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Malintzin

The Enoteca: Wine and Workshop

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The outside appears to be minimal and modern with slabs of marble and stacked stone in a grey palette. The inside is warm with distressed wood paneled walls, a romantic, whimsical canopy of trees overhead, and the soft twinkling of lights as an open fire glows in the stone fireplace. Small, curtained windows framed by wooden shutters let some light filter through, and small, intimate tables are arranged for the flow of impeccable service. It is clear is meant to be an oasis of intimacy and romance.

An impressive stretch of marble slab makes up the main counter top, a clear path indicating a newcomer may start there. The floors are equally distressed but maintained, the air clean from the artfully placed trees inside. The menu was rumored to be small but flavorful, based solely on the wines provided at the time. A portion of the counter was lined with baskets filled with fresh snacking goods from nuts to bread and spiced oils, some which came as suggestions to pair with a favorite wine. A path leads around to a second room, which also boasts a counter, flanked by an impressive array of local and imported wines. On display are various retired swords, tools, and artifacts—their ethereal abilities long spent and merely for decor.

After lunch in the late afternoon, the Enoteca would open its doors for a few hours, allowing the locale and tourists trailing in from Port Kyros to make their reservations and dine for the wine or see their wares inspected, repaired, or built to order. The cellar would open as the orders for the best of the best wines make their way in. Meals are prepared light and are not meant to satisfy those who are voraciously hungry. Built for refinement, elegance and courtesy—drunken debauchery is heavily frowned upon and security is never far.

--

Welcome to the Enoteca: the chic, romantic sister-bar to The Sadira Amar. With the Port City’s arboretum taking off and growing a variety of fruits, it became clear to Raveena that capitalizing on the wine industry would bolster tourism significantly.  While the Sadira Amar is open and inviting, the Enoteca is an establishment designed for intimacy and privacy.

Like its sister-bar in Hyperion, the Enoteca doubles as a workshop where Genesarian artifacts and weapons can be repaired or built to order. Shopping patrons are escorted to the adjacent room where a workshop beneath the floors going into the cellar has been fleshed out. An up-and-coming Artificer and Scrivener in the service of the Queen resides here and can give anyone a quick lesson on their artifacts, its history and its use for a fair fee.

Stop by to sample the local flavor, delve into the mystery of Port Kyros and it's potent source of magic. There's rumors of ghosts of fallen soldiers that haunt the memorial, of secret societies and vanishing cities.

From the magical to the mysterious, the Enoteca welcomes you in.

Edited by Malintzin

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Did I come to this place to be romanced into the bed of another? No, I was here for something greater than that, something much more precious than the gentle touch of a woman. Knowledge was what I required, it possessed me with a grip like steel, and there's is much I need in order to further pursue my goals. Here in this simple winery and workshop, I would discover the first steps on my long journey to achieving world peace and prosperity.

As I entered into the establishment I was greeted by a lovely woman of strange descent I could not recognize. Yes of course, it was some of the fine Matreyan people I had heard so much about, very pleasant to the eye. Perhaps if fate was kind to me I could sample some of these beauties...no...no I must not. The mission, Orion, think only of the mission, for that is what you have become now. Slayer of monsters, the jailer of wicked things, that is what you are, especially with every inch this curse robs me of my humanity.

"Hello there kind sir, are you lost? I can point you in the direction of some places where you can worship in peace if you would like." Worship? Oh yes, my robes, these old brown pieces of linen that had somehow survived the worst of my forays into the nightmare lands of Whispernight. There was something else in her eyes though, something that seemed somewhat afraid. A rattle was heard when I shifted, and I realized just why I stood out from most monks, as there were black chains wrapped around my torso and limbs. Yes, that would make anyone a little reluctant to speak to me I suppose. These black chains were the key to my understanding and taming of the legendary spirit Feuer Krieger, but there was still so much more to learn from them.

"My apologies, I am not in fact a monk. I am actually a wizard you see, and I was hoping to speak with your artificer. There is a specific item that I need help understand further." Just as all the others had she felt unnerved by how my voice sounded. The curse had made its way farther from my arm, reaching out now to my shoulder and even my throat, which was when my voice became somewhat difficult to understand. Some said they swore they could hear the sound of a crackling fire when I spoke, but surely it must be nonsense. There could not be any possible way that I was going to be anything like that damned monster living inside of me. "My name is Orion, I haven't been to many places that actually have living people in them."

