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Reyukka

Second Thoughts.

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The morning air was cool and crisp with a sense of peace to it, something that Reijna absolutely loved and was still getting use to. A soft hum escaped her as she leisurely made her way back to the tavern from the night before. She knew the day wouldn't stay this calm, but she would be damned if she let that knowledge ruin the peaceful feeling. She thought for a moment about going off to train, but dismissed the idea as the sooner she was on her way the better. 

 

All too soon the tavern was before her. Her steps halted as she stared, wondering if the man from last night was still in there. 

 

"HEY! ARE YA JUS' GONNA STAND IN TH' MIDDLE O' EVERYTHIN?! MOVE IT!" A rather gruff voice called out at her, causing her to jump and hurriedly move out of the way.

 

"Sorry!" She called out, embarrassed at herself for being lost in thought. Quickly she made her way across the final stretch to the tavern. Her stomach grumbled and yelled at her, angry that she hadn't eaten the night before.

 

"Hush." She whispered at her stomach before going in. When she entered, she purposely did not look around and made her way straight to a table. 

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Sandor ignored the pain in his head as he followed through on the gentle movement of his form. Slow and with a serene discipline, the kata allowed him to focus his mind and ease the stiffness in his joints caused by his recent drunken stupor in an uncomfortable chair. A deep inhale caused his damaged ribs to flare in pain but, again, he ignored the discomfort allowing his mind to settle. A slow exhale helped with he pain and the movement, as he stepped to his right to continue, brought an even greater sense of peace to his troubled soul.

 

The kata was a series of gentle movements that he would normally have avoided, even with the hangover. His normal training routine was a bit more intense but, given that someone had gone to great lengths to get him patched up, he figured a couple days of light training would be advisable. Given his inner turmoil, the kata was actually helping him reign in the anger he felt at himself for allowing Tuco to escape justice. Focusing on the form allowed Sandor to also recognize that not everything was as simple as he’d like it to be and that some things simply could not be rushed. Tuco would get his, in a week, a month, or a decade, that was something that he knew for certain and even that thought was enough to bring a little peace.

 

Not that training had agreed with him at first, two attempts had to be aborted when his stomach decided to rebel strenuously at the early activity. Now he was fully into the kata and the aches and pains of the battle were of little consequence.

 

He was unclear about the specifics, but it was obvious that someone had taken the time to clean and bind his wounds. He dimly recalled the young woman ordering to sit and turning to Kern and instructing him to fetch towels and water, so he’d guessed that they had something to do with it. His memories of the evening before were, at best fractured, so anything could have occurred he supposed. Still, he was fine aside from what may have been the worst hangover since the Calamity.

 

That was something.

 

Now, he was still stripped down to the waist, but he was clean and the bandages on his wounds were fresh and blood free. Best of all, he no longer smelled like something had died in a distillery and he features, aside from bruising under his left eye and a painful looking cut across the bridge of his nose were clear and free from the drunken caste that must have made him a sight to behold the night before. That ragged and staggering figure was gone, replaced by the surprisingly graceful student of the martial arts who was practicing now as the woman entered the tavern.

 

Dark eyes glanced in her direction as Sandor continued his form. It only took another couple of moments for him to finish up and, when he did so, he gathered up a towel from the table and used it to wipe his brow. With a brief nod, he acknowledged Rejina’s presence and spoke in a clear, far less guttural voice than the night before.

 

“Good morning,” he said without any hint of discomfort one might expect given the circumstances of their meeting the night before. He took stock of her with the glance though it was a far cry for the drunken leer of the night before and decided that he had to admit that she was quite pleasing to look upon. He’d always been drawn to exotic and interesting women and the Viera were both of those things’ truth be told. “So, Kern should be back soon. He said something about getting breakfast,” he paused briefly as the though of food almost caused his stomach to rebel once more. After the brief pause, he continued. “He said that anything you want is on me. I guess that I owe you one…”

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The sound of his voice confirmed what she had been expecting, however it sounded far more sober than it had last night. With a soft sigh, Reijna replied with a simple "Morning" and set her belongings on the table. Her fingers deftly undid the tie of her pack and she pulled out a book and set it down on the table only to tie the pack closed again.

