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2 yrs ago
Current Updating playlist thing on my bio today, if you're ever looking for the link again or want it on a different platform just pm me and tricky will hook you up.
2 yrs ago
This one time I seriously considered buying a dick rose phone case.
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Time: Midnight - 3 Weeks Ago
Location: Lost Haven, Maine


The call for work on the back of an irritable Jacque, the glow of her phone telling her he called a total of three times back to back. While her time with the Duchess was relatively short, it was not short enough for the Parisian gangster. The Ambassador arrived to Lost Haven, one of the many discreet locations where The Shroud Syndicate cleared. Deep within the French Quarter, open to the sky an abandoned ball diamond, weeds and patches of grass grown over the sandy lot. Several black SUVs parked at the alleyway entrances, streets cleared of any curious bystanders.

Several pickup trucks towing trailers waited in a lineup, The Ambassador stood several feet in front of the line up - it was damnably humid in Lost Haven and a haze lit up by streams of headlights. The moon hidden behind banks of clouds. The perfect night to smuggle a weapons order over international borders.

Dressed in her light and dark gray chiffon pleated skirt, white low neckline tank and black quarter sleeved blazer, her asymmetrical diamond studded headband tucked above her ears, The Ambassador looked hilariously misplaced among the stern brows and darkly dressed gangsters surrounding her. They needed a large enough portal door to fit a vehicle through.

Lifting her hands slowly to the sky, she began her incantation.

"Grand et beau flot d'âmes, fais-moi voyager, dis-moi la sécurité, offre-moi tes plus beaux cadeaux. Volontiers, ne viendrez-vous pas à moi? Ouvrez-vous, ouvrez-vous à la volonté de l'Ambassadeur du Folk. Proche seulement de ma volonté en tant qu'Ambassadeur du Folk."


A fine mist of blue light lifted up from her the tips of her fingers trailing along her hands, flowing down her arms to her torso. Several feet above her head, a sliver of light appeared slowly lengthening to the ground and growing wider at each pass of the incantation. Her brow furrowed, eyes closed, warm dark boards of wood materialized from the ground up connecting to the arch frame, a large golden ring appeared in the center, finishing the door with it’s golden hinges to the left hand side. Light filtered its creases.

Without a word she approached the door, tugging easily on the ring to swing the door wide open to the other side. Briefly sticking her head through to check if the way was clear. As the door opened the Arcane Stream’s energy flooded the area, the grass became greener and grew taller, crickets reacted by chirping louder, those familiar with her smuggling operations breathed a sigh of delight - uncontrollable hair raising across all those present. Strange, pleasant and invigorating - magic saturated the air all around them.

Après vous.

Stepping away from the portal, The Ambassador retreated away to watch over from a building’s rooftop, allowing her fellow criminals to do their work. She knew her presence often unnerved them. Bach stood silently upon her shoulder, arms crossed - clearly stewing on something. They would have time to talk about whatever he had on his mind. For now he remained small.




Time: Shortly before midnight - 3 weeks ago
Location: Lost Haven, Maine


A sinister figure stalked the night, almost invisible as it dashed across moonless rooftops, barely making a sound.

David had to admit, his newfound powers had grown on him. Wearing what he had affectionately dubbed as his ‘Shadowplate’ not only made him a hell of a lot tougher, but also faster, stronger and nigh invisible in the right conditions. This was particularly true on a night such as this, where there was no shortage of shadows for him to hide in or, if needed, call upon.

In truth, the thief barely understood the extent of his abilities. His partner in crime, the elusive meta-hacker Deep, had begged him not to get involved in anything dangerous, at least until he understood them better. He had a point, considering recent events, but if he spent one more moment in hiding he was certain he would lose his mind. After all, with or without powers he was still the greatest thief who ever lived (haters be damned), and there were very specific reasons for him to move to Lost Haven: it was a hive of opportunities for one such as he to step out of the shadows and make a name for himself… ironically enough.

Besides, his time in the Maine countryside had been… less than delightful. What should have been a quiet getaway to recover and experiment with his newfound powers had turned out to be some of the most hectic (not to mention dangerous) months of his life. But those were memories he preferred to keep buried for now, and was glad to be back to civilization… or at least a semblance of it.

Of course, David firmly believed in making his own luck. He had long heard accounts of the Shroud Syndicate and their solid record as Lost Haven’s number one criminal organization. An impressive claim, to be sure. It didn’t take him very long at all to decide he wanted in on that action, and their reputation practically forced him to make a grand entrance… so he had devised a devious plan.

There was very little the thief could not accomplish with Deep’s aid, who had, of course, been reticent at first, and even gone as far as calling his plan ‘ridiculous’ (the gall). Fortunately, David knew how to nudge him the right way, and the digital magician had ended up caving to all of his desires.

As it turned out, the Syndicate’s peeps were clever enough to keep most of their shady and personal businesses outside the internet’s grasp. Whilst not a massive surprise, it was a little disheartening, and it did mean it would take some time for them to get a solid lead on one of their operations. Less tough, however, was finding some dope with noble intentions and low-grade super powers to assist David with his theatrics: enter Counter-Balance.

Like so many others, Counter-Balance had been part of the first, honest to the Gods wave of metahumans to be created by what was arguably this generation’s biggest fuck-up. Steve Cook had been (debatably) blessed with the ability to locally increase the mass of a given object or person: in other words, he could make stuff very, very heavy, but with the caveat of being able to focus on only one at a time.

Truth be told, there had been other candidates who might’ve maybe been more appropriate for what David had in mind. Cook was a low-tier hero at best, and was better known for his flashiness than his effectiveness. However, he was a self-proclaimed punk, and had decided to use his superhero persona to further push his ideology. Armed with a ‘thunderball,’ a pinned up vest and a flashy spike mohawk, he could hardly contend with other more powerful metas out there… but he could definitely screw someone’s day up.

When Deep asked him why he was so insistent on picking him, Noir went on a considerable rant denouncing the plethora of punk ideologies which had been born out of the original movement, and explained in great detail why he thought most punks were a bunch of “silly tossers who cannot make their mind up.”

So, evidently, he couldn’t help but screw with him.

Under the pretense of being an anonymous ally, the thief had been feeding Counter-Balance information on the Syndicate’s operations. Nothing major, of course, but feeding him little morsels of intelligence had proven enough to both earn his trust and make him a minor nuisance to the Shroud’s thugs.

Tonight, however, was the big one. Deep had finally managed to locate one of their major smuggling operations thanks to a small slip-up by one of their underlings. All it really took for the tech-genie was a poorly worded text and they were in business.

The shadowy avatar finally settled on a nearby rooftop, taking a privileged place to watch the scene unfold, removing his Shadowplate to access a slim, virtually flat backpack beneath it, where he carried the bulk of his tools. As his shadow returned to its rightful place, it revealed a simple outfit, all in black, of course. Most notably, the thief wore some kind of ‘tactical turtleneck,’ lifted all the way upon his nose, allowing only his eerily blue eyes and the top of his head to be visible, pitch, curly hair moving lazily with the wind. The thief produced a pair of small binoculars, grabbing onto them with a couple of tight, leather gloves.

Why, hello there… There’s a blue haired lady here, looks like she’s in charge of overseeing the operation,” he commented as he spotted the lady who seemed in charge, her outfit sticking out like a sore thumb against the backdrop of the muscle moving the weapons, “I’m confused, though. I see the trucks, but I don’t see any airplanes, or tunnels, or any way to actually smuggle a damn thing. Are you sure this is the right place? Or a weapons smuggling operation, for that matter?

“Positive,” Deep replied simply, “These people are extremely secretive, I wasn’t able to get very much in the way of exact details... and you forget, pretty much everyone who’s important in the organization has some kind of superpower. You’ll just have to wait and see what happens, I suppose.”

Fair enough. I wish you could see her outfit, though. Seriously, what is up with all these super powered people? Did Pax Metahumana just totally impair their ability to wear discrete clothes?” he asked, barely able to contain his amusement, “I mean, she’s not even wearing a mask, I can totally see her face!... Her very, very pretty face.

“Would it kill you to focus?” Deep came in through the earpiece.

Oh, please, the game hasn’t even started yet. Would it kill you to relax a little?” he countered, “You’re just bitter that you can’t enjoy the eye-candy.

“Well, it’s hardly my fault that creepy thing you do with your shadow rejects those tech-lenses you invested a fortune in. I’m lucky I can hear you when you remove it,” Deep pointed out, “And I must insist, this is not a…”

Hush! She’s doing something… Talking to thin air, she is,” David interrupted him, observing with interest, “Wait, what the…

“What? What is it?”

... I’m not sure, mate. Hold on, what is… oh, my days…

“Seriously, what is it?” Deep insisted, slightly unnerved that he could not see the events unfolding for himself.

Well, I’m still not a hundred percent sure what I’m looking at, Deep, but if I was a betting man I’d say she just opened up a bloody portal… Wait, scratch that. That’s definitely a portal. Large enough for those bloody trucks to go through, I might add.

“Seriously? That is remarkable… and perfect timing, too. Our man’s GPS says he’s closing in on the scene. You should head to the ground,” the man in the chair advised.

Ooooh, seriously? Where’s the silly wanker?” the thief asked excitedly.

Deep gave him the man’s coordinates, and soon enough, David spotted the flashy hero. Ordering his shadow to embrace him again, the man clad himself in darkness, and proceeded to very carefully crawl down the building’s side. He had recently learned he could actually stick to surfaces if he wished to… but it did very little to ease his vertigo as he looked straight down a dozen stories.

