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 Trueborn - completed

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Painbiro
Kabalite Warrior


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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Thu Sep 20 2012, 04:07

I just read all five pages of this (for the first time, yes).

I can say nothing that has not already been said. Excellent work. Literally the only problem I found is the use of Incubi in the singluar (do bear in mind that I despise bad grammar, so don't take this as a negative comment). Excellent work.

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Dark Eldar? Grimdark? What a silly idea. The Adventures of I-XV7-DM
http://www.thedarkcity.net/t3020p20-the-adventures-of-i-xv7-dm

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Thor665
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Tue Oct 02 2012, 20:05

@Cavash - Very thoughtkindupwelling of you Wink

@Lady Malys - I'm glad I managed to hit some good notes with that. You *and* Cavash appreciating the Scourge bit pleases me as I wasn't sure if it had pleased me (it felt a little rushed...but...meh). Also, I'm glad you approved of The Baron - I prefer not to use "official" characters as I feel there is a certain responsibility there, but I'm glad it felt good.

@sammun - glad you appreciated, and thanks for reading!

@Painboro - that's actually a good point, I think I'd been mentally pulling a 'samurai' mental choice there but even the rulebook uses incubus for the singular - we'll try to do better for you in the future.

Also - new chapter should go up sometime in the next few days.
Mostly because I need to threaten myself to keep writing currently - I'm getting lazy Wink

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Lady Malys
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Wed Oct 03 2012, 15:49

I can threaten you if it will help.

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cbosw5
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Wed Oct 03 2012, 16:49

Would it also help if I threaten?
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Wed Oct 03 2012, 18:56

Egads - I didn't realize this would be such a popular concept.

The next chapter will be up no later than Saturday though - pinkie promise.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Wed Oct 03 2012, 19:32

Archons have many methods of motivation at their disposal. Sadly, we've rather ruled out cake due to distance Very Happy

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sammun
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Wed Oct 03 2012, 19:48

It better be! Or the cake gets it!! Twisted Evil
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Sat Oct 06 2012, 12:12

Chapter 15: The Invitations
Having put on a form fitting, white, exercise suit, Obessa stretched out her stiff arm as she walked to the practice rooms. The work on her arm had been well done, reattaching the muscles and tendons that Kyssindree had sliced free from the bone, though it had left it feeling a little off. Obessa hoped a bit of time spent sparring would work out the last few kinks. The wealth of House Douraal made this easier, because his fortress manor housed many facilities to give warriors a chance to hone their skills. She paused to glance at a glowing sheet of ionized crystal that showed the workout routines and, with a tap of her finger, informed her who was in each room. A small smirk appeared on her mouth as she spotted one in particular.

Most of the rooms were occupied with visiting Wyches who had made some drastic requisitions of available sparring slaves. Knowing the Wyches of her Cult, Obessa sighed as she suspected few of the slaves would be returned in any shape to spar later. Many of the other rooms held young Kabalite Warriors in training sessions, a prospect that normally would bore her, but for the name of the instructor.

Zak Phaer’irr was out of his armor, wearing the loose black pants and tight black top of the Kabalite training uniform, nothing besides the silver streak of white in his otherwise dark hair differentiated him from the swarm of young Eldar hard at work. He walked around the room, offering comments and thoughts to dozens of dueling students, each of them dressed as he was. Obessa smiled when she saw that the students were practicing with naked blades, and not synthetic mockeries. A group of three Kabalites who had been discussing weapon choices in hand to hand combat looked up in interest as she arrived.

“Hello there,” offered one of them, his eyes drifting across her chest, “can I help you?”

“I have doubts,” she noted softly, “I came for a workout and to see Zak.”

“Master Phaer’irr is busy right now,” offered the young man as he leaned back against the wall by the weapon rack, “but if you’re looking for someone to work out with…” He lifted his eyebrows meaningfully.

Obessa paused as she considered him carefully for a moment, noting the way he rested, and his grip on the spiked dagger in his hand. Then she glanced at his friends, a broad shouldered youth with a scar under his left eye, and a willow thin blonde girl toying with a short hafted battle spear. She smiled as she shrugged.

“Okay, all three of you ought to do.”

She turned to the weapon rack, critically looking over the multitude of options from bladed gauntlets, barbed garrote wire, and more than a dozen varieties of short blades. She selected a dueling knife, its serrated blade and copper handle looking quite fine to her eyes and tested it for weight before striding out towards the closest empty training mat.

“All three of us?” The swaggering young man called out to her, “you want to warm up first?”

Obessa reached the center of the mat, turning around slowly as she lifted the blade into a guard position and fell into a loose battle stance. “This is the warm up.”

“Ah…” the youth glanced at his partners and smirked, “okay then.”

Despite the insult the three kept their heads admirably, and didn’t rush in like untrained fools. A mark in their favor. The braggart was the clear leader of the trio as he took up his knife and the center position. The big one readied a pair of thick punch daggers and slipped off to her left side, away from her weapon arm. The blonde shoved her hair out of her face and fell in beside and slightly behind the leader, ready to serve as his aide. A classic Kabalite combat approach, she noted, the primary threat to distract, the secondary threat to overbalance, and the tertiary strike to lay low the opponent.

A good strategy.

If your opponent was a fool.

She turned and sprang at the bulky youth. His position made him a threat, but also moved him away from the support of his allies. He’d also looked like a likely chance to be the best fighter, and having a two handed fighting style suggested this as well. Obessa fought almost equally well with either hand, but found it trickier to use both in tandem.

The youth was caught unready, but responded well. Her first lunge was blocked, and two blindingly quick slashes at his face were dodged as he backpedaled from her onslaught. Even as she struck she was trying to shift around his side, not enough to clue him in, but just enough to allow her to keep a slight awareness of the approach of the last two. She saw that the blonde was leading the rush, her short spear in her hand and ready to thrust. Obessa almost allowed herself a smile.

Her attacks continued towards his face, she had to work fast and hard to have him keep both of his arms high, blocking her attacks with the armored forearms of his punch blades. It was almost funny that his eyes, that up until then had been glancing behind her to see the approach of his friend, suddenly focused totally on her. It was funny that most fighters would make such an obvious bluff when they hoped to fool you into paying all your attention to them. Obessa did allow herself a very faint smile then, as she heard the slight pad of the willowy blonde coming to a stop and thrusting her spear out.

Obessa spun to her side, her right hand blade batting at his face one last time to keep his arms up, reaching out with her left hand to grab the spear and help guide it in. As expected, the blonde had been a bit too eager and had thrust wildly, lacking proper control. The spear plunged into the muscular torso of the punch dagger wielding male, just missing anything too vital. He howled in pain as he staggered backwards.

Wasting not a second, but appreciating the look of shock from the blonde, Obessa released the spear and promptly backhanded the girl across the face, following up with a knife thrust that the braggart just barely managed to step in and block with his own spiked dagger. There was a half moment of concern, as the spikes on that dagger were weapon breakers, so Obessa had to be prepared to move with the attempt and free her blade, but the youth clearly didn’t understand the weapon as he chose to use it simply to block. A heartbeat later and Obessa’s blade was free of any danger and she could dictate the pace of the match again.

The next few seconds were a blur of blade play. The blonde recovered quickly and had a dagger sheathed on her leg that she drew and quickly brought into play. Fighting the pair of them together was not taxing, though it did cause a few pangs of annoyance from her arm as she blocked some of their more strenuous attacks. They might have been able to put her on her back heels a bit, but they were woefully undertrained in fighting as a pair, which to a Wych like herself was criminal. All it took was a few steps to her left or her right and they kept stumbling around so as to avoid hurting each other.

Feeling her arm loosening up, Obessa ended it. An overanxious slash by the blonde forced the boy to shift away to not be hit. Obessa simply leaned back, her feet not having to move, to avoid the swing. Stepping forward sharply she caught a fistful of the blonde’s wildly sweeping hair, twisting her fingers in it as she wrenched hard. The girl squealed in pain and surprise as she was pulled off her feet. Obessa’s leg snapped up in a sharp kick, catching the girl right on the chin. Her jaw clicked together as her head jerked back, and the squeal was instantly silenced. Releasing her hair Obessa blocked an awkward lunge from the boy and proceeded to up the tempo on him, battering his blade this way and that, opening wide his defenses, before disarming him and placing her knife right at his throat all in one smooth motion.

