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TheEyeOfNight

[Silver Harbor] Silver Seas: Prologue

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((Hey everyone, this is my warm-up to getting back into writing. It's set during Lynch's arrival to Silver Harbor, after which we'll jump ahead a year and start the actual story. Feel free to chime in if your character wishes to get involved early on. Will be running some storylines here later on, just laying groundwork for now))

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No one on the ship knew who he was. That was good.

The vessel shuddered as the mooring lines drew taut, anchoring the lumbering ship into position at the city docks. Passengers still seated grabbed onto their belongings to prevent them from falling, and those impatient enough to have already stood were jolted about as the ship gently collided with the wooden ramp. A chorus of complaints muttered out from the array of citizens as they gathered their items, pulling bags from beneath chairs and the racks above their heads.

From his seat near the back of the ship, Avarice Lynch took a sip of watery tea, contentedly staying in his seat as the rest of the ship's passengers burst into shuffling movement. He leaned back in his seat, running a hand through his well-trimmed black hair, and casting a gaze through the dirty porthole to his left. The sun was just beginning to rise over the houses and shacks of Silver Harbor, casting the city in a pale yellow light and turning the harbor waters to shining glass.

Another clean slate. Another “fresh start”.

A touch at his shoulder made him look up. His gnoll companion's mottled grey snout stuck out from the hood of its cloak, and a pair of yellowed hyena eyes peered out from the shadow of the garment. The beast held the handles of both suitcases in one hand, and jerked its head towards the exit with a grunt.

"Yes. I suppose it is time again." He rose to his feet, smoothing out the wrinkles in his long coat as he did. He strode towards the front of the ship, through the now-empty aisle, his posture straightening and becoming more regal with each step. It was a mask he had worn for years, but one that had faltered often in the past year. It would take time to become practiced in it again.

A dockhand and a bored city guardsman stood at the bottom of the disembark ramp, patiently waiting for the last of the passengers to leave. Lynch set his most disarming smile in place and handed the guardsman his papers, complete with an elegantly forged seal, which had come at no small cost. The guardsman scanned the document with one eye, and looked up at Lynch, as if sizing him up. Only years of deception kept the wave of anxiety from reaching Lynch's face, and the smile held through the agonizingly long moment before the guard stuck his hand out, offering the paper back.

They didn't know who he was. They didn't know why he had come to their little harbor in the Southern Swell.

If they had, they would have thrown him in the ocean without a second thought.

* * * *

"It reeks down here." The gnoll huffed for the fourth time as they made their way up the creaking wooden stairs from the docks and up towards the small city of Silver Harbor. His name was Roht, and besides carrying all his and Lynch's belongings in both hands, he made it his mission to voice his displeasure at every turn.

Lynch waved a hand dismissively as they climbed the steps. "That's opportunity you smell."

"Yeah? Opportunity smells like salt water and dead fish." The gnoll snorted hard, as if to expel the sensation of Silver Harbor from his nostrils. "And not like silver at all."

"It's not called Silver Harbor for its wealth, Roht."

Lynch stopped halfway up the steps, and turned towards the sea, forcing Roht to lumber to a slow stop next to him. Lynch raised a hand to point to the southwest, where a pair of bluffs bracketed the long harbor near its mouth.

"The setting sun crosses between the bluffs, and the light echoes from the limestone cliffs. The harbor gleams like a sheet of silver every evening. It's a beautiful thing."

Roht grunted with disinterest.

"It's beautiful, Roht." Lynch repeated, giving his guardian a sideways look. The sun was still high, and it would be some hours before the Silver Hour, as it was known. Lynch wished he could stay and witness it, but his mind was already accelerating through the steps ahead.

"The things we build. All we accomplish." He allowed himself one last smile towards the sea. "It all begins here."

 

 

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Karla woke up with a sour and smoky taste in her lips. She blinked her raccoon eyes open and squinted. Half a cigar hung from her lips. The other half burned off during the night; its ashes blemished her chest. She brushed off the ashes noting the sting.

Creme colored candles stemmed from empty rum bottles, they emanated a warm yellow light, and revealed a handsomely-decorated bedroom with a low-hung ceiling. A maroon jacket was strewn over an elaborately carved wooden chair, two copper goblets littered a night stand on her left, and a blotch of wine bloodied the fur rug. Directly above the stand was a lamp with a beautiful hand-blown-glass case covering a warm flame. A cute boy lay by her side tangled in the golden bedspread. His smooth back was peppered with freckles and his strong legs stuck out from the sheets. She smiled.

