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Old February 10, 2019, 11:08 PM   #1
Argon Shatterskin
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[Port Alyxandrya] The Talyx, to investigate the past (closed)

Timestamp: XXVI spring post-Fractum

Argon had seen a few adventures now. Fought alongside some grand new people from all walks of life. He had his beliefs about the empire questioned by the reality the empire might not be as grand as it should be. To the West after the Xet invasion the empire's province of Lauryl was in Ruins and Arakmat had been ceded to create an independent state for the lamia. To the East Sharia was overrun by undead after the province effectively rebelled from imperial rule.

He didn't understand the intricacies of how this all came about and this bothered Argon. How could he save an empire which appeared to be dying? What were the causes? Would one hero be enough?

For this Argon needed answers. He intended to put together a group, which he hoped sincerely his friend Z'kron would be a part of, that would journey into Sheria and find some answers as to why and how the empire became so weak.

He also knew that a lot of refugees had ended up in this post town. His initial investigations would start with talking to them and perhaps even finding work with them here. He understood that the Taralonian people where an enginuitive bunch. He would be looking to work in smithing, alchemy or with ikonomancers if any was work to be had.

He would start his inquiries by the seaside regarding the former refugees and where he might come across their businesses and places of leisure. Stale ale was always welcome to the dwarf after a long travel. He still tended towards rougher establishments and now was no different.

He decided after having his first ale to strike up a conversation with the barkeep

"Serale!" Argon started "might I trouble he for another ale and perhaps some information? I am looking for some work in smithing or alchemy, do you know where I can start my inquiries?"
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Old February 16, 2019, 02:08 AM   #2
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Z'kron sat quietly in the corner drinking. What there was to gain from all of this, he wasn't quite sure.

After all, Sheria hadn't been his fault.

Sure, he'd been the Naream of whats-its-place.

But there was no way he could have stopped all the stuff that had gone on afterwards. He'd done his best. He'd done his best with what he could.

He sipped at his ale. He then looked at it fairly intently.

Nothing to do but drink right now.
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Old February 23, 2019, 08:39 PM   #3
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It was clear the bartender was too busy to talk so Argon accepted the ale and then sat with Z'kron.

"Ever find people eerily and stoney silent?" Argon muttered "its as if some people won't talk until the Gods give them the gift of speech and act like automatons until called upon to be more than mere machines"

He thought nothing of it and instead turned his attention to Z'kron "I know ye 'ave been around the known world a fair bit and ye did important things for the empire. Maybe I should start my questions with ye?"

Argon drank more slowly. He wanted to keep a clear head for this conversation.

"So... what actually happened in Sheria?" Argon said "were they unhappy with the empire? Why did they do something stupid like rebel when the only likely result was their defeat?"

Argon suspected no one expected that Sheria would collapse into an area that would become completely impassable. He didn't think that anyone was so fatalistic as to deliberately let it happen so it could only have been a disaster, the gods, or both. Still if he were to save the empire he didn't need to only what happened but why it happened.

He had new ideas swilling in his brain. Representative government vs absolute monarchy. Which was better to maintain the order? If Sheria had rebelled because the absolute monarchy was not strong enough and they wanted representational government for themselves was it wrong? Which system was stable and could generate enough power to maintain order and hold at bay external threats?

Argon didn't know, but he needed to. His efforts in life would be directed by the best possible answer. He wasn't influential, wealthy or powerful enough in any way to influence much at this point but he was going to be and he was sure of it. The shatterskin legacy demanded the dwarf make himself important so that history could not ignore their clan. They would be remembered as a clan of heroes. Argon was going to make sure of that. His actions would be about making sure people could prosper and chaos would not reign. What could be more heroic than that? Argon wasn't sure how the details would pan out but that didn't matter yet. That was tomorrow's problem. Today's was understanding what needed fixing.

"Say weren't yer some kind of important official in the government at some stage?" Argon said almost absently "must have been privvy to a lot of private detail"

Argon said the last bits in a hushed tone. He didn't really want to be overheard, not that was possible in crowded bars with the incredible racket, but he wasn't foolish enough to take his chances.
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Old February 24, 2019, 09:07 AM   #4
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“Yeah. I was one of the high.. muckey mucks in government. For quite a while, actually. Was a messy business. Glad to get out of it, really.”

He sipped his drink.

