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jaistlyn

Nightmare Descends [Furthest Point 2:1]

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OOC

Character sheets

The glowing lights of several campfires dotted through the camp. Day by day, their forces were getting stronger, the walls higher. People settled into a routine, and it almost seemed as if the worst was over. The first few days had been the toughest, as the original team that made it across the Broken Plains struggled to protect what limited resources they had left. Two out of four supply wagons that they had brought with them were destroyed in an attack by Yh'mi's creatures. The most devastating damage had not been caused by the massive Chhitten Magnus heading the attack, but by three Twistlings that had snaked their way into the group disguised as Norkotian soldiers.

The White Hand paladin Fidelitas decided to press on despite their losses. After arriving at the hill of the Furthest Point, their main priority was to build a defensive wall that would slow any would-be attackers and give them time to react, rather than leave themselves vulnerable from all sides. They were able to dispose or drive back the dark creatures of Yh'mi that had tried to overwhelm them, with minimal injuries.

The second wave of defenders that arrived from Inns'th brought relief, in terms of both more fighters and more supplies. The walls were expanded outwards to support the growth, and now close to fifty people were encircled within the walls.

Fidelitas allowed himself a small moment of pride as he looked over the camp from its center. It was time for dinner and rest, and people were systematically handed their food, others were getting ready for their watch, or moving into their tents. But this was no time to slack, he reminded himself. They were in the most dangerous region of Terrenus - possibly the whole of Valucre - and their small foothold on the Furthest Point was still tenuous at best. He returned to the task at hand.

"Double walls, surrounding the crest of the hill," he used his fingers to indicate two circles on the paper. "Wooden on the outer one, stone inner. If the outer wall is breached, we can use arrows tipped in fire and burn it down, bring some of the enemies down with it." The woman sitting across from him nodded - she was one of the two White Hand paladins that had led the second wave of defenders to their position. Fidelitas clapped her shoulder in appreciation. Then he stood up and banged his sword against shield to gain attention. "Everyone," he shouted. "Good job thus far. We'll start on the fort proper first thing tomorrow. Get a good night's rest, and always, stay vigilant and report any suspicious activities, even from your neighbours. Don't wander off alone. We don't want a repeat of twistling attacks."

Edited by jaistlyn

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Selena did excuse herself from the remaining group in which she was speaking to. She walked side by side with Ehlan talking softly.

“Tell me everything you know about Tia.” Selena said in a very quiet voice as to not wake anyone up.

“I haven’t all the details. All I know is what I mentioned before and that there was some kind of infection causing people to lose their minds and become blood thirsty. I did not stay for the briefing as you requested aid. I left immediately.”

Selena nodded and opened the slit of her large tent. Walking in, she noticed a shadow with in her tent stir. “So you have come? I was wondering where you disappeared to.”

Nim’Ruin sat upon a lonely stool in the corner as he opened his eyes revealing his Red ires, which was indicative of his Drow race. “Mother Matron, Oh how fair you look and oh how lovely it is to be with in your presence.”

“Cut the shit Nim’Ruin.” Selena said as she rolled her eyes.

“Such language. Did you kiss your mothers with that mouth?” The Drow smirked softly as he noticed Ehlan reach out to grab him for his insolence. Of course Ehlan merely grabbed a wisp of smoke as the wizard appeared in the other end of the tent.

“Tsk Tsk Dear Ehlan. Let us not be hasty. I came here to help our beautiful leader.” Nim’Ruin bowed graciously before Selena who merely shook her head.

“Make yourself useful and tell me what happened in Tia.” Selena said as she nodded towards Ehlan who sealed the entrance of her tent closed.

“Someone was brilliant enough to weaponize a drug so to speak, a very dangerous one known as Maleficence. Once someone has been infected their start to lose their minds and go into a blood crazed frenzy. They attacked anyone with in their vicinity. The most dangerous part is that not only was the water supply in Tia tainted, but the drug even moved to airborne. We retrieved some samples, but this was all we could gather from the area. Tia is effectively a non-factor with in this continent.” Nim’Ruin pulled out a rather large stick that held a cigarette type object at the end. He slowly began to smoke while crossing his legs.

Selena shook her head. “What is the world is going on. Perhaps fate could not be changed for that once lovely city. A shame.”
 

“The true question is….” Nim’Ruin’s voice trailed off softly before he continued. “What are we doing here? This land is strange and dark. True it is no Dark Eden, but it definitely reminds me a lot of that.”

Selena looked at Nim’Ruin and nodded again. “This land seems cursed, one that is far more powerful than anything we have ever came into contact. It limits your power and limits your sanity, though I am positive that will have no effect on you Nim’Ruin. You are quite insane to begin with.”

Nim’Ruin laughed in retort and then his eyes got serious. “Matron. This area…this Yh’Mi is dangerous. There is a chance many people will die and even ourselves. Why is this risk worth our lives?”

Selena stood up and walked towards the front of her tent. “All our lives…for the thousands of years we have been together…we have done nothing but try to consolidate power and work towards our selfish ends. What has that brought us? Stormie was murdered, Tia is destroyed, and we have been in countless wars throughout the ages that resulted to absolutely nothing. Just lives lost. I think it is about time we do something positive for a change, and try to help those who need it.” Selena opened her tent and stepped outside hearing the voice of their leader in Yh’Mi.

Edited by SelenaNichole

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"Naw, you'll be alright. Just reapply the salve about every four hours for the first couple days, when you change your bandage. The wound isn't bad, but who knows what kind of crazy infections you could get out here. If it gets really hot, or red, or starts swelling up, you let me know right away."

The halfling finished tying a band of clean white cotton around the calf of a worried-looking young soldier, who winced as the cloth was tightened against his wound. "Can't you just... you know...?" The soldier waved his hands over his bandage in a mockery of spellcasting, and the halfling grunted.

"Kid, I'm doing you a favor. Pain builds character. Chicks dig scars. So just roll with it. You think I got this body by begging Gaia for succor every time I got sore?" The halfling flexed, showing off his generous biceps and well-defined chest; the brown leather vest and thin white shirt he wore seemed specifically chosen to amplify the effect. "Seriously though, the goddess is good, but you know women.  She might let me heal you up perfect right now, then decide she has to wash her hair at the moment a pissed off Chhitten Magnus is bearing down on you. You can never tell when their patience is gonna run out, and they don't always define 'emergency' the same way as we do."

"Oh... ok, sure," the soldier muttered uncertainly. He hadn't had enough experience wither battle, or goddesses, or even women to argue with the priest. "Thanks for patching me up, anyway. What was your name again?"

"Manville. Leo Manville." Leo stuck his hand out and the soldier took it, wincing again at the strength of the halfling's handshake. "You rest up while you can, kid. I'll be back around to check on you in a couple days."

