Part 1: (Sidebar) Sundown on the Southside

 
Katariah let out a long, slow breath. The goblin shaman was long gone, and the two women that she had chosen to defend were here, but even so it took every single piece of willpower to stop herself chasing down the fleeing goblin. Her mind is focused on the distance, on controlling the complete cold rage of battle, so much so that she almost misses Ameiko's words. Unexpected as they are, they shatter the remnants of icy rage, and the keleshite girl turns to regard Ameiko with a bit of shock in her eyes. For a little while, a court-trained tongue is lost for words. "Uh. Katria. Kat. Saharkar. Katria Saharkar." She looks down, knowing for sure that she is blushing. With a practiced movement, she shakes her greatblade, hard, a wet splatter of goblin blood and
the commando got stuck on the blade, the same one she was wandering around holding one-handed all this time
goblin hitting the dusty street. Sliding it into it's leather cover, far more forgiving of a bit of blood than a sheath, she is passed her scimitar by the black cloak of flame, whose eyes and mouth have closed now that combat is not in the offing, and with a rag from her belt pouch begins to carefully clean the blade without a trace of self-consciousness. "Well, it isn't anything special... my brother taught me the basics, and a friend improved on that... compared to either of them, i'm clumsy, and a fool. I'm sure that actress from before thinks of me as such." She laughs faintly, half self deprecation and half nervousness. And then she suddenly realizes something. "Hey! You're hurt! We need to get you to a healer... and I should check and make sure there aren't more of those things lurking around... You too Braids - that creature bit you in the leg, and those kinds of wounds can become necrotic if you aren't careful." Like a mother hen, she shushes her chicks towards the church, while at the same time listening for more screams or sounds of trouble, after all, can't just be sitting idle while enemies are raiding the town.

"Really, it's not that bad," Ameiko downplayed her wound even though she was clearly wincing in pain. "I appreciate your concern, Katria, but I've my own ways of treating injuries like these... I could probably help your friend out too," she offered, motioning toward Braids, who had yet to formally introduce herself as she had made herself busy inspecting the body of the fallen goblin warrior. "I really need to get back and check on the bar--I'd hate for some trouble to have come upon the place in my absence--if you want to go with me, I can help take care of everyone's wounds once we get there..."

The surrounding sounds of battle had subsided since you last had a chance to take notice. Atop the cliff, the Cathedral square appeared relatively calm at this point, and the streets and alleys of the downtown district seemed to have been cleared. The guard who had fought with you at the Market Square approached from the south along with a second guard who had joined him. They breathlessly recounted the scene from the docks where another small group of goblins had been staved off. A pair of them who had leaped into the harbor after the others had been killed apparently couldn't swim, and they were seen thrashing about helplessly until they slipped below the dark waves.

You also noticed the door to the theater barely slipping open and the well-dressed noblewoman could be seen peeking out to see if the coast was clear. Seeing that the fighting had ended and the town guard had arrived, she felt comfortable stepping back out onto the street. At the same time, her cowardly, male cohort shamefully squirmed his way over toward the woman, searching for the proper words to make ammends for his actions.
"Allishanda... I'm sorry, I.... I just couldn't..." *slap* the defiant diva had no time for the man's sorry excuses, and illustrated this with an open-handed slap across his face, turning the man's entire head sideways, and as he rebounded from the strike, he was met with a second, much harder blow... *SLAP*

"Not another word, Jeremy," the domineering woman demanded. "You certainly are a sorry excuse for a man!" the actress scowled as her self-loathing assistant stared helplessly down at his feet. "How fortunate for me that these girls were here to come to my rescue... Perhaps I should hire them to accompany me and send you back to knitting dresses in Magnimar?!"

"Just doing what comes natural, Miss Allishanda," Ameiko responded, apparently recognizing the woman as the acclaimed actress out of the City of Monuments. There was no doubt that Cyrdak Drokkus and the town's theater goers would be pleased to know that the heavily-touted production of 'The Harpy's Curse,' in which Allishanda played the leading role, would go on as planned.

All the while, Braids was oblivious to the goings on around her as she poured over the commando's belongings. She had already identified his weapon as one of unusually high quality for a goblin, and was now muttering to herself about a strange runic stone that hung around the neck of the little monster.

Katariah d'Keleshii Suleiman Saharkar

"That sounds.. very nice." Katariah smiled at Ameiko's offer to take care of her and Braids' wounds. With the scimitar clean, one of her hands is pressed firmly onto her shoulder, but a large amount of blood is still coming forth, and her face is starting to get a little pale. Half-listening as the guards recount their tale, she pays more attention as the actress and her male friend reunite. Although she feels abashed about dropping the actress on her heavily enskirtleted bottom, the woman seems interesting and imperious on her own merits. She almost winces, when the actress strikes her assistant and would have when she struck him again if not for the fact that that would almost certainly clue in the guardsmen that she wasn't paying attention to their tale of heroics and goblinfighting.

