thezombineer: (Default)
[personal profile] thezombineer posting in [community profile] saladlove
In which we skip ANOTHER year and Sayph Does Not Care™. Last time-skip, I swear. It just... needed to happen for the sake of timing. Originally it was a couple of months, but for reasons, I needed more.

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October 15th, 3765. Time Instance 597A.

Sayph sighed as she set the now empty glass down on the bar before her slouching, tired form. A year—to the day—had passed since graduation, the end of eight years of hell. And the beginning of a new era of hell. “Bah,” she muttered as she took a swig from the newly refilled glass; the barkeep was on point tonight. Thank Winus for Cration drinking laws, she thought. Over the last year, she had taken on a new mandate. The Recs—a name used for the Reconcilers beyond the borders of Uvoswela, and a bastardized form of the Ancient Akkerian word for asses—had been causing more and more trouble since that day. They had to be stopped. That was her parents’ mission… and now it was hers.

A man sat on the stool next to her and ordered himself a drink before turning to look at her. “Hey there.”

“I’m not as drunk as I look,” Sayph replied, not evening turning to look at him. “Now, unless you have business with me, I suggest you move to the other end of the bar.” She did look rather drunk to an untrained eye; she slouched in her seat, leaning on the bar; her silver hair was a mess, disheveled and hanging in front of her face; her black jacket—which had many pockets, and an insignia sewn onto the upper-left most pocket—clearly had dirt all over and needed cleaned, and her equally black pants were just as messy.

“Well, lucky for me, I do,” he said. “I’m looking for a mercenary by the name of Sayph.”

Sayph turned just enough to see the man, her blue eyes barely peeking out around her hair. He had certainly tried to dress nicely, but failed miserably. He wore a green button up shirt with a tie, but the shirt was unbuttoned about halfway down, and the tie was far too loose to appear formal in any way. His pants were a dull brown, baggy pair of khakis. Around his forehead was a red bandana. The red of the bandana brought back bad memories. With a sigh she straightened up and turned to face him the rest of the way. “Alright, I’ll bite,” said the merc. “Who are you?”

He looked around shiftily, eyes passing over several other patrons. “Someone who heard about what happened in Milson,” he said. “How you turned your employers over to the Cration authorities.” He nodded his thanks to the barkeep and downed his drink.

Her expression turned suspicious as he told his tale. “And you’re looking for me… why?”

A smile spread slowly across his face as he turned to face her once more. Without a word he lashed out with a fist, and Sayph hit the ground before she knew what had happened. “You betrayed the Revolutionaries. No one gets away with that!” he yelled.

Sayph sighed, not even bothering to get up yet. “Your ‘Revolutionaries’ are Uvoswelian loyalists. Terrorists, really.”

“We’re not the ones who killed a pop star to make a point, though, are we?” he spat. “Those were Cration extremists!”

Sayph shook her head as she stood. Is the side of my face wet? Oh, I’m bleeding a little. Eh, I’ve had worse. There was, in fact, a small cut on her cheek, perhaps an inch long. A short stream of blood was starting to leak from the wound, but she paid it no more mind. “We going to fight, then? Or are you going to stare at my very distracting arms all night?” she asked, shrugging off her jacket and dropping into a combat stance. Under her jacket, she wore a light vest, which was just as dirty as the rest of her clothes.

It had been a long day.

He yelled something unintelligible and charged, lashing out with his right arm again in a wide right hook. Sayph ducked under and struck his stomach with her left arm, causing the man to double over in pain. She promptly kicked him in the face, sending him flying back and landing on the table behind him.

“Oh, now I’m angry,” he mumbled. He grabbed at a bottle—one that someone was still holding—and charged once more

Sayph leapt back as the man swung his makeshift weapon. Though, she hadn’t expected him to throw it. The bottle smashed into her left shoulder, surprising her and leaving her open for another strike that knocked her over onto the bar. I’d go for my gun, but I’d rather not kill him if I can help it. She gently pulled herself the rest of the way over the bar, casually dodging out of the way of an incoming chair just in time. Ooh, bottles. Sayph grabbed a bottle and took the top off as she made eye contact with her opponent. After a quick swig, she threw it at her assailant.

The man easily stepped out of the way before picking up a table, flipping it over, and charging yet again, even as she picked up another bottle. Oh. Shit.

Alright, enough playing. Sayph shook her head. She muttered a spell, and was suddenly behind the charging man, immediately smashing the bottle on his head. “Well, that was fun,” she said to the now unconscious man as she leaned down next to him. “Shouldn’t pick on an ex-Rec. We’re better than you.” She turned to face the bartender. “Sorry about the mess.”

