Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Yam I Am
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Yam I Am Gorgenmast Did Nothing Wrong

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Sleet's Fall Pass, Drakesrift, Central Nohr
September 7th, 1495 AC




Even against the fading shimmer of the summer's last days, the famous Gates of the Carathians, so prominent in stature that the narrow Sleet's Fall Pass1 did seem to divide the town in two, did relegate the season to little aside from the day's scant sunlight. A constant wind emerged from the northern passage, beckoning from the peaks unto the lowlands of the town, each burgeoning blast like a blare of frostbite that blistered to the bone. An overcast, craggy sky painted the morning's luminescence in her famous Nohrian fuchsia, a deep violet swirling amidst the greys and oranges of the dawn's break making shadowplay unto the twilight sky. Her faint incandescence paints the totality of Central Nohr in her titular glum-plum drape, and even as one makes their way inside domicile or office do they notice its presence in its absence. The sheer domination of it is utterly totalitarian, and the frigid winds that e'er propel from the Carathians - from Windmire, from a continent away - calls unto her oppidians as Nohr's own gelid beacon.

Nohr had not for want in her Southern expanse the siren of bird-call in the morning, yet atop her Upper partitions, where the mountains stood so great in poise that even eagles could not dare roost, but along her depression and in such urbanite of settings did little aside from crows gather. In her absence, Man has most graciously taken upon himself in his own habitat to reignite the tradition set forth by Mother Nature. Throughout the outermost boroughs of the city, where her denizens rose from their hearths unto the break of her twilight did the bands of working men sound as birds' forenoon siren. Working men and seaming women ruptured unto the streets, gathering first in duos, then unto trio, then quartet, then gang until dodecad rise forth in song as the broke the silence of the morn. A faint hum of folks' chanson reverberated through the air, even amidst the hustle and bustle of Nohr's ambient drone. Hooded clergy2 - so silent, yet so salient - roamed the streets in their phlegmatic quintets, clasped together in hands and robes while they fill the air with faint murmurs, whispered prayers and silent offers of penance. Each of them clutched their violet chaplet, dangling from scraggly, spidery fingers, where the icon of the Dusk Dragon danced in sway for each and every motion.

These are the sights and sounds of Drakesfoot - housing of the local Mayor and one of the few passes to and from Upper Nohr, and all of the mercantile guilds as should rightfully accompany its gods-given blessing. It was a busy place - certainly not from lack of opportinity, with Fort Drakefall nary a few miles away and the main connection between the lowlands of Farion and Great Carathia. She was invited with a thousand new guests every week - and certainly did she show hospitality, welcoming her guests invited or no in equal measure. Hers is quite the metropole, possessive of a distinct beautiful sadness which so endeared Nohr to the insightful soul, and t'was where the Kellers did possess domain over the Free City.


He deftly maneuvered, and muscled for place, and winded and weaved throughout the carried crowds of Nohr's rising denizens as they mingled in the street. Each step slithered himself along the winding roads in simply dizzying matter, like the undulating waver of a pendulum kept in metronome by storm. The courier - Johannes, as he was called - had awoken far, far earlier in to the day from the Keller Estate, some many miles away from the town proper, and had ran under such urgency that even the darkness before the dawn was not detriment enough to deter his delivery. Johannes was a scrawny sort - almost cadaverous to such degree from which his tunic more draped from his haggard frame than it did fit - and to no such end did he ever once deny it under pretense that it was but how he was made. Such a thing was immensely valuable in his line of work, after all, for Johannes never once did complain of never being able to fit between paucity of space that was so common throughout Nohr, whether above or below the earth as so did Nohr's anthropography continuously shift.

As Johannes navigated himself from the coursing crowd of the bustling morning, he breathed a relieved huff, then dug to his side after a quick glance to his sides. The courier clutched his satchel, his spindly fingers padding around in his baggage, feeling for the familiar outlines, and sighed once more in relief as the silhouette of his orders and missive3 reached his fingers. He hadn't the fortitude within him to dare wonder whatever was to come had he been the victim of a pickpocket or a mugger - not with the urgency by which Lady Keller had instructed unto him. And all truths be told, Johannes himself slightly wondered why so important of missives did receive so little aside from his own handiwork. There was pride, of course - and even in the shimmer of Nohr's frigid mornings did his face so burn with the thought - and Johannes had much to be proud of in his professionalism of practice. And, he presupposed, perhaps there might be some value in the discretion with which a mere, single courier to deliver such missives to their company in tow. There were more details on the affair, he faintly recalled, but the inklings avoided him as he took his time to more carefully measure the winding alleys of Drakesfoot. Such gossip was ill-suited for his position, at any rate: Best not to go blathering on and misrepresent the Lady, after all, and there was so much more to discuss than whatever could be enclosed by a few simple letters.

And as he mulled and drew his breath, he wondered: Just where were all of the Silver Hawks, so early in the morning?


1) Places and locations are highlighted in blue. They are typically nearby, though they may also be illuminated when done in reference to a location of particular note.
2) Persons of interest are colored bright green. They typically are those with key plot elements tied to them, and will usually dispense quests, information, services, or other useful tidbits.
3) Key items, interesting objects, and other articles of import are outlined in bright orange. Whilst not everything not outlined in orange cannot have some manner of utility, those in the color are of particular interest.
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Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by LetMeDoStuff
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LetMeDoStuff Bone Hurting Juice

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There was a blissful view across a meadow, in which the farthest reaches of all of life's creations flourished and pranced, where man and woman flourished in love and tenderness beneath the snowfall that drifted from the mountains. Weeks of laughter and light, and the beautiful glistens of blossomed cheeks granted such unmatched scenes - and beyond it all sat the endless stretches of grain and wheat, and the wind passed through the bales with a caressing touch to each glade. It was the prettiest of all places, of all landscapes, and there wasn't a picture that could've matched what he saw. Where was that distant land? He did not know. No one knew. It was that everglade utopia sat far off out of the reaches of all, yet he had it in his sightline and he felt all his woes dissipate. There was tranquillity in beholding the beauty. There was ease in its gentle drifts and flowing rivers. The birds above circled not to find prey, but to take it all in from the clouds and to appreciate everything from afar. And he thought he was sat there, in the thick waves of greenery and pastures, until he felt the land snap black, and then an oak plank replaced the brilliant gaze.

His head was sore. More so, his back hurt. A lot. The morning cramp hadn't been from age nor weariness, but from the inexcusable quality of the mattress in which he lay upon. Toda Ujiteru was no stranger to discomforts, in fact the mercenary life had made it abundantly clear that those of his calibre were to get used to it, but the expectations of comfort from the bedding he had chosen had made the delivery of such a rough night all the worse. And when met with not a night sky, or the calming wave of a tent frame in harsh, mountainous gales, he was shown the unappealing shades of splintered wood-ceiling. The combination of what should've been luxury, at least compared to the sleeping kits of the encampment, with the execution of such a terrible excuse of a bed made it all the worst that Drakesrift had to offer. What spilled the milk bucket the most was the neighbouring room, of which a couple's embrace had snapped him from his dream so sharply he'd have guessed he slept in a brothel.

So to say, he wasn't anywhere of the sorts. The inn he'd wandered in the night before shortly after their arrival to the city had been what it was, a cheap getaway located in sidelines of the great market. He dragged himself from the concrete cushioning and rose to the mirror, where he was greeted with his bare body staring back at him. He frowned. The reflection frowned in return. Quickly, he turned to his right and started gathering his equipment. For cities as such, he tended to wear his usual light armour, for it could pass as something fashionable if it weren't for its intended use, however as it had been a granted day off, unofficially of course, he'd dressed down to his usual robes - black and white, with only a grey tone to separate the two colours down the middle. It was additionally married to additional scarves that tucked into the inside of his clothing, padding out the warmth whilst blending it into the loosened fit.

He walked to the window midway through his dressing session, and he opened it with the push of a single hand. It made a squeal, though not like the one of his neighbouring holiday-maker's wife, and he was met with the true blast of light of the morning. The city's layout had made it hard to see the shine of the day, with larger and more daunting heights in the streets than Osha's wall-like and spaced out towns, but the dustiness of his window had practically shielded him from it until he'd peered out.

There wasn't much to see. A few alleyways were below, where an armoured constable would walk with one boy to his side, and families, business partners and merchants scurried in crowds down in the pavements below. The city's bustle was to be expected, and he was sure that if he'd listened hard enough, he'd have heard Beato on the other side of the earth, haggling over a scabbard or piece of silk. Though in all honesty, the sound of a shouting merchant was preferable to the situation he was in. He finished getting himself dressed, then tucked his smaller blade into its sheath, which hung from his loose belt. Then, he gathered what little belongings he'd brought with him, including a small hand-drawn sketch. As it was scooped into his hand, he took a second to look at it.

It was colourless, sat upon beige parchment, and he gave himself a little smile. It wasn't the drawing itself that he drew pleasure from, but the act of having drawn had put his mind to ease the night before, after he'd decided to spend the night in the inn rather than prowl the streets back to the encampment. That sensations of graphite to page were where his mind returned, and as he did so, he'd sketched out a figure of a faceless woman, flowed with short hair that bristled down her spine. Of course, without the proper painting equipment, it was far less like he'd envision, but only those who cared about such things were the ones who hadn't created it. He put it into his pocket, at the very least, imagining that he could at least make half the coin back he spent on the inn room from some haggler merchant who thought way too much of its value, or too little.

Outside, the air was...fresh? Well, it was, but it wasn't exactly flowing meadows. Markets were like that. Morning meats and fresh fruit made for some scents, but the odours of crowds tended to be the strongest. It wasn't bad, per se, but it wasn't exactly perfume. As he came outside, a man walked past him, and Ujiteru - knowing full well the difficulties of getting one's attention in a busy street - gently grabbed onto his bicep to lurch his attention sideways. The streetwalker snapped out of his dreary state, having been brooding over some sort of business unknown to Ujiteru.


"What in-" He began, but the recently awoken Ujiteru paid his due politeness to the best of his ability.

"Excuse me, where is-"

"Get your hand off my arm, Sir!"

"Where is the way out of the city?" There was a short moment of pause as the two watched each other. Of course, the accent stood out, if the clothing hadn't sold it away, but in the moment all Ujiteru hoped for was that the man didn't mistake him for a Hoshidan, as the unwise might've.

"What?"

"Where's the-"

"Speak up!"

"The city exit! I need to find it!"

"Oh...right..." Ujiteru unhanded him, though he could've easily have shrugged it off with how feathered of a grasp it was. He patted himself down. The Oshan wasn't sure why. Maybe his fingers were dirty. Wouldn't have been uncommon. Then, the merchant cleared his throat and raised it above the chants of hagglers and salesmen. "Pass through the market place, straight down. It'll take you to the main road eventually, then you go out from there."

