[Plot] The Basal Lake - Introduction

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The Basal Lake - Introduction
Anguis Trigon, Phase One




Wordcount: 1215​

Everywhere, people. Deckhands and dock workers strained to keep up with the demand of loading and unloading cargo, brushing shoulder to shoulder and shouting insults at one another. Roads further inland fared no better, with people flooding the streets, some of them rushing through while others milled about with nothing to do but wait. Hammers rang and files rasped, bellows roaring and crucibles bubbling: blacksmiths and gunsmiths labored to meet all the demands of the escalating war, repairing weapons, creating new ones, forming parts for engineers.

Avelyn was an important port city, but not an expansive one. It was never meant to handle thousands of the Empire's soldiers, volunteers from all over Hiemis, and all the merchants and mercenaries aiming to profit from the mayhem, in addition to all of the regulars trying to keep commerce flowing to the continent as much as possible. Even the waters were overcrowded; only so many ships could even reach the docks, while the rest had to anchor further out in the waters and bear people to and from by longboats.

The men of the Empire were clad in uniforms of turquoise and deep blue, outrageous on the land, but camouflage beneath the waves. The uniforms were skin-tight, made of a thick, insulated material; the armor was not made of metal, but instead formed of a specially harvested nacre, or mother-of-pearl. The nacre armor was far lighter than metals, necessary for staying mobile underwater; although light, the armor was on par with steel. The nacre helmet was in a sallet design, with armored visor, a pronounced medial ridge, and a long, sweeping rear that would rest between the wearer's shoulders when swimming straight ahead. The rest of the armored pieces -- bracers, greaves, and cuirass -- were sewn into the uniform, leaving fins, hands, and feet uncovered. The mother-of-pearl armor and vivid colors of the uniform made the Empire soldiers stand out, commanding respect.

Volunteers from the Conexus had their own uniform, a variant of the guard uniforms: a royal blue surcoat, emblazoned with the One Wing in silver, over fine mesh armor. Normally, the uniform would include leather breeches with steel gauntlets and greaves, but these were traded for leggings and gloves of a more rubber-like material suited for the water. Those from the Arcanum hadn't donned water-appropriate gear, still mostly clad in robes. Those specializing in healing had the closest thing to a uniform in their classic gown-like robes, divided into three ranks: white robes with one vertical black stripe down the left side; mauve robes with two vertical white stripes down the left side; and ocean-blue robes with three vertical white stripes down the left side. The third echelon was reserved for the best medics the Arcanum had to offer, including Prophet Deimar among their number, though he wasn't present. Other scholars from the Arcanum had no discernible uniform, though they were often recognizable as such.

Finally, there were the free agents and Fraternitas members. The Fraternitas had never developed a uniform, with too many conflicting ideals from the many different branches. Despite the individualistic nature of its members, the Fraternitas made up the bulk of the reinforcements arriving in Avelyn. While the Imperials, Conexus, and Arcanum managed some sense of order and decorum even in the crowded port city, the Fraternitas fed into the chaos, heavily armed men and women filling the streets, making last-minute preparations or starting trouble, with very little in-between.

"How is this rabble supposed to help us?" The speaker was at the center of a small entourage of imperial velen, standing head and shoulders above them. He was clad in the same armor as the rest of them, but with a vivid scarlet half-cloak over one shoulder displaying three golden crescents to mark him as a captain. As if his immense size and the cloak didn't stand out enough, Garus also had bright orange skin. As in nature, the bold colors only made him seem all the more dangerous, even though they compromised the uniform's camouflage. Two deep scars ran down his chin and throat, an old wound that left him with a gravelly voice. He carried a trident, its shaft solid black and the blades glinting with the golden sheen of auritium. "Seeing these land-striders floundering around in the water will only embolden our enemies."

"Where they're going, the fighting is likely to reach the land. That's where they'll be needed most," the woman beside him responded flatly. Her skin was dark grey and her eyes inky black, shark-like. Libra was his lieutenant commander, and she didn't show any surprise at his complaints, well-used to them after years of serving side by side.

