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《 Level 1 Tamer 》
Location: Ruined Inn

The offer to hug Tiny had been weird, he had to agree. “No, it’s just that…” Sora looked down, a somberly sorrowful expression setting in. “You reminded me of my sister,” he said quietly.

There was that word again. Setting. “Maybe,” he sighed, lacking the energy to continue the argument. He still believed their best bet was getting actual information rather than making guesses.

Getting out of the city sounded good to him, assuming the zombie epidemic was contained to this one area. “There’s actually some water barrels in the kitchen. We just need to find something to carry it in,” he let her know.

The dragon-man emerged from the cellar and revealed that he’d found a journal, letting each interested party take a look. “This almost sounds like it was a planned attack or something,” Sora frowned. Meanwhile, the hammer-lady hollered about there being booze. The elf scratched at his head awkwardly, and didn’t comment.

“Let’s try finding bags or backpacks, and get ready for travel,” he suggested.

Just then, a bell tolled in the distance, and the zombies outside began following the sound. “That’s convenient.” Almost suspiciously so, but Sora preferred to see it as a positive. “Did someone sound the bell, or is it automatic?” he wondered.

Either way, he searched around the inn for something to carry stuff in, then got into the cellar to quickly stash useful goodies into it. “Let’s hurry up,” he urged the others. If they wanted to go out today, right now was the best time to do it.

@VitaVitaAR @RolePlayerRoxas @Aku the Samurai @PKMNB0Y
Theodore Valentin

//A3 - Adventurer's district, Morning

They spent a good hour at the markets, browsing the wares, bartering the prices of the things they wished to purchase, and finally buying it all and gearing up. At the end of it, they’d spent nearly all the group’s gold, with only Theo, Ezra, and Maris benefiting with new armor and weapons. Theodore as well as his followers considered it a good long-term investment, however. The dhampir didn’t imagine they’d need to make such huge shopping trips in the near future.

The doctor had coaxed them all into buying a bit of medicine with their last gold. “You need to get patched up if you’re planning to descend into the Abyss again,” he claimed.

Do we?” Theodore pointed at his wounds which had scabbed when he’d used his miracle the previous day.

“Listen here,” the doctor frowned at him, one of his rare moments of assertion. Well, if only when it came to his expertise, he was usually like that. “There are still bits that are bloody, and if this comes off, it’ll just bleed again. I bet you’re low on iron too, so—Let me get that medicine.”

And that’s when the doctor did his buying, surprisingly managing to get them some medicine he claimed was good for its price. The three adventurer aspirants had their wounds rubbed with strange oils, got the wounded areas bandaged, and were made to drink some very…very strange concoction.

There were a few bits and pieces the dhampir had in mind. As they traversed the markets, he and the group were on the lookout for anything they could scrounge up.

Merchants, carriers, and adventurers would at times leave empty crates lying around. Here and there, they found empty flasks – filthy, but reusable if washed. They unearthed two strips of leather just long enough to work as a sling. If they needed something more long-ranged than his spear, it’d be an option. Arnfinn collected a fistful of rocks that’d be good for throwing, eagerly presenting them to Theo, who stashed them all.

Finding a well, they thoroughly washed the flasks, using some borrowed soap to get the job done. As they proceeded through town, they’d catch any stray rats to ‘juice’, proceeding to fill the flasks with animal blood.

And so, they explored the adventurer’s district. “You three haven’t shown me where you’d found work yet. Is it any good? Feels like you’ll improve your skills there?” As they took a walk around the district, Theodore was keen to find any establishments, people, or other opportunities that’d offer training of some sort. He wasn’t entirely certain if only going to the Abyss was the best way to improve their combat abilities, or if lessons outside of that from a learned mentor would speed up the process. He also knew Sana and Jaxon both were eager to progress in their respective crafts too.

Attire: A toga (over a tunic) and sandals
Date and Time: Sola 24th, Morning
Location: The church -> The Royal Curd
Interaction(s): @princess Beau, Anastasia, @Lava Alckon Farim
The claps were still resounding even minutes later after Edin’s arrival. The applause lasted much longer than was warranted, yet so many people’s faces shone with genuine joy and awe.

Next to his side, a young excitable voice declared, “I want to be just like King Edin one day!”

For the first time, Wulfric truly looked at the child. There was such powerful admiration in Beau’s gaze. How old was the boy, seven, eight? Wulfric recalled when he was that age. He had still looked up to his father then. The first inklings of doubts had perhaps started creeping in, but he had only gradually become aware of them throughout the years, and it wasn’t until–

It wasn’t until his father showed his true colours that Wulfric was disabused of all notions of his greatness.

In this one respect – looking up to Edin as a boy – Beau was like him.

How dreadful would it be if the child never learned the truth?

Wulfric lay a palm on the boy’s shoulder, and the youth almost startled, then turned around with a gasp. “Prince Wulfric?” he whispered as if he couldn’t believe that the crown prince had touched him. The child looked up at him wide-eyed, but as the royal offered him a small smile, Beau was quick to grin up at him. He became very jittery, raising onto the balls of his feet as if he wished to hop up and down but was restraining himself. The boy looked as if he might burst from the uncontainable amazement at a dream come true.

