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Fantasy The Great Games of Nye

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Asking the deflated girl to see reason or telling her not be so brittle or to hold on just a little longer seemed to have no effect whatsoever. Her facial expressions remained passive and emotionless regardless of the cajoling. She didn't see why their words should matter. Why should they care if she was responsive or not?

The fact Zulan caught her on her way down though, that did stir a flicker of life through the ashes of Reneé's shattered self-esteem. She glanced sidelong up at him out of the corner of her amber eyes as he calmly asked his questions and she puzzled silently over the fact he'd bothered with the effort as his words roused her otherwise languishing attention span and re-oriented it back where it belonged: On Irina and the gang.

Slowly her brain reconstructed the scene happening around her and this time she just watched passively, confused but curious. She didn't really understand why Gailene's sister wanted any of them as allies - but that was assuredly what was being alluded to. Equally apparent was that Charlie seemed to be happy enough to at least talk terms.

It was a political dance, and theoretically something Reneé understood intrinsically as Nye nobility. She just couldn't be bothered to give a crap one way or the other to voice an opinion of her own. She was just trash lying around now anyway, right?

Maybe it was like that one saying... One man's trash could be another man's treasure.

She pulled herself from Zulan and crossed her arms around herself but made no further movements toward trying to fall on the floor again. Somewhere in the ennui a small light of interest, hope and curiosity had been lit. Time would tell if it would catch and burn in earnest or not.

@ Jet Jet @ ManofManyRoles ManofManyRoles @ Lost Echo Lost Echo EldridSmith EldridSmith
Evaline couldn't let out a puff, the ease of their conversation something that helped to ease her worried more than anything else. To act as if the world around them was normal made it feel more so than it was. She was just relieved to be able to keep a sensible head onto her shoulders, and she lifted her head up a little bit when she focused back onto the conversations they were having- a small hum leaving her lips. "... I suppose it's not that I'm taking it in stride." Evaline paused again, and she furrowed her eyebrows. "I am not unfamiliar with death- living on a farm means you take a lot of life, of animals, usually- but the games..."

Evaline couldn't help but admit how seeing the bodies around her had haunted her more than she would have liked to let on. The first time she had ever truly seen someone else killed in front of her- much less the arena around her...

Hopefully, her brother wouldn't have been one of those very corpses.

"But- You're right, it's why I want to be able to keep my wits about me." The woman finally murmured and she glanced over a moment after, her eyebrows furrowed just a twinge. Huffing out at Kwame a little bit. "You sell yourself short- but I would not be opposed with training with just about anyone." The woman stated with a playful huff leaving her lips, her eyes settled back onto the two as she fell quiet, her eyes drifting onto the city that surrounded them.

She was quiet while they spoke about Kilderkin's ability- and Evaline could admit that she was impressed. Even just the thought of the amount of strain it would have taken to hold an airship in place... She couldn't imagine what sort of discipline and training the woman would have had to go through in order to achieve such heights. "... Your secret will be safe with me." The woman stated soon enough, and she dipped her head. "... After all, we are in this together, and I certainly won't seek out to put you in any difficult situation with information you've trusted me with."

Evaline was loyal, like that, and she decided that she would trust both Kwame and Kilderkin... Whether that would be something she'd regret, she supposed she would find out in the future. "I have to say, I'm extremely impressed, I couldn't imagine to what lengths you would have to go to learn all that you have."

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Perhaps it was because she was merged, but a animalistic possessiveness in her relaxed as her claim was validated. With Nihal’s arm around her, Vixie felt safe. He liked her too. Maybe not better than the sophisticated asshole, Dante (he might have been pretty, but Nihal was better than that,) but he did like her. She would keep him safe too.

Her ears picked up someone chanting Gio as they neared the main hall. At first she thought it was a group, but then the voice registered. Bean. A shudder ran through her as she wondered what crazy game he’d come up with in their absence. As it dissolved into a conversation, she couldn’t understand, just picking up an older voice joining the teenager’s.

But she caught the moniker Bean gave Giovanni. She wondered if it was a compliment from the psychopath. Did he have more skill in depicting evil or should she take what he said with a grain of salt?

As the stands fell, she almost left Nihal to pick them back up, but the warning in her head blared, Don’t be BORING. She wasn’t sure walking over them to take a seat across from Giovanni wasn’t boring, but it was less obvious.

Anne Boolean Anne Boolean Jet Jet
Renee collapsed. At first Gailene thought she’d been attacked--horrified her sister would try something while they were talking.Thankfully Zulan caught her before she hit the ground. She reviewed the air currents: she hadn’t felt anything reach the singer or even come close. It was only after Irina said she was wallowing that it clicked. Renee was just being dramatic. Right. Letting Zulan deal with her, she focused back on her sister.

If she wasn’t with Escarra, was Rini not betraying the Hydralines? Gailene wasn’t sure if the relief in her was premature, but it helped ease something inside of her to think the largest taboo in her life hadn’t been broken.

Instead she focused on the centurions. “They were reported here?” She wondered what Xysma could do, if they were murdering the prisoners. They couldn’t just hold a trial for them; centurions had a blank check when it came to murder. But there were likely ways to use red tape to keep those in particular out. Had Elyscia not known? Did the lower guards not send it higher up? She agreed with Charlie, those ordered to be killed might not deserve it. Irina spoke of their crimes, but who was she to judge? Or who above her judged?

Zulan tried to move them forward, and the grim part of Gailene agreed. At this point they couldn’t do anything but move forward. They could deal with whoever their judge/leader was later.

She kept quiet at the final question. She was seeking to please her family, of course, but she truly believed they were making the world a better place. It was better to be put in prison than killed. Since she didn’t disagree with anything Charlie said, she let the McCraggy woman continue to be their spokeswoman. Except Zulan, who apparently barely valued himself above Renee, spoke up. Amateur philosopher was exactly what he was. Though Gailene had to admit, even she didn’t know Irina’s goals now. It’d almost been a year. Had they brainwashed her into believing some shit? Or was she the same?

