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Inns'th. Many tales had been told of this place, of this bulwark that the Order of the White Hand held against the ever-advancing tide. A certain copper-haired swordswoman had come here after some time of wandering. Purpose had evaded her for a while. Perhaps she could find it here, in this place that many came to as punishment or as a last resort. Except for the soldiers sent after promises of aid, there were not many who came to Inns'th by choice.

Acele stood before the bulletin board within the tavern named Purgatory. An apt name, all consider. Her gaze scanned over the flyers and noticed pinned to this board, and soon enough settled onto a flyer that showed signs of having been torn down once, then sloppily re-pinned. Perhaps somebody had tried to take the request before, and in some way or another, had failed to follow through in the end. Gently pulling down the flyer, she began to read it.

"After the battle... Smithy returned to find items stolen from his shop. Raw leather, a mace, a short sword, and a steel shield of good quality, made as an order for someone and just completed. Reward... a well-made, extremely sharp dagger. One for each individual involved in the capture of the thief."

Acele smiled to herself for a moment. Knowing that word had likely already reached the Order, and they would have eyes out for anyone trying to leave Inns'th with one or more of the stolen items. She could thus only assume that the thief was still holed up somewhere in Inns'th itself. And she had a place to start her search: At Smithy's shop, the scene of the crime itself. But to track the thief alone would make it easier for them to escape when it came time to corner and capture them. Another pair or two of eyes and arms would make the capture all that much smoother. She looked around the patrons seated at the dingy tables, and let her voice ring out throughout the tavern.

"Who among you is willing to come with me and bring a thief to justice?!"

A simple and direct question. If she didn't get any response here, she supposed she would have to go see if she could request the aid of any of the soldiers on loan from the various nations of Terrenus. But she suspected she wouldn't walk out of her without a positive response or two.

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Sylinth’s head didn’t budge. Unlike the others seated near him who glanced at the fool shouting about justice, he’d seen it all before. A posted notice, a noble soul, a dead would-be hero. Staring at his nearly empty mug he wondered what happened to him to embitter him so.

It’s this damn place.

Three years he’d been in Yh’mi. His last quest ended in disaster that found him miles from civilization, injured and lost. Somehow, he’d wound up here at the continent’s ass crack, seeking refuge from a world that’s changed too fast for him. He stood to leave, reaching in his pocket to pay for his drink. Threadbare cloth met his seeking hands. Sighing, he removed his ring. A simple silver hoop with a small ruby set in the center.

He walked, or more accurately, hobbled towards the bar and motioned for the innkeeper. While waiting, he glanced down at his left leg. The scars had almost faded, yet using it was still out of the question. Leaning on his staff Syl handed the man his ring, the last of his valuables save his staff and tomes.

“Here, this should cover the last few days yes? I’ll be off tomorrow.”

With a dubious glance, the innkeeper nodded and continued his busywork.

Turning towards the board with the armor-clad fool, Syl spoke to her.

“What’s the thief stolen, and from who? And before you ask, yes I will need recompense.”

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ac887b522c1c58ab86cc09a887a0b3f4.jpgThe two ladies sat side to side on a lone table within Purgatory's inn. Two siblings 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. 

"That last job was a bit amusing," the older woman started, "Tell me, Shishi, are starting to enjoy our stay here in Yh'mi?"

The younger woman known as Shishi frowned. She did not hate the place but she did not like it either. The only good thing this place has for her was the White Hand. Unfortunately for her, she's still a trainee-knight in the Order of Force Majeure and she won't be able to represent the Order itself. After all her efforts, she's still being treated as a tourist.

"Who among you is willing to come with me and bring a thief to justice?!"

The stranger's words brought Shishi out of her reverie and back into reality. Justice. Now that's a word she hasn't heard in a long time. Her application for that league of Justice-loving people is still being reviewed which is quite unfortunate since Shishi was itching to become part of a larger organization.

Sighing, Shishi stood up and approached the strange woman. Her older sister, on the other hand, was more than content to sit down and watch. With a concerned look on her face, she spoke, "I'm willing to help. And unlike the other bloke, I don't need payment. Helping another person in need is already a reward unto itself."

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“What’s the thief stolen, and from who? And before you ask, yes I will need recompense.”

The man who first responded to Acele's call definitely had a mercenary mindset, though the knight had never minded working with those types. After all, not everyone was driven by such virtues as justice, some needed motivation more suited to putting food on the table at night. And at a glance, she could tell that he very well needed the recompense. She smiled lightly, and turned her gaze toward him.

