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Old February 6, 2015, 05:45 PM   #1
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As long as I am breathing, I am just beginning (Martellus)

The Lingerer's Inn and Tavern had always been her favorite watering hole in the city. It was nice and polished on the surface, full of boisterous adventurers who always had a story to tell, and was always bustling with activity.... Beneath the skin, something very different and secretive occurred (or so it had been told), but Myach had always warned her to keep her nose out of business there, and that's what she had done. So, the relationship she had with the tavern was an amiable enough one, and despite the odd rumors that flickered about, she had never run into any trouble there.

At the moment she was seated at the bar enjoying the company of the good-natured manager, having frequented the place enough to be recognized by him. It was during a lull in their conversation that the half elf's brown eyes skimmed the patrons of the tavern before finally resting upon an individual she recognized. Thanking Gale for the pleasantries, she stood up from her seat next to him and left her drink there barely touched, waving and smiling at the familiar dracon as she strolled her way towards him.

"You!"

Without thinking she offered her hand to shake out of habit of the human greeting. It did not occur to her to consider whether it was a motion the dracon was familiar with. "You have any luck finding a job? I seem to recall you were looking for one." The half elf shifted her weight to her other leg and took the moment to idly adjust a strap on her bracer that seemed to have come loose. As she concentrated on that, she went on, "Or uh... a thaumaturge, right? Any luck on that, either?"
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Old February 6, 2015, 09:03 PM   #2
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Any tavern would've been fine, to be frank. It just so happened that he had managed to pick a particularly comfortable one; the staff were all quite nice and colourful, it was clear they'd had eras of experience. This was how Martellus lived now. From tavern to tavern he stayed, sometimes sleeping rough if it seemed the more judicious option in context. Scraping by, and drowning whatever it was of the brightening that ever troubled him. Perhaps he ought to take up a less violent skill, in time... but as things currently stood he had no honest trade to his name. All he really knew was conflict and the profit to be made meddling in it, perhaps the natural state for a Dracon.

That had been part of the reason why he searched for a suitable Thaumaturge tutor, he thought as he drank. To do something else. To help people. It looked like it would be a long and bothersome journey to find his way into a path of such positive repute though, but a long journey would likely be an entertaining one. Gods, this was what happened when he drank; his inner pilgrim and philosopher reared its ugly head.

Reptilian eyes scanned around for some sort of diversion to observe. He was leaning back and relaxing a little when..."You!" What... huh? "Me?" Oh... it was the pretty half-Elf from earlier. She was certainly a welcome sight! He remembered her being quite friendly before, and he had quickly grown to like her then; it was nice to meet her again. He gave a toothy grin as he identified her. "Rhystlin. Charmed."

She offered her hand forth and Martellus' eyes dropped to focus on it. He had spent quite a lot of time in urban Aelyrian society... he of course understood what a handshake was. The difficulty however, lay in the rather vicious-looking talons on his fingers; they were natural weapons, well-suited to cause injury; he carefully splayed them out as he took her hand to avoid laying a scratch on her skin. He shook her hand, and returned gaze to her delicate face.

"A job? No, I am afraid I have had no luck there so far." He chuckled, and went on, "Not that I could be looking very hard for a job if you find me sitting in a tavern like this." He watched as she adjusted a piece of her armour, and he observed that she was quite well-equipped. An agile sort of fighter, from the look of her. "I'm still looking for a Thaumaturge too, but that task is on a condition of low priority I'd say. I'll get there eventually." There were countless Thaumaturges in the empire. Especially these brightenings with healers valued so greatly. "Well, to tell the truth, I strangely feel like my luck has turned up just now."

He fidgeted with his talons after setting his drink at the table. "Have a seat?" He wasn't sure what they could talk about together, but he already knew that she was pleasant company.

Last edited by Martellus; February 6, 2015 at 09:16 PM. Reason: Grammar things :/
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Old February 6, 2015, 09:29 PM   #3
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The reason for Martellus' hesitation when she offered her hand became quickly obvious to her, but due to his care and the gloves still on her hands, the interaction seemed to occur smoothly enough. She realized she'd need to be more considerate, though, of who she just shoved her hand out to from now on. She could see a giant easily crushing her arm in the process... that was, if she ever met one, anyway.

The half elf listened to Martellus's responses with sincere interest, and was admittedly a bit disappointed that he had not found what he was looking for. Maybe that was fine with him so far, but incomplete goals had always been an itch she could not scratch. She couldn't help but sympathize with the position he was in, and hoped he would find what he sought in time.

