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      Vote for Valucre [March]   03/24/2017

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Jesus Negro

Inner City Blues.

18 posts in this topic

Saxon walked down the crowded roads and streets, casually looking into shops, stopping here and there to look up the buildings that kept piling on top of each other. It was strange for him to be on a floating land mass and even stranger that most of the city was inside the husk of a giant ship. Though it was strange and completely foreign to the young man, he put it on a similar level to how Nich'e is, with its hundreds of interconnecting caves and the thriving life that was mostly cut off from the rest of Valucre. Which, just like here in La Guardia, gave it a defined culture and people.

Saxon didn't want to travel too far from the meeting point and get lost, while he was confident he could eventually find his way back, it was best to be cautious. Plus he hated being late. So as usual, he was early to the designated meeting "area" since there wasn't a specific address he was to meet at.

The man was but 22 and didn't have much experience with mercenary or assassin work outside of a handful of odd jobs. Looking at it, he was nervous to be working with a real corporation or group. While he didn't know the specifics of the job, he knew that this would determine if he was worthy of being part of it and if he had the potential to move up.

Saxon could hear the shops and the people haggling. The people bustling to and fro, hurrying to their job or home. He didn't know, yet he loved to watch them all. In the grand scheme of things, if one of them went missing, would anybody really notice? That's what he liked about mercenary and assassin work. In the overall picture, most people's deaths didn't affect anybody else. The world kept spinning. But if you got rid of the right person, someone could just about shake the country and the world to its core.

He picked a small bench to sit down on and waited for the partner he was told to meet.

This was going to be exciting.

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Nisha, our 14-year old quiet-but-deadly ninja girl, watches Saxon take a seat on the bench from her vantage point. This was the general area in which she had been told to wait for her partner in this job she'd picked, which suited her just fine. Here, she got to look at birds, the pretty little creatures, while waiting for this person. 

She'd been given a time of arrival, but she'd done one better, showing up 30 minutes earlier. The first 15 minutes were spent just touring the place, getting to know this 'Valucre' place, and any hotspots she could tell her girlfriend about when going back to the Nexus. The other 15 were spent watching birds and park benches. 

And now here we are. 

After studying Saxon and ascertaining that he was the contact she'd been told of, Nisha decides to approach him, dressed in navy blue ninja gear, complete with a ninjato sword on her hip. Without a word, she jumps off the roof she's on, taking no damage from the fall, and begins walking silently towards the older man. Taking a seat next to him, a permanent scowl on her young face, her silver-irised and black-scleraed eyes look intently at Saxon.

"First time doing this sort of thing?" She asks in a dry tone. 

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Saxon was staring straight ahead and could only see the approaching navy-clad ninja from his peripheral before she plopped down next to him. She wore her sword openly which made him wonder if this place allowed the wear of casual weapons. His sword was stashed away in his government issued pack and he had no reason to wave it around.

"First time doing this sort of thing?"

He listened to the young girl and how bored she sounded with the question. While she was probably his junior by almost 10 years, he felt like he was her junior in the sense of work experience.

“Few small jobs. Here and there. Nothing from an organization.” He stared ahead as he talked. Once finished he waited a handful of seconds and turned his head toward her.

“Saxon. Let’s work well together.”

He didn’t know how she dealt with formalities but he figured that if they were together for a while she might as well know his name.

He scratched the tip of his elvish ear and readjusted the black leather blazer he always wore. He had switched out his usual green canvas undershirt for a black one and even took the time to switch the brass buttons on his blazer to dark metal ones. Normally he wore jeans but for this he switched to a more skin tight elastic pant that was much easier to move in and wore his leather boots for running. While his sword was stashed away, he kept his sheaths on his back.

“How much do you know?” He asked absentmindedly while watching small creatures interact and peck at small crumbs left by the never ending crowds.

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As Saxon replies, Nisha pulls out a packet of bird seeds and sprinkles it on the ground before them. Some of the birds split from the pack to peck at her yummy seeds. Stretching out her hand, a pigeon lands on her wrist to peck at the seeds in her palm, not moving much when she begins petting it. "I'm Nisha. Codename Raven." She turns to him with that ever-present scowl, regarding hom for a moment, and noting that he seems like a nice enough guy.

