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Bin Myung-Suk
Xincai, Henan
Golden River Inn

The floor. It was a very familiar place for Myung-Suk. The texture of the bamboo, the smell of spilled wine and tea seeped into the flooring... it was surely a realm that befit a cockroach such as himself. He lingered on the ground for a bit if only to wallow in his own misery. How could he do the job he wished to do if he was the failure he is now? How could he track such an elusive madwoman if he could not simply hold his balance? Perhaps this was another job he would need to regretfully pass up...

A simple query from above had brought Myung-Suk out of his self-loathing stupor, however.

"I'm... fine. Yeah, don't worry about me." Myung-Suk would squeak, to the concerned man who stood before him, sitting up and dusting himself off. He'd look on to the man, eyes darting quickly like a rodent in danger. A quick scan of him would reveal to Myung-Suk a few things. For one, he seemed to be carrying a handful of scrolls, yet he still offered his aide. A rather amiable fellow, especially in an establishment like this. He also seemed to carry a sword... was he also a warrior? It did make sense, given that they stood in the Golden River Inn.

What was most peculiar to Myung-Suk, however, was how this man seemed to absorb the world around him. There was a sense of wonder in his gaze, a freshness that even the cockroach has not seen in ages. It was refreshing, to say the least.

"I'm used to getting stepped on. Most warriors tend to do that when they run into a loser like myself wallowing on the ground. Your kindness is appreciated." Myung-Suk continued as he would steadily stand himself back up. "You're new here, then? I don't believe I recognize you." He would scratch his head as he continued to look the man up and down, before coming to an embarrassing realization.

"Ah, right, sorry! I should introduce myself..." Myung-Suk quickly bowed in respect, as if the young man stood in a station above his own.

"I am... Jin. Yes, just Jin. A fellow warrior... if you believe it fit to call me something like that."
get the fuck out of my room im playing minecraft

Gideon looked at the sassy, lost child with some curiosity. It was clear to him that this was Asvar's daughter. For a moment, he pondered what the correct nomenclature for such a half-breed was. Shadwarf? Delf? He would stroke his chin as the different possibilities came to his head. After all, the Shadow Elves and the Dwarfs do live in close proximity. He didn't think too hard on it, however, as the child probed him with questions.

"No, I'm afraid I have not. Us Raam have metal bones, you see, and the heat of Naraheim would be... uncomfortable, to say the least. I wouldn't be that smart of a fellow if I went into such depths without a care in the world, especially with the other dangers that lurk in Naraheim."

Before he would make his way to Asvar's shop, however, Gideon stopped walking, looking at Raelzeth with a bit of concern. This stemmed from both him resisting the urge to ask for an "official" name for Half-Elf Haf-Dwarf children, but primarily because he felt a bit... off around the runt. It seemed like she was up to something, for sure, but he just couldn't quite put his finger on it. For some reason, it felt like if he went into her father's smithy, her plans may come to fruition.

It's not like he needed to talk to Asvar immediately, anyway. The dwarf is probably working the forge, and it wouldn't be a good thing for Gideon to step in at such a time. Plus, he could just as easily get to the heart of the problem right now. After all, the stone-singer was in his presence.

"... and I've heard a few things about you, as well, Raelzeth. Your talents in magic, both Elven and Dwarven, are astounding from what I hear. I've also heard you are having a bit of trouble finding ores with your stone-singing. Perhaps a 'smart guy' like myself can help you figure out that issue?"
A Lonesome Day

As Gideon made his way out, he did consider the situation with the cult a fair bit. Whatever danger they could cause to the village is surely one that needs to be thwarted with utmost expediency. However, Gideon also knew the cult was very much embedded into Dawn's social structure. To paint himself as an enemy of this group would be unwise at this point. After all, he is still an outsider, yet to truly embed himself within the village as a member of the community.

There was also an issue of the growing hostility of the surrounding groups. Had the world gone mad? Or perhaps those who come to Dawn wish for the village even more trouble than they were already facing. Trying to save this hamlet would prove to be difficult, after all. Gideon wondered for a moment if that was the true reason Grams had sent him to this place.

Whatever the case may be, the Sage knew that he needed to do what he had ought to. It is the time where he needed to stop thinking as a Sage, and begin to see the world through a cold gaze of Steel. Because of this, he further resolved to enact his plans for the village further. The hunters already trusted him, but they would still be ill-equipped. Spears and bows of bone would not serve as proper weapons for the small army he wished to shape out of Dawn's most physically capable.

As such, Gideon knows just who he needed to speak to next, and what he needed to do. He would make his way to Asvar, the village's smith, to try and resolve the ore shortage. After all, to have an army of steel, Gideon needed iron.

"The whelp seems like she's fun at parties." Marduk would jest as Ethelred rode up to him. "That said, we should probably just ask her to let us in and assess the situation. We don't have to cause any havoc on our own to make a proper diversion, anyway. After all, they'll be too distracted to get us in."

