(121-04-16) The Hunt
The Hunt
Summary: Evil has arrived in Oldtown in the guise of a man. But you don't remember what happened here.
Date: 04/16/2014
Related: None

There have been rumors about odd stranger stalking about the depths of the Underworld. He hasn't seemed to really bother with the organized crime element, which possibly has been intentional, but if the rumors hold true, anyone who has interacted with cannot remember what the man looks like. Though the word of mouth says that he seemed non-violent and seemed to carry the air of someone who might hold unknown power. As if they people were afraid to speak of him, even if they didn't know his face or name. Such a figure is here, moving down the alleyways at a slow, almost calculated pace. He stops for a moment, kneels down to speak to a homeless teen or a beggar, asking them a question or two, then getting up and leaving. Or sometimes, he simply stands out of the way, watching the people pass by. As if looking for something. Waiting for something.

Another figure moves down Ragpickers' Wynd, occasionally slinking in one alley to emerge from another with purpose; Evallash, the hand of the infamous Black Eel.

She strikes an unintimidating figure until one catches sight of her face — the intense eyes, the black smears of kohl, the glimpse of a dark and devious soul with a lighthearted smile. Otherwise, she's small, unassuming, wrapped in layers of fabrics. A long and wide breadth of dark fabric is draped over the woman's head, serving as a hood, protection from Oldtown's rain for her curly hair that already looks like it has been soaked and dried in saltwater. Emerging from a dank hole-in-the-wall, tucking an item inside a fold of her garment, she looks up, eyeing those in her sharp line-of-sight — so, too, looking for something.

Kain seems to stand out, even here in the Wynd. A look as if he does not belong in Westeros, nevermind this time, if such a thing were possible. The expression on his face is one if he was seeing things that only he sees, the responses he gets from the beggars and whores it looks like he pays close attetention to words that may mean nothing to those speaking it. The rain does not bother him, he wears no hood, water splatters upon his shaven head, running down his face in errant droplets. The cloak or robes he wears constructed of animal fur, furs that seem to be taken from animals with pelts and thus waterproof, rolls off him. The staff he carries seems to be more than simple a walking staff. It's thicker, more durable, and the nicks and scratches in give off the idea that he knows how to use it. A rather smart way to walk about, always armed. Eyes, a shade of dark brown so deep they seem to appear more like pools of pitch peer about, and he's coming this way, just in the process of moving past Eva. As he passes by, he stops turning to look at the oppostie wall. Fingerless gloves reach out, touching the stone. There seems to be burn marks on the stone, as if ash had been smeared there.

Eva's attention is caught by the stranger; a dull but growing fascination that's close friends with suspicion. Her head tilts, animal-like, as she notices the way the man touches the wall— the way he leaves his mark. She moves, skulking, to that very wall, running her fingers behind the ashy trail, her wrist turning this way and that and jostling her bracelets with the slightest rasp of metal. She watches for the stranger — to see if he notices — from beneath the shadow of her makeshift hood and the sharp line of her eyelashes; brown, her eyes, yet they stand out as vivid, catching every stray light-source, making them the dangerous amber of a predator.

For every step, the staff makes a rapping sound. Until that rapping stops. Kain stands still, head tilting up to looking up at the sky and the rain falling down. He seems to have a very percise level of control about himself. But every movement is calm, patient. "You are wanting to ask a question." he suddenly says, slowly beginning to turn about. There's an odd smell about him. Incense. From Essos? Or somewhere else? It's fragrant and pungent, like something that would go in a tea or some kind of medicine balm. "I did not leave that mark. Someone else did. But that was not your question, was it?"

Eva comes to a smooth halt the moment Kain is still. She leans her shoulder into the wall and folds her arms, seeing what she can see of him — and what she can smell. There is a calmness to her demeanour, as well, a precise control and lack of fear, but something dark and lively writhes beneath the surface. It's in the glint of her eye — whether the man can see it or not. "I am wanting to ask a question," she repeats, lilting and low and slow in her thick accent that marks her as foreign; specifically, of The Free Cities, to any knowing ear. "And you are here searching for something. I suppose we both are looking for answers."

