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Recent Statuses

1 hr ago
Current It sounds to me like you have been unknowingly dating Zeus, and Hera is tired of his shit.
12 hrs ago
It’s been seven hours since the Broly movie and I still cannot properly function.
20 hrs ago
Holy shit, the DBS Broly movie was amazing
1 day ago
You know I always thought being in a podcast was kind of stupid, but so far I've hosted two and it's going really well...
1 day ago
@Penny: You're welcome


About Me

Name: Ben
Username: The one and only. Dare I say?
Age: 27 (28 in a few months)
Ethnicity: Mixed
Sex: Male
Religion: Christian (Nondenominational)
Languages: English, Japanese (Semi-fluent & learning), I also know some Scots Gaelic, Quenyan (Elvish), and Miccosukee (My tribal tongue)
Relationship Status: Single (Though generally unavailable unless I find I really enjoy someone).

Current Projects/Freelance work

  • I am a voice talent and script writer for Faerun History
  • I have a much smaller personal Youtube channel that I use to make videos on various subjects. Only been making videos for a year, but it's growing!
  • I am currently working as a small time Author for Suntarynn Campaign setting, though the first story is still on its first draft. Will be published soon!
  • I am also the Character Artist and Script writer for a shitty game me and a few friends of mine are making.
  • Am about to co-host a new Podcast called "Magic Rings & Laser Beams." Will provide a link when it premiers (Looking to be Jan. 18th)

Interests (Includes but is not limited to)

  • Writing/Reading (Love writing and I own too many books)
  • Video Games (Been a gamer for close to 23 years now)
  • Working Out/Martial Arts (Wing Chun/Oyama Karate mostly. Some historical swordplay as well.)
  • History (Military History is my specialty)
  • Zoology
  • Art (Mostly Illustrations. Used to be good. Am picking it back up)
  • Voice Acting/Singing
  • Tabletop Gaming (Started late in the game. Been at it for 3 years. I was the kid who bought the monster manuals and D&D books just for the lore for the longest time. I've played 3.5e, 5e, Star Wars D20, Edge of the Empire, PF, and PF2.)
  • Weaponry of all kinds
  • Anime (mostly action/shonen. DBZ & YYH being my favorites)
  • Movies (Action/War/Drama films being my go-to)
  • Music (Rock of all kinds, as well as historical folk songs, sea shanties, pub songs, a bit of classical music, etc)
  • Guitar (am learning to play, but being left handed leaves me going slower than most would)
  • There's more but if you care enough you can PM me :P

Roleplay F.A.Q.

  • Fantasy, Sci Fi, and Historical are my genres. Fantasy being my favorite and Sci Fi/Historical being close seconds.
  • Advanced / Nation / 1x1 / Casual (only in certain circumstances)
  • I generally write at the 'Advanced Level' meaning 4+ Paragraphs with good grammar.
  • I am usually busy with many projects and RPs, but if you wish to do a 1x1 with me, you'll need to present your case. Those I already do it with have my trust as a Roleplayer.
  • I generally don't do full smut, though semi-smut and steamy scenes can be very fun, as long as they're for character/plot development.
  • I love many, many fictional universes so me trying to list them all is an effort in futility!

Regular F.A.Q.

  • I am a site Mod, as you can see. Do not hesitate to PM me with any problems you have!
  • I love animals.
  • Favorite Fantasy Races are Dwarves and Lizardfolk. I don't hate Elves though I'll act like I do.
  • I do my best to be as kind and cordial as I can be! I realize everyone is flawed in some way, and I do my best to be understanding. I'm an idealist after all. Though if you push me past my limits, you'll find me rather redoubtable.
  • Favorite Disney Movie is Aladdin, with Hunchback and Mulan as second favorites! But I love all of the Renaissance era films.
  • I love meeting online friends at cons, and going to cons in general!
  • Favorite Color is red (as you might have noticed)
  • If you wish for my Steam/Blizzard Account/Xbox live account, PM me. Though I use the same username everywhere and if you send a request and I know you, I'll likely accept. I am available on the Offical Guild discord as a mod, and I am also available on Skype for people who wish for that info (and I trust you enough to give it)
  • I have a Tumblr and a writing/art reference Side Account.
  • I have a pinterest too! Lots of images I use for stories and roleplays!


Most Recent Posts

If Sayeeda looked stunned, Neil looked mortified. He didn't know if it was the booze, the tiredness, or the air on the new planet they just arrived on after having flown for three days but he...somehow couldn't process the information smoothly. He was going to give her a bit more backstory on how he screwed over Saxon a few times in their game of cat and mouse but, this new information dawning and the red in Junebug's cheeks. He had a 404 blue screen error.

