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  #31  
Old Apr 19th, 2021, 08:21 AM
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Candano DocksLess than thirty seconds. That was how quickly the battle was over. All of the Wharf Rats gang lay dead on the wooden walkways of Candano’s port, most of them hideously burned. But in those few seconds where life and death filled the salty night air, several tremendous explosions had rocked the relative stillness that had preceded it.

Even now, new lantern light grows in distant windows that had been so recently shaken by concussive blasts of fire and alchemy. Dogs bark alarm and warning to each other and cloud-covered moon. Voices rise up in challenge and confusion.

And the noise and activity of it all is coming closer to the docks, rolling down like a wave toward the sea.

The company stands over their fallen enemies. Zenda’s blades are wet with blood. Batoyangi’s chest heaves with the exertion of his supernatural efforts. Nae’laa’s ball of flame still roils hungrily in the air, awaiting command. Azar watches Myra, whose bloody, sea-soaked fur drips onto the splintered wood of the lower dock.

"You’ll not want to be found there, strangers," a small voice hisses out of the darkness over the water. "The ‘Rats’ had friends."

Searching the darkness away from the shore for the source of the voice, Batoyangi can just make out two beady, yellow eyes looking down on them from the docked ship at the end of the walkway. Just barely, against the dark sky, he can see a hunched form attached to the eyes, behind the wooden railing of the gently rocking ship. There is the sound of more movement from below decks of the ship; several heavy footfalls and a rush of activity.

"But they were no friends of my Lady. You can hide aboard, if you will."

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Old Apr 19th, 2021, 10:30 AM
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She had been trained in this sort of situation, prior to being sent out as a spy, but she had never actually had to clean up a crime scene before; so far she had been too careful, or maybe lucky, to get into this kind of situation. What you had to do, she remembered, was stop, take a breath, and don't panic. She breathed deeply, eyes wide staring at the others.

"How much time do we have?" she wondered. She hadn't meant to say it out loud, she knew the others had as little clue as she did, the words had just slipped out.

Zenda and Batoyangi still had her magic coursing through them. Perhaps there was time.

"Can you remove the bodies?" she asked. She would have liked to remove all signs of the struggle, the blood, the singed wood, but there was certainly no time for that. But the bodies could, perhaps, be dumped in the water.

The beam of treacherous light swept above their heads. Down here on the lower dock they were safe from its glare, but to clean up their mess they would have to brave it and any other lights which would ignite. Azar quickly coiled her rope and stuffed it into her pack.

Just then the voice called from the ship. Azar froze, fear prickling up and down her spine. They had been seen. Whomever these people were, they were no friends, no matter that they tried to pretend otherwise. They would not be safe until they were well away from this city, but for the moment what other choice did they have?

She shrugged at Nae'laa and Khamyra, gesturing that they should go towards the ship and then she too hurried up the stairs, instinctively pulling a disguise over herself as she went. The one called Bram had seemed to be the leader of the Wharf Rats. If people saw him walking about after the fight, they would assume that the locals had won.

At least that's what she told herself.

"I'll be back soon," she assured the others, hoping fervently that it was true.

 

 
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  #33  
Old Apr 19th, 2021, 03:35 PM
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Zenda, Child of the Gods
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Zenda looked up sharply at the disembodied voice now addressing them from The Sighing Lady. It was all rather too convenient, and her intrinsically distrustful nature prickled at the back of her neck. Was it another ambush? Would they be trapped on the boat while the owner of the voice summoned the Wharf Rats' allies down upon them? There were a great many reasons not to get on that boat. But despite all of that, she couldn't see another way forward. Sometimes walking into a trap was your best bet... if you already knew what and where it was. Best to move forward... but remain cautious.

She peered into the darkness, the nodded once. "Looks like we have little choice. We shall join you shortly."

The swordswoman briefly stooped to wipe her blades clean on one of the Rat's coats before returning them to her belt. Azar chose that exact moment to slip away before anyone could stop her or discover her motives. Typical Mharoti intrigue. Perhaps she was betraying the group. Perhaps she simply intended to save her own skin. Who could tell with such a reptilian people? Someone needed to take charge of this team of misfits... and there was only one real candidate. Given her connection to their supposed patron, Azar might seem the logical choice, but as a cold-blooded dragon lover... could the witch ever really be trusted? Zenda would certainly never follow her. The others had their own issues... Bato's was impetuous and arrogant, neither Myra nor Nae'laa seemed to have the sort of personality required... No. It had to be Zenda. After all, even the Sultana had chosen to entrust her letter of marque to the Ishadian over her own agent.

