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Thread: Things That Make You Go BOOM

  1. #1
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    William Arcus
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    Things That Make You Go BOOM

    “There and back again, but always this place,” William muttered. The dock side streets of Scara Brae City were are familiar to him as they were unfamiliar. Years of growth and change serving only to enhance the places that he remembered all that much more. The old sailor’s dive bars and cargo shipping warehouses now contended with adventuring supply companies and inland tour group organizers looking to capitalize on fresh faced newcomers with more coin in their purse than skill in their hands or sense in their brains.

    That’d been William, once upon a time. He’d fled Amra, his homeland, a tormented fugitive, freed from Kaloth’s grip only to find himself a slave to the rage burning in his chest. By the time he’d recovered his mind, Amran shores were long distant, nearly forgotten in the foreign ports of Althanas. Lost and alone, Scara Brae had become his new home.

    Not that he’d escaped persecution here, either.

    “Lord?” Duncan’s voice intruded. Sighing, William pulled his attention back to the present and focused it on the Lady Faire’s chief porter.

    “Yes, Duncan?” he asked.

    “We have offloaded your cargo and my crew is just about finished packing up your luggage. Do you have a destination to which we can order a delivery service or will you be taking possession of the cargo yourself?

    William reached deep into a pocket inside the heavy coat he wore and pulled out a smooth crème envelope. “Have it shipped to the Auburn Livery Hospitale,” he said.

    Duncan’s face clearly registered shock as he repeated, “The Auburn, my lord?”

    William smiled at Duncan’s reaction, though he didn’t blame the sailor. The Auburn Livery Hospitale was one of the most exclusive and affluent hotels in Scara Brae City, catering only to travelling nobility and patrons of the wealthiest order. William was affluent enough to afford first class passage on the ship from Corone, but nothing else about the man belied enough status to earn a room at the Auburn. William said nothing else and simply tossed Duncan a bag of coins and turned back to the Scara Brae City skyline, leaving the porter to his wonder and confusion. Duncan scurried off, casting one last querying glance over his shoulder before disappearing down the gangplank. William had already put the man out of his mind.

    “It even smells the same,” William thought, closing his eyes long enough to savor a long drag of the rancid sea air. There were those who loved the salt brine smell of sea water and the particular way it congealed around the docks and wharves of civilized society. Scara Brae City was no different, but there was an oddly paradoxical freshness beneath the tang of piles of seaweed and oily debris washed up under the frontage boardwalk. It was a freshness that signaled hope and potential.

    Is that why he came back here, William wondered. Was he seeking a new beginning? Redemption? William had done much evil in his life, but there was good there too. No, he didn’t regret. Regret was for other men. That’s what he told himself.

    Frustrated, as he always found himself to be upon coming back to Scara Brae City, William turned his mind to other, less troubling matters. He departed the Lady Faire, trusting the porters to properly see to his luggage and all the other sundries. Those things were of no concern to the Revenant at the moment. Instead he turned his thoughts to a project long unfinished, a project in which the only logical place to finish his work was Scara Brae.

    Other lands boasted many fine master blacksmiths and weapons crafters, but Scara Brae elevated the craft, as it did everything, to an art. William could have taken his business to any of those places and walked away with a dangerous new toy to play with, but to truly create a living piece of art was a rare thing indeed. That was what William wanted, and that was what he was going to get.

    William marched into the headquarters of the Brae Blacksmith’s Guild and posted a notice to their work board, ignoring the inquiries of the guild postern behind the counter. The notice read:

    I require an artisan of the highest quality to complete a weapons project of the most dangerous and abstract nature. Esoteric knowledge and skill in forging and creation is a must.

    Interested parties may seek out the Knight of Brae staying in the Auburn Livery Hospitale.


    “That should be vague and interesting enough to draw the right sort of crafter,” William chuckled as he reread the notice, deeming it satisfactory. Work finished, William left the Blacksmith’s Guild and continued his reminiscing walk down the streets of Scara Brae.

    It was good to be back.
    "I have looked upon all that the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and the flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me." - Call of Cthulhu

    David vs. Goliath: History's first recorded critical hit.
    JC Thread - The Bitter King

  2. #2
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    Arden's Avatar

    Name
    Arden Janelle
    Age
    536 (appears 28)
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    Red
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    It did not take long for the notice to find itself on the desk of the Maester of the Scourge. Amidst a malaise of administration and meetings with clientele from all walks of Scara Braen life, the true message it held, of an unwelcome return, did not dawn on Arden Janelle until the small hours. Finally, alone, he read it several times in silence before he focussed on three words in particular.