He stumbled off the bed, his back crashing into the wall as his breathing grew labored. Calm down, you're having a panic attack and can't function properly. She's looking at you. Sayeeda was, up and face worried like Neil had been hit by a sniper from one of the windows. "What?" she demanded, standing up and rushing to him, though she could see nothing had hit him. He wouldn't speak immediately, instead stumbling away from her. "Neil, what?"

"Anyone but him. Not him." was all he could muster, until he realized he was acting crazy. It had to be R.I.P. nerves one got after having been in the void for so long, but that didn't little to help him. He suddenly yelled, his voice cracking. "I'm tired of this shit! I'm..." He suddenly looked less like a cornered animal, and more like a wounded one. "I'm sorry about Woods." the pilot breathed. "Look I only got with her because she reminds me of you, ok?"

He was beginning to talk rapidly, as if her look was as intimidating as being interrogated in a system precinct. "I like you, alright? Like...romantically. And if you don't like that, that's fine. But not Saxon. That is totally something my head cannot wrap around and the image is in my head and I don't know how to get it out. You are badass and beautiful. I've had a thing for you since Fornax and I never said anything because we piss off space Gods for a living and my first girlfriend is fucking dead. I just never thought that my worst enemy would like you but if I have to fight him I will. I'm just..."

He blinked, looking at his hands with wide eyes, as if he just committed a murder. "I just did something stupid, didn't I?" He asked. The silence was deafening, and he placed his hand over his eyes and sighed loudly. He didn't know what he would do next, though he'd calmed. "I think I'll just uh, sleep in the other room alright? Ok cool."

"...You know what, you're right." he said. "On both counts. Treasure and...we need something strong to drink. No, I need something strong to drink if I am going to tell you what happened with the two of them." Neil got up sluggishly and scratched his head. He didn't know what was weirder, the fact he was being really awkward, the fact she didn't notice, or the fact they were about to get hammered while talking about his illustrious past.

"Let's go babe." he said. She pushed him playfully and they headed out, both making sure they had their sidearms on them just in case. The alleyway was quiet, but there was some light-hearted commotion coming from the center of town. "So we're going to grab a few bottles and head back?" Neil asked. "I'm not the biggest fan of loud noises at the moment, and I don't think drinking will help me out in that aspect."

"Yeah, we'll see what they have here. It better be stronger than the concentrated sugar we've been guzzling." Sayeeda said flippantly. They turned the corner to see the center of town where Salim Daleeb had been hours ago, to see a few people mingling and some backalley deals being made outside of an alley, and a dancer or two. But the main commotion was coming in from the northeastern section of the square, where a plain looking two story structure bustled with activity and music.

"Well, if we're getting drinks anywhere, it'll be there." Neil said.

They stepped inside the establishment, suddenly flooded by multicolored lights that were dulled by heavy lenses, with men and Xenos crowding around, laughing and drinking. Some were doing a strange game where they held one another by the ankles upside down to dunk their heads in buckets of what Neil assumed to be some form of alcoholic drink. Normally he'd be game, but instead he decided to head to the bar counter.

"Yes, friend? How may we help you here?" the bartender said, a fine looking, dark skinned man with a wide, pleasant smile. Neil smiled back to him. "What is your selection sir. I'm from off planet, you see."

Sayeeda would feel a strong grip fall in her shoulder, and she would be roughly spun about to see the faceless helm of Xir, having melded into the crowd and waited for her back to be turned at the right moment. He gave a distorted laugh through his rebreather. "I see you're here for a night on the town, eh?" he asked, a short electro-baton in his free hand. To his complete surprise, Junebug lifted her knee to block his forearm, then kicked his wrist to knock the baton out of his hand, spun and used the same foot in a roundhouse kick that cracked his helm and caused him to stagger back. Precious nitrogen spurted out of his helm, and he paniced in fear as he searched for some plastcrete to place over it.

He managed to save himself, but not before Junebug set to beating the ever living daylights out of him. She didn't want murder on her hands, but everywhere there wasn't a life support system, she crushed with brutal strikes that had the crowd cringing. Neil watched, unimpressed at first (since he expected Sayeeda to beat him regardless) but growing more and more aroused as she continued curbstomping Xir, Neil's mouth hanging open. It was when she was done and standing over the Xenos triumphantly that he realized he needed to turn around, lest she look back at him and look below the belt.

"Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh," Neil said, trying to draw the flustered part of him out by taking a deep breath. "what was the selection again, good sir?" He asked the now frightened bartender. The man's eyes had been glued to Junebug, but he looked back to Neil and nodded. "Uh, yes, something strong yes?"

Minutes later they had exited the bar, eight bottles of Rimbalian Ale between them. From inspection it seemed fine. It burned going down but it felt very fortifying, and the common spices on Hahn placed within added a hint of tang instead of taking up the entirety of the flavor. Neil closed the door behind them, and they both sat on the couch. Sayeeda kicked her feet up on the table, taking a bottle and popping the cork.

