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Nuregar - This is My Story by Jaric

Discussion in 'Role Playing' started by Zosimus, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    I have really enjoyed reading this since Jaric started and decided to share it here on Stratics. I hope you all enjoy!

    Link: https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/community/fangen/Nuregar-This-is-My-Story




    Nuregar - This is My Story

    Edit: This was intended to be a short excerpt, however I have decided to simply write until the story of Nuregar reaches it’s conclusion, and have edited the title to reflect it. I hope you all enjoy this story.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Divinity’s Reach

    After a week in my hometown, I remembered how it felt. I remember how the different areas of residence sounded different, how the people acted different depending on where they called ‘home’. I remembered growing up, playing with the other street kids. The sounds of merchants peddling their wares while children played in the commons. Crafters going about their work in the Promenade. It was there I learnt how to craft jewellery, and also how to cook. Taverns would come to life as the sunlight was replaced by torchlight in the streets. Warmth, light and noise would spill from those places, chasing away the dark and quiet that used to keep me safe and secure as a child. I remembered many things. But most of all, I remember it being more alive. This was not the place I had departed from. The city felt muted, as if there was a shroud cast overhead.

    I had to admit, this wasn’t far from the truth. There was a madwoman, or plant if you prefer, loose in the world who threatened so much these days. Too often, I heard that name muttered in hushed tones. Too often, I heard news of more fighting and losses. And far, far too often could a Seraph soldier be seen, shoulders weighed down with heavy responsibility, mustering the courage to knock on yet another door and hand over that small piece of paper that would change the life of the person or people within forever. I had witnessed reactions of people opening that door, to find a tired, grim, implacable soldier standing before them holding out that news. Some mutely and slowly accepted it. Others crumpled to the ground. More than a few would cry some form of denial, and a number of those would slam the door shut as if denying they ever saw it meant it did not happen. A minority would look the soldier in the eye, and thank them. After delivering the message, every soldier would do the same thing. Take one step back, come to full attention, and salute. They didn’t say anything. Didn’t offer any platitudes. There was nothing to be said. They would then turn and walk away. I believe only the minority who thanked the soldier understood. A small portion would reach out, and momentarily lay a hand on the soldier, or nod. I wondered how heavy that piece of paper had become to some of those men and women.

    I knew it had become too much for one younger soldier. I was watching him deliver some news, and when the door was opened by a young woman I observed a twitch as he handed the paper over. He kept his back straight and his head high as he walked away, but the moment he turned out of sight down an alley his facade broke down, as did he. Had I not followed him, I would not have known. There, he had removed his helmet and knelt facing the wall, weeping silently. I didn’t usually go seeking the company of Seraphs for obvious reasons, but there were times when it didn’t matter. He said she looked just like his sister. He had been handing out notices for months now, and thought he was fine. He used to let himself ‘drift’ when he knocked on those doors, wouldn’t see the faces, wouldn’t hear the words, and went through the motions. But seeing that face, so similar to his sister’s, he couldn’t drift. Everything had come crashing down on him at once and broken him. I stood by him, not judging, not speaking. I picked up his helmet and waited. When he lifted his head, I held out a hand and helped him back to his feet, in more ways than one. Words weren’t necessary anymore. I couldn’t tell you how long we stood there, hands clasped, but by the time he released his grip on my hand, he had gained a grip on himself. I brushed some dirt off his helmet, and handed it over. I took a step back as he put it on, and saluted. Left fist in the small of the back, right fist over heart. I held that salute as the Seraph straightened to full attention, and slowly returned the salute. His eyes now had a small glimmer of determination. Our salutes ended, and we went our separate ways.

    Sometimes, we need to support our soldiers in return.

    This will be a continuation of the story I began in the Warning Buoy thread. I expect this to get quite long. And please, do not post in the ‘Warning Buoy’ thread itself, it does not need resurrection from where it is.
     