Easy now, easy…


In Counter-Balance’s defense, he did try his very best to be stealthy as he infiltrated the small plot of land. At first, he followed him in the shadows, making short work of whatever gangster the amateur hero hadn’t spotted himself. As it turned out, the stress of multiplying someone’s weight several times was usually enough to make them black out, but the thief still saved the young hero from getting a bullet or two up his arse, knocking or choking out the men he missed before they knew what hit them.

Unbeknownst to the youthful vigilante, his approach was sloppy and why sneak when one was as close as he to taking the biggest gang in Lost Haven down a peg. Lifting a leg, sticking out a tongue for better accuracy, Counter-Balance aimed his makeshift weapon at the closest gangster and threw with impressive amount of strength, far more than what the gangster expected receiving a knockout blow from an 8-ball only grazing under his chin, the gangster staggered a bit before falling onto his back. Counter-Balance pumped his fingerless gloved fist, quickly running over to check if the gangster was still breathing. Blood leaked out the side of his mouth.

Finding a pulse, the punk stood back up pleased as ever to not have missed - for once. He grinned, pressing himself up against the wall eyeing the scene before him.

Thankful for his generous tip, they were right once more. It was a huge operation, the vehicles would be easy but the gangsters with guns was another problem all together. He approached the ball diamond, crouching low, eyes on the trucks at the front of the line before the portal. Small cars were easy but the bigger trucks would take more effort and concentration. Looking left and right, his mohawk flat and tall peeking above the bank of fog.

At the edge of the ball diamond, he came to a stop crouching low lifting a hand to the truck, he closed his eyes focusing on the body of the vehicle willing his powers to drag it down. Several moments passed without anything happening, slowly a creek of metal began - steel complaining against the sudden new weight. All the cargo in it’s bed pressed down further and further, the driver popped out of the driver’s side watching in confusion as the truck crumpled under the weight into the ground, tires bending out of the wheel wells. The driver turned to her fellow gangsters, they nodded warning others of possible metahuman interference, as another vehicle began to do the same.

Gangsters from all sides fanned out, guns levelled in front of them - mounted flashlights clicking on creating hazy beams of light searching for the vigilante. Sweeping through the grassy patches of weeds.

A text message was sent to The Ambassador asking her to standby, warning her of interference. She sat forward with some interest, scanning the ground below. It wasn’t very often anyone got close.

Thunk!

Counter knocked another thug out with his thunderball. His partner turned around to shoot but was met with an intense force, his body feeling incredibly heavy all of a sudden as his vision became patchy.

“Feel that? That’s the weight of the establishment weighing down on you, dude!”

The gangster barely heard the punchline as he blacked out under the equivalent of 6 Gs of force. Counter-Balance didn’t much care for this, mentally congratulating himself for his efficiency and, as far as he was concerned, well-delivered punchline.

David, on the other side, found himself a bit busy avoiding his premature death. Gunmen disappeared in the long grass without as much as a sound, an unseen stalker prowling in their midst. There was only ever a warning of his predatory approach, their flashlights flickering nervously as he got closer, but they never knew any better, their numbers dwindling at a speedy rate.

The thief had to admit, as much as he’d detested the use of violence in the past, this was kind of fun, in a twisted way. Using his powers gave him a thrill, not unlike that of stealing a priceless object, or walking out of a door with a big haul without anyone being none the wiser. The gangsters’ obliviousness to his sneak attacks was gratifying, to say the least, and almost comical as he lifted their own firearms to smack them in the face, or jumped on their backs like some kind of jungle cat, quickly putting them to sleep.

Soon enough, the punk found himself with very little in the way of a defense, unaware of the flashlights disappearing around him, some pointing briefly upwards before joining the rest of the fallen weapons; and men.

The Ambassador watched on, clear as day to her were the lights disappearing her phone lit up with increasing urgency. With a sigh of resignation, she knew it was time to put a stop to the meddler. Taking several steps back from the edge of the building, tucking a bit of hair in vain behind her ear. A click of her heels she took off at a run leaping off from the edge and arcing through the air, gracefully landing atop of a van - the enchantment softening her touchdown toes first then standing flat-footed. The quake of the vehicle beginning to crumple beneath her feet The Ambassador scanned past the portal for the culprit, spotting a ridiculous punk with a mohawk approaching.

Counter-Balance laughed with triumph, spinning the thunderball in a perfect circle. “Boss Lady finally came to see what all the noise was about, huh? Nothing can stop a revolution!” He shouted, sticking his tongue out he took aim for his final target. Remaining gangsters around him shouted aiming anew, while The Ambassador hadn’t batted an eye, a tell tale bit of blue light surrounded her right hand.

The cue ball suddenly stopped spinning, a befuddled look crossing the punk’s face, the chord twirling in an almost silly manner along his side. An unexplainable sense of dread seemed to suddenly rush through him, and on instinct, the vigilante turned around.

Boo.

“Yow!” Counter-Balance fell on his backside. He could swear he’d seen the shape of a man holding his thunderball, his outline barely visible in the dim light… but when he looked back up, the figure was gone. Along with his weapon of choice.

Odette saw Counter-Balance fall, she peered into the haze. There was a murmur passed among the gangsters, they were holding their ground - listening for movement looking to The Ambassador for instruction. She stood just above the windshield on the vehicle.

That is enough,” She called out, whispering the beginnings of a ward spell pausing only to finish her warning. “Your meddling has gone on far too long as it were.” Her accent pronounced as her tone was sharp.

Looking to the gangsters she waved her hand to signal them to move forward. They spread out in a semicircle inching closer. While she had only wanted to launch the ridiculous revolutionary into the ocean, small-time metas still had a circle of friends, connections. The Shroud Syndicate operated under the radar, respecting the status quo the metahumans had over Lost Haven. They would always proceed with caution much less itchy trigger fingers.

The punk stood up, his eyes widening as he saw the gunmen approaching. Fear kicked in, coupled with confusion, and he raised his hands, ready to go all out in a haphazard fashion.

However, the fight was not fated to happen. Something grabbed him by his ankle, pulling strongly enough to make him fall, his face getting more intimately acquainted with the ground than he would’ve liked. He panicked as the dark beast dragged him along the ground, crawling, a screech filling the night air as he disappeared under one of the trucks, a trail of fingertips carved unto the ground in their wake.

The punk could barely focus, on what was attacking him, and before he knew it, the dread shadow-man’s weight was upon him, impeding any use of his powers, lest he wished to be crushed under the weight. On instinct, he threw a punch, blindly connecting with the ominous figure’s chin. Several of his knuckles popped with an unpleasant crunch.

There was a moment of silence, a few long seconds in which not a thing could be seen, or heard. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the punk’s limp body flew across the air, landing on the truck’s hood, mere feet away from Odette. A preliminary inspection would show that the anti-hero was out cold, but still breathing.

Your security sucks,” came a deep, ominous voice, its location hard to pinpoint.

Almost as if on cue, a shadow tendril shot out of the dark, taking a hold of one of the gangster's weapons and tossing it far from his grip. The rest of the gunmen starting aiming around wildly in search for a target, but then a second tendril whipped another gun out of nowhere. And then a third. This went on for a few moments until what remained of her entourage found themselves weaponless, too unnerved and surprised to act without instructions from the lady in charge.

Case in point,” the disembodied voice gloated.

Shaking her head, glaring at her unarmed cohorts, “They will be dealt with later, as for our star punk for tonight. . .” Odette stepped off the roof of the vehicle, landing once more with a soft touch to the ground she snapped her fingers and those who still had their wits about them jumped to picking up Counter-Balance, dragging him out of the way.

The sorceress turned from left to right searching for their unseen helping hand, a few theories running through her mind as to what or who decided to stick their nose into their business tonight, she safely guessed it was a man - most likely metahuman by the sound of his voice and ego to match.

We would like to thank you in person, preferably. Nobody really goes out of their way to help our operations unless they want something.” She said, beckoning impatiently, “While the night is still young.

Very astute,” the thief commented as he appeared by her side. Even out in the open, he was hard to see, his outline only visible by the contrasts in the light, his form blacker than the darkest of nights, “I want a job,” he told her simply, “I’m new in town, and you people don’t exactly have a platform where one can just drop their CV,” he joked, “It… came to my attention that our resident idiot here had been causing some trouble for you, and I’ve been following him around in hopes of meeting someone in a position to get me in,” he elaborated briefly, not wanting to give away too much just yet.

Pursing her lips momentarily as she looked the shadowy form up and down, sidestepping to get some perspective, not a flinch at his sudden appearance, “Work? We are always recruiting competent… metahumans? Our organization’s ranks have been slowly expanding to those with unique abilities.” She said, curiosity settling her gaze on the opaque outline of his body, “A request I can easily fill in return for your help here tonight.” She squinted at where his face was supposed to be, quietly noting, “Boons are always repaid in kind.

One moment,” Retrieving her phone from her purse she called Jacque, speaking in French calling him to this side of the portal.

A tall, sharply dressed man appeared from the portal’s light, a black scarf covered the lower half of his face with just a pair of dark brown eyes over the edge of the cloth, a wide brimmed hat sat atop his head. Shiny black loafers without a scuff, navy blue suit, Jacque - much like the other leaders in the Syndicate were mysterious figures.

What do we call you?” Odette asked turning her attention back onto their shadowy meta.

