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DarkHorse

The Fates that Bind

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Quin sat at the long dirty bar, moodily swirling her whiskey neat around in the glass. The bar was dark, dingy, smelled of horse and was full of travelers of various types. All of them looking to profit off of the ruins of Lanternway. The promise of rare magical weapons in the cavern too great to deter them from entering the dangerous depths. 

The small town she set up her clinic in practically popped up over night. A shanty town built on promise and broken dreams. She made a small fortune off of the wounded adventurers that somehow managed to make it back alive. Empty handed and full of holes, scratches or curses. May of the people that ventured into Lanternway never came back, probably sucked in and consumed by the black abyss of the caverns or the many other dangers above ground. She heard rumors that the plants themselves worked against the living....she was curious to see them...but not curious enough to risk her own neck. 

She took a sip of her whiskey and grimaced, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. 

"You call this swill whiskey?" She asked the bar keep.

He smiled and shrugged at her, "You are the one that keeps asking for it. I didn't promise it would be good." 

Quin looked around the bar and noticed a group of travelers in the corner, all conspiring about how they planned to reach the treasures within the cavern.

"Here's to new customers for you and me." She raised her glass to him and took another sip. 

"You sure you don't want the blacksmith to take a look at that thing?" The bar keep pointed to the thick collar around her neck, its single remaining chain attached to it dangling. 

"It won't come off." She shrugged, "I've had every 'expert' out there try to hack, magic and saw the damn thing off. Only way for it to come off would be to remove my head first." 

"How did you end up with that thing anyway?" He leaned his beefy arm on the bar. 

Quin looked up at him and quirked her eyebrow, "Do you really want to know or are you just making conversation because you are bored?" 

He raised his hands, "Point taken. Perhaps one of those magical weapons could break that collar?"

Quin laughed, "Now you are just talking dirty to me. Are you going to be the one to find the weapon that will break it?"

"No way!" He exclaimed, "I'm not crazy enough or skilled enough."

"Neither am I." She agreed. 

There was only one man in her life that she would be fool enough to follow into that depraved place. She hadn't seen him in over ten years, not since she - no she would refuse to think on it. She refused to remember, she pushed down the memories and the tremor in her hands it always brought on. She finished her whiskey in one big gulp and slammed it down on the bar. 

"Another."

@Greenmntman

Edited by DarkHorse

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When Julius had heard of a town that had been overrun by malevolent spirits, he knew right away he was needed there. So, he packed his things and made arrangements to get there. It was soon after he arrived that he had begun to scope out the surrounding areas. It seemed that many people had been drawn to the wreckage of the town, be that to help those in need or simply for greed was another story. Even the newly boom town was filled with freshly dead spirits. He of all people knew not all spirits were bad, but the ones wandering here were searching for something, and soon their greed would control them and they would be in need of a cleansing. This of course fell to his shoulders. He hated when spirits like these became festering sores. It was best to take care of them before they got to that point, like an infection.

He had made certain that he had kept low in the shadows. He had been in this town for over two weeks now, but he spoke to little people. A bit of a recluse he was. He preferred it that way. Whispers, of course, had cropped up around him. He had a bit of a reputation about the town as the mysterious type. Perhaps it was due to his off-standish personality. Though he assumed it was mostly due to his peculiar spectral orbs. They appeared almost a moonlight paleness, with an outlandish type of lack of typical white pupil. Instead, they had a grayed over center, similar to blinding contacts. Though the man could see Far better than most, the man never corrected those who assumed he was blind... in fact, he found it a bit convenient how they moved out of his way as he passed and shifted their gazes from him. It could also be perhaps because of his rather intimidating aura. His tones often came off as cold or bitter, even when he had the best of intentions. There was also the fact he could be found whispering to himself as if someone was there with him.

