Cast: [@Everyone but Yankee], Rooster, Farfa, Brustle’s Men Possible Checks: Culture, Commerce, Karma
The wooden wheels of the carriage that brought you here trailed down the steep incline of the dirt-laid road and into the distance until ultimately it was out of sight. You weren't sure which of these individuals had traveled to Goeta for the same reason as you, but all hopped out of for cart upon its arrival. A cambion-looking fellow with fiery features and sun-kissed skin turned towards the group, loudly shouting and waving his arms to get their attention.
“Everyone! If you are here to speak with the moguls of Goeta, please follow me! I am Farfa, representative of the Comoita family. We will be making our way through Stonehill until we reach the Bridge on Crossroads! Stay close, don't talk to anyone, and don't buy anything! Thank you.”
The demon-blooded individual spoke in common, knowing that the majority of the likely wouldn't know gutterspeech or infernal. But his words were enthusiastic, and hopeful, even though there was nothing to base that on with these strangers. Farfa’s expression remained bright and warm with a cheery smile stretched from ear to ear. He marched to the door with the assumption that those who he spoken to would follow, not even bothering to glance over his shoulder for confirmation.
“Hold it.” A gruff voice growled out.
As the short sentence met Farfa’s ears, he came to a complete halt. For a moment the demon lingered, as if he was in a brief trance before shaking his head and averting his eyes towards the gate where a burly goblin sat upon a large stone with his legs crossed. Farfa’s eyes widened, looking quickly to the group of new arrivals before returning a softened expression back to that goblin. The demon beamed a toothy grin, sharpened fangs pressing over his lower lip as he greeted the unhappy looking half-squat with green skin.
“Rooster! Of course, you would be the first face I see. How have you faired in the three-no-four moons that I have been off rallying able-bodied men and women?” Farfa flutters his eyelashes.
“Shut ya’ stupid mouf. Where's my coin?” The goblin barked back, spitting brown-black phlegm onto the grass below.
“Eh.. Uh.. Well.. It's going to storm! Look at the grey clouds overhead, and the air is already brimming with energy. Let me buy you some mead in the Bleeding Hollow, we can speak of coin there!” Farfa’s charismatic tome tried to masque his nervousness, but anyone could see through that paper-thin facade.
“Who’s those folks, outsiders? Why they followin’ ya?” Rooster asks out brashly whilst peeling himself off the stone and stepping towards the tall grey-haired individual that absolutely reeked of human. “This’un is a human. Ya’ plan on selling him to Lady Niv?”
“N-ow, now.. They're not here as residents. They've come to work, to speak with some of the higher voices of Goeta, and then to leave.” Farfa instinctively slithered between Germaine and Rooster, for forming a very fickle barrier. But it was something.
Rooster’s eyes them danced from Germaine, to Galahad, lingering on the visibly militant half-blood for a while. But eventually, he would relent into a sigh, deflating and turning his back to the new arrivals and stepping towards the west gate. At the large wooden entrance, two towering grey-skinned ogres stood at each side. They were garbed in chain, and place, clearly meant to withstand combat and armed with a greataxe at each side.
Rooster nodded to each of them, and the reinforced doormen silently nodded back before pressing an plated gauntlet to the wooden surface. The gate opens and the goblin enters, firing the strangers a cautious look painted upon his face. The ogres then quickly slam the gate closed, their face beneath the plated helms staring straight ahead toward the group of hired help. Farfa sighed in relief the moment Rooster disappeared into the city, still though, his dramatic expressions would continue as he looked back towards the ensemble on the verge of tears.
And then the rain began, a slow yet consistent shower from the heavens and a rumbling levin brightly sparking through the dark clouds.
Dante’s Run Fito’s Ferry Evening - - Raining
Cast: @Yankee, Yrga, Comoita Men Possible Checks: Commerce, Karma
“Put it on the table!”
”She’s crazy! Get your hand away!”
”She took off his finger, run away!”
The small wooden shack that could hold no more than ten men empties in no time at all. With each heavy footfall of demon, orc, goblin, the dark water shook and ripples traveled outward beneath. The beeswax candles began to sputter as raindrops started to fall with the storm’s arrival, and the tall orcish woman smiled as fond memories came with it.
“Ah, I love the rain.” Yrga chirps out, tugging at the small raven skulls woven into her belt and bouncing on her toes.
Her eyes glance back towards the table where Barbatos sat, a freshly bloodied finger and mismatched piles of coin spread across the wooden surface. The orc’s smile remained, seeming to have only grown giddier having removed a lizardman’s finger from their hand. She spins on the tip of her boots, a strike of lightning illuminated the rather dimly lit watering hole for a moment. It was empty other than her, him, and the imp that worked the bar.
“Should be enough to bring back home, no? I'll even let you keep the finger.” Yrga mused as she slowly took a stride back to the small drinking table, finding a seat on the opposite side to him.
The small winged creature that cleaned the glass cups behind the countertop would sheepishly chime in before Barbatos could offer words back to the orc. ”Don’t forget your tab~.” But the moment his nasally tone muttered out, a hard orcish fist crashed down on the table. Yrga slowly turning her vision towards the tiny demon and branding him with a glare.
I would like to begin my recount of this story with an emphatic statement: I am I.
The rest of the world are She and He and They and It. It. I am I; when I hold my hand up, I am holding my hand up. The sensation is the same as anyone else's, but I can see that there is something being done and it is happening from my perspective. There are lines drawn, first black and then white, appearing, and no line greater than the one formed of I.
