Hidden 2 mos ago Post by A5G
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"He's not here. Buried at the sewers, according to our colleagues here." Clarified Matilda to her squire, waving off the issue for now. If Henri ever shows up again she'll drag him to the king, kicking and screaming if need to be. "Speaking of. How bad is the aftermath of Delving's raid?"

"Ah. Forgive me for my language, but it can only be described as an utter shitshow." Said the squire evenly, brows slightly furrowed. "The constabulary itself is in chaos with Lord Delving gone, constantly stepping toes with the royal guards. Not to mention the collapse that could be felt all the way to the surface. Just clearing up the rubble will take some time."

Matilda closer her eyes, took a deep breath, and counted to ten. Calm, calm. Dont let the rage take hold. It's difficult, assuming self control against the curse, but she had managed for so long. She can suppress it as many times as needed. But buy, some days it was so much harder than others.

"Stand by for now, Anderson." She turned back to the table, glaring at the map as if willing it to reveal the secret of omniscience. Alas, the piece of cartography refuse to so much as budge under her withering stare. "It is not only my informant, Lady Veronica. Half my team are in various state of injury from a recent battle. As much as I hate delaying, we'll be in much better shape for battle comes tomorrow."

Still, the vampire got a point. Why waste daylight? Maybe there's a middle ground to be reached somewhere...

"Still, there's no need to commit to an extreme. We can depart in a few hours after taking care of the preparations, we do lack the horses to make the trip. Spend the night elsewhere, or simply camp out. Come the morrow we'll be much closer to our objective, wherever it may be. Hell, it'll probably afford us enough time to check both in worst case. Is this agreeable?"
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Lewascan2
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Location: Hdur, Kindeance.
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"Thank you. I am Jazdia Crystalspark, I assume we know each other already."

Veronica actually didn't, but that ignorance wasn't one she was necessarily focused on curing at this present moment, off-topic as it was. The name rang a bell at least, but the answered stayed on the tip of her tongue long enough to get swallowed by the processing of the rest of the conversation.

"Miss, your assessment intrigues me, you vehemently recommended us to depart immediately with consideration for the Prince's survival. I must say I doubt it. If the information is as crucial as you suggested so much it would force the capturers to take drastic action, then how can we know the prince is not already dead now as we speak? Why don't we hear about it already? What could be gained from killing the monarch silently and dumping his body on a river hoping his vengeful father would lose interest in hounding the killer's trails?"

"The answer to most of those questions, as I'm sure you well know, is that we simply don't know," the pale girl sighed. Fiddling with the pencil tucked atop her right ear, she frowned. "For all that we've learned, we still have yet to uncover one of the most crucial aspects of this whole mystery: the enemy's ultimate goal. If it were simply to start a war, they could kill the Prince and be done with it, parade his body and let the bloodshed commence." She leaned forward again, folding her hands and resting her elbows atop the table, as her eyes bored holes in the marked map. "For all we know, that could still be the goal, and they simply plan to do so at a more strategically expedient time. Knowing they're compromised might push them to accelerate their timetable." Massaging the bridge of her nose, she shook her head. "Given how little we know, it wouldn't be wrong to plan for the worst-case scenario. Anything is on the table."

"The perpetrators are not stupid. The prince is a valuable political tool. I don't think they would waste their bargaining chip just because they heard some group of people are commissioned to search for the crown prince. Hell, even if Fredricus mobilize his entire army to the perpetrators' stronghold they would know it better to keep The Prince alive to be used for parlay."

"I don't disagree. The Prince is valuable," Veronica nodded. "But they do not have to kill him to potentially do worse, and even then, his death as a means to an end is not even close to outside the realm of possibility. The enemy isn't foolish. This entire affair was executed with applaudable precision and competence, particularly in their capacity to deny investigators information and disappear. Given that, I'm inclined to expect then to engage in more of the same if they catch wind of someone being on their tail. If Fredricus sent an army, I quite doubt they'd be there to recieve it."

"The well-prepared trap is unavoidable, it's still a few hours ride without stopping and if the news were relayed yesterday, they had the entire night to prepare their welcome mats. I'd say departing now and tomorrow morning would not make any difference, except we will be less ready the sooner we get there."

