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ℜ𝔞𝔳𝔢𝔫𝔤𝔯𝔬 | 12𝔱𝔥 𝔬𝔣 ℜ𝔬𝔳𝔞, 4711 | 1730

Ganth arrived in Ravengro just some time in the evening. The town felt quite compared to city that he left behind, though Ganth would like to think it was holding its breath in mourning. Lorrimor, for all his deeds, deserved as much. The distant tolls of the bells were not hard to follow, and soon enough, the inquisitor found himself standing in front of a chapel of his order, the doors wide-open, indicating a procession. Removing his leather gloves as he walked up the steps, Ganth tucked them into his belt before heading inside, casting subtle glances at the people present. So far, only the girl in the front row seemed likely to be the ‘Kendra Lorrimor’. But first, he had an old accquantaince to greet.

The last few steps took him toward the casket. He kept his distance, standing an arm-length away.

You’ve lived well.” -With a hand clasped over his heart, he bowed –“May Pharasma guide your rest.

He held the position for a few moments, before eventually relaxing and stepping back. He turned toward the young woman.

Greetings...Lady Kendra?

There was a slight lowering of the murmur as the aasimar entered, but it shortly rose back to normal levels. Kendra's head rose as Ganth approached the casket, red and puffy eyes tracking him as he paid his respects. She stood to greet him before he turned around, giving her face a quick wipe with a hankerchief, before reaching her hand out to shake his.

"Yes, although simply 'Kendra' will suffice. I'm not really one for fancy titles, you see." she said, giving a slight smile. "My apologies, but I don't believe we've met?"

"We have not." -The inquisitor gave her hand a firm shake -"But your father had been an stalwart ally, bless his soul." -He let go of her hand then, offering a warm smile -"My name is Ganth. Inquisitor of Pharasma."

Having arrived late due to getting lost just trying to find the town of Ravengro, Tomomi strode confidently towards the front, towards the casket, before offering him a prayer. An employer, and one who named her in his will. Her clothes were dusty and dirtied from the rigors of travel, but she paid it no mind. A dirtied jewel was still a jewel after all. Her sharp ears caught the conversation between the man and the woman at the frontmost pew, causing her to turn around.

"Pardon me for eavesdropping, but I cannot but help notice your name." She spoke, giving a polite nod towards the man. "My condolences for your loss."

Kendra gave Ganth her own warm smile, her eyes seeming to radiate some small measure of genuine gratitude beyond the outwardly teary and glassy appearance. "That's good to hear. My father made many friends, and you certainly appear to be one of the more-" Whatever it was she was going to say was interrupted by the arrival of another guest, immediately catching Kendra's attention.

"Why thank you, miss...?" Kendra said, offering a hand out towards the samurai.

"Kinpachi Tomomi," she replied, taking the woman's hand. One of his relatives, probably his daughter."I have worked with Mr. Lorrimor as his bodyguard before. I assume you too had some connection with the late Mr. Lorrimor? I'd have never thought he'd be acquainted with an inquisitor."

Tomomi turned towards Ganth at that last sentence.

"Professor Lorrimor was a man of many talents. And one of them happened to be exactly what our order needed." -Ganth simply shrugged -"Though I have a hard time believing someone like you is a mere bodyguard."

She fluffed up with pride almost immediately. "Right? But Mr. Lorrimor knew I was great, thats why he hired me time and time again to be his bodyguard. We've been through a lot together, but now..."

She deflated slightly as she looked towards the coffin. "Wonder why he named me in his will..."

"'tis a question I seek to ask as well."

"Oh! You two are both one of the ones mentioned in his will?" Kendra said, looking between the two of them. "I'm sorry, I didn't connect the names until just now! It is a double pleasure to meet you then, for my father must have had some great reason to name you directly."

"I see." Tomomi turned towards Kendra. "It was not only I that has been named, but others as well."

Stranger and stranger. She had been all for thinking the old man may had just been thinking of her, but it seemed there were others named in his will as well. For what reason? Surely it was not on a mere whim. Perhaps the actual will will reveal the reason why.

"He didn't tell you?"

"He did not. I was simply left a series of names to deliver letters to upon his de-" Kendra chokes up a little here, requiring a moment to recompose herself before continuing. "...upon his passing."

Despite the change in word, it does not seem to have helped much, as her eyes grow glassy again.

"I'm sure he will find peace by our Lady's side." -Once again, Ganth offered the grieving daughter more words of comfort. He knew, despite the certainty of death, the loss of a loved one wasn't easy to get over.

Kendra wiped her eyes, seeming to summon some small amount of strength from Ganth's words. "Thank you, Sir Ganth. You try to reassure me too much, but it might be exactly what I need right now. I can certainly see why you and my father got along."

Finding the funeral location was a quick affair of having eyes and looking for "the fanciest building in town," as was the helpful direction from an urchin running by. The child wasn't exaggerating, thankfully, and Iris was soon at the temple's front doors, trying to decide if he should have dressed up for the occasion. As it was, he was garbed in a simple white tunic and dark trousers tucked into his weathered boots, the appearance of a wayfaring adventurer in stark contrast to the Aasimar's smooth, pale features that hearkened back to days of decadence and debauchery. He displayed none of the typical tan and rugged weariness of a veteran traveler, yet at least looked the part with a large pack on his back and an appropriate rub of his shoulders as he unloaded the weight onto the floor.

Deciding it would look too cumbersome to wander up the aisle with a bag of supplies, he deposited the pack beside the scruffy man in the back pew, giving him a quick smile and a glance before walking towards the casket. A knight of some sort had just finished paying his respects and Iris waited patiently until the man had moved aside to speak with someone in the first row before approaching the casket himself.

The polished mahogany was slightly warm to the touch, as if it clung onto the heat from living hands. Iris tapped the wood almost impetuously with a fingernail.

"Of all people, to name me in your's a wonder your daughter agreed to invite me. And even in death your actions never fail to surprise me. ...But I'll trust you on this. You always did seem to know better."

He rested his forehead against the casket's lid for a brief moment, then straightened and returned to the pew in the last row, placing the pack down onto the ground and taking a seat beside the bearded man.

"Was everyone here summoned by letter?" he asked softly, keeping his voice at the level of the murmuring.

