Crows and Coins

Crows and Coins

0 INK

In the land of Terradeth, an uneasy peace has been established in the city of Korrigan's criminal underbelly. However, that peace is threatened by a flood of refugees fleeing a war that grows closer each day.

4,922 readers have visited Crows and Coins since LuckyNumber24 created it.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

inspired by six of crows by leigh bardugo

Introduction

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Crows and Coins






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The city of Korrigan is a treasured jewel in the crown of the Darini Kingdom. An ever growing port city and a center of trade connecting many far off lands, Korrigan is a bustling community teeming with life and diversity. Northeld, once Korrigan’s largest and most desolate slum, has evolved into a buzzing hub of entertainment filled to the brim with parties, gambling halls, brothels, and notorious fighting pits. Though meant to attract drunken sailors and oblivious tourists, Northeld’s guilty pleasures even drew wealthy merchants, powdered nobles, and respected politicians from the mansions and marble pillars of Southeld.

Coins have flooded the streets and the pockets of a clever few who began to improve the area, renovating buildings and pushing the poorest of the area’s residents to the outskirts of the city. Northeld’s sudden success, however, is not dumb luck or the work of gods. Behind seemingly legit businesses are the many gangs of Korrigan’s criminal underbelly. They have worked tirelessly to turn themselves a profit in Northeld, fighting ferociously every step of the way. Many rivalries have been born and a river of blood has been spilled on the path of Northeld’s ascension.

A war has ravaged the lands around the kingdom, bringing flocks of refugees to all Darini cities, however Korrigan’s ports have been hit the hardest. They come from the deserts of Serket, the endless fields of the Arijiong, and even the savage Tribelands just outside of the Darini borders.

Although Southeld has embraced wealthy foreigners and nobility with open arms, the vast majority of the immigrants have been cast to the slums. With little money and no available jobs, many of these refugees are forced to turn to crime in order to survive in Northeld, impeding on the territory of the pre-existing gangs.

With more boatloads of refugees arriving every day, the entire city must deal with this crisis before a war erupts within its borders.






About






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This roleplay is going to take place in the city of Korrigan in the fantasy world of Terradeth. Specifically, we will be focusing on Northeld, a district on the rise due to its lively nightlife and indulgent pleasures. The gangs controlling Northeld have crafted an uneasy peace to ensure the safety of their profits. However, this peace is threatened by a flood of refugees sent by a war that grows closer every day. Hopefully, if we have enough characters and interest to drive this roleplay further, we'll get to expand and explore the world of Terradeth beyond Korrigan.

I'm looking for a few dedicated roleplayers that will put time and effort into making a collaborative world. Although I've created a rough idea of this realm, I am open and eager for suggestions that would bring Korrigan to life. Posting is important and I would like for everyone involved to be active. I would like us all to post weekly, but I understand that life gets in the way. If anything comes up, just shoot me a PM and I'll understand. If you're having writers block or just taking time with your responses, no worries. I'd prefer a post that you put a lot of effort into over something you slapped together because you felt pressured to meet a deadline. That being said, if you vanish without a word, I'll send a PM your way. If you don't respond within a couple days, you'll be out and your character (if they're important enough) will be turned into an NPC. I am also intending for this roleplay to be mature. A lot of us will be playing criminals after all, so anticipate plenty of violence, foul language, sex, crime, and loads of politics





Roles






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Here are some potential roles that your characters can fill, however, any of them can also be turned to NPC's if no one is interested. You can also play anyone else in Korrigan, whether they're a regular citizen, a guard, a gang member, a noble, a mage, or a refugee. Feel free to be creative as you'd like! If multiple people want the same role, they will have to compete for it and I will pick who I feel is a better fit for the story. If you have any ideas for other roles, go ahead and just create your character! No need to PM me unless you have any questions.

The Five Kings

Leaders of Northeld’s most powerful gangs, the Five Kings have established an uneasy peace on their streets. They meet regularly to discuss their profits and settle disputes between their organizations. Keep in mind that each king hides their illegal dealings behind a legitimate business. When signing up for a king, you are also responsible for naming and developing their gang. If anyone has ideas for a gang but doesn't want to play a king, feel free to PM me or post in the OOC.

Huli Jing - the Court of Crows - Played by LuckyNumber24
Reserved by fate0013
Reserved by Fabricator
Reserved by Iced Fire
Reserved by Solo Wing Pixy


The Refugee Leader

Several countries have been affected by the war outside of Darini, displacing countless people. Many have received asylum in Korrigan, but have been forgotten by the government and nobles of the city. Hungry, poor, and unwanted by the locals, many of these refugees have taken to crime to feed themselves. A leader has come forward, uniting the refugee gangs emerging from slums. This leader and their gang have become massive thorns in the side of the Five Kings.

Reserved by Yonbibuns


The Lord

Warden of the city of Korrigan, the Lord (or Lady) is trusted to enforce the king's will and oversee the land with integrity. However, this noble is more interested in futhering their own political agenda than ideals like honor. The Lord permitted the Five Kings to flourish in exchange for the odd favor every now and again.

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The High Inquisitor

Bastard of the king, this prince has little hope for and little interest in the crown. Now, leading a force of Inquisitors, he has come to expel the corruption spreading throughout Korrigan like an illness.

Taken by Nekohina


The Inquisitors

An order beyond the common guards of Korrigan or the soldiers of the Darini army, the Inquisition was originally an order of witch hunters renowned for their brutality. However, when laws banning magic in the Darini cities were lifted, the Inquisition was contracted by the king to focus on criminals. Now, they are an elite task force dedicated to hunting and prosecuting the most wanted outlaws in the kingdom. They are notorious for their merciless nature and unorthodox methods for extracting information.

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The Witch Hunter

One of Jerum's elite soldiers in the war against magic, the Witch Hunter has infiltrated the city under the guise of a refugee. They spy for their king, searching for ways for the Jerumian army to penetrate Korrigan's defenses. They hide in plain sight for now, but when the time comes, they will strike with deadly percision.

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The Merchants Council

The Merchants Council is made up of the wealthiest men in Korrigan, whose riches may surpass even that of the nobles and politicians that often vacation in Southeld. They deal in goods of all kinds; spices, ales, wines, foods, fabrics, and even slaves. Although they seek to appear as upstanding pillars of the community, it is well known that these merchants have their own agendas and are unafraid of getting their hands dirty.

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Character Creation






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When reserving your character, just tell me your desired role, your face claim, and how your character ended up in Korrigan! I will only be accepting face claims that fit in this fantasy realm and I will not accept anime, illustrations, or character sheets with gifs or pictures of their face claim in modern clothing/setting. If you need help finding fantasy/period face claims, here are a couple helpful sources:
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It's also worth mentioning that all of our characters will be human. This may change in the future or if enough people feel the desire to add more fantastical races. You are all welcome to create as many characters as you'd like, provided you're capable of handling all of them. Also, I will be keeping my eyes open for over powered characters, specifically when it comes to the combat prowess sections of your character sheets.


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Toggle Rules

The GM of this roleplay hasn't created any rules! You can do whatever you like!

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 11 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Huli Jing Character Portrait: Charon

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Huli Jing
The Aviary Brothel, Northeld
After Dusk


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Madame Huli smiled, clapping to the rhythm of tan skin drums and dancing bells around the ankles of songbirds. She sat in embroidered blue silks with a golden crow perched in her hair, watching the room intently. She sat on the edge of her throne, running her fingers along the serpents, birds, and nubile young bodies carved into her arm rests. Above her head, an ebony dragon coiled with great fangs bared for all the patrons of the Aviary to see.

The guests watching from their perfumed cushions were of all ranks and backgrounds, mouths slightly agape and eyes filled with hunger as scantily clad songbirds twirled and leapt with sheer veils waving from their fingers. A group of musicians played behind them, the sounds of drums, flutes, and lyres floating into the air where they mixed with the scent of jasmine and rose. When songbirds finished their dance and their chests rose and fell with labored breaths, they were greeted with thunderous applause.

As Huli rose from her throne, the songbirds broke into clusters and scurried into the crowd, draping themselves over their potential clients. "I hope you are all enjoying the entertainment tonight." Huli said, raising cheers of approval from the audience. The Queen of Crows smiled, as pleased as a cat with a mouth full of feathers. She turned her head, nodding to the drummers. The largest of them began to beat his instrument with slow drawn out hits. She turned her attention back to the crowd, a grave expression overcoming her features. "However, I must warn you," The beat of the drum increased ever so slightly. Huli looked around, eyes widened as she dramatically craned her neck, as if she was searching for something. "Wild beasts have been known to sneak into this defenseless henhouse."

The songbirds gasped dramatically as the drum became louder. They clung onto each other and their clients, trembling in both fear and excitement. Their breaths quickened and became more audible with each beat of the drum, their anticipation like lightning in the air.

Huli resisted the urge to smile. Their acting was a tad dramatic, but many of the brothel's patrons were rather dense. It took big gestures to get their point across. "Foxes, wolves, and serpents have found their way into these halls of pleasures." Her coy eyes narrowed. "From time to time, even great bears have wandered in from the savage Tribelands." The drummer went full force, pounding his instrument and the heart of everyone within the Aviary.

A large furred form lumbered into the room. As it sulked forward, the songbirds squealed. The beast rose up onto its hind legs and dropped the pelt covering its broad shoulders, revealing a pale muscular torso, shocking gray eyes, and a coarse blond braid. Charon roared as he flexed, his biceps bulging. He paced back and forth on the stage, Huli watching from her throne with a smirk. Charon snarled and snapped wildly at the audience, as if he were looking for prey. The Seer was certainly having fun with the role. The musicians began to play a primitive tune with heavy drums and an approximation of Tribeland chanting. Charon began to pound his chest and roll his body to the rhythm of the music.

The Countess Crow slipped away as the crowd focused on the shaman. She smiled politely at Mau and the other old women assisting her as she passed through the kitchen. The smell of pork and spices filled the air, reminding Huli that she had not yet eaten dinner. She came to an empty hall and pushed through a door carefully hidden in the wall.

Alone, in a dark room sat a bloodied man with dark hair. He was tied to a chair, severely beaten. He looked up at the queen through swollen eyes.

She bared her teeth in a wicked smile. "Ready to talk?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sanura Minkah

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Sanura Minkah
The Jasmine Sphinx
Evening


Sanura locks the door to the Jasmine Sphinx. Her hands gently tug on the chain and lock, the metal ringing and a small click letting her know that the lock was sound. She walked towards the shelves, double checking everything was where it should be. Her eyes flickered, reading each label carefully before setting things into sections. The glass jars were dim in the light of her shop, the oil lamps providing a rather comforting feel. Tea, spices, herbs, medicines, balms, ect. She knew where everything went, as this was what she had done for the past 7 years.

Image A small cry caught her attention, the voice of an 13 month Serket Mau. Aysu had attempted to jump onto the glass counter, but had slipped and fell into the basket of lavender.

"Aysu, what on earth...?"

Sanura turned and picked up the basket, the kitten sneezing as a stock of lavender fell limp over his head. Her laugh rang softly, scooping her familiar out of the basket with a gentle hand. Aysu mewed as he was set inside the small pouch on her hip. It was perfectly made to hold the young cat, as well as a few other things. Sanura smiled and scratched the underside of his chin, earning a purr and the wiggling of cat ears.

"You're hungry, aren't you?"

An enthusiastic cry was her responce.

She laughed, "Alright, mercy!" She finished up the organization of her things, swept the floor, and put out the oil lamps. Going to the back door, she walked up the first two steps and then closed the door behind her. She walked up a few steps to her kitchen. Sanura set Aysu on the wooden floor, pulling out salted chicken and the mixture she had made for her familiar. Pulling out two bowls, she set the mixture into a bowl and water in the other. Setting them on the floor, it wasn't long until Aysu padded along and helped himself. Sanura placed the chicken over the cooked rice she had prepared this morning and stored. Placing a few spices and a light sauce over it, she would sit at the window and eat. The Summerhome Inn could be heard, faint music and laughter carried by the wind. Another bite into her food, Sanura looked at the stars. Aysu jumped into her lap, earning himself a few pets behind his ears.

"What do you think, Aysu? Think it'd be safe to do a bit of brewing?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Doran

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Doran
Korrigan City Gates & Streets
Evening


Doran's arrival at the city was not at all in the nature one would expect from someone who ostensibly held a high office. He'd be the first to admit that he'd misjudged the weather which was a source of delay. Furthermore, he'd arranged for supplies to arrive in stages to 'ease the local populace' into the Inquisition's embrace...though genuinely found himself wishing he'd just marched a large caravan and force up instead. Sure his current course of action gave the current city ruler a measure of face...if one didn't count the Writ of Compliance he carried with the King's signature demanding at least providing shelter. But he'd felt the need to at least appear cooperative.

Still his arrival was without escort, after all he set off to get the city prepared in advanced for the arrival of the forces he had managed to rally towards the new city. Truthfully speaking, the amount the Inquisition could spare with his plans of expansion was far less than would be required to quickly bring the city to heel but he'd have to make due...it was his plan after all. However despite the set backs, he understood the gates man's skepticism to a cloaked man claiming to be the High Inquisitor arriving at the hour and ordering a messenger be sent to the city ruler and a summons for a healer. After all, from all appearances Doran looked like shit (walking corpse if one were to be honest), but the pair of men he'd dragged behind his horse barely clung to life. Given the pair were bandits, he could have simply turned them in and been done as a bounty hunter...but he had other plans to 'bond' with the local authorities. Still the silent resistance had reached the point where The Bastard finally felt compelled to reveal his Seal of Office and the Writ - well it's envelope containing the King's Seal in wax.

"Pleasant as you've been, I tire of staring down from my horse." The change in attitude was ignored by Doran as his earlier orders suddenly became feasible despite the hour and it 'not being their problem'. He still had to dismount and enter through the postern gate as the main gates stayed shut. But it was still preferable in his point of view for desiring to remain low until arriving at the castle. He deliberately clutched at his cloak to conceal his armor before succumbing to a coughing fit, his...condition had been acting up so Doran had also left the main group in the dust to get things under control first.

"Since it'll take longer to arrange noble pleasantries...healer - now." Doran continued commanding to poor watchmen as he shoved his captives over the horse to move more quickly and stay on foot himself. In particular, a young man with clearly visible Serket heritage was shoved forward and lead him off.

"Take me to a good healer, and I will reward you...waste my time and don't blame me for being ruthless." Doran's sighed threat proved unnecessary as he was quickly delivered to a door that the youth knocked on with an air of familiarity, despite there being a strange pattern. Since he'd honestly expected more resistance, Doran found himself reaching towards his purse instead of his blade in surprise...despite their close proximity.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Lola Marinne

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Oh Lady Marinne was not going to be happy about this.

Steward Micheal Kallin walked through the hallways of the Lady’s castle. A massive construct of stone, metal, sweat and tears. A fortification meant to withstand the horrors of war that had since been decorated by Lady Marinne herself to accommodate those with a bit more taste than that of the typical warrior. Tapestries hung from the walls and lavish paintings covered nearly every would-be empty space. Plants, flowers, and carpets also managed to make even the dreary grey of the castle color seem distant and irrelevant. All in all, it was probably one of the better decisions Lady Marinne had made since her time in office, considering that the court was usually the only place so heavily decorated, aside from the Lord/Lady’s personal chambers. This method of decoration allowed others to feel more at ease, and their tongues to waggle with less restriction.

Even the staff had gotten an upgrade to their attire. Micheal was wearing form fitting formal attire, which was his standard day to day clothing, in the colors of the Marinne family; Gold and Red. He swept a hand through his thinning grey hair, looking down with his green eyes at the envelope he held in his hands. The wrinkles on his face multiplied as he scrunched his face just looking at it. He knew who it was from, and even if he was an idiot, he would have been able to tell what the implications of this letter were. Maybe Lady Marinne would be able to hold them off for a time, but he doubted it. As much power as she possessed, she couldn’t refuse the Inquisition, because such an act would be going against the King himself.