"You have my thanks."

Ujiteru watched as the fellow wanderer then disappeared off into the crowd. And as he did so, the Sergeant-At-Arms struck himself with the thought of his company. Where was he in relation to other Silver Hawks' members? Well, he couldn't have been too far, could have he? Surely another had entered that far in on the day off. Maybe Beato had beaten her way around the market. Maybe Bhaskara had innocently made a friend or some sort of city-side sweetheart. Or maybe Noriko had...- actually, he didn't want to think of what Noriko had done. Best to remain unassuming, he thought. And with that in mind, he made headway, albeit a little slow through the crowds, as he waded through the market, on his way back to the encampment - or rather whoever he'd find first.
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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by dwyer austin
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dwyer austin

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Bhaskara Doran



The scent of burning incense permeates the room, candles lit aflame in a circle as the gentle light fills the otherwise dark room in which Bhaskara stayed, his eyes closed and mind deep in ritualistic prayer to the god of flame, a practice he hasn't gotten the chance to do for some time. Between the missions in which the Silver Hawks partake, and his attempts at socializing with the other members of the group to make friends with them, he hasn't given himself ample time to pray and thank the God of flame for both his continued survival, and the plentiful opportunities he's been given in this life. However, even despite this, he finds the work he does rewarding, helping those in need and stopping those with malicious intentions, it filled his heart with a satisfaction that could not be described with words. But with this day off, Bhaskara planned to make prayer to his deity and make up for lost time, with planned prayers in the midday, and the late afternoon, to show his faith has not wavered upon his recent joining of the Silver Hawks. As his prayer came to and end, his shirtless form reached forward to the candle before him, his burnt arm hovered over the flame to feel its warmth, the orange light, revealing clearly the charred skin of his young actions years past. His fingers closed, and the flame ceased to be, where now only a light smoke remains, he would continue to do this with each of the six candles until his ritual was finally over.

Bhaskara would now clean up, making sure the room would be as he had first entered it late last night, putting on his common clothes for the day ahead. Opening the blinds and then the window to let the air do the rest of the work in removing the scents left behind by the incense and smoke, all the while Bhaskara readied himself to return to the encampment where his allies likely stayed, though he planned to look through the market and see what was for sale. After a last look in the mirror and straightening out his clothing and hair, he left the room with his belongings, his sword on his hip within it's sheath and made his way out and towards the market of the city. The bitter cold of the winds dared try to bite at him, but would find no reaction from Bhaskara, to him this was a normal day, his time back home with his tribe had experienced much colder days than this, and he has sense built up a resilience to the cold temperatures of the world, the way he saw it, no cold or wind could ever best the flame within him. As his eyes wandered his lips would curl into a bright smile, he loved seeing places like this, it was all so new and exciting to him, the more they traveled the more of the world they got to see, and that was always worth it in his mind.

As he came upon the market he began window shopping almost immediately, his curiosity heavily piqued by all the cool little knickknacks and toys about, not only that but the foods, clothing, armour, you name it! He was almost like a child in how he was prancing about looking at everything, but how could he not be excited? The world was still so new to him in comparison to the small world he lived in back home, everything was a marvel in his eyes and he wished to learn more about everything he found. And while he'd like to just take everything here back, he knew his rear end could be kissed goodbye when Beato found him, and so he would resist his urge to get anything that he didn't deem as necessary. However as his eyes wandered he would spot a certain Sergent-At-Arms walking through the market, and as such, the groups Signaler would rush over towards him to speak to him.

"Toda! Wait up!" Bhaskara would arrive beside him and followed alongside him. "Isn't this place so cool? It's so vast and interesting, there are cities and markets sure, but each one is so different from one another! Not only that but you'd think the morning would be brighter around here, but its always so mild due to the clouds!" Bhaskara was speaking out all about how interesting everything was, somewhat forgetting to give Toda a chance to reply back to him. Sometimes this happened when they went somewhere new, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise to many at this point. He then ended up stopping himself and the bashfully rubbing the back of his neck. "Ah, sorry, I got carried away again didn't I? Still, what do you plan to do for your day off? I plan to take some time every now and again to catch up on my prayers and faith." He would look up at Toda as he asked him this, his bright smile filled with warmth and enjoyment of his current company.
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Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by Rethel34
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Rethel34 Inverted Archery

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Sanji dropped a couple of fresh-picked herbs into his satchel. Well, fresh-picked was one word for it. The particular vegetation in this area wasn't of ideal quality for medicine, but it was workable, especially when considering his supply of truly useful materials was beginning to run a bit short. Still, the reagents he tracked down himself were leagues better than those found in local markets. Even the thought of using salves made with such scant and rotted ingredients made him shudder. He hoped he would never have to stoop so low as to rely on them; after all, the resulting elixirs would likely have no beneficial effect anyway.

He stood and brushed off his knees, and as the particles of dust billowed as clouds from his trousers, a phial slipped through a hole in the medicine man's threadbare bag. Cursing beneath his breath, Sanji scooped up the dropped glass and slipped it back into its place. Thankfully, it hadn't broken, as many of its precursors had. Yet, Sanji had nearly saved up enough for a new satchel in which to keep his materials. He had Beato to thank for that. The dreary folk living dreary lives in these mountains gobbled up anything that promised to make a ray of sunshine pierce through their eternally overcast existence. While Beato talked up Sanji's medicine to sound much, much better than it really was, to a people who had used naught but near-festering slimes to treat their illness, this medication was nothing less than a gift from the gods.

The morning was still young--the sun had yet to fully show itself--but Sanji had risen quite early. The lodging he had found himself in for the night was somehow colder than the chill of the night winds. Fearing he would fall ill if he didn't do something, Sanji downed a tonic that was brewed to warm his insides and took to restocking his inventory. Thus, this was where he was, standing in the cold morning air with nowhere near the should-be necessary layers looking for plants and bugs in the near-dark.

He had found the needed materials this morning for Izumi's most recent request--barely. And he had at least replenished enough reagents to at least take care of the company for another two days, though brews intended for sale would have to see a decline. Mayhaps the midday would prove more friendly to the task of collecting. As it were, his concoction intended to help ward off the frost was wearing thin. It would be wise to find a tavern with a lit fireplace by which to warm his rapidly chilling bones. So back toward the town Sanji strode. There were no birdcalls to accompany his walk, and even the small mammals seemed wiser than to climb out of whatever den or nest they had crafted for themselves. The only--mildly annoying--thing to happen during his return to the gates was the occasional drop of some item through his worn satchel, followed by his quick recovery of the offending trinket.

Once within the town, Sanji passed the familiar less-than-enthusiastic Sergeant-At-Arms and a much-more-jolly red-headed knight whom he simply acknowledged with a nod before continuing his search for a warm inn. All the while, Sanji would occasionally scramble to keep an escaped ingredient from being trod on by an unconcerned passerby or a flask from smashing against cobblestone.
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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Psychic Loser
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Psychic Loser The Worst Psychic

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Alba



To most people, the light bustle of the early morning crowds, the absent-minded people which scoured the city streets in search of mundane tasks to perform, and the animated wisps that invaded the noses of travelers -- making them nostalgic for their childhoods -- would have likely been a welcomed and pleasant experience, especially for those of weary hearts. However, such was not the case for the Wolfskin woman, the infamous Snow Devil, Alba. To her, such pleasantries were little more than an unearthly cacophony which overwhelmed her enhanced, animal-like senses. Even in her human-like form, Alba still found the ordeal to be an unending subtle annoyance, the kind which could wear down the spirit and undermine the physical body's performance. She wanted nothing more than to avoid such experiences.

As such, to completely evade the grumblings of the waking city of Drakesfoot, Alba had arisen before dawn and prepared for a morning hunt. Alba's plan had been to hunt a bit of game for the bulk of the early morning. Then she would return to the city by the time that most happenings had already come to pass and sell her haul to the local traders. Needless to say, with the winds of the forthcoming autumn season throwing off her smell, Alba hadn't managed to catch anything of merit all morning. She had no luck with her spear, meaning that her bag of catches consisted of squirrels and a few rabbits which her traps had snapped up.

Dissatisfied with her performance, Alba returned to Drakesfoot far sooner than she had intended. Her ears continuously twitched in frustration as she made her way into the city proper.

"Just my luck…" Alba groaned under her breath. "Damn this wind! Beato's gonna have my efin' head for all those traps I wasted. She's gonna be like: 'Where's my money, Fur-ball? You can't just keep wasting it.' And I'll have to say: 'I dunno! Must've run off.' Damn my luck!"

At this point, Alba's beastial growls had managed to frighten a few commoners as she passed. She lamented their reactions, but was not surprised. Alba was a Wolfskin and a brutish-looking one at that. In particular, Alba's attention had been drawn towards a mother who was doing her best to console her son after seeing the wolf-woman and her blood-soaked sack of cute and cuddly rodents. The mother in particular was glaring at her. And while it may have been Alba's paranoia speaking, she believed that she saw that same mother signal some guards her way. Alba, who was not particularly keen on finding out the truth, decided to poke her way through the tight alleyways just to be sure.

Alba sighed. "Noriko doesn't have to deal with this shit."

After making a few sharp turns, Alba had managed to find her way back onto the city's main roads with the intent of making it to the main market square.

"Let's try to get into any trouble today..."
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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Lady Lascivious
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Lady Lascivious Kemonomimi Dystopia Creator

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Noriko




The din of a rowdy Nohrian bar was a strangely comforting background hum to accompany a round of drinking. It, faintly, reminded Noriko of her days as a pirate. The boisterous laughter, the scent of sweat, alcohol, and other more scandalous items mingled together around her in a cocktail that was as pungent as it was familiar. She tipped back a second mug of ale, draining half of it in seconds.

Gods above, she need this break. Days of stress. Paperwork. Speeches. Her eyes peered out through the gloom shrouded by dark circles from prolonged lack of sleep. Ever since the recent death of Captain Astrid her life had gone from a comfortable, predictable routine to a tumultuous madhouse. Wild accusations about her flew like hawks. That she had betrayed the captain. Poisoned her. Killed her outright in battle. Abandoned her to her death. The very thought of the swine who levied such accusations against her filled her with rage. How dare they. How dare they? Perhaps one damn Nohrian worth her salt on the planet - and they thought she’d betray her?

Bitterly, she finished the other half of her drink, slamming it down on the counter and pinching the bridge of her nose in exasperation.

“You alright there, friend? You got real quiet all of a sudden.”

