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EpicRome23

A Widow's Request

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"... So, if it's not too much to ask, tell me about your husband. Where was he during the defense, and what he was doing?"

"In the first part of the defense, he was atop the wall. When that renegade paladin made the breach, he was the one who called for the defenders to rally together and hold the line there. Finally... when Remissio was dueling Diligence, he used that old mace of his to strike Remissio from behind. The renegade took his life for that action... but Diligence was saved, if only for a few minutes."

The elven woman nodded solemnly at the widow's tale, and her eyes lit up a little as a memory sprang to the forefront of her mind.

"The man with the mace... yes, I remember him. And you say that his wedding ring wasn't found after the battle?"

The widow nodded.

"Then I expect it's either atop the Wall or behind where the breach used to be. Madam, your husband was... A valiant warrior who was taken from us far too soon. Consider his ring as good as found, it is the least I can do to honor him."

The widow smiled slightly at the elven woman.

"Thank you. I gladdens my heart that you can spare the time for a request such as this. It must be small and trifling to you, but it means so much more to me..."

The eleven woman smiled with a tinge of sadness.

"I've learned never to underestimate the power that the little things can hold."

With that, she stood up and turned toward the door leading into the rest of Inns'th. If she got started now, she could probably have both search areas combed through by evening. She began to stride toward the door, then paused mid-step. Maybe another pair of eyes or two would make the search far faster and easier? She looked around the somewhat dingy tables scattered about Purgatory, Inns'th's one and only tavern. If there was anyone around Inns'th who would be wiling to take on such a task, surely they would be found here.

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Raion hadn't intended to return to Terrenus - his time on the Kingfisher exploring Genesaris had culminated in a choice; to apply for citizenship in the City-State of Jigoku, ruled by the Datsuzoku Empire. He had gone so far as to localize, or Tsūmei his Weland name. What was once Leo Jae Hyuk became Raion Saikaku, and with it a new path. It had been a sudden choice, and one his parents weren't entirely fond of; the idea of their son dropping out of the prestigious Gaian Academy after only one term to study the sword in another nation seemed foolish. It was for them why he had returned, a final goodbye to the economically declining Weland and the parents who had raised him. In truth Raion doubted he'd miss his father, but he dreaded seeing his mother's sad face. 

Yh'mi itself had been unplanned stop, his limited funds had forced him to work on a trade sea ship back to the mainland and after landing in Last Chance the captain had demanded he finish his term as guard, protecting a caravan all the way to Yh'mi. It had been a pointless precaution, with the caravan arriving unscathed. 

Tired, broke and frustrated Raion sat alone at the table nearest the door, his back to the wall and his attire sticking out like a sore thumb. A black Empire branded jingasa hat sat atop his heads, the brim obscuring the upper portion of his down turned face. His upper body was mostly obscured by a long mino cloak, the dark earth colored straw giving only a glimpse at the black collared gakuran he wore. Raion's legs were covered by the table, only the hint of a black and red hakama, the baggy pants tightened around his shins and ankles by a pair of black kyahan and a set of rugged black tabi shoes.

Sat on his right, balanced against the seat and within easy reach was a medium sized single handed sword; looking somewhat too traditional in it's metal scabbard to be ordinary for one dressed such as himself with it's knuckle bow guard and single hand grip. In truth it was a recent design permeating the Empire and Jigoku, a blending of styles with the more traditional katana blade - hamon and all; and a saber hilt, known as a Kyu Guntō. Hidden under his straw cloak but not so obscured that a keen eye couldn't see it was a dark leather holster on his right hip, the size and shape suggesting it carried a large handgun of some description. 

A small, circular black shallow 'bowl' was held in his hands, a clear liquid filled nearly to it's brim inside but likely barely being more then a mouthful. On the table was a ceramic jug with a wide flared opening for easy pouring, a single Weland/Jigoku character written on it in black ink, reading 'Sake' and little else; rice wine, and a particularly cheap variety if the smell and jug were anything to go by. If the foreign man noticed the regal Elf scanning the room for potential warriors he showed no indication, intent to sip his strange drink and mind the suspicious stares of the other patrons. 

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ac887b522c1c58ab86cc09a887a0b3f4.jpgMIDDY AND SHISHI


The two ladies sat side to side on a lone table within Purgatory's inn, simply enjoying their meal. One can say they are more like tourists as their appearances do seem to stand out and they look a bit off with the city's theme. Still, no one seemed to be concerned of their existence and in fact, a lot of the inn's patrons are giving some darting glances along their way. 