"Well..." she began, pulling out the seat that Martellus offered and planting herself there, "You know, I'm sure there's plenty of opportunity for some odd jobs on the notice boards." She seemed to be chewing on the thought as she stretched her legs out before her, leaning back into the chair. "To be honest, I've been keeping an eye out for a few, myself. Just something to get me out of the city, you know?"

She adjusted the positioning of the sheathed sword hanging from her hip, rolled her shoulders, and glanced at the servers as she pondered getting another drink. She knew she wouldn't actually drink it, though, so she supposed it was better to save her coin.

"I just quit mine a few brightenings ago. My job, that is." She smiled, slightly... a light quirk of the lips, although she did not explain why she was not entirely upset. "I could use the coin. I don't know what kind of work you're looking for, but I'd imagine it's not meant to be permanent. I'll be leaving the city soon, so I'm not looking for permanent, either. Maybe we could keep an eye out for something. You have any particular skills to market?"
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Old February 7, 2015, 05:48 AM   #4
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Ah, the gloves. Right, that too. Let it never be said that a scale-brother couldn't give a good handshake. He was happy to have her sitting here with him.

"Odd jobs?" Yes, he was familiar with those. "I am aware of them. It's how I afford the ale." In Nexus Prime at least, generally the givers of odd jobs seemed to overlook the supposed popular opinion about his scaled race in light of his qualifying strength. "When I had mentioned hoping to find a job earlier I had been thinking more along the lines of something that pays better. Something that will have an impact on my financial situation." Rhystlin stretched her legs out and seemed to be at ease. "There've been other economically successful Diantars before, so it isn't impossible in this society..."

She needed money for travel and transport stuff, then? "Something to get you out of the city?" Hmm. Life as a softskin must've been a bit more difficult. Few natural weapons, that awkward body hair, and they didn't have wings and stuff. Getting out of the city was a much simpler affair for a winged race, and he rustled his leathery wings behind him as if smugly displaying the thought.

He watched again as she adjusted her gear. This time, the sword at her hip. A shortsword. She spoke again, saying she'd quit her job, but she seemed happy about it though. And then, it seemed she was proposing they might look for a job together. "Oh... yes, okay!" How could he refuse this offer? It sounded like an effective arrangement; once they found something they could help each other out through the job. And it meant he'd get to spend more time with the lovely half-Elf.

"Skills... uh, not much I'm afraid. I'd say I can wield a sword fairly well, and the same for arcana. But that's about it." He patted the pommel of his longsword now. "I would consider myself a veteran when it comes to swordsmanship." Not that he didn't have an inkling, but he asked "What kind of work would we be looking for?"

Last edited by Martellus; February 7, 2015 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Left handedness confuzzlement
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Old February 7, 2015, 09:25 AM   #5
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The tavern was a loud place to be sure, but that did not prevent a curious passerby from being able to overhear if so inclined. So was it in this case, though the two adventurers did not yet know it. A table over from them say a black jagara, seemingly lost in thought. In reality, he was taking in the conversations around him, and had zeroed in on theirs. Writing out a quick note, he dropped the message casually on their table as he passed to leave.

"If you are interested in work, meet me outside in half a candlemark. I have a job for you. We will discuss the arrangements then."

By the time they read the note, the jagara was gone, but they would find him waiting outside if they chose to accept the offer.
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Old February 7, 2015, 11:44 AM   #6
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oocActually, Rhys is right-handed, I just borked that up when I sketched her out. I'll note that in my CIR, but I'm going to be drawing her some more so hopefully I can fix that at a later date. Sorry!

"Hmmm." The half elf thought on his collective experience, assuming it was likely comparable to her own, if not more so. She would not know that until she saw him in action, but given that he was a traveler, it was very likely he had gotten far more field experience than she had. She really wasn't certain whether he was more inclined to steer clear of combative work, whereas she was more inclined to run headlong into it. It wasn't that she was eager to get herself killed... it was simply what appealed to her more. But then again, Myach had always told her she had a bit of a headstrong attitude. But if she died, she'd die truly living.

"Well, I suppose it depends. A lot of the temporary work tends to lead towards guarding things... people... retrieving ingredients that might be useful to alchemists or magi." She shrugged. "The jobs I've taken up have been pretty dull, but when you get an interesting one it can really make up for it."

It was at this point that the note was placed on the table to her left, and she glanced up, assuming the individual had gotten the wrong table at first. But the figure brushed by swiftly and was on his way, and she didn't bother to call out to him over the crowd. She noted it was a black katta, at least.

She glanced back to the note, then quirked a brow towards Martellus, wondering if it had been someone he knew. "Admirer?" she remarked, although it was obviously a joke. She pushed the note to him, allowing him the opportunity just in case he had indeed recognized the figure who left it.
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Old February 7, 2015, 05:32 PM   #7
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"Well," Marty added as Rhys hmmmed at his word on skills, "I may not be much good at anything other than fighting - but that focus has facilitated the development of my prowess there, at least. I guess I'm specialised."