"Yeah, let's." She finally replies, offering him the smile of one who isn't so used to smiling at strangers. A side of her she's slowly learning isn't weak to show to others. "Let's." She repeats to herself, turning back to the pigeon and letting it join the rest of the other birds in eating from the floor, not that the bird did mind the attention.

"Been told next to nothing about this, just that there's paying work that need our skills. Meeting point here, which means a contact will approach us soon, if not more people looking for work. Somehow doubt the latter, though." The dark-skinned shadow ninja scans the area around them with her eyes, alert for any more approaching people. 

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The young man smiled as a good number of birds flocked to where they were sitting. They were all very docile and friendly toward people which meant that they probably weren't the only ones feeding them like this.

Saxon watched the awkward smile form on the young ninja's lips. He couldn't help but smile back and pray he didn't laugh at how much she struggled with the task.

"Raven or Nisha? Which do you prefer to be called?" He had worked with some people that preferred their codename while others didn't care. Both were nice names and could easily be swapped for the young girl. She owned both of those names in her own right.

He decided to fill the space with a little bit of unnecessary chatter.

"I think I look like a Saxon. I don't think any other names fit me." he paused. "Some try to call me Sax, but that's not me. Isn't it strange how we disassociate from some names and not others? Then some people feel comfortable being called any name."

He didn't look over to see how the girl was reacting. Sometimes Saxon just liked to talk about the thoughts that pop up, regardless if the other person ever answers.

"Like this one girl I knew. Her name was Savach but she responded to just about anything. You could call her Deb, or Tom and she'd respond. The only thing she hated was when someone mispronounced her name." 

That was the last part of the thought for Saxon and with that, he casually stopped talking about it. He didn't expect the girl to respond or to continue the conversation, as most people didn't. He just liked sharing useless anecdotal stories. Leaning forward he picked up a few seeds that hadn't been eaten yet and tossed them to one bird that seemed to be a little slow.

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"Pardon me."

There is no physical body before them or at their rear, the words this stranger spoke sounded as if it could've been coming from under the bench they both shared and discussed monikers and fed birds of various species, colors, shapes, and sizes. Should Nisha and Saxon decide to investigate this phenomena more thoroughly, they would no doubt discover that the speaker's voice seemed to be coming from both of their shadows. From the shadow, Corvus rises, taking on the form and appearance of the shadow; thin like paper, and dark, he expands to normality and his complexion as well.

The technique used was titled  l'art du oscurità [art of stealth] by a cynical man whose name and place amongst the assassins have been long forgotten. The technique is a set of skills rooted in umbrakinesis, chosen for it's stability of use and being less susceptible to dispels, disjunctions and other arcane counters. Through a rigorous training process, which includes opening the minds of ignorant/unawaken , these technique allow an assassin to operate under the cover of darkness, with stealth and secrecy. Placing a single hand on both of their shoulders as he rose from naught, and pulled himself from the wall, ground, and the many crevices found on both surfaces.

First he'd want to thank them both for not being complete losers and ask one another to fight the moment they met. Or even feel as if they had something to prove to one another. Already the two displayed intangibles that would allow them to excel through the ranks of PRIDE with little to know effort. From their minute discussion, the PRIDE Proctor learned a lot from the two. How their minds seemed to work, how they carried themselves and what fields they'd specialized in.

"Salutations, Nisha and Saxon. I am The Glaive, Corvus, your Proctor for today."

The Glaive made his way around the bench to stand before the two new faces, and his first thought was analytical. Nisha, a true ninja, she'd do well as a PRIDE assassin and Saxon, he is still somewhat a mystery. He was both surprised and confused at the fact that these two were not Renovatian's. Has PRIDE and all of its glory been shared with the rest of the world? If it has, he wouldn't have been the only ignorant Renovatian to ask such.

"Welcome to my home, La Guardia City, Renovatio. The South End, or also known as the Left Foot. It's not the prettiest place on the planet, but it is home."