    “Knight of Brae…”

    Flashbacks, horrible and visceral recoiled the swordsman. Images of a goddess awry and the smell of burnt flesh and chaos on the wind filled his nostrils and drowned his thoughts. How long ago had that night of debauchery been? Five years? Seven? Ten?

    “Marcelle!” he roared, after the candles on the opposite side of his desk burnt down to their wit’s end.

    The office of the Maester, no longer a ceremonial post for the underworld of the island served as a meeting place and library. Wall to wall, bookshelves contained the historical records of the organisation from its inception as a gang of cutthroats and thieves. Now, it held the livelihood of Scara Brae’s rebels, freedom fighters, and well-to-doers. Its purpose was to ensure the independence of peace of the island, Valeena’s tacticians and reprobates turned guardians.

    A lithe, middle-aged man entered the room through the open door opposite. He wore a tight-fitting black suit with a white shirt, sans tie, and twirled his moustache as he crossed the tiled floor to stand before his employer. He bowed, unnecessary habit, and awaited instruction.

    “Tell me everything you know about this?”

    Marcelle followed the point to the note lain bare on the desk and wrinkled his nose.

    “Found on the craftsman board sir, pertaining to weapon smithing and placed without audit or permission.”

    Arden sighed. It was just like the demon to subvert authority. To assume he was better than anyone else was. He leant back in his chair and rubbed his hands together seditiously. The oni in the pit of his stomach stirred, rage and bile fuelling his growing anger.

    “When?”

    “I believe a novitiate brought it yesterday morning.”

    “Then there is a good chance the petitioner is still in the city…”

    “Of note, sir?” Marcelle raised an eyebrow. He had worked with Arden long enough to know when mundane matters ceased being trivial. An evening of accounting disappeared, giving way to a growing sense of excitement, of urgency, and of duty.

    “Only one bastard would dare to use Knight of Brae.” Arden pictured the last image he could recall of William Arcus. Laughter. Flames. An immortal caged. “Send a sparrow hawk to the palace. Ask Valeena for an assassination contract to be placed on the former Knight Captain Arcus.”

    “That is n-“

    Arden cut his employee off firmly, “She will approve it without a thought. When the contract returns please inform me, and prepare my student for yet another brutish education in keeping of the peace.”

    Marcelle bowed, accepting his responsibilities, and withdrew hastily.

    Alone again, Arden compiled his thoughts. It had been years since Duffy had died, and longer still since the former captains of the Ixian Knights had last communicated, in friendship or hatred. Why now? He wondered. He clenched his fists, knuckles whitening and teeth clenching until his jaw ached.

    “Revenant.” He hissed. “Now I get the name…”

    He pushed himself upright and leant against the edge of the desk. Fists still clenched, he read the note one last time, to re-affirm his actions, and straightened his spine. It clicked, the weight of admin and responsibility crushing in its intensity. He rolled his neck, clicked his limbs to life, and emerged from behind his desk. In simple cotton slacks and a stained white shirt, he did appear to resemble anything other than a clerk. With a simple thought, he drew on magic long abandoned, and a blood red demi-cloak unfurled from the ether and draped him in malice.

    “Ruby…” he whispered. “Meet me in the castle.” The message teetered on a knife edge for a moment, before it tumbled away into roils of power to its recipient. He went through the motions of warming up, a kata with an unseen blade to steel him against a perceived conflict. “William has showed his face.”

    Adorned in the trappings of the Silent Swordsman, he lifted Kerria from its stand on the right side of his desk and tested its edge against his thumb. It cut through skin with ease, and the smell of blood tingled down his spine and his thoughts keened. He left the image of himself grinning from ear to ear in his wake as he tumbled through dimensions towards Castle Brandybuck. Towards a vengeance long thought stagnant and unsatisfied.

