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March 27th, 2013 (03:43 PM).
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Cassandra "Cass" Alexandra and Joseph "Honest" Sherman - Band
it Fort, Eveamoor
There were no windows. There were no torches. Nobody bothered to stand guard inside the room because, well, they were completely underground and there was only one exit. Somewhere, there was a slow, perpetual drip-drip-dripping noise that would drive any man insane. (Or, he thinks so. Was he going insane?) If he remembered correctly, the stone walls were dank and mouldy, the floor covered in filth. At least he'd gotten acclimatised to the foul smell, which was a blessing. These were old cells, but they had been built to last. It was cold: the subtle, aching kind of cold that wound itself inside your very bones before you'd really noticed, and ate away at you bit by bit. He couldn't quite feel his arms.
Honest had been locked up before. He'd unwisely stolen a horse from a noble--make that a lady--and was sentenced to execution. Luckily there had been a curious child (a boy--no, a spirited girl), a lazy (or was he corrupt?) guard, and some extreme stealthiness on his part to help his escape.
This time... well. It was a funny thing, really.
He had just finished his last job in the Silver Plains (or was it Bayren?) and had been heading to Eveamoore, possibly to look for a lost love or for more job opportunities. Maybe he had an estranged parent there somewhere too. Almost the moment he'd stepped foot on Eveamoorese soil he'd been captured by a group of professional bandits. They had probably been attracted by the weapon he'd been carrying, proceeding to confiscate the glaive, bag of coins he'd just earned, and the throwing knives they found. That certainly put a damper on things.
He hadn't put up a fight. Hadn't felt like it. And an untrained farmer-turned-adventurer like him obviously couldn't stand a chance anyway. (He thought he remembered working on a farm once, but he wasn't sure. Perhaps he'd been part of a troupe of performers and had stopped by a poor farming village...)
He could hear the beginnings of a commotion elsewhere. Honest still had a few of his throwing knives on him, but some bandit had taken a liking to his glaive and decided to try it out. An amateur swinging that weapon in a melee was probably more likely to disembowel an ally than an enemy. Not that he knew anything about fighting, being a poor merchant who was down on his luck. That glaive had been passed down generation to generation, father to son. He would get it back if it was the last thing he did. Somehow.
A small rustling sound nearby reminded him that there was a girl in the next cell over, as well. Not that they'd spoken, but he'd gotten a glimpse of her when he'd been brought in. There was nothing to do--not even any furniture to make use of--except to listen to the now unmistakeable sounds of battle overhead. Or, he assumed it was the sound of battle. How would a simple messenger like him know what a real battle sounded like? The sounds of steel clashing together filled the room. The screams of dying men echoed throughout the halls. The gushing sound of blood splattering everywhere was very distinct. No doubt whatever battle was occurring was great. Or perhaps it was more of a slaughter?
The rusted iron door that acted as the single gate separating captivity to freedom broke down from its hinges, crashing down to the ground with the body of bandit sprawled on top of it. Two knives were plunged deep into his face and blood squirted all over the delicate features of a red haired woman. She removed the knives ever so violently, before rising from the ground with a sigh. She left the room, only to return mere moments later with a torch to illuminate the room. "Oh~ Looks I finally found the dungeon. Let's see what we got in there this time."
The red haired woman walked by the cells on the far side of the room first, quickly passing by them quietly expressing her observations in a hushed voice. Finally she came to the cell of Honest, using the torch to illuminate his features, his brown hair and eyes and lean figure. "You are kind of cute, but I am looking for a girl. So bye," the woman covered in blood said before slowly turning to the next cell.
Honest blinked. His chances of surviving if left alone in his little prison were not good. And, well, there were only two reasons he could think of for searching for a girl captured by bandits. Either this was a rescue mission, or an assassination. Either way, they would have to get behind the bars. And if they killed him, well. Better a fast death than a slow one.
"Please," he croaked out. "Either let me out or kill me now. The girl's in the next cell, but if you can get her out, then how much trouble would it be to get me out, too?" He leaned up right against the bars, reaching out a little in desperation. "I'm probably going to die either way, but at least I'll have a chance."
There was fear in his voice. He didn't want to die before he managed to open his very own inn. He'd wanted to do so ever since he was a little boy. Or... wait. No. Had he? Was he afraid? Hadn't he wanted to wed a sweet girl he'd known since childhood? He felt like his dreams were slipping out of his grasp, intangible as air.
"I..." he blinked a few more times, confusion written all over his face. He wanted to live because... so that he would... in order to...
The woman continued to ignore him, clearly not interested in his needs or desires. She observed the bars and looked at the girl in the cell, who hid from view. She was scared, probably more so than her fellow prisoner. "The bars are rusted, but solid. Breaking this down won't work," she said in frustration. She knelt down and observed the padlock that kept the cell on lockdown. Then pulling a pouch from her belt, she shuffled through the cells, all dripping with blood; prizes claimed from the bandits she had cut through previously. Trying one after another, she reached the right one, indicated by the loud click that filled the quiet dark room. The bloody woman barged through the door, approaching the girl who cowered in the corner.
"Stay back," the girl pleaded as she hugged the wall. She feared for her life and the torchlight showed a face scarred by tears.
"Calm the hell down," the woman said, slowing her approach, before crouching down only mere steps away.
"N-no. S-stay back. I-I-I," she choked on her words. Tears ran down her face like a fountain. The other woman, the apparent rescuer rolled her eyes as she faced the girl. A powerful slap could be hard as flesh pounded on flesh. The girl's tears continued, but her face was not one of fear, but shock.