Jet Jet ManofManyRoles ManofManyRoles EldridSmith EldridSmith rozukitsune rozukitsune

"I will never turn away good coin." Arnheid scrounged what she could from the list she was given, charging them arms and legs and even the kitchen sink. Lucky for them it wasn't their money, so why not splurge on all of gods creations? Blessings like a bow to shoot people in the head, or animals when lacking targets.

"There!" Arnheid stepped back and admired her handiwork. The men were burdened like three pack mules, enough junk in their hands to sink the titanic. It towered from their hands and hung from their arms, was strapped to their backs and nearly popped their pockets. It was a kings haul and Arnheid was proud as could be; it wasn't every day she had business this good. "All that is needed you now possess, enough to venture there and back again!"

"Fuck me." Zak teetered with his tower of supplies. "Can't see shit."

"Watch my left." He stood beside Mavior. "I'll watch ya right. Ivan you spin around for our bearings."

Arnheid cackled in response. "A great navigator you will make! Bards will sing your conquest of the sea!"

"All in a days work!" Zak teetered to the door but on the way there, he bumped against a chair and grazed one of the barrels. "I uhh—

He grunted as his toe smacked against the doorframe, gritting teeth as it throbbed. "Just checking the durability for ya! You got strong stuff you know? Real quality builds."

Arnheid snorted and shook her head. There was nothing like the bravado of a moron.

EldridSmith EldridSmith ManofManyRoles ManofManyRoles
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Brynwyr Protheroe

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Mentions: Lost Echo Lost Echo ZackStop ZackStop @Jet

The fight from this foreign group had proven too much for the locals. Brynwyr had lost herself in the slashing, in the spray of blood that showered her face and clothes before she heard a word that she could barely pronounce. The warriors retreated, slowly making their way back, back, back, until their eyes disappeared entirely, and Brynwyr and Rhys and all the others were left standing among the chaos they barely got started with.

The man who was kind enough to knock himself and Esther into the dirt ran over to them, humble in his speech and in his mannerisms in thanking them. Brynwyr would admit, she watched him with narrowed eyes, not from suspicion, but to make sense of their language that he tried to mimic.

She could hear Rhys snicker a little behind her, though, she knew it could not be from a place of mocking, but simple amusement. But he had to remember they were no different from the men uttering strange, guttural sounds that they couldn't comprehend.

“Wait,” Brynwyr held up a hand. She had her own questions to ask him before they so willingly followed him, quite possibly into another trap, if this forest was anything to go by. How she would communicate though…

“Those men,” Brynwyr’s words were deliberately slow, pointing behind them where the men had vanished from, and maintain this wide eye contact which somehow would help communication along. “Who…are…they? Where…we going?” She cleared her throat, trying to offer some sort of smile, even in her beastly form. The exchange made her awkwardly shift at having to try and speak, but they could not just willingly go with the man, despite his well-meaning and apparent friendliness to tourists.

This seemed too good to be true. They discussed treason like death wasn't the punishment, and their willingness to negotiate with her — their empathy for her cause. It was almost unbelievable. Her eyes narrowed as she questioned their intentions. If they said what she wanted without meaning a single word. To get close and slip a knife between her ribs.

"It's worth the risk."

Irina smirked at the thought. It was a coin flip but winning meant more than losing. If they were spies than so be it. Her life would end and someone would take her place, but if they were honest? If they actually wanted to help? The world would change overnight.

"Consider me impressed, you seem quite zealous for outsiders. You'll find yourself right at home with our merry little band." Irina approached one of the warehouses. "Though I am disappointed little sister."

"The wool on your eyes is thicker than my skull. The guards turned our home into a carnival of sin and exploitation, and kickbacks ensure our family's silence. It's all very good, profitable fun for the whole gang."

"But we should find a coffee shop to chat."

"Wiith my luck, Francisco will arrive with all his raging bravado and testosterone reserves — and his special brand of stupidity."

Her men followed as they entered the old warehouse, jagged shadows reached from dirty cracked windows. The walls were stripped leaving rows of metal support beams, like the bones of a rotten corpse. The air was thick and dust floated in the sunlight, and every breath was heavy in the room.

Irina covered her mouth and looked at Zulan. "You sell yourself short. You were given something we can never have, no matter how much we stomp and scream like petulant children."

There was a click as she stepped on a pressure plate. The floor opened as gears spun and shook below them, revealing a staircase into the ground. "You have their trust. You can reach levels of corruption beyond our most fantastic fever dreams. To remove the head of the snake."

"How's that for talking shop?" Her gaze moved to Charlie. "Speaking of which—

"You may need a gentler touch from time to time. Perhaps I can interest you in a crossbow? They're all the rave, kids can't get enough of them."

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Kwame was amazed at how inventive she was. He'd been spoiled by talent and beyond hitting people with rocks, bigger rocks and biggest rocks, he didn't have many tricks. His best were armor balls and making big stone golems, but that was about it. He silently chastised himself for his terrible imagination, but then again, maybe his rocky, obtuse disposition gave him strength? In any case he would study when they got home, clearly he had work to do.

"I've spent too many years reading war manuals to understand anatomy, but I mostly follow you" He knowingly nodded at Kilderkin. "You make the most of every scrap of power, not a drop wasted."

He smirked at the unintentional pun, he was a natural comedian at heart. "Yes well—

He quietly chuckled to himself. "The wordplay was uninted, but I welcome levity on this island."

"Now where was I?" He rubbed his chin, pondering for a moment. "Though you call your power nightmarish, the soul leaves a man when he's slain. I can think of far worse crimes than using an empty vessel."

He didn't like the idea of psuedo-necromancy, but he'd been desensitized by other centurions. There were some who burned cities and slaughtered innocent civilians, so what was a little necromancy in comparison? "I know several centurions who are guilty of crimes so much worse, Satan would blush if he saw them."

He looked at Eveline adding, "And I must agree with Kilderkin."

"Strength is not about how hard you can punch, nor the number of punches you can endure. It is the will to act." He nodded like a sage living on a mountain. "The tale of David and Goliath, Nestor and Ereuthalion, there are many tales such as this."