David raised a brow behind his shadowplate as the well-dressed man appeared, but did not express his surprise, “You can call me… Noir,” he said, after a moment’s consideration, quite pleased with his chosen moniker.

Bemused by the name, Odette smiled, “How appropriate, you may refer to me as The Ambassador.” Lifting her hand to shake, “This is Jacque, he leads The Shroud Syndicate’s operations in France.

He nodded a heavy gaze on Noir scrutinizing him before looking over the damage left by Counter-Balance.

His hand took her own, the shadow enveloping it unpleasantly cold to the touch. Moreover, depending on her own personal fear of darkness, she might’ve felt a sense of discomfort beyond that of mere cold, “A pleasure to meet you both,” he noted as he shook her hand, his touch gentle to avoid crushing her hand. He turned to the other foreigner, offering his hand to him in turn. Jacque kept his hands in his pockets, nodding again.

His touch sent goosebumps up her arm to the nape of her neck, it was entirely strange. Retracting her hand, it slowly grew warm once more traces of the arcane stream from her earlier ward chased away the cold. Very curious.

Adjusting her sleeve idly, “You can clearly move through the darkness, where do you specialize in? Security, intimidation, thievery, smuggling?

She commented resting her chin against the palm of her hand, looking to the portal, “You may have some stiff competition in smuggling ops against myself.

Not that anyone could really compare to what I offer.

Okay…” the shadowy figure said to himself as the silent Frenchman made no attempt to shake his hand. He then turned to regard the Ambassador, a cheeky smile playing on his obscured lips.

Why, I’m just about the greatest thief who ever lived,” he stated smugly, his deep, muffled tone matter-of-fact, “There is nothing I cannot get my hands on if I put my mind to it. Nothing. And no one’s even gotten close to catching me, so far,” he bragged as he walked over to one of the trucks the punk had allowed to sink into the ground, observing it for a moment with his hands upon his hips, “Though I suppose all that other stuff you mentioned comes with the job. I’m not shy about pulling my weight around.

With that, he kneeled, grabbing the truck from underneath. It took everything he had, the man clearly straining as his obscured form tensed. Of course, the loaded truck was too heavy for him to lift on his own, but with a little knowledge of physics, and the aid of the wheels, Noir managed to budge it just enough to roll the front wheels out of the ground. The thief grinned to himself, slightly surprised he’d actually managed.

Jacque nodded once more, finally speaking up, “Alright, good enough. I’ll draft up a contract, Noir you will be working under my direction.” He walked up to Odette patting her shoulder, “You, Mademoiselle. Please see to getting this mess cleaned up.”

Of course.” She replied about to move but he kept his hand on her shoulder, she shot him a cold look.

“Please also note while you are responsible for his recruitment, he is working for me - any issues or misconduct will be dealt with by me. Understand? Do not take it upon yourself to punish at your whim.” Jacque said, while his tone was neutral he squeezed her shoulder to emphasize the boundary he set.

She sighed shortly through her nose, irritated, “Fine.

Jacque released her, out of his pocket he tossed Noir a burner cell, “You’ll hear from me soon enough, Noir. Good evening.” He turned walking over the threshold back to Paris.

The thief snatched the phone out of the air, smiling to himself, “You too, ‘boss.’

Her irritation evaporated as Jacque disappeared, the Parisian Syndicate leader was allowed to draw his boundaries even while the chaffed with Odette’s. She turned back to Noir, “A thief, the greatest one the world has ever seen. I’ve never known a thief not to have an ego to match, regardless you will have the opportunity to prove yourself.

Lost Haven’s resident thief had been recently vacated. They are big shoes to fill, as I had known them personally.

Mhm, whatever you say, ‘Mademoiselle,’” the avatar mumbled in an almost dismissive manner. Now that the power dynamics had been established, he was not as concerned about impressing her or even staying on her good side. From what he’d heard and seen, it seemed like she had some kind of history taking matters into her own hands, and a slip on her behalf might prove a boon to him, “So, what’s his deal? You know…” he flourished his hands, though the motion was hardly visible, “What can he do?

Locking her hands behind her back, business returned to usual the remaining gangsters went to work dragging their unconscious coworkers to be propped up - first aid kits being opened. Cleaning up the product. “Good leadership and impeccable taste in fashion.” She answered, laying a hand against one of the crumpled trucks - various pairs of eyes from local Sidhe appeared in the shadow of the truck looking up to their Ambassador.

All you have to worry about with Jacque is following his instructions, you get paid for the work done,” Odette said, not unkindly making a point that it would be fruitless to ask anything else about him.

You will be seeing more of me before Jacque.

Understood,” the man shrugged, locking his own hands behind his back in a similar fashion as he walked next to her, his shadowplate making it impossible to discern where his eyes fell, “Well, there’s something to look forward to, at least,” he commented, his natural disguise and neutral tone making it very hard to tell whether he was mocking her, flirting, or being entirely serious.

Looking to Noir, gazing at his face her curiosity turning over the mystery of his powers, his body language obscured by shadow with his face - his tone was the only clue to discerning what he was thinking let alone what he meant. “My company alone is a gift,” Changing tact, mirroring his tone, “Or a curse depending on who you speak to.” Letting that comment hang before moving onto the other side of the truck. Sidhe followed behind her, invisibly taking up positions around the tires - ready to lift the machine.

It began to shake, the Sidhe went to shuffling the pieces back together, smoothing the earth back in place. Grass growing anew, they happily fed off the energy pouring out of the portal.

Noir observed the strange phenomenon with interest, invisible forces beginning to fix the damage done with remarkable efficiency. So she was not only capable of opening portals… he made a mental note, intrigued by the development.

Is that why the boss-man feels the need to babysit you?” he poked, “I have to say, he doesn’t seem very confident in your ability to control your temper,” he mused in an almost idle fashion, “Don’t worry though. I don’t mind a spanking every now and then,” he added, biting his tongue immediately. Sometimes, he just couldn’t help himself, and the anonymity and protection his shadowy armour provided made him a bit too cocky. Something that would need fixing, he thought to himself.

Gangsters nearby froze, looking up from their work only to watch. Bach broke his reverie of thought snapping to attention as well. Eyes narrowing.

Odette saw his attempt to get a rise out of her, she didn’t need to read his body language to know that. While it was a barb it proved he was willing to play. Poised, she rubbed the little grit between her fingertips, “Jacque and I have worked together for a long time, while he believes and likes to assert his control he knows he only exists today because of me.

Looking to him again over the hood of the truck, “Never underestimate the power of a loophole, Monsieur.

The men’s reaction did not go unnoticed by the shadowy figure, who admittedly revelled in having an audience for his performance. It took him all he had, however, not to let out a sonorous “hah!” at her choice of words. Was he not, after all, a breathing, living loophole? He could practically taste the sweet irony in his mouth as he smiled.

That so? I’ll be sure to keep that in mind, Mademoiselle,” he began, starting to walk up the truck’s side, hands still behind his back, “Indeed, it would seem to me that you speak and carry yourself with an authority beyond that of a common smuggler. And judging by how your men soil themselves every time you so much as glance sideways at them, I’d say I’m correct,” he congratulated himself, now on top of the truck, and about to make his way down, “So enough about Jacque. Why don’t you tell me more about yourself? I assure you, you have my undivided attention,” he stopped short of the ground, his body standing fully horizontally at face level with her.

She raised her brow at him, “Do you want my CV?” No small amount of sarcasm, “I do not think you would believe me if I told you anything about myself. I deal in the strange and fantastic. As for the men and women here tonight, they know what my expectations are. None of which have been met.

She tucked a bit of hair behind her ear, it was time to gauge Noir as he tried to do the same to her, “Unless you are open minded to the things that linger at humanity’s periphery.

This was all apart of the verbal gymnastics.

David screamed internally at this. He was not, under any means, willing to discuss the true nature of his powers, partly because he was certain that explaining that bleeding out on top of an ancient bauble had prompted the primordial Greek God of Darkness to bring him back to life as his superpowered avatar sounded as crazy as it was a mouthful. No, Pax Metahumana was a much more convenient story. And still...

Are you serious?” he asked, allowing the incredulity to ooze in his muffled voice, “Were you spaced out earlier when I took out a metahuman without anyone actually seeing me? Or when my shadows disarmed your men? I know you were checking me out when I bench-pressed that truck, don’t even try to deny it,” he raised a finger and gave it a little shake, fist on his hip, “And that’s not even… wait, why am I justifying myself to you? I’m standing on the freaking side of your truck! But no, no,” he seemed to change his mind, arms crossing and turning slightly around, which led him to be looking straight up into the sky, “You’re right. I’m a total skeptic and will be absolutely close-minded about the ‘strange and fantastic,’” he added, perfectly mimicking her French accent.

She watched him opaquely pose like an energetic shadow puppet, and slowly her eyes lit up with mischief, “I love skeptics.

She tapped her chin, eyes floating to the left trying to remember what she could show. He was amusing, egotistical and thought he was smarter than everyone else in the room. With the ability to sneak and blend into the darkness, she smiled at the prospect of a perfectly good pawn Noir would be.

She gestured to him, rolling her eyes, “To check you out would mean being able to see more than an opaque mass of shadows,” She grinned rather slyly, “Unless that was your true goal, to peacock about and get my attention. I certainly would not mind if you were to drop your concealment and show me your face.

