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Artemie Scheherazade

"I'll do what I can to help because I can do it. Please, don't worry, and leave it to me. I assure you, I will be done and gone before you know it."

0 · 952 views · located in Nymphaea City

a character in “Tidal Serpent”, as played by Feyblue

Description

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{
Words are definite. They have specific meanings, limits, and connotations that allow you to understand them and use the information they convey to reach a conclusion.
}


{
In this sense, even magic could be called simple. So why is it that Human beings remain so baffling to me?
}


DÉȘáŽ€ÊŸáŽÉąáŽœáŽ‡ Cᎏʟᎏʀ ✩ #AA00FF || TÊœáŽáŽœÉąÊœáŽ› Cᎏʟᎏʀ ✧ #0E00A8

Vocal Theme || Cras Numquam Scire | Yucca ||
Leitmotif || Cras Numquam Scire (Instrumental) | Yo Tsuji ||
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✩ Full Name ✩
  • Artemie Scheherazade
  • Origin and Meaning: Artemie is derived from Artemis, goddess of the Hunt. Not exactly an appropriate name for someone like her. Scheherazade, on the other hand, is derived from the name of the teller of the stories in the 101 Nights - much more fitting for such a bookworm.
✩ Aliases/Sobriquets ✩
  • Purple Magus
  • Addendum: As a relative unknown with a rather distinctive appearance, wielding a surprisingly uncommon magic, it's only natural that rumors would spread about who she is. The "Purple Magus" just happened to be a convenient way of referring to her, since nobody knew her name.
✩ Gender ✩
  • Female.
✩ Age ✩
  • 21.
✩ Class ✩
  • Holder Mage.
✩ Rank ✩
  • B-Class
✩ Sexual Orientation ✩
  • Heterosexual.
✩ Face Claim ✩
  • Patchouli Knowledge, Touhou Project.
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✩ Height ✩
  • Five Feet, five and a half inches.
✩ Weight ✩
  • 108 lbs.
✩ Eye Color ✩
  • Violet.
✩ Hair Color ✩
  • Dark Purple.
✩ Physical Description ✩
  • A rather diminutive individual, Artemie's lithe figure and meager stature seem ill-suited to the respect and power one might expect a mage to carry themselves with. Her narrow shoulders and short limbs don't exactly do her any favors when it comes to trying to be physically imposing, but most misleading of all, perhaps, is her face. Her jawline is narrow and dull, and her nose and ears are rather petite, with a small forehead usually covered by her hair. Conversely, however, her cheeks and lips are very full, giving her otherwise serious face a look closer to a pouting child than a mature adult. Coupled with her height, this often makes people mistake her for being much younger than she actually is, a common error that is only rectified usually by her thankfully more mature figure. Even so, though, it does present a rather glaring clash between her outward image of daintiness and her very stern personality, exemplified in no place better than in her eyes. These violet orbs are perhaps the most expressive part of her otherwise very rigid and stoic countenance, as they, and they alone will change quite drastically depending on her mood, ranging from a blank stare of disinterest to a bright and vivid stare of the utmost focus.

    If one were to pick one adjective to describe Artemie's overall appearance, it would probably be "gloomy." Between her pale skin, dark hair, the bags and circles underneath her eyes, and her generally quite passive and serious manner of carrying herself, there really isn't much contest in this regard. She's seldom seen smiling, or showing much of an expression at all, honestly. She usually walks about with a slight slouch, her head inclined downward in silent contemplation of the floor, and her arms usually weighed down by at least one heavy book of magic. And, between the braids in which her exceedingly long hair is often tied to keep it out of her face, and the reading glasses she carries with her almost everywhere to make up for her shortsightedness, she's pretty much exactly what you'd expect of a somewhat asocial bookworm.

    What one wouldn't expect, on the other hand, is her manner of dress. Not one to expose herself if she can help it, the contents of her wardrobe are about as conservative as they are old-fashioned, and as colorful as they are fanciful. She favors voluminous garments like gowns, robes, and dresses, usually accompanied by such accessories as flowing mantles, frilly capelets, and ornamented caps. One has to wonder, though, given her meager means, where exactly she comes by such garments? Then again, since she essentially lives in Tidal Serpent's library, and thus only really needs to worry about the most basic of needs, it's not quite so unusual - especially considering that she makes most of her clothing herself. This... actually explains a lot, really, like the bright colors, somewhat tacky patterns, and abundance of ribbons covering her outfits, since such fabrics and ornaments are naturally much cheaper to come by than more expensive ones. It does raise entirely new questions, however - like why a grown woman is attiring herself in such outdated apparel, as though a child playing dress up at being a magician rather than a mature professional. Given the eccentricities of her wardrobe, it's almost as if that's exactly what she is - especially since most of her clothes seem to have had their inspiration lifted directly from old storybooks.

    There might be one other possible explanation for her tendency to overdress, however, although few people, if any, would ever know it. It's easy to guess that she's not exactly comfortable in her own skin, but the reason for this is significantly less obvious. Hidden beneath her many layers of clothing are a great many scars, forming a criss-crossing weave of pale white lines back and forth across her back - the unmistakable marks of a whip. And, at the center of it all, right between her shoulderblades at the base of her neck, there's a strange brand burned into her flesh, although it's since been blotched somewhat by her more recent scars. It appears to be the silhouette of some kind of bird, although its purpose isn't quite so obvious. Needless to say, none of her guildmates have yet had the privilege of knowing any of this information. But, should it ever come to light, it might certainly help to explain why exactly Artemie acts the way she does.

    Overall, Artemie is a very odd person, a fact which becomes quite obvious upon so much as first seeing her. She's not necessarily unattractive, and certainly not intimidating, but if nothing else, she certainly is strange...
✩ Distinguishing Features ✩
  • Purple: This color is another adjective with which most people would readily associate Artemie. For one thing, all of her clothing is generally of the same color, but even her hair and eyes are the same hue, making the choice of flashy, regal coloration seem rather deliberate somehow, considering that those don't seem to be natural colors, evidently having been altered at some point by cosmetic magic. Maybe she was trying to look like a stereotypical color-coded wizard...?
  • Glasses: Artemie reads quite often, and, when doing so, is always seen with her reading spectacles on. So, although she isn't constantly bespectacled, they've nevertheless become somewhat synonymous with her overall image.
  • Guild Crest: Ever since she was admitted into Tidal Serpent, Artemie has worn the guild's mark with pride, emblazoned quite intentionally directly over her heart. However, it's not seen very often, for the rather obvious reason that it tends to be covered up by her mantle, or, just as often, by her refusal to wear anything with any sort of low cut, or to show much of any skin at all, in fact. Still, one doesn't need to see it to guess what color it is, being bright purple, much like... well, pretty much everything else associated with her.
✩ Oddities ✩
  • Old Book: When Artemie first arrived at Tidal Serpent's guild hail, the only possession she had with her was a large, old book, which she's never been seen without, ever since then. She cherishes it more than her own life, and carries it with her everywhere. Given her classification as a Holder Mage, it's not really difficult to guess why. Regardless, despite the book's bulk and obvious weight, it doesn't seem to be quite as much of a problem for her as one might think, since she seems to have found ways both to store it inside sleeves or pockets that clearly shouldn't be able to contain its mass or weight, or to simply make it float alongside her on its own power.
  • Sleepyhead: It's not entirely clear whether this is the result of her magic or her poor sleeping habits - or both - but regardless, Artemie has a tendency to fall asleep surprisingly often, sometimes in the most bizarre places. Sometimes this isn't all that strange, like drifting off in a cozy chair while reading a nice book. On the other hand, if she exerts herself too much, she can simply collapse without any warning whatsoever - something which her teammates might not even realize at first, given how secretive she is about her own business.
  • Shut-In: Artemie seems to have an intense antipathy for going outside of her own personal sphere. She'll often spend entire days shut up in Tidal Serpent's library, staying clad in her nightgown if she has an excuse not to get dressed up and go outside. When she does go outside, she's got her fair share of bizarre tendencies, too - like floating rather than walking so as not to be left behind by those with a longer, faster stride than her. Either she's self-conscious about her own small stature, or she's just easily winded, but regardless, it's still pretty weird.
✩ Quirks, Tics, and Mannerisms ✩
  • Overly Formal: Artemie tends to carry herself very rigidly, her head lowered to... well, not just her superiors, but to pretty much everyone she associates with. She has a tendency to bow deeply and speak in a very stilted, formal manner, even in casual conversations. Because of this, it's a bit hard to interact with her sometimes, since the only context in which she seems even remotely comfortable interacting with others is that of a formal business conversation.
  • Open Book: Although she generally puts up a fairly placid front, this isn't to say that she's perfectly stoic at all times. Paradoxically, although she seems to have styled herself deliberately to be flashy, she doesn't actually deal well with being the center of attention, in no small part due to her stilted mannerisms and humble demeanor. Because of this, she's easily embarrassed when she herself is called into question, and the fact that she actually gets embarrassed embarrasses her even more in and of itself. So, she tries to hide her emotions, but this isn't so easily done once she's already slipped up. Because of this, once she loses control, her actions taken to hide from others become increasingly transparent and childish, like locking herself in a closet to hide or burying her face in a book and giving some lame excuse like, "Oh, I must have forgotten my reading glasses. Wow, why is this print so small?" It can be a bit annoying to deal with her when she's like this, so it's usually best to just give her to chance to calm down. Pushing her buttons every now and again might be fun, though, too, just to see the rare spectacle of someone so usually calm all riled up.
  • Evasive: Another thing that can cause Artemie to break her mask of composure is something equally innocuous. She's incredibly bad with physical contact, especially when said contact is either sudden or forceful. Her reactions can vary from simply flinching and drawing back to actually squeaking in fright and visibly cowering from something so innocuous as a pat on the head. Oddly enough, though, this doesn't bother her quite so much when she's expecting it, such as in a fight, where she might take a punch to the gut strong enough to send her tumbling and still stand up as though she didn't even feel it. Given time to prepare herself, it's almost as if she doesn't feel pain at all. And yet, when it's unexpected, she's afraid...? Between her scars and this tendency to shrink from danger, it's fairly obvious that, in any case, her past was far from pleasant to her.
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✩ Magical Abilities ✩
  • Artemie is a rather prominent exception to the general rule that those with inherent magical power master spells of their own, while those who lack it rely on items and trinkets. She possesses some level of magical capacity, to be sure - however, almost all of her skill as a mage comes from a rather distinctive artifact which she carries with pride: her lost magical grimoire, the Ark-Tome. This artifact takes the form of a large black book, adorned with crumbling gold leaf upon its ancient pages. It appears to be split into two separate parts, each written in a different runic script. The first part of the book opens with two pages inscribed with individual runic letters, with footnotes evidently added later corresponding each rune with a syllabic combination in the more modern alphabet. On the pages that follow, these runes are used in carefully alphabetized and ordered lists of what appear to be spells, describing steps to cast them with diagrams often inserted along with helpful annotations. These runes are known as Trace Script - a name given to them by the one who transliterated their sounds to common, everyday figures: Artemie.

    Their function is a curious one. As it turns out, whenever the Ark-Tome encounters a new spell or type of magic, it automatically analyses its properties and purpose, then catalogs this information within its own pages. In addition to simply explaining the spell's usage, however, the Ark-Tome's Trace Script is actually capable of replicating it. When the runes containing the data of a spell are activated by coursing magical power through them, they will follow the steps they've recorded to reproduce the magic that has been selected. This gives Artemie a theoretically limitless range of magic which she could utilize. However, there are several drawbacks to this function. Firstly, the Tome provides no energy of its own, unlike most magical items. Therefore, the spells which the holder can cast are limited to those that they themselves could theoretically learn to use normally. Because of this, and because of Artemie's rather meager magical power, she's limited to utilizing almost exclusively weak spells. Furthermore, the book's efficiency drops rapidly when trying to replicate something that requires a specific magical item, or a specific type of host. Because of this, it's entirely incapable of replicating things like other Lost arts or Dragon Slayer magic, and can only mimic the most basic properties of other magical items, due to lacking their physical attributes. So, for example, although she might be able to cast a magic bullet spell, it would be wildly unfocused and completely inaccurate, due to lacking a magic gun-barrel's form to focus and direct it. However, even so, its ability to analyze external magic is nevertheless useful, as it allows the holder to determine the strengths and weaknesses of other mages and magical items that she might encounter. Lifted from the Tome's knowledge, Artemie has a few distinctive spells she utilizes rather often. The first, Gusty Wall, releases a directed shockwave all around her, meant to repel physical assailants or projectiles. Conversely, a variant known as Gusty Sweeper focuses this same shockwave into an arc in front of her, hitting a target with raw physical force to drive it back and possibly inflict damage. She's mastered a few simple healing spells such as Rapid Regeneration and Cure, as well, making her useful as a field medic when needed. She also is known for her rather extensive use of a celestial magic party trick, of all things, known as Celestial Sphere. Although its normal function is to simply create orbiting spheres of multicolored like to spiral and dance around the caster, Artemie has modified it in conjunction with another spell, Crystallize. This second spell allows her to create several tiny lacrima from her own magical energy pool, imbuing them with various elemental affinities by adding the functions of other spells from the Tome into their nature. Then, when casting Celestial Sphere, she uses these lacrima as focal points for the spell, creating several balls of elemental magic that orbit around her, and which can be controlled in their paths by the motions of her hands. The downside to this is that in order to control Celestial Sphere, she must remain completely stationary. However, she's very difficult to assault directly when surrounded by her spell-lacrima, as she can easily employ all manner of pre-prepared spells to force back an approaching enemy. And, as all the spells she combines are individually very weak and simple to use, her energy efficiency when casting this bizarre combo-platter magic is actually astonishingly high, meaning even a third-rate mage like herself can use it quite effectively.

    The second function of the Ark-Tome is a bit more esoteric. At first glance, the second half of the book appears to be completely blank. However, when a holder comes into contact with the book, they might be surprised to find words appearing on these otherwise empty pages, written in a second language unknown to modern mages. This runic script, too, has been translated by Artemie, although she's loath to reveal its secrets to anyone else. She refers to it as King's Script. Its function, similar to Trace Script, is to transcribe that which the book comes into contact with, and then actualize it once a magical current is passed through the book. However, what it records is not magic, but rather, the will of its caster, filling its pages according to the commandments of the user. Then, once the caster runs magic through these inscribed pages, places the page in contact with a target, and issues a verbal command in accordance with the will imbued into the runes, that will becomes a law which cannot be violated. For example, she could tear out a page, place it on a door, and command that door not to let a specific person through. That person would then become unable to open the door, nor could anyone else open the door for them. Or, she could command an object to assume different properties, like commanding her own body to become steel so as to resist the stroke of a sword. However, the command only lasts for as long as the energy in the rune can sustain it. Because of this, the more general the command - the door being told to keep everyone out versus simply excluding one person - the more unnatural the order being given - commanding a pebble to bear the weight of a mountain, for example, would be harder than commanding it to have the weight of a boulder - and the amount of resistance offered to the change - commanding an unwilling living being is almost impossible due to their magical energy running counter to her order, in accordance with their own will - the less effective the rune will be. Also, this art only really works well against single targets, as, in order to be applied over an area, a pre-prepared space surrounded by runes on all sides must be created, so as to designate the area inside and exclude the area outside. Unlike Freed's barriers from the manga, this space also doesn't entrap those within it unless specifically ordered to, meaning it's also less effective than more perfected modern magics such as his Ecriture of Darkness. However, conversely, it's much more energy efficient, such that even an amateur like Artemie can use it to the fullest effect. Her deficiencies as a spellcaster are further compensated for by the Tome's ability to store magical energy without actually issuing a command, meaning she can draw upon pre-prepared reserves in a crisis, or, using her runes, bestow that same energy on an exhausted ally. The Tome is also capable of using this energy to protect itself and repair any damage dealt to it, making it difficult to render her powerless by destroying her book or ripping out all of its pages. However, like many other types of Lost Magic, these many utilities do come at a price. The Tome's energy storage mechanic actually passively leeches off of her energy, meaning that too much exertion can lead to it sucking her power dry, causing her to pass out until her magic recovers itself. This is partly the cause for her narcoleptic tendencies, and can also lead to her collapsing after a battle, necessitating allies to pull her out of danger.

    Overall, Artemie is not suited to any sort of role as a front-line fighter, due to the limited offensive utility of her powers. However, she's nevertheless incredibly useful when it comes to dealing with potentially dangerous magic, as she can use Trace Script to understand its functions, and King's Script to modify either it or herself such that the spell can't do any damage. She's also capable of pulling out a wide variety of support spells she's collected over time, making her tremendously versatile, even if she's not really a specialist in anything. Finally, she's also capable of tremendously boosting the capabilities of her teammates, healing their wounds, and restoring their energy, making her an excellent supporter for almost any team operation. Now if only it was so easy for her to get into an arrangement where she could actually work with others...
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✩ Personality ✩
  • Artemie is an odd one, to be sure. Although she's been a member of Tidal Serpent almost a year, few, if any of the other members actually know much about her, aside from what's obvious. Namely, that she likes books, doesn't talk much, and sleeps a lot. If you got lucky enough to find someone who knew her a bit better, they might tell you a little more - but only a little - like how she's easy to get along with since she doesn't argue much, or perhaps that she's actually a very helpful person and will do what she's asked without objection. But all of these aren't so much a summary of who she is as a person as they are observations about the things she does. What she's thinking about, and why she acts the way she does... that's much harder to discern.

    For one thing, she almost never starts conversations herself. In fact, it always seems like she doesn't pay much attention to the people around her at all, since she's always got her head buried in some book or another, barely even aware of the world around her. She always seems intently focused on her reading, with a serious, grave expression that makes it rather difficult to approach her without feeling like one is interrupting something of the utmost importance. Despite her diminutive stature and quiet attitude, she thus somehow manages to be a rather intimidating person to try to talk to. If one actually worked up the courage to speak to her, though... She'd answer politely, asking if there was some concern they had and if there was anything they needed of her. Just like that, from the moment a conversation begins, she always seems to assume a position like that of a store employee, seeming to always exist either as someone to whom you pay no mind, or someone whose only reason for being there is to offer assistance.

