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@Charli Foxtrot @Aleksei @Song Sprite


She sat in a black wingback chair, upholstered in velvet, with her pale hands folded neatly over her raised knee from her crossed legs. The women who had been assigned to serve and entertain her were busy looking through endless racks of magnificent dresses. There was a familiar voice speaking, the daughter of the older man who had attended to her needs the last time she was here. The young woman was assuring them all that any one of the dresses could be altered -- she guaranteed their satisfaction. Gabriela could tell that the young woman was trying to get her attention, but she was a million miles away daydreaming about the warm summer rains of Orisia.


How funny and how sorrowful it was to miss something -- deeply miss it -- only after having renounced a claim to it. It was fitting, a just and proper punishment for her waywardness, her damnable wanderlust, her ridiculous fear of responsibility.


“This one -- the King would favor this color on you,” said the young woman, attempting to be as cheerful as she could while speaking to the solemn faced woman sitting near the window. She held up what could only be assumed to be a stunning red gown. It was shapeless on its coathanger. “It’s got a tight, strapless bodice and a low fitted waist, and yards and yards of crimson silk. It’s dramatic.”


Gabriela’s head was inclined toward the window. It was raining outside, a cold and silver downpour. She was watching the surface of puddles as they wrinkled over and over again while being assaulted by angry raindrops. There was no calm, not a moment of respite. No, she didn’t bother to look up, to acknowledge the woman or the rest of her handmaidens who had, perhaps, turned to see, our of curiosity, if their golden haired and golden eyed mistress would respond.


Had they grown accustom to her silence? Perhaps just her long sighs, her slow and thoughtful movements -- which seemed rare and far-in-between. She was not herself, she wanted to tell them, but she knew that that would inevitably beg the question as to who she did happen to be, and frankly she had no answer. She was no one. As far as they were concerned, she was only their mistress, devoid of title and name. A woman that Roen had brought to the bosom of his home, but eventually forgotten.


Was it part of the plan, she wondered… the plan, the plan, the plan.


She wanted to weep, and so she raised a hand and rested her cheek against it. A wave of gold hair fell across her face and it hid her features from their view. She wasn’t going to cry, but the only time she showed much of any emotion was when she became melancholy. And there was nothing that made her quite as sad as thinking of the plan.


The fact that a plan was even needed is what hurt her.


The fact that she was now operating directly against the interests of her one and only child.


A movement caught her eye. The two guards posted outside the small dress boutique began to walk away. They made a point of crossing her line of vision by crossing the street and disappearing into the rain. It made her sit up straight and push her hair back, tucking it behind her ear. There would be a sign, she imagined, when she was suppose to make her move. She was an unwilling guest in Patia, a beloved captive of the Crimson King -- that was the role she was to play. For the first time in her life she had difficulty with fighting against her captivity. There was rest here, and peace, and quiet -- and him. He was here, and for the most part, he was kind. And like he promised, she didn’t have to think although she spent all of her time doing just that anyway. But it was just thinking. No one required anything from her save for compliance. She had learned to be docile, and sweet, and in turn, grateful for the dreary black city.


But it seemed that her time was up.


Her guards, who had seen after her near religiously, now abandoned their post.


“I am leaving,” she said out loud, still staring out the window. She heard their shuffles, and all but felt the press of their pretty brows as they regarded her with confusion -- and then perhaps dread. Surely they had been warned, their mistress would try to run. Beyond that, she couldn’t imagine what else had been shared about their mysterious charge. Turning to them, finally, Gabriela looked from one to the other, and the last, all but ignoring the shop owner and her nervous glances to the door (surely she was wondering where the guards were). “I am leaving and there’s nothing that any of you can do to stop me.”


Slowly and deliberately, she got up to her feet and smoothed the gray pleated skirt of her dress. Everyone else was bundled up, but save for a heavy wool coat that she had left at the door, she looked better suited for warm Orisian nights rather than the cold Patian evenings. It wasn’t the best outfit for running, but she hadn’t been given any notice.

“Tell your lord and master that you tried everything you could, but were ultimately overpowered. Tell him that I threatened your lives. He’ll forgive you all.” She began to walk, toward the exit, but stopped short of reaching it and turned once more to them. “Thank you, all of you, for the kindness you showed while you served me. It is not easy to be a stranger in a strange land.”




Beautiful dress.:

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Kit-- no, not anymore, she was Janessa again-- rolled her eyes as she browsed the dresses. Her choices seemed to consist of poofy and silly, sheer and fragile, or confining and slutty. 

The dress she wore wasn't much better; a shoulderless, long-sleeved, midnight blue velvet curiosity that was intent on hiding the muscle definition she'd worked hard for in favor of emphasising her small size and curvy hourglass figure. It was accompanied by a sapphire necklace and matching bracelet, and offset by a pair of moonstone earrings for a little bit of pop and to add to the risk of being mugged. She'd forgotten how important it was for those of a certain class to be seen as tastefully coquettish human-like dolls rather than as capable, take-no-bullshit individuals. 

She found herself missing her durable, practical travelling clothes of leather and cotton; lacking their weight, she felt as vulnerable as if she were naked. What she didn't miss, though she'd put a dagger in the eye of anyone who suggested it aloud, was the "adventure" that came with that ensemble. Sleeping in the mud, fighting for her life, hiding and scrounging... and most of all, watching friends die. They came to her sometimes, in her nightmares, accusing and angry, often alongside those she'd killed. 

Sometimes she was in the snowy wasteland between worlds, at the top of a black spire. Other times she was deep in a cave, surrounded by the dark-skinned subterranean cousins of elves. But the ghosts never changed, regardless of her altitude; they all blamed her at least as much as she blamed herself.

That life was behind her now. Janessa was home, with her real birth name restored and with the relative safety of a city full of guards that weren't trying to put her in the dungeons for stealing some trinket from some high mucketty-muck. Best of all, no icky disgusting flesh golems or psychotic women in red with big swords and bigger attitudes. 

It was comfy. It was secure. Who cares if it was boring? And if all she had to do to keep it was play babysitter to some mysterious visiting royalty, then it was a hell of a bargain.

Sighing again and setting her resolve, she resumed shopping for dresses, determined to play this part to the hilt. She was old enough now to appreciate those things she had so cavalierly thrown away in the past, even though they came with some dehumanizing downsides.