Kain's face is mired in shadows, throw by the night and by the steep walls of alleyways. But there's two little pinpoints of light where his eyes are, reflected by the water on the street. He watches her for a long moment, considering. Just as she is a predator, she has come into the presence of another, but there's a suggestion that his prey is not her. Or anyone else in this area. His own accent could possibly be akin to someone from Qarth, but it doesn't fit. There's something else there. "Are not we all seeking answers?" he ponders. "But that was not the question. I am hunting. A very dangerous person." Beat. "If person is even an adaquete descriptor for him."

She slinks closer, only enough for her long clothes to rustle and again go still. She trails her fingers once more over the marks on the wall, studying them anew: as evidence, tracked. "You are hunting a person who is not a person," she summarizes, a hint of amusement clinging to the enigma of a statement. "And who are you, to hunt this impossible thing?" Eva lifts her gently pointed chin, sharp-cornered eyes narrowing.

"Who I am is unimportant, is it not?" Kain replies. "A name is a small thing. Transient. Inconsequential. What I seek is." Lightning cracks across the sky, for a moment, illuminating them and alley they stand in. "A warlock." he says after a moments pause. "I will kill him." The way he says that, very factual. Very simple, as if this an everyday occurance. "That is why he is not a person, but something else. Evil in the guise of a man. There is a darkness about this city. Slowly, he infects it, corrupts it. A parasite. I have hunted many of his kind before, but this one has eluded me once already. He will not do so again. He has come here for a reason."

Intrigue dances in Eva's eyes — as does the flash of lightning, which causes no flinch. No surprise strikes her for it nor the unusual information the man brings. For every gleam of interest in her steady gaze, something further hides deeper beneath the surface. "And what is that? Who is this … warlock?" she asks, her voice, its thickness, heavier than her mood— she almost sounds skeptical; amused. Unworried, at the least, yet she stares even more keenly at the stranger.

"You know not of what a warlock is?" Now it's Kain's turn to sound skeptical, even though his voice carries that same passive, almost neutral tone to it. "A prationer of the arcane, only he has bent his magics for selfish, dark purposes. He has come here for…" he drifts for a moment, and his eyes close, as if something only he sees has caught his attetnion. His eyes flutter again. He turns his head. Then he sniffs the air. Slowly he begins to turn around.

"I have heard of such things," Eva is quick to reply, seeking the why of it — but realizing Kain's words have drifted off, so does she. Her head tips to one side, toward the wall, and her gaze goes ever-so-slightly distant. She touches the fabric that hoods her head where it falls past her neck; her fingers toy with the fold while she listens. To the silence. To the absence of the earthy noises beneath the rain: the crickets and frogs and nighttime creatures have ceased their song. Although it is not exactly fear that rises in the Merchant of Sins, Eva's instinctive hackles rise. A tense stillness comes over her, except for the careful turn of her head.

Her gaze lands within the dark mouth of an alley.

"Your man who is not a man," she says in ominous hush. "Has he found you, instead…"

There are only two guestures. The man/figure at the end of alleyway extends one arm, pointing at the pair of them in that narrow walkway. The rain almost seems to bend to his will, and instead of falling, the droplets turn, arcing in a bend, and move horizontally, fixated on them. They elongate and harden, becoming something akin to long peircing needles of ice.

The same time the robed figure acts, so does Kain. Bending his knees slightly, he slams his staff into the ground infront of them. There's an odd sensation, then. Like all sound is muffled slightly and the feeling like the hairs on the skin rising. But the needles, hundreds shatter before them about foot away from Kain's staff, as if a bubble had encased them.

The man lowers his arm. "Kain." his voice is slick, oily. "I came to wish you luck. The game would be no fun were there not challenge invovled. Give my regards to your bitch of a sellsword." There's a ruslting of trash about the man, leaves and scraps of posters. "Good luck." The swirl intensifies surronding the other until it subsides, leaving nothing there but a blank spot of road.

The muffled sound vanishes, Kain leaning back up, then runs towards the opening where the man stood.

At first, Eva backpedals only to find the wall at her back. She finds herself trapped, caught watching the remarkable display with a combination of shock and intrigue, her eyes wide and — in the brief moment that she fears for her life — even frightened in earnest. It vanishes when the robed figure does, replaced by a dark, suspicious fascination. It drives her, rather than holds her more wisely back. When she seeks to— at least, partly— follow Kain, it's not exactly out of concern for his well-being.

