Losing My Touch [Open]

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Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:08 am

Crisis confidently strode down the streets of Crocus.  In her quest to break the curse on her sword, she had not limited herself to legal guilds.  Dark Guilds were a bit of a long shot.  While they were all over the place, especially in the wake of Fiore's baffling new rules regarding freelance magery, one couldn't simply look them up in the phone book.  They weren't called "Dark" Guilds because they were all evil.  Not all of them.  They were dark because they were secret; They didn't want to be found.  All visible connections to public had been severed - "Off the grid," if you will - leaving anyone who wished to find them to scour the shadows in their search.  

In the dark.

Crisis didn't exactly have connections in the Crocus underworld, but that didn't mean she couldn't make new ones.  The backstreets were a franchise of sorts; It may simply be a matter of parallel evolution, but every town on every world in every universe had the same sorts of people in the same sorts of situations in the same sorts of places.  About 65.348% of the time, she could guess their names, which blows their minds every time.  The rest of the time, she could strong-arm them hard enough that they'll over-look it.  All it takes is a shirt collar, a brick wall, and a mean look and she has a lead.  The difficulty tends to increase sharply from there, but eventually she'll find someone shady who knows a thing or two about hexes and curses.  They don't come cheap, and they often try to screw you over in non-monetary ways, but it's worth it to leave no stone unturned.  You never know, one of them might actually succeed in breaking the curse.

Today, however, was not so fruitful.  She had a number of leads, but most of the ones she followed were dead ends.  Either the Magic Council had taken them out, or the Dark Guild moved on.  In any case, her search would have to continue tomorrow.  For now, she was just too worn out from hard day's night of detective work and just wanted to get back to her hotel room and...

"Oops!  Sorry about that!"

"Watch it, kid!"

"Watch yourself, lady! You nearly fell off the sidewalk!"

"Whatever, you little brat..."

The boy had practically plowed into her and derailed her train of thought.  She glowered at him for a moment as he backed off with a faux-innocent shrug, then they turned went their separate ways.  The nerve of that kid, calling her "Lady" like that.  She wasn't that much older than him.  Maybe.  Certainly not old enough to be a "Lady."

Crisis stopped in her tracks.  Something was off.  She quickly patted herself down, checking her belongings.  "Damn it!"  Normally, she carried two purses.  One was casually concealed and contained the money she had earned from various odd jobs during her travels that she used for living expenses and other incidentals.  The other, considerably better hidden on her person, contained her curse-breaking fund, comprised almost entirely of what, when pressed, she referred to as "Severance pay" from her former guild.  While not the entirety of the fund, it still held a considerable amount.

You could probably guess which one was stolen, not that it actually mattered.  He could've swiped a disused candy wrapper, and she would still have to track him down and retrieve it on principle.  Her hand almost went to her sword as she turned to give chase, but stopped.  If she used her magic in public, she could be outed as a Guildless Mage and hunted down by the Magic Council's goons, and she was not in the mood for an all-out brawl today.

Sighing harshly, she released the grip on her sword and charged through the crowded streets after boy, shouting, "Stop, thief!"


Last edited by Avernale on Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:36 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added)

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:23 am

Kaz had returned to Crocus for one very particular reason. In his last visit, he'd met some lady friends at the bar. After exchanging a few preliminary flirtatious remarks, somehow the conversation had changed, and the girls instead raved about their secret celebrity crush, Mordekai von Argon. There was nothing quite so off putting to a flirting man as a woman who gushes over someone else. Because really, in comparison, how was Kaz supposed to measure up to some ridiculously powerful wizard who single-handedly crushed dark guilds and was the son of their current leader and had a fan club following behind each step?

Oh, but he had something now. Kaz happened to own a hand-written letter from Mordekai, addressed to Kasimir, vaguely implying that the two knew each other and to excuse Kaz from any trouble. It was meant as a 'get out of jail for free' kind of card. Mainly because Kaz had helped the Magic Council stop a particularly violent dark guild event, despite Kaz being guildless himself, and possibly being assaulted by a Magic Council member, but that completely wasn't his fault. Outside of being the guildless part. That was his fault. But he had much better plans to use this letter than simply avoiding the very intense gaze of the Magic Council.

He chuckled, far more devious sounding than normal. It's like what they said - if you can't beat them, join them. He was going back to that bar, and he was going to show off that letter and talk about his good pal Mordekai. If he couldn't be the super cool man that was the envy of girls everywhere, then dang it, he was going to that guy's friend. And Kaz had the letter to prove it. Actually, the two hadn't got along much at all, Kaz either being too terrified or later too angry to make much of a good impression. But Kaz had no pride, so even if he happened to strongly dislike the man (hate was too strong a word), he still planned to play up their 'friendship'.

Kaz was still plotting out exactly what to say and how to bring up the letter, when he heard a voice. "Stop, thief!" He looked up, seeing a boy plowing through the crowd. Heading right at Kaz. Most of the other pedestrians were jumping out of the way. Kaz's mind worked quick. Instead of jumping away, he tackled the boy to the ground.

The two fell unceremoniously on the ground. Kaz wrestled with his arms, managing to extract the purse (pretty obvious it wasn't his). "Hey, what do you think you're-" Kaz began, but never got further. The thief slammed his knee in a very sensitive spot. Kaz froze, managing not to scream, but the pain completely blinded him. Roughly he was shoved off, and the thief was tearing off again. But the purse, that was still in Kaz's hand. He just hoped that the thief hadn't taken anything else.

