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Retha: Machines and Magic

Anastor

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a part of Retha: Machines and Magic, by MidnightFlight.

Anastor is the "capitol" of the Anastorian Kingdom, you could say, and home to the King himself. It's a mixture of Victorian and French architecture with steampunk elements. Airships soar over head as people of all types traverse the dizzying pathways leading throughout the city.

RolePlayGateway holds sovereignty over Anastor, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

156 readers have been here.

Setting

~ Please ignore the lack of punctuation, apparently the places tab doesn't like apostrophes.

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City of Anastor:

Your average kingdom city, it is a mix of Victorian and French architecture with steampunk elements. The streets are paved, and, in the nicer parts of the city, have cast iron streetlamps lining them elegantly and neatly trimmed gardens placed strategically hear and there. In the slummier places, it is merely paved and the pavement tends to be dirty, as do the buildings and objects surrounding them. Almost all buildings have metal pipes running garishly up the sides or backs for running water. There are metallic, squarish, faintly hourglass-shaped towers with two open sides made for docking flying ships, loading and unloading, and general transportation via the sky (Think of a subway). There are both stairs and mechanical lifts located on the two sides of these multi-story structures. Flying ships of all shapes and sizes regularly pass over head or delve into the depths of the city.

Everything is sedately colorful without blinding anyone who happens to look, and while most of the buildings are square or rectangular, there are enough circular or odd-shaped buildings to catch the attention of those new to the city. No matter where you are, everywhere you look, there are staircases, ramps, bridges, and pathways that can be found to carry you up to other levels, some of them straight while others spiral around buildings, zig zag dizzyingly, or go up or down. How Anastor manages to have all these pathways and such without looking crowded is beyond anyones guess.

Market Square

Actually circular and located in the center of the city, situated around a magnificent circular water fountain, are the various buildings, stalls, tents, and tables that serve as a place for people to hawk their wares, be it jewelery, clothes, food, animals, technology, strange magical artifacts, or other such items. You can find just about anything here, and if you cant find it, you can pay someone to get it for you. Just dont ask how they do it. Although this area is nicer than the slummier areas, with streetlamps and etc, the pavement still tends to be dirty and it does appear slightly dingy, simply because its a busy, heavily trod place and there isnt much time to clean it.

Royal Manor

Surprisingly, citizens of all types have access to this sprawling brick and stone mansion, surrounded by a sturdy brick wall with an expansive courtyard in the front alternately paved and filled with gardens. The mansion is a mixture of Victorian and French architecture, with the only outside technological elements being a platform on the roof for the Kings personal airships and pipes running up the back. There are four miniature towers connected to each corner of the manor that make it fairly castle like. Citizens only have access to the throne room, where the King conducts audiences and hears complaints, which they can reach through the foyer where the guards stand guard and do guardly stuff. Within the manor property, a guard can be seen nearly everywhere you look.

Screeching Harpys Inn and Bar

Founded by a woman whose surly husband used to call her a screeching harpy. Now that he is dead, shes taken over the establishment and rules it with an iron fist. There is your average rowdy bar in the front of the building, about six rooms in the back, with a short hall partially obscured by a flight of stairs leading up to the upper level, which has about a dozen rooms. There are also a flight of stairs outside the bar for those who would rather not go through it. The bar is located on the corner of the street leading into the center of the city, or Market.

Aldridge Estate This creamy white mansion with massive pillars and yards of neatly trimmed grass belongs to none other than Jarvest Aldridge, who is known, depending on you ask, by the most loyal nobleman or the most disdainful and self-exalting man there is. He gathers together blue blooded nobleman who share his views regularly to discuss them, make plans for the future, or just enjoy each other's company without the presence of peasants or lowly people.

Solitary Forest

(No, this isn't in the city of Anastor, but it's ridiculous to have a separate category located for this. =/)

Your average highly dangerous, magical-creature filled forest filled with monstrous trees that tower over normal trees like giants. It surrounds the kingdom on three sides in a crescent shape, protecting it. Not many people who enter the forest come out alive. It is largely inhabited by fae creatures such as nymphs, centaurs, fairies, and magical animals, but it has its share of demons, trolls, and other Cavefolk.

