Yui returned to her room the same way she entered it, through the window. She was glad the elf hadn’t followed, and it was dumb of her to leave him alive. He had been good, drunk or not, and Yui was left impressed and undecided. Perhaps that was why she hadn’t tried to kill him, or maybe the guards saved her as much as they did him. Either way, she had a feeling she would see him again, and when she did, she might end up regretting it.
She managed to clean up, redress in her disguise and pack up her things in a quick manner before descending down into the tavern. It was now filled with people eating breakfast, and Yui made herself among them. She watched Guards enter and ask the inn keeper if he knew of anything about the murder that happened in the city this morning. Apparently the man was related by marriage to Drav. Poor sap. Not an inkling of suspicion was placed towards her as she paid her room and food and left the inn and into the streets. The first thing she did was reach the stables and gathered her horse. One of Cartié’s girls must have come by, because her dappled grey mount was already saddled and her gear was tucked safely in the saddle bags. Yui would have liked to go past the brothel again, to say goodbye, but after her encounter with the Elf she did not want to stay long.
Thankfully the weather was amiable with scattered fluffy clouds and a bright sun. The warmth was only cut by the calm breeze that filtered through the landscape. It was almost picturesque as Yui rode out of New Harlan and took the road back towards Temlis. Part of her considered making a detour to another town for personal reasons, but it would have been one hell of a detour. She was coming upon the split in the road leading to Temlis or to a series of other villages on the road to the Village of Silverthorn. It was a small quaint village, but one Yui had liked well enough she actually owned property there, and it had been a long while since she had paid it or her neighbors a visit. Still, with the harsh fact her previous mission was compromised, though completed, she had to return to Vreal and her contact in Temlis in order to ensure her payment was delivered.
She had a decision to make, the kinds she always had to make. To do something personal and selfish, or do her duty not so much to the Brotherhood, but to Acrius. Holding her horse at the split in the road, she felt a resolve brew inside her. She would finish the task Acrius had asked of her and help Vreal, and as Vreal offered she could live the life of her choosing. She wondered if he would have said that if he knew what she’d chose. She had lied to him when she said she was already doing what she wanted. There was something else she’d rather do, but there was no time to get into that. Yui turned her horse towards Temlis and began to make headway when she entered a forested section of the road. The trees were still thin, but she could see the forest coming up on her, and despite her best awareness an unexpected but all too familiar voice spoke out.
She stopped her horse and turned her head up in the direction of the voice to see the same handsomely smug elf from earlier standing up in a tree munching on a foraged apple. She glared at him unable to do much more at the moment, but his point about being far enough away from New Harlan to do with disguises was correct. She reluctantly removed her wig knowing she’d been had, and only wanted to gouge his eyes out with his unwanted approval. He admitted to underestimating her, typical. Perhaps she should have killed him when she had the chance. Perhaps she should still kill him…
He suddenly threw something at her, and Yui quickly countered it with one of the many knives she kept on her. It sliced into the apple and struck it down to the dirt. She only curled her lip in irritation to see it was his stupid apple and he dropped down to approach her. She remained tense as he came to stroke her horse, who also moved in slight irritation at his proximity. She was seated side saddle and with his nearness if he wished to rip her from the horse, he’d had no trouble in doing so. She watched him closely as he spoke, hoping she got good coin for Drav’s assassination, which now meant he had lost his link to Rezik.
The moment she felt his hand settle on her leg she was ready to kick him square in the face. She stayed herself however and listened closely to what he had to say. Through out his words she remained silent and held and expressionless facade, even when he assumed he had the advantage in an open space. He had no idea what she was capable of. She wanted to punch his smug face, but when he mentioned blackmail and reached into his pocket, she already had another knife ready to cut him down. What could possible be worse than a concealed weapon? A remarkable sketch of her face. He even got the subtle difference in the arches of her eyebrows down. Gods she wanted to kill him more than ever now.
He gave her, her options and laid down his threat in the way of an offer. Too bad her Halberd was tucked safely in her saddle bag, and if she wasn’t wearing this ungodly hot dress she’d jump down and whip his ass again. All he wanted was to be taken to the Brotherhood, and Yui weighted her options. She looked away from him to think, only glancing back at him when he mentioned his name. Alloen… Alloen… nope, she’d never heard on him. It took her a good long while to come to a decision. It wasn’t something to figure lightly. She not only ran the risk of exposing her brethren to this idiot, but also Vreal. Now more than ever he needed protecting. She finally looked back at Alloen and grinned, unable to help herself. She definitely wanted to kill him. It wouldn’t be today, or tomorrow, or anytime soon… but maybe one day if she still felt the same way, she’d get her chance.
Yui finally slid down from her saddle and tucked the wig into a bag and pulled her silver blonde hair up into a messy bun and held it in place with her hair pin. [#87cefa “I have to admit I am contemplating killing you. Then again… no one has ever been capable of matching me before. I have to say, even I was impressed.”] she turned to look at him, more relaxed than before and eyed the apple on the ground with one of her knives through it. She walked over and scooped it up, her skirts swishing around her ankles as she did so and jerked the blade out to feed the apple to her horse. [#87cefa “No one has never been stupid enough to try and blackmail me before either… not that anyone has ever been alive long enough to try it…”] she muttered the last part under her breath, but with his elfish hearing she was sure he heard her. [#87cefa “So I’m going to tell you how this whole exchange is going to go,”] she walked towards him now, hands at her sides and met him toe to toe under the shade of the tree. [#87cefa “I don’t enjoy blackmail. I find it’s a practice employed by people too lazy to draft their own contracts. I love gold and sparkling jewels darling, money would have gotten you a lot further with your request than your flattering little sketch. But since you asked so nicely, I will take you to Temlis and I will show you to the Brotherhood, but I will not guarantee that they will accept your proposed contract -whatever it may be. Take it or leave it. It’s all I can or will offer you.”] she stated without any indication she would be swayed from her condition.
When he accepted she gave him a final look over and returned to her horse. She told him to gather his horse and follow her, but she didn’t wait for him. She started off towards Temlis without Alloen, and had yet to give him her name, but it mattered little as it neared the late afternoon and a rider came charging towards them on the road. She steadied her horse seeing the rider was a Brotherhood Prospect. He rode straight past them before she whistled loudly and shrilly at the boy who quickly turned his horse back around and spotted Yui’s expectant expression. He bashfully moved his horse towards Yui and eyed Alloen cautiously.
[b “Sister Yui, The Commander has sent me to give you this. Your hands and eyes only.”] Yui reached out boredly, but irritated that Alloen knew her name before she was ready to give it. He had her sketch, all he needed was a name to put a face to. Now the fucker had it. Without much thought she broke the wax seal and unfolded the parchment to read. Vreal’s script crossed the page telling her a tall tale about a demon and the loss of men. He was injured and unable to leave Temlis on his own. He was waiting for her return. Injured? Vreal? Frustration welled inside her. She’d never fulfill Acrius’ wishes if the idiot killed himself before hand. She folded the letter back up and put it in the safest place for the time being until she could burn it. She tucked it directly between the cleavage of her breasts and without warning or word urged her horse into a gallop. The prospect shared a look with Alloen before he too took off after his superior officer.
Yui would have normally just camped on the side of the road for the evening and finished the ride nice and easy in the morning making it to Temlis by midday. However with an injured prince under her protection, and no good bounty hunters sniffing around for him, she couldn’t stay away a moment longer. At the speed she pushed her horse they arrived in Temlis well after nightfall and in the midst of rowdy late night drinking. She dismounted her horse and tossed the reins to the prospect and entered the tavern where Vreal and she kept rooms. She let Alloen follow her in but no sooner had she entered did her brethren notice her return and several teasing whistles were made her way. It resulted in a reciprocated middle finger, and vigorous laughter of her brothers. No doubt triggered by the rare sight of Yui in a dress fitting a proper young woman. [#87cefa “Boys, why don’t you do me a favor and keep my new friend company,”] she gripped Alloen’s shoulder, a wicked smirk on her face and a look of understanding seemed to cross the men’s faces by her sarcasm. She left Alloen to ascend the stairs when she stopped short as if the thought had nearly escaped her and informed them to ‘Play nice’. With Yui out of sight and up the stairs the men turned and grinned devilishly at Alloen.
Yui made her way to Vreal’s room and knocked quickly before she entered. She cringed at the sight. He was beat up, but he at least looked alive. Yui walked over and reached out to check the cuts and bruises on his face. Touching him caused his hand to lash out and grab her wrist. Something she was all too prepared for. Her stone cold expression greeted his waking eyes and she arched a brow at him. [#87cefa “I’m gone for two days and you manage to nearly get yourself killed. Tell me, how am I’m supposed to fulfill Acrius’ last request and help you if you’re dead?”] She sighed then, tsking at the lacking skill of Temlis’ healer and walked out of the room before Vreal could answer what was a rhetorical question. She returned with a tin filled with a tincture to help with healing and scars and sat down on the edge of his bed. [#87cefa “I can see you met with that hack of a healer… no one wants a deformed king…”] she scoffed under her breath and dipped her fingers into the green paste before she reached out to put it on Vreal’s face, but she stopped. This was a Druid healing practice, and one she had not performed on anyone in years -because to do so would have exposed her. She got over it quick enough, and pressed the icy cold mixture to his skin. As she did so a healing yellow light radiated off her fingertips and she muttered a quiet druid spell that made the paste absorb into his skin and rightfully mend the skin together. What had been red and raw was now healed seamlessly and left the scaring minimal. [#87cefa “Where else were you hit?”] she demanded to know -not trusting the Temlis’ healer’s ability against her own Druid teachings. When he showed her where he’d been hit on his stomach she glared at him. She wanted to call him a stupid son-of-a-bitch, but held her tongue. The healer had seen to it his more fatal internal wounds were mended, but hadn’t bothered to really mend the superficial skin. Again, Yui glared. This left Vreal prone to infection, something she couldn’t have.
No matter how awkward it felt to sit like this, healing Vreal, she pushed it to the back of her mind and focused on seeing to it that he was brought back to top shape. The expense of energy caused sweat to form on her brow, and left her feeling pale by the time she finished. She still managed a smirk though and nodded -pleased with her handiwork. [#87cefa “There, now you can continue your days as a lady killer.”] she told him plainly. [#87cefa “Before you can do that though, I have to inform you… my mission was compromised -I’ve been compromised.”] She clarified and confessed. She proceeded to then tell him about her run in with Alloen, their fight, and that even though she managed to complete the job, he had caught up to her. She told him about the sketch and blackmail, and then how he had wanted to meet Rezik. She didn’t think he believed her to actually be a leader and commander in the Brotherhood because he had asked her to bring him here, but she confessed she had no idea what it was he wanted yet. [#87cefa “I got your message and I knew I couldn’t leave you unattended while injured. So I returned post haste. I’m sorry. I should have killed the elf too when I had the chance.”]
Vreal listened to her accepting his conditions which were good to hear. It was the request to battle a few mercenaries to test their strength. It wasn't so much that she wanted to fight a mercenary...but a few? He smiled at the thought of this woman roughing up his men which just from their brief exchange of words he figured she would be able to do so handily. Vreal was pretty good about judging someones strength by how they carried themselves and her eyes had a look in them that nearly rivaled Yui's own look. He looked her in the eyes and nodded in agreement that he would allow such a thing to happen. Being humbled was good every now and then and it would do to show these men that they do still have weaknesses to work on. Now he just had to decide who was the cockiest to get knocked down. It would help to throw one with the least experiance into this situation as well as it could give that person a goal. [+blue This is an arrangement I will be happy to..] Vreal was interrupted by a noise at the gate. One of the mercenaries was running through the graveyard directly to them.
When the man reached his goal he knelt over to catch his breath. [+red Sir...we found it.. We found the den where the spell was cast to raise the dead that attacked us the other night...We..I...barely made it out alive everyone else is....] The man said between breaths. [+blue Calm down and start from the beginning. Leave no details out.] Vreal said calmly while placing a hand on the mans shoulder and helping him to stand at full height. [+red Yes sir. We were the detachment that headed west of town into the woods. We came across a large ruin past the river. It had a dark feel to it. We approached it and a cold chill swept over us all and it was like something was staring at us hungrily. We went in to investigate and if need be kill the necromancers if we could manage it. It was dark inside and there were cobwebs everywhere so we expected it hadn't been used in a very long time we didn't expect there to be a whole den of necromancers to actually be inside. Taveius went and opened a stone door and a blast of cold magic froze him in place..then he crumbled into a pile of frost dust...We turned to run but were cut off by a few undead. We handled them but another one of us were felled when a bolt struck him in the back and exploded horrendously dousing us in his blood. I glimpsed a group of men and women in black robes with some kind of green ominous magic surrounding them it was as though they were in the middle of a ritual. As those of us that remained tried to escape two were captured with a paralysis spell and dragged away. I can hear their screams...but I am sure they are dead now too. I heard one of them talk about a summoning....to kill the torn. They are summoning a demon...I was attacked at the river by the last of our own. It seemed he was a traitor working for them for quite some time said I couldn't make it back here because then the plan would be ruined.] The man said as calm as he could.
Vreal was surprised by the tale recounted to him. [+blue Go rest I will finish up here and then I will put together a team to handle this affair personally.] Vreal said dismissing the man back to town. When the man was far enough away he turned back towards Insae and frowned. [+blue The duel will take place the day after tomorrow. If you understand the situation well enough it is something I must take care of personally and immediately. Since we are in agreement with everything else I will see you then.] Vreal bowed to her and excused himself. He left the graveyard and made strait for the tent. [+blue [i Dammit if Yui were here we could handle this more effectively but if what he heard is true then I can't waste time.]] He thought while compiling a team together and setting off into the western region of the woods.
They walked for what seemed like hours through the dimming light. Night time was definitely where they would be at the disadvantage but they no longer had the luxury of time. The march took them well into the night. They approached the river and saw the body of the man who was the supposed traitor. Vreal rolled him over and took a look at his face. He searched the body of the man looking for some sort of intel. He found a note on the corpse and held a torch close to read it. He learned the man was indeed a spy working for these necromancers who were employed by the king. A smart man would have read the letter and burned it so if he died this information would not come to light. Vreal folded the paper up and stuck it in a pocket. They crossed the river and walked for roughly another hour. Vreal could see the ruin now. He stopped his team and they all took a knee. [+blue Careful. No mistakes here they will kill you on sight. They definitely have detection spells up so there is no sneaking in on normal means. So the plan is going to go like this. You will each cast a spell on yourselves to get past the detection barrier. Once we are in you can undo the spell it is reasonable to assume this is a barrier simply because it would cost to much magic for them to run a continuos detection a barrier can be placed and forgotten about. When we are inside we will approach slowly at first. If we find the room I was told about we will storm it. We should have the element of suprise from the moment we pass the barrier. This is a shock tactic we will employ. I want my casters in the back. I want our swordsman in the middle and I want the shields behind me.] Vreal said to them with a hushed voice. [+red Sir why are you going to be in the front? Isn't that too dangerous a spot for you one of us should hold that.] One of the men questioned. [+blue A leader puts his men behind him so that none die in front of him. It is my duty to lead, my duty is to make sure you guys have every chance possible to make it home to your families. I have a duty to them and to you. You have children that need a father and I won't see you die and I sure as hell don't want to be the one to tell them you died because you were the first in line. I have dealt with casters like this on a few jobs in the past. They don't handle close combat well. It's why this formation was picked and why this plan will work.] Vreal said with a smile. [+blue One more thing. If a demon appears you are all to abandon this mission and go home immediately. I will kill it or at least do my best to hold it off so you can make it out of here. Don't look back. Don't return. Do not think of anything other then getting home and getting away.] Vreal ordered. The men all had this grave look on their faces as though they completely understood thier situation.
