Jauren was in a horrible mood-- even worse than horrible, if that was possible. It was the kind of mood that made a target out of anything he set his eyes upon. He was the epitome of sulk and discontent, and the only cure was a simple mix of ingredients that he, for unknown reasons, was having an impossible time getting his hands on.

Fortunately for… everyone… Jauren was at home, keeping his ire contained. He sat silently with his chin resting on his table, arms crossed low in his lap. He looked childish and it was about how he was acting, too. He stared blankly ahead as he cycled through the various options in his head. He could substitute the ebon pigment with sapphire, and find a darkening agent to add. Or perhaps he could use a different plant altogether, though he knew his chances of finding anything useful were low. If he made a trip South, maybe--

“Fuck!” Jauren slammed a fist against the table abruptly and sitting up a bit. Of course, the outburst did not go unnoticed, and within moments Eliat’s head popped from behind a doorway. “Uh… something wrong…?” She eyed him intently for just a moment before disappearing again. “Nothing…” Jauren muttered, knowing she’d still be listening.

“Stop lying, what’s going on?” her muffled voice called out. Jauren glowered at the doorway, ignoring the fact that she couldn’t see him. He continued to mutter to himself and rested his chin back on the edge of the table, his voice rising only when swearing. Eliat reappeared once more and moved coolly over to him, hesitating only a moment before taking a seat.

Feeling her eyes on him, Jauren did his absolutely best to ignore it. She was persistent, which pissed him off even further. “WHAT?” he demanded harshly.

She raised an eyebrow before furrowing them. She lowered her head to his eye level, waiting. He raised an eyebrow of his own, turning his head slightly to meet her gaze. He resisted the urge to wince and looked away instead.

Eliat smirked at her small victory. “So, come on. Since when do you keep secrets from me?” He started to mutter again but stopped himself. He shook his head slowly, “It’s…” He paused, color creeping up the back of his neck. “… my hair.” Having finally said it aloud, Jauren lost a lot of the steam behind his anger. It changed quickly to dismay, leading him to slump back against his chair.

He closed his eyes as she leaned to get a closer look. She inspected his hair intently, drawing out the process longer than they both knew was necessary. A coy smile played upon her lips. “Ah, I don’t know how I managed to not notice it.”

Apparently he had hoped she wouldn’t be able notice anything at all. He should know better. He silently chided himself with a long sigh. He was slightly reassured at the fact that most people wouldn’t be as observant as Eliat, and he still had some time to make things right. He was busy thinking about it when he felt the jab against the side of his head. He turned to see Eliat grinning at him, her attempt at stoicism finally broken by the sheer absurdity of the situation.

“You never told me you were--“

“Shut the hell up.”

“You didn’t let me finish~” Her grin widened.

“You don’t have to, just shut up.”

“I bet it looks great, man. You should let it grow--”

He stood abruptly, cutting her off. “AUGH, fuck off!” He grabbed his cloak from the chair and slammed the front door behind him as he left in disgust. Perhaps there was still an auctioneer hanging around the bazaar, and he could find one of the elusive ingredients to his (in his mind, desperately-needed) hair dye.

Eliat was left sitting in the middle of the room, confused and doubled over in ridiculous laughter.

Jauren's head hung low as he meandered down the street, noting how quickly it was clearing with the advancing evening. He would have preferred to get lost in the crowds, but walking alone suited his mood better anyhow. His walking slowed over time, though he hadn't realized it-- his thoughts put him a hundred miles away. It was something he'd never allow if he hadn't been so out-of-sorts at the moment. He had even left the house unarmed and still hadn't noticed that. small. fact.

It didn't help that he couldn't see for shit in the fading light, causing him to give up quicker rather than put forth extra effort in noticing... anything. He was comforted by the dying light, however. All the better to hide his hair-- he still didn't know why it bothered him so much. It shouldn't. It's not like he didn't have light hair for the first good chunk of his life, he should be somewhat used to it. The very thought cause him to scowl.

He turned a corner and stopped short, somewhat miraculously. He was still looking downward, though his pair of boots were now mirrored. He slowly traced them upward, finally matching the glare of the fellow that had appeared, purposefully it now seemed, before him. Jauren steeled himself and pushed everything from his mind, giving the man an easy smile and an "Evening, sir."

The man did not return the smile and instead his eyes hardened. Jauren tried his best to figure out where he'd seen him before, and quickly. The man was shorter than Jauren, though not by much at all. His light hair was pulled back, and the beginnings of a unkempt beard suggested he hadn't seen a proper inn in a few nights. Not a clean-cut sort, but certainly not the type to be trying to mug him. Either would have been easier to deal with, Jauren thought grimly.

