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Childhood Friends

Post  Opal Hutchinson on Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:44 am

The rumours had been awry for a few hours now. A black-gloved man, walking the streets of Sabrie, an aura about him cold and uncannily off-putting. He held a presence that commanded attention, yet tossed it aside like an apathetic ragdoll. He was armed; he moved almost mechanically in his routine walking, with a cane at his side, tapping the floor at perfectly-calculated regular intervals. And in the few choice moments that he spoke, his voice was seductive, and carried the allure of a speech therapist; yet harsh as sandpaper. Opal Hutchinson.

This man had visited Sabrie many a time before, but not this area. A few tunnels link the hangar of the Cove and some of the city's lower levels; only the most recognised individuals were allowed access, and never before without an escort. But, black boots clacking against the metal floor, a pale-faced, tall man stepping out from the automatic, hydraulic doors that lead further back into the bowels of the city, he surveyed the bustling interior of the Cove's main hangar, scanning it like an owl with the eyes of a hawk.

It was almost as if his eyes bored holes into any subject unfortunate enough to have the man's vision fall upon him. The casual chatter had dipped and almost halved; cacophony made progress towards silence for the first time since the deathly sonic vacancy of the hangar's early-morning desertion, before striking right back up as all attempted to ignore this VIP who acted like an overseer, a surveyor. He'd more than likely be gone in a few moments... right?

The pirates of Thibudis were renowned for several things, and amongst them, Opal thought it a good idea to add chatter. God, the noise in here was absolutely awful. It reminded him of a building that had once been his home; the public lobbies and foyers of the grandiose Prophets' Dominion, where dozens, possibly hundreds, lined up every day, desperate to push through and enter into the Imperial overlords' audience, make their petty complaints, and be dismissed nine times out of ten... the bustle was the same, but the atmosphere here was... different. Vibrant, almost sickly in how alive with positive energy this place was. These were men and women who drank, raped, stole, murdered, and marooned for a career choice... and yet it was one of the happiest places on this emotionally barren and devoid country that he'd ever borne witness to. So stupidly unorthodox.

Now, who caught his eye, who struck his fancy... in reality, he was just here for sightseeing, but as far as ninety percent of the mutineers and criminals in here knew, he was around on official business. Perhaps a brave soul would approach him on his parapet, his podium? Opal stepped forwards, and placed his hands, metallic and organic alike, down onto the cold, circular railing, and tightly curled leather-bound fingers about them, his wrists straining as he did so.

Well, really, he worked in an environment not too dissimilar for this. Of course, he specialised in the more... refined and shadier aspects of the deliciously-corrupt Thibudian underworld, but... really, his caste functioned in ways that were a little more... organised than this relative clusterfuck. A small sigh escaped lips that had barely opened, and the man continued his survey of the wide, open room, the warm, south-eastern sea air blowing in gently through the gaps in the artificial, slanted hangar doors. To most, the airships, of which there sat row upon row, would have been the items of the most allure, what with the tens of thousands of people crowded and clustered about them, but to Opal? It was the people that piloted them that interested him.

Machines couldn't talk. A machine's body language couldn't be interpreted. A machine was static; a human was dynamic. Interactions were so beautifully enjoyable to observe, in all his mildly-entertained apathy. This was really all a game, to him; he'd had something to 'take care of' in Sabrie, and it had been taken care of - so what rule was there to say that he couldn't shake things up and clash against the age-old adage and warning of mixing business and pleasure?

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Re: Childhood Friends

Post  Eshara on Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:43 am

There was something about docking at a safe port that just set your blood on fire. Maybe it was just itching to get off the damn boat and onto solid ground for a bit, or to hear the birds screaming right there, or how the air smelled like the beautiful lush green of the warm hillside. And the Cove wasn't like other ports where they all had to watch their mouths and behave and mind who they tried to rob; the Cove was like a second home, and those words never stopped feeling so strange to Eshara. Home was wherever your owner told you it was, but she had no owner now. She'd chosen the Emerald as her home, and the Cove was somewhere just as safe and interesting to be.