If she had been paying more attention to her surroundings than to her own thoughts, she would certainly have been quick enough to catch her Lady's words and be at the door before any other human woman could take three steps. Unfortunately, by the time she brought herself out of her misty, unfocused, trance-like state, the quiet, severe, and damnably important woman was already in the doorway bidding Kit -- no, damnit, Janessa -- and the other two ladies a fond, if maudlin goodbye.

"Threatened my life? What kind of absurd...?" she sputtered, her normally quick mind slow to catch up to the events unfolding around her.

"No fuckin' way," she said, and her voice sounded like the growl of a tiny animal as the profanity, much more appropriate to Kit than Janessa, slipped past her lips without her conscious notice. 

Her brain, finally on track, shifted into high gear, and she took a near-instantaneous inventory of her position. Her favorite pair of throwing knives were safely concealed in their quick draw sheaths under her sleeves; carrying them was a habit she'd never been able to shake. Her fur coat was by the door, easily reachable with little effect on the speed of her pursuit. Her companions... well, as much fun as they'd been, her companions were on their own. Ladies in waiting weren't usually known for their readiness and willingness to chase a fleeing dignitary into a cold winter night on a moment's notice, and Janessa didn't have time to convince them. They'd follow or they wouldn't.

She darted towards the door, snatching her coat with her right hand and reaching for her Mistress's with her left. "Nope! Not gonna happen!"






Edited by Charli Foxtrot
Edited the last few lines as per request.

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Eluvië hated ships.

Even on calm seas, there was a constant taste of salt, scratching at her eyeballs like invisible hives, giving her an all-over itch. Ugh. 

But there had been nothing for it; with her mistress the Black Queen gone, the half-fae had become disillusioned with the idyllic island kingdom of Orisia, and decided to wend her way home, to the vast forest of Orolindaria in Terrenus. And that necessitated ships. The Noerest Ocean that lay between Orisia and Terrenus was a frightfully large body of water. Even with a layover on the north tip of Elendaron, it was weeks upon weeks at a time with no sight to see but the glaring ocean, full of salt that would cut her like knives if it touched her.

The first leg of the journey had been mercifully uneventful. But on the second, a great ocean gale had overcome them, sweeping the Casper-bound vessel northward, all the way into the trackless Sea of Regrets.

What was left of their brave little ship finally made landfall on a barren, stony coast. With no other options, the starving crew made their way inland. On the second day, they found a road. On the fifth day, that road led them to Patia.

This was not a good thing. At least not for Eluvië. Patia was unfriendly to the rest of Terrenus, and to Elves in particular. Even for a half-Elf like herself, it was a dangerous place to end up. But they were all broke, and the roads further inland were closed and hostile; there was nothing for it but for them to to part ways and seek employment where they could.

A stroke of luck befell the stranded halfbreed; she found a job working in the palace kitchens, and with her willing, pleasant demeanour, she found favour in the eyes of those who managed the vast army of servants employed there.

It was not long after that that the mysterious golden-haired noble arrived. As soon as Elië saw her, she knew it was her queen, as impossible as it seemed. Overhearing that certain maidens were to be chosen to be the stranger's handmaidens, the half-Elf begged and wheedled and called favours until she was finally allowed to be counted among their number.

* * *

“I am leaving. I am leaving and there’s nothing that any of you can do to stop me. Tell your lord and master that you tried everything you could, but were ultimately overpowered. Tell him that I threatened your lives. He’ll forgive you all.”

"Please, m'lady, let me come with you," Eluvië swiftly protested, catching up to the pretty human just before the other maidens. "I can be of help t'you, I know I can." Her colourful gaze was wide and earnest, almost panicked. Don't leave me here. Please.

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opurns.pngShe comes from a respectable family. Her father is a wealthy merchant who has made a name for himself; her mother married into said wealth and has been a persistent partner to the company. Not wanting to follow in the same footsteps as her older brother and become a warrior or a bloodthirsty fiend, the younger Revencast decided that her skills are better suited for the role of a lady in waiting. 

That is where she is today. 

Eir had barely paid attention to the eager young lady showing dresses and naming off colors to the group; most of her attention was placed on their Mistress and her wandering gaze. The entire visit she sighed and each sigh tugged at Eir's beating heart. Poor woman, she had thought silently to herself while half-heartedly flipping through dresses. Whatever thoughts had been wandering behind those golden eyes they must have been painful. It was worrisome - rightfully so. 

Janessa had been the first to move and then it was Eluvië, leaving behind the docile Eir who turned to speak on the behalf of everyone else. 

"You've been absolutely wonderful."

Damage control, she thought behind her warm smile and gentle touch. 

The lady of the shop had a look of worry and confusion on her face when she watched their Mistress make a rather loud escape. Eir didn't understand why she needed to make a speech when it only made her escape more farfetched than it already was to begin with. But Eir is Eir and she only knows what she would do, not the other way around it would seem. When the other two rushed after their Mistress, the ice fairy took charge of the aftereffects by apologizing to the eager young woman about the kerfuffle.

She gathered the layers of her pale dress and exited the shop; picking up her pace and slowly passing onlookers with her pleasant smile still in position. He may forgive them, sure, but he may not be as pleasant as she so thinks. Their King is the sort of man who dislikes interruptions to his day and this one will surely rile him to the bones. Such an impediment will be reflected one way or another. 

The young lady made it just in time to hear Elië speak in earnest. 

The fairy enjoyed the company of all three women; they varied in different degrees of personalities that they just worked so well together. They've each come to an understanding that their Mistress is difficult for her own reasons and they must respect those reasons, thus they must work together while also getting along with one another. Hearing Eluvië speak with such conviction made Eir a tad more determined to make sure their Mistress doesn't fall victim to her emotions.

"If you leave, we go with you."

It wasn't a threat, it was a promise. 

Edited by Aleksei

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She was a slave to propriety, but in this case it seemed that her misguided desire to show her gratitude for the service that the three women had provided would work against her. And as she stood there, a prisoner to the same sense of propriety that wouldn’t allow her to walk away from them, she cursed herself for not simply leaving without a word. What hope would they have of catching up with her when she could have gotten up, crossed the floor, and left the building before any of them would have been notified of her departure by the sound of the door opening and closing. There was no use regretting an action that had already been taken, and one that she would have likely repeated even while knowing the consequences. The uproar that began, the bombardment of their voices -- all three of them, almost in unison, caused her feet to take root.