Garus scoffed but offered no argument. Instead, he pointed to a brawl breaking out across the road from them. "If this happens on my ship, they'll be swimming back." Their entourage swept through the streets, passing the brawl without further comment. They were returning to their ship after meeting with some of the other officers present. His dour mood was because his ship was to be used to ferry the reinforcements to the Basal Lake, with much of his finely-trained crew being loaned to other regiments so they could make room. It was, in his eyes, nothing less than a demotion, a shameful blot on his military career.

Gnashing his teeth, Garus resigned himself to following orders. It wasn't his job to command the miscreants, only to carry them. The sooner he did so, the sooner he could return to the Aquilonia frontlines.

The Arsenic was never meant to be a passenger ship, but it was the only one large enough, and near enough, to handle the volume of reinforcements. The dreadnought was a marvel of engineering, an amphibious attack transport capable of carrying three thousand soldiers directly to the battlefields. Its shape was based on the manta ray, with two massive engines beneath the center of each wing. The long tail served to steer the battleship, but like its inspiration, the ship's deadliest weapon was housed in the tip. One blast from the lightning cannon could completely turn the tide of battle even before the ship unloaded its cargo of well-trained, disciplined velen warriors.

All of its potential wasted, to ferry land-striders to a different battlefield halfway across the ocean. Garus sighed yet again.

Amid the throngs of people, a demvir called out from his shop, singling out individuals carrying firearms. "You, you there! Make sure you've got the right ammunition! Normal bullets won't do you any good underwater!" The machina was broad, unclothed above the waist, revealing his bronze torso shaped like a cask. In contrast, the barrel-chested demvir had thin arms and uncharacteristically fine articulation on its fingers, allowing it to perform the delicate work of gunsmithing. His face was narrow and angular, with a pointed chin and only etched lines for a mouth. One eye was fitted with a telescoping lens. "If you need super-cavitating ammunition, I will trade your existing ammunition for it before you go!"

The demvir spotted a terran woman with a bow over her shoulder. "Miss! Normal arrows will also do poorly in water! Make sure to get arrows designed for reduced drag or you'll never hit your target! I can offer a one-to-one trade if you need some!"

This is for the volunteers to join the main forces in Aridus' Basal Lake. This includes Dojat's and K3's characters mentioned in the roll call thread. If you want to join but didn't post there, you're welcome to do so.

You can respond here with turns or mini-chapters, or post a separate chapter tying in to the setup. Interacting with each other or the NPCs is not required, and you are also welcome to write the NPCs shown based on the characterization displayed. There is no measure for success or failure at this junction, this is just about establishing your characters entering the plot.

Reinforcements will board the Arsenic, a manta-ray shaped submarine-capable battleship. There will be between 2000 and 3000 volunteers. The ship is expected to leave Avelyn at dusk and the trip will take four days, leaving Avelyn and headed south to the Basal Lake in southeastern Aridus.

Let me know if you have any questions.
 
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Micali Alsara

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Micali felt her grip tighten around her weapons each time a new shoulder abruptly collided with hers in the busy roads of the port city. She wore a dark brown tunic over a green tank top, the light breeze of the nearby ocean a forgiving thing given the mid-summer day. Black boots rested upon her feet and her new bow over her shoulder. The black auritium rifle was strapped along her back similarly to how her older bow, Cora, had been. She was half-tempted to not invest in a new one, but archery was a skill most useful when a quiet option was needed.

Her braid had been tucked into her tunic as soon as she saw fists fly on a street corner. The journey had been one made last minute, and her arrival in Avelyn a fortunate thing, as her time spent in Terminus was overlong and fruitless. She recalled the specific name she was to journey to a whole other continent for. Armac Elantur. The only information that Talrigori spared her was that he was an esteemed Pelagian scientist, and that she could find him in a laboratory along the eastern coast of Aridus, due south of the Basal Lake.

A voice managed to carry out over the dinning throngs of people, even with Micali’s head kept down and her eyes focused away from others, and she turned to see a demvir man gesturing towards her weapons and offering an exchange. The ship wasn’t to leave yet, and if she didn’t keep busy she’d likely get swept into some ugly business, so she cut her losses. Her waist-bags were well filled with clips of bullets and the quiver on her back held plentiful arrows, but she saw his point. If Elantur were to submerge himself on the rare occurrence she missed, she’d need the ability to kill him in the water.