Still, they had no time to discuss the matter, or bring the others around to her way way of thinking. No, best to just take charge... in a subtle way. The first orders would not be issued to anyone, but to everyone, herself included. The more they viewed themselves as a team, the more they saw her working alongside them, the more they might accept her leadership as the natural order of things... instead of Zenda trying to assert dominance over them. There would be plenty of time for that later.

"Let's gather up the bodies. Strip them of anything that might be valuable before we tip them over the edge. I doubt anyone will mistake this for a common robbery gone wrong... but it might look more suspicious if we left everything behind." She didn't issue the instructions to anyone, just speaking them out loud into the night air, then set to work gathering up Bram's curious dwarven pistols and what balls and powder remained. After seeing the effect Azar's sorcery had upon the weapon, she was rather uncertain on the wisdom of using them to combat dragons... but they might fetch a copper or two with the right buyer.

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Old Apr 20th, 2021, 04:55 PM
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Bato turned and looked to the voice with mere curiosity, the hackles on his back no longer risen by battle. He did not know whether the voice was a threat or not, and when he found the figure in the dark he felt confident that he could snap their neck, whoever they were, should they prove to be trouble. What the voice said, he didn't catch the much of, but the tone seemed friendly and the blade-dancer seemed to feel like they should go along with it, so Bato sniffed and followed suit, helping to strip the foolish (and very dead) thugs of their meagre valuables, before returning to the still very injured Myra. If these ship people weren't careful they'd end up just as dead.

"Cat stay behind Bato," the gnoll said affably in his less-than-perfect Common, patting the feline cleric's back with surprising gentleness as he tried to help her along towards the ship. The pair of them were soaked still with the harbor's dirty water, and made quite the pair as they moved. "Cat stay behind Bato, not sleep, not drown. Bato protect." He brought proud a fist to his chest with a audible thump.

Azar, it seemed, had slipped away and warily Bato's beady eyes scanned the darkness in the direction she had gone. He trusted her little still, though the destruction left by her explosive fire magic (followed by the burning ones own) made him more hesitant as to whether she'd be easily dispatched should that be necessary.


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Old Apr 25th, 2021, 01:11 PM
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Candano DocksAs Azar slips off into the darkness between buildings, now wearing the visage of Bram Rothwell, she hears the irregular splash of bodies hitting the water behind her. Moving through an alley between a row of provisioner’s shops and small warehouses with solid doors and locks, she sees the spreading light of approaching lanterns at the intersection ahead. Harsh voices barking questions, the rhythmic rustle of metal, and the unmistakable sound of several booted feet walking in step with each other tell the seasoned spy as surely as her eyes could have that a detachment of guards approaches along the intersecting street. More than that, this is a professional force, as irregulars would hardly bother to move in a column.

Meanwhile, Zenda, Bato, Nae’laa and Myra have finished their grim work on the wharf. The bodies are gone, but blood darkens the boardwalk in thick patches over the lightly misting spray from the Middle Sea. At least the breeze carries away the smell of charred flesh quickly.

As they move to the ship at the end of the dock, the small hunched figure that called out to them in the night scurries across the deck. It emerges from behind the taffrail at the top of the gangplank. The beady, yellow eyes watch their approach. Then, the rotating beam from the lighthouse falls on the creature. It is short, about three feet tall. Beneath the yellow eyes, a brown-haired snout peeks out from a leather cowl. Round, leathery ears sport gold rings. The open snout holds prominent, large teeth, and the creature’s lip curls in a constant gnawing motion. Long, knobby, splayed fingers grasp a crossbow awkwardly, although it is not pointed in the direction of Zenda and her companions. The creature’s body widens at the haunches, covered in weathered leather armor that moves with the suppleness of a second skin. And from behind, a thick, bald rat-tail curls above it, flicking this way and that to counterbalance the body’s movements.

"Hurry," the ratfolk squeaks. "Get below." It lifts its snout into the salty air, sniffing with its crinkled nose.

 
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  #36  
Old Apr 26th, 2021, 04:59 PM
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Azar stopped when she saw the lights of some guards approaching.

