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Messages - Katt Batten

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The Phalanx / Re:
« on: August 05, 2018, 03:35:30 PM »
Isuelt nodded to Katt's requirements, finding them fair. "About Kyle..." She shifted her weight slightly as they let go of their handshake. "Don't mention anything to him about...why I'm there? Maybe I wanted a change in direction?" She highly respected Kyle Pontius and wouldn't want him to think less of her.

"I plan on keeping my half of our bargain even if you don't plan on keeping yours. He has no reason to know why you need them and if he asks I will simply tell him they are a gift from me to you. Which is no lie, actually. It was something I had planned on doing for Christmas this year. You are just getting it a bit early. If my brother, or anyone asks, why you are working patrol for Batten Inc, I will tell them that you needed something to fill time. Which again, is no lie."

"Thank you," she nodded deeply to Katt though the Christmas comment caught her off-guard. "Really?" Katt was a pretty good gift-giver. She smiled, marveling at Katt's generosity. She had crumbled before Katt like a house of cards earlier, and now here she was being built up again by the younger Batten.

"You seem surprised." she chuckled quietly, "I gave you a sword, wound ointments, and I thought armor would complete it all." She shrugged slightly as she relaxed her stance some. "However...I will let you know this, Issy. I don't.. normally keep things from my brother and Clayton. In this case I am simply doing so because you asked me. I don't like it but it is also not my place to tell them."

Sighing, she nodded. "Your brother," she stalled. "I'll tell him myself. I promise." She knew the sort of catharsis his confessional had always brought her. In fact, this newest incident was one of the only things she hadn't told him about her life...and that was because he had been MIA. And as he had always been honest with her, she felt she owed him an explanation. Besides, the fact that he wasn't dead or dying was reason enough to celebrate a conversation with him. Especially when she thought she'd never see him again.

"Quite frankly I think you should and I am sure he will feel the same way I do. I mean seriously, Issy. As much as you've done for them. Not only them but for the people of this city. To discard you so easily because of a mistake? To not even give you a chance to redeem yourself? Quite frankly I question them." She didn't want to insult Issy or the Sisters but it was true. She questioned how authentic these sisters cared for each other if one of their own was so quick and easily tossed away. There was even a part of her that was rather inflamed over it but that part was placed on the backburner. For now..

She found the ground strangely interesting suddenly. "It's a bit of a long story, Katt. But...I promise I'll tell you." She glanced up at her new employer. "Don't be so quick to judge them. They acted in the right. They did what they were meant to do. What I would have done." She sighed.

"****, Issy. For people who were supposed to be so close knit and like family, you don't act like that. I don't care if you went bat**** crazy and tried to kill them all." She grunted loudly. "I doubt very little that you could tell me that would change my mind about that. They shouldn't have discarded you. They should have worked with you."

She lowered her voice and said quite matter-of-factly, "I'm awaiting my court martial hearing." She cleared her throat, "Assuming there are any Scathachians left alive after what I did."

She paused for a moment, "Their leaving, I am guessing, is because of you. That also bothers me. That they can so quickly leave and abandon their duties and the people here." She was itching to know, for sure, but still. Leaning a bit she folded her arms and eyed Issy. "Explain? Or do you wish me to wait until you are ready?" Thanks, Issy. Add to the subject of curiosity.

"They did not abandon their duties here. Their duties were fulfilled. They stayed because they wanted to at the time, but..." She swallowed and was not fully ready to tell the whole story. But soon. "They left to go and defend our home against a war that is coming." She looked to Katt. "They left to save what lives they could." She had a knot in the pit of her stomach and it was too painful to continue. Maybe after a few drinks, she'd spill her guts to Katt more than she had already. And tell her the entire story. And after what Katt had just done for her, that night would probably be sooner rather than later.

"Then let me rephrase that. They abandoned a city with people who trusted them with their lives and protection. They just up and left. Not a word to anyone. Even if they went to save lives, Issy, they did abandon their duties here. They withdrew without a single care to anyone in this city. I do understand there is a war coming to them but you do not just go abandoning people without word like that. People who put their lives and trust in you." She exhaled through her nose and shook her head. "And why not ask the people that they have helped for aid against this war? Whatever it is. Rhydin has helped other nations and worlds before. Their methods are questionable, at best."

She nodded to Katt. She understood that it was difficult for outsiders to comprehend the old Scathachian ways, the laws that had stood for millennia. That outsiders could never know the location of their home, much less arrive to aid them in battle. She did not slight Katt one bit. She simply looked up to her friend and smiled softly. "It's okay, Katt. Really."

"Meh." That was her answer to that! "I will await to hear the full story." Just so Issy knew she wanted to hear it. For now she moved on. "Are you able to use electronics? Cell phones and such?"

She bit her bottom lip and wrinkled her nose. "That's all part of the job requirements, huh?" Oh, that learning curve is going to be fun.

"It could be added to the list of equipment but if you aren't able to I surely am not going to force you." She mused quietly as she watched Issy's face. "Unlike my brother I am not completely plugged in."

"I'll learn." She lifted her chin. After all, she loved a challenge.

Well that was unexpected. "Alright then. I will have a cell phone waiting for you with the equipment then. If anything it will allow us to keep in touch with each other in case you need something." She gestured and started to walk. "For now...let's get you to the suite." Because she wasn't going to let Issy go on that front.

And just like that, Isuelt had a roof over her head, the promise of steady income and food, and a purpose. Everything that had been stripped from her for her own foolishness and prideful ways. "And Katt..." For just a moment, words failed her.

She took a few steps but paused and looked over to Issy, "Mrm?"

She blinked and her tongue clicked silently at her teeth. She couldn't find adequate expression for what she felt. She felt as if Katt had just saved her life. She took a deep breath and let it out. "Thank you."

She blinked. Wow Issy was throwing her for loops tonight. Her expression softened and she smiled, something rarely seen. "Don't need to thank me, Issy." She had a feeling Issy might regret thanking her in the future!

"Yes." She quickly answered. "Yes, I do." And quite serious. She swallowed and shuddered, trying to keep her icy-cold exterior intact. However, it faltered for a glistening moment. She sniffed and glanced down, figuring Katt had seen enough of Isuelt's tears to last her a horrified lifetime.

"I am humbled." she offered quietly. "But truly do you think I would be the only one to offer you such a thing? Edward probably would have done the same. Ebon. You have people who care about you, Issy. People who aren't Scath." She didn't want to admit that it killed her seeing Issy like that though. "Now the job is a different story. You are going to be a great help!" She gestured again. "Now come on. It is late and you got a full day tomorrow."

Reaching behind her head, she tightened her ponytail and nodded, following Katt, her new employer. "Yes, ma'am." The smirk was back, by the way.

"Don't call me that!" Was an instant complaint.

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: August 05, 2018, 03:35:20 PM »
[size=9]Few Days Later[/size]

The evening was one of those nights that people wait the entire year for: calm winds, temperate air, sweet smell of lilacs floating by. Isuelt was relatively sober and was actually enjoying the silence of the market. Lately, it was the little things that she tried to find pleasure in. It was challenging, but what's a challenge to someone like her, right? She sat on a low rock wall that separated some of the stalls from the more established shoppes, her legs dangling. She was wearing a black short-sleeved T-shirt and a pair of faded jeans, the products of a lost and found, and her sandals. Her dark hair was pulled back into a thick ponytail and her skin was looking like she had had some nutrition and some sleep. Her eyes were shut and her chin was tipped to the sky. Over the past few hours, she'd heard a few familiar far off sounds: yelling, commotion and a few rumblings of what she supposed were trash cans or other objects hitting the ground in a nearby alleyway. And the realization that it was no longer her responsibility nor her charge was both freeing and devastating. She was currently contemplating which hurt worse.

It wasn't like Katt Batten to get so damn tired after paperwork or maybe it was just the overall boredom of being stuck in the Tower for hours on end. Sluggishly Katt made her way through the market, attempting to shake off the feeling of lead in her feet. It was too late for some of the things she normally liked but it was never too late to go to her favorite lurking spot - the fountain. So that is where she headed, stopping briefly when she caught a scent on the wind. "Hmmm.." Katt could have been wicked and scared Issy out of her skin but right now didn't seem like the best of ideas. Instead she craned her head back, "Hey, Issy." Not that she pinpointed the woman by scent but she was nearby enough that given enough time she could have hunted the woman down. Adjusting the strap of her backbag, she waited to either be answered or ignored - one would have her moving along while the other would likely have her going home.

She opened her eyes and looked toward her name. A small smile perked her expression as she exhaled her reverie. Her posture even changed; a kneed coming up to be hugged by her arm, while her other leg continued to dangle. If one didn't know better, it would look as if Isuelt was actually casual and relaxed. "Heya, Katt." She nodded almost sheepishly, feeling a bit guilty for not staying where Katt had suggested for too long. It was difficult to staple herself in one place, it always had been. Especially now when her thoughts and focus were all over the place.

Katt's eyes lowered some at movement near the direction she had been heading and a brow crawled up when she spotted others over there. A little crane of her head was given before she was addressed. Her eyes quickly turned in the direction she heard Issy's voice. "You know I get reports from the complex, right? Was the suite not to your liking?" Her hands slid down into the pockets of her torn jeans.

The Battens were tough. There really was no lying to them. They literally had eyes everywhere. Isuelt learned that with Ed a while back, why should his sister be any different. Her lips shifted to the side and she canted her head as she looked off in the direction of the cityscape. Inhaling, she nodded slowly, "You know about that, huh?"

It was because of her brother that she had eyes everywhere. It wasn't like she wanted to but for some odd reason the man thought she should fill his shoes. "I had a feeling even before the cleaning service told me that the suite had barely been disturbed." Katt rocked on her heels a bit. "You are stubborn...I figured you wouldn't even go there let alone go there for long."

The smirk returned to Isuelt's lips as she looked down to her knee. "Sorry about that, Katt." After a moment, she lifted up her gaze to meet her. "I wanted to thank you."

"Don't sorry me. You promised and you broke it." She huffed quietly but didn't seem to push any further than that - at least not yet.

"Yeah, but you can't tell me you're surprised." She arched a brow and turned to fully face Katt.

"A little. I tend to hold promises in high regards. Not only that but you kinda don't want me telling people things." Not that she would which she suspected that Issy already knew which is why she didn't feel she had to uphold her end of the bargain.

Arching a brow at that. "I sorta feel that I...." She squinted off in the distance, making a note of the others who were enjoying the quiet evening in the market. Continuing her thoughts, she looked back to Katt, "I just have sort of a problem with handouts. Always did. I wanna feel like I'm earning it. Your generosity, that is." She was damn sure that Katt wouldn't say anything to anyone. She was even fairly certain that she wouldn't share the information with her brother. She shrugged. It was bare truth and there was something freeing about it. The fact that she had confessed her catastrophe to Katt had some merit in speaking with her now. Isuelt didn't have to work so hard at being evasive. "I need to earn it, Katt." her eyes flickered to her and beheld a certainty that sharpened her already deep gaze.

"You can earn your keep once you are back on feet, Issy. Besides as many times as you have saved my ass or been there for me? You don't think you haven't in some way earned it? Or my respect?" She grunted up to her almost as if she were threatening to come up there and Gibbs smack Issy.

Isuelt shifted on the wall before she hopped down and looked to Katt; gods be amazed, that smirk was still on her lips. And what was more, Katt's sensitive nose couldn't pick up the scent of whiskey.

She was pretty sure Issy was being a smart ass by sliding off the wall and standing on her feet. Har har har, Issy. A throaty snort came from her and she gestured, "So you want a job or what? I have some positions, private or otherwise, I can throw at you to see if you are interested. Then you can earn your keep and what have you."

She chewed on her tongue for a moment. The offer was very tempting. She kicked at the ground a moment and then blew out a long exhale. "That...would be interesting." Nodding slowly and looking to Katt. "I think..." She took a deep breath and exhaled as if cleansing some internal struggle. "I think I'd like to see about that once I know I'm good enough." She dipped her chin to Katt, trying to convey that she meant something deeper.