The Barrens

(No, this isn't in the city of Anastor, but it's ridiculous to have a separate category located for this. =/)

This cold, dry, desolate patch of land is located on the inner side of Corbele, far away from the sea and life. The ground is dry and cracked like a desert, yet its cold like winter; the trees are stubby and barely alive with small patches of strangled grass here and there. The sky is always overcast, shrouding the Barrens in dreary dimness. This place is filled with the toughest creatures capable of surviving in such an unforgiving piece of land. It is rumored to be cursed by ancient sorcerers and people who have committed a wrong, no matter what kingdom they are from, are usually exiled there. A dirty, pathetic excuse for a city sleeps here, not an honest soul amongst the black hearted inhabitants who try to survive.
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Anastor

Anastor is the "capitol" of the Anastorian Kingdom, you could say, and home to the King himself. It's a mixture of Victorian and French architecture with steampunk elements. Airships soar over head as people of all types traverse the dizzying pathways leading throughout the city.

Minimap

Anastor is a part of Retha: Machines and Magic.

7 Characters Here

Sariyah Azani [0] Member of a dying order, this Druid is shrouded in mystery. Her eyes distant like the desert moon; she coldly gazes into the unforeseen without a single doubt in mind.
Emily Trolson [0] The Mad Tailor
Captain Bartolomeo [0] A ruthless swashbuckler from across the sea
Lord Gabranth [0] A loyal knight and high ranking military leader who is unquestioningly loyal to the kingdom of of Anastoria and, to a lesser extent, her king.
Yin and Yang [0] Opposites attract.
Christopher St. Claire [0] A boy with the habit of bringing furry animals back from the dead, and arming them with incredibly deadly defenses.
The Elder Tree [0] "What? Get that newfangled device out of here!"

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(Christopher St. Claire, Streets, Anastor)

The two figures sat by the side of the road. One was examining the parts they would need to acquire once they'd entered the city proper. For now they just sat on a bench right outside the gates. His hand quickly marked down his needs while his companion sat there with his chest open.

"3/18 millimeter crankshaft, 23 1/3 inch gears, 200 feet of 99 percent pure copper wire, three hundred razor blades."

The smaller of the two pulled out from under the robe revealing himself to be a young child. He quickly stuffed his shopping list into his pocket. Chris looked up to his brother. "Come along Malcolm, we must find a suitable store to do our shopping."

Chris knew what he'd have to do, he'd have to find either an engineer who could recognize the quality of his work and treat him as an equal, or unscrupulous dealers who would charge an arm and a leg for inferior merchandise. Sadly, the latter was much easier to find than the former. The engineers never took him seriously enough that they'd allow him to prove himself.

Chris headed into Anastor to find his parts.

His first stop had been a bust, the man of the machine cult he met with refused him access despite his myriad designs he could use to improve them. Not much of a surprise really. Nobody ever took the twelve year old seriously. He quickly found most of his shopping list, but no vendor was willing to sell so many blades to such a young child, and those he asked gave him strange looks as though wondering what horror a child could cook up with that much steel.

And worse, within this kingdom the back door dealers he was accustomed to dealing with seemed unwilling to meet with him.

With a sigh Christopher set off to hit the many machine shops he would need to visit before finding one that would hopefully allow him to prove his abilities.

All the while the seven foot man followed behind him, metal clanking with every step.

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(Sod-off Nobbs, Lord Rasten's Workshop, Anastor)

"Get out!! GET OUT!!" The noble's voice could be heard for blocks, though through the winding, airy streets of Anastor it wasn't too much of a feat. Out from the door the voice had burst from also flew what looked like a pile of rags with limbs, from the arms of a Very muscular body guard.
"Whut? Wha'd I do, milord?" The heap of rags asked. Were one to take time to get to know this entity, they would find his name to be Sod-off Nobbs.
"What did you do? What did you DO?!"
"Why'es, milord, that's what I asked, milord..."
The Lord Rasten looked down at him inquisitively, and although the thing's face was hard to read, he doubted Soddy to be capable neither of sarcasm nor impertinence. The noble blustered on "I asked you to build me a vehicle. I gave you everything you needed and more! I gave you workspace, shelter, food, and, although I doubt you used it, even a place to bathe! And you made me This?!" He gestured the the bodyguard, who dragged Sod-off back in to the workshop, away from the growing crowd. It being so near to festival time, everyone was looking for a show.