Good, she thought, just who I hoped to meet.

She stood, her back to the approaching patrol, in the mouth of an alley some distance from the intersection which the guards were about to arrive at. The seconds ticked by and Azar had to use all of her willpower to prevent herself from looking back, to see what was taking so long. Finally the light started throwing shadows around where she stood, and she spun around as though surprised, letting the patrol get a good look at her borrowed face. She grinned, betting that this Bram guy was familiar with most of the guardsmen of the city and also that he was particularly cocky, and then ducked into the alley.

And then she ran, full speed, her light slippers making barely any sound as she went. She wanted them to follow her, but not too close. Panting, she came once more to a wide cobbled street and looked around wondering which way to go. She chose left because it would take her further from the docks and ran some more, before pausing a few feet from the next corner. Now she had to wait. She could hear the echoes of heavy hobnail boots pounding along the alleyway behind her and watched the reflection in a window of the light getting closer.

When she judged that the patrol was just about to come into view again she started walking, keeping a deliberately steady pace. They had just come onto the street in time to see her going into another alley. Once again she ran, but not so far this time. Instead she ducked under a cart which had been left outside a stable, quickly changing her image to that of a beggar with angry red sores on his face; an old favourite disguise for when she wanted to be effectively invisible. She pretended to be asleep and hoped for the patrol to pass by.

By now the guards had spread out considerably, so it took a while for them all to thunder past. Eventually the last one, an overweight dwarf who grumbled the whole time, passed and Azar slipped out of her hiding place and walked as quickly as she could back the way she had come. Before she stepped out onto the main road back to the docks she shifted her disguise once again, this time to that of a sailor that she had met on her trip to Gramvar; an exuberant and foul-mouthed woman whom Azar had very much admired, although for today's purpose the most important thing was that she was a sailor, and could therefor be expected to be heading for the dock, even in the middle of the night.

She had affected a drunken stagger by the time she came back into view of the lighthouse, and she pretended not to notice the blood stains or charred wood of the dock, instead just making a beeline for the ship from which the voice had come earlier. As she climbed the gangplank she noted that nobody was shouting and that the ship wasn't burning down. Probably good signs, she thought.

"Batoyangi?" she called, trying to keep her voice low so that it didn't carry too far, "Nae'laa?"

 

 
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Old Apr 26th, 2021, 10:28 PM
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Zenda, Child of the Gods
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If Zenda was surprised at the appearance of their benefactor, she was careful not to let it show on her face. Her life up until this point had made her open to accepting all manner of allies and associates. Except scale-kin, of course. And humans that served the scale-kin. And her fellow Ishadians who allowed greed and ignorance to blind them to their nation's decadence and decline.

...

Perhaps 'accepting' was not the correct word to use. Nonetheless, the swordswoman was practiced at not letting her personal feelings display openly. She kept her thoughts about the strange ratfolk sailor close to her chest as she surveyed the ship. They seemed alone... for now. Perhaps the offer of sanctuary was genuine, but she still remained cautious. She asked no name and offered only a small nod as she and the others crossed gangplank. She did not offer her own name or those of her fellows. This fellow might harbor no fondness to the press gangers that had plagued the docks, but she had no reason to trust that a little gold might not easily spill this night's tale to the wrong ears as soon as the party had departed.

Zenda gestured for the others to precede her down into the bowels of the ship. She hoped that Batoyangi would go first, but decided not to push her newly claimed authority just yet. Either way, if there was another ambush waiting below decks, she doubted they were prepared to contain the gnoll's rage. Once Bato, Nae'laa and Myra were safely out of sight in the ship's hold, Zenda herself lingered at the hatchway for a moment, unwilling to surrender control just yet. Once she went down herself, she would have no way of knowing what occurred above.

Divine eyes pierced the darkness, and she could still hear the sounds of boots moving through the waterfront. It seemed like their activities had drawn the attention of whatever passed for the local guard force. But the first movement that caught her eye was no soldier... just a drunken sailor headed back to her berth. But as the sailor's destination became more and more apparent, Zenda tensed herself for action. The woman was headed right towards them.

It wasn't until a familiar voice called out from unfamiliar features that Zenda realized what was happened. Their wayward companion had returned, wearing a new face. Yet more magic. The Ishadian winced slightly at the casual way the Mharoti dropped names that would be all too distinct and trackable to the wrong parties. But it was too late now. From her own post, half-concealed in the shadows of the stairs down, Zenda called out. "They are below. As should you be."

