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Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

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Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 26/9/2018, 07:40

Krolva is a very competitive market when it comes to taverns, bars, and any other establishment that houses sad people drinking away. After all, it's almost a necessity for every scum-infested hole to bolster many places to drink and gamble and whore. Where else are the bad guys supposed to sin? Surely not with the upper class of those behind Wall Sina. Those rich, disgusting, crooked pigs won't stand for anything of the sort. 'Villainy', they'd call it. However, place a wall or two between them and the rat-den, and all of a sudden it's nice and dandy and they turn a blind eye to it. It's not like it's doing anyone harm, right? Anyone important, that is.

Luckily for Mikael, he didn't need to worry about how well the business was doing. All he had to do was to man the bar at a shabby establishment that went by the name of Gregory's Place. In truth, there had been no Gregory for a good 12 years, but it seemed that scruffy, gritty and witty old man left a lasting impression on the folk of Krolva.
Being a barman was harder than it looked, but Mikael didn't let that show. With enough charm and cleverness, he could cheat his way out of doing his job well. Who cares if he can't stir a proper drink if he talks to the lonely souls that sit his bar? The manager certainly didn't. He was just glad enough to find a fool willing to work at such a shitty place for such a low price.
Mikael certainly wasn't complaining. He was always warm and fed, with easy access to drinks, and his job consisted of meeting one strange bloke after another. Sure, it was a bit dirtier and smellier than he would've liked, but considering he spent most of his life on the street, this was certainly better.

Using some oil and ink, Mikael dyed his hair pitch-black. The crude job also turned his curly hair into something more wavy, but that just improved the disguise. It wasn't hard for him to pick up a fake beard as well - Krolva wasn't very secretive about having a shady criminal underworld. It's been 5 weeks since he had to change his identity again. He now went by 'Peter', mainly to poke fun at his old partner. That is, used-to-be partner... No longer.
That's right. That life was behind him. What's done is done. The past is dead, and with it Cord and Sofia and Alan.

It was early night. The regular few unfortunate enough to frequent Gregory's were already seated, playing cards in the corner of the room. Mikael was fairly certain they were drug-dealers, but he never really cared for it. There were a few strangers here and there, but they seemed wholly uninteresting.
The black-haired barman cleaned a glass with a dirty rag, bored but cozy. Even a boring life had benefits. It meant you're not at risk.
A person stumbled into the bar and sat in front of Mikael. He didn't recognize her at first, but how could he? They both looked completely different when they had previously met.
"What can I get'cha?" He asked, rather uninterested. He didn't lift his gaze from his glass yet.
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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by cornix on 26/9/2018, 14:21

What a horrible week it had been. Sometime at the start or end of this week Auth had died. Or had it been two weeks? Cora was not entirely sure. Where had she been in the night between Friday and Monday? Had she been awake? Or just been passed out in some gutter or another? Her eyes hurt, apparently the guy that had thrown her out of the last bar had been stronger than her. Or just less drunk. She could care less right now.

Cora looked down on herself and realized she was sitting on a chair. In another bar. Ah! It was good to live in Krolva, there were enough bars to go to even if you got banned from one of them. Or all. Her clothing looked like a piece of art drawn by a three year old. There was blood on it, a nice huge stripe going down in the middle of her shirt. She grabbed the end of her shirt and pulled on it to get a better view. Oh nice! Alcohol! Both digested and not! Great! And of course there was dirt on it. Atleast she hoped it was dirt and not some horse manure that she fell into.

She scratched her head and then let it fall onto the counter in front of her. Cora grunted at the pain and stared at the barman in front of her, mesmerized by him cleaning a glass. How did he manage to get this glass clean with this dirty of a rug? Fascinating. Her eyes followed his movement closely.

Cora tried piecing some things together. How did she end up like this again? Oh right, she had made a contract with one or the other shady person and ended up celebrating it. After going into some drunken rage she had been kicked out of the first bar and ended up just trying to drink her mourning away. Atleast...that's what she concluded from her wounds and mood right now. The main indicator for the bar fight was her black eye now and the broken lip. Oh. Also the blood. While the main blood probably was the result of her own nose bleeding there were some splatters here and there. So atleast she did not lose THAT bad.
Just her clothing was...why was she wearing peasant clothing? She would usually not wear anything like this. The colour was only a light brown. Of course blood was more visible on this. Cora continued watching the barman and tried piecing together everything. Neither Nec or Vex were much helpful. Nec was just complaining because of their headache and Vex just wanted more to drink.

She lifted her head up quickly, fell of the chair and just sat there for a few seconds, trying to understand what just happened. Right.
"Anything. Get me anything please. The stronger the better.", she said and put on the most convincing smile she could. Cora stood up, constantly holding onto the chair and eventually managed to take a seat. This time however, she would hold onto the counter. Or anything. Why would anyone build such weird bars anyway! It was no fair that the floor was all steep!
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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 2/10/2018, 10:02

Mikael was starting to get wholly impatient with the person at the other end of the counter, when she raised her head a tad too quick and fell over. The patrons playing cards turned their heads to look at the source of commotion, one of them jesting the bar finally started poisoning the drinks to put the sad people here out of their misery. That earned him a few laughs from his friends, but Mikael paid them little mind. He found the first interesting person tonight, and he was looking down at her right now. He had seen many run-down, shit-covered peasants here and even more so during his life in The Underground, but the tall woman sitting bewildered on the floor in front of him had to be one of the worst cases he'd ever seen. Her peasant browns were covered in all sorts of unrecognisable filth, but she smelled like the gates of hell, and looked half the part. Her wounds made her hard to look at, but the barman wasn't one to sjy away from the morbid. The Underground does that to you.

Mikael looked at her half-entertained, half-sadenned as she stumbled back up to the counter and ordered the stiffest drink he could conjure. Judging by her body, she was a farm stronghand, but judging by her wounds and the fact she was deadbeat drunk and it wasn't even fully night yet, she surely must've seen some shit. And probably covered herself in some. He understood all too well what it felt like to be brought so low....
But then she smiled.
Her voice sounded familiar, but her smile was unmistakable. Whatever embarrassed smile Mikael had on his face turned into a horrified expression when he recognised her as Cora Wolf. She wasn't exactly a friend, but she was one of the closest things Mikael had to that. He couldn't even imagine what happened to Cora to make her look like this - if this was a disguise, it must've been an amazing one. He wanted to reach out and help her, but then he remembered he himself was disguised. Until he could be certain that Cora wasn't pretending to be so... Damaged, he didn't want to blow his cover and help her. 'Peter' never met any Cora.

Wordlessly, he poured her a shot. He secretly mixed some water into it, because he figured the last thing the mercenary needed was more alcohol. He placed the shot glass before Cora, and then returned to cleaning his glass, which was already clean by now.
"Something got you down? Livestock acting up?" He asked, trying to sound far less alert and concerned than he actually was. This time, he was looking at her. He was looking at Cora, with her split lip and black eye. He couldn't even imagine if her hair was naturally blonde or if it was naturally red. Maybe last time he met her she was wearing a wig?
By now, the regulars of the pub lost their interest and returned to their cards.

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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by cornix on 2/10/2018, 18:28

The barman stared at her with a horrified expression as if he had never seen a person falling off a chair before. Atleast, that was what Cora thought he must be thinking, after all, he had seen her face beforehand, so he must not be all too scared by that. What an odd person. Nec tried convincing her that that was not why, maybe he had just been startled by the noise but neither Cora or Vex believed him much. She was everything but capable of walking in a straight line, not being able to sit properly was more or less expected of her. It was a wonder that she had managed to stay on her feet for this long already.