Wulfric leaned down to be closer to eye-level with Beau. He beckoned the child closer, then whispered into his ear, “You can be better. With how loud the applause was, even the child barely heard him.

“W-what? Really? he exclaimed, utterly thrilled, eyes sparkling with wonder.

Wulfric nodded even as he distanced himself, mirth subtly playing across his expression. The boy was about to exclaim something, but the prince placed a finger in front of his lips, hushing the boy even as he indicated that his words were a secret. Beau clapped both hands in front of his mouth, and bobbed his head rapidly. His expression shone with an indescribable happiness as he gazed up, and he did jump this time. A laugh burst out from the boy, and he flailed around strangely as he proclaimed, “Alright!”

Wulfric inclined his head, then turned to the front as he retook his seat, adopting his de-facto neutral expression with ease. “Let us pay attention, now,” he remarked. He didn’t catch it, but Beau was mimicking him, trying his best to appear serious, intense focus overtaking the child.

The king’s speech followed with pomp and circumstance. His father’s words were so familiar, it was on the level of white noise to Wulfric, so he tuned it out. Perhaps, Edin’s words today were slightly different, but the sentiment was the same.

It was always the same.

He was prepared for hours of boredom.

However, there was a change.

The doors groaned open, and a crowd started filling in. Those were commoners, but not just any commoners. They were the slummers. The homeless. The beggars. People he rarely interacted with, and people who were rarely – almost never – seen at these events.

“Hey King! We're here for the cheese!” one of them declared.

It was curious that they were here. How had they found out about the event? Wulfric knew how deplorable literacy was among the lower classes, and he didn’t take the poor as the sort of people who’d read the newspaper even if they could.

Predictably, Edin had the doors forced close as soon as he could. The empty back rows had filled, but there were still a good two dozen people who’d been forced to remain outside. They could have been let in, as there was space to stand in the back. Nonetheless, it was certain that Edin didn’t want them here.

Each of us can thrive? What about them? he questioned for the first time. While he didn’t mind welfare related projects per se, he had always let others, such as Auguste, deal with that. Whenever he bothered to think of them at all, he figured the poor were simply unlucky, or perhaps too undisciplined to succeed.

However, he had had several poignant conversations in the past few days. With Lady Saiya. With Callum. With Count Hendrix.

Now, seeing such a concrete example of a group of people being barred from a public event on Edin’s whim, he couldn’t help but wonder.

If hypocrisy could burn, his father wouldn’t just turn to ashes – he’d be eradicated from existence, not even a speck of dust remaining.

The event went on, though once again, in an unpredicted direction.

A new portrait wasn’t so strange, but for it to have been defaced?

Wulfric raised his brows at the painting, a smirk twitching into existence. He suppressed it before it fully formed. Others were less careful, and the surprise in the church was audible. The gasps were followed by interspersed laughter, some nervous, some startled, some foolishly carefree.

He heard giggling in the vicinity from Anastasia and the children. His sister went on to perform the last song, or rather, a heavily parodied version of it. It was times like these where it occurred to him that Anastasia might secretly be a genius or a master manipulator. But then, he knew her, and she was…Well, there was a reason she could befriend juveniles so easily.

Wulfric shook his head as he went back to watching the proceedings, perplexed by the oddities of children.

After the revelation of the painting, the event was cut short. Multiple royal servants began going up and down the pews, handing out tickets. Wulfric watched them, pondering.

When one of them came to their pew, he stopped her with a single hand motion. “I do not need one. Could you encourage those who do not wish or need for a ticket to leave them to you? I will ask the same of your colleagues. Can you do so as well?” She nodded eagerly.

Thereafter, Wulfric positioned himself strategically closer to the end of his pew, and intercepted any attendants who were in the vicinity, issuing the same request.

At the end of it, there were only a few who’d decided not to take a ticket. Regardless, there’d been extras initially. Altogether, it was enough to cover the remaining…peasants.

They were lingering there outside, even as the rest of the visitors had left by now. Several of the impoverished who had received tickets were nervously talking to those who had not.

“Feh!” one of them spat on the ground. “What a fuckin’ sham! Knew it was too good to be true.” He snorted bitterly. “C’mon, let’s scram, there’s nothin’ here for us,” he signaled to the others, to those who had been left without.

“Aren’t you here for the cheese?” Wulfric called out. He motioned to the servants who’d accompanied him, tasking them with distributing the rest of the tickets.

“Wha- so there is more?” Confusion abound among the group. “Is that because of Callum?” one of them whispered. “You idiot, he’s a prince–” a woman berated him.

“Callum?” Wulfric immediately zeroed in on the man, however. “He’s my youngest brother. Have you seen him?”

“Uh, nay…Your highness. There was this man,” he proceeded to explain about a rich stranger they’d met that morning. While most had cautiously dispersed in the direction of the restaurant once receiving their ticket, a few remained, pitching in with what information they had. From their expressions and posture, Wulfric noted as much suspicion as he did fear, though there was interest there too.

“I see…” he mused once he received a description of the man. It seemed this had been Alexander Deacon’s scheme. “Thank you. Enjoy your cheese,” he smirked. He signaled the attendants to accompany him, and they took the short ride in a carriage towards The Royal Curd.

The building was an explosion of gold and yellow. Wulfric had barely arrived, yet he could feel his eyes smarting already.

