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The Crescent Hammer // Fight Club

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Arsinia Crescentia was a fairly simple women, as simple as one of her station could be. Standing at four foot two and of a strong constitution, she ate meager meals though she could afford more, and her housing area was small but she could pay for a larger one. She didn't care much for wealth and comfort, simply yearned for the rewarding effort of smithing. The jarring clangs of metal on heated metal, the satisfying hiss of warm iron meeting water, and the workout that came with pumping the bellows. Smithing was her life. And her shop, the Crescent Hammer, was going to be her lifeline.

Arsinia, if you haven't picked it up yet, was a blacksmith. She originally started it as a hobby, but eventually money started to dwindle, and she came to face the facts: You needed coin to survive. Without coin you couldn't buy food, or water, or a workspace, or materials... If she wanted to keep up the hobby, she needed to turn it into a job.

So here she was. Wiping her hands down the front of her smock, she looked at her newest creation: A long, thin sword called a rapier. She should name it, she thought, but her mind was blank of ideas. Her short, brown, bobbed hair bounced as she spun deftly towards the back door.

She opened it and stepped through silently, into the space behind the counter. Into her shop. Her shop. The concept felt so new, so foreign- but she wasn't dreaming. She beamed with pride, gazing around the room. It was filled with various examples of her work- battleaxes, warhammers, shortswords, staffs- there were even some pieces of armor scattered about. The shop looked clean, new- void of the usual dust that seemingly followed her everywhere. The weapons were arranged neatly on racks, in displays, and on the walls, with stands near the doorway for the armor. The wooden interior felt crisp and well-kept, and she was glad.

She knew that the tiny bell arranged above the door would ring out an alarm whenever somebody entered- nothing too shocking, simply a noise like a windchime- and that a sign above the door exclaimed the presence of the building to anybody who passed by. It was only a matter of time. Until then, she'd wait.

She sat, folding her hands.

Only a matter of time,

she assured herself.

 

OOC Thread

Edited by Higuu

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Spoiler

Just to set the mood and stuff.😅

The Blaurg City of Wonder. The arcane capital of the world. The closest thing you would ever get to Neverland without being kidnapped by a flying boy in a green jumpsuit. Blairville was considered a truly magical city, filled with magical people that made the arcane arts a daily commodity. Some people might think of the city as an exotic place filled to the brim with otherworldly wonders and astonishing works of art, adventure and knowledge practically radiating from every alley, building, and street. The culture reflected the diversity of it's people, laws being lax and the luxury of magic being readily available to the common person. Well, until the Safeguard initiative was introduced that is. Now you needed a permit to practice magic in Blairville, and the people absolutely hated it. The purpose of such an initiative would appear to be keeping inexperienced magicians from practicing dangerous spells and harming others, but the citizens made up their own, biased assumptions. This led to even more criminal activity in the city as well as a general state of unrest. 

This made Zack even more uneasy about going there.

"I wanna go home." said Zack with an irritated scowl, eyeing nearly every person that walked passed them with a wary, paranoid look. 

"You sound like a little b****." retorted Charlie in a dry tone.

"I'm pretty sure there are other ways to get this thing." said Zack, taking note of how Charlie was checking out every woman that passed them on the sidewalk. "We better not be here just so you can be a pervert."

"Hey, it's not my fault the majority of the women here happen to be smokin' hot." said Charlie rather loudly as he gave a nearby woman a shady grin. She merely rolled her eyes and walked faster. "And it's not my fault this happens to be where they're holding the tournament."

"Charlie...it's a fight club."

"Same thing." said Charlie with a dismissive wave. "Anyway, one of my buddies from the Underground told me the guy that kicked your *** and stole the Chalice put it up as the grand prize. He also told me that whoever wins will get to drink the chalice."

"You mean drink from the chalice."

"No, smart***. I don't. He told me that the thing is made of some super potent resin or something. If you melt it down and drink it, it turns you into a certified bad***."

"I can't believe this." said Zack with a sigh as he rubbed his hands down his face. It was supposed to be a very simple job. They'd been hired by some rich old man to "retrieve" an onyx chalice from a guy that had stolen it from him a month before. The Chalice was a family heirloom and he'd spent one of his many fortunes paying people to find it and bring it back, but the ones that took on the job either couldn't find it or turned up dead later. After doing some snooping, Zack found out that the thief was actually a headhunter named Hacksaw, and he really had it in for the old man. Hacksaw was already wanted for various crimes he'd committed for figures in the criminal underworld, so Zack figured he could kill two birds with one stone and double his payday.

It took a few days, but he was eventually able to track him down after talking with a street snitch. Zack straight up jumped Hacksaw while he was stumbling out of a bar and managed to torture the location of the Chalice out of him, but someone else was there. The details were fuzzy, but he could recall some guy in a black mask with the build of a sasquatch blind-siding him with a sewer plate before waking up in a dumpster a few hours later. 

Of course when he arrived to the spot Hacksaw said he was keeping the Chalice, it was gone. Actually, there wasn't much of anything there. The hideout had been burned down and the scene was surrounded by police and fire crews. Hacksaw was among the ashes, not much of him left to ID. 

When he told Charlie about this, the perverted creep said he'd ask around the underground about the chalice. And now here he was, about to become join a fight club hosted by a bunch of people that already wanted him dead. One of whom was an old woman called Little Mary, who'd threatened to adorn the walls of her mansion with his innards the next time she saw him. He knew she wasn't joking too. He'd been inside her mansion before.

"Relaaaaax." said Charlie as he patted Zack's shoulder. "We'll get you some sort of disguise to keep them all from recognizing you. Like a...suit of armor or something."

"I hate armor." said Zack. "Man...why the hell do have to do this!? This is YOUR plan!"

"I gotta be the lookout." said Charlie with a shrug. "Keep people from getting suspicious of you and all that. Can't do that if I'm in the ring. "

"Whatever." said Zack with an annoyed shake of his head. "Where are we going to get this suit of armor and how are we gonna pay for it? The guy that jumped me took my wallet and you burned yours to a crisp last week during training."

"I did?" asked Charlie before remembering the lie he'd made up. "Oh. Oh, yeah! Right."

Zack stopped walking and squinted his eyes at Charlie, his hands balling up into fists.

"...You made that up? Didn't you?"

"Easy." said Charlie as he held up his hands defensively, resisting the urge to smile. "Even if I did lie, I'm broke remember? The repair bill for that shop I trashed? The medical bill for that guy I injured?"

"You mean that banker? The one whose scalp you set on fire?"

Charlie thought back to that day, remembering the high pitched screams of the banker as he ran out of the building. It was one of his fondest memories.

"Hehe." he chuckled.  "Yeah...that was funny. But yes. That broke me. Not to worry though!" Charlie smiled as he looked across the street. There stood a building with the name 'The Crescent Hammer' printed above the door. Through the window Charlie could see various shelves laden with swords, shields, and armor. He spotted a short woman inside, her hands folded atop the counter in the back. His smile widened as he rubbed his hands together, the sight triggering some deep-seated pet-peeve in Zack's head and making his eye twitch. 

"What are you-"

"Just observe and follow my lead." said Charlie before confidently walking across the street to the shop, spraying his mouth with a bottle of mouthwash he'd produced from his pocket. Zack growled and gritted his teeth, but followed nonetheless. Charlie's plan was stupid and bred countless possibilities for failure, but it was a lot better than crashing the fight club and attempting to beat up all the hardened criminals within who were likely armed to the teeth before stealing the chalice. The Underground already hated him. Busting up their little fight club would make him a prime target. People would start putting BIG bounties on his head, and that would make his life a living hell. He figured he'd come up with a better plan later on, but he'd have to play along for now. 

