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Cap and Bells Market

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The Cap and Bells is an open air market situated between Weland and Marlboro Keep. It is a temporary town made up of mobile market stalls and caravans which, as a whole entity moves further north or south depending on the season; the warmer it is, the further sound the market can be found).

As its infrastructure is transient, it provides no local law enforcement, no civil services, taxation, and so on. Things like camps, food, and entertainment are all available at prices which are set at the discretion of the provider. If there is a territorial or property dispute it is always settled privately.

Players are free to make up NPC small-scale operations for their plots in this thread.

Since the beginning of the civil war in Terrenus, the more exotic and expensive items have all moved to affected areas with a larger and more desperate population to sell to, meaning that supplies at Cap and Bells currently skew more towards the commonplace, but the flow of funds is already picking up, which will see the return of exotic goods.

OOC thread

Current stock

  • Fabric and textiles
  • Weapons and armor
  • Food and provisions
  • Liquor and gambling
  • Camping
  • Alchemist

Growth

  1. Alchemist arc (24 posts total)
    1. Alexander and Gerald get (1) Stoneskin potion each and a skilled Alchemist as a player contact
  2. Gauntlet data arc (6 posts total)
    1. Sandhi helps Justice make a tracker for the powerful presence radiated by the gauntlets of Zengi
  3. Resurrection an assassin arc (15 posts total) 
    1. Eldwine Wyrmwalker Dali hires Jalafrax, a necromancer, to bring back a corpse he has ferried over so that the zombie can be interrogated. Eldwine gets the information he's after and Jalafrax, for a discount to his fee, gets a zombie assassin bodygyard
Edited by supernal

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Sandhi, pronounced Sandy, was part Banjari, part unidentified lizardfolk, and all alchemist. His folkloric knowledge of superstitions, rumors, materials, plants, and sympathy magic were handed down to him as the tail-end of a hundred generations of Banjari legacy. Sandhi was skilled, only a little crooked, and liked to put his knowledge to work as much as he liked to make money off that work – selling out of the Cap and Bells market place had only ever been a matter of when for Sandhi, and his moment was now.

Sandhi's steam-powered, automatic caravan was an older model. It moved slower, but it was larger, so that Sandhi could sell out of one compartment and sleep in the other. It also required less repairs, provided more shelter, and its cruise control was decent. Sandhi's alarm clock startled him awake when he was a half hour out from Cap and Bells's last know location. He slid into the driver's station and pumped the brakes when he was 15 minutes out and pressed a green button to start the private frequency which would ping the locators he provided to the two mercenaries he hired for the security detail.

Being both new game in town and skilled at his trade, Sandhi was in a position to rake in a lot of ire. From people that didn't like newcomers; from people that didn't want to be exposed as subpar; from people that didn't like half-breeds or Banjari, a double-edged combination of race and culture which had earned him a few scars. So when he rode into town it would be with two strong sellswords at his side.

The job was only for three days, after which Sandhi would know his surroundings well enough to find himself some local talent, but until then it was worth paying a little extra for proper mercs.  

@Grubbistch @Impulse

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Alexander Polybius took a deep breath as he walked into the Cap and Bells Market. His red eyes glanced around the area, taking in its immediate features and the beings that inhabited the area. He had taken something of a hiatus after his last job, a bounty he had collected for Terrenus. After healing the wounds he had garnered during the confrontation with said bounty, and training to ensure that his skills didn't deteriorate during that time period, he prepped himself to go back to work. Polybius had been readying himself to perhaps pursue another bounty when the opportunity of his current assignment came to him.

It seemed simple enough, just a body guard detail for a few days until the new resident of the Cap and Bells Market found himself comfortable in his new enviornment. It didn't sound like anything that would stand out to a mercenary bounty hunter and certainly nothing to write home about. However, it wasn't the task at hand that had drawn him in, but instead the details behind it. His employer, Sandhi, wasn't just new in town but one of a mixed breed. A mixed breed including a race that some were already disposed to disliking. Polybius was a man that couldn't will himself to kill someone without engaging them in battle. He wasn't a man that could look down on someone because they were different in some way. He also couldn't hold something against them because they were better than him at something.