As he and his retinue entered, a cheese-themed waitress greeted them. By the end of this, I will have had enough cheese for a lifetime.

“They are with me. Send me an invoice, would you?” he requested. Not all of the ticket-distributors had tickets of their own, what with their little act of charity. He didn’t mind paying the fee, though it did leave him with the question whether this restaurant would ever run a profit.

Upon being received, he ventured further in. Immediately, he was greeted with a large fountain. It was meant to invoke the feeling of spilling liquid gold, or melted cheese, perhaps, but all he could think was–

Why would you build a fountain which looks like it’s spewing urine?

Shaking his head, he found the table Anastasia and Farim had chosen. “Greetings, I hope you do not mind me joining you?”

Attire: A toga (over a tunic) and sandals
Date and Time: Sola 24th, Morning
Location: The church
Mention(s): @Potter Kira
Interaction(s): @Rodiak Nahir, @Lava Alckon Farim, @princess Anastasia
“Appreciated,” Wulfric gave a slight incline of his head to Shehzadi Nahir in thanks as he sat down. “You as well,” he acknowledged Farim’s words with a succinct yet amicable response. His sister’s greeting drew a reluctant smile from him, though her following sigh had him raising an eyebrow at her. Anastasia hadn’t yet learned that appearing friendly wasn’t the same as being friendly. He wished daily that she wasn’t so easy to manipulate, yet neither his strict approach nor Auguste’s gentle one had had the desired effect so far.

He smoothed down his toga as he settled onto the pew, glad the seating order matter had been resolved much more smoothly than the incident he’d heard about having occurred at the Alidasht Dinner. He did not frankly care where he sat, but it was good to know that Kira wouldn’t be that close to Anastasia. Too, Ece had vacated her seat to escort and watch the intruding woman on Nahir’s orders. Now, that was useful.

Perhaps, he should arrange something similar.

However, that was a consideration for later. As Nahir had noted, the service was starting shortly.

As the music receded, a priest walked in and bid them to rise. Wulfric did so smoothly, as did all those familiar with these proceedings.

There was shuffling at his feet, and peripherally, he noticed Monet’s son crawling on the floor. Wulfric decided to ignore the child even as Beau rose to stand next to him and furtively kept glancing at him. The chanting started then, and the prince joined in.

“Zivitas, bless us with your light,” he intoned, his voice one of many. His expression was solemn and earnest despite his underlying skepticism.

Is your light anything but an illusion? Do you cherish any life but his? Do you see how he uses you to aggrandize himself?

He’d long since not been a believer as such. Even as a child, he had wondered if it was all just a bunch of stories. He could have forsaken them entirely. Instead, he heavily questioned the existence of Gods. The only thing he was certain of was that if deities existed, they were largely irrelevant to mortals, just as mortals were surely meaningless to them. Despite his doubts, he found himself holding these one-sided conversations. He practiced religious acts, not only in public, but in private too.

In the past, some of the Gods, such as Zivitas, had received much of his bitterness and resentment. Yet, at times he had intensely hoped against hope that if the divine existed, they might safekeep those rare sparks of goodness remaining in the world.

By now, however? Honestly, he was largely apathetic. His strength of belief and emotions towards them had simply been ground down into near nonexistence.

Didn’t mean he couldn’t criticize them, even if they were merely a figment of humanity’s imagination.

“Triumpheus, guide us to triumph.” Well, he would welcome it if the victory in question was his coronation.

“Imperis, grant us your justice.” This goddess, he was exasperated with. Have you any ideas of my daily struggles against encroaching chaos? …What would you deem necessary?

“Amora, fill our hearts.” Toward her he still felt discontent. What a grand fucking cosmic joke this must be to you. Laughing it up there, are you?

Aquena, Duedon, and Tempestas represented fine values, and he had no quarrels with any of the three.

“Vena, lead our pursuits.” Oh, but she should know his aspirations. Is asking for a helping hand too much? A single stray bullet is all it would take.

At the final word, there was a boom towards the back as the main church doors opened at the grand entrance of the king and the procession before him. Edin did always seek to outdo himself when it came to showy displays.

Of course, all of it served its purpose as an offering to The Altar of His Egoism. Nothing more, nothing less.

The priest, the audience, the torch carriers. The choir and orchestra, the flower girls, the golden knights. The offbeat ballet dancers with their paper-mâché Edin masks were the cherry on top of the sheer absurdity of the fervent king-worship his father encouraged. Regardless of his personal feelings, Wulfric clapped at the end of it. His claps were steadily measured and strong, resounding amongst others. He wasn’t markedly enthusiastic, but then, that was the usual state for him.
Just need to confirm, Silver, Est.

For selling off your assets, did you want opportunities for forming connections with any possible merchant, or would you rather just have that part truncated so you can move onto other things?

Missed this, and mine are sold off, and for the buying, I think just noting down prices - what goods get sold at what prices, what gear can be bought for how much, who's reputable, trustworthy, has a decent price/quality ratio works.

《 Level 1 Tamer 》
Location: Ruined Inn

While Sora fiddled with the undead corpse, Tiny stammered something. The tamer frowned up at her. The small elf’s voice was high-pitched, wavering…on the verge of crying?