Inside the workshop, two things were immediately obvious at first sight. One, was the great amounts of quality of its tools and furniture, and the considerable amount of space and lighting; these traits were eclipsed, however, by what lay in the center of the room. Less than a meter cubed in volume, a mass of tubes, gears, valves, and levers, in a variety of materials meshed together, vibrated unstably and shot steam and smoke out of every orifice. It was welded firmly to the floor.
"You gave me... This. How did you even manage to make all the materials fit into such a small space?"
"Ah, funny story, there, milord, y'see-"
"I don't even want to know! What I do know, is that it's a pile of trash, you've cheated me out of half my savings, and now its stuck to my shop..." He trailed off as the vibrations noticeably increased, and an odd groaning sound came forth from the machine, rapidly growing in volume and urgency. Sod-off went pale. The body guard, on cue, grabbed his master and continued to drag Soddy as he rushed out the door.


A few blocks away, heads turned as the sound of a great explosion echoed through the streets, followed by a loud, painful, angry scream of "NOBBS!!!" They began to whisper among themselves when, quick as a flash, a figure partially in flames sped past and darted into an alley, leaving a smell so rank that many fled the street. An angry man in tattered clothes, followed by a small horde of goons, soon came after--gossips and spectators, too fascinated by the show to mind the stench, may have recognized him as Lord Rasten--following after their fiery, stinking prey.

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#, as written by Crabnek

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#, as written by Crabnek
(Gabranth, Royal Manor Lower Levels, Anastor)

Gabranth, captain of the king's royal guard and a truly mysterious man. Few knew anything about him at all besides that he was somehow one of the best of the best in the Anastor Miilitary and that he frequently vanished while off conducting his own business. Now was one of those times.

Deep underneath the king's Royal Manor was a network of tunnels. Originally they were meant as an emergency escape route if the manor was attacked, but Gabranth had secretly had them expanded behind the king's back and now used them as his personal chambers.

"Is it ready?" Emerging from the shadows was the armored figure himself, sword sheathed at his right hip and arms crossed.

"The fiend is still unstable," responded an unseen voice, deep and menacing. "However, she is capable of giving birth to lesser fiends now." Gabranth tilted his head and took several more steps forward. A light went on in front of him and he could barely see the front of a massive cage. There was something growling and stirring at the opposite end, but as of yet it hadn't emerged from the darkness.

"She's also becoming more responsive to commands. Soon she'll be ready to release... and then I'll be free as well. Correct, my lord?"

"We'll see how she fares first... If she does well then I'll look into reopening the Void for you. Until then, prepare her for the test." Gabranth let his arms fall and took a step back.

"Ah, but first, open the cage. I want to gauge her power myself." After a few moments of silence, the front of the cage slowly began rising up, disappearing into the endless shadows above. The growling at the end of the cage became louder now, more menacing than before.

"Come now, don't be afraid," Gabranth said, stretching out one palm towards the darkness. "I just want a taste of your strength." Tendrils of violet energy suddenly exploded forth from Gabranth's fingers and palm and soared out into the darkness. A powerful roar of pain echoed out, and suddenly a great figure was rushing forward towards Gabranth from the opposite end of the cage. The strange chain of energy flowing out from Gabranth's hand seemed to be shortening, being pushed back into his hand. Gabranth reached out with his other hand and another similar stream shot forth, an unholy screeching emerging from the cage as it connected with its target.

"A little more... and you're power will be mine!"

