2nd adventure: Proxy War

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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:09 pm

Zelk considers Steve's suggestion, to which she nods.

"You are right, but the primary objective of this mission is the recovery of the artifact. Remember that."

She turns towards Konrad and Mihai, waiting for their answer.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by K on Sat Sep 10, 2016 7:39 pm

deadpan - "Haven't forgotten."
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Rory on Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:14 am

"Of course. We don't need to go spoiling for a bloodbath, if they're none the wiser, and if nobody approaches us and plants their feet in the ground."
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Kolson on Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:33 am

"Got it. Artifact first, intelligence second."
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:31 am

"Now," adds Zelk, "unless there is anything else you wanna ask, this meeting is over."

She waits for confirmation from the adjunct.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Rory on Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:19 am

Konrad appears a little hesitant to give a response, but finally adds, "Well, just one more thing. This 'Kira Paddle' our handler mentioned is a...person of interest. I would consider it a personal favor if we could try to take her alive. If she actually has the artifact on her, even better for you."
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:20 am

The black mage raises an eyebrow, while her squad appears surprised.

"No promises."

She faces the others.

"Anything else?"
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by K on Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:04 pm

Mihai looks at her for a moment, then finally decides to speak up.

"What will the other Adjunct be doing?"
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:18 pm

Perplexity spreads on Zelk's face, and her squad members appear confused.

"What other adjunct?" she asks.

OOC:
*rolls*

She appears to be telling the truth.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by K on Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:20 pm

"The one that walked out of Sonlake's office before we went in. You didn't tell him about Steve in the ten seconds it took for us to get in the room. And i know there's more to this job. Sonlake didn't tell me anything other than he couldn't tell me, but the Feathers' military wouldn't normally send a detachment to keep an eye on a mercenary party on assignment. Especially when they don't want to be made."
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:47 pm

Zelk finally understands what Mihai is getting at.

"Oh, that adjunct. It seems you are mistaken; they didn't receive any mission from your handler. They were just being paid for a job I know nothing about, and Sonlake Dermold didn't mind me being in the room while he handed them over their gold. As for why we were sent to keep an eye on you, the reason is simple; just as your handler told you, the recovery of this artifact is just that important. Kira Paddle was asking 5000 gold pieces for it, and that was the starting price. We cannot entrust the success of this mission to an unknown entity such as a fairy, an ex-hunter we have almost no records of, a mage known for his tendency to prank everyone, and two ex-criminals. However, your group provides the perfect cover, and are deemed competent enough to pull off that kind of feat, provided you are adequatly supervised."

She pauses.

"Any other question?"

Mihai:
She appears to be telling the truth.

Steve and Konrad:
She appears to be telling the truth, but in a way that omits a specific detail, which was done out of consideration for your group.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Rory on Sun Sep 11, 2016 1:01 pm

"Still satisfied," Akim chimes.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Kolson on Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:24 pm

"None that I can think of right now."
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Sun Sep 11, 2016 6:11 pm

"Good. The trip will take two full days. I suggest you rest while you can."

She turns towards her squad.

"Dismissed."

OOC:
We're going to jump forward in time. If you want to roleplay something with one of the NPCs, you can post here, or hit me up on Steam, and we'll do a chat session, which I will copy as a text log and post here.

If you want to roleplay with each other, please do so.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:15 pm

For Mihai only:

It’s been a few hours since the ship has left the harbor. Mihai knocks on the door of Fedler’s cabin. Mihai hears a "Yes?" coming from behind the door.

"It's me,” replies Mihai.

She opens the door; she has taken her armor and boots off. "Hey. What is it?"
"Can we talk?"

She is a little taken aback, since she didn't anticipate this. "Yeah, sure," and lets him in.

Mihai is unsure of how to start. He's awkward at first. "So..." he finally manages to say. "...we're gonna be killing a bunch of pirates."

She stops moving, thinks for a moment, then crosses her arms. "Sure. That's the job."

Mihai takes a quiet breath, leans against the wall, looks up slightly, and says with a mournful tone,  "You know, I remember when you couldn't stand the sight of a dead body."

She looks away for a second, and asks, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing bad,” he replies - "Look, I..." He fumbles. "We are going out there. And when we're out there we have to be ready to take things all the way, or we die. And to be honest, it's not the first time I’ve felt like I wanted to shove my blade down some bastard's throat, but... I see you slip into that place, and it's like I can't do anything about it. I can't lecture you. I wouldn't have ground to stand on. And I feel better out there knowing you're watching my back. But it's like I see you fading. I don't know what it's like to have a family, let alone see them..."

He trails off.

"I won't pretend to know what you're feeling right now. But i know where you'll be if you go out there with that kind of bloody mind. The door that opens... I don't want to see you go through it."

Once Mihai has finished talking, she turns away to reflect on something. After a long moment of silence, she tells him, "Look Mihai. It's my choice, and it won't change me. So don't worry about it. I'll be doing just fine."

She is still looking away from him. For a second, he feels really out of cards to play. He takes a breath, and then takes one step toward her; it takes a moment before he can say anything. "You want to talk about what happened?"

She grits her teeth. "No, I don't want to talk about what happened. Not now, not ever. So just drop it." She turns her back on him, and brings a hand to her face. He realizes that she is wiping off her tears.