She looked up at the man beside her, forcing a smile. “Yeah, yeah, sorry, Satoshi. Don’t need to dump this on ya, thanks for caring though. Rare treat to meet someone else from home out here.” She grinned, bowing slightly, “Seriously, man, lemme getcha something. My treat. You’ve no idea what a relief just a friendly face is at the moment.”

The man sheepishly smiled, “Well, if you insist who am I to turn down such a generous offer. But let me buy you one in turn! It’s only fair.”

Noriko’s grin widened. “See, I knew I liked you.” She turned from him, “Barkeep! Two more!” She called out in fluent Nohrian, winking at Satoshi as the ale was filled. “But don’t think you’ll be able to win that easily.”

Satoshi laughed. “You remind me of my daughter. She wasn’t much cut out for merchant life. She’s a warrior now, training her own little ones to be like her, too.” He smiled fondly, clearly thinking of something pleasant to him. “Ah, it’s good to remember these things, no? Tell me, what was it like growing up in N-”

“I’m from Hoshido.” She snapped, more forcefully than intended, then softened. “I… mostly grew up in Hoshido. My parents died when I was young, so I was taken in by Daimyo Matsudaira Yujiro. He was a good man. Kind.” She smiled, “Heh, I even became his cook for a while! Still got the hang of it too - even if it’s pretty rare I get to do it these days. Ingredients are hard to find, too.”

She looked up, after a moment. “Say… you’re a merchant, right? Would you happen to have some? Any? I’m sure you know how hard it is to get ingredients from home out here. I’m feeling homesick and it’s been forever since I just had a decent meal - not like what they have around here.” She made a face.

Satoshi beamed. “Of course! Now’s not the time to discuss business of course, but I’ve a great many ingredients! And for the, well, the former personal cook of a daimyo no less? It would be an honor.” He winked at her, “I would scarce believe that there was a single person in a hundred leagues who was more suited to them!”

Her grin grew wider, “Ah you know how to butter your clients up, don’t you? Ever the businessman, ever the businessman.” She chuckled, “Can’t say I blame ya.”

The banter continued, Noriko gradually attracting the attention - and the ire - of the Nohrian tavern patrons within hearing distance. She paid them no heed, continuing to chat without care with the Hoshidan merchant across from her. He, however, had one question that needed answering.

“Alright, it was, truly, a pleasure getting to know you and I look forward to selling you my wares - but I must ask before I take my leave.” Satoshi paused, looking uncertain. “What’s… what’s with the accent, if you are Hoshidan?”

Noriko’s grip tightened on her mug, and for a second she said nothing, instead sighing deeply. “Look, Satoshi, friend - I’d… I’d really rather not share the details, alright? Here’s the gist. My parents were merchants from Hoshido just like you. They came here to trade but didn’t have much luck - but they had my sorry ass along for the ride too. First few years of your life are pretty formative, y’know? The accent stuck.” She looked him up and down, “Watched some mangy Nohrian dogs murder them, later on. Stripped them of fur like animals. Hah! They’re the fucking animals. Tried to get me, too.” She spat. “So that’s why I’ve got this fuckin’ accent. Don’t worry, it’s not contagious. You won’t start speaking like you’re choking on a whole raw squirrel.”

“If you don’t like it here, Hoshidan cunt, then you can jolly well fuck off!” Came a voice from one of the tables surrounding them. Noriko looked over to the man, standing up from his ale, wobbly, and red in the face. “I’m not gonna just… just stand here and let you run your whore mouth about us!”

Noriko laughed. “Stefan, Stefan! There’s no need to talk like that! You’re drunk, friend. Go home. I think you’ve had enough.” She reclined against the table, but her words carried a dangerous edge to them that seemed to sail past the man in question. He swaggered towards her, prodding her in the chest as he slurred obscenities at her amused expression.

She pushed him away gently, raising an eyebrow. “Buddy, hey, buddy. I know it’s hard living in such a shithole, but no need to take it out on me, alright? I don’t want a fight. You don’t want broken bones. Just head home.”

A Nohrian woman stood, now, sauntering over to join her countryman. She clutched a glass bottle in her hand, swaying uncertainly as she pointed accusingly at the kitsune. “You bitsch, thinkin’ ya can jusht… waltz on in here’n start jusht… shayin’ these things? We-” she hiccuped, glaring at Noriko more, “We oughta show you a less- no, no no no… teach ya a leshon! Yeah!”

Noriko struggled to muster a proper response, bursting into laughter at the display before her. Doubled over in her seat, she attracted the attention of the other patrons of the tavern with her laughter.

Satoshi took a nervous glance around the room and, with a final farewell and promise to visit the Silver Hawks’ camp to sell his wares, took his leave. Noriko, for her part, finally recovered from her fit of laughter. Standing up to her full height, she towered over the two of them, her teeth bared in a savage grin. “Is that so?” She said, “You’ll teach me a lesson?”

“Hoshidan whore!” Another voice called, and a third Nohrian stood, joining the previous two to stand in front of her. “Blasted harlot! Scurrilous strumpet! Lowly tramp! Mud-born slut! Ignoble streetwalker! Vulgar virago! You have no right to stand upon these premises and speak such rot! No right!”

She looked at him for a second, nonplussed. “Er, sir.” She said, somewhat awkwardly, “This is a tavern. I think you’re looking for a bard’s college? A place of musical learning? Any university of higher thought?” She grinned, “Or did you just want the only chance to use that tongue of yours to make a girl feel something other than disgust? Either way, I’m delighted to make your acquaintance but I’m afraid I simply must decline your eloquent proposition! You’d be spoiled! You’d never settle for a Nohrian again. You’d pine away your days thinking of that one glorious moment. I couldn’t do that, not even to one of you.” She winked at him playfully, blowing a kiss.

“Like we’d want some mangy dog!” Came another voice, another Nohrian man joining the growing throng of voices that called out insults to the kitsune woman who basked in their anger as though it was a long, soothing bath in a hot spring.

Noriko beamed at him, and without missing a beat retorted. "Sorry pal, I don't see your wife anywhere near here! Maybe try the brothel!" The man stood up immediately, spilling his drink over himself and nearly falling over his own chair. His shouting intensified as he stormed up towards her, yelling obscenities and insults that she barely bothered to process. She looked him up and down with a careful eye, frowning. “Honestly, guy? I’d tell you to piss up your own asshole - but you’d need a cock for that.”

The man recoiled, his face visibly disgusted, “You dishonor your father by speaking like that, you whore!”

Noriko cocked an eyebrow at him, tossing her empty mug at him where it narrowly missed as he ducked out of the way. “At least the last time I made mine smile wasn’t when I was still in his balls!” She laughed, signaling for a replacement.

Another voice joined the chorus - different in tone. Equal parts mocking and amused. A woman stood, calling out to her. “Hey, fox bitch, suck my dick if you’re gonna have your mouth open so much!”

Noriko grinned, calling back to her, “When pigs fly, friend!”

Not missing a beat, the woman retorted, “Well, find me when you grow some wings!”

Noriko blinked, caught off guard for a moment. She laughed, pushing past the growing crowd and fishing out a coin and tossing it towards the woman who caught it without moving from her seated position. “Well played, madam!” She replied, “Well played indeed! I’d buy you a round for that if your friends weren’t giving me grief.” She looked to the angry group of Nohrians, “The rest of you lot could learn a thing or two! Or did she get the only brain cell in Nohr?”

The crack of a barstool splintering against Noriko’s shoulders and back cast the rest of the room in silence. Noriko whirled on her attacker - a woman whose cheeks were, like almost everyone else in the room, flushed red from the effects of alcohol. She watched, uncertainly, as her massive opponent seemed unphased by the impact. Noriko took a single step forward towards her - then drove her fist into the woman’s jaw. An attack devoid of finesse, telegraphed like a warship coming into ram - but against an opponent as drunk as this, it sent the woman sprawling across the floor, crying out in pain.

The first man charged at her now, and Noriko rushed to meet him head on. She slammed her shoulder into his gut, carrying him aloft as she barreled through the crowd, sending one stumbling to the floor and knocking the others out of her way. Gripping the man tightly in front of her, she bodyslammed him into the wall, his arm - held at the wrong angle, cracking with a sickening thud. She pulled him back from it, kicking him towards the crowd where he collapsed beneath them, curling into a ball.

The bartender shouted… something. She couldn’t hear through the rush of blood in her ears. The pounding of adrenaline that settled on her as she felt the rush of excitement fill her. The next one to come was the drunken woman, swinging her bottle towards her head with all her might. Noriko swatted her hand away, the empty bottle shattering against the floor. She slipped inside her guard and drove her elbow into the woman’s nose, kicking her aside only to be tackled by another man from across the room, pulling her to the floor.

Shards of broken glass cut into her skin as she snarled something unintelligible at him. She felt his fists working against her. She felt the impacts - but they were dulled. Every bit of pain filtered out as two more piled onto her. One wielding an improved club from the shattered barstool, another kicking at her face with all his might. A sickening crack from the fist of the man on top of her and searing pain told her her nose was broken. She reacted on instinct, pulling him in closer and biting down on the closest thing she could find. She reached to gouge for his eyes, claws raking bloody gashes on his face. Still the blows kept coming. She couldn’t stay here. Not for long. Again, she lashed out, punching with all the might she could muster at his throat.

With an explosive burst of strength she surged up from the floor, grabbing one of her assailants as the other man gasped for breath. She clawed at his eyes, too. Kneed his groin. Drove her fists into his gut and his face with an increasingly sickening wet, fleshy sounds. Her hands came away red, and now another man was on her back, pounding away at her head, her neck, her shoulders.

She threw herself backwards, landing with the full mass of her body and his own with his flesh taking the brunt. Throwing her head backwards, she was rewarded with a muffled scream of pain. The grip released, and she rolled away just as another body landed where she had been. The man who’d been kicking her on the floor hurriedly scrambled to his feet, and, as another woman homed in on the conflict, a sturdier barstool in hand, she made her decision. Rushing forward she effortlessly parried his clumsy swing, grabbing his neck in one hand and hefting him aloft, grunting from the exertion. Carrying along her improvised weapon, she slammed the man’s body into the onrushing woman. A muffled scream rose up from one of them - Noriko was unsure which - accompanied by another crack of breaking bone. Another enemy approached, and, still holding on to the man, she swung him around in turn, his skull connecting with that of the first drunken woman with a stomach churning crunch.