She held out two of her four cases of bullets, each containing six each, and made her non-verbal agreement. Her other hand reached back to grasp a handful of arrows, roughly eight in hand, and held them over as well. Micali’s eyes narrowed, her grip firm on the projectiles until she could see the man produce his side of the exchange. She hoped her silence denoted her disdain for conversation, but found that the further west you got, the more...talkative everyone became.

[396]
 
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Amanita Agaricales

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"There. Over there! Don't worry about being gentle. If anything in there breaks to this, then it isn't worthy of combat."

A grand vessel was docked on the piers of Avelyn. It was viciously striking in design with an even more dangerous function. The cargo bay doors were open. The size of it was more like an entire wall had been slid away. Entire rows of goods could be brought on at once, and the height of the opening allowed for cranes on tracks to carry on the heavier loads.

Most everyone there was grimy and sweaty, dressed in old clothes full of fraying and rips. The dockworkers were moving faster than normal. It led to more mistakes and near misses, but everything had to be loaded on fast. The cranes swung around overhead even as people moved on the ground.

One person there that stood out was a laicar woman. She wasn't dirty or garbed in the simplest clothing. She had on a fine, purple dress that would look more at home in a fine theater show rather than the docks. Going along with it was a pair of knee-length boots and long gloves. She wasn't dainty, though. There was a sturdiness to her frame that came from training. Her blond hair was styled with cascading waves and tied into bunches on the side of her head. She had a pale face made striking with strong lipstick and heavy eye shadows. Her expression was stern, and her eyes surveyed the entire cargo area in front.

Amanita Agaricales was overseeing the delivery of goods onto the Arsenic. She stood out of the way, on top of a scaffold attached to a moving platform. There wasn't much worry about her shorter skirt as she had shorts on underneath.

"Be careful behind you! Don't get sloppy now. There is still a lot to do. Yes, just leave it here for the dock workers to load on. Try not to interfere." Her words were snappy. She watched as several crates of goods were lined up to be brought into the cargo hold. Many of them had the symbol of Auctoritas on the side, a heavy lock surrounded by a circle with inward-pointing spikes.

Amanita had seen fit to donate equipment to the war effort. She had her arms folded, watching the cargo hold fill up.

[392]
 

MoonlitRain014

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Diamantus may have been a rebel against the Conexus, but as she stood and smelled the tang of salt in the air, she seemed to straighten a little more and adopt a more serious bearing. She was wearing the full velen military uniform complete with a series of polished medals that indicated her rank. Her belt, normally carrying pistols, was now outfitted with two long-barreled weapons that had a strange design. These were miniature spear guns that fired tiny, but extremely sharp harpoons. Across her back, she carried a lethal-looking spiked and serrated trident.

Next to her was the towering form of Quaestor Laermont. The demvir’s long basilisk leather coat stirred in the faint breeze and revealed the heavy, tooled leather belt that wore. On the belt, he carried his two pistols and a heavy bladed shortsword, the standard equipment of the Quaestorii. However, across his back, lay another weapon. It was a massive double headed axe with a beautifully decorated handle, but the axe blades were all business and honed to a wicked edge. His feet were encased in heavy boots and he radiated a sense of purpose.

Diamantus scanned the surroundings, took in a deep breath of salt air and grinned. “Damn but it’s good to be back by the ocean!”

Laermont watched her impassively. “I can understand your happiness. It has been some time since you were so close to water. It must be like coming home.”

The thickset, blue and grey scaled rogue’s face drew into tighter lines. “Yeah. It is. Mixed bag I suppose. Home, I mean.”

For a moment, she scanned the crowd until her gaze lighted on a familiar figure. Pointing to Amanita, Diamantus whooped. “Hey! It’s Amanita Agaricales! What the hell’s she doing here?”


The light in the eyeplate of her demvir companion narrowed and he tilted his head to one side. “I believe I have heard of this woman before.”