 


 

The young soldier was Leo's last patient for the afternoon, and the priest crossed his name off a mental list as he strode towards the mess hall. The camp was busy with people tying up their own lists of tasks before the sun finished setting, and Leo could see a line starting to form at the mess tent. His medical supplies, crammed haphazardly into a black rucksack, bumped against his hip as he walked; the halfling calculated how much longer the line would be if he stopped at his quarters first to drop them off. Would waiting for dinner cut into his evening workout? 

As neither dinner nor pushups were optional, Leo opted to hang onto his bag and file into the mess tent. Most of the soldiers here were well organized and generally well fed, which made for a nice orderly queue for which Leo was thankful. He could beat any man here at any contest of strength, but being just over three feet tall made pushing his way out of an unruly crowd a bit more difficult than he liked to admit. He was not above taking out his warhammer and smashing toes should the situation get out of hand. 

Once provided with a bowl of the nutritious, if tasteless, stew he'd heard the soldiers refer to as "Point Slop", Leo wandered to the big fire at the center of the encampment just as the White Hand paladin stood and called for attention.

On 4/14/2019 at 2:55 PM, jaistlyn said:

"Everyone," he shouted. "Good job thus far. We'll start on the fort proper first thing tomorrow. Get a good night's rest, and always, stay vigilant and report any suspicious activities, even from your neighbours. Don't wander off alone. We don't want a repeat of twistling attacks."

Leo slurped his stew and nodded in silent agreement; danger was everywhere, this far out from civilized lands, and the worst of it wasn't even the giant monsters from the wastes. 

Edited by Veloci-Rapture

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The SQUAAAAAD Rides Again…

Yesterday...

Due to some inexplicable circumstances, Jack Murray’s Ranger squad had not been assigned any communication equipment when they were sent out to help protect the Furthest Point Expedition. Why this was, nobody was sure, though one can speculate it was because the idiots forgot to bring said equipment, or because they were intentionally never assigned any because their commanders didn’t want to waste said equipment on a people they were expecting to die anyway. Whatever the case, when the second wave arrived at the camp, the Norkotian forces accompanying the resupply wagons consisted of just a single squad of engineers and their gear. However, those engineers did have communication equipment, which they used to radio back to command and request replacement soldiers for Murray’s unit. Those replacements were scheduled to arrive today…

But in the meantime, recently promoted (because there was nobody else left to promote) Corporal Scott “Scoot” Deckel, also known as the “cap guy”, was trying to pass the time by observing the engineers at work. Or something like that.

“But chief, I’m fairly certain with the proper amount of research and study, we could learn why it is that this land rejects us, and find a way to make peace with it. Clearly many of these creatures have the rudimentary ability to reason, so perhaps if we--” the young, skinny, glass-wearing nerd of an engineer was explaining, before his sergeant cut him off.

“Look buddy, we’re engineers, that means we solve problems. Not problems like, “Why is Yh’mi evil?”, because that would fall under the purview of religious theology. We solve practical problems. For instance, how are we gonna stop a horde of chittering mother-buggers from bustin’ in here and tearin’ us all some structurally superfluous new behinds? The answer?”

Chief turned around and pulled a thirty-caliber machinegun from out of the crate behind him and dropped it with a loud thud on the workbench in front of him.

“Use a gun! And if that don’t work…”

He turned around again and pulled a fifty-caliber machinegun from out of the crate and dropped it with an even louder thud on the workbench next to the thirty.

“Use MORE gun!”

“Uh, but… how does that…?”

“Now you just go plant yourself on that darn communication station thar’ mister, and leave the thinkin’ to me.”

Deckel shook his head, wondering why command would send this sorry bunch of losers out into a place like this. But he supposed that not everyone could be as daring and dashing as him.

“SCOOT!”

The sound of Murray’s voice from elsewhere in the camp reached the speedy man’s ears. This probably meant their replacements had arrived, and Scoot was eager to assert himself as Murray’s right-hand command shounter. Kicking up a small cloud of dust, Cpl. Deckel was off, bolting across the camp (nearly running over a person or two) and arriving next to Sergeant Jack Murray, his superior, and the only other Norkotian survivor of the original expedition force. Murray was now recovered from his injuries, though his mentality perhaps had not. He seemed a much more serious and graver man after watching his entire squad killed in front of him. Even when he was riding with bandit gangs in the Norkotian badlands, he had never seen a company so completely decimated as his had been. And what was worse, he was the leader, and thus, he was responsible.

“Hey boss! Whassup?” Scoot inquired, as he skidded to a halt and kicked up even more dust.

“Our replacements have arrived.” Murray pointed-out.

A small Norkotian convoy had been admitted into the camp, consisting of two trucks, a jeep, an armored car and few horses. They were not here to stay, only to drop off reinforcements and supplies, before heading back to the Inns’th. A regular officer bearing the insignia of a captain stepped out of the jeep and approached the two Rangers.

“Sergeant Murray?” the officer saluted, “Captain Smith, here to deliver your… heh heh… reinforcements.”

“Heh heh huh, what’s so funny dare, captain?” Deckel wondered.

“Hmm, was I laughing?” Smith feigned innocence, “Alright boys, unload them!”

Some grunts riding in the jeep and the second truck disembarked, heading to the back of the front vehicle and pulling down the tailgate. A ragtag group of men and women were subsequently unloaded, eight in total. Except for the last two, all of them were cuffed and chained together.

“Uhhh, is dere a reason our reinforcements are in like dat?” Deckel scratched his head.

“Feast your eyes upon your new squad, sergeant.” Captain Smith mocked, “Except for Hudson and Wilhelm there, this is the best bunch of crazies and criminals the military had to offer. Command figured you were the only one capable of… handling them…”

Murray may have been a little crazy, but he wasn’t a moron. The only reason these people were here was because command didn’t know what else to do with them. His old squad was kind of like that, but even so, most of those men were capable, semi-sane sorts. This group…


The supply convoy left soon after unloading their passengers and gear (including the squad’s weapons), which also included a lieutenant that was supposed to be in overall command of both squads. He immediately called a meeting with Murray and Chief to get a full status report and get himself acquainted with his subordinates. In the meantime, Deckel was free to socialize with his new squadmates…

Begin Suicide Squad-style intro scenes, except with people who actually have potentially useful skills and/or weapons.


“So, yo a sniper, huh?” Scoot questioned.

“Yes sirree! I’ve been shooting since I was just a kid, so it seemed a shame to not make a career out of it when I grew up. Why, I’d argue I was the best bounty killer on the Norkic Plateau not named Mara Mercer. Or, at least the highest scoring one.” the Ranger replied.

“Uh-huh, sure. If yo so good, let’s see a demonstration.” Scoot pointed at a thick, cast-iron frying pan dangling from a rack across the camp.