How could she have left without thanking them? Their kindness, their company, and at times, even their comfort had provided her with a tenderness she did not herself realize she craved. During her first and last night with him, she came to the conclusion that the knowledge of her being alive had not pleased him in the least. And she understood why. He had done his crying and his mourning, and he was on the precipice of acceptance and relief. Surely he missed her as one misses a cut off limb, a part of one’s own self -- but then, after realizing the toxicity of rotted flesh, any individual would be glad to have said limb severed. And that was them. He thought himself free and then she came jumbling into his life with nothing but problems to present as tribute. And to his credit he had aided her, but now the very sight of her offended him.


He was done with her.


She had no feelings about it, at least not yet. There was no room in her heart to worry about what he thought about her, not when she knew she was losing more and more of Orisia with every passing day. Someday she would reflect on what had transpired here in this cold and dreary city, but for now -- and the sake of what was left of her heart -- she pushed forward with the plan.


“No fuckin’ way,” said Janessa, or at least the woman that Gabriela knew as Janessa. She was spitfire -- furious, beautiful, and young -- a tragic combination if she had ever seen one. But she was the first to blurt out her responce to the supposed goodbye speech. And in a matter of seconds, she had taken up a place not far from her close to the door, all while pulling her coat over her shoulders. “Nope! Not gonna happen!”


She didn’t seem to have much more to say than this, and her intention was writ clear across her face, what with her jutting defiant chin pointed up at her. Gabriela paled, as if it were possible with someone already so very fair, but she did appear to grow all the more somber. She was trying to come up with the right words to persuade the young woman to take her coat off, to go back to browsing through dresses, and to wait for whatever this life was going to offer her.


Eluvie came close behind, softer in tone and appearance, but no less intent on following. Of course Gabriela knew who the little halfling was. She had saved her when they traveled together upon Raphael’s vessel from Terrenus to Genesaris. For a few short and happy months, the little halfling had lived under her household and had become dear friends with Raspberry. And she was all the more dear now that she had kept her secret and not revealed her identity. She had credited him with Eluvie’s appearance in her small collection of ladies. It was simply a stroke of genius to ensure that there was at least one witness who could attest to the fact that the Black Queen of Orisia lived -- one person who actually knew the woman personally. Rumors were just rumors until they had a credible voice to sustain them, and who would believe so and so from Patia when they said the Black Queen was alive? Her appearance had also been a source of great worry, conflict, and sadness. Beyond all hope, Gabriela hoped that he had not forced the small halfling into their service in order to fulfil the plan.’


“Please, m’lady, let me come with you. I can be of help t’you. I know I can.”


It was the panic in the girl’s eyes that made Gabriela turn away from them both. Her panic fed her own mounting anxiety. This wasn’t the plan.


And then finally there was Eir, who was perhaps the only true and proper lady out of the bunch -- herself included. She, the most refined out of her three ladies, was perhaps the most helpful. It had been her careful knowledge of politics, gained only through the tedious study of human nature in the midst of a dangerous royal court, that had aided Gabriela when she was feeling her lowest. It was Eir who often placed a hand upon her shoulder when she was downcast most, and squeezed a reminder that she had a duty. It was a wonder that Eir did not know the situation, and yet knew exactly how to lend her strength. Do what you have to do, her frosty blue eyes would say, when most she felt insulted, ignored, or simply humiliated.


Being a pet did not do much for one’s self esteem, much less when one’s master seemed intent on exhibiting their hate for one’s existence. But what could she do? He was sacrificing much and more to help her, and the least she could do was follow the few orders that were given. She made appearances, she lived a comfortable life, and after a few weeks she seemed to be, rather unceremoniously, released. Of course this hurt her, but she could only ever show her willingness to escape, her desire to get away, things that had once upon a time come naturally but not anymore. She had to convince the world that she didn’t love him and that she hated Patia. But...


Patia had become her safety and peace.


And now she had to leave.


“If you leave, we go with you.”


And what will you do, she wanted to ask them, when we’re knee deep in mud? She knew how to survive by herself. She could hunt, she could drink animal blood, she could dig herself a shallow grave and sleep through the perilous day. But what was she suppose to do with them? Three young women who would turn from caring for her to become her sole responsibility


“If something happens to any of you -- I would never be able to forgive myself. I cannot pay your kindness to me by placing you in harm's way.” When she turned to them, to look at each in turn, she saw that her words fell on deaf ears. Golden eyes found a bright rainbow of irises, all filled with determination. In that moment she knew she wasn’t going anywhere without them, and that she would do anything to keep them safe as she traveled toward -- a goal she had not yet set.

“This is madness,” she breathed out, full of frustration before plucking her coat from who was offering it to her and leading the way out of the boutique. Behind them, the young woman was anxiously looking out the window for the guards, who still were nowhere in sight. Out, into the cold and dark rain, she took them. But for someone on the run, she walked with a deliberate caution that could only be marked as someone who knew she would never be chased again.

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"If something happens to me?" Janessa barked an unladylike laugh as she moved to walk alongside her Mistress. "All due respect, my Lady, but that's adorable! I'm the one who'll be making sure nothing happens to any of you!"

Jan's eyes scanned the street and her stride changed, as much as her dress allowed, from the tiny, demure steps of nobility to a long, silent stride with her shoulders back and her eyes wary. It was like a switch flipped in her mind; she was looking for threats and opportunities, enemies and marks, secluded escape routes and crowded thoroughfares. Her prior habits of being, not yet entirely broken to begin with, reasserted themselves as if she had just been on a brief vacation and now it was time to go back to work.

"I notice your guards have gone AWOL. Are we going to have to worry about the city watch, or do you have that covered?"

She approved of the older woman's pace; it would draw no extra attention. Anything faster would be noticed as out of place.  Her mental map of the city flashed in front of her, highlighting the local points of interest: her old forger, a couple of fences, a safehouse for thieves she used to frequent, climbable spots on the city wall, and various other "nightlife hotspots". But to plan a route, she needed a destination.

"So where are we going and what will we need? You thinking we might get into a bit of wetwork? Because if so, I'm gonna suggest we make a couple of stops."

Jan glanced at her Mistress's face and thought she might have detected a hint of skeptical incredulity there, or maybe it was just what she expected to see. She couldn't tell.

