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  1. "Hey now, stay back." Lupin called out to Shoko the moment she made herself known. Someone who had a much cooler hand and head than Lupin would have reached for his weapon without being so obvious, but Lupin jumped back and made a show of bringing his short sword out – he wanted whoever addressed him to know he was as willing as he was armed. Of course, a closer look revealed his mighty opponent to be a kid. And not a very large one at that, not one of those beefy folk that lead the pack in municipal sports. She was tiny, which invited a certain attitude from Lupin, but he knew from firsthand experience that getting this high up the mountain was no cakewalk. That meant there was something more to this one than the eye could appreciate at first glance. "A handful's what you're after? That seems just about right to me." He had no more claim to this mountain and to this patch of peppers than she did, but the girl had fallen for the trap of social honesty. See, by letting him know what she was after, what she was willing to do and how much she was willing to part with, Lupin knew just how much to give her, and no more. "So long as I get what I came here to get, I don't really care about what you do or what happens to you. But, since you're here and since I'm here, may as well pass a kind word between strangers and make the day go by a little faster, right? You can get your handful from that patch right over there, I'll be working on my section right here. Hell, when you're full up, I'll even escort you down the mountain, no charge. How's that sound missy?"
  2. What Lupin had to continually remind himself of was the fact that as clever as he was, and boy was he clever, that didn't make other people fools by default. There were people just as clever as him in the world trying to get one over on the next guy, and if you weren't careful then the next guy was you. When a deal is too good to be true and you show up expecting it, who's the sucker? These peppers could fetch a really hefty price but Lupin didn't know he was going to have to hike through a forest to get to the mountain they grew on. And when he got to the mountain they grew on, he didn't think he'd have to scale the damn thing and get up to a certain elevation. And when he got to the elevation, he thought they'd at least be growing by the handful, overabundance spilling color on the gray crags. Nope. He had to go foraging for them. "Well well well. After all that work . . . " Lupin reached out and plucked a single yellow-orange charapita pepper. He held it up, inspecting it in the bar of sunlight that peeked over the peak and filled the mountain pass. "I finally got you you bastard." Against the drab colors of the mountain, Lupin's dark attire made him difficult to distinguish from a shadow. Against the brightly colored patches of peppers however, he stood out exactly in the way you'd expect. He plucked the peppers one at a time because, looking around, it seemed to him if he didn't make too much of a mess with the patch, he'd be able to return to these parts regularly and net himself a few thousand bucks for glorified gardening. "Not bad at all." He said to himself, wearing the face of a greedy man but his hand calm and restrained. "Just don't cook your goose and its aces for you Lu."
  3. yeahh but like why specifically? what is it that crow company can offer a group like vcf that would make them interested? like what exactly would we be getting ourselves into in a deal like that?
  4. @Sanonymous uh hmmm. what is it that the VCF can offer and what is it that they hope to get? like what's a multinational outfit want with us? @Houndy Poochykins oh yeah that's totally fine. i would basically just need your character to have enough skill in that area in this case magic, to be able to count on them for that, for things that need magic. whatever skills they have outside of that are totally fine. for instance my character is the fighter in crow company but he has a rogues set of skills
  5. My crow company is up and coming and growing all the while. We've got a permanent hedquarters in Aligoria and just added an expert rogue into the mix, well a nother one that is. Basically right now I'm looking to fill up the other core roles for the company which are either a healer or a mage. I can recruit you through a quest in Aligoria so we can keep getting big there
  6. Short summary: Crow Company is a mercenary outfit that is making a name for itself in Aligoria. They complete their first successful job in penning in escaping Frost rebels during a raid by the Shadow Guard. Long summary: + the above. It's a simple job but the Crows manage to catch a high value target which gets a favorable eye from the Shadow King. The Crows build the Crow's Nest tavern and inn with an extra building to double as their member quarters, giving them a permanent residence and a source of legitimate income, however small and unsteady for the time being. Jiv'undus is a unrelated to Crow Company at first but serves alongside them during this mission. After Crow Company gets their own business who goes to see them again and is invited to join and offered a job by Crow Company to see if he has what it takes. Consequences: 1. A final unit of Frost rebels is defeated. 2. Crow Company builds the Crow's Nest, tavern and inn. 3. Jiv'undus takes a job from Crow Company to heist an expensive ration of rare tea from a local collector. Opportunities: 1. Join Jiv'undus on the heist (if he's interested) for personal benefit or to join Crow Company 2. Join Crow Company 3. Get revenge on Crow Company for their participation against the Frost agent (just remember that they're on the side of the Shadow King and have his favor) 4. Work a regular job at the Crow's Nest
