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Merek Blackrain

"Gold is what shapes a kingdom, any kingdom... gold and blood."

0 · 315 views · located in Seabel

a character in “Forged of Blood and Steel.”, as played by Binsetsu

Description

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Greed, a greater impact than giving,
sure you can give everything away.
But someone may be lying,
greed and giving will always stay.

Greed, it may steal everything you just gave,
greed for power will and has to start the worst war.
The guilt will last until the grave,
because it isn't very far.

Greed will cause problems,
but we will live through them.
These are our emblems,
that will grow in our hearts, from a seed to a stem.
- Dang Xiong




Role: Mercenary captain.

Gender: Male

Age: 37

Nicknames: Captain. Some also call him Lord Blackrain sarcastically.




Image

Height: 5ft 9in.

Weight: 153 lbs.

Build: Toned and slender.

Hair Colour: Black.

Eye Colour: Blue.

Scars?: Merek has scars beyond counting, each given to him by a hard fought battle. Although his torso has by far the most, each a testament to a close call or lucky shot from an enemy, his face has the most noticeable scars. His nose has visibily been broken on several occasions and he has a distinct scar on the left side of his mouth.

Brief written description: Merek’s most noticeable feature by far are his cold eyes. Coloured a light blue like ice, with a penetrating gaze that gives the feeling there are no secrets that can hide when confronted by it. He is of average height and plain features, betraying his common birth. Not many women would consider him a handsome man in a princely manner, but he does carry a certain charm about him, though it is a most certain dangerous charm. One glance makes it clear he is a dangerous man and one of action, his body is toned by years of training and then by years of combat, something his scars also prove testament as well. Although it is rarely seen, many of his teeth have been chipped or damaged in some way. He is also rarely seen without a sword or some other form of weapon at hand. He keeps his beard and hair mostly unshaven and unkempt, respectively. In all, there is little to suggest the man might be more than a common mercenary.

Clothing preference: Merek disdains the fashion styles of nobles and high-born, preferring to dress in more simplistic and functional clothing. Unless it is absolutely necessary that he doesn’t, he can be found wearing at least some form of armour, whether that armour be leather, chain or plate. Overall, he is a highly unimaginative man when it comes to clothing, preferring to wear simple clothing in simple colours and shying away from anything that could be considered flashy or fashionable. He also has a strong dislike for jewellery and never wears any.






Skills: + Master Swordsman. Merek is a skilled sword fighter, if not a renowned one. His skill with a sword has won him many a battle and saved his life more than once.
+ Skilled Fighter. Although the sword is Merek’s preferred weapon, he is skilled with many other forms of weaponry. Maces, bludgeons, knives, axes and the bow and arrow all fall within the list of weapons Merek is proficient with.
+ Experienced Fighter. Merek is a veteran of many battles and has developed a good feel for them. He doesn’t crack when faced with the horrors of battle or war and knows when to duck and when to weave.
+ One of the men. Merek, not of noble birth, is well known for being on very good terms with the men under his command. In fact, it is no secret he prefers the company of soldiers, commoners and fighting men over that of nobles and other men and women of wealth.
+ Skilled Leader. Although few would call him a strategic mastermind, or a great leader of men, Merek is skilled in motivating and leading his men. He knows what orders to give and when to give them and does not easily lose his head in the heat of the moment.
+ Cunning. Although he is not uniquely intelligent, Merek does have a natural deceptiveness and a real talent for changing a situation to his benefit.


Quirks: + Merek is known for rolling a foreign coin between his fingers when he is thinking.
+ When faced with a difficult decision, Merek is known to grind his teeth intensely. His molars have since been ground down to almost flat surfaces.
+ Whenever he gets paid, Merek has the habit of biting on the coins to ensure they are real.


Likes: + Soldiers.
+ Gold.
+ Lots of gold.
+ Dogs.
+ Fighting.
+ Drinking.
+ Whoring.
+ War.
+ Archery.
+ Sword fighting.
+ Politics.


Dislikes: + Horses.
+ Cats.
+ The sea.
+ Children.
+ Nobles.
+ Politicians.


Fears: + Death.
+ Not getting paid.
+ Finding someone tougher than he is.