“Hey, hey, okay, okay,” he said, trying to calm her down. He raised his hand in a stop motion, but noticed his hands were definitely not sanitary right then. “I said sorry, didn’t I? This isn’t the kind of situation any of us are used to, right? We don’t actually know anything about it, we can just guess and try things out until we do find out, yeah? So, c’mon, I know it wasn’t your fault or anything…Don’t cry please?”

He almost went to scratch his head, but was reminded his hands were gross in time. “A fantasy setting…Then would you call our world a realistic setting? I wouldn’t, and I don’t know that thinking in terms of tropes is such a sure bet, either,” he rationalized. “Them being magic doesn’t tell me enough,” he shrugged. “That’s why I want to know why. Because there’ll be a next time, and we want to do better next time. Right?”

Tiny seemed to be calming down now, and was finally on the track of focusing on the positives – that they killed a zombie and cleared out the cellar without any injuries on their part. “Would you like a hug?” he asked, just in case. She said she wasn’t a kid, but she did still remind him of his younger sister a bit. “Ah, but my hands are a mess,” he remarked with a wry small. Whether Tiny accepted his offer or not, Sora went to the kitchen momentarily to wash his hands.

He brought the washbasin, cloth, and a piece of hard soap he’d discovered after looking around the kitchen for a while with him to the reception area. He set the items down next to the dead armoured lady (who'd died while still human), and started cleaning her body, and the area around it. He wanted to bury her. However, he wasn’t sure what to do about the zombie. Part of him was tempted to just chuck it out but…Maybe the others would have some better input.

However, it seemed at least Ryu and Blonde were already off exploring the cellar. “Anything good in there?” he didn’t shout, hoping they could hear.

@VitaVitaAR @RolePlayerRoxas @Aku the Samurai @PKMNB0Y
Wulfric & Torvi

FLASHBACK: The 23rd of Sola, morning. After the Tea Party.

If Wulfric’s office was a haven of papers, it was still a mere fragment compared to the hub of information and activity contained in a meeting room on the second floor. The room was filled with smaller tables, several cork board stands, filing cabinets and bookshelves – and people.

One group was dedicated to compiling information on Black Rose and its mercantile activities; if there were any inconsistent or suspect monetary transactions, they would be found. This group worked heavily in cooperation with the Merchant Guild and other governmental and business personnel. Another group was focused on uncovering and empowering any local rivals to Marek, if only so as to hassle him. The annoying thing was, with how Black Rose had flourished, the company and Marek himself had some clear support among the nobility – even royalty. That was something he’d have to look into, especially with Edin and Alibeth.

There were a few other groups, for planning, intelligence, analysis, and security. Obviously, only key individuals with information to share would come here in the first place. Still, it made for a populated room, and plenty of scurrying to and fro. It was a set-up convenient for the prince, perhaps less so for everyone else.

At present, Wulfric was conversing with one of the knights who had accompanied the queen when she’d gone to fetch the missing nobles from the party. That night, even though it had been shortly after the party had apparently ended, nothing had been found at the warehouse.

The people he’d assigned to follow Anastasia when she’d tried visiting her ‘friend’ had barely anything to report. A mysterious ‘someone’ had visited, a person whose height and build could be a match for Calbert Damien. Though, his sister had been the only one brave enough to speculate on the stranger’s identity. The man’s visit coincided with an increase in security at Marek’s, so clearly, something of importance had gone down.

“And that is all that our men have uncovered since?” Wulfric sought to confirm.

“Yes, Your Highness. Other than the warehouse area being heavily guarded, there was no evidence. He had too many guards at the office to have anyone infiltrate it secretly.”

“Well, then it is high time we commence an overt operation. Have a team search this warehouse again,” his finger nearly stabbed into a point on the map which was spread out on the table. “As incredulous as it seems, be on the lookout for a basement.”

The captain nodded, and the prince continued. “Here are the known facilities which Black Rose has rented within the city,” he traced the warehouses in question. “Have them searched too. Be courteous to the neighbouring tenants, and see if they have recently noted any unusual activity. If they ask the purpose of this action, simply say there has been evidence pointing to potential drug trade.”

More nods followed, and though the captain appeared mystified, he did not ask.


“Finally, you will thoroughly investigate this location,” he pointed at Delronzo’s office building. This was the place Anastasia had gone to, and which he’d had a few agents observe from afar since that night.

He wanted to do something about the damnable man sooner rather than later. An open search, if nothing else, might pressure Delronzo. But would it provoke him into action, reckless or otherwise?

He was curious to find out.

Once the prince had given out the necessary orders, he paced across the meeting room, absorbing the information provided. Though he’d dismissed those he no longer needed, a number of his subordinates still remained. They worked on their assigned tasks, the chatter between them low in volume, and restricted to the necessary exchange of information.

The quietly intense, well-organized proceedings were interrupted by loud voices emerging from the adjacent hallway. These would be the guards trying to keep someone away from where they shouldn’t be – because of course, he had stationed sentinels outside for this very purpose. He trusted they would handle the matter.

Yet, the bickering continued. And was that a growl?

Annoyance overtook him, so Wulfric strode out of the room with purpose, and glared icy daggers in the direction of the commotion.

