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Dolores De La Fuente

"Life's but a canvas, your decisions the paint. People judge the result without knowing the reasons."

0 · 665 views · located in Nymphaea City

a character in “Tidal Serpent”, originally authored by Byte, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

Image
Name:
Dolores De La Fuente

Nicknames:
Doll/Dolly - Simple shortings of her name, really. Not responded to with kindness.

Lady Wizard - A belittling little pet name that her past colleagues had come up with.

Alias(es):
Mistwalker - A simple monniker she's used as a way to interact with contractors and others.

The Noble Assassin - Dubbed as such by the Magic Council, probably for easy filing. Who knows.

Age:
30

Appearance:

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 183 lbs
Hair Colour: Russet-brown
Eye Colour: Violet

Description:
Dolores is the noble beauty many a suitor has tried to conquer, the queen clad in blood and armour; gentle but strong-willed. A long crop of russet hair falls down to just below her shoulders, and violet eyes burn with a strong, dutiful passion. To be honest, Dolores is not a picky woman and has a very practical appearance about her. Someone who's grown accustomed to the harsher parts of mercenary work, and as such Dolores is relatively fit and toned compared to the average mage (and scars to prove her worth as well).

Location and Color of Guild Mark:
Right shoulder
Viridian





Magic Type:
Dragon Lacrima - Through certain procedures Dolores was implanted with a lacrima that has bestowed her with Dragon Slayer magic, which manifests itself in a smoke-like element; effectively dubbing her a "Smoke Dragon". While Dolores is hesitant to use this power on a whim, she's mastered it to such a degree that all but the subtle differences and nuances, such as her immunity and ability to devour her element, are indistinguishable from plain regular smoke magic.

Magical Tools:
Bladed-staff - There's nothing particularly "magical" about it. Just a staff that spans about Dolores's height and a bit, brandishing a steel blade at one end. The other sprawling out into a tangled mess of the oaken tree it was made of. Its grip has been clothed in a fancy red cloth.

Magic Spells:
Smoke Dragon's Roar - A Dragon Slayer's signature roar. Dolores let's out a raging whirlwind of ashen smoke that blows away anyone in its path.

Smoke Dragon's Nails - An assassination technique devised by Dolores in which she morphs her fingers to resemble smoke-like knives that puncture on contact.

Mistwalk - A spell that morphs Dolores's body into thin vapours, providing complete stealth for infiltration and assasination.

Wizard Ranking:
S




Personality:
Dolores is a creature of habit and not like to break out of any routines she's been taught over the years, comfortably sat in her own bubble and careful not to pop it by mistake. She's a stiff upper lip sort of person, and mixed with an upbringing that of royalty the woman is unnaturally stiff and formal in the face of strangers and close relatives alike. Difficult one to thaw out to be sure, despite trying to be less of a high-strung individual. She's typically well-mannered and friendly, just not a favourable companion if you're wanting some small talk.

Hobbies:
Sparring/Training - While Dolores is pretty docile by nature, she's a strong presence on the battlefield and likes a good squabble to loosen the muscles from time to time.

Hunting - The non-human kind, anyway. It keeps her instincts sharp. Even better when someone races her for the trophy.

Habits:
It's noted by many guild members that she's prone to flick her fingers or rub the flat of her right hand when ruminating. Sometimes she winds strands of hair around her thumb, or pluck at the fur of her collar. Really, there are too many to list and it's safe to say Dolores has got plenty of habits and odd little tidbits if you observed her for long enough.

Fears:
Enclosed spaces (captivity in particular), sailing, things larger than herself

Strengths:
Stealth/Assassination - Being sneaky has been her bread and butter for several years now, and Dolores is very skilled at taking the enemy in the rear if need be.

Strong Magical Presence - The De La Fuente family has a strong magical bloodline, and Dolores possesses a vast amount of magical power wich she can exploit to command a strong presence to intimidate.

Survivalist - Dolores has got a fair amount of knowledge on taking care of herself and others amidst the wilderness. She's a decent hunter, has got general book-smarts on what plants are or aren't edible, and isn't shy about going to extremes to get out alive.

Weaknesses:
Unstable magic - A dragon lacrima is no child's toy, and it's been known to go haywire under extreme pressure or outright backfire in the face of its user.

Plain element - Smoke isn't much of a benefit besides stealth and maybe some odd method to blind someone, but overall it's generally regarded as a weaker element when compared to the typical fire, water, wind and earth mages seem to be fond of using.

Self-reliant - To a 'T'. Dolores hasn't staked much practicality in having to carry around someone if they're a burden. While it's simmered down somewhat, she's still very much practically minded and will usually opt for a logical action as opposed to the morally sound one.