Written description: Few would consider Merek a decent man and none would ever consider him a man of noble character. And he likes it fine that way. He cares little for the posh posturing of nobles and knights, preferring to stick a more simpler way of carrying himself. He is crass, rude and generally pleasant company for anyone not a noble. He is truly a man more suited for the taverns than he is for the court of a king. He enjoys crude jokes, beer and women, preferably in excess whenever possible. He behaves this way even when he is in the presence of those who are his betters by virtue of birth. He cares nothing for what others think of him and if they wish to procure his services, they’ll have to put up with him crudeness and all.

As one might expect from the captain of a mercenary company, he is a hard man, well used to combat, fighting and killing. He doesn’t shy away from any of those and in some cases even welcomes it. As one might also expect he is almost exclusively motivated by gold. Things such as loyalties, blood or even decency are second when it comes to gold. This has given him the reputation as being a remarkably greedy individual. However, as no one will hire a untrustworthy mercenary, he has made tremendous efforts to be seen as reliable as well. Something which has only partially succeeded.

His reputation of being skilled with weaponry and especially the sword often precede him. And few would contest the claim that he is likely one of the finest swordsmen in the kingdom of Saebel. It is a reputation he has earned on the field of battle, something which he is quick to remind others off. He despises what he calls “practice-yard soldiers” and has a strong disdain for those who call themselves soldier or warrior but have never seen the field of battle. This personality trait goes deeper, however. For the most part he considers any man who has never seen combat to be weak and even those who have seen combat are not yet free of his ire. For to be a true man a man must have looked another man in the eye and then kill that man. Although he would contest the notion, he looks quite favourably on combat, war and killing in general. Overall he is a hard man, who has seen enough killing, and done plenty of it himself, to be desensitised to the entire ordeal.







Relationship Status: None.

Family: None. But likely has more than a few bastards running around here and there.





Secret Word: This is war.

So begins...

Merek Blackrain's Story

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God, but he hated the sea. If any man ever needed convincing of the fact that God and all the other gods hated human beings, they need only look to the sea. Water, as far as the eye can see and none of it drinkable. How sailing ever became a profession baffled Merek. One must either be touched or utterly mad to enjoy the sea. Even fish tasted like shit. No, the sea was a terrible place. And yet, time and time again, Merek found himself back on the deep blue, travelling from one place to the next. Comes with the territory, they said. A mercenary goes where the gold flows thickest and more often than not, it flowed thickest across the sea. The more annoying of them said that the gold was all the shinier for its barriers. What a load of crap. Gold is gold and gold is always shiny, whether or not you travel the seas or a calm meadow. Gods he hated the sea, but that damn kid drilling a hole in the back of his head was worse.

“Whaddaya want this time?” Merek drawled, not bothering to look back at the kid, instead focusing on the slowly approaching spit of land some idiot with a lisp once called Siebel. Or Saebel. It didn’t matter in any case. It was as big a rat hole as any other, fancy name or not. Merek sighed once the kid finally responded. ”I want you to teach me! I want to be a soldier! A hero!” Merek finally turned to look the kid dead in the eye and with a sigh responded with a drawling voice. ”You’ll grow out of it. Nuthin’ good ever came from bein’ a soldier.” One look at the kid said enough of what he thought of that opinion. A furrowed brow and a stare the child probably considered hard, but was simply childish in reality answered him. Was there anything worse than kids in this world? The sea maybe. But kids were a close second. ”Go on, git.” Merek drawled and waved the kid away, before turning back to that distant spit of land.

Merek stood there for a while, cursing each and every god ever invented by man, as he watched Saebel coming closer. He could already begin to make out their port-of-call. It had grown since Merek was last here. Still ugly though. But at least from a distance it didn’t smell like a spilled chamber pot. Merek sighed again once he heard the heavy footfalls of his second in command coming closer. With a grunt he turned to see the giant of a man, with skin darker than the deepest shadows and arms bigger than most men’s legs stand a few paces away from him. The two stared at one another for a moment before the giant spoke. ”We go wrong. This city much too big. Seen before, much smaller.” Merek frowned at the man before sucking on his teeth for a moment and turning back to that distant, but ever nearing, port city. ”Gods but they breed ‘em thick where yer from, don’t they? It’s a city, cities grow. Port cities fastest of all.” Merek drawled in response, even as the giant moved closer and stood next to him, observing the same coastline that Merek was looking at.