 

She had honestly expected that Kern might still be asleep, if only because he had stayed with Sandor as th chirurgeon patched him up. It was doubtful he would have left the two unattended.. At least she wouldn't have if it had been her.

 

"As I said last night I don't... Seriously?!" She exclaimed upon finally looking up at him, "What are you doing traipsing around half naked in a place of business? I mean, I understand it isn't too busy from what I've seen in my short time here, but that's no excuse. You'll end up scaring off the few customers that do come in here. At least put on a shirt." 

 

She pushed her glasses up slightly as she pinched the bridge of her nose with her index finger and thumb with her eyes closed. She felt a tension in her body that she hadn't realized she had relax. He looked to be in better shape than the night before. She had been concerned, more than she would admit, that there was more damage than what was evident when she left. 

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On 9/23/2019 at 5:46 PM, Reyukka said:

"As I said last night I don't... Seriously?!" She exclaimed upon finally looking up at him, "What are you doing traipsing around half naked in a place of business? I mean, I understand it isn't too busy from what I've seen in my short time here, but that's no excuse. You'll end up scaring off the few customers that do come in here. At least put on a shirt."

 

Sandor blinked as the young woman lectured him about “traipsing about”. He looked down at himself as she finished wondering what was so frightening about him and couldn’t help but grin at the idea of a full-grown woman reacting to his appearance the way she had. Normally he received a second look or maybe even a compliment but never in his days had someone taken offense…

 

“Okay,” he replied with a shrug as he moved over towards the bar and picked up a shirt that had been left upon it by Kern earlier when he’d left after granting his friend permission to perform his forms inside. The shirt was a bit small for his powerful form but, he pulled in on over his head and shrugged into it. Once it was on, he turned back towards the woman and spread his arms a little as he offered a mock bow. “Does this meet with your approval then?”

 

He was about to say something else when Kern’s voice interrupted.
 

“Ah, m’lady,” came the pleased greeting. “It’s good to see you again. Pray, forgive my absence but I just came from the kitchen with something that even the good ser might be able to stomach.”

 

Sandor grimaced as the sight of his friend carrying a large tray with breakfast caused his stomach to do a back flip. Fighting down the urge to run off and empty the contents of his stomach for the third time since rising this morning, he simply shook his head declining as politely as he could the offer of food for the moment.

 

Ignoring his friend’s obvious discomfort, Kern made his way into the tavern and placed the tray on the table before Reijna. While it was simple enough fare, the barkeep had prepared enough for the three of them to eat their fill despite knowing that Sandor would likely only drink the cold water that was in the two pitchers being carried in by his daughter and son who had come in right behind him. As they’d been taught, the two children came in and placed their burden onto the table offering little more than a furtive glance towards the two patrons before scurrying back into the yard.

 

“Thanks,” was all the mercenary said as he watched the kids leave. Grabbing an empty tankard from the bar, the moved to the table and poured himself some water before moving off the table he’d been using the night before. Taking a seat, he sipped slowly resisting the urge to down the drink in the one gulp that he wanted to. He’d be damned if he showed any more weakness this morning…

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Reijna turned at the sound of Kern's voice and smiled. She was honestly grateful he had shown up. She wasn't sure how to interact with the other male in the room.

 

"It's perfectly alright." She responded cheerily. Her eyes drifted to the plates he was carrying and her stomach responded to the sight with a loud, hungry growl. Her hands flew to her stomach and her cheeks reddened with embarrassment. The thought occured to her to make an excuse and leave, but she knew that would be rude. Especially considering the man had gone through the trouble of preparing a meal ahead of time.

 

"Th-thanks." Reijna said quietly as she sat down. Her gaze flitted to the children as they quietly and quickly poured the drinks and left. They were incredibly well behaved and quiet. She then looked at Sandor with a slightly disapproving look as she thought about how she wasn't too surprised given their current... guest. She'd want to go hide from him too after last night's display if she were them.

