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The Counterfeit of Campania and the Assassin of Abruzzo
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Charlie Nausikaa
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Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 145

Location: House of Retribution in the Old Market District of RhyDin
8,740 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2006 8:44 pm    Post subject: The Counterfeit of Campania and the Assassin of Abruzzo Reply with quote

Charlie tilted her head and pursed her lips while tapping the eraser of a pencil rhythmically on the newspaper in front of her. 13 down. Eight letters. "A small single-edged katana sword," she murmured under her breath as if saying the words aloud might aid in solving the puzzle.

"A Wakizahi," a deep voice announced. Her gaze immediately jumped up from the newspaper to her visitor. The man before her had taken a lean against the doorway of her office. His dark coat was pushed back enough so that he could sling his hands in the pockets of his tailored pants. He had perfectly manicured dark hair with a set of cool blue eyes that shone brightly with boundless debasement. He was trouble -- the type of trouble that ended with women spreading their legs or men forking over their wallets.

The bell on the front door of the House of Retribution had never sounded but that certainly should not surprise her being as who the intruder was. "Well, if it isn't the dashing counterfeit of Campania," Charlie snorted in greeting.

Ruke LaChayne feigned a look of hurt as he stepped into the room. One exquisitely hand-sewn fine leather boot hit the floor boards after the other. "Are such hurtful words truly spewing out of the lovely mouth of the assassin of Abruzzo! What sort of violent crossword puzzle are you in the process of completing?"

Charlie ignored the question and glanced down at her newspaper. "You are wrong. Wakizahi does not fit."

Ruke placed a hand on the newspaper, turning it to face him. "Ah, that's because you have ten across incorrect." His steely gaze was leveled on her and a hint of a smile appeared once again on his lips. "'A dagger with a double-edged, triangular blade, often hidden under clothing' is a stiletto. I'm disappointed that you did not know that one. You have killed more than your fair share of men with such a blade."

A palm was slapped down violently on the newspaper as she drew it back across the desk towards her. "The last time I saw you, you were running like a coward leaving me to be caught red-handed in Leonardo Rhamat's diamond stash."

Ruke plucked a round, red mint from a dish at the corner of Charlie's desk and popped it in his mouth. He then pressed both hands on the desk and leaned across it with a lascivious smile. "It doesn't appear you received a scratch on that delicious form of yours, but uh, if you'd like, I can take a closer look." With the tip of his tongue, he pushed the mint against his upper lip and rolled it back forth, wagging his brows.

That was the moment she choose to strike. She lashed out a clenched fist, catching Ruke in the right eye. He grunted and stumbled back from the desk in surprise. As she rounded the desk Charlie violently backhanded the lamp that was on her desk, sending it crashing to the floor in an explosion of porcelain.

"Holy Christ, Charlie." Her grumbled as he dropped his hand from his abused eye and held up both hands innocently. "Must we do this every time we meet?"

He was answered with a knee to the groin. Ruke's large form immediately curled protectively as a pained groan escaped his throat. "Oh, Ruke, I think I might have broken something down there. Now how will you ever woo the desperate wives and impressionable daughters of governors and lords?" Charlie stated in a mock sympathetic tone as she watched his anguish proudly.

He launched up from his curl, slamming the back of a closed hand against Charlie's right cheek. She stumbled back from the blow as the taste of blood hit her throat. "Tsk, tsk. That sounds like jealousy. Sorry, Charlie, but I'm really not into you in that way."

Her green eyes spun back to face him, spitting a mouthful of blood in the direction of his expensive boots. "Like you could ever have a taste of me," she grunted with stifled breath before drawing a knee up to her chest and then launching a boot out in a sidekick.

The move was too slow. Ruke's hands locked around her ankle and tugged her towards him, causing her balance to be upset. She tucked herself in time to keep the back of her head from taking the brunt of the impact with the floorboards. Before she had a chance to leap to her feet, Ruke was on top of her with a wry smirk. "Now be honest, this is what you really want," he whispered in a rich heart-melting tone.

"What can I say? You make me go weak in the knees," she stated in an equally soft and sultry voice. Then instantly, Charlie shoved the palm of a hand into his gut. She felt the air being pushed free of his lungs and Remy rolled off of her gasping. She quickly scrambled to her feet. She drew her leg up and went to bring the heel of a foot down on his chest but, just in time, Ruke rolled away from the blow. Her heel landed hard against the wooden floorboards and caused her to have to momentarily check her balance.

The brief moment was all Ruke needed. He was on his feet in the blink of an eye and tackled her into a wall. Charlie's head thudded against the interior exposed brick and she allowed a muffled whimper at the pain. He pinned her against the wall with the weight of his own, larger frame and frowned darkly down at his bloodied old friend. "Truce?"

"Truce," she disgruntedly spat out in return.

Ruke grinned a victorious grin. "Do I need to make you pinky swear?"

"I said 'truce'!" The grin never fading, Ruke released his hold on Charlie and moved back towards the chair in front of her desk. He brushed himself off and straightened his clothing before taking a seat in the chair as if the brawl had never happened. Rubbing the back of her neck, Charlie retreated to her chair behind the desk. As she sat down, Ruke eased the grin and crossed one ankle over the opposite leg.

"What exactly can I attribute this surprise visit to, Ruke?"

He reached down to pick a piece of lint off of his pants before returning his pert gaze back on Charlie. "I hear you've been on the straight and narrow for several months ... so by now you must be terribly bored and looking for a bit of fun."

Charlie allowed a slow smile with her bloodied lips. "Keep talking, you dirty mutt. I like what I am hearing."
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Charlie Nausikaa
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Joined: 22 Nov 2005
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Location: House of Retribution in the Old Market District of RhyDin
8,740 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"A dear employee of mine--"

Charlie interrupted, "You mean a mage."

"Yes, dear, a mage." Ruke continued on impatient with the tone in Charlie's voice. "He came to RhyDin to escape the Nausikaan regime in Talsiny. While I hate to say anything bad about your former employers in your presence, they have not been good to my business."

The woman before him leaned back in her chair, giving a one-shouldered shrug. "Well, magic in Talsiny and smuggling magic into Talsiny is illegal, Ruke. It is not like you have not always known that."

Ruke gave a shake of his head. "I would have thought your time in RhyDin and your... rebirth would have opened your mind past equating mages to criminals."

He frowned at her so severly that she diverted her eyes past him, setting her features in a practiced look of boredom. "Why not get to your point?"

"His name is Zale Renzo and I have reason to suspect that while in RhyDin he was captured by one of my competitors," Ruke explained, templing his hands and placing the tips of his fingers against his chin.

