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Jade444

Lost Mercenary

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Thrazes wandered a branching pathway on the outskirts of the inner city, looking around at the architecture with a hint of confusion on his face. He knew not how he came here, though his only thought was to find somewhere to rest at. He felt exhausted, magic levels drained. He'd have to find some food and drink if he were to survive any longer in this strange city, under the strange sky. Even on this road that seemed unpopular and dark, people bustled by on their way to... well, anywhere. The skeleton couldn't imagine how many people lived in this city, nor what direction he could go to escape the city. His footsteps made a thump-click sound on the ground because of his steel-toed boots, a sound he'd grown used to over time, especially in the cobblestone-paved pathways of his hometown.

 

He brought aside one of the citizens, speaking in a low, quiet tone. "What is the name of this town?" The response he got was a scoff and the citizen pulling away, walking in the opposite direction. Grunting, he continued on his way. His gait was a little unsteady, caused by another reason he should find somewhere to rest... the chafing of his armor. Even as a skeleton, he did suffer from the rub of rough fabric on his bones. He usually only noticed it when he had worn his armor for an extended amount of time. 

After a few minutes he'd tried to speak to a few more citizens and got the same or similar reactions as before. He was starting to get irritated. Very irritated. He wondered what would happen if he decided to just punch something. Though, he didn't really feel like breaking his hand... yeah, bad idea.

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@Jade444

Miss Blonde was never one to pass up on the opportunity to grab potential talent when she saw it. One might ask what was she doing here in bland and boring Blairville? Well, that was none of your business to be frank. What did matter was that she was there, and she had spotted a rather peculiar sight. A walking skeleton, armed and armored, the undead man was something that could be of potential use to her. That being said, she wanted the bag of bones. If not to be used on various jobs, then at the very least to be studied and gain more information about his specific condition. 

 

The rather odd sight of an all black magictech limo pulled up to Thrazes. The black reflective window lowered to reveal a masked face. A steel gas mask concealed her face, her long blonde hair fell to her shoulders and the woman had an aura of deadliness to her. As if she had burned entire cities and didn’t lose and ounce of sleep. 

 

”Get in.” It wasn’t a suggestion or even a request. Blonde had all but ordered the living skeleton to get into the limo. 

 

She had no hostile intentions towards him. However she did need to see it he was cut from the right cloth to hang with her.

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Thrazes froze a little as the limo pulled up near him, of course he felt a little suspicious. He peered into the window, not too keen on following the order that followed. He was rather used to seeing masks, and even some vehicles siimilar to this one... "Could I at least ask the intention?" He asked gruffly, his hand twitching as if he wanted to grab his sword for protection.  "'cuz if you can't provide one, I'm afraid I can't get in." 

 It was a rather simple request, at least in his eyes... or... eyelights? He shifted his position as he waited for an answer, finding himself leaning against the car ever so slightly. It was somewhat difficult getting any information from his posture. Where one would see the tensing of muscle on a human, there was just bone. Perhaps it was a special kind of magic that gave the impression of him narrowing his eyes - rather, eyesockets. One might ask how the skeleton could be so calm, though it was in his nature to get as much information before he judged anything, whether it be through observation or questioning.

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@Jade

Skepticism was of course expected. I mean what would you do if a limo pulled up to you and the owner asked you to get in. The majority of people probably wouldn’t. So this gave Blonde a few options, have her thugs rough him up a little bit and throw him the back of the trunk. Or just say why nicely. The latter of the choices seemed easiest. Blonde did always enjoy the path of least resistance when it came to things such as this. 

 

”Because I’d like to talk, and perhaps see if you’d like a job. You look like a sell sword and I’m looking to hire.” Blonde was honest. 

 

However she was not one thing, and that was very patient. So she’d of course give the young man skeleton or whatever they were, the incentive to move their ass. 

 

”So hurry up before I go find someone else with a little more meat on their bones.” Which wasn’t really a hard thing to do. 

 

She was interested in them. You didn’t see many ascended undead around. It was like finding a unicorn or your sense of self respect. It just wasn’t a thing.

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The mercenary snorted at the last comment and shrugged. He didn't really have anything else to do, and it wasn't too certain that this was going to be someone with malicious intent. "Fine." He pulled the door open and got in, making sure to take his sheath from his back and setting it on his lap to avoid both discomfort and the possibility of wearing a spot on the fabric of the seat. Ah, yes, finally he got to sit, though there were still a few straps on his armor that were rubbing uncomfortably. The pain that a warrior goes through. Sigh.

