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  1. An Audience with the Damned

    The Mage was aware that his entrance could have been misconstrued as an attack on Akako and her domain. But he entered the garden with an air of confidence about him, not just for himself but for the kitsune’s own sharp senses which he figured would single him out (especially since he made no effort to mask his presence) before he even scaled the wall into the castle’s courtyard and gardens. Fortunately, it didn’t seem as if Akako had any guards on retainer who would take the initiative in dispatching the robed newcomer. That or the Yokai Queen kept her servants on quite the short leash. ”Reassuring? My Queen certainly means inevitable,” Arthur replied in flattering fashion, maintaining his low bow as he added, “This One’s call has an allure that your most humble servant could never and would never resist.” Grinning, Arthur stood back up to his full height, his eyes surveying the vixen who was sprawled across a silk fabric looking like a horde of gold and precious gemstones. He didn’t know what was the purpose for summoning him, but certainly it couldn’t have been for nothing. Women like Akako, an infamous demoness known for her propensity for trickery, were definitely always thinking several steps ahead. She was playing some sort of long game indeed. Though that said, Arthur didn’t meet the situation with reluctance, rather he was game to participate as well. As the vixen invited him to sit, the alchemist held both gifts in one hand and lifted each foot to undo the laces of his shoes before pulling them off. He joined Akako on the blanket, dropping onto the cushion she set out for him without ceremony. His legs immediately curled into the Lotus position during his descent, displaying a level of flexibility that bordered on the preternatural. “Very well,” Arthur nodded, ready as he’d ever be to hear what the vixen had to say to him. When her servant approached, the mutant passed both gifts to the hawk attendant. “Please, pour some for my hostess. It’s a vintage sake of demonic make, distilled here in the city.” As if to add to his statement, the Mage pulled on the voluminous sleeve of his robe; a sake saucer falling into his hand followed by a second a few moments later as though by sleight of hand. “Sorry,” he snorted in amusement as he set both saucers on the blanket, “I’m a magician through and through, but please discuss away.” @Akako Akari
  2. An Audience with the Damned

    Wind swept through the canvas of the windlass as Arthur was ferried across Port Caelum’s bay, as the name implied the vessel flew through the air carried by the winds of magic, traversing over top the seafaring vessels whilst carrying its passenger to his destination. Arthur stood upon the bowsprit of the sailing airship, his sharp eyes staring ahead in awe whilst they approached the site of the massive castle. It was the second of such buildings within the port city; the other was where the Regent Xartia Pendragon lived and where Arthur sometimes crashed whenever he passed through the city on his near constant travels. This structure, however, which stood imperiously over much of the city, casting a shadow nearly as wide as Xartia’s own residence; it belonged to the infamous Yokai Queen, deadly powerful, and an otherworldly beauty to boot. Admittedly, though the alchemist would never say so aloud, Arthur spent far more time wondering (more like day dreaming) about the latter than the supernatural implications of the former. Arthur needed to be careful or else he go the way of Icarus, for it was as Akako had said, she was not a plaything. And yet, the Black Mage couldn’t help but advance onwards towards the kitsune’s domain, answering her surprising summons, and hoping she’d respond well to his gifts. When the windlass crossed over the harbor, the wooden vessel’s crew immediately fed power into the trim crystals in the engine, allowing the ship to ascend through the air and over the top of the ocean front buildings. Arthur turned his gaze downwardly from his vantage point, examining the city from below as he contemplated on when was the proper time to jump ship. Shrugging his shoulders as if it hardly mattered, the Mage turned back towards the foredeck look out on duty and gave him a short wave. “You won’t need to pick me up,” he stated matter of factly, tossing a small pouch filled with coins to the man before stepping off the narrow beam and down to the city below. The wind rushed passed him as he descended at near terminal velocity, his eyes closed and his mind focused on the arcane formulae that flashed across his vision. The spell came to him in a flash, tapping into the beast trapped within. With the Rokurokubi awakened, Arthur launched his left arm in a long, serpentine stretch that reached nearly twenty meters before gripping onto a nearby structure’s spire with a vice grip. He pulled himself along with preternatural strength, altering his trajectory in abrupt fashion, and catapulting himself towards Akako’s castle. As he made his dynamic approach, the famialiar scent of the demoness reached the mutant’s powerful nostrils, indicating that she was beyond the castle’s wall but not quite inside it either. Arthur drew back his arm with an elastic snap before alternating with the other, using his right arm to scale the curved wall of the estate before propelling him into the estate’s luscious gardens. The Black Mage landed upon the lawn with a resounding BANG! He skid over the grass for the briefest moment, sending his black robe into a flurry of velvet fabric and jet black fur. Arthur stood in Akako’s garden too nonchalantly for one who crashed in like a non-destructive meteor. Under his robes, he wore a black dress shirt with a red tie that was clipped halfway through to his shirt, black slacks and a pair of brown dress shoes. And though, at first, it seemed as if Arthur had arrived empty-handed. He shoved his hands into his robes and pulled a pair of items from seemingly nowhere. A bouquet of red roses situated in his left hand whilst a bottle of rice wine was gripped in his right. “Greetings, Great Queen of the Yokai. Your humble servant has arrived,” Arthur smirked, dipping into a low bow before making any other move. He would approach when Akako gave the say so. @Akako Akari
  3. Death Marks The Spot