"I suppose it is..." Veronica sighed, briefly running one hand down her face, before settling her chin down on the back of said hand, elbow propping it up from the table. She'd been consumed with what-ifs and has-beens for the past number of hours. It was hard not to let herself slump at that, as she forced herself to maintain her composure and straighten up. Everything about the very concept of walking into a prepared trap offended her shinobi sensibilities on a fundamental level. The fact that it was now nearly guaranteed to be a near future burned nearly as much as the sun.

"It is not only my informant, Lady Veronica. Half my team are in various state of injury from a recent battle. As much as I hate delaying, we'll be in much better shape for battle comes tomorrow."

"I-" Veronica shook her head in frustration, before nodding in acquiescence, solidifying her recomposure. "I understand, Dame Matilda. I apologize for speaking carelessly. Sometimes... No, it's unimportant. I believe this is a case of 'missing the forest for trees', as it were. I will attempt to be more mindful." She didn't feel she needed to elaborate openly further to Matilda of all people. For Veronica, an undead, as much as she might try to stay connected with mortal life, there were some things she simply couldn't sympathize with any longer, hadn't been able to for years. What would have been a devastating injury on someone else was an inconvenience to her. And exhaustion? Sleep? What were those? Did they taste good? She was being impatient. She knew it. She was being driven by frustration and injured professional pride over the mission's compromised integrity. She acknowledged that too.

Sometimes, given the way she had been trained, it could be remarkably frustrating to deal with operating with a large group using conventional local tactics. Her training told her time was of the essence, that she should take her compiled clues and go alone, at least scout out the opposition at a minimum... But she wouldn't do that. With anti-scrying measures in the mix, it was possible she'd overlook something dangerous. Going it alone was too reckless, no matter the potential benefits. She wasn't in a good position to be a one-woman army, and if the enemy had already received warning even before she managed to reach them independently of the larger group... that's exactly what she would likely have to be, while somehow simultaneously safely exfiltrating with the Prince in tow.

So, she would-

"Still, there's no need to commit to an extreme. We can depart in a few hours after taking care of the preparations, we do lack the horses to make the trip. Spend the night elsewhere, or simply camp out. Come the morrow we'll be much closer to our objective, wherever it may be. Hell, it'll probably afford us enough time to check both in worst case. Is this agreeable?"

Veronica perked up a bit at that. Given the possibility of serious injuries, the fact that they would ultimately be in traveling shape -well, if not in full shape, then hopefully on the road- by tomorrow was... Well, it was better than a lot of things. Provided the rest of the group didn't convince Matilda of an alternative course of action, that was better than Veronica might have worried. Ultimately, it wasn't agreeable, and Veronica was sure Matilda could have discerned that even in the absence of an outward reaction from the vampire. It was a compromise, and not even a guaranteed one. But when it came down to it, the orc Guard Captain was still the one giving the marching orders.

"It will have to do," Veronica finally voiced diplomatically, expression neutral. Her dissatisfaction was barely concealed, but she wasn't going to pursue this unproductive line of discussion further, at least for now. Besides, now that she was actively considering the state of the team, just based on the intensity of the lingering stench of blood, she couldn't help but feel that she was both being a bit selfish and, simultaneously, unable to truly let that selfishness go. Emotionally driven irrationality, however, was dangerous for a being like her, and so she would avoid acting on it on principle, now that she was conscious of it.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Randomness
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Solomon Sparrow

Location: Hdur, Kindeance




With the map laid out on the table, together, Veronica and Solomon narrowed down the list of villages to only two. But given the greatly diminished time schedule, it was still going to be close to avoid all out war. The problem was that several of the investigation team had been injured, and though they were mostly healed to healthy condition, a lot of rest was still recommended. Furthermore, there was the matter of the mage girl locked up stairs.