Although currently, the man found himself tucked away on the side of a bar, bustling with noisy people talking about their tactics on how to kill themselves that day within the caverns. It wasn't Julius' job to tell people to not rush to their deaths. He just made coin getting rid of the problems they agitated. A match flickered as he brought the flame to his cigarette and took a long drag, leaning back in his wooden chair with his leg up on the table. Smoke filtered above him as he held a glass of brandy in his other hand. He carried with him a heavy cane, his bag draped over the back of the chair. The cane was intricately marked, carved painstakingly carefully with runes and strange sigals. The dome head fit nicely in his hand, and, from the worn look of the cane, it could be gathered this particular item was more than likely carried with him at all times, which was strange for a male who looked hardly nearing his twenties.

Finishing off his cigarette, he drank from his glass. He supposed he could head down to the ruins again and gather more information on the source of the spirits. He swirled the glass slowly as he thought of what to do that day.

Edited by DoomSparkles

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Aidan burst threw the door of the tavern, it was a large narrow wooden door, barely big enough for him to squeeze through without turning his battle armor. It was perfect he thought, couldn't have asked for anything better. The place was a dump along with everything else in the town, but it was big enough it could hold a large number of unwanted company. He took a very quick look around at the people who were now staring at him, there was a bartender, a woman who was drinking shots of something or another, a blind man, and a couple other groups of people who all seemed to be engrossed in their own conversations. None of them seemed to be the sort who were looking for a fight. Perfect. Aidan turned toward the door again stepping just inside the entrance so he was covered on both sides by the walls, and drew his sword, and raised his shield. He looked over to the shacks on the other side of the street and saw a lantern swaying inside and nothing else on the street. He took a deep breathe so the men following him could hear him across the town. 

"All right you assholes, if you think you can take me, here I am! All I ask for is a good fair, honest fight!" Ira got ready, and within ten seconds four men came sprinting down the street, swords in hand. They were not nearly as well armored as Aidan was, but three of them did have shields. The first one came charging threw the door, out of breath and disoriented from sprinting. His shield bounced off the doorway knocking him off balance before he even actually entered the building. Aidan took a step aside, thrust his sword, and there were only three left. The other three decided they were not nearly going to be as foolish, taking a moment and pointing out who was going where. This wasn't part of the plan, he liked people remaining stupid if they were trying to kill him. Aidan raised his voice again,

"Now would be a really good time if we are going to do this!" As he finished the sentence, he saw all three men rush at him. The first one made it to the door where they exchanged swords, as the second man tried to figure out how to get involved. The third seemed content in letting the other two do the dirty work when Aidan saw the bolt go threw his chest and let out a dying scream. This gave pause to the other two, who paused to look where it came from. Aidan didn't miss his chance, the other man in the doorway completely lowered his arms from defending himself. As a result, he lost his arm up to his shoulder blade, and as he set about screaming, the second bolt came from the last man.

"There" thought Aidan, "Nice and quick. Perfect". He saw his partner Ira walking toward him, crossbow in hand. 

"Funny thing about that, I heard you say you'd prefer a good honest fight, but I never heard you say that you were going to fight fair yourself." Aidan looked down at the bodies, half of them still writhing in the dirt. The sight didn't give him pleasure, but still these men were escaped prisoners. Fugitives from the law, and had quite the bounty on their heads - or more precisely their ankles, where they were branded. Aidan put them out of their misery, and Ira cut off their ankles, throwing them in his magical sack where they would remain, unspoiled until they were to be turned over to the authorities. They threw the bodies on the side of the road. Ira looked excited, he was grinning from ear to ear, but Aidan was still not pleased that he had been so slow with the crossbow.

"Took you long enough. I'm just sayin' I thought it was going to be my scalp there for a while. What was the hold up anyway?" Ira looked over at him after rummaging threw the last man's pockets with no results other than a few small coins. 

"Would you relax even just one second. Four dead bodies, 5 gold hawks per body. That's a lot of money we just made, and I am sorry I didn't move fast enough and you broke a nail. Go in there, order two drinks, and I will be in with you in just a second."

Aidan walked into the bar, and sat next to the girl who looked like she had been drinking hard for sometime now. He threw some coins up on the bar and motioned to the bartender. 

"Here is the coin for two beers, and he is the coin for when you clean up the 4 corpses outside."

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The barkeep poured more whiskey into her glass and let out a disgusted growl.

"Uhg, he is back again." He said.

