Another HairlessThoctar story; Lookout

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Trying something different this time, something shorter.
I wrote this in one sitting at work today. 


                Tulic took a step but then stopped. She saw a puddle beneath her feet in a low point in the cobblestone. She awkwardly adjusted her gait to avoid it and kept moving. She darted in and out of the other people on the street. Merchants and beggars and thieves and Guildrats. She would look downright bizarre weaving in and out of these people as though they had a plague or something. She would look weird, if she could be seen. But she could not; she was invisible at the moment. A thin layer of nothingness between her person and the rest of the world. It wasn’t strictly necessary that she be invisible for this task, but she was taking no chances. Besides, it was more fun that way.

                She walked past a fruit merchant, pocketing a morsel while his attention was drawn elsewhere and trailed the street up a hill. In any other scenario, she would have preferred traveling on the rooftops, or the rafters, but she had no such luck. She was in an urban canyon of sorts. Buildings upon buildings upon buildings. The canopy of this stonework jungle was high enough that she would not be able to properly observe her quarry, and she held herself to too high a standard to allow herself to failure. No one could hope to out-sneak Tulic, she is simply the best there is.


                The crowd was thick, she saw her target in fleeting glimpses. A vision just over the shoulder, a shot just under an ogre carrying a barrel. She would not allow herself to lose sight of him. She could not allow herself to lose sight of him. Or else. She ducked under a pair of viashino carrying a cumbersome crate and turned the corner. There he was, conversing with a pair of old coots, gambling. From what she understood of this neighborhood, they were the local gossips. If anyone were to want to know something about anything locally, they were the ones to go to. She looked around. She noticed a café a short distance away with a sign attacked to a rafter jutting out above the door. From this position she would be able to read his lips. She climbed upon her perch, like a ghost of a gargoyle and waited.


                “What have they to say?” a voice out of nowhere gurgled. It sounded as though it were coming from everywhere, and it echoed as if underground, but this was clearly not possible. “Ugh, a second? Really? I’m a big girl. I can handle myself.”


                “It is not your decision to make. This mission is too important.”


                “Fine. Whatever. Shut up and let me do my job.” She thought “Jerk” she said.


                “Saying it aloud doesn’t prevent me from hearing it.”


                “If this mission is so damned important, maybe you should let me pay attention to my mark?” Tulic yelled in silence.


                “A true Dimir agent is able to work through distraction.”


                Tulic had nothing to say, and thought nothing, but merely scowled.


                “Even if you don’t think it, I can still tell what you’re feeling.”


                Tulic ignored the obnoxious voice in her head and focused on the duty at hand. She had been handed this job from high up; to follow and watch this person. He was of great interest to House Dimir. He was tall, and well built. His armor was inlaid with turquoise and looked nothing like anything Tulic recognized. He wasn’t from around here, she concluded. His hair was dirty blonde and shoulder length, swept behind his ears. Upon his waist was some manner of whip. She smirked, the feminine weapon seemed at odds with the man, built like a soldier. He began to speak to the old coots.


                “What have they to say?”


                “We’ve been through this before.”


                “What have they to say?”


                Tulic growled under her breath. “He’s asking them if they are familiar with a local group that traffics in ‘foreign’ goods.” She squinted unconsciously. His body language shifted when he said ‘foreign’. It didn’t look like he was lying, but it didn’t look like he was telling the truth either. He knew more than he was letting on, but he didn’t want all his cards on the table without knowing what the old men knew. “He’s not telling them everything.”


                “And in return?”


                The old men looked at each other, then back at the ladywhip man. Then old, gummy smiles. They claimed to have connections to the furthest corners of Ravnica; from  the most unchecked depths of the Rubblebelt, to the dankest pits of the Undercity. “The old men are toying with him, trying to get him to reveal his hand.” Soldier boy shook his head. He glanced over his right shoulder, then his left. He looked right at Tulic, which startled her, before she recalled that she was invisible. He leaned in closer. He said he wanted something not just foreign, but esoteric. From places not on the map. He did it again. The face he makes when he wasn’t telling the whole truth.


                The old men’s grins turned sour. They looked at each other again. They said that Ravnica is a big place, and that most of it was mapped. “The old men are still screwing with him, they asked if he’s looking for a Sherpa.” The soldier scowled. “He says he’s not looking to go exploring. He’s looking for what explorers would bring back,” He reached into a satchel at his waist “things you would not expect to find on Ravnica…” Tulic was finding herself ill at ease. This strange man was getting stranger by the second. He slammed his fist firmly against the table the men played at, and released his grip. “But are.”


                Where he released his grip, there, embedded in the table rested a thing Tulic did not recognize. It was a small, sharp little shape like two acute pyramids end-to-end. Etched into its surface were a number of sharp edged glyphs unlike any she had ever seen. Tulics eyes grew wide. She considered herself a well-read, well-traveled woman. Her expertise in esoteric objects helped gain her the attention of the Dimir in the first place. The thing resting now upon the table was unlike anything she had ever seen.


                “Tulic. What has occurred.”


                The echo pulled Tulic out of her trance.