He’s got half a mind to leave before he makes it worse, he starts to say something, but only the breath comes out. "It's not your fault,” he starts. "It's not your fault that I can't help you. It's mine. This is what's left of me after I crossed that door. I'm no longer someone who could do that for you; if I ever was, really."

She turns around to face him, in tears, and almost shouts, "I said drop it! Can't you take a fucking hint!?" She clenches her fists. "Just leave me alone."

He looks at her for a second, then nods. "Yeah..."

He leaves.
________________________
 
Mihai goes on deck to clear his head. He finds a corner where to sit, and after 30 minutes, feels the urge to punch himself. An old woman nearing her seventies, who wears plain mage robes, approaches him, and asks, “Hey, boy. Can you help me get to my cabin?"

He gets up. "What cabin are you in?"

She smiles. "The one with a cat on the door."

He  hangs up for a second, with all that's in his mind, then says, "Sure."

The old lady uses his arm to support herself. "Thank you. I usually have a cane, but one of the new sailors broke it. I'll have to buy a new one."

"Hmm..."  is the only reply he can muster. He's not in a state where he can chit-chat.

She starts to talk about this store where she plans to buy the new cane, and how the last one she had bought from there lasted her nine years. Once they reach her cabin, Mihai notices there is in fact a cat engraved on her door.

"Can you help me walk to my bed? That hip is killing me."

Uh..." - he fumbles - "...sure"

Despite the lack of space, there are a lot of books in her room. She grumbles in pain when she sits down. "Thank you, boy. You have no idea how much I envy your youth right now. Although, I could do without your sad face. What is it? Sick of body? Or mind?"

Mihai looks away for a second. He has a mind not to answer, but fuck it. Not like he can screw up any harder today. "Mind I guess."
He almost says it with a chuckle, bitter. Although, he suddenly thinks maybe it's body, since there has to be something wrong with his brain to have said all the crap he said.

"Mind, huh? Nothing I can do about that. They still haven't invented a spell that can fix that. What happened? You made that cute redhead of yours cry?"

That puts him on alert, but he doesn't become aggressive. He just asks "Who are you, ma'am?"

"Just an old mage who's been healing the wounds of young sailors for far too long. Name's Zywia. Now, let me take a look at you."

She stands up, approaches the young mercenary, and puts her hand on his face to examine him.

"Hmm, yes. It's quite severe. You think about her every day, right?"

He frowns

"Oh, don't give me that suspicious act. I've seen it already. Waste of time, that much I can tell you. Now you can wallow in your sorrow for as long as you like, or answer my questions."

He sighs, almost in a groan.

"I don't ‘think’ about her every day, she's just always there. It's automatic."

"And you want to make her happy, right?"

He sighs again.  "I...", he fumbles. For quite the awkward moment, as he searches for something smart to say, then just gives up.

"Yeah."

She sits on her bed.

"Well, that's quite the problem then. Happiness has always been in rare supply, and most people don't even look for it. Or search in the wrong places. Tell me, when was the last time you were happy?"

He didn't even see what was dead in front of him.

"There was this time, months ago. We'd been hired to eliminate a threat to a village. Did that. Stuck around for the festival. It was a nice festival. People were happy. The guys I’d been hired with, I didn't really know them that well, but this kid was all giddy about it. Did a big poem."

"I'd seen those things before, but never as a part of them. Still didn't like them, but then F..." - he stops himself. That's private. He then goes somber again. "Next morning, it all went to hell. People died. Families got torn. You know why, ma'am?"

"No, I don't."

"Because I was so stupid happy, I let my guard down. I stopped thinking ahead, stopped anticipating. All I was focused on was keeping the happy going a little longer, spare someone some heart ache while I was at it, and completely failed to see the f--"He stops himself from swearing . "-the storm forming right above my head until lightning came down and fried all the happy people."

"Then what does that mean for you? And her?"

"Me? Just means I failed at trying to be something I’ve never been before. Maybe I just can't. For her..."

His tone slows down and gets heavier.

"That girl's got wounds too deep for someone like me to try and do anything about. Crashed and burned trying, just now. But before, she had someone to hold her together. Someone who COULD hold her together. And now she's just slipping. I can't stop her. And if no one does before it's too late, she... she won't be the same again. She thinks she can handle it, but she doesn't know what on the other side of where she's going. And she won't, until she's too deep in it to do anything about it."

"So are you going to leave her alone, despite the path she is walking on?"

"No. If nothing else, when the time comes... I'll just try and soak it all up before she can. It's the only thing i can possibly think of now. If you've got a better idea, I’m all ears. Or better, ma'am. If you really think you can help me, help her."

"Me? I'm sorry to say, there's nothing I can do about this. You can't just tell someone how to be happy." She pauses. "Have you ever made her smile?"

Mihai is  about to say no, but then stops himself. "I guess... once or twice."

The first time was kinda dark to see. Second time she was playing with his nose. And there was that joke he made about her bed being unmade. That made her kinda laugh.

"Have you never tried to do it again?"

He goes silent, not sure what to say.