"The thief stole various items from Smithy; raw leather, a mace, a short sword, and a steel shield of good quality that was being made on order for someone. As for your recompense, there is a well-made and extremely sharp dagger in store for you. Though, if it that is not sufficient for you, I am willing to offer gold from my own personal funds."

As she finished talking to the man, a woman approached her from a different direction, and Acele's gaze turned toward her. She seemed... concerned? The knight wasn't given too long to ponder it, however, as the newcomer began to speak.

"I'm willing to help. And unlike the other bloke, I don't need payment. Helping another person in need is already a reward unto itself."

Acele smiled again, a bit more broadly this time. This woman was one more after her own heart. They would probably get along fairly well, for however long they would end up working together.

"And I will gratefully accept your aid. Though, unless you should choose to deny it, you will also receive a dagger like the one I mentioned as a reward for the thief's capture."

With that, she looked between the man and the woman who had responded to her call, and nodded for a moment.

"A group this size should be enough to track down the thief, without drawing so much attention as to scare the thief off. They should be holed up somewhere in Yh'mi still, and we'll start our search at the site of the theft itself. Come, we have little time to waste."

She turned on her heel and made her way towards the door of the tavern.

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Sylinth eyed the other woman who responded.

Bloody tourists. Bunch of charity workers in this hellhole. A little too late for this place, isn't it?

Although the he could use the gold, something stopped him from taking up the offer from the armor-clad knight. "The dagger will be enough. Good craftsmanship will fetch a high price anywhere."

He extends a hand towards them both. "Sylinth, call me Syl."

"A group this size should be enough to track down the thief, without drawing so much attention as to scare the thief off. They should be holed up somewhere in Yh'mi still, and we'll start our search at the site of the theft itself. Come, we have little time to waste."

He nods in silence and follows as they head towards the smithy. A familiar itch forming on his arm, running along a thin, serpentine line of crimson.

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"A dagger works too," Shishi replied, "I'm not that picky but I'm not a charity worker either."

And it would be weird to not ask for compensation. No one likes a good samaritan.

Frowning, she eyed the other man's outstretched hand. A stranger's hand. She did hear him say his name but names are aplenty and who knows if that was even the real one. Suspicion, however, is like a poison that will make or break a group. Clearly, Shishi did not want that to happen.

"Shishi Ravenbush," she spoke accepting the man's outstretched hand, "Ravenbush will do."

"A group this size should be enough to track down the thief, without drawing so much attention as to scare the thief off. They should be holed up somewhere in Yh'mi still, and we'll start our search at the site of the theft itself. Come, we have little time to waste."

With the introductions done, Shishi gave one last longing glance at her older sister who responded with a wave and a kissy face, and then she found herself trailing after her the knight.

I can only hope Middy will let me be. I can't have her lurking about while I'm working.

 

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There wasn't much of interest to be seen along the streets of Inns'th as the knight led her two acquired companions to the smithy. There was a bit of commotion when one of the two war elephants Aligoria had transported into Yh'mi with them was led down the street in front of the trio, heading back toward the Aligorian encampment. It was followed by two squads, one consisting of the black and gold armored knights of the Subversors, and the other consisting of the mysterious Shadow Guards with their black, hooded cloaks wrapped tightly about them.

The trio reached the smithy with no further incident. Smithy himself seemed to be occupied with a customer at the moment, simply looking at the trio for a moment and giving them a cursory nod as permission for them to look around. Or, at least, that's what Acele took his gesture to be, since she had sent word ahead of the trio just in case. With permission received, she turned and looked at her two companions.

"I'm not sure if we'll find anything here, but it's worth a look nontheless. Give the rest of us a shout if you find anything interesting, I will be sure to do the same. With that, let's split up now. I'll look through the racks, you two split the remaining ground as you please."

With that, Acele made her way over to the racks of weapons on display and began looking around.

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Shishi Ravenbush trailed after her client, her thoughts pondering about the current situation. Unlike the other members of her family, she had little to no knowledge of investigating. Her purpose was more of a bruiser as she left most of the thinking to her older sibling. Sadly for her, the Order requires their Knights to be capable of such an annoying task. This puts Shishi on a rather awkward situation. Still, she's no quitter and she'll complete this job with as little mistake as possible. Who knows, she might even learn a thing or two.