Not a bad night. 

Karla leaned against the headboard and scoffed happily. She spotted her blouse, sword, cross, and canister on the stand, and reached for them. She covered her chest with the blouse, popped open the canister, and watched a few fags roll in the tin container. She stuck one between her teeth and lit it with a quick hand. 

Karla stood up, pulled on her blouse, buttoned her trousers, rummaged through the drawers, snatched a handful of coins from a poorly hidden sack in the drawer, and stuffed her pockets. She stopped to check her hair in the mirror, and caught him waking up. She continued fixing her hair. 

"Hello gorgeous," she smirked not looking back.

The boy smiled. He had one of those big syrupy smiles she was a sucker for. 

"Hey, where are you going?" 

"Louie's."

He frowned. "You got a boyfriend?"

"A girlfriend, actually."

His eyes widened. She wheezed.

"I'm joking," half-lying she closed  in on him, "Louie's is a bar downtown. Nowhere a cutie like you would go."

Chuckling, she tugged on his blonde beard and stole a kiss. 

"See you later," she whispered in his ear. 

She kicked the door open and bowed out dramatically. A landlady stared daggers at her as she quit the ship. Karla winked at her. The lady scowled and slammed the door. Karla balanced over the rickety bridge connecting the tethered air-ship to the main apartment complex. The handrails kept her safe, but she spread her arms out anyway, pretending it was a perilous walk over a plank. She craved a warm ginger ale and her own cot above Louie's Tavern. She took a long deliberate drag from her cigarette before deciding to use the fire escape. She didn't want to see any more tenants and enjoyed the morning chill.

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“Magistrate Lynch.”

“Governor Vess.”

They shook hands, the Governor attempting to hold a firm grip, but only succeeding in maintaining an awkwardly long handshake. “My condolences about Celin City. The magestorms are cruel and capricious beasts.”

“My thanks.” Avarice nodded, without a flicker of emotion at the mention of the lost city.

“In truth, we had assumed all the city officers had perished in the Whispernight.” The Governor sat down heavily behind his desk, letting out a long sigh with the effort. “If I may ask-”

“You may not.” Avarice never broke his smile, and waited patiently through the ensuing awkward silence. The Governor coughed, finally, and made a show of arranging some papers on his desk.

“Yes, well...you are more than welcome to find a home here in Silver Harbor. I do recommend, for a man of your status, that you avoid the east side of the city as it has-”

“I'm certain I will learn the city's districts soon, Governor. And the sooner I return to work, the sooner I will come to know it.”

Vess's face curled inwards in confusion. “Work? I don't understand. Your city is-”

“My city is here.” Avarice interrupted politely, folding his hands neatly in his lap. “As of three hours ago, and I would see it prosper. Perhaps even be recognized on maps of the region, gods forbid.”

It was not a subtle jab: Silver Harbor routinely did not appear on regional maps, either because of its insignificance or due to some cartographer's longstanding grudge. Lynch wagered on the former. Vess leaned forward on his desk, narrowing his eyes as a piece of the polite facade cracked.

“Mr. Lynch. We had heard of Celin City, of your work there. Your war against the criminal clans, it was...some would say it was unnecessary.” The Governor swung an arm wide to gesture to the entirety of Silver Harbor. “This is a peaceful city. We wish for it to remain peaceful. Do you understand?”

Peaceful. Stagnant. Rotting in entropy. Tomato, tomato.

Avarice smiled warmly. “Of course.”

 

* * * *

“And?” Roht barked from one of the long couches in the foyer to the Governor's office. The gnoll had managed to contort himself into a relaxed position, much to the dismay of the fourteen other petitioners, who were mashed together on the opposite couch in order to give Roht plenty of space.

“Entirely lacking in vision.” Avarice gestured 'up', and the gnoll reluctantly raised himself off the couch. “He'll be of no help.”

“Figures.” They began to walk towards the ornate double doors, depicting engraved murals of fish and sea monsters. “You think he's on the take from the smugglers?”