"Ok, your Captain has ordered you to tell her about your past with our new friends." She said, leaning her head back and taking a swig that Neil could never hope to match unless he was already drunk.

"Can't disobey orders, can I?" Neil said, getting comfortable next to her and looking up at the ceiling, taking swigs every of often. "Well... when I left Fortus I had nothing but my Valk. I went to work for a few mechanic shops as a wrench monkey. Nothing too fancy. I just didn't realize that most mechanic shops on the station of 04L215 were in the illegal arms trade. Well I started doing errands for them and I was already in a bit too deep to back out in any real way."

"Then I met Sven, who unbeknownst to me at the time, was the head of the entire syndicate of the BSO, Black Shadow Organization, which dealt with all of the illegal arms trade and took cuts out of each sale. Well, I did do a few...underhanded things myself. I almost wrecked the station with my Valk, and Sven gave me a way out. I could help him, or have every gun running after me. So I did. And well, what he wanted me to do was get back at a planetary Governor that had double crossed him in the past, because Sven used to be a planetary governor until a major coup. So he had me go and just...ruin this guy's summer. So I went there, banged his wife, and stole a ship, leaving my Valk behind unfortunately. Turns that the governor hired a bounty hunter, Saxon, to go after me. But it also turns out, that the ship I stole was Saxon's so you could say I had a head start."

Neil laughed. "I moved around a few years after that, running from Saxon and using Sven as a contact, fighting as a merc or mechanic, or an illegal courier... until I met you. And the rest is history."

As the sailors began to haul the new cannons and shot onto the ship, Markus and Calliope shared a deadpan look at Sketti's observation, and then both turned back to the Dwarf. They spoke at the same time. Markus giving an "Aye, all was well" with Calliope providing a "No trouble at all. This was, of course, followed by a shout from the keep and Phil yelling they had found two slain trolls, one skewered and the other having made a crater in the flagstones.

Sketti raised an eyebrow. Markus turned to glance back at the keep, and then back at Sketti. "We had a little trouble." He said.

"Well, we have the guns now." the every pragmatic Dwarf said. "All that's next is to find some good work to be done, before the next trade winds. Now, let's go and see what other loot we could grab from the keep, eh?" There was gold lust in the Dwarf's eyes, and he stalked passed them toward the huge structure. Markus let out a small chuckle, and then headed toward the ship, Calliope following in tow from a gesture from Markus.

The Captain stepped on deck, and felt the motion of the waves beneath them. He might have begun his career as a mercenary on land, but he found he had grown accustomed to life on the seas. "I think we'll make for Gallowgate." Markus told the woman, placing his hands on the ship railing as he overlooked the sea, still somewhat choppy but far calmer than it had been earlier. Calliope would have heard of the city. A famous pirate hub. Or better explained as a very large port that did business with you with no questions asked, as long as you behaved. It's other claim to fame was its mass hangings twice a year, where everyone in the countryside would see the criminals make it to the gallows at the front gate and drop, including usually a famous person attending as a 'guest' of the Gallows. Various theives guilds were prominent powers in the city.

"That will take us far east, will it not?" Calliope asked.

The wind lightly flowed through Markus' dark mane, and he nodded as he turned, resting his lower back against the railing and crossing his scarred arms. "Aye, I think we should remain eastwards until we go after the shipping lanes." he said. "We can pick up whatever work we come across along the way."

The wind brushed their skin, giving a cool caress that begged them to relax and speak of more pleasant things. Markus did realize he was lucky to be alive, thanks to her. "Thank you." he said to her, unexpectedly. "For saving me. I wish there was something I could give you in return, but I am afraid I have very little 'power' left to give a first mate." He grinned, echoing her comment from earlier.

He had spoken the words as a jest, but after a moment of considering, a proposition formed in his head. "Once we get the gold, we'll be rich beyond what we could dream." He said, thinking aloud as Calliope looked at him. "Rich enough to buy a fleet, or a ship powerful enough to storm Calaverde." There was a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, though as he grinned through his teeth, he looked far more dangerous and rakishly ferocious than merely charming. He didn't even expect her to want her old position back, vengeance being the clear motivator. But even she did, Calaverde would be a fine base for the Weathered Witch.

"But no one on this ship would be interested in such a scenario, would they be?"
After Neil had designated that the bottle was not filled with cleaner, he took a few good swigs and decided that the 'balls deep' approach was the way to go. He was not in the mood for being anything but blunt when it came to himself or his wants at the moment, so he simply sat down and drank to his hearts content. Though as he listened to Junebug, he did grow to worry. Apparently it was written clear as day on his face and he chuckled in embarrassment.

"As long as you're ok, and you're not bullshitting to get out of it." he said, pointing a finger at her. "Though you do look a little younger. And you're usually pretty sexy but right now you look sexy as hell. Also I'm going to change the subject now."