"That's all right, Mr. Orion, why don't you help yourself to some snacks while we set up a little course in the workshop. I'm sure there could be others willing to see what you have to show." Of course. Why not expose more people to the horrible knowledge that resided within these blasphemous chains. Its not as if it hasn't already brought me to the brink of madness and back again! The nerve of that woman to so blatantly disrespect the delicate nature of what I was trying to uncover, as if it were some lesson to be taught to children. If I wasn't using this knowledge to rid the world of the evils of Whispernight I would have destroyed these unholy chains weeks ago!

A smell, yes a lovely smell. Could it truly be? Walking over to the assortment of baskets that I was told about, my eyes beheld a wonder I did not think imaginable. Cake bread...glorious cake bread...it has been so long since I had been able to treat myself to such a delightful dessert. Taking one in my right hand, I would appreciate the very texture of the food before gingerly putting it into my mouth and biting down. Tastes I had surely forgotten exploded onto my tongue, dispelling all the wretched things I was forced to eat on my travels and during my explorations. To hell with keeping it a secret, I would tell them anything they wanted just to have more of this sweet, delicious cake bread.

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Patians had a penchant for reading, and Arty was no exception.

 

Her mother would joke she had been born in a Library and that could only explain why—being the middle child—she avoided people as often as possible and preferred solitude in her reading.

Academically, she was the top of her class. Socially, she might as well be a pariah.

She was born on Terrean soil in Blairville, where she spent most of her childhood and teen life. Her father Ansel Prewitt was a respected merchant and budding scholar hailing from Mageside city. Her mother, Jezabel Antigone studied and often times taught lecture between the six Libraries of Metaphysics before relocating to Blairville where she pursued a career in the mystical arts upon discovering a latent talent for sorcery and alchemy.

She has two sisters, the eldest being Jona Prewitt—who went on to pursue a career as a well-known herbalist who turned to Gaian Faith, and Onaria Descani who became the youngest Artificer recruited by the Chapel Alliance. It was safe to say that Arty suffered tragically from middle child syndrome.

Her education concluded upon dropping out from the Gaian Academy to study abroad at Bronte, Academy of the Arcane in Umbra City, Genesaris. After displaying no obvious Affinity as most students from a magi background possess, she discovered her ability to analyze sorcery in real time, able to dissect and study various branches presented to her. Rather than excelling at a vein of sorcery and garnering multiple Affinities as most students did, analyzing the abilities of others was the extent of her Affinity, which proved fruitless for a lucrative career as most sorcerers and magi spent their academic career studying their Affinities to master them. After several job rejections Artamese relocated to Patia where she took on work as a librarian assistant, research analyst and linguist within the lore spire.

And then the Queen.

It started when their home had been ransacked, and various goods were stolen—including a rather expensive leather journal wrapped in oil skin and fine paper pages. It was worth its weight and had contained a great deal of her reports and findings. It happened upon a Merchant’s son, who passed it on to his higher ups until it had come into possession of Queen Raveena herself.

Her notes had a hand in some big-time investigation in Port Caelum involving a murder mystery of the magical sort. It was all very exciting and it was a shame she had so little to do physically when the matter had all resolved itself and died away. Perhaps that was for the best.

Upon hearing of her analytical skills, the Chapel Alliance recruited Artemese into becoming a Scrivener—one who records current events in the magical world, including the discovery of new branches of sorcery. While she excelled in this line of work, she found it mundane and boring--a position that didn’t take her as far in life as she wants to go. Following the idea that the past gives birth to understanding the present and future, she began to use her Affinity to study ancient sorcery. Despite testing the patience and ethics of her peers, Artemese pursued her dream career as a Scrivener who studied the past, doing her best not to fell prey to becoming a pawn to the ambitions of the Chapel Alliance, who had their own agenda.

She had all the makings of an Artificer, and when the Queen had offered her a stable job in Alethea working with ancient artifacts and delving into the archaeological aspect of the kingdom—how could she say no? She bid her darling family goodbye and promised to visit and perhaps even have them visit her. It had been months and she failed to adhere to such promises. It was not that she didn’t want to—actually she very much did. She loved her family, truly! But they could be so suffocating and distracting. They were all successful daughters in their own right. Live and let live, she believed.

