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Illegal Detainment, Stone walls do not a prison make...
Wingman
post Jun 20 2009, 06:55 PM
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Verden, Begnion
Late Spring 746
The Silver Slipper Inn/Tavern


This was boring... and it made no sense.

Mergie sighed and put her head in her hands. The table was a little sticky, but nothing she couldn't tolerate. Her hands were placed against her cheeks as she placed her elbows on the table and leaned on them. Her short legs dangled over the edge of her chair and swung idly as she counted the wooden planks that criss-crossed the roof overhead. She'd been stuck in this place for three days now, and she was starting to get really bored. No one wanted to talk to her, there was no one around to play with, and she was starting to run out of ideas for spells. Even Angel had gotten bored and had stopped talking,

She didn't even really understand why she couldn't leave this building. No one else was stuck here. A few people were out in the streets and walking around, but Shirsham had warned her not to leave this place. She'd tried to sneak out a few times, but he'd always caught her and sent her back to the room.

Which was really, really, boring. There wasn't anyone else here! It was just her and Shirsham, and Shirsham was never around. He was always around doing different things and 'investigating', the only time Mergie ever saw him was when it was time to go to bed. Or when she was trying to sneak out of the inn.

Mergie sighed and started counting the ceiling beams all over again. She hoped that something would happen soon. She might go crazy otherwise.

>-{-}-<


"You'd think that they'd just up and quit by now."

Aaron Phell shook his head and studied the four corpses that lay on the ground. A neutral yet disbelieving expression was on his face, and his red Magus robes were darkened with blood. He surveyed the damage. Two men, a woman, and a child dead. All because these people were too idiotic to do as they were told.

The Face owned this town. Everyone knew it. It was his haven. People could come in, but no one was allowed to leave. Those who tried to leave wound up just as dead as these four. Such a waste. All they needed was to just shut up, stay put, and go about their lives. The only thing that The Face asked was that no one left town. Really, was that so hard?

"Gather up the corpses." Aaron turned to his nearest subordinate and gave him a no-nonsense look. "Its time that we make a statement."

OOC: Click Here To Show/Hide This Text
Short, I know, but I didn't want to give away too much too soon. Basically, you can either enter the town on your first post or have been there a few days. It doesn't really matter. Take some liberty and do what you can to be creative.

All anyone knows at this point is that Face's guards are preventing anyone from leaving town. There has also been no communication into or out of the town. No one knows why or why help hasn't come to solve the problem. Get your foot in the door with an entrance post and then we'll start getting into the deeper story.

If you need help, drop me a line and we'll see what we can do.
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Blonde Panther
post Jun 21 2009, 02:58 AM
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No one noticed the dark brown Cat. Made sense, because she was so small and had been lying in a lone tree all the time. She'd been a bit disappointed in the amount of what she called 'Laguz shelters' in this country. Back in Crimea, where she hailed from, there were strong, single trees on every corner of the street, for passing Cats and Birds to sleep in, and every tree was generally accompanied by some sort of small shelter where Tigers could sleep under, protected from rain and where Beorc wouldn't trip over them. This here country was a lot less friendly. Not that she wasn't tolerated, though. The people were less friendly than in Crimea, but she hadn't been hurt yet.

However, the second she'd entered this town, apparently she'd trapped herself. Small as she was, when she tried to exit, she was stopped. If she tried in Human form, it was easy for the Beorc guards to catch her - they just stuck out their hands and Shuga was forced to stop. In Laguz form, she'd almost managed to get away, but at the very last second, a guard got hold of her tail and pulled it to get her back in the town. That had been about five minutes ago, and Shuga looked at her tail with eyes that were still a bit teary. It didn't hurt so much anymore, and there was nothing to be seen, but Shuga still felt something wasn't right. Something that, whenever she tried to think about it, made her entire fur stand up a bit and prickled her paws. She'd stopped trying- she didn't like that feeling. It was as if things made her feel like that on purpose if they didn't want to be found out.

"I'm hungry," she said, as if she didn't even know that was possible. "Gotta get myself a bit of food." she leapt out of the tree, stretched her legs and shifted into Human form. She didn't like running around on two legs, but she couldn't stay in Laguz form all day, after all. Besides, if she walked in somewhere, a small girl would more likely be helped than a cat. Silver Slipper Inn and Tavern. Oh, good! So she could eat a bit, and even get a room in here! Maybe she'd write home that she'd found a nice place to stay, so that her parents and friends needn't worry about her.

Well this place was crowded! Shuga blinked when she saw the masses of Beorc, with here and there a Laguz, that crowded the area. The overwhelming amount of scents almost threw her off her feet, but she kept standing and took a deep breath. Beorc aren't scary, she told herself, not mean at all. They're just Humans, just like Laguz. They won't hurt me. She stepped over to the bar, suddenly feeling sorry for Beorc who couldn't make themselves smaller like she could, and had to work themselves through masses like this like she was doing now. That was hard. Finally at the bar, she looked at the products offered and settled for something they'd called a 'sandwich' and a glass of water. She'd seen a table where only one chair had been taken and pointed at it, saying 'could you bring it over there, mister?' before she walked over to it. The woman sitting there had a Brand, but she didn't smell like Branded. She smelt like Beorc. Shuga decided it wasn't her business, and asked: "Excuse me, ma'am... is this seat taken?"
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Phyrro
post Jun 21 2009, 01:14 PM
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Midnight in some far away territory, within the confines of an unnamed town.

A lone observer waited.