                “Um. Oh, uh, right. He, uh. He pulled out a… thing. And put it on the table. I have no idea what it is. It doesn’t look like anything I recognize, not from any time period or Guilded influence.” Silence. The voice in her head said nothing. Neither did the old men at the table. They just sat there, looking at this weird sharp thing that had interrupted their gambling. After a pause that seemed to last centuries, they looked at one another, and back to the strange soldier. “They say that they knew of a particular courier that trafficked in that sort of thing, but as far as they can tell, it’s gone out of business.”


                The solider looked down at the old men, unblinking, unfazed. Then he blinked, and sighed, and plucked the sharp thing out of the table and pocketed it. A slight bow, thanking them for their time, and then he turned and began to walk away. “They couldn’t help him, he’s leaving.”


                “Very well. Return for memory back-up. We need to know what the soldier had.”


                Tulic nodded. This was a momentous occasion, something that the Dimir knew potentially nothing about. She was scared, but a little bit excited, too. That would not last, however. All unknowns would become known, all possibilities would fall into line. There was nothing that the Dimir could not know, could not predict, could not control.


 

And the cards that inspired them
Show


Dimir Watcher
()()
Creature-Human Rogue
Protection from Planeswalkers
2/2  
 



The Infinite Consortium
 Legendary Land
: Add to your mana pool.
: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast Planeswalker spells.
, sacrifice The Infinite Consortium: Add or remove X loyalty counters from target Planeswalker.  


 
Oh man more Hairless Thoctar stories. I'm excited. :D

I need to read Legacies and your other big story first but I'll come back around in the next few days. I'm already intrigued by the cards. Very interesting designs you've got there. 
Coming Soon to the Magic: Expanded Multiverse: FRAGMENTS: A Shards of Alara Anthology
(Click through to view the cover and announcement page)Want to get your work in the Expanded Multiverse? Come join the project! Oh, and check out my blog, Storming the Ivory Tower: making sense of academia, media, and culture twice weekly.
Oh man more Hairless Thoctar stories. I'm excited. :D

I need to read Legacies and your other big story first but I'll come back around in the next few days. I'm already intrigued by the cards. Very interesting designs you've got there. 



You still haven't read Nihil King! D:<
Yep, that's the "your other big story" I was talking about :P
Coming Soon to the Magic: Expanded Multiverse: FRAGMENTS: A Shards of Alara Anthology
(Click through to view the cover and announcement page)Want to get your work in the Expanded Multiverse? Come join the project! Oh, and check out my blog, Storming the Ivory Tower: making sense of academia, media, and culture twice weekly.
Oh.

Carry on. 
Hi.

I really enjoyed this story!

Thanks!

Whee I hope my attention span lasts long enough for me to give this a useful critique! I feel like my head has been replaced by a fishbowl or something! It's all getting straight up Kienholzian here or something. LAWL JOKES ONLY ART HISTORY MAJORS UNDERSTAND


Tulic took a step but then stopped. She saw a puddle beneath her feet in a low point in the cobblestone. She awkwardly adjusted her gait to avoid it and kept moving. She darted in and out of the other people on the street. Merchants and beggars and thieves and Guildrats. She would look downright bizarre weaving in and out of these people as though they had a plague or something. She would look weird, if she could be seen. But she could not; she was invisible at the moment. A thin layer of nothingness between her person and the rest of the world. It wasn’t strictly necessary that she be invisible for this task, but she was taking no chances. Besides, it was more fun that way. I kinda like this character already. And I like the opening paragraph. It's odd, and intriguing, and draws you in.


                She walked past a fruit merchant, pocketing a morsel while his attention was drawn elsewhere and trailed the street up a hill. In any other scenario, she would have preferred traveling on the rooftops, or the rafters, but she had no such luck. She was in an urban canyon of sorts. Buildings upon buildings upon buildings. The canopy of this stonework jungle was high enough that she would not be able to properly observe her quarry, and she held herself to too high a standard to allow herself to failure. No one could hope to out-sneak Tulic, she is simply the best there is. HAH. Nice. I wonder if it's too obvious though? I'm still really loving the descriptions here.


                The crowd was thick; she saw her target in fleeting glimpses. A vision just over the shoulder, a shot just under an ogre carrying a barrel. She would not allow herself to lose sight of him. She could not allow herself to lose sight of him. Or else. She ducked under a pair of viashino carrying a cumbersome crate and turned the corner. There he was, conversing with a pair of old coots, gambling. From what she understood of this neighborhood, they were the local gossips. If anyone were to want to know something about anything locally, they were the ones to go to. She looked around. She noticed a café a short distance away with a sign attacked to a rafter jutting out above the door. From this position she would be able to read his lips. She climbed upon her perch, like a ghost of a gargoyle and waited.


                “What have they to say?” a voice out of nowhere gurgled. It sounded as though it were coming from everywhere, and it echoed as if underground, but this was clearly not possible. “Ugh, a second? Really? I’m a big girl. I can handle myself.”


                “It is not your decision to make. This mission is too important.”


                “Fine. Whatever. Shut up and let me do my job.” She thought. “Jerk” she said.


                “Saying it aloud doesn’t prevent me from hearing it.”


