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Collaboration with: @TheDuncanMorgan

Alasdair has only been away from the honour table for a few minutes and already he had been ‘ambushed’ by a number of different guests. He had only just escaped Anera Greensworth and her painfully dramatic ‘thankyou’ for allowing her family to maintain control over Ralda. Unfortunately there was only one noble who Alasdair was interested in having a lengthy discussion with and that was Eli Blackwell. Though it was already clear that this man was his new rival, he still knew very little about him.

Alasdair’s trail of thought was interrupted as he noticed a figure who stood out amongst the sea of nobles: A slender, gaunt and pale man dressed in black trousers, a light green tunic with a golden trim, high black boots and a long black coat. He was holding a goblet filled with a beverage unknown to Alasdair and presented himself with a certain degree of confidence. Alasdair immediately identified him as Ignocious Phlemonte, the master Alchemist; someone Alasdair had invited personally to the party. His work had not gone unnoticed by the crown and Alasdair had hoped to meet him during this event. With him was a older man with dark graying hair, kept in a braid and a goatee of the same color, though whoever he was it was of little concern to Alasdair.

“Ignocious I presume” Alasdair spoke as he strode up to him

At the sound of his name, Ignocious took a long drink from his goblet of wine before turning toward the voice. There stood the king himself. How interesting.

“Your grace,” Uncle’s shock was palpable as he hurriedly went into a deep bow, clicking his tongue at Ignocious to do the same.

“Your grace,” Ignocious said slowly before giving a small bow.

He could practically hear Uncle groan beside him at Ignocious’s shallow bow compared to his own. By this point surely the entirety of the court would know Ignocious would not pander to the gentry and their whims. Of course, that led to low funding and scarce backing for his projects.

Alasdair raised an eyebrow at desultory bow but decided against saying anything

“I am glad you decided to attend, from what I gather you are a hard man to reach. I must say I am surprised that such a skilled and accomplished Alchemist such as yourself is not better known amongst the nobility”. Alasdair turned to face Ignocious’s older companion “and you are”?

Ignocious chuckled at the mention of being hard to reach. It wasn’t so much he was hard to reach as he locked himself in his lab and refused most visitors.

“Ah, Your Grace, it’s not that I’m unknown rather that I have an… infamous reputation among the nobility of the court.”

“Lynus Galdrin, Your Grace. This young man’s mentor since he first joined our ranks,” Uncle went into another deep bow as he spoke.

“I pleasure to meet you” Alasdair said before turning his attention back to Ignocious “from what I gather you have been able to develop a form of explosive powder, independant of that which has been developed by the Riogail Sovereignty. Tell me despite the clear potential that such a technology holds, how is it that so few have chosen to invest in your research”?

“I have, Your Grace. That would also be due to my infamous personality amongst the court. They feel I am difficult to work with, and none of them wish to be a patron to my research either from their own experience or due to the words of others. I have managed to get some backing here and there but no regular and committed funding. I manage though.”

Ignocious gave a nod and took another drink from his wine. Uncle was looking uncomfortable as he spoke. He usually did when Ignocious spoke to the nobility, but this time it was the king himself.

“I see. Personally, on matters such as these, I always think it best to judge a man on his abilities, rather whether one likes one's personality, no? Such weapons could be used to help secure our new empire from those who would do it harm. Perhaps we could reach some sort of arrangement to which you will be satisfied”? Alasdair replied

Uncle nearly choked on his drink, but Ignocious barely blinked at the surprising offer.

“Oh, I agree, Your Grace. Which is why my infamous personality has not changed,” Ignocious smirked as he spoke, “Now that sounds like an interesting topic, Your Majesty.”

Ignocious raised his glass to the king and drank. He was glad he allowed Uncle to drag him to this party now and would have to thank him later. The king himself not only approached him but offered to fund his research to top it off.

While Alasdair’s face remained unchanged he was somewhat irked by the disrespectful nature that Ignocious was showing his king, it was likely this personality that has driven away so many potential investors. However what Alasdair had said earlier still held true, he didn’t have to like this man to get what he wanted from him.

“Tell me, with the correct funding how do you think you will best be able to utilize this technology”?