Kain did -something- to save them. Whatever he did, prevented those thing rain droplet-turned deadly ice needles from turning them both into pincushions. He stands there, at the spot where the man had stood. "No mage can vanish." he states turning his head to look down both ways ways of the street, then up at the roofs of the nearby buildings. "He's toying with me. All a game in his mind. But he wants a challenge, otherwise, there would be no enjoyment in what he does. He's still here, blending in with the night. There were no real displays of magic, save beyond altering the falling rain. There was not visable representation of Kain deflecting them either. As always, the magic has a subtle, almost invisible look to it. But what she did witness was very brief wizard duel.

"Mm; a game, but on whose field." Clinging to a new corner, Eva peers into the dark in which the figure at least seems to have vanished. On a swift turn, she faces the man once more; the wizard who is still with her. "Kain," she pronounces. He may have said names are inconsequential and transient, yet she speaks his, gleaned from his enemy, with a certain power in knowledge. "How much danger does this man who is not a man bring with him to Oldtown?" she asks, slowly, neutral but for the intensity of her voice. "I have heard whispers— a man whose face cannot be remembered. Is that him," he eyes lower, lift, focus, "or is that you?"

"I have slain many dark warlocks in my time, but he is the most insidious I have come to encounter." Kain is still watching the streets. "Humans are his playthings, the land is his chessboard. Life and death are only end results. Power is his goal. One of the many deluded who think they can bring back magic to the strength of old. He fancies himself a god in the making. He brings great danger to Oldtown. He has come for bodies and blood." Turning back around, he moves back into the alleyway. He does not answer the quick right away. "The only way I can continue my work is if I do so unobstructed. And to protect myself from those who would sooner burn me at a stake than understand that I only wish to protect them. So make them forget my face. For their saftey and my own."

Eva listens somberly, although Kain's description of such dark magic and the warlock's nature enlivens her gaze more healthy. She follows into the alley and slinks in beside him rather than sneaking at his heels. "Quite a trick," she remarks, a smile uplifting her mouth. It turns into a snakelike grin — if only she had such an ability… — and fades as her lips purse in thought. "I care not about war, even between magic men; I care that business here goes uninterrupted," she states before asking upfront, "Can you kill him?"

Eva listens somberly, although Kain's description of such dark magic and the warlock's nature enlivens her gaze more healthy. She follows into the alley and slinks in beside him rather than sneaking at his heels. "Quite a trick," she remarks, a smile uplifting her mouth. It turns into a snakelike grin — if only she had such an ability… — and fades as her lips purse in thought. "I care not about war, even between magic men; I care that business here goes uninterrupted," she states before asking upfront, "Can you kill him?"

"People are things to him. To him, they are not really alive. Gold means nothing to him. Nor does status. Only power and the means to increase it. In a sense, he perhaps is neither good nor evil, he simply is. In that, he and I are alike. But he destroys where I defend." Kain notes, though that is more to himself, it seems. "I will protect those here," there seems to be a 'but' coming, "…so long as they do not get in my way from accomplishing my task." At the last, he seems…pensive? His face is hard to read. "It is not a question if I can, I must. It is as simple as that."

One of the woman's dark eyebrows inches higher as she glances across to Kain, curious but seeming unimpressed by his words. She winds one hand up to her face, pressing a knuckle and one of her many silvery rings to her mouth in consideration — briefly restless, conflicted. Her attention frequently flits from shadow to shadow, wisely on guard. "I will warn the Prince of the Undercity of his threat."

That staff taps against the ground idly. Kain doesn't really seem concerned with impressing her, it's only a matter of being honest about something he preceives as a threat. "Will you now? You presume to think that you will remember what was said here or my face or my name." That much is evident, what's to stop him from doing what he's done in the past in the name of keeping his actions covert? "You are clearly one who has wisdom beyond her years, much more than a simple deizen of the Undercity. Tell me, what reason should I let you leave with this information?" A pause. "I am not however, beyond an agreement."

That is not, from what it sounds like, a physical threat. He would've done that already if he had wished to.

"You see— I am in the business of secrets," Eva confides, moving ahead in one swooping step to plant herself neatly in front of the man. She must look up to meet his eye, yet does so with the bearing of someone who is taller. "I am the one they call the Merchant of Sins. I work for one who is called the Black Eel. Without secrets, we would be nothing; we would be torn apart, and yet we thrive. How else, but to keep what is known known and not told?" A smile spreads, warm, in its way, but always deviously edged. "I will not tell anything you do not wish told. I would like to keep my memory. Perhaps, wizard, I can do something for you in exchange."