The full moon hung overhead on invisible strings, far above the earth below. The captivating light it gave off found its way back down, suffusing the land with white illumination. Stars glittered nearby, covering the night sky, as if they were the moon's children. In the city, although quiet, candles dangled outside of every building and over the street on posts every few feet, all lit. The town seemed to be alive but still, its inhabitants nowhere to be found; sleeping peacefully.

Nearby, a small pond quietly rested. Fireflies danced across its surface, trying to keep pace with their distorted and green-tinted reflections. Short reeds lay across the bank, swaying deftly with each breeze. Grass rustled in the wind, playfully knocked about by mild gusts. Occasional, paltry ripples signaled the presence of tiny fish under the dark water's surface. Behind it, flanked on either side by large trees, a two-story building resided. Its solid limestone walls bore distorted shadows, results of the scratched and slightly worn down quality of the structure. An unimposing door stood at the front, made of plain wood, light brown, with an iron handle.

With a creak, the door opened, a sublime feeling welling within the lone observer as immaculate light spilled out.



...Ah...nothing.

Benoît was growing rather tired of this dream. Truth be told, he could not quite tell anymore whether it was a dream or a conscious fabrication of his mind. Often he postulated that his mind hated him. In a way, was that akin to saying that he hated himself?

Unlikely, but not impossible.

He supposed.

With a sigh, he rose, and was at once standing in the alley he had been using as a rest area moments prior. His thoughts were a convoluted web of illegible tangents, per usual, though, he noted with a smirk, his dress was commendable. Not that it was different; no, it was, after all, the same white robe and ornate drapes he always wore. Rather, they were quite clean, and he oddly had a random fancy for the specific way they looked at the moment. Though it was trivial at best, so were most things to him. One rare exception to that rule might—just might, he mused—be the situation he now found himself in.

Surprisingly, to him, he was located in this town, rather than the one he imagined; this town had a unique policy on emigration—there was none. Ever. Running a hand lightly over his neck, which bore a winding gray tattoo that resembled antlers in pattern, he tried with minimal effort to remember how long he had been in the area, but decided against it.

Ain't much a point, he chided to himself, changing his manner of speech for his own amusement.

Slowly, he placed one foot in front of the other, testing the feeling in his body after his extended rest, then continued on, moving out of the alley and walking...

Walking in some direction or other. There appeared to be an inn ahead of him, but really, whether or not he would make it all the way there before his whims changed was a new debate altogether. At first, at least. What was going on in the town interested him a slight bit, so he could entertain himself for now by doing just about anything until something about the situation progressed.

Stop, he thought, taking a small bit of childlike glee in commanding his own movements, What do I know?

He pondered what he knew thus far.

I find myself in this town, and the one constant is that there is no exit, presumably under penalty of death.

There was no breeze, and so he took the opportunity to sniff the air.

Blood.

Penalty of death is a good assumption, he concluded with a small nod.

There was little else to it, really. The White Stag turned back on the course he had set, towards the inn, and decided in favor of heading towards it. It would, at the very least, give him a momentary change of scene. In the back of his head, he couldn't help but wish the situation would hurry itself some, but that view quickly gave way to the usual attitude of the one known as "Benoît," an attitude that could be aptly described as whimsically apathetic. His real purpose could not be achieved here, nor now, and he had not yet figured out whether or not he was ever meant to achieve it at all. And so he would wait.

All of this he thought as he approached the inn, at last touching the handle lightly, then sliding open the door and entering.
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Isabella
post Jun 21 2009, 06:30 PM
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Claidi had arrived in the town of Verden due to an unexpected stop. Claidi's true purpose for travelling through Begnion was to visit the capital of Sienne and perhaps study at the town. She also desperately wanted to see the town because of the famed Tower of Guidance. It was a bit exciting to travel, especially since this was the first time Claidi had ever left her home country of Crimea. However when reaching the town Claidi planned to go straight through but was stopped by guards. Claidi gave little question to this however, she just thought that perhaps something was wrong farther up the road. Oh well, I suppose this would be a fine place for a little stop. Maybe I can find something to do in this town, hopefully the road will be back open tomorrow.

Claidi walked through the town, she stopped in a few stores and picked up some supplies for research that she may need later. She would need a place to stay as well and travelled through the town until she saw the tavern called the Silver Slipper. That's a silly name for an inn, maybe the Silver Boar would be a name I could see but the Silver Slipper? Chuckling Claidi opened the door and walked inside going toward the innkeeper at the desk.

Reaching the counter Claidi gave the innkeeper a smile, "Hello sir, I would like to rent one room for the night." Reaching through her bag to find her coin purse Claidi was a bit shocked. She was sure it was in her bag with her spells and dumped the bag out checking for it. A bit worried Claidi dumped out her other bag and found that somehow the coin purse was in with her research tools. How did that get in there? I must have accidently dropped it there shopping earlier I guess. Claidi gave an embarrassed smile to the innkeeper who by now looked a bit annoyed. Quickly she paid the man and absent-mindedly placed the coin purse right back in the bag with her research materials.

Walking over to the tables Claidi though about getting something to eat but saw two young girls. That is strange shouldn't someone be with them? Especially the one she can't be that old, not old enough to be on her own anyway. Walking over Claidi gave a warm smile and sat down at the table, "Are both of you girls all alone out here?"
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Kei
post Jun 25 2009, 11:40 AM
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The mansion reeked of fear.