Avarice considered the possibility for a moment, his eyes glassing over as he thought back through the conversation one detail at a time. Eventually, he shook his head. “Doubtful. I expect he's simply content to be on top of his little hill.” A wistful sigh, almost in mourning for the Governor. “The cardinal sin of complacence.”

Roht grunted without amusement and booted the door open ahead of Lynch as they stepped out on to the street. “What's the plan?”

“Without a place to begin at the top, we'll start at the bottom.” Avarice rubbed his hands together, “Who do we still have contact with?”

“The ones that survived Whispernight?” A guttural snort, or a laugh. It was hard to tell with Roht. “Either not talking to us or missing.”

“Well.” A frown. An odd sadness, from a man who made a point to never show the emotion he was actually feeling. “Starting at the bottom indeed.”

His gnoll companion jerked a thumb back to where the ship that brought them was preparing to depart. “Ship captain said there's a seedy-ass bar not too far away. Popular spot with the disgruntled and the malcontent peons. Good for recruiting.”

“The militia recruits, Roht.” He smiled, and turned down the road towards where the gnoll gestured. “We hire.”

 

* * * *

The sign said “Louie's”.

Avarice wasn't certain who Louie was, or if the name was complimentary, but he and Roht made their way to a corner table. From his coat, Avarice produced a golden-engraved pen and a small black book. With a click of the pen, he peered through the crowd and began to take stock of his future allies.

 

 

 

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Catalina del Sur had been a lovely tropical paradise. A network of drying scrubs held the sand dunes together along with a few leafy palms. The sky was a light blue and the sun reminded her of cellophane—the way it seemed to crinkle into nothingness around the edges. She remembered the relaxing sound of the turf as it rolled into white foam on the sand.  

Karla took a drag of her cigarette thinking the weather was colder than she had anticipated. She groaned and huddled her blue frock closer. She’d stolen it from a drunk sergeant in San Juaquin Boulevard, a place she used to hang out at to play cards. The old oversized jacket’s sleeves dragged on the cobblestone street, the ground painted them mud grey as her feet made their way to Louie’s. The down-trodden avenue wore itself down to mud as she approached the east side of the city. The apartment complexes were steadily replaced by mills and canning factories. Pipes along their roofs expelled a foul-smelling black smog. She exhaled and let the smoke from her cigar blend into the dreary weather and gray polluted sky.  

Louie’s sat boldly as the shortest building on the street. It would’ve been mashed between two canning factories had it not been for a dusty little alley with a dead end. Women in inviting dresses and heavy makeup lured men into the alley with propositions and glances. Karla shifted her weight to her heels and pulled the door open with a staggering step.  

The crowded bar welcomed her with the aroma of whiskey, tobacco, and sweat, as she entered the building. She elbowed her way through the crowd and reclined on a wall next to two female workers strutting their stuff. They glanced at her questioningly.  

Was she one of them? 

She offered them a cigarette.   

The blonde accepted giddily. The other, a more serious looking brunette didn’t smoke.  

“What are you here for, honey?” the blonde asked.  

“Marks” Karla replied.  

“Us too,” the blonde sniffed, “Lots of them here tonight. ‘That right, Emy?”  

Emy nodded soberly. 

“Not that type of marks,” Karla said coolly, “More like him.” 

Her curls swayed as she motioned her pointy chin at a heavy man in a stained tank top with four empty tankards on the table. He was downing a fifth one greedily with his fat and flushed lips. A sash hung by his side. Karla could almost hear the change jingle in his bag.  

 “Not a regular,” the blonde noticed. 

“No. I think he's new around here...” Emy whispered. 

Karla put her smoke out on the sole of her boot. “I’ll give you thirty percent of what I make here tonight if you help me distract him.” 

The blonde girl took a huff of the cigarette, “What do you think, Emy?” 

Emy smiled.  

…. 
Emy pushed the bowl aside and sat on the table with her legs crossed. 

The man looked startled. The blonde chimed in quickly with a long-drawn “Haaaaaai.” 

Karla poked her way behind the table where the girls lauded over the man.  

The inside part of the cuffs on the sleeves had been polished to blades. She brushed the man with the inner sleeve and the sash parted to two. She didn’t miss a beat as she pulled the sash away from the man and into her lap.  

... 

“That was easy,” the blonde giggled walking her way. 

“Here is your cut,” Karla smiled handing the women thirty dollars.  