  7. Lupin didn't know the specifics about the man sitting across from him. He knew Malek was hiding something. Even if he couldn't pull that from the telltale signs of one old hand coming across another, it was a common enough experience in the circles each man frequented that it would have been foolish of Lupin to expect candor from a fellow rogue. However he knew well enough the man was capable of something. For all the gruff he gave Malek earlier about their job for the shadow guard, Lupin smelled the blood on him that day and saw that Malek didn't so much as have a thread out of place. That was a guy who knew his way around a blade better than a politician knew the red-light district. The tea was a test, and the test was a litmus, something of a formality to double-check his own biases and confirm the guy had at least as much steak as he did sizzle, but Lupin could already tell that Malek was going to make it back with treasure in hand and that the Crows were on their way up, as crows were wont to be. "I'm willing to share everything I know. After all, your success is mine. From this day on, all I'll ever want for you is to win as much as possible. Anyway we'll deal with all that stuff tomorrow. The whole night I planned around celebrating our victory, and I guess for now at least, that involves you too. You eat pork right?" (OOC: We're closing the thread off here. I'm going to put up the canon post and Jiv'undus is going to do an actual heist in an actual other thread!)
  8. Lupin joined in on the laughter. Just a smile at first but as Malek dove into his amusement Lupin followed and bubbled up a few chuckles. Malek then ended the laugh so suddenly it caught Lupin off guard. "Oh we're done laughing." He said it to himself, but only because Malek was already somehow at the bar, putting his hands on a bottle of wine. The discrepancy brought Lupin to his feet. Some of the others stopped working, and some kept on. Lupin glanced at a nearby candle, took notice of how much of it was spent, confirmed he hadn't lost time. It wasn't a charm at least. Whatever Malek did Lupin was pretty sure it wasn't a trick. Malek was back and tossing a bottle of wine at him. Lupin had every intention to catch it but had the reflexes to wait until it was further along its arc. Malek bet him to the punch and caught it himself midair with a hand made of smoke. So far as Lupin was concerned there was no point hiding the fact he was impressed. Malek knew what he was doing and Lupin had no issue showing his appreciation, even going so far as to clap, prompting others around them to join in. There was even a small ripple of cheers and whistles before they got back to working or drinking, per the dictates of their shift. "Cheers." Lupin took his drink and sipped at it the way he should, then knocked a gulp back the way he wanted. He left the rest of the wine to breathe while he got back into it with Malek. "That's the kind of fire I like to see. Now I tell you what I don't mind killing people but the kind of shop I want to run, we only assassinate when there's a premium attached. We don't do nothing without money at hand, and killing someone always draws the most heat and the stickiest charges. There's easier ways to get rich. What you get up to in your spare time is your business." "How's about we put some of that hopping around to a theft? Aligoria is known for its tea, and in this tea crazy place there's a guy known for his tea. I hear he's got this special collector's blend that's like, well let's just say it'd let us hire some contractors and sort out this construction in no time. It'd be a great christening for you. Maybe a permanent room in the Nest?"
  9. Jiv'undus was right. Lupin had met guys like Malek by the dozens. He had been a guy like Malek himself not that long ago, because he knew sometimes you had to put up a good front in order to get your foot in the door, it was a fundamental lesson to those men and women who fashioned themselves after the rogue. He had no problem giving a guy a chance, but he did have a problem with getting the wool pulled over his eyes. Lupin's tastes had changed with his circumstances. Nowadays it was silk or nothing. "Oh yeah, sure sure. I think you did a great job of staying alive when we were running that job for the shadow guard. Is that the kind of talent you mean? Sort of, staying out of the way and showing back up again?" Lupin was easy with his words and easy with his smile but how much of it was playful banter and how much of it was a shrewd businessman kicking the tires in, checking under the hood, tapping his finger against the odometer to make sure he wasn't being sold a lemon that'd break down as soon as he drove it off the lot? Not every king wanted a fool. "Listen, if you want to make a little scratch while you loaf around looking for some easy work, I can get behind that. You can help out around here and ain't no shame in it. Plenty of crows are doing exactly that, serving drinks, cleaning tables, helping out in the kitchen, helping the Nest expand by building extensions on it. All the help is welcome and you'll get a fair price for it." "Now if you want to be part of something bigger I'll put it to you straight. There's something about you that makes me feel a little off, and the truth of it is I'd rather have that feeling coming from someone at my side rather than someone in front of me…or behind me for that matter. So if you're interested." Lupin leaned his chair back, kicked his feet up onto the table, folded his hands behind his head. "What are you bringing to the table, for more than just yourself that is."