And before Ethelred would respond, Marduk would proceed to walk up to the gates with a swagger, leaving his horses to stand idly by the frozen knight.

"Alright pipsqueak, we just lost one of our best warriors fighting that monster, so I'll make things crystal for you. We don't know if the wyvern will circle back here or not. What we do know is the thing is still in the general area, and this place sticks out enough for it to want to try and burn down. Now, I don't know about you lot, but we've got first-hand experience fighting that beast, and other beasts like it. Unless you've got men in there that have so much as scratched the beast's scaly back, I'd say our experience with the dragon eclipses your own.

"Now say what you want about the Iceberg and his allegiances, but I know that neither him or your lot want those innocents in there to serve as food or tinder for the monster. So here's my proposition: my frozen... 'friend' and I will help fortify this place, and you let us in without a hassle, maybe give us a tour of the base so we'd have a better idea of what we're working with. From what I see, this place has got the weapons we need to take it down, and we both have the experience of ten of your own here. We both want what's best for the citizens, after all.

"And more importantly, we all want revenge for what that mongrel dragon has taken from us."
Bin Myung-Suk
Xincai, Henan
Golden River Inn

"Tang Yuying."

The young warrior repeated that name to himself as he sipped his small cup of tea. It was a ritual he had practiced to himself every time he'd set out on these bounties. Under normal circumstances, it would usually help. After all, to build up a grudge against a certain target was paramount to his technique. However, this target wasn't like the ones he was trained to find. It was simply to help find a specific person, one that would easily stand out at that. If all goes well, he may not even need to take another life.

Myung-Suk took a moment to sink into the somber music playing in the inn, taking in the aroma of his tea and having a brief moment of retrospection. It had been about a year since the final battle, a year since he had fought alongside the Great Demonic Sage... and yet, he could not remember a thing about that moment. To have fought so close to Heaven and not have any recollection of the events that took place was just part of the great shame that hung over Myung-Suk's head. It served as evidence to his weakness, a reminder of how far he truly was from Heaven. It also served to further ignite the flame that was the young warrior's resolve.

To kill a Master of the Devil Arts with his own fists. To prove himself as a worthy Disciple of the Wilted Lotus.

Myung-Suk knew he could not return home until he completed this daunting task.

It was why he had spent the last year honing his killer instinct. Finding outlaws and brigands of the Jianghu and bringing them in to whoever desired their heads. It was a daunting and bloody task, but Myung-Suk knew that this alone would not hone his skills any further than they already are. He needed to stop acting as a killer, a role he was far too familiar with. No, the young warrior instead needed to adopt the role of a Hunter. He needed to hone his senses, his skills at searching and tracking. It was only then that he'd be able to root out the dastardly Devil Clansman, the sworn enemies of his sect.

Downing the last of his tea, Myung-Suk made his way to the bounty board, his shoulders raised and his chest puffed. There was no time to meander around, to dwell in his past failings, or his current misgivings. The time to hunt was no-


With a heavy thud, the young warrior fell to the ground as a rather sizeable pebble rolled out of his slippers. A rock in his footwear... it was no wonder that he'd lose balance.

"Oh, brother..."
A Strange Day

Gideon considered what had been said carefully, relaying these past events with the ones he had gone through not too long ago in the crypts. This chamber in the church was indeed something concerning, especially considering Gideon might have already had a gander of what it looked like. Achel closing the crypts and rushing him out expeditiously was also something quite strange, as well. Was he being played in all this, a scheme in the spider's web?

Whatever the case, the primary issue was this cult's resurgence while Dawn has been left vulnerable. As much as Gideon wished to prepare for such an insurrection, he also did not desire striking at the cult at this time. A reactive approach seemed better than a proactive one, in this case. After all, the members of the cult are also members of the village. They needed to rebuild with as much numbers as they could muster.

And besides, Gideon had his own interests with the Illuminator cult. Interests that would just as likely be meddled with should they be quashed too early. Quite frankly, he was tired of playing in the hands of higher powers for now.

"I'm sorry to say that I have little experience with the Illuminator's Cult, being an outlander and all. I don't wish to dwell further into the dark secrets of Dawn's residences, either, as I don't feel it's my right as an outsider to be a part of such plans. So unless my expertise is needed, I'll be going elsewhere." Gideon stated coldly as he stood up. "Ah, and you have my word that nothing that has been said so far will ever leave my lips. Raam's honor."

The Sage would proceed to make his way to the door, apparently not interested in being part of such a scandalous conversation. However, before he would make his leave, he instead stood before the exit. Perhaps he had a change of heart?

"... Enli. How much do you trust Achel? Do you think she would work with the Illuminator's cult? The little spider asked for my help the other day, and we ended up finding a sort of shrine to the Illuminator deep beneath the catacombs. I'm guessing this was the shrine you were referring to?

