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"Sure, what the hell? Why not get on a complicated magitech transportation device so we can be completely at the mercy of a mysterious man who just slaughtered a patrol of city guards and is clearly a threat to our lives? Sounds like my kind of party!"

Eluvië blinked at Janessa for her strange utterance, and then let out a chortling laugh. I like this new side of the human. She's rather fae. "As m'ladies wish," she responded easily. Handmaidens though the other two were, she was given to understand that, just like the queen, their blood outranked hers by a fair margin. It didn't trouble her a whit. It was just easy to know where she stood.

For herself, she made no purchases; her long-toed feet were hardy and handy and had never fit into human shoes properly anyway, and the simple dress she kept hidden beneath her cloak would serve just fine as travel-wear with the hem tacked up so it didn't drag. She had the needle and thread for that in her pockets already. So she sauntered around the shop waiting for the rest to be ready, slender fingers twined innocently behind her back and humming under her breath. Though it was a strange set of circumstances, she felt elated that they were finally going to be rid of this dour city.

Fairly skipping with impatience, she finally made her way over to Eir, smiling up at the woman with something almost like shyness. "Let me hold that for you, m'lady," she offered, taking up the basket of practical items that the pretty Iceling had selected, and bringing it over to the shopkeep for reckoning once they were done.

After a couple of minutes that felt like years, they were finally all ready to go. And not a moment to soon: the violence in the street may have solved the immediate problem of the guards, but more were sure to be on their way. Nothing brings guards like blood in the streets, after all. "I hope his ship's not far," the little half-fae muttered to no one in particular. "Do you think we'll go right up above the clouds?" She had seen airships come and go from Selemath many a time, but had never been aboard one herself. The thought turned her cheeks pink and her irises goldy with excitement.

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Into the Maw of the Beast.


Upon the outskirts of the building, Dominic stood at attention waiting for the ladies to join him on the outside. His eyes had missed nothing in the least bit, the trained assassin on the corner, the other ladies were less of a threat. He had to keep special eyes upon the woman who posed the worst threat in being a very adept planner, not to mention her training and instincts were on par with his own. To encounter this lass and be unable to maintain all in the process would be a severe inconvenience. Moments seemed to pass before the door finally opened and the ladies had made their way outside of the shop. 

As they stepped out at first it would seem as if a trap had been sprung upon them. The corpses stood stock still around the Squire and his Moogle like a bard with his harp. The bodies did not respond or even flinch as the others gazed at them. "Welcome to your Escort Miladies.. This will do well to disguise your departure.. Now if you would all please get together inbetween all of them, we shall be on our way." Dominic's voice remained deep and even as he turned away from the group. Stepping from between the guards, he stood on the outside. Taking the lead in guiding the group to the airship, the procession did not begin until the ladies had complied. An when they did so the guards turned in unison to face the same direction as Dominic himself. Robin slowly quaked within his arms as the creature slowly grew tired of maintaining such a spell. A small hiss of warning cautioned Dominic to two step the group into a hastened departure. "I apologize for this.. We must hurry, our window closes with every second we do not hasten to make it to the ship.. Robin is tired and this is only the second time he has controlled such a large group." Stroking the small creatures head he hummed a gentle tune that seemed to sooth the moogle's nerves quite a bit.  Turning the nearest corner the group was already 1/3rd of the way there as the rain began to slow its downfall. 

Slowly casting a glance over his shoulders the male examined the supplies in the ladies grasp. With a gentle nod he approved of their willingness to pack extra supplies it would be extremely helpful. Passing a few stores he passed the shop in which he had obtained the cloak. With a short wave to the shop keeper the cloak was placed back in the keepers hands with a smile. An a short exchange was given before their pace once more resumed its rushed departure.  Already the guards bodies seemed to be lacking in their resolute standing. Partly sagging at the shoulder the magic was beginning to wane as they graced the docks in place. Waving his single free hand the ship responded to him, or rather the device upon his forearm. The Artemis Prime cube which controlled the ship by the wearers mental capabilities. The vessel came to life with a vibrant hum the lights sparked to life as the engines whirled and the electrode discs kicked in. 

The side door kicked open letting out a deep golden light out in the dull gloom of the night. The dock guards saluted lightly before letting the group pass. No words were spoken only bodies swiftly moved passed and the bodies slouched a bit more. "Miladies if you would not mind.. Please.. Hasten into the ship ahead of me.. I must.. Return these guards.." Chuckling lightly the Squires mind had a more twisted vision in mind for their return to the world.  Once the females had departed into the ship the airship slowly began to rise as the docking door closed firmly behind them. Preventing anyone from pursuing them inside of their safe haven. "Now.. Back to your Master you are returned.." Pushing Robin deep within the confines of his vest the Moogles magic finally faded. By this time the guards had taken note of their sagging allies, it was all but natural to see something so unreal. A twisted smirk crossed Dominic's face, taking over control of the corpses he would have them preform one last task.. "Behead and De-limb your brethren.." The words came with a hiss as the corpses snapped up right and to life. Swords and spears were drawn as the four guards went to work on the dock guards. Cutting their limbs from their living counter parts, they soon turned on each other till only one stood. 

The ship rose higher and higher now floating just over the top of where Dominic stood. It's center port opened dropping a vibrant blue light upon the man. Taking Legion from his grasp he slowly beckoned the last corpses forward. Taking the blooded spear from its hands, he made swift work of removing its head. Allowing it to land firmly upon the ground, Dominic kicked the body to the side. Stabbing the spear into the ground he then impaled the head upon the top. "Enjoy.. The view Roen.." A fiendish smile crossed the lads lips as the blue light tugged him up into the safe haven of the ship. 

"The Queen is Mine."

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“What in the hell do you mean ‘she slipped away.’” Reinhard Paendrag said quietly, his impossibly deep voice colored by the double timbre of a barely contained growl. Implacable rust colored eyes met hesitating blue ones, and he felt the same wrenching of his gut that had led him to question the guard himself. He could see the sheen of sweat across the man’s balding pate. He could feel the man’s body tremble beneath the cold, metallic hand that had replaced his flesh oh so long ago. Biting the inside of his cheek so hard that he drew blood, the old knight leaned forward, almost touching his hook-like nose against the man’s dainty one. Flashing his teeth in what could only be described as a rictus of annoyance, Reinhard tilted his head, waiting for his answer.

 

“I-i-i- AGH” The man bellowed as Reinhard wrapped his thick, gauntleted fist against his finger and pushed it backward with a resounding snap. Increasing the pressure of the metallic hand against the man’s chest, Reinhard could hear the man’s breaths shorten, could feel the familiar groaning of bone as it is pushed against its’ natural shape.

 

“Right now, boy, you have exactly 30 seconds to tell me what I want to know before I cave in you bloody fucking chest.” Reinhard growled, not bothering to hide the feral note of anger that he had been restraining any longer. Blood filled Reinhard’s mouth as his teeth furrowed in further into his cheek, annoyedly tearing at the flesh. Opening his mouth, the older knight spit his blood contemptuously at the young man’s shirt, allowing the metallic smell to waft between the both of them. He watched as the younger man squirmed, clearly attempting to keep a brave face.

 

“I won’t tell you anything, old man!” The soldier squeaked, leaving Reinhard reluctantly impressed for a moment before the annoyance at his noncompliance set. Turning his rust-colored eyes to the young man’s friend, The Dragon of Patia pulled his metallic hand back and slammed it against the young man’s chest. The sound of bones crunching seemed to bounce against the stone walls, echoing in tandem with the soldier’s screaming. Easing the pressure against the soldier’s body, Reinhard watched as the young man slid down the wall, finally slumping over into a pitiful pool of blood, moaning and tears.

 

“How about you, lad? Also going to resist telling the old man anything?” Reinhard said, flashing his teeth once more in the semblance of a smile. The familiar scent of urine seemed to permeate the air, and the old soldier could not help but to let out a short bark of laughter as he watched this generation of “Patia’s elite” piss itself. Crouching over where the other soldier that had been watching the Black Queen was sitting with a grunt, Reinhard came face to face with the man and reached behind his back, appearing every inch the avatar of anger. “My patience has run out. You will tell me what happened NOW or I will show you why His Majesty has allowed me to stay on past the mandatory retirement age.”

 

“We was b-b-bribed to leave her, Sir Paendrag. We don’ know where she go or nothin’ ” The man said tremulously, eyeing the behemoth in plate with naked fear in his eyes. Reaching out a hand, the soldier touched the heavy plate Reinhard wore in an unspoken plea. The old man watched impassively as the young man pleaded, lowering his hand from the hammer’s shaft, Reinhard made as if to rest his hand by his side before it shot out, grabbing the younger soldier by his shirt and pulling him to his feet with a force that would surprise any who had not known the older man.

