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 Shifting sands

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PostSubject: Shifting sands   Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:38 pm

It was another exceptionally hot day, not a cloud in the sky, and sand everywhere. Nour was lying outside the tavern, waking up from another night of heavy drinking with a friend.
"By the gods" Nour moaned as she rubbed her head. She staggered to her feet, trying to find her footing. Once she was up, she leaned against the wall, and blocked out the sun with her hands. As soon as the sun had shifted a bit, Nour wandered off, stopping occasionally to pet a cat. She purchased some dates from a merchant, and nibbled at them as she walked the streets, cursing at the foreigners under her breath.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:50 am

The streets were as busy as it has always been. Children ran around, chasing each other, completely oblivious of their surroundings. Merchants were yelling, bargaining for prices, trying their best to make the goods that they were selling more interesting than they really were. Kalfas, on the other hand, was doing his usual patrol around the city. His glimmering blonde hair and golden eyes were a major attraction for the locals as they had never seen such a figure walking among them before. He had only been here for a few weeks, but it can't be denied that he was already well known, such is the curse of his radiant presence.

"Excuse me, mister." a young boy, probably around the age of five, called out to him.

Kalfas turned his head towards the source of the voice. The boy was looking at him with pure awe, eyes focused on his silk like hair, like a moth to the fire. He walked closer to him and gestured his hands to the visible strains of hair that slip out from the loose spaces of his helmet. "Yes? Do you want touch my hair?" He asked the boy before squatting in front of him until their heads were parallel to each other. Kalfas knew that kids at this age were often curious, so he decided to indulge with the boy's request, in hope that maybe it could brighten his day a bit.

"Y-yes, may I?" The boy stuttered.

"Why of course!" Kalfas smiled at him, "Let me take my helmet off first."

The boy waited paitiently as Kalfas took off his Legionnaire helmet. The brilliant silver headwear gleamed below the gazing sun, it's beautiful red crest swaying as he puts it down to the ground next to him. It is truly a work of beauty in itself, but the boy did not even pay the slightest attention to it. "There, here you go." Kalfas angled his head so that the boy may easily reach his hair. The texture of his hair then intertwined with the callous fingers from the boy's tiny hands. The boy touched it, stroked it and even smelled it, pleasing most of his senses while also fulfilling his curiosity. It was as if he was in contact with a divine relic. This went on for a few seconds before the boy finally stopped. Judging by his expression, he was quite satisfied with the experience.

"Okay then, I'll be going now. Let me tell you a secret, it's not really that different from the hair that you have. It's just in a different color, that's all." Kalfas explained. He stood up from his previous position and put his helmet back on. "But you can just tell the other kids that it's a gift from the Sun God, it'll make a better story."

The boy nodded in agreement before saying his goodbye. He ran towards his friends that were just around the corner of the street and immediately started talking about what just happened. Kalfas can hear them from a distance and as the exaggerated story of the origin of his hair goes on, he quietly continued his task and walked away.

With the tension building between Cleopatra and Ptolemy spreading all around Egypt, the Legionnaires that were stationed here in the city were understandably very cautious of everything. They were stiff, always on their guard and treated the locals as if they were one of the enemy's spies. Not Kalfas though, he simply didn't see any ill will from the people around him and his intuition were more often than not correct. He treated all of them with respect but if any of them were to break the rules, he will gladly give them the punishment that they objectively deserved.

Moments passed, the sun was now directly over the city indicating that it's midday. Kalfas walked around the streets again when he stumbled upon an odd individual. She was cursing at the foreigners around her while nibbling at some date palms, drastically decreasing the intimidating facade that she consciously or unconsciously trying to maintain. Kalfas also noticed that she may had a bit too many last night, she reeks of the tavern nearby. "Rough night?" He casually asked, forming a half smile on his face as he looked at her.


Last edited by DannyBoy on Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:36 pm

Nour stopped in her tracks, and turned to face the man, ready to give him an earful. She studied him for a moment, taking in his features. Upon seeing his armour, as well as his features, she realised that he was not Greek, but Roman. She eased up a bit, relaxing her grip on her rather ornate staff.
"Not a rough night, neb, but a very good night" Nour said happily; her voice sweet as honey. She wondered why he had asked, until she realised she had an aroma. "Apologies, neb. I had forgotten that the smell of drink follows one home." She seemed to be trying to come off as decent as she could.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:36 pm

"Please, no need to apologize. A night of drinking with your closest friends is time well spent if you can remember any of it." Kalfas joked a bit, trying to ease the tension between the two. She was quite an eccentric figure. Long black hair, peculiar accessories, lightweight armor. She could either be a warrior or one of those priestesses of the Old Gods. Her ornate staff points at the latter, though he could never know for sure unless he asked. But before he gets to that, he must first introduce himself, as it is only proper for him to do so.

"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Dionysus Kalfas, part of the Sixth Ironclad Legion of Rome. If you are wondering why I am named after the Greek God of Wine, it is because I am half Greek. But I was born and raised as a Roman so I will always think of myself as one."