Sidhe moved on from the truck, heads bobbing beneath the haze onto the next vehicle, setting to work. The Ambassador turned her back to him, walking on to inspect another vehicle. “Tell me, Monsieur. What is difficult to believe in the portal’s existence? Life spills out of it, making the very air vibrate with energy.” she paused facing the light, “That I willed that rip in time and space to appear where I wanted it to, to guide us to another place of my choosing. Exerting pure control over a component of our reality.

If I were to get poetic about it, of course.” She waved off the sentiment with a flick of the wrist, “Regardless, for not only helping my operation tonight and providing some entertainment. I have a gift for you.

In my culture, we tend to repay favours tenfold.

Curious as he was, this gave Noir reason to pause. The thief had led a wild life even before he obtained his powers, and recognized the underlying danger in her offer.

...I think I’ll keep my face concealed if you don’t mind terribly. Besides,” he flipped off the truck, landing gracefully on his feet before returning to her side, “What would life be without a little mystery? As for your generous offer, I already got what I came looking for,” he pointed out, “And I would just hate to impose,” he lied.

The Sidhe turned at his refusal, the last vehicle’s reparations freezing in place. Turning her head from him, she bit the inside of her cheek. “I really do insist, Noir.” She said, “Allow me to show you what it is.

Popping the pin on her clutch purse with her thumb, she cradled it with one hand while the other reached deep inside well past her elbow, feeling around for what she was looking for. Strange sounds of wood creaking, the skittering of glass, a long whistle from an instrument sounding like it had fallen.

Noir noticed the trucks ‘stopping in their tracks,’ so to speak. Understanding it as a sign of her displeasure, he decided it might be best to play along, after all, “Well if you insist...

She brightened when she found what she was looking for, “Excellent.

From deep within her purse the top of a lantern appeared first. Rough, hempen rope knotted and crisscrossing over a clearly handcrafted cylinder of amber tinted glass. No visible openings. Imperfections, age and the odd scratch down the length of glass showed The Ambassador was not it’s first owner. The hempen rope wrapped tightly down to its base, a handcrafted ornate wooden base - polished, smoothed, there were some words written on the base along with the artisan’s signature - legible to only those who could understand Common Fey. The glass was not entirely opaque but moss could be seen growing inside of it, to Odette she could see a sleepy spirit crouched - insect-like wings folded against it’s back, it’s body spotted with large spots. The lantern, on its size alone, could not under any normal circumstances have been able to fit in that clutch purse. By the time she finished pulling it out of her purse she set it down, the height of it alone standing just above her knee.

For you, Noir. It is meant to forewarn you of danger when it glows - or so I have been told. Keep it inside your home, if you take good care of it such as polishing the glass, playing music, a view of the outside. The lantern will take care of you in turn.” She explained, “Please accept this as my gift to you.

Wha- where…” David started, confused, then stopped immediately. Great magicians never reveal their tricks, he thought, and that was definitely a great trick. He listened carefully to what she said whilst the back of his mind worked on it. It had to be tiny portals. He was certain of it.

The part of his brain that was focused on her took the strange device, careful not to show his wariness, “The way you speak of it, I almost feel like introductions should be made. ‘Hello Mr. Lantern, I’m Noir. You and I will be the bestest of pals, I’m certain of it!’” he joked, despite studying the item with interest, “Is that moss? Someone’s not been taking the best care of Mr. Lantern! Don’t worry, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal, we’ll get rid of that in no time!” he took one more moment to finish inspecting it, before adding, “Joking aside, it is a beautiful piece, and I do not mean to sound like an ungrateful jerk, but...How the hell is this thing meant to light itself up, or know I’m in any danger, for that matter?” he squinted behind the plate, “I can’t see any wicks or mantles…

The Ambassador winked with a sly smile, “If only you could see as I do, Noir the Skeptic. Take good care of it and it will do the same for you,” she repeated.

He really had no idea, a thousand ideas came to her how to introduce the fey looking forward to the fun she would have.

She waved him off with both hands, dismissing the shadowy man, “Off you go, I have product to move and you are free to leave. You will hear from us soon.” Returning to business she turned on her heel, waving the criminals into moving themselves. Bach had watched on during the exchange from the safety of her shoulder, his eyes on the thief while her back was turned. Moderately curious as to how he’d treat the lantern but a curly smile formed knowingly aware of why Odette gave him that.

Did you hear that Mr. Lantern? We are free to leave. How magnanimous of her, don’t you think?” Noir began talking to himself as he walked off, “It’s almost like she thinks we work for her. Wait, do we work for her? Oh well, it doesn’t matter either way, because you and I are a pair or rebels who live by their own rules! Like Tango and Cash. Or Starsky and Hutch. Or…

This went on for quite a while until the man was absolutely sure he was nowhere to be seen, considering the large antique he was carrying around. Back at the rooftops, he removed his shadowplate, allowing Deep to contact him once more. Just one of the many curious side effects donning it seemed to have.

“Finally!” the metahacker came through, “That took you longer than I’d expected. Everything go according to plan?”

It went beautifully,” Noir smiled, “Better than I’d hoped for, even. I need you to learn everything you can about a French fellow named Jacque. He’s my new boss, apparently,” he told him, before giving him a brief yet detailed depiction of the man, before proceeding to describe the Ambassador, “By the way, can you get a hold of the nearby security cameras?

“Way ahead of you. I don’t have a direct angle on the scene, but I’m hoping I can find at least a couple of good shots of this Ambassador.”

Excellent. Let me know as soon as you find something on them. Oh, this is going to be fun, isn’t it, Mr. Lantern?

“I beg your pardon?” Deep asked, confused.

Oh, never you mind. The Ambassador gave me a gift.

“A gift?” Deep asked with great skepticism, “You shouldn’t take that with you before you scan it for tracking devices and bugs.”

What is this, amateur hour?” Noir asked in turn, “You take care of your end of the job, I’ll deal with mine. Noir out.

“Noir?” Deep asked… but David had already cut him off.



Time: The Following Day
Location: Noir’s Penthouse

“YYou are being very unreasonable, Lampy. How the hell am I supposed to clean out that moss if there’s no bloody way of opening you up?

David sighed. He’d actually been going crazy trying to open the antique lantern once he’d polished it up. At first, he’d treated it like a puzzle, a challenge of sorts. Later, it had evolved into a day-consuming mission, the man losing his nerves several times. There was not a lock in the world that could resist, but this thing had no locks, or any way of opening it up, for that matter. He’d actually considered smashing it out of sheer frustration, just to ‘win,’ but he realized the satisfaction in that would be fleeting, at best, and followed by instant regret.

He sat in his living room upon a comfortable couch, a pleasant shade of soft grey, whilst the lantern rested on a low table made of a beautiful, dark brown wood (lignum vitae, to be precise). He wore a pristine white shirt, tucked into some dark jeans, coupled with a nice pair of velvet-like ankle boots, a similar colour to that of the table.

He passed a hand through his hair, regarding the lantern intensely as a thought crossed his head. He placed both hands on the edges of the lantern, where the amber crystal met wood and began concentrating.

Minuscules tendrils of darkness eventually spread from his fingertips, prodding and pushing until they found a minuscule gap in the virtually airtight device. A triumphant grin spread over his face as the darkness began to slip, eventually scrubbing off the moss before completely enveloping it, crushing it inside its obscure grip. The tendril thinned out again, carefully exiting the way it had entered.

The lantern’s spirit alarmed she climbed the surface of the glass away from the tendrils, tiny suction cups allowing her to scale the smooth surface with ease. Her pupiless, bulbous eyes, watching intently. Pressing her nose against the glass to watch what he did next with her bedding.

David kept his concentration as it guided it across the room to the kitchen’s bin. He lifted a second hand, a second tendril shooting out to crack the bin open and, tongue sticking out, he forced the end of the tendril to ‘chop’ itself off, the moss contained within falling in the garbage before his dark limbs dissipated entirely.

She huffed, sliding back down to the bottom pouting. Kicking her feet out.

Hah!” he exclaimed, wiping a bit of sweat off his forehead. They were an odd thing, these powers of his. He could actually feel the things he touched, even the minuscule particles of moss as he’d grinded them up and carried them over. With a big smile, he took a hold of the lantern and placed on a slim table looking out into the city, a record player at the ready next to it: he was nothing if not committed to his jokes.

So, what kind of man are you, Mr. Lantern? Rock n’ roll? Pop? Indie? Reggae? Please don’t say punk,” he added, smirking, “No… I think you’re into the classics, aren’t you?

The man took out an old vinyl from his collection, extracting it with care before placing it on the record player, a number of instruments filling the air with a slow, catchy melody. David closed his eyes, hips and arms swaying from side to side as he walked backwards, ready to break into song.

I’ve got youuuu, under my skin. I’ve got youuuu, deep in the heart of me. So deep in my heart, that you’re a part of me…

Almost as if on cue, the tell-tale ring of Deep’s private line joined the tune in a somewhat cacophonous manner. David did a final twirl on the spot, before taking the phone.

Talk to me,” he smiled, “Please, please tell me you’ve found something.

“I have,” Deep replied, “I couldn’t find anything on this Jacque character of yours, but your Ambassador, on the other hand… well, she was almost insultingly easy to find.”

David’s eyes widened with glee, “I’m all ears.

“Actually, I’m sending you the link right now.”

David’s phone beeped, the man opening it so fast he barely had time to read it:

instagram.com/fairydust

Paris, France, with a little flag, of course,” he began reading out loud, “Fashion, beauty, lifestyle, all between some colourful stars, and… ‘Paris Opera House Ballet Soloist?’

