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A grave matter

Tags: Caoimhe,  Brev,  Thomas

Short Summary: Two young Breefolk out on a dare encounter an unanticipated obstacle. Their reactions are telling
Date (real-life): 2010-06-24
Scene Location: Bree: Cemetery
Date (in-game): April 3050
Time of Day: Night
Weather: Clear
Bree Cemetery

A worn wooden fence sprawls in a haphazard circle, enclosing a modest collection of stones and wooden planks indicating burial sites. The sound, but uneven, earth slopes gently upwards to the east and continues toward the top of Bree Hill.

Further back within the cemetery's circle, trees have grown tall to cast shadows over the older graves. Some of the markers have been worn down due to weather, animals, or man. A gate, once linked by hinges now rests against one of the posts of the fence.

Obvious exits:
 Out leads to Near the Top of Bree Hill.

================================== Bree Time ==================================
Real time: Thu Jun 24 14:33:01 2010
Bree time: Night on Hevensday of Spring - April 5,1450
Moon Phase: Waning Crescent Moon

Breelands Weather
The late night spring air is cool but pleasant around you. The sky is clear and the moon shines brightly. The moon is above the horizon and in its waning crescent phase.

[Caoimhe(#31517)] The spring night is warm and starless, the thick clouds showing only the occasional sliver of the moon as they change form, pushed along quickly overhead by the wind. There is certainly need for anyone who cannot see quite as keenly in the dark as Caoimhe to use a lantern to get this close to the cemetery without tripping over something; even she stumbles once or twice on her way to the little wrought iron gate that, honestly, won't be keeping anyone out tonight. Her light, foreign eyes scan the darkness as though waiting for someone else to approach, and while she waits, Caoimhe Coruciel winds her long blonde hair into a braid with skilled fingers.

Back beneath the trees, something moves in the shadows. Some night-hunting animal, perhaps, for the tracks of small creatures tunnel through the grasses. Yet - was that a flash of grey? The moon's light is fleeting and it is hard to tell. There is the faintest of rustles, perhaps no more than that wind that sends the clouds scudding.

And down the hill, a certain someone does approach, a pool of light bobbing up and down as a carried lantern lights the way for a boy of about 14. One hand holds the lantern, the other a stout stick. Thomas whistles. Nervous.

[Caoimhe(#31517)] The faint sounds of something among the trees- the wind?- makes Caoimhe reach nervously for the small dagger at her hip. Without a second thought, she draws it, and stands tall while holding the big knife in her hand. Hazel eyes skim the treeline, yet she can't distinguish anything, animal or otherwise, that might be back there. The teenaged girl returns her focus to the path leading up the hill, suspecting she was only imagining things, and she grins broadly at the sight of Thomas coming up the hill, her expression just a little feral. "Ready to have some fun?" she asks, still holding that knife.

The wind snatches at the girl's words, so that only some of them will carry. Whilst Caoimhe makes her survey there is absolute silence, and stillness save for the bobbing of branches, but when she turns back again there is that flash of grey and this time something more - a glint of moonlight on metal as the yet-unseen lurker turns a knife of his own, one that seemingly was already drawn. The figure crouches low, and even in the moonlight is hard to see: a grey hummock that might easily enough be mistaken for a rock if it - if he - does not move. For now, he does not.

"What are you up to?" Thomas demands on seeing the girl, his voice squeaking high as if with fright. He coughs, clearing his throat and trying to speak with a deeper voice. "I mean...fun..." He looks dubiously at the knife Caoimhe is carrying, still holding the lantern high. The light circle of light, though, shakes nervously as Thomas stares up the hill toward the grey "rock," then back to the girl.

[Caoimhe(#31517)] "I thought I heard something," Caoimhe answers quickly by way of explanation, waving her knife. "There are some folks less than savory who'd hang around a place like this, you know," she tells Thomas with the air of someone wiser than her years. "You can put that out; we shouldn't need it," she says, nodding to the lantern. Now that Thomas is here, she's only too happy to say, "Come on!" and head through the gate into the cemetery proper. Pausing for a moment, waiting for Thomas to follow, she looks up the hill as well, frowning at the large grey rock that seems a little out of place. She shakes her head at herself for her paranoia.

