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"Where do you want to go first?" After the conclusion of their business at the bank, Issac and Linda had decided to grab lunch at a local cafe; one with a spectacular view of the underground river that flowed through the city. Issac could retract the bottom portion of his mask to preform tasks such as eating and drinking while in public. People might give a man in a strange mask a few funny looks, but he knew all to well that his true appearance would be met with worse. Before he had begun his relationship with Linda he rarely ate out, but she gave him the confidence to do so. As long as she could look at him with love in her eyes, he didn't care about what anyone else thought. "The Library sounds amazing; thousands of books and scrolls just waiting to be decoded! What secrets they could tell! Oh! And the Painted Tombs! I've heard the murals there are somber, yet beautiful! And of course we have to go to The Dragon's Hoard!" Realizing he had been dominating the conversation, he sheepishly rubbed the back of his head, "Sorry. I'm just excited." @Zashiii
Lukas stirred slowly as he came to his senses waking up to only remember the events of last night as he slipped from underneath a young maiden laid on top of him, she was a hybrid her slick skin coming from a deep primal lizard ancestor her bare skin underneath the sheets held more resemblance to her human side with the feint pattern of scales, one of the bartenders in the southernmost section of the city, residential. Her name was Trish and she and Lukas normally ended up on the second level of the city drinking to hell as some sort of a time passer the Totesbier they drank abnormally strong and the young lady being one of the best knew just where to find the best spots and just what to mix it with for every time Lukas had come to town which slowly became more frequently and their parties more fierce and intimate. He stood up carefully, slowly to give his senses and himself a second to fully wake. He'd just got back into town yesterday after a loose lead to an foreign artifact came up as nothing more than a goose chase, he recalled the memories as he searched the room for his clothes a simple black shirt and blue jeans eventually finding them hastily thrown onto the dresser. Having spent a lot of his time in cities his clothing usually matched the same tastes no matter where he was. Grabbing his shirt he threw it over his shoulder and started to put on the rest of his clothes as just behind him he heard the almost silent shift of covers behind him. She must have woken up he thought to himself as he pulled his pants to his waist and just as soft arms slid down his own from behind him caressing his forearms and a soft voice in his ear. Sweet nothings "Well isn't this nice? Morning, you're usually gone by now" she cooed laying her head on his back her soft and curly black hair tickling his back, he chuckled and responded "Well your usually not up this early, its a business day" she laughed a little before kissing the nape of his neck "Well the area around the bar has been a little dangerous lately so I figure I'd get some things done earlier than usual " she released him, picking up her own clothing that was scatter on the floor "And everyday is a business day for you. I can only imagine what you really do but you always seem too busy but if you just moved here we could find more time like this " Now released he slipped his shirt on, it still smelled like ale and her " What? blacking out?" he smirked turning around to face her as she finished picking up her clothes and for the first time in what seemed like forever, he gazed on her body a slim figure with soft curves, shoulder length black hair, and hazel marbles for eyes with a large scar in the shape of an asterisk above her right side pelvis and a head smaller, he'd come to the city just because she was the few people left in the world that tolerated him in one of the fewer places he wasn't wanted or in an abnormal amount of danger which in itself is a feat. She pouted slightly "You came here from all the way over in predators keep, you know exactly what I mean, even more so now" the room took a serious shade for a moment, a secret hidden behind their lips. Distilling the situation Lukas sighed "I guess you might be right, it could get dangerous" without missing a beat the girl piped up " Yeah so how about you handle the creepys around the bar today for me and then we can converse more about this....transaction" she scoffed and smiled "I'll be doing this for what again?" he grinned and protested lightly, taking a step forward lazily placing a hand on her hip "My love to keep you from leaving, I think that's a deal I can agree on" her cheeks grew peach as she tip toed and kissed his cheek before brushing past him and into the bathroom. Turning he left the small room, into the hallway, and