There was almost an excited thunk as Shard landed onto the dock, jumping off the gangplank, a large basket on one arm. Everyone had something productive to do, but they also had some free time to stretch their legs and mingle if they were sick of the sight of each other, and Eshara planned to make good on that. She grinned wide, drinking it all up. The massive hangar was so crowded and noisy and bursting with life that she wondered how they all hadn't gone deaf from it. It was wonderful. People catching up, swapping tales, trading things they'd come across one way or another, side rooms, stock rooms, places to show off shinies... It was always such a damn thrill.

Layers of ripped brown cotton, lace, and silk bounced as she looked around, and then back up to those that were getting ready to get off the ship and enter Sabrie for some business. "SHIFT it," Eshara barked up at the two groaning cabin boys as they helped to lug a crate down into the hangar. "You both do as you're told and help sell that or I've a mind to not feed either one of you tonight!" The two groaned again and complained in protest but quickly quieted as they did the smart thing to go help sell and trade so Eshara could go up to the city proper to buy some fresh food. No, she wouldn't be able to restock the many months worth of goods she'd need all at once here in Sabrie, but she could get enough to hold them down for now, and maybe even get a few nice things to make some treats.

She was off like a shot into the crowds, happy to be among the people again in an area that bustled with life without fear of being in any immediate danger.The boys were off to help sell goods, so she had some free time to see if she could find any goodies on her own here at the Cove, and maybe make a few little deals about where to get what she needed all at ocne at a fair price. Shard slid through the crowds, graceful as a shadow and curious as a cat as she wove in and out of the throngs, picking up bits of chatter and gossip from the city, poking in to the little stalls to see what people were offering from their own adventures. Beads made of gem and bone, thin gold and azure-blue feathers from paradise birds, fragrant spices on display in the swag room... Shard wondered how Acrarus would manage to coax her back on the boat this time. Small crates with giant, long-eared rabbits from the north caught her eye, each adult nearing the size of a small dog. Now wouldn't THAT be something interesting to have on the ship; meat alone on them was enough to feed the whole crew on one rabbit.

Letters and numbers weren't Eshara's strong point, but she did know a bargain and haggling, and if all these weird creatures bred and grew that big, four would do the ship a lot of good if she could just manage a good price. With so many people in the hangar mingling and meeting long-lost friends and shipmates, it seemed the whole world was right in this massive room; part of her wondered if Acrarus had even bothered out of bed yet to finish passing orders or if he was up in Sabrie already. This was the kind of place where even those who were familiar could be lost and found if you didn't look close enough.
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Re: Childhood Friends

Post  Opal Hutchinson on Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:46 am

Opal descended the stairs, pinpointing and focusing upon several instances for but moments before his vision flickered, like the shutter of a camera, and fell on another place. It was if he documented every strain, every relation, every single furrow on an individual's face for but an instance, before pulling out entirely and completely. Sampling them, their humanity, and everything they wanted without any context whatsoever; it was good practise for analysis when it mattered, and it was simply enjoyable to just know.

His eyes fell then upon a sight which caused him to freeze dead in his tracks, emerald eyes widening in both pupil and lid as they focused upon one of three individuals. The latter two, hardly important, were cabin boys shifting crates to and fro a large airship's cargo bay. Arguably the one of the most interpersonal importance to Opal was a dark-skinned woman of a luscious curvature and a very powerful demeanour, one he could recognise even from a distance. He only caught a snapshot of her face as he moved closer and closer from his surveillance point to the scene, pushing through as life flooded back into him, skirting around individuals stinking of beer and chewed tobacco, trying desperately to find his way. She'd disappeared in an instant... and whilst he didn't catch the furrows on her face or the boys', something else, something much more gravitationally and monumentally important had caught his eye.

Her sleeve had fallen just a bit. The light had aligned perfectly, and shimmered upon her in an instant for such a way that the synthetic golden rays twinkled upon a thin, shallow gap in her sleeve, where the seams had worn ever so slightly. Refraction had been all but normal, but in his analysis, a skill taught to him by true masters sitting now in the snow-tipped haven on Ryuhi, he'd noticed something. Light bounced ever-so-differently off of tattoos, which were raised surfaces. They were visible because of the contrast that black ink had to skin... these tattoos hadn't been obvious, but if the snippet matched the whole in his memory, this girl was... important. Very important indeed. And now, lost, too.