It was a thoughtless habit, the way she nibbled on the edges of her thumbnail while wandering as if in a daze with her nose stuck in a book. She had memorized the Enoteca’s layout. The chic decor was not to her particular decorative tastes, and she often tried her best to remember it didn’t exist as she navigated through. The staff knew her by name—but not often by face, as she always had her reading material on hand to obscure her face. The less she loitered, the better.

But aah, there was that word she heard so often.

Artificer.

She was not the talented young Artificer her sister was. She simply knew her way around the occult and the ancient and had a brain cell or two for the wherewithall to put things together. Arty dropped her book, her thumb marking her place. She was a remarkable pleasant and pretty thing, with nothing extraordinarily beautiful about her. Her hair was pulled back into a pony’s tail, her bangs side swept across her features. She was lean and muscled from all her expeditions, her skin olive-skinned from her many excavations. “You’re too much, honestly.” She remarked flatly. Flicking her wrists and fanning her book, she shooed the staff away. “Go on, back to your wineries you frilly sods.” Pursing her lips in displeasure, the Scrivener gestured for the wayward, self-proclaimed wizard to follow.

“Come with me. I’m the only one with the term ‘Artificer’ in my resume around these parts.” She turned without prompting and walked off with purpose and direction. The walls were changing as the magic that was the Enoteca wore away to a humble side-room with more décor on display than was likely necessary. She pulled on a latched door, a blast of cold air welling up. Neatly printed on this door:

 

Artamese Prewitt

Scrivener, Archaeologist and Artificer

Analysis, Research and Development Headquarters

BEWARE OF DOG

 

“Down you go, then.”

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Mm, so this was the woman I needed to see, she wasn't Matreyan like the others, no she was somewhere from Terrenus. How curious, though I suppose not as surprising as some of the other things I've seen as of late. Can one even still be surprised after spending so much time fighting such wretched creatures? Perhaps that is why my hair has gone white, my face haggard and aged, a sign that I could not be surprised by such mundane things anymore.

"I appreciate you allowing me a portion of your time. My research has brought me into some...strange places." Was I known throughout any parts of Genesaris for my works? Possibly not. Most people would only recognize the roads being somewhat safer than before, let alone who had been risking their life to combat these monstrosities. That's all right though, because soon I will be recognized far and wide for my work, for my achievement, for my struggles. All I required was just a little more information, and I could begin my true work to finally rid Genesaris of these wretched monsters.

As we descended down the stairs to her office, I felt it necessary to explain where I found the chains and what they did. "When I was exploring some ruins in Valinde, I came upon a banshee atop a tower. She was guarding a few trinkets and such, but what was most important were these." With a light tug I rattled the sections of chain closest to my neck, their black links absorbing the light around them. "I assure you these are no ordinary chains, but it is actually a rare collection of spells and arcane knowledge from a very long time ago. How long I cannot say, but I do believe it all ties into my research into a creature known as Feuer Krieger."

Just mentioning the name of that war mongering spirit caused the chains to flair to life, the symbols etched upon them glowing with a faint orange light. They exuded a subtle kind of anger, one that had not yet exploded, but was building, ready to snap at the wrong move made upon it. The same happened with my left arm, but that would not be as noticeable due to the strips of leather wrapped around the cursed flesh. It was necessary, mostly in that it kept the wrong people from looking into me, and potentially unleashing a monster into the world.

"This is a lovely workplace you have, I am quite jealous to say the least." Was my voice doing it again? Damn it it doesn't matter, Orion, just stay focused on learning what you can from the chains. Perhaps I had truly stayed too far from civilization if my social skills have atrophied to this degree.

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Artamese unfolded a pair of reading spectacles and perched them on the bridge of her nose. She took a moment to stare at the man for a long moment. Too often there were times when it was suspected she was more than just a Scrivener or a Mage. What few people realized was that analytical sorcery was not strictly bound to reading magic, but people as well.

He had a scent to him, like soot or ash. Artamese leaned back and placed her hands on her hips thoughtfully before she turned and stomped off. Workshop that she had, her abode was more library than shop—and she knew what she was looking for. Scanning the rows of books, she stood on the tips of her toes and plucked a leather-bound book.