“If we were to depart within the next hour, acquire a wagon, and took a more direct path, we could arrive at the closer of the two marked villages by this time tomorrow. If need be, I have the means to scout the other village in a similarly timely manner. However, my methods will not allow me more than gather information. It is something you can ask me to keep in mind should the need arise.” Solomon ran his finger along the map from Hdur, to the closer of the villages Veronica had narrowed down. Most of the trail followed the paths, but cut through some of the planes and low lands where the trails curved or forked. The journey would take two days on foot, less than a day on horse. But given the nature of some of their troop, if a wagon was needed, it would be longer than horseback, but still faster than walking. But then there was another matter to attend to.

“If I may ask, what of the girl currently in Cedar’s care? As I understand, she is volatile and unpredictable. It could be dangerous to leave her alone. In time she will recover. I have not experienced the power you and yours expressed, Madam Jazdia, so I do not know how she would act, even with Cedars care. It usually takes more than a day to change the state of mind of one in her condition.”
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Milkman
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Kaito watched as Nina went inside. He wasn’t sure if he was comfortable with the idea of leaving the hostess of the inn alone with the mage girl. You never know if she would get another violent outburst again and repaint the ceiling with the intestines of Nina in the process. If that would happen then Jazdia would not be too pleased. However the idea that the bear sensed no magic on the girl comforted the fox a little. It was probably going to be fine.

Thinking back on her brutal assault, it was unlikely that she would focus her anger on Nina anyway. That mage girl seemed to have only used her explosive powers against the elf and Yvonne. Both of the girls had treated her former master with little respect afterall.

The fox smiled at the bear with a bit of amusement as the giant furry creature tried to comfort him about his foxy appearance. However he had completely misjudged the reason for why he was hiding his true appearance. It was not that he was ashamed of how he looked. He loved his ears and tail and had zero problems flashing them around in public. Well actually one problem. Humans tend to dislike him for taking their money, valuables, wives, daughters, husbands and whatever other stuff he feels like taking in that. The list of people who have beef with Kaito was pretty long.

”Thanks, but I am not ashamed of how I look or anything. It is more about that I have a rather liberal view on ownership of stuff. That often does not go well with society and there are a lot of people who have good reasons to dislike me for it and act upon their anger. I just prefer not to be easy to track down. The name is Kaito by the way.”

Looking at the bear, it made the fox wonder how such a nice guy ended up in the company of thieves and killers. ”How about you? You seem way too nice and caring to be involved in this kind of work. How did you end up being surrounded by mercenaries and warriors?”
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Pakde
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Jazdia eyed the black-haired woman, sighing to imply that she was unsatisfied with the answer. If the answer was 'We simply don't know', such elucidations were redundant at best.

Even then, she tried her best to smile. "The only thing that prevents Fred from mobilizing the whole army is his desire to maintain political stability, and certainly not because of tactical reasons. No, unlike us who dabbles extensively on elaborated plans to ensure surgical action, field affairs are a mere trivial matter to him. Miss Veronica, you said it wouldn't be wrong to plan for the worst-case scenario, and indeed, it wouldn't be wrong. But it is one of many plans and possibilities we can put our bets on--"

Jazdia grimaced, the pain on her hand throbbed again to protest her decision to move away from the source of heat. The elf, slightly irritated by the notion that those people would force her to fight despite her injury, the elf dropped all the formality.

"So far, your preparation for this worst-case scenario is go there, as soon as possible and be prepared to assault their strongholds. Considering my condition right now. I don't think I can agree to this plan." Jazdia leaned to her chair, her expression was stern. "I am not here to risk limbs-- no, not even a finger to entertain a farfetched possibility, even if it turned out to be true. Your Prince's life is precious, and so are my life and the people under my command. If Fred wants me to help finding his son, he has to be patient."

There was an eerie silence. Matilda was clearly not amused with Jazdia's lack of gentility and the elf was stubborn as ever. Finally, under that iron helmet, came an affable yet restrained interjection, offering a compromise.

"There's no need to commit to an extreme. We can depart in a few hours after taking care of the preparations, we do lack the horses to make the trip. Spend the night elsewhere, or simply camp out. Come to the morrow we'll be much closer to our objective, wherever it may be. Hell, it'll probably afford us enough time to check both in the worst case. Is this agreeable?"

Though there was an apology from Veronica's side, and the compromise was intended to accommodate her situation, Jazdia remained immovable.