The faint hiss of a dagger being tugged free from its leather sheath suddenly loomed loud in her ears. Every nerve screamed at her to move. To react. She whirled around to face the new threat, but was too late. Something hit her back. She couldn’t tell what. It hurt, a bit, but she felt barely anything now. She could barely feel the blood and sweat that rolled off her body. The cuts, bruises, and more. As she turned she saw the face of a young man wide with terror as he lost grip of the dagger he had sunk into her back. Somewhere in the back of her mind she realized that, had she turned a split second later the blade would’ve found her spine. As hot blood began to ooze from around the weapon lodged in her back, she seized him by the throat, her clawed hands digging into his skin and drawing blood. Noriko brought him closer to her, snarling, her teeth a hair from his face, “I hope you enjoyed it you little shit, because it's the deepest you'll ever be in a woman."

Roaring in pain and anger, she tightened her grip on his throat and heaved him into the air above her head. With all her might, screaming in pain an fury, she slammed him down headfirst into the edge of the bar. And again. And again. Blood splashed on the wood with each successive impact. She changed her grip now, claws digging into the back of his head as she smashed his face into the surface with one final grunt of exertion. Chest heaving, she relinquished her grip on him, and he collapsed to the floor in a broken heap, blood oozing from a broken nose and ruptured skin.

Another man lept atop her, his weight pushing the dagger further into her body as he beat a piece of heavy hardwood about her head and shoulders. She hissed from the pain, clawing for him and seizing one of his arms as he tried to choke her. She bit down, hard, as hard as she possibly could. The man screamed, and blood filled her mouth now. With her other hand she grabbed the arm, pulling as hard as she possibly could. Reeling from the pain and unprepared for it, he was pulled off her back and thrown bodily to the floor. Running forwards, she delivered a savage kick to his jaw, following up with one to the gut, before looking around for more assailants.

The room was filled with bodies rolling around on the floor or lying still. Some groaned. Others swore aloud. More than the Nohrians Noriko had fought lay on the floor, and a few others reigned triumphant over their own personal one on one brawls. The same woman Noriko had tossed a gold to earlier tossed her a lazy salute, another woman curled into a ball by her table as she calmly sipped at her ale, showing no signs of having taken part in the fight except her now considerably mussed hair.

The door to the tavern crashed open, shaking the floor beneath its occupants as a dozen guards poured through. The din of armor and weapons ensured the attention of everybody in the room, and Noriko, hesitantly, waved at them, an uneasy smile on her face.

“Evening, chums!” she called out in the local language, “They’re breathing! We got a little heated is all. They had to take a nap.”

One of the guards did a double take at the tall woman that stood in the center of the chaos, bleeding from a hundred cuts, a knife visibly protruding from her back, a black eye, broken nose, myriad bruises marring her features, and more. Clearing her throat, she seemed unsure of who to address first, but kept her sword raised pre-emptively.

Noriko, slowly, raised her arms over her head, “Hey, hey, no need to worry! I’ll just… uh. A fine? Right? That’s standard protocol? Pay for my part of the damages?” She gestured to her person, “I didn’t draw a knife on anyone, swear on my life. This thing’s from that fuck over there.” she gestured to the unconscious man lying where she had left him. From across the room, a few others nodded or voiced their assent to her story, confirming that she had not drawn a weapon, or started the brawl.

The guard cleared her throat. “Ahem. Yes. Just… pay your fine and… don’t let me catch you here again.” she said uncertainly, “At least, not without someone a… just pay the fine and go before I change my mind!

Noriko nodded, slowly, gently, making her way towards the guards while reaching into her pockets. She counted out enough gold pieces to, by her estimate, cover the damage - and an extra premium for keeping the guards happy. The lead guard glared at her and jerked her head toward the door.

Noriko half walked, half stumbled towards the door and out it, pausing for one final second to yell into the bar. “And I’m keeping the dagger! Once I get it out! Cunt!”

With that, she staggered off into the city to search for her Sergeant-At-Arms. And a healer.

~🙘🙚~


Stumbling through the streets, Noriko’s eyes alighted on a familiar sight, and her face turned from a pained grimace to a bright eyed smile as she jogged over to him, ignoring the pain from the dagger still protruding from her back. “Toda! Glad to see you!” She called, pulling up beside him. She looked Bhaskara up and down, “This one of ours I take it, yeah? Wait, wait. Bhaskara, right? New guy. Signaler.”

Toda glared at her with a look that expressed a myriad of sentiments at once. Noriko was, almost, impressed by the expressiveness of his features despite his visible tiredness. A mixture of ’What the actual fuck?’ and ’Holy fucking shit’ abd ’Why are you coming to me like this at this ungodly hour?’. Noriko coughed awkwardly. Toda watched her for a second more before he spoke. "Captain...?" He spent a few more seconds, pondering what to say, looking for a way to properly express his opinions of the sight before his eyes. "It's-...It's my day off...it's our day off. Does it really take that much effort not to leave me with the thought that you might've started a fight?"

"Well, technically," she began, wiping a mixture of blood and sweat from her brow. "They were the ones who started it. 'Sides, I've spent... far too fucking long dealing with the aftermath of, y'know... it's almost refreshing to be surrounded by a bunch of fools who literally stabbed me in the back, instead of a bunch of fools who think I did it metaphorically to Astrid."

After a moment, she sheepishly added, "Any of our healers around here? Don't want one of... them to do it."

"Well there was Sanji," Toda began with a look to Bhaskara, then back to the direction he'd seen the apothecary go, "he just passed us."

For the time being, he brushed off her comment of the populace. It wasn't that he himself had a care about them, nor was it that he held any sense of attachment to the nation as a whole, but the locale of their conversation was all but inconvenient. Sure, she was a capable warrior, and a damn good fighter, judging by the spoils of her won brawl, but she was also their Captain - at times like those, there was a slight amount of inner-regret toward accepting the position of Sergeant-At-Arms. Then again, when hadn't a second-in-command position come with such baggage. Of course, the two were somewhat polar opposites in their way of command, but his opposite mindset was what mattered, he assumed.

"Please, stop trying to make it seem like you want to end up like Astrid. The least you could do is not mentally prepare me for taking over the Silver Hawks." It was a slight scoff, and it would've being a bit playful had he not experienced the most unpleasant of comforts that morning.

Noriko’s smile fell. “Yeah, yeah I suppose so. I just, tch. Shit, man, I needed a break. I’m not good at intrigue. I’m barely a leader. I’m good at breaking stuff and figuring out battle plans to help other people break stuff. Navigating this morass? I oughta glue you to my back for the duration, let you do the talking.” She shook her head. “Ah we’ll find Sanji when we find him. If it was serious I’d not be walking right now.”

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Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by LetMeDoStuff
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LetMeDoStuff Bone Hurting Juice

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Of course, the arrival of Noriko had been less of a shock and more of an extension of disappointing sights. She'd made a mess of herself, blood and all, and though she say it wasn't serious, a knife wound was still a knife wound to Ujiteru. He peered over her shoulder to get a gaze of the wound, though as she stood somewhat firmly in place, he quickly retracted his eyeballing and went back to standing around, with a low and tired posture. She came clean right there and then, in front of one of the new-bloods as well, of her little faith. Barely a leader? At any other point, if time had been on their side and there was wiggle room for being less professional, Ujiteru would've said something that could've soothed or distracted from the situation. But he chose the opposite. Why? Well, he couldn't answer that himself, really. Maybe it was simply the presence of another company member that compelled him to act as such. Image was everything, even to your own family.

"Noriko," he began with a short exhale, "you're not barely a leader, you are the leader. There's no dancing around that, anymore. It's best that you see how it'll work out, with the company at first in your mind."

Truth be told, he felt a small ounce of regret in speaking so freely on the day off. Things like those brought the mood down for everyone, even if sometimes he felt like he had to say something. She'd been put in a difficult spot, and Ujiteru figured that it was because of how long she remained a Sergeant-At-Arms that there was a chance she'd grown comfortable staying as such. Then again, she was a Kitsune. The years could've felt like months or days for all he knew. And maybe he was terrible at reading people.

Alas, he was the Company's Sergeant-At-Arms, not so much hers, much as she was the Company's Captain, and that it wasn't her Company. That sort of sentiment kept his mind in check, for it was all so simple to just take everyone off to do ones own goals, but those who came before them had shown them that so long as the Company was all together, there was plenty to gain. Ujiteru looked around for a while as he saw the bustle of the street move past. He didn't feel like lecturing her at all. She was twice his elder, and still in a position of leadership ahead of him. Even if he equated the role to the greater formation of the mercenary group, he still had his place to stand and shelves he wasn't supposed to reach up to. Any other mercenary might've done it more often, but that sewn shut mouth that came with Retaining political figures' ideals tended to keep the sly tongue sheathed.


"Yet - I cannot tell you how to relax. So long as you aren't out of action, then you know what you want to do." Finally, he took a breath and turned to Bhaskara, who'd patiently waited for the whole ordeal to be talked about. He nodded at him, lowering his head to both apologise and urge him that he had paid attention to what he'd said. "My apologies. And I wholeheartedly agree on the vastness of this place, though it does make the heart yearn for the cities of my homeland. Now that sort of vastness is something to behold as-"

Just as he was about to say it, his shoulder was barged past as a small flurry of additional bodies pushed past him in the market. He felt instantly vindicated in what he was trying to convey, so much so that he couldn't help but smile a titch. He fixed his clothing's folds created by the friction and cleared his throat again.

"-as back home I could at least get the space to breathe in the marketplace." And then, he moved to answer the red-headed mercenary's last question. "I haven't made any plans beyond what I'd already done the night before." He looked back to the inn, further down the street. Ujiteru could still hear the voices of the other occupants as clear as day. At any other place it'd be fine, mercenary's weren't exactly the type to abstain, but by the grace of pleading for a night's rest, he couldn't help but feel nothing but fear from those walls. "So, I might head back to wherever the encampment might be. Rest up there, keep things watched over. Might even wrestle a price or two from Beatrice, if she'll take interest in some wares I found."
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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by dwyer austin
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Bhaskara Doran



As Bhaskara awaited for the answers to his questions, he would see Noriko arrive, and upon seeing her current visage he let out a panicked yelp and jumped back a bit. "Captain! Y-Yes that is me ma'am, but you're hurt! What happened to you?!" He then took hold of his sword and looked in the direction she came, not pulling the sword from its sheath, but rather holding onto the hilt to pull it out in case he spotted anyone hostile making their way towards them. He then took the time to listen to the conversation between Ujiteru and Noriko while determining that none were coming to harm them, which allowed him to release his held breath and let go of his blade. Seeing Noriko in this condition and still walk made him not want to see the other guy involved in said brawl, no doubt it was an ugly sight. Still the knife in her back deeply concerned him as well as the fact that she had blood in her mouth. But for the time being he would allow them to finish their discussion as he nervously tapped his foot against the solid ground.