Then, suddenly, there was silence.
~~~

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(Sod-off, Streets, Anastor)

Never had Sod-off felt more at home than in Anastor. The windy, twisting knot of passages, alleys, stairs and bridges, homes and hideouts were more suited for him than anywhere else in the world, he was certain. Soddy had always been the curious sort, and all the technologies left lying around gave him a constant show and resource for his imaginings, while the vast network of escape routes, dry shelters, and bountiful trash heaps kept him safe and, well, not healthy, but a more healthful state than one Sod-off Nobbs had before thought himself capable of achieving. He had on his hand something entirely new: spare time--for now that food was readily available and sleeping places were easily procured, he could easily take time to watch through workshop windows, see a crane in action, and draw up his own musings, if he had suitable materials for it (however crude). His favorite alleys (the ones safe from the rain) were covered in sketches, lovely and meticulously drawn out fully and with great detail--even labeled, though as his vocabulary and spelling were hardly the best, the labels, like "sproingy thing", "Bumpy circel #5," and "orngeish metale string" were more for his own benefit.

This all needed to be explained, you see, because Anastor was the only place Sod-off could do what he was doing now. A half a block away, down-wind, he was quietly tailing the most interesting thing he'd ever seen. The boys, one rather short though the other around seven feet tall, never seemed to leave each other; after watching for quite some time, Soddy wasn't completely sure that the tall one was a boy at all, or if it was simply a life-like golem. Regardless of what he was, he was the reason Sod-off took the time to follow them most of the afternoon. He'd probably have given anything, if he had anything worth giving, to see what was under that cloak again. It was fascinating... Energy from water. Another alleyway's worth of ideas flashed through his head, and he froze--the wind briefly changed direction--before correcting his approach to make sure his smell didn't scare away his quarry. The pair then quickly turning right and down a small and private flight of stairs. He followed slowed after, but suddenly the wind picked up, and the cloak billowed briefly, revealing metal. In his excitement, Sod-off raced forward to catch a glimpse and tripped on his loose and ragged jacket. Wide-eyed in fright, he tumbled his way noisily down the stairs while bouncing into the crates other debris on either side--speeding right toward the two boys.

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(Sod-off, Streets, Anastor)

Sod-off looked back and forth rapidly between the boy who addressed him and the Goliath blocking his only way out; his face switching between embarrassment and wonderment with the same rapidity.
"N-Nobbs, sir; S.O. Nobbs! I don't mean any trouble..." he continued to stare at Malcolm. "H-Hey... your golem uses that that sparky stuff! How do you keep i- Sorry, sorry, I shouldn't really be bothering you, sir..." His voice was doing somersaults in panic and inescapable awe; somehow, the mechanic in him could shine through in every situation. "Y'see, I can't help it, is all, sir; amazing design, solid build. Just look the piecewor..kah! I really should be off, though, y'know..." He shuffled half-heartedly, not sure where to turn to escape the small stairway.

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(Hauque Xavor, streets, Anastor)

In the shadows between two of the more well off houses Hauque waited, looking out into the streets towards the royal manor’s courtyard, where the bustle of eventful colored citizens, bustling around in the spirit of celebration... But Hauque had no clue as to why they were acting so, happy, so busy, doing silly things like getting dressed up, dancing and the such, it was a mystery to him. So he remained hidden, almost scared as to what those nightmarish beings making all the noise may do to him, if he was to step out into their domain.
Hauque's features were hidden away, behind the dirty gray hooded robe, that was the slightest bit too big for him. The only give away of his strange form, was the 'shell' Armour that covered his face, was framed by the hood that was worn to hide it. Compared to most of the crowd in his sight, he was a fair bit smaller, and could easily become overwhelmed physically and mentally by the mass.
With his vision locked on the crowd in front of him, he backed down the ally-way between the buildings, and without knowing it had broken free of the shadows into the streets that ran behind. Spinning around as sunlight splashed over his body, and standing part way into the street, he frantically looked around, his mind racing to understand where he was. Small groans escaped from his masked mouth, its tone giving away his childish age and fear.

“Out of tha way, beggar!” a voice yelled. Barely given enough time, the bandaged up child span around towards the voice, to find a large mass of shapely metal rolling towards him, puffs of steam escaping from the top of it, and the rumble of an engine growling away. Not understanding this as a Steam powered car, Hauque feared it was a magic beast chasing him down, the motors rumble a threatening growl, the grill, a mouth of the strange creature.