"It will have to do," said the black haired woman diplomaticially.

"We will depart tonight..." said Jazdia sharply. "Half hours before midnight and not a minute too early or too soon."
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by wierdw
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Cedar's expression boggled for a second, before changing to a somewhat worried expression.

"Wai.. wut? But yas... an' is jus' you an' me in da hall..." he stammered, before leveling out and refocusing his thoughts.

"Ya aint plannin' on ROBBIN' me is ya? I ain't got nutin' really wort' stealin' nohow. Purdy much jus da clothes on muh skin. Why ya gots at disguise up fer? An' why ya stealin' from hones' folk fer? Mos' jus' barely gittin' by. Life hard fer jus' 'bout e'rybody ya know?"

He shrugged.

"Why I's 'ere? Wit' all 'ese people?" He looked distant for a moment. "well... As kin'a compl'cated. Apparently, "It a crime" ta keeps an eye on the fellar as lives in at great big stone house, when tryin' ta keep 'im safe. I was all lockted up fer a whole week, an' beat with a stick, wit'out food. Real not nice peoples-- I's only le' ou' by at Matilda lady-- Rush' straig' in, and den straig' out. Da village near where I's lives be in real dang'r if'n war break out. I's comes mos'ly fer 'em, e'en if they ain't the nices' ta me. I dun wan' muh home burned any more an' they does. As fer how I's foun' out? Well... As a LONG convr'sation. Ya sure ya in fer it?"
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by A5G
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That's one side pacified. As for the other... well. Matilda stared back at the elf, nonplussed at the complete stubborness. Independent contractors like this were always a headache to deal with, moreso when their service was tied to the crown instead of herself. Calm down. Deep breath.

"Moving after dark is hazardous. Explain why you think it's a good idea." Was the demand from the orc. Even if she's willing to delay, if there's some way to minimize it she damned well would try to make it happen. Matilda wouldn't mind taking only those who could get combat-ready by tomorrow, if it really came to that.

"Anderson, your tasks. Take guardsman Gordon back to the capital. Keep his survival secret for now, and keep him and his family secure. Beside that, send for six horses and an enclosed cart here as soon as possible. And finally, a message for the king." Matilda went for a paper to write down the result of Jazdia's investigation, including the speculation that clan Delving was involved in the entire debacle. She didn't seal it in wax or anything, but she trusted the squire enough to deliver it without any mishap. "That is all, you can go now."

"I'll have it done in the shortest time possible." Anderson nodded and turned to leave, when...

"Hey hey Andy, do me a favor yeah? My stuff's at the inn still and I dont think I'll be back anytime soon. Take care of it yeah?" Yvonne grinned, tossing a key at the unamused but very much compliant squire. "Owe you one, bud."
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Milkman
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The fox could not keep himself from laughing as he pictured himself in the bear’s clothes. The guy was simply so much bigger than him that he would literally drown in his robes. ”Don’t worry about it. I doubt your clothes are a good fit for me. Honest folk are hardly ever worth stealing from. They already get regularly emptied of their stuff by the nobles. If you want to make a good life thieving you got to go after the more dishonest folk. They got all the good stuff. However there is little room for error when doing that. Those guys at the top are quick to have you thrown in jail or executed.”

For a moment Kaito listened quietly to the bear’s story. He wanted to prevent a war between Meche and Kindeance to save his village from hardship even when the people in it treated him like shit. ”I see. I've had the honor of being a guest of the king as well. Shame he housed me in his dungeon. I guess I deserved it. Anyway, it is really nice of you to risk everything to prevent a war for people who treat you as shit. I doubt I would have done it. I guess my heart is rather small compared to your’s.”

Kaito paused as he looked at the door where the girl was behind. All was still quiet. No sounds of explosions or fighting so that was a good thing. ”I don’t know when we’re going to move out again. We’ll hear it sooner or later. I guess there is still time for your story.” Spoke the kitsune as he dropped the illusion that obscured his tail and fox-ears.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Pakde
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"Moving after dark is hazardous. Explain why you think it's a good idea."