Someone was clapping.

Obessa looked up to see Zak Phaer’irr, and, indeed, the entire rest of the class was watching. His dark eyes were locked on her. She nodded in thanks to the bragging youth as she withdrew her blade from his throat. He swallowed and stepped back, bowing slightly to her.

“A Wych of the Bloodied Kiss, an excellent specimen to see in battle,” noted Zak to the class as he stepped onto the practice mat to walk over and look at the stab wound from the spear. “Before we take you to the medic,” he said to the boy, “which you will need, would you like to tell me the mistake you made?”

“Separated too far from my unit in the face of an unknown enemy.” The boy’s voice cracked with pain but he spoke the words firmly.

“Not underestimated enemy?”

“Perhaps that too.”

“Good.” Zak motioned to two of the students who came forward and lifted up the wounded Dark Eldar. Zak then walked over to the braggart and the blonde. She had recovered enough to stand up, though she was still unsteady on her feet and her bloody face was already starting to swell up. “You’re going to need some dermal regeneration, but you’ll finish the class like that, it will be good to learn to fight through and to understand your pain in combat.” The blonde nodded. “What led to you two failing?”

“We were overmatched,” offered the girl bitterly through slurring lips as she glared at Obessa.

“We hadn’t trained enough in two on one combat to understand how to exploit our advantages,” the braggart answered after a bit more thought.

“Decent answers in their own way.” Zak glanced at Obessa. “What do you think?”

She paused for a moment, wondering if he wanted her to pander to him, or to answer with honesty. A look at his dark eyes made her suspect he was not a man who needed much pandering. “Lack of training in combat coordination, certainly. But from choosing to enter battle giving away advantages to your enemy like unbound hair, not knowing how to use the weapons you chose to equip, or splitting your forces and not being ready for an attack, suggests an inherent failure in the method of their training.”

“Indeed…” Zak nodded thoughtfully. “What would you suggest?”

“More comprehensive drilling in all the weapons here, for starters. You can’t fight unless you know what your weapon does. Then, more group drills, it will come up in combat more often than single duels.”

“You all heard that,” Zak intoned gravely as he turned back to the class. Pair off in groups of three rotating attackers and defenders. Use only a weapon you understand, if anyone sees someone using a weapon wrong, report it for credit and also sending them to an extra guard duty shift…make sure you can explain how they were using it wrong though.”

The class laughed amongst themselves, some laughing harder as a few students awkwardly returned to the weapon rack and switched out some of their more esoteric choices for simpler gear. After making sure they were getting underway, Zak turned his attention from his students to her.

“What are you doing here?” She blurted out.

“Practicing,” he answered simply, he didn’t smile, but there was, perhaps, a slight twinkle to his eyes as he glanced at her. She blushed slightly at his easy deflection of her rather inelegant question, unsure if she was doing so because she thought he was being dismissive of her, or coy.

“No, I meant…you’re an Incubus, why are you training Kabalites?“

“Boredom, mostly,” he shrugged. “I am stationed here, but am not on duty at all times. When I am not on duty I find myself looking for things to do. This is something the Kabal seemed to feel comfortable with me doing, as I won’t steal any of their precious secrets from trainees, and it at least pleases me to make sure most of them know which end of the dagger to hold…though perhaps I’m not as good of an instructor as I hoped.” His answer did little to remove the slight crimson flush on her cheeks. She hoped he took it for exertion from her workout. “I was worried about how well you’d recover from your injuries.”

“I’m fine,” she held up her right forearm to show him that not even a scar marred her smooth skin.

“Are you? I wonder.” He considered her arm for a moment, his lips pursing slightly. Then, with a turn, he walked over to the weapon rack and selected a pair of matched long knives, eyeing their blades critically as he tested their grip in his hands.

“What does that mean, exactly?”

“You taught my students about some of the possible failures on a battlefield, but not all of them.” His voice was as hard to read as his eyes, calm and modulated, she began to wonder if he ever yelled or cried out.

“Oh,” she smiled, “which did you think I left out?”

“Becoming emotionally involved.”

He spun around in a blur and came in at her, one of the knives coming in a looping overhand, the other snapping up underneath, looking to trap her blade as she blocked the first swing. Obessa rotated her arm quickly, dipping the blade of her weapon as she blocked the overhand, using the force of his swing to overbalance him. Her reverse slash at his gut almost connected, if Zak hadn’t backpedalled quickly she would have gutted him, instead all that happened was his shirt was slashed open, a very light trickle of blood seeping from a razor thin cut across his muscled abdomen.

“Ah…would you look at that,” he glanced down at the wound.

“I’m sorry you-” she began to apologize, and then caught herself. “Wait, no, I’m actually not sorry, what were you trying to do?”

“I was just curious if you even knew how to defend from that attack. Maybe the wreck left you very confused?” He then peeled off his shirt to reveal the tightly muscled torso beneath it, laced with dozens of half seen scars from various battles. He tossed the shirt aside, and this time as he rushed in at her Obessa could tell he was imitating the battle style of a Wych of the Bloodied Kiss. More specifically – he was imitating Kyssindree.

“What are you doing?” She spat the question at him as she batted aside his attacks, a flash of annoyance edging into her voice as she suspected she already knew.

“You seemed to crumble so easily to this.” Zak’s dark eyes were deadly serious now, black and menacing. “My plan was to just take you apart and have my way with you. That seems to be your response of choice.”

“Wha-?” Obessa snapped out a quick kick at his shin, but Zak spun away and redoubled his attack. Even using a fighting style unfamiliar to him, his hold of two blades and the blinding hand speed and near perfect footwork was leaving her on the defensive.

“Is that what you want, to be dominated? Many do prefer that.”

”Is that so?” Obessa feinted and cut to her right before spinning back to her left, catching at his wrist with her empty left hand before lashing out with a cut to slash open his arm with her other. He barely managed to get his knife in between, their hilts crashing together as he locked the blades.

“Wonderful,” he breathed softly. The stiffness suddenly left him as he pulled her towards him, rotating his hips to toss her off him. She spun in midair to land lightly on her feet, blade at the ready, but Zak had obviously finished, his matched blades now down at his sides as he regarded her with those annoyingly unreadable eyes.

“You don’t know anything about me,” she hissed between clenched teeth.

“I hope that’s true,” he said matter-of-factly, "because if it isn’t then you don’t know anything about yourself.”

Obessa snarled as she turned away, slamming the knife back into the weapon rack as she stalked out of the practice room.

-------------------------------------------

The meeting was being held in a small shanty building set off the back end of one of the less reputable bazaars in the Market of Slashed Wrist. The owner had owed Ben’rik some favors, so they had been granted a small safe haven to finish some of their last minute planning. The other survivors of The Howlers came trickling back in small groups, bearing reports of which groups they had managed to convince to join the raid, and which had demurred, and which had been outright threatening.

Sitting in front of the small heater that barely chased the chill out of the air, his face cloaked in flickering shadows from the green flaring lights of the fire in the heater’s iron grille, Tael held a review of each and every message that came in. Standing at his side, a smirk on her face, and her arms folded over her chest, was Kyssindree. Her positioning was beginning to make it very clear to Ben’rik that his role as, perhaps, secondary advisor, was being diminished yet again.

For not the first time that day he regretted that he hadn’t managed to successfully kill the man.

Oh, it was no deep judgment on him at this point. He was being fair enough, certainly. He’d betrayed The Howlers and cost them ample wealth. But, at the same time, he really had been working on a deeper plan, and though it was clear he’d needed the deaths at the party to both lull the Kabal into a sense of security and to also serve as a polarizing event to unite many of the great Hellion gangs under one banner, he certainly held no individual grudges to the gang, and indeed had made them, to a man, prime lieutenants in the entire affair, well positioned to reap the most rewards from the raid at very minor additional risk.

