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Old July 23, 2010, 08:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Fact or Fiction? I guess an even split. (Wynd, open?)

The Second Cycle of Imperos, in the Summer of Era XVII PF

It was as if he was seeing them for the first time, these colorful islands with their peculiar people and head-strong vigor for tradition. Without a direct objective to ponder and achieve, Rafael was free to strut slowly and enjoy the city as it needed to be; and without a scarf hiding his identity, another first, he was overjoyed to be able to present his pretty face to the odd looks locals gave him for his choice in color.

...Or lack thereof.

This particular walk had no set destination, as the Jaedaxian was simply looking for a story. Something interesting, perhaps dangerous. He kept his ears open for gossip, and his eyes out for any particularly curious individuals. It was arguably one of his greatest flaws, the disdain he held for preparation and premeditation when he was so naturally graceful in each practice.

Well, I suppose if nobody piques my interest I can always fall back on the pirates. His last encounter with the infamous Tanpori was frightening, but his addictive nature seemed to have noticed the dose of adrenaline it injected through his veins.

So it was decided, kind of, that the noble would wander through the streets in the general direction of Neos Megalis, nonchalantly eavesdropping on conversations as he went.

These boy-lovers better have something interesting about them. Or what, he didn't care. The statement was still valid.
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Old July 24, 2010, 05:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It was a flood day, and the streets in Neos Megalis had all been turned overnight into canals down which gondolas and fishing boats taxied people through the district. But there was also the extensive, if labyrinthine network of bridges through the new city on which Rafael could tour. Inevitably, wander along the bridges of Neos Megalis long enough, and one winds up at the centre of the bridge network and nerve centre of gossip and news in the city, the Tower of Sighs. A variety of people congregated here each day. It was a common meeting place, both planned and chance. Merchants from the docks and the Agora Megalis met to discuss any potential shifts in the business world, Mainlander aristocrats (whose sons and daughters filled the Main and Nephele Beach each night) met to hobnob, discuss investments with the merchants, and decide where they would take their lunch, Secyclid locals came and chattered both in Common and their own Eunesian language.

Rafael, strolling through the Tower of Sighs, heard the usual petty gossips of local notables, such as Trimalchio's last party, Baron Ajax's upcoming ball, and more interestingly internecine intrigues between Tyndareus and Orestes, competing rivals for general rule over the pirates of Secyclion, news of new business ventures, new trading posts, strange discoveries and bone-chilling tales from the recently raised island of Markalinaka, and then he overheard a Secyclionian shopkeep saying to a Mainlander bourgeoise,

"Thirty mercenaries stormed that bar where the Ariumites hang out, the Nexus!"

"I knew there was something shifty going on in that dump!" the Mainlander declared.

"Oh, it had nothing to do with those punks who usually drink themselves stupid there, but this--this beast! Hazudar, apparently. An ORC! There's a bounty out for his head, and he and some other orc!" he spat, "apparently killed most of them."

"Why, just the other day I saw a Vysstichi sitting on the terrace of Cafe Parampoulous!"

"I've been hearing about another Orc roaming around the Agora Kikkimos, some Griknik or something he calls himself. And there was a Dracon lurking around Pirate's Haven -- in full view! Didn't even have the decency to cover it up like some people," a jab at the local money-lender, whom everyone suspected was a Dracon, "Wait, this Vysstichi at Cafe Parampoulous. Was it a man?"

"Yes, I believe so."

"Well you wouldn't believe it but I was talking to a guard at the harbour and he said he'd recently seen not one but two of those dark elf women come into town. Those are the ones you have to watch out for. They're the men of the Vysstichi, those women."

"And the Giants! Have you seen the Giants! Half a dozen of them it seems! One of them marauds around the docks and on the outskirts, between the Haven and Sleepy Sam's with a giant talking stick."

"In any case," continued the Secyclionian, "This Hazudar, seems like he's fallen in with those Ariumiutes, and that Mithania-lad."

"What would a Sylrosian be doing with an Orc?"

"I don't know, friend, but this town is going down, I tell you. Mainlanders are one thing, no offense, but this, this is too much."
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Old August 3, 2010, 05:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The mazes of Neos Megalis’ bridges left Rafa feeling lost, and somewhat dim. There was a specific discolored spot on one bridge he could’ve sworn he’d passed at least twice before, and rarely was there anything new or striking to be found. The only landmark he could really find was the largest building in the district, which was sighted sparingly through cracks in the skyline and made way toward slowly. He’d heard of the Tower of Sighs before, but always assumed it was a very tall brothel. I mean, it’d be a brilliant name.

Finally as he reached the overwhelming structure, he took a moment to admire it, and even more joyously critique it. These islanders like color too much. It assaults the eye. He’d always had a lust for art that was a bit darker, and of emotionally engaging scenes and images. Which portraits and still-life do nothing for. Though he couldn’t deny some of the pieces, especially ones found at the Baron’s Estate, were at the very least ‘well manufactured.’ And the architecture… Yes, it was impressive, and made even moreso by its meek surrounding of impoverished villains.

Gleaning the name ‘Trimalchio’ from the sea of voices inside caused Rafa to halt for a moment; he not only knew the name, but had witnessed the man get his face bashed in, and took particular delight in a slave of his. Aww, Mademoiselle Odile…No! This was no time to be fantasizing, he needed inspiration. Though, He had to admit. …another ball would be fun. I may have to come back for the next one. He’d gotten in easily enough with the flash of his cousin’s name the last time.