Vreal turned back to the ruins and cast his cloaking spell to break through the barrier stealthily. He felt a cold chill pass over him as he stepped past it and for a second he thought he was going to be frozen. When that did not happen he kept walking. When the feeling passed he knew he had made it through the barrier. He didn't feel something staring at him so he knew it had worked. They would have known if they were being watched. The men moved in the formation ordered. Vreal looked at the wall as they went through as quiet as they could. These were elvish. Ancient elvish. He could read a little of the text but it was so old and degraded there was no way to fully decipher it in this light. [+blue [+i Etra bein trul..batta ATREUS....]] Vreal read while stopping on the last word. Atreus. That was a name. That was a demon he recognized from an old scroll he had read as a child. There was a demon that ravaged this portion of the land and was sealed away and it's name was Atreus. If these necromancers were planning on unsealing this demon and unleashing it on the torn there would be no stopping it. This was a grade one danger. Vreal did not voice this concern. They came to a room that was lit with green fire. Magic magelight. He heard chanting on the other side they hadn't been detected or that would have stopped. He heard one of them Speak loudly. [b LORD ATREUS OF THE DEMON PLANE WE SUMMON YOU BACK TO ANNIHILATE THE TORN ARMY AND SECURE A VICTORY FOR OUR KING ACCEPT THIS PITIABLE MERCENARY AS A SACRIFICE AND USE THIS VESSEL TO RETURN AND FULFILL YOUR DUTY...] The deep voice said while. Vreal motioned to the men. He stood in front of the door now and placed a hand on it. He cast a spell on the door and it detonated sending shards of stone into the first necromancer on the other side. The mercenaries along with Vreal stormed in and chaos ensued.
Vreal cut down another necromancer quickly and turned his attention to the altar. He saw his captured mercenary rise up as the ritual was almost complete when they stormed in. A dark magic permeated the air and started to swirl around the man. It was a mix of black, red, and green mist that started to enter the mans eyes, mouth and nose. Suffocating him. Vreal rushed forward and pulled the man down to try and interrupt the ritual. The dead were rising around him now. His casters were sending bolts of lightning past him at the head necromancer. Vreal slapped his mercenary on the chest and it seemed to stir him. [+red Sir.you.....misunderstand...] The man said as blood seeped out of his eyes. He died right there coughing blood onto Vreals armor. Vreal looked up at the head necromancer and saw his eyes turn red and magic not of this plane started to radiate off of him. Vreal understood now. [+blue This.....vessel....was talking about you. Not him.] Vreal stood up and unsheated his second blade now. The rest of the necromancers were dead now and it seemed the mercenaries did not understand the situation now had gone worst case. [+blue Get out of here now!] Vreal ordered. The mercenaries stayed. [+red Sir we regret to inform you that is not an order we cannot accept. We are your charges, and your friends. We all fought alongside you and we will be damned if we let you sacrifice yourself for us. We are men. We all underwent the Trial of Fire to become mercenaries. If we let you die here if we let this demon succeed none of this would matter we would die anyway. Sooner or later.] The man behind him said bravely. [b You will all die here. I will spill your blood on the altar and devour your hearts. I will absorb your magic and grow further in power. The gap between us is something you cannot fathom. Your mortal existence is on no worry to me.] The demon spoke as it took another form. It was taking on it's true form as it spoke. It still looked of a man but those were the most dangerous kinds. The kind you could not tell whether it was actually a demon and could walk amongst man was rare and extremely powerful.
Vreal looked it in the eyes and without showing fear regardless of how much fear he actually felt rushed forward along with the men at his back. The demon raised a hand and a burst of magic erupted from it's palm. It knocked them all back without breaking a sweat. Vreal hit the ground and the demon approached slowly. Vreal stood up and raised his blades in front of him. The demon chuckled at this. Vreal had never felt so outmatched. The demon summoned a blade into his hand. [b I never understood why you mortals would chose a weapon so crude over magic. I will humor you though.] It said in a condescending tone. It rushed Vreal with inhuman speed. It took Vreals best reaction possible just to block the slash. He managed to do so but the force from the blow was enough to blow him back and hit the wall. The casters in the back started to stand and began casting powerful restraint spells but they seemingly had no effect on the demon. The swordsman all rushed during the opening and surrounded the demon who seemed to delight in this. Fangs bared at the men the demon roared and dark spikes writhed out of his form and stabbed each man in the leg that had surrounded him. He was relishing this torture. He could have killed them all right then but to hit their legs was just to torture them. Vreal pushed off the wall and felt something hot drip down his neck. His head was bleeding. He infused magic into his body. [+blue Atreus. I know of you. I know how you were stopped and...I know you are weakened and need our magic to restore yourself. I won't let you take it.] Vreal said while running forward with infused magical speed. The demon looked at him and smirked. [b I've been sapping your strength since you entered the barrier you fools.] Atreus said while parrying Vreals blow. A spike shot towards Vreal and had it not been for magic it would have hit. Vreal rolled to the side and jumped forward at the demon. Atreus blocked the strike again and was growing more and more powerful by the minute. Vreal glanced at the wall with writing and smiled.
[+blue This is the mortal plane and you have made a mistake coming back. I know your weakness.] Vreal said while the mercenaries ripped the spikes out of their legs and all dove backwards as the casters summoned a powerful combined spell fire rippled over their heads and Vreal ducked under it. The fire swept over Atreus but wasn't actually strong enough to push him back. It did however blind him with the light for a moment. Vreal took advantage of this moment and slashed the demon across the hip. The demon recoiled as pain did exist here for him. He let magic explode out of his body which knocked all of the mercenaries and Vreal back into the previous room. Some were instantly knocked out by this explosion. The magelights flickered out of existence at this outburst. Vreal stood up in total darkness the only light was the red from the demons eyes. He couldn't see the other men in the room with him it was pitch black. The building shook dangerously as magic swept through the room again. Once more it was powerful enough to push them back. The ruins started to fall around them. The ceiling collapsed which gave off moonlight and the casters that were aware enough put up their absolute defense a bubble barrier that protected the mercenaries and Vreal. The pressure from the ceiling hitting the barrier was enough to kill two of the five casters instantly as it drained every bit of energy they had to give. The other three were rendered unconscious and on the verge of death but the rest of the men were alive. The ruins crumbled and when it was clear nothing else was left to fall the bubble dissapeared. Vreal picked himself off the ground. Blood dripped into his left eye which he was forced to shut now. He stared at the demon who was only barely scraped from the hip slash. Vreal put and hand on his knee and pushed himself up to his full height.
Atreus wasted no time charging Vreal. Vreal parried two of the attack but took a shallow cut to his left side. It would have been much worse had his armor not been there to take the brunt of the attack. Vreal knew he was bleeding all over now. Adrenaline coursed through his veins at this point. Magic was swelling inside his body which was a feeling he had only felt once and only recently. He remembered this feeling from when he was investigating the permeating magic. He wiped the blood from his eye and stared into Atreus's eyes with his standard steely gaze. The demon was enjoying this more and more. [b Not many humans can withstand this so long. You must be a little different...but your still human.] The demon said while rushing Vreal once more. Atreus jumped up with his inhuman movement and stabbed down at Vreal. Vreal slashed over his head and parried the blow. He dropped his second sword and with his free hand. Time seemed to slow down for him like it had before. The power inside was reaching it's breaking point. [+blue You were defeated...by a king who knew Light Sealing.] Vreal said while unleashing the power upon Atreus. A streak of light surrounded the demon like the mist that surrounded the mercenary on the altar. A seal surrounded the demon on all sides. It paralysed the demon in place on the ground. [b How did you learn this....] The demon said now furious with his mistake of just not killing all these men the moment he returned. [+blue I read scrolls about you as a child...I could never have imagined in my worst nightmares that you would ever return.] Vreal looked around him. The others were all unconscious with three dead. [+blue It was my ancestor that sealed you. But it will be me who kills your forever.] Vreal said as his energy drained it took everything he had and more to stay standing. Blood was draining from his body at an alarming rate. He made his way to the barrier seal slowly and raised his blade overhead. He mustered what strength he had left and drove the blade downward through the seal and into the demons neck and chest until the entire blade was buried in the demons body blood spurted out and covered Vreal from head to waist. Vreal pulled the blade out as the demon took it's last angry breath. [b You.....wretched human..] Atreus said before dying. Vreal used his blade as a crutch. The blacksmith certainly would not like that.
Vreal had almost no energy left it was all he could do to stand upright as one of the casters started to come to. He saw the condition Vreal was in and rushed to him. [+red Sir....I will heal the most serious of your wounds I...don't have much magic left in me right now but I can fix those at least.] The man said as a yellow light appeared in the mans palm and he placed it over where the bleeding was most profuse. it couldn't seal the wounds but it made them shallow enough where he wouldn't lose enough to die. [+blue Wake the rest of them up. We are leaving here and getting at least to the river.] Vreal said while walking over to one of the men and tapping his boot with his sword. It took about ten minutes to get all them all up. [+blue Is everyone able to move well enough?] Vreal asked tiredly. They all nodded that they could walk on their own. [+red What about you sir?] One of them asked with a smile. [+blue Fuck you. I can move. Maybe.] Vreal said with a chuckle. With the situation as it was and how things had passed it was a wonder anyone could have a sense of humor now. Things turned grim though as Vreal thought of the dead. [+blue We can't take them with us right now. We will send a recovery team to retrieve their bodies in the morning.] Vreal said while lighting a torch and throwing it on the demons body. The fire burned the body away quickly. They all started to walk back towards the river.
[+blue I could use a drink.] Vreal said as they all walked slowly because of their bruises and cuts. One of the mercenaries handed him a flask. [+blue You brought a flask with you to fight necromancers?] Vreal asked while raising an eyebrow at the man. [+red Ya never know when you will have your last drink sir.] The man said lightly. [+blue Fair enough.] Vreal said while accepting the flask and taking a good swig of it. It was potent and burned on the way down. It was good. [+blue What is this?] Vreal asked curiously. [+red It's called whiskey have you never tried it?] The mercenary asked with a chuckle. [+blue Nope never might have to drink more of this it's better than our mead we normally get. Can you get more of this?] Vreal asked the man. [+red Sure can.] The man said while passing the flask around so everyone could take one swig to give them the strength to want to move further. Every man took a drink and when it got back around it was empty. [+red Damn....now how am i to look at my wife when we get home you pigs?] The mercenary said jokingly. [+blue Maybe you could just blow out the candles and not look at her.] Vreal teased. [+red I'm a drunk not a suicidal man. No I will just have to suffer the wrath of my eyes.] The mercenary said. All the man chuckled at this. It was something to pass the time to joke around like this. Before they knew it they were across the river. [+blue Set up camp for now and we will leave...whenever we wake up.] Vreal said. The men started a fire on the bank and listened to the rushing water. They had helped with a great deed today and they were going to talk about it for sure. Word will spread that a demon had been brought to this realm and slain and that men had lost their lives for this. They each thought of this while sitting around the fire. When it got to early they all fell asleep to the sound of rushing water and croaking frogs.
Hours passed in the night with nothing happening. They slept like stones. When the sun started to rise only what felt was to shortly it woke them up with light shining in their eyes. They each sat up and yawned. Vreal stood up and stretched. They were all still tired and they were all still beat up. When the group was ready to move they started walking towards the town. They arrived around noon. People definitely noticed the shape they were in. Vreal went to the Tavern and ordered a drink and something to eat for breakfast. The Tavernkeep brought him food and remarked how he looked like hell. [+blue Thanks I woke up like this.] Vreal said while eating slowly. [+red You ought to go see the healer sometime today. Those are sure to scar if you don't.] The man said while pointing at Vreals side and forehead. [+blue I will do so after I eat.] Vreal said while thanking the barkeep for the advice. The man walked away to attend other customers now. When Vreal finished up eating he paid for the food and left the Tavern. He went to the Healers hut and entered. When he closed the door he took his rent armor off. The woman rushed over to him with a really angry look. [+red You are the fifth one to come in here today looking like this. What did you all do last night?] She said like a scolding mother. [+blue Oh you know....mischief.] Vreal said while she started to heal the deepest wounds and leaving the bruises to heal on their own. [+red Mercenaries.] The woman said shaking her head and sighing. When Vreal was healed of his cuts she let him go. [+red Haven't you ever heard of dodging and blocking?] She asked. [+blue I did. The enemy was just that strong.] He said while standing up with the broken armor in one hand. The lady waved him off and got to work on other people in need of healing.
Vreal walked towards the blacksmiths shop she certainly wasn't going to be happy about the armor. She might like the money it's going to cost him though. He walked in and the little dwarven blacksmith looked at him then at the armor and then back up to him. [+red Aye 'aven't ye ever 'eard of blockin and dodgin?] She asked sarcastically while taking the armor and placing it on the counter. Vreal chuckled and handed her the money it would cost to repair and for labor. [+blue You're not the first to ask.] He said. [+blue When can I expect it to be fixed?] He asked the smith. [+red Come back in the morn.] She said while getting back to work at the forge. Vreal nodded and left. He had two more things to do before he could actually sleep this day off. He headed to his command tent and rounded up a six man team to retrieve the bodies. He explained where they could be found and left out why they had to retrieve them. He then had two other men prepare graves. And then he had one man to deliver inheritance money to their families with his condolences for their loss. Once he had done that he wrote a letter to be delivered to Yui upon her return detailing what had occured in her absence with the demon and that he wouldn't be leaving until she had returned due to injuries sustained. It was likely by the time she returned all affairs would be in order and they could start heading out to where she had discussed before she left out on her mission.
He sealed the letter and handed it off to a courier. [+blue Find Yui on the road and deliver this as soon as possible. Her hands only.] Vreal said while paying the man so he could go to the inn and go to sleep. The courier rushed off and Vreal took that as his queue to leave as well. He made his way to the inn and rented a room without windows. When he got into the room he secured the door and stripped off all of his Sabatons, bracers, belt, and greaves. He placed them in a corner and then laid down on the bed so that he could sleep. He laid there awake for only a few minutes before actually passing out. If anyone needed him he told the Inn keep to just have them come knock and wake him up but to at least give him a few hours.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Why oh why was he allowing this mysterious woman to manhandle his weapon aside and approach him without a response? She was pretty yes, but so were a thousand other women he had seen in the last year alone. His upper hand in having her at the point of his glaive had been wasted in a few words that sprinkled enough doubt on his mind to swing the pendulum of advantage in her favour. Her hand was warm atop his own yet no sense of perspiration to denote she feared the moment, indeed she smiled when he confirmed she was perhaps right with her assumption.
The means in which he had drawn the weapon he was turned side on to her, though now she stood near to his chest and both their eyes turned for a moment to look across to Drav. With his whimpers and whines his only response, Alloen looked back and moments later his violet eyes met with hers, if only for a moment. Their back and forth continued a little longer and his eyes narrowed on her questioningly as she informed him Rezik was dead. She wanted Drav so likely she would point to him being dead to make the snivelling man useless to him. It seemed the worm agreed.
[+green “Sorry ma'am, but I am certain he knows this Rezik character. You are but a beautiful stranger.”] Her hand pulled back from him the moment his own had tensed and there was little doubt they would have to settle this via physical means – a pity it wasn't the physical type he preferred with the opposite sex.