“Nice.”  

“Thank you...” 

“Duchess,” the blonde smiled. 

“Thank you, Duchess.”  

Duchess squealed, “See the one over there? He’s new too.”  

Karla peeked casually at the man. He had a slight build, sleek black hair, and intense green eyes. He had a small black book with him, and an expensive looking pen engraved with gold.  

“The trouble with him is gonna be the jackal," Karla thought. 

Duchess simpered, “I thought you were good.” 

“We’ll try the pen first,” Karla planned, “If he notices, it’ll be too small to raise a fuss. If he doesn’t. I might have myself a new jacket. I just need you to distract the jackal.” 

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A stiff drink at Louie's, of dubious quality but impressive potency, cost three Kites each. In two hours, at a cost of about twenty-seven Kites, Avarice had filled three pages of his notebook with names and tales from his newfound friends.

The current third occupant at their table, a Mr. Hollon, was in the middle of a rant about the frequent smugglers who made landfall at Silver Harbor, offloading their goods to travel north undetected. The man was easily three drinks past any kind of healthy limit, and spittle was starting to hang from his mouth as he blustered on with grand, waving gestures and leaving traces of spit on his part of the table.

"-and not a damn penny for the docks, neither! We...we make a livin' here, you know!"

"Yes. Good man." Realizing the man was looping back around to the same point he made ten minutes ago, Avarice slid a new pair of coins his way and gestured to the bar. More importantly, he gestured the man away from the table. "Enjoy yourself, and my thanks."

The man slapped his hand over the coins, and leaned in like he was about to make another point. Roht, surveying the room with a half-full mug of beer in his hand, snarled with a curl of his lip, and whatever Mr. Hollon was going to say vanished into the wind. The fisherman stumbled away from the table, dropping both the coins onto the floor in his waddling stupor. The gnoll glanced sideways at Lynch.

"Anything useful? I wasn't listening."

"More of the same. Anger at the smugglers for taking advantage of the town. Displeasure at the Governor for allowing it. General malice towards the other fishermen who don't do anything about it. While not doing anything about it himself." Avarice sighed, finishing the note he was making, and raising his eyes to scan the room. The afternoon drinkers were thinning out, and slowly being replaced by the much more veteran evening crowd, and all their assembled compatriots. He caught the eyes of several ruffians sizing him up, a pair of working girls who made several obvious passes by the table, and a suspicious bartender who was no doubt already cooking up a rumor about the newcomer.

He didn't pay them any mind. That was what Roht was for.  He turned one of the pages in his book. "If we're going to pull them under our banner, we need to give them a common enemy. Something they can rally against instead of just..."

Avarice trailed off, and tapped the pen on his notebook. His eyes crossed the varied notes once again, and he quirked an eyebrow as he saw the same sentence. The pen stopped tapping and he gently traced it down the page as he mentally intoned the words. "The Iron Queen."

Roht abruptly grimaced, and slung back another gulp of beer. "You want to hit the smugglers."

"I'm considering it." A smirk crossed Avarice's face before he could catch it. "So are you."

"No. No, I'm not considering it." The gnoll glared back, slamming his beer mug down. "I still have scars from Mercy's End, Lynch. You wanna see the scars again?"

"Please don't. People are trying to eat."

"Yeah, they are. They're enjoying their evening and not planning suicide runs on armed smuggling ships." Roht nudged a little tumbler towards him. The gnoll had brought it to the table, but Lynch hadn't taken so much as a sip yet. It was something sticky and brown, but liquor was liquor at the end of the day. "Remember when you used to do that? Just enjoy your evenings?"

Avarice leaned back in the chair, a frown cracking the edges of his mouth. He slowly raised the pungent brown liquor to his lips, eyes fixed on nowhere in particular, and lied. "No."

Edited by TheEyeOfNight

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Reinhardt Relzion was a Noble Vagabond. Not by choice, let's be perfectly clear. He had an eternity back home in France to be tinkering with his Steamwork Inventions. Perhaps the Accident that led him to the Realm of Valucre was a Divine punishment from God himself against him and his Heretical lineage. Perhaps He shouldn't have been tinkering with Alchemy and Steampowered after a short and heated argument with his lover. (Though in retrospect Amalia wasn't entirely wrong given his current state of affairs. Though he wouldn't publicity admit his error.) Nevertheless the Dhampir had spent several months in this new realm of existence exploring and taking in the Stunning new locale.