"Aye." spoke the woodsman. His voice was low and grainy, but friendly enough for the occasion. "I was in the middle of a poker game when the missive arrived. Pulled out on a full house to make preparations for the journey. Probably should have seen that one through, but I'll have another opportunity."

"If I might ask, what was your relation with the professor?"

"You may." says the man, giving a slight nod. "I assisted the Professor with some of his research, especially in the wilderness. I was able to procure some opportunities for Petros to study some particular creatures up close."

"I trust you would not mind being asked the same question?"

"Of course not, but you might find the answer less than appealing," Iris laughed, but explained regardless. "I was a courtesan--well, I still am, really--who happened to meet the professor while servicing a client. Don't ask why I'm here. I'm wondering the same thing."

"A courte-?" the man started, raising one bushy eybrow in surprised confusion. He fortunately stopped himself before he could get the full question out, deciding it was probably not the venue for such a query. He gave a less than subtle look up and down Iris's body, before giving a slightly amused huff. "He always was a peculiar man. Can't say I have much reason to be here myself; a simple hunter doing his job. But, I'm more than happy to honor his request; I imagine we share that at least."

"Certainly." Iris smiled, not missing the look. "And I could certainly offer my services if you were interested."

"I'm sorry my friend, but I can't say you're what I look for in a companion." the man said, giving a hearty chuckle.

"A shame. The offer's always open," Iris settled back into his seat with a quick pull at the lacing that tied together the neck of his tunic. He winked, but left it at that, watching the front of the room curiously.

There was nothing much to view for the funeral, some people ambled between guests, striking up conversation or sitting quietly. However, as one of the guests turned his head, the man in the second row with the sword on his hip, Iris would catch a quick glance of his facial features. There was some familiarity to him, though Iris could not quite place it.

Felsi, for her part, arrived with neither the dress of the decorum required for a funeral. It had been quite the journey to Ravengro, and she only arrived just in time for the funeral. Her clothes were a pale blue, a flowing outfit somewhere between a dress and a robe with matching gloves and boots. The bottom of the outfit was muddied, something that both greatly disappointed her and contributed to her out-of-place appearance. There was also the not-small fact of her unnaturally pale skins and swirling blue eyes. Overall, she felt thoroughly out of place, especially since the others were dressed so nicely. She’d read that at funerals it was customary to wear black, but she was still somehow surprised.

Well, it was too late to fix that.

Much as the others had she’d started by walking towards the casket, taking a long glance at it after the thin… Aasimar? She’d only now noticed he wasn’t the only one in the room. She’d read about them, certainly now a topic of curiosity. She’d have to catch up with one of them when they weren’t occupied, but for now she focused on the box that held Professor Lorrimor’s corpse. She didn’t have anything to say to the body, instead just letting out a low ‘hmmmmmmm’ before moving on towards the pews.

She caught sight of a scholarly looking man – surely, he’d have something interesting to say, she’d decided. She took a cautious seat next to him with an awkward smile, ”I’m, uh, Felsi.” she blurted out as she sat.

The man turned as she sat, offering a warm smile and a handshake as Felsi introduced herself. "Abraun Chalest, a pleasure to meet you!" he said, looking her up and down before adding a hesitant and unfinished "Are you...?"

Felsi gave him a long stare, maintaining her smile as she attempted to decipher what exactly it was that he meant. ”I’m… a friend of Professor Lorrimor? Are you one of his colleagues, Mr. Chalest?” she asked, making a guess by his attire, missing the point of the question entirely.

"Oh no, my dear, I'm sorry." Abraun said, shaking his head and adjusting his spectacles. "You're not part djinn are you? Was one of your relatives a genie of some sort?" he asked, looking over the woman with what appeared to be acedemic interest. He quickly recoiled though, looking back to her eye. "But where are my manners? I'm one of the leading reseachers of Osirion artifacts, and Petros frequently brought such pieces to my study. I suppose you could call us collegues."

”I see…” Felsi let out, processing his question. It was much the same as the one that Lorrimor had asked her so long ago. ”I’m… uh… no.” she said, pausing for a moment before continuing, ”I mean to say… I’m a Sylph, yes, but… I have no relation to any djinn. My father was exposed to planar energy, from the… er… Elemental Plane of Air. Perhaps you’re familiar with a Professor Grelvor Wiltmore? He was my father, a, uh, researcher such as yourself and the late Professor…. and myself, I suppose.” Felsi said, stumbling through her sentence.

"Wiltmore...Wiltmore...yes, the name does seem familiar." he said, putting his finger to his lips in contemplation. "Now that you mention it, I believe I actually did hear about that planar incident as well. Most of the Universities started putting some regulations on Plane studies after that, I think."

He brought his hands down and clapped them together excitedly. "But enough about your father, I'm sure people ask you plenty of questions about him. What are you researching, my dear?" he asked, geniunely curious.

”Well, er, for the past few years I’d been focusing my efforts on continuing his research, studying the nature of the Great Beyond… perhaps to succeed where he’d left off, I’d hoped. Although my interests have… shifted a little. In the coming months I intend to set out unto the world to tour the many places of learning across the land. Surely anything I can learn from those more well-versed in other issues will help my own studies, yes?”

"Ah yes, there truly is no greater teacher than experience! Although sometimes the lessons it teaches are not the ones we'd necessarily hoped for!" he said, giving a great exaggeration of his voice. "When you do begin your travels, do be careful. The countryside is not always the most friendly of places, and there is no shame in hiring guards to assist you."

”Yes… that’s good counsel. I’ll keep that in mind.” Felsi paused for a moment, thinking, ”You said you studied Osirion artifacts, Mr. Chalest? Could you tell my more about your work?”

"Well, since you're so interested, I suppose I can talk about it a little." the man said, adjusting his spectacles and leaning in slightly to allow him to lower his voice. "I'm sure you're aware of the Osirion culture; one of the biggest empires that rose 1000 years after Earthfall, started the Age of Destiny, still alive and well just south of the Inner Sea. All common knowledge, I'm sure. However, their artifacts can be found all across the globe, indicating that they might have stretched even further than we imagined! Some of these even suggest that they were attempting to rise to power as early as the Age of Darkness! Isn't that fascinating?"

Aubraun's eyes twinkled with excitement as he spoke, his voice brimming with similar levels of eagerness.