"Who?" 

"That kid - the weird one." The barkeep said pointing to the corner, "I thought I told Maddie not to serve him."

Quin turned around to look. It was the man that looked like he was blind....Quin knew better - but she wasn't in the business of correcting others. She left him well alone, he had been hovering around the town the last few weeks. He was drinking a brandy and smoking a cigarette. 

"Ah let him be Ed." Quin turned back to the barkeep, "Maddie says he tips well, and so long as he pays his bill and doesn't cause trouble I don't see the harm in him being here."

"I don't like him - he is weird." Ed insisted.

Quin leveled him with a glare, "And what? You trying to run a respectable establishment here? This is a shanty town built on suicidal mad men seeking magical weapons. You think its going to attract Normal people?" 

Ed thought on that a moment and shrugged, "Fine, point made. But I still don't have to like him." 

The door to the bar burst open and a tall man fully armored was standing in the doorway. His face shadowed and the gleaming light from outside trying to enter the gloom around his bulk. Quin paused, drink mid-way to her lips, what the fuck was this guy about? He seemed to give the bar the once over before turning, drawing his sword and hefting his shield.

Quin took a sip of her Whiskey, she claimed to have seen it all, but this man seemed quite touched. 

"All right you assholes, if you think you can take me, here I am! All I ask for is a good fair, honest fight!" The once familiar voice boomed from the doorway.

Quin choked on her whiskey and spit it all over the bar, Aiden. She would never forget that voice, the tremor returned to her hands. While she may not have known him for long, she would certainly never forget him. What the fuck was he doing here and where was Ira? 

He was using the doorway to kill the four men that had chased him, although they seemed smarter than he had counted on because he almost looked nervous. 

"Now would be a really good time if we are going to do this!" He yelled.

Had he gone round the bend? He was yelling to no one, there was no one there. 

She couldn't see what was going on outside, only Aiden's hulking form fighting. He stopped and stepped back outside, the door closing behind him and the appropriate gloom setting into the bar once again. An echoing silence in his wake. 

"What the fuck was that?" Ed exclaimed, "Fucking place draws in all the crazies!" 

Quin half stood on her stool and leaned over she grabbed a napkin from behind the bar and dabbed at her chin and the whiskey all over the bar. 

Aiden re entered the bar, he plopped down on the stool next to her, thew some coins on the bar and signaled to Ed. Ed cautiously approached him. 

"Here is the coin for two beers, and he is the coin for when you clean up the 4 corpses outside." Aiden said.

"What the fuck do you think I am?" He asked, "I'm a bar keep not a mortician! Clean up your own damn dead bodies....Leave them to rot for all I care - all the dead go in the same ditch here anyway...there are plenty of them." 

He grumbled as he poured two beers and slid them down the bar to him. 

Quin's hands continued to shake and she tried to take a sip of her drink to steady them. He appeared not to recognize her, why should he? The last time they met he thought she was a prostitute - she snorted - she quickly divested him of that idea. Another more pressing question came into her mind, where was Ira? 

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Julius watched as the strange armored man barricaded himself within the doorway and stood his ground. At first, he was shocked how stupid the people were here, but it didn't even phase him anymore. Darwinism held strong in this place. Looks like he found something to do... As the fight finished off, he too finished his drink, stood, and gathered his things. He paced carefully to the bartender with his cane in tow and snatched the coin dubbed for "cleanup".

"You all should have more respect for the dead... This is why people have trouble with them in the first place," the male grumbled with annoyance, his spectral gaze piercing into the hunter for a brief moment.

Having already paid his tab, he swung his cane over his shoulders and hooked his arms over the cane. Looking over the gore, he examined them briefly before tying together the bodies and dragging them off without a single care of what looks he was given. Someone had to do it after all.

He found a local cemetery and began making a small grave for them. He threw the bodies in, poured a concoction over them, and lit a cigarette, burning their remains with the match. Taking a long drag ,he watched the bodies burn. There was an itch in the back of his head... he couldn't shake the feeling someone was watching him. Not that it wasn't normal for him to be watched. 

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Ira put the last of his armor back on, grunting and feeling far more at ease.