”Only one god.” Merek raised an eyebrow as he turned his head to shoot a sideways glance at the giant. ”Whazzat now?” The giant turned his head to return Merek’s sideways glance. ”You say gods. Only one god. Great eye watches us during day. You call sun. Other eye watches us during night. You call moon. They the eyes of the one god.” Merek sighed again, he should’ve known really. He woke up with a headache, how could the day possibly get any better after that? No, today was a day he had to put up with idiotic children and pious giants. Merek stood there, for a few moments longer, taking the time to imagine how this day could possibly get any worse. When a long list of possible ways flashed through his mind he sighed and gave up. Better to discuss religion with a giant than imagine all the ways this ship could possibly sink. ”Yer right about one thing, there is only one god. One god with a thousand faces. One god that can open a harbour, as easily as it opens a woman’s legs. It’s called gold. And it’s the only god worth worshipping.” Merek said, even as he turned back to the now not so distant piece of land.

”You speak bad of the God. Gold not god, merely invention of greedy men.” The giant responded, still staring at Merek with flat eyes. Merek waved his hand in a dismissive fashion before answering. ”Then why do greedy men rule the world? Why do priests and all o’ them need all that gold? I’ve seen men kill priests for it and priests kill men for it. Naw, if there is a god, than he is the greediest arsehole of them all. Now get the men ready, we’ll be disembarking soon.” Merek listened to giant march away, not needing to see his face to see the disappointed expression there. Merek stretched slightly and walked back to his cabin and get ready himself. It wouldn’t be long now. Soon they’d disembark and head further inland. Saebel, eh? A rich country on the verge of open war. If there was ever a place to find gold in return for some honest day’s killing it’d be Saebel. Sure, they were having some kind of peace summit, but when did those ever work out? The rebellious side will find the ruling side’s offer an insult, or the ruling side will consider the rebellious side to be too arrogant and before you know it blood and gold flows freely everywhere. Only problem now was choosing a side.

Merek spend the next few hours in his cabin until it was time to disembark. With a deep breath he took the smells of the port city in. Salt, piss and drunken sailors. The wonderful smells of civilization. Much better than all of that clean sea air sailors like so much. He’d choose this piss soaked shithole over the sea any day. All they needed to do now was march for the city closest to the peace summit and wait there. Before long one lord or another would hear of the presence of a company of mercenaries nearby. And when the peace summit inevitably went sour because Lords what’s-his-face of who-knows-where didn’t stick his pinkie finger out while sipping that god-awful wine of theirs they’d come looking for them. With a bit of luck they’d come looking with chests filled with gold. ”Let the war begin, is what I say.” Merek said, to no one in particular, as he headed off, a long column of mercenaries and one kid in tow.

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His feet hurt, his knees hurt, his back hurt, everything hurt. Was this what it was like getting old? If so, Merek wanted no part of it. After only a few days of stiff marching and already he felt as if he had been in a proper battle. Minus the bloodshed and profit, however. Which made everything worse, really. It was putting not only him, but his entire company in a bad mood. They were getting paid still, as Merek’s coffers were filled after the last job they were on, but none of them liked the idea of not having an employer. Filled coffers only stay filled for so long. He let them blow of some steam at that inn they passed, but perhaps he shouldn’t have. The innkeeper’s daughter certainly would have appreciated that. But Merek had never been one to cry over dropped coins. It happened, they compensated the innkeeper, who seemed happier about that than he should’ve been, and they were finally nearing their destination. Already they could see the bell tower of the large church in the city, the walls and the front gate shouldn’t be far off.

They marched just short off an hour more before finally reaching the main gate of the city, which were invitingly shut. The mystery of what you can’t see attracted more men than showing it all off, after all. Merek spared a moment to wonder if that counted for city gates as well. The entire company halted, before slowly spreading out to get a good look at the gates, something which seemed to frighten the two guards stationed there, judging from the nervous glances they were shooting their way. He remembered his former commander telling him that the best way to get a city sacked was to close the gates to an advancing army. Must be these two guards heard the same worldly wisdom. With a casual stride bordering on a swagger he approached the pair. One had the look of a boy just barely breaching into manhood, with an expression that suggested that he was also about to breach his bladder and spill its content into his breeches. The other seemed older, with the scars to prove he was a veteran of either a battle or a nasty tavern brawl.