While the barman was mixing her drink, Cora tried to find the most comfortable, and mainly stable, position she could find on her chair. It was less her finding it herself and more a rather annoyed Nec guiding her towards 'safety'.
"Thank you", she said and coughed, trying to get her voice more used to talking as he handed her a drink. She coughed again and gulped down the whole content of the glass in one go. Mhhh.

More! More!

Cora waved her hand in front of her face to shut up Vex and took the glass in her hand, playing around with it.
"Something did get me down, but it was not livestock.", she grunted and stopped talking for a bit, thinking about whether or not she needed another glass, "Livestock does not lock you up for days or murder the few people you care about. Neither do titans...actually...", she stared at the barman for a bit, "I have only lost one person because of titans. Mhhh", she continued looking at him, but her mind was rather obviously not in the present.

It had been a while...maybe even years since she had thought of her adoptive father. He had even tried to get her to live a rather normal life, but he failed terribly, did he not? He would be disappointed, seeing her sitting in a bar, smelling worse than the mass of humans titan's gulped up and killing the few brain cells she had left. Not even talking about her liver. This was horrible. What had become of her? Her ambitions to be with the military? To help mankind? To do something significant? She had even lost the ambitions after she had been kicked out! Instead of helping to fight bribery and creating a better, paid version of the military she was now bribing the military themselves. And not just those. She had went into the complete opposite direction of what she had wanted. Instead of maybe turning into a 'white knight' for humanity, a saviour, a helper. Someone respected by the society she had now turned into the possible worst scum you could find. Yes, she was respected by society, but mostly out of fear. And that was not what she had had in mind when she joined the military, or even after she left it.

Cora blinked and came to the realization that she had been staring at the poor barman in front of her. He had nothing to do with her current missery, she probably just weirded him out.
"Sorry.", she mumbled and pushed the shot glass away to lay her head onto the counter again. This time facing the wooden boards. Cora put her hands onto the back of her head and sighed loudly.

Why was she here now? Why was she still drinking? It did not bring Auth back. Or keep Alan away. Or the guilt and pain she felt. No...it did numb the pain. It numbed the pain for a while but right now she was definitly underalcohlized. Or she had had too much, given the way she looked and felt it was rather obvious that she had had way too much alcohol in the past days. And given Renn's reaction to it last time she doubted that she had been with the pack much as well. That was the last thing she needed now. Renn scolding her for her obvious drinking problem. He had never really lost someone he cared about. What did he know! He had his sister, yes, but she was still alive. And while he was living in constant fear of losing her...he had not lost her. Cora lifted her head slightly and bumped it onto the counter. She continued doing it until she was bleeding slightly and the thoughts were finally gone. The emptiness was really something. So quiet. Pleasant.
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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 5/10/2018, 17:01

Mikael listened solemnly as Cora spoke. Her voice was brittle and weak, as if it had all its energy taken out. She spoke of being locked up, of having her friends killed, almost ludicrously terrible things. Mikael allowed himself to raise an eyebrow, but in his head he was deep in thought, trying to understand what the mercenary meant.
Was she referring to events of the past, or perhaps more recent occurrences? It was hard to tell with Cora, because she is a person that clearly has lost much during her life. You don't become a scar-covered mercenary by living a simple life.
Dread began filling Mikael's heart. Has her grief for Alan been this bad? Is he the reason his friend is suffering so hard?
Suddenly, he really didn't want to man the bar anymore. The only thing that kept him there is his concern for Cora and the fact that it would blow his cover yet again.

He felt so helpless. The chains of his guilt were far realer than before, he could almost feel the touch of cold steel against his arms and legs. He has travelled half the world and used a dozen names, but his past always catches up to him. Even if he is a different person than he was previously, even if now he's kind and forgiving and empathetic, decisions that he made in the past still follow him. The worst part is that he isn't even sure if he has changed for the better. He thought he had before, but at the end of the day he still chose to kill Alan when his own life was at risk. Why?
Cora was staring at him, unflinchingly. Did she know what was going through his head? Did she know he killed Alan? That he's responsible for all her pain, her misery? Did she hate him for it? Why else would she come back to haunt him?
Sweat trickled down Mikael's neck. He opened his mouth to say something, anything. But words escaped him. How could he express his own sorrow, his guilt for everything he has done to Cora? How could he do all that and still ask for forgiveness? How do you say all that with mere words?
Suddenly, there was a slight shift in Cora's eyes. "Sorry", she mumbled, and shifted her gaze to the counter. Moments later, she let her head rest upon it, her hands sheltering her sides. All the while, Mikael stared in disbelief. He was so certain he understood what was happening, but in truth he knew very little. Whatever was happening to Cora, it was way bigger than him, apparently, or at least bigger than 'Peter the barman'.

Slowly but surely, she began headbutting the countertop. First, with a gentle rhythm, followed by a passionate firmness. The barman stared baffled, at a lost for words. Any doubt he had about Cora's condition dwindled by the second. She wasn't undercover. This IS her, and she's in a really, really bad place.
Mikael had enough the moment he spotted blooddrops on the wooden surface. To hell with his cover, he is not a coward. Cora needs help and that's all that matters.
Abruptly, he placed his glass down and walked around the counter in a brisk pace. By then, the poor, bloodstained blonde stopped hurting herself, and just hung her head low, staring into the nothingness below like a lost traveler at sea.
Gently, Mikael put his hands around Cora's arms and helped her slowly rise from her stool, all while muttering soothing words.
He didn't care that nobody was manning the bar. He didn't care everyone was staring. He didn't care he'd get fired. Fuck all that. He still had a few hours until the manager would learn of what happened, and until then he could pack up his things and leave.
Slowly, he led Cora up the stairs at the back. She nearly tripped once or twice, but he always caught her beforehand. Finally, they were on the roof, where Mikael was staying. It was a small, barren wooden room with only a single bed and a chair in it. There was a tiny balcony overlooking the dark, narrow streets of Krolva below, but that was it.
Mikael lowered Cora into the bed and brought the chair closer so he could look at her. He removed his fake beard and rustled his hair. Except for the hair colour, he was unquestionably Mikael, the man wanted for the murder of one Alan Katlewande.
"Try to relax" he said softly, unsure of how to interact with Cora "Just rest for a moment and tell me what happened. I'll listen. I'm good at listening."

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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by cornix on 6/10/2018, 03:02



Cora barely realized that the barman helped her stand up and slowly guided her towards the stairs and upwards. Guiding was probably put nicely, she had leaned most of her weight on him and not even that kept her from almost falling down a few times. Only as she was sitting again she slowly managed to free herself from a bit of the fog currently clouding her mind. The words he had spoken while getting her out of the bar had not reached her conciousness.

She looked down on herself and took a look at the bed she was sitting on while the man got himself a chair. He removed his beard and slowly Cora began to realize who he was.
"Mik-Mikael?", she asked quietly, not really sure if she was correct. In her current state it was more of a surprise that she saw an actual living human being and not one of her dead friends.
"Try to relax.", his voice was soothing. It gave Cora a faint sense of security, until she realized how horribly she looked and probably smelled as well.
"Just rest for a moment and tell me what happened. I'll listen. I'm good at listening.", Mikael continued.