  2. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    Information was fairly easy to come by in Divinity’s Reach. The issue was trying to figure out how much of it was actually useful, and how it all might tie together. It really helped to write things down, to see some form of layout. Patterns could be seen, items linked together. But doing that left a possibility of discovery, and that I did not want to ever happen. I had developed my own code, unrelated to anything or anyone, which let me keep some key details laid out for study. Nearly everything I thought was interesting I sent on to the Order anyway, Riel had given me a lifeline by putting me here instead of… well, I don’t know what might have happened otherwise. It seemed that some politicians would never change, according to what I had discovered. The Ministry was still trying to wrest what power they could from the Queen, they used the entire Scarlet events going on as excuses for some very dubious actions. I felt sorry for the Seraph, to be honest. Between the Ministry and the Queen, they were stretched thin, run ragged and caught in the middle. Never mind that they were also responsible for defence against Scarlet’s minions in the nearby areas.

    The Ministry would use their own Ministry Guard for ‘investigations’, bringing people in for questioning on suspicion of being Scarlet sympathisers. Unsurprisingly not a few of those brought in were openly supportive of Queen Jenna, and they took a long time to surface once taken away. The Shining Blade would of course respond, but in a slightly indirect manner. Simple threats went a long way, especially when those threats couldn’t be proven to have come from the Blade. The Seraph would free the wrongly imprisoned people, and try to find spare guards for those who were threatened. Logan himself also investigated events, no doubt trying to find any kind of evidence so a stop could be called to all of this. The Ministry was not doing anything illegal, in the panicked times following Scarlet’s self-reveal they had passed an emergency ruling that allowed them to question suspected sympathisers. That they could use their own Guard to do it had been snuck in very easily. Until the war died down the Queen could not try to remove the ruling for fear of repercussions from the general public. They didn’t see the manipulative actions it brought about that those in politics or information gathering did.

    So, forwarding this on was a good way to convince Riel that I was doing as instructed. I passed on almost everything, except for the information I was gathering for myself. Ever since Riel had said that one particular name, a nagging thought had been growing inside. Why had Anakysha reacted the way she did when I mentioned the life debt? I gathered my thoughts, back to when he had saved my own life, and the debt had been created.
     
  3. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    Growing up on the streets with no parents was not an unknown life. People tried to help as best they could, some giving children a place to rest and be looked after at places like an orphanage. Others would do the same, but for a price. Gangs and criminals were always present in a city, whether people wanted to admit it or not. Street kids were often used for a variety of reasons, most often distractions. While there was no risk to taking advantage of the orphanage facilities, there was also no reward. The promise of pay drew a lot of interest, and we were fed the idea that we wouldn’t get in trouble with the law. They were right about that, at least. It wasn’t the law we had to worry about. It was other gangs, and their street kids.

    The child gangs operated very similar to the main gangs, with one rule. No killing or maiming. Fights were common, encouraged even, but limits were placed by the gangs in charge. I always tried to avoid fighting, tried to talk my way out of things. I guess my information gathering skills started here, because the more I knew about the situations the better I could be prepared, and the better I could help the other kids in my gang. This in turn led to learning to be both very sneaky, and good at running. When you’re scouting for information, and get discovered, these become very important traits. Of course, I wasn’t always successful in getting away. I took my own fair share of beatings. And then there was the time things got taken over the line.

    I had a habit of annoying people with my actions, and in this case a few of them decided to join together and teach me a lesson. It was one that almost cost me my life, and created some new rules about how the kid gangs treated each other. I remember being caught. I was up to my usual snooping, but did not realise a few of the other kid gangs had made a pact to deal with me. They had managed to keep that quiet, so it came as an unpleasant surprise when they focused on hunting me. Once they had me, I resigned myself to the expected beating, but it never came. Instead, they pushed me between themselves, not letting me get my bearings while they laughed about teaching me a lesson that would finally stick. I barely felt the blow to my head, I was unconscious in an instant.
     
  4. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    I woke up to a pounding headache that seemed to jolt and jostle my entire body. As I slowly rose from the depths of enforced sleep I realised I actually was moving. Just to make my life worse it felt like I was being stabbed all over. As I shifted to try and relieve some of the pain, my senses figured out what was going on. The stabbing pain was from various pieces of hay stabbing my bare skin or that had wormed their way through my ragged clothes, while the jostling was due to the wagon I was riding in. A wagon? What in the name of the six was I doing in a wagon? At that point my memory of being caught returned and I leapt to my feet – an altogether unwise move. Hay exploded around me, and I staggered as the wagon jerked to halt. I had forgotten that a moving wagon meant there would be someone driving it.
    “Hey! What are you doing back there?” A man’s voice rang out behind me, and city instinct took over. Someone saying that meant I had been spotted in a place I wasn’t meant to be, so I ran. I leapt off the back of the wagon, and sprinted off towards the nearest cover I could see. I was in the countryside, and the best place I could see was a smallish forest nearby.
    “Stop! Come back!” Yeah, those words only encouraged me to run further. No way was I going to listen.