To say nothing else of Yui, she was undoubtedly swift with her hands. A knife had whipped out from behind her back and impaled Drav's hand to the soft dirt. And no sooner had she emptied her hand did a new blade appear and joined by a duplicate in her other slender hand. Quite the show, but this was not the time for infatuation. Aware that the area was too small to work his glaive in he twisted the staff and with a [i ratcheted clink-clank] sound the pole slipped into itself, shortening the length of the weapon by a good two feet. Now it was able to be utilized he swung it upward though only succeeded with pushing her back.
The fight was more back and forth than he would have liked. She teased him through out and though he responded with half smiles, mentally he only felt more captivated by her. It dawned on the elven male he was fighting a feminine version of himself; cocky, an excellent fighter, infuriatingly attractive. Perhaps the momentary glimpse down at her retreating backside had been his downfall – quite literally – as she swung back and planted both feet into his chest thrusting him down into the ground with a grunt of discomfort. He was not accustomed to such rough play, at least not.. well, you could easily guess the sexual ending of such a thought.
Grasping the glaive tightly in hand he swung his feet in a flurry and jumped up in a moment. The fight was getting a tiny bit tedious and he was not looking to acquire any more bruises or aching body parts. Turning toward her his eyes narrowed with fury as she turned to him with a severed ear in hand. The sight of her over the deceased Drav's body did not disturb him – nor the fact she had taken a token of the man to fulfil her contract – it was the audacity she had in looking on with the same cold and unmoving look most people had before they attempted to kill him.
She thought [i she] could kill [i him]?
Alloen had been happy to indulge her and fight for the sake of a fight – it was always amusing to kill a presumptuous opponent and see the smugness die in their eyes. He had no-where else to be but here, with Drav, dragging him off to find Rezik. But now his catch was dead, Rezik was supposedly dead, and the only one who could lead him to where he wanted to be was staring up at him with belief she could kill him. Or at the very least die trying. It was just not done! But he his internal debate had bought her all the time she needed. The cry of the guards from down the streets, likely led there by a concerned local fearing two persons fighting one another near their home, ended their fight before he could run her through with his glaive.
Yui was gone in moments, her offer for him to follow was rather alluring given the alternative was a desperate struggle against numerous foes in a narrow space. But she just had to go for the athletic and sprite exit-point didn't she? Clad in chain and leather he was not going to be hoping about and acrobatically jumping about the rooftops. He would fall between said buildings and break a bone or his neck.
Swearing elven under his breath he instead eyes a door leading off the alleyway. The shortened glaive was fixed onto his back before he took off, springing off the wall opposite to throw his weight behind his shoulder and barge the door open in a hail of splintered wood and dust. The momentum carried him down the dark hallway inside, the rented accommodations of several homes branched off this main thoroughfare. One or two doors squeaked open on hearing the crashing noise of the door, only for the man to charge past them in an obvious hurry and again break through the next door, thankfully this one was more a deterrent to wild animals and the like, quite brittle and weak to his shoulder. Of course if he had stopped to pull at the handle it would have opened with ease inwards, but now was a time for action and so it was left hanging from it's upper hinge behind Alloen.
Out into the open he used the maze of alleys, darkened corners and doorways to duck into and make his escape from New Harlan. The guards would be too distracted with the body of Drav to put up any serious resistance to stopping anyone from leaving – but even if they did he had no blood on him and would not constitute a threat. Indeed one or two gave him a hearty grin and cheer – admirers of his late night song. Away from the fight and the body, he retrieved his horse from a stable near the town entrance and made his way out west. He had a date with a certain blonde woman.
Sadly, or happily depending on how you viewed her disguise to her natural form, she was dolled up by the time her horse came trotting along a copse of trees he had stowed a way in, beside the road heading to Temlis. With wig in place and make-up a plenty she was back to her high chest ways and he whistled his appreciation to draw her attention, sat along a tree branch beside the main road with a foraged apple in his hand.
[+green “So, back to the fierce red-head so soon?”] The slight sadness in his voice was evident but his eyes ran the length of her figure with no shame.[+green “Come now, we are far enough away from New Haven to do away with disguises.”] Though he was teasing her she only narrowed her sparkling eyes at him with mistrust and the wig was removed slowly, long flowing blonde hair let free once more.[+green “There we go. I most definitely approve.”] He teased mercilessly.
To see her in a non-threatening manner, as he had when she first turned up in the alleyway, he was rather keen on her. Again the desire to make a pass at her and flirt heavily was there but he knew after their fight it would be best to hold off on antagonising her further. At least for now. But even the slight pout she had from looking at him, no doubt wishing she had buried a knife in his back and left him to die with Drav. But she hadn't. She had been honourable in that fact and thus why he had not attacked her now. Instead he grinned mischievously,[+green “Bravo on the fight m'lady. You got in some good strikes though know I will not underestimate you as some sweet and sugary delight next time – should there be a next time.”] The apple in hand is lofted a few times before he swings his arm back to throw it toward her.
Perhaps having expected him to attack her the apple is impaled upon one of her multiple daggers no doubt dotted about her enticing figure. He grins at the action, confirming his thoughts on her lethality and chuckling heartily. Alloen pushed from his branch to land on the ground, leaves crunching under his boot as he approached her horse and with a tentative hand lays it on the beasts flank.
[+green “No need for weapons here, Drav is dead and with him any use to me. I hope he fetches you a pretty coin or two. Tis' the least he could do with his miserably wretched life.”] He runs his fingers along the horses side, stroking the mare slowly and smiling before turning his lilac eyes up to her, bright and more pronounced in the sun. From this closeness she would see the gentle bruising at her jawline from her hit.[+green “However, with that said, you can probably see my conundrum. He was my link to Rezak – or Rezik as you say – and so with the man dead, I have no guide.”] His hand had travelled along the horse and without permission he let it rest upon her calf, light and without menace.
[+green “You seem to know this 'Brotherhood' very well. You also seem to have a lot of knowledge on the man I seek. And at this moment in time, away from the alleyway, I would say I have the advantage if we were to come to another fight. So we are at a bit of a crossroads aren't we?”] He was asking rhetorically. Like her hand had rested upon his earlier so now he leaves a hand to rest on her calf. The muscle definition alone is enough to have him swoon. Yet his eyes remain fixated upward upon hers and the devilish humour dances about his face.
[+green “On one hand, I despise informants. On the other hand, I need your help. If you are not in a position to refuse, all the better. So, for the time being, I'm going to make this blackmail malarkey work to my benefit. Still, having said that, I feel guilty so,”] his hand dropped from her figure to his side and he takes out a piece of paper,[+green “I would like the two of us to enter into an agreement.”] Only now does Alloen notice her hands clench tighter around her blades, perhaps having anticipated him striking out at her. He chuckles deeply.[+green “I told you my dear, no need for weapons – not just yet. Now, my offer.”] The paper is lifted up for her to see a quite uncanny charcoal sketch of her face. It is not a mirror image by any means but the likeness is striking, perhaps a touch flattering to her features also.
[+green “You can kick me aside and take your horse and run along and be on your merry way, but I will ensure this likeness is plastered from here to the ends of the world – no doubt the King would love to have a face to put to the Brotherhood leadership.”] There is a touch of hatred in her eyes but he raises a finger from his free hand and wags it at her like a mother scolding their child.[+green “Ah, yes, your second option – attack me. But given the open space and my knowledge of your fighting style, I should think I can best you – or at the very least fatally wound you.”] Her face hardens a touch but as if she reconciles the fact they are quite an even match, he sees the muscles relax and he nods with a smug smile. He could see he had worn her down enough to feel his offer would have some sway to it.
[+green “Now that you know your two options for turning me down, let me give you my proposition for what I want in return for neither of those two awful, messy outcomes – you take me to the Brotherhood.”] With his offer given he stepped backwards several steps, back toward the tree he had inhabited, not turning away from her lest a dagger find it's way to his spine.
The offer was as simple as that and yet it would take her some deliberation to work through such an offer. She would weigh up the risks of exposing her 'brothers' against the man before her being in league with the King. He could very well dash such fears by saying such, but to see the anguish in her eyes as she debates such a proposition would much more wholesome to him. Several feet away now he rolls the piece of parchment paper back up and watches her with great amusement.[+green “By the by, I am Alloen, if that helps any.”] Perhaps she had heard of him? Probably not.
All in all, it had been a great day. Insae had not expected to make this much progress in such few hours. It had been luck, or had it been fate, that she had run into Yui and her partner the day of arriving here.
But at the same time she could not get cocky. Insae knew she'd still have to deal with Yui's partner, and that meant having to deal with possibly rounds of negotiations. She was used to negotiations for it was simply bartering, and Insae had picked up many tips and tricks on how to barter.
As Insae breathed in, she picked up the smell of meat - cooked ham to be precise. Turning away from the stone marking over to the grave to face the other way, Insae peered to where the entrance of the cemetery. And there he was, slowly making his way over with flowers, ham, and a flask in hand.
Hopefully she had not interrupted him mid-meal. Wait, what was she even thinking about? Even if he had received her note mid-meal, he had been the one to make the choice of walking out mid-meal. So if he was grumpy about having his meal interrupted, that was his fault.
As soon as he had walked close enough, he remarked about not being used to such an interesting location. Well, he could thank his partner Yui for the idea.
And going along with the "respecting the dead" disguise, he gently placed a flower over each grave. He even gave her a flower, which she laid down over a grave with respect.
So that was what the food and drink was for. He had not known that she had gotten a bite to eat, so he had brought food and drink along in case she had not gotten a bite to eat.
Insae appreciated the offer. But she also realized she still felt hungry, might as well eat and drink her fill.
She ate and listened at the same time, Insae could do both at the same time. Even though the cooked ham tasted delicious, Insae's mind were on the words which Yui's partner spoke.
Well, this would be easier than she thought. When talking with the Torn Army liaison, the liaison had raised a high bar when it came to setting the price of one mercenary. It wasn't surprising, for the Torn Army had plenty of low quality of arms and armour, and anything which was of higher quality would most likely be overestimated by them.
And Insae had no problems with either what happened to the gold whether the mercenaries lived or died, or the punishment part. The punishment part made sense, since the mercenaries were much more likely to take the punishment if it came from under one of their own then from someone who was with the Torn Army.
After he had finished talking, Insae let him gaze upon her. She just calmly took another bite of the ham, slowly munching and savouring the flower. Then after the wrapping the ham back up and placing it down, Insae popped open the flask. Hard cider, that was a good drink after some cooked ham.
Closing the flask, Insae turned to face Yui's partner. It seemed a bit comedical, since he was a good bit taller than her. But Insae did not feel one bit intimidated, even with the addition of his steely gaze, she merely gazed back at him with the same determination.
[+purple "That, will be very agreeable. But first, just to satisfy a personal curiosity, I'd like to have a fight against a few of your mercenaries."]
Yui herself would have stayed up to take Drav out, but between the lack of sleep from last nights battle, the news of Acrius, and the prep work it took just to get to Drav, her ride into New Harlan, and playing the role of Adelaide; Yui was exhausted. Too tired to try and murder a man and not get caught. She needed a clean head, and it wasn’t likely for Drav to go anywhere soon. He had promised to meet with her upon the morning. She intended to lead him away from the city and out for a ‘picnic’. Then she’d poison him, and leave him in the lake for the fish to feed on. Hogs were preferred, but fish would do.
As she woke up feeling quite refreshed and ready to seduce her target away from prying eyes, she heard the front door of the tavern slam open. Curiously she rose from bed bleary-eyed, and looked out to see the sun was just starting to rise over the tops of buildings, and she spotted the same dark haired elf from last night dragging out her target.
[#87cefa “What the f’ff - Gods Damnit!”] she barked once she realized the Bard had a hold of her target and carrying a glaive on his person. She wouldn’t get paid if she wasn’t the one who killed him! She had to send back part of Drav as proof. Her client specifically wanted Drav’s other ear, he’d made that very clear. She needed to hurry and dress so she could chase after them.
She couldn’t run them down in just a night tunic, and it would take too long to get back into her disguise. With quick efficiency she jumped into her trews, her boots and leather jerkin, as well as her knife belt and collapsed halberd. She didn’t have time to run down halls or streets and follow, so instead she opened her window and climbed out onto the tavern’s roof. Good thing Yui was not afraid of heights. She followed the pair by the rooftops she could cross until they scattered between a set of residential buildings she couldn’t jump up to. Instead she jumped over to a lower roof, and down again until she reached a reasonable height she could jump down from.
She dropped down to the ground with muffled feet just in time to hear a scuffle around the corner. In annoyance, she grit her teeth. She couldn’t lose this mark. She needed that payout. Cartié wasn’t far off last night in her statement; and she’d damned if she lost it to some... some [i Bard]! She came upon their conversation, and waited to listen in. The more she knew, the better she could understand the situation, formulate a plan, and get to know her rival.
[b “What you on 'bout, I don't sell loaded dice.”] She could hear Drav moan, right before his voice was twisted by the pressure of a boot on his throat. Carefully she looked around the corner and took in the sight hidden away in the shadowed ally. The elven bard had his foot on Drav’s throat suggesting to jog his memory about a man named Rezak and how he wanted to meet him. If he didn’t know where to find Rezak then the bard was going to kill him. Yui glared did he mean her Rezik? The same Rezik from the Brotherhood, who Vreal had defeated just yesterday? [i That] Rezik? This was definitely no typical Bard. Before she would give Drav a chance to answer the man, she stepped out in a relaxed manner and made her presence known when she purposefully turned her boot into the gravel to face them.
It had the effect she was looking for, and both men turned their eyes to gaze upon her. She remained silent watching the elf more than Drav. He was currently doubled over trying to breathe, and Yui had not paid enough attention to the glaive wielding Bard last night to give Drav another moment of her time. Smoothly she drew a hand up her thigh and towards her backside, where she had a knife handy. Slowly she wrapped her fingers around it, anticipating if the Elf might turn that Glaive on her, or if Drav tried to run away. Instead his eyes had followed her hand, and Yui began to read him. He was elven, obvious by his ears, no doubt many a woman had swooned at the sight of him. Yui had to admit: if she were a lesser woman, or on holiday, she would have plucked him from the crowd and had her way with him.
[#008080 “I say, yum yum.”] He purred as he took in the sight of her. She kept her jaw firm, loathing that she wasn’t in disguise and this random elf now knew her face, loathing even more she found him attractive. Instead she flashed him a slow cool smile. He clearly liked what he saw... men... no matter their species, could be rather predictable at times. She remained silent, save for the smirk she wore that did plenty of talking for her as if to say: You’re not so bad yourself. She was going to feel really bad if she had to scuff up his pretty face. Wait... no she wouldn’t. He commented further on her own appearance and that of her disguise, so not only was he an elf and a Bard, but he was also clever and observant, and no doubt talented with the glaive draped over his muscled shoulders. His toned arms hanging in a relaxed way.
She allowed herself to look him over as well, and admired his streamline figure, thick dark hair, and his eyes. The mauve shade seemed to shimmer with colors as the light hit it, telling her he had magic. Last but certainly not least, he had a jaw line. For. Days! She even liked the way his broad shoulders tapered into narrow hips, and how his pants fit his ass. He was an elf though, and Yui warned herself not to judge a book by its cover. Even if it was a pretty book. There was no telling how old the man before her truly was, how truly clever, or wicked he could be. Even more curious, what was an Elf doing in these parts to begin with?