“Was aware of a lot of what was going on in Sheria. Wasn't really responsible for the war. Wasn't able to negotiate a peace. But I at least made sure some of the folk got food. Unfortunately, when all the undead came, and everything started blowing up, there wasn't much point to any of that.”

“The actual reason for rebellion was a bit compicated. Sheria seemed broadly happy to serve under the old Empire. But then the Ancient Aelyrians came back, proclaiming that the Empire was then. That it was a Kingdom or some sort. And the Sherians, they saw this as a takeover. And then they saw the leader- in their eyes- capitulate. Or at least that was some of the rationale. Didn't help that Sheria was already a hotbed of anti-church of faith sentiment with a heretic priest leading it at the time. Or that Taralon and Narim were two of the economic powerhouses of the empire, being taxed at ridiculous rates to pay for the empire as a whole.”

“The frightening thing about Sheria's rebellion was it damn near succeeded. When a whole province began to secede, the Empire started running very low on money. And then when the Imperials invaded, the rebel to imperial losses were at a ratio-” he paused, remembering the statistics. “The imperials had thousands more men, but the Sherians had home turf. And they used it, in ways that others hadn't. The imperials had numbers, but the Sherians were fighting from airships. The imperials took their leaders- executed them. Their governor fled. But the population- the dwarves, the gnomes, the draconi- they just kept on doubling down, over and over, even when the Imperials reached the gates of the city. And then, rather than giving in- somehow a whole province gets turned to a wasteland.“

He paused, looking for an example to illustrate, but struggled again.
“I don't know how much you want to know.”
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Old February 24, 2019, 11:51 PM   #5
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Terebis walked over to Argon and Zkron from where he had been sitting.
“Hello. My name is Terebis.” He said holding his mug of beer.
Terebis looked mostly like an elf. He was 190cm tall, and had long dark hair than went down past his shoulders. The strange thing about Terebis though was that if you looked a bit closer at him, he had bits of what seemed to be purple scales at his temples, and parts of horn through his hair. His fingernails were also longer than normal, almost like talons. Despite all of this he was still a fairly handsome man and was quite fit and healthy.
He hadn't heard the last conversation but had decided to walk across to greet the two others knowing this while drinking from his mug of beer.
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Old February 25, 2019, 03:34 AM   #6
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Argon picked up 3 important threads to follow up. The disruption came when the ancient aelyrians returned and the empire capitulated to ancient aelyria rule. The empire, under ancient aelyria rule, was unable to exert influence or coercive force to prevent the rebellion, was unable to easily crush the rebellion, and in the end ultimately became complicit in the demise of the province even if they were not the exact or only cause.

These things assumed that Z'kron had a true enough account for the activities of all parties and it sounded like he had a reasonable perspective for what happened. Argon figured he would need to find other Sherians to find out about the status quo that existed leading up to the ancient aelyrians returning with their throneworld (something which Argon was aware of but not in intimate detail).

He also now wanted to meet a few ancient aelyrians to see why and how these mythically superior brings could be so inept at government to cause as much disaster as they did.

He didn't have much time to ruminate on Z'kron's deliberations as an elf with a scaly affliction came by. He had seen something like it before when he had been hunting a shadowstray with Mei'lin near Melodia but he also knew that such scales were normally related to a dracon in some way. He wondered if this was a dracon whose shapeshifting had been incomplete and now look like a diseased, yet attractive elf.

It mattered not to Argon as having acclimated to Z'kron he no longer held a typical and narrow preconception of dracons. His consistent adventures with various elves also help to address his dwarven misconception about elves being pretty poets with little else to do other than make snide remarks about their superior being.

"Serale and well met Terebis" Argon said giving a hearty response.

It had been a strange introduction. Most people who approached like this and interjected had immediately proposed something. It been a long time since the last time he had heard such a simple and genuine greeting

"I am Argon of the Shatterskin clan and this is Z'kron, Mucky Mucks of the empire and general lolly gagger" argon offered in response "so what can we do fer yer? I was looking into a matter in town regarding the Talyx folk. What kind of work do yer do?"

Argon's accent slipped into a deep dwarven, something he tended to do when trying to impress newcomers.
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Old February 25, 2019, 04:47 AM   #7
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“I do indeed gag on lollies. I gag on lollies all the time.” added Z'kron, his face entirely solemnly serious. He appraised the subtle purple scaliness of the other. If it was a dracon, it wasn't doing a great job at hiding it. Either that, or it was doing a good job of having its discrimination-driven, highly-persecuted cake and eating it too, by advertising its draconness to all around, whilst simultaneously identifying itself as almost a moraden.