The quick retort on the tip of Charlie's tongue was held as she noticed some true emotion in the sentence. Guilt seemed to be pulling at Ruke -- guilt at being unable to protect his employee and friend. Charlie pursed her lips into a thin frown before posing her next question. "And you want me to help find him?"

Ruke's hands dropped back into his lap. "I have heard that you know the streets of RhyDin and that your private investigation business is quite successful."

"And what makes you think that I would get involved?" Charlie asked, narrowing her sharp green eyes on him.

"Because," Ruke began as he leaned forward across the desk, his hand reaching out for Charlie's ear. "I will give you the Rhamat diamond." And with that, he flipped open his hand and between his first finger and thumb was the flawless yellow diamond as if he had just pulled the precious jewel out from behind her ear.

With a gasp, Charlie reached out to grab it from him but as quickly as it had appeared, Ruke flashed his hand with another slide of the hand magic trick the diamond had disappeared. He waved his empty palm in front of her face as his lips curved upward in a sly smile. "I will give it to you upon the safe return of Renzo."

"I could kill you and take the diamond off of your dead corpse," Charlie grumbled as she leaned back in her chair.

Confident that he peaked the woman's interests and that she was fully in for the mission, Ruke's smile widened into a brightly amused grin. "What fun would that be, Char?"
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Charlie Nausikaa
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Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 145

Location: House of Retribution in the Old Market District of RhyDin
8,740 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Slash, you bed hog, get down." With the grumbled complaint, Charlie tried to fight back for space by pushing against the dog's back.

The oversize dog gave a heavy snort of disgust but finally gave in. The bed springs heaved as Slash hopped down to the floor and settled on a shaggy rug. Within five minutes, the heavy snoring erupting from the dog suggested he was already back to sleep. Charlie gave a groan, pulling a pillow over her head.

There was no getting back to sleep now and there was few things more frustrating than attempting to force herself back to sleep when her body was resisting it. With the sun just peeking over the woods that guarded her small home, now seemed as good a time as any to make a start to the morning. With some coffee and a sketch pad, it might prove to be at least a bit relaxing.

She tossed a pillow in Slash's general direction. It thumped off of him but he did not budge. Still muttering incoherent curses at the dog, she shoved the blankets off of her and slid her barefeet to the floor while pushing herself into a sitting position. She forced her green eyes opened and stared at the wall for a long moment.

Her will power faltered in that moment with its constant struggle with her mind to keep her thoughts off Tareth Thorn. She could not help but allow herself the brief moment to remember what it felt to not want to rush out of bed, what it felt to want to linger there with him. Then having given herself the minute or two of self-pity, her palms dropped to the mattress and she shoved herself to her feet. Her barefeet padded across the dark wood floorboards towards the bathroom, pausing only to step over the sprawled out Slash.

When she came face-to-face with her bathroom mirror, she frowned sternly at her image. A twenty-five year old (as long as one does indeed age while dead) killer frowned back at her. Her sandy blonde locks were piled on top of her head in a messy bun and held in place by a rubber band. "Christ, Charlotte, you look like death," she stated to herself and then her lips twisted into a grin at her own joke.

From the corner of the mirror she could see Slash's reflection as he tilted his head curiously at her. She hated the look that Slash gave her when she was talking to herself. He always seemed deeply concerned that his master was losing her mind. Charlie twisted back to grin towards her stubborn pup. "I earn the money in this relationship and if I choose to talk to myself I have that--"

Her statement was cut short as a dark patch of skin on her bare shoulder caught her attention. She immediately turned her back towards the mirror, arching her neck to get a good look at the reflection. There just above her shoulder blade was a golf ball size brownish-gray patch of crackling and blistering skin.

"Oh my God," she murmmered under her breath and then quickly began searching her bare skin for other patches. There was a similar one on the inside of her left thigh, one on the top of her right foot, another on her lower back.

She placed both hands on the cool marble counter, gasping for air from the exertion of the search and from the shock that this latest twist had been. Finally she slowly lifted her green eyes to the mirror and stared back at her reflection. The realization had finally settled in. She was dying... again.
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Charlie Nausikaa
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Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 145

Location: House of Retribution in the Old Market District of RhyDin
8,740 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luther Varisco never knew what hit him. However, he never did when Charlie Nausikaa choose to pay him a visit. One moment he would be out exercising a new mount and the next he would be on his back wondering at the odd formation of the clouds.

Yet, how could he complain? The woman had helped him escape Fermony after that horrible incident in which he impregnanted the ravishing daughter of his patron, the Baron Di Meo. Instead of facing the business end of Di Meo's short sword, Luther Varisco was free to stun other wealthy art aficionados with his cello and woe other young impressionable women into his bed. So if Charlie Nausikaa wanted to come to him from time to time for information and preface it with a brief beating, who was he to deny the woman who had saved his life?

This time Luther had been out for a walk with a pair of his prized hunting hounds which were a present from his new patron, a Lady Lutheridge. Even the dogs did not notice Charlie Nausikaa's approach and they certainly did not do much when she attacked but whimper and hide in the brush.

Luther remained on his back in the mud, staring up at the leafy canopy above him while allowing the air to reinflate his lungs. However, as he finally attempted to push himself into a sitting stance, he was thwarted with a boot pushing him back down. The blonde woman clad in tight black leather came into his view as she crouched beside him, pinning him to the ground using a knee on his chest.

Her voice was honey. It slide through one's blood warming him from the inside out. "Hello, my love." After that initial warmth was always the thought of who she was, of what she had accomplished, of how many she had killed. Then the warmth was exchanged for something dark and sinister that chilled the blood rather than warmed it.

"Mademoiselle Charlie," Luther stated smoothly. Although, she would always ensure that they met on an unequal playing field, Luther would not allow her to hear him gasp for breath. "To what may I account for the pleasure of your company on this fine afternoon?"

Her frown darkened and the knee was shoved deeper into his sternem. "I need to know about the DiRossi family."

Luther gave a cough and Charlie let up the pressure enough for him to talk. "They deal in a lot of things but must notably smuggling. They deal in some magic particularly to Talsiny and the surrounding areas. Will you let me up now?"

Charlie smoothly rose to her feet at the request and began to pace back and forth in front of Luther as he pulled himself into a sitting position. He rested his back on a nearby oak, rubbing his abused ribs with a slight frown. "I know all of that already. What I need is something I can use."

"Perhaps if I knew a bit more about what you are up to than I can guide you."

Charlie shot him a stern frown at the digging for information. "All I will say is that I am trying to help Ruke LaChayne with--"

Her statement was interrupted by an amused peel of laughter from Luther at the mention of Ruke's name. He grinned the grin of a man being reminded of a like-minded peer. "Well, if we are speaking of the dirty dog LaChayne then I am quite sure he would be interested to hear about the youngest DiRossi daughter."