  3. #3
    Member
    EXP: 90,835, Level: 13
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    Revenant's Avatar

    Name
    William Arcus
    Age
    Mid-30's (apparent age)
    Race
    Revenant
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Black Stubble
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    Molten Fire
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    5'11"/178lbs
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    William was dozing lightly when the knock sounded. He came to with a start, blinking in confusion at the offending door. The surprise passed quickly though and William rolled off the lounging chair he’d been sleeping on, irritated both at the interruption and at his response to it. He wasn’t averse to living in luxury every once in a while, but the boredom of two days without progress was obviously beginning to take its toll. Something was going to have to happen soon or William would have to take matters into his own hands.

    Pietro waited on the other side of the door, serving cart at the ready. The steward maintained a polished demeanor, as always, though William could feel how uneasy the man was around him. The gossip was that William’s stunt at the blacksmith’s guild had drawn attention to his presence as he’d hoped it would. But instead of drawing eager and curious crafters, as he’d hoped, the action had only served to spread the word about William’s murderous reputation. He stepped back and gestured the steward in, glad that his reputation at least kept small talk at bay.

    It was obvious that Pietro didn’t want to be there, but the steward was nothing if not professional. William quietly watched as Pietro wheeled the serving cart across the room, smoothly swapping the plates of food on it with yesterday’s mostly untouched ones.

    “I take it there have been no further inquiries?” William finally asked when he’d tired of watching Pietro work.

    “I’m afraid not, Lord Arcus,” the steward answered. His words were punctuated in a crisp Salvaran accent that William suspected was a fake. Pietro finished setting out the food and moved to check the various scented oils and perfumes that the Auburn provided to its guests. Those too were mostly untouched.

    “How disappointing,” William said, walking over to examine the day’s fare. Pietro nodded submissively, afraid to do anything but.

    “It is as you say, my Lord. Most unfortunate. But I personally guarantee that I will notify you the instant another applicant arrives. In the meantime is there anything else I can get for you?” William grunted and dismissed the steward with a wave.

    William sighed as he picked over the food. Scara Brae was renowned for its crafters, but so far only two had been willing to defy guild doctrine. Of those two, one had been woefully unprepared for the task that William needed and the second had merely been curious to see the man who thought he could defy the guild. It had taken a lot of willpower to let that second woman live.

    “Who’d have thought that artists would be the ones to bow to convention,” he groused, grabbing a handful of tart berries off the plate and popping several into his mouth.

    Too much of William’s life had been spent under the thumb of one master or another. There was no end to the people who’d sought to use William’s strength to elevate themselves. But that was a thing of the past, blood and betrayal had seen to that. But what good was there with being the master of your own fate if you did nothing with it?

    Frustrated, William tossed the rest of the berried back and grabbed for the ceramic jug of dark ale beside them. He yanked the stopper off the jug and took a long pull of the bitter brew as he retreated back across the room to collapse back into his lounging chair.

    Was it really too much to ask that there be others in the world who refused to bow?
    "I have looked upon all that the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and the flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me." - Call of Cthulhu

    David vs. Goliath: History's first recorded critical hit.
    JC Thread - The Bitter King

  4. #4
    Member
    EXP: 53,501, Level: 9
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    Arden's Avatar

    Name
    Arden Janelle
    Age
    536 (appears 28)
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Brown
    Eye Color
    Red
    Build
    5'10"/179lbs
    Job
    Guild Van

    The Auburn Livery Hospitale stood ominous before the red headed siblings. They stared at it intently, rehashing the plan repeatedly. Ruby, try as she might to persuade Arden to take a subtler approach, came only to ensure her brother did not do something he would come to regret.

    “Please don’t make a scene,” she warned.

    Arden folded his arms across his chest. The early morning sun on his back, the cold chill of dawn still in his bones.

    “I don’t intend to run him through over grapefruit and coffee.”

    “You are here to talk,” she said sternly.

    “Talk…yes.”

    Ruby rolled her eyes and stepped forwards into his gaze. Her expression said all she needed to.

    “I know, I know…it’s just, I can’t see William having turned a leaf.”

    “But we will give him chance to explain himself all the same. Valeena’s writ be damned,” she held out a hand. Arden produced a folded sheet of parchment and handed it to her. She opened it and read a choice line from the text. “Excise due diligence and caution in apprehending any individual who pose a risk to Scara Braen interests.”

    “You said you understood.”