                “If this mission is so damned important, maybe you should let me pay attention to my mark?” Tulic yelled in silence.


                “A true Dimir agent is able to work through distraction.”


                Tulic had nothing to say, and thought nothing, but merely scowled.


                “Even if you don’t think it, I can still tell what you’re feeling.” Man, what a jerk.


                Tulic ignored the obnoxious voice in her head and focused on the duty at hand. She had been handed this job from high up; to follow and watch this person. He was of great interest to House Dimir. He was tall, and well built. His armor was inlaid with turquoise and looked nothing like anything Tulic recognized. He wasn’t from around here, she concluded. His hair was dirty blonde and shoulder length, swept behind his ears. Upon his waist was some manner of whip. She smirked, the feminine weapon seemed at odds with the man, built like a soldier. He began to speak to the old coots.


                “What have they to say?”


                “We’ve been through this before.”


                “What have they to say?”


                Tulic growled under her breath. “He’s asking them if they are familiar with a local group that traffics in ‘foreign’ goods.” She squinted unconsciously. His body language shifted when he said ‘foreign’. It didn’t look like he was lying, but it didn’t look like he was telling the truth either. He knew more than he was letting on, but he didn’t want all his cards on the table without knowing what the old men knew. “He’s not telling them everything.”


                “And in return?”


                The old men looked at each other, then back at the ladywhip man. Then old, gummy smiles. They claimed to have connections to the furthest corners of Ravnica; from  the most unchecked depths of the Rubblebelt, to the dankest pits of the Undercity. “The old men are toying with him, trying to get him to reveal his hand.” Soldier boy shook his head. He glanced over his right shoulder, then his left. He looked right at Tulic, which startled her, before she recalled that she was invisible. He leaned in closer. He said he wanted something not just foreign, but esoteric. From places not on the map. He did it again. The face he makes when he wasn’t telling the whole truth.


                The old men’s grins turned sour. They looked at each other again. They said that Ravnica is a big place, and that most of it was mapped. “The old men are still screwing with him, they asked if he’s looking for a Sherpa.” The soldier scowled. “He says he’s not looking to go exploring. He’s looking for what explorers would bring back,” He reached into a satchel at his waist “things you would not expect to find on Ravnica…” Tulic was finding herself ill at ease. This strange man was getting stranger by the second. He slammed his fist firmly against the table the men played at, and released his grip. “But are.”


                Where he released his grip, there, embedded in the table rested a thing Tulic did not recognize. It was a small, sharp little shape like two acute pyramids end-to-end. Etched into its surface were a number of sharp edged glyphs unlike any she had ever seen. Tulics eyes grew wide. She considered herself a well-read, well-traveled woman. Her expertise in esoteric objects helped gain her the attention of the Dimir in the first place. The thing resting now upon the table was unlike anything she had ever seen.


                “Tulic. What has occurred.”


                The echo pulled Tulic out of her trance.


                “Um. Oh, uh, right. He, uh. He pulled out a… thing. And put it on the table. I have no idea what it is. It doesn’t look like anything I recognize, not from any time period or Guilded influence.” Silence. The voice in her head said nothing. Neither did the old men at the table. They just sat there, looking at this weird sharp thing that had interrupted their gambling. After a pause that seemed to last centuries, they looked at one another, and back to the strange soldier. “They say that they knew of a particular courier that trafficked in that sort of thing, but as far as they can tell, it’s gone out of business.”


                The solider looked down at the old men, unblinking, unfazed. Then he blinked, and sighed, and plucked the sharp thing out of the table and pocketed it. A slight bow, thanking them for their time, and then he turned and began to walk away. “They couldn’t help him, he’s leaving.”


                “Very well. Return for memory back-up. We need to know what the soldier had.”


                Tulic nodded. This was a momentous occasion, something that the Dimir knew potentially nothing about. She was scared, but a little bit excited, too. That would not last, however. All unknowns would become known, all possibilities would fall into line. There was nothing that the Dimir could not know, could not predict, could not control.

Very short, but very, very cool. And the inclusion of Gideon was subtle enough, and small enough, that I don't think it is likely to contradict anything, which is nice. But more importantly, it was a fascinating little vignette and an interesting glimpse into the mind of a Dimir agent. I don't have anything really critical to say about it actually. Nice job!



Dimir Watcher
()()
Creature-Human Rogue
Protection from Planeswalkers
2/2  
 



The Infinite Consortium
 Legendary Land
: Add to your mana pool.
: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast Planeswalker spells.
, sacrifice The Infinite Consortium: Add or remove X loyalty counters from target Planeswalker.  

 

Also, the cards are very cool :D
Coming Soon to the Magic: Expanded Multiverse: FRAGMENTS: A Shards of Alara Anthology
(Click through to view the cover and announcement page)Want to get your work in the Expanded Multiverse? Come join the project! Oh, and check out my blog, Storming the Ivory Tower: making sense of academia, media, and culture twice weekly.
Originally, the watcher was going to reveal himself to be Lazav towards the end, but his appearance (soundance?) in Secretist made the idea of him babysitting one of his best agents, well, really stupid.