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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Some kind of stranger Attn Kiera


Domino
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The woman sat astride the body on the bed, a large curved dagger gripped in both hands and raised above her head. Face expressionless, the dagger flashed down, blood spurted everywhere as the main carotid artery was severed. Domino felt the body spas med beneath her as the organism sort to prolong life. She was agile enough to be able to keep her position and waited for the spasming to subside. The gag in the mouth of her victim prevented any but the smallest sounds escaping, and that was easily explained away as the sounds of passion, that was what had lured him into her clutches after all. Once the hook had been baited, he had been an easy catch. Getting up Domino went over to the wash basin and cleaned away the filth, then turned as something thundered against her door.

 

“Domino?

 

Domino!

 

Get your good for nothing backside out here and help me serve these customers, we do not have time for your daydreaming.”

 

The voice startled the woman. She was leaning against the doorframe, completely obvious to her surroundings and it took a moment for her to comprehend where she was. The voice was unknown to her, at least at this moment, there was a memory of a name, but she could not quite grasp it. Looking up she spotted the owner of the voice, a large man, both in height and girth, with a bull like neck, baldhead and large meaty hands. Taking a deep breath she started to walk over to where he was standing behind the counter, realisation slowly came to her. She worked in an Inn on the outskirts of a large city, but she could not recall the name of the City or the Inn she was currently in.

 

“I am sorry, I do not mean to shirk on my duties, but this is very strange to me, where am I, and what is your name? I take it mine is Domino?”

 

The man shook his head at Domino’s questions, a resigned look appearing on his face. “You are where you have been for the last year, working in my Inn and helping out in the kitchens when needed. We are in a small town a days ride from the river that you were dragged out of, an arrow still embedded in your shoulder, and blood flowing from a wound to your head. When you woke, three days later, you were like you are now, completely confused. Of late these episodes have got worse, it is almost as if some memory is trying to resurface.”

 

Domino did not know what to make of the man’s statement, she did not even know if he was telling her the truth, but looking at her dress and slowly starting to realise where she was, Domino suspected he was telling the truth. “But”, the word sounded like it was dragged from her parched lips, and her tongue darted out to moisten her lips. “Sorry, my mouth was dry, who are you, is what I was going to ask?”

 

Shaking his head, the man reached for her arm and propelled her out of the corridor and into the bar. “My name is Ceven, I own this Inn and live here with my wife and two girls. Chelka is my wife’s name and the girls are Petra and Morwenna. Now get on with your work and no more day dreaming.” With that Ceven left Domino to serve the customers who were standing at the bar while he went and fetched a fresh barrel of ale. That evening was one of the busiest in Domino’s memory, but seeing as she could not even remember the day before, that was not saying a lot, but from listening to Ceven and Chelka speak, Domino gathered that they were pleased with the night’s takings.

 

Once she was finished with her duties, Domino left the Inn and walked to the fountain in the center of the village, it was where many of those who were to young to drink gathered of an evening. At this hour though, Domino had the place to herself, and sat on the edge of the wall around the fountain dipping her fingers into the water. Looking about her, Domino sighed, no matter how hard she tried nothing seemed familiar to her, nothing stirred a memory inside of her and this was starting to terrify her. Tiring of the solitude, Domino returned to the Inn and went to her room, undressing and having washing the dirt of the day away in a small basin, she then climbed into her single bed, more a pallet that a bed, and waited for sleep to take her.

 

If Domino could have remembered the past year, she would have been surprised to learn that her days were almost always the same as the one that had just ended. It was not the last year she needed to be concerned about, the time before that contained far more surprises and interest. But ever since that night on the bridge, Domino had a memory that only worked occasionally, and at best could be described as foggy and that was often how Domino felt, as if she was groping her way through a fog.

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"Aubrey, would you like daddy to read you a bedtime story?"

 

"Oh yes I would love that, Daddy!"

 

A cold chill ran through Kiera as those words floated through the air. Her baby sister came bounding over to Kiera, joy filling her face. "Did you hear that Kiera? Daddy is going to read me a story!"

 

Kiera smiled at her little sister, even while dred seemed to eat away at her insides. "Well, if daddy reads to you, then how will I tuck you in?" Kiera asked picking Aubrey up in her arms. She had made a point to always be the one to put Aubrey to bed. The smaller the contact with 'daddy,' the better as far as Kiera was concerned.

