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Robbie Rotten

A Cure for Vampirism

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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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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.


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


"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 intro he looked to the person who had joined the table after he had come, And the next and next. He hadn't expected this. He wrote down that he could handle the thing to actually get them there and inquired prefer their feet or if they'd like a machine that could easily go much faster than them and further.


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"My goodness," Arnell remarked between hiccups. "Had I known I'd be in the company of such lovely personages as yours," he said as he regarded the two women who had joined their table, "I would have made a point to be on my best behavior today."

He raised his glass as if to toast, nodding at each of them. "Ah, well. What's done is done." He tipped his head back and emptied the glass in one gulp.

"I'm Arnell, of the noble Waymakers. I was hired to be your guide and stalwart traveling companion for the duration of this trip. I'm afraid I don't have the first clue where the hell we're going, but if you tell me where you're trying to get to, I guarantee I know the best way to get you there. I don't shrink from saying I've been across the world and back more times than I care to count, and I've seen nearly every inch of land on any side of the sea you like.

"As for you, my dear friend," Arnell continued, indicating Dryston, "First thing's first: before we set to going anywhere, I think it may behoove us all to have a short discussion about your, ah--" He shifted his weight, squinting warily. "--appetites. There are more than plenty of your kin in this part of the world content to keep to themselves, but I've played company to enough of you in my time to know you occasionally get a bit peckish on long journeys. I have no doubt you intend none of us any harm," he said, gesturing widely with both hands, "but men and monsters both often become quite unlike themselves when they're hungry." He offered them all another dose of his toothy smile. "We wouldn't want any unbecoming incidents, on this I am sure we all agree. I think it would be best if we had you on a liquid diet over the coming days, so we will need to keep watch on our way out of town for someone willing to part with--" He gave Dryston a curious, searching look, as if sizing him up. "--what do you reckon you are, a couple-pints-a-day guy?"

Edited by Noonday Demon

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"a couple-pints-a-day guy?"

"A honest question" Sandra said, nodding at the wayfinder "whilst I haven't had our companion's experience with fledgling's such as yourself, I find it a concern that needs to be answered".

Leaning forward onto the table, feeling the too-tight pinch of her shirt across broad shoulders, Sandra frowned for a moment before addressing herself directly to Dryston.

"As for where to go from here I would suggest any of the vampire elders that are sure to be around. If any that might have a clue on where to look it would be one of they."

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Serane could not tell whether Dryston's nod was an indication that he didn't desire to bring up their past in front of the group, or that he had somehow forgotten. In either event, she gave a slight nod in return, already intending to corner him for a few minutes and speak with him if the opportunity arose. After the others started to introduce themselves, she waited for a gap before leaning forward slightly and facing toward the others.

"I am Serane Blueheart. My skills tend toward diplomacy, but I am capable of holding my own in combat."

She sat back, waiting a few more moments before turning to face Sandra.

"I wouldn't be too surprised if there was one around who had found some sort of cure but were uninterested in using it themselves. Of course, that leaves the matter of finding them."


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The fellow with the orange eye responded to Dryston by putting on a nametag, leaving it in place just long enough for Dryston to realize what it actually was, squint at it, and make out the word "Tirven" before it was removed. A nametag, really? Were they back in kindergarten now? This guy as certainly an odd one. He hadn't spoken a word yet, and that last action made Dryston suspect he might actually be mute. It wouldn't be the first one he'd run into whose tongue had been cut out as a punishment for some offense or another, by whatever liege they might have served at some point. Somehow, the idea just seemed to click with the relatively dark atmosphere of this place. It just kind of felt like the place you'd run into a guy with their tongue cut out, some tough that's seen it all, Dryston thought. Well, he thought he'd seen it all too, then he turned into a vampire riding a drake. That was not a combination you saw every day. In fact, Dryston realized he might very well be the only one of his kind on the whole continent of Elendaron.....

Not for much longer, with any luck.