As he and Charlie walked across the street to the store, a man in a cloak observed them from a nearby alley. As Charlie was opening the door to the shop, the cloaked man produced a rifle and cocked it. Just as he was taking aim, he saw Zack do a 180 and an object came speeding towards him. 

Before the man could begin to react, the object smashed into the scope of his rifle with a loud clang, snapping it free from the gun and pushing it into his eye. Way into his eye. The man fell a few yards back and began screaming so loudly that you'd wonder if deaf people on mars could hear him. People on the street immediately took notice and watched the man kick and writhe on the ground, holding the side of his face as blood pooled from his new eye. A cop happened to be nearby, running to the scene and becoming alarmed upon spotting the scope-less rifle. Not a few seconds later, he was binding the screaming man with a rope-like spell.

"KNEW YOU WERE TAILING US THE WHOLE TIME, CHUMP!" shouted Zack with a frighteningly crazed expression as he pointed a shaky finger at the man. He held his other hand up and his black and white shield returned to him in a blur, a dull clang sounding out when he caught it. Charlie turned around and regarded the scene with indifference, shrugging before entering the store. 

"Afternoon, M'lady." said Charlie with a curt and stylish bow as he approached the counter. Zack was close behind, placing his shield on his back as he looked behind him through the windows of the store. His shaky, beady eyes darted left and right, looking for any other assailants. Being in Blairville already gave him cause to be on edge since he hated magic more than most things, so he was on full alert now. To any onlookers, he would just look like some unstable guy with PTSD. 

"My partner and I were walking down the street and I noticed this cool, little shop here." said Charlie, resting an elbow on the counter while gesturing to the store with his free hand. He was checking the woman out as he did so, but his hat completely hid his perverted gaze. The only indication of his perverseness was his shady grin. "Figured we'd stop in. See, we're in need of some armor. Specifically my pal here."

Charlie gestured to Zack, who was glaring out the window at the cloaked man, who was still screaming as the cop levitated his bound body out of view. 

"Bet your depth perception's better." Zack quietly mumbled to himself. Charlie merely stared at him for a bit before turning his attention back to Arsinia.

"We were wondering what you had, although I doubt you have any armor as...stunning as you." 

Zack looked away from the window and gave Charlie a deadpan look, shaking his head in hopeless disapproval.

 

Edited by zackrobbman

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Arsinia hopeful little smile immediately brightened as two men pushed open the door, the bell tolling out a pleasant ring. She started to greet them, but was cut short as they seemed to get in a fight outside. Her smile faltered, and she got a bit worried. Through the window she saw one of the two men restrain their attacker, and the other yell something unintelligible at him. She was a little nervous as they came back in.

Holy- she thought as they re-entered the shop. These guys just beat that dude's ass... However, she cleared the signs of fear on her face and straightened up as the larger man reached the counter.

"Afternoon, M'lady," he said, giving a little bow. She internally made a little face at the cheesy introduction, but she didn't complain. They may have been paying customers, after all. But, just in case, her hand crept towards the hammer hanging on her toolbelt. "My partner and I were walking down the street and noticed this cool, little shop here." As he gestured around the shop, the hairs on Arsinia's arms started to raise,

Who is this creep and who does he think he is?! she fumed silently, fighting to keep a pleasant expression on her face.

"Figured we'd stop in. See, we're in need of some armor. Specifically my pal here."

"We were wondering what you had, although I doubt you have any armor as... Stunning as you.

She snorted at the cheesy line and raised a brow, hands on her hips. "Sorry, Hun," she said, her voice struggling to stay down. "I believe my wares are much better. You'll be let down in your assumptions, to say the least." She regarded the man who was to be fitted for a second, and then looked back at the one in front of her. She didn't like the way he was looking at her. Paying customer or not, she had to put him in his place. But first, the armor.  

"I don't believe I have anything in his size. A custom job will work pretty well, if I say so myself, but it might take a bit." She breathed out a puff of air as she did the calculations in her head. "I'd say.. Two, three hours once I have the materials; but it might not be as good as if I spent a day or two on it.." 

Taking another glance at the man nearest to her, she said, "And I would highly recommend that you keep your filthy pervert hands off of me.She slammed her hand down on the table, brandishing the large hammer, and glowering at the man. "I may not look it, but I will sure as hell bite. I could disable you in at least eighteen different ways at this very moment, and none of them are pretty; so you better stay the 〒ひつた away."

"..."

"Unless you need me to prove it."

Edited by Higuu
Lol I decided that I should just remove most of my swearing. Just cause.  ̄\_(ツ)_/ ̄

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Charlie yanked his arm off the counter and stepped back, his hands held in front of him as if he meant no harm. 

"Whoa, whoa!" he said, his shady grin still at full strength as he spoke. "Easy! No need to get fiesty! Not yet at least. We should probably wait until after the first date."

Zack closed his eyes and looked at the ground, Charlie's blatant immaturity making him feel like he was in physical pain. He berated himself for even allowing Charlie to speak to the woman in the first place.

"And don't worry." said Charlie, placing a hand on his chest. "I'm no pervert. I'm just-"

" *wheeze* HAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!" Zack burst out laughing as if Charlie had told the funniest joke he'd ever heard, his mirth loud enough to catch the attention of a few people passing by the store. Charlie turned to look at him, his grin disappearing as he watched Zack nearly double over in laughter. The air around Charlie's body began to shimmer a little as his body temperature rose alongside his anger. 

"What's so funny?" asked Charlie through gritted teeth. Zack continued laughing for the next ten seconds before finally calming down.

"Sorry." said Zack, still chuckling a little as he wiped the tears from his eyes. "Please continue, oh UNPERVERTED one!"

"Look man, I could've decided NOT to help your sorry *** and-"

"Duly noted." said Zack, pushing Charlie to the side with a hand as he walked up to the counter and quelled the last of his laughter. He regarded Arsinia with a friendly look, but his pinprick eyes defied his intentions and made him look very unsettling. Like a man on edge or an escaped mentla hospital patient that liked eating people's livers with a side of brain matter. "Sorry bout' that." he said with an apologetic smile. "I knew better than to let him speak to ya', but I idiotically thought this time would be different. The name's Zack." He held out a bandaged hand for her to shake, but then took it back when he realized she may not have had the best impression of them. He wasn't sure if she saw him throw his shield at the guy in the alley and figured she might've been a little wary. Plus, she was holding a hammer. He didn't want to wind up scraping his smushed hand off the counter. She may have been small, but there was no telling how strong someone was in Blairville. For all he knew, she was some sort of magically enhanced dwarf. 

He stared at her awkwardly for a bit, thinking of a way to say what he was about to say without making her even more suspicious of them. 

"Look." said Zack as he scratched the back of his head. "There's no easy way to say this. We're...broke. Freako' over here was gonna try and swoon you or something, but I was wondering if you perhaps...gave out things on credit? OR...or maybe we could do something for you in exchange for the armor?"

"Yes." said Charlie before grinning at Arsinia once more. "Maybe we could help you...relieve some streAUUGUCK!"

Charlie gagged when Zack's hand shot up and grabbed him by the throat, lifting him a foot off the ground as if he weighed nothing. Charlie fruitlessly tried to pry Zack's hand off his throat, kicking his feet as he did so.

"I don't need anything even remotely fancy." said Zack, as if unaware that he was choking his partner. "Just a suit of armor that'll conceal my identity and not hinder my movement. No bell's. No whistles. Just some basic armor. As for the favor, I personally have no experience with blacksmithing, but my partner here can control fire."

