Coats, Swords, and Answers

Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby CherryStatic » Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:26 pm

"Honestly, couldn't you have worn something nicer? We're trying to make a good impression."

Castor blinked and glanced down at his outfit, a coat the color of charcoal with simple brass buttons and a weathered belt that held his rapier. His worn brown boots had obviously seen plenty of use, sporting a layer of caked dust that nearly reached his ankles. He thought he looked fine compared to some of the people that inhabited the streets that particular morning.

The half-elf who walked at his side, on the other hand, was draped in earth toned robes of chocolate, ivory, and gold, gathered at his tiny waist with a white braid that was intricately knotted on one hip. A black high-collared dress shirt peeked out from where the robes fell open along his sharp collarbone, masterfully stitched with gold thread in majestic patterns that snaked across the silk. The man's pointed ears were obscured beneath the drawn hood from under which he observed the town of Myrken and the looming meetinghouse with his visible eye, violet and flat with what most probably assumed was disdain; Castor had learned in the short time he had known Michta that the half-elf's facial expression was carefully guarded at all times, betraying nothing of what he felt.

"We're meeting with a town official or two, not attending the royal ball." the swordsman quipped, plucking a piece of lint from his shoulder before the other noticed its offensive presence. "Did you have time to powder your nose before we left?"

The blonde sniffed daintily. "I imagine your rapier wit makes you quite popular with the unfortunate women who flock to you back home, but I'm sure the good people of Myrken are this very moment wondering who you stole that fancy sword from."

Castor huffed. "Look, I'll be sure to dress the part of nobility in the near future. We're five feet from our destination, and we aren't turning around just so you can you can wrap me in finery." His voice dropped to a mumble. "What are you, my wife?"

"Gracious me, no. I find that I'm lacking in the infinite patience that is required to fill the position."

There was a beat of silence while the human digested this.

"Are you always this unpleasant, or just when your in the company of others?" the man wondered, honestly curious.

"The official with whom we will meet with is none other than the Lady Egris, a somewhat renowned swordswoman and Myrkentown's very own Lady Warden." the half-elf pressed on, ignoring his companion.

"But why her? Why not the mayor?"

"My dear Castor, does the word "swordswoman" mean nothing to you?"

"What's your point, elfling?"

"She is a woman of action. An official behind a desk who wishes to discuss the options at hand won't be of any help in this situation. We need her cooperation in this matter to quickly and quietly deal with the Bloodletters."

Castor glanced doubtfully at him. "I hate to be the one to tell you this, but nothing about your wardrobe is 'quiet'."

"Some risks are worth taking." the other said, almost passionately.

......................................................................................................................................................................

The door shut loudly behind them, the cold of the outdoors fading gradually as the warmth that wafted through the meetinghouse surrounded them. A middle-aged woman, most likely a secretary, glanced up from the ledger she was writing in, the scratching of her quill coming to a slow stop. She blinked.

"We've come to request an audience with the Lady Egris Verreaux." Michta offered.

She glanced down at something on the desk, her eyes scanning the length of something. After a moment, her gaze returned to the two across from her, giving them a tiny smile. "Of course. If you would like to wait in the parlor, I'll inform her right away, miss."

She turned and left the room as Michta did his absolute best to ignore the barely suppressed laughter of his companion, leaving the swordsman at the door to go and perch himself primly on a cushioned seat in the parlor, next to a warm hearth, snickers following in his wake.
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby Kestrel » Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:30 am

They were strangers, bright beacons among the dull colors of the locals. As such, they drew attention; standing out like sore thumbs as bystanders skirted them with caution and vague interest on their intended path. Castor would have looked all the more out of place, had he chosen to wear attire befitting a nobleman. Still, there was something to be said for propriety when meeting a woman famous for being related to the King, wasn't there? As long as one does not say it to her, perhaps.

The woman sitting in front of the solid oak door of the office looked unimpressed with the snickers from the man who waited with the elf trying to pretend that she had not offended him. Her cheeks were pink with annoyance, mortified with her own mistake. The man standing guard at the door, the seal of The Kestrel at his throat, watched the two settle down to wait with interest. The woman they had spoken to gave the guard, leaning without a modicum of respect, a disapproving stare before vanishing behind the door to inform Egris that they were awaiting her word.