The pencil and pad were now in his hands, and he began to write down general ideas of what sounded interesting. A note:
Quote:
Tyndareus v Orestes?
Was taken, as he was interested in learning how anyone could lead a community based on anarchic lifestyles. He had no right to judge, but that’d never stopped him before. Everything else was almost obscenely boring, until a loud, racist man caught his attention.
Quote:
Tyndareus v Orestes?
The Nexus
Was the first piece of information written as anything apart from what those who were there said was conjecture. Soon followed:
Quote:
Tyndareus v Orestes?
The Nexus – Hazudar ‘the orc’
The following conversation was almost too interesting for Rafael to keep from questioning. Orcs? Vyssies? What the feth’s happened since I left? Things were so amusingly interesting now, he’d completely forgotten home for the first time since his departure. His hand moved on it’s own as he’d trained it to do by journaling as a child. The final sum of his notes was:

Quote:
Tyndareus v Orestes?
The Nexus – Hazudar ‘the orc’ – ‘Mithania-lad’
Personal reminder: Two Vyssie Women
Giants near docks – talking stick?
Finally the two patrons began to bore him, so he asked for directions and headed toward ‘The Nexus,’ where he would prod the bartender for information on these orcs that had invaded the red island. Somehow the danger in the previous statement “apparently killed most of them” was completely lost on him, and if it hadn’t been his own hunger for information he probably would have debated himself into it anyway.
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Old August 21, 2010, 01:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The Nexus wasn't too far from the Tower of Sighs -- both being in the Neos Megalis district. Unfortunately, there were no bridges along that part of the Main, the district's major boulevard and also the street closest to the shore, thus the most thoroughly flooded. The Nexus was a dump in the basement of a three story building -- that included a seafood restaurant and some tenements up top, including that of one Kenkuroi Mithania, Sylrosian debauche and rising scandal-maker. Of course, that meant the Nexus was, at this point almost completely submerged. Rafael would be able to hire a gondola from a bridge for a couple of silvers down to the Nexus, and take the restaurant entrance and a stairway down into the dingy basement, where a half foot of water had leaked in, as it did every time there was a flood. Since the brawl Rafael had heard about at the Tower of Sighs, the walls and some of the tables were also conspicuously stained, and every now and then some drunk discovered a piece of skull that made its way into the corner.

The assembled: Robarthes, drinking a glass of ouzo and smoking a Kyriazi Adelphi. Bowery Manhattan, stone drunk and sleeping on top of a table with Alkyone, the usual barmaid of the M&M in his arms with half of a soggy cigarette dangling from her lips. Two scraggly Ariumite vagrants hanging around drinking beer that might as well have been alcoholized ditch water scooped off the floor. A naked sea nymph lounging at the bar sipping a bottle of Centripaxian whiskey and talking to the barkeep.

Robarthes hollered at Rafael, "What can I do for you?" and served him up a drink. When Rafael started asking about the Orcs, he started in, "Good people, orcs. Never thought I'd say that living in Arium, but they're good for business. They bring a whole lotta hurt and you'd be surprised how many people call me doctor. I don't know, but one day this one, Hazudar, or Mr. Badass as he prefers to be called, came in and liked the place, I guess. He wound up getting into business with Kenk, the elf who lives upstairs. You'll have to catch him early in the day (but not too early) if you want to find him in any way sober.

"In any case, after Hazudar, they just started swarming into Secyclion that it was the new Ire, but hey, they're not the only ones who've washed up on shore here when things got fubared back home. Us included. Hazudar's the only one who comes here very often, but not too long ago another came down here, they seemed to know each other. That was when they sent the mercenaries for Haz's head. I think his name was Ogrim -- old looking bastard, didn't say much, walked out with a pile of loot. They seemed like they knew each other. I don't know too much about the rest besides seeing them around town. Been some other types around, too. A couple of Vysstichi were in here just talking the other day. Haven't seen them since I left Arium.

"You want the real story, though, your best bet is to wait around for Kenk or Hazudar themselves to show up. Trust me, you won't have to wait long. What're you asking for, anyway?"

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Old August 21, 2010, 11:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Speak of the devil.

"YO! Robarthes! Yew been keepin' tabs on yers truly or somepin?!" a brash, booming voice shot over the din, accompanied by the splishy scrape of a stool being dragged through the ankle-deep piss pool that was the Nexus's trademark. "Well, uvver den da usual tab."

The first thing one'd notice, naturally, was the ever-present enormous fanged grin -- it seemed to go on for miles, stretching nearly ear to ear over the scraggy, ruined, pockmarked gray-green surface of Haz's one-of-a-kind ugly mug. Next the eyes, a leering pair of somewhat luminous moon-yellow orbs; bloodshot, wide as saucers and as jittery as those of a paranoid schizo -- exactly what an orc needed to be just to stay alive these days. Being amped up continually on kero, qaifa and whatever else he could shake out of Kenk and Bowery also tended to help in this regard.

Frankly, the half-breed seemed more than a lil crazy, and given his mammoth physique, every inch of which was covered in gang tats, scars and strapped toe to tip in a wicked array of weapons, intent on giving whole new meanings to the phrase armed and dangerous. Indeed, Hazudar T. Badass looked, felt, and fought like even more of a raging brawl-aholic than he'd been given credit for... and judging from the mischievous gleam in his eye, he wanted to make sure this new berk on the block knew it.

"So what's yer game, anyway, elf-ears? Ya don't look like no bounty hunter..." Without warning, the orc's snout snuffled its way all up into the stranger's grill. "Ain't got dat piratey salt smell, either. Ya'll ain't workin' fer the Imperials, is ya? I can't abide me no Sel'rakyra."
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Old August 28, 2010, 04:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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As his gondola neared the submerged sanctum of scum Rafael couldn’t help but grimace. It was rare for him to get ‘down and dirty’ for anything not underneath bed sheets, but a quick rolling of his leggings and removal of the shoes convinced him it would be ‘sanitary-enough.’ Feet are disgusting anyway.