Edited by Jesus Negro
Rough draft

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The moment Saxon heard the start of the words, his body tensed and his mind raced. He may be new to the game, but one thing that he always had on his side was astoundingly fast reflexes that many didn't expect. The words seemed to have come from behind them and around them at the same time. Once his mind registered that what was spoken was "Pardon Me" he calmed considerably.

He felt the hand lightly touch his shoulder and looked to the man that was finishing his materialization out of the shadows. Only his eyes widened slightly, the rest of his face stayed still. That was impressive indeed and he was sure it came in handy. He wondered if that was one of the techniques he would learn among the organization known as PRIDE. Now he felt his heart race for a different reason, not fight or flight, but an excitement to hone his craft and learn new abilities.

The man moved to the front of the two and the birds gently hopped aside, unbothered by the person that had become something from nothing. He proclaimed himself as their proctor for the day and welcomed them to his city.

Saxon smiled lightly at the man.

"Thank you for the welcome," he said politely. "Though I'm not the biggest fan of being snuck up on, that was intensely impressive," while motioning around him, he added, "I also find your home to be quite astounding. Many things that do not exist on the land below exist here."

Readjusting his pack to be more comfortable, he decided the formalities on his end could be put to an end and his face hardened back to its usual blankness. He figured the man already knew his name as he was probably listening in on the two's conversation for a moment. Why tell the man needless information he already knows? While being polite was something he was raised with, he was here to do a job and he was glad that with the mentor showing up it could finally begin.

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"Nisha." The ninja girl simply replies, trying her best not to huff on sensing some mockery in his smile. So what if her smile was funny?

Jerk.

The moment he begins to chatter on is her cue to zone out, for she cares little for small talk. She figures she'll let him ramble on for a bit before shutting up, so she lets her mind wander as she watches the birds feed on the seeds. What kind of mission would this be? Hopefully this guy won't be so chatty all the way, or she'll need to break out the headphones. Well, Natalie, her girlfriend, is chatty, and she loves her that way... not random strangers, probably still wet behind their ears...

And so by the time Saxon is done with his babbling, the girl is looking at the birds feed with a wistful smile on her face. After a few moments, she regains her composure and clears her throat. "I'm not really one for small talk."

Nisha doesn't have a shadow at present, that is, a shadow which is attached to her body at an angle depending on the light source. That isn't to say that her shadow is gone, for training with her abilities to the extent that she has - one would have to when the other ninja families treat your honorless clan as a pariah, giving you even less playtime - has transformed her shadow into a living companion... presently masquerading as the mini teddy bear strapped to her waist, asleep for the time being.

So, she watches the man rise from Saxon's shadow, or the general direction of where his shadow should be, a smile forming on her lips. She knows that technique well, though it's known by another name to her: voidwalking; achieved through being rigorously trained from childhood, and being born with a predisposition to void energy manipulation, of which shadows belong.

"Fellow voidwalker, enchanted." She says after listening to the assassin - obviously, he's got to be an assassin - speak, nodding her head in agreement, showing a slightly brighter side to her. A seasoned assassin is someone she can relate with more, after all.

"It's a nice place, Corvus. This Renovatio, that is." If she didn't already have a place to stay, she might consider moving here.

"So, what's the job?" She asks, getting straight to brass tacks. No need to beat around the bush.

Edited by Eagle-77
nisha's shadow, and her mini teddy bear
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Although Saxon was a chatty Kathy, his heart seemed pure, and his words felt sincere to a man who was more than capable of sifting through the bullshit. Not long before the demise of Saxon's words and the ambition that fueled them, Nisha's personality blooms like a wildflower in spring. Her comments and assumptions spoke much of her age and outshined the fact that she have been a seasoned assassin with the potential of becoming an even greater assassin. Glaxy-Class maybe? Given her assumption though, it picked at Corvus' nerve and she would have to grow in the area of observation and analyzing energies used to perform such techniques.

"Interesting, though I understand why you would think that." Although he was no voidwalker, nor did he conjure any void energy to manipulate such. Corvus would allow her to believe that as her training henceforth. She would learn sooner than later without a doubt. "It's a shit-hole. But it's my beautiful shit-hole."