“No problemo!” the Ranger grinned, pulling out his single-shot, breech-loading rifle and taking aim.

*BANG*

A dent appeared on the pan.

*DEFLECT*

A chip was shattered off part of the nearby stone wall.

*BOUNCE*

A small whiff of dust was kicked off the ground.

*CLANG*

A divot appeared in a on a White Hand breastplate that was currently sitting in hanging from a rack in the supply depot.

*PFFT*

Scoot's hat went flying off his head.

"Hey! What the!?"

He turned around and rushed over to grab it, finding a gaping hole in the fabric, just above where his head might have been. 

"Oh... eh-heh, sorry about that." the Ranger chuckled sheepishly.

"You damaged my hat! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!"

Spoiler

maxresdefault.jpg

Name
Ricky Shea

Rank
Private

Serial Number
10-217-9815

Previous Profession
Bounty Killer

Crime
Killing three innocent people (and one guilty one!) with one shot.


Well, maybe Scoot was in luck; one of the new squad members was a medic, so perhaps he could patch up the damaged hat with his stitching equipment. He found the supposed medic sitting near a fire, trying to avoid contact with everyone. 

"Hey, doc!" Scoot scurried over and hopped into a seat next to him, "Yo uh, you think you could patch something up for me?"

"I-I-I don't think I'd be able to help you." the medic gulped nervously.

"Wuh, why not? You're tha' medic, right? Com'n, all I need is my hat sewed up." Scoot explained, dangling the headgear in front of the medic.

"I can't. P-p-please just leave me alone."

"Hey, what gives? Isn't it yo job to help people, doc? Come on, you gotta have some sorta sewing supplies in 'dere somewhere." he motioned at the medic's bag.

"N-no! I don't have anything that can help you!" the doctor protested.

"Oh really, let me have a look 'den!" Scoot snatched the bag away, despite the doctor's wimpy attempts to stop him, "Let's see we have... a tiny metal hook? A miniature mirror? And... what's 'dis!?"

"It's dental floss! I keep t-t-telling you people! I'm not a doctor! I'm a dentist!" the poor "medic" proclaimed.

"Wuuuuhhh..."

Spoiler

don-knotts-gossip.jpg

Name
Ronald Knox

Rank
Private

Serial Number
10-179-8818

Previous Profession
Dentist

Crime
Medical Malpractice
(nobody believes that "but I'm just a dentist" nonsense)


Well, Deckel got what he wanted. He stole Pvt. Knox's "dental floss" and that little metal poker thing and used them to temporarily stitch the hole in his cap shut. Now he was back to wandering the camp, and getting a little hungry while doing it. Deciding to head over and sneak some rations out of the supply tent, he adjusted his course toward the big grey tent that the Norkotians were using to store their supplies. However, before he could enter, someone abruptly stepped into his path.

"Hold it right there, maggot! This area is restricted to authorized personnel only!"

The man in Deckel's path was another of the new arrivals. A gruff man in a grey Norkotian soldier's uniform and a helmet that covered his eyes, this fellow appeared to be a dim-witted grunt if there ever was one. Over his shoulder he was carrying a homemade rocket launcher, constructed of mismatched (but sturdy-looking) pikes, fittings and miscellaneous metal components. 

"Ya know, uh... I'm a corporal, so that means I outrank you. So, I order you to step aside and let me in!" Scoot puffed out his chest.

"Negatory, sir! My orders come from the top! No one is to access this tent unless carrying expressed written orders from Lieutenant Precht!"

"What? Who's dat?" 

"The commanding officer of the 1st Expeditionary Platoon. Now, return to your post immediately, or I will report you for loitering!" the domineering soldier barked.

Well, this was a problem. Scoot was hungry, but he had no rations handy. He needed to get in that tent, but this bozo was not going to let him. Luckily, Scoot was an expert at outrunning nitwits like this!

"Hey look, a chhitten!" he suddenly pointed in a random direction.

"WHERE!?" the grunt instantly pivoted in that direction.

Deckel promptly charged into the tent, snatched some rations, then tried to scurry back out. Unfortunately, he either overestimated himself, or underestimated the soldier, as he was met with a trench shovel to the face the moment he tried to emerge. 

*CLANG* *THUD*

"OW!"

"So, you're trying to steal the BREAD, are you!?" the soldier growled, reaching down and reclaiming the stolen rations, "Looks like we got a traitor!"

"Uh wut...?" the dizzy Scoot groaned.

"Any last words, maggot?" the grunt inquired, lowering the barrel of his rocket launcher at Scoot.

"Duh-huh!? Wuh-wuh, no way! You don't need to do that!" Deckel scrambled to his feet and made a run for it, "WWWAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!"

The grunt just lowered his rocket launcher and snickered as Scoot made tracks.

"Muh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh."

Spoiler

250px-Soldier_of_Fortune.png

Name
John "Grunt" Doe

Rank
Private

Serial Number
11-111-111... uh, 1

Previous Profession
Unknown

Crimes
Desertion, Terrorism, Murder


So by now, Deckel was getting a little tired of dealing with his new squadmates. But his spirits brightened when he realized that the next one up was a girl. Girls were supposed to be sweet, kind and understanding (except for drow), as Deckel understood them, so surely he would not run into the type of problems he ran into with his male compatriots! And better yet, the woman he was approaching was a real looker, with long, wavy brown hair, a well-toned figure, and an attractive face. Though, her choice of clothing was a bit odd, admittedly. Her wardrobe choices included a pair of grey cargo pants, a black t-shirt, a grey flatcap and a white nasal strip (allergies). A chrome lever-action rifle with a black, synthetic stock was slung over her back, while in her hand she was holding a square stone of some sort.

Well, Scoot didn't have a bucket of chicken (his traditional flirting method), but that wasn't gonna stop him.

"Heh-hey 'dere. 'Sup?" he sat down and lounged in place, "So, what's a lovely lady like you doin' in a ugly place like 'dis?"

"Serving my time." the woman replied, "And I don't find this place ugly."

"Oh, uh, well... sure, yeah, I agree with ya. Not ugly! That's just what da others say, but... heh, yeah, whatta they know?" Scoot laughed it off, "Say, maybe I could give ya a tour of the base... maybe take ya up on the walls. See all the not-ugly sights?"

"I can find my own way around." the woman replied.

"Uh... oh, I mean, yeah sure... I wasn't doubting you ability for a second. I was just thinking..."

Scoot trailed-off as the woman pulled out a large blade and began sharpening it on a sharpening stone. 

"Uh... uh, nice sword."

"It's not a sword, it's a machete." the woman rolled her eyes.

"Oh, machete, right, right... wait, why do ya have a machete? Aren't those for choppin' jungle brush?" Deckel questioned.