Kaz rose to his feet, adjusting the gigantic two-handed sword to a more comfortable position behind him, took a deep breath, and suppressed the pain. Instead of pursuing the thief, he turned to the womanl who had been running after him. "This yours?" He assumed, offering the purse back to her. Kaz blinked a little when he came face to face with her. The cowboy hat and the rest of her attire, everything was a bit exotic. She looked older than him, Kaz couldn't tell by how much, but he hoped it wasn't much. He'd go on the assumption it wasn't much.

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:56 am

Crisis never liked having to push through crowds. They weren't very cooperative, and always getting in the way of a pursuit, especially if you knew how to manipulate your wake. This kid was good. Crisis knew the tricks, too, and there wasn't much you could do against it. Not while in the crowd, at least. She needed to climb up something, go over the crowd.

Before she could bust out the sweet parkour moves, though, one man decided not to be a sheep and did something about the thief. The man tackled him to the ground and managed to relieve him of her purse, but for his troubles he got a kick to the family jewels and the thief ran away. Crisis trotted up to the man as he climbed to his feet, and he promptly handed her the purse.

"Yeah, thanks," she said as he took the purse and returned it to its hiding spot. "Kinda too bad you stepped in when you did. A moment longer, and I would've shown off my awesome free-running skills." Gazing upon her savior, she didn't find anything especially remarkable about him. Aside from his huge sword (the phrase "Compensating much?" reflexively popped up in her head, but she choose to disregard it) he pretty much looked like every other paleface she saw since coming to Fiore. Not that he wasn't good-looking, in a way, although she wasn't sure if that assessment was due to something intrinsic about his features that hadn't especially registered consciously yet or if it was just some feeling of gratitude. She noticed how he looked at her (a look she had been getting a lot lately, admittedly) and smirked at him. "So, first time seeing someone from Desierto up close?"

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:19 am

Free-running skills? Kaz knew she was making a joke of some kind, but didn't quite get it. He failed to realize he was even staring until she called him out on it. "Er," he rubbed the back of his hair, quickly looking away. This wasn't the first time he'd been called out on staring, but that didn't make it any easier. She had done so in a polite way, but it still meant he was staring, and that she'd noticed. He had never even heard of Desierto - although he was far from a geography expert, and really only knew Fiore and had heard about Valland. "Sorry," he apologized for the staring, deciding to play it safe. He would much rather have her think that was the reason than something else. "It is. I've been traveling across Fiore for the past two years now, but you're the first one I've met out of country."

They had met, exchanged a few words after giving back her purse, and Kaz supposed this was where most people would part ways. But Kaz didn't want that, if he could help it. The woman seemed mysterious, and what was more fun than mysterious women? "So... do I get a reward for helping you out?" He winked at her. Before he gave her time to actually consider that, however, he was still going. "I can show you around town if you're unfamiliar with the area. If nothing else, at least let me take you out to lunch. I'd be happy just to spend more time with a beautiful well-traveled woman like yourself." It was pretty much true - he was intrigued, at least. Enough to want to know more about her.

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:56 am

Considering Desierto was on the same continent as Fiore, separated only by a gulf and the country of Ministrel (or the countries of Bosco, Stella, and Joya, if you prefer overland routes), it didn't reflect well on the state of education in this country.  It some places it seemed like the only times people learned anything about geography was when they sent soldiers into it.  Not that Crisis was any better.  Half the missions she took in her old guild took place in countries she hadn't even heard of, and she only remembered the more interesting ones. If it wasn't for the world-famous Fairy Tail guild, she probably wouldn't have heard of Fiore until she stepped foot in it.

"Well..." Crisis drew out the word a bit as she held her chin thoughtfully.  She hadn't been on a date in a while, and a lot of her relationships ended badly.  Probably all of them.  Not knowing where a lunch date could lead, she wasn't sure if she was ready to be "Getting to know" anyone.  Plus, she had been out scouring the criminal underworld all night, so she was pretty beat.  She could hardly think of it as "Lunch" at this point.  Probably needed a shower, too.  Then again, she was pretty hungry, and he is kinda cute in a generic kind of way.  "I was just going to..." She was rudely interrupted by her own gurgling stomach.  "Nevermind.  I think I was just out-voted." She held out her hand.  "Chryseis Estoban, but everyone calls me 'Crisis'."

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:52 am

Kaz waited impatiently for her decision. He had expected more of a laugh of either 'sure, why not' or 'haha, get lost'. Instead she seemed to be seriously considering it... which made him more nervous. His face lit up when Crisis agreed, and he chuckled a little. "Kasimir," he met her handshake. "But my friends call me Kaz. I think it's fair - one nickname for a nickname." Kaz made it a point to not give out his last name. Well, he didn't exactly have a last name, he'd just taken it by default. Especially in Crocus, with the Grand Magic Games, Sewik was known as a previous organizer of the event, and Kaz preferred to not be associated with him. It would probably make more sense for him to come up with some kind of last name alias, but he had yet to do so, and on-spot lies were very difficult for him to pull off convincingly.

"Unless your stomach has a preference, I know a particular spot," Kaz volunteered, starting to lead the way. It was still a bit early for lunch, but most places were probably open by now. A cafe with some coffee and lunch or breakfast options seemed like a safe choice, for a first time. Crocus was pretty much always busy, but at least it wasn't at prime time. "Is this your first time in Crocus, then? As you've just experienced, it's not exactly the friendliest place." Plenty of pickpockets, constant traffic with events in the arena, and a known place for dark guild activity... Crocus had degenerated over the years, despite the presence of the former Royal Family and the Magic Council. "So... what brings you here from Desierto? The arena?" He wondered. He had no love for the arena, but it was a common place to visit. And out of everywhere in Fiore, Crocus was probably the most prominent place she could visit. The Magic Council was around too, but he wasn't sure what business she could have with them, being out of country.