“If you stay there’s double that when I return.” His shoes and jacket, save his notepad, pencil and the few bank notes he had on him, were placed in the small boat; a few crowns tossed the operator’s way for compliance. Cautiously he entered, not surprised by what was found lying in the obvious pit of illegality and general whoredom. He settled on a stool at the bar, near the only audible figure in the entire place: the very vocal Robarthes. It seemed only the mention of orcs sent him off on the entire history of the green-meanies of the red isle, to which fleeting comments were made in between notes on his pad; like a sarcastic “I’d be surprised if anybody called you ‘doctor.’” And a naturally half-hearted “Interesting.”

As he finished crossing T’s on his notes, he thought for a second to address the man’s question.

“Do you not find it odd, the recent influ…”

Speak of the Haz.

A loud monster appeared, made only more fearsome by the ball’n’chain he dragged behind him. Surely it was death, and what an awful place for… Wait that’s a stool. This creature knew the chatty old crow behind the bar, and had a basic, albeit tenuous grasp on the common language. The physical intimidation factor was surely on the half-orc’s side, but the irony of dying in such a place made the situation too savory for the noble to feel tense.

A quick pair of eyes measured up the beast as it sat itself next to them. Why any one person would need that many weapons… He was safely keeping his criticisms to himself for once. As the orc needed a better look at the pretty face in front of him, and so rudely decided to shove his snout all up in Rafa’s business, a wince and a deep exhale met Haz’s question. Oral hygiene was, as any child could tell, not the walking massacre’s foremost concern.

“Fwoooh!” His head flung forward toward the bar for air, and the stool underneath him screeched a few inches in the opposite direction.

“I don’t work for anybody but moi.” His hand rested over his chest as the noble turned back toward the abomination of ‘style’ before him. “And my game is objective journalism.” Followed by subjective editing and commenting, but those were given. This ‘Mr. Badass’ sounded about as bold and arrogant as M. LeBeau, so why wouldn’t he relish in the fact somebody wanted to hear his opinion?

“You being here has made my brightening a lot more easy. As it were, I was hoping you wouldn’t mind if I asked you a few questions.” It really didn’t matter, because they were going to be asked anyway, in a seamless string of unforgiving tempo.

“This ‘Kenk’ I presume is ‘Monsieur Mithania?’” A quick look for recognition. “And you live with him in some hole above this one; presumably less rotten, non? How exactly do the two of you happen to know one another; and what is it that brought you to Secyclion?” Most of what came from behind those sinister tusks would be copied down word-for-word, edited and paraphrased of course for the educated.
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Old September 7, 2010, 07:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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"Woah! So yer one o' dem quill slingers? Ya writin' an article fer the Herald or somepin'?! Hot damn!!" Hazudar's grin stretched even more impossibly and psychotically than before, his beady bloodshot eyes bulging from their sockets as he looked the stranger up and down in an entirely new, and much more favorable light.

"MY man! Oi oi, Robarthes, dun just stand around! Pour us some freebies 'fore our guest here decides to write about what a dive dis place is!" Hazudar shouted, meanwhile doing his own part to make the stranger feel at home: slapping the half-elf's back, gripping his shoulder and leering in his face. Whipping out a pack of Adelphis pinched from Ken's place, Haz lit up a pair and began puffing out huge clouds of secondhand, eventually offering the second of the lit cigs to his newfound ticket to notoriety.

See, unlike most crooks, Haz wasn't a one to shy away from reporters -- way he figured it, what was the point in being a public enemy without the publicity?! The orc's overlarge ego DEMANDED that he grasp at infamy wherever possible, even if it meant the Empire's bounty hunters and wanna be heroes'd be buzzing around Haz like flies around... uh... Haz.

Besides, wasn't like he and Ken's little business scheme was illegal or nothing. Well, not in the strict sense of the term. I mean, SOME of the operation was illegal, sure, but it wasn't nowhere NEAR as illegal as the stuff Haz usually did for a living... so uhh... yep.

"Shucks, it's 'bout damn time da world took note o' Hazudar T. Badass! Yo yo, you gonna do one of them portrait shot fings? Where's yer artist?! Make sure he gets me good side!" the orc babbled, grinning and holding up both claws to frame the uglier half of his face. "Dat's spelled H-A-Z-U-D-A-R. Not Hazadurr. Gods, I hate when people call me dat."

"And yeah, what's dis 'bout mah boi K-roi? I dunno anyone named 'Mon-jurr', what da feth kinda stupid first name is dat? Not dat 'Kenkuroi' is much better, mind." Pausing momentarily to suck some more Jalat's breath out of his Adelphi, Haz briefly contemplated just how to convey his relationship with the Mithania brat -- of which HE was clearly the star, whereas Ken's role could probably best be described as 'supporting cast;' perhaps even 'cheerleader.' Oh, and they were strictly hetero, fyi. Just... putting that out there.

"We're strictly hetero," Hazudar informed the freelance gossiphound solemnly, an unconscious note of defensiveness slipping into his otherwise macho voice. "Jes' clearin' dat up from th' get-go. Dat whole pederasty fing ain't the Hazinator's bag! We're BUSINESS partners, see? Now, people always accuse us greenies o' being scum -- but every brightenin' I busts my chops tryin' ta make a decent living the old fashioned way. Not like them fatcats up in Prime sittin' pretty on their deeds and tax money and whatnot. Me, I do th' work dat keeps dis two-bit piece a crap Empire runnin'. I'm talkin' honest to gods, bona fide commercial activity. I sell drugs."

Sniffing proudly, the orc stuck out his chest a bit, his reddened eyes staring hard at Rafa as if DARING him to contradict the cold, hard truth that'd just been laid out. Yet the rant was only just beginning. Audiences who actually cared what Haz had to say were few and far between; he had a LOT of pent up bile to spew and Rafa, lucky guy, was going to hear it all.