Upon entering the Smithy, she immediately regarded the smith himself. It was quite unfortinate but their little party had come at a rather busy time as the smithy is too busy conducting business with someone else for him to even acknowledge the party's presence. It sucks, but Shishi would have to wait for a few more moments before she can start the interrogation.

While her client perused the racks, Shishi Ravenbush went ahead to search for clues on the ground. Her search turmed out fruitless as well as the smithy had stepped all over the crime scene. Still, she is fairly optimistic about their chances of ever catching this thief. All she needed is a small lead.

Perhaps she should start inspecting where the break-out started. There might be something the thief had left there.

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In the racks, Acele could see the empty spots where the stolen short sword and mace had been located previously. Judging by the fact that the racks showed no signs of having been overturned or the weapons having been strewn about, the thief obviously had to have been taking their sweet time. Other than that, there were no clues to be found here. Looking around, she could see a suspiciously bare spot on the back counter behind where Smithy was talking with his customer. She supposed that was where the steel shield that had been on order had been placed. She couldn't spot any clues from here, so she would have to take a closer look. Eyeing Smithy as she walked toward that counter, she quietly approached and hoped she wouldn't be interrupting anything.

Shishi, meanwhile, would find her gaze settling on a workbench with leather strewn all about on top of it. It was obvious that a hasty job had been done here, likely with the raw leather being the last thing the thief had grabbed. It was probable that they had heard somebody approaching, and quickly cut out some leather in a quantity that was perfectly balanced between being concealable and being valuable for resale. With such haste, perhaps there was something the thief had left behind in the name. And indeed, on closer examination, a knife would be found concealed underneath some leather. A rather plain thing, all told, but with some gold writing etched into the handle. A name?

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Shishi, meanwhile, would find her gaze settling on a workbench with leather strewn all about on top of it. It was obvious that a hasty job had been done here, likely with the raw leather being the last thing the thief had grabbed. It was probable that they had heard somebody approaching, and quickly cut out some leather in a quantity that was perfectly balanced between being concealable and being valuable for resale. With such haste, perhaps there was something the thief had left behind in the name. And indeed, on closer examination, a knife would be found concealed underneath some leather. A rather plain thing, all told, but with some gold writing etched into the handle. A name?

"Seems like I found something," Shishi called out to her companion. She was staring at the tiny thing, her eyes narrowing in thought. Her hands ached to touch it but it is in her best interests to let her partner do all the touching. She must learn to control her excitement and think more rationally form here on out.

"It's a knife and there's something written on it." There is some scribbling but Shishi is incapable of deciphering the language. She is a foreigner here and her handle on such common knowledge is quite limited. Now she's starting to regret not bringing her older sister. Having a nearby translator can do wonders for this kind of job.

Frowning, she waited for her partner to approach her. She mulled if it would be better to take action but decided not to. Although, there is one question that popped in her mind. Who owned the knife? And if it is from the thief, the bastard would have been pretty stupid to leave some link to his identity. 

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It's a knife, and there's something written on it.

Acele snapped to attention, turning away from her inspection of where the custom-ordered shield had been. There had been no clues there, anyways. She made her way over to Shishi, carefully taking the knife in hand and examining the name etched in gold. Colm...

"... Colm. Hmm, can't say the name is familiar to me."

At the mention of that name, the customer talking to Smithy stepped back as if slapped, and he turned to look toward Acele and Shishi. His black and gold armor marked him as one of the soldiers of the Aligorian contingent, and Acele wondered for a moment how she had missed that detail earlier.

"Did you say 'Colm'? That bastard... he took one of our Shadow Guards off-guard and killed him. Looted the supply wagon he was escorting while the other guards were relaxing in Purgatory, drinks in hand. Our men tracked him to the eastern end of Inns'th, where the mercenaries that hung around here before Remissio's assault lived. Since they fled, that area's been mostly abandoned. We're pretty sure he's holed up somewhere there. If you find him first, give him hell, will you you?"

Acele smiled slightly and nodded in affirmation.

"Thank you, sir. We'll be sure to bring justice."

She turned her attention toward Shishi.

"Well... unless you think there's something else to find here, let's make our way to the old mercenary encampment and find this Colm fellow."

Acele took last one look around Smithy's smithy before giving one last grateful nod to the smith and making her way out.

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"... Colm. Hmm, can't say the name is familiar to me."