"Care to tell me what job you're thinking of hiring me for?" He asked quietly, blood red eyelights looking toward the woman and trying to search her features but only getting the cold expression of a gas mask.

One could clearly tell the skeleton was semi uncomfortable in the small space, as he preferred the wide open lands, grass fields, beautiful forests filled with all sorts of life... even the place he'd come from had had more open streets, more space between the buildings... then again, where he came from, the main capital was essentially in the middle of an arid desert...

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@Jade444

Blonde had noticed the skeletons sense of unease, there was just one problem. She couldn’t of cared less. It was just something she’d have to check on a box as to what the bag of bones was and was not good at. The young Skelton might want to work on that when facing future employers. For now Blonde would simply levitate a clipboard over to her along with a writing utensil. Primitive technology, she scoffed silently then folded one leg over the other to create a base to write on. 

 

”It’s more of a retainer for now. I give you money right now and a way for me to contact you. Should you not already be on a job, then any I offer you have first priority.” Blonde would then stare down at the form and begin to scroll over its contents. 

 

It was a basic questionnaire to see what the Skelton could and could not do. Not in physical ability of course but she often operated in if not morally grey areas, then outright breaking the law. Not that she didn’t have legitimate operations every now and then that clean and moral contractors could be a part of. 

 

”Question one. This is a questionnaire by the way. To see where I can use you.” Miss Blonde said without looking up at him. 

 

”Question one. Say you were on a job where stealth and disguise was very important, and someone let’s say an innocent bystander had seen your face, or in your case a lack there of. Would you A, kill the witness. B, knock the witness out and try to continue the job as planned. C, abort the mission. Or D, other. For D just tell me what you’d do.” It was a rather straight forward question.

 

Edited by Miss Blonde

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The skeleton listened to everything she said carefully, and nodded. He calmed down a small bit as he got used to being in the vehicle. "You can rest assured that even if I did have a job, I'm incapable of doing it right now, so whatever you have for me to do will be top priority." He paused to listen to the question, and thought for a moment. On one hand, she hadn't specified how he would know if the person was actually innocent... The thing his race would be known for would be the first option, though he felt inclined to answer with the second option...

"I would likely go with B, unless the situation would require option A. No need to kill an innocent person, unless the make it outright obvious they will be a setback or they act suspicious." He explained, and couldn't help but feel the uncomfortable emotion of.. well, feeling like he got the answer wrong. He hadn't felt like that since he was an apprentice training under his master.

If giving an incorrect answer would cut him off a potential job, then he would have a lot of embarrassment and regret in the future. Unfortunately, he could only hope that the answer was satisfactory. He shifted his position a little, leaning on the armrest of the door. His eyelights dimmed ever so slightly.

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@Jade444

There was a quick scribble of notes being taken and questions being answered. Miss Blonde wasn’t a virtuous person. She’d killed innocent people, a lot of them really. The criminal underworld was a ruthless place and sometimes messages needed to be sent. It was all in the name of business of course, but you never really got over it. That being said with the skeleton’s answer, she was beginning to understand what kind of person that this man was. For now she’d simply flip the page of her clipboard and ask the next question. 

 

”Alright then. How do you feel about criminal activities? Robbery, illegal arms dealing, burglary, murder of officers of the law in situations where its you or him. Overall what is your opinion of working in less than legal operations?” It was a straight forward question. 

 

Blonde had legitimate operations, then she has some that were of course not so legitimate. A life of crime had hardened the woman into what she was now, and if you wanted to get anywhere in this life you needed to do what was necessary. Step on a few toes, hell, even slit a few throats. While she wasn’t the type the person who dragged the virtuous down to her level, she would always present them with the opportunity to do so. It was funny like that.

 

The only thing that separates a good person from a bad is about a thousand gold pieces. That’s what it really always came down to. How hungry for more were you? 

 

”If you couldn’t tell, my operations are at times not so legal.” Honesty was always to be expected.

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Thrazes mulled over the question for a few minutes. "I'm supposing your view of 'legal' is different from 'moral'. I wouldn't know the legalities of the area, but where I'm from we're a little loose on the law." He gave a tiny grin. "Long story short, 'less than legal' is part of my job, miss." He said calmly. "Though my weapon of choice doesn't lend itself to the assassination route." 

As a mercenary, he got hired for many jobs. Whether he was a hitman, sent to return an old lady's cat, or involved in the attempted genocide of an entire species... Though, he was kind of a hypocrite. Saying he'd avoid murdering an innocent, and being involved in many innocent deaths... He would suppose it just depended on the setting or his specific job at the time. If his specific job was as before mentioned, in war, then he'd follow any orders he needed to, as long as he was specifically paid... a lot. 