“An excellent question, Your Grace. With time and funding I believe I can take the idea of the Su Yuta with their explosive vases and make them more compact to be easier for infantry to carry on their person and lob at enemies. I also believe I could take the fireworks they use and make them longer lasting so a lost individual can fire them into the air and mark their location or a soldier to fire from afar and light something a blaze.”

Alasdair thought for a moment; while the flare did sound like a useful tool it was the explosive vases that truly interested him. He would like to see the famed Blackwell dragonguard try to fend off against explosives.

“This sounds very promising, very promising indeed. Perhaps we could come to some sort of an arrangement. I will fund your research; a Silver-Half Trite per week along with covering the cost of three alchemists of your choice. I will give you two months to produce something to encourage me to continue to support your funding. If I am not satisfied however then all funding to your project will be cut and your reputation will suffer so much that you will find it different to fund any research again. How does that sound to you”?

If by some chance he failed to impress the king then he would be back where he started in the first place. His reputation among the court was essentially already mud, but he still had ways of getting funding, so he wasn't worried about the minute chance of failure and the consequences that would come with it. The three alchemists were a bit much, but having underlings would be an interesting change of pace from his solitary work.

“That sounds excellent, Your Grace. My first choice is Uncle,” as he spoke he gestured to Lynus with his glass.

“Feel free to choose who you like, so long as if you produce results. Anyway I shall not keep you from the celebrations any longer” Alasdair said, while his conversation with Ignocious had proven to be a pleasant surprise he still had to find Eli before the parties end. “I shall send a messenger to you with the appropriate funding and in return you will give him a report of your work so I remain informed”.

“As you wish… Your Grace.”

Ignocious watched the king walk away from behind his glass. Beside him Lynus stood, face flushed and mouth agape.

“I’m as surprised as you are, Uncle. I must thank you for dragging me here now. I trust you to find two more capable bodies for this venture.”

“Of… of course, my boy. I will begin interviewing possible candidates tomorrow. Even with the King's own funding it may prove difficult to find anyone willing to work with you. You have got to do something about your attitude, my boy,” though it sounded like a scorn, Lynus smiled warmly as he said it.

“Yes, yes, I am all too aware of my reputation within the guild. It's not my fault they can't give or follow directions properly.”
I am potentially interested if there are spots to be had?
@Mistress Dizzy -
Could just do a small time jump to leaving the city or gathering supplies.
Is everyone good to move on from the city and begin our journey?
It would seem so, which is unfortunate. I was rather enjoying myself.
Collab posted.
Collaboration with: @Tangletail and @Searat

Farya and Wolyo both exchanged glances with one another as the other woman left. The words ‘mate material’ echoed dully in Farya’s head. Sadly, the kind of words did not seem to hold any amount of impact over her. A distant feeling told her that she was supposed to be overjoyed, but it didn’t come. The masked woman’s head slowly tilted, when she noticed her companion… beaming over the words. Tail wagging vigorously and tongue lolling out.

With a small shrug, she gently stroked behind the large companion’s ears and turns towards the oldest of the group.

“Those who are wise knows the dangers of silvered manes. The most dangerous of men, are those who grow old in a world where the young dies quickly. And where most seek out peaceful lives when oblivion nears, you march on by the sword, the sword is your world, and it shall be what takes you. Tell me, what are you to yourself and others?”

Roderick had turned from the group and began walking toward the exit when he heard the woman’s voice behind him. He turned his head only slightly toward her, showing his good eye.

”I am Roderick. Others have come to know me as the Iron Bear in some corners of the empire. And, you?”

His tone wasn’t intentionally uninviting, but the aged and rough sound of his voice made it seem as though he spoke in low grumbles and growls.

Gaius was content to simply listen to the conversation between the old man and the wildling and her wolf while he followed the older man’s lead to exit the throne room. Maybe he would go to the castle’s quartermasters and get his provisions from them?

That was until the older man had mentioned the moniker ‘the Iron Bear.’ Gaius paused in his movements. It had been nearly four years when he had last heard of the name. ‘Could this old man be the same Iron Bear that was with the band of mercenaries? The same band that had aided him in wiping out a bandit clan and saved his life? thats unlikely.’ Even if he had dismissed the thought, Gaius now listened more intently to the conversation between the two.

The mask woman was undaunted by the man’s rumblings. Rather, found them curious. In a way, the voice was very similar to Wolyo’s. A low rumbling thunder with barely any malice to back it on a pleasant day. Yet like the wolf, it was the sort of voice one picks up from a life lived in blood.