“Sit.” She instructed curtly as she began to clear space from her own large wooden desk. Hers was organized chaos, and she much preferred it that way as she knew where everything was. “I,” She began between stacks of books and research papers she studied and put away, “Am a Scrivener.” Back and forth she would go as she began to return books to shelves, stack them elsewhere—busying herself as she spoke. “What I do is record events in the world as they happen.” She made a vague flowery gesture in the air as her hands swirled about, “We are like bards that write. It was clear she found that comparison distasteful, and the airy mockery with which she said it suggested it was the single most annoying thing to be compared to.

“What I do is different.” Now she was selecting more books. Stacks upon stacks of books that described twisted things of nature. Aberrations of cataclysmic events past. “I’m an Archaeologist, so to speak.” A would-be one, rather—but she wouldn’t dim her client’s hopes. Artamese had been combating the Chapel Alliance on her work for some time. What she really was, was a glorified Librarian. The Chapel Alliance saw no benefit to having a Scrivener who dabbled in relics, artifacts and archaic magic from events and civilizations long past. Artamese suspected it was something bigger than that, but she was a small fish and a big pond.

Strange places. Valinde is not just some ruins. Artamese slammed a book down in front of Orion, a dusty old piece of work that detailed the early histories of Genesaris. “You were foolish enough to venture into Whispernight ruins and got tangled—quite literally by the looks of it—with dark magic.” Although she didn’t mean to sound accusatory, she had heard of the brave and the stupid venturing to pilfer artifacts from these damned cities.

“You encountered the Banshee of Valinde—who guards the Timestoppers. Her folly was that her artifacts don't stop time.” Artamese was passionate about her studies, and the gleam in her eyes as she regarded this man was apparent. She looked at his chains for the first time, and at the mentioning of an apparition’s name, the chains flared to life. Artamese tensed, “Linked sorcery. A binding. You invoke the power of the Named One.” Artamese rest her right hand flat over the left, “Seorsum." She muttered the commanding spell, and pulled her hands apart. What she saw, was something only she could see. A brilliant flare of blue washed over Orion, illuminating the runes of magic, and pulling apart the series of complex spells in place. His hand was glowing—and Artamese began to suspect that something else had happened as she noted the sloppiness with which it was carved.

“The Banshee of Valinde does not guard magic like this. Daughter of a watchmaker, forbidden love gone wrong. She tried to spell various watches to stop time and save her lover but it failed and in her grief she succumbed to her own magic and collected the various Timestoppers she had spelled in her descent into insanity. This…this is something different. This is not Whispernight tainted. It's very old, very powerful and very angry.”

Artamese pulled her reading glasses from the bridge of her nose and frowned deeply. “What aren’t you telling me?”

Edited by Deus Ex Aizen

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"Of course he is angry, he is always angry, always raging..." At what I could not say, only softly stroke the book which so closely resembled the one he used on that fateful night.

"I am not truly a wizard, nor am I a researcher, or anything even close to the sort." The admission was painful, as deep seeded memories of past traumas came back in frightening detail. "Before all of this, I was a stable boy. Yes I tried to become a wizard once, but I didn't have the aptitude for it, so I washed out." Slowly I brought forth the left hand, feeling the power of Feuer Krieger as he began to stir. It was almost like holding a living firestorm right in the palm of your hand.

"You've never experienced the Whispernight when it first came, have you? No, I can tell from the look in your eyes you haven't, or else the very memory of that event would leave you numb and shaking. My experience with that foul time was when a tree in my village began to grow larger, tainted by some strange magic we couldn't understand. Shortly after that, demons and the undead rose forth from the earth, tormenting us mercilessly for days on end. Can you imagine it? Helplessly watching everyone you care about, ripped away from you, defiled in all kinds of unspeakable ways, while you just sat there in the shadows, hoping you weren't found as well?" The screams, I can still hear the screams when I close my eyes, begging for my help, all in vain.

"What you see before you is a corpse of the man known as Orion, for he died in that village, with all the rest of the people there. In his place is a man constantly taunted by the gods, walking a path I don't understand and playing jailer." I laughed, the idea becoming very comical to me at that instant. "Jailer to something possibly worse than the horrors of Whispernight."