    This isn't a bad thing about her, persay. Actually, it's one of her best characteristics: her willingness to help people, no matter when, where, or how. If you ask a favor of Artemie, you can be assured that she'll do everything in her power to see it through. And, if that's still not enough, then she'll apologize profusely for her own inadequacy, and then won't rest until she finds somebody who can and will help you in her place. Indeed, to anyone who associates with her for a long period of time, it becomes immediately obvious that Artemie has two positions she's willing to assume. Either she's out of sight, out of mind, and thus isn't hindering anyone at the very least, or she's helping them however she can. She seems above all else to want to be useful, but it might alarm those trying to become her friends to realize that this is almost the only concern she has. Self-effacing and self-sacrificing to a fault, she'll downplay her own achievements and merits in order to make others feel better, and will give up almost anything, be it her time, her belongings, her reputation, or her well-being if it means those around her are better off in the end. Worst of all, she treats this so matter-of-factly, brushing off this ugly side of her devotion as if even this is perfectly normal. If she's to be believed, nothing about her behavior is unusual, and nothing is wrong.

    As someone who thus views her function in society as equal to that of a particularly versatile tool, she's thus always incredibly serious, exaggerating the problems of others in her mind to justify her own actions. The idea of a joke, while not foreign to her, isn't something she's good at recognizing, as she's terribly literal-minded. She's also not good at picking up on subtle emotional cues in people's faces, voices, and body language, and usually just takes whatever they say at face value. She's not gullible, persay, as she's logical-minded enough to recognize a lie in context. But, at the same time, she can't make head nor tail of what other people are thinking, much like they have trouble guessing at Artemie's own thought processes. Perhaps most alien to her of all is the idea of a prank, since purposefully inconveniencing someone else seems to her to be positively cruel, no matter how minor the slight, or the jocularity with which it is committed. Because of this seriousness, and in no small part also due to her own inferiority complex, she's almost entirely incapable of recognizing or appreciating all but the most obvious of compliments, while on the other hand, she tends to take most joking comments about herself as condescension or insults. This only perpetuates her habits of setting aside her own thoughts and feelings for the sake of others, since she feels like the only way she'll ever be appreciated by others is if she does something for them.

    She's incapable of recognizing her own merits unless somebody else spells them out for her, and, worst of all, seems content to write herself off as unimportant or somehow inferior without objecting to it. This is so bad that it's actually gotten to the point where if someone else shows an unsolicited kindness towards her, she'll feel obligated to pay them back by redoubling her own efforts to help them, since otherwise, they'd be worse off for their charity towards her. Possessed of a keen sense of compensation, she hates being indebted to others in any way, shape, or form, and tries to pay back her mental accounts at least double what she owes them. Perhaps most baffling of all is that despite all of her self-destructive, martyr-like tendencies, she doesn't seem to hold any active malice towards herself. Rather, she's simply accepted her current position as inevitable, and seems to be striving to make the best of it.

    But, then again, maybe she isn't content with the way things are. Although most of her actions fall in accordance with her above-stated methodology, every now and again, Artemie will try something completely different. Maybe she'll suddenly strike up a friendly conversation with somebody because "They happened to be there, and I was bored," or, wonder of wonders, actually ask someone for a favor of some kind. Although she's normally honest to a fault, for the most part, these pretexts for conversation are by and large entirely fabricated. She'd never ask somebody to do something she wouldn't do herself, but she'll blow up some obligation in her mind to the point where she can justify asking someone else with a common interest to assist her with it. In truth, what she really means by this is "I value your company and want to spend time with you." But, if she phrased it like that, she'd never be able to accept such selfishness herself, since she'd be, in her own mind, asking them to waste their time for her own amusement. When something or someone is truly important with her, she can't be fully honest about it even with herself, and thus resorts to this act of self-deception, even if the only one who can't see through her lies is Artemie herself.

    But, perhaps this way of dealing with others is as much a defense mechanism as it is a way to avoid seeing the disconnect between her thoughts and her desires. If she doesn't have to open herself up emotionally, if she doesn't have to make herself vulnerable, there's no danger that other people will see how twisted she really is inside, and look down on her for it - or even worse, pity her, when she feels like she doesn't even deserve to pity herself. As mentioned before, she doesn't deal well with attention. Since she can't understand what people are thinking, and finds insults in the most innocuous of words, this is hardly surprising. She doesn't know what people are thinking, and oftentimes, they hurt her without ever realizing, without her ever knowing why. She can't keep up in conversation, and always frets that she'll misunderstand something, or that she'll end up being scolded. So it is that, whenever she can help it, she simply remains completely silent, preferring not to speak or interact with others if it means she'd only end up humiliated. She's equally self-conscious about her image, and keeps her scars as her most unspeakable of secrets. Her odd aesthetic, too, seems to be a bit of a sore spot with her, as making fun of her outfit or her appearance is one of the few ways in which one can quickly make Artemie genuinely angry.

    On a related note, despite how outwardly serious and diligent she seems, Artemie is honestly... kind of a dork, actually. Whenever there's some question somebody has of her, she'll answer it as thoroughly as she possibly can. If there's a problem she can solve with her magic, she'll do it so precisely that there's no room for any mistakes, explaining every step along the way and demonstrating just how useful she can really be. It seems like even someone as self-effacing as her has pride in some things, and in her case, those things are her intellect and her own special brand of magic. But she's not satisfied with just this, but rather seeks to live up to her own imagined reputation, making bizarre choices like adopting her self-created image as the "Purple Magus" and going to the trouble of making her own fairy tale outfits just so she could seem impressive and fantastical, like a real legendary magician. If one realizes this, it's no wonder why she values her "reputation" and her image so highly, and why she hates so much to be belittled for it. Similarly, the reason why she goes so far out of her way to help others seems to be derived from similar fairy tale logic, that good deeds are their own reward, and thus no matter what it costs her, she should always do the right thing, because someone shouldn't need a reason to do what is right.

    It's not hard to guess where these rather odd notions come from, if one gets the chance to see what sorts of books she's actually reading when she claims to be doing "research." As it turns out, she's already mostly satisfied with her knowledge of magic and its many applications, and views this line of inquiry as having mostly had its questions answered. What she's really researching is human beings, the way they think, and the way they live: an admirable effort, were it not for her chosen means of doing so: through corny romance novels and cheesy adventure serials, which she wholeheartedly adores, and seeks to emulate herself in order to fit in with her perceived notions of the world. For example, one of her lifelong dreams is not just to achieve the rank of S-Class Wizard, but rather to be recognized officially by the Magic Council of Fiore, or maybe knighted officially by the king for her service. Of course, she knows that this sort of thing will almost certainly never happen, considering that she's a third rate mage with a terrible capacity for magic, whose only successes have been because she happens to possess a powerful magical artifact, but she sometimes talks as if it's a sure thing despite this. Similarly, she's also fond of daydreaming about such unrealistic things as happening to save the life of some doubtless dashing and handsome young man who would turn out to actually be a prince in disguise, and then she'd help him reclaim his kingdom and he'd love her forever and ever... You'd never think that somebody who doesn't understand the first thing about people and who shies away from almost all human contact would be so hopelessly obsessed with the idea of spending her life with someone else, but Artemie's a romantic, through and through.

    Most likely, Artemie knows that her conception of the world has been wrong from the beginning. Good doesn't always win, evil doesn't always lose, and there isn't always a happily ever after at the end of the day. Some limits simply can't be overcome through sheer tenacity, and people don't trust blindly, love passionately, and always hold onto their beliefs. But... isn't the very reason why people write about those kinds of things because they're somehow beautiful? And maybe, just maybe, by acting like the world is that kind of place, she can somehow make it just a little bit better. So, even if it's silly, like a child playing make believe, and even if it's hopeless, or downright insane, Artemie wants to believe that that kind of world can exist somehow. So it is that, despite her dedication to others, Artemie remains as she always has been: alone.
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✩ Likes ✩
  • Reading Books: The most obvious of all her interests. Primarily, she enjoys storybooks, particularly romantic stories that don't take themselves too seriously and always have a good laugh at the end of the day. Maybe the real world should be more like storybooks...
  • Sweets: The only reason Artemie remains so lean and scrawny is probably because she doesn't have the money to indulge in treats on a regular basis. As is, though, Artemie in a candy store is like... well... a child in a candy store.
  • Being Thanked: Even if she downplays it, she validates herself and her belief in her intelligence and magical prowess through the praise of others. As such, the gratitude of others is what she lives for. Does that make her selfish? Maybe.
✩ Dislikes ✩
  • Not Knowing Something: She feels like it's her job, part of her entire identity, to always know what she needs to. If there's something she's ignorant of, she'll regard it as a personal failing nine times out of ten, and redouble her efforts to assert her wisdom.
  • Conflict: Despite her intelligence, she values the opinions of the people around her above her own. If she didn't, she wouldn't feel obligated to assert her knowledge to earn their praise in the first place. Because of this, she'll fall in line if sufficiently cowed rather than arguing, even if she knows that the person who doesn't believe her is mistaken.
  • Her Height: Her burgeoning inferiority complex doesn't exactly make it easy to stand proud, especially when most people around her can and do literally look down on her. Pointing out how short and small she is, even if meant well, done in jest, or mentioned indirectly, thus tends to be a bit of a sore spot for her already weak pride.

✩ Motto ✩
  • "My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service." - Queen Elizabeth II.
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✩ History ✩
  • For the most part, Artemie's past is a mystery to the members of the guild, save perhaps the Guild Master, to whom she explained her circumstances briefly. To make a long story short, Artemie has very few memories of her family. Orphaned at a young age by a devastating earthquake, Artemie found herself "adopted" by a Dark Guild known as Dusk Vulture as an indentured servant and ritual assistant. Branded with their guild mark - a scar she bears on her back to this day - she was thus propertied in order to survive. After all, if she worked for them, she got food to eat and a bunk to sleep in - and so work she did. However, among the children brought in by the less-than-scrupulous guild, she was one of the least talented magically, and her constant failures to perform properly often earned her a great deal of scorn and punishment, resulting in her thin, fragile appearance, the whipping scars on her back, and her lack of confidence. Derided for her failures, she seldom interacted with other people, causing her to become fearful of ever doing so. She hid herself away whenever possible, doing what she was told and simply trying to get by without disappointing anyone, afraid of the punishments that would follow. Nevertheless, weak as she was, she was told many times that she was useless, an insult which burrowed into her consciousness and festered there over the years.

    Artemie hated her lot in life. She thus turned to idle daydreaming so as to avoid dwelling on her own sorry situation, simply doing as she was told, ignoring the pain of punishment for failure, and generally trying to be as useful as possible when needed, and a non-entity when she was not to avoid being singled out. But, one day, a means of escape actually presented itself. Dusk Vulture had been founded when a few outcast magicians had stumbled across a secret library, and made its collapsing ruins their base of operations. It was the excavation of, and the retrieval of the contents of this library that the slaves - Artemie included - were tasked with. However, one day, Artemie made a rather curious find amongst the molded and rotted books and scrolls long buried beneath the ground: a mysterious tome which remained almost unharmed, save a little wear on its cover. Opening it, she found it to be empty, yet an instant later, mysterious runes began to appear upon the page. After a little bit of experimenting, it suddenly struck her that these runes were being created in response to specific thoughts. Curious, she hid the book away, and slipped away from camp and into the ruins on the following night to investigate it further. It was slow going at first, but once she discovered that the runes were created any time she made a wish, she thus recorded several commands with similar patterns and used slight variations between them to slowly work through the complete alphabet of the book's runes. Comparing these strange characters to those she knew, she realized that they were phonetic in nature, and could be used to write in her own language. All of this was quite interesting, but what good was a book that recorded wishes unless it could grant them? It was only through another accident that she realized that, actually, this was exactly what the book did. Nearly spotted lurking amidst the ruins by the sentries, she had to scramble to a hiding place, and cursed under her breath, wishing the book wasn't so heavy. To her surprise, she felt a current run through her fingers, and found that the tome was now almost weightless. Elated at her discovery, Artemie quickly realized exactly what she could do with this power, especially when further experiments - commanding the book to give her the powers of other magical items - revealed its ability to store data on other forms of magic, and to invoke the power of said recordings. Translating Trace Script using King's Script to command subtitles to appear on the page in her own language - a rather silly solution, but an effective one - she found herself for the first time feeling proud of herself. She'd outwitted her captors, discovered something she felt nobody else could have, and obtained a unique and wondrous magic that only she could use. With the forgotten magic of the Ark-Tome, she was able to match the power of those around her, and even exceed it. With it, she would no longer be forced to obey and suffer under her masters. And so, one night, she simply left a rune on her pillow, commanding her bed to "look as if she was in it." Buying herself time until morning through this ruse, she retrieved the Tome from the ruins, and then fled as fast as she could from camp.

    Thus it was that Artemie found herself wandering the countryside of Fiore. Although she managed to get by for a while by begging, she soon realized that she'd need a job to stay alive. But, how could she hope to get a job? The only thing she knew how to do was use magic through the Tome... Naturally, she stumbled upon a delightfully simple solution one night when she was found passed out in the street and taken to a nearby tavern, run by a local guild. Nursed back to health, she begged to be allowed to stay and work with the guild to pay off the debt she owed them. The Guild Master complied, granting her room and board in exchange for her services. So it was that she became the unofficial keeper of Tidal Serpent's archives. This might seem like an underwhelming vocation, coming from someone who almost immediately began to dream of heroism, chivalry, and legendary quests from the moment she was given access to books of her own. But, although she's technically a member of the guild's active wizards, the fact remains that Artemie has yet to take on any major requests, for the most part working instead as a magical consultant for local businesses, an appraiser of magical items, and, of course, the guild's librarian. This is, for the most part, due to the unfortunate combination of her being a mage primarily suited for supporting others, and her inability to ask other people for favors. She's sure that one day, she'll be able to do something incredible. She just needs a little help first, and unfortunately, that's exactly the one thing she can't afford to ask for. Now, if somebody would just ask for her assistance, that would be a different story... And yet, after almost a year of working with the guild, this has yet to happen, since she's little more than acquaintances with practically anybody in the guild. And, maybe, just maybe, her unrealistic pride has worn down enough that she might be willing to beg. After all, if it means making herself useful and taking a step closer to achieving her dreams, it would be worth it... right?

✩ Personal Relationships ✩
  • ◑ = Neutral || â˜ș = Friends || â˜șâ˜șâ˜ș = Best Friends || ☠ = Enemies/Rivals || ჊ = Crush/Attracted to || ♄ = Romantic Interest/Dating

    || Bardulf Sherwood ||
    â˜ș
    "Mr. Sherwood? He comes by the library sometimes. He's always very polite and doesn't speak to me much, so he's easy to deal with, but it's hard for me to tell what exactly he wants. He enjoys books, though, and always reads the ones I recommend to him, so I think that makes us friends. Probably.
    Birds of a feather, these two. Bardulf generally doesn't talk much around Artemie, and she's fine with that. Since both of them don't know where to begin a conversation. he doesn't ask much of her. And, since she doesn't have any spoken expectations to meet, she's perfectly comfortable just staying out of his way. Their shared hobby does mean that she can help him out by offering him book recommendations or editing tips on his novels, which makes her feel useful, and gives him a way to converse with her more naturally. As a result, the two of them rather quickly became odd friends, of a sort, since he's one of the few people she feels at ease around.

    || Cheneres Se-anhur IV ||
    ჊
    "I don't understand him at all... why does he keep coming by the library if not for books? And every time I see him, he always praises me, even if I haven't done anything to deserve it... He's so nice to me, I wish I could get to know him better, but he's so loud and straightforward that it's a bit hard to talk to him. A-anyway, that's not the point. He's done so much for me already. I need to pay him back properly!"
    Cheneres is someone who is pretty much the opposite of Artemie in every way. Unrestrained by conventionality, with a boisterous spirit and boundless energy, and always looking for fun in everything, he stands completely contrary to the reserved, selfless Artemie. And yet, despite all that, he was one of the first members of Tidal Serpent to actually strike up a conversation with her, and seems to take every chance he can get to give her compliments. ...Unfortunately, Artemie's complete lack of basic social skills means that she has yet to realize that this is par for the course for the guild's resident ladykiller, meaning she thus takes his words to heart rather than being repulsed by his incredibly obvious advances. Although she's too bashful to speak with him directly, both fearing that she'd only be a nuisance and not really knowing how to get closer to him, she's much more interested than she'd ever admit to herself. Sadly, nothing will come of these feelings unless Artemie actually goes out of her way to acknowledge what it is that she herself wants, leaving her stuck in something of a standstill until she's satisfied herself that she's repaid the debt she owes him for his kindness.

    || Dolores De La Fuente ||
    ☠
    "Dealing with Miss Dolores is simple enough. I just do what I'm told and then get out of her way as quickly as possible. I'm not sure if I'm useful to her or not, but what else can I do? She's terrifying..."
    Between the unseemly rumors about her dark dealings in the past and her own incredibly stern demeanor, Dolores is Artemie's natural enemy. She doesn't make requests, she gives commands, and Artemie frets to no end about whether or not she's managed to fulfill the orders she's been given. More often than not, if Dolores is coming, Artemie will simply get out of the way as quickly as possible and pray she isn't noticed.

    || Keiji Okaro ||
    ◑/☠
    "Mr. Keiji is... umm... Well, I guess he's not hard to deal with, but he's kind of frightening despite that. He never really says anything, and doesn't act like I can help him with anything... but then why is he always hanging around? Did I make him mad, somehow?"
    Given Keiji's tendency to watch over the younger members of the guild and Artemie's complete inability to read others, it's no surprise that the two don't exactly see eye to eye. Given her aloof attitude, she's naturally a prime candidate for Keiji's watchful protection. However, since he doesn't step in and interact with her unless she gets herself into serious trouble, she's come to assume that his opinion of her is a very negative one, since he brushes off all her offers of assistance and only really talks with her to scold her for getting herself into something she can't handle. While he's not quite as up-front as Dolores, and thus doesn't scare her quite as much, she nevertheless finds interacting with him completely baffling at best, and at worse, utterly draining.

    || Slick ||
    ☠/â˜ș
    "I have no idea what Mr. Slick is thinking. Sometimes, he's nice to me, but at other times, he says things I don't understand, and then laughs at me. Does he think I'm stupid? And why does he keep calling me small, or jumping out of nowhere to scare me? Maybe he hates me... I'll have to try harder not to be a nuisance to him!"
    Another long-time acquaintance of hers, since the self-appointed Librarian oftentimes is called upon to assist the guild's unofficial bookkeeper. They get along well enough, in that Artemie has a way to be of use to him and thus isn't quite so afraid to interact with him as she is with others. However, his constant flirting tends to go way over her head, and sometimes his jests go a little too far and leave Artemie confused by why he seems so intent on mocking her. She's a bit scared of him because of her inability to understand him, and so tends to overwork herself in trying to make up for whatever it is that might displease him. However, despite how hard he can be to deal with, she nevertheless respects him as something of a teacher. He's a Holder mage, too, but one whose sheer skill has allowed him to stand as an equal to those with natural talent. Plus, his ability to expertly control the flow of a conversation to get what he wants is something that Artemie, devoid of social skills as she is, finds downright miraculous. The suave, self-confident and slick magician is someone who Artemie can't help but admire, and who, oddly enough, she sometimes tries to emulate - to varying degrees of success.

    || Rin Hitomi ||
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    "Sorry, but I don't really know enough about Miss Rin to make any sort of comment. She seems like a powerful wizard, and I respect her for that - but that's really all I know."
    Given that both Artemie and Rin keep almost entirely to themselves, it's no big surprise that the two have almost never spoken to one another. Artemie doesn't dislike her, but generally avoids her, since she's a very strong-willed person and seems to get angry very easily - two things which the much more passive librarian would rather avoid. While she doesn't think of Rin as a bad person, she nevertheless would rather not associate with her simply due to the awkwardness involved - especially if doing so would only make the lone wolf angry.
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So begins...