Kalfas extended his hand towards the woman, signaling for a shake of hands. "And you are?" He asked, his golden eyes staring intently at the stranger. The idea here is to find a suspicious or unusual change on her face and behavior. It is a subtle form of intimidation, a mind game that Kalfas occasionally practiced with enemy spies. He learned that a person with nothing to hide will always look straight back at him, their words will often be clear and consistent and there'd be no lingering trace of doubt in their voices or expressions. A man with no experience could never execute this method effectively, but Kalfas is far from that.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:19 pm

Nour sneered slightly when Dionysus mentioned his Greek heritage. She still harboured an immense hatred for the Greeks after everything that had happened in her life. The murder of her mother was what drove her to hate them most, aside from what they had done to her land.
"Nour of Ombos. A true Egyptian" she said calmly as she took his hand. She didn't have a title, or a proper profession, nothing impressive at all, really. "I suppose you could call me a traveller, but I don't think that's the right word. A drifter, maybe? I'm a hunter, if that means anything."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 16, 2018 6:56 am

"A friend."

Kalfas reassured her. She need not explain any more than she already has. Her words may seem unconvincing and inconsistent, but it is only due to her confusion on how to explain such an occupation to a foreign man. He could see some similarities between her and the German mercenaries that he had met within the Roman army. Brave, free-spirited, upfront and most likely deadly. They are barbaric in the battlefield but they are also very admirable people.

Kalfas puts his free hand on her shoulder, giving her a friendly pat. "Come, I want to know more about this land and I want to know more about you as well." He still had a long day in front of him, the sun has not settled beneath the sandy horizon and his shift is still two hours away from being over. Might as well spend it with someone interesting, he thought. "Tell me, what do you think of the escalating feud between Cleopatra and Ptolemy?" Kalfas carefully asked, not because he was gathering information for Caesar, but only because he was curious. He wanted to know from a native's point of view on who would be the better successor for Egypt; The charming, charismatic yet devious Cleopatra or the young, energetic yet weak-willed Ptolemy? Both of whom are pale when compared to his leading general. Kalfas began to walk towards the river at the edge of town and gestured Nour to follow. A conversation like this should be held far from the earshot of the locals, as rumors tend to spread much quicker than the truth.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:37 am

Nour had an annoyed look on her face,and spat at the floor at the mention of Ptolemy. She clearly didn't like him at all. She followed Dionysus to the river, watching the storks and ibis with a smile. As soon as she reached the water, she stopped, looking at a crocodile bathing in the sun. She outstretched her arms, offering a prayer in her native tongue to a god. The only word that Dionysus likely would have understood, was Sobek, an old god. She sat down beside the crocodile, her feet in the water as she rubbed its head. "Ptolemy is not fit to be pharaoh. He is a servant of the faceless ones, and weak. Cleopatra has earned the favour of the gods, she lives like us, she is strong. She should be pharaoh."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:53 am

The Gods have a sense of humor they say. At times like these, Kalfas agreed. A grin spontaneously formed upon his face, yet only for a brief moment. Truth is, he found this ironic situation rather amusing, though it is very unlikely that Nour would feel the same way. Her so called Pharaohs may live like the rest rest of them, they may even believe in the same things, but the fact remains that they have foreign blood coursing through their veins. In time, this sacred land will be in a state of false independence, an illusion that is akin to the mirages of the desert. A puppet nation, under the strong hands of the Roman Empire. That is, if all goes according to Caesar's plan.

From the shore he could see a wide expanse of murky water. In the middle of the vastness was an island, filled by greenery and crocodiles, with date palm trees almost touching the sky. This was where he usually goes to be alone. A place of solitude to escape from the busyness of his routine. Not today though, today a woman was with him, one whose naivety matches her bravery.

"Is that so..." Kalfas responded while resting his chin upon his right arm. "A word of advice, the most dangerous of animals are good at hiding in plain sight." The words came out of him in a more serious tone than usual. Perhaps he felt a sense of responsibility and guilt for what was about to come. A war between the siblings was inevitable, the bloodshed as well. Divide et Impera was always the true intention of the Romans. When the time comes, Kalfas knew that he might see Nour again and on that day she might blame him for all that has happened. Till then, he will gladly resume this friendship, however momentary it was.