Diamantus was already making a beeline for her elegantly clad, willowy friend with Laermont forced to follow her as she strode along. The crowd around them cleared as the two imposing figures waded through it. Coming up as Amanita was giving imperious instructions about the disposition of her goods, the velen got the woman’s attention. “Well, well what’s a fine lady like you doing here, Amanita? Joining the war effort?”


Glancing back at Laermont, she added. “This here’s Quaestor Laermont. Normally I don’t hang out with cops, but I’ve made an exception for this big galoot.”

The demvir nodded and raised a hand in greeting. “Well met, Lady Agaricales.”

[428]
 
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"Me too sir please!" Piped up a small bright voice, a good head below Micali's shoulder.

The owner was clearly a young woman, somewhere around sixteen and seventeen judging from the soft curve to her chin. Her eyes, or at least the eye that wasn't hidden beneath her feathery bangs, was a piercing bright orange color and matched the feathers that made up her bangs and vibrant wings. An equally bright green colored the spiky, flower shaped bun made of cartilage and framed with orange feathers as petals, all held in place by two long golden pins on the back of her head. The obsidian webbing between her fingers, that matched all of her skin not covered by orange feathers, along with the small fins at her ankles, wrists, and back made her dualistic parentage clear.

Everything she wore, save the glittering auritium spaulders and fauld of four lame at her shoulders and waist respectively, and the round buckler on her left arm, seemed handmade. Long, bright orange feathers peeked out from her back and over her legs, but the high waisted and cuffed, scarlet shorts that stopped at the top of her thighs and navy bustier she wore could not be muted. Both had been stitched with painstaking care and the stain that colored them had clearly been touched with some kind of magic, judging from the way that blotches of tints regularly shifted across the fabric.

The dahlitium bow across her back, silvery notebook, brush, and sheathed estoc dangling from the wide belt on her hips seemed unworthy to sit among her clothes by comparison; polished and well kept though they were.

The quiver in her hand, stuffed to the brim with feathered arrows and it's color unchanged from the natural hue of hide, was no different.

"I've never had to shoot underwater before so I didn't even know they made special arrows for it-" She said to the demvir thoughtfully, then turned to face the terran woman the demvir had initially spoken to. "Have you ever had to shoot underwater before? Like I said, I've never tried, but I figure it can't be all that different from shooting on land. Not that it'll be easy or anything, just not that different. Come to think of it, I've only had shoot people once, but they seemed more like they were already kinda dead so I don't know if they count. Have you ever shot at anything that was already dead before-um, what's your name?"
 
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Amanita Agaricales

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Amanita leaned onto the railings of the walkway. Her eyes narrowed at the approaching velen and demvir. As much as she tried to suppress it, a smirk emerged. "I am donating some goods and resourced to this war effort. It seems they need aid, and Auctoritas is able to provide some. Of course, I'm hoping to build future relations, but even if not, at least I can help."

She turned to the demvir. "A pleasure to meet you, Quaestor Laermont. With all I've seen today, you two might be the oddest pair."

She moved from her high perch. The workers had things under control, more or less. Amanita merely enjoyed observing, but the actual foreman of the place was more than capable without her butting in. She climbed down to ground level.

"We can talk somewhere less busy. The cargo is almost finished being loaded." Amanita motioned back at the cavernous hold. There were few places not busy, but Amanita managed to secure a location next to an unused loading crane.

"Are you two signing up for the war?" Amanita asked.

[573]
 

Micali Alsara

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It took an instant for Micali to recognize that the nattering that came from nearby was directed at her. She turned to the child, and nearly had to shut her eyes at the amalgam of bright colors that stood to blind her. As the spurii continued on, Micali nearly cringed. Was this some kind of test? Did Talrigori send this girl to keep an eye on her? But even then, the sniper felt doubt that her old teammate would associate someone who perfectly captured the word ‘loud’ in every way.