"After we had unearthed this shrine, she was quick to rush me out of the crypts. I surmise this may have something to do with her closing the catacombs. For what reason, I'm not sure. It may be your best place to look, though. Just be wary of any glowing crystals down there. I've come to believe they have mind-altering effects. I hope you are able to find the perpetrators for your own sakes, Atzi and Maira, and I'm sorry for the misdeeds this cult has committed against the both of you."

If he was not stopped, Gideon would then make his leave, not wishing to concern himself with the cultists further at this time.

Marduk was quite annoyed with the situation, all things considered. From who he was forced to work with to who they needed to free, Marduk knew for sure he was dishonoring his ancestors in some way. He kept it in the back of his mind for now, however, as they had a bigger foe to take care of. Indeed, they still needed to figure out how to deal with the dragon.

The fortification could serve as a potential point for them to fight the beast at. The primary concern was the civilians also all being here. Given the destructive capabilities of the dragon's attacks, it's likely they'll be risking more lives luring it to the fort than just going after it on their own. At the same time, they were a man short if they wanted to fight the dragon on their own. They needed to break that Fomorian-corrupted woman out if they wanted a chance at that, but at that point, fighting the beast on their own was moot.

"Luring it here is stupid, unless you don't mind the blood of those kids we saved on your hands. Would prove me right of your ilk if you really want to go with that plan, at least." Marduk began, heavy with his words as usual. "The two of us killing the dragon also is a fool's errand. Sure, we have a weapon that may help us fight that beast, but we're also a man down. We also don't have that Harzel knight with his fancy water tricks to help us.

"Unless you want to be responsible for more innocent lives lost, the better plan would be to focus on breaking your cursed 'knightess' out. One of us could start a distraction while the other sneaks in to break her out in the chaos. After all, the knights of the fort are definitely on edge. If all their focus is directed at one direction, they surely won't be focusing on guarding some prisoner if they're called to battle.

"Alternatively, we can just talk to 'em again. Seems like it worked the last time, and we do have a few others in there that recognize us. I spotted that Harzel brat alongside the two actual brats. They could make a good case for us. If they don't, we can just cause a ruckus and go with the other plan."
A New Day

It was another day in Dawn. Another day of hard work managing the village's food supplies and ensuring they weren't overstepping their boundaries in any way. Another day of research, piecing together the small bits of information he had gathered from his dungeon delving. And another day of study, having properly taken some soil samples of the nearby wilderness. With a bit more time, Gideon should be able to prepare an almanac detailing all the flora and fauna of Dawn within detail. Perhaps this could even be used to figure out a more renewable food source in this harsh, cold land.

Of course, improving on Dawn's logistics was not the only thing Gideon was busy with. He was hard at work with the spear as well, training and drilling himself on the many spear techniques of his people. There were threats about, both outside Dawn's borders and from within. Gideon needed to practice his techniques, improve upon them so that he could potentially teach the hunters of Dawn how to handle these threats more efficiently. Thoughts of a proper militia had come to his mind within the past few days. The Sage of Steel just waited for the village to stabilize until he brought the suggestion up.

There were a few things that interested Gideon in particular during the town meeting, particularly the attacks made by the Krysa and Yaga. While the time spent with both groups had been varying degrees of strange, especially in regards to the Yaga, Gideon felt like something was off with such an attack. Either Mie carried something of spiritual significance to either party, or the people of Svyataya Zemlya are under some strange influence. It was something he wished to look into, although his... experiences with the Yaga had caused Gideon to stay his hand in mentioning anything. After all, he did not want to interject with a potential accusation against a merchant like Mie, who would have things the village would desperately need. Not without evidence, at least.

In any case, it seemed Gideon would be preoccupied with other matters, especially as he was dragged off by a mountain of a woman along with Enli.

"I-I'm a mere scholar! I'm sure one of the other laborers can help you with what you need!" The Raam protested, on deaf ears. Once again, he was plagued with the burden that was his formidable physiology.

Of course, when Atzi had told her tale, Gideon seemed to be a bit more cooperative. He had a similar encounter with a cultist, although it possibly wasn't one as deadly as craftswoman's. At least, he didn't seem to believe so. After all, the cultist he had fought did seem to die after his head came off... and dealing with the slimes posed no risk to Gideon's extremities. He wondered, if only for a moment, just what Achel was doing in the crypt now that it was cleared, and why she chose to close it off.

"Magical... stones, you said?" Gideon rose an eyebrow. He had an idea of just what Atzi might be referring to, but he held his tongue. "Well, there are a few different sorts of minerals that can be used to aid in various rituals. I've not looked too much into magic given my people's incapability of practicing the mystic arts, but I'm sure I can narrow it down if you described them a bit better." Of course, given how integrated the cultists were in this town, Gideon was hesitant to reveal all he knew, even in the privacy of Atzi's abode. He also feigned ignorance in order to to draw as much information about these crystals from the others as possible. After all, he did not want what he hypothesized to muddle any information given by the others.
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