That was a slaver's tattoo. One he recognised personally. Sure, slaver marks were maybe the same, but that demeanour he'd caught a snippet of, that dark skin he so remembered, aligned with that sectional mental visualisation of the tattoo... it couldn't be coincidence. Perhaps his mind, in its delirium and 'longing', should Opal ever feel such a thing, had formulated pieces to the puzzle out of air and snapped them into place, and perhaps this was another red herring to a mystery that had been put to rest before the depth of his teenage years... but he felt a warmth within him. A warmth to mirror, match, and contrast the cold. This was what those lesser ones felt when they looked upon something they desired, something that was within their grasp, even. Hope, was it?

He'd always had his every need tended to save for one thing as a child: companionship. And as Opal now slalomed around tall figures that would have, moments ago, occupied his vision as he searched their faces for mental scars or signs of insecurity, his mind began to run on overdrive, fitting facts together and running at six hundred percent. He was a gear-driven machine, usually, and this little shock to the system had set things in motion so fast that he felt accelerated himself - and it... scared him. Running at beyond regular capacity was never ideal. He needed to find an answer so he could bury this can of worms that one would call a weakness, an insecurity: he simply needed to know.

He turned the corner, and there she was. Standing at the railing, in what could be called the one singular secluded part of this hangar. Around, above, below, beyond, and behind, the bustling crowds continued like overenthusiastic musical appreciators at heavy concerts, but in this one quiet corner, there was naught but emptiness; and her. A form of serenity. One he was familiar with; a scent upon the air that he remembered. The raw determination; he let a minuscule, inaudible sigh escape the threshold of his pursed, pale lips, and let his body relax and return to regular speeds once more. She seemed to project something about her; the quiet here was almost overwhelming. Opal could still hear the noise surrounding the pair of them, but it was now as if they were encapsulated in some bubble. One that gave them not the automatic ability to, but the option of simply switching off the background music and focusing on the other entirely.

"Eshara." Opal spoke a single world. Coolly, coldly, and in Northern Thibudian accent. Regal, even. One that, hopefully, she'd remember. The man was hardly ever one to reminisce, but an individual with such strong ties to his past... was one that couldn't oh-so-simply be passed up - not just like that, anyway. This was an opportunity to bury one more aspect of his childhood that was only an obstacle unless he triumphed over it. Hopefully, she'd remember him. This would be awfully awkward if she didn't... wouldn't his voice and - albeit aged - face be enough to jog a fourteen-year-old memory back into life?

((OOC: Sorry. Feel like I kinda backed you into a corner, here. Muse was just rolling, though - if you want me to have Opal find her somewhere else, that's fine. I can edit, you just left the outcome of your post a little down to guesswork and interpretation, so I made of it what I thought I should. ^_^"))

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Re: Childhood Friends

Post  Eshara on Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:49 pm

Eight of those fat, giant rabbits were hers now and being shuffled back onto the Emerald, despite the whining and groaning of the boys as they stopped doing what she'd first told them to do in favour of what she'd told them to do now. It really was no good arguing with her about conflict of interest, because to her, the conflict was that she wasn't interested in your problem with her requests. Do them or she'd be on you with her meter-long rolling pin. Finally things were loaded and unloaded, leaving Shard alone to mind herself. She'd head up to the city on her own in a few minutes; right now she just wanted to enjoy this. This was the world. This was freedom.

Stepping away from the rush of the crowds, she melted between them seamlessly, dissolving into nothingness before emerging again near the back and away from them all and leaned against the railing. In this one small space she could have it all. From here she could see all the people coming and going, and be part of them or observing them; she could be near the ships and purr as the hum of their inn-workings sent energy that danced in the air around them. Even on the ship, so much was hers- the kitchen was hers, without a doubt and none dared try to take it from her, and on the dek the sky was hers, too. Eshara's amber eyes closed as she leaned against the rail, smling to herself. Somewhere along the line she'd become a queen and secretly had dominion over all, they just didn't know it any better than she did. And it was wonderful.