It was the philosopher Trantaeus, about a century ago, who said...did he? A century ago? I see it and I can tell that it is a century ago and just a few seconds ago, as it was written, self-same. The name 'Trantaeus', from whom my father half-named me, only existed when it was decided just a few moments ago. My eyes peer down at the ground and I wonder what the point of having such a detail being spelled out is. There is nothing to be gained from little intricacies that do not serve to build a story, it is just the detail-oriented diseased mind that demands the fake existence of a seamless world even though it is the one sewing it together. I feel a little peeved.
Do you hear me? If you're listening and not just reading, here's some other things you want to know.
25 years ago I was visited by the Viscount of Theatan, who sought from me the secret of eternal youth. He was already younger than I was, arriving in a horse and with three attendants. I had little answer for him, but I could give him a platitude: the Gods reach upon those they find most interesting. They will drag away stone and blow away cloud for Their beloved children, those They find endearing - whether this is to be just interesting people or people specifically like a child, I can't tell him. I look upon the white and the grey walls and I see the Gods speaking as babes in viewing things we would never understand. I have already seen the Fae-scion and how people clamor for it, despite its hollow eyes. Where have we seen those eyes before? It is beloved. It will be protected. The Viscount was both puzzled and relieved - after all, he had lived a life most interesting by his own recollection. He was guaranteed to live forever. But he wanted youth, and I wanted food, so I told him that he would never age a moment afterward. It is true: he stopped existing the moment he left me.
11 years ago I was visited by a Fae woman, luminous, plates across the head that flowed like white sheets of ice that formed a frozen waterfall. She stared down at me and beat me into an inch of my life and she asked that I immediately tell her what her future would be, lest I finally die. I wonder if I should have taken her up if she was willing, but I am still here. I told her that her inevitable fate is to go get married to a king that I forget the name of, and from there she would be remembered for some time. I guess I remember her.
The last time someone visited me, it was a weak, old farmer armed with arrows. He asked me for advice of love, but the God demanded that I kill him. The God wanted me to appear unhinged and willing to occasionally dabble in violence so that this is established ahead of the start of the narrative. I was tired so I accepted it without a fight. His arrows were fashioned into bolts after some work, and they served me well into the coming winter where I had little but birds and smoked meats to subsist on.
None of those were real in any sense. All of those anecdotes came into existence as written, not a moment before, plopping down into the world like a fat shit
Must I do that in Goeta still? I cannot make sense of how the humor They ply works...
solely for the purpose of making this fake place fit in more with what They expect. What is the point if none of those will ever come into existence again? It seems like such a minor thing to waste time on, but I am terrified what would happen if there were things that took up more time than the continued thread of my existence. The narrative is literally only just starting, but I can see the line of memory being reorganized before my very eyes - look! That bit about the music of spheres used to be up after the 11 years ago bit! I swear, I can promise you! It was there before! Look at my finger pointing at your screen, RIGHT there.
The music of the spheres. Dancing men melted down into nothing and reformed as trees. Fox-faced women and blood in the mouth. Like most of this music, it doesn't sound real - I haven't gotten used to it yet.
I told you. It sounds very whiny, I know. But...oh, right I remember the point. Spear-tip, pen-tip, sharp. Trantaeus believed that one's own existence could only be continued by one's own self, and like how the insects of the wood will be born from the ether and disappear with winter, so too will man exist only up until his self-will and the care of others runs out. I was going to make a point about - I can see a container being drawn around my thoughts as I speak. The Gods conferred - They want direct action. Otherwise I am only making Their story hard to read. Go bite your thumb, the only reason I am able to be written for is because I keep my sanity down my throat with this! You won't keep me in here!
I stand in the rain and I let my face grow soaked as it seeps through the veil, my moss-crab shell never was good at keeping the wet out. I watched the two do their song and dance, their rough speech formed to be delightful and pleasant and presenting them as rough, and I just wondered when I would be let out of the rain. Of course, I keep still as the goblin inspects Germaine, old, wise-face. I wouldn't want to be seen as human, not here - what They've shown of this city makes it appear as a small nightmare.
I wonder what I smell like. I imagine it isn't pleasant, if I'm not the one being called 'human' here. That's the end of my status as one of my own, until it becomes relevant. Thus starts the new species of Tennaeus. [/human].
I can only hope that this travel-raiment made of decades craft hides it best. I certainly do not feel the same as the others, with their own thoughts kept in their heads, read and put into organized lines like ducks in a row. Grasping at an ironwood staff, I step forward, moving along the flat plane and the flatter plane of one line into the next.
I wonder what's in the space between these lines. Must be the stuff that makes up the universe here. Oh, I like it when I speak and it comes out as blue - important things are happening now.
"Oh! Reinforced Doormen." I hold my arms out to them, the towering two ogres grey-skinned at each side. "I am the Oracle of Fonys, Tennaeus. Heard of me or not, we are with that red-haired one as much as we are with this fire-haired one."
I would affirmatively touch Farfa, thing that is bringing us together, provided he did not recoil at the thought of coming into contact with me. My eyes turn upward, and I look upon the ogres two. The veil clings to my face, still hiding it but providing a silhouette as it lay flush.
"Unless you want something besides just kind words and assurances, first guards. You want to make our first posts difficult."
Interactions 🦋 Rooster. 🦋 Big Boy Guard 1. 🦋 Big Boy Guard 2. 🦋 Tennaeus.
Location 🦋 Stonehill District - West Gate.