That last one caught him off guard, a wolf-like grin plastered on his face as he perused her instagram pictures, “22k followers? Dear Gods, is this woman not concerned at all about…” he stopped, a devious thought entering his mind, “Hey buddy, when’s the next show at the Paris Opera House?

It barely took a moment for Deep to reply, “Three days.”

Can you…?

“You fly out two days from now, a full week before you return. Tickets are in your e-mail,” Deep answered simply.

Am I really that predictable?” David laughed.

“Yes, yes you are,” Deep replied simply, amused.

You’re a legend, mate. Thank you,” David smiled.

“I know. I...”

David had already hung up, making his way to his walking closet to choose which suits he’d be taking.

END OF CHAPTER 1


I should start on a playlist for my two.

I have one for Blue Beetle in another game, but that's a bit easier and gives less away.


You know I would listen to it right.
@Hellis Just completed some commissioned art for everyone's favourite Ambassador of the Fair Folk! Check it out! There's still slots open. <3




Link!





Time: Midnight - Three Weeks Ago
Location: The Permanent Portal - Paris


Hovering outside the magnificent copse of Yew Trees, the moonlight casting in silver shafts of light through the endless branches of Yew. The Ambassador stood ready to see an old friend, the former adversary - Duchess Gelsey of the Autumn Court. A court that The Ambassador gladly called home territory harbouring her close relationship with the earthen fey, mixed generously with Unseelie and Seelie faerie, her oldest allies found in that court of nobility. Not the strongest, but her assuming control of the Duchess proved a great deal for a newly empowered sorceress, many years prior.

Dressed for business, as usual, Odette’s outfit was of a simple black blazer with the sleeves rolled and cuffed up to her forearm. A white low neck tank tucked into the belt of her navy blue and gray chiffon skirt. Her gray heels providing her with a few inches, she tucked a charmed hairband, black with a cluster of small diamonds to the right side of her head. It gave off a small halo of light knowingly sure it would make it even harder for the Duchess to look upon her straight on.

The Ambassador adjusted the lapel of her blazer idly as she walked down the path toward the portal, Bach by her side. Odette knew Gelsey would be her first place to start for finding a piece of the Fomorian Blade, her family having ruled over the Autumn court for millennia. She was almost certain following an instinct that Gelsey would know and she could easily squeeze that information out of the cowardly Duchess.

She was met with her copper armoured portal guards, their faces hidden behind bright copper helmets they bowed low at the sight of her - wielding glaives with various charms tied around the base of the blades, the klinked against the metal of the blade when they moved. They were tall, impressively so but vigilant.

A formal meeting and formal way to travel to the Autumn Court.

They bowed murmuring, “My Lady,” in Common Fey.

The door of the portal tucked into the bark of a yew tree, the moon reflected off the golden sheen of the doorknob. The Ambassador curtsied to the guards before opening the door - willing her new destination, asking the Arcane Stream so kindly to let her travel safely to where she wished to go. The Arcane Stream bent through time and space when the door creaked open the very energy of life flooded the copse of Yew. The trees lapped up the energy greedily, seemingly taking a deep breath in.

She crossed the threshold breathing in deeply much like the trees, feeling invigorated as she usually did by the Arcane Stream. Familiar as it was, a comforting flow took place around her. Mockingly gentle, pink lips parted to a smile.

Dutifully, Bach followed behind wearing a sly easy grin, teeth bright white, his hair filled with bright green leaves, horns poking out from beneath his messy mop and yellow-tinged eyes settled on the back of his human pact partner. The green of his blazer brightened by the light of the portal, dirt caked into his elbows and the knees of his pants. He walked barefoot, long, dark nails on his hands and toes. The parlour of his skin sickly green.

Landing among soft moss, the quiet preceded with anxious tension. The swamp stretched out before them, pockets of dark water, insects buzzing through the air, humidity apparent - a fog settling at their ankles. The Ambassador walked across water without worry, solid pads of grass appeared beneath her feet guiding her to the Duchess, begrudgingly ready for her arrival. Her smile never faded as she walked further into the swamp, a hand trailing after the soft ivy and moss growing from branches of willows. Eyes from the hollows of trees watched as she passed squinting at the light from her headband, chittering with delight.

A distant discordant song across small drums followed on the back of laughter, unnerving to most but a welcome to their Faerie Mistress.

The Ambassador arrived at the opening of the court, having passed mounds of dirt, floating lily pads, the Fey that called this swamp their home had wide heads, living among the roots of trees, within the depths of water and mud. As they moved closer, long spider webs stretched across the branches of trees.

It was no place for a mortal human to tread.

It was a timeless place, rarely changing - beautiful in the sunlight as it was under the cover of night. Many faerie called the Autumn’s swamp their home - a constant moving ecosystem of life shifting under the surface. A concept that Odette once struggled to understand, seeing past the veil was more than just learning to see and interact with Faerie. It was diving head first into their world.

On a throne of toadstools at a long table of rotting wood, Duchess Gelsey awaited patiently. Hooded in white-gray spider silk, her hoven feet delicately crossed over her ankles, surrounded by stacks of books. Jade green eyes looked up from her open book to regard The Ambassador’s arrival, dark bark much like a pair of plates laid flesh against her cheeks, giving her face a strange profile. She pushed up from her seat to bow her head. She failed to make proper eye contact.

She spoke in Common Fey, “Welcome, My Lady.”

Odette stopped short of the table, a hand laying flat against the wood pressure giving way to the softness. Bach carried on, rounding to the other side of the table. Without the need of permission, he snagged a book off one of her stacks and started to flip through it with some idle interest.

Duchess Gelsey.

The Duchess bowed lower, “My Lady Ambassador, what an honour it is to have you visit us in person. Whatever could be the reason? We heard of the triumph against the Hounds of Humanity and rejoiced. Our faith, as always, well placed in the actions of the Ambassador.”

Her words were without sincerity, just a simple obligation. Odette loved to hear her bend as she did.

The Hounds of Humanity were removed but our true enemy lies with The Winter Court.” The Ambassador said, stopping short of Gelsey - standing tall over the Duchess, she refused to look her in the eye. The Duchess, like many others, assumed the faerie Winter Court. “This is a human witch hunting group likening to call themselves The Winter Court, they were to blame for the destruction of a coven of witches and Pixy Stix. So much so, even Puck has taken to move against them.

Duchess Gelsey finally looked to The Ambassador, squinting past the light to see her face. Her thin lips pressed into a line of thought, “Oh, Puck. Handsome and charming Puck has a plan then?” She found her seat again, leaning down to sit.

Yes, he aims to collect certain… pieces of a weapon.” The Ambassador began taking a seat up beside Gelsey, invading her personal space. The Duchess pressed against her chair, pulling away. “Any ideas about what that could be, Duchess?

Staring then pulling a book off a stack, she laid it out flat for The Ambassador to look. “I genuinely hoped it would remain a secret.” The Duchess began, slowly, quietly, “For millennia we kept it safe, why would Puck want to reunite such a disgusting thing?”

The Ambassador was curious as to why she had the book among her current reading, glancing at the book Odette smoothed a hand across the ageing page - soft as fresh linen but discoloured. Names, a long list of names - titles of knights and whom they served to protect the piece. “How long has it been in your possession, Duchess? This list is long even by your standards.

Ignoring her question, Duchess Gelsey anxious to know as she asked, “Why would My Lady agree to fetch such a thing...?” Her eyes fell onto Odette’s icy blue pair, Faerie gathered around them. Clustering at The Ambassador’s back, leaving the Duchess without support. They were all various levels of small, some wore buttons for hats, others had spindly limbs, long noses, wide colourful heads, expressionless masks. Sidhe lounged from their muddy mounds to watch, vastly different in appearance to the ones surrounding Salem. Beautiful as they were in their own way, but creatures of the bog nonetheless.

Inclining her head she unrolled the paper Puck gave her, the image of the Fomorian blade laid across the pages. “It will undo those who oppose us. Which of your Knights protect it, Duchess?

Shivering, she tugged her spider webs closer. “Becan, you will have to speak with him directly to gain his permission.” Gently nudging the paper off of her book with the back of her knuckles, “Would it be easy to convince a Duchess to do any one thing, Knight Becan is far more steadfast in his duty.”

The Ambassador made no move to remove the paper, enjoying how uncomfortable Gelsey was. Such a secret lying with the faerie whom unwittingly provided Odette with every opportunity to become The Ambassador of the Fair Folk. Sincerely doubting if it was not for toppling Duchess Gelsey, Odette would most surely still be at her beck and call today or just as likely to be dead.

The sorceress laughed heartily, making Gelsey flinch. “We can trust a Knight before we can trust a Duchess. You need no convincing - simply an order. How ironic.” Standing from her chair, Bach shared a smile with Odette.

The Duchess clenched her fists, her jaw ground with frustration.

Do you have something to say, Duchess?

Gelsey sat silent for a moment, her hands disappeared under the table folding over her lap, “No, My Lady. Proceed into the bog to speak with Knight Becan.”

Hovering over the Duchess for a few moments, The Ambassador withdrew. Holding her hand out to Bach he linked up with her and together they disappeared in a burst of green leaves shrinking down to only a few inches. They walked together, hand in hand deeper into the bog only tall as a blade of grass.

They arrived to a burrow with a matted patch of grass covering the hole, silk coated the area surrounding it. Silvery trip lines just outside of it were taunt ready to alert the homeowner of their approach. Thankfully, it’s master came to greet them before it did.