"How about something simple for now then? I can hire you privately to take over my patrols. With things busy around the Tower I have not been able to patrol the streets like I use to. The pay will come with some benefits but not as much as if you were Batten Security." Her hands clasped at the small of her back as she fell into a sort of business stance. "It will require you to be able to work with the Watch and various other sources which you should be used to. You would have to report to me." Scary, isn't it Issy. Katt as your boss. Be afraid!

She chuckled at that, though she hung her head a bit. "I guess I could start there..." Though she knew she wasn't supposed to be on the streets doing anything that resembled her Scathachian duties. But what else did she know? Really? She swallowed and wiped a hand over her jaw and chin, while dropping her voice, "I'm just not supposed to--" And who exactly would forbid it? Janie was still here, still doing what she could, but she wouldn't be out patrolling. And what if she was? Would she tell? Would she add incriminating evidence to Isuelt's court martial case?

"Mrm?" The sound questioned from her throat. "Not supposed to what?"

After a blink, Isuelt leveled her gaze at Katt and slowly let a smile cross her lips. "Nothing." After all, what did the rules matter now anyway?

Katt gave a throaty grunt and stared at Issy. She didn't believe that a lick!

"I can stick to the....the rooftops. Keep out of sight. You know that. It'll be fine." And what if something happened that she did have to apprehend? She was operating outside of the law, her Scathachian ties to the Watch were dissolved, save for Lt. Cullen. And she knew that he'd keep quiet.

"Not suppose to what," was repeated as she didn't let up and had no plans on doing so until she got an answer.

"I was ordered to cease all Scathachian duties. And your patrols are....are in the same vein." Adding a dash of insult to injury. "I'm not just gonna..." She paraphrased Katt, "Just curl up and die because of this. Right?"

She made a face at Issy. "First off..I am not Scathachian. They cannot demand you stop any and all activity just because it is in the same vein. They do not have jurisdiction over Rhydin to demand such a thing. If I employ you, you are a Batten employee, not a Sister. They can kiss my ass if they want to argue it is the same vein. That would be like saying that you can't have a job just because it is the same business. If they give you a hard time over it, they have to bring it up to me, not you. That is the most foolish thing I have ever heard." She was quickly losing any kind of faith she had in the Scath faction. "Curl up and die? Only if you decide to give up and you ain't coward enough to do that."

She held out a hand to Katt. "Well then, I guess you got yourself a deal, boss."

Her hand went to clasp Issy's hand firmly. "Good. I will have a schedule planned out for you. Make sure to go to Batten Tower to pick up your gear. I will make sure Kyle has it ready for when you get there. Mind you, you are also a branch of the Batten Inc and my brother...So...Make sure to be yourself."

Shaking Katt's hand, Isuelt marveled at the turn of events in her life over the past few months.

"The suite is yours, Issy. I am sure Edward would insist as well. So use it. You will need rest for your work. If you need clothes and other things, then I will advance you a paycheck so you can buy things you need with the exclusion of booze. That you can buy on your own time." Standards! Katt has them.

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: August 05, 2018, 03:30:49 PM »
She gave a throaty chuckle when Issy looked at her like that. "I know what you are going to say. Probably somewhere around 'you aren't like that' and stuff. When in the truth of the matter is I was, very much a murderer. Why do you think Renna is so fascinated with me? Because we are so much alike. Or were alike. There are differences now but that is because I chose that road. Remember what I said earlier? About mistakes?" She gestured faintly to the side. "If I didn't think you as a friend, Issy, we would not be talking like we are now. You are how you are and I've accepted that a long time ago. That does not make you a bad friend. But I also don't know answers to questions about how you feel about me. I am not asking you to change nor am I telling you so you feel guilty. I don't want you to feel guilty I just want you to understand why I am mildly confused."

She simply nodded slowly, feeling like her head weighed five hundred pounds. "Well, allow me to clear up any...confusion. Yes, I would grieve." The corners of her mouth turned down and she looked to the bottle of water.

"Then I have grown to know you a little more." Though she was admittedly surprised. "I would think you would be at least relieved to have a thorn such as I out." She chuckled quietly. " remember our conversation in the alley?" Or rather Issy was in the alley!

She wiped at her face once more and then wiped her hands on her pants. "You're not a thorn, Katt."

She grunted quietly, not responding but rather waiting for Issy to recollect.

"Which...which conversation, Katt?" Her brain was an absolute jumble of alcohol-stained half-memories lately.

"When you told me about your daughter and stuff. When you confided in me but you seem to think that you shouldn't of told me anything because of what I told you." Katt's hands settled against the bar.

"Yeah..." Again, the guilt of what she'd done hit her. How she'd pretty much thrown Rose under the proverbial bus for Edward.

"Issy. The things I said was true and honest. I said them because I see a strong woman. Prideful, yes. Stubborn, gods yes. But strong. Willful and Spirited. A good person. Someone I look up to. I didn't baby you. I didn't treat you like glass or give you lies to make you feel better. I felt you deserved better than that. You are strong enough to face the truth and once you dust yourself off and stop with the guilt, you can stand tall and move on. Be it to fix things, move forward to make things better, or something else."

Isuelt pressed her lips lightly together and looked toward the window, recalling the conversation. "I don't know what I'm looking for. I don't know what..." She sighed. "I've only felt this scattered a few times in my life. And each of those times..." She stopped short and gazed out the window.

"When you fall, you need to get back up, dust yourself off, and move forward. You speak so greatly about me but do you know how many times I have crashed, Issy? How many times I've been at the end of my rope?" She chewed her bottom lip. "I tried to kill myself when I was last infected by Renna."

She drew a slow breath and looked from the window to Katt. She knew all about finding the end of a rope. But it was something she didn't speak of to many people.

"Seriously don't think anyone would have blamed me, either. I mean Renna was wanting to use my body Edward..." Katt just paled drastically at the thought of it and a few seconds later she shuddered.

"People like us don't get an escape as easy as death, Katt." She glanced down, feeling the full weight of that truth.

"Killing oneself is a cowards way out." Katt said it flatly. "To be unable to face and overcome. Our mistakes do not define us." She repeated. "What we do afterward, that defines us." She saw how Issy reacted to the words. "Whatever is going on with you Issy..You..." she stopped herself suddenly and closed her eyes. She didn't want to upset Issy again with her words so instead...swallowed them. Whatever Issy was going through made her like glass and less of the warrior woman Katt knew her to be.

Katt's intuition was on the money. Isuelt arguably had never been as fragile in her life as she was now.

Katt was chewing on her inner cheek, keeping to her silence for now.

"I've never been so lost. So without. So....useless." She was crumbling before Katt's eyes.

She blinked at Issy. "So..without?" She was still thinking it was about the girl. "Issy...You are anything but useless. Why..would you ever think such a thing." Seriously..she was baffled.

"I'm undone, Katt. I'm finished." She didn't even bother to look around her this time. She was glass, she was shattering.

Okay now she was even more confused. "So you are basically saying you are giving up? On ...everything? Everyone? Even yourself? Whatever is going on, Issy...I may not know what it is but I know damn sure you aren't useless."

"Everything I am....everything I was. It's gone." She was looking at the bar, but she wasn't seeing anything. "I have nothing. No home, no money, no job. Nothing. I've been cast out. It's over, Katt." It was a small miracle that she still had her voice, as weak as it was.

She listened quietly then her brows raised, slowly. "Cast out." Give her a moment. "From...the Sisters?"

Finally, slowly, she looked to Katt. Her hand was holding up her head as it softly nodded.

She stared at her long and hard. Ohhh the questions she had. "I don't know why you were..cast out...but they are saddened for the loss of you. As for you having nothing that is a load of crap. You have life in you Issy. Everything else is material things. Though now a bit of things make sense." She craned her head a bit. "Issy...You can either lay down or stand up. You still have life. You are still something. You are still someone. Being a Scath did not..
does not define YOU!"

"You don't understand, Katt..." She actually physically shuddered. "I...have known nothing else for almost my entire life. And the short spell that I did know something else....I...." She took a moment and actually guffawed at herself. What did it matter now? "I tortured and killed people for money. And I enjoyed it. Being a Scathachian was the only thing in my life that actually stood for something, that was meaningful, that made me not want to slit my wrists every morning when I work up and found that I hadn't been allowed to die in my sleep." After all, Edward knew all of this, why wouldn't Isuelt eventually confess to his sister? "No matter how much alcohol I plowed into my body, no matter how many drugs or abuse I'd done to myself...I always woke up." She was thoroughly disgusted with herself. There was no small part of her that didn't wish she would just keel over dead on the spot right now.

She chuckled deeply. "You think? You honestly think I don't understand? I spent all my life being a murderous puppet. I still struggle with emotions. Being Scath? Was not your life. If anything it was a stepping-stone to advance who you are. You aren't going to die because you are no longer with them. You just need to find something new to fill your life. I can help with a job and a place to sleep. The latter you cannot say no to."

"I have cause an irreparable harm to my Sisterhood. Me. All me. Because I was prideful, stupid, blind and over confident. And ashamed." Isuelt looked like a house of cards collapsing. "I deserve everything that's coming to me. It's my penance." She knew she was speaking with the words that the High Priestess would have admonished her with...if she were still alive. It was killing Isuelt not knowing if her Sisters had survived the surprise attack on their island...or if there had even been one.

"What did you do that is so irreparable? So damning that there is no way to repair? Because as far as I am concerned as long as you are alive you can make things right. Or do you plan on just wallowing in your guilt and killing over? Because I thought you were better than that, Issy." She sighed and scratched at her neck.

"I betrayed those who gave me life. Who gave me myself, gave me purpose, gave me everything." Her eyes rolled back into her head as she shut her eyes, her pain was so near to the surface she wanted to scream, or pull her hair out, or both. "I..." She couldn't go on.

Katt considered it a moment. "Gave yourself? No. They helped mold you, sure, but you are yourself, Issy. They didn't give you everything. You worked for it. You laid your life down for them countless times and if they cast you out for a wrong, after all the good you have done, then there is something wrong. Now it is time to find a new purpose. They did not give you everything. They did not give you your life here in Rhydin. They just enriched it. They did not give you the respect you have earned from the people and citizens of Rhydin or your friends. Them casting you out is not the end of you and I won't let it be."

Isuelt had been low before in her life: when her husband died, when she came to terms that her assassin's ways were getting the better of herself. But she had never felt this desolate, this alone. And she had let her pride keep her upright for months. She had let her absence keep up the charade that she had left with the Scathachians as they departed Rhydin. She had let her stubbornness root her to the bottom of a bottle of whiskey rather than ask for help. She was hearing Katt's words, but they sounded so far away. All she could hear was the crashing sound of her failure and her own self-hatred.
Her head collapsed into her hands as if the weight of it was simply too much to bear. Her voice peeked from beneath her fingers, just barely. "Please, don't say anything Katt. I'm ruined...I don't want the world to know. Please?"

"You aren't ruined but you are acting like you are, Issy. So pick yourself up if you don't want the world to know." She grunted quietly. "The Scath Sisters aren't who you are, Issy, but what you were. It is like saying that Batten Inc. is who Edward is. If he lost it all he would just pick himself up and rebuild. So stand up and rebuild who you are. far as for your home..You can stay at my suite at the Toujours le Vert. And if you want a job I can hire you at the Tower for Security. With your conditionals hell you could get a job anywhere!"

"Well, I'm not Edward, am I?" She lifted her head up and looked at Katt. "Do you understand how hard this is for me? How ***** hard this is to admit? To accept?" Isuelt wanted to sweep herself under the carpet. She simply wasn't ready to deal with her predicament, much less gather together a plan B like Katt was so right in saying. There were not enough words in the universe to convey that they were alone in the Inn just now.

"I do but are you just going to roll over? You are not Edward. You are Issy. A strong warrior woman. It will take time to accept but you will be stronger for it. I have faith in you. As a person, not as a Scath. I've never defined you as a Scath. That was your job to me, not who you were."

"But to me, it's who I was." She sat back, feeling utterly exhausted. Her voice was hard and the stains of tear tracks were bright red against her sallow skin. "I don't know how I'm ever going to get over this...Please don't say anything, Katt? Please don't say anything to Ed." She looked to Katt, knowing that she could keep a secret or two, just like her brother.