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:24 am

"Ah, a spot in particular," Crisis smiled and nodded when Kaz thought up a place to eat. "Much better than somewhere at random. If you left it to me, I would've just gone back to my hotel and ordered room service."

Kaz asked her why she was in town, but she didn't quite trust him with the truth. Not just yet anyway. He seems like a nice guy, but she had just met him. Experience taught her to never be that naive, no matter how friendly the locals are. It also taught her to always have a cover story, which she tended to make even if she didn't plan on using it. You know, just in case. She couldn't exactly tell him she had come to town with a cursed sword and looking for someone to uncurse it. For one thing, the sword was clearly a holder weapon. She may have hidden her power level well, but one look at that sword and it would be clear she was a mage. For all she knew, Kaz was working with the Magic Council and would turn her in for practicing magic without a guild membership. For another, there was no official guild stationed in Crocus, so she was obviously visiting Dark Guilds, and acquiring the services of a Dark Guild was just as illegal and being in one.

So that left the cover story. All that required was a little research into recent/upcoming events and local landmarks. It's a lot like planning a vacation, really, and makes for a good Plan B if you suddenly have the time for it. It also really helps if it's something you'd do anyway if it wasn't a cover story. It's hard to express enthusiasm or interest in something that wasn't, although you'd still have to be careful to not act like it was what you wished you were doing instead of what you were really doing.

"Oh, yeah, totally," Crisis replied. "The World Pankration League is holding an exhibition at Domus Flau this weekend. I've been saving up my money so I could follow their tour while I'm on vacation. You could say I've been a little obsessed with them."

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:43 am

Kaz fell unnaturally silent after Crisis's answer to why she was in Crocus. Not because he had picked up on her lie, but because the answer was hard to hear. He had been the one to ask, and he thought he'd been prepared. The cup she'd mentioned was legal, albeit on the sketchier side, but still within the law. Still the idea of people spectating and enjoying fighting, he didn't understand, and probably never would. "Y-yeah..." He needed to think of a different topic, because he couldn't keep going with this one.

So instead he laughed, deciding to go back to one of Crisis's earlier points. Even as a joke, the suggestion of going back to her hotel room was pretty bold. Kaz was the kind of person who could be content with any meal. Except room service was usually expensive and not worth the price, so maybe not that kind of meal. "If you're sightseeing in Crocus, it's no good to just shut yourself in your hotel. It's better to get out and explore your options. Everyone likes food. It's one of the best parts of traveling," he grinned. "And I'm talking from personal experience, too. Although I haven't come from as far as Desierto, I've been traveling all over Fiore for a while now." He had started traveling two years ago, and even though things were quieter now, he doubted he would ever settle down. There was too much to see out there for him to just stick in one place. And like he'd just said, the food was pretty good from town to town. Maybe one of the reasons he had been drawn to Crisis was because she was a traveler too. No, who was he kidding...

"Crocus has a special place in my heart, though. I don't really have a good reason to like it, it doesn't have the good sushi from Hargeon or the quaint friendliness of Shirotsume, but... I always find something here that I wish I would've found sooner," he said. Even though he had been here multiple times, there was something about the town's landscape that always seemed new. He felt like a tourist each time, despite having grown up in the area. But then, he hadn't exactly gone out and explored back then, so maybe that was part of Crocus's charm - not quite his hometown, but something similar to it.

"Like you," he added easily enough. "It's unfortunate that we met through a thief, but I'm glad that we at least got the chance."

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:22 am

Crisis was a little disappointed that her cover story made Kaz uncomfortable. She was fairly aware that watching half-naked, oiled-up men beat each other into submission for spectacle and sport, even if it was a professional league and thus as choreographed as a ballet, but she hadn't taken into account that it might actually make for an awkward conversation. Some people just aren't into the pageantry, brutality, and subtle homoerotic undertones of what some consider the greatest show in sports entertainment. Aw, well. At least he was less likely to blow her cover by showing up that night and not seeing her there; She might be busy with something else that night, after all. If she'd mentioned an event he'd actually want to see, she might have to go see it with him - not that she'd mind, per se - and that could put a crimp in her itinerary.

Thankfully, Kaz had the presence of mind to laugh it off and change the subject. He talked about getting out and exploring, to which Crisis could've argued that she had, in fact, been out all night exploring the criminal underworld, but the less that was said about that the better. It talk about pankration was a sore spot, then the Dark Guilds were right out. He did have a fair point, though.

"Well, yeah. Going to a foreign country and not sampling the local delicacies is practically a waste of a perfectly good trip. That's like going to an amusement park and not going on any rides. You might as well not have even gone! The chocolate in Bosco is to die for, by the way. You guys share a border, so someone as well-traveled through Fiore as you shouldn't have any trouble getting there."

As Kaz began to wax nostalgic about Crocus, Crisis couldn't help but let her eyes drift to take in the sights that they passed. While it wasn't as if they were passing any particularly well-known landmarks as far as she could tell, she could sense its quaint charms. Well, compared to the back-alleys she had been in, at least. The way he talked about it almost made her feel like she could settle down here. Almost.

"Admittedly, it's not the most romantic way to meet people," she replied when he brought up the thief. "But at least it's a better story than two stranger's eyes meeting across a crowded whatever, and you don't have to worry much about first impressions. As long as you get the purse back, you're golden."