    The problem was, I wasn’t in the city. My brain was in escape mode, and instead of reasoning out that the man yelling at me might be trying to help I kept going. I was good at running. Branches scratched my arms and face as I ran, desperate to escape my pursuer. Little did I know that he had barely jumped off the wagon before giving up the chase. I tripped more than a few times, a clumsy city dweller in the wild, tripping over tree roots. Adrenaline kept me going through the falls, kept me running. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know where I was going. Everything was strange to me. The more I thought about where I was, the more panic settled in. My breathing grew ragged, and my chest started to hurt. One final fall winded me, and my limbs simply wouldn’t respond to my efforts to get back up. I was tired, hurt, and couldn’t breathe. I lay there, unmoving, for an unknown amount of time before I could finally move.

    At least the enforced break from running let my panic subside. As I slowly sat up, I took a look around. Trees. Whichever way I looked, trees, bushes, and more trees. The reality of my situation threatened to send me back into a panic, but I was able to fight it down this time. I was well out of my element. I was a city boy, it was winter. Since my typical activities happened during the night, I had been caught at night as well. I had likely been unconscious for most of the day which meant the next night, and the inevitable cold that would come with it, wouldn’t be too far away. There were no buildings to sleep in, and nobody lit torches for the trees or animals to see where they were going. I was going to have to find somewhere safe, and soon.
     
  5. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    The most logical thing to me was to climb a tree. If I could get higher, I could see further. I thought about trying to get back to the road, but really wasn’t sure which way it was. I had been twisting and turning to get through the forest, and while I had a general idea of which way it could be, climbing was the better option. I selected a tall looking tree, and climb I did. Despite my protesting limbs, it was a simple task compared to scaling a wall. Plenty of handholds, lots of places to rest. It didn’t take long to reach the top, or at least as far as I could go without the tree getting too weak to support me. I looked around, and felt dismay. This tree was fairly tall, but it still didn’t offer any view I was hoping for. I could see more trees, and hills. Some mountains in the distance too. What I couldn’t see was any sign of habitation. Divinity’s Reach was rather big, and sat on a hill itself, but no matter which way I looked it just wasn’t there. Nor were there any other buildings. I looked for smoke, hoping to see it rising from any location, but again saw nothing. To make matters worse, I realised the sun had progressed further along than I thought. Climbing the tree had distracted me as I had been focused on the climb itself. It was dropping alarmingly close to the horizon, night time would not be far away.

    I considered my current situation. Being caught outside at night in the city wasn’t really that bad. If it got really cold you could retire to an orphanage, or scrounge up some form of blanket from trash in a pinch. Out here, there was nothing of the sort. I really had two options. Head back to where I thought the road should be, or try to find something resembling shelter. I had slept, but it was an enforced sleep so I still felt tired. And sore. The logical part of my brain suggested finding shelter, and I agreed with it. I worked my way back down out of the tree, and began searching the area for a likely place.

    And there were surprisingly many. A number of places that afforded a child reasonable protection from the elements. I wormed my way into a few different ones before settling in to a comfortable spot. A few thick bushes had grown up at the base of a tree, and to my delight I discovered that the discarded leaves gave quite a soft surface to rest on. Being small I hadn’t made much of a gap in the surrounding foliage, and barely felt any wind at all. I didn’t have any food, but going without for a day was not unheard of, even in the city, so it didn’t bother me. I would have plenty of time to find my way once the sun rose. I settled in and dragged leaves from within arms reach as a makeshift blanket, my mind on those who had sent me here and what I could do to them once I got back.

    I thought I was so clever.
     