With the kindest smile he could manage, which fell just short of a mocking grin, he spread his arms wide and spoke to the pair. “Greetings! Me and the boys here had a long walk and we were really just hopin’ to find a warm bed and maybe a few warmer bodies to keep ‘em that way, if ya catch my meanin’.” His greeting elicited the most nervous and grating giggle he had ever heard from the boy. Luckily, a single glare from both the boy’s partner and Merek himself shut him up, much to Merek’s delight. It suited him, obviously the boy was just here to serve as decoration and he could speak with the other one man to man. ”No one enters without no permit.” The older guard offered, eyes darting both suspiciously and nervously from Merek to the company of mercenaries behind him, who were now slowly moving closer, clearly upset about what they heard. With a grin at the older man he casually walked up to him, hands moving to pull a gold coin out of a little pouch hanging at his side.

”Now, I’ve never been one fer writin’ and readin’, see. Too much trouble for too little gain. After all, what can a few scribbles on a bit of paper say what this here coin can’t?” Merek drawled, holding the coin close to the older guard’s face so he could study it. But the darkening expression he saw on that face was not appreciated. Here he was offering perfectly good, well, reasonable gold and this one was angered by it? ”No permit, no entry!” The man repeated, his grip tightening on the hilt of his sword. Useless gesture, really. What was he going to do, cut down all of the mercenaries? The boy likewise tightened his grip on the spear he was holding on to as if it were all that stood between him and a coming storm. With a sigh Merek moved over to the boy, who tightened every single muscle he had but one. Once he stood next to him he casually swung his arm around his neck and drew him close. Although their newfound position might suggest he wanted to speak to the boy privately, he spoke in a voice loud enough for not only the other guard, but for most of Merek’s mercenaries to hear as well.

”Now, now. Don’t be like that. I told ya, we just want to find a few warm beds and some nice ladies to keep them warm for us. We don’t mean any trouble. But, y’see, there might be, now. Most of me boys, they’re not from around ‘ere. Half of ‘em don’t even speak proper like ye and me. Now, surely ye heard about the savages from overseas, right?” With a wide grin he looked at the boy, who swallowed down what was left of his courage and nodded. Merek smiled inwardly when he noticed some of the more foreign looking of his men stepping forward, eyes full of menace and hands dangerously close to their weapons. ”Good, good. ‘course ya have. Yer a smart kid. Now, you probably also know what happens when they get angry? Well, when they ain’t been with a woman for too long they get even worse. When they’re like that, a flimsy l’il wall like this ain’t going to do nuthin’ to stop ‘em. They’ll just break it down or climb over and take what they want. All I’m offering is the opportunity to have them pay for what they want, y’see?” When Merek finished, the boy was shaking uncontrollably, eyes fixed on the other guards, eyes that were begging the man to just let them in. Merek detached himself from the boy, who almost fell to his knees right then and there and turned to the older guard, grinning an arrogant grin. ”Just do the smart thing. Yer lord will understand once all the taverns and whorehouses have been filled with our gold.”

Merek could see the other guard visibly struggling. What had this lord done to earn such loyalty? Not that it mattered. The gates would open. Merek could see no reason why some lowly guard would lay down his life to protect some gate for some arsehole sitting on some throne that’s too small to hold that fat arse. With a grunt the guard finally shouted something and Merek could hear the soft, but intensifying creaking of moving gates. ”Just... don’t cause any trouble… please.” The older guard asked pleadingly, looking like a man moments away from his own execution. Grin still plastered to his face, Merek waved his men through while shouting. ”NO stabbin’ no one and pay fer what ya get!”. Merek had not thought it possible, but the guard somehow managed to look even more miserable then before. Some broke off in a run, others walked casually, but all of his mercenaries took the time to offer the guard a mocking ‘thank you’ before walking past him. When they had all passed Merek himself walked by the guard. ”Don’t worry, we’ll only cause the fun kind ‘a trouble.” Merek drawled, even as he patted the guard on the shoulder. With a few confident strides he entered the city proper. A deep breath later he was on the move again. Seemed like some of his men had already found a tavern. But Merek felt no inclination to join them. Why bother blowing all your coins in the largest taverns on the main street when the sweetest whores could be found in the little out-of-the way taverns. After all, he might as well get comfortable, he could be in for a long wait before some lord finally decided he could use a few extra men. And if one didn’t show up soon, well, it was fun waiting and seeing how long it would take before the local lord decided it was time to kick them out.