out of the place He'd handle his business like always with as lease shit as possible, though before hand he did have somethings he wanted to get out of the way. One in particular would lead him to the bastion, he had heard some interesting things from the part of the city with the most historical value that he wouldn't mind checking out and while he had the tendency of running into bandits and the like who mistake him for their own, the information to come from these encounters were an amazing and mostly useful. Since coming to the city Lukas was almost in awe by the sheer diversity of the cave carved nook. As he walked he couldn't help but notice not only various types of humans like makeshift nephlin, hybrids of animals with dominate human genetics, half demons, half faye, and lots of other breeds that showed beings across the lands were in a forever heat but also humanoid beings and the rare intelligent beast with the blessing of a god. He could catch each of them in his sights as he walked threw the district with speed befitting a person with no important task at hand, not that he did anyway. The part of the area he had spent the night at was fairly safe, one of the better areas in the district, as he lead deeper into the outskirts though he could see more struggle and less joy of life. Every so often a beggar on the corner of a goods stall, people walking by with such little body mass they looked like they would fall over any moment, drunks and merry men that only seemed to react to nothing if anything at all they'd straighten slightly at the signs of the gatekeepers wandering threw on their daily routes. It couldn't be helped and inevitably as the size of the city grows more fools looking to earn a living or backed into a corner would try their hands and fail becoming the all too common corpse rotting away in the ally ways of a the slums. It reminded him of home, his days struggling to survive. There wasn't even enough food in the city for him to steal, no clean water for him to grow, nor any crumbs to inspire to taste. That was in the past, he'd never live like that again and that city, it was gone by his own hands replace with a collection of bitter memories. In some ways it would never die. To kill something that cant be, memories.
The Seas are tenebrous and cold, malevolent and unyielding in this way. The Widow, however, has seen worse. The Widow, at the end of days, will invariably see worse. The glass sea the Constellation of the Black Widow traversed was immediately, and obviously unlike the seas of Valar. Unlike the coasts of Genesaris, or perhaps those around Fracture, these seas were like black glass, tinted green with sickly moonlight cast over the unfeeling surface of the water. It stretched for what felt like forever in all directions, unswayed by the natural curvature of the world. One felt as though they might look on forever if they could, though to try invited a peculiar mania only known to those lost at sea. As she carved her way through a sea of green and dark, the Widow barely uttered a world, a voyager, unfettered by time or wear or tear. The crew of the Widow, unlike their mistress, were boisterous and evocatious, shouting orders in simple barks and hollers. These odd, malformed beings clambered up into the nests, chased after loose rigging along the deck and moved everything that didn't need to be where it currently was, elsewhere. Cold, and efficient; caught in behavior as timeless as the sea itself. While M'yr's companions dawdled and fannied for themselves, attempting to get used to the Widow and her odd manners, M'yr eventually managed to stop throwing up on her floors, and sat, knees pressed to his chest. His breathing was haggard, and reeked of vomit. The ship moving around him threatened to give him another bout of vomiting, while the stench of the sea was nigh enough to make him black out. Spots danced before his eyes, and he thought he might die, but he held firm to his wakefulness. He and the Widow did not get along. He hated this boat, in the same way the boat hated him. Though their distaste for each other was young compared to each of them, it felt as if he'd been at odds with this boat for a lifetime already. The boat, of course, had the great benefit of outlasting him in this game of hate. She had nothing to do, nothing to concern herself with, other than the seas she dominated, and the spite she could muster for one single, unkept young man. And so, he remained belowdecks for now, exhausted, but unwilling to yield. He thought he heard someone looking for him perhaps once or twice, but didn't deign to move from his spot yet, keen on getting his bearings. They would be at sea for a few moments only, he supposed, and then they would pull into harbor close to the Bastion in Totenborough. Then they could get off this forsaken vessel, and he could forget about her spiteful air for a few precious hours.
