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Newton's Third Law
Wed Oct 25, 2006 13:55 (XFF:

For every action there is an equal, yet opposite, reaction.

A dull, leaden silence gravitated over the pair of them as Karen apparently paused to contemplate what words she had spoken Oh, by no means was it an uncomfortable silence–and what reason was there for discomfort? They’d just fallen short of doing the rough-and-tumble in the shady bower of the Traitor’s Tree, and they were both tipsy enough to ceremoniously place their inhibitions in a velvet-lined box to be reacquired on a later date. For now, Evie watched him, attempting to dredge meaning from his machinations.

Perhaps he is more like the stony-faced Asha’man than I thought? Drawing knowledge from him was a tricky feat, and she simply awaited his reply. Not altogether unlike his father, really, who could be as much like a stone when such was opportune.

His reasons . . . well, she couldn’t say too much of his reasons, by he had some nonetheless. To kill would kill his desire. Understandable. In sooth, she had not known whether or not he’d reply positively, and, also in sooth, she had not cared. Whether Karen would willingly put these men to death for her was beyond what was worth her concern. It had only tickled her curiosity. Light, but if she did not know what these Black Tower men were like, how could she assimilate herself properly?

It seemed, though, that an enigma in Karen’s refusal was burrowing its way through the cracks and crevices of Evie’s brain. He was a killer who would not kill. Fascinating.

Nonetheless, for every ounce of refusal he rendered unto her, there was something else. An offer of sorts. A lesson? Oh, Light, Evie liked that idea very, very much, and her grin conveyed as much. Beyond whatever information of the Black Tower she was attempting to dredge from this situation, Evie very much liked the idea of retribution, and a sensation not altogether foreign to her assumed her being. No, not a sensation. A craving. Just as she’d lusted for conversation, she so thoroughly coveted this. Revenge. Even . . . yes, even cruelty. It defied logic, yet she knew only that nothing in the world barring perhaps making sweet bloody love to Karen would satisfy her more than gaining vengeance on the bloody ignorant Aethan’Tar.

What she said, though, was, “That sounds like a wonderful suggestion.”

Karen greeted them masked in the shadows of a wellspring of mysteries. He was inscrutable in his approach. The Aethan’Tar, of course, belted back a boorish reply, but Karen spoke his words carefully, and he spoke his words well. Upon their second reply, he turned to her, inquiring what approach would be best. And she smiled again. That question was musi...o her ears.

How would she reply? What really would be best? After all, there were only two of them, and though they wore swords at their sides, the accomplice simply appeared to be a beanpole of a man–unthreatening so wholly and fully–and the one to insult her was of a lean muscle, not altogether unlike Karen. Evie, having been at the Tower for scant days, was not truthfully of much use, and it seemed as though without the advent of the One Power, she and Karen would be at a loss. However, they did have the One Power, and it was because of this that advantages would be gained.

“If you do not want to settle this with brawn out of fear that we’ll use our Power on you, we have a settlement to make, then,” Evie intoned carefully, unscrupulously, weighing an even blue-eyed gaze upon them both. “A race. We challenge the pair of you to one. If you will peer to the east–yes, that way is east–you will see a forest. Well, it’s blockaded visually, but it’s in the direction, anyway. The first pair to reach the very centre of the forest–that is, to come out onto the clearing that houses the lake–shall be declared the victor, and the sum of, say, twenty silvers shall be put on it?” As if to prove this fact, she reached into her pocket to present the silvers: they gleamed in the warmth of the hanging moon. It was bloody fortunate that none of it had slipped out of her pockets she had been under the Tree with Karens. “It’s yours if you can beat us. We will have the handicap, too. You will have a full minute to speed ahead of us. Sounds good?”

The pair peered at each other, weighing their odds. Anyone who at least had ever been to a racetrack would have some minimal experience in weighing likelihoods such as these. This was the Black Tower, and, thus, it was Evie and Kieran’s turf. They had the advantage. Nonetheless, the handicap would level the playing field. The sum of twenty crowns was pleasant to win and not of the arm-and-a-leg variety to lose. A worthy gamble. They seemed to see it as such with their simultaneous nods.