Cora stared at him, and while the thoughts passing through her head were still not the most pleasant atleast they did not involve either Auth or Alan. It involved guilt, a different type however.
"Oh no.", she said quietly and quickly got off the bed and sat on the floor, "I-I-I can't sit on...on your bed. I am filthy.", Cora leaned onto the post of the bed and looked up to Mikael again. Her face was slightly red, both from the alcohol and embarassment she felt right now. She hit her head once, "No. You should not see me like this. No one should see me like this.", her voice was quiet, more talking to herself than to Mikael. Cora herself did not even properly realize that she was talking out loud.

Why did he have to get her upstairs now? This was not good, this really was not good. She should have went to a different bar. A bar where there were no people that she valued in some way. Why was he here? Not good. Not good. Not good. Cora hit her head against the wall a few times again.
Nec eventually stepped in and took over for a few seconds so Cora would stop hurting herself. Her facial expression was completly neutral, almost bored until she had taken over again and it turned back to a half scared one. She took a deep breath and made a fist with her left hand in an attempt to not continue hurting herself. For now it worked. Good.
She pulled her knees towards her body and hugged them, rocking back and forth. Better.
"Okay.", she managed to say, her voice was still quiet but in no way as weak as it had been, "Listening. You. Profession.", she nodded to reassure herself that her talking was in fact alright.

"Last time we met I had lost a friend. And I just lost another, he died protecting me. And- And I can not cope with it apparently. I can't cope with anything anymore. I do not know when he died. Was it less than a week ago? Or more? Was it two weeks? I do not remember where I have been. What has happened. It's like I just went to sleep somewhere but my body did not. I am-I-I think I am completly losing it. Or have. Already. And I don't want to accept it. I do not have control over myself anymore. I used to only rarely have halluzinations and now whenever-whene-now I have them constantly. I-I-", she closed her mouth abruptly, just staring holes into the air. "Oh. Oh no. I-I-I made so many mistakes. I should not have-I should just have accepted that doctor getting rid of Nec and Vex. Then none of this would have happened. Alan would not be dead. Auth would not be...or...or if I would just have not accepted that...that contract. Only if that. Only if that maybe Auth would still be here. Maybe Auth. And Alan would atleast not have come back."
Her breathing had become gradually heavier and faster until it passed over to hyperventilating. The lack of oxygen in her brain started to make her feel dizzy.
Nec took over, her expression turned empty once again and she started breathing normally. Nec tried giving Mikael a reassuring smile but it only looked rather awkward and creepy, so he stopped it and hummed a few tones.
"Give her some time.", he said with his usual raspy voice and held his head, "We should stop this drinking. I dislike the way it makes me head feel."
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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 7/10/2018, 10:54

As Cora sat on the bed, lost in thought, Mikael pulled out a handkerchief of his and wet it using a nearby bottle of water. He kept one by his bed, knowing he usually wakes up thirsty after a nightmare. He returned to Cora and wordlessly began to clean her face with slow, hesitant strokes. The rogue knew Cora was unstable, so any action of his could yield unpredictable results. Luckily, it seemed Cora was far too worn out and lost in thought to mind him.
However, the second he thought he was in the green, realization came over Cora and she jolted upwards, apologetically sitting on the floor. Mikael returned to his chair, bewildered, as Cora claimed she was far too filthy for his bed. Her observation was true, of course, but it hardly mattered to Mikael. He was gonna leave this place soon anyway.
He was about to tell her as much, but then she hit her face with the nearby wall. Mikael was overcome with horror, as well as an unhealthy dose of morbid curiosity.

Mikael's bold blue eyes stared with intensity at the broken human at his feet. "Don't do that", he said, finally. His voice was serious, but not unkind.
"No. You should not see me like this. No one should see me like this" the blonde responded quietly, not looking directly at Mikael. He wasn't even certain she was talking TO him - he already knew she had a thing going with multiple personalities. Is this how they communicated?
Mikael lowered himself to Cora's level, afraid to approach. "Cora. Please try to-"
But before he could even finish his sentence, the young woman resumed hitting her head against the wall, a panicked, painful expression on her face.
Almost as soon as she began, she stopped, and turned back to Mikael, her face completely emotionless. For that split second, her body language was different, too. It seemed calm and relaxed, almost bored.
Mikael was speechless, at a complete loss for words. There were many things he wanted to say, but he was afraid anything he'd say or do would make Cora's situation worse, and so he held himself back. After a few seconds, Cora snapped back to reality, huddling over with a fearful expression, rocking back and forth.
She was clearly not okay, but at least she wasn't self-harming.

Mikael sat in front of her, cross-legged. Silently pondering his next course of action. If he wanted to help Cora, he will need her in control.
With iron patience, he spoke "Cora. No more self-harm, okay? I'm here so you can take out your feelings without hurting yourself."
Mikael stared cooly, waiting for a response. Cora was not unitelligent. She would need to be willing to help herself if he were to help her.
"Okay.", she finally responded, sounding more collected than before. "Listening. You. Profession.", she said, nodding. The pseudo-psychologist had no idea what she meant by that, but he nodded reassuringly.
Finally, she began talking.

In a few brief sentences, Mikael understood how grievous her situation was. She underwent tragedy after tragedy in a short timespan, not allowing her to recover and making her spiral into this chaotic drunken stupor. No wonder - how can a healthy mind comprehend such grief and turmoil?
She spoke more and more rapidly, of things the blonde rogue never heard of. He had to inquire about her 'losing control' of her body, what that contract was all about, what was her relationship to Auth vi Rauco, if Vex and Nec were two of her multiple personalities, and most importantly...
What did she mean by Alan being back?
The thought of Alan returning was one too wonderous and horrific for Mikael to comprehend, but with some considerable effort he put it aside.
Cora was now wordlessly breathing heavily, and Mikael's gears were spinning. Cora had trauma in spades, and trauma was a famous trigger for all sorts of bad stuff - PTSD and DID, to name a few. He didn't know too much about psychology, but he already had a hunch that was what Cora Wolf was suffering from. Sadly, he was no medical expert, and no books were available beyond the inner walls. He needed to find someone wiser than him, and 'convince' them to help him.
Too late, he noticed that in his absence Cora began hyperventilating. No wonder, having all that terrible stuff on her mind without anything to keep her from dwelling on it.
He lay a hand on her shoulder and pressed, trying to to get a reaction. "Cora" he tried to get her to focus on his face "Cora!"
Cora's face instantly underwent a transformation, returning to its expressionless gaze. She returned to breathe normally, unhindered. She gave him a shaky, rather creepy smile. Unsettled, he let go of her shoulder and sat back, intently gazing at her.
"Give her some time." she finally spoke, her voice surprisingly raspy and masculine. She grabbed her head in an annoyed manner. "We should stop this drinking." she said, like an alien inhabiting a host "I dislike the way it makes me head feel."
Mikael quickly realized what was going on. This was one of Cora's other 'personalities', taking over to prevent her from more damage. This was her defensive mechanism. Pieces of the puzzle began lining up.
Mikael breathed in deep, and then waved his hair back, spreading one of his more charming smiles on his face.
"Hello. I take it you are Nec or Vex, correct? Nice to finally meet you. Shame it had to be under these circumstances."
He extended his hand for a handshake. This was it - first contact with the unknown. How he handled it would greatly determine how much he'd be able to help his friend.

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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by cornix on 7/10/2018, 22:03


Nec nodded and shook his hand. His handshake was firm, but not crushing his bones. Cora was still more or less panicking, but atleast she was hidden somewhere now, she could atleast not hurt their body. That would not be very good for either of them. The state they were all in currently was horrible enough. Vex did not mind the headache much, or the drinking, he liked it. Esspecially cause both Cora and Nec started to lose their ability to keep him back more and he slipped out a few times. He loved having control, so he just got Cora to drink again, and again and again by telling her all sorts of various things she had done or that had happened. Nec had to compliment him on that, it had worked marvelously. But he just thought that, he would not dare tell that to him, he would just bring it up constantly and Nec really did not need that.