It was more than the maids of the mansion, scurrying about in constant fear of their lives, determined to keep to the sides of the hallways and away from doors even as they frantically tried to accomplish their jobs with efficiency, moving from one place to another while toeing a very fine line between subtlety, alacrity, and alarm. It was actually quite an amazing sight, for the uninformed spectator, how every maid, dressed impeccably in frilly dresses of black and white, was completely invisible, completely unseen, yet call for a maid, and at least one of them would suddenly appear within five seconds from behind closed doors. Until then, they were content to remain out of sight in hopes that some unseen wrath would not suddenly turn on their vulnerable selves; it was, in fact, preferable. Until then, they would hide and tremble and pray, slaves without chains.

The mansion reeked of fear.

It was more than the guards of the mansion, armored and armed, enforcing order in the mansion with weapons, nonchalance, and cruelty. They themselves did not fear - unless, for some reason, they had irked someone that ranked higher in this town than they did, a phenomenon that usually had rather lethal consequences - but they were quite good at inspiring fear, especially since the weapons they carried were generally very good at inflicting the victim with varying degrees of death, although the cases were usually quite severe. Combine these elements with those who feared - maid, servants, guests, visitors, prisoners, whomever - and such a feeling was instantly multiplied. Veterans of the mansion would know that there were times when, soon after a guard disappeared behind a closed door, cries of pain and sobs of distress would be heard from within.

The mansion reeked of fear.

And Senka Aklinde was oblivious to it.

Not completely so; for Senka was an assassin, an experienced one at that, and she was quite sensitive to such a feeling, one that she practically fed off. However, although her acute senses picked it up, it bounced rather harmlessly off her consciousness. She saw no reason for fear, and she did not quite register that the area was quite dangerous, not when no one was actually pointing a weapon at her. It was perhaps only when she recognized a direct threat towards her that she would actually become competent; until then, she was painfully inattentive to the woes of her temporary colleagues, girls and ladies who looked upon Senka like some naive alien creature who was in for a world of misery. Yet, perhaps it was her luck, her eccentricity, or some sort of vibe she was able to put out; the guards, for reasons that neither the other maids or Senka herself was aware of, did not act against her unfavorably.

To Senka's credit, she was quite cheerful about the entire situation, bliss in ignorance considered. Although her attempts at being friendly and happy and polite with the other maids were largely in vain - the extent of their cheerfulness could be measured in the way her sanity was measured - she still was actually relatively happy with her work. There was a small army of maids under her supervision, the mansion was quite large and plush, and there was plenty of work to do. If anything, her clients paid relatively well, and provided accommodations that were above what she usually got when serving customers of her current client's ilk...which was to say crime lords and mafia leaders.

Which Senka didn't particularly care about. A customer was a customer.

Her travels in the area had brought to her attention a recruitment notice that had gone out, looking for an extra maid to help with work in a mansion in Verden. It was in her interview, however, that her prospective employers learned that she was, in fact, a professional maid-for-hire...and one with an apparently good reputation. She was promptly given a supervisory position over the other maids of the mansion, a position which, Senka believed, she was upholding the responsibilities of rather well. All was well, aside from what seemed to be a lack of a deadline as to when the contract would actually be terminated. Not that Senka minded particularly; she'd definitely be courteous enough to inform her employer that she needed to leave a week before it was truly time to go.

Until then, there was quite a bit to do. A main hall of the mansion had to be cleaned today, and she had no intention of delaying the allocation of ten maids to pull off the job.

((OOC: Not a very good post, but...yeah.))
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Fane
post Jun 25 2009, 06:36 PM
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Ossian Wade's face contorted itself into a snarl as he walked along the cobblestone roads of Verden. While this feature would not be considered unremarkable in Verden - rather, with the foul mood about town, it seemed almost expected - it was quite out of character for Ossian. The young man's face usually bore a blank, impassive look, so often that some joked him incapable of betraying his emotions. Most of those people were dead. The people who joked, the people who didn't, friends, rivals, acquaintances, strangers. Comrades, all. He'd left them to die. Only months ago, he had hidden, and later fled from that night. It seemed like lifetimes.

The passage of time hadn't assuaged his guilt, or his shame, in the slightest. Growing up, Ossian had often heard an adage: "Time heals all wounds." Almost before he could walk, he'd been taught more was required, for physical wounds at least. Sometimes, time just caused wounds to fester, allowing decay to spread further and further until they'd sapped the life from everything around them. Recently, Ossian had started applying that mindset to his wounds, as well. His nose twitched in disdain as he thought of the old adage. It proves false for all wounds, physical or no, he thought.

Still scowling, Ossian looked up and surveyed the scene. He'd walked dangerously close to the exit. A mere thirty of forty feet away from him, Ossian saw one of the gates into and out of Verden. No, he corrected himself, not out of. Not anymore. Four corpses had learned that lesson too slowly. A group of the thugs who'd seized control were grouped around the bodies. One of the broken forms was unmistakably that of a child. Not even entered into adolescence, and he'd been cut down indiscriminately by these men. These thugs, savage brutes. Ossian wouldn't gratify them with any other title. That included their leader, Pawnson. The world of crime was ruled by those with the most blades, and the loosest morals. These traits didn't set Pawnson apart from the others in any way, other than to make him more despicable.