 

His expression, which had been barely controlled until now finally changed, twisting in the fury that had earned him the nickname of Dragon on the battlefield. Thrusting the man against the wall, Reinhard pushed his body against him, cold metal against flesh. The old man caressed the soldier’s cheek with his metallic hand with a surprising gentleness, tossing him back onto the ground just as swiftly as he had picked him up.

 

“You two are charged with treason of the highest order, and with betrayal of the Crimson King.” Reinhard spat at them contemptuously, scanning them both with his eyes before leaving the room. Turning toward the men that had been guarding the door, the old soldier motioned toward the room as he began to walk toward the main hall, grabbing his dragon-head shaped helmet and placing it over his head. “Place them under arrest and delay their execution upon my return. Make a report to the King that unfortunately, the Black Queen has been kidnapped.” He said and closed his visor, turning his back toward the soldiers and heading into the stable.

 

“Ready Roach.” Reinhard growled at the stable boy, who scurried to fetch the horse. Moments later, a gigantic black Shire Horse came galloping out of its stall, saddled and ready to go. Placing his gauntleted hand on the side of the horse’s neck, Reinhard took a moment to lean against the horse and close his eyes. Why in the seven hells had he ever accepted the idea of retiring for a job in the castle? He knew that if he had still been out on the field, he could’ve spotted something… Done something. Shaking his head and feeling older than he had felt in a long, long time, Reinhard let out a gusty sigh and forced himself to focus on the problem at hand.

 

The men that had been guarding her had returned to the keep nearly an hour and a half ago and if the Black Queen had been kidnapped, every moment he wasted searching for her counted. He doubted that the unknown assailants would use horses-- too slow. The Warp Gates of yore were no more, and there had been no reports of known teleporters or magical surges within the last few days. So it left him with two options:

 

Escape by sea, which would mean riding west and procuring reliable transport…

 

Or escape by air, which would leave relatively little trace and would be very, very hard to follow.

 

The man was snapped out of his reverie by the sounds of hushed footsteps, heavy but not enough that they denoted a soldier in full plate. Placing his hand atop the horse’s head, the soldier made his way out of the stables and into the hallway, almost smacking into the oncoming wizard that had served as one of His Majesty’s secret forces. The wiry, wild eyed wizard stopped for a moment, catching his breath as he extended a rolled up scroll toward Reinhard. Without ceremony the man broke its seal and began to read the contents of the letter, impassively moving his lips as he mouthed words. He looked at the wizard and shoved the letter at him, taking off into a full sprint as his brain worked to catch up with what he had just read.

 

A surge of necromantic energy had been sensed in the town… And in any other given day the man could’ve thought it to have been coincidence, but with the disappearance of a royal figure, he was left with no choice but assuming that the events were connected. Stepping atop the stool that had been set for him by the stable hand, Reinhard threw his leg over the horse and settled himself into the finely crafted saddle before taking the reins in his hand and spurring the horse into movement, heading toward the market district at top speed.

 

“Candida per voluntatem Dei, aperi oculos meos in veritate!” Reinhard chanted under his breath, feeling the warmth of his god’s light spear him right through his chest. Light seemed to blossom around him, lighting the runes that had so long ago been carved into his metallic hand to life. The old man blinked once, closing his rust colored eyes and reopening them as milky, entirely whitened orbs. His nose scrunched as he felt the area around of him darken, the sickly sweet smell of rot almost numbing his nostrils as he approached the area. And beneath that scent was…

 

Oh Deus… Orange blossoms..” The night whispered to himself, absolutely horrified at the implications. Shaking his head Reinhard closed his eyes and began to take deep, slow breaths as he pushed the energy of the White God out of his body as he memorized the feeling of the necromantic energy. Sending a silent prayer for Gabriela’s life toward his God, Reinhard activated his ability to detect magic. He was overwhelmed for a moment, battered by all of the minor enchantments and spells that surrounded him in the city. Gripping the side of his helmet, Reinhard struggled to shut out the ones who did not matter. Fixing on the signature sickly sweet taste of the necromantic energy, the old man spurred his horse toward the source of the energy.

 

--------

 

After nearly half an hour of riding through the dreary weather, Reinhard found himself face to face with a gruesome scene. At the center of the beacon of necromantic energy was a man whose skin was an exotic ebony shade surrounded by bodies. More to the point, he watched as the man began to float behind his ship, and narrowed his eyes as the faint scent of orange blossoms seemed to move farther and farther away. Sighing to himself, the old Dragon of Patia placed a hand on the shaft of his hammer and prepared himself to do the stupidest thing he had done in the 77 years that the White God had graced him with.

 

Pushing his horse into a sprint, the old man pulled his feet free of the footholds and slowly, as if afraid of falling, pulled himself to his feet atop of the horse’s back. Using his one remaining hand, he tightened the helmet under his chin and crouched as the horse approached the ship. With a quick prayer that his years of service would not be forgotten, and that the White God would not let him down, Reinhard Paendrag jumped from the back of his horse, letting out a mighty bellow as his body hung in mid air for a moment.

 

Ut auferas me alarum Dei!!” The man cried out as light seemed to explode from his frame, propelling him upward toward the ship. For a second, what seemed to be wings made out of pure light flickered behind him before fizzling out and he landed atop of what appeared to be the upper deck of the ship. Reaching his one remaining hand behind his back, Reinhard tugged the shaft of his massive warhammer, freeing it from the leather clasps that had held it in place. Upon making contact with his palm, the hammer’s violet head exploded with an obfuscating white light. He heard the man stake his claim for the Black Queen, and found that that was proof enough for him. Reinhard kicked the door to the upper deck with a solid, plate-clad leg and let out a bestial roar of challenge as he busted it wide open.

 

“As a knight of the Black Keep, I charge you with attempted kidnap of the Black Queen.” Reinhard lifted his hammer as the aura of light intensified around him and he readied to strike the man.


“Come and face your sentence.”

Edited by The Hound

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"Sure, what the hell? Why not get on a complicated magitech transportation device so we can be completely at the mercy of a mysterious man who just slaughtered a patrol of city guards and is clearly a threat to our lives? Sounds like my kind of party!"

 

Gabriela watched, with an expression that could not begin to denote how much her patience was beginning to dwindle. But she remained silent, choosing to watch as Janessa walked to the table where the gold-filled bag had been tossed. She watched, with an utter lack of curiosity and interest, as the young woman opened the small bag and checked the contents within. Money -- and plenty of it for them to buy what they needed and more.

 

"Then again, he's more or less got us cornered, and he did give us enough scratch to shop like there's no tomorrow... which there might not be if we're not super careful. So we should at least take him up on that part. Grab some baskets, ladies."

 

“As m’ladies wish,” replied little Elie, who seemed equally shocked by Janessa’s bold remarks.

 

“I said that I was certain it was a trap,” she spoke up before they all dispersed to do their shopping. It was in that moment, with Janessa’s sharp comment still fresh in her mind, that she realized these women did not know what they were getting themselves into. And more than that, it was unfair and unethical to let them continue without disclosing the truth. Hoping that her words, and more so the sharp tone of her voice, was enough to keep the three women from fluttering off on their missions, she cleared her throat and forced herself to do the right thing.

 

“An airship doesn’t just fall into our laps to provide a safe escape from the Devil’s city. Someone, I don’t know who, sent that man and his ship,” she paused, glancing at the door where the dark-skinned man had escaped out of. She was struggled with words, they seemed to stick to the back of her throat, “--I cannot be certain, but I do believe it was for me. You’ve all served me faithfully and with kindness for months now, and without ever knowing who I am.”

 

It was hard. Her heart was beating much too fast, a feat facilitated by the constant beat and warmth of her small pearl ring, which warmed her cold blood and changed its consistency from thick syrup to something thin and fluid. “My name is…” she breathed, she sighed -- did the name even belong to her anymore? Through heavy hands and heavy words, Roen had done things to her mind -- made changes. She was worthless, she was good for only one thing...She had no crown and no name. In Patia, she had just been his girl. A nameless girl. “My name is Irene Gabriela DuGrace, I am...I am the recently, supposedly, deceased queen of Orisia and the one thing that I know with any amount of certainty is that my identity will keep me alive, regardless of what awaits in that ship. I know that I won’t die. What I don’t know is if my name is enough to defend any of you. Should I be overpowered,” she said, touching a hand to her chest, looking at each one earnestly and carefully, “should I be unable to protect any one of you. I can’t promise that you will be safe. That’s the risk you take by coming with me. That’s the game you’ll play if you join my side and betray the devil. I need you to know that. To understand it.”

 

Before they could offer any type of response she left them. She turned on her heel and made her way to rack of coats she had been eyeing from the moment they came in. Wordlessly, she made a selection of some items and went away, disappearing behind the curtain of a small dressing room. She left them to think, to consider, and to leave if they so wished it.

