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It ticked away, every minute that stole more sleeping time from him, and at this point, it was clear that this group of four couldn’t grasp the situation fast enough. That angry child had the right idea, but couldn’t act upon it, while the sole male in the group appeared to be naught but an incompetent who spent more time thinking than acting. A sigh. A waste of time, really.

But a job was a job, and the faster he got them all processed, the better.

“I’m sending you bunch out,” the man replied to Aoi, shuffling through drawers before pulling out four simple necklaces, accompanied by four bags of clinking metal. Simple bronze tags, marked with a crescent moon, hung from the necklaces, while the brown, cloth bags themselves were tattered and looked to be constructed from scraps. “The necklaces are identification, marking you as trainees. Replacing one is five silver, and takes three days to process the request. The guards won’t let you come back into the city without them, and you get some added benefits with them. You can pay more for more benefits, but that's not relevant for you. The bags have ten silver. That’ll get you started.”

A pause, as he finished what remained of the crystalline glass, putting away his bottle and rising from his seat.

“It’s half past midnight, but it shouldn’t be hard to find your seniors amongst the crowd. With the objective of monster slaying as guidance, use your individual skills and judgment to figure out how to proceed.” Bony fingers reached out for his glasses, removing them carefully before he slipped them between the folds of his clothing. “Now the office is closed. Get your shit and get out.”

And a few minutes later, whether they decided to get their ‘gifts’ or not, the torchlights within the paper-laden room were snuffed out by an errant wind.

With heavier pockets than before, the four found themselves outside the empty plaza once more, now in almost total darkness as whatever warmth was within the recruiting office was blown out. Above, the stars shone brightly, and around, the city still called.

To the west, the familiar revelry and festive chaos they had bore witness to called for them.

To the east, the wind carried salt and water, promising the nostalgia and peace of nighttime currents.

To the north, the great shadows of tall mountains loomed, white light emanated from certain parts of the sheer face.

To the south, the revelry was decidedly more seedy, aggressive, an edgy counterpoint to merrymakers of the west.

Four directions. Four people. But that did not mean they need to split up, nor did it mean that they must seek union amongst themselves first.

The night was growing long.

Shelter, food, water, warmth, security.

What would they pursue?
There was a directness, a fire to the blonde waif's words, one that perhaps would have sparked something within the man in the past. Now though, he responded with an indifferent raising of his eyebrow, before downing the remainder of his glass and pouring himself another drink.

"No," he replied, "that's not my job. Whether you remain fodder or not depends on your own actions, not mine."

The pendulum continued to swing back and forth. So many chances, and yet, they've failed to ask the most important one.

"Anything else? Or shall I send you all on your way?"
"Ah, right," the man said nonchalantly, "'Monsters' and 'demons' may be a more evocative term for you people."

The other statement made by Matteo was left unanswered. It appeared as if the robed man was a stickler for proper questions.
"The city of Andeave, on the eastern end of the new continent, Altera," the man said, pushing up his glasses. "The only proper foothold the Jeaulian Empire has managed to wrest away from the natural residents of this land."

He leaned back slightly, raising his right hand for one point, and his left hand for another point.

"If you believe the world is round, this is on the other side of the world from the mainland. If you believe the world is flat, this the last landmass before you reach the world's end."

The last statement was made with no small scorn, before he sat straight up again, eyes searching for the next 'pupil'.
"Why are we here?"

A dark brown liquid trickled down the mouth of the bottle, rising up on the tumbler until it nearly reached the brim. Holding it carefully, the man brought it to his lips and sipped, feeling the fiery warmth scar his throat. A more pleasant sensation than that girl-boy's voice, to be sure.

"It's a recruitment office. Put the pieces together. Next?"
I'll be keeping an eye on this. With the Tabletop tag, does that mean you're expecting to have RPing sessions, rather than post by post? Or do you mean to simply incorporate dice elements to it? Also, how fast do you expect activity to be?

We are live. Post your shit in the Character Sheet section.