"By what you mean with Saxon and Sven, you mean when you were knocked out?" Neil asked. He bit his tongue, remembering that he had announced to himself that he had romantic feelings for Sayeeda, thinking she was dying and wondering why he chose to stay rather than run away from his problems like he often did. He gulped down the last bit of the bottle of...whatever this drink was and he tossed the empty bottle out the window to shatter into the alleyway. It had dried blood and rocks, what was some glass?

"I caught you in the MH-350 before you hit the ground and booked it out of the fight. I went down two alleys, trying to be as careful as I could be with you but...I might have bruised your ribs a bit more." he was sitting forward now, elbows on his knees and hands on his face, rubbing it. "You were out like a light so I put you in the cockpit and I killed our pursuers a bit less gracefully than I usually do. I found Sven and Saxon at the rendezvous point."

"Didn't I get a medi pack? I vaguely remember that." Sayeeda replied.

"Yeah, Saxon gave it to you." Neil said, yawning. She looked at him incredulously, obviously confused on why the Xenos would help her way back then when he was basically still a foe. Neil looked at Junebug and paused. "I um..." he began, trying to find the words. "He knew that the only way I'd move was if you were ok enough to do so too."

He shrugged, leaning back and looking away to defuse the moment. "And that was when Taya called us and told us about the Terrans and, well, you have the rest."

"So," he began, trying to change the subject yet again. By the Gods this woman could shake his entire foundation with only a look. "I say we have one of three options for what we're doing tonight." He still hadn't looked back at her. "We can either steal for money, go treasure hunting, or break the Highlander apart for parts but I'm not for the last option, and I'm thinking you aren't either. So I guess we'll need to brave the dangers of whatever-the-fuck."
"If it's so dangerous, why do people keep looking for the treasure?" Neil asked Amir before the man could depart. He spun and chortled at the question, holding his plump belly much akin to a beached seal. "Oh! The Treasure is likely real enough. But it lies across the desert of Rimbala, where the Dune Serpents dwell. You cannot find it in a space ship, no. Rumor says it lies in canyons of rock and obsidian, and even greater dangers lurk there!"

"Why do you say it's real?" Taya asked, eyes round as saucers, her hands curled into fists of excitement, pressing to her lips as she looked to the man.

"Oh, Hahn was founded by thieves!" He exclaimed. "The story goes that the famous thief Hutan Shah stole a treasure ship from the Imperium centuries ago and crashed here, though he was taken and devoured by the denizens of the Rimbala crags. Ever since, men and Xenos have come to look for it. But they all die, yes they do! Trade is far safer and more lucrative, anyway. Why go treasure seeking when you can make credits here and sit on your butt, eh?"

"Maybe we're just adrenaline junkies." Neil said, and though Amir laughed, Junebug and Taya could tell Neil was telling the truth. "Amir, I would like to find a place to stay in the city. Could you help me with that?" Neil asked, and to his surprised Junebug stepped forward and said she would join him, a look in her eye that showed she was spoiling for something rough no matter what that meant.

"Oh yes, my friends! Go and find my contact Salim Daleeb in the center of town. You cannot miss him. He is the one with the pink turban. Housing, maps, food, delectable music or company. He will explain everything." Amir said, giving a big smile and waving them off with a friendly gesture. That answer satisfied Neil.

"I think I'll stay with the ship." Taya said, drawing confused looks from the other two. Neil furrowed his brow. "I thought you were scared of Saxon." he said. She nodded. "I am, but less so now that I know all he wants to kill is you." The look on Neil's face was beyond humorous to Taya, and she laughed. "Also, I have Lonney there and I can watch the ship and keep it locked. You guys don't get into too much trouble."

Junebug grinned and Neil looked unconvinced at their ability to follow that advice.

"Yes yes, what you need, Salim Daleeb got! Because Salim Daleeb is the greatest merchant in the quadrant, I do be do, be he!" the extravagantly dressed man exclaimed, his Pink turban like a beacon amid the crowd, even with how short the man was. His vest was bright crimson and blue, and when he smiled, they could see every other tooth was made of either gold or ivory. "Special sale today! Maps, maps, map! Come and get the maps of the Rimbala desert!"

Neil didn't know why the man was acting as if he had a crowd. Only he and Junebug were there, the woman still on edge and looking as if she wanted to shoot him or make trouble. Neil raised an eyebrow, nodding as if to exude 'why not' and he said. "Sure, we'll take a map. That and we need a room."

"A room? Travelers yes? Supplies do you need?" he said, his interest twinkling in his mad eyes. He smiled widely, looking the two up and down like a jackal surveying the carrion. "What of parts for a ship, or do you need a new one? A two bath or one bath, two beds or one? Will you wish the service of a eunech slave or shall I-"

Junebug grabbed the man by the throat, shutting off his tirade and lifting him up to her height, her eyes boring into his with barely suppressed energy. He grabbed at her wrist, unable to properly speak. She gave a smile that showed her teeth. "Will you allow us to speak?" she asked him. He nodded hurriedly, as energetic in his silence as he was in his babbling. On the bright side, after that show of force they had very little trouble in haggling with him, and he wished to be done with them by the end, so low were the prices that were now set. The map had been uploaded to the Highlander before the sun had set.