Micheal rounded the corner, hearing the sounds of what could only be Lady Marinne and potentially several other suitors enjoying what little time she had off. He knew he was going to get an earful for this, but this was a letter that simply couldn’t wait. While they had had their suspicions that the Inquisition was set to move on Korrigan, it was always thought that it would be ‘Tomorrow’, with the implication of Tomorrow never coming. Micheal stopped at a rather firm wooden door, hearing and only imagining the things that were being done inside as groans of pleasure were clearly protruding past the barrier to the room. Micheal took a deep breath, resigning himself to the fact that no matter how he approached this, lady Marinne was not going to be happy about it. He held up a hand, and knocked on the door three times with a firm but respectful tone.

Almost immediately the sound died down and there was silence for a moment. “Lady Marinne.” Micheal started. “I have a missive for you.”

“It can wait.” Lady Marinne stated, but before the sounds could continue, Micheal spoke up again.

“My apologies M’lady...but it really can’t.” There was another pause before a groan of utter distaste and irritation could be heard.

“Out. All of you.” Lady Marinne stated in her standard authoritative voice. Within a moment, the door opened and out fled several people of both genders, barely clothed as they made their way down the hall to somewhere that wasn’t here. Lady Marinne then opened the door fully, completely nude and slightly sweaty. This was not a new sight to Micheal, who had been her Steward for as long as her reign. She was a beautiful woman, age having done little if anything to dull her looks, but he would never even consider thinking of joining her in bed. That was how people got killed. She held out her hand, her eyes burning holes into his head as he bowed slightly and held out the missive. She took it and turned back into the room, silently prompting for Micheal to follow.

She stood there for a moment, her blonde hair cascading down her bare back as she pointed towards the closet. Micheal took the hint and went about gathering a few things for her to wear. She wasn’t expected to appear in court today so he grabbed something more casual for her to cover herself with. She stared at the missive for far longer than it would take to read the note, creases appearing on her forehead as she seemed to lose herself in her thoughts. Micheal stood near the bed, the clothes he had picked laid out on the sheets.

“Take note Micheal.” Lady Marinne stated as she slowly folded the note. “Alert the captains of the guard that the Inquisition will be coming to Korrigan. They are expected to cooperate with them to the fullest extent of the King’s rule.” Micheal nodded as he pulled a piece of parchment out from a sack he kept around his waist. A bit of ink and feather and he was quickly jotting down notes. Lady Marinne tossed the note onto the bed, taking a peek at the clothes Micheal had picked before shaking her head. “These will not do. I’ll be hosting the High Inquisitor, I need to be presentable.” Lady Marinne grumbled slightly before giving a dismissive wave of her hand. “Nevermind, I’ll do it myself. Alert the castle guard as well, I want nothing but pure perfection upon the rows of the enlisted once the High Inquisitor walks in.”

“If I may ask, M’lady?” Micheal looked up, meeting Lady Marinne’s gaze for only a moment before shunting his head back down.

“Speak.” She stated, her voice level and solid, even in her current state of undress she managed to project an aura of authority.

“What is this about? Why would the Inquisition suddenly be marching into Korrigan?” Lady Marinne peered down at the note for a second, placing a hand on her chin as she thought about it for a moment.

“Refugees are pouring in from the warfront and crime is on the rise. It’s most likely a display of power meant for the rest of the Kingdom to assure the common folk that the crown remains strong. Regardless of the motives, we must deal with the hand that has been dealt.” Lady Marinne opened her closet, revealing several well tailored dresses, jewelry and ornamentation. “Tell the kitchen to prepare something nice, not overly extravagant but enough to whet an appetite.” Micheal wrote this down as well, looking up only long enough to see Lady Marinne wave her hand.

“That will be all.” She stated, to which Micheal bowed and began to exit. As he opened the door, there was a snap of fingers which caused him to stop. “Oh, and send a raven to the Countess of Crows. I’ll want to see her after this little...meeting is done.”

“Of course M’lady.” Micheal answered before quietly closing the door.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aldus Sigrim

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Father Aldus Sigrim
Dusk



The sun hung low over the city of lies and filth. The cramped refugee boat slowly approached, floating in through the tides towards the city's famous portside. Despite it's gallant and shimmering front, Aldus knew what evil lay inside. He could feel the horrors that lurked around him. The forbidden magic practically sparked off their skin. It had been torture to bear with it during his lengthy journey, but now that the end lay in sight, he knew it was worth it. He would bear through worse burdens before he let down his Goddess and Wife.

Even now, Sigrim chuckled. The sea's wind blew through his aging hair, and he kept his eyes glued to the city of sin even as the detestables crowded around him to partake in the view. He was almost there. A new chapter. As he saw their boat match the path of others, drifting towards the great stone and wood docks at the seaside, he knew that this was the Church's last shackle. Soon, when the city lay ripe for the taking, he could retreat back home, back into Jerum. Back to his daughters. See Viola's smiling green eyes as she welcomed him home. And never have to see the saddened heartfallen expressions that passed around him when the Parish acolyte knocked on the door. It wasn't long until the ship was safely in harbor, and the flood of people burst and flowed down into the harbor walking towards the towering gate. The last obstacle before finally coming face to face with the true crimes of a city so steeped in blasphemous magic and curses.

The very stones beneath his feet felt hexed. It was the unnatural way everything felt. He moved between the throngs of immigrants, pushing closer and closer to the gates. The putrid smell of fish and sweat clung to everyone, and the sun had left it's mark on even the fairest of complexions. The hideous nature of the docks only made it easier to squeeze through the gate. Any sidelong glance at Sigrim was met with a discreet hand of money. It felt filthy, to be moving into the city via such means, but he knew it was for the greater good. The Father had more than enough money and warning glances to safely make it through the gates without so much as raising an eyebrow.

Once through, Sigrim was met with an old plaza, an entryway that led into the twists and turns of the streets. Stopping for the moment, Sigrim checked his armaments one last time. Salt, blessed water, and more than a poisoner's share of alchemical ingredients. He reached into the stringed sack on his back and felt the cool, comfort of iron. Now all he needed was a direction. A first foothold in the mountain. As if on cue, a city guard bearing both the colors of the Darni King and a gold and red sash pushed through the ever moving crowd of refugees. The guard marched past the Father until he met eye with the gatemen.

"Hey you lazy whelps! Yeh, you!" The man called out.

In immediate response the men at the gates and posts stopped and stood at attention.

"You're to keep a special eye out for members of the Inquisition now, ya' hear?" The guard ground his foot into the stone, "They're to be let into the city, and not be harassed and pushed about by you sorry saps! The Lady's spoken, so if any've you's gotten a problem with it, you best make your peace on this world now! Understood?" A minor nod passed between the other guards. "Good. Get back to work then, don't be holdin' up the gate!"

And just as quickly as the man had stormed onto the scene, he stormed off. Sigrim smiled inwardly. The Inquisition had fallen from their true witch hunting passions as of late, but somehow getting audience with them might prove beneficial to his cause. The Father took a look at the sky. The sun was gone, leaving behind the faint hours of twilight. He could push on, but he'd need rest and sanctuary in the city. Somewhere to lay his head, and keep his blood from spilling. An inn wouldn't do. To many eyes in the shadows. No, the Father needed to play the perfect refugee, at least for now.

So, asking about the throngs of immigrants, he found a name, and a location. Sanura Minkah of The Jasmine Sphinx. It was a small place, but one that had been a host of supposed kindness and kinship towards those fleeing the falling sands of Serket. While Sigrim didn't expect to find either he set out down the winding streets until he came to the door. Finally steeling himself, the Old Father knocked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Doran Character Portrait: Lady Lola Marinne

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Doran
Lady Marinne's
Dusk


The revelation of a plain shopkeeper left Doran bored as the lad explained in Serkhet Doran's intentions of having his captives healthy enough to last another day. The lack of deception left him rather disappointed, but he still paid the pair handsomely before making a direct line for the castle. The utter lack of resistance at the door (and active assistance in carrying his "gifts")only served to make him frown, after all things weren't matching his intelligence reports. Despite the local Lady allegedly being an underhanded, backbiting, control freak his only resistance had been an ignorant guard at the city gates. Furthermore he'd gotten all the way to the castle without molestation... would that occur inside? Were his reports wrong,was his provocation too weak, or was the woman more dangerous than he'd expected? However even the luxury of processing this new information was denied by an all-too-efficient staff handling the preliminaries of a formal welcome. This forced Doran to begrudgingly increase his assessment and threat level of the Lady despite her lack of hostilities thus far.

"I go from drowning a man in the capital for impersonating my office to unrecognized at the city gate to a welcome that even the prude Queen would be hard pressed to criticize." His comment was made without concern or respect towards the woman in question since the pair had never gotten along. However the utter lack of restraint in his volume or tone only further reinforced the lèse-majesté nature of his remark as he strode through the rows of unfazed guards. He even paused mid stride to gauge reactions before being forced to continue from a performance that could only be called flawless.Doran found himself giving the servant at the end of the pre-greeting an overly hard look as he cast of his riding cloak.

"Inform the Lady that I'm impressed at the greeting despite my inconvenient timing, but isn't this a bit much for a humble servant of the gods? Especially when they can only offer her two bandits for her judgement in gratitude - assuming she does take offense to their condition of being dragged behind my horse into town." Despite being his standard polite response to the word, the utter lack of softness to his voice didn't even phase the butler he preemptively interrupted. The level of social ability left him choosing to experiment in violating norms and decor to learn what he could in response.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Sanura Minkah Character Portrait: Aldus Sigrim

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Sanura Minkah
The Jasmine Sphinx
Evening



"I would think not."

Sanura could hear the knock on the door. Grabbing her shawl, Sanura cleaned up her kitchen and made way towards the stairs. Aysu jumped into his pouch, just in time for his caretaker to take her first step onto the stairway. Sanura lit one of the oil lamps near the doorway, the light helping her find the key in the dim light of the evening. The darker blues slowly setting in made it hard for Sanura to immediately see where the lock was specifically. She unlocked the door, after a good minute of prodding the key into places, sliding the chain from around the inner handles. Sanura set the chain on the counter, then padded back over as one shouldn't keep a guest waiting long. She swung one door open slowly, seeing an older gentleman before her.

"Evening, Sir. What can I do for you?"

Sanura gripped the handle door, studying the man silently. Aysu hid into the confines of the pouch, the young cat intimidated by the man's size. Nothing seemed magical about her, no charms or spells on her person. She was simply a Serket shopkeeper with a kitten in her side pocket. No more, no less.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Belkas Lagos

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Belkas Lagos
The Summerhome Inn
~ Evening ~


ImageIt was a nice night by Korrigan standards. The sun had gone down not to long ago, lanterns were being lit, and many searched for refuge from the chill of night. With more and more refugees pouring into the city, many bars and inns were filling fast. those without coin having to resort to huddling in the back allies. Of all the Inns in the city none were as warm or welcoming as the famous Summerhome. Able to accommodate nearly twice the number of patrons an average bar and inn was capable of, It was a wonder if the place ever was entirely empty at any given hour. The sound of laughter and merriment filled the vast drinking hall and spilled out into the streets outside. People sang their drinking songs along to the music of bards. Old warriors and adventurers told their stories around the fire in hushed, dramatic tones. The smell of simple well cooked food wafted through the air, only being cut through by the sickly sweet scent of ale and mead. Summerhome was well deserving of its name. The building glowed with happiness and life. Many even considered it their second home. People came to smile and forget about the ugliness in the world, to take their minds off the words of war coming closer to their lands.

But as the saying goes "wherever there is light, there is surly darkness", and Summerhome was no different. The inn was full of prying eyes and ever listening ears. Those with the extra coin would soon find it gone, snatched away by soft trained hands. This warm haven hide the den of the Spider. A guild of thieves and assassins who's main base of opperations lay dirrectly bellow the inn, connected to the sewer system of the city that drained into the harbor. Belkas Lagos, more commonly known as "The Gentleman of Korrigan" stood at the top floor railing overlooking the hall. Some patrons gave cheers to the man, others smiled and nodded his way. Tonight was a new night. Another night for him and his people to claim as theirs once again. Even now, shadows creeped above and bellow the city. slipping through doors and windows to find glittering gold and trinkets many thought so safe and hidden. the thought brought a wide grin to Belkas's face. Feeling in high spirits, he lifted his tankard and drew everyone's attention. "Hear is to yet another joyous night here at my hall!" the crowd roared back in approval. " You all make this worn inn the popular place it is today, and for that i wish to celebrate a little." He made a gesture to one of the barkeeps, queuing men to bring a massive barrel out from the back. "Here is a fresh barrel of the southlands finest mead, first of the season. I expect you all the drink it dry!" People cheered loudly and surged to the bar to each get their fill. Satisfied with his work, Belkas turned and took his leave.

Having quietly made his way into the back storage area of the inn, Belkas stood before a great wall of barrels. Smirking, the man ran his hand across one of the center rows till he was about a third of the way though. he first knocked on the lid in a complicated manner until he heard a single sharp knock come from the other side. With a gentle push and a few twists to the left, the barrel lid swung open like a door would. A hand reaches out to help Belkas crawl through. Once inside Belkas was happy to see Vann on barrel duty tonight. The large wall of a man nodded at his boss and moved to the side, allowing Belkas to walk down the torch lit stone stairs. Moments later, the guild master found himself in his true hall. an underground hub for the House of Eyes. Guild members came and went in a steady pace. some with information and job requests, some with goods, and others with their nightly quotas. Some flocked around Belkas, telling stories of their recent exploits. he waved them off on their ways, heading straight to his office further down into the cavernous room. Closing the door behind him, he sighed and flopped down into his great chair with the grace of a dying horse. He really needed a break if he was completely honest with himself. which he was, lying was best suited for others anyway. "Well, best be getting to work then." he pulled out a bottle of Jerum made wine and filled his glass before getting to the various papers that scattered his desk. Wondering if there were any jobs he might personally wish to take part in.

A soft knocking broke him from his search. "Come in come in, i'm not too busy yet." a young initiate walked in and placed a bundle of letters on the desk. Belkas thanked the boy and sent him off again, making sure the boy closed the door on his way out. Sipping the wine absently he reached over and began flipping through the new letters, hoping for something interesting. Even a meeting summons with the other kings would be welcome. whatever happend, he hoped it happened soon. Belkas would rather be entertained then find himself at the bottom of a bottle and staring at the ceiling. . . again.

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Scalon Nixshaed
~ Twilight ~
The moon was high above the world when the dark shape finally moved. Scalon's arms extended out from under his head, pushing down on the hard tiles of the roof on which he lay, his back arching upwards. The stars were beautiful tonight. Small pinpricks of light that slowly came into view against the dark blue of the twilight sky, growing brighter as the sky blackened. In the vicious world of Northeld, the sky was a thing of rare beauty. There were times when he would lay out all night, just enjoying the peace but tonight he had other things on his mind. A man had died last night. His body found this morning floating face-down on the northern bank of the Kavon river - the river that separated the two districts of Korrigan - a small wound in his chest, angled upwards towards his heart. The man had been a wealthy merchant who imported exotic spices from the Amundra Sands. At least that had been what the authorities thought. What they didn't know was that the man had also traded in dangerous substances that altered the mind and robbed the body of its senses. It was this side business that had cost the man his life. Another merchant wished to gain a monopoly on this trade and so Scalon had been hired to help achieve that goal. So a man had died and Scalon's purse was heavy about his waist.

With the ease of practise, Scalon stepped from the roof, dropping the short distance to land silently on a small balcony. From there he entered the small apartment, careful to shut and lock the door behind him. Though he kept all his valuables well hidden, Scalon had participated in enough break-ins to know a determined and experienced thief could find anything given enough time and just a small amount of luck. A locked door is a small barrier, but it is a barrier nonetheless, and could mean the difference between being robbed or being passed by.