Kalfas crouched next to Nour, keeping some distance between him and the crocodile in the water. It was a peaceful day, no robberies, murders or rowdy civilians for him to detain. He closed his eyes and lets out a big sigh before being interrupted by a timely scream from the nearby streets. It was the sound of a woman, or a boy, Kalfas couldn't quite tell from his current position. "Well, duty calls." He said to Nour, lifting his body up and staggering a little bit due to the weight of his armor. "Just when I thought that I could actually get a break. No rest for the wicked." The man readies his sword and shield and proceeded to walk towards the source of the distress. "I hope we could see each other again, it was a pleasure meeting you." And with that, he disappeared, leaving only his footprints on the sandy shores behind him.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:55 am

Nour watched Dionysus walk off before stripping down, and wading into the water to bathe, getting rid of the smell of drink, and enjoying the cool water.
"They are a strange bunch, aren't they. They think us fools, and they are too quick to fall for the simple drunk routine" Nour said to the crocodile, smiling. She climbed out the water, and put her clothes on before heading into town. Nour approached a man, took a scroll from his table, smiling to herself when she saw the name.
"Now this is going to be interesting" Nour said with a chuckle before heading off, searching for her target.

"No! No! Please! I'm begging you, don't do this!"
"You have inflicted great pain on my people. You destroyed a village! You killed women and children!"
"I was only following orders. Please, you have to understand..."
"No... Your people have to learn." Nour brought her staff up, and pierced the man's chest with the end of it before running a feather through his blood. She took great care to leave him somewhere he would be found, especially by the patrolling soldiers. Once the body had been placed, she headed off to the tavern for a drink, and to collect her reward.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:06 pm

A handful of people gathered like a committee upon the corpse. It was a woman, most likely in her late twenties. She had short black hair, a slim figure, curvaceous lips and dark brown eyes. Kalfas barged through the crowd and positioned himself near the body, his eyes focused on every single detail that he could see. He was known for being as precise as an eagle when it came to this matter. Entry points were barely visible on the side of her neck, they were hidden beneath the thick crimson liquid that's slowly being dried by the wind. Upon further inspection, it would seem that the wound indicate not that of a sharp weapon, but that of a bite mark. The culprit nearly chewed off the head, gnawing relentlessly until the trachea was visible, a flash of ivory before the flooding red. Even the throats of goats slaughtered for sacrifices never looked so ghastly. There were clods of flesh scattered all over the place with a trail leading further north towards a junction.

"Legionnaires, divide yourselves into three sub groups. Place yourselves within the vicinity of every entrance and exit. Let nobody in and nobody out until we catch this sadistic swine, understand?"

As a primus pilus, Kalfas was the senior among the legionnaires present at the time. His orders were therefore absolute. After organizing themselves in a swift manner, the men scattered like packs of lions, carrying the duties they were given with determination and zest. All the while, Kalfas asked for the assistance of the townsfolk to give the woman a proper burial and to notify any close relatives of her death. "The rest of you be on the lookout for any suspicious person that you might happen to see. Since the blood is still fresh, it is safe to assume that the culprit is still somewhere nearby." He added to the few remaining bystanders, "If you find the person, notify one of the legionnaires." They all nodded in unison and went on their way.

Kalfas followed the trail to the edge of the junction, weapons ready for any surprises that may come and greet him. It was unusually quite in this part of the town. Most of the people had gone to see the gory spectacle down south, so the rest that stayed are either too old to even care or too drunk. A common sight, it is after all located just a few blocks away from the tavern. Though the trail that he had initially followed had disappeared, he continued to search the perimeter; door to door, stall to stall, alley to alley until he came upon another corpse slumped onto a stack of wooden crates.

The man was chubby and wrinkled due to his old age and lack of exercise. His snow white hair had already receded to the back of his head, revealing parts of his folded skin. Traces of blood were present on the outskirts of his lips and the edges of his teeth, this was definitely the guy that Kalfas had been looking for. "Less work for me." He said to himself half-jokingly, "Though if he hadn't been killed I might have obtained some useful information. A shame." This was not a coincidence though. This man was targeted, a victim of some type of vigilante justice that worked outside the jurisdiction of the legionnaires. He must find the person who did this. If not, then soon others would follow suit, creating an unstable justice system that would complicate things.

A hole in the corpse's chest was the result of a sharp weapon. It pierced straight through the man's lungs, disabling his ability to breath, leaving him to die a slow and painful death. Kalfas scanned the area of the entry wound and noticed an odd pattern, identical lines formed on the blood on his clothes resembling a feather from a bird. A signature of the killer. Kalfas grew fond of this case, it has been awhile since he'd been this excited. "The killer of killers, now that is someone who is worth my time." The sun was slowly descending from its throne creating a velvet hue to the surroundings,  the night was nigh. Kalfas left the body with his red cloak so that other legionnaires might see it, he then headed towards the tavern, where information was as cheap as the drinks they served.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:55 pm