 

As soon as she found herself alone, Gabriela felt her entire body fall into a vicious cycle of violent tremors. When he first fixed the small pearl ring onto her body, the agony of it had been bittersweet. She walked on the edge of breathless pleasure. She had grown somewhat accustomed to the sensation and to the warmth. But the distance from its master was causing the small pearl to cool, though not entirely. This was a new sensation and ti was proving very difficult to concentrate. Still, there was little time to spare and so she made short work of undressing. Her fine dress was left in a wrinkled pile on the floor, along with her fine shoes, and the fine undergarments. She had picked for herself clothing more akin to her personality and her affinity for the outdoors. A pair of waxed trousers, form fitting, but comfortable. They would keep her dry, even though moisture and a drop of temperature wouldn’t do much to harm her. A simple white blouse followed, which she tucked neatly into her pants. Next came a coat of similar color, but of a thicker material. Long sleeved and with a high hood, the coat sported asymmetrical buttons down the right side of the chest.

 

When she was all done, she took a brief moment to look at herself in the floor-length mirror. Her reflection was faint, as it happened with all vampyres -- she was starting to fade away. Someday, if she were given the chance to age, she would lose her reflection completely. It was a strange and unnatural thing, one for which she had never been given an explanation other than the simple statement that shadows cast no reflection.

 

Was she a shadow? She truly felt like one. She felt like a pale shade of the woman she use to be. But there was no time -- no time to be sad, no time to feel heavy, no time to think about the fact that her usefulness had ended.

 

Boots came next, a pair of soft-leathered brown knee highs, with thick soles, and strong laces that bound the material to her shapely calf and shin. Finally, though she had to think about this for a few long moments, she wrapped a leather garter belt around her waist and buckled it in place. There were two more buckles that wrapped around her thighs and had to be secured, but by the time she was done, she looked like she was more than ready to tackle whatever challenge awaited. When she stepped out of the booth, the sight that greeted her was three ladies who had been quite busy doing the same as her -- selecting clothes and putting it on.

 

“I hope his ship’s not far,” Elie was saying to Eir, but she turned and regarded Gabriela as soon as she stepped out. “Do you think we’ll go right above the clouds?”

 

“Unfortunately,” was all the reply that Gabriela offered as she walked forward and past them. She made a quick stop before exiting the store -- and selected two daggers. They were slender, lightweight blades, which she tucked into the holsters of her garter. They were hidden away when her coat fell back into place.

 

“We should get going,” she said over her shoulder. She wasn’t going to ask them again. The decision was their to make and she wouldn’t try to sway them in any which direction.

 

Just beyond the threshold of the shop’s door stood the man who had come in with salvation served upon a silver platter. She looked at him, regarded him with a narrowed golden gaze before looking at the dismal sight of the undead guards that surrounded him. She felt a sense of disgust creeping up her throat -- a horrible sadness mixed with anger at the unjust treatment of the dead.

 

“Welcome to your escort Miladies.. This will do well to disguise your departure.. Now if you would all please get together in between all of them, we shall be on our way.”

 

They were still for a moment, the Queen and her ladies, but when she moved they followed. They took their positions within the circle created by the guards and began to walk. It was as they moved together that she shot a glance at the man, the stranger.

 

“Violence was unnecessary,” she said quietly, wondering if he would bother to return her look. He seemed preoccupied trying to calm the creature in his arms.

 

“I apologize for this.. We must hurry, our window closes with every second we do not hasten to make it to the ship.. Robin is tired and this is only the second time he has controlled such a large group.” That was his only response.

 

Gabriela examined the creature again and pieced together the meaning of the stranger's words. That little thing was controlling the bodies -- turning them into puppets that stood and walked, but did not really appear alive. From a distance however, they would fool anyone. But she understood the urgency and nodded her head. She quickened her pace, and so did everyone else. But they had to follow him. She didn’t know where they were going.

 

It felt like a mistake -- putting so much blind trust in someone she didn’t know. However, it was her only option now that she was traveling with others. Had she been alone, she could have figured out a way over the wall and through the woods. Instead, she had to contend with the safety of humans and halflings. It added a layer of worry to her already heavy load. Before getting on that ship, the one that was quickly coming into view as they arrived at the docks, she wanted to talk to the man. But everything was a rushed blur of activity, and no sooner had they arrived than the side door of the aircraft opened. They had waltzed right past city guards, and now they were moving away from the men that guarded the docks without so much as a raised eyebrow.

 

“Miladies if you would not mind.. Please… Hasten into the ship ahead of me.. I must.. Return these guards,” he laughed, amused at his own macabre little joke. She stopped short of entering the ship, although she did step aside to let her ladies go inside. There she lingered for a moment, keeping her eyes on the black-skinned man.

 

“You don’t have to hurt anyone else,” she said, but her voice sounded more like a plea. “We’ve made it to the ships. We can get away now.”

 

He gave her a look, this strange man, that revealed part amusement and part warning. And she knew that she was being, gently, urged to get into the ship. She did so, just as Dominic turned back to the decks and pushed the bodies of the fallen warriors forward and out to commit even more atrocities in the name of the Black Queen, and her escape

 

Inside the ship her mood changed immediately. She went from brave and worried, to absolutely terrified. There was a single pang of sheer panic that overtook her when she stepped into the enclosed metal hall that lead somewhere. Her breathing had hitched and her stomach was churning, all while her guts twisted into knots. She could feel every little movement -- every tremble and shake, the vibrations of the engines. This machine was a marvel, but to her it felt more akin to a torture device. She wanted to sit down, she wanted bend over and put her head between her knees and try to calm down, but the ship swung into motion before she could take two steps.

 

Her stomach felt like it dropped below her bellybutton. She cried out -- this serious and hard to understand woman, who seldom smiled, who hardly spoke -- she cried out and reached out to cling to one of the smooth metal walls. She leaned against it until she felt it sliding out of her hands. She was down on the floor, she was sitting on cold tile trembling almost as badly as she had when she was alone in the changing room. Meanwhile the airship hummed peacefully as it climbed higher and higher and then lingered, floating above the bloody scene below. But she couldn’t see it, or hear it, or feel it. Her mind was utterly devoted to trying and suppress her hysteria.

 

And then she felt it -- although no one else seemed to. The entire ship had shifted suddenly, dropping as if a huge weight had been flung upon it. She felt it. She felt the most minute dip that the airship undertook because she was so very aware of it’s movements. Her tension made her sensative to it all.

 

“Fuck, fuck…” she cursed, she hissed -- the words sounded strange coming out of her mouth. She was certain that the women who surrounded her would be mystified by her behaviour. But they didn’t know. They couldn’t know. “The ship is going to fall,” she explained, her voice hitching in panic. They stared at her, and she stared back, wide-eyed and frightened. “Didn’t you feel that? The ship is broken -- something’s wrong. It’s going to fall!”

 

Panic, it gripped her and refused to let go. She was searching, running her hands over the wall, along the floor, desperately trying to find something to hang onto -- to cling to.

 

“We’re going to die, we’re going to die, we’re going to die!”

 

Little did she know that the jolt she felt was none other than an old friend come by to wish her well on her travels -- or something like that.

 

“As a knight of the Black Keep, I charge you with attempted kidnap of the Black queen. Come and face your sentence.”


Clarity, it came like a bright light that made everything else blurry. She squinted, and wrapped her arms around her stomach. It was twisting and turning, she felt sick. But she knew she had heard correctly -- she had heard Reinhard’s voice. He was somewhere close.

 

Military meets steam punk<---- Female Sherlock Cosplay maybe?:iamwhatipublish:  rick owens memphis waxed trouser:I think I've posted this before but I love it. Girl's pockets are never big enough and carrying a purse can be a pain.:

Edited by Pasion Pasiva

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Janessa listened to the Queen as she snatched items off the shelf. She was surprised, but not shocked; Gabriella's identity was the missing piece of information that explained several mysteries, both during their time together and now. She entered the dressing room with her clothing selections while Gabriella was talking about how she may not be able to defend the girls, how she might be overpowered.

As Janessa was pulling on black leather pants, a fair approximation of her old ones back at her family manor, she let out a low chuckle. "I guess we all have our secret identities, Your Highness. I wasn't going to share, but since this is going to be much less stressful without you going on about how we need your protection every fifteen minutes..."

She fastened a belt around her waist; not as many pouches as she'd like, but it would have to do. "A few years ago, my little brother and I were runners for the Elf Liberation Front, a sort-lived resistance movement dedicated to ending the reign of the king. I was a kid, what do you want from me? Anyway, when that bit of nonsense was brutally smashed, I ran away.

She buckled a leather jerkin over top of a fine cotton shirt, and adjusted it; her goal was a perfect balance between protective utility and a little bit of tease. Men were so easily distracted by a little bit of tease. "Long story short, I became a mercenary in Alterion, did some high profile jobs for Regent Osa herself, then had to come back after some political bullshit went down. I joined up with the most successful bandit clan in Badlands history; we plied our trade up and down the hills north of Blairville for over a year. When that ended poorly, I found myself stranded in Blairville just as the Maddening Mists thing happened."