The woman abruptly stopped sharpening the blade and looked up at him.

"Not where I come from."

"What do you use them for where you co--" Deckel started to ask.

*WHOOSH* *THUD*

Scoot went deathly silent as the machete was suddenly thrown the distance between them, embedding in the stump he was sitting on... right between his legs. Had it landed just a little higher...

"Oh, uh, yeah! Yeah, that makes sense!" Scoot laughed, now starting to sweat, "Here, lemme get it... out..."

He tried to pull the machete free of the wood, but his noodle arms (Charlie was right about one thing this trip) could not wrench it free. This prompted the woman to stand up, walk over, grab the handle, and rip it free. Without another word, she walked back to her previous seat and resumed sharpening it.

"Yeah uh, well... nice meetin' you." Scoot rubbed the back of his head nervously, as he stood up and quickly exited.

The woman finally cracked a smile now that Scoot was gone, as she rubbed her finger across the blood-stained machete blade to test the sharpness.

"I like this place."

Spoiler

assignment-240x240.jpg

Name
Jessica "Jessie" Briggs

Rank
Private First Class

Serial Number
11-294-1810

Previous Profession
Hitman

Crimes
Murder, Murder, Murder
(also Murder)


"Jeez, this day sucks..." Scoot grumbled. 

His hat was being held together by dental floss, his stomach was growling, his face was hurting, and his pride was hurting even more. He would take anything to brighten up this day.

"Oof!" 

He accidentally bumped into someone who was going the opposite way he was. That someone was another of his squadmates, and as luck would have it, it was another woman. This one had long, raven-black hair and dark, bloodshot eyes, while tattoos of fire ran all up and down her arms. A tank of some sort was stretched to her back, while she was carrying a very long, oddly-shaped weapon. Still, she was pretty, in her own exotic, strange way.

"He-heya beautiful! What's up?" he grinned stupidly.

"Heya, flammable!" the woman smiled back, her eyes going wide, "The temperature!"

She raised her weapon, prompting Deckel to realize it was a flamethrower

"Oh no! AAAAAAAHHHHH!"

He didn't want something to light up his day like that! Needless to say, he was kicking up dust (again) as he ran for hills. Actually, heading for the hills around here is a bad idea, so he just decided to take that walk on the wall all by his lonesome. That left the woman standing there, blinking in confusion.

"Aww... why don't boys like me...?"

Spoiler

d42cz7k-9fbaee50-b49d-46a3-a78c-5ad8776ef3fb.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJzdWIiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwiaXNzIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsIm9iaiI6W1t7InBhdGgiOiJcL2ZcL2RjMjlkMGNmLTM5NDAtNGExZS04NzM4LWUzN2I0ODFkNjhmNFwvZDQyY3o3ay05ZmJhZWU1MC1iNDlkLTQ2YTMtYTc4Yy01YWQ4Nzc2ZWYzZmIuanBnIn1dXSwiYXVkIjpbInVybjpzZXJ2aWNlOmZpbGUuZG93bmxvYWQiXX0.BYoMRQDX9j57Zt5u7D0CRMrU2qYajMBmRt49xhdDp-k

Name
Melanie Winter

Rank
Private

Serial Number
11-562-0666

Previous Profession
Chemistry Student

Crimes
Arson, Manslaughter


At this point, Deckel was about at his wits end. He'd had a bad enough day that the sight of the haunting, desolate, cursed landscape outside the fort was actually soothing, in a way. He stood there a while and just watched as the moon began to rise in the distance, at least until he caught a figure a bit further down the wall. They were wearing a cowboy hat, so they had to be Norkotian. And as their poncho blew in the wind, he saw the outline of a feminine figure. Oh right, there was one other woman among their new recruits. 

Well, three strikes before you're out, right?

Slinking over to her, he leaned against the battlements and tried to look as macho as he could muster. She wasn't the prettiest of the three women in the squad, being a little older and looking a lot more weathered. Nobody knew her name, but people referred to her as "Blondie" based on her short, fair hair. A faintly glowing cigar hung from her mouth as her narrow eyes stared out across the barren landscape.

"Heya babe, it's a bit lonely to be out here by yourself, isn't it?" Deckel spoke-up.

There was no answer.

"Yeah, uh, so... it's getting a bit cool tonight. Maybe we could head to the fires..."

Still no response.

"O-or we could just stay here, yeah. Dat's fine. So uh... has anyone ever told you that you've got beautiful eyes?"

Still nothing.

"Um... I like your hat?"

"Bug."

"Wut?"

Suddenly, the woman cast her poncho aside and whipped out her revolver.

*BAM!*

There was a faint shriek of a chhitten squealing somewhere outside the walls. How the heck had she seen it, reacted so fast, and managed to hit it with a handgun? You know what, that's actually the least craziest thing Deckel has seen today.

"You know uh, I'm think I'm just gonna... go to bed. Uh, good night." he sighed.

Yeah, good night Scoot. Good night...

Edited by Tyler

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"Is this thing on?" - Vlad asked himself, tapping on his headset's mic. The speakers responded with a static spike, not deafening yet annoying. Having ensured everything had been prepared according to the instructions, Vlad sighed and gazed into a long roll of parchment. And when will those bucketheads learn to fold the paper? When he found a required sentence, he glanced at a metallic cube before him and exclaimed:

"UNIT OH-THREE: ENTER ACTIVE MODE, AUTHORIZATION CODE: TWO-THREE-FOR-TWO."

After two beeps resonating within headset, the cube started to reassemble itself. Three supporting legs erected from its bottom, while the chassis itself rose and dropped the shutter, leaving place for two bullet caskets and dual long barrel to roll out from. A finishing touch - from the chassis' top slid the cassette with a pair of optical sensors, which illuminated space ahead of the contraption upon activation. Another beep, a long one.

It was ready.  

"So far so good..." - Vlad mumbled, sliding down his fingers on the parchment in his hand. - "Let's go with the standard ones. Let's see. UNIT OH-THREE: TARGET MARK, AT 12 O'CLOCK, 50 METERS!"

The contraption made a low-pitched beep and turned itself toward the mannequin placed in an isolated space behind temporary walls. Like two other ones near it, it was crudely made with a couple of cloth sacks, rocks and sticks. It was also bearing a face drawing of questionable quality. This "masterpiece" was created by a collective mind of some "second wave" mercenaries. They were there, watching at the demonstration and drinking just everything that they managed to save during their travel by sheer luck. The audience was the last thing Vlad would expect this night.