 

"You have children?" Reijna asked Kern, looking to fill the silence.

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If Sandor heard Reijna’s stomach rumble he paid no mind instead seemingly content to keep his eyes focused on some point across the room and behind the bar as his sipped his water. He leaned back casually assuming a relaxed pose doing his best to ignore the distress he was feeling though the water was helping enough that he was beginning to figure life would be worth living after all.

 

“Oh, aye m’lady,” Kern replied with pride his voice. He broke out into a broad grin as he glanced towards the door before continuing. “Three of them. The young one aren’t usually much help being so small but, with their older sister off to the city for errands, I figure I’d let them bring the water. They’re really interested in him.”

 

The last was said a nod towards Sandor and a shrug. Why the children were so curious about his mercenary friend was a complete mystery to the barkeep for, as far as he knew, Sandor had never even glanced in their direction. At least not intentionally at any rate.

 

He offered Reijna a grin as if speaking about the man who was only a few feet away was no big deal. “I guess I may have told them a tale or two about the time when Sandor and I met. A harrowing experience for me but one that may have got their imaginations runnin cause now, every time he comes around, they suddenly want to help…”

 

Truth be told, that was why their older sister was in U’ldah with one of the local lads. Still too young to catch the eye of the handsome wanderer, she was clearly old enough to have notions of her own. Kern had initially reacted with amusement at her artless attempts to gain Sandor’s attention but something one of the soldiers said made the entire situation no longer amusing. When Sandor had arrived in the village three days ago, Kern had hastily penned a supply list and ordered one of the young men to take his daughter with him confident that the buying errand would be completed long after Sandor had left to do whatever it was that he did when not in the area.

 

Though still seemingly uninterested, Sandor grinned ever so slightly. He’d of course noticed the children, when they weren’t on their best behavior, they were certainly loud enough. While they also appeared shy in from of their parents, they’d occasionally approached him while he was training and asked questions though he’d pointedly ignored their inquiries never having any idea that they knew he’d saved Kern’s life that day seven years before.

 

“You and your stories Kern,” Sandor’s voice was low but carried a friendly tone as he shook his head. Emptying his mug with one last pull, he motioned for a refill and grimaced in pain at the silent refusal from his friend before rising to his feet to walk over himself and refill the cup. “I always wondered why the follow me around with those wide-eyed looks as if they’re waiting for something happen. Like my life’s some huge adventure like in the sagas with danger lurking around every corner…”

 

He took a long drink for the mug before refilling it again and returning to his seat. He shook his head again slowly and grinned up at the other man who at least had the good grace to look embarrassed before adding, “You know the girl asked me to teach her how to be a soldier.”

 

Kern blanched at that and was about to make an angry retort when he suddenly laughed at the revelation. “That’s funny,” he said after a moment of mirth. “I, of course, expect that you told her no… right?”

 

“…Right?!”

 


 

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Reijna smiled as she watched the two talk, amusement dancing in her eyes. She was honestly surprised to learn that the children liked him so much. This caused her to start thinking. Children can actually be pretty good judges of character most times. Most times. So she sat, nibbling lightly in the food brought to her as she stared at Sandor with interest, attempting to figure out what type of man he was. She noted that he hadn't made a crude remark, nor had he been leering at her at all the entire morning. He'd also been drinking water. Had she just caught him on a bad night?

 

Kern's near-panicked screech of the word "right" brought her back from her thoughts. She was about to speak when the door opened and a hooded figure came in. The way the hood was sitting on their head, she would guess they were a mystel. It was confirmed when he lowered his hood. Quietly, the man walked to a table and sat while facing the table the group sat at. The man said nothing, his eyes intent on Sandor. 

 

"Friend of yours?" Reijna asked softly as she leaned towards Sandor. Her gaze moved from the mystel to Sandor, gauging his expression for a moment before glancing back at the mystel. His gaze was incredibly unsettling to her, even though he wasn't even looking her way. 