Janessa pulled on her new boots; the soft, supple leather giving pleasantly to her testing flexes. She smiled in spite of herself. Did she miss adventures, or not? She still couldn't tell, but she did miss this feeling of competence. She let her hair down and stepped out of the dressing room, favoring the Queen with an elaborate bow. "Your Highness, may I present to you: Kit Schicker, Breaker of the Blairville Spire, and Liberator of Last Chance. With some others, natch, but still. And now, I'm appointing myself your official bodyguard."

Spoiler

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She turned to look at Eluvie, and grinned impishly. "How about you, short, sweet and sexy? What's your secret identity? Wait, let me guess; you're actually a Peacekeeper. Am I close?" Janessa giggled. 

----

The trip to the airship involved much less talking on Janessa's part. She followed the Queen quietly, paying careful attention to everything that entered the field of her senses. She was especially intrigued at how their "savior" remotely controlled his airship with an apparent wave of his hand. How had that been accomplished? Was he signaling a pilot? Was the ship equipped with some kind of ultra-sensitive motion sensor? If she planned to hijack it, she'd need to find out. Having her own airship was going to be totally awesome.

Once inside with the door closed, she immediately dropped into a cross-legged sitting position, spreading out one of the fine silk cloths she'd purchased as a work surface. A mortal and pestle, herbs, vials, and skins of water were produced from her multitude of pockets. The jostling of the ship and the panic attack of the Queen made her work difficult, but not impossible for someone whose fingers were as sure and nimble as the little thief's. Herbs were quickly crushed, combined, soaked, and shaken; the formulae produced were of undoubtedly the lowest possible quality, what with substitution ingredients and a schedule that allowed no lengthy reaction times. That said, they were better than nothing, and shipjacking was way too difficult to do with knives alone. 

On 2/22/2017 at 6:29 PM, The Hound said:

“As a knight of the Black Keep, I charge you with attempted kidnap of the Black Queen.” Reinhard lifted his hammer as the aura of light intensified around him and he readied to strike the man.


“Come and face your sentence.”

Janessa did not look up from her work, barely even missed a breath as the bellowed words echoed through the airships passageways from above. 

"Everybody stay put," she said calmly. "This is the best possible circumstance for us. We stay out of the way, let them fight, then when the winner is knocked around, bloody, and celebrating his hard-won victory, I'll slit his throat and we now own our very own airship, in which we can go wherever we please."

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“I can’t promise that you will be safe. That’s the risk you take by coming with me. That’s the game you’ll play if you join my side and betray the devil. I need you to know that. To understand it.”

A more thoughtful look entered Eluvië's eyes at the queen's words, and in the silence that fell over the room in the wake of her sudden absence, she sighed. She was young and foolish, but she didn't want to die, particularly speaking. It was a suddenly more sobering thought, that even her queen, with all her might, felt herself unable to offer any promise of protection to her friends. But I can't abandon her now. Her decision was still the same.

 "How about you, short, sweet and sexy? What's your secret identity? Wait, let me guess; you're actually a Peacekeeper. Am I close?" Janessa giggled. 

The fae's usual grin returned at that, and she giggled in reply. "Who's short?" she retorted, and reached over and ruffled the other woman's soft hair. Janessa/Kit only had about an inch on her, after all, though the boots made it more. Sweet and sexy was more'n obviously just a bit of silliness; Eluvië was a skinny, ugly, freaky-odd sort of brat, no loveliness or sugar (in her own opinion). "I'm still meself. Let's be off."

At the sight of their bodyguard of Unnaturals, she very nearly changed her mind. Now that was freaky-odd. She shrank away from them, baring her teeth, and pressed herself close to the queen, muttering deprecations under her breath in Tesshric. Even as they boarded the ship, she never strayed more than a few inches from the lovely woman, and when Gabriela sank down on the ground, Eluvië crouched beside her, concerned. "Ehh, it be alright, m'lady, you'll see. 'Twon't fall. 'Tis just the wind that bears us aloft."

"This is the best possible circumstance for us. We stay out of the way, let them fight, then when the winner is knocked around, bloody, and celebrating his hard-won victory, I'll slit his throat and we now own our very own airship, in which we can go wherever we please."

"Well that would hardly be polite," came a mild, warm voice from around the corner, with a velvety smoothness known only to Elfkind. The owner of the voice appeared a moment later, an Elf of short white hair and unusually bulky muscles (for his kind). He looked from Kit, to Eir, to Eluvië, and finally to Gabriela, and his eyes softened at her fright. Putting down the crate he had been carrying, he offered her a steadying hand. "I'm Winter. Ship's medic. And I can assure you we're not falling. Will you let me bring you to the mess?" he offered. "You can sit somewhere a bit more comfortable, and I can see about some wine or meadowbalm for those nerves. If you think it would help a bit," he added as an afterthought, deferring to her own opinion as her aura was plainly unlike those of his usual patients. "I also have some extract of copperwort." The last was a sharper guess; copperwort was mildly toxic to humans, but a heady aphrodisiac and sedative to vampires. 

 

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zdrfojO.png

yang_nightmare_fuel_by_bninja1994-davarr


There is no Honor in Death.

"As I travel through these lands, I find myself vexed.

Not because of the situations at hand,

more so due to the people I encounter.

Sarandriel.. One day this world will perish,

and when they happens all shall

Kneel before you.." - Dominic Ku'Zar


'The hell is that...' Dominic thought to himself as the navigation bracelet turned from blue to red. As he rose a small diagram of the ship opened before the males eyes. The white flying thing he saw before was not a figment of his imagination as he so suspected. No.. This was an intruder and he was all the more willing to engage intruders that boarded his ship. Upon the knights entering the main floor the ship did not shift down in the slightest. The old meat bag would need more force then his weight and energy to make this beauty drop even a millimeter. As he entered the main floor the knight had just finished kicking in the door to speak. Tapping the bracelet the Squire turned off the ships auto response to eject the intruder. 

"Hush... You trespass under assumptions that would best serve a dead man.." Dominic did not listen to a word the being said as he heled legion into the air. The souls that were embedded within the body of the astral blade screamed out. Abhorrent were the sounds of their voices as it drown out all other comments including the medic of the ship. Another level of irritation peaked within Dominic. Of all people on the ship to be attending to the people on board, it would behoove the medic to protect its main owners property. After all, Dominic would not be the one to receive the earful of the Alterion owners rage.

"I will give you the chance to get off of the ship immediately and tell your Kindle King the Queen is being taken someplace better for her well being.. My employer wishes for her presence and the ladies seemed most willing to go.." Taking a step forward his clothing began to ripple and shift, the gems within his left arm shimmered as his eyes observed the old man with an immense lack of regard. When he spoke only his voice could be heard at that point and time. The cries grew that much louder before stopping all at once.  Respect was not even a factor of the equation when Dominic looked into a person.. Yet with a small chime upon his wrist his attention averted from the group of people and to the bracelet. "Tsk... Go sit down with your ladies.. They are not leaving this ship. It was their desire to go therefore, we are leaving.." Reaching out with his right hand he poked at the bracelet till a few pixel screens formed around him. Poking at each one he swiftly set the ship to work and moving out of the city.

At first the motion was not noticed but when Dominic flicked the bar on the left most screen the ship itself jerked roughly. To those who had never been on an airship their balance would be heavily tested. "Medicus.. Take the Queen to the mess hall will the rest and this... This being of a Knight here and feed them.. Let them talk it over.. We have work to be done, that starts with you fixing the broken door due to a ill-mannered guest.." His words were sharp and to the point. Keeping Legion with his left hand, the giant cleaver still rippled and frothed with life. To those who looked at it long enough, the faces seemed to be alive and well. Eyes blinked and jaws opened and closed ever so slightly, but more than enough to send a chill down ones spine from the shock.

"Cortana.. Respond... Set course for open air and a secure line back home.."

"Roger that Captain Dominic. Setting course for 0-9-0 Alterion. Connection with Employer.. The call shall be wired to the bracelet. Shall I ring up the costs of the door sir?"

"No Cortana.. We will have the main caretaker do that work.. As it is.. They seem to have found a fancy for the guests. Activate neutral zone within ship quarters as well.."

"Activating Neutral Zone within Ship Quarters. Aye Captain." As the Neutral zone went up, the people within the confines of the ship would be rather different. For those who used magic to a decent extent, they would feel powerless in that aspect. The same went for any mechanical device within the confines, making energy suits and personal armaments useless to the struggle. They were pure 100% mortal and on standards of ability, it would take wit to win. For there were no advantages to be had in the neutral zone field. The ship was not just an ordinary transport, Dominic was sure of that. He had things planned so far in advance that it kind of startled him. Placing Legion upon his back, the lads gaze went back to the departing group of people. "Welp.. If they wish to fight, they now fight on human standards and terms.." Dominic said to himself.