Long strides hurried Scalon towards his destination. The Summerhome Inn was a place where he could drink in peace and listen to the latest gossip of the world. Drunken voices sounded around the next corner and Scalon paused, instinctively sidestepping into the shadows as a group of young men staggered past. Though the Five Kings had managed to erradicate most gang violence, even they could not prevent the random muggings, murders and robbery that happened. And when confronted by a group of drunken young men, it is always better to err on the side of caution. His hand resting on the hilt of his long dagger, Scalon waited until they had past before slipping around the corner and into view of the Summerhome Inn. A small grin lifted the corners of his mouth. It was this constant danger that had made Scalon fall in love with his birthplace. The freedom to do as one wished, to answer to no one. To Live

Setting

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Character Portrait: Anabeth Rose

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Korrigan Docks


The moonlight glittered off the water as the Black Rose's Revenge sailed into the busy harbor. Refugee boats and even ships of the Navy giving the black ship a wide berth as she made for the harbor and her own private docks. The ship pulled into dock dropping anchor and lowering the gangplank.
The Black Rose herself came down the plank first. She was met by a group of her men. " Ma'am the captains are gathered."

"Good take me there...The rest of you get the goods into the warehouse" Anabeth ordered.

By goods she of course ment ill gotten treasures and trade goods. The Pirate Queen followed her men down into a secret tunnel from her docks to the Lair of the Black Rose Accord. A hush fell over the captains as Anabeth entered the room. " Report." She demanded as she sat down.

The captains went one by one telling of the loot the stole and more and more "safe" docks being taken of by the conquests of Jerum.
"Jerum's power grows daily and the streets of this town pour with souls displaced by them...Souls we can turn against them. " Said Anabeth at long last.
"Souls of weak and desperate men...Useless." stated a captain
"Desperate men are just what we need....Ones who have nothing left but anger and bitterness the Seas will be mine and I will use those broken by my foe against them."
"You would drive us to ruin for your revenge! We should join Jerum! turn this city over..." Another captain yelled but as he spoke Anabeth drew Witchbane silencing the man with a loud bang smoke filling the room from the shot as the man fell dead. "Any others dare speak against me?"

Anabeth was met with silence " Good so ends this meeting of the Black Rose Accord."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Charon Character Portrait: Gildan Lodes

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Charon, Son of Beira and Gildan Lodes
The Aviary Brothel
Evening




Charon could hear them. He could always hear them.

The Dark Ones stood in the corner of his room, obscured by unnatural shadows. Their whispers buzzed in Charon's ears, like the drone of locusts. Some days, he could hear kinder souls among them, typically one of his ancestors or some benevolent nature spirit. However, this night there were only the voices of an ancient evil. They had yet to harm him or even come too close, but they were always watching from a distance, whispering amongst themselves. However, in moments like this, the Seer found them rather easy to ignore.

Charon rested on his bare stomach, his feet bouncing to Serket bells, flutes, and guitars from beneath the floorboards. The performances would last until the sun rose. Then, the more respectable patrons would rush out of the Aviary's golden door, hiding their noble faces until they returned to their wives in Southeld. The Seer held Gil's hand as if he would a small bird, tenderly rubbing his thumb along a group of scars on the underside of his wrist. Although the flesh had mended itself, Charon could still feel a dark magic leaking from the wounds. He pressed his lips against them, saying a silent prayer of protection to the Great Ones and the Ancestors as he kissed the damaged skin.

Charon looked up at his lover with a clever smirk as he adjusted his naked body on the sweaty silk sheets."I hope you enjoyed the dance tonight." He purred as he placed his free hand on Gil's thigh, drawing aimless circles on his pale skin. His grey eyes studied Gil's body, running along his many scars with interest. They reminded him of his own, some of which, such as the nick across his nose, still stung every time he thought of them. "Huli thinks I could bring in more noblewomen if I stopped focusing on you every time you're in the crowd." He smiled mischievously. "But I doubt that I'd have nearly as much fun."

Of course, Gil had been there.

He always appeared in the most opportune times, milky-blue eyes searching. As a wolf might: hungry. Huli had the right of it when she’d warned that the Aviary had a nasty habit of attracting beasts and predators alike. Sitting in the thrumming throng of watchers in the crowd, he’d draped himself where he always sat. It was an awful habit. One that he wasn’t inclined to rid himself of. He’d been hunkered on lavish pillows, wrought with silks, with a mewling little mouse seated in his lap. Squirming into his arms when the savage drumbeats foreshadowed Charon’s appearance. His eyes, however, were ever trained on the circular stage in front of them.

They were both beasts: he and Charon. In different manners, he supposed. Both hailing from the Tribelands, and both with veins that bled and wept with some sort of arcane energy they were loathe to admit they had. It would mean the death of them. Strung up: lynched in the streets. The Bastard Kings’, and their boot-licking Inquisitor’s, would make sure of that. Perhaps, it was there that the similarities ended. Charon was a much kinder soul. He was a charming tightrope-walk between a rawness he found appealing and a finger-kissing altruism he wasn’t sure what to do with. In comparison, he was… not. He couldn’t afford to stall his momentum.

It certainly didn’t stop him from finding himself in Charon’s arms. In the Crow’s lovely Aviary. Frequent customer’s who did not tread on the Queen of Crow’s feet were always[ welcome. He took care not to dance too close to her affairs, as long as they did not align with his own. It was the closest thing to a sanctuary he’d found since coming off Korrigan’s streets. A place, at least, he could recuperate, and breathe, without the threat of having a jewel-crusted blade stuck in his throat. Sinking his teeth into someone else' had always been his style. The Aviary had everything he needed. For a time. At least until his wounds healed.

Gil was laid out on his back with one of the silken sheets tangled across one leg and draped over his midsection. Softer sheets, they’d say, couldn’t be found anywhere. He could vouch for that. One of his hands was tucked under his head, beneath the pillow. The other he’d let rest at his side. Now scooped in Charon’s hands, pressed against his lips. He watched him between half-lidded eyes. An eyebrow raised and a small smile crooked at the corner of his lips. Though it was the moonlight creeping through the corner of heavy curtains that caught his attention. Late.It was late. While he’d never professed to following strict schedules, his rats had whispers of their own. A man had come. One he’d rather see strung up by his guts.

A sigh sifted past Gil’s lips as he sat up and hunched closer to grizzled man. He pulled his hand free from the man’s exploring fingers, and caught hold of his chin, tipping it up so that he could look at him properly. For a moment he allowed the silence to fill in the spaces, and broke it with a wolfish grin, “She’s probably right. But pretty hens… they can be boring. All bark and no teeth. You’d be too much for them to handle.” In a sense, he was much too good for them. For him, too. His own movements, his actions, were anything but soft. Even as his thumb tickled across the man’s lips, he fought the urge to grip and drag and tear. Gil laughed as he released Charon’s chin, flipping the silk sheet over his head. Shielding him from those impossibly blue eyes of his.

He swung his legs off the bed and slipped down to his bare feet. Crinkled his toes through the soft fibres of the furred mat. It only took him a moment to locate his trousers. Left in a messy pile. A line of clothes strewn across the room as if they’d been discarded in a hurry. The state of the chamber was hectic, almost as if there was a fight. Chairs tumbled over. Pillows and feathers in a sad, rumpled pile. They wouldn’t have been far from the mark. After tugging up his pants, Gil turned to plant both hands on the end of the bed, “This is the worst part, y’know.” He rolled his eyes, “I’ve got things to attend to.”

Charon groaned, crawling over to Gil. He draped his arms over his broad shoulders, loosely wrapping them around his neck. "I'm sure your rats can manage without their king for one more hour." A part of Charon wished that he could keep Gil there forever. He couldn't quite label his feelings for the Bleeder with a name as simple as love or lust. It was an animalistic sort of magnetism that drew the two together and Charon's affection for the other man grew with every drunken sweaty encounter they shared. "I could make it worth your while." The Seer nuzzled the crook of Gil's neck, his beard rubbing against him. He nibbled at Gil's skin, his flesh reddening slightly with each nip. Perhaps Gil reminded Charon of the home he was no longer welcomed in. There was an insatiable hunger that radiated off of his spirit and a wolfish gleam in his eye that Charon had seen too many times in the eyes of his brother, Fenrir. And, although it had been years since Gil had been to their homeland, Charon could feel the Free Folks blood that ran like wild horses in his veins.

He pulled his lips away from Gil's neck, only to whisper in his ear with a devilish grin. "I believe I'm having a vision." Charon nodded, closing his eyes and rubbing his temples, one arm still hooked around the Gil. "Yes, yes. You are in grave danger." With one rapid motion, Charon had swung around, straddling the smaller man. "You must stay in this room tonight, or disaster will fall upon your house." He giggled as he stared into the pale blue eyes of his bedmate, pushing aside the true visions invading his mind. A body thrown into a turbulent sea. A rat in the jaws of a hound. Blood spilling onto a pile of gold coins. Blood drowning the city. Blood drowning the world.

Blades might’ve been sharp, but Charon’s mind was sharper. He knew how boundless Gil’s appetites were. How insatiable his hunger had become over the years they’d known each other—it was never enough. Nothing was, in a sense. It was the reason he frequented the Aviary. Mind you, not always in his company. His fingers left traces in whatever pies were offered to him. Whether it involved bloody business in the streets or warm bodies, crooked under his arms.It wouldn’t have taken much to convince Gil to linger a little longer. Just a little longer. Did he love Charon? Did he love any of them? He did not know. Love was damning. Love was selfish. They could become vulnerabilities: easily exploited. No, they were transactions. Acquaintances. Allies, if anything at all. A listening ear. A shoulder. Someone to chew. It was easier to sort that way.

Gil’s ability to feel anything at all had dulled with time. He’d inflicted so much pain on himself that it became lackluster; a habit of sorts. When he wasn’t drowning in his own blood and leaving streaks through Aviary’s backrooms, he was a bottomless pit. Unfulfilled. Disastrously starved. When Charon draped his arm around his shoulders, he’d be sold on the idea of waiting til the sun rose above the buildings. Even if it meant seeking out his rats at a later time. Even if it meant missing the man he wanted to gut. “Mmhm?” a simple inquiry accompanied with a raised eyebrow. An invitation for action. Charon responded in kind. Leaning down as he was, he grated his teeth together and glanced over his shoulder, towards the doorway. He could almost imagine Huli staring a hole at the stairs, wondering why her prized stallion wasn’t entertaining other guests. The Tribesman was in high demand, garnering his own collection of followers; persistent patrons who called after him by name. He did not mind, especially as he was the only one of them to taste what Charon had to offer.

A laugh bubbled from his lips as Gil pulled back slightly to look at Charon’s face. Visions be damned, he was good talker. “I’m always in grave danger,” as soon as he got the words out, he had the Tribesman in his lap. Slippery as an eel. Quick as a foxhound. Had he the man on his side in a fight… he’d do better on the streets. Perhaps, come off them with less wounds. He tilted his head to the side and scoffed, “Lucky me, I’ve no house to doom.” It was the truth. Hardly any family to speak of. Where they were was anyone’s guess. Somewhere in the Hills, probably. Looking down at the damned in Korrigan. Laughing at their foolishness, and their weakness. They would never bend their knees. Better to die on a blade, like as not. A grin tugged at his lips as he leaned back against the sheets, “Fine then. You win.” Charon smiled, pleased with his victory.

It was only when sunlight peeked through the windows that Gil extracted himself from Charon’s arms and dressed himself fully. The Tribesman rested on his side, watching him through sleepy eyes. Charon always seemed disappointed when daylight came, but that was of no consequence to Gil. He could spare no more time, though it was likely that he’d skulk back through Huli’s doors soon enough. He always did. He snapped his buckle shut and adjusted his scabbards in the doorway. Goodbye’s never suited him. He’d always been the first to wake and leave; a phantom drifting through a bird’s nest. He rapped his knuckles on the door frame, signalling his retreat.

The jingling of coins attended his footfalls as he disappeared down the steps.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Xerxes Gaspari

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Korrigan Docks

A boy no more than twelve years of age stared grimly at the man before him, his blade pointing straight at the man while he kept a small dagger raised defensively in his left hand's grasp. The man himself held his own blade in a seemingly lazy manner, his left arm placed behind his back. His face sported a playful grin.

"You're not even trying," he complained in his native language. The man laughed.

"Then you should have no trouble defeating me, Maximin."

Despite himself, Maximin smiled. Xerxes did not dare call him by his titles. Not when they could be so easily overheard. But it was still nice to hear him call him by his full first name. He used to hate it, preferring to be called "Max" in private, but after everything that had happened, hearing it from his bodyguard was reassuring, like he was reminding him that no matter how much time passed and how far from home they were, he was still himself and Jerum could not take it from him.

With a cry, the young prince struck at Xerxes with his blade, the latter easily sidestepping it. The man could not help but laugh, which caused Maximin to redouble his efforts, striking with a flurry of quick blows. Xerxes parried them with the grace only natural talent or experience could lend him, neither of which he lacked.

"Good, good. Always take control of the battle. Never let your enemy dictate the terms of the engagement. Even when you are on the defensive," Xerxes said, stepping beside an empty crate and sending it forward with a quick kick. Max staggered and Xerxes struck with the flat of his blade in a sudden storm of aggression. Max could only retreat as he raised his weapons in his defense, but with a kick from his teacher, Max fell backwards onto the ground.

"You failed to recover your stance. Your weapons mean nothing if you are unable to use them properly," Xerxes noted. Still, he could not help but smile. Max had shown improvement since last they had sparred. A twenty minute spar was better than a fifteen minute one given that Xerxes did not change the effort or skill he put in his performance.

"I know... You just caught me off guard." the child sighed.

"That happens to the best of us. With practice, you learn to sidestep my efforts to catch you off your guard or, failing that, recover quick enough to regain your stance. Do not fear. You will learn," he assured him. Then, switching back to the tongue of this land, he continued.

"Come. We head to the Aviary. I would speak to the Madame there. Gil too. And if I know that man, he'd be there as well."

As they walked, Xerxes scanned their surroundings thoughtfully. He never ceased watching their surroundings, even during their spar. He was reasonably sure this area of the docks was deserted at this time of night and, in anycase, he was certain his standing with Annabeth was such that none of her people would target them. Still, there was no harm in being vigilant.

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Character Portrait: Xerxes Gaspari Character Portrait: Sevatar Ibram

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[Sevatar Ibram] - [#DC143C] - [Song]
He sat on the quayside staring out to sea. It had been a rather long night, perhaps longer than usual. Perhaps not. The night was still in its element even though a faint tinge was showing in the distance; heralding that dawn would be upon them in the coming hours. Still the moon hung high above, reflected in the waters as the ships jostled against their moorings. No doubt the pirate would be aboard several, if the lights glittering aboard many were any indication. Mostly they kept to their own harbours within the city, rarely seeking to dock where they were not welcome but this had more to do with having to pay for the privilege of doing so than for any actual boundaries. He’d worked hard to gain a foothold here, old rights from his family had held out here when all else had failed and he took pride in them. He’d started anew here and built upon this foundation, even if his holdings here were now little more than a hobby.

His little collection had expanded leaving the docks mostly untouched as his gladiators trained and fought for blood as and when he wished while those who vanished in his name were devoured by the cities slaughter-pens. Yes, the docks were much more peaceful for him when he wasn’t at home in the forge, but even so the feel of warm blood was cathartic especially if the sack of meat had angered him. He had slaked his desires already tonight, and knew there would be others in the coming days since none were immune from influence of the kings so allies were few and traitors many.