“Just what is going on here?” More so than a question, it was a statement demanding answers. His tone was just as frigid as his stare, and for a moment, he merely stood there, taking in the woman and her wolf.

She was a tall, fit, and evidently well-trained woman, likely hailing from Varian. He did not know her face, however. The animal standing by her side was a magnificent specimen, but this was hardly the occasion to admire it. The strangers were square in the middle of the hall, as if they had all right to be there.

“Why are these trespassers wandering so freely?” He inquired softly, but with a near-hissing undertone; an evident sign of danger. Reflecting the light emerging from the hallway’s windows, his irises were as clear and light as glaciers – and just as chilling.

His posture was entirely regal, and there was nary a twitch in the direction of his sheathed weapons. Yet there was something about him which, to the trained eye, was ready to strike.

The prince had no awareness of this whatsoever, but to the woman and the wolf, he appeared very much akin to a wild beast whose territory had been intruded upon.

He might as well have asked, ‘Why have they not been cut down yet’, by the way he was looking at the pair.

One of the guards bowed in his direction with a respectful, “Your Highness.” Smartly, the other watchmen kept a wary eye on the two unknowns. “She claims to be Her Majesty’s servant.”

“Oh?” Wulfric questioned, tone still softly dangerous. This time, he was clearly asking the woman rather than the guards. Throughout, his gaze had been aggressively affixed onto the woman.

Torvi had taken leave of the queen's presence, her mind abuzz with thoughts of the impending mission. She decided to explore the castle, familiarize herself with the layout of this foreign environment. As she wandered through the corridors, Fenrys paced gracefully at her side, his presence commanding respect and caution. It was surprising how silent the larger animal was, even causing some who didn’t hear them coming to shout out in surprise. Every time this happened, Torvi couldn’t help but laugh a little before softly saying something to Fenrys in an unfamiliar language to most around her.

Unbeknownst to her, they had ventured into a part of the castle that was off-limits to most. The commotion in the hallway caught her attention, and she turned her gaze toward the escalating voices and the unmistakable scent of tension in the air. It was then that she realized she was the cause for the commotion, glances of alarm and some fear landing on her as she slowly came to a stop.

Two guards, clearly agitated by her presence, made an attempt to halt her progress, reaching out to grab her arm. Before they could make contact, Fenrys growled menacingly, a warning that froze them in their tracks. His golden eyes bore into theirs, daring them to make another move.

It was at this tense moment that a figure emerged from the room, and Torvi's sharp eyes locked onto him. He was a commanding presence, his aura radiating authority. His piercing, glacier-blue eyes met hers, and she felt a shiver of recognition.

His question, delivered with a chilling undertone, hung in the air, and Torvi couldn't help but grin a little mischievously. She was well aware of the trouble she had inadvertently stirred, but there was something about his demeanor that intrigued her. She held his gaze, her striking golden eyes showing no fear. It wasn’t defiance; it was a warrior’s recognition of another warrior.

"Apologies for the disruption," she began, her tone respectful but not submissive. "I am Torvi Jorviksdottir, a serfant of Her Majesty, the queen." She inclined her head in a sign of acknowledgment.

Torvi couldn't help but notice the similarities in scent between this man and Queen Alibeth. It was a faint connection, but it piqued her curiosity. She had overheard the servant's address and put two and two together. "Highness," she echoed softly, a glint of understanding in her eyes.

For a moment, she weighed her words carefully, her wolf still poised and watchful by her side. "I meant no offense, Highness. I was merely exploring the castle, getting to know my surroundings. If my presence here is unwelcome, I shall depart immediately."

Her tone held a hint of challenge, but her posture remained respectful. Torvi was not one to back down easily, and the presence of this prince, whom she assumed was one of the rulers of this land, only fueled her determination to assert herself in this unfamiliar territory.

As Wulfric studied the woman, it became clear she was confident she belonged here. She confirmed she was a servant, but there was nothing servile about her demeanour. That could be a sign of competence as well as it could be of arrogance. While respectful, she seemed to want to stand above most others.

“Daughter of Jorvik,” he stated. He was familiar with the naming convention; some people in the far north used it. “You must be very new here indeed.” There was a slight yet firm rebuke in his tone as he raised a brow at her, subtly looking her down. “Even if you have just arrived,” he guessed she must have, “is the notion that you cannot simply traipse around another’s property as you please beyond you?”

“Besides,” he gave the wolf another brief look, then turned back to Torvi, lips pursed, “to bring in some animal?” As much as he would enjoy seeing it in its element out in the wild, he was still quite reserved about the prospect of beasts like it muddying up their castle. That is a privilege we have recently permitted only to members of the Alidasth royalty. Whom you are very much not a part of,” he drawled.

Admittedly, he was curious why this woman had been hired. With a sharp glint in his eye, he decided to question her. “You did not care to mention, but what is your role, exactly? A glorified guard…?” Surely, it was not just that.

While the prince was no longer as aggravated, he was still dubious of this woman’s presence. It was unlikely that she had gained access into the castle without a proper invitation, but even so, he’d prefer to have confirmation of her identity. And if she was what she claimed to be, she ought to learn that she wasn’t all so special as she appeared to believe.

Torvi met the prince's gaze with a steady one of her own, her confidence unwavering. His rebuke didn't faze her; she was used to navigating situations where her presence was questioned. His words were sharp, but she could sense his curiosity beneath the surface.