A new world, a new life. A sense of longing washed over the boy as if a summer breeze coating his skin, a song of melancholy sadness echoing with the desire to return home; but such was not the way of his people. This was a pilgrimage, a trial of maturity. On the eighteenth year following the lad’s birth, he was no longer considered a sprout, and was expected to venture into an ever-expanding great beyond. With a deep breath, Lumen leaped over the threshold of his ancestral crib and into what had previously taken the shape of lofty tales. Large, black, curious eyes shifted from right to left, indulging in the surrounding world with interest, and awe.
Thusly, what Lumen had come to witness was a rainbow of misery and delight, two lingering spectrums weaving into a single entity. He had seen hunger, and he had seen gluttony, neither of which he understood. The brilliant sun above afforded his people all the nourishment they knew, and while those sharp teeth hidden beyond Lumen’s lips allowed for razor bites, the only physical meal he had properly enjoyed was what had been called ‘jerky’. Dried meat, he was told, and though the boy’s shark-like needles bit through the surface of this meal with ease, coughing soon followed. It was spicy, and salty, both peculiar sensations he had never come across before.
Shifting his attention towards the soothing sound of rain, Lumen’s eyes fell shut. Even amongst these suffering lands the heavens sang their songs. It brought him back to the moments spent with his older sister upon marble of splendid white, blades held high in a graceful dance of prowess and finesse. Though physically prepared, albeit to no one’s immediate knowledge due to his peculiarly petite shape, he was struggling with the mental blockades required to maintain stability.
Large and pale, small and green, tall and red, it was difficult to pinpoint every color had been subjected to, a clear contrast to the blinding white of home. ”Human..,” he echoed quietly, ears perked for words uttered. He had come across that term often since leaving his home. Human. It was a common word, one indicating the many different entities they had passed in that carriage. How could one species come in so many different variations? Pale, dark, short, tall, slim, thick. It was confusing, but also charming, in a way. It felt chaotic, something in stark opposition to the static harmony of the Ivory Court, where time stood still, where the inhabitants were mirroring echoes of one another.
A quiet splash reached the boy’s ears as his weightless frame stepped out of the horse-drawn vehicle which had brought them to this city of demons, Lumen’s glowing white shape pointing him out beneath the dim, clouded sky. Hidden beneath his azure cloak, the lad turned his focus onto the most peculiar entity as of yet. It had an odd name. In fact, most creatures outside the Court had odd names, and each one had a different surname, a concept which in itself struck Lumen as odd. What need did a Fae of two-hundred and ten have of a second name? It felt overly complicated. He was Lumen, and Lumen would he remain.
”Lumen!” The boy raised his gaze towards those who halted their path, ”Knight of the Ivory Court,” he continued, affording the doormen, and Rooster as well, a gentle bow. It was only proper, wasn’t it? The fairy spoke with what could only have been labeled a notable accent, yet nothing known across the common world. A soft, ethereal voice drifted across the falling rain, touched by the language of immortals. ”We’re here on a quest!” And thus, Lumen and his motley crew of misfits had begun their journey into the unknown.
☽ ☽ ⋆ ☾ ☾ Mentions/References/Interactions Rooster Farfa Lumen; a knight of the ivory court Tennaeus ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Location Stonehill District – West Gate ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Above, the sky appeared to be gloomy and monochrome in color. Who would have thought that something as colorless as water could make the sky darken intensely? The group was approaching the Stonehill District when hearing the droplets of water peck against the ground. What a change in the atmosphere, an ominous wave brushed over his skin, causing goosebumps. He doubted that he would be able to turn his back on this city or relax. Arcturus stayed about a rod behind the carriage, noticing that it halted before the west gate, and he began to slow down. Adjusting the damp silver strands that found their way in front of his sight. The gentle kisses of the weather could be felt on the fae’s skin, as he saw that to be the only thing relaxing at the time.
After the carriage halted, he noticed multiple individuals exiting it. Some were smaller than others, and others curiously ran up to the giants at the gate while Farfa was talking to a greenish-short character that seemed to have other plans for the group. Standing beside the carriage, out of the way of people getting out, he thought it was a better option to stay back and observe the scene in front of him. “This’un is a human. Ya’ plan on selling him to Lady Niv?” was not a reassuring thing to hear. Arcturus knew that excluded him, but he still thought of the possibilities of how entering such a city alongside a human would raise issues for the group – he had no issues with humans himself. “This could be going worse…” whispering to himself as he heard another state their name and their title. Lumen; a knight of the ivory court.
"Aye, it could certainly be worse." The actor muttered. It was a quiet response to a quiet statement by a blue skinned fae that was probably not intended for his ears. He heard it nonetheless, and he agreed - things could have been worse. If it had started raining earlier, Germaine would probably have ended up thoroughly soaked to his socks. As it stood, he would arrive in front of his client only moderately soaked. Perhaps he should curse the gods for the foul weather, but it was, he supposed, as much his own fault for not wearing a coat.
Germaine breathed deep. Rain brought the smells of the city into sharp relief. Goeta was a city he had wanted to visit for a long time, for the sights of the southern shores, if nothing else. It had been a long way from where he had started, and the anticipation had led to expectations. A little voice in his head reminded him that expectations led to disappointment, but the actor wasn't disappointed just yet. Like so many cities in the realm these days, Goeta's atmosphere was bleak and full of soot. Even so, the city had a rich atmosphere. Goeta was alive, and it held many secrets. Or so his instincts told him.