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“Now what kind of man would I be to stand in the way of a child’s dream?” Sandor glanced over towards Reijna and offered her a conspiratorial grin. Seeing her smile and the mirth that danced in her eyes, he found himself realizing just how lovely she was. She was, of course, a member of a people who were widely considered attractive but something about her manner was quite appealing. The glasses she wore added a culture that he normally avoided due to his own discomfort among the gentler members of society.

 

Just as Kern seemed about the make an angry retort, or at least another plaintive exclamation, Sandor turned back to his friend and raised his hands in supplication. “Of course,” he said chuckling at the barkeep’s discomfort. “I admit that I didn’t flat out refuse though. I simply agreed to train her the same way I’d been trained.” The last was added hastily as Kern rolled his eyes heavenward looking for deliverance. “Even I know that denying her is only going to make her want to become a soldier even more. Kurthekul didn’t teach me any fighting for more than a year so, unless she’s a stupid and single minded as I am, she’ll outgrow this long before I’ll be forced to make good on my agreement.”

 

Kern vacillated between looking doubtful and ready to panic bringing another grin to the mercenary’s face as a pregnant silence followed. Just as the barkeep was about to frame a hopefully witty reply, the door swung open allowing the hooded figure to enter the small tavern.

 

The humor left both men instantly at the newcomer’s arrival as Sandor grunted and turned back to the mug of water. For his own part, Kern looked almost ready to intercept the figure but moved away instead at a barely perceptible shake the mercenary’s head.

 

On 9/30/2019 at 9:46 PM, Reyukka said:

"Friend of yours?" Reijna asked softly as she leaned towards Sandor. Her gaze moved from the mystel to Sandor, gauging his expression for a moment before glancing back at the mystel. His gaze was incredibly unsettling to her, even though he wasn't even looking her way.

 

“Not exactly,” came Sandor’s reply as he finally looked up from his mug to return the stare from the Miqo'te. If there anything to gleaned from his tone, it was that Sandor was not a fan of the man sitting across from him. After another pause where the two men locked gazes until the Miqo’te eventually dropped his a moment before Sandor spoke.

 

“What are you doing here?”   

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A laugh came from the man as his head tilted. 

"Is that any way to greet an old acquaintance?" As he spoke, the grin from his laugh remained upon his lips and he pulled down his hood. He could have been described as having a boyish charm if not for the malice that shone clearly in his eyes. 

 

"However, if I were sharing the same company as you...." his gaze then moved to Reijna, giving her a slow and meaningful once over, "I'd want me to leave too."

 

The look in his eyes would have made most women shrink, self consciously knowing what it was he was thinking. Reijna, on the other hand did the opposite. She lounged back in her chair, seeming to stretch out comfortably as she crossed her legs. The movement, though it would seem completely natural to all but the highly skilled eye, was to position her hand close enough to her hips that she could withdraw the dagger sitting there if need be. She had learnt from her experience the night before. She would not be left without a weapon close at hand. 

 

"My my.. you know how to flatter a girl. Unfortunately for you, though... I'm spoken for. Not to mention I don't I don't mess with little boys." She returned his once over, clearly indicating his height. The corners of his lips twitched, nearly losing the smile and returned his attention to Sandor. 

 

"I have a job for you. It's a simple one. Pick up and drop off. Now before you ask why our people can't do it I'll just tell you simply, they can't. They're currently..... preoccupied. So the boss wants you to do it. You and a partner of your choice. It's highly valuable, you see. So you may need an extra hand."

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Sandor gave Kern a slight nod as the Miqo’te turned his attention towards the young Viera signaling that the barkeep should make himself scares for a few minutes. While he was well known for his discretion with those who sought his services many of his employers would have thought nothing of murdering a towns person for hearing too much. He thought that it was wisest to spare the barkeep any potential trouble and Kern seemed to be of the same mind. With a feigned harrumph at being dismissed, he quickly made good his departure announcing that he would be back soon.