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Fri Jul 25, 2014 3:00 am

Now Kaz's thoughts were on food. Certainly other countries would have even more varieties than Fiore could from town to town... "Yeah, maybe I'll try it one day. I don't know why I never thought of it before, but... I'd like to see other places outside of Fiore." Bosco shared a border, but Desierto was extremely far. Which did make him wonder... had Crisis really come all this way out for the arena? That was some dedication... she had said she was a large fan, after all.

Meeting through a thief wasn't the most romantic way of meeting... Crisis had a point. But Kaz had to work with what was given to him. If he stood around waiting for the perfect moment, he'd probably never act. "Well, at least I get some points for that," he said, when she mentioned retrieving the purse. Crisis's response seemed very careful, taking a step back from Kaz's earlier compliment, but then another step forward with the purse comment. The safe zone. It was going to be hard to make significant progress, but he wouldn't give up.

They reached the cafe 'Bakin' & Eggs' quickly; another reason Kaz had chosen it was for its close distance. Making someone walk far for an impromptu date... it wasn't good form. The cafe had some business at this time, but there were still enough seats for them not to wait. They ended up outside, although with a pretty clear shot of the glass window full of bakery goods. "So what's Desierto like? Is it very different than here?" He wondered. Both because he wanted to hear how she described her homeland, but also because he was honestly interested. If he ever did pick up traveling greater distances, it would be nice to know a little about the other lands.

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:49 am

Crisis looked up at the sign of the restaurant as she realized this was the place they were eating at. It was a cafe called “Bakin’ & Eggs.” Her immediate thought was that it sounded like a name for the kind of place where you could get a plate the size of a small card table practically overflowing with greasy meats, greasy eggs, greasy potatoes, a stack of pancakes the size of a birthday cake, and maybe a fruit cup on the side if you’re worried about your arteries clogging. Although it didn’t take long for her to realize this was not the case. The name is obviously a pun as this quaint, little eatery seemed quite proud of its baked goods and, if the second half is any indication, egg dishes. Frankly, Crisis could’ve gone either way, although she was going to feel a little disappointed at least a third of the menu wasn’t devoted to artisanal omelets and quiches.

“What’s it like?” Crisis said as Kaz asked her about Desierto. There was a quick answer to that, although she gave it a moment’s thought just to make sure she wasn’t forgetting anything. It had been a long while since she was there last, after all. "It's mostly desert, obviously. Like, one, big, never-ending beach. There's no forests, not like you have here. First time I saw a forest, it was overwhelming. So many trees, I couldn't imagine there being room for anything else. Took my forever to get my bearings, too."

"Y'know, a lot of people think it's hot and dry in a desert," she continued. "But not in Desierto. Well, yeah, it is, but not everywhere. You can get a cool breeze sometimes along the coast or the mountains on the border. That's where all the major cities are. The coast, I mean. Gorgeous cities. Towers of glass so shiny, they'll blind you if you look at 'em wrong. Totally worth it, though. I saw the Tower of Ra with the sun behind me once. Struck blind for three days. I kid you not. No regrets whatsoever."

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:24 am

A... desert. Kaz knew what the word was, but it was still hard to picture. Sand like the beach, but no water, just never-ending sand. With a name like Desierto, of course it'd be a desert, but Kaz hadn't put two and two together. Mainly because that was some kind of fantasy land where other people lived, but he'd never met someone who had lived there before. He laughed when she mentioned being struck blind. It was like one of the ancient stories, some god punishing a mortal for looking at a design too beautiful for their eyes.

"An entire building made of glass? Surrounded by nothing but desert, but a cool breeze at the coast? Now I've got to see it. Compared to here, Desierto doesn't even seem real." His gaze drifted from the menu to one of the tables. His gaze accidentally met another customer, who quickly looked away. Kaz respectfully averted his gaze as well. Was that guy staring at me? He was suddenly very nervous. Probably just paranoid, but things could happen in Crocus, especially with his history here. The town was pretty large and two years had passed since he had any connections here, but there was still the slim chance someone might recognize him. So he was even more paranoid here than normal.

He leaned an elbow against the table, half eying the menu, but mainly trying to check his surroundings a little more carefully. By the time the waitress came around to take their orders, (which he ordered just a croissant and coffee in case he needed to split) Kaz was convinced that a shady duo across the street were also watching him and Crisis. "So um," he decided to keep the conversation going as naturally as he could and not share his paranoia yet. "Being a traveler from so far, are you a wizard? I was wondering if there's guilds like the same way they work in Fiore." Which was partially true. He was mainly trying to figure out what would happen if a fight broke out.

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:29 am

“That’s the great thing about traveling, right?” Crisis noted when Kaz mentioned how fantastical Desierto seemed. “You see all sorts of things that are impossible to imagine otherwise. I mean, you can see pictures in magazines and such, but it just isn’t real until you see it for yourself, you know?”

There were some habits one just could not drop, especially when they’re so useful in everyday life. Even though she had some of her attention on the menu, she had more than enough of her attention on her apparent date and her surroundings that she would be unlikely to be taken unawares by any attempt to surprise her. She had been trained since she was very young to operate in a world of espionage, subterfuge, and assassination, and could tell when a partner under deep cover had reason to be suspicious and had to hide it as well as possible to keep the enemy from catching on. Granted, this generally required a system of secret signals to actually communicate the ideas, but she had seen that look in Kaz’s eye reflected in her allies before, and his casual order all but confirmed it: They were being watched.