Nour smiled as she heard the commotion outside, knowing full well that it meant someone had found the body. A strange handsome man entered the tavern, just as the last light faded, and made his way over to Nour who was standing in the corner, nursing a drink. The man was taller than average, muscular, his skin was was a rich caramel colour, and his black hair tied up neatly slightly to the side with a bit of sand in his hair. He wore fine clothes similar to that of royalty, fine black leather bracers, with golden decals, and no shoes. He almost looked like a god. Nour handed the man something wrapped in a small scrap of leather, clearly very proud of it.
"Very good, Nour. You did brilliantly, just like I knew you would." The large man leaned down, and gave her a gentle kiss on her forehead, causing her to blush slightly. Nour took a sip of her drink, and offered it to the man. He took the cup, and downed what was left of it with a smile.
"Did you have any problems with the hunt?"
"I had no problems with the hunt, my Lord." The man let out a chuckle, and gently rubbed her cheek.
"Nour, I think we are well past Lord and servant. You are not a priestess anymore... you are the sands of my heart." Nour blushed at the man's words, and was about to say something when she caught a glimpse of Dionysus. She whispered something to the man before grabbing another drink, eyeing Dionysus carefully, even the strange man seemed alert.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:18 am

There were no casual observers in the tavern located on the upper north side of the town because it was not the sort of place where you could afford to do things casually if you want to stay alive. Any observers in the place would have been mean, hawklike observers, most of them armed, with painful throbbbings in their heads which caused them to do irrational things when they see something they didn't like. But when Kalfas walked in, one of those nasty hushes descended upon the place, a prey being hunted kind of hush. Even the callous and scary looking bartender had stopped tending to his customers, the local killers and commoners alike.

All eyes were on Kalfas. He walked through the room in a mild manner, coolly choosing to dice recklessly with danger and perhaps even death. "Uh hum." he called out to the bartender. "I am looking for someone." his voice travelling smoothly through the silent room. "Do you know of a local contract killer or hunter that uses feathers as a signature? I would gladly rew----" Kalfas was abruptly stopped by the bartender's hand that hung onto his shoulder, pulling him closer across the long table. "Pardon my rudeness, but are you completely out of your mind?" The bartender whispered to him in a slightly agitated tone. "Every time you legionnaires come here, trouble follows." He pointed his finger towards the rows of tables and chairs that are occupied, a sense of uneasiness and anger can be seen in the expressions of the people there, Kalfas understood what was going on. He is a foreigner and to some he is also an invader, it's no surprise that his presence here was not welcome. A moment of intense silence hung upon the place like an ominous spider, a few coughs here and there, but mostly nothing.

"What is this? A burial site? Please, don't stop enjoying yourselves on my account." Kalfas exclaimed, breaking the ice that had frozen this place in its tracks. "You know what? I'm feeling generous today." He pulled off his helmet, letting his golden hair slide down his head like a waterfall. The pause he was making was completely intentional, he wanted to lure all of their attention to him before saying anything else, letting them all fall for his natural charismatic charms. He took his time putting the heavy helmet on the table, slightly adjusting it until it was in the right angle, before finally announcing "Drinks on me!"

The barmaids shook their heads in dismay, the crowd cheered as they shout out for a refill, the tavern was alive again. Simpletons, he thought. "Now back to our business." Kalfas turned back his head to face the bartender, smiling to reassure him that everything was gonna be fine. "Fine. There were two suspicious guests who came here a couple of moments ago. I can't help but notice that one of them was carrying something of value concealed within a scrap of leather and an odd looking staff as well." He slyly moved his eyes toward the direction of a man and a woman in the corner of the room, Kalfas followed his lead. The man had a distinct and familiar feature; his caramel skin, quality clothes, finely made bracers indicated that he was someone with a high social status. He was handsome as well, above the normal standards at least. The woman next to her on the other hand was no stranger. Her long black hair, her intimidating aura, her ornate staff. It was Nour. Kalfas greeted them from his position, waving his hands at them as if he had seen his long lost friends. Once done, he payed the bartender handsomely, picked up his helmet and approached them. "My my, fate has brought us together again Lady Nour. Mind if I join you two?"
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:35 am

Nour let out an annoyed grunt as Dionysus flapped his arms about like an ibis.
"Gods give me strength..."
"They give you so much more than that, Nour"
Nour rolled her eyes, and took up a defensive position at the man's side until he gently pulled her to his side.
"It is good to see you again,
Dionysus Kalfas."

"Of course you may join us" the man said with a chuckle. He took a sip of his drink, handing it over to Nour. The man seemed almost as carefree as Nour, a tad more happy, maybe.
"Are you sure this is safe, my Lord?" The man chuckled happily, roughing up Nour's hair slightly. He almost seemed unafraid of Kalfas.
"Of course, Nour." The man took a seat, and gestured for the man to sit with them. "Please, have a drink with us."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:55 pm

"Don't mind if I do." Kalfas replied, he was awkwardly adjusting himself to his seat, the armor he was wearing does not leave him with much space for his rear to sit on the wooden stool. This lasted for a couple of seconds before he finally found a position in which he was slightly comfortable, though it did leave a quarter of his body hanging in the air with only his left foot serving as the crutch. After gently putting down his helmet, he cleared his throat and proceeded to fill an empty glass from the center of the table with the fermented liquid served by one of the barmaid. Kalfas, as his forename suggests, is actually quite a drinker. His high tolerance for alcohol can only be matched by barbarians who are accustomed to it from such an early age to keep themselves warm. Lest, he always drinks responsibly to keeps his mind sharp and to avoid any kind of carelessness.