Their one sided banter was silenced by movement and noise that caught her attention, and her eyes fluttered over to Drav now cowering in a corner of brick and mortar. He called her the whore from last night, and that culled a shapely brow to arch on her face. It was a silent question if he might want to consider another way of saying he recognized her. Whatever, she planned to kill him anyway. Her eyes traveled back to the Elf who apologized for Drav, and moved to take him away. Yui sighed heavily then, her first real sound and shook her head.
[#87cefa “I don’t mind if you leave. In fact, I’m going to encourage you to walk away right now…. but I need for him to stay,”] Yui stated calmly, and maintained her cool indifference as the bard turned on her and looked torn between wanting to kiss her, or strike her down. She honestly didn’t know which she preferred. Both maybe?
It looked like he had chosen the latter. His glaive turned on her and with an almost sorry tone he informed her she was welcomed to try and take Drav from him. She didn’t have to wonder about the task, she’d overheard enough.
[#87cefa “Yes... I heard. You’re looking for a man named Rezak… He wouldn’t by chance be Rezik, Mercenary of The Brotherhood, would he?”] She walked forward, her hand still wrapped around the handle of a knife behind her back, but her other hand reached up and gently pushed the elf’s glaive to the side. She approached him cautiously, yet confidently, her fingers sliding up the length of his weapon, slowly lowering it, until her hand found his, and she stood toe to toe with him.
When he informed her he was searching for the same Rezik, she couldn’t stop herself from grinning at the poor man’s misfortune.
[#87cefa “I was afraid so… Unfortunately my client has been looking for Dravin. You see this client of mine… You know Haggar don’t you, Drav?”] she asked, turning to look at Drav, who paled until his face was sheet white. Yui smiled, with a light sigh feigning relief. [#87cefa “Oh good, I was worried you were dumber than you look. Now I know you’re just plain dumb. He wants you to know he’s very upset with the way you bailed on paying back the money he loaned you… I don’t really have to explain why I’m here do I?”] Her eyes left Drav’s whimpering figure as he shook his head in understanding in the corner of the ally, and back to the elf. Her hand still wrapped around his on the glaive. [#87cefa “Drav has to either pay what he owes, or I get to kill him… So Drav!”] She called to him, her eyes still focused on the nameless elf before her. She was enjoying this mild flirtation in the midst of a challenge while she worked to get her target, and kept her little caveat to herself. [#87cefa “Why don’t you tell the nice man what he wants to know and we can all leave here happy…Personally, I don’t think he’s going to be very useful for you. You see, Rezik is dead.”] She told the elf.
Drav looked between Yui and Alloen, unsure who to back. On one side the elf only wanted him to take him to Rezik, but the woman said he was dead. Was it a ploy? You never could trust a woman. Especially an attractive one. The bitch would most likely just kill him. Even if he could pay his debt, Haggar was clearly done waiting for it, or else he wouldn’t have sent an assassin after him. Death or indentured servitude… it didn’t seem a truly difficult decision to make. Looking to Alloen, his only salvation, he shouted,
[b “She’s a liar! I’ll take ye to Rez! She’s going to try and kill me no matter what I do! Just don’t let her do it!”]
[#87cefa “Sonofabitch…”] she growled and jumped back from the elf. In the same movement, her arm snapped with the knife for Drav, who had begun to crawl away, no doubt hoping to use the fight as an opportunity to flee -his third option. The knife found itself embedded through his hand and pinning the wailing oaf to the ground.
[b “OW! You BITCH! My Hand!”]
[#87cefa “Cry me a fucking river…”] she mumbled under her breath. Yui turned then from Drav towards the elf, ready to face off. It was too small of a space for her halberd, and definitely too small for that glaive of his, but if she could disarm the elf she might be able to take him out. She knew she didn’t want to kill him, and she was banking on the hope he would be underestimating her. Men usually did underestimated women. With Drav pinned down, and Alloen now in her way, she brought her hands up for a fight, each hand now brandishing a razor sharp knife. The handles of the blades curled over her knuckles making them a most versatile weapon. She offered him a pretty smile, taking her stance and ready to take Drav right out from under him. In a city like New Harlan though, it was best not to get into a fight in broad daylight, less the city guards arrest you. She hoped the elf could be reasoned with.
The first blow came from the side. His glaive swinging up towards her. Yui blocked it by crossing her knifes and sliding the blade off towards her other side, her boots sliding through the dirt at the force of his hit. The glaive found itself in the ground, and she lunged forward jumping on the glaive and knocking it right out of his hands. Shifting her weight sideways towards him, she threw a punch at his smug pretty face. He dodged it with a quick and graceful backbend, collecting her hand and twisting her arm until she dropped the blade. The movement bent her over the slightest, and she kicked her leg up and back towards his face. She caught herself when she felt her heel connect with his cheek, and came upright just in time to block his fist. It took him no time to reach out and disarm her other knife, and Yui couldn’t help not only be impressed, but enamored as well.
Now they were on even ground.
She hadn’t had a good fight like this in a long time. They struck at the other and blocked the other as if performing some secret dance. Their movements were quick, skilled, and evenly matched. However, he was sluggish, and she suspected it had something to do with his drunken state from last night. He missed a block and Yui got in another good hit to his chiseled face with a well earned chuckle.
[#87cefa “Sorry, dear. I think that one might bruise.”]
It only inspired him to come at her with more force and determination. He lifted her up and tossed her towards the brick wall. Her back slamming against the hard surface made breathing difficult for a moment. Why did she get the feeling his intent wasn’t to kill her. She had to admit, she was holding back too. She didn’t want to have to kill him either. [#87cefa “Don’t suppose I can’t -“] she blocked a series of punches, each word articulated with a corresponding strike from the elf, before she finally took a knee to her side, and stumbled against the wall again. She caught herself against it and rolled before another punch could hit her. His hand connected with brick and Yui smirked at the pain it must have brought him. [#87cefa “Convince you I’m telling the truth. Rezik truly is dead. He challenged our new Commander, and lost to a Trial of the Embers.”] For a brief moment, it looked as though he was half tempted to believe her. She took the moment of weakness to put distance between them. Using the wall as leverage she brought her legs up and kicked them forward. Her feet struck square on his chest and knocked him back towards the ground.
She took her moment, Drav was still pinned and she had one last knife on her. Bard be damned, her target was literally within arm’s reach. She had maneuvered their fight to get closer and closer to Drav until this moment had finally come. She lunged forward, drawing one last knife and landed atop Drav. Her legs straddling his hips and her knife plunged into his gut, cutting across left to right and severed his aorta with little to no arterial splatter. Within moments she watched the life flee from his eyes as he bled out. Quickly she removed her blade and sliced his other ear off and turned just in time to face Alloen before he could attack again.
She turned the knife on him, her face stoic and expressionless. If he came at her now… she would kill him. Her hands were impressively free of Drav’s blood, with the exception of her one hand that held his severed ear.
[#87CEFA “I wasn’t lying when I told you Rezik is dead. I too am a member of the Brotherhood. My brothers and commander burned Rezik’s body yesterday in Temlis. He is no more. Whatever you were looking for, Rezik can’t help you.”] he hadn’t moved to attack her again and she slowly lowered her weapon, but didn’t dare put it away.
Before he could answer, there came a shout from down the street and around the alley calling their attention. Yui didn’t waste time, she knew it was the city guards. For a brief flickering moment a look of fear and concern flashed across Yui’s face. Quickly wrapping Drav’s ear in a handkerchief she tucked it in her vest and hurried to collect her fallen knives. In the process she looked to Alloen, [#87CEFA “City guards are heading this way. Either you can follow me, or stay here and get arrested, Elf. Frankly, I don’t care what you decide to do.”] She sheathed her knives, turned and ran. She didn’t know why she was offering to save his ass, but she couldn’t risk getting turned in either.
She ran down the alley and slipped into another one, and came to a dead end. A wall barred the end of the alley, but boxes were stacked creating a type of staircase for her. She jumped up the boxes and onto the ledge and stood up. Above her was a pipe leading towards a slate roof. She didn’t think, just climbed towards the edge of the roof and hefted her body over. Below her guards ran to swarm the scene of commotion and yelling, completely oblivious to what was above them. A crowd was starting to gather below, and Yui remain laying down atop the roof. Heaving air and doing her best not to lose sight of the mission, Yui prepared for an escape from New Harlan. Great... this was not how she planned this. Besides, what was she going to do about the elf she encountered? Perhaps letting him live was a bad choice....
Vreal sat waiting patiently for Insae to arrive. The aroma that was wafting through the room was intoxicating food wise. There were also a few unsavory scents such as...other mercenaries. The food itself was actually good. He ordered some roasted ham hinted with honey and a mint leaf. With that of course came his favorite ale. As he ate in solitude the messenger came strait up to him. His face was a little fear stricken. Insae must have frightened him well. Vreal recieved the message and read it while eating. [+blue [i Interesting place to meet. Can't argue with that though she seems like she could be a hard customer if she wanted to be and I only met her briefly however I must talk to her in peace and that certainly works.]] He thought to himself.
Vreal ordered some extra ham the way he liked it to go and a fresh flask of hard cider. As he recieved the order he stood up and walked out with the food and flask. He stopped by a local florist and picked up some flowers as requested. The florist saw the food and flask then looked at the flowers and just smiled at him. [+blue It's not like that Redda the flowers are for the dead.] Vreal said a little embarrassed. [+red Sure they are.] Redda said while chuckling at the young mercenary. He was not one to be rude anyway respect was important in this line of duty and all over. He paid for the flowers and began towards the cemetary. The day was dwindling it had reached twilight hours now when he arrived at the cemetary.
Vreal looked around and spotted her at the very back of the cemetary. That was where they buried unknowns who had no connection here and no way to find out where they came from. It was in his opinion the most saddening part of a graveyard. No one to pay respects except for the random kind heart who could find it in themselves to pay respect for someone whose family never would get the chance. It had to be lonely in the void after all. Vreal approached her cautiously but ready to discuss business. [+blue Interesting location but not one I am unaccustomed to.] He said lightly while placing a flower on each unmarked grave he passed and whispering a small honor to them. He handed her the last flower in front of the last unmarked grave for her to put down and pay a respect. He also handed her the food and flask. [+blue I don't know if you ate and talks on an empty stomach tend to not go so well people get grumpy and then things go sour.] He said while resting his hand on the hilt of his sword on his hip.
He gauged her as capable and potentially dangerous but there was something else. If she had intended to kill or at least try to she wouldn't have waited so long there are plenty of discreet ways of killing someone and in a relatively public place surrounded by mercenaries and guards in the village just wouldn't be tactically wise. He relaxed a bit and got into it. [+blue To my understanding you are requesting men for the Torn Army and it is also no low number of mercenaries you want close to a battalions worth of skilled men and women. There are some concerns to this and I am sure you can understand this. Gold first and foremost for bodies do not come cheap. 100 gold per head with a written and stamped parchement that each who makes it back from this you will be recompensated with half the gold back. Those who don't make it back... their families will be given the gold as inheritence immediately. This is non negotiable. Secondly I will be sending a high ranking mercenary with every twenty men because allegience won't work well with the torn if you do not have men willing to work together but these mercenaries will take an order from one of my higher ups with no question so long as they have those they will be in line. My final request is simple enough. If any of these mercenaries are caught looting, raping, or murdering any innocents they are to be executed by only the leader above them. For their death you will recieve their payment back as there is no honor in those actions and we do not condone that. In our code we accept contracts and that is all that is alotted anything extra comes with the price that they pay it back in full. Do you have anything to argue about here or to add to your order?] Vreal said calmly while looking her in the eyes with a steely gaze.
These were his men they were talking about and his expectations for them were high. They weren't pushovers and each had skill uncontested by your average soldier. They had something a lot of soldiers didn't have. Will to fight for themselves as well as the man next to him. Some soldiers will only fight for themselves but Vreal had seen many men die protecting their brother in this faction and he knew they were a grade above your average man. Mercenaries weren't often known for honor but in his time here he had seen more of that in them than anything else. Of course you have your occassional renegade. They don't survive. He waited patiently for her response. He expected an argument on the price at least to be sure.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat As he stood upon the bar, beer in hand as the landlord went about pouring multiple drinks as requested by said Elf, Ingulf had wandered up in his drunken stupor and tugged upon his pants leg waving for him to disembark and come down to a more sensible height. Still buoyed by his song and positively high on the euphoria that came with drink Alloen was a man with no equal for joy it seemed; perhaps closely followed by the Dwarf who helped ease his friend back to the booth.
Many along the way clapped him on the back, shook him by his shoulder, playfully jibbed [i 'not bad for an Elf'] to which he would throw back [i 'my thanks to the low-born'] – a joke that went over their head but they only laughed as if in on the joke. Sliding back into his seat there is a moment to look back out and offer a smile and wave to those looking over before his cheeks puff outward and he lets out a deep sigh.
[+maroon “Ah good on ye laddie. Was a fine tune!”] Ingulf grinned and drank through the remnants of an upturned cup.
[+green “Ah yes.. though I believe I have hit my peak.”] His eyes were glazed over and a hand ran up through raven hair with fatigue.[+green “I think we should be off to sleep my dear, dear Dwarf.”] He couldn't resist himself from taking up a bottle of wine and pouring a dribble of its berry liquor onto waiting tongue.
[+maroon “Aye, it be past witchin' hour.”] Though he would have happily drank himself until unconscious Ingulf was one who revelled in his work. It would do him no good to be sick half the day with hangover, the rhythmic pounding of a hammer on anvil only droning into his mind.
As they were making their preparations to leave, discussing where Alloen could sleep at Ingulf's home given how much he had already spent getting the little man drunk, there was a moment where the Dwarf's attention was lost and his rosy cheeks seem to flush pure crimson. Raising a brow in curiosity the swaying Elf turned, catching only the briefest of glimpses of a feminine figure moving behind him and settling into the booth next to them.
Though he couldn't see her, nor did he particularly want to come across as a leering pervert by sticking his head around the corner, the smell of her perfume and it's delicate undertones was enough to capture his attention. It was peculiar to have someone smelling so fresh and flowery in a place such as this where the most common smell was flatulence. From an outward glance to the tavern he could see several eyes were over in her corner and no doubt it was for good reason. His attention however settled upon a new arrival; a one eared swine with no sense of self-image given how he attacked his meal.
Not in a condition to either interrogate or attack Drav, Alloen was forced to leave things be for the evening. His spinning mind took in all details he could of the fetid man before he stood up, sending Ingulf on to the door as he turned to speak with the keeper. In the time it took him to step over and request the others attention, Drav had risen to go sit with the perfumed beauty in the corner booth. He could see just why all eyes had turned on her the moment she stepped in.
[b “How can I help you Mr.Elf.”] The man was particularly friendly though likely only given how much coin he had made off the
[+green “The woman in the corner. Quite the oddity no?”] He leaned on the bar, speaking quietly as they both looked across at her, a slender gloved hand rising up to tap at the hideous man's nose and a smile on her lips.
[b “Ah, yes. Just got in apparently. On her way to see a rich Uncle she told me.”] He busied his hands with cleaning out a mug but his mind was on other more carnal thoughts.
[+green “Quite the beauty eh? Not like the local girls either.”] Ever the male staple of sexuality and masculinity, it would not do if men didn't discuss a woman's looks.
[b “Oh yes, very beautiful. But no doubt she's some level of nobility.”] He chuckled, dashing both men's hopes they may have had a chance with her. But Alloen only smiles a touch;
[+green “Very true, and yet she shacks up with the one eared mongrel.”] There is a hint of jealousy to the mauve-eyed man, his own thoughts slipping to more devilish desires at her appearance.