"A couple pints a day? Of what--blood, or ale?" Dryston asked with a chuckle. "I suppose I'd be guilty on both of those counts," he answered to his own question. He'd significantly increased his alcohol consumption since he turned; not eating solid food left plenty of room in the belly and nothing else to fill it with, plus one benefit of being undead was an unnatural resistance to hangovers. "Don't worry, I'll manage. Not a lot of folk know how to cure a vampire, but there's a healthy business for keeping them fed around these parts. Enough peaceful ones that there are blood merchants in most major settlements. Don't know how they get the blood and I don't ask. All I know is I ain't had to drain anyone yet, and as long as we're in Draco South, things are liable to stay that way."

Other regions of Elendaron had smaller vampire populations, so the supply of fresh blood may dry up if they ventured out into them. Dryston knew that there were no such blood merchants in his native Eneraith City back in Seinaru Forven, for instance. That was to say nothing of the question of other continents..... with any luck, they wouldn't have to venture that far afield. The real problem at hand was that, while they seemed good enough company, none of these people seemed to really know who would even have a cure for vampirism, much less what form that cure would take. The suggestion of a vampire elder seemed a shot in the dark to him. Why would a vampire elder, with no interest in using a cure, have managed to come up with one? Perhaps if they had suggested a specific vampire elder by name or something like that, but the wording made it clear that this was not the case. Dryston began to consider the distinct possibility that he'd been swindled, and that possibility really irked him.

But if he'd been cheated, why send anyone down here to meet with him at all, much less a full company?

Before he could further pursue the answer to that question, it arrived in the form of a figure wrapped in a white robe with golden trimmings. The enigmatic man--or woman? Dryston realized that he couldn't tell, as their face was hidden beneath the shadow of their hood--appeared with the silence of a wraith, so suddenly that he jumped a little when he realized that it was there. Tall, thin, and silent, it towered over the table for a moment, its hood moving slowly as it fixed its unseen eyes on each member of the party in turn. Was this their last member, Dryston wondered? He was about to ask the figure exactly that when a pale hand emerged from the folds of its robes and placed a note on the table between them all. It then leaned forward into the group, placing both hands on the table as it bent down.

"Be discreet. They're watching," it said in a whisper.

Then it turned and moved away from the table, seeming to glide across the floor rather than walk, still with an eerie silence about its movements.

"Hey! What is this? Who are you?" Dryston called after the figure, turning his head to follow its retreat, then moving to get up when he realized that it was ignoring him.

By the time he was halfway out of his seat, the figure had disappeared from view entirely, having vacated the little underground bar. Once again Dryston was struck by how unnaturally swift its departure was. It hadn't seemed to run, or to use any other form of real haste, yet it had still left in what felt like the blink of an eye. Weird, but whatever. The other patrons of the relatively cramped space were now all staring at him after he'd raised his voice and started to get up. Great--he was already doing good on the token of being discreet, he thought. Dryston looked around at everyone else awkwardly, then slowly got back into his seat, prompting the other patrons to return to their own business as they realized that nothing of actual interest was happening. Turning the small paper note over, he found only two words written on it in golden script.

Radiant Dawn

".....the hell.....this mean anything to you lot?" he asked, turning the note to show the rest of the table.

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Tirven looked the letter over many thoughts struck him here. Many places and things could mean this term. It was a cryptic message. So this was the job eh? It was puzzle work. He figured no one here really had a clue where to start. He'd once found a cure for vampirism, it had been mass produced but the plant was destroyed for obvious reasons meaning if there were even any vials left they'd cost more than a private army leaving it off the table, of curse perhaps Radiant dawn was the name of a cure. So he started to gesture. However when he realized it was kind of hard to gesture out Radaint and dawn, he simply wrote down possibilities on paper listing any he  could think of on the page.  Then he turned and gestured to the rest for ideas and thoughts or any contributions. Writing detailed notes to what was there and to any ideas the other could call out. Everything from code to cute to place and to names were already down as a forethought. Of course the Other world vistor could be leading them to a trap or astray so he wrote down these possibilities to. He then passed paper and the preferred writing utincil of the area to the next man the one who'd gotten to the table afterwards. Tirven would really like to know his name but it always slipped the first few times because he had to get a feel for the person and the face they wore before any names came about. He looked at Dryson, wasn't that his name? Oh hell he was slipping again. And gave him the temporary title of the Employer. He gave a curt nod before passing the letter of only two words with the page. After that he proper his head on a hand and looked down the table to the rest of the ... team? Crew? Party? Yea party would do nicely.