Through his years he had developed his own personal moral code. One that, while maybe seemingly odd for a mercenary, he followed as if his life depended on it. Due to that, he found that he couldn't simply sit by as someone was discriminated against as they just tried to pursue their trade, especially if there was the risk that some other being could attempt physical harm against that person that they may not be able to fend off. With this information, it was easy to realize why Polybius found himself unable to refuse Sandhi's request. A caw overhead drew his attention.

In the overhanging skies a crow flew in a circle. A small smile passed over Polybius' lips. It was Morrígan, his familiar since before he left the Gaian Academy. He had given her a job ahead of reaching the market and it seemed as if she had achieved it. She swooped down in front of Polybius before flying off in the direction she had come from. The mercenary followed after her at a brisk pace, to where she had found Sandhi's caravan waiting.

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Riding alongside the old steam powered wagon was a white warhorse, and seated upon that battle steed was an old knight who longed for rest. Sir Gerald Ultir was in his upper forties, red haired (though was beginning to gray along the sides), clean shaved face that many said was far prettier with his visor down. He was not a prideful knight, nor was he boisterous, for the years had robbed him of such faults, replacing them with wisdom and patience. How cruel it was that one had to sacrifice youth in order to obtain such rare treasures?

Suddenly there was a pinging noise sounding from the inside of his helmet, specially shaped to match the look of a snarling hound to mark his status in the royal house he served. It appeared their time riding was almost done, and soon it would be spent standing around whilst protecting some merchant's stall. Truthfully it felt like a trifling matter for a knight such as himself, but his lord Oscar himself had made the request, so he was honor bound to comply with it. 

Lifting up the top jaw of the hound helmet, Gerald would partake in a small amount of refreshment from his water skin. Today felt warm, and would likely get warmer before the day was done, but he would manage. Such mundane temperatures were nothing compared to the blazing infernos he endured in order to ensure victory for his House and his Lord. If only he had been strong enough to protect the boy...

Shaking his head of the dark thoughts before they would take root, he poured a small amount of water down his face before moving the visor back down. Looking over to his fellow mercenary, he signaled with a raised fist that he had heard the ping, and would wait for the other to return the signal to confirm they had also heard the noise. For so long he was held to such a higher regard amongst his peers, it felt rather strange to be on the same level as this other one.

"In battle I am whole" he said under his breath, finding a small amount of strength from the motto of House Uldwar as they entered the market. He would need every ounce to get through this assignment.

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Sandhi spotted Alexander approaching through the ballistic glass of his windshield. Familiar with the merc's description and able to distinguish him at a distance with his genetically keen vision, the alchemist saw no issue with stepping out of his shelter. He swung the side door to his caravan out and stepped into the world.

In so doing, he came into full view of the menacingly armored Gerald and his magnificent beast. Sandhi froze in place, an instinctual reaction that kept him from committing to another instinct, that of jumping and scrambling to the top of a nearby tree for vantage. He visibly relaxed on realizing that Gerald fit the description of his second hire. That relaxation turned into chagrin when he further realized that the man had been keeping pace with him meanwhile he'd been dozing away in bed. He didn't want to give off the impression of disdain or negligence.

"Gerald. Alexander. Sandhi."