"I won't say anything to anyone if you promise to stay at Toujours le Vert. It is a big place and nobody will both you. If you promise to stay there then we have a deal."

All Isuelt wanted was a place to hide away from the world for a while. For an instant, she envied Renna's sanctuary off-world and Ed's lab. "Fine." She hung her head, "Deal."

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: August 05, 2018, 03:30:31 PM »
.: Chapter Thirty-Three: Question of Fate :.

Making her way up the porch steps, Katt Batten paused to glance over her shoulder, like expecting something or someone. The strange little shadow that had been following her for months now was nowhere in sight. After a moment of pause she turned and shouldered her way into the inn.

It was a nice enough day, the sun was peeking out from the clouds, but Isuelt was tired. Tired of looking for shadows to hide in, tired of needing something to do with her time, tired of hiding from herself. She managed to muster up the courage to head to the Inn, wondering if she could keep a low profile. It was something she had really been working on lately.

A glance was made to her cubbie and for a moment Katt's nose wrinkled when she saw the letters stuffed into it. It was avoided and instead she headed behind the bar to fish herself a bottle of cranberry juice from the cooler. Another glance was made before she huffed at the box. "No." As if it had wooed her and she was vocally answering.

For the most part, Isuelt kept her head down, shielding herself from any passersby. She didn't want to answer questions or elaborate or really even be here. But the truth was that she had nowhere else to go. For the first time in her life, Isuelt was truly trapped. And she felt like a cornered animal. She had tried going elsewhere, but had run out of money; and she wasn't about to do anything of questionable morality for more...she was trying to push those days behind her. The door from the alleyway slowly creaked open. Isuelt hovered by the threshold, listening. It was quiet, as was usual during the day. A relieved Isuelt stepped in and kept her eyes averted beneath the hood of her sweater for a few moments as she tried to look around.

It was a rare thing that Katt was hungry enough that her stomach growled and even then she tended to ignore it. A rumble in her belly was silenced with a sip from the bottle, which was slightly jarred by the fact the alley door opened. Color her surprised to see someone else coming in let alone the scent being one she knew. The bottle was lowered and she blinked at the figure. Issy. In a hooded sweater? Wtf didn't cover it. "Hey, Issy."

Her legs halted, her steps ceased. Isuelt simply stood there as if being still enough would render her invisible. She immediately recognized Katt's voice and instantly felt shame. She didn't really remember what had transpired the last time she had seen and talked to Katt. She was a bit too inebriated. But she did remember waking up on Katt's couch and trying to skulk out as quickly as possible. Isuelt possessed a lot of pride; it could potentially be considered a hubris by some. And this new situation that she found herself in was absolutely soul-shattering. The deep shame she felt burnt her hotter than any torturous flame could. She turned her head slowly, and reached up to drop the thin hood. After all, it did no good in here. "Hi, Katt." Her voice was quiet, almost mousey. She sighed and headed toward her.

The sudden stop on a dime by the woman had her growing silent. She was half expecting Issy to suddenly bolt and that..kinda hurt. What did she do now? The sigh didn't help. The bottle was placed down and she used the cold that lingered on her hand to moved across the back of her neck. "I can go if you want."

Isuelt scoffed lightly, "Why should you go? You were here first." Isuelt lifted her eyes finally to look at Katt. While she wasn't drunk, she did look tired: sallow complexion, mildly sunken eyes and dry lips.

"You look uncomfortable at my presence and while I am not sure what I did, I do not wish to cause you any discomfort." It was as honest as an answer as one could get.

A chuckle actually sounded, "It's not you, Katt. It has nothing to do with you."

"The way you looked just now says otherwise. You practically cringed when I spoke to you." She grunted quietly. "You know how I feel about being lied to, Issy."

She sighed and sat down. "I said it's not about you, Katt. That's all I got. And that's not lying." She lifted her brows and looked at Katt.

Her lips parted to speak but seemed to come to some sort of realization - whatever it was, Issy wasn't going to tell her. As much as she had let Issy into her life, told her things that many do not know, that trust only went one way. Slowly her lips closed and her jaw worked, like she was chewing on something. When her lips parted again, "What would you like to drink?" Since she was already behind the bar and whatnot.

Trust was only trust if it was ready to be initiated; and Isuelt simply wasn't quite ready to accept the truth of what had happened in her life, let alone share it with others. She didn't lie, yet she didn't offer information on this certain subject as a method of sanity and self-preservation. She shook her head to Katt. "Just water is fine."

"Sure thing." She abandoned her own drink to go back to the cooler to collect a bottle of water. It was set in front of Issy, unopened.

"Thank you," was whispered as she stared at the bottle for a moment. Then, taking it quickly, unscrewed the cap and downed about half of it. Forcing herself to put down the bottle she drew a long sigh and then lifted her head to look at Katt. "It's really just something I'm dealing with, Katt. Really. Not you." She swallowed and looked over her friend. "How are you?"

Katt plucked out another bottle and settled it near Issy as a backup for the bottle she nearly consumed in one go. "Mrm? Your daughter, yes?" See, she remembered! "I..." She tipped her head a bit. "I don't know? Still feeling really weird and this contact is killing me." She really hated the thing sliding around on her eyeball. Just..ew.

"Yeah....yeah, that." The fact that Rose had been an issue was definitely another helping on her plate. "Contact?" She looked up at Katt. "Rose is uhhm.....difficult." Another bit of water. Though she shook her head for a moment, "Actually, I'm sure I was a pain in the ass at that age, too."

"Mrph. From what I heard she sounded pretty damn worried about you, Issy. So I think you are both pretty difficult." It was spoken in a 'just saying' type tone. Realizing the comment about the contact slipped she paused only to blink at Issy. Hoping to let the slip slide she peered at Issy. "At that age?" was teased.

"I actually have no idea how old she is, really." She shrugged, "But she looks like a teenager. It's all a bit....well...." She rolled her eyes, "What the ****, whenever Renna is involved you know it's going to be ***** up." She felt she needed to divert her attention from her seemingly insurmountable problems. "What's a contact?" She looked to Katt.

"A bit weird? She is still pretty much the victim of Renna's ...crazy. You both are..But from what I heard you care about her, too. I think you need to ease up on yourself and stop being so hard on yourself." Kettle. Pot. "We aren't defined by our mistakes, Issy. What defines us is our ability to accept we made the mistake and rectify it, learn from it, and try not to repeat it. Grow from it if you will. So you have time to be there for her, if you want to. Even if it isn't as her mom. Be there for as a friend, a consult. Someone she feels she can turn to. if you want to." she shrugged her shoulders slowly then stared at Issy. "Mrrrmmph." Yep. That summed it up. "Have you not noticed changes in me?"

She took in Katt's words. Every. One. Of. Them. She took them in silence, staring at the water bottle. Katt was absolutely correct. But for now, it was Isuelt's stubborn pride that was standing in the way of what Katt advised. Hopefully, she'd find a way around it soon before she let it kill her. Changes in Katt? As a matter of fact, she had noticed some changes. Positive changes. "Actually....yes." She looked to Katt. "You seem....more..." Her whiskey-soaked brain searched for the words, "More...positive. More at ease?"

A throaty chuckle was given. "Not..that..but really? Hm.." She didn't even realize. Raising a hand she combed her fingers through her black hair and as the light rolled off the dark strains, a metallic sheen could be seen. Ah! A realization clicked about then. " back. Kinda. Stubborn man is hiding out in his lab again. I think he is trying to figure out what happened to him. To us."

She watched Katt, then absolutely stilled when she mentioned her brother. "What? Really?!" Well, that was one heavy stone lifted at least. "He's okay?" She was taken aback at the incredible relief that washed over her.

She had a feeling that would lift Issy's spirits. A nod was given to her questions. "Yep. He is fine just ..." She rolled her eyes up for a moment before lowering them to Issy. "Being him. You know how he is. When something strikes his curiosity he will stay in his lab like a crazy person. I'll try to get him out so you can see for yourself."

Her shoulders fell in such solace that she was nearly brought to tears. She wiped her hands over her face and took a deep breath, letting it out in a big sigh. "I'm....I'm just glad he's back. Don't pull him out of his lab; he loves it in there."

While Issy was busy collecting herself, Katt moved her hand to her left eye and tapped her middle finger against her eye or rather tapped the contact which she was removing. It had been worn to simply conceal the fact that her left eye was no longer that icy green shade but rather a color Issy might find rather familiar - the same color as her brother's eyes.

She sniffed and lifted her head, pulling her hands from her face. Another deep sigh and she felt she could continue. "Sorry..."

"Do not apologize. I do understand." A napkin was nudged over to her in case Issy needed it. She was about to say something else but decided against it.

"No,'s good. It's good." Isuelt cleared her throat and finished the water, only to open the second one though she didn't drink from it just yet.

"Mrm.." Was all she said for now as she rolled the contact between her fingers.

As she got her thoughts together, she sniffed once again. "Yes, but you do seem...I don't know..." She was staring at Katt's eyes. Yep, different color.

"Weird-er?" Was what she figured Issy was looking for.

"No..." She canted her head to the side. "Happier. control."

"Mrm..." She tipped her head a bit. "I am not sure about in control but I am happier. I mean my brother is home. We still have a lot to deal with and try to figure out what is going on with me. I think that is what he is working on too." Lots of testing on her part.

"What's going on with you..." Isuelt repeated, now watching Katt intently.

"That is just it. I ...we...don't know. Renna had infected me year. A few months before Christmas." She wasn't sure if Issy knew or remembered, either way she was covering her grounds, "She was ...killing me. My soul anyways. Taking me over. Making me..her."

She nodded. She remembered. Ed had told her. In fact, that's when Ed had told her everything. About himself, about Katt. And if anyone understood how Renna's 'infections' could affect a person, it was Isuelt. "And now?"

Katt exhaled slowly. "He did something to me to save me. Something that I cannot explain. When I woke up he was gone and any answers he could have provided at the time was gone too. That was when she had kidnapped him. During his absence I had literally began to feel like a drained battery. Still functioning but...dying." She had no better way to explain it. "Physically I seemed fine and it even baffled every one of the doctors on his staff."

"But he's back now and figuring out further what to do?" She stilled for a moment, worrying that if the control and the happiness she'd seen in Katt wasn't Katt at all, but the part of Katt that was Renna? If what Katt said was accurate, and Renna was trying to turn Katt into Renna... Well, anything with Renna was possible.

"I am not sure how to explain it, Issy. I think even to a degree my brother is baffled." She scratched her neck. "I went with Leo, a sudden thing that we didn't exactly prepare for," which meant she didn't even tell Clayton let recruit anyone for the 'mission'. Leo had came to her rather sudden after all. "I ...cannot tell you what happened just yet. Not until we figure it out but...somehow I ...we..triggered. Me and my brother that is." See, terrible at explaining tech-mumbo-jumbo.

"Triggered?" That was never a good word, technology or otherwise.

She was trying to figure out how to explain it. After a moment she sighed and rubbed her face. "When we found him, he was in the process of dying, Issy. Ready to explode...right before my eyes."

Isuelt blinked and swallowed. Ed said that that would happen, but frankly, Isuelt never believed him. She didn't believe it would happen. She had total and complete faith in him that he would find a way to elude his fate. Still, she listened to Katt.

"I freaked." she admitted without any reserve about it. It was the truth, "So much so that without even thinking I ran to him. Ran to him and threw myself at him. I did not want the last thing we spoke about to each other be words like we had. Both angry. Even if we are siblings and that is natural, I just didn't want that. I couldn't handle the thought of him dying and those being my last words to him. It tore me up..."

Isuelt smiled softly as she listened to Katt.

Katt took a moment, waiting for the feeling to settle before she spoke again, "When we connected like that..I don't know. He explained it like he was a charger and I was being charged. I took that energy from him, at least a big portion of it and because of that he stabilized and I was..better. The drain I was feeling was gone..."

"Destiny..." Isuelt whispered the word in a state of awe. After all, who else could have done that? They 'saved' each other. Fate had made sure that they had met and had become siblings.

She blinked up to Issy. "Huh?"