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Sandra sat, listening to Dryston's explanation. Whilst he expressed confidence in his ability to restrain himself whilst in the city, Sandra noticed that he made no mention of how long his self control would last in the wilderness. But before she could raise the issue with him a figure in white appeared without fanfare or noise of its approach. Almost as if summoned. Instantly Sandra's heart was in her ears and a blood driven tingling was in her limbs. She wrapped her hands on the leather wrapped haft of her axe and braced her feet, ready to explode into furious action.

The figure reached out to place a letter on the table and leaned forwards to whisper about watchers. With the battle thrill still racing through her body, Sandra had to restrain herself. Looking beyond the white robed stranger and focusing on the crowd Sandra could not see any that raised immediate interest, but that did not mean that none were around.

With her senses tuned into hunting for watchers in the room Sandra almost missed the figure moving away. So smooth was its departure that it seemed as if it was melting through the crowd rather than walking through it. As it disappeared Dryston brought the tables attention back to him and showed everyone the note and it's simple message.

"The Radiant Dawn means nothing to me, but it is obvious that someone would know of it." Sandra said with a shrug,  reading over the notes contents "Also, it strikes me as convenient that you should gather a group to help you with your problem and upon our first meeting strange figures appear with strange messages. I would seek out this group but it would be wise to exhibit caution. More information is needed. Dryston, you seem familiar with this city, who best to speak to about this group?"

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Upon seeing the figure at the table, one of Serane's hands subtly slipped toward one of her concealed daggers, the other remaining in place atop the table for appearance's sake. Even if she had wanted to, however, the figure departed too fast for her to strike. She turned her attention toward the letter, and then listened to the responses of the other. Once again, she agreed entirely with the other woman. Was she smarter than her appearance suggested, or was it simply that sometimes women could see what men didn't? Perhaps she was simply overthinking this. Regardless of what was correct, Serane faced Dryston.

"Whoever you need information from, I have ways of getting it if they aren't willing to simply share. Other than that, the plan seems sound as it is."

She said this with a smile on her face, a hint of malicious enjoyment behind it. She briefly wondered if she was coming off as too eager.

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"Well, maybe that weirdo was one of the people who's supposed to help me out. Dunno what was up with the whole cloak-and-dagger approach, but this might be something he's not really supposed to be passing around. Can't know until we learn more," Dryston responded to Sandra's suspicious comments, which were of course entirely justified. This whole business had already veered into the bizarre, but digging seriously for cures to vampirism tended to do that, he imagined. Not every vampire wanted to be "cured," and Dryston knew enough of his home continent to know that there were forces which might want such a thing suppressed. Serane's comments were a bit more reassuring, as she seemed confident in simply doing whatever needed to be done, although Dryston did wonder what exactly she meant by saying she "had ways" of getting information. That usually led in two distinct and very different directions, when someone made a comment that pointed. Given her appearance, he honestly couldn't tell which one she referred to. Maybe she could do both, how the hell should he know?

"Alright, c'mon. No use stickin' round in here anymore. You're right, Sandra--I have got an idea."



"Yes? What brings you to the house of god today, my children?"