"I am Nec. The smart one. So to speak.", he said and mustered his face. So it was indeed him. It was Mikael. Or...what was his actual name again? Otto? No, it was longer. Ottomer. Right. It had been a while since he had thought about him. It was quite convenient that neither Cora nor Vex had realized who he was actually. And Nec intended to keep it that way. For now atleast. Unlike Cora who was atleast in the past months only influenced by emotions and thus could not think rationally anymore at all, Nec was not. The death of Alan Katlewande had left him completly unfaced. Yes, he was dead. But what did that matter? Just like Renn had put it the other day. Or...week...how long had it been? Everyone had to die eventually and Alan just had been unfortunate.
And that was why Nec had no intention of letting Cora know who he actually was. He was quite convinced that Ottomer was useful. Nec was not entirely sure why yet, but Cora just killing him to avenge Alan's death certainly would get them nowhere. So he kept quiet. He would keep quiet until eventually when he would not see him as useful anymore or if catching him would be more useful than keeping him alive. But right now? Right now he was just another opportunity for Cora to use. Or Nec for Cora, because right now she was hardly capable of anything at all.

Nec smiled at Mikael again, a triumphant smile. He knew who he actually was, but would he let him know now? No. He would cherish each and every moment that he would continue holding an invisible power over him that Mikael had no idea about until after he would eventually tell Cora.

"I wonder why you care about her, you don't even know her that well.", he said and inspected his fingernails, scratching a bit of dirt and dried blood from them, "And no matter when we would have met, in the past months the circumstances have always been horrible. She did not take Alan's death very well.", he looked up to Mikael as he mentioned him to see his reaction and then looked down on his fingernails again, "And then we got trapped and tortured for eleven days. We did not get through that as a whole.", he showed him his hands and tipped on his head before continueing to clean them, "And last but not least Cora lost another 'friend'."

Nec stopped talking for a few seconds, seeing if Cora was a bit better already, she was, but still in no shape to be let out, in his opinion atleast. Apart from that, he enjoyed talking to an actual human being and not just different variants of himself.
"I usually do not talk this much. But letting Cora do it would take much longer. It also serves as a warning to what you can and should not do. Given you professionally talk to people you should know how to treat someone. And quite frankly, I can not help her with what has happened. I do not understand her. Esspecially not the deaths. And I refuse to think about what they did to us in the cellar.", he stopped again and looked in Mikael's eyes. What a nice blue colour it was! Nec would have liked those if he would care about anything like that. Nec nodded, "Anyway. Cora is better again, calmed down. Do you have any spare clothing for us? She might appreciate changing. And please...no more alcohol.", he smiled his usual odd smile and then disappeared back into whichever dark part of Cora's mind he had been residing in.

Cora took back over, her expression still being full of fear but it slowly disappeared, and so did her heavy breathing. She rubbed her eyes as if she had just woken up and smiled at Mikael.
"I-I am back. If you...if you still want to talk to Nec he can hear you.", she started scratching off dried blood from her skin, in a similiar fashion to Nec, but without the intent of cleaning herself. More that she had something to do, and if it was from a scratch the pain also helped her concentrate better. Esspecially as Cora did not really know what Nec had told Mikael. He had summarized it briefly for her, but he could have said anything and she would not know.
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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 15/10/2018, 14:33

Mikael was visibly relieved when 'Nec' shook his hand. So far so good - it seemed that this personality was complient and willing to talk. That's helpful. This way, he can understand Cora a little better, and understanding her is the path to helping her.
"I am Nec. The smart one. So to speak." she spoke with the same dry, raspy voice, and a calm expression on her face. She really did feel possessed to Mikael - it was her body, but everything else about her changed. Body language and voice, even her manner of speaking. Nec was direct and precise with his words, like a surgeon.
Mikael wasn't sure Nec was smarter than Cora, but as long as that's what they thought, he should play along.

"Hello, Nec. I'm Mikael, as you probably know." Mikael spoke to the stranger in a friend's body "If you are 'the smart one', you must understand what is going on... With your mind, I mean. This special mechanism allows you to deal with things many others won't be able to deal with - Cora may be panicking, but you! You can talk to me like we just met on the street during a lazy afternoon. It's incredible, really."
Mikael paused, and looked at the floorboards. Choosing the right words was so testy, knowing the harm they could do.
"But, in a sense, your existence hurts Cora as well. Your intelligence is held in your mind, the mind you're sharing with your partners. You're holding your intelligence hostage from Cora and Vex. They're 'stupider' because they can't access your decision making.
And besides, all of this must put all of you under a lot of stress. Never alone, you must always deal with each other, always care about each other's needs."
Mikael raised his eyes and met Nec's calm gaze. Mikael smiled apologetically.
"Sorry about all that. You must already know this."

Mikael was afraid of Nec lashing out at him, but instead they smiled at him, a cheeky cheshire smile.
"I wonder why you care about her, you don't even know her that well.", he finally said and began inspecting and cleaning his fingernails. Nec wasn't exactly wrong, but being so lonely had an effect on how much Mikael cared about the few who did matter to him in some way. That was probably the reason he cared.
Nec continued. "And no matter when we would have met, in the past months the circumstances have always been horrible. She did not take Alan's death very well."
Mikael did his best to remain unstirred by Alan's name when Nec looked up, but it sadenned him deeply to know he hurt his new friend. He really did have to get to the bottom of this 'return of Alan' business, and fast. Only now did the thought occur to him that the reason Cora didn't know him wasn't because she forgot, but because someone else was in charge. Could Nec or Vex know his true identity? He must tread carefully.
Nec returned to cleaning his fingernails and continued speaking.
"And then we got trapped and tortured for eleven days. We did not get through that as a whole." Nec showed Mikael the missing fingers. Mikael couldn't remember if they were missing the first time he met Cora, but Nec confirmed his fears. The mercenary's life was brutal, perhaps more so than a Scout's.
"And last but not least Cora lost another 'friend'." Nec continued, no emotion peeking through his voice. Mikael sat back and pondered. All of this must've left a huge mental scar on Cora, who did not have time to heal. It seemed what she needed most of all was a break, a break from the drama of her life, a break from the constant need of survival, a break even from herself.

After a while, Nec broke the silence once more. "I usually do not talk this much. But letting Cora do it would take much longer. It also serves as a warning to what you can and should not do. Given you professionally talk to people you should know how to treat someone. And quite frankly, I can not help her with what has happened. I do not understand her. Esspecially not the deaths. And I refuse to think about what they did to us in the cellar.", he stopped again and looked in Mikael's eyes. Mikael smiled a sly smile and chuckled. "I'm going to assume this is the closest you're going to come to directly asking me for help." Nec nodded in response, "Anyway. Cora is better again, calmed down. Do you have any spare clothing for us? She might appreciate changing. And please...no more alcohol."
He smiled once more at the bewildered Mikael. Slowly but surely, he began recognizing Cora again. The look in her eyes, her body language, it told Mikael that she has returned and Nec was gone.
It was a very odd experience for the young rogue, but it was very exhilarating as well. A thin smile appeared on his lips as he greeted Cora.