    “Arden. I do. I very much do. But if we are to have any hope of putting this matter to bed we have to protect ourselves, and others.” She gestured at the busy street, mottled with clientele of the city’s more affluent district. They walked back and forth along the cobbled thoroughfare, oblivious to the drama unfolding in their safe haven.

    “Something he has forgotten to do.”

    She sighed. With sunken shoulders, the spell singer put the writ into the pocket of her overcoat and fumbled to find her reservation papers. After the initial outrage, the swearing and the gin consumption, they formed a plan to get close to William and discover the truth of the matter.

    “If he bolts, or shows no regret for his actions then, and only then can you, as you so delicately put it ‘cut off his head and shit down his neck’.”

    “Fine, Mrs Janelle,” he conceded.

    They walked forwards side by side, and when they reached the bottom step leading to the gilded entrance to the hotel Arden took Ruby by the arm and ascended with renewed tact and decorum.

    “Very good, Mr Janelle. Remember, if we so much as drop a P or Q the proprietor will have us removed for some tedious bye law or another.”

    She wore a long black overcoat, gold thread edging a flair of the dramatic, and her hair tied up in an elaborate yet functional bun. He mirrored her style with a military jacket, hastily borrowed from Leopold’s wardrobe, tight black trousers, and painfully well-polished riding boots. It was hunting season on the island, and they, like many other well to do patrons staying in Scara Brae were holidaying in the capital to take part in a bewildering trite array of rides, parlances, and banquets.

    “Afternoon, ser,” bowed the door attendant. He pulled the doors open and stepped to one side as his guests entered in silence.

    The Hospitale interior was as grandiose as the exterior. The black and white tiles in the foyer stood polished to perfection, casting reflections of the golden chandeliers overhead. It looked as though the floor were an ice rink, its patrons and staff dancing frustrating and regimented endeavour and etiquette between dining hall and lounge and reception desk.

    “Welcome to the Livery, ser, ma’am,” greeted the spider like woman behind the mahogany counter. A wall of boxes and keys stood behind her, centred by a painting of the establishment in its formative years. “How might I assist you?” She looked the pair over, and satisfied they were not soliciting, moved from her ledger to stand opposite.

    “Lord and Lady Janelle,” Ruby held out her reservation and nodded curtly. “We have come to meet with a patron, known as the Knight of Brae. Might you inform him of his weapons smith’s arrival?” She inflected her question with a mix of command and pleasantries.

    “Certainly, Lady Janelle. Mr Arcus is expecting you.” She set the reservation down on the counter and copied the particulars into the booking in book. The flick of her quill filled the tension between them.

    “Expecting us?” Arden probed. They stepped apart; hands folded across their fronts, and kept an ear pricked to the sounds of clientele in conversation and diminishing sobriety.

    “Indeed.” She looked up and smiled weakly. With a well-practised movement, the receptionist fetched a key and welcome duo of champagne from the silver bucket and drink’s stand and set them down on the counter without a sound. “Please, enjoy your refreshments and await his arrival in the sun lounge.” She gestured to a doorway on the far wall, set into floral wallpaper and surrounded by an ivy trellis in full, white jasmine bloom.

    “Kind regards,” Ruby said with a smile as she picked up her glass. Arden pocketed the key and took as heady a sip as etiquette allowed.

    They walked gingerly towards the sun lounge, catching one another’s worried expression as they walked through into a large circular space blazing with sunlight and decorated to resemble a summerhouse. They took overlooking the street, pallid skin resplendent in the light and beading with sweat. Two glasses chinked together, as was custom for arriving guests, as they arranged themselves to keep one eye apiece on the entrance.

    “So much for the element of surprise…,” Arden said sullenly. Bubbles popped on his tongue as conviction and courage popped in his heart.

  5. #5
    Member
    EXP: 90,835, Level: 13
    Level completed: 6%, EXP required for next level: 13,165
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    Revenant's Avatar

    Name
    William Arcus
    Age
    Mid-30's (apparent age)
    Race
    Revenant
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Black Stubble
    Eye Color
    Molten Fire
    Build
    5'11"/178lbs
    Job
    Freelance Murder Machine

    View Profile
    The silver bird beside William’s bed chirped. Cautiously, William took the jug of beer from his lips and peered at the sculpture warily. It was a fancy contraption, one the Auburn prided itself on. Rather than interrupting one of their guests with a runner when their attention was needed the Auburn had devised a magical link between the front desk and the guests’ rooms.