The sight of the dagger waving, however wildly, is perhaps not the most inspiring for those who have sought out the dark and quiet of the cemetery this night for purposes nefarious or other. The watcher stays where he is, still as a stone, as the eyes turn his way, marking the direction of the bobbing light.

There are rabbit-paths in the long grasses that have grown up between the gravestones, and should one of the young venturers tread unwisely they will perhaps find out first-hand why someone other than themselves has come here, for here and there lies a cunningly concealed snare-noose. Indeed the watcher still holds in his left hand an unused length of corded sinew.

"No light..? But...but how can we see where we're going? And what's in the graveyard anyhow? Thomas protests, standing rooted to the ground, so to speak. He doesn't follow after Caoimhe. Not just yet, though he does set the lantern down.

[Caoimhe(#31517)] "Well, tombstones, of course," Caoimhe answers, weaving her way happily between those very stones now. "They're fun to read; my momma used to bring me here, back when she was around...for outings with my brothers, you know, to play." She reaches out a beckoning hand to Thomas. "It's safe, these bodies have long been without a soul.." she adds, trying to entice the farmer's son inside. "I don't even see any spirits." At this, she grins and looks around, but her amused expression quickly changes to one of complete surprise as her next step takes her foot straight into the middle of one of the cleverly laid snares.

The grey-cloaked lurker seems to be watching the light - or perhaps listening to the young folks' speech - for once the lantern is set safely down and the moon next dips behind a cloud he rises from his cramped position. One long leg is more sluggish than the other, however, and drags. Suddenly, moments after Caoimhe's misfortune, a twig cracks. After the silence and solitude, it might as well be a whip.

"No soul...." This doesn't appease Thomas's fear at all, only making his voice sound more shakey. "Isn't that what makes them... What was that?!" He whips about at the sound of the twig snapping. The abrupt movement, though, causes the stick he's carrying to knock over the lantern, the flame flaring briefly and then going out so that they are plunged into darkness. "Who's there?!" he demands.

[Caoimhe(#31517)] "Thomas!" Caoimhe demands, raising her voice above the sound of that twig snapping, which she decides to ignore in favor of her more pressing condition. "Thomas, come here!" She keeps trying to take a step, but a cord that's wrapped around her foot tightens further and prevents her from going anywhere at all. "Please--" The dagger falls from her hand as she flails her arms in an attempt to stay balanced while jerking her foot away from the cord; it's unsuccessful. "Is someone out there?" Caoimhe calls in a hard voice, frustrated now and remembering the sound of the snapping branch. "Hello?"

The grey-cloaked watcher hisses at his own betrayal, but the quaver in Thomas' voice is telling too. Softly the man - for standing, he is clearly tall and not of the Little Folk - moves closer, though not far. Yes, he knows where he placed his own handiwork, but in this light direction is hard to judge. Indeed, the moonlight comes and goes, revealing little more than a hooded form cloaked in pallid grey. Said hood hides his face quite successfully.

At Caoimhe's call there is a pause whilst hidden lips twitch, and then he calls out grimly, "The dead are there. They wait to seize the unwary." The words are oddly distorted and lengthened; the canny might realize that this man, for whatever reason, is trying to disguise the usual manner of his speech. On the other hand ... how do ghosts sound, anyway?

"Cowme?!" In his nervousness, Thomas gives the name a more rural pronounciation. He takes a few steps into the graveyard now, light abandoned, moving toward the girl, only to give a shriek of fear at the sudden voice from the dark and, as he turns that way, the movement of the hooded form.

"Get away! Be gone!! Erm...cease and desist!" Maybe he picked up the last from the Bree guards. He's got that stick in his hands, but seems to have all but forgotten it.

[Caoimhe(#31517)] "It's Kee-va," Caoimhe growls at Thomas through gritted teeth while trying to free her leg. "Think this is funny?" she snaps at the speaker. "Snaring little girls to eat them for dinner, are you? Come get me out of here!" She hisses to the stranger, looking around to get a glimpse of him beneath his hood, although she cannot. "If you don't, I- I'll tell my mom!"