The girl was a novice, too, by the graceless optimism she possessed. No well-seasoned killer was so chipper, let alone so vocal in the admittance of their inexperience. Micali grimaced. The battlefield was no place for a child, much less one who wanted to play at being a warrior. The elder woman waited for any pause, any break in the words the spurii spoke, and felt herself get overwhelmed by the time the multicolored girl paused for a breath, a question now in the air.

“...Yes,” Micali said, her eyes frantically shooting back to the demvir, as if to plead that he hurry up with their exchange. To be frank, the laicar didn’t want this girl’s name, didn’t want to give her own, didn’t want to speak to her, didn’t want to get to know her at all. They were heading into a war zone, Micali on her own mission, and any connections would only complicate things, especially with someone who so clearly needed protection. Even still, she doubted she could dissuade the verbal assault, and could only send prayers to whichever Vis didn’t hate her at the time to make the girl go away.

Then, a different thought sprouted. It was much less suspicious to make this trip with company than alone and antisocial. They would reach Aridus, and Micali would slip away for as long as necessary and be done with any false friendship with the girl. This was to be a cover, an act. Nothing more.

Micali forced the best smile she could, and turned back to Gwendolyn. “My name’s Micali. You?”

[751]
 
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MoonlitRain014

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Laermont inclined his head to acknowledge Amanita’s greeting. His face was, as with all demvir, expressionless but his voice was cordial. “Perhaps we are, as you say, one of the odder sights on this dock.”

Diamantus gave Amanita a look with a similar half smile on her face. “Well, nice to see ya dipping into those deep pockets of yours for a good cause, Amanita. Glad you felt like turnin’ your hand to it.”


As they wandered to a slightly less bustling part of the docks, Laermont’s eyeplates focused on the developing exchange between a very young looking enlil archer and a tough, hardened woman also carrying a quiver. He conitnued to watch impassively while Diamantus fielded Amanita’s question.

The scar-scaled, muscle-bound velen gunwoman flashed one of her trademark toothy smiles at Amanita and cracked the knuckles of her big, powerful hands. “You bet we are. I heard my people were having some trouble and figured I oughtta pitch in. Laermont here decided that he’d tag along.”

The detective’s attention rerturned to the half-followed conversation and he spoke in his deep, rumbling tones. “I did not serve in the last war, but I could not sit idly by. Other than your finanical aid, Lady Agaricales, do you plan on participating in the actual fighting?”

[642]
 
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swaswj

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The arrows offered by the vendor were made from a light metal, rather than wood, with spiraling tips in place of broad blades. Feathers were replaced with a fin-like rubber, already curving slightly. At a glance, they looked more fluid dynamic, and although the materials were cheap, they seemed to be made with care.

The barrel-bodied demvir never offered any further explanation, but it seemed as if he was trying to help in his own way, despite not being built or trained for fighting.

Diamantus ended up drawing a lot of attention, with eyes drawn to the medals and the uniform. While none of the Conexus members recognized the woman, most offered at least a cursory salute when they caught her eye. The Imperial Soldiers, meanwhile, seemed confused by her presence, off on her own and not leading a battalion. Although they didn't accost her, some rumblings were rising up, spreading through the Empire's finest.

Without warning, Garus stormed by, still followed by his lieutenant and body guards. "What in the vis-damned infernal hells are you doing just standing around!" His ire was aimed squarely at the Empire's men, his own men, and he didn't pay the slightest bit of attention to Diamantus or her friends.

One of the soldiers started to point at her and say something, but Garus drowned him out after only a cursory glance. "You see the Emperor's coat? No? Then fuck off back to your duties. How the Connies handle their business is none of yours!" The uniformed soldiers rushed off.

Garus stayed for a moment, watching them go, but then he looked over at Diamantus. His brief approval at her stature and state of dress was gone as fast as it appeared, but he huffed and moved on. He shouted to no one in particular, "The Arsenic leaves in four hours! Get your asses boarded before then or you'll be swimming to Aridus!"

"The blowhard can say whatever he likes, but if those medals are real, seems like you ought not be dilly-dallying and having a carefree chat." The speaker was a red-skinned velen, just as tall as Laermont and almost as broad. At first glance, he looked like a dockhand, but his pants were from the same uniform as Diamantus, though he was bare-chested and covered in a faint sheen of sweat.