The man, a pleasant smirk painted across his lips, pushed himself off of the wall to sidle over towards the two waiting on his Lady to receive them. His steps were silent and measured. His features were plain and unassuming. His clothing was wholly nondescript and his attention was focused on the room in which they sat instead of them. If they had any training at all, they might note the wolf hiding in his sheep's clothing in effort not to appear threatening by any stretch of the word.

"You'll excuse Myrken's finest a bit of their inexperience," he suggested, his voice just as unremarkable as the rest of him. "They are trying, of course, but are somewhat inadequate in their attempts." He smiled passively, arms folded behind his back. "What business have you with The Kestrel, I wonder?" It was uncertain if he expected an answer.
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby CherryStatic » Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:34 am

Michta's lidded gaze turned briefly to the man who sauntered amiably towards them, giving him a once over, taking in the altogether forgettable outfit he wore and his almost purposefully nonthreatening manner. In his experience, traveling dignitaries could expect polite hospitality; anything that appeared more benevolent or genuine was typically less than.

"Careful now." he cautioned the man softly, turning his attention back to the far wall of the room and straightening on the cushioned seat as if good posture required every last ounce of his concentration.

Castor, who stood near the fire, gave the man a long suffering look. "Don't mind him. The inn in which we're staying doesn't serve tea that meets his impossible standards. I'm afraid it may have ruined his week."

The word "barbarians" issued from the corner in which the half-elf sat, dutifully observing the wallpaper in passivity. The swordsman spared a glance at his willowy companion before turning back to the man, offering a hand to shake.

"Castor Montelle, captain of the Hidden Hand, at your service." He donned a friendly smile to match the other's.

There was an awkward beat of silence when he turned to gesture to Michta, intending to introduce him to the man, only to find the half-elf turned so that he was facing slightly away from the two of them atop his perch, listlessly turning the pages of a tiny leather-bound book without making any effort whatsoever to appear that he was reading its contents.

"Right. Yes." He coughed, hurriedly backtracking and turning back to the man. "The two of us are here on behalf of his royal majesty Branson II, king of Mixalydia. Crown business, you know."
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby Kestrel » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:31 am

The nondescript man lofted a brow at the call for caution and bobbed his head in understanding. At least he had good instincts, even if the assassin had already tallied up all the ways to kill him with the book the elf was currently holding in his delicate hands. "Ah, tea? I would direct you towards the Tea House. Plus, there are whores," he remarked, as though he did not know that could be frowned upon by those of more delicate sensibilities. "None quite so pretty as your friend," he teasing jabbed, with that passive smile. It was as if he never felt anything at all. "Smith," he greeted, "Just Smith."

They were interrupted by the opening of the office door. Smith gave a sharp nod for them to follow him and whirled to stalk towards the door. The woman bustled out, throwing him another glare that did not seem to phase him in the slightest. He gestured grandly to lead the two into the cozy confines of The Lady's domain.

She sat behind a simple desk that did not altogether match the somewhat more fanciful decor. Despite the obvious wealth, it was the woman seated there that drew each eye to her as if by physical thread. Her hair was unfashionably short on one side of her head, and uneven as if shorn by her own blade without the benefit of mirrored surface. The other half was decidedly longer and well-kept. The effect was both striking and soft. The Lady was clad in her pressed black-and-white uniform and it was almost a shock when her blue eyes lifted to meet them. There were papers painstakingly placed into neat, ordered piles on the edge of her desk.

She rose, her chair pushed back against the floor in her effort to personally greet them. The leather of her boots shone in the candlelight. Her posture was rigid and military-borne. The look in her eyes told them that they were worthy of her attention and the respectful smile softened her features. She held out her hand to shake - first to one and then the other. "Gentlemen. Welcome to Myrken."

Smith closed the door behind them, he still on the far side.
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby CherryStatic » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:04 pm

Michta felt confident in their decision to speak with Egris the moment he saw the interior of her office. It would appear that the woman was not only competent with a blade, but had taste to boot. As for her appearance, he thought that she looked equal parts a soldier and a lady, rough around the edges and hardened by combat, but with a manner about her that suggested an understanding of social forms. He idly wondered which way the scale tipped.