Then Ujiteru turned to him and bowed to him, which in Bhaskara's eyes didn't really need to happen, he brought his arms up and waved them a bit as he apologized. "No no! No need to apologize! We were both startled by Noriko, you dont gotta apologize for being distracted with that!" He would then listen to the rest of what Ujiteru had to say and nodded, he could imagine the scene he mentioned a little bit but not extremely well, he'd hope to see it one day for himself! As for the plans he had, he could understand why he didn't have any plans as of now, he was a pretty serious guy, at least by Bhaskara's viewpoint he was, he hoped he'd figure something out soon. "Well whatever you do decide to do today, I hope you enjoy it! This is our day off after all! We don't get many, do something you like with it! If haggling prices is what you want to do than go for it! As for right now however..."

Bhaskara would move around to get closer to Noriko as he pulled out some water. "Here! You should clean your mouth of the blood, not exactly a great look for you, you look like you tried to eat a living goat. Is there anything I can do to help you until we can get to one of our medics? I could carry your things to lighten the load!" Bhaskara stared at Noriko, his hand holding the water outstretched to her so that she may take it and rinse out her mouth, he had no idea what happened in that bar fight, but he wanted to try and help her if she needed it. Even if she said she was fine, he felt that if she was injured she should at least make sure she doesn't push her injuries too far, otherwise they might become worse than they currently are. Rule one of survival, treat your wounds, no matter how small, any infection could kill you! At least, that's what he figured in his mind.
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Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by Hawthorne
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Hawthorne Mageknight

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A light mist settled upon the forest floor as the sun began to rise. The shinobi had been here even before the crack of dawn-- a habit she had established long ago during her years as an apprentice ninja. Izumi knelt upon the ground, hidden behind some foliage, and deep in thought as she analyzed her course of action. A crow calling out to its flock in the distance seemed to be a satisfactory signal, as the ninja leapt from her ambush spot and attacked.

The shinobi ran into the center of the clearing, her eyes adjusting to the target. Steel glinting in the light of the sun, her hands were a blur as she flung a trio of shuriken. With a snap of her wrists, the metal stars flew forward; two struck their target dead-on, while the third deviated slightly, landing only a serviceable hit. Izumi clicked her tongue in annoyance, before dropping to her knees as she reached for another set of weapons.

She envisioned the target before her. The body had three-hundred-sixty-five acupuncture points-- one for each day of the year. Were this any other time, she could certainly perform acupuncture and insert a needle for each one, but for now, she would have to settle for five. Heart, lung, liver, kidney, and, stomach. It was the nature of the shinobi to disrupt, and that included the body's equilibrium. Izumi shut her eyes, and let loose a barrage of senbon, the iron needles nearly imperceptible in flight.

Five soft thuds were heard-- if you weren't listening for it, the sound would've easily been drowned out in the forest.

And they struck true. Hanging from a tree branch was a small mannequin of wicker and straw-- a crude facsimile of a man. Two shuriken had struck the neck, and a third had landed on its right shoulder. Meanwhile, five needles were embedded in the practice dummy's body, each one having struck a vital organ. Senbon weren't exactly the most lethal of weapons, but in the hands of a trained shinobi, it was a deadly armament.

"Not bad." Izumi finally said, after inspecting her handiwork. "...if I were killing motionless men of straw." She then scoffed as she collected her weapons.

Again. You will do this over and over until you get it right. Until it is perfect.

---

Dressed in simple, inconspicuous traveler's attire, Izumi could almost pass for Nohrian, were it not for the Hoshidan blade hanging at her hip. Almost. she was traveling down the forest path towards the city of Drakesfoot. Satisfied with the results of her training, she figured it was time to return to the city and check-in with the rest of the Silver Hawks. They were all on leave at the moment, of course, but for now, she had other things to do. Who she would run into on the way there, or within the city, the shinobi was uncertain.
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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Spectral
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Spectral

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Satoshi Kataoka


Interacting: @Hawthorne

————————————————————————

The first rays of light had only just crested over the horizon when Satoshi’s ears caught the sounds of rustling underbrush. Quickly falling into an all too familiar routine long since molded into him years ago, he slowly pulls his bow from its resting position upon his back, taking a firm grip on it. Just as easily, he gingerly pulls one of his arrows out of the quiver, readying it with the bow to be fired at a moment's notice.

Easing himself up behind a tree, he cautiously leans himself around it towards the encroaching noises of something coming his way. At first, he sees nothing. Several moments pass like this, Satoshi keeping himself still and his breathing measured. Then, movement catches his attention across the way. As his attention focuses in, a small grin comes to Satoshi’s face.

Coming out from behind underbrush, a fairly large and older dark grey haired boar makes its appearance. It seemed that it’s looking for an early meal, as it was eating various bits of grass and brush. All the better for Satoshi. It’s attention on eating likely meant he had a better opportunity to line up a proper shot. Knocking the arrow into a firmer position on the bow, he kept himself tight beside the tree he was behind, as he lined up his shot. Seconds passed by, his fingers ready to release as soon as it turned to a better angle. It would be a couple dozen more until he sees his chance. With the boars side now in sight, the arrow was let loose.

— — —

The sun presenting more of itself over the horizon, Satoshi walks out from the thicker parts of the woods back onto a clearly more traversed path. Securely strapped across his upper back, the now deceased and field dressed boar rests upon his shoulder. A happy little hum could be heard from him as he thinks upon what to do with it upon returning to Drakesfoot. The meat was certainly going towards the company's food supply. Every bit to save money was a good thing in his book. As for the pelt and the rest? Well, hopefully he could find someone willing to buy it from him.

Going to Beato is probably the safest bet, he thinks to himself, shaking his head. She’s more likely to give me a fair value for them over any other merchant here.

The sound of footsteps from up the path snaps him from his thoughts. His head looking up the path away from the city, he sees a lone individual making their way towards him. At first, it seemed like it was just some regular traveler making their way just like him towards Drakesfoot. However, when his eyes catch sight of a familiar looking Hoshidan blade at their side, he recognizes who they belong to.

“Good morning, Matsuyama-San,” Satoshi calls out at her approach, bowing his head as he slips back into a familiar way of addressing. He did not get much opportunity for such things, having found that most others outside his homeland and those from there use such honorifics. “I was not expecting to run into anyone else out this early.”
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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Hero
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Hero Sincerest of Knights

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The room was entirely cloaked in darkness when Celeste first stirred. It was nice and warm under the blankets and she was all too happy to hide away from the sun. Ah, to have a day where she could blissfully sleep in without concern was surely a time to be treasured. She closed her eyes, ready to let sleep lull her back to its embrace. Alas, like many a star-struck lover and endless protagonists of romance novels, she would soon be parted from that which she held most dear to her.

The door to her room opened and closed shortly after. The sound of a pair of footsteps was accompanied by something rolling, coming to a stop next to the bed. She let out a tiny sigh as she heard the footsteps approach the window, the curtains whipped back in one, swift motion. Sunlight poured in and illuminated the room in its entirety; quaint, homey, and above all, terribly small for her taste. She was forced to leave behind her ensemble and could only bring some of her essentials and had to choose her clothing the night before, like some kind of farmhand.

Her ever-faithful servant Kaitlyn stood at the window, walking back to the cart she had brought in. Celeste always thought that she was much too prompt, but she supposed there was no fighting it. "It is time to rise, my lady." Kaitlyn announced as she gave her a curtsy. "I have brought you your breakfast. You'll find it humble yet satisfying."

Forcing herself to sit up, Celeste untangled herself from the mess of blanket and red hair. Letting out a yawn as she stretched her arms above her head, she looked over to her servant. "So it would seem," She replied, still sleepy as she scooted backward until she hit the headboard. Once Kaitlyn lifted the tray and placed it on her lap, Celeste decided to eat quickly and quietly. Humble yet satisfying, indeed, but Kailtyn would never let her accept any less.

"What will be on the agenda on this day?" She asked, dabbing the corners of her mouth with a napkin.

"We could make an appearance at the Keller Estate, if it pleases you," Kaitlyn suggested, taking back the tray. "Alternatively, we could simply wander around until something catches your interest."

The Keller Estate, huh? That would be the responsible thing to do, but that didn't sound like a lot of fun. She didn't respond to Kaitlyn right away, choosing to clean and change out of her nightgown first. The process was quick as the water was terribly cold, but she wasn't looking to dawdle too much longer. The inn was adorably quaint but suffocating in how close all the walls were. Of course, going out in the cold wasn't appealing, either, but she was no stranger to the weather here.

Stepping outside, Celeste let out a breath, tapping her cheek with her fan. With bags in hand, Kaitlyn raised an eyebrow at her. "A bit chilly for a fan, isn't it?" She asked.

"It's an accessory, darling," Celeste replied.

"Of course. And have you decided on our course?"

"Take my bag to the encampment and then find me, I'll be sure to make up my mind by then," Celeste ordered.

With a small bow, Kaitlyn departed. Celeste watched her leave, waiting until the maid was out of sight before she gave the street a good look around. What she wanted was some mischief, but where was she to find it at this time of day? A nagging feeling told her that she really should consider the Keller Estate. Well, fun first, then responsibility. With that in mind, she began her stroll, quietly humming to herself as she hunted for her next target.

Fortunately for her, she locked onto someone.

"Good morning, Sanji~" She greeted the man with too much enthusiasm and an overly excited wave, immediately running up to him. "Look at you, out and about already! Do you never rest?"


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Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by Rethel34
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Rethel34 Inverted Archery

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Interacting with @Hero


The market's chill had Sanji doing his best to keep from shivering, but his attempts were in vain. He should have invested in a heavier traveling cloak. His current was too lightweight to do him much good, but at least walking was doing something to help him warm up. The roads were cramped with folks lethargically weaving to their mundane destinations, making movement difficult, but Sanji's thin frame and tall stature gave him an advantage of sorts, and he was able to plan his route over the heads of those closest to him while squeezing into gaps others might have had difficulty with.

Ahead, he spied what he hoped would be his destination: the closest thing to a luxury inn that he had seen in this town. It should be appropriately warm within if Sanji could only get there. He caught a glimpse of a familiar maid in the passing crowd, Kaitlyn, if he remembered correctly. But then, if he wasn't mistaken, Kaitlyn being around meant that, surely, Celeste should be nearby, right? And no sooner had he finished that thought that he caught sight of the flaming red hair he had come to associate with loud partying and spoiled mannerisms.

"Good morning, Sanji," she greeted him, waving as she approached. "Look at you, out and about already! Do you never rest?"