 

Sandor could tell that dismissing Reijna would not be so easy though, based on her posture, any concerns about her being able to take care of herself could be set aside for the moment. At another time, with someone different from the man sitting across from the, Sandor would have been amused but the fixer, as he’d come to know the Miqo’te, represented something that he’d suspected the young woman had never encountered before.

 

At least for her sake, he’d hoped she’d never encountered the like before…

 

Alert eyes narrowed as the fixer returned his attention back to Sandor who had remained still and silent during the exchange. That the young woman’s words had stung just a little was gratifying though he would have cautioned Reijna against antagonizing the man had he but a moment to do so. Not one to suffer insults lightly, Sandor was certain that the man would mark her for her for some future retribution.

 

Another reason he might need to keep an eye on her….

 

At the mention of another job, he set all his other concerns aside. If the fixer was there to hire him, he’d put up with his presence for the time it took to work out a deal. That was until the man mentioned that he’d be needing a partner.

 

“I work alone,” Sandor’s voice was low and angry as the other man seemed unimpressed. “You know that so why come all this way out here so you cane just go back to your masters and tell them what you knew I would say?”

 

“Tsk,” the Miqo’te made an indelicate sound as a smug smile crossed his features. “You used to work alone friend. I think that Tannar would have preferred to have more people protecting his back considering how things turned out for him.”

 

Sandor stiffened at the mention of his recently murdered employer. The glare he’d been wearing turned closer to the visage of a mad who was on the verge of a murderous rage. “Tannar has only been dead for two days,” the tightly controlled rage he was feeling turned his voice into a dangerous sounding growl. “The only way you could know now is if you’ve been speaking to Tuco…”

 

“A blunt instrument to be sure but a very useful blunt instrument.” Unaware or at least unconcerned over Sandor’s rage, the Miqo’te continued seemingly relishing in his position. “With your recent failure, there are some in the Syndicate who thank that you need to remember your place. Now, I’ve convinced them that you still need to get paid, but it will be at half your rate and you will be taking on a partner for this job. Turning it down is not an option.”

 

“You may thank me later.”

 

“Thank you…?” Sandor was half out of his seat and already reaching for the fixer before the Miqo’te finally realized that he might have overplayed his hand. Arranging for the murder of a troublesome merchant might have put the tall mercenary at a disadvantage but coming to him so soon may have been a miscalculation. The smug expression faded as Sandor stood looking as if he was about to end the conversation far less civilly than expected…

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Reijna could feel the tension in the room rising with each passing moment, reminding her of a teapot on a stove. She was expecting a high pitched whistle to blow at any moment... 

 

She watched Sandor more carefully than she watched the other, simply because she could tell the man across from them wasn't as skilled in battle as Sandor. She didn't want to have Kern mop up yet another puddle of blood so soon. She opened her mouth, wanting to interject in hopes of keeping things from boiling over... but she wasn't sure what to say and so she shut her mouth again. 

 

It was happening before she realized it. Sandor had leapt up out of his seat, reaching for the Mystel man. Once again, she didn't have time to think. Only to react. She leapt up, grabbing the outstretched hand and lowering it as she placed her body between the two males with her back to Sandor. If Sandor wasn't quick enough in stopping his lunge forward, he would slam into her back.

 

"I will work with him." 

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It took all of Sandor’s discipline, yes, he possessed considerable discipline despite his previous actions, to not lash out at the woman as she intercepted his arm as it moved towards the fixer. Though it was a good thing that she interposed herself, he grunted in irritation at the interruption of the savage beating he was about to unleash. His reflexes were quick enough to halt his forward moment mostly though he still managed to bump into her back and was forced to place a stabilizing hand on her shoulder to make sure neither of them stumbled.

 

The young woman’s offer gave him pause as he was about to move around her to finish the Miqo’te. He froze and closed his eyes as the fixer transformed back from his near panic to the smug superiority. The grip on her shoulder tightened almost as if response to the smile that slowly spread across the deceptively young-looking features as their new ‘employer’ suddenly knew that he had both of them.