Unlike Argon, his mind did not jump to shadowstrays. It was interesting the things his mind weren't jumping to these days. He'd have to pay more attention to them.

A few other possibilities came into his mind, but his dismissed them rapidly. When one heard hoofbeats, one thought of horses, not centaurs. He stroked his non-existent beard.

“Pleased to meet you in any case. As he said, I'm Z'kron Kha'Serith. Of the surname Kha'Serith. Former high mucky muck of the Empire. Although I take no responsibility for how thoroughly mucked the Empire is at the moment. That was quite definitively a group effort.”
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Old February 26, 2019, 03:01 AM   #8
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“I'm unemployed at the moment.” he said, taking a seat next to Argon. He drank from his mug and then wiped foam from his mouth. Terebis smiled at Zkron. He did not have too much experience with dracons. He and his twin had grown up with his mothers family so most of his upbringing had been with the elves before they had died. He had an elven way of looking at things. He didn't know much about dwarfs at all and Argon and his accent was interesting him.
He asked both of them “What about you?”
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Old February 26, 2019, 03:33 AM   #9
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"Well" Argon said thinking how best to describe his mode of employment "I make stable income as a freelance caravan guard but I have been known to procure items for alchemists and hunt dangerous monsters. As of now I was going to try and get a job in a smithy or gadgeteer's workshop in the Talyx if they'll have me"

Argon was using the employment as an angle to get to know the former Sherian populace residing here. He needed to know the story of its demise from as many angles as possible.

"If yer'a'looking fer work perhaps you'll join us?" Argon said volunteering Z'kromln into his venture without really asking "there's bound to be some kinda useful work fee us there"

Argon took another drink from his ale likewise wiping the froth which covered his beard. He also at that time reached into his pocket and pulled out some tree bark with his excessively large and lopsided muscular large arm and promptly began chewing and mincing it down thinking nothing of how it would appear a strange sight to his companions and other onlookers.

"So where do ye hail from?" Argon said to the elf "nothing really interesting bout myself in that regard. I am from the heartlands near Aslan's forge like every second dwarf yet are likely to meet. Can't complain though. Was raised on heroic tales of my Grandfather and in a large community. Was safe. Very safe unlike everywhere else these days"

Argon's language on the last point was very pointed as if he were disgruntled about it. His face furrowed into a grimace with the remark as his locks of dirty blond hair fell to the side, unkempt and uncared for as always.
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Old February 26, 2019, 07:12 AM   #10
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“I'm perpetually unemployed these days.” The druid shrugged in response to the purple elf. “My town got blown up in an invasion of giant space bugs that used to be humans, and I'm afraid my career never quite recovered.”
He eyed his beer, sitting in slow and cautious thought. He nodded as Argon explained his interest in getting a job in the Talyx. It was definitely something worth investigating.
As Argon began chewing on tree bark, Z'kron likewise embarked on an investigation of a botanical nature. Very carefully, the druid reached into his pocket and pulled out a leaf. After what appeared to be a painstakingly long period of inspection, he folded it away. It was the type of gesture that was significant to him, and probably only him. He sighed quietly, before returning his focus to the conversation at hand.
“Anyhow. On the topic of my employment. Since the mass slaughter of many of my friends and family, which is a rather common type of occurrence for people who live long enough in these central provinces, I've been travelling around for a large portion of the last year with Argon. Kind of like a adventuring tag team, but with lots of alcohol involved. I'd like to say we do good and right wrongs across the empire, but I might be overstating things.”
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Old February 26, 2019, 09:58 PM   #11
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Terebis smiled and said “My mother was an elf who travelled a lot. I didn’t know my father. I don’t have a home, but I have been to lots of places”
He waited for the other people to talk and eat their dinner. He had not seen his mother for a long time. He did not have much to say when Argon talked about his grandfather. It wasn’t something that he had talked about much when he was growing up. His mother had not been able to raise the twins in a normal setting once they had scales seen.
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Old February 27, 2019, 06:58 AM   #12
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Another wary traveller, Argon thought, in a waves of wary travellers. Argon often wondered what it was like to be one of those who simply stayed put, raised a family, had kids and grew old. He couldn't imagine such a fate for himself. No, he had a destiny. At least he thought he did. Still he couldn't get past the other event that happened. An inordinate amount of time spent inspecting a simple leaf.