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It was said across the land that Seabel reared bitter men, albeit strong and brave but bitterness ran deep, engulfing human emotions such as empathy and love. Most blamed the environment in which they grew up in, Port Yorkpoint was not a place for the weak, from the moment babes could walk they were put to work, violence was an everyday occurrence and the harsh weather only added fuel to the fire, no, The island town was not a pleasant place to be, nurture was not a word in parents vocabulary; island life was tough, parents couldn't afford to see their children as blessings, they were another mouth to feed and when they were physically able they were put to work, if they didn't, they would starve, simple as that. Many deemed this parenting as barbaric but to the islanders it bred the sissiness out of them quick. No one could call an islander weak. Nicholas Burton, the 5th Duke of Yorkpoint, was a prime example of this stern upbringing, he had been sent by his father, at the age of nine, to sea, with the navy, where he remained for five years, when he returned he went to war with his father and uncles to fight for his King against the advancing Luxorian army; many argue about which of these events caused the Duke's heart to freeze over; perhaps one of the only good things to say about Nicholas, was the loyalty he held to his king. Many things could be said about the Burtons but one could never fault their loyalty to the crown; power driven, barbaric, battle-hungry bastards? Yes. Traitors? Never.

Although to his credit, Nicholas did allow himself to love once. His wife, Helena hadn't been the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on, but she had been the smartest and most cunning. Raven black hair fell to her waist in waves, her green eyes would stare you down, gazing into your very soul; Nicholas had been enamoured by her and married her soon after, there was no courting in Yorkpoint, you wanted a woman, you bloody went and got her before someone else did. Despite himself, Nicholas did love Helena, although no such words were uttered between the two, but the fact that he had no other woman during their marriage was a testament to his affection. Although the woman was devious, calculating and harboured a similar hatred towards that famed Southern family, she did have a softer side and that showed when it came to their children; she was not a native to the Islands and so did not necessarily share their 'tough love' techniques, she wanted them to be strong but also knew the worth of compassion, she was affectionate with her children along with stern. Though Nicholas voiced how she was making them 'weak' he never fought her on the matter, secretly it made him admire her more. When Helena died, any inkling of this affection died with her.

Now all that remained was a shell, the soul had vanished many moons ago. Nicholas was a man obsessed with crushing the imminent Rayleigh rebellion and despite his Kings wishes for a peaceful resolution, due to that bitch who had bewitched Orion with her Southern witchcraft, he believed it would only be settled by blood. He wanted blood. He wanted to see the Rayleigh's heads on spike along the walls of Arva. This had been his reason for his visit to the tavern, diverting from the Kings convoy to Beaumont, he need to detour, he needed unknown men and his spies had told him a ship from the the free cities would be coming to port this day.

Nicholas sat by the fire, in the furthest corner of the room, he was confident no one would notice him and even if one did, the others would hardly believe he was nobility. He did not care for appearance, he left it to the women to look nice, his hair was unkept, his stubble even more so and clad in his dark leathers, he looked more like a common soldier than anything, you would not fathom that this man had a fortune and a title. He had been there for a while now, sat in the corner on his forth goblet of mead, which tasted more of watered down horse piss than anything, he was fast loosing patience with these men and half suspected his spy of giving him false information but then he heard the commotion outdoors, they had arrived. Resting his hand against the wooden table in front of him, Nicholas drummed his fingers repeatedly. There was one man in particular he wanted to see that day and his name was Melek Blackrain, he was a deceiving little cunt, but exactly who he needed for this task. He had heard a lot about Melek from various sources, most of it bad but for what Nicholas needed doing, he couldn't ask for anything less. One by one men began to pile into the tavern, loudly expressing their wants and needs to the inn keeper and his daughter, poor girl would be in for some hassle that evening. Finally Melek entered the establishment, although he had never met the man before, it was clear from his body language that this man was the leader of this band of men and therefor must be the man he sought. "Blackrain!" Nicholas Burtons gruff voice, beckoned across the room, immediately ceasing conversations, with his gaze locked on the fire he waited for the man to approach.