It was funny really; they fought and bickered like siblings even if the faces changed the roles rarely did. They were each trying to stake a claim to a promising city while the lord ate her fill off their efforts but they were richly rewarded so they each fell in line. As bitter as he often got when the wine flowed, the blood clotted and the mind whispered to him; he knew he’d be ill advised to rock the boat. She was a crafty one for all her other faults and despite himself he still respected her. Perhaps that was his daughters doing since it such wasn’t his wife’s since she made it perfectly clear in varying degrees the depths of hatred between them.

As he took a mouthful from a wineskin his reverie was broken by the sound of voices which caused him to take note of what he could only assume to be recent additions to the city; refugees most likely especially given their rather dishevelled appearance though their clothing seemed rather rich for such vagabonds. It wasn’t just that which caught his attention however, their look was clearly that of a man… no a boy and his bodyguard. The swordsman could be nothing else going from his stance and glances around the half deserted streets as the night folk made their way on their errands. He’d heard whispers of a pair earlier that night, and given their current route they would perhaps be true since the Aviary lay in the streets beyond.
As the pair drew nearer to where he sat in the doorway of the run down tavern he couldn’t help but chuckle and call towards them, more fuelled by his dour mood as much as by the wine.

“If you’re seeking the Madame beware. She eats young pups like that one, all their fancies and baubles too.”

While an off handed comment it did cause a slight stiffening of the air as many of the nightfolk withdrew a little and the patrons of the tavern became increasingly interested in their drinks; ignoring the world around them. As much as the kings were talked about in hushed tones many were keen to avoid them at all costs yet alone speak of them loudly.

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Character Portrait: Xerxes Gaspari Character Portrait: Sevatar Ibram

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At the words directed in their direction, Xerxes' body stiffened, his hand surreptitiously reaching for his Blade's Bane as he took a step before his "squire". Xerxes' gaze fell upon the man and his surroundings. The men in the tavern were keeping their distance. Xerxes could practically smell the fear in the air.

"I can defend myself! She doesn't scare me!" Max shouted, eliciting a few laughs in the background at his clear misunderstanding the danger she posed. Quickly, Xerxes slapped the back of the boy's head out of reflex as much as frustration.

"And yet, you still need me to box you behind the ears. Quiet, the adults are talking," he stated with an easy smile. Max looked ashamed, but otherwise, he did not open his mouth. A perceptive observer might notice that the boy was not quite used to taking orders from the knight, though he was clearly at ease with him.

"My apologies for my squire's outburst. You know how they are at that age," he stated smoothly. Surreptitiously, he surveyed their background, masking that action with a step taken in the stranger's direction.

"And yet, Madame Huli Jing may be the only one with the answers I seek in this city. Trust me, I have searched elsewhere."

There was not one worldly mage within this city with a mastery over water except for her. None he could find anyway. It was a predicament that would only grow as time went on. Prince Maximin was bonded with the element of water. It was not something he could change or suppress and there was only so much he could teach the boy. He needed a master. One that would not see his gift spiral out of his control. Only Huli Jing might know of a master for the boy if the rumors of her own mastery over water were true.

"It is this or I find a source of gold where I might purchase what I need. And for that, I would need to be less discerning with who I lend my blade to or take my chances with the Arena. I am new to this land, but I know the rich would have their favorites whom they would rig in their favor if only to ensure their bets are won. Or the Darini could be more honorable than most men. The Madame, at least to my knowledge, will not demand that I harm the innocent. As for if she would have designs for the boy..."

A subtle warning entered his gaze.

"I will not let her harm him."

As quickly as it faded, his easy-going manner returned. He bowed with a flourish.

"I am called Xerxes, the Dancing the Flame."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Xerxes Gaspari Character Portrait: Sevatar Ibram

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[Sevatar Ibram] - [#DC143C] - [Song]
He lent back in the chair and laughed heartedly as the boy all but charged towards him, waving his sword wildly in his direction.

“Spoiling for a fight, this ‘squire’ of yours.” he commented with a nod of his head, his lips twisting into more of a smirk than a smile in answer to the chastised scowl that the child was now sporting. The gesture was made someone gruesome as the flickering torchlight of the tavern illuminated his scars.

“She’s good for answers. Doesn’t like competition in that department, she don’t. But I don’t doubt you’ll be true to your word should she try to gobble him up.”

He slowly pulled himself up to a mostly standing position where he swayed slightly as he lifted the wineskin high above his head to allow for the last few drops to land on his outstretched tongue. Lowering the skin he tucked it onto his belt and stared between the two foreigners.

“You can call me Torian, and I may not be a dancing flame but I can make it follow my tune given a little patience, and the precise angle from which to strike.”

Turning from them he dropped a few coins onto the table with a soft thunk accompanied by the light splash as they hit a puddle of ale on the wood. He reached down and lifted a thick handled hammer which he used more as a walking stick as he slowly walked towards the pair with every intention of keeping pace with them while gesturing in the direction of the Aviary, even though it still lay several streets away.

“But if it’s coin you’re after then the arena would certainly welcome some new blood, can’t say where you’d best ply yourself as a sellsword. The kings or one of their lackeys would best help you. But if your blades in need of a sharpen or you grow weary of it then you’d best seek me at my forge further inland and I’ll see what we can do. Might make a fighter of your little firecracker while we’re at it.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sanura Minkah Character Portrait: Aldus Sigrim

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Father Aldus Sigrim



The door opened to a small Korrigan home, almost reminiscent of the dwellings in Jerum, but all cramped and pushed together for maximum space an efficiency. The home smelled of travel, though the woman who greeted him at the door was impeccably clean. It was a true boarding home, safe for many fleeing refugees. As good a place as any to begin the hunt.

"Good evening miss." Sigrim bowed his head slightly. "I hate to bother, but the trip to Korrigan takes it’s toll. I'll need some sanctuary as I sleep of the weariness and find my own stable footing. Word around the docks is that you're no stranger to the plight of the sick, hungry, and homeless."

Letting his sentence hang in the air, The Old Father waited kindly for a response. It was true he needed a home, but he needn't to apply any more force to the situation than necessary. An open door was an easier path than a locked fortress. His blood was still calm, and if he hoped to survive this attritious game of the hunt, he'd need to keep it from boiling for as long as possible.

Still at the door, Sigrim took the moment to survey the woman who greeted him. She herself, was a refugee, or perhaps former refugee, as she now sat in a rather solid home. Certainly the dust and grunge wasn't common among the finest of establishments, but the home was still well enough to accommodate a decently sized family. The woman looked ordinary enough, at least, by the standards of Serket women. She wouldn't have been able to hold a candle to the fair beauty of Sigrim's own wife, but he finally decided that, as refugees go, she was more attractive than the common rabble. But she was still likely a conduit of many old ancient and forbidden magics. It was a simple fact. Most refugees at least dabbled in the weakest of spellcraft, unknowing the danger that they carelessly danced with.

Finally, Father Sigrim settled his stance. This woman, should she accept him inside, was not a worthy target. As many old Jerumian hunters said, "One goes not for the frailest deer, but for the sturdiest of bears. That is always the finest test of the Iron's mettle. . ."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makava

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Early Morning


The smell of blood and sweat filled the air as cheers erupted and filled the senses with excruciating volume and excitement. Pleas for more as life’s liquid flowed into sand, a man’s eyes slowly fading into nothingness as his soul left his body. No one cared about this individual save for one person, and ultimately the slave’s worth came down to a few gold pieces, an acceptable loss. This was the state of affairs at the Crunch Bowl, a smaller gladiator fighting ring for the slums and lower middle class establishment.

Large enough to house over a hundred people, the lines of bleachers all circled back on each other to create an oppressive viewing experience on the fighters below, some of whom were destined to die. Sand mixed with blood, sweat, tears and fecal matter littered the ground as the odd body part could be found deeper in the ground. At the head of the arena, a spot built into an optimal viewing space to create an unofficial ‘head’ of the smaller stadium sat a few people as slaves wearing nothing more than loincloths and several deadly weapons went at each other with all the fury and spite of a God of War.

A rather dapper looking man sat in one of the chairs, his clothes somewhat dirty but of decent value. A long and elegant pipe was held in his hand, puffing out smoke as he chewed on the tip. His beard was cut in such a way as to make his face appear sharp, even as his eyes seemed uninterested in what he was viewing today. Not a single scratch could be seen upon his face or any other visible skin beneath his robes as a couple of earrings marked the only wounds he had ever received in life. Behind him stood a couple of women, barely clothed but clean and rather attractive. Collars around their necks with chains leading to the man’s arm were the only indicators that one needed to know exactly what these women were. Assigned to satisfy his every whim, they stood there with lifeless animation, resigned to their fate like cattle for the slaughter. Beside them stood a couple of stronger looking men, muscle in bulk and intimidating to most who saw them. They too wore collars indicating their status, but lacked the chains of the women. In all, the slave merchant seemed composed and rigid, bored out of his skull but retaining an air of dignity about him.

His sitting companion could not say the same.

The woman beside him, garbed in what could only be classified as barbaric traditional furs slammed a mug of ale on the table in front of her, narrowly avoiding to splash the merchant. She screamed and shouted with each swing of the gladiators, sometimes standing up and cheering with the rest of the crowd as the fight continued. Her long dirty blonde hair swayed with each fist pump, and her bare belly swelled with pride every time one of her gladiators got in a decent blow. Unlike the man, her body was an amalgamation of scar tissue, both old and new that presented a clear picture as to the events the woman had survived through. Her blue eyes surveyed the scene before her, joy and ecstasy at the blood being spilled so clearly evident on her features that they may as well have been painted on.

Below her were four gladiators, all bulky men in their own right and each armed with a weapon of their choice. It was a simple 2 v 2, her gladiators vs the other merchant’s. There was a rather large bet going on as to whose were the best, and she was confident in her decision. After seeing her gladiators nearly pummel one of the opposing slaves to death before his friend pulled him out, it was hard to argue with her. The slave merchant glared at her, giving a sigh before rubbing his goatee. “Ms. Makava, could you please have a seat, you’re blocking my view of your inevitable defeat.”

Makava looked back, confused before spitting on the floor and giving a hearty laugh. She chugged back a good portion of her ale before sitting back down in a very unceremonious fashion. “You dumb? Me win!” She stated, her voice thick with the accent of the free folk as her words came out as blunt as her personality was displayed. She thrust her ale forward, pointing towards the ongoing battle. “You slaves weak as babies. Me teach strength!” The Merchant simply sighed, taking another puff on his pipe.

“Your etiquette leaves much to be desired Ms. Makava, could you please refrain from expressing your desire to win at the top of your lungs? My thanks.” The Merchant’s disdain for the woman was clear, but Makava simply stared at him for a moment before motioning for someone to come out of the shadows of the booth. A man by the name of Brock, tall and slender was dressed in decent peasant gear. He bore the sigil of Makava’s slaves, but lacked any kind of controlling mechanism such as a collar or leash. Brock approached, his short black hair sucking in any light that happened to dawn on him while an empty eye socket caught the gaze of the two female slaves beside him, along with the guards. A large scar slicing across the former eye showcased how it happened, but it didn’t seem to bother him as Makava simply pointed to the merchant.

“Krah?*” Brock gave a cough before talking with emphasis and enunciation, slowly shortening what the merchant had said into a shorter Darini sentence.

“Stop acting stupid.” Brock stated, his voice soft yet easily heard. Makava huffed, red showing up on her face before she sat back down, muttering some other words in free speak before shoving her face back into her mug. Brock took a couple steps backwards, his hands cupped in front of him as he watched the games.

The fight continued for several minutes longer, but it was well known by the halfway mark that Makava’s gladiators were of a stronger breed. This was proven when, together, the gladiators decapitated the other merchant’s slaves and held their heads high for people to see. Makava jumped up and threw her mug into the arena. “Defeat?!” She exclaimed, pointing back at the merchant, slamming her hands on the small table between them. “Vactor!” Brock gave a cough, drawing her attention.

“Victor.” He stated, holding his hand up and enunciating each syllable.

“Vactor.” Makava stated again, her brows furrowed as she looked at him. Brock tapped his chest.

“Vic.”
“Vic.”

“Tor.”
“Tor.”

“Victor.”
“Victor!” Makava finally yelled having figured out the enunciation of the word properly. Chances are she would mispronounce it yet again, as it was a habit with her to mix up her words with her native language when she was excited. The merchant, however, didn’t seem to particularly angry about the dealing.

“You may have won the battle, my dear Makava, but you haven’t won the war. Those were far from my best gladiators, but you mistakenly put yours in. Now, I show you how we do battle here.” Brock’s one eye got wide as he opted to translate directly into Free Speech to get the message across faster. The merchant clapped his hands, and while the gladiators were celebrating down in the pits, several gates opened up and half a dozen hungry lions wandered in. The gladiators stopped screaming in cheer and huddled up together, staring into the booth wondering what was going on. “It seems you’ve been outplayed this time Makava.” The man stated, a smug smile on his face as he took another puff. Makava stared into the pit, her body rigid as Brock backed away. “Maybe you’ll learn from this the next ti-”

Before he could finish his words, Makava had phased past him in a blur, drawing a dagger from her boot and slashing one of the slave guard’s necks before reversing the blade and burying it in the other’s eye. Releasing the blade and allowing the two bodies to hit the floor, Makava spun back around and gripped the merchant by the hair, using her free hand to punch him in the face repeatedly as all he could do was cry out in surprise and pain. Blood poured from his nose and mouth as she continued, dragging him over to the edge of the booth and repeatedly crushing his head into the concrete foundation until he stopped squirming, bones broken and eyes already swollen shut. Her chest heaved with anger more than exhaustion as she turned to Brock, her eyes wide with rage and bloodlust. “Gan’nas!*”

Brock heaved two axes from his belt and tossed them softly to Makava, who gripped them in each hand. She gave them a quick twirl, stepping over the bleeding and most likely unconscious form of the merchant as she jumped over the booths to the pits below. Several people cried in surprise as she bolted past them, finally getting into the edge as the lions started making their moves on her gladiators and jumped from the edge of the pit directly into the hellscape that was about to unfold.

With a cry akin to that of a dragon, she raised her axes high and landed with all her force onto one of the lions, her axes biting deep as she rolled with the landing, her weapons sharpened to such a degree as to allow a nearly effortless gouge in the beast. Blood sprayed from the wounds, bones and organs visible from the opening as the lion cried out softly before collapsing to the ground. Makava, now covered in the spray of lion’s blood raised her arms and yelled with all the force of a hurricane.

“KUSKA NAY MANNA!*” She screamed as she charged one of the lions on her own, all rational thought having left her at this point as her gladiators took their cue and followed her lead. Cheers erupted from the crowd as Makava dove and slid towards the first lion, using her feet to propel her body upwards when it was time and slashing with the speed of a whirlwind as the lion tried to move away without any results. Blood flew through the air, covering the berserk woman in its glistening glory as the other two Gladiators worked together, back to back to avoid being surrounded.

After a few slashes, the lion was resigned to defeat as it slumped, barely moving before Makava moved in and implanted one of her axes in its skull. She removed it with a hearty laugh, hearing the roar of the next lion before she could see it and diving over the body of the now dead lion to avoid the next one. The lion leaped over both of them, skidding to a halt as it turned to face her. Before it could fully position itself, an axe came flying out of the air, implanting itself in the lion’s eye. With a roar of pain it reared back before the other axe being wielded by Makava was planted in its neck. With axes in both hands, Makava slammed the weapons into the beast's neck time and time again until it stopped moving, her arms covered in gore as she peered back at the gladiator duo to see that they had dealt with the other lions.

She was still ready for a fight naturally, but managed to calm herself long enough to look up and see Brock holding the broken form of the merchant who had tried to screw her out of her slaves. He was holding the barely conscious form of the man at the edge of the pit, displaying a strength that his frame often hid from everyone, Makava included. She made a motion to throw him in, and Brock did so without hesitation. The man landed with a thump and a groan. Makava strode forward, her axes held at her sides as blood dripped freely from the steel tips. A savage smile. She threw her axes into the ground as she approached, imbedding them into the sand as she gripped the man by the collar and threw him against the wall of the pit. She knelt down, slapping his injury riddled face a couple of times to get his attention.