Note that though the main group has decided to follow the armored guard dude, you do not HAVE to. You can totally scamper off elsewhere if you want.
Prelude: In the Wake of Nothingness


It fell like a droplet of rain, rippling through consciousness and pulling the displaced youths from their slumber. For a moment, they were in damp darkness, the stench of mold pervading their minds, death abound in the catacombs. Some spoke up and heard their questions echoed through the cavernous chamber. Others felt the ground around them, feeling cold, grainy stone. Still more breathed in deeply, and could smell the rust and the salt that lingered within this strange place. But the darkness did not linger, and with the creaking of gears, the crackling of sifting dust, warm light spilled out into the cold room, bringing with it the crying of distant gulls, the whispers of the far off tide.

Two men, broad-shouldered and brazen, peered into the shadows with torchlight. One of them was dressed in plate armor, the other in chainmail, but it was clear from both their gazes that neither were particularly surprised by the appearance of these otherworldly strangers. No, the plate-armored guard almost looked irritated as he turned to his companion. They exchanged a few terse murmurs, before he nodded at the group, one hand gesturing them to follow, before marching off.

There were looks exchanged, but soon, most of the group followed in, tracing that armored man’s steps down the dirt path and into core of the rustic city.

Those that chose to walk off on their own, without following the guard, were paid no heed.

Though it felt as if it were late in the evening, the streets were still filled with bawdy drunks and promiscuous women, burning streetlamps casting warmth and light to chase away the nighttime chill. The clanking of mugs mingled with prayers and toasts, while a rooftop musician played the fiddle, pushing a feverish atmosphere upon the merrymakers. Overhead, the twin moons burned with red light, while the stars themselves aligned themselves in foreign fashions, masked only by the steam that rose from vendors plying their cheap eats. But the small crowds parted in the presence of the armored man, and though a few merrier drunks waved at the ones amongst the outsiders that were cuter, they were left largely unmolested as they trudged through the narrow streets.

Slowly, merriment gave away to silence, until they found themselves standing in an unremarkable plaza devoid of decoration. The buildings around, perhaps belonging to grocers, seamstresses, smiths, were closed today, leaving only a single two-story building glowing in the night’s umbra. Above oak double doors, a sloppily painted sign read ‘Silver Moon Recruiting Office’, while one of the walls of the building was coated with flyers. It took a few moments for any curious youth to decipher it, but despite the foreign script, the meaning was clear soon enough: each flyer was a bounty for monsters and criminals that somehow flew against the ‘common’ sense that they had.

But the armored guard cared not for such details, marching up to the door and pulling it open.

“Get in.”

An order, one backed up by the steel of his gaze and the steel of his blade.

The man himself did not enter, and for good reason. The room, where a receptionist may have been sitting or standing, was filled with disorderly stacks of paperwork, no doubt an immense fire hazard considering all the torches that lined the brick walls. The stench, the aroma of tobacco filled their lungs soon after, and behind them, the door was closed, leaving the displaced, confused youths with the only other individual within.

Seated behind a desk rife with miscellanea, a bespectacled man with crystal blue eyes peered at them. Even in incandescent lighting, his skin was a sickly pallor, blue veins stark beneath translucent flesh. Unlike the armored guard that had deposited them here, this man was dressed in a comfortable, perhaps even sloppy, set of robes. He looked at the motley gaggle of strangers, ran a hand through his combed back hair, and smothered his cigar.

The grandfather clock rang, chiming out midnight.

The silence that followed brought a heavy sigh.

“Well,” he spoke, voice firm despite his sallow frame, “I’d provide you with brochures, but children have the attention span of gnats, and it’s just a waste of good paper anyhow. You’re all kids with functioning minds and an understanding of math and philosophy, yes? Ask and I shall answer.”

From the desk, he pulled a crystal tumbler and a dark brown flask.

“But keep it curt. The talkative ones always die the fastest.”

The clock ticked once more, a pendulum swing for each wretched second.
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