Jazdia raised an eyebrow. "If not for sufficient rest and preparation, then to maintain confidentiality. The urgency for it has been emphasized repeatedly and despite the misgivings felt due to a certain slip of the tongue, I assume you would still want to keep this operation in low profile. Traveling with the cover of the night would be your best bet. Not to mention the advantage of the element of surprise. Humans generally take more time to be prepared during the last third of the night."

Jazdia turned to Solomon, who asked about the girl she brought with her. She assumes matilda would want to hear about that too.
"She was sedated with a medicine that suppresses one's magical capability as the intended side effect. A very strong painkiller reserved for the most grievous wound." What Jazdia didn't explain was the medicine and its side effect was also intended to keep herself in check so she wouldn't overexert herself when her ancient rage kicked in. One could guess that fire mages had a lot of things in common.

"And with her mana reserves completely exhausted, I predicted that it would take a full twenty-four hours for her to be ready to cast a single spell, and that too would be a painful and strenuous endeavor for her body to bear. What is uncertain for me is if she would risk breaking that limit for whatever reason. The blindness she suffered was the result of her breaking that limit and reckless use of her magic."

"I will not speak about compassion as a means to tame her right now. Your concern is understandable. After this, I will check on her, and then we will see. For a few days to a week to come, her wound would prevent her from doing anything significant. Chest wound is extremely stifling to u-- magic users who rely on disciplined breathing."

Jazdia activated her eyes and observed upstairs, she saw that cute innkeeper putting on a fresh set of clothes on Jormungand. Contemplating for a moment, Jazdia wondered how such a thing could happen. And both girls seemed to be enjoying each other's company too! Perhaps compassion could work?
Besides the heartwarming juncture, Jazdia saw the blue aura in the girl's body was barely visible and it still remained that way since their escape from the tunnels.

"She is still within manageable parameters and rest assured, I intend to keep it that way."
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Pakde
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Nina managed to have the strange girl seated. That was quite easy, considering how the girl would react earlier.

She disrobed her gently and quickly noticing the bandages and trail of blood. Some were on her temple and right ear too, but luckily the wound on that part had been healed.

"I will clean you up, all right?"

Her answer was a somber nod. Nina twisted the washrag and wiped the girl starting on her bloodied temple and upper torso. But soon, the young Nina was startled when her towel scrubbed a burn mark on the back of Jor's shoulder. So it was true, she was branded.
But Nina did not ask further, she wanted to sympathize with her but was unsure of the correct way to do it. The silence stretched
uncomfortably. Finally, she blurted. "I don't think they are bad people."

Nina felt Jorry's posture arched for a moment. The girl winced and turned away, "They are killers..."

Her voice was strained, weary with a hint of resignation. The innkeeper didn't try to argue with it, and instead, she turned to face her, scrubbing the remaining dust on her collarbone. Her feature was unnaturally composed, pale, and inarticulate. Only her eyes, bloodshot and brown and filled with pain, seemed alive.

Impulsively Nina smiled. "Would you like something warm after this? I hope you will like my clothes, they are plain, but at least clean and ironed." It sounded inane and nonsequitor, but it was the first thing that sprang to her mind and she always spoke earnestly. A moment passed, and Nina kept talking while now working on Jorry's arms,

And gradually, emotions flitted across her face— offense, disbelief, gratitude, yearning, understanding. Nina helped the girl to sit on the bed and helped her to wear one of her hand-me-dows; a simple blue dress with a smiley patch sewn on its bodice. It looked old and the color had faded, but certainly much more better than the ragged skirts she was wearing. Now finished tying Jorry's long, brown hair in a simple ponytail, she looked like a real ordinary country girl.

Satisfied with her work, Nina chirped. "Done and done! Would you like to go downstairs?"

Jorry shook her head.

"Would you like me to keep the door open?"

There was a long pause until Jorry gave her a simple nod. Nina shrugged and lugged the bucket with her. "Suit yourself then."

The innkeeper hummed as she walked past Kaito and Mr. Bear "Your princess' freshen up now. I will send up some food and hot tea."

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by A5G
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"You're suggesting us to depart and strike immediately, before dawn." Stated Matilda, common sensibilities nearly brought her to reject the notion but she reconsidered. The men and women under her this time aroudn were anything but common. On the other hand, no matter what kind of opposition the potential opponents could prepare they'll likely suffer from getting woken up abruptly and the night time itself."That... I admit, it is a sound plan. Just one thing."

