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Fantasy Hunter's Moon: Ascendancy [IC] [CLOSED]

Sub Genres
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  2. Adventure
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Damian0358

Roleplaying Procrastinator From Elsewhere
After nodding in response to Cassandra, Xiaòzhou turned his head to Sebastian and gave him a tired smile and a nod. Before he could offer to assist Rajko, the man had already departed to do his search. Sensing the others still recovering from the battle, for those fifteen minutes he opted to remain and health instead, just in case there were any more distractions on their way.

Thankfully, the remaining days of the train ride had passed peacefully, even as they had been forced to detour to Blackburn. The hermit would follow his usual routine on board, though he would attempt to engage the others in small talk, or trying to reduce potential tensions. If nothing else, he had hoped others would appreciate that there was someone on board paying attention to their health even outside of battle.

The sadness on Xiaòzhou's face was palpable after witnessing the civilians attempting and then proceeding to flee into the train. and, after being signaled over by Senior Inquisitor Ivanovich, somewhat remarked sad, albeit more stoic now. At least they had someone to speak to as they made their way to their next vessel, nodding to Ivanovich in greetings. Traveling by ship was something he was familiar with - after all, that's how he made his way to Adonia from Eastern Redonia in the first place - but the others seemed mixed. Ivanovich speaking of how he had been forced to attack his fellow countrymen just to come here and help did lighten affairs, nor did the sights in the town proper. So it was the front.

"...not accounting for trouble on the waters, conflict or otherwise, how long will we travel by ship?" the hermit decided to ask, "With how close the front is, the less time spent, the less risk faced," his expression suggesting he was already preparing for trouble.
 

joshuadim

the writer
Some days had passed since their encounter outside of Gravewood, and unlike then their travels had remained rather quiet as they pushed north towards Grimtham. A sour memory, for some, but for Azathor it was simply another destination for the goals of their quest. He did understand that there is where this whole chain of events had been set in motion by his father, but he didn't want to linger on those thoughts for very long. So long as they found what they were looking for and kept them out of the hands of the enemy, then that was all that mattered. However it was when they arrived at Blackburn did Azathor get to witness the true extent of modern military mobilization and wartime efforts.

He followed the group as they got off the platform and were introduced to Ivanovich, who was a senior inquisitor, and stayed quiet as they passed by the closed and boarded up shops, while Atracan artillery, infantry, and warships amassed for a potential fight in the near future against the advancing Tsavanians. In any other situation, Azathor would have been impressed and would have opted to simply watch and observe the going abouts of the military from a distance to see how they worked and prepared. But these times called for focus on more important things as he listened to the small talk made by the group to Gribov and asked questions.

"Are we to travel on a civilian vessel, or a military one? Could make sense to go in the former as to avoid attracting unwanted attention... unless they're also being targetted?" Azathor then asked, hoping for a concise answer on both their travel accomodations as well as getting info on the state of the war currently on this sense.
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
"Are we to travel on a civilian vessel, or a military one? Could make sense to go in the former as to avoid attracting unwanted attention... unless they're also being targetted?"

"It's a military vessel. The HMS Black Swan. I've heard it called a 'light cruiser' by some of the officers down at port." responded the senior inquisitor, looking back over his shoulder at Azathor. "Civilian vessels are risky right now. The Tsavanians are sinking large transports, while smaller ones are being captured and boarded. Wouldn't want either of those to happen to your ship, obviously."

"...not accounting for trouble on the waters, conflict or otherwise, how long will we travel by ship?" the hermit decided to ask, "With how close the front is, the less time spent, the less risk faced."

"No more than a few hours. Ships these days are must faster than they were a few years ago." replied Ivanovich. "Porthcrawl is right across the water. A bit further of a journey than Airedale would have been for you all, but still pretty close."
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Camille was doing her best to not pay attention to the displaced families and the state of the town any longer, much for the sake of her own sanity at the moment. Her free hand moved to her hip as the Senior Inquisitor answered their questions, her eyes now trying to search for both the port and their vessel. Something of a scowl was starting to form on her lips, one of pessimism as Gribov explained the situation on the sea.

"I would hope that it is a fast vessel, though in truth armor and guns will only do so much if that fleet spots us," the huntress quips with disdain. "Our best defense would be to be quick and unseen, and I do hope that we are able to achieve that at the very least."

Harsh as she sounded this did not come out of a place of malice. Not toward the inquisitor, anyway. After days of sitting on her hands and stewing in her thoughts on killing the possessed, Camille was all too eager to strike at the heart of the demons that were causing all of this chaos. Their boat being sunk as they made their journey was not a feasible outcome in her eyes.
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
"I would hope that it is a fast vessel, though in truth armor and guns will only do so much if that fleet spots us," the huntress quips with disdain. "Our best defense would be to be quick and unseen, and I do hope that we are able to achieve that at the very least."