"As fer what brought me out ter dis backwater rock... well, ovver den tryin' ter avoid dat plague or whatever dat killed off most o' my cousins? Thanks fer dat, by the by. If I wasn't the toughest SOB walkin' Orok's green earth before, I sure as feth am now." The half-orc waved the genocide of his people off with an easy grin. Better them den moi. Besides, it served them all right for b&nning Haz's warty half-orcish arse and sending him into exile, way back when.

"I came to Secy coz it's a whatchacall it... political asylum. Folk always told me I'se belong in an asylum, an' they was right!" the brute beamed stupidly. "See, dem right-wingers back on da continent're jes' gettin' more and more up-tight. Back in th' good old Avanthar age, their jive turkey asses wasn't trying to step to NOTHIN'... but now dat most of the big baddies is AWOL, deez good guys is all frontin' like they'se masters of da multiverse. Now, uh, I ain't no sociopathic anarchical serial murderer, or nothin'," Haz lied with a sneer, "But y'know, bein' green an' all, people tend to assume. Secy 'bout da only place left I can still make a livin' and not worry about no lieutenant governors or what have ya harassin' me about my crimes." Hazudar paused a moment, then hastily added: "Crimes I'm innocent of, I mean."

Unable to help himself, the orc laughed uproariously for a time, then reached out to whet his whistle on whatever liquor was handy, whether Robarthes was providing or not. "SO," he belched at last, eyeing his one-man audience coyly. "Anythin' else yer interested in, Mister uhh... what'd ya say yer name was?"
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Old September 9, 2010, 02:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The lotus blooms twice.

Or more like, twice the devil's name twas spoke amiright?

Through the door, in came none other than Kenkuroi Morendil Mithania, the half elf himself, fashionably late as usual - fashionable being quite the understatement there;

He was wearing shorts, 'shorts' here being one of his old tattered pair of trousers having its leggings slashed off below the knees, and was noticeably bare-footed. A pair of Secyclion style sandals, hung from his shoulders, which to the regulars of The Nexus, was a recent habit. Ken usually couldn't give a crap about wetting his boots, but those baby treaders were brand new, and he didn't want to get 'em soiled (a habit that would only last another cycle or two at the very least). The attire was completed with a grey Mainlander style shirt, the cuffs rolled to his elbows, the collars undone, and the buttons kind off... not in their respective holes. Only the top few had been fastened, the rest had been neglected, revealing a flat tummy underneath. It was either he had been in a hurry or he just really couldn't care.

Blue-grey eyes, still sullied with sleep peered at the newcomer, this yet another half breed, and a half Syl'rosyan to boot, from afar. That new face had certainly stood out like a sore thumb amongst The Nexus's 'locals', even more with his paper and quill. They didn't have many 'bookworms' or scholarly-types frequenting this corner of the Neos.

"Eh? Who the feth?" Ken having sloshed over, growled at Hazudar, who seemed busy entertaining the new half elf. His voice was deep, which was surprising given his boyish and elfin appearance. Soft red hair was strewn around in obvious un-combed manner, untidy yet ironically adding to the boy's physical charm. Putting aside the fashion critics, one could call this 'Mithania-brat', having most of his looks from his famous Bardic father, pretty -- although no one in their right mind, no one with the proper knowledge that is, should label him that to his face especially when he is sober AND in a grumpy mood, such as NOW, unless they wanted their face redecorated that is. Ken truly wasn't much of a morning-person.

"What's he here for? He some new recruit? And why the feth are you telling him those stuff for?"

Ken had missed the earlier part of the conversation, which is probably a good thing. His uh... sexuality, and their relationship, and the manner of their business were touchy topics. And it looks like the tables had been turned around in the questioning department for it was Ken who was asking, no, demanding for answers now.

"You! Peredhil!" he turned to face the black haired half elf, calling his race in the elven tongue. "Identify yourself. 'Sup with those damn papers?"

"Rob!" he yelled for the bartender.

"Yeah, yeah the usual coming right up!" Robarthes grunted, already getting busy preparing with what could be assumed, the usual every brightening wake-up drink.

"Make it extra dark, with cream this time."

Robarthes popped open an ouzo bottle and mixed it in with water, before adding Glorf Glinsson whisky to create some hellish cocktail which he served in a large tankard to Ken who stood waiting for both answers and drink, a lighted cigarette now between lips.
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Old September 9, 2010, 05:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The would-be journ-o listened intently, writing hastily when not stunned as this ‘Hazudar’ was almost hard not to watch. What an interesting character… Rafa’d always considered him self a satyr of the highest caliber, and liked to keep his reputation just below infamous; but every so often, more so recently because of his sobriety, he felt that nagging little voice in the back of his mind rambling about ‘morals’ and whatnot. Not the greenie; he was undoubtedly soaked in the blood of soldiers and virgins alike, and probably loved it.

Whereas Rafael would concede to his instinctual solidarity and help the lost baby locate its mother, Hazudar would see how far he could kick the baby for fun, then ambush the mother when she came looking.

Merci beaucoup. He accepted the cigarette graciously, wiping off the end with a sleeve and puffing blissfully.The hetero business drew from the noble a single chuckle. As if I give a damn… Until Haz became a lot less ugly and a lot less male, his love-life was none of Rafa’s business. Though it did spur a train of thought he noted for later with a small “Right to Love” at the bottom of the page. Though the half-orc’s manly unattractiveness forced no points against him, but rather Rafa found him quite…Pleasant. Or, entertaining at least. Either way something has to be wrong with me.

“Well Monsieur Hazadurr—Monsieur meaning ‘Mister’ in Jaedaxienne—I assure you there is no good side to get.” A glint off one of Haz’s blades caught a black eye, and the skinny skeptic realized his company. “Must be the light...” A grin tested the orc’s sense of humor blindly.