The captain turned to the three hunters, one already dozed off on the table while the other two busy stuffing their face with food. They very nearly dropped their bread as she barked at them.

"You. Is Reinhold capable of tracking at night?"

"Ah- huh? Oh, yes ma'am! We had'ta track preys throughout the night at times, all of us. It's long as we've got some moonlight, it's no issue!"

Good. It's decided then. She returned her attention to Jazdia, with a newfound appreciation to the elf's tactical expertise.

"So be it, we depart half an hour before midnight. Rest well, all of you - tomorrow will be a long day."
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As Yvonne done with asking a favor on Squire Anderson. Chounan is done with his meal. He made a praying hand along with chopstick and said: "Thanks for the meal..." Then he arranged neatly his bowl and spoon in one area in front him on the table.

"May I ask Lady Yvonne,

What brought you into a Mercenary Group? You can be like Madame Matilda and other noblewomen who are serving as Knights."
Chounan made a gentle asked to Yvonne who were still besides him.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by wierdw
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"Well.. 'n orders ta un'erstan' why I's 'ere, ya gotta knows not e'eryones in mys'ville's a to'al ass. 'Eres a' leas' 4 peoples in taown as ain't right asses-- Da inn keeper fellar, Da mage twins: Vanquis an' 'is sis'r Flo, an' da blacksmith lady. In dis case, it'd be da mage twins, as runs da library. Vanquis a bit o' a tool-- Sharp a'a razor, but dumb a'a post. Real gif'ed, but always inna rush. Ne'er does i' righ', an' always blowed stuff up. 'Is si'er on 'e odder han'-- she real bookish. Real smar', and real careful. Anyway-- Vanquis decided he wanna keep up wit' all da latest happ'nins, and set 'iself up some kin'a 'scryin pool' outta an ol' bird bath. It blowed up acourse-- E'ery thang at fellar makes gets blowed up."

Cedar made a dramatic motion with his paws to indicate just how big the explosions were, while making a "boooch!" sound.

"Anyhoo-- AFORE it blowed up, at fellar see'd a vision 'bout at fellar in da big stone house gettin' bumped off, an' a war breakin' out. Made poor Vanquis right cross. Res' o' da villagers was sure happy when I tooked up da man'le-- It were Aug'st 'en, an' da farmers was right busy-- an' da loggers was righ' happy ta sees me off-"

He huffed irritably.

"'Em Fellars--- got rocks fer brains, I swears.. E'er since da fores' stopped tryin' ta keel the lot o' em, 'ey been alls 'sup'r eag'r' ta chop doawn purdy much e'ery tree inna fores'. They's gunna kill it dead as hell if'n they keeps at shit up. 'Ey righ' cross a' me an' muh pappy fer keepin' em outta all bu' 'e new-grown parts a' da place. Ah thin's 'eys was right 'appy ta sees me off 'n fact. I showed up ou'side Rascade 'bout a month la'er, and ask'd da local birdies if'n 'eyed keeps an eye on at fellar, an' afore I knowed it, I's gettin whacked onna head while I's sleepin' ou'side- Woked up in chains, an' got beat a bunch af'er."

Just then the door behind him opened, and Nina re-emerged, carrying the used toiletries.

"Your princess' freshened up now. I will send up some food and hot tea."

Cedar's head practically whipped around like lightning to take in the young woman.

"Oh! Thank'ye kin'ly miss Nina! How she doin'? She feelin' any' be'er?"

His words came about a bit too exuberant, but it was hard to suppress the palpable relief and thankfulness he was feeling.

"If'n ya need anythung, I'd be happy ta help yas 'nyways I can-- Hones'."
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by A5G
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Yvonne was back at her stew after saying her part, though she kept one ear open for the discussion. That seemed to be ending too, with the plan finalized as a night assault. Ballsy. She liked that. She'd be blind as bat, yes, but hopefully there'll be enough fire and explosion around for her to look at her surroundings.

As for the chance of this resolving without conflict? Hah. As if.