Cora smiled back, and rubbed her eyes as if she just awoke from a deep sleep. In his own way, Mikael could see how Nec was looking out for Cora. Or more correctly - how Cora was looking after herself by giving herself a break from having to confront reality.
"I-I am back." the blonde girl said, her voice familiar and feminine and wonderful-sounding in Mikael's ears "If you...if you still want to talk to Nec he can hear you."
Mikael feigned surprise, exaggerating his eyes popping out and his eyebrows darting upwards. "Oh? Nec can hear me tell you that his breath smells awful? Well then! I'll make a conscious effort not to bring it up!"
He laughed for a bit, hopefully helping Cora loosen up a bit and feel more comfortable.
"Regardless of the smell of his breath, however, Nec convinced me to help you out!" Mikael faltered for a bit "I - I mean, more than what I did just now. Helping you out for real."
Mikael got up and pulled some clothes from under the mattress. They weren't far prettier than what Cora was wearing, but at least they weren't covered in all sorts of despicable stuff.
"It's a little small on you, but you should probably change into these. For my sake." Mikael smiled again.
He turned and walked up to the balcony, allowing Cora to change. His gaze didn't leave the street below, though he did think of sneaking a peek or two in.
"Believe it or not," he began "There's more to fixing problems than drinking or headbutting things. You're pacifying the pain, ignoring it, but not healing it. Tell me - if you had a wound, would you heal it by stabbing your fingers with knives until you didn't feel it hurting anymore? Of course not! It would fester until it killed you!"
He turned to face Cora, who was dressed by now "And your 'wound'" he gestured with two fingers to his heart "IS festering, I assure you."
he sat on the bed for a bit, and looked up at Cora. It was going to take a lot of work, but still... For once, he had purpose beyond himself.
"So I hope you don't have plans for the next few weeks, because we're going to heal you up!" he declared, smiling boldly. Why not? This could be fun!
"So? Whadaya say? Ready to put yourself in the care of the psychologist from Ravisia?"

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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by cornix on 15/10/2018, 22:03

The moment Mikael mentioned Nec's and in return, her own breath she put a hand in front of her mouth. Nec sighed mentally and complained that the circumstances were hardly his fault, cause Cora had started drinking and Vex had continued making them drink. He was rationally seen the one that was the least at fault for their general awful and filthy state they were in.
However as Mikael started laughing Cora chuckled quietly a bit herself. It was meant in a friendly way. Not in an insulting one. Atleast that was what she hoped.
To Cora's surprise Nec had asked Mikael for help. He had not told her that, but his silence confirmed that was Mikael said was right. Nec usually never asked for help, it made sense he did not tell her.
"Help?", she just asked quietly, confused at the whole situation. Why did she need help? Oh. Right. The drinking. And the other stuff. Yes, she did need help. But admitting that to anyone? Heck no. Or...Nec had managed to admit it. He, the most proud out of all of them. So...Cora should...as well? Her thoughts were interupted by Mikael handing her some clothing, she just nodded thankfully and started undressing. She took the same piece of cloth he had used before to clean her face to quickly clean the parts of her body were all sorts of dirt and blood had gotten onto and changed into what he had handed her.

"Believe it or not," he began "There's more to fixing problems than drinking or headbutting things. You're pacifying the pain, ignoring it, but not healing it. Tell me - if you had a wound, would you heal it by stabbing your fingers with knives until you didn't feel it hurting anymore? Of course not! It would fester until it killed you!"

He did have a point. But. She did not really like his point. So far headbutting and hurting herself because she had had mental problems had worked. Just drinking had not. Not in the long run atleast. It worked for some time, because she just forgot more or less everything. But...given how she looked and felt right now...

He turned towards her, "And your 'wound'" he gestured with two fingers to his heart "IS festering, I assure you."

Cora just shook her head. Her personalities were no problem. Atleast not the old tenants she had had. Those were fine. Nec was fine, Vex was fine. Alan...was a good guy but she prefered him alive and well than dead and somehow alive in her mind.
He then asked her if she would let him treat her. For...a...few weeks. No. No that was not possible. A few weeks? She had been missing for a few weeks from the pack before and it had been horrible. She could not let Renn do it again! That was no option! If she would go away again she would lose her status, the others would not trust her anymore. Her whole division would break up!

Cora vehemently shook her head, "No. No. I can't just leave again. I was away for long enough. Everything went horrible. I-I can't go. I will lose everything. My-my whole- just everything. I made them what they are. I already left them alone. No.", her facial expression turned towards one of fear once again. This time the reasons were different however, "Give me a second", she mumbled and went past him onto the balcony. Cora leaned over the railing and poured the rest of water that was still in the bottle over her head. It was in no way an effective shower but it did clean it up a bit. Atleast her hair was not long anymore. It would have taken hours. In the meanwhile Nec started pestering her about leaving and going with Mikael.
She violently ruffled her hair and turned back around, taking a deep breath.
"It is clear. Rather. Rather clear that I can not...that I am unable to care for myself, not even talking about my division. So...So I will agree to your terms.", she looked upwards as if she was not sure what to say. In reality it was Nec telling her what to say because Cora had no idea how to properly tell Mikael, "But, I will not break contact with the pack. I will continue leading them. So I hope you do not mind the occassional mercenary coming over to wherever you plan to take me.", Cora nodded. Right now she had agreed, with Nec more or less forcing her to. But both of them had a point. She just could not cope with it anymore. It was too much.

Cora went back inside and grabbed her dirty clothing. She rolled it up and threw it outside, knowing Krolva there would be atleast one person being very happy about it. It was one of the cleaner things that were down in the roads anyway. Alan started pestering her about how it was not okay to just do that and she tried waving him away, it was obvious that he was not used to the way things were running around here. But really, most people emptied their night pans and trash onto the street, throwing away dirty clothing was fine in her opinion.

Cora went silent for a short while, thinking about what she had just agreed to. Did she really want this? Did she really need the help? She was okay with Nec and Vex after all. They were friendly. Yes, sometimes they were annoying but did she really...did she really want them gone? She did not. She would be way too lonely without them. And it was not like they were much of a bad influence on her, were they? They were just...they helped her. They were important to her.
"But...Mikael...you will not get rid of Nec and Vex. And...and...", she almost started crying, "I...I don't want Alan to die again. I-I...just need to cope with the rest, okay? Don't kill them. They are important. They are my best friends. Please. Please don't do that, Mikael."
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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 22/10/2018, 11:37

Mikael was disheartened to hear Cora refuse his offer so quickly. Well, it was more accurate to say that his confidence completely wavered. He didn't deal with rejection well, and her refusal made him doubt for a moment if there was any merit to his claims.
But that's where Mikael's greatest virtue came into play. It didn't matter if he was doubting himself at this time, because his behaviour, his demeanor gave none of that away. Instead, he sat in silence, eyes waiting for a response as if he hadn't just heard Cora refuse multiple times. His inaction will lead Cora towards action, to feel a lack of closure with her decision.
Her face began showing hints of fear, and for a second Mikael worried he might've sent Cora over the edge again, but instead she asked to be excused, and headed towards the balcony, where she washed the filth out of her hair, likely to collect her thoughts about the whole matter.