  6. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    I had completely neglected to consider animals. I jerked awake, and two things crossed my mind. What woke me? Was the first thought I had, but this was replaced very shortly by another. Cold! I realised now that a layer of dead leaves was fairly useless, Not only would they not keep in much heat, they had fallen off during the night probably by my own movements while asleep. Shivering, I drew my legs up to my chest and wrapped my arms around them. A faint sound in the dark reminded me of my situation. What had woken me? Eyes wide open, I strained to see or hear anything that might hint towards the disturbance. As my worry began to grow, the sounds started again. I relaxed as I realised they were more of a snuffling, rummaging sound, which suggested a scavenger animal rather than a predator.

    Abruptly there was the sound of rapid movement, and before I could wonder what was happening, I heard snarling punctuated by a short scream. Even if that was not enough to make me rethink my current location, the next sounds were. The sound of one animal biting, tearing, gnawing and chewing on the fresh carcass of another was not particularly pleasant, and I heard more sounds suggesting more predators had arrived. My knowledge of wild animals decided to return about now, and guessed a small pack of wolves was currently sitting not too far from my little bush. I figured it wouldn’t take long for them to find me, be it by smell or sound, and carefully looked up at the tree I was resting beside, searching for handholds. I wouldn’t have much time to climb it, and I couldn’t afford to make a mistake while doing so either. All I had to do was make the climb to the first branch, using a couple of hand and footholds I could see. Getting to the next branches, and therefore getting higher, would be simple once I got to there.

    I obviously made some kind of sound as I readied myself, because all other noise from the wolves stopped. I took that as my cue to move, and it was a wise choice. Even as I leapt upwards from the bushes and scrambled up the tree for that first branch, one wolf had decided to investigate the noise. A predator instinctively knows prey, and I was exactly that. I was pulling myself on to that first branch when I felt pain in my calf. The wolf had jumped in an attempt to catch me, and nearly had. I hurried to higher branches as fast as I could, before stopping to kitten the damage. Blood flowed freely from the injury; I tried to stop it using some of the tatters of my clothing. I was cold, tired, hurt, alone, lost, and scared. I did what any child would do in this situation.

    I cried.
     
  7. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    My tears had long run dry by the time the sun began to rise. I was despondent, as the wolves had lingered, sensing easy and injured prey. I had shivered for a few hours, but thankfully the weather hadn’t turned seriously cold yet and all I had was discomfort from the chill. My injured leg was another matter. I probably would never have been able to outrun the wolves, and my leg made it a certainty. The idea of jumping from tree to tree had briefly crossed my mind, but that had too many risks. The best idea I could come up with was to break off branches and throw them at the wolves in an attempt to make them leave. I gathered myself a reasonable supply, and brought it to some of the lower branches. I wanted to be close enough that I would have a good chance at hitting and, with some decent luck, injuring one of them. I had heard wolves didn’t really like a stand up fight, and hoped they would decide I wasn’t such easy prey after all.

    I hollered at the wolves, sitting just out of reach to lure them in. A few tried to jump at me, snarling, but came well short of my perch as I had planned. I waited until they had grouped up under me, and then started furiously throwing branches at them. I whipped them down as fast as I possibly could, breaking up the group and causing as much chaos as possible. I think I did get lucky, as there was a yelp of pain which I really hoped was an eye getting struck. My supply was rapidly dwindling, though, and the wolves hadn’t left. I think all I had managed to do was make them angry. I hadn’t thought of a backup plan of any kind. This was pretty much my only chance as far as I could tell.

    Thankfully, I didn’t need one. It seemed my actions and noise had gotten more attention than I expected. A man came charging in, dagger and pistol at the ready. He shouted as he attacked, and to me it was a sight to behold. Almost every time a wolf lunged he just seemed to not be there anymore, and the wolf would bear the mark of a knife cut or pistol shot. Except for the final occasion where a wolf managed to get its jaws clamped on his dagger arm, to which he calmly shot it in the head at point blank range. At this point most of the wolves had injuries of their own, and decided as a pack that one loss was one too many. The left, not running scared but more like how they would walk cautiously around a larger predator. During the fight, it had occurred to me that the only person who would be present in this remote location and armed so, was more than likely going to be a bandit. I had tried to hide myself as best I could being up a tree, unsure what this new element would bring to my situation. I failed miserably, the man turned after the wolves had left, looked directly at me and spoke.

    “Get out of that tree. Now.” His tone left no room for argument, as did the pistol held in his hand. I scrambled down as fast as my leg would let me, and stood in front of him with my head hanging, wondering what was to come next.
     