[385/1600]
 

Amanita Agaricales

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Amanita folded her arms and pressed the back of her finger against her lips. "Oh, I didn't quite realize how important you were to Pelagia, Diamantus. Is there something more official I should be referring to you by?" The question wasn't in jest. It was serious. For the current situation, proper titles and chains of command were important.

As for Laermont's question, Amanita tilted her head. "I am uncertain if I should go. How much help could I be on the war lines compared to someone else? It's hardly something I have experience in. I have studied battle tactics, but merely as a hobby rather than any serious. And it was in a historical context."


[688]
 

MoonlitRain014

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As the little scene had unfolded behind the three chatting people, Diamantus had only briefly flicked her eyes over to Garus and the commotion as she replied to Amanita. “Nah. Rank is for people serving under me. Keep on calling me whatever you want because you’ve earned the right. In this fight, we’re equals.”

She clapped Amanita on the shoulder, possibly not a gesture the elegant woman would appreciate, but she did it almost out of reflex.

The quaestor listened, although it would have been hard for anyone to tell, given his utterly expressionless face and responded thoughtfully. “Perhaps you could contribute more than you know. I would never presume to tell you what you ought to do, but think on it.”

He added, “Regardless, I will enjoy your company on the voyage, Lady Agaricales.”


The sudden interruption of the red-skinned velen made the quaestor and Diamantus turn their heads. The muscle-bound, battle scarred woman’s eyes turned hard for a moment as the man spoke, but the flare passed briefly. “Oh the medals are for real alright. You got a point though. It’s time I was moving.”


She nodded in Laermont and Amanita’s direction. “You two can keep chatting. I should go help with loading up or whatever I can.”

Turning back to the strapping velen, she gave him an assessing glance. “You let me know where I can be of help and I’ll pitch in, soldier. What do I call you and what’s your rank?”


[888]
 
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The excitable spurii took her new arrows from the demvir with a look of surprised wonder in her eyes and as she replaced the quiver in it's place across her back, she pulled one arrow from it's place to fondle it's new textures while she continued to speak.

First a quick, "Thank you!" To the demvir, then she turned her attention back to the elder woman.

"Oh my name's just Gwendolyn, I like your name better though-" She said, her hands popping up to her chest and balling into fists excitedly. "Your name sounds like it came straight out of an epic poem or something my sister's always reading. M i c a l i~" She half whispered the woman's name as she spoke it, as if the sniper were a celebrity instead of a seasoned warrior.

"When did you shoot dead things though? I shot a bunch at this weird temple that popped out of the ground a few months ago, but then some slimy giant thing whacked my ankle off-." She shuddered for a moment and her bangs shook. "My sister wasn't really happy with me after all that, but she doesn't know I'm here and it's better now-" She bounced on the balls of her feet to demonstrate. "So it's fine, I just gotta keep calm this time instead of freaking out. I hope the Naga don't have any giant slimy things like at that temple though. Are you here to help fight off the Naga too?"
 

Micali Alsara

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The girl before her was still talking far too fast to be considered normal, but Micali managed to keep up. She had a sister who didn’t approve of her warrior lifestyle, and said sister had no idea where she was. It explained how she managed to get here, far from supervision and in over her head. Micali accepted her exchanged ammunition from the demvir, and turned to the younger woman.

“I haven’t shot monsters that were living corpses, if that’s what you mean. Just actual corpses.” The tone was perhaps a tad sharper than she had intended, but keeping this girl docile would probably be a welcome addition to their interactions, as every time the bright enlil before her spoke, she questioned her sanity. “To answer your other question, yes I’m here to help fight the Naga.” She left it at that - a lie. A practiced one, a rehearsed one. Her eyes wandered from Gwendolyn and toward the direction she’d been walking before, toward the dock that was meant to hold the ship she was to ride on to reach Aridus. The Arsenic, or so her intel claimed. If the trip was to be long, she would want a cabin, which meant not boarding last minute.