"True." responded the Inquisitor, looking back to the huntress as he walked. "But you know how things go, usually. I intended to be quick and unseen getting back here, but you can tell how that went. The best thing you can hope for right now is some luck."

Cassandra finally spoke up from the back Of the group, a hint of a chuckle in her voice. "Camille and Lady Luck aren't on the best of terms." said the Pureblood, looking towards the park. Her mind had finally returned to the task at hand, it seemed.
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
The noblewoman nodded her head in understanding at the inquisitor, not looking to argue with his perspective as his description of the naval front painted a pretty clear picture of what he may have encountered. When Cassandra spoke however, Camille could not help but reply after side-eyeing the pureblood. Seems like the vampire had gotten her spirt back. Joy of joys.

"Oui, I've learned not to rely on luck in the least. Yet with there being so many forces beyond my control at this point... I've very little to put my trust into besides my own abilities," she states, thinking that her alleviation to praying to the gods for support could go without saying. "I am still alive for the moment, after all I have suffered. For that reason I do intend to keep living for many more days if I can help it."
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
Cassandra soon glanced in Camille's direction as the huntress finished. "Well, with the way things are going, you might need a little something more if you intend to keep breathing. Especially with the Icons and the Abyssal King himself out in force." stated the pureblood. She soon turned her attention to the Inquisitor at the front, as she walked slightly faster to catch up with the main cluster of the group.

"You mentioned fighting your own countrymen... Why did they even try to stop you in the first place? You were in inquisitorial garb. Most would have took one look at you and then let you be." she asked, tilting her head slightly as her eyes traveled to the blood on his boots. A mostly even mix of human and werebeast.

Gribov grunted. "Their sergeant, in his infinite wisdom, deemed me a threat and wanted me shot on the spot for being a 'spy and traitor'. Simply because I was trying to cross back into Atraca to get away from the warfront and perform my assigned tasks. Which was to come here and direct you to where you need to be." he stated, a hint of anger in his voice. "I love my country, and would never wish to see harm come to it. But there are far greater things at stake here."

He sighed afterwards. "The soldiers followed his orders without question. Of course they would. Most of them were conditioned to blindly follow orders. In the factories and workshops of the motherland, the chain of command drilled in them from the moment they were hired. They simply swapped from the hammer to the rifle, and were sent off to die in a battlefield far from their families by a Tsar that could give less of a shit as long as they owned a few inches of dirt."

"The same is happening here in Atraca as well. And Escaria. And Daristein, if you think about it. Men and women, sent off to war after being forced to work to live. All the while, our rulers sit comfortably on their thrones or at their desks. Far from the carnage and slaughter, basking in their power and wealth. Neither of which they truly deserve, because they never really earned it."

Gribov glanced back to the group. "That kind of power, wealth, and authority shouldn't belong to one person, or even a small handful." he said finally, looking between the people following him.

Cassandra chuckled lightly afterwards. "Yet you follow the Church, which has always been ruled by a small handful that really don't care if you live or die."

Gribov shrugged. "Yes. Because right now, the world is on the brink of a new dark age. And we need to do everything we can to stop it. I can cast my political ideas aside for that." he replied.

The group continued on a few blocks, eventually beginning to see the large naval vessels floating in the harbor. The number of buildings slowly decreased, allowing for a larger view of the port itself. There were several destroyers and dreadnoughts floating in the bay, all preparing for what lay ahead. A large scale battle against the encroaching Tsavanians to the northeast. And soon enough, Gribov pointed out a rather long ship sitting docked at one of the concrete piers. "There she is. The Black Swan." he said aloud, glancing back to the others. "Let's get you aboard and settled in."

They continued walking for a short ways, moving onto the pier past sailors and other soldiers. Some of them gave the group odd looks, especially to those dressed in armor or in foreign garb like Xiaòzhou and Sebastian. But none said anything to them, as they were too preoccupied with getting things ready for the counter-offensive. And soon enough, the group arrived at the walkway leading up onto the deck of the Black Swan. Up close, the ship seemed even longer, but far better armored than they first realized. Twin smoke stacks jutted high into the air above, along with the two masts at either end of the ship. Around the deck, several six-inch cannons waited silently. Ready to strike at any targets that drew near it.

"Climb aboard. The Swan will be departing soon, from the looks of things." stated Gribov. "And I hope you have a safer journey than I did. Good luck finding the Amulet." He soon stepped aside, allowing the group to move up the walkway onto the deck.

On the deck itself, sailors moved about as they began preparations for departure from port. Oddly, there was a figure standing on the far side of the deck. Propped against the railing and gazing out over the port at the other ships. They wore a black leather trench coat, with a homburg hat sitting atop their head. Their boots were cowboy-esque, but missing the spurs and with metal caps covering the toe. A pair of red leather gloves adorned their hands, with what appeared to be a lit cigar firmly fitted between their fingers on their right hand.

As the group approached, the figure straightened up and turned about. And the group paused a short distance away as soon as they noticed the figure's eyes.