The pacing came to a stop and the leggy woman turned on the heels of her battered old black boots to turn her eyes on Luther. The tension on her features eased into curiousity. "Why is that?"

Luther gave a grin to Charlie and he lifted a hand to pat the gangly pup who had decided that it was safe to return from his hiding place. "She's the last unmarried daughter he has at home and is wonderfully frivolous and silly. I doubt she would prove much of a challenge for a man of his vast... talents." The last word caused an annoyed eye roll but Luther continued on, pretending not to notice the rude gesture from his mannerless companion. "She is quite beautiful and, if Baron Di Meo was not still fresh in my mind I might charm her myself."

Charlie allowed a long moment of silence to process the information, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "If I needed to arrange a meeting between this girl and Ruke, when would be the best time?"

His gaze was torn to the dog who was now snuggling against him seemingly apologizing for the cowardly lion routine of early. He took the dog's head in his hands and looked into its deep brown loving eyes, scratching behind his ears while answering Charlie. "I believe she is planning to be at my concert this evening at the home of the Count Wilhoit who is newly arrived in RhyDin and looking to use the occassion to make some new acquaintences among my many fans. However, the youngest DiRossi..."

With the sudden feeling that he was alone, Luther glanced away from his hound and looked around the dirt path to see that the young woman had indeed disappeared. He gave a short laugh before turning his gaze back on the dog, finishing the sentence to a much more patient audience. "...will be escorted."
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Charlie Nausikaa
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Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 145

Location: House of Retribution in the Old Market District of RhyDin
8,740 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"You must be Miss Kingston," the Countess Wilhoit stated warmly as she crossed through the parlor towards her newest guests -- Charlie Jericho and Ruke LaChayne.

Under Ruke's patient tutelage, the harsh, dangerous beauty of Charlie had been softened, at least for the evening. He went for simplified elegance. Her hair was pulled and twisted cleanly on top of her head, exposing her bare neck. The graceful empire gown of cream satin had been tailored perfectly for the event. Ruke allowed a small smile of pride at taming such a wild beauty into such a courtly creature.

Charlie's lips spread in a polite smile to the woman as she crossed the room. "I am deeply sorry for my impertinence. The Lady Ganderfald knows of my deep love for Master Varisco's music and I could not convince her that it was impolite to write a letter to you requesting an invitation for me."

She had to tame her satisfaction from reaching her lips. The letter from Lady Ganderfald to her "dear friend Countess Wilhoit" had been a fake. Charlie had gathered enough information from gossiping maids only too willing to talk with her to learn that while the Countess Wilhoit and Lady Ganderfald had met at several times over the past several years, Lady Ganderfald had been polite but not overly friendly to the Countess. The Countess was anxious to strike a true relationship and, perhaps, secure the marriage of the youngest Ganderfald princess to her son.

The Countess Wilhoit took both of Miss Kingston's hands into hers, smiling warmly. "No, I am quite glad to make the acquaintance of a valued friend of Lady Ganderfald."

"That is kind of you," Charlie stated demurely before glancing towards Ruke. "May I introduce you to my brother and escort for the evening, George Kingston."

Ruke gave a deep respectful bow and the Countess returned it with a tilt and nod of her head. "It is wonderful to meet you both. Let me introduce you to Miss DiRossi and her brother. I believe the four of you will have much in common."

The Countess started away, excited by introducing two handsome young women to wealthy men at the same time. Ruke placed a hand on Charlie's arm and guided her after the Countess. He stole the moment of the Countess's distraction to lean in to whisper to his companion, "This will be far too easy."

"Not if you keep running your mouth," she hissed under her breath before presenting a dazzling smile as they came upon the DiRossis.

"Miss Kingston, Mr. Kingston, I like you to meet Madeline DiRossi and her brother, John." The Countess gave both women a satisfied grin, eager to have such pretty young ladies, rich in connections and wealth, to be grateful to her. Madeline shot the Countess a toothy smile to show that she was but the gesture was lost on Charlie.

Madeline DiRossi was everything that a young socialite should be. She was perfectly attired in rich colorful silk for the event knowing that, as the most beautiful maiden in the room, she would be the center of attention. Her dark hair was carefully molded into soft curls. Half of the curls were piled aristocratically on her head while the other half were loose as if they had fallen there by their own will. The hair style framed her doll-like features, warm dark eyes, and porcelain smooth skin.

In a stabbingly bitter moment, the contrast between Charlie's slowly deadening skin and that of Madeline DiRossi's perfect body flashed through her mind. She shifted her green eyes on the woman's brother, not trusting herself to linger on Madeline. She would not let the thought of Tareth Thorn nor her withering body allow her to be distracted tonight.

Madeline's escort was a man of approximately thirty who mirrored Madeline's dark looks and perfect skin. In fact, by the appearance of his hands, he seemed to be even less familiar with a hard day's labor than did his younger sister. With one look, Charlie was immediately bored with the idea of entertaining this man while Ruke moved in on the sister.

Yet, that was the task she had been assigned tonight by Ruke so as the Countess made an excuse to leave the young people alone and Ruke took a seat by Madeline, Charlie drew her gaze up to John's and allowed her lips to spread in a shy smile. John drank her in for a long moment like a man dying of thirst. Finally, he gave Charlie a slow smile and she knew she had him hooked.

If the night was not to be enjoyable, it could at least be easy.
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Charlie Nausikaa
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Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 145

Location: House of Retribution in the Old Market District of RhyDin
8,740 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There had always been something about the cello that had snagged at her soul. The deep, sorrowful tones had always wrapped her up as if in a dream and left her reevaluating her own life.

Introspection had never been a good move for Charlie. It always left her in the dumps. Feeling depressed would lead her back to thinking about her sole spot of comfort -- Tareth Thorn. Yet again, she had found herself longing for him. Luckily, John had taken her silent solitude as a fascination with Luther Varisco's music. He was endeared by her love for music. Charlie had molded herself into what he wanted, a shy idealic beauty, and John had fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.

As usual, Ruke had little trouble wooing an unsuspecting young woman. He had a sharp wit and a ready smile. With a girl as young and sheltered as Madeline that was all it took. By the end of the evening as Ruke was escorting Madeline to her carriage and John DiRossi was escorting Charlie to hers, the Countess Wilhoit was already anticipating how she would call in the favors owed to her once Miss Kingston became Mrs. John DiRossi and Miss DiRossi became Mrs. George Kingston.

With Miss Kingston on his arm, John had little thoughts for his impressionable sister and the sweet nothings she was being whispered. He only had eyes for the seemingly shy, mysterious woman on his arm whom seemed unimpressed by both his wealth and high social stature. He was determined to move the reserved woman into full blown infatuation.