As if on cue, there was bright flash and Charlie's body was suddenly engulfed in flames. Zack winced in pain and let go of Charlie's throat, rapidly waving his hand in the air to blow away the fire that had caught onto his bandages and given his fingers various third degree burns. Charlie landed on the floor, gasping for breath as the flames surrounding his body died down. Aside from the red handprint on his throat, he was completely unharmed, his clothes not showing signs of being burned. 

"I was thinking he could help you smelt metal or something." said Zack as he rubbed his burned hand. "But if you aren't too happy about working with an immature perv, I'm sure there are other things we could do for you. Sorry if it seems like i'm begging, but I need this armor in the next four days or I miss out on this...uh..."

Zack was a little apprehensive about revealing any details about the fight club he'd be participating in. It was sponsored by criminals, and Zack figured they were deadly serious about the 'You don't talk about Fight Club' mantra. Telling this woman anything about it could  put her in danger, so he tried to think up a way to end his sentence without sounding weird. Unfortunately for him, Charlie had other plans.

"It's a fight club." Charlie wheezed, his throat still opening up. 

"I hate you." said Zack as he massaged the bridge of his nose. "I really do."

"Ah, stop worrying." said Charlie with a dismissive wave, his voice returning. "As long as she doesn't talk about it to anyone, she'll be fine." Charlie looked back to Arsinia, his grin returning. "And think about it. If he wins this thing while wearing YOUR armor, wouldn't that be good for business?"

"Right." nodded Zack with an angry look. "Because I'm sure she wants even worse patrons than us coming to her store."

"And if we win," continued Charlie, Zack not too pleased with the 'if'. "We can give you a cut of the prize money."

"You didn't say anything about prize money." said Zack, giving Charlie a questioning glance.

"It's gonna be from the betting." shrugged Charlie before turning his attention back to Arsinia. "So...whadd'ya say?"

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Arsinia considered them for a minute. They didn't seem to have the best relationship, and they both seemed a little off-kilter on a couple things... But she was curious.

Dang. Why? Why can't I just shoo them out?

"Well," she said slowly, with narrowed eyes. "I guess..." She paused. A fight club? That was hella illegal, right? She could get in serious trouble if she were to.. "I'll do it." She couldn't believe herself. Why was she risking this? "I don't need neither of you to help me with anything, but.. I'd be interested to hear more about this club." She looked at them, reassessing.

 "And if either of you two pansies think that I can't handle it because I'm a darn woman, I'll personally prove you wrong by judo-flipping you into the floor. And no matter what, you will pay for the damages." After a long moment, she lowers the hammer. 

"I'll also let you know that I may be real freaking short, but I weigh 200 pounds. That's pure muscle. If you so much as try to lay a single greasy finger on me, I'll snap it in half." She twirls the heavy hammer in her hand, and slams it down onto the table loudly, causing a crack to appear in the wood. 

Frick. Now I need to replace it.

"Got it?"

Edited by Higuu
O O F begone thot

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Zack stared at Arsinia blankly, his mind stuck in a loop of bewilderment and confusion. Not only had she agreed to model the armor, but she also wanted to know more about the fight club? Her making the armor wasn't all that surprising given her possible desire to create more avenues for profit, but her interest in the criminal underworld was a red flag to him. People that got noset about the Underground's dealings often made enemies very quickly, and if they weren't skilled or competent enough to skip town or defend themselves, their deaths would become a reminder of the divide between the two worlds. You didn't have to be a mercenary to know that, but she was curious nonetheless. He wondered if she suffered from a mental disorder, or perhaps she was bored of the blue-collar lifestyle of a store owner. Or maybe she was just that greedy.

 When she slammed her hammer down on the counter in hopes of threatening them, he began to understand that she wasn't just some average storekeeper. Her wrathful disregard of her own property hinted at a possible anger problem. Zack wondered if she was just angry because she was short. Everybody always said that short people were unusually mean and Zack was privy to many experiences that cemented that rumor. Like the time he'd gotten in a fight with a dwarf at the grocery store. They'd been arguing about who was going to buy the last Twist-Roll box and the little guy tried to cut off his testicals with a butter knife he'd grabbed off the shelf. Almost did too.

Zack wound up letting him have the box of chocolate cream pastries and hasn't returned to that store ever since.

"No need to worry." said Charlie with a nod, the phrase beginning to irritate Zack and become one of his many pet-peeves. "No greasy hands here."

"Ma'am," interjected Zack with a worried look. "Not to put a damper on your pride, but I really don't think you know what you're getting into here. I mean...it's literally hosted by blood-thirsty criminals that probably eat babies for sport."

"Stop being a f***in' p***y." said Charlie with a grimace.  "Sometimes ya gotta put a leg out to get anywhere in this world."

"By anywhere you mean the ground right?" retorted Zack. "Cause those are infamous last words last time I checked."

"I'm not dead." said Charlie, gesturing to himself. Zack was so appalled by such a comment that he had to laugh a little to avoid going off on him.

"GEE." said Zack as he gestured to himself. "I WONDER WHY."

"Please." Charlie huffed with a disgusted look, making Zack's anger simmer to a boil. "Someone's being a little self-righteous."

Zack's eye twitched as did his hands, the desire to break his face suddenly becoming very strong. He gritted his teeth as he tried to hold back, remembering that this scenario was exactly why he and Charlie would never get along. He thought back to all the times he took a bullet for Charlie. Or a knife. Or a laser. Or a boulder. Or a rocket. The pain he felt from such sacrifices became fresh in his mind now, not helping his anger in anyway. 

Charlie slowly looked over to Zack, realizing what he'd said and how completely wrong it was. He saw Zack's beady, shaking eyes staring down at him, boring holes into whatever was left of his withering soul. He swallowed and backed up a bit, trying not to let his fear be shown. 

"Just kidding man." Charlie laughed nervously. "You know I appreciate ya. C-come on man!"

Zack didn't say anything, instead closing his eyes and remembering the anger management exercises Tracey had taught him. He slowly inhaled and exhaled a few times, his desire to injure his partner slowly but surely going away. For now at least. He willfully resisted the urge to think about the next time this would happen, knowing that it'd just get him angry again.

"Look." said Zack, finally calming down as he looked to Arsinia. "I don't care how well you can handle yourself. You DO NOT want to get involved in any of this. I appreciate you making this armor for me, but please don't go snooping around for info on this thing. The wrong person gets wind of you asking questions, you could risk losing this store and  your life. It's just not smart, man."

"So you want her to make this armor and pretend like she never saw us?" asked Charlie in a dry tone.

"YES."

"Well, that's up to her." said Charlie as he grinned at her again. "I mean, he's right. It'll be risky hell if you get in on this. But what's an adventure or without risks? What's the game without the pain?"

"What?" said Zack with an annoyed expression.

"Think about it." cooed Charlie, winking at Arsinia. Why did he wink when his hat completely covered his eyes? The world may never know.

"DON'T think about it." said Zack, hoping she'd gotten his point. "Let's just...focus on the armor for now. You said it would take a few days if you had the right materials? What material were you planning to use?"

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Arsinia sighs. "I said a few hours, not days. How deaf are you? I can make a functional suit within, let's say, a couple hours of nonstop working, but it also depends on the metal. If you want it to be functional and not chafe like heck, it'll take a day or two, because I don't want to pass out and fall into a four-thousand-degree fire."

"And why are you so worried about telling me? To be totally honest, I just want to see how strong the people there really are." She takes a quick pause. "Aw, crap. These are those ones where you fight to the death, aren't they?... Shit. I hate blood." She broods for a minute. 