“You fuck up.” She stated, her voice low and filled with menace. “Now you know...No fuck with Makava!” She stood up, raising her hands in the air to the cheers of the crowd as they were absolutely ecstatic with the display. The merchant coughed and attempted to stand before Makava turned around again, running forward and planting her knee into the man’s face and slamming it into the wall behind him. He quickly slumped forward and didn’t move after that. Makava screamed with fury and rage, uncontained at what had transpired before turning back towards the crowd.

“KUSKA NAY MANNA!”

The crowd chanted with her as the two gladiators stared at her, wounds still evident and obvious signs of fatigue displayed by their breathing. Makava waved her arms towards the gates. “Pens. Healer, go.” Makava instructed, looking back up at Brock who gave a knowing nod and made his way back to the slave pens.

No one fucked with Makava.

*Krah? = What?
*Gan’nas = Axes
*Kuska Nay Manna = Blood For Money

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Doran Character Portrait: Lady Lola Marinne

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Lady Marinne & Doran

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Lady Marinne stood still as a couple of personal assistants helped her into a streamlined dress. She was aiming to impress, but she didn’t want to appear gaudy for the sake of her own vanity. It was a simple black thing that glittered slightly, hugging her curves in all the right places but not being outright ‘suggestive’. It sloped around her shoulders and came halfway down her biceps while the length of the dressed stayed just an inch above the floor and covered her legs entirely. Her arms were adorned with her black lace gloves that reached nearly to her elbows. Her face had already had makeup applied, a bit of a rush job considering the circumstances but she was presentable. One of the attendants handed her a couple of small golden earrings with a bit of length, allowing them to sway with her head turns and also going along with her Lady of the Tower set, jewels that allowed her to hide her magical powers from others who might be able to sense them. She took the earrings and inserted them into her lobes, finishing the entire display as she judged herself in the mirror. “Is it to the Lady’s liking?” One of her attendant’s asked, head slightly bowed.

“I picked it out, so it should be.” Her voice was dismissive, because at this point whether she liked it or not was irrelevant. She wouldn’t have time to change again as a knock on the door confirmed her timing.

“M’lady.” Steward Kallin stated as he opened the door to reveal his form. “High Inquisitor Doran has arrived, he is currently waiting in the courtroom.” Lady Marinne nodded, shooing her attendants out of the room as she fiddled with one of her earrings.

“Has the kitchen prepared the food yet?” She asked as she pushed past him into the hallway, her heels clicking on the cobblestone floors.

“They will need a few minutes, many of them were woken from a dead sleep.” Micheal stated, to which Marinne scoffed.

“As is the norm of the common, to assign blame when all I care about are the end results. Has a guest room been made up?” Lady Marinne hadn’t specifically ordered Micheal to have a room done for the High Inquisitor, but she had assumed he would be smart enough to understand the unspoken command. She was correct.

“A room in the second tower is being prepped as we speak. There is the slight stipulation of the bandits he seems to have dragged into town behind him. What should we do with them?”

“Sling them up, chop them up for pig fodder, put a collar on them and sell them to slavers, I don’t care. Figure out a solution worthy of their crime and have it done, but don’t bother me with the details of such petty men.” Lady Marinne stated as she started to approach the courtroom.

“Of course M’Lady, I shall see to the arrangements immediately.” Steward Kallin then broke pace with the Lady and turned on his heel, heading back into the castle to deal with the logistical aspect of criminal capture. Lady Marinne entered the courtroom, a rather massive area complete with pillars adorned with the flag of the Marinne family and Korrigan alike. A throne sat near one end, several stairs leading up to the spot, positioned to allow the Lord or Lady to ‘oversee’ the proceedings. Guards in immaculate steel armour, fashioned and customized to represent the Marinne family stood at rigid attention between each of the pillars. Pews akin to a church were also positioned in the open area to allow people to sit during the Lord or Lady’s proclamation, and a single black carpet starting from the main entrance to the courtroom right up to the throne decorated the floor. Multiple sconces provided illumination, and allowed the stone banisters from the room’s second floor to be partially visible, looking akin to hallways that lead further into the castle.

In the middle of all this, closer to the throne stood the High Inquisitor Doran, the Royal Bastard as some had come to call him. He wasn’t an impressive sight to behold, looking more like someone the guards had just dragged in rather than an important man with a station that reported directly to the King. While she had never had any direct dealings with Doran, nor any member of the Inquisition, she knew she had to tread lightly here and figure out as much as she could before she started making power moves.

“High Inquisitor Doran.” Lady Marinne started, walking right up to the man and standing a few feet away from him. She gave a small curtsy, a slightly upturned smile on her face as she stared in his eyes trying to gauge the man before he even spoke. “I would say this visit is a surprise, but considering it’s the middle of the night and you bring two bandits to my door, I think ‘shock’ is a better term to use.”




Doran had spent his waiting period within the courtroom sizing up the room and frankly found the arrangement nostalgic. From his point of view it was more practical than the courtroom of his father but more lively than what the equivalent meeting room of Inquisitional bases. In particular, he found himself staring at the guards due to envies of budgets- the Inquisitions was remarkably small if one considered its size. A clicking of heels stirred him from his trance as he turned towards the source- Lady Marinne herself and Doran found himself internally dreading the conversation to come as she offered a curtsy. Since he officially couldn't bow in response to her curtsy given his religious position forbidding a bow even to his own father. Doran offered a salute with an internal grimace over the formality which more than a few nobles in the capitol took regular offense.

"Just Doran please, officially I'm a humble servant of the gods - not some authority over the earth." Given his current appearance due to his condition, Doran took the pains of keeping his tone gentle and words calm. After all, he'd already lost the war of appearance - it'd be inexcusable to lose the inevitable war of words.He found himself regretting his choice to turn in the bandits instead of using their lives to treat the wasting induced upon his body from the magics of his condition. "In that regard I believe we can aptly say that rather than 'shocking' my arrival would more aptly be named 'rude' due to the hour. As for the bandits, I didn't wish to sully our potential relations over something like denying your rule of law on the matter." With a gesture to around the room Doran continued, "Given the welcome, it would appear my efforts are inadequate in comparison to the hospitality. The Queen herself would be envious of such a well ordered display." He felt that at the moment, he'd done enough in the mutual exchange of pleasantries and switched to his usual serious expression.

"Instead of just verbally groping each other in noble fashion. I'd appreciate it if the Lady allows the more vulgar style of candor... the Inquisition has robbed me of a more refined tongue." Doran clipped his voice like that of a soldier giving a report in contrast to the still less-than-blunt form of speaking.




To her credit, Lady Marinne didn’t even flinch as the last statement was uttered. She simply looked him in the eye with a sly smile on her face, as if she knew this very situation was going to happen or she simply didn’t care that it did. Her posture was still nearly perfect and she didn’t relax that in the slightest, but she gave a nod. “Then let us speak akin to the underprivileged.” Lady Marinne motioned back towards the way she came from, a hallway that would eventually lead to the dining area.

“So long as you’re desiring candor, do forgive mine. I would like to know as to why the Inquisition is coming to Korrigan.” Lady Marinne wasn’t going to dodge the issue if Doran didn’t want that, so it was better to get to the heart of matters and figure out where to go from there. They both stepped into the hallway and started heading down the length of it.




"Because we've a contract with the Crown, and I quote 'combat individuals and organizations that endanger the Crown, Country and Citizens; and to protect the Peace and Justice of Order from dangerous uncontrollable elements' a mere extension of the words used in the original contract to hunt witches really. The short version is Korrigan is part of Darin and the Inquisition is tasked to ensure Order within the Kingdom. The fact we've only just arrived is due to practical restraints like budget and manpower. To be brutally political, I'm here to crush anything from a barbarian assault, criminals you may somehow not have the means or desire to crack down that endanger the people, the people if they threaten you and by extension the Crown, dangerous witches, and if necessary you." Doran's explanation was interrupted by a brief surge of magic crackling through his chest and a subsequent bout of coughing. He held up his right hand to indicate he was fine and still intended to speak while covering his mouth with the left hand. When it ended he quickly resumed as if nothing occurred.

"Side effects of being the subject of a Witch experiment; less politically, short of a few explicit examples the Inquisition is to use its judgement to bring Order to Korrigan...and if rumor is true - you've long noticed Order and judgement are suspiciously undefined. Which brings us to why I am here instead of a mere appointed Paladin or Archon...they don't see the big picture so clearly and any assessment they make I have to approve anyways. That and history has more than one over zealous appointment attack allies of the Inquisition of which they were unaware...it seemed prudent to avoid such simple mishaps in a historic locale such as Korrigan.But authentication of such old arrangements of such family relics are best done wherever they're stored to avoid damage." Doran ultimately defied his own request to avoid double speak, after all his words were in fact historically true and even easily verifiable. But anyone with any level experience with backroom dealings would find such a veil very thin.




Lady Marinne looked over at Doran as he talked, her eyes masking any emotion or tinges of curiosity that she herself might hold. His coughing did distract her for a moment, and his mention of a witch experiment did have her mentally double checking her words herself, her hands clasped in front of her as they walked. She listened as the man continued on, dressing up his reason for the Inquisition presence coming to her city by stating regulations and laws to her, pieces of legislature that Marinne had long ago memorized. She gave a sigh, bowing her head slightly as their pace took them into another hallway.

“You spout the equivalent of political literature at me Doran.” Lady Marinne stated, her voice lowered and the undertone of power reverberating through her tone. “By your own statement, let’s drop the pretense. Answer plainly, because opposition to the Inquisition can come in many different forms and I would prefer to not get a headache trying to remember every single piece of written law when it comes to the Inquisition’s mandate.”




Lady Marinne's all-to-justified hint of irritation prompted Doran to give a proper answer. "Then I'll cut to the heart: we of the Inquisition want you to join our cause, even if it's just in name as an unofficial auxiliary. We also seek to destroy that which corrupts and burdens society unnecessarily. May Themos strike me if I speak false."He was aware that skipping all the context wasn't healthy either, but since the other party didn't seem eager to balance the various aspects and nuances within what Inquisition viewed as divine mandate...they could wait for the time being.




Lady Marinne seemed to think about this for a moment, their strides leading them into a decently sized dining room. This was not the main area, as one could easily tell, but the atmosphere and smaller size allowed for easier conversation among few people. A couple of servants stood waiting with towels and rigid postures, adorned in the standard attire of a waiter with the colors switched to the Marinne family custom. The table itself was solid oak, sturdy and sizable but small enough to allow conversation without feeling like the other person was a mile away. Multiple portraits and trophies hung on the wall and everything was cleaned to a mirror shine, although that was mainly because Lady Marinne demanded it, seeing as things such as the event happening right now could happen at any time and she never wanted to be unprepared. The food was sitting on a counter off to the side, waiting to be served as sconces lit the room and Lady Marinne smiled inwardly at her success. There was the matter that she was not entirely on board with the Inquisition's...request. There was a number of things that could go wrong, chief among them her witch status being revealed. While it was no longer illegal, she would rather not deal with the stigma that would come with such a title. The Iron Witch of Korrigan? It did have a ring to it, but it implied a wrinkly old hag in battle armor running a city...not exactly something she wanted.

"Well, Doran, that is an interesting request." Lady Marinne stated, although her tone indicated quite well that she was having reservations. "While I can say that you will receive all the aid I have to offer by the King's rule and law on the matter, I hardly see why I should throw my power being the Inquisition." Lady Marinne turned towards Doran, her eyes piercing through his. "You're on a righteous quest for justice and order, which in itself isn't necessarily wrong, but such actions can easily be radicalized by the wrong people. If I were to associate with you in any way, do you realize the kind of political suicide that would bring with it? Not to mention the fact that the common folk do not look kindly upon your organization due to your...treatment of the magically inclined over the years. Yes, you have relaxed your standards, but wounds heal slowly and yours cut deep." Lady Marinne made her way to one end of the table as a servant pulled a chair out for her. She sat down, placing her hands in her lap.

"Unless you can provide to me some sort of incentive that would make the public view on my person more...amiable towards not only the noble line but the common folk as well, then I'm afraid my name can't be associated to your cause." Lady Marinne motioned towards the other end of the table, meant to signify to Doran that he should sit down and eat, but anyone with any kind of political dealing would see the double meaning for what it was. It was an invitation to barter, gamble, and maybe even manipulate.




Upon entry into the room which was prepared for dining, Doran felt his teeth clench, after all he'd lost every hand in this engagement. This meant he'd have to reveal more than he'd like...and he'd already revealed more than he'd wanted if one read between the lines close enough. Still, as his father's son and the leader of the Inquisition - playing anything less than an "equal" hand was unacceptable even for the sake of utter secrecy. So when the seat was offered, he sat down despite the negative attitude he'd developed during their walk.

"Then I'll have to rely at least on that much as we seek recruits among the healers, the poor, and refugees to meet with anticipated demands from the Crown. As for reputation, we've already begun bringing healers under our banner - for collective bargaining to ease their costs. We've also implemented measures of offering an education to all Inquisition members and their families...and while I can't grant things like citizenship I can at least cover members against the Crown in matters that affect internal affairs. But as you said, people are loathe against the justice of Themos especially with rumor of our organization being potential fodder if Darin becomes engulfed in war. From any sane standpoint, you're right in there being nothing to gain even from a secret collusion with the Inquisition. But it is my belief that we both suit a parable...the farmers and the wetlands. First farmer was deemed a fool for being unable to grow the land he tilled, when twenty tried and failed that land was deemed infertile until it was revealed that the farmers were trying to grow dry soil crops in very moist soil - in short the farmers didn't understand what they sought to plow." Doran made a point of removing his gauntlets before folding his own scarred hands in imitation of his counterpart.

"Forgive the optimistic presumption, but I believe both our reputations suffer the same fundamental mistake," with a shudder Doran pushed the dark energies that coursed through his body into his right hand. In response, the hand quickly deformed as it was corrupted and with painful cracking noises distorted and grew. Fingers became claws and flesh stretched into a sickly purplish discoloration. Despite the process sounding painful, the corrupting process fried the nerves in his hand first - Doran couldn't feel a thing through it all or even now as he clumsily flexed his fingers.

"People gazed so long at the barren truth that the full situation remained unseen. I will also have to trouble you to bring those bandits, the result of my condition reaching this state requires i feast upon a life before this devours me. Which brings me to the point: in a mere two centuries, do you think the Inquisition trampled witches so successfully without learning a thing or two?" Doran unhappily changed the nature of the discussion to suit the Inquisitions trump card - preferably without having to actually reveal the whole truth. But at this point, he'd readily admit that he'd lost.

"For example: while rare, some witches appear barren. However the simple reason is the seed used wasn't quite suited for soil plowed - in short the male wasn't possessed of enough magic for his seed to survive such a saturated environment. Of course there's curses that emulate such an appearance too, after all witches aren't stupid - they're human. To speak as a man, Lady Marinne, were I not a man of the cloth - if I had a friend with such a wife I'd suspect him on his husbandly duties. In the capitol where affairs are expected, I'd suspect her tastes...but given reputation is involved, you can see why as a man of the cloth I question if like myself people aren't getting a proper sight of your condition before passing judgement. After all, such a curse is well within the capabilities of the Inquisition to cure unlike mine own and at the very least we could then attest to any slanderous individuals that you are no witch."