The rolling acres of the DeRossi estate was the perfect setting for such an event. "This has been such a lovely evening. I hope that we all may meet again soon," he began to his small audience as Ruke helped Madeline into the carriage.

Ruke turned after Madeline had settled dantily. "That would be wonderful!"

John DeRossi cleared his throat before continuing. "If you all do not have any other engagements tomorrow afternoon, my sister and I would love if both of you accompanied us on a ride through the country. Perhaps we can show you around our estate."

Ruke could not help but shoot Charlie a bright smile. She had unknowingly done so well with John DeRossi that he was suggesting a second meeting sooner than even Ruke could have hoped for. It was a second opportunity to be alone with Madeline and gain the information that he needed. Charlie tempered her smile but listened with great satisfaction as the men began planning the next day's activities.
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Charlie Nausikaa
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Adventurer


Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 145

Location: House of Retribution in the Old Market District of RhyDin
8,740 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charlie gently brushed away the dark mane from the forelock of the impeccably bred stallion hanging his head over the stall door in the hopes of another carrot. Then, with John DiRossi watching carefully, her fingers traced the white star on the stallion's forehead. With a final pat to the cheeek, Charlie turned away from the stallion to shoot John a cool smile.

John refused to be frustrated. The stunning DiRossi manor house and priceless pieces of art had failed to impress the lovely Miss Kingston. The rolling acreage and mature hardwoods had failed to impress her. A picnic lunch of the specialities of the DiRossi's cook eaten with Madeline and George Kingston under a walnut tree had failed to impress her. The well-stocked pond, fertile farmland, and dazzling gardens too had failed to impress. Now, while she seemed to enjoy them, she had not be properly impressed by the DiRossi's fine pedigree of horses.

All of this suggested to John that she was a very wealthy and well-bred woman herself whom would not be charmed by the mere idea that she may some day be the lady of this estate. Her attitude only made John more assured that he must spend more time with the woman.

The day exploring the grounds to the DiRossi manor home did not hold the charm for Charlie as it had for John. Grace was not a quality that came easily for Charlie. She was used to her battered boots and filling space. While in this role, she had to be delicate and artful. She was deeply surprised at just how much work it took to focus on maintaining both qualities, especially under the watchful eye of John DiRossi. Weighing her down further was the ever present worry that John may spot the blistering patch of dead skin that was growing in size as it moved across her back up towards her neck.

By the time John escorted her towards their phaeton which the grooms had brought around, Charlie was quite ready for a long nap. Ruke was already there, whispering his goodbyes to the seemingly lovestruck Madeline. John pulled Charlie up short and took her hands in his with a smile. "Well, Miss Kingston, it has been a fantastic day."

"Yes, yes, it has," Charlie stated with a shy smile, dropping her gaze demurely.

John tilted his head to catch her gaze. "I have to go away on business. My father wants me to handle a delicate matter. However, I will bring you back a present."

Charlie met his gaze easily at the mention of a present, allowing her smile to loosen slightly. "A present, Mr. DiRossi?"

"Yes, a present. The city where I am headed is known for their fantastic chocolates. I will bring you back a box when I return in a week." John patted her clapsed hands before starting to lead her once more to the phaeton. "One bite and you will surely be unable to resist my overtures," John stated mysteriously.

Charlie shot him a sidelong glance at the curious statement and saw a sly grin lighting up the man's dark features. Before she could question him on the matter, Ruke's long strides had brought him to the side of the carriage to help Charlie in. "Charlotte, my dear! It has been such a lovely afternoon, has it not?" He lifted a hand which she took as she climbed into the seat.

"It has indeed, George."

As Ruke shook hands with John, thanking him for the lovely afternoon, Charlie allowed her green eyes to move on Madeline. She was struck by the somber look on the young woman's face. None of the friviolity or girlish love that she expected could be read on her features. For a brief moment, Charlie thought that they had underestimated the young woman. However, those thoughts were pushed aside as Ruke joined her in the carriage. There were seemingly heartfelt goodbyes all the way around as the groom handed over the reigns to Ruke and with a snap of them, the phaeton leapt off back towards RhyDin.

As soon as they were out of hearing distance, Ruke leaned over to nudge Charlie with a proud grin. "She told me that she would question her father about Zane's whereabouts tonight."

Charlie groaned, rolling her eyes. "So we will have to meet with them again?"

"What? You don't want to be Mrs. John DiRossi, Charskie?" Ruke asked teasingly. His question only gained him an elbow to the ribs at which he shot Charlie a pained expression. "We're on a truce, remember? Anyway, she pointed out her bedroom window. There's a terrace beside it that looks sturdy enough. After the household goes to bed tonight, I'm to climb up to her window and she will let me in to tell me where he is."

She gave a short amused laugh. "Yes, I am sure that is all the two of you will 'discuss'."

Ruke offered up a shrug and a bright grin before snapping the reigns once more and calling to the horses to pick up their pace.
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Charlie Nausikaa
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Joined: 22 Nov 2005
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Location: House of Retribution in the Old Market District of RhyDin
8,740 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"You should get up there. You've got about twenty minutes before the guard comes around in this direction again," Charlie stated to a distracted Ruke.

To most women, the ideal way to spend this warm summer evening would be a relaxing moonlit walk with a dashing man. Charlie, on the other hand, had convinced herself that she was above such banal ideas of romance. Instead she asserted to herself that this was her perfect way to spend such an evening -- slinking under the cover of night around a large manor house to make sure that a man who was not at all into her got in and out safetly of the bedroom of the family's daughter.

"Wish me luck," Ruke whispered to Charlie, interrupting her before her thoughts could once again turn on what she was missing.

Charlie's gaze moved from Madeline DiRossi's window to Ruke's twinkling blue eyes. He was mischief personified. She could not help but give a soft laugh before whispering back. "This conquest should be easy for you. If you need luck then you are losing your touch."

Ruke's grin brightened. "Men always need luck where the fickle emotions of women come into play." Before she could issue a retort, Ruke slid out of the cover of the hardwoods and quickly headed towards the ivy covered terrace that reached to Madeline's second story window. Charlie squinted, frowning at the darkness which limited her vision. She could make out the opened casement window and the light curtains fluttering in the breeze. However, much of the rest of the surroundings were a mask of misleading shadows.

Ruke clutched the terrace and pulled himself up onto it. He took each step upward slowly, making sure that the terrace was sturdy enough to hold his weight. Suddenly torches flared up from all sides of the house and in a flurry of activity, a group of men appeared from behind well-chosen hiding spots and closed down upon Ruke's location. Charlie wordlessly flattened herself against the trunk of the tree she was hiding at some distance away. It was too late to call to Ruke to warn him.

"Well, well, well, Ruke LaChayne." A rich deep voice rose from the group. From the aristocratic tone of the voice, there was no denying that Ruke had been caught by Lord DiRossi. Ruke's shoulders slumped as he too realized that the game was up. He slid from the terrace to his feet before turning to the group of men before him.