"How's Inns'th, little sister? The wall's pretty dope here and there are a few cute Whities' within the Order," the older woman spoke as she took another swill from her cup of tea.

"Just so-so," the younger woman replied, a bit distracted. Her focus seemed to be elsewhere as her eyes were set on the rather disturbed Elf on the inn's door. "Do you think the knife ears need help, Middy?"

The woman named Middy shrugged. "Eh? Perhaps. Perhaps, not. Why don't you ask, Shishi?"

With her sister's insistence, Shishi got up and approached the elf. "Do you need help, lady?"

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"Do you need help, lady?"

Ocelia gave a start of surprise as the woman approached and asked whether she needed help. After taking a moment to recover, however, she nodded and replied in a soft tone.

"I... suppose I do. I was just talking with a widow who wants her husband's wedding ring to be recovered. If you're willing to help with such a task as searching for it, then I would be grateful for your aid."

As she finished speaking, she looked around the tavern once more, seeing if anybody else was approaching her or might seem interested in helping her out. Nobody stood out to her as she scanned... except for the young (at least to her) man who sat at the table nearest the door. Something about him stood to her, though she couldn't place her finger on what exactly it was out of several possibilites. Deciding that it would at least be worth trying to ask about the possibility of him helping her, she took a few steps toward the man and cleared her throat.

"Pardon the interruption, young man. I'm looking for people to help me locate a lost wedding ring, so if you're not too busy, are you willing to come along and help with that task?"

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Raion looked up from his sake, his boyish features no longer obscured by his hat and revealing a man who had not truly yet entered his prime, his youthful face wearing the grime and exhaustion of the road in a way only a youngster could. His slate gray eyes studied the Elf as she spoke, her attire and general demeanor giving her away as some sort of mage; she gave off the regal charm many Elven women did, though her almond shaped eyes and button features struck Raion as a bit more on the 'cute' side then normal. Not that Raion would ever say as such, his experience with attractive women thus far being one marked more of respectful fear then carnal desire, and Raion had little doubt at a glance that this Elven women would continue that trend.

"A wedding ring ma'am? I don't see why not." Raion said, his nervous energy hidden behind a cocksure grin. Raion wasn't great at dealing with others, his nature being that of a loner - he was infamously awkward, made doubly so by being unprepared to being approached. Raion hid it well, perhaps it was the Sake's liquid charisma.

Standing Raion gathered up his sword, clipping it to a pair of unequal length straps on his left hip which hung it at about his upper thigh. The prospect of searching for a wedding ring did not scream 'excitement' but it was a better way to pass the time then nursing sake and waiting for a caravan that was heading out toward Weland that he could hitch a ride on, perhaps he would get a chance to indulge his combat addiction at least once this trip. 

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"Good," Shishi spoke, "Then I'll gather up my belongings as well. Wait for me."

Bading her farewell, she returned to her table to find a rather amused older sister. At times like this, Shishi's best option is to ignore the damned woman and do her business. Unfortunately for her, Middy has other ideas.

"Say, Shishi," Middy spoke languidly as she tried to sidle up Shishi, "You need my help?"

"It's a ring. I can find it on my own," came Shishi's curt reply. "I don't need you, babysitting me all the time."

Her sister just had to give her that awful pouty look. "But Shishi...I wanted to spend time with you."

"For the last time, sister. No."

Then she was done. With her pack in hand, at least her valuables were still inside, Shishi returns to the others. She nodded to the newcomer and once more addressed her client, "Tell me about this ring. Any leads?"

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Ocelia looked between the two people that had agreed to help her, nodding at each of them in turn. She supposed she could have just summoned Troan and Praulian, but the Order had made their stance on Unnaturals clear, and the elf didn't feel up to arguing the semantics of whether the curse-induced state of the twin skeletons really qualified under that umbrella. And she doubted the paladins would have taken the time to listen, either. So she would keep them in reserve, out of sight and mind until another emergency like Remissio's attack arose and the order would overlook their presence, or she was out in the depths of Yh'mi and there was really no way for the Order to know they were there.

But perhaps living eyes would be more useful, anyways. She looked over at Shishi as she asked her question.

