I rub the back of my head as I walk past the sign that indicates I have just passed over the city limits of Gabriev, attempting to get rid of the headache that has come and gone many times throughout the past week. However, I must say I miss the migraine when it's gone; it has been one of my only companions on my travel.~My shoes clack on the cobblestone road. Dusk has set in (is it already dusk?) and I am the only one on the lonely streets of the...Gabriev looks too small to be a city and too large to be just a village, so I suppose I shall designate it a town. In any case, I am alone.~And presently I shall have to amend that, as I hear the sound of someone about to walk around the next corner. I find myself thinking about how amazingly far the sound can travel at this time of day. It is quite special in my mind.~My companion rounds the corner and, by his robes, I can just barely identify him as a member of the city watch. The watchman takes a single look at me, and even in the dim light, recognition appears on his face. His hand goes straight for his whistle, but I am quicker; my body barely needing instructions from my mind, I draw my sword, bridge the gap between myself and the watchmen with three strides, and slice my sword upward through the man's chest. He does not utter a sound as his blood stains the wall and ground and he falls. I hesitate, thankful I have not been caught.~My gaze becomes fixed on the wall; perhaps I have a proclivity for blood. I notice that, appropriately enough, the watchman's blood has stained a wanted poster. It has my portrait in the center, with the words "WANTED: Dead or Alive" and a sum of money I cannot believe I am worth above it. Below it, becoming less legible by the second because of the blood, is my name, Ponce El Gadis. I am a wanted criminal.~I wish to hell I knew why...
Sanity and Control
Slicing Attack: Standard
I clean the blood off my blade with my bare hand, and find myself reexamining it, looking at it even closer than I have every day over the past week I have been awake. The blade is one-handed and probably of the bastard variety. The hilt implies the sword was quite expensive, and the lack of nicks says I was a person who took very good care of his weapon.~"Sanity and Control" is carved on the blade, though I can't imagine why; my reward shows I evidentially showed very little of one, the other, or both. Perhaps it served as a reminder of what not to show. Perhaps it is just the blade's name and means little beyond that. Maybe I had stolen it off someone who had lived by the credo. Possibly I just had a good mind for irony. There is even the possibility I am some sort of crusader against a corrupt system, but I doubt this; the cities I have been to have been quite well-maintained and the people seemed happy.~I place Sanity and Control back in its sheath. I brush my hair out of my face, briefly wondering if my particular hair tint is unusual, and continue down the street toward the crimson setting sun.
The bars are all open on one stretch of road. I quickly move to the seediest-looking one--The Stolen Ruby. It easily looks like the kind of place a hardened criminal, like myself, evidentially, would go to. The wooden door is closed, and when I rap on it with blood-covered knuckles, a pair of beady eyes appear in a slot. "What's the password?" A voice hisses.~I quickly check my pockets, hoping that I was forgetful and had written the password down on a napkin. Suddenly, I have a brainstorm, and am just about to say, "Sanity and Control" when something comes over me and I glare at the eyes in the door.~Fear suddenly enters the small eyes, the slot slides shut, and the door quickly opens. "El Gadis! Sorry, sir. We was just bein' careful. We hadn't seen yas in a while." I give a polite nod to the bouncer and enter The Stolen Ruby. It is easily the loudest and dirtiest-looking bar I have been in to my knowledge.~Knowing I have enough cred here to get in without a password, I assert myself and take the closest stool to the door. Where the bar was full, the stool was empty. Reserved, perhaps.~Although I have not ordered, the bustiest waitress in the room soon delivers me a blood-red drink. I must be a constant drinker of this concoction. I take it and sip from the glass. It tastes like poison and burns all the way down my throat. I find it hard to believe this is my 'regular'.~I become aware of how many whispers in the bar suddenly involve the words 'El Gadis' and soon, most conversation has ceased, the bar's attention focused on me. They seem to be waiting for something, and I supply them by saying, "As you were." This satisfies them enough for most to go back to their business.~However, one person keeps staring at me, a beautiful young woman at a table across the room. I find myself hoping she's my wife, but then realize that neither she nor I wear any rings. The second I meet her gaze, she shifts to an expression of indignation and motions me to her table with a sharp jerk of her head.~I pick up my caustic drink and walk over.