"I could easily kill you for the offense of climbing up to my young daughter's room and there would not be a soul who would care," Lord DiRossi accused.

"No, you won't, DiRossi," Ruke stated in a bored tone. Charlie tightened her muscles at his tone. It was almost as if he was daring them to test his confidence. Should they try to deny the truth in his statement, Charlie was ready to spring into action.

"Oh, and why is that?" DiRossi asked.

Ruke heaved such a heavy sigh at the dullness of the DiRossi clan that even Charlie could hear it from her position. "Because I know where all the Talsinian mages are hiding and you would love to obtain that knowledge so that you may hire them."

The thought was clearly one that was not new to the Lord DiRossi. He was merely toying with Ruke like a cat with a disabled bug caught beneath its paws. "Where is the girl?"

"What girl?" Ruke asked innocently. "I am alone." The statement was pointed and much more directed towards Charlie than towards the group of men who had cornered him. He had made it clear in that instant that she was not to rescue him.

It was John DeRossi's voice that now piped up from within the group of men. "She had nothing to do with it, Father. Of that, I am sure."

Even Ruke was surprised to the extent at which Charlie had been able to suck in John DeRossi with her act. He, therefore, just remained silent and unblinking as he watched the exchange between father and son. The father's gaze turned on his son and remained there for a moment before giving a shrug as a signal of giving into his son's will. He then motioned for the guards to move in on Ruke. "Take him away."

As a large man roughly pushed Ruke against the house and began tying his hands behind his back, a lamp was lit in the window that had been Ruke's intent. The lovely face of Madeline DeRossi appeared in the opened window, holding back one of the sheer linen curtains with a hand as she watched the scene below with the same deathly somber face that Charlie had spotted earlier.

As Ruke was led into the manor house, Madeline DeRossi disappeared from the window and the light spilling out of her window was shortly extinguished. Only then, safely masked in the shadows of a tall oak and too afraid to move an inch less be seen, did Charlie Jericho fully recognize just how deeply that she and Ruke had underestimated the young woman. The words that Ruke had said to her before slipping out of their cover still rang in her ears. Men always need luck where the fickle emotions of women come into play.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While it has already been established that Charlie Jericho does not share much in common with the typical heroine, it must be mentioned that, unlike most heroines, her dreams were nothing of great importance for the most part. She never dreamed of events that would take place in the future. She never dreamed of ways to avoid tragic pitfalls. Her dreams were never insightful, hopeful, or intuitive. They were never of flowers, green fields, and men who asked her to dance. At best her nighttime visions were the product of random firing neutrons replaying unimportant conversations or creating an unfollowable story and at worst they were horrific nightmares spurned around her biggest fears -- abandonment and her three years caught between this world and the afterlife.

Some nights her dreams were an odd combination of a stray puff of thought and a nightmare. This was one of those nights.

It started and centered around the latest tear in the black hole of abandonment that was centered in her gut -- Tareth Thorn. He was before her again, denying that she was capable of love. With every verbal blow he spat out, the grayish deadening skin spread further across her body. She tried to part her dry, fragile lips but her tongue dissolved into ash.

"Every time things get tough, you want to bail. Every time you start feeling something, you want to leave. That's not love, Charlie."

She wanted to deny it. She wanted to scream at him and shake him. She wanted to beg him to stay as she had refused to do when he had actually spoken those words. She couldn't though. Her voice would not work and she could not move fear one of her arms flaking completely free of her grotesque body. Instead, her desperate green eyes bore into him from hollow sockets. What was she but a walking corpse?

"You came in here tonight willing to give it all up and leave me, only changing your mind when I challenged your assertion of love. That's not love! That's doing something to prove me wrong," he accused vehemently.

He pushed back his hat (God, how she hated and yet still loved that hat) to take her in better for a moment. For some reason, in her dream, he was not the least bit surprised by the grayish deadening that had overcome her, leaving her a bald shadow of her former self. He seemed to be waiting for a response; a response she could not give. With a shrug, he gave up. He gave up on her. As he did, as she saw the hopelessness in his eyes, he slowly faded from her view. Desperately she tried once again to reach out for him but suddenly the nightmare turned to that random floating cloud of thought that had somehow escaped the folder that it had been filed away into.

Tareth Thorn no longer stood before her. Instead, he was replaced by John DiRossi. She too was no longer the walking corpse but was wrapped in the rich green fabric that she had worn on that afternoon they spent at the DiRossi Manor. John was attentively showing her back to the carriage. Although, deeply desperate for a return of the former dream (for even when he was hurting her, having Tareth was better than not having him), Charlie played her role wisely. It was an easy role to play wisely as she had already played it once before.

John tilted his head to catch her gaze. "I have to go away on business. My father wants me to handle a delicate matter. However, I will bring you back a present."

Charlie met his gaze easily at the mention of a present, allowing her smile to loosen slightly. "A present, Mr. DiRossi?"

"Yes, a present. The city where I am headed is known for their fantastic chocolates. I will bring you back a box when I return in a week." John patted her clasped hands before starting to lead her once more to the phaeton. "One bite and you will surely be unable to resist my overtures," John stated mysteriously.

Charlie shot him a sidelong glance at the curious statement and saw a sly grin lighting up the man's dark features. Before she could question him on the matter, Ruke's long strides had brought him to the side of the carriage to help Charlie in. "Charlotte, my dear! It has been such a lovely afternoon, has it not?" He lifted a hand which she took as she climbed into the seat.

As the phaeton took off, Charlie's attention swept back to John DiRossi but John DiRossi was no longer John DiRossi. Instead, Tareth Thorn was back. His lanky form remain rooted in place as his sad gaze followed after her. Charlie called for him but he didn't seem to hear. She reached for Ruke's shirt to tug him and urge him to stop the carriage but as she did the dream world faded into nothingness.

Darkness surrounded her as she opened and closed her eyes several times. The pale light breaking through her curtains suggested it was far too early to get up. Her fingers traced over her shoulder and across her abdomen ensuring that the deadening patches of skin had not taken over as they had in her nightmare. Her mind was slow to begin functioning and unwilling to start yet another day with the stabbing pain of Tareth Thorn, it lingered on the oddly worded conversation she had with John DiRossi that afternoon.

