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supernal

Home of the brave [closed]

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The steamship on which Jericho was brought to Izral pulled into its dock. It belted smoke from its stacks and vibrated with the collective movement of two thousand people running across the deck and down the gangway and onto the firm land of Alterion. Jericho remained in his cabin until the rocking movement faded to a subtle hum, gathered his already packed belongings, and made his way to the tail-end of the crowd.

Izral looked exactly as it had been described to him. Opulent. A known retreat for the wealthy and well-off, attracted by the globally recognized culinary talent of its citizens, and rooted in place by the majesty of Izral's natural sights, untarnished by the industrialism known to plague its more advanced sister-cities.

From a dock loader hefting a crate from one man in the assembly line to another, Jericho was able to glean which of the city's districts had the least amount of sunshine falling on it; namely, where the shadows laid their claim, so he could find what vile creatures lurked within. He took off with his sword noiselessly dangling from his hip, and a full pack strapped to his shoulders.

His odyssey was brief and ended in the red light district with a brothel looming two stories higher than the shopfronts surrounding it – the Gleaming Twilight's star spangled banner flicked through a rainbow of lights which, when red, showed a man and woman pressed against one another in silhouette, when blue showed the man and woman in bed together, and when green showed the woman alone in bed, waving at nothing.

Jericho made his way to the Twilight and was stopped at the door by a human-minotaur chimera; he looked mostly like a regular human, but taller, bulging with muscle, and though the horns sprouting from his forehead may have looked like an aesthetic choice, Jericho had no doubt that they were also practical.

"Fork over the weapon pally. No swords, guns, runes, hex-bags, wands . . . "

Jericho gathered his sword and his pack in one hand and waited for the man-ataur to finish running down the list before handing the stuff over.


OOC thread

Edited by supernal

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Jericho watched as his belongings were passed from the bouncer, to a smaller man next to him dressed in a tuxedo, to a too-lithe woman who hung around behind a counter, her background framed by racks of coats, hats, and other checked items. The man returned with a blue plastic poker chip. Jericho inspected this for a few seconds, pocketed it, and allowed himself to be led into the Twilight's belly. The slim built man turned around so that they could not progress. The two of them were in a hallway with plush carpeting, burgundy walls, baroque paintings and electric torches meant to emulate firelight positioned between the paintings.

"Tell me something about yourself mister . . . ?"
"Kapono. You can just call me Kap."
"Mister Kap. A little something about yourself, and I can select a fine evening course for you."
"Oh. Is this a restaurant? I think I got turned around. I'm looking for – "
"No no sir. No no. You've come to the right place. You've come to indulge in an appetite of the flesh, yes?"
"That's prettier than I'd ever put it but sure fella, that's what I come here to do. Listen, rather than me yaw your ear off catchin' you up on the vagaries of my whole life, how's about I just pick for myself? You know, like a lobster tank or somethin' like that."

Although he was asking for it, there was a certain edge to the man's voice as he described his preferences. It sounded like a challenge to the smaller man; it rang of contempt. But the small man, used to dealing with the eccentric, dismissed this as nothing more than a passing idiosyncrasy; the orange haired Kapono before him would get his fill and be on his way, or find himself hooked and back for more. Either way, the Twilight made out alright.

"Certainly sir, certainly. Right this way."

A walk, a turn, another walk, two more turns, eventually brought the two of them into what could have been a foyer, had it been entered straight off the entrance. In that great hall countless men and women were draped about furniture like discarded clothing, and presented as much flesh as possible without actually being nude. Within seconds Kapono had his arm up, finger extended, a straight line drawn between his hand and a woman that was all alone, leaned against a wall, tracing her own finger across the lines of paint splashed onto a canvas.

"That's the one for me."
"A fine choice sir. She's new. Relatively untouched. Customers have described her as a refreshing experience."

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"Do you smoke?"

Jericho reached into a pocket and kept his hand there when he saw the woman, the girl really, shaking her head no.

