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Anka didn't make a habit of staying in one place for too long for two reasons. People didn't pay as much for repeat performances, and people certainly didn't like heretics. Not that she was one, but it was difficult to persuade witnesses that she wasn't once they saw her strange fits. It used to upset her; being driven from towns by superstitious guardsmen or priests from the Church of the Preservation of Sanctity. After being nomadic for a few months, Anka reminded herself that their hatred towards her wasn't personal. 

She'd only been in the quaint village of Silverglen for one day, but already she had drawn a small crowd outside the tavern with her passionate dancing. For a town that was known for its forges and excellent weapon-smiths, Anka was surprised they were so into the arts, especially with it being only ten leagues south-west of Ostia. She was fortunate enough that a patron with a lute had strung up a tune for her to shimmy and sway to: that always bolstered her earnings once she'd finished her displays. Anka wasn't really one for showcasing her... 'lady assets' during her performances. Her dances were more graceful, with pirouettes and moves of dexterity and swiftness. Despite this, the crowd were cheerful enough. The night was beginning to settle in, and several of the viewers lit torches, creating a halo of brightness around the human circle that surrounded Anka. 

Everything was going well- at this rate she'd have enough money for some new dancing shoes soon, and more than enough to get a room in the tavern tonight so she could rest her weary feet... After her last move, the player ceased his music and Anka snapped her legs together.

"Thank you so very much, everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed the- uuuurgh..." Anka stumbled forwards, falling to her knees and catching the ground with her fists.

No... Not now... I can't hold it! 
A few months back, Ingrid would never have so much as glanced at this performance.

She'd certainly seen dancers before, of course; her parents had been quite fond of the arts, including music and dancing, and she'd watched performers with them many times. Yet as a child she'd found such things boring, and would much rather be riding or painting or studying magic, activities that involved doing instead of watching. And even when she acquiesced and watched such performances, it had been court minstrels and stage dancers and the like, never young women in front of seedy taverns in dumpy towns. She'd been a member of the Etrurian elite, after all, and it would be unbecoming to mingle with commoners in such a manner.

But that was before.

In her new life, she'd gained an appreciation for any form of entertainment. Life on the road was hard and often dull, and dealing with the sick and injured stressful and sad. Watching this dancer's graceful, fluid motions was calming in a way Ingrid couldn't put her finger on. Standing near the center of the crowd, she joined the villagers in cheering her on.

Right until the dancer's sudden collapse.

She swiftly pushed past the crowd and knelt beside the girl. One hand on the staff at her hip, she spoke with gentle concern "Miss, are you hurt? What's wrong?"
One could say that it was a rare sight to see a street dancer nowadays, and that explained why Lantis was around that area watching the performance from atop of a building nearby.

It had been quite a while that this man in black traversed across Lycia in order to gather information. Aside from visiting those clan members, he also did some spy work to see what this country was up to at the moment. Skirmishes occurred from time to time but it seemed he was holding well enough not to bet a wanted man yet. It was just recent that he saw that it was a good time to head north for Ostia. That was how he ended up in this neighborhood town for some preparation.

However, just about when the skilled dancer was curtaining her successful performance, she fell to the ground. His eyebrow raised in surprise as he sat up to see what was happening. While the crowd was in panic and started making a wuss, another lady rushed to the fallen dancer. The spectator stayed in the same position while looking around the area in case.
Ambrose had not meant to stumble across Silverglen, so consumed with searching for those willing to rebel against the Church of the Preservation of Sanctity and the Lycian Emperor as he was, and he hadn't known such a large town had been in his path. Since he saw several smithies, and it was terribly likely that one of those smiths was a bladesmithing specialist, he asked around, and got his sword looked at. The smith was a woman, and in her professional opinion, his sword was in remarkably good shape, though there was some edge damage that she could grind out. He paid her for it, and when it was done an hour later, he thanked her for it. He couldn't see any difference in the blade's cruciform shape, but he wasn't a smith.