Suddenly, she bolted upright in bed. The answer could not be more clear and she mentally sneered at herself for not connecting the dots earlier. Without hesitation, she was on her feet and throwing her clothes on. She now knew where the DiRossi family was holding Zale Renzo. Although Ruke had made it clear that she was not to rescue him, he had made no such suggestions about his employee. Thus, Charlie Jericho was headed to Benlo Springs.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2006 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With a spirited chesnut stallion beneath her, Charlie Jericho rode into Benlo Springs as Charlie Nausikaa. Her blonde hair was held back in a tight bun at the nape of her neck and all of her deadening patches of skin were covered by a sleeveless black leather cat suit. The quiet people of Benlo Springs stopped and stared at the monster. While most of her notorious deeds were limited to Talsiny, they knew of her reputation and while they had never been graced with her presence, there was no denying who the woman could be.

Clearly word would get back to the DiRossis that Charlie Jericho was in town. They would most certainly make mistakes in the ensuing panic. It was those mistakes that Charlie would use to her advantage. Taking the DiRossis by surprise never occurred to her. She was angry over her failure to protect Ruke and she would take it out on someone.

She did not stare back at the townspeople. Instead she kept her green eyes trained ahead of her as the chesnut pranced along the dirt Main Street towards Charlie's goal. She passed through the single row of stores and spurred the horse into a trot as she spied her goal.

The livelihoods of all the men, women, and children of Benlo Springs centered around the plantation she had just come upon. Row after row was filled with leafy trees, full of life and abundant with their fruit. Just to the north of the plantation was a natural spring with water so strikingly clear that one could nearly see the very details of its bottom. Charlie drew the stallion to a halt which he came to with an indignet toss of his head.

Work within the plantation had slowed to a halt and all were watching her, though, they were pretending not to see her. No matter. She was used to this diochmety by now. Clutching the reigns in one hand, she stepped closer to one of the cacao trees. Her free hand reached out, snapping off one of the ovoid deep orangish-brown pods to inspect it closely.

Charlie knew enough about the region to know what she was holding. The Benlo Spring was a magical hot spot, a collection of untapped energy. A brew, which included water from the spring, was mixed by the townspeople using a spell that had been handed down throughout the ages. The potion was dosed on the plants once a year and, for the rest of the year, these pods would be filled with forty to sixty cacao beans enfused with a mild love spell.

Once the beans were cultivated, the town would harvest, ferment, and then dry them by hand. After the process was complete, the women of the town took over. They mixed huge bats, turning them into chocolate and then molding them into delicate shapes. The children even got into the work by aiding in the boxing and packaging. When each gold box was wrapped with a bright blue bow, they would be shipped off to the surrounding region.

The spell was not strong or long lasting but was perfect for a man to serve to one whom he was about to ask to marry him in order to help gain a positive response or for a newly wed couple to share on their wedding night. They were, as are all magical items, illegal in Talsiny. However, they were not difficult to find. In fact, they were one of Ruke LaChayne's most smuggled items and one of the Talsinian Police's most confiscated items.

Her lips broke into a slight smile as she allowed herself another proud moment to soak in the revelation that she had made. The gift of chocolates John DiRossi was to bring her back were Benlo Springs chocolates. He had been unable to woe her with the size of the manor he was to inherit or his sense of fashion and decorum. Therefore, he would use the help of these chocolates.

Of course, Lord DiRossi would want to make John DiRossi more involved in the family business. Lord DiRossi was growing older and more out of touch with the needs in today's business world. As his only son, John was his natural apprentice. As magic dealers, it made perfect sense for the DiRossi's to build the headquarters of their business in this town.

As her gaze traced up from the pod in her hand she noticed a stately home looming in the distance passed the plantation. The people of Benlo Springs were quiet and, while they made a decent living at this work, they kept it well distributed through the community. That home, with its fortified walls and numerous guards, would not be the home of a local. She shook her head with an amused smile at the DiRossi pride and inability to escape their desire for ostentatious wealth. She was instantly sure that somewhere in that monsterous house, Zale Renzo was being held.


Last edited by Charlie Nausikaa on Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Word that Charlie Nausikaa was in town spread like wild fire. While Lord DiRossi was no fool, he could not fit all of the pieces together with the information that he had available to him. Yet, he knew that the infamous Talsinian was not in town for the renown chocolates. She was here for one of his prized possessions. He could not, however, determine if her object of desire lay in his vault of priceless jewels, the tower of magical runes, or the stunning artwork that adorned the many rooms.

As the sun set on the vast home of the DiRossi business, torches flared to life around the narrow walk situated in the walls of the fortified chateau. Guards, clearly on alert, slowly walked the circular path and sometimes paused to squint out into the distance at a shadow or a noise. Each seemed to be keenly aware that a lethal monster was stalking them.

Stalking them was exactly what she was doing. Clad from neck to toe in a tight black outfit with her blonde hair tamed into a low tight bun and masked by a black handkerchief, she studied the guards' movements, making careful mental notes on the weaknesses of the fortification. Deep into the night, when she had assured herself that the guards would not be back by for at least half an hour, she used a knotted rope to make the slow, treacherous climb up the east wall.

Finally, muffling a grunt of effort, she pulled herself up over the wall and sunk to the stone walkway, exhausted from the climb. Only the echo of boot falls could make her move and once she did indeed hear the sound of them as a guard approached, she pulled deeper into the shadows, waiting for him to pass.

Her muscles ached with adrenaline for the attack as he grew near. She could make out his young chiseled features in the torch light. She forced herself to remain perfectly still, unwilling to give away her hiding place until the last past second. She could not give him a chance to shout a warning to the others.

Finally, when she could smell the meat he had been roasting earlier in the evening on his clothing, she launched her body forward, knocking him to the opposite wall and back into the cover of darkness. The wall knocked the air from him and she pinned him there with her weight. Her hands landed on either side of his head and she was a split second from snapping his neck. She only had a moment to act before his lungs would refill with air and he would be able to call for help.

Just as her hands went to twist his head violently, his scared brown eyes found her steely green gaze. He could hardly be more than eighteen years old. Recognition sparked in his eyes and desperation overcame the fear. He knew who she was. He knew what she was about to do. Caught by his hopelessness, she remained frozen with her body pressed tightly against his. When the air began to fill his lungs once again, he did not call for help. Instead, he pressed his eyes shut tightly and whispered breathlessly, "Lord, deliver me from this evil."

After a moment of tense silence, the boy reopened his brown eyes to meet Charlie's gaze once more. Confusion filled his features at her not having ended his life yet. After a long moment of reading one another, his voice suddenly raised. "She's here!" he called as loudly as he could.

With her hands still on his head, Charlie instantly slammed his head against the stone wall behind them and took a small step back as his unconscious body slid to the walkway. The damage to her cover, however, was already done. She stepped away from the body and slid against the wall, watching the ensuing shouting of the guards.

They knew she was here and it would only be a matter of time until they narrowed down where the alarm had been raised and, thus, her position.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many miles away from Charlie and her troubles in Benlo Springs, Ruke LaChayne sat on a tiny moth-eaten cot in the corner of his cell situated deep within the basement prison of the DiRossi's RhyDin manor.