The hooded figure laughs softly. "Or ... what?" There is a flicker of amusement in the voice at Thomas's shouted demand, and the words are perhaps less growled and more sing-song. "Are you truly brave enough to take on the dead, young one?"

At Caoimhe's speech the head turns toward the girl, and the silence that follows is somehow assessing. This time there is no talk of dead, nor bravery. The stranger's speech is definitely sing-song, the legacy of Dunael creeping in, but its tone is mocking. "Didn't your mother ever tell you not to visit graveyards after dark? How remiss of her." Perhaps he does not like what little he sees in the teasing moonlight.

"Caoimhe..." It's closer to her name, but nervous.."Are you all right?" Thomas ventures a glance down to the girl, but it's hard to see without the lantern. "You..you get away from her or I'll...I'll.." He suddenly remembers the stick he holds, "or I'll hit you with this stick! In the nose, too!"

[Caoimhe(#31517)] Although reluctant to do so, Caoimhe gives up on standing and lets herself fall into the grass, well away from her fallen dagger. She then goes about trying to retrieve it, having to strain her arm painfully to grab its hilt. Once she's got it, she sits up, but doesn't get to her feet again, beginning to work on cutting herself loose. "Where are you from, stranger?" Caoimhe wonders, faintly recognizing that accent. "What's your name?" These things she asks while hurriedly using her knife. "Because when I get free, I'm going to get the answers if you won't give them." She nearly growls, but of course it's a soft sound, her being a girl and all.

Caoimhe smiles up at Thomas. "I'm alright- You're very brave," she says quietly, "But if you'd like to hurt him, I suggest taking the other dagger out of my boot..."

The hood turns toward Thomas. "Like to see you try. Pity I'm not in the mood for playing tonight." The man glances toward Caoimhe. "And I'm not touching her. Got no wish to, either. Shall just leave her then? Or maybe you should go and fetch help. A lantern might make things easier for us all, you know." His sing-song tone is faintly mocking. He stands impassively as the girl struggles to free herself, though the slight twitch at the mention of the second knife suggests he is startled.

"You have a knife in your boot?" This is so unusual, it might seem, that Thomas forgets his fear of the strange hooded man and instead turns to stare at the girl. "Why would you need a knife in your boot...whatever for?" He blinks, then glances down at his belt. "Oh! I have a knife too! So don't you hurt her! I'm going to run get a new lantern!" He pulls the knife--a utility knife meant for eating, peeling apples, cutting ropes about the farm and such--and brandishes it at the man in an attempt to look menacing before he takes off, stumbling and half falling down the hill.

"Interesting," the man comments softly in Caoimhe's direction as he listens to the sound of Thomas' receding footsteps. "You're not from Bree, girl. /Still/ doesn't mean you're safe here. You'd be well advised to take your lad somewhere else. You've cost me a meal with that foolish clumsiness. Oh, and you're not the only one who carries knives," he adds, his own hands half-hid by his cloak. "Some of us don't feel the need to talk about it." He does not, it must be noted, make even the merest attempt at answering Caoimhe's question.

[Caoimhe(#31517)] "Don't like women, do you?" Caoimhe snaps at the hooded stranger, glaring up at him through her slanted hazel eyes. She waves the knife in her hand at him and says gruffly, "Come here and help cut me free from your stupid trap. I'm losing patience and the cord is tough." As Thomas dashes off, Caoimhe raises a brow and says mostly to herself, "Leaving the damsel for a light?" She watches his retreat for only a moment.

Looking up at the stranger again, the blonde girl tells him, "He's not -my- lad. And I can pay for your meal if you'll cut me free...so show me how big of a knife you're really carrying, or if you're just a liar." She waits.

"No, I prefer my pony." The words are dry, but spoken completely deadpan, so that it's hard to tell whether the man is mocking or in earnest. "And," for an instant his hard voice softens, "stay still, lass, or the cord'll tighten, cut off the blood flow. They're good snares - for rabbits. Wasn't intending to trap F- fallen girls." The substitution is quickly made, one might almost not notice the slight stumble.