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Things were happening -- a great many things. She could hear them, smell them, and almost see them behind her closed eyelids. Somewhere in all the activity, Reinhard’s voice had sunk below the noise and had become a part of the swaying and shifting currents of sounds that assaulted her senses. Everything was louder and harsher while she was in this strange state of mind, were fear overpowered every other emotion and her stomach stirred round and round as she tried to keep up. But she couldn’t quite do it because there was that sense of danger. She could all but feel the aching of the metal that surrounded them and the cruel current of the wind outside that beat against their aircraft. They couldn’t hear the struggling of the motors, the squeal of metal parts grinding against each other -- the sound of a great height and of a looming fall.

 

“Ehh, it be alright, m’lady, you’ll see.”

 

Death is all she saw in her mind's eye. And she didn’t even mind the idea of death. It was the fear that struck a nerve with her. The horrible and terrible sensation of falling that would fill their last miserable seconds of life with nothing but agonizing and paralyzing fear.

 

“‘Twon’t fall. ‘Tis Just the wind that bears us aloft.”

 

“Yes it will!” she whispered harshly to Elivie, who lingered by her side, who crouched and wore a face of such concern that it broke her heart whenever she managed to open her eyes long enough to see. She didn’t want Elie to die like this -- falling out of the sky on one of these horrible machines. And lifting her gaze to the very busy Janessa, she had a similar thought. She had dragged them to their deaths.

 

“This is the best possible circumstance for us. We stay out of the way, let them fight, then when the winner is knocked around, bloody, and celebrating his hard-won victory, I’ll slit his throat and we now own our very own airship, in which we can go wherever we please.”

 

How her head and her heart hurt. The very concept of freedom -- of going wherever she pleased -- had died away so long ago. But the words still sounded sweet, and she couldn’t help but tilt her head in Janessa’s direction with a half smirk forming on her pale, pale lips. She had lost her color. What little color she had, the subtle splash of rose on her lips and the faint brushing of pink on her cheeks. It was all gone and replaced by cold, marble white. But still she smirked, until she really thought about the words.

 

“Well that would hardly be polite…”

 

There was someone new. White hair, pointed ears, smooth and lovely skin...Gabriela blinked but could see no more as she felt another shift in the machine that carried them across the sky. She wailed, it was such a pitiful sound, and she felt the sharp stab of humiliation not long after the cry left her lips. But fear led to focus, and focus helped her to remember that she had heard something...

 

“As a knight of the Black Keep, I charge you with attempted kidnap of the Black Queen.”

 

“Wait -- let who fight?”

 

“That’s Reinhard,” she said, again feeling that faint touch of clarity. “He’s my friend,” she went on, turning to Elie, who she was certain would be more receptive. Still sitting on her behind, with her back against a wall, she reached out and clutched at the little halflings hand, and then her arm. She gripped her tighter than she would have ever, had she her full wits about her. “Don’t let her slit his throat…Don’t let her, Elivue...”

 

“...I can assure you we’re not falling.”

 

Gabriela shook her head in response and tilted her head back. There were tears now, black tears that escaped past the corner of her tightly shut eyes and ran down the side of her face. It didn’t matter what anyone said. She knew they were falling. She knew something was going to go wrong. She knew they’d end up as nothing more than a wreckage, somewhere in the dark forest that surrounded Patia, and that not a single bone would be left of any of them. Frightened, she was so very frightened. This went well beyond the usual nerves attributed to those who disliked flying. Their mighty leader, the woman they had all decided to follow -- she was having a panic attack and couldn’t seem to pull herself together.

 

“I think it would help a bit...I also have some extract copperwort.”

 

She didn’t know what he was talking about, what copperwort was, or that he had offered her a place to lay down. It was clear, beyond clear, that someone was going to have to make this call for her. And in case it wasn’t abundantly clear, when the ship gave a sudden jerk -- she screamed. But more than just a scream, more than just a sudden cry of surprise and fear, her voice was so high and sharp that it was likely to leave an unpleasant ringing in the ears of those nearest to her. She also fell right over. There were people around her, she knew they were trying to help, but she didn’t care. She fell on her side and then rolled onto her belly. Sprawled out on the floor of the metallic hallway, she pressed her cheek to the cool surface and wept bitterly.

 

“We’re going to die, we’re all going to die...we’re going to die on a fucking airship,” she was sobbing. The Black Queen of Orisia was inconsolable as black tears poured from her eyes, even though the ship’s motion had smoothed out completely. There was not a bump or sway, not a lick of turbulence, but it didn’t matter -- the potential for death was ever present.

Pull yourself together, this is pathetic -- she said to herself, but her body refused to acknowledge the wisdom of her mind. She was beyond courage now. All she wanted was to get off this stupid machine, get off and feel the beautiful, wonderful, and gloriously solid, earth beneath her feet.

 

“I want to get off,” she whimpered. Her head was shaking from side to side and she had curled into a small ball, adopting the fetal position as tightly as possible. “I don’t want to leave...I change my mind, I don’t want to be on this airship. Please, please…” Heaving, she was breathing so fast and hard she could hardly control herself. She felt her core muscles clench tight and then, before she could calm her gag reflex, she was up on her hands and knees coughing, and eventually, vomiting.

 

Blood, that was the contents that spilled out of her and onto the floor.

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Making his way down the stairs, Reinhard felt his senses pique at an all time high as the delayed surge of adrenaline flowed into his veins, lending sweet life into his age-worn, battered body. For a moment, he caught himself thinking about how bloody stupid it had been of him to jump from his horse’s back into the flying contraption… And just as quickly, the old man’s thoughts took on a more somber tone as he came face to face with the source of the necromantic energy that had guided him to the place where Gabriela was supposedly had been whisked away to. With a growl, the old warrior lifted his hammer as the man’s weapon began to shriek… Only to be stopped once more as he spoke. The old knight stepped forward cautiously, enshrouding himself in the warm light of the White God as the man’s visage began to change. Light seemed to stream out of the old man’s body as he felt the age-old hatred he had for dark magic churn in his stomach, almost physically burning as the black bile rose to his throat.

"I will give you the chance to get off of the ship immediately and tell your Kindle King the Queen is being taken someplace better for her well being.. My employer wishes for her presence and the ladies seemed most willing to go.."

“I am not going anywhere, boy.” The old knight spat out disdainfully, nudging the visor upward and revealing an intense scowl and rust-colored eyes that promised intense, impending violence. Lifting his hammer and metallic hand up, Reinhard prepared himself to strike the man down if he moved against him, seemingly undisturbed by his odd weapon’s horrifying cries. Inwardly, the old man cursed, wondering what in the White God’s Flame his friend had gotten herself into. Readying himself for a strike he was sure to come, his rust-colored eyes seemed to lighten and change, becoming beacons of the the same light that had enshrouded his body… And as quickly as that, the blade’s baleful shrieks ceased. Lowering his hammer but remaining on his toes, the light around the knight dulled, but did not altogether leave him as the man looked down at the contraption strapped to his wrist.

 

For a moment, confusion and anger warred at his chest as the implications that the man’s words seemed to lay out before him finally sunk in. Better for her well being? Willing to go? Could it be… Could it be that perhaps Gabriela had planned all of this? The bottom of his stomach seemed to drop as he considered for the first time that perhaps the Crimson King was not as… Loving as he had been led to believe. For a moment, he felt almost as if he were listening to his daughter’s demise again… And the true reason of why she had killed herself. For a moment Reinhard almost felt like throwing up, but he fought back the dark thoughts and possibilities that now plagued him. Shaking his head, Reinhard readied to demand answers, but… Broken out of his reverie by a peeling female screech Reinhard’s spine straightened, bringing him to his full height as the man spoke once more, tightening his grip of the hammer.

 

"Tsk... Go sit down with your ladies.. They are not leaving this ship. It was their desire to go therefore, we are leaving.."

 

We will see about that, Friend of the Dark. Reinhard thought to himself, not deigning to respond as he pushed his way past the man and began to look around in an attempt to gather his bearings as he strapped the long warhammer to the side. Reinhard closed his eyes for a moment, releasing the hold he had on the White God’s energy as the ebony-hued man barked out his orders. Turning his gaze toward the area he seemed to be laying commands toward, Reinhard did a double take as he spotted the Queen and her retinue, seemingly pale but altogether no worse for wear than she had been when he had seen her head out of the castle earlier that day. Ignoring the man completely now, Reinhard removed his helmet, resting it on the crook of his crippled arm as he made his way toward Gabriela… As she deposited the contents of her stomach onto the ship’s otherwise spotless floor.