    A fierce grin tugged at the mutant's lips when he made his titanic landing, the rocky shore and the bones of four of his undead enemies crushed under the sheer mass of the mage's altered body. It was an incredible rush, his blood pumping furiously and passionately in the heat of battle as he displayed his ferocity and might not just to the skeletons and whoever controlled them, but to all of his companions and the runaway mage who he had dived headlong to save. Given another chance to restart his magic tutelage, Arthur couldn't imagine finding a truer and more authentic expression of his spellcraft than what already came so naturally to the alchemist and to quite the effect. Certainly, his opening blow would prove a purposely self-tripped alarm to any and all who weren't already aware of the companions' arrival, beckoning the undead to come forth and face the black-robed alchemist and his allies if they dared. Burrowing a crater into the ground and crunching the bones of the erstwhile undead soldiers, the tension within the mage gave and he quickly found himself rebounding back into the air like a massive ball of death. In a blink of an eye, Arthur had ascended over ten feet into the air and counting, offering the perfect vantage to watch as the rest of the skeletons continued to charge after the trapped sorceress. Despite his attack, she was no safer than she had been when he had begun, but he would soon remedy that. After all, with the rest of his allies taking less proactive approaches, it fell upon Arthur to fill that gap. Arthur released the dweomers of his current spells; his body suddenly deflating to normal size whilst the black substance on his flesh and clothing dissipated in a palpable black mist. Still in midair but making his way back down, the mutant rummaged through a pack on his belt with his right hand, and produced a small alchemical bomb before launching both his arms in a serpentine stretch towards the sorceress and skeletal creatures who were nearly within reach to devour her. His arms stretched unnaturally across the full distance, lashing out from above like a pair of attacking vipers, though instead of attacking the enemy he grabbed ahold of the sorceress with vice grips and pulled her forcefully off the ground and towards the rest of him as he reeled his arms back in. But not before he primed and dropped the alchemical explosive at the skeletons' feet, knowing he would have to distract and deter them somehow as he made his rescue attempt. For a second, the explosive did nothing at all, giving the impression that it was a complete and utter dud and that perhaps Arthur wasn't as skilled an alchemist as he claimed to be. However, it soon glowed a shining white as holy water began to spray and jettison from various orifices that opened up in the initial explosion, spreading the safe albeit otherwise volatile (to the enemy) liquid across several feet and likely drenching many of the skeletons who were near the alchemical bomb. Arthur doubted that it would make work of all seven of the beasts, as surely some of the victims would act as barriers for some of the others, but he knew it would devastate their number nonetheless. The holy power within the bomb more than a threat to the undead arrayed against them. Meanwhile, if the mutant were to find success, the sorceress would be pulled along for a ride and crash bodily against Arthur's tightly muscled frame. His arms quickly rearranged themselves to cradle the woman for ease's sake as they descended the rest of the way to the rocky ground; Arthur's boot-clad feet impacted the rough terrain forcefully, sending sharp pains along both of Arthur's legs though he managed to remain upright and prepared to continue where his bomb had left off. The determination on his face was clear, his wolfish eyes narrowing dangerously upon what remained of the first troupe of skeletons, and growled as his nose picked up the scent of more enemies who were steadily making their way over. @Twitterpated @Pseudonym @Akako Akari
  4. Death Marks The Spot

    Arthur peered over the edge of the ruined bridge, scanning over the destroyed docks as he and his companions gathered to begin their adventure proper. The place seemed utterly barren and devoid of life, not even gulls could be seen flying over the waves, but the mutant still couldn't shake the feeling that they were being watched though he had no evidence to prove such a suspicion. The every day person would have heeded the terrible vibe and turned away from the seemingly dangerous situation; however, Arthur thrived in the face of unforeseen danger and he found himself stepping closer to the edge of the stone bridge to view the immediate area below better. As Xartia and the mutant continued to survey the area, their third companion joined them and the alchemist couldn't help but be distracted. His wolfish eyes studied the newly-returned kitsune closely, especially as she stepped past them towards the edge of the structure they stood upon. She wasn't dressed in her usual lavish fashion though she added some flair to an otherwise plain adventuring garb, but the mage was no less impressed by the yokai's figure and preternatural beauty than he had been when they briefly first met at her coronation festival in Port Caelum. And then she'd been dressed to kill, albeit figuratively as the katana on her hip could be described by a similar turn of phrase but more literally. During their travels, Arthur had little to no time to catch up with Akako, but it was possibly for the best. Arthur knew little for it was none of his business but it seemed like a confusing time for the woman, for he knew at least that she had been killed and brought back. He never asked for the details as he figured it wasn't his place to ask, but his sympathy remained nonetheless, and therefore it seemed apropos to not pry. Perhaps a good fight and time would help her along in the process. And just as Arthur had that thought, a fight did find the trio. His dangerous eyes unglued themselves from Akako and turned in the direction of the female mage's yells as she retreated from a pack of hungry undead. Arthur grimaced, knowing that the woman was surely doomed (particularly after her attempt at a spell had little effect on the small horde) if no one intervened on her behalf. An opportunistic party would have attempted to glide over the battle, departing and leaving the woman to act as a temporary distraction for the skeletons, and considering the three of them and their skill sets. Leaving the woman behind would have been incredibly easy. That said, Arthur scowled at the very thought, having no intention of leaving a fellow mage much less a woman at the mercy of the undead scourge. He could see the hesitation in Xartia, however, as he seemingly sought the answers within himself before speaking out loud to the rest of the party. "The latter seems the more likely of the two. Why else would she come here alone and how? Did any of you or the crew see another working ship as we flew in?" Arthur asked his questions curiously, seeing as he had been working in his makeshift lab during the landing and hadn't seen the lay of the land from the deck's amazing vantage point. "You suppose?" the mage asked in disbelief though not in a tone that could be characterized as argumentative, but just mildly annoyed by the flippant