As the two of them sat, food was brought out to them promptly on literal silver platters, the lids being lifted up to reveal steam still coming from the heated carcass of a chicken, with some vegetables mixed on the side. Naturally all the cutlery was already in the spots necessary for the two of them to immediately dig in, which Lady Marinne did with a refined grace as she delicately sliced her chicken breast and took a bite out of it. To be honest, she wasn't necessarily hungry but she felt it would be rude to offer him a meal and not eat with him. Instead, her eyes flitted towards the man as he spouted off more of what could only be called Inquisition doctrine. She didn't care to hear about the recruitment methodologies of his order, nor how they could protect their own members. It was possible that he misconstrued her statement as a portion of empathy for the downtrodden, which would be false. She cared about those under her so much as they could elevate her. After he brought up the small story about the farmers, Lady Marinne's eyes narrowed out of curiosity. Where was he going with this? Doran then removed his gauntlets, revealing scarred hands which were not surprising to Lady Marinne. While she herself had avoided any marring injuries, she had seen more than enough to not be cowed by such wounds.

It wasn't until the dark energies coursed through his hands, mutating them into something grotesque that Lady Marinne faltered for even a second. For but a moment, her eyes widened with surprise, but just as quickly as it happened it was gone again. Magic? From the High Inquisitor of all people? What happened to him? The King's own son. As he continued talking, it became evident that it was indeed a curse, and he revealed much more than Lady Marinne could have anticipated. In fact, she began to wonder why he was showing her any of this. Was it to shock her into submission? Maybe use it as a means of intimidation? Giving her the use of this incredibly juicy bit of information in exchange for aid? Whether he realized it or not, he had just given her a massive edge against not only himself, but the King as well. While this was an unexpected boon, she was now apprehensive about the meeting. What was the payoff going to be for him to reveal such a thing about himself. When he finally brought up the point about witches, it became evident where was going with this. She refused to let it show through her face or actions though, as she nodded and took another bite out of the chicken.

As he talked, Lady Marinne's mind was already running through the process of how to dispose of his body. While being a witch was no longer illegal, it would mar her reputation beyond repair for the rest of her life, and she would kill him before she allowed that to happen. As it worked out however, it seemed that the conversation took another turn. From his wording, it appeared that he took her as a cursed woman, not a witch who accidentally made herself infertile. This...this could be played to her advantage. She could come across as the victim in the matter, maybe even gain something out of the deal more than just name recognition. She put down her fork and cleaned her mouth with one of the napkins before placing that gingerly on the table. "I assure you Doran, I have no earthly idea what you're talking about." First step, avoid confirming any and all suspicions. "But, for the sake of argument and conversation, let's say that I was indeed cursed by a witch. Let's also say that this curse has left me unable to sire children. Add the fact that many years were spent looking for a cure. How could the Inquisition possibly fix something that is believed to be completely destroyed?" She made a snap with her fingers right after the question. "Oh and in reference to your...need. There's a dungeon beneath the castle that we use for the biggest problem cases of the city. No one will miss any of those miserable excuses for people."




"As a former member of the Order of Mystics - our experts on the topic so to speak. I can say that there's varying forms and definition of what lay people would call destruction. But if we take completely destroyed in the most literal sense, then instead of fixing a broken article you replace it. Such witches and their concoctions have been encountered before. My own captor had quite a collection of means to replace various "broken parts" during their experiments and entire tomes on the subject at their disposal...assets of the Inquisition now. Since my promotion to High Inquisitor took place before I received any chance to study such things in depth, I sadly can't say much more beyond policy. Pardon not touching the food, but today is a day of fasting for me today, as will be the day after tomorrow and so on. But as you've much to think about, I'd like to excuse myself to the dungeon and my recovery." Doran grabbed his gauntlets with his current malformed hands before rising to his feet.

"May the gods bless you with their favor."




Lady Marinne listened intently as he explained just where the power to reverse her curse came from, and while she had believed she had exhausted all approaches at least from her own power's perspective, she had to admit that she didn't know everything when it came to the magical arts. It was possible that the Inquisition had come across something that could be used to reverse her affliction. She had never thought to simply replace what didn't work before, so she had to give in to her sense of intrigue as she took another bite of the chicken. She desperately wanted access to that tome, but asking for such a thing would lead to suspicion of her character and abilities so she held her tongue. Upon hearing about the man's fasting, she immediately saw the faux pas that she had committed, but she couldn't take it back and the man had given her no indication of such an event. If she had had more time, she might have been able to read up on the teachings of his religion to accommodate, but the moment was past. She once again lowered her fork and cleaned her face. As he rose and went to excuse himself from the table, Lady Marinne stood with him, snapping her finger a couple of times. "Of course, I fully understand. I do believe we'll have more to discuss at a later time. For the moment..." Steward Kallin entered the room on cue, as if he had been waiting this entire time for her to summon him. "Kallin, please escort the High Inquisitor to the Dungeon. Once he's done there, please show him to his room."

Steward Kallin bowed, and motioned towards the exit. "My Lord." He stated, holding open the door and watchinig as Doran passed through and exited after him. Lady Marinne waited a few moments, hearing the clicking of boots grow softer as they moved farther away until they could no longer be heard. Lady Marinne turned towards the couple of staff that were still in the room, her demeanor hardening and forcing them to almost shrink in her presence. She held up a hand and an ethereal mist wisked around it and slid around the necks of the two waiters and the chef.

"You are not to speak of what transpired tonight. You know the punishment for failure to do so." The servants all nodded fervently as they felt the magical compulsion runes on their necks seep with the new orders. Any attempt to defy her orders would result in crippling pain to the point of madness. Her eyes pierced into their very souls, crushing them with her presence alone and making sure none of them would try to be heroes or rats. Once she was sure they all realized the implications of failure, she waved her hand. "Clean this up, feed the morsels to the hounds." She turned on her heel as the servants rushed to fulfill her orders, exiting the room and heading towards her own room.

This had been an informative night indeed.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xerxes Gaspari Character Portrait: Sevatar Ibram

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"Alas, the young often are... Oh my God and Goddess, that does make me feel old," Xerxes noted with a look of faint horror. He considered his next statement with a seriousness that clashed with his still playful expression. So this man was the on in charge of the fights? He had to have either the best or the worst luck in the land to run into him. He sighed softly, considering his options. He could find out where he could find a water worldly magician from the Crow and owe her something in return or he could fight in the arena and purchase the services of one once he had the gold he required, but could he trust this man to keep the fights fair? He seemed to be an honest sort....

"Do it, Ser Xerxes, it'd be amazing to be a gladiator and I might learn how to and then we can pay someone to teach me water magi-," Max said excitedly, only for Xerxes to smack the back of his head, this time with real anger behind the force of his blow. He grimaced at the boy so easily spilling their intentions.

"We don't know how many Jerum scum might be hiding in this, Max. Do you want to be hunted?"

"You don't hide your magic."

Xerxes smacked him again.

"I am not a child. You are. And a far greener child than many who live their lives in the gutter. And even if there are none, it is only a matter of time until they attack..."

He rubbed a hand on his forehead. He glanced at the man beside them. Great. This was not good.

"You see our predicament. The world is suddenly not so friendly towards magic users. Yet, the boy requires teaching and my magic is the opposite of his. So, tell me, can I purchase a magic teacher in this country? The Crow Queen seems to be the one who could connect me to one... At a price."

He was silent as they made their ways to the Aviary, Xerxes' playful expression morphed into a mournful one. He missed his country. Would it ever be free again?

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|Scalon Nixshaed |

~ Night ~


The Summerhome Inn was filled almost to the brim with people. With an eye to his purse, Scalon entered the fray. Moving gracefully amongst the flailing limbs as men told stories he made his way to the bar where he waited, pulling a silver coin from his purse and spinning it casually on the bench, knowing from long experience that a glimpse of silver would pull a barman towards you far faster than normal in a busy place such as the Summerhome. Within moments the trick had worked and the sweating barman was before him.
“Aye?” The man wiped his hands on his apron, his eyes fixed on the spinning coin.
“A jug of ale. Whatever the chef's cooking tonight – real meat please – and frequent refills.”
“Of course sir.” The barkeep looked offended at the suggestion that the Summerhome substituted rat or some other flesh for the more expensive cuts but still added an extra note to the pad he had produced to mark down the order. When a customer was paying good silver, it did not do to alienate them. “Take a seat. You'll have your meal shortly.”
“My thanks.” Scalon flipped the coin towards the barman who caught it deftly, pocketing it in a smooth motion. He turned to survey the room, searching for an empty seat. Though the room was nearly full, it did not take him long. In the shadows under the stairs lay an empty table. Perfect.

It was only a few feet from the table that Scalon's instincts prickled and he felt the lightest of touches on his covered purse. Without thought his hand flew to the spot and seized a small arm in an iron grip. The hand was long-fingered and skinny, perfect for slipping past clothing with only the lightest touch. The thief was garbed in clothing that was just rich enough to blend in at the wealthy Summerhome.
“Leave it boy. Tell your mates next one who tries it loses a hand.” Scalon squeezed the skinny wrist to ensure the threat was understood. “In fact, you tell The Spider himself.” Scalon was pretty sure he knew which of the Five Kings owned the Summerhome. He couldn't be sure, but his instincts were rarely wrong. “Don't mess with the Nightshadow.” The boy's face was tense as Scalon slowly released his grip, his hard eyes never leaving the boy's, marking the face for future reference. Then he was gone, disappearing into the crowd with the natural ease of an urchin. Scalon pulled out a chair and sat at the small table, his back to the wall. From this position he could watch the room, his face hidden by the shadow cast by the stairs. It is amazing what one can learn in a tavern. Even one as prosperous as this. Especially one as prosperous as this. The poor often have dark secrets, but it is the rich and ambitious who have the secrets worth hearing. The secrets that can be sold on or used to ones own advantage. A dark corner, a large jug, a slumped posture and you will fade into the background and the conversation will flow over you, washing you in the secrets of drunken men as their tongues are loosened by the drink. Lord so-and-so has a mistress. That can be sold. The one-eyed man drinking with an associate three tables over murdered a man for three coins. Interesting if you enjoy a gruesome story but unimportant in the overall picture. Such violence happens everyday in the slums of every city on every continent – even the purged land of Jerum. A certain wealthy merchant enjoys the pleasure offered in one of Northeld's more dangerous districts. That can be used. A bodyguard is always desired by such men. Scalon's gaze focused as a barmaid wove her way towards him, a jug held in one hand and a plate piled high with food balanced precariously on the other.

“Ere ye are love. Will ye be wantin' anythin' else?” The barmaid laid the platter before him, and Scalon's mouth began watering at the sight of the roast beef, potatoes and assorted other vegetables, all covered in rich gravy. The Summerhome Inn really was one of the best in Northeld. Better even than many of the fancy restaurants that could be found in Southeld.
“Just the regular top ups thanks.” His hand waved towards the jug of ale. A man had died last night and Scalon was in the mood for a party, even if he was the only one celebrating.
“Very well. Just sing out if ye want anythin' more.”
“My thanks.” Scalon dismissed her, his eyes fixing on the meal before him.
It felt good to have money. Even if it only lasted a night. Speaking of, he would need a job within the next week. His name was known in the correct circles, but a little searching never hurt. A sigh escaped his lips. A man had died, he was wealthy for a night, but life would go on it always did. Fortune's wheel had risen him high. All he could do was hoped it lasted.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sanura Minkah Character Portrait: Aldus Sigrim

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Sanura Minkah


"It's no bother at all!" Sanura stepped aside, swinging the door open wider. Sanura regretted having not cleaned up better that day, though a long day at her shop did take it's toll. "I just finished dinner, but I would be more than happy to prepare something for you."

She let the man inside, closing and locking the door behind her. She would walk towards a door on the right of her shop area, the door swinging open to a modest, but comfortable bedroom. The dresser looked worn, but it was beautiful. The wood was a darker cherrywood, properly polished and had collected a bit of dust on it's top. There was a window, red drapes of Serket origin. Intricate patterns of gold and orange shown flowers and petals upon the maroon fabric. The bed was on a simple frame, the bedding made and properly placed. There was a small desk with a chair in the left corner of the room. A small oil lamp sat on the desk's old top.

"It is not much, but you may live here until you can get on your feet." Sanura smiled gently.

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Character Portrait: Sanura Minkah Character Portrait: Aldus Sigrim

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He thanked the woman, then entered the home. Allowing her to show him around as he listened and nodded respectfully to her words. Finally, at the end of the little tour, he retired to his room, and let his massive body rest. It was the calm before the hunt. Wherever she went, he didn’t care for the moment. All that mattered was the rest. He'd have time to remember her name in the morning.

The sweetly pungent smell of magic permeated the air. It smelled like a candy. No matter how experienced the Father was, he'd never been able to ignore that smell. He looked at the woman again. His fist clenched and he stared her down. The smell of a bloodied mage was one to rival that of many perfume shops. It was almost intoxicating. "No time for that now." he reminded himself under his breath. "We've got other matters at hand."

Snapping back into the moment, Sigrim felt the world return to his senses. Staying in this home, while a good place to ___, and perhaps an even better place to cut down the numbers a bit, may simply overpower him with just the scent alone.

The sergeant's words echoed through his head once more. "A wolf you truly are, Aldus. And like any wolf, you must bear the smell and taste of your prey. Perhaps you'll learn to enjoy it... Perhaps, you already do."

But this time, he wasn't a mere wolf. He was among the sheep, and he needed to keep his head clean. For now. The culling could come later. At the moment, he needed to be careful, and chose his friends and contacts carefully. He wasn't as smart or well-read as Viola. He'd need to calm and conquer his inner rush and recklessness to succeed here. But, the question remained, who would succumb to the tide first?

Setting

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Character Portrait: Gildan Lodes Character Portrait: Xerxes Gaspari

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Xerxes, Max and Gil
Outside the Aviary



Gildan left the Aviary with a lighter pouch—perhaps, with lighter shoulders as well. Just for a time. It was enough. For now. He’d traded quips with the Mistress of the House, who’s shrewd eyes seemed to pierce straight through him. She had the uncomfortable habit of picking apart his intentions, and while she’d never outright forbade him from seeing Charon… there was it was, an unspoken warning that they had better things to do than serve a man who scrounged blood from his fingernails. A business woman through and through. He found that he still liked her. Out of anyone who sat on that accursed council, surrounded by vultures, it was only she and Makava that he didn’t mind.

He had no wishes to see their heads on pikes. The others, however, he had no love for.

As soon as fresh air hit his face, and he heard the door slam shut behind him, Gildan set out towards the backstreets. Cutting through them as easily as any street-urchin would. He was one, after all. Once upon a time when he had no title to his name. When he’d be little more than a nobody scraping up scraps, licking at the bottom of whatever barrel he could find. How far he’d come after all these years. It was a testament to his goals, his ambitions. He hummed low in his throat and elbowed his way into the marketplace; the mouth leading to the Aviary and all of the seedier parts of the city.

It took him a moment to realize who he’d walked beside. He turned on his heels, a grin already widening across his scruffy features. “Xerxes! Fancy seeing you around these parts,” his gaze flicked towards the alleyway for a moment before raking back towards the swordsman. He arched an eyebrow and made a face—as if the man were simply traipsing his way towards the Aviary for a good time. He wasn’t sure if that was the case, but he still enjoyed teasing him. “And the little sparrow,” he greeted Max and inclined his head to the side, inquisitive to fault, “Are you finally bringing the boy to paradise? There were some… ravishing creature’s there today.”

He snorted.

Xerxes laughed merrily both at Gil's words and Max's reaction to the words. The boy's stance screamed excitement, but he was trying to effect a look of disinterest as if the female sex hadn't suddenly become a source of fascination for him. He resisted the urge to ruffle the boy's head while he remembered what the occasion would have been like back in Anulandean. Their people were far from conservative and when he was in his mid teens, accompanied quite a lot of young squires and nobles on a trip to one of the fancier brothels in the capital just so one of them could lose their virginity. The rules for princes were most likely different he noted and in any case, Max was still too young.

"Perhaps in a few years, my friend. I fear he would not possess the necessary stamina for a memorable time."

"I do to!"