"He is the harbinger of warfare, slaughter and rage." The leather strips that covered my afflicted arm began to smolder, burning away slowly as I began to praise Feuer Krieger. "I have pitted Feuer Krieger against impossible odds multiple times. Each battle ends with him as the victor, killing anything and everything that gets in his way. There's still so much I don't know about him, but I know these chains are the key to understanding him, and so much more than that." Her gleam would be met with my own, one that could only be acquired after going half mad in the hellscape of the ruined world left behind by Whispernight. By the end of my speech, the leather strips had burned off entirely, revealing to the Scrivener my secret.

In place of flesh and bone, my left hand was a living piece of volcanic stone. Coarse black rock made up the skin, obsidian the nails and scores of cracks could be seen covering the length of the appendage. Dull orange light, growing into a strong red color, emanated from these cracks, shedding extra light and heat into the room. Quickly I lifted my hand from the book, careful not to scorch it upon my touch. This was the price I paid for the power to fight back against the forces of darkness, a debt I will soon have to pay in full one day.

"This spirit is the key to ending Whispernight once and for all. Somewhere in the annals of history he must have been recorded, or else there would be no spell to bring him back to our world. Help me with my mission, and we could very well save thousands of innocent lives from this wretched evil." It came to me in fragmented visions within my dreams. Whole armies of metal warriors cloaked in flames, marching against the terrors of Whispernight as they fled for their lives. First would come vengeance, then the whole world would finally know peace and tranquility by his hand.

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“Wizard my arse, not with rookie runes like this.” She pursed her lips and frowned in disapproval at having called his bluff. Artamese wasn’t as gifted with her peers. Their affinities were different and common, where her brains were what kept her going and the scant bit of analytical magic she was capable of. Researcher? Either he was terrible at his day job or he found himself in a position that made for sloppy work on short time. That was always a gamble with runic magic—with any magic, really. She clicked her tongue in disappointment. This did not bode well.

It wasn’t until he played a different angle that Artamese clicked her tongue loudly and waved at his dismissively, “Oh sod off with your theatrics. No fool in their right mind would just venture to the Ruins. Only knobheads and the desperate go there, seeking their gold and glory and what not.” Artamese was no hero, no aspirations of gallivanting off and plucking up artifacts guarded by Dragons and the Undead and the likes. She valued her life!

She quite liked her shop. The Queen’s hired Librarian—that’s who she was. Imperial Researcher and Artificer was her official title. She simply had a knack for knowledge that couldn’t be overlooked or dismissed. No, she couldn’t understand—nor did she want to. She had a happy and uneventful childhood, with sensible parents who tried to do right by her—and she by them in return. Though she was not the success her sisters were, they at least respected her dreams. She simply wanted to study the past, and what magic of the past could mean for the future. She wasn’t interested in the wars of today—she would leave that to her peers.

The man, at least—and at last—produced a name. Orion. A common name. Artamese knew of the infamous knight Orion in Alethea, who fought the beast King Raz-Nogore. The Queen's Wyvern Orionis, named for the nebula in the sky. She was less familiar with the Knight clan, the Queen’s step son had a particular system with that name, though she knew nothing of its mechanics. Mechanics were a thing that went completely over her head—and all the better. Her mind was most useful when focused on literature.

Orion was an uncomfortably common name.

“So what you’re telling me is that you enslaved a foreign entity to your body, with magic you know nothing about, with cataclysmic results and you brought it here to this city?! Are you out of your knobheaded mind!?” Ever-protective of her sacred texts, Artamese snatched the book away from the madman, putting ample feet of distance between them with reasonable fear.

“You can barely control this thing.”

This was not a guess. She could see it in the poorly scrawled magic. He was correct, the chains were a piece of evidence—but it hardly outweighed the fact that this man inherently jeopardized her life, and the lives of Alethea, and perhaps all the Rising West and beyond.

And he wanted her to help him?!

Had all of Genesaris gone mad from Whispernight?!

"What in Odin's name makes you think I'd run off with a ticking murderous time bomb?!"

Edited by Deus Ex Aizen

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I had expected disbelief, but this woman was making wild accusations and insults against me. Anger began to well up in my chest, but I did my best to try and contain it.

"First of all" I said, standing up from my chair "I did not make these chains. If I had do you think I would be here seeking insults from the likes of you?!" Again I had to control myself, the anger bubbling up inside of me as I spoke. If I were not more careful with how I spoke, I could risk doing something regretful. I had come here seeking answers, not trying to pick a fight.