"Indeed, Daughter of Jarl Jorvik," she echoed, acknowledging her lineage with a hint of pride. She inclined her head slightly at his remark about her being new, not offering any excuses for her presence in the castle.

"I am well awfare of the notion, Highness," she replied calmly. "I assure you, I did not traipse around as I pleased. I was merely exploring my new home, as any newcomar might."

His comment about Fenrys being an animal caused her to chuckle, and she directed her gaze to the magnificent dire wolf. She raised a hand to stroke Fenrys's fur gently, her fingers brushing over the thick silver-gray coat.

"Fenrys is no mere animal," she stated with a touch of amusement. "I suggest you look into his eyes again, Highness. You might find something intaresting there. He understands more than you may think." Indeed, if he were to look at Fenrys who was now staring at him, he would see a deeper intelligence there than one should find in an animal. It was as if the wolf understood every word that was being spoken and he had his own thoughts on everything that was happening. In fact, if one looked close enough, they might even say the wolf was now smirking at the prince.

Torvi's words were measured, her tone respectful but firm. She didn't intend to back down or let the prince dismiss Fenrys as a simple beast. She believed in the unique bond between her and the dire wolf, one that went beyond the ordinary.

As he continued to question her role, she maintained her composed demeanor. She couldn't help but appreciate his curiosity; it hinted at a certain level of intelligence and perceptiveness.

"Of sorts." she replied with a faint grin. "Her Majesty, Queen Alibeth, deemed the current circumstances to be...unique. She had concerns that her children's ordinary guards might not be quite equipped to protect them from certain threats that hafe arisen."

Her words were carefully chosen, meant to convey the gravity of the situation without revealing too much. Torvi respected the queen's discretion and understood the need for secrecy in such matters.

“Exploring?” he scoffed, only mildly irritated. He did realize that she had made a genuine mistake when she’d entered this restricted area. Also, though he by no means intended to admit it, a part of him was entertained by her words. She was opposing his uncharitable interpretation of her actions, and trying to put a positive spin on what she’d been doing.

But he didn’t agree with the justification, so he shook his head once. “The entirety of this castle is not your home. There will always be areas where you will not be permitted, or which you will require clearance for. As a newcomer, it would behoove you to find a guide to accompany you.” The suggestion for an escort was just that; a suggestion. He did not intend to enforce it, as Torvi struck him as clever enough not to land herself in too much trouble even without a guide.

“I have set these guards here for a reason,” he asserted, lightly chastising her. Either she had not noticed them, or hadn’t realized that as an unknown face, her presence would warrant their caution.

“Whether you consider it a matter of awareness or of cultural differences, I expect you will soon learn our standards, and abide by them.” He stared at her seriously. She needed to know that even if she was a direct servant to the queen, she was, after all, still a servant. Even if she met employees of a lower rank, she would have to consider that they too, had orders from someone above her station.

As the conversation turned to her animal companion, Torvi once again showed immense confidence in the being. Wulfric issued a thoughtful hum. “Well, pet owners do always claim that their beasts are special,” he began dryly, but humoured her, and took another look at the wolf.

This animal…

It might be his imagination, but there did seem to be something there. All he said out loud, however, was, “I suppose he is very well trained.” He met Torvi’s eyes then. “So be it. Feel free to have him accompany you. Just be aware that my father has a profound hatred of beasts being indoors, and my mother isn’t particularly fond of them either.”

As soon as the woman mentioned ‘unique’ circumstances, his gaze sharpened. He respected the secretiveness - it would serve her well. He nodded once curtly. “Accompany me,” he ordered.

He led her to a small drawing room down the hallway. It was empty, and once he ascertained their privacy, he turned to her once again. “This threat you are referring to…Is it magic?” He suddenly asked, surprisingly blunt. However, based on what she’d said, and knowing Alibeth, there was little else she could have meant.

Torvi met Wulfric's stern gaze with a calm resolve, acknowledging the boundaries he delineated without conceding any hint of submission. She understood the importance of rules and protocols, even if she didn't necessarily appreciate them. It wasn't the first time she had found herself navigating unfamiliar territories, and she had a knack for adapting quickly. His comment about pet owners drew a brief smile from her, but she didn't engage further. Instead, she followed him as he led the way to a private room.

She took a moment to assess the surroundings before turning her attention back to Wulfric, meeting his gaze with a steady one of her own. The prince's directness didn't catch her off guard; she had expected him to get to the point as he’d already proved to be one that didn’t tiptoe around things.

"It is…refreshing to speak to someone so sharp. Yes, I speak of magic." She confirmed, her voice low and confident as she grinned at him. She paused for a moment, choosing her words carefully before continuing.

"It seems the influence of sorcery and the supernatural is growing within Caesonia. Queen Alibeth beliefes it poses a significant threat not only to the royal family but to the entire kingdom."

Her words were chosen carefully, conveying the gravity of the situation without revealing the intricate details that were best kept secret. "I am highly skilled in…sniffing out magic users and the supernatural, if you will. Finding and keeping balance with these things has been my whole life."

Her tone was matter-of-fact, and her eyes conveyed a quiet determination. Torvi was confident in her abilities, honed through years of training and experience. She understood the gravity of the situation and the importance of her role in this mission.