Bitter and intoxicating, it has been a very long time since Kalfas had a drink or two. The last one was after the Siege of Alesia where Vercingetorix was publicly displayed as a sign of Caesar's triumph, it was indeed a moment worth celebrating, a victory that will be remembered for ages. He slowly began to sip his lukewarm drink, savoring every last drop on his mouth and lips before grimacing due to the acquired taste. "You see, it has been a strange day for me." the man said, his voice ruffled by the sudden tingling on his throat. "I was investigating a murder on the south side of town. The victim was a girl, probably still in her twenties. Her neck was viciously bitten off by the culprit. A grotesque scene, I dare not to go into details." Kalfas stopped to take another sip, his throat was slowly growing used to it. Some of the drink slipped out of his mouth and onto his chin, he wipes it off with a single stroke before continuing on with his story. "I followed a trail left behind by the culprit and came into this area. Though the trail had disappeared midway, I continued my search until eventually I found the man. Unfortunately, I was unable to gain any information from him as he was already dead by the time I got there. There was a stab wound on his chest and a feather mark on the bloodstain. He was targeted by someone, I am sure of it."

More people have gathered inside the tavern. Kalfas knew not of the current time, but the view from one of the open windows showed that nighttime had already descended upon them. Time seemed to move so fast when you're in the moment, it's kind of scary. Candles or rushlights were lit within the bar, one for each occupied table and a handful of them on the walls surrounding them. Kalfas looked very intimidating in the limited light, his golden eyes shining like a wild cat stalking its meal from the high grass. He stared intently at the two as if he is looking right through them, as if he is looking right at their souls. The true nature of his being had emerged. The delicate cheerfulness that he had shown prior to this had disappeared into the shadows, leaving a completely new person behind. "Now, I want you to tell me who this killer of killers is. I want to remind that person that he or she is not the judge, jury and executioner of this town. Every single being needs to be given a chance to proof themselves innocent. That includes the disgusting swine that I found not far from here. If the people around town caught wind of this, some would follow its example, peaceful order would then be replaced by chaotic freedom. Rules will be ignored, vigilante justice will be applied, everyone would want to kill everyone who they think are wrong by their own moral standards. Do you understand? What that person is doing is not right even if he or she believes it to be so."
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:19 pm

The man eyed Nour curiously, wondering how she would get out of this situation, and who she would pin everything on. This wasn't her first time digging herself out of a dangerous situation. However, Kalfas was a man, and she knew just how easily men were distracted by breasts. Nour took a sip of her drink before looking into Kalfas's eyes, her own as deep and hypnotic.
She leaned forward a bit, her ample breasts almost spilling out of her top.
"A feather, you say? Well, this is interesting..." Nour stopped to take a sip of her drink, savouring the flavour. "I've seen a medjay mark his kills like that: the one that serves Cleopatra, Bayek." She was hoping that he would believe her as she wasn't in the mood for a fight. The man smiled slightly, and shook some sand from his hair, only for more to replace it.
"And if this person is acting as judge, jury, and executioner on behalf of Egypt? With the permission of the gods... What then? Will you hold the gods on trial too?" The man didn't really seem to care if Dionysus figured it out or not, he seemed like he just wanted to have fun.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:06 pm

Bayek, the name had struck a cord with Kalfas. He was an acquaintance of Cleopatra, her very own personal assassin. A Medjay who has little to no vision of the future. Though his skills were unquestionable, his motives were at best narrow minded and impulsive. To kill those who had done him wrong from behind the shadows won't stop the world from spinning madly on, Kalfas thought. Even if he had lost someone who was dearest to him, going on a vendetta on those who had taken that person away will never soothe his soul. Everyone must learn that they will have to carry all that weight, that burden, that regret by themselves. We just have to live with it and move on with our lives.

The two people sitting right across the table from him were playing it coy. Nour even tried distracting him with the oldest trick in the book by showing her cleavage, sadly it did not work, not well enough at least. However hard they try to convince Kalfas that the culprit was Bayek, he will not fall into their deceit. The fact remained that Bayek, perhaps even Aya, were too busy with other more serious matter. Dealing with a lowlife cannibal in this secluded town would be total a waste of their time and effort. "Ah yes, I know Bayek very well. His method does include marking his kills with a feather, but I am certain that it was not him who killed the man. He is too busy doing Cleopatra's bidding, too far away as well. Though perhaps he may have some influence on this culprit, his stories does spread fast." This was not merely a baseless observation, Kalfas and his men were given intel on his whereabouts and actions every three days as a safety precaution. If he ever goes rogue and went after the Sixth Iron Clad Legion and Caesar, they'll be ready.