Sanji didn't want to stop and talk, but he also didn't want to come across as rude. "Oh, uh, morning, Celeste," he replied, not even sure how well his voice would carry over the drone of the crowd. "Was just gathering some materials. Needed to, uhm, restock my medicine supply." He paused momentarily, and tried to think of what to say that wouldn't be too blunt. Before he managed to continue, he felt his pestle slip out of his bag against his leg. He narrowly managed to get his boot underneath it before the clay smashed against the cobblestone below. Grunting as it smacked against his foot, he stooped and stuffed it back in the satchel before he continued. "It's a bit cold out here. Been out a good while. I was hoping to maybe get inside out of the elements, unless you might know of, uh, someplace better around here for getting warmed up?"

One thing Sanji missed about his days with the nomads was how they usually handled travel during the cold months. Every night, they'd be sure to stop someplace with easy access to plenty of firewood, or a hot spring if possible. Granted, the elderly and infants had priority on comforts, but it was still nice to have such readily available warmth. Drakesfoot proper seemed to not have much in the way of such luxuries, at least of what he'd seen so far. Maybe he had just hit a spot of rough luck. He'd have likely been better spending his night in camp where he could have at least tended a nice fire.
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Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by Agunimon
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Agunimon

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Beato, Berit, and Nerea

The Supply Trio



“Is this… solution really as good as you say it is?”

“‘Course! I’d swear it on my mam's achin’ back!” Beato pulled the man close, away from his wife’s grip. “Ya know, I also got an extremely effective aphrodisiac, if you’re interested…”

“How much?” The man leaned in, close enough so that his wife couldn’t hear.

“Weeeeeeeeell, I’m down to my last two bottles, so that’ll run ya a hundred an’ fifty goldmark for the whole lot.” The two weren’t quite dressed like commoners, they had a few silk pieces here and there. The woman wore a hair accessory as well. Traders, or maybe a high ranking guild artisan? Beato sneaked a glance at the man’s hands. A little rough, with some calluses. Definitely an artisan. Those were nice hands…

The man shook his head. “One-fifty is highway robbery. I could find something like this at any old apothecary. One hundred.”

“A hundred????” Beato sneered. “An’ you’re the one complainin’ about robbery. I haven’t sold one of these oils for less than one-forty today! These’re the last two! I’ll bring it down to one-forty-five.”

“One-twenty.”

“One-forty, an’ I’ll throw in a couple of these stomach relievers as a bonus.”

“Stomach relievers? Those could be water and salt, I could make those myself. One-thirty for all of them.”

“One-forty, the stomach relievers, an’ this nice wooden carving of a bear.” It was a long shot, but the man could have an eye for art…

“That is a nice bear…” The man picked it up and looked it over. “One-thirty-eight for everything.”

“Sold!” Beato picked up the items and placed them into a small box. The man handed her the total, then picked up the box and left. Sweet success!

Being an effective merchant was all about context. At the start of the day? Those aphrodisiacs were going for twenty, sometimes thirty. People were attracted by nice, full-lookin’ crates, but if the price was too high they’d scarper. Gotta start ‘em low, get a crowd, then hook ‘em in with the extra stuff. The stomach relievers were worth maybe five gold each, the bear carving was (at most) three. And yet here she was, making over 150 percent market price.

Nobody left the house thinking, “Yeah, I’m gonna pick up some medicine, maybe some lube, and a tiny art piece.” No! It was her role as a merchant to be the intrepid shopper’s guide to all the things they didn’t know they wanted–and Beato had a damn good sense of direction. Gotta read the people, judge ‘em from head to toe.

“Check out what they’re wearin’, what they’re sayin’, how they’re walkin’, how they’re talkin’, and everythin’ in between. Get their energy right an’ you could sell just about anythin’!” That’s what her mam had always said–and Beato followed that maxim to a T. She gave her makeshift stand another look. Nearly sold out.

“Daaaaamn, I’m on fire today! Sun’s not even up 60 degrees!” She’d started the day with a collection of pelts, potions, jerky, carvings, weapons, and assorted trinkets. The potions, pelts, carvings, and jerky were all gone. She could dump the weapons at a forge, maybe get some cash for their steel, and the trinkets… Well, there was always next time.

A shadow fell over the woman's wares, a shape filling the spot the couple had vacated. When Beato looked up at the broad figure balancing a sack over their shoulder and a hay bale under their arm, she found a familiar face.

"Stock looks like it's runnin' low," Berit said, her eyes roving over the boxes of goods with mock interest. She even rubbed at her chin with her forefinger and thumb to sell the act. It wasn't but a few seconds later when her emerald eyes flicked up to Beato's face and she grinned, producing a single shiny gold mark. "Well, what can I get with this?"

Beato grabbed a spool of twine. “Five centimeters off this string.”

"What about the friends and family discount?!"

“Twelve centimeters. And this carving of a dragon I made myself.” Beato held it up. It looked more like a disemboweled chicken. Berit stared at the carving for a moment before bursting into a short fit of laughter.

"All right, now that's a steal," she snorted, actually making the trade and swapping the figure for the coin - though she left the twine. "When'd you even have time to make this?"

“Ah, ya know… Just pickin’ up some hobbies!” Beato shrugged. “I’ve tried paintin’ an’ swinmin’ and dancin’ and shit, but carvin’ seems like the most productive of the bunch. ‘Course, I’m not very good right now, but ya bet your wyvern’s ass I’ll be on display in the finest galleries in the whole world in a couple months!” She laughed and began to load up her now-empty boxes.

"Speakin' of wyvern asses, I can tell just who you used as your model for this one. Looks just like him," Berit said, giving the clearly-a-chicken sculpture a closer look. She sent Beato a wide grin before gesturing to the stall. "You need help with this?"

“Nah, I’ll be fine. I’m gonna pack up here, then dump the steel at a smithy, ‘kay?” Beato tossed the last of her unsold wares into her handcart, then took down her sign. “Where we meetin’ up?”

"I left 'Rea back toward that big road leading to the market square. Split up, she went lookin' for the people food so near there’s probably where we'll find each other again."

“‘Right, I’ll be there in a jiffy.” The merchant girl spun on her heel and took off at a breakneck pace, nearly crashing into several shoppers nearby. The cart’s wheels clattered with total abandon as she sped off into the crowd.

The people that she almost mowed down sent nasty looks after her, as well as the companion she'd left behind, but a well placed glare of her own had them hurrying on their way. And so Berit left her friend to take care of the last of her wares before catching up. The wyvern rider traced the path she'd walked to get there, pushing through the bustling crowd and looking for a familiar head of silver hair.

Drakesfoot... It had been a while since Berit had been here, but the city was just as lively as she remembered - if not more so. And now on one of the company's days off she was in the heart of it, doing what she always did whenever they were close enough to a big town like this: buying shit.

Between herself, Nerea, and Beato they would restock everything from weapons, to clothing, to food and utensils. Feed for the Hawks’ horses is what she was currently lugging around. It wasn't always that Nohr's plains were enough to fill those things' stomachs. She'd gone to a stable on the far side of town, and even got the bags for a decent price. Perhaps her regular shopping companions' bartering skills were finally rubbing off on her.

Still, the trip was far from over. Finally catching a glimpse of her target, Berit made a beeline for her. The dark knight had wandered to a shopping strip lined with produce and raw goods merchants. “Corn isn’t multicolored like that. It’s usually a gross yellow hue— never red, black, and whatever that is. I think you ought to find the fellow who sold you the seeds for this crop, sir. And if I may add, take their head as payment too.” Nerea spat out her harsh words to the young grain farmer, the blonde man with sun scarred skin and piercing blue eyes matched her confident stare with a toothy white smile spread from ear to ear.

“Not t’ worried about it m’lady. It’s fuckin’ corn, color don’t mean much t’ the folk who need to fill their stomach with some cheap ‘nd filling grub.” The farmer’s expression remained warm, his reddened cheeks making the bright and wholesome visage all the more overpowering. To Nerea it was sickening, the thoughtless positivity for such a strange variation of common Nohrian brain was beyond belief. Her eyes squinted and rolled in their sockets before meeting the friendly sapphires staring straight at her.

“Right then, I guess some of the barbarians that aren’t too picky would give this mysterious corn a try. What say you, Ber?” The small, dark clad girl veered her eyes up to the towering tan-skinned figure who had come up to stand beside her. Her ash colored eyebrow arched and Nerea’s head dipped to the side as an expectant expression overtook her face.

Berit leaned in, eyeing the corn that Nerea found so suspect. It definitely was not the kind they ate in Nohrian high society, but she'd seen its type before. Local grain. Perfectly edible. She looked at the young peddler and held her free hand out, flicking a few fingers in a give it here motion. He slapped the colorful cob into her waiting palm and Berit brought it up to her nose.

"It's good. Smells nutty, almost." She took the cob between her teeth and bit a chunk out of it. "Mm, yeah I can work with this. Take it all, 'Rea."

Nerea’s eyes widened in absolute disbelief as Berit chomped her teeth right into the hard kerneled uncooked corn. Her golden hues remained glued to her, as a slow gasp quietly hissed from her throat. She tensed up like a stiff cat.

“D-did you just eat that corn raw? Ber, you’re going to get sick!” The ash-haired Nohrian asked before flaring her nostrils and snapping her sights right back to the blonde country boy. His smile drooped just slightly - no food seller wanted to hear someone mention the word "sick" right next to their stall - and he raised his hands up in defense.

"No, no gettin' sick 'ere! It's fresh 'n clean, promise," he said.

"Eh, I'll be fine. If not, I'll just go see Sanji." Berit shrugged.

“We will take it all, I suppose. Utilize the coin we have graced your meager pockets with to purchase proper grain— if not for your customers’ sake.” Nerea sighed before reaching down to the large leather pouch attached to the band at her thigh. Her black tipped fingers sifted into the tanned material and fiddled about before plucking out a small stack of coin and offering it out toward the merchant.

“Uhh.. this isn’t enough coin t’ purchase all of the corn I have?” The blonde haired countryman narrowed his eyes, his warm expression growing colder by the moment as his lips flattened together and a low grumble roared from his throat. All the while, Nerea kept the small handful of coin extended out within her hand, eye contact maintained with the sun-scarred man. He shifted uncomfortably. Once more he opened his mouth, likely to repeat what he'd just said, but a chuckle from the pale woman's companion cut him off.

"Best give her what she wants," Berit said, wondering if this counted as a shake down.

“But-”

“Actually, I’m feeling quite generous today.” Nerea quickly chimed out to cut the poor corn seller off mid-sentence. Her hands raised up towards the sky and a small huff escaped her lips as she stretched out her meager stature. After a little pop resounded from her back she dropped a hand down to the larger black suede purse strung across her torso. Jingling could be heard inside as a larger handful of the coin pieces are clenched in the small palm and extend out snappily towards the blonde man.