They were a vampire, standing here out in the sunlight.

Rebecca looked shocked, but Cassandra bore a far different expression. One of anger and annoyance. And the expression was mimicked by the vampire, as they reached up and removed their hat. Revealing long black hair.

"Claire." muttered Cassandra, a twinge of anger in her voice.

"Cassandra." responded the vampire. "The rumors are true, then. You're still alive."

"Of course. Its hard to kill me. You, of all people, should know that." responded the pureblood as she folded her arms.

Claire folded her own as well. "Yes, well...one could hope." she muttered, before looking to the others. "My name is Claire McLachlan. Hunter, Private Investigator, and Enforcer of the Sanguine Laws of the Vampire Houses. I'm to aid you in the search for the amulet on Grintham. Per request from Undite. Seems she decided to call in her favor."

Rebecca finally managed to find her words afterwards. "You're standing in the..." she managed to get out.

Cassandra answered for Claire. "Daylight charm. She has a necklace on that allows her to walk in the sun. There's maybe four in existence that I know of."

Claire simply nodded in response. "A gift from Undite." she added, "Can't do my job if I can't move around in daylight."
 
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K0mori

Servant Supreme
Gribov's mention of having to kill his way through Tsavanian lines to get to Blackburn was certainly a depressing fact, but it did help to explain the state of his clothing. Sebastian wanted to ask follow up questions, but worried he might upset the man. Instead, someone else did, and it was clear that the Tsavanians had brought it upon themselves, although Sebastian didn't stay close enough to hear the Inquisitor's political stances.

The walk to the waterfront hadn't been a long one, but Sebastian still managed to fall behind for a moment anyway due to an odd circumstance: he had heard a voice in his native tongue, and when he turned, he came eye to eye with a distraught young immigrant who was desperately trying to navigate the evacuation, but was apparently being ignored by the Atracans who believed he was Daristinian. But he had recognized his accent; this man was clearly from neutral Trechtstaat and seemed about ready to pull his hair out in frustration.

"[You, soldier-]" the young man said. "[Are you...?]"

"[Ja, I'm from the east, from Helmland. You need help? Walk with me.]"

In the course of a short conversation, Sebastian had gathered from the immigrant that he had tried to go back to his own country two weeks prior, but had been stopped and turned around due to the war's proximity. Now that he was back in town, he couldn't locate any of the people who had known him during his brief residence in Blackburn, was out of money, and had no idea where to go if he was to evacuate further west. Sebastian made it clear that he was unfamiliar with Atraca and had merely been plucked from the battlefield on "church business" that he couldn't elaborate on.

There was one matter he could help with, however. The immigrant had a satchel bag with some random goods he was willing to part with, and Sebastian had some money he had acquired during his stay in Eternis. Having finished reading the novel about the vengeful Escarian sailor during the past few uneventful days on the train, he traded it and some coins for two more Daristinian-language books. Moments after the transaction had taken place, the immigrant slapped himself on the head, having spotted one of his missing friends in the distance, thanked Sebastian for stopping, and then hurried along his way.

Sebastian caught up to the others and rejoined the conversation as they boarded the Black Swan, mildly disappointed that he couldn't arrange to purchase the immigrant's tobacco while he was at it. On the other hand, the ship was every bit as impressive as he had hoped it would be, and he was rather pleased that he would get the chance to ride on it before reaching Grimtham. However, a moment later, the whole group was confronted with yet another creature of the night.

Claire gave her introduction, and may as well have introduced herself as an ambassador from outer space. He wasn't even sure what she meant by the "Vampiric Houses," and, under the assumption that all the supernatural beings in his midst were all on the same page when it came to their unnatural lives and prerogatives, stayed silent out of fear of making an ass of himself by asking what she meant. She also seemed to have a disdain for Cassandra. At least that made sense.

He leaned over to Ser Royland, who happened to be standing nearby, and spoke to him under his breath. "At this point, I feel like we humans need to find some gimmicks if we're going to keep up with this circus act." He chuckled at his own joke.
 

Worthlessplebian

Worthless pleb
The junior inquisitor remained silent. His peers and his ears heard the admittedly tragic tale of the high-ranking questioner, but Rajko did not possess any sympathy after the Tsavanian's initial explanation. His throat silently scoffed at the dulling diatribe from the man, there had been no question that Rajko did not exactly align himself with the politics. His leathered gloves tightened synchronously with his muscles. If this had been any other time, any other place, and any other circumstance then Rajko would have flapped his lip and flagrantly challenged this fool's drooling with self-righteous sentiments. But cooler heads prevailed and Rajko maintained his somber attitude. Thankfully, it had only been a few blocks of walking before they reached their destination.

The inquisitor's hands remained in his pockets while idle, a leftover from his days as a snot-nosed hunter. The beauty of the Black Swan filled his brown gems, a low whistle bristled his neck covering. "Noo' there's ah Bonnie burd." For a moment, his Highlandian accent managed to rear its head because of Rajko's dumbfounded state. "My apologies." A glance was also thrown to the other war vessels present, but while Rajko admired them as well, they weren't the ones that he'll be sailing with today.