"Relax lad. I didn't partake in the glories of the flesh until I was a little older," he told the young prince with a laugh. He shook his head, "No, Gil, my friend, we are off to see the madame on business."

"And no pleasure at all?" Maximim snarked. Xerxes grinned.

"Well, I might trust you to mill around with Gil for a bit while I had my wounds kissed and more..." He stated, looking like he was really thinking of it, "But we must both speak to the madame and I fear she will not have Gil loiter in front of her business waiting for her."

He eyed his friend curiously.

"Are you retiring for the night or is there some trouble still to be had tonight?"

A laugh left Gildan’s lips as he watched the two—honestly, he’d never met a stranger pair. He liked them though. When Xerxes hadn’t ruffled Maximim’s hair, he’d stepped up and settled a hand across the crown of his head. He gave him a gentle ruffle and arched his eyebrows, “You’re a man grown already. Besides, even if Xerxes had that sort’ve business, I’m sure the girls would love to entertain you.”

This was true. Young boys and girls were unusual fancies at the Aviary. Not for any nefarious purpose, mind you. Seeing how people usually went there for business… they tended to flock to those who were simply there to wait on their masters, their mentors and teachers. Settled on an array of pillows, surrounded by giggling girls didn’t sound so bad. To a growing boy like Max, it may have even sounded like paradise. Even at his age. Perhaps, especially so.

He tilted his head and grinned wide, “You’re right. She’s starting to look at me like I’m a stray dog who keeps wandering in. Can’t say I blame her.”

There was a moment of silence as he considered his words. Trouble was brewing—that much was true. He glanced down at Max and finally retracted his hand. “Unfortunately, trouble.” A sigh sifted out as he glanced down the street, making sure no extra ears were listening. “We’ve an unwelcome guest who’s come to cause it. I intend to take care of it.”

"Well, I will leave him in your capable hands," Xerxes told him brightly as Maximim blushed at Gil's suggestion. Perhaps he will leave the boy to be tended to by the bored prostitutes. There might even be one or two that would love to be the young man's first. He grasped his friend's arm.

"Tell me about it later, I think it's time that I see the Madame," he told him. He tried not to think about what was happening unseen in this moment. There was no point in dwelling on how close Korrigan was to falling into chaos and what the war outside could bring. Not when he couldn't do anything about it.

Gil winked at the younger lad. Of course, he wouldn’t have minded—doubted that any of the women would’ve either. Sometimes, he thought that Xerxes needed to let loose. As if his shoulders were too damn tense, carrying the world on them all the time. While he’d never been one to pry into other people’s business, unless it suited his purpose, he wondered what kind of secrets Xerxes kept. Where he came from and where he was going. Questions best left when he was drunk and able to blame his inquisitiveness on a proprietary blend of booze, rather than nosy inclinations.

He didn’t doubt that if pushed too far, or questioned too closely… he might find himself on the end of Xerxes blade. Perhaps, he was reading too closely into things. His intuition, however, wasn’t often wrong. Another smile tipped across his face as he nodded his head, “Of course, I will. I'll send one of my rats to find you. Later.”

There was a pause before he stepped to Xerxes side, eyebrows raised a fraction.

“Best not to keep her waiting if you’ve an appointment. She’s not known for her patience.” He tapped at the side of his temple, “I should know.”

A small part of him wanted to ask what exactly his business was with her, though he quickly thought better of it. It certainly didn’t appear as if it was pleasure.

"Of course. Thank you, Gil. We will have drinks later," Xerxes promised. He found that he liked the scoundrel. There weren't many people he could let his guard down around and Gil was one of those people. It may be that he could trust him with his and Max's secrets one day. He had strongly considered it in the past, but he always decide they were all better off with him still in the dark. Still, if there was one man in this land he could trust, it was him. “I’ll see you later then,” Gil waved at them both and stalked back down the way he’d been walking. He did, however, quickly turn back on his heels to call back over his shoulder, “Good luck!” For their sake, he hoped that she was in a good mood.

"Come Max. We have a beautiful older woman to attend to," he said lightly as he stepped into the brothel. He took in the sight of all the beautiful women standing around in fine silks and perfume and he regretted he was not here for pleasure. He quickly spotted one he thought would be of higher rank and gave her a short bow.

"I have an appointment with Madame Huli."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gildan Lodes Character Portrait: Makava

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Gildan Lodes and Makava





Korrigan's marketplace was often a bustle of activity, regardless of the time of day. The only thing that changed between the sun coming up and going down was the wares you could expect to find. During the day, it was a gleaming jewel of trade between several nations, bringing everything from fine silks and honed weapons to sturdy slaves and amazing food. During the night was where the more pleasurable items could be procured. Drugs, illegal liquor, prostitutes and even assassins were known to display their talents for sale if you knew where to look. Luckily, or unluckily depending on how you viewed it, it was early morning and all the legitimate traders were out hocking their wares with all the fervor of a blood crazed berserker. Among them was an actual berserker, as Makava stood over a table with dozens of parchments laid over it, some covering others and most looking as if someone had been part way through ripping them.

Beside her, Brock pointed to some of the words, speaking slowly so that Makava could clearly understand what was being said even as she appeared to either be extremely bored or extremely agitated. It was sometimes hard to tell with the woman. Behind her stood ten slaves, all male, and all of them in peak physical condition. They were naked save for a loin cloth that left nothing to the imagination and a rather prominent collar around their neck that identified them as Makava's property. Unlike the other slavers in the market though, Makava's merchandise had a distinct lack of chains or other restrictive items that would prevent them from running off. Yet none of them showed the slightest inkling of darting for the nearest crowd and escaping into the throng of potential customers. Makava rubbed a hand down her face, grabbing her jaw and yanking open her mouth before finally dropping her limb to her side once again.

"This one wants to give us 300 gold pieces to train several of his slaves in gladiatorial combat." Brock stated, tracing the words on the paper with his finger more for Makava's benefit than anything else. He spoke in the Free Tongue, it was simply easier this way most days. Makava rose an eyebrow before picking up the parchment and ripping it to shreds, throwing the bits into the air and watching the wind send them scattering all over the market place.

"Train them? I don't train slaves that aren't mine! Idiot." Makava stated, her free tongue speech coming out guttural and almost barbarian like. Brock gave a nod moving onto the next piece of paper detailing yet another deal as Makava took a step back, grabbed a chair and spun it around into a sitting position. She sat down in it, leaned back and just as it was starting to fall over, one of the slaves behind her caught it and held it up. She must have planned for that because she didn't move through the entire thing. Instead her arms hung limply at her sides as she stared up at the sky. Brock continued reading the parchments, and it took him several moments to realize that Makava was no longer paying attention. He glanced back at her, seeing her posture and noticing that her eyes were closed.

"Do you wish to do something else for the moment ma'am?" Brock stated, his voice respectful and light, almost soft. Makava raised her arms, flailing them slightly as the slave behind her didn't move from his position, holding up her chair as if that was his sole job in life.

"I'm tired of listening to this...I want to go to the fighting pits." Brock looked down at the ground for a moment.

"With what happened yesterday, the Oskannan pit is off limits to you until you pay them recompense for interrupting a fight." Makava's head shot up, a glare very evident on her face. Brock looked over at the table, sorting through a few papers before pulling up a smaller one. Brock gave a quick cough and was about to read it when Makava shot up, grabbing the piece of paper from his hand and reading it as fast as her nearly illiterate mind would allow her. It took a few minutes longer than it would have if Brock had just read it, but when she was done she placed it on the table, drew an axe and drove it clear through the wooden surface. Brock didn't respond, preferring to stand still with his hands clasped behind his back. Makava gave a frustrated yell, wandering over and tossing the chair off to the side.

"Gildan Lodes, a pleasure to see you again." Brock stated in Free Tongue.

“As always, Brock,” Gil reflected back in the Free Tongue, swaggering through the throes of hockers and slaves alike. His pale eyes reflected the baubles and chains hanging from the nearby wagons, as if he were sparing them the briefest of glances. Old habits died hard. His eyes traveled to the toppled chair, and the axe jutting out of the table like Makava had meant to cleave the damned thing in half, “Little bear seems agitated. Who pissed her off this time?” Even if he’d acclimatized to Korrigan’s bastardized way of living… his accent certainly hadn’t lost any of its guttural edge, rolling over his tongue as if he’d come fresh off the plains.

He already knew the answer. Everyone—probably. There was no end to the things that pissed her off. Usually it teetered between tossing furniture around, destroying things, and drawing blood and toppling heads from shoulders; there wasn’t much of an in-between. Her lack of hesitation to do anything was admirable, if he tilted his head just right and stayed on the sidelines. Much like the Madame of the Aviary, if he didn’t tread on her toes, and avoided her business in the pits, they had no problems.

Friends, almost. Bastards who tossed back ale like they needed it to breathe.

Comrades in booze, more like. Makava had a way of looking straight through you, reading your intentions clear as day and while he doubted she knew the extent of his night-time business, he didn't think she’d even care. They both washed their hands clean of blood at the end of the day. Frequently. Neither of them regretted their choices, either. Not from what he could tell, anyhow. He rubbed at the scruff on his chin and rocked back on his heels, watching Maka’s retreating form with interest.

A shame, really. She’d cut his balls off before he had the chance to lavish her with sweet words. Gil had known that the first time he’d met her. Luckily enough for him, it was a lesson he’d learned quickly before facing any real consequences. She bore scars he didn’t understand. Perhaps, never would. Loose-lipped? Hardly. Even when drunk, she hadn’t shed light on anything to do with her past. In retrospect, neither had he.

He waggled his eyebrows, and frowned at the pinned paperwork. All work and no play obviously didn’t suit Makava very well, "Business. Paperwork. No fun at all."

"It would seem that way." Brock stated, peering down at a couple papers and making it quite evident he was trying to see if there was anything sensitive that Gil shouldn't see, but after a moment seemed to give up his search. Brock stared back at Makava, who at this point had literally destroyed the chair with her own bare hands in a blind rage over what Brock would consider a minor inconvenience. "Makava, you have company." Makava whipped around, her eyes frantic and a piece of wood torn from the chair hefted in her hand like a club. When she saw Gil, it was like a switch was flipped as a broad smile covered her face and she threw the makeshift weapon into the crowd of would be buyers. There was a loud thunk followed by a couple of quiet gasps and even a bit of laughter as the beam found its mark on someone's head. She strode forward, slamming her hands on the table and revealing that her smile was more of the predatory nature.

"Gil face!" She stated, her eyes looking him over for a moment before narrowing her eyes. "I'm noticing a distinct lack of booze on your person."

"The sun has barely risen Makava." Brock stated, which earned a hearty rip as Makava tore the axe from the table and replaced it on her belt, a large chunk of the surface now missing.

"I'm awake, which means I can get drunk, and I'm better at making deals when I'm drunk."

"Well, better at not lopping a man's arm off anyways." Brock stated quietly, earning a sharp glare from Makava.

"I need another chair and table, make it happen!" Makava took a coin purse and tossed it to Brock. "And make it sturdy! The last one crumpled like that slave merchant yesterday."

"Because you tore it apart." Brock stated, the resignation heavy in his face. Makava grabbed him by the collar and dragged him down to eye level.

"Sturdy." She seethed through her teeth, which earned a slight nod as Brock disappeared into the throng of people to find some new furniture for her stall. With that business out of the way, she looked back to Gil, the same predatory smile seeping onto her face. "Now, Gil face, what brings you here? You want to buy a slave? I brought out my prime stock this morning."

Bad luck for anyone who did—seeing how vicious Makava could be with inanimate objects, Gil imagined that the only reason she was this pissed off was because she couldn’t let loose on the person who’d inflicted her ire. Probably something to do with her business in the pits; try to tear her away from that and… it was best not to think of the consequences, though he wouldn’t mind seeing someone else at the receiving end of her anger. It reminded him of his days in the Wastes. On the plains, where feats of strength and flaring nostrils were as common as hocking oysters and fish at the docks. A way of life that Makava had taken with her, more like than not.

A grin broke out across his face, as he dropped his hand away from his chin. Quick as a whip, she was. Or as brutal as a storm, sweeping across poor Korrigan with the force of an axe, cleaved into its wooden heart. He often wondered what she thought of all this—the politics, and the fact that the council treated her people like shit. Did she seethe at the bit? Froth at the idea of slitting their throats? He did. At night, during the day. Whenever he shuttered his eyes closed. It was enough to get his blood boiling. He held out his hands, palms facing upward, and shrugged his shoulders, “Had a bit of business at the Aviary. Didn’t need any at the time.”

Business, indeed.

Better deals. Gil wasn’t sure about that. Maka had the habit of scaring someone so badly into accepting a deal… that booze was entirely unrequired. Unless it was for the potential customer’s sake—grow enough balls on them to stare down the sharp end of an axe, and the wild eyes that spun on the woman’s predatory face. Houndish as he was, coupled with his unquenchable appetite, Makava was the only one who seemed capable of toppling him. Sometimes, he felt more like a rat being chased by beast in her presence. He didn’t mind at all.

How Brock mouthed off to her without being on the receiving end of her annoyance was anyone’s guess. Their history must’ve ran deeper than he thought. A curious relationship that he often wondered about. Though he’d never wondered aloud. Big man serving a small, big woman.

“Never for that,” he allowed his hawkish gaze to sweep across the mostly nude slaves, standing solidly behind them. There was a look to his eye that spoke volumes, though his words always read between the lines, “they’d be wasted on me.” Unless he was buying them for unrelated… purposes, he’d never have any need for them. His rats fought for the freedom of Korrigan. Nothing more, nothing less. He never owned anyone or anything. He wanted to keep it that way.

“I would like to buy information, little bear. Some that only you’d know. Care for a drink? Several?”

Makava's eyes narrowed at Gil, his familiar tone and smile a welcome sight as far as Makava was concerned but she had learned to be careful around this man. She kept him in her sights at all times, like an eagle hunting a mouse even if she didn't mind sharing a drink with her kinsmen. With a quick dash of speed, she slid across the table to stand in front of Gil. Papers were sent flying in every which direction, but a quick snap of the fingers had three of the slaves behind her quickly moving to gather them up. "Information? You always want information. You never once come see me just to see me anymore." Makava gave a slight pouty face, or at least the best one she could muster. To be honest it came across more as a snarl than anything, but she thought the point was made. Almost as quickly as the expression formed, it was replaced with a hearty 'Hah!' before she slapped both of Gil's shoulders. "Good, I ain't one for sob shit. You want info, I want booze, money and violence, not necessarily in that order! Where's the bottle?"

Gil’s grin hadn’t faltered even as she vaulted over the table, standing in front of him as if she were ready to tear him down. A weaker man would’ve been shaking in his boots. Someone not of the Free Folk would’ve faltered under her gaze, let alone her dominating presence. If the circumstances would’ve been different, he wouldn’t have minded the tussle. She was not, however, one for warm brushes, and poetic dissertations. He spared no sweet words for her—no lies, no deceits. Nearly all Free Folk operated under the motto of no bullshit. She was no exception. Nobles, and the easily offended would’ve wanted his head immediately for the things he said. Though, he was sure, if she’d wanted him dead, he would’ve been rotting in the gutter ages ago.

“Do you miss me that much?” The grin wobbled into a wolfish expression, though it tempered itself into an innocent smile just as quickly. True enough. He didn’t mind wasting his time if Makava was around. She was good fun. Had a strong stomach, and no manners to speak of. Just the type of person he liked having around. It was a shame that she was on the council, representing something he wanted utterly destroyed. If she wasn’t all about her business; the pits, her slaves… she would’ve made a fine ally against his many enemies. He faltered back a step when she slapped both his arms, clearly not expecting it. A bark of laughter still snaked its way out.