“By far the worst part about this armor” he thought, “if you have to pee, it takes an entire process.” Considering he had waited in the shack across the road for over an hour – and that was after the time it took to make sure Aidan was in place and ready to steal the small sack of coins from their camp thereby creating a ruckus and being able to bait them into a position. Ira thought correctly as it turned out, that between Aidan’s large shield, and the sturdy door frame, it would be a one on one fight, not four on one. The crossbow could do the rest, even if he had the worlds hardest time loading it for that first bolt.

Ira walked back from around the alley where he thought he didn’t have to worry about people stealing his stuff. He had spent the last several days scouting the village, seeing every tavern door and side alleyway he could find – just in case things went south. He found that people here seemed to keep for themselves, not bother strangers, and mind their own business. He figured that was what would draw four escaped prisoners to a shanty town in the middle of nowhere like this anyway. That or they were stupid enough to go after the legendary magical stuff buried away somewhere.

When he came within sight of the tavern again, he noticed that there were considerably less corpses in front of it then when he had left. He looked around and saw man with a cane dragging all four bodies down the road toward the cemetery. Ira rested outside by the door and watched this strange sight from a-far. He clearly wasn’t a member of the bar staff, and clearly wasn’t blind as the cane would suggest. Young and clearly strong, Ira watched as the man burned the bodies.

“Good enough for me.” Thought Ira as he walked in and surveyed the tavern. Shockingly enough it seemed like Aidan was still in a cranky mood.

“That makes every day for ten years.”  Ira muttered to himself. As he walked up behind the two of them, he couldn’t help look at the woman he was snarling at, and know that he had seen her before.

Aidan apparently took offense to some small slight, and had been telling her all about it.

“Look, I am saying is don’t be eye balling someone after they get into a fight without saying why, it seems suspicious.” Aidan reached down and his hand touched the hilt of his sword, with the woman glaring at him from the next seat over.

“Oh shit.” Ira exclaimed to himself. He walked over to the two of them and announced loudly,

“Would you relax and get your hand off of that thing before she hurts you with it?” He turned to the woman, who he recognized from the glare as his very old friend.

“Hi, Quin, good to see you”.

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The man with the strange eyes approached the bar and snatched up the coins for the removal. 

“You all should have more respect for the dead... This is why people have trouble with them in the first place.”  His voice icy and annoyed. 

As he walked out of the bar, Ed complained loudly. 

“See what I am talking about!?” He exclaimed, “Weird with a capital W!” 

“He has a point, you really shouldn’t leave them baking in the alley like that...” Quin countered, “I mean if it were me left to rot I would haunt your ass!” 

She took another sip of whiskey to steady her hands and shot a sideways look at Aiden. Dare she say something? The last time they spoke things were not left on the best of terms - 

“What the fuck are you looking at?” Aiden made the decision for her. 

“It would appear to be you.” She answered sarcastically, “ Have a problem with that?” 

Ed sensed trouble, “ Want me to toss this bloke out on his ass Doc?” 

“No it’s fine.” She shook her head, looking away. 

It appeared Aiden wasn’t done, he looked to be in a bad mood. Quin smirked, not much changed in ten years, she would be willing to bet some gold that he was still a huge whore monger as well. 

“What the hell are you smirking at?” Her smirk seemed to have incensed him more. 

“You got a problem with friendly people?” She countered. 

Look, I am saying is don’t be eye balling someone after they get into a fight without saying why, it seems suspicious.”  His hand reached for his sword. 

Out of habit, Quin went for her pistol. She shot him a glare that dared him to try to harm her, she whooped his ass once before and she would do it again.

The sound of heavy armored boots approached from behind them. 

Would you relax and get your hand off of that thing before she hurts you with it?”  The familiar voice ripped through Quin like an icy shock wave. 

She turned to look into the all too familiar face of Ira. He had grown up a bit since she last saw him. He looked like he had seen one too many battles....would he still be angry with her for lying to him and sending him out of Lydon with Aiden instead of herself? Would he even recognize her? 

“Hi, Quin, good to see you.”  He greeted her. 