She had tarried long enough, it was time to remain hidden. With a whirl of her skirts, Zenda pulled herself away from her vantage point and finally went below decks. Now there was little she could do but wait for whatever was to come.

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  #38  
Old Apr 30th, 2021, 04:27 AM
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The Sighing LadyThe Sighing Lady is a merchant ship. That much is clear from even the quick look Zenda, Bato, Nae’laa and Myra get of the deck and hull. She is fat, sitting low in the water, and she has a single stern-mounted ballista as her only armament; probably for discouraging pursuing corsairs.

The ratfolk rogue on deck waives hurriedly at a ladderwell. He lifts his crossbow at the approach of Azar, still wearing the image of the sailor woman. But at Zenda’s familiar reply, he cocks his leather-coweled head quizzically. Slowly, understanding spreads across his animal features as Azar climbs the gangplank. His nose crinkles in curiosity as he looks at her intently. Then the crinkle twists into what might be amusement as he squeaks at her. "Clever lady. Down the ladder!"

His tail whips in the air as he scurries over to the open ladderwell. "Be nice, you lot. Boots on." he calls down.

Any confusion at his strange words doesn’t last long. In the dark lower deck of the ship, Zenda can hear and sense the movement around her even before her divinely-blessed eyes adjust to the near pitch black. Tall stacks of crates, barrels and bags of a variety of sizes fill the center of the large space, all lashed tightly down. The periphery of the hold is a nest of hanging sacks and hammocks, with footlockers pushed up against the bulkheads. Some of these hammocks sway with the weight of sailors. Most are already awake from the commotion, pulling trousers and boots on, but a few somehow have slept through the loud battle on the nearby docks. Their fellows kick at the undersides of the hammocks to roust them.

A flicker of flame from a dark corner flares, goes low, and then builds again steadily as a hanging lantern is lit from a match. A few others follow suit and the deck is quickly bright as a tavern at night. A few tables with checker boards or work cards litter the space as well.

The sailors eye the group that has descended into their domain with a mixture of curiosity and wariness. A few nod and turn away when they realize they were staring. Others just continue to stare. The atmosphere isn’t friendly, but it isn’t hostile either. Most of these sailors are human, but three or four are minotaur. They group together on the port side of the ship, and are watching Nae’laa and her companions closely. They are dressed in simple wraps at the waist with bare, powerful chests and hooves while their human shipmates don boots and coats.

The largest of the bull-folk is over seven feet tall, with bristled silver hair covering his body. A large gold ring is in his nose, and smaller rings dangle from piercings in his thick horns.

Just then, one of the humans walks up to the group of newcomers. He’s a handsome man, about twenty-five years old with a week’s growth of beard. His light brown hair curls in on his tanned face. He is just finishing buttoning up a black wool pea-coat, and he looks Zenda up and down with a smile. "Hello," he smiles and manages to keep his eyes on the Ishadian’s face as he speaks. "Arnau Bescóa," he introduces himself. His accent is distinct. Still Septime, but not Valeran. He casts a glance up through the latticed cargo hatch where the ratfolk sailor can barely be seen moving from. The ladderwell back toward the dockside railing. "Are you friends of Mister Skrihn?" Arnau asks dubiously, still smiling genuinely. "No matter." He gestures around him at the others who are finishing dressing and tightening belts. Some watch him with a knowing smile. Others roll their eyes and turn away. "The men of Capleon never abandon a woman in distress. And of these men of Capleon, I am the manliest." Groans assail the young fop, and an old sea-hand with a ruddy nose and squinted eyes backhands the back of Arnau’s head.

"Quiet, pescado," chastises the old sailor. A couple other seasoned hands push Arnau away from the group as he protests.

A door creaking open and then closed sounds from above on deck, then boots walking on the creaking wood.

"That’ll be the cap’n," says Ruddy Nose. "What’s the trouble?" he asks, looking at Azar and the others.

Distantly, voices can be heard arriving at the docks. Much of what they say is too muffled or drowned out by the creaking of the ship in the water, but it sounds like the patrol to Azar.

Many seconds pass in near silence. Then one voice calls out loudly enough to be heard in the cargo hold. "Sir! A body in the water!"