"I tried to be there for her when she needed. Don't think smiling will be happening in the near future. I tried to at least help her hold herself together but... Tried too hard this time, i guess. Or maybe never had a chance to begin with."

He sighs.

“Now I don't even know how I can even fix that much.”

"Fix it? Maybe it needed to happen. And once she's ready, maybe you should try to make her smile again. Just like your little friend is doing."

"That's all well and good when it's not a life and death situation, ma'am."He resigns himself. "But it's all I can do."

"Ah, don't worry about death when you're on this ship. If you bleed, I'll heal you."

She smiles. That manages a chuckle out of him

"Oh, so you do smile, despite the bleakness of the situation. Well, I'm sorry to have kept you here for so long. Past a certain age, old women need the company."

"Nah..." he replies. "If I wasn't here, I’d probably be doing something stupid. I do that when i'm upset about having done something stupid before. It's kind of a vicious cycle."

"I suggest pastries. They make you feel so much better." She lies down on her bed. "Excuse me, but I do need the sleep now."

Mihai takes his leave.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:07 pm

For Steve only:
After the meeting breaks Steve will approach Zelk. "Um, do you have time for a quick chat? I won't take up much of your time if that's what you want. It just requires a little privacy."

She observes him, probably trying to divine his intentions, then says, "If we must." She walks towards her cabin, which is pretty small, and waits for him to talk.

"Hey, I won't bite. And I promise no pranks or other assorted nonsense." When they arrive, he'll follow her in and shut the door behind him. "For what it's worth I'm sorry for pranking your dad. No that's not right, straight up defrauding him. It wasn't cool and it won't happen again."

This was unexpected. "You? Apologizing?"

He winces at the implications of her question. "Yeah, me apologizing. We aren't kids anymore and a friend pointed out to me how childish I was being."

She crosses her arms, slightly tilts her head, then asks, "What's the catch?"

"What do you mean?"

"You've never apologized before. You never cared about the consequences. You get caught, and after enough time has passed, you prank again. Just save me some time, and tell me what you're planning."

Oh. "Never cared about the consequences? Since when? Did you really never bother to ask yourself why I do what I do?"

"Loneliness?"

Sigh. "Partly. Why else?"

"Love."

"We never got that far Zelk. You made sure of that. What else?"

She frowns. "Just say it."

"Why? I don't take things seriously at all and need to be led around like a child. Tell me Zelk, since you apparently know it all."

"I don't know, and I'm not sure I care enough to find out."

"And that's the heart of it, isn't it? Zelk doesn't care. What a shocker."

Impatience, or anger, hardens the expression on her face. "If you've come to make fun of me, you can show yourself out."

"I am not making fun of you. I have never made fun of you. This is an honest follow up but has anyone ever made fun of you? I know that pain. Do you?"

She grits her teeth. "Shut up. Don't ask me that now, not when everyone at the Citadel made fun of me because of your pranks."

"Did they really? Were they really pointing and laughing at the freak? OR were they cracking wise because you were one of them? How dare that Walking Bomb try to be one of us? Huh? That poor Zelk girl being the target of HIM."

She goes to punch him, which Steve tries to avoid, but gets hit on the right side of his cheek instead of his nose. He is pushed back against the door. He'll take stock of the damage while saying as best he can, "Hitting me doesn't make it not true Zelk."

"It's your fault!" She grabs him by his collar, and swings for another punch.

He'll step into it to rob it of its power and then grab her around the arms so she can't hit him anymore. "Stop!"

She uses her knee to hit him in the stomach. It appears clear to Steve she is determined to fight him.

He picks her up and jumps onto the ground so that he lands on top of her, while trying to keep her from hitting her head on anything.

After catching her breath, she tries to escape from Steve's hold, but fails. With no other recourse, she bites him in the neck.
He'll cry out in pain and start squeezing her hard enough to restrict breathing.

Meanwhile, outside the cabin, the squad members hear what is happening. They're sitting around a barrel, playing card. Adam turns towards his companions, and says, "I'm not getting between those two."

Naomi nods. "Me neither."

Fredrick looks at the cards. "Just deal."

They keep playing.

Zelk, despite Steve's stronger hold on her, keeps biting him until there's blood. By that point, she is enraged.

He isn't happy either. He starts rolling her around into things.

The space of the cabin being limited, he can only roll once before Zelk's head knocks the side of the bed. She stops biting.

"Let go!" he says it through gritted teeth. He crashes her into the bed again to emphasize the command.

Her forehead is bleeding. She growls. "Fuck you!"

"Fuck me? Fuck you!" He knocks her again on the bed.

They continue to fight for a few minutes, until they’re both too tired and hurt to continue. Steve lets go of her, and she rolls besides him, looking up at the ceiling. After a bit of silence, and hard breathing, Steve laughs a little.

"Oh, shut up." She sounds more exasperated than angry.

"That's not how I thought it would go, you know."

She puts a hand on her forehead. It's still bleeding. "It's all your fault."

"Not that. I always thought our first roll together would be way more pleasant."

Without looking at Steve, she punches him on the chest with the side of her fist; it hurts, but she didn't pull all her strength into it. She then stops moving.

He groans in mock pain. "Why do you always do that whenever we share an intimate moment?"