He had rented a room at one of the inns here, and there stabled his horse. He was about to return to his room, but his eyes caught on two things. First, a woman performing a dance, and second, some black-cloaked ruffian lout standing upon a roof, watching her. He kept the rooftop man in his peripherals, and decided to watch the dancer. He was surprised at the passion this apparent nomad put into her dances, and sincerely applauded at the closure of her performance, not unlike most of the crowd.

She then fell to her hands and knees, and everyone went all aflutter about it. The mercenary looked to the rooftop the man had been standing on. He looked as if he was looking around, not exactly confused, but not unalarmed. He called out, "Hey! You, there on the roof! Get off the thatch before you ruin it you lout!" His call drew attention to the man on the roof, and other people started calling for him to get down. A fair portion of the audience, in fact. Tight-knit communities, like this one, didn't like their things being damaged, Ambrose knew. What a pretentious bastard, watching from the roof. Looking down on all of us, standing apart, aloof. I hope I wasn't ever that dumb.

The mercenary returned his attentions to the fallen girl.
She could already hear the confusion around her; the air tinged with worried mutterings as she tried to fight the shivers- all in vain. She was dimly aware of someone by her side: a woman with a gentle voice, whilst there seemed to be a furor about somebody damaging property. Anka's tongue started tingling and her jaw spasmed before she thrust her head up from the ground, her mouth agape and her eyes wide and wild. A grey glaze settled over her vision, and she lost control of her body. With a deep sigh, the words came tumbling out. She turned to the woman as her first words were uttered.

"I can hear your blood- it's singing to me. All full of fire and fairy dust." Anka muttered with a melody in her throat. She casually ran her fingers along the woman's arm before giggling and returning to her feet. Anka spread her arms wide as she waltzed towards the spectators.

"Everyone's got loud feet, it's like drums made from pig's skin, hahaha... But no, we woke the little earthworms and they're cranky... They want me to put them to sleep." Anka shut her eyes and ran her hands across her face, before moaning and tilting her head to one side. "Does anyone know any lullabies for the wiggly worms?" Everyone in the crowd just looked on, backing away slowly from the dancer's erratic motions.

"Someone's going down there... Ahh!" Anka jumped forwards, seizing the hand of a young man with long blonde hair and fairly fancy clothing.

"Hey... That's the mayor's son, what's she playin' at?" A man from the crowd shouted.

"You're gonna meet them... I can see 'em crawling between your fingers. We're all gonna sing lullabies for you, pretty Peter. But you won't be able to hear us." Anka gazed into the man's eyes, her own gleaming with mirth and excitement.

"H-how did you know my name? What sort of madness are you blabbering about?" He shouted, yanking his hand away from hers and making towards the safety of the crowd.

Anka inhaled sharply, her eyes returning to normal. It was always bizarre returning from a fit- she remembered everything, but it felt like she'd been watching somebody else controlling her body. Everyone's eyes were burning into her, and her cheeks flared rosy as a result.

"Go home, Peter. We'll deal with this." A gruff voice commanded from behind the crowd. Moments later, two soldiers emerged, unarmed but clearly meaning business.

"My apologies... I just became a little faint. I meant no harm, really!" Anka said, backing away from the soldiers. She'd used this excuse before, and it sometimes worked.

"Sorry Miss, you can't go touching the mayor's son and spouting your mouth off like that. You're coming with us."
Fred was stunned.

An oracle.

A travelling oracle.


She just predicted the young man's death. Unfortunate that it happened to be the mayor's son.

When she came to, she made excuses. That told Ambrose a lot about her visions. First, they were out of her control. Second, she could tell when she had them. Third, her gift was never very well received. So, when the guards approached her, with the intent to carry her off, for something that clearly wasn't her fault, the mercenary stepped through the crowd.

"I'm afraid not, gents," his voice rumbled, his brow downturned. He approached the girl and put his arm around her, giving her a look that hopefully told her, 'play along.' His tone took on a piteous note as he continued, as if in sorrowful explanation, "I beg your forbearance, but... well, I've been trying to get this girl to an asylum in Ostia. From what I'm told, only they can make her... normal again. Completely, I mean. She's normal most times, but then she has these mad fits every so often and it scares her, scares us, scares all of you. My brother entrusted me with the task of getting her healed. Please, don't make this burden more difficult to bear."