Still whispering, "No one else could have done that for him....could have saved him. And no one else could have helped you in that moment. It was destiny..." She'd been thinking a lot about destiny lately. It was the only way she could swallow the sick tragedy that her life had suddenly become.

Katt snorted quietly. "I highly doubt that. I think it was more dumb luck than destiny. Whatever he did to me before he contacted me, which he wasn't even sure would work, and all of it." She grunted quietly and scratched the back of her head. "Destiny..." That was a word she had not heard in a long time. "Anywho... he is stable now and I am too. Though," she raised a hand up to her eye, "We have a little strangeness afterward."

A content smile sat on her lips for the first time in a long time. And as she looked to Katt's eye, she noticed that it wasn't only a different color. She definitely knew that shade of blue. "His eyes…You both..." She quieted, staring at Katt. 'Strangeness' didn't seem to cover where her thoughts went. "Wow," she spoke under her breath.

"Yeah. We don't know why. Just an anomaly. It isn't like he can see through my eyes or anything. At least not as far as we know." She chuckled. "But he also has it too. It looks..weird...seeing him with my eye color..."

It took a long moment before Isuelt looked away from Katt, or even moved. She seemed to just be absorbing her story. Finally she drew a deep breath and ran her hands over her face.

"I'm glad you are both okay." Shifting her attention to others seemed to alleviate the sensation that she was drowning.

She blinked slowly at Issy. "You mean him? Edward."

The weight of what had happened over the past few months and weeks was just so solid on her shoulders, that the small lift of worrying about Katt, about Ed, felt as if she would find the surface again. Isuelt's eyes were rimmed with tears. She looked to Katt in question, "Hm?"

"You mean you are glad he is okay." Katt corrected herself mildly as she moved to collect a third water for Issy and a few napkins just in case.

She rested her head in her hand and nodded slowly. "Yeah," she whispered. "And you as well, Katt." She glanced down, "And I really didn't think I'd ever see him again. I thought he was done."

"Why me?" It confused her to hear that. She was just a big thorn in Issy's side. Hell if she was out of the picture Issy wouldn't have to worry about her getting in the way or being a bother, so pardon the confusion.

"Let me ask you a question, Katt," she placed her interlaced fingers on the bar before her. "If you died, do you not think I would grieve?"

"I don't know." It was an honest answer.

A dark brow arched. "Seriously?"

She stared at Issy. "Yes. For someone I have given so much of myself to, you have given very little in return. You keep me at arms length and don't even seem to trust me when I've trusted you with some things that I have told no other. Like about my mother and father... I never told Edward nor Clayton about that. Mostly because it never came up but that is besides the point. But you? The one time you confided in me and I tried to shake you out of your guilt, you took it as me scolding you. I have looked up to you as a strong figure and to this day I still feel as you look down upon me as if I am a child. And yes, at times I wonder if you would be happier with me out of the way so you could be closer to my brother without my interference. I don't question you care, Issy. I just know it is limited."

She was taken aback, both literally and figuratively. It was a gut punch that she hadn't planned on, and it showed. Her face wore the expression of a horrified bystander who watched two trains colliding. Her mouth was open, slack-jawed and she barely blinked as she stared at Katt. Isuelt knew that getting close to people was something she had always had real trouble with. Friends were something that she could count on one hand. Not because of their indifference, but because of Iseult's deathly fear of intimacy. She was horrendous at friendship, and she knew it. No matter how many times or different ways she tried, she usually was better when she kept people at a distance. It took Isuelt an insane amount of time to build up the courage to actually trust someone and bring them into the fold. She wasn't proud of it, actually quite the opposite. She was shamed by it. But, in her life, in her line of work, friends usually met awful ends. And somewhere in the back of her mind, she was 'saving' them by not letting them get too close. However, that notwithstanding, it often left her feeling alone, isolated, hopeless. "I..." She couldn't speak, she couldn't answer Katt. Her shame was so deep, it cut her to the core. Katt was correct about giving of herself, while Isuelt...well, Isuelt had done practically nothing. It was in that moment that Isuelt pondered who would grieve for her. Who would be there to to truly feel a loss if she died. She was shaken to think it would be far less than she cared to admit.

"I am not mad or anything, Issy," she made sure that Issy understood that, "Nor does it mean I don't think you as a friend. I do. But you grieve over me? I cannot honestly say I know. I mean I've only seen you cry once..." correction time, "twice." She seemed thoughtful for a moment before shook her head. "So don't say you are sorry or anything. If it bothered me I wouldn't be talking to you now. It is what it is."

"I'm sorry," the whisper was all she could muster amid her mortification. "You're right. I'm a terrible friend. I'm a cold person." She swallowed her pill.

"Told you not to say that." Katt shook her head. "Nor did I say you are a terrible friend. I am guarded too. I don't let most people close to me and for good reason. I have learned that sometimes you can give, but that doesn't mean the person has to give back in return. So stop it." She craned her head a bit before eyeing Issy. "Let me return the question. Would you grieve? And be honest."

"Yeah, I would." She couldn't quite bring herself to look at Katt. "You are generous, you care about people. You genuinely do. You freely give of yourself, sometimes literally. You've been to hell and back and you still give others the time of day without wallowing." She wiped at her own nose. "You're a good person, Katt. No matter what you go through, you always somehow bring yourself to be there for others."

"A good person.." hearing someone say that felt..weird. "You think of me too highly, Issy." She chuckled quietly and slid her hands into her pockets. "Nor do I give myself so freely. When I give parts of myself to means I trust them and I have serious trust issues." She knew her flaws! "I am not a good person. I am a tamed murderer trying to make amends for the mountain of lives she has taken."

It was now that Isuelt's gaze flickered to Katt. Isuelt had been battling her past for longer than she would ever admit. And very few people knew the truth of what Isuelt really was, or the choices she'd made. Edward was one of them. Every word that Katt said could have been applied to Isuelt. Her head ached and she needed a drink. She rubbed at her forehead and wiped at her eyes and face. It had been an emotional afternoon for her. The usual cold-as-ice warrior was having a lot of afternoons like that lately. She wondered if she were having a mental breakdown.

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: July 17, 2018, 07:09:46 PM »
It is something like every 2-3 months. I forget. But I try to keep things going for brother dearest. I am working on a post or two to add to the thread to keep her'a'goin'.

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: May 04, 2018, 11:35:21 PM »
To all of the Phalanx's loyal readers..

Community Events / Re:
« on: March 28, 2018, 03:35:49 PM »
Hints for the Egg Hunt

#1 - In green I sit and watching as people pass by, with only the sound of squeaking chains to keep me company. - Found

#2 - Surrounded by books, I sit and wait, enjoying sweet aroma of things I can�t have. - Found

#3 - Warmed by captured light, and shadowed over by winged perch, I hide from all.

#4 - Wood surrounds me while cradling me in its shadows high above all the chaos. - Found

#5 - The clank of metal comes from my swaying perch. I dare not move else the endless beast may find and consume me! - Found

#6 - I sit in company king and queen, guarded by soldiers eight. - Found

#7 - I watch as people spin to view wonders of many worlds from my cushiony, shifting seat. - Found

#8 - I am with my artist and the creator. Where she go, so do I. - Found

#9 -  I watch from the window as people look for animal companions, big or small.  - Found

#10 - Splish, splash. I am, floating around in the water while people come and go during their busy day! - Found

#11 - In a little box that keeps paper containers I sit and wait while listening to the busy clinking of glass. - Found

#12 - Sign in but don�t forget to take me when you take a key! - Found

#13 - I am nestled in an apron of a fair maiden who is quite a busy bee. So please don�t bother her long or you may be trouble. - Found

#14 - In a pocket I wait, with an grumpy guardian protecting me.

#15 - Unable to go down the stairs where all the excitement is, I instead stay tucked in a corner to watch people booze the night away. - Found

Community Events / Re:
« on: March 28, 2018, 03:04:08 PM »
Katt's Menu and Drink List

Food and Sweets

♦ Pineapple Maple Glazed Ham wrapped in bacon with pan roasted potato wedges and carrots. Ham and Bacon purchased at Matadero Meats so you know it is good stuff!
♦ Five Cheese and Ham in a flaky, buttery pocket. Ham also purchased at Matadero Meats.
♦ Chocolate cake with whipped peanutbutter-cream frosting and edged by little candy eggs.
♦ Red Velvet truffles with sheep-shaped faces.
♦ Beignets (with or witout confectioners sugar). Katt can't serve without making these, right?
♦ Cup of mixed fruits (with/without cups of cream) or veggies (with/without cups of ranch). All fruits and veggies are fresh from the market!

♦ Bruised By Katt - A jello shot that is purplish-blue jello that aren't as strong as a Katt-a-Tonic but it sure to leave your taste buds happy.
♦ Crazy Juice - if you like sour and tangy, this drink is for you. Warning: It is everclear strong
♦ Red Dragon Brew - A strong red amber ale with the hint of rich caramel and dark fruit flavors. Made with 6 separate malts and 4 exotic hops for intense depth of flavor.
♦ Egg Shaped Jello Shots
-- red - Hot Stuff (fireball whiskey + cherry jello)
-- purplish-blue - Bruised-By-Katt*
-- blue - Apple-Berry Pucker (blueberry jello + apple pucker)
-- yellow - Lemon Drop (lemon jello + vodka)
-- green - A touch of Lime (lime jello + tequila)

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: March 28, 2018, 12:24:29 AM »
+chin+ I think there will be a post of my own doing soon. Yes.. Yes indeed...

RDI Playables / Egg-stra Fun Week
« on: March 25, 2018, 11:45:07 PM »

March 29th, Katt Batten will be showing up at the inn to sling drinks.
There will be food and treats along with some new things to try.
Along with this little appearance, an ?egg hunt? challenge will begin.
Starting March 29th and ending April 5th.
15 different hiding spots.
15 eggs with different mystery prizes.
If all eggs are not found by the first minute of April 6th, the prizes will be lost to the void!

The Egg Hunt (ooc info)
Starting Wednesday 28th, you can go to the Egg-stra Fun Week thread (link) to find hints on where the eggs are.
oocly contact me (forum pms, on livechat, etc)  with the # of the hint and your guess to see if you are correct on where the egg is located. If you are the first to guess correct, I will let you know (if you aren?t correct I will still let you know!) and that egg will be marked as found. I will also let you know what prize you have found with said egg.
Then, starting March 29th, you can proceed with your character finding said egg (liveplay, post (which you are welcome to do in the thread!),  etc).
Please keep it one egg per character and if you are feeling egg-stra generous, one egg per player.
Share and have fun!

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Community Events / Egg-stra Fun Week
« on: March 25, 2018, 11:33:15 PM »

Rules (OOC)

The rules are simple.

♦The Egg Hunt starts March 29th and ends April 5th (first minute of April 6th will be when I stop accepting guesses and the eggs/prizes disappear into the void)

♦ Contact Katt Batten (oocly) with your guess! This can be done in PMs, live chat, trillian, etc. Make sure to add the # of your guess. Try to be descriptive with your guess. Just saying 'the inn' will not count! Also leave with me which character you plan on finding the egg IC. This isn't so I can send out icons to the proper people.

♦ Please keep eggs 1 per person and if you feel gracious enough to let others have a go, 1 per player.

♦ Once I have confirmed for you that you are correct in your guess, you can move things IC and have your character find your egg/prize. This thread will be open to posts of those egg hunting, finding eggs or not.

♦ And the most important rule --- Have Fun!

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: February 16, 2018, 12:36:07 AM »
[size=9].:2.03.2018:. [/size]

She wasn't sure why she agreed to a training session with the newer employee, Calypso, other than the fact the woman braved up and asked her point blank for a little bout. She was sure the request came as to be used to get information out of her since she had been so seal-lipped about her brother. Calypso was far too interested in her brother for her liking...

As she watched the other woman prowling around the enclosed training room of the facility, she felt heavy - like her limbs were weighed down and they had only been going at it for less than thirty minutes. Maybe that was another reason she her state she wasn't as afraid of hurting the woman as she normally would be. Not that she hadn't landed a few blows on the woman already. She held herself surprisingly well and even managed a few well placed punches. Punches were returned but did not hold their normal impact nor had any real sort of strength behind the blows...not that she would punch someone like this with full force. Didn't need her brother returning to find she had hospitalized one of his employees. Again.