 

Aubrey's pudgey little face frowned in thought. "Hmm...." the brightened, "Daddy could read us both a story!"

 

Kiera saw her step-fathers mouth tighten and eyes harden. "I think Kiera is too old for bed-time stories."

 

"I think that sounds just lovely! Reading to both your girls. What a good father you are." Her mother said, coming out of the kitchen and kissing him on the cheek. Kiera let out a breath she didn't know she had been holding. Most of the time she didn't like her mother, but every now and then the oblivious woman would do something beneficial for her children.

 

"Come Aubrey-bird, time to get ready for bed."

 

"Fly me, Kiera!"

 

"Alright, but just on the way to bed." With that, Kiera turned her baby sister in her arms so that Aubrey's stomach was parallel to the floor, her arms outstretched, and ran down the hall to the little girls bedroom, past her scowling step-father.

 

"Weeeee!"

 

Once ready, Kiera carefully positioned Aubrey to the inside of the bed, stretching out next to her and called 'daddy.' His eyes narrowed when he saw the arrangement, but didn't say anything more. He read the story quickly and left the room, his expression telling Kiera that she would pay for interrupting his plans.

 

"Daddy isn't a very good storyteller..." Aubrey remarked through a yawn when she was sure he was out of earshot.

 

Kiera laughed. "No he isn't. Shall I read you another?"

 

"Yes, please! I like it better when you read. You do all the voices and everything."

 

Kiera stayed with her little sister long after Aubrey had drifted off to sleep and she heard her parents disappear into their bedroom. She whispered the same promise that she had every night since Aubrey was born. "I promise I won't let him hurt you like he did me...."

 

~**~

 

"Kiera, come here." The stern voice interrupted Aubrey's lessons. It was two days after the bed-time story and Kiera had been sticking to Aubrey like glue. He wouldn't try anything when there was someone around. No matter the torture he had caused her, he was still a coward at heart.

 

She got up from her place on the floor in Aubrey's room and went to the kitchen. There her step-father and mother sat, serious expressions on their faces.

 

"Sit down Kiera," her mother directed kindly.

 

Kiera sat.

 

"I think it's about time you started earning your keep, young lady." Her step-father began. "You are passed the age where most girls set about finding husbands, and it's high time you started to contribute around here."

 

Cold dread coursed through her. How am I going to keep her safe if I'm not here?!

 

"But, daddy, I tend to Aubrey. Teach her her lessons-"

 

"Your mother can handle that responsibility, and Aubrey is a big enough girl to take care of herself now. I've spoken with Ceven down at the Inn and he has agreed to take you on. It has been very busy down there lately, and that half-wit they have working for them spends most of her time day-dreaming. You will be reporting to him tomorrow afternoon."

 

No no no no! The bastard! I won't let him! I'll kill him first! screamed in her head, but she just nodded her head meekly and left the table.

 

Back in Aubrey's room, the lessons continued, but Kiera was only paying attention half-way. Her mind was racing furiously, trying to think of a way out of this, a way to protect her sister. Her mother would be no help, that's for sure. She was essentially lazy, and too used to living the good life. Daddy always took care of everything for her. Though he did spend most of his mornings out surveying his workers... If Kiera could get Aubrey away from the house while he was gone.....

 

"Kiera, are you paying attention?"

 

"Hmm?"

 

"I didn't think so," giggled Aubrey. "I was just telling you that the kitten has two heads and was talking to you."

Kiera smiled breifly at the silliness of her little sister.

 

"Aubrey, starting tomorrow, I have to go work in town."

 

Aubrey frowned. "But then who will I play with?"

 

"Well, here is what I want. You are a big enough girl to walk into town now. I want you to come see me in the Inn when daddy gets in from the fields."

 

"When daddy comes home? Why?"

 

"Please, just do it. That way I can check up on your lessons. And maybe buy you a sweetroll or something from the kitchen with my new wages."

 

Aubrey's face lit up. "A sweetroll? Every day?!"

 

"Every day, my Aubrey-bird."

 

"YAY!"

 

~**~

 

Kiera entered the Inn nervously. She didn't know what to expect. She'd never had a job before, certainly not one like this. In early afternoon, the common room was mostly empty and Ceven spotted her entrance at once.