He reached a hand up to scratch at the back of his skull, eyelights shrinking a little as a show of nervousness. Illegal arms dealing? Law-enforcing officers? If that kind of stuff is illegal... This place must be really different from where he'd come from.

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@Jade444

A grin was not returned. Only the blank and soulless stare of a steel gas mask and black reflective lenses. There was no silence, only the sound of scribbles being written down on a clipboard. Once those subsided, Miss Blonde would set the board aside and forgo the reminder of the questionnaire. The questions were all but superfluous at this current junction. So she’d cut to the chase. The Skeleton was an interesting character, someone who was conflicted by nature. They were undead for all intents and purposes, yet they still clung to this shallow ideology of morality. It intrigued her. While she’d love to strap the ascended undead down on a table and study the nature of his existence. She’d rather observe from afar and of course give the man a chance to prove himself and see what he was capable of. 

 

”I’ll be honest. I’m obviously a Crime Lord. I have legitimate operations and I have more illegitimate ones. People die, and the solid majority of them stay dead unlike yourself. So what it comes down to is what you are willing to do for money. A week ago I shot someone who didn’t deserve it. It’s a ruthless business.” The danger of this woman would hopefully begin to sink into the skeleton. 

 

”You seem like a decent fellow. However, I have two different career paths for you. One where you get paid less for jobs that fall within the law. The other is outside of it, where only the strong survive. Now the latter, we avoid killing innocents if we can. But casualties happen, and you can’t erase it.” It was as honest and sincere as she could get to the skeleton. 

 

”I won’t pressure you into the illegal, so I’ll ask you. What do you want?” She always had a way of reading and seeing into those who were different. 

 

A life of crime and regret had taught her that, and she wanted the kid to make their choice without fear or pressure.

Edited by Miss Blonde

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@Dredge

 

"If you're going to give me a job, I don't care what kind of job it is. I just want some cash, a job. I know my work suffers casualties, even if its innocents that are being killed, at least if it's for a good cause I can keep a good sense of mind." Thrazes adjusted his tone to show as little emotion as possible. He was saying everything wrong, this was why he chose to not speak until he knew enough about a person.  He leaned forward, closing his eyes, and used his thumb and forefinger to pinch his nose-bridge... or at least what was there.

 

I feel like I'm gonna need some sort of almanac on the laws here. What kind of civilization is this? He'd been to so many different places and worlds, but none were like this, perhaps this was a very distant place. Yes, he appeared young... what had he been when he was still 'alive'? A warrior? A mage? All he recalled was a traitor and a lie. 

Snapping out of his thoughts, he leaned back again and looked at the woman. "As a creature who has experienced death once, I feel like I'd be used to death and casualties." He commented, speaking slowly and carefully now. One slip of the tongue could put him out of work. Heh, slip of the tongue. I recall my colleague literally losing his tongue... gross. Random thoughts plagued the skeleton. Whatever higher power controlling him must really be scatterbrained as hell.

Edited by Jade444

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Zack wasn't one to openly say that he hated any particular city. It was a generally stupid and dangerous thing to do considering how violent and straight up stupid a situation could become in his line of work. One second you're just casually mentioning that you dislike how Hell's Gate doesn't do a good job of keeping drugs off the streets, and the next second you're taking cover behind some rich guys carriage as bullets tear it to shreds. Then the owner of the carriage gets all pissed, steps out, and happens to be a dark mage that can make your face eat itself. Then some guy with a grudge that's been tailing you for three hours takes the opportunity to try and gut you like a fattened pig. Then someone calls the authorities and...well you make the front page of the next days paper and wind up with a few dozen bounties, most of which were cast by folks that think you look like some other kid. You also get fined for being the root of a public disturbance and are labeled as a racist by the town.

And sometimes that doesn't happen, but why take the risk? 

"I hate this place." said Zack under his breath as he peered through his binoculars, taking a bite of his ham and honey-mustard sandwich. Or at least he hoped it was ham. As filled to the brim with magic as Blairville was, it was incredibly easy to buy a sandwich that was actually just a piece of wood with leaves on top, courtesy of a cloaking spell. He wanted to wait until he got home to eat lest he consume a dog turd in disguise, but the job was taking longer than he thought. The woman he was looking for, pegged 'The Gas Mask Lady' by a few fearful thugs he'd beaten the info out of, was a bit elusive. It made sense, what with her being a major crime lord who probably ate children with a side of fries every morning and had their pets for lunch. At least that's the kind of person she seemed like. Whether it was drugs, prostitution, slavery, dark arts, arms dealing, or just your occasional human sacrifice to resurrect another homicidal tyrant, she seemed to have her hand in it. Or at least he thought. Being a bounty hunter that got most of his info out of the thugs and outlaws he fought, she'd come up a few times in conversation. He wasn't sure if he'd busted up any of her direct operations, but it made him a little nervous to wonder if she'd be going after him later, like how a homeowner gets pissed at a mosquito and grabs a fly-swatter. 