He nodded as she spoke on the kind of work they might find. Guarding things, retrieving ingredients... "Don't forget the 'gather twenty bear asses' jobs." His absolute favourite stereotype of collection quests. 'Serale adventurer. I don't like bears! Go out and kill exactly twenty bears for me, then bring me their pelts.' Fighting bears was admittedly not so dull, in fact Martellus had fought this huge bear once in a Demios cave. But twenty of them and things would start to become monotonous. That was why he found collection quests funny. Also, bear asses.

A Katta left a note at their table. It seemed odd, and a little suspicious; the Katta clearly felt the need to communicate without anyone else overhearing. "Wh-What?" Martellus stammered and looked away when Rhystlin made her remark. "Admirer?" Oh... she referred to the Katta. He looked back to the half-Elf, and then to the note she pushed over. "No, I... haven't ever met that guy before." He felt awkward, but read the note hoping to learn whatever it could be about.

"If you are interested in work, meet me outside in half a candlemark. I have a job for you. We will discuss the arrangements then."

"How curious..." He was interested in what this work was, and why it needed to be kept secret from the people of the tavern. "Lady Rhys, shall we investigate the Katta's offer?" So yes, they'd soon go to meet with this Katta. But they'd be cautious about it, naturally. Because a guy just dropping a note off to arrange a meeting seemed pretty shifty.

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Old February 7, 2015, 06:49 PM   #8
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Rhys was, without a doubt, incredibly curious about what the note might say. Martellus, in fact, did not seem to recognize the katta, which made things all the more intriguing. She watched the dracon's face for any indication of what may be written on the piece of paper, but admittedly she wasn't the best at deciphering dracon expression.

When he had finished reading, and it was clear that he did not know the nature of the messenger, the half elf took the note and read it for herself. Her face scrunched up into a combination of confusion and consideration of the offer. She remembered, very keenly in fact, what her father had said about not getting her nose into the business of the Lingerer's Inn and Tavern. Although this offer of a job may have not been related to the tavern itself, it was most certainly an offer that had been extended by one of its inhabitants, and that in itself had been included in Myach's warnings.

"Well" she began slowly, her finger tapping idly on the table next to the note, "On the one hand, we could end up naked in a ditch with our organs removed. Or - it could be a legitimate enough offer." The last bit hung on a note of hope more than sincere belief of the idea, as she wasn't sure why the individual would approach random strangers in the tavern vs posting a notice on the board. And then there was the nature of the note, casual but "under-the-table", so to speak.

She shared Martellus's hesitation, but in the end she shrugged. She was hoping that together they would be a more difficult target, but for all she knew they were just as likely to step into an ambush once they left any public space.

"I'd be willing to hear them out, at least. Just keep an eye out, I suppose."

And with that the half elf stood up, waited for her dracon companion to follow suit, and left the tavern to pursue the messenger awaiting them outdoors.
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Old February 10, 2015, 05:22 PM   #9
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"You came," the jagara said matter-of-factly. "I assume this means you are interested. I have a bounty for you. Three men, a sorcerer and his lackeys. Wanted dead or alive, but proof of kills is required. Visas will suffice for this. You will of course be paid for the job, and you are free to keep anything you find on the targets. Do you accept?"

He gave them as much time as they needed to discuss and decide. Suddenly he remembered something to tell them.

"One more thing. I will be leaving town in half a cycle to pursue a hunt of my own. So you need to complete the assignment by then. Can you do this?"
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Old February 10, 2015, 05:54 PM   #10
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"Oh. Ending up 'naked in a ditch' sounds like fun... not so much with 'organs removed', though." Oh, feth! Martellus, he thought to himself. What are you saying, you strange bastard? He harrumphed and quietly apologised, "Ahem, erm, I'm sorry." Uh, anyway. Yes. Caution.

So they went to meet this Jagara. "Ah... mhmm, I suppose we're interested." Well, from the sound of it, this didn't seem to be anything too bad. A sorcerer and two henchmen. But there was that whole thing about mercenaries and moral ambiguity, so Marty asked "May we know why these three men are to die?" You know. Just for the sake of having more information on the target, as far as the client was concerned. And stuff.

Martellus turned to Rhystlin. "Shall we take this job? I leave the decision to you; know that my sword is yours." They had a time limit, too. Half a cycle seemed like a lot of time, but then this was about preparation, tracking, avoiding prying eyes, and the kills themselves. He expected that if they accepted the client would be willing to give more information.