One of the gathered thugs glared at Ossian. The glare didn't seem to have the intent of frightening him away; rather, it seemed a challenge, the bloody desire of a murdering knave for another victim to proffer themself to him. Ossian might've put his hand on his sword, Irongrasp, to comfort himself with its reassuring presence in its scabbard at his side. But he didn't. He feared that if he indulged in this momentary weakness, he may lose his restraint to the tempest of rage and hatred boiling within him, and attack the thugs. The portion of his mind that remained clear knew that would be a certain death. Still, a not insignificant part of him wanted to rush into battle, caution be damned. He hated these men, and everything they stood for. Old or young, rich or poor, influential or raw recruit, beorc or laguz... none of that mattered. Any who would end the life the Goddess had created in this fashion... Ossian's mind couldn't even finish the thought. He scrunched his hands up into fists, but was unable to stop them from shaking. Before anything more could come of his foul, simmering temper - before, he thought with a shudder, I shed blood needlessly myself - he turned from the gruesome scene, and walked away. Let the thug think he'd cowed Ossian. It mattered not.

As he departed the scene, Ossian realized how foolish what he'd almost done was. He cast an eye over his clothing; he wore only a cotton shirt and pants, the like of which any farmer or simple merchant could be expected to own dozens of, beneath a forest green travelling cloak. While he valued speed more than anything in combat, he knew it would be reckless and likely fatal to go charging into battle like this. When he'd left the inn this morning, his head had been clearer. He'd known there was no need for armor, known he was only going for a stroll, to get some fresh air. He silently thanked himself for this judgment call. The additional confidence armor would have granted him likely would've been his undoing.

Ossian cinched the hood of his cloak closer around his face as he followed the winding road towards the inn he was staying at. His fear was more a paranoia born of guilt than anything concrete, he knew. Even if someone, somehow, knew he'd deserted rather than died, they likely wouldn't recognize him at any distance. His average features would earn no second glances, and the colors of his hair and eyes could easily be found on a dozen men in any crowd. Still, he feared recognition.

Ossian was just coming up to his inn. Not a block away, the more expensive Silver Slipper still had vacancy, but the meagerness of Ossian's coin pouch had led him to choose this rundown and seedy-looking affair to be his temporary abode. He abandoned his scowl in favor of a warm smile as a young serving girl brought him a glass of ice water. His scowl returned as soon as her back was to him, and he raised the glass to his lips. The water cooled his throat and his temper, and he left a few coins on the table as he rose to his feet. He dressed quickly, donning his chain jerkin and leather undershirt in place of his cotton garb, before pulling on his hide and leather pants. He was calm now, and trusted having the protection was of more value than any psychological effects going without would provide. He fastened the scabbards containing Ikkata and the Hawkbrand crosswise on his back, and felt Irongrasp and his knife, Lionsbane, more out of habit than anything else. Fastening his coif to his belt with a short length of cord, Ossian departed the inn. "Coward's Cove", the sign read. Momentarily, a smirk found penchant on Ossian's face. Just as suddenly, it was gone, hidden beneath his somber mask. He strode towards the Silver Slipper, just one among the many milling about within Verden's walls. He needed a drink.
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Wingman
post Jun 26 2009, 12:51 PM
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Oh wow! She must have been sitting under a lucky star if her wish was getting answered that easy! Mergie really didn't understand why sitting underneath stars made your wishes come true, or why some stars were lucky if other stars weren't... or why lucky stars granted wishes while the others didn't... but that didn't matter right now. What mattered was that she now had two new people to talk to. Her boredom was as good as gone!

Mergie brightened noticable as a wide smile passed across her lips. The first person to have sat down wasn't really a person at all. It was a kitty cat laguz! All Mergie had to do was look at the funny ears and the long tail and she knew right away that she was a cat laguz. Cat laguz were fun and frisky, and they looked all funny when they started wrestling or playing. She'd have to ask the cat laguz if she wanted to practice her pouncing later. Mergie's illusions were good for that.

"I don't think so. No one's sitting there." Mergie smiled at her cat friend. "But you can if you want-"

That was about all that Mergie had a chance to say before the second person walked up to her table. This person looked like a plain ol' beorc. That was fine, Mergie hadn't spent a lot of time with plain ol' beorc. Most beorc she'd seen were too busy running around like angry chickens, pecking and knocking and scratching... they never really bothered to slow down and just talk. Having a beorc actually want to talk to her was pretty nice. She liked this beorc immediately. She was all quiet and polite and looked pretty.

Mergie gave the beorc a big smile and nodded in answer to her question.

"I'm not alone, Uncle Shirsham's watching out for me, and I have a new friend to talk to, and you're here now, so I'm not very alone. I was alone a few minutes ago, but not now. Thank you for asking, though.

"My name is Mergie! What's yours?"

OOC: Click Here To Show/Hide This Text
Social time, meet someone else (doesn't have to be Mergie) and exchange names, then we'll go from there.
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Blonde Panther
post Jun 26 2009, 02:46 PM
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The Beorc wasn't as old as Shuga had thought! In fact, if she calculated her own age over to Beorc, she would only be three or four years older. Such a pleasant surprise! And she smelt nice enough, too! "Thanks!" and she sat down on the chair, only to leap up right away. She'd just sat down on her own tail. How very odd. Nya. Smiling at the Beorc girl, she attempted to sit down again and looked at the newcomer, who asked if she were alone. "I am. I'm from Crimea, and I've gone travelling for anti-phobia reasons." She gave the stranger a smile and added: "It's not what you think. You've probably noticed-" She raised her tail as high as she could and raised her cat ears, "I'm older than I look."

The Branded/Beorc girl was apparently called Mergie. She asked for both their names and Shuga replied with: "My name's Shuga. Glad to meet you both!" Still, she shook a little bit. She wasn't too comfortable. She felt dark magic auras coming from Mergie's belongings, and Dark mages were, well... keep-your-eyes-open material. Nya, such a cute little Beorc girl wouldn't try to hurt her, right? She was more concerned about the other Beorc. Older, more experienced, and probably... able to cast fire magic. She shook the idea's off her and leaned back.