Edited by Charli Foxtrot

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Eluvië noted the curious change in the young human as well. It was as though Janessa had donned a second skin -- or, perhaps more accurately, suddenly removed a mask. Now she moved and talked almost like a male, all strength and assertion, and used Terric words that the sheltered little elvish fae hadn't heard before. AWOL? Wetwork? She wrinkled her brow against the rain, drawing her cloak up higher and forward. It's already plenty wet. Maybe she means she knows somewhere dry we can go. But she didn't ask. Her time among the humans and the rulers had taught her something that her life among the Elves never did: the value of holding her tongue.

The little fae shivered a bit against the wind, and drew her cloak even tighter around her. The cold couldn't hurt her, strictly speaking; her fae blood saw to that. But that didn't mean she had to like Patia's miserable weather, as bleak as the mountain the city was hewn from. Alone of her companions she had kept her cloak on her and her hood up while in the store, feigning a shiver and a cough when a servant had offered to take it from her. The act had gained her a nice hot cup of spiced wine, but the real purpose of the whole charade was to keep her slender, pointy ears covered. Everything could have been ruined if rumour spread that a maiden of Roen's employ had Elf in her blood.

"We'll all be lookin' after each other," she interjected as Janessa boldly claimed to be their protector, and lengthened her meagre steps enough to step right between the maiden and her mistress and slip her arms beneath the elbow of each, affectionately twining them all together. Now they looked like friends walking together through the rain, rather than servants waiting on an important person. "We'll be alright now, m'lady. You'll see." She smiled up at her queen, and gave her a little wink, leaving plenty unsaid.

Not one to leave a member of the group feeling less than loved, she promptly caught Eir's eye and flashed her a large, cheeky grin in celebration of the impudence of her current position, like a little lady grinning down at her nursemaid from the boughs of a tree she had climbed. Eluvië had only ever worn propriety as the thinnest of veils; she wasn't a bred lady, like some of her companions, and things like difference in status and the accompanying social niceties were something she only ever paid lip service to, and never really believed in. Folk were folk, and rank was just a game to be played.

Edited by Song Sprite

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opurns.pngShe smiled broadly at Janessa's determination. Their various skills as women and as warriors will start meshing together in a jumbled tapestry. Eluvië charged in with her own bit of assurance, binding them all together, but this time around it is a bond of wills. 

"We are a mighty group of women with a purpose."

Eir laughed throatily while shrugging her bare shoulders nonchalantly. It's been ages since she has had to dig her way through mud and hunt and fish and do all sorts of other things one does in the wilds. Patia's terrain is not a mystery to her, only what is beyond its comforting borders is she blind to. Her father and mother had kept her under their wings, protecting their only daughter from the dirtiness of the world. By the workings of her beloved brother had the young lady been exposed to the realities surrounding her.

And now it's time to forget all about fine dining and put all her learned skills to the forefront of her mind. They are going to need all sorts of provisions if they plan on making it far enough to matter; they're certainly going to need to change unless they plan on hiking up their skirts. Unless their Mistress has a plan hidden behind those beautiful eyes of her's, it's best to assume they are going on a whim here. 

"Perhaps you would like to visit a few shops before departing? Unless we are pressed for time, maybe it would be in our best interest to just visit one."

Eventually they're going to have to remove themselves their their lady status and blend in with the rest of the world, and they can't do that in all their finery. They all stick out like a sore thumb, so no matter how well this escape is or was made to be, there's always that one person to make things more difficult by being nosy. 

If they're to leave without stopping, without properly preparing, she wonders how well any of them will hold up. Eir wrinkles her nose at the thought of having to walk anywhere in the shoes she's currently wearing; her dress with all it's lovely fabric and billowy-ness will only be a hinderance to any idea of escaping anything. She sends a mental apology to her father who has provided her funds for her entire wardrobe; silly to be thinking about wasting money at a time like this, but she feels guilty at the idea she'll have to dispose of the garment. 

"With a day so full of surprises, maybe the rain will calm down."


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The Beginning of it All.

To what did Dominic owe this honor in visiting the city of the Black Queen? Simple.. None. He wasn't here for sight seeing or even mingling with the people of the city. He had been sent to retrieve something for an employer. Yet the package was said to be life sized and somewhat stubborn. His only solid guess was that it was a person of course, just who the person was would depend on the manner of their taking. Itchy.. The man was not one used to dressing in anything less than his usual summertime attire. Thus when the ebony man sauntered down out of the air ship several days prior he felt rather uncomfortable in his outfit. Having been dressed to the nines in a fancy suit and nobleman dress, it did not fit the lads style in the least. Thus even now as he sauntered the wet streets, he wore only a pair of boots with fine crafted pants tucked into the boots. Atop he wore a short sleeve silk shirt with a fancy vest trimmed in gold stitching. His long corn rolls remained up in a heavy pony tail, several gold rings spotted here and there within the thick braids. 

"To what end am I supposed to search for this person.. He said I would know when I saw her and yet, I am not so convinced of his words.." Mumbling slightly to himself the man ignored the rain pouring upon himself even as the silk shirt framed his muscled figure ever so perfectly. Looking left and right, violet hues glinted in the light while the throbbing burn of Sarandriel burned in his collar bone. The talon itself was perfectly framed within the opening of the vest and his shirt for mostly all to see. People passed the man by in silence and caution, it wasn't often one saw a figure so large with eyes so.. Different than the usual fae or hume they were used to. 

A small voice popped up at his left side. Robin his little Moogle had come along for the journey as well, set to rescue someone in distress. Their employer was an unknown spell cast sent to the Zodiac Squire in the middle of his sleep. Elijah might actually kill the lad if he ever abandoned his post for a short time ever again. The Emissary however was a very capable woman that lacked the need of his appearance. 

'Kupo!~ I hope we find this person soon.. Everyone here seems to be very weary of our presence.' Robin mentioned to the lad who was well aware of the situation. It didn't help that he carried his blade Legion upon his back with such ease. Yet no guards had bothered to approach him and ask that he remove the weapon while within the city walls. Stepping carefully through the puddled streets, his gaze cascaded across the dully lit streets. Clothing shops and other types of essentials people might need, this was where he stood for quite a while gazing around. He noted a pair of guards slowly leaving their post in front of a large shop, but that was not what kept his attention. Oh no.. It was the face that peered out of the glass like a captive soul. Watching not in fear, but rather confusion and a slow growing resolve that made this all the more interesting. "Robin.. I think.. We found.. Our target.." Looking at the small creature, the man smirked and slowly kissed the beings head. "Jul- Swee- Dhan." Robin nodded lightly before flying off into the shadows of the nearest alley way. 