Artemie Scheherazade's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion
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Keiji stood with the other S-class wizards behind Guild Master Castien as he performed the announcements following the S-class trials. Keiji’s arms were folded in front of him, his eyes peering over the crowd with an unintentionally intense gaze that often fooled people into believing he was a much darker individual than he actually was. His body was clothed from head to toe, his hood up to cover the scars and burns that marred the back half of his head but allowing his facial features to still show through. His eyes fell upon Dolores, standing there proud as the newest member of the strongest wizards the guild had to offer, and he felt himself wondering how she had gotten there. He had not had the pleasure or regret of meeting her in combat for these trials, Instead it had been Slick who had run into Keiji. He peered around slightly, finding the man in the crowd and wondering if he hated Keiji for stopping him from reaching the top this time around. They had their differences, but it wasn’t his intention to stunt Slick’s growth into a powerful wizard, only to make sure he deserved to belong with them.

Returning his attention back to Dolores and the proceedings, Keiji once again started flickering through memories of her magic usage, and still couldn’t comprehend how someone with such a utility power could get as far as she did. Ultimately, that part didn’t matter as she was standing here now, meaning she did everything she needed to to win. For that, respect was given even if understanding wasn’t. Castien continued with the announcement that Oceana would be taking over Guild Master, and Keiji couldn’t help but feel some sense of trepidation. She was young, and in his eyes, inexperienced and lacking in powerful capabilities. Her leadership would need to be put to the test, and he hoped with all his being that she didn’t crumble under the pressure. This was a feeling that was only amplified when she ran over and embraced Dolores in a rather childish display of affection. Keiji didn’t let any emotion show through his face, even though his own internal groaning flooded his ears. Ultimately the guild needed to remain unified, so he would help her where necessary but he would still be keeping a close eye on her.

Then came the whammy that she was restricting job usage for the week, something that earned an arc of the eyebrow from Keiji as he realized that those who relied on those listings to get by would have a hard time for the next week. Once again, he didn’t agree with it but he said nothing. Now was not the time to speak up and say things that he might later regret. Still, he would have to scrimp for the next seven days, and that was going to be it’s own kind of hell as he realized his diet would consist of rice, rice and even more rice. With the announcements done and everyone starting to disband to do their own thing, Keiji left the stage. He had several things to do, hopefully before his lack of funds started to kick in.



A thrum of power reverberated through the clearing much like a small localized earthquake. Trees shook leaves from their branches, pebbles bounced along the ground, and small creatures darted in every direction to get away from the seemingly invisible force. A closer inspection would lead people to see the air waving, much like heat rising from the ground. A glance downwards would reveal a golden sigil, intricate in design and large in size emanating from a singular point. In the middle stood Keiji, his clothes flapping slightly to an unseen wind, his eyes shut as concentration broadcast from his person. While nothing seemed to be visibly happening, an investigative look at Keiji would reveal that he was sweating. It looked like he was holding a great weight above him, straining to maintain his composure against the pressure he was inflicting upon himself. This continued for a few minutes, before the sigil on the ground disappeared slowly and Keiji opened his eyes to view the grass around him. It was flattened, much like a crop circle in a field, and a quick survey showed him that no animals had wandered into his field during his training; his continued acclimatization to the forces that he controlled.

He released a breath that he hadn’t been aware he had been holding, the stress of not being able to go out on jobs starting to affect his normally calm demeanor as he had found himself being irritated by smaller and smaller things. The other day he had accidentally crushed a cup in his hand for literally no reason at all. His power needed an outlet, and even his training wasn’t doing enough to satisfy him, and he couldn’t necessarily go all out on his training here either, not without leveling a good section of the surrounding landscape. He rolled his shoulders, flapping his white muscle shirt slightly to get a bit of heat off of his chest. Black shorts that came down to just below his kneecaps adorned his legs, revealing his heavily scarred skin. Remnants of battles won and lost, accidents, training trophies and hard won achievements one and and all. Nearly every inch of him was covered in something that even the most war torn general would have been shocked at, but for him this was the norm.

With his preliminary training out of the way, he walked over to a tree which had obviously seen better days. Its bark had been broken off in several places, with indents like someone had taken a hammer to it evident on it’s trunk. Keiji took another breath, adopting his standard combat stance and proceeding to attack the tree with all the force he could muster, that is, all he could muster without the use of his magic. He had deadened his nerves to allow such training to be viable and to assist in battle, a skeptical training technique that could lead to long term health problems...at least that what the healers had told him between staring at his marred features.

This continued for a few hours and ended when the sun started to rise on the horizon. His ‘stop and pay attention to the guild’ alarm. With little ceremony, rubbing his knuckles and palms as he moved, he gathered the rest of his clothes and carried them back to the guild hall.



By the time he had arrived at the front door to the building, he had donned the rest of his clothing, pulling the hood up over his head to hide the remainder of his wounds from the others. Today the job ban would be lifted and he could get back to work, bring in some money and get back to a regular schedule. Hopefully the others would be in the same mindset, and hopefully people would be putting out s-ranked quests for him to take care of. As he entered the door, he was greeted with Oceana stepping onto the bar and asking for everyone’s attention. Someone in the back had enough sense to say the statement in a more authoritative voice, to which the guild master giggled and made Keiji groan inwardly once more. She didn’t carry herself with the mentality of a leader or master, something that had been made evident the days following her induction. Once again though, just because he didn’t agree with her leadership style, or even that she was the right choice for the spot, didn’t mean he would do anything to bring light to that fact. Keiji walked in, doing his best to not draw attention from others even if his magical ‘signature’ if you will was enough to warrant a couple of glances. He took a seat a couple of tables away from her, awaiting the news that she was about to spew.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion
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#, as written by Feyblue
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As the excitement of the S-Class Trials had finally begun to wind down, a week of relative quiet had set in.
No matter, The young wizard mused, raising her eyes from the pages of her book to peer out the large picture window at the corner of the guild's tavern, squinting slightly to see through the glare that played upon the sheet of glass. Indeed, such things hardly concerned one Artemie Scheherazade. As a relative nobody, there was little chance of her ever taking the S-Class examination, and even less of a chance for her to actually pass it. She could talk a good line about how she'd claim the position one day, and go even further beyond it, too. But, when faced with the prospect of actually having to prove her worth against seasoned wizards the likes of Slick, or, heaven forbid, the new appointee, Ms. Dolores... Artemie shuddered at the thought. No, it was much better to simply work at the library and occupy herself in absentmindedly dreaming of such things than to actually attempt them.

She shut her book, glancing back over to the diner area, where a few other wizards were still loitering around. There hadn't been many people actually doing anything since requests had been suspended, so for the most part, those with nothing better to do simply came here to chat with old comrades and make plans for their next missions. For her own part... well, honestly, not even Artemie was sure why she had chosen that particular day and that particular time to wile away the hours reading in the lobby. Maybe it was the warmth of the light in her little nook by the front window, or the open view of the street as she watched the colorful people of Nymphaea pass by. Or maybe, she'd been hoping to snag one of the easy jobs on the board the moment requests opened back up again, so that she could keep up a steady income.

Regardless, she just so happened to be there, thinking of nothing in particular, and, in fact, nearly drifting off to sleep when suddenly, the voice of the new guild master caught her attention. It seemed like she had some kind of announcement to make, which meant that requests would probably be opened for work. And yet, it seemed also like she had something more to say. So, curious, Artemie slipped her book back into her sleeve, where she mumbled a command for it to be contained. A few runes in the lace frills of her gown flashed for a moment, and the book disappeared into the folds of the cloth seamlessly, as if it hadn't even existed in the first place. Standing up, she tiptoed a little bit closer to the bar, leaning sideways against a support pillar and peering out from behind it so as not to draw too much attention to herself. There, she waited, curious to see what exactly Oceana would have to say.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion
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Cheneres

Though Chen is not usually seen idle, his purposely apparent indignant emotion ran rampant. S-Class Trials were a time of celebration, although his inability to participate gave him a face of scorn. Due to how careless he was during a mission, he sustained multiple injuries. Although the people he forcefully dragged along remained unharmed, he broke all 4 of his limbs and more. However, he completed the mission, he had quite a bit of time to count the reward on his hospital bed.

His perfectly chiseled abs were covered by grimy bandages. He's able to walk and move his limbs again, but he still was nursing the many cuts and bruises. His face was covered with dust and his hair disheveled. He usually was a man harboring great pride for his body, but he was too busy crying himself to sleep. Instead of sitting in the middle of such a grand occasion. He was in a minuscule corner in the southeast part of the room. Cheneres the Exile, reduced to a hermit.

Despite it all, he was happy for the new S-Class. A wondrous maiden does deserve recognition. Cheneres himself isn't familiar with her. Even Cheneres, the man who rushes into danger, is vigilant when approaching someone such as Dolores. He much rather fight monsters of vigor than be on the opposite end of a woman's fury.

Alas, he took another sip of his drink. He was drinking vodka in the morning, maybe to ease the pain of not being able to participate or just because he's Cheneres the Exile, he drinks whenever he wants. He soon fell into a deep slumber, unable to applaud and commend Dolores. It's a somber day if Cheneres is not rushing to a woman's side. Between his gloomy episodes and his whining, he'll recover somehow. It would've been quite important to know that the guild master had suspended Jobs for everyone to recover, but he'll manage. If blowing all your cash on booze and couch surfing fits the definition.


It was a harsh 7 days. Cheneres couldn't find another tavern that would serve him ale for free, so he turned to street performances to pay for his necessities. Though, due to his ineptitude when it comes to musical talent. It would make more sense if they paid him to stop his performance instead of to compliment it. Don't tell him I said that though.

Bright and early, he pushed open the guild hall doors gloriously. In case it was obvious that he has arrived, Cheneres makes it a point to make sure people are aware. With his usual announcement, "Cheneres the Exile makes an entrance! ♫" He declared. This habit is usually met by groans of annoyance by his guild members, heavy or hushed. Him going so early could be to bother less people, but it's most likely to get drunk faster.

He ordered from the counter quickly and went to converse with the people of the guild. Giving a hearty hello to his mates and a little bit extra for the ladies (Flex on 'em). It was a busy and boisterous morning, because Cheneres made it so.

It seems the little girl of a guild master had an announcement for the populace. He always found it unorthodox for there to be such a young girl running a former dark guild. She rivals him in energy and can even come off as a bit overbearing, and that's coming from Cheneres. He always thought she should eat more, grow into a voluptuous woman, but that's a personal preference. Those are just thoughts, they were never particularly close and he finds himself straying away from her path. Nonetheless, he respects her magic prowess. He is rather adept at feeling people's strength, though he often rushes in anyways despite knowing he'll lose.

But it seems the little GM had a big announcement. He walked over to the counter and took his drink, he then went to the back of the huddle as he is one of the taller members of the guild. He took a few sips and waited impatiently. If a dainty little lass like her is a guild master, Cheneres is a rocket scientist.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion Character Portrait: Jin Takeshi
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Everyone in the guild seemed to be a bit tense in the week following the S-class competition. Jin didn't hold it against them though. Some of these wizards really needed the income from jobs to support their families, and even a week without work was enough to drain what funds they had left. Initially, he had argued with Oceana on the whole concept of a "rest week," but she had somehow managed to convince him that it was for the best. She argued that the competing wizards were liable to try and prove their rank (likely bitterness from losing the opportunity to advance) by taking difficult missions despite their injuries. Oceana, fully well knowing that Jin was a stickler for safety, had used his own priorities against him. For all the trouble and complaints however, he had to admit that the week off had given him ample time to relax and work on his knitting. His mother's new gloves testified to his productivity.

Finally, the day came that the week-long rest period would end. With it, would come an announcement that held the potential to stir a few tempers. Oceana had pitched the plan to Jin earlier in the week, and he had to admit that it was a pretty good one. With a few discussions, the pair had managed to sort out the details and minimize the possibility for complaint. Still, he could tell that there would be disagreements. That was his job to deal with though. Oceana made the plans and Jin enforced them- that had always been the way it was.

He had been in the kitchen tossing bits of lunchmeat to his cat Shiba when Oceana hopped up onto the bar counter. When he heard her squeaky attempt at an announcement, he casually stepped out into the main guild area, leaning up against one of the tables that scattered the room. The chatter wasn't dying down though. He sighed, silently praying that Oceana would at least try to be bear the authority of her position.

"Your guildmaster has an announcement. Pipe down." His voice rung through the hall and conversations began to die down. People knew better than to make him repeat himself. When silence had at last settled over the guild, Jin's eyes drifted up to meet Oceana's. While she had in fact granted Dolores S-class status the previous week, this would be the first act that was truly hers. It was her idea from start to finish and while Jin would support it, it was her job to stand by it. Steady like the tide, as his father would always say. Even though they'd grown up together, moments like this made him wonder how she was feeling. Was she nervous? Excited? His dark eyes remained focused on hers, willing her to speak with the power she had done well to earn.

The setting changes from nymphaea-city to Guild Hall

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion Character Portrait: Jin Takeshi
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Oceana waited for silence and watched a few more people enter the guild hall, most of them quickly noticing something was going on. As she waited, she took notice of Slick at the bar when he spoke out, using that dreaded nickname he called her. "Ey, Get on with it Shaun. I think you’ve kept the people waiting long enough." Narrowing her eyes at Slick, Oceana made a mental note to get back at him for it later, before rolling her eyes and focusing on the task at hand. This idea had been long in the making, though she had never been able to convince her father to go through with it. Scanning the room again to make sure all the necessary people, including Jin who made the final shout for silence, were present.

With everyone's attention on her, and the importance of this announcement Oceana looked to Jin for reassurance before turning to the rest of the guild. Letting her normal giddy smile and playful demeanor drop Oceana looked around the guild, her entire demeanor suddenly extremely serious.
"As you all know, I am very young to be the Guild Master. In fact, I am the youngest Guild Master Tidal Serpent has ever had. I know a lot of you believe me not ready and while I understand I sorely disagree. We have
spent too long in the shadows merely because four centuries ago our name belonged to a Dark Guild."


Oceana looked around the guild hall, passion burning bright in her eyes. Everyone knew that since she was a child she had been discontent with Tidal Serpent's image but only her grandmother, father, and Jin had know exactly how much. Continuing on, she let herself finally show that passion to her guildmates.
"That time is over. I am done watching the members of this guild be ignored and despised because of the guild's past. From this moment on Tidal Serpent is stepping out of the shadow and into the light. I want every single member of this guild to be as appreciated by others as I appreciate them, even if I have to spend the rest of my life pushing for that dream to be true."

Oceana paused and took a deep breath to calm herself before continuing on. "During the last three years, while I have worked with my father running this guild and spent time getting to know you all better, I have come up with a plan. I have decided that 8 members of Tidal Serpent will join together to be a team. This team will be the future of the guild and as such I hope each and every one of those people takes this extremely seriously." Oceana paused as a hushed murmur went through the guild hall. It was extremely rare for a guild master to put a team together, especially without talking to the supposed members beforehand. Once the guild was relatively silent again Oceana continued. "The people chosen for this team, are; Dolores De La Fuente, Keiji Okaro, Melinda Ekundayo, Slick, Cheneres, Bardulf Sherwood, Artemie Scheherazade, and Rin Hitomi." At Melinda's name any remaining chatter in the guild hall stopped, more than a few people shocked. As Oceana said the last name she let her gaze fall directly on Rin, knowing that she would probably be the one most likely to protest. Her eyes still on Rin, Oceana smiled and then finally looked away. "That is all. The ban on accepting jobs is now over. Be safe!" With that she hopped of the bar and took a seat next to her grandmother.