Down three dusty roads, past carts being moved by unknown, horned beasts of burden that looked like a spliced crossbreed between a large lizard and an oxen, and into an alleyway with dried blood on the wall, smeared and scattered like the wound of a slug autogun shot where the exit wound was far larger than the entrance one. Two doors down was the apartment that they apparently had for the next few says. The door looked simple enough, thin wood with various cuts across it, attached to a wall of hardened clay and mortar.

Inside, it looked far cozier than what they had expected. It was no Palace, but the red carpet on the floor was quite soft, with a comfortable bed in the main bedroom and a guestroom across the hall. The living quarters held a stocked kitchen, though the food was likely very bland and the water less than filtered. There was even a run down, archaic looking console that Neil knew how to handle, and could even contact the Highlander in case the need arose.

Junebug still looked fired up, her fists clenching and unclenching. "No trouble all day." Junebug sighed. Neil looked at her, and he realized he needed to let out some energy too. He suddenly pushed her. "You are really tense." He laughed, after he had placed his items down. "You know we haven't tussled since Aiden's." he said, and he leapt back, lifting his fist in a guard position, ducking and weaving to further emphasize the point. "Yeah?" The room was far less stuffy than the Highlander, and the carpet was still noticeably very soft. "No?"

He stopped. "Wait...was it Aidens?"
Markus landed on the ground as gracefully as he could, though due to the rough landing and the lack of air, he could only manage by catching himself on his hands and feet. The Lich shrieked, ironically, much like a banshee, only without the physical damage to their person that a banshee likely would afflict. After massaging his neck a mere moment, he held out his hand, his backsword appearing out of a sudden flash of steel, his hand within the basket-hilt grip.

"You know for a moment there, I thought you really meant to call me a whore." Calliope said. "You would have made a good politician."

Markus smirked. "One might argue you gave the graver insult." he said, and she cackled. The Lich was sharing in very little of their amusement.


His voice amplified and terrible, though they could sense it was nothing more than a scare tactic. The Lich obviously was not as ancient as most would think a Lich would be, no doubt having betrayed his comrades and gained Lichdom a decade ago, if that. Most would be too wiley to have fallen for such a ruse, unless teased further. The skeletal terror opened his jaw wide. In fact his jaw bone grew unhinged, his eyes glowing brighter as an intense cone of blizzard-like cold erupted from within his maw.

The backsword Markus held burst into flame, and he sliced into the spell as best as he could, though it was mostly Calliope's protection wards that kept the two from being frozen on the spot. As the Lich was preoccupied with his wrathful attack, Calliope's lithe hands twirled and flourished, causing the cone of cold to realignand swirl about the rool in a counterspell to launch it back at its origin.

The Lich disappeared and teleported on the eastern side of the room, chuckling darkly as he began to incant a spell that would turn Calliope's sword into a hostil viper, though he could only grant half of the magical spell before a flaming blade erupted from the Lich's chest, causing his spell to fail and his wail to increase tenfold. Teleportation spells were on of the most complicated in the realms, for it meant manipulating the very fabric of space time. But there was a reason Markus was not a very good mage. He had spent most of his time on the sword, and learning this very useful blink spell for melee combat.

As the Lich screamed, his could see Calliope in front of him, holding the ring Markus had worn teasingly. A simple spell caused the stone and metal to turn brittle, and she let it drop onto the ground, If a Lich could evoke a look of horror, this was surely it. With a grin, Calliope crushed the ring and banished the Lich, its form growing intangible and flying out of the room into either the nether realm, or another phylactery. Either way, they would likely not see it again.

The keep suddenly grew lighter in hue, though still dim from the only true light source being a few torches and the overcast outside filtering through the windows. The swordsman breathed easier, sheathing his blade and relaxing his taut muscles. "That could have gone worse."

Sron banged through the door, Grimney on his shoulders with a frying pan, holding it aloft like a weapon. "I'm ready! Where is the danger?"
Markus watched her with interest as she spoke, idly sipping his wine. It was something he was very curious on, to know the plans and motives of people in power that were...outside of his family. An unbiased point of view, so to speak. She was also just simply beautiful to look at, but Markus had learned long ago to keep such things at arms length unless there was something to gain from such an observation. Her plan also seemed concrete, and he realized that if things had not turned out in such a way, she might have unwittingly hired him to raid the coastlines of the Arad Luin as a nameless soldier in her conquest.