Family:
Antonio De La Fuente - Father - Alive, probably
Melinda Byrne - Mother - Alive, probably

History:
It's difficult to hide the grimace on her face when people casually mention her family, a volume of sneers that encompass just how much Dolores resents what should've been the perfect fairytale "happy ever after". So much so that she's sought extreme measures to stick it to the big man of the family, and when father's precious princess had been sighted among less favourable members of Fiore's society, Dolores was abruptly scrapped from the De La Fuente history books. Good-fucking-riddance if you'd ask her. At least, that's the official story, and Dolores is nothing if not happily referring to that everytime someone asks what her deal is.

Whatever the reason (or reasons), Dolores took to the company of several criminal circuits and, in a rebellious tantrum, joined up with a dark guild the likes of which were fairly common across Fiore. Typical thieves and assassins, anything for a quick buck. Not a major threat, but enough of a nuisance to attract the odd guild mage or two. She'd proven a reliable member and had managed a deadly streak, and an even bigger following from the Magic Council and several ambitious proper little mages who'd thought her head a nice gateway to everlasting fame. Usually it was the other way around, another head to mount on the wall of her guild's hideout and an increase in bounty.

For several years Dolores had indulged in reaving and stealing and stone-cold murder. She had damned the consequences. And, hey, if she ever did get caught? Well, fucked if she hadn't lived her life the way she wanted. Only the truth tasted more a sour apple than it did a sweet honey...

Her actions had soon caught on with the bigger fishes in the pond, and Dolores found herself outmatched in single combat by the strongest mage she'd ever met. Barely a fight, she found herself a the mercy of some nobody with a crest she'd never seen. She thought her life forfeit at that moment, but instead she was offered to come see his tavern. Whether she stood on the man's doorstep by choice or out of kindness, Dolores had relinquished her dark guild some time later and marked herself a member of Tidal Serpent since that faithful day.

Six months passed since her initiation into the guild, and having recently been promoted to the guild's latest S-class mage Dolores has found herself contemplating her current position and that perhaps she could pursue bigger ambitions...



???:
All yours! Can put whatever you want here, more info on your magic, pets, family, fun facts, anything!

FC:
Fem-Hawke - Dragon Age II

So begins...

Dolores De La Fuente's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro 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.

The setting changes from Nymphaea City to Guild Hall

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion
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#, as written by Byte
ImageDolores De La Fuente



X
X

“OH MY GOSH YOU DID IT DOLLY! I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!!!”

Well at least she was happy about it.

In the face of congratulatory ceremonies and the fact that she’d emerged victorious out of a notorious contest, Dolores was pretty much the emotional desert she’d always been; stone-faced and barely a smile to share. Much in contrast to the other woman, who’d thought hugging the newest S-class wizard was a good idea. But Dolores endured. Unwillingly, but she endured.

For both their sakes.

Oceana had meant well enough, she supposed, and for that alone Dolores had to suppress the urge to frown just a little too hard. Maybe she was just tired, and this whole farce of a celebration only made it more apparent that, yes, that bed and a good hour's rest sounded really nice about now. But again, Dolores endured. Unsmiling and unfazed until she could drop the act and have a well-deserved shower.

Another day, another grind. If there had been anything worse than to stand ceremony because you were the newest S-class wizard, it had been that delightful ban which meant all she could do was sit around twiddling her thumbs until she either killed herself out of boredom or beat the odd few wizards still wanting a sparring partner, of which there had been fewer of each day (presumably because of her promotion).

Wasn’t like to kill her time soon. And so she sat at the bar, exchanging pleasantries with some of the members if she wasn’t dead set on ignoring them, but when Oceana came skipping into the hall shouting for attention, Dolores hoped to be able to get back to her usual routine.

Sooner rather than later. And when the room wouldn’t quiet down, the woman drummed on the counter with her empty mug, roaring “Attention!” until there was naught but a whisper from the corner of the guild.

The setting changes from Guild Hall to Nymphaea City

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro 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: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion Character Portrait: Jin Takeshi
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Image
Image
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.







Image
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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: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro Character Portrait: Pommel Grade Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion
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#, as written by Tanman
Pommel Grade
Image

“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

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Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion
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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?

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Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Dolores 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: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro 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

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Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion Character Portrait: Freya Malaerion
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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.

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Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente
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Dɪᴀʟᴏɢᴜᴇ Cᴏʟᴏʀ ✦ #AA00FF || Tʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ Cᴏʟᴏʀ ✧ #0E00A8























































































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...

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

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Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Oceana Malaerion Character Portrait: Freya Malaerion
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#, as written by Tanman
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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rin Hitomi Character Portrait: Artemie Scheherazade Character Portrait: Bardulf Sherwood Character Portrait: Slick Character Portrait: Cheneres Se-anhur IV Character Portrait: Dolores De La Fuente Character Portrait: Keiji Okaro 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 café 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.