Cenn_icon.gif Kitty_icon.gif

Scene Title There Are Rules
Synopsis Cenn gets lost. He finds a cat.
Location City Warehouses
Date Bloomingtide 24, 9:31
Watch For Hope Squared
Logger Dragony Goodness

Well, at least it wasn't fully night yet. Sunset cast warm light across the high walls of Kirkwall, turning the city to gold and fire. Even good lighting can't help a place like this, though. The Templar wasn't quite sure when or where he had taken a wrong turn. But from trying to get from The Hanged Man back to the Gallows… Well, he'd ended up here. In his armor, sword at his hip, the looks he gets are more than a little confused, or concerned. Cenn sighs, finding an alley that appears to be closed off and empty, Cenn stops to try and orient himself. Ah, the curse of being new to a city.

It's different, wandering in places like this. The Veil is so thin here. This city, this place… even trapped forever out of reach she can almost taste the sunlight as it dies. Even so, most of the shapes moving about the streets below are hazy - dull. They're interesting enough to watch for an hour or so, to pass the time on a slow day - like watching a rat or a rabbit dart around its pen - but for any real length of time they are… lacking. Occasionally, however, one or two come along that shine brighter, sing louder. In all the hours she has explored this place, she has yet to see one light up like a beacon the way this one does. What could she do but follow? And so it is - and so it goes - that there is the shimmer-shadow of a feline form that trails the lost Templar through the seedier, abandoned places, leaping from rooftop to rooftop and watching, always watching. She is careful, but the dead end is just too perfect to pass up. How's the image of a Tevinter tiger walking out of the dead end wall for a 'welcome to Kirkwall'?

Assuming that solid walls are, well, you know, solid, Cenn has his back to the wall. Watching, intently, those that pass by he, perhaps ironically, fails to notice at first the tiger come from the wall. That is, of course, until he feels a familiar 'tap tap tap' upon the inside of his mind. A gentle, polite notion like a touch upon his shoulder. It makes him quirk a brow, searching for Hope's voice to try and figure out what it is that she wants. All he gets in return is a somewhat more shaky 'tap tap tap.' After all, it's not every day a spirit tiger just climbs through a wall behind you, and Hope has always been a little easy to frighten. Confused, Cenn turns around. Turns around and then near jumps out of his skin. A stream of curses come from the Templar near immediately. Perhaps in a moment of not the greatest self preservation instinct, however, he does not reach for a blade, does not run. No, instead, he's searching for where the hell the beast came from.

There is something inside the Templar flinging himself into the air and searching comically for her point of origin that calls to her. He is familiar, but he is not. She has never seen him before - the others forget, but she does not. Not anymore. It is not quite the form that is familiar, then, but the substance? Perhaps it is both. "You will be here all night trying to see that way," she remarks casually, as though commenting simply on someone attempting to stare at the sun. She sits, then, tail wrapping around her side to lay daintily over her paws. "And that seems a dull way to spend the time, don't you think?"

As if a suddenly appearing tiger weren't bad enough, it /talks./ Cenn goes wide eyed a moment, and then blinks. "Wait…" He says, and then laughs. He's seen a shape shifting mage before. Shaking his head, he takes a deep breath. "Look, miss, I know you're likely not keen on my being here, but I don't intend you any harm if you're not causing anyone trouble." He says, putting up his hands in a sort of truce-requesting gesture.

As if the uncomfortable familiarity isn't bad enough, the mortal man has to go and say a thing like that while standing in a pose like this dressed just exactly like -

Like who? It's there on the tip of her tongue but no matter how hard she tries the idea won't come unstuck. What she does know is that it makes her ache in a way she's fairly certain she isn't supposed to ache. There are words in him that are familiar, too, and a light that feels like a key she's forgotten the lock to. It's deeply upsetting. "It…" She hesitates, the words she borrows coming suddenly easier than they were a moment ago - easier even than borrowing from Taril, which is disorienting. "It isn't me you need to worry about." Violet eyes blink once and become blue and green; blink twice and become stormcloud grey; blink thrice and return to their original hue - all while her voice grows a little deeper, the Ferelden in it a little thicker. "I…" She shakes her head and frowns (as much as a tiger can frown) and looks at him almost accusingly, voice once more light and almost sweet. "You are incredibly uncomfortable."