"Follow me, would you," the man said quietly and without question. His expression never softened, though Jauren caught the man's quick glance over each of their shoulders. It was obvious to Jauren now that this guy had friends. He swore under his breath-- at himself for being so damn careless and at this man for interrupting his stroll.

"Right, of course," Jauren replied with resignation. He knew the man would have at least a knife on hand along with whatever firepower his buddies might be aiming his way. It was stupid and pointless to resist, and Jauren fell into step behind his new acquaintence.

"Where we going then, Mr...?" Jauren asked expectantly.

The man never stoped moving, giving a stern reply over his shoulder. "Neither is for you to know, Dhyana."

Jauren winced. No, this wasn't good at all. He ran the various scenarios through his head while also thinking on what outstanding warrants or bounties he may have. Nothing was coming to mind, least of all an escape plan. He slumped a bit as he followed, his hair falling into his face as an additional annoyance.

"Alright, here is fine. Against the wall, hotshot." The man nodded toward his right while moving to the opposite side of the empty lot. It wasn't one Jauren was too familiar with, though he had his bearings well enough. If he could somehow give these guys the slip he was sure he could lose them in this slummy part of town.

While he glanced around at possible exit routes, the man's two friends finally appeared. They hung back a good ways, out of earshot but near enough to respond to trouble if things got out of hand. Except for Jauren himself, none of them considered it much of a possibility. Deciding to play along for the time being, Jauren gave the man another friendly smile. "And what, may I ask, is the occassion for this pleasant visit?"

The man was unfaltering, giving Jauren a critical once-over with his dark eyes. He looked tired, Jauren decided with rising spirits, and his buddies were turned and distracted in conversation. Jauren waited patiently for an opportunity.

"Well, pal, seems you've pissed off the wrong people. Nothing new, I assume?" The man waited for affirmation before continuing, and Jauren obliged. "Except, this time you have to deal with -me.- I can't say I am unhappy, I've wanted the chance for a good while."

Jauren listened with feigned solemnity, nodding at certain points. He gave their guards another glance, noticing that both seemed distracted by something out of Jauren's line of sight. He did his best to avoid looking that direction again, lest he alert the man standing before him. "Ah, good fortune smiles upon you tonight, then! And, yet, I still do not get the pleasure of knowing who is about to kill me?" Jauren sighed wistfully.

The man considered for a moment before conceeding the point. "Ambermark--"

"Hanton? The captain?" Jauren cut him off and let out a low whistle.


"Voluntary change of profession, or does the city openly train assassins, now?" Jauren noticed the man's growing annoyance with satisfaction.

"Look, while I'm enjoying this chit-chat, I've better things to do--"

Jauren cut him off once more, smiling as Hanton flushed in anger. "So why even indulge me? You could have cut me there in the street and been done with it, yet you shuffled me here. This is personal, eh?" Jauren ventured a guess.

Hanton paused briefly. "Yes."

"You going to tell me why?" Jauren prodded.


Both heard the solid thud of noise from behind Hanton, who turned on his heel to face it. Jauren was having a hell of a time seeing anything now that it was just about dark, though he could just make out the small figure at the far side of the alley. Jauren quickly took a look around, noticing the two guards has vanished-- or perhaps they were just enshadowed? He couldn't tell and it made him uneasy. By the time he turned again to face the pair before him, Hanton was crumpled on the ground. Jauren stood his ground, refusing to allow his complete surprise to show.

A voice cut through the silent darkness, "Honestly, it would look good." The figure stepped over Hanton's corpse with care, coming near enough so Jauren may finally know who to thank. He cringed yet immediately gave a soft sigh of relief. Eliat beamed up at him, proud of herself.

"Yeah, well. Hmph." Jauren flushed at both his complete lack of eloquence and the rush of remaining adrenaline. Eliat knelt down to clean her daggers on Hanton's shirt, still wearing an idiot's grin.

Jauren wanted to be upset about the entire ordeal. He had every right to be! It was not a good day for him and he was ready for it to be over. He certainly needed to sleep off whatever was making him this... stupid. He closed his eyes for a moment and opened them to find Eliat's face about a half-foot from his own. She was on her toes, balancing expertly. "Hey- wake up, blondie. We should probably go, yeah?"

Jauren scowled and brushed past her, this time paying complete attention to his surroundings on the way home... mostly. At least Eliat was trailing him, still, for reasons he'd never begin to guess.

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