remarks. "I don't know how much of an asset she'll be but I won't allow her to be eaten regardless." With the hard words spoken, a look of determination crossed the mutant's facial features as he wondered what the best approach would be. If he called upon the powers of the Rokurokubi, his arms would be able to stretch far enough to seize the woman by her robes and pull her up onto the bridge, but he didn't want to play tug of war with the sorceress as the rope if the skeletons managed to get ahold of her. It wasn't a real solution to the problem. The undead would have to be met in pitched battle. Fortunately, Xartia understood as much and had magically transported himself to the docks below to serve as further distraction. Arthur grinned at his foppish comrade, knowing he could take care of himself, and knowing that Xartia's actions would be the catalyst for his own. "You're looking especially charming this morning," said Arthur, stepping to Akako's side as he prepared to walk off the edge and plummet to the ground. "And yet you're still liable to destroy me utterly if I wrong you. It's a jarring juxtaposition but still impressive." The alchemist chuckled and without another word initiated his own brand of strange magicks. He took in a deep breath of salty air and his body and clothing began to expand several times their original size like a balloon, appearing as if he'd suddenly donned a sumo suit. However, most sumo suits didn't tend to make one float in the air, and Arthur had already lifted himself ten feet into the air within mere seconds. Floating past the bridge's edge, Arthur aimed himself at the enemy below, utilizing the opportunity Xartia gave him by appearing below first to land the heaviest of blows. Quite literally. Understanding that the undead would be split between charging and eating the sorceress and the newly-arrived Xartia, Arthur worked quickly as he enacted a second spell with a quick incantation. Suddenly, the flesh on the front side of his body was covered in a black substance which hardened like steel, adding an incredible amount of weight to his hot air balloon-esque frame, and causing him to plunge downwards like a stone. Many had heard of mage's conjuring up meteors against their foes, but not many mages had ever elected to become a meteor themselves. Dropping downwards like a human piece of military ordinance, the unorthodox mage attempted to crush a grouping of three skeletons under his tremendous weight. The impact would prove to be titanic whether Arthur struck his targets or not. Like an anvil, he would leave an enlarged depression in the ground where he landed; the undead creatures likely smashed to pieces and their bodies driven to the ground if they were unfortunate enough not to escape the sudden and vicious ambushing. But like a metal spring, Arthur would bounce away from the impact crater, leaping back into the air and ensuring he wouldn't be a sitting target for the other monsters. @Akako Akari @Twitterpated @Pseudonym
  5. Death Marks The Spot

    When the airship began its descent and landing, Arthur Uskglass still had his nose buried in a leather-bound tome, quickly reading over a particularly interesting passage before his head perked up at the sensation of the ships' landing gear upon the stones of the ruined bridge. Closing the large book, the mutant stood from his desk and deposited the heavy tome neatly into his chest, locking and warding it against those who would attempt to look through his valuables and research materials. He didn't suspect such an intrusion from his friend Xartia, nor any of the men and women under his command, but it was always better to be safe than sorry. Fortunately, his intricate wards would prove enough of a deterrent against the mischief of others, and would make the boldest of would-be thieves hesitate and relent if all other contingencies were to fail. Arthur crossed to the opposite end of his personal cabin, stretching his muscular arms and shirtless torso as he reached the part of his room that had been partitioned off for his alchemy equipment. A very portable basin and sink, capable of magically filling and draining away on command was situated to the right of a long table. Arthur washed his hands quickly before turning towards the object next to the sink; his Alembic that consisted of a spherical vessel of glass filled with a bright red liquid (heated from below with a burner), the fumes of which traveled up the Alembic's long, downward pointing neck and deposited dry-distilled crystals of a reddish hue into a secondary container. Observing the alchemical reaction closely, Arthur fetched a trio of vials (each filled with a clear fluid) and carefully collected the crystalline material with a clamp before depositing stones into each vial. The alchemist corked the vials as the crystals within reacted near instantaneously to the liquid, turning a phosphorescent red within a matter of seconds. They weren't ready for drinking as the stones would take time before dissolving completely, but they would be ready once they were needed by Arthur and his companions. Preparing himself a drink composed of various fruit juices and spiced rum, Arthur leaned back against his desk as he wasted valuable time to drink the sweet, intoxicating nectar. The cambion was undoubtedly waiting for the mage outside, but Arthur had every intention of taking his time. Something about wizards never being late, rather only arriving exactly when they mean to. The mutant knocked back the tropical drink which seemed almost appropriate considering the almost piratical theme of the adventure Xartia had dragged the alchemist into, lowering his glass to the desktop and digging through his wardrobe to get dressed for the dangerous occasion. Arthur was already in his trousers, tan khakis which were stitched into a tough garment meant for military and outdoor use; a black safari-style button-up was thrown on next, deft fingers buttoning the breathable shirt and neatly rolling its long sleeves up to his elbows. A shoulder rig was donned over the shirt. The aforementioned potion vials were shoved into small pockets on the right side while a long knife was sheathed and fastened to the left. A thick belt, customized with various pouches, packs and other occult vestments was wrapped around his midsection. Sitting back against the desk, Arthur strapped his feet into a pair of brown boots and tied the laces as tightly as possible. Finally, the mutant draped a black wizard's robe over his broad shoulders, allowing the sleeves of the willworker's garment to dangle emptily at his sides, and the black fur which lined the long coat's trim gave the mage a barbarous appearance. Figuring he was as ready as he was ever going to be, Arthur fished his mighty long sword, Bogatyr, from the foot of his bed and exited the cabin at a brisk pace. Arthur