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How many taverns and inns could be made unsafe by a group of mercenaries in a single evening? It was not a question Merek had ever asked himself, but it seemed his comrades were determined to find out. This must’ve been their fourth inn this night. Or was it the fifth tavern? They all blurred together in Merek’s mind, which was not a good sign. Even he was getting bored and a band of bored mercenaries were a dangerous thing. Should they start acting up too much, they might just attract the attention of those with the power to forcefully remove them, one way or the other. Perhaps he had made a bad gamble, coming here before the war started. He had hoped to be the first to capitalize on new business opportunities, but it seemed like he might’ve made a mistake.

With a sigh he followed the small group of his men into the inn. He glanced around, but saw little of interest, a few younger men, who had showed that they were likely as dull as all city dwellers were and a few old men, one of which had the look of a soldier who had seen to many things and could do nothing but brood and obsess about them now. His gaze lingered on that man for a moment longer before making his way towards the bar. His men had already found some poor girl to harass, judging by the innkeepers distraught reaction, it was likely his daughter. Or his wife, if he were lucky. Well, she’d be compensated for her troubles, at some point anyway. Merek had not made it half way to the bar before a booming voice broke the otherwise hushed silence of the other patrons and the loud celebrations of his men.

”Blackrain!”

Silence then. Silence which lasted a few moments as Merek’s eyes scanned the inn looking for the owner of that voice. All eyes were turned, either to Merek himself or to the brooding man sitting by the fire. Well that was easy then. With a short chuckle he walked over to the man, standing at the other side of the fire. ”Now, there ain’t many that know me by name, especially here. ‘specially no soldier or thug in some dingy inn.” Merek drawled, his voice filled with amusment. But his eyes were cold and analytical when he finally stood close to the man. He observed the man intently, taking in every detail. A soldier by his garb, not a knight. A veteran though, judging from his age and confident posture. And there was something else. The man exuded something, something he had not noticed when Merek entered the inn. Only now was it becoming clear to him. The man exuded arrogance.

Not just any kind, naturally. The kind that only high-born have. The sort of arrogance that comes only to those who are used to standing above others and considered it their rightful place. He was likely a noble of some sort then, especially since he knew his name. Merek snorted slightly, before spitting out a combination of mucus and phlegm on the floor. ”Now, if I killed yer son or nephew or sumthin’, I suggest you go turn ‘round and git, old man. Ye don’t look like a spring-chicken and I ain’t feelin’ much fer stabbin’ ye tonight.” Merek’s drawling voice and condescending attitude calmed his men, who continued with what they were doing, doing so loudly, drowning out Merek’s and the old man’s voices here in the far side of the room. When they did so, Merek drew up a chair and sat down lazily. ”’course, maybe you just want a li’l talk with a youngster like meself?” He asked, sly grin spreading across his features.

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Merek’s eyes studied the older man sitting in front of him with severe intensity. No details were missed, every line on the man’s face was counted, every gesture analysed, every word picked apart with the precision of a surgeon. Such things were important to a man in Merek’s profession.Not because of some ages old adage of ‘knowledge is power’. Merek had chopped the heads of enough men who possessed the great power of knowledge to know that proverb was something weak men hid behind in order to appear more powerful. No, he simply wanted to know more about the man he was dealing with. What made him happy? What pissed him off? What frightened him, what motivated him, what were his desires. Such things were essential when you dealt on the less honourable side of wars, or even combat. Your once employer could turn on you with as much eagerness and vigour as they had when they shoved coins in your hands, begging you to take care of their problems. To avoid such things Merek needed to know about his potential employers.