"So ya not gunna share about the happenings with Eddie, huh?"

Calypso's voice rattled her mind back to the present and the fight. Her stance had fell off-guard without her even realizing it. "Mrm.." the sound echoed in Katt's throat, "Why are you so interested...?"

"Ya kiddin', right?" Cal chuckled as her hand rose up along the wall and away and she kept moving along. "He is my boss and he just poofed off the face of the world."

Katt kept a wary eye on her, wondering exactly what she was doing. Keeping distance? Sure, she had returned a few punches but nothing damage worthy. "Listen...if you are thinking of hitting on my brother..don't. He has enough crazy women chasing him around."

Cal stopped, almost gawking. After collecting herself she laughed out, "He gave word that I would get to check out some of his tech then he disappears before giving me that chance."

"So it is for his tech that you are interested in him?" Katt grunted quietly.

"Maybe. Don't get me wrong, he is quite a looker and hell of a charmer," Cal flashed a grin as she turned to face Katt fully, "But he has no interest in a gearhead like me other than maybe to share or bounce ideas off of."

"Good. If you steal his stuff or hurt him I am not afraid to hurt you, just so we are clear." The mumble came quiet as Katt lowered into a ready stance..

"Little lady, I don't think you are in any condition to be making such threats." Cal chuckled and crooked a finger at Katt. "I have been told how you are by a couple of the fellas. Gotta admit, you disappoint."

That mockery caused a frown to course along Katt's lips. "I.."

"I know. You are under an unknown condition. Kyle told me."

"Kyle has a big mouth." Katt grunted but it didn't change her mind that Kyle was a good man and one of her brother's most trusted.

"Well then how about we wrap this up?" Cal asked casually.

"You forfeiting?" Katt raised a brow at the woman calling quits. While it was true she wasn't in the best of conditions she thought she was doing pretty well.

"You've already lost." Cal assured Katt with a growing grin.

Katt eyed the woman suspiciously, "What do you mean?"

Cal's hand rose up and flicked her fingers against the air but in doing so, it would cause the thin wire to shimmer. Several thin wires had been set up around the room while Cal had been moving, designated in a certain way and held in place by some of her discs. When the shivering wire stopped, the disc reacted by suddenly drawing in, like a fishnet pulled upon with Katt in the dead center of it.

The disc whipped the net, enclosing quickly around Katt in a tight wrap that soon had her falling to her side on the ground. A clear startled look was set on her face. She had missed seeing the wires and was baffled to how she was so caught off guard. Was she that weakened?! Even if she was, it didn't mean she remained still. Within seconds she wormed, attempting to tug herself free of the wire cocoon.

"That..was sneaky." she hissed up to Cal.

"I prefer crafty. I have read up on you. You are pretty crafty, too." Cal squatted down in front of Katt and plucked one of the wires. "I wouldn't squirm too much if I were you. The net will automatically tighten the more you struggle. Normally I have it pressurized to kill but we don't want that."

Cal's words didn't stop Katt from struggling, even as she felt the bindings tighten around her. "Because my brother would have your ass!"

"True and as much as he is into crazy, I don't think he would like his employee killing his sister. Not that I want to. I want him to trust me. Want you to trust me." Cal smiled to Katt as she started to pull on one of the disc and it instantly started drawing in its wire. "So why not share with me where he is? I would so like to spend some time with him."

Something Calypso said triggered Katt and the moment she was able to reach from the net, she went grabbing straight for Calypso's throat. Growling she wormed her way out of the wiring best she could, Reevi struggling to form along her arms in hard coating.

"Whoa! WHOA!" Cal pulled back, barely slipping out from Katt's grasp. Springing up to her feet she stumbled back a few steps. "Why do you seem pissed off suddenly? And what is it with that black gunk?"

Pushing up, Katt brushed off the rest of the wires now that they were slacked. "He's been kidnapped by a crazy bitch who needs to die!" Even as she said it, she was jumping at Calypso, claws stretched out to swipe at the woman.

That was surprising and Cal jumped back, feeling the air that swipe caused. "s***. Really? Let me help if I can then!" It did explain why Katt didn't want to speak of the subject. It was a sore one. The worry of her boss began to swell more but at the moment she actually felt that her life might be in a bit of danger. Katt looked pissed.

Another swipe was made but this time it came with an uneven step, causing Katt to tilt but she caught herself. "Then stop asking me about him! It is none of your business!"

"That is enough, Katt."

Kyle's voice had Cal looking over as the tall, dark-skinned man made his way across the room. He was already reaching for Katt or maybe just guarding himself. Cal remained on guard, stepping back more from the enraged woman.

Katt turned when she heard Kyle's voice and her hands lowered, "Why are you in here? You are disturbing our session."

"You need to stop, Katt. You are worn out and taking your frustrations out on Calypso is no way to make a good impression." He eased his hands up. It was just in time, too, because Katt's body tipped as she collapsed. Kyle caught her by the shoulders and was about to ask her if she was alright only to find her eyes closed. "She passed out." He informed Cal quietly. His dark gaze turned up to Cal who was watching them with concern in her bright gaze. "Don't worry. She just pushed herself too hard. I'll take her to rest."

"M'sorry, Kyle. Didn't mean to push her so hard." Cal rubbed at the back of her neck. "Didn't know she was so bad off. You sure she'll be okay?"

"Yeah, don't worry." Kyle smiled.

"Not making the best impression on the boss' sister am I?" Cal sighed and brushed ou her ponytail before lowering her hand to her side.

"Don't worry about it. She is just under a lot of stress and really worried about her brother."

"Yeah, I get that. If there is anything I can do to help out, you'll make sure I know? I may be a lowbee here but I have grown rather fond of Eddie."

"Sure thing, Cally. As for Katt, it takes time to earn her trust. Be patient with her." As he spoke, Kyle collected Katt and started for the door.

"Of course." Cal could understand, to a degree, Katt's position. The pain of a loved one being held prisoner. She watched the pair until the doors closed then turned to collect the discs that had recoiled their wires.

Making his way through the tower, Kyle a curious look from other employees - after all he was carrying the one who filled Edward Batten's shoes when he was gone. He was nearly to the medical wing when Clayton came strolling around the corner. It was no surprise to Kyle that Clayton was there. He seemed to show up when one least expected. The passed out Katt was handed over without a word, knowing that Clayton would ask if he felt it necessary.

Clayton handled her with care and in his arms was the first time she had moved since passing out. Her face and body tilted just enough to tuck herself against he cat in manflesh. Seeing this caused a chuckle from Kyle and in turn got a questionable look from Clayton.

"Even unconscious, she knows it is you." Kyle chuckled as he started on his way. "Make sure she gets some rest. She is going to burn herself out before she has a chance to save her brother."

Clayton didn't say a word, instead looked to the woman in his arms. He knew she had been pushing herself, unable to do anything with the restlessness that her brother's absences seemed to have created. Lowering his head he nuzzled her lightly before making way for home.

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: February 15, 2018, 01:04:11 PM »
.: Chapter Thirty-Two: Fading :.
[size=9].:1.23.2018:. [/size]

She spent a better of the afternoon staring at her PCUI when she received a reply from Mesteno. Just stared. Seriously... The way he had acted before she figured he had lost his phone and any connection with her whatsoever so at first it was simply trying to figure out if it was him that sent it. By the time she actually replied it was closing in on the evening and the weather outside was starting to dip a bit to the cooler side.

The message was simple: an offering for the sadist to visit in a place he had never been. Rather...she invited him to her home. Asile-aux-Falaises, as her brother deemed it, was built on a mountain side overseeing the ocean and just on the borders of town so he would not only receive the text offering to visit but also directions.

Mesteno had never been good with directions, and was too stubbornly proud to resort to the modern convenience of GPS. Likely, it existed somewhere on his battered phone, but if that were the case, he hadn't explored its unappreciated functions to find out. So of course he wound up lost en route as he entered unknown territory, finally arriving at the cliff-top residence a half an hour later than he'd planned.

Despite the wall, he'd view enough of the property beyond it to realise that Katt wasn't slumming it (as if the address hadn't hinted it already) but it amused him to recall her visiting Sanctuary, the cabin so run down and shabbily maintained that most likened it to a warzone. He wound down his window (literally, manually winding it down - he hadn't entered the 21st century) at the gate to speak over the intercom for admittance, and so long as Diana didn't see fit to deny him entry, drove on until he found suitable parking, before sliding out and leaving his eyesore of a van on the avant garde property.

He amused himself imagining Katt arriving to welcome him at the door in pastels with a rich woman's manicure and some feather-trimmed, flouncy loungewear, which might have been why there was a renegade glint in his eyes if she came to answer his knock, rather than someone in her employ.

Mesteno would find that he'd barely have to speak a word into the intercom before the gate was opening. Why was that? Simply enough, really. Out of the handful of people Katt trusted Mesteno was pretty damn high on that list and that list had him on Diana's watch list, so to speak. So once the A.I. knew who he was it gave him full access without even need of verification. The guy could come and go at all hours if he deemed it, not that he knew it!
No guards to greet him, though there was a mighty big cat lounging out in the sun in the middle of the yard. The beast was about the size of a lion but black as night with lighter stripes. It gave Mesteno absolutely no care, as cats tended to do in that oh so indifference way. It seemed to be the only thing, other than Katt, to be around.
There was no waiting Katt at the door but she was around somewhere close enough that she heard the vehicle coming. No fancy outfit, not even shoes. She was in, instead, a pair of tattered jeans and a t-shirt that looked like it had seen better days. Oddly enough her hair was tied up in a ponytail. This is what greeted him as she came circling the side of the building, arms folding as she casually strolled to the edge of the driveway. Once he was out (and yes she would wait until he was completely out) she unfolded her arms to raise a hand in greeting.  

His feet detoured him towards her once she was spotted, his study unrepentant. Brief though their last encounter had been at the inn, he hadn't forgotten things overheard, and now he searched for any indication of lasting physical damage. Katt had survived much. Anything that had hit her hard enough to compromise her mind must have been considerable. He approached without more than a glance toward the equally indiferent feline, which was either extremely foolhardy of him, or merely a sign of his own trust, upon entering someone else's territory.

"Ah, the Lady of the House," he drawled as he neared, and here the evidence of a smile did slip past the grim norm of his expression. "Come to escort me to the servant's entrance?" he asked. "Can't have the rabble entering through the front?" It was good natured teasing, rather than any real hostility. If there were even any neighbours close enough to spy (and he doubted it), a place of this size, and with Batten technology installed, was likely going to have good defenses about peeping toms. Katt could probably have thrown an orgy and have no one be the wiser. No one would care about one disreputable man showing up.

And really, that was precisely what he looked like. Something playing at dress up, trying to pass for civilised.

The Moor Cat would only react if needed to and since the one it was bound to was calm, so was it. Though really it was lazy and spoiled. While she waited for Mesteno a look was given towards the great beast before her sharp greens found the man again. What notes he would find in his observation was actually a very noticeable one - she looked exhausted. Her movements less fluid and sluggish though she did her best to conceal this. It took effort to simply shift from one foot to another, which she did as she regarded the man thoughtfully.
"Mrm?" She blinked slowly at him before tilting her head and scoffing. There came a low, throaty chuckle at his tease. "If we were going inside, maybe." She gestured to the side in the direction she had arrived from, looking to take him around the building to the back porch. Past the infinity pool and to the sitting area. She was curious to see his reaction to the warming stones the porch was made of and the low flow of warm air that kept the winter chill at bay. "I know you aren't a big fan of sweets ...or food in general..but I do have something to offer you in the ways of drink." And she never knew him to pass up on a good drink.

His eyes narrowed, scrutiny all the sharper. What had been a burgeoning smile waned as if it'd never been. Whatever had happened, plainly she hadn't yet recovered fully. While he theorised, given his own recollections of her usually rapid recovery, he stepped into motion alongside her, strides unhurried. For now he was content to move at her pace, the better to study her, and keep track of where she led. The place was big enough that he was just as likely to lose his way as he would on the roads.