Quin stared, open mouthed, she tried to think of something to say, but instead: 

“What the fuck are you two doing here?!” Blurted from her mouth. 

She pulled out her pipe, stuffed it with herbs and lit it, taking several puffs. 

“What I mean to say is-“ she thought, what could she say after ten years? “Hi?” 

 

Edited by DarkHorse
Greenmtnman gave me permission to speak for Aiden for a hot min.

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Just as fast the feeling was gone. He took another long drag, watching the long flames lick up the sides of the small hole. Memories danced in his pearl eyes, which he quickly stashed away. He'd burned many bodies before. Some more pleasantly than others. He blew out a large cloud of smoke and stared up at the sky, watching the two clouds intertwine. The smell of burning flesh was awful, and he kept his distance as to not get the smell on him. He would shower anyways, but it never hurt to have caution.

 

After the bodies had been consumed, he filled the hole again. He walked casually towards the keeper and nod towards him. The keeper seemed to be the only one who never looked too strangely at him. Him and maybe Maddie. She was a simple, curious gal, nice and friendly. He liked her, but not in that manner of the word. It wasn't as though he was sweet on her, but she was nice to him, and that was rare. He would try his best to see no harm came to her. He could only hope she would listen to him whenever he gave her the trinket in his pocket, wrapped in a small napkin.

He was... bad at talking to people in a casual sense. He could talk his way out of near any situation, but when it came to talk about normal things he just froze up. 

Julius wiped his forehead with a cloth and carefully made his way back to the tavern, rehearsing his lines in his head. Perhaps he would be stepping out of line. Was it strange to give someone something to protect themselves with? Would she even take the gift seriously? Normally he kept his distance from people, and for good reason, but it seemed like such a shame for something to happen to someone so...full of light and happiness. Or maybe she was putting up a front for him. He was just a customer,and she was trying to make a living. What did he know. He sighed softly and looked up to the darkened sky just outside the tavern. It might rain soon... He knew better though. 

He had seen the increase of spirits around the town and heard the whispers of the fallen. This town was to be attacked soon, and he would need to be prepared to defend it. What he didn't know was who was behind it and just how many. He'd stocked up on supplies and traps, leaving small hidden wards around the town to dispel any evil magics attempting to bring harm to those inside the buildings and ward away malevolent spirits. The town was small, so he had enough supplies, set up everything within a day or two. What he couldn't understand was why this place drew so many shady people. Greed he supposed. It was a good fuel for both those dead and alive to cause trouble with. 

Julius quietly reentered the bar and took his seat at his usual table. He laid out a hand drawn map, hoping to distract himself  by studying the town below more to find the source. He had a strong guess it had to do this hidden treasures but he needed to find the source to shut it down.

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Ira laughed heartily as he saw the look of shock on his old friend after 10 long years. Finally reunited, he slapped Aidan across the chest and told him, 

"If you stopped being so cranky for just one second, you would have recognized her." He turned his attention to far more pressing matters as the bartender walked over to him. "Ah, now here's a well earned beer." He turned to Quin, "Well, to answer your last question, we came to this ... umm lovely town here, looking for the four now dead corpses outside of this place. They escaped from the Reyer prison complex after not wanting to spend half of a lifetime there after the four of them robbed a few different banks. Of course, the good people at Reyer put a rather large bounty on all of their heads, which gave us enough incentive to track them down. Once we figured out that they came here, it was just a matter of how we take them when its only 2 of us against 4 of them. But that was easy enough. So, either tomorrow or the next day we will head back and collect that bounty."

He took a long swig of the beer - mediocre at best. Aidan didn't seem to care, he was already near the bottom of his second pint.

"But in a more general sense, we've been bounty hunting, we've hired help to protect caravans, we even were hired as customs workers for little while based on nothing but we were large, and had armor. It's safe to say, anything that can pay, we've done it. I have a nice pile of coin saved up, and Aidan here has whored and drank his way throughout most of the known world." Ira laughed as Aidan raised his beer and grunted in approval. "It's amazing his dick hasn't fallen off yet. By the way, what the hell are you doing around here yourself?"