walked up the companionway and onto the forecastle; the sun beaming down terrifically upon the mutant, prompting the mage to don a pair wayfarers over his animalistic eyes before approaching the ship's railing and bowsprit. The mage shoved his scabbard sword inside his robes. The incredibly large object seemingly becoming lost within the folds of the velvet fabric, showing no signs that it had ever been in Arthur's possession. He climbed over the railing and walked the length of the treacherously narrow bowsprit, his shaded eyes scanning over his surroundings with a sense of awe and wonder. Not to mention foreboding. For while the sun sparkled off the marble and limestone buildings in terrific splendor, it didn't take away from the overall feeling of morbid finality. Not long ago, the Port City had been a bustling trade center, and now it seemed like the ruins of a great empire of old. The kind of place that was abandoned by its citizens centuries or a millennia prior. However, to the mage's ultimate horror, he was lead to believe that the city had been destroyed seemingly and mysteriously overnight a couple of months back. Scanning the ruined bridge below, the mutant spotted Xartia with his keen eyes. His ally stood at the end of the broken structure and Arthur quickly moved to catch up. He grabbed the bowsprit with a serpentine grip of his right hand and slipped both his feet off the side so he would hang dangerously until his arm began to magically stretch beyond normal human capabilities. It lowered the mage onto the bridge proper before his arm receded back to its normal state with a loud, elastic-like snap. "I'm catching whiffs of cadaverine over the sea salt and the warm breeze," Arthur announced as he approached his long-haired companion, his robes billowing dramatically in the ocean breeze as he came to a halt to Xartia's right. "If the stories are to be believed, an incredible number of people died here viciously and suddenly, making every corpse a viable candidate for necromantic animation. So I really hope you can use that sword..." @Twitterpated @Akako Akari @Pseudonym
  6. A lack of presence would soon yield to sudden surprise as Arthur Uskglass stood at the precipice of 10 story building, staring down through the lenses of sunglasses the shined silverishly in the daylight while Xartia made his lonely procession through the city to the shock of all. Save for Arthur, of course, who had good reason to surmise that the cambion magician would attempt to trend set even if he planned no such thing at all. In the background, near the southeastern corner of the rooftop, incense of concealment billowing green smoke within a chalk circle of containment. Inside its field, Arthur's magic would remain obfuscated even once it ramped up in flow and the mutant committed himself to proper casting of spells. Though by appearances, the wizard's actions would seem predatory at a glance, but in Arthur's mind it was only sport and a stern lesson from a friend in the end. Slowly, the alchemist undid his cuff links, rolling one sleeve of his black dress shirt neatly up to his elbow at a time as he continued his hunter-like vigilance from his vantage. That morning, his shirt was matched with thin blue tie which remained tied around Arthur's neck and clipped to his shirt about midway. His lower half sporting gray pants for the sake of adding a splash of color. Apparently, black on black made one look like a waiter or a hearse driver, or at least a model ex had informed him as much over lines of cocaine. His mage's robes topped off the ensemble, resting upon his broad shoulders whilst voluminous (and empty) sleeves billowed in the wind along with its tail. Arthur was ready. He was relaxed. And he was ready to spring for the attack! Outstretching tattooed forearms, the alchemist allowed his power to flow. His blood beginning to pump with a fury unbridled; the beastly scourge encroaching upon its cursed host as Arthur turned to his particular brand of transmutation. His eyes glowed orange and fiercely underneath the tints of his shades and sharpened teeth appeared between parted lips. Arthur whispered words of power, expressing the arcane formulae that crossed his vision into words that he both knew and didn't know simultaneously. Like they were his words, but weren't at the very same time. Narrowing his eyes, the alchemist focused his will and opened his human mouth wide, which then widened further and further in a gruesome display until a monster's maw remained to begin inhaling air rapidly. There was no other way to explain it other than Arthur began to inflate, almost as if his flesh and clothing were manually released water vests. Then it seemed as if Arthur wore an incredibly realistic, albeit exaggerated sumo suit. Then, as Arthur began to ascend into the air and crossed over the building's edge, it was clear that Arthur had transmuted his own body into something of a hot air balloon. An incredibly dangerous one as his form retained an incredible amount of tension, even in its airborne state, even as he floated above and behind the cambion. Arthur reached the zenith of his ascent, ascertaining that the sun wasn't at his back and wouldn't cast a shadow as he dropped; for, of course, that had been his intention all along. His magic weaved into a crescendo of skill and true finesse in the Art, utilizing both the Practice of Patterning (to transform his body) and the Practice of Veiling (to deafen the sound of his thunderous descent.) His body began to roll, slowly at first but accelerating quickly. A novice in such practices would have been dizzied in the attempt, but the alchemist was a savant at his brand of magic. Many had heard legend of powerful mages casting meteors down on their foes, raining literal death from above. But who had ever heard of a wizard turning himself into the meteor that he was hurling? And there laid the mad genius of Arthur Uskglass, unafraid to cast convention aside as he aimed his body like a missile in the direction of one of his closest friends and dropped like a massive, spinning basketball from the heavens. His intention was to careen straight into Xartia's back. Did he want to kill his friend? Emphatically, the answer was a no, which is why Arthur had decreased the tension in his body and altered his trajectory to compensate. A collision would be rough and likely to knock Xartia to the ground, but was unlikely to hurt him severely, and the mutant had few qualms about that possible fate although the implications of doing so to the Viceroy in public wasn't lost on the mage. That said, Arthur suspected his friend would be able to defend himself, despite of all of the alchemist's efforts. The mutant didn't think his friend would have enough time to fully turn and draw his sword, but erecting some sort of magical defense or a full-out dodge wasn't totally out of the question. @Twitterpated