The lies were eloquent, the mercenary thought. He only hoped they would work.
As the dancer raised her eyes to look at her, a chill ran up Ingrid's spine. Something was off with her gaze; she couldn't point to what, but it was unsettling regardless. Her words were cryptic, almost insensible, spoken almost as if in song. She felt a soft touch roll down her arm; she didn't look, transfixed as she was by the woman's odd stare, but she knew it was her. Before she could even pull away from her touch, the woman rose and addressed her former audience, still speaking in that same singsong tone. Her words remained mystical and strange... at least until she grabbed a young man from the disturbed crowd.

What... what is she doing?

When she spoke to him, she maintained her lyrical tone and riddlelike speech, but her meaning was far more clear. What she said... it didn't sound like a death threat, but Ingrid didn't know what else to call it. She rose at that point, intending to pull her away from the man.

In that moment, like a torch doused in water, whatever had taken the dancer to act this way went out. 

Within seconds of her bizarre fit ending, the crowd's distress had turned to anger. Two men approached, intent on taking her away. She offered a flustered apology, as if she'd merely spilled a drink on someone. Another man came out from the crowd, to the dancer's defense. He claimed to be her brother, that the girl was mad, that he was taking her to Ostia. All well told, truthfully, but Ingrid wasn't sure she believed him. At the very least, what the dancer had done was no mere fit of madness. She didn't know what to call it, but what Ingrid had seen was something more than mundane.

She did not intervene on the woman's behalf. The man who'd stepped forth may be a good liar, but she herself was not. She merely observed from where she stood, waiting to see if the soldier's bought the line.
Two guards, who were heading to the girl, were spotted by Lantis. They were quick to take action, as expected from a Lycian religious town. However, to Lantis's surprise, someone from the crowd called up to him to get down from the roof. Although he kind of understood where that came from, but what amused him was the fact that they were in that situation. He only responded by a brief waving and excused himself quietly when attention of most was directed to the original commotion.

The dancer's reading was still lingering, Lantis repeated what she blabbered about the mayor's son with wonder whether it was going to turn true. The only way to prove that was to go after Peter. The 'them' that was said could be a hint of the fact that the possible culprit was most likely a group of men, if not something else, that had a manner of...crawling. Isn't that disgusting? The man in cloak pondered as he stalked the mayor's son, while still looking back to see people in the spotlight.

In addition to the lady who first tended to her collapse, now she had a man who showed up in order to assist her. As their eyes already met once, Lantis remembered it as the same person who shouted at him earlier, and he was not the girl's brother for sure. At least it was good to know her life was not that much of a tragedy.
Anka was very used to her post-fit scenarios escalating quickly. Adrenaline was already pumping through her legs, her body urging her to flee as she normally did. The only difference this time, was that a man had approached and clasped an arm around her. He glanced at her, his eye twinkling slightly before he began spinning a well-fabricated lie to the disgruntled guards. It was all Anka could do to contain an incredulous exclamation as this man basically put himself in harm's way for her. When he'd finished talking, the guards leered at her which forced her to nod slowly in agreement.

"Y-you make sure she don't go near the mayor's son, or you're both gone. Understood?" The smaller and younger of the two guards said, clearly not expecting to meet any resistance. With a frantic nod from Anka and a tut from the older guard, both men turned and left, the crowd parting for them as they returned to their post at the village gates. The wall of people didn't re-solidify, instead dispersing into the early evening gloom, back into their huts and the tavern respectively. Anka supposed she wouldn't be staying there now, especially as nobody had tipped her for her performance. Most of the time, she despised her fits.

"Thank you... That was needlessly kind of you, sir." Anka retreated from the man's arm, brushing down her dress in a spray of dust. "I am Anka, a travelling dancer from Thria." For a moment, her gaze drifted to the other end of the village, where Peter had disappeared. She recalled her vision, although in her mind's eye the visual of her foresight was always fragmented. She was certain of one thing, however: Peter was going to die, and soon. Even though they were bizarre, her predictions were never wrong.