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An hour or so later, Ira had polished off his fifth drink and Aidan looked like he was trying not to drool on himself. Quin had been drinking whiskey before any of them had gotten their, and remained significantly ahead of them. The bar had emptied out, but the man who had dragged the bodies away remained, he had been looking over something nearly the entire time. He had drawn Aidans attention most of all and at this point, and Ira was nearing staring at him. Aidan was the first to speak,

"What the heck do you think that guy is up to?"

Ira stumbled up from the bar and struggled slightly to gain his balance. 

"I don't know, but lets have some fun and find out."

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Quin caught up with them for what seemed like hours, watching them both down an impressive amount of beer for the time frame.  That had certainly changed from when she gave him his first fire whiskey - that and the mercenary work - and he seemed much bigger than when she last saw him. She worked hard to refrain from showing her outward excitement too much, from his reaction she guessed he never found the letter she tucked away in his bag when they parted ways, it was probably for the best. She stopped at her second whiskey, not caring to have a monster hang over later.

Aiden was staring at the gentleman that returned to the bar, the one that buried the criminals. His staring drew Ira's attention and they were both openly gawking at him. 

"What the heck do you think that guy is up to?" Aiden slurred.

"What ever the heck he wants to - leave him the fuck alone." Quin said sternly.

Her words went unheard and Ira staggered up, taking a moment to find his balance.

"I don't know, but lets have some fun and find out." He clearly was in an instigating mood.

Quin heaved a heavy sigh and rolled her shoulders, preparing to knock some drunken heads together in an attempt to get them to behave. She rolled up her sleeves and cracked her knuckles. Before she could turn to address them, a rumbling sound caught her attention, she looked at the bar and watched the beer in Ira's mug begin to slosh around as the rumbling grew louder and the whole bar began to vibrate. The very ground beneath them was shaking, the various liquor bottles along the wall clanking as they hit each other. 

"Haven't had one this strong..." Ed said nervously. 

The shaking suddenly stopped, they heaved a sigh of relief. The shaking wasn't from earth quakes, no, it was from the caverns and whatever was down there. The silence stretched on for a long moment, then the wailing started. 

It began quietly, so quietly that it was almost unnoticeable. Then it grew louder, and louder and louder. It was a wailing shrieking sound that pierced the heart and struck terror through it. 

Quin pulled her pistol out from its home on her side and rushed out the door to see what the clamor was. It was a hoard of angry spirits  - or that is what it looked like - except they were....armed? With weapons? 

She lined up her pistol to take a shot, but before she could, an icy hand plunged through her chest and pulled. It was a fraction of a second, then splitting pain as she felt like she was being sucked forward and pushed backwards at the same time. She remained standing, but her body fell backwards and hit the dusty ground with a heavy thump, unmoving. The world became a swirl of haze and hues of grey and black and red....Her brain a mess of fog and confusion. She turned and looked down, she could see herself, sprawled out on the ground. Chest moving up and down, still clearly breathing...but she wasn't in her body. She was practically hovering over it - panic setting in. 

 

 

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It wasn't the sudden tremor that caught him off guard, nor the icy looks from the tavern, but the cold breath that chilled his lips. Now? It was more sudden than he expected. His eyes scanned the bar who did he have? There were a few patrons in the bar, the two from before (now drunk beyond use he wagered), and the lass who always chat with the bartender. NOT what he hoped for, but it would have to do.

He immediately stood and grabbed his cane instinctively. His vision snapped to the window, noticing the spirits begin to creep into the town. He reached down and slapped his case on the table. From within he pulled out a rather large bag of salt. It was just as he began digging around he noticed the woman flee from the tavern. 

"No you idiot! What do you plan to do against them!? Lights damned it--" He threw the bag at the bartender and snapped, "If you want this place still standing by the end of this you'll do as I say. Cover all the windows and doors in this building. Don't leave a single one unsalted. No matter what happens, Do Not  break that line of salt. The safety of everyone in this building depends on it." With that said, he dashed for the door.