"Secondly, you are mistaken about my status as a wizard. True when I started upon my journey I was not entirely a mage, but I sought help and guidance where I could. I am no master, but I am no fool either." With my breathing under control, I was able to suppress the fire within my left arm until it's glow was nearly non-existent. Doing this required concentration, but my options were running low, and I needed some means of getting the answers I required. "I don't want gold or fame, I could care less if I was remembered after I passed on. All that matters to me is destroying Whispernight once and for all."

Unwrapping the chains from my body, I would carefully hand them over to her, my face set with determination and perseverance. "I don't need you to come with me to anywhere. All I need for you to do is to decipher these runes and help me to better control this weapon."

Kill her. She will give you nothing, so she is worthless. End her suffering now, or else I will do the deed for you.

Your help is not required Feuer Krieger. She will surely help us, especially after we had elaborated our request and declared our noble cause to her. What harm could there possibly be in aiding us in our quest to destroy the forces of Whispernight? Only a madman would think we had ill intent once we possess this knowledge.

I wonder how hard she will scream when I drag my blade across that pretty face...

There is no need for that, not yet anyway.

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“I did not say you made these chains. I said this!” She gestured wildly at his arm, “Is your doing! And you very well may have put the entire kingdom in danger at that! Why are you taking those off?! Don’t you need them?!”

Arty’s mind raced. There were so many wild possibilities. So many things this could unearth. This was unlike anything she had ever been challenged with! The maverick part of her wanted to dive into it, dissect them, unlink them and figure out what it was, where it came from.

The safe part of her—the part that was formally trained by the Chapel Alliance, was far more afraid and less willing to be exposed to that sort of danger.

She gestured wildly to the table—there was clearly no stopping him from removing the chains—whatever they were made of. She would certainly find out. Despite her status to the Queen, it did not make her any more confident about this level of danger.

“Simmmooonn!” She called over her shoulder, clear wariness in her voice. She often relied on her Familiar when it came to these matters. Perhaps Familiar was a silly word. Indentured Servant? Freeloading dog?

Primordial entity of darkness with unimaginable power enslaved to the Artificer’s will in the confines of a dog?

Simon lumbered at a leisurely pace, rounding the corner of a small, tucked away hall. He was taller than most of the counterspace Artamese owned, and sometimes came to the chest of a man if he were short enough.  Raveena said that King Rowan called them Great Danes where he was from, and was astounded to see one in person. They were known to be freakishly tall dogs. He was black as night, ears perked forward. His eyes took in the scene—a beautiful silver color.

His loyalty would have been questioned—labeled sketchy at best—but when the going got tough, Simon always pulled through when she needed to. He was a fascinating creature—a self-proclaimed Hell Hound (though Arty doubted this) that her line of mages inherited. A glorified assistant (though he preferred the term ‘babysitter’) that dabbled in the old arcane that Artamese was so fascinated by.

She was organized and anal-retentive, he was laisses-faire.  Somehow, they made a formidable team.

He regarded Orion with keen interest. A visitor? The room stood still as Simon lumbered around the counter to sniff at the newcomer. Chuffing and exploring at the pantslegs of Orion, Simon gave him a thorough checking over before a disgruntled whuff. He turned and trotted to a loveseat in a corner, which he unceremoniously (and ungracefully) climbed upon and sprawled across with a deep sigh.

“Oh, well—just, thanks for that lovely bit a help, Simon.” Artamese threw up her hands, eyes rolling before resting hands on her hips and rounding on Orion.

“I want payment upfront. This sort of work is extremely dangerous and if I’m going to further my research, I’m going to need the right amount.”

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Waiting patiently for the familiar to do it's work, I was not surprised at it's disapproval of my scent. Creatures both mundane and magical did not seem to care much for me. At first it was disconcerting, but lately I haven't had enough time to give it any real thought.

"If it is payment you seek, then that is what I can provide."

Reaching into my pockets, I began depositing bits of jewelry and gems upon a nearby table. Some of the metal was tarnished due to the elements, but they were still worth a considerable amount of hawks in the right market. Pilfering the dead cities brought low by Whispernight was essential for my survival if I was to continue purchasing the supplies I needed. It was no surprise that even the hardiest of scavengers would be reluctant to skulk through these places, no matter how promising the reward might be. When the last of my material possessions were placed on the table, I looked upon the artificer with dead set eyes.