Well, that's certainly confusing. Blinking again, Cenn cants his head, drops his hands. And there's this pawing feeling from inside his mind that he can't ignore. The Templar heaves a heavy sigh. This is /precisely/ the kind of bullshit that would crop up around him, all right. He really ought not to be surprised. "Am I?" He asks, not really even expecting an answer. "And if not you, then who should I be worrying about?" More pawing inside his mind, and Cenn shakes his head. There's a like to like pull he can't really place, doesn't even think about really, as he takes a step toward the tiger.

"Yes," she replies, in a voice that is eerily familiar - and comes complete with ridiculous red hair and hands on hips and a mouth trying very hard not to smile, "you are." Like it's somehow his fault. And when he steps forward she leans in and bumps her great big head against his hip. It's not like she's entirely incorporeal, but more like she'd done it with a thick blanket on her head - padding that blurs the shapes and textures one would otherwise feel with contact. It's a weirdly affectionate gesture, but that only seems to occur to her after she's already gone and done it. She freezes for a moment and then pulls back with ears laid flat against her head and shoulders a little slumped; the picture of embarrassed self-deprecation. "Sorry. Sometimes I borrow more than I mean to, when particular words are heavier than others." It's not untrue… it doesn't explain all of the weirdness, but it isn't untrue and it's better than admitting that she doesn't know what is going on. Exactly. "You're… Cenn. I think. Or Hope? No, that isn't right. That's a girl's name. You're not a girl." And then she leans forward again, sniffing at him and squinting just a little. "At least I don't think you're a girl. Either way, I'd be more concerned about the Desire demon three buildings east. She's about to eat a few slavers, so you have time, but all the same."

Somehow, Cenn has no inclination to move away even as she presses her head against his hip. Though, it's likely not a terribly comfortable thing, all that armor… And yet, there's that strangely fluffy, unreal quality and it makes him stop. There's that familiarity, a calling that pulls perhaps more to Hope than to him. But the warmth makes him think of other things, sharper things, people he had that are gone. A person, a singular solitary person and a voice, ringing through his head that has nothing to do with this talking tiger or to Hope. It distracts him enough that Hope's impulse to go out and touch the tiger goes unchecked. It isn't until the tiger says… That's a ridiculous sentence, tigers don't talk. Yet, here he was, talking with a tiger. Who says Hope. Who calls him hope. Sort of. Stopping his hand immediately, outstretched to reach behind a pinned back ear. The hand withdraws. And about his edges there is something that might be a faint, fuzzy glow. The mention of a demon dampens it though, as Cenn himself is pulled back to the waking world and from whatever reverie his mind had fallen down into. Blinking, the Templar stammers a moment. Stammers, but backs away, manages a rushed thank you, and looks as though he's just going to take off to fight a demon on his own.

What is perhaps even stranger than a human's inclination to scritch a tiger behind the ears is the fact that she doesn't shrink back or bare teeth or really anything except let him. But the contact is never quite made and the sudden stammering scrambling results in the heavy sigh of the much put-upon. "Templars." It sounds for all the world like this is a problem she has on a routine basis - or at the very least is painfully familiar with.

With the unfair advantage of not having to actually follow the laws of physics, Kitty can make one single leap and land square in his way. She doesn't look aggressive, but she doesn't look like she's about to move away either. "Stop." It's a firm command in the tone of someone who expects to be obeyed, but after a slight hesitation, she softens it with a slightly awkward, "Please."

Somehow, her order actually makes him pause. Taking a deep breath, Cenn shakes his head. Hope rings in his mind, but he tries to still her, muttering quietly to himself. Too low to be properly understood. "Why?" He asks then to Kitty, turning his gaze fully back to her, and not the thousand yard stare off into the distance he gets when he's speaking to Hope. "And further," He continues, some of his senses returning like slowly turning blocks finding their places, "What are you?" Hope rings in his head again. He knows, if he could, or would, just listen. But he doesn't, his mind rejects it.