At that time she noticed the lady that had first emerged to assist her. She'd been perfectly friendly before her fit, but she wondered how this woman would feel about her now. Anka recalled touching her arm... And there was something veiled about her: she'd felt it. With Peter's fate being more pressing, she returned to looking at the walkway that led further into the village.

"Pardon my crazy speech... But I think that young man is in danger. I know I can't prove it, but I think I have to try and do something about it." She knew she was forsaking the man's sacrifice for her, but Anka couldn't walk away from this. She glared at him, awaiting his reaction.
"I am Ambrose, though I prefer going by just Fred," the mercenary stated, bowing to her before straightening his posture. "I'm a traveling mercenary from Bern, though I'm intending to be more than just a mercenary during my tenure here in Lycia. I stumbled across this town by accident, but I am thankful I could have met an oracle of any kind. I will accompany you in this endeavor, if my presence would not disturb you." His own stare matched her glare, though his eyebrows were not bunched and he was almost smiling.
The word "oracle" stood out to Ingrid as she listened to the pair. She'd heard of the concept, of course, having read of such things in her studies. But most learned mages considered that sort of magic dubious at best, and even as she heard the dancer speak of the boy's death, the idea hadn't occurred to her. Yet the mercenary said it so casually, as if he was certain he was right.

She thought for a moment. If the man was right about that... the woman's words to Ingrid were far more disquieting, the prediction of a man's death even more so. Even so, it made everything about the woman's fit make a lot more sense. She had to know.

She stepped forward and spoke "Wait... oracle... did you predict that man's death just now?"

Anka had never been called that before.

"Oh... I'm not a- it's because... Well, Oracles are wise and powerful! I just have these fits, and sometimes they show me things. I can't properly see the future." Anka started muttering, flustered by the weight of the name that had been thrust upon her. She was sure that her condition was a curse, and if she had the choice, it would have been gone the day it appeared. A lot of the time she saw happenings that she had no power to prevent, often because she'd be chased out of a town before they'd listen to her.

This was the first time people had offered their assistance. Fred had already said he'd stick with her, and he's said it with fair resolution: Anka couldn't help but feel relieved by his offer.

Then there was this woman... Upon inspecting closer, Anka could see that she was pretty and rather well-dressed. Her long hair made Anka yearn for a brush- it'd been a week or so since she'd last tidied herself up- opting to tie her long hair into a loose bun instead.

"There's no other way of saying it... I think I did." Anka offered, wishing she could sound more convincing. "I don't know exactly what's going to happen... I just saw Peter in the ground with everyone garbed in black. It was morning, so maybe he dies at night?" This is the part she hated about reciting her visions- they weren't very rich with information. She didn't know whether it was tonight or the next, but somehow she knew it was coming soon. She was still astounded that someone had actually believed her.

"I felt urgency... So it's going to be soon." Of that she could be sure, at least. "Wait... wasn't there a man on the roof? Where did he go?" Anka asked, glancing around from inside the circle of dwindling torches.
"He got off it, the pretentious lout," Fred announced in reply. "'Sides, I doubt people wanted his boots ruining the thatch on the roof." He set his hands on his hips, deciding to change the subject, "Now, we can sit around here arguing about whether you are or are not an oracle, which you are, or we can go find Peter and try to keep him from dying. Which would you rather do?" The mercenary knew the answer to that one, preparing himself to start walking.
It was the reluctance that reaffirmed to Ingrid that the dancer was legitimate. No one only pretending to see the future would ever be so unhappy with as weighty a title as "oracle". Any supposed fortune teller would be all too happy to accept it, not mutter in disagreement and agitation. Ingrid felt a tinge of guilt for being so direct; she hadn't meant to distress the girl any further. It was clear she wasn't at all comfortable with others labeling her in such a way.

The mercenary's brusqueness was not helping. Ingrid understood that the matter was urgent, but there was no need to be so blunt.