"We have two areas to look through. There's the section of the wall where the ring's owner was stationed during Remissio's assault. Then, there's the area behind the breach in which he rallied the defenders who still lived after the breach was made. I plan to search the former location first, so please, follow after me..."

The elven mage made her way out of the tavern, and navigated throughout the seemingly ever-sparse streets of Inns'th to reach the wall. Almost all of the activity that could be seen was of the various military forces of Terrenus that had encamped on the 'safer' side of the town. Especially notable was the black and gold clad soldiers of Aligoria, carting loads of Uru to the massive forges their smiths had set up. As the trio advanced closer to the wall, they would notice the hulking steel constructs, the Warpgolems, carrying large slabs of Uru that they then pushed against the Wall as workers used their tools to affix them in place. Ocelia led her two companions past the noise and movement, and onto a much quieter section of the wall. Then, she turned her gaze toward them.

"Alright. This is the section where our client's husband was stationed. We should only have to search a few feet in any direction, including along the Inns'th side of the wall in case it fell down during the battle. Let's split up and search the area, shall we?"

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Shishi nodded her assent. It is always best to widen the net during search parties. Huddling in a group would only lead to lesser ground covered and lots of time wasted. Not that she's interested in lumping together with a group anyway. She had always preferred to work alone.

In silence, the woman began her intrepid search on the wall. There isn't anything of worth noting. Same old wall, very good and reliable especially against the monsters that plague this land. There is one thing though.\

Intriguing.

Her eyes widened as she took note of the rather notable impact on the wall. The repairs had yet to fully fix this side and an amateur like Shishi could still discern the faint cracks brought about by some strong impact. 

Was it a person's body? Judging by the positioning of the cracks, it must have come from an upward angle. That and it must have really hurt.

Unfortunately, that is not what Shishi needed at the moment. Tearing her round eyes away from the wall, she perused the scattered objects on the ground instead. There are multiple weapons, most of which were badly in need of repairs and there were also monster parts. She would have started looting but she's working right now. 

But no ring.

With a disappointed look on her face, Shishi Ravenbush returned to her client and shook her head. "There's no ring there."

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Raion squat low on his section of the search area, running his right hand across the uneven ground in an attempt to get a better feel for the terrain. His skill set wasn't exactly well suited to searching for small objects, he possessed no magic of any kind and while his eyes were exceptional they were really more suited to kinetic movement tracking then detail scanning.

That left only one option for the young swordsman, to 'comb' each and every inch with the utmost scrutiny.

It was slow work, but Raion showed little sign of growing bored.

There remained some evidence of the battle that had once raged, fragments of wall, blood darkened patches of dirt but despite his best efforts, Raion found little sign of a ring. Satisfied he had done his due diligence Raion returned to the elf, finding he was the last one to finish. "I found no ring, or much sign of it." 

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Ocelia had taken it upon herself to search atop the wall itself. Standing up there again, and looking out toward the Broken Plains... she couldn't help but remember that fateful day. The living tide that flowed toward Inns'th. So many monsters led by Remissio, the corrupted paladin who hadn't looked corrupted whatsoever. The fear and desperation of the pitifully few defenders who had remained to fight... nervousness that her traps wouldn't be enough to stem the tide. She had been on the wall on the opposite of the gate, closer to the breach, yes. But even here, the memories flowed forth unbidden.

She shook her head to clear her mind and continued her search for the ring. She saw nothing but stone and some layers of Uru that the Aligorian contingent had laid down over this section. She walked down the closest stairs to reach the ground level of Inns'th, rejoining the others. They both reported that they hadn't found the ring, and Ocelia nodded.

"I saw no sign of it either. I suppose, then, that it has to be in the area behind the breach. Somewhere beneath the abandoned armor and weapons of the defenders who had gathered there, and the parts of the monsters of Yh'mi who met their end there before they could run amok throughout Inns'th... if the ring is not there, then I would have to suppose that it is lost to us."

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"I saw no sign of it either. I suppose, then, that it has to be in the area behind the breach. Somewhere beneath the abandoned armor and weapons of the defenders who had gathered there, and the parts of the monsters of Yh'mi who met their end there before they could run amok throughout Inns'th... if the ring is not there, then I would have to suppose that it is lost to us."

It was the sad truth but reality is a cruel master. It was just one simple ring and yet, three professionals are unable to find it. Perhaps there is something at play here. Something that's preventing them from actually doing their job. Is there any other way?