“When you count in his slave holdings I suspect we’re safe to count his pledge as at least an additional fifty blades, bringing my total to four hundred and twenty seven blades.” The speaker was Dael’iis, one of the gangers who’d escaped with Wren during the siege, he was justifying the worth of the forces he was bringing to the affair through his efforts for later accounting when the spoils were divided.

“I count it as two hundred and twelve,” noted Kyssindree, “you can only count slaves as half a blade each.”

“They fight as well as anyone else,” he sputtered.

“No,” Kyssindree laughed at him, “no, they really don’t.” She waved her hand in dismissal, “get out of my face, you twit.” Her laughter followed him out the door, and Ben’rik was reminded again why he’d never liked her. Well, the attitude in addition to her chosen alliance with Tael, naturally. But she was always so full of herself and her training as a wych, as though that somehow made her better than the rest of them.

Ben’rik had killed wyches in his time, and he’d seen the proud popinjays dragged down by slaves as well. They were more flashy, certainly, and on average of a fine caliber of training, but he’d rather take a dozen bladesmen who’d survived on the streets of Commoragh for decades, scraping and crawling their way through life, then count on twelve wyches fresh out of their academies and proud of their ability to use a spinning decapitation move as though that was somehow superior to a simple gutting. More artistic, perhaps, but at the end of the day he was usually more concerned about the profit and the pain then in how artistically he’d accomplished them.

“We’re getting some interesting news from Shattered Soul,” Ben’rik said after he’d escorted Dael’iis out and informed the two street gangers guarding the door not to let anyone in for the next hour.

“A party of some sort, I imagine.”

“Yes…” Ben’rik blinked in surprise, he’d been with Tael all day and knew no one had told him about the gathering planned for House Douraal.

“Don’t act so surprised,” Tael laughed, “the old man always hosts a huge party whenever an important foe or raid is finished. I rather suspected I would count as such.”

“Indeed,” added Kyssindree, “we were planning on it, it will be the perfect cover for us when we sneak in to disable the fission generators.”

“I suppose that will indeed work out,” Ben’rik shrugged, “but we will need to figure out a manner of getting in still, because it’s not like security is going to be more lax on the outside.”

“I was rather planning to go as a guest in order to appreciate all the splendor The Shattered Soul could offer.” Tael, his smile flashing, reached out to put an arm across Kyssindree’s hips, “besides, we could probably do with some culture in our lives.”

“You need to wait to-“ The raised voice from outside was cut short as the door rattled inwards. One of the guards was sent sprawling onto the floor, another was gasping for air, doubled over on his knees in pain, holding his hand which was spurting blood from where two of his fingers had once been. Her ratty leather cloak tossing in the cold gusts of wind outside, Wren stood in the doorway, a feral snarl on her lips.

“I wouldn’t do that, if I was you,” offered Ben’rik casually to the doorman, “she likes having guns pointed at her even less than being touched.”

The guard was one of the recruits who’d shown up already, some member of a little street gang or other. He’d been going for his pistol, but Ben’rik’s raised hand halted the motion. Wren’s narrowed eyes considered the boy for a few moments, then she grunted as she turned away from him and walked up to Tael, her features instantly softening, then growing darker again as she noticed his arm possessively on Kyssindree.

“Wren,” Tael smiled sweetly as Ben’rik quietly hustled the guard back outside, “I wasn’t expecting you back…so soon. I’m guessing you have something important to tell me?”

The girl’s face flickered through a handful of emotions.

“What about the gangs you were supposed to recruit?” Kyssindree leaned against Tael, draping herself on his broad shoulders as she kept her gaze locked on Wren. “You were able to convince them to join us, I presume?”

Wren frowned, hissing at Kyssindree slightly, but upon seeing that Tael looked interested as well she shook her head slightly at his questioning eyes, but then hurriedly pulled out a small bone and stone necklace, smiling hopefully as she held it up for him to see. She nodded happily as she offered it to him.

“That is a necklace, that is not soldiers,” Tael spoke slowly to her, as one might a child. “I thought I made my intentions to you clear? Were you unable to understand them?”

“Pledge,” mewled Wren as she pointed to the glyphs on the necklace, “Beastmaster’s pledge!” She smiled again, desperately hoping.

Tael reached out to take the necklace, eyes narrowing as he considered it for a few moments. “Judging by the marks it’s one hunting band only, if I recall correctly To’kar’s band had…ten warriors in it.” He handed the necklace over to Kyssindree, who wrinkled her nose at the sight of it and promptly deposited it, with a toss, into a back corner behind the heater. “Mark her down for eleven shares.”

“Eleven,” Kyssindree smiled as she noted the number, “which puts her only about a hundred shares behind the next lowest performer.” She looked up to smile at Wren, “maybe next time just go and talk to the people you were told to? It’s complicated, but I understand it works.”

“Now, now.” Tael stood up and shushed Kyssindree as he reached out to cup Wren’s chin. “Ten more blades is still ten more blades.” Wren’s face softened immediately, a small purring coo escaping her lips. “Besides, she performed basically just as well as I would have expected her to.” He patted her cheek as he reached out to grab Kyssindree and head for the exit. “Ben’rik, I leave you to see to the invitations, I think we’ll need four, one for each of us.”

“Oh, of course, I’ll just nip out and pick up four invitations to an Archon’s gala the day before it’s going to happen, no problems.” Ben’rik stood up as well, collecting his gear as he mumbled a few curses about Tael.

As he made to depart he glanced back at Wren. She still stood in the room, one hand on her cheek where Tael had patted her, her brow furrowed as she considered his last words. It was perhaps worth puzzling on, in typical Tael fashion they could be taken as a defense of her, or a thinly veiled insult.

-------------------------------------------

Tybalt had made about as good a living as one could hope for in the Dark City, at least as good as one could hope for while being a ‘Mon’keigh’ which is what most of the natives insisted on calling him even when he made it clear that his race was known as ‘human’ instead. He’d once got one of his friendliest Dark Eldar trading partners fairly drunk and asked him why that was. The answer had been clinical in its simplicity, and chilling in its honesty.

Do you care what your pet calls itself as long as it isn’t foolish enough to piss on the carpet or try to bite your hand?

Reasoning like that was rife in the Dark City. It was one of the things Tybalt respected the Dark Eldar for. They were right bastards, through and through. But they did it with such an honest expectation that the universe…owed these things to them. It was gratifying to know, that in the grand scheme of things, his own little criminal empire was probably likely to be looked upon as petty and almost respectable compared to the machinations of even the average Dark Eldar.

It was also why he’d hired Golt. The abhuman was all muscle and force, but he was a good way to keep negotiations peaceful. It hadn’t taken Tybalt long to figure out that the only way to even remotely ensure he was paid when dealing with Dark Eldar was to showcase his ability to bring deadly force to bear. Also, he’d learned, you were occasionally obligated to showcase that deadly force on a regular basis, because if you didn’t constantly remind the other denizens of The City how dangerous you were you’d end up dead in a second.

It was careful considerations like this that had made Tybalt’s Trade House a respected name in Port Heiden, and earned him a reputation as the most influential Mon’Keigh in the Dark City this side of the Spire. As such, when he approached the front door of his barter shop and found it ajar he motioned to Golt to lead the way. Obligingly hefting a massive hand cannon the hulking brute stomped forward, poking his head through the entryway and, after a moment, grunting to Tybalt that he could enter safely.

The inside of the shop was a wild mélange of goods for sale, ranging from bins of clothing, assorted pieces of armor, dozens of weapons, oils, unguents, poisons, antidotes, and other oddities plundered from across the face of the galaxy. Tybalt had done a decent business for himself because many of the alien traders preferred to deal exclusively with him, knowing he would charge them a premium but content to pay it in exchange for not risking their goods or their lives by sitting across from a Dark Eldar at a bartering table.