"If you're certain the boy's in danger, I'd be glad to help you save him" she said, reassuringly as she could. "I'm Ingrid, a nomadic healer of sorts. Though... if anyone in town asks, the name's Adeline." She'd already given the false alias to the innkeeper and a couple other townsfolk, but it seemed insensible to lie to an oracle. She didn't know what, if anything, the dancer had actually gleaned about her in her fit.
From the place of accident, Lantis followed the young man Peter in order to confirm if the reading, or whatever one would term what that dancer did, was correct. It was not difficult to find him, as well as to stalk him to his place. It was not as big as to call it a mansion, it was just a house that was bigger than ordinary. There was nothing special about it except the fact that the mayor's son was living there.

The cloaked man actually found that the security around Peter's residence was pretty lousy. If he himself was an assassin, there were already plenty chances to murder this target. No guard at the entrance from the road, no guard in front of the house. He wondered how many they were in the building, it might be a good idea to peek inside.

"Let's wait a bit more..."

Lantis hid himself in a lawn, in a tree which provided him a good shading. He thought back to what was said by the dancer, while wondering how urgent it was for the situation to occur, as well as how absolute that fortunetelling was going to be. It would be exciting to know whether one could bend fate as he wished. If there was no occurrence in a bit, Latis intended to return to see the dancer herself.
"Ingrid... Thank you for believing me." Anka said, flashing her with a grateful smile before turning towards the already-walking Fred. She still found it difficult to comprehend that she was actually going to do something about her vision, instead of the the victim's impending destiny weighting on her mind as she journeyed away. It always felt like she was running away from her foresight, but this time she was gripping the bull by the horns, so to speak.

"I think we should find that suspicious man... He could be linked to Peter's death." Anka uttered, trying not to let her voice carry too far out into the night. She had no idea whether those guards patrolled the village at night, and if they heard her talking about Peter, they'd likely all be thrown out.

The direction in which Peter had left the square led the three of them down a fairly narrow walkway, framed by two buildings which had a line of laundry strung between them, clearly forgotten by their owners. Once the building ended, they were faced with what could only be the Mayor's home: a two-floored establishment with tiled roofs and white walls. The house boasted an impressive garden that surrounded it, complete with trees, bushes and rows of fragrant flowers. A knee-high picket fence surrounded the property, but Anka dismayed at the apparent lack of security. Light poured from the windows, but the house seemed quiet and peaceful.

It was then that Anka spotted a clump of shadows in one of the trees on the outskirts of the garden: her skin prickling with fear. Was that an assassin??

"There!" She whispered to Fred and Ingrid, pointing to the tree. Anka entertained the prospect of the shadows merely being a nest of birds, but it looked too large for that. The fit with her vision seemed too perfect. Even though that person was probably very dangerous, Anka couldn't stop herself from skulking over to the tree, blood pumping in her ears as adrenaline started flowing through her. This could be it- she could prevent Peter's death here and now. Even if it came to blows, Fred looked like he could handle himself in a fight, and Ingrid could care for their wounds afterwards.


Although it was a very light presence, Lantis could feel that someone was closing by. It was from outside of the house, and finally was closing in to the tree where he was. Perhaps, his stealth was seen through and he was set as first target prior to Peter.

He left his weapons where they were easy to unsheath, while luring the hunter a little bit nearer before he would react.


Anka was shocked that the sound of her heart thudding in her ears didn't give her away, for its sound deafened her. She kept low as she was used to, after having to make quick exits from other towns, her delicate dancer's feet making barely a ruffle on the grass as she crept closer to the tree. All she had to do was get to him and draw his attention away from the house- away from Peter. Just as she was below the branch, she heard movement from above and froze.

Down poked the head of the assailant, causing Anka to start. As he began speaking, she felt as though she was fitting again because her body moved on its own. She jumped, clutching his ankle and letting gravity do the rest, yanking him from the branch.

It was all going perfectly, until Anka realized that she was pulling this man straight on top of her. Without her feet touching the ground, the pair fell into a heap on the grass, the man crushing Anka and knocking the air from her lungs. She wanted to get him off of her, but dazed as she was, it was all she could do to cough in an attempt to fill her lungs and clear the stars from her eyes. She could already feel a fat bruise forming on her arm where they'd landed so awkwardly.