 

Once outside, he was swarmed with the utter amount of walking spirits. Visible in their true forms to his eyes. He cringed and noticed they wield weapons. Strange... Perhaps they learned to withdraw the item's astral form...or these weapons could be cursed. Either way, it wasn't good.

He quickly scanned for the girl and found her just as he was able to watch her astral form separate within the other dimension. "Oh no you fucking don't!" He spat as he took off after her.

Within a few steps he was on her, and by proxy, the spirit next to her. He prepped his cane for a swift swing directly through the spirit's body, destroying it with a hazy hiss and a puff of smoke. He skid to a fault then turned, leaping up towards her. He removed his glove to reveal an unsettlingly pale hand. It was practically transparent. Then, his hand grabbed her.

Yes, he grabbed her projection and threw her back down to her physical body. 

They landed with a firm slam to their feet on the ground, like falling from a bit of a jump. The spirits drew closer. They were losing time. He looked less than amused. "Hurry! Your gun isn't going to do a damn thing with that shit ammo," Julius growled and pulled her along with his still gloved hand, hardly giving her time to even think of what just happened.

The duo raced back within the tavern where he swiftly slammed the door--which he hoped they had salted by now.

He took a deep breath and slowly let it out as he strode towards his brief case. He began speaking as he rummaged around. "If Anyone else would like a one way trip Blasted into the astral dimension be my guest. The door is right over there and there are many volunteers willing to take you there to devour your souls before you even realize where you are," said the disgruntled man as he set out some strange items. "Those of you who wish to survive will do well to pay attention to what I say. These creatures are not your bed time story ghosts. They are Powerful, Vengeful spirits who will cut you down and use your soul as a tasty snack without so much as a blink of morality. Likely here for the same reason you are. Greed." He finished off his sentence with a cock of a shotgun before setting it down on the table. His eyes fell on a girl, terrified in the corner of the room. He hesitated and the irritation seemed to leave from his voice a bit. He went back to preparing things, setting bottles up and small sacks. "Don't worry. This town will be safe as long as everything goes according to plan. I'm a supernatural hunter. I specialize in spirits and the beyond." 

Julius calmly walked to the center of the tavern. Taking his cane in hand, he struck the ground with a firm strike, shooting bursts of light through the floor boards to each of the corners of the building. The outside flashed with a brilliant light. The spirits trailing on their heels must have gotten too close to his wards. He didn't even bother to look behind him as anything that tried to cross the barrier was erradicated, their swords and weapons dropping with a clank. The spirits paused as several other places within the shanty town began to glow with bubbles of light. Loud hisses and clanks of metal could be heard as the mass cleansing began and Julius' hard work began to pay off.

Julius crossed the room and cleared out a section on the table. "I need anyone willing to fight to line their weapons up here so that I may inspect them. Ed, I need round up any salt and iron you can find. Can I trust you to do this? You there, Archer. What are your bolts made of? You, Tin-can, what is your sword made of? Miss, take these, they work much better than those will," he dumped a handful of specially crafted bullets into the hands of Quin.

A patron spoke up with obvious confusion in his voice. "Wait-wait-wait... We're just going to let this KID boss US around!? Just Who are you anyways?"

Julius blinked with a bit of confusion himself. "Ah... I suppose I didn't mention my name. I am Julius. The 19 year old who is saving your lives," he smirked with a little bit of pride.

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Ira had gotten up to see what the man who had buried the bodies was doing, he didn’t get to have much fun in the fight earlier that day, and he felt like sticking his nose where it didn’t belong. When he got up out of his seat, the earth started shaking.

“Shit, I didn’t think I was that drunk.” Ira thought, as he tried to steady himself, “That crap beer must have been a lot stronger than I thought”.

After a few seconds of standing and watching the inside of the tavern, Ira realized it wasn’t him that was off balance, the whole entire ground was shaking! He looked around to find that Quinn had run outside the bar and started shooting her pistols off at someone who was outside. The man he intended to bother raced off after her, and Ira decided to do the same after grabbing his axe. It looked like Quinn was being attacked by one of these … what the hell were these things anyway? Ira decided to do what came naturally to him as one went past him toward Quinn. He swung his axe with great force – using two hands on a one handed weapon and cut in half whatever it used to be.