Not waiting for anyone's signal or cheers, Vlad commanded: "SEMI-AUTO, ON TARGET, OPEN FIRE!". Then a series of short high-pitched followed, and an contraption shot at the mannequin. A high-caliber bullet flew through the fabric and stuff under it, tearing it like, well, fabric. Then another shot followed. And another. And another. Rhythmic. Precise. Cold-blooded. The turret stopped spitting shots after Vlad ordered to CEASE FIRE - all according to the protocol. The target was messed up enough to be considered "eliminated".

Mercs greeted the turret operator with cheers and pleaded for making a little more damage. Vlad did not react and continued to scan the instructions for another command set.  "Alright... UNIT OH-THREE: TARGET MARK, AT 11 O'CLOCK, 45 METERS!". As the turret set its mark, Vlad continued: "BURST MODE, 3 AT THE TIME, START FROM LIMBS, DOWNWARDS... OPEN FIRE!"

Another set of beeps. But before the actual shooting, the turret turned on a red flashlight in a head cassette. The light from it traveled across the mannequin in search of anything that could be counted as "limb". But it was only able to focus on an upper cloth bag resembling dummy's head. The lights went off, and the bullets went loose. Takk-takk-takk. Takk-takk-takk. Takk-takk-takk. With each burst three bullets hit the target with an intriguing accuracy. After five bursts the mannequin's head was torn apart, and the turret retargeted itself to shoot the "body" until Vlad stopped it.

The mercenaries were already full of excitement and alcohol. They were wooing and screaming, dragging the attention of nearby fort guards. They were asking for more gunplay, but Vlad had been already satisfied by turret's performance. That travelling arms dealer wasn't lying about those things. 

"I think we're done here." - Vlad spoke softly. - "UNIT OH-THREE, STA-"

"H-hey Phil! Ya forgot that one over here!" - suddenly one of the mercs shouted at him and pointed at the lone mannequin standing near the broken ones. Vlad planned to go full auto on this one, but the members of the Order forbid doing so. Hell, even asking for permission for making those isolated shots was a giant pain in the ass. We shan't make a noise, they say, we mustn't drag Yh'mi's attention and all that stuff.

"Sorry, gentlemen." - Vlad sighed - "Party's over." But the mercs were too persistent.

"Aaah, don't be a chicken, Phil."
"Yeah, just a little brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt!"
"Go for the kill, Phil!"
"Phil, kill!"
"Phil, kill!"
"PHIL, KILL!"

One could hear a group of drunken men chanting "Phil, kill! Phil, kill!" and tapping their feet in rhythm. Vlad was already regretting that he shared a drink with those swines and went by his moniker, not his real name. That name was reminding him of the Spire and everything that happened in Tia, the matter that he wish he didn't remember. And yet, those taunting shouts were teasing his own curiosity. It was an urge of an inner child constantly asking what THIS particular button does.

In a short inner struggle a man of rationality, bound by fear before Order's wrath, started to lose to that child.

"Cap's gonna have my ass for this." - Vlad grumbled and then shouted back at mercs. - "So, you want me go for the kill, huh?!". They responded with the loudest cheer their alcohol-soaked throats could afford.

"Well then..." - Vlad smirked. - "In that case: UNIT OH-THREE: TARGET MARK, AT 1 O'CLOCK, 45 METERS, FULL AUTO!"

The gun barrel started to spin. First slowly, then accelerating, motor revving louder and louder. The audience was screaming in sync with a spinning barrel, beyond excited about the upcoming bullet shower...

"Mr. Nassar? Mr. Nassar!"

Vlad barely opened his mouth to shout the command, when a figure in silver armor arose behind him, a member of second-wave guard assigned by the Order. Even in headset, the engineer was able to hear him out, even though the barrel motor was too loud to let them hold the conversation. So Vlad had to cancel his command, and the turret stopped spinning the barrel.

The mercenaries let out a moan filled with disappointment. One of them even shouted at a guard: "P-party pooper!" Soon they left the sandlot, leaving the last dummy standing and a bunch of bottles behind. For once Vlad was relieved with the guardman's arrival, lest he would waste a lot of ammo just for someone's jokes and giggles.

"Mr. Nassar." - the guardsman said. - "A merchant from Ignatz awaits you in the Meeting Hall. I suggest you to come here as soon as possible. His cavaran will be leaving soon."

"Is it about the shipment's finalization?" - Vlad responded. - "Yes, yes, I was going there already. Just... give me a few more seconds."

Before following after the guardsman, Vlad turned to the turret for the last time and spoke into the mic: "UNIT OH-THREE: ENTER STANDBY MODE". After the short beeps the machine folded itself back into its former, cubic form. There it would be resting till the moment when it will be unloaded along with three other turret and lay the foundation of the vast Furthest Point defense grid.

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"... Our supplies are in disarray, our morale is in the toilet, and chances are very few of us will survive to see the gold at the end of all of this. But we have an elephant, so... it's basically a utopia here."

"Frederick, please tell me this is just you hitting the bottle again. In what possible way can you glean anything positive out of this situation?" 

"Come on Ilene, we have an elephant!" 

"... You know, I'll just roll with it. And admittedly, Surus was invaluable for ferrying supplies here, even if the archers and pikemen who usually ride up top bitched about walking."

"Ha! There's that positive attitude I was waiting for. Come then, let us toast to the elephant in the room that Yh'mi won't see coming, to our continued survival, and the glory of Aligori-" 

The flaps of the tent were flung open as an ebon-scaled wvyern poked her head inside, followed by the towering form of the ebon knight Gormaric. He looked at the two Aligorian commanders sharing a bottle of whiskey and cards dealt between them as some kind of game. Eri let out a low growl as Gormaric shook his head. 

"I see you two are being productive. Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that you two will be on second watch with me, so get what rest you can now. Because Yh'mi never rests, unfortunately for us."

Frederick chuckled and held an empty glass towards Gormaric. 

"Eh, lighten up ya dark bastard. You been hanging around that paladin too much, starting to sound like him. Take a seat and drink a little with us, Yh'mi ain't going to come full-force in the next couple of hours."

Gormaric considered the offer for a moment... then shrugged and sat down on the spare chair at the table, accepting the glass Frederick offered him. As he began to drink, Eri quietly slinked into the tent and curled around the table, obviously content as Gormaric idly rubbed her head with his free hand.

"A little alcohol might actually be a boon against Yh'mi's bullsh- you know, that madness and insanity."

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Since that first night Challara laid Charlie out, she had been working...

...and working...

...and working...

...and working. Fidelitas learned real quick that it's best for everybody to keep Challara occupied with physical tasks, like carrying shit to build the walls, holding things up, and other general labor that Challara's strength lends well to. In fact, she's still working right now, probably moving supplies.

