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 desperate times, shireen //. 14 august, 9:34
played by caaat
EST    mature content? Yes    Offline
           
GRogue
A38
Ait's complicated
P26 posts

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tevinter, the minrathous markets
The streets had always had a voice, willing to talk for the right number of coins. It spoke disembodied and carried for miles. Over rivers and mountain ranges. It carried across deserts and forests thick with more vegetation than he cared to imagine. From country to country and mouth to mouth — until, eventually, the whispers he'd been looking for had found him.

Always recruiting, the Crows were. Always plucking strays up at alienages or from the arms of a desperate mother needing coin to feed a flock of their own. Nothing he'd ever frowned at before, though witnessing the scramble firsthand had been enlightening. It'd made tracking them down easier. Following the scent of slavers and their cracking whips from Antiva to the Free Marches and Nevarra alike. Stopping occasionally to replenish their numbers. Stopping to do their scouting as he'd watched from one dark alley to another.

It'd always figured that they'd wind up in Tevinter. Cloaked in an air of invulnerability, standing tall among those ignorant to their presence. Heavy coin purses at their hips and a trajectory towards the market———

Word had never travelled fast across Thedas.

If it had, they'd not have looked so surprised.

First of the two was caught off-guard, his green eyes blown wide and his mouth opening for a gasp that his freshly slit throat would not allow. Scrambling hands grasping and clawing the wound wouldn't stop the flow and after a gurgled alarm, the second and third were less willing to fall. One took off to the west, the other drew a makhaira he'd have recognized the craftsmanship of for having once wielded one himself. Emblazoned with the insignia of House Arainai, stark and fueling a fire already boiling blood and temper alike. The kill was sloppier than the first, spraying a wash of red across the cloak he'd borrowed off of a clothesline at the edge of the city. More easily discarded than the blood now smeared across his cheek for the swipe his wrist had given it.

Whatever crowd there had been, it'd scattered at the bustle, some gawking with morbid curiosity, others attempting not to notice despite a dying man's cries for help. A help Zevran'd been overly confident would not come until it did.

Eliseo... the one who'd slipped him.

Born with a noble face, forked tongue, and the towering, wiry frame that'd made his party so easy to track, had found the guards he'd been looking for. Shouting something about murder and something about thief. Shouting because the act was necessary if he was to scavenge the corpses of his fallen comrades for anything of value. Picking the bones. The dedication was almost admirable. Almost. Something to think about, later, while weighing his next moves.

For the moment, flight took precedence. Losing himself to a crowd that couldn't make sense of the slip of his body and the barrage of shoving, shouting guardsman who followed. The idea that Tevinter was lawless, mages running wild and blood-letting in the streets, was a misconception. There was, of course, still a fine flow of blood, but for the pursuit he'd not yet shaken, there was, at the very least, the illusion that it was frowned upon.

Between vendors who were more concerned with defending their wares than the idea of a flightful criminal in need of stopping. Around a caged cart that sprouted desperate arms which'd only managed to more easily rid him of a cloak he'd meant to shed sooner. Tanned armor and tanned skin, both bared, now, made hiding prevalent. His boots losing the thunder of their pace, the Crows liked to imagine that they trained their fledglings to handle anything. They liked to tell tales of exceptional skill and an ability to blend in with all those around them. And, he supposed, for some, that was true. For the ones who'd had the benefit of a Master's sponsorship. For the ones who'd been bred into the nest.

For others, it was nature.

Two passed, the third skipped, it was at the fourth where he stopped. An elf, her face a mask of barely suppressed anger, overridden by an exhaustion that would benefit the heaviness of his breaths and sudden slouching of shoulders. Warnings were pretty but time-consuming and, with his approach unannounced and the catch of weathered fingers at the crook of her elbow, it'd gone ignored save the look in eyes that bordered on a beg for cooperation. Different from lips that were curling into an affectionate smile, swelling flushed cheeks that could have been blamed on a sweltering sun and their lack of cover.

"You do not think it too soon?" His accent buried and hand slipping from elbow to wrist, "children are a very big responsibility, after all, and we've only just wed."

played by Jitterbug
GMT London    mature content? Yes    Offline
           
GRogue
A33
AElves
P23 posts

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It had been three years. Three years of being in this foreign land, obeying the rules of foreign people. Or, at least, obeying as much as she could before snapping and being forced back in her place. Slave. Sometimes, they wouldn't use her name for days. Some night she would say her name to herself over and over and over again while the stinging welts on her back kept her awake - she wouldn't let them break her or demean her. She wasn't 'slave', she was Shireen.

But after a year things became monotonous, and Shireen became tired. She hated herself for it; she wanted to fight each second of each day until either she escaped or they killed her, because anything was better than living this life that told her she was nothing more than the dirt beneath these humans' shoes. It was laughable, even the mages were treated better than the elves - a stark difference from Ferelden. At least, in the alienage, she had been her own person. But the more she thought about pushing it, pushing him, the more she realised how much she wanted to live.

Shireen wasn't ready to die, not yet. And in any case, she hadn't found Soris yet. She couldn't let them kill her without at least knowing what happened to her brother.