"If you can make decisions when adrenaline is coursing through your veins, see actions as they occur one by one, then all can be overcome." He gave her an awkward smile, like a grimace but he was trying his very best. "I'll do what I can to teach you my methods, meditation is central to them. The calmer your mind the sharper it becomes."

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After her adventure to the nearest mailbox, Marjorie had made her way casually to the meeting place, not bothering to keep up with the others. She had well known the address in question and the person whom they'd be meeting within. As she sidled up, she noted with private amusement the way they were all staggering around the location like they'd just discovered the edge of the world and were trying to figure out how to repel down to the other side safely whilst failing to realize the flat edge was merely an illusion and in fact the world was a sphere. Catching Anya glancing toward her curiously once or twice, she settled herself behind a pillar away from the group and waited until most of them had vanished before looking around for a spot to settle herself.

Honestly, if she didn't know any better she'd think Johan had never had any cause to meet the man who could get you anything. But... that was assuredly impossible - wasn't it? He was the goddamned Captain of the Green Cloaks for crying out loud. How did he ever get his job done without dropping by to speak with Damian now and again for information on where a target might be hiding?

As she eyed the final member of the group - the big girl who seemed all brawn and no brains: she considered the possibility that Koch had somehow either never been introduced to Damian or never had found himself in such dire straits of desperation that he'd have asked him for any kind of favor. That was patently ludicrous. Johan was always struggling with one thing or another. Marjorie sighed and gave up trying to guess at things she had no way of knowing. Instead she contemplated what she would do with her time while they were chatting.

For quite assuredly... she couldn't hop in there with them. Damian was a particular sort... whatever he wanted from them, he wouldn't also want from her for the very simple reason that what she wanted was vastly different from what they did. They wanted to solve this stupid puzzle for whatever reason.

She just wanted to mess with them. She tapped a manicured nail against her bottom lip in thought. Perhaps once they'd left she'd pop in for tea and see what Damian's price was for taking out some trash. Marjorie wasn't usually one to pay for something she could just as easily accomplish herself, but she was a little bit behind on this new distraction and while she was here anyway it wouldn't do any harm to ask about what he wanted to help her catch up to the plot.

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The following days were spent preparing for the voyage. There was much to do with repairing the ship and learning to work the sails, bundling supplies and studying the tips Arnheid gave them. The weather was fair on the morning of their departure, clear and crisp like the first morning of spring. The ship gently bobbed in the sea and with so many bundles hanging from her sides, it was a wonder she hadn't sunk under the weight. The masts towered over the twin hulls and the beams connecting them were brand new, carved and placed by the very finest shipwrights.

The locals gathered for a ceremony as the group set sail, horns blew and drinks were shared, shouts rang over the crashing waves. The shore was covered with flowers from women who swore to the men, that if they returned successfully with crystals around their necks, they would happily court them.

There was a mood of apprehension though, many believed they would never return from the north. There were many absent from the ceremony who believed helping them was wrong. That letting them travel north defied the will of the gods. Their absence wasn't mentioned but cast a shadow over the ceremony.

Yet Magnus was undeterred. He wouldn't turn away brave adventurers no matter where they came from, because strength and courage were blind to origin — that and Darius paid quite well.

The ship was untied from a small dock and the town was soon a distant speck on the horizon, the coast became cliffs of mountainous black rock, scarred and gnarled from enduring wind and water. That too eventually became a speck though, swallowed by the vast ocean they entered.

Ten days later
The weather was good for nine days but on the tenth it changed. The wind whistled high enough to split their ears, rain fell in sheets thicker than a blanket. The cold chilled the bone and the sails were covered in ice. The deck was covered too and every step was perilous, Zak fell more than once but thankfully — up to this point — nobody had gone overboard.

Darius desperately spun the wheel to keep the ship from capsizing, but there is no end to the waves.

"RAISE SAILS!" He screamed over the thunder. "RAISE OR WE'LL LOSE THE MASTS!"

He spun the wheel again and screamed as loud as he could, and thankfully someone heard him. The sails raised and the ship persisted like that for a time, struggling through the gale like foam atop the water. Perhaps that would've been enough to survive but then, in a stroke of even worse luck, lightning struck one of the masts. There was a sudden wave of heat as fire rolled down the mast, wood split and embers sprayed from the point of impact. The ship violently rocked and many of the supplies fell from the sides, floating away as the storm continued.

Your supplies, necessary for your survival, are floating away and may never be seen again, and your ship is burning at the same time. The structural integrity is questionable as nails strain to stay in their place, and the sound of cracking wood fills your ears. The ship is on its last legs and unless something is done, you'll be on yours too.

ManofManyRoles ManofManyRoles EldridSmith EldridSmith Emphoa Emphoa Goliath Goliath

How did I even get myself into this situation in the first place??’ Leon internally groaned to himself, trying to keep at least a fraction of his dignity .. which was easier said than done when his face almost matched the color of his hair. His wide eyes fluttered to the side attempting to look anywhere else in the room but Mischa. It was as if she was reading him like an open book, just as they had done when they’d found Kade’s journal.

He looked back over as she spoke once more, his hope she’d let it go thrown out the window. “Uhh..well..I,” he squeaked out in a failed attempt to respond to her comment that ‘she was hoping it would be her’. Of course it was. But between her laughs and her words, Leon wasn’t sure if she was just messing around with him or if she was serious. — Not that the answer would help his flustered state one way or the other.

Steam could almost be seen coming from Leon’s ears as he suddenly felt the fingers touch his arm, strong from years of developing her craft but also soft. Was .. that a compliment?! There was no way she wasn’t hitting on him, right? “T-thanks?” He spoke, the words sounding more like a question.

Leon found himself not the least bit opposed to seeing where things could go between them. How sad would it be to die without ever getting his first kiss, well .. not counting the ones from family? Currently, their lives were on the line with enemies strong enough to defeat one of the strongest centurions to have ever lived, and the horrors of the arena were still in the front of his mind. At worst it could be a good distraction.

