The Scoundrels of Virtue

364 posts in this topic

Posted

Endel and Torianna were able to find an empty room easily enough, close to the right side of the massive house. Once everyone was inside what seemed to be a room for storage, with a little difficulty on Skallin's part, Endel gave the orders.

"Everyone is to split up," he instructed. "It's too risky even to have two of us in the same area, we don't know where anyone could be in this house so be wary. Let's go."

They left the room, Lorcan taking off to the right with Endel before they split once again at the end of the corridor. Lorcan kept close to the wall as he moved along, his hand moving to the hilt of his sword on occasion. It wasn't until he turned the corner that he actually found anything of worth. It wasn't what he wanted to find at all, though.

The two men he'd seen leaving Torianna locked up before were making their way down the hall, a scowl on the older male's sharp face. Lorcan darted back, holding his breath and pressing himself against the wall. He moved carefully down the hallway, trying to shake the feeling of the man's fierce eyes and failing. 

He jumped out of his skin when a hand slammed down onto his shoulder, grabbing him ruthlessly and turning him about. Lorcan was left to stare into the network leader's eyes, shaking where he stood.

"I know you," the man snarled. "You're the kid who stole my daughter away! Where is she?!"

Lorcan's mouth opened and closed repeatedly as he struggled to make even a sound. He tried to indicate with his hands that he couldn't actually speak, but it went unnoticed. He was given another rough shake.

"Not willing to talk? Well, we have other methods for people like you..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The halls of Kazdan's mansion weren't all that impressive for a member of the courts, just a few nice plates and candlesticks on display. It was all so average, Endel began to worry there wouldn't be anything here to incriminate the man. The thief wandered into another empty room, the kitchen this time. There was another problem; he hadn't encountered a single living thing yet, but maybe all the residents were holed up somewhere discussing who-know-what.

 

His mind suddenly turned to the earlier events of the day. Princess Zelda had given them a nice carriage, fine horses, continued to trust them with Maia... all because of the Gods' supposed will. And yet, he didn't seem submissive about it, but happy to give them so much, greatest of all being the faith she placed in a bunch of street thieves and accomplices. What did fate mean to a woman that did something like that? Certainly she seemed to revel in fate, like it was a gift or something. At least Torianna seemed to agree with him that the princess was wrong.

 

The slowly appearing sensation of dread that crept up on Endel brought him out of his thoughts. He could feel he was being watched now.

 

Well, perhaps not watched. He could tell something was calling to him, rather. Something aware of his presence. Against his better judgment, he walked straight into the middle of a living room adjoining the kitchen, where there was a stairway leading downward, enticing him with promises of secrets and yet looking no different from any other staircase. It didn't matter, he knew he had to get to the bottom of that staircase right now.

 

Moving at a slow run now, Endel practically jumped down the staircase and reached a landing. The walls were lit at first with gentle torchlight, and then odd glowing stones encrusted into the rock , but that didn't interest him too much at the moment. He could feel it stronger now, something calling in his mind to get to the bottom of this staircase that didn't seem to belong in such a plain lakeside mansion. Just a little further now, and the prize would be his... wait, what prize?

 

Never mind what the prize was, he knew it was there, he thought to himself as he reached the bottom and burst through a door into a dark basement. He took a seat, and waited... waited for his wonderful prize that he somehow knew was due to him. And he wasn't about to go anywhere until he got it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Torianna made her way up the staircase to the first floor. The upstairs was just as bland and uninteresting as the downstairs was, but she wasn't here to look at interior decoration. She was here to find evidence of Kazdan's misdoings, and damnit if she was leaving here before she had what she wanted. Something inside of her was thrilled at the opportunity to use her skills for a purpose, something more than just the financial gain that she'd been taught to strive for.

And as she cautiously entered another room, she heard voices. It was a strange room, to say the least, built with only three walls. The fourth side of the room was simply a stone banister, over looking what appeared to be an office. A figure stood in the office with his back to her, flicking through what appeared to be paperwork. He was dressed in a long midnight blue coat down to his knees with a thick collar which he had turned up. She couldn't make out anything else about him from this distance, but she had a sneaking suspicion that this might be Kazdan.