“Funny thing about power,” she mused, “the more you have, the more you want.” It must have been her imagination but she could have sworn she felt the amulet at her breast pulse in agreement with the sentiment.

"I could not agree more." A voice spoke. At first Markus had thought it Sron behind him, so deep and gravely was the voice. But it had an air of culture and supreme narcissism to it that the Gnoll lacked. That, and the voice seemed to echoe all around them, from within the very walls of the keep.

The Captain was up in the blink of an eye, and even more impressive his sword was leveled and drawn as he spun at the threat he believed was behind him. But it was all for naught. Calliope could suddenly see tendrils of greenish energy emanating from the agate ring Markus had placed upon his finger, enveloping him in a tight embrace as fast and powerful as a constrictor serpent. The breath was knocked out of him and he was suddenly whisked away in the air, his sword dropping from his nerveless fingers as he struggled to breathe.

"So polite of you to keep guard over my Phylactery, good Captain." the voice spoke. The room's dull lighting had not shifted, but it suddenly seemed dark and far more foreboding than the comfortable reading area it had been moments before. The breathe out of Calliope's full lips would be visible through some unknown means of the temperature dropping. Her amulet would pulsate with heat, bringing a note of savagery from within.

A ghastly figure transpired from within one of the bookshelves, becoming corporeal and landing lightly on the carpeted floor. In life, the figure would no doubt be stately, perhaps even handsome. But what he had been as a mortal was no more, and in his stead was a Lich. A crown of gold sat atop the monster's rotted head, with only the slightest bit of skin clinging to the otherwise bare skull that served as the Undead Archmages face, empty sockets glowing blue with power. Somehow, his mouth bones seemed to be curved into a smile.

The doors to the library suddenly shut, the locks clicking as they were all activated one after the other. "I can tell this seems very sudden, judging by your reaction, Lady Calliope." the Lich said, standing in an effete poise, examining his body hands for anything that might have stuck on there. He did manage to tear off a bit of limply hanging skin as if it were cobweb that had landed upon his person. Aside of the Lich, Markus did his best to break free from the foul magics that enwrapped him, but he hadn't the concentration necessary to perform a basic counterspell, and even then it would likely not have been enough.

"Your Captain here is strong willed." he said. "I had been probing his mind for some time once he had donned the ring, for information and for possession. But he had placed up mental walls even without thinking. I could have pried my way in there, but that would have given myself away, and I do so love surprises." He stepped forward, making his way over to the edge of the circle where Markus and Calliope had sat. "But I did gather what I could, and your predicament intrigued me most of all."

Suddenly, they could hear Sron banging upon the door outside of the library room, his great strength trying to wedge open a door that was now mystically protected from nearly all physical harm. The Gnoll even howled in frustration, savagely attacking the wall. The Lich ignored him. "Your Captain also reasoned that the trolls were here for a purpose, and that was also true. After I had sacrificed my comrades in arms within the keep, I needed guardians as I delved into my work and they sufficed, until you rudely slew them. And then I wondered, what was I to do about this?"

He chuckled, his laughter far more amplified than his regular voice. The musty stench of old bones wafted into Calliope's nose at this range, along with the sound of fingerbones clittering together as he tapped them against one another in what was to no doubt be a considering posture. "I would have simply killed you all...until I saw you. A very talented sorceress that had just fallen into my hands. I couldn't allow such talent and brutality go to waste, you see?"

He smiled at her questioning eyebrow. "I am in need of an apprentice. Someone to visit the living world for me, to help me in my magical experiments and to aid me in continuing to prolong my extended life. I believe one such as yourself would aid me greatly in that position. In turn I shall give you the gift I gave myself, when you are near death. Immortality." The word had a tone of command and compulsion to it, though it would not work on someone as sharp as Calliope. Still, the power was there.

"Think of it, my dark beauty. What do you have to gain traveling with such vagabonds, eh?" He asked, waving his hand to drag Markus closer and then pinching his neck, drawing a hint of blood from the sharpened bones. "I see he has saved your life various times. But you are above such sentimentality and the abstract notion of a debt, are you not? Why not be free of such things?" His eyes pulsed, glowing brightly. "Join me."
Neil took the cup of wine in his hands without comment, feeling the sturdiness of the clay cup and somehow feeling a bit more secure from the texture. It let him know he was back on a backwater world, once of his favorite places to be. If you couldn't trade, you could steal, if you coudn't steal, you could guard to keep from stealing. A world of work to be had for your average mercenary, plenty of women, and more than likely very strong drinks.

Still, the past few days had taken its toll on him, and he looked far less springy than he usually did. The air was tinged with spice that cleared his sinuses, but he still felt as if his very veins were clogged, and there was still a distinct dullness to the air that only a desert biome could weigh upon you. It also didn't help that they had been betrayed, and that he couldn't even say goodbye to Woods. He was willing to bet she wasn't in on the betrayal, but he was also willing to bet she would have shot him if ordered to do so.