But weren’t there unspoken rules about developing relationships with team members? Leo swallowed hard as he finally found the nerve to push the words past his lips, wondering if hearts were meant to beat this fast or if he was just defective. “You too .. er — a lead.. I mean..

Leon was happy to finally be out of the hot seat, chuckling once Mischa stood next to him again, “So I must ask. Spider cove? What makes it a cove?” He tilted his head curiously. Sadly his idea had yielded nothing for the mission because clearly not everyone hid things under their bed like he tended to do. But they had found a lot of clues inside the room so he didn’t feel discouraged, the redhead paying no mind to the pendant Mischa pocketed as they left the room.

He found himself squinting as his light blue eyes met the sun once more, taking a moment to get adjusted before he could look around for the other group, which was nowhere to be found. “You’re right. It was definitely his fault,” he nodded in agreement. “Or whoever decided to stock the ship with that much alcohol in the first place?? I mean? It was only right we drank it.

Leon didn’t have time to respond to the comment about the other group being slow because he also noticed the ship approaching in the near distance, the hair on his arms standing on end. “This .. isn’t one of those desert hallucinations right?” He asked despite already knowing the answer.

Jet Jet (Mischa)
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Nyaall let out a chuckle at the instrument mentioned. "I'll try to pick it up," he assured. Even beyond a romantic gesture, a unique instrument could certainly add to a piece.

He caught the sorrow in Dante's eyes as he spoke his last sentence, causing him to purse his lips ever so slightly. He imagined even if this was all lipservice on Dante's part, it would still be a fun time with him if he came back and visited. Would anyone be skilled enough to act that though...? Nihal returned a genuine smile. "Anywhere you want to see," he assured. He thought back to the indulgent few days that had passed. Perhaps it was well-deserved, since he'd only then been able to touch his money for the first time in his whole career, but also maybe it would be smart to slow down a bit. He wanted to spare no expenses for Dante if this trip did come to fruition, after all. He waved goodbye as well, although his smile held the cheerfulness of "until next time". It was the same smile which had made him endeared by countless people around the world, and for the first time in a long time it was as genuine as when he was first starting out.

The performer also heard Bean's voice soon as they continued walking. The Centurion was a real wordsmith. He wished he could get him as a lyricist. He did feel a shudder go through Vixie's body with the arm around her shoulder. His perception was lacking though, as he just turned to her and asked, "cold?"

The conversation between Bean and whoever he was talking with continued and apparently they had some unsolvable disagreement with some comparison to gods and devils. When Bean took notice of them, he called them over, kicking away whatever ropes and stands posed a barrier for them. After a moment of hesitancy, he stepped over them as Bean asked. He looked to Vivian once more before removing his arm from around her and taking one of the free seats on the couch Bean was sitting on.

"Mr. Giovanni, sir," Nihal addressed, choosing to be more formal than Bean.. "It's a pleasure to meet you." He tried to wrack his brain for exactly why they were here, but he had been far too inebriated during the debriefing. Bean was certainly the figure of authority here, being a Centurion, but it would be good to at least seem familiar with the issue at hand. He may need to just improvise though, he realized, as nothing really came to mind except how beautiful Faraji had looked during the meeting and how he thought Goliath, despite being somewhat abrasive, was still extremely attractive. Maybe the abbrasiveness even added to it.

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The three were taken through the forest at speartip, mushed like dogs without any time to rest and recover, and they were beaten if they slowed by a step. The men spoke in the same indecipherable language as before, and even if the group tried to get their attention, they said nothing in response.

The forest eventually parted at the foot of a stepped pyramid, surrounded by a busy market filled with sweet aromas and the loud, white noise of countless people. They followed the captives and chanted at them, pawed at them, smiled and waved like they were celebrities. A group of elderly women came waving incense at them; men with drums followed along and children serenaded them with grains of rice.

The market soon passed and they were brought through the base of the pyramid, a long tunnel followed by a wide open space at the other end. It was surrounded by three other pyramids at cardinal directions, north south east and west, and linking them were high stone walls. In the center was a pit surrounded by lush greenery and flowers. It was hundreds of feet across and hundreds of feet wide, and the bottom was impossible to see. The group was pursed towards the pit until they reached a platform connected to a track on the wall, like a crude elevator with no rails on the side, made from rusted black iron.

There was a metilic click and the platform lowered into the earth, hundreds and hundreds of feet into the blackest depths of creation. When the platform finally stopped at the bottom, the group was shoved from the platform with spears still at their backs, hands still bound in rope. The warriors chuckled before pulling a lever and just as they descended, they returned leaving the three behind.

A man wearing tattered rags approached them. He was old and wrinkled and walked with a pronounced limp. He was surrounded by many others wearing the same ragged clothes, many of them children. The sound of pickaxes filled the dark pit. The walls had vertical rows of houses attached to them, densely piled without room to breath. Walkways hung from the houses and crossed over the center of the pit, where miners dug into the ground and hauled bundles of rock. It was clearly a work prison and the only escape was a distant glimmer of light far above them.

"Welcome," said the man. "We are honored by your presence."

He untied them and as he did so, Tessia fell unconscious from the blood loss. The man nodded at two of his friends and they kneeled down beside her, hoping to render aid.

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There was negotiating to be done between the leaders of the groups, but soon an agreement was made. They'd go into town and get some much needed rest and relaxation, and the one thing Isaac wanted in return for his hospitality, was Dalton not acting like a cretin. There was a better chance of hell freezing over but maybe, if God smiled on them from above, a winter breeze would tickle Satan's face.

The trip was short and soon the town came into view, nestled in the ruins of a once great city. The streets stretched for miles like a spiderweb in all directions, lined with craters and ruined buildings. In the center was a clearing where the town had been founded, quaint houses surrounded a small town center, and there were farms dotting the area. The ships touched down and after a short walk, the travelers arrived in their new base of operations.

But something was amiss.