 

There had been a huge language gap he had to overcome as none of the inhabitants of this realm spoke German or French (His primary languages he spoke.) Though he did find some common ground when he used his rough English. And over time he came to learn he had landed in a Continent can Genesaris. A Realm of both Technology and "Magic". Now he didn't fully discount the claims of Magic given his heritage came from Heretical studies of Black Magic back on Earth. But his mind was firmly grounded in the precepts of Science and Technology so he was hesitant to truly take such claims at full face value. throughout his time in Genesaris he would travel by whatever means possible between City to City, Town to Town learning more and more as he did. His latest travels brought him to a Sleepy Port town by the name of Silver Harbor. It was hear the wayward Noble was to lay his boots up for the time being. (He rather not linger unduly as he did not know the People's customs toward unholy Half Breeds of Vampires and Humans. And He rather not find out either.) 

 

He had resupplied on his needed supplies for his travels and Steamwork revolver. He made his way to a quaint tavern called Louie's. Normally he wouldn't find his repose in the settlement of Commoners. But if he had learned on thing in his journey in Genesaris is Humility. He swept in silent as the Night. His Forest Green eyes swept across the tavern. Commoners, Cutthroats, Harlots and Merchantmen. Nothing less than one should expect in a place like this. He wrapped his cloak tighter as he strode steadily but confidently towards the bar. Even if he was no longer in his realm of Power or Control. A Noble and Noblesse shouldn't shirk from their inherent nobility. He took a seat at the bar and ordered a single flagon of Water. Not that there was much difference between that and their Excuse for Alcohol. 

 

He ran his hands through his Blonde hair. It had the faintest glint of Green in it. Even though he was Human he had the peaked ears of his Vampiric Sire and slightly elongated fangs. His sipped on his water while reviewing the Motley gathering in Louie's. Humans, Humans, and more humans...Possibly the most boring town he had visited thus far. His eyes settled on a Peculiar pair. A man sat with a Beast of some sort. The beast was Canine in nature but was Bipedal and shared an Hominoid structure. A curious beast it was. Reinhardt paid for his water and made his way towards the pair. They seemed to be rather engaged in whatever matters they were discussing. Reinhardt stopped at their table and bowed. He spoke in a still a heavily German accent "Guten Abend to you two gentlemen. I hate to impose but I'm a Traveler of sorts and was captivated by your...Companion here. " (yes it was best not to insult these strangers.) He pointed slightly to the Gnoll, before continuing  "I'm an Inventor of sorts and I've never met someone quite like your Companion. Would it be rude of me if I took a quick sketch of him and use his personage as Inspiration for my next Creation. Naturally if I make a profit of it I would pay you both Royalties."

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(Co-op piece from all three, hashed in PMs and compiled together so far)

Stupid, stupid, Stupid! 

Stupid... 

Karla Sighed. She must’ve had more cigarettes in her tin cannister. She took it out of the fold in her coat and gave it a longing shake. She forced the tin back into her jacket and put two fingers against her mouth instead, missing the feel of a cigar there.  

She was good, but she doubted she could get away with stealing the pen—much less the jacket—without getting caught. Perhaps it was because Duchess provoked her. If so, she was an idiot.  

The girls were nearing the table where the Gnoll and man sat when a stranger approached. She felt her heart palpitate faster. Now what? She slammed the stolen coins on the counter moodily and ordered a shot. 

She couldn’t back out.  

Duchess hesitated. Emy, the silent brunette, stopped looked at Karla for a sign and waited. Karla reconsidered. Just the pen. No fuss.  

She nodded at Emy, and the girls continued.  

Karla went around the table till she could only see talker’s heads. She waited for an opportunity and stirred her drink. 

The gnoll, not in possession of an 'inside voice', was the first voice she could make out.

"-enjoying their evening and not planning suicide runs on armed smuggling ships. Remember when you used to do that? Just enjoy your evenings?"

The human paused, raising his glass to his lips. "No." His voice quieted as Emy and Duchess approached, and his expression magically transformed into a charming smile. "Evening." He half-rose, reaching out to take Duchess's hand and guide her to one of the chairs. "Avarice Lynch. This is Roht."