"Hmm? Me?" The mercenary switched her attention to Chounan, using her bread to wipe the last bit of the stew before chomping on it. "I suppose it's an old story now. Short version, my parents didn't want me to play knight. Gotta be all prettied up nice and tidy, you see? They're bad with their finance. Like, really bad. Who even hold a party every month? Not even the royal family throw around that much money. They're trying to marry me off to some upstart noble that's trying to establish their position in the high society." The story continued through full mouth, a sight that'll give her parents aneurysm should they be there to witness it. Yvonne swallowed before taking another bite, barely pausing in her animated telling. "Ain't having none of that, yeah? What kind of life is that? Basically dead inside. Grabbed great-grandpa's sword and left with a few stuff I can pawn off easily. Never looked back."
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Pakde
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"It's okay! You are our guests! Just don't startle her, OK?" She said, a bit startled herself after seeing a man with a bit of beastly features next to The Talking Bear. She shook her head again and sighed, wondering if these bizarre visitors would bring some kind of omen.

That will be a rouble for Father to sort out, I guess...

"I will take my leave then." The innkeeper winked before going downstairs.

***

Jazdia nodded. At least they have reached an understanding. A bit gravitated on her side, actually, and she had prepared to deal with Matilda's lengthy argument. Turned out the orc captain was not as confrontative as her looks suggested-- or maybe that side of her was well hidden and only be shown through action?

"There is another thing," said Jazdia, now in a more relaxed tone. "I enlisted one of my field operators into our party. His intel on Rascade's underworld had proven valuable and helped us immensely during yesterday's operation. His mastery of illusion magic and hypnotism also can be put to good use in a clandestine type of mission. He was the guy who carried the sack full of evidence onto our table."

Jazdia leaned forward. "By looking at your reaction, I assume you just realize his existence just now, don't you?"
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wierdw

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Cedar nodded, then carefully turned all the way around to lean in and look through the open doorway, then tilted his head and clutched the front of his robe in a very sorry and sappy expression.

"Ohh.. I's so glad she ou' from un'er 'at bed..." he mused to himself as his ears sagged to the sides of his head. He took a moment to compose himself, then very carefully and timidly entered the room.

"Are ya feelin' be'er naow lil' miss?" he asked shyly, carefully gauging the girl's body posture and language at his approach, while still clutching the front of his robe with his left hand. "Lil' Miss Nina said she'a bringin' ya sum tea, and summat ta eat. Ya thinks ya'll be a'right?"
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Milkman
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Milkman

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Kaito listened closely to Cedar’s story. The bear seemed to be a genuinely good man that wanted to take care of everyone. Even going as far as getting involved in the search for the prince while he never seemed to have left his little village. A big heart but an incredibly naive mind. The fox wondered how long Cedar could continue on being such a good guy before suffering the inevitable fate of being taken advantage of.

The kitsune smiled as the bear told the story of the mage that kept blowing stuff up. It sure was entertaining. However the story of loggers killing the forest was all too familiar. ”“I see. I have an elder sister who’s a guardian of a forest, far far away from here. She really hates humans. Always saying that they destroy everything they touch and have no eye for the beauty of nature. No human that ever entered her forest was heard from again. I doubt she’d be willing to let me in as well. That is how protective she is of her forest.”

The fox got interrupted from his story as Nina left the room. The hostess seemed to be done with cleaning up the girl. It immediately attracted the attention of the bear. Not that it came as a big surprise, he seemed to be always busy with helping those in need. ”Well, things seem to be under control here. I’ll see the others now and grab something to eat.” Spoke Kaito cheerfully as he stood up and walked away.

On his way back to the common area, Kitsune ran into the guy who he asked to get him a new shirt. He did what Kaito asked but new was a rather overstatement. At least it was clean.

Quickly the fox made his way over to the table where Jazdia seemed to be discussing stuff with the orc and some new girl. The situation looked rather tense but that would not dissuade him from joining the conversation. ”So, what is the plan?”

