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Investigating Infirms

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The sun was descending as the powerful gait of equine stride fell upon the earth leading to the Territory under Hyperion -- The Rising West; A place of insurmountable potential. Potential for greatness, as well as danger, it seemed. 

 

Per a letter sent ahead, Kaige would be informed by none other than Jarkhan, a long time acquaintance within the collective of Demon Hunters on the continent, of the rise in occurrences of Infirms within Central and Western Genesaris. Scout accounts observed some degree of coordination, but many dismissed it as nonsense. Jarkhan took it upon himself to write to the aforementioned, hoping to find assistance in his investigation of the matter. They had struck multiple settlements in the outskirts of the territories, and it was not simply one kind of demon, either. He also mentioned he'd be riding in, tailing the messenger bird by a day or so. 

Jarkhan had always been intrigued by the vastness of the demon kin, as they tended to vary in appearance and power based on the infirm's size and stability. Wielding his spear and a long knife bearing runes holstered against his robes and protective gear, he trekked on toward the stables near the Sadira Amar.  Kaige would be requested to meet him at this location in the letter. Scrolls, exploration tools, and hygiene utensils were all loaded into a travel bag clinging to the back of his horse's saddle. His hair fell about as he rode unabated through the Rising West, the temperate features of the Wicker Mountains greeting him before the Sovereign City itself did. 

Even in the evening hours, the City greeted him with smells and music and performances throughout the streets and designated outdoor theatre spaces. Life flourished here.. well deserved, as far as what he knew of the immigrant nation. His horse's gait slowed as he entered to the Laconia District, moving through massive, immaculate archways on past the fields and farms. It even smelled good out here -- save for the farms and the elemental offal from the Hatchery's inhabitants. The markets, although nearing the end of the daylight, still were stoked to life by consumers looking to shop. Jarkhan appreciated the city and it's people, but ultimately he was here for business.. for now. The Sadira Amar caught his eye in all of its grandeur, as did the various guildhalls set about the vast expanse that was the district. It would have his attention another day, though. 

 

For now, Jarkhan dismounted and watered himself, as well as his horse. He, who stood at head level with the steed, pressed his forehead to the horse's, before a pat to the cheek removed him from the horse's immediate vicinity. There was no need to tie it down, as they preferred each other's company. He waited now, taking a seat and resting. He had been riding for some time, now. Prior obligations had him moving through the Southern Swell and the Velhatian Desert, but now he was here, within a flower blooming in beautiful fathoms that was built on the backs of a proud people. Jarkhan could not help but to think about all they had endured, which took him back to his times in captivity.. Nothing was permanent if you did not wish it to be, though. Freedom was his now; it only served to bolster his integrity and constitution.

"Any time, now.." He muttered, undoing his loosened hair bondage and shaking it out. His spear rest against his shoulder, kept covered in the down time within city walls.

@The Hummingbird
 

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“You’re going to die.”

Thirteen years old, Kaige heard the voice. It sounded hollow and distant, muffled by the fever shrouding his mind and ravaging his body. Somewhere in the pain and agony coursing through his blood, he knew the words spoken were true.

“You’re going to die. First time a death’s happened. Too bad.”

Resigned to his fate and regretting so many things, Kaige closed his eyes. He was going to die. He was going to die. Too bad, too bad, too bad…

Except he didn’t.

Now past thirty, strong and healthy, Kaige rode his horse through the fields of Hyperion’s outskirts, past ingenious agriculture, quaint cabins and farmsteads. He had left Brehill a few hours ago, thanking those there for allowing him to assist in city construction and the work that had kept him occupied and happy for weeks. The vacation he’d taken had been enjoyable, the shining sun, warm weather and warmer community doing nothing but good for his mood and his body.

Unfortunately, it was then he received a letter from Jarkhan, and his colleague demanded that he return to work. And so, saddling Westwind, his reliable mount dappled in silver and blue hues, he left to complete what he hoped wouldn’t be his last assignment. Because a last assignment, even if completed, meant he died.

That would be rather disappointing.

The farms and fields fell away as he entered the gates of Hyperion. Though relatively new, the city was already grand and majestic, fulfilling all the visions of those who had yet to see their Queen’s capital city, let alone the bright Laconia District. Here there were markets, still filled with shoppers and merchants of all kinds, selling food and trinkets and the rare artifacts of lands far away. There were dancers and bards playing for coin on the streets, and as he rode on at a brisk trot, he even saw the walls of the famed Sadira Amar. A teahouse and tavern, which beckoned him oh-so-invitingly. Truly, it was tempting to simply stand up Jarkhan and enjoy a hot cup of bliss.

Then again, the man might hunt him down and kill him for neglecting his duty. Such fatal lectures, Kaige thought bemusedly, were lame.

In a few more minutes, he finally saw his colleague, already sitting down on the job. Kaige, on the other hand, had already donned his Demon Hunter’s black leather body armor in preparation for the task at hand. Grinning, he broke the last few yards at a gallop, vaulting off Westwind even before the beast had fully stopped. Still, he landed gracefully, loosening his fabric-covered spear and tilting it in a salute, finally bowing mockingly to Jarkhan.