    The bird chirped again.

    Satisfied that the notification wasn’t in error, William rolled himself through the process of getting up out of his lounging chair again. This time was markedly different, given the mostly empty nature of the bottle still clutched in his hand. He shuffled across the room to stand before the silver bird sculpture, which dutifully chirped once again.

    At five chirps hotel services would simply pass the information along to a runner who would leave the message in a guest’s secured delivery slot, something each of the Auburn’s rooms had. William could also acknowledge the notification by pressing down on the bird’s head, which would achieve the same result as not answering. But a half gallon of dark ale hadn’t cured William’s restlessness any more than lounging around had.

    Instead William did the third thing that he could do with the silver bird, tilting the contraption backwards on its perch. Doing this signified that the guest had received the request and would stop by themselves to pick it up at their leisure.

    “No time like the present,” William said, heading for the door. He paused when he got a look at himself in the full length mirror standing adjacent to the room’s exit. His stubble covered head wasn’t a problem, one of the many reasons William kept it trimmed so short. But the clothing that he’d been wearing while slumped over asleep in his chair was quite disheveled. William thought about simply saying “fuck it” to the decorum of the Auburn and parading around to the sun lounge dressed in that manner.

    Still, for as much as William would love to be able to flaunt his casual disregard for the hotel’s propriety, doing so would only serve to shorten the time that the Auburn was willing to put up with his show of wealth and status. And there was also the matter of presenting at least a cursory appearance for whichever crafter was not deciding to be brave enough to show themselves to him. At least that’s what William assumed the notification was about. The Auburn staff had been studiously avoiding all other reasons to come into contact with William. Also, William reminded himself that the craftsmen in Scara Brae were already proving to be notoriously fickle creatures. It’d be better not to give this one any reason to bolt outright.

    It took only a moment for William to change into something a little more upscale, though still far below the standards of most of the Auburn’s guests. He topped it off by throwing his dark inked beast hide cloak around his shoulders and fastened it with a coppery amber brooch. Definitely not his usual flair but one that he deemed fitting. Lastly, so as not to appear too acquiescent to societal pressures, William snatched up the jug of ale and hauled its final dregs off with him.

    Despite his attempt at grooming, William still received more than one disapproving scowl as he made his way through the swank hotel and up to the lovely woman working behind the front desk.

    “Good afternoon, Lord Arcus,” the woman said, betraying no hint of trepidation when facing William. He approved.

    “Lord and Lady Janelle are waiting for you in the sun lounge,” the woman continued. “I have taken the liberty of providing them with refreshments on your behalf.”

    “Janelle,” William muttered, the familiar name rattled around in his pleasantly hazy thoughts but found no purchase.

    “Yes, my Lord. Should I have them come back another time?” the woman asked, looking down at the jug in William’s hand. This time he caught the faintest trace of distaste on his face before she could cover it.

    William waved the question off and made his way across the reception hall, towards the ivory colored doorway through which William caught an eyeful of swirling colors. There was more than one person inside waiting for him, he saw. William swallowed the last pull of ale from the jug and entered.

    Everything froze the instant he did so, the familiarity of the pair within making sense of the familiar name Janelle.

    “Duffy’s courtier and the assassin,” he said, breaking the terse silence. “And me without any more ale.”
    "I have looked upon all that the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and the flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me." - Call of Cthulhu

    David vs. Goliath: History's first recorded critical hit.
    JC Thread - The Bitter King

  6. #6
    Member
    EXP: 53,501, Level: 9
    Level completed: 96%, EXP required for next level: 499
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    Arden's Avatar

    Name
    Arden Janelle
    Age
    536 (appears 28)
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Brown
    Eye Color
    Red
    Build
    5'10"/179lbs
    Job
    Guild Van

    Arden looked up from his drink and nearly scoffed. There, in the flesh, was a man he’d long expected dead. At the very least, Cassandra Remi should have turned against those who were unworthy of her supposed divinity. He pondered on all the possibilities, the pathways stretching out from that fateful night.

    “Mr Arcus, I do believe it would be proper to be seated at this point.”