The town was under attack and Kade's woman was being kidnapped, dragged down the street as she kicks and screams. Her house was burning and the fire could spread at any moment, and valuable clues may be inside the burning husk. There were wounded people who needed help as soon as possible, but thankfully none had been killed. There are a dozen enemy combattants and soon they will escape with the girl, but perhaps you can stop them?

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Baryn blacked out from pain when the girl screamed, in fact he didn't really come to until they neared the pyramids as he was out of it on the way there. Perhaps a blessing considering how much he was likely beaten in his incoherent state. He wasn't sure how to take how things were going, the ruthless men driving them, the seemingly positive welcome, then the long tunnel before them. He had a few conjectures, either they were to be part of blood sport like gladiators, sacrifices on an alter, both, or breeding slaves, in reality all three were possible and two of the options terrified him, the last wasn't promising either considering what diseases or ugly women could be here. There was also the option of them being sorted by talents and used as slaves... being a slave musician wasn't the worst fate but he would much rather be free.

Arriving at the bottom things were far grimmer than he hoped, being a work slave was worse than the others as far as he was concerned, blood sport he could survive and earn freedom possibly... though unlikely, sacrifice was over with quick, breeding... well he wouldn't be hating every moment of every day, he honestly enjoyed performing so it wouldn't be awful. This... this was just shit. He sighed and tested to see if his magic worked in the environment to see if flying out was an option, regardless of the result he was focusing on the old man. "Assuming we're being forced to work in the mines, pardon us if we don't feel particularly honored by the circumstances. I'm a musician and rudimentary carpenter, I know nothing of mining or stonework." He remarked with a grim look. "I don't suppose there are other options... well regardless of our circumstances I'm Baryn, and this is Euclaire, that's Tessia. Right, well, pardon my rambling, I'm hoping you have some information on this place that we need, or at least would like to know." He said with as much a smile has he could muster, this was just not his month it seemed. "From freedom fighting in Zuanshi to here... I've got my work cut out for me." He muttered under his breath, though Euclaire could hear.
Jet Jet Monbon Monbon

The three continued to the factory across town. They made good time but as they neared their destination, an armed band emerged from an alleyway. They were knights of house Hydraline, staunch and resolute, their armor was dented and their faces covered in blood, but they stood strong. They wore crimson tabbards and carried a wide variety of weapons, longswords and axes and flails with broad shields, emblazoned with the royal Hydraline snake.

"An unexpected pleasure to see you in the field Sir Kwame. I could hardly believe when my scouts reported your presence." He looked at the others and bowed by an inch. "Godfrey of Windham, Sargeant of the guard. What brings you to our fine island?"

"The centurions who were slain," Kwame said. "We have orders to investigate their deaths."

"Of course." A hint of disappointment crossed his face. "I hoped you were sent to reinforce our position, but our interests may yet align."

"How so?" Kwame said. "Is Fransisco behind the killings?"

"No, I suspect it was someone much worse." Godfrey turned and waved them down the street, leading them to a building around the corner. It was an apartment being used as a field base. There were two dozen knights accompanied by squires and field medics, and a number of initiates for support. "The one you seek is a turncoat member of the Hydralines. Though there is no concrete proof of her connection, I suspect she was behind the murders."

"The centurions were just the beginning, her designs are much grander than killing two pawns. I have a man on the inside reporting her movements and I must say, his letters give me great consternation." He stopped by a war-map spread across a table. There was a stack of papers sitting on the corner. He leafed through them until he found a wanted poster. "This is who you're seeking."

He held up a picture of Irina. There was a long string of numbers on her bounty. "Find her and you'll have your answers."

Emphoa Emphoa Fred Colon Fred Colon


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hair (3) (1).png"Uh, hey Narzas, wake up." The boy had no idea what was wrong with her, he was no doctor and Damian didn't seem like much help either. All he could do is cautiously shake her. Luckily though, that was around the time another member of his party showed up and to Ren's relief, it was Johan. He always seemed to know what to do so surely things were looking up.

"Gah!-" Was all could escape his mouth as the Centurion gleefully expressed his own relief, firmly pulled them both close. "W-we're fine, Johan, Sir... Totally fine."

As soon as Johan released him, Ren rubbed his shoulder then looked over to give Phalanx a pat on the head with an awkward smile. His familiar seemed somewhat concerned as well to a lesser degree, but the two looked back over to Johan as it seemed tension began as soon as he locked eyes with the shop owner.

"Uh!" Ren got up quickly and stood next to Johan. "Hey, he's cool. He's just a little..." He trailed off in his attempt to vouch for the man. He knew calling him weird or strange would be rude, albeit accurate, so the young man just said nothing, and as soon as Damian began to speak for himself.

All the while, Ren came to the realization that with Johan here, no one was there to watch over Marjorie, and furthermore, keep their other party members safe from her. He didn't trust her for a second, none of them did, and a sudden feeling of dread came over him. What could be happening on the other side? Was Anya okay? Was Ava okay? Did Marjorie make a break for it?

"Johan? Who's watching the woman?" He looked back at the way he came, as well as where the others had appeared. He wondered if he could even leave this place now, or if he would just end up exiting out into a time since passed. His worries lessened as Anya soon arrived too which gave him a small sigh of relief, but that left Ava who was physically more imposing but still susceptible.

"Anya-" He went over to her. "Where's the creepy woman?"