"You know what, I don't really know why I even asked about that on the first place.  My flipping head just wants me to slip up and die." She looks around the shop, and sighs. "All right. How about this? If I make this for you; you have to provide the metal, and..." She stares up at their faces. She had an odd feeling about them., but now it's fading away and turning into...

...

Well, she can't place it.

Come back sometime...

"If anyone looks like they need some new gear, recommend me," she finishes lamely. "And as for the metal? I don't know. There are several types. I could use iron, bluesteel, adamantite, ardimine, rabracium...  Heck, if you can name it, I can probably use it. The bluesteel should be pretty easy to find, and its easy to work with and fairly durable. Nice mediator metal. If you can't find anything else, bring me that, although it would be better for the suit in the long run if it were to-" she pauses, and then thinks hard. 

"Wait.. But it just has to hide your identity? Can't you just, I dunno, use... Magic?" She glances curiously towards Zack. "I mean, I'm not complaining, but- it would be way easier and less time-consuming..."

Edited by Higuu
It's not "Arsenic", it's "Arsinia"!

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Zack's eyes slowly began to narrow as he stared at the woman.

"No." he said simply, his voice laced with ice.

"Now Zack..." said Charlie as he slowly turned towards his partner. "She-"

"No!" Zack said, looking at Charlie. 

"Listen, we gotta-"

"HELL NO!" shouted Zack angrily as he gestured wildly and looked between the two of them with a defensive glare. "No! I REFU-...NO!"

Charlie sighed and realized he wasn't going to get anywhere by trying to convince him that she had a point. Zack could be legendarily stubborn and unreasoning when it came to any form of magic, and you couldn't really blame him given how absolutely unpredictable and ridiculous it could be. Especially with him. It had been scientifically proven by his boss that his body had a slight resistance to magic in general, like two magnets pushing each other away when turned on the wrong sides. His boss figured it had something to do with how he wasn't originally from the world of Valucre, but declined to say anymore than that. 

"Sorry." said Charlie with a shrug. "My partner here doesn't care much for magic and from I've seen, it doesn't care much for him either."

"When people cast healing spells on me?" said Zack, his paranoid, angry look returning. "I randomly combust into flames a few hours later!"

"There's no real way to prove tha-" began Charlie, but Zack cut him off.

"Have you ever been using the bathroom, and then suddenly, your body SETS ON FIRE?!" exclaimed Zack with a manic expression. "IT SUCKS!!"

Charlie struggled and failed to hold back a chuckle, remembering the times Zack would come sprint-hopping out of the bathroom while engulfed in flames, screaming and cursing at the top of his lungs as he'd stop, drop, and roll. What Zack didn't mention was that this sometimes happened even when he hadn't been healed by a spell. Sometimes Charlie just wanted to have a good laugh and would replace the toilet water with gasoline before using his powers to ignite it. It'd had been a while since he'd done that though, probably having something to do with Tracey pointing her knife at him after catching him in the act. There was scary, and then there was Tracey.

"Hehe, ok." chuckled Charlie while gesturing for Zack to relax. "No magical armor please. Just regular armor if you'd please."

"YES PLEASE." said Zack, calming down. "Now, we just gotta find out how to get some of that...bluesteel you mentioned?"

"I know a guy we could steal some from." said Charlie with a thoughtful, giddy smile.

"Charlie, shut up." said Zack dryly before exhaling and glancing towards the ceiling in thought. He scratched his head absentmindedly as he stood there, trying to think of a way to procure the material without buying it or pissing off someone enough to put another bounty on their heads. He snapped his fingers as his eyes lit up, taking his shield off his back.

"She can't make anything outta that." said Charlie. "I bet that thing could survive the planet being blown to hell without getting a single scratch."

"Course' not, stupid." said Zack before placing the heavy, completely spotless shield on the counter and taking off his back-pack. "Even if she could, I wouldn't want her to. It's the only one in existence as far as I know." After putting the worn backpack on the counter and unzipping it, he reached in and pulled out something very strange. It was a large sphere about the size of a basketball, looking to be made up of a black, rigid, metal that seemed to repel any light that hit it. Even stranger was how Zack's hand was suddenly turned black up to his elbow as he held it, as if becoming a light resistant shadow itself.

"THERE IT-...I mean, what the hell is that?" said Charlie as he watched Zack place the eighty pound sphere on the counter, the wood of the counter creaking when he did so. 

"You stole it, remember?" said Zack as he zipped up his back-pack and slung it over his shoulder. "You took it when we were visiting that orphanage."

"Orphanage?" laughed Charlie nervously. "I wouldn't steal from an orphanage. Come on!"

"You asked me to put it in my pack because it was getting too heavy for you. Said it was gift from one of the kids." continued Zack as he took his shield off the counter and placed it back on his back. "You took it from some super smart kid with weird, black eyes."

"No I didn't!" said Charlie, feigning incredulousness as he gave Arsinia a quick glance. "How do you know that?! And if I did, why the hell do you still have it, huh? Why didn't you give it back?"

"Because that same kid walked up to me a few hours later while you were using the bathroom at a restaurant and told me you stole it."

"...What?" 

"Yeah." nodded Zack. "The kid could teleport or something. Anyway, he couldn't talk. An A.I on his watch did all the talking for him and it threatened to turn us in. Apparently the kid had developed it as a science project. I was gonna give it back, but when he saw how it reacted with my skin, the kid just let me have it for some reason."

Charlie stood there for a while, just looking at Zack with a confused expression.

"So," Charlie started. "You've just had it in your backpack this whole time? It's literally been four weeks."

"Kinda forgot it was there." said Zack before turning his attention back to Arsinia. "Anyway, could you make some armor outta this? I don't think it's dangerous or anything. It just...makes people's skin turn black when they touch it. You could probably understand how that could benefit me."

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She examines the item closely for a minute, making no further remark about magic- she'd have to steer clear of that topic. After several minutes of silent consideration, she looked up at the men and nodded.

"Yes, I should be able to use this. Its unique properties may cause a bit of a hindrance to my work, but it should be nothing too severe. Although, if you don't want any actual armor because it slows you down, I may be able to find a way to distribute properly-sized pieces evenly to make your entire body go black. You just need it to hide your identity, correct?"

She picked it up and twirled it around in her hands, careful not to drop it- That would just be another maintenance cost, and she didn't fancy losing her toes.

"Uh, also, you sure this is one-hundro percent science-y? 'Cause it seems pretty magic to me.." She starts muttering to herself. "Although it doesn't have an entirely negative reaction with your skin, unless negating light counts- heh! That was an unintentional pun! Pfft... But how would something do this? Unless there's some weird magick-y crap goin' on with your body, and that's why it's not doin anything to me, so.. " After a minute of quiet muttering, she set the hunk down on the counter again with a soft thunk. 

 

 

SORRY ABOUT THE SHORT POST, BUT I ANSWERED YOU AND THATS ALL I NEEDED TO DO.

Edited by Higuu

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"Nah, I don't think it's magic." said Zack as he poked the ball, his finger turning black each time he did so. "Or at least if it is, it hasn't caused me any bodily harm yet."

Zack thought back to the time Mikey was doing exams on his body shortly after he arrived in the world of Valucre. He could remember him saying that his enhanced physical and mental prowess was thanks to something that was completely foreign to Valucre. It was also the reason his body rejected magic. What was this strange energy and where had it come from? Mikey wouldn't say. Instead, he basically demanded that Zack keep it a secret. The only other person that knew about his unique physicality was the guy Mikey commissioned to make his shield. Apparently the materials used to make it were much like himself, being foreign to Valucre and existing by their own set of laws. Zack would've asked him where he got the materials from and how he made the shield, but he was killed a few days after finishing it. The Tin Man, a demented mercenary that Zack absolutely loathed, blew up the blacksmiths home during a raid. 

