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Robbie Rotten

A Cure for Vampirism

7 posts in this topic

It was bad business that brought Dryston to Telvarnu, capital city of the Draco South.

He'd had occasion to visit here a few times in his youth, but mostly this region remained foreign to him, being the one most distant from his native Seinaru Forven, the northern quadrant of the continent. The city's proliferation of steam-powered technology was certainly bizarre to the mercenary--he was used to magic, or to technology that equivocated it. The contraptions that ran Telvarnu were noisy and roughshod, giving off the distinct impression that they might simply fall apart at a moment's notice, yet always able to keep operating somehow or another. Dryston supposed that the mechanical wizardry necessary to keep all of it pieced together was a kind of magic itself. Still, there were things about the city that were familiar, such as the thin veneer of legitimacy covering up the obvious corruption that ran through many of the city's institutions. Most foreigners would probably never notice how business was really done here, but Dryston had been raised in the heart of such a machine himself back in Eneraith City, and so its markings could not hide from him. Though he was hardly proud of his heritage, that familiarity with under-the-table dealings had served him well in this particular instance. Not two hours in a pub downtown and he'd managed to discreetly get the directions he needed.

Draco South was known for more than just shady business practices and funky steam technology. It was also known as the "vampire capital" of the continent--not that there weren't nightstalkers all over, if you knew where to look, but for some strange reason they just seemed to be a bit more prevalent down south. The north of the continent was known for its history of dragons and dragon-related activity, so the common rationale was that vampires tended to flee south so as to avoid a creature that was their natural enemy, fire being their bane and dragons being beasts that breathed it, and all. It was that very same concern which brought Dryston to the south now. He'd had the misfortune of acquiring the ailment himself. While it wasn't obvious what he was outwardly, the transition was more or less complete by this point, and he felt that the longer he lingered in this state the more difficult it would become to pass as human. Vampires were mostly tolerated here so long as they kept their natural urges to themselves, but that wasn't exactly the case everywhere, unfortunately.

So it was bad business that brought Dryston to this clandestine little bar beneath the basement of a supposedly legitimate establishment. Down here they served the "real customers"; a tin automaton bolted to the bar doled out drinks while men in coats and top hats conversed in low voices, or scanned the selection of well-dressed women who occasionally made rounds through the establishment. Dryston's black metal armor didn't fit with the suits and corsets, but he had enough of an in-the-know look about him to avoid attention. He knew the drill, which was to keep to himself at his little table in a dim corner, sipping on a beer that tasted slightly of coal while he waited for his contact--or contacts, he didn't exactly know--to arrive. He'd been told that yes, there was a party that could help him with his particular problem, and that the person could meet him here. Unfortunately, the middleman hadn't been willing to disclose any more than that. It was sketchy, sure--but in a place like this, that was how things got done.

---

@MrMaturity @Noonday Demon @EpicRome23 @ODSTDRAGON

 

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Tirven drove up to the city he knew what he'd be hired to do and where to go. He hated leaving his beautiful baby behind but yet if he lost that beautiful machine in this city he knew he'd never ever get it back. So he wandered in alone after hiding his precious machine that ferried him about. He decended into one of the sketchier parts. He could pick out the person he need to see due to his choice of apparel. So he walked over and sat down on the other side. He'd been told it was a group project. So he was waiting for the rest of the group. He looked rather Ominious on the other side of the table. With something purely unholy resonating on one side of the helmet he wore. It was nice and dark inside the helmet aswell. He grunted to the other man acknowledging his existence.

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The upstairs wasn't an awful place by any stretch. Not by any stretch at all.

Wrapped in the warm embrace of several rounds of whiskey, this was Arnell's immediate thought. And, looking around, it really wasn't. "Everything you'd want in a watering hole," he said to no one, squeezing one eye shut to get a fresh sense of his surroundings. There were tables and booths scattered haphazardly about the room, almost all of them occupied this time of day with common laborers eager to piss away their daily wages on however many drinks it took to knock them out until they awoke at dawn, bleary-eyed, ready to repeat the cycle.

There were a few more fortunate folks at the bar, merchants and low-powered politicians whose pockets weighed a bit heavier, who contented themselves with fancy cocktails and various strange-looking smoking implements quite unlike the crude wraps and clay pipes of the lower classes. "Leave it to the petty aristocracy to overcomplicate the pursuit of pleasure, eh," he muttered, still to nobody. Overall, it was a fairly wholesome place. A place a man could come, plop down without pomp or circumstance, and pass the time with a relaxing drink or several.