“At your service, Jarkhan. Get off your butt and tell me what’s up.”

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"I haven't even been here ten minutes!" He howled in a bit of laughter, excited to see the man; posthaste, he returned the mocking bow. Jarkhan moved from his seat, exiting his dark cloak to reveal his full gear. He raised his spear and took Kaige in a firm forearm-gripping embrace. It had been months since Jarkhan had had much contact; it had been even longer since he had seen Kaige.

"I hope your journey went swiftly; We're heading East. Scouts report what looked a lot like organized attacks on settlements within a few weeks time. Unusually organized.. So, we should be off! That Teahouse smelled like it wanted our coin!" He stepped from the man and approached his horse. "Sorry to have you dismount, It is just good to see you.." He smiled, rubbing up the bridge of its nose before looking back to the other Hunter. 

 

"We should be off, but.. have you eaten?" He questioned, raising an eyebrow. He fished a map from his layers and allowed his arm to be supported by the horse whose bridle he held onto, awaiting Kaige's response now. 

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If Kaige was at all worried about the scant details Jarkhan gave, it didn’t show. Though his eyebrows rose slightly, it was only in unspoken speculation and anticipation, not concern. One might call it arrogance, but considering Kaige’s past experience in dealing with demons and other monstrosities, perhaps he had earned the right – the ability – to cast fear aside.

He spun his spear round once, hefting it, testing its balance and weight before grinning at Jarkhan. He liked the other man. Jarkhan’s bravery, skill, and commitment to duty was well-known. Also well- proven, considering he wasn’t dead yet. Perhaps he was little stuffy sometimes, but that could be easily forgiven. Brothels and bars weren’t everything in a man’s life, after all.

Jarkhan had barely finished his question when Kaige groaned.

“I haven’t eaten in days!” he exclaimed. That was a bit of an exaggeration. Perhaps an outright lie. He had eaten in a day – that morning, in fact, with a snack of hard cheese an hour hence – but Jarkhan didn’t need to know that. Kaige was always hungry, and had earned some notoriety at his favorite restaurants. Fortunately for the hapless servers, he tipped well.

“What about you, old friend?” Kaige hurried on. “Oh, you’ve gained a bit… well, a lot, shall we say? Thy gut’s just a tad bit slimmer, so I assume you must be famished.”

Edited by The Hummingbird

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"Witty as ever.." He said before erupting in a boisterous display of excitement and laughter. Jarkhan patted the chest of his horse before setting the map within his layers. "Let us be off, then. Ooonnnneeee solid meal before a long investigation; can't hurt right?" He beckoned, climbing atop his saddle and bringing the steed around.

Jarkhan led them toward the Sadira Amar, eyes fixed on the radiance it bore in the distance. He laughed as they cut through the slow breeze, their pace surely breaking wind. It would not take long to deliver them there, either; a good rider and their horse knew how to consolidate steps. The hustle and bustle of, arguably, one of the district's finest attractions. 

Before the beast even stopped, Jarkhan was swinging off and too his feet, sliding gracefully through the well-travelled dirt beneath his boots. "Kaige, my friend! I think I might eat more than you tonight.. They will have to tie me to the saddle." He mused, pushing his hair and rubbing through his horse's finely groomed mane. "Good tea and fine food await!" He said, gesturing for Kaige to come through the doorway he now made available to the other Hunter.

 

A quick bite and they were off... Right?

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Though Kaige was more of a wine person, he did not scorn the occasional cup of good tea. In fact, he was quite open to trying new things, and was a bit of a connoisseur for fine drinks. He had heard nothing but good things about the Sadira Amar in Brehill, after all, and fairly bounced through the door held open for him. Immediately, the smell of fresh food and hot drinks assailed him, along with the sounds of hearty conversation, singing, and the bustle of a busy but organized tavern.

Elegant wooden tables were arranged neatly, each one featuring menus and a candle or a glass lamp. Counters lining the walls were laden with wonderful-smelling fresh breads, and the smell of all kinds of tea, green and white and dark and herbal, wafted through the warm air as they were steeped, stirred and served to the various patrons seating throughout. To his pleasure, Kaige saw dishes of fish, chicken, and lamb, even cuts of beef.

A waiter came to Kaige and Jarkhan.

“Are you together, sirs?”

“Oh, we’re together, all right,” Kaige grinned, intruding on Jarkhan’s personal space.

With a nervous laugh, the waiter led them to a vacant table. Seating himself across from Jarkhan, Kaige picked up a menu, perusing its wide variety of meals and drinks. After a moment of indecision, he chose an absurdly large cut of steak, steamed rice, and a side of seasonal vegetables and a dish of diced fruit. Lastly, he chose a large cup of mint and chamomile tea, which he heard could aid digestion.

“Tell me, my friend,” Kaige grinned as they waited for their meal to be served, “what hast you been up to, these past few moons? Surely you’ve not been lax in your duties. A few moons ago did I have a close shave with a monstrous demon in the earth below – hah, you should have been there! I must admit I look forward to fighting with you again. It’s amusing; I always like it when you fall on your face.”

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