Once basic introductions were concluded, Sandhi offered each of the men a cup of gold lemonade he kept in a ceramic jug stopped with cork; a cold beer, he said, would have to wait for after the job, but he promised them both at least that much in addition to their fee. When the refreshments ran dry Sandhi crawled back into his automated caravan and steered it towards Cap and Bells proper, to find his rental location and set up shop.

~~~~~~~~~~

"Okay." Sandhi stepped back to look at his caravan in its expanded glory. An awning rolled out of the top of the caravan to provide a shaded stall, and component shelves all along one side of the caravan jutted out; he conscripted Alexander and Gerald in helping him cart the various samples, specimens and components out and then positioned them at either end of his stall.

His rental location was strategically located between an armory and a gambling spot. He hoped that one side would draw adventurers and the other would draw people with money to spend; it was prime real estate, and the renal fee reflected this. Sandhi was eager to sell and start making back that charge.

"That should pretty much do it. Stop any thieves. There's no real law around here, so refrain from killing any locals, but make sure these thieves know that Sandhi's market isn't a place to make some change. And another thing –"

"Just who do you think you are!"

Sandhi turned around in time to see two glass bottles full of colorless liquid hurtling towards him; their ends were topped with burning rags. This time Sandhi did jump, scuttling backwards as if yanked on a leash and taking cover inside of his caravan.

The crude incendiary devices weren't aimed at people, but at wares. They broke on the ground and against the caravan and washed the shelves with devouring flame that would see Sandhi's profits reduced to nothing.

Sandhi was back out in five seconds, spraying the fire with cerulean foam and rendering it inert. While he did this, a man whose face was covered by a bandana was busy pushing himself through the crowd of gathered spectators and running away.

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Polybius found Sandhi charming in a way. Likely it was due to the fact that he was straight forward and to the point when it came to business. It was also nice, in a sense, for a client to offer their mercenary employee a time of relaxation after the job was complete. Gerald, Polybius found, was very much an intimidating figure. A knight of many experiences to be sure. He would have liked to have talked to him, perhaps trade tales and experiences, but alas the task was at hand and there was simply no time for such pleasantries in the present. Before long the men had broken away from the temporary resting spot and made their way into the Cap and Bells Market together where Sandhi proceeded to go about his set up.

Polybius Paced around the space, keeping an eye out for any signs of trouble as the mixed breed did so. When he had finished he drew the Spearman's attention. The blue haired man listened to his instructions with rapt attention before nodding. It all sounded simple and to the point. Stop thieves, refrain from killing. It seemed as if it would be a nice change of pace from Polybius' normal jobs. Of course, he had forgotten one simple rule: there's always a silence before the storm. A loud yell ripped through the air causing Polybius to whirl around. His eyes narrowed as he watched bottles sail through the air. He was too late to stop them and they crashed into Sandhi's wares.

Sandhi was, admirably, quick as he rushed into his caravan and returned with something to take care of the flaming objects. A small black figure swooped down over Polybius' head, his eyes narrowing as he watched it lift up over the crowd, following closely the man that was pushing his way through everyone. "Don't let him out of your sight Morrígan!" Polybius called loudly to his companion as he drew his two Spears from his back, crossing them over one another in an x formation. "We have to make a decision on this quick, Gerald, no time to sit and think. There are two options I see here. Either we both go after the man, or one goes and one stays to protect Sandhi. Whichever we do we need to decide quick. Morrígan won't lose him, but we don't want him getting too far away."

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Fire, panic and an enemy attempting to escape retribution. These were the things that surrounded him, but his focus stayed true, and he pushed past the distractions to zero in on the perpetrator. Such an act was that of a coward, and so Gerald felt an instant feeling of loathing towards him. It was men like him that gave the old knight purpose, and it was also men like him that took away even the most beautiful of things, like the peace of a family, or the son of a father...

Snapping into action, Gerald whistled for his horse, and it began to gallop towards him from its resting place thirty yards from the market stall, where it could be in the shade with food and drink. Even in a land of lawlessness, thieves thought better than to attempt to steal a heavily trained warhorse from a knight. Looking over to Polybius and the merchant, he opted for the latter option and so would call out. "Protect the merchant!" With both hands he grabbed onto his steed's saddle from the side and stayed at its side, one foot in the stirrup as he chased after the aggressor.