“Excellent,” Evie breathed. “Oh, and I am Soldier Emberlinn, and this is Soldier Badge.” Pseudonyms in heavy-handed dealings were, by no shortage, a blessing. Her thoughts trailed briefly to Emberlinn and Badge, her sister and brother respectively, as she pondered so sillily as to what they’d be doing. Would they be celebrating as well?

“My name is Calla Aethan’Tar, and my friend, here, is Toliver Aethan’Tar.”

“Fascinating. Well, now, off with you. You have a minute’s grace, and I will be counting.”

Not sparing a pause, Calla and Toliver, fools to the greatest degree, hastened off into the evening, leaving the festive hubbub of the Green. She smiled to herself. Anyone looking onto the two men speeding into the hollow forest on their lonesome would likely dub the pair lovers. A practical joke playing off the heterosexual man’s fear of being labelled as anything else would be blissfully amusing, suffice to say, though this lesson had already been put in motion. It could not be halted. A pity.

“And now we wait.”

Making their way to the refreshment table, Evie and Karen quickly downed another round of ale, easily exceeding the one-minute handicap in their waiting. Light, the two Aethan’Tar might not be very smart, and the trek to find the lake could prove to be lamentably difficult. A couple of minutes would be best, especially as Evie wanted them to win. Light, she so thoroughly did. Springing the trap on them would be easier from the trees, watching the two Aethan’Tar by the lake so blissfully unawares.

Once it appeared that they had waited and consumed enough (they had not made a competition in consuming ale this time, mind) Evie and Karen made their way to the woods. The full effects of the alcohol were beginning to hit her, though slowly. The world was, if only slightly, blurred. Only once had she been here, and that had been with Abram. It had been . . . different. She was still embarrassed how shell-shocked the finding of the cadaver had made her, and Evie still found herself contemplating how it could possibly find itself in such a state. The forest by night, then, would be that much more of a treat.

The soft crepitating of leaves marked their presence in the forest as the two Soldiers trod the path to the lake. And so, when they arrived, they peered out of the undergrowth, gazing from the swarthy silence. It was so beautifully perfect. Calla and Toliver were there, laughing and joking to themselves and apparently pondering what twenty silvers would buy them. Light, not a lot in this world. She peered at Karen, watching his crystalline eyes assault the scene.

“Entangle them,” she whispered in a near-silent tone. Unseen coils burst through the air, tying themselves around the two men, binding their arms to their sides as though captured by rigor mortis. Shouts escaped out into the evening as Evie and Karen burst from their place of hiding, and she, at least, was wearing a victorious grin. The two Aethan’Tar were muttering and cursing in their invisible immurements, and the sight was simply perfect. Inside, however, the thought of being slighted by them still burned. And so revenge would find them. “You thick, bloody fools.” The alcohol gripped her thoroughly, now: where asking Karen to murder them before had been almost akin to a joke, she now longed for their death. Her steps were uneasy, and her voice was heated, heavy. “You idiots!” And she hastened up to Calla, peering into his ugly, pimply face. She stole a punch at him in the solar plexus–a clean, unblocked shot–and air was stolen from the man, and he toppled over. “Idiot!”

Grabbing him, she rolled him over to the water. He was like some bloody carpet! So helpless! Grabbing him by the ears, she held him in a brassbound grip, plunging his face into the dirty, clumsy eddies of the lake. He thrashed, tumbled, but he was bound, useless. She was strong, and she was sure. She held the man’s head under the water for a ten-count, bringing it back to the surface to a sea of splutters and coughs. Water and mucus dripped from his nostrils. Disgusting.