Mikael looked at her as she leaned over the rail. Water rushed out of the bottle, and trickled down her face. A droplet or two made its sneaky way down her back.
He was right - the clothes were a bit small and tight on her lean, tall body. He could feel himself tense up. She definitely has lost weight and muscles since he's seen her beforehand, but it also gave her a more feminine look. By all means, she wasn't hard to look at now...
Mikael looked away in frustration. He wasn't very keen on self-control, but he knew that it was wrong to perv on your friend when they're in distress. He was quite angry at himself for even being able to think about lust in this scenario. What would Sofia say?
Sofia.
The rogue's eyes opened wide, realizing the magnitude of the situation. He couldn't remember the last time he thought about another girl without Sofia popping into his mind and chain him to the past. Maybe it never even happened before. What does it mean? That he managed to stop himself from thinking about sex before she did? Did it have any meaning at all? And why now?

Cora's violent hair-ruffling brought him back into reality. Her deep, exasperated sigh spoke more words than Cora could in such a short time - she was stressed out by the whole scenario, and uncertain with her decision. Good, good. This meant that there was a chance for her to change her mind.
Mikael turned himself on the bed to face Cora, his eyes speaking of patience, though his mind demanded an answer. Hesitantly, she finally spoke, looking for the right words.
"It is clear. Rather. Rather clear that I can not...that I am unable to care for myself, not even talking about my division. So...So I will agree to your terms.", she looked upwards, uncertain of how to proceed. A collected smile spread on Mikael's face, though in his head he was celebrating his success. Nec was right, he did care more than a rational person would about helping this mercenary out, but that's what made being able to help her so great. It was a massive stroke for Mikael's ego, and that could almost make him purr like a cat being petted.
Cora continued once she found the words she was looking for "But, I will not break contact with the pack. I will continue leading them. So I hope you do not mind the occassional mercenary coming over to wherever you plan to take me."
Immediately, Mikael saw how this could be a problem. This person needed a break, not her responsibilities coming to bother her at every turn. Still, if that decision did not come from Cora, it would only make it worse for her to leave her responsibilities behind. Mikael could only hope that in time, she'd come to this conclusion herself.
He nodded in acceptance of the terms, a smile still spread over his face. Cora nodded in return. It was a done deal.

"Well, wonderful!" Mikael spoke, rising from the bed with eagerness "I'm very glad you took me up on that job, and I'm not only saying that because I definitely lost my job here!" he laughed a small, light-hearted giggle. In the meantime, Cora threw her old dirty clothes out the window. Seeing that made the young rogue wince. He didn't mind the littlering at all, but such a waste of clothes! Back where he came from, people were lucky to own multiple clothing items.
Luckily, that wasn't his world anymore. That reality was locked away, under tonnes of rocks and stone.
Cora must've felt him tense up, because she also seemed a bit more somber than before. She approached him quietly, struggling to express what she was feeling.
"But...Mikael...you will not get rid of Nec and Vex. And...and...", she stuttered, looking desperate "I...I don't want Alan to die again. I-I...just need to cope with the rest, okay? Don't kill them. They are important. They are my best friends. Please. Please don't do that, Mikael."
Hastily, he put his hands on her shoulders. He still had no idea what Cora meant by Alan, but now was not the time to ask. "Whoa, whoa. Relax. No one's killing anyone here." He gave her shoulders a small squeeze and smiled in an attempt to reassure her "Is that what's been bothering you? That I'd kill off Nec and Vex? Get rid of them completely? Who's taught you to think like that?"
He lowered her to sit on the bed beside him, then spoke with as much calm and certainty that he could muster.
"I can't kill off your friends, even if I wanted to - they're part of you. Not that I do, of course. That's the thing, you're all part of the same mind, the same body, just like anybody else. The only difference is that there is this disconnect between you - you don't share memory. You don't share thought pattern. You might not even share skills. Dealing with this won't make Nec or Vex go away, it'd make them part of you. You'll be a new super-you, with the memories and abilities of all of your friends. No, more than that - you won't have their traits - you will be them, and yourself, all at once!" Mikael smiled broadly energy surging through his body. "It's pretty exciting, really."

Then his smile faltered.
"But that's not your problem. Not the big, festering wound I've been talking about. Your body might be covered in scars, but they've healed. Your heart, however, is still wounded. You've been through some shit, and it might be over, but your heart hasn't moved on. That's where I'll be helping you. Do you understand?" Mikael grasped Cora's hand tightly and looked into her eyes with determination "I'll help you confront your past. To leave it behind, where it belongs."
The rogue maintained eye contact for a bit, mesmerized, before snapping back into reality. He rose abruptly from the bed and extended a hand to help Cora up.
"It won't be long now until the boss will return. We gotta leave, now. I'm sure we can find a nearby hotel to spend the night in. If we're lucky, it might even not be a whorehouse or a drughole."
A sympathetic grin appeared on the rogue's face as he saw Cora stand up.
"Don't worry, it will only be a few minutes' walk, even your drunk ass will be able to handle it. I really hope the alcohol wouldn't impair your memory of tonight, otherwise you'd be very confused tomorrow morning!" he chuckled once more, his rolling laughter chiming like a bell.
This was the start of a new adventure, and Mikael loved adventures.

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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by cornix on 22/10/2018, 14:09

Mikael put his hands on her shoulders, somehow this little gesture was comforting to her. He said he would not kill them off. That was good. She did not want that. He sat her down next to him and continued talking in his calm and soothing voice. Maybe it was just her drunk self but she was sure she could just fall asleep to it. Maybe she just felt coomforted enough by his presence and not necessarily his voice that made her want to just go to sleep right there and then. He was somewhat similar to Renn, but unlike Renn he did not have that incredibly disappointed look on his face if she was drinking. That to be said, he had not seen her come home drunk as much as Renn had in the past months.

"I can't kill off your friends, even if I wanted to - they're part of you. Not that I do, of course. That's the thing, you're all part of the same mind, the same body, just like anybody else. The only difference is that there is this disconnect between you...", he continued speaking a smile slowly appearing on his face, he was rather certain about what he was talking. Would that be possible? That they were more part of each other? Cora doubted it. How was that possible? They were completly different people, you can't just force those together. So far they had merely lived in the same building as mere neighbors, happy in their own apartments. And he wanted to put them all in one shared one? Cora was sceptical. So was Nec, and Vex did not understand at all. He did not care.

Mikael stopped smiling, his tone got more serious as he started talking about what had happened to her.
"I'll help you confront your past. To leave it behind, where it belongs.", he said while holding her hand. Mikael was determined. He strongly believed that he was able to help Cora. His eyes were shining with exitement as if someone had just lit a fire and powered up parts of his brain in order to somehow help her. Mikael stared at her for a bit more and Cora just stared back into his sky blue eyes. They seemed so clean on the contrary to hers. Hers were just gray.

Mikael suddenly rose up and helped Cora up from the bed.
"Don't worry, it will only be a few minutes' walk, even your drunk ass will be able to handle it. I really hope the alcohol wouldn't impair your memory of tonight, otherwise you'd be very confused tomorrow morning!", he chuckled and Cora scoffed in amusement and confusion.
"Exactly. Imagine that. I wake up in some brothel and have you next to me. I am going to be utterly confused and kind of weirded out by the fact I even make a non business stop in any of those.", she chuckled awkwardly and scratched her head.
"Anyhow, I am sorry for making you lose your job. I will obviously pay you for whatever you lost.", if he would complain about this offer Cora would shush until he stopped talking about it. In her opinion there was nothing to say against her offer, and her mind was not to be changed.