Gribov wished them well and stepped aside for their journey. Rajko had been the last one to board, but just before they departed, he swung around and coat followed suit. His last thoughts for a person shouldn't be of malice. "[Stay safe, Gribov. I don't intend to find you in the netherworld.]" He flicked his middle and index finger off his temple, saluting the Tsavanian away. Spoken in his motherland's tongue, the neophyte had a personal motto: "Never leave your friends with bad thoughts." Did Rajko thought Gribov a fool? Yes. Did he thought his ideology flawed? Of course, but deep down Sottaks understood that Gribov was a human and he was... a human too. So let bygones be bygones because there might not be another tomorrow if they fail the task ahead.

The group walked aboard the Black Swan until... A woman straightened up and stood in their way. Cassandra muttered her name then Claire responded back all the while Rajko's eyes went back and forth between them. The black coated man leaned against the wall of the ship with arms crossed. "Well, dire times beget dire actions. Still I'm surprised a chastiser of her peers came, I've never met someone of your station before."
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Camille gave Cassandra a glance as she gave her suggestion, looking rather impatient with the pureblood at this point. "My husband was able to aid in killing Icons, it was a matter of the weapon he chose to wield. A feat he managed despite his own sloppiness," she answers, the jab at Hudson seeming to mostly be in jest. Mostly. "Rebecca is able to bless our weapons to wound those fiends. Coupled with my experience, I think I stand a fair chance."

When it came to Gribov's tale of what transpired before his arrival, she found it rather difficult to empathize with his situation. By now it was exceedingly obvious that she was not a soldier, and beyond recognizing the terrible state the world was in she gave little consideration to war before these days. Neighbors turned bitter enemies due to geopolitics, though this conflict had the additional sting of being orchestrated by hellish invaders. Despite lacking the experience of a common soldier, Camille could still recognize how awful things were.

As for the senior inquisitor's political views, Camille could not help but think on them for a moment. As an Escarian noble, she had every reason to believe that this man considered her to be in the 'small handful' he was criticizing. Despite her estrangement from her parents she had managed to secure a sizable estate, so it was true that she was quite privileged. Never having been poor or hungry, she would be the last choice to be made a conscripted soldier if the crown called for it. If it weren't for her ideals she would possibly be hiding with her family rather than risking her life like this. "An interesting thought," she commented after Cassandra had spoken on Gribov's potential hypocrisy. "while I do not hold the current leadership in high regard, especially after recent events, I do think that equal distribution of power and authority would be very difficult to achieve."

Not particularly interested in spawning a political debate on their way to the ship, Camille left it at that. Soon she resigned herself to looking over the hulking mass of armor and ammunition that would be their transport. The deck was abuzz with all kinds of activity from the soldiers as they got ready, the huntress once again finding herself in a completely different world than she was used to. When they encountered their vampiric ally standing in broad daylight, she was actually relieved to see something familiar.

"Sanguine Laws, mes dieux," she managed with a barely restrained scoff. "With the way some houses like to conduct themselves I find it hard to believe that there is honor among them." Camille did pick up on the tension between this Claire and Cassandra, so she could infer that the pureblood had managed to get in this enforcer's sights at one point. A terrible shame that things did not turn out differently...

"And how has Undite instructed you to assist us?"
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
"Well, dire times beget dire actions. Still I'm surprised a chastiser of her peers came, I've never met someone of your station before."

"Indeed. And I am currently the only one you shall meet in your lifetime. Unless I'm slain." responded Claire, flicking the ashes of her still lit cigar off on the deck. "My job is to investigate any activity that goes against the Sanguine Laws, a codex of binding agreements put in place to maintain order among the greater vampiric houses. If I find that a law has been broken, I punish those that broke it. By any means necessary, with no bias, and with no exceptions unless agreed upon by the collective greater houses."

"Sanguine Laws, mes dieux," she managed with a barely restrained scoff. "With the way some houses like to conduct themselves I find it hard to believe that there is honor among them."

"A common statement." responded Claire. "But you're looking at them through a rather particular lense, like I did once." She slipped the cigar between her lips, taking a drag on it before exhaling the smoke through her nostrils.

Cassandra chuckled. "Trying to convince the Raven here of anything good relating to vampires is like talking to a wall." said the pureblood.

"Well yes, if it's coming from you." responded Claire, taking her cigar from between her lips and gazing down at it. "The fucking psychopath with no concept of morality. A blade-for-hire, with a taste for wanton death and destruction. Insane in every sense of the word."

Cassandra grinned. "Ahhh, so you missed me, hmm?"

Claire grunted. "The only thing I missed was your bleedin' heart. November fifth, seventeen-forty. Saint Elise's Cathedral, Escaria. An inch too far to the left, with a white oak stake."