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Rin watched Oceana with fascination as she made her speech. Ever since Rin had been on her own she had been hiding, or at least, that was the best way to describe it. When she was still in Wolf Spirit she had been away on jobs as often as possibly and even when she was in Azalea she would only go to the guild hall to take a new job. Once she had left the guild it had been even worse, her only interactions with people outside of her jobs being a simple greeting or a chat with an innkeeper. Even now, having joined a new guild, Rin was still almost completely isolated. All this considered, Rin couldn't help be impressed by the girl that was 6 years her junior and yet able to be the center of attention confidently.

Despite Rin's mental praise when she heard her name she froze, staring back at the guild master with surprise and anger. In her mind, she heard one of her spirits telling her to calm down but she payed so little attention she couldn't even tell which one it was. Rin wanted to speak out in protest. She wanted to refuse right then and there. But, with most of the guild in the room she didn't want any more attention on her than what already was. Fuming, Rin quickly stood and stalked out of the guild hall, slamming the large doors shut behind her. As she walked away, heading towards the exit of the compound, she could hear the moment when the echoing sound of the slamming doors faded back to silence and suddenly the sound of people talking replaced it.

The setting changes from guild-hall to Nymphaea City

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion
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#, as written by Tanman
Pommel Grade
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“Stupid week with stupid people doing stupid stupid
” Pommel grumbled to herself as she strode between the tables, platters loaded up on her arms up to her shoulders, drinks under her arms in a comical but impressive display of balance and waitressing skill. In practiced and precise movements, she unloaded the meals and drinks to the various patrons of the guild, smiling at those she liked and showing something akin to annoyance to those she didn’t. She’d had it had it HAD IT with the guild wizards by now. GO! Shoo! Do some jobs, get out of here! You’re making the place stink and wearing grooves into the leather! She hadn’t smelled of this much alcohol or done this much work since
 Since well ever! And it SUCKED! Why oh why would Oceana do something like this? Had she done something bad? Was this a punishment for Pommel to have to be this busy for a whole week?

Petulant as ever, Pommel pouted and persevered in her work, forever trying to prove herself and be recognised for her good deeds, but for the most part going unnoticed. Cheery bright and friendly as she could be, most of those who offended her (Which pretty much only consisted of the male guild members) knew to stick clear of her when she was this grouchy, but at the same time, it was typically them who were responsible for grabbing her attention by ordering food or drinks. Ugh, why couldn’t someone cool that she actually cared about just request her assistance? Maybe the new S-Class wizard wanting a fancy wine? Oceana bringing her a new dress to try on? Just someone she could find a reasonable excuse to hang out with and chat rather than having to be an errand girl for all these lazy deadbeats!

Exhausted and at her limit, Pommel pulled out a nearby seat and leaned on the pillar by the job board, taking a long sigh as she rested. It was about time she took a break, and with Oceana making her entrance for her announcement, it looked like she’d be getting her chance. Sitting up to listen intently to the declaration, Pommel internally and externally beamed at seeing Oceana take charge. That was just like a powerful wizard like her to take point and lead like this. Oceana was a woman with vision for the future. No doubt she had some cool, amazing strategy to propel Tidal Serpent to the top of the popularity polls in Sorcerer’s Weekly! Leaning in, Pommel waited with baited breath


“
I have decided that 8 members of Tidal Serpent will join together to be a team
” Looking up from her spot, Pommel briefly thought she saw Oceana make eye contact with her. Her heart skipped a beat. W-was this it?! Was she being selected to become an important wizard that would shape the very future of Tidal Serpent?! Oh, she knew Oceana believed in her and her abilities, but this was going to be a bit sudden! Being placed on a team with her and Melinda and all the other best warriors that Tidal Serpent had, no doubt she’d get the opportunity to learn and really start being a valued member of the guild! Oh, Oceana was so wonderful thinking of her like that! This was it, her moment to shine! All the hard work was paying off! She’d begin as the junior member of the team, but in moments she would rise to be the star member! Maybe she’d even get her own article in Sorcerer’s Weekly? She could see the headlines now: ‘Young Prodigy Wizard takes the magic world by storm!’

"The people chosen for this team, are; Dolores De La Fuente, Keiji Okaro, Melinda Ekundayo, Slick, Cheneres, Bardulf Sherwood, Artemie Scheherazade, and Rin Hitomi." Pommel listened, nodding all the while. Ugh, Slick. And that loud idiot Chen. Well, there had to be SOME rookies besides herself that would
- Wait. Pommel paused, playing back the team in her mind. Then, she hung her head in shame. Of course she wasn’t part of the team
 What had she even been thinking? She wasn’t even a qualified wizard! Oooohhhh
. She’d really gotten her hopes up that she’d get the chance to join and work with her idols. Man, this stunk! Melinda was already always away, but now that Dolores was on a team with her, along with two other powerful female wizards, they’d probably be gone even more often. Sighing, she leaned back on her seat against the wall.

"That is all. The ban on accepting jobs is now over. Be safe!" Following that announcement, Pommel was caught in a stampede for the second time in a week as eager wizards hurried to the job board for the best opportunities.


Slick
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Reaching for his drink, Slick slowly took a light sip as he listened to their new guildmaster’s heartfelt declaration. He was always impressed with the passion and dedication that Oceana showed for the guild, and had no doubt some of that rubbed off on everyone else. Sure, it was his home and family too, but he could never quite show the drive or spirit that she did. There was just something inspiring about the honesty and pride she showed whenever Tidal Serpent came up. The guild was her life, and she’d take no disrespect for it from anyone. In fact, it was probably that aspect of her nature that lead to her becoming the new guild master, regardless of her heritage. Naïve and inexperienced as she may be, Slick couldn’t think of anyone else that was more fitting or deserving of the title.

That said
 Well, her plan just seemed absurd. Even Slick had to scoff at the idea of a wizard team going off and doing who knows what to get the guild’s name out there. But hey, it was Oceana’s pet project. He’d help her plan and budget for it, along with its probable failure. It’d be a good lesson like that which would teach her that turning things around wasn’t as simple as just bringing people together to work as a team. Eight people was a lot of resources, and it just didn’t seem efficient unless she planned on them doing some truly incredible work. Still, it’d be interesting to keep track of from the sidelines. Watching Oceana continue to explain over the rim of his glass, Slick listened with intrigue as she listed off the cast of her new show. The S-Classes - Yeah, no surprises there if she intended for them to do something huge. Then came the kicker. Slick nearly spat his drink across the room as his name was listed, but not only that, Chen, Bard and that mousy girl from the library. He wasn’t going to complain about being put on a team with women, but it all seemed a bit ridiculous – He’d worked solo for years now.

Setting his drink down on the bar and looking up to Oceana, he tried to meet her eyes and get some sort of response out of her for this joke. She couldn't be serious. When he met her gaze however, it wasn’t the kind or joking expression he was hoping for. Instead, there was naught but a mischievous smile, and under the noisy mass discussion going around the guild, Slick made out the syllables she wordlessly spoke under her breath at him. She wasn’t messing with him. Well, she was and she wasn’t. He was actually a part of this team, but she was most certainly doing it to rattle him. Ugh, she knew just how to get under his skin sometimes. Was this a response to calling her by that moniker in front of everyone? Adjusting the glasses that had slipped from his face, he watched Rin, the eighth member of the team storm off. Clearly she wasn’t happy about this either. Amusingly, Bard seemed to be taking more initiative then Slick had anticipated the shy lad had in him by chasing after her. Ah well, best of luck to him. He was a good fellow, hopefully it’d work out.

Turning back to Oceana, Slick tried to raise his concerns over the din of people heading to the job’s board, but was silenced by a few hearty slaps on the back as some of his fellow guildmates wished him ‘luck’ with Oceana’s pet project, laughing at his predicament all the while. It was during this that Keiji took the opportunity to request a meeting with the guildmaster, obviously having his own qualms with the setup. Heh, if Oceana had her mind set on this, it was unlikely she’d call it off. Change it slightly, maybe, but that was a long shot, even for a charmer like him. Still, it’d do Keiji to learn some humility and ‘lose’ to Oceana. It wasn’t like Slick was still bitter about the promo tournament at this point, but he was amused to see the tempered fellow losing something.

Letting Keiji have his talk with her upstairs, Slick would have his own private chat with her later about the whole thing. She hadn’t really given them any details of what she expected of the team, other than them taking it seriously. Did she have a job in mind? Or were they just going to be an overkill squadron doing some odd S-Rank jobs? Even if she’d intended for it to be a big surprise, he wished she’d given him some prior notice so he could do some planning and work out the logistics of it all. Depending on what they were doing, Wizards like him and Chen might be made redundant in the face of the job they were assigned. Well, no sense dwelling on it for now or worrying about it. He was Slick after all. He couldn’t let something like this phase him too much. Time to roll with it.

With Oceana, Keiji, Rin and Bard all occupied, Melinda nowhere in sight, and Chen being Chen; Slick briefly scanned the crowd for any sign for the remaining lovely two team members that he’d been assigned to. With the aid of his magic, it only took a split-second to identify Dolores in the crowd, along with Artemie poised behind a pillar for support and possibly protection from everyone. Both were lovely in their own way, and conveniently enough, were only across the bar and a stone’s throw away from each other. Pushing off the bar, Slick slid his way over towards the two, seamlessly moving into place beside Dolore’s, but facing the pillar Artemie found herself behind. Snapping his fingers in her direction, he flashed a smile.

“Well ladies, looks like you’re gonna be stuck with me until our ever-wise guild master says otherwise. I mean, we’re gonna have to make the most of this, so we may as well get to know each other more intimately than we already do, yeah? Boss’s orders that we get along and all that.” Cocking his head in Dolore’s direction to see if she was paying attention as well, he turned his attention back to Artemie for the moment, lifting his glasses with a wink. “And don’t worry Art, if Dolly here is too uptight to watch out for you, I’ve got your back.” Thumbing at his chest, Slick nudged the smoke dragon slayer in the side. “Ain’t that right Dolly?”

The setting changes from nymphaea-city to Guild Hall

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion
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#, as written by Feyblue
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DÉȘáŽ€ÊŸáŽÉąáŽœáŽ‡ Cᎏʟᎏʀ ✩ #AA00FF || TÊœáŽáŽœÉąÊœáŽ› Cᎏʟᎏʀ ✧ #0E00A8
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Oceana's plan seemed, at first glance, to be a fairly simple and reasonable one.
After all, it made perfect sense that, as the new guild master, she would want to do something to prove her worth to the rest of the guild, so that they'd come to trust in her judgement as their new leader and director. Improving the guild's standing, thus granting prestige to all of the guild's wizards and giving them more better paying job opportunities, would be the perfect way to do that.

Even as she carried on with her plan, Artemie couldn't find fault with it. Many major guilds had a team of elites upon whom they relied for accomplishing their most important missions - usually bands of a few chosen S-Class mages, with the occasional rising star tagging along for the sake of gaining experience. These were the sorts of wizards who made the covers of Sorcerer Weekly, or the kind of people whose exploits were immortalized in tall tales and stories, to be retold long after they themselves had retired or died. In any case, forming such a team for Tidal Serpent seemed like a logical step if she was planning on taking more dangerous, higher-profile work in order to increase the guild's reputation. And, for the most part, Artemie even agreed with her choices of wizards. The guild's S-class mages had all proven themselves reliable, time and time again, and even those lower-ranked mages she'd selected were all hardened professionals and elites, like Mr. Slick or Miss Rin.

So then why was it...? Artemie's fingers found themselves poking and prodding at the hem of her voluminous sleeves as she fretted over the words she'd just heard. Why was it that, of all people, Oceana had thought it would be a good idea to choose her for such a team?

Well, actually, she had a fairly good idea of why it was. Her magic was practically ideal for filling a support role, and come to think of it, she didn't think anybody else who had been listed for the team was proficient in healing magic. As one of the few magicians in the guild with such a useful form of magic, it was only natural Oceana would think of her for such a role. And yet, didn't the guild master realize that there was a serious problem with this?
After all, Artemie thought, all too aware of the biggest problem with her placement. I have absolutely no front line mission experience whatsoever! My only jobs have been simple magical item maintenance and appraisal, or basic medical work! In what way am I qualified to support a team of elites? And, given how versatile their own abilities are, how useful would my magic even be to them anyway?

She sighed heavily, slumping her head in defeat. It didn't matter, anyway. No matter how many objections she might mentally raise, it wasn't like she'd have the courage to voice them to the guild master. Artemie Scheherazade was many things, but she wasn't somebody who refused to do what she was told. It might be a bit troublesome for the others, but she'd just do what she could not to weigh them down until Oceana realized how unfit she was for the position and replaced her with somebody better suited to the role. Until then, she supposed all there was to do was try to make herself useful however she could.

Besides, although some of the other appointees didn't seem to be taking it very well at all, there were plenty of good things to look forward to in this arrangement. As of yet, her income had been severely limited due to her own incompetence preventing her from taking many well-paying jobs. But, as a member of a team like this, she'd be working with dependable front-liners on work of the utmost importance. Although she hardly expected to be paid the same as the elites she'd be assisting, even a cut from those kinds of big missions would be far better than her current salary. And it wasn't like she'd be working with unfamiliar people, either! She was already used to being Mr. Slick's assistant, and talked with Mr. Bardulf on a fairly regular basis, too. Although the former of the two could be a little hard to understand sometimes, she was still confident that they were good people, and that she could get along with them. But, better yet, there was somebody else on the team, too - somebody for whose sake she definitely couldn't afford to pass up this opportunity. After all, if Mr. Cheneres was going to be there... she found the strangest sort of smile crossing her face, and couldn't think for the life of her what had prompted it. Regardless, this was her only option, so she'd just make the most of it! If she could just be useful to them, then that was more than enough.

Just then, a familiar voice snapped her back to reality.
“Well ladies, looks like you’re gonna be stuck with me until our ever-wise guild master says otherwise. I mean, we’re gonna have to make the most of this, so we may as well get to know each other more intimately than we already do, yeah? Boss’s orders that we get along and all that.” Artemie shuffled out from behind the pillar, nodding compliantly.

"So it would seem," She returned, clearing her throat and trying her very hardest to sound very upright and official - she was going to be working as a professional now, so she really couldn't excuse herself for even the slightest lapse in decorum. Looking to Slick, he didn't seem to be fazed by this at all. He was just as proper and polite as ever. So this was the dignity of a true elite... Lacking a pen and paper with which to take physical notes of his performance, she settled for doing so mentally. Standing at attention - or at least, as close to attention as she could manage - she gave an entirely too enthusiastic bow, nearly losing her hat in the process. Awkwardly trying to stuff the eccentric headpiece back into place, she tried to avoid eye contact with the rather intimidating figure to whom Slick was also speaking. Was Dolores glaring at her? It was always so hard to tell. If she was, why? Had she done something to make her mad? Or maybe she just didn't approve of such a novice joining the team... Maybe she'd have to work a lot harder than she thought to prove she could be useful, after all...

Seeming to notice her nervousness, Slick gave her a reassuring grin.
“And don’t worry Art," He added. "If Dolly here is too uptight to watch out for you, I’ve got your back.” That much was good at least. Artemie lowered her head once more, trying to avoid nearly losing her hat once again.

"Er, right. Thank you very much. I am... not exactly proficient at working in groups like this, so I suppose I'll be in your care again. Still, if there's anything I can help with, I'll do whatever I can." That was the easy part. But, up until now, she'd avoided so much as looking at Dolores, let alone speaking to her. If Artemie was going to be serving under her, then she'd have to find some way to cope with the terrifying woman other than just running and hiding. Which meant... She really wasn't looking forward to this.

To her credit, she at least tried to look at Dolores eye-to-eye, but the older mage's intense glare sent her own gaze spiraling ever-so-swiftly down to contemplate her own feet instead. Still, she had to speak up, and so speak she did. Her voice was soft, stilted, and practically mechanical as she spouted off a laundry list of useful tidbits in no particular order, trying to get her introduction out of the way as quickly as possible.


"Umm, I don't think we've spoken much up until now, so do pardon me for not introducing myself, Miss Dolores! My name is... erm... Artemie Scheherazade. I work in the library here - or I did, I suppose, prior to this reassignment. Anyway, I'm a scholar of Ethernano and its applications, a dabbler in multiple types of magic, and a practitioner of rune magic myself. I specialize in support and healing, so presumably I'll be serving as your backup. I hope I'll be of use to you!"

She bowed again. Her hat fell to the floor, and she stooped to pick it up, taking a moment to very pointedly turn away and dust it off quite painstakingly, before taking a little bit longer to make sure it was replaced atop her head exactly right. If anyone had asked her, of course she wasn't blushing - she wasn't a child. But, despite whatever assertions she might have made, there was a certain red hue in her cheeks, and she certainly wasn't willing to meet either of their gazes after that little performance.

She really did have a long way to go if she was going to live up to the reputation of an elite... Still, this was a start... wasn't it?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade
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#, as written by Byte
ImageDolores De La Fuente



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Whether it had been better to laugh or cry, Dolores held no illusions that Oceana had done very few a kindness with this team. Let alone whoever was in it (and she could think of a few, including herself), and they didn’t even have anything to say about it either. ‘Ever the ambitious one, aren’t you?’ She gave the young guild master a knowing smile, and lowered her head back to scan through the crowd of wizards; picking off the people who she’d be working with.

Certain habits had given her very few reasons to work with the other Tidal Serpent wizards, but most of them seemed like a capable bunch. The likes of Cheneres and Keiji, while grating on the nerves, were a welcome addition to the group. Strong mages in their own right, though Dolores had certain bones to pick with her fellow S-class wizard. And she had certain doubts they’d get along quietly.