Felsi let out a thoughtful ‘hmmm’ as he spoke. As he finished she nodded, ”It is! Fascinating indeed.” she said with a marked enthusiasm. Perhaps she’d learn more about his research later, but for now there was another topic of curiosity. Felsi’s gaze shifted to the pair of Aasimar in front, ready to change the subject, ”Between myself and them the Professor has certainly surrounded himself with an interesting sort. I’m assuming so many Aasimar isn’t a usual occurrence in this town?” Felsi said, leaning in and speaking low so they wouldn’t hear.

"So many Aasimar in Ustalav isn't a usual occurance." Aubraun noted, looking around the room. "I think there's three of them. The two up front, and the one in the pews beside ours. At least, I believe that he is an Aasimar." he added, nodding his head in Iris's direction.

"I'd be wary, they say celestials gather where darkness lurks. Hopefully it is mere coincidence that the professor invited them."

Another ‘hmmmmm’ came from Felsi at that. ”Either way, they certainly are interesting. It’s the first time I’ve seen one in person… in fact, if you’ll excuse me Mr. Chalest, I think I’ll take this opportunity to talk to them. It was a pleasure meeting you.” she said, beginning to get up.

"And you as well, my dear. Seek me out if you're ever in Caliphas, I'd love to know how your research progresses!"

Interest piqued, the Aasimar stood up for a better look, wandering forward from the left edge of the room to avoid the main aisle and keeping himself as discreet as possible between the various guests present. When he was close enough to the pew to get a better look, Iris finally remembered the man--a frequent customer of the Violet Widow, though he hired courtesans mostly to talk and admire him. Iris had been on the receiving end of several embellished stories the man enjoyed telling about his various adventures--all no doubt more mundane than he liked to let on.

"Lord Ariesir," Iris greeted him as he set down a respectful distance from the aristocrat. "Fancy meeting you here. Have you managed to slay any more beasts in the interim?"

The man turned to locate the source of his name, eyes taking a moment to register the face before he grew quite flustered. "I-Iris!? Wha-...what are you doing here?" he nearly shouted the question, only bringing his voice down for subtlety after he realized his mistake, ignoring the courtesan's question in favor of his own.

"Same as you, I imagine. The daughter's letter. Have you been well?"

Duristan Ariesir struggled to regain his composure, his surprise slightly overshadowed by his embarrassment. "Ah...yes...I just didn't think..." he said, nervously wringing his hands as he struggled to form a conversation. "I have been, yes. The thrills of adventuring have kept me as fit as a horse...except for the occasional spat."

He slowly started to slip into his boastful manner, attempting to seek refuge in the thing he was most comfortable with: himself.

And Iris let him, because if there was one truth he took to heart about socialization it was this: people loved to talk about themselves.

"You must tell me of your latest adventures, my lord. Ever since I took a vacation from the Widow, I've truly missed your daring feats."

"Well..." Duristan started, eyes darting around to see if anybody else had noticed his flustered moment. "I've not told many people this story, but my hirelings and I are hunting the most interesting of beasts. Apparently there is a legend around Ustalav of an undead draconic chimera...thingy. And I intend to find it!" he seemed quite proud of himself at that statement, seeming to sit up taller.

"If anyone can slay the creature, it's you, my lord!" Iris exclaimed as loudly as was acceptable. He leaned forward with a light clap of his hands, the very picture of eager support. "I wish you the best of luck, though I hardly think you'll need it."

"Quite right you are! I've got my men tracking it as we speak, and I aim to meet with them immediately after the funeral. You mark my words, that creature will be slain by the end of the fortnight!"

"You give yourself too little credit. Surely sooner than that! But your humility precedes you, my lord. Ever the perfect noble."

"Why thank you, Iris. How have you been anyway? You mentioned a vacation, and now that I think of it, it has been a while since I saw you last!"

"I've left the Violet Widow for now, I suppose. Wanted to see what else was out there for me. But mine's a story that would bore you to tears and you certainly don't need the distraction when your quarry's near town. Suffice it to say I've been well, but I'm very glad to see you're faring spectacularly. They'll have you down in the annals of history yet, my lord, just you wait and see."

"They certainly will have me in the...annals. Most certianly! Perhaps after that, they will even write stories about me! Records of my great escapades!" Duristan rose with pride some more, before shrinking back down into his seat, lost in grandeur. "Worry not, for I will remember the little folk when they do! Perhaps I'll even mention you, Iris! As a friend of mine of course...not as-" he said, quickly becoming embarrased again.

"You're too kind, Lord Ariesir. You needn't mention me at all! I'm more than happy to cheer you on from my lowly position. A king doesn't remember every ant he passes on the street, and neither should you. But I'm more than flattered you would even bother to remember my name. Can it be possible that you're both humble and magnanimous?" Iris feigned a shocked look before settling back into his customary smile. "I am already unworthy to be in your presence, but forgive my selfishness that I choose to remain regardless. I can't help myself."

"Why thank you Iris, you certainly flatter me! I am quite 'mag-nanie-moose', aren't I? Durisian said, puffing his chest out despite his very obvious mispronunciation of the word.

"I'm certainly glad to have you as a comrade, Iris. Even if you are stuck in your position."

"Not all of us can aspire to your lofty heights, my lord. I am content with what I have, the greatest of which is your regard for me as a comrade. I'm honored, truly! I can offer little by way of help, but if there's anything you'd like of me, ask and I will endeavor to fulfill." The courtesan bowed slightly from his seat, closing his eyes briefly in reverence before straightening again.

"Well, I cannot think of any reason to put you in harm's way for this hunt of mine. It's quite dangerous." the man said cockily, adding the appropriate emphasis.

"But do look for me if you're ever back at the lodge, it would be excellent to enjoy your companionship another night."

"Nothing can best you, my lord, though I can't help but ask that you stay safe, regardless. The world can't afford to lose any more leaders in this time of strife. As for the lodge, well, you could consider me a bit of a freelancer at the moment. If you want my company, all you need to do is ask."

"W-well...I can't exactly ask that here." Durisian stuttered, lowering his voice and looking around. "And I'm leaving immediately for my hunt, though I will be returning to the Shudderwood afterward."

"I will try to remain intact, however. So that you may enjoy my company if you return to the area."