He’s avoiding the question… Wolyo’s voice echoed in her head. A low teeth bearing growl for those who don’t share such a bond.

The woman, remained still for a few seconds. Her face unseen, and her eyes hidden by the mask. Eventually, she took a step forward. Than another, and again, and soon she was walking towards the door. Wolyo hot on her heels, with his head raised to glare at the older man.

“Farya. My companion is Wolyo. I did not mean your name however. What are you in spirit, in life, and in death, Iron Bear?”

At that, Roderick fully turned to face the woman with his grizzled and scarred features. He looked down at the woman, one eye still with its golden brown color and the other lifeless and gray under the scar running down and across it, and barked out a soft laugh.

”I am a lucky fuck who’s survived longer than he should have living by the blade.”

That was the statement Gaius waited for. This old man could just be someone who was posing as as the renowned Iron Bear, but Gaius needed answers now. He turns to face the two, before speaking his mind and asking the older man if he was indeed the person he was thinking of. ”Sir Roderick. I could not help but overhear that you were the well known ‘Iron Bear.’” He pauses for a moment, thinking if this was the proper decision before speaking up again.

“If that were true…would you mind telling me which pass near Ferros did your band manage to slay a bandit chief and saved a small group of sellswords four years ago?” This was it. If the man answered correctly, there would be no doubt that he was the one who had rescued him and his comrades. May it be intentional or unintentional, Gaius still needed to pay respects to the man who had saved his life all those years ago.

Roderick glanced over to the other warrior type and looked him up and down a moment, taking in the armor and axe.

”I’m no knight. It’s just Roderick. Four years ago… Was the Anvil Pass if my memory hasn't completely left me. Which side were you on at the Pass?”

Gaius couldn't help but grin at the answer of the older man. The man he was speaking to was indeed the same one that rescued him and his comrades. “I am unsure if you still remember, but my comrades and I were one of the individuals that were captured by that clan of bandits. Had you and your band not come, I along with my comrades would surely perished.” Gaius then takes a knee before pacing a clenched fist onto his chest. “My comrades may no longer be with us to express their gratitude but, on their behalf and mine, I thank you for saving our lives. I may not know how I could possibly repay you for your deeds but know well that if you need aid, I will answer without question.”

As the other man kneeled, Roderick felt a wave of discomfort wash over him. The others gathered in the throne room would surely see. Now they would ask more questions or even assume he was some sort of hero when in truth he was nothing of the kind.

”Please, friend, don’t kneel to me.”

Roderick offered a hand and pulled Gaius to his feet before continuing.

”If you feel the need to repay me, buy me a drink before we head out on the road together.”

Gaius gives the man a nod and a smile before responding. “You are humble man, Roderick. I will take up your offer.”

Farya had paused by doorway, and turned to look towards the two. The wildling woman had seen the whole ordeal. But she made no comment on the matter. It’s not even clear if such a gesture that Gaius was doing had any meaning to her. Well, any meeting originally, as if it was true - she might be able to make an educated guess on what it meant.

“It seems you’re more than a ‘lucky fuck’ to others than you claim,” she hummed. Her tone had shifted just slightly into a note of humor. “However, if that is the answer I will get. Than I will accept it.”

Turning his gaze back to the woman in furs, Roderick gave a small nod with a smirk on his old features.

”It is, for now.”

“If there are no questions for me, I must be off. I sense I am not a welcome sight here,” her head gestured along towards the door where two guards were eyeing her massive companion. Wolyo in turn flashed them his teeth with a thunderous growl, causing both to lurch back and tightening their grips on their weapons.

“But no matter. It is a long journey and supplies are short. Wolyo and I shall gather enough food to last. However…” she paused. Her gaze shifted between both men thoughtfully and rested on the older two. Intending the first few words for him specifically. “Do not dare to die on us yet. I've seen signs of those smart enough to profit from desperation. Brave enough to hunt in our territory and seek out impunity. The evidence lies in ruins along the roads. Bodies strewn about, and rivers of red rolling through the grass to merge into a single lake.”
Searat, Tangletail, and I are currently working on a collab.
@Searat - With Roderick, Gaius and Farya?
@Tangletail -
Sounds good to me.
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