She didn't elaborate further, leaving it at that, respecting the need for discretion in discussing matters related to magic. Her focus remained on the task at hand, ready to assist in any way she could to uncover the source of the magical disturbances within Caesonia.

The prince returned Torvi’s look calmly even as he assessed the proud woman. Not exactly one for bending or blind obedience, though that was just fine. She also appeared secure in her experience. If she could be relied on, that would be excellent. The warrior did have her quirks, and seemed unused to high-society. Yet, she was adaptable, so overall, he was looking forward to seeing her in action.

“Refreshing?” he raised a brow. “I do hope you aren’t trying to insinuate that my mother is dull.” However, his mild tone indicated that he didn’t believe she’d been trying to insult the queen, whom she’d spoken to most recently. It was merely a warning for her to be careful with how she phrased things.

He nodded at her explanation, and followed up with several questions. “Are you saying magic users can be detected reliably by mundane means? Or are you a practitioner yourself?” His neutral manner of asking assured that he wouldn’t judge either way. The next question, however, was more prodding. “What exactly do you mean by ‘balance’, and how would you ensure it?” He wasn’t sure if she meant that she specialized in eradicating witches, or else that she strived to prevent what she interpreted as ill-use of magic.

“Are you the only one who has been hired? I would prefer a team to deal with the numerous strange incidents which have cropped up,” he confessed. He didn’t truly doubt her skills as an individual, but relying only on one person to handle all magical occurrences would be poor management.

“What assignment has the queen given you?” he then queried. “I assure you - she would be perfectly fine with me knowing, and is sure to brief me when we next meet. However, our respective work does keep us busy, and I would appreciate the information sooner rather than later,” he explained. “It also so happens that I am pursuing a target who has surely employed magic - of the memory erasing type. I wouldn’t be surprised if she has given you a smaller scale mission first, however.” Certainly, if it were him, he would first test her with something else.

Torvi met Wulfric's gaze evenly, undeterred by his probing questions. She understood the necessity of caution when discussing matters of magic, especially within the royal court. His comment about his mother drew a small chuckle from her and she simply smirked at him as she replied with, “Of course not, Your Highness.”

As Wulfric delved into his inquiries, Torvi remained composed, answering each question with careful consideration.

“I am not necessarily a practitioner myself,” she explained. “But I hafe been trained to recognize the subtle signs of magic use, both through obserfation and certain… techniques. I hafe equipment that some may find…questionable, but I do not cast magic myself.” She didn't elaborate on the specifics any more than that, maintaining an air of mystery around her methods.

“By ‘balance,’ I mean ensuring that the use of magic does not disrupt the natural order of things,” she continued. “It is about maintaining harmony between the mundane and the supernatural, preventing any misuse or exploitation of magical energies. Often that requires…eliminating the target that is deemed dangerous.”

Torvi paused for a moment, considering his next question about her role within the investigation.

“As far as I am aware, currently I am the only one Queen Alibeth has hired directly for this task,” she admitted. “Howefer, I am prepared to collaborate with others if necessary. Teamwork can often yield better results in such matters, though I do usually like to work alone.”

As for her assignment, Torvi chose her words carefully, mindful of the need for discretion.

“The queen has tasked me with infestigating seferal incidents of magical disturbances that hafe been reported across Caesonia,” she replied. “My initial focus will be on gathering information and identifying potential sources of these disturbances while acting under the guise of you and your siblings' new protector.”

She paused, meeting Wulfric's gaze with a steady one of her own.

“This is all I am willing to say on the matter,” she said with a look that said that was final. “However, if you require my assistance in any way, you need only ask.”

Torvi's tone was resolute, her commitment to her task unwavering as she prepared to face the challenges ahead.

Wulfric listened carefully to the woman’s words as she spoke. He was fairly certain she was being politically correct (or simply cautious) and did not wish to indicate that she was using magic of some sort. “In the end, whether your techniques and equipment are supernatural in nature or not doesn’t matter per se - as long as you remain mindful of this ‘balance’, and as long as you provide sufficient results, of course.” He was basically giving his implicit approval and permission for her to rely on supernatural means if she thought she had to. He doubted she needed him saying so, but it might encourage her to gradually become more open when discussing her expertise.

It was unfortunate that he couldn’t use her as a magical consultant. But even just having a single person who was knowledgeable about the supernatural was a boon. “Well, if you are ever ready to share your tips and tricks…” he invited with a smirk. He did not expect her to do so at the moment, so he continued the conversation after a brief pause. “There have indeed been several incidents,” he nodded. “As a matter of fact, I have just talked to Lady Violet, who exhibited severe changes in her appearance, behavior, and her motor and cognitive skills. Hey eyes are now crimson, and she was thought dead a few days ago,” he summarized. “I would be curious to hear your professional opinion regarding her, so pay attention if she is ever in your vicinity.”