 

Sandor pulled has hand away before the grip could turn painful. After a momentary pause, he started to speak. “No,” his voice still carried the dangerous edge to it but a glance at his features would see a bit of worry creasing his brow. “She doesn’t know what she’s saying Rotah'wo. She also doesn’t know who you and those you work for-…”

 

“Too late Sandor!” There was a gleeful tone in the other man’s voice as he rose to his feet and took a step back hopefully avoiding the much larger and faster mercenary. “I think I like the idea of our pretty little miss having to sully herself with he like of you. It might even teach the bitch a little bit about respecting her betters!”

 

Sandor took a step towards Rotah'wo the murderous glint back in his eyes when something outside caught his attention. Kern’s daughter, the younger one who wanted to become a soldier was sitting on a crate with a non-descript man talking to her. While she appeared to be unconcerned by the man, Sandor immediately recognized one if his employer’s killers and froze in his tracks.

 

“That’s right friend,” Rotah’wo said as he wagged a finger under the mercenary’s nose. The smug demeanor was back but now it was accompanied by no small measure of menace. “Why don’t you be a good little boy and relax a little bit. Have a drink, or… maybe several on me. Come to the usual place two nights hence… oh, and if both of you aren’t there, I will be most displeased.” He’d already tuned and was sauntering out of the tavern as he finished. With a final wave, he called back over his shoulder one last time.

 

“I’ll leave my friend behind just in case you get any ideas. Besides, I would hate to drag him from his pretty little friend.”
 

With that he was out and gone into the desert morning leaving Sandor and Reijna alone in the room. In the silence that followed, Sandor stood silently fuming balling his hands into fists and grumbling angrily under his breath.

 

“Stupid,” was the first coherent word that came out of his mouth. Mostly out of concern for her safety, he couldn’t help but give voice to his frustration. Wheeling around to face her he spoke in a low growl, “Stupid girl! Why in the name of the Twelve would you do that?!”

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An odd feeling passed through her at him gently colliding with her back and his hand to her shoulder. But she didn't have time to explore it as there were more pressing matters hand. When Sandor spoke, stating his disagreement, at first she was frustrated that he wanted to deny her help but then his next sentence gave her pause. He didn't want her involved in whatever business he dealt it. He was trying to.... protect her? She almost wanted to laugh. Not in a cruel way but because that's what she felt she was doing by offering her assistance. 

 

She could tell the man in front of them was bad news and if he had a boss that meant if Sandor had attacked there would have been serious repercussions. Her mind turned back into the situation when Rotah'wo called her a bitch. The anger she felt was apparent on her features, despite her every attempt to hide it. All of a sudden she felt a tug at her hand as Sandor took a step around her. With embarrassment, she realized she had never actually released his other hand and did so immediately. She looked up at him to see if he had noticed only to see the color drain from his face. Following his gaze, he saw it. A young girl, clearly related to Kern based on her features, talking freely to a man. 

 

She wanted to run to the child, scoop her up and protect her from him. But she knew she wouldn't get there in time and even if she could, there were no doubt others lying in wait. Her brain wasn't processing the conversation going around her at first, focusing only on thoughts of how she could remove the child from danger, until her and Sandor were left standing alone.

 

"Why?" She said softly, turning to face him. "Why would I stop you? Why would i volunteer myself as your partner? I don't see anyone else lining up. He wasn't giving you a choice. And if I hadn't stopped you from murdering him then what do you think would have happened to that child out there?" Anger welled up inside of her so much so that she was visibly shaking. Her voice had remained low. She wasn't screaming nor yelling, her anger was far past that. Her attention returned to the scene outside. Her heart screamed at her to run over, but her mind knew better. 

 

"Whether you like it or not, we are in this together. Fight me, if you wish, but it will not make me break my word. You'll have to forgive me, though. As much as I am loath to admit... I don't know anything at all about this area. So I'll have to be dependent on you. Don't worry, though, I'm not incompetent when it comes to fighting so I won't be a complete deadweight." She tried to force some humor in her voice as she spoke, but failed miserably.