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Charlie Redding
Charlie's gaze was hard on Irena, much like how the other woman gave them the same scrutinizing gaze. Scarlet eyes glanced from her face to the surroundings and the figures she brought with them lined up on rooftops around them, and back to her. So far she was fine to chat, but she wasn't so quick to let her guard down proper. Best way ta stab someone in tha back is to go in for a hug. As Irena spoke, Charlie answered in refrain, "Well ya know what they say 'bout Craggie's. Full'a zeal 'n all that shit." Granted usually that zeal was for a fight, drugs, liquor, or someone to warm the bed...sometimes all of the above at once."Well if Escarra ends up showin' his face for a chat, we'll hear the blowhard long 'fore we see em." And if by some unfortunate stroke of luck Escarra ended up ever getting his hands on this merry little gang, she'd make it a point to break his jaw. And while the idea was entertaining, it wasn't worth the risk. Not now, at least. She couldn't let her tendency to hold a grudge lead her into a bad situation...well, not a slight grudge for a big situation. She glanced out of the corner of her eye at Zulan. While she didn't like the guy by any regard, not that she really liked anybody in the world save for her sister, she knew enough not to let her distaste for somebody make her think they were useless. While he was as dense as a brick when it came to socialities, if things came to blows she expected she could get back to back with him. "Blood stainedhands ain't so bad. Better than moisturizer honestly, savvy? Let's at least have a brief chat, better than getting a fresh hand wash in." Where Zulan seemed to have regrets for anything he'd done, Charlie sure as hell did. Or, if she did, she lied well about it. She followed after Irena, eyes darting this way and that and head ever on a swivel.

The room they entered into was so coated in dust she was pretty sure she could take a rag to it and the damn thing would have been soiled before she'd scrubbed a square inch clean. Kinda reminded her of some of the buildings in the DMZ, the old and forgotten homes and buildings that had been left to rot. It looked like the perfect place to get murdered...funny about that. Surely just a coincidence, she grimly joked in her own head. The soft click of a pressure plate immediately kicked off fight or flight for the Craggie, muscles tensing and fists clenching tight as her attention snapped towards Irena. She had already jumped through three hoops of mental gymnastics on how a fight might go before she noticed the staircase and relaxed the tension in her muscles. Wound tighter than a spring, and all it took was a slight click was to get her ready to jump to attention again. "Eh? Gentler touch?" Charlie's brows knit together into a scowl, and if she had scrunched up her nose she'd have looked like she'd smelled the most god awful scent.
"I can be plenty gentle, lass, gimme five minutes and I can show ya just how gentle I can be." In some cases, this could be taken as flirting, even by Craggie standards. However, there was a sort of malicious glint in Charlie's eyes that belayed any idea of it being an attempt of a pass in Irena's direction. "I'll think on tha crossbow, lass, not sayin' no yet. But take ah chance to see what I can do without one before yah go thrustin' shite into my hands. 'Sides, least we can do is actually have a bloody chat first. For all I know yet you 'ave a neat way to plant shit on me, or blow me up. Granted ya coulda gut us in the street, but you'll have ta forgive me skepticism. So I'll think on it, aye?"
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𝓜𝓪𝓿𝓲𝓸𝓻 '𝓜𝓪𝓿𝓮𝓻𝓲𝓬𝓴' 𝓑𝓸𝓸𝓴𝓮𝓻
After the departure from Arnheid's shop, Mavior had to make a detour back towards his vessel, which they had arrived aboard. He was an absent member of the group for a bit of time yet that day, ensuring the ship could be comfortably locked down, and its internal workings would be fine. His small botany section may experience some losses, though they were Western plants...as long as he wasn't gone all his life, even if half of the garden wilted and died, they'd be able to be salvageable. The workbench aboard was used a good deal as well, making a solid hook for the rope he'd received from Arnheid as she would not part with her own, among a few other things that he did not disclose as he was one of secrecy at all times...unlike his sibling, who was much more straight forward typically. The end of his stay at his ship ended with an altercation with his older sibling, the likes of which ended with him flying out of the ship door...and not of his own accord. However, being a Wind user, he was able to quickly recover without much harm and returned to the vessel to finish whatever discussion he started. For those who would have seen this, the answer would be simple if unsurprising. Ace refused the notion of being left behind in the village, and after much back and forth with her brother he'd been forced to relent to bringing her along.

Prepping the ship took time, of course, and Mav was not one to stay idle. Wherever he was needed was where he often was, dashing this way and that with only brief breaks throughout the day to catch his breath. During those moments he was often found with a small tin in his hand, filled to the brim with a thick papyrus-colored paste. A modest portion of this material was frequently removed from the tin to be worked into a more thin form of paste, which he applied to every inch of his exposed skin that was not covered by his clothes or the bandages he wrapped around his limbs beneath pants or shirt sleeves. And while the papyrus color gave his skin a more 'lifelike' glow, he quickly was a palor once again as it dried and set even in this frigid air. Ace likewise followed this example during the day, and even with half her body unresponsive she found use for herself, either sorting supplies or checking logistics. And if there was ever a moment for rest, Mavior had his nose buried in the log book from Arnheid.

Mavior followed through the 'fairewell' ritual almost robotically, and once they disembarked from land he was right to work again. Though he frequently checked on his sibling until she threatened to send him overboard, Mavior was diligent in his work. True to his word to Zak, he knew how to sail even if Darius had taken the role of 'Captain', and on more than one occasion he was already remedying an issue before Darius could bark for such to be done. In quiet moments he found solitude up among the masts, darting from one to the next on the winds and climbing to the top to watch out into the distance. But even with all that prep-work...there was one thing no one could truly prep for, much to Mavior's lament. Storms...cruel and uncaring, they could come at any moment, and they would leave when they pleased. Even if Mavior had seen the storm clouds and relayed such, there was no avoiding them...the only way was through the storm.

As there came up a scream to raise sails, the pale-skinned Mavior had gotten to work with help from any who could offer such aid. He moved from one point to the next in the most intense rush any would have seen him, save for Ace. Ace for her part had demanded she stay to help, however somehow her brother had convinced her below deck for now...for how long that would last, it was unclear. It scarcely seemed like he let his feet touch the ground, darting about on the air itself. And despite harsh winds and cruel storm, there seemed to be a small 'space' around himself. Rain would not fall on him, and the harsh winds were relatively ignored, like the storm itself had given him a simple hall pass while it tried to kill him. He winced at the sound of the cracking wood, the cacophony of both it and the storm forcing him to cover his ears for just a moment as his body tensed up. He shook his head after a moment as if coming free from a daze. "I'll start on repairs! Someone needs to get the supplies!" Maviors tone, usually so calm and neutral, had to be raised to a shout so it could be heard over everything. And yet, even then, he sounded impassive...just loud about it.