His mind had grown weary of circulating impossible escape plans. The dungeon was quite secure and very well guarded. Lord DiRossi and his underlings only occasionally visited to ask the names and whereabouts of the Talsinian mages in hiding in hopes of luring them to work for the DiRossi family. Ruke continued to refuse to give those up and Lord DiRossi did not seem all that displeased.

After all, his greatest competition in the magic black market was now rotting away in an underground jail cell.

The slapping of the leather soles of slippered feet against the cobbled ground drew his mind awake. His hopes rose rapidly at the soft noise that suggested a woman's approach rather than the deep echoing boot falls that sounded the arrival of DiRossi or one of the guards. Ruke was not disappointed.

Madeline DiRossi appeared even more beautiful than he remembered. Perhaps this beauty came more from knowing that she was a formidable opponent rather than from her features which were quite charming in their own right. She stopped in front of his cell with a tray of cold meat and bread. She carefully set the tray down on a small opening in the bars made for just that purpose and unabashedly surveyed him.

Finally Madeline raised her voice, tearing her dark eyes from him to a spot on the far wall. "I heard you were only being fed stew. I brought you some meat."

Ruke did not move a muscle. He merely soaked up the situation. He had underestimated the young woman once and this time he would not betray himself before he was fully aware of her character. "Why would you do that?"

"My father says that one's enemies must be crushed when weak. However, my mother used to tell me that kindness towards those who have wronged us is the greatest act of humanity," Madeline said carefully.

Now Ruke did lean forward, placing his elbows on his knees as he intently watched the young woman. "So, I suppose the question upon which my future rests is are you your father's daughter or your mother's?"

That drew her gaze back to him and for a brief moment her large dark eyes and porcelain features were readable. It was the question that she too was struggling with. Was she the dutiful daughter of a rich man or the dreamer who wanted more from life? Was there anything more important than a secure life? For that brief moment, it was all there on her face to see. He had seen brief moments of this in Charlie. There was nothing so fascinating to him as a dangerous, cunning woman lay bare and naked with all of her insecurities open to the world.

Just as quickly as the moment had came, Madeline's face slid back into her perfected mask and she was once again her father's loyal maiden. Leaving the question hanging in the air just as it was hanging on the minds' of both she and Ruke, Madeline turned and, with the echoing slap of her slippered feet, she moved away from the cell.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back in the chateau in Benlo Springs, Charlie Jericho was creeping down the stairs of a torchlit tower with her back against the cool stones. The old familiar feeling of a mixture of fear and adrenaline had struck her like a hit of a favorite drug. Reveling in the joy of an impossible task under impossible circumstances, Charlie listened for footsteps.

Oddly enough, despite the monstrous size of the house, she knew where to head -- down. When Arane had taken over as head of Nausikaa after Henry's death, she had outfitted all of her homes at the time (and every home to follow) with a prison. Charlie, as the only one with the gumption to tease the head of Nausikaa, had made up a list of requirements for a true Arane prison. Even Arane had cracked a rare smile when Charlie had announced them at a Nausikaa dinner.

The first requirement, and the one that was leading her downward, was that every proper dungeon was underground.

One leg crossed in front of the other as she moved down the stairs, stepping lightly on the balls of her feet to mute the sound of her boots. The sound of approaching footsteps caused her to pause. There was not enough time to get back up before the person passed. She pressed herself even more tightly against the back wall, hoping the guard would be too preoccupied to notice her. A scurrying beside her foot caught her attention and she looked down just in time to watch a strangely gutsy rat crawl over her right boot and then back into the shadows.

She bit down hard on her bottom lip to squelch a disgusted groan, allowing just a shudder instead. Unfortunately too much of her attention was on keeping quiet after the rodent incident which allowed a sneeze to sneak up on her and rack her entire frame before it could be snipped out. Her lips moved in silent curses at her amateur mistakes but the guard was already closing in on her.

He turned the corner and drew back the unlit torch in his hand, bringing it around like a club at her midsection. She pulled herself back against the wall just in time to miss the blow and then as the momentum of the torch was swinging back towards him, she pounced on the man. The torch was dropped and the much larger man had little trouble swinging her frame and pinning her against the wall.

She gave a grunt as he smirked at his success. Instinctively she freed a leg and in one fluid movement drew her knee up in a solid blow to his groin. The bulky guard released her, giving a pained breathless moaned as he doubled over in pain. Immediately her hand went for the unlit torch and she swung it in a shot that was much more true than had been the guard's. The wood thunked against his head and his heavy frame dropped onto the bottom stairs.

The unlit torch was dropped onto his body as Charlie carefully stepped over him, brushing her palms off on one another. "Well, that's one down," she muttered beneath her breath. However, as soon as she turned the corner after stepping over the guard, she was faced with many more. A handful of guards were there to meet her. The front two unsheathed their swords with the ominous ring of steel.

"So this is how it is going to be?" There was no need to whisper any longer. She pulled the blade strapped to her back free of its sheath. "Well, I am not going down without taking several of you with me." Her fingers wrapped slowly around the hilt of the blade as her weight automatically shifted to a defensive position.

There was something wrong... besides the fact that she was greatly outnumbered. Her green eyes grew wild as her mind immediately flew into gear, evaluating the situation. When it clicked on the answer, panic settled in her gut. The men lacked fear. Despite the numbers advantage, they should be afraid. They were facing the monster herself, the angel of death. Typically, she would feed on their fear but there was none.

So intent on that goal, Charlie missed the captain of the DiRossi guard who had approached from behind. It was not until she heard the whistling of a club cutting through the air that realization dawned on her. With Nausikaa now in control of Talsiny and clamping down on the illegal magic trade, now was a very bad time for a black market magic dealer to kill a Nausikaan. The goal wasn't to kill Charlie, it was to capture her.

The club connected with Charlie's skull with the same sickening thud that she had just given the guard on the stairs. However, this thud Charlie would not remember. She was unconscious before her body hit the ground.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Consciousness returned slowly. Her eyes blinked open but even the torch light was too much for her pounding head to bear so she closed them tightly once more. She lay motionless, allowing her mind to fight past the sluggishness in her head to kick back into gear.

Finally she fought past the pain to force her eyes back open to take in her predicament. She lay on her back on a small cot in the corner of an underground cell. The black cat suit she'd been wearing had been peeled down to her hips revealing a strappy cami beneath along with the deadening patches of her skin that were beginning to over take her abdomen and right arm.

With a groan of effort, Charlie attempted to sit herself up but as soon as her head rose, the pounding became unbearable. With a soft cry of pain, she let it fall back to the lumpy pillow. Her pain drew her attention from sound of quick movement across the small room. Therefore, it took her by surprise when a tall dark man appeared over her.