He didn't think any of his clients would have the guts to put out a job on her, but some crazed old man did, and Mikey, Zack's boss, didn't hesitate to check up on him. The old man was seeking to have the Gas Mask Lady arrested and tried in court, but first he'd need someone to shadow her and obtain evidence of both her existence and her nefarious dealings. Zack was quick to deny the job due to how much he hated Blairville and anything in it, but Mikey can be...persuasive to put it in a way that doesn't sound scary. Also, it was just recon. According to Mikey, if Zack stayed out of sight and did his job right, there would be no issues in which he'd wind up fighting 'magic people' and getting himself turned into a chicken again. So Zack begrudgingly took the job. 

He was currently sitting atop one of the taller cathedrals in the area, watching the roads and the alleys before moving on to the next part of the settlement. He was about to get up and move when something caught his eye. 

"Is...is that..." Zack zoomed in with his binoculars, squinting as if it'd make them more accurate. "...That's a skeleton. That's...that's a walking skeleton. In armor."

The undead creature was just walking down the sidewalk, occasionally stopping to talk to people. None of which seemed to want to talk back, choosing to either run or heatedly tell him to go away. Zack had encounters with undead skeletons before. The ones that weren't trying to extract his soul from his body using dark magic were trying to cut his head off or eat his heart. Seeing one so docile was just plain weird. He was debating whether or not his hatred of magic would keep him from going down there to see if it was in need when a limo pulled up right next to him. 

"Hm?" mumbled Zack, still chewing his food. He couldn't see who was in the car, but whoever it was was clearly speaking with the skeleton. Zack could see the skeleton's hand twitching, as if eager to reach for its weapon, but after a bit more time, it just got into the car.

"Didn't yo' momma' teach you better?" said Zack after he swallowed what was in his mouth and set the sandwich down on the roof of the cathedral before getting to his feet. "I'm pretty sure they teach about stranger danger in the underworld." 

Zack began following the limo, hopping atop buildings and being careful so as to make as little noise as he could. The limo was suspicious and at least worth checking out. Maybe it'd lead him to his mark, maybe it'd lead him to an underworld dance club that didn't let you in unless you had no skin. He was sure he'd find out.

 

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@zackrobbman @Jade444

Miss Blonde was cold to his words. The sentiment of death and rebirth as the undead was either lost upon her or the harsh fact that she honestly didn’t care. All that mattered to her were two things. The first being was that the Skelton could perform and do the jobs that she gave him. The second was that she’d ensnare him into her and if he did not perform, if he was not someone who was useful. Then he’d amount to something to strap to a table and study and examine. Be it his twice dead corpse or his living skeleton. Blonde was a woman and a Crime Lord of ruthless efficiency and that aura of cold and calculating deadness radiated off her far more than the undead in front of her could even comprehend. 

 

”I’ll be honest with you. I only stopped to pick you up because of your looks. Not just the whole sell sword vibe, but the fact that you are an ascended undead. Your kind isn’t what one would call common or even uncommon. You’re a rare bird.” Miss Blonde was as cold and ruthless as ever when speaking. 

 

”So!” She reached to her side and produced a rather thick and heavy bag of gold pieces. 

 

Throwing the bag across the way to the undead, it hit the ground with the metallic thump that large amounts of gold were accustom to doing so. A few shining gold pieces spread themselves out onto the floor in clear sight of the man. He’d have a choice to make. 

 

”I’m giving you a few hundred gold pieces. Not because you can perform, but because what you are. So I’m giving a choice. You take the money and you perform, and if you fall behind. I’ll collect your fucking body and study it. So the choice is yours really. Get paid and kill for me. Or get out and not fear my operating table. It’s not that I want to kill you or study you, but you might hold a rather significant key to something above your pay grade. However like I said. Perform, and there’s nothing to worry about.” There was no hesitation in her voice. Nothing to even remotely signal that she was playing around with him. 

 

”Oh, and that’s your bonus pay. Keep it, on the house. Your actual retainer will be double.” Blonde never wasted any time. 