Mav dashed for a hammer, nails, and spare wood from the ships reserves. And then, with his burden in hand, he'd dashed back outside. In defiance of the storm he soared towards the masts up above. Another loud CRACK of wood forced him to freeze and go off kilter in his course for a moment before he managed to correct himself. It was hard work to hammer in repairs while all hell was about, but he was not one to be deterred. Not by labor, at least. A stray piece of shattered wood however...that would do it. There was a terrible wet crack as something broke free and nailed him in the head. Like a sack of bricks he fell to the deck, a river of crimson cascading from his temple. His vision danced and blurred, and he staggered upright slowly as he cupped his eyes with a shout of pain as lightning cracked above and light flashed across the ship. He fumbled at his face to find the set of goggles which had managed to come loose from their position from the blow to his head, a piece of the wood having snagged it briefly. He shivered like a beaten mutt for a moment before he managed to shake his head and refix the goggles, tighter than before. He scrambled for the supplies he'd dropped, and even with half of it still spattered across the deck he was back up in the air.
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Oh good. The merc wasn’t paying attention. Maybe they’d kill him and her headache would go away. She ignored the fact that it was due to magical exhaustion, having to focus on dodging. Instead she wondered if she could convince Bryn to flee (Rhys was sure to follow her) if they were actual cannibals (which statistically was unlikely) and distracted by the merc. Maybe they’d light him on fire, the same way he did those two men. Fuck, she was getting distracted. She only got truly murderous when she was tired.

Thankfully, the group retreated, but she doubted they’d go far. Unless it was to retrieve reinforcements. But they wouldn’t want to lose sight of the enemies, as the four had declared themselves to be. She stumbled slightly upon landing, grabbing at the pouch on her waist and retrieving another vial. She drank the clear liquid, her body feeling stronger at the sugar in it, then she unmerged. Dart would have to look for flowers, but she didn’t want him to go far. “That was awful.” She deadpanned, taking her hat off to wipe the sweat off her brow. “Let’s try my way next time. At least until it fails?

Next time came almost instantly, as the man who’d knocked her over, the man they saved, came running over. “How do you know this tongue?” It made no sense. The Americas were supposed to be mostly untouched. “Have others come from above?” She too pointed, to make her point.

She was unsurprised that his tribe othered the attacking group so much as to assume them not mammals. That was common human behavior. Us vs Them. She doubted that group would have treated them any differently than this one if it had been reversed. But they’d made enemies, thanks to the merc, while lost in a jungle with no way out. They had to seek help wherever they could.

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"Bearer of Gifts." He didn't like the connotation of the name. There were many famous gift givers and in every single case, their boons came with a curse.

"Don't like the sound of that." He put away his swords for now. The witch dripped evil like oil from a broken lantern, but they were on the same side for now. He could shelve his distaste and kill whatever threatened the world, then come back and burn the crone and her shitty cabin. He'd reservations about what she was saying in the first place, but she didn't strike him as the dishonest type. More usery. Like they were being sent against a man so powerful, they would certainly die in battle. He also wondered why she didn't confront him herself, given her power it didn't make any sense.

"You're powerful, why not kill him yourself?" He was about to lean against the wall when the thought crossed his mind, that leaning against the living monster-wall — more than capable of biting him in half, was probably a bad idea. He suspiciously eyed the wall before adding, "Unless this is a bluff? Smoke and mirrors, illusion of being strong. Maybe you put hallucinogens in the air?"

The witch chuckled in response. "Ancient laws written in our blood, ancient pacts binding us forever, only pawns may kill a king."

Her gaze turned to Faraji. "The Labyrinthian stretches beneath your feet, deep into the heart of the island, veins of metal where the blood of Kratoria once flowed. It is a treacherous path yes — there she awaits you — hiding in the darkness. You must fight tooth and claw and go to the round gate, where the answers lay at your feet."

"Great, more riddles," Adrian said. "Can we have another one?"

The witch ignored him and walked to Goliath, preening around him and stroking his arm, fingers slick with black oil and grime. Her smile mocked him like he was a fool. "Oh you silly boy, knowing the future doesn't change the part I will play, the words I will speak, we are marionettes on fated strings."

"Your string takes you to a place where none ever return. To reach the foul depths you must go to your companions. In the sinful den where corruption festers like a wound. The filthy men conceal a deep... hole... an entrance hidden but known by a few, and they will take you to it."

"Fantastic." Adrian turned to the hallway. "And you're sure that what we need is down there?"

"Yes — yes you will find what you seek."

"Even better." He looked at Goliath with a dry smirk. "And don't tempt me, it takes everything I have not to start swinging."

He went down the hallway without saying another word. He was done speaking with the hag for now. If the others wanted to discuss weather and break bread, have tea and crumpets, learn magic tricks and become best friends, then he would happily wait outside for hours.

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Kilderkin chuckled at Kwame's joke. Levity was an excellent way to earn people's trust. To make people comfortable around you. And it was a real laugh. Normally she'd box the emotion away for use at a later date, Kilderkin not one for unnecessarily expressing emotion unless it was useful, but it was useful now, and the joke was amusing if only in its contrast to the dark, dismal situation they found themselves in.

Kilderkin nodded at Evaline, "Wanting to keep your wits is the start of actually keeping your wits, and Keeping your wits about you is the essence of it all, I think. A man I very much respected once told me, and I'm paraphrasing here, that 'most people think that power was the prize. But as you age, you realize that Power is a bauble. Any thug can have power. The true prize is control. When heavyweights are balanced on the scales, the trick is to know where to put your thumb. Just as a massive, powerful ship is controlled by the infinitely tinier, weaker helmsman simply because he's in the right place, with the right leverage, any powerful man, woman or other being can be brought low by someone with the presence of mind, the control, to be where they need to be at the right time.

And all control starts with the self. ' (Quote by Terry Pratchett, heavily paraphrased by me)

Words to live by, I think. I appreciate your trust, Evaline, Kwame, and your keeping of my trust."