"I . . . no sir. The . . . they don't want our voices becoming rough . . . well some of us, only some of us, come some custys like it that way but most of 'em don't so most of us can't."
"How about a chew then?" Jericho reached into a different pocket and took out a slim bundle of straw. He popped one into his mouth and offered the bundle to the girl. She was able to admirably keep the worst of the tremors at bay, but her hand still shook a little as she drew one straw out from the rest.

Jericho watched the girl put the straw between her lips and chew at the end delicately. With that he turned around and walked to a window, looking out of it to the streets below, the negligent passersby, the well-informed passersby, the automobiles that turned the sordid street into a blur of neon color.

He had let his senses unfurl the moment he stepped foot into the Twilight, and benefited by that somewhat. He had a rough count of armed guards, of employees, an incomplete map of the interior, at least enough to get him to that grand hall and up to these private rooms. The real work would come at night, when in a meditative trance Jericho could plumb the depths of his unconscious mind with uncompromising attention to the detail which escaped his seeking eye, but which did not escape the all-encompassing mind.

"You can keep your clothes on." Jericho said when his two solid minutes of gazing aimlessly out of the window was interrupted by the rustle of clothing being stripped off and dropped to the ground.

"You don't . . . find me attractive . . . sir?" Jericho closed his eyes and dissected the layers of emotion painting her words. The concern there was genuine but not directed at him. It was self-concern. If the customer wasn't attracted to her, if someone else was selected over her, she didn't earn. If she didn't earn she didn't eat. Or worse.

"I just don't have the parts to fit together with you, that's all. That's not your fault."
"I don't understand sir. If you knew you couldn't have sex with me, then why did you pick me?"

A different kind of concern now; still focused on the self, but tinged with alarm and suspicion.

"I was hoping I could ask you a couple of questions about your life here."

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It was a basic trick. Jericho knew which of the straws in the bundle was not drugged, and the rest of them were; it didn't matter which straw the girl chose, as soon as she decided to chew on one because she assumed Jericho wouldn't poison himself, she had fallen for his social engineering. It took a few minutes for the drug to run its course but before too long the girl was slumped over, half on the bed and half off it, still conscious but her eyes were closed and her lips turned upwards into a slanted, dreamy smile.

"So, essentially, you were taken as collateral for your father's debt."

The girl would have rather suffered a lashing than betray her patrons at the Twilight, because what they would do to her if they found out she was leaking information would be much more taxing, but in her drug-induced somnambulistic trance, she wasn't even aware she was really talking. She nodded, smiled wider in a subconscious attempt to mask the pain such memories fomented, and spoke in slurred, meandering speech.

"Uhhhh huh yessssir."
"He didn't want to sell the farm instead?"
"They didn't want the firm ssssiirrrr . . . said they could make more money offa me faster than they could with I think they calledddd it 'hobo land'."
"Do they feed you?"
"uhhhhhyessss yes sir they do."
"What?"
"Nutri-gruel."
"What's that?"
"Sorta like a, they called it like a vitamin soup? They don't let us eat what we want cause they don't want us getting fat, or our skin to get greasy or anything like that. So we just eat that, unless the custys bring us something if they sweet on us."
"Do you get to pick your customers? Can you say no?"

The girl laughed that time, taken aback by the absurdity of the notion that she had any agency at all in the process.

The gentle interrogation continued in this fashion for a third of an hour. After that she was too far gone. Jericho let her sleep. She slept longer than the drug would have demanded, telling him that she was exhausted. When a bouncer came to the door to let him know that the time was up, Jericho paid for another hour. And another. Until the girl woke up by herself. She apologized profusely for falling asleep.

"No no don't worry about it. My whole thing is I like watching girls sleep. As far as I'm concerned I'm a happy customer. Five stars. I'll make sure the fella downstairs knows it too. Here, this is for you." He slipped her some precious metal, enough for another hour, but he didn't ask for anything in return and, best yet, did not route the money through the establishment, which meant she got the whole pie.

"You were great. I think I'll see you again real soon."

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On the various bulletin boards hosted inside of various inns, taverns, bars, and likewise establishments, Jericho had come across many advertisements for many different clans, organizations, groups and guilds.