A deadpan expression came upon Kalfas's face as he listened to the man sitting next to Nour spoke. His questions were sharp and he seemed to be enjoying the banter they're having at the moment. Kalfas leaned closer to the two of them, his hand sweeping away the glasses around the table as he moved. A point needed to be made. "I don't believe in your Gods." he affirmed, his voice serious and true. "Which is why, yes, I would be more than glad to put them on trial. If they contest, I'll simply say that it's their fault for giving me free will and intelligence. If they wanted us to obey them at all times, they should't have given use the freedom to choose and think for ourselves. Besides, if they're so mighty, why bother using us humans? They could've just killed any of them with a plague, a strike of thunder or just by willing it to be so." This statement would surely anger the two, Egyptians are loyal to their Gods and their old ways, to them Kalfas was committing blasphemy at the highest level. To Kalfas, he was merely exercising his freedom of speech.

Religion was always such a sensitive topic, one that Kalfas would actually prefer to avoid. But he's already gone this far, so he thought why not go all out? "The Gods that I believe in gave me my mortality, they gave me the responsibility to appreciate life." He looked up at the ceiling, as if searching for them. "As a legionnaire, I take lives, I understand that. But in the battlefield it is kill or be killed and both sides understand the risks. In that situation, we are near death and so we cling on to our lives even more tightly. Cause we're all fighting for something and we all want to see it get achieved. We don't get ordered around by our Gods, we don't need permission to start a war or to do something, for our Gods had given us limitations. We are free to do what we want but we will be held responsible for our actions. That is where morality plays its part, it guides us to be good and to do good. Now by killing the killer, the culprit did not become a hero or a savior, he or she merely became another killer. Which, in conclusion, is not good at all." The long monologue went by like the wind, he had not intended to preach on them about his beliefs as they would most likely not care. But the moment must have gotten into him and the words had already been said. Kalfas looked back at the two of them and cleared his throat before leaning away while crossing his arms. He closed his golden eyes as if to indicate that he had lost interest in the games that they were playing. After a few seconds, he reached out his hand to the man next to Nour, opening his palm to await for the item that was in the man's possession. "You have something inside that scrap of leather. If you don't mind, I would like to have a look at it." A sly grin sharply formed on Kalfas's face as he said this, he just couldn't help himself.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:58 pm

Nour looked enraged but it was the man who seemed to be most dangerous at this point. The winds were picking up in the distance, a sure sign of a sandstorm rolling in. Nour noticed the man's anger, and set a gentle hand on his shoulder. Unfortunately, when he got angry, nothing could calm him down. He had dismembered his own brother after all.
"Perhaps the gods prefer to use humans because it is more entertaining to them? A simple plague, while beautiful in the chaos and death it leaves in its wake, is not half as entertaining as controlling humans?" The man leaned back, and took a sip of his drink, glaring at Dionysus, a sinister look about him.
"Perhaps your gods have given you free will, maybe they do not care... or maybe your gods are all dead? Who knows?" The man paused to take a sip of his drink, clearly quite pleased with the blow he had just delivered. "I need not answer to you, Roman, nor your gods. This whole ordeal, while vaguely entertaining at first, is beneath me." Some people left the tavern, and headed for their homes, hoping to get there before the sandstorm arrived. Nour could sense the coming fight, and held her staff tightly.
"My Lord, please, do not do this. There are innocent people here... Egyptians."
"Our people have survived sandstorms for thousands of years, Nour... If Dionysus Kalfas apologizes, then I am certain the gods will take mercy. If not, then let Hades deal with him."

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Mar 25, 2018 3:02 am

"Apologize? Don't be absurd." Kalfas scoffed at him, retracting his reaching hand to put it near his sheathe. "Killing must be entertaining to your Gods, they do it all the time. And are you two not created in their image?" The sandstorm brewed more loudly outside, pastel sands have started to seep in through the cracks on the door and through the open windows, some of them landing upon their table. "Your reluctance to give me the object you are carrying gives me good reason to assume that you are the culprit." Kalfas stood from his chair, his stance ready for a fight. He need not wear his galea (helmet) as he was confident in his own abilities. They may lay a scratch on him but they will never take him to the underworld, that duty is far too heavy for the two of them alone. "I will not take your lives, as this is a situation where death is not the only option for you to choose from. Admit your crime and come with me peacefully so that justice can be brought down accordingly. If not, then you can try to take my life or run for yours. I'll even give you an advantage over me, I'll let the two of you make the first move. So what will you choose?." A high pitched metallic noise echoed across the room as he pulled out his gladius (sword), pointing it at the two of them. Though he may not have his scuta (shield) with him, he still had access to his pugio (dagger) to increase his mobility and speed when he needed it. They say that bravado and pride had always been Kalfas's gift and his curse, the result of this engagement shall again be the judge of that. Hopefully, tonight it will be the former.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:10 am