Fluttering down from far above them Knight Becan descended, his fluttery moth wings dark grey kicking up motes of dust - his curly narrow brown boots touched down on top of the grassy burrow lid. Light fur covered his legs and poked out from beneath his golden brown chitin-plated armour wrapping his narrow torso and chest. On his hip was his sword, his soft coated head sporting his feather antennae, two small decorative skulls were at his shoulders. Regal, distinct and a true air of nobility to be expected of a Knight of the Autumn Court.

He bowed his head, sweeping his wing out gracefully to greet The Ambassador, he spoke in Common Fey. “My Lady, it is an honour to meet you.” His voice was soft as a whisper, hands resting casually on his sword hilt.

Still holding Bach’s hand, she gave it a distinct squeeze before nodding her head to greet the Knight.

The honour is mine in meeting you, noble Knight Becan. I have come to you to ask for a favour.” The Ambassador began pressing her open hand to her chest. “One I would not expect to be taken lightly or without consequence.

You may already know what it is I am about to-

Patiently he raised his hand to halt her, The Ambassador closed her mouth waiting for him to speak, his shoulders shifted in a languid sigh, “Whatever it is, it is yours, My Lady.” Becan replied.

Bach shared a look with Odette, the pair confused. He began resting his large black eyes on the pair, “The Good Will you have earned among my people here in the Autumn Court will stretch for generations, The Duchess once ate us as a delicacy - as many of the noble folk took to as a fashionable exotic entree. Try as we did to defend ourselves.” He clenched his fist until it shook.

“I took the burden of protecting a piece and Knighthood to protect my own, but it is you who brokered unity right under her nose. The Court thrives, but it is unfashionable. . .” He chuckled, “Such is life.”

He took long strides to reach Odette, gently grasping her hand flourishing his wings out as he kneeled before her, bowing his head against her hand. “You need only ask, My Lady. I would trust no other to such a dangerous artifact.”

Odette’s expression softened genuinely, a glow of admiration brightened her smile.

Noble Knight Becan, I ask of you to give me the piece you protect, the piece of Fomorian Blade.” She asked softly, “I will relieve you of this burden.

Tilting his head up, a light squeeze of her fingers in his hand and he nodded once before standing back up. He turned walking back to the burrow standing on the lid once more he knocked his heel against the lid three times. Long legs of a spider crept out from under the lid pushing up to regard it's master’s call. A twitch of antennae, a series of knocks told the spider to fetch the blade disappearing deep back into its burrow.

Minutes passed, far away sounds of something heavy being dragged back up to the surface. The tip of the blade gently poked it’s way up first, six inches of an iron blade eventually laid flat on the ground. The Fey taking considerable distance from the piece wrapped in layers of silk. “The most dangerous part of the dagger was given to me, wrapped in silk I was able to move it safely underground to store it.”

Odette nodded her eyes on the first piece. “I will look after it, I swear.

“Please do not hesitate to call upon me or my people, My Lady Ambassador. We will happily serve your needs as you will it.”

Stepping away into the deeper grass giving Knight Becan plenty of space, Bach released the spell and they returned to their normal sizes. Bending down to scoop up the blade, carefully folding a white silk handkerchief over the blade. She stored it away into her purse. Knight Becan took flight fluttering around her, a bright smile and a rosy tinge to her cheeks of glee.

Nap Time

17th of Midyear - 4E208
Dwemeri Prison Ruins Kthrakz




The morning heat scorched the desert sands, great stone walls of the Dwemeri ruin not far in the distance, hidden in the shade of a large dune under a canopy of tarp to protect the caravan, the camels, and lone vigilant guard protecting the group’s belongings occasionally making a peek at the prison for movement before retreating to the shade. Judena’s wide scaley head hidden beneath a lightly shaded scarf, tucked safely inside her shirt to secure it. Golden eyes squinting against the odd swirl of sand, she stood tall and vigilant, her long red scaled tail sweeping behind her, wrapped with cloth as well to protect it from the harsh sand. It wasn’t natural for an Argonian to be away from water for so long - frankly she was not pleased about their extended travels across the desert. She did not vocalise her complaints but a singular look shared with her fellow Argonian, Jaraleet confirmed he was miserable as well.

For the prison break, Judena hoped with all her heart for its success. Alim missing among them was heartbreaking, to all people she saw his presence missed most of all by her student Anifaire. The young Altmer woman clearly harbouring strong feelings for Alim, Anifaire spoke no word of it but it was writ all over her expression ever since they left Gilane without him in tow.

She gripped the staff of her spear, a glow of mage armour glimmering over her body. Judena decided and volunteered to watch the caravan, watch over the sleeping corsair passed out in the back of the wagon. Knowing full well she was not suited for sneaking anywhere. Occasionally Judena peeked into the back of the wagon to remind herself, Maj Noor was still there.

Ready as she was for danger, Judena found her mind wondering all over the place as one does when they are bored. Touching on her thoughts of the medicinal fix for broken minds Daro’Vasora presented to Judena. Where she was scared to hope, she hoped and imagined nonetheless when given time to do so.

A notion she would have cried herself to sleep over once upon a time, it had been a very long time since she ever felt that way.

Smiling now at the thought of gaining back her ability to remember, she held onto that.

Maj Noor was indeed sleeping as if she was dead to the world, in the wee hours of the morning did alcohol finally pull the insomniac into a sleep. As the alcohol passed through her system filtering through her hard working kidneys, did the mage’s stomach turn rumbling - unsettled. Cracking her eyes open pausing before pushing herself up in a panic to the edge of the wagon to vomit the contents of her stomach into the sand surprising Judena with her sudden appearance.

Groaning after the heaving subsided, she pushed herself away leaning against a sack of apples reaching behind her she dug around in the sack pulling free a red apple, swiping her wrist under her lip removing a few drops of vomit. Judena disappeared to return with a skin of water for Maj, careful to avoid the vomit.

“How are you feeling. . .” Judena began to ask, checking her journal ensuring she got her name right. “Maj Noor?”

Gratefully accepting the waterskin, Maj drank deeply then siped lightly spitting out the remains of bile in her mouth.

“I’m awake,” she said plainly, the headache throbbing away. “Thanks for the water, where is everyone?” She looked around past the wagon seeing they were obviously on their own.

Judena read from her logbook, “We are currently alone because the others entered the Dwemeri prison to free Alik’r prisoners, hoping Alim is among them and Sirine’s family, while hopefully recovering a bit of Dwemer technology.” Smiling pleasantly at the young mage.

Maj regarded Judena, dutifully reciting her own memories across a page. She pitied the Argonian, Mazrah and a great deal of others felt a great affinity for their forgetful elder. Her positivity was endearing to say the least, she wondered how she managed to survive for so long the way she struggled.

“Well I better get going to join them, they can’t be far ahead-” Maj pushed herself up from the sack, wobbling slightly - holding her head. Finding her center she took a bite of the apple before jumping down to the sand. “Point me in the right direction.”

Judena shook her head, “I apologize Maj, the others have been gone into the prison for more than an hour. You would surely get lost before you found them or something else found you. I urge you to stay here with me.”

Maj frowned at Jude, “Mazrah let me sleep instead of joining her?”

“She insisted you needed to sleep, having been awake for three days straight before passing out last night. You suffer from the inability to fall asleep yes? I quite often take my ability to get a good night sleep for granted.” Judena patted Maj’s shoulder. “We can keep each other company while we wait for their return, it is quite boring to stand watch on your own.”

Maj casted her eyes away, scratching at an itch on her neck thoughtfully chewing through another bite of her apple.

Judena smiled brightly heading over to a barrel walking it by the side of the wagon for Maj to have a seat. “Please have a seat! We can chat while you wake up.”

Maj took the seat hefting herself onto the barrel, legs dangling, her heels tapping the wood. “Aye, I guess it’s better than trying to go back to sleep now.”

Judena reached to grab a second apple for Maj when she finished her first one, throwing the core into the sand, “I am glad we have this time to speak! It is so rare to see a redguard practicing magic or a land bound pirate.”

“Aye…” Maj began, not in the mood to entertain but satisfying Judena’s curiosity was something she could do at least in return for her watching over her. “About as rare as seeing an Argonian practicing magic as well I suppose.”

Judena considered that and laughed good naturedly, “Indeed! There are not many like us.”

“It ain’t without consequences, but I learned from the best master of illusion and conjuration. I’ve got an imagination that can come to life right in front of you.” Maj gestured with her apple at Judena as the Argonian dictated their conversation as they had it, it made Maj uncomfortable, for no real reason. They weren’t speaking of secrets and conspiracies but detailed account of her words by someone else’s hand didn’t sit well with her. She rolled the apple across her sleeve, “So, how’d you lose your memories?”

Judena finished a sentence then knocked a knuckle across her forehead, not missing a beat, “Took a boom to my head when I was younger.”

Maj winced, nodding. Knowing a few sailors and pirates alike having the same accident. “Happens all the time, clumsy fucking shiphands.”

Judena shook her head, “It was not one persons fault, but the wind.”

“Still a shit covered stick regardless of whose fault it was.” Maj commented.

“Indeed,” Judena agreed, “It is what it is.”

“Aye…” Maj took a thoughtful bite, “The dunes kind of look like waves,” Leaning onto her knee she looked out at desert trying to imagine big blue waves, feeling a tug in the pit of her stomach. “If you close your eyes,” She finished dryly.

Judena looked out into the dunes, “I miss the ocean as well. That was a pleasant note to being in Gilane. Are you used to being on land for this long?”

