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TheEyeOfNight

[Sacred Attendance Airship] Kingdom on Wings

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((Semi-closed per airship acquisition rules, co-op with @Sorano ))

((Five weeks after the events of Silver Harbor: Reunion))

The twin banners flew from the little airships' masts, fluttering in random eddies as the wind slipped off the transport's conical nose, tearing at the fabric in nonsensical patterns. On the left was a city's banner: a field of blue, split vertically by a band of silver, with a golden ship embroidered into the center. On the right was a flag that had not been seen before, at least not in Genesaris: a white chess king, bisected by a golden beam. They announced the most important signals a traveling vessel could bear: the origin and the passenger. It was bound from Silver Harbor, and its ranking passenger was Governor Avarice Lynch.

Not that anyone was around to care on this desolate stretch of coastline.

From on board the viewing deck, a lavishly decorated lounge with soft music, luxurious seats, and strong beverages, Avarice watched the sea pass by through a sprawling window. It was easy to look at the seas as all the same, especially from a vantage point such as the luxury liner he had booked for this trip. An entirely unnecessary expense, all it had to do was transport him and his companions near their target, but Avarice did so love traveling in style. And watching the seas pass by helped to calm the storm in his mind, minding the subtle changes as the airship passed inlets and natural bays below.

He sipped at the elegant chalice in his hand, savoring the complex Shrine City wine for a moment, taking his mind off of the view. It was going to be at least another two days before they arrived at their destination: what he hoped was the final resting place of the airship Sacred Attendance.

Avarice's eyes turned towards his companion as she took a seat next to him: Sorano, the elegant, divinely-powered gunfighter from his past, only recently returned to grace his life again. Ordinarily, he might have taken it as a good omen for his voyage, that she returned just beforehand. But she was far too important to him to demean her return that way.

"It is a sobering, beautiful sight." He rested his hand on her shoulder, offering a soft squeeze and a warm smile. "We'll have to make these trips more often once the Attendance is raised."

"Enjoying your shitty romantic cruise?" His towering gnoll bodyguard stalked over and flopped heavily onto a nearby couch, tearing violently at a finely-cooked steak he had pulled off of a nearby plate. It hadn't been Roht's plate, but it was now Roht's steak. "Just you two sick lovebirds, me, and a handful of cutthroats with no clue what they bought into."

"Forty-seven mercenaries, Roht." Avarice waved his hand as he rattled the numbers off casually. "Twenty-six long rifles between them, fourteen breachers, three medics, two arcane experts, a fine captain and a tolerable lieutenant. They'll be more then enough for our purposes."

Avarice had not memorized the numbers just to irritate Roht: he had chosen the mercenary company specifically, at a time when they had recently completed a low-profile job and were looking for easy money to regain their standing. They were more than willing to hear him out, and were not deterred by their destination. He didn't expect trouble out of the sellswords, at least not until plans began to break down, they were too invested in making this a success.

He slipped the fingers of his free hand through Sorano's hair playfully, returning his eyes to the wide window. "Relax. Ease the paranoia for a few days."

* * * *

Below deck, in cots and milling about the bowels of the ship were forty-seven mercenaries. Between them were twenty-six long rifles and fourteen breachers. Three medical specialists, two arcanists. A well-paid captain and a less-paid lieutenant.

Among them walked one assassin, with eyes on a target that was not an airship.

 

Edited by TheEyeOfNight

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It was odd, her behavior, to say the least. She paced, listened, watched and appeared to speak to herself randomly when she felt as though no one was watching. The crew possibly thought she was mad, a crazy woman wrestling the voices in her head. But the voices were not just in her head, and she could give a damn what the crew thought, unless of course they knew something she did not...

The veiw from the observation deck was indeed breathtaking, but she took little time to take it all in. She had traveled by airship before, and while it was  a lovely way to traverse the lands, her mind was in other places and on other things; mostly on making sure that the three of them achieved the goals Avarice set before them and doing so with no loss of life. Thus far, she didn't feel like the odds were in their favor, but she convinced herself to be opened minded all whilst being curious about the region they would be in to find the great ship.