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Sandor glared at her for a moment after she explained why she’d stood up and volunteered herself. Just what he needed in his life, another do gooding busybody who was likely going to get him stabbed, shot, burned, or mutilated in some horrific fashion. He looked as if was on the verge of replying, most likely to reveal those very same thoughts but instead. He closed his eyes and shook his head slowly seemingly defeated by the whole situation.

 

“You don’t even know me,” he said in a barely heard whisper. “And if I’m right, I can’t imagine that I was anything but a bastard to you and everyone else when we met. Even Kern was put off by me, and he’s known me for years…”

 

He finished with a resigned sigh and returned his gaze to her. This time there was no anger, only an intense clarity as he looked her straight in the eye as if searching for something. Like she said, they were now in this together and that meant that there was no looking back. He didn’t have to like it, but he did have to agree to their working together.

 

“Well, you’re about to get an education on the seedy underbelly of Ul’dah,” he began as he turned to the door to see that Rotah'wo’s man was still speaking with Kern’s daughter. “Rotah'wo works for a group known as the Syndicate. Now, this group isn’t all, bad, in fact, most of what they do helps in the long run but there are those who use their connections to do bad things. That’s where fixers like him come into the picture.”

 

Sandor stopped speaking as he heard the voice of his friend outside calling for his daughter, he was relieved to see that she was alone and hurrying towards her father though the man she’d been speaking to was gone. A little relieved that the girl was safe for now, he turned back to Reijna and offering a simple nod.

 

“Let’s just say that there’s a lot that neither of us know. As far as who Rotah'wo works for? I have my suspicions but that a question best left to better men than myself at this time. What I do know is that we are both rightly screwed and, if we don’t succeed here, we’ll likely not see the next moon. The good news is that I’m very good at what I do so failure is not even on the table.”

 

He ended with a confident grin that was genuine enough though he was already running some ideas in his head about whether or not this was just another set-up. Surely there would be easier ways to kill him, but the fixer was always running some sort of angle that made little sense to the mostly straight forward mercenary. Without any concrete evidence, he decided to keep his suspicions to himself while reminding himself to be wary.

 

Until he saw more of her ability, he figured keeping Reijna focused on the job would probably be for the best. No need to worry her with what amounted to little more than idle speculation.

 

     

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Reijna could see him searching for something in her eyes. What it was, she wasn't sure. And, honestly, she didn't want to know. She suddenly felt as though 10 years had been leached off her. With a soft sigh, she listened to his explanation. She wasn't entirely interested in this "Syndicate" or what they did. But she would listen as the information could come in handy later on. Especially if she had plans on staying in this area. 

 

Her gaze kept flitting over to the girl, watching tensely just in case. The tension eased, though, when she went running to her father. Finally able to breathe more easily, she turned to fully face Sandor and gave him her full attention. His confident grin did little to raise her spirits, though she had to admit... It did make him just a little cuter. A thought crossed her mind to tell him that just to get him flustered, but she quickly dismissed it as it would probably attract unwanted attention from him.

 

"Actually I don't think we're screwed just yet. I mean, he forced the job on you, yes, and he may have an underlying plan. No. Scratch that, there's no 'may have' he definitely has something he's plotting. Otherwise I don't think he would have forced a partner on you and he wouldn't have been so thrilled at that partner being me. But I don't think we'd be 'screwed' until there's no hope left and our backs are to the wall. How far is it to the 'usual place?'"

 

She sat back in her seat, playing with the remaining food on her plate as she was no longer as hungry thanks to the events that just transpired. 

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Sandor couldn’t help but grin ever so slightly as her more positive appraisal of their situation. He’d been doing the work that got him to this point for nearly six years now and he would be the first to admit that his general outlook on live was colored by the sterling examples of man at their worst. He’d been dealing with scum for so long that he had come to accept men and woman like Rotah'wo as the norm instead of people like Kern and his family. Now she’d come along and offered to help, without being asked. He was wondering if she was truly altruistic or just stupid when she added that she was certain that the fixer was probably up to something at the very least.