It also didn't help that every girl here had Junebug's exotic looks. Needless to say that he took a few very large gulps of his drink after accepting the toast, clacking his cup against Sayeeda's and giving a faux-enthusiastic "wooooo" to the pronouncement. Even in a sorry state, he wasn't above some theater. He and Junebug downed their drinks in a relatively short amount of time, calling for another round when Taya was only halfway finished with hers.

Despite the heavy drinking and the rough terrain of the so called settlement, the young girls and the serving boys seemed to be very polite, or at least they knew just when to be as mischievous as their ages would entail. When the meat was placed in front of them, Neil blinked to get the grogginess out of his eyes, the heavy spices flaring his nostrils. "You ever had anything like this?" Neil asked Junebug.

"A few times. It's far better than the grool I've had in the trenches." she reminded him, already cutting herself and Taya some. Neil shrugged and grabbed a bit himself. He also took out a cigar, one of the types that Sayeeda took advantage of and had her light his. All in all, he might feel like shit, but at least he didn't have to fly a dying starship anymore. "I kind of feel like sleeping out in a room around town, maybe." he said. They didn't need to join him but he wanted something new. "Lord knows where Sven's going, and I think Saxon could use the space from me." he said with a wink.

Behind him, there was a loud clanging and a squeal. Neil turned to see a rough looking traveler with wine staining his shoulder, and the serving boy that had brought them their food on the ground, fear across his youthful face. "S-Sorry sorry sir!" the boy stammered, trying to backtrack away on his feet and hands. The traveler had on a rebreather mask and a large tan duster, his voice echoing out of the large helm he wore.

"You will pay for my jacket, boy. Or you'll pay with your life." he warned, raising a large, gloved fist in a threatening gesture. The young girl that had been reading to the older gentlemen gasped and looked away, as did her friends that crowded around the table. Neil moved his hand without thinking, drawing his revolver and firing, so quick as he that the gun was back in his holster before anyone had the time to turn around. The bullet had gone straight through the man's chair leg, causing the flimsy wooden thing to collapse under his weight and letting the boy run off.

"What!?" the masked one exclaimed, trying to get off the ground and regain his composure. Taya giggled and Neil simple kept eating, acting as if he hadn't noticed a thing.
Neil unstrapped his safety harness and stretched, needing to loosen his limbs to better handle walking. He didn't remember the last time he had gotten up that wasn't for using the lavatory. There were a few audible 'cracks' as he stretched, then as he went into the cargo bay he did a quick backflip to prove to himself nothing was stuck or a muscle wasn't tight. "Ah man, honestly even if they do open fire, at least I'll die outside where I can breathe." he said.

His fears were not founded, thankfully. Junebug had told Saxon and Sven to remain inside initially, to keep the newcomers from becoming too intimidated. Saxon seemed a bit annoyed, but Sven merely said nothing, continuing to tinker with various wires that spread along the corridors of the Highlander. Neil knew Sven knew his stuff, but he still had the smallest inkling of suspicion on what exactly he was doing with Neil's Junebug's ship.

They walked out in standard formation. Junebug front and center, with Taya flanking her on the left and Neil taking the right, hand cannon in easy reach behind his back and his customary smirk on his face. The wind blew lightly, and Neil had a feeling it would be far stronger outside of the canyon 'city'. It was a half a dozen people that greeted them, with two wearing helms and the rest with their faces concealed by cloth, until the middle one opened his to reveal a gangly face with sharp cheekbones and a nose to match.

"So, I will not pretend that most make appointments to enter our fair settlement. But still, I must beg the question on why you are here..." he said, his voice heavily accented. The man showed his teeth with his dead smile.

"To trade and repair our ship." Junebug said, her tone neutral. "Ran into some trouble in the middle rim and needed to make a quick jump. Ended up here. Is our business allowed?" Her voice implied that she expected to be accomadated, and within moments she saw she wasn't wrong. He smiled again, this time genuinely.

"Of course, of course. One cannot ever be too careful, you see? It is customary we approach ships in tis way, to show we are not to be bothered with politics or bribery. But traders? Of course, yes. Depending on what you have, you may find yourself a good housing complex here! We have a few vacancies as of late. Some of our fellows have decided to brave the Sea of Serpents and the Dragani Desert. None come back from either, generally."

The man whispered. "Jumbala!" to a subordinate. One of the ebony skinned men approached, a package in his arms. Neil looked between his Captain and the package, and he stepped forward to touch the thing lightly. "Huh..." Junebug shared a look with him, and opened the plain brown paper to reveal...a large pastry.

"A welcome gift!" the man cried.

Junebug didn't know what to make of it, and truth be told neither did Taya. Neil spoke for them.

"Cool." he said. "By the way, if people never really come back from the sea or the desert, why did they leave?"