She began to walk, indifferent to what the other girl would do, whether it be follow or go her separate way. While the bright enlil would be an excellent distraction from herself, she didn’t know that she could handle it. Not just because of the loud rambling, but the fact that she would help usher a child into a literal war zone. An unprepared child, at that. At her age, Micali had been trained for the most part, only a year or two away from solo work, whether it be assassinations or otherwise. It wasn’t anything she’d wish on some random overeager soul.

The sniper mused on the idea that this girl approached her. The enlil had specifically found her foil in the throngs of mercenaries and treated her like a new friend. For an instant, Micali fought the urge to smile at the similarities she suddenly saw between them.

[1107]
 

Amanita Agaricales

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Four hours till departure. Four hours to decide. If Amanita got on the ship, then she was in it for the war. Maybe her mind was already made. After all, she had her gladius and scutum stored nearby. There would be no reason for that if she didn't intend to do. Yet her mind still swirled despite her heart's choice.

She shook her head. "Quaestor Laermont, you do know what kind of beliefs Diamantus has, do you not? Should you be associating with someone like her?"

[774]
 

MoonlitRain014

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Laermont's ever-sweeping gaze had turned to watch the interactions between the two archers, one of whom was decidedly more battle-hardened than the other. He seemed to sit quietly, as if he was gathering and storing up as much information as possible about the pair. His attention was caught by Amanita's question and he inclined his head as if to acknowledge her point. "That is what one might think, Lady Agaricales. However, I have not found her to be untrustworthy or lacking in integrity. I also, in general, sympathize with her overall goals. Her methods...might be another matter."

He turned his faceplate towards the noblewoman and somehow, despite his lack of expression, gave off an air of intense curiosity. "You know, I don't believe she ever told me how you two met, Lady Agaricales. What was the nature of your connection?"

[1028]
 

Amanita Agaricales

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"We met by chance," Amanita answered. "The first time, anyway. I'm pretty certain every time after that, she's been having me followed. She just shows up at the oddest places sometimes that happen to be where I am." Her arms were folded, and she was in pouting thought.

Amanita shook her head. "What I meant to say was recall the demonic invasion of Terminus a few years ago? That was how we met. There were some stragglers remaining within the city, and I took it upon myself to clean up the streets a bit. Diamantus had a similar idea. That was the first time we met.

"Afterwards, she helped me catch a criminal extorting the poor. That is something I am really appreciative of. She is quite an interesting person. There is much I don't know about her. Such as this. Since when was she a member of the army of Pelagia?" Amanita shrugged.

[928]
 
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And while Micali thought, the spurii girl continued to follow her and chatter. It was difficult to tell whether Gwendolyn had simply decided the laicar had no desire to continue talking about her previous line of thought, or if she had simply grown bored of the train of thought all on her own and moved on.

Whatever the case, it was very clear that she had... Drastically changed subjects in the short time it took for Micali to muse to herself about their similarities.

"Y'know, I don't know all that much about you, but you seem cool to me, kinda like how my sister is. But like, I think you might be a bit more chilled out than she is. I don't know if she's had to shoot anything dead like you, but she has a real bad habit of biting people's heads off when she's mad. I don't mean literally though, she's not a cannibal, but she can be really snippy when she's tired or just in general with strangers. But you and me? We're like perfect strangers and you haven't been snippy even once -okay maybe a little-, so I think that means you're way calmer than she is, and that's probably a good thing. It might be good if the two of you hung out together sometime," she paused to excitedly gasp for air.

"That would actually be so cool, you probably have so much in common! I mean, I don't know if she's ever had to shoot a corpse before -she mostly just punches and stabs things for work I think- I tried to get her to practice archery with me once she almost shot herself in the back by mistake. Turns out, she's a really bad shot. But there's other stuff that you two would have in common though I bet. Punching a corpse is probably the same thing as shooting one anyway so it can't be that much of a big deal. The Naga probably won't be dead though and that's kind of a big deald. But that's okay because it's gonna be our job to change that-"
 

swaswj

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"Bryndalas, formerly quartermaster of the Chroma. I'm here as a freelancer, same as most." The red-skinned velen seemed used to the question. At first, it seemed like that was all he was going to say; he turned and waved for Diamantus to follow, thinking to lead her to one of the Conexus squadrons that were wasting time gambling at cards nearby. He paused, though, and took another look at her medals. "Optio Centuriae," he noted aloud. "Same as my brother." He turned away again and started leading Diamantus away. "He was killed in one of the first attacks on Flumen Petram. I was all the way south, stationed outside Eruditio, when the word reached me."