A few days ago in Lunaris... The woman waited outside the Issac's abode. It had been a while since she had returned to Lunaris and in the arms of her lover. Issac must have been greatly worried especially with all the antics she had been causing all around Renovatio. Clearly her priorities are skewed as she even left her unborn child with Issac so she could travel to the other side of the world to right an ancient wrong. Still, it was for the best as she could still return alive and well even after the horrors she had experienced under the old gods of Renovatio. What brings her here before Issac's door was simply a personal matter. However, when it comes to her, business and pleasure do tend to mix. Earlier this day, she had spent a few hours setting up the portal's circle in the Lunaris' Silverbush Bank. The portal was meant to connect both branches and perhaps even Arturon if she ever got the chance to go that far. For now, she needed to travel by foot towards Totenborough and Issac would be the ideal companion. Who knows, they could even catch up on the other's life along the way. @danzilla3
Approximately 4 months after the Low-Tide Festival in Arcturon. The streets are slick with rain. Perhaps, if you're willing to ask the right questions, you might find that the streets have always been that way. Perhaps not. Arcturon in the past six months has been the epicenter of events both supernatural and unknown. With the advent of the Acolytes of the Coiled Beast, and their entry into the spotlight four months ago, Arcturon has gone from a city blind to the grim truth, to a city slowly waking to the nightmare only a private few are privy to. Those present at the Low-Tide Festival, those that heard the ancient bell ring, count themselves among those in the know. And those that are in the know, are all congregated in one place tonight. Those familiar with the Acolytes knew about it well in advance. Word spreads quickly in hidden circles, and like the coils of the Serpent, there are many, many secret circles. Most of them, the authorities are unaware of. This information explicitly traveled in those that they were aware of, however. The Acolytes had congregated, all as once, in a brightly lit conference hall, rented out for cheap. Even now, late into the evening of Arcturon, when most folks had gone indoors to evade the bitter rain and biting wind, infrequent pilgrims made passage to the warm hearth of the conference hall. Inside, the promise of warmth, free food, and perhaps conversation on the uncertain future of Arcturon's lowest and most hard-working. According to official reports, every Acolyte of the Coiled Beast had congregated there. That thought, and that thought alone, was the only thing to calm M'yr's paranoia. M'yr was not alone in his house. More so than usual, at least. Where once the ghosts of misdeeds once lurked, other phantoms invaded his bedroom now, some familiar and others not. While he carefully went over their borrowed supplies, their available intelligence and perhaps most pressing, their available funds, behind him Slake shifted, obviously restless. He heard it repeatedly, and eventually found a rhythm to her motions. While he went over the papers, she would slosh her flask as she went for a drink, shuffle somewhat, touch her helmet, resting on the desk and sigh loudly, in annoyance. All the while, her weapon sang, sitting uneasily on her hip and aching for action. Behind her, things he dared not look at directly stirred and shifted. Unlike his own sickly manifestations, these were tangible, real and waiting, equally as impatient as their Captain. He couldn't dismiss them, or deny their existence, dread as they were. It was, in his opinion, best to ignore them outright. To confront them, was to acknowledge the fractured elements of his psyche, and he needed to believe, at least for now, that he was mostly, nearly, partially all there that night. He took a break from looking at his work, and made for the window. It was an ugly, grimy thing, stained green from rising saltwater and cracked from numerous, futile attempts to punch his way through it. Outside, in the cold rain, folk still walked by from time to time. He knew all of them, but recognized none of them tonight, their heads low and grim, their breaths clinging to the air like a dead man's last wish. Beyond the meager light of his bedroom, there was scarce other light outside. He stared hard, out across the street. The people who had been watching him yesterday weren't there tonight. They must have been instructed to visit the town hall, he guessed, a bit more hopeful than normal. He turned away from the window, and a crack of thunder