The man waved a hand dismissively. "Old tales of riches. Simple common talk and rumor."
Meanwhile, Markus and Sron did their best to duck and dodge the thrown masonry, so far keeping one step ahead of the lumbering beast but knowing they couldn't keep their agile maneuvering up forever. A third rock was tossed toward Sron, the Gnoll leaping like a pouncing hunting dog to escape the projectile. The distraction gave Markus the time to aim his flintlock pistol, discharging the weapon. The metal ball punched into the Troll's collarbone, but it did little more than stagger the monster, giving a harsh flesh wound.

It grabbed at its broken skin in dumb confusion, grunting as it tried to understand how a projectile could fly from Point A to Point B and hurt so much. The Captain of the Weather Witch leaped up the central staircase and made it to the upper level of the foyer, Sron following on the otherside. The Gnoll reached the Troll first, cutting a jagged scar in the thing's back with his massive weapon. The Troll let out a guttural sound no human could imitate, and swung its arm back. The Gnoll saw the blow coming, but he hadn't calculated just how long the Troll's arm was and it hit home, sending the Gnoll crashing into the wall.

Markus leapt forward, using all of his strength to tear a gash into the Troll's belly. Even using both hands, it was a light tear, though blood did spurt and the thing's entrails poked out like a sack of flesh. Suddenly, a rock from above struck the wall 10 feet over them, causing stone shrapnel to rain down on all three of them. Markus was hit in the cheek and chest and sent to the ground. Sron took little of the blast, but remained in cover for a few moments, unable to see Markus or the Troll through the dust and debris.

The blademage shook his head, covering his mouth with his shirt and opening his eyes to see the massive troll standing over him, raising its arms to crush him, and likely the flagstones he lay on. But Markus also saw something else hurtling down the keep, and he rolled to dodge it just as much as the Troll's blow. It was almost comical to see the blank stupidity of the things face when the smaller troll hit the ground right next to it like an anvil, confusing and disorienting the bigger Troll.

Markus wasn't about to question his luck, but if he had to guess this was Calliope's doing. Instead he used the distraction and leaped over the squished body, sword leading to skewer the troll in the midsection with his backsword, hair disheveled and shirt ripped from the scuffle. Sron's sword erupted from out of the Troll's chest, and with two swords and a bullethole in it, the beast moaned and flailed weakly, but went down not moments later, leaving an eerie silence to radiate the bottom level.

"I'm going to pretend that Troll wasn't for us!" Markus shouted upwards.

Thunder roiled, and without warning, a sudden, vast bolt of lightning struck the inner harbor of the keep as the rain began. Slowly at first, but soon it began to hammer down into the keep. Markus was content with moving the guns even then, but when the hail began to hit, he decided it best to stay within the keep and try to weather out the storm. He cursed, wishing there was a second mage onboard to receive psyonic messages or magical signals, but for now they would need to wait within...

One hour later.

They had thoroughly explored the Keep, at least in all of the places that a Troll might be able to fit into. They had looked to be the only two in Wyvernwatch, luckily. The floor plan was simple enough, with the great hall on the bottom floor, the next being the quarters of the retainers, and a Lord and Ladies living quarters above that on the third floor. Next was the central library, where Markus and Calliope had saw fit to remain for the time being after scrounging what items they could. It wasn't a huge enclave of books, but the many bookcases and shelves were lined with various tomes from across the Sea of Swords, and comfortable chairs to sit in as they examined whatever caught their immediate fancy.

Grimney, though spooked, hadn't the patience or will to not plunder the stairs above, searching through every nook and cranny to find any jewelry or worthwhile items she might acquire. Markus had been content with a fine lordly attire he now had in his pack, in case he needed to mimic nobility on a heist, or if he was to meet with someone far above his lot in life. That, and a few Gold coins, along with a ring that held a sparkling agate that now rested on his left ring finger.

Sron had elected to stay downstairs, claiming he wanted to make sure no more trolls or monsters would enter the keep. Though it was fairly obvious he was plundering the kitchens for anything that might still be edible, and probably things that most humans would think were far out of date. Markus was still on edge, instinctually knowing that whatever had made the keep unlivible would not be trolls. Trolls did not attack manned keeps. They merely entered caverns, or things like them, when they were already devoid of life.

Calliope had found some vintage wine, and had elected to share a bit with Markus as they sat in the central reading area of the library. The Captain reading through an old tome on the Age of Nation States and the Wars of Religion and Land many hundreds of years ago. It was still a prevalent topic of today's politics, but it was far more contained with more emphasis on city states and trade, or lack thereof.

"What were your plans, before you had to flee your city?" Markus asked, breaking the silence. "If the fine people of Calaverde decided to stay knelt?" He smiled as he spoke the words, obviously giving an air of humor and drama to what was essentially an up-jumped mutiny, as brutal and ill prepared as any on a sailing vessel.

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