a few steps so he could reach out to take her left hand. His silence confused her but she didn’t move away nor did she fight it as he drew her hand up. With his other hand, he nudged something into her palm, hiding it among his fingers and hers.

“We found something that belongs to you,” he stated softly to her as he withdrew his hands, leaving her fingers over the object in question.

She wore her confusion openly as she looked to their hands then up to his face. He sounded pretty proud which didn’t help at all! It was only when she relaxed her fingers to see what he placed in his palms did it all come together and tears began to fill her eyes. While she didn’t place much into material possessions, there were a few treasured items that she was pretty attached to, and what was in her palm was one of them. The little jade horse that had been taken from her. It wasn’t another one he had made. No. She recognized one of the little marks she accidentally had created when she first got it. He...they...somehow had found it when she had given up all hope. Doran’s ‘more-or-less’ aunt had said she would find it and while Sylva had figured the woman was just being kind with her words, they actually did it.

All that trouble..for her?

She was unable to hold back the little sob that escaped her lips and she rushed Doran with a hug. Arms around his shoulders she could have tackled him to the ground if it were not for the fact he outweighed her. “Thank you!” she murmured in his ear as she nuzzled his cheek affectionately. His warm laughter echoed in the night as he hugged her back.

They stayed like that for a few, long moments before they released each other. While she wanted to ask him how it happened, she decided that she didn’t need to know. That wasn’t important.

Clenching the jade in her palm she had to figure out some way to keep it safe. She couldn’t wear it anymore. Wouldn’t wear it anymore. Not if it placed it in danger of thievery. That would be something she would worry about later. “I want to thank everyone who helped,” she informed him, hoping he would either give a suggestion to do so or at least give her an idea of all who had helped. Was it just him and his aunt? Probably. Maybe. People needed to be thanked for going out of their way like they did for such a little jade horse.

"The rest is on the table," Doran grinned as he took her hand so he could guide her to the door. They had plenty to talk about and now that she was home they could do that inside.
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