Germaine looked around at the motly band around him. Even for one as well travelled as he, it was rare for him to see one of the fae, let alone two elves at once. Different species of elves at that. And they weren't even the strangest members of the group. More than likely, their reasons for being here was even stranger. The actor couldn't help but smile in spite of himself. Perhaps it was the atmosphere of the city, or his love of drama at play, with the tension in the air, Germaine couldn't help but smile. He could feel anticipation in the air. Something would happen soon. He wasn't sure what would happen, of course, or how big it would be, or if he would be caught up in it. But where was the fun in knowing everything?
As some of the group began to talk to the guards, the actor turned to the blond haired demon and began to thank him. "I thank you for your timely intervention my good fellow, without which I would have assuredly been sold." Germaine said. "But, if I could ask..." He threw a glance back towards the door, observing the guardians arrayed menacingly on either side. "Is it safe to assume that things are not going according to plan?"
"Farfa plans to drown us," Umara bitterly said, standing unsmiling in the rain. The half-hearted shrug she shot the silver haired patrician as he stood in his increasingly wet fine clothes implied no apology for her interruption. "Why else would he leave us waiting in this weather?"
Fresh anger shook the weariness from Umara's tired limbs as she glared at the damp eyed demon. Frustration drove the faint traces of sleep from her eyes. The journey had been long. The dangers had been many. She could summon no more patience. Sparks of anger flickered to life in her heart. The danger was obvious. The threats freely spoken. Imprisonment. Enslavement. And death, always death. As she stood facing the gates that lead into the City of Demons, Umara thought that a small bag of coin seemed a poor bargain for her services.
The carriage had brought only more strangers, strangers stranger still with each passing moment. Umara's right hand moved reflexively to the pendent that she wore. Her fingers traced the patterns etched into the soft gold. She suspected that they would find that the line between life and death among the demons to be too quick and sharp for their liking. She shook her head to drive out the angry thoughts, glancing warily at the oracle. His appearance, although darkly outlandish, barely concerned her. She did not begrudge others their eccentricities, least of all when it came to their manner of dress. There was madness in his words, but it did not bother her. Madness held little mysterious to the young pyromancer. Derangement was not uncommon in a blight and dying land.
He had woven no spells. He had spoken no curses. And he had carved no runes into the earth with his staff. The stranger did not scare her. Adorned in bone and hiding beneath a stolen shell, he simply struck her as a sad. She did not relish the smell of his rags, but she did not fear his person. Still, he disturbed her. She did not know the veracity of his claim, but the presence of an oracle demanded greater caution. Prescience was a dangerous science. Prophecy was not without risk. She had no desire to be trapped by a soothsayer's visions. She had burned through the threads that had bound her. She had forged her own fate. And she would not be ensnared again.
The diminutive knight had cast new clouds of worry over her thoughts. His introduction threatened to shatter the last mote of restraint that she commanded. In names there was power and the two strangers had offered their names freely to the demon and the monstrous guards. Trust given so freely did not bode well for their shared venture. They would say too much. They would act too rashly. She felt an unwelcome pang of regret deep within her stomach.
Unfortunately, it was well past the time for leaving.
"Just as well, some of us could do with a shower." Galahad chuckled with little mirth as he stood next to the young, blue haired alchemist, "That carriage was not big enough for the lot of us."
Galahad stood by the majority of their small congregation of outcasts and oddities. Strange that he might've considered himself one, but these were strange circumstances regardless. The rain beaded on the exposed metal plates of his armor not covered by the luxurious blue cloak and dripped off the locks that framed his face. Draped casually over a shoulder and held in place with a lazy gauntlet was a large polearm, fully covered, sheathed in a wrapping of linens and leather to protect it from the elements. Galahad was used to rainy seasons, back home the rain never seemed to stop- gray and overcast were the norm. The southlands had been much warmer and sunnier in general, but rains like this reminded him of home.
Their little gathering was a motley one to be sure, all sorts of freaks and oddities abound. Galahad rarely had the pleasure- or ill luck of working in groups, but on the few occasions he had, they were much like this. Especially in the south, mercenaries, adventurers, wanderers and merchants alike were a strange bunch. While most cities were a generally homogenous of their race and background, on the road the people were as varied as their stories, though most were only fit to addle your brain with their constant droning. People always thought they were more interesting than they actually were- there were exceptions of course, himself being one of them. He hadn't yet deigned to find out the stories of the others with him, but he was sure at least one of them wouldn't bore him out of his mind.
Already they had hit a snag. The goblin named Rooster seemed to have an issue with them passing through the gates and into the city itself. Perhaps there was a door tax? Either way, it was surprising that their guide- and 'employers'- were unable to open such doors for them, literally in this case. Some of the others were already on edge. Unfortunately, things could never go as simply as one hoped it seemed.
"Are they not expecting us, Farfa?" Galahad called out, his tone amused, but his face blank and bored. A free hand lightly brushed a wet lock of hair out of his face. He took a few steps forward to the relative front of the group, though not as close up as their diminutive fae knight had gone. His gaze rested lazily on the two armored guards in front of them. "If I had known there were going to be complications, I would have asked the carriage to stay a moment longer."
Nestled among the diverse band of strangers in the carriage sat one rather unassuming wood elf. His fine blonde hair, his deep blue eyes, his knife-like ears were all normal, standard features one would imagine when they would think of an elf. A "default" elf that wouldn't so much as receive a second glance under normal conditions. It would be difficult to perceive, and perhaps even more difficult to articulate why, but there was something distinctly unusual with this elf. Though he looked around often he rarely blinked. Though he acknowledged things spoken he rarely spoke himself. His breathing was irregular, his hair and clothes ever so slightly disheveled (an uncharacteristic behavior for a wood elf). There were bags under his eyes like he hadn't slept in days yet he had no struggle keeping his eyes open. Many subtle oddities that most wouldn't event detect but in truth hide a secret.
