I am

"She was made out of pure spirit and life. A star on earth. Yet a hurricane in space. Cassiopeia Turow was different."
When Cassiopeia leaves her small island of Sars for the continent Irille she's in for more than she bargained for. Between seeking out adventure and making a tenuous friendship with the King, she has a drug that grants superpowers and the elusive Sect organisation to deal with.


10. "...as if they were ordinary..."



“What did she do when she first saw them?”

“She looked at them as if they were ordinary people. But of course they weren’t.”


Five and a half months ago.

The Golden Compass


It had been roughly six months since she began working here. Six months of renting a room and bartending. Six months of trying to get along with her landlords and failing; however, she had found that the owner of the tavern was named Bruce and he loved Lisa dearly. Still, they met with cut sentences and forced small talk, and their main subject of conversation was either paying the rent or her shifts in the tavern.

She found that there was a routine; people come in and the noise increases, people go out and the noise level decreases. It sounded obvious when she thought about it, after all any major place could be described like that, but she couldn’t put it in any other way. Describing it in more depth meant that she would have to go into individual people, who they were and why they were there beyond just wanting a drink, she would have to go into the things they said to her and what she said to them. That was too much. It would take hours, and those were hours that she didn’t have.

Her days as a bartender seemed to have a similar pattern as well; shift, eat, bed. Spare time was for training. Simple. Yet not enough. However, not having enough from life was a dangerous and continuous feeling to have, it meant doing extreme things in order to fill a void. Cassiopeia had to wait for the right moment and one day her chance would come. Eventually. Shortly.

But then she got sick. She put it down to the never ending cold. Damn it was always cold in Irille, the only warm weather they got was the mild cold of midday. Even that wasn’t that warm. But she supposed those were the perks of living in a northern city. Cassiopeia’s fever had broken the night before and she forced herself to do one shift. Just one, she wasn’t asking for much. Emerging from her room she saw Lisa who was very much hesitant to let her barkeep. But Lisa was Lisa and it was her qualities of that made the hesitance shift into a scowl.

Seeing the bar was quiet and hazy, but the latter point was probably down to being ill still. The first thing she noticed was the man at the bar.

He wasn’t anyone out of the ordinary; in fact he looked like all of the other regulars, albeit a bit shy. It was in the way his dark hair was flopped in front of his eyes, his neck sheltered in the collar of a jacket, his eyes looking around for threats but head dipped low to the ground. He reminded her of herself back in the day, and Cassiopeia would hope that her shyness had depleted somewhat. It certainly had because the old Cassiopeia wouldn’t have been able to approach him.

“You look like you need a drink.” It was a common sentence starter, especially for someone who was a bartender.

“Water please,” he said and looked up, blinking slowly from underneath the mane of hair and the thickness of his eyelashes, “You look like you need a glass too.”

Cassiopeia delivered on his order but didn’t get one for herself, “Normally, those you order water were either past alcoholics or just prudes. Which one are you?” In this workplace she found that humour was necessary for a sale sometimes.

“Neither. Drink doesn’t agree with me. Anyway, you’re here to serve drinks not to chit chat,” the man drank his water with arrogance and tucked his head further into his jacket. Whereas Cassiopeia had thought him to be a shy bird in need of assistance, she now knew that he was in fact a haughty bird waiting to be knocked off of his perch.

She moved on. She didn’t need to deal with rude people.

But Cassiopeia still watched him and he stayed in the exact same position as he had been in when she had left him. He twitched and he moved sometimes, but he did not get up and he did not order anything more. He was a shadow, and the others didn’t even seem to notice him.

That didn’t make any sense.

He didn’t even say anything when two men, who had been seated at the back, launched themselves at each other over a dispute about a bet. He didn’t twitch but he watched and he continued to do so as someone else was forced to act. While the owner – whose name was Bruce, as Cassiopeia had learned – broke them up physically, putting his brawny self in between the two, Cassiopeia gave them a lecture. “We don’t fight in this tavern. You fight, you do it outside of here. So on that principle, get out!” and the two fighting men were kindly escorted off of the establishment. But her voice warbled and she hated herself for it. Cassiopeia never should have come down, her bed would have been a lot more acceptant.

The entire tavern went silent for a full minute. Cassiopeia sat down. She blamed the fight for causing added stress and indirectly causing the headache that was currently pounding her skull without mercy.

It was only when noise was tentatively restored that she looked back at the man she was observing. He had still done nothing and she wanted to know why. “Why didn’t you help stop them?” Cassiopeia started, staring at him with opened lips, “No, I know why. Fighting doesn’t agree with you.”

She did not look away when his eyes turned stern and unforgiving. She was not prey to him. But she did storm away when he smirked over the last gulp of water and slammed his glass onto the counter top.

What a bastard.

Avery would have punched him, she decided, so would Tommen, but she wouldn’t. No she had more self-restraint than them, or something like that.

Maybe it was because she knew that she would probably break her hand or get fired for her efforts. But she wanted to.