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"Mmgh!" Charlie groaned, grinning rubbing his chin as he watched Challara busying herself with physical tasks throughout the encampment. He'd healed his broken jaw soon after she'd broken it, but the feeling was...sentimental to him. It had been the first time a female Drow had ever showed him that kind of affection, and he was going to savor it for as long as he lived. He also thought that she was officially into him. How had he come to such a ludicrous conclusion after having his jaw broken? He reasoned that if she hated him, she would've shot him or stabbed him in the heart. But she didn't. She'd only punched him. That apparently meant that she had enough affection for him not to hate him, and a woman giving Charlie any affection at all meant that he was at least in the ball-park and on his way to home-plate to bat. In other words, if a woman didn't hate Charlie, he felt that they were into him. He just needed to coax that bit of affection out into the open. In Challara's case, that meant way out into the open.

This thinking was why he'd said what he did the night before right after he was sent spiraling to the ground from her magical hay-maker.

"I see you like it rough!" 

Charlie smiled at the memory, thinking his words to be suave and manly. I personally hold it against Challara that she didn't knock him out or kill him, but...I guess it can't hold it against her since that had unfortunately not been the first time Charlie had been layed out by a woman with exceptional strength. He'd grown accustomed to physcial abuse at the opposite sex's hands and had even developed a thing for it. In his mind, blatant, hateful phsycial abuse was just a womans way of playing hard to get. It was the main reason why most of the bounties The Underworld had put on his head were by women. Not much pisses off a hard-nosed, feme-fatale more than some immature runt copping a feel while she's trying to kill him. It was all a cat-and-mouse game to Charlie, and he didn't mind being either part of the equation. 

He watched with the attention of a predator eyeing its prey as Challara squatted to pick up a large crate that was more than three-times Charlie's body-weight. 

"That's right baby." he chuckled under his breath with a shady grin that practiacally radiated tendrils of ectoplasmic perversion. "Work them thighs. You gonna need em' in bed later."

 


 

While he'd spent most of the time stalking Challara and imagining what she'd look like in a string bikini, he couldn't help but notice the new band of norkotian mercs that had been driven into the encampment. Well, not so much the whole group of them as the few women within it. None of them were Drow, but they were women all the same so he felt they deserved a peek. There were three women on total.

One of them looked like a female John Wick with a face that oozed blood-thirst and confidence. She kind of reminded Charlie of Tracey when she snapped, but nowhere near as scary or manic. Still, she was scary enough for Charlie to form his pick-up lines with a sense of caution lest he wind up getting emasculated. The second looked like his kind of woman. She was a little unstable looking in the eyes and was carrying a large flame-thrower, but she was still good-looking enough for him to consider her a snack. The last woman reminded him a gunslinging drunkard he knew named Clive McTeague. She had vivid blond hair, was smoking a cigar, and was decked out to have the apperance of a cowboy that could kill you in the blink of an eye or less. She was a little on the old side, but again, all that meant to Charlie was that she was more experienced. Whether she was experienced in murder or bed was easy to tell if you looked into her eyes, but Charlie once again decided to ere on the side of caution and not do that. If she turned out to not be all looks and decided to draw on him, he'd be dead before he could even give her a shady grin. He'd seen how fast Clive was and didn't want to chance it.

Instead of risking his own neck in an attempt to woo either of them, he percieved an opportunity that was too good to be true. Cap-Guy was already making moves on them, and he figured he could kill two birds with one stone by simply watching. Not only would he get to glean how each woman reacted to the old, college, try, but if things went wrong, there was a good chance he'd be killed. Two of the women had been in handcuffs when they'd gotten off the truck, and Charlie was no fool as to why. The mercs that had been sent were obviously considered criminals wherever they'd come from, meaning that they were only there as 'Bad Company'. Flesh bags sent in to gauge the enemies capabilities since their lives technically harbored no value in the political sense. They'd been offered the choice of the gallows or the front lines, and they'd taken the latter. He didn't particularly care, but he did think that it was funny for whatever military instituion Sergeant Murray was from to send him a bundle of unstable criminals rather than trained soldiers. That meant they didn't care what happened here in Yh'mi, and that was what Charlie found funny. Cause he didn't care either.

His hunch about the first woman being the gelding type turned out to be correct, the woman slinging a machete at the wooden stump Cap-Guy was sitting on barely an inch below his crotch. Charlie chuckled darkly as he watched Cap-Guy get up and excuse himself from the premises. He decided that he liked this woman as a person, but not enough to make a try of his own and chance losing his second most valued possession.

The second woman with the flamethrower didn't even give the guy a chance. The moment he greeted her, she turned around and aimed her flamethrower at him. Charlie laughed heartily as he watched Cap-Guy run away, screaming. He decided he liked this woman too, and he'd definitely be talking to her later. He could a dig a girl that liked to watch the world burn.

The last woman, the gunslinger, just seemed to completely ignore him. She didn't regard him at all, not making a reply to anything he said or even looking his way. She clearly didn't care to be bothered and he got the point when she suddenly whipped out a revolver and shot something far off into the distance. From the hip. Charlie didn't know what she'd shot at until he heard the tell-tale screech of a dying Chitterling. Cap-Guy wisely decided to back off and took his leave.

"Can't wait to tell Clive about this one." said Charlie. While he was generally very selfish, he wouldn't have any qualms about setting other guys up with women if he liked them and it meant he could get something out of it. For instance, Charlie noticed that most women seemed to dig Clive. He figured that if he were able to set Clive up with a nice woman, he'd return the favor somehow. Little did he know that the only women that ever really "digged" Clive were assassins looking to cut off his head or thieves wanting to steal his money. Or both. Clive would've set Charlie up with one of them in a heartbeat.

Realizing that the woman with the flame thrower was likely his best bet, Charlie stood up from the crate he was sitting on, dusted his hands, straightened his clothes, put on his smarmiest smile, and began walking towards her. She'd had her back turned to him when he approached.

"Hey there, hot-stuff!" said Charlie, tapping her on the shoulder to get her attention. If she turned around, she'd see him holding up flaming hand in a greeting, his other stuffed cooly in his pocket. He then looked to his burning hand and feigned mild surprise. "Oh! It looks like I'm on fire! You wanna stop, drop, and roll with me?"

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It was a slow process, grinding on his brain as time slipped by. Keeping active had helped. Rather than hoarding his magic away like a miser he'd employed it to trivialize heavy lifting. Shadows had no weight after all and if he truly ended up burning himself out Ed could simply leave with the next supply caravan with a painless lesson learned. It wasn't like he was an employee or anything..... Wait, did anyone here actually know his name!? Huh, that would be a no then, always great to be unappreciated! Of course in the case of all the women accosted by that Charlie fellow his mob character level presence might be a point of envy..... And speak of the devil himself.