  8. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    I flinched as he placed a hand on my shoulder, and then froze. I knew what he was. Bandits didn’t normally act too friendly to outsiders. It took a few moments for me to remember that he had driven off the wolves, when he could have simply walked on by. I lifted my head and looked at him, and got rewarded with a smile.
    “We need to move. We’re both injured, and the wolves could change their minds.” His tone was surprisingly friendly. “Also, they aren’t the only predators around.” I gaped at him. “You might want to close your mouth, you don’t need insects flying in there.” My mouth snapped shut of its own accord. “Come on. We have a place nearby.” He nudged me in the direction he had come from, not entirely gently. I didn’t speak, figuring that I didn’t have much choice and started hobbling on my way.

    It actually didn’t take very long until I reached their encampment. It had occurred to me while I walked that the word ‘we’ was used, suggesting others were nearby. I inwardly cursed my luck as I realised how close I had been to other people, a warm fire, and food. Instead I had attempted to become a meal for wild animals. As we approached the camp, I got a little apprehensive about the number of men and women staring at me, with not a few having picked up weapons at an unknown person arriving.
    “What is this?” One of them growled, brandishing a rifle.
    “New recruit.” My benefactor answered, and gently pushed me in the back to keep moving.
    “Carl isn’t going to like it.”
    “That’s my problem.”
    “kitten right it’s your problem.” The man sat back down, placing his rifle on the ground. This seemed to be some sort of signal to the others, who also relaxed and put away weaponry. I guessed he had some form of authority, but not as much as this Carl person.
    “As you might have guessed, kid, we’re on our way to see Carl.” I didn’t like being called ‘kid’, but he hardly knew my name. Before I could voice my displeasure, he carried on “Now, he’s the leader of our group here, and while he’s a hard man, he is also fair. You just sit there and let me do the talking, and it should all be fine.” I like the idea of not saying anything, but I didn’t like the idea of getting caught up in things here. I didn’t have much choice in the matter, and figured once I knew where I was the chance of escape would be fairly easy. I decided to stick things out for now, it was certainly a better option than trying to fend for myself in an unknown location, well out of my depth.
     
  9. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    I couldn’t honestly remember what exactly was said in that meeting. I know it involved some fast talking from my surprise benefactor, because I sat in awe of how he not only avoided direct questions but also turned things around to have completely different meanings. He had a way with words that would be envious in any court. What I actually do remember is Carl. In particular his cold, dead eyes. A few times they flicked in my direction, and even with only momentary eye contact I had to hold back a shiver. The gangs and adults I ran with back in Divinity’s reach were crooks, thieves and murderers, but I hadn’t met one that felt as…. wrong, I guess, as Carl did. It seemed like he was ready to do something nasty, just for the sake of doing it. I imagine he was the kind of kid who would torture an animal, just to see how it reacted. I remember his voice carried no sign of empathy for my predicament, and got the impression it was a rather close decision as to whether I lived or not.

    In the end I was led back out to the rest of the camp. My benefactor gave me a small nudge forward as the rest of the group looked on, waiting for the news.
    “We have a new recruit!” he announced proudly. A few people lost interest there and then, a few gave a chuckle, and there were even a small spattering of applause. “Now, tell us what your name is, kid, so we can make up a different one for you.”
    “I’m N-“ I cut myself off, realising I didn’t have to give them my name at all. They wouldn’t know. I pretended to nervously fidget, hoping to cover my blunder. When I spoke again, I tried to add a slight theatrical tremor into my voice. “I’m Neil.”
    “Neil, huh?” I’d obviously done a bad job of trying to hide it. My mouth snapped a response, trying to get me in trouble before my brain could object.
    “Yes, Neil. You’re going to make one up anyway, right? I just did it for you to save time.” A stunned silence greeted my words, and I realised that many people were looking past me. Before I could turn, laughter sounded from where they were looking. Turning in surprise, I saw none other than Carl himself standing there.
    “You were right, Osis.” Carl looked at my benefactor, and I finally knew his name. Well, his made up name anyway. “He does have some spirit and fight in him. Train him well. Train him hard. You know the rules.” Carl turned and walked back to his tent. I glanced at Osis, who was busy scratching his stubble. He returned my look, shrugged and pointed to a rifle.
    “Time to start learning. That needs cleaning.” As I began to move, Osis placed a hand on my shoulder, and murmured some advice. “Don’t drop your guard. Carl might have laughed, but the rules are if you can’t keep up with the training you get left behind.” He left no doubts as to what being left behind meant. I nodded, and started learning.
     