“Ya handled that well novy.” Lisa said as she placed her hand on the younger girl’s forehead and tutted at her, “Sit down girlie before you faint.” An employee that was out cold couldn’t work after all.

Cassiopeia could still clean sitting down and Lisa hadn’t thought of that. “I thought you didn’t care,” Cassiopeia reminded the other woman.

“I may be a stern woman but I have maternal bones somewhere in here,”

They were probably the small bones in her ear, small but many of them, and they were hidden away and ignored. It was the first time that the landlord had tried to strike a conversation with her.

“Can you stop calling me a novy now? I’m not exactly new anymore.” She retorted and switched topics. She watched as Lisa carried two trays of glasses on her arms. Having balance and patience was the epitome of importance here.

“But you will always be new. That is until another employee is employed,” Lisa answered as she took the tray away. Soon she came back with another cloth and began attacking the table viciously.

“This will be the first time I congratulate you,” Lisa muttered and grew frustrated enough with Cassiopeia to try to snatch the rag away from her grasp. Cassiopeia was stubborn and quick enough to keep the rag and avoid the other woman’s clutches.

Cassiopeia did not know what else to say except to pass the remark off with feigned nonchalance, “Well I did spend a few months on a ship with all men, I had to see that nearly all the time.”

They worked and soon they were like a fine oiled machine, doing one corner and then switching. In the silence, Cassiopeia’s mind was allowed to wander.

“You’re sick aren’t you? That’s why you can’t stand up for long,” a voice startled her and she recognized it, the awful stranger. “But you did handle that well, I must admit.”

She started and the rag dropped. Damnit stranger, why would you do that?

“I thought you didn’t like me.”

The man said nothing and she didn’t expect him to say anything more. He was the type of person to do that. “What are you doing here then?” She sighed and got to cleaning again. With her back to him, she wouldn’t feel the sudden urge to punch him. If she was going to punch him, it would be in the face. Then he would be in pain every time he tried to pull that smirk of his.

God when had she turned so violent?

“I need your help.” He admitted and didn’t look one bit bothered about his admission. Well, he had the cheek to ask that of her, and she told him that. “I know, but I have something to offer you. All I need is information about the two men who fought and if you have saw any suspicious behaviour in this tavern?”

Cassiopeia could then hear the noise of metal unravelling and knocking against itself. It was what made her turn because she couldn’t put the delicate noise to anything she had known before. Then he placed it into her palm and her eyes widened in shock. It could have been anything. When she saw what it was she felt her cheeks stain with embarrassment. It was only a pendant. More specifically, it was a thick chain leading to a blunt mirror shard. Within it she could just see the square inch of her eye and cheek. Twirling it around in her hand, she found an engraving on the back; may you always be able to see the stars now. Above the writing was a rough cut version of a constellation, Cassiopeia couldn’t figure out which one it was. To put it bluntly it was beautiful.

“That’s bribery lad. We don’t do bribery here.” Lisa uttered but she didn’t look Cassiopeia in the eye.

“But it’s a good bargain.” Nevertheless, the older woman was having none of his ‘bribery’ and he was shooed to the door. “I hate boy’s like that, always wanting something or another.”

The fight was between two men who had had a bet about some new potion or another from the apothecary. It was some sort of miracle according to people. Sailors came across the world to the tavern and there were conflicts. But there wasn’t anything that was serious enough to call the authorities.

This was what she said to the stranger. Cassiopeia didn’t do it because she deliberately wanted to defy Lisa or that she wanted the pendant. She did it out of convenience. Going out of the tavern upon closing she found the stranger loitering out front.

Cassiopeia would have been afraid, if she didn’t have a headache and a tap for a nose. There were other annoyances and distractions out there.

“Did you think differently then?” He approached her with cross arms after she had told him what she knew.

“I can’t be bothered to deal with an illness and your arrogant ass.”

“I take offence to that,” he replied sarcastically and so she told him to get him to shut up and leave her alone.

“Are you the authority or something?” She asked as her answers to his questions had finished.

“Or something…” and with that he walked off and left her to soothe her head quite ironically from the cold air. Before he disappeared he had one final flippant retort, “The names Nox by the way.”

The illness was making her stupid that was the only explanation for what she had just done.

Olivia and Elijah Turow


Eastern Seas

Quadrant Six

Irille is a stark contrast to Sars, it comes down to not only the people and the place but the feel of the city and the very air I breathe here. I’m settling in great I would like to think, I have a roof over my head and a job to be a source of income. You’re probably wondering about the pendent that I have attached to this postcard, well to the envelope that houses them both. Well, it’s a pendant I have managed to acquire. The constellation on the back is unknown to me but it reminded me of my name. It got me researching on the stars I am so named after: it forms a large M in the sky and is named after the vain queen from old world mythology. Although, I consider myself far from vain, the story of the heroine is one of inspiration. I recall that you named me this due to seeing the constellation after my birth and I am sure to carry on the tradition of the knowledge of the stars to others I meet here. I don’t believe that we can tell our future from them, but they sure are beautiful to look at.

I hope this finds you well.



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