"Did you notice we can't leave town?" she said, smiling, "I couldn't even sneak out in my Cat form." Now she wasn't that hard to catch- anyone who wanted to catch a Laguz could do so, unless that Laguz was fleeing or fighting. Suddenly, a stench forced its way into her nostrils and her smile disappeared. It wasn't a bad scent, it was an utter stench. Something was awfully wrong in this town, she was sure of it. She put her hands down on the table, sat up straight and asked: "Does either one of you have something I can write with? My parents would appreciate it if I sent word every so often, and I haven't written ever since I left home." Of course, she couldn't know that, even if she were to write a letter, it would never go outside the town's walls.
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Isabella
post Jun 26 2009, 09:26 PM
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Claidi smiled at Mergie as she sat in her a seat next to her. It seemed like the girl was very happy to have someone to speak too but Claidi still worried about her being alone. The other girl was a cat laguz and of course Claidi knew that meant she was older then she looked but, it still felt like two young girls were on their own. That is until Mergie said her uncle was around, "Oh your Uncle is around here? He didn't leave you alone did he?" Claidi would have to give a talking to this uncle later. It wasn't very responsible to leave someone as young as Mergie alone on her own.

The two girls introduced themselves so Claidi followed suit, "Hi Mergie and Shuga, you know I'm from Crimea as well what a coincidence! I'm travelling to go visit Sienne but it seems this town has been closed off for some reason, so I guess I'll be staying here for a while." Claidi smiled and turned towards Mergie, "So where are you from then Mergie?"

Claidi was interrupted by Shuga however and her request for something to write with. "Oh yes of course, I have some parchment and ink in with my research supplies." Pulling out the bag Claidi rummaged through it for a bit producing a quill, ink, and some parchment for Shuga. "Here you are, tell me if you need any more parchment and yes it is strange about not being able to leave town. I thought perhaps there was some problem up ahead but if their pulling you back into town well, I don't know." Claidi worried that something could be going on in this town if no residents were allowed to leave it would be best if she stayed here with the girls she decided. Claidi looked back over at Mergie, "Is your Uncle coming back soon? I'll stay with you until he does, I'd like to chat with him."
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Fane
post Jun 30 2009, 07:07 PM
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The Silver Slipper was busy. No, that was an understatement. The inn was completely, absolutely packed. A mob of people had gathered again, and in the thick press of bodies, people were bumped and jostled. A choir of murmured apologies and sharp retorts of "Watch where you're going!" or the like drifted throughout the room. And even were he blind and deaf, Ossian would've found the mob of people without the slightest whiff of trouble. No, his nose would be full with the amalgam of clashing aromas rising from the mob. A few perfumes and colognes which might have smelled nice on their own, but were unpleasant as a group, were accompanied by the smell of dirt and smoke and sweat wafting from the bodies of the less privileged. One young man among the crowd had forearms so dirt-smeared, Ossian guessed him to be a farmhand of some sort. Probably caught in here on a run for ingredients, and with nowhere to bathe since. Then he remembered, most of the farms in this region raised cattle, with very few tending to crops. Then again, he thought, if a farm is where his arms turned brown, that would explain some of the smells.

Ossian contemplated leaving right then. Maybe this coward should return to his cove, he thought, a smile once again tugging at the corner of his lips. He wasn't sure what about this he found humorous. It should make him depressed. Maybe it's just the utter lack of levity in this town, he thought. Everyone's trapped, people are dying, and people just seem to have lost hope. They're walking around as if they're caught in a nightmare. How I wish that were true. If this was just one man's bad dream... at least no one would die. And no one else would be forced to go through this imprisonment. Ossian caught himself at that last word. "Imprisonment," he spoke aloud, barely above a whisper. Just to feel it rolling on his tongue, taste its bitter aftertaste. But no... it wasn't quite the right word. Criminals were imprisoned; never were the roles reversed. This town was no prison, and the thugs who roamed its streets no gaolers. This was more of... a hostage situation, almost.

The mob of people at the bar barely seemed to have diminished. Ossian was not quite ready to give up on a drink, however. He looked around for a seat, but found most every table to be full. There was one which had an opening; but he dismissed the idea as soon as he saw who else was occupying it. There was a young girl, maybe ten years old, with an odd shade of blue hair. A brown haired young woman shared a table with her, and the difference between their features and especially their hair colors was significant enough that Ossian doubted they were related. Even though this suggested someone was in town, looking after the girl, and thus the last seat would likely be taken, Ossian would have approached and asked if he could sit with them. Not with the third person there, however.

Ossian almost thought she was a beorc. Almost. She was about as easy to overlook in a crowd as Ossian himself, with mid-length brown hair and middling skin tone, she looked like an average adolescent Begnion girl. In fact, he thought a girl he knew from back in Jasoem Rickard's service had the same dress. But the ears gave her away as a laguz. Filthy creature. They'd been slaves at one time, and he wished they would have simply remained so. How he loathed her presence here. Were she and her kind still cleaning the houses of nobles (a group of humans he admittedly cared for little more than the beasts themselves,) he'd still have his younger brother. He cast a sharp glare in her direction before turning back to the cluster of men and women waiting at the bar, not wanting to be in her presence. And although there were a few laguz in the crowd, he noticed, they were a small enough minority he wouldn't have to endure the loathsome feeling of being with one.