Kilderkin's hand drifted to her cutlass when the knights arrived. Now was not the time to be trusting strangers. It was amusing to her that the Hydraline symbol was of a snake, and now one of their members was a suspected turncoat. She relaxed only marginally as she followed the group to what seemed to be their base of operations. At least it wasn't a dark alley or empty building where an execution could take place without any prying eyes. But it did mean more potential enemies if things went poorly.

"Suspected?" Kilderkin asked after looking at the picture of Irina, bringing herself to her, admittedly, unimpressive full height. He wasn't telling them everything. She didn't like that. Fortunately, she had a good, booming voice when she wanted. It made up for her lack of stature. "No proof? Then what, exactly, makes you think it was her? We're here on behalf of Nye. I recommend you share *all* of your information. Even the bits you might think aren't necessary. One Centurion is already dead. If you put another in danger because you kept something back I promise there will be consequences." She looks to Kwame, and then back to the soldier. "We need to know it all, if we're to make informed decisions. Who is this man on the inside, for one. What has he reported? Our interests may align, but I certainly hope you're not going to simply try to use us for your own ends. Our mission is to find out who killed the centurion. That takes precedence for us."

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Ava Marco
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"i mean that's a bit wrong a brick can affect sorcery depending on the sort, it's contextual tho in this case your probably right" Ava mused a bit tapping her chin thoughtfully, tho her thoughts were.. as usual, a bit of a mess, but really she couldn't think of all too much else to say on the matter the weird rift thing.. was errr.. doing weird rift things, maybe it was hiding something maybe it was a portal to another dimension who could say? Anya had tugged ava along and pushed herself through the portal and well Ava shrugged. "ok coming then" she'd say pushing herself through as well eyes closed.. either she was gonna explode oor.. be fine who could say
Yua Smith

It wasn't too difficult to get the impromptu 'bed' of stone up into the craft to transport the woman back to the village so she could be cared for properly. It was notably more difficult to make sure Dalton and the other group of people present weren't going to cause trouble back at the village. Fortunately, an agreement seemed to be reached on that front...or at least it was said to be reached. Yua didn't travel far from the side of the woman who in dire need of aid, Felix manning the wheel back the way they came. Fortunately it all looked treatable from what she coudl tell...most likely a shattered set of ribs and torn muscles it appeared. If she was up and mobile her ribs could potentially damage her own organs, so she had politely informed her to just lay still and everything would turn out okay. Once they had arrived, all seemed well, Yua managing to get the stone slab hovering in the air at her side as they worked their way back to Isaacs home.

Once they arrived back to the town it wasn't long before everything that could go wrong, seemed to go wrong. Damn you, Murphy. Yua's eyes went wide at the sight of it all, her mind quickly trying to wrap around the scene before her. She'd hoped against hope that this wouldn't come to pass...but some nagging feeling in her gut had told her the encounter earlier today was just the coming of a storm. She set her jaw and clenched her teeth as fear was quickly overtaken with a sense of injustice and kindling anger. These were people...innocent people who just wanted to live their life. Sure no doubt not all of them were good people, but there was no way they were all evil people, if any were! They were trying to live their life, most of these no doubt innocent bystanders who got caught in the way. A shudder ran up her spine as she watched the fires licking towards the heavens...there was a slow and deep breath before she spoke, looking towards Felix. "Go with Isaac and help her. Please." Felix paused, brow furrowing in concern. "Miss Smith. I am bound to your side, and it is dangerous here. Are you certain of this request?" She paused as she searched his eyes...hints of concern in his otherwise stoic features. "Felix please. I'll be fine! I'm...not standing here by myself. Go! Do what he asks to make sure this ends well!"

Felix gave a slow nod, not overly thrilled with this new task but willing to follow it all the same. He moved quickly after the warriors dragging the poor woman off, the large king cobra slithering after him as they worked to keep whatever pace Isaac would no doubt set after them. WIth that done, she had her own task ahead of her. She spoke up, and to no one in particular, "People are hurt...I need more hands...Please, if anyone is able to help, I'll welcome it. Or do whatever you need to stop the fires and save the hosues but...please...these people don't deserve this." She glanced at the other figures around her for anyone who might volunteer to help her. Even if none did she turned about face and rushed forward towards the wounded civilians, quickly starting to look them over. Triage...triage came first. Assess the most wounded and prioritize them, what and who was the highest priority?
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Zak stumbled around as the ship threatened to break, barely standing as it leaned back and forth. He was a man of many skills but sea legs weren't one of them, and as another wave crashed over the deck, he was swept into the mast. He wrapped around the pillar as water smacked him in the face, coughing until his face went red.

The water soaked him to the bone, colder than ice and almost painful — burning and freezing at the same time. He shuddered as he was tossed by another wave of freezing water, rolling down the deck and slamming into a wall. He felt like giving up for a moment. To sit there until he succumbed to the bitter cold, but then he swallowed a pint of seawater. The taste shocked him awake and his eyes widened to saucers, coughing and sputtering as he pushed to his feet.

"Right then!" He grabbed a rope to keep himself steady. "Nothing to worry about lads. I'm back in business!"

He grinned before the rope suddenly snapped from its mooring, pulling down a piece of the mast. He ducked from the debris and ran down the deck, reaching for a crate with some of his gear. There was something inside that would flip their bad fortune once and for all — a secret weapon some would say.

"Oy Mavior!" He took out a box filled with dirt. "Hold your position lad!"

"I've got a box of dirt!" He opened the crate and sent a ball of dirt at Mavior, covering his wound in a mud bandage. It was sloppy and some hit his hair, his cheeks and even his nose, but the bleeding stopped for now. "My secret weapon in a land without any land, beautiful innit?"

He chuckled before shooting another dirt missile. This one wrapped around the mast where it was splitting, filling weakspots and binding to the surface. He focused his magic making the dirt more and more dense, turning it into a weak form of concrete. "The box of dirt strikes again," he said with a smile, looking around for more cracks to fill.

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