That he actually stops is enough to send violet eyes widening in surprise, head reared back and ears gone sort of sideways with her mouth hanging ever so slightly open in a pose that would be comical in other circumstances. "I don't know," she admits honestly, answering the second question first. "I should know, probably, but I don't." But there had been a question before that and even just thinking about it gets her blood boiling. Metaphorically speaking. Maybe. "What I do know is that there is nothing more foul or abhorrent than a trade built on cages and chains." There is a tension that coils in her, slowly changing her posture and stirring a wind around her, one that smells impossibly of deep forests and high seas and mountain air so clean it burns the lungs inhaling it. "I don't know what I am. I don't know who I am, but I will tolerate no collars here. She knows what she is allowed and what she is not. There is no need to endanger yourself senselessly by interfering."

"They may be abhorrent people, but I cannot leave them to the whims of a demon." Cenn says, almost sounding apologetic, and begins to step around her. Or try to, tigers are big creatures. Hope didn't choose who deserved it, and the Hope inside his mind wouldn't allow him to either. "But you can come along if you like…" He offers, perhaps to try and placate the concerns.

Kitty considers this for a moment, head tilted to one side in an uncomfortably human expression of thoughtfulness. The resulting huff says he's won, but that doesn't mean she's graceful about it. She shifts and turns and leads the way, but does so while muttering something about who she pissed off to get cursed with so many fool Templars. It's too quiet to hear in detail, but it's probably a grumbling he's heard at least once or twice before. 'All that duty and honor fries the good sense the Maker gave them' etc.

Oh yes, many times. Enough that he barely hears it anymore, even. Fool man that perhaps he was, he follows the spirit tiger on down the street. Could other people see her? He glances about, looking for anyone's reactions. Maybe he had just gone mad. Maybe his mind had just snapped at Kinloch and he was insane. Maybe he was in a cell somewhere, suffering Lyrium withdrawal. None the less, he's following, off to kill a demon. At least, he thinks he is. Damnit, he shouldn't consider those possibilities too hard.

For the most part, the few people who dare who be in this part of the city this late in the evening don't see her. Probably doesn't do much to help with the questioning of sanity, sorry - but wait! There. An elven woman with twisted scars going up both arms and continuing up her neck and jaw tenses up when she sees their approach. One hand slips closer to her belt, but it falls away with a little flash of a smile when Kitty flicks her with the tip of her tail as she passes by. Cenn gets the evil eye still, but there are no daggers whipping through the air, so it counts as a victory.

The actual warehouse they approach is one of those in better condition than most. It's not any prettier, but it's large and structurally-sound. The Veil is much thinner here, enough so that the tail that flicks back and forth against the Templar's leg feels like a tail - there's a soft sound as the ground actually moves under massive paws. There's a heavy lock mechanism on the door; she sits back on her haunches and stares at it for a minute, however, and it crumbles into so much dust. Reassuring, no? She twists and tilts just enough to be able to look at Cenn over her shoulder. There are no words, but the sentiment is conveyed fairly well all the same.


The elf gets one of Cenn's trademark smiles, despite her glare. He was used to it by this point. People either ran to him for safety, or they hated him for the armor he wore, or… Apparently, this time, for the tiger he follows down the street. At least he isn't crazy, or, at the very least, his delusion is smart enough to convince him otherwise. Maybe the tiger hadn't stopped him at all, he was going after a Desire demon, after all. Nothing to be done for it, though. Looking down as her tail touches him, Hope practically squees a little in his mind. If the situation weren't so serious, she might even just convince him to reach out and pet the tiger properly. Not now, though, he has business to attend to. Giving Kitty a nod, his shield is pulled from his back, sword drawn from his hip. Templars weren't built for stealth, however, and each movement comes along with the shift and clank of metal.

Reaching out, he pushes open the door. Stepping around the tiger, he leads the way in. Always lead with the guy in crazy armor carrying a shield. Unless you've got a trap guy, then always lead with the trap guy. There's an oddly protective stance he takes as he shifts in front of her, as though, perhaps somewhere in the back of his mind, he's relegated to her to the place of a ward.