A very few of these gave one the impression of being interested in the collective welfare of downtrodden citizens of this or that demographic; by and large these were overshadowed by the picaresque, which offered exotic adventures, notoriety, and armloads of money. The common thread between the groups was that they operated out in the open. They had shored up their funds and their defenses and recruited for criminal activity out in the open with near impunity.

Jericho could not afford to do the same this far removed from his home base in Terrenus. Under the guise of Kapono, he would have to put the word out as actual words rather than flyers; as whispers passed from mouth to ear ad nauseum until it reached those with a combination of interest, ability, and opportunity.

"I want mercs." Kapono told points of contacts distributed through those inns, taverns, and bars he had visited. "It's going to be dangerous, combat-heavy work but I need more than strongarm grunts. This is going to be risky, I'm talking blood for sure and maybe even death, but I ain't got no use for sados (who like giving pain), masos (who like taking pain), or psychos (who are irrational). I'll pay above average. Spread the word."

He started seeding those whispers in the early morning and positioned himself in the meeting spot a full hour before sunrise. It would be many hours before the word circulated through the veins of Izral, but Jericho anticipated he would be weeding through quite a bit of chaff to get to the wheat and wanted to leave himself enough time in the day to do so.

As such he waited, alone, on an isolated bench in a small park just off of the second largest artificial aqueduct in Izral's eastern sector.

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With great certainty, William felt assured that nothing like this city even closely resembled what was on his home planet. Sure, he was from a small village in a country that wasn't known for extravagant innovation, but they had lore and mythos and magic that spurred on their own creative energies. Staring up at the skyscrapers and the advanced livelihoods of the citizens of Izral was, put simply, overwhelming. Since coming to Valucre he was seeking a place to fall in line, to be able to get his bearings together, and while he found a decent tutor in aiding the development of his growing abilities, it wasn't enough to prepare him for this.

Walking through the streets, his observations picked his interests. Everywhere one looked there was an exchange happening. Trading here, buying and selling there, and the obvious, to the keener eyes, shifty exchange between folks. This place was a trade haven, something which brought at least a little relief to the youthful human. He wasn't unaware of how the trade markets worked and how to get himself from one place to another, so there was at least a minor connection to such a major place of trade. Perhaps he needed to get out more, considering his nineteen years of life were spent sheltered by his father and grandmother, with occasional visits from his mother between expeditions.

Machinery of fine metals and glass sped past him in the streets, propelled by some alchemical mixture he'd never heard of. Above him your regular ships could suddenly stay aloft in the air as well as the sea. And while looking like a fairly obvious tourist, the rest of the world kept on moving past him. He reached into his pocket for a charm of a small golden lantern and mentally spoke a prayer as his fingers wrapped around it and he continued on to a constant staple and waypoint marker for any good traveler.

Entering the nearest inn to get out of the midday sun, William breathed in the worn-in scents of the establishment. There was a stark coldness to the place, tracing its' way around probably due to the fact that it wasn't the regular evening rush just yet. Only a few people had positioned themselves here at this time, talking to themselves mindlessly or to the barkeep. William too sat himself on a bar stool, taking a complimentary water as he opened his ears to the whispers of the other patrons while catching himself in this overly large city. Rumors were springing up about a job, a big one, that required finesse as well as muscle. At least according to one such person, who was relaying that information to a couple of others.

With a smirk, William ordered a stronger drink to pay the bartender kindly and waited for the other folk to clear out before he made his leave with his drink finished. His way through the maze of sidewalks and streets was met with signs on corners to help him navigate around to the meeting place that was foretold to arrive at. The only problem was the idea that others would probably be there, creating a mass of questioning for any of the authorities roaming around. That in mind, as he came to the locale's perimeter, William clenched a fist and spoke a word of power that activated the single ring he bore, made of a finely transparent crystal. Without warning he suddenly vanished from view, like a chameleon, becoming one with his surroundings in the shroud of invisibility conjured around him.