"Everything I have done, has always and will always be for the survival of the people of Genesaris. As far as I am concerned, I am doing more good than any of the so called rulers of this continent. Do you see the armies of the Carmine empire laying siege to the cities these monsters occupy? Do you see Kadia mobilizing it's forces to scour the earth of this plague? I certainly haven't, not in all the horrible places that I have been to, I have cleansed and I have risked my life for in order to stem the tide. Think on that as you presume to judge my intentions and competency."

Much to my surprise, my arm didn't flare up whatsoever while I spoke of my indignation. It was as if in this one moment, Feurer Krieger understood my hatred, and instead of reacting to it, accepted it. The question that remained in my mind was why do such a thing?

Such passion has been part of this world for eons. As soon as the crown touches their skull, the spine begins to weaken. Little by little, their resolve erodes away by the relentless grindstone of responsibility. Only until their power is taken from them will the damage be undone. Until that moment, the people will suffer, and their kingdom shall fall.

Sitting back upon the chair offered me, I would wait her response. Nothing would keep me from completing my mission. No man, no empire, and no trifling woman will get in my way.

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“What you’ve cleansed,” Artamese shot back hotly, “Is your sanity. Nothing as dark and tainted as what you have, can be any good to anyone—most importantly yourself. You don’t fight fire with Hellfire and expect to come out the same, or even better.” Artamese bustled around her shop to rearrange her shelves. Really, it was all nervous energy. It was everything she could dream of. Danger, and excitement—but it was so risky. She loved the Enoteca, her slice of peace while the occasionally person came in seeking help on finding an artifact, what it did, how it worked, could it better the world or was it better left forgotten?

 “And tell me,” She whirled around on her heels of her worn out flats, fists hiked on her hips as she shifted her weight, “What is your brilliant plan, my noble knobheaded savior? Please enlighten me as to how you plan to wipe this curse off the face of the planet, as if it hasn’t been tried before. Men like you are stupid, thinking themselves above the Gods.” Sarcasm and regret dripped from her every word. Even the Chapel Alliance didn’t bother with deities and their cosmic wars with one another. The Queen was had been entrenched in such since probably before her birth and Artamese wanted no part of that stress. A mortal man seeking to use a clearly corrupted entity to face off against one of the most powerful afflictions Genesaris ever knew. This man was pure madness on feet!

Artamese prided herself on being logical, practical and resourceful. Was fear a logical response? Absolutely! Still, for all her boisterous and negative responses, the Scrivener was thrilled. She sought the right adventure—the perfect adventure, that would pull her out from the depths of the libraries she kept manicured. Fear is what stopped her. Fear of getting in over her head. Fear, that her perfect, boring little life stumped her ability to pursue her dream. Fear that what she dreamt could never be a reality—that she was nothing more than a whipped dog that Simon babysat.

The Hellhound chuffed once more, as if he guessed her thoughts, and Arty scowled, "Quiet, you!"

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"My plan is very simple." I said, finding it more and more difficult to hide the anger building up inside of me. She just didn't get it. Why was it so hard to understand? "To do what everyone else is unwilling to do, and take the fight to them."

She thinks I believe myself greater than the gods? How preposterous! Did she even understand how cruel such beings had to be if they would allow this darkness to afflict the land with such a blight as Whispernight? Only monsters would do such a thing, and worse yet are those that do nothing while the demons rampage with impunity. Where was the great armies of the land to retake the cities lost to the monsters? Nowhere, and likely never will, for their greed was too great, their cowardice too strong.

"Unless you can suggest to me a better way of destroying these monsters without using such a powerful weapon, then you have no right to lecture me on such things." Feurer Krieger hungered to be let out, to destroy and to conquer. This entire facility would go up in flames if I unleashed him at this moment, but the risks were too high. I still needed this one to help me decipher the symbols, to understand what I must do, and to take control of the fire warrior once and for all.

"If you do not wish to help me then so be it. I will take my payment and leave this place. Just know your refusal will only put the blood of innocents on your hand, the same blood on all these rulers hands who refuse to do something about these monsters." They were all complicit, all guilty in not doing more to stop this. Once Whispernight was dealt with, then the guilty will be made to feel the swift sword of justice.