The subtleties of the woman before them were more-or-less lost upon Castor, who took her hand into his strong grip. He gave her a dazzling, friendly smile before withdrawing, allowing the elf to extend his own dainty hand which, if Egris caught the glint of light, sported an expensive looking signet ring emblazoned with Mixalydia's crest, a hand with a star cradled in its palm. His cool fingers pressed against hers as he pulled his hood back with his free hand, revealing the pointed tips of his ears and the length of his silken blond hair. His hand still holding hers, he inclined his head the slightest bit in a show of respect, his loose braid slipping over one bony shoulder.

"Lady Verreaux, I am Michta Vess, court seer in service to the king of Mixalydia. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." He straightened, retracting his hand as he leveled his gaze with hers, his visible eye observing her curiously. "Thank you for meeting with us on such short notice. If any other situation, I would have sent one of our men ahead to inform you of our arrival, but I fear we had no choice in the matter."

He gestured absently at the swordsman to one side. "This is Captain Montelle, leader of the Hidden Hand, the king's private task force. Before I go on, I should mention that the captain, his men, and myself are in no way affiliated with the kingdom's military. We are here under direct orders from his majesty, because he wishes to see the issue at hand resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible."

He folded his arms into opposite sleeves, which hung like drapes to his knees. "I imagine that time is as precious a resource here in Myrken as it is back home, and I have no desire to waste it. Lady Verreaux, I assume that you are at this point familiar with a group of individuals wearing uniforms the color of blood?"
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby Kestrel » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:09 pm

The handshake that she offered Castor was brief and firm. She seemed grateful they did not attempt any softer gestures with her and her smile grew more warm as a result. The Lady turned towards the elven dignitary with a much softer grasp, taking care not to crush his delicate appendage. She seemed to note the ring, heavy upon his hand, but made no mention of it. "Ah, but the pleasure is all mine. Please, sit," she offered, waving towards the comfortable chairs that sat across her desk.

She picked her way carefully back towards her seat again, dropping down with a sigh. Her smile warmed the very air as she glanced between them. The sharp ears did not seem to startle her as Michta lowered his hood. Her hands came to steeple in front of her mouth and she glanced between them as Michta got down to business. "Can I offer you anything? You must be thirsty after your travel," she offered, nodding towards the small table to the side that contained a bottle of wine and glasses. "You arrived quite late," she remarked, in conversational tone. The Lady knew how to play the game - she wanted to let them know that she knew every detail of their arrival before they had come to call upon her. She continued to smile amicably, though. No hard feelings.

"Mixalydia? I've not the pleasure of visiting your borders, though I've heard of its beauties," she relented. As he spoke, she seemed to come to some realization and nodded, mouth forming a silent 'aha' in response. "Your King wishes to remain distant, then?," she assumed. "I understand the need for secrecy in some matters. I wish we could all just speak plain to one another, but that is not the life we live." She smiled, almost wistful.

Then, a sharp nod. "Yes, I know them rather intimately, given that they keep showing up in the oddest of places." Her voice was cold, resolute, but her anger was well-hidden. "They've taken someone. A girl. I want them gone. Yesterday." Well, perhaps not as well-hidden as she might have liked.
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby CherryStatic » Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:19 pm

"Then we are of a like mind." Michta said, allowing himself a thin smile utterly devoid of mirth.

He lowered himself fluidly onto the very edge of the seat that Egris had offered, smoothing the front of his robes. Castor, meanwhile, poured himself just enough wine to sample the taste and, finding it to his liking, filled a glass to just below half full. He came to sit at the half-elf's side, across the desk from their host, his brown eyes watching the Lady Warden. The half-elf folded his hands in his lap.

"The Bloodletters, as they are called, are, or should I say were, Mixalydia's inquisitors, although they are formally recognized as intelligencers by the crown. In reality, they are nothing more than another of the king's private task forces, much like the Hidden Hand, the difference being that they are given more autonomy. A rather shortsighted decision in hindsight." Michta frowned slightly, as though recalling a bitter taste on his tongue. "Each member possesses the ability to bring about minor phenomena in unique ways, referred to as 'Manifestations". The average man would consider this to be magic, but as someone who has studied the arcane arts for nearly forty years, I can assure you that it is not."

Castor shifted uncomfortably in his chair, glancing away. It still bothered him to know that someone who looked a decade younger than him was almost twice his age. Michta continued, ignoring the swordsman's behavior.

"Since its conception, the group has been tasked with the extraction of information from prisoners of war. They are quite talented. And creative." The half-elf paused thoughtfully. "Their abilities allowed them to devise entirely new ways of torturing their victims outside the realm of traditional methods. A man's wounds will heal with time, Lady Verreaux, but a man's mind is not so easily mended. Though I expect you already know that."