Likewise, Cheneres was a directionless force. Freakish big and freakish strong, not unlike a bull he’d need taming if she was to get anything useful out of him. As for the rest? Well, Dolores couldn’t outright judge, but when a slick individual came creeping up to her side she’d remembered her second objection


“Slick.” She replied, offering the man a frosty glare to his smile. Few words could describe Dolores’s mistrust of a man so eager to talk and make friends. It all seemed a little too polished, the way he walked, the way he spoke. His smile, oh gods the bloody smile!

It was rather unfortunate that she had to be stuck with him, of all people. Keiji might top her blacklist, but at least he was honest and upfront. But this one? Yeah, a gut feeling might be a gut feeling, but she’d rather act on caution. His little jest and nudge only gave way for a low growl.

She might have to play ball for the team, but that didn’t mean she’d have to play nice with this one. The less she spoke with Slick, the better. And then she turned her attention to the meek little girl, who took it upon herself to mumble an introduction that, quite frankly, left little impression than ‘I don’t need your life’s story.’. Or maybe she’d still had a scowl from Slick. Either way, Dolores was quick to raise a single eyebrow, letting silence linger before nodding and offering her own introduction.

“Dolores. Just Dolores, thanks.” Miss made her feel a little too old, frankly. “I’ll imagine you’ll prove more useful than that one over there.” She made a subtle nod towards Slick. Whether it was kindness or genuine praise, Dolores said it all the same. Healing magic was a useful thing, though.

The setting changes from guild-hall to Nymphaea City

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion Character Portrait: Jin Takeshi Character Portrait: Freya Malaerion
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For what it was worth, Jin thought Oceana's announcement had gone over very well with the guild. Of course there was the ordeal with Rin rushing out, and the slight possibility that Dolores was about to murder one of her new teammates, but in a guild full of powerful wizards this was the best reception one could hope for. From his point of view amidst the madness, Jin was positive about the implications of a new elite team. Tidal Serpent needed to redefine its image in Fiore, and this was the start. That being said, Jin couldn't help but feel a bit anxious when he saw Keiji approach Oceana. The man was exactly not known for his collaborative spirit. He watched as the pair proceeded upstairs and out of his direct line of sight, fighting the urge to eavesdrop.

No, Oceana could handle this on her own. He recited this mantra on repeat in his mind, trying to push out the image of the goofy child he had helped to raise. She was qualified for this position, and was more than capable of justifying her stance without him. If anything, Jin would only overstep his bounds and make the situation worse. So he remained on the main floor of the guild hall, at the same rickety table he had observed the announcement from. Damage control, that would be his objective now. That involved getting a drunk Cheneres off of the table before Freya murdered him.

Jin had to give the man a certain amount of credit. Somehow, in his intoxication, he had managed to start a guild-wide chant. Thankfully, nobody had thrown chairs or drinks yet, but Tidal Serpent's track record meant that Jin wasn't willing to wait for it to happen. He made his way over to the wizard, who seemed to be having the time of his life amidst the cheering. Folding his arms, Jin peered up at the man.

"Time to get down Prince. You don't need Freya to give you bruises to go with your nasty hangover tomorrow morning." Even though the man definitely had experience holding his liquor, he certainly was NOT capable of dealing with the guild's resident Wizard Saint.




"That's my girl!" Her first announcement as guildmaster and Oceana was already throwing the Tidal Serpent off its feet. Just like her grandma used to!

Taking a swig from her tankard, Freya let out a bellowing laugh that seemed too large from a woman of her stature. Her girl was a sturdy one, that was for sure. She hadn't even blinked when that looker Keiji asked to speak with her in private. Oh, what Freya wouldn't give to have a "private" conversation with a delicious specimen like that! The thought of it brought her back to her old adventuring days. She turned in her stool, looking over the guild hall with a sense of pride. First-class, that's what the Tidal Serpent was. Soon enough, the world would know it too.

In the corner of the room, a few of the newest team members were gathered. Freya watched with interest as Slick sauntered over to the spot where Artemie and Dolores were lounging about. That grin he wore told her all she needed to know. The man was shameless in his mischief- he almost reminded Freya of a younger version of herself. Maybe that'd be enough to get the new S-class wizard to crack a smile. The woman was far too uptight for her own good. As for Artemie, there wasn't much to say. Maybe going on missions with higher-level wizards would make the girl get some confidence.

Out of the corner of her eye, Freya noticed a sole figure stumbling about. All was good until she noticed it pulling itself up onto on of the tables. Her vision began to go red. The hall and all of its trappings were a testament to the guild's illustrious history. Although some furniture had been replaced (accidents were to be expected), Freya expected members to have more sense than to risk destroying even more when she could see them. What they did when she wasn't around was none of her business. But what happened right in front of her? THAT was enough to warrant a reaction.

"Cheneres!" She shouted across the hall. A bit of the chanting died down as guild members felt a chilling sense of fear creep down their spines. "Get your lovely drunk ass off that table before I get up and do it for you."

The setting changes from nymphaea-city to Guild Hall

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion Character Portrait: Freya Malaerion
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#, as written by Tanman
Slick
Image

Slick smiled and let Artemie and Dolores go through their initial introductions. It was unsurprising that they hadn’t really met, given their personalities. It was like comparing fire and ice. Hmm, no, that didn’t exactly do the two justice. Sweet and sour? Roses and Violets? Alas, this was no time for such poetry. He could work on a proper analogy at a later time. Though he felt the need to give the librarian of the guild a show of faith in her abilities after her less than confident address of Dolores, the sharp words of the assassin proved her tongue could be just as fatal as her blades. Still, Slick took that sort of thing in stride. He knew enough about these sorts of patterns to already see how this was going.

“Heh, darn straight Dolly. With you around and Artemie on support, I won’t even have to lift a finger on these missions.” Smirking a bit, Slick played off the challenge to his capabilities as a compliment to the two in his company. It was the gentlemanly thing to do rather than lay claim to his own skill. Besides, Art looked like she needed the boost of encouragement, and he was confident enough in his own abilities that no words of insult could convince him otherwise. Winking at the two, Slick continued his ‘rallying’ speech. “Trust me, this is all going to work out great. So, while we’re in the spirit of comradery, I’ll take you ladies out to dinner. My treat, but maybe if I impress I’ll get a little something in return." Ever flirtatious, some could consider it a form of flattery. Chances were that it wouldn’t be taken that way by his present company however.

It was at that point that the chanting of Cheneres began to fill the guild hall, Slick giving a soft sigh and placing a palm to his forehead. That man truly was a piece of work. Yep, Slick had done right by sussing out the more pleasant teammates to converse with. Even within the eight person group, he was certain that there’d be some smaller cliques. Ideally, he’d end up on the one with the ladies, and without Chen. Of course, knowing that buffoon he’d probably barge in on their activities regardless of any societal norms. With a soft thumb in the man’s direction, Slick leaned in closer to the women, unnecessarily placing a hand near his mouth to ‘whisper’ in their direction.

“Hey, it’s gotta be better than hanging with ‘Team Cheneres’.” Pausing a moment as he watched old Freya start to reel Chen in, Slick decided that there was no time like the present for socialising with fine people such as these. “I’ll meet you ladies outside the guild hall in 10. I know a nice little spot where we can all meet up and get to know each other while sampling the finest food in Nymphaea.” Hopping off the bar, Slick hadn’t really asked a question, nor given them an opportunity to refuse. He had a talent for that. Instead, he gave a two fingered wave over his shoulder. “Consider it a date then.” Scurrying off before they had a chance to refuse, at the very least, Slick knew that Art wouldn’t let him down on his gracious invitation. For now however, he’d have a quick word with Oceana before meeting them out front.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade
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#, as written by Feyblue
Image

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DÉȘáŽ€ÊŸáŽÉąáŽœáŽ‡ Cᎏʟᎏʀ ✩ #AA00FF || TÊœáŽáŽœÉąÊœáŽ› Cᎏʟᎏʀ ✧ #0E00A8
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Artemie blinked in surprise at Dolores' words, and then shook her head vigorously from side to side.
"I'm deeply sorry, but I can't promise that I'll be able to live up to that standard," She said hastily, excusing herself as best she could. Try though she might, she was nowhere near Slick's level, and if Dolores expected that much of her... "I'm still somewhat inexperienced, and-" She got no further than this, for in the next instant, Mr. Slick rejoined all-too-eagerly, cheerfully observing how easy it would be with Artemie's help. While she appreciated the show of confidence, her heart sank in an instant when she realized exactly what sort of impressions this would give Dolores - and how hard, if not outright impossible, it would be to live up to them. She felt a chill run up her spine. If this terrifying woman expected her to perform on the level of an S-Class Wizard like herself, and she couldn't do it... Dolores would definitely kill her! She'd kill her for sure!

She tried to be subtle, swiping her hand back and forth within her sleeve, desperately miming at Mr. Slick to stop as best she could without drawing Dolores' attention. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to notice - somebody as nice as him would definitely have stopped if he had noticed, right? - since he kept on with his little victory speech, talking about how everything would work out just fine. Artemie sighed, her head slumping in defeat. Her position had already been precarious enough, but the more he talked, the more she realized how completely out of her league she was.


"I'll... do my best, Mr. Slick. Just- ...Ehem. Nevermind." She trailed off into silence, accepting her fate. For his part, the dapper wizard kept on going, seeming not to have noticed at all the effects of what he'd said. As matters stood, it looked like he wanted to take the two of them out to dinner. It was quite generous of him, especially since he made it sound like quite a big deal. The finest food in Nymphaea? That had to be pretty expensive... And he said he was going to treat them? But she'd already be causing enough trouble for him by making him look out for her on this newly formed team. She couldn't accept such a generous offer. Not when she hadn't done anything to-

...Wait a minute, she had the sudden feeling that she'd just skipped over something very important. What was that about team-

Another resounding shout of "Team Cheneres!" pierced the air, and Artemie stifled a gasp, spinning around all of a sudden, all-too-focused on the commotion she'd previously been trying to ignore. Right, if he'd been present for the announcement, then it stood to reason that he'd still be here! She needed to make a good impression now that she'd be working directly under him, and the first step to that would be to approach him directly and humbly offer her service.

...Unfortunately, as it happened, it seemed like now would be the worst possible time for such an act, since Cheneres - shirtless as usual, no less - was poised atop one of the tables in the center of the hall, surrounded by cheering guild wizards and one very angry former guild master. Artemie winced on his behalf. Old Mrs. Freya was even scarier than Dolores when she was mad. Regardless, it wasn't like somebody like her could just stroll up in front of everyone, least of all in a situation like this... She'd just have to wait until later. She sighed, and then remembered that she'd been in the middle of a conversation.


"Oh! Umm..." She silently cursed herself for getting so easily distracted, and tried to recall what had been going on before she'd been sidetracked. Oh. Right. Mr. Slick had wanted to treat her to dinner... While a nice meal for once sounded great, she couldn't possibly impose on him like that. Not without some means of paying him back. Unfortunately, by the time she realized this, he was already halfway out the door. She opened her mouth to call after him, but just like that, it was already too late.

"Eh....?" She wondered aloud, completely unsure of how she should respond in a situation like this. On the one hand, it would be unthinkable to ask Mr. Slick to pay for something that she couldn't afford for herself, but he'd already said that he expected to see her there. He'd be waiting for her, so wouldn't it be the height of rudeness not to show up? And, what was more, wouldn't it be just as rude to arrive only to refuse his offer? Which meant... she had no choice but to go...? She hung her head. Slick had already done so much for her, and now this? How could she ever pay him back? It seemed like no matter how hard she tried, she always ended up further indebted to him, and whenever she asked him what he wanted her to do in exchange, he'd always pass it off with some sly remark or another that she didn't understand. Maybe she was missing something obvious? That had to be it! There must have been some obvious thing he wanted her to do, something she could help him with, and she just hadn't noticed! He might have even asked her once or twice, and she'd misunderstood him. She tried her hardest to think what it could be... She'd kept tabs on all the files he had requested for the guild's accounts, and had even gone to the trouble of personally fixing some of the guild's broken tools and furniture herself to save money when the budget had nearly gone into the red in the month prior. Surely, she hadn't missed some aspect of her job, had she? But if not that, then what was it...? As usual, she had no idea...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade
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ImageDolores De La Fuente



X
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‘Inexperienced, and anxious.’

Is what Dolores had wanted to say, but it all seemed rather moot at this point. First impressions, though? Well, it had left a lot to be desired and when the little bookworm came to a stammering halt in expectance of Slick’s little peptalk, Dolores had to try hard not to give a lingering stare and scare the poor girl. Because for all intents, she tried to be interested, but now she’d much rather stick with the loudmouthed exile for want of something less dreadful to kill the remainder of the day. And when the smoothest wizard in all of Tidal Serpent had finally decided to leave well enough alone, Dolores figured it as good a time as any to avoid having to deal with the shy little girl on her own.

“Good luck with Slick, although I’d suggest declining his offer.” She managed to blurt out, though on second glance the girl seemed to be much too busy fidgeting with her inner struggles.

Whatever those were


Wasn’t like to be her problem, anyway. Neither was Slick’s invitation. Being the social butterfly had never been a strong suit of hers, and so Dolores figured she’d politely decline.

With naught else to do, Dolores made her way to the job board out of sheer habit. Her days as a lone mercenary would come to an end soon, and somewhere deep down she secretly hoped a job was out that’d excuse her from having to drag along a bunch of ambitious little nitwits.

She sighed. Joy, oh joy


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion Character Portrait: Freya Malaerion
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Slick
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‘Convenient timing’ Slick thought to himself as he saw Oceana coming back downstairs, saving him the effort of finding another way to grab her attention. As she made her way over to sit with Grams, Slick himself silently slid into place beside her, not saying anything for the moment as he simply watched the direction she did, observing where she was looking in an attempt to catch a glimpse into her thoughts. Quiet as he was, it would take her a moment or two to notice he was there, but she’d be used to this sort of ‘prank’ by him by now, so her reaction wasn’t nearly as entertaining as when he did this sort of thing to other guild members. Instead, he decided to take charge, launching into conversation immediately and skipping most of the small talk pleasantries. He didn’t feel the need for them with Oceana.

“So, you sure about all this Shauna? I mean, if this doesn’t work out, the guild might end up in a worse spot then it is currently.” Looking over to the bartender, Slick snapped his fingers, calling for his usual drink. Shauna was his more affectionate nickname for the guildmaster, and unlike the masculine variant, was truly meant endearingly. Whether he was buttering her up or just making conversation
 Well, that was up for debate. Pivoting back around to look to Oceana, Slick shrugged a little and continued. “A little notice wouldn’t have killed us either – I can understand why you wouldn’t tell someone like Chen, but you know I can keep a secret. Not only that, but there’ll be funding and other aspects to this job for me to work out with you. It’s almost like you don’t want me having an evening social life.” Winking at Oceana, Slick took his drink as it arrived, swirling it in his hand before taking a sip, giving Oceana a chance to share some of her own thoughts.

Oceana had noticed Slick immediately but had been too caught up in her own thoughts to acknowledge him. Staring at Chen, who was standing on a table leading a group chant Oceana mentally groaned, wondering if her choice of the team's members was a mistake. The thought was only harboured for a second before being expelled from her brain and Oceana looked over at Slick, hoping he would prove an entertaining distraction. It wasn't much surprise that Slick just so happened to want to speak of the one thing she didn't at the moment but of course, that was Slick. Resigning herself to her fate Oceana gave Slick a knowing smile. "Yes but if I had told you all about the team I would have had you al constantly bugging me about changing my mind. Anyways the guild isn't paying to support the team."

Slick raised an eyebrow from behind his drink, before moving to set it down. “Oh? So are we expected to pay our own way until we earn enough for a group fund huh? Well, I suppose that’s typical of your style of planning.” With his free hand, Slick picked up a nearby straw from a container, twirling it in his hand. Oceana scowled jokingly and playfully flicked Slick on the forehead, albeit as hard as she could, stopping his fidgeting. "For your information, the team is fully funded by Melinda. Ever since she started taking S-Rank jobs she's been giving all the money she doesn't spend on travel expenses and gifts to the Guild. My family has been putting half of it aside for her the entire time and she found out. That's actually how this idea started. She made a joke about being able to fund a super-team and I took that and ran with it." Slick eyed the wry smile Oceana had, matching it with his own. Well, that explained a fair bit. Mel was generous to a fault.

“I won’t ask you to change your mind on this. I’ve learned my lesson on that front. “ Tapping the straw against the bench a few times, he turned to point it slightly at Oceana. “But I still want information on the logistics of this. Did you have a job in mind for us? Or am I going to have to start sourcing information for a Double-S Rank request?” Oceana was glad to hear that Slick wasn't going to argue with her about the team, or at least not about disbanding it. When he brought up the job Oceana lit up like a Christmas tree, completely back to her old self. "Actually, Jin already put aside a number of jobs. You guys have 5 jobs that you can do in whatever order you see fit. Two are S-Class, two Double S-Class, and one Ten Year Job. That one I think should be last though, once the team has a bit of experience working together."

Blinking a bit in surprise, Slick ran his hand through his hair to the back of his neck, scratching it. Well that was unexpected that she was a bit more organised. Still, that was quite the grand ambition she had. Ten year job, huh? That was an awkward thought to think about. Still, nice to see they could start small and work their way up. “You told Jin? Oh, I see how it is. You can’t tell me but you can have him do the legwork.” Slick mocked that he’d taken offence to her actions, though he made it clear he was joking around. Folding his arms behind his head, he continued. “Still, all of us on one S-Rank job with Mel? Are you sure me and the other aces are even needed at that point? I doubt we’ll contribute much.” Oceana smirked as she watched Slick. "This is just as much about helping the team members grow as it is to help Tidal Serpent's Image. I chose the wizards for the team carefully. And don't worry, I doubt Keiji will let any of you slack off."