All his life, he'd heard conflicting views on the laguz. Some despised them, some claimed to support their freedom. But the very first laguz freedom supporters he'd met were bleeding heart optimists, who seemed to throw their support behind every cause that came by. And most of the rest were hypocrites. They claimed to support laguz freedom, but had no friends who were laguz. Ossian wondered if some even knew the laguz. And he suspected that were owning slaves still legally and socially acceptable, at least half of them would have laguz sleeping in cages and dusting their furniture. Ossian didn't particularly want slavery to come back, but he did want the raids on slavers, and all of the abolitionist movements, to stop costing beorc lives. Why did people waste their time, and their countrymen's blood, on these inferior creatures? Ossian couldn't understand that. He'd been faithful to Ashera his whole life, but couldn't help letting a sliver of doubt enter his mind when some priest or other spoke of equality, and acceptance. But if the laguz were supposed to be equal, how were they subjugated? They were turned to slaves by beorc, and freed from their chains by other beorc. Their fates were guided by beorc hands. They were not his equals. If they ever had been, they'd lost the right before he was born. They were, as Daein said, sub-human.

He realized his hands were shaking again, and stilled them. It seemed in the tension surrounding this whole situation, it seemed like the slightest spark would set his temper off. He didn't usually react that strongly to laguz. Sure, he looked down on and avoided them, but he was uncomfortable with how easily and quickly just the sight of one laguz - and a rather small and unfrightening one, at that. He really, really hoped something would happen soon. Anything. He almost wanted a fight to break out, just to have something to get his mind off of the constant tedium and depressive mood. But finally, it was his turn at the bar. He quickly bought an ale from the barkeep, wincing at the meager amount of gold in his coin pouch. He really, really needed more money. He might even have to take another job as a mercenary. Ossian hated their kind, too. Killing for money... the only thing that had actually let him cope with what he'd done as a soldier was the thought that their was a cause for it. He was only half successful in justifying his own survival as an acceptable cause. Every job he took left a bad taste in his mouth.

But that was hardly his biggest problem right now. He was still stuck in this town, still had no good way to get out, still had no money, and no good way to make some. And, he reminded himself, he was standing around, holding a sweaty glass of ale, with nowhere to sit. He stood there, feeling awkward, and hoping someone would leave. He may have stooped to killing for his next meal, but he wouldn't sit with a laguz if he could help it.
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Phyrro
post Jul 1 2009, 10:37 AM
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Smile, because you are beautiful.
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Dull...ignorant...annoying...uneasy...oblivious. Benoît circled through the various options available to describe the inn's atmosphere. Though he turned his nose up at it at first, there was no denying that it had potential. Quite feasibly, it may have been none of them, nor may there have been any potential at all. He did not dwell on it long. Shutting the door behind him, he swept gracefully, almost powerfully, into the room, his piercing, enigmatic eyes checking his surroundings with minimal effort. Though nothing stood out right away, one corner of his mouth turned upwards in a wistful smirk as he decided that he would have to find something sooner or later. The truth was that, in his current mood—as close to a bad one as he could find himself in...could it be described as such?—he was feeling rather lazy, but his mind was still open to any possibility. He nodded. I'll get around to looking for the reason that not a soul seems able to leave this place.

Or he wouldn't. Were there a soul more whimsical, he would surely be its only true kin.

Languishing in the center of dystopia, the inn, and Benoît, seemed almost expectant. The difference as he saw it was that a large part of the inn's patrons, and thus the general attitude that permeated the air, lent themselves to craving an answer, desiring a change. Benoît, unsurprisingly, was expecting a revelation, but not wishing it onward. He at last found a place to rest near the bar, glancing around momentarily before leaning back into a relaxing pose that coincidentally faced the door. He thoroughly enjoyed how his robe (covering his tattoo and tail) and hair (ears) helped him blend in (though one could easily make the case that the robe, which was expensive and ornate, did not do that at all; rather, it specifically prevented his easily being identified as a laguz by the general onlooker). It allowed the self-satisfying stag to pick and choose his spots.

While the populace within the inn's walls seemed engaged in conversation with one another, without a single soul spared for approaching, Benoît continued to watch the door. An urge had suddenly come upon him to forge a meeting with someone, if only to keep himself entertained, and perhaps to learn what was going on. Despite the fact that what would happen would, in his opinion, without anyone having the ability to alter it, he was becoming more curious as he simply sat there.

Moments later, the door swung open, another escaping the myopic expanse outside. The White Stag's eyebrows raised slightly when the entrant proved himself to be quite interesting.

Hmm...what a specimen!

It wasn't his physical appearance that seemed to draw Benoît. That was undeniably ordinary, the highlight being a clean crop of light brown hair. No, no, no! It was his attitude. He exuded an air that Benoît could almost feel. He bore a scowl—at this point Benoît's mood was lifted, and he began to dance about jokingly with his words, thus telling himself, Always a good startin' point, don't'cha know?—and a tense pose that seemed, just seemed, to scream that he was pensive, possibly disturbed, and almost nervous at something. Even the White Stag could not imagine what, but he was interested. In fact, he was eager. Eager enough, it so became, that he slowly stood from his position near the bar and moved in a circular pattern back towards the door as this newcomer strode to the bar. He acquired a glass of ale as the enigmatic, pale one watched him from afar. Better yet, he remained standing afterwards, inspecting the room and its occupants just as his predecessor had.

Striding up confidently from behind, Benoît stopped just out of reach and called out, far enough away to not be hit by a jolted swing of a weapon but close enough that only this man and others very close nearby could hear his cry.