"You don't need t'play hostess f'me, Katt," he reminded her, content to dispense with any formalities. "And you have a lot of faith in my ability to drive safely under the influence. I won't pass up a water though, if it's not putting you out." Mesteno's scruples might be somewhat lacking, but he was a fiend for driving responsibly.

His gaze skirted out temporarily, to the view beyond the infinity pool as they moved alongside it. He could understand the appeal, the exorbitant luxury of it, but it still didn't fit with his perception of the artlessly dressed, barefoot woman he walked beside. Knowing of her associations, it didn't take much effort to conclude who was responsible for the opulence of the place. He barely managed to keep from asking her whether he was going to end up on surveillance footage somewhere.

He would find her pace slow and unhurried even if he had sped on ahead. Likely to get lost. "You took your time getting here." A little jab in return as she guided him along. A brow rose up as she tilted her gaze up to him. "Host? Why would I do that. Aren't you a friend coming over for a visit. I am hosting any party." In a roundabout way it was her saying her home was his. Though she probably should start placing up arrows so he knows where to go if  he got lost! If you are going to be here for a while I am sure one glass isn't going to send you spiraling off the road but if it is water you wish..." That was clearly no problem.
A single table was set aside for what was company, it seemed. Four chairs despite only two people, a bottle of some amber liquid and a few glasses, and a pitcher of water. Not that she knew he was going to ask for it but rather it was for herself. The condition she was in made it hard to deal with too much and that included liquor.  
Scratching back her bangs she'd would wait, letting him pick which seat he wanted if  he were to sit at all. "You know...I was surprised to get your text. Last time we talked you seemed rather...busy. I guess that is what has been keeping you for the past few weeks?" Month. Something like that...
"I don't recall having ever driven out this way, to be honest." The confession came as he selected a seat, dropping into it with an inelegant bonelessness and a grunt jostled from his throat. Briefly, he considered the ground instead, because floors had always been his preferences, but instead he watched Katt, to see if she handled herself with any particular delicacy as she sat herself in one of the other chairs. "I could get lost in a wet paper bag, where cities are concerned. Unless it's alleys. I'm good with those."

Alleys and wilderness. He was equally at home in either. Plainly he didn't intend to dwell on excuses for his lateness though. Instead he addressed her latter comment, unsurprised by it.

"Things're pretty unsettled right now," he admitted with a grimace. "Nothings been right for over a year. I'm sleeping in the van as often as I am with a real roof over my head and I'm never sure when things are just gonna show up and cause a s*** storm. It's less busy and more... unsure how safe it is to stop in the city for more than a little at a time." He snatched a glance at the sky then, as if he half expected storm clouds to start gathering, though from what he could say it was merely a uniform, wintry grey. "Sorry if it seemed rude," he had the good grace to say. "Y'probably not the only one pissed."

 If it were not for him she likely would of sat on the ground herself. Warming stones made for good heated seating after all. Pulling two glasses to the side she poured water in both to the rim before sliding one over within his reach. Only when this was done did she actually settle into a seat, choosing across from him. She was more like slumping down into her seat rather than the usual straight back sitting she usually did but it may have been because she was flattening her feet to those stones. Ahh! Warmth.
As he started to speak she leaned in her seat, attention turning to him as if giving full attention. It sounded like he had his own brand of trouble. Slowly her brows furrowed and her lips parted to say something only to draw closed. She was still trying to figure how to tell him about her memory loss... but by the sounds of it they hadn't talked about this before so it was easy to conclude that it wasn't something she had forgotten. "Things? What sort of things?" She found she had to stop to ask herself if she could help. One, she was in no condition to and she was well aware of her limits, and two, if he wanted her help he would have asked so by now, correct? Instead she turned her eyes up to the sky as, trying to see what it was he was searching for. His apology, however, caused her to blink and look back down to him. "Pissed?" She shook her head slowly to him. "I am not pissed, Mesteno. Concerned would be better to describe. After all you asked me to call you and I get no reply...Several times in fact."

"I got so used to being talked to in my head that phones..." he grimaced. This was Rhy'Din, where anyone suggesting they heard voices upstairs likely didn't need to explain or worry about being considered lunatic, so he spared Katt the temple-tap to indicate what he meant. "You're not the only one I found a few messages from, let's just put it that way. It was pretty well buried when I dug it out of the sand."

Another mystery, though he didn't offer to explain why it might have been lost in sand. Instead he addressed her other question, reaching forward to collect the glass of water with murmured thanks.

"A long time ago, I did something stupid for fun. Now it's having repercussions. My presence has been brought to the attention of a bunch of beings that can't decide whether they want to use me like a game piece, or just wipe me off the board entirely. And you know, I hate chess references, because everyone uses that s***." Rough spoken as always, words half snarl."Same lot I was having trouble with this time last year when we spoke though..." And now he eyed her, attention wicked-bright and unblinking, "You might not remember much of that."

He might have left it at that, a prompt, but he wasn't taking chances. "What happened to you? You're all sorts of wrong."

Use to being talked to in his head - now that was new to her. She had not been aware he had such abilities but maybe that was for the best. As long as he didn't attempt such on her if only for his own health. "I am not surprised, really. While you don't seem to think are pretty popular..."
Folding her arms over the tabletop she continued to listen, not interrupting or at least attempting not to. His words gave her much food for thought and many questions sprang up due to it. She may have started into those questions if it wasn't the fact that he was already on the ball with his own. It was then she turned her eyes. "All sorts of wrong, huh?" She knew the question was coming but not like that. The statement of being all wrong had her silent. Eventually she sighed out and turned her eyes to him. "I can honestly say that I don't know everything. Clayton has informed me best that he could. I was infected, in a sense, by something that was attempting to take over my body. Not like use it for a period but rather take it over and kill off what made" Her brows furrowed a bit. "My brother did something to me and I don't know what because..he is missing. What I do know, as limited as it that I was in a state of uncertainty for  a few months, locked in a sort of crystal chrysalis." She paused for a moment, regarding her own water, but she knew if she stopped now she may not continue. "I woke up without a lick of memory. Clayton was able to assist to a degree with that but I am still missing four years or so and there is a bunch of holes in my memories as is."
Leaning back in her seat she looked back up to him again, scratching at the side of her neck. "Along with that I ...My condition is questionable and the doctors have no idea what is wrong with me. Best to describe I am like a battery that is losing its energy..." For a moment, brief as it was, her expression dropped into something of helplessness before fading away into that emotionless mask she was so good at keeping up. "So I guess saying I am all sorts of wrong is very ...fitting."

Perhaps predictably, he didn't address her remark on his popularity, but he did make a face as if to suggest he was either extremely dubious it was legitimate, or he thought the whole idea of popularity was a goddamn awful thing to begin with.

Better that she let him lead the conversation to more Katt-centric topics. He immediately looked more comfortable, albeit at her expense. Attentive, as she had been, he listened with ever increasing levels of malaise flattening his mouth, until there was really little more than a bloodless line before he spoke again, all grim-eyed and low growl of a voice.

"I've come across something like that before, a draining like this. I doubt yours is going to be the same root cause," that particular threat had been dealt with, but the methodology... "You're not short on advanced tech, so I'm going to go ahead and assume here that you've gone through about every kind of medical examination the city has to offer, looking for a scientific explanation for the draining you mention. If you haven't already looked into arcane reasons, that'd be next on the agenda, but if that chrysalis you were in before was keeping you stabilized and preventing the drain, you'd be better off back in there until a long-term fix has been sorted. Otherwise you're gonna end up wiping out somewhere you're vulnerable."

As if expecting protest, he lifted a finger. Wagged warning.

"I know you don't wanna be back in there and you got your pride 'n s***, but that's not important if you wind up dead."

His expression pretty much mirrored her own when someone made the comment she was so say...popular. So she likely found his expression to be very amusing. That was for another time.
She watched his waggling finger for a moment. Okay so she was considering biting it. What? He was waggling the digit with clear indication that it should be bit! "Not short on tech, no. But we are short on the man who has done something to me that we have no idea about." Her eyes left his finger. "That includes the chrysalis state... We have no answers to what was done to me and what caused the state to begin with." As she spoke her hands clenched against her arms to the point her fingers grew white. There was something else, something that was upsetting her greatly.  
"I know my state leaves me vulnerable..." she murmured as she turned her eyes to the table's surface. "I do. But damn if I cannot sit still. I am so frustrated and ...I can't do anything to help my brother. I have spent nights just roaming the streets because I feel so damn restless." Being drained and restless at the same time made for one hell of a combination. One she did not appreciate!

Important she didn't wind up dead. Important? She looked up to him and raised a brow.

Likely he would not respond well to a bitten finger. It was wagged her way, but at least with a table's distance between them! If he noticed any predatory observation of it though, he didn't respond. Just went right on with his lecture. He was a damn pro at telling other people what they shouldn't be doing, and then being a hypocrite about it.

"I doubt he'd want you out there putting yourself at risk on his behalf, Katt. I don't know a lot about your brother, beyond what you've told me, and last I recall, you said--..." His words seemed to hit a brick wall. Katt had claimed she'd lost four whole years, and that, he was fairly certain, was going to include the period in which she'd confided that her brother was going to die. How much did Clayton fill her in on, he had to wonder. Perhaps she'd catch the implications of that pause. Perhaps she'd fill in the blanks and reassure him that she knew, but until that happened, he wasn't keen on blurting tactlessly, 'he's dying'.

One corner of his mouth pinched tight as he reformulated what he'd meant to say.

"You're not gonna remember the conversation we had in the Dragon's Great Hall a few years back, I figure. But it doesn't change the fact he wouldn't want you at risk on his behalf. Before he left, there was no data stored, no letters written, nothing you had access to that might indicate what the chrysalis was protecting you from, or what might have caused it in the first place?"

This had to be the weirdest feeling she had in a long time. Mesteno, of all people, lecturing her. Why did she feel like this should have been the other way around. "I am not doing it on his behalf, Mesteno. I can't help it. Seriously...I stand around here too long and I get frustrated and start breaking things. I am pretty sure my brother doesn't want me to break his place." Her arms released and she raised her hands to comb her back only to remember it was in a ponytail. His pause caused her hands to rest at the back of her head, sharp greens staring at him. "What was our conversation about?" He should have known that was coming. After all he knew she had no memories so of course she would want to get them back.
At his question of the information her hands slowly lowered, palms flat against her thighs. "If there was it isn't anything I can access. My brother keeps his private stuff...well...private. So Diana requires a certain passcode in order to access that stuff." She slowly shrugged to him. "I can ask Clayton though. I never really thought of the chrysalis protecting me from something." While it may not of seemed it, Mesteno's lecture was helping. Helped add a few questions that might fill blanks.

"Seems strange he'd keep something relevant to your health behind security you're not privileged to get past," he remarked, though his tone suggested he was musing over it, speaking aloud rather than really expecting any reply. "Unless he was trying to protect you from information he thought would do more harm than good." He didn't pretend to know the way Batten's mind worked. Playboy millionaire's likely had a logic entirely different to that of sadistic necromancers with the bad habit of forgetting where their cellphones might have been left.

He didn't want to touch on that conversation. Was avoiding it, unrepentantly, so he outright didn't answer. She was probably going to have to get pushy about that!

Again he fired questions instead, checking that bases had been covered, that beyond the future-tech, the talents of Rhy'Din's preternatural populace hadn't gone unsuspected. "This draining. Have you been able to follow where the energy is being drained to? And if so, what did you find at the other end? Is it only happening when you're in certain locations, with certain people, or at odd times of the day? Have you approached someone you trust with mental talents who could try and unlock the amnesia patches in your head?"