"My mouth full of your blood, that's what you call intimate?" She takes a tissue out of one of her pockets to clean her mouth. "You've screwed up my life."

She sounds tired.

"I know we are friends and all,” says Steve, “but I don't see how that is possible."

"Friends? Is that what we are? Friends don't do what we do."

"They do when they are as fucked up as we are."

"Well, fuck you."

"Gladly, except you don't mean it yet, and probably won't, so I've accepted that recently. You make talking about real things so hard but this is the first time I've ever insisted. I'm sorry for that."

"You should be sorry." She sighs. "Just... get off my floor. I don't want to fight anymore."

"Good." He'll slowly climb to his feet, and offer to help her as well.

She looks at Steve's hand with hesitation, and takes it. She immediately sits down on her bed. The injury on her forehead is quite serious.

"That looks really bad,” notes Steve. “We need to get you to a healer."

"And whose fault is that?" She quiets down. "Just get me your friend the hunter. I don't want the white mage to talk to me."

"It’s your fault Zelk, for losing your temper instead of facing reality. And before you say anything, taking the piss out of each other is what friends do. I'll be back with Fedler."

She glares at him as he leaves. Steve finds Fedler down in the hold, speaking with the military squad. She puts her hand to her mouth. "What the hell happened!?"

"I apologized to Zelk, of course. But we could use your help if you don't mind."

The squad members are a little surprised; but not that much.

Fedler immediately uses her magic to heal Steve's injury.

Before he goes, he'll say to her unit. "Best we keep this between us. You know how she is."

"Oh, no need to tell us," replies Fredrick. They proceed to act like nothing strange happened.

"Thank you. I'd hate to see anything happen to her."

Fedler follows Steve to Zelk's cabin. She examines the black mage’s wound, and mutters to herself, "What the fuck were you two thinking?"

Steve smirks. "Thinking had nothing to do with it."

The former hunter proceeds to heal Zelk's forehead. Once this is done, she stands up to leave. "Please try not to kill each other?"

Zelk can't help it. "I can't make any promises."

This exasperates Fedler, who leaves the cabin without saying another word. The young lieutenant stays silent for a moment, until she feels well enough to say, "Leave me alone, before I punch you again."

"Are you sure?” asks Steve. “Do you need anything?"

"I need some years back. Just leave me alone."

"As you wish. But if you feel up to it I was going to take a walk on the deck later when the stars are out. Konrad told me once that there's nothing like it in the world. I can't think of anyone I'd rather share that with."

"Sure. I'll be there to throw you overboard."

"I'll keep an eye out for you then." He'll give her a little bow and then take his leave.


Last edited by Zeiss of Dreamkeeper on Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:13 pm

For Mihai only:


Mihai catches Fedler going towards her cabin when Zest's Gate in sight. He's got a gaze, more intense than usual.

"There's something i need to say to you. It won't take long, and it can't wait." His tone is decisive.

She stays silent, thinks, and just says, "What is it?"

He takes a deep breath.

"Yesterday I was a moron. I didn't have the guts to say what I meant and went on stupid eggshells and psychobabble. You don't need that from me, and you don't owe me anything, and your past is your past and you don't have to tell me a damn thing. But I won't lie to you either, the road you're set on right now - and I know what I’m talking about here - is gonna damage you more than you know or care to admit. I can't stop you, and i can't hold you back. And maybe all i can do is watch without being able to do anything. But I’ll be here. Whatever happens, I’ll be here."

He kind of says it in one breath, too. Maybe not one breath or she won't be able to comprehend him, but the closest practical thing.

She's at a loss for words, and can't respond immediately. Fifteen seconds pass, and she finally replies, almost without thinking, "I miss the old times."

His tough exterior melts with that one.  "I... only shared a day of it."

Mihai’s tone is nostalgic, even if it was only 3 months ago. "Would have been nice if..."

He stops himself.

Her expression softens. Fedler doesn't appear to be on her guard anymore. She brushes back a lock of her, and says, "I would like another day like it. Or try." Her eyes lock onto him.

His gaze reels slightly from having her look at him like that, but his eyes finally settle, and he says very softly. "Yeah..."

She waits for him to go on, and see if he's going to be more precise.

"Once we get back... well, I don't really know Highspring that well, but... I don't know... we'll take a day, two, the whole week if need be."

This makes him shy, and it's noticeable that he's trying to fight it back. But she smiles a little. "Okay then. But you'll have to leave your sword behind. It scares people."

He dares return the smile, and says, "Deal".

It appears to make her happy. Mihai gathers his courage, and takes his hand up to caress her face. She is surprised by it, but doesn't back away. She's thinking really fast. Very gently, he pulls her in and kisses her. For a short moment, she hesitates to reciprocate, but it doesn't take long before she does.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:18 pm

For Konrad only:


Konrad asks Edward to send for Ice at his private quarters.

Late at night, someone knocks on Konrad's door. "You sent for me, captain?"

"Come in." Konrad is swirling a glass of rum.

She enters the room.

"I understand you and Stan haven't seen each other since your years at the uhm...'magic academy', or somesuch. Are you enjoying your little reunion?"