Arnell had never been fond of grand entrances. He had encountered too many wayward souls of various dignities--warriors, magi, scholars, politicians and royals, merchants and tradespersons, high- and low-status members of many races and professions--and he'd long since learned far too many of them were overinterested in making tremendous impressions. He admitted to himself this displeasure owed, in no small part, to his having absolutely no talent for it. Hard to project an aura of formidability when you're begging a noble's servants for water after a slog through  the desert, or when you've just come stumbling out of the jungle looking for someone to gently pull the leeches off your grapes. It was one of the most redeeming features of public halls that, generally, nobody felt the need to flourish a cape or turn up their chin upon walking through the front door. Everybody knows the rules, he mused, knocking back another round.

Well, almost everybody.

During the past hour--something like four or five drinks ago, he reckoned--two large men in heavy armor had clambered their way into the cramped space, one a few minutes after the other, a noticeable entrance if not a grand one, and had proceeded immediately... away.

Bars were the same nearly everywhere, he had realized some time ago. No matter what part of the world you're in, there are always two sides to each of them. Some of them served food alongside their ale. Some of them doubled as taverns, wrapping two or three floors of rooms around the bar top and the central hearth. Some of them were cut into sections to entertain the new "nonsmoking" trend among those of the working class who, by sheer dint of luck in the wake of increased trade from near and abroad over the past several years, had become something of a nouveau riche eager to spend its money even as it charted its own unique cultural waters. Put a little extra jingle in their pockets and they're suddenly too good for the pastimes of their former fellows. Who'd've thought?

This bar, he had discovered through his contact, belonged to that unique class of establishments which conducted two altogether different kinds of business. Or, rather, it catered to two entirely different types of entrepreneur.

Arnell signaled the barkeep, a gruff-looking but ultimately reasonable man who had provided unexpectedly engaging back-and-forth throughout the course of his visit. Generous in conversation and pour alike. A better man than I could have asked for. "I'm afraid, my good man," he slurred slightly, covering his mouth to stifle what he hoped was only a burp, "that I must close out my tab." He leaned forward, bringing his voice low. "You see, I've got to meet some friends of mine just south and open a new one."

The bartender leaned in even closer at that, his eyes darting back, forth, and back again. He tilted his head up just a bit and looked Arnell right in the eyes, studying him. Then, in almost a whisper, he said:

"I was wondering when you'd get the fuck out of my bar."

-----------------------

By every stretch, the downstairs was less awful still. Dimmer, smokier, seedier--and there are some lovely women down here, if you're into those sorts of girls. In the high spirits begotten of low spirits, he decided that he was. He was on the verge of rudely propositioning a woman turned squarely away from him when he caught the two big men sitting by themselves in a murky corner. "Always with the shadows," he mumbled, and turned to walk toward them.

"Whiskey, three please," he remarked as he passed the small bar. Looking to one side, he noticed the barkeep, a greying man in traditional attire--dark pants, a vest, a red tie--leaning hunched against the wall and staring back at him from behind a complicated-looking mechanical drink-slinger. Arnell had his right foot pointed up, paused in the motion of the next step toward the table, and he poked his head further around the contraption to make direct eye contact. "Sir, three whiskeys please?" He stuck out three fingers in a triangle and pointed toward the table where the two men were sitting. "For my friends and I. On me, of course." He couldn't tell whether the barkeep was glowering at him or on the verge of falling asleep, but three shiny coins, placed with a smile on the counter, bought him at least a weary nod.

"Gentlemen," he began as he came up to them, placing his hands together as if to pray, "A delight and pleasure to make both your acquaintances, I am sure." He hiccuped, then flashed them both a wide grin, revealing two rows of perfect white teeth. "Oh, excuse me. I don't often partake, and the stuff really goes through me." The pair were sitting opposite each other, so he took a seat immediately adjacent to both. He looked left, then right, then left again, at Dryston. "I am Arnell, of the esteemed Waymakers. I was made to understand you have urgent need of a professional guide and traveling companion, and I am happy to report for duty."

Three glasses of dark amber liquid were suddenly slid before them. He turned around to thank the old bartender, but but the man was somehow back behind the counter by the time Arnell went to speak. Craning his neck further, he noticed there were no waitresses to be seen. Only the machine, clicking and whirring as it parsed the orders, appeared responsive.

"Curious..." he remarked offhandedly. "But admirably efficient." He turned back to the table, his grin still in place, and pushed a glass toward each man before taking one for himself.

"A drink, then?"

Edited by Noonday Demon

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"Miss"

Sandra lounged in her chair, enjoying the pleasant buzz as cat-piss flavoured mead danced through her body. She'd been waiting for hours in the basement of some tavern steadily drinking her way through the last of her coins. Her previous employer had pointed her to this basement, telling her some sob story about a newly turned vampire wanting a way out.