[b “Yes, Drav, penniless if not a lucky bastard.”] The disdain brought a curious look from Alloen.[b “My wife's relation. Costs me an arm and a leg keeping him fed and housed.”]
[+green “You have my condolences.”] A dull thud was building in his mind, the early onsets of drinking too much. He would have to seek out some water at Ingulf's home soon and draw this conversation to a close.[+green “In actuality I had wanted a word with the man in question, but I dare not disrupt his good fortune lest I incur the divine wrath upon myself.”] He had noted the multiple religious symbols above the bar and took to using the keepers superstitious beliefs against him, going so far as to offer a mock prayer to the sky.
[b “Quite right. That's the only reason I put up with him. A man such as that is clearly blessed by one of the Gods.”] He joined in with the prayer and Alloen smiled politely.
[+green “Well, if you would do me a favour, perhaps you could ensure dear Drav doesn't leave come morning. I hear he's a slippery sort and wouldn't want him running off again before I can speak with him. I would be rather.. grateful.”] A golden coin scrapes against the counter top, hidden by the slender hand of the Elf until covered over by the cleaning cloth of the keeper.
[b “Consider it done my good friend. I'll make sure he doesn't get loose.”] A nod of understanding and he left to tuck away his new wealth with the rest – tonight had been rather profitable for him.
Leaning against the wooden bar Alloen took a few moments longer to ogle the beauty still engaged in conversation with his target. There was something not quite right about her. She could have the company of any man in the tavern, himself included, but she had struck upon the man who resembled the love child of a swine and orc. When he caught her piercing blue eyes for a moment he felt a chill run through him. Perhaps it was the alcohol or perhaps a touch of jealousy he had not been chosen. Either way he left The Green Apple with his Dwarven ally and they retired to the small man's home. After a cup of fresh water and some bread to soak up the drink and each settled into a cosy slumber beside the heat of the forge.
The morning came far too quickly by his summation. It was like he had only just closed his eyes when he was rocked softly awake by a stubby-fingered woman.
[+violet “Come on now Alloen, time to wake up dear.”] The deep but sweet voice was a pleasant means of waking up, soft fingers brushing across his cheek and pushing back strands of loose hair. When the violet eyes of the man open and focus he sees the gentle features of Gina, Ingulfs wife, looking down on him with her motherly smile.[+violet “There we go dear. It's past morn' now. Have something to eat.”]
She moved back a step to allow him to sit up right, a metallic plate beside him with a slice of bread and a little olive oil drizzled over it for flavour. She knew him well enough that it was his preferred choice after a night of drinking, though she also left him a small bowl of sweet porridge beside it. With him awake she took up a bucket of water and with a touch of annoyance at this ritual like task she splashed it down across her husbands head. He shot upright with a sputtering and shake of his head, growling curses and death upon his enemies until he opened weary eyes to see his wife who thrust a larger bowl of warm porridge into his hands. With only minimal fuss, and a muttered thanks, he began to eat humbly.
Alloen suppressed his desire to laugh aloud, content to only smile at the affection shared between the two as the man complimented her on a good thick porridge. She only waved off his thanks and headed off to open up the shop for the day. The two men ate in silence, sipping water from time to time and mutterings about how indeed the porridge was nice and thick and stodgy but very sweet.
Within an hour Alloen had made his farewells to the Dwarven couple and thanked them for their time and hospitality. Ingulf had only agreed to him leaving once he had made sure the Elven glaive was sharpened on his whetstone and the Dwarven mithril chain properly tended to. A few links were hammered back into place and some general stitch work done to bring it back to a good standard. Upon the agreement that he could return at any time the Elf left them and returned to The Green Apple.
His head still throbbed lightly from night before, though thankfully not to the point he was crippled by it. He felt sluggish and lethargic as he entered the tavern with his weapon resting on his shoulder, heavy boot hitting the floorboard. It almost echoed in the quiet morning as the once full and boisterous drinking floor now consisted of one or two sleeping drunkards, a servant girl still clearing pieces of broken cups, and a very hungover one eared gentleman. The keeper said nothing but offered a nod to the Elf when their eyes met and he strode forward to the frowning mans table, dropping the heavy shaft of the glaive and it's metal point to crash loudly before him.
Jumping up the man rubbed at his eyes as he peered up, the light from the doorway illuminating Alloen in a golden halo and obscuring him getting a good look at the man. If he had, he would have seen the devilish twinkle in his eyes or how he looked upon him with disgust.
[+green “Oi, get up. We're going to have a quick word about a friend of yours.”] His tongue smacked the roof of his mouth, clicking for the human to get up and march outside. Drav only looked at him with annoyance, waving a hand at him to go away.
[+indigo “Fuck off mate, my 'ead's killin' me and I ain't got time for your shit.”] He rest his head atop his hand, rubbing at temple and his throbbing migraine. Alloen bit his cheek to stop from swinging the point of his weapon down on the man's crown. He was needed alive. Instead he grasped the man's wrist and quickly pulled, head dropping to crash against the table with a thud and a groan of agony.
[+green “Get up and outside or I will make sure the pain in your head stops – for good.”] He twisted the wrist in his hand at a sharp angle and with a howl of pain Drav complied, standing up in an instant. Pinning this hand behind his back, Alloen guided him outside, only releasing it once his incessant whining began to pierce his ear at a truly painful pitch.
Directing them across the street to an alleyway between buildings, leading on to a small courtyard for a group of homes, Drav took this as his moment to make an escape and use his knowledge of the back streets to slip away. He was a wily one yes but the man he was attempting to escape from had a vast experience of different jobs and roles in his life; most notably bounty hunting. He is not so easily lost and rather creative with his means of subduing a fleeing suspect. If he had not needed the man alive a blade would have struck his back in record time, piercing an organ perhaps or severing the spine and rendering him immobile. Sadly he was needed intact. This led to Alloen reaching down for a discarded length of wood from the ground, swinging back and releasing it at the man's legs. Smacking his left ankle it swung around and caught before his right, tripping him and sending him sprawling to the ground with a groan.
Walking over with a less than pleased expression it seemed Drav finally realised just how deeply he had sunk into the excrement; and that was putting it rather lightly. Strolling up to the fallen man, the Elf shook his head with disdain.
[+green “Come along now Drav, you are not escaping me without giving me answers.”] He brushed his free hand through his hair, easing the dull pounding in his skull a little.[+green “Actually you are not going anywhere for a while, not until you lead me to whom I am after.”] Laying flat on his back the man looked like a stuck pig, wheezing and grunting. He almost expected to hear a squeal, and indeed his voice was quite similar.
[+indigo “I dunno no-one worth knowin'.”] He complained whilst holding his injured side, eyes clenching tightly at the bruise that would grow there.
[+green “I have it on good knowledge you know of a particular man, a powerful man, a man you sold some loaded dice to. Remember now?”] The glaive had come to rest across his shoulders, his arms across the pole and hands dangling loosely, the glint of the sun peaking over the rooftop to catch the rings of his chain shirt dazzled poor Drav when he opened his eyes.
[+indigo “What you on 'bout, I don't sell loaded dice.”] It was a poor lie and the Elf stepped forward, thrusting a boot into the man's chest and applying a slowly increasing amount of pressure.
[+green “Let me jog your memory then Drav. His name is Rezak, and you are going to take me to meet with him. We have some business to discuss.”] His foot slid up to the mans throat, grubby hands grasping at the sole of the shoe trying to push it off as he choked out a few breaths.[+green “Because if you do not know where he is I have no use in keeping you alive.”] His face was beginning to turn red now, chubby jowls shaking as he tried to find a breath.[+green “How about it then; are you going to show me to Rezak?”]
Before the man could nod, shake his head, confirm or deny knowledge of the being Alloen was seeking out, there was a scuffing of a boot on stone and he glanced back to find a woman stood in the entranceway the two men had come through. Lifting his foot off of Drav's neck the man rolled on his side, gasping for breaths, coughing and spluttering. The Elf's interest was taken as he noted something about the woman; such magnificent piercing blue eyes. His lips curled and his eyes took on an amused look.
[+green “I say, yum yum.”] He purred as he took in the sight of a fully armoured and not the least amused Yui. All pretence of hiding her appearance and the role she was playing had gone out the window, likely drawn to follow after him and Drav the moment she had seen him being led away, unable to return to her attire from the night prior quickly enough.
There was no hiding the pleasure he took from looking over her physique, openly inspecting the curve to her hips, the slender jawline, pouty lips and back to those mesmerising eyes. A devilish smile only grew as he stood between her and the slowly recovering Drav behind him.
[+green “So, the fiery redhead is really an icy blonde. No longer a nobleman's buxom daughter but a sturdy sword maiden instead. I am torn between which one I prefer, though each has their.. merits.”] His brow raised tauntingly but also teasing. He was having fun, perhaps at her expense. She stood there watching him in silence for long enough until her vision drifted to the man shuffling into a corner.
[+indigo “Hey, you're that whore from last night!”] The man called out as he finally caught up to speed with the happenings around him.
[+green “Now Drav, don't be so uncouth.”] Alloen said in defence of Yui, bringing her attention back to himself. He liked having her watch him.[+green “I apologise for him, he is quite hungover from last night and in need of some lessons in manners. If you will excuse us-”] He had begun to turn away from her to collect Drav and take him elsewhere when she stopped him, something along the lines of [i 'you can go, but he stays'].
At this point Alloen was only more infatuated with this woman than he had been the night before. So mysterious and alluring, a conundrum wrapped within such a pretty face and fearsome appearance. Stood side on to her he looks upon her with curiosity. Just why did she want Drav? Why had she hidden herself the night before to try and seduce such a buffoon? It was obvious now she was after him for something but what he was unsure. The weapon on is shoulder was swung around, held at arms length toward her, across the courtyard in a challenging manner.
[+green “I am afraid he is staying with me, my dear, for I have a task he has yet to complete. But, if you wish, you are free to try and take him from me.”]
There was nothing like a peaceful walk through a beautiful city to help release all the pent up anger. It was always a good idea to release anything that was pent up, for the pressure was liable to blow through whatever was holding it in; the longer it was held in, the more likely it was to burst through explosively.
Insae had taken a walk through the center of the city, taking in the sights and smells of the various street vendors scattered throughout the streets. Her stomach rumbled upon smelling the wafting smells of roasting meat.
Dragons were naturally meat eating creatures, and that trait was passed onto their kids. Even if the kid was a dragonkin.
Insae purchased a leg of some roasted meat, and walked off to the outskirts of the city to enjoy it in solitude and quiet.
The first bite was delicious, the juices exploding and cascading down the mouth to create a warm river. The various spices added to the meaty flavour, creating something akin to a fireworks show on the tongue.
Just as she was finishing up, Insae heard footsteps. Now these footsteps were no passerby, for the footsteps only sounded louder and louder. The footsteps retained a constant tempo, but they did not sound like Yui's footsteps.
Insae stood up and turned around. The guy in front of her held a piece of paper in his hand, and was approaching her. Most likely this guy was delivering a message to her, but that did not mean the guy was not hiding a weapon.
THe guy stopped two paces in front of her, and extended the folded parchment to her. She quickly snatched it, and took a few paces back.
Every so often, she would look up at teh guy in front of her just to be safe from any surprise. But the guy only stood there and waited for her.
Insae could not afford to talk about this in the inn. The inn had too many curious ears who might use that information for personal gain. And there was no way to know for sure who would use that information to harm the Torn Army.
Taking out a pencil, Insae wrote her responce underneath the note to her in a somewhat small hadwriting. [i [+purple I see you are also interested in paying your respects to the fallen. I will be at the cemetery to help pay your respects. Just don't forget to bring some flowers.]]
She folded up the parchment, and gave it back to the messenger. [+purple "No stopping, directly back."] The messenger shook his head before running off.
A short while later, Insae made her way to the cemetary. All the way to the back where she had previously met with Yui.
Violent streams of lightning arced across the skies and rain fell forbodingly over the Capital City. Of course it was always dark here with the unending flow of clouds darkening the world below. It wasn't always like this. There used to be light here but all that ended years ago. It threw the people who resided here into a deep depression. All hope for them had been thrown out of the window. The streets were almost completely barren of people. No one liked coming out of their homes. At least there they felt safe.
A guard approached the door of a house and opened it. They now had that jurisdiction here. They walked up to the family sitting inside and the father stood quickly. [b By decree of the King your son who has come of age on his 17th year shall be conscripted to fight for the king and bound by honor to defend this kingdom from rogues, enemy soldiers, and beast alike. Any who oppose or try to run will be greeted by the axe at the executioners block and tried for treason.] The guard spoke calmly while the father of the house looked at him pleadingly. [+red Don't do this sir. I beg of you. He is my last son you've taken my eldest and he died in battle..] The man said getting on his knees and begging for them not to take the only son he had left. The guard kicked the man to his back and placed his boot on the mans chest holding him there. [b Any resistance is to be met with death. No matter how small it cannot stand in the kingdom.] The soldier said while unsheathing his sword and placing the tip of it to the fathers throat. [+blue I will go. Father you do not need to die for this.] The boy said coming out of the kitchen area to the sight before him. He had heard everything from the other room.
The soldier looked at the boy and motioned him to go outside. The boy obeyed and stepped into the dark streets. The rain started to fall silently to the world below. Pelting the streets softly and soaking the ground. The guard stepped out of the house and pushed the boy into the direction of the castle. [b You are to be bound by magic and given uniform. Training starts immediately.] The man said while they started to walk to the castle. [+blue Why is it like this sir? It didn't used to be like this. Do you believe this is right.] The boy asked while walking. [b It doesn't matter what I believe anymore this is a new world and we must do as we are made to do lest we find ourselves facing the blade of our master.] The guard said calmly while they continued to walk. Nothing more was said. Nothing more need be said. This was the way of the people in the capital now.
They approached the castle and the boy looked around he had never seen sights like this. In the sun it was probably beautiful but since there has been no light here for a while it was dreary, depressing, and....daunting. The boy noticed a few kids walking in formation. Children, each holding daggers, in a military style unit. He cringed at that sight. No child should be made to fight. No doubt they were orphans. The boy thought himself. He didn't know what to think really as he was being conscripted just for turning age and his family didn't really have an important trade skill to stop that from happening this was his fate.
He stepped into a line with five other conscripts and they each recieved a uniform and a choice of weapon. Sword, Axe, Great-Sword, or Hammer. The boy chose the Hammer it seemed light enough and he could work better with that anyway. [b Put your gear on and get in the court-yard you have ten minutes.] The guard ordered them. Each of the young men donned their new uniforms and got to the courtyard as fast as they could. The guard stood there and inspected them all. [b Good. now you will recite the binding.] The man said while opening a scroll and reading the binding spell to them. It was enchanted so that anyone who spoke it after the guard was forced to obey the kings order regardless of how they felt. The binding made them drones. Each one of them lost their personality and their will. They were emotionless, uncaring, and programmed to fight for one reason. The king.