“Heh, yeah, him. He’s a character
” Slick trailed off, looking elsewhere. “Well, if you’re settled on this, I’ll back it. When’s Mel back so we can formally get started?” He inquired, swigging down the rest of his drink before pushing off the bar as he listened to her answer. Oceana looked confused for a moment before quickly understanding. "Oh, you’re starting without her. She will join up with the group once she gets back from her current job." Slick nodded in acknowledgement. Well, that didn’t matter so much at this point. Bringing Melinda along to an ordinary S-Class job would certainly be overkill.

“Alright. For now I’ve got a meal to get to with a couple of my new teammates.” Slowly striding away from Oceana, he glanced back behind him as he placed his hands into his pockets. “A little ‘get to know you’ event. I’ll try not to disparage the Tidal Serpent name while we work, although, maybe if this goes well you’ll consider letting me bypass these rigged S-Class trials oh wise and powerful guildmasterette.” Giving a faint salute, Slick made his way out to the front of the guild hall to see if Dolores or Artemie turned up. As Oceana watched Slick walk off she scoffed at hime once more, despite the smirk on her face. The news had gone over quite well, far better than she had thought it would anyways. And the guild seemed excited about it, the buzz of conversation in the guild hall seeming a bit louder than usual.

The setting changes from guild-hall to Nymphaea City

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Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade
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#, as written by Feyblue
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DÉȘáŽ€ÊŸáŽÉąáŽœáŽ‡ Cᎏʟᎏʀ ✩ #AA00FF || TÊœáŽáŽœÉąÊœáŽ› Cᎏʟᎏʀ ✧ #0E00A8
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Everything after Slick left was kind of a blur.

On the bright side, the rather intimidating Dolores left after giving a few parting words about Slick's offer, but, on the downside, it seemed like everything inside the guild hall was still in roughly the same state of chaos and cacophony. She glanced back over to where Cheneres was still vaguely visible amidst a crowd of hooligan wizards, and sighed. It looked like she wouldn't be able to approach him like this.

With little else to do but wait, she decided she'd get a bit of fresh air, and so departed the guild hall, heading outside. She waited around idly, thinking about how she would address Mr. Slick when he returned. Maybe she should have followed Dolores' advice. After all, she already owed her senior more than she could easily repay for all the help he'd given her in the past year. Accepting his charity in the form of a meal on top of that wouldn't be right.
No, it certainly wouldn't be. She'd have to tell him so when he came, and say that while she was flattered, it wouldn't be right for her to-

"Oh, there you are, Art. I was beginning to get worried you'd abandon me too, but I shoulda known better than that." Artemie turned around to see the very wizard himself stepping out from behind a large column, winking knowingly at her. She opened her mouth, and then realized she had no idea how to say what she wanted to. She couldn't accept this offer, but... But he'd seemed so happy to see her just now, wouldn't it also be incredibly rude to refuse him now...? Before she knew what she was doing, she found herself compromising with his offer rather than refusing it outright. She told him she didn't want to burden him by making him pay for her, he responded that it wouldn't cost much anyway, she added that she still owed him for helping her with her work, he responded that he didn't mind, and that she could repay him with her company. She doubted that, but he knew best, as always, and the next thing she knew, she was sitting across from him in a tiny cafe a few blocks from the guild hall.

She hadn't wanted to trouble him, so she decided not to talk about their pending assignment to work together, even if she wasn't entirely certain about the arrangement herself. So then how exactly had the conversation gotten to exactly that? She was pretty sure that she hadn't intended to say anything of the sort, and yet when he asked her how she felt, she replied honestly.


"Looking at things rationally, I don't know how useful I'll be to all of you. Unlike the rest of you, I have essentially zero field experience, nor am I on the same level as anyone else in this team." She found her head lowering instinctively as Slick looked almost pitifully at her. He must have been thinking the same thing, right? She did her best to reassure him, but what could she say? "That isn't to say that I won't do my best to help when called upon, and I'll certainly try not to get in anyone's way, but I can't promise that my magic will be of much use to the rest of you."

To her surprise, however, when Slick did finally speak up, he didn't sound dissapointed. If anything, he seemed dismissive not of herself, but rather of everything she'd just said to put herself down. "Art, I've known you a while now. If I had to rely on anyone around here to help me out, it would be you. You've been essential to my research, and I have no doubt you'll be a cornerstone of the team. Maybe not the one punching monsters in the face, but certainly helping to keep our ship from sinking." Artemie couldn't help but wonder at his words, even after he escorted her back to the guild hall, and they parted ways for the night. She didn't think she'd been that useful to him, but Slick wasn't the type of person who would lie to her. She was sure of that. And if anyone in the guild knew the specifications of her abilities, it was him. If he thought she could make herself useful as part of the team, he couldn't have been wrong, right? Then, in that case...

...Maybe I really could be of some use here? Could I finally repay the debt I owe to everyone for taking care of me for this past year? It was with these kinds of uncharacteristically hopeful thoughts that she found herself making her way to the designated meeting point. She made sure to arrive a little earlier than expected, since, after all, she'd been the one they'd asked to send out the announcements. She had also taken especial care in preparing herself, making sure her attire was immaculate and her hair was as carefully braided and out of the way as she could get it. She had to look her best, after all, if she was going to appear professional in front of her peers. It was a little daunting, actually. Most of them were older than her, and had a lot more experience under their belts. Although she could try to look the part of a magician all she liked, what if they still looked down on her? But, then again, Mr. Cheneres had always complimented her appearance. If an elite like him thought highly of her, then surely, she could make a good impression, right? Come to think of it, Cheneres was going to be here, too. This time! This time she'd ask properly for his assistance, and offer her own!

Huh? Why am I getting so excited about this just now?

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Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade
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It's been two days, Bard was wondering when the team would be sent underway on a mission. At one point during the period, he did ask Oceana what his role on the team was, but he was met with cryptic words. At this he thought one thing. "She's as bad as Robyn as far as telling me what I want to know."

As he thought this, barking rang in his ears as he sat up from his bed. "Dio... shut up. I'm coming you devil of a dog." He got dress and then walked out to his living room. He looked at the the one year old dachshund waiting for him. Dio wagged his tail expectingly. Bard sighed and pulled out a small treat and tossed it to him. The dog snapped it up gladly before running to a dog door that lead to a porch that was magically designed to house him in case his Master was away. That didn't stop the dog from pooping somewhere indoors when Bard was away however.

Sighing he walked off after bidding a small wave toward the dog door, heading towards the guild hall for his usual business. When he arrived at the guild hall he saw who had arrived so far and gave a small wave. He looked at Slick and nodded towards him. That was his usual greeting to his sometimes friend. They would usually play chess together sometime. However this time Bard had another query in mind. "What's the news of today Slick?". He sat down at a table nearest to them and waited for any signs of the rest of the team.

He couldn't wait to get started, and maybe give a good first impression as a team player. He swallowed nervously st the thought of it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion Character Portrait: Jin Takeshi
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Slick
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“So
 She’s a work colleague?” The black haired girl asked, pulling the platter to her chest after she placed Slick’s coffee in front of him. She was young, somewhere in her early twenties, hair in a ponytail and somewhat pretty, with nice blue eyes. She was the only person that worked at this small establishment. At least, ever since her father became ill. The modest cafĂ© known as the Treat Chest, was tucked away in the city, and it was where Slick had taken Artemie a few days ago. Nori was a hard worker, but despite that, her business had been failing for some time. She just didn’t know how to run things on her own, despite having worked under her old man. I guess she could consider herself lucky that she’d had the idea to hire an accountant to help sort her businesses finances. Ever since then, Slick had slowly been working to help promote the place and bring it back onto its feet. Apparently he planned to take a cut of the profits later, but for now, he was helping finance its operation.

Sipping of the blend, Slick nodded slowly, savouring the taste before decided to speak. “Yeah. I’ve known Artemie for some time now. She’s
 Odd, but loyal to a fault. No matter what she or others think, she’s incredibly strong. She’s a good friend.” Smiling to Nori, it seemed it was infectious as she returned it with one of her own. “Oh, good. I mean uh, good that you’ve got such reliable friends.” Laughing off her silly comment, Nori continued to stand by the table to chat with him. It wasn’t like there was any other customers, despite Slick’s attempts to generate interest in the place. “I’m pretty lucky like that. Give it time Nori, you’re friendly and likable. Keep it up and you’ll generate a rapport with your customers.”

“You really think so?” Nori seemed a bit taken aback, pleasantly surprised by his comments. Slick simply nodded again as he sipped the rest of his coffee, setting the empty cup back down. “Of course. I’m always sincere in my compliments Nori.” Sitting up, Slick placed a hand to her shoulder, giving her a wink before heading for the door. “I don’t know how long I’ll be gone for work, but I’ve set out a spending and business plan for you. Give it a read, and hopefully you’ll be able to pull people in by the time I come back.” Waving to her, Nori returned the gesture with her own. “Thank you Slick. I’ll be waiting for you with a fresh coffee when you return.”


Slick wasn’t the first to arrive at the meeting place in the guild hall. Already there were a few people waiting. Oceana and Jin were a given, and Artemie was always pretty prompt, so it wasn’t entirely surprising as he took a seat. Even Pommel was there, and seemed to be working as their private caterer. Sliding into a seat and taking a small handful of nuts from the table, Slick casually snacked on them while waiting for the rest of the group. Jin had asked for him to gather the rest of the team for today, but he’d also asked Keiji, so the big S-Man could probably handle that. Besides, the team was mostly reliable, and despite knowing where Rin and Dolores spent their free time, he wasn’t so foolhardy as to go and drag them here. He’d told them the time and place. That was enough as far as he was concerned. They seemed reasonable enough to at least turn up for this meeting.

Slick contemplated chatting with Artemie once more, but before he could, he felt the presence of another to his side, scanning his peripheral vision to see Bard approaching, meeting his nod with one of his own. "What's the news of today Slick?" Was the question as he approached, Slick giving a faint shrug and a smile. “Nothing as of yet. Shaun is being as cryptic as ever with how we’re going to start this, so it seems we’ll have to wait for everyone to turn up first before we start.” Leaning back in his seat, Slick eyed Bard for a second more before deciding to have some fun with him. “You wouldn’t have happened to have seen Rin, would you? She seemed even more hesitant to show up then Dolly girl.”

Enjoying Bard’s reaction to his question, Slick looked to the doors at the loud sound, and watched with some mild amusement as Keiji brought Chen in to join them too, the man drenched and looking more than a bit out of it. Glancing back up to Keiji, Slick gave a small salute. “’Sup Keiji? I see you brought Chen along. Don’t suppose you saw Dolly or Rin on your way here?” Smirking slightly, Slick drew some joy in overworking the fellow, as well as poking fun at any inadequacies he did have. He wasn’t jealous. Never.

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Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade
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Cheneres & Artemie


All Cheneres saw was blurred visions, as if he forgot to wear his contacts. He only remembered drinking a sip, but that’s how it always starts. Before he knew it, he fell asleep on a rosy haired pillow and then was thrown into the fountain. Were they supposed to meet for something? In these scenarios, Cheneres couldn’t exactly catch on, sober or not.

With the back of the chair facing forwards, he rested his arms on the crest rail of the seat. He yawned audibly, almost as if he was subtly telling the group to wake him up once the fighting starts. He slouched over, burying his head into his forearms. Still drunk from the, 6? 7? He lost count already.

“Erm, excuse me? Mr. Cheneres?” A quiet female voice spoke up from somewhere a little to his left as a small finger tapped gently on his shoulder. That was enough to get his attention, at least - well, mostly the female part, but also because the voice sounded somewhat familiar. He cracked one eye open just a smidgen, trying not to aggravate the pounding in his head with too much light at one time. And what he saw was
 purple. Very, very purple. No, actually, it was a lot of different shades of purple. With a bit of white strewn in
 some red and blue
 But it was still pretty much all purple.

...Oh, wait. That actually narrowed it down quite a bit. He blinked as a rather concerned looking face rapidly descended right in front of him, eyes as purple as the hair that framed them staring directly at him. The young woman withdrew the hand that had been poking him, evidently satisfied that he was now suitably awake, and, adjusting her cap in a rather businesslike fashion as she composed herself, cleared her throat audibly before speaking again. “Are you well, Mr. Cheneres? You seem
 well... Rather drunk.” To her credit, it seemed she was at least trying to be tactful, but she still failed, regardless.

“Ah
” Cheneres thought to himself, attempting to pluck a name to match the delicate face from his jumbled thoughts. “Ariana..right?” He pointed at her, confident in his educated guess. The woman blinked once. Then blinked again. Then opened her mouth, thought better of whatever it was she was going to say, and closed it again. Then, trying her very best not to sound anything but encouraging and polite, she gave the nicest answer she could. “Umm, well, you got the first two letters right. And some of the vowels, I guess.” She cleared her throat again, and then adjusted her cap, as she seemed wont to do when she wasn’t sure how to proceed. “It’s actually Artemie.” She was smiling as she reintroduced herself, but already it seemed a bit forced.

“I knew that, Artemie. How’s it going?” He’d smile, attempting to cover up his mistake.

“Erm, fairly well, I suppose, but
 that is
 you never actually answered my question.” She pushed down on the brim of her overly frilly cap, as though preferring to hide her face rather than stress this point so directly. “Are you well, Mr. Cheneres?” She repeated, perhaps thinking he might not have heard her the first time.
“Ah, I wasn’t before. But now..” Cheneres lightly took her hand. “Now, I feel much better.” He complimented her, in another effort to erase his earlier blunder. His head was still spinning, Cheneres trying his darndest to maintain eye contact with her. And as for her, she
?

“Are you sure?” She asked innocently, evidently completely oblivious to the implications of what he’d just said. “But I haven’t even used any of my magic yet
 Would it be alright if I used Cure on you, just to be sure? I think it would definitely make you feel much better.” Still, although she seemed intent on playing it cool, Cheneres was fairly certain she had glanced more than just once at the hand he was holding onto. Was she uncomfortable? Confused? Surely, she couldn’t have failed to notice! But regardless, she didn’t try to slap him - which was actually pretty weird, to be honest. He was just celebrating this fact to himself when she abruptly withdrew her hand from his grasp, reached it into her oversized sleeve, and withdrew
 a book that couldn’t possibly have fit in there without him noticing. Without further adieu, she opened it, flipping through the first few pages before settling her finger upon one specific point. The page began to twinkle slightly, and she raised her now glowing palm, placing it gently upon his forehead. As it was, she was still close enough that he could hear her whispering something under her breath, but it didn’t sound like a normal incantation. Rather


”Tracing of magic function completed. Open circuit. Release Ethernano in accordance with schematic
 All basic functions replicated. Energy cycle complete. Cure.” Then, just as abruptly, she withdrew her hand from his forehead, shut the book, and hugged it gently against her chest. She stared quietly at him for a few moments, cocking her head a bit to one side. “How do you feel now? Better, I hope
?”

He’d stand. “Hm.” He rolled his shoulder, stretching as he felt better than he ever had. He usually suffered headaches from 1000 hangovers so this was a breath of refreshing air for him. At his new condition, he showed great happiness. Laughing to himself, his boisterous cackling filling the guild hall.

“So
 is that a ‘yes,’ then?” Artemie asked quizzically, tilting her head just a little bit further to the side in evident bemusement.

“Of course! Thank you so much for that, Abigail!” He’d make a goofy grin, wrapping his arm around her. He was still giggling, like a dainty school girl.

”You’re very welcome, but my name is still Artemie,” She piped up matter-of-factly, trying her best to maintain eye contact despite his half-embrace pushing her face up against his shoulder.

“Right right~ Want a drink?” Almost as if his blissful soul is ignoring her, he paid no heed to the serious atmosphere of the team’s first meeting.

“Thank you for offering, but I don’t drink alcohol,” She answered sheepishly, still resolutely trying both not to drop her book and to look him in the eye despite the position she was in. “Besides, I really don’t think that’s a good idea when I just helped you sober up
” She trailed off into silence as he began laughing again, seemingly resigning herself to the fact that whatever else she might say would probably be drowned out, too. And yet, for all this, she still hadn’t slapped him. Cheneres was sure that it definitely should have happened by now, so then why exactly wasn’t
? This was actually getting a bit awkward, something that never happened to Cheneres! Whatever lady he happened to be talking to never let him go on for this long. What exactly was he supposed to do in this situation, then
?

“I guess you’re right then. Besides, I wouldn’t enjoy getting thrown into a fountain again anyways.” He’d laugh, the tension a bit stiff between them. “Though I can’t understand why you don’t drink, it was a pleasure meeting you. Frankly, any other lady would smack me into the pavement.” He would loosen his grip around her, patting her shoulder. “I’m annoying all the time, so thanks for bearing with it.”

Artemie blinked, then shook her head. “I’m not annoyed,” She quickly protested, although she hastily backed down a bit on those words as she continued. “I mean, I’m a bit confused, but I’m not annoyed. I’m just glad that I could help, since you seemed like you weren’t feeling well
” She trailed off again, but this time, she was smiling slightly - an expression that had abruptly sprung onto her face almost from the moment he’d said a specific word: “Thanks.” Really, she seemed a little bit weird, but it was probably easier to read her than it would have been to read the book she slipped carefully back into her sleeve.

Just then, Artemie seemed to realize something, and abruptly took a step back. Looking up at him, she once again adjusted her cap, which had almost fallen off of her head when he’d grabbed her. “Oh, right
 I guess it’s a little late for introductions, but
 erm
” The way she carried on with her little routine made it seem almost like she’d practiced it beforehand. Wait, had she practiced it beforehand? Nevermind that. She stood sharply upright, and then gave a slight bow, curtseying with her skirt as she did so. Then, raising her head, she gave a bright smile.