As the red-headed hooligan burst through the door, Rafa glanced for a moment then used the allotted time to finish his notes. Drug-selling victims of genocide that had only turned so rough because the world was in turn so harsh to them. Ha! The brightening he wrote an article defending a murderous orc for his crimes was undoubtedly the day his career as a journalist ended; a career that unbeknownst to his company hadn’t even started. Political Asylum… Could it have been coincidence that Vyssies, giants and orcs were all just looking for a safe-haven from prosecution? And what was to become of the Red Isle if this sort of pattern continued, given also the large pirate community already threatening civilized life?

While the other half-elf sloshed his way toward them, brutishly shouting his line of questioning, Rafael leaned his head back and watched a cloud of smoke raise from his mouth. Perhaps the reason he didn’t smoke more was how childishly he wanted to play with it.

“Monsieur—mister—“ He glanced back at the orc, trying to get his language to stick in his mind. “Mithania, I presume. I am Rafael LeBeau, you can call me Rafa, and I’m simply here looking for information. Your friend Monsieur Badass here was just indulging my questioning ever so graciously.” Besides the filth, grit, bad odors, butchering of not only the common but his home’s language, etcetera; he was surprised at how much he was enjoying this all. A couple more drags, then he was off once more.

“You wouldn’t happen to know why there is a recent influx of…interesting people, would you?” He was addressing the orc, carefully choosing ‘interesting,’ but both were obviously welcome to answer. “I’ve been hearing of not only orcs, but giants and Vysstichi as well. Any relations between your appearances?” Ash was flicked into the water below, the ‘tsss’ of its impact causing him to grin.

“So you two are ‘drug-slingers,’ non? Would you happen to have connections in any other illicit endeavors? Say, perhaps slavery?” He was obviously getting ahead of himself, but maybe a head-crushing half-orc and likewise moody friend were just the cover he needed to get down into the seedier bits of the district. He’d been wanting the investigate the slave-trade in the kingdom anyway, he just had no way of getting close to it.
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Old September 14, 2010, 09:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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"What? No sympathy for th' Jorel?" Hazudar asked in a low, cool voice, eyes gleaming and fangs baring at Rafa in a devilish smirk. He'd noted, even whilst supposed raving over the injustice of it all, the newshound's dispassionate demeanor and decided lack of reaction to his schpiel... which, in all probability, meant that Mon-jurr Lebeau wasn't buying none of it. Seemed ole Haz couldn't quite put the blinders on this Jaedaxian hotshot... a shame, but then, these news types had a rep for being hard to con.

And anyway, Hazudar's was the story no paper in Aelyria could EVER publish. It simply held too many ugly truths about the world; about the people, saps and tyrants alike, who were bound to end up reading it. I mean........ one'd have to be some sort of glorious bastard, a half-mad god with a quill, with a heart forged of fire and steel and whose talents extend beyond those of any mere mortal to even attempt writing it..... the orc reflected, as he glanced briefly up at the ceiling and gave a wink.

"But eh? What's dat ya say? No good side...?" His vanity abruptly shattered like a gilt mirror, 'Hazadurr' ceased his jabbering and lapsed into a deathly, slackjawed silence, eyes acquiring a strange hollow, deadened cast as he repeated the words softly to himself... in a low, ominous monotone. "No good side, 'e says..."

"HAHAHAHA! DAT BE A GOOD ONE, STRANGER! HELL, YEW DON'T EVEN KNOW DA HALF OF IT!" the orcish behemoth roared laughter, spraying ale-laced spittle in his biographer's face -- one claw, which had been drifting dangerously close to the grip of his machete, detatched instead a skull-carved bone flask the size of a tankard, raising it to Haz's lips. Greedily the greenskin did quaff... before nearly choking back up a load of poisonous swill as Ken's sudden and, as ever, surprisingly manly voice cut the air.

"He's a propaganda writer fer the Herald, yo! E's gonna make me even more infamous'n I already was!" Haz babbled excitedly at Kenk, completely ignoring the fact that this Rafa feller hadn't exactly mentioned the nation's most prestigious mud slinging rag by name. Also disregarded was the fact that, for whatever incomprehensible reason, Kenkuroi wasn't too keen on having his precious Mithania name dragged through the mud and plastered on wanted posters like that of his cohort, da Notorious H. T. B.

So then... given the fact that Kenkuroi would likely be too pissed at Haz for talking to the press to even SPEAK, and was liable to spend the next few moments simply stammering, fuming and staring at the orc in a slackjawed half-elfin rage... Hazudar figured he'd better fill the silence! <=D

"It's like I said," the orc went on -- then frowned, fumbling momentarily for a decent nick. These Jaedaxians fethwads and their flowery names... pah! Forget Rafa, what this kid needed was a good, solid all-Aelyrian monicker like Valerian or Julos or Caesar or... "RALPH." Ahh, there it was -- good, solid, brutish, Aelyrianized grunt. Much better!

"Like I said, ain't no conspiracy involved. Not in DIS, anyway. It's just, mainland's too crammed fulla good guys these bright'nins. I guess offin' an entire race o' baddies tends ter have dat effect. Now, it plum don't matter if yer a big galoot, darkie, one of us greenies, scalie, a corpse-humper, vamp, or even an ex hero gone stag like Eyvind... we kin ALL see the writin' on da wall, us misfits. Time fer th' whole Underground to go underground... least, fer a while."

Pausing, the aged and cynical orcish assassin paused to release a steaming lungload of smoke, in more efficacious, though less showy fashion than Rafa... in contrast, Hazudar smoked with a sort of cold, hard purpose, blazing through cig after cig whilst hardly skipping a beat of his interview. "Slavery, huh..." he drawled. Haz'd noticed the emphasis the Jaedaxian journalist-extraordinaire put on that one word; so THAT was with this pup of a newshound had come sniffing after?