  10. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    My memories of that time were rather fuzzy, I spent many months with them. The main thing I remember was that Osis took me under his wing and seemed to teach me everything he knew. I learnt how to cook. I learnt how to survive in the wild. The group taught me how to defend myself more than fight, and during that time my natural observational skills were discovered. This got me trained in scouting duties, and I was soon making myself useful to the group by joining the scouts themselves. I had the inclination for thievery from my days in Divinity’s Reach, and this merely seemed like an extension of that work, but in the country. We would target lightly guarded shipments, and lay traps for convoys.

    If we didn’t simply outnumber guards of a convoy, we would use misdirection to lure them away for an easier time. Wounds were frequent, but the operation and execution of plans was clinical. If there were too many guards, nothing was attempted. There was always an element of risk against reward, but recruits were hard to come by in the bandit life so fewer risks were taken. Loot took the form of all sorts of items, but what interested me most were the gems and precious metals. I found out that the best way to sell expensive items was to recreate them. Again, my interest and ability was discovered which furthered my training. There were only a couple of people capable of ‘repurposing’ jewellery, and they were more than happy to share their knowledge if it meant decent help.

    During this time, Osis was hardly idle with looking after me. He took care of any training he could possibly give me, and during the quiet times he would tell me about his family. Other members at first joked about him doing so, saying they had heard all the stories before. Obviously they had, as Osis dismissed their friendly mocking and continued to tell me about them. He had left behind a wife and two daughters, and would sometimes get a faraway look when he spoke of them. I heard most about his eldest daughter, who he affectionately called ‘little Ana’. My life back in Divinity’s Reach seemed like a distant memory. The constant in fighting, the bickering, and now what seemed like stupid little games I had been involved in as part of a kid gang.

    While I rather liked my current situation, I felt that something was lacking. I started picking out written messages from the loot, which were normally used to help starting fires. At first I could only make out a few words, but once again Osis turned teacher, and after a while I was reading news from around the world, and messages from one person to another. I felt a little thrill at the first private message I read, realising that what I had could be worth something to the right person. I had once again discovered the currency of information, but now on a grander scale than anything I had encountered in Divinity’s Reach.

    This discovery came none too soon, as once again things in my life were about to drastically change.
     
  11. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    It was just another normal night, nothing untoward. I had retired for the rest of the night after sharing second watch, and was quite happily resting when there was a hand on my mouth. Banditry had enhanced my already light sleeping habits, I awoke instantly. Before I could struggle, I recognised that it was Osis was the one who had woken me, and was indicating silence. I could hear the sounds of others around, and there seemed to be no kind of alarm that I could tell. I nodded and he removed his hand. He made a few hand motions, indicating we should move away from the camp. Puzzled, but curious, I followed him as we made sure to not be seen. It’s one thing to sneak into a camp that people are guarding, something else to sneak out of it, but we managed to do it. Once we got to a secluded area, he sat me down with a very serious look on his face.