Suddenly the door was thrown open and Torianna, thinking quickly, ducked below the banister to reduce the chance of her being seen. Carefully, she peered between the columns of the banister. Her hand flew to her mouth to supress a gasp of surprise at what she saw. Three people had just entered the room. Her father came first, his face contorted into a nasty snarl as her brother followed. He had Lorcan in his grip, arms pinned behind his back. The guard struggled furiously, cheeks flushed with the effort.

"What's the meaning of this?" the stranger said, dropping his paperwork on the heavy oak desk behind him.

"You've got a snoop in your manor," her father spat. "He won't talk, but I know this one. He's one of the scoundrels, and I'll bet he's not alone."

"Huh..." muttered the stranger, taking a step towards Lorcan. "Jaydon, I want you to hunt down his... friends," he said the word carefully, almost as if he were mocking his captive. "Meanwhile, your dad and I will see if we can't find a way to make this one... cooperate."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Lorcan winced as the grip on his arms tightened, drawing a sharp hiss from him. The man before him, who Lorcan assumed to be Kazdan, looked quizically at the guard. 

"So you can make some sort of noise for us, then," he observed darkly. "Perhaps we can draw your friends' attention to you with a bit of effort?"

Lorcan gulped at the implied threat, attempting to flee once more and stopping when his arm was twisted painfully. A gasp of pain escaped him, which earned him a smirk from the man holding him in place. 

"Thinking you could take my daughter away that easily," he snarled, suddenly venomous. "Twice, even. If she's not brought here in good time I'll have your head on a platter."

Unashamedly terrified, Lorcan squeezed his eyes shut, willing for this nightmare to be over. His eyes flew open when searing pain raked along his sides, like nails digging into his skin. A scream of agony was ripped from him, searching frantically for the source of pain and finding nothing at all. But the pain was there, and it felt real, no doubt about that.

He tried to wriggle out of his captor's grip and was cut off by his own frantic gasps as the pain shifted up towards his chest, the invisible nails working their way into his ribs, piercing through his skin like it was nothing. Oh, goddesses, this invisible pain would kill him before any physical contact would. His arms were numb at this point, and they were the least of his concern right then. 

It was when he saw black spots at the edges of the vision that he begun hyperventilating, out of sheer panic now more than anything else. Where was Torianna? Skallin, Endel, anyone?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Deep in his subconscious, Endel knew he was trapped here by some form of spell. No matter how hard his mind tried to snap out of it, however, he was ensnared by the imaginary promise of some reward if he would only sit here and wait, patiently. Perhaps it was the sound of footsteps that reinforced these irrational hopes as he sat contentedly. Yes, someone was surely coming to congratulate him for his patience, and they were right there on the other side of that door.

 

But the only thing that came into view as the door opened was Skallin.

"Master Endel, we must leave this place immediately!" The darknut implored him. "I can feel it, the power of my old master is gathered in this place!" 

Endel refused to move. "Skallin, take a seat, we can wait on our reward together. Someone promised you a prize for coming down here too, right?"

For a moment, Skallin appeared confused, but then he seemed to remember something. "... Yes. I'll need you to do one more thing so you can get your reward. Follow me." 

 

It was not a strong command, but nonetheless Endel got up and followed Skallin deep into the pitch black room as if tugged by a rope. His body stopped and turned in suit with his companion as he was led through the darkness. Soon they both stopped, and Endel heard a great crash of metal against glass before his mind suddenly cleared again.

 

It was still black as pitch in the room, but there was no longer any enchantment on Endel's mind as he incoherently babbled about remembering nothing and not recognizing their location.

"This is Kazdan's enchanted dungeon. You were drawn here by a spell, no doubt after wandering into the kitchen. I ask that you save your questions for later, as we are now close to the evidence your princess requires of us to apprehend this fiend." Skallin's reply was uncharacteristically rushed and straightforward, compelling Endel to say quiet as the darknut lit a torch nearby. He then made his way to another door in the back of the dungeon, pausing momentarily to give one last warning.

