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  #1  
Old 10-05-2018, 08:52 PM
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Chapter 1 - Legion of Steel


Currently
Date 3th of AzaŽlle, 7453 (Winter)
Time Evening
Weather Outside Snowing, -28 C.
Inside Normal Light, 4 C.

Raven's Den
right-aligned image
Their five former companions leave in the horizon. At the top of the warden's tower, they look at them disappearing behind a curtain of snow. Will they meet again? It's far from being a certainty. The darkness grows around them, the cold surrounds the fortress and the world they once knew sinks from sight as the curtain of snow gets thicker. Chilling wind is blowing toward them from the northern mountains, like sandpaper scratching their face. It's surprising how the sea is noisy, the waves crashing on the coast. It's late in the evening and they are getting tired from that day attached to the wall of the prison, followed by the battle.

The Orphan is still anchored in the bay. The pirates on that ship must be freezing on the deck, most of them hidden in the belly of the wooden beast. While a few men are keeping watch in a rotation. There are five small boats attached to a small dock by the prison, more than enough for the party to make it to the ship if needed.

They still have to make a plan before resting. Are they going to pose as pirates survivors, what they could say to the captain and the Vixen, they probably know their men? Maybe they are mercenaries passing by, but what would be their reason to be there, after all the pirates secretly brought their noble prisoners on site. Could they disguise themselves as gypsies? In any case, how would they convince the Legion of steel or pirates to tag along? The spies get back inside and install themselves with food, around a table in front of the hearth of one of the prison's room to continue the discussion.
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Last edited by MoonZar; 10-06-2018 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 10-05-2018, 09:27 PM
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Sayyida hadn't realized how tired she was until she propped herself up on a rough wooden stool and grabbed a hunk of bread and meager cheese from the table. After a few bits and a swig of watered wine, her hands drop atop her legs and she yawns. It had been a long night. In moment, she had been free and now she was contemplating becoming a prisoner once again.

Foolishness, she thought.

Reaching up, she marvels at the tarnished otter clasp of her new cloak. It is a fitting symbol for her - a trickster, a thing that lives on land and sea, a sinuous combatant in the ancient myths. Then she whispers it's name in an old tongue, a lost language. Something that predates even her own kingdom. Something from some ancient fables her grandfather would tell her.

"Madra Uisce."

And then she is no more. As Rana and Tatsuo and Pacho debate, Sayyida disappears from the table. One moment she is there and the next she vanishes. She feels it when it happens - a tingle upon her skin and lips, the taste of salted herrings, a warble of a mischievous otter.

It doesn't last long. And Sayyida begins to smile much before the effect wears off and she reappears with it still stuck upon her lips.

"Imagine that.
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Old 10-06-2018, 04:38 PM
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RanaAfter making liberal uses of a simple prestidigitation spell to freshen the air and clean the bodies of filth, Rana sits down with those that remained for her suicide mission. Tatsuo, a man whom Rana had little recollection of during parties before capture. Which is quite odd since he has a rare facial structure that is almost as exotic as the Xan'cha. Pacho, a man whom Rana recalled as one putting on several acts and seemed to be skilled in the roguish ways, or at the very least could be trusted with spy-like duties. And lastly, Sayyida, her sailor of a cousin, related to her only by a shared grandparent, but she was trusted and of course was one of the few pretty sights left in this fort without laboring to search for a mirror.

The conversation behind the particulars of how to insert themselves into the Legion of Steel was going nowhere, but it was doing so at a decent pace, with only enough pauses to bite on dried food to fill one's stomach after the killing spree. Though Rana had to reiterate one point, "Some gypsies magically wander in to a fort where all these pirate corpses are lying around. We stay the night anywhere close by and you figure that pirates or this legion of steel wouldn't somehow connect a band of roving gypsies to the murders themselves and pin us responsible for the nine missing prisoners?" She sighs and kneads the bridge of her nose, "I cannot believe I am saying this, but Rene said things I could agree with. We cannot simply meld into the pirates by dressing as them, nor are we stealthy enough to attack their ship and take place of the night watchmen. That goes for the Legion of Steel as well. We know not even their names or their relation to the crew. What if my cousin took the place of the Vixen's lover by coincidence, it would be quite difficult to follow through without looking anything alike below the belt..."

Rana was about to resume the repetition of her point as she noticed Sayyida being gone, but she warped back into existence. She would be surprised if it were not for the fact that she had divined the purposes, both overt and hidden, of that cloak.

Rana gave her cousin a tired smile, took a breath, then resumed speaking calmly, "Our only way in that I can see is impressing the Legion, and undermining what competence the pirates had in their role of the events. We could prove ourselves competent by having one of the presumably escaped prisoners with us." She stands up and walks behind Sayyida, laying a hand upon her shoulder, "Though, we can likely get by without making such sacrifices, it will be harder to be convincing if we go to the meeting simply insulting the pirates for incompetence like Rene." She hunches over and hugs her cousin's shoulders, "If there is any agreeance with my plan. I will be trying my hardest to draw eyes upon me and away from any less, convincing guises that we might suffer from."

After any "yeas" or "nays" Rana looks at Sayyida, "Want to come upstairs and help me get dressed? If we get a bowl and fill it up with snow we could have some semblance of a warm bath while there is calm in the storm."

 
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:10 AM
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Tatsuo, Plotting to Con a Secret SocietyNibbling from a stale biscuit he found while leaning against the wall, he raises a brow at the fencer's disappearing act, "Useful trick."

Tatsuo appears with a distinctly more contemplative expression than his customary flippant mask. "I agree that random passer-bies will prove a poor ruse." Sighing, he crosses his arms. "You correctly point out a hazard of impersonating a known element of their group, my dear. Impersonations work best only after study or within a crowd to hide amid. Even with a shipful, we have neither luxury."

Looking up, "The ruse you sketch, Lady Rana, is ambitious, quite ambitious ... not that we have more convincing options." Tapping his chin thoughtfully, he smiles briefly, "But no, our acerbic mage friend is hardly a model. We'd have to pose as ambitious mercenaries of sorts that tracked the missing nobles to this prison and heard whispers about an employer. ... Poor Rita's body should suffice as something to dangle before the Legion without need for Sayyida herself. I can help with mundane disguises if needed. Dangling further insight into whither the other prisoners escaped, as well as our alleged skill at tracking them hither, all that might just give us an in."

Looking outside at the howling cold, the spy remarks, "Probably good to stay inside for the night ... or at least until that passes. No one will be sailing in that if they don't have to. ... But we'll need to be gone well before anyone comes looking inside. And then show up after they've all had time to panic. We can coast in on one of the boats and say we found it abandoned by some suspicious folk along with the body and a pack; the letter could have been inside to get us up to speed on the details," continuing his stream of consciousness to sketch a convincing tale. "To make them think we all went a particular direction, we need to come from there. The other boats also need to be discretely sunk to appear they were taken."

Thinking that enough food for thought for now, Tatsuo leans back against the wall, coughing a little through his still itching throat. Hopefully, a proper night's rest will ease that up. He hardly needs something asinine like a cold throwing off a ruse. Seeing the girls get up and state