 

However she did not realize she was being followed. Their little friend had not been picked up by the Limo’s scanners yet and was not signaled as a threat or possible tail. For now they were just another blip in an ocean of civilians.

Edited by Dredge

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The buildings in Blairville weren't as easy to navigate as the ones in other cities Zack had free-climbed through. Almost every edifice had strange architectural variations atop that prevented him from simply running across each roof. It was as if the architect that had planned the cities layout was obsessed with cathedrals and spikes. Some of the buildings were very old and not well kept up, loose tiles almost causing him to fall to the street below. It wouldn't hurt much, but it'd attract attention. Letting this lady see his face would only make things worse for him later, as it wasn't difficult to describe with the ever present bandage on his nose that somehow managed to get broken each and every day. 

He observed that the windows of the limo were tinted black to prevent anyone from seeing who was inside. This coupled with their newest pickup made the vehicle that much more suspicious. He doubted his mark was in the car, but he figured it would have something to do with her. Criminals with enough ego and cash to own a limousine were often very hoity toity. They often used violence to let the people know who they were, but they also used the showy display of their means of life. It'd make people jealous. Jealous enough to realize they could only have that kind of money if they joined the ranks. 

"Where you goin'?" Zack mumbled to himself as he followed the limo. He was thinking about ways to stop it, possibly even get the passengers out so he could catch a glimpse of who was inside.

But he wouldn't need to.

The sound of the footsteps were almost indistinguishable from the clamor of the streets below and the morning breeze, but Zack, always being laughably paranoid and on edge, managed to pick them up. They were coming from behind him. Instantly alerted at the thought of someone else being on the roof with him, he ducked down and did a full one-eighty. This saved his life when a sharpened blade sliced through the air at an angle that would've surely decapitated him. Before he could get a good look at his attacker, a clothed foot slammed into his face, sending him off the roof with a wet, familiar crack. He fell at least forty feet to the ground, his body landing atop the hood of the limo he was following, denting it inwards. 

"NNRGH!" he grunted in what seemed to be more irritation than pain as he held his now broken nose, blood staining the wraps around his hands. Then he looked up, his expression showing fear. He quickly rolled off the hood before his attacker landed atop it, plunging her sword deep into it and causing the limo to lurch forwards from the force. 

"WHAT THE HELL!" shouted Zack angrily, wiping the blood from his nose and glaring at the woman that had tried to kill him. She had the appearance of a ninja, wearing an all black Shinobi Shozoku with her mask pulled down to reveal the seething anger adorning her heavily scarred face. He could see veins bulging in her neck, something black coursing through them. She glared back at Zack, yanking her sword out of the limo and pointing it at him.

"YOU KILLED MY BROTHER!" she yelled, people on the side-walk around them beginning to flee. 

"...What?" said Zack with an incredulous look as he extended his shield and looked behind her for any escape routes.

"I promised him I'd find you." she said, her eyes beginning to water. "I promised him that I'd KILL you!"

"I don't even know...who the HELL you are!" 

"It matters not!" she said, getting into stance on the hood of the limo. "All that matters is YOU. DYING."

"I actually don't know who you are though!" said Zack, gesturing to her matter-of-factly with his hand.

With a feral yell and frightening speed not normal to someone who WASN'T hopped up on some drug that made you ten times stronger, she lunged at him with her blade at the ready, spittle flinging from her open mouth. Zack merely brought up his shield and stood stock still, the sword slicing down diagonally and shattering into dozens of pieces. Her momentum caused her to slam into his shield head first with a loud clang that could heard for miles. She fell to the ground limply, unconscious and likely to wake up a week later with severe neck and back injuries.

"Ow." he said as he looked down at her unconscious form, holding his bloody nose. "What an ***hole!"

He squinted at the veins in her neck, the black liquid inside visible through her skin. He'd seen this before in many of his drug busts. The drug was simply called black because of it's color, but when injected, it could increase the strength of normal people and augment their psyches to make them think they could do anything. It was incredibly dangerous and criminals were constantly using it when confronted with bounty hunters like Zack or rival gangs. He couldn't tell if his assailant had gotten the drug from Blairville, but he wouldn't be surprised if it was there too. The woman he was searching for was probably introducing it into the city to create another money ring for her leech off of. 

His eyes went wide and his gaze snapped to the limo. He immediately turned and ran into a nearby alley, wall-hopping upwards from the two buildings until he was atop one of them. 

"I really hope I was wrong about that limo." he said to himself, upset that he wasn't watching his back earlier.

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