Taking a seat next to Avarice, she curled a leg underneath herself and sat slightly cock-eyed to accommodate the twin revolvers near her rear. While they were bulky on her smaller build, she had grown so used to them that it become second nature to take them into consideration while doing everything. She heard Avarice and Roht speak, but it was all muffled by that of Xolomon and the normally quiet Xeshua. Her gaze was far off, but brought to Roht, only to come to rest on Avarice as his fingers eased through her hair. "What?" She looked confused for a moment and didn't even offer a forced smile. Not even for a moment...

"Oh, it is beautiful. Yes." A delayed response but better late than never. She glanced around noting that the crew and servers that had been hurrying about were all off doing other things, leaving the three of them alone in the overly elaborate lounge area. She planted both of her feet firmly on the ground and turned to face the both of them. "I think you should hang on tightly to that paranoia for a bit longer." She took in a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment, trying to make sense of the madness being mumbled and hummed, they were lucky they couldn't hear it.

"Something is amiss." Her voice was hushed despite no one else being around...just in case. "I have felt uneasy since we got onto the ship, and so have they." She knew Avarice and Roht would know exactly what she meant without her needing to go into detail. "I don't care what precautions you have put into place, or how many men and guns you have in your command, something is terribly wrong and I feel it in my core." Her forehead wrinkled as her face contorted a bit while listening to them. "They have made sure to bring it to my attention, and they are not fallible."

Below deck, in cots and milling about the bowels of the ship were forty-seven mercenaries. Between them were twenty-six long rifles and fourteen breachers. Three medical specialists, two arcanists. A well-paid captain and a less-paid lieutenant.  


Among them walked one assassin, with eyes on a target that was not an airship. 

Also among them walked the elegant, divinely-powered gunfighter from Avarice's past. A woman with a secret: god-kissed weapons that warned her of deception afoot. Weapons that were unknown to all onboard except for herself, her lover, and their trusted counterpart.

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Ah, the mysterious 'they'. Sorano's longtime allies and tools, and still the one part of her that Avarice didn't understand as well as he wished. Even in his studies of magic, he rarely came across instances of divine intervention, and certainly had seldom heard of divine armament. But Sorano trusted their judgment, and he trusted hers. He didn't want to alarm the more skeptical members of their adventure, but a new set of variables ran sideways through his calculations: if the danger was aboard the ship with them, and not waiting on the surface below.

Something is terribly wrong and I feel it in my core.”

The gnoll raised a victorious hand from the couch, swallowing the last massive bite of steak and wiping his maw with the back of a furry hand. “Eat it, Lynch, you're outnumbered by us paranoid crazies.”

“I yield the game.” Avarice smiled warmly, holding up his hands in mock surrender. “I'll speak with Captain Karal, and afford him extra coin to police the ship. The pilot won't mind, I'm sure.”

Roht snorted from his prone position. “Oh sure, you'll listen when she says 'be careful'.”

Avarice placed a soft kiss in Sorano's hair, and offered a half-hearted shrug. “Well, she's convincing.”

“No, I'm 'convincing'. She's just got that...” The gnoll gyrated clumsily on the couch, in a poor imitation of a sultry swagger. It came across much more like a flopping fish breathing its last, making the luxurious wood creak under his flailing weight.

Avarice grimaced, using his goblet to try and hide his expression from the other lounge patrons. “Point conceded. Just...never do that again.”

“Your loss.” The gnoll nestled into the sofa, stifling a long yawn that made wicked display of his teeth. “I'm doing rounds later, this floating bucket's got too many hidey-holes. So if you guys are going to ruin our room with your wild humping, have the decency to wait until then.”

Avarice ignored him as the gnoll fell asleep almost instantly. Instead, he turned to Sorano, running his fingertips down her cheek, looking down at her with concern. His voice lowered to a cautious level, an unnecessary precaution as most of the bystanders were staring at Roht. “Do they say anything specific, or do you think they sense the danger ahead of us?”

* * * *

The past always returns.

