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Old October 19, 2015, 08:03 PM   #1
M. Noble
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[Nexus Prime] All Work, Some Play? (Rhystlin)

Early Winter Era XXII


The darkening was cool and deep, and many of the citizens of Nexus Prime were snuggled up by their hearths, enjoying meads and ciders. Not Noble. He walked through the streets, longsword on his hip. He stopped every few feet to check his surroundings, before blowing into his hands and rubbing them together. He stuffed them under his coat and continued on, debating casting a small fire spell to keep him warm. After deciding against it, he took a hard right and entered a tavern. The warmth washed over him immediately, and a he smiled. He looked around for an available table, but didn't see one.

Instead, he saw one open seat at the bar. He took it and ordered a spiked cider, looking around at the patrons. Not far away sat a half-elf woman, beautiful by any standard. Noble looked away almost immediately, but kept glancing back her way. He felt like he knew her somehow, and he couldn't shake the feeling of familiarity.

After a few moments, he took his cider and made his way over to her. He set the goblet down in front of her and nodded.

"Have we met?"
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Old October 20, 2015, 01:02 PM   #2
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Worsening nightmares and personal concerns often kept Rhystlin up these darkenings. Sometimes it was comforting enough to know that her father was nearby, his silent and stalwart presence a consistent one since her childhood. Other times, the bustle of the crowd helped to ease her jostled nerves in a way the silence never could - and the silence had only served to darken her thoughts that evening.

As a local, she was familiar enough with those who frequented the taverns, and could at least find a person or two who didn't mind passing the time with idle conversation. Although those conversations had long passed for her today, the tables were full and the crowds were busy, and that was enough to keep her mind from spinning with idle thought. For the time being, she sat there alone and nursing a lukewarm mug of ale, her head clouded only with the lingering vestiges of previous emptied tankards. She was a social drinker at best, and her social connections had long since passed.

Still, she wasn't surprised to see and hear the approach of another male. It was a ritual for her in places like these, a young half elven woman seated alone at the inn. Somehow, however, this one seemed different, his tone assuring some measure of honesty behind his intentions. She offered the fellow a gaze half-lidded from prior boredom and idle thought, brown eyes appraising him without expression before giving way to a languid smile.

"It's possible. But if we have, I cannot remember. Sorry." She took a small sip of her ale, although her eyes did not leave his own. "Are you from around here?"
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Old October 21, 2015, 12:20 AM   #3
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Noble shook his head, following it with a sip of his own drink. He took a seat across from her, holding out a hand to ask silently if it was open first.

"Not really, no. I guess I don't say I'm 'from' anywhere. I've spent most of my time in Ziel Aerca. I don't know if you know where that is..."

He trailed off and took another drink of his cider. It was almost empty, so he motioned for a bar wench. Wench was perhaps too harsh a word. Whoever could bring him another drink.

"Would you like another? It's on me." He smiled and whether she accepted or declined, sent the woman off to get another round. He then pulled out a cigarette, offering her one.

"You mind? I've been craving one all brightening."
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Old October 21, 2015, 03:13 PM   #4
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The half elf allowed the man to take a seat. The boredom had just begun to sink in before his arrival, and she was grateful for the company.

"I've been there before," she responded of Ziel Aerca, remembering the many jobs she had taken in that city. "Many opportunities there for mercenaries, it seems. Then again, these days, that's everywhere." Her smile was crooked, in a half-hearted sort of way. Good business, she supposed, but unfortunate as well. Post Xet, the people were suffering.

At that thought, she took him up on his offer for another drink. She had no where to be that darkening and her own had gotten warm. Something cold wouldn't hurt to drown away the fatigue-induced, depressing thoughts. As for the smoke, she shook her head.

"I don't mind, although I'll pass, myself." Smoke didn't bother her, but it wasn't a habit she personally indulged in.

"Ziel Aerca's a good distance from here," she observed. "And you pick an interesting season to visit. Winter can be brutal in the Highlands. What brings you out this way... if you don't mind my asking?" It was, after all, none of her business.
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Old October 21, 2015, 03:41 PM   #5
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Noble lit the cigarette, and exhaled a sparkling pink cloud of smoke. It wasn't the most masculine thing he owned, but the cigarette gave him energy. He leaned forward on his forearms.