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Old May 2nd, 2021, 12:07 AM
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Bato stood to a corner of the hold by himself, his eyes directed to the deck above and to the sounds of the outside. The neutral atmosphere of the ship's crew and passengers served him quite well, though he got more wary looks than curious. His attention was what was happening outside and whether or not he should be ready for a fight. That was wrong. Bato the Great was always ready for a fight.


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Old May 2nd, 2021, 04:38 PM
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Descending last into the hold of the ship, Azar was content to stay at the back of the small group. She had resumed her usual disguise, the one which looked exactly like herself, except with the more draconic traits removed. The her she could have been.

As the hold came alive and lights were lit, she kept her gaze down. She found herself wanting to stare at the minotaurs but was sure that would be a mistake. Best to pretend never to have seen one of their kind before. Certainly she shouldn't ask if any of them were from Gramvar, as she found herself wanting to. After all, what would she say if one of them was? Oh, sorry for getting your city razed, I didn't mean to, I was just gathering information on your officials and defenses as a hobby. No, best to leave it be.

She was relieved, then, when the foppish sailor provided a distraction and was curious to see how Zenda would respond. Her assessment of the Ishadian was that she would either lead him on with practiced ease, or just as easily drop him on his rear. She couldn't decide which of the two possibilities was more likely.

The sailors toned down the noise a little so that they could hear the patrolmen outside, and soon everyone could hear the shout of a body in the water. Azar glared at Batoyangi and Zenda before regaining control and making her face neutral once again. Hadn't they thought to weigh the bodies down? She had bought them time, and what had they done with it?

She took a deep breath and released it slowly, keeping the fire low. There was no point worrying about what had gone before, she had to focus on the now and the future. It was certain that even the least astute of these sailors would piece together why this little group were hiding on their ship now. If they decided to turn them in there would be little which could be done, other than burning the ship to a husk in retribution, but better not to go down that path.

She stepped forward towards the silver-furred minotaur, her hands spread and a sly smile on her lips.

"Candano welcomed us with cutthroats and footpads," she said in a low voice, "and yet we were generous; we cleaned up their city for them. Tonight their streets are safer than they have been for many moons. Yet somehow I worry that they will not recognise our sacrifice! Truly, justice is blind!"

She waited, hoping that her gamble would pay off, and these sailors would have their own issues with lawmen.

 

 
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Old May 2nd, 2021, 08:03 PM
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Things settled as quickly as they escalated. Before she realized it, she and the others were alone on the docks with no company other than the corpses still lit by the spell she’d yet to relinquish. She surveyed the scene, taking notice that the wharf itself was unscathed. Every once in a while, she was amazed at the ability of some things to resist the power of the flame. Even more this time, with two wielders tossing about magic without much of a thought.

Luckily for themselves, the bandits were not so immune.

As Myra gathered herself, the sound of the swirling flames called to Nae’laa. With wonder, she walked towards them, almost as if in a trance. Within the ball she saw shapes, images dancing to and fro, disappearing and changing into new and interesting things. So enthralled was she that she didn’t even notice the voice calling out to them. It wasn’t until one of the others nudged her that she released the spell and followed them on board, confused as to where the last few minutes had gone.

--

She let herself be led below with the others. She had little interest in speaking until they were deemed to be damsels in distress. Luckily, Azar stepped in before Nae’laa decided to make a point. Instead, she let her eyes take in the room, looking for any slight movements that might indicate that someone found the recent revelation less than tasteful.


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Old May 3rd, 2021, 11:51 PM
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Zenda, Child of the Gods
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Zenda quirked one eyebrow and allowed the ghost of a smile to play across her lips as the young sailor named Arnau did his best to charm her. He may have actually held a number of years on her, but he was still just a boy, playing at games. Still, he was harmless and even a little cute in his own way. If he held any threat at all, it was one she was well accustomed to dealing with, and far preferable to being ambushed by armed gangsters.

Still, she let couldn't help but let out a small laugh as the fop was pushed aside by his companions. But it was a carefully crafted laugh, one designed to share small delights, not one for pricking the egos of the prideful. She diffused any possible insult by tossing Arnau a sultry wink. Not an invitation, but an acknowledgement of his appreciation. They were all stuck down here together for a while, it would be best to forge friendships, not enmity.

