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MissMercy

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My ongoing pet project that started as one shot and turned into more. Hope y'all enjoy it.

ONE

If someone has asked Ser Vilanta, former Head Magus, exactly what he was doing in the crypts at the dead of night, he could not have answered. Not only had he been stripped of his title, thanks to a whole heap of circumstantial nonsense, tossed out of his home on a whim and managed to offend potentially every lord in the city; he was now wandering abut in the dripping cold stone crypts.

Because why not? Really what else did he have to lose?

His robes, oranate hues of purple and gold caught on outcroppings and tore with a loud sound. He cursed and then found that he did not care about them or about anything really. Vilanta fell against one of the walls, slipping on the rock mold that coated the ground and barely managed to avoid tunneling down the steep steps. From his small and very moist corner of the world he found himself contemplating his very breif and very sudden rise to fame. It was a a blue of faces, names and of course magic.

Magic was the life of the City of Amneth, golden capitol of the ages as some called it although he tended to refer to it as a corraled prison of sheeple. The City was the first in the Nation of Ecclasiea ro run exclusivly on the high powers currents of power that ran throughout the earth beneath them. Magi, such as himself, were able to tap into that power and shape it to their own will or the will of their contractors. Ser Valinta was good, he was more than good, he was the youngest so far to receive his Marks as a Magus. The Marks that whirled and swirled in light blue etches across his golden skin, even now as he held his hands above him, he had to wonder what was next.

Oh! He could leave the City. He frowned at that thought, he would have to leave the entire continent with how royally he had screwed things up for himself. Then again, he supposed it was his own fault for having those pesky opinions of his.

Oh! He could find a mundane job and live in obscurity. He cracked a smile and laughed, a slightly maddening cackle that tends to only come to those who have truly lost everything, that was just humourous.

Better just sit here for a bit then.

Valinta did just that, staring glassy-eyed at the dark ceiling and studing the ancient pillars and decript carvings. He contemplated the sounds of the dripping waters and rats scurriying, their sharp nails scraping and scratching in the muck when a very curious odor raised his attention.

Not in the conventional way where he might scent out something good and go hungrily in search, or an irristable scent that made lead him to a lady love. Oh no, not him, not Ser Valinta the former wonder of the Court, that would have too favorable.

Instead a thin and nigh invisible trail of scented smoke, a spicy and aromatic thread tickled around the edge of his left nostril until it twitched its way inside. The feeling of very soft and itching feather round and round inside his long pointed nose made him at first sniffle and then start to sneeze.

It wasn't just any sneeze, nothing quick to come with relief or something he could stamp out like a small flame, no this was a gargantuan thing that made his breath hitch, his nostrils flare in readiness and his eyes water in a sudden allergenic fit,

"Hhn...hihhhh..." he made the mistake of sniffling again allowing more of the spice and feather itch, his head drawing back into the stone,

"Ihhhh...HihhhhihhhIH! ...Ah!"

Dear gods, this was torture. He steepled his hands over his face and finally relased,

"AhHAHhhchoo!" he gave a shuddering breath and felt his body amp up once more, except it passed the melodrama and went straight for the kill,

"ATSXHhuh!" he blew his nose on his sleeve, rock mold gunk pasted across his cheek and raged inside. Whoever, whatever that was, it had managed to make his night one hell off a lot worse. He sniffled, feeling dirty, unkempt and highly allergic as he followed the scent like a mad man, one hand pressed over his nose and it started to rebel anew, twitching against his palm like it was trying to convey its unhappiness in morse code.

The incense was set and the circle drawn on the floor in salt, it was also lined with candles to chase away some of the dim. Belarus sighed as his pale hand shook with nerves. He thought he had heard something but he was probably wrong, he always was. He gently folded the white ribbon around his left hand as the book had said and consulted the great pile of stones before him with firm precision. He was supposed to feel relaxed but his knees were aching, he was supposed to feel calm and cool inside but he was burning with anxiety.

This was not going to work but he gritted his teeth and forced himself to think positive.

Belarus bent foreward and touched his forehead to the floor, the scent of mold and earth filling his nose. He voided his mind and imagined a space of white, a blank slate that he would need to connect to the Old Ones. His breathing slowed until he felt himself vibrate, reaching forward mentally, reaching, stretching-

"Hey!"A male voice resounded thought the room and Belarus let out a shriek, scrambling forward and around till he oriented himself.

A dark haired man stood in the hallway dressed in what was probably once finery that was now caked in mud, muck and who knew what else. His long hair was congealed in great masses and there was a smudge on his tan face. Did he decide to roll around like a dog or somesuch?

Wait a tic...dark almond eyes, the gold bangle on his wrist and the marking on his forehead that wrinkled with a scowl,

"Ser Valinta?" He asked, his voice a timid thing in the flickering light.