Where the woman was beautiful from afar, she is nearly divine close-up. She is a well-endowed half-elf, with the grace of form that is synonymous to the species. Her hair is meticulously groomed and flaming red. Her eyes are a vibrant blue that somehow goes with the red. She wears a gown that either she or someone else has taken a sword to to put it in tatters; I don't think she would look good in the full gown. The gown identifies her as a sorcerer, something in the back of my mind tells me. I pray I have not done something in the past to make this woman hate me. I hope beyond hope we are friends or something more.~As I sit down, she wears an expression of contempt. "'Bout time you got back," she growls.~I attempt to give a friendly smile. "It's a good feeling to be back," I say, though I can't remember being here before, "And I must say you are looking quite nice, Miss..." I trail off.~She whistles. "Huh, I had heard the rumors but didn't think they were true. You don't remember a damn thing, do you?" I shake my head. "Damn. I'm Mitsuko Trendleria, your right-hand chick. I assume you know your own name?" As I nod, it occurs to me Mitsuko could tell me anything and I'd be forced to believe it. Mitsuko continues. "You're the leader of the local faction of this big, country-wide gang, got it? Or at least you were until you decided to take a brain damaged holiday. You used to basically own everyone in this bar." She huffed. "Without you, everyone just started doing whatever they damn well pleased and found they liked it better. You could try gaining power again, but that ain't gonna happen with that amnesia."~"What do you propose I do then, Miss Mitsuko?" I ask.~"When'd you get so stuffy, Ponce?" Mitsuko asks. I note she called me by my first name. "Just...keep doing what you're doing. You're giving a good name to the El Gadis title even without remembering how to put on your shoes. You can find a new group or start one."~"What about you?"~She gives me a wicked grin. "I'll be around. Remember, I'm your right-hand girl. I've always got to help out." With that, she gets up and leaves the table.~At that point, something unnerves me about Mitsuko Trendleria. It wasn't that she had knockout looks and a brain; it wasn't that she was able to be dominant and submissive at the same time; it wasn't the magical energy I knew she had inside her; it wasn't even the fact she looked more likely to stab you in the neck with the sickle at her hip than talk to you. It was the question: If she was such a loyal right-hand girl, where was she when whatever happened that made me lose my memory?
Sword Master: Supreme
The ambush comes right after I leave the building; twelve men, some of which I recognize from the bar, corner me in an alley. Wheather they desire to capture me, kill me, or whichever as long as they get the bounty is unclear; they are not the most verbal of creatures.~I breathe a silent prayer and silently remove Sanity and Control from its leather womb. Before I even have time to plan my next move I go on the attack, thrusting my sword backwards to stab a mercenary coming from behind. I then perform a quick spin, slicing off the extremities of any man who came too close. No one but the first man is down yet, so I spring into attack, thrusting the blade into one of my assailents' neck. I remove Sanity and Control from his throat with startling ease, slicing into the ribcage of the next attacker.~From there, I am nothing but a blur of mauve, puce, and silver, Sanity and Control finding flesh whenever I strike. Crimson mist flies through the air as my sword avoids the crude weapons and shields my foes wield and ends their lives.~At once, there remain only four men, and suddenly that number is brought down to two as streaks of arcane energy bolt down and punch through the men's chests. I turn just in time to see a flash of red hair disappear onto the roof of a building.~Scared but hardly hapless, the two remaining hunters growl as they wave their swords like carpet beaters. I dash towards them and run between their bodies. I flex my arm and sickening noises are heard. Only when I stop running seven steps later do I turn around and see my two now nearly bisected foes.~I am beginning to get an idea why I am worth so much. I wipe the blood off Sanity and Control and walk off to wherever I shall go next.
Closed Mind: Standard
Some may ask me why I continue to do what I do. If I remember none of my previous transgressions against the law, why do I not fight as a vigilante, for good, or simply say good-bye to the whole game and go into hiding.~The answer is not simple, but it is all that I know.~I need meaning, and for now, only Mitsuko and any other associates I can find to assist me can supply meaning. (Mitsuko did mention joining another group.) Second, in a way, it's literally all I know. Living by fighting with the blade is all I have done in the scant parts of my life I can remember.~And...If my memories do come back...I do not wish to be out of practice.