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Freelander District - <Freelander District, Aegisport>


The circular Freelander District is paved with squarely-cut smooth cobbled stones, and an artisan has taken time to arrange off-coloured cobbles into a spiraling pattern that starts at the edges of the district and drives inward toward the center. Here and there, the stones have been interrupted to allow the growth of a tall oak tree in their midst, but the homes and businesses around still dominate the view.
In the western corner of the district, the modest Church of Sunsorrow stands with its double-doors of heavy oak, and the cobbled path leading up toward it curves around northward and disappears into the cul-de-sac of Freelander housing called Sunsorrow Circle.
A huddle of workshops and buildings stretch around the northeastern corner of the district, and the most prominent appears to be Fishmonger's Delight which is connected to the Docks District to the east by a meandering dirt path. The cobbled roads lead northward out into the stretch of the Noble District.
It is a cool evening as the sun sets beyond the horizon to the west. The slightest breeze stirs over the land infrequently. Puffy white clouds fill most of the sky.

Evenfall in Aegisport.

As the sun dips toward the horizon, the goodfolk of the middling freelander district are locking up stores and heading for their homes: peddlers with empty carts, farmers with their tools, merchants with their ledgers. All in all, it's quiet; quiet enough to hear the creaking of the housewives at the town well and the sounds of children playing. A dog dashes across the road, hot on the heels of a skinny tomcat with a chewed ear.

Caprice Firelight stops on a dime at that, rocking forward on her toes as the critters scurry past and frowning after them. She has her faithful black garron by the reins and leads him along the cobbled road, in no particular hurry toward no particular destination.


Atop Raurin, From the docks, a rider on horseback trots into the Freelander District. Brand is here in Aegisport today, looking around thoughtfully as he goes. "Ravens, ravens," he mutters to himself. "Okay, where does one start?"


Brand should possibly watch what he says. A dark avian form wheels slowly through the air, peering about below to streets painted gold by the setting sun. That silence is pierced by a reedy cackling as the bird swoops, settling down a branch of one of the various trees. Quirking it's head, a single question is asked to anyone about who cares to hear.

"Corn?"


But the sound falls deaf on Reese's ears, filtered out among the background noise that is the music of urban life. Pausing at an intersection, she looks this way and that, lips pursing in a moment's worth of thought before her stride picks up again. Her course takes her toward a quiet, nondescript inn tucked beside the cobbler's shop, Stranger clopping easily along in her wake.


Atop Raurin, Brand looks up at the raven, blinks, then shrugs and rides on. As he spots Caprice, though, he stops, grins and waves. "Mistress Stranger!" he calls over.


Emerging from one the narrow alleyways between a pair of buildings, Wolfsbane steps into the street, the man's attention fixed skyward. One hand is held up over his eyes, blocking out the glare of the sun. His progress seems to be quickly noticed by the perched raven, the bird quorking quietly to itself, but content to sit for the moment.

Giving up on searching for whatever after a few moments, Vhramis looks back to more earthly things, taking several steps down the road, before changing both his mind and direction.


Vhramis wins an idle glance, thoughtless and unseeing, as Caprice ties her horse to post; however, Brand's boyish shout steals her attention in full. Furrowing her brow, the ranger cranes her neck to peer curiously in his direction, but offers nothing beyond a vague nod.


Atop Raurin, Brand rides closer up to Caprice, looking to her thoughtfully. "Hey, Miss Stranger," he asks. "You... haven't heard anything about that fire, have you?" He's not subtle, no.


Something seems to occur to Wolfsbane at that nod, the ranger frowning a bit to himself. Turning around to face the woman, he stares in contemplation for a moment, before lifting his voice. "Caprice Firelight. I'd have a word with you somewhere quiet, if you'd agree."


Reese is not amused. "Sae y'are foollowin' me," she decides, a degree of unguarded annoyance creeping into her tone. And she seems perfectly content to leave it at that, pointedly ignoring the question and moving toward her saddlebags to rifle through their contents. When Vhramis addresses her, he's greeted with that same unfriendly countenance, and that same scowling silence.


Atop Raurin, Brand blinks at Reese. "No," he says. "I just recognized you, Mistress Caprice Firelight Stranger."


Wolfsbane has no real issue with silence or staring. He stares at Caprice, waiting for a response of some sort. The perched raven in the tree takes flight, soaring into the air and over the trio.


A second ticks by as Reese weighs her options, but in the end, she concedes in the other ranger's favor. "Soon an' sin," she mutters, more a comment to herself than anything, before nodding agreement to Vhramis.


Atop Raurin, Brand tilts his head to the side, just watching for now.


"Maybe not so soon," Wolfsbane abruptly replies, sharply looking upwards. The flying raven caught his eye, apparently. "I'll...uh...soon," he stutters to Reese as he takes several steps back, marking the bird's flight, before turning to rush after it.


An alarmed blink is the first and only reaction Caprice is capable of for a good long minute. Bewilderment hardens into narrow-eyed suspicion, then, though she does not give voice to it -- no, she simply takes one determined step, two, three, edging along after the man with a hurried sort of caution...

