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Lightholder Crossroads - Interdistrict Carriage Hub <Palace District>


A small village has sprouted on the edge of the Lightholder River where the cobblestone roads from Fastheld's other prominent districts intersect, in the shadow of Caryas Hill and the majestic gray silhouette of Fastheld Keep - the seat of power for the entire realm.
Sutlers, traveling performers and other small-time merchants ply their trades along this main crossroads - competing for space with carriages hauling passengers, couriers rushing important communiques from one district to another, and the soldiers of the Emperor's Blades who regularly patrol the area.
On the northwest corner of the intersection, next to the road that twists north toward Lightholder Bridge and the palace, sits a large tavern and inn where weary travelers can refresh themselves.

The sun casts its dying rays evenly across the trafficked thoroughfare. The sky is bled with shades of crimson, testament to the darkening heavens. The wind is a gentle, more coaxing touch as apposed to a hissing hostility. The avenue is, currently, subjected to patrons bustling shoulder to shoulder.


Caught in the center of this tribulation is Amaas, who's knitted brow speaks for his rage. He's one eager beaver to let that new blade sing, oh how he is. He is flanked by two heavy-set men and a whole swarm of others. Just stones in his path, really, as he elbows his way through despite their outcries and cusses.


Here comes Amalai from the Interdistrict Carriage Stop, looking to be in a pretty decent mood. But that might change when she notices Amaas in the area - which she has yet to do. With a hand lazily resting on her hip, she makes her way through the evening crowd, eyes scanning faces for someone familiar.


One hastened fellow gives the cantankerous Amaas a stiff shove, which sends him quickly into a tall, lanky man that belies infront of him. He, in turn, looks behind him, making quite the melodramatic reaction.

"Why, Light's sake, get skattered. There ain't a lass in the world worth that haste," he states, his contemptous demeanour never wavering.


Amaas, scuttling to his feet, is all but cognisant of the tirade of yells sent his way. No, he's more focused in the ass that pushed him, and surprisingly ardent to begin a fight. The raucous commotion is certainly eyecatching for one such as Amalai.


The commotion around her does, indeed, catch her attention. The courtesan comes to a slow halt, eyes shifting here and there to try to make out some faces of the people involved. A frown immediately forms over her lips as she notices one person in particular. She shakes her head and goes to squeeze between a few by-standers. "Ain't even surprised. Fool," she says, more than likely, to herself.


Amalai's mutterings are washed like whispers in a river beneath the angered groans and shouts of the men stuck behind the halted group. A few even begin to throw stones - none of which make their mark. It is then that a maelstorm of rain falls, as if some seraphic being above tipped a bucket of water upon the residence below. It is a perpetual thing - none are spared its wrath.


"Fuckwit!" shouts Amaas, his hands connecting with the much bigger man beligerently. "What in the shades were you thinking? Where's yer mum?" The shove was meek, and thus the bigger man takes only a small step back. That small step was enough, unfortunately for him, for the angry waves behind him to send him propelling forward into Amaas. From here, it's a full fledged brawl. Fists fly, connecting with hollow thuds. The crowd begins to encircle the combating pair.


Amalai stands around with the crowd as they gather 'round to see the show. She crosses her arms over her chest, looking around for Bladesmen. Looking back to the fight after awhile, there comes a shout: "STOMP HIS ASS!" This comes from the courtesan, but it could have come from anyone. Well, anyone with a feminine voice anyway.


Cheers cascade like a waterfall from a cliffside as the lanky man sends one sharp jab into the thief's mouth, which in suit sends him stumbling. Again, the kindling crowd erupts, tossing Amaas forward into his antagonist. Well, protagonist, differing from which vantage you assume.


As Amaas cascades into the man, there erupts a tempest of punches and various other swipes. It isn't clear, however, as the tall man siezes the smaller man by his tunic's neck hem, who got the better of the other. Carpe Diem appears to be Amaas' slogan of the day, as he directs one solid kick to the latter bloke's groin. A screech, a squeak, and he collapses, with the dimunitive man bearing down on him. Blood trickles from his lip, and his eye is beginning to swell and purple. He's breathing heavy, and he takes a step closer to his fallen opponent, his endeavor also unclear.


"That was a cheap hit," the courtesan comments to another bystander. Amalai puts both hands on her hips, continuing to watch the two that the crowd is surrounding. A slight look of disgust / distaste crosses her features when she looks at Amaas. Eyebrows raise when the smaller man approaches the larger, waiting for his next move.


Even cheaper is the strike that entails. Amaas grins defiantly, his brow knitting like tendrils of thread with determination and muster - a mustering of strength. He draws back, his weight resting now on his left foot as his right rises, knee bent. The lash is quite predictable. Forward sails his knee after swinging aft for momentum, a momentum utilized to dent his fallen combatant's face in. A scream reverberates about the immediate area, followed by the cheers of many as the lanky man falls in cold conciousness to the thoroughfare. Amaas coughs with fatigue, resting his head back.


Amalai throws her hands up and turns around, moving away from the majority of the crowd. "Another cheap shot, but ya can't expect anything more from him," she says aloud, the statement directed to any who listen.


While the victory was bitter, and the wounds evermore, Amaas stands proud. He hasn't won anything in...well, never, really. It always makes a u-turn and kicks him in the ass. What an unfortunate tendency, to be sure. Amaas turns to Amalai, deciphering her words among the shouts of both upraisal and angst of the crowd.