 

"Be prepared, the contents of this room may...disturb you."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Lorcan's screams shook Torianna down to her bones. She had seen this happen before when people had tried to trick her father or betrayed his trust. It happened often to men who tried to cross him, which she supposed Lorcan had done, even if he didn't realise it yet. She pressed her hands over her ears and screwed her eyes shut, trying to block out what was happening.

She told herself that this was Lorcan's own doing: he should have been more careful sneaking around the manor house, he should have escaped while he had the chance, he should have just spoken because she knew that he could. But there was another part of her, a part at the back of her mind that she didn't want to listen to. It told her that if she hadn't told her Dad that Lorcan was a part of the network, if she hadn't been in such a hurry to rush off with him, if she'd have told him who she really was; he wouldn't be in this situation.

Guilt was a child relentlessly tugging at her sleeve in a desperate bid for attention. She pressed her face into her hands before pushing her hair back. She shouldn't care, she didn't owe Lorcan anything.

Except she did.

Because he'd saved her before.

She pressed her lips into a firm line and got to her feet. One hand gripped the banister firmly as she vaulted over the top and dropped into the office with surprising speed. She landed with a loud bang on her feet on the heavy desk. Her father instantly loosened his grip on Lorcan, who had turned pale. His blue eyes watched Torianna carefully through damp eyelashes as he slumped down to the ground. Whatever abstract pain Kazdan had been inflicting upon him appeared to stop.

Torianna grinned. "Better treasure this moment, Lorcan," she said, trying to sound more confident than she felt. "Actual evidence that I am indeed human. Who'd have thought?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Lorcan clutched at his side, breathing a shaky sigh when he found he was still intact. He could only spare a glance toward Torianna before he was shoved aside by a kick from the man he'd just rid himself of.

"Torianna," he greeted her. "Kazdan, excuse my daughter, please."

Lorcan's head whipped over to Torianna to look at her accusingly. She didn't say anything in return, actually looking a little uneasy.

"What on earth are you doing with the damn scoundrels?" her father demanded. "Running away from us, twice!"

"And gladly, too," Torianna snapped back at him. "They're certainly better company than you!"

"You worthless waste of a thief!" her fathher shot back, and Lorcan found himself standing before he could think twice. "I should never have even bothered finding you again, Jaydon is twice as good as you'll ever be!"

"Hey!" Lorcan snapped, furious beyond belief. "Don't you dare speak to your daughter like that! If you'd seen how much help she's been to all of us, you'd know better than to call her a waste! Do us all a favour and open up your eyes!"

"Lorcan," Torianna said softly. Before she could say anything else, Kazdan had Lorcan pinned against the wall with a few muttered words, leaving him to struggle.

"Make it quick," the warlock ordered. "I don't have much time to waste with issues like this."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The inside of the next room was lit by more of those eerie glowing rocks, whose light shone on some of the most ghastly sights Endel had ever seen. Burnt human bodies sporting all manner of mutations lay in a heap in one corner. Living specimens were in cages throughout the room, all of them spliced with everything from Keese wings and Bokoblin fangs to Tektite legs. Unlike the woman at the orphanage who seemed adept with her monstrous form, these people looked horrified and in pain, largely unable to make any practical use of their modifications. There were tubes of bile and blood along the rest of the walls, probably the agents used to inflict people with these alterations. Endel could only stand there for a moment before needing to look away. 

 

"I must sincerely apologize," Skallin said, "But your mission necessitated evidence, and this is the only source I can deem is sufficient. I remembered this place as we wandered the mansion for clues... the vile things I did for Kazdan here..." It was a clear struggle for Endel's friend to recall these things. "taking the occasional thief captured here, enemies of Kazdan... orphans supplied by the caretaker en masse... tearing them apart and rebuilding them as monsters for that sick man's experiments."

"That's enough, Skallin." Endel said with conviction. "You didn't know any better then, you're a good person now and that's what matters. Skallin appeared to chipper back up a bit after hearing that.

 

"Please allow me to swiftly retrieve the experimentation journals here." The darknut quickly offered. "Doing so will set off an alarm, but we have little choice. I suggest you find the others while I prepare to, as you might say, attempt some light burglary."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Torianna felt utterly frustrated. What did her father even want from her? If she was such a waste of a thief, why was he fighting to get her back? She couldn't get that image of Lorcan's glare from her mind, yet it was followed up with that exclamation...? His duplicity continued to baffle her.