"Everyone needs your company, Lord Ariesir, though I'm glad to be in your thoughts. Unfortunately I've left my pack unattended for quite a while and don't wish to cause a stir in this place if I've lost it, so I'll return to my seat. But may the gods protect you on the hunt, and bring you the glory of victory."

With another bow as he stood, Iris slipped back into the left aisle of the room, weaving his way past other guests and sitting back down in his original seat beside the woodsman, heaving a sigh of disappointment. No dice this time with Lord Ariesir, but at least he wasn't in desperate need for coin yet thanks to small savings from his latest and less-than-glamorous occupation as a cook. Giving the woodsman a nod of thanks for keeping watch on his posessions, Iris settled into his seat to wait for the reading of the will by the Lady Lorrimor--whoever they were in this room.

Felsi stood for a moment before creeping slowly into the conversation. ”Um, excuse me,” Felsi said a little quieter than intended, ”Hello!” she managed just a little louder, giving a small wave to the Aasimir and the young lady she could only assume was Lorrimor’s daughter, ”I’m Felsi.” she managed, glancing across the small group. It crossed her mind that perhaps she should’ve looked for a more opportune time to introduce herself, but it was far too late to consider that now.

"A pleasure to meet you Felsi, and thank you for coming. Kendra Lorrimor." she said, offering a handshake. It would be clear to Felsi that, depsite the circumstances, she was still trying to maintain a strong appearance, however difficult it actually was for her.

Tomomi turned towards the new arrival, her train of thought broken. "Greetings to you, Felsi. Did you need something?"

A newcomer, one that looked human, but... Tomomi's eyes could see the way her hair moved as if carried by the winds, and her eyes... .She had no idea what the girl was, but judging from how interesting she looked, Tomomi could hazard a guess as to which recently deceased professor brought the girl here.

Felsi nodded quickly at the Aasimir’s question, returning Kendra's handshake as she continued, ”Yes, yes, well…” Felsi leaned in a little closer towards the girl, examining her, ”I was… wondering if either of you had wings?" she asked, adjusting her glasses as she glanced between the two Aasimir, "I read that Aasimir sometimes have wings.” she quickly added.

Tomomi leaned back slightly as Felsi started examining her. Was it the soft fluffy feathers here and there in her hair? Her fair complexion even with all the travelling she did? Or was it her golden eyes that seem to glow softly with its own light? Upon hearing the question she asked, Tomomi's expression darkened slightly.

"That is true. Sometimes Aasimars have wings. The name's Kinpachi Tomomi, just call me Tomomi."

Felsi gave Tomomi and expectant glare. ”Yes. Tomomi. Nice to meet you. And the question was if you have wings.” apparently Felsi either didn’t care or wasn’t aware of Tomomi’s expression.

"Ganth" -Ganth gave the newcomer a slight bow, before introducing himself -"The pleasure is all mine, Lady Felsi."

However, the question that followed did make him raise an eyebrow. It was true that Aasimirs had wings. He had read about it in books and tomes, and sometimes, some of his brothers and sisters did ask the same question. However, as far as he knew, this was not common knowledge. Or was it? His knowledge about his own kind is painfully thin.

"I don't, unfortunately. But I have yet to meet an Aasimar who does."

"That is correct. Now,"Tomomi turned to Felsi. "I am how I look. But you, what are you? I have seen many people in my travels and I have yet to see one that seems to flow with the wind even as they walked."

”Ganth. Nice to meet you.” Felsi said before turning to Tomomi, eyes widening a little before she nodded, ”Right. I’d prefer to call myself a human, but I’m more accurately called a Sylph. Uh… the simple explanation is that I have a tenuous relation to Djinn. But more importantly…” Felsi bit her lip, reaching a hand into her backpack and producing a journal, and quickly after a pen and a bottle of ink to match. She filled her pen before stuffing the bottle back in her pack, securely tightening the lid, already beginning to scribble into her journal.

"Oh, are you a researcher as well, Miss Felsi?" Kendra asked curiously, looking in interest at the notebook.

Felsi seemed absorbed in thought, barely perceiving Kendra’s words as she chewed on the end of her pen. ”Yeah.” she muttered, not looking up from her journal.

Kendra nodded at the short answer, going back to her sullen silence. There'd be time for regular conversation another place.
oh god zoe's gonna murder everything again

Marcus | Ernie | Chris | Zoe

𝕎𝕖𝕕: 𝕆𝕔𝕥. 𝟟, 𝟚𝟘𝟚𝟘 / / 𝔹𝕒𝕝𝕕 ℍ𝕖𝕒𝕕 𝕀𝕤𝕝𝕒𝕟𝕕 / / ℤ𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕘'𝕤 𝔼𝕤𝕥𝕒𝕥𝕖 / / ~𝟘𝟝𝟘𝟘

Marcus watched as Siena cast one last glance over the group, trying to meet her eyes as they simply went by him. The thought that this might be the last time he saw his roommate wouldn't even hit until a few seconds after she vanished. He just wanted her to be safe, despite their argument and the terrible thing he'd done without realizing it. They were still roommates, and somewhere Marcus hoped they were still friends too, and he was worried for her safety.

What was he supposed to do as she grabbed Brent? Wave goodbye, like she was going on some sort of cruise or something? Wish her well? 'Oh, I know you're going out to do a suicidal rescue, but have fun!'. All he could do was watch.

Watch as something seemed to go wrong. Watch as the fear and uncertainty seemed to spread throughout her. Watch as, for a moment, just before she vanished, everything seemed completely fall apart.

He'd stumbled once getting teleported by Siena and had almost gotten his arm sheared clean off. His stomach flipped at the thought of what else could happen if she wasn't prepared. Uncertainty turned to panic, and Marcus found himself fumbling for the satellite phone he didn't have.

"Shit!" the single word that escaped his mouth as he checked himself over. All he had was the cuff and his own phone. His mind was beginning to race and become hasty. "God- Transm- no!" Marcus stammered out, stopping himself and quickly shouting out an "Over!" just in case.

He couldn't use the cuffs; Anyone hearing that through Angel or Missing Guy's cuff would know about them. Bad choices. Bad reactions. Think clearer.