Moments passed as slowly as a day often passed. What had been perhaps a half hour or less felt like a decade in waiting. The Zodiac was sure to make himself busy with taking shelter from the rain. He had even managed to break the ice with a nice store owner who gave him a cloak. A large smile crossed the big mans face as he even hugged the shop keeper and gave thanks. Then the doors burst open, from the clothing shop came the Lady in which he was meant to take away, yet she was flanked. Were these the guards? No.. The way they walked and handled themselves first showed caution but as they faded from sight it turned to determination. 'Hell yeah ladies..' Dominic thought to himself lightly before giving a gentle click of his tongue. 

From the shadows where the Moogle had gone, came forth a small pack of five shadow wolves with moogle in the lead. Thank goodness the night time was approaching, anything more than fire light itself would easily dispel his works of magic. He had not come prepared to do much but snuff out some lives but now it was much bigger. "Jul- Swee-Dhan." Smirking back wolfish the now transfigured moogle dashed off into the darkness with his companions. Taking his steps in stride the man looked to approach and shadow the from the back of the group of ladies. No doubt they would take notice of him a some point but for the time being he needed to know what their plan was. The lady in their midst was his target and if he needed to bring them all, he needed to understand them a bit more. 

Thus even in the rain his body remained pressed firmly to the walls of housing and mingling with small figures of people on the street corners. Looking up and around he found a ladder that allowed him to go onto the roofing of the buildings. With a sweet smile and chuckle he made is advance. Quick Cast: Enhanced Agility.  Throwing himself up onto the roof, Dominic followed in silence as he every so often cast a glance down at the women below.  Looking to his left he saw moogle navigating the alley ways and side paths to avoid major crowds and guards. Another gin crossed his lips as he soon turned back to follow the ladies.  Giving a gentle yet firm whistle like a mocking-jay he wondered if any of them were familiar with such a cautioned call.  For what they did not see were the small group of guards who were soon to turn the bend on their right.  Giving another swift whistle he would not make himself known yet but he would help them no doubt. For as far as he could tell, from their arm and arm grasp this was a jointed effort.

[ Walk Through ]

After sighting his objective the Squire ended up taking counter actions to ensure the safety of the party at hand. Thus having moogle and several shadow creatures flank on dock side of town, Dominic himself got up close and personal. Keeping a watchful eye over their travels looking for the proper time to introduce himself and offer a way out of the city. Upcoming warnings of patrol guards on the parties right has Dominic on edge as his pack makes their way to location in hopes of preventing any issues. 



Seen as I am unable to find the outfit without the body in it. Here it is. Just remember Dominic is black, and has corn rolls/braided hair.



Edited by Doge

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“If something happens to me? All due respect, my Lady, but that’s adorable! I’m the one who’ll be making sure nothing happens to any of you!” Said Janessa, bold as ever.


With all due credit to her own experiences, Jenessa seemed to have come alive the moment they all stepped out of the small boutique. It was as if she had been a wilting flower, parched for rain -- and now the very rain that fell from the sky atop their heads, promising a less than smooth transition from a life of luxury to one of escape, had brought her back to life. To her credit, Gabriela did not think of her as a particular handicap, she was more than certain that the young woman could hold her own, but she was allowing them all to walk headlong into a situation that surely not one of them had ever experienced before.


And Gabriela felt guilty.


“We’ll all be lookin’ after each other,” came the gentle, but nearly as bold, interjection by Eluvie, who had also visibly brightened. More than interjecting in mere words, the little halfling had also wiggled her way between Gabriela and Jenessa and had laid claim to both their arms by linking elbows. “We’ll be alright now, m’lady. You’ll see.”


“We are a mighty group of women with a purpose,” came Eir’s proud declaration, followed by a rich laugh and a carefree shrug of her small round shoulders. She was every inch the fair maiden that all the rest of them had been trying to pretend to be.


Gabriela felt sick to her stomach surrounded by the sheer amount of positivity they were all trying to give her. She knew that by the look on her face, that same solemn and serious expression that didn’t often lend itself to warmth or even the slightest trace of happiness, they were all trying their very best to give her much needed encouragement. But all it served to do was remind her how young they all were, how kind, and how good, and how little she deserved their company or service. Even as she went forward, linking arms with the bright little half-elf, who was quite intent on hearing what her companions had to say, Gabriela felt herself sinking deeper and deeper into her own thoughts and isolating herself all the more. It was this inward focus, and the assurance of the Devil himself who had orchestrated this entire plan, that made her fail to notice they were being followed.


“I notice your guards have gone AWOL. Are we going to have to worry about the city watch, or do you have that covered?”


She blinked -- she sought clarity, and then she shook her head.


“No, I didn’t think that far ahead. Patia closes it’s gates at night?” She asked aloud, uncertain if any of the women would have an answer. There were very few walled off cities in Orisia, therefore citizens came and went as they pleased at whatever hour they pleased. It was a strange concept to her, but one that she should have remembered. Roen taken her out riding one night, and they had to sneak out and then they had to announce themselves to be allowed back in. It was a bribe that opened the gates for them to escape into the late evening, perhaps it was a bribe that would let them out tonight. But she had no money -- not a single penny to her name.


“We could try something,” she said softly, “If any of you happen to have any coin on your person.” There was shame, white and hot, at the very fact that she had to ask them if they had money. She had never been without the royal coffers of her parents estate, of her own, and of Orisia’s. It was a strange thing, being poor.


“So where are we going and what will we need? You thinking we might get into a bit of wetwork? Because if so, I’m gonna suggest we make a couple of stops.”


Gabriela’s serious expression melted away to one of uncertainty. “Well, I am not certain...where…” she paused and looked ahead to the path they were taking. “I personally don’t need much. I just didn’t expect to have company on the journey. It’s whatever you ladies need. Although, I wouldn’t mind changing clothes.”


“Perhaps you would like to visit a few shops before departing? Unless we are pressed for time, maybe it would be in our best interest to just visit one.”