Two awkward and fearful steps backwards put barely enough room between himself and the car to leave enough time to think. If he knew that simply moving to the side would sway the ‘beast’ to stroll past him, he would, but this he did not know, to him, he was under attack. In his defense, he clasp both hands together in front of his chest, and the orbals of white on his mask, where his eyes were began to glow a brighter sheen oh white. Pushing both hands out towards the vehicle, he birthed a static ball of magic born electricity that leaped into the Beast.
Without staying to see what damage he cast upon the machine, he was on the run in the opposite direction, his nimble legs taking him away, ducking between the wandering people, drawing gasping stares as his hood fell back, exposing his mask of Armour , and his bandaged body.

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(King Marcas, Anastor, Anastor Palace)

Sure enough, his dear Estelle was lingering in the garden, watching the swans with such a look on her face that he hesitated to disturb her. Instead, King Marcas paused in the entrance to the garden and simply observed, beaming. He hadn’t seen his daughter in six months, and every time she came to visit, she looked even more radiant than before. It was definitely her Mother’s blood, but surely she had some of her Father’s good looks as well? Of course she did. One thing was for sure… both parents would have a lot of trouble beating away all the suitors that would be piled at her doorstep. He was surprised they weren’t already camping outside the palace.

“Estelle, my dear girl,” He called out heartily as he finally strode further into the garden, all smiles. “I hope you’ve been well in your Mother’s home?” He plopped down unceremoniously on the bench beside her, hesitant to get closer than that. It was his Daughter, but he always harbored fears that in six months she stayed in her Mother’s home, she would have changed somehow, come to despise him for his love of technology. It was a fear that gave him many sleepless nights. He didn’t think her Mother would try to poison her against him; she had more respect for him than that. But Estelle would eventually form her own opinion, and it was possible she would come to despise him and “his world”, as his ex-Wife had put it the day she left.

“What have you learned so far? About magic and anything in general? Can you show me any new tricks?” He playfully asked his Daughter. It was his subtle way of letting her know that he wasn’t displeased that she liked magic. She was part fairy, after all; her Mother had loved magic with such a passion that she had actually left the Kingdom… and he knew how much her Mother had loved the Kingdom.

He also worried that his Daughter harbored hopes that he and her Mother could somehow get together again. There was no evidence supporting this fact, but when it came to his Daughter, he tended to worry about everything. It was why he chose to refer to his ex-Wife as “Your Mother”; so she wouldn’t think there was any hope of them getting back together.

Of course, once he introduced her to her stepmother, he would no longer have to worry about walking on eggshells around that particular subject… which brought up his next dilemma. Tell her now, or later? He’d rather catch up with his Daughter right now than start talking about her Stepmother, but on the other hand, it may not be wise to save it as a surprise for the Festival or later than that. He decided to wing it and just look for an opportunity to tell her. He was good at winging it.

“I’m sure you already know, but you’ve arrived just in time for the Kingdom Festival. It’ll begin in a couple hours and we’ll have a grand time… you are going, right? If you don’t want to, we can find something to amuse ourselves with around the palace.”

Yes, conversations with his Daughter in the first couple weeks of her arrival were always awkward.

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(Sod-off, Streets, Anastor)

Soddy's face had lit up in a childlike ecstasy as the cloak was pulled aside and all the marvelous machinery was revealed. Speaking quickly and with great enthusiasm, he responded to Chris's question, "It's brilliant, sir! Goddess above; St. Clairium... Sounds a lot better than 'sparky stuff', I'll tell you that, hehe. And only water, at that! The things one could do with that sort of freedom and fuel... I'd only use the idea with your permission, of course! The possibilities, though..." He mused and rambled, ooh'd and aah'd, and asked questions about the transfer of energies, maintenance, and mechanics of the inner workings. "I don't know how you do it, sir; y'see, I can see it all, understand it, draw it even, but the making bit has never really been my strong suit..." Sod-off laughed nervously. "Things tend to fire back on me," mumbling, he continued, "and more on the literal side..."

In that pause, a new look flashed quickly over his face; as though from a strange and sudden realization. Turning slowly and awkwardly to Chris, he fumbled with a question.
"Your golem.. You said... Was it... Human?" His face had grown pale once more, though his expression was more morbid curiosity than fear.

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(Sod-off, Nobbs's Alley, Anastor)