It was warm when she left the manor, and she was quiet and dutiful. There would be no point in fighting today, not when there was nothing to gain from it. The light segments of fabric from her simple beige dress fluttered about her ankles as she made her way down to the market, a basket balanced in the crook of her elbow. Of course, while there was no point in her fighting it today didn't mean she had to be happy about it, and her face looked like thunder as she moved between the crowd, making sure not to brush them accidentally, keeping her distance from them as if they had the plague.

It was after she'd finished buying some cloth that things seemed to take a southern turn. Unannounced, there were suddenly weathered fingers brushed along her arm and a face she didn't know far too close to her person for it to be comfortable. Instinctively she leaned away even while he had a gentle grip on her elbow. "What are you -" Even as his lips curled into a gentle, familiar smile, there was something in his eyes that made her pause, though her body was rigid and on edge. She wished she had her daggers with her, she felt so useless without them!

Noise turned her attention away for a moment, sharp elvhen hearing alerting her to a commotion not too far off, and the rattle of armour that could only mean one thing: guards.

When she turned back to face him, she gave him a look. A very unimpressed look, one that might have been more intimidating if she hadn't been wearing this ridiculous dress and had a dagger to his throat. For a moment, as she glared, she was tight lipped, measuring up his expression and just taking a second to look at him. He was an elf, which she supposed made her dislike him a little less. Though he was still trying to drag her into whatever mess he had obviously got himself into.

When the guard came around the corner she sighed irritably and tugged him so his back was facing the guard. She obviously couldn't be certain the guard was after him, but it wasn't exactly normal to come up and start talking to strangers about children. "Perhaps," she said sternly. "we should be having this conversation... not here?" Her accent was obviously Ferelden, and the wrist he held twitched uncomfortably. She knew she was being awful at playing along, but it was the best she could bring herself to muster. Honestly, she was only not making a scene because he was an elf. Solidarity and all that, she supposed. As long as he didn't get her killed.

ZEVRAN ARAINAI
played by caaat
EST    mature content? Yes    Offline
           
GRogue
A38
Ait's complicated
P26 posts

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For a moment, lingering as it was, Zevran wondered whether or not she'd oblige him. Staring with bitter disinterest... bordering on a glower he chose not to name for the state of her dress — slaves were too simple to spot, sometimes. The narrow of their shoulders much like the narrow of their eyes, her voice came as a surprise, matching the gesture which'd tugged him better out of sight and, to her approval or not, nearer. Close enough to know that, whoever her master was, whip-holder as they may have been, they did well to make sure she kept clean and her appearance, for the most part, tidy. Better than many. Better than some of the Crows he could have named off the top of his head, too.

Compliance earned a grin, tight as it were, clawing way into eyes that laughed when he couldn't. Poor actress she may have been, it didn't make his belly double over. It didn't put that familiar itch to his palm that whispered warning to run. If she'd wanted to gain favor with the guard, she'd have spoken up. If she'd wanted to do anything save aid in his escape, the options were limitless, but fortune'd seen fit to favor him once more and, for it, dipped down, lips brushed the backs of her knuckles with a fond gratitude.

"Anything for you, mi amor," the eye contact was less forced than she may have imagined, his grip slipping from her wrist to lace fingers for the holding.

A careful tug.

A path to the south clearing for them.

If she'd intended to go the entirety of the way or not, Zevran'd not stalled long enough for objection, sharp eyes focused on the merchants that blipped and buzzed from one side of the road to the next. Dodging a hand that made to grab for him, a woman with painted eyes doing her best to lure clients. Dodging another who held an exotic looking fruit he'd seen enough of in Rivain to know it'd come from Par Vollen. Peddling wares or flesh or a bit enough of both, it was a raucous paradise of filth and debauchery he'd have indulged in, were the circumstances less pressing and his wife more... not a slave.

Aware the risks he ran, sweeping her off course, a guilt bloomed, minute and easily ignored, for the trouble he was causing, intentional or not. The wrong eyes cast in the wrong direction and she'd have been lucky to escape the crack of a whip. He'd have been lucky as well. Wrists bare, save the compression of leather bracers, it'd have been easy to fit shackles around them.

"Is this a hobby of yours, hm?" Beneath breaths that exited even, satisfied with the distance placed between him and those in pursuit, Zevran dared in the way his arm fancied to lace with hers... dared further when sweeping wide to swoop her waist, scooping her in close to the curve of his side for a mockery of safe keeping. "Who is to say I am not a dangerous scoundrel, scouring the streets of Tevinter in hopes of smuggling gorgeous Ferelden women off to my villa in Antiva?" Out loud, it had a ring to it. He'd not have been the first to acquire a harem through such nefarious means, but...

But morals had a way of curbing one's appetite.

Come to a stop, edged just inside the mouth of an alley that, remarkably, was devoid of sinister offerings, he saw fit to release her entirely, his step back a generous one out of respect or... something close to it.

"Forgive me," one arm folding in at his navel, the other took similar poise 'long the small of his back for a bow that fell deep and generous. "I am Zevran and—" he rose halfway, gaze seeking contact with her own for a heated, lingering stare, "—you are utterly breathtaking." No lie, there. Not for his name, nor her appearance, rundown with exhaustion as it may have been. Especially not from the angle he'd loitered at, head tilted and sights cornered for a generous scroll upward. Until his back had straightened and his intentions were calmed.

"Your cooperation was most appreciated, and if it would please you, I wish to grant you a boon for your troubles. Gold perhaps? A gemstone to match your e—... well, not your eyes, but the sky, certainly."

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