Waiting in his shop was a rakish Dark Eldar, sitting upon an ancient vellumwood chair and leaning back in it, the expensive and delicate wood creaking slightly at the abuse. His booted feet propped upon a unique wraithbone case that still bore some spirit stones within it. He was reading an alien book, or at least pretending to. He’d purloined a pair of spectacles and perched them upon his nose, even though, with one of his eyes hidden behind an embroidered eyepatch, it was fairly certain it was just for show. The Dark Eldar smiled as he entered the room and lifted up his hands, wiggling his fingers to show he held no weapons…for now.

“Don’t worry my friend, I am just here to talk, you do not need your bodyguard.”

He spoke in his native tongue, which Tybalt spoke somewhat fluently, at least as well as any outsider could master the intricate language which paired multiple inflections and fairly subtle body movement to impart dozens of alternate meanings to an otherwise identical word. It was a rough translation though, after all, there was no actual word for ‘friend’ in the Dark Eldar language, at least not one they had ever used in his presence. The more direct translation was, ‘ally whom I foresee no current need or desire to betray’.

“We’re closed.” Tybalt took off his cloak that he’d been wearing to keep out the misty damp of the lower Ports. He was wearing clothing that was cut in a style not improper for a man of means in the Dark City, but was notably not of Dark Eldar design. They may have just been bemused if he did that, but there was a decent chance they would have killed him for aping his betters, and so he’d seen fit to alter the design enough to still include touch elements of slave apparel. Just to be safe.

“Your door is open now. You are here, I am here.” The Dark Eldar smiled, it wasn’t a friendly smile.

“I don’t trade with thieves.” Again, the translation was simply the closest one could manage in the language. There was no real word for thief. The phrase more literally meant ‘someone too weak or foolish to successfully take what they desire.’

“I feel as though we have started on the wrong foot here,” offered the Dark Eldar. “For starters, I will admit to a certain amount of foolishness, simply because I could not find what I wanted before you returned. I believe now we should properly barter for the item.”

It sounded like an insane request, fail to steal something and then demand the right to barter for it. At least it would have seemed insane to most humans, but Tybalt had long ago developed a familiarity with some of the cultural oddities of the race. He sighed and ground his teeth slightly. He should probably at least barter with the fellow long enough to learn if he had many allies. If not, then he could have Golt put a round through his head and dump him out for the cadaver carts to pick up. He nodded in agreement.

“Excellent, my name is Ben’rik,” the Dark Eldar made a slight forward bow, though obviously done in a mocking manner. Even the lowliest of Dark Eldar was clearly above the mightiest of Mon’keigh in the social structure of the Dark City. “But I do not believe you’ve met Wren yet.”

Wren?

The basket of clothes beside Tybalt suddenly surged upwards, revealing a thin slip of a figure with a blazing mop of spikey red hair. In its hand was one of the helmets from the shock troop armor set along the back wall. Even as Golt managed to turn around the figure grabbed his collar, smashing the helmet into his face repeatedly with meaty wet crunching noises.

Tybalt realized then that things were out of control, and his finely trained reflexes responded in the smartest method he’d devised for survival in this place. He ran for the door.

It was too late though, he could feel the painful jab of a blade slapping into his shoulder and he was sent tumbling to the ground. The thin red head was on him in the blink of an eye. Steely strong fingers grabbed his vest and hauled him off the floor to crash down atop the sales counter. Even before he could register the movement the figure was on top of him, only then seeming to slow down enough for him to follow it. A young, female, Dark Eldar. She held a bloody knife in her hand, the same one that she had thrown into his shoulder, she must have extracted it sometime during hauling him around. She smiled, her teeth had been filed into razor sharp points and glittered menacingly.

“Wren doesn’t like you very much,” offered Ben’rik as she slashed open Tybalt’s coat and tore it off him to reveal his bare chest. “Let me be honest with you, Mon’keigh, I don’t like you very much either. But the main difference between me and dear, sweet, Wren here, is that I think it is smart to at least leave you alive after we work our deal, and she wishes to kill you because she is not exactly having the most enjoyable week possible.”

Wren’s eyes gleamed with an unhealthy sheen of intensity as she hissed softly in the back of her throat. It sounded like a cat he had once owned, playing with a twitching rat it had caught. Tybalt found himself regretting making that connection in his head.

“You know of Archon Douraal’s Masquerade Ball this evening?”

“Yes, of course.” Tybalt winced as Wren began toying with his nipple using the pointed edge of the bloodstained knife.

“Word on the street is that you have some invitations for sale.”

“Yes. You want them? You can have them!”

“Oh, I know that, we all know that.” Ben’rik grinned as he leaned in closer. “Where are they?”

“Left vest pocket,” Tybalt indicated the coat Wren had cut off him. As Ben’rik leaned down to retrieve the invitations the hulking figure of Golt began to stir and push itself to its feet. Wren was suddenly across the room and on Golt’s back, moving in that preternatural burst of speed that the Dark Eldar just seemed to take for granted but always left Tybalt feeling as though he was moving in slow motion around them. Even as he registered she was off his chest she’d already resumed striking Golt repeatedly with the dented and bloody shock helmet. By the time Tybalt started to sit up Wren was leaping back atop him, her smooth legs straddling his chest in an erotic posture even as she leaned forward and growled menacingly in his face. He felt all color drain from it as he flopped back obligingly on the table underneath her, which at least made her grin that horrible fanged smile again.

“Two more of them, not bad, not bad at all,” said Ben’rik as though nothing had happened, “but we do have a problem. We need at least one more tonight.”

“One more invitation?”

“Yes, you are a clever one.” Ben’rik smiled like Tybalt would have smiled at a five year old pick pocket just learning the trade. “Time is growing a little short for us, so allow me to make the deal fair for you. You will provide us the name of someone who can allow us to procure one more invitation, in exchange Wren will be convinced not to try for a new skinning speed record. She’d have to move quite fast to beat her current time. “

Tybalt nodded slowly. It wasn’t a bad offer, he could even use it to steer these two lunatics towards a business competitor he wished to deal some mischief towards and…his eyes narrowed.

“You said two…more. That means you already visited someone?”

“Yes,” Ben’rik shrugged.

“And you only need one more after this…okay, I’ll provide you the perfect name and also provide you the name of the Guard Captain at the Portside gate of the house, if you mention my name it will expedite matters for you getting past security.”

“And why do we get this exemplary service?”

“Because you’re going to tell me the name of whom you visited before me.” Tybalt licked his lips nervously as he looked into Ben’rik’s one good eye. He knew he may have just assured himself some truly focused torture and pain from Wren, but he also knew that whoever these two had visited first had been trying to do him and his business much mischief.

Ben’rik suddenly let out with a deep belly laugh.

“Look at that, Wren, the little Mon’keigh is starting to think like an Eladrith Ynneas.”

Ben’rik had just said Tybalt was starting to think like one of the Eldar who Walks in Shadow – the Dark Eldar. It was the most intense compliment he’d ever been handed in all his years here. Tybalt let out a slight sigh, there was a fairly good chance he wasn’t going to be tortured any more now.

After some fine detail discussion the two left. Tybalt sat on his counter, quite pleased with the name he now had. He would see to this rival, and he would crush him like the gnat he was for trying to harm Tybalt. It was dangerous to sit across a bargaining table from the Dark Eldar, but sometimes the rewards, ah, yes, the rewards were sometimes well worth it.

With a groan Golt slowly pushed himself to his knees, blood drooling out of his nose, mouth, and one of his eyeballs that had swollen shut. Tybalt frowned down at him.

“You’re fired, by the way.”



=========================================
=========================================

As promised, a Saturday update, and it's decently beefy too.

Needless to say, I rather like Tybalt - plus it was fun to get a chance to clarify Dark Eldar a bit from the more 'common' perception of a human. I wanted to showcase the speed and the casual superiority a bit more, and other Dark Eldar would take both of those things as so commonplace it was hard to properly showcase them when the narrator was another Dark Eldar, so Tybalt served very nice for that role, plus, the idea of humans living and 'working' in Commoragh is fluff and also a rather interesting idea that I wanted to explore a touch.