"And if you recall, Claire..." responded Cassandra, "...I missed yours too. The left shoulder, just above the heart, with an old rusted javelin I found on a knight's corpse. So all in all, I think we're even."

Claire shook her head gently. "We're far from even, Cassandra." she muttered, before redirecting her attention to Camille once more. "She and I have a long....violent history together."

"And how has Undite instructed you to assist us?"

"Simple. I help you find the pirate cove the amulet is sitting in." responded Claire, "I was a pirate before I became a hunter. Spent fourteen years in prison for robbing ships off Grimtham Isle."
 
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Damian0358

Roleplaying Procrastinator From Elsewhere
Xiaòzhou was once more saddened by Gribov's recounting of his travel to here. In some ways, it reminded him of the century spent fleeing from Upper Redonians after his oni nature had been revealed to all. When it came to the politics, at most he agreed principally in opposing despotism, but otherwise remained quiet. In cases such as this war, were it not for the supernatural dangers threatening the war, Doueans would merely engage in eremitism. They only involved themselves when necessary - one of the many reasons why hermits opted out of politics - hence why the writings of Hu Yuan caught on among those opposed to such a way of living, to purposefully forsake one's 'mission to the public, and from living affairs', leading to the Pure Fellowship Society.

Passing through the pier and climbing aboard the Black Swan, Xiaòzhou noted the looks he was receiving from some of the soldiers and sailors. He simply gave them a smile and a nod, which they exchanged in return before continuing on with their work. For what purpose it served, the ship seemed rather impressive to the hermit's standards. He wondered whether its capacity was higher than that of the ship he was aboard that brought him to Adonia. Before he could ponder that question, he waved Gribov farewell. Relatively soon after, they ran into the one Undite seemed to have contacted.

Xiaòzhou was impressed to see a vampire standing in broad daylight, but otherwise did not have much to comment on. In his eyes, Camille had asked the main important question here, and Madame McLachlan's charm had already been elaborated upon, so with that, while they yak on, he opted instead to ask one of the sailors if there was anything he could help with.
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Camille twists her mouth at Cassandra likening her to a wall, a frown and glare settling on to her features right after. "Given all that I have seen of vampires, I find it difficult to see the good in their actions," she stated simply, though the two vampires reflected on their... troubled history with a dialogue of who bested who. With Cassandra still standing among them, she did not need any investigative skills to know how things turned out. If she herself had a white oak stake, Camille would have been sure not to miss.

"That seems to be a rather common thread with Cassandra's associates," the huntress stated bitterly, though soon shook her head as a silent way to change the subject. When Claire mentioned her past of piracy, Camille blinked with slight bewilderment.

"A pirate, hm? I suppose you and your motley crew probably saw it fit to assault my family trade ships, once upon a time. It's odd, though. Without people like you I don't think we would have taken to fencing."
 

joshuadim

the writer
Azathor nodded to the inquisitor's answer, finding himself pleased with its adequacy, and did not speak further on any other matter. He did however cock an eyebrow once he started speaking of politics here, including his own positions on certain things such as the Tsavanian monarchy, and listened intently as the man spoke. The demon prince had himself been the subject of abuse and violence at the hands of despots, whether it was Sazak, Azgon, or whomever else. And countless others as well who were unable to fight back against such great and terrible power that they held.

As they approached the Black Swan for boarding, Azathor tarried behind slightly to quickly speak to Gribov a few words: "I like what you had to say, about kings. And those with power." he commented in a hushed tone, "I'd like to hear more some time later, should we meet again." And with that, he moved to board last after everyone else and found himself and the others meeting Claire. A vampire by the looks of things, also having a gift from Undite that allowed her to be in the sun. Azathor stayed back and listened to her speak, both to Cassandra and to other members of the group. He didn't have much to say, or comment on the matter, regarding vampires and the houses that comprise their society. Though he did have something to say about her supposed skills in helping them find Undite's amulet.

"I suppose you know the terrain of where we're going fairly well then?" he asked, "Are we to expect any pirates keeping the amulet hostage?"
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
"A pirate, hm? I suppose you and your motley crew probably saw it fit to assault my family trade ships, once upon a time. It's odd, though. Without people like you I don't think we would have taken to fencing."

"Perhaps we did, if any of your family's vessels frequented the waters around North Atraca and Grimtham." responded Claire with a shrug. "And nice to know we provided the perfect chance for your family to learn how to gut someone with a sword."

Soon, she thumped what little was left of her cigar over the railing of the ship, into the water below. "I still use a cutlass, but I switched from a musket pistol to a revolver." she then said, pulling her coat open just enough to reveal a rather large revolver tucked into a cross draw style holster on the front of the left side of her waist.

Cassandra eyed the revolver for a moment as Claire revealed it. "...Is that a black powder revolver? Kind of outdated, isn't it?" she stated, motioning a finger to it.