He figured the strange material he'd handed Arsinia was having a reaction with whatever substance was within him, but that just brought up more questions. If this strange material was reacting to only him, didn't that make it similar to whatever material his shield was crafted with? And if so, why didn't his shield have this effect? How had that weird kid created it? Zack felt eager to answer such questions since their answers might better help him understand himself and possibly even how he'd gotten here, but he knew those were questions for another time. Maybe he'd find that strange boy later on if he didn't die trying to complete this job. 

"Hope that's not gonna be a problem though." said Zack. "I've only ever met one blacksmith that was capable of working on weird stuff like this without the use of magic, but he's...dead now."

At hearing this, Charlie looked towards the floor briefly, his smile faltering as he put his hands in his pockets. 

"But uh...yeah." Zack continued after clearing his throat. "I just need it to keep me from being recognized. If you can make some armor outta this that can do that, you'll be my go to from now on...if I ever need something like this again. And I'll spread the word to REGULAR people about your shop. No need to have criminals coming here on the daily."

Zack was awaiting her response when Charlie nudged him on the arm with his elbow. When Zack turned to Charlie to see why, Charlie gestured towards the window with his head. Zack looked out the window and visibly jolted. He then wasted no time in hopping Arsina's counter and going prone behind it. He looked up to Arsinia pleadingly and raised a finger to his lips, an anxious, fearful expression adorning his face. 

If she were to look out the window, she'd see a man who could have easily been over eight feet tall, scar riddled muscles covering every inch of his mostly exposed body. The only real pieces of clothing he wore were some knee-high brown fur boots, and what appeared to be a bear-skin skirt that hung over his waist and concealed his unmentionables. A large sheath hung from this skirt, the sword within taller than most men. His right arm was covered in armor that seemed to be composed of both silver and leather, forming a kind of gauntlet with golden spikes encircling it. Around his neck draped the severed head of what looked like a dragon or large serpent, completing the barbarian look. His long, dark brown hair billowed in a gust of wind as he walked towards them, his cold, bright-blue, soulless eyes fixated on the doors of the shop. He was carrying a sack in his right hand, a red liquid bleeding through the bottom and dripping on the ground. 

Charlie looked to Arsinia as he casually leaned on the counter, his smile gone. 

"Let me do the talking." he said, the huge barbarian nearly breaking the door off it's hinges as he crouched through the entrance. Even when inside, he still had to lean forward to avoid grazing his head on the ceiling. His footsteps rattled the shelves as he approached the counter, Charlie finally looking to his left in mock surprise.

"Thorn!" said Charlie, his smile returning. The gargantuan he addressed by name looked down at him, his face stoic and generally unpleasant. "How's it goin?"

Thorn didn't answer immediately, merely looking around the store as if in search of something. Shrugging, he looked back down towards Charlie and smiled. His smile looked wrong though, his cold, battle-hardened gaze not doing well to compliment it. The rhythmic dripping of the blood coming from the sack he was holding didn't help defuse the feeling he gave off. 

"Charlie!" Thorn exclaimed in an unnaturally deep voice whose bass alone sent vibrations throughout the store. "Long time no see!"

"Yep!" replied Charlie before stepping right by the counter to conceal Zack further. "What brings you to Blairville?"

"I am here for big tournament hosted by the Underground!" Thorn said valiantly, Zack visibly cringing when he heard this. 

"Really?" said Charlie with an excited look. "That's in Blairville?"

"Yes." said Thorn, his smile deflating a little as he raised an eyebrow. "But don't you already know dis'?"

"Huh?"

"Many in Underground speak of you coming to watch tournament." said Thorn, making Zack cringe even more. "They say you might even be participating! Is this...true?"

"What?" said Charlie, his smile growing nervous. "Participate? No, no I can't actually FIGHT anybody. It'd be too easy. Wouldn't be entertaining for the masses."

Thorn's smile fell once he heard this. He leaned even further down to try and look Charlie in the eyes, a task he'd be trying to do forever on account of Charlie's hat. Charlie said nothing as he desperately tried to keep his poker face. It was as if Thorn was trying to stare holes into his head. Then, after what seemed like hours, the barbarian burst out laughing, slapping Charlie on the shoulder and nearly dislocating it.

"HAHA!" Thorn boomed. "Little boy is FUNNY!"

"Hehe, yeah." said Charlie as he rubbed his no doubt bruised shoulder. "So...why are you here? You picking up some armor too?"

"Armor?" said Thorn, his laughter gradually dying down. "No, no. The mighty Thorn does not need armor, for thine hide and heart are thicker than any in existence. I'd also never buy armor from such a...small lady." Thorn gestured towards Arsinia as he said this, his brutal honesty not seeming to make him feel guilty at all. "I doubt she could make good armor for any warrior, let alone one great enough to befit the likes of Thorn!"

"...Okay." said Charlie slowly, flicking his gaze to Arsinia to see if she was getting angry. "So why are you here then?"

"I thought I saw little runt standing next to you." said Thorn as he looked around the store. "I came inside wishing to spill his innards onto floor for time he stop me from plundering village, but...I do not see him now."

"Must've been a trick of the light." said Charlie with a chuckle. "No one in here but us."

"Hm." Thorn grunted. "Strange. I must have drank too much of the wine while raiding that bar last night. Oh, well." he said as he turned towards the door. "I'll be seeing you at the tournament! I'll make sure to put on quite the show!"

Thorn waved goodbye and Charlie waved back as he watched the large man exit the stoor, forgetting to shut the door. After waiting until he was out of ear-shot, Charlie turned back towards Arsinia and exhaled in relief.

"Is he gone?" whispered Zack, not daring to rear his head just yet. Charlie nodded.

"Yeah, yeah he's gone." said Charlie with a dismissive wave before snickering at Zack. "Look at you. Hiding behind the counter like some little he's coming back."

"What?" said Zack, confused.

"He's comin' back." said Charlie as he nervously looked out the window. Thorn was now jogging back towards the store, the bloody satchel he was carrying now clipped to something on his waist. Charlie turned back around and tried to look natural as Zack resumed his statue act. Thorn bent down once more as he quickly entered the shop, his elbow hitting the door frame and splintering it as he rushed in. 

"Whoops!" Thorn chuckled as he approached the counter with an apologetic smile. "Almost forgot!"

He grabbed the handle of his sword and pulled the massive, bloody, weapon out of its sheath before looking down at Arsinia. 

"Rules of tournament say that I must take the lives of any non-participants that learn of tournaments existence!" Thorn held his blade level with Arsinia's neck as he reared back. "Sorry!"

"WHOA!" said Charlie before hopping in between them, his hands held up to stop the barbarian. "Whoa, come on! YOU talked about it in front of her! It's not like she was snooping!"

"Sorry." Thorn shrugged. "Rules of tournament are very strict. If coordinator find out I let innocent bystander live after revealing tournament's existence, I could be dishonored and disqualified. Now hold still little lady. This will hurt a lot less if I do it with one clean cut."

"B-But she's not an innocent bystander!" rebutted Charlie quickly. Zack had his hand on his shield, his face the spitting image of someone that didn't want to get involved but was still going to anyway if things came to it. 

"Hm?" grunted Thorn as he lowered his sword.

"Yeah!" said Charlie with a very nervous smile. "She...She's uh...she's my...fighter's armor jockey!"

"Armor jockey?" repeated Thorn, looking taken aback. "And you're going to have a warrior fight for you?"