Merek had experience when it came to such things. The simple admission of ‘I have my ways’ told him enough of the man’s social status. Even if it didn’t rule out the possibility of him simply being some gang lord, it lessened the chance substantially. From his experience, those men preferred to drop names, make their conversational partner quake in fear at the power of his acquaintances. Not dropping a name meant he didn’t want Merek to know too much about who he knew, which meant he didn’t want others to know he knew Merek. Most likely a lord then, as he had assumed. The next admission was more interesting from a political standpoint, but utterly interesting from a business standpoint. It was no secret many a lord despised their children. It seemed to Merek lords didn’t desire a heir as much as they desired themselves in a younger body. Not a better version of themselves, of course. Gods forbid their children point out their glaring faults. No, a younger version of themselves, preferably a little on the slower side, so they would need daddy around to guide them for as long as daddy was around. Pathetic really, if he hated his sons so much why not just kill them and make new ones?

Merek was shaken from his musings when a bag of gold coins were tossed on the table. Instinctively Merek pulled a single coin from the purse and took a gentle bite. He could feel the gold bending underneath his teeth and felt no change in its consistency a bit further in. Pure, real gold then. Good. He’d hate to kill the man for trying to cheat him already, especially now that he finally had a reason to like the man. Gold smoothed such things over with great efficiency, as always. A wide grin spread across his features as he looked up from the coin purse and looked the older man dead in the eye. ”Now yer talkin’. But don’t stop there, me new friend. I’d love ta just take yer coin right here and now, but me guess is ye want me to do something … violent… aye?” Merek’s entire visage changed from the previously pleased look to something more vicious, more dangerous as soon as the word ‘violent’. As if the mere thought of such things filled the man with joy. But as soon as the change had occurred, it reverted and Merek grinned once more, his visage arrogant and sneaky. ”Don’tcha, worry about a thing, though. When it comes to solvin’ problems that need sharp solutions, me and me boys got us some experience.” Merek continued grinning as he looked at the man, his eyes once more beginning to study every detail they could pick up on.

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Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain Character Portrait: Nicholas Burton
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Nicholas quirked a heavy, greying eyebrow, watching as Merek's face brightened at the sight of the gold, all of his senses were against him, telling him not to trust this man, although he shoved concern to the side and carried true to his scheme. Usually he made a point of not trusting a man who valued gold so much, they were dangerous, disloyal and down right scoundrels, unfortunately in this case he needed someone who could easily be controlled and a man who valued gold above all else would do just about anything for it. ”Now yer talkin’. But don’t stop there, me new friend. I’d love ta just take yer coin right here and now, but me guess is ye want me to do something … violent… aye?” Nicholas frowned, but nodded also "aye" he began leaning back in his chair, his fingers drumming a repetitive rhythm along the wooden arm rest, as he gazed off into the fire, momentarily "it is violent, you might not like, but like I said, there's plenty more where that came from" he spoke, sturdily, tearing his gaze back onto the man before him, motioning to the gold on the table.

”Don’tcha, worry about a thing, though. When it comes to solvin’ problems that need sharp solutions, me and me boys got us some experience.” Merek boasted with a smile, Nicholas had to give him that, this man seemed like an excellent problem solver. He looked like a man of hardship, but someone who had made something of himself, even if it was in sinful trades, but still he showed tenacity and that was something seldom missing in a lot of men these days. "Good" The Duke mumbled gruffly, shifting his position once again, so this time he was leaning forward on the rickety, wooden table, what he was about to say, could not be overheard. Clearing his throat he began "I don't suppose you know who the Rayleigh's of Port Vale are?" He asked, it came across a little rhetorical, he doubted Merek would know who they were at all and so didn't give him time to reply "they're vicious, poisonous snakes, vile being and what's the best to quell a snake? Remove it's head." He spoke, through clenched teeth, even the mere mention of those traitors names was enough to get him into a hot temper.

The vein in his head bulged, the candle light by his face making him look rather intimidating as he seethed about the Rayleigh's for the umpteenth time "I need you and three of your trusted men to ride with me to Beaumont, there a peace summit is being held, to try a ease qualms between the King and that treacherous family, tomorrow night I want you and your men to slaughter who of that family you can, but, make sure you get Francis Rayleigh, he is your main target."