“You… wrecked my bar…” he mumbled. He looked to be on the verge of tears. “I can’t pay for this…”

Sayph took a peek inside her assailant's wallet before tossing it to the barkeep. “That should cover it.” She shook her head at the limp form below her. “And call the cops. Let them know this asshole is here.”

Sayph started towards the door before turning around to grab her jacket. No way in hell was she going to leave that behind; that jacket had been a gift shortly after she had left the Reconcilers. Sayph still recalled the events clearly…

*   *   *

October 15th, 3764. Time Instance 597A.

Sayph didn’t know how long she’d been lying there, on that old, and ever so slightly damp pile of discarded… whatever it was. Nor did she care. She had just watched her entire life fall apart around her. Her mother, her father, both betrayed by the monster that her sister had become. A monster that had grown under the supervision and care of the government that ran her homeland.

After several minutes—or was it hours?—it began to rain, lightly at first, but mounting quickly. Sayph didn’t care. She remained there, on that pile of refuse, for quite some time.

Time passed, and an elderly woman happened past. She saw the former Rec, crumpled over, shoulders bobbing up and down with tears which mixed with the rain that ran down her face. The woman made her way over to Sayph’s crumpled form, knelt beside the younger woman, and offered her comfort. Sayph, while she hadn’t truly heard what had been said, welcomed the hug that had been offered, and the shoulder to cry on.

Time continued to pass, rain continued to fall, and eventually the tears stopped flowing. The grief remained, but the tears had stopped, at least for now. Mostly because she was dehydrated. “Thank you,” Sayph mumbled, softly. “But who are you?”

“I’m no one, dear,” the older woman said. “I just saw someone who needed help. And perhaps a change of clothes?”

Sayph looked down at the suit she wore. It was covered in dirt, grime, and worst of all, splotches of blood. “That would… be nice. Thank you,” she said through a sniffle or two.

“Any time, dear,” the woman replied. “I think some of my daughter’s old clothes might fit you.”

They stood, walking slowly away from where Sayph had arrived. The rain continued to pour down upon the two women as they walked. “Where are we?” Sayph asked.

“North seventy-second and Linrod,” the woman said.

“What city?”

The woman paused and turned to face the former Reconciler. “Adeninnum, capital of Craton. If I may ask, how did you end up here?”

Sayph sighed and nodded, before continuing to walk. She told the story as they walked on, careful to keep her voice lowered as she knew that there could be Recs even here. They traveled where they wanted, disregarding national laws in an effort to do the job their homeland had given them. No matter where she went, Sayph would have to watch her back. The younger woman teared up more than once during her telling of the story, but they kept walking. They hadn’t been far from the elderly woman’s house, and Sayph finished her story just as they arrived.

“It sounds terrible, dear,” the woman said as she rifled through boxes. “If I were you, once I’d had some time to deal with the grief, I would use those skills of yours. You could make a mighty fine living.”

Sayph pondered that as she dug through the old clothes, which were about the right size. One article of clothing caught her eye; an old black jacket, with several pockets strewn about both the inside and out. The buttons which held the pockets closed were a dark gold color, and the left breast pocket had an insignia sewn on. Sayph didn’t recognize it, but it caught her eye. “That was my daughter’s favorite jacket,” the woman said, seeing Sayph eying it. “She got it when she joined the Cration military. She never told me what the insignia meant. I guess I’ll never know, now.” The old lady sniffled and looked away.

“When did your daughter pass?” Sayph asked.

“Yesterday,” the woman said. “At a concert. Terrorist attack. She was so excited…” The woman drifted off, looking away. “But I’ll deal with that on my own time. Keep the jacket. It suits you nicely.”

“No, I can’t,” Sayph said. “It obviously holds memories of your daughter, I couldn’t–“

“I insist,” the woman said, cutting Sayph off. “I’ll never wear it, and she won’t either.”

The former Reconciler nodded. “Thank you. I’ll take care of it.” She stood and took her new outfit into the bathroom, just around the corner. When she returned, dressed in the clothes she had chosen, the woman laughed. “Well, the jacket fits,” she said. “Maybe you should stop at a store and pick up something else to wear.”

Sayph looked down. The outfit definitely had been made for a woman with a smaller frame than her. She imagined that the jacket had been overly large on its owner, perhaps dwarfing her even more than her already small build had. “Probably,” Sayph said as she joined in with the woman’s laughter.

The exchanged goodbyes, and the woman handed Sayph enough money to purchase some clothing at a shop just down the street. As Sayph walked away, she couldn’t help but feel that this woman was somehow more important than she had seemed.

Date: 2017-03-11 08:41 pm (UTC)
scara: Steampunk hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] scara
Sayph is a tough badass and that old lady is a sweet cinnamon roll.

Date: 2017-03-12 03:34 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Poor girl.
-Observing Anon


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