"You're mine." He said with a sneer, the local peasantry giving him a wide birth, aware that the horse would not stop and likely trample them, giving him a good shot at the running criminal. With a fist raised high, he closed the distance and delivered a powerful blow to the back of the culprits head, sending them down reeling as he whistled for his horse to slow. Hopping off and landing on both feet, the knight stalked over towards his prey, eyes determined to bring justice to such a crime.

"On your feet, worm!" He called, holding up the cretin by his collar as he growled at him. "Not so tough now that I got my hands on you, aren't you?" It sickened him to see look this bastard in the face, so he proceeded to drag him back to the stall to face his punishment. "What say you, Sandhi, would be the appropriate punishment for this man and his crime? Generally my Lord would require a quick beheading, but I shall leave that up to your judgment." With a grip as strong as the iron that encased his hand, the responsible party would find escape next to impossible.

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Gerald gets a clean shot at the man's head. His target falls to the ground, and stays low, so that Gerald must dismount to grab hold of him. His opponent scrambles desperately, pathetic in his attempt, the aimless flailing kicking up a dust of cloud and yet the man remains unable to find his footing as Gerald hauls him down the dirt road like a pup on a leash. The cloud of dust is thick; Gerald's horse sneezes a few times as he passes through it.

Halfway down the road to Sandhi's stall, when they are surrounded by gaping customers and jaded shopkeepers who have seen sights like this all too often, Gerald's foe proves himself to be more than a simple goon. He plants his feet into the ground and Gerald finds his forward progress stilled. The man reaches up and clasps a hand on Gerald's wrist, and while not quite as vice-like as the knight's own, his grip nonetheless proves formidable. The arsonist doesn't turn this skirmish into a battle of strength however, but one of physics. By positioning his leg between Gerald's own, using his hip as a fulcrum, and leveraging Gerald's armored weight over that point, he manages to upend Gerald and slam the other onto his back. Still holding Gerlad's wrist, the man torques and breaks free of the knight's grasp.

He does not pause to pass a meaningful glance to Gerald, or to gloat, or even to look at his surroundings. The moment he is free of the knight's grasp the man takes three long strides and leaps onto the top of a market stall. From there he jumps onto a caravan and begins running over the roofs of various mobile shops, now heading east instead of north; clearly he had no intention of being run down on horseback a second time. He pays no mind to the birds flocking over his head, unaware that one of them has eyes on him and him alone – the bird sees the man drop down into a makeshift alley and vanish into the clientele of a karaoke bar.

By now it had become evident that Gerald's horse has been poisoned. It never stopped sneezing, had since collapsed onto its hindquarters, and was now hunkering down on its forelegs to rest. It laid its head down and stopped moving. Sandhi came up to it, pried its mouth open to check its gums, pried its eyelids open to check its eyes.

"Poisoned alright. I'm closing shop. Me and your horse will be fine inside of the enclosure, my caravan's armored, and I've seen this poison before. I'll start working on the antidote now he'll be fine. Most important thing right now is you catch whoever is doing this and find out why. This isn't regular vandalism and we gotta show these people what happens when you mess with Sandhi."

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Even the best knights can be surprised by the tricks of a criminal. Rising from his position, he tried to clear his head before he received the news of his horse. Grimacing at the possibility that he would lose his steed, the elder knight felt there might be more going on than at first glance. An arsonist was one thing, but now there was another involved in this conspiracy, one cowardly enough to use poison to serve their needs.

"Polybius, lets go!" He said, allowing the other mercenary to lead the way so they may locate the one responsible for this attack. Fortune was smiling on them this day, for his cohorts pet had been tracking the mystery man and had divulged his whereabouts. Armed with this information, the Dog of War was determined to defeat this wretched coward.

Whilst traveling with Polybius, Sir Gerald had drawn the estoc sheathed at his right hip. This weapon was more suited for thrusting, and its size made it ideal for fighting in a tight fit environment like the karaoke bar they were headed towards. Breath was starting to come with difficulty, as the sun was warming up his armor, but he pushed forward nonetheless. He may have some years on him, but he would be damned before he allowed a villain to escape justice.

Coming upon the front door of the establishment, Gerald instructs Polybius to go around to the back and cover the exit from there. It was the knight's reasoning that he could flush out the perpetrator of the arson and ambush him when he tried to make his escape. Any attempts to resist would lead to his blade going straight into their gut, for he was tired of playing these games.