"Yes, well... I don't stay up to speed on what new killing instruments are available. If it works, it works. If not, I'll find something else that works." responded Claire. "Besides, I barely use it. More for warning shots than anything. The cutlass is far more quiet."

"I suppose you know the terrain of where we're going fairly well then?" he asked, "Are we to expect any pirates keeping the amulet hostage?"

She directed her attention to Azathor, letting her coat back down to hide the large revolver. "Yes, I know the terrain pretty well." she responded, "...But piracy died in the early 1700s. Most we may find there will be zombies, skeletons, or ghosts. Unless the demons get there first."
 
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K0mori

Servant Supreme
Sebastian watched and listened as Claire, Cassandra, and Camille all traded barbs with one another and silently wondered whether there were any more dangerous women with names that start with C that he should be prepared to meet. His interest in the conversation waned as they treaded the same old territory of whether vampires were worth the benefit of the doubt, which he felt was irrelevant not only due to the presence of a literal demon amongst them that circumstances already dictated they place their trust in, but also due to the merits of individuals. Some were certainly more trustworthy than others, and the more Sebastian learned about Cassandra, the less he wanted to be on the boat with her.

His attention snapped back into focus as Claire displayed her revolver, a large and unwieldy thing that left him gawking. "Götter, Frau!" he burst out. "Warning shots? You could probably sink this damned ship with that gun," he half joked, but on some level he found it ridiculous to carry any weapon you didn't intend to use for the intended purpose. Then again, Claire's victims would probably be vampires, and so a shot straight through the gut could, in their case, be considered a warning. Vampires are weird.
 

Breadman

Big loaf supreme
Royland was familiar with Inquisitor Gribiov's work, so he was pleased to hear he was still plying his trade for the Church, even with his misgivings. Unlike a certain scholar, Gribov had not turned to vile magics to make a point out of it, which was worthy of respect. As for the man's politics, the knight was sympathetic. A king's duty comes to his people first, not to himself. The gods put them there so they could lead their people to prosperity, if they fail to do so, the people are in the right to seek another. Be it by means of peace or by violence, he ultimately cared not. His responsibilities were connected to the Church and anything beyond that, he would leave himself out.

At this point, I feel like we humans need to find some gimmicks if we're going to keep up with this circus act.
Royland stood silent for what felt like an eternity trying to figure out if Sebastian was genuine or if he was playing another joke entirely. The sheer honesty was astonishing enough that Royland nearly missed Claire's introduction. He didn't object to her since Cassandra was already with them and Claire was likely a less of a problem than the pureblood.

"I've barely moved beyond the sword myself." The knight shrugged. "But you can probably guess as to why. I never did find trouble sticking to the old methods, but I have incorporated other techniques." He looked to Sebastian "Or 'gimmicks' as our new colleague called them."
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
"Götter, Frau!" he burst out. "Warning shots? You could probably sink this damned ship with that gun,"

Claire smirked slightly. "As an associate put it: 'There's no kill like overkill.' I also put down werebeasts with it, from time to time, and it proves fit enough to do the job." she responded, before redirecting her attention to Royland.

"I've barely moved beyond the sword myself." The knight shrugged. "But you can probably guess as to why. I never did find trouble sticking to the old methods, but I have incorporated other techniques." He looked to Sebastian "Or 'gimmicks' as our new colleague called them."

She nodded. "It does pay to bolster your repertoire. You'll have the right tools for all occasions." she stated. It wasn't long afterwards that they noticed that the Black Swan was finally departing. The walkway leading down to the dock was being removed behind them, as sailors soon began rushing to get to their proper stations. Claire glanced about, before looking back to the others. "Well, in a few hours, we'll be in Porthcrawl." she muttered, eventually looking back to Rebecca.

Soon, her eyes bounced between Royland and Rajko. "I should probably go ahead and voice something now. I've never been fond of the Divine Church and those in its employ. Every instance I've had in the past where I've had to associate myself with a member of its religious sect or the Vigilant Order has ended in a horrid fashion. One of your senior inquisitors long ago, a man by the name of Benjamin Holloway tried to feed me to an army of ghouls while I was still human. He also shot my horse, and fed it to a werebeast. One of your high inquisitors, Tobias Sherington, hired Cassandra here to murder me as well as two old friends of mine. She succeeded at one of those murders, and I barely escaped with my own life." She glanced to Cassandra afterwards, her eyes narrowing.

Cassandra simply smirked in response to the mention of her attempted hits. Claire eventually continued. "So you can understand why I don't trust Cassandra or either of the two of you. Working alongside the Church has granted me nothing but trouble and hardship. But I have accepted this favor from Undite because she has proven helpful to me time and time again. So, I will trust you just enough to work alongside you. The rest of you, I have no quarrel with. Understand?"
 