"Do you mind? Don't you see I am in mourning for my entire existence here?" he rubbed a finger under his nose and tossed a glaring look at the insence sticks,

"I...what?" Belarus was dumbfounded, he was breaking several laws here and this man was concerned about his incense.

"I rather need them." he crossed his arm about his chest, a rare feeling of definance rising in him, "I mind very much."

"Well then." Valinta crossed the room and Belarus shot up to intercept him, not hearing the sudden hitch in the man's breath, not seeing a urgent look in his eyes, no he stood to stand up for what was his and he would be-

That was when Valinta sneezed on him,

"Hahhhtschoo!" a shot of spray landed on his exposed neck and chin. Belarus felt a shiver shoot up and down his spine like a rocket at the beauty of the thing. He had a quirk for sneezes but he certainy was not going to reveal that and he had about two point five seconds to react in some way, lest he appear odd. Belarus did what always did when faced with a potential crisis, he sqaured his shoulders, sucked in a breath and panicked like a school girl who had just seen a mouse.

“Germs! Germs everywhere!” He failed and knocked over several candles in the process.

Valinta stamped out the incese and watch the other main fail about, almost tripping over his ornate white robes, blonde hair splaying out behind him. He sniffled, wishing he had a tissue as the blonde wipe at his face like he was hell bent on taking the skin off. A elongated gold earring caught his eye in the midst of the chaos that was this other man, he seemed to be someone of note.

Valinta, calmly stepped over the white salt circle and slapped the man, hard. The crack echoed like something in a bad romance opera and a pink handprint rose on the blonde's face, his green eyes wide, his mouth an "o" in surprise.

"You slapped me." he exclaimed.

"Is that what it's called?" Valinta widened his eyes in mock suprise, “Who are you and why are you down here anyhow?”

"I...you see...er..." Belarus suddenly became intrigued by his hands, “My name is Belarus and I'm a florist.” He said the word “florist” like it was the bane of his existence and Valinta raised an eyebrow. If this man was a florist then Valinta still had things like fame, wealth and friends.

“Your earring, thats a House Travas sigal. You're a minor Lordling...who is creeping about down here-”

“You're down here too.” Belarus pointed out.

“Hey, I earned the right to be down here. You're just...worshipping rocks apparently.” He trailed off as he studied the salt cast on the floor and the carefully laid diagrams. The spicy bouquet still hung in the air and he felt that familiar twinge in his nose because of it. Pinching it with care, he toed the salt on the floor in thought,

“This is...ancient stuff, Belarus, this is the mark of the Old Ones.” He sniffed, his nose twitching like it agreed with his finding. Everyone knew you did not mess with things that involved the Old Ones, mythical beings that were said to have created all magic from the core of the planet, though that was also something of a wive's tale. Still, it was a hard price to pay if you were caught trying to connect that deeply. Valinta sniffled again, feeling the sneeze close at hand as it prepared to assault his nose entirely.

"Please...don't tell anyone." Belarua mewled, bowing his head in a beseechment, "I know it's against the Law and the Law is-"

"Confound the Lah-hihhh..." Valinta's eyes were at half mast, his speech interrupted by his dire need. Belarus flinched as the raven hair anti-noble cupped a hand to his face and sneezed,

"Ah'TSHcHUH!" it was deep and bent him forward slightly, "The Law irritates me as much as this damned scent." he muttered.

"Oh, bless you." Belarus tried not to blush.

"Look," he whirled on one heel, "I'll cut you a deal. Take me home with you and I won't tell a soul."

"Home? With me?" Belarus pointed a finger at himself rather incredulously. Valinta's eyes gleamed in the candle light, "I'm a social paraiah, I have no where to go and they took my house when they annexed me.”

"I..." he considered, rubbing his robed arms as if a sudden chill whipped through him. His eyes caught on Valinta's face, the muscles slack as a finger rubbed under his nose and he felt a small tinge of excitement. How long had he admired the man from afar, heard his laughter and watched him dance for the Court? A drop of wet slowly rolled down the magi's defined jaw and dripped onto his ruined tunic as his breath hitched anew, seemingly catching in his chest and cycling up to his sinuses where it itched down into his nose. At least this is what his fetish riddled mind conjured up.

Amazing, watching him prepare to sneeze, Belarus almost felt giddy as Valinta looked into his eyes, the hazy look still about him but in a muted fashion,

"Well?" he intoned.

"Yes, you can come home with me. " he bent to gather up his things and added, "For the night." he bit his lip, hearing Valinta snuffle,

"Muh-many thihuhh.." his nose twitched once and twice as he held up a hand for a pause and sneezed openly away from Balerus, "Hehatschoo! Hetchssshuh!"

"Bless you..." the man managed and Valinta pinched his nose deftly, "Ugh, no more damned incense." he snarled.

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