  7. With every intention of positioning himself between the vampire and the lich, the mutant found himself quite surprised and more than a bit amused by Serren's response to adversity. A chuckle bubbled upwards from Arthur's gut as the dead woman popped out one of her eyes and offered it as a gift to Leinhart. It was the perfect comeback, certainly, and the vampire didn't seem to disagree with an amused reaction himself. Maneuvering so many powerful practitioners of the arcane to one spot was a dangerous proposition most of the time; the opening moments of their meeting had illustrated the reason why. However, as the sudden crises was averted, it really did seem as if the four of them would work quite well together. Or at least the mage hoped so, for failure in their future endeavors would undoubtedly prove dire if they couldn't get on the same page. Arthur reciprocated the vampire lord's greeting before turning his gaze back onto the mage he had recruited himself. Wolffish eyes settled on the undead woman's dehydrated features, reminding Arthur of the various old corpses he'd seen in tombs across the world. Though that wasn't quite correct, Arthur realized as he thought on it more. Most of those bodies weren't animated and the ones that were didn't take too kindly to the living. Leaning back into his booth's bench, Arthur watched curiously as Serren absorbed the life force of the tavern, including energy from the mutant himself. He could have likely defended himself from such an intrusion, but Arthur wasn't particularly worried about the magic equivalent of a pricked finger. It did make Arthur think though. Was he totally incorrect? Serren was a lot unlike her brethren but there was something of common (and evil) lichdom nestled within and begging to be released. The mutant cared little for the spotlight. That much was certain as he allowed the others to speak and introduce themselves. He added nothing when Xartia first mentioned the Noose; it would be a topic saved for later, especially as talk of the Safeguard Act came to the forefront of their conversation. Fortunately, Arthur read the local paper and was generally versed in the happenings of Blairville, but by no means was he an expert. Like the others, he hadn't been born in Blairville, nor had he spent a lot of time in town as a guest. Still, someone had to arrive to the meeting with some sort intel. Particularly intel on the Safeguard Act which would undoubtedly become a pain in their collective asses unless they inoculated themselves with preparation. "Suppose that's why they picked such an innocuous name. No one suspects being inconvenienced or harmed by a piece of legislation and its enforcers if you call it something like, 'The Do Good and be Safe Act.'" Arthur ended his attempt at a quick joke with a shrug of his shoulders, as if to say that he couldn't even begin to understand the motives of the forces behind civil society. "But yeah, I know enough about it. Like you may have guessed, it has nothing to do with safeguarding anything. On the contrary, it's had the opposite effect on the city, and Blairville is now less safe than normal." Taking a short pause for the others to digest his words, Arthur surveyed the room and caught sight of a tavern maid by the bar, and gestured for the woman to come closer. She hesitated, which was a smart thing considering the four of them, but eventually started over. Arthur continued to speak, finishing before their waitress' arrival. "The Safeguard Act is essentially a registration of anyone with magical ability who plans to conduct themselves within Blairville's limits. Which, of course, refers to the lot of us. This puts all of us on the radar of the authorities and that's even before we've done anything wrong to warrant an investigation. I suggest we keep our powers generally under wraps while in public, and Serren - I'm going to need you to acquire yourself a cloak and keep a low profile." @Al Sa-her @Etched in Stone @Glacialic Acid
  8. Arthur grinned with an amused look at Xartia's response to his friendly bit of snark. He had little to gain from actually attempting to insult the cambion, and in truth the mage wouldn't have wanted to as the pair had become firm friends in the passing weeks. That said, considering Xartia's sheer confidence especially when it came to his vanity, it was likely a nearly impossible task to attack his fellow mage where his ego was most strengthened. Playing along, the wizard placed his hands together ceremoniously and leaned his body forward in a comical bow. Straightening, the mutant lead the way towards their booth, waiting for Xartia to take his seat before scooting into the bench opposite his. Contrary to Xartia, however, Arthur had little issue maneuvering himself to the inside of the booth. He could see the danger of choosing such a seat if things went south, but there were no indications that things were headed that way in any case. They hadn't arrived to fight, not yet anyways. This was a business meeting. Undoubtedly important but unlikely to digress into violence. Why would it? They were supposed to be allies, potentially. They could be attacked by a third party but Arthur was confident in his arrayed team. If such an attempt did occur, they'd be ready whether they were on the street or nestled in a tavern. "We should be able to begin on schedule then," the mutant replied as the cambion gestured towards Leinhart; his wolfish eyes rising to regard the vampyre lord with a measure of respect. The wizard wasn't undead but that didn't mean that he didn't have a healthy amount of respect for the reasoning members of the species. The necromancer who approached them was no less deserving. That much, Arthur was certain of as he felt the dark being's magical aura. His features remained stoic, accustomed to dealing with a variety of practitioners of the arcane arts. Both human and inhuman. And soon he would prove it as his own attempt at recruiting appeared from seemingly the literal pits of hell. The smell of cadaverine wafted up the mutant's sensitive nostrils before Serren had even entered the tavern. The others at the table would quickly find themselves alerted to the zombie woman's presence as she made her way through the Rookhelm, garnering an immense amount of attention as she dragged a chair towards the front of their booth and took a seat, leaving introductions for Arthur to make. "This is Serren Glacial, or Primeval Elf as I like to call her from an entirely scientific standpoint," Arthur introduced the zombie elf, the woman too rattled and batty in the head to do a good job of it herself. Fortunately, she would have to worry about much false facing as part of their crew. Her work would be firmly be rooted in infiltration. A useful set of skills for a nontraditional mage guild like theirs. "And I'm Arthur Uskglass," he interjected as he caught the interaction between Leinhart and Serren, and attempted to verbally separate them as he lifted a sword-calloused hand towards the vampyre lord for a shake. ((No worries. We're all hella busy.)) @Al Sa-her @Etched in Stone @Glacialic Acid