Her desire to not tip her hand was matched only by her need to fill her empty stomach. To satisfy both, she ordered an omelet sandwich, an apple turnover, and a cup of Earl Grey tea. No need to hurry. They were being watched by no less than three shady figures. If Crisis and Kaz weren’t going anywhere, neither were they. A group of thugs that size weren’t going to pull something in the outdoor seating area of a cafe. Not if they were keeping a low profile. They would either wait for them to leave and follow them, or approach and “politely invite” them to accompany them elsewhere. Her only real concern was an attempt to assassinate them. Not only would that require more preparation than was convenient to pull the attempt here, but such an act didn’t require more than one observer. Not on the ground, at least.

Unless she was wrong, of course. She’d been burned before, but she was pretty confident she was right.

Then Kaz asked if she was a wizard. That was not an answer she wanted to give, as her concerns from earlier in the thread about being found out as a guildless mage seeking out local dark guilds hadn’t had enough time to be alleviated yet. She could, however, answer the second, implied question, and possibly in a way that would give Kaz the answer he needed. To be honest, she would like to know about Kaz’s capabilities at this point, as well. And if it was, indeed, just idle chatter, then he might not pick up on the information being relayed.

“They do, more or less,” she answered. “There are official guilds and dark guilds. Legend has it there was a ‘Shadow Guild’ once by the name of ‘Urban Legion.’ They say they were as powerful as Fiore’s own Fairy Tail, except they a dark guild, if because they did things ‘off the books.’ Governments and other organizations hired them for all sorts of secret missions, but, officially, they didn’t exist.” She idly picked up a butter knife and twirled it expertly between her fingers before setting it down. “Although, after the government stopped hiring them, they eventually became little more than bandits, strong-arming funds out of local villages too weak to defend themselves. But then, one day, the entire Urban Legion vanished, swallowed up by a hole in the sky. There’s nothing but a crater where their guild hall lies now.” She glanced over her shoulder, then back at Kaz. “How about you? Know any magic?”

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:03 pm

Kaz stopped practically mid-croissant bite when Crisis began talking about guilds. He hadn't really specified what kind of magic guilds he was talking about, and had automatically assumed the conversation would be about legal guilds. Not dark guilds. Definitely not ghost-like stories of a dark guild. Realizing he might accidentally be doing that staring thing again, Kaz quickly averted his gaze to his coffee, and took a sip. She hadn't said if she was a wizard or not. Maybe she was trying to imply that she was a dark wizard. Or maybe his earlier question had just slipped her mind and she'd gone off on a random tangent.

Kaz was pretty sure his paranoia was getting the best of him, but he wasn't sure what to think if she really was a dark wizard. The Magic Council girls were definitely on Kaz's 'don't hit on' list. But he had never really considered a dark mage. As far as he knew, he hadn't crossed anyone badly enough to warrant any dark wizards to chase him (he actually had, but had yet to find out). And the whole violence and killing people was a bit of a problem... although he supposed that wasn't required in a dark wizard's job description. Okay, now he was really overthinking this.

"Wow, quite a tale. You know really a lot about your country's history - ever consider becoming a traveling bard instead?" Kaz settled on, deciding not to voice what he was thinking. He was taking a sip from his coffee when Crisis hit him with the reverse question. "How about you? Do you know any magic?" He almost spit out his coffee but quickly clapped a hand over his mouth. Of course she'd ask the question back. That was only natural in any conversation, but he'd been so concerned and distracted by their observers, he'd forgotten that. Kaz never knew how to answer that question, and he normally avoided asking about magic in the first place for that very reason. Lying never seemed to work out for him either.

"Hey, no fair," he managed to mock pout. "You can't ask that without telling me first." It would've been a lot more natural if he hadn't nearly spit out the coffee, but at least he managed to say it without stuttering. He wasn't demanding any information, just saying that he wouldn't admit it first. If she was a dark wizard, he doubted he was going to get a direct answer anyway.

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:30 am

Considering Kaz all but lost the color in his face after she told him that “Ghost story,” Crisis got the distinct impression she had given him way too much information. After all, he had only asked if she was a wizard and if there were guilds in Desierto, not for her freakin’ resume. Granted, “What guild are you in?” was a natural follow-up question, so simply saying “Yes” to both questions wasn’t going to cut it. Suddenly being terse after saying so much about other things may seem a little fishy, as well. Regardless, it may have been better if she said just about anything else, especially if that reaction was to the possibility that she might be a dark mage. Granted, anyone who wasn’t in a guild was essentially a dark mage as far as the law was concerned, but that’s like saying a common loiterer was comparable to a mob enforcer in terms of criminality. Okay, former mob enforcer, but still…

Crisis also hadn’t expected Kaz to almost choke on his coffee when she asked about his skills. She nearly leapt out of her seat to try to help him, but it quickly became apparent that he had it under control so she sat back down again. He took exception to her asking without answering his question first, which she wasn’t too keen on but felt it was inevitable nonetheless at this point.

“I considered it, but I don’t think I could carry a grand piano all by myself,” she replied, smiling in amusement at her own joke. She knew that wasn’t the question he was talking about, but she felt the need to stall facetiously a little. She brought her tea to her lips as to sip it before giving the real answer. “I know some spells, but mostly support magic. The problem is, I’m under a curse and sometimes I can’t use it. Fortunately, I’m well-versed in terms of martial skill, as well.”