Nour backed away slightly, more from the man than from Dionysus. She looked down at the sand starting to whip through the room, and looked up at the man, a pleading look on her face. The man stood up, and glared down at Dionysus.
"You are all the same... you think you can taunt the gods freely, without fear of repercussion." Nour looked at the door, noticing that the sandstorm was almost at its most powerful.
"Seti! Please, allow me to fight for you... let me do my job."
"No, Nour... I cannot send you into battle, not with a broken thread..." Nour backed up a bit, and held her hand gently over her stomach. She tightened her grip on her staff, and made her way to the man's side.
"And I will not let you suffer because of a Roman fool, Seti." Nour stepped in front of the man, staff at the ready. She made it clear that she was going to protect this man until her dying breath.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:43 am

The tavern shook from the oncoming pressure of the storm yet Kalfas stood his ground. There was a significant difference in height between him and the man before him, but he had faced opponents who were far bigger and won. The only problem he had with this standoff was Nour, she could not fight properly in her condition, nor does she should. As a warrior he would not let himself fight against her as it would dishonor him greatly. "I may be a fool, but I am not without honor. Step aside Nour, you are not in a condition to fight." He said to her, his face showing a hint of concern at the woman. His code and principles forbid him from doing any harm to her as of this moment. But when the time comes and she was in a better shape, he would gladly face her again as a proper opponent.

The bartender and the barmaids heed no mind to the trouble that the three of them were brewing, they were too preoccupied with the storm at hand. Plates and glasses were tumbling down from the shelves behind the bar, doors slammed open and closed again in a harsh and loud manner, sand began to pile up into dunes near the open windows, it was beginning to look like a total disaster. "Seti, was it?" Kalfas asked whilst lowering his weapon to his side. "The offer still stands, make your move." He spread his free arm wide, creating an opening for the man to strike him as he pleased. At first sight, this was a foolish gesture. In time though, his opponent will learn that this was merely part of his plan, an opportunity to see what his opponent was capable of doing.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Mar 25, 2018 7:06 am

Nour still stood between the men, not wanting to back down. The man was now clearly becoming angry, more sand steadily filling the room, pooling around the man.
"Only my love may call me Seti. You do not have that privilege."
"Seti, my love... please..." The man looked at Nour, then back to Kalfas, letting out a deep growl. He gently scooped Nour up, throwing his cloak over her before racing outside into the raging sandstorm. He moved through the storm with ease, unphased by the sand whipping about them as Nour clung to him tightly. The two seemed to disappear into the sand, making a run for safety. In their rush to escape, the bloodstained feather fell to the floor.

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:48 am

Kalfas chased the two in vain as the sandstorm was already at its peak. His sense of direction and sight became blurred in the brownish fog shrouding him, it was like being trapped in a bubble from another realm. The relentless wind coming straight at him added weight to his already heavy armor, forcing him to kneel with one hand on the ground, while the other shielded his face. How could he not? He was up against the force of nature, the only force that could put any great man or woman to their knees. It was at this moment that a feather struck his leather boots, hanging firmly still due to the pressure from the opposite direction. Kalfas snatched it as swiftly as he can and retreated back to the safe enclosed space that was the tavern, immediately closing the door behind him using his back before slumping down to the wooden floor. The door retaliated with a loud shaking but could not force itself to open against the weight of the legionnaire's body on the other side. To this he lets out a sigh of relief.

Sands slithered down through the open spaces of his armor, piling up like a mat below him. He looked upon the feather that he had acquired and started to rotate it, observing the item like it was some sort of treasure from a lost continent. The once smooth and white features of the feather were mostly gone, replaced with a crimson color and raggedness. He was right all along, they were the ones responsible for the murder of the cannibal. Perhaps, they might even be the ones responsible for the other unsolved murders that his colleagues happened to stumble upon while on duty. "Damn this storm!" Kalfas roared, smashing his fist down, scaring the remaining occupants of the tavern. They all paused to take a look at him, each of them with something to say, but their better judgement came over them and they all decided to leave him alone. Except for one...

"Legionnaire, here, have a drink." The bartender said to him, offering a glass of water to the distraught Kalfas. He was a kind old man despite his rough exterior, he reminded him of his father back home. "Thank you." Kalfas replied, he took the glass from the old man and drank it empty with a just few gulps. The old man smiled at the sight and sat himself down right in front of him. He looked at Kalfas with a genuine caring expression, like one would to another family member. He then slapped his knee and shook his head as if remembering something unpleasant. "You do not know who you're facing against, child." The old man remarked, his eyes now solely focused on the ground. "Those two are a part of something bigger. They are among those who stay in the shadows, those who are hidden." Kalfas did not understand this cryptic message that the old man was trying to convey, he had never heard of this so called Hidden Ones who hid in the shadows, therefore he had no reason to be fearful or wary. Those who are strong have no need to hide, that was what Flavius had said to him in training and he had always believed it to be true.