“Is that enough? If you ask for more I’ll make a scene— and I do very much enjoy doing so.” Nerea offered an eerie smile to the man, tight-lipped and eyes squinted into thin slits.

“Sure...” He responded in a defeated tone. His smile and optimism were gone. Berit would have probably felt bad about it but they did have a whole hungry mercenary company to feed. While he worked on getting the boxes shut and ready for moving, speeding up when he noticed Nerea’s intense stare still settled on him, Berit nudged the small woman in the shoulder.

“Found Beato, she’ll be along soon. Once we get everythin’ loaded and ready to take back, we’ll have the rest of the day to do somethin’ fun.”

“Right, I just need to see if I can swing by a goldsmith on the way back— probably won’t find anything but perhaps something interesting will catch my eye.” Nerea pressed her lips together and blew a long bout and drawn-out burst of raspberries between them. But she’d then beam a smile as she turned away from the hardworking farmer man, aiming it at Berit before making her way back to the towering armored woman’s side.

"Lookin' for anythin' specific?" her companion asked, quirking a curious brow.

“I believe it is called an evasion ring, or something of that sort. But I’ve never come across one in the number of towns I’ve been through— figure it’d be worth a stroll though. Perhaps I’ll see something else that catches my attention?”

Berit opened her mouth again, but before she could say anything more, a storm hit.

A veritable crack of thunder impacted the two as Beato ran, or rather, rolled onto the scene. Both Berit and Nerea practically dived out of the way as the cart screeched past the two, crashing to a stop at the stand and sending a few ears of corn flying into the distance.

“Heeeeeeeelllooooooo, ladies! Need a ride?” Beato flicked her hat in greetings. The shopkeeper sighed and pinched his brow before beginning to load corn onto the cart.

"Perfect timing!" Berit recovered quickly after being nearly run over, as much as Beato could run her over. She dumped the animal feed into the cart, giving the young man loading crates a heavy pat on the back as she did before she came around to the front where their merchant waited. "We're finishin' up shoppin' to move on to more shoppin'."

“Wonderful! Let’s run these back real quick. I got some kebabs with my name on ‘em!”
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Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by KenjuGuy
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KenjuGuy Luminary of the Stars

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KALLUN


"Now trust me when I say that many of foes have tried to steal my swords, but none have ever accomplished such a feat!"

A confident booming voice resounded throughout the post office. The many clerks and attendants had expressions of utter exasperation and exhaustion upon their mugs. As much as they tried their best to look professional for their guests and customers.

"And do you know why that is, young lad?"

The astute warrior off lush green-hair tossed his question for the young post boy beside him to answer. From the look of the young post boy, the answer wasn't very hard to figure out. With a pained voice as if he were simply reading from a script, he responded with a sigh

"As you say; 'Because you're Steadfast Kallun of the mighty-'"

"That's right! The Steadfast Kallun of the mighty Silver Hawks!"

Kallun roared with the confidence of a lion within the jungle. His ever present smile beamed across for all the attendants within the office to see. Despite the fact that they'd seen and heard enough from it.

"Y-yes sir, you've said that several times now. Everyone here has engrained your name and group into our memories for better or worse..."

"As it should be, afterall our exploits are enough to outrival even the most grand of tales you've ever heard."

Sweat swam further down the post boy's forehead upon the threat of even further mention of Kallun and his merry band of mercenaries. In contrast, Kallun leaned confidently across the nearby desk to get deeper into the conversation.

"Actually sir, I think your package should be ready to go."

The post boy quickly cut off Kallun before he could continue any further. It was a maneuver that received him some sight of relief and a thumbs up from the other recipients in the room who could clearly hear them.

"Oh right, sorry for holding you up. I just couldn't help myself when it came to talking the greatness of the Silver Hawks."

"Y-yes I've noticed, now if you would excuse me-"

Since the post boy was in such a hurry to get out of the conversation, he had been a little too eager once he picked up the thick square package from the desk counter. This caused the boy's hand to slip and in a hurried panic, accidentally caused the brown package to hit the ground and spill it's contents.

"Oh I'm so sorry sir, I didn't mean to-"

Upon further momentary inspection, the post boy saw that the contents of the package was filled to the brim coins. Such an assortment of value would have of course been of great importance to the mercenary. This revelation brough a chill of the spine to the young post boy as he slowly raised his timid head up at Kallun. It was then that the post boy's awareness of the swords at Kallun's waist grew exponentially. So much so that he couldn't take his eyes away from them.

The stories of battle he had heard earlier from the swordsman sounded all the more terrifying now.

"Hey,"

"HHHHGGG!!??"

At the sudden single statement from Kallun, the post boy nearly jumped in shock. Yet the mood of the swordsman had not been one of fire and brimstone. Truthfully, all that was there will simple the expression of a man who was only mildly inconvenienced.

"Ah jeez, here let me help you with that,"

To the post boy's surprise, the proud swordsman bent up and carefully helped with recovering the large amount of coin scattered about.

"You're...not mad..?"

He hesitently poked with the question. To with Kallun responded with a puzzled look and then slowly a small smile,

"What's to be mad about? Sure, this money and where it's going is important to me. Even more important than my life, but we've all made mistakes before. All kinds of bad things are going to happen to us in this life so it's best we shouldn't let them hold us down. I know a guy whose done worse."

----

Later after the fiasco at the post office, Kallun could be seen walking throughout the streets of Draksfoot. He had been thinping about the incident at the post office for quite a bit. For one thing, that money was being sent for Hilary and Beth, the wife and daughter of the notorious serial killer formerly known as Vileheart. That criminal had been dead but there was no end to the amount of people that wanted his family dead out of revenge.

Word had been increasing of his knowledge of their location so of course those enemies were drawn to him. If he wasn't careful, anyone could have figured out that money was for that wife and daughter and then followed the trail. Really, he needed to figure something more safer out.

As he was walking with his own thoughts in his head, arms crossed, the twin swordsman caught sight of two people of interest.

"Celeste! Sanji! I see fate just always wants us together!"

He jogged up to the duo with an ever-present smile. Without a hint of restraint, he placed his hands on each of their shoulders with a sense of companionship.

"Allow me to accompany you. After all no journey could ever be dull with comrades as good as these!"

@Rethel34@Hero
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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Hawthorne
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Hawthorne Mageknight

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Interacting: @Spectral


The shinobi had spotted him by the roadside as she approached, but before she could say anything, the hunter had spoken up. Just as well-- if she had her way, he wouldn't have seen her, and she would have silently passed by without so much as a hello. Still, the fact that Satoshi was as productive as usual was refreshing in its own right. Izumi, in turn, strode forward, before bowing politely.

"Kataoka-san." The ninja said simply. "I could say the same for you-- though I shouldn't be surprised. It seems you're as diligent as ever." She says, before glancing over at the spoils of his morning excursion. "I take it your hunt was successful?"

As Izumi spoke to the hunter, she mentally evaluated him-- recalling the dossier she had written regarding him. Satoshi had been with the Silver Hawks for a few years, and served as one of the company's scouts. He was skilled with the bow, and was good at hunting and gathering. The shinobi had turned to him to the gathering of reagents in the past, and they've even worked together on scouting missions before. His background was fairly unremarkable, however; born in Hoshido to a family of smiths, and had left seeking something better.

All in all, he was an ordinary man. But even an ordinary man could do great things.

The shinobi stood at a respectful distance, and made no offers of assistance. As far as she was concerned, this was Satoshi's kill, and he didn't need help lugging it around. A hunter was capable of that much, after all. Izumi eyed him up and down, satisfied with the amount of small talk that had taken place.

"...I'm heading back to Drakesfoot, if you wish to accompany me." Her tone was neutral, as if she didn't mind one way or the other if he accepted or decided against it.
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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Hero
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Ah, how utterly adorable.

Sanji's dedication to his craft was both admirable and practical. Granted, she had little knowledge in the arena of medicine and its various solutions. She very much preferred the art of magic, but she recognized that alternative methods were just as viable. Not everyone had the aptitude to cast, after all. Admittedly, his response immediately highlighted some potential mischief, her smile growing slightly. Okay, not entirely mischief, but a little teasing never did hurt anyone.

Whatever ideas she had frozen over in the cold as someone decided to join the duo. This one was...Kellen. No, Kallun, the Cheven Mercenary. The more the merrier, of course, although she had absolutely no idea what he was on about. He reminded her of her sister's yapping dog in that sense, energetic and often barking about something. It could be a little harsh, but truthfully, she didn't know him very well.

"Fate, or coincidence considering you can find any Hawk lounging around if you looked hard enough," Celeste replied cheerfully. While eager to continue the conversation, she remembered the last thing Sanji mentioned. "But let us continue the conversation inside somewhere, poor Sanji is about to freeze over."


Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Psychic Loser
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Alba



With Alba having arrived at the central market square, she began to sort through the various vendors, hoping that any of them would be willing to barter with her sack of assorted dead animals. After a few failures, she seemed to have found someone willing to purchase.

"So what ya' thinkin' big guy?" Alba asked, slamming her arm onto the merchant's counter. "How much coin we talkin' here? Forty a' piece? Fifty?" The merchant looked down at the wolf-woman's offer then looked back at her. He seemed unimpressed. "Come on. Gimme somethin'!"

"I was thinking about fifteen," the merchant answered as he stroked his beard.

"Per squirrel?" Alba shot back. A dopey smile of sharp teeth grew on her lips while her tail began to wag back and forth. "That's perfect! Now I ca-"

"You break it you buy it, you stupid dog!" The merchant pointed at Alba's tail. "Watch where you swing that thing!"

Alba turned to notice that, in her excitement, her tail had knocked a few small trinkets from the merchant's booth on the ground. Thankfully, none of them seemed to have suffered any significant damage.

Alba swatted her tail back down. "Sorry. Habit."

"As I was saying," the merchant glared as he attempted to regain some composure, "I'll charge about fifteen pieces for the whole bag."

"What?" Alba growled. "C'mon, you've gotta be kidding me. It's all perfectly good squirrel. That's good eatin'."

"It would be if they didn't all look like they were dragged out of the local pet cemetery." the merchant retorted. "What'd you use to catch these anyway? Bear traps?"

Alba averted her gaze. "Uh…no…"

The wolf-woman knew it was probably best at this point to avoid stating that she had been looking for bigger prey...because she did, in fact, use bear traps.

"Right…" the merchant said, giving Alba a skeptical look. "So are you going to accept my offer or not?"

"Fine." Alba groaned. "I'll take fifteen for it."