Things were not well here. There are many things wrong with the kingdoms capital. Inside the castle at the throne sat the False King. He was listening to requests and any he wasn't pleased with were to be dragged to the chopping block. An older man stood before the king on his knees. [+blue My king we need new channels for water to flow to the fields to grow what crops we can. I can't do it I can't lift a shovel anymore I beg of you to hire some men or order some recruits to dig this for our people.] The elderly man begged. The king stood and walked down the stairs that led to the throne. He put a hand on the mans shoulder and let him rise to his feet. [+red You say you are too weak to do it yourself. You have no family capable of helping you? No children?] The king asked. His voice was deep and cold. [+blue No I have no family left but one young grandson no older than 7.] The elderly man said with pleading eyes. [+red Maybe we can make a deal...your son for your field.] The king stated. The elderly man looked shocked he could not make that deal but he also knew he could not say no to the king. A fury rose up in the man. What was he to do? He was in a dire situation. [+blue My king is there any oth...] The man stopped and looked down at the dagger now sticking out of his stomach. [+red Like I would lend you my men to dig your fields or squander this countries wealth for the complaints of the few. No we will take your grandson and train him into a fine killer. You will not be there to contest this. Guards clean up this mess and finish him off outside.] The king ordered while the guards quickly got everything back in place.
The guards dragged the man out to the executioners block he was almost passed out from blood loss. He was forced onto the block while the executioner sharpened the blade of his axe. [+blue I don't...understand....] The old man said through tears of pain. [+blue I'm sorry...my son..i failed you.] The old man finished as the axe came down and with a sickening sound of flesh being cut through and the thunk of the wood from the stand were the only noises that were heard there. The head rolled and fell off the stand the mans slack body was thrown into a cart with a few others from that day. Some had requests that let them make it out alive, some wounded, some not at all..this was the risk they took to fix their problems. The guard picked up the old mans head and placed it in a cage to be displayed to any who entered.
The kingdom had changed there were many things wrong now and people just weren't ready for this kind of change. No one was. The guard peered up at door to the throne room. Above the door hung a skull on a chain with a crown on the skull. The skull of the previous king rested there as a threat. A crow flew down to the guard it had a message tied to it's foot. The guard took the note and the crow flew off. He took the message to the courtroom and placed it among the many other things for the king that needed done. He heard the king yelling in the other room to his subordinates. [+red I don't care how many resources you use. Find the boy and either kill him or bring him here...] The king yelled at them. [+red I'll kill you all if he isn't here before winter.] The king said while kicking something over. The guard knew the king wanted the prince. If he wanted to keep his head he had to leave eavesdropping on the king was capital.
The note sit on the desk light from a candle flickered on it but there was something more to it. It had information on the prince but whether or not it was just the wind or the fates decree the candle fell over and burned it to ashes. the candle burned out after that and everything on that desk lit up forcing the hand maidens to wash it out with water. The king stepped into the room when he smelled the fire and watched as the maidens put it out. [+red Who threw the first bucket of water on this desk.] The king said while they all stared at the ground.
Rezik wasn’t the issue, well that was interesting. Turned out, it was something Vreal had seen upon inspecting the battlefield from last night. A magical rift caused by the magic that remained to permeate the area. She frowned as she listened to him recite the prophecy. Her mind rifling back through her memories of anything she might have learned about rifts and permeating magicks as a child. There wasn’t much, if anything, she could recall, and certainly nothing about windows into an event in time. It left a sour feeling in her stomach. No Magic? Men fighting a gruesome battle? That was odd… and oddly terrifyingly familiar. She shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she sipped from her tea, and thought back to her dream from the night before. It was too hazy to recall all she’d seen. Though the idea of no magic in a battle theater was alarming, perhaps it would level the playing field against rivals. However she might have tried to pull from her arcane druid roots, that didn’t mean she wanted to be without them. They had served her well over the years, much to her begrudging admission, but she wasn’t about to tell that to her grandmother -or anyone. She leaned back in her seat, her teacup set upon the table, and she slowly began to circle the rim with one of her fingers. Her gaze pinned on Vreal.
[#87cefa “Permeated Magic is tricky. There’s no telling if what you saw was past, present or future. I do know the things they can show in rare circumstances are limited to things that have happened, are happening, and things that may or may not come to pass.”] Her gaze suddenly looked away as if recalling something important. In her mind she could recall the lesson. Her grandmother spoke the very words to her that Yui began to speak. [i ‘Remember child…’][#87cefa “The past is always the past, but the future is fickle and prone to suggestion. Just like as a drop creates a ripple over water, so too do the actions we make affect our futures.”] Her eyes suddenly turned back to Vreal as the memory faded from her mind, and unbeknownst to her or Vreal, she was reminiscent of the very woman she was quoting. [#87cefa “You must use caution when interpreting the future. As to the voice you heard, it could have been a demon, but it could also have been one of the fates. At the wildest it could be another primordial creature of power that is tethered to you somehow. I don’t have a straight answer to what you saw, or how we can close such rifts…”] but she knew someone who might. As to the personal contracts, Yui couldn’t let him keep her from this one, and she had every intention of telling him so… until he brought up her grandmother.
How? How did he figure it out?!
Yui felt rage and betrayal swell within her. Her eyes widened the slightest and her nostrils flared at his suggestion, until she finally glared at him. [#87cefa “How the fuck did you find that out?”] she growled at him darkly. He must have put the connections together. Before, everyone knew that Yui had known the old seer and Hag, Vega… but now that Vreal knew Yui was Druid he must have figured that Vega was her grandmother, and everyone knew Yui and her grandmother were not on friendly terms. Though no-one had ever known why, it seemed Vreal was figuring it out all on his own. [#87cefa “Smart ass, cheeky bastard…”] she grumbled under her breath as he waved the question off and cut to the point. He needed information and a special team of combatants. Not only that, he [i needed] her opinion. His words worked to cool her fury some, and she wondered if she should answer. She was feeling particularly petulant in that moment, and uncooperative. The world was at stake though, and she groaned knowing this was one more notch on the list of things in her life she [i didn’t] want to do.
[#87cefa “Ugh! Fine! I’ll lead you to her. If you promise to never EVER speak my familial relations out loud again. If people hear that, they’ll put two and two together and figure out what [i I am],”] She warned. [#87cefa “You’re not the only one trying to cover their arse.”] She collected her teacup in her hands and sipped down the last of her tea, before standing up. [#87cefa “As to the personal contracts. I have to take this one. This one will… settle a debt I owe.”] She confessed a partial truth… and a partial lie. It was enough of an explanation for Vreal to realize this was something she needed to do, and she wasn’t going to take no for an answer, nor would she explain herself. Acrius could never stop her, so what made Vreal think he could? [#87cefa “I’ll be back in roughly three days. Don’t wait up. If I return and you’ve left, I’ll find you on the western pass towards The Misty Mountains.”] The old land of the Druids -now nothing more than a lonely mountain range littered with ruined temples and the skeletal remains of villages. It was once believed to be the boarder between the land of man and that of the fey, now it was simply no-man’s land. Full of backward savages loyal to the Anarchy the false King represented. [#87cefa “You’ll want to head towards the bog lands though,”] she smirked and grabbed her things, leaning over the table and bringing her face close to Vreal’s. [#87cefa “Just don’t die while I’m gone, pretty boy.”] She tapped his cheek playfully and left him to his own devices.
Yui had rode hard through the afternoon to make it to New Harlan just as the sun was setting. She rode straight through to the other end of town past the infamous Green Apple Tavern, and towards Madame Cartié Hen House. The black mare came to a stop around the back of the building and there in the alley stood three women smoking their pipes in their pantaloons and garters. She could smell opium coming from the house, as well as pipe weed from the women.
[#800080 “You can’t be back here, puddin’,”] One of the women called as opium smoke curled from her lips. Yui turned to face the woman after removing her saddlebag and smirked.
[#87cefa “Actually, I can. Let Cartié know Azii is here… she’ll know where to find me.”] Yui went to walk into the building, but the trio of women attempted to block her path. They must have been feeling particularly bold. Sighing, Yui flashed the knives at her sides and they quickly parted out of her way. New girls…
On the third floor of the house, with the eastern most window to catch to morning sun, was the Madam’s room. It was never used, as the Madam did not take men into her bed, only her girls did that, but for Yui… Cartié would make an exception. The room was richly decorated in all things lace and silk, highly feminine and smelling of lilac powder. Yui tossed her bag to the bed and began to undress. It was time to get into character and build her disguise. She was stripped of her leather armor by the time Cartié arrived bursting through the room, and slamming the door shut behind her.
[#db7093 “Ohhh! My sweet girl!”] She called with delight and flung her arms around Yui. She smiled softly and embraced the older woman back. Madame Cartié was an eccentric woman in her fifties. She was gorgeous even to this day, and was the closest thing to a mother Yui had ever known. She had coiffed and perfectly curled black hair that fell in a romantic fashion over her shoulder. Her gown was fashionable, the color of jade green with a swash of plum under the skirt, and her face painted to perfection. Her dark skin still smelled of vanilla and shea butter. It was a smell Yui had missed. [#db7093 “Did you ride in well? Were you seen?”] Yui was almost sad when Cartié held her at arms length to get a good look at her.
[#87cefa “The ride was simple enough, and no one saw me. Save for your girls out back. You’re sure he’s headed this way?”] Madame Cartié’s face went from pleased to loathsome within the blink of an eye.
[#db7093 “That loathsome little toad… Yes. Dravin is his name, though they all call the spineless worm Drav.”] Yui smirked at her mentor’s reaction and continued to undress, now with help from the Madame.
[#87cefa “So you know my target? I take it you’re not a big fan…”] Yui had to chuckle at the expression Madame Courtier gave her through the mirror.
[#db7093 “Why do you think I was so eager to help you? He’s swindled me before, wooed one of my girls and left her in a town clear towards the coast! Do you have any idea how much it cost to bring her back?”]
[#87cefa “A pretty penny -oww!”] Yui giggle as Cartié pinched her side in removing her tunic. The laughter stopped when Courtier spotted Yui’s wrapping from her fight.
[#db7093 “You’re injured.”] she said reaching for it. Yui moved quickly enough to stay out of reach.
[#87cefa “It was nothing. I handled it, look. It’s nothing see? Already healing.”] Madame Cartié frowned at her as she brought over a dress for Yui to wear.
[#db7093 “Uh huh… you promised me you’d take care of yourself. No unnecessary dangers-“]
[#87cefa “Madame, I’m a mercenary… danger is in the job description.”]
[#db7093 “You know you can’t just think about yourself. There are others counting on you.”] Cartié whispered to her knowingly. Yui’s expression softened and she looked away from the mirror to step into her disguise.
[#87cefa “I know. I promise you, there’s no way I could forget that.”]
By the time the Brothel opened, Yui was unrecognizable. Donning a wig of red hair, the burnished strands sparkled golden and orange like fire under the candle light, and made the ice blue of her eyes stand out sharper than before. Her face was even painted with soft rouge on her cheeks and lips the shade of peony pink. No detail was ignored, not even the freckles she painted on her face and chest. She wasn’t dressed to be a working girl. No she was dressed to meet Drav where all weary travelers go in New Harlan… The Green Apple. She looked the part of a traveling young woman -maybe a merchant’s daughter, highborn might be stretching it, but it might not depending on who you asked. She was wise to ride her horse back into town away from the brothel and towards the Green Apple. Before she ever walked through the door she heard the boisterous wails of men singing.
She walked in, lowering her hood in a demure fashion and looked out to see a lone man shout to the barkeep to give a round to the rousing crowd. Not a man… an elf. He stood with an equally drunken dwarf. Yui smirked, they looked like the type that knew how to have a good time. With one clean sweep of the room, Yui could tell her target had not arrived yet. She walked right up to the bar and requested to know if the Tavern had rooms available for rent in the adjacent Inn.
[b “Name?”] the keeper asked.
[#87cefa “Adelaide Tremaine,”] She said softly, sweetly in a well practiced accent. The keeper looked her over.
[b “What’s a fine lady like yourself traveling these parts for?”] he asked before going to fetch her a room key.
[#87cefa “I’m on my way to visit family,”] she lied smoothly… the greatest actress you’d never seen.
[b “Well Ma’am, this is the key to our finest room. It’s going to be 10 gold pieces.”] She suddenly feigned a frown and sighed.
[#87cefa “Is it possible to give me a standard room? Or allow me to do some work for you in exchange? I’m afraid I don’t have much coin on me, but could always forward you a tidy sum from my Uncle’s coffers when I arrive at his home.”] The Inn keeper looked hesitant. He’d clearly been duped in the past, but Yui looked the image of naive kindness and innocence.
He took in her lovely blue eyes and fire like hair, her fine dress and eventually gave in, nodding his head and handed her a key to a standard room.
[b “I’ll feed you, and put you up, but you will pay what you owe with interest. Lady as fine as you shouldn’t work.”] Yui gave a sigh of relief, gloved hand fluttering to her chest. It drew his attention to her well adjusted cleavage. While also hiding the fact she did not have soft hands.
[#87cefa “You are so kind, thank you!”] she said and handed him a few gold coins for the room. E He pocketed them and motioned towards a booth for her to take a seat and be fed. It was positioned beside the Elf and Dwarf. Yui realized she had some extra time, and even if Drav did walk through the front door, she wouldn’t be able to do anything until he was alone. For now she was a lonely traveler passing through. As she took her seat she met eyes with the Dwarf and offered him a playful smile, before she withdrew her book and began to read it. She sipped from the cup of wine offered to her, and let her eyes travel from the book at random moments to simply look out at the group. Now was the waiting game…
Luckily for Yui she could be very patient. So imagine her luck when only a few measly hours later, Drav walked through the door. Fresh from his own ride in and calling for a pint of ale and food. Yui finally looked up from her book and her half empty cup of wine to watch as he sat down at a table, and began to ravenously devour his food and drink. Yui didn’t need to watch him closely. He was sitting and eating, he wasn’t bound to go anywhere anytime soon. She did keep an eye on him though, and as she looked him over from the top of her book, she concluded: He was an [i ugly] mother fucker. Dirty, his skin pocked and scared. Not to mention he really was missing his right ear. Sure enough his own eyes began to search the room and they finally settled on her. Yui smirked behind her book, but held his gaze. She watched him sniffle and offer her a smile. It showed his crooked yellow teeth full of food and foam from the ale decorating the hair on his face, and her stomach turned. She lowered her book and tilted her head towards the empty space in the booth beside her, and he smirked, grabbing his plate and drink before walking over to her table.
[b “Well today must be my lucky day. Lovely lady all alone, and almost out of wine… we can’t have that,”] he waved a hand and called for the barkeep to refill Yui’s drink and he took the seat beside her. [b “The name is Drav, how about you?”]
[#87cefa “Adelaide, how kind of you to join me and keep me company. I hope you don’t mind it. I saw you were alone, as am I, and thought we might keep one another company.”] Drav breathed heavily, looking her over without shame and nodded.
[b “I’ll keep your company as long as you’d like.”] Yui grinned slowly.
[#87cefa “I’ll have you know, I’m no working girl. I’m traveling to the coast to visit my Uncle and family. He’s a merchant, and promised to take me out on one of his ships. I’ve never been on sea before have you?”] Yui inquired, and held a cordial conversation with him, despite his obvious innuendos and leering gestures. Yui played it off as pure naivety and instead giggled or laughed whenever he said something stupid. She held eye contact, she even reached out to touch him at one point. Tapping his nose and informing him how funny she found him. So far so good… she had him eating out of the palm of her hand.