He spoke the last few words so nonchalantly that Castor missed them altogether. But the half-elf cocked his head ever so slightly, calmly watching the woman across from him. He wondered if she understood to whom he was referring. He pressed on with his explanation as if he hadn't said anything at all.

"The group's leader is a woman who calls herself 'Crucia', and she is entirely mad." He deadpanned, as if discussing what a lovely shade of blue the sky was on that fine Winter morning. "She is the kind of person who, left to her own devices, would just as soon cut a man's fingers off as bake someone a pie, and go about it with the same calm air about her. Obviously, a madwoman serving as chief inquisitor was considered a less-than-desirable notion to many, but she never went against the king's word. Not once. She proved her unfaltering loyalty to the crown time and again."

He leaned forward the slightest bit, making sure that Egris was following his lengthy explanation. "What ensured her leadership, however, is her ability. By Manifesting, Crucia is able to Bind others with abilities similar to her own, in a way that she knows where they are, what they are doing, what they are thinking. She can see the world through the eyes of those who are Bound to her. It is much the same way that a spider knows where a potential meal is trapped in a web by tracing vibrations through the individual threads. In addition, she can sever the Binding any time she chooses to, destroying the mind of the victim in the process. I believe one could call that 'incentive' to follow orders."

"Knowing her, this is like a game of chess to her." Castor piped up, his glass emptied. "She refers to the others as her 'family', but they're just glorified pawns."

"Most of them, yes." Michta agreed, almost hesitantly. He observed the Lady Warden. "If anything can be said about her, it is that she is a very dangerous woman, Lady Verreaux."
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby Rance » Sat Dec 13, 2014 4:02 am

Outside, where Just Smith stood like a sentinel in front of Lady Verreaux's quarters, a young woman's voice called--

"I want to meet with her."

By way of propriety and process, she had been ferried from the entryway of the Meetinghouse to this place: standing, with her sweat-blackened bonnet still damp from the bothersome weather without, with her mud-caked boots on well-worn floors. A cloak of patchwork, moth-eaten and reeking of old perspiration, mostly hid the young woman's figure except for the brown dollop of her face. She and Smith were complete opposites -- he was composed, careful, and censured, a being -- like any good watchman -- that could disappear if it was necessary. But the girl that spoke to him, with mannerisms as stiff and as cumbersome as an imbalanced statue, was nothing like that--

A commoner, with mud along the hems of her sprig-patterned skirts, her heels clumped with the horseshit of the streets. A one-armed apparition that looked at him, looked through him, and ground her brown teeth nearly to powder behind her cracked lips.

"I have got to see her. I -- I don't care if she's meeting, or who she's meeting with, I would just like to see her."

Emboldened, without permission or instruction, the stout girl reached forward and past Smith for the handle of the door.
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby Kestrel » Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:35 pm

Her smile was warm. "How lucky that we are, then," she remarked, in playful manner. She had more than enough mirth for the both of them.

Her eyes danced across the room towards Castor as he poured himself a glass of wine before settling, though Michta again regained her attention rapidly as he explained her new enemies. "Do these Manifestations include being able to speak within another's mind? To drive one another into convulsions and death?," she questioned, with a thoughtful, troubled expression. Clearly, this was not a rhetorical question. "It felt like magic - the hiss of chains, the whispers."

When Michta spoke of damage to one's mind, her features abruptly closed off. The look she threw him was sharp and begged his caution. Something might tell him that this Lady was certainly not one to be trifled with.

He explained the woman that had made herself an enemy. The knowledge was welcome, if not particularly comforting.

"What says your King of his rabid dogs? They have escaped their leashes, I'm afraid. Why have they come to darken my doorstep?" While she was willing to help their cause, certainly they could not have expected complete understanding.

-----

Outside, Smith grinned widely at the girl who demanded an audience with his mistress. "Do you?," he questioned, with only the barest of inflections in his voice.

Clearly, the child was not taking no for an answer, so his shoulders lifted carelessly and he whirled to bat her hand away from the handle. He whisked open the door with a flourish.

Immediately, The Kestrel's startled, angry gaze lifted to the two of them. Twin pools of blue widened to see the blade that Smith held to the seamstress' back, beyond her vision. She gave a sharp shake of her head and the assassin tucked the steel away with a disappointed look.