The gnoll grunted with disinterest, talking to Reinhardt on the other side of the table.

Emy giggled, a forced laugh, but one of her tools. "Avarice? What kind of name is that?"

He smiled, and Karla had seen enough lies and masks to recognize someone on their guard. "Mine."

Duchess pushed her playfully, " Emy! Don't be rude!"

Emy shrugged innocently and shifted her attention to the half-breed and the gnoll. 

" I like you ears," she said demurely. She directed her sentence lat Reinhardt, but looked coquettishly at Roht.

"What's your name?"


* * * *

Roht lowered his beer as Reinhardt approached. As Lynch's longtime bodyguard, he had become well-versed in visually shaking someone down at a glance, but Reinhardt was an odd one. The weight at his belt, though Roht couldn't see the weapon itself, spoke of firearms, and the gnoll had little practical experience defending against those. The stranger's clothing was worn, but not stained with either the local mud color or airship oil. When he spoke, his accent wasn't Genesaris, making him likely a traveler. It wasn't Terranus either, which made him less likely to be an assassin from the old homefront.

Would it be rude of me if I took a quick sketch of him?

A spontaneous grin broke out on Roht's face, and he set the beer mug down with a clunk. His clawed hand made a show of combing back some unruly fur. "Hear that, Lynch? I'm the pretty one now." He leaned back and gestured for Reinhardt to proceed. "Inventor, eh? You do any of that airship business?"

Reinhardt was at first weary  of approaching the pair initially. Especially the Beastman. He was no doubt a warrior of some sort. He had the same air Mateo had back home. And Mateo was his personal guardian from the Zealots that constantly sought to bring an end of the Relzion house. But when the Beastman set his mug down and smiled he was relieved. He took a seat and pulled out a sketch pad as he answered the Beastman "Nein...I mean No my Good sir. Though In my travels I have seen those Airships and they are quite a marvel of Technological ingenuity. My Specialty lies in Automatons, Personal Arms, and whatever else captures my whim at the moment." He looked up from the notepad as he took in another look of the Gnoll as he casually said "Having an Eternity to do anything tends to let you to be a bit whimsical with your passions." He looked back down and resumed sketching, He asked innocently "What of yourself Good Sir? You have the Air of my long time friend and Guardian Mateo. The Air of Battle and Exasperation, Are you a Bodyguard of some sort?" 

"Mateo. I like him already. Single name, no frills. Just Mateo." The gnoll jerked a thumb at himself. "Just Roht. And yeah, I double as Lynch's bodyguard, hitman, weight lifter, general runner..." His voice trailed off, and Roht shot Lynch a glare out of the corner of his eye. Lynch was engaged chatting with the lovely blonde at the other side of the table.

"I should probably be getting a raise." He turned back to Reinhardt and shrugged. "But that's it. Lynch is here to climb the world. I'm here to make sure he lives long enough to do it."

* * * *

 

Duchess laughed pointing at Emy, "She can be a lil' queer sometimes, but a nice girl. Overall...Your friends 'd be in good company."

She took a sip of his mug and continued, "I know I wouldn't mind some good company myself."

She slid her hand across the table tentatively, and brushed his knuckles.

Avarice seemed unphased, and took her hand in his gently. "I've been making many friends here tonight. Most of them with much to say about the city, and about those who lead it." He inclined his head slightly, studying her eyes with care. "I'm curious. What would you do with this city if you held its leash? What would you do with one day as queen?"

If she was Queen...Hell would freeze over first.  
Duchess grimaced. "Honey... Honey, I couldn't be queen."

She played on the sadness, scratched her nose, let her hair hide her face for a split second. 

Look vulnerable. Vulnerable. Dammit. 

When she let her hands down, she pushed the pen to the edge of the table. 

"Imagine you were." Avarice released her hand as she played at sorrow, leaning back in his chair. He didn't seem to notice the pen had vanished. "Imagine you hold the whole of Silver Harbor in your hands, and you possess the power to shape it as you will." His voice had changed, there was something stirring in his words, a fire that wasn't there before. "Once you've held that idea in your mind, you must either release the dream, or you must chase it down."

"I'm a chaser." His eyes glimmered in the dim light. "I believe that, when the time comes, many in Silver Harbor will chase that dream with me."


