Chronicles of Noctra: Age of Legends

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Chapter Four

Amberosin had always believed her luck to be fairly… well, shit. Being born to a hotheaded, drug-addled philosopher of a mother had been tough; being the last living Nomad was hell.

Three weeks before the bandaged man began his havoc, Amberosin had slyly snagged a key from a merchant on the Northern Port’s road, named after some newly appointed noble or another, and fled the scene with guards hot on her tail. The young woman had figured they would be on alert for a few days and she could survive off of hunting and gathering for that long.

She nearly starved for two weeks.

Not to mention Mother Noctra also introduced Amberosin to an astonishing new part of her life. A gift from Solas; new, poorly placed, blood. Along with cramps and pains straight from Luna’s Underlands she also suffered a soreness that made her wish for death hours on end. She spent the better part of a week scouting the towers and wall from a fetal position under thickets, bleeding in small pools that she covered with dirt to avoid attracting any hungry beast.

She’d never felt so useless or miserable as when she burst into horrible sobs after dropping a berry and watching it be stolen by a small furry creature. Amberosin wished her own mother had prepared her for all of this during that cursed madwoman’s impossible lessons. Not once during any tirade had the woman mentioned anything about bleeding so much and living afterward.

A pain in more ways than one.

After a few days, she had realized bleeding was slowing and the pain subsiding, if only a little. She had also come to terms with the fact Wilder vermin and berries would not be enough to depend on, not in the quantities she could obtain alone. Not while she bled so freely. She was weary and feared she may misremember her mother’s teachings, eat a shit-storm inducing nut or berry and die.

Amberosin decidedly stuck to the basics. Small things that couldn’t easily kill her and the little round scarlet kindra-berries.

“Used in essentially every curative.” Still, her mother’s voice resounded with such a sing-song tune in the young woman’s mind; clear and jarring as ever.

Days and nights were wasted sobbing in self-pity as she watched the guards along the border trying to decipher their scheduled changes only to realize on the sixth night she’d not seen one person twice in the same posting. She’d made dangerous assumptions, thinking her previous exploits made her seem more like a group of Nomad’s and there would be stricter shifts. Strict shifts were easy to read and remember; typically.

Amberosin cursed herself for staking so much on single haul months before, she was sure that had been the cause of the guard's sudden change in habits.

While she had been scouting out takes she’d overheard a local apprentice drunkenly exclaim how his new master was a wealthy merchant from some far off land.

“A man who’s never been to Blancana. Will teach me the ways of exquisite culinary prower..prowess. Right o’er there.” The homely young man seemed right proud of himself, likely aided by the free ale his mates had procured in celebration of a friend’s good fortune. None had thought to quiet themselves from prying ears.

Amberosin, feeling more fortunate herself, took off in the direction the fool had pointed, directly across the marbled road before any other brigands in the shadows could claim it as their own. She arrived only seconds before a cloaked pair who looked rather clean to be thieves from the slums.

Port thieves must be dressed by the nobles. She snickered despite herself and thanked the Creator above that they were still far enough away to remain unalert.

She’d crouched just inside the doorway of the abandoned building and could see they were looking behind them, making sure no one had followed. Looking away from her. Their finely kept grey cloaks weren’t familiar but those tattered hoods and serrated daggers were unmistakable. She let out a sigh of relief as she revealed herself.

“Patri and Senfa.” Closest things Amberosin had to friends, in the sense that they didn’t try to kill her; typically.

Both cloaked figures had spun on her at the same time; Patri scowling with his daggers drawn. He still sported a purple knot above his left eye that she’d given him during their last disagreement; his thinning blonde hair did little to hide it. Senfa turned with a warm smile already on her face as Amberosin appeared from the threshold of the merchant’s future abode.

“ You two love birds come looking for somewhere to store those fancy cloaks before heading back south to maul each other outside a pub?” She couldn’t help but flash her teeth in a soft grin as she eyed their outfits. “Trimmed in gold? Thieving for nobles now I suppose? Thought ya better than that.”

Patri muttered and fumed like an enraged kettle but didn’t move a muscle, Amberosin noted that his scars seemed almost alight and swore his eyes had gone white.

Senfe laughed wholeheartedly and shook her head, dark curls bouncing just above bright emerald eyes. Not an ounce of anger or concern. She walked calmly towards Amberosin with her hands out before her.

“ Oh believe me honey, we’ve got more dignity than that. For the time being at least.” Senfe’s muscular arms wrapped around her delicately and Amberosin returned the gesture. “Though, you know how it is. If the take is good enough, who cares who’s paying. As long as momma can eat.” Rubbing her belly as she backed away to Amberosin’s side Senfe slammed down and crossed her legs.

Amberosin appreciated the sentiment more than Senfe could imagine, her own stomach felt as if it had begun eating itself and she’d developed a light tremor. Amberosin’s empty guts nearly tore away from her in a fatalistic mutiny when Senfe pulled out a pack with cooked meat and started snacking loudly. Her mouth had watered so badly Amberosin feared it would spill over her chapped lips.

“ Kind of what I was thinking with this place.” she pointed to the building she had come from; the same one they’d come for. “Really need a steady supply of food for the colder season.”

Really need a steady supply of food in general.

“ Alright, alright. I can hear your stomach from here Amb, kind of disgusting actually.” Senfe smiled and tossed her a few thick pieces of meat. “Though you know you would eat more in a guild or gang. You know you’ve got the skill.”

Amberosin shook her head side to side as she scarfed down the first piece, swallowing the last bite slowly while she sucked the flavors out of what remained. She let it linger a moment before responding.

“ I’m not much of a partner Senfe, I’m pretty selfish you know.”

“Yeah you do take just about anything worth taking down south, I don’t mind though jobs up here are easier and pay more.”

“ I only steal what I need, I happen to be still growing you know” Amberosin grinned as she tore into her last piece of meat; Senfe watched her with a blissful smile.

Patri finally managed to stomp over and waited barely a second after Amberosin had finished her jerky before exploding.

“By whichever fuckin’ gods, for the sake of all the Legends and orphans of The Fracturin’.. Please let me ’ave this spot.” The man’s voice trembled as he asked her to relinquish the spot.

She imagined it hurt his pride quite a lot, considering his age had to be at least twice her own, but she couldn’t do it. No matter how much she loved the odd duo, she needed to eat. Maybe if it had been another take, but not this one.

“I’ve got to have the food Pat.”

“Learn ta’ cook ya’ little shit.” His fist clenched tight enough that they turned white.

“Ah, see that requires much that I do not have. I think this best yeah? You can have all the others, I’ll just need this one.” She liked to see him steam and rave before a little spar but he seemed more incessant this time. It made her tense.

“Ya’ have said that before. Ya’ have again and again.. But still, here we are.”

He drew his daggers up to his chest and held them towards her, swaying more than a step. It took the sway for her to realize; his eyes were white, glazed over with signs she knew all too well.

“He’s hooked?” She looked to Senfe who merely shrugged and continued snacking.

“Figured you’d whip his ass into shape better than I can.”

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