The door closed behind Gloria Wynsee.

The Lady sighed, but a strained smile was given. "Gloria. Is there some emergency? These are ... old friends." She had promised to be discrete.
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby CherryStatic » Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:36 pm

"I'm afraid the king in question isn't saying much of anything these days." Michta said quietly, glancing away. "Most find it difficult to speak when their throat is slit from ear to ear."

Castor grimaced at the casual manner in which the half-elf recounted their ruler's death. The seer seemed to remember himself, gathering his poise once more before continuing on. "There was a disagreement of sorts between Crucia and Arlense, our former king, concerning a rather unique addition to the Bloodletters."

The swordsman leaned forward in his seat at this point, his eyes suddenly hard. "A murderous bitch named Alcara." He spoke the name through his teeth as if he were spitting venom. "Everyone knew about her, and they were terrified to have her walking around unchecked. Earned herself a title, "Blood Dancer", because of that damned weapon she carries around." He trailed off, fuming.

"The girl was inducted into the group without my knowing." Michta picked up where the other had left off. "Even Arlense was unaware of her arrival to the capital. Crucia apparently found her during an assignment given to her by the king, and I imagine she was quite pleased with herself. The girl proved to have a knack for torturing confessions out of her victims using her own Manifestation, which she calls 'Affecting'. Of the many Manifestations I've seen, it is the most simplistic, and at the same time, the most dangerous." He splayed his fingers on his lap. "Through willpower alone, Alcara is able to change the world around her as she sees fit, especially individuals. There are drawbacks to this ability, namely that it draws heavily upon her energy reserves and can therefore only be used briefly, but the limitations to ways in which she is able to Affect others are few."

"Obviously, this made her a valuable asset to Crucia and, ultimately, the king, but there was one problem that could not be overlooked: Alcara cannot be Bound. None of the others are able to wield their Manifestations against her. In fact, she completely resists all forms of magic. It would appear that the only power with any effect on her is her own. To make matters worse, she is willful and spontaneous, effectively making her a wildcard. While Crucia insisted that the girl wouldn't go against her word, Arlense considered her a double-edged sword, and sought to do away with her."

Michta's eyes moved to something just over the Lady Warden's shoulder. "Her would-be assassins were unable to so much as touch her. The king was dead within the hour, bleeding out as he sat upon the throne. The girl fled, of course. Regicide is a fairly serious matter, I suppose."

"The witch killed nine of my men and women on her way out of the castle." Castor growled, showing Egris the disgruntled soldier within him that was almost always hidden beneath his casual demeanor. "Didn't so much as bat a lash. I plan to thoroughly remind her of the lives she took the next time we meet." His knuckles were white.

"We aren't sure how she managed it so quickly, but Alcara was able to commandeer a ship and crew before the guards were even in pursuit. She fled the kingdom by sea with two of our navy's fastest vessels on her heels. We received word a week later that the ship had been set ablaze, but the girl's body was never recovered. No one could have survived the fire."

"The Bloodletters, meanwhile, claimed that they had played no part in the king's death. Given what we knew about Alcara, we did not contest their words for long. Crucia seemed genuinely surprised by the events that had transpired. In the following month, the king's son placed himself on the throne and took the crown. His first act was to formally disband the group, claiming that needless violence brings about nothing but tragedy." Michta blinked slowly at the woman across from him. "It didn't sit well with them. These men and women had devoted their entire beings to their practice. They found themselves in a world that did not tolerate their passion for the suffering of others."

"It was only days later that they vanished entirely. They left under the cover of darkness, slipping across the border before we could catch them. I discovered that Crucia had kept a finger on the pulse of the kingdom using a private information network over the past several years, and had learned that there had been a sighting of a girl matching Alcara's description on distant shores. My guess is the Blood Dancer was able to Affect herself before the ship was destroyed in order to save herself. I think it is perfectly obvious why Crucia and the others left Mixalydia, and why they now show their faces in Myrken."