At Caoimhe's final words the man bursts out in laughter. "Not likely. Don't get your hopes up. I'm not worried by your little knives, but there's other weapons. No, I think it might be best if we waited for your friend - just in case. Wouldn't want anything to be misconstrued, eh?" The moment of sympathy - if such it was - is gone, replaced by suspicion.

[Caoimhe(#31517)] Caoimhe raises a brow at the suddenly soft tone of Brev's voice. "You sure about that?" she wonders, meaning his statement about his pony. And because the girl is quick-witted- sharper than her mother, doubtless- she doesn't miss a thing. "F-fallen girls? What'd you mean by that? Were you about to call me a whore?" Caoimhe scowls at the stranger.

"You're kidding!" the girl exclaims. "You're not going to cut me free? What'd I do to you?" Both her small hands become fists. "Seriously!" she says, voice going up a notch. "I'll tell you anything you want to know...my name is Caoimhe Coruciel. I am fourteen years. I have two brothers and an aunt. I live in a town called Archet, over there." She points. "I like to steal pocket money. I once got in a fight at the Pony and lost a tooth. Do I seem like such a threat now?" She finally has to pause for a breath!

The grey-cloaked man's response is a snort. "Oh, for Kiern's sake," he mutters. "Of course I'll cut you free - when your friend's back with the light. Else you'll no doubt claim I'd molested you." A hint of disgust creeps into his voice. "If it were local versus stranger, little question who the townsfolk'd believe."

The fellow's shoulders shake at the girl's recitation, as though he were trying to suppress laughter. "And sounds like you've got quite the pedigree - Caoimhe." Unlike Thomas, he has no problems pronouncing the 'exotic' sounding name. "Lovely name, that. Strange it doesn't match your looks."

[Caoimhe(#31517)] "Kiern?" the girl looks up again with interest at that, and seems about to say something more- but then she snorts and tries to punch Brev from a distance again. "Of course I'm not going to claim you molested me, you big stupid hunter. I just want to go home with my foot still attached to my body. -I- have no problems seeing in the dark, lantern or no." She starts to chance a smile at the compliment, but then she winds up demanding, "What's that supposed to mean? What about my looks?"

"Really?" There is a rising inflection in the cloaked figure's tone, as though he had just quirked a brow. "You can see in the dark. Ahh." The note of dry mockery creeps in again. "Sounds like you're not human, then. I expect you can turn yourself into a bird and just /fly/ away from here." He pauses, but then relents. "Of course, if you're just like the rest of us and /do/ need help, then I suppose I could oblige." He manages to make it sound like a great favour. "Stay still then, I'd rather not hack off your foot, thanks." He comes closer, sliding downward to a crouched position - a fighter's crouch, as though he were used to night-sighted enemies rather than teenage girls - and his right hand emerges from his cloak, bearing a sharp dagger.

"And I may not have your superlative vision," oh, he's definitely mocking now, "but even I can see in the moonlight what colour your hair is."

[Caoimhe(#31517)] "And what's the matter with my hair?!" Caoimhe demands, her voice rising again. "The color is like gold, and it's very nice, thank you...I suppose yours is something superior, is that it?" The rest of his mockery goes unnoticed, as Caoimhe is frustrated to the point of going along with him. "Yes, please, -Sir-...I would like some help, if you'd be so kind..." She watches him, breathing hard, as though she's so angry that it's sped her pulse up quite a bit.

The man, already running careful fingers over the snare-cord that traps Caoimhe's ankle, glances up at her for a moment and the hood of his cloak spills back. His own hair is remarkable not for its colour - dark is common enough - but for the fact that it spills past his shoulders in a barely tamed mass of curls. On a woman, one might call it pretty. "Hardly. Superior, that is. But in the Dunland tongue, hair the colour of straw would not be called 'beauty'." He translates the name into Common almost without thinking.

A shrug and he turns to the work of cutting the cord - not Caoimhe's angry hacking but careful, economical movements, sawing where the line is weakest. His left hand comes out to steady the cord, meaning that its contents - another loop of snare-cord like the one he's cutting - are transferred to between his teeth. And he watches his unintended captive ... always he watches. Clearly this is not the average young Bree-lass.