At that moment, the door to the office was pushed open and Jaydon made his way in. He stood with hands on his hips, glancing Torianna over critically, before deciding that he had more important things to talk about. "The manor seems empty," he said. "The only place the scoundrels could be hiding is in the basement - I couldn't see a thing down there. It's pitch black!"

"Right," her father said, his voice low, pondering. "Kazdan, would you have any use for this boy?" he asked, gesturing vaguely to Lorcan.

Kazdan shrugged, appearing nonchalant. "There's always room for more test subjects... he appears to be in healthy condition - a prime specimen!" Lorcan was visibly disturbed by the sound of that. And even if she didn't know exactly what it meant, it didn't sound good to Torianna either.

Her dad noted her furrowed brow and smiled. "It's your call Torianna," he said. "If you leave now, the boy stays here. Or, you can both come with us. How does that sound, hmm?"

It should have been a done deal: save yourself. That's what she knew, that's all she'd ever known. You look after yourself, and let others take care of themselves. Yet, that particular response seemed somehow inadequate now as she watched Lorcan struggle against Kazdan's magic. She let out a grunt of frustration. Stupid scoundrels! All their do-gooding was wearing off on her.

She nodded with resounding defeat. Her father gave the most smug grin as he said "I thought you'd come round, Torianna."

A sharp word from Kazdan was enough to leave Lorcan slumped against the wall, unconscious. Jaydon made quick work of binding his wrists with Lorcan's own belt, before heaving the unconscious guard over his shoulder. Torianna felt sick to her stomach as her father took her by the arm and pulled her to the exit, Jaydon following just behind.

Suddenly, a low ringing noise reverberated through the afternoon. It was enough to stop the group in their footsteps, looking around them in confusion.

Kazdan burst out of the house then, his brow furrowed as he stormed over to them. "Who's with you?" he demanded of Torianna, speaking through gritted teeth. "Who's with you and where are they!?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

"That would be us, Warlock Kazdan!"

 

Endel, Skallin, and Maia emerged from the gates of the manor just in time to see a furious Kazdan questioning two other men who seemed to have captured Torianna and Lorcan. They'd hoped to avoid a confrontation like this, but already it looked like one of the men was preparing to fight. Endel suddenly recognized him as the kidnapper who managed to grab Torianna back in the forest. "Jaydon, take care of these fools and report back to headquarters." The other mysterious man ordered before turning to Kazdan. The two of them spoke in furious whispers before departing suddenly in a flash of magical energy. The odds didn't look too good for Jaydon, but he seemed far from concerned as he let out a piercing whistle to the sky.

 

The whistle was met with an all-too-familiar shriek; it was one of those giant Kargaroks. The great beast flew out from the nearby cliffside to land nearby, its mount quickly clambering up to its saddle and taking off.

"Poor sister," he shouted, "I hope you will see the error of your ways after my bird crushes your friends in its talons!"

 

With a quick spurring, the Kargarok went into a dive aimed right for their position, Endel didn't even have time to comprehend what 'sister' that lunatic was going on about, because a desperate plan just popped into his head. Grabbing hold of Skallin, he positioned them both right in the way of the bird, who eagerly grabbed at them only to find the combined weight of the thief and the darknut overwhelming. Unable to return to the sky and encumbered by it's two captives holding on for dear life, it began flapping its wings and shaking its talons madly to be rid of them, all to no avail. "A little help here guys!" Endel shouted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Lorcan snapped into action at hearing Endel's plea, running forward before leaping into the air and bracing himself. He grabbed Endel's ankles, and felt someone he guessed was Torianna grab onto his calves. In a matter of seconds, Jaydon's Kargarok couldn't take the weight.

The group landed none-too-gracefully, the wings of the Kargarok flailing madly as it attempted to right itself. It was to no avail, however, as the creature and rider alike tumbled for several seconds before coming to a very messy halt. 