Nadya, her birth name but not the name she gave when she boarded this ship, remembered the phrase as she watched the cook thrash on the deck, his eyes clouding with dark blood, unable to speak as a paralysis seized his limbs.

Like an old lover, or a vengeful son, the past always returns.

The cook had done nothing to offend her, save perhaps follow her too eagerly when she smiled playfully and beckoned him to the quiet corners of the airship. It wasn't that he had to die, it was that she needed to stay in practice, and remind herself to be patient.

Her ultimate target was an experienced rune mage, well versed in both practice and patience. Two skills that Nadya knew well, well enough to understand that confronting her target directly would not end well. Rune mages were notoriously crafty, and this one particularly had a long history of disarming and ruining those who simply charged at him.

The cook was beginning to convulse in his death throes. An invisible, silent tendril connected his mind to her fingertips, and she played her hand through the air softly as if conducting an orchestra. This was her gift: a cascading hemorrhage of the hippocampus, a psychic trauma that brought forth long-term memories and used them as weapons against their creator.

The man's past, relived in bloody visions, was killing him at her command. Just as it would kill her target in due time.

The past always returns.

 

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Perhaps there wasn't enough seriousness behind her eyes, or her voice didn't stress the importance of her words, but the actions between Avarice and Roht was enough to cause her cheeks to flood with crimson. She wanted to slam her fists down on the table, flip it over and scream at the top of her lungs that they take her words to heart, but she had more control than that, losing her cool was something as rare as the ship they sought, even if the twins pushed her to lash out. She inhaled deeply through her nose and slowly exhaled the breath out her mouth.

"The two of you can laugh and joke to cover up the anxiousness I know you both have about this mission, even if for different reasons, but the fact of the matter is that outside of this triangle" she motioned from herself, to Avarice, from Avarice to Roht and back to herself again, "you can trust no one." She locked her gaze with his, her face covered in stone cold seriousness like he had never seen from her before. "Up here we are vulnerable. The effects of my weapons on this ship could be devistating beyond words, and we have no way to run if it came down to it." She glanced around the room, fairly certain no one was paying any attention to them or their conversation. "Just use discretion when asking for anything extra...Please."

Sorano scooped his hand up and gave it a gentle squeeze while closing her eyes and rolling her head from side to side. She was tense, and rightfully so. "Be thankful you can't hear them." She spoke of the twins in regards to his question. "It's like a hum they emit, but not aloud I think." She smiled while shaking her head, letting out a bit of a chuckle. She knew she sounded crazy, but she also knew Avarice was aware she would never spew lies to him. "If it's an actual sound, only I can hear it. But it's more like I feel it." Her hand came to her chest to rest over her heart. "And then their words are just there. Their thoughts; clear as my own and  if I'm not conscientious about them, I can easily confuse the two."

She sat up a bit more straight and stretched, being very mindful about who was around and how close they were, are, and could be. "I have to stand my ground with them. Assert to them that I am the dominate one, I make the choices and they advise. I know it all must sound crazy." She shrugged her shoulders, having already accepted the standards set and this aspect of her life. "What they are telling me now is that there is someone here that is not to be trusted. Someone aboard this ship with ill will towards one or all three of us. They know what the two of you mean to me and I can't discern if their warnings are individually for me, or all of us. None the less, I'm not willing to risk it."

Her hands raised palm up as if to say "there it is." That was all the information she had for him, all that they had told her thus far and how they communicated to her. While she knew that her answer could come across absurd and possibly even crazy, she didn't hesitate to tell him. She trusted him with her everything. Even her crazy.

 

Edited by Sorano
Cause!

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Every member of their trinity had their skills and abilities, from Avarice's cunning and foresight to Roht's stubborn brute strength and unending loyalty. Of the three, Sorano's were the most mystical and the most dangerous: a woman without a past, and her twin divine weapons that he was certain could blow holes clean through this deck and into whatever lay below them. When she spoke of them humming and warning her, Avarice knew better than to doubt.