The sun looked like it was getting into the later hours of the afternoon by the time he'd made his way to the company of the man on the bench, bright orange hair marking him. No one else seemed to be around at this exact point in time, which was a relief, but William wasn't quite able to let his guard down entirely. Taking a seat at the farther side of the bench, he mentally commanded the spell to release from his ring. Casually slumped on the bench, William seemed like your commoner of the streets basking in the day's beauty of that particular location of the city, or perhaps even waiting for additional company from one person or another. Then, after a minute or so passed, he smiled as he made for idle chatter with the other man. "Were you the one who put out a notice for work?"

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When William revealed himself of a sudden to be occupying the same bench as Jericho, the latter sprang from his seat backwards over the bench and tumbled behind a small park feature, this one a fence of trees which led one down a quarter acre nature walk before emptying out onto a concrete walkway to other parts of the park.

When Jericho could see that no attack was forthcoming, he stepped out from behind the trees and made his way back to the bench. He stood there for a few seconds facing William, his hand hovering over the hilt of his sword but not yet drawing it. When, again, no attack came, Jericho sat down next to the youth, placing each within the striking distance of the other.

"If you were just showing off you got my attention but let's not run through that playbook again. I got people after me and they like to do the same sort of thing."

Jericho made himself comfortable, pressing his back against the bench, looking away from William and towards the rest of the park. He brought his left arm up to the bench's back edge, revealing an old, broken wristwatch with a gaudy faceplate. If Will watched Jericho's eyes he could see the man's vision flicking to the faceplate periodically as he checked behind him.

"Were you the one who put out a notice for work?"
"A-yup. That'd be me. I know looks can be deceiving, believe you me, but you look younger than the last cats came by sniffing at the job. I just want to make sure you're clear on what I'm asking for, which might toe the line on attempted murder, and you'll have to shrug off a few attempts made right back at you.
"I'll pay damn decent for it too. If that sounds like something you can swing, let me ask you this. Say you're a cop, or guard, or constable. Your job is holding up the law. You come across a man that's stolen some feed. He's stealing this food to feed himself and his family. Do you take him in or do you let him go?
"When you're done with that I got another one. What's something you'd give your life to see happen or take place?"

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Middy leisurely strode through the streets of Izral, his steps silent as always. When his aunt, Lady Frigid, decided to go sightseeing in this land he did not expect he's not part of the sightseeing group. Apparently, it was a women only trip, and as a grown man, he was not welcome at all. Her last words to him were something along the lines of - 'Middy, please be a dear and earn some pocket money while your aunties enjoy their tour. Oh, I heard something big is coming so do check it out for me. Also, your Aunt Teddy might have something for you as well. Better give her a visit before going out.'

A defeated sigh escaped his dry lips. As always, despite how unreasonable, his aunt will never order him to something pointless. Problem is, he just have to find out why. This isn't the first time anyways. Whenever his aunts are out there partying, he's out there doing the dirty work and then when all is done they are going to take the larger part of his pay as well and justify it as manager's fee. 

Middy ran his calloused fingers along his newly dyed brown hair, a habit he had picked for this job. Even his new pair of blue eyes are just a little splash of illusion magic. As for his face, just a little application of rouge magic, and he's a different person. Unfortunately this leaves his whole face feeling dry and a bit itchy. But there is nothing wrong with being too careful. 

Fishing through the pocket of his dark grey duster coat, Middy retrieved the slip of paper his Aunt Teddy gave him during his visit earlier. One of his other aunts who do nothing but either laze around all day or spend their time in their hobbies. His Aunt Teddy's hobbies though are more on the line of eavesdropping and peeping on other people. Thankfully she does find something good once in a while, like directions for the job his Aunt Frigid dropped on him.

Middy is close to the meeting place now, somewhere around , and it appears there are already two people on the isolated bench, one of them should be the employer. Somehow the two seem to be arguing, Middy can't tell from this distance though. Rather than approach them carelessly, he slowed down his steps pretending to admire the scenery around him while keeping tabs on the two. Middy produced a cigar from his other pocket. He inhaled indeeply, revelling in the rich tobacco taste and then he breathed it all out grudgingly. Amidst the trailing smoke, Middy waited for the two to finish their squabble.