 

‘Altruistic then,’ he thought to himself glad to see that she hadn’t let the stress of the situation rob her of her wits. He’d seen far too many more experienced people fall for Rotah'wo’s ploy, hell, he’d been close to doing exactly that himself. Finally, with a nod and a slight chuckle, he returned to his seat and grabbed some food for himself suddenly hungry as if the discomfort of his hangover was forgotten.

 

“A positive attitude,” he said as he poured himself some more water then looked over at her with a questioning look to see if she wanted him to fill her mug as well. “I can appreciate that. Let’s hope your optimism remains after this job. Dealing with some of these people is enough to make even the coldest of us feel as if we need a bath after.”

 

Taking a bite of one of the fruits that Kern had set up for them, he pondered her question and decided that, since they would be partners in this, he would be as forthright as he could be. There was no need to keep the location of their clandestine meeting place secret since she’d be finding herself there eventually anyway. “It’s not far,” he started as he made a gesture in the direction of the city. “Just outside the walls of Ul’dah, by the Gate of Nald. There’s a cozy little refugee camp called Stonesthrow, if your idea of cozy is a filthy and wretched jumble of tents and lean-tos ready to fall over with the slightest breeze. The people there are just downtrodden enough to let armed people move through unmolested, but the place is still dangerous if you’re not careful.”

 

He turned back to his fruit taking another bit as he pondered the question about how they would get there. “We can walk there in about a half day,” he added knowing that there was no real danger on the road this close to the city. With a mon=un or carriage, the going would be pretty miserable with the desert heat, but he’d made the journey many times before and he suspected that Reijna was made of sterner stuff than her gentle appearance might have indicated.

 

“There’s a place, a watering hole, someplace that makes this look like a palace,” he grinned as Kern shouted from the back what he thought of any potentially disparaging remarks about his place. With a wave and bow of his head in apology, Sandor continued. “Rotah’wo, with I’m certain more than a few of his goons, will be waiting for us there at first bell. If we leave this morning, we reach the city just after nightfall and even get some rest at the Quicksand for the night. It’s a far cry from sleeping in the loft over at the mill…”

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Reijna glanced up at him, watching as he finally began to eat. His earlier worry appearing to have vanished - though she wasn't sure she believed that his earlier distress had actually gone. She listened as he talked and when he offered to pour her water she lifted her hand to decline but decided otherwise and offered her cup to be filled. Once he finished, she took a sip and set it down.

 

'You mean like how I felt last night after a certain pair of hands landed where they weren't allowed?' She thought to herself. Her eyes moved involuntarily to his hands as the moment was recalled, her cheeks flushing just slightly in embarrassment. Hopefully he didn't recall it. 

 

22 minutes ago, Kyvvan68 said:

“Just outside the walls of Ul’dah, by the Gate of Nald. There’s a cozy little refugee camp called Stonesthrow, if your idea of cozy is a filthy and wretched jumble of tents and lean-tos ready to fall over with the slightest breeze. The people there are just downtrodden enough to let armed people move through unmolested, but the place is still dangerous if you’re not careful.”

 

"Good thing I'm well armed, then." She stated with a slight smirk. She continued listening to him. There was not much she could include anyway as she knew practically nothing about this place. A soft laugh left her at Kern's remarks and she turned towards where he was and called out. 

 

"I'm sure he meant it the other way around." Returning her attention back to Sandor, she paused a moment as he mentioned where she had spent the night. It seemed he did recall last night.... If not at least pieces of it. She took a deep breath and set down the eating utensil in her hand. 

 

"Well then... shouldn't we get going soon?" Reijna stood and turned to the table she had set her stuff on and pulled out her chakrams and their "sheaths" - which were, in reality, just hooks that attach to her belt - and proceeded to get ready to leave. The chakrams in question were shaped like flowers with each petal sharpened to a point with hand holds wrapped in leather. The weapons were clearly well used, but also very well taken care of. 

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