Bursting through the front door, the knight ripped his helmet off, the scarred and grizzled face of the veteran warrior scanning the crowd. It was a place of smoke and stale liquor, with many of the patrons there more for the drinks than the singing. On the stage was a drunken elf, belting out the lyrics of a sad ballad of heartbreak. Hoping that his partner had made it to the rear of the establishment, he bellowed out his challenge.

"Come and face me you coward! First you try to set me on fire, then you poison my horse! Come and face me so I can send you straight to Hell!" His own anger was starting to flare, and he started to feel the rage that came to him on the battlefield. If he wasn't careful, someone was going to get hurt.

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Polybius simply nodded his head in response to Gerald, spinning his Spears around before rushing off with his comrade behind him. With Sandhi well enough off that left them in the perfect position to quickly put an end to any further sudden arson attack by the assailant. Polybius feet slid silently along the ground, raising his right arm level with his chest, as Morrígan flew down from an adjacent rooftop. The crow ruffled her feathers and cawed loudly as Polybius nodded. He jerked his arm through the air and the bird flew away, back to scouting the land from the skies once again.

He allowed Gerald to go through the front of the establishment while Polybius himself traveled along the side of it through an alleyway to the back area of the building. Gerald's voice was heard bellowing from inside. Polybius waited silently for anyone to decide that they wanted to try to run away from the situation at hand. His feet moved silently along the ground, the tips of his Spears digging into the ground so that they could carve runes. Mostly entanglement type runes, there were a few others he decided to add that, should he deem someone a threat enough to activate, would leave then with more than just a few scrapes and bruises.

Morrígan circled the air above him and a sharp whistle caused her to begin to nose dive. The winged creature came dangerously close to Polybius' face before pulling up, maneuvering around his neck and landing on his shoulder. "New assignment." He spoke quietly so as not to be heard by anyone he didn't want to hear him. "I want you to hover the distance halfway between here and the caravan. If you see anything potentially harmful there, let me know, and if you hear my whistle it's time for you to come track again." The crowd ruffled her feathers once again gain before shooting off of Polybius' shoulder and back into the sky. He watched her go before lowering his attention to the back door of the karaoke bar. Red eyes narrowed as the Hound of Terrenus slid into a low stance, brandishing both of his Spears as he prepared for battle.

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Gerald's shouting broke the strained melody of a drunken singer. The person on stage, as well as the rest of their patrons, turned their collective gaze on the belligerent knight who was interrupting their good time. About six or seven people moved in response to Gerald. Two of them were waitresses and approached the stage to encourage the man there to keep on singing despite the interruption. Two of them were customers going to the bar to order more drinks. One of them was a squat man with a shaved head, a milky eye, and scarred knuckles.

When this man was within speaking distance of Gerald, he stopped.

"Hey buddy. You wanna go ahead and take all that racket outside? You're irritatin' my paying customers. Let me emphasize 'paying'."

As Gerald was more or less accosted by this man, flashes of memory resolved in his mind. He remembered that his foe was taller. That he had brown eyes, brown almost to the point of being black. That he had a paler shade of flesh. That his hair was a vivid shade of red.

"Leastways there's no fightin' in the bar so take it outside, and don't come by again unless you got your wallet or your coin purse in hand."

And on looking around, found that no one matched that description.

Of the two persons unaccounted for, one of them slipped through the shadows and made his way to the back exit. On gently urging the door open, this man found the face and frame of Alexander Polybius awaiting him.

This man threw the door opened and charge at Alexander. This man was unlike the one Alexander's raven had spotted. He had much darker skin. His hair was pitch black. He looked about three inches taller – but he had the same eyes, brown almost to the point of being black. Now that the bandana had gone from his face, Alexander could also see a hard mouth pressed into a grim, determined line.

The man's charge was interrupted by the sudden sprouting of translucent tendrils. Partially see-through tentacles wrapped around his legs and feet and anchored him into place. But this man was unfazed. In the next instant both of his hands fanned out and from them there sprang an array of needles, a dozen of them or more spraying towards Alexander, each tipped with a paralytic.

"You just don't get it do you?"