"Eshara." Had it not been for years of teaching how to not outwardly panic when you've been pinched, her whole body might have jolted a litle, stiffened entirely, and gone-completely on edge as she tried to figure out who'd called her name. Of all the ports in the world, and all the hundreds of people she'd met since she'd left Port Victory, very few knew her name or remembered it long enough to say it with that kind of confidence, like there was no way they'd ever say it wrong. No, no. Those people were ones she'd left behind long agao to gather dust in her memories, from the other servants at the Dominion to her tavern "home." Those people all knew her name, but surely none of them would be ehre to say it, and surely not without some tone of disdain, disgust or resentment.

"Depends on who's asking," she replied calmly, turning her body slightly to look at which memory had called her name. They were a ways off from her previous homes, and she couldn't think of whyt any of them would be in this hangar. But that northern accent... That wasn't something she was used to hearing anymore. Turning more to look at him fully, Eshara studied his fatures; who had said her name. He was well-dressed, whoever he was; too nice for being a simple pirate, and an air of something higher about him that none but some of the captains around here possessed, and even then not quite like this. Dark hair, pale skin, and vivd, gem-green eyes. She'd never seen him before.. had she? He certainly wasn't anyone she'd been given to at the brothel; any of them would remember her name, but they might not have waited to say it before shanking her.

Shard tried not to stare and be seen as turde but there was something about him that she kknew. Something in those green eyes of his that just wouldn't let her turn away and keep walking. And then it hit her, cold, clear and bright as polished silver being taken out of the velvet-lined boxes to set on the table for fancy dinners. He was much taller than she rememebred him, and his face was older. But those eyes were his. She'd been all over the land and had yet to meet anyone else who reminded her or emeralds the way he did. "Sacred Spirits.... Opal?" Though the movements were slow and careful, Eshara stepped closer to Opal as though examining him closer would indo the delicate touches of time. Slowly her smile warmed; she could still see him there. The thirteen-year-old boy was still there before her eyes. She let out a soft, surprised laugh. "Spirits bless us, it IS you!" For a moment there was no thought as instinct cast away all concept of caste, class or rank, the woman rushing forward with every intention of catching the one person she'd cherished and adored above all others for so long in a hug that she'd meant to give to him fourteen years ago.
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Re: Childhood Friends

Post  Opal Hutchinson on Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:12 pm

"Spirits bless us, it IS you!" Thud. To Opal, this was such an... unusual feeling. One he hadn't ever been used to, and one he would never properly acclimatise to. As a child, he'd been brought up by Irassos to respect image above all else; his father kept a very professional relationship with him, and the pair hardly ever bonded emotionally. They always kept each other at a distance; initially because of Irassos' nature as one of the country's most powerful and influential political figures, but, later, the relationship evolved because of this into a cold, estranged faux link between father and son. Since then, other variables had come into the equation... variables neither of them had counted on appearing.

He felt Eshara's arms wrap around him, briefly, and too pushed his around her, as foreign as contact this close felt. Normally, if he'd allowed someone to be this close to him, they were dead or just about to be. An involuntary smile crept onto his face for but a moment; he was ten years old again, and they were playing around in the kitchen whilst Eshara was supposed to be working. Memories flickered before his eyes like a dust-laden album of black and white photos that nobody had concerned themselves with in a while; and there they were again, the lid flipped from the box of restrained, concealed, and neatly organised emotions. Nostalgia, friendship and love all ran rampant as Opal struggled with his head and his heart doing battle to keep his feelings in check to the appropriate mark. Had to keep up appearances, after all.

He let the smile simmer down and fade a slight bit, stepping back and breaking off the embrace a second earlier than usual. She'd known since they were children that Opal was... unorthodox, at best. Socially awkward, perhaps. "How have you been?" He put it bluntly; straight to the point, Opal through and through. Cutting to business, a crimson swath through the bullshit others trudged through. He wanted to know how she'd been. No need for dancing around the point and beating around the bush. He just asked how she'd been.