Though this elf was a real, living person he was the ideal disguise for a soul without a body. The vessel by which Ansel had infiltrated the group, the dead hiding amongst the living. Coming to Goeta without such a mask would yield no favorable results. At least not when it came to his mission, as the temptation to reveal himself was an ever-present and amusing urge in the back of his mind. By the Gods, these meatbags don't look very promising at all, Ansel had thought to himself as the carriage came to a halt outside the City of Demons. Maybe they will make excellent distractions one day, should the need arise. As the crew departed from their ride and the guide began their spiel the blonde elf remained silent, eyes forward and attention completely on Farfa. He continued to watch the drama unfold without any commentary of his own, though internally he was already growing annoyed with the delays. When the ogres refused entry to the small crowd a frown finally escaped the elf's lips.
This is asinine. I'm ditching this knife-ear the moment we finally meet this asshole, he thought. As the rest of the party began to fidget or introduce themselves, perhaps in a bid to gain access to the city from the ogres guarding the gate, Ansel came up with a way to make this waste of time a little more fun. For himself, that is. Stood next to him was a young human girl, so young perhaps she was not finished growing. She spoke no words but was visibly upset, eyes casting about and body ever-so-slightly fidgeting. Nervous? Perhaps, but even if she wasn't it did not matter. It was her silence that made her an amusing victim. The blonde elf made a shocked expression, perfectly feigning offense at something surely appalling. "Heavens, child," he finally spoke up, his voice lowered as if to speak privately to Umara yet deliberately loud enough that even the ogres at the gate could hear. "You mustn't call them such vulgar names, lest they might hear you."
The seeds of chaos had been already been sown when the goblin confronted the guide, but even if they hadn't Ansel would feel no remorse for his practical joke. Even if nothing came of it and it went ignored, or worse still if it went unheard by the ogres, the discontent that he had created between this human girl and this elf he was controlling would surely provide him a punchline in the near future. The poor elf was going to have a lot of explaining to do once Ansel was through, and that thought alone made it all worthwhile. In the meantime he maintained his act perfectly, putting a finger up to his lips as if to hush Umara and prevent her from defending herself or calling out his lie. He didn't even look around to gauge the reactions of the others, further solidifying his act by not revealing that it was the reactions he was seeking. If I have to sit here and waste a few more minutes then I might as well milk it for what I can.
Waiting in the rain and in a city of demons. Aelia was not thinking she would end up in a such situation, and yet here she is. Waiting in the rain for the ogre doormen to let them in, though, luckily, she is wearing a cloak, so at least she will not be soaked. Can't say the same to the others, she thought. As she looked at the diverse group she is now with.
Hopefully, having a human with them will not be a problem based on what Rooster mentioned, but the only one that stood out to her was the moon elf, Arcturus. Aelia has never seen a moon elf like him before, and he certainly knows how to take care of himself with that physique. Aelia looked away back to the doormen so as not to stare. Not the time and especially now, and better wait and see how long until they get let in.
Just hoping it does not take too long, but either way, Aelia chooses to remain silent. Enough of the party has spoken about it, and she does not think adding her will change anything. But is still cautious just in case this suddenly turns south, she is in a city of demons after all.
Rolling her eyes, Umara took several steps away from the plain elf that seemed to be chastising her. What words she had said had been far from vulgar and she saw little reason in his manner.
She made no effort to hide her annoyance as she studied the unwelcome interloper. In her thoughts, she marked him a danger by his actions and by his words. His lies were bizarre. His manner peculiar. To endanger their endeavor so soon and without apparent reason, suggested only treachery.
There was no quarrel between them. She had not exchanged so much as a single word with the elf throughout the long journey. She did not know him. She knew nothing about him. She knew no name, no title, or even vocation. The measure of his motives eluded her, but Umara was not so guileless as to miss the provocation laced sweetly within his words.
"The nomads of the Desert Salts, the G'ana, have saying: 'The Gift of words is the gift of deception.' I thank you for the reminder," Umara said, channeling the kindly knife of politeness practiced by the famed swordsmiths of Nyskal.
Umara forced a smile onto her lips, nodding to the blond elf. Let him stew on that, she thought as she turned away from him. She walked slowly, willing no nervousness in her step and stopped next to the tall figure currently interrogating their unfortunate guide.
Better a pretty face, than a dull one, Umara reasoned casting a quick glance at Galahad before scowling once more at the beleaguered Farfa.
Mentions/References/Interactions Germaine Umara Farfa Rooster Aelia ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Location Stonehill District – West Gate ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Glancing up, he swore that the rain was becoming heavier or his body began to absorb the cooling properties; goosebumps were forming around his body from the chilling weather, and he was lucky that he was not with a weak immune system.
“Aye, it could certainly be worse.” A voice near him grabbed his attention, an older-looking gentleman that appeared to be from a higher class of society. Arcturus dipped his head with a slow blink of his eyes to say that they agreed with each other. Watching the man walk up to Farga, he examined the interaction carefully. This must have been the human that the goblin was smelling, a man that appeared well kept and talked as one would if they were educated. Farfa was giving the moon elf a feeling of untrustworthiness, allowing this group of random adventurers to stand out in the rain. If someone was trying to hire or request their skills, would they want shivering and illness-prone individuals? “Farfa plans to drown us.” Arcturus glanced over at the feminine voice speaking. “Why else would he leave us waiting in this weather?” Her tone sounded upset, angry even, and he did not blame her. He was disappointed that this individual was allowing them to wait in such weather in front of a city of criminals.