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:45 am

Kaz was still staring at his coffee, also lost in thought, waiting for Crisis's answer. He was pretty certain that Crisis wasn't a Magic Council member, even a supposedly undercover one. So there really wasn't the need for him to be hypersensitive about issues like being guildless. Maybe it was just habit. Still, in the past he'd had seemingly innocent conversations that turned hostile very quickly. Keeping a low profile was best... especially in Era, land of Magic Council supporters, and Crocus, land of dark wizards and former law enforcers.

Her first answer was vague, and Kaz wasn't expecting more details. If she was telling him, that probably meant she expected him to say too. Which was actually now the opposite of what he'd been hoping for, despite originally posing the question. Then she mentioned the curse. His eyes instantly shot up. "What? Really?!" He lit up; he was far too excited for it to have been a normal reaction. Realizing he'd blurted it out a bit loudly, his gaze dropped again, faint blush forming under his cheeks. "Er, sorry. I've heard a lot about ghost stories and curses and things like that, but never met anyone experiencing it first-hand." Even the observers were almost forgotten. There were a lot of things in this world he had missed out in life - coffee was something he'd only tried recently. And now a curse. He'd been searching for the rumored haunted spirits and things like that, even going so far one time to travel to a cursed island, but had yet to find anything like a ghost.

"So, how'd you get cursed - some kind of ghost? It seals your magic?" Unconsciously he leaned in a little forward. Now that she'd said this much, he had to know the full story. Ghost stories and things like it where always related to someone's cousin's friend's spouse, or something like that. Now that Kaz had a direct source, he wanted to know badly - maybe even see it, if he got lucky. Kaz was scared easily by many things... but he had never once felt the presence of something spiritual. Crisis could be Kaz's proof that the spiritual world even existed in the first place. He wasn't even intentionally trying to avoid her earlier magic-related question; it had just slipped his mind.

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:47 pm

Crisis was already regretting mentioning her curse, and Kaz’s attitude wasn’t helping. For most the idea of a curse was dire and foreboding. Nothing good came from curses, be it to the cursed or those around them and many superstitious folk generally assume curses to be a sort of contagion. One who was cursed was to be shunned, possibly even reviled, lest the curse affect extend to those they met. That is the curse of having a curse, you could say, and probably shouldn’t because it’s not really that clever sounding. As far as Crisis knew, the curse only affected herself, so it wasn’t that bad, but to her that was more than bad enough. She’d rather keep it a private shame, one that she only revealed when the need arises like when a convicted sex offender moves into a new neighborhood. (You relieve yourself in one parking lot, and suddenly you’re branded for life!) It was only fair warning that her magic might be unavailable, and now he’s asking her to share ghost stories like some kid who met a war veteran and wants to know how many people he’s killed and if he’s kept parts of them as trophies. She knew it was mostly innocent, child-like curiosity, but it was still an old scar she didn’t want to open.

“I don’t like talking about how I got it,” she said, setting down her tea and scowling at it. “Suffice it to say, it’s a punishment for past sins and I’d like to leave it at that.” She sat back and looked at Kaz evenly. “As for the curse itself, it inflicts pain both physical and mental. It urges me to behave like a monster, and punishes me regardless. It doesn’t block my magic directly, but using it hurts. Sometimes it hurts so badly, I can’t use it at all. I could also be struck with debilitating pain at any time for no clear reason. And it never fully goes away. I have to deal it with every moment of every day of my life.”

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:25 am

Kaz instantly got a grip as soon as Crisis mentioned that she didn't like talking about it. Of course she wouldn't. Who in their right mind would? If the stories were true, having a curse would be very painful... causing suffering for the rest of her life. Getting such a thing in the first place couldn't have been pleasant either. Crisis struck the point home repeatedly, and Kaz fully got it. "I... I'm sorry," he apologized honestly, dropping his gaze. "I was inconsiderate. I'll be more careful on what I say." He didn't exactly have the right to be prying into sensitive information. Kaz knew firsthand how it was to have people ask about things he'd rather leave forgotten. And of course, his earlier comments were hardly endearing – he didn't want to annoy her.

He was silent a moment, his more practical side absorbing what she'd just said. Crisis was cursed. Pain and 'acting like a monster' (did he want to know what that entailed?) were some symptoms, along with not using magic. Fighting in her condition would be risky, if it came to it. He was going to need to protect them. "I know I don't look like the type, but I... have some healing magic," he kept his hands firmly on his coffee, thumbs twiddling nervously as he revealed his secret. He had said he'd tell her if she told him - and she had, after all. Besides, he owed her after that last little outburst... and she'd even answered him despite his unintentional rudeness. "I don't think it could get rid of your curse, but it might help against whatever pain you're fighting against, if it flares up. Outside of that and some other support... I'm not very good at magic.” At least there was the giant sword on his back. As long as he was close to enemies, it didn't matter much how good or bad he was at magic. Most of his skillset was designed to get around others' magic.

And their observers... Kaz had been sure earlier that they were watching him. But if Crisis was in a dark guild (which he still thought was a stretch, but possible), then they could be after her. Regardless, whether she was a dark guild member or not, she couldn't be a stranger to danger if she'd been cursed. “You get in trouble often? Purse-swipers, curses... you've got quite the adventerous life,” he finished the rest of his coffee. “I ask because... I think we're being watched right now,” he decided to be frank with her. That was probably their best bet at this point – at least they'd both be aware, if she hadn't figured it out already. “My reputation, especially in Crocus, isn't exactly crystal clear. But then, doesn't sound like yours is either. Care to find out who they're after – you, me, or both of us?”

