Under the Surface

Title: Under the Surface
Time Period: January 5, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

  • Dina Ross
  • Greets-the-Sun (mouse and lapwing)
  • … a mystery.

Summary: Behind the scenes something bad seizes the day and Dina Ross with it.

It's quiet around Ross Manor.

Fifteen minutes beyond the flurry of activity that accompanied the last of those off to put an emphatic end to Cordelia's captivity, a great many rooms have been left to stand empty. Personal guards have trooped out after their marks. Dogs bound after their masters.

And upstairs, not far at all from the master bedroom, a curtain stirs slack in the chill breeze let in through an open window. The setting sun draws long, dusty shadows between bands of gold and orange. A floorboard creaks.

Dina is walking the halls, a mouse clinging to her skirt and making his way up it, little claws digging in to flip around and grab hold as Dina wriggles a hand near him to help him up from wherever it was that he'd been hiding, nervously playing with the familiar. She's waiting, for the return of her granddaughter but not downstairs.

Downstairs is too public, and not comfortable enough for the older woman. Can't show her worry and fear where others might see. She prefers the closer quarters of the upper floors, where the furnishings and decor are a little less updated, a little more worn and more loved. You'll not find paint chip downstairs where just anyone can see. but up here, in the hall as she walks towards the master bedroom, intending to fetch a wrap.

oil lamp in one hand, she glances down to greets the sun after he flips himself in her sleeve, starting to scurry around in the generous opening of the blouse. "Are you quite content?" Rhetorical question. She knows if he is or not. There's a pause at the, glance to either end of the hall before moving to set down the lamp on the sill. Pictures of family stiffly posed and cherished look down on her from the walls.

Within the drawing room, or library, or study, beyond the open window and the shifting curtain, a figure pauses mid-reach for an open volume on a cluttered desk. He is tall and darkly dressed and moments later, he is the cause of a thump and rattle in the hall at Dina's back.

A guard writhes in his wrap from behind, nose and mouth clapped over by a black gloved hand, sidearm turned down off his belt and onto the floor before right hand can join across the left at the young man's brow. His shouting is densely muffled, but there's no mistaking its shrill climb towards a scream until he's out of breath to be noisome with and is restricted to a carpish struggle.

All the while the figure at his back watches Dina, balaclava cut just so. Awaiting her prompt. Or protest.

Dina freezes of course, hand resting on the windowsill, face turned towards the intruder with a fairly neutral expression that quickly turns disapproving with the lessening struggles of one of the remaining guards.

"It seems that I am not the only one who has thought to come up here" An verbal observation that has her dipping a hand into her sleeve to procure her familiar, set him down safe on the windowsill.

"Please, if you would. Release him. I'll not scream" Palms lifted, facing toward him, placating. Attempting to be so. "They'll be back soon. En mass. Tonight is not the night to be fishing for what it is that you've been looking for. You are fishing for something. I can feel it" No steps forward yet, just a hope that the poor guard will be dropped to the ground with his life at least.

She might have been more specific. Bare hands grasping at the intruder's gloves give way with a wet crack at the column of his neck. His lifeless body is then, as requested, released at an arrogant sweep that keeps his rag doll slither to the floor quiet.

A rustle. A bump, where skull lolls to rug.

He's listening, though, distance politely maintained on his end where it's maintained on hers.
It pains her, deep in the pit of her stomach to watch him land. Already trying to run in her head how to explain to the young man's family that he's dead. Adler won't do it. Did he have a wife? Children? Was there a young thing in the town who fancied him?

Her hands drop to her sides, thumb and forefinger rubbing even as Greets the Sun scurries to behind the lap to watch, mouse eyes glinting in the shadows of the hall and the dying light outside.

"Will you tell me what it is that you are looking for? If I know, I can tell you whether it is for naught or direct you as to where" If she considers it worthwhile to loose.

A slow breath to unwind may double as a sigh, however unnatural the context. He steps over the corpse he's made, still warm, and approaches without answering. Tall, eyes washed greenish gold by the lamplight otherwise unremarkable, he notes the presence of Greets-the-Sun with a glance before he sizes up Dina properly, at close range.

Fortunately, he doesn't lift a hand to strike her. Unfortunately, as he reaches into his pocket instead, the way he's measuring her closely resembles the way people look at large cardboard boxes they intend to push into cramped closets.


Unspoken command that is more emotional than actually verbal to her small familiar, even as the mouse scurries to launch itself off the windowsill and into the air, transform into the bird so often seen on her shoulder in public or nearby. Yellow feathers with a high offset crest of greens, black, sharp little claws and beak of a Lapwing. Dina's moving then too, taking what few moments that she dares, to look for bare skin, anywhere to touch and get a hold of her intruder.

She settles on his face, the openings of the mask. Damned if she won't attempt to leave a vegetable in the wake of whatever it is he's deciding to do. Even if it means trying to deliver a swift kick to the groin - all the better for the individual to double over and slide her fingers in to the open parts of the mask.

They always go for the groin. The bird flapping at him makes it harder to remember that he's being assailed by an elder woman, too. So it hurts a bit when he catches her leg in the act and wrenches it higher than it's meant to go, second thought slower than instinct in saving her a strained tendon or two.

Contact more intimate than that is her decision, but it doesn't matter. From the moment he's latched onto her, she can sense that something isn't right. There's a nothingness that's reflected smooth and cold in the press of her fingertips to the skin beneath his mask: a vacuum. Nothing to manipulate and nothing to manipulate with, as the magic in her wanes to naught and Greets-the-Sun greys about the tips of his little feathers. Suddenly weak. Feeble.

It's a terrible feeling. Especially once she realizes that he's turning her in his arms, left hand smothered hot across her mouth in a mirror of his earlier assault.

Screams would go unheard, muffled by whatever it is that this person is. What this person can do. Dina's eye's widen and with what little time she thinks she can possibly spare, it's a burst of emotional alarm sent to the bird. Run. Flee, get away, find help. Not that Greets The Sun will get very far as wings flutter enough to get him to the ground.

No magics will be used on him and so she turns to her last ditch attempts even as pain flares in her hip from his defense and grasp. Maintained nails, not short, nor horribly long try to dig in and find purchase in skin, eyelids, any feature. he's going to snap her neck, smother her to death. At least she'll leave marks for him to be told by, if she can't turn him into a turnip.

Face turned up to facilitate a hard roll of his eyes, the man at her back succeeds in fishing a damp rag from his pocket to press over the first gasping breath she's able to take. Her claws catch at his neck between collar and mask, light scratches scrubbed lighter when the strength in her arms gives and the hallway around her fades all to grey.