Siena had a normal phone! Her source backup; so she'd definitely have it on her. The best solution he could think of. He whipped it out quickly, nervously tapping his foot as he pulled her from the contacts.

No Service.

"Goddammit!" he muttered sharply, resisting the urge to throw the device.

"Ernie. You got your satellite phone?" Marcus asked, head quickly turning to the boy. There was a hint of desperation in his voice, and an even bigger hint of it in his eyes.

Definitely a mistake.

Ernie wondered if a battle would ever pass without him majorly fucking up somehow. As Siena's veneer shattered before the jump, he could only watch as the realisation of what he'd just let pass hit him like a freight train. Big mistake. They were just some rookie kids. They knew they couldn't handle these seasoned mercenaries. He knew that.

What have you done?

The Aberration remained stock still as Marcus stammered and shook. God, he wanted to break down and do the same so badly. But panic would only draw attention. Instead, he took his mind off the teleport team. Kept his gaze locked on the Arbiter, his model of exactly how not to react. Not with the classmates so near, anyway.

He shook his head apologetically. "Hazel poofed it at Wisford."

His eyes darted furiously. Ernie wasn't an option, and the closest other student was...

"Scales. Sat Phone." Marcus barked, making his request clear.

Without hesitation, Chris took out his phone and offered it to Marcus, His care was placed more so on Brent and Siena then their current situation, and his solemn expression made that clear. "Right." He had said with a flat tone.

Marcus took the phone with no further dialogue. Navigating to the contacts menu, he was just about to tap Siena's name when another caught his eye. Right above hers; Roless, Brent.

Siena wouldn't tell him even if anything was wrong. Maybe Brent would be a little more forthcoming. They were Team SAP after all, and Marcus was willing to take advantage of any emotional connection he could if needed. He tapped Brent's name, bringing the phone to his ear.

But only silence accompanied the rings.

To be honest, Marcus didn't know if he preferred screams over silence. At least with screams you knew what was happening.

Once again resisting the urge to throw the phone, Marcus calmly handed it back to Chris, only offering a muted "Thanks." as he continued past and leaned against the wall, running his hands through his hair again. The satellite phone probably just hadn't picked up the call, that was it. It was storming, they were underground. It was probably fine.

It was getting harder to lie to himself.

Ernie reached a hand to the Arbiter's shoulder but thought against it in the end. They didn't need emotion right now, they needed to move.

Still, he hated seeing such pain on a friend's face. As the call went unanswered, he thought up a quick remedy.

"It's supposed to be a quick operation," Ernie attempted some reassurance, "They won't have time for distractions."

"Right." Marcus said, running his hands over his face. There was still a sickening sense of panic in his stomach that threatened to well over, but at least Ernie was actually giving something that he could believe. Siena and Brent were hot headed, they were probably just focused on the mission. The least they could do was wait and do their part.

He brought himself back to standing position. He could try and fix the one mistake he'd already made tonight, and probably fix some others as well.

"Mysterious cuff listener, if you're there: This is Marcus Howell of Experimental Group B. We have an enemy subnatural threat, and several missing pieces of equipment. I'm requesting that you turn off the GPS tracking features of the Satellite Phones for myself, Lachance, and one other student who has been separated from the rest of us; to prevent this tracking capability from falling into hostile hands. Over."

A subtle beep from the communicator was the only indication that the request had been received.

Marcus turned back to the rest of them, giving a terribly pieced together smile. "Guess we wait now, huh?"

Ernie gulped. A brief pat on the back accompanied his words. "We wait. And we move. C'mon, we shouldn't stay down here any longer than we have to."

Marcus nodded, staring off into space for a moment before taking a deep breath. "Agreed."

"Make sure you've got that stupid dog with you. Siena will kick both our asses if Chief goes missing." Marcus said, attempting to give a light smile.

"Missing? You need to have more faith in our canine superior's navigation skills," Ernie tried a quip but something felt off about the delivery. Something was off about Marcus' smile too, as it did nothing to assuage their fears. Adjusting his hold on the dog, he asked, "Are you gonna be okay, buddy?"

"No." came Marcus's blunt reply. "One of my friends is out there presumed dead, one of my roommates has gone off with another one of my friends to get them both murdered by a literal army of abberations, I'm about five seconds and one light breeze away from having another meltdown, and we might all very well be dead before dawn."

He sighed, giving a light shrug and another broken smile. "But hey; Mondays, you know?"

The Aberration didn't know what to focus on. The urge to tell him that this was probably very far from an actual aberration army. The pathetic hope that the Amigos' objectives had nothing to do with the class. The fact that it was actually a Wednesday.

In the end, he did the only thing he was good at. Lies and speculation.

"Siena's smart. Brent too. I know they'll make the right call to retreat when it's needed."

So far, so good.

"We're not gonna die here, Marc. The Amigos are assholes but if they were really going after the mansion then we'd probably already be dead."

...That probably wasn't smart.

"Man, you sure know how to make a guy feel better." Marcus said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. It was certainly helpful to know that if the Amigos wanted them dead, he wouldn't have even woken up. Really made him feel better about his lot in life.

The Aberration visibly deflated. "A for effort, at least?"

"A for effort." Marcus smirked, his smile at least a little more geniune as he patted his friend on the back. "But we should get going. Don't want people gossiping about us or anything."

Ernie paled at the mention of gossip about the two, though it was hard to catch in the dim tunnel light. This wasn't the time to think about the tabloid headlines he'd seen during his internet time. "Y-yeah..."

"So, you guys mind explaining where the hell Siena and Brent disappeared to?" Although stern, the voice that cut through the air was uncharacteristically measured for Zoe considering the subject matter. Still, a couple seconds' observation would find an easy explanation in the faint shimmer of white light that surrounded her - a sign of Lawrence's power, more noticeable in the darkness of the tunnel. Despite seeming relatively levelheaded, though, she didn't exactly look happy either.

"And if it's where I think they've gone, I hope you've got a very good explanation for why, instead of keeping them here, you're holding the fucking dog while they run off to commit suicide."

Ernie blinked and turned slowly. Real slowly. God knows he needed the time to come up with a decent excuse. As if sensing the sudden discomfort in the air, Chief Tater Tot whined and squirmed in his arms.