"YES." said Charlie. "I'm not just gonna be watching and participating in the bets. I've hired a fighter! To you know...earn me some more money."

Thorn stared at charlie again, this time with his mouth agape in confusion. He said nothing for a while, Zack preparing to jump up to Arsinia's defense at the next sign of trouble. Charlie had a hand behind his back, the air around it beginning to shimmer with heat. Thorn looked between Charlie and Arsinia a few times as if trying desperately to relate the two. Then, he burst out laughing again.

"AHAHA!" he guffawed. "Little boy believes warrior will last long with armor jockey like her?! AAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!"

Both Charlie and Zack let out quiet sighs of relief as the tension left their bodies. 

"Heh...yeah." said Charlie nervously. Thorn merely turned around and began making his way to the door, laughing and knocking over items on nearby shelves as he did so. By the time he was at the door, his laughter had finally faded enough for him to speak.

"Ah! Little boy is SO funny!" he said as he wiped the tears from his eyes.

"Yeah, that was kinda CLOSE though." chuckled Charlie. "I mean...you were about to kill her on the spot even though YOU were the one that spoke about it."

"Yes, yes." he said with a shake of his head. "I don't know what's come over me lately. I've just been so...blabby. Here...look." Thorn grabbed the bloody sack from his waist and undid the knot holding it shut. Once opened, he held it out for everyone to see what was inside. Charlie's stomach lurched. Inside the bag were a jumble of severed heads, most of them with their eyes still wide open in shock as their jaws hung slack. One head in particular belonged to a woman whose eye was hanging out of it's socket.

"....Whoa..." he said with a forced smile, stepping back to support himself on the counter before clearing his throat. "That's a...lotta heads in that bag."

"Haha!" Thorn laughed. "I know! I just can't stop talking about the tournament! I'm so excited!"

"Is that...an arm?" said Charlie as he limply pointed at the contents of the sack. 

"Oh, that?" said Thorn as he looked into the sack at the arm reaching out of the gore. The lifeless fingers were adorned with many extravagant rings. "I caught woman walking out of jewelry store and thought it'd be easier to carry her valuables this way rather than take them off one by one."

"Oh." said Charlie, his smile officially gone.

"Okay!" said thorn before tying the bag shut again and clipping it to his waist. "I must be off now! There are many places I want to pillage before big day! I hope to see you and little lady at tournament. If not, I'll have to kill you both and burn this shop to the ground! AAAHAHA!"

Charlie watched as Thorny carried on down the street, laughing and slapping his stomach as the pedestrians tried their best to avoid him. Once he was both out of ear-shot and out of sight, Charlie slowly turned around to face Arsinia as Zack cautiously peeked over the counter. Charlie swallowed as he tried to think of something to say. Zack rose to his feet and placed his elbows on the counter, resting his head in his hands as he thought about what just happened. Now, he couldn't back out of the job at all. If he did, the Underground or Thorn himself would be back to silence Arsinia permanent-like. He couldn't just leave her to die, seeing as his presence was the only reason this was happening to her. As much as he hated it, he had to make this right.

"Well..." said Charlie, another nervous smile adorning his face. "Sometimes...life grabs you by the leg and pulls you into the fray. Right?"

"I hate you." said Zack, his voice muffled by his hands.

 

 

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As the barbarian rambled, she kept her bored look on her face, and didn't protest to Zack- merely kicked him a little further under the counter with her boot. She didn't know what he'd done to piss off the guy, but she didn't want to see another dead body.

And when the man made a comment about her height, she stiffened up visibly. Fighting to keep her temper down, she stared at the mans' face and did all she could to not say anything- it would most likely rile him up, and she didn't want him hurting her- or finding Zack. She wasn't able to keep the deep scowl off of her face, or keep herself from silently flipping him off from under the counter.

As the man came back to kill her, her grip on the edge of the counter tightened, and she desperately started to formulate any way to escape the shop- the door behind her was the fastest, and she hadn't put out the fire yet- the furnace was directly in the path from the back door to the alley behind her shop. If she was lucky, he'd run right into it-

And then Charlie nominated her for the position of armor jockey. A jolt of excitement went through her-

What the heck? Why do I still want to do this?

 

 

"Well," Arsinia said, her voice strained, "That sure was fun."

"Honestly, though- Why the hell'd he chop off someone's arm for rings? Wouldn't the hand be better? You know... Cause it's smaller?" An anxious laugh bubbled from her throat- but she much preferred that than blood. She stopped as she realized how demented that sounded. "Frick. So, did you piss him off once, or twice?" The question was directed at Zack.

"Aaaaand I guess you're forced to tell me more about this damn thing... Ha-ha! I got my way!..."

"Dont look at me like that. You regrettin' somethin', perv boy?" She cackled, her voice cracking. "S'not like I didn't ask for this. Anywho, I'm glad access just fell into my lap." Quiet. 

Grabbing the strange material they were looking at earlier, she walked out the door behind her and went over to the anvil. Raising it high over her head, she swung it down, smashing it against the iron surface.

The material won.

"Dang," She said quietly, letting out a low whistle. A large dent was now visible of the anvil- Not that she couldn't fix it later. "This'll be interesting."

"Welp,"

"Guess I'll get working." 

Edited by Higuu

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4 hours ago, Higuu said:

"Well," Arsinia said, her voice strained, "That sure was fun."

"Glad ya' think so." said Zack dryly, his head still clasped in his hands as he tried to figure out what game-plan he'd go with to ensure neither of them died.

4 hours ago, Higuu said:

"Honestly, though- Why the hell'd he chop off someone's arm for rings? Wouldn't the hand be better? You know... Cause it's smaller?"

Zack raised his head from his hands and looked over to Arsinia with an eyebrow cocked upwards in growing uncertainty. The nervous laugh she had soon after saying that creeped him out even more. Most people would've been quaking in their boots after something like that. In his experience, the only kinds of people that made jokes about a traumatic or gruesome experience were mercenaries that did it to cope with their growing hatred and PTSD, or psychopaths that had a kink for murder and the suffering of others. Or both. He'd just met the girl, so there was no telling what kind of life she'd lived before becoming a blacksmith. For all he knew, the blacksmith thing could've just been a front. She could've been a drug dealer, assassin, or maybe even an escaped mental hospital patient that was trying to delve into a skill to keep from indulging in her secret pleasure for genocide. Maybe she'd been interested in the fight club because the thought of death and suffering made her feel alive.

But Zack was aware of his paranoia and dismissed such thoughts.

4 hours ago, Higuu said:

"Fuck. So, did you piss him off once, or twice?"

"Yeah." Zack sighed. "Long story short, he tried to attack a village i'd been hired to protect and I kicked him in the balls so hard that one of his testicals actually exploded."

"That explains a lot." said Charlie with an overdramatic nod. 

"Well, I had to." said Zack stubbornly. "Dude was tough as nails and he said he was gonna rip out my spine through my rectum and wear my skin like a coat. Anyway, when he fell to the ground and started screaming, I knocked him out with my shield. I called in a peace-keeper, showed em' my contract, they took him away, I went home, the usual. I figured he wouldn't have the balls to confront me again after that, but I was wrong. The guy broke out of prison a week later and has been trying to kill me ever since. "

"Maybe you can convince Mikey to make him an arteficial testical." added Charlie with a mocking grin. "Like a peace-offering or something."

"Sure." nodded Zack with a manic look. "I might actually do that if I don't DIE in this tournament! He's one of the contestants man!"

"I'm sure you'll be fine." said Charlie as he patted Zack on the shoulder with false concern. "You'll just have to bust his other nut!"