He reached out to take her hand as it lay on her chest, and brought it to his lips gently, stepping close to her as he did. His other arm set the goblet down and circled her waist, drawing her close as if for a dance. The reassuring smile was back, but a genuine admiration and adoration showed through. He could always count on his companions to speak their minds, and they could always count on him to listen.

“Thank you. We'll keep ourselves on the move during the trip, there are enough spare rooms for us to stay mobile for the remaining days. Our hostile player will either disembark before we do, or we'll know that we carry them in our own entourage.” He exchanged a quick glance with Roht, who huffed audibly, but nodded reluctantly. So much for a relaxing cruise for any of them: mobility had long proved to be the key to survival, and evading assassins, during their exile from Terrenus. Avarice stole a soft kiss from Sorano and inclined his head towards the window.

“The truth is, I'm less concerned about our journey and more worried about our destin-”

Attention on deck!” The captain's voice, slightly slurred from drink and relaxation, echoed through the ship, carried by magitech conduits to the relevant decks. “The dinner compartment will close in twenty minutes, and we will begin our descent towards Joran City.

Roht raised his head from the couch, lip curling in confusion and curiosity. Avarice waved him off, and shook his head, lowering his voice.

“This isn't our stop. We will be the last landing, an unscheduled and unannounced visit to the northern coastline. It cost extra to arrange, but it is a far faster way to get to..." He paused, as if debating whether to reveal their site, but decided to allow it in a hushed tone" ...Port City.”

Port City, the once great harbor, utterly ravaged by the Whispernight storm, and abandoned save for the groans of the drowned dead that still wandered its roads in their refusal to remain still. Once protected by a great shield against the ocean's wrath, the magestorm had shattered the city's defenses and cleansed it of the living in the same awful nightmare that had taken Celin City. Now it was only a half-drowned graveyard, full of mythical treasures on wrecked ships, guarded by liches, hags, and dragons. It was widely known, along with many of the Whispernight ruins, as a place to perish horribly while in search of lost treasure.

Roht groaned violently, a crass sound of displeasure. He hadn't known their destination, none of them did. If he had, he might have reconsidered allowing himself, Avarice, or Sorano on the ship. “Lynch, you're an asshole.”

 

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Avarice Lynch: the epitome of the word shyster, was lucky he had other things going for him. She took his hand with a slight nod of her head and came to her feet to take up his offer of a dance. Everything about him drew people in. His looks, charm, velvet tongue and intelligence well covered any questionable motives he may or may not have backing his actions. Simply put, he didn't look the part. The clean cut, well kempt, handsome young man played the part well. Any and all parts that is, whatever needed to be done to obtain whatever it was he sought after. The only time she was certain a character was not in play was when he was with his family. Roht and herself. 


A stolen kiss caused her mouth to twist into a small smile which quickly melted away as Avarice was about to voice a concern. However, the voice of the captain, apparently inebriated, interrupted the moment...and this is who they were trusting to deliver them safely to their destination. She half heartedly rolled her eyes and kept her negative thoughts to herself. 


"Port City."


Her breath caught and her hand ran down his arm and gripped his hand tightly. Certainly that couldn't be right. She hadn't been living under a rock for years, she knew the hells legends say roam Port City. "Are you kidding me?!" Her hushed words were obviously half hysterical. "You do know what they say about that place, right?" She looked at Roht. A look that said "please help me!" She released the breath she had been holding through half pursed lips, and shifted her gaze around the area making sure that no one was lollygagging around. "Hags and uhm...liches... Dragons Avarice! And if that isn't enough I'm sure there are shady sorts hunting other treasures there like magical artifacts; weapons and such, willing to kill others there just to take their things too." 


She took a seat and ran her hands through her hair, contemplating the situation. "I almost want to be angry that you didn't tell us before hand. But the fact is, we would have both still agreed to come, even if it pissed us off." She fidgeted with some loose skin around her fingernail. "I don't know that I'm ready for something like this." There was a hint of shame in her voice. Worry that she could let down the only family she had known. It was a very real possibility that the three of them would not all walk away from a quest of this caliber, in a location this lethal. 

Edited by Sorano
My post was shitty. Sorry <3

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