That sentiment was somewhat crushed by Azar's harsh declaration. Did the woman not know that these selfsame men and women were probably called cutthroats and footpads and worse depending on where they made port. Sailors were often regarded as a necessary evil. They kept commerce flowing across the Middle Sea, but the 'right' kind of people were always quick to make sure that the sailors kept to 'their' part of town and only associated with 'their' kind of people. The Wharf Rats had been an altogether different kind of creature, to be sure... but sometimes only the words mattered. Zenda thought it might have been better to deflect the question with a small quip or joke... it was easier to catch flies with honey. But it was too late now. The Mharoti was bound and determined to burn everything down, one way or another. A common enough trait among that kind, Zenda supposed.

For now, they would have to wait. She held one slender finger up to her lips, requesting quiet, and positioned herself below the stairs back up, listening carefully. The guards had found the bodies easily enough, as Zenda had know they would. But what would they make of them? Robbery gone wrong, just more victims of a lawless city? Or would the presence of magic in the air drive a search for the culprits. Only time would tell.

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ZendaSquire GainsboroBaruuk TalonfaceKonstantin LumynMarisol d'Arabeth

Last edited by hafrogman; May 3rd, 2021 at 11:52 PM.
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  #43  
Old May 5th, 2021, 06:07 PM
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The Sighing Lady"Braa! Ha! Ha!" The enormous shoulder muscles of the silver-haired minotaur shake mightily with his braying belly-laugh! He steps toward Azar, his hooved feet creaking the weathered wood beneath him. "Do not look for justice in this world, Clever One. It is a dead end down a twisted hall." His bestial smile reminds the sorcerer-spy of Marko’s quick humor and rolling, black eyes. "There is strong," the bull claps Azar on the shoulder and looks past her to her companions. When his eyes fall on the gnoll, his throat makes a small chuffing sound that Batoyangi recognizes as bestial respect. The minotaur turns his great, horned head toward the docks where the distant voices of the watchmen can be heard shouting out the bodies spotted in the frothy waters below the rocks. "And there is weak." He leaves a brief pause in the air before saying, "I am Vrakiras Roshgazi."

There are booted footfalls on the gangplank, going down from the deck of The Sighing Lady to the docks, followed by the scrabbling, clawed feet and swishing tail of Skrihn Vat, the ratfolk sailor. A man’s strong, husky voice calls out a greeting, to which there is an answer from the further wharf. The booted steps move away from the ship, out of earshot for those in the hold.

The Ruddy-Nosed sailor moves closer to Zenda and Nae-laa. "Cap’n’ll deal with the Lubber-swords," he says with a hint of distain. He reaches into his open, copper-buttoned jacket and pulls out a dinted old flask. Casually, he holds it out to offer it to the pair of women. His eyes do look curiously on the slowly dimming lines of ember dancing across the djinnborn’s skin, but he makes no comment.

Once they are dressed, many of the sailors settle in and sit amongst the crates, boxes, and barrels. Ruddy-Nose does the same. "Sit," he says. "Rest yourselves."

Minutes pass in the hold. Myra’s eyes wander to the crates and boxes. They bear painted labels marking them as spices, salts, saffron, and a host of other trade goods. Some of the smaller boxes have elaborate paper labels marking them as tea. The barrels seem to be olive oil of various labels and brands.

The booted footsteps of the captain, and the clawed patter of Skrihn Vat return from the docks and ascend the gangplank. They cross the deck toward the ladderwell. The crew stands up as the polished black boots step down onto the first rungs. Descending into the lantern-lit hold is a human man of about forty or forty-five years. Hatless, his long auburn hair is combed to the side and parted neatly. His own coat is of similar cut to the sailors, but longer and with buttons of silver, slightly in need of polish. A sword hangs from his tightly-cinched brown belt, of greater length than what most men of the sea carried, but still short enough to be swung in the tight confines of a ship.