"I ain't here to kill you. If I wanted to do that, I'd kill you instead of listening to you choking on your tears," she sighed. "Your father hired me and some other mercenaries to bust you out. You can call me Cass," she said sounding almost reassuring, something unexpected from her character. "Now, let's get out of here." The girl nodded, trying to dry her tears as "Cass" helped her up. The girl walked gingerly, slowing the escape from the jail cell. They eventually left and made their way to the broken down door.
Wait, mercenary? That brought him back to reality. For some reason, he hadn't expected that. He'd almost considered telling her of his beloved but estranged best friend for a moment there, but... well. Most mercenaries were
. He would know: he once hired a group of them to protect his trade wagon.
"I have money!" he called out, still sounding pathetically weak. He should've learned to pick locks. "Well... I know where they
my money. Just get me out of this cell and it is all yours, plus anything else you find. And--and I'll owe you a life debt," he added in case she wasn't entirely sold. "I don't know what I could do for you, but I would try to serve you to my utmost."
If he actually got out, his chances of survival alone still wasn't exactly guaranteed. He could try sneaking out, but he was bound to run into bandits. He had four throwing knives on his person, plus there were two knives in the face of the bandit before him. While he wasn't as proficient in the use of ordinary knives, they would do in a pinch.
Cass whispered something to the girl, giving her a knife to defend herself as the girl perched herself by the door. She gasped when she peered into the hallway, holding in her stomach's reaction to the sights beyond the dark room. Cass approached the cell of Honest, scrutinizing the desperate man. "You don't look like you got a lot of money. Not enough for me at least," Cass said in a haughty voice. "Buuuuut," She said, elongating the word. "I think we can work out a deal. You will be my servant for the rest of your life. Or until I get bored of you at least. You will do everything I say without question. In return, I will keep you alive," Cas said, as she unlocked the cell door, letting Honest free. She then drew her sword and placed it mere inches away from his throat. "But if you try to bullsh*t me for even a second, I will cut you down where you stand and feed your corpse to dogs. Deal?"
Honest opened his mouth, looked at the sword that was unnervingly near his jugular vein (he was scared, he was supposed to be scared), and then closed it again so he could actually think before talking. This was a dangerous woman and it probably didn't do to anger her when he was in such a vulnerable position.
Cautiously, trying to move as little as possible so he didn't aggravate her, Honest spoke. "Well... I swear I won't mess up the big things, but if you sweat all the small stuff too, I can't make much of a promise," he said, quite truthfully. Or he thinks so. He's not sure whether he's planning to run off when an opportunity presents itself or actually stick around. Selling his skills was what he did, after all. If he failed to complete a simple transaction like this one, how could he hope to reel in jobs? A life for a life.
"That's good enough for me~," she said with a wink, returning her sword to the sheath on her back. "Just serve me loyally and you won't have to worry about losing your head."
The sounds of pounding down the stairs reached their ears, distinct even above the sounds of struggle. A voice yelled something incoherent, presumably as its owner caught sight of the carnage outside the door. It was reflex, more than anything else, that sent one of his knives flying straight into the left eye of the bandit who was charging into the room. The bandit screamed and fell to his knees as he clutched at his wound. Honest narrowed his eyes in recognition. That one had been pals with the idiot who'd taken his glaive. It was too late to ask him about it, though. The poison would be spreading through him and paralysing his muscles any second. It was then that he remembered the woman who had sort of saved his life.
"Right," he said sheepishly, turning to her, "I should mention I'm a merchant--I mean mercenary. Sorry. I'm a mercenary too. That's probably big stuff."
Cass could only laugh, while the girl in the corner with a knife cowered in fear. Cass initially want to harass the girl for the lack of warning, but this piece of work took care of the bandit problem easily. "Haha. You are quite the interesting little one," she said patting him on the shoulder. "What do I call you?"
He paused for a fraction of a second before answering. "I am Joseph Sherman," he replied. It was about as true as anything was, after all. "People call me 'Honest'," which was true, "a nickname I received during my couple of years as a soldier." This... not so much. "And you're... Cass?" he asked, recalling what the woman had told the frightened girl.
"That's an awfully plain name," Cass said, raising an eyebrow. "Yeah, you can call me Cass. Well 'Honest', get your knife and let's meet up with the rest of my group. Then we will get your gold, get out of this dump and return her to father. Hope you don't mind getting your hands dirty though. These bandits aren't exactly happy I killed about half their friends."
Honest grinned, feeling much lighter now that he wasn't locked in the cell anymore and Cass wasn't threatening him. (He was relieved he wouldn't die, of course he was. People always wanted to live. Life was... good. Yes.) The bandit was still gurgling a little as Honest walked over to him and planted a boot on his face so he could pull out the knife embedded in his eye socket. It came out with a wet, sucking noise. He'd have to reapply the poison once this was over. Until then, this knife was just an ordinary throwing knife.
Cass led the way out the door, going down the opposite way of...carnage. The dark hallway, illuminated by a few torches (and one burning body, slowly roasting filling the dungeon with a stench) was covered in blood, evidence of slaughter. Bodies were decapitated, impaled (planted on the wall), and others were simply hacked to pieces. The remains of this battle, littered the floor, literally the floor soaked in blood and splatters of the red ooze painting the walls. The rescued girl stayed close to Cass, clearly scared at the display, even if it was obvious that Cass herself was responsible.
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