The Jasmine Files

  • Posted below are small stories regarding the blades woman named Jasmine, told from various perspectives.

  • Reflections

    Jasmine walked the late evenings at the docks. The air had turned cold. Almost bitter, with the promise of more snow. The magic in the cloak she wore prevented her from feeling any of it, and the light armor of dragon scales reflected the lamplight in myriad small images. The combination formed a contrast to the bundled and cloaked passers-by.

    Jasmine loved this time of day. It was quieter and allowed one to reflect and make sense of what had happened the hours before. It also allowed time to sort her feelings, which were a jumbled, incoherent mess.

    Her uncle had called her “broken”, and suggested she be institutionalized. She hadn’t learned to talk or utter a single word until she was three, and the constant outbursts led her parents to think she was possessed. She knew the trouble she had caused them, and it was a guilt that always lay heavily upon her. The shame upon the family had been great, and after two miscarriages she knew her mother felt somehow responsible. It wasn’t until Master Ty had been brought to the estate that things had changed.

    No one knew exactly who he was. He was simply “Master Ty”, the martial instructor for emperors, kings, and their children. His legacy went back eight centuries, and rumors of his immortality took many flights of fancy. But Master Ty was much more than a martial instructor.

    He had seen children like Jasmine many times. Often born of older fathers, so often seen in people with privilege, their afflictions often came with odd gifts. Some had supernatural hearing. Others became mental giants and great wizards. They paid the price for these gifts in often harsh ways. Blindness, crippled gate, or the inability to be touched without pain. More often than not, it left holes in social interaction. People afflicted often suffered lives of loneliness.

    For Jasmine, the world was simply too big. Sights and sounds bombarded her constantly, and crowds were crippling. But Master Ty had seen this before. He taught her to breathe and focus and push aside the noise and confusion. Sometimes, the world would still be too much, but he gave her the tools to cope. But with this affliction came a rather odd gift.

    Patterns and puzzles simply fell apart under Jasmine’s gaze. She counted everything unconsciously around her. When Master Ty realized that Jasmine could also see patterns of movement and attack, he quickly put together a training regimen for her. Master Ty taught her every kata he knew. Every weapon. He made her memorize it. All of it. Then he taught her counters.

    Fortunately, Jasmine had her father’s physical nature. She lacked his height, but was powerful, strong and coordinated. Feats that required muscle memory and agility came quickly. By the time Master Ty left the Li estate in Thesk, Jasmine had become a promising warrior, one that he suspected would surprise and fluster more experienced opponents.

    Jasmine had done just that in the tournament held in honor of the prince’s first birthday. She had won, and was knighted by the king. Now, not even 20 summers old she was officially now “Dame Jasmine of Peltarch”.

    As Jasmine walked the docks, the thought of that left her in a further state of confusion. What did it really mean? Master Wingates said that all titles were empty. Did “Dame” in front of her name confer any authority or privilege she didn’t have before?

    Jasmine found herself at the end of a dock. She had passed 47 doors, 118 windows, 183 people and 2 dogs. She looked down into the water. The magically lit staff she held shone upon its surface. Her wavering reflection stared back with the same stoic gaze that hid the swirling emotions beneath it.

    Was this woman any different than the one yesterday?

    Yes, she thought to herself. This woman was free.

  • Introductions

    “I ain’t takin’ orders from no 19 year old bitch”, Sal said, spitting at the potted plant in the corner

    Sal Vignetti was taller, a hair over six feet with broad shoulders and a square jaw. His hair was light brown, cut close to his scalp. A Peltarch native, he had grown up on the docks, served in the Defenders for 4 years, and been a guard for the remainder. Although he had a rank of Sergeant, common opinion that’s likely where he would remain for the rest of his career.

    Mick Carter was about the same height, a bit leaner, with poorly cut brown hair and a lengthy moustache. He had been a guard in Damara for three years, but the civil strife had him taking his wife and two children east to safety. They had found a home in the city, and now his 15 year old son was working part time unloading ships and moving crates in warehouses. Mick looked over the papers in his hand and shook his head.

    “Well, you won’t be taking orders from no 19 year old. It says she just turned 20 last month Sal”, Mick said grinning to his friend.
    Sal rolled his eyes, “Fuck, who gives a shit. I wanna know who she blew to get this position. Is Halbrook picky? Shit, I’d blow Halbrook for the kind of coin she’s getting”

    Mick and Damon both snickered and laughed.

    Damon Waite was a bit shorter than Sal and Mick, with a much slighter build. Dark eyes were framed with dark hair and a well trimmed beard and moustache. Despite his size, most folks knew not to mess with Damon, as underneath that thin build were cords of muscle from working the logging mill in Norwick. Recently married, Damon had moved north to make a better life for her and the coming family.

    Unlike the other two, command opinion was the Damon was going places. He had an incredible knack for observing people. Damon had been brought in to help with questioning on numerous occasions, and his skill at poker was almost legendary. His dark eyes swept over the paperwork surreptitiously absconded from the captain’s office, and something sounded familiar.
    The papers said she was from Thesk, and Turami and Shou origin. No family was listed. Odd he thought, as he recalled her being very well spoken, almost overeducated. She was the odd dark skinned girl that hung around the royalty.

    As he dwelled on that, the door opened down the hall and Jasmine walked in. Sal and Mick carried on describing various indiscretions that could be used for advancement, but Damon turned quiet as he watched her in the hall talking to one of the soldiers.

    She was medium height, dressed in that odd, red scaled light armor. Far too much hair was piled up on her head secured in place by … knives? Damon watched her and took in her movements. The way she spoke, moved and balanced. This is what Damon did.
    Jasmine smiled and nodded to the Defender who pointed down the hall at the three sergeants. As she turned and walked down the hall toward them, Damon watched.

    “Shut the fuck up you two”, Damon said insistent and in low tones

    Sal turned to his smaller friend and sneered, “Oh look! The bitch his here. I wonder…”

    “I mean it. Shut the fuck up now, Sal”, Damon turned to his friend.

    As Jasmine walked down the hall, all the pieces offered to him came together in an unfinished picture, missing pieces but plain enough to paint a portrait. The bearing, the way she moved and carried herself, he’d seen it before. Someone had trained her to kill. As she got closer, he could even see it in her eyes.

    Jasmine, moved around the table and greeted the three of them. Sal gave Damon a sideways, “What-the-fuck-is-your-problem look”, but Damon was more interested in watching the new inspector.

    She started off with formal introductions. Damon noticed her incredible vocabulary, over politeness, and the deft reigning of emotional turbulence the eyes couldn’t hide. She spoke plainly, openly admitting to knowing far less about the city than the three sergeants, and said that she wanted to listen and learn. She was professional beyond reproach.

    As Damon watched, more and more of the pieces were put into the place. The portrait became sharper with more detail. Damon noticed that the symbol of Torm was worn on the right side. She touched it a lot, as would befit her stay in the Silver Host. Her equipment was meticulously clean with eastern Celestial symbols.

    Damon listened, nodded politely, and offered opinions on cases. But in the back of his mind something was missing.

    Someone with her bearing and education didn’t some from nowhere and offer to be a private in the city guard. That made absolutely no sense. Why would a trained killer be in the city guard at all? Who or what did she run away from? Why was she here? Without a family listed, he even doubted that Jasmine was her real name.