  9. If one was early, they were on time. If on time, then they were already late. That had been an adage shared with Arthur long ago by one of the Masters of Kingsmouth University, and a rule if you were unlucky enough to take a course with that man in particular. Arriving before the appointed time was a prerequisite for taking exams, and the mage didn't need to be told twice as he followed the whims of the college's faculty. Now, however, with memories of academia so far away; the mage lived a life of free-spirited leisure whenever circumstances allowed for it. This was one of those days. Though he was late to a meeting that he had planned to be on time to, Arthur didn't seem to worry as he made his way idly down a road of cobblestones, and flanked on either side by the walls of disjointed brownstown houses. The way was narrow and shielded the mutant from the mountain winds that battered Blairville's streets and avenues. A momentary reprieve as the mage would eventually turn into a wider road and headlong into a column of air that whipped through his hair. The mage attempted to flatten his crop of jet black hair against his skull to no avail. The scented wax that kept his do slicked back stylishly helped in matters, but the wind proved relentless and Arthur soon gave in. Underneath, the mage's rogueish features scowled in their trademark manner, a look made more intimidating by the predatory orange of his wolffish eyes which had long ago lost any semblance of a human gaze. For the meeting, Arthur paid no more attention to his choice in attire than he normally did. A robe of black velvet with a trim of black fur cascaded down the mage's muscular frame, its voluminous sleeves dangling at his sides as it was utilized more like a cloak than a coat for the moment. Under the robe, the mutant wore a black dress shirt and pants, a thin blue tie and brown high-ankled dress shoes (belt always matching the shoes for some reason an ex had explained over drinks) rounding out the outfit. Leisurely, Arthur navigated his way through the crowds of native and tourist alike and came upon the front terrace of the Rookhelm. Approaching the doorway, the mage pushed the portal open and made his way into the tavern. Eyes searched the room until they settled on Xartia; ignoring much of tavern and its delights, the mutant made a beeline for one of his partners in crime. "Morning Tokugawa," Arthur greeted in jest, clearly teasing the cambion's choice in attire. He gestured towards a far away booth, "This way, your Excellence." Having his full of fun as they made their way to the table, Arthur steered the topic elsewhere as he added, "Has your colleague arrived?" @Al Sa-her @Etched in Stone
  10. Exploration into the Damned (Quest)

    Arthur inhaled the fresh, forest air as he enjoyed the quiet of the wilderness before the excitement and danger of their expedition would ruin the relaxation and calm the outdoors often instilled in the mage. He exhaled deeply, trying to maintain his focus whilst he went over the general plan and any of the contingencies that he'd gone over with Enid the night before. The end result was a meditative-like trance that gave the mutant the self-reflection needed before throwing himself and his companions into harm's way. He had no reason to feel such a way, as they were all their own people who made their own choices, but Arthur couldn't help but feel responsible for the lives of his comrades. After all, what would have all the concessions made to his dormant beasthood been for if he wasn't even able to keep his friends alive? The arcane formulae flashed across his vision, memorizing the spells that would keep Enid and the others breathing for yet another adventure. The beast within begged to be set free, to rend the mage's enemies and to be allowed to roam the impenetrable wilds of the Labyrinth forest. The mage took another breath to steady himself, concentrating on the smell of his oatmeal to keep his mind distracted. Fortunately, another scent reached the mutant's keen nostrils, yet another distraction for the mage as Xartia approached the camp. Arthur turned towards the cambion and chuckled at the man's state of dress. Naturally, the magician would favor aesthetics and fashion over the utility of the attires designed around woodsmanship. Arthur didn't think it would prove a problem. Xartia had proven his usefulness in the past and wardrobe choice hadn't gotten the lad killed just yet. The mutant would trust the flamboyant hellspawn. "Most people avoid the place like a plague and for good reason," the mutant replied as he returned his gaze to the bubbling pot of oatmeal, having waited for Xartia to finish his speaking before replying. He shook his head and added, "Sadly it isn't quite as simple as it sounds. Despite the semantics of the descriptors in use, the forest is much closer in concept to a maze than a labyrinth. Here, the vegetation and the trees move about on a periodic and random basis, changing paths and often blocking people from utilizing the route they took to enter. Simply put, this isn't some day trip. Without the help of teleportation, there's really no telling when we'll be exiting that place and from where." Arthur stared off into space as he talked; a myriad of possibilities (both adventurously pleasant and devastatingly brutal) played out in the mage's head. He was right, of course. They were headed on quite the expedition and it was bound to take at least a couple of days before they could return to the Keep. And that's if they even exited the forest the same way they entered. Otherwise, they would have to trek the forest's perimeter on the way back, or rely on transportation magic of sorts. As the mutant cleared his head, a second presence made itself known. This one was even more familiar to the mage than the last. "Enid," he grinned in reply, offering a short salute before digging into a nearby sack for a large pan. He spun the object expertly in his grip before settling them upon a patch of embers, beginning the process of getting the metallic piece warm enough to cook upon. "Common man's goop," Arthur replied with a shrug as he liberated another object from the sack and tossed it in Enid's path. A star-shaped fruit that he knew was the seer's favorite, "It tastes like cinnamon and it's far tastier than any of the edible plants and roots you've gathered this morning, but thankfully I've brought enough assorted food for all of us." The mutant gestured to the pair to join him around the fire. "So, are you both hungry or are you both just planning to watch?"