"Your job is to prove to me that you aren't a waste of my time." His voice was raspy, and the way he delivered words was too smooth and too real to really hate. "A few blocks down Lexicon Street in an underground bar called the Hell Pit,a wanted man is tossing back shots of oil or high octane. His name is Iron Hand." He had no picture of the target for he had already known what he looked like, but if either of the two had a mobile device or the common sense to look to the sky at one of the many hologram monitors on the walls and celings they find a picture of him.

"Take him out. You don't have to worry about casualties. I've already confirmed that everyone present in that bar is a wanted criminal. You come out of this alive, I'll draft a letter of recommendation for the Grandmaeters on your behalf. If you've any questions you can ask them now, but if not. I'll simply be watching from the shadows."

Edited by Jesus Negro
Rough draft.
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Saxon listened intently to their mentor and guide, his face stern.

He was slightly unnerved by the fact that casualties didn't matter. He also had questions, but he decided he would pick only some and ask.

"If this man is so wanted," glancing up at the holograms displaying a metal-clad helmet with a single blue eye sight, "and we know where he is publicly, why aren't the authorities doing something?"

The same went for everyone in the bar. He knew about Iron Hand and the murders he committed. Gunning down innocents in residential areas as if they were nothing. Doing the same in commercial areas as well. He couldn't imagine that the people in the bar were any better. The anxiety he felt about killing others dissipated quickly as he thought about the innocent people that lost their lives to Iron Hand and his colleagues.

Before getting an answer to the first question, he popped in another.

"I assume that our method of eradication also doesn't necessarily matter? We could be as stealthy or as brash as we want as long as his head is in our hands in the end, am I right?"

Saxon didn't have any kind of stealth killing techniques as his only weapon was a sword that could split in two. This made Nisha a great ally in this mission. If anything, deception could work. Especially if the man was already drinking heavy liquor.  A few drinks down the hatch and Nisha's quick hands could incapacitate him. Or maybe a poison...

He pulled back from his thoughts, now waiting for Nisha to ask her own questions if she had any and for the proctor to answer the ones he asked.

Edited by Saxonyx
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[I am so sorry. I'll try and post faster, faster meaning 'a few days less than this time'. In this for the long haul, though.]

To be fair, though, Nisha is aware that she and Corvus are using different techniques to get the same effect. The fact that he displayed such a technique in her presence makes her respect him. Note, not like, respect. Big difference, she'd tell you.

Nisha listens attentively, finding herself having to make a conscious effort to keep from smiling like an idiot in front of this man's presence, despite sensing his type. The smooth talker that will keep talking smooth, right up until he knifes you between the ribs. She's killed men like him, and men like him have wounded her to within an inch of her life, but damn! A quick mission-inappriopriate thought of she and her girlfriend of the same age flashes through her mind, of bathing in chocolate.

Focus, girl.

While Saxon asks his questions, Nisha fiddles with an interface being projected out of her wrist, keeping her ears open for the exchange between Mr. Nice Assassin and Mr. Smooth Talker. It's a Borderlands-style quest log, listing their mission. It can be read by both men present.

  • Assassinate Iron Hand (a helpful picture of Iron Hand, copied from the Valternet, accompanies the words)
  • Work with Saxon to ensure the mission is carried out as stealthily as possible.

Once Saxon is done with his line of questioning, Nisha clears her throat. "Bad-guy bar, kill Iron Hand, drinks oil and high-octane fuel. Got it. I'd prefer this is done as stealthily as possible, unless a bloodbath becomes unavoidable. Not one to turn down paying work, though I have to ask why the building hasn't been nuked from orbit if the bar is such a hive of scum and villainy."

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"Do you, Saxon. I can only show you the door, its up to you if you want to knock and be welcomed into a den of wolves. Or even slip in. Or bust in." Nisha then asked a question another had asked not too long ago. A pledge like the two of them, and now a full time assassin upon his short time spent with the Glaive. "The information I shared with you just now is information I collected myself not long before I was tasked with being your proctor. PRIDE keeps tabs on all the felons that enter and leave Renovatio, and depending on their status and or actions, we act. No point in risking the lives of innocent bystanders to get a simple job done." Though there were more senior PRIDE members who thought more like Nisha, specifically all of those who follow the Left-Hand Creed.