Holding his breath, Lantis, who was just trying to greet the dancer once he realized it was her, was dragged down by a girl and somehow ended up in a quite improper position.

"I'd prefer this if we aren't in someone's lawn, milady." While the warmth was nice, he had to excused himself from the top of the lady's body and quickly hid behind the same tree just in case. He turned to the two who were accompanying the dancer, the same man and woman he saw in the town square, and recognized them without looking twice. The only assumption that came to his mind was that they were there for the same reason with him, to confirm the boy's safety. Lantis didn't speak out right away, but instead waited to see their next action first.
Ambrose couldn't stop Anya, but he grew suspicious, nearly alarmed, when he saw the man who'd stood on the roof before get pulled out of the tree. However, his manner upon being discovered, looking at it objectively, seemed to indicate that he was merely watching. But watching for what? Is he watching for the right time to kill him? Or keep him from dying? he wondered, glancing through a window. I'd better keep him in my peripherals. Otherwise there's another risk for the young man. "Anka, let him alone for now, but don't let him out of your sight," Ambrose rasped to the dancer, trying to make sure she heard, but that he wasn't heard by anyone in the house.
Though Ingrid had tried to stop Anka from approaching the shadowy figure - even breathing a quiet "Anka, wait!" as the dancer went - she merely watched as the two tumbled down together into a pile. She winced a bit as the man landed directly on top of Anka, and was almost afraid he was going to hurt her until he picked himself up off the ground. His manner seemed innocent enough, despite the shady circumstances of their meeting. Still, she kept her eyes fixed in his direction even as she spoke to someone else.

"Are you okay there, Anka?" she whispered as low as she could "Need help up?".
Before she knew it, Fred and Ingrid were closing in. The man was fairly quick to remove himself from Anka, though she couldn't quite bring herself to stand as she nursed her mid-section. The shady man's tone of voice and demeanor didn't give him away as much of a killer. She blushed at his words, turning her face to the ground to hide her reddened cheeks.

"Thank you, Ingrid." Anka whispered, accepting her outstretched hand in order to return to her feet. She heeded Fred's words with a distinct nod. "I would at least like to know his name, in case we cross him again. What were you doing up that tree?"

As he answered, the door to the Mayor's house swung open, torchlight filling the yard. Anka froze, unable to take cover like the stealthy man had already had the sense to do.

"You again?!" Peter exclaimed, stepping onto the porch but not leaving the safety of the house. "I thought the guards dealt with you already." He shouted, eyeing Fred and Ingrid with disdain. Before he had the chance to rattle any longer, a taller, plumper and older man emerged behind Peter.

"Now son, let's not wake all the babes in the village." He clasped Peter on the shoulder firmly, cutting off his son's voice. The mayor peeled his eyes to get a better look at Anka amidst the gloom. "I am sure you mean no harm, dancer, but you cannot harass my son like this. I'll turn my head the other way this one time, but if you bother us again, I'll have no choice but to have you removed from Silverglen." He said in a fair tone, turning his son back inside.

"You don't understand, he's in danger!! I saw him... Well, he's not safe right now, and-" Anka spluttered, stepping towards the doorway as the Mayor calmly raised a finger to his lips. With Anka silenced, he motioned with his hand for them to leave before shutting the door, plunging the four into relative darkness once more.

"This can't be the end... There must be more I can do." Anka muttered, pacing gradually away from the property. "This man isn't the threat. Normally when a vision comes to pass, I feel it... shift, like a shiver." Crestfallen, Anka gazed up at the night sky, wondering what she could do next to prevent Peter's death.

"There's no way I can tell what's going to kill him. So, I guess we just have to make him as safe as possible." Anka thought aloud, hoping the others weren't finished in their assistance. With the night becoming ever-more quiet, there wasn't much they could do now. "We should go back to the inn, we should be able to make a plan there."

Protecting someone that didn't want to be protected was going to be difficult.
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