    Ruby, suddenly aflame despite the intoxication, gestured for Revenant to be seated at the third wheel at their table. The look on her face suggested that it be most unwise for their ‘guest’ to refuse. In a ladylike manner, she adjusted herself and sat as upright, and matriarchally as she could. For the best part of the morning, the red headed spell singer had not entirely come to grips with the prospects of meeting an ‘old friend’. She had to play catch up between logic and emotions.

    “William,” Arden nodded, short, sharp, and full of contempt.

    He crossed the room, like an inferno of bitterness despite the airs and graces. A single digit raised to bring another drink to the table in his wake, and, between polite conversations and ample sausage on delicate bone china, he sat at the table between Ruby and Arden and braced himself for the worst.

    “So. You ‘cornered’ me. I’m here. Why should I stay?”

  7. #7
    Member
    EXP: 90,835, Level: 13
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    Revenant's Avatar

    Name
    William Arcus
    Age
    Mid-30's (apparent age)
    Race
    Revenant
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
    Black Stubble
    Eye Color
    Molten Fire
    Build
    5'11"/178lbs
    Job
    Freelance Murder Machine

    View Profile
    Silence filled the sun lounge, the uncomfortable sense of malice between its three occupants almost a physical thing. Pretending not to notice, William carried on casually. There was a momentary snarl of an angry animal instinct in his core telling him to establish dominance over Arden and Ruby, but he corralled that instinct and shepherded it to a more appropriate location. He’d grown past the need for such displays, he reminded himself. Things like challenging his former fellow Ixian captains to single combat were a requirement of a previous mindset and a previous life.

    “I suppose it’s not really surprising that you’re the people I ended up running into out here,” William said. He shook the empty jug and gave it a long, irritated glance. It was impossible to miss how he purposefully took his eyes off Arden and Ruby to do so, another signal to them of his lack of concern.

    “I’m thinking I should order another jug. Do you two want another bottle? It’s all on me, of course, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that the service here ….” William managed before Ruby cut him off.

    “Pardon my bluntness, Mr. Arcus, but while I have little patience for whatever game it is you’re playing, my brother has even less,” she interrupted. “May I suggest you not dally any further?”

    William pursed his lips and eyed the siblings again. “Alright,” he said tossing the empty jug onto the table between them. “I’ll try not to waste any more of your time.”

    “As you’re no doubt aware, I posted a job request to the blacksmith artisan’s guild board. Unfortunately there haven’t been as many interested parties as I’d hoped, he paused, mulling an idea. “Your little band was behind that, no?”

    Neither Arden nor Ruby showed any response.

    “Anyways,” William rolled his eyes and continued. “Despite what you think of me and what we’ll call our less than congenial parting of ways, I hold no lasting enmity towards you or anyone else from Sei’s little cult. In fact, after forcibly removing myself from said cult, I returned to Amra, the land of my birth. While I was there putting a cap on some unfinished business I was able to do some,” William paused, a sly smile spreading across his face, “soul-searching.” He gave a single chuckle, the words a form of joke for which he himself was the sole audience.

    “I can see the question in your eyes,” William continued. “Why didn’t you stay gone? Why come back? Well frankly, Amra isn’t my home anymore.”

    “Besides,” he said, dropping the façade of pleasantness, “I have unfinished business here. Things entirely unrelated to the reason I left.” An ember of fire lit behind his eyes, the barest hint of his molten power flaring to life.

    “Now,” he said calmly, eyes drifting from Ruby to Arden and back again, “if your curiosity hasn’t been settled or if you still want to indulge in your little vengeance fetish, I’ll do what I can to accommodate you. But one caution before it comes to that.”

    “You know what I was like back in my Ixian days and I haven’t simply been idle since then. Plus there’s also the matter of the fact that the Auburn’s magical wards are on my side. They have this silly desire to ensure the safety of their guests, you see? Nothing but the finest here, which one of the reasons I chose to stay here. I know that I have a less than stellar reputation and I really am here just to complete a project, not to engage in random acts of violence.”

    “So you can attack me if you’d like, but if not then can we drop the righteous vengeance act and you can bring Duffy out from wherever he’s hiding so that we can talk to one another like the good little monsters that we all are?”
    "I have looked upon all that the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and the flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me." - Call of Cthulhu

    David vs. Goliath: History's first recorded critical hit.
    JC Thread - The Bitter King

  8. #8
    Member
    EXP: 53,501, Level: 9
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    Arden's Avatar

    Name
    Arden Janelle
    Age
    536 (appears 28)
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    Human
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    Male
    Hair Color
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    Eye Color
    Red
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    5'10"/179lbs
    Job
    Guild Van

    Ruby pursed her lips. A short, sharp intake of alcohol stained air signposting a put down of theatrical proportions. Even Arden leant away slightly, for fear of getting caught in the crossfire.