 

Moving forward quickly, the knight prostrated himself to one knee beside the Queen, placing his one remaining hand on her shoulder and squeezing it gently. Almost unaware of what he was doing, Reinhard pulled the panicking girl into a hug, dropping his helmet to the floor and wrapping both of his arms around her as a calm, almost paternal expression came to his face and he made quiet, reassuring sounds. At that moment, he did not stand before a Queen, a lady, or any such ridiculous titles that people clung to. In his arms was a scared, upset young woman… And the father in him won over the knight.

 

“It’ll be alright, Gabriela. Focus on the sound of my voice. You're okay. You're safe, and nothing will hurt you.” Reinhard murmured quietly, rubbing her with surprising gentleness as he ignored the others that accompanied her. “I’m here, your friends are here, and you’re safe. We will get to wherever you're going and you'll be fine.” He said as he held her for a moment. After a few minutes had passed, the old knight distanced his body from hers, still kneeling on the floor to her side. Looking up at the girls surrounding Gabriela, Reinhard nodded at them cordially.


“My name is Reinhard Paendrag, and I am a Knight under His Exalted Majesty.” He said quietly, eyes darting around toward Gabriela’s companions as he bowed his head gallantly. “Before we go anywhere, the necromancer claimed that Gabriela wanted to flee… Would anybody care to explain why?”

Edited by The Hound

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Events were rushing past Janessa like whitewater, and she struggled to keep her focus on her work. Several corked vials lay scattered around her. Sulfur-rich black powder from the guts of a signal flare was reacting with muriatic acid, ready to be mixed with her makeshift choleric base; a similar concoction, heavier on brimstone but sans acid, had already been tucked onto her belt. More flare powder was reacting with a more diluted acid, distilling out impurities and (hopefully) leaving the zinc and manganese behind. Just as she was getting ready to carefully add a pinch of rat poison into a solution of nickel (scraped from the rust-resistant plating of an iron tent stake), filtered water, and antimony (in the form of black-colored eye makeup), the airship gave a mighty lurch. 

Her corked vials rolled away, and the small woman's face took on a look of panic as she gripped the rat poison tightly in her left hand and snatched up one of the rolling vials, already starting to bubble from the agitation, with her right, pressing her thumb down hard on the cork to keep it from popping off prematurely.

"Dog damnit!" she swore. These conditions were about as far from ideal as she could imagine. Trying to craft alchemical concoctions out of only what she had been able to pick up from a camping store, in a swaying airship, while a queen screamed, a fae cooed comfortingly, an elf made condescending remarks about Janessa's near-term life plans, and now a big, brutish grandpa stomping around and splitting his time between cuddling Gabriela and asking useless, irrelevant questions. It was entirely forgivable that she didn't notice the more subtle things, like how her enchanted bracelet dimmed and became cold as the field of neutrality settled over the vessel. 

The bubbling in the vial in her right hand subsided, and she gingerly let her thumb off the cork before setting it down and resuming her careful, if rough, measuring of the rat poison into its own mixture. With that delicate task completed (and the vial corked), Janessa looked up at Reinhard. Her brows were lowered in an expression of equal parts suspicion and annoyance. She had registered, on some level, the queen's plea that this man's throat not be slit... currently, that suggestion was being taken under advisement. 

 

On 2/27/2017 at 1:19 AM, The Hound said:

“My name is Reinhard Paendrag, and I am a Knight under His Exalted Majesty.” He said quietly, eyes darting around toward Gabriela’s companions as he bowed his head gallantly. “Before we go anywhere, the necromancer claimed that Gabriela wanted to flee… Would anybody care to explain why?”

"You can call me Kit," Janessa said, reverting intentionally to her mercenary handle out of caution. "Preferably in the context of 'How should I proceed, Kit?' or 'Kit, what would you like me to do?'. There's only room in this ragtag parade for one bossy bitch and I already have dibs, so you need to stow it."

She stood up to her full, unimposing height and stretched out a kink that had developed in her back. Janessa threw a glance at her reactions; most were ready, but a couple needed a minute more. She began gathering up the prepared ones and affixing them to her belt. 

"Since you asked so nicely," she continued, "Yes, Gabriela wanted to flee. No, I don't know why. Above my pay grade. She puts down the agenda, I just make it happen. This particular version of 'fleeing' wasn't the original plan, it was kind of shoved onto us by Tall, Dark, and Creepy up there. Obviously, our lady trusts him more than your boss, though, which tells me pretty much all I need to know about Roen. Since I'm pretty sure Captain Asshole is fantasizing about clubbing us to death in our sleep and turning us into undead coal-shovellers for his engine room." 

She flicked her wrists, testing her quickdraw sheaths; both throwing daggers popped smoothly into her hands for a moment before she drew them back in, nodding with approval. "So it's equally accurate to say we're running away as it is to say we've been kidnapped. Call it 'coercive hitchhiking'."

Edited by Charli Foxtrot

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“That’s Reinhard. He’s my friend-- Don’t let her slit his throat…Don’t let her, Eluvië...”

Elië winced inwardly at the tight grip on her arm, feeling her bones creak, but smiled reassuringly and shook her head. "I won't, m'lady." It was so strange to see her mistress in such a state; she seemed more alarmed now than she had been under the duress of a freaking High Lord. What was it about flying that disturbed her so? Were all vampyres of a similar mind? She bared her teeth and fought the urge to cover her sensitive ears as her lady gave a banshee-like shriek.

“We’re going to die, we’re all going to die...we’re going to die on a fucking airship. I want to get off. I don’t want to leave...I change my mind, I don’t want to be on this airship. Please, please…” Heaving, she was breathing so fast and hard she could hardly control herself. She felt her core muscles clench tight and then, before she could calm her gag reflex, she was up on her hands and knees coughing, and eventually, vomiting. Blood, that was the contents that spilled out of her and onto the floor.

Not a bit bothered herself by the momentary lurch of the airborne vessel, the half-fae shook her head and scooted closer to Gabriela, pursing her lips in a worried frown as blood came spewing forth. She sighed and rubbed the slender vampyre's back, waiting for the sickness to pass. Surely it would pass.

Moving forward quickly, Reinhard pulled the panicking girl into a hug, dropping his helmet to the floor and wrapping both of his arms around her and made quiet, reassuring sounds. "It’ll be alright, Gabriela. Focus on the sound of my voice. You're okay. You're safe, and nothing will hurt you. I’m here, your friends are here, and you’re safe. We will get to wherever you're going and you'll be fine." After a few moments, the old knight distanced his body from hers. Looking up at the girls surrounding Gabriela, Reinhard nodded. "My name is Reinhard Paendrag, and I am a Knight under His Exalted Majesty. Before we go anywhere-- the necromancer claimed that Gabriela wanted to flee. Would anybody care to explain why?"

"Yes, Gabriela wanted to flee," Kit answered for all of them. "No, I don't know why. Above my pay grade. She puts down the agenda, I just make it happen. This particular version of 'fleeing' wasn't the original plan [...] it's equally accurate to say we're running away as it is to say we've been kidnapped. Call it 'coercive hitchhiking'."

Eluvië shifted to make room for the knight beside her, nodding in approval of his attempt to calm the queen, though he didn't seem to have much more luck with it than the halfbreed had had. "I'm Eluvië, and that's Eir," she finished the round of introductions. As Reinhard pulled back from the bloody mess of a queen, the half-fae moved back into the space he had vacated and bodily scooped up her majesty. The queen was not large, but she was easily as tall as the faekin, and not half so awfully skinny. Nevertheless, Elië managed without apparent effort, for she was a fair bit stronger than her childish looks would hint. She glanced up at Winter, cradling the queen lovingly to her chest and soothingly stroking her blond hair with one long-fingered hand. "You have something that'll calm my lady?" she prompted in High Elvish.

"Yes, copperwort," Winter confirmed, for the abundance of dark blood had made the fearsick passenger's heritage abundantly clear. "We'll just-" He paused and winced in discomfort as the captain activated the neutral zone. He relied a great deal on his natural magical talents to sense and read the world around him, and having them suddenly cut off was quite unpleasant.

The effect on Eluvië was far more dramatic. The Wyld Fae were creatures of magic, far closer kin to sprites and pixies than to the more natural-bred humans and elves, and though Elië was only halfways faen, her blood was still thick with the magic of it. The little maid cried out in pain and fear as the room suddenly seemed to turn freezing cold and spin around her, and she fell to her knees, nearly dropping her precious cargo.

Winter recovered himself even as the strange little creature before him half-fainted, and he deftly bent and scooped up Gabriela from Eluvië's arms, half-turning so that the little halfbreed could lean against him and regain her footing.

Eluvië had turned rather grey and sickly-looking, little tremours running through her as she shook her head, wrapping her arms around herself and hunching her shoulders. Her large irises, most always a bright, merry green, or purple, or gold, had faded to a dark, bloodshot slate grey, and she sniffled and sneezed, covering her mouth. Droplets of her own bright blood spattered onto her hand, and she whimpered and swayed again. "What... what is happening..." she croaked in a dull voice.