Dryston looked around shiftily as he made the long walk up the center aisle of the church to meet the priest who waited behind the altar. His gaze fell upon his allies several times, looking at them anxiously as if he expected to burst into flames at any moment and would need them to put him out, but no such thing happened. Whatever kind of church this was, he supposed it wasn't the type of hallowed ground that burned undead who walked on it. Or he just wasn't that type of undead..... or something. Maybe he wasn't evil enough for that kind of stuff to affect him? Dryston really didn't know shit about all this supernatural stuff. One reason he was so averse to actually being a supernatural creature.

"You, ah..... how to ask this....."

"Have you come seeking information? Guidance around the city, perhaps? Do not be shy. I offer my services willingly to those in need--you need not engage in formalities here, whatever faith you may follow."

"Huh. Okay."

Another thing Dryston didn't know very much about was religion, but he did know that most of the continent's proper churches had some consistent moral standards. For instance, if he went in here asking around after a potential cure for vampirism, it was highly unlikely that a holy man would go running off to inform shady groups who would proceed to hunt him down or anything like that. It was safe to talk to a priest, at least as safe as you could get with a stranger, Dryston supposed. Furthermore, he imagined that a priest would be fairly knowledgeable about something related to curing the undead. In particular, if this "Radiant Dawn" were a group or organization like his companions seemed to think, it sounded like some sort of holy order. If that were the case, a priest was almost guaranteed to know about it.

"What do you know about the 'Radiant Dawn?'"

"Ah, the Radiant Dawn? You must not be a native of these realms, my son. Why do you ask?"

"Well, erm..... okay. How about this. Let's say I have a friend who's been bitten by a vampire, and he needs something done about that. This..... 'Radiant Dawn.' It can help with that?"

"It? It would be more proper to say that they can help. The Radiant Dawn is a new faith in Elendaron, springing up right here in the Draco South and growing its influence rapidly since its inception a short time ago. I was still an acolyte when I first heard the words fall from a man's lips. At that time, it was considered little more than a fringe sect, a cult living out in a compound in the woods. Now, they are a major religious order in this city, and throughout all the southern reaches of the continent. So far as this humble priest knows, they are honorable and true in their faith. Though I do not follow their ways personally, they have done many good works, and their path runs parallel to my own."

"Newbies, are they?"

That explained why he'd never heard of them. In addition to being from Seinaru Forven, and the north of the north at that, which meant he was from the region farthest away from where this Radiant Dawn had formed, Dryston would've also left the continent right about the time they started to seriously expand their influence.

"Well, that's all well and good, but how about my question? You know, the vampire thing? Just, uhh..... I'm asking for a friend, you know. Hypothetically."

"There is no need to conceal your condition from me, son. I could sense your true nature the moment you crossed beneath my mantle. I do not judge you for your affliction. It is not what is, but rather what one does, that determines his judgment in the eyes of god."

"Oh! Oh, really? Well, that's, you know--"

"As to your question, I do not know, in truth. I am not overly familiar with the magicks and rituals of the Dawn. I do know of constant talk that they seem to gain new recruits every time they attack a vampire clan, but such rumors are only that, speculation. More than that, I cannot say," the priest continued, ignoring Dryston's fumbling with words.

The mercenary decided to just stop trying to speak and nod in response, turning to the others for comment. He had one more thought to give voice to first, however.

"Okay, so this Radiant Dawn..... they've gotta have branches right here in Telvarnu, then? If they're from the south originally?"

"Of course. There are many chapels of their faith scattered throughout the city. I also understand the Radiant Dawn to have at least one major fortress a short distance outside the city. Go with god, child," the priest said, walking away from the altar and back to where he'd been sitting originally.

"Well, I guess that answers our questions, at least the first ones. What say we go give these guys a knock on the door?"

Dryston began to walk back down the aisle and out of the church as he spoke.

"Oh, also, where are you lot from? Must not be from around these parts either, if we were all totally ignorant on this whole Dawn thing, huh?"

Perhaps after hearing where she was from, Dryston might be able to remember what was so familiar about Serane.....

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