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" I won't pretend that I'm not probably a little more youthful than the everyday merc, but I've dealt with enough to understand the reality we face." William's smile went away as the conversation changed appropriate tones to match the serious nature of the topics spoken. He didn't need to delve too deeply into his past to make it known how quickly he needed to grow up. In a matter of months he'd found and faced an unreasonable number of hobs, dealt with mind-altering diseases that resuscitated the deceased, hunted a band of thieves being led by a hag, and began a witch hunt for a vampire before being whisked away from the life he thought was his. "The position of the guard may be to uphold the law, but I've no affection for the law myself. I've known ostracism my whole life for my powers, and I believe people deserve to live without fear. Without the feeling of needing to hide away in the shadows to feel safe. I'd let that man steal for the sake of living another day with a family that couldn't be happier to just have another meal. As for your other question..."

It took a moment of hard questioning of his own self to figure out a reasonable answer. William was not without his own sense of questionable worth. He was a kid in the giant scheme of things. It was difficult to put a pin on something that was rather intangible to him. Although, he had a few various answers he supposed he could have given. This was coming down on who exactly he was as a person before he was ever a forced citizen on Valucre. Who was he from Golarion? What lessons did he learn and keep for himself that he valued above all else? His goals were completely shifted here in Valucre where things were mildly different. People could openly do things he wasn't allowed to do in Golarion, at least not outside of the Consortium's watch, or with darkness's cover at night. So seeing a sanctuary for folks like him wasn't nearly as necessary he supposed. At least here he was an unknown among many others so he didn't have a reputation working against him for anything though, so what did it really matter what he longed for? What he'd give his life for? He didn't have any friends now to whom he could entrust his vision and ideals either. And his home was far and away a memory of what he knew it to be.

Sitting deeply into the bench his eyes went to the sky as his left hand fidgeted with the little gold lantern charm in his pocket. Maybe He had an answer, William thought for a moment. Then again, probably not, he chuckled to himself. One heavy inhale and exhale and William continued to think it over in the moments that passed. His biggest problem in the world was already solved, so what was he to do with his life? Aside from his immediate disposition with open waters, which solved itself as well courtesy of the djinn that changed his elemental prowess, he had one answer.

It flickered as a lost thought through him. His old friend, Lucia? No, Lucelia. Lullaby. Sister Lullaby, the vigilante hero of children. She was a tavern keeper by trade, but would steal away to the evenings with a different garb and name. It was how she got involved in all the shenanigans from the beginning with William and the others. Children were disappearing from their beds at night and pig-like goblins were appearing through the outskirts of their little town known only as hobs. She was... brave. There was no better word to describe the woman who practically led the gang into battle against all they had to deal with, who encouraged William's habits of empowering himself with confidence over what exactly he was able to do. No amateur flame thrower could have been able to get by without her words of encouragement, and part of her left with him he supposed to Valucre as he continued to remember her.

"I imagine a world without hierarchy and social injustice. Kids don't deserve to be treated poorly because of an economic status they were born into. I'm a damn good spy and an even better combatant, so I'd happily come out of the shadows to do what was right for the next generations to come. At least what I think is right."

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Jericho dwelled on William's answers for a little longer than was strictly necessary. Aside from the answers themselves, Jericho most appreciated the depth of attention that the youth sitting alongside him put to the questions pitted against him. These were not reflexive answers spun out of a place of certainty, and Jericho wanted to give William's answers at least as much consideration as William himself had.

"Yeah you know what, that sounds pretty good to me. Depending on how we make out of this one maybe you'd be interested in a few of the other jobs I got lined up but hey, one bridge at a time, right?"

William's prior, rather sudden, intrusion into his field of perception had managed to raise Jericho's hackles. Jericho was on high alert now, not just sensitive to changes in the stream but on the scout for them, so for good reason it didn't take the man very long to feel out the fact he was being felt out himself. A cursory scan of his surroundings revealed to Jericho's keen discernment the mid-distance Middy. Jericho leaned in to William and blocked his mouth with his hand in case his lips were being read.