“I doubt that Farfa wants us to drown,” replying to the pale individual with sunburst eyes. He did not trust the individual, he did not know him long enough, but he did not believe that the demon was purposefully leading them into a death trap. Stalling seems to be a strong suit of theirs… This thought aimed at Farfa. They were opposite in this way, Arcturus would always go straight to the point or attempt to.
Arcturus did not feel anyone's eyes on him right away, but he felt someone linger for a moment. Glancing over to the area that he thought the small glance came from, no one was looking at him. I must be paranoid… this has been a long trip. Sighing as he rubbed the bridge of his nose and brow. He walked the whole trip, the sound of rain caused his body to become tired, and he felt his stomach begin to pinch and poke in attempts to ask for food. Arcturus would most likely not find rest in this city. Barely any protection except what he had on him. A bow with arrows, an ocarina, and a skinning knife was all he had, along with a waterskin. He might want to consider purchasing two short-swords or one at least.
Out of his thoughts about what the city had waiting for the group, he did notice a few faces that he had not particularly looked at during the trip. It seemed that the group had a decent amount of fae; he noticed another with darker skin and white hair. He couldn’t make out her features, but she was most likely dark with her prominent characteristics. Arcturus found himself staring at the gate once again, seeing what would happen with the individuals who ran up to propose who they were and what they were here for – why Farfa brought them, brought us, here.
By all means, this group was quite a mixed bag. The fire-haired demon scanned his eyes across the chaotic group, looking first to the ones who approached the ogres and opening his mouth to speak.. but indecipherable nonsense escapes his maw. The small white-masked figure was already going on about stories of his heroism, the auteur as the eldest presenting human approached with confidence, and the madman? He honestly seemed to be the least of the Farfa's worries. But already was the thread weave that kept that cart ride so peaceful starting to fray. And then his mind would return to the moment, longing for it wander once again so he could be home.. home was so comfortable.
"The plan, is to get inside. Anyone who doesn't look like a human can walk in so long as we don't piss the ogres off. Just--"
The spoiled half-elf's words snapped one of those fraying threads, and you could visibly see it do so as the demon twitched as the Galahad's second question met the demon's ears. A plastic smile spread across his tanned features, squinted cheshire eyes aimed right over to him as he pointed a clawed fingertip towards the once knight and then in the direction of Lumen, Germaine, and the madman near the gate's entrance. A deep breath was drawn in through his nostrils, swelling up in his chest as if he were about to exhume a loud 'Fus ro dah!' but abstained from blowing up on the man with indecipherable infernal language. And instead released a calm and friendly sentence.
"You are quite eloquent with your words Ser Galahad, might you go and speak with the ogres -- try your hand?"
The cheshire eyes would remain, but ever so slowly the smile across his lips would melt into an indifferent stiff expression as the demon's gaze fell first to the youngest human of the group. Farfa burns a very cautious stare upon her before looking to the elf speaking to her, and then to the violet-skinned elf, none of which were helping the situation very much. Both hands floated up to cover his face and a loud sigh muffled by each palm grumbled through.
"And to think that there are members of Barb's family that were turned away by the Order.. only to send... /this/... "
Farfa's hands drip off his face along with streams of water as the rain develops from a light sprinkle into a more consistent shower. The everburning strands of hair atop his head sizzles and hissed as moisture set into the mane of hair atop his head, and his mascara bled down from his eyes to his cheeks. Then he would look to the moon elf and stated rather ambiguously, "Perhaps he will drown us. But I think it may be a little too early for that, they are said to enjoy a one-sided struggle before sending opposition to the grave."
Interactions: Minimal, trying to stay as incognito as possible for now.
As the group arrived at the gates of Goeta, Haron stayed towards the back of the group. The hood of his cloak pulled tight over his head and face in order to conceal his identity as much as possible. Haron remained quiet as the demon Farfa introduced himself to the guards at the gate.
At the mention of selling the humans to some sort of highest bidder made, Haron shuddered and cowered away further. He listened to the rest of the group banter about, not having gained access into the town yet.
The rain sure was coming down hard, thank goodness he has his cloak so he can stay as dry as possible in these god-awful conditions.
Location: Dante's Run - Fito's Ferry // Evening _________________________________________
Accompanying Yrga's glare was a light chuckle sent the imp's way. Barbatos waved at him dismissively.
"I'll pay it," he told the barkeep. It was not an offer so much as a statement, and he didn't look to Yrga to see if she would argue. Instead he turned his attention back to the table where the unsavory patrons had emptied their pockets before fleeing. It was a decent sum. It would cover the debt. He told her as much.
"It's enough, yes." He had memorized the contents of his family's ledger long ago, and didn't feel the need to check it now. And besides, he knew better than to insult her by counting it coin for coin. Barbatos took the severed finger between two of his own, spinning it in his hand slowly. "And so generous too. I'll give it to Zagan."
He couldn't imagine his brother was in the mood to appreciate a gift like this particular item, but honestly that made it all the funnier. Barbatos had been leaning back in his seat with one arm thrown over the backrest and the chair balanced on two legs, but he let the chair fall back onto all four and leaned forward slightly over the table.
"Yrga, you make my job so much easier," he began, catching her gaze. "That's what I appreciate about you. But c'mon. You know this isn't why I came here, don't you?"