Jumping the last rung to the hold’s deck, the captain turns to look at Zenda, Nae’laa, Batoyangi, Azar and Myra. An arch of his eyebrow is his only betrayal of what might be surprise at the composition of the group. But he shows the composure of a man used to the unusual. He gives a small nod to them. "I am Captain Thiago del Magrina," he says formally in a thick Capleoni accent. His eyes look the group over, and linger on the serious wounds still showing through Myra’s onyx pelt. "I have many questions, but now is not the time. I would be present on the deck until the soldiers have concluded their business. You should know that those dead in the water were known to the watch as being of notorious character." His face is serious. "Still, it is significant loss of life. I hope it was necessary." There is no accusation in his tone, but he sounds sincere. "As for the soldiers, they saw a local brigand fleeing the scene. One who is known to murder. For now, they seem content to believe that he was involved in the deaths, although the manner of their injuries cannot be explained by one man acting alone." He looks the group over with a curiosity at what powers and skill they possess to inflict such damage as he just looked upon. His eyes linger on Zenda’s twin blades, and perhaps also her shapely hips. "I would appreciate it if you’d stay below for now." His voice lifts at the end of the statement to make it clear that it is a request and not an order. "I will send the ship’s surgeon to attend to your injuries." He turns to go and looks over his own sailors. "My crew will show you hospitality." They nod an acknowledging salute as he begins to climb the ladder to the deck, where Skrihn Vat stands waiting.

In the hold of The Sighing Lady, Azar, Nae’laa, Batoyangi, Myra and the sword-dancing Zenda of Ishadia stand in the light of the lanterns, surrounded by curious sailors, amorous young men, and boisterous minotaurs. The ship gently rocks, as waves born from across the Middle Sea spend themselves on the shores of the Septime peninsula.

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Old May 6th, 2021, 10:03 AM
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Azar sat with the minotaurs, perching on a small barrel in front of a large wooden crate which the group were using as a makeshift table. She had never been comfortable with this breed, but she was working on the assumption that if she ingratiated herself with the biggest crewmembers the others would leave her alone. She watched the drunkard offering something to Zenda and Nae'laa and couldn't help but smirk. It would be good to travel with the Ishadian, who was bound to soak up all of the unwanted attentions of the males they met along the way.

She turned back to the table intent on making small-talk, but she opened her mouth and nothing came out. She frowned. Small-talk was really not her thing. Perhaps she should start with something easier?

"So, are any of you from Gramvar?"

The words had passed her lips before she could stop them and below her disguise her cheeks burned red. Fortunately the captain had chosen that moment to make his entrance and she found herself willing him to keep extending his speech so that, perhaps, just perhaps, the minotaurs would forget her question, but in no time at all he climbed the ladder back up to the deck.

With a sigh she turned back to the table.

What will be will be, she thought.

 

 
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Last edited by Lazer; May 6th, 2021 at 10:52 AM.
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  #45  
Old May 8th, 2021, 04:01 PM
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Bato watched the man ascend back up to the deck, the captain of the vessel they'd been hidden on, his furry arms folded and back leaning against some crate in the corner. The crew gave him a wide berth, but they did not seem particularly fearful of him, after all the largest of the mino's rivalled him in size. Bato ignored the silver-maned bull, but it was an amicable snub, leaving the minotaur his territory while the bloodied gnoll held the opposite corner of the hold.

The she-devil Azar did what she was best at (besides total incineration) and joined the minotaur's, peddling her charms and tricks. While the gnoll's grasp of the common speak was improving, particularly with his recent company, it still lacked and much of what she and the others around them were saying was lost on him. But what Bato didn't hear, he saw and what he didn't see he smelled. He raised his snout,
Dice Perception (Scent):
2d20+6kh1 (18, 5 (keeping 18) )+6 Total = 24
sniffing the air to see what cargo this ship plied or other secrets its scents carried.

It was easy enough to assume the pit fighter an unthinking brute, for brute he was. But he was more and those who failed to see that paid the price. His former Edjet-master had failed to notice that his clothes carried the scent of fire-rock any time he returned from Mama Tama's drug den and that sometimes, rarely, on those nights he would unhook his blades at the entrance to his chambers, his ever present weapons with which he was so deadly, and leave them there several strides from his reach.

The fire-rock had made him slow, clumsy. Even so he would have been capable of slicing Bato to ribbons, severing his pit fighter's very fingers from his palms...had his swords been within his reach. In the end the vaunted dragon-kin had perished in the same manner he had sentenced countless others to - struggling desperately to escape the Constrictor's grasp.

Within the hour, between the feline priestess's prayers and the unhappy attentions of the ships surgeons, the gnoll felt little after-effects of the fight on the docks beyond a dull ache where the manacles had struck him.


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