"Someone at your six is doing a pretty good job at looking like they aren't interested in us. Come with me, eyes up and hands steady. Let's just see what he's about first of all."

Jericho sprang to a stand and immediately segued into a direct, albeit leisurely, stroll. Loping strides brought him within 10 feet of Middy before he stopped and waved at him, inviting Middy to be the one to close the final distance.

"If you're here for the job all I gotta know is why you're interested in the first place. It isn't a bad thing to say 'just the coin' if it really is just the coin."

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Middy took a long drag on his cigar before finally closing the distance between him and Jericho. The sudden question caught him off balance. Most of his previous jobs  have always been 'straight to the details, no questions asked' so this inquiry is quite shocking for him. A coy smile spread from his chapped lips, amusement glittering in his dry eyes.

"Coin? No. I'm more interested in the little kids-" Middy abruptly stopped, suddenly realizing how misleading his choice of words were. Rather than be judged as something worse than creepy he cleared his throat and continued, "I mean, my organization's head is interested in those children, she is willing to take them all in if they no longer have no families to go. No need to worry, the head has no ill intentions for them, after all, she adopted me as well. " 

Having said his piece, Middy passed by Jericho and took a seat on the bench, his face now solemn as he arranged his thoughts. Those words were not his answer, but his organization's. Thinking back, he can still remember the day he was adopted by Lady Frigid. The woman was a monster. After failed attempt at stealing her purse, Middy was beaten black and blue then abducted away from the life of a street rat and into the warm embrace of a loving family. In the streets he had to fight tooth and nail to survive, everyday is a battle for his basic needs. Aboard Lady Frigid's ship, at least he had a roof above his head, a room to call his own and at least three meals a day. There had been other children there as well, most of them broken and battered by the darker side of life. Most of them already left though, left as a better version of themselves, all of them having overcome the scars and horrors of their childhood and became stronger adults. Even to this day, Lady Frigid's ship is out there adopting orphans, while she and her gaggle of doting aunties are partying hard every night indulging themselves in life's luxuries. Once more, he took a puff from his cigar, to calm his nerves, finally figuring out his heart's answer.

"Children are better off smiling and playing off to their heart's content without a worry to the world around them. The least we adults can do is give them this little semblance of a peaceful childhood. Also, in a few days I'll be running out of money, so coin will suffice as well."

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The mentioning of employment wasn't sounding too terrible to William. Where he had almost nothing to his name besides the few possessions on hand when he came to Valucre, money was an utmost need. For the sake of his old friend, he'd be happy to come and make something special happen. Taking his powers that were no longer a problem into a battle was something that gave William alot more confidence unlike any he'd had before.

Pocketing his hands as he stood up to follow the orange-haired man, William raised his ears in a perky flex as he peered around for any other immediate or hidden onlookers. It would have seemed there was only the one, and while William had no issues with another person keeping their distance, obviously his employer had already made mention of the likes of people who use the same abilities to get the jump on him. For the former issue alone William kept his stance casual as he followed. For him, there was no reason to get too high strung about anything just yet. Not at least until the main extraction plan began.

A chuckle escape his mouth at the mention from the newcomer that he was in it for the kids. Surely he didn't mean it 'that' way, but it was still rather amusing before he had corrected himself. William took a good look at the chap. He was roughly of the same height and build, though perhaps a little thicker where it counted in his favor. His face and build added up that he was a few years older, though not by much. His hair, darker and longer, with eyes to match. This man was... rather unassuming. Not that that was at all a bad thing. If anything, he had one of those things about him... The kind that meant he could slip into a crowd and be lost to anyone who tried to follow. William knew that feeling well. He was good at getting through and into crowds, or just altogether disappearing from the naked eye. It was fun. Yes. Fun.

A hiccup from his chest threw him off at the mention of the woman that gathered children, until of course this man mentioned he was taken in by her when he was a kid... For a moment he could have sworn that perhaps Lucelia too had made it to the new world, by some means of her own. Though she had no magic affiliation, that would have been impossible. Lest Adeline did something, but that was requiring an alchemist to figure out how to hop dimensions and planets and probably galaxies for all he knew. There was too much doubt to say that any of that was believable. No, William was still alone, though he supposed working for a greater good always put him a little at ease.