His shoulders were stiff as he spoke. "My CO refused my request for a transfer, so I resigned and came here myself." The velen slowly came to a stop, fists tightening as his chin lowered. "Vengeance… it's not suited for a man in uniform. But I have to do it, for my brother." Looking over his shoulder, Bryndalas asked, "What's your story. You wear the medals but you're not active. Not in the past three years, at least." As a quartermaster, he knew every stitch of the Empire's uniform, knew the slight changes that came year after year. "Here for revenge, like me? Or are you just another mercenary?"

[225/1825]

I hate to do such a small turn after such a long wait, but aside from the interaction with Diamantus, the rest of you are kind of handling your own things.

The next phase will start on this coming Friday. Things to consider: Micali has a defined reason for being there -- a pretense for hunting a scientist -- but for the rest of you, are you in it for the money? The adventure? A call for heroism?

Furthermore, I'd like one or two volunteers (from this thread) for a one-shot NPC role. Let me know on Discord if you're interested.
 

MoonlitRain014

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Laermont listened, focusing his eyeplates on Amanita. He shrugged and shook his head, somehow managing to give the impression of a wry smile crossing his expressionless face. “She does have a rather uncanny knack of showing up at the right time. You may just be right about her having you followed.”

The detective nodded his agreement as Amanita continued speaking. He watched the muscle-bound, blue scaled rogue as she stood talking with the red scaled velen soldier. “I agree. She is rather enigmatic. I had no idea that she had any military standing in Pelagia. It wasn’t that long ago that there was a warrant out for her arrest in Terminus.”

Gesturing over to the Arsenic, Laermont asked, “Shall we board, Lady Agaricales? It seems that your luggage has been successfully stowed.”


Out of the earshot of the demvir and Amanita, the pair of velen faced each other squarely.

“My handle’s Diamantus. Good to meet you, Bryndalas.”

Her grey-green eyes took him in, her face not revealing any hints of her assessment of the velen. She listened to him talk, nodding and appearing quite attentive. Her face grew soft for a moment as Bryndalas talked about his brother but quickly settled back into its customary harder lines.

In reply to his question, she sighed and paused as if deciding how much to say, before she answered him. “No. I ain’t just another merc. I gotta admit that me ‘n Pelagia have had some...disagreements over the years but I figure I owe ‘em my service still. I couldn’t sit on my ass while the kingdom was under attack, so here I am!”

Seeing the activity bustling around them, she glanced around and back to Bryndalas. “So, like I was sayin’, let me know what I c’n do to help and I’ll get on it. My rank’s gotta be good for somethin’ around here.”


[1200]
 

Micali Alsara

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Gwendolyn continued her verbal onslaught - seemingly to herself at this point - yet Micali allowed herself to tune in occasionally as the intonation changed and the volume grew. The sniper stopped still at the mention of a sibling. She didn’t know much of the areas surrounding Terminus, had even less contacts and people she could trust. A similar mind with a similar penchant for combat could be an effective ally. Micali suppressed the pang of regret that accompanied the thought, the last brawler she ever made friends with now dead by her hands. Shaking her head at herself, she realized the girl was still talking.


And talking.


And...still talking. Interrupting might be her only chance of actually getting a word in.


“You have a sister? What’s her name?” Micali’s eyes cast around for anyone listening in on their conversation as the pair continued to walk closer to the docks, and was sated with the realization that most were too occupied with their own business. It was only after she spoke that she registered the sentence she interrupted, and it was clear that this girl was truly here to try and save the world from the threat of a Naga invasion. Guilt wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling, but Micali rarely took responsibility for the world’s problems. She pushed the emotion to the back of her mind and awaited an answer.

[1333]
 

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