“Since we’ll be working together from now on, I’ll do whatever I can to help. Don’t hesitate to call on me - I certainly won’t be missed.” She paused for just a moment, as if tempted to rethink her words, but plowed on as best she could, giving a truly commendable effort not to stammer or trail off into silence, as she seemed ought to do. “And, if it’s not too much to ask... since I’m kind of new to working on active missions like this
 um
 I guess, I’ll be in your care from now on, too.”

Cheneres grinned, making a dramatic pose. His left arm at his hip while his right pointed at her. “Just leave the things you can’t handle to me, ‘ya hear?”

Usually, when he tried to deliver a line like that, nobody would take him seriously. They’d all laugh, or roll their eyes and say something like, “Yeah, sure, maybe if you get a set of shining armor to go with that attitude, o sir knight!” But as for Artemie, she
 took him completely at face value, and just nodded, giving a bright smile in return. “Thank you very much!” She replied cheerfully, seeming a lot less worried than she had been a few moments earlier.

Again, he found Aremie quite odd and that’s golden coming from someone like Cheneres. He wasn’t like Slick when it came to reading people, but he could at least tell that she’d be a welcome addition to this little group of theirs. “Now, on with this meeting!” He bellowed, his voice alone enough to fill the hall.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion Character Portrait: Jin Takeshi
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Pommel Grade
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”Ugh, this isn’t what I had in mind
” Pommel muttered to herself as she descended the stairs to speak with the others. Though Oceana had been nice in having her help pick the mission and discuss the team, now she was running errands as a messenger girl. Worst of all was the first task she’d been assigned, one of the last things she wanted to do. Making her way over to the group, she noticed that she seemed to have drawn some of their attention, probably because they knew she was helping Oceana. That didn’t bother her so much. In fact, she enjoyed being the focus. The problem was


”Keiji.” Speaking his name, she spoke curtly. As he looked up to her, she looked to the side, arms folded. Was she mad or something? ”Sis-Er, the Guild Master wants to speak with you upstairs.” She clarified, trying to sound a bit more formal. Pivoting on her heel and taking long strides back towards the stairs, she called over her shoulder as she made her way back up. ”Follow me please.”

Keiji didn’t bother questioning the sudden request to see Oceana in private, chances are she needed to run through some of the finer details of the mission before they actually embarked on it. Although he was perplexed as to what Pommel’s issue with him was, considering her stance and cold demeanor towards him seemed to indicate that he had slighted her in some way. Once again, he reminded himself to figure out the problem and solve it, but for the moment he had to focus on the task at hand.

Quickly climbing the stairs, Pommel lead him to Oceana who stood with Jin seemingly in conversation about something. “Oceana.” There was no trace of good nature in the name, only an unexplained urgency. “The people in town have been talking a lot recently. It seems like ‘they’ve’ resurfaced.” He was purposely vague, but he was sure the guildmaster would understand exactly what he meant. Jin stopped upon seeing Keiji causing to Ocean to turn and look as well. Jin didn’t bother with any sort of greeting, he was more focused on getting to the task at hand.

“Is there an issue with the job?” Keiji asked, holding his hands behind his back like he was standing at attention.

Oceana pursed her lips for a moment before sighing and turning back to Jin. “Thank you for telling me. We can talk about the other thing after I send the new team out.”

“Sure thing boss.” Jin’s words were brief and straightforward, but a shadow of some foreign emotion crossed his face. “I don’t suggest we wait too long to address this issue- but we’ll discuss this later.”

Jin tried his best to force a smile at his friend, with little success. He was too damn tired and stressed. Without another word, he turned. He came face to face with Keiji, but figured that the man needed no words of encouragement in order to perform his job efficiently. He didn’t operate like the others- at least Jin didn’t think he did. Still, he figured it was appropriate that he at least acknowledge the wizard as he left. Offering Keiji a curt nod, he pushed his way out of the office and left the two to discuss whatever needed to be discussed.

As the door shut behind Jin, Oceana smiled at Keiji and Pommel, motioning for them to come over to her desk as she rounded it and sat as she addressed Keiji’s question. “No, there is no issue with the job per say. Dolores has been called away for an urgent issue which she had previous experience with. That being said she obviously is not going to be joining you for this job and likely will return after the rest of you.” Oceana paused to shuffle through the papers she and Pommel had been going through before pulling one out and handing it to Keiji. “This is the job you are taking. Miss Pommel and myself have already arranged your transportation and we called ahead to reserve rooms for you at the local inn. You leave at 3pm.”

Moving up towards Keiji slightly, Pommel fished around her pocket a moment before pulling out an envelope, waving it in front of Keiji. “It’s in my name, but this has the tickets for the ride and the jewel to pay at the inn, so don’t lose it, got it?” Stopping her hand motions, she gave Keiji a moment to take the envelope. “And don’t make any trouble either, I don’t want to be blacklisted in case I need to take any trips out that way.” Pommel added with a huff, turning away. She seemed kind of irritable about the whole thing. Maybe finding out about the absence of Dolores had put her in a worse mood


”Noted.” Keiji stated as he took the envelope out of Pommel’s hand. He took that one and slid it into one of his pockets, not bothering to check the contents inside. He took the paper handed to him from Oceana instead and started reading. His eyes quickly went side to side like a typewriter, doing his best to memorize the contents before he folded it up and placed it in his pocket as well. Keiji seemed to pause for a second, taking a moment to collect his thoughts on the job at hand. ”Without Dolores, that makes me the only S-ranking member of this team.” Keiji stated, looking up at Oceana. He didn’t want to put down any of the other’s abilities, but this was an S-ranked job, and with a lot of potential for combat it would seem. In fact, it was practically guaranteed that they would have to fight at some point. ”I won’t be able to look out for everyone.” It was simple math, there were too many people on his team for him to possible protect everyone at once should worse come to worse, and he wanted Oceana to understand that. This might be an opportunity for everyone to prove themselves, but it was also a risk for people to get seriously injured or killed.

Oceana smiled at Keiji and rolled her eyes. “Keiji your team, including yourself, has 8 members in it. Even with Dolores and Melinda absent I am absolutely sure that you have plenty of manpower. Besides, we both know that Slick has the magical ability of an S-Class wizard. He just hasn’t won the trials yet. And not to mention Cheneres being with you. I mean, I know he acts like a drunken fool at the guild hall but he usually sobers up and takes his jobs seriously.” Oceana nodded and then went about starting to clean up the mess on her desk. ”I have no doubt in your team’s abilities to take care of themselves. Well, for the most part.” Oceana chuckled and then smiled at Pommel. “Thank you for your help with the preparations Pommy. If you’d like to go back downstairs to finish the parting gift you were preparing for the team you can. I just need to organize this. Oh! And if either of you see Jin can you send him back in here? Thanks!” Without waiting for an answer from either wizard Oceana picked up a pile of papers and turned away to put them in their proper places, verbally and physically dismissing the two.

“Not a problem sis!” Grinning happily with a cock of her head, Pommel moved out and downstairs with Keiji, the smile not leaving her face until they were out of sight and earshot of Oceana. With the door closed behind them, her face immediately did a 180 as it turned stern, the small girl doing her best to stand tall and intimidating. Even on tippy toes, it wasn’t very successful, but she wasn’t about to back down now. “Oceana’s really counting on this, Keiji, so don’t screw it up. I know it’s going to be hard without Dolores leading the charge, but just, try to be as good as she would’ve been okay? If you ruin this, I’ll make sure you regret it, understand?” Getting up in Keiji’s face as Pommel continued to frown in Keiji’s direction, it seemed the little wizard didn’t have nearly as much faith as Oceana, especially with one of her favourite wizards out of the picture. Still, there was something charming about the gusto used in threatening the S-Class wizard.

”When I get back, we’re going to solve this problem that you seem to have with me.” Keiji stated in a firm tone, although it wasn’t quite a challenging one yet. If she were any other wizard in the guild, Keiji would have already nipped this in the bud preferably with a strong worded argument...or his other chosen method of fixing issues. He had no idea what he had done to piss her off, so the first step was to figure that out. That was something for another day though, for now he brushed past her. If she wasn’t going to treat him with the respect his position deserved, he felt no need to do the same. With the paper for the job in hand, he made his way in front of the team...his team? He doubted anyone would let him get away with calling it his team if only for pride and reputation sake. Before he could say anything, the door to the guild hall opened up and Rin appeared more than a few minutes late for the meeting. She took her time getting to her seat, although there was something off about her...was that paint on her face? What had she been doing? Regardless, Keiji was just glad that she had kept her promise and showed up. With the interruption out of the way, Keiji started the mini brief. ”Listen up.” Keiji stated, waiting a couple of moments to make sure everyone was paying attention to him.

”First, let me start by saying Dolores won’t be joining us for this job. Her responsibilities have pulled her elsewhere.” Keiji took a moment to read through the parchment again, wanting to make sure he didn’t miss anything important. ”The job is as follows: A Dark Guild running under the moniker of Laguna Fury has taken over a village and has threatened death on anyone attempting to leave. They’ve started terrorizing the populace, looting, stealing, basically everything that you would associate to these people. The objective is simple...get in there, remove them from the town.” Keiji flipped the page over, just to make sure that there wasn’t any more information that he was missing before folding it up and returning it to his pocket. ”It shouldn’t need to be said, but I’ll state it anyways. Seeing as this made its way to the S-ranked job board, we can safely assume that they have a few wizards of incredible skill to warrant needing our attention. Implying that just because there’s a number of us going on this mission doesn’t mean it will be easy.”

Keiji looked around to the others for a moment, seeing if they fully understood what he meant or if they believed he was simply putting on airs for them. He was more concerned with Rin and Cheneres out of the bunch, not necessarily because their skills were lacking, but because, like himself, they were not team players. ”We leave at 3pm, have everything you need ready by then and meet at the train station. Any questions?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade
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Something about painting and changing her clothing before going to meeting (has paint on face)
Make comment about how the stuff they talk about could have been sent on magical paper airplane
Don't remember rest x-x sowwy

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade
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Bardulf watched everyone trickle in slowly as the team assembled. He nodded at Slick's statement as he mused and muddled over what could be said. "This job, it could make or break whatever Oceana has planned for the guild. Well whatever it might be I'm with them to the end. This is my guild. My family." he thought as the team assembled together. He chuckled at Cheneres' entrance and stopped when poor Pommel nearly got flattened by the inebriated Sand Wizard. He noted the absence of Dolores and Rin. He half wondered what's taking either of them so long, and decided to treat himself to a cup of coffee. It would keep him awake for the train ride (if there was to be one).

He watched Keiji approach the assembled group and prepared to speak when Rin came into the guild with... paint on her face? Either that was some kind of war paint or someone enjoyed painting. He wouldn't dare tell her either of those statements out loud. No need to pry in her spare time activities.

Bard then heard Keiji's call of attention and straightened his back in his seat as he sipped his coffee. He listened carefully and nodded at Dolores' reasons for not joining this mission at this time. It was a shame but that meant he had the full attention of Keiji to worry about. He swallowed the swig of coffee in his mouth nervously and with tact.

"Oh crud. I hope I don't screw up in front of him, heck screwing up is bad for the whole guild. Gah, already went over this Brain!" He thought worriedly. But then the job itself was announced by Keiji and he listened carefully. A dark guild called Laguna Fury took over a village, and is doing everything in its power to terrorize it. Bard clenched his jaw as his own imagination visualized what Laguna Fury was doing. Monstrous was first word in his mind. The horrible fact they looting, stealing was not in his mind, the unspoken evils were what put monstrous in his head. Kidnapping above all, as he recalled the disappearance of his own mother, never to be heard from again, though he fervently hid any assumptions for his sister's sake.

"How...how dare they?!"

Crack!

Bard stopped his rapid thinking and looked at his grip on his coffee cup, finding that it caused a small crack upon it. He quickly eased his grip on the cup and downed the rest of its contents as Keiji asked if there were any questions. Bard heard Rin's outburst about the meeting and sighed. "I have no questions myself, only the statement of seeing you all at 3, as I myself am prepared to go as of now." He stated, getting up and walked for the door. "Afternoon Miss Rin, lovely color you have on you." He added, nodding in her direction trying to keep a straight face as far as her painted face was concerned and began to go about heading for the train station.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade
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#, as written by Feyblue
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As the meeting drew on, it grew increasingly apparent to Artemie that she was in over her head.

On the bright side, it was announced that Dolores wouldn't be accompanying them, which took something of a weight off of Artemie's mind. The older woman was terrifying even on the best of days, and the young bookworm had held little doubt that she'd berate her at the slightest prompting.

...But, on the other hand, one of the first things she was told about the quest they'd be taking up was that it was, indeed, an S-Ranked mission, just as she had feared. But, hey, that wasn't all bad, right? At least it meant that the pay would be good, so she finally might have enough money to afford more than just basic daily necessities! Besides, S-Rank just meant that it COULD hypothetically be dangerous, not that it was guaranteed to be, so at least-


”The job is as follows: A Dark Guild running under the moniker of Laguna Fury has taken over a village and has threatened death on anyone attempting to leave. They’ve started terrorizing the populace, looting, stealing, basically everything that you would associate to these people. The objective is simple...get in there, remove them from the town.”

Never mind, that was definitely dangerous! Artemie's eyes went wide, and then slowly dropped to the floor. She'd technically sparred against a couple of mages when she'd been tested for admission to the guild, but still, trying to fight in actual combat with experienced wizards was... Wasn't this a bit too reckless? Was she seriously supposed to... But they were all talking about it like it was just a matter of course! How could she raise any kind of protest without being singled out? She tried to open her mouth to say something, ask what they knew about this guild, figure out anything about the life-or-death battle into which she was being thrown, but she couldn't force the words out. Somewhere, somebody even started complaining about the paper airplanes she'd used to issue summons to the meeting, saying she should have just included the mission with the paper. Well, if she'd KNOWN that they were marching into a deadly battle right off the bat, then she'd have been a lot less enthusiastic to be here! Even Slick, the Wizard she idolized, had basically just given her a pat on the back and told her to go ahead, when she still didn't even know what she was doing... She was trying her best, so why was everyone so-?!

...No, not everyone. There was still one person who... who she could probably, maybe count on. She glanced awkwardly beside her, to where a certain brawny, silver-haired wanderer was sitting. He'd said that he'd help her out, hadn't he? Then... maybe... Would it really be alright for her to just stick with Cheneres? He was a God Slayer, so he was definitely a strong fighter, right? And maybe, she'd be able to be of some kind of use to him out of combat... It wasn't ideal, but it was better than trying to handle things on her own, right?

Turning to Cheneres, Artemie gave a very forced smile, trying to hide how obviously nervous she was.
"S-so, umm... Mr. Cheneres... I don't... really have anything to prepare." This was technically the truth, since she carried all necessary magical tools she possessed on her person at all times, just in case. "What about you?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade
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#, as written by Tanman
Pommel Grade
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“Ugh, this day can’t get much worse. Can’t believe how lame this is
” Mumbling and grumbling to herself some more, Pommel gave a soft ‘Nyeh’ and pulled a silly face behind Keiji’s back as he mildly scolded her. Or at least, raised his disapproval of her actions by promising to bring it up later. Whatever, it wasn’t like she had a big problem with that. To be honest, she was mainly venting her annoyance that Dolores was missing from the meeting, as was Rin. I mean, Artemie was great and all, but she couldn’t carry the whole team on her back. Slick and Chen were almost too much for Dolores to help with. Almost. Well, it didn’t matter now, they were stuck with Keiji as leader. Hopefully it would work out even without Dolores or Mel or anyone truly special on the team.

Following behind Keiji, Pommel stood to the side as he gave the briefing, looking a little tired with it all. At least, she did until she noticed Rin make her way in. Visibly brightening, she mainly focused on the young wizard during the talk, ignoring the actual details of the mission; not that it really mattered to her anyway. Rin herself seemed mildly annoyed at being summoned, and the whole time she’d been giving Keiji a bit of a look. Well that made sense then! Just like her, Rin didn’t think Keiji was that special. Well, it was a relief that someone talented would be looking after the group at the very least. As Keiji made a last comment about packing and questions, Pommel raised her hand, smiling from ear to ear.

“If you need me to take care of any house maintenance or anything I’ll be happy to help Rin! I mean, who knows how long you’ll all be gone
” Pommel clapped her hands together in front of her before leaning them to the side to show her face. Rin, like a few others, didn’t live at the dorms. Naturally, she might have had some potted plants or mail or those sorts of things that needed catering too, and she was just the girl to do it. Blinking a bit, she realised she hadn’t revealed her gift to the group at all. “O-oh! I almost forgot, I’ve prepared food for all of you on the journey, so you don’t have to worry about packing something for that. Just leave it to me!” Flashing a proud smile and a thumb to her chest, Pommel’s day had considerably brightened now that she had a bit more confidence in the group.


Slick
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Slick listened in mild interest to the spiel. Seemed like a pretty standard affair, if not for the danger level of the mission. The wizards of Laguna Fury would have to be quite something to earn that rank. Though he mildly agreed with Rin’s sentiments, it wasn’t like he had much better to do with his time, so it wasn’t that big a deal. It was kind of annoying to be under Keiji’s command, but as he’d said before, he was a reliable man. Packing wouldn’t take too long, especially if little Pommel was handling the food. Ah, hopefully she’d make one of those delicate desserts that he liked


“I take it since you didn’t give any details about the wizards other than ‘they’re tough’ that we don’t know anything about what they’re actually capable of, right?” Slick asked Keiji, not bothering to raise his hand and simply waiting for an appropriate opening. Giving the man time to respond, he looked to Chen and Artemie making friends, along with Bard and Rin making small talk. Guess he missed the memo on bringing a date. Either that or Dolores caught wind and was already standing him up. Chuckling at the idea, he looked back to Keiji again. Wait, did that mean they were the last duo? A cringe worthy thought


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Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade
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Artemie’s Dialogue Color: #AA00FF

Chen’s Dialogue Color: #C3834C

Despite his usual blithe demeanor to most things around him, he always showed a distinct interest in the current job he was participating in. The reward was his drinking money after-all. Besides, an opportunity to show off and earn some spending cash even warranted Cheneres’ attention.