Yeah, the guy had just literally lit himself on fire in order to... Bits of rust flaked off the gears in Ed's brain as he watched the interaction and silently cheered Charlie on. Should this have been utterly beneath his notice? Yes. Yes in totality. But Ed had been bored out of his mind for far too long and a small irrational part of his mind was whispering that he NEEDED to see how bad this turned out.

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"Mistress, a question?" the little girl called Khakina inquired after a while. "Why are we helping build a wall?"

Sera, the woman heavily sweating beside Khakina cocked her head in assent. "Yeah! The bloody fuck we building a fucking wall when shit happened a couple of days ago."

The Mistress Blackhead, the only woman sitting down with a cup of tea on her hand and a whip on the other, merely frowned at her subordinates. "One, we are here to help. And two, we need more laborers and you two seem to have no lack of spirit or well, able bodies."

Khakina faced her 'so-called' leader, her teary eyes almost seemed to plead for mercy. "But...but..can you work with us? Share the burden?"

"Yeah, bitch. Work those twigs you call arms. You ain't getting no shit from us till you show us shit." Of course, Sera too will add some of her 'oh-so-deep' words of wisdom.

Annoyed, the Mistress cracked here whip at the two. "Are you implying that a delicate defenseless woman such as I should join in such an uncivilized and brutish action? What if my nails get chipped? Or my flawless skin get scars?" Another crack of her whip. "I did not bring you two so you can grumble and complain. Go move those arms or I'll have to whip harder!"

The whips might hurt but Sera could not resist whispering to Khaki's ear. "Pssshhh! What a prude! The bitch starts bitching at us again."

Both girls managed one last chuckle before the Mistress' whips began raining at them again prompting the two to pick up the pace. In silence.

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Current day...

The squad was fairly spread-out once again, save for one major change that had been implemented on Lieutenant Precht's orders (which were orders relayed down from Major Krieger, the man in overall command of Norkotian forces in Yh'mi). All Norkotian soldiers were now required to operate in a buddy system at all times, and were only allowed to go outside of secured zones in groups of four or more. This was in order to combat future Twistling infiltration, which Krieger would not tolerate happening in the future. Murray's squad had drawn straws to see who went with who, since most of them didn't really like each-other enough to give a shit.

So when Charlie decided to make his move on Melanie Winter, she was not alone. Sitting across from her was one of the non-criminal Rangers, a rather boisterous ex-mercenary named Hudson. He appeared to be the most battle-read, with a suit of some sort of armor (likely acquired outside of Norkotia) one of those nasty Jorgerson Submachineguns (one of which had been used to great effect against the wagons by the twistlings days ago). Though he didn't actually try to stop Charlie's approach or anything, perhaps being as curious as Ed was about how badly this exchange could go...

"Hm?" Melanie turned around, a certain wild, but oddly innocent curiosity in her eyes, "Wha--- Oh! You are on fire!"

She smiled broadly as she stood up and snatched her flamethrower from where it was leaning against a crate. A couple flicks of switches and a small, blue pilot light appeared at the end of one of the tubes, which was there to ignite the flammable vapors when they were expelled through the main tube. 

"And you're not screaming in horror! Are you immune to fire? Is that even possible? Can I test it? Can I set you on fire? Will you let me set you on fire? I think I'm gonna set you on fire!"

She babbled on in an almost childishly excited voice, before activating her looks-like-it-was-made-by-a-Canadian-redneck-with-ducttape-flamethrower and attempting to set Charlie on fire. Guess this relationship was off to a roaring start. Very steamy indeed. I mean the heat between them is almost tangible. Actually it is. It just melts the heart, doesn't it? 


Meanwhile, in the food tent...

Somehow, Scoot had either gotten to be the luckiest (or least luckiest) man in the camp, having gotten paired off with one of the most attractive women in the camp. Unfortunately, she was also one of the woman most likely to end the manhood (if she's feeling generous) of any given man in the camp. But the draw (and your humble author would like to emphasize that it was a legitimately random pairing) had put the two of them together, which meant... well... maybe fate was trying to tell Scoot something? 

"So uh... Jessica..."

"Don't call me that. I fucking hate that name, I much prefer Jessie." the ex-hitwoman replied, not even looking up from her rations.

"Oh-uh, okay. So, Jessie..."

"First name basis is a little too familiar, don't you think, Corporal Deckel?" she retorted.

"Uhhh... okay, Ms. Briggs..."

"Please refer to me by my rank, Corporal. I understand you outrank me, but I insist upon being afforded the title I am owed. Just because I am a woman does not mean you can disregard it." Jessie stated, still not looking up from her food.

"Duh... so... Private Briggs--"

"Private First Class."

"Huggh... Private First Class Jessica--"

"Jessie."

"Private First Class Jessie Briggs!" Scoot practically shouted, slamming his palm against the table.

Jessie finally looked up.

"Yes sir, corporal?"

"..."

"..."

"Uhhhhhh... I gotta tray of chicken...?"

Edited by Tyler

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"No, but seriously! Yh'mi's skies are a stormy clusterfuck that are gonna take anything you try to bring in aerially and throw them into the Spires. That's how we got those bloody Fallen Knight bastards, you know?"

"Entirely correct, Frederick. I might have requested a whole brigade of wyvern riders to be brought in, honestly, but even if they always flew low enough to avoid the winds, Yh'mi would probably send out flying Chhitten Magni simply to spite us."

At the far side of the table, Ilene shook her head incredulously.

"Flying Chhitten Magni? Really now, how would that even work, Gormaric?"

"Well, Ilene, it's best to not put anything past Yh'mi. Everything about it is bullshit. Chhitten are easy enough to kill but if they manage to get some damage on you? Bullshit. Twistlings infiltrating your defenses and expeditions and ruining shit at the perfect time? Bullshit. Chhitten Magni being stupidly tough bastards to put down? Bullshit. Gutterfiends? Probably the most bullshit I've ever seen out of Yh'mi, and that's saying something. This land doesn't play fair at all, but that's why I'm here."

Frederick took a long drink from his glass before raising an eyebrow at Gormaric.

"I'm... not quite following."

Gormaric simply grinned widely.

"I don't play fair myself. Even if it takes me fucking centuries to do it, I'm gonna put everything this land throws at me to the sword, until its resources are exhausted. There's a bullshit amount of creatures it keeps throwing at us, but surely there's a limit. The bastards have to quit coming eventually, unless it's so much bullshit that they're infinite."

Ilene leaned over toward the two men across the table.

"And if they are infinite?"

Gormaric drained the rest of his glass before slamming it against the table.

"Then whatever their source is, whatever they stem from, I'm gonna find it and destroy it!"

Frederick raised his glass into the air.

"Hear, hear! This brooding bastard is gonna lead us to victory over Yh'mi!"