“Only when I was a kid did I go months and months on land before going back to the sea over the summer. Hated it then as I do now.” Maj said, “It ain’t natural.”

Judena nodded in understanding being outside of one’s element. “It will not be for much longer.”

“I miss the rain, the warm misty rain that would gently roll over the Imperial City, the thundering monsoon season in Argonia. Even the chilly rain in Skyim was welcome after a humid summer day.” Judena sighed wistfully, “Cleanses the soul,” She continued to write away in her logbook, noting her own thoughts irrelevant as they may seem in the future.

Maj took a few more quick bites of her apple then hopped off the barrel, removing some apple skin from her teeth. In spite of her headache Maj did like Jude’s company, it was pleasant there had to be a way to owe her back for watching over her while she blacked out. Her immediate thought was something easy and she hoped as kind as the old lizard, “Something like this?”

Casting Calm, Maj lifted her fist a blue outline around her fingers as she tapped into her magicka, slowly she opened her fist to show a small blue ball of magicka formed in the palm of her hand - carrying with it an illusion for Jude. It floated through the air gently landing between her eyes.

The illusion began firstly when Judena she heard the pitter patter of rain against the wagon roof, Judena turned to check a smile growing across her face she turned back to a gorgeous scene of Wayrest’s coastline came to life before her, the sun a warm orange glow over the horizon, a beautiful sunrise kissing the blue sky. The light rain washed over the city, Judena felt the humidity and even smelt the salty breeze of the sea, rain fell across her head soaking through her clothes. She shivered with delight. Marvelling at the illusion, she closed her eyes humming with content. A reminder of one of her favourite things to feel.

Maj smiled as she watched Judena’s expression, closing her eyes keeping the illusion up for several minutes. “This is Wayrest, grew up here. Still one of my favourite places to watch the sunrise.”

Judena breathed, “It is beautiful.”

Maj held onto the illusion as long as she could be breaking concentration, taking a deep breath and rest on top of the barrel. Her headache crashed in with a vengeance, she held her head groaning. “Ow.

Judena sighed with content, patting her back and handing her the waterskin once more. “Thank you, Maj Noor.”

Helping to nurse her head, the pair chattered on helping time pass until their friends arrived back from their successful prison break. Lapsing in and out of silence, the scritch of pencil against paper, a chuckle for a joke and groans of hangover pain. By the time the others returned Maj hardly noticed the logbook and Judena could still feel the warm rain across her scales.
@Dedonus Fuckssakes, what part of gross and uncomfortable don’t you understand? I am well aware of stories of Fauns and Satyrs and clearly if you had read the post you would have known that I wasn’t even acknowledging that bit of folklore, the narrative purpose of the Satyr/Faun being there wasn’t to sexually assault my character. There was a million different things you could have brought up to discuss about what I wrote but no, deciding to focus on the horrible joke instead. Making me feel uncomfortable for something that I clearly wasn’t focusing on or writing about.

Tried to be nice about it but you had to keep nitpicking, seriously pissing me off in the process.

<Snipped quote by DearTrickster>

I don't think a satyr would care whether Odette wanted to or not. Which is precisely why I said that, if I were in Odette's shoes, I would have ran in the other direction.


And simultaneously make me regret writing one in there in the first place.



Edit: Tempted to just change it to a grumpy Faun instead of a Satyr.

Double edit: no longer a satyr

Never Say Die

14th of Midyear - 4E208
Campsite - Alik’r Desert Oasis




She was happy.

Judena was happy to have everyone together once more. Especially having Daro’Vasora back in their ranks, safe and in one piece. Anxiously, Jude waited to speak with her dear friend. The chaos following the palace, focused on protecting herself and Anifaire from danger had soaked up the majority of her energy. The quick escape and flight from the Three Crown’s gruesome sight was eventually all recorded in her logbook. The group together once more was her anchor, Jude as she was held on for life.

The campsite was settled quickly, tired feet left boots behind, bedrolls were rolled out, fires started with hot meals on the way for the hungry bellies. What supplies they had to spare, rationing with the expectation for a long haul crossing out of Hammerfell living out of the back of a wagon.

Judena stood on the edge of a cooking fire looking around expectantly, claws clacking together hoping to spot the familiar pony tail of Daro’Vasora.

Daro’Vasora was busy carefully turning over a roast of sheep flank in the flames that someone else had started, and the smell of dry-cured and salted meat began to fill her nostrils with an intoxicating scent. She looked up and saw Judena looking around by the fire past the flank, and the Khajiit stood up suddenly, revealing herself to the Argonian. “Boo.” She said with a wide grin, walking around the fire to her friend. “I’ve missed you, so much it physically hurt.” she admitted, suddenly throwing her arms around Judena, her chin resting on her shoulder as she pulled the Argonian elder in closer. “You were so brave coming for me. I don’t know how to repay that.”

Judena turned to the sound of her voice, hands dropping to her side to receive Daro’Vasora, she wrapped about the Khajiit, pressing her head against hers squeezing her eyes shut as she embraced her friend feeling a long arduous relief wash over her, finally. It was real, there was no gap in thought. They held the embrace for several moments, Jude’s heart bursting with emotions from joy, relief, pride and ultimately love.

“I am-” She sniffed, tears welled in her eyes. “I am so happy to see you, Daro’Vasora.” Quietly speaking over her head.

The lump formed in the back of her throat trying to speak through a sob, “I was worried from the pits of my soul.” Kneeling down she pulled away hesitantly to look her over, see for her own eyes how she really was. “Please, please do not do that again. You are bound to give this old lizard a horrible heartache.” Smiling in spite of her tears, she dabbed away at her cheeks with her sleeve.

Daro’Vasora took Judena’s hand in her own, placing another gingerly on top of it with a slight upturn of a smile on her face, her eyes starting to water a bit. “You know, I wasn’t planning on that particular misadventure. The room and catering were fine, but the service was lousy.” she chuckled, shaking her head. “I thought I was going to die, doing what I felt was the right thing. They wanted me to bend to their will, to be a mouthpiece calling for unity with them. I couldn’t, and even though your lives were on the line, I was going to denounce them all, knowing that I may never see any of you again.” She said quietly, sniffing and blinking water out from her vision.

“One thing I kept thinking of over and over is how unfair it would be to you, for me to so selfishly martyr myself. You’d go through each and every day losing me again and again, and that hurt me worse than anything I’ve felt in so long. Judena,” Daro’Vasora said, gazing into Judena’s eyes. “You’re my family. Out of everyone in my life, you’re someone I never really put into perspective how much that means to me. Realizing there might be a time where you aren’t in my life, well… it’s something I couldn’t bear without letting you know that I love you like you’re my own flesh and blood.”

Judena knew in heart that it simply wasn’t within Daro’Vasora’s nature to bend to the will of another, not break her principle. How close she was to losing her, renewing a fresh wave of tears. Rubbing a thumb under Sora’s eye, she smiled so gently, “There are so very few constants in our lives, Daro’Vasora. There has not been a time where I imagined us here, surviving and fighting for our lives as we have.” She began, “I love you too, my dear and precious friend Daro’Vasora. You have changed so much since Jerell Mountains,” squeezing her hand back, “Truly grown within the depths of your heart and outward.”

She grinned in turn with a chuckle, “Oblivious as I am, I do take notice. Sly, cunning and words sharp as a dagger you have stepped up from who you were before but have not lost anything. Only gained.” Jude said looking to Latro and a few others like Shakti, Meg, and Jaraleet from where they were. Turning back to Sora she said with a nod, “I will stick by you as long as you will have me.”

The words struck like a hammer to an anvil, forging something beautiful. “I… thank you, Judena.” the Khajiit smiled, leaning into her hand that brushed her tears away. “I’m going to be by your side, until I finally go to the Sands Behind the Stars. Do you think I’ve really changed that much?” she asked quietly, following her gaze to the others. “Seems to me that most everyone’s pissed at me for the choices I made on their behalf, and I just feel tired, like I’ve been running for leagues without a breather. I led you all to Gilane, and that worked out so well.” she remarked, a caustic tinge to her tone as her eyes narrowed into slits and her ears pulled back.

Nodding Judena said as she stood back up looking in the direction where they left Gilane behind. “You cannot see into the future, Gilane offered gifts with one hand and took away with the other. There is no simple blame to to be had except for the constant source of our conflict.”

“The Dwemer.” She said sourly. Referring to their group with a small but certain sigh, “They can certainly be upset but they can do so with their lives, you have made time to make amends. That is what is important, Daro’Vasora.” Judena crossed her arms, holding up a single finger tapping against Sora’s chest. “Enough time can change anything.”

“And I will deal with the Dwemer, if I’m half as clever as I think I am.” Daro’Vasora sighed, deflating somewhat. “A part of me feels this path is one I need to walk on my own without dragging anyone else into the jaws of Oblivion with me.” she looked at the finger against her chest. “Do… you think I was wrong, to accept Sevari and Zaveed’s proposal? After everything they’ve done to us?”

Judena pressed her lips in thought, humming. Reconciling how she felt about the pair of Khajiit, Sevari brought Latro back to them and now they served a purpose to retrieve Alim from prison. It stirred conflict within Jude, hearing properly of the horrors they visited upon them made her curl her lip in disgust. Clearly their loyalties lied with themselves and no longer with the Dwemer. It was a mixed bag of awful and worse.