"Your magic is being suppressed," Winter replied, in Terric this time for the benefit of the others, his voice mellow with sympathy. "Come along now."

Carrying Gabriela in his strong arms, he led the way to the medbay, which was well stocked with everything they might need. He quickly dosed the queen with a spoonful of copperwort to calm her; it had potent sedative and aphrodesiac effects, and in its undiluted form would act quickly on her system. That done, he reached into a coldbox and drew out a bottle of what appeared to be blood, offering it to her. "It's just sheep's," he reassured her at the alarmed look she gave him.

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The Time Traveler's first portal into the future. Notice the clock. Top by RealNam:


Cortana. . . Stabilize the ship interior. Supply each species of the Lady with their needs.

Aye, Captain, would you like surveillance placed?

No.. Winter is with them, let them be. Prepare the Command Room.

Aye, Captain. See you on Deck.

Roger that Cortana.


  • Room temperatures, stabilizing to suit guests of The Kaizerg.
  • Automated dining initiated, Welcome Sir Winter and Guests.
  • Ship on Course for Alterion, soon leaving Patia territory in several minutes. 
  • I am Cortana, the Ships A.I control and Dominic's personal creation, if you seek answers do ask and I shall answer as permitted. 
  • Sir Winter, there are extra supplies for the ladies in the boxes brought on board they will be delivered shortly.

When the people had made it to the dining room, the ship further came to life. The mess hall lit up as its pure white interior shifted and shaded itself in. Turning from pure white to a dim gray so that the people might make out the mass seating open to them for the picking. From the far side away from the door came several humanistic looking A.I. They were apart of Cortana's functions and apart of running the ship as an Aid for Winter. Several menus were brought forth to pick from the perishable goods that remained within the ship itself. Of course Dominic and Winter had to eat, it would not make sense to make a trip and not be well stocked to prevent having to stop. There were two A.I currently waiting for the people to order their food while another pair had come in through the door behind the group. With their boxes in hand the two creations were child sized an appeared harmless. Setting the boxes aside they departed in order to go back to their tasks of maintaining the ship itself. These creations were not magic tech, they were cybernetic and A.I enhanced.

 'Dun thra, kinj rogu nagi..' His voice hissed across the silent interior of the command room. It was completely empty when gazed upon by the naked eye. Yet even as Dominic spoke the white interior flaked away as the floor shifted and turned. From the very center a large table lifted from the floor as pixel images of the city itself unfolded before him. The hologram of the ship and its destination, numbers and calculations buzzed all about the illuminated platformed map. On either side several desks rose up as the glass screens blinked to life, the front panels before him swiftly cleared up.  The night sky trickled with droplets of rain, the people below were nothing but specs for the naked eye. Hexagon chairs pulled up from the floor as Cortana's  various bodies took their seats. Beneath his feet the floor conformed to his figure, lifting him off of the ground he was seated within a well cushioned Captains chair. Exhaling slowly Legion was removed from his back and placed within the confines of the chair itself. 'Ku-Thana..'

"Jing-Xie Ugra." The voices responded in unison as the systems check completed themselves. 

The ship itself experienced another change in pace, but it did not bother the guests on board. Dominic was not willing to stick around nor was he comfortable with keeping the Elder Knight on board. Yet he had to take into account two factors. One was the relationship of the Queen and the Knight, and secondly was the mans fierce undying loyalty to her every need. Where there should have just been space for two, there would be space for three with a bit of refining. Correction.. Lots of refining on Dominic's part, thinking back to the mans words he vaguely recalled being named a Necromancer. The word was like bile in his mouth as he sneered at the thought. "Cortana.. Inform the Old Bag that I am no necromancer.." His voice boomed per usual as he gazed at the sky ahead of them.

"Yes sir." 

"Message to Mess Hall for Reinhart.. The Captain frowns upon the word Necromancer.. He is a user of the Dark Arts. Necromancy is for those who are abhorrently bent on twisting their souls into something disgusting.. His vision and use of the Dark arts is grander than that of a lowly body raiser and soul snatcher.." The chef spoke up lightly as they placed the food trays down for everyone to eat their food. "Your food is fine and perfectly prepared.. Dominic has no intention of creating unwanted/unneeded friction." Once all was said the group was left alone with just Winter to tend to their needs till the group had made some decision about their current standings.

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“Dog damnit!”

 

She was focusing on her fingers and the whites of her knuckles, which were severely pronounced as she clawed into the floor. Across the polished metal, her glass-like nails left behind slender jagged scratches, which she immediately regretted even in her poor state of mind. And then there were these tiny vials, some empty and some full, rolling between the space in her fisted hands, clinking ever so prettily as thin glass struck and rolled across cold metal. She thought, somewhat distantly, that they were very pretty before feeling her diaphragm contract violently and shoved up the remaining contents of her stomach, forcing it up her esophagus and out of her mouth. More bloody vomit escaped her and covered the tiny glass containers.

 

There was a small and gentle hand in the center of her back, right between her shoulderblades, and it rubbed back and forth with a comforting and lulling rhythm that almost had her believing that nothing bad was going to happen. She heard the sigh -- a tell-tale sign of distress, perhaps even disgust, and Gabriela withered internally at the shame of having revealed such an ugly reality. Everyone knew that she was a vampyre, and everyone knew what vampyres ate, but she had always been polite enough to keep that particular aspect of her life a guarded secret. And now, here it was -- black blood spewed across the floor.

 

“It’ll be alright, Gabriela. Focus on the sound of my voice. You’re okay. You’re safe, and nothing will hurt you.”

 

There was another set of hands on her -- wider, heavier, and they moved in time with the distant echo of a deep voice. She lifted her head, and peered at Reinhard through a curtain of blond hair, eyes wet with black tears.

 

“I’m here, your friends are here, and you’re safe. We will get to wherever you’re going and you’ll be fine.”

 

She was up in his arms, held against the wide width of his chest with a set of thick arms encircling her. Her gold eyes narrowed as she tried to focus, tried to ignore the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that assured her she was about to cost the lives of all of these fine people.

 

“Where am I going?” she asked, dazed for a moment. She had no plan, no idea, and now there was another in her party, and the weight of the added responsibility made her dry heave. But no one answered her -- perhaps she hadn’t given voice to her question. Perhaps she had merely whispered it to the space between her and these other functioning individuals.

 

“Before we go anywhere, the necromancer claimed that Gabriela wanted to flee… Would anybody care to explain why?”

 

Because it’s part of the plan…

 

It’s the cumulation of the plan…

 

Because he didn’t want me anymore.

 

“Yes, Gabriela wanted to flee. No, I don’t know why. Above my pay grade. She puts down the agenda, I just make it happen. This particular version of ‘fleeing’ wasn’t the original plan, it was kind of shoved onto us by Tall, Dark, and Creepy up there. Obviously, our lady trust him more than your boss, through, which tells me pretty much all I need to know about Roen. Since I’m pretty sure Captain Asshole is fantasizing about clubbing us to death in our sleep and turning us into undead coal-shovellers for his engine room.”

 

Another dry heave, followed by a fit of coughing. She heard the hum of the great machine as it moved, as it turned, as it danced across the sky. She felt the vibrations of quick-silver power surging through this mighty, metal beast. They were all within its jaws now. They were all going to die a horrible death when it realized that hunks of metal are not meant to soar across the sky.

 

Tall, Dark, and Creepy...she remembered him. Dark skin, tightly coiled hair that cut across his scalp. He looked unlike anyone she had ever seen before. He had shown up out of nowhere. He’d killed people to get them onto this ship, and she had agreed to their deaths by virtue of her decision to come aboard.

 

“He is a user of the Dark Arts. Necromancy is for those who are abhorrently bent on twisting their souls into something disgusting.. His vision and use of the Dark arts is grander than that of a lowly body raiser and soul snatcher…”

 

“I have to talk to him,” she grumbled, queasy beyond belief as she was hoisted up into the air. Out of Reinhart’s arms and into Elie’s, Gabriela made short work of switching her grip from around the old knight’s neck to the slender column that held up the halfling’s pretty little head. For a brief moment she regarded the wide eyes of the child-like guardian who was now carrying her. She wanted to apologize for the blood splattered on her sleeves, and for the inconvenience of her weight, and she was going to insist on being put down, but then she just set her head down against the girl’s shoulder and closed her eyes. This was better. This was infinitely better.

 

“You have something that’ll calm my lady?”

 

“Yes, copperwort,” said the stranger, another creature -- similiar to Elie, but not quite.