The strange, purple-ish red blotches erupting on Nobb's face could only be interpreted as a blush, and his scraggly, dwarfish form seemed to swell and grow tall in immeasurable pride. He began to show off his favorite parts, getting more and more talkative and less and less shy at the same time; still retaining his polite "sir"s and humble demeanor, he paraded about the messy alley like a newly crowned king touring the royal estate. "Quite honestly, I could erase half this alley now, though; I need new chalk, or charcoal, or something small for details, I could just explode! Water, St. Clairium, it all simply Must be explored... but I'm running out of room with the festival... but I really Have to get these ideas out! Do you..." he slowed down again, and the shyness came back. "Do you think you could help me build some of this, sir? I've never had the chance to have one made..." Under his dirty, knotted mop of probably-hair, Nobbs had not so much an expression of pleading, though it carried the tone, as a face engulfed in tentative, fearful hope.

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The King beamed at his Daughter’s excited response and stood, bowing to her as respect demanded. It would’ve been unfortunate for the King of the Kingdom to be absent at his own festival, but he would’ve done it for his Daughter.

“Well, my dear girl, I’m more than happy to have you at my side. Between you and me, I’ve invited the gypsies to dance and perform for us today and the circus tomorrow, so it should be full of excitement. The ringmaster assures me that we’ll not want for entertainment when he brings out his crew.”

Marcas himself was practically bouncing in place from youthful energy. If only his Kingdom could see him now, confiding secrets like a hyperactive little boy. His manner abruptly became more sober and King-like, however, when his Daughter’s maid Ysabel entered the garden with scowl in his direction. He was well aware that the maid did not approve of him or his fascination with machinery and was strictly faithful to her Queen and religion. Well, he wouldn’t fault her for that, but he wouldn’t show himself to be anything less than regal in her presence, either.

It was all about respect, regardless of one’s feelings towards another.

“She’s right, you know, Estelle,” The King said after clearing his throat. “It’s only a scant two hours until the festival starts and you should have time to rest, relax, and prepare for it. I myself am running a bit behind on schedule. I’ll never hear the end of it from Luxon.”

The King smiled and nodded to the maid and brushed past her to enter the castle. However, he paused, feeling the need to reassure Estelle about her healing magic.

“By the way, Estelle. Keep in mind that your Mother has been practicing magic for at least twice as long as you have. Naturally, hers would be stronger. It takes practice, experience, and time to perfect the art. I’m looking forward to escorting you to the festival.”

With that and a small wave, he headed back inside.

___________________________________________________________________________

Jarvest Aldridge, third Earl of the Aldridge Estate and the offspring of countless blue-blooded Noblemen dating centuries back, sat in Harpy’s Bar and waited for his… companions to arrive. One would think that this rowdy, crowded bar would not be the place for such a shifty rendezvous, but it was actually perfect, as no one would be paying attention to the Nobleman, who was disguised as a mechanic, sitting in the corner by himself.

Yes, he was taking great pains to hide himself and his identity. The assassin he had hired would know him only as Jared Borkin, a man who supported the Druid’s cause. The bottle of magic-strengthened poison was tucked safely into his back pocket. The poison was one of the most common and most obvious sleeping draughts, but it would be immune to the effects of a normal antidote.

It would take a skilled healer to recognize the clever enchantment and overcome it. Jarvest had done his research and was confident that no such healer existed within the Kingdom. If they were, they were going to great lengths to hide themselves.

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(Nobbs, Streets, Anastor)

Nobbs didn't mind leading the way, especially after hearing his two friends were new to the town. Just as he had a way with parts and design, Nobbs had an excellent head for maps and was able to navigate the city with relative ease. Though the way he shuffled and floundered about, one wouldn't think so. The truth was, even with his background firmly set in the land of magic and oddities, he was very put off by the idea of vampires. Even though the wildest, most starving and blood-lusting vampire would likely rather dine on garlic than Sod-off Nobbs, he was generally still afraid of them all the same.

Nobbs had another reason for taking his time, however; his heart leapt a little at the thought of it. He had seen it, he had seen the one... His head was quickly grounded as Malcolm, following silently behind the group, clanked heavily against a cobblestone and reminded Nobbs of his friends' presence. No, another time... Nobbs thought, sheepishly. As the group passed the strange and colorful tailor shop, he couldn't help sneaking a quick peek, doe-eyed and hopeful for a glance; but alas, the object of his admiration was out of sight. Walking quickly forward, he tried to clear his mind of the subject, and the sobering idea of vampires quickly did the job. Soon, the trio arrived at Astaron's workshop.

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(Nobbs, Astaron's Workshop, Anastor)
((Sorry for the delay; it's been a while since I've been able to log on to this site))

