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Snippet #2716937

located in The World, a part of The World Beyond, one of the many universes on RPG.

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Character Portrait: Zhyle Alkuow
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Damn that… rat! He just didn’t have the audacity and come out and die like a man did he!? Selk glowered at the alley in front of her. The blood trail had been steadily increasing in volume and frequency, making the trail easier to follow for her, for which she was thankful. While many would think being a mercenary would lend one to back alley dealings and shady sidestreets, Selk had never seen the appeal of the cloak and dagger. She preferred the finer things in life. Like a fine sword or a nice bath after working up a sweat.

That was a thought that brought a grim smile to her face. Oooh, boy what WOULD she do with the money after she killed this bastard. Cheating in the colosseum wasn’t the worst thing that she had been called to do justice for, but she wasn’t really here to ask questions about where the money was coming from. She was just here to get a purse.

She paused as she reached a larger pool of blood. It was fresher than most, and much larger. He had stood here for a while, and as she looked up she knew why and almost laughed out loud. The rat had found himself back on the main road. She smiled as she looked about the street of artisans. He had almost nowhere left to hide, if she could find one of the sparing guards in the city due to the tourney they would almost certainly believe her lie and return the rat to her custody. Where he would be summarily executed. Easy peasy. She slowed her pace as she followed the blood trail up the street before making a turn down the main road and ending at an unassuming solid wooden door smeared in blood. Bingo.

“A blacksmith” she thought to herself as she glanced up at the sign. He might have half a brain after all. Most smiths would be interested in the matches happening down at the colosseum and how their blades may be faring in the game, or just to admire the weaponry of the contestants. Most would have left their shops with only an apprentice unfortunate enough to be tasked with keeping the furnace alight.

She smiled widely as she reached down to the blood soaked handle of the door and swung the door outwards,hopping back out of the small pool of blood that had been left on the front stoop. And she was instantly barraged by the sound of the hammer and anvil of an active smithy.

The poor rat! He had probably picked the ONE active smithy in the district! He had to be just hiding in the front! It would make her story all the better! She slowly unsheathed her blade and poked her head into the doorway and into the sparing interior of the building. Edging inside the building she slowly turned her blade towards the boxes and counters that made the storefront of the building while her mind raced. Where was he!? Where did he hide!? What was happening here!?

“Lady, if you want your blade reforged, you’ve come to the right place, but please, for now sheathe your steel.” She jumped as she realized the sounds erupting from the back of the room had stopped and the mountain of a man at the forge had stood up facing her. While inwardly she cursed her inattentiveness she forced a smile. “Sorry, but I am here on… other business. You see I was just enjoying my boy’s… uh… attempt at the arena. But the coward just up and ran as soon as he got a scratch. I swear, the only thing strong about that boy is his bluster.” She joked lightly, while shaking her head. “I followed his trail, which seems to lead to your shop. Now, where is he? I don’t know where you have hidden him, but please, I need to have a serious talk with the boy.”

The smith furrowed his brow… thinking of an excuse she assumed before responding. “Now… lass, I am sorry but I have seen no boy but my apprentice this morning whom I sent to enjoy the festivities. Now I can assure you, that you are the first person to grace my shop this day. Now if you could tell me what your apprentice looks like, I may be able to help you if I do see him”

Selk gritted her teeth. Shit. The man was testing her. She quickly thanked her lucky stars that she had a clear portrait of the man in her mind before starting off her brief description of the man, while adding her own embellishment here and there, such as scars on his legs or arms that she could talk her way out of later. All the while the man just nodded slowly, taking in the information. Once she had finished there was silence for a second before the smith opened his mouth and spoke with a growl.

“Now I don’t know who you are girl but I do know this boy you speak of, as I am sure you are aware. Unfortunately for you, I know him better than you seem to think. I may be a simple smith, but I am not a dumb man you seem to believe. But I do know a boy who is as uninterested in combat as that would have no master such as yourself. So get out of my shop, scoundrel.”

As he spoke those words the smith began hefting his hammer and it suddenly looked like a warhammer in the eyes of Selk. And she gritted her teeth in frustration… and fear. Shit. This day was looking SO good too. She was gonna get paid today. Dammit that nice bath would have to wait. Hopefully she would get to keep some of her commission if the other idiots in the ring managed to kill the cheater herself. But for now, if the rat was under the protection of this smith… there was really nothing she could do. She wasn’t particularly looking for trouble with the town guard and this smith was not included in the immunity that she had been promised for killing the rat.

“Fine.” She yelled, dropping her useless act and backing once more out the doorway to the shop. “But you better make damn sure he gets out of town before I see his face again, otherwise he is a deadman. And you can take that to be a promise on my word as a sword!” And with that she dashed down the main street, lamenting the loss of that nice fat purse.

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Zhyle couldn’t help but mutter under his breath, chuckling to himself. “Don’t worry, sister, I don’t plan on being in town for very long”. He shifted briefly behind the rainbarrel at the side of the building. It was a tight squeeze into the side alley of the smithy and it had been even worse as he had to be sure none of his blood spattered onto either wall. The faintest shine reaching the swordswoman could have given her away.

Zhyle leaned back smiling as he listened to her steps fade into the distance and the rhythmic sound of the smithy start back up looking back on his plan. Once he had come up with the idea of what to do he had slowly began caring less and less about containing his blood, giving the appearance of losing strength, while making sure to gather a substantial amount of blood absorbed in the improvised sling of his shirt he had made. Upon reaching the main road he wrung his shirt out creating a pool of blood, making it look like he stopped. He needed a little time and he wasn’t sure how far behind she was. Afterwards he sprinted around the corner to the blacksmith he had frequented this past week. The old man would be there, he was sure. The man had said so when the two had talked about their plans for the tournament.

From then all he had done was smear his bloody hand on the door handle and slam his bleeding arm against the door and finish wringing out his shirt at the entrance to the shop. Then just let her draw her own conclusions as he removed his shirt, wrapping the entire thing around his bloody arm and squeezing his way to behind the rainbarrel in the narrow alley at the side of the smithy.

He breathed deeply before carefully unwrapping his arm and wincing at its appearance. He would have to get it dressed soon, covering it with a dirty shirt was not exactly sound medical practice. So, redressing he emerged into the main street before heading in a roundabout way back towards the inn that he shared with the other two.