Truthfully she answered, “I do not know, they are a means to an end. I know one thing that a single individual can change given the right push.” Scrunching her face with a frown, “I do not like them, they remind me of the discomfort Durant seemed to flex while around us as a group. For a time it felt light now there is a similar weight once more.”

“I quite specifically dislike what Zavert had done to you. It is wrong what they had done.”

“I hope that their divorce from the Dwemeri have spurred some change,” she commented, “Enough to tolerate them for what needs to be done.”

That forced a smile to Daro’Vasora’s face. She tried not to be amused by Judena’s frequent butchering of names, especially when the topic at hand was so grim. It helped distract from her rubbing the place where Zaveed had kicked her arm so hard it snapped. “Well, that makes two of us. But I look around, we have supplies for the journey, a place to put our heads down, food and drink. They say they’re going to rescue Sirine’s brother, and I don’t know what to make of her.” Daro’Vasora admitted. “I just… a part of me feels like they’re meant to come along for this, despite our animosity. I know Latro was hurt when he felt Sevari betrayed him. I just see the two of them, and I think of home, La’Shuni. What if Leyawiin is overrun by the Dominion? After everything that’s happened, why do I feel like I’m one of the few people who is in a position to actually make a difference? It’s not somewhere I want to be.”

“Yet you are here.” Jude replied simply, her smile returning gazing down at Sora. “You act and have stepped into Rhea’s position. Uniquely yours to do something even if you do not know what it is quite yet.”

“I would not doubt the unspoken truth that lies with you.” She said gaze shifting down, she pulled free her logbook referring to it. “There is something you should know . . . I-” Taking a deep breath in she said, “I told the others of what happened, in Jerell Mountains. I could not withhold the truth any longer, the news of your kidnapping had pushed the flood waters past the banks.”

That nearly stopped Daro’Vasora’s heart, her eyes widened and her ears flattened as she glanced around nervously. “Excuse me, what the fuck?” the Khajiit exclaimed in a whispering hiss. Not out of anger towards Judena, but rather out of fear of retaliation or what those who hadn’t been there would have done. “Jude, we can’t… no. Why?” she pleaded. “Is it not enough we’re trying to make things right without giving everyone every reason to hate us?”

She stopped Sora, with a curt tone, “Before we decided to group together and rescue you.This guilt is not for us to bury any longer,” Searching her eyes she clasped her hands, “Do you understand? They decided to help despite knowing the truth.”

“They do not hate us.”

“We destroyed their lives, Judena.” the Khajiit whispered, looking crestfallen. The guilt ate away at her heart and soul. “We walked away from that terrible night unscathed and so many others paid the price. I lost Zegol. I might have lost my family… all because I didn’t stop her.”

“Neither did the rest of us try and stop, it was an unknown future or a sure death.” Judena said her voice softened yet firm, firm in her belief having the time to think long and hard about the guilt she felt, evidenced by her logs. Reflection lifting the heavy chain of survivor’s guilt one by one. A burden she knew existed over each of their heads. “It is not fair to ask for help while we withhold the truth. I see the guilt I feel within you right now, it is time to let it go.”

Frowning sadly she squeezed Sora’s hands. “Please, Daro’Vasora what is past is past.”

The Khajiit closed her eyes, shaking her head. “The past is what’s keeping me going forward. Why I’ve taken this burden upon myself, why I’ll throw myself into danger time and time again to set things right. I can’t excuse the things we’ve done, that it was our ignorance that lost us the Imperial City, Zegol, Skingrad… it all happened because of us. If a merchant does not secure his cargo and it falls off and crushes a child, is it not the merchant’s fault? Should he not be held accountable for his actions?” Daro’Vasora asked. “I can’t change the past, Judena, but I’m not going to forget my part in it until I set things right again. I can’t bring the dead back to life, or give people their homes back. I think that’s why Rhea tried so hard to protect each and every one of us, even if it cost the rest of the world so dearly. She wanted to make amends for her decision, and in the end, she died for it.”

Judena nodded in understanding, “We will make it right, there is no forgetting but it is time to move on openly with our companions. It will be difficult but it will be better, we all stand on the same ground.”

“We may very well die while trying. . . I suppose that is the price we pay.” Jude replied.

“Maybe you’re right,” Daro’Vasora agreed, crossing her arms. “I’m no stranger to being hated. I’ll just have to keep pushing forward with what I think is right; Rhea tried to make everyone love her, that didn’t go very well.”

She sighed, moving to sit by the riverbank. “What of you, Judena? How have you been? I’ve been so caught up in my own self-pity I never considered how all of this has been for you.”

Judena joined her putting the logbook aside, “Guilt, frustration, sadness it bubbles up occasionally. There have been plenty of distractions, spots of hope and good things.” Removing the necklace and holding her wedding band in her palm, observing it, running her thumb over the ruby. “The turbulence of our safety shifts as quickly as the sandy dunes, I have been trying to enjoy the temporary stability when it happens.”

Smiling after a moment she said, “The good often outweighs the awful.”

The Khajiit sighed, slumping forward to rest on her knees. “I wish I could say I didn’t understand. It’s been a trying time for us all.” She said, looking at the wedding band with a pang of remorse. She was quiet for a few moments. “Judena…” she began, “Have you given more thought to those letters?”

She shook her head. “I have not. I have continued to procrastinate.” Slipping the necklace back into her shirt where she gave it pat. “I do not know how reliable I will be if I subject myself to something that will surely reopen old old hurts.”

“I am not as sure as I was back in Anvil to read them.” Judena replied truthfully.

“We may not have the luxury of time anymore, Judena. You should make peace with yourself, find out what those letters contain. I will be there for you, for good and bad. This I swear.” Daro’Vasora promised, taking the Argonian be the arm and resting her head against Judena’s shoulder.

She fell silent for a moment, not sure how to broach what was on her mind. Eventually, the words found their way out, barely above a whisper. “I may have found a way to heal your damaged mind.”

Eyes widening briefly before she settled her head against Sora’s, her heartbeat picking up rapidly before it slowed, “A way does not exist, Daro’Vasora. I thank you for trying but such a thing is not within a healer’s hands nor our understanding of medicine.”

Judena sighed calming her excitement. “I wish there was.”

“There is.” Daro’Vasora said, squeezing her arm. “At least, I hope there is. When I was a guest of the Governor, I arrived with a broken arm by the swine Zaveed, and within three days, their medicine had healed the fracture like it had never happened. I asked about something for repairing damaged brains, and there was something they did have, but there’s a lot of uncertainty about it.” Daro’Vasora explained. “When you all came to save me, that’s why I went to the medical wing, to get that medicine, for you. I don’t know how it works yet, or if it will work, but if there’s even a fraction of a chance it will let you form new memories again and you no longer need to depend on your journals… I want to try.”

Judena sat up straight staring at her, her heartbeat picking up in pace once more feeling her chest tightening at the idea. Hope, uncertainty, desperation crossing through her expression. Whispering, “T-truly?”

“Per-perhaps a way does exist? We should consult Raelynn, in case. . .It has adverse effects.” Judena tried and failed to calm herself her hopes climbing faster than she could reasonably convince herself to relax. It would help and return her to some semblance of functional. There was as much chance for it to make it all worse.

Daro’Vasora gripped the Argonian’s hand with urgency. “I didn’t want to say anything until I knew for sure, but if I can find out how this works, and if it can help you, I will do it. I can read Dwemeris, I stole a tome describing different medicines that I will be studying as much as I can. But I want you to know, there’s risk involved. It’s impossible to know what the effect will be, but…” she allowed herself a hopeful smile. “This is why I want this to be your own choice. I just wanted you to know there’s a hope, perhaps a small one, but a hope nevertheless.”

“I will take it.”

Resolve washing through her Judena repeated herself with more conviction, “I will take the risk. Time will no longer be a luxury we may afford as you said.”

“I want so badly to wake up and remember again.” Tears welling up over her eyes once more.

Suddenly, the Khajiit threw her arms around Judena, embracing her tight. “You have given me so much, I can never begin to repay it. I meant it when I said you are family to me, ever since the day you looked at me and admired me for my accomplishments without scoffing at my youth or my race, you always looked out for me, respected me, shown me that you care. Let me try and repay even a tiny bit of the kindness you’ve shown me.” Daro’Vasora said. “I love you, Judena. I will never give up on you or leave you to struggle alone ever again.”

Sniffling out a short reply, “I love you, too. You have done the same for me, I never forgot your patience one of the few things that stuck with me over the years. You are a rare sort, my friend.”

Judena rocked them back and forth in their embrace, holding the other until the tears dissipated. Judena’s heart swelling with emotion, making her fingers tingle and igniting a warmth in her chest.

Leaning away smiling brilliantly down at Sora. “Love is such a wonderful thing.”

“Ain’t it just?” The Khajiit replied, looking up to meet Judena’s gaze. “Thank you, I feel like we’re doing the right thing, all of this, I mean. We’re going to make everything right again.”

She looked back at the sheep flank, and her eyes widened. “Oh, shit.” Daro’Vasora exclaimed suddenly. “Apparently everything but dinner!” she said with an embarrassed laugh, rushing over to the now smoldering meat. “Think people will notice if it’s… generously overcooked?”

“Charred meat would make for a fantastic stew,” Judena offered with a laugh drying her eyes with her sleeve.
<Snipped quote by DearTrickster>

A satyr that isn't sex obsessed? What blasphemy is this?

Edit: Also, those two things aren't mutually exclusive. ;)


Odette isn't gonna have sex with a satyr you-you weirdo...!

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