  10. OOC: Crow's Nest tavern and inn located in Aligoria. This isn't canon yet but I didn't want to lose this mansion on the tool Floor plan First: Tavern with bar and tables. Drink and food Second: Inn where people can rent rooms to sleep Third: Floor dedicated to members of Crow Company Amenities: Locker storage, bath, small stable for mounts
  11. The swinging wooden banner just above the main entrance of the establishment read THE CROW'S NEST. Of all Lupin's virtues, subtlety didn't appear to be one of them, at least when he was off the battlefield. "Hey! Look who it is!" His voice rang out behind Malek just as the man pushed open the main entrance door and took his first step into the Nest. Lupin's voice, like his footsteps, came on suddenly, as if he had been hiding there the entire time and made a show of announcing himself for Malek's benefit. "It's been a while. Malek, right?" Lupin was acting like it had been years rather than three days, but in the final estimation the circumstances of not only his life but of his station in Aligoria had changed enough in those three days to account for a year's worth of labor. Lupin had a cloth wrapped bottle tucked under his right arm, while his left hand held onto the handle of a covered crate. "I was just about to start pouring the whiskey. Got some wine and beer too if that's more your speed. Come in come in! Grab a table, we have plenty to spare. For now!" Most of the people spread out through the interior were the familiar faces of Crow Company. There were three waitstaff, two of them were new, but one of them was the nightshift bartender from the First Ship. Lupin had poached that guy special, figuring people were more likely to go to a place with a familiar face. Lupin returned with a tall bottle of chilled beer, plopped it onto an empty table with some glasses, and flagged Malek down. "Come to see how your old pals are holding up huh? Maybe looking for work?"
  12. (That's okay it wasn't much of a delay and also happy birthday to your mom!) "I'm pretty happy with how things turned out." Lupin replied to Malek, unconcerned that the other man managed to secure a position behind him. Maybe he had that much misplaced confidence in his own abilities, or maybe he had that much appropriately placed confidence in the members of his team surrounding them all. "Could have gone better, could have gone worse. We did the job though so we'll be getting our pay and that's damn good enough for me. All that's left to do is wait for the guard to clock us out and take us to our reward. In the meantime, you like playing dice?" He turned around and revealed that he was already holding a battered tin cup and a handful of dice, none of them scuffed. He dropped a handful of one into the receptacle of the other and shook them around. "We only play with our sleeves rolled way up and dice tested after each round. You know what I mean? I don't like to play games when I'm gambling, not unless I'm planning to end up in a fight at the end of the night." It was only a half hour of tossing dice against the floor and wall, betting amounts of money far too petty to actually improve or worsen anyone's living conditions. Eventually the shadow guard came to collect the bodies of the turncoats, checking names off a list, and then to gather the volunteers who made it all happen as if they were an afterthought. Lupin visibly bristled t that. "That's gratitude for you. Sure they scared the rats out of the nest but who was actually clubbing the damn things to death?" He wasn't at all shy about expressing his opinion but for their part the shadow guard were professionals, and were tactful in turning a blind ear to Lupin's caterwauling. There must have been something to it though, because two days after they had all been paid out an appropriate amount for the contract, Lupin was called in to show up before the royal court. When he returned to the First Ship, he was beaming, a smile stretched from ear to ear, hair pulled back into a ponytail to keep from falling in front of his eyes and tickling his ears. "Guess what. That old biddy I boxed in was something important. I got something extra. Rather than asking for a heap of gold and running away in a horse-drawn carriage or whatever rich people do, I decided to invest." He unfurled a piece of parchment he had been carrying, smoothing it out on the table between the lot of them. "We're going to get a business of our own to tend to lads. A tavern and inn with a second building that's going to be our quarters. Free room for as long as you're one of the crows! And the place will take care of our food too. That'll about break us even. Any extra profit we can turn can go into a coffer. "What do you say?" Crow Company was already formed but now Lupin had taken the next step and in effect set them up with something of a guildhall and proposed some kind of shared resource that was more than just every man looking out for himself. Now they really had a choice to make.