  11. Getting Lost Has Its Perks

    "C'est un beau nom," Arthur replied with a grin of his own, seizing the waitress' hand gently in a shared shake as he displayed some skill in the foreign tongue. Proving that although he didn't mind the lesson from Adeline, it wasn't entirely necessary with the worldly mutant who knew enough phrases in a myriad of languages (particularly curses) to fill hours worth of conversation. He found Adeline's smile infectious and couldn't help but look amused as she made use of her charms. Considerable as they were, the mutant was certain that the women's claim of making the barkeep money was true. The locals (those who frequented bars and held little control over their coin purses) likely fucked off thousands in the native currency in both drinks and tips just for the chance at a smile and a wink. Adeline plied her trade expertly which the mutant could appreciate, nearly as much as he appreciated the way her cute shoulders bounced when she laughed girlishly. "I'm not much of a fan of amateur comedians either. Sadly, they seem to practically hang from the rafters at bars across the world." The mutant maneuvered his body atop the stool, turning to face Adeline so they could conversation better. He could barely even manage a nod as the barkeep returned with his ordered drink. It was exactly as Arthur had hoped. A clean glass filled with a clear substance that could have easily been described as liquid death. Or what Arthured liked to call: a damn good drink! "I came to satisfy a vice," Arthur answered, gesturing towards his poured drink with his index finger. "Though really I'm taking a break from my real profession, which also explains my reasons for traveling to Blairville." That profession was clear and unmistakable to see when one looked at the shimmering robes that Arthur wore along with his other peculiarities. They were bound to capture the attention of others. Arthur's visit to the tavern that evening would prove little different in that respect. It began as Arthur awaited Adeline's response, and his ears picked up on the shuffling of feet coming towards them. They weren't particularly quick nor threatening, but even so Arthur's right hand was dipped furtively inside the folds of his robe, gripping the hilt of his rondel dagger in preparation. The steps veered off to the side and Arthur felt himself relax under his mask of polite conversation. Up until Jonathan took a seat on the opposite side of the waitress. He'd seen him earlier pawing at Adeline like a lovesick Neanderthal, and was clearly attempting to 'protect' some perceived territory or property. On top of that, as their eyes met, Arthur recognized the stare he was being given. A look whose meaning was loud and clear. Arthur didn't belong in their neck of the woods and Jonathan had volunteered to enforce the unspoken rule. How vapid and banal... Yawn. Arthur wasn't fazed by the sudden appearance of the newcomer. On the contrary, he had every intention of putting their third wheel in his place. From underneath his robe something strange and miraculous happened, the mage's obscured arm began to stretch way beyond what was humanly possible, slithering like a snake as it moved in as sneaky a manner as possible. Had it gone the long way or around, it would have been easy to spot. However, no one would have expected the mutant's hand to extend underneath the rungs of Adeline's stool before gripping onto the leg of Jonathan's own chair with a vice grip. Watching Jonathan to keep his eyes distracted from the elastic appendage below, the mutant opened his mouth as if to greet the other man, and promptly pulled the stool from underneath him. The sudden force would tip the stool the right, depositing Jonathan off the rounded seat and casting him bodily to the tavern floor. Knowing that much of the attention would be on Jonathan, Arthur retracted his lengthened arm back to its original position, doing so at a slow pace to hide the fact that he's been responsible for the spill. To most, specifically his companions, it would seem as if the man had seated himself to forcefully and paid the price for his carelessness. Adeline, however, had the best view of Arthur's magical spell in the house. It didn't mean she would spot his sneaky movements, but she was definitely in position to. @StarlingBird
  12. Getting Lost Has Its Perks

    "Strangers..." Arthur repeated back to Adeline after she had intercepted the barkeep and strode up to greet him, he contemplated on the word for a brief moment before nodding in some sort of understanding. "Let's correct that then, my name is Arthur Uskglass," the mutant added, casting his animalistic gaze on the waitress as he reached with a sword-calloused hand for a handshake. It still made them essentially strangers as they still knew little about one another beyond his name, but an introduction was definitely a start. Of course, the mage's motives were ultimately quite pragmatic. He wanted to know the brunette's name. Settling himself comfortably in his stool, Arthur leaned his arms onto the bar counter in a casual gesture, his eyes roaming the racks of ales and liquors before returning to Adeline who seated herself in a bar stool on the opposite side of the divider. "I'll have a shot of your meanest," he ordered, not choosy but hoping to be surprised by the potency of the stuff.