"Howdy, swordsman!"
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Wingman
post Jul 2 2009, 11:36 AM
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Bat Break
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Wow. Claidi and Shuga were really friendly! Merge was pretty glad that they had stopped to talk. Her boredom was all but gone now- especially when they said that they were from Crimea. She'd never been to Crimea, but she'd heard about it. Crimea was the land of knights in shining armor, right? They were the brave people who rode around on horseback and did things like slay dragons and rescue pretty girls and fall in love and fight off bandits. The thought caused Mergie to scrunch up her lips and tilt her head to one side as she considered this. That was strange. If Shuga and Claidi came from Crimea... where were their knights? They were both pretty and friendly- they had to have a knight who loved them! That was weird...

She wouldn't really get a chance to ask about that, though. Claidi and Shuga were both talking about how the road was closed and no one could leave town. This was news to her. Mergie hadn't heard anything about it. Was that why they hadn't left town yet? Maybe. Probably. The roads were closed. Mergie hoped that they would be fixed soon. As much as she liked talking to Claidi and Shuga, waiting around for a long time was very boring. Especially when there was no one to play with. Maybe Shuga and Claidi would stay to play with her! That would be fun!

Claidi really seemed interested in Uncle Shirsham. She kept asking about him. Maybe she wanted to meet him? Mergie couldn't help but wonder why. Uncle Shirsham was a little boring. All he did was stand there like a statue and tell her to be quiet. He wasn't any fun at all. Maybe Claidi could make him smile! Yeah, Claidi was friendly, surely she could make Uncle Shirsham less boring!

"Uncle Shirsham's out... uh... 'In-vest-i-gating', Aunt Claidi." Mergie answered the question as she began swinging her legs off the edge of her chair. "He does that a lot, and he tells me to just stay put and wait for him to get back. He's been gone all day, so I've just been sitting here waiting on him. He doesn't want me to leave the room... so its very boring. Even Angel got bored and fell asleep. She hasn't talked to me all day- oh!"

All at once, Mergie felt a familiar touch against the back of her mind. A smile darted across her lips as she tilted her head to the side in order to listen to the familiar presence.

"Angel just woke up! She says that you're a very nice person and that I can trust you and Aunt Shuga." Mergie relayed that choice bit of information dutifully. "But I already know I could trust you, you're nice. You can always trust nice people...

"Oh! Right, you asked where I was from. I'm from Gallia! I lived there with my momma and poppa for a long, long, long, long time. They then left and and asked Uncle Shirsham to take me to my Aunt's house. We've been walking for a long time now, but if the road's closed I guess we can't go any further."

>-{-}-<


Pauline was not happy.

It was plain to see that the people of this town were getting desperate. Tensions were running high, confusion was running amock, and frustrations burning. All these idiots had to do was just stay put, refuse to make a fuss, and they'd all be fine. They weren't interested in shaking down this little town- it was really too poor for their tastes. But the townspeople hadn't quite been broken yet, and so they had been starting to get uppity and uncooperative. More and more had been trying to flee this town, and they couldn't have that. Not yet, anyway.

Therefore, the guys at the South Gate had decided that it was time to make a statement. Pauline agreed with the idea, but the felt that it was well and good to add her own little twist to their party.

And fortunately, she had just the expendable crewman to do it.

Pauline burst into the central hallway, skirts swirling and low-cut gown glistening, then whipped about to smile perkily at their relatively new hire.

"Be a dear, little Feuerwehr-maid, and lend me a hand with a little task?" One arm was lazily and loving placed around Senka's shoulder in an endearing manner. "Some of our boys are fixing to throw a little party in the town square, you should know who they are, but... I'm dreadfully afraid that their actions will cause some small measure of strife. I want you to go watch their little exhibition match... and, be a dear and clean up anyone in the crowd who looks like they could make trouble for us, would you?"
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Kei
post Jul 6 2009, 10:41 AM
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The Face wasn't stupid.

Of course, he couldn't quite go down to the exact minute details of Senka's life career - they were buried far too deep, never recorded, never witnessed, even by the Feuerwehr - but the Face knew relatively soon that Senka was not just a live-in maid-for-hire - and a damn good one at that - as much as she also was a part-time Feuerwehr. Exactly what was meant by part-time Feuerwehr, the Face didn't actually know - the damnable organization kept far too many secrets and didn't operate with any logic he was comfortable with - but upon actually seeing one of Senka's episodes once - which was a testimony to how mentally-whacked she could be if given the proper triggers - he could tell just exactly why. It was perhaps why none of the Face's men have so much as touched Senka; they didn't dare. She may be a sweet, smiling, cheerful twenty-year-old, but even those who have remotely heard of the Todeswald knew that anyone related to the Feuerwehr was potentially extremely dangerous. It was better that no one really provided Senka a reason to be actually extremely dangerous, at least not towards them. Besides, she had her uses.

Senka also wasn't stupid.

Years, more than a decade, of experience in assassination - built up before she was even ten - had imbued her with very good instincts. Even if she didn't work things out with logic - which was, admittedly, not one of Senka's fortes - or experience, she simply had that vacant understanding somewhere in the back of her head that fed her subconsciousness things, which, in turn, influenced her consciousness. She wasn't consciously sure as to whether or not the Face actually knew that she was related to the Feuerwehr - she most certainly didn't actually tell him, although this was largely because he never actually asked - but she there was the vague understanding that, if she was given a job order to "take care of things", then it was all but likely that the Face knew. That said, behind that vague understanding was the subconscious realization that this woman, Pauline, obviously thought of Senka as expendable...a view that Senka personally didn't disagree with. Except for the fact that Senka didn't actually have any intention of actually being expendable. She was too good for that. Senka wasn't stupid.