split the sky. He didn't need to look behind him to know that somewhere, beyond the clouds, the Serpent's Eyes were upon him. He moved back to the table, suddenly aware that he was dripping wet and shivvering. He huddled close to the supplies again, and tried to recall Slake's rhythmic fidgeting. Swig. Shuffle. Touch. Sigh. On and on, again. Those from outside of Taen, or even simply from outside of Arcturon, played witness to several oddities that night, on their way to the rendezvous. It was a clear, cool night, the moon hanging high in the sky and with limited cloud cover, and so the lights were dim, opting for the natural moonlight to brighten these strange streets. Yet, for these witnesses, things seemed very wrong. The people, while friendly, were often soaking wet, or carrying soggy umbrellas. Their breath condensed before their faces as they breathed. Many of them walked, hunched and tired, as if stricken with despair, weighed down by unknown unknowns. The streets, while dry, seemed cursed. People swerved broadly to avoid stepping in certain areas, as if going around thick, heavy puddles. The homes were closed and cold, save for one. M'yr Boldbarrow, the signature at the bottom of the request, had put out a notice for any assistance that could be mustered in what he claimed to be 'a series of regrettable, but necessary acts'. He offered noplace to write back to, nor did he posts any specifics on the job. Instead, he merely posted an address, an 'Inquire Within' sort of affair. Despite its sagging exterior, it was the only house on the block with lights on. If there were any doubts as to where the small band of mercenaries were meant to be, that single, bravely flickering in the dark, damp night dispelled them outright. M'yr's abode did not speak of confidence, or opulence. It spoke of dark deeds, and secretive meetings, of long, lonely nights spent wailing curses into the cold. A simple knock at the door is all it took to have it opened. A tall, fridge-built man opened, the true barrier from entry to the abode. Towering and muscular, with a rotund belly, his features were overshadowed by his face, the first truly unmistakably unreal thing the party might see that night. The man's face was missing, replaced by a long, drooping pale slug. It still moved, twitching left and right as it attempted to struggle against gravity, anchored to the man's neck in place of his head. Even as it flailed, its black, beady eyes swiveled to face each newcomer, before backing off to allow them to enter, passing through the threshold and into the bedroom, directly to the left of the doorway. As they stepped inside, the sound of rain striking the door and window became obvious. Outside, thunder rumbled, low in the sky, furious at their newfound awareness. M'yr's home was a grim reflection of the man that lived there. Immediately one could note the bubbling, broken wallpaper that scarred the walls all around them, threadbare walls with no decorations to speak of. The floor showed signs of excessive wear, ancient and unbuffed, the wooden floorboards were pockmarked and covered in scratches. Heavy, deep gouges lead towards the bedroom from the kitchen. Stepping into the bedroom, it was revealed the scratches came from the dinner table, moved into the other little room for the express purpose of planning and congregation. Filling the room were two different figures, one somewhat tall, adorned in bulky, ancient armor, and the other short, draped in dark, ragged robes and a warped mask. Eyeholes were carved into it, likely with a crude knife, each a different size, but beyond that the mask was featureless. Yet, somehow it appeared unhappy, remorseful, mirroring the figure's posture. In fact, their posture mirrored much of the home. There was no question who owned the house, then, but they didn't greet any of the mercenaries as they stepped in. Aside from the table and the bare walls, there was little furniture to speak of. In one corner, a thin, brittle bed that sagged from the weight of the blankets and pillows heaped on the bed and close by a short, ugly dresser. On top of it were several random items, stored with no consequence. Of note, a wooden ruler, sharped into a stake. Several razor blades were screwed to the end of it, turning the narrow points of the ruler into a sharp, if impromptu blade. The untreated wooden dresser was stained in a number of places with thick droplets of blood, too old to be removed. Aside from that, other bits of driftwood, shells, bits of metal and broken items rested haphazardly. A curious collection of items, salvaged from a nonexistant sea. Eventually the entirety of the crew was assembled, all