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Silent Freedom; DNR
Topic Started: Wed Dec 6, 2017 11:00 am (19 Views)
Ryldas Rylinar
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It was a good thing that orcish brews were so potent, else he never would have found this place. Even the dwarves had nothing on the foul concoctions that the green-skinned raiders drank. A pint of just about anything short of dwarven stout wasn’t worth talking about; a pint of that at least merited a mention. But orcish stout - that stuff could fell a drakkir. The first guzzle he’d had of the stuff had knocked him on his rear end quicker than he could blink, but he’d soon developed a knack for pacing himself. Even more miraculously, the myth that booze made folks reckless actually seemed true on an epic and surprisingly fast-acting scale with regard to that bubbling brown froth. It was no wonder orcs insisted on filthy, sliver-ridden pint mugs of half-rotten wood from which to drink the brew; anything cleaner (or safer) would have been an insult. As it was, he’d used the stuff as much to clean the parts he threw together for his golems and other inventions as he had to get drunk.

Hell, the brew was so thick and vile that it wouldn’t even burn. It just sizzled and smoldered.

But ever since the Taming, Ryldas Rylinar had been without a shop or a roof over his head. He’d dealt with it well enough, and a string of brutal murders committed from here to Taras had kept him fed and boozed up. It had also kept coin in his pocket, either directly or by trade of stolen goods, but the coin had mostly gone toward keeping him drunk. He’d slept in worse places than a city street or a country road, after all.

Taras was something else again. It was massive, a city unlike any he’d ever seen. There were so many twists and turns that he couldn’t make heads or tails of the place; even Balefire was simple compared to this slosh. But those same dark corners that kept getting him turned around had also proven useful for grabbing and hiding warm bodies. By the time anyone cared enough to figure out where a body was, he was long-gone with whatever possessions happened to be useful or valuable. Thus far, no one had even come close to hunting him here. There were simply too many people and too many ways to disappear. After three months spent living on and off the streets, he’d found his way to an abandoned Corvette in the harbor - and taken it for his own. He’d even found ownership papers, from what he’d been told by another sailor, and a bit of gold had prompted the seaman to get the papers signed over to him legally. Now the boat was his, for better or for worse.

His flask was empty. He swore half-heartedly in Drowish and stretched his way out of his hammock. Meandering down the corridor in a pair of breeches made from some rough cloth dyed a dark-blue colour, he stepped bare-footed and bare-chested into the hold and looked around. A burlap tarp covered his half-built two-wheeled contraption off to the left; his original had been confiscated when he’d had to get out of his shop but quick, along with most of his gear and half-finished projects, so he was glad he’d been able to pick up enough materials to start work on a new one. This one was nowhere near completion, but he hoped it would be even faster than the first one; the only bad thing was that to accomplish such a thing, he’d have to fuel it with his own mana - which he’d never been taught to use, anyway. On the other hand, if he could find one of those new-fangled mana spikes everyone was so keen to talk about, he wouldn’t need to worry about that - though of course, that would limit where he could take the thing.

An animalistic golem hull of indeterminate nature and origin rested just a little further down the wall, surrounded by fresh projects and scrap galore. He needed to get that ready to receive a host before he could make a new contract. Nalven had been reluctant to help him. Apparently, animal golems were illegal on the surface. Having the hull might get him looked at sternly if he was caught with it, but actually finishing the thing would put him within range of the nearest prison. Still, laws weren’t exactly a top priority for the heavily-scarred drow. No one even knew he (or the hull) existed, anyway, other than the two people he’d dealt with to make this Corvette his.

A myriad other things were scattered about the smallish vessel’s expansive hold, but it was the kegs he was concerned with. He made his way over to one and filled up his flask from it. After a long swig, he topped it off again and capped it. Shoving the thing into his pocket, he picked up a foreign object to him - a book - from the floor next to a failed arm-mounted mana cannon. Nalven had told him what the letters on the brown leather cover meant - Fables for the Light-Hearted - but he hadn’t bothered to do anything with it since he’d picked it up. It was a book of stories for children, with hastily scrawled and poorly coloured illustrations accompanying simple words arranged in just such a way so that people freshly trained in how to properly use a chamber pot could learn to read. Nalven had offered to teach him, but he hadn’t needed the skill thus far and probably wouldn’t any time soon.

Still…he should probably learn at some point. As he turned the book over in his hands, examining absently the faded parchment pages and the cracks in the leather, his mind drifted to his life before the surface world. He had never learned which house he’d come from, but neither had he ever really cared. They were all despicable as far as he was concerned, and whatever brood mare had spawned him had not seen fit to keep him, so that was the limit of his connection with any sort of family. What did “family” even mean, really? Clearly, it wasn’t nearly as unpleasant an idea on the surface world as it was below it. Honestly, Ryldas had grown cold regarding the drow. The people from which he’d escaped were little more than remnants of painful memories to him now; he would never forget how he’d gotten here or why he’d had to get here in the first place, but there was no point in dwelling on any of it now. He was bitter, yeah, and hateful at best. But it was in the past.

He trundled back to his quarters and rolled himself into the hammock once more. He had a grand bed at his disposal, but the hammock was more familiar to him. It was more comfortable than the floor or the ground, and yet it wasn’t so soft or falsely firm that it seemed unreal. Actually, it had helped him get used to the swaying of the ship with the tide. Sighing, he opened up the book to the first page with text on it and then glanced around at his quarters, peering at nothing in particular through the gloom.

If nothing else, he at least had his freedom now. Maybe it was finally time to use it.
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