"Sorry," says Amaas, with a hint of malign edging in his voice. "Sorry I didn't do it yer way - suck his cock. Jus' don't think that resolves problems very well." Ouch.


Amalai turns back when Amaas speaks up, eyes narrowing - well, they narrow as well as they can since they're naturally narrowed. "You'll get what's comin' to ya," she says slowly, nodding her head once in the unconscious man's direction. "Whether it be tonight or tomorrow. You don't think he'll forget a face as ugly as yours, do ya?" With that said, she turns... again, and begins pushing her way out of the crowd - or what's left of it.


The rain pummels the faregoers as they disperse from the commotion. Crucial moments tick by and the lanky man begins to rise, looking much like a marionette on invisible strings. In his eyes shines anger, a fire of it only kindled by the pain that rings through his skull. His hands raise in the perpetual rainfall, hesitating but a brief moment before they decend.


WHACK

It sounds above the crashing of rain droplets upon the ground, the lanky man's revenge having landed sounds on Amaas' back. He crinkles to the ground like an empty husk, his face paled before all onlookers. Above him looms a panting man with his hands still intertwined and held low.


Amalai ducks her head to keep the rain from pattering on her face, though she turns to look over her shoulder at the sound of the hit. "...Or right now," she says, one corner of her mouth curving upwards in a smirk. She continues forward, possibly headed for some shelter from the rain.


The form of the stricken Amaas is not completely incognisant. No, he is still concious. He remains motionless in hsi fetal, comatose position until the thin man stalks off, at which time he struggles to his feet. A cacophony of cries shriek within his mind; the sadistic harp of acrimony. He reels once, thrice, before steadying himself, hands outstretched on either side. He staggers as if drunken past the biinwoon direction sign, his route, albeit faulted, set towards the tavern.


Amalai looks back again just in time to see Amaas getting to his feet. She groans and tilts her head back. "Ya didn't knock 'im one good!" she calls out, even as the other man moves away from Amaas, which he may or may not hear the courtesan's call. She *was* heading toward the tavern, but when she sees Amaas headed, whether intentional or not, in that direction, she halts, just standing there in the rain. The cloak she wears shields her from getting too wet, though.


Blessed be the Light that gleams upon Amaas this day, for the man is oblivious to the cries - his head, too, rings with the many blows it sustained. Amaas continues to stumble towards the pub as the rain beats down on him, drenching his features and attire.


Amalai continues to just stand there, thinking. She sighs heavily and begins heading toward the tavern, a good distance behind Amaas. "In and out," she tells herself. "In and out."



Lightholder Tavern <Palace District>


It is said - primarily by the proprietor, a jovial merchant-classer named Solas Creek - that all roads in Fastheld lead to the Lightholder Tavern. On any given night, it's not hard to see why he might justify such a claim. The pub, which started centuries ago as a small refreshment wagon for laborers building Fastheld Keep atop Caryas Hill, sees boisterous crowds filling its rafters with laughter and pipe smoke at all hours of the day and night as travelers make their way through the realm.
About three dozen tables are arranged among the polished wooden columns on which hang the wrought-iron lanterns that help give the tavern its name. Solas or one of his assistants can usually be found working behind a wide C-shaped counter, serving mugs of keg-tapped ale to thirsty patrons who stand at the bar.
The floor is strewn with amber rushes, except in a circle of about twenty feet in diameter, where the stone fireplace and chimney rise toward the ceiling.
The rustic feeling of the tavern ne'er wanes with its constant tones wafting from the patrons and the redolence of venison stew always at hand. Yokol Greengrass stands perched beyond the bar, while a group of urchins are rooting for a good roll within the dicing circle.

In faulters Amaas, leaving the door abroad to yield a sloshing of the rain. The tempest brews outside, and thunder trills. Narrowly evading the ensorcelled gamblers, Amaas skirts about. His head reels still. "A berr..." he slurs, but Yokol can discern it. One beer, coming right up.


Amalai keeps a hand over her haversack, holding it close to her side as she steps into the Tavern. Protective over her belongings. If Amaas wasn't around, it may not be a problem. But it is. She takes a turn for the bar, intent on ordering a drink and heading back out. In and out, just as she was telling herself. "White wine," she tells one of the servants, fetching a few Kahars from the haversack. "I'll give you a li'l extra for the cup, too, darlin'. Gotta run."


Amaas' order is filled with a sense of expedience, the chalice's foamy contents ebbing gently over its lip. Grateful, the pained thief accepts the drink, tossing an uncoordinated handful of Kahars onto the counter. He stumbles his way to a seat. As hes its, he spills even more of his lager onto himself, which adds another scent to his not-so-redeeming odor.


The courtesan is sure to keep an eye on Amaas' whereabouts as she awaits for her wine. When the cup is placed on the counter, it takes the servant a few tries to get her attention. "Sorry, darlin'. Got caught up in m'thoughts," she murmurs. Taking the cup of wine, she hands over the Kahars and turns about to head back out.


Amaas makes nary a sound but a groan. He is completely oblivious to the presence of Amalai, this much is easy to distinguish, or any other patron for that matter. A long swill of his drink proves rewarding, as the ringing in his head is somewhat quelled.


Amalai cuts her eyes to the side toward Amaas, but she doesn't watch for long. Pulling the hood over her head, she covers the cup of wine with one side of the cloak. Of course, this is after she's had a good drink or two. Out of the tavern she goes, not looking back.


Return to Season 4 (2006)

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