Just as Konrad says that, he notices there's a bruise on her forehead which wasn’t there before. He raises his eyebrow when he sees it, but it doesn't stop him from finishing his question, though it does color it somewhat.

"As much as we can."

"Right. It's the little things in life that get us through each day." He retrieves the bottle of rum. "Can I offer you a drink to relax?"

She approaches Konrad, takes the whole bottle, and sits in front of him. "Thank you." She then proceeds to drink for three seconds straight.

As soon as she puts the bottle down, Konrad reaches across the table and brings it to his side as he sits down. As much as he admires her fire, he’s not going to let her drink the whole thing, cuz he’s not done!

She frowns. "You wanted to speak to me?"

Her eyes are fixed on the bottle, but she then takes a lot at the shelf where the rest of the alcohol is kept.

"I did. I want to clear the air and try to understand where we all stand with respect to one another."

"Is that so?" She stands up to take a glass, places it in front of the red mage, and says in a low voice, "Pour, and we'll talk."

Very well, he can always get another bottle. Akim starts to pour a glass. "We're working together now. Such a bond needs to be built on trust, or, willingness in absence of this."

Zelk sits back in her chair, and takes a sip of rum. She is clearly enjoying the burning sensation in her throat. "Yes, of course,” she says .

"Call me old-fashioned, but two parties sharing a mutual goal must share a mutual interest in the other's well-being." She pushes her glass towards him, and he refills it for her.

"Are you suggesting me and my squad mates have no interest in your well-being?”

All motions stop. "That would be the impression you and they left on us in our private meeting earlier today."

"We're not planning to throw you under the carriage, if that's what you're wondering. We take the artifact from Kira Paddle, and come home. I go back to the military, and you continue to serve your sentence."

"If that's the truth, then why aren't you telling us everything?"

"We've told you every-" she stops mid-sentence. "I guess there is one thing. Something I've deemed wiser not to tell you."
She leans in her chair, takes another sip from her glass, and stays silent.

Konrad’s glass of rum has thus far gone unmolested. He picks it up off the table now; "For our own good, or in spite of it?"

"Oh, definitely for your own good. Want to hear it?" For the first time since Konrad has met her, she smiles. It's almost wicked.

He smiles back. "You already know I do."

Zelk makes herself comfortable, and starts swirling her own glass. A few seconds pass before she says anything. "You already should know why we've chosen your adjunct for this job; you provide the best cover we could hope for. If someone was to dig a little, they would learn who you are, and your history with Kira Paddle. Many people would stop asking questions, and just assume you wanted revenge."

She drinks what rum she has left.

"But just as we have investigated your background, we have done the same with the other members of the 113th adjunct. And what we learned about Fedler Melan convinced us it was best not to talk about your past affiliations with Paddle."

The lieutenant looks at Konrad to discern a reaction.

Konrad's smile fades a bit. He is beginning to sense there is a little wrinkle in his plans because of Fedler.

"Why is that?"

"You see, Fedler's sister and brother-in-law were killed by pirates a few years ago. Heard of Western Islands Shipping? They were travelling on one of their exporting ships, when it was attacked in the middle of the night." She proceeds to drink, but realizes the glass is now empty. She frowns, and puts it back on the desk. "So I'm sure you can imagine she wouldn't take well to working with an ex-pirate."

That smile on Konrad's face has fallen all the way. He sighs with disappointment. His petty revenge is more likely to be fruitless than not. "I suppose not." He drinks his glass of rum, emptying it. "Kira may be more trouble taking alive than she is worth."

"I agree. I would suggest we keep her alive just long enough for her to answer our questions about the artifact, then kill her. But if she's too much trouble, we make her death a quick one. Do you disagree?"

Akim fills himself another glass. "That seems sensible." He stands. "I'm glad we had this chance to clear the air. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your honesty."

She smiles again. "Would you want me to be as honest with your comrades as I was with you?"

"My past is a bloody tale, and I'll tell it when I'm ready. I hope I can count on your discretion."

She slightly bows. "Of course. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a young black mage to throw overboard."

He smirks at the imagery, and laughs inwardly at her attitude toward the poor kid. "Adieu."

She takes a bottle of rum as she leaves, and will not care for Konrad's protests, if he has any.

He lets out an exasperated sigh. "It's always the first thing that runs out."

______________________________________

Konrad enters the hold, and sees some light coming from between two piles of merchandises. He stops and listens for a moment.
Except the cracking of the ship, the splashing of the waves on the hull, and the distant snoring of some sailors, he cannot hear anything out of the ordinary.

He approaches the light.

Between two barrels is sitting Naomi, a book on her knees. There's a candle burning near her feet. She looks up, and says, "Good evening, captain."

"Evening, Zwei. I hope I'm not interrupting."

"We're alone, so I think you can call me by my real name."

He smiles. "What are you reading, Naomi?"

"It's called Fleeting Happiness. It's a story about a young boy who leaves his home to explore the world." She looks down at the book, like she is examining it. "It's a little too sad for my taste."

"Really? Then why are you still reading?"

She looks around, and replies in a joking manner, "There's not much else to do on this ship. Want me to scrub the floor?"

"That's not a bodyguard's job. Besides, you're on break, aren't you?"

"Kind of; until the lieutenant orders me to do something."