As Keiji droned on about the details, he mentioned that Dolores wouldn’t be accompanying them. Although she was a lady, Cheneres knew deep down that his feats couldn’t compare to such a talented S-Class wizard. So he was a bit relieved to not have her hogging the spotlight. The rest of the details were rather simple, with Cheneres compressing the information into little snip-bits. Despite his fond passion for missions and such, the plan would be most likely forgotten due to the boring voice delivering the specifics.

The time given to them to prepare was mostly wasted on Cheneres. He already doesn’t have to pack shirts due to his insistence on showing his masculine features to all females who walk the streets. He decided to just pack beer to drink after this whole little adventure was concluded. He stood up, turning towards the door. He was about to walk out before being stopped by peculiar violet haired woman. Actually, he almost didn’t notice - her voice was so quiet that it took him a moment to recognize that his own name had been spoken, even though she was right behind him.

”S-so, um
 Mr. Cheneres
 I don’t
 really
 have anything to prepare,” The bookish mage stammered. ”What about you?” ...Was she asking if he was free right now? He was pretty sure that something was seriously wrong with the world today. After all, normally he’d be the one asking that question, and the answer would always invariably be “No” - maybe with an expletive or two thrown in, just for good measure.

”Ah, almost didn’t see ‘ya there. Hm..” Cheneres thought for a moment. ”Women don’t usually ask me these kinds of questions, mostly they ask “are you right in the head?” or something. But I suppose you could accompany the great Cheneres on his packing conquest.” He sported a dramatic pose, both of his hands on his hips. He laughed to himself, similar to a small delusional child.

“‘Packing conquest
?’” Artemie parroted back, tilting her head to the side in bemusement. “Do you think your luggage is going to fight back?” She still sounded perfectly gentle and quiet, making it a little hard to tell whether or not this was meant to be a joke, or if she simply assumed her interpretation to be correct. She blinked, staring with increasing unease as the silence between them continued. Wait, was she expecting him to laugh? So it had been a joke, then? She must have just been a bit too self-conscious to speak up when delivering it
 It seemed sarcasm really wasn’t her strong suit.

“Hmm..” He placed his hand on his chin. “Of course, when the luggage fights back, it should prove no threat to my might. Though..you must come if these strange luggage beasts prove too much for my power alone.” He placed his hands on her shoulders. “I’m counting on you for this one, alright?”

Well, if any words had an effect on her, those certainly did. When he finally responded in kind to what was evidently her attempt at a jest, a slight grin broke out on her face. And, when he asked for her help, she practically beamed and began nodding enthusiastically, evidently all too eager to be of service. “I’d
 I’d be happy to help!” She exclaimed, seeming surprisingly excited about the whole prospect. Come to think of it, she’d jumped at the chance to cure his hangover, too
 Well, whatever. She wanted to keep him company, it seemed, so it wasn’t as if he had anything to complain about.

“Alright.” He grinned goofily. “We should go now. Stopping the luggage beasts are first priority.” Cheneres turned towards the door, waving goodbye to no one in particular. He then set out. These monsters won’t live to see another day.

Glancing back over his shoulder, he half expected to see Artemie waving back at him as if to say, “I was just kidding, go have fun by yourself.” What he didn’t expect, though, was to see her following closely behind him, her eyes instantly meeting his from
 eye level? Wait, hadn’t she been about two feet shorter just a minute ago? He could have sworn she only came up to his chest at the very most, so then why-

...Okay, that answered that question, but raised the entirely new question of “Why, exactly, is she floating?” The violet-haired magus bobbed lazily up and down in the air, hovering a few feet off the ground just a couple of paces behind him at all times. Come to think of it, she was shooting glances at his legs all of a sudden
 And she seemed just a little bit out of breath
 Oh, right, his stride was much longer than hers. He’d just strolled off without really thinking about it, but if you were going to walk with a woman who was significantly shorter than you were, then you needed to slow down just a little bit so as not to get ahead of her. But she hadn’t even said anything or asked him to slow down
 Did that mean she’d been racing to keep up with him instead before he turned around? The mental image of the prim and proper young lady trotting along behind him like a puppy seeking attention, fanciful dress adorned with ribbons trailing around her, appeared before his mind unbidden.

Huh. ...He kind of wished he’d gotten the chance to see something that adorable. If only he’d turned around a few moments sooner! “Alrighty..we take a left here.” He pointed to a modest building. An cheap apartment complex, but Cheneres always liked smaller places like this. Besides, he gets kicked out of apartments on the daily, so he couldn’t exactly afford getting too invested. He led her up the stairs to a wooden door. Fumbling for the key, he opened the door slowly. “Sorry ‘bout it being a dump in here, I don’t exactly get much guests, especially fair maidens such as yourself.” As he turned back to the room ahead of him, he couldn’t help but notice in passing that suddenly Artemie looked significantly redder than she had before. She fluttered quite sharply down to the floor, stumbling a moment as if in a daze, and opened her mouth several times as if to say something, but each time cut herself off before she could even begin. Huh
 maybe that was a bit of a bad way to phrase things. Although, it wasn’t as if he was lying
 Off the top of his head, he couldn’t really think of any other time he’d had a lady over.

”I-it’s f-fine
” She sheepishly stammered out at last. “My room is a mess
 too
” She cleared her throat audibly, and quickly moved past him and through the door. “A-anyway, sorry to intrude
”

The room had clothing sprawled around the floor. Oddly enough, the room didn’t spell too bad as Cheneres usually does his drinking outside. Exercise equipment took up most of the room while a small drawer and a bed were packed tightly in the corner. “Welcome to the dwelling of the great Cheneres!” He bellowed behind her. Artemie stopped just inside the threshold, glancing back and forth as if searching for a path that she could walk without stepping on anything. After a moment of evident silent contemplation, however, she was struck by an obvious solution, and, after muttering a few words under her breath, suddenly floated right back up into the air, hovering up a little closer to the ceiling this time and off to one side to allow Cheneres through the door.

“Umm
 thanks
 So
 er
 was there anything in particular you came to get?” She asked, peering down at him curiously from her vantage point in the air.

“Hmm..” He tried to recollect his thoughts. “I actually didn’t have anything I wanted to get, but the thought of slaying the luggage beasts got me caught in the moment.” He grinned. “Though..” He picked up a jacket. “I guess I’ll get this so I didn’t waste ‘ya time.” He slung the jacket over his shoulder. Artemie blinked again, once more seeming surprised.

“I didn’t think you owned anything like a shirt or a coat,” She observed innocently, this time seeming even more completely serious than she had been last time. But surely, it had to be a joke, didn’t it? ”Because you never wear one,” She added, as if this needed explaining. So she was actually serious then
?

“Observant, are we? This old thing was actually a gift from a buddy long back.” He patted the deteriorating fabric. “He got tired of seeing my bulging muscles all day..he must’ve been jealous.” Cheneres put the jacket on. The coat was similar to a trench coat in design, with black as it’s main color. It had pockets on the side and left pec. “I wear it unzipped though, so the ladies can still snag a peek.”

”Are you sure it wasn’t just because he thought you might not be comfortable?” Artemie asked innocently, floating gently down in front of him until she was just a fraction of an inch in front of the floor. Her own flowing gown kind of had a similar aesthetic to his coat, and Cheneres was sorely tempted to give some kind of cheesy one liner about how “we match now!” but decided to relent, since she’d probably either misinterpret or completely miss it.

“I mean,” She continued a bit awkwardly. “Seeing as you’re only ever half-dressed, I do worry sometimes
 Doesn’t it get cold after a while?” As she spoke, her gaze slowly dropped away from his face, running over his chest before stopping. She was silent for a moment, placing her finger to her lips in what appeared to be intense contemplation.

“By the way
” She began after a moment of silence. “What, exactly, am I supposed to be peeking at? Is there something hidden inside your coat?”

Cheneres pointed to his abs, a stunning 8 pack, fruit from years of dedication and hard work. His greatest achievement. “The chicks love it..I think, they don't’ usually stay to talk to me, but I think that’s what they are thinking, you feel?

...Surprisingly, Artemie nodded without hesitation. “Well, yes, indeed. You are incredibly handsome,” She concurred bluntly. It was
 a little bit odd, hearing those words coming from someone normally so shy, spoken with the same tone that one might announce that the sky was blue - as if it was obvious, and didn’t even need to be said. “Well
 Umm
 That is... I guess I can’t really speak for everyone
 but
 I
 think so.” Oh. There it was. There was the blushing, bashful response he’d been looking for! She must have realized that most people didn’t view beauty as an objective thing, and decided to correct herself, only to realize that by doing so she was going to say something that sounded like flirting!

Huh. ...Now that he knew what to look for, suddenly, she wasn’t so hard to read after all. Or
 was she? Wait, so did that mean she was attracted to him? Or just that she was agreeing with him and then realized that what she was saying should have been embarrassing? Crap, even if he knew her thought process, that still didn’t tell him anything!

He stood there, in shock at the compliment. After a long moment of silence, Cheneres attempted to change the subject. “Thank you for the..uhm, compliment. We should ..probably go now, right?” He turned towards the door.

Artemie nodded wordlessly, her face still very red. When she followed him out, she did so by floating once again, seeming suddenly very conscious of the fact that she’d just said something like that to a man who’d just invited her to his room.

“S-so, umm... I don’t mean to be rude, or presumptuous, but
 I don’t
 really know many people on this team very well,” Artemie began after a few moments taken to re-compose herself, seeming equally inclined to change the subject after the earlier awkwardness between them. “I’m also somewhat inexperienced, so I’m not sure how useful I’ll be
 but
 umm
 if there’s anything I can do to help you, I’d be happy to offer my assistance!” She looked away, seeming all but unwilling to continue - and yet, continue she did, albeit very softly, as if speaking only with great reluctance. “S-so
. In exchange
 would it be alright if I asked
 um
 that is
” Then, all at once, her real thoughts spilled out.

“I’m scared. I’ve never fought real mages in a serious fight before,” Artemie confessed at last. ”I’m so sorry
 I shouldn’t ask something like this of you, but
 could you please protect me during our mission, Mr. Cheneres?” She lowered her gaze to the floorboards, almost like she was afraid of seeing the look on his face. What did she expect, exactly? That he’d laugh at her? To be sure, Cheneres was an unintentional master of upsetting or otherwise angering women. But, even he knew the right answer in a situation like this.

“Hm? I thought teammates always had each other’s backs.” He glanced over his shoulder. “How about I protect you and in exchange, you protect me?” He smiled, looking her straight in the eye.

“If that’s what you want
” She nodded, but still seemed a bit uncertain. Nevertheless, she forced a smile. “I’ll do everything I can to keep you safe.”

“That’s the spirit!” He patted her on the back, albeit a bit too forcefully for her small frame. He opened the door for her. “Let’s go, we kept them waiting for too long.” Righting herself after being nearly bowled over by her new protector’s rather overzealous encouragement, Artemie nodded seriously, and followed closely behind him.

“R-right.”

And so it was that a very unlikely partnership quite suddenly began.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade
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Keiji Okaro




Keiji glanced around as everyone seemed to have their own reaction to the entire thing. Bard cracked his cup with more than a little melodrama at the entire ordeal. Keiji agreed that people like this were of the worst humanity had to offer simply because they didn’t even bother with a challenge, they took from those who couldn’t fight back. No respect was given and he shared Bard’s opinion of them even if he didn’t outwardly show it as much. Naturally Rin complained about the purpose of the meeting, but Keiji had already braced himself knowing she would find something to complain about it even if it wasn’t about the message. Again, he more or less agreed that this kind of information could have been sent in the magical paper airplane that had summoned them, but this was still a good chance to see everyone who would be going to the mission together in one room.

Artemie and Chen didn’t seem to have a reaction to the description, or at the very least kept it to themselves. Something he hadn’t expected of the Sand God Slayer but seemed very much in character with the Holder Mage. Slick was the only one to actually ask a question, which upon hearing it Keiji looked back down at the paper making sure he didn’t miss something. ”There’s no mention of specifics, numbers or talent wise. We’ll just have to go with the assumption that I stated.” Keiji answered Slick as best he could with what little he had. He gave a nod to the man to signify that was all he could tell him, and watched as everyone got up to go pack their things. That was the end of the meeting it would seem, he hadn't dismissed them but at this point he was just glad they had showed up (for the most part). He waited until the rest of his team had left before he himself exited the guild hall, making sure that if anyone was wanting to ask him something in private or perhaps complain to him that he would be around for such a thing. Luckily, or unluckily no one did. So with the briefing done and everyone gone, Keiji made to get his stuff ready as well.

Keiji entered his dorm room, a single 2 room apartment that looked more akin to a hotel than an actual living space. His bed and everything else he needed was in the main area while a door lead to the bathroom where all his maintenance amenities were. What people wouldn’t normally expect from the S class wizard was the fact that there were so many different things in his room, pinned up or shuffled off to the side, meant to be viewed and not touched. Trophies of varying size were pinned to the walls, along with pictures and contracts. There were a couple of teeth the size of someone’s arm held on the wall, along with a couple pictures of Keiji looking stoic while a number of people smiled around him, usually with massive destruction in the background. Aside from his bed, there was a very small kitchen that normally didn’t come standard in the dorm room and instead had been bought by Keiji so he could cook his own food when it came down to it. In a corner were some blacksmithing tools that were well maintained and meticulously placed so as not to create a mess. His bed was made, his room was dusted, and the entire room looked spotless. He enjoyed a clean sleeping area, to him it was a mark of pride to sleep in an area you worked hard to maintain.

He walked inside, opening the closet to reveal an array of cheap clothing that wasn’t the worst one would find anywhere, but it was obvious they were not made of high class materials. On the floor was a rather large backpack, which Keiji grabbed, opening it and slipping in an extra set of clothes. He closed the closet and wandered over to his makeshift kitchen, opening the small icebox and pulling out a prepared lunch for himself. Pommel had stated that she had made something for them all, but first of all Keiji hadn’t been aware of that when he had made this the other day, and he didn’t trust her to not do something to it that would make him regret relying on her cooking skills. He slipped the lunch into his bag as well, closing the ice box and making his way to the bathroom. There he opened the cabinet and pulled out a first aid kit, slipping it into his backpack as well. Those were the bare essentials according to Keiji, but he had more than enough time to think of anything else. For now, he placed the bag next to his door and wandered out. He could still get in a little training before the ride to fight town would take place.




Keiji had arrived at the train station half an hour ahead of schedule for a couple of reasons. The first one being the most obvious, he wanted to be the first one there. A strong showing of leadership, even if no one wanted to look at him that way. The other reason, being less obvious, was that he had nothing better to do. He trained for a couple of hours, double checked all his stuff, and eventually settled on just waiting at the station. He would be the first to admit that he didn’t really have a social life, but it was only during times like these where he really felt its absence. For the time being, he had been sitting at one of the benches along the rails, staring up at the sky and enjoying the last of his alone time for what seemed like the foreseeable future. Train whistles sounded and people boarded different trains going to different places. Keiji glanced backwards at the clock, noticing the time and realizing it was getting close to zero hour. He hadn’t noticed anyone show up yet, or at the very least, they hadn’t approached him, maybe wanting the train to show up first. The more he thought about this, the more he didn’t like it, so instead of wallowing in his own pessimistic attitude, he focused on the task at hand.

It was a dark guild, meaning a fair number of enemy combatants in a village of unknown size just a short distance away from the city they would be spending the night. He had never been one for strategy, preferring the method of going in there and essentially exploding until everyone stayed down, but he couldn’t necessarily rely on that this time around, not with so many of his fellow guild mates surrounding him. He would have to think of something, even as his entire being coiled at the thought of holding back. There was another whistle from a train, and Keiji looked up, recognizing the numbers on the side of the train as their lift. He stood up, grabbing his backpack and stretching. He gave a slight yawn, looking around as the train pulled into the station.

Were the others here?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Pommel Grade
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Rin rose from her seat as their 'meeting' came to an end, the only question being asked having been Slick's. The whole affair had been pretty much useless except as a way to discover what time their train left. The details of the mission could have been discussed ON the train, though there weren't many details to discuss in the first place. As she started towards the door of the guild hall she heard Bard say her name and looked over only to give the other wizard a confused look. She didn't put much thought into the comment, rolling her eyes and shrugging before veering in a different direction.

Once she had arrived back home she grabbed the few essentials that hadn't already been in her travel bag and headed towards the train station. After the quick walk, she went to the station and checked in before going across the street and finding a nice secluded table at a cafe to sit at and ordered a snack while she waited to see who would arrive 'first'. Spying really usually wasn't something she partook in but curiosity got the best of her and knowing more about her temporary team couldn't hurt.

As she suspected, Keiji was the first to arrive though much to her surprise Slick was the second. She had honestly expected him to show up just in the nick of time as it seemed more his style but rather than try to contemplate the fact she simply shrugged it off, taking a sip from her second cup of tea. Next was Pommel, and though Rin felt bad leaving her to deal with Keiji and Slick alone she decided to hang back a bit longer. As the clock at the train station showed 2:45, Rin signaled over a waitress and paid her bill, almost chuckling at the sight of Bard bolting towards the train station out of the corner of her eye. He was followed shortly after by Artemie and Chen, the two arriving together and at that point Rin picking up her stuff and made her way across the street to the train station. Walking up to the group with about 5 minutes to spare she looked over at Pommel who was the only person she was willing to talk to at the moment. "Hey Pommel, didn't think you were coming with us." Rin kept her tone extremely neutral, readjusting the backpack on her right shoulder.