"A glorious institution! Put da lot of dem worthless barbari trash ter work doin' somepin' useful, says I!" the orc, a barbari himself in spite of his forged visa, stated firmly; even chortling hypocritally for a spell. "Hell, half th' lazy bums in dis here Empire -- er, Kingdom -- whateva -- would benefit from a good, strong horsewhippin' on a regular basis! 'Sides, ain't a one o' yew noble fops what don't keep an army slaves awready... call 'em servants, sure, but it adds up to da same damn fing. And DEN deez hypocrits try an' prosecute -- persecute -- whateva -- us greenies jes' cause we do a few slavin' runs here and there?! All's we's doin' is givin' some hopeless townies out in Arium fresh job opportunities, an' suddenly WE'S the bad guys!"

"But anywho, why d'ya ask, eh Ralphie? Yew lookin' fer some hot piecea N'danoshi tail ter jot down yer notes fer ya? Secretary, like? I fink I could hook ya up, sure. Needa slap down a commission, say, 15%... an' I'd hafta test da warez for ya some, o' course. Jes' ta make sure ya was gettin' proper bang fer yer buck. Heh, so to speak." Grinning his arch-sleazy grin, Hazudar's mind drifted momentarily as he thought of the various tenuous connections he was busy forming with the Pirate Lords in town... nothing he could capitalize on just yet, but soon, definitely. This LeBeau character stuck around long, he'd have quite a story to sell.
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Old September 15, 2010, 06:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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imma crashin ur in'view Haz lolol

Secyclion wasn't burning yet, but boy were they trying to smoke it down, starting with The Nexus - with the newcomer smoking oh so elegantly, Haz and his cigars, methodically chain-smoking all business-like, and Kenkuroi, with his unique appendage, that cigarette between his lips. Everyone this side of town knows how the young half elf never left home without it, how he could not even function if that thing was removed for more than a candlemark. Tobacco was his life-line, indirectly also the link to his other addiction, which leads to their drug-slingin business or so this journalizing half elfie put it.

Ken sat on his favorite stool, in his favorite corner of the bar, which to put, was where Haz was hanging around too, since they couldn't possibly discuss the future of their fruitful partnership and do their daily male-bonding thing, without looking unprofessional, shouting at each other (which technically, that's how they first met actually) if they're going to sit at opposite ends in this dingy little tavern. Ever so casually, he took long drags from his cig, dragging his favorite ashtray along to flick ashes into while he took slow sips of his favorite drink from his tankard.

Was Ken angry after having found out the purpose of this newcomer?

If he was, then he was playing it real cool. His face was impassive (as in the sully expression he wore since he first came in remained unchanged) as he leaned against the bar, facing both Hazudar and the half breed who called himself Rafael. An ankle rested on top the opposing knee, with arms outstretched resting on top the counter, greasing out the rising tension in his back muscles that bristled, out of sight, in seething anger. Much like Hazudar had assumed, Ken was silently pissed, too pissed until he just had to remain silent. Lips pursed around the cigarette, his teeth clenched tightly on its butt, yet again out of sight. It would have been perfect acting, not any of them could have guessed he was angry if he couldn't control his eyes however. Honestly, Ken just was never the best of actors.

If he could shoot lazers with his eyes, he would be boring holes into Haz right now. Those steely blue-grey eyes were grim, dark, and intense.... staring harshly at the greenskin. One doesn't even need words or physical action to 'feel' that subtle message he was visually projecting, that - "You motherfething son of a bitch! This jig's supposed to be low profile. I'll cut your tongue cur!" - but if Haz thought he was getting it bad, wait til the 'reporter' introduced himself, referring to his name as Rafael... as in R-A-F-A-E-L? Oh, call him Rafa too he says. What a throwback to that other Rafael he had met in his life, a certain Rafael Espadas....

Fine, this Rafa had a different surname, and was clearly a different person. But those details did not register to him. Ken was barely even paying attention to the 'LeBeau' the newcomer had mentioned right after declaring such a... what he deemed as an 'overtly offensive' name. Now his eyes switched to the Jaedaxian, glowering at him in such a way that was well impossible to ignore. It was like, you know that creepy sensation of feeling someone, or something, just looking at you for some unknown reason? Yes this was something similar - And he rudely stared and stared, downright ignoring the jibber-jabba about slavery or whatever Haz was chattering about, which he probably should pay attention to, cause if Hazudar didn't realize it yet, his 'boss' had half his leg in an iron clad slavery contract. As in he will be the slave, not the slaver. And now Haz was gleefully talking about slaves deserving their fate?

Suddenly, out of the blue, perhaps having made up his mind, or more accurately, his heavily substance and alcohol abused mind finally snapped apart there, Ken vehemently spat at Rafael's face a, "Feth you!! Get out of MY tavern....!!" before he proceeded to violently tossed his tankard directly at his fellow half elf. Rafael better dodge that fast, as Ken had a good aim. Don't believe? Ask Robarthes how he made his first kill with a battleaxe. Though he wasn't hoping much, but he hoped to score extra bonus points if the tankard's contents spilled all over the reporter's notepad and ruin those classified info.

"....you FAGGOT!!" he finished, having now gotten to his feet and with chest strutted out, knuckles cracking, indicating he was going to physically assault Rafael, although he made no further step to come nearer... almost as if he was afraid? 'Faggot', was the word strongly emphasized there - a random insult? Or was he implying Rafael's sexuality? Clearly Ken had mega issues with poor Rafa, and it wasn't simply because he was a nosey journalist either!

Whatever it was, this LeBeau character stuck around any longer, he'd just might have no story to sell. Like how could you write if all your fingers were broken, non?
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Old September 21, 2010, 04:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I hate everything. Was all that ran through Rafael’s mind as his feet consciously shuffled in the poisonous water beneath him, while simultaneously he was forced to wipe orc-spittle from his face with a sleeve; but there were few things the noble cared enough about to go out of his element for, and it was somewhat exhilarating being aware that he’d found another one. Oh, it was also nice that Haz laughed instead of…killing me... The danger felt was almost second-hand.