"I'm gonna BUST your JAW." said Zack through gritted teeth. Charlie yanked his hand away.

"Relax, man." he said, still chuckling a little at his perverted jest. "Just trying to lighten the mood a little."

"You're doin' a great job!" said Zack, his voice heavy with sarcasm. 

5 hours ago, Higuu said:

"Aaaaand I guess you're forced to tell me more about this damn thing... Ha-ha! I got my way!..."

Zack looked at Arsinia again, this time his expression resembling recent revelation. 

"I always knew you Blairville folk were crazy." he said with a slow, affirmative nod. 

"That's racist." scolded Charlie.

5 hours ago, Higuu said:

"Dont look at me like that. You regrettin' somethin', perv boy?" She cackled, her voice cracking. "S'not like I didn't ask for this. Anywho, I'm glad access just fell into my lap."

Charlie, being what most people would consider an actual psychopath, felt elated to know that she actually wanted this. Most women were turned off by his desire to set people on fire and watch their flesh drip off their bodies into smoldering puddles, but he thought that perhaps Arsinia was different. Images of the two of them going on a killing spree within a bandits camp played out in his mind like the happy end of a film.

"can fall into your lap too if you wantOW!" Charlie's shameless pick-up line was interrupted when Zack angrily conked him upside the head.

 

When she left with the strange sphere Zack had given her, Charlie suggested they go out and explore the town while they waited. Zack fervently rejected the offer, saying that he hated Blairville and was afraid he'd run into Thorn by accident. He tried to convince Charlie not to explore on account of his knack for pissing women off and getting himself into trouble, but Charlie couldn't be swayed. The women in Blairville were unusually good looking and there was no way he was going to pass up the chance talk to a few of them. They eventually came to an agreement where Zack would stay at the shop and let Charlie do what he wanted in town if they stayed in contact via their communicator watches at regular intervals. 

Once Charlie left, Zack spent his time in the shop surveying the many different products on the shelves and cleaning up the mess Thorn had caused in his mirth. Even if the shop was just a front, there was no denying that she was a skilled blacksmith. The armor, swords, hammers, and shields that were neatly stacked on the shelves looked like works of art he could easily imagine peacekeepers wearing had they knew of them. Zack wondered why she wasn't more well known, a question that became ever more relevant the longer he waited for anyone else to walk in. He figured it probably had something to do with people seeing Thorn inside. 

He could hear Arsinia working through the door behind the counter, a series of loud noises affirming that she was hard at work. He recalled what she said about it taking a few hours to finish the armor and began to feel nervous. People that walked passed her casually glancing inside as they walked, Zack being easy to see. He worried that eventually some other mass murdering maniac with a grudge against him might spot him and make an attempt on his life. He was considering laying down behind the counter when a better idea popped into his head.

He walked around the counter and approached the door behind it, slowly pushing it open so as not to startle Arsinia while she was working.

"Yo, uh...lady?" called Zack as he walked into the room. "I don't mean to impose but uh...you mind if I chill back here for a bit? I don't wanna risk getting spotted by that giant freak and I've always wanted to watch a blacksmith at work."

Zack brought a hand to his face and massaged his eyes as he realized something.

"And I suppose you don't want me callin' you lady anymore. What was your name? I'm sorry if you mentioned it earlier. You could probably understand that I got a lot on my mind right now. "

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Arsinia never paused from her work, using a large pair of tongs to move the material into the fire.

"My name is Arsinia. I don't exactly feel like divulging my last name at this point in time, so you'll have to live with that." She paused, and then laughed a bit to herself. "'Course, It isn't really.. My given name, but it sure as hell feels like the real one at this point." Turning, she faced him and pulled off the large pair of heat-resistant gloves she'd been wearing. "Yours was... Zack? And I hear that crazy guy call the flaming perv Charlie. Am I right?"

"'N' yeah, you can chill out here." She takes a second, thinking. "Although... It is hotter out here than in..." Saying this, she remembers something. "Is your hand all right?" She walks over to him and grabs the hand, inspecting it clinically. "I've got some first-aid shiz for burns. God knows how often you get 'em when you're a smithy." 

Dropping it, she turns around and goes to check on the fire. "Darn," she mutters. "This might have a higher melting point than obsidian.." She grabs a metal pole from a nearby rack, poking the black material. "It hasn't changed color, density, or shape... It doesn't seem to register the presence of heat..." She frowned, trying to think of a way to work with the damn stuff. She groans and her neck goes back so she's looking at the ceiling. 

"I can't believe it." She glances back at Zack, debating. Coming to a decision, she walks over to him and pushes him closer to the door, and then points at the ground. "You," she says gruffly, "Stay here. I don't want to accidentally hurt you. I doubt anything'll happen, but you'd probably die if something DID." She walks back to the fire and cracks her knuckles. Turning back to look at him, she gives off a little nervous grin. "Try not to freak out? I'll be totally fine, don't worry. I've just never had anyone around me when I've done this, so I don't know what would happen if you were to..." She trails off.

Taking a deep breath, she sticks her hands into the fire. She winces, but the flames don't seem to burn her. The air around her starts to shimmer, and the longer her arms are engulfed in flames, the more it broils. After a second or two, the ground surrounding her feet bursts into magical blue flames, and they slowly make their way up her body and down her arms. She grabs onto the material, and presses into it harshly with her thumbs. The area sizzles away, molten goop trailing down the side of the black rock. She gasps, and yanks her hands out, shaking them. The fire around her dies down almost immediately.

She sprints over to the vat of water and dunks her arms in, up to her elbows. The water splashes into her face, and she sputters as steam rises out of the metal tub. Looking up, her arms still submerged, she grins at Zack. "Heck yes," she says, exited. "I can actually shape the stuff after all!" She slowly pulls herself out of the water, her sleeves dripping. "Fff-" Cringing, she stumbles over to the anvil and hops up onto it, sitting on the cool metal surface. 

Arsinia glances back over at Zack. "So," she says, her gaze unfocused. "On a scale from one to ten, how would you rate your confusion?" She seems to almost laugh, but it dies in her throat, "Frick," she said, rubbing her eyes. "That took a lot out of me."

Edited by Higuu

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2 hours ago, Higuu said:

"My name is Arsinia. I don't exactly feel like divulging my last name at this point in time, so you'll have to live with that."

Zack shrugged with a resigned, yet content expression. He kept lots of secrets in his line of work and had come to understand that people had their reasons for being secretive. This didn't mean that he wouldn't take note of it, however. He was curious about why she didn't want to give out her last name. The reason for her reluctance could have been as simple as her not trusting him, which would make sense, but there was always the possibility of something more. The latter became a lot more believable when she mentioned that 'Arsinia' wasn't her given name. 

Zack smiled when she called Charlie a 'Flaming perv', happy that she knew exactly what kind of person he was. In his experience, knowing the general ways of another person made you expect less of them in relative areas. This in turn made it easier not to get pissed and break them in half when they did something stupid or selfish. Zack generally didn't expect much out of anyone, believing most people to be evil, dishonest, and selfish. You might say that this mindset is pessimistic, but you'd likely adopt the same kind of thinking had you been in his line of work long enough. And by 'long enough', I mean one day. Most folks didn't make it passed one day of they didn't think like this.

He let out a relieved sigh when she agreed to let him stay there, his body visibly untensing a little. 

"Thank you, miss." he said with a curt nod. "You might be saving my life right now." Most people that let him stay in their home only did it because they planned to kill him later and cash in his bounty, but he got the feeling Arsinia wasn't one of those people. She was more likely to fit into the group of people that killed strangers within their homes just for the thrill of it. 