Where was she suppose to get money for shopping? Roen had financed their little trip to the boutique, urging her to buy what she wanted -- things that she imagined he would like. She was completely dependant upon him, and did not wish to take advantage of the generosity he had already shared by flashing his name in any other place. And yet, now she was accompanied by three more, and she felt herself like a mother with children. She had to provide for them somehow. Surely the devil would simply add the difference to her already growing tab. She knew that nothing he had done or would do for her was free of cost, and her debt was already significant. What would adding a few outfits really do?


“Yes, that sounds like a good idea… just one more store, a place to find more useful clothing. Traveling outfits, something that will be comfortable for you three.”


They all three nodded and headed off with Eir taking the lead. She knew where to take them, and so they all followed her down a few blocks toward what she promised would be the perfect store for them. But just as they were about to turn right, Gabriela heard a call -- a whistle of a bird, one she had never heard in Patia before. And so she stopped, and so did the others. She looked up into the height of the encroaching buildings.

“What was that?” she asked aloud, wondering if they had heard it. She was certain of the sound -- of the fact that it was not a bird who had made the call, but needing the reassurance that she wasn’t also just going crazy from the stress of the situation. “Perhaps, we better hide.”

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Eluvië wasn’t much troubled by her Queen’s morose expression; she cared quite deeply for her lady, but she had learned to accept that the Black Queen’s moods followed a drumbeat all their own, and ‘twas best not to meddle with them. She could only have happiness in her own little self, and share it when the Queen was willing.

“No, I didn’t think that far ahead. Patia closes its gates at night? We could try something, if any of you happen to have any coin on your person.”

“I do, m’lady!” Eluvië chirped brightly, squeezing the deceptively strong arm she had so carelessly captured. She seemed eager enough to share her little hoard, the money she had earned in Roen’s kitchens and always kept in a scattering of hidden purses on her person; but then, after all, Gabriela had watched out for her when she had nothing, and given her a place and food without asking anything in return. She didn’t really consider watching out for her darling wildberry to be work.

She, too, heard the funny little whistle, and perked up immediately, scanning the rooftops for the source of the funny noise. There! Just for a moment, but she was sure she had seen a figure. And then the whistle came again, and a fierce grin blossomed on her face, and she whistled back playfully, the warbling trill of a grey canary in thanks, and chuckled. This city could do with more birdsong.

“What was that? Perhaps, we better hide.”

They were just passing by the side-entrance to a shop, and as one, the group turned and slipped inside. Just in time, too. The city patrol came around the corner not a moment later. Safe inside the shop where they could not be seen, Eluvië stuck out her pert little tongue at them.

As luck would have it, this was a lesser-used entrance to the very shop to which they had been heading; a supplier of travellers’ needs, everything from sturdy clothing to dried berries for the road. There was no one in this part of the shop but them, though a little bell had rung when the door opened, and they would surely be attended to momentarily.

The half-fae disentangled herself from Gabriela and Janessa and turned to face them so that they could talk properly. “The real question is, will he change his mind and send to fetch for us?” She eyed her lady sharply, searching her face for clues.

Though she had found a decent place for herself in Patia, Elië had never planned on staying long (until her lady showed up), and she had already found out all she could about how to escape the dreadful place. She never knew when her luck would change and she would need to scamper off into the hills, which was the main reason she still stuck to carrying her coin on her person. “The Lightning Rail is still down, so we’ve the roads, the mountains, or...the shipyard.” She added the last with a grimace of reluctance. Please, Gaia, anything but the sea. “If we don’t have a destination, then we just want to not be here, yeah? Ship’s the quickest, but I don’t have fare for four, and I’d as soon not try my luck as a stowaway again, if it’s all the same to milady. Road south is a very long walk to Marlboro; road east is two days to the Day River, and we can float from there to Weland. There’s ferries aplenty. Or stay on the road and walk to Blairville; that’s about a month, givin’ time for foraging and the like. Thing is, all the roads are watched by him. And it seems we’ve already got a little birdie following us.” She glanced back towards the door, half-expecting it to be darkened by the figure she had briefly glimpsed.

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Janessa started to reply to her Lady, to express that ten minutes in a crowded area would produce enough coin to charter their own airship if that's what the Mistress required, when she heard the whistle of a strange bird. She didn't recognize the species, but she recognized the purpose. She was skilled in quite a few of those herself, thanks to her time with her ex-bandits.

"Signal call. Fuckity fuck fuck." she muttered. She didn't bother looking for the source, even as Elie picked it out and cheekily whistled back; that information would be irrelevant as soon as it was gained, and the time lost would be irreplaceable. 

On 2/11/2017 at 0:58 AM, Pasion Pasiva said:

“What was that?” she asked aloud, wondering if they had heard it. She was certain of the sound -- of the fact that it was not a bird who had made the call, but needing the reassurance that she wasn’t also just going crazy from the stress of the situation. “Perhaps, we better hide.”

"Yes. Hide. Quickly. We're being followed by someone who follows people for a living." It could have been anyone from slightly more sophisticated street thugs to the King's own secret police, and Janessa didn't want to find out at swordpoint.

Without further hesitation, she followed Elie into the shop, wincing visibly as the bell above the door rang. While Elie spoke to Gabriella, Janessa began running her practiced eye over the layout of the shop, noting pathways, exits, wares, customers, employees, stairwells, windows, and any other features that could be useful should the situation deteriorate further. 

On 2/12/2017 at 3:42 AM, Song Sprite said:

“The real question is, will he change his mind and send to fetch for us?” 

"I'll give you threes-to-ones that he already has," Janessa groused as she noticed a saleswoman take note of their presence. "My theory is, he had a backup team watching us, waiting to see if we'd take the opportunity to bolt. Which means no real point in trying to be sneaky, we just need to be smart and fast."

On 2/12/2017 at 3:42 AM, Song Sprite said:

“If we don’t have a destination, then we just want to not be here, yeah? Ship’s the quickest, but I don’t have fare for four, and I’d as soon not try my luck as a stowaway again, if it’s all the same to milady. Road south is a very long walk to Marlboro; road east is two days to the Day River, and we can float from there to Weland. There’s ferries aplenty. Or stay on the road and walk to Blairville; that’s about a month, givin’ time for foraging and the like. Thing is, all the roads are watched by him. And it seems we’ve already got a little birdie following us.” She glanced back towards the door, half-expecting it to be darkened by the figure she had briefly glimpsed.