"Are you going to eat that leaf or ask it out on a date?" Argon asked, poking fun of his friend, chuckling to himself before turning to Terebis

"A fellow traveller then!" Argon said "but permit me if you will, your scales? You are a shapeshifted dracon? I don't think it stuck"

He hadn't seen half-elf dracon before. He wasn't even sure such a thing was possible given the toxic blood he kept hearing about. In typical Argon fashion, he failed to realise that there might be an impropriety to bringing up the matter. He simply just wanted to know. He mulled over his own thoughts on the matter as he continued to grind down the bark waiting for that inevitable something that always seemed to happen when he hung out with Z'kron.
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Old March 2, 2019, 02:27 AM   #13
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"I am not a shapeshifted dracon. My mother was an elf. My father was a dracon. My sister and I are half elf and half dracon." He looked at Argon directly. He knew that half dracons were rare, but he did not realise that knowledge of them was this uncommon. He had led a sheltered existence in that way. He was not embarased about discussing the topic. After taking another drink from his mug he said "Is that something the is upsetting?" hoping that the famous prejudice against dracons didn't also include him.
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Old March 2, 2019, 02:40 AM   #14
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The druid had his suspicions on the topic of the new chap's racial heritage, although it was certainly not the type of thing he was going to bring up spontaneously. This was not his first interracial rodeo, so to speak; and the malleability of his species had been rather recently brought to the upper reaches of his consciousness due to his recent experiences outside Riversong. When it came to being racially picky, or standing on cultural condemnations, the dracon didn't particularly have a leg to stand on.

He twiddled his thumbs a little, as he waited for Argon to continue on with what may have been a faux pas. His comrade had a tendency towards those. It was one of the more endearing parts of his personality. Diplomacy, he'd long ago since realised, was not a strong suite for either of the duo. Given the right amount of liquor, not only were they likely to cause a spade a spade, but additionally insist to all and sundry the proper terminology was "fething spade" and threaten to beat up any who disagreed in a friendly contest of dwarf and/or druid powers.

That said, the druid was, at least at the point in time, moderately sober. So he mostly sat and nodded, twirling the leaf between his fingers, and making occasional noncommital noises of supportive agreement whenever someone mentioned the topic of lacking a home, or anything else that he supposed a reasonably empathic individual would probably do.
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Old March 2, 2019, 10:12 PM   #15
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Upsetting? Argon was slightly taken back, even confused, by the idea. He had hung out with Z'kron for so long that sometimes he forgot that the society at large was prejudiced and saw anyone with the 'taint' of dracon being nothing more than a glorified Cyraxian in dress pants. He wondered if that level of scorn also extended to half-dracons

"No not at all" Argon said after a moment's pause "Just a curiousity of mine, now satisfied. I imagine that you've had quite a few long stares in your time, though."

Argon dismissed the conversation with a handwave and a large quaff of beer from the ale he had been enjoying thus far. He ordered his 2nd for the night but aimed to limit it to that. He still had an intention to be productive and he couldn't well do so drunk

"So what kind of work would you be good at?"" Argon said, making casual conversation with the newcomer "You look light on your feet, perhaps ye could look fer work as a courier? Or if ye prefer there's always a tavern offering a fight fer people's enjoyment. You'd be the dark horse but I bet ye have some surprises or perhaps ye are good at magicks? Maybe a mystic? Or do ye like to rain on people's parades as a spellbreaker! Haha! That would be quite amusing I must say"

Argon listed through a myriad of guesses as to what the elf had done with his life, enjoying it as he did so.

"I was trained in the axe, as many dwarven men were"Argon offered about himself "but I've taken in interest in ikonomancy and alchemy. They don't seem to go together but I've never been the one to take on a challenge because it were easy!"

Argon flashed a look at Z'kron who was quite quiet. Argon secretly wondered if he thought he were a plant again. He had a tendancy of doing strange things and getting his thoughts or bodies stuck in the wrong mode. Argon knew the dracon was ancient and chalked that up to some kind of draconic senility but in truth he had no idea why he was the way he was and also knew not exactly how old he was. 'Ancient' was enough of a description and Argon never pressed the matter
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