"Your currency is secrets. Information." Kain simplifies. "I have worked with such in the past, in order to complete my goal. As they have been…mutually beneficial." It's clear the mage is no spring chicken, he's been around. The explanation is listened to idly. Her promise of keeping the information is met with perhaps mildly dubious look. Then finally, after a look above them, a precaution, his eyes go back to her. "Your offer?"

"My currency is coins," Eva counters, smile widening 'til a hint of white shows, then vanishes again. "I keep secrets, I do not trade them; such is the nature of a business that offers…" A tooth scrapes on and off her bottom lip, and they hover apart while she searches out a word. "…deviances." Her jaw squares, businesslike. "You are in my world, here, the world beneath the world," she glances around the darkness of the alley, "But you are not wrong. I know things— hear things— things that are not my secrets to keep, and those can be given— for this mutual… benefit. I can give you whispers, or I can whisper in ears; or perhaps," her eyes gleam heady mischief, "you can use what the Black Eel sells."

Everything that Kain is calculated, and the wheels are turning behind the dark eyes of the mage. In agree to leave her memories in tact, she offers him things that it would be harder to learn without someone who knows Oldtown better than he does. It goes without saying how useful such information would be to a person in his field of work. "I need not have to describe what should happen should I find that things you keep to yourself about me about were to escape." he finally says. "My hunt will not by deterred, not by anyone, that is clear? That is is in your best interests as much as it is for anyone else in this city. That said," he pauses, he makes some kind of guesture with his hand, but he did something. "You will leave with your memory unclouded. I would advise that I not come to regret this act of generosity. I have no desire to punish someone for simply making a…" there's a ghost of a smirk, "…'honest' living."

The face that looks back at Kain is not exactly an innocent one, but it is the face of a knowledgeable businesswoman. Even in her deviousness, her expression emits a sense of seriousness, her gaze leaving the man's only to wonder briefly and suspiciously over his hand. But she nods, a subtle but solid motion. "We have an understanding." Her brows then lift.

Kain has given his single warning, as is procedure with him. It will be up to her whether or not she feels like incurring the wrath of an angry wizard. Who's here to protect Oldtown from someone far worse than he could ever be. "We do." he agrees. "I will not cause do unrest in your world. And if I must, I will be respectful and inform you of such. It is possible he hides amoung your area. That is, one of the reasons I am here. And a word to the wise; should you see him again, do not engage him. Find me. And, should you hear of people, anyone, going missed or dying under odd circumstances, that is a possible sign he may of begun his activities. Red-tinted water. Dead animals with no visible signs of death."

Easing her expression into her version of neutral after a small grin, Eva tips her dark, covered head back and lets it fall in a nod. "I should not like to die just yet," she says; in other words, agrees that she shall not engage the other strange man. "How very ominous, those signs," she adds, and though it sounds as though she does not visibly take those harbingers of evil seriously, her question is. "And how will I find you?" Until she cannot, or does not bother, to stop her brazen amusement at herself— "Will I speak your name, and you appear in a swirl of smoke?"

"There are things he does with the blood collected from them. What, I will not speak of, I do not wish to dirty the air between us with the words." Kain says darkly. "Just know that are signs of his presence. These things will be thought of strange, but most pay little heed to them. Same with the people that go missing, which tend to be the poor, like beggars and whores. No one will care or bat an eye should they go missing or be found dead." He shakes his head. "No mage can simply appear out of thin air, no matter how great their power. Otherwise my job would be much easier. Leave a message at the Bawdy Bard, I will find it."

Eva speaks two knowing words: "Blood magic." The Lorathi woman knows it— or has seen it. After her own ominous statement, she affects a look of terrible disappointment that he cannot simply appear out of thin air, then dismisses it with one of her snaking smiles. She moves toward Kain, swerving to her right at the last moment and reaching to touch his arm in her intended passing. "Then, until blood has spilled," she says by way of goodbye.

"It is quite possible." Kain nods. "He has not shown his cards yet, even in our past meetings. But then…neither have I." He's very statuesque as she passes, looking down at her. "Until the next peice falls." he responds, moving in the opposite direction, the sound of his staffing knocking against the ground, echoing in the alleyway and until he's out of sight.

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