"My face is known in Blairville... in a good way, mind. But in this situation, I don't know if there is a 'good way'. I vote we make for the river; it's the shortest travel time on the roads, and we'll be impossible to track once we're on the water, unless they're close enough to get on the same boat we do. We may be watched, but if we can stay four or even two hours ahead of our pursuit, we'll be in the clear as soon as we hit the ferry."

Janessa made a show of purposefully surveying the products on display, carefully picking up and examining something every now and again, or pushing items aside to get a view of the items behind them.

"I'll stay here and keep an eye on that door. M'Lady, you need to try to keep anyone from seeing your face as much as possible, so there are fewer witnesses to answer stupid questions like 'did you see this broad?' and 'which way did she go?'. Eir, you and Elie deal with the help and get us some equipment. I don't care what we walk out with as long as it's better suited to mud than this floofy crap we're wearing. Please for the love of dog, don't forget boots. We'll ditch our clothes and change at another location. Oh, and if anyone hears a ruckus from back this way, get yerselves straight up gone. Don't worry about me, I'll catch up."

As she spoke, the very astute, quick-eyed observer (and none other) would catch the slightest glimpse of small, handy items disappearing as Janessa casually meandered past. A couple vials of firelighting oil, a magnesium striking stone, a spool of fishing wire, and other odds and ends seemed to go missing, though it's possible that they were simply rearranged behind other objects during the young woman's browsing. It was really hard to tell. Maybe they weren't ever there at all?

Edited by Charli Foxtrot

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Into the Maw of the Beast.

Things had been going quite smoothly until he had whistled. Being on the look out for the safety of the ladies, he monitored every persons movements. They each had a different response, but one caught his eye. 'They have a practiced one among them it seems.' Stroking his chin lightly the Squire questioned his approach. At this point it would probably cross their minds that he held some responsibility for catching them. In reality it was quite the opposite, in fact he was nearly inclined to waltz through the front door.

Yet that was not the best choice to follow, not because of the woman inside but because of the guards outside. It would raise questions had the an come inside then walked out leading the parade of ladies through the streets to the airship. Especially with no other guards in sight he had to make it seem legit. "Moogle.." The mental voice flickered through the air as the shadows crawled around the edges of the building. The sound of clamoring barking and howls could be heard as the shadow pack approached. For those looking out of the windows at this point the strangest thing happened. The moment the guards fully rounded the corner they were flanked on all sides into a semi circle against the nearest building. From there they were consumed in darkness the moment the beasts paws left the ground. What remained from them was nothing more than their bodies dropping to the ground. Lifeless and much frailer beneath the clothing than before. It took but a few moments before those corpses rose to their feet again. Numbering four in all they stood stock still and marched out of sight.

Robin the moogle sat within Dominic's arms as he focused on controlling the bodies on his own. Using the gems in Dominic's left arm as a focusing point the man did not delay. A small echo of souls in torment whispered from Legions body. The meal of the four men were complete and now Dominic had more strength to complete the task at hand with Robin. Stepping off of the edge of the building he landed lightly upon the damp earth. A puddle splashed beneath his feet as boots met mud and soon found the door. Opening it with the right hand the man looked inside rather quietly. He saw the women and one with hands that were a master at work. "Mmm, my my.. It's a bit messy out there no? Letting off a light laugh the ebony man locked eyes slowly with each individual female of the group.  "A pleasure to meet such fine Ladies. Might I be of some assistance to this transport to a safer location?" The question was simple and the shop keeper had long since gone to the back to retrieve somethings from storage.

"The only thing that I ask is that this one keeps her hands to herself on the vessel, it is not mine you see but loaned to me with the promise of success." Grinning lightly Dominic did not care about the small old lady sitting across the room. She was long asleep in her elderly habits and thus Dominic waited for the ladies to respond. "Also grab anything you might need from here, there are extra robes in the airship.. My employer has sense me well prepared with resources and funds.." Digging out a gold pouch the man tossed it to the Black Queen with ease. Adjusting his vest he shook his corn rolled hair lightly to displace the water. "Whew.. Well when you are ready.. Step outside the Escort is here.." Speaking firmly the man backed outside lightly. He was very plain about his address to the women and with good intention. Was he really going to tell them that he had a desire to bring the Queen else where? He was honest about one thing however; the ship was not his at all, and the person who loaned it was well stocked in wares and resources.   


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Had she ever, in her life, had to ask for money? The feeling it left behind was astoundingly bad. It was like a bad taste in her mouth, something bitter and ugly that made her both nervous and extraordinarily depressed. But hearing Elie offer what little money she had managed to earn made her feel about a hundred times worse. Again she felt a wave of anger for having allowed the women to come along. She was going to put them through unnecessary hardships, and for what? She didn’t even have a plan, or goals, or any idea what she was doing. But there was no time for pity parties…


“Yes. Hide. Quickly. We’re being followed by someone who follows people for a living.”


She shot a glance to the rooftops and examined the shadows as Elie and Janessa decided on a seemingly random storefront as their shelter. She followed them silently, but her mind and her heart were elsewhere entirely. If she didn’t manage to focus, she would end up causing them the most trouble. She imagined that Roen could only do so much without risking appearances. He couldn’t show leniency without stirring suspicion, not after their long and turbulent history.


Once they were all safely inside the store, Gabriela stuck close to a window. She made sure to press to the shadows in order to avoid being seen. She was just waiting for the sight of the guards and their eventual departure. Once they were gone and the coast was clear, they could get out of this stuffy store. Suddenly she felt so warm, and beyond uncomfortable. Yet, without Roen’s presence being near, there seemed little reason for the tiny pearl he had enslaved her with, to come alive. It was nothing more or less than the normal warmth it carried, which was a strange thing to adapt to for one who was always so cold.


She had to catch her breath.


“The real question is, will he change his mind and send to fetch for us?”


“I’ll give you threes-to-ones that he already has. My theory is, he had a backup team watching us, waiting to see if we’d take the opportunity to bolt. Which means no real point in trying to be sneaky, we just need to be smart and fast.”


He won’t come after us, she wanted to assure them, but she couldn’t. There was a plan in place, and he was the one who came up with it. But something had changed for both of them. While they lived their little life of pretend, they had settled into some semblance of cohabitation that worked. She had never seen him more content, and she, hard as it was to admit, had never felt quite so secure. It was an utterly mad thing to think -- considering how often he left her black and blue -- but it was a small price to pay to finally give up thinking and worrying about things that seemed to be utterly out of her control. Now she couldn’t help but wonder if he could really give it up. If she was having her doubts, she couldn’t begin to imagine what Roen was going through.