"Scouting ahead," Ernie lied, a reflexive reaction that prompted a barely noticable stiffness to his voice, "Kusari made a fair point about being careful of the only way out of here."

"...that's not much better." While she failed to catch on to the lie, Zoe still didn't seem happy with the explanation. "If there is an ambush, we've only got one route; we're gonna have to push through it anyway. Two of them aren't gonna hit harder than the whole damn unit, which brings us back to them warping into a potential death-trap." It appeared that the wider benefits of recon were lost on her - or at least that she didn't think they were relevant. If there was a roadblock waiting for them, they couldn't do much else but smash it to bits, scouting or no scouting.

"Yeah, uh, Brent said he could do some x-ray thingy with his goggles so they wanted to use it," the fabricated story was steadily gaining momentum, though Ernie knew it could be dispelled in an instant, "It's just a recon mission. No fighting. A-and they said five minutes tops. Right, Marcus?"

"That so, huh? In that case..." Zoe narrowed her eyes at the pair before breaking into a smile that was anything but friendly - like a lion who'd just spotted a wounded gazelle. The eerie calm in her eyes, while a lot safer than the usual, wasn't making her behaviour much less unnerving. "I guess you won't mind if I stick around for those five minutes, just to make sure everyone's safe. Wouldn't want any misunderstandings, right, Marcus?"

'What!? Why I am suddenly invo-'

"Oh yeah. Not a problem. No problemo. It makes sense. You'd want to make sure nothing bad happens. Five minutes tops and they'll be back safe and sound!" Marcus rambled, the strain of earlier panic and Zoe-induced fear making his lie slightly more noticable than Ernie's. He wasn't good at lying under pressure, especially not to his teammates. Why did everyone keep going to him for this stuff?

"Fine by me. Although, say those five minutes pass and they don't come back, I'm gonna have to assume you've been lying." Marcus' panic had brought her doubts back with a vengeance. "Don't know if you know this, Marcus, but I don't like liars. Especially ones who don't admit it. If it turns out you're one of those, well..."

While she had no intention of actually harming either of them, they didn't have to know that. "Own up to it now, and we have a friendly discussion. Don't, and we might have an interrogation on our hands." She looked at Ernie, well aware that he'd seen her interrogation methods in person before. "I'd prefer not to do that to you, though. Teammates and all."

'Interrogation'. Ah, that word brought back some memories. Some of Reno and those stern instructions from Liam, but mostly those of Wisford and the unfortunate Arbiter. All at once a sharp grimace painted Ernie's face but he remained steadfast. Number one rule: even if all the evidence is staring you in the face, don't admit to shit.

"You'd really send us into battle missing some ears? That's just mean, man," Ernie chuckled nervously, "Alright. Five minutes then we can all head to the ferry for that sweet ocean cruise."

All he had to do now was pray for the duo to come back in time. And that his stupid rookie accomplice would keep his cool.

Missing ears!?

Marcus shot a worried look at Ernie, who seemed to be keeping his cool better than he was. Between the worrying that Siena and Brent were already dead and the worrying that he was about to follow them because of his own teammate, it was almost too much to handle. But Ernie seemed to be handling it well enough.

And Marcus knew Ernie; if he cracked now, they'd both tear him to pieces.

"Yeah, that's little rude and all. We're all friends here. No need for anything more than a nice conversation between classmates! Nothing drastic, or anything." Marcus said, trying his best to follow Ernie's lead.

"Like I said, I'd rather not. David wasn't one of us, and Wisford was a different situation." Zoe said, deciding not to bring up Ernie's part in the torture. As the conversation continued, she couldn't help but feel conflicted. Was this really what she wanted to be doing? She'd come here for an answer, not to try and intimidate them, but it hadn't exactly gone to plan.

In the end, she just shrugged. "You need your ears if we're at risk of a fight. I'm not weakening the group 'cause you pissed me off." But a little pain went a long way sometimes, and she certainly wasn't above that.

Relieved that the bluff had somewhat been called, Ernie allowed himself a small smirk. Part of him wanted to dwell on how she was the kind of person that always had to use threats and violence to get what she wanted. Was she too stupid to use another method? A lot of Senators he'd known were like that so he knew well that pointing that shit out definitely would end up with lost body parts. Keeping his head down was always the better option.

"Good. Cos I've only got two of them and Christmas is quite a walk away."

Who the hell was David?

It didn't matter. What did matter was that he and Ernie were going to be in deep trouble if Brent and Siena weren't back by the sudden time limit. Marcus doubted Zoe actually believed either of them, which meant that she was probably going to spend the next five-ish minutes simmering until they either showed up, or everything started to go wrong.

He doubted things would be very pleasant if Zoe had the time to actually think about how she wanted to absolutely destroy the two boys.

There was a short silence, which Marcus filled by giving a nervous shrug and forced smile. "Mondays, huh?"

"It's Wednesday, and don't push your luck." Zoe grumbled, though genuine anger firmly refused to come into her mind. That worried her, knowing how subdued she was - knowing that this probably had nothing to do with her stigma.

"I'll give you a couple more minutes." Her smile remained, but obviously forced as the deadline approached. Without her usual urges, she really didn't want to do this. "Clock's ticking."

ℜ𝔞𝔳𝔢𝔫𝔤𝔯𝔬 | 12𝔱𝔥 𝔬𝔣 ℜ𝔬𝔳𝔞, 4711 | 1700

The sleepy little town of Ravengro sits under darkened clouds. The weather seems like it could rain at any moment, yet it remains mercifully dry as the day progresses. There is a single church in the town, a small building established by a larger Pharasmin sect, and the occasional mournful ringing of the bell echoes across the area, where it can be heard shortly before the town comes into view. Despite this, there does not seem to be much activity from below; the occasional towns-person ambles from building to building, but relatively slow besides that. Today is the day of Lorrimor's funeral, the dull ringing of the bell signaling the occasion.

The temple of Pharasma, which is Ravengro's only religious structure and also it's most elaborate. Even from the distance, you can see a large stained glass window, through which the limited sunlight is reflecting.

The scene inside the church is subtle, yet appropriate. No music plays; the only sound is the gentle murmur from some of the guests (of which there are surprisingly few), and the bell above. In the front, directly opposite of the doors, sits a closed mahogany casket, flanked on either side by a lovely bouquet of yellow flowers.