"Ahem, Miss"

Sandra stroked the long axe propped against the table, leather wrapped handle within easy reach. She had a cure for vampirism right here, but if the pay was good
or it offered a decent adventure she was willing to go along with the fledgling's quest.

"EXCUSE ME"

The squeal cut through Sandra's buzz like a heavy axe through a skull, with a similar amount of pain.

"What?!"

"The man you asked me to look out for" the waitress looking at Sandra as if she was completely dense "he's here with some friends"

"Fine, fine" Sandra grumbled, fishing in her pockets to pull out some change "here's your tip"

Lurching back upright and collecting her axe she followed the waitress, ignoring the looks from the other patrons. She couldn't give a fuck if these dandies felt uncomfortable.

"That table in the corner"

Sandra's nod of thanks went unnoticed as the waitress flounced back to her duties. Shrugging Sandra stomped over to the table, the red headed man in battled scarred amour was clearly the one she had been told about. Didn't look like much of a vampire but looks can be deceiving.
 

"You must be Dryston. I'm Sandra, was told about your condition and that you're looking for a cure. I'm here to help you find one"

Grabbing a nearby chair she sat down, axe carefully placed next to her.

"So, who are your friends and what is the plan?"
 

Edited by MrMaturity

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Even though she done some rather questionable things in her past, Serane stayed away from these sorts of places if it was at all possible. A thin veneer of legitimacy hiding a hive of scum and villainy beneath. It wasn't a publically encouraged sort of thing, of course, but inaction was more or less akin to approval. Serane held her head up as she descended into the sordid portion of the establishment, obviously intent on a destination and her gaze daring someone to try and block her path. Nobody rose to the challenge, though she received a few leers. They could stare as they wished, she was used to it. There would only be a problem the moment one of them tried something. She reached her destination without trouble, and she sat down at the table without a word. She looked at each of the three men at the table in turn, nodding at the first two and focusing on the last of them with a smile. A familiar face, as she had suspected from the brief description she had received. She didn't know if he remembered the events of a couple of years ago, but she had not forgotten. Her mismatched eyes focused onto Dryston's.

"Been a while, hasn't it?"

She had more she wanted to say, but she would hold off for the moment. Behind her, she heard loud footsteps, and turned slightly to see who was approaching. It was an axe-wielding woman, who sat down at the table seconds later. She gave the newcomer a nod as well before turning back towards Dryston.

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Dryston glanced up briefly as each new person arrived at the table, trying to conjure up something to say to each new arrival and having his concentration broken as another one appeared in a cycle that repeated itself a few times. By the time Serane arrived, he made no such attempt to speak for several more moments, choosing instead to simply sip on his drink and wait a moment to see if any more would come. Dryston allowed a brief period of awkward silence to pass, looking from one person to the next. The redhead appeared to be the last..... for now at least. It was just as well, since every seat at the table was now occupied. Had he heard her right? "Been a while?" The woman seemed to suggest that they knew each other, and her face did give him a slight flutter of deja vu, but no actual recognition. The mercenary had bedded his fair share of women, almost always with alcohol in the mix, so the parade of shapely young bodies had long ago blurred together in his memory. Maybe this was one such wench..... just his luck if it was.

Dryston gave Serane a simple nod that left their relationship ambiguous to those observing, a necessary gesture being that he didn't recall what their relationship was himself, assuming he had even heard her right to start with. Next, he turned to the other woman that had spoken, the one with the axe.

"You tell me?" Dryston suggested, leaning back and shrugging slightly. "It seems you know why we're here. Aside from that--I don't know you lot six ways from Sunday. Kinda figured you'd be the ones to know each other, if I was bein' sent a team. Maybe I'm not the only one here who needs this, err, particular problem solved? Well, either way, let's do the introductions thing. I'll start. Name's Dryston Silver-Blood. Never planned on drinking my namesake, but"--Dryston paused and opened his mouth wide enough to show off his newly grown fangs for an instant--"there it is, eh? I'm here because I rather liked being alive and I'd like to go back to it. Helpful fellow pointed me in this direction. And you?" he said, his last direction directed to the table at large with a gentle sweep of his hand.

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Tirven looked around. Seeing if anyone was willing to go first. He noticed he was the first to react so he Slapped on a name tags for around 10 seconds before pulling it off and hiding it somewhere on his persons. His normal eye was a bright burning orange making it easily visbible despite the whites being hidden with the irises.  He just waited. Sizing up everyone else. His armor looked like it had been hit by a vehicle off of a cliff and into a sandy desert where it had been lost for years.  After his brief and simple into he locked to the person who had joined the table after he had come.

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