The collections was just a bonus, really. It hadn't been pressing, though he was happy to have it all the same. No, he'd come for a different reason. While Farfa had gone to the Stonehill District to fulfill his escort mission (which Barbatos was sure he would hear all about later, in great detail, which he was looking forward to), the youngest Comoita was here in this dingy shack suffering in the rain he hated for one reason.
Barbatos smiled slightly and lowered his voice, his eyes glowing brightly in the dim light. "The Don. I know he's not that busy, but he keeps dodging my attempts to meet with him lately."
There was a brief moment of silence as he let Yrga begin to process what he was asking. He sat back up straight, erasing the image of a conspirator he'd briefly donned. While brightening his placid smile, he continued idly spinning the severed finger between his own.
"He's avoiding me. And you can tell him I said that. You're my last hope Yrga."
That was, of course, a lie. Yrga probably knew it too, though he hoped she wouldn't call him on it just yet. He hadn't exhausted all of his avenues just yet, but the others were much less pleasant than enlisting the help of the orc in front of him.
Cast: [@Everyone but Yankee], Farfa, Brustle’s Men Possible Checks: Culture, Commerce, Karma
The two ogre guards stare down at the bumbling-blabbering outsiders who they had never seen before. The caravan itself was quite familiar, often taking people who wished to leave the city elsewhere and not often bringing them back. The only familiar faces were a demon from money, and a scary goblin, both of which usually traveled in and out of the city without so much as a word. But tonight, the fire haired demon brought company along with them.
”Brud, da’ poopsack are these people?” The orc on the left looked first to his brother on the right, and then down to the smaller folk who approached them.
”No clue, Der.” The slightly shorter ogre on right stated, reaching up a finger beneath his helmet to pick his nose and flick a booger down at the dirt.
A whole entourage approached the ogres, and their common tongue was quite limited as it was. Which made the rather eloquently spoken creature dressed in skins, and skulls, and oh that smell. What was that smell?
”Dis ‘un smells like poop.” States Der, cackling happily as he did so.
Brud set his pale yellow eyes on the small hollow-eyed knight who claimed to be a hero, with an energetic declaration. He grinned and cackled in amusement, bending at both knees to get a closer look and sniffing the air to catch the scent of the fae. ”No heroes in these parts, bug.” The more educated ogre stated directly to Lumen, a sneer now worn proudly with eyes aimed straight at him.
”Are da’ pretty human tastier?” Der asked over to Brud, who now scanner each of the new arrivals. There was quite a lot of humanesque figures here at his door. They were lucky.
”Foreman isn’t too fond of bloodshed at the main gate -- but typically yes.” Brud stated, still squatting down to analyze the squad of wayward /heroes/.. The shorter, smarter ogre seemed to take charge with the situation. Der remained on edge, gripping then handle of his weapon and watching cautiously should anything take a turn for the worse.
”You may enter, but the humans have to empty their pockets.” Brud slowly rose back to a stand. He was confident that his extortion would be effective, because if these folk turned to violence they would have to enter through another gate. And that was not a good idea for strangers.
Dante’s Run Fito’s Ferry Evening - - Raining
Cast: @Yankee, Yrga, Comoita Men Possible Checks: Commerce, Karma
The orcess huffed and grunted as each of Barb's words met her ears, and her own brown eyes narrowed past youngest Comoita to the tiny fiend that schmoozed more money from him again. “You're not going to make it here with your coinpurse so loose.” her right hand opens and her cheek slaps into the palm, and stared straight to Barbatos with a stiff expression.
“That fat oaf isn't ever busy -- I'm sure there's a patch of wood in his office that bows inward right where his lazy rump sits, I'd bet on it even. But . . .” Yrga bounced her shoulders up into a shrug as interest in such a topic held little interest to her. But Barb did seem very pushy about it, she was even using that tone. A collector such as herself was used to devious types, but Barb did not color himself as such, so she trusted him just a little more than the rest of his ilk.
“I can’t get you in with him, but I do know someone who can.” She grumbles out as her hand slowly drifted behind her and unclasps the satchel fastened right above her ass. The green-skinned digits fiddle around for a few moments before finally she pulls something out and sets it upon the table between herself and Barbatos. Yrga stares down at the roughly hewn iron key, small bite marks present throughout every inch of it.
“That /there/ is a black key. Know what it’s for?” The look of exaggerated glee upon the orc’s face was quite comical, tusks pressing into her lower lip and upturning at the corners. “A door. What door though, maybe Rooster knows —- he is the don’s favorite after all.”
Varathira felt her eyes slowly creak open to the sound of grating, guttural laughter, roused from her lazy slumber at the side of the carriage to her immense chagrin. The noise was entirely unpleasant, not that the sound of cackling ever was -- but the air of smugness it was laden with made it far, far worse.
Reminding herself that violence now would, indeed, solve nothing, Varathira resolved to try to talk her way through...
After listening a little longer, in hopes of better understanding what drove the ogres, surreptitiously closing her eyes again to keep up the appearance of still being asleep.
Every second she did, though, only made her wish she could deal with the ogres -- violently -- even more. Every filthy word that spilled out from their lips was utterly intolerable, either poorly veiled threat or a disgustingly childish expression of ignorance. Ignorance itself was no sin -- but whatever these ogres had about them made her sick to her stomach, concern growing for her companions, each second spent listening and evaluating a grueling exercise in restraint which Varathira could only manage by casting her mind back to better times, spent in the company of centaur maidens and orcish warrior-women and with the heiresses of noble titles. That was enough to quiet her, at least for now...
Until vague threats turned to extortion. Varathira quietly sighed to herself as she fully stirred, rising from within the wagon to deftly sling herself over its side, the thin outfit cladding her marble-sculpted body fluttering in the air.