Also, Wren probably needed a bit of a release.

Next Chapter we have a minor raid that might be quite important.
A bit of clothes shopping.
And, yes, they will finally go to the party, wherein the grand finale cannot be far behind.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Sun Oct 07 2012, 01:48

Excellent update, I especially enjoyed the Dark Eldar language lesson.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Mon Oct 08 2012, 10:19

Aah Thor665, excellent work here! I only just found this yesterday but I've been reading my way through it whenever I've had spare time. A captivating story! You've really brought the world of Commoragh to life. Very Happy I'm looking forward to the finale!

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Mon Oct 08 2012, 17:08

I've been reading your stuff for the last 3 nights, no stop, and not many stories can do that to me.

You are magnificent good sir, magnificent.
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Mon Oct 08 2012, 17:27

nope. terrible. youll have to give us another one to make up for it. NOW!!! Twisted Evil

Brilliant work as per normal mate, loving the human perspective on the dark kin.
Keep up the great work!
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Mon Oct 08 2012, 18:33

It was an inspired choice to use the contrast between Human and Dark Eldar to showcase their speed; it also casts Wren and Ben'rik in another light when people find them impressive and deadly (unlike Kyssindree's view of them, for example ...). I really enjoyed seeing things from another perspective, and it was an interesting insight into how Commorragh's mixed society might function.

I'm looking forward to more Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Mon Oct 08 2012, 21:06

@Painboro - That was rather fun to write Wink I've learned of a handful of words on our planet alone that don't relly have matches in other languages, so it made sense that certain words might also be...altered for the DE considering their mindset. It was one of my favorite bits too.

@bleum - Awesome, glad you are hooked - hopefully the end will not be too long in coming.

@alex - Embarassed Wink

@sammun - I'm already tempted to do another story just centered on Tybalt, I get the feeling he is probably an interesting fellow.

@Malys - Neither Wren nor Ben'rik are weak players (a Helliarch cum Beastmaster and a former hellion Gang Boss respectively) and even I need to remind myself every now and then that they are also exquisitely deadly and nasty creatures - just in slightly different ways than Kyssindree Wink

Also, if you liked the human trader, wait until you meet Madame Dior next chapter - she runs a clothing shop...in Commoragh, I wonder what sort of person that will be?

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Tue Oct 09 2012, 10:38

These shifts in perspective (like seeing the raid through the eyes of the nervous Ss'lyth, for example) are one of the things that make the story and the characterisation stand out so well Smile I look forward to seeing what you do with Madame Dior, as well as who is to be outfitted!


EDIT: You're going to put Wren in a dress, aren't you!

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Wed Oct 10 2012, 01:01

@Lady Malys wrote:
EDIT: You're going to put Wren in a dress, aren't you!
Twisted Evil

Preview: Kyssindree will be unamused.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Thu Oct 11 2012, 17:23

Am I the only one who wants to see Ben'rik in a dress to fool the guards?
Talk about an ugly woman!
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Mon Oct 15 2012, 17:07

Chapter 16: The Clothier

The first Scourge in the flight was cut open by a burst of fire from Ssinssilla’s splinter cannon, his red and gold armor splitting open under the stream of razor sharp poison shards, his feathery black wings being torn apart in tufts of wispy fluff. The other ten reacted smartly, the two holding the shipment cases each split off with a wingman, diving in different directions. The other Scourges wheeled about as they readied their weapons.

The pathetic motley of street gangs, culled from various two-bit scam operations, street snatchers, second story men, legbreakers, and alien riff-raff rose up from their hiding places amongst the broken spires and trawling elevated black iron walkways of the ambush site. They readied an assortment of crude firearms as they began to fire at the Scourges.

The winged warriors reacted in calm order, their splinter carbines flashed as they let out focused bursts that never seemed to fail to tear apart one of their attackers. Their feathery black wings arced wide as they paused in mid-flight to fire, then snapped in close to their bodies as they dived out of the way again. Ssinssilla and her assortment of slaves and street scum were not likely to survive for long versus such an onslaught, but that was okay.

They were just the distraction after all.

Kyssindree let out a long undulating war cry as she and her Hellion wing burst out of hiding and swept down upon the Scourges from above. The splinter pods let out a staccato snapping sound as twenty skyboards began firing on only six, rather surprised, Scourges. One of them managed to spin around, letting out a snap shot with his haywire blaster as they approached. The blue arcs of energy danced over the skyboard of the Hellion next to her, burning and charring the rider’s skin even as it shorted out every system on the board. The Hellion plummeted down to the streets hundreds of feet below, not even conscious enough to scream.

Kyssindree laughed.

The six Scourges had been caught in a crossfire, and even the gilded ancient technology of their Ghostplate armor, equipped with personal force field generators in many of the hardened resin plates, failed when faced with a torrent of lasers, plasma pulses, hard slugs, and poison crystal rounds tearing into them. Kyssindree raised her arm, issuing a few quick orders via hand motion, since the jamming tech should be preventing any other form of communication. They had slain the rearguard, but the important goal had not yet been achieved.

She tapped the accelerator stud of her skyboard with her heel as she crouched down, gripping at the edge of her board with one hand, while her other still held a splinter pistol. The Scourges with the shipment she was pursuing had opted for speed, just as the ones who had dived down into the warrens below them had opted to try stealth. Neither of them could be allowed to escape.

The large black wings of the Scourges beat the air with force and fury, driving them through the pre-dawn sky at a breakneck pace. Against other Hellions, it might have been fast enough to secure their escape. But Kyssindree was not other Hellions, the engine of her board squealed as it was pushed past safety limits, her black hair whipped in the wind as she took a wild and weaving shortcut through a maze of entwined iron antennae, a few sparks shooting into the sky as she grazed one razor sharp edge a little too closely.

Then she was on them. The escort twisted in the air, firing his splinter carbine at her in full auto, just spraying wildly and blindly in an attempt to ward her off. Kyssindree let out a warcry as she signaled for the decapitation. A sharp shift of her weight corkscrewed her skyboard as she spiraled between his shots, the razor edges of her skyboard flashing dangerously bright and polished as she swept past him, and suddenly one of her bladed wings was painted a bright crimson. Her victory cry was loud as she swept down towards the final Scourge, the one still clutching the shipment case of soul chits to his chest.

“Where do you think you’re going,” she called to him as she pulled up alongside him, signaling to him that she intended to slice his head in half. The Scourge looked back at her, his face hidden behind his snarling golden bird mask, but his cool green eyes were visible behind the eye slits and they widened in terror as he jerked out a pistol and pointed it towards her. “I’m going to make you famous,” she promised him as she dodged his first shot with a quick and shallow duck of her board, “and then I’m going shopping with those chits!”

-------------------------------------------

Dior’Narsissica was shoved forward by one of the young roughs who’d burst into her shop, killing her guards and bringing her to this…place. She picked herself up off the ground, her lip already curling back in disdain as she noticed the tear on her dress where her knee had pressed it against the rough textured metal grating that formed the floor of this…establishment. Not to mention the stains on the material. She adjusted her glasses on her nose and took a moment to double check her hair, which had started to fall loose from her bun.

“I do apologize for my men, their poor manners reflect upon me. My only excuse is that they have not been in my service very long.”

Dior looked up to see the speaker, a broad shouldered man of quite fine appearance, though the dingy fighting leathers he was wearing were of questionable value…except perhaps in showing off his physique quite nicely. His white hair was pulled back into a long topknot, his eyes were blue and bored into her as he gave her a pleased smile, a smile that didn’t reflect in his icy gaze. He sat upon a rickety chair set before a heater that was buzzing from some faulty component as it produced a sordid green glow in the room.

On one side of the man stood a slouched figure with ratty blonde hair and a rakish eye-patch who was wearing expensive clothing from about four different fashion trends that spanned at least eight years. On the man’s other side, leaning comfortably on the back of his chair, was a lush figured woman with striking lines to her figure, she also wore fighting leathers but had managed to find some that fit her appropriately, and at least where they didn’t fit appropriately it still left an effect that Dior suspected was desired.