“Fair price. That, I can do,” he glanced over her shoulder, deeper into the marketplace, and looked back down at Makava, “The Pig’s Head is nearby. Sinder owes me a bottle of dragon’s piss.” He paused briefly and grinned again, “Y’know what they say about the walls having ears. I’d rather not lop any more off than’s needed.”

"If anyone bothers us, or tries to listen in on our dealings, heads will roll." Whenever someone said that, it usually translated to 'someone will be getting into a lot of trouble'. Whenever Makava said it, it was to be taken as literally as possible. Makava held up a singular finger, walking over to the table and grabbing one of the quills that had miraculously managed to stay on the table despite everything happening to the piece of furniture. She read as quickly as she could through a couple of sheets before finding one that was unimportant enough to not miss. She flipped it over, and in the worst writing one has probably ever seen, spelled 'WAIT' on it in Darini. She then walked around the table, grabbing the closest slave by the arm and shoving the written article into his hands. She guided them into a position so that the paper was visible to everyone who wandered nearby before she stared into the slave's eyes. "I'm grabbing a drink. What do you do in the meantime?"

"We wait ma'am." The slaves replied in unison in a mix of Free Speech and Darini. Makava gave a nod.

"And if anyone gives you any trouble?"

"We kill them ma'am." Once again in unison, resulting in yet another predatory grin from Makava before she backhanded the slave in front of her on the stomach.

"Good, Brock will be back soon, don't do anything else until then." Makava turned back to Gil, her steps almost prancing at the thought of getting more liquor into her system. Makava grabbed Gil, flipping him around and giving him a slight push as she reached him. "What are you waiting for, drinks won't be drunk by themselves!"

That was something Gil had no doubt of. Heads would roll. Several, if necessary. Makava’s smile was anything but innocent when she made statements like that. She’d have no qualms bloodying the streets if he were to say that they’d heard something they shouldn’t have. In many cases, he was no different. Killing his own people, however? No. He’d do anything in his power to avoid that. If they stepped on his toes, and betrayed his cause—they were his people no longer. Fair game, in a sense. Even so, he didn’t like the idea of striking anyone on his side. Who’d willingly grovel at the council’s feet? Who’d accept the hand they were given? Fuck that.

He watched as Makava stalked back towards the table. A predator on a mission; even more, a domineering presence that towered above them all, even if she physically did not. His lidded eyes watched her snatch up a quill and turn back towards the remaining parchments still on the table. He hadn’t seen what she’d written down but assumed it was important. Orders, maybe. He rocked back on his heels and swallowed down the laughter blooming in his chest. Seeing a quill in her hands was possibly the strangest thing he’d seen all day. An axe, a sword… a scalp might’ve been better suited. A small, tempered smile tugged up the corner of his lips as he watched the slaves’ well-rehearsed reactions. Yes ma'am. No ma'am.

Well-trained. Well-mannered. Good fighters. A stack of wolves in a marketplace of sheep.

A hum sounded in the back of his throat as he allowed her to spin him around in the opposite direction. Gil leaned back slightly against her hand, and laughed. “Time waits for no one,” he mused and stepped into the push, hands held up in front of him, “When’s the last time you had any fun? Seems like it’s been awhile. All business lately, eh?” The answer he received was a grunt that was somewhere along the lines of 'yep' and 'fuck off'. He led them through the throng of merchant’s, and other, less successful slave-owners tapping striped backs and peeling lips back to reveal teeth to potential buyers. He ignored them and weaved between people, occasionally tipping his head into a nod when passing some of his eyes, his rats.

It didn’t take them long to reach the Pig’s Head. A grungy tavern with no door to speak of, full of piss and vinegar if you asked anyone in Korrigan. Renown for rough-housing mercenaries and an unsavory crowd of individuals. Perfect company, in his opinion. From the looks of it, there were already drunkards seated outside, slobbering all over themselves or grappling onto their companions, voices risen to drunken babbles. Gil inclined his head and swept a hand ahead of him. Not that Makava ever needed an invitation. She’d probably push ahead of him, anyway.

Makava didn't really need the gesture from Gil in order to continue into the inebriating heaven that was the Pig's Head. She pushed through the door, and was greeted first with the smell of piss, liquor, sweat, and possibly some kind of spice. Honestly, she had never figured that last one out, and to some degree it bothered her but ultimately the entire combination spelled 'home' far more than any merchant's stall or hovel. A few of the patrons stopped to stare at the newcomers as they strode through the bar, but there was no need to even register their presence as Makava led them to a table off to the side and less populated than the other sections of the bar. She grabbed one of the chairs, and oddly enough pressed down on the seat with her hand first. She had had a couple of these dive bar chairs collapse under her weight, and she would be damned if she went through that embarrassment again. With the chair passing her made up inspection, she finally sat and stared at Gil as he took the opposing seat from her. For a moment, nothing was said as she took a brief few moments to size him up once more, this time trying to glean any inward knowledge as to what kind of information he would want. Normally she would just assume something on the Merchant Council since he had asked a couple times about them, but she doubted that was the case this time. He was a sly one, a man who constantly tried and sometimes succeeded at keeping Makava on her toes despite them never actually crossing blades.

Within a minute, a lowly wench with more dirt and grime on her features than colors on her dress stopped at their table. A simple round pan was held flat against her waist as she looked the two over. "What can I get you?" She asked in Darini, either not cluing in to the nationality of the people she was serving or simply not being able to speak Free Tongue. Makava looked up at the woman, her mind taking a moment to grasp the words as it always seemed to do whenever it came to a language that wasn't her native one.

"Strong." Was all Makava answered back in Darini, and even then the accent was incredibly thick. The woman raised an eyebrow at her.

"I'm sorry...Strong?"

"Don't care drink. Strong." Makava sputtered. The woman just gave a brief nod before looking to Gil.

"And for you?"

“Tell Growley the rats are in. He’ll know what to give you. Two cups.” A wry wink accompanied Gil’s words, as he nodded his head towards Makava. Her piss-poor attempt at speaking Darini only widened the grin on his face. His own came out smoothly. As if he’d lived on the streets his whole life. The notion wasn’t completely wrong. The grungy barmaid only rolled her eyes, swaggering away back towards the bar.

He tapped two fingers across one of the knots gnarled into the table, and waited until their cups and bottles were placed in front of them before speaking again. Who’d willingly talk without swill warming their bellies? Not many. Especially not with the subject at hand. There was a good chance that Makava would keep tight-lipped about what he was planning to ask—he’d planned around that too. Planned around everything. Usually. It was what kept him alive for so long. He’d cut straight to the heart of things, as usual.

After pouring himself, and Makava, a glassful of amber liquid, Gil set it to his lips and took a long dredge. It immediately warmed his gullet. Felt more like fire than anything else, which was why he liked it. Reminded him of his homeland. Of the hunting brew they made from whatever it was they used in the Hills. “Heard Doran came back through the gates. Looked like shit too,” a sigh sifted past his lips as he studied Makava’s face, “I lost track of him.” His rats had, at least. Where he’d gone was anyone’s guess, but if he was dragging his haunches like a wounded dog… it was a perfect opportunity.

“Thought you might know where he is, if he was planning to come back. Maybe there was one of your fancy meetings planned.” Honestly, he wasn’t even sure if Makava ever bothered with them. Though, it was worth a shot. She wouldn’t help him directly, but any information at this point was valuable.

Makava stared at the liquid filling her cup, giving it a good long sniff, almost as if she planned to snort the alcohol instead of drink it like any normal person would. It reminded her of her homeland, a bittersweet aroma that filled her with memories both happy and miserable. She took a sip of it, a jarring view against her otherwise 'jump first' personality and mentality, before she downed the entire cup in one go. She let loose a long sigh of contentment after it was done, followed by a small burp that she only partially tried to cover up before grabbing the bottle and pouring herself another cup. She was so concerned with getting her early morning buzz on that she almost didn't register Gil's statement and followup non-question. He was prying, although his goal was unknown. She looked up, a smirk on her face as she did so. She wasn't one for hiding anything, even when it came to giving indications of when she knew when she was trying to be used. She didn't mind it from Gil though, mainly because this wasn't always the case and she rarely found someone who could keep up to her tolerance levels.

"You mean the Inquisi-fucker thing? Yeah, people been talking about him coming through the gates, not really common knowledge yet though." Makava stated in a surprising amount of clarity to her words, considering she didn't really pay much attention to anything that was outside her particular bubble of the world. What she was failing to tell him was the fact that the Merchant Council had known about his appearance for nearly a week ahead of time. The rest of the council had been running scared, plans upon plans being implemented to make sure their fortunes would be safe. The only reason Makava remembered that meeting is because she told at least three of the other merchants to shove her axe up their asses blade first. They were annoying to deal with normally, with the added stress it was making her itch to kill something. Makava stopped for a second, glancing over at Gil between taking swigs of the liquor to weigh her options. As stated previously, she didn't know his end goal, but she didn't think that him knowing the Inquisitor's current location was going to do anything that would annoy her way of life. If it did, he would answer to her, and by all that was unholy he would answer in broken bones if she got a hold of him in a bad mood.

"Last I heard, he was at the Top of the Hill." A slang term for Lady Marinne's castle. A bit of information passed down from one of the other merchant council members just the other day, the meeting where Makava had snored halfway through the discussion. Once again, what she was failing to tell him were the details surrounding his appearance and his path that was taken from the gate to the castle, something he would undoubtedly be interested in if he was searching for the man in the first place. "Why so concerned with the Inquisi Gil face? You a witch or somethin'?" She joked, leaning across the table slightly with yet another one of her sharp toothed smiles.

Gil finished his own cup in one, swift gulp. He paused for a moment and cocked his head to the side. Though his attention quickly pulled away from her face and back towards the bottle. As if he were mulling her words through his head, which he was. He tumbled them around like dice, weighed them against whatever information he did know. This game, however, wasn’t one of chance. It never was. No, she didn’t operate like that. She’d share only what he wanted to share, when she wanted to share it. He poured himself another glass. He’d pace himself.

“Yeah. The Inquisi-fucker.” If someone asked him what was wrong with that bloody religion… he could’ve gone on for days—years, almost. Bloody awful, it was. Given the chance, he’d tear the whole thing sect down. Set it on fire, chew them up and spit them out. How much damage had they already caused in Korrigan? Too much. They poisoned everything they touched. His smirk was all teeth; bared against something that left a bitter taste in his mouth. He tapped the side of his temple, and shrugged his shoulders, “I’ve got eyes. Though apparently, not enough.”

Top of the Hill. With that she-devil of a woman. Sitting pretty in her fancy estate, no doubt lounging on a throne. He didn’t know much about her. From all the whispers on the streets, he’d heard that the women on the council were three times as frightening as the men. If they were anything like Makava and the Madame, he supposed it was probably true. If he was there, he was out of reach. On the streets? That was a different matter. He owned them. The slums, and the grimier parts, at least.

“I’d like to see ‘em dead,” the statement was said with a stern face, though it wobbled away into a grin and broke out into laughter. He snickered into his glass and tipped it back to his lips, choosing to take a longer swig this time. The word witch earned little more than an incredulous eyebrow, as if it were a ridiculous comment to make, “Got business with him, is all. Slew-eyed bastard wouldn’t dirty his pretty boots in the slums. What’s a man to do when the council’s too good to hear its people out?” A pause, and a heartbeat late, “No offense.”

A lie wasn’t exactly a lie if it was dressed up in truths; however casual they appeared.

"Stop bullshitting me." Makava almost immediately responded, taking another swig. "You want to kill the fucker, no need to dress it up and make it look pretty. Corpses tend to not look that way." She seemed to blow past the half-way insult from Gil about the Merchant council, mainly because he wasn't wrong. The council was formed to help the people who were actually in it, not the common folk or other would be traders. Makava had been asked to join awhile ago because she took the slave trade by storm, or to put it a bit more specifically, she cornered the gladiatorial market with her slaves and by extension started pushing other slavers out of the area. When they had first approached her, she had come very close to caving their skulls in and getting rid of the problem, luckily or unluckily, she had Brock by that point who had warned her against such actions and given her the upside to actually joining them. She would be the first to admit that she wasn't an advocate of the people, they were a bonus on her road to better her own way of life and those of her slaves. Free trade released her from the shackles that the council had arbitrarily placed on her, if it benefited other people in the long run, all the power to them but that wasn't her goal.

Makava gave a small smirk. She wasn't one for playing the 'game' as some were, but her intuition had gotten her this far and so long as she relied on it she seemed to get by just fine. "Going to be pretty hard to get to him for that Gil Face, especially with what's following in his wake." Makava gave a small laugh, she loved it when she knew something that Gil didn't if only because it gave her a small sense of victory that usually only came with blood.

Gil’s snort was far more honest this time. As expected, Makava had read straight through him. He didn’t particularly mind. Not with her, at least. It wasn’t likely that she’d try severing his head from his shoulders for… heretical, blasphemous notions. Sometimes, just saying so in Korrigan, in front of the wrong people, would send you straight to the block or ropes; neither options he fancied. He’d rather die bleeding in the streets, where he belonged. “Fine, fine. You’re right,” his smile only wavered a fraction, “I do want him dead.” This, however, was stated with a straight face; an expression tempered with countless sacrifices, those already made, and those to come.

“Don’t suppose you’d be willing to part with any information for free,” his eyebrows raised inquiringly. He’d come into this with low expectations—though they were there all the same, idling in the background like a hound feverishly pulling at its reigns. He wanted it. Badly. Makava was as flighty as she was violent. If she didn’t feel like giving him anything… she simply wouldn’t. “Didn’t think you liked the bastard either. Wouldn’t I be doing you a favor? Maybe someone better will take his place. Maybe, it wouldn’t need filling at all.”

"Don't pretend to know my intentions Gil Face, you're better than that." Makava stated, her smile gone and her eyes piercing through his for a moment before she waved the bar wench over, who did so with somewhat of an eye roll. Something that Makava had to physically hold herself back from decking her in the face for. As she approached the table, she pointed at the bottle. "One more." she stated in Darini before pointing at Gil. "His tab." The wench gave a nod before walking away. Makave returned her full attention to the man in front of her, placing her chin in her hand as if she was completely bored of the conversation already.

"Killing him doesn't affect me in the slightest, unless I started praising some blasphemous god or shooting fire out of my hands." Makava traced a circle in the table surface. "Really, he just doesn't concern me... nor does his small army he'll be bringing in a week's time." Makava let the info slip pretty easily, her reasons for doing so having been stated pretty clearly. Alive or dead, the Inquisitor wasn't her problem and she couldn't care less about what happened to him or his dogs. "Rumor has it that he's going to be performing some sort of operation here in Korrigan, the likes of which haven't been touched upon by anyone I talk to, but chances are it won't be nice for anyone of the magical persuasion." The wench came back, placing another bottle on the table before leaving to help some other customers. Makava grabbed both bottles, what was left of the first one anyways, before standing from her position.

"End of the day, what you do with this information is your own choice, but you'll have a week before you have the full force of the Inquisition present in the city. So good luck with that Gil Face." Makava wandered around the table, holding both bottles in one hand as she stood before him. "Do your best to not die, I don't often get free booze without some drunk assholes hitting on me... Dumb fucks." Makava took the last drink out of the previously opened bottle before tossing it carelessly onto the table and watching it roll onto the floor on the opposite side. She gave a shrug, before leaving with a simple wave and exiting the bar. She had been away from the stall for long enough, plus she had a bottle of liquor. She could make it through the rest of the day now... maybe... probably not.

Gil watched her swagger out the door without so much as a goodbye, as if telling him not to die was something of the same fashion. He lifted his hand in a small wave, even if she was gone by the time he'd done so. A small smile twisted on his lips, pulling back to bear his teeth. That was enough to go on. It wouldn't elude his rats if he was planning something in Korrigan. These things always happened in public. Why do something in secret when it was far more effective to strike fear in their wretched, corrupted hearts? No. He'd see him soon enough. Like Makava said, he'd do his best not to die.

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