He lowered himself to a chair beside the cot, immediately reaching out to soothingly pet her hair. "Shh, shh. Slowly now."

The order not to move was all the encouragement she needed to move. She again attempted to push herself to a sitting position and, now expecting and bracing for the pain, she was successful. Her accusatory green eyes turned on the man seated to her right. "Who are you? Where are we?"

He was not taking aback as most are by her gruff tone or blunt manner of questioning. He did not stutter or stammer. He met her gaze easily. "Zale. Zale Renzo. You're in a cell in the DiRossi headquarters."

That she had finally stumbled upon Zale Renzo was of little importance to her at the moment. Her mind was busy reeling with the events of that night (...or was it the night before?) that were flooding back to her mind. Her features tightened as the pounding grew worse but she refused to give in to the pain. She swung her feet to the floor, pushing the battered blanket covering her body to the side. Zale made a noise of disapproval at her making a move to get up so soon but he said nothing and Charlie had more pressing matters to deal with -- primarily, how to get out of the cell.

Shakily she rose to her feet and stepped towards the bars. Her green eyes swept them from top to bottom, even inspecting the door. She paced the perimeter of the room, looking for weaknesses from ceiling to floor. The more she looked, the more the reinforced stone floor, iron forged bars, and windowless walls caused a ball of panic to well in her gut.

Zale had seen the look before. Several months back when working in Peony, he had seen a trapper bring a mountain lion into town after having used a poison dart to sedate it. When the wild creature had awaken finally in a specially crafted cage, it had paced the bars anxiously. The event had left him depressed. The hopelessness in the eyes of creature who has only known freedom when that freedom is brought to an abrupt end was too much for him to bear. In the middle of the night, someone had picked the lock and opened the cage door. The mountain lion was never seen from again and, while the hunter had insisted upon a full investigation by the local authorities, the lion's savior was never identified.

With her evaluation of their living quarters complete, Charlie moved on to taking account of her resources. Her hands slid over her body but not a single one of her weapons had been missed. She snorted as she was sure it was a task that the guards delighted in. Her gaze then moved to her next resource -- Zale Renzo. He felt himself straighten under her scrutinious green gaze.

Charlie pursed her lips into a tight frown as she inspected her new roommate. His hair was too long. The ends of his shaggy brown locks were drawing up in curls which half hid his ears. He reached a rough hand up to rub his several day old scruff. There was some quality to him that caused her to write him off as a resource if the need to fight their way out should arise. It was not his physique, as he was a solid man, but his eyes that told her he wasn't a fighter. There was gentleness and kindness there that struck her as far too human to allow him to cause pain to others. Gentleness and kindness -- those were two she usually found absolutely disgusting in men.

However, there was something about Zale Renzo that kept her attention. Uncomfortable under the unrelenting critique of Charlie, Zale gave a cough which broke her fixation. "My head hurts," she stated finally.

He nodded slowly, patting the cot to indicate she should lie back down. "You need to rest."

The pounding had become too much to deny. She managed to make her way back to the cot. As her head landed against the pillow, Zale rose to his feet. Despite her sluggish mind's desire for rest, her gaze followed him. Zale's hand reached out to his left and picked up a cane resting against the wall. With a slow shuffled step, the man limped towards the opposite end of the cell where a rickety table held a pitcher and a glass.

With his back to her she could watch his step carefully without detection and, for a moment, she did just that. Zale's limp did not have the signs of a temporary ankle sprain or pulled muscle. The way he relied on the cane, the speed in which he could move despite the disability all suggested that he was well used to this manner of walking. She draped an arm over her eyes, forcing her mind away from this new wrinkle in any plan of escape that she may have been forming. For now, she would simply rest.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Can you not simply blow our way out of here? You are a mage, are you not?"

Zale could not help an amused smile from spreading across his lips at Charlie's question. They had sat side-by-side on the cot for some time now since Charlie had waken. Long moments of silence would pass as her mind worked on a plan of escape. He let the silence pass. After several weeks of solitude even the company of such a monster would be better than none.

"Did Ruke tell you nothing at all about me? I am not that kind of mage. I am a healer. I combine a knowledge of anatomy and herbs with a bit of magic. I am far less talented than the DiRossis give me credit for," Zale stated with a sheepish shrug.

And yet, she was not as bad as he had expected her to be. Despite everything -- the stories he had been told, the damage she had done, the lives that she had ended -- there was something irresistible about Charlie Nausikaa. With a cleanly washed face and her hair piled messily a top her head, she was just a woman.

"What do they want from you?" Charlie turned her green eyes on Zale curiously.

He ran a hand through his shaggy hair. "A weapon. They want me to bottle up a formula for a horrific sickness so they can sell it to armies and get even more filthy rich."

"And you cannot create such a formula?"

The question drew a sharp look from Zale. "I will not."

"What did I offend the sensitive morality of a mage?" While the question and insinuation was meant to offend, it oddly did not. Usually Zale could barely tolerate his people equating magic with evil. However, while Charlie spouted the rhetoric, there was a slight teasing tone to her voice that seemed to suggest that even she did not believe what she was saying.

The echoing sounds of boots down the hallway quieted the conversation and any possible retort. Zale's frame immediately stiffened but Charlie didn't notice as she was only eager to get a first look at their captors. She rose to her feet as two well armed uniformed guards appeared at the cell. A key was produced by one as the other motioned Zale forward. "Let's go," he stated roughly.

Her green eyes zipped towards Zale and his unwilling stance told her all she needed to know. "No," she stated quietly, a hand reaching for his upper arm.

Zale, however, was already rising to his feet. His dark eyes met Charlie's and the corners of his lips turned upward in a forced smile. He reached up to pat the hand on his arm before reaching for his cane resting against the cot. "It's alright."

"No," her voice rose and she took a step forward to block his path as one of the guards stepped inward to collect Zale.

"Go sit down," the guard ordered Charlie but there was no mistaking the fear that was rising in his tone.

A growl rose deep in her throat. "Go to hell." Her gaze swung from him back to Zale.

The anxious guard saw an opportunity and was the first to make a move. He drew his arm back and sent the back of his closed fist slamming against Charlie's cheek. The blow sent her stumbling back a step but anger caused her to recover fast. Before she could move to strike in retaliation, Zale moved in between them. There was no way Charlie would win this fight. It would merely leave her body further battered.

"Come on," Zale stated quickly to the guard, leaning heavily on the cane as he shuffled toward the cell door.

Charlie threw herself at the door just as it slammed shut behind them. Anger welled up in her, choking off her voice. Her hands tightly gripped the bars as she watched the guards forcibly guiding Zale down the hall and out of sight.


Last edited by Charlie Nausikaa on Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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