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"Hmmm...it looks like it sells food. I have plenty of cash from that job I just did after all. Might as well go eat with that money." Arashi said as she opened the door and walked in, fully decked out in her armor, including a helmet on. It didn't help that she got stares from multiple other people as she stood in the restaurant after all. The draconian just looked sorta nervous under that helmet of hers. Luvkily for her, she didn't even need to take off her armour one bit, as it able to disappear and reappear at will with her will due to the nanotech it was infused with. In a quick few seconds, her armor faded around her, leaving her goggles and gas mask on, as she pushed her gas mask down around her neck and her goggles up her onto the top of her head like usual. She was dressed in her usual gear after all, her hoodie and camo pants along with dark green boots.

Thankfully the stares were gone at this point due to her armor disappearing.

"Hey I'd a table for--" Arashi said as she asked a waitress nearby.

"Aren't you a bit underdressed, poor and young for this restaurant?" She asked the now even more nervous Arashi with sweatdrops on her face.

"No, not at all! I can pay just fine! I swear, the food is really good here too apparently...I just completed this job and--" Arashi explained.

"Alrightly then, right this way miss." She responded back as Arashi followed and got seated to a table as well got handed a menu.

Arashi sat down, reading the menu intensively. "Now...to decide what the heck I'm having here..."

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Hard work was a distraction.

Sometimes, she felt guilty. Like she was playing hooky. Other times, it felt like a vacation. Raveena hauled the last of crate of wrapped meat into the kitchen with a sigh of relief. Her partner was a burly man named Arnas whom was hired to transport the delivery. He was impressed such a petite woman volunteered for strenuous labor.

“All done!” Turned herself around and climbed down the back of the wagon. It had been a few weeks since the investigation into her assassination attempt had been made. And so, she was ordered to lay low—and in plain sight—until results came through. She used some of Rowan’s tricks and Kirena’s magic to change a few minor details for a bigger impact. She kept her hair chopped short and tone down her exotic features to look more Genesar; slightly longer nose, darker eyes, a fuller bottom lip and her left ear was pierced with an ankh earring that sometimes caught the light.

“I’m gonna run inside and see if there’s anything else.” She slipped into the kitchens and immediately began to assist one of the  head of kitchen staff in stocking the meat cuts into proper storage. “Fine cuts this time! Fresh and local, they say! The folks will eat good and proper this time around.”

The head of the kitchen was portly woman named Clara. Raveena laughed, “I owed a friend a favor after I accidentally ruined his last haul.” Clara tsked her and proceeded to chide her for her carelessness. She was Soumiya Ahrat, a cheerful, albeit clumsy young woman.

It was pleasant. It was a secret.

“Madam, I’m afraid we may have…a problem.” Bernon popped in. He always looked like he had something shoved up his butt when he walked, “One of those little…dragon children are here again.” He cringed at the words, his fingers wiggling like spiders.

Raveena tried to hide a smile and a giggle—she only earned his menacing glare. “Young-seeming gal, obnoxiously persistent? Probably requested the dessert menu?” Raveena inquired innocently, Both Clara and Bernon looked at her in surprised (or perhaps it was disdain on Bernon’s part), “You know this person?” Clara asked.

Raveena shrugged thoughtfully, “Can’t say for sure but I have an old acquaintance that fits the bill.” She clapped Clara on the shoulder, “Sorry I’m not dressed for the front but I can take a look and see. If it’s a bother, I’ll take care of it, fair?” She owned the restaurant, of course and didn't bother to wait for a response.

It was still a pleasant secret.

She thoroughly washed her hands and tried to look like she wasn’t a butcher’s assistant before making a bee-line for the front of the restaurant.

It certainly didn’t take Raveena long to find Arashi. Her nose was buried in the menu—though she didn’t give much more thought to if it really was the dessert menu or not before resting palms on the table and leaning on.

“Arashi,” A slender brow arched, “What are you doing in—,” She almost said my city, “—this city?”

@Metty

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Arashi was lost in thought until Rae snapped her out of thought as she turned and looked at her. "...Is there a problem lady? I don't know who you are and how you know my name. Probably because of my mercenary jobs or whatever. So...are you here to request something from me or are you just here to distract me from my decision of deciding what to eat?" It was clearly obvious by this statement that Arashi didn't remember who Rae was or why the woman was annoying Arashi of all people. Arashi turned to glare at a Rae with an annoyed look on her face before turning back to look at the menu.

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