"I'm looking for work. Perhaps something semi-permanent. Mercenary work has been my lifeblood for... eras, it seems. I heard that the Highlands were always rife with contracts. So here I am."

He sighed and took another drag of his cigarette. The energy was apparent almost immediately. His eyes opened more and he sat up a little straighter.

"And what is it that you do, miss...?" He led off and waited for the half elf to give a name.
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Old October 21, 2015, 04:22 PM   #6
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Another mercenary. It was not a surprise. As she had noted only moments before, work for freelancers was readily available, and it was true that it was common enough in the Highlands. It was a consistent enough means of income, if one had the heart and the skill for it.

At the invitation for a name, the young woman smiled. "Rhystlin Farsteel." She gave a brief dip of her head. "Same as you, in fact. Mercenary by trade." She rubbed at the knuckles in her fingers, leaning back in her chair as she seemed to appraise the man anew.

"Semi-permanent, you say?" She wondered what that meant, exactly. "Word has it that there's a new company in the works now that Mileswick's been secured after it fell to the Xet. It has affiliations with the local government, though. I'd imagine it'd be clean-up work to begin with. Reestablishing trade routes, cleaning out bandits, assisting the province's military... picking up jobs for local towns and merchants.

"Maybe it's what you're looking for?"
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Old October 22, 2015, 11:32 AM   #7
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Noble's eyebrows raised slightly, indicating his interest. He leaned forward but blew his smoke off to the side so as to not get it in the pretty elf's face.

"Word, huh? You wouldn't happen to know who I'm supposed to talk to about that, would you?"

He grinned. He knew that mercenaries were mercurial, at best. But she seemed decent enough, and Noble was definitely mesmerized by her beauty. You can always trust a pretty face, right?

"Or we could go together. You did say that you were a mercenary by trade, right?"
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Old October 22, 2015, 05:37 PM   #8
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Her grin only broadened at pointing him in the right direction. Something about that seemed to amuse her.

"I can put in a good word for you... perhaps. If you're not so much of a lone wolf, let's take a job together. I have a reputation to uphold, after all, and I'd rather see if you're worth the recommendation."

She leaned forward from her place against the back of the chair. "If you're up for it, we can meet right here. Tomorrow."

oocI'll see if I can find a mod to give us a job if you're up for it. Up to you!
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Old October 23, 2015, 12:20 PM   #9
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Noble leaned back and assessed the half-elf again. He almost laughed at the thought of the little warrioress appraising him, but he didn't. He knew from experience that the ones that one expects the least from typically are the hardest warriors in the field. He took another drag of his cigarette and nodded, exhaling the pink smoke through his teeth while he grinned.

"Absolutely. I assume you already have a job in mind?"

He mused about how he felt drawn to her, and she happened to be exactly what he was looking for. If he believed that the gods cared, he'd have thanked one of them. As it was, he just counted on his good luck and hoped it wouldn't run out soon.

"Or if not, I assume you have someone in mind who has a job."
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Old October 23, 2015, 02:29 PM   #10
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"I'm supposed to meet with someone regarding one tomorrow, yes." She didn't elaborate, only because she had few details at this point. If the job wasn't worth it, she could easily move on to the next, and it wasn't as though her new-found friend wouldn't be open to other options, given his current state of employment. What mattered to her at this point was seeing what he could do. If he was as pleasant company as he was to look at, they'd be off on the right foot at least.

Just the same, if he was anything like the type she was looking for, there'd need to be some measure of respect between the two of them. She didn't look anywhere near the gruff, powerful soldier type her father and his companions had been. What was she then, to the human before her? A small waif of a girl with a soft face and a big ego? She could imagine his internal laughter at how ridiculous she must look. She did not have the strength of name that Faust or Tiyribi did, the proof of competence that an already active company might have. This was the beginning of a long and arduous path of proving her worth through action.

"You can hear out the details, determine if it's worth your time. And if it is? Hopefully we'll both live through it, make some extra coin, and who knows - maybe work together more often." She smiled, easing her chair back in preparation to stand, but hesitated.