Kitty lets him take the lead. It will make him feel better and the last thing anyone needs is a jumpy Templar. The scene inside the warehouse isn't pretty by any stretch, but it's one she, at least, is prepared for.

Around the outer walls are pens. Well, what could charitably be described as pens. Large cages filled with blood and shit and corpses is more accurate, but those who run this establishment always referred to them as 'pens'. They seem almost spacious without the teeming masses of helpless people crammed inside of them. There were doors, once. Now there are places where doors used to be, the hinges mangled and deformed as though they had been exposed to some extreme heat. But morbid as all of that is, the most arresting point of action is in the building's center. The loss of this haul would be impossible to recover from; in desperation, those responsible turned to blood magic in search of help against a force they'd never before encountered. Sacrificing one of their own, the demon had been summoned - as they had planned - but the quest for power had led them away from caution. What they called, they could not contain. The mage is the last holdout, fighting for his life with almost comical desperation. The sight of the Templar bursting in on him is, for once, most welcome. There is a half-shout half-laugh in relief, but the smile dies on his face as three slender claw tips emerge through his chest, dripping rivulets down his robes. The owner of said claws is not ignorant of their arrival either, for all that she also doesn't much seem to care.

"It's always sweeter when they think they're safe."

Always the story, really. It was all the same song and dance, every time. Do a thing, get overwhelmed, rather than back out, sacrifice a friend thinking you can handle it, get overwhelmed again, loose demons. Every. Fucking. Time. After Kinloch, the gore doesn't even make Cenn pause. Honestly, it would make his stomach turn later, but he'd been tempered by fire and wasn't about to lose his focus now. A very small smile is offered the mage, an invitation to come to him. He would deal with his poor life choices later. For now, there was a demon. That little glimmer of relief, of hope, it stirs him, and as it is dashed, the Templar growls.

There is no pause for the demon to speak more. He does not even investigate the creature all that closely. Nope, his blood is set to boiling, and Hope twists sadly at the shattered dreams of salvation that she had just witnessed. Blade first, he makes for the first strike upon the beast, knowing better than, or perhaps being foolish enough to not, stop and listen.

It is, perhaps, the same song and dance, but for at least one of them there is something here worth watching. An open-top cart makes for an excellent vantage point. It is there that the tiger seats herself - dainty as you please - to watch.

She is not the only one watchful. With blade and fury being driven fast in her direction, the demon jerks her arm back, letting the body fall as she ducks and spins out of the way. A deep inhalation tells her this one is more vibrant than the others, more succulent, but there were rules. There are rules. And while Cenn and his passenger are temptation enough to make her consider disobedience, she has not broken them yet.

If Cenn notices the fact that he has an audience, he doesn't do anything about it. And whatever those rules are, he's certainly not aware of them. It isn't just him that's angry now either. Hope's sadness turns to anger, and though his focus lets him continue fighting without her influence, to those trained to see such things, there's a vague haze about his edges. As though, if he were to slip, or if he were to need her, Hope wouldn't mind taking control of this situation in the slightest. After all, she was no great fan of demons. For now, though, Cenn keeps control himself, and with a incensed ferocity comes at the demon again and again, taking ground where he can.

And he can certainly take it. The demon is quick to dodge his blows, always retreating but never quite quitting the field. She spins and dives and pulls - something like playing and something like testing. It's exhilarating to watch, thrilling to lead. Once - and only once - she slips, making as though to lunge for him properly, for such a powerful specimen would make a fine host or an even bett-

The single burst of sound that is the tiger's deep and primal roar is enough to bring the demon up short. The aborted motion means she isn't quite ready to miss this attack and his blade slices a line over her hip. It's not pain the way mortals know pain, but still she hisses - at him and then at the tiger now half-crouched on the cart - before flinging herself away and back behind the Veil that should have kept her from this place at all.