Cora started walking towards the door and as she was about to open it she stopped, her hand on the door handle, "I know a place. Lots of them actually. There won't be anyone in it, but we will find supplies. It should not be far from he-", she stopped and tried to get another glimpse out of the balcony onto the district, "Heck. I am not sure where we are. But the pack and other affiliations have lots of hideouts. We can spend the night in one of those.", she nodded, happy with the answer she had given him, "You lead the way onto the street. If I meet one of those fuc-people from the bar I might just beat them up. Or worse.", she put on the best comforting smile she could in order to calm him down in case he got worried.
Even while badly intoxicated with alcohol and possible other substances she was still capable of picking a fight with most people that usually resided in bars like this one. It was not one of the shadier ones you could find, and thus the people in them were mostly mere thugs, not trained professionals like Cora herself was.

As they were leaving the tavern and on their way towards one hideout or the other Cora started explaining herself to Mikael more.
Well, she first had to get her thoughts in place all while trying to keep her balance as much as possible. Usually a rather simple task, but in her state? Not as easy. To be fully honest, both Nec and Cora were surprised she had not fallen from the balcony before.
Occassionally she placed a hand onto Mikael's shoulder to regain a bit more composure and only the continued walking. Or stumbling.

"Listen. Mikael. I will be rather...", she sighed, "I got kicked out of the military because of my...", she tapped her head, signaling him that she meant Nec and Vex, and of course Alan, which he did not know about yet. Nec thought about forcing one or the other situation to make Alan appear as well. He would love to see Mikael's reaction,"I had to choose: either get kicked out or they would remove them from my head. Given that I am now some drunkard in the streets of Krolva I obviously chose the military.", she giggled at her own joke for far longer than it was socially acceptable, "anyhow, they wanted a legal excuse to torture those out of me. Now some guy took an illegal one to do that anyway. But it fired back, did it not?", she laughed coldly, and put an arm on his shoulders, leaning a bit of her weight on him. With the other she just made a weird gesture in the air as if she wanted to show him something, "Completly. After all. We are even more mad than before.", she giggled again and poked his shoulder, "Anyway, we do share memories. Or atleast, all of the others know my memories, I don't necessarily know theirs. And yes, they are capable of doing some things that I am not. And the other way round.", she pulled him a bit closer, possibly strangling him slightly in the process without realizing it and did the same gesture as before, "But that gives us possibilities. Nec can think logically, Vex is a maniac that is never really frightened and Alan. Not sure what Alan does yet.", she suddenly stopped walking and shoved Mikael into a narrow alleyway. The walls were too close together to walk next to each other so Cora went first.

She ran her hand onto the brick walls, carefully examining them. Cora came to a stop and turned around, "Sorry. Too far.", she grabbed Mikael's shoulders and turned him sideways so his back was on the cold stone and started squeezing past him, trying to keep as much distance between the two as possible. She suddenly stopped in her tracks and seemingly stared right through him. Cora smiled briefly and awkwardly while pressing on a brick directly next to his ear. If he would have put any weight on the wall behind him he would now stumble or fall backwards as a hidden door swung open.
"There you go. No whores. No drugs. And we don't have to pay."
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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by Alan Katlewande on 4/11/2018, 15:09

Cora scoffed in response to Mikael's jest, probably abash at the idea. "Exactly", she spoke "Imagine that. I wake up in some brothel and have you next to me. I am going to be utterly confused and kind of weirded out by the fact I even make a non business stop in any of those"
As she chuckled to herself and scratched her head, Mikael couldn't help but lift an eyebrow. Did she realize what she was insinuating? Did she mean to? What this an attempt at flirting?
Mikael wanted to believe it was, but he knew otherwise. Cora was direct with her words. If she knew she fancied him, then he would hear it from her mouth.
The tall blonde then apologized for costing him his job, and offered compensation. Instinctively, Mikael was about to refuse, but the truth was that he was barely staying afloat, and any small donation could help. Embarrassed, he nodded in agreement. He only hoped he could repay Cora with his actions in time.
In good time.

Mikael quickly grabbed his belongings and stuffed them into a small, worn-out sack he was hiding under his mattress. Most of his stuff was already inside, because he moved so often and possessed so little that unpacking was more chore than useful.
Cora stopped by the door, her hand grasping the handle. "I know a place. Lots of them actually. There won't be anyone in it, but we will find supplies. It should not be far from he-", unfortunately, the mercenary realized she wasn't very keen on her current location. "Heck. I am not sure where we are. But the pack and other affiliations have lots of hideouts. We can spend the night in one of those."
"Well, that does sound nice. I could very much use a change of scenery" Mikael said, rising from the floor by his bed with his sack in hand. Cora nodded in approval.
"You lead the way onto the street. If I meet one of those fuc-people from the bar I might just beat them up. Or worse."
Cora tried to reassure him with a smile, but Mikael was under no impression. The giantess was not exactly a model of self-control or rational, collected decision-making. He simply decided to give her no room to test him.
They left through the back, to an even narrower alley. Mikael gingerly stepped around the sacks of garbage lining the ground, slowing down here and there to help Cora manoeuvre across.

After a few more seconds, they made it into a large street. Signs and lanterns dotted the path, inviting any passerby to enjoy exotic delicacies, share a drink or two, or have the night of his life. An entire economy based not on need, but on desire. It was so shameful, yet so exciting for Mikael. In a sense, this was a form of luxury. Shallow, depraved and possibly-illegal luxury, but luxury nonetheless.
There was no luxury Underground. Only death. Death of people, death of hope.
The duo attracted no attention from the rest of the people in the semi-crowded streets. Drunks were a common sight, especially ill-dressed ones.
Cora stumbled closer to Mikael as they walked, using his shoulder for support. She began talking about her life. Mikael listened, trying to pay equal mind to her words as the possible danger on the streets.
"Listen. Mikael. I will be rather...", the mercenary sighed, "I got kicked out of the military because of my...", she tapped her head, and Mikael nodded in understanding. He wasn't surprised Cora was ex-soldier, with all the things he's heard about her so far.
She continued. "I had to choose: either get kicked out or they would remove them from my head. Given that I am now some drunkard in the streets of Krolva I obviously chose the military." The blonde woman giggled drunkenly, and Mikael let out a chuckle. "Shame, I'd thought you were a Garrison, with all that drinking."
Eventually, her laughter died down. "Anyhow, they wanted a legal excuse to torture those out of me. Now some guy took an illegal one to do that anyway. But it fired back, did it not?"

Cora laughed coldly. Mikael did not join her this time. She leaned closer on him, putting her arm around his neck. He felt slightly threatened, but made no remark. She was opening up, and he wanted to sit bsck and watch with minimal interruptions.
She continued with a gesture. "Completly. After all. We are even more mad than before.", she giggled and poked his shoulder. Mikael did his best to not flinch and focus on the road. He was afraid of Cora, and justifiably so. She was big and mean and half-insane, and he really did not want to give her a reason to dislike him. "Anyway, we do share memories. Or atleast, all of the others know my memories, I don't necessarily know theirs. And yes, they are capable of doing some things that I am not. And the other way round.", the mercenary pulled him even closer and gestured with her hand dramatically. Mikael was now having difficulty breathing. He struggled to keep walking as Cora continued. "But that gives us possibilities. Nec can think logically, Vex is a maniac that is never really frightened and Alan. Not sure what Alan does yet."
Mikael's eyes widened. He finally understood. Alan wasn't really alive, it was just a personality in her head! And if she didn't know he killed Alan, neither would her pseudo-Alan, right?
Just as realization came over him, the mercenary suddenly stopped walking and shoved Mikael into a narrow alleyway. When she did, because he was already tensed up by her behaviour, his survival instincts kicked in. He stepped away quickly, looking back at her with the alertness and the intensity of a lion. A split second later he understood that this was where she was leading them, and he let out a sigh as she walked past. "Right. Sorry." He mumbled.