"I see. How about I tell you a story instead?"

"Depends on what kind of story." She hesitates for a moment. "And where you want to tell me. It's dusty here."

He holds out his hand. "I'll tell you on the way."

She blows out the candle, takes Konrad's hand, and follows him.

The story is about a spontaneous and free-spirited woman whose family is emigrating to another country overseas. She meets a strapping sailor who's sense of loyalty, kindness, and persistence with her win her over. The woman's struggle is with her mother over approval of the man, once she finds out about it. The man's struggle is with choosing to wait for someone who's more predictable to come along, so that he doesn't have to sacrifice his routine, and just choosing something new and risky and refreshing. There's a happy ending.

Konrad is trying to lead Naomi into his arms with pacing, but without trying to bore her. She gladly takes his arm while she listens to him. Once they reach his quarters, she makes it clear she doesn’t want to talk anymore
When morning comes, Naomi makes it clear it won’t happen again. She would prefer to keep their relationship strictly professional from now on, considering the mission they're about to embark.

“Our relationship is ‘professional’," insists casually Konrad. There's no hidden meaning.

"Good. See you later, captain." She says this last word in a playful manner.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:17 am

For Konrad only:

On the second day of the trip to Zest’s Gate, Fedler appears in the captain’s quarters without knocking, and asks, "Konrad, why do I have to do all that work? I'm not a sailor. I'm just bothering the rest of the crew."

She seems annoyed, but not at him.

Konrad is drinking his morning cup of rum - in coffee, if that can be arranged. "We're up against some fierce customers, dear hunter. I just want you to be prepared for what we'll face. If it comes to it. Best way to learn is by doing, same goes for facing new opponents, but it never hurts to limber up before approacing a challenge you've never faced before." He tries to lie.

She blinks a few times. "Really? Well, if you want me to learn, take your ass off your chair, and show me. Maybe they'll stop ogling me if their captain is around."

He sips his rum and coffee, murmuring a little.

"Oh really? Thank you." She walks to the couch, and lies down on it. "I did need the break."

He shrugs his shoulders. His intentions had backfired. "Very well, I confess it, it was never my intention to train you as a sailor or prepare you for the monstrous foes we may contend with at Zest's gate, and no, it was not to give the men an eyeful of anything indecent of your person. I felt challenged by your comment the day before, so I tried to make you seasick. I am a pathetic scoundrel and a liar, I confess it all... By...Deremonda, your hair is growing remarkably."

She visibly tries to talk casually, but that last comment took her by surprise. "I... just wanted to change my look." She frowns, then decides to sit down instead. "So you did want to give them an eyeful."

"Well, not for their benefit. Fedler, I apologize, I never meant any harm by it. I've just been feeling puckish lately. It's been over 3 months since I've been out on the water. Better yet, I'm sailing my own ship! I've never had a ship of my own. It's...intoxicating. I let my puckish side get away from me."

She stares at him "...Well, the work did me some good. I didn't feel like staying alone in my cabin." She's reminded of something, then slghtly shakes her head. "Just don't try to moralise me, and we'll be good."

"I just feel a little bad for tricking you like that. Well, it's been 3 months. How's the new job?"

This disarms her completely, and she cannot say anything for a while. "I... I'm doing fine." She glances at him. "You seem to be doing better than fine."

He smiles kindly. "You are. And me, I've been doing this a long while. Mercs like me are often paid to fight other mercs."

She considers her words carefully. "This is what I do now. I'll get used to it. And we'll be fighting pirates; it can't get more black and white than this."

Konrad is not sure what to make of this statement, but he is only sure he should make something of it. "Yes...we will be. Yeah, pretty much. Yeesh, you could use a pick-me-up. Have some coffee."

"Sure." She gets up to serve herself a cup of coffee, without the rum. She blows on the hot beverage, takes a sip from the cup, and adds, "Whatever happens, I'm glad you're with us."

Konrad scratches his temple, remembering the time he cruelly played with her emotions. It was for the greater good, sure. Now he was sharing coffee with her, and that might be her the first genuine complement toward him, and from someone who seems to have a thing against Red Mages. "Absolutely. Now you better drink up. I can't teach how to rig a mast without a pupil."

"So you are going to teach me." She takes another sip. "Why not. Might as well do something useful. That'll make some good exercise for you too; that chair seems a little too comfortable for you."

"This is *my* chair now," Konrad speaks possessively, and casually. "Mine forever, just like this ship, you'll see. I'll sit in it every morning, noon and dusk."

"Whatever you say, captain." She drinks some more coffee. "Nope. After all those years, I still can't stand this." She puts the cup down. "So, are you going to show me how to... rig a mast?"

"Aye." I give her a stern gaze before we leave the cabin. "With a will now."


She responds witih unconvincing enthusiasm.. "Aye captain!"
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:00 pm

For Steve only:


Steve is standing on the bow of the ship, leaning on the rail looking at the stars, because he doesn't really understand how dangerous that really is. He then hears someone walking on the deck, and when he turns around, he sees Zelk leaving the captain's quarters, with a bottle in her hand. She doesn't see him at all, but Steve easily recognizes her, even from 50 feet away.

The only sources of light are the moon, and a few lanterns.