Jaydon had earned a few bruises but appeared undeterred, patting his animal firmly and letting it lift him about a foot or two over the heads of those assembled.

Their group had picked up some nasty cuts, but nothing that could deter them too much from the situation at hand. Maia was unscathed, managing to steer clear of the scuffle that had just ensued.

Jaydon made a 'hmph', appearing uncertain for a moment before his face cleared.

"Never mind that, then," he said, leaning in close to the Kargarok's head to mutter something that went unheard by Lorcan and the rest. "We'll just have to find some other method to tear you all to pieces!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The Kargarok flared it's claws viciously and prepared to dive. This time, it wasn't making to grab it's attackers, but instead slash at their skin. The group had no choice but to split, breaking up individually. Jaydon circled above them, laughing victoriously. That's exactly what he'd anticipated. He pulled his bird into a sharp turn, diving over them all and taking another slash. Endel's clothes ripped open at the shoulder, and Torianna was sure that he'd have a nasty cut there. But she didn't have the time to worry about him.

As Jaydon flew over her, she leapt back out of the birds reach, wrapping one hand around Jaydon's ankle. With a sharp tug, he was yanked from the saddle and came crashing down to the ground on top of her. She huffed, pushing him off.

"When are you going to give it up?" Jaydon spat as he pushed himself up into a sitting position.

"I won't!" Torianna snapped back, glaring at her brother. "What's the alternative, Jaydon? I spend the rest of my life working for the network, being just another dogsbody for Dad." She knew that the rest of the group had fallen still now, watching them.

Her brother was glaring in the orange evening light, still panting for breath. He had the same brown hair as her, the same green eyes, the same lightly freckled skin. But he was different in so many ways to her.

"Now what?" Jaydon asked. He seemed disgusted, appalled by the fact that Torianna would call out on her own father. "You run off with the scoundrels again? Because Dad isn't going to stop coming after you. And if you think you're safe with these morons, you're sourly mistaken."

"Why does he even want me back, Jaydon? He's never wanted me around... Why has he changed his mind now?"

Her brother glanced away, wiping the blood from the cut on his lip. That was all Torianna needed to make her stomach churn. Whatever the network was doing was worse than thievery. She should have read the warning signs, the assassination attempt, the beasts they'd tamed, the lizard-woman, and the warlock they were working with. She didn't know yet what they had planned, but she didn't like the sound of it. And she wouldn't play a part in it if she could help it.

Jaydon didn't say a word as he mounted his Kargarok one last time. He remained silent still as they took off into the air, flying back towards Castle Town. For some reason, Torianna felt cold to her bones watching him go.

As she turned back to the scoundrels, the group wore mixed reactions. Most noticeably of all, Endel looked fuming. "The network leader ordered Maia's assassination, sent men to kill us, and had wild animals attack us. We had our necks on the line, Torianna! And you never thought to mention that he was your father?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Lorcan winced at Endel's tone, glancing to Torianna to assess the situation. She seemed to be trying to gather herself, to keep composure. 

"I was... waiting for the right time," she said half-heartedly. 

"The right time would have been, I don't know, when we decided we'd send Lorcan to rescue you from your own network?!" Endel retorted. 

"Endel," Skallin spoke up softly. "I don't think-"

"We trusted you!" Endel continued. "We trusted you and you decided you'd still keep secrets from us!"

At that, Lorcan stepped in front of Endel, his hands raised in a manner that was both defensive and offensive. He could imagine Torianna's surprise, and Endel's was clear on his face. 

"What are you trying to say now, Lorcan?" he asked. 

In response, Lorcan stepped a little to the side and gestured to Torianna, who glanced back with confusion in her eyes. He gestured to Endel, then, and beckoned him with his hands. He did the same with Torianna, urging the two thieves closer until he was within arm's reach of both. 

Before either of them could move away, he'd grabbed their hands and closed them in so that they were locked in a firm handshake. 

Endel huffed, seeming bemused but accepting. Torianna seemed more surprised than anything, looking toward Lorcan in a mixture of curiosity and gratefulness. Lorcan glanced away, not meeting her eye, before turning about and surveying the area for any stragglers that would try to disturb them. Finding nothing, he turned back to Endel and tilted his head to the side a little to get his meaning across. 'Orders?'