 

They were talking about her, she knew, in that lovely language of theirs. She opened her eyes from the safety of Elie’s shoulder and eyed Winter. She was about to warn him that they were all going to die -- him included -- when suddenly she plummeted to the floor. But she never made it back to the cold ground. Instead, she saw Eluvie’s gray face, and the strange look of discomfort upon her face -- and then she felt it. A strange numbness. She wasn’t nearly as aware of Elie’s warmth, of her small form -- her breasts pressing to her side, or the surprising strength in her arms and the tell-tale tension of her working muscles. Lifting her head off her shoulder, she looked up and saw that the room was oddly dim. She blinked and looked to the others. Gone were their sharp features, replaced instead with a misty vision as if she were looking at all of them through a dream. And then she gasped, and then fell silent just as quickly. The ring -- she couldn’t feel it. It wasn’t hot, it wasn’t beating, it was still as if dead. And a single thought struck her. Could Roen be dead? The thought was buried, and pushed below as deep as she could manage. She couldn’t hear or feel the ship, but it did little to quell the notion that they were so high up in the air.

 

From arms to arms, Gabriela was now in Winter’s embrace, and he settled near Elie to help hold her up. They spoke again, and he explained something about magic being suppressed. It didn’t make any sense to her, so she closed her eyes and set her head on his chest as she was carried away. Everything else that happened was strange and stranger. The man who took her away set her down and then put a spoon to her lips. She turned away, but he insisted. She wanted to explain -- anything other than blood would make her very ill. But she couldn’t. After a struggle, one in which she was painfully surprised to find that she hadn’t her normal strength, she surrendered and took what he was offering.

 

The effects of the copperwort were quick. The tension in her shoulders melted away, and soon they felt heavy and comfortable. She slouched where she sat, something that she had hardly ever been seen doing. A sigh left her lips and she sank even further, until she was resting against her propped up knees. Sleepy, she felt so very sleepy. And tingly -- there was a pleasant sensation she couldn’t place. Everything felt different. Her body felt numb or dull, not as sharp as it was.

 

“This is strange,” she whispered to no one in particular, her voice dreamy and sweet. “So strange…”

 

When a bottle of blood was handed to her, she wrinkled her nose and shook her head. She was hungry. She felt the emptiness in her stomach, but it felt plesant. So she shook her head.

 

“It’s just sheep’s,” said the stranger.

 

“I am fine,” she replied, closing her eyes. She was on the verge of sleep, she was going to rest for a while, when a sudden nagging thought came to mind. Tall, Dark, and Creepy… “I need to talk to him,” her golden eyes opened, they were heavy-lidded, but warm and bright regardless. “Can you tell him?” she cooed to Winter, “Could you please…” She breathed in, sighed out, and marveled at how subtle the pleasure of feeling her body press to the rough material of her coat felt.

Edited by Pasion Pasiva

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Reinhard looked up at the one who had called herself Kit, and a small smile tugged at the corner of his lips. This one, he decided almost immediately, was no mere handmaiden. He watched her place the concoctions in her belt and arched one eyebrow at her questioningly, although he voiced none of his thoughts. It seemed to him that Gabriela perhaps wasn’t in this without at the very least some protection, after all. His eyes shifted toward the golden haired youth, taking a moment to note her slight frame and large wild eyes. For a moment, he felt almost as if he were studying the different races back in the castle. The woman, who had revealed her name Eluvië, was of the fey and she seemed to be the friendliest of the bunch. Turning his eyes toward the quietest of the three, who had insofar said nothing and he nodded at her and offered a small, encouraging smile as he listened to Kit’s words.

"Yes, Gabriela wanted to flee. No, I don't know why. Above my pay grade. She puts down the agenda, I just make it happen. This particular version of 'fleeing' wasn't the original plan, it was kind of shoved onto us by Tall, Dark, and Creepy up there. Obviously, our lady trusts him more than your boss, though, which tells me pretty much all I need to know about Roen. Since I'm pretty sure Captain Asshole is fantasizing about clubbing us to death in our sleep and turning us into undead coal-shovellers for his engine room."

"So it's equally accurate to say we're running away as it is to say we've been kidnapped. Call it 'coercive hitchhiking'."

 

Turning his eyes back to Gabriela, the old man’s eyes narrowed slightly as he swore to himself that had heard her mutter something or other under her breath. A small smile played on his lips once again, realizing that his first assessment about the one called Kit had been quite correct… Only to  He was silent for a moment, processing the implications of Kit’s words as he watched his friend stuck in her suffering. Pulling himself up into his feet, Reinhard readied himself to pick up the Black Queen and carry her toward the infirmary… Only to be stopped by the elven girl who picked up the sick vampyress with apparent ease, demonstrating her supernatural heritage.

 

“Kit. Eluvië. Eir. I understand. If you do not overly mind, ladies, I will be tagging along with you all for the time being. If you do not mind, I will escort you and Gabriela to the medical bay in order to ensure your Lady’s safety.” Reinhard said as he picked up his helmet and placed it atop of his head, lifting his visor as he followed the duo of elves that carried his friend. Turning his head back toward the remaining girls, the old knight stared pointedly at her dagger and nodded at Kit and smiled. “I realize you are the… How did you put it… Bossy bitch? Yes, that is it. I realize that you are the bossy bitch of the group, but I would request that we meet at the location that the necromancer has invited us to adjourn to. I believe there’s a lot to discuss.”               

 

Silently, the knight trudged behind the medic and the handmaiden, something niggling at the back of his mind as the medic mentioned copperwort. A natural calmant, he knew for his years on the battlefield but… There was something else about it. Lost in thought, the knight almost bumped into the petite elf that had been carrying the Queen. Furrowing his brow, Reinhard realized that he could no longer sense the magical energies around him. He attempted to concentrate and to call his power… But felt nothing. Looking at the fallen female, Reinhard raised his head and listened as the elderly elf spoke and all the pieces fell into place: They were in a nullified energy zone, which of course would affect supernatural beings and cripple those who had been reliant on magical energies.

 

Dropping to one knee beside the elven girl Reinhard placed his hand on one of her shoulder and squeezed gently, rust-colored eyes filled with concern for the second time that day. The scowl that had seemed to be etched in his stony expression disappeared, and the man began to look over the faerie as he struggled to try and remember the things he had read. Making a quiet humming noise, the old knight scanned her for any apparent injuries or lesions. Finding none that were apparent, he squeezed her shoulder once more and offered a small, tentative smile.

 

“Beg your pardon, young miss… But i will be picking you up and carrying you to the Medic’s bay along with thine queen.” Reinhard rumbled in his thunderous voice in a surprisingly gentle tone. Placing his one good hand under her legs, and his metal arm against her back, Reinhard picked the girl up with a grunt the man pulled himself upright, holding her gently to his chestplate as he followed the man called Winter. As he stepped into the medbay, the old knight’s eyes rounded out a bit as a slightly impressed chuckle escaped his lips. It seemed like the necromancer liked keeping himself well-stocked in case of living passengers, ironically enough. Placing the girl he had been carrying in one of the available cots, the old knight sought one of her hands with his own gauntleted fist, pressing it gently before he moved to kneel beside Gabriela as Winter offered her the blood..

 

“Master Medic. The other lass will also profit from your ministrations. Perhaps copperwort, infused with the essence of Ariamu root.” Reinhard called to Winter quietly, his face a study of neutrality as he stared at the other man, his only remaining hand seeking Gabriela’s. Turning to face her, the man had readied himself to talk as he watched the copperwort take effect. With a small smile that seemed to take years from his usually stern face, the knight looked over the Black Queen and sighed as his head spun with questions. She had been trying to escape… And that would mean that perhaps he had been wrong about the king he had given his fealty to. Struggling to squash his his emotions for the time being, the knight’s head turned sharply as he heard her speak.

 

“This is strange,”

“So strange…”

 

The old man watched as his friend refused to take the blood with a slight frown, making a note to make sure and stock up on it for when she did need it. Hesitantly, the man reached over to move her hair away from her face with surprising gentleness, much as he had done with his daughter when he had been young and sick. He listened as she requested her audience with the necromancer, and his face darkened slightly at the prospect of letting her go to him alone in her impaired state. As he opened his mouth to protest-- rather loudly, in fact-- an unknown voice echoed through the med bay, surprisingly devoid of emotion.

 

"Message to Mess Hall for Reinhart.. The Captain frowns upon the word Necromancer.. He is a user of the Dark Arts. Necromancy is for those who are abhorrently bent on twisting their souls into something disgusting.. His vision and use of the Dark arts is grander than that of a lowly body raiser and soul snatcher.."

 

“Doesn’t rightly matter, but tell the… Whatever his name is, that it has been noted and I will not refer to him as necromancer again.” Reinhard said diffidently, turning his eyes toward Gabriela once more, gently brushing her hair. “Also do inform the lad that the Queen has requested a meeting, and I would like to take her to him and accompany her.”


Lowering his hand and looking at the Black Queen of Osiria for the first time in full, Reinhard bowed his head closer to her face. “We will talk about this all when you’re well, Gabriela. I’d like to know exactly what’s going on… But for now, consider me assigning myself to your protection as your personal knight. I know the copperwort is taking root now… Shall I carry you, or just aid you in walking, Gabriela?”             

Edited by The Hound

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