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Old February 10, 2015, 08:22 PM   #11
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Rhys snorted and rolled her eyes at Martellus's joke, but moreso out of humor than irritation. She followed the dracon out of the tavern after one last look around and a wave to the establishment's manager. He lifted a hand in acknowledgment of her departure. As they emerged from the tavern, the cool winter air hit her skin and caused her to pull her cloak in closely to herself.

When they found the jagara, he was straight to business. She listened closely to his proposition, her eyes stern as she silently considered. Martellus's question was a valid one, and it was one she left the jagara to answer before she decided to ask any of her own. After all, it didn't matter how well the jagara was paying; she would never unquestioningly kill or rob innocent men. She was no assassin, and she was no bandit.

"I hope you can understand my friend's caution, Milord. It would be fool of us to run off and attempt to kill someone with little explanation or proof of their grievances. Any man could walk up to me and pay me to kill another. If you are looking for someone who will do that quietly and with no questions, I am not your mercenary."

Should the jagara be able to provide an explanation, however, she would then ask, "Three men are formidable. We are already outnumbered. A sorcerer... is of even more concern. Can you give us any indication of what we may expect? I am hardly equipped to fight a master."

All said and done, she was interested in the job. A few questions answered to her satisfaction, and she would be inclined to accept the task.
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Old February 10, 2015, 09:16 PM   #12
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"The men have been causing trouble on the road out of the city. Remember, they do not need to die, do as you will with them. According to my information, the sorcerer would rather run than fight. It's possible he will surrender if cornered. His lackeys are known to use daggers, though their skill is limited." He paused for a moment in case other questions were raised, then continued.

"When you are ready to set out, meet me near the gates, and I will show you where they tend to attack. From there, it is up to you."
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Old February 11, 2015, 09:53 AM   #13
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Oh, the gods were merciful this brightening. She'd found that funny? Maybe the Dracon wasn't quite as atrocious as he thought. He was still not wholly convinced he had so much as a chance with her, though.

Listen to that... Lady Rhys sounded like she was already running her own band of professional soldiers. She definitely had the moral-compass part down. The Jagara's response was certainly satisfactory - more so in that they did not have to kill the men, though it was an option. "This sounds good then." In fact, it was sounding really easy. Hmm, perhaps the Jagara simply didn't have the time to deal with them himself? Either that or... maybe this was a trap? That'd be... mhm, really bad, and stuff.

Assuming neither of the henchmen were spellbreakers... cast Impotence for the Sorcerer, overpower and maybe concuss the other two; that was a non-lethal option. Oh, damn though... he didn't want to reveal the Necromancy to Rhystlin. That would be probably a pretty big turn-off. "Their leader sounds weak-kneed, and depending on their dexterity the lackey's daggers may not stand up to our swords," he said to Rhys.

Well then, they'd be accepting the job. It didn't even sound like they'd have to do that much preparation after all... they'd just make sure that they had rations and water for travelling, perhaps. So they'd be heading for the gates.

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Old February 11, 2015, 10:22 AM   #14
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Rhystlin nodded her head. What the jagara said was indeed true; they did not have to kill the men. This and the swiftness with which the jagara responded put her concerns to rest. The information was clear-cut and sensible enough, and provided them with plenty of options. She nodded to Martellus, acknowledging her consent.

Only when their informant had moved along did she turn to Martellus to address his words. "It does sound that way, doesn't it? But we will never know until we encounter them. It's best to always expect the most from our opponents. Whether they may or may not stand up to our swords is irrelevant to us. Life and death shouldn't rest on an assumption."

She grinned, if only to dispel the fact that she was attempting to lecture him. It was merely advice she had received from a great man who came before her. "We have three brightenings. No telling how many of those it will take to find them - if we do - so I'll collect some equipment before we meet up with him. I'll see you there."

And so the half elf retrieved some basic equipment from the square; rations, water, a tent, a small utility knife that she kept at her belt. When she had gotten what she felt they'd need she went out to meet Martellus and their jagara contact near the city gates.
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Old February 13, 2015, 07:59 PM   #15
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"I assume you are prepared. Come." This was the only greeting offered by the jagara at the gate. He led the two aspiring bounty hunters about half a candlemark down the road, then stopped.

"This is where most attacks happen," he said quietly. "Some have claimed to see the men at a small cottage a quarter candlemark that way," he pointed to the right, "but I myself cannot confirm or deny such claims. From here, the hunt is yours. Remember, half a cycle."

Rhystlin and Martellus had a choice to make, it seemed. They could lie in wait for an attack, or they could risk losing time following a possibly false lead. There was no telling, however, how quickly an attack would come.
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