of the mercenaries who agreed to work with the Acolytes, at which point the sea-slug bouncer closed the door and locked it securely. He moved to the doorway, blocking the way out and listening in. Outside, the tapping of branches on the walls and roof could still be heard amid the wind as it picked up. Rain hammered the walls, threatening to break M'yr's fragile home into pieces. M'yr did his best to ignore the weather outside, and looked at the group of volunteers, one after another. They were a motley crew, certainly, but he expected that. His ad hadn't been aimed at professionals, or experts, just the curious observer the ad managed to ensnare. He looked past them, and the bartender nodded at him. He glanced down and away. The door was locked, and as far as he could tell no one was listening in. It was time for the work to begin. He looked upright, and leaned against the table, but his words didn't come, caught by the mask of driftwood in his way. With trembling hands, he reached up and took it off. He set the mask down on the table, and blinked at the crew. M'yr was ghostly pale, with dark, heavy circles under his eyes that betrayed his lack of sleep, and perhaps more uncomfortably his general neglect of himself. His dark, soft-looking hair managed to get in his face no matter what he did with it, and his eyes, sad and broken as they were, seemed endless, like tidepools deeper than any sea. He sized them up again, before finally introducing himself. "Hello, my name is M'yr Boldbarrow." M'yr. M'yr M'yr Boldbarrow, he says? Nothing Bold about him. Coward. Thief. Snivelling Pup. He stiffened, and gripped the edge of the table. Rarely, if ever did his hallucinations taunt him in that way. It made him wonder if they were hallucinations at all. He stared hard at the table, and glanced up, glanced up at several more M'yr's, all staring intently at him. His ghostly, pale features bored holes into his confidence from across the table as they stood, clustered at the other end of the room. He swallowed his nerves, and continued. "I am M'yr, and you are here because you saw the ad, I'm guessing. Which, is good because I'm going to need help. It's going to be difficult work, but I've worked hard to get some money together for everyone that helps." He paused, and added, a bit thoughtfully. "Our target is also pretty interesting, as well. You might walk out with a door prize, if you want to think of it like that." On the table next to him, sat several things, from the supplies he'd scrabbled together in a desperate attempt to be prepared, as well as the heavy sack of money meant for the mercenaries. Furthest from him was the map, rolled up and tucked away, for now. He gnawed on his lip, and decided to wait on those. He'd come back to them, in a short while. "The job we're looking at is the Totenborough Library," He told them, coming back to the present for a moment. The cluster of M'yr's were gone; now the expectant mercenaries looked back at him. Did they pity him? Mistrust him? He couldn't tell. He wanted to put the mask back on, and hide from them again, but he didn't. "Specifically, we're looking at an ancient study site; a sort of 'infinite library' they call it," He explained to them. "I don't actually know if it's infinite or not, but it's older than just about every city in Taen, except maybe Totenborough itself. Me and my associates believe that the...God..." It made him want to vomit, using the word out loud in this context. "Might be referenced somewhere in the books there. We can't say for sure, and there's no official record of what they've found in there. It's all written in ancient script, so it's anyone's guess what's actually inside." "So, I would like your help getting inside," He tried to summarize the job. "We'll get in quickly and easily, hopefully, and we can hopefully find what we're looking for. If we find it, we pull out all the books we can on the subject and we bail. We get home, you all get paid and--I'm sorry, could you move away from the window?" He paused to try and clear them away from the window. Outside, a sudden wave surged through the street, slamming into the window. It cracked from the blow, but held firm. A few moments afterward, the cracks dissapated entirely. M'yr exhaled, visibly relieved. "Okay, nevermind. Anyway, we get in, we get our books, and once we're out, you all get paid. That simple." He waited for a beat, before following up. "A-anyway! I realize I haven't given you a chance to introduce yourselves. Please, give a fake name if you want, but tell me what you're bringing to the table. I don't really...do this sort of thing, so if you have ideas...I'm game, I guess."