    “Neil, do you remember the night we met?” His tone was anything but light, but there was no way that I could forget that night with the tree and the wolves. I was wary of speaking, and merely nodded my reply. “Good. I saved your life, and now you owe me a life debt.” I opened my mouth to object, but he held up a hand to stop me. “No. This is not negotiable. Hear me out. I’m not going to hold that debt to myself, but I am going to transfer it. You now owe a life debt to my daughter, Ana.” Again, I went to object and again, he stopped me. “I am aware you may never meet her, and I am not going to tell you where she lives. But, since you have now taken an interest in information gathering I feel your chances are fairly good.” Osis looked up at the night sky, stars peeking through the foliage. “All I want you to do is keep an eye out should her name ever come up. To do that, you’ll need to know her name. Her real name.”
    “But Osis, I don’t get it. If I come across her, wouldn’t you want to know about it anyway?” I was very confused at this point.
    “Anakysha.” Osis answered.
    “Uh, what?”
    “That’s her name. Anakysha. You should be able to remember that name, right?”
    “Well, yes, but-“
    “Good.” Osis cut me off. “You need to go. Now. Take nothing, do not go back to the camp. Disappear and get your way back to Divinity’s Reach.”
    “No.” Osis had easily become my friend, a big brother, almost a father figure. He’d looked after me, taught me, helped me, and for a street orphan it meant a lot. I didn’t want to leave him.
    “Yes.” Osis glared at me. “You are going to obey me in this, Neil. For the life debt. Carl has decided to step up operations of this little gang, he feels the rewards have not been good enough. This means more risk. I found out his latest endeavour involves striking an alliance with those Tamini.” My mind worked furiously. Why Tamini? Surely there were better options. “I’m not entirely comfortable with it myself, but the money is very good, and I need it.” Osis sighed and rubbed his temples, which gave me a chance to speak.
    “So why do I have to leave? I’m not involved, I know nothing about it.”
    “If you stay, you will be involved. You might not even know it. You’ve learnt all you can here, and you’re a good natured kid.” I resented the ‘kid’ remark, I hardly felt like one. “This is not the life for you. You may not see it, but I do.” I frowned. Life was good. I couldn’t think of anything I really needed. “I’m serious, Neil. You have to go now.”
    “No. I’m happy here. You can’t make me go.” I was feeling rather put out at this point, and stubbornly refused to leave. Osis sighed, and ran his hands through his hair. Next thing I knew a pistol was resting against my head.
    “This is not a game.” He snarled. “You are too kind, too trusting. You came with me,without bringing any weapons. Nobody knows we are here. I could kill you, right now, and you could do nothing about it.” My sudden shivering had nothing to do with the air temperature. “You obviously trust me enough to follow me like this. Right?” I nodded, not daring my voice right now. “Then I ask you to trust me on this. Run. Now.” Osis put the pistol away. “Please, Neil. Just go. Do not look back.” It was the ‘please’ that got my attention, and finally swayed me. I might not know his real motives, and I certainly disagreed with him, but I trusted Osis. I stood, took one look in the direction of the camp and turned my back on it. I glanced back over my shoulder to say a farewell.
    “Anakysha. I will remember.”

    Then I walked away.
     
  12. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
    Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend

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    My thoughts returned to the present. Going over these memories had helped me realise my next course of action. I could have considered the life debt to have been paid. I could have let it all go. But there was an incomplete story here, a story that centered on a fiery, enigmatic package with nice eyes. And such history there was to be found with this story. Information gathering was not only my trade by choice, I revelled in it. One of my weaknesses was an incomplete story. You give me bits and pieces, and I get an itch to fill in the blanks. And there were a lot of blanks. I had to be careful with my investigations, though. What little I knew about Anakysha suggested to me that making the wrong enquiries in the wrong places would end my search, one way or another. Forwarding on pieces of information about the politics and bickering between powers in Divinity’s Reach would keep my superiors at the Order occupied enough that I would be able to search for things at my own leisure.

    The best place to begin was with any information that was a matter of public record about Ana, followed by what information the Order had gathered. I already knew much, as I had previously been tasked with keeping an eye on her while she operated in Lion’s Arch. It was time to filter through what I knew, and find the links that made sense. I knew her, and her father. The first blanks I wanted to fill in would be about the rest of her family. Obviously she had a mother, but who and where? Was she even still alive? What about siblings? Were there any other members of her family? An effective place to start was her Canthan heritage. This cut out a large amount of the population, and anything that narrowed down potential results was a good thing. This must have been all on her mother’s side, as I recalled no such heritage evident when I was with her father. Actually, her father could be just the place to start. If he had ever run afoul of the Seraph near Divinity’s Reach, there might be some record or information about him there. Being stationed in the city gave me a unique opportunity to have a look through those records myself. They would be dated, it had been many years since I had been with that bandit group. As long as the Seraph had kept their records in good order, it shouldn’t take me long to find the right timeframe. Instead of looking for data on one person, however, I would look for files on bandit gang activities. I knew enough about the gang I used to run with, and what they had accomplished. I figured those reports would have information on suspected members, and that Osis would be one of them.

    It was time to do some more infiltration.