[Caoimhe(#31517)] It's hard to say what startles Caoimhe more; Brev's hood falling back and revealing that he isn't some creature of darkness, or his explanation as he begins to cut the cord around her ankle. She reaches out suddenly- a stupid thing to do, perhaps, when the man has a knife in his hand- to try to grab Brev's forearm. As she does this, she whispers, "<Dunael> You are from my mother's home?"

The man's response to the outstretched hand is a sudden jerk that brings his dagger up as though to menace; almost in the same moment, though, he sees that the hand coming toward him is empty, and simply twitches his sleeve away so that he can return to his work on the cord. "Easy there." He switches to the Dunael tongue for the remainder of his response. "<Dunael>I was born in Dunland, if that's the answer you're after. How in Kiern's name should /I/ know if it's your mother's home?" It's clear that he's scrutinizing the girl carefully, for all that he's busy cutting.

[Caoimhe(#31517)] Caoimhe's fingers may close on air, but she is not discouraged. "<Dunael> Don't be stupid to me. You speak the tongue. And which is your clan? She came from Wulf, but she would not be welcomed there today." Caoimhe catches herself, and doesn't say anything more on that. "What're you doing all the way out here, anyways?" While he cuts at the cord, the girl studies Brev right back.

Brev's gaze flicks from Caoimhe's face to the cord and back again, never still. At the first words, he snorts. "<Dunael>Should think not, if you're the result," he mutters with an edge to his voice, then shrugs at the query. "As to what I'm doing - living, of course. Here and there, wherever opportunity takes me. That a good enough answer for you?" As if on cue the cord parts, and he rises to his feet in a single fluid motion. "There, you're done. Best find that friend of yours and tell him you won't need that lantern. Oh, and next time? Stay away from graveyards. There are some folks less than savory who'd hang around a place like this." His tone is dry, but the corners of his mouth are twitching ever so slightly. "Even if you don't believe in ghosts."

[Caoimhe(#31517)] "<Dunael> Are you this good at insulting everyone, or is it just me you don't particularly like? I have to wonder what I did besides walk into your stupid trap." Caoimhe snaps. "And my mamma- Muirgheal," she corrects, using the woman's formal name as though they are not on very close terms, "She never said why she's not welcome there." Caoimhe then gleefully kicks her leg free, rolling her ankle around and feeling the blood return to it. She gets to her feet slowly, a little unsteady at first. "I'm not scared, and I won't stay out of graveyards- but you ought to be moving your traps." She hangs around near Brev as though he's not likely to be rid of her quite so easily.

An injudicous whistle escapes the man's - Brev's - lips at the name Muirgheal, meaning that the first question is forgotten, alas. "She's your mother? Explains the knives - though I never did find out how good she was at playing with them. Pity." A twitch of the lips turns into a brief smile of remembrance, quickly fled.

"And I'm comfortable enough in this place. The dead have never bothered me - it's the ones I didn't kill that haunt me." This time it is not smile but smirk that curves the man's lips. "Now, away with you, 'fore your nervous friend calls out the Breeguard. Some of those brothers and aunts might have something to say about that, eh?"

[Caoimhe(#31517)] "You knew my momma?" Caoimhe wonders with wide eyes. She'd likely stay and say so much more- except that Brev has raised a very good point about the Bree guards. "So I'll uh...I'll see you around, then?" Caoimhe asks, adding a quick, "Not that I care, but I did offer to buy you a meal, and I'd rather not be in -your- debt." Hazel eyes are rolled.

Brev snorts at those final words. "Take it it was a very rich aunt." He does not wait for a response, ducking to pick up the spare snare-cord he'd dropped when Caoimhe tried to grab him, then straightening to add, "I'm in and out of town. Sometimes I'm here, sometimes I'm out East ... ask Gidon the hunter, he'd know. Come to think of it, maybe you should buy him the meal. He's skinny enough." He gives a lopsided grin. "Night, then."

The moon slips behind a bank of cloud and he is lost to the dark. One listening carefully would hear his soft footfalls as he makes his cautious way back toward the trees, having failed, through chance or design, to yield one small detail - his own name.

Date added: 2010-06-25 10:14:06    Hits: 146
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