  13. Getting Lost Has Its Perks

    In the late hours of the evening, the doors to Kristofersson's tavern were pushed open and a tall mage with raven hair crossed the threshold quite like he owned the bloody thing. Arthur grinned softly as his orange eyes surveyed his surroundings, making his way towards the bar at a leisurely pace. His wild crop of savage black hair was styled into place with ample application of oil and sat atop the mutant's rugged and handsome features in gentlemanly fashion. The mage was dressed just as nicely with his black dress shirt tucked into his gray slacks, and a blue tie around his neck and clipped by a monster's tooth ornament nearly halfway down the front of his shirt. The velvet robe the mage wore above it all betrayed his nature as a mage entirely, not that such a thing would have been a surprise in Blairville: a city where mage was the currency in many respects. The robe was pitch dark and open in the front like a wizardly trench coat. Navigating through the small crowd, Arthur took a seat upon a bar stool and his gaze quickly found itself fixated on a short haired fox of a woman behind the bar. He nodded with a smirk, "Evening," he greeted once the bartender took notice of the new customer, "A shot of something dirty in a clean glass if you don't mind." @StarlingBird
  14. Castlemania

    Arthur sat at a desk in the corner of a room in the dark; the only source of illumination was a small alchemical lamp, bathing the area surrounding the mutant in an eerie red glow. The light wasn't necessary to continue his work, which consisted of reading from the assortment of tomes and parchments that were laid across the expanse of his desk. His eyes, wolfish and predatory with pupils like dagger points of obsidian set in pools wicked orange, made it certain that Arthur could have read his papers in the pitch darkness. But no one, not a tavern maid cleaning after the mutant nor a would-be eavesdropper through his room's window, needed to know that particular tidbit. Leaning back into his chair, the alchemist fetched a tankard of ale from atop a small stool (used as a table in lieu of their being no room on the desk), and knocked back what remained of its contents. Though its contents seemed to be unrealistic as the seconds turned to dozens of seconds, and Arthur to still seemed to be gulping down generous amounts of the frothy ale. As the mage lowered the tankard, he smiled as he noted that it was still very much full, as intended. The refilling dweomer was perfect for an assistantless wizard, who couldn't be bothered to continuously fetch his own drinks. As the mage admired his own handiwork, there was a drastic and sudden change in Arthur's surroundings, and it wasn't lost on him. Physically, the room had darkened considerably causing his lamp to cast strange shadows as the red light interacted with the palpable darkness. The ambient lights of the city and the moon no longer penetrated his window and the glass door leading to his balcony. The sounds of the Inn had disappeared utterly as well. There was no Inn. There was no city. There was no moon. There was nothing. He was... "Ah, Nowhere," Arthur whispered to the void in the an odd sense of familiarity, "My home away from home." It was as if the mage had released his thought-form and had ascended to that Other plane. But no. The gauntlet between his world and the next had faltered and crumbled, merging together to form something in between. Somewhere else. Someplace else. The mutant's eyes scanned the balcony door, it's transparent surface awash in a indescribable vortex of color, voices from beyond beckoning the mage to approach. It was a path leading out of the crossroads that Arthur had found himself in. The only path. Arthur wouldn't shy from it. He lowered the tankard to the stool and stood to his feet, soon realizing that perhaps he had gone overboard on his last swig. The room spun once and Arthur took his seat once again. Growling animalistically, the mutant rifled through his desk until he retrieved a small sack filled with a white powder and utilized the flat of a dagger to snort portions up both of his nostrils. The affects were immediate. Arthur wouldn't kid himself into thinking that he was no longer drunk, but he no longer felt it, and he was as awake as a couple with a newborn. The mutant stood again, a clear improvement as he walked and fetched a black silk shirt from a hanger on the wall. He donned it and tucked it into his grey slacks, adding a red tie to the mix which he clipped about halfway through his shirt with an ornament constructed from a large monster's tooth. Arthur then fetched his robe from the coat rack, draping the shimmering fabric of black velvet across his broad shoulders, and wore it like a cloak with its voluminous sleeves dangling empty at his sides. The robe remained open at the front and was lined in black crow feathers, giving a sense of menace and betraying an inner-barbarousness like a primeval hunter in furs. The rugged mage seized his long sword last, gripping the war sword just underneath its wide quillons and resting the flat of the blade upon his shoulder. The balcony door was slid open and there was no balcony. Just a dark and whispering precipice remained in its place which Arthur stepped straight through, both accustomed to portals of various natures and inoculated against the Outer Dark. He was shoved through a torrent of Empyric energies and spat out into a field of wheat, companions of unknown origin already in the midst of a conversation. Arthur walked towards them, unsure of what to expect but certain that they were brought together for a reason. The smell of blood, gun powder, and cadaverine in the distance told Arthur as much. "Seems like tonight is much too auspicious for Letters," Arthur announced his presences rhetorically, cryptically referencing the studies he'd left behind. His vocabulary though dripping in refinement remained uncouth somehow, as if someone had taken a wolf from the wild and somehow managed to teach it to speak like a University Don. No matter the niceties, no matter the charm. A wolf was a wolf. "Arthur Uskglass, at your service, and eager to find out why I'm here. I suppose none of you would know anything about that."
  15. Port Caelum Festival Free Thread One

    "Clearly," Arthur responded, his lips curling into a wolffish half-smirk, which illustrated his understanding that Akako was by no means a plaything, but also displayed that the mutant wasn't particularly worried in any case. He enjoyed playing with fire. What self-respecting mage didn't? Having remained still and waiting in case he needed to separate the two jilted lovers, the wizard watched closely as the pair before him (who both seemed to ignore his existence, mostly) traded barbed insults and the kinds of statements that people often grew to regret. Arthur didn't join in on either side, nor did he attempt to mediate. It wasn't any of his business. And frankly, the mage cared little for their spat, or the reasons behind it. He would continue in abject boredom; his face screwed up in a mixture of a frown and scowl until Akako had all but departed, leaving a broody Xartia behind. "Which testicle did she pinch?" Arthur broke the silence, forsaking all decorum and drawing bursts of laughter from the nearest onlookers. "Let's go," the mutant offered, pointing at a certain direction with his chin before starting to walk. "Unfortunately if we're gonna operate in this city, we're going to have to be on the Regent's good side. Now, seeing as you two can't speak for a full ten seconds without devolving into screaming messes, I suggest you leave that delicate work to me." @Al Sa-her @Akako Akari