The merchant scooted a pouch of coins across the table.

"Pleasure doing business with you. Now, get out of my booth."

Alba left the merchant's booth with her head hung low. However, her dour mood didn't last long as she was easily distracted by a few familiar faces not too far away.

"Is that Cap'n Noriko over there?" Alba waved, shouting loudly across the market square. She cupped her hands around her mouth just to be sure Noriko heard. "Hey, Cap'n! Over here!"


Interacting with: @Lady Lascivious, @LetMeDoStuff, @dwyer austin

Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Rethel34
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Rethel34 Inverted Archery

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Interacting with @Hero @KenjuGuy


Sanji was feeling as if the world were trying to delay him when Kallun showed up, his excitement clearly on par with Celeste's own. The two were so sociable, and Sanji couldn't have felt more their opposite. "Allow me to accompany you. After all no journey could ever be dull with comrades as good as these!" the newcomer exclaimed, which did little for Sanji's enthusiasm for the situation.

"I don't know about 'journey'," Sanji muttered under his breath, all the better when neither of the others seemed to hear him. He had taken to rubbing his arms beneath his cloak, hoping that it might generate enough friction to help warm him up.

"Fate, or coincidence considering you can find any Hawk lounging around if you looked hard enough," Celeste picked up where Kallun had ended. "But let us continue the conversation inside somewhere, poor Sanji is about to freeze over."

Sanji didn't wait for her to finish; he had already started for the inn from which Celeste had originally appeared. Whether the other two were following, he wasn't worried. They were much too bubbly for his tastes anyway, though he tried horribly not to let it show. The door handle had taken a chill just as severe as the air around it by the time Sanji's hand touched it, but with a push, thankfully, all that was forgotten. A wave of warmth hit him as the entryway found itself wide open. Just as Sanji took a step across the threshold, a distant crash sounded from gods-know-what, bearing the echoes of what may have been splintering wood. His biggest hope was that the other Hawks hadn't gotten into too much trouble.

He let the door swing back behind him with enough force to close it in case the others weren't following, but not so much as to slam it in their faces if they were. A soothing fire crackled in the hearth at one side of the lobby, which he promptly strode to and pulled an unoccupied stool close to it. He perched himself as comfortably as he could atop his acquired seat and extended his palms toward the gently crackling flames, allowing their radiating warmth to drive his shivering far away. Soon, the bitter chill of Drakesfoot's wind was but an afterthought.
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Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by KenjuGuy
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KenjuGuy Luminary of the Stars

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Kallun
---


Kallun shrugged at the un-enthustiatic nature of Sanji. After all, it didn't offend Kallun in anyway if others didn't partake in his fun. Perhaps the cold breeze of Drakesfoot was starting to wear him down mentally? The green-haired swordsman pondered that and then frowned as he followed behind Sanji. "That brings to mind an idea for me, wouldn't training in extreme cold do wonders for stamina? Even more effective if naked!" Kallun held the door open for Celeste while pestering the other man with his ramblings.

The wooden floors gave very little noise from the weight of Kallun's boots stepping on them. Noticing this, he had to give credit that this was a sign of a very fine and put together establishment. He felt that this was certainly a suitable place for his party and himself to occupy in. He was as proud as ever to prove his loyalty to the Silver Hawks and always seek the respect that the name deserved.

"A wonderful place, but we can't allow ourselves to get too slothful, no?" Kallun grinned as he walked up beside the flames. The fire's dance almost seemed to mirror the excitement of his eyes as he watched. Still, he didn't bother taking a seat, being as energetic as he was after all.

"How about this, to prove our superiority over the elements of nature, we have ourselves a race around town! Just for fun of course. If you've seen my top speed while on the hunt, you'll know that I'm no slouch!" Kallun laughed immediately afterwards. He was of course only mostly joking in that statement. Simply trying to light some vigor of play within that stoic Sanji. Also, he didn't dislike tooting his own horn.

"What about you Celeste? I noticed you seem to enjoy the luxury of life, but a lady is also all about discipline, yes? Am I right in saying that one has to make sure not to get too comfortable?" With a relaxed smirk on his face, Kallun passed the question onto her. Ironically, while talking about the mundanity of life dragging one down, he was partaking in that leisure right now with this unremarkable conversation. He knew that, yet it had not bothered him in the slightest. For he was simply enjoying their company.

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Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Lady Lascivious
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Lady Lascivious Kemonomimi Dystopia Creator

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Noriko, Alba, and Toda


Noriko sighed, lowering her voice so only Toda could hear, as she became more cognisant of Bhaskara listening in. "Yeah, yeah, I may be THE leader, I know. But... shit, this is why I picked you." She gestured vaguely to her injuries, "I'm good at finding a way out of trouble - but I'm also prone to getting into it in the first place. I'm plenty smart at some things - and terrible at others. I may be THE leader, but I'm not a leader. Not a natural one like old Astrid, at any rate."

As she opened up to the Oshan, he couldn't help but raise an eyebrow. He matched her tone with covert intent and he couldn't help but prod her with a silent quip. "I don't need your résumé," he gave her a small smile, "but that doesn't change anything. Everyone's a leader when they are one. How they lead, whether good or bad, will come clear soon enough."

Noriko grinned. "And you know how that's gonna go, don't you? Bad. Definitely, definitely bad. I've gotta intuit my way out of this mess somehow with half the company thinking I killed the previous leader and the other half barely seeming to remember her. Still, one vote of confidence is far better than zero, true enough." She sighed, thinking for a moment before she spoke to him again. "Guess I never really did tell you why I picked you, did I?"

Immediately, he returned her with a half-serious, half-jovial retort. "Lesson one. Don't tell your second in command you're going to do bad until you've done bad - otherwise when I have to report to all they'll either be fed a terrible truth or I'd have to lie, and I'm not one to do so to honest friends." Then, he pondered over her lead on point. Picked him? Well, the chosen usually do wonder, he thought. "It's crossed the mind once or twice. Depends if you think now is a good time to tell me, or if you'd rather wait for a more private hour."

"A more private hour, is that it?" she replied, raising an eyebrow as she spoke. "Why, Ujiteru-san I did not know you harbored such feelings! And to be so bold!" She grinned widely at him, almost as if a predator surveying a particularly juicy cut of meat. "But of course, the discourse of such important matters of the company must wait, sorry, kid." She said, winking at Bhaskara, "It's for 'private hours' only."

Ujiteru paused for a second. He should've been used to that sort of quip, if it were one, and he should've been ready for it, having practically given her an invitation to make such a fool of him. Nevertheless, he didn't try to let it squander or crush his self-esteem. After all, if she were insinuating that he was never the type for anyone. "Stop projecting." He first huffed, rolling the eyes, "Someone might start thinking you were desperate."

"Thinking I'm desperate, is that it?" She mused out loud, "Guess that's why I've got this new knife, huh? Some poor fellow mistook the signs. Saw a lonely girl drunk in the bar just begging to be penetrated, eh?" She grinned wider, "Ah but alas both of his blades are surely far too small to satisfy anyone. A shame."

At that moment, his grin turned to a mixture of discomfort and the feeling of being unsure. He looked at Bhaskara, then back to the Captain before them. Poor child, he thought to himself, even if the lad was old enough to not be called such things. "Uh - well...hmm." He was stumped for a second on what to say. "Perhaps your first step as being a leader is choosing which words you say around...certain members."

Noriko recognized the meaning behind his words, but after a moment's introspection, scoffed at him. "Bah! If the boy's old enough to hear a man choking out his last breath miles from home, he's old enough to hear the captain making a dirty joke." She shook her head. "Honestly, what are you lot coming to? Tch, back when I was his age..."

"-back when you were his age, you weren't the mercenary Captain." He gave a deadpan stare before huffing to himself once more. It mattered not in the grand scheme, and the two were arguing over what might as well have been spilt milk, not to mention removing the agency from Bhaskara. He raised his hand and settled for the status quo of changing subject, he turned around and occupied his eyes elsewhere down the street, watching over all that bustled around them. "Another time, then. You have a day to spend free."

Noriko shot him a look filled with a mixture of amusement and disdain. "A day to spend free?" She asked, raising an eyebrow incredulously. "A whole day you say? Tch, no, no. No that's for you, and for the others. I have the morning free, and that's about all there will be. Let the captain enjoy her free morning." She shook her head, sighing in exaggerated exasperation.

Her ear twitched, and she turned to face another direction, away from her second in command, following the sound. A second later the words of that one wolfskin girl - Alba, if she recalled correctly, drifted in to her. Noriko's features instantly widened into a smile, and she waved back, striding across the square towards the other woman, heedless of the stares directed her way at the dagger protruding from her back, or the cuts and bruises that marred her skin, or the blood clotting in her clothes. "Alba! A pleasure as always!"

Alba jogged over to the group. "Cap'n!" Alba's eye went wide as she drew closer. She eyed Noriko's various scratches, cuts, and bruises. Alba detected the smell of booze wafting off Noriko. "Wow. You look like shit. Already havin' fun without the group, eh?"

Noriko grinned wide. "Aye you bet I am! Got a free knife out of the deal too! Such generous fellows here in Nohr! Perhaps I've been wrong about 'em!" She winked, clapping her on the shoulder, "So what's brought you into the city today? I never much took you for the type. You seem more at home elsewhere."

"S'pose you can say that. The city's too much for myself." Alba let out an awkward chuckle. "Just sellin' some game from earlier today." The wolf-woman's ears twitched in visible frustration. "Not much coin in it though. Guess it was probably just a waste of time." She paused for a moment. "Between you in me, I'm really hopin' for some work soon. You know, just to stay busy."

Noriko smiled, reaching out a hand and patting the other on the back. "Nah, I get you. I like cities, spent a lot of time in 'em growing up. But these Nohrian ones... bad memories." She sighed, "But there should be work aplenty soon enough, I think. We've still matters to resolve about our last contract before, eh... before Astrid died. I've got some paperwork to do once I find a healer and get these little papercuts closed up. Then we'll get you something proper to fight."

Alba patted Noriko on the back in kind. "A fight sounds good. I'll leave that business stuff to you and Toda." Alba took a step back, awkwardly scratching the back of her head. "I'm not really cut out for all that. S'pose I'll try and be makin' myself useful someplace else, yeah?"

Noriko chuckled. "Yeah, yeah, tell y'the truth it's hardly my preferred field either." She sighed, "Always been more at hand hitting things and thinking about how to get people in the correct place to hit things. The details for how much we get paid for hitting things?" She shook her head. "Eh, practice makes perfect, I suppose. I'll leave you to it unless you'd like to tag along, best I get back to work."
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