    “I don’t claim to know you that well, Mr Arcus. I do know, however, that the sanctuary of magical wards and well-to-do absolutions did little to save the lives of the hundreds of refugees and staff residing in Ixian Castle the knight you helped Cassandra Remi ‘ascend’.”

    Whilst Ruby had not been there herself, she had seen the aftermath, the smouldering watchtowers and the ranks and files of the dead. She had nursed Arden’s mind to health, and convened war councils amongst the surviving members of the Ixian Knights once they had fled to relative safety – obscurity, and calm.

    “They will do little to save you now, here, from us.”

    Arcus raised an eyebrow, expecting the choice to fight from the duo. His hand instinctively moved for his blade, but Arden interjected.

    “Oh, don’t be so eager, William. Hear the lady out.” He gestured to Ruby, who thawed a little from behind an all knowing smile.

    “I also know that the remaining Captains, who swore an oath to a Thayne, lived and breathed their responsibilities. Those responsibilities, three years ago, lead Duffy – a not so little monster, to his death.”

    William sniggered. From across the sun room, distasteful glances weighed heavily on the backs of the trio. A maître dee stared at them apathetically from behind the reception desk.

    “Is something funny?”

    “He’s died again – so what?” He missed the point.

    “We might be immortal, William, but that has its limitations. Duffy is gone.”

    Silence, broken only by the raising and draining of glasses and the polite clink of cutlery on bone china filled the space between them. Whilst Scara Brae might have continued on in obliviousness to the news, the brewing hostilities between old friends and new enemies ceased. Fire simmered behind William’s eyes, but they died to embers.

    “…how?”

    “We fought a war with Oblivion." Arden continued Ruby's trail of thought. "To ensure his defeat, Duffy gave his life. He gave his power to the spirit of Tantalus and…well, I’m still sure what happened. Ruby?”

    “Duffy is part of a Thayne. There’s a metaphor there somewhere, given we were born from a dying god – ashes to ashes, perhaps?” Ruby snarled. Her game, dangerously played, revealed its finishing move. She leant forwards across the table.

    “We didn’t come to vie for revenge for that. Or for you leaving. We came because your little display with the iron maiden took Jensen and Kyla from us.” The maitree dee draped a tea towel over his arm and straightened his spine before walking slowly over towards the 'distasteful' disturbance on his watch.

  9. #9
    Member
    EXP: 90,835, Level: 13
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    Revenant's Avatar

    Name
    William Arcus
    Age
    Mid-30's (apparent age)
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    Revenant
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    “Jensen?” William laughed, though there was little mirth left in the sound. “As if that walking mass of insanity deserves anyone’s pity.”

    William thought back to the time he’d seen Jensen. It was down in the catacombs below Castle Ixia, during the murderous assault which had become known as the Night of Debauchery. There had been one unguarded entry point into the castle in the catacombs, the same path that Sei and William had first used to gain entry to the castle when it was nothing more than a ruined fortress. But being unguarded didn’t mean being unlocked, and Sei had ensured that only someone of captain rank had the ability to open it.

    William had just traded finished unsealing the secured entrance when Jensen arrived. At the time William had cherished the look of betrayed shock on the immortal’s face. And then he’d slain the immortal and stuffed his body into a spike lined sarcophagus before Jensen could resurrect. Jensen would resurrect only to impale himself and die, over and over again in the dark, labyrinthine catacombs.

    At the time it’d felt to William like he’d finally won the back and forth stalemate between he and Jensen.

    Now however, William found himself burdened with the clarity of hindsight. He hadn’t really thought of Jensen in the intervening years. He’d known that someone would have found and released the immortal. There were too many people who knew about the catacombs and despite being a deity Remi wasn’t very thorough. But when he thought back to their final encounter William found that he couldn’t be sure if the look Jensen had given him was because William had betrayed the Ixian Knights or if it was because their relationship had ultimately boiled down to nothing.