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94daf8f809d45354c0b640ddf686140f.jpghyacinth vasilika


 

Yh’mi is a dark and twisted place, far from the safe reaches and havens of sane civilization. Iris, she thinks, would have loved it here.

Lounging in some dark corner, half-hidden amongst a group of barrels lurking behind a conspicuously large tent, Hyacinth hovers over her lap, focus narrowed towards paper and pen and the words she’s forming with them. She refuses to be distracted from the matter at hand, ignoring the hustle and bustle around her little bubble as she pens a letter to her sisters back home, on the outskirts of Last Chance.

She’s not quite saying goodbye to them, not really, but she’s not assuring them of her ultimate survival, after this mission. It’s merely how their world works; they are fireflies in the night, lovely but ephemeral. No wonder their sister had—she had—

Belladonna had abandoned them. Hyacinth had subsequently pleaded with the Crow to let her investigate the proceedings in Yh’mi, had declared she would be the best agent for the matter, with her considerably arcane skill set. The Witchsent would do well in Yh’mi, she had argued.

Say what one will of her coping methods with grief and betrayal, but throwing oneself into scenarios of certain danger proves to be the ultimate distraction, in her case.

Her writing hand stops, poised against that last stroke, and she rereads the letter with dark eyes. Tucking the parchment somewhere amongst her robes, Hyacinth turns her gaze to the horizon, that exhilarating promise of danger and darkness and all things deadly—and waits.

 


 

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Vlad had left the Meeting Hall, as gloomy as yh'mian sky, after spending some time with trading formalities. He walked hastily away from the crowded square, removing the glove from his right hand and diving the hand under the chain mail and the skirt to scratch. Those onyx scars had been causing a nasty itch lately, and Vlad was under impression they were growing into his skin a bit...

But the scars were not what concern him greatly. It were the results of negotiation, which were... not what he would expect.

The trader from Ignatz, a bald middle-aged man with his face covered by geometric tattoos, was quite pleased with Vlad's investment into his arms business and agreed to verify the current shipment consisting of ONE turret unit. Not four units, as Vlad proposed. Just. One. When the engineer asked about the rest of the former shipment, the trader mentioned the issue of "strict trade regulations" from the Order's side and his own concerns regarding "apparatus degradation in Yh'mi's atmosphere". When asked how Vlad was supposed to make the defense grid out of one turret, the trader just shrugged and responded: "The Void if I know!"

Vlad was nothing short of pissed. He mentally blamed that cryptic arms dealer, that overly pious Order... all to no avail. It was useless to complain on his state of being: the trader would depart silently with a well-armed escort and, if lucky, would be at home with comfort and wealth in two days or less, while Vlad would spend nights full of nightmares and days full of chances of being swarmed by Chhitten. In the end, they have come to an agreement: the dealer would send the rest of the shipment to Bloodwatch as soon as he would be provided the proof that the turret that had arrived first would be intact by the next month. Vlad reluctantly agreed. A burden of responsibility laid down on his shoulders: should he fail the deal, the entire defense grid project would be ruined and the Order would raise questions about his competency.

After dealing with the arms dealer, Vlad went toward his shack to deal with his own arms. Not too long ago he made contact with Jack Murray, the leader of Norkotian mercenaries, and shared his gratitude for saving his ass during the expedition. After a short talk and a couple of drink Vlad received from Jack a spare gun for share without any formalities. It was a pump-action shotgun salvaged from one of killed mercs, quite heavy for Vlad's taste but it might suit him in terms of firepower - especially combined with the turret. He was free to utilize it until the proper replacement for his mana pistol would arrive. 

Vlad was about to test out his new Norkotian toy when he met up with Soryn, a battle-tested friend of his. Despite of his prowess in a battlefield, he was still serving as a mere reporter, recording and transcribing anything worth mentioning. Needless to say, he did that job well by showing that life in Yh'mi was tolerable despite of being far, far from idyllic.

"Hey there." - Vlad spoke casually. - "Got any fresh news from the mainland?" 


Mention: @Tyler
Interaction:  @Dolor Aeternum

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On 4/22/2019 at 10:25 AM, Tyler said:

"And you're not screaming in horror! Are you immune to fire? Is that even possible? Can I test it? Can I set you on fire? Will you let me set you on fire? I think I'm gonna set you on fire!"

Charlie wasn't expecting the rapid fire questions or the manic yet withdrawn look in her eyes. They'd looked a little off-putting before, but now that he was up close, he could tell from just a glance that this woman had done things. Whether or not she was proud of them was anyone's guess, but Charlie could dig a woman that had a twinge of insanity. Unstable women always kept you guessing, wondering when they were going to wig out and do something outlandish and exciting. Yes, that could easily convey the possibility of them killing you in your sleep for glancing at another woman, but Charlie obviously saw things differently. To him, crazy women just seemed to have a lot of pent up energy. Energy that he'd be more than happy to exploit in bed. All night.

Tracey, his other business partner besides Zack, was different though. She was the kind of crazy that WOULD kill you for certain, so she was on his seldom used, 'Do not Woo' list. She'd probably made it onto the list of every man or woman she'd ever met too.

Charlie merely blinked when the woman pulled the trigger on her flame-thrower and sent a wave of scalding fire his way. Charlie blinked again when he realized what she was doing, staring at her blankly as the flames violently billowed around his body. Was she trying to kill him? Had he made her that angry? Was his pick-up line that bad? The thought of the latter being possible was incomprehensible to him. Because why would inappropriately forward pick-up lines not instantly win a woman's heart?

Oh, right. he thought. Crazy.

He lowered his hand and stood there to let her blast him with fire to her hearts content, not feeling anything but a gust of wind as she did so. He looked like a human torch when she was done, every ounce of his body covered in flames and billowing upwards into the air. He noted that the flame-thrower she'd used wasn't like the ones he'd seen others wield. Hers appeared to be a DIY project she'd made from scraps she'd gotten from a junkyard, but without the bells and whistles that made conventional flamethrowers safe to wield. Having been blasted with hundreds of the weapon in the past, he could tell that hers was considerably more lethal, the flames hitting him with the force of a large leaf blower. Regardless, he held his perverted posture.

Smirking, the fire surrounding his body began to come together and coagulate at his chest before dimming, as if being sucked into the area by an unknown force. Charlie felt the extra bit of energy coursing through him, making him feel as if he were living at a hundred and ten percent and boosting his confidence. He let out a contented sigh, smacking his lips as he rubbed his stomach.

"Mmm!" he hummed, still staring directly at Melanie. "Thanks! I bet that was almost as tasty as you." he took a step closer to her, holding out his hand. Thankfully it was no longer on fire. "Not everyday I meet a woman this hot. Names Smith. Charlie Smith. Say, you got anything else on the menu?" the smarm in his smile returned tenfold. "Maybe...me-n-u?"

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