Colm? The name isn't familiar to Shishi either. Not that she knew anyone in this place as she's just a visitor here, a tourist. She could barely remember the names of those randoms strangers she has met in this city, much less this criminal named Colm. What is she then to do but follow in her client's wake?

At the very least, their little party has managed to discern an actual lead this time. If a fight breaks out, then Shishi would mot likely have her pay. It has been a while since she had a good fight but she has doubts whether this 'Colm' person would be worth the hype. That said, her main goals have not changed. Find the thief, bring him to justice.

 "Well... unless you think there's something else to find here, let's make our way to the old mercenary encampment and find this Colm fellow."

Shishi nodded in assent. "I'm good. Let's leave this place and find this 'Colm' person.

With that Shishi bade farewell to the smith and trailed after her client.

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Acele and Shishi traversed the length of Inns'th with no issue or incident, reaching the old mercenary encampment in good time. It was silent there, even by Inns'th's standards, and held a sense of forlorn abandonment. The tents and ramshackle buildings showed no signs of movement, aside from a patrol of Aligorian Shadow Guards who were meticulously combing through the area. They didn't seem to be finding anything aside from possessions left behind by the mercenaries who had fled from Remissio's assault.

Acele turned to Shishi with a pondering expression.

"Now, if I were a thief with stolen goods, hiding out in an old encampment, where exactly would I hide..."

Her gaze scanning around the area, she soon settled on a cellar door that seemed like it had been recently disturbed. Perhaps it had been searched by the Shadow Guards, but... no, their search pattern was still on the far side of the encampment, and heading their direction. Not the opposite. Gesturing for Shishi to follow, Acele strode forward to the cellar door and cautiously pulled it open. She only narrowly avoided the arrow that flew out to greet her, which was followed by a figure in a hooded, tattered, vomit green cloak that leapt out of the cellars and charged toward the ladies with twin daggers in hand.

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Shishi followed Acele towards what they suspected to be the thieve's hideout. Questions rang inside her head as she assess their current circumstance. Will the thief know that they are coming to apprehend him? Will he be lying in wait to ambush them? Or is he going to flee?

Just what are you planning Colm?

There's no point in mulling over such trivialities as Acele is about to open the door. As she had suspected, out came the bloody thief but Shishi was more or less prepared. Out came her sword while she grabbed Acele by her clothes and pulled her backwards. Shishi positioned herself between Acele and the thief while her sword rose to meet the thief's knives.

"Better back down, boy," Shishi growled as she pressed forward. Unleashing a flurry of strikes, she hoped that the thief would succumb to her overwhelming speed and strength. "Surrender yourself to justice, boy! No need to die for a stupid knife."

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The thief did his best to try and stand against the flurry of blows, attempting to parry and deflect the incoming sword strikes. Unfortunately, he soon found his knives knocked out of his hand, sent flying into the cellar behind him and out of reach. With a sword at his throat, and a well-armed knightess just behind the woman with the sword, the thief decided he wanted to live and raised his hands in surrender. He did his best to maintain a neutral expression, though there was an obvious expression of panic creeping in.

"A stupid knife... oh, damn it, I left the knife I used to cut the leather, didn't I?!"

Behind Shishi, Acele nodded.

"Well... that's that I suppose. What are you going to do with me now, huh?"

Acele stepped forward, her sword Glimmer held firmly in hand.

"You'll return everything that you stole. Then, we'll be handing you over to the Order so that you can face justice for the crimes you have committed."

The thief bit back a scathing retort to the knightess, instead simply nodded in acquiescence. He had been beaten, and was in no position to negotiate. Still, he couldn't help but remember a certain archer who was a close friend of his... he spoke quietly to himself.

"Shit, Neimi is going to kill me if she finds out about this..."

Moments later, Acele called over the Shadow Guard patrol, asking them to help carry the stolen good and escort them on the way back to Smithy, just in case Colm had accomplices lurking about. The shadowy Aligorians agreed happily, and the group was soon underway with everything that had been stolen in hand. Justice had prevailed today.


Upon return of the stolen goods, Smithy rewarded Shishi and Acele with extremely sharp daggers, one for each of them. Suitable for skinning and hunting, he said, but good enough at sticking into a Chhitten or such as well. Around the same time, the Aligorian Shadow Guards delivered Colm into the hands of the Order, with a document detailing the crimes he had committed and the evidence linking him to them.

--THREAD END--

Edited by EpicRome23

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