She gave him a look that clearly stated that he was not being helpful! "He keeps much from me and I seem to find out in the most unorthodox ways. That being said I don't know if he even kept records. I mean I know for a long time now he's been experimenting with my blood. Since things like aspirin have no effect on me he made me my own brand of aspirin to help me." She grinned, seeming rather proud of her brother for such a small feat. He really had the brains that she had no chance of shoeing when the time came.
His dodging of the question did not go unnoticed. She noticed this rather quickly, in fact. Her brother did the same thing when he was avoiding answering! "" Her head tilted. "I don't think there is anything draining the energy from me. At least I do not feel such a pull. Instead it seems like... Like I can't keep energy and I am quickly feeling like I have none to keep to begin with." Her arms moved again, this time to rest atop the table with palms flat. "Last time I approached someone to touch my mind, my own nearly drove them insane so no...not looking to go in that direction. I have been told that either the memories will likely return on their own..." As she spoke this bit her eyes tilted up to him. "What are you hiding, Mesteno? What is it that we talked about that you won't answer to?"

It required a lot of trust, to hand over ones blood and give another free rein over what they did with it. Mesteno didn't question that trust, but he did make another remark. "Seems weird that you'd let him do whatever he wanted and he wouldn't return the favour. But then, I suppose he trusted you with other s***..."

He groaned, set his untouched water back on the table and rubbed both palms over his face as she went tugging at the thread of conversation he'd been so eager to leave behind. There was some R-rated cursing in his native tongue going on behind those hands, and Katt ought to be glad she didn't understand it.

"Fine," he muttered darkly, "I'm only telling you this though because he already told you once, so he obviously wanted you to know. Not my business, really, to keep it from you. And if you already know, there's no harm done anyway." Did he sounds like he was reasoning with himself? "You told me he was dying. That he didn't have long. At the time I thought you meant he had maybe weeks or months, but here we are a couple of years down the line, and I guess he's still busy, so maybe he found a cure after all and fixed it. Is any of this ringing bells?"

It was weird and something she didn't have an answer to which is why she lowered her eyes. She wanted her brother to trust her and even though she knew he did but to what extent? After all he didn't tell her a number of things and kept her in the dark until it was too late. She started to fidget before forcing her hands flat. His sudden cursing helped with that.
Her eyes turned up to him and he was given such a dumbfounded look. While she didn't know what he was saying it didn't exactly sound like he was singing joyful tunes. That and his body language spoke volumes. "Am I supposed to pretend I understood all of that? I could ask Diana to translate for me." She may of very well of meant it too! His dark tone kept a teasing tone from rising, though. Seriously how could she tease him when he looked like he was being tortured!
His words gave her pause but it was soon enough she realized where he was going. Part of her wanted to laugh but instead a softness took hold of her sharp gaze. "Oh, that. Yes, Mesteno. I ...I know. Clayton told me after...after I had a run in with the person holding him captive. She decided to allow me to see my brother through a portal mirror to which I ...may of jumped down his throat." She scratched at her hands sheepishly. "He greeted me in such a nonchalant manner that it seemed like he was more of a house guest than a prisoner. We barked at each other and before the portal closed I could see him in some great pain. the last I saw of him." Which has lead to her restlessness. "I don't want those words to be my last time him, Mesteno." Her hands clenched tight as she said those words.

He didn't bother to remark on a possible translation. Better she forget all about the obscenities and focus on what he'd just confessed. Which, as it turned out, was nothing she hadn't known already. The only obvious sign of his relief was a slow, quiet exhalation, and the slight easing of his posture through the shoulders and spine, as if he'd been subconsciously been holding himself ready for action of some sort. Neither fight or flight would have been entirely appropriate for the situation had she been shocked, but that didn't stop the instinct priming his wiry muscles!

"Sounds like you're not quite as in the dark as I thought you were," he remarked, "especially if you actually know who has him. So what's she demanding? She's taken him for a reason, obviously. Blackmail? Revenge? And is it personal, or is she trying to get at you through him?" Important questions. Ones he was far more comfortable talking about than he had been the issue of Batten's looming expiration date.

He reached for his glass again, and this time drained half the contents before he set it back down, knuckling a stray drop from his lower lip and clearing his throat quietly before he addressed the other issue they'd been discussing. "Your energy... if it's not being drained from you to be utilised by someone else - which is really damn wasteful by whoever's done this to you," his tone suggested he thought they were an idiot for it! "then can we consider it a tactic from this woman who has him captive to keep you from just going on the warpath effectively to try and get 'im back? Like they've managed to target you with some virus that's keyed to you. Personal biological warfare."

Oh it was quite clear he expected her to react not as she had. Probably expecting tears and freaking out, both she was all but sure the man didn't know how to handle so why did that amuse her? It was a tiny bit, mind you, but endearing at the same time. At the same time it was a reminder of sorts, at least to her. One that she would not be bringing up lest make the man uncomfortable. Well more....
"Mrmm..." The sound rattled her throat at his question and her lips slowly pursed. Her reasons... "I can say I honestly do not know. She is forcing him to work on something but what it is, I have no idea. Part of me thinks...No....I know she is also keeping him as a sort of torture for me. She thought I knew about his condition, which I didn't up until recently, but knowing she has him has been driving me up the wall."  Adjusting in her seat she turned her eyes out to the long scape of water that reached out to the horizon. "The woman is a nutcase and one I should of killed..." The words were low and she did not try to hide the venom they held.
It was in that moment she flinched and turned her eyes on him. He sure did know how to choose his words and in this case he hit the nail quite squarely. "You are a very smart man, Mesteno." It was followed by a single-noted chuckle. "What you speak of, the biological warfare...? The virus..." Raising a hand she tapped at her temple where the dark veins had at least eased up some. "That is what she had done to me and my brother countered. Reversed?" They both knew by now she had no clue what her brother did so she didn't clarify it past that. "The woman set a virus in me that was, from my understanding, suppose to wipe me out and replace what makes something that is her. Kind of like..mmm.." Her head tilted one way then the other as she considered the word she was looking for, "replicate? Yes...we can say that. Replicate herself into .." she gestured to her body. "If this lack of energy is that virus or her doing, I couldn't say, but if it was I would think she would take better advantage of my condition than she has been. Up until now she has just been removing people from helping me...She enjoys watching me feel...helpless to the situation."

"Rhy'Din's full of nutjobs that need wiping out. You're not the only person to have regretted past mercy when it comes back to bite 'em in the ass. Or... just not having been thorough." In case mercy had nothing to do with it. He wasn't about to ask, and made a dismissive gesture with one hand as if it didn't matter either way.

For a moment he turned to peer out over the bay view, and frowned. It should have been cold as Hel's breath up there, and yet here they were, sat outside without a single shiver assailing him. He didn't question it though. Put that 'very smart' brain of his (he'd refrained from laughing when she said it by only a small margin) to use and deduced that it was likely some kind of climate control. Thankfully he was too focused on the conversation at hand to bother investigating why, his concentration deepening to the point his eyes had a glassy, far-seeing aspect.

He still sounded somewhat distant when he spoke again, as if really, he was musing aloud, rather than discussing it with her. "What she was trying to achieve suggests she's capable of some fairly advanced biological tampering. Perhaps in his rush to prevent the take-over, your brother didn't eradicate every... process? It's starting so sound as much computer science as genetics." His mouth twisted in undisguised malaise before he went on. "Perhaps to fuel the changes she intended, the virus had to use your body's own energy to achieve it, and that part didn't get shut off properly. So it's still burning through your system and not actually achieving anything? **** if I know, I never did science in school. What I know now is only because Lexius has been teaching me." He'd a habit of getting involved with men smarter than he. Not that it was hard to find them! "What're your plans?"

Her reasons were probably foolish to anyone she spoke it to so she never said anything about it. Most just chalked it up to mercy and she was fine with that though there were times she wondered if she was simply so weak for falling prey to her own fears. "I think when it comes to her, in particular, there is a lot of biting of both my brother's ass and mine. She claims to love him but...the things she's done to him makes me think more of an obsession than love."  
Shifting in her seat she tucked a leg under herself, using it as a sort of prop up so she didn't seem like she was slouching so much. He had points, more than he realized, with his words. Still, she was putting him in danger with just telling him this much. "I don't know..." she found the words were muttered much lower than she had meant them to be. His musings did give her some routes to check and suggest to the team. "At least you went to school..." The words came with a light teasing tone. "Sir Lexington. Shame on you for telling me that. I hope he..." She paused, deciding that her choice of words were not the best in this situation. The mention of the other man did bring questions that she had to tame down.
At his own question she blinked and turned her eyes to him. "What are mine plans. a good question. I suppose I should just stay home and let Clayton and Leo deal with the situation of my brother. I don't think I will be much help and as you said, it would be bad for me to be caught somewhere in my condition." She obviously didn't care for the idea of leaving it to other people. "Help out were I can here without putting myself out there..." she gestured in the direction of the city proper as her hand lowered she uttered a single word. "Meh."

"Until I was seven. Then there was some... serious class cutting." It didn't take a stretch of the imagination to reach the conclusion. He just hadn't gone! "And sorry about Lexius. Nothin' meant by it." That he felt comfortable letting his rare moments of humour glare through the cracks when he was around her, suggested he'd known she wouldn't be offended. Merely a pity she had no recollection of anything. "I'll introduce you properly, one day. He's not much of a talker, and he's kind of difficult to get to know, but don't take it personally. He's just bad at socialising. Like me, but a whole lot worse."

Following the gesture she made with his eyes, he offered a grunt of acknowledgement to her discontent word (sound?) and offered her a look of commiseration. "It's a s***ty situation, Katt. Really. And I know it's gotta be driving you mad. I also don't think you're gonna be able to stick out the whole sittin' back and letting everyone else take care of things for very long. Sometimes it's hard to trust other people to do what you feel you could be doin' yourself, even if they are people you're close to. Especially when it's putting them in the line of fire, too." Especially, he did not add, but very much thought, when it was a lover." I hope that your brother is makin' the most of the time with her to try and find a way to get to the bottom of your health problem. It's a good opportunity for enemy insight. Maybe this time around, you an' yours can put an end to Ms. Nutjob."

"Oh...I am not offended or anything but your friend didn't seem enjoy being called that very much. Pretty sure I saw him looking at you like he was about to take it out on your hide." Better her saying than something else, right? Yeah, even she caught that one! "I would like that. To properly meet him, that is." Her lips twitched then ticked into a sort of crooked smile, "If I didn't know better you just described me in a nutshell." After all, who was it that usually sat and watched people? Good grief, how long had she been doing that now if she couldn't remember the last four years?
The roguish touch of her smile faded though not fully. "Yeah. See I think you know me too well." She chuckled when his assessment of her and the situation. He was right. Chances are she wouldn't be able to sit on her hands and do nothing. It would drive her even more mad. "I don't know, Mesteno. I honestly don't think my brother could kill her, even if given the chance." A hand lifted up, briefly, before lowering - apparently she was about to do something but decided against it.  
"If I die..I go out fighting. You know that right? But I don't plan on dying if I can't help it. I do.." No. Appreciate didn't cover how his concern made her feel. "I am honored to have a friend like you, Mesteno. Thank you." Yeah, probably a bit squishy talk for the sadist but heart-given regardless. "I will admit I am sort of surprised you aren't trying to use my condition against me to earn some payback."

"No challenge in it when you're like this," he pointed out reasonably, "and besides, this kind thing isn't a subject that's exactly ticklin' the old funny bone." His expression matched his words. Even the rogue smile she'd offered him wasn't something he could offer in kind. There was a tenacious frown, and a certain tension to the corners of his mouth just as reluctant to budge. Thoughtfully, he rubbed at the nape of his neck, and looked out over the water again, rather than at her.

"You're usually hard to kill." He stated bluntly. He'd seen her pock-marked with bullet holes at the Red Dragon, and he knew of the damage Ravenlock had done her, years ago. "Right now it's soundin' like you might just burn out before you ever get chance to face this bitch. That's not somethin' to laugh over. The hell's so special about this bitch that you don't think he could kill her, anyway?" The way Katt had worded it left him with an inkling that she meant she was resilient in unnatural ways, rather than just thinking Batten had some kind of soft side making things awkward.

Before she could answer, he hummed a low note of discontent, and added, "If I were a real good friend I'd be offerin' to help you out with this." There was no excuse he offered as to why he wasn't. Hopefully, Katt knew him well enough to guess at the truth of the matter. He was barely keeping his head above water with things himself. Didn't want his trouble finding her, when she was weak.. and it just might. Even sat there in her home, there was a chance something might come prowling after him to see what he was up to.