But she had to get to Orisia, and they both knew (she and the devil), that he wasn’t about to alet her go alone. When she looked back, it was with a bit of a startle that she saw Elie’s pretty little face intently focused on her own. The little halfling was trying to get something out of her -- trying to read something by her expression. Gabriela felt a touch of panic -- had she given anything away?


They didn’t wait for her to reply, the two ladies in waiting turn into fugitives went right on ahead with their planning. It was quite an astounding thing to hear how knowledgeable both women were. She would have never expected it, but then again, there was a reason books were not meant to be judged by their covers. For the time being, she let them go on. Elie suggested a sea-vessel, a fact that caught Gabriela off guard considering how much the little halfling hated open waters. Janessa countered with a plan to get onto the river. No decision was reached before Janessa barked out orders. They were good and logical orders, but no one moved. Surely the women had turned their eyes upon her, but she was glued to the her spot on the floor and her eyes could not look away from the sight beyond the window.


“There are bigger problems,” she said, barely above a whisper as she saw the descent of great and ferocious looking creatures. They came from up high, as if climbing down from the night sky. They were animals, creatures that ran on all fours, and they were blacker than black. She heard them snarl and howl, and then she watched as they crashed against the collection of guards that had rounded the corner. And just like that, the issue of the guards had been taken care of in a most violent and ugly manner.


She didn’t know those creatures -- not personally -- but if they were beasts conjured from the abyss, then she was certain they were already in over their heads. Turning to the door as she was expecting the lord and master of said beasts to make his or her appearance, the Black Queen moved to stand before the collection of women. She took a defensive pose, though finely dressed, and waited. She didn’t have to wait long.


A man of ebony skin came through the door.


“A pleasure to meet such fine ladies. Might I be of some assistance to this transport to a safer location?”


So he had been listening to them. Gabriela’s blood chilled, even against the curse that Roen had forced onto her body, her body went cold as ice. She narrowed her golden gaze and regarded the stranger with suspicion, but before she could ask any questions he spoke again.


“The only thing that I ask is that this one keeps her hands to herself on the vessel, it is not mine you see but loaned to me with the promise of success,” he made a joke, but no one laughed. Gabriela’s frown only deepened as the man, handsome in appearance by all accounts, but utterly wild in every other regard, drew near. He issued orders and tossed a bag of coin at her, which she caught and promptly deposited on a nearby table.


How much had he heard? She wondered. He clearly knew they were looking for a way out of the city, and that she had asked for money from the rest of her companions. She felt at a loss. Knowing nothing about him and having him know almost everything about them -- they were at a severe disadvantage. And then, just like that he was gone, leaving them to decide what would happen next. As soon as he was out, Gabriela rushed forward to the door and lingered there, glaring at the doorknob, fighting the urge to go out there and demand answers.

“Well this is clearly a trap,” she said aloud, before turning to look at her small retinue. “But it seems like our best option. I believe that you are right,” she said to Janessa, “the Crimson King is bound to realize we’re gone, and when he does -- we will not want to be within the city and within his reach. Me, he’ll let live, as for the rest of you -- I am not so sure. I say we go with the stranger. I loathe flying, but it’s the fastest way over the walls.”

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Janessa's posture and activities did not change as the man entered the building. She continued browsing the shelves while her sharp mind calculated distances, trajectories, escapes, witnesses, and most importantly, timing.

She was small. Not as small as the fae one, but small enough. Any action she performed would have to be performed at just the right moment, the moment of maximum effect.

Janessa idly put her left hand up her right coat sleeve, looking for all the world like she was scratching an itch. It was an easy maneuver to fake, because she was scratching... a few bits of the magnesium into the firestarter oil, which she sincerely hoped was naphtha-based and not something more exotic. The lump of her hand under her sleeve made a rubbing motion, quite natural after a good scratch, and also quite natural to wrap a small handwarmer pack around the vial.

Adept as a magician, both of her hands returned, empty, to full view and she resumed her carefully oblivious browse. Waiting. 

The man took one step into the shop. He threw a bag of coins (allegedly) to her Lady, who thankfully didn't open it. Lots of things other than coins could be in there. Asps, for example. Not that she'd ever used that trick before. A friend had. Not even really a friend. A distant acquaintance. She barely even knew her. Him. Barely even knew him.

Her attention was focused, from the corner of her eye, on the man's rear foot. One more step forward. Ideally, step forward and do a quarter turn to square up on the Mistress. She mentally urged their pursuer forwards. One more step. Take one more step. Step and square. 

....but instead, he backed up. And out. Out was also the direction of Janessa's breath, which, she noticed, she had amateurishly held in anticipation. It was probably what gave the gig away, even if the ebon man hadn't consciously noticed. 

She shifted the makeshift concoction to a more secure location in her sleeve, now that she was no longer in the stranger's line of sight, and fixed the queen with a piercing gaze.

On 2/16/2017 at 1:16 AM, Pasion Pasiva said:

“Well this is clearly a trap,” she said aloud, before turning to look at her small retinue. “But it seems like our best option. I believe that you are right,” she said to Janessa, “the Crimson King is bound to realize we’re gone, and when he does -- we will not want to be within the city and within his reach. Me, he’ll let live, as for the rest of you -- I am not so sure. I say we go with the stranger. I loathe flying, but it’s the fastest way over the walls.”

"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!"

Janessa snatched up the pouch of gold on the table and held it so the top pointed away from her friends before carefully tugging open one edge of the bag and bracing herself. Assuming there were no asps, explosions, or escaping gases, she took a quick, rough count of the money inside. "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."

She didn't know what the others would be buying, but Jan knew she could make use of quite a few items on display... maybe sooner than anyone anticipated. Keeping ahold of the bag of coin, she made her way to the section labeled "Field Medicine"... but not without snatching a small pair of leather boots on the way. It wasn't quite an alchemist's shop, but it would have to do. She doubted their "benefactor" would let her make another stop. She was careful, however, to keep her Lady in her periphery. The woman was clearly unpredictable, and couldn't be let out of her sight if she was to be kept safe. Safe-ish. 


Edited by Charli Foxtrot

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