... but not before a horse-drawn carriage strikes a stone in the street and jumps the curb, blocking her path, and indeed, that of anyone else hoping to follow Vhramis. Stranger whickers and rears, a fruitseller takes a nasty spill, and Caprice herself dances backward a step, gawking outright. Guards flock to the scene.


Atop Raurin, "He's a bit odd," Brand comments thoughtfully. "Saw him in Light's Reach the other day. He'd been acting just like that" He watches the scene with the fruit and carriage with a tilted head.


"Shades!" Reese swears, seizing Stranger by his lead to coax him back onto all fours. He complies, but continues to be fussy, snorting and stomping and shaking his head. "Calm down," she reassures the animal, though her own hackles are still very much up. People are filling the streets to rubberneck at the carnage. "Calm /down/," the archer demands a second time, the words forced through clenched teeth. She turns an irritated expression toward Brand, only half-listening.


Atop Raurin, Brand leans forward a bit in the saddle. "It would probably help if you were calm too," he point out. "Demanding a horse does something Generally isn't a good idea."


"Gae hoome t'yer bloody mum, boy!" Reese fires Brand's way, plainly fed up with every last variable in this particular equation.


Atop Raurin, "I can't," Brand says, voice a bit more serious now. "I'm supposed to be figuring out what I can for my Lord."


The garron snorts and sighs, tail whipping, when Reese takes its long snout in her hands to stroke it comfortingly. Something about the motion seems to soothe her, as well. "Whit lord be thi', lad?" she asks, no more kindly. "Baroon Driscol th' Desp'rate?"


Atop Raurin, "No," Brand says with a shake of his head. "Baron Esvan Zahir, the short. I was just going to see if I could hear anything about it while I was out here."


"Baroon Esvan Zahir." Reese pronounces the word without any emphasis or inflection, as if it were completely meaningless. And she's perfectly content to let that assumption hang in the air for a heartbeat or two, until she finally adds, "Sae tha's why yer foollowin' me, aye? Th' birds." One hand falls away from the gentle petting to hang lankly at her side. "Teel yer lord 'tis naught boot birds whit s'gges' hi' nooble House. Na yet, aye."


Atop Raurin, Brand blinks. "Wasn't actually following you still," he says. "You just happened to be here, and I need to learn what I can before I go back to him, right?"


This time, when Caprice looks to the mounted boy, it is quite as if she is looking at him for the very first time. Indeed, she may very well be. Narrowed eyes sweep him up and down, head to toe, then flick to meet his gaze. "An' why, pray, woul' yer greet lord troost thi' task t' a wee green lad?"


Atop Raurin, Brand smiles at that, a sly smile as he narrows his eyes a bit, as if holding onto some bit of information. "Interesting question, that, isn't it?"


Reese does not smile, but neither does she press the issue any further. Instead, she works at the knots securing Stranger to the post, tightening them. A single sideways glance is shot toward the continuing commotion surrounding the wrecked carriage, and the furious nobleman tearing into his incompetent driver. "Sae whit d'ye ken, boy?" she asks of Brand. "Aboot th' birds."


Atop Raurin, "There was a fire found by the Royal Guard, in the forests near here," Brand says. "Ravens pinned to the ground, and burned, and there's conjecture that it might be a protest against House Zahir." The teenager shrugs. "I know what everyone else knows."


"I ken mooch more'n tha'," Reese notes, "boot 'tis nae thanks t' Aegispoort. Naught in th' wood boot empty nests. Naught in th' towns boot hushed lips. Trail's been col' since th' Vale." She shakes her head, a single petal fluttering from the pale white flower in her hair. "Ye'll hae na look in Aegispoort, lad. Move on."


Atop Raurin, Brand tilts his head at Reese. "And where will I have luck?" he asks.


A nod in the general direction of Vhramis's flight serves as Brand's answer. Caprice does provide some elaboration, however. "Mmm. Th' Vale, s'weel, aye. I..." She pauses then, bites off the end of her sentence, and considers her proposal for a time before giving it voice. Looking up to the boy, she queries, "Where weel ye be stayin', lad? Hae ye room an' board?"


Atop Raurin, "I was planning to take a room in Lionsgate, once I arrived there," Brand says quietly.


Caprice brushes away the folds of her cape to slide fingers into one pouch dangling among the many at her hip. "Take thi'," where 'this' turns out to be fifty Kahars even, "an' get y'sel' a warm bed there. Fin' Sir Pardoos Lomasa," she instructs. "Teel hi' all I tol' ye. An' teel hi' t' shoow ye whit we foun'."


Brand nods. "Alright," he says, before turning to the gate. "No help in Aegisport, and nothing in the wood but empty nests, you say?"


"Aye," the ranger confirms, watching him go. "I weel track doon th' raven-chaser. Weel fin' ye. On ma woord as a Fireligh'." She nods her head a single time; a wordless farewell. "Ligh' shine yer way, lad."


Brand nods. "And may it watch over you."


Return to Season 7 (2008)