Worthlessplebian

Worthless pleb
"I should probably go ahead and voice something now. I've never been fond of the Divine Church and those in its employ. Every instance I've had in the past where I've had to associate myself with a member of its religious sect or the Vigilant Order has ended in a horrid fashion. One of your senior inquisitors long ago, a man by the name of Benjamin Holloway tried to feed me to an army of ghouls while I was still human. He also shot my horse, and fed it to a werebeast. One of your high inquisitors, Tobias Sherington, hired Cassandra here to murder me as well as two old friends of mine. She succeeded at one of those murders, and I barely escaped with my own life. So you can understand why I don't trust Cassandra or either of the two of you. Working alongside the Church has granted me nothing but trouble and hardship. But I have accepted this favor from Undite because she has proven helpful to me time and time again. So, I will trust you just enough to work alongside you. The rest of you, I have no quarrel with. Understand?"

Listening to Claire rattle off the details of her "hardships" and "troubles" in regards to the actions of the Church or the Order proved most amusingly illuminating for Rajko. If any other man were to be in his place then he might have questioned his decisions when he aligned himself with the Order, however Rajko was not most men as though his sympathies for Claire were high, he did not permit them to blind him. His gaze did not err at her words, maintaining an apparently relaxed demeanour. "I cannot speak for Sir Royland, but I understand. A collegial relationship is the only requirement for our task ahead and I am thankful that you are at least willing to compromise that much." His piece on the matter had been articulated, but the cogwheels of his brain continued to turn. Rather traumatised creature for a vampire, He mentally commented. Out of all the vampire heads that I've torn off with my clawed hands, at least none of them complained too much. A glance at Cassandra as Rajko summarised that they had more in common than previously thought, though that isn't any guarantee that the trend will continue.

"Other than our infernal opposition, should we be expecting anything else? A pack of murderous werebeasts for instance?"
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
The huntress gave a nod at Claire with an accompanying smirk, gutting people with swords is an important skill to learn indeed. The subject of kit brought the vampiric enforcer to show off a rather old looking gun, to which the noblewoman curled her lips at slightly. As is customary when it comes to the subject of firearms Camille found herself tuning out for a moment or so, only to pay attention once the ship began to move.

Somewhat against the railing, she looked to the billowing smoke stacks on the ship as they began to move, glancing back to Claire as their destination was laid out for them. "We can only hope that the trip will be uneventful," Camille muttered. Quite quickly the conversation shifted to the Church and trust, and the huntress did not approve of Cassandra's smirk when her assassinations were mentioned.

"Oh yes, we're a real... diverse team with varying views. For whatever reason the gods have chosen each of us, and the least we can do is not kill each other so that we may focus on stopping another dark age," she stated after Rajko said his piece. "I've never cared much for the Church, because frankly I had always been indifferent to the gods. My opinion of them has deteriorated with time."

"Other than our infernal opposition, should we be expecting anything else? A pack of murderous werebeasts for instance?"

Camille gives the inquisitor a glance. "She did mention the potential for ghouls and other undead, did she not?"
 

Worthlessplebian

Worthless pleb
"She did mention the potential for ghouls and other undead, did she not?"
"Ah, must have slipped my ear." He answered candidly. Inadvertently Rajko must have tuned out when that particular factoid was brought up then again, he wouldn't be the first one. He pushed himself off the wall and asked. "So are we gonna stay out here all day or head inside?" Throwing a quick look to his colleagues.
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
"So are we gonna stay out here all day or head inside?"

Rebecca glanced to Rajko soon enough, and nodded. "Yes. We should head below deck and get comfortable." stated the Saint, before looking back to Claire. A thought crossed her mind, and she decided to put it to words.

"So you don't trust Sir Royland, or Inquisitor Rajko, but you'll trust me. Why?" she asked, shifting her stance a bit and placing a hand on her sword's pomel.

Claire tilted her head, as her gaze shifted to Rebecca. "Need I say it? You're a Saint. You're true to your word, and would never betray an ally. You're not like most of the others of the Order and the Church." she responded, before motioning a finger towards her. "Out of all those here, I can trust you the most."

Rebecca nodded slowly, before glancing to the others. Cassandra shrugged, as Rebecca's gaze met hers. "...She is telling the truth, really." said the Pureblood, before turning about. "I shall be in the mess. Maybe look into what Atraca's feeding their sailors these days." she simply said, before walking away. Moving towards one of the large metal doors that sailors were moving in and out of.

Rebecca followed, motioning towards the others as she walked. Claire, meanwhile, remained on the deck. She'd rather be up here than below. Better views.

As Camille went to move, however, Claire spoke up. "Huntress. I'd like a word with you whenever we have a moment to speak in private." she said, glancing only once towards Cassandra as she walked away.

Cassandra froze for a brief moment, glancing back over her shoulder towards Claire, before continuing on.

Same old Claire. Ever so eager to put a stake in you.

That voice. Yet again it spoke to her, from an unknown source. She looked about again. Only sailors, and the rest of the group following her. And none of them sounded like the voice did. She looked back ahead, as she climbed through the door and began her decent down into the ship's belly.