Lifting his spirits with a spry smile, he agreed with the idea of the money as a good incentive to speak, both from his employer and the new guy at hand. What other means did someone need to do most anything if it paid right? Sure, everyone here had some morals and values to spur them a bit, but there was no denial that money ran the world better than feelings. Another chuckle, and William kept his silence as he stood just a few feet behind and to the side of his employer, waiting to see his approval of the other man as well.

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Jericho looked all around as Middy spoke, scratching the scruff on his chin and neck as he attempted to discern who else from the crowd was there for the job. Or who might be seeking Jericho, specifically, for violent delights and violent ends. Jericho terminated his scrutiny and brought his eyes level with the man before him just as Middy spoke his final word.

"I gotta admit, smilin' and playin' sounds mighty fine."

Middy supplied the sort of answers Jericho was looking for, which triggered in him a momentary struggle against a natural tendency towards paranoia. Middy was in part motivated by practical concerns but the engine which drove him was one made up primarily of altruism and sympathy for the disenfranchised. He wanted to help those that couldn't help themselves. William wanted much the same. Both of them were willing to play a high-stakes game and bet with their lives to see certain conclusions made real.

A few false starts earlier in the day had drained some of Jericho's hope that today would be the day. Those others were more along the lines of what one might expect from mercenaries. Stony faces and hard eyes, lean builds held together with muscle honed by the demands of their work. But these people were exactly the kind that Jericho did not want. He did not want someone who, midway through a mission, could be swayed to the other side by a bigger paycheck. He required resolve.

"Yeah, yeah, okey. That works. You just mind that these, kids, most of 'em got families of their own they prolly wanna get back to. If any of 'em wanna go along wit' you then fine, fine, but this ain't about piping people from one gilded cage to another. Long as we're clear on that, it's crystal."