  13. The fanfare of mounting war boomed down the street and surrounded them. this not only signaled that events were well underway but that it was time to take their position. Members of Crow Company separated from the other volunteers. Some made their way to the rooftops to act as scouts and air support. Others took hidden positions in opposed alleyways so they could be both ends of a pincer. These were tactics Lupin cemented with his people the night before. He was concerned the new guy Malek would find himself adrift without anchor, lacking all of this information. When Lupin looked up to see what the guy was doing though, he found Malek nowhere in sight. Either he's a coward or has his own plan. When I handed him that cigarette his hand didn't shake at all . . . probably not a coward then." Lupin was the only one to remain in plain sight. When the fleeing bums saw it was just one man on the street, he thought they'd be more likely to take it, feel more secure in their numbers. Within a minute of thinking this a small crowd of men and women blocked the end of his street. They were running, paused when they saw him. Lupin waved at them and they could hear his laughter. They charged again. Arrows volleyed from above, routing some, killing others. Those who continued to press the charge were blindsided by the troops Lupin had placed on either end of the street, once again dividing their numbers with death. Now those who remained were too focused on a successful escape to worry about attacking Lupin as they passed him. For his part Lupin was happy to step to one side and let them do exactly that. To a point. Lupin picked the one who dressed the nicest, with the best weapons. That person, in this case a fit older woman with just a little gray mixed in with her brown, Lupin wagered to be a shotcaller among the Frosts. Sure, maybe it was just her turn to shower but it wouldn't be a gamble if Lupin knew ahead of time. That woman flattened her nose against Lupin's transparent barrier. Questions came to mind but instinct told her to focus on running. She took a few steps back to pick out a different route and found another barrier pushing back. The same for either side and above her. Lupin, now a few feet away and leaning against a wall with his arms crossed, had trapped her in a mime box. "I figure hey, you're probably more valuable to them alive than dead, right? So just sit tight and it'll all work out. Probably. I guess depends who's asking." "Let me go, I can pay you." "Not cheap. You got that much gold on you right now?" ". . ." "Besides, doubling up on contracts is bad business, and reputation is everything. I tell you what though, when this one runs out, if you stay alive long enough, I'll bust you out of the joint. How's that sound?" The woman shrugged. She looked Lupin in the eyes until her eyes went glassy and she was foaming at the mouth, spasming on the floor. Suicide pill, most likely. Ah well, hopefully the Shadow Guard had their own plans. End of the day, Lupin got the bastard didn't he?
  14. "Fella." Lupin's one word reply to the one word introduction. He paced the lateral length of the road his troupe had been stationed on. It might have seen like a nervous tic but really Lupin was getting familiar with his surroundings. These Frost people were natives. They would know ins and outs of Aligoria that Lupin still didn't even know about, so the only thing he could do to compensate was know every single cobblestone making up his little patch of town. Was owning that square, through and through. In the pacing he took out a small satchel of tobacco and a grip of rolling papers, and began rolling a slim cigarette for every person in his eyeline. If they ended up not being smokers he'd keep it for himself and smoke it later. His fingers were nimble and he cranked them out with machine like practiced precision, flicking them almost absentmindedly to the people he knew, and holding them out like a gift to the people he didn't. That's what he was doing with Malek, holding a cigarette out, before he started talking again. "Little word of advice for ya, free of charge. The shadow guard has been pretty decent but don't let the buddy buddy stuff throw you off the fact that they're employers and we're employees. That paycheck has me out here and sure I'm willing to rough up some people for coin, oldest biz in the world right? But at the current going rate, I'm only willing to take that so far. I'm not saying I'm gonna take it easy they're gonna get their money's worth, just don't be expecting me to jump on any grenades to save you that's all. If you're square with that, you're square with me." Suddenly they could hear a commotion in the direction the Shadow Guard had taken off. Breaking glass, then a pillar of smoke climbing to the sky being chased by an incandescent tongue of flame "Oops. I think that's the signal. Places people!" @Jiv'undus
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