Endel must have understood, clearing his throat and placing his hands on his hips with a frown. "Alright, then. Let's see..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

((loving the way this is going right now, great job you guys! :D ))

 

"...Oh!" Endel's mind jumped back to the situation with a start. "You guys don't even know what Skallin found for us in the house. Let's hear what he has to say." He gestured over to the darknut, who brought them a few journals.

"Visiting this place has done wonders for my memory," he started to explain, "While scouring the place, I remembered parts of my... morally dubious past as an assistant to Kazdan. Most importantly, I recalled the research he underwent to create new intelligent species."

 

"Wait a moment." Torianna interjected, "Are you saying Kazdan made that creepy lizafos woman?" Skallin nodded. "What's his deal, making things like that when he could just have an army of regular people? Why run experiments and probably kill people just so he can have weirdos with tails and stuff!?" Endel was of a similar mind even if he didn't say it, but Skallin seemed to have an idea of his own.

 

"Information regarding Kazdan's exact motivations are unclear," he continued, "But my observations have led me to believe he desires a new species to usurp the Hylians' dominion over this land. He appears to view your species with contempt, citing the hardiness of other monsters as proof they are worthy of a higher existence. To put it in simple terms, he believes a race of civilized monsters would be superior to Hylian society."

 

"That's horrible!" Maia responded. "A world full of monsters... how would they ever get along?"

"Kazdan researched for a very long time to perfect his process." Skallin explained. "His most ancient tomes suggested that a very long time ago, in the dawn of Hylian civilization, another race of monsters came to power of their own initiative. Slender and pale, but horrendously strong, they would have obliterated your ancestors were it not for the protection of a Goddess and one exceptionally powerful hero. Kazdan seemed to believe this divine intervention was folly on the part of the gods, and seeks to correct this recourse of fate by creating his own species of superior monster-folk."

 

Divine intervention that saved the Hylians... another species that should have reigned over Hyrule by right of power... it was enough to make Endel's head spin. And the implications of it all... that fate itself saved his ancestors from extinction, allowing him to live as he did right now. He could only sit there, brought to the ground by the hard truth and the sheer atrocity that Kazdan hoped to commit... one that nearly... just nearly reflected some of his own hatred of fate and the gods.

 

Now it was his turn to be sick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

((Thanks Knuckle!))

 

The journey back to Hyrule Castle was spent largely in silence. Endel seemed to be in somewhat of a state of shock, so Torianna and Lorcan took the reigns for the trip. Torianna liked it that way, horse riding gave her just enough to focus on that her mind couldn't wander to other things. That was the last thing she wanted right now.

As they returned to the Castle, Princess Zelda welcomed them graciously, even if Skallin caused her a bit of confusion. The research journals were passed onto her as the evidence she'd requested, and she prepared her soldiers to arrest Kazdan in the morning. Torianna couldn't help but think they'd be lucky if they could get within five feet of him.

The princess arranged accommodation for the scoundrels within the castle walls. They each got a room to themselves this time, something Torianna was extremely grateful for, as Maia now regarded her with terrified glances. This room, unlike the last few, was rather lavish, but it didn't have the one thing she wanted when she was in a bad mood. So she went on a hunt through the castle, dug through some old storage boxes, and eventually found what she wanted in a smaller reception room to the west of the castle; a dart board.

Damn her father, and her brother, and that overbearing warlock. Damn them for kidnapping her and attacking Lorcan and trying to use her for their twisted schemes. She didn't even know what they wanted from her, but she knew she couldn't do it; not anymore.

Her first hit landed on the left side of the inner ring.

Damn Endel for snapping at her like he did, and Maia for being so terrified yet never saying a word to confront her. Damn them for not understanding why she had to keep this a secret.

The second dart landed just to the right of the centre.

And damn Lorcan and all his messy duplicity. Damn his temper tantrums and sadistic threats, his fuming silences and accusatory glares, his defensive words and rescue missions - damn all of it alike!

Bullseye.

Edited by NayruGoddessOfWisdom (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.