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:37 am

Crisis’ expression softened a little as she gave a small smile. It was heartening to know someone cared enough about her to want to soothe her pain, even if it was someone she had just met. Everyone she used to care about was gone. The ones that weren’t dead went through great pains to not be tracked down. Hers was not a profession you could just quit, even before things changed the way they did. She didn’t think she’d be able to find any of them so easily, and even if she could she was sure she didn’t want them to her in the state she was now. For what it was worth, her heart would take whatever solace it could find. “Thanks. I feel a little less achy already.”

She took one last bite of her sandwich, leaving a corner piece on her plate, and drank some more of her tea as she idly glanced over her shoulder. “I noticed. Joey the Ox, Knuckles Malone, and Johnny Doesn’t-Have-A-Nickname. Just an approximation of their names, of course. When you spend a lot of time hunting down Dark Guilds, you start noticing patterns, so I figure I’m at least 60% right. I’ve been here less than twenty-four hours, and it seems I’ve already made a name for myself.” She set down the cup and picked up her muffin. “I say we have two options. One, we walk briskly a couple blocks south and duck down an alleyway so we can either ambush them or disappear without a trace. Or two, we split up and head in opposite directions. If they’re only following one of us, the other can double back and surprise them. Of course, there’s always option three, contact the local constabulary, but that’s not quite as fun, is it?”

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:50 am

Crisis wasn't the only one feeling a little less achy. Kaz smiled softly, glad that she appreciated the offer. Maybe in a way, it was also like she was forgiving him. He had no idea if his magic would be able to ease her pain when it flared, but healing was actually his most potent spell. It would at least be more powerful than some kid just picking up magic for the first time. His grin turned a little more sheepish as Crisis gave some interesting nicknames to their tails. So Crisis had noticed after all.

Kaz didn't like violence, of any nature. Maybe the reason why he'd lasted so long solo was because he actively avoided trouble. Trouble still had its ways of finding him, but when it came to fights, he preferred running than swinging his gigantic sword. Running away was the only way to assure that both sides lived to see another day. In this case, running away meant that they would never find out what their pursuers were after... Not that Kaz cared too much. If they were after him, it was safe to assume they were after money. If they were after Crisis... it was none of his business. He wasn't about to cross a dark mage just because she was a dark mage. He was even more sure of her allegiance the more she talked. Dark guilds were notorious for hunting other dark guilds down. He knew, generally, that there was a large one in Crocus that actually went out of its way to snuff budding dark guilds out. Less competition that way. So either Crisis was a vigilante of some sort, or a dark mage - and really, outside of having an organization behind one's back, what was the difference between the two?

"I'm not that fond of the Magic Council," he admitted truthfully. Crisis made it seem like she didn't want to contact them either. If they did... they'd have to explain themselves. Kaz didn't have much when it came to terms of ID, and he was a guildless mage. He doubted Crisis was keen on revealing any more than what she needed to the Council either. "Which pretty much leaves us with your earlier options. Unless you've got a particular reason to want to catch these guys, I can make us 'disappear'. As long as they don't have someone in their group with tracking-type magic, I think it should work." It was a plan he'd used more than once already... mainly because it was effective. His magic might not make them directly go 'poof', but magic could be used in more than one way.

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Sat Aug 09, 2014 10:44 pm

So Kaz wasn’t fond of the Magic Council, either. Of course, there was nary a mage in Fiore that would readily admit to actually liking them for any number of reasons. Even the mages who worked for the Magic Council probably had a beef or two with at least some other part of the organization, as well. As endearing as his agreement was, that alone didn’t place him above suspicion, but she was, admittedly, warming up to him.

Crisis stretched her arms over her head, yawning a little bit. “As I may or may not have said, it’s been kind of a long night.” She slouched forward. “Given the chance, I’d like to ask them a thing or two, but I could probably guess what their answers would be. Right now, I’d much rather be getting some shut-eye and I doubt these guys are smart enough to be trackers. If they were, they wouldn’t be out where we could see them. Then again, they might just not be very competent trackers, or just the hunting dogs.”

She sat back and closed her eyes meditatively. She generally had something of a sixth sense when it came to being observed magically or through technological means. Not a magical sense, per se, but an overwhelming self-consciousness that came from being viewed through the lens of a camera and an instinctual need to avoid it. Whether it was a lack of such things now, Kaz’s presence putting her at ease, just her general level of exhaustion, or some combination of the three, she did not feel that self-consciousness now.

“Nah,” she said as she opened her eyes again. “We can lose ‘em.”

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Tue Aug 12, 2014 6:03 pm

Kaz almost felt a little guilty. He didn't recall Crisis mentioning having a long night... but that would certainly explain a few things. And here he'd gone out and dragged her along to what may or may not be turning into a party with uninvited guests. They probably weren't too skilled, like Crisis had pointed out. Kaz had run into a few trackers that he hadn't sensed their presence until the last minute... and those were always the most terrifying encounters.

He nodded and grinned a little when she agreed to lose them. That was his preferred method after all. "Right, just follow my lead then," he said. Casually he took the bill and paid jewels, leaving the money on the table. He stood up, waiting for Crisis, before heading off into town. They were in a more populated section now but could just as easily fall into a bad part of Crocus. When he was certain the group was tailing them from a reasonable distance, Kaz sidestepped into an alley in a more sketchier part of Crocus. He was going to have to be fast to make this work.