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Red eyes narrowed almost to slits as the back door to the karaoke bar pushed open. Polybius found it off putting that the man that stepped outside bared very little resemblance to the man he was tracking at all. However, as the darker skinned man rushed forward there was little to no doubt in Polybius mind that he and the arsonist were one and the same. The mercenary's rune work seemed to work as his target ran directly into his entanglement traps. Sandhi's assailant would not be deterred it seemed. A plethora of projectiles were launched in Polybius' direction. He had no time to think as they shot at him. He spun his two Spears in an attempt to deflect as many as possible. He could only hope that his armor protected him from the rest.

Unfortunately, it did not. He felt punctures in unprotected portions of his legs, the only areas where there wasn't much armor. Polybius immediately felt the stiffening of muscles and the locking of joints. He moved quickly as he realized that he had precious moment to make his actions count. He spun his red spear, runes glowing brightly on the spearhead as it not only elongated but developed barbs, before thrusting it towards his target's shoulder. As the weapon cut threw the air towards its target a sharp whistle escaped Polybius mouth. Morrígan wouldn't take long at all to reach the area. If he couldn't hold the captive long enough for Gerald to arrive because of what the Darts had been coated in then at least Morrígan would be able to lead the elder knight directly to the being they were after.

"What's there to get?" Polybius questioned with some hostility in return. "You launched an attack on my client. You burned his wares. Did you think you were just going to get away with it? We're going to keep hunting you until there's nowhere for you to hide." A feral smile passed over Polybius' features as he felt the effects of the paralytics spread further. "You're going to answer for your crimes. There's no way around that."

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Looking back Sir Gerald came to regret his actions in that bar, knowing it to have been misaligned with the code of chivalry he put himself up to. Unfortunately there was no time to argue or to even attempt to bribe the man, for he spotted someone trying to flee out of the back exit. There was a feeling in the pit of his stomach that this was the man he was looking for, or at least someone who may know something, so it was imperative to follow them. In an effort to move past the owner, he stepped to the side and shoved him out of the way, moving quickly to get to the exit at the rear.

There were more than a few tables in his way, so like a bull in a china shop, Gerald shoved and pushed past tables and chairs. Drinks were spilled, patrons were yelling, and he was very much aware bouncers were coming for him, but he refused to let the cowardly assassin make his escape. With a mighty roar he shoulder checked the large bouncer who was coming up on his left, sending him back as he crashed onto a table. Now he was free to go forth and force open the door, witnessing the altercation between Polybius and the criminal they were after.

It seemed that the battle between the two was becoming heated, but Polybius was on the losing end. While the rune user had done well in keeping the new suspect in one spot, he had suffered a wound and was falling at that moment. Poison once again came to mind, and Sir Gerald knew he had found the second conspirator.

With his free hand he grabbed onto the right shoulder of the criminal, while the left jabbed his estoc into a small point into his spine. "One move, and I end your life, scum." All it would take was one good shove, and he could drive the blade deep into his body, killing him in mere moments. Any attempts to outmaneuver him would be thwarted by the hand he planted on his shoulder, which would hold him in place while he delivered the killing blow. Now they had done it, now they had finally caught one of the perpetrators.

"You are going to answer my questions, and you may just live through this yet." There was no telling what he would be able to do should the bouncers follow him, but he figured the worst he would get was a demand for payment of damaged property. "First, why are you trying to destroy that merchants stall? Second, who are you working for, and third." He drove the sword a little deeper, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation. "Where is your partner?"

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Alexander's target twisted away from his probing spear. With his lower body rooted in place the man couldn't dance out of range as was his wont, but his motion turned Alexander's thrust into a glancing blow. The barbs adorning the spearhead only partially cut on his shoulder, rather than embedding deep within his flesh; blood splattered on the ground, drooling over the lines of power which made up Alexander's runes and weakening them. Before Alexander could withdraw and cause more damage, the man reached up and grabbed hold of the spear to keep it in place.

"Yeah, maybe. But who's saying that you're the one gonna make me answer for it? This was an easy scare job and you had to go up and up the stakes. Now you're going to suffocate outside of a dingy bar because you don't know when to leave well enough alone."