Again, he had a point and despite his frown...she smiled - granted it was a ghostly variety of it. Even that faded as he spoke and her eyes slowly drew closed. "I am not laughing over that, Mesteno. But if I don't laugh, even a little, at something..anything...I may very well drown more than I already am." She took a moment of silence, her head tipping one way. She felt the tears threatening at her lashes but for his sake she managed to will them down.
A slow exhale passed her lips and her eyes opened, half-mast and focused on him. "Because at one time he loved her. I think he may even a degree..or just can't let go of that feeling enough that he would kill her. I don't know. Maybe he even feels responsible for her state of being though I can't seem to think the woman has always been mad and she just talks a good game at pretending not to be bats*** crazy."
Her eyes opened fully and she chuckled softly. "That right there makes you more than a good friend, Mesteno. But we both know you have your plate full enough as is and besides...It is nice to have someone I can confide in and trust like this so trust me when I say you have been helping. You are one of two people who have actually taken the time out to check on me when they saw how I was looking." She wasn't going to insult him by saying she also wasn't going to ask for help because the woman was attacking anyone who even so much as hinted at helping her.

He was oblivious to the carefully stalled tears, too busy glaring at the ocean as if he could blame it for the current state of affairs. He did tilt his head her way when she spoke again though, and tilted a look sidelong at her, as if the prospect of Batten having been romantically involved with his kidnapper made him want to start ranting about how bats*** crazy her brother must be for feeling anything even remotely for her, after what she'd done to Katt. In the end he let it go though. It was no less than what had happened to Evander with Niamh. "Like some weird ****in' stockholm syndrome." It was finally, sullenly offered, and he reached for his water again, though this time only to sip at it absently.

Unsure what to say about the lack of visits, he considered a moment, then turned back to her, legs stretched long under the table. "You'n me, life gives us a good battering. Isn't often we're not sportin' some new scrapes. I dare say that's the way it is for most folks in the city who have some fight in 'em, and those kind of people... well they're survivors. Folks expect them to pull through. They usually expect whatever's causing them problems to be more'n they themselves can handle when push comes to shove, that they'll just get in the way, hinder rather'n help, you know?" He seemed to expect that she did, because he went right on. "I don't have people knockin' at my door either when s*** happens. If you're not out in the open, they probably figure it's with good cause, so try not to take it personally."

How reassuring she'd find that, he didn't know. Maybe he was just making excuses for the way people behaved around them, or maybe he'd thought it all to death. One thing he knew for sure, usually people were struggling up their own s*** creeks, and usually, minus a paddle.

She was actually waiting for him to ask how it was her brother loved this woman and she wasn't exactly sure how to answer even if it had came up because hell if she knew!! She felt somewhat relieved when it didn't happen. "I don't know. I really don't. Maybe he is fascinated in her mind or something. He does tend to let his thirst for knowledge run away with him. Or his curiosity. Whatever you wish to call it."
Her hand lifted again and this time went through the motion of combing back her bangs and scratching them to meet with the rest of the black on her crown. She didn't want to do it earlier simply because she had been trying to hide the raised, dark veins. "Hey, I tried to check on you but..." Her brows furrowed as she looked to him. "Your place is no longer there. I guess you moved and I don't...remember.." Her hand lowered along her forehead then along her lower face as she huffed. "I do make it a point to check on those I care about."  
Her hand paused, fingers barely resting against her chin as if something just...popped into her head. With a tip of her head she turned her eyes to him, looking him over for some reason. After a moment she hummed thoughtfully. "I cannot say I agree or not. Some people are just..too busy with their own lives to really go out of the way to check on others. You know..smoochy face and popping out babies."

"Maybe he got to know her in her lucid moments," he suggested quietly, and not altogether easily. "Maybe he harbours some fool hope that he can fix her one day. Maybe even while he's with her now. Talk her out of whatever crazy she's planning." Could he blame him, were that the case? Calling time on something like that, making the choice to cut out the infection the person had become, was not going to be an easy choice, whatever the case.

He left the subject alone after those brief suggestions, finishing off the water and leaving the glass back on the table. "The place is still mine. It's just not safe to be there anymore. So right now, I don't have a place. I have plans, but it's going to take some work to get it all finalised, so until then, I'm either in the van, in a room at the dragon, in the desert with Lexius, or borrowing a room at my friend Vadriel's. S'not ideal, but stopping in any one place too long is asking for trouble, and I've never really needed much anyway." His home hadn't exactly advertised any particular domestication on his part.

As for the mention of popping out babies, he didn't bother to hide the distaste. "Yeah well, I suppose most folks do that at some point." In a '**** knows why' tone of voice, too!

"Lucid. I honestly doubt she ever was. When she was 'with him' she had infected me back then too. I...killed a lot of innocent people on the streets under her command. He may still harbor feelings and hopes for her but I think she has been nothing but using that. She doesn't love him. She just wants him like some obsession." The more she spoke the more her voice seemed to grow dark, almost edging on blood thirsty. "Quite frankly I have stopped caring how he feels about her. I know in the past he has questioned me for not forgiving her for some of the things she has done but this...I will never forgive her..." And if her brother died? There will be no hell that the woman can hide in that Katt would not find her.
Her lips flattened as she listened to him. "Do you want a place to stay? Both you and Lexius may and it is safe. I know a place that has wards and barriers." Even as she asked, she was pushing up out of her seat. She knew he said it wasn't safe to stay in one place too long but if the wards and barriers could provide a sense of peace, she was happy to offer it.
His tone had her pausing and it took her a moment or two but man was it hard not to laugh. "You know ...if I could have kids I would have them call you uncle Mesteno and have them visit you. Every" Like it was some sort of torture.

Mesteno wouldn't have forgiven either, after hearing what Katt described. He had to hold his tongue after hearing that her brother had questioned the lack of forgiveness. Really, for a genius, he seemed to be lacking some wisdom there! "I hope you get chance to kill her, Katt. Get some ****ing closure on the whole mess. Watching her do this to him, now, is salt in the damn wound."

As for needing a place to stay, he offered her a wry smile. "S'kind of you, but I've stayed at places with all sorts of wards and barriers. My own place had 'em extensively, and these things're just..." he struggled to find a term without plain stating he was dealing with Powers. Admitting it was likely to call them right down on their heads. "...I'm safer on the move." He rose as she did, with a faint sigh.

"People 'round here got a habit of makin' me godfather or whatever," he grumbled at her threat. "It's like they want the kid to grow up with mental problems and bits missing." Was he kidding? His face was so difficult to read in that moment that he just might have been serious.

Her brows furrowed then raised. "No. I don't want closure. I couldn't give a rats ass about it. What I want...I..." She swallowed down the lump that suddenly rose in her throat. Every time she thought about it she started to feel sick. "It is him dying with our last words to each other being an argument. I can't stand the thought of it. I don't want him to die thinking he is..less important to me than he really is." The last few words managed from her lips before she sealed them with a frown.  
Standing as she was allowed for her to be able to turn to the waterfront, her hands clasping behind her back. Deep breaths, girl. Deep breaths! "That is fine but if you change your mind let me know. I had to use this place when I was being chased. It hides your presence and sound but you need to leave it for at least a few hours every day in order for its barriers to recharge. It is like slipping out of existence." And with her nightmares, sometimes it was best to be where people couldn't hear you scream.
She peered over at him. Him a godfather? The way he sounded was much like how she felt when people said she was a godmother! "Oh who are you kidding.  As screwed up as I am? If I could have kids I think they would end up mentally broken or would run away once they could learn to walk. But I am not able to. At least that is what I am told. Being skewered in the gut too many times with swords and pipes will do that." Her head tipped and she peered over to him. "Mesteno? I do have a question... Have I ever given you a bloodjewel?" She knew it was out of the blue of a question but there was a reason.

Briefly, his hand found it's way to her shoulder. The kind of unobtrusive touch barely worthy of notice until it offered a transient, but warmly meant squeeze. Katt had never been keen on physical contact (unless they were hitting each other) and Mesteno was generally awkward with such things anyway. Still, it was an offer of a sort, compassion. He was just careful not to let it come with words, because the damned things could so often be the catalyst to tears, and he knew she'd hate to cry in front of him.

"Is it bad of me to say congratulations on being sterile?" he asked, and sounded genuine in his curiosity. There seemed to be no trauma in her admission of it, but he knew that some would deem him outright callous for thinking it. Whatever she might have answered though, she'd already gone and redirected his interest. There was only the briefest of hesitations as he rifled through his swiss cheese memory, and finally shook his head. "No. What is that? Food?"

The touch didn't startle her as most contacts did but it was him and he was the only one there. Granted if she had turned around and it was someone else with her mind playing tricks on her? That would have blown her mind! The squeeze did have her watching him a bit closer than normal but her eyes held a softness that barely held back the heavy stare that came so natural. She looked how she felt, no doubt. Tired...
A soft chuckle was given. "I don't know. I kinda wish I wasn't. I don't think I would be a good moment but at the same time..never know until you try right?" Okay that felt weird confessing that, of all things, to him! She wasn't sure if he even knew of her fear of kids...and pregnant women. Some things leave scars that nobody can see.
If his hand was still on her shoulder he would likely feel her lax a bit under the touch but not so much as to collapse. As light as the touch was, it felt like it weighed far more. "Mrm?" She snorted before she could catch herself. "No. I know better than to ask you about food." Her head tilted a bit as she eyed him, making sure he wasn't joking. Why...hadn't she given him one. Of all people she thought he would have one. "Hmm. How..odd.."

To his credit, he did nothing to try and persuade her she was better off as she was. She'd been brave enough to open up to him, so he kept his own natural revulsion of children unmentioned. Offered her a mild shrug. "There are places here in Rhy'Din who can fix anything. And I mean anything. If it's something you really want, you set your heart on it, you'll make it happen somehow. You're right though, I guess most people would want the option."

And like the subject of her brother and his strangely obsessive once-lover, he let the matter of her infertility rest. That she'd chosen to tell him was significant enough a thing that he didn't overlook it though. In fact he felt rather humbled to be so trusted with such a personal detail, even if she had made it plain before now that she had a good deal of faith in him.

When it turned out that what she was offering him wasn't edible, he arched an enquiring brow. "What's odd? Why would you give me jewellery?" Because that was what it had to be, right?

There were very few she trusted and even fewer that she trusted that was on the same level as he. She was guarded, for a reason, but Mesteno had proven himself time and again that he wasn't just worthy of trust but would be someone who was around for her to leave such trust in.  She trusted him enough that she was able to reach out and lightly tap her fingers to his elbow without concern of touching him. He never reacted oddly to the way her skin touched.
The touch lasted two seconds before her hand fell almost lifeless to her side and her eyes closed. A soft sigh escaped her. "That can be explained another time, Mesteno. You should go now." She didn't want to admit it but her body felt close to collapse and that was one thing she didn't want to do in front of him. The guy would probably freak the hell out! "Not that I am trying to rid you of my company or vice versa but it is getting late and I am sure you have things to do..."
When her eyes opened to look back at him, she knew how drained she looked and she almost apologized to him for such. "Pardon me for not escorting you back to your truck but I think I should go rest for a bit. I will do my best to stay out of the public for a while until things are safer and will let you know when I am better. Do me a favor though? Do not be afraid to call me or contact me. I like hearing from you. I like conversing. I like sparring with you....just not when I am about ready to faint on you." The last words were spoken as in a way to probably add fire to his heels.

With Katt as plainly as exhausted as she was, he didn't linger about and keep her from collapsing somewhere more comfortable indoors. "Next time then," he agreed simply. "Look after yourself, Katt. I'll keep my phone on me."

Because after seeing how drained she'd become in such a short space of time, it felt like tempting fate to not have it around should she need him. He made his way back to the front of the property unescorted, and in short order, the eyesore of a van was headed back along the clifftop road to town.

[size=9](Thank you Mesteno for taking the time to play this scene out with me!)[/size]

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: February 01, 2018, 06:28:20 PM »
Yeah but his writing is worth being patient for.  +dance+

The Phalanx / Re:
« on: December 23, 2017, 03:52:41 PM »
Too all the Phalanx readers:

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