She could strike at any moment, but not this moment. Tucked between her breasts was a tiny vial of poison. At the most opportune moment, she would slip it in his drink and finish the job. For now she would entertain the pig and let him pay for her drinks, which she casually poured into the nearby potted plant when he wasn’t looking… Let them all think he drank himself to death, she continued to make sure his pint was full, and even got up to dance with him while the bard and rest of the tavern sang songs. There was nothing Yui loved more than a plan that went through without a hitch. Now it was just a matter of getting alone with Drav…
Surprisingly he didn’t suggest retiring with her. In her lap, Yui clenched her fists and forced a smile bidding him goodnight and watched as he retired up to his room at the Tavern. She still had another day left to corner him. At least for now she had gained some level of trust as Adelaide with Drav. Soon she’d be able to report to her client that his problem was handled and Drav disposed of. Yui just wasn’t anticipating not being the only one after Drav.
Vreal laced is fingers together at the table as if deep in thought. He was letting this weigh heavily on him but who wouldn't after hearing what he heard much less seeing what he saw. He had done things as a warrior he wasn't proud of. He had seen the violence in mens hearts and pacified it on multiple occassions. He listened to Yui about Insae looking to hire a lot of manpower and she was right he would indeed need to talk to the client personally now. [+blue A deal like that...I simply don't know if it is possible. The men have their own affairs as you said. I will have to talk to her and negotiate a deal that is compatible with us. I also am unsure of how well these renegades would work with a factioned army. Especially since they don't really have faith in what the Torn are fighting for.] Vreal took a drink out of his own glass now and leaned back in his chair. [+blue Hmm...before we discuss this I need to send a messenger.] Vreal said while waving over one of the runners and writing down a note for him to deliver. [+blue Summon Mrs. Insae you might have to look all over town she may be taking in the sights here but I would appreciate it if you would tell her to arrive around sundown here.] Vreal told the messenger before facing back to Yui so they can get down to what he needed to tell her.
[+blue Rezik doesn't bother me at all the man had a loud mouth but he did fight well so at least that will be missed. I was given something...Rather told after seeing a disturbing occurence while investigating that natural magic amplifier. One day we will have to learn how to close those off. They are far more dangerous than we initially believed. I think I saw a demon or something in there and it spoke to me. Gave me a prophecy of some sort.] Vreal looked around making sure there were no eavesdroppers. He leaned forward towards her and whispered what he was told. [+blue Death famine all will perish all will enter the void all is lost fate decrees so the torn the throne and you young prince success is your salvation the only way to right magic the only way to prevent....the end.] The words sounded even worse when he had to repeat them. [+blue I don't know what it all means but I saw soldiers fighting within the permeating magic it was unclear whether or not it is a fight to come or a fight that has happened. One thing was certain something stuck out like a sore thumb. There were no spellcasters on that battlefield. The brutal onslaught of blades clashing was all that could be seen but magic is a key part of most combatants style of fighting and none of those soldiers were using it. Something was wrong. If that is the future then we can conclude that something catastrophic is going to occur soon. It might be prudent to put our personal contracts aside for the time being.] Vreal said while taking another drink and then looking into the cup.
The young warrior didn't know exactly how to approach this next subject he knew it would be a sore one. He had learned about her heritage as a druid which means someone had to teach her their ways as well. He knew of only one of her living relatives. He looked her in the eyes and spat it out. [+blue It might be possible with your druidic heritage to discern somethings about this. You don't embrace it as much as the past druids but your Grandmother has heavy roots in magic and her druidic heritage right? She might know something about this and as much as I know it may pain you. I think we should make a special trip to see her after I talk to Insae about this contract she is set on getting.] Vreal said while reaching into his bag and pulling out a smoking pipe. He didn't smoke often but in times like this he could use some nicotine. He packed the pipe with tobacco and lit it a match. He hit the pipe and offered it to her. [+blue Either way I cannot let this go unchecked if I am going to do anything about fixing this world there are two things I need now. Information and a small team specializing in combat. I need your opinion Yui what do you think we should do in this situation?] He asked calmly.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Taverns. The vast majority are sombre, miserable and dangerous places. A meeting place for the refuse and brigands of society and those of ill repute. And The Green Apple in New Harlan was amongst the best of the worst. Only lit by a few candles and a small fireplace it was very squalid and dilapidated within. There is not one inch of the floor not coated by phlegm, tacky dried beer that stuck your boot to the ground, mouldy pieces of bread or the body of a patron left comatose either through voluntary inebriation or via the fist of a fellow alcoholic.
And alcoholics they all were. To the right of the entrance and the path to the bar was a long table. There sat a general throng of older men, farmers mostly, laughing and joking animatedly. But at that moment they were in a heated debate over the precise time and method to harvest a potato. It seemed split even down the middle but one particularly moronic individual dictates; [+orange [i 'fuck potatoes, what about a good yam?']] and he sticks by his assertion. That is until he is summarily rounded upon by the others in unison. He will come to the next morning, outside, missing his left boot and a tooth.
To the left; a myriad of groups at multiple smaller tables. One is taken up by a group of mercenaries, so identified by their weapons and light leather armour. They tell tall tales of conquest – both of a battle and sexual nature – and each time a story comes to end they roar together and clash their wooden cups. You see glass breaks far too easily and is expensive to replace on a regular basis. Around them are dotted several couples. Well, men and women together. They could just as well be whores and that nights drunken fool with some spare coin. Beyond these is a small wooden platform supporting several booths raised up and away from the other tables. It is cleaner and less crowded. Several have curtains pulled across to give some privacy to the lewd, unsavoury acts behind – imagine what you will, it likely is happening.
Except at one booth where behind it's curtains sits our lovely, kind hearted, compassionate and dashingly handsome Elf. At least in comparison to everyone else in the tavern.
The soft tinkle of coin prickles the ear of one or two close to the booth. Anyone who knows financial hardship knows the sound as it coins rub against one another especially when muffled by that of cloth from say; a coin purse. But no-one dares peek behind the curtain what with a semi-lucid man already sat on the floor outside it nursing a rapidly swelling eye.
In his semi-seclusion Alloen sits with another man. A human, wearing armour similar to the mercenaries previously mentioned. A sword lay between them; Captain Gerald's sword. The scabbard lays there at least, a beautiful piece of leather scored with patterns and several brass pieces with an iron chappe. The sword itself is in the man's hands, turned over, inspected closely, it's handle particularly. The pommel holds two opal gems either side of the grip. Unbeknown to the man they had taken the place of an emerald and ruby retrieved by the Elf. Regardless he was impressed and nodded with satisfaction.
[+deeppink “A very good sword, beautiful work as you said. I approve!”] His grin widens as he places the sword back onto the table alongside a bag of coin. The latter was produced for Alloen's benefit to show his genuine interest before he could even handle the blade.[+deeppink “Why would you sell such a fine piece?”]
[+green “I simply have no need for it,”] a hand clasping a wooden cup is swung off to his side in gesture of his Elven glaive,[+green “but also it is a human blade. It is heavy and cumbersome. Too much so for my liking.”] He sups at his wine slowly. The man opposite shrugs at the response - [i [+deeppink 'his loss']] he thinks – and he returns his gaze to the table for a moment.
[+deeppink “Well then it is good luck I happened upon you.”] He grins again and looks up into the violet eyes of the Elf, licking his lips before proceeding with his opening offer;[+deeppink “I'm thinking fifteen gold.”]
[+green “No.”] The response is swift. His gaze remains unyielding causing the human to place a hand atop his bag of gold responsively.
[+deeppink “Alright, a man who really knows his swords, I understand. Twenty.”]
[+green “No.”] Again; no change. The man takes a deep breath in.
[+deeppink “Well then how about you give me a number so we stop this bloody back and forth!”] His irritation boils over, fingers tightening on the coins in anger. Again Alloen seems indifferent and takes a small sip.
[+green “Fifty.”] He says quietly and the human scoffs. The Elf's free hand raises up to shush and wave off any retort.[+green “You approached me, remember? I do not care if it sells today or a year from now. And, I do not care if that is too rich for your blood. If you dislike my price then feel free to return to your table.”] The hand continues up and brushes his raven hair back as the man simmers over his words.
The silence is a ploy to let the offer sink in and become more digestible and agreeable. He knows the man wants the sword. His body conveyed a greater desire than the words from his lips. Truth be told, he could had the sword for thirty if he had played his cards closer to his chest. But he had been brazen. He had tried to flaunt his wealth before Alloen like a peacock on display. And he had lost. Seeing sense in the Elf's words at last he opened the pouch, withdrawing several coins before it is quickly tied back up and rolled across the table. A brief shake of the hands between gentlemen and the sword is slid back into the scabbard and taken away, curtain's left open now.
It was only a few minutes and a sip or two later, having counted his coin and with the mercenary warmed from his tepid mood by his friends swooning over his new sword, that the door to the tavern slammed open and a gust followed with it. The flames flickered in the room but remained lit but the joyful and harmonious atmosphere died in a moment.
[+firebrick “Where is tha' no beard, tree fuckin', knife eared bastard? Where is 'e?!”] In the doorway stands a small man. Most would call them dwarves but Alloen has taken a preference for little-human. It upsets some of them to his delight. This particular little-human is wrapped in a splendid wolf pelt, barrel chested and as wide as the door – almost. Bald as the sun is bright his braided beard reaches half way down to his waist where he rests worn and stumpy hands.
The Elf in question, given everyone else here was human, shuffled from his booth after a moments pause to tuck away the gold. With narrowed eyes he met the Dwarf's gaze. He folded his arms across his chest, standing tall as those around shifted their gaze between each man in the expectation of what was going to come. It was the shorter being who strode forward first, heavy boots stomping as he made his way across and up onto the raised platform. The duo came before one another and the Dwarf balled his hands at his side as he stared upwards.
[+green “What do you want door-stop?”] Alloen said with dripping sarcasm and someone to his left gasped. The Dwarf stared up with fiery eyes transfixed upon the Elf. The tension simmered as if awaiting a means to escape. When it seemed at it's peak the Dwarven man stepped forward and wrapped his thick arms about the Elf with a deep booming laugh that broke the unease in the room.
[+firebrick “Ah, ye bloody stick-throwing girls blouse, it's good t' see ye!”] The spell dismissed, Alloen grins and returns the embrace.
[+green “And you as well my height-impaired friend.”] As the two old friends eased from their friendly encounter the expectant crowd waned in interest and went back to their conversations. The dwarf looked across to the bar, holding up four fingers;
[+firebrick “Four pitchers o' ale miss! And a lemon slice for the Queen 'ere.”] His body shook with his laughter, face lighting up as Alloen afforded him a roll of his eyes and guided him to the booth to take a seat.[+firebrick “So,”] he shuffled along the bench, feet dangling off the floor,[+firebrick “gone for two long bloody years an' w'en 'e comes back, nary a word ta 'is friend? Where 'ave ye been Ally?”] The Elf had never particularly liked nicknames from others but the Dwarf got a pass this time.
[+green “Well, I thought of coming to find you but I figured why not just frequent your local alehouse and wait for you to come to me. Aside from your outhouse it's the only guaranteed place to find you.”] It was fair reasoning and came with a wry smile.
[+firebrick “Aye.. tha's true enough.”] He grins.[+firebrick “Say, speakin' o' which; did ye hear tha' big boom yesterday? The one from over by Temlis?”] The Elf shakes his head.
[+green “I only got in a few hours ago.”]
[+firebrick “Lets jus' say, lucky I was already in the outhouse!”] He barked a laugh and slapped the table joyfully and the Elf stifles a laugh.
[+green “Yes, than the heavens. Anyway. As to where I have been; stuck out in the west for a long time.”] He lets out a deep sigh.
[+firebrick “Ah, damn typical of ye lad. Ne'er could keep ye in one place too long. Still, cannae believe ye would strike out west! Bunch o' backward, twelve toed, sheep shaggin' crazies the lot of 'em.”] The pitchers are delivered to the table by a servants girl without a drop spilled – she was rather skilled in her work – and the Dwarf began rubbing his hands together in delight. Alloen softly sighs, for he see's a sliver of golden lemon is floating in one of the pitchers and it soon draws table shaking laughter from the short man who pounds his fist on the surface.
Beer, especially this hop variety, did nothing for him which doubled down his displeasure. Like a flat-chested whore it left him unsatisfied and naught much else. But, for his Dwarven friend, he would indulge and took up the one with the fruit slice inside. The servant girl stood looking at the Dwarf for payment but seeing that it was a frivolous endeavour, his eyes lost in the golden liquid already, turned her blue eyes on the Elf instead. He knew his friend would not pay and so fished a golden coin from his new wealth. He requested her to bring him a few bottles of wine before handing it over. She bowed her head and moved away, biting the coin as she left; good practice.
[+green “Whilst yes, it leaves something to be desired culture wise, it is quite a lucrative market Ingulf. No competition to speak of, a lot of untapped wealth, incredibly simple people and some of the women are,”] he hesitates as he tries to find a positive to spin on the latter,[+green “well they don't have extra digits. Most of them.”] He grins.[+green “If you can stave off the numbing boredom you have an easy life. And it's cheap too which I imagine would appeal to you.”] The first pitcher has been half drank by Indulf before Alloen finishes and frothy beer suds run down his facial hair whilst he smacks his lips happily.
[+firebrick “Nah, 'am good 'ere in New 'arlan, 'specially wit' this 'ere rebellion goin' on. It doubles me work. Though, it's annoyin' havin' ta play one side off against t'other, it keeps the forge lit an' the coffers full.”] He licks his lips as he stares into his frothing beverage. The notion he has wealth is not lost on Alloen as he eyes the other pitchers but he pours himself a cup and takes several mouthfuls, nodding thoughtfully.
[+green “I'm glad you brought up the rebellion, you see-”]
[+firebrick “Oh do we 'ave ta? Cannae we jus' drink?”] The Dwarf opined, brows furrowing in disdain.
[+green “Do hush Ingulf, I have one topic to ask about and then we can continue drinking. Is that agreeable?”] He takes another small sip, pouring the rest back into the pitcher with disgust; far too syrupy.
[+firebrick “Fine, fine. 'urry up.”] The dwarf raises the pitcher to drink deep once more as he listened.
[+green “Too kind. Well, I am looking for a human male. I have nothing other than he is missing an ear, his right ear. Might be a bit of a gambler I'm led to believe. Known to talk with some of the merc's running about here. Keen to know if he's seen a friend of mine.”] The dwarf finishes off the pitcher and slides it aside with a large belch but nods.[+green “Know him?”]
[+firebrick “Aye, aye. Drav. Sneaky little pissant. Gone for the week t' Kerin. Should be back tonight or t'morrow. See, 'e got some girl up the duff an' the father was none too keen for 'im ta run off an' leave 'er, so went with 'im. Dumb fuck.”] He chuckled at the man's predicament, all whilst sliding the second pitcher before himself and sipping just to wet his lips a touch.
[+green “I don't know, sounds quite the fine gentleman to me.”] Alloen grinned and his eye caught the servant returning this time with his wine. He thanked her with a few silver loose on the table from earlier drinks. Pouring a cupful he nestled it between his hands, small emerald flickering flames licking up from his palms as he warmed the wine. The air between them became quite perfumed and fruity.
[+firebrick “Ah, bloody ponce.”] The little man grumbles upon smelling the wine.
[+green “Ingulf, learn some manners or hush and raise that pitcher.”] He raised his cup to the man who in turn raised his ale curiously.[+green “A toast. To old friends and new friends. Great friends and dead friends. May we kiss who we please and please who we kiss!”] They both grinned at one another and each downed their respective drinks not stopping until they were drained. Wine was a downfall of Alloen's. His Elven body was very susceptible to it's intoxicating ways. After this first full cup of heated wine, his second cup of the night, he felt his senses slow a degree or two.