Making a decision, she turns her attention wholly back to the guardsmen, and steps forward, extending one hand to shake the man on the left's hand, looking at both of them but specifically at him. "Thank you, kind sirs. I'm glad that I and my friend could provide you with some assistance against these goblins. Your conduct in the square, fighting alone against those creatures, and the rapid response and success in driving off the raiders speaks well of your personal skills, and the preparedness of all the guards of Sandpoint." She favours him with a smile, and turns to the other, shaking his hand and smiling to him as well. "Well done." During this brief exchange, the unconscious arrogance and assumed authority of the noble classes, visible in every action she takes, blazes forth, and despite the fact that she has no authority or standing in Sandpoint or with the guards whatsoever, her actions are very much those of one with authority graciously complimenting underlings/those of lower status.

Turning from the guards, or letting them continue their conversation with Ameiko, she walks over to the actress and her assistant. "Hello there. I'm glad you're alright." She flashes a smile at the actress, some of the highborn authority that was rolling from her in waves previously still present. "You shouldn't blame this man.. Jeremy?... for not engaging those goblins. He had neither armour nor weapon, and those dogs would have ripped him to shreds. Instead blame the goblins, for attacking this peaceful town on a festival day." She puts a shoulder on the man's shoulder, giving it a squeeze. "You shouldn't blame yourself either. Here." Withdrawing her hand from his shoulder, she pulls out a wide-bladed dagger with a curved handle, sheath and all, and holds it out to the man. "I'd as lief I had a bigger blade to give you, but a dagger is no small thing if you know how to use it. When you have the time, you should come to the Rusty Dragon, I or the barkeeper, Ameiko, could show you a thing or two about using one, and then next time your mistress is in trouble, you could defend her." She smiles gently at the poor guy, and then turns back to the actress. "And for myself, I hope for your forgiveness too. I was hasty with my actions, and put both of us in danger with that crazy stunt." She smiles slightly abashedly at the memory, but then continues. "I'm very glad you had the presence of mind to get out of there, and consider myself in your debt." Katariah briefly bows her head to the woman, and winks at her. "And i'd love to see you on stage, once your play begins."

"I suppose you're right about the goblins; the horrid little things had no business disrupting my evening stroll," Allishanda responded. "But to leave a lady in danger whom you were hired to escort...? No, Jeremy is a despicable coward and you'll not convince we otherwise. Now be gone from my sight," she demanded of her cohort. "I'll deal with you later!"

"Now then, you were speaking of debts?"
the diva continued, turning her attention back to the matters at hand. "I'm quite certain that it is I who am in your debt, Lady Saharkar, and if you will be in town until morning, I shall see to it that you and your friend are properly rewarded for your efforts. I'm sure Master Drokkus will be more then happy to compensate you for saving his leading lady," Allishanda declared, notably offering the theater owner's money, and not her own. She nodded gracefully toward Katariah, then looked curiously over at Braids who was still kneeling over the fallen commando. "Perhaps you can use it buy your friend a proper dress?"

* * * * * * *

"So your brother taught you, eh? Well you seem to be doing pretty well for yourself now," Ameiko said, continuing the conversation from earlier as the pair made their way back toward the Rusty Dragon. Braids followed close behind carrying the goblin's weapon and the amulet which she had removed from around the monster's neck. "You didn't look very clumsy or foolish to me either. You shouldn't be so hard on yourself. Anyway, it sure is nice to have a couple of girls in town who know how to take care of themselves," she continued, complimenting her new companions. "I'll make sure everyone hears about you two, that's for sure!"

"Umm... Ameiko, if it's all the same to you, I could do without the accolades," Braids interrupted as she jogged to catch up with the others. "It's just that... well, what I mean is, I prefer to keep a low profile, if you know what I mean?"

"Ooh, mysterious! Okay, hun... I won't blow your cover," Ameiko agreed as she pushed open the door to the bar. "But only if you girls promise to tell me a little bit of your story? We can sit in the back, where no one else will hear us? Anyway, you think about it... I'll go get something to take care of these wounds." And with that, the bardic brawler set off to make her way around the tavern and make sure everyone was alright.

With Ameiko gone, Braids turned to her bodyguard, "You know, you never told me that you were capable of such extraordinary power..." the archeologist noted, glancing around Katariah at the lingering black-flamed aura. "...not that I'm complaining, mind you... I'd say that this is money well spent, but aren't you worried about drawing unwanted attention to yourself? the oracle inquired, once again offering a subtle reminder that she placed a premium on discretion. "I mean, being from the other side of the world is uncommon enough in itself, but it's not every day that folks like these get to see a girl commanding the flames of hell to do her bidding."

"I wouldn't say no to a ticket to the premiere - but I consider it no more than my duty to help fight off raiders and save lives - no matter which town I may be in, or whose lives they are." Katariah smiles at the actress. "I'm glad I was able to help, that is enough reward for me."

********

"They're not the flames of hell, braids." Katariah says, a hint of reprobation in her tone. "They're simply planar flames - the same ones wizards conjure every day of the week whenever they want to throw a fire spell or whatever it is they do. And as for drawing attention to myself... it's magical, yes, but it's not like magic is unheard of. And while people are paying attention to the magic... they're not paying attention to who I am, or what i'm doing."




 

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