The half-elf ended the account and sat back slightly in his chair. "Lady Verreaux, the Captain and myself have come to Myrken to correct the mistake our late king made when he allowed this group of individuals to exist in the first place, but we require your assistance in the matter. If Crucia manages to find Alcara, then there is no telling--"

He was cut off by the sound of the door swinging open. Turning in their seats, the human and the half-elf laid their eyes upon Gloria, a woman who looked as though she had no business being anywhere near the meetinghouse. Castor blinked somewhat incredulously at her while Michta once again faced Egris and calmly waited for her to react.
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby Rance » Sun Dec 14, 2014 3:10 am

"I do," she told Just Smith like an impetuous noble, a tone briefly borrowed from one Vara Tassnehof. "The Lady Warden and I are friends."

The door opened before her. She gripped her skirts in her lone hand and dragged them across the threshold with her, giving the muddied fabric a snap. She never realized that Smith had put a blade anywhere near her spine; she never recognized that the Lady Warden's headshake was anything but derision for her intrusion--

The door clicked shut.

She knew she was interrupting. This, however, did not keep the stocky specimen of a girl from standing just beyond the doorway and turning her eyes toward the old friends. Castor and Michta both were unfamiliar figures, and Gloria Wynsee presumed this was the span of Lady Egris's every day -- to parley and dispute, to wrangle contracts with words across a finely-organized bureau, to suffer the company of beings demanding all matters of business. The brightly-clad occupants in the room received the girl's drawn, unrelenting stare. Castor in particular. That the other was a half-elf, a mix, a double-blood, never occurred to Gloria; she hadn't the wherewithal to yet discern.

Her gaze was not a glower. It did not pierce nor accuse. It, regardless of the effrontery in her arrival, was dimly curious.

"Old friends?" Gloria repeated. "I've never seen them before. I imagined that -- that old friends would drink tea or make you laugh or meet you for a biscuit." She unwound a black shawl from where it had been tied like a collar around her neck, peeling the fabric from underneath her chin that she might knock it against her thigh, trying to beat the chill out of it. "Have you treated her to tea," the girl suddenly asked the pair, "or now that you know she's the Lady Warden, did you materialize out of nothing to come ask for her aid in a circumstance without -- without even observing simple courtesies?"

Nostrils flared. But her voice softened. Speaking of courtesies--

She bent a knee, plucked out her skirt-corner in an unpracticed curtsey toward Egris.

"May I join you," she asked.
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby Kestrel » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:00 pm

Her eyes, startling gems settled into a pale expanse of skin, narrowed slightly at mention of the fallen King. "Charming," she drawled. Whether she spoke of the manner in which the half-elf lamented his death or how the man had met his end, was anything but clear.

"Blood Dancer?," she echoed, with a note of disdain. "She sounds dangerous," she remarked, with a thoughtful expression. Her lips pursed and her fingertips drummed against the wooden desk. She let their words drift around her; taking them in while considering her own knowledge.

Her vision went sharp as she glanced at Castor, his grief abundantly clear. His men and women were his responsibility, each death was taken personally, even if he were not truly at fault. "Such an affront can not go without an answer. Their deaths will mean something," she vowed - one soldier to another.

"He should have had them confined and dealt with before he made his announcement," she remarked, passively. "He gave them time to escape and as a consequence, they have descended upon us rabid dogs. Your assistance is the least he could do," the determination was written upon her features. "We will be glad to have you." Her leadership tactics were clear in that moment - firm, but fair. This was not the last their new King would hear of Lady Verreaux or Myrken Wood. As far as she was concerned, he owed her.

Her smile slipped when Gloria demanded her attention. Perhaps before the two could open their mouths to answer the seamstress, the Lady would clear her throat. "Gloria, if you please - could you describe your friend? The one that was taken by the Bloodletters." Her eyes flickered up to meet Michta's. "The dancer," she supplied, pointedly. They might as well understand the stakes. It seems that Blood Dancer had already been found.
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby Rance » Sat Dec 20, 2014 5:00 pm

The dancer.

"Vixen," Gloria said. "Jig. I call her Jig."

Skirts with mud-darkened hems swept across the uneven floorboards as, circling the two visitors as though they were a pair of predators, she moved toward the only unoccupied chair in the Lady Warden's office. Instead of sitting herself in it, she stood behind it. At the Kestrel's insistence, the girl spoke matter-of-factly, the foreign notes in her voice subdued behind a forced air of professionalism--

"Her hair was striking. She -- she danced in public. She gave a show to people in the street. Afterward, we dined, and she was being followed by--" Stark eyebrows shot up. A glance to Egris. The seamstress' tone mutated, increasing its abrasiveness, its chemical sharpness. "Bloodletters? Why am I telling them these things? What do these two know about her? If -- if my friend's been taken, then it hardly does us any good tossing words at one another back and forth in this place, does it?" Embittered impatience eked out from between her uneven teeth. Gloria wrenched her gaze back to Michta, to Castor. Pulsing, flaring nostrils helped measure her breath.