"Ah, excuse me," she apologized, her voice like honey as she moved to join the rest of the entourage, forcing herself to put on the appearance of being tired-and bleary-eyed.
"...But surely, such measures are hardly necessary? If you'd simply let us pass through this gate, we'll be out of your way. Won't have to lift a finger about us again that way." She chuckled, hoping to disarm the ogres with a self-deprecating joke -- if her preternatural charm didn't do the job by itself. At the very least, she wasn't about to let the party build itself a reputation for being extort-able... And besides, she was eager to enjoy the company of demons and devils, however dangerous they might be. Whatever was inside, it'd be much better than dealing with this brand of pointless childishness. Worst came to worst, she could offer a couple drinks of her most powerful liquor. Probably. Or the ogres would insist on greed, and chaos would ensue.
Oh, so that was their game then. A rather common one, as far as they went, but certainly effective. Greed and force were fantastic partners, strolling together hand in hand with the backing of authority. Common as it was, there were many strategies to counter it, though most of them were unusuable at the moment. Greater authority, greater force, appeals to reason... He had too little information to work with.
Time for a little trickery, then.
"It's alright, it's alright. Let's see here..." Germaine said, reaching into his pockets. The actor had not made much of an attempt to hide his coinpurse as it bulged against the material. Perhaps that had gone a ways in stimulating the guards' greed. Nevertheless, his hand dipped into the cloth pocket before coming back up... empty. He made a show of turning both of his pockets inside out, before holding his empty hands in the air. "I'm so sorry my burly friends, I seem to have misplaced my coinpurse." Germaine said to the orcs.
Everything stops before I can even perceive what happens next - a stream of banner-color lights I know as neon, stop-start, stop-start, every second a new thing that I have to make room in my mind for. I am shown a story that has no relation to me and I no relation to it - what is a Latino? How can it slow down time? I know the answer to both of these and I don't really care, I want answers - concise. Real. The fact that the Gods conspired to waste 240 minutes of my life and an infinitesimal fraction of it at the same time burns. Rash. I have a rash on my skull now. Scabaceous and oozing with a thick pus that comes out runny and drips down the side of my head. It's making the Gods itch too.
A week passes. Two weeks pass. 10 seconds pass.
Stop recommending things to view. It isn't a joy to anyone. You're going to forget that I ever existed in a year.
I am still standing in front of the two grey thought-shapes in front of me. I called them Reinforced Doormen once. Their existence comes in before the rest of the people around me. "Oh," I mutter, no one in particular listening. Then, I briefly shuffle. All I can do is that; this God-given raiment tilts as a jug with a narrow base. Umara, young-mask, too serenely shaped to be among us strangers. "I am not a sad. Stop sniffing my rags, all of you, if the mere thought makes you crumple down like bone underneath a wheel."
There are two words up there that seem to invoke a strange tittering in the sky. I look up a little again and let the rain soak and the image of the guards drip down into my eyes as well..
I'm convinced that I will end up causing a terrible problem here, but I have God at my side. He is drooling and He is holding a heavy metal object in His hands, and I know it will technically hurt to be struck with. I can't continue to exist without it. There is a plan in store for me. No consensus is reached or attempted to be reached.
I hold up my hands to them. Gnarled, tree-branch hands. I forget which trees are the white ones, but like that.
And then, I speak. I speak as they do.
"All I have to do is speak that I am speaking as they speak, and then I speak," I remind the others. They're going to learn about how to do this one way or the other, so best to remind them.
"(I don't have anything. I am a beggar and a forager,)" I say in perfect Whatever-The-Ogres-Speak. Look! Stare directly at it, what I said, as it hangs in the air: the ( and the ), the binding circle of clarification! With it, the world opens up. "(I've gotten the robes on my back and the bindings on my feet. The one who says he's misplaced his purse is obviously lying, so let me pass in poverty while you go bother the rich character.)"
Location: Dante's Run - Fito's Ferry // Evening _________________________________________
Yrga was actually going to help him out? That was a relief. Barbatos kept cool, letting her explain. She wasn't going to get directly involved - Fair enough, that's smart. - and instead she produced a key. To a door.
"Coy as ever," he commented. Discretion like that, playful or not, was what made her one of the better agents for hire out there though. Barbatos fixed his eyes on the key, examining it visually before he reached out to split it into his hand. It felt as ragged as it looked. His eyes flickered back to Yrga's face as she went on.
"Ah... my favorite goblin," he said, clearly facetious. Truth be told Rooster wasn't the worst to deal with, and he would have to talk to the little man sooner or later when dealing with Pepito. Might as well make it sooner. That worked out fine for Barbatos - and perhaps if he hustled he could even catch that band of travelers making their way into town before they got eaten alive by the city.
With that thought in mind Barbatos lingered for only a moment or two more before he pushed his chair back and stood. In one swift movement the debt on the table was cleared away and safe in his bag, and the bartender had a few coins tossed his way. The demon blooded man had laughed off Yrga's earlier comment when he mentioned he'd pay, a deep chuckle that he couldn't help. Many people in Goeta couldn't wrap their brain around the fact that a little charity (or in this case, paying one's tab) went a long way. Yrga was proof of that even, she chose to help him because he'd shown her kindness in the past, and now here they both were.
"I'd better get going, see if I can catch him in a good mood then." The key and the finger were tucked away on his person. "Thanks. "
He offered her a small smile and a corny two fingered salute before making for the door before he could hear those oh so familiar words, you owe me one.