She forgets just how easy you could just rip her pretty little head off. If you wanted.

This had to be some kind of auditory hallucination. Maybe she needed a blood pouch. Was it time for another one? Had it been long enough?

You could just feed on Camille. Get rid of a real, proper irritant. Once and for all.

Cassandra shook her head rapidly, trying to rid herself of these intrusive hallucinations. Yeah, she needed to feed. That or needed some more time to herself. Both. Both are good.

Yeah, drink and find a place to relax. Preferably alone.

Alone in an empty room? Quite familiar territory.


--- --- ---​

As the others ventured inward and below deck, they found that the inside of the vessel wasn't as spacious and welcoming as they had hoped. Steel walls only a couple of feet apart, barely any room to walk. Even less to squeeze by someone else coming down the same hall as you. Eventually, they would arrive at the crew deck, where several bunk beds were stacked about.

One section had been roped off, with a sailor standing near it. He was a young man, with short blonde hair and blue eyes. He looked a bit too young to be a sailor, really. As soon as he spotted Rebecca and the others, he shifted towards them and saluted. "These are your bunks, ma'am. Captain said to hand them over to you for the time being until we arrive in Porthcrawl. You may use them if you need them. Otherwise, you're free to wander around the ship." he stated, lowering his hand as he spoke.
 

K0mori

Servant Supreme
As the ship slowly motored its way away from the harbor, Sebastian watched his allies split up for the short voyage, with Cassandra and Rebecca heading below deck while Claire asked Camille to stay behind. He briefly considered a meal himself, but decided it could wait; he had no idea how his stomach would react to the water, since he had never been out on open water before, and he didn't want to eat just to vomit it all back up again. Besides, as nice as it was to interact with a few men from countries other than Atraca, Sebastian hadn't forgotten where he was, or that he was dressed in an enemy nation's uniform. The Atracans would tolerate his presence on this holy mission, but that didn't mean he wouldn't get a swift punch to the gut if he were caught alone.

"The weather's nice up here; I think I'll stay, too, if you don't mind," he muttered to to Claire, and despite his cynicism, he meant it. For once, he didn't feel like smoking, as it would spoil the taste of the salty air, so different from the arid climate he had been used to the prior few months. He walked over to the railing that overlooked the ocean and set his hand down on it.

The books he had purchased a few minutes earlier were still under his arm, and, having remembered them suddenly, took them out and examined them. They were both translated from Atracan. The first he had heard about before- it was a story about a Daristinian alchemist who, in seeking to master life and death, accidentally becomes a necromancer, pursued in malice by his own horrific creation. The second, he was unfamiliar with. It was apparently the story of a southern Atracan boy and his adventures with his small-town friends- Sebastian didn't expect to enjoy it much, but it was better than nothing.
 

Dmaster

Sautekh Nemesor
Camille did not have much to say on the subject of trust, as that was a precious resource she rarely gave out these days. Despite Claire being painfully upfront about her intentions, the huntress was still not keen on being chummy with the vampire enforcer. Either way, when Rebecca motioned for her and the others to get below deck, she did take a single step before Claire requested her not to.

This worked out well enough, as she did not quite enjoy the idea of being in what she imagined to be a hot and crowded space below the deck she stood upon. Her arms crossed over her chest as she hummed with slight confusion, her head turning to the side to see that Sebastian desired to stay up here as well. "Speak in private? Well this seems like a rather good moment for that, doesn't it?" Camille asks in reply.

"I take this has something to do with Cassandra, oui?"
 

Infab

The Demon Fanatic
"Speak in private? Well this seems like a rather good moment for that, doesn't it?"

Claire cocked an eyebrow, glancing to Sebastian and the men wandering around the deck. "Well... not entirely, but this will work." she soon responded, before stepping over next to Camille. She turned about, so that both of them were facing where Sebastian was standing, leaning over the railing.

"I take this has something to do with Cassandra, oui?"

"Indeed it does." responded Claire in a slightly more hushed tone. "I know the story regarding Adona picking her to go with your group to Grimtham, but we both know that Cassandra shouldn't be here. She should be in some smoldering pit in the deepest reaches of the Abyss."

She then glanced to Camille as she spoke. "She has ended hundreds of lives over the centuries, and ruined countless more. Innocent, guilty, it doesn't matter to her. It never mattered. She only cared about how much it hurt those she inflicted misery and pain on, and how much joy it brought her to do it."

She paused for a brief moment, before continuing. "...The woman is psychologically damaged beyond repair. As much as she may say she wants to do what's right, its only a matter of time before she slips back into her old ways." Another look back to Camille followed, before Claire reached into her coat's inner pocket. "...And when that happens, you'll know exactly what to do." She then took hold of Camille's right hand, and placed something in it.

A white oak stake.

"Understand?" she asked afterwards, looking dead into Camille's eyes now. "The others will hesitate. The Saint will outright refuse to do it. You, however, will do what is needed."
 
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