Senka simply did not care.

Senka smiled and, with a bit of a curtsy, accepted Pauline's orders. "I'll see that it's done," Senka smiled cheerfully even as she bowed her head once in deference - the other maids found the gesture to be terrifyingly surreal - even as she stepped down from a ladder she had been using to clean a particularly large bronze statue. Seeing that Pauline had no intention of actually issuing other orders, Senka left the presence of the woman to return to her private quarters - which actually was a guest room, and was actually not at all that bad an accommodation compared to what others have offered her in the past - to put on a change of clothes, elegant, wide, straight-line full-length robes that gently hugged at the shape of her body. Within the robes were, unsurprisingly, hidden different blades and devices of her trade, but no one really needed to know that.

No one really need to know one thing that Senka registered in her mind either, something that tugged at the corner of her lips and drew her smile wider, like a young girl that suddenly realized she was given free reign while mommy and daddy were out of the house. It was the one thing that kept spinning in Senka's mind and put a bit of a cheerful hop into her gait that only served in reminding the guards who saw her that Senka was keeping up a frightening facade.

Lady Pauline's instructions had been awfully vague.

((OOC: Not the Great American Novel, but I wanted to get this post out before anything else.))
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post Jul 7 2009, 10:23 AM
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As Shuga wrote, she picked up some things from Mergie and Claidi. Investigating... Angel... Gallia... She looked up when Mergie seemed to start talking about someone who wasn't there. Nya, it was only natural that Beorc kiddies had imaginary friends. It wasn't really a problem and Shuga didn't find it to be awkward, either, so she just smiled and continued writing. She was a bit embarrased about her horrible handwriting, though. Nya, so long as her parents were able to read it, it was okay. She leaned back, ran her free hand through her hair and re-viewed the letter she'd just written.

Hi, mom and dad!
I promised I would write home every time I reached a village or an outpost. So, here's keeping that promise! I'm in a place called Verden, in Begnion. The people are nice here, and although I could do with some more trees to sleep in, I've already gotten myself a nice place to stay. I'm perfectly fine and not scared at all! We're not allowed to leave town, but it's not much of a problem, really. I think I'll be back home in time for summer.
Kisses from Shuga!


Maybe she shouldn't have written about not being allowed to leave town. But if she crossed it out now, her parents would think it was much more severe than it really was. Nya, it didn't matter. Shuga folded the letter and returned the quill and ink to Claidi. "Thanks so much. I'll get it posted before I go to my room." Usually, she'd sign by putting her Cat paw on it, like a stamp, but there was no room to shift. Besides, Mergie might panic if she just changed like that. She put it in her own bag and said: "So, Mergie, you're from Gallia? That's cool. I thought there were only Beast Laguz there..."
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post Jul 8 2009, 08:53 PM
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The Self-loathing Narcissist
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"Howdy, swordsman!"

Ossian turned at the waist to see who had called. The proximity of the voice suggested he was the swordsman in question, and the gaze of the man it belonged to confirmed that suggestion. Ossian kept his face impassive for the most part, but his brow did furrow slightly when he saw the figure who'd addressed him. Seconds later, all pretense of calmness was gone. Ossian's eyes widened at the sight of the figure's elaborate, expensive looking robes. A noble? He certainly looked it. Why was this man addressing him? Was this man looking for Ossian? A shiver ran up his spine as he thought about the possibility. No. No, it couldn't be. That's ridiculous, paranoid, he thought. Why would this man be here alone, after all, confronting Ossian?

Unless he wasn't alone. Ossian's eyes darted about the room, looking for Begnion uniforms, or men dressed similarly to the one who had addressed him. Both searches were fruitless; hardly surprising, considering their current situation. Begnion soldiers wouldn't exactly be welcomed by Verden's new rulers, and the man's garb was hardly common. Ossian had never seen anything remotely like it, in fact. The robe was atypical enough in style and color to make Ossian question his earlier theory. He'd seen quite a few nobles in his journey, much as he tried to avoid them, and this robe was not the current fashion. It definitely had a foreign look to it, and that put Ossian at ease a bit. He returned his face to its impassive mask again, hoping the man hadn't noticed his lapse in composure. Highly unlikely, considering how he had been frozen there for nearly ten seconds.

"Greetings to you, as well," he said, deliberately avoiding saying "howdy". What kind of greeting was that? It sounded like something a Crimean farmer might say, not an upper class citizen of Begnion. Something he should be thankful for, Ossian thought. "How can I help you?" Ossian really wasn't sure what else to say. He wasn't sure who this man was, or what he wanted, and why he chose to approach Ossian of all the people in the Silver Slipper. But he didn't want to just launch into an interrogation. Hopefully, he could brush the man off quickly. That would be ideal. The figure was mysterious enough that Ossian distrusted him, and would rather not spend too much time in his presence.

On the other hand, this newcomer did have him wondering now. Ossian had never been a particularly curious person, but his interest was now piqued. He decided that it would be best to speak with this man for a little while. Besides, he's better than some company, Ossian thought, looking out of the corner of his eye at the laguz. She seemed to be writing something. Ossian's lip curled slightly in distaste at the sight of her, but only briefly. He looked back at the man in white. At least he had a fellow beorc to talk to, enigma though he was.
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