Nobbs peered awkwardly at the vampire and his dark office. Frightened and thoroughly unsure of what to do, he resorted to nodding vigorously and agreeing with all that Chris has said, and clutched his precious tablecloth. Though, after hearing the disdain in the vampire's voice, and seeing their lack of options, he decided it would be in his interests to share his treasure instead of guard it.

"I have the plans for the likeness machine right here, if you could take a look... It makes instant drawings, you see? Only they're much faster... you can get a lot of detail, too, if you play with the curvy glass bits enough. It's all I've ever wanted, really, out of all my ideas..." He trailed off. In the back of his head, their was a buzz of discontent; a vampire And an engineer, two blasphemies in one... though being so close, so close to seeing that special little box he'd dwelt on and fussed over and rescued from the elements time and again, he could barely hear anything besides his nervous breathing and the calculating silence of the vampire's den. He fidgeted, and faltered; his nerves, shot from anticipation, gathered instead to brace for whatever response would come his way. His face slowly melted from panicked to his usual doggedly hopeful, faintly curious, and distinctly pathetic silent stare; all that he was thinking could easily be read by the down-turned puppy eyes and slightly pouted though very grimy lower lip.

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(Nobbs, Streets, Anastor)

Nobbs blinked at the still bright sunlight after leaving the musty workshop. Reflecting on his day as he went, he was quite thrilled. The usually quite aimless man found a life of interest and worth all fall into his lap in a single afternoon, leaving him in quite a happy daze as he ambled down the pleasant streets of Anastor. The festival was about to begin, the people were all out and cheerful... Nobbs smiled, surveying the scene in blissful contemplation. There were two beggar children playing with a bright green ribbon and a small lively puppy by the side of the road, a vendor with brightly colored clockwork toys and ornaments giving out tiny mechanical butterflies for free, a young lass singing a popular verse to a small crowd that joined her happily each chorus, and- there down the road was a ragged man running with a group of burly men and shouting obscenities.

Nobbs blanched. The good feeling, needless to say, left him along with perhaps a few other things in his already disgusting trousers. Turning to Chris in a panic, Nobbs managed to blurt out "L-Lord Rasten fortune lost here to kill me down the road got to go!" before he dove into a vacant fruit stand and dashed into the alley just behind it. Lord Rasten and his goons were causing quite a fuss as they ran along; the lord wasn't too polite in his pursuit, leaving an angry trail of festival goers in his wake. Sod-off was very sorry, in retrospect, as he sped away... Not for what he did to Rasten, though. That fruit stand's owner had little hope in selling any of his wares with the smell of Nobbs still lingering in the air.

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(Lord Rasten, Streets, Anastor)

Lord Rasten had turned a sickly sort of purple; the color of a face attempting paleness and a deep blush at the same time, torn between extreme fear and extreme embarrassment. As the street crowd shuffled in it settled into a light pink of indignation, and he pulled himself up while dusting off his ragged finery. Looking around, he curtly, though shakily, responded, "Y-You should know better, than t-to speak that way to your elders and b-betters; I shall let it slide today, given the, erm... circumstances." With that, he gestured to his men; though over the scene that had taken place here in the street, a realization had dawned among the thugs. While working for the miserable little lord was often quite draining, fairly generous wages had long made up for the chore; but just now, Lord Rasten had explained quite clearly that the collective damage Nobbs had caused had wiped away his funds in entirety. Gesturing again, then a third time, growing all the more panicked, their realization began to dawn on Lord Rasten and the rest of the crowd. In a variety of smirks, solemn nods and rude gestures, the men began to announce their resignations and go their separate ways, and Rasten, thoroughly humiliated and hot red in anger, turned sharply on his heel and marched off into the crowd, walking swiftly away from Chris and the audience that had grown from a mob of interested festival attendees.

(Nobbs, Streets, Anastor)

Now much further away, the clanking and small splashes of metal boots on wet cobblestone framed the void between two figures moving through the dank alley. A slightly stunned though grateful Nobbs hung over Malcolm's shoulder as he trudged though the silence. Moments before, a quiet, one sided conversation had tentatively entered in to fill the divide; but comments like "Where are we going?", "Where is your brother?", "Do you speak, do you feel?", all rose up and fell back, unanswered, and the conversation fell away with a final whispered "Thank you...." The gaping silence had now enveloped the two again, but Nobbs was content; this realm, though barren and bottomless, remained a safe haven. He trusted Malcolm to lead him and defend him in this darkness, even despite the still and lifeless barrier underlying, that he in his humanity could never bridge.