He walks to her. No reason to yell across the deck like a jerk while the sailors are trying to sleep. The quartermaster is still at the helm, with a spotter up the mast. They don't pay any attention to Steve or Zelk, even as the young woman leans on a wall to keep herself up. She notices Steve walking up to her. "You really are watching the stars."

"Of course, why wouldn't I? They are beautiful."

She sighs, and drinks a mouthful of rum. "Be careful, I might really throw you overboard."

"Because I said the stars are beautiful?” he asks incredulously.

"No. Because you're less than two meters away from me." She has a short laugh, probably because of the alcohol, and absent-mindedly walks towards the bow of the ship.

"Wait, are you drunk?"

"No, of course not." She wobbles a little, and that's not because of the waves.

"Uh huh." He moves up beside her so she can grab on to him if she needs to. "Were you planning to drink all of that rum yourself?"

"Well, I can try." She approaches the rail, leans on it to keep herself balanced, and looks out at the horizon; the top of the Dome is visible even from here. "Look, the Empire."

"Yup. Closest I've ever been."

Her eyes stay focused on the Dome, while her hand extends the bottle to Steve.

He takes the bottle and have a deep swig before handing it back. "What's on your mind?"

I'm tired." She puts the bottle on the guardrail, but leaves an hand on it to keep it form falling into the sea. "I'm tired of your pranks."

"Why?"

She stays silent for a while, but the answer soon comes to her. "Because no matter what I do, you keep pranking me. I've forced a colossal debt on you, a well-deserved debt, but you're still here, talking to me."

"That's news to me. The only time I ever saw you happy was when you pranked me back."

Zelk twitches. "That wasn't happiness; just satisfaction of getting back at you." There's not much energy behind those words.

"Zelk, I know what I saw."

She grumbles. "If that's how you see it, was your last prank your idea of proposing to me? Because that was done in bad taste."

"No, that one got away from me and I already apologized for it. I've been sending him money "for the wedding." I know it won't make up for it completely but it's not like I carried on without a care in the world. And besides, we both know if we ever make a real go of it that you'll ask me to marry you."

She glares at Steve, deliberating the pros and cons of her next action. "I really want to throw you overboard now, and I think I'm drunk enough to do it." There's no anger in her tone.

He changes tack. "What's the Citadel to you?"

She sighs, and takes another swig of rum. "A school where mages are trained, and the seat of the Free Feathers' government."

"Anything else?"

 "I lived there 10 months a year, for 8 years."

"And would you say it's your home?"

She hesitates. "I think so. Why do you ask?"

"Because its mine. I've been all over it. Gotten to know a lot of people, even in passing. Not just the students or teachers. The grounds people. The guards. The folks from town who make deliveries. I may not have  talked to all of them but there isn't a one I didn’t observe and make note of. And you know what I found out?"

She recognizes the rhetoric question, but doesn't try to circumvent it, and says instead, "What?"

"The Citadel is the best and most interesting place in the world and the mages there do everything they possibly can 24/7, 365 days a year to convince you otherwise."

Steve's logic doesn't appear to register with Zelk's brain, not immediately anyway. Maybe it's because of the rum, or she just never thought about it. "...I don't see how that changes anything between us."

She goes silent, but is clearly thinking about what he just said.

"We work with dangerous forces. They aren't really any worse than a bow or a sword but that's not what people feel about it. They just know some nerd in an odly patterned robe twiddled his fingers at them and then they are on fire. But this way of thinking, understandable as it is, leads to regimented life style. Not only must we have discipline for our craft, we must be careful in our persuit of it lest the general populace turn against us. But that discipline comes at a cost Zelk. It leads to a lot of routines. And you know what a routine is when you've been stuck in it long enough. It's a rut."

He pauses to let that sink in.

She blinks a few times. "So is that why you act the way you are? Because you don't like rules? The same rules that allowed you to become a mage instead of being confined to an asylum? You can rebel as much as you want Steve, but you'll never go that far off the beaten path. The limits of your own spells were tested by other mages centuries ago, and you'll never get to cast anything that hasn't been already discovered unless you have the power and discipline necessary to do so. But your mind is too chaotic for that, or am I wrong?"

"Rules are fine. They are useful. They protect as well as teach. The point I'm trying to make is you guys were mucking up my home. Yeah, you too. Even if I never saw you do it you did it, because you all did. It was suffocating. So I did something about it. I broke the routine just a little. Just enough to shake things up. At least when things went right. I'm not perfect and I...miscalculated a few times."

She scoffs. "A few times. Right. It looked more like you wanted the attention Steve."

"Of course I did. I was lonely, remember? Just because I benefited too doesn't take away from my point. Did you know lab accidents went down during my little reign of terror? Did you know they reviewed the Weaving Lab rules for the first time in forever and made new ones that still protect people today? Did you know I can say Weaving Lab and everyone who went to school with us knows exactly what I am talking about? We can laugh and joke about that now. We all did that together even if for most of them they just happened to be there when it happened."