Clapping his hands together, he summoned forth magical energy to his fingers. "Alright. Hopefully the Magic Council doesn't show up and bust me for vandalism." His hands were cupped like shovels, the brick turning into sand beneath his touch. In just a few seconds he'd carved out a square, almost like a door, through the brick. The inside of the particular building, he didn't know offhand - but from their position, it seemed like a garage or warehouse of some kind. Thankfully dark, and not currently inhabited. Taking Crisis's hand, he pulled her in quickly. He then focused his energy on the sand that had collected during his brick sculpturing. It rose from its resting place, covering the newly formed entrance. Any decent tracker or hunter would be able to spot the trick - it was just compact sand after all, not a complete remake of brick. But at a casual glance, especially from pursuers who might worry about losing sight of their targets, this would probably do the trick.

Now all that was left was to see if their pursuers fell for it. He smiled cheerfully and put one hand to his lips to motion for silence. His other hand had still never released Crisis's own from when he'd grabbed her. There was the pitterpatter of feet and a few voices, a few asking things like 'where'd they go?' and demanding that they were seen coming down this way... before they faded, presumably to look elsewhere.

MP 170/200:
Spell name: Earth Liquification
Element: Earth
Rank: 1
MP cost: 10 MP
Effect: Any earth that Kaz touches becomes softer than sand. This technique allows him to tunnel through the earth with their bare hands. It also allows him to bypass some structures like walls, by simply melding a hole through it. Kaz lacks the skill to make this work on metal, but can go through other earthen compositions such as concrete.

Power: **(**)
Speed: *
Area:
Extra: * Targets Self

Spell name: Iron Rock Wall
Element: Earth
Rank: 2
MP cost: 20 MP
Effect: Earth compacts tightly, becoming very dense and difficult to break. It then rises from the ground to shield its target. Kaz's has a more traditional earthen feel to it, rather than the brick layers that other users sometimes exhibit. The shield can guard against incoming attacks.

Power: **(****)
Speed:
Area: *
Extra: ** (Defending x2)

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:19 am

Crisis got up and followed Kaz into town. Their pace was casual, but brisk, as if they were in no hurry to get anywhere but had too much energy to merely amble. Their tails kept in-step, only paying the crowd enough heed as to not provoke enough offense from anyone they rudely bumped into for an alarming response. That said, they managed to elicit enough incensed remarks that Crisis could tell from sound alone that at least one of them was following behind them. Once the crowd thinned out, their shadows became more brash as there were fewer people to call attention to them, but the rhythm of their footsteps, practically in time with Kaz and Crisis’ own, gave them away easily enough.

After they ducked down the alley, Crisis looked back to watch out for their pursuers while Kaz worked his magic. It wasn’t long before he took her by the hand and dragged her inside the building, closing up the wall behind them. She found herself blushing a little and hoped Kaz hadn’t noticed. It wasn’t like she was some innocent maiden who read too much into off-hand gestures like that. She was no stranger to hand-holding, but it had been a long time since she had last done it and that relationship didn’t end so well. This was far from that kind of hand-holding, and Crisis knew that, but it still made her feel a little awkward.

She didn’t need to be told to be quiet. She barely moved, barely breathed, as she listened to the baffled goons outside. Kaz’s patch wasn’t especially convincing as a brick wall, but the goons may have thought it was just filler to replace damage done to it long before they got there. Either way, it would seem they didn’t think twice about it and walked away disappointed, possibly spreading out to search the area. Once she was sure they were in the clear, though, she let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding.

“Nice work,” she said. She glanced at the wall they came in through. “I doubt they’re still there, but let’s find a different exit anyway.” She peered around at the dimly lit, at best, room they now occupied. “Where do you think we are, anyway?”

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Kasimir Sewik on Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:49 pm

Kaz flashed Crisis a maybe-too-happy grin. He couldn't see her blush in this light, but she hadn't pulled away from him. The fact that they had held hands this long, at least meant that she didn't hate him. Or something like that in his mind. Eventually he released her, though, but purely for the sake of practicality. Kaz had nothing that would light up their path, which meant he was going to stumble in the dim-lit ... whatever this place was. His eyes were starting to adjust though, and he could make out a strange shape in front of him. Some kind of furniture? But very large; much taller than him. Lightly he put his hands over it, feeling cool, smooth wood. It was a giant keg. And behind it, he could spy another.

"A... winery?" He guessed, seeing a few more barrels, and a rack behind them. Kaz was honestly surprised. He hadn't expected them to land in one particular place, but somehow a winery seemed on the strange side. Well, it was very cool and dark, which made sense for the merchandise(?). While there was certainly a good deal of kegs and racks, it could have belonged to a private collector. "Oddly romantic, in a way - I seem to have that kind of luck with you. I'd offer a toast, but that would be stealing, and I'm not sure how much money would be adequate to leave behind as thanks."

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Re: Losing My Touch [Open]

Post by Crisis on Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:29 am

Crisis rubbed the hand that Kaz had held with her other hand. It wasn’t that his grip was especially tight, but her cursed sword didn’t seem to like him. It sent a cold pain through the hand, like it had been stabbed by an icicle. Crisis paid it little mind, though. She didn’t let malevolent spirits choose her friends for her.

She stepped into the middle of the room, making clicking sounds with her tongue until her eyes adjusted. It was a bit of an echolocation trick an old blind friend had taught her years ago. She couldn’t quite remember what came of him, and she didn’t want to dwell on it. She wanted to find a light switch and although she could’ve just gone groping along the walls until she found one, it was unlikely to be on the wall bordering the alleyway unless there was an entrance there. If there had been, then they’d’ve made and filled their own hole for no good reason.

Eventually her night vision kicked in and she could see the casks as well. She regarded them disdainfully. “Just as well. I’m not much of a drinker. Never really got the allure of it.”

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