The propagandist’s showy demeanor made his disappointment in lack of conspiracy obvious, and his eyes only narrowed further as the half-orc described slavery as a ‘glorious institution.’ He seemed poised to retort, perhaps even snap at Hazudar when Kenk started shouting, then proceeded to throw his tankard at Rafa. His only instinct was to cover his note pad, which brought him stomach down across the bar over it, incidentally acting as an effective ‘ducking’ maneuver.

Slowly he rose from the half-prone position, gripping the pencil tightly with his left hand; his stabbin’-hand. This form of involuntary self-defense didn't come from fear of physical harm at all; Rafa’d just rather stab wildly and potentially kill this ‘Mithania-lad’ than be plunged into the slime and filth below him during a brawl, a fate even worse than death.

“First;” He paid no attention to the ill-tempered fellow huffing up a storm, but instead casually addressed Hazudar. “Take the ‘L’ out of ‘Ralph’ and I’ll respond. It’d be ‘Raf LeBeau,’ not ‘Ralph LeBeau.’” Even ‘Raf’ was disappointed in how modest he sounded, and sort of wished he’d been more patronizing.

“Second; there’s obviously a difference between paying someone a wage—no matter how meager—then allowing them to live their life, and claiming you own that person and subjecting them to no freedom and malnourishment. What an odd thing to say…”
A puff of the now-bent cigarette was inhaled and tiny bursts of air were released through looping lips, a smile greeting the crowd of little smoke-circles that ensued. “And surely you can see, being the non-sociopath you claim, what it would feel like to be in a slave’s position. Maybe some people deserve involuntary internment, but what about children born into it? What if you were born into a place where someone claimed they owned your very life? A brazen, individualistic person such as your self should be able to understand the horror of not having the freedom to be an individual.” He let the half-orc ponder on that, though Rafa doubted he had a single empathetic bone in his body.

“And you…” He turned to Kenk rather morosely. He’d always rather enjoyed getting under people’s skin, but this time he hadn’t even been trying. “I had no idea you owned the entire establishment. Show me a deed and I’ll be on my way, otherwise I suggest you take a deep breath and sit down. It’ll take a lot more than menacing noises and threatening body-language to impress me.

“I’m not sure how exactly I offended you…” He pondered through another quick drag of his cig. “But if it was the mention of the Herald, I should submit to you both that I’m here for independent reasons alone. I don’t like to rely on others for my facts.” One hand still clenching his utensil, the other pinched the cigarette over the water and released. “Either way you have nothing to fear. Your little peddling operation isn’t really even in my peripherals.” He thought for a moment, eyes doubtingly inspecting both of his hosts before he folded up his little pad of paper and grinned.

So, unless we’re going to start throwing ourselves about like ‘barbari trash,’ I request you take me to these slavers under the guise that I’m looking to buy.” A glance was thrown to the half-elf, “You can bring your lady-friend too if she keeps her emotions in check, and I’ll pay you…both if necessary, based on how much information I garner.” His eyes shifted between the two of them, hoping he’d found some guides into the world of slavery and wasn’t going to have to use a pencil as a weapon. Of course, I never have used a pencil as a weapon, and how many times does one get such an opportunity?

“Otherwise I have a woman to find, a potential party to crash, and most importantly people to offend.”
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Old September 28, 2010, 08:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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"Heh. Whaddya know..." A dry, cool chortle escaped the relatively unphased orc's smirking lips, along with a cloud of smoke. He flicked his cig stub aside, then extended his 12" tongue and licked a few stray droplets of ale from his face. Calling names, throwing dishes around the room... musta been Ken's time of month. But it wasn't his partner the orc was presently ogling from the corner of his beady eye, as his smirk ratched up a few notches, into an eerie half grin.

"Kid's got balls." Going for the morals was kind of a cheap shot, but then, Haz always did like a berk willing to fight dirty. "Even if he ain't got much sense." Really, this LeBeau kid oughtta ditch those last few scraps of idealism he was clinging to; to do anything else was to open yourself up for disappointment, pain, misery. Aelyria was a fethed up, lousy, topsy turvy world, corrupt to the core. Wasn't nothing or nobody, god or mortal, who could put a dent in that... let alone a trio of mixed breed mongrels, no matter how high their combined sexiness.

Then again, if you weren't willing to fight the entire world and everyone in it -- in a losing battle, through impossible odds, laughing and spitting blood and broken teeth into fate's face -- how could you really call yourself a man?

Still slouching in his stool, Haz hadn't even really turned to face either of the two half-elves, still looking down and carefully nursing his own unthrown glass of ouzo in a calm, steady claw. But the orc's mood had perceptibly shifted. His eyes had gone all vague and distant; a sort of faintly amused smirk plastered on his ugly mug. For better or worse, Raf's anti slavery scphiel -- or at the very least, the part about having 'people to offend' -- had planted SOME sort of seed in the dark, venomous, but fertile topsoil of the orcish criminal mastermind's psyche.

Doin' da good guys jobs better'n dey could... durr hurr, now DAT'D show those fethwads. I could get all dem sorry ex-slave chumps workin' fer... how you say... moi. Plus, wreckin' da slave trade automatically softens up our competitors in da Underworld... hmm...

"Alright... Raf. I ain't sayin' ya got me convinced, but yew got me interested. So's I guess I gots a free tip for yas. Word is, some big slave auction's goin' on down P-haven mebbe a month from now." Seeing as how he spent most of his time knee deep in the gutter, with his bloody claws clamped tight around the jugular pulse of the city, 'twas little wonder Haz had gotten the word early.