"I'm sorry, but I seem to have missed your name?"
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Old October 23, 2015, 02:55 PM   #11
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Rather than laugh, internally or otherwise, at her sharp reply, Noble looked at her with a look of admiration. While she wasn't very bulky, she commanded an air of authority, and Noble could respect that. He had intentionally not given his name, though he knew she'd ask for it eventually. He thought a moment before replying.

"Noble." He held his hand out for a handshake. This was the only test outside of combat that Noble would provide her. Any warrior worth his or her salt knew that a firm handshake was the first sign of leadership. Having been a soldier, Noble knew that if she returned his shake with equal firmness, they would get along just fine.

Plus, it never hurt to have a pretty face and a strong arm. Noble could identify personally. He liked his companions like he liked his coffee: strong and hot.
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Old October 23, 2015, 04:15 PM   #12
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The man who had raised Rhystlin had been (mostly) human, raised among more humans. She had certainly learned the importance of a handshake and the impression it made on her human kin. Other races? Well, they had tended to look at her like she was crazy every time she had presented her hand out of habit. It was nice to meet someone who felt more at ease with the simple - but important - interaction.

Her grip on his hand was not suffocating, but it was enough to let him know that she understood him. "Noble," she echoed quietly, testing the pronunciation with care. Not that it was a difficult one, but she rather liked it, truth be told.

"Well, Noble, I suppose I'll see you in the morning then. Thanks for the drink."

Unless he had any other questions, she'd do her best to get some sleep that night. She was always on time for her appointments, and nightmares or not, she needed some rest at least. But she'd be there in the morning, just as promised, waiting for her contact to show.
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Old October 24, 2015, 02:44 PM   #13
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Noble headed back to the inn he'd been staying at. His mind ran over the last few candlemarks, and as he laid his head down to sleep, his mind drifted off to conquests next to the half-elf, both in the field and in the bedroom.

The next morning he awoke, groggy from a night of drink and steamy dreams. He dressed quickly, silently grateful that the rest of the patrons of the inn were still asleep. He slipped from his room, longsword on his side, and headed towards the place of the meeting.

As he walked, he lit one of the Rapture cigarettes. Immediately, all signs and feelings of fatigue were gone. He exhaled the pink smoke as he walked, lost in thought. Before long, he was standing before Rhystlin, who was already awaiting the contact.

"Serale. Or vedui. Dunno which you'd prefer." He gave her a cheeky grin.
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Old October 24, 2015, 04:23 PM   #14
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They were both there! As was Rhystlin's contact, who would explain the job to her.

They were to both escort a Miss Etchev from Nexus Prime back to Dasmia. She had come to the city in pursuit of job opportunities but had recently started being harassed by a gang, and was hoping that distancing herself and returning home would hopefully cause them to leave her alone. It was likely, however, that the gang would try to attack her while on the road, and she was requesting guards for the trip.

It would just be her and the two of them, in the hopes that a small group would be more maneuverable and less ostentatious.
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Old October 24, 2015, 04:43 PM   #15
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Rhystlin nodded to Noble as he arrived, happy to see that he wasn't the type to fumble in late. Hearing about Miss Etchev's situation made her wonder if she should look into the issue with these gangs, but that would be something for another time. More likely it was impossible to begin that type of crusade, especially in a city as old and established as Nexus Prime. She would be more than happy, however, for the chance to deal them a blow by getting rid of a few of their members.

The problem was keeping their charge safe for the trip. But that seemed doable, if not all the more difficult with fewer people to protect her. Still, the employer was probably right that the three of them alone would be able to remain undetected far easier than a larger group. And Rhystlin knew her home province well enough to be able to know where she was going while still avoiding the main roads, if that became necessary.

She would take the job. It was simple enough, and if she couldn't take this one, then she had no business in this business.

She glanced over at Noble to see what his thoughts were. It wasn't the first time she had partnered up with someone she had freshly met, but there was always the chance that said partner turned out to be unreliable. Hopefully they could count on one another to get through this job in one piece.
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