"Since you seem more prepared for the task, Nisha. You will lead this two man cell. You will be judged on how well you execute the mission. Not how well you two cooperate or how many people you killed." Before he could finish his last statement, Corvus dematerialized into what appeared like crimson leafs from a red star tree late into autumn. Before their eyes he would fade without a trace nor a mote of his essence, life energy, or anything to identify him. But he would remain near at all times.

The Hell Pit had two points of entry that was in plain site; the back door and the front-sub floor door. Hidden behind the layers of concrete floors and walls there was also another entry one could possibly gain access to after traverse the sewer which manhole could be found a few feet to the left of the steps leading downstairs to the rear entry primarily used as an exit. There was no entry point on the roof nor along the walls for there were no windows, and very little exhaust and intake vents to swap out the stale air on the inside. Entering through the front would bring the two into the main atrium where drinks were served, adultery and murder committed, and varies gambling circles which often claimed someone's life when money wasn't coughed up or when someone was accused of cheating because they won a few back to back games.

Entering from the back led to a kitchen in horrible shape, attended by an eldery man who seemed to just stare into space, never speaking. Never blinking. Only stirring a pot of beans and pork. The kitchen was small; ten steps was all that was needed to pass through the swinging doors that led to the Atrium. The atrium was about 30ft x 30ft x 20ft and packed from wall to wall with Overseers, courtesans, mercenaries, outlaws, common crooks, and criminals with little clout.

In this area there were four bars with four different tenders serving four very different drinks from all over the world. Mainly drinks from the lands of those who had recently joined the TESA Joint Military. One bar was brightly lit red, and the others were blue, purple, and green. Iron Hand could be found tossing back shots of high octane not under the crimson nor sky-like light. His mood was shifting to that of violence, and so he parleyed under the violet lit bar.

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Shanya watched from a crosswalk above the two assassins as they went inside the bar. She waited.

 

And waited.

 

And waited some more.

 

After it became apparent that they had either been caught and killed or simply bailed out, Shanya nimbly dropped from the crosswalk onto the ground below. She was the backup, in case this happened. While assassinations weren't normally her thing, she had still managed to become an expert over the course of several years.

 

So, there were two possible scenarios that awaited her inside the building: the first one was one in which the previous two had somehow alerted the HVT of their presence, putting him on guard. The second was that they had bailed before doing so, and thus the HVT would still be unaware of the target on his back. Time to find out.

 

Enveloping herself in shadows, she moved undetected into the club through the main entrance, keeping her eyes peeled for both opportunities and dangers. She took a wide berth around the debauchery happening in the main atrium and headed directly for one of the bars, moving from one to the other until she eventually spotted Iron Hand sitting at a bar with purple light around it, rowdily drinking with a couple of his friends as they celebrated some kind of event. Good. It seems that he still didn't know what was coming for him.

 

However, it would be tough for her to approach him while still enveloped in shadow, as the bar was well lit compared to the rest of the club, and thus Shanya had to figure out a different approach to the kill. Perhaps a well placed crossbow bolt? No, the bolts were too light to guarantee a kill. She could use it to finish him off if needed. A dagger in his throat would be the best solution. Waiting while he separated from his friends would also be a good idea, Shanya would not be able to take them on if she was spotted immediately after the kill.

 

So, once again, she did what she did best. She waited, keeping her eyes and ears peeled for any juicy pieces of information while she was at it.

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After a couple weeks had come and gone and still no word from the two pledges made the Glaive worrisome. Thoughts of sending the youth to their untimely deaths began to layer guilt over his heart in soul like icing on a cake. Then another assassin showed up, one whom he had never met before, but there was no doubt in his mind that Shanyawas a newcomer as well. Henceforth, the Glaive would watch as he always had, but this time he would watch whilst hiding in plain sight. He needed not the shadows nor any fanciful or magical means to perform such, for what he possessed was a gift, while others had to work hard to maintain their talent.

The Glaive was born of this, and would watch and provide backup if necessary. Removing a pen and a pocket sized notebook from his chest pocket and began noting Shanya's actions.

Edited by Jesus Negro
Quick & Rough draft.

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