And so the two old friends set about getting drunk. Alloen forwent his cup when he started on his second bottle, biting off the cork to spit aside and taking long gulps at a time, his flames licking around the neck of the bottle warming the drink as it poured out. Ingulf was not one to be drank under the table, especially to an Elf, so he made sure he kept apace. They ate bowls of thick, steaming stew to quell rumbling stomachs and drank on until several empty wine bottles and pitchers of ale scattered the table between them, each man left laughing hysterically at inside jokes and the like and hammering the table when their own old memories and fables were brought up.
[+green “Hey.. hey Ingulf..”] Alloen whispered as he finished his fifth bottle and the moon was reaching it's zenith. The tavern was at it's most boisterous now. The Dwarf looked up from eyeing his wooden spoon, wanting something more to eat. Alloen began to thump on the table with his hand and built a steady rhythm before his foot joined in banging on the floor.
[+green “There's.. an.. Inn..”] The Dwarf grinned at those few words, eyes lighting up and he immediately began to pound upon the table with both his thick hands in delight. It quietened those around their booth and the eerie hush spread quickly through the rest of the drunken throng that remained. Alloen, ever the showman, slid from the booth and on remarkably steady feet turned to the silenced crowd as Ingulf kept the rhythm;
[+green [center “There's an inn, there's a merry old inn
Beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
One night to drink his fill.”
“The ostler has a tipsy cat
That plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he runs his bow,
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
Now sawing in the middle.”
“The landlord keeps a little dog
That is mighty fond of jokes;
When there's good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
And laughs until he chokes.”]]
Others begin to take up the beating of fists and feet, drunken minds syncing with the pleasant melody. He continued like this for several verses more, moving about the floor amongst the crowd drawing more in. He found himself beside the bar and using a free chair to step up onto it, began stomping his feet as he continued singing;
[+green [center “So the cat on his fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
A jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
[i "It's after three!"] he said.”]]
There was a great cheer and laughter, eyes turning to the very landlord of this tavern who was busy laughing at the fable being sung, nodding and joining in on the joke at his expense as Alloen neared the end;
[+green [center “With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
The cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
With the silver Sunday spoon.”
“The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
As the Sun raised up her head.
She hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her surprise
They all went back to bed! Hey!”]]
He raised his hands as the song finishing. You could feel the earth rumble as the place erupted in cheers and chorus laughter. The people were in rapturous applause for the show and Alloen dipped down to grab a cup of beer that had just been poured, raising it up in cheers to them all, drinking heartily before grinning, a frothy mustache left behind. Several golden coins were fished from his pouch and thrown to the landlord to catch;
[+green “Now, a drink for all!”] He called out triumphantly; and that garnered the greatest cheer of the night yet.
Insae's tail swished, only the very tip of it slowly moving from left to right and then back again. She hoped that Yui would answer in the affirmative to the given question, but if not then she'd work with an answer in the negative.
So far, the only reaction from Yui had been to look around the village. Whether that was a move on purpose to scout around the surroundings or it was something to do while thinking on a reply, one could only really guess one or the other. But Insae was prepared to wait for as long as it took to wait; you don't pressure a potential business partner, especially if you don't know them.
And then Yui started to walk. Insae started following her, keeping up with steady, monotone sounding steps.
As they walked, Insae glanced around as if she were checking out a city that she was visiting for the first time. This glancing around wasn't only for the beautiful views, it was also to scout the surrounding. With the present times being as crazy as they were, surprises, both good and bad, hid everywhere. One would be always glad of a good surprise, but no one enjoyed being badly surprised.
A flower shop, a curious choice indeed. Insae glanced at Yui, hoping for some insight; there was none. All Insae could do was to go along with Yui and whatever her plan was.
Now the cemetery, that was a key piece to this whole puzzle. By themselves, the cemetery or the flowers would have made no sense together. But together, the puzzle was finally solved.
The two of them would appear to be honouring a dead person. Anyone who even looked in their direction, curious as to what they were doing, would only see two people remembering a dead person.
But they would not hear the conversation, which was the whole point of this deception.
Insae merely nodded her head to Yui's inquiry. Insae settled into a comfortable stance facing Yui, ready to explain everything.
There was nothing to lose by telling the truth, so that was what Insae told to Yui.
Insae explained that she was merely a middle agent, sent by one of the Torn Army members to negotiate a deal with a mercenary group. She also explained the request; as many mercenaries hired as possible. It was indeed quite the request, but the Torn Army was willing to pay for it in gold.
The whole time Yui had listened, paying attention to every word. This seemed a good sign, as it meant that something about this whole deal interested Yui.
After she had finished speaking, Insae once more waited for Yui to reply. It seemed a bit funny, this whole 'talk-listen-talk' cycle. But that was the way any conversation normally worked.
There were no words at first, only slow footsteps. Then Yui replied as both of them continued to slowly walk out of the cemetery.
Insae once again nodded her head, she definitely was not going to leave this town until this whole business was sorted out. She couldn't pull out of such a deal, for she'd be leaving two very pissed of groups in the wake.
INsae let Yui walk off first before going out herself. She took a completely different direction from the one Yui had took.
With nothing else to do, Insae just strolled through the city. Now that she had the time, Insae looked around and took in the view. It was quiet and beautiful, two things which she liked.
But this peaceful stroll came to an end. A voice called out, [b "Lookie what we have here, a half-witted half breed"] Insae turned around to stare at the accuser; there were a total of three of them, all of them humans and all of them had their swords out. Out of all the races, humans were the most annoying when it came to being racist.
[+purple "Is it a fight you wish for?"] The looks in their eyes was enough to understand that they would not be backing down.
Insae took a step back with her right leg, drawing out her sword. As she drew it out, the three of them sprinted at her hoping to catch her before she could pull out her sword.
Insae managed to pull out her sword. But she did not commit to a defensive stance just yet. Committing to a defensive stance would be hard with three opponents, for she would not be able to block all three of them at once.
The leader, the one who had called her out, was in the middle, while his two 'henchmen' were on his flanks.
As they closed in, Insae lashed out. She delivered a strike cutting up and to the left hitting the guy to the left, while whipping out her tail at the guy on the right. The guy on the left was knocked out when the flat part of the blade him in the head, the guy on the right was hit in the head with a tail which knocked him out as well.
Which left the 'ringleader'. He seemed a bit shocked that his two friends had gone down quickly, but he did not seem to want to back off. This was good, for it meant that this guy at least was not afraid to follow through.
After the quick strike, Insae committed to a defensive stance. She stood at an angle to him, her sword pointed diagonally and slightly towards him. She was not going to be making a move, which would mean that he would have to make a move.
Make a move he did, a wild cut from Insae's right-to-left. She blocked it with ease, and then twisting her hands as she angled her sword downwards, disarming him in the process. Even though it was completely unnecessary, Insae tripped him by hitting both of his legs with her tails at the same time.
With a quick jump, Insae was standing over him with her sword near his neck. She could see the fear in the eyes, even almost taste it.
It would have taken no effort to slice his throat open. Just a little shove into his neck and he would be bleeding out to death.
But Insae instead sheathed her sword and stepped back. She turned around, and walked off leaving the guy and his two unconscious friends where they were.
Insae was fuming. She had wanted no participation in that fight. Fights attracted unwanted attention, and all her actions up to this point had been to attract as less attention as possible. What made her even more angry was that there had been no way out of the fight, the humans had wanted to fight.
Racism at its finest.
Insae wanted to move to a more private location. She supposed it made sense as the halfling was associated with the Torn. Yui wasn’t sure how yet, but she was curious to find out. Tucking her mail under her arm she glanced around the village, and determined she’d have to run her errands later in the day. At least from what she could see, the book she ordered on Human anatomy and pressure points had come in as well as a package of rare herbs for her tinctures and poisons. As far as Yui knew, there was really no place that was private in Temlis, but there was her room back at the inn. However, people would see them huddled together, or they might insist something else by their retirement to her room. Either way, people were going to talk. Silently Yui led the way towards one place she did know would be free of eavesdroppers and other people. She made only a single stop and purchased a small collection of flowers from a cart and led Insae towards the cemetery on the southern edge of the village. There it was empty of people, and Yui led her through the gates and wandered between the crude sticks and stone tombstones.
She stopped by a tombstone in the farthest point of the cemetery and placed the flowers upon the earth. To anyone else, they simply looked like a pair paying their respects. [#87CEFA “Alright, we are in a cemetery… no one will bother us here…”] she motioned around them to the lack of individuals. Their only company was the dead and the dead don’t speak. [#87CEFA “Private enough for you?”] Yui stood up straighter. She didn’t know the person buried at the grave they were speaking at, but she wasn’t about to conduct business over a strangers grave without leaving something in return, thus the flowers. How would they know if she did or didn’t know the corpse under the earth she stood on? Insae seemed to be accepting of their location and proceeded to explain herself. Yui listened closely, arms folded over her chest, and doing her best to look attentive and not allow her RBF to reign supreme. Then again, it couldn’t be helped, that was simply how her face looked.
From what Yui gathered, Insae was looking to purchase a collection of mercenaries for hire for the Torn army. Yui found that interesting, and she had a feeling Vreal would as well. It was rather odd, yet convenient, that someone hoping to bolster the Torn’s army would arrive just after the conversation she and Vreal had. She weighed what the Halfling Liaison had to say, and finally they both began their walk out of the Cemetery with slow steps to prolong their discussion.
[#87CEFA “I will take in all that you’ve told me. I will have to take it to my Commander. He will have the final say. You are asking for a lot of manpower. He will want to meet with you, of that I’m sure. He will want the remainder of details, the name of your contact, and how they plan to pay. We’ll also need a final headcount of what you want.”] She stopped at the gate of the cemetery and gave Insae one final look. [#87CEFA “Do not leave town too quickly. I will arrange the meeting and come looking for you, or I’ll send a messenger to bring you.”]
There wasn’t much more to say after that. Yui had listened to her requests on behalf of the torn. Smart of them not to send one of their own people directly, and instead young Insae had found herself as a type of middleman. Yui’s little stunt with the graveyard had worked, no one had bothered either of them as they left the cemetery, and Yui was able to run her errands for the day. During her time in town, one of her brethren told her about Rezik’s challenge against Vreal, and his appointment of her new position as left-tenant. Her brother admitted the groups shock at hearing that Vreal had chosen Yui. She had to admit, she was surprised by it too, a part of her sure that Vreal had done so for tactical purposes. Keep your friends close, but your enemy closer… she wasn’t really a rival, but she could see how she was perceived as one. Her and Vreal had been at each other’s throats since the day the met, it was only recently in the past year they had begun to get along. Mostly at Acrius’ behest. Among the news, one of the letters she received was from one of her contacts. A Target was moving towards Temlis, but was currently in the neighboring Village. Yui had been trying to track this target down for months, and finally one of her contacts had spotted him and reached out to her. This meant she had to prepare to leave Temlis for the night, and gather a disguise. She hurried back towards the Inn, stopping at the stables and requesting her horse be prepared for travel, then made her way into the Inn. It was mid afternoon, and while it wasn’t terribly busy in the tavern, it was filled with people eating a late lunch, or afternoon pint. Vreal was among them, sitting at his own table and looking a bit roughed up.
She set her stuff down on the table and sat down across from him, raising a hand to be served her usual afternoon tea.
[#87CEFA “I heard about Rezik’s challenge,”] she stated right off the bat, she almost sounded as if she felt bad. Not that she did. [#87CEFA “Don’t dwell on it, Rezik was an idiot. Acrius chose you, because he knew you were the right person for the job.”] She smirked, assuming Vreal’s uncertain expression was due to the challenge and subsequent death of their comrade. She sighed thankfully as her tea was set before her, in her own dainty cup and she sipped from it, letting the full bodied tea of liquorish and bergamot touch her soul. [#87CEFA “Anyway, I spoke with the halfling. Her name is Insae, she’s a liaison for The Torn. I think you’re going to want to talk to her. She’s trying to make a contract for a lot of man power. What she wants would easily force this entire unit to work. No one will be able to get their personal contracts taken care of, if everyone is wrapped up in what she wants. Speaking of personal Contracts, I just got a lead on one of mine. He’s in the next village, one of my girls spotted him. I’m going to take him out tonight. I’ll be back by morning, and seriously, don’t let the Rezik thing get to you…. unless… it’s not Rezik… it’s something else…”] she said finally seeing it on his face. Rezik wasn’t what was bothering him. So what was it?
Vreal stood up from where he was sitting and walked back into the town itself. He had intentions of looking for Yui and checking to see if she was good with the newcomer but that thought passed when he realized who the hell he was thinking about...she could be quite scary at times. Instead he walked to the blacksmith and had her sharpen his blades for him. He stood looking at some of her work and was relatively impressed with her handiwork. She had definite skill that was worthy of being a royal court blacksmith. When he received the blades back he paid her handsomely as she was well worth the cost.
He decided to head over to the field where the undead battle took place and investigate something that had always interested him but he just never had the time. [+blue [i Permeating magic is still a mystery to the people of this land I wonder if I can learn something about it by observing it closely maybe there is something there...]] He thought while approaching the area that seemed to waver the most on sight. Magic itself was fascinating and in places like this the air seemed visible but also colorful. It was like a distortion that shouldn't be there yet was completely natural.
He observed it as it shimmered a vision he had never expected. Something was there but it...wasn't. He watched a battle waging in the long past. Only bits and pieces at a time but what he did see...was terrible. Like something happened here that decided the fate of many men. He looked around at the field now and there were no signs that a fight like this ever occurred. [+blue [i What was that exactly? It's like these areas of intense magic can show you the past....or maybe...could it be the future?]] He thought to himself. None of those cleaning up here seemed to notice what Vreal had. He looked back into the distortion and saw one last thing. A hooded man with eyes as red as lit coals and a smirk he raised a sword and beheaded a young soldier who had yielded. Evil had lived here or...it would one day.
Vreal took a drink from the wine skin and looked away. He thought on what he had seen but didn't let his mind stay on it for too long. He had to see one more thing here but before he could step away something whispered out to him. He turned slowly to the distortion. [i [+red Death...famine....all will perish...all will enter the void....all is lost...fate decrees so....the torn....the throne....and...you young prince...success is your salvation...the only way to right....magic...the only way to prevent....the end.]] The voice was gutteral, deep, and...chilling.
Vreal stood there waiting to hear more but it became obvious that there was nothing more it would say to him. [+blue [i What just happened?]] He thought to himself stricken with the feeling of despair. [+blue [i Who was that?]] He thought while reaching towards the distortion with a free hand. He moved his hand through it watching it fold around his hand and suddenly a chill ran up his spine from this encounter. He noticed the magic had numbed his arm from touching it. Then his adrenaline surged when the numbness faded his magic was igniting inside him. He could feel it. He pointed his arm towards the sky so he could release it quickly before it overcame his reserve. A powerful burst of white light erupted from his palm and a gale force forced him to slide back from the released energy. It was the noise that caught everyone off guard the most though. It was incredibly loud and forceful. Everyone that was cleaning up the field was startled and hit the ground expecting an explosion.
Vreal started to feel normal again and even noticed none of his stamina had depleted from something that would have killed him had he cast it without that feeling of surging power that had overcome him just moments ago. [+blue [i I need to find Yui now.]] He decided while walking quickly back into the town. People were all looking around now quizzically about what had just occurred. He walked towards the Inn where he had last seen Yui but she wasn't there. [+blue [i She always comes back here sooner or later. I will wait here.]] He thought while taking a seat and ordering some cooked venison and something to drink.
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