Ira looked at the thing that he had attacked in horror. Whatever it was, its body had no meat attached to it, just a trail of smoke where his axe went through. Even more shocking to Ira was that it reattached itself, and continued on like nothing had happened. He didn’t even bother turning around and seeing what hit him – like it either didn’t know or care. Ira got scared for the first time in many years, as it had been made clear that his weapon of choice would have no effect on whatever these things were. It seemed like an entirety but couldn’t have been more than a few seconds after he had left the tavern that he jolted back inside.

The other two rushed back in and the one Ira was going to bother started giving a speech about ghosts and greed. What caught Ira’s attention however was the shotgun he pulled out from somewhere.  

“We are fighting ghosts now?” he wondered to himself with a laugh. Talk about sticking your nose where it didn’t belong. “Huh. I think the two of us are going to get along alright” he thought as he started to grin. Some idiot in the tavern started complaining about why the 19 was the one leading this fight, but Ira had no complaints.

“Well Julius, my name is Ira, this axe is solid steel, really good quality. This is Aidan, he’s good with steel bolts and a steel sword. How can we help?”

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Quin's chest heaved and her hands shook as she loaded the bullets given to her into the gun. What the fuck just happened to her? She felt like she had just ben shaken around like a rag doll and dropped on the ground. 

The "kid" Julius clearly knew what he was doing and she signaled to Ed to hurry up and do as he was told. 

"Kid, I'm not going to ask you what just happened. But tell me what to do and I'll do it." 

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"Hn, good quality hm?" the lad repeated as he inspected the axe then let out an obviously discouraged sigh. "Maybe if your foes were still living... Steel's as good as a snapped walking stick right now. You might as well be throwing rocks at them. It won't do anything to these guys. We need something that's made of iron... I don't have much for you melee wise, but if Ed manages to find a fire poker or something, that would be more useful than your material-bound butterknives there," he gestured to Adrian's sword and Ira's axe.

Julius began to stride towards the table where he laid out the items before, picking up the shotgun and a sack filled with strange, handcrafted rounds. "I Do however have These," he said as he tossed them over to Ira. "These rounds are filled with purifying crystals, they should eradicate them for a time, but they can form back. Iron and holy water is the only true way to harm them," he explained as he snatched up several tiny pouches of salt and vials of slightly illuminated water and placed a few into the palms of each of the three members before him. He reached into his pocket inside of his coat and pulled out a bit of rosemary, walking over to a candle and lighting the tip of it.

As the plant burned into a small tray, he rubbed his thumb over his lips in thought. "I could make some makeshift bolts from some iron nails... Silver necklaces...--Silver!" He turned back to his briefcase and took out a wicked looking silver dagger. "It's not exactly a sword, but it'll keep you alive."

Edited by DoomSparkles
Sorry for the long wait.

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Aidan was annoyed. All he wanted to do was drink beer and imagine what he was going to do with all the money that he was entitled too now that he had a few corpses outside. As far as he was considered, whatever the hell was going on outside was directly connected to Julius, therefore, he was the one ruining his moment. The beer probably didn't help, but at this point even Ira was annoying him - he seemed to like this guy.

"Look man, I don't know shit about dead people, all I know is I am really good at turning living ones into dead ones. I didn't come here to fight the dead aside from the four guys that I made that way outside." He stumbled over to the table the rest had gathered around. "Give me the silver knife, give me the gun and tell me what I've got to do before I start drinking beer again." 

Ira stood back laughing at Aidan's tirade. Ed brought out a few fire pokers which he swore were solid iron. He handed over to Ira the longest and passed out a few smaller ones. Ira swung his a few times, it was certainly a little bit awkward, and was almost as heavy as his battle-axe. Ira chuckled to himself about that - a fire poker being nearly as heavy as his war-axe was all the reaffirmation he needed of his weapons quality.  He stepped forward, and gave a chuckle.

"I guess it goes without saying that we won't need a shield for this one. So what happens, you poke the ghoul with the pointy end and it goes poof? Seems simple enough. Where do we start?" 

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