Things were so monumentally simple to Opal, when it came to the art of conversation. If you want to know something, ask. If they don't tell you, employ force or charisma. The black-haired Ascendant enjoyed a little of each. Some people didn't endorse torture any more; not because it was inhumane, but because it caused a subject occasionally to regress and become physically unable to divulge the information required, thus making the entire endeavour fruitless and pointless. Charisma was... much more enjoyable, really. A little espionage, a white lie here and there... just tell them what they want to hear, and sooner or later, so they'll reciprocate that in turn.

He looked briefly up to the ship that cabin boys were loading the odd, rotund and fat rabbits onto, and let a dry chuckle escape into the salty Southern air. "I see you've found yourself a job, then," Observation; nothing more, nothing less. Observation, as had been his catching a glimpse of her from the podium up above. Maybe she would tell him whether she'd been sold along again as a slave. Maybe she would tell him that finally she'd managed to fight for her freedom. The details were irrelevant. He was just... enjoying this little slice of leisure time he'd been around; a haze of nostalgia surrounded him. It was good to get a refresher, to help him take inventory. Kept his mind... stable. Seeing Eshara reinforced the fact that those odd, mirage-like years really did happen; those memories were reality, not just some falsified implants that some sorcerer delving into the arts of the psyche had placed into the caverns of his mind. Reassuring. Opal knew that in a land like this, nothing was too far-fetched.

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"By tooth, nail, and bronzed claw, eventually, this world will be mine for the taking..."
Opal Hutchinson
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Re: Childhood Friends

Post  Eshara on Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:05 pm

Of all the men in the world Eshara would willingly throw her arms around, only two had ever been because she'd wanted to embrace them at all, especially because she was happy to see them. One was he beloved Captain. The other was this man she never thought she would see ever again. Why would she have ever seen him again? He was a prince; even if they'd both stayed at the palace, now that she understood the world a bit better she understood that as she got older she'd have been pulled away from him anyway. It would have looked bad to let a young man from a family such as his to be seen constantly in the company of something as simple as herself. But the Ancestors were funny things, and had odd senses of humour; how else could either of them explain finding each other here at the Cove?

As she pulled away she kept her hands on the sides of his arms, giving a light squeeze through his jeacket and looking him up and down. Her smile was amazingly bright, the woman amazed at seeing a ghost here in the flesh and that after all this time he still knew her so readily. Her hands moved up to his face for just a moment, holding his cheeks and really looking at him. His features had matured quite a lot, the youthful puppy fat all melted away into a far more refined face. But those eyes hadn't changed in the slightest. Finally she let go of him entirely to give him his space, even though she really just wanted to hug him again. "How have you been?" Oh, Opal. You really haven't changed. Always so to the point. From what game he would rather play to exactly what snack he'd prefer Mrs. Jarley make that day for tea. Always so exact, but that was something Eshara rather appreciated about him. She never had to jump walls or dig down to find the answers. "I see you've found yourself a job, then."

Eshara smiled, glancing over her shoulder at the cabin boys who were finally freed to go do their original tasks, and then back to Opal. "It's been a very busy 14 years... Arrasis sold me not long after you left, you know. But here's my current home~" She moved a hand upward to gesture at the sleek body of the Emerald. Narrow and deep, her two black sails curled inward. Men were hard at work scrubbing the inside of her propulsionary and booster engines, engineers for the Emerald tweaking and adjusting anything that needed it now that they were sitting still in a safe place. She smiled back to Opal. "I'd invite you up for tea and cake, but I think the Cap'n would have my head for that." Inviting Opal onto the ship that belonged to enemies of the state... Yeah, that'd go over amazingly.