The girl scraped her fingers across the doughy looseness of her belly and drummed a digit on the handle of the longknife stuffed crossways in her sash.

"Are you going to help the Lady Warden and I find her? Bern is her sworn protector, isn't she? Why, then, would you two care to find her?"

Behind a face as plain as Gloria Wynsee's, skepticism was not an easy beast to cage.
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby CherryStatic » Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:06 pm

Michta's gaze wandered as Gloria spoke, listening to the brief description that was stubbornly offered up. Beyond the hair, the first thing that people noticed upon encountering Alcara, there was nothing of particular substance to the words. He sighed quietly, less of a whisper of breath and more of a slight dip in his narrow shoulders. His eye returned to the Lady Warden while Castor continued to stare at the seamstress, not in a condescending way, but it was apparent that he was still a bit shell-shocked by her entrance.

"You are most likely correct in your assumption, my lady." Michta said, frowning. "If Alcara has indeed been recovered by her 'family', then I am afraid that the situation at hand has become altogether more complicated. I would not presume to tell you how to martial your forces, but I would strongly suggest you act as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more time Crucia has to set her traps."

He turned his attention to Gloria, who was observing him openly. He was more than used to such treatment, albeit in a typically more subtle manner, due to the amount of time he spent attending the king's court. Half-races were rarely the most trustworthy people in the eyes of others, it would seem.

"Your name is Gloria? I am Michta, and this is Castor. We are agents of the Mixalydian crown." He spoke freely, figuring that if the Lady Warden had not sent the girl away at once, there was little reason to be concerned. It would seem that she was involved in some way as well. "We have travelled to Myrken to apprehend a group of individuals, the Bloodletters. This 'dancer' of whom you speak is likely one of their key members, a woman named Alcara. She is extremely dangerous. And unpredictable."

"We certainly plan on assisting the Lady Warden in her search." Castor piped up, having finally recovered from his surprise. "Someone like the Blood Dancer can't be allowed to walk the streets of Myrken unchecked. We'll do what we can to take her down."

Michta gave him a warning look. "By which my companion means that there will be questions asked upon her capture."

Castor said nothing in response, but he locked eyes with Egris for a brief moment. The half-elf looked at the seamstress once more.

"You mentioned a guardian? If you know where they can be found, I would suggest checking in on them. Alcara's powers can poison one's mind. I fear for anyone who is left alone with her for too long."

"Doesn't it strike you as odd?" Castor said suddenly. Michta glanced at him.

"What?"

"She doesn't have a scratch on her. She isn't showing any of the signs of being Affected." He gestured at the seamstress. "The Alcara I know wouldn't hesitate to Manifest against someone like Gloaria. And now she's hiring bodyguards?"

"It is odd." Michta conceded. "She's more than capable of defending herself. I get the feeling that we're missing something, and I don't much care for it. I'd rather we get to the bottom of this, and quickly."
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Re: Coats, Swords, and Answers

Postby Kestrel » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:25 am

Smith closed the door neatly with a click and let his eyes roam over the woman at the desk, a smile on his thin lips and a little too much glee around his eyes.

"Now, I have not met Jig," Egris mentioned, nodding towards the seamstress as she circled the two with a wary expression to hover behind the remaining chair. Instead of being seated behind the desk, it was off to the side. "Gloria is a friend of hers, however. She asked me to look into her disappearance," she explained her willingness to allow the girl to enter the meeting. "Bern, her apparent bodyguard, met me in my search."

Introductions were made and the Lady went quiet for a moment, allowing them that

Her eyes were understanding as Castor's own touched upon them. There was nothing she wouldn't do to protect her men. The loss of his own was something she hoped she could help him with, but leadership was all about difficult decisions.

Egris pursed her lips and considered quietly the ramifications of the dancer being the dangerous woman of which they spoke. "What are the chances of her having changed herself into something better? Someone better? What if she isn't the woman that you're chasing anymore? Assuming, of course, they are one and the same." It made sense, but things weren't always what they seemed. They rarely were.
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