The old man gave Kalfas a final warning before he stood up, "Be cautious of them, they are as swift as they are deadly." the words were seared into his mind like a burning stake. He sat there motionless, contemplating the path he was on while the old man continued to do his work. This so called Hidden Ones riddled him with thought. If they were to increase in numbers and in strength then the land would turn into a river of blood, governed and protected by those who gazed at them from the darkness. As the embodiment of the sun, he could not let this happen under his watch, the light needed to be shone upon them. Kalfas believed in a transparent system, one that shows the face or identities of those who runs them, those who are unafraid and can be held responsible for the mistakes they might make. Power corrupts, that is true, but the people will learn. They will learn from their mistakes, they will take it as an example to become better, to progress. That could not happen if the Hidden Ones took control. Their systematic killing, their cowardice to face the world head on and their flawed sense of justice will be the downfall of us all. "I will not let them do as they please." He declared, "Old man, I will keep your warning in mind. But it will not stop me from going after them." The old man merely smiled at the legionnaire's remark, he then proceeded to fill a glass with one of his finest beverages. "Then here's to you, my child. May the Old Gods protect you on your journey." and with that he began to drank the whole thing, finishing it in mere seconds.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:17 am

The man set Nour on a camel, and climbed on in front of her. He spurred the camel on, racing off into the darkness, heading straight for the desert. It seemed as if the two were completely mad. Nobody could survive in the desert, but that didn't stop them.

Eventually, the two arrived at the ruins of an old temple. The man helped Nour off the camel, and led her into the shrine. There was fine cotton, and lush cushions scattered around in one corner of the room, and various candles lit around the altar. There was an old harp of pure gold in the corner of the room, a strange sight in the ruins of a temple.
Nour knelt before the statue of Seth, and prayed. The man smiled warmly, and sat on the altar beside the statue.
"You are most faithful, my love."
"And you reward me greatly for it, Lord" Nour said with a chuckle. "If I do not pray, you will grow weak."
"I still have followers..."
"But not enough, my Lord." The man chuckled, and removed her headgear, gently brushing her hair from her face. He seemed to genuinely care for Nour.
"Rest now, my love."
"I cannot. My mind is troubled by visions of death." The man smiled, and made his way to the harp while Nour made her way to the lush pile of pillows and fabric, curling up amongst the pillows as the man began to play a song on the harp.



An old woman had been sitting in the corner of the tavern, watching the scene unfold. She stood up, and approached Kalfas, carefully taking a seat next to him.
"You must be careful around them, child. She is a dangerous killer, more so now that she is with child, his child. He is not as he seems." The old woman paused to take a sip of her drink, thinking of the young couple. "Did you not see how the sands moved when he was angered? He is ancient and most powerful, Lord of the desert and chaos." A few patrons looked at her as if she were mad, but the old woman simply smiled. "So I suppose you all think that the appearance of Sobek near the withered tree was just a dream? That Sekhmet appearing in the desert was nothing but a hallucination?"

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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:06 am

"We're all stories in the end", those were the words of a poet that Kalfas had once met in Rome. He could not remember his name, but his words couldn't be more truer than ever. The events that had transpired in the span of a few hours had broken the lines between reality and fiction. Gods, Demigods and secret organizations. As ridiculous as they may seem, they may actually exist in this world after all. Kalfas had no reason to disbelieve any of it but he had no proof to believe in them as well, they're all just things to take into consideration. "Tell me, what's a God to a non-believer?" He asked the old lady carefully, she seemed to know a lot about the supernatural phenomenons that has happened all across Egypt, an information that might come in handy. "For I do not believe in Sobek or Sekhmet the same way that you do not believe in Poseidon or Demeter." It was a fair explanation. Gods only hold power so long as people still believe in them and Kalfas did not believe in Seti, not one bit.

Still, the thought of him facing off against an Old God gave chills to his spine. Assuming that all of this nonsense that the lady was saying is true, that meant that he had locked eyes with the Lord of Chaos and lived to tell about it. Kalfas grinned and shook his head in disbelief, "It's odd. I know that I should be terrified right now, but I'm not." He slouched his head onto the shoulder of the old lady, closing his eyes, being more calm than ever. "Humor me, are you one of them so called Old Gods as well?" the question slurred out of his mouth, it has been quite a long day for Kalfas, rest was what he needed. Tomorrow, he will start his adventure at first light.
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PostSubject: Re: Shifting sands   Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:31 am

"Me? A goddess? By Amun, no" the old woman said with a chuckle. She looked into her drink, a smile on her face. "I'm am just an old priestess of Sekhmet, waiting until Anubis calls me to the Duat. When you are as old as I, you learn a lot from the gods." She thought on Kalfas's question, thinking carefully on the power of the gods from the different cultures."Any god is powerful, whether you believe in them or not. I would not cross your gods, for they are just as powerful as mine. We are but their playthings, but my dear Nour has become something more to them, to Seth especially. She was not always like this, she has lived a troubled life, and too much pain has set her on this path."


Nour had finally fallen asleep to Seth's sweet song, dreaming of peaceful days along the Nile. Seth lay beside her, and she immediately snuggled up against him.

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