"Now whether we babysit ya to dis little shindig... guess dat's up ter me partner here." Of course, the orc had never been keen on taking orders from anyone whose name wasn't Silas or Ankou. Still, as he well knew, tangling with rival syndicates over trifling matters such as morality might not be entirely healthy for their fledgling organization. Besides, they was PARTNERS, wasn't they? Kenkuroi was entitled to make the call.

"Whaddya say, Ken? We in? Maybe we buy us a few choice pieces... or maybe... burn it all down..." Still with the odd smirk on his face, the brute shrugged his mammoth shoulders and downed the rest of his ouzo. He hadn't made up his mind himself. Couldn't, really, 'til he'd seen the ins and outs of this slaving operation with his own two eyes.
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Old October 5, 2010, 03:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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"You can bring your lady-friend too if she keeps her emotions in check...."

That sentence was directed to him wasn't it? As in Rafael was implying he was the 'bitch' here right?

"Why you.... you..." Ken was literally snarling, elfy fangs barred and all, red in the face and it wasn't purely out of anger either! "I don't need to show you deeds to prove to you anything! And who the feth are you to boss me around girl!?" he snorted, trying to return back a low-blow on the fellow half elf. "You get out! Get out and go find your woman!" To which he turned to his partner, Haz -- "Ya see that!? I told you!" he exclaimed, giving the half orc a 'See-I-Told-You'' triumphal look, despite the fact he hasn't exactly told Hazudar anything did he?

"This guy IS a fag! Stop blowing his balls man, you're going to end up a fag yourself! See how he called me a 'lady' and then said he wants to go find a 'woman' later? Ain't no poontang he's looking for kyrio! This guy is all into the bum business only! I know because his name is Rafael, all Rafael's are homos!" Ken let the cat finally out of the bag. That's the whole reason he was raging at Rafael LeBeau. Not because he was a journalist or reporter or a goody-two-shoes or whatever. But because his name was Rafael. And the last Rafael he met with ended up with them snogging and dry-humping on the table in the middle of a tavern. The mere memory of it was enough to send shivers down his spine, strangely arousing shivers.... man it didn't help that this Rafael was as hawt and good looking as the last one....

Ken gulped as his eyes traverse up and down Rafa's bod, quite unknowingly checking him out. He kept a good respectable '3-yard' distance, and not because he was afraid of the pencil - feth, his mom had kept pointing at him with her katana that this was basically nothing - but because he was afraid of getting jumped again like the last Rafa, by this new Rafa he had came to assume as 'gay', in fact had came to assume anyone with the name 'Rafael' had to be a homosexual. And correction; He wasn't really that afraid of getting jumped on actually, he was more afraid that he will involuntarily react positively to it and then everyone will know he secretly somewhat approved of the pederastic culture of the Eunesians. Which was going to be humiliating. He had a reputation to protect here, as a 'hard-man' and one of the muscles and brains of an enterprise of criminal nature. Most of his homeboys were not locals, but fellow mainlanders and mainlanders were known to be touchy when it comes to male and male intimacy. How would he look to them if once they knew he was a closet-case? Haz for instance?

"I don't trust this bugger one bit!" Ken said hoarsely to his green partner. "For all we know, he's baiting us! Maybe he intends to lure us into a trap so he can put us on the rap with a slaving charge. Or worse, enslave us and turn us into his sex slaves that dirty pervert! We already got the drug business, you still want to muscle the flesh trade? This going to make our plates bigger, we're going to get our hands full! Plus enslaving sods not really my mug of ale... or playing hero, whatever you plan on doing..."
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Old October 7, 2010, 04:45 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The Jaedaxian sighed and rolled his fingers down the bar in taps as once again civil conversation was interrupted by childish noise. Finally Kenk made clear his aversion to ‘Rafaels,’ letting loose a chuckle and words ripe with arrogance.

“Oh please, I’ve bedded more women than you’ve even seen little boy. If you’re that uncomfortable with yourself go get a prostitute on me and grow up.” At first it may have worried Kenk that Rafa was on to him, until the prostitute bit which made it clear he thought the drug-peddler simply inexperienced. “Also if you believe anyone does anything the same because their names are similar, jump off of a very tall building because you are an idiot.” Arguing brought him a sort of tranquility that was noticeable through his overtly calm demeanor.

“Look Monsieur Mithania, you don’t have to like me but you must understand that if I was out to get you, you’d have been gotten. I’m not asking that you two take on any sort of trade, but simply act as my…guides and guards, perhaps cohorts. Besides we are unstoppable. You two would win in a fight and I would win an argument; and even if I lost you’d just win the ensuing fight. It’s a win-win-win situation.” He looked to Haz, who’d remained pleasantly calm through his partner’s ranting. Either Kenkuroi was like this all the time, or killing people had somehow made the half-orc less irritable.

“Though a month is much too long, I must return to the Palais to attend to family matters. I suggest we go now, find some slavers and garner some information off of them.” It was risky depending on a feral beast and his shady contacts to find what he was looking for, but there were few options, and none of them seemed better. Besides, the beast did call him ‘Raf.’ I supposed that progress of a sort.

Preferably…” Pale lips curved sadistically, and for the first time he felt kinship with his hosts. “Burn it all down afterward. The woman I’m set to find is a slave and estranged Jaedaxian royalty. Can you imagine what sort of other contacts could be found if we were to set free an entire load of slaves?” He couldn’t rely on the kind-heartedness of the odd-couple, so he thought he’d appeal to their obvious knowledge of the worth of new avenues of information. Maybe even their business:

“Not to mention how many would be so in need of an escape that I'm positive they would be susceptible to outside influences. I have a gondola waiting outside…” The news-pup was eager to try-out his new toys. If they prove useful maybe I can use them to eliminate Trimalchio.
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