 

"Ah, there you are! Come, come. Lots of stuff to show you. I'm so glad that you have come to work for us. Domino isn't always there, if you know what I mean, and I could sure use the extra set of hands!"

 

"Domino?"

 

"The other girl working here. Come, she is in the kitchen now. I'll introduce you and she'll show you the ropes. That is if she can remember them, bloody girl..."

 

He ushered her quickly into the kitchen, making hasty introductions, then quickly departing.

 

Kiera regarded the other girl quietly. Domino was tall and svelt. She moved with a grace that it seemed she wasn't entirely aware of. She had the look of the perpetually lost on her face, but she also had the look of a girl who had been through a lot, and had managed to survive regardless of what life through at her. Kiera felt an immediate kinship.

 

"Hi," she said weakly, unused to dealing with anyone outside the family.

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”Do you remember the time we sat in the woods, just us no one else, and we would tell each other our deepest secrets? Well I remember you telling me one that I found hard to understand, but I do now Domino and I want you to know I ………”

 

“……..so I say we take the to the roof and stop standing here like light blasted fools………”

 

“……..they’re coming through the walls, we cannot stop them.” Domino stood in the middle of the street, the smell of burning all around her. Looking to her left there was a line of men and women, all armed, and with grim determination written all over their faces, it was the same to her right. “The gate is breached, we have to flee.” Another of the soldiers from the wall screamed out as he ran past.

 

“…………..it always rains this hard here, I thought you Borderlanders were used to a little bit of rain.” The man’s gap toothed grin annoyed Domino for some reason, but she could no more hold onto that memory than she could a white-hot bar of metal. Like all of Domino’s dreams, there were mere fragments, threads, from which she hopelessly tried to reconstruct her life. But come morning, they would mean nothing to her, fragments of a life once led, or just figments of her imagination, Domino could not say. Her sleep was restless, tossing and turning all through the night, and when she woke her bed sheets looked like they had been tied around her. Disentangling herself from them had become a morning ritual she could have done without. Eventually she climbed from the bed and went over to the small cupboard that had her washbasin and jug on the top of it. Pouring some of the water into the bowl, she replaced the jug and then splashed water onto her face; the coolness of it brought a refreshing feeling to her skin. Next she went to the small closet and took out her clothes for the day, quickly dressing, she took out the only shoes she had, a pair of black clogs and slipped her feet into them. On a whim, she grabbed a blue headscarf from the shelf and fashioned it into a wide headband and tied it around her head, arranging it so her short black hair was over the top of the front of the headband. Happy with her appearance Domino opened the door to her room and went downstairs for the start of another soul-destroying day.

 

“Hi”

 

The voice broke into Domino’s concentration and she turned her head to see whom it was that had spoken to her. As she looked the girl over, Domino dried her hands on a towel then replaced the towel on the rack. “I take it I am to show you around here, assign you your duties?”

 

“That is what Cevan said you would do yes.”

 

Domino thought the girl hesitant in her answer but put it down to her being young and this being a strange place to her. Domino nearly laughed at that, as the Inn was always a strange place to her, even after a year she still forgot where things where. “Well then, lets see.” Domino looked around the kitchen, one finger tapping against her front teeth, until her eyes came to rest on a large pile of washing that needed hanging on the line in the yard behind the Inn. “For starters you can take that pile of wet washing out into the yard and hang them up on the line, make sure you do not get any dirt on them, if you finish before I do come back here and you can help me finish up with the pots and pans.”

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Kiera nodded and gathered the pile of wet linens, making her way out into the yard. Hanging laundry was not a hard task, and she let her mind wander. She had known that eventually something like this would happen. Somehow she would be put in a situation where she couldn't keep Aubrey with her every waking (and some not waking) moments. She wished now that she had actually set up a contingency plan. Having Aubrey come to meet her at the Inn in the afternoons would only work for so long. Cevan would get annoyed with it or her step-father would put a stop to it. It was hopeless. She felt the unfamiliar swell of tears behind her eyes. She thought she had run dry of tears long ago. Burying her face in her hands, she stood in the yard, alone and lonley, hidden in a forest of billowing white linen and cried.

 

A small time later, the noisy clatter of pots and pans brought her back to herself. It was time to get back to work. She hurriedly finished with the laundry, using the time to gather herself, then went back into the kitchen. Domino was up to her elbows it soapy dishwater, staring blankly into space as she continued to scrub the same spot over and and over on one pan.