In the front row of the pews sits a trim and attractive young lady, dressed in dark and conservative clothes. Every so often, her face contorts in grief, although it is clear that she is trying her best to maintain her composure.

Behind her sits a middle-aged looking man, who although dressed in dark clothing as well, maintains a sword sheathed on his hip. In the seats across the aisle from him sits a portly man wearing glasses, an apparent scholar himself.

One row back, a young man sits. His dark black hair is parted fancifully, giving him a well-kept look for such an event. Two rows behind him sits an older gentleman, whose layman's clothes are stained with numerous black splotches and messes that you cannot place. Finally, in the far corner, there is a young woodsman; his face is unshaven, and though his clothes are nothing spectacular, it is apparent he's put in the effort to look nice.

However, it appears as though more guests are just about to arrive.

ℜ𝔞𝔳𝔢𝔫𝔤𝔯𝔬 | 5𝔱𝔥 𝔬𝔣 ℜ𝔬𝔳𝔞, 4711 | 1530

The flickering light of a candle illuminates the oaken desk that is currently in use. At it, a dainty woman sits with quill in hand, her eyes red and puffy, as she scrawls out a letter. She’d found herself writing far too many of these letters recently, trying to reach out to her father’s old friends and acquaintances. She’d have to assume that the locations and methods of delivery left in the old man’s notes would lead the envelopes to their destinations. Some of them were most peculiar, but he’d left her the funds and methods of doing it, at least.

He really did seem to think of everything.

These letters were different, however. These were being written on the behest of Councilman Vashin, who had most certainly been left his own set of instructions, she’d wager. The names she had before her (which also had their own methods for delivery) all shared one thing, and in fact, her own name also shared this. Petros had mentioned all of them, by name, in his will. It was this list of people that the Councilman had personally delivered, despite his general distrust of outsiders being involved in Ravengro affairs.

It wasn’t surprising for her to be named of course, but the rest of these people she hadn’t even heard of. Her father would usually spin wild tales of his adventures, but it seemed like these names had never come up. Or if they had, it was astoundingly infrequent.

She finished the last one, dipping her quill back into the inkwell. They were ready to be delivered, and she dared not read over them again, for fear of sending herself into another teary fit. Even thinking about the news these letters delivered was starting to make her eyes well up.

Within the day, they’d all been sent out via their respective means. She'd have to hope that the detailed instructions the Councilman had been left with would be up to date.

Considering the overall feeling of new that pervaded virtually everything about being in a guild, Liv had to admit that they were doing well. Sort of. As well as two people crammed into one body could do. The girl tapped her fingers onto solid wood, a poor method of seeming occupied while not actually being occupied at best, a dead giveaway to the fact that she was wildly unfocused on her surroundings at worst.

'I thought being in a guild was supposed to keep us busy.'

'It was.' came the reply from inside her own head. Vitus, her ever-present peanut gallery and semi-frequent sounding board for inane thoughts. 'But it's almost time for the yearly festival; even the highwaymen and general riff-raff take a break to get ready for it.'

'Of course, there'll be pickpockets and swindlers out the ass when it starts, so maybe it'll pick back up around then. Try to keep a hold of our coinpouch, will ya?'

'Hmm, think we'd get in trouble if I happened to 'defend' myself against one?' Her fingers tapped the wooden surface again, this time with noticeably more force than before. It was hard for Liv to keep a low profile, but to keep a low profile and be robbed of frequent activity was borderline torture. 'I haven't forged a weapon in aaaaages.'

'Defending yourself probably wouldn't normally be a problem. However, I've seen the way you defend yourself. They might have an issue if they have to clean a pickpocket off the streets with a wet rag.

But hey, I've not been bored. You fall down the stairs enough to keep me busy. And I can never tell if that smell is your body starting to rot, or your terrible bathing habits.'
. If there was a mental equivalent to a smirk, Liv could probably feel it in the part of her brain Vitus lived in.

I seem to remember all those stair incidents being your fault sir 'can't-walk-straight.'' The mental roll of the eyes was accompanied by a physical one quickly hidden away by the act of a very deliberate blink. And my bathing habits worked out fine for you before we got here.' Not that Liv spent especially long trying to find the nicest smelling soaps--if it cleaned her, it was enough, better still if it managed to keep bugs off their cold, dead body. Her fingers drummed against the wood again.

'Besides, it's not like I've gotten any blood on us recently.'

'Your legs are short.' Vitus replied, his tone remaining smug. 'And yeah. Not on us. Everybody around us though, that's a waaaay different story!'

'You say that like it's a bad th--' Before the pale-haired girl could finish the retort, her attention was forcefully redirected by shouted commands. Well, maybe she wouldn't be so bored after all. Sweeping a few unruly locks over her shoulder, Liv adjusted her scalemail before moving toward the call. C- and D-Ranks--that included the dynamic duo, she supposed.

Listening to the brief explanation, there was no doubt about what Liv wanted to do.

'We're going to the burrows.'

'I'm shocked. Truly. Surprised beyond measure.'

A pause. Wait, if a ship crashed, and had goods on it... 'Unleeeess...'

'There you go. Using your noggin' for once, and I didn't even have to say anything. My little Liv, all grown up and not being a dumbshit.'

There was a slight pause before Vitus continued, as if waiting for Liv to explode. 'Plus, we really don't have to breathe. Would make underwater recovery far easier.'

"And think of all the fish we can get in the process." Not something that her homelands had in abundance, but something that Liv had taken great pleasure in. Carefully stepping around a few people, Liv raised her physical voice, the words accompanied by a quick motion of the hand. "One more for the ship over here."

'Bleuck' came Vitus's reply, a mixture of disgust and displeasure. He wasn't exactly a fan of seafood, which was an absolute treasure because Liv seemed to love the stuff. A circumstance that made sharing the same tongue annoying as all hell.

'Between you and the mascot, this little operation of ours is about to be 50% small, adorable children.' Vitus scoffed, making sure to put extra emphasis on 'adorable', if only to irritate Liv.

'Yeah, I sure was adorable when I ran you through.'