Gerald announced his presence well in advance. If the dissonant crashing of glass and upturned tables wasn't enough, the shouts of 'hey!' and 'watch where you're going!' painted a vivid enough picture for the brown-eyed anarchist. The only thing that stopped him from spinning around and spraying Gerald with paralytic needles as well was the fact that Alexander's spell continued to operate – but grew weaker by the moment.

The man closed his eyes when he felt the cold, hard point of a blade pressed against his spinal column. Both of the man's hands dropped to his side, one hand releasing Alexander's spear, the other inching a stiletto towards the gap in Gerald's armor, the gap between the cuisse and faulds required for the necessary articulation of any armored knight who also wanted to be able to walk around. He didn't make this movement salient. He didn't gloat or announce it and put Gerald on his guard; his tactic was not to show he had a trump card, but to keep that card hidden as long as possible.

"How gracious of you to offer me my life. You pinky promise you'll let me go deputy constable officer? You're not just fooling me around to get what you want, just to throw me aside like a Last Chance prosty?"

The man scoffed, but remained utterly still, recognizing that he was at a disadvantage with an opponent at his fore and his aft.

"If I wanted that stall gone it'd be cinders bud. Your guy's alive ain't he? Thank the stars then. He put his hands on some prime real estate and maybe put some people off he shouldn't have. That's all it is. Business as usual. He hightails it out of town or moves his shop into a neat little slum and no more problems. But you keep shaking things up, you might not like what you see when the dust settles."

He skipped right over the second question and moved on to the third.

"I don't have a partner. It's just you and me boys, and all you did was get lucky. Now if I were you I'd pay attention to your friend there, maybe haul him back to your lizard pal before his lungs lock up and he suffocates. Also – HELP I'M BEING MUGGED!"

The man's scream was shrill and high-pitched, almost feminine.

"I'M BEING MUGGED AT THE GOLDEN HORN!"

There were already two or three burly gentlemen hot on Gerald's trail as he left a wake of collateral damage in his path; the shrill scream identifying a criminal act and the name of their establishment, which would drive business away, really put some pep in their step. Within two seconds of the man screaming, Gerald would feel two pairs of hands grabbing him by the shoulder, hauling him back, and then shoving him forward. In that brief interstice the man dropped into a squat, raked his hand all over the remainder of Alexander's runes, and broke free.

He wasn't sure how deep into the paralysis Alexander had gone but it was a necessary gamble to rush at him and attempt to bowl him over, leaving the other two men to deal with the karaoke bar's security detail.

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Polybius watched as the darker skinned man rushed towards him after causing issues for Gerald. There were many things that he could typically do. There were many things that he wanted to do. The fact of the matter was, however, that the paralytic had taken over a good portion of his movement. He could still move his arms and head, just at a much slower speed than he was used to. He had no hope of raising his Spears in time for a chance to either run the arsonist through or cut him down. Instead he lifted his arms as fast as he possibly could at that very moment. As the man trying to escape made contact with Polybius to knock him over, the blue hair man grabbed onto his clothes. The man paid very little attention to Polybius, intent on escaping the area, and continuing moving forward.

Polybius' hands slid further and further down the coat that the man wore in an attempt to buy just a little more time. It didn't take long for the arsonist to rip himself out of the mercenary's grasp and send the rune user to the ground. Polybius' shoulder hit the ground, bouncing off of it once, before he came to rest on his side. Laying on the ground next to him, right in front of his face, was a collection of darts. They seemed to be of the same make that he had been hit with, but he wasn't sure. Next to those needles was a note, but Polybius couldn't seem to make himself move to pick it up as his left arm lay on top of it, keeping it from blowing away. Trapped in the Spearman's hand was the bandana that had covered the arsonist's face. He must have grabbed onto it when he was struggling with the escaped being.

Pushing himself onto his back, both arms extended from his sides, Polybius saw a familiar creature overhead. A small smile spread across his lips. He had bought just enough time for Morrígan to reach the area. She seemed to already have him in her sights as she spiraled over the location of Polybius and Gerald. Morrígan would know that she needed to keep a close eye on the target, in case he changed appearance once again. If that were to happen she'd be on the look out for his brown eyes, the only thing that hadn't changed from one guise to the next. Polybius lay on his back, hoping Gerald could easily dispatch the men that had accosted him.

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