She looked him up and down once more, committing this image of him to her memory, just in case this was their last encounter. He'd grown tall, and the soft features of youthful bodies replaced be a more refined image. Opal had grown into a very handsome man, and something behind his eyes shone with the light of experience. He'd grown up, but they both had, hadn't they? "What about you? You seem to be doing well... What're you up to these days?" It had been a long time since hide and seek in the palace, and surely by now the prince she remembered had much more daunting things to do with his time.
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Re: Childhood Friends

Post  Opal Hutchinson on Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:11 am

"It's been a very busy 14 years... Arrasis sold me not long after you left, you know. But here's my current home~" He inclined his head in understanding, and then his vision followed her gesturing to the Emerald. Momentarily, Opal arched an eyebrow, and let a low, quiet whistle escape his mouth. The Emerald was a fine piece of work, a mechanism to be envious of, and the pinnacle of steam ship technology in the land, some would argue, but it contained a rather... shady crew. Captain Acrarus Schiwatas and his men, to be exact; pirates. It was their flagship.

After overcoming the minor surprise from discovering that his one childhood friend now associated with thieves and criminals - which, in turn, his organisation was more than likely in well with - he turned back towards her and listened intently once more. "I'd invite you up for tea and cake, but I think the Cap'n would have my head for that." Opal nodded for a short moment in understanding, before making a simple wave with his hand, things clicking into place. He wasn't used to consulting with people on such a... warm... and.. friendly basis. It was... alien, to him, at least.

"No need," Opal smiled; a rare occurrence, indeed, as his pursed and pale lips upturned in the presence of one who warmed his heart. "I was simply passing through, and caught sight of an old friend," He recalled his reasoning for being here. Yes, he'd consulted with Ruby on a few matters... but, obviously, there was something else going on underneath the deep-seated and entrenched façade of bullshit the pair had so carefully and ingeniously crafted themselves. Sibling rivalry, eh?

The smile moved into a grin for a split-second; camaraderie upon his face as memories flashed before his eyes, and then everything faded. His face was stoic and blank once more. He coughed into his hand and tugged at his coat, adjusting it to occupy the front of his mind as he subliminally calmed himself. Simple enough; a practice of meditation, really. Had he not learned how to do it long ago, he'd have a much higher body count, and, presumably, a prison sentence, too.

"What about you? You seem to be doing well... What're you up to these days?" Ah, the inevitable question. He knew it was coming at some point. With a light, careful chuckle, he looked straight upon her and quickly formulated an answer, mulling over so many hypothetical conversational routes he could take. Traditionally, Opal would have simply lied through his teeth, but... it was Eshara. He never called her Shard - only Eshara, no matter her whining back when they were kids. Regal as was his background, he valued formality - kept things so much more... simple, and sleek. Gave him an image - one to be respected.

But... now... that image would more than likely slant downhill if he told her too much, and at the same time she'd lose respect for him and that favourable warmth towards him if she could figure that he was hiding something from her, one of his best friends. What to do? He had to find a balance - this was a speciality, after all. "Well," He himself moved up to the railing, and placed two slender arms upon it, prosthetic hissing near-silently beneath his leather glove, tapered claws gyrating and flexing. Staring into the slit-like previews of the southern sunset that he could discern from throughout the hangar's gaping shield, he tried to take on the appearance of a man controlled and dominated by his position - the white lies were oozing from him in body as well as speech. He had to keep her at a distance - one not too close and not too far. She deserved to know as much as his family, but, she couldn't. She just... couldn't. The way it was, things were going to unfold well - one more person who knew was one more person who could screw it all up.

"I guess you could say I'm no longer the prince you'll remember me as," This much, he could explain. "I haven't seen my father in almost ten years, and now, I'm working for a few friends. It pays well," Distractions, diversions - anything to attract her attention that wasn't his words. His tone was rich, silky, and smooth; like that of royalty, dry and overtly sexualised. He gyrated his shoulder, rotating the joint oddly enough that she'd notice it, yet subtly enough that she probably wouldn't bring it up. Eshara was blunt enough as it was, but, still...

"Just the odd spot of business I can take care of here and there, I guess," He smiled warmly at her, turning around. This was one of the few aspects of his being a man of many faces and façades that he didn't like...

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"By tooth, nail, and bronzed claw, eventually, this world will be mine for the taking..."
Opal Hutchinson
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