As for the other incidents… “There have been reports of strange, potentially magical occurrences at the circus. Then there is that whole after-party debacle which had happened a few days ago. Marek Delronzo, the owner of Black Rose, is suspected to have erased his guests’ memory of the party. My younger siblings - Callum and Anastasia - consider him a friend, however. I would not want them endangered because of their trust in the wrong man,” he concluded. Though he was unsure of her loyalty, Wulfric wanted to extend Torvi at least the basic amount of trust. She couldn’t do her job without the necessary intel, and he was curious how she’d handle it. Certainly, her conduct so far had impressed him, as she had firmly refused to divulge the particulars of the queen’s orders.

With that, the two concluded their introductory meeting. As they had discussed all there was to, they each went on to attend to their respective duties.
In Avalia 27 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay

Time: Morning
Location: Desert Port
Interaction(s): Tanithil @Lava Alckon, Amisra @Tae, Zion @Helo, Jun @JJ Doe
While Tanithil took care of the business talk, Arlen studied the two new guests, a warm smile on his face as he bounced on his toes in relentless excitement. The human showed a slight hint of intrigue at the mention of treasure hunting, and had seemed impressed by his jumping stunt. Maybe he’s not so bad. Arlen waved at him where the guy was hiding behind Zion, waggling his fingers at the youth playfully. Maybe he was just shy or something? He didn’t answer Tanithil either – well, not with words.

He grinned at the demi-human’s cheer, finding it infectious. “Yeah, nice to meet you too!” he bounced closer. Not as close as he usually would, just in case the human got too spooked. “Well, you don’t have’ta worry about swimming right now.” He laughed at the joke; it started almost as a hiccup, feeling like the sound had to pass some boulders in his throat, but it went easier and smoother with each laugh. “No need for catfishin’ either,” he smirked. “Those are wonderful skills to have – do you have any experiences with deserts?” he wondered curiously. The man’s question was a good one; he didn’t know this place either, so Arlen just shrugged. “Why don’t we go and find out?” Smiling, he went on, eager to explore this town, and find a decent place for breakfast.
@Estylwen Sorry for the wait, but there ya go.
Theodore Valentin

//A3 - The Plaza at Morning

Interaction: @Estylwen Elys

Theodore had put the swordswoman so far out of his mind that he was genuinely taken aback to see her. He’d noticed the stench first; the accumulated monster blood and viscera. The buzzing of flies drew him closer, and then there was that sensation of another Ichor Blessed. She’d gained some energy for herself now, and it was a strange thing – it still felt like absence, yet clearly, she had something. It was like staring into a gaping maw, a never-ending hunger driving it to consume any and all who would dare approach. Similar to the Abyss, in a way.

Was that her domain? Greed? Absence? The anti-thesis of being; nonexistence? He wasn’t certain. He wasn’t, but he was attracted and repelled to it in equal measure.

When he finally saw her, all miserable and beaten down, fatigued and unaware, as feeble as a nearly dead prey
He hissed on an inhale and stopped in his tracks.

The surge of wrath and retributive desire was swift, powerful, and blinding; it was as if a surge of lightning had struck him that very moment.

Theo narrowed his eyes at the woman, bloody fantasies plaguing his mind. He could cut her down now, he could have her at her mercy, he could humiliate her.

How easy it would be, to surround her and beat the rest of her measly life force out of her. How simple, to pass by and run his spear through her, leaving her for dead. Perhaps even tripping her would suffice, and she’d meet her end in an ‘accident’, an unfortunate soul who’d fallen into a ditch and broken her neck after she’d chewed off too large of a chunk of the Abyss than she could handle.

Then, there was a second desire, the inverse of his first one, and nearly as strong.

He was tempted to simply meld into the crowds, disappear, and let this one meeting never come to fruition without her being the wiser. Why would he bother interacting with her at all? Why should he pay her any mind, when she was so downtrodden? Surely, he had already surpassed her?

But no.

That would be running away.

Her first run might have been tough, but who knew how the next ones would go?

He could become villainous enough to murder her in plain sight, but what would he gain? A small amount of Ichor and resources, in exchange for infamy?

Clenching his hands, straightening up, a blaze of fury brightening his crimson irises, he strode up right to her. “Hello, there,” he greeted a beat before reaching for her shoulder. His hold was firm, and he pulled lightly, urging her to turn around. Just in case she still had her reflexes, he was prepared to avoid any potential reflexive attacks on her part.

His followers were right by him, merely watching. Some were cautious, even spooked; the doctor and the child both looking at the blindfolded woman as if she were a fairytale monster manifest. Maris and Ezra were both tense, though they both oozed a particular smugness and sense of superiority. Sana appeared mostly neutral, if somewhat disapproving.

“You found it, didn’t you?” he asked rhetorically. His voice held a clear spark of anger; challenge, even. She couldn’t see him in the physical sense, but he stared right where he expected her eyes to be located underneath the blindfold. “Remember,” he demanded. “Remember who helped you.” He stared her down, studying her tired figure. She might be too out of it to appreciate subtle implications, so he’d spell it out for her. “You know I could have attacked you now as you’d done when you first met me. You know what would happen if I did, don’t you?” Know that I spared you. Know that I was merciful. “Remember that. If you have any honour,” he spat, finding it difficult to believe that she might, “you will find a way to repay me.”

He gave her the chance to respond, if she would, exhausted as she was.

But he did not expect the conversation to be long, if there even would be one. After their second meeting, he’d withdraw into the crowds, and continue with his plans – a shopping trip would be just the thing to clear his head.
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