Behind her were the two toughs who had accosted her in her shop. Young and still overeager, they wore gang markings that did not match those of the other three, suggesting they were rather some sort of subservient cartel in service to the ruling group of the triumvirate in front of her. Neither of the toughs was wearing anything of worth except as fuel in a fire, and the dirt stained and blood spattered outfits churned her stomach.

She cast her eye around the shack ruefully, noting the stark disrepair of it and the lack of any markings to signify the gang. It even lacked rudimentary touches, like a splash of gang color via a hanging drape or even crude graffiti. That suggested it was a temporary holding, which meant that they probably were using it because what they were doing here was likely to cause some sort of mess that they did not desire at their primary lair. Dior did not care for the odds that gave her.

“If it was simple theft you wouldn’t need me, if it was murder, you wouldn’t need to bring me here, I am not well connected enough for any viable hostage situation.” She crossed her arms as she glared at her captor. “I can tell at a glance I haven’t dressed any of you, and if you are wearing that you hardly have the sense to have become offended by my choices if I did. That leaves, torture, a specific sacrifice, or some odd extortion scheme?”

“Madame Dior, you misjudge me.” The man gave an even wider smile as he snapped his fingers. The doors to the shack were opened again as a spikey haired young girl dragged in a portable rack containing some of the wares of Dior’s shop, following in the girl’s wake came more and more disreputable warriors, each hauling in some of the finest selections of clothing and wares she’d had on offer. “I’m afraid what I need is an immediate fitting for a rather important party I’m going to tonight, and I just couldn’t allow you to be distracted by any other clients for even an instant.”

Dior glanced at some of the gangers filling the room and frowned before looking back to Tael. “How many of these am I expected to make a miracle happen for?”

Tael laughed. “Only four of us are going, dear Madame,” he motioned to himself and his two aides, and then after a moment of an odd pause, as Dior suspected he already knew who he was going to name but was intentionally dragging it out, gestured to the spikey haired girl, who seemed to perk up slightly at the motion. “I hope that is workable?”

“Your men killed three mercenaries guarding my store.”

“I suspect they would have taken a dim view of our invitation.” Tael reached behind his back to produce a datacrystal reader and held it out to her, “my gang’s resources are a little strapped thin at the moment, but I did manage to obtain a very important shipment of money and arrange to have it redirected to you. Hopefully you can take that deposit as a gesture of goodwill towards an assurance you’ll be returned alive and well when this whole operation is over.”

Dior took a few demure steps forward and accepted the reader. She glanced down at the information about her accounts and almost immediately began to salivate. She fought herself hard to keep her hand from trembling as she performed three different verification methods. She handed the reader back to him and straightened the glasses on her nose, taking a slow breath before speaking.

“I suspect that is just enough to keep this from being a total waste of my time, very well, I’ll deign to do this favor for you.”

Tael smiled.

-------------------------------------------

Sweat glistened across his nude upper body as he moved through the weapon kata, practicing a battle versus opponents who were not there. His quick foot movements caused the loose exercise pants he was wearing to billow around his legs. The klaive hissed as it slashed through the air, his muscular arms moving the ungainly seeming weapon with the same delicate grace of a feather dancing on the breeze.

The sword dipped and turned, often remaining close to his body in a sturdy defensive posture before flicking out in deceptively quick slashes and thrusts. His hands glided across the multiple grips on the weapon, transforming it at times to a spear, or an axe, before returning to the sword grip.

It had taken her a few moments to notice something else, since she’d been so distracted by the bladework and the light glinting off his body. As he’d practiced and worked through the routine there had been something else quite noticeable, his face had borne a very distinctive crooked smile, the only time she’d seen him bear that expression.

He finished his last lunge, holding the heavy blade out in a straight thrust, his shoulders tensed from the weight of the weapon, but the point of it not quivering in the least. With a humming whirl he spun the weapon up behind his back as he straightened and turned towards her, his sweaty hair plastered to his forehead, the smile now gone and replaced with his usual placid mien of imperturbable calm.

“Lady Obessa,” he ducked his head to her slightly.

“Obessa will do well enough.”

“As you wish it, though it is an inappropriate level of familiarity between a bladesman and one of the master’s concubines.”

“I’m not his concubine.” She growled the words slightly a scowl on her face. She tried to quickly regain her composure. If Zak spotted the slip, and she was quite certain he did, damn his eyes, he gave no indication of it at all, his face still an unreadable mask. “I wanted to talk to you about Kyssindree.”

“To explain why you’re scared to fight her to your full abilities?”

“I’m not afraid of her,” Obessa snapped. Again, Zak’s face remained decidedly neutral as to his thoughts about that comment. “We just used to fight alongside each other, there’s a history there. I’m upset to see what has become of her.”

“So you still consider yourselves sisters-in-arms as I would with my fellow Incubi?”

“Exactly,” Obessa smiled.

“It did not appear that she shared that sentiment when I rescued you from her.”

“She wasn’t going to kill me.”

“As you will.” Zak bowed to her slightly as he moved towards the entrance where his bundle of clothes awaited him.

“Why the hell does this bother you so much you need to get involved in my business?”

Zak’s back stiffened up at the question. She smirked, pleased that she had at least finally said something he didn’t already have a planned deflection or dismissal to. He finally dropped his klaive by his clothes as he turned to the weapon rack and selected a straight-edged dueling dagger. He turned back towards her, his expression neutral, as he tested the weight of the weapon,

“Do you know the difference between the way a Wych fights and the way an Incubus fights?”

“There are a number of moves that are different between the two styles,” Obessa almost grinned in thought at the question since it was a subject she was quite able to speak at length on. “In the Arena we even study Incubi combat styles in order to better be able to defeat them.”

He nodded, “I thought as much, we, naturally, do the same.” He motioned at her with his dagger, and Obessa shrugged as she drew forth her own. It was becoming apparent to her that Zak made most of his deeper thoughts known through combat, probably a side effect of the lifestyle he lived. “I had expected you had been exposed to the Incubi style, it is written all over you.”

He came in quickly, a three step advance and lunge for her throat. She parried sharply, batting his arm out to the side as she reversed the grip on her dagger in one fluid motion and drove it back towards his sternum. He, somehow, drew his blade back in time to barely parry.

“That was a kill shot,” he noted as he let loose with a couple of blinding slashes at her face and eyes.

Obessa backpedaled from the onslaught, her own arm moving in a blur to keep pace with his attacks. As she parried one she reversed grips again, flipping the knife away from her forearm and pressing her thumb along the flat of the blade as she riposted at his jugular. He parried and she used the moment where his eyes were blocked by his own blade to aim a fast downward slash towards his inner thigh. His amazing footwork saved him, as he somehow repositioned from offense to defense without even losing a beat.

“Kill shot, and a fake out to a kill shot,” he noted calmly as he lashed out with one leg, hooking his foot around the back of her ankle and pulling back on it to jerk her off balance. As Obessa tipped backwards she hurled herself into the motion, cartwheeling backwards, her hands touching the floor lightly as her feet spun around overhead, before landing in a ready posture, a brutal sideways shift and a fast lunge at his liver was her only reply to the trip.

“Kill shot.”

His parry allowed her to twist his wrist slightly, she tossed her blade to her left hand and stabbed it in sharply at his eyes.

“Kill shot.”

He parried again, stabbing in at her chest. She twisted away, pulling her knife in, angling it across to stab down into his neck. He spun away a blur of footsteps, but Obessa felt the knife jerk in her hand slightly as she caught the flesh of his shoulder, cutting into the finely sculpted muscle there. A small dribble of red began to leak from the wound, coloring his pale white skin.

“Kill shot,” he noted with a slight bow of his head.

“Okay, I’m aware that when I fight someone I try to win, is there a point to all this?”

“Yes.” Zak straightened up and tossed her his knife as he turned to walk away again. “You don’t receive a lot of adulation in the Arena battles, do you?”

“I get my fair due,” she replied hotly, “I scored a hit on you, didn’t I?”