3 hours ago, Higuu said:

"Is your hand all right?" She walks over to him and grabs the hand, inspecting it clinically. "I've got some first-aid shit for burns. God knows how often you get 'em when you're a smithy." 

Zack lightly shook his head with a dismissive wave.

"Nah, it's fine." he smiled appreciatively. "I actually heal in my sleep. No use wasting medical supplies on me. Unless I'm like...dying. Can't heal if I'm dead." He was also used to getting burned, Charlie being almost the entire reason. If he wasn't getting set on fire by dragons, flame-thrower tooting psychopaths, or healing spells, Charlie was always playing pranks on him that ended with him being set ablaze on some part of his body. It was the main reason he paid such a large amount of cash for the magitech bolt he put on his bedroom door.

He watched with piqued interest as Arsinia worked with odd material he'd given her, taking note of how resistant it was to the flames she'd placed it in. He sighed dejectedly and shook his head. He knew it wouldn't be that easy. 

He expected Arsinia to give up and tell him he'd have to find some other blacksmith, but that didn't happen. Instead, she pushed him back towards the door.

3 hours ago, Higuu said:

"You," she says gruffly, "Stay here. I don't want to accidentally hurt you. I doubt anything'll happen, but you'd probably die if something DID."

"What?" said Zack as he looked down at her with a worried expression, the fear of his immediate future rising as his mind went through the many things that could happen. He watched her walk back to the fire as she cracked her knuckles, wondering if he should skedaddle and take his chances out on the streets. She turned back to him and gave him a nervous smile.

3 hours ago, Higuu said:

Try not to freak out? I'll be totally fine, don't worry. I've just never had anyone around me when I've done this, so I don't know what would happen if you were to..."

She trailed off, her obvious lack of confidence not making him feel any better. What was she talking about? Was she going to do some kind of weird fire magic? He didn't like his odds of survival if she was. If he combined his luck with his body's tendency to disrupt magic,  he figured she might nuke the place. If so, he was grateful that his death would at least be quick. 

"W-what're you about to do?" Zack asked nervously as he stepped back until his back hit the closed door. He watched with baited breath and shock as the girl slowly placed her hands into the fire. He prepared to hear her scream after doing so, but no such sound came. She winced as if in pain, but from what he could see, her hands looked fine. 

"The hell?" he mumbled to himself as he squinted at her. Like Charlie whenever he was about ti use his powers, the air around her shimmered with heat. The flames seemed to intensify as she kept her hands inside the fire, the flames threatening to kiss the ceiling. He instinctively took out his shield and held it in front of him when the ground she stood on erupted into strange, blue, flames. Zack became worried that she was using magic, hoping that his mere presence would cause something stupid to happen. He felt like he usually did when he was about to carry out an assault on a group of Criminals with Charlie. As if he was standing next to a grenade.

He began to regret his decision to come here even more as he watched the flames travel from the ground and up her body. It might've taken more time, but he could've gone to a different city to get some armor. Asking for any kind of favor in Blairville was beyond careless and stupid to him and he wondered if such a bad judgement call was about to cost him his life. He decided at that moment that if he didn't die just now and ever needed anything done in the future, he'd never again agree to get it done in Blairville. If anyone asked him to, he planned to give them the finger.

The fire crawled up her torso and coursed through her arms before she grabbed the otherworldly sphere. He sees her press her thumbs into the object on either side. To his surprise, the material rapidly heats up with a sizzle and begins to melt away by her thumbs. Seemingly alarmed by this, she yanks her hands away and begins shaking them, the fire she'd conjured up around her body immediately disappearing. She then takes off towards a metal tub full of water and dunks her arms inside as if she can now feel the stinging of the heat. Clouds of steam rise out of the tub in big puffs as the water sizzles and boils. 

"Hell yeah!" she says, sounding excited. Zack doesn't drop his guard, still eyeing her as he would Charlie when he got out a grenade and pulled the pin. "I can actually shape the stuff after all!"

Once the sound of evaporating water stops and the steam ceases, she pulls her drenched arms out of the tub and stumbles over to an anvil before sitting down on it. Zack is still giving her an apprehensive look, as if still expecting something bad to happen. When she looked at him and asked how he'd rate his confusion, he could only think to answer it with more questions. This, in a way, was an answer to her own.

"What in SAM HILL was that?!" he said quickly, his body tense once again. "Was that magic?! Did you just use magic?! How'd you do that?! Why'd you say it might kill me?!"

Although he was a little scared no doubt thinking up even more questions, he couldn't help but notice how tired she looked. It was as if the blue conglomeration she'd conjured had sapped her energy, draining her and leaving her weak. Zack slowly lowered his shield as feelings of guilt began to arise within him. He could never turn a blind eye to another person's pain, especially when he'd caused it in some way. This of course didn't apply to criminals he beat up and crippled since their suffering actually brought him a sickeningly great deal of joy and fulfillment, but as far as he knew, Arsinia was no criminal. She was just a blacksmith trying to provide him with a tall order. For Free. Mage or not, she was still a person and he was imposing with what he'd asked. 

"You...good?" he asked, his fearful expression only going away a little. "You look almost as pale as me."

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18 hours ago, zackrobbman said:

"What in SAM HILL was that?!" he said quickly, his body tense once again. "Was that magic?! Did you just use magic?! How'd you do that?! Why'd you say it might kill me?!"

She barks out a short laugh, this one actually making noise. "To be totally honest, I'm not entirely sure." After a second of thinking, she gives him an odd look. "Okay, that was a lie, I know exactly what it is, but I'm still not used to it." Giving a small sigh, she drops her hands from her face and looks at her palms. "Those flames over there in the fire? They technically are normal fire, but they're fueled by this kinda magical gas, if you can call it that.. Yeah, so, last time I checked, my body can kinda.." She twirls one of her fingers in the air towards the forge, as though in a "crazy" gesture. "I dunno; it sucks up the magic around me and redirects it." She stares back at Zack. 

"And, uh... You saw the blue stuff, right?.. Well, I don't know if it would actually burn somebody or if it's just, like.." She makes little jazz hands. "Special effects. Also, I don't know how I do it, I've just been able to do it since I was b-" she cuts herself off, and frowns. Backtracking, she starts talking again. "I've been able to do it for a pretty long time now. Don't know why."

18 hours ago, zackrobbman said:

"You...good?" he asked, his fearful expression only going away a little. "You look almost as pale as me."

She yawns, covering her mouth. "Mm.. Yup. I just haven't done it for a while. Guess the skill kinda.. atrophied. Got a bit weaker. Redirecting energy takes energy, so..."

"Guess I'm just a bit tired. Nothing I can't handle, though. I should be able to wake up pretty well if I just, I dunno, hit myself?" She looks dubious. "Or I could just stick my hands in the fire again. Without redirecting it." A long pause. "Okay. Nevermind, my logic processing center is down." Yet another pause. ".. Okay. That makes me sound like a computer. Which I'm not. And, uh..." An unfocused frown covers her face. "Damn. I'm rambling."

"Uh, anyhow, if I just constantly melt down the stuff you gave me, I should start getting tired less easily and uh... And I won't have it finished as fast. Crap. Ah, well, I should have it done in like.. Two days? ... That.. Might be stressing it." She stares up at Zack's eyes. "Hey, you think you or your friend could go get me, like, a couple gallons of coffee? 'Cause... Imma need it."

Pushing heavily off from the anvil, she places her feet back on solid ground and wobbles. She mutters a curse, and then rights herself using the large metal surface. Her fingers grip into the dent that was put there previously. "Yyyyyup. I'm a bit tired."

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