'I couldn't tell, I was too busy scorching you to death. Which I probably wouldn't have done if I'd known how many souls I'd have to blow to fix that'

'Harhar. Better this one than the mess yours ended up as.' Liv settled into place, her expression surprisingly well kept despite the bickering in her head. A distant part of her wondered if a telepath would have had a field day with their situation, but the adventurer didn't linger on the thought. Better things to do.

"Pretty sure we could use someone particularly hardy over here."

'Pshhh. Hardy. All we've got around here is 'hardy hardy har', if you ask me...'
@GreenGoat @RedDusk Lookin' good! Throw them bad boys into the Char Tab!

@January Do I look like some sort of perverted deviant? (It would just be a normal Craft check)
The Party

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Important Characters

Tales are told throughout Golarion of shadowy figures that lurk in dark corners—stories recounted at children’s bedsides feature bestial creatures that come out only when the moon is right, and fireside legends speak of otherworldly beings beyond reckoning, whose very existence is more than the human mind can bear to know.

These are the legends that explain where the blood of the family cow went, and why clerics spend so much time ensuring the proper Pharasmin rites are observed at gravesites throughout the Inner Sea. One can write them off as simple, scary stories in Absalom or Westcrown, but in Ustalav, everyone knows the truth of the things that go bump in the night.

We are not accepting new players!

Welcome one, welcome all! Apologies for the slightly lack-luster 1st OOC post I've got kicking around here, I've never really written an OOC for a Tabletop Roleplay before, and much of what I would normally put here is discussed off forum. If you're one of my beautiful players, you can probably just skip all this and start befouling the OOC with your presence. If you're not, feel free to have a look around and enjoy yourself!

Waking and Warning

𝕎𝕖𝕕: 𝕆𝕔𝕥. 𝟟, 𝟚𝟘𝟚𝟘 / / 𝔹𝕒𝕝𝕕 ℍ𝕖𝕒𝕕 𝕀𝕤𝕝𝕒𝕟𝕕 / / ℤ𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕘'𝕤 𝔼𝕤𝕥𝕒𝕥𝕖 / / ~𝟘𝟚𝟘𝟘

It was his fault, honestly; he'd grown complacent, and now he was paying for it. A few weeks of only minor nightmares here and there had left him thinking that everything was fine. Now, as the cold sweat began to envelop his body, his dreaming mind was plagued by a guilty conscience yet again, taking the form of another night of terror for him.

He lurched up in bed, breathing heavily as panicked tears threatened to well in his eyes. On his nightstand, his phone's screen was lit up. It must have been the notification that woke him. He rubbed his face, rolling towards the device and bringing it closer to his face to look at the screen.

23 Missed Calls. 7 New Voicemails. 1 New Message.

We're fine. I've been trying to get a hold of you for the last few weeks! I don't know where you guys are since you left D.C, so let me know you're at least alright. Tell whoever's in charge that they had better damn well let you call me when you get a chance, or Sammie and I are going to come looking for you!

He sighed in relief, sitting up in his bed. She was fine. Nothing had happened, it had just been terrible reception like he'd thought. He took a moment to gather himself, typing out a quick return message.

Sorry, we're at some sort of estate out on an island, and the phone reception is terrible. As soon as we get somewhere with better service, I'll call you immediately!

Message Failed to Send

He grumbled angrily. He'd have to remember to wander around in the morning, climb up a palm tree or something before Max flew a jet into the building. Setting the phone back on the stand, he laid his head back down on the pillow. The foggy images of his latest nightmare ran through his head again, Emma's screaming echoing in his mind like a catchy song. He involuntarily gave a small shudder, adjusting his position on the bed to stare up into the dark ceiling.

Tonight was going to be another long night.

𝕎𝕖𝕕: 𝕆𝕔𝕥. 𝟟, 𝟚𝟘𝟚𝟘 / / 𝔹𝕒𝕝𝕕 ℍ𝕖𝕒𝕕 𝕀𝕤𝕝𝕒𝕟𝕕 / / ℤ𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕘'𝕤 𝔼𝕤𝕥𝕒𝕥𝕖 / / ~𝟘𝟝𝟘𝟘

If only he'd known how right he'd be.

A warm glow outside his window was merciful enough to catch Marcus's eye, dragging his tired mind away from the darkness he'd been staring into for the last few hours or so. Between the periodic checking of his phone and the moments of silence, he'd nearly lost track of the time.

He rose out of his bed, grabbing his phone and nearly yanking the charger out of the wall before he corrected his mistake and wandered over towards the window. He almost would have believed he was still in his hellish dreamscape with the way the scenery looked; something in the sky splashing the world with bright red shadows.

He had only a few moments to unsuccessfully try and locate the shining object before something caught his ears: a sound he was disturbingly familiar with at this point - the heavy footsteps of people running and the muffled sound of shouting.

He already had one of his shoes on when the skull-piercing sound of an alarm rang out, shocking what little grogginess he still had away. Nearby, sitting on the desk; the object he'd avoided since it had been delivered. A simple pistol, stuck in a simple holster. The gun that had been useless at Wisford. A small measure of safety...his only defense.

'You can kiss the team goodbye.'

It was better this way. Safer. He left the pistol sitting on the desk, slipping on his other shoe.

He lunged for the door, only narrowly avoiding it as it flung open. The maid who'd barged in wasted no time in grabbing the slightly surprised Marcus and tugging her along with him, nearly yanking him off his feet.

He needed no explanation however, and quickly caught up, his strides matching hers as the two of them sprinted through the hall.

Everyone had finally made it down into the basement, and Marcus had wasted no time in doing a headcount, as he imagined everyone else had also done. He came up with one person missing, and it was none other than the rockstar herself, Angel.

"Dead until proven otherwise"

The callousness of the statement impacted in Marcus's brain, and he found himself sitting on the opposite side of the fence. Hopefully Angel was fine. She could take care of herself in a pinch like this, and while the notice hadn't exactly been timely, it was something at least. He was grateful to have not woken up dead, and he hoped that wherever Angel was, she could say the same thing.

He tried to ignore the sickened pit in his stomach, focusing on the conversation as it went around the room.

"There's no point in sticking around. They caught us off guard, and it's best to assume that they're better manned and better equipped. All we can do is play defensively and see if we get the chance to retaliate later." Marcus said, leaning on the wall nearby. His hair was slightly spiked up from the amount of times he worriedly run his hands through it, but he was mostly calmed down right now.
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