Karen acted in the same idiom, too, doing the same to Toliver, but she didn’t much care about the Taraboner’s accomplice. He was an accessory–cruel, yes, but not Calla. He had not delivered unto her the same offence as this imbecile had. Again, she pressed Calla’s head ‘neath the glassy surface of the water, pulling it up once more to the same deluge of rabid wheezes. His honey-blonde hair was plastered to his face stickily. She smiled. He was some drowned rat.

How long this act lasted, she did not know. She did not greatly care. In eventuality, Karen decided it was safe to release them of their unseen bonds; the two were on all fours on the ground, gasping for the sweet release of air. A pathetic sight.

“Now,” Evie said, “we will let you go with this as our warning, but we require a favour of you. I promise: should you not honour this, we will hunt you and perform feats far more feral than this. The favour is a small one. We would like the pair of you to sneak into the Infirmary, find the herb cupboard, and steal heartleaf. It’s a small plant with waxy green leaves, and it’s brewed into a tea. We would like some. Now, off with you.”

They had little choice, evidently, as they were stuck between a rock and a hard place, so to speak. The hard place would be the more desirable option. Calla and Toliver vanished into the evening, but she peered at Karen with a smile. Heartleaf. It was a contraceptive. Light, but the thought of Karen holding the Aethan’Tar head’s underwater, his powerful grip assailing the fool, would not escape her. The man in himself was desirable, and she only wanted to do this properly. And they would.

Calla ran his fingers coarsely through his hair, uttering every oath in memory under his breath. They padded the trail from the clearing, but neither seemed wholly focused on the surrounding forest. The bastards! The snivelling, idiotic, half-drunk bastards! His heart beat rapidly, and that could not solely be attributed to being held underwater for . . . oh, Light! He’d almost died! In spite of that, his pulse was rapid for pure, raw anger. Emberlinn and Badge would burn in bloody hellfire!

As they stepped out of the woods and back into the openness of this Light-forsaken Tower, Toliver simply asked, “Where’s that Infirmary, then?”

“There’s no way under the bloody Light I’m going to any flaming Infirmary, Toliver.” Instead, Calla had a plan already formulated. Instead of searching every which way for an Infirmary, he had something wildly different in mind. Returning to the Green, returning to the hubbub of bustling frolicking folk, he began to look. And he began to search. “Find as many of us as you can. Come on.”

Their search proved more difficult than he expected, given how crowded and aggressively the dancers were indeed dancing, but he was successful in the end. Alas, little more than nine of them could be rounded up–eleven, counting Calla and Toliver–but they were there. And they were ready. They were not bloodthirsty scoundrels, no, but rather fourteen liberally drunken men with an objective. And such an objective was provided by Calla. “We’re on a hunt, guys. Two sneaks in the forest have insulted our arms, insulted us, and we’ll skewer those bloody rats alive.”

And so they departed with that sudden mantra on the forefront of their thoughts.

  • A Decline and an OfferSoldier Kieran (Karen), Tue Oct 24 08:27
    The pleasure that resulted from Evie's actions in not only accepting his kiss, but giving as good as she got, as it were, could not be described. He was indeed enjoying himself nearly too much at... more
    • Newton's Third Law — Soldier Evie Holinshed, Wed Oct 25 13:55
      • Not Gonna Get UsSoldier Kieran (Karen), Thu Nov 2 15:07
        As Kieran listened to Evie as she spoke, he couldn't help but feel a bit of an itch when she pulled out the silver. He remembered his thieving days too much for his own good right now. Kieran unbound ... more
        • Cold TeaSoldier Evie Holinshed, Sat Nov 4 15:40
          Hands clapped before her mouth, Evie watched in stunned silence as her beau did little more than hush her, standing wholly still–where they could be seen! Light! Calla and Toliver, accompanied by a... more
          • Contemplations of the Morning AfterSoldier Kieran (Karen), Sat Nov 4 18:53
            It was not exactly easy having to wait there for Evie. He knew that he said that he'd wait for her…but it seemed to be taking longer than it should to just snatch something from the Infirmary, and... more
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