Collab with Asuras - Chapter 1: The Sacrifice
The invisible Zaia sprinted from the room, fleeing for her freedom. She had not trained for over two decades to be imprisoned and kept out of the fight. This was her life's work, and a bunch of xenophobic idiots weren't going to stop her with their petty fears. Sure, she had compassion for these people, but even after she had shown herself not to be a threat, they still attacked her. I came to help them, she thought, still trying to find an exit to the barracks before the compound was put on lockdown. I wanted to help heal the soldiers in battle. I wanted to find the solution to what was plaguing the girl. And this is what I wind up with? Still invisible, the mage located an exit.
The very same door she had entered through was the closest exit she could find, and though the guards still stood outside, they merely looked in confusion at the open door devoid of anyone to fill it. The sky had already turned dark, and the oil lamps lining the various walls and buildings outside cast an orange glow upon the streets. And yet, it seemed the city was more active than ever. That is... more active with security. Countless guards patrolled the streets, keeping watch out for any sign of suspicious activity. Though Zaia was indeed invisible, navigating tight corridors with moving bodies wouldn't be a walk in the park.
Zaia left the barracks, unsurprised to see all the security about. But she had an inkling that their presence had more to do with the Death Gods than her. And of course, if her luck were not already bad enough, it started to rain, just a drizzle at first, and then a steady downfall. In any case, it was unlikely that she would be able to escape the city for a few hours, with tensions so high and not even an attack to distract them. Worse, if the rain continued too long, the water around her would hit her very solid body, and there was only so much she could do to mask all of those particles. Making her way as fast as possible towards the outskirts of the city, she found a cozy-looking, two-story building with a sign above it, "The Mockingbird Inn." The stone building housed a small wooden porch, and the roof extended to cover it. It was a perfect place for her to rest for a few hours and wait out the thickening storm. There would not even be a need to go through the narrow doorway and drip inside the crowded tavern.
Suddenly, Zaia had been thrown to the ground, not by a guard, but by an unknowing man rushing for the very inn she stood in front of. He bumped into her in his brisk jog, and inadvertently knocked her off balance. Confused and slightly terrified as to what he had just stricken, the man yelped slightly and looked to the area where some invisible object struck the puddle in the street beside him. It took him a moment, but he knew what he was dealing with.
"H-hello? the man called out to Zaia.
There was no point to wasting her energy now. Besides, there were few guards out this far. How could she have been so careless?! Rolik would not have been very proud of any of situation within which she had gotten herself. Blinking, she removed her magical cloak. "Hello?" she replied, hoping against hope that this man did not know she was currently a fugitive. Of course, wandering around invisible was probably going to look quite suspicious anyway.
"Oh!" he jumped, startled by her sudden removal of the spell. He knew someone was invisible, but, being usused to magic in the least bit, it was still a miraculous thing. He gripped his chest as if his heart were aching and exhaled. "Scared me there lass. I thought ye' was a ghost or somethin'."
Standing up, Zaia smiled politely at the man, greeting him as though nothing was wrong. "Not a ghost yet, I think. Though with the Death Gods showing up any day now, that could always change," she replied in her joking sarcasm. But she needed to get out of the open before any guards saw her. "Well, sorry about that. I should get going now," she said quickly, turning to leave.
He rubbed his bald head and laughed in tandem, genuinely intrigued by this strange girl. He'd never seen someone like her. Was she some sort of elf? Maybe a really tall dwarf? No matter, the man gestured towards the door to the inn, and offerred her some food and shelter.
"It's not much to pay, and while I'd love to have someone like you stay, times are rough and I can't be handing out free stays to just anyone!" he chuckled.
Was it a trick? Had someone really just offered her a temporary escape from this situation? Had fate actually chosen to smile upon her in this malicious city? Surely it was a some sort of trap. But well, she had gotten herself out of worse scrapes, and she was tired both from a long day's walk, and even moreso from using her magic much more than was normal. The middle-aged mage did not have much money on her, mainly relying on her healing abilities for food or a place to sleep in her travels. But there had been a few gracious souls who had given her coins in appreciation for her assistance.
"I would love to stay. Thank you very much for your hospitality," she replied calmly, hoping that she would not find a bunch of city guards having a drink in the tavern.
"Certainly. How could I let a lady stay out in this rain during so grim a time?" the man opened up the door for Zaia, gesturing for her to go on through. Inside, the room was cozy, albeit slightly dark. A few tables were placed in the corner of the room, but were empty of occupants. To the side, a tall service desk with a single candle light illuminated the face of another fairly older man sitting behind. Two sets of stairs -one going up, the other earthbound- sat beside each other to the side of the room.
"If you'd like some food, we got a tavern down below. Otherwise, room seven is open on the next floor up if you'd like to rest."
Zaia thanked the man, going to the service desk and handing the man behind a few coins. Recieving the key, she walked upstairs to think. The truth was, she would have loved a hot meal, having spent the past few days eating hard biscuits and what she could hunt and cook, but it seemed entirely foolhardy to remain in public given her current situation. The Vor'Teksi woman was no idiot, she could see that something was up with this city and it's guards beyond mere xenophobia. And while she may have normally been curious and wanting to help, it was difficult to care about the problems of those who had treated her with such distrust when she had to find allies before the imminent arrival of the Death Gods. Racia, Sanse, all of them clearly did not want her here. Zaia knew from experience that she could not help those who did not want her assistance when it was offered. She would prepare to leave and head to a smaller town before dawn. Frustrated that a journey for which she had spent most of her life preparing was beginning so poorly, the exhausted woman collapsed onto the bed, ready to sleep and regain her energy.