"Well, I'm sure the Academy's committee will send you a card to thank you for all the good work you did. Maybe I should have too, when you threw water on my bed and forced me to change the sheets in front of my roommate. That's the one thing you never think about Steve; how it makes us feel. You got our weaving teacher into trouble because of your pranks. You put your own handler in a tough spot when he had to tell his superiors of your latest contribution to mankind. And you humiliated my father in front of his friends. Thank you Steve; we all appreciate what you did."

"Oh boo hoo. I did them a favor too. They love having their little meetings where they look at scrolls, make more scrolls, and sit around in their little circle jerk pretending to be useful. And you got what you deserved. Did you really think you could shackle a Cursed boy with no regard? And I don't care if you didn't know. I am and you did."

"Oh, I want to strangle you! It's not that you just don't even care about the consequences of your actions; you also don't care what happens to you! You were supposed to leave me alone after I put the shackles on you! But you just kept pranking! So yeah, I thought it was fun trying to outsmart the Citadel's trickster, until I could one day beat you! But you're just too damn stubborn to lose. 750 gold pieces in debt and you still won't give up."

She's breathing hard.

"Damn right I won't! 18 years Zelk! In 18 years you were the only one who tried! Who did!"

She clenches her fists, exasperated, and paces back and forth on the deck. Suddenly, she stops, right in front of him. "Fuck it."
She pushes him overboard.

Steve grabs her hand, and she is too drunk to resist. Just before she falls into the water, she yells, “Asshole!”

They both land on a block of ice Steve has just created with a spell, and which is attached to the boat, for now. Zelk falls besides Steve, and groans in pain, while the spotter yells at the quartermaster, "Two idiots overboard!"

Steve grunts in pain. He's going to feel that later. "You're the one that almost killed us and I'm the asshole? That's it, fuck it! If I'm dying, I'm doing this first!" He kisses her.

Zelk is too stunned to resist, and for a short moment, she cannot react. But then, she puts her hand behind his head, and deepens the kiss, while tightening her embrace with him. For a grand total of six long seconds, and despite the scent of rum coming from her, this must be a dream come true for Steve. Until Zelk bites down on his tongue, drawing out blood.

He kisses her harder, fighting through the pain.

Steve manages to kiss her for another four seconds, until the pain is too much, and he has to back away.

"You thought I was going to let you win? Try again."

"Othay." He tries to kiss her again.

Since she is lying down on this mini-iceberg, she pushes back against him with her legs. "Stop it, or we're both gonna fall!"

"Then thtop mighting imph."

They keep fighting off on this mini-iceberg, until Mihai and two sailors approach the rail to look down at them.

Mihai sees Steve and Zelk, kind of fighting, on this block of ice that is attached to the ship.

Blood is coming from their mouths.

"Stomph moving amound, Melmph,” tries to say Steve.

"Screw you!"

The sailors, completely non-plussed, throw a rope overboard.

"I mon't thinph I man."

One of the sailors turn to Mihai, and tells him, "Help us bring them up."

Steve hears the block of ice cracking a little; when the rope impacts the ice, Steve will stop and look up and notice the trio for the first time. He manages a "Hello."

Mihai is taciturn tonight; he just takes the rope and goes down. Zelk starts sulking, and climbs up the rope first.

Mihai just looks at Steve, while Zelk climbs. It appears that he is still bleeding from his mouth, who will smile at Mihai to emphasize the injury.

"Worph it."

Mihai smiles bitterly, and almost get a chuckle out of this.

"Go on up and get a room,” he says.

 “I woulph but sheef is drumph. Ismph righmph,” replies Steve. (I would, but she is drunk. Isn't right.)


Once Mihai and Steve are aboard the ship, they notice that Zelk isn't on the deck anymore.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Rory on Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:27 pm

On the second day, Konrad speaks to the members of the 113th Adjunct and informs them that he will be holding card games in his quarters for them and the military agents.

Money is not involved, these games are not for keeps. Drinking is allowed, but sparingly, this is not that kind of night. The captain's quarters has two Gwent decks, so those who lose or fold early may get a Gwent game started, which is a two-player game. Losers who can't get a Gwent game going get to spectate/commentate on the drama unfolding in front of their eyes, what fun!
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Zeiss on Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:34 pm

Zelk and her squad members, along Fedler and Breeze, will accept the invitation, and join Konrad in the captain quarters.

OOC:
Unless you guys want to roleplay this, we can just summarize the impressions of the evening, and what you want to know from the other NPCs, if anything.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Kolson on Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:49 pm

Steve will definitely come. Him and Breeze will enter together.

"Good idea, Captain," says Stan, sliding into the seat opposite the door. He'll clear a space at the table for the fairy once he consults her on where she wants to sit. He'll make a point of greeting everyone as they enter (a wave here, a "Yo!" there, and a smile for Zelk).
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by Rory on Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:24 pm

[Summaries, please.]

"Thank you. I had been thinking that, since we all have a lot of time on our hands, we could spend it becoming more cordial with one another instead than twiddle our thumbs." Or engage in overindulgent behavior. And who knows, it just might keep at least two of us from having to dry laundry.

When everyone is present, Konrad, who is milling about, asks if anyone minds if he smokes. Breeze speaks up and rather sweetly asks him not to, so he leaves his pipe where it is currently resting.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

Post by K on Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:42 pm

Mihai won't join.
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Re: 2nd adventure: Proxy War

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