"I'm sure we could accomplish this task." It's always best to have a positive outlook even if shit gets shoved in your faced. "If we look hard enough, we are bound to find the ring one way or another. Who knows, we might have just missed the precious thing and it's still there waiting for us to pick it up."

At times like this, Shishi found it best to keep the morale up. Things are not over yet. They just needed to keep on looking.

"If nothing else works, we could get our hands on some searching or tracking sorceries. I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy."

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"If we don't find it behind the breach, then I am amicable to unleashing some sorceries to aid us. But from what I remember of the battle, and what I've been told of this man's role in it... If nobody else has surfaced with it, there is almost nowhere else it could be."

The regal elf gestured for the two to follow as she walked along the wall toward where the breach had previously been. The repair work here was immaculate, one couldn't tell that there had been a breach at all through the Uru-reinforced stone here. She waited for some moments for the other two to catch up with her, as she had been a tad excited and left them behind with her long strides. Shishi was the first to arrive, and Ocelia nodded at her.

"Alright. Let's spread out here, the workers are already done with this section and won't get in our way. I'll search along the top of the wall, you two divide the ground level between yourselves."

With that, Ocelia turned away and made her way up the stairs to the wall-top. Once again, looking out at the Broken Plains, she remembered the day of Remissio's assault. Her magical traps of rock and poison had done a number on the approaching force of Yhmi's creatures. Praulian's javelin had struck Remissio in the leg... and then the corrupted paladin had taken command of the earth below and breached through the wall. The elf remembered two particular defenders she had been fighting alongside, who had been killed by the exploding section of wall. She didn't know if anything of them had been found to bury. She herself had only narrowly avoided such a fate, being just outside of that wall section at the moment of the breach. She shook the clinging memories away, and focused her gaze on searching for the ring. It wouldn't be atop the wall, in almost all certainty, but the possibility of the action flinging it up upon it could not be disregarded, however slim it was.

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"If we don't find it behind the breach, then I am amicable to unleashing some sorceries to aid us. But from what I remember of the battle, and what I've been told of this man's role in it... If nobody else has surfaced with it, there is almost nowhere else it could be."

Shishi nodded as she trailed behind the elf. There's more to this than she had expected. Perhaps her client would know more about such things. The elf seemed to have been part of the recent battle.

Pursing her lips, Shishi decided to make an inquiry. "Is there anything particular about the recent battle that we can relate to this lost ring?"

As her older sister used to say, knowledge is power. The more she and everyone knows, the easier this puzzle can be solved, the faster will they find this missing ring.

"Alright. Let's spread out here, the workers are already done with this section and won't get in our way. I'll search along the top of the wall, you two divide the ground level between yourselves."

Nodding her assent, Shishi began heading for the ground level. She can only hope the ring would just appear out of nowhere so she can finally complete the task and go home.

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Ocelia shook her head slightly in response to Shishi's question, speaking down from the walls above after pondering the answer for some time.

"There is not much... oh, but I do recall that the man was impaled with a spike of earth after striking Remissio from behind with his mace in order to save Diligence. Well, at least until the explosive device took her life."

Her gaze roamed the ground below, her search atop the wall returning no results... and in the dim light from the sky above Inns'th, the elven mage caught sight of a glint just behind the repaired breach, next to a blood-stained mace that had some flecks of rust upon it now. This area hadn't been fully cleaned up yet, what with Remissio's assault and the more recent skirmish to defend the breach. Therefore, that glint... she cleared her throat to try and catch Shishi's attention, then pointed down toward it.

"Hey. I don't have a very good view from here, but something's glinting there. Could you check it out?"

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A glint? Could it be?

Shishi narrowed her eyes. Clearly it could not be this easy. If that glint of light, that faint glimmer of hope would turn out to be the ring in question, then Shishi would lose faith in her fate. Destiny can be quite a fickle thing.

Nodding to her companion, the girl began her journey towards the breach. A superb display of acrobatics and her own nimbleness allowed Shishi to traverse such terrain with ease. It did not take long for her to reach the breach, her breath barely labored. 

Her fingers reached into the breach, probing, inspecting, until she could feel what seemed like a ring. Grasping the desired object, she began the ill-fated journey back to her companion.

She offered her open palm to her companion, the ring in question languidly resting on her hand. "Is this it?"

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