Slowly and methodically, Cora ran her hands on the brick walls eclosing them on both sides. Suddenly, she stopped and turned. "Too far," she mumbled.
She grabbed Mikael by the shoulders and pressed him against the cold brick wall behind him. The rogue watched, startled, as she squeezed in front of him obviously trying to keep minimal physical contact between them. And then, she stopped.
For a quick moment, the sounds of the street beyond the alleyway became muffled, and all Mikael could see was Cora, a tall and skinny woman with ill-fitting clothes, pressed up close and looking right at him. Their faces were so close he noticed all sorts of small imperfections on her face he'd never seen before. That is, beyond the huge, unavoidable scar running across her face. Despite that, her facial features were very appealing.
Cora gave Mikael a small, awkward smile as she placed a hand behind his head. He smiled back, shy for once.
"Um-", be began saying, but suddenly he felt the wall give way under his weight and he promptly fell back, ungracefully spilling onto the hideout's floor.
"There you go. No whores. No drugs. And we don't have to pay." said Cora, gracefully stepping over Mikael and entering the secret passage.
"Marvelous." grumbled the black-haired rogue, slowly rising up from the floor and nursing his back. By then, the hidden door has closed itself up, and the two were left in complete darkness. Blind, Mikael stumbled his way in slowly, feeling up the walls with his hands. From the air-flow he could tell this place wasn't very small, and was at least bigger than his previous room back at the tavern.
"Hey, you got a lantern there?" asked Mikael, his voice slightly echoing off the walls "If you're going to kill me you could at least show me how you plan on doing that."

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Alan Katlewande

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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

Post by cornix on 4/11/2018, 23:19

The door of the hideout closed behind them and so did the light. Cora stretched, her drunk self did enjoy the absence of anything bright for a short while before realizing that it was in fact a complete absence and that she would not be able to find her way around things much.
"Hey, you got a lantern there? If you're going to kill me you could at least show me how you plan on doing that.", Mikael said.
Cora chuckled and turned around back to where the voice was coming from as well. She took a step forward, carefully trying to aoid Mikael but nevertheless still bumping into him.
"Even if the light would be on, you would not know how I was going to kill you, till you are already dead.", she said jokingly and grabbed him by the shoulders, turning him around so she could get to the wall where they had just come from.
Just like before she ran her hands across it until she had found a latern and the needed matchsticks to light it up. Cora did as intended and closed the glass part over the still tiny flame to keep it from getting blown out.
"There you go. Now you can actually see me and not just get startled by me randomly bumping into you."
She turned back around and held it up, taking a look at the surroundings. It was a three room hideout. Two of the rooms where exits (or entrances), one from the streets and the other one probably led down into one or the other hallway, eventually leading down to the black market. So no matter if you got chased by the military or one or the other shady corporation you always had a way to escape. Provided neither of them knew the place you intended to hide, of course. All the rooms were sparsly furnished, a table in the middle of the main room, two small chairs and some shelves and cupboards on the walls. And the 'bed' there was consisted of a shabby looking mattress in the corner. Cora placed the light onto the table in the middle and went to the cupboards. She pulled out a few blankets and threw them in the general direction of the mattress.

Cora looked at Mikael for a short while, "I do have to get some stuff if I really should go with you. I should in general get some stuff. No matter if I walk with you or not. So I will excuse myself for a short while and get it from another hideout or the main place of the pack somewhere in the black market. You could come with me, or just stay here."

If he would want to stay in the hideout Cora would not and walk outside, through the other exit/entrance. After a short while of walking down various sets of stairs and surprisingly enough not getting lost even though she was drunk she had finally found her way towards one of the 'main streets' of the black market. A few people did recognize her and greeted her but she shushed most of them away, not uncommon for her, she was usually busy. Still, the way she was walking around now was not the usual way she was dressed so all the people that did know her eyed her oddly.
Once with the pack she quickly got herself her more usual attire. All black, long pants, coat, black shirt and various sets of knives that she would proceed to hide in various places on her body.
After a good half an hour she would be back with Mikael. Her hair would be wet, she had quickly taken a shower and she would throw a bag at him, which contained a new set of clothes, another small bag with money in it (about as much as he would have made in a month working at the bar), a pair of knives and some food.
"I got some more food for both of us in here", she would throw another bag onto the table, almost knocking over the lamp.

If he would agree to following her they would leave together, Cora leading the way throughout the same staircases and small corridors, until again, they would reach the busy main streets of the black market.
Mikael would see various people selling all sorts of stuff, some were not really that illegal, mostly just weapons. Some others however would sell 3DMG and other military equipment, and just as if Cora would walk this alone, people would come up to her and ask or tell her about things she was not interested in at the moment.
"You can buy everything here. A while back you could have even bought me!", she would giggle and continue walking, unfaced by the amount of people that were up for sale or how they looked. Eventually they would reach the pack's quarters. Cora would quickly dismiss most of the people trying to talk to her, or just resolve their problems while she was getting her own gear and a new set of clothes for Mikael. None of the members of the pack would properly acknowledge his existance and he was mostly ignored.
Cora eventually would hand him the same stuff she would have if he would stay alone and leave him alone for five minutes only to come back with wet hair sticking to her forehead and dressed in the same black leather pants, shirt and a coat on her arm. She would lay out all her knives on the floor (it would be a good three dozen of various shapes, sizes and purposes) and then proceed to store them inside folds of her clothing, boots, or belt.
Just before leaving she would get handed a bag of food and then proceed back to where they came from, mostly without much conversation as the black market was anyway too loud to properly talk.
She would also throw the bag onto the table, also almost knocking over the lamp.

Cora closed the door properly and looked over towards Mikael. He was an odd person, traveling from place to place, seemingly with rather unsteady jobs. Last time she had met him he had looked different, esspecially clothing wise. There was also something else about him that was different, but Cora could not quite put her finger on it. Or maybe the dim light from the lantern just made him seem extra scrawny and worn out today. Maybe it was just the fact that he was together in a small room with a still drunk mercenary. And while Mikael was certainly taller than the average man walking around in these realms, Cora was still just a tiny bit taller. Maybe she was intimidating? Maybe she was just exhausting for everyone around her. Maybe it was just Mikael who had had a hard week of working after him, or well. Maybe it really was just the light, that somehow managed to make his otherwise bright blue eyes into more of a dark colour that had a somewhat exhausted look in them. She hoped it only was that, otherwise she had a horrible influence on people around her.

"So you really wanna do that? Help some batshit insane mercenary?", she blurted out, "I mean, of course I don't know if it was just a joke, but you don't have to worry about me killing you. I might be a mentally unstable mercenary that is currently heavily suffering from losing people around her and coping with it by getting dead drunk to the point where I can not recall if it was only a few days since Auth died or a few weeks. But hey. Atleast I can not lose the friends in my head.", she stopped and stared at him, "We are afraid of you, because you might make us lose each other. We don't want that.", she nodded as if she was agreeing with herself, which, well, she was.
"We are all that we have got left now, you know...and...we were sure that we would always have each other, even if we lose everyone around us. But you could change that and that makes all of us deathly afraid of you. So...don't be afraid of us, because we are probably more afraid of you.", her voice would switch or overlap in between Cora's, Nec's and Vex's and at some rare points Alan's voice would be heard.
Cora smiled weakly and sat down on one of the chairs, she made a welcoming gesture towards the other one. "Let's eat."
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Re: Old Wounds (Closed to Cornix)

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