He gave William and Middy a single nod in turn, introduced everyone to everyone else, and with a third nod of the head motioned to his two new compatriots that they would be taking their business elsewhere.

~~~~Outskirts Trading Post~~~~

The Candelabra could be found on a minor road shooting off the main thoroughfare leading into the city. Items of all kinds could be purchased or traded, ranging from supplies to weapons to overnight accommodations; this last held Jericho's attention. The accommodations were cheap but sturdy. He paid for the use of a corner room for the night though he only intended to use it for a few hours.

"We're hitting tonight." As he spoke Jericho rummaged through his pack. He found a tin of grease and began applying it to his bright orange hair, turning it into a dull dun. Even if Middy offered his illusory expertise, Jericho was too lost in the task of briefing them to allow interruption.

"There's a bouncer at the front, likely augmented. A host inside, probably handy with a stiletto, he had those sneaky little fingers you see on stealth assassins. A dozen or so young women and as many young men were corralled into the central antechamber to attract clientele. We want to move as many of them as we can outside of the building and then burn the building down."

Jericho had plans for what came after, but they didn't need to concern themselves with that just yet.

"I counted eight armed guards. That's just what I saw. I'd wager that a third to half of them were proficient in combat magic."

He put the tin away and in the same motion withdrew a hand drawn map which provided William and Middy with a rough sense of scale for the brothel, and distance between the surrounding buildings. He used cups of watered down wine to pin the map down and keep it spread.

"The brothel and the building east of it, a liquor and narcotic store, share a wall. I'm thinking we go in through there, punch a hole through the wall, and tap them on the shoulder from behind. So this is where you two come in. You know yourselves better than I do – what can you do to help this plan come off or make it better?"

Jericho looked to Middy first, taking an inventory of the remaining contents of his bag as he waited.  

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"Sure, Bossman," Middy replied, preparing another cigar from his coat, "Mind if I call you Bossman? Since I dont know your name or this other guy, and you are my employer, then I'll refer to you as Bossman. To be fair, you can call me by my name Middy. Although it is not really needed but it feels awkward having to call each other 'hey you!' all the time."

"As for your question Bossman, I'd like to raise a point or two." His fingers pointed at the wall connecting the liquor and narcotic store to the brothel. "It may take sometime but I can punch a hole through the wall in a literal sense. It may alert any guard unfortunate enough to be standing or passing by though. That said, using detection spells would only show us their location but as you said so earlier Bossman, some of them may be proficient in combat so I highly doubt that there won't be any skilled spellcasters who can detect the energy fluctuations of the detection spell. When that happens, we see them, they see us. But don't let that deter you from taking them from behind."

He took another drag from his cigar while moving his free hand towards the antechamber where the presumed "attractions" are set in display. "This is another one point, we know where these kiddos are, but we don't know where the rest of them are. But we can be realistic as well, just save as many as we can, but I'd rather not burn the building down in the off chance that there might be other kiddos we haven't found yet. Also if your interested, we can this host as well, information can be quite wonderful when we have more of it. Don't worry, I can make him talk and if he doesn't I know a fun spell that can let you search through his mind. It's kinda painful for him though and may potentially leave him addled if he's lucky." 

"That said, once they are alerted to our presence, they might take the kiddos hostage, or they might go bonkers and would rather choose to destroy the "merchandise" than have it stolen from them," Middy paused and looked at Jericho, eye to eye,  "But if you can take a few losses, then I won't mind, Bossman."

Edited by Zashiii

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One. Augmentation could pose a problem depending on what synergistic magics he has on him. Maybe. Two. I have the upper hand on guys who think they're sneaky. Past them are the people we need to get out. Easy enough. Once they're clear, I've definitely got the fire power... Ten to fifteen. Easily now. Combat magic is only so easily to thwart with the right abilities. I have... some. Might need backup. In thought, William rubbed his hands together, his left hand being coddled by the right in a constant trace over the ring on his left's middle finger. It was a simple white-gold ring that held some great sentimental value to William after all of his time already passed in the Valucre. He hadn't been here for longer than a few weeks or so, taking some ample training from a wizard of unrecognizable age, and then going on his merry way.

Redirecting his attention to the map that Jericho pulled out, he gathered his senses about him to take in the layout drawn on the parchment. A surprise attack is always a great option, though how loud would we be breaking through a wall? Perhaps the darker haired one here could help with that. An answer fell into his lap almost immediately after the thought crossed his mind, something he wasn't particularly happy to hear in one way or another. Watching Middy take a puff of his cigar, a thought crossed his mind as the wisps swirled and bent and went about dissipating into nothing. Which was where William stepped in with his own answer to Jericho's question.

"Why not start a fire from where we enter? I'd be preferable to discretion, maybe even moreso having someone go in posed as a customer to drop an ember or something where fire catches easily, and quickly. If we can smoke them out, then come in, maybe we can gain a better advantage on the field." Taking a pause to let the shock sink in, William was able to justify himself and quickly. This was the reveal on just what exactly he was capable of, courtesy of all the training he'd undergone, and especially the help of a damned djinn. That creature was especially hard to come by, but at least she made herself known to him when she felt the time was right, gifting him back some of his old power from Golarion.

"I'm gifted at a range, with some melee skills. I have particular abilities that shed some use in elemental combat. Air is my strength, but so is fire.. Though I wouldn't be wholesomely dependent on that right now. It's still a little new in getting used to. But I have some other talents that could prove useful. Aside from being an obvious sneak, I share some resistances to natural magic, so the guards might not pose as strong a threat to me. And more importantly, smoke and flames are no hindrance to me. I may get a little hot under the collar, but I see fine through the likes of the element as if they weren't even present. Moving the hostages shouldn't be a problem if we can start a distraction. I can fan the flames, as well as find the ones we want to get out of there to safety amidst the chaos. And when the area is clear... Well, this is a two-part issue. Besides obviously toppling the place, can we ensure that they don't have business with insurance holders that would allow them to immediately rebuild? Maybe that's thinking too far forward, since that involves paperwork and meetings with important tie-wearers, but I'm definitely all for dropping a bomb on them, per say."

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