“You did. You also don’t get the attention you deserve in the arena for one simple reason, you fight to kill, not to draw out the perfect artistry of the moment and the pain of your target.”

“I…” Obessa had no answer to that. She’d often been called inelegant and unimaginative, and she’d often struggled in trying to figure out why that was since she knew she was more skilled than many of her fellows. Zak’s words were cutting in their likely truth.

“The difference between the way an Incubus fights and the way a Wych fights is that every strike an Incubus employs is measured and intended to end the fight,” Zak continued as he picked up his gear, “a Wych fights to prolong the agony and to toy with her opponent.”

His eyes met hers as he glanced over his shoulder.

“You’re better than she is, Obessa, I fought you both and the only way that someone of Kyssindree’s skill could possibly defeat you was if you decided you were going to let her. That mentality concerns me if I will be fighting alongside you in the future, and I wanted to know if it was a flaw in your overall character or just a particular blindness where Kyssindree was concerned.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“As you will,” he bowed, “I have my answer now.”

With that Zak exited the exercise chamber. Obessa glanced down at the blades in her hands, noting the small stitch of Zak’s blood on her knife and the uncolored blade in her other hand.

-------------------------------------------

“Do you have something with some more red overtones? It will set off his eyes better. Also, the cut on the shoulders is terrible.”

“Terrible…”

Madame Dior spared a pointed look at Kyssindree before tilting her head back at an imperious angle and walking off to locate another outfit. Kyssindree smiled self-indulgently as she took another sip of wine, she was lounging on Tael’s ‘throne’ and was clearly enjoying playing dress up with Tael, who seemed content enough to allow her to choose his clothing. Ben’rik watched Madame Dior depart, watching the bustle of her dress, appreciating the sway of her hips under the silky material. Curious if the curves he imagined there were as good as he suspected.

“I don’t know why you’re giving her a hard time,” noted Ben’rik as he motioned to his own outfit, “I think her taste is impeccable.”

He’d been dressed up like one of the Solar Lords of old, a glittering gold cape, a billowing silvered shirt with a plunging v-cut in front to show off his chest. A scintillating scarlet sash from which he had jauntily hung a long sword and a parrying dagger, each in jet black sheaths with gold buckles that matched his thigh high boots. Even his eyepatch now matched, solar red and embroidered with a sun in glittering gold wire. The half of his face not hidden by the eye patch bore a gold half-mask in a stylized sun design.

“You would think that,” sighed Kyssindree. She wore nothing but sheer undergarments. Her costume of choice had been a stylized take of Eldar high fashion prior to The Fall. Billowing dark silks and sinuous red leather as dark as dried blood. Her mask, though, she still wore. It covered the upper part of her face only, leaving her mouth and chin uncovered. Formed of polished wraithbone and bearing facial markings of the Pleasure Cults it was carved to resemble a stunningly beauteous woman, her eyes accented in ruby, and diamond dust with a wicked twist to them.

“How about this?” Madame Dior returned with an ornate outfit in her hands, a haughty take on Kaela Mensha Khaine, the Bloody Handed God. Tael smirked slightly at the sight of it. “It will certainly compliment with your lady’s attire.”

“Hurm, I’m not sure I’m against the god or king symbology,” Tael drawled, “but I suspect this costume may already be taken by the time we get there.”

“Also, it’s too much red,” noted Kyssindree, pouring herself a fresh glass. “Don’t you have something more subtle?”

“Oh, I can do subtle just fine.” Madame Dior bowed slightly to Kyssindree as she exited the room again.

“I don’t see why this is so important, we’re just sneaking into the place after all, one costume is as good as another, isn’t it?”

“Oh tut-tut,” chided Kyssindree, “what’s the point of killing someone if you look like a commoner when you do it, no one will sing songs about that.”

“We’re going in to sabotage their defensive systems, it’s a stealth mission,” he noted, “usually those don’t get too many songs.”

“You sabotage things your way, I’ll sabotage them in mine.”

“That hardly fills me with a lot of faith.” Ben’rik straightened up as Madame Dior demurely slipped back into the room. He cast her his most charming and rakish smile. She twitched her lips slightly, though he had to admit he wasn’t certain if it was a quick smile or a quick sneer. By the Dark Muses he wanted to pull some of the laces off that tight dress and see what was hidden underneath he suspected he could get her to loosen up…

“I suspect that this might be appropriate for you.” Madame Dior held up a gleaming mirrored mask shaped like a smirking face. It was a representation of Cegorach, the Laughing God. She handed it to Tael as she held up a black and silver outfit that bore touches of both a jester’s uniform and the rich lines of an Archon’s armor, as though Cegorach was playing a jape at Khaine’s expense. “It actually is armored, of course,” she noted as she held it up closer to his face, “but, from what I gather, this might be the exact message you’re hoping for, as well as being ready for any unfortunate complications.”

Tael’s eyes glittered brightly as he looked at the costume, he glanced at Kyssindree, the smile on his face exactly mirroring the one on the mask in his hands. Kyssindree nodded.

“Madame Dior, you are a brilliant woman,” he took her pale hand in his and lightly brushed his lips across her knuckles. “This is…perfect. Though I do have to wonder, what made you make this particular suggestion?” Tael asked the question in an offhand manner, but Ben’rik recognized the icy and deadly intensity of his look as he stared at Madame Dior, still not releasing her hands.

“I may not be a great Kabal Warrior or cunning Wych,” she noted with a polite bob of her head, “but I am still Eladrith Ynneas and I listen very carefully to my clients.”

“Of course,” Tael still smiled, but his eyes were wintery, “you don’t talk much though, I trust?”

“I cannot imagine that a clever man, such as yourself, is even releasing me until after the raid is underway, so I can’t imagine who I would tell even if I was foolish enough to want to sell any information I might have.” Madame Dior’s smile was no less venomous than Tael’s and Ben’rik found himself wondering how she’d ever been reduced to just being a clothier, there was an enjoyable fire in the woman. He’d have to kidnap her again for less boring reasons once he again ruled a Hellion gang.

The door burst open as Wren fluttered in, a silly wide grin on her face as she bounced over in front of Tael and showed him the dress she was wearing. It was a light sea foam green and, in Ben’rik’s opinion, looked absolutely terrible on her. It was half falling off her shoulders because she had nothing much to fill it out with up there, and it looked to be belted too tightly on her slim waist because it was built for a more fully shaped woman.

“Oh…that’s…nice,” offered Tael slowly as he considered the effect. “You see, Wren, I was just thinking, you probably wouldn’t do too well trying to fit in. I mean, between what you’ve done to your teeth, and hair, and your…special manners.” Tael shrugged apologetically as Wren’s face fell. “Honestly, I was kind of thinking you could come as a servant or slave or something similar. I think it would suit you better.”
Kyssindree started snickering into her wine glass.

Madame Dior crossed her arms over her chest, a small frown creasing her face. Wren nodded slowly, too dispirited even to snarl at Kyssindree. Tael smiled as he turned to his wych-consort, wrapping one arm around her waist as he hauled her up against him.

“Come along, I think I may need help putting this on properly.”

“Of course, we should make sure you’re limber and don’t strain anything too much before the evening.” Kyssindree laughed as she brushed past Madame Dior, leading the smiling Tael out, Wren’s crestfallen gaze following them. Ben’rik couldn’t help but note that Madame Dior’s lips twisted into a half smirk, a small dimple of amusement appearing on her cheek as she considered Wren carefully.

-------------------------------------------

“So, what is the most important thing for you to remember?”

“I do not talk.” Wren nodded her head, the spiky red points of her hair bobbling with the ferocity of the movement. She smiled as Madame Dior held up a cape to match her outfit.

“That is right.” Madame Dior motioned her to turn around. “You let your…”

“Friend,” offered Ben’rik. The rakish Hellion leader was sitting on a chair nearby and rather unsubtly trying to get a good view of her breasts. Dior had allowed just the smallest hints of the shadowy curve of her cleavage to show to him, simply because it amused her. It was like watching a human try to talk to an Eldar, a pathetic display that was doomed to failure on multiple levels, but which might be of some use to the Eldar enough so that it was worth going through some of the motions.