    William waved a warding had at Ruby as if swatting the immortal’s memory from him like a fly. “If it were possible to have truly killed the Knight of the Apocalypse I’d have found a way a long time ago. Trust me, I tried a great many ways to do so.”

    “And as for Kyla,” William’s words caught in his throat. He had a sudden flash of a sunny day spent walking through the Radasanth zoo with a young woman, one who could have easily passed for the child who’d been taken from him. Then he remembered her laid out on the floor in front of him during the Night of Debauchery. She’d found him, amidst the chaos, and had pleaded to hear that he hadn’t betrayed them. William tried to get her to leave with him, to see the truth of Sei’s madness. She’d cursed him for it and he, in turn, had snapped the restraint off her leg, the one that kept her potent magic from consuming her.

    William’s eyes dropped from Ruby and landed on the empty jug of ale between them. He said, in a weary voice, “I tried.”

    Unbidden, there was a flood of images inside William’s head. He thought of Duffy, spinning and laughing as the two of them fought one another in an icy, odd-angled chamber. He thought of Jensen, charging over a rainbow bridge atop a pink unicorn to slam into him. He thought of the blood and flames of the Night of Debauchery, and the screams of every man, woman, and child inside the one place they thought safe.

    And William thought of Kyla …

    William’s eyes hardened and he sat straight once again, looking at Ruby with a sneer. “Fault me for whatever you want. I did what I had to do to free myself and I don’t regret any of it.”

    “So if you’re here to, as you say, vie for revenge, then get it over with already.”
    "I have looked upon all that the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and the flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me." - Call of Cthulhu

    David vs. Goliath: History's first recorded critical hit.
    JC Thread - The Bitter King

  10. #10
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    Arden's Avatar

    Name
    Arden Janelle
    Age
    536 (appears 28)
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Hair Color
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    Eye Color
    Red
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    5'10"/179lbs
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    Guild Van

    Ruby nodded head head. It was a tentative suggestion that she approved. The sun lounge continued on in reserved and humble activity, the growing hostilities for a time ceasing. They returned to their delicate salmon fillets and fruit platters and polite, trite conversation. The suspicious glare of the amitree dee returned to the real matters of the day - unpolished silverware and the lunch rotation.

    “That is the most honest thing I’ve heard you say, William.” She glanced down at the napkin, and wrinkled her nose. For a brief, unforgivable moment she allowed her emotions to get the better of her manners. She looked up, and smiled warmly.

    “We’re not here for revenge. Though, the thought had crossed both our minds.” She gestured to Arden. “The note you left found its way to the desk of the Scourge’s leader, and by default, to me. We want to help you.”

    The demon raised an eyebrow, if such a thing were possible. They locked gazes for too long, weighing up the measure of one another’s motives. Death swaddled them all in a heavy cloak. It itched away at their minds and bodies. Ruby doubted wherever or not she could have stated truthfully which of the trio had emerged the most unscathed.

    “Help me?”

    “You wanted a blacksmith. Didn’t you?” Arden produced a small parchment from beneath his demi-cloak and set it onto the table. “Your weapons are vampiric, so there is no better man for the task than I.”

    “I...what?” He set down his tankard, sober enough to realise this was unfamiliar behaviour even for the troupe.

    “Arden is going to forge your request. You are going to pay the appropriate fees, provide the resources, and contribute to its construction. A simple, efficient business arrangement with one caveat.”

    WIlliam rolled his eyes. “There we go.”

    “We found ourselves in similar positions. We all do things we regret and the regret tears us apart.” Ruby produced her own coup d'etat, an obsidian band once worn to connect the troupe across time and space. “Our bonds sever. Our dreams fade. Our decisions haunt us. But, even you appear to have found peace with yourself.”

    “Peace isn’t the word…”

    The sun fell behind a cloud, and Scara Brae entered the lull between breakfast and lunch and afternoon paramble.

    “Once the work is done, you must leave the city and never return. That is all we ask.”

    Arden had asked for a lot more, but Ruby had balked at the thought of spilling any more blood heedlessly. Though the tentative succour stages of grief had fled her bones, she did not want to walk brazenly into the fires she had fought for so long to quench.

    “What do you say?” Arden scooped up his royal assent to work in the artisan district and pocketed it.

    The church bells rang. The guests cleaned their plates. The maitre de prepared himself for a busy afternoon.

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