Well, if he was going to have an audience, at least it was a helpful audience. As the demon slips back beyond the Veil, Cenn takes a deep breath. Re-sheathes his blade, though his shield remains on his arm, not willing to drop his guard that easily. It is then that the smell of blood and foulness catches up to him, and the Templar coughs slightly. Looking back toward Kitty, he cants his head at her. "She didn't seem to stick around once you spoke up…"

With the immediate issue handled, the great cat settles down again. She even lifts a paw to lick at delicately, and looks like nothing so much as a lady filing her fingernails while pretending not to be paying any notice. "I told you, she knew the rules. You muddled things up a bit, but we all need a reminder, sometimes, of just exactly where the line is." The paw is lowered again and Kitty lifts her head to look Cenn in the eye. (She doesn't miss the continued wariness; there's a reason he's managed to live this long.) "Now, are you quite finished thinking with your chestplate?"

Yes, a healthy dose of paranoia and one really merciful Spirit. Or the grace of the Maker. Whatever you wanted to call it. Even he called it different things depending on the day. "Muddled?" Cenn says, and then sighs, shaking his head. Honestly, really, of course, /of course/ this is how his evening is going. The Templar looks oddly pained a moment, though, something in her words taking him aback. "Yes. I suppose I am."

The pain confuses her - both for its existence and for the fact that she is bothered by it - but there isn't much she can do about it. Leaping from a dead sit the way only cats can, she bumps her head and brushes her side against his shield (in the only slightly-awkward attempt at helping) before jogging toward the door. "Good. I've had quite enough of ceilings for one night." She says it like it's a dirty word. Her body language is easy to read, obviously eager once more to be out in the open, and yet she is oddly reluctant to leave him behind, pausing every few steps to look back and make sure he's still there. "You're not such bad company, for a jailer."

Maybe, just maybe, there had once been a man who used to quip at him like that. Especially when he got overprotective. The memory is brushed away as Kitty comes to brush against his shield. The Templar raises a brow, but moves to follow her. "What's wrong with- Hey…" Cenn says, huffing slightly, "I'm not-" And then he sighs, "Yeah, alright, fair enough. I shouldn't be a jailer, anyway."

"No, you shouldn't be," Kitty agrees primly. "But humans are silly. There is only one inherent evil in this world and so few of you can even see it, let alone do anything about it. But you feel like you should be doing something to justify your existence - nevermind that existence is plenty enough all on its own - so you pick something you're not and decide that it's evil." She heaves a sigh that must be meant to sound overly dramatic. "Now ceilings, on the other hand…" She trails off and shudders, relieved to step out into open air again. "Why are you so far away from the mage prison, anyway?"

Cenn listens, and he doesn't protest. All of it rings true enough. From the time Cenn was young, he had to face the fear of fear, and it had lost much of his luster to him. It didn't have teeth. Now, what he feared was a few shades more depressing. There's a small smirk at her mention of ceilings, but Cenn even lets that go uncommented upon. "Truthfully, I had business in Lowtown, and then I got lost."

"Oh." How one syllable can manage to sound so disappointed is beyond the understanding of mere mortals. But it is all Kitty offers, leading him back into the alley's mouth and down the side-street past the scarred elf (now sharpening one of her knives and still watching Cenn as though waiting for him to lash out) in the direction of the docks. See? Helpful Kitty; anyone can find their way from the docks.

Can they, really? Well, Cenn would certainly need to. He couldn't exactly be seen walking back into the Gallows with a spirit tiger in tow. "Thank you…" He says, "I think?" The strange familiarity lingers, and Hope has relaxed again, sort of buzzing in his mind in her own form of exuberant goodbye.

It's that familiarity that hovers just underneath her skin and makes Kitty want to run and fight and scream and laugh all at the same time. It's going to drive her insane if she stays around it much longer, but even standing on the docks with endless night laborers bustling to and fro without so much as looking in her direction, Kitty has trouble making herself go. "You're welcome." Beat. "I think."

She can't, but after a long moment, and a kind look, Cenn manages to. A parting nod and the Templar makes his way down toward the docks, finally slipping his shield back over his shoulder. It's a slow walk back to the Gallows that he takes, making note of landmarks so he doesn't get lost in the future, and so he can spend a little more time with his thoughts.

Any additional notes fall to the bottom.