“…Friend. Let your friend, Ben’rik, handle your introduction. And he will remember what to say?”

“Of course,” Ben’rik laughed, that too-proud-of-his-own-cleverness laugh. “She is a noble lady from a distant satellite realm. Trueborn to her father, Archon Whelm’istr of House Zan’drike. Here to experience what life has to offer at the core of the city.”

“That’s it?” Wren frowned, twitching her head in unease and uncertainty. “Won’t work!”

“It will work,” laughed Dior as she attached the cape carefully, clicking together the broad, bejeweled, brass clasps. “That’s the amusement of it all. Fashion, manners, decorum, they’re all made up concepts and they all shift as readily one way as another. All we need to do is make them think of you as exotic, different, and mysterious. Suddenly you will go from a crass Hellion to,” Dior stepped back to admire her handiwork, “a desirable, noble, beauty.”

“By the Dark Muses,” Ben’rik eased up alongside Dior to look at Wren as well, “this really will work, won’t it?” Wren wore a sleek bodice of black leather and ruffled silk, it was cut to accentuate the curves she both did and didn’t possess, tightly pressing her breasts up and out as it showcased her sleek and muscularly trim waist. Tight black ash-silk pants hugged her legs, defining nicely the taut shape they’d always had. She wore brazen bronze bracers that also served as metallic gloves with curling finger talons of sparkling golden crystal. The long cape she wore on her shoulders fell down to her feet in voluminous whorls, formed of thickly tufted black feathers that frilled out gracefully, each move of her body highlighted by the perfectly weighted garment as it almost glided around her.

Dior actually almost felt a touch of connection with him, it was pleasing to see he did care just enough about Wren and the plan to find some legitimate joy in seeing how beautiful she could be. Then, of course, the clod had to ruin it by putting an arm around her waist.

“Agh!” Ben’rik jerked back his hand, which Dior had moved to clasp tenderly but had ‘accidently’ pricked him with some of the sewing needles in her hand.

“Oh! My apologies, I’d forgotten I was holding them, here, let me,” she moved to help.

“No, really,” he stepped back, “no harm done.” His eyes suggested otherwise, but Dior mostly still read lust in them, so didn’t worry much about it. She returned her gaze to Wren.

“One last thing, of course, the teeth will be a dead giveaway, so your mask will need to provide full coverage of your face.” She held up the mask she had selected.

Wren’s eye lit up and she gave a toothy grin. The mask was that of a large hunting bird with hooked golden beak and gleaming black plumage.

“Like!” She took up the mask and began strapping it in place.

“So…” Ben’rik slithered up next to Dior as Wren ran up and began admiring herself in a mirror leaning up in the corner of the shack. “You didn’t really make clear why you were so willing to help dear little Wren.”

“A whim, I suppose,” Dior lied.

“Somehow I suspect you keep a tight rein on most of your whims. A shame.” Ben’rik reached out brushing back some strands of hair that had escaped her tightly coiled bun, and pushing them back behind her ear. He offered her another devil-may-care grin.

She caught his hand and pointedly returned it to his side. “Then perhaps we’ll settle for the simple concept that the wych annoyed me and I am amused to show her that her rival for your handsome leader is not as easily dismissed as she might like to think.”

“Ah, revenge, it is good to see there’s some hidden…heat under that cool surface.” He sketched an extravagant bow to her. “Well, we are due at a party to topple an Archon, would you like to see me off, m’lady?”

“I could be talked into it,” she gave him a small half smirk as she lifted her hand and allowed him to escort her out towards the waiting hijacked Venom transport that would take them to the estate. Wren stalked alongside them, causing a fair stir amongst the assembled Hellions and other gang members as they watched her pass. The murmurs, compliments, and covetous gazes were notable, and Madame Dior smiled.

Tael’s mouth dropped open slightly as he saw Wren’s approach. Kyssindree practically shifted three shades more red as she glowered, her eyes murderously intent as the gang which, up until that point, had been paying her almost all the attention , turned their gazes to Wren.
Madame Dior kept her gaze focused and neutral as Kyssindree turned a venomous gaze to her. It was excellent to strike a blow against your enemy, but when your enemy could probably hurl a knife through your eyesocket from the distance of twenty paces that separated them it was a wise thing not to make it obvious that you had been looking to offend her.

Beside her Ben’rik was laughing. “Ah, you can make anyone’s day a bit brighter, I see.” He kissed her hand before letting go of it as he jauntily sprang up into the Venom. “I shall see you when I return.” He waved.

“I am certain of it.” She replied with a placid half bow.

Not that she intended to be here when they returned, she had been paid and, depending which of them came back alive would make a rather sharp difference in how she was treated. And that Kyssindree woman struck Dior as a survivor. But that was okay.

Dior was a survivor as well.

She smiled at the two ganger guards who took hold of her shoulders and steered her back towards the shack. As expected, it was the two cretins who had kidnapped her in the first place, it allowed her to kill two birds with one stone, as it were. She slipped on a pair of sleek snakeskin gloves as they went, certain that the two scarves she had prepared with a very special soaking in a rather deadly and painful contact poison were still ready and waiting back with the rest of the clothing.

“Now, you two have been so attentive to me, perhaps I could do something to…spruce you up?”

She smiled sweetly.

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cbosw5
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Mon Oct 15 2012, 17:32

Keep up the good work.
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Lady Malys
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Mon Oct 15 2012, 18:30

Oh, oh the dressing was magnificent! Everything that was chosen summed up people's characters perfectly. Also this:

Quote :
a black and silver outfit that bore touches of both a jester’s uniform and the rich lines of an Archon’s armor, as though Cegorach was playing a jape at Khaine’s expense.

I think that's what Cegorach would do.

I'm not one hundred percent sure what Zak is up to. I'm having fun speculating Very Happy

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sammun
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Mon Oct 15 2012, 18:31

This was another great installment.

I felt terrible for poor Wren, but you made her so happy with that dress and mask. Its great seeing her evolve emotionally as time goes by. Also, she could borderline never take the outfit off, it makes her feel beautiful and by the sounds of it, is one giant weapon.
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alexwellace
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Tue Oct 16 2012, 15:19

I LOVE IT!

Im starting to like Wren and i think that Mrs Wych is getting to big for her high heels. Im also wondering on Zak's motives, will we have a wychcubs child on the way???
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Tue Oct 16 2012, 19:21

I still haven't read all, but what i have... well, i just chime in to all the praise!

And thank you very much for the mentioning Very Happy I loved reading it, my cold, alien heart warmed for a sec Twisted Evil


I am still in the funny position to be reading a BL book and still printing out your stuff. I is just soooo goooooohd.
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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Wed Oct 17 2012, 11:39

@cbosw5 - thanks, we shall endeavor to do so.

@Malys - nice notice, and there's a bit of deeper meaning in that choice as well once you look at other outfits at the party, natch.

@Sammun - she is fond of it, but a weapon? Oh, I am certain she'll never use those claws on anyone Wink

@alex - I'm glad you're starting to like Wren, as she does have at least one important role to play yet... - and wychubus? Egads, that would be scary.

@Hydra - good to 'see' you again. You won't even need to squint much to see the rest, though the chapter got delayed due to the story flow - there *is* going to be a take of the entire race...and, naturally, at a very cool custom track hosted by a certain Kabal.

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PostSubject: Re: Trueborn - completed   Wed Oct 17 2012, 15:13

I loved Madame Dior and her (often extremely caustic) choices of clothing Very Happy It was great peeling back the layers of meaning from just what we have, and I can't wait to see how it ties in with the rest of the party outfits ... It was also very nice to see the subtlety of her fully clothed form, showing that there are other ways to be sexy than, well, dressing like a Wych Wink

I also wondered if "... well you are his concubine, aren't you" was a subtle way of testing something regarding Obessa, but I also have at least two other theories on the go there so I'll hold fire on that one for now Very Happy

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