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by A5G
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coGM

A5G

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[NPC Post]

"I presumed that it is not an urgent matter to discuss with, all things considered. But let's go with the introduction." Matilda gestured at the three hunters, seemingly isolated from the rest at their own table. "Reinhold, Ingmar, and Bertolf. Witness to the kidnapping, if they're telling the truth. Reinhold even doggedly tracked them down to their lair, for... personal reasons."

Then, to Veronica.

"This is lady Veronica. She's a covert operator that frequently works with the crown, and myself personally. I value her skills highly, especially in this kind of investigation."

The fox took a perfect timing to rejoin the group, just as they're discussing him. Was he waiting for it? Probably not. But it's a good coincidence nevertheless.

"We were just finishing up, we depart right before midnight. Miss Jazdia here is about to introduce yourself to us, perhaps you'd like to share your own words?"
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Pakde
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coGM
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Pakde Doppelsöldner

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When the bear walked in, Jorry was no longer frightened, though her heart beating unpleasantly fast. Instinctively she remembered one of those so-called fateful days when she and a few othe girls on her age were herded onto a platform, exhibited in front of many eyes.

At that time she tried to not think about anything, not even when the potential buyer stepped in and gripped her chin. Then another, who touched him in many places. She did not dare, or rather care to see their faces, though, at that time her eyes and ears were okay. Her buyers were lucid figures with power over her, and they are buying meat, and she should just act like one. Best to get this over with quickly so she could see what fate had prepared for her.

Turned out, it wasn't so bad at all.

And today, strangely, her new master was no longer a lucid figurine. Though obedience had robbed her sight and hearing, it was sharper in a different sense. A bear with soft words and gentle steps. The vibrations he made were clumsy and innocent, and his words were intelligible for now, partly because her sense was not used to the throaty vibe of his and it did not demand an answer.

Jorry... Jorry wanted to trust him.

Simply because that was just how it is.

I don't think they are bad people.

Nina said that. The word of a servant often weighed less, but somehow it resonated in her mind. She touched her chest, savoring the memory of pain, strangely the last part of it was warm and fuzzy. Though her power was exhusted and her sight blurred, she could still identify talent, and it belonged to the hulking, more gentle version of Teddy in front of her. With a bit of a hand sign, she pointed at herself, then to whoever was in front of her.

"Why help?"

Silly question, of course, they wanted to keep her alive so she could be theirs, and---

The elf she remembered had no desire to dominate. Her aura and vibe told nothing but a sliver of rage and pity. And now when her grief for her master's demise had been suspended, it was understandable why. It was like an arena fight. She hurt her and in return, she hurt her too. So why she was alive?

"Are you the elf's friend?"

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by wierdw
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wierdw

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Cedar smiled gently, with his head still tipped to the side. He approached the girl, looking for a spot to sit down next her without destroying the bed, cratering the mattress, or destroying a chair. Sadly, like basically every place that catered to wholly human, or at least, baseline human-like clientel, none of the furnishings were "really" made to suit somebody of his proportions. A bit dejectedly, he sat on the floor in front of the bed, and just to the side of where the girl was seated. He only had to look up at her slightly at least, despite sitting on the floor.

"I' ain't 'bout why sumbody woul', I' about why sumbody woundn'."

He straightened the posture of his head and looked at her with glittering brown eyes.

"Unless ya gots a reason tuh, ain't no reason not tuh. Anybuddy wit' a heart in 'er ches', an feels like a person aughta-- 'Ey aint gunna leave a lil' girl like yas hangin'. Like 'at girl Nina-- All I dids was le' 'er know, and she dun all dis."

He chuckled, and smiled warmly doing his best to not show any teeth, while gesturing at her new clothes, the bucket of water on the floor, and the room in general.

"She a real nice girl, uh think. I's jus' di' muh bes' ta fix 'at hole in ya ches'." he continued, gently pointing at her bodice where the hole once was. ".. Gots ya aways from 'em lou' people's downstarrs." The smile and glittery eyes returned. "Glads ya feelin' be'er..."

When asked if he knew the elf downstairs, his expression darkened a little in confusion, and he blinked rapidly, trying to think of how to answer such a question.

"Well.. I dun know 'er at well. Jus' met 'er yes'erday. She seem nice enough on firs' glance 'dou."
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