* * * *

Reinhardt let out a long sigh as he said " I remember those days. You know before I came to this place I too was a Nobleman myself. Though unlike my Peers I didn't get myself entangled in Court Intrigue every decade or so. I was much too busy with pushing the engineering envelope on Steampowered innovation to be distracted by such things." He Stopped sketching and looked at Roht again as he said "Mateo would've like you as well Roht. Or I assume as much. As they say Birds of a Feather flock together. He was usually annoyed with me as I tended to treat most threats on my life with Little regard. Hell my Current...or I should say my Last lover before coming to Genesaris was a Hunter of The Church. My sworn enemy. You wouldn't believe how angry he was when he found her in my bed naked. Though to me I loved the Irony too much to pass it up. A Zealot falling in love with an Unholy bastard as myself. Besides Amalia was really god in the Sheets."

He waved his hand flippantly as he said "Nonetheless I'm rambling while being Nostalgic." He saw the Two workings girls as he asked "Is it always like this with your Boss? If so I Agree with you. You need a raise. Or at least a Female companion to travel with you." He held up the sketch of Roht as he asked "What do you think? Not too bad isn't it?" It was a fully detailed drawing of Roht's face. 

Roht took a swig of his drink and nodded heavily, raising it towards Reinhardt. "A Hunter of the Church? Listen, never sleep around with crazy. It's not worth the fun." He shuddered and downed the rest of the drink, casting another suspicious glance around the bar as more citizens came and went.

Is it always like this with your Boss?

Roht followed his eyes to where the ladies and Avarice were happily chatting and laughed. "Kinda. Lynch has a way of making you believe it all: your dreams, your ideals." He tossed the empty tankard on a nearby table with a clunk. "And before you know it, your dreams are his dreams and you're all one big team."

He glanced back as Reinhardt held up the drawing. "Shit, that's good. Do I owe you something for it? You want a drink?"

Reinhardt laughed merrily as he listened to Roht's response. He shook his head as he said "You might say that such bad habits follow my family. Im a half blood, My mother was a Hunter of the Church as well and well my Father was a heretic. Though from your response it seems Zealots exist in this Realm as my own." He sipped his water as he smiled around the rim of his flagon. He continued "I do suppose the best leaders are like that. They take in the dreams of their Subordinates and do their damnedest to make them a reality. Though that's prone to make more headaches for the subordinates than it's worth at times."

He smiled as he said "I wasn't planning to stay much longer than night but you seem like good company. How's this? You buy a round and then I will. We will see who can outlast the other Ja?" He smiled as he tucked away his pad and finished his Water. 

"Ja." Roht half-laughed, half-snarled in amusement. He sized the man up, didn't pay any mind to his pointed ears, and slid away the empty tankard, waving the bartender over. "But I'm not catching you when you fall over." 

Reinhardt smirked as he replied proudly "I may be half human. But I can tell you I can easily outdrink a Vampir in my homeland. Prepare yourself for a long evening and a large purse of coin." reinhardt requested a flagon of beer before asking "I've heard there are other lands besides Genesaris. Have you been to any of them before? If so what are they like? I only ask because you seem like a sellsword and you must have seen some interesting things in this realm. As an Outsider I an craving to know more about this realm." He took his  flagon and raised it to Roht before saying "langes Leben und gute Gesundheit. Long Life and Good Health to you."

 

* * * *

"Mr. Lynch," Duchess steepled her fingers," I believe you're what they call 'a man of political ambition.' And I'll have you know, my rates double for political figures and aspiring political figures."

Karla moved.

"However, your kind is the sweet-tongued. Boy, you seriously know how to flatter a lady, so I'll give you this." 

"If I was the queen of Silver Harbor, I'd... uh, give these girls a real job. I'd make sex-working a respectable title. God knows, we got's 'nough to worry about on the streets without those rancid coppers busting us up for indecent exposure and whatnot.  Anyway, the cops spend their time with us when they aren't out being crooks. Everybody knows that. " 

Karla swiped the pen as she grazed the table.

"Whatever else they do is showmanship."

He smiled, almost proudly, at her answer. “Noble.” His eyes flicked to the side as Karla swept past the table, and his smile turned into amusement.

What about your nimble friend? Do her aspirations end with scrabbling shiny things like a nesting bird?”

 

 

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