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Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain Character Portrait: Nicholas Burton
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[font=times new roman]Merek rolled the golden coin through his fingers as he watched the older man across the table. No matter what way he looked at him, he didn’t strike him as a rich man, especially not a rich man from Saebel. But that was likely the point. But, the bag of coins now laid out between them spoke book ends about the wealth the man was implying to have, so for the moment Merek felt it was safe to trust the man’s capital. Just that, however. Despite the fact that Merek was involved in enough shady affairs in his life did not he did not feel any apprehension about such things. And this felt particularly shady, involving some matters that went beyond Merek’s understanding. But the promise of additional gold made it all right. ”As long as there’s gold ta be found, I don’t mind a l’il violence all that much.” He said with a smile, confirming for the older man that the promise of additional gold had him interested.

When the older man asked a question Merek was shaken from his thoughts. A slight frown appeared on his face when he heard the name ‘Rayleigh’. Did he know any Rayleigh? He could’ve sworn he knew a man named Rayleigh once. Or was that Bailey? He could most definatly remember stabbing a Bailey, or a Rayleigh at some point. Merek made to respond, but when the man continued an instant after asking his question Merek realized he needn’t have bothered trying to find an answer to the question. Whoever this Rayleigh character was, it was clear that the older man had no love for him. Or her. Always that possibility. Merek sneered slightly as he considered the possibility of some jealous lover asking him to murder some consort or whatever. He didn’t much understand all this talk of snakes either. He had seen plenty, but never bothered with finding out about them. As such, when the older man spoke of snakes, Merek could do little but smile sheepishly and shrug slightly.

Luckily this was not the case. Now it seemed more likely the Rayleighs were a rival family of sorts and this man wanted them out of the way. That was good. If this turned out right, he could manoeuvre himself in a better position within the kingdom. With a vicious grin he replied. ”Sure, I can do that. Three men, ya say? I got just the men, vicious pack of cunts they are, but they’ll get the job done right.” Still grinning he extended his hand across the table, to ‘seal the deal’ as it were. All things considered, Merek was ready to follow this man to riches. For the time being, at least.

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Character Portrait: Merek Blackrain Character Portrait: Nicholas Burton
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Nicholas watched as Merek ran his dirty fingers over golden coins, he couldn’t help but find the gesture symbolic and had he been a man who bowed to his emotions, he probably would have felt guilt at that moment in time, alas, he felt nothing, accept slight enthusiasm that the Rayleigh’s would no longer be a threat to his country or King, this man was exactly who he needed, someone who didn’t mind getting his hands dirty. Of course his mind did wonder how the King would react in knowledge at what he was planning, their was no doubt that he would be angry to begin with, but held the upmost faith that King Orion would see the benefit in chopping of the head of the snake and praise him eventually. This was definitely the right path to go down. “As long as there’s gold ta be found, I don’t mind a l’il violence all that much.” Merek spoke finally, his smile indicating that he was indeed on board with the Dukes plan.

He watched as Blackrain frowned at hearing the ‘Rayleigh’ name, something, which often occurred for Nicholas also, their name was like venom on his tongue, he couldn’t help but spit it out with incredible disdain. “Sure, I can do that. Three men, ya say? I got just the men, vicious pack of cunts they are, but they’ll get the job done right.” Nicholas simply nodded, satisfied by his answer, he didn’t need to know about these men, only that they were able and soulless enough to take up such a task, then again any man could become soulless with enough gold.

“Good” Nicholas replied, standing swiftly from his chair, nearly knocking it from the chair “gather them up and meet me in the stables in ten minutes. Don’t be any longer, we must make hast to Beaumont.” With those final words, he offered a curt nod to his new associate and hastily left the tavern, stepping through the back door as the rain splashed at his feet, turning the ground into the most unpleasant muddy bog. He trudged through the mud, across the street and into the liver where he had kept his horse, flipping a silver coin to the stable hand for his work. The Duke was highly anxious to get to Beaumont before people noticed his absence, his absence in the Kings convoy would already be noted, but if he could get there before others, he could state that he rode ahead to scout out for Rayleigh spies, no one would question him on that.