 

Kiera cleared her throat to get Domino's attention.

 

"I...uh...finished with the laundry."

 

There was no sign that Domino had even heard her. Kiera stood and watched for a few minutes as Domino scrubbed the same circle on the pot. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore. She walked over and gently took the pot from the other woman. Domino jumped as if startled out of a dream. "You are going to scrub a hole in this pot if you keep that up." Kiera said, trying to relieve the suddenly unsettleing gaze of the other woman.

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……………….If you press here….” The man’s words were cut off by the scream from the woman bound to the table. He waited for her to quieten before continuing.” As you can see, even a small amount of pressure on certain areas of the body will elicit a much greater response than one would expect. Domino nodded her head, fascinated by the woman’s response to the slight pressure he had used.

 

………………..she be no hearing us Wil, we be no needing to fear her now.

 

………..Standing on the highest tower in the City, Domino edged her way towards the edge of the wall surrounding this walkway. Climbing onto the rail, Domino spread her arms, standing tall she went to take that last, and first, step…….

 

Glazed eyes glanced over to the source of the sound, slowly clarity entered the eyes as they became more focused. “I am sorry, Kiera isn’t it?” Kiera nodded her head in response to Domino’s question. “Well then Kiera as soon as I have finished with the washing up I can show you how to dice the carrots and such like, for the evening meal. Have you ever used a knife to cut vegetables before?”

 

“Not really no, I have helped mom occasionally, but she does not trust me with a knife, you know how mothers can be at times.”

 

Drying her hands on a towel, Domino replaced it on the rack and then turned back to Kiera. “Actually no I do not, I do not remember my parents, or even know if I had any.” Domino swept past Kiera and collected two wickedly sharp looking knives, of a size to do serious injury. Making sure Kiera could see what she was demonstrating, Domino had her pick up the second knife and hold it exactly as Domino did. Next, Domino started to slice up the vegetables explaining all the time why she was making certain cuts, and why there were different cuts for different kinds of vegetables.

 

Domino had been doing this for nearly the full time she had been at the Inn and although she was proficient with a knife, she showed no flare when using one. She was more workmanlike than adept. “The only way to really learn this is to do it. So get yourself some potatoes from the bin over there and start cutting them up like this.” Domino grabbed a potato and sliced it into two then into quarters and then again. “Can you manage that?”

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  • 3 weeks later...

Kiera nodded, retrieved some potatoes from the bin and proceeded to slice as she was shown. The blade cut through easily, making a pleasing sound as it sliced through the crisp tubar. She and Domino worked side by side in silence for a few moments before Kiera couldn't stand it any longer. Her mind kept returning to what could be happening to little Aubrey. She needed some sort of distraction.

 

"You say you don't even know if you had parents? How is that possible?"

 

 

OOC: sorry it's so short after such a long wait, but conversation is the best way to get to know each other!

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Domino was startled by Keira’s question. It was not the substance of the question, more the tone of the voice, so disbelieving and innocent, so certain, yet vulnerable. Continuing with her work, Domino wondered how to answer the girl, it was not as if Domino understood what had happened or was happening, and neither did anyone else in the village, so she decided it would be best to give the only answer she knew was honest.

 

“I do not know Kiera, I have no memory of anything from my past. I was found by the side of a river, virtually dead, and I was brought here, or at least I think that is what happened, I was unconscious at the time and have had to rely on what others have told me. Apparently I only had on a skirt and blouse, nothing else and had no money or belongings. What ever happened to me effects me to this day as I have problems remembering what I did yesterday, or even the names of people.”

 

Keira’s expression was confused, almost as if she found it impossible to believe what Domino was telling her. But then her eyes widened, and her mouth formed a silent “o” as she realised what Domino was doing. “Do you always work so fast Domino?” Keira’s question sounded strained, almost as if she was afraid to ask.

 

Glancing down at her hands, Domino was equally shocked to see how fast she was cutting up the vegetables, even, precise strokes, but all done far faster than she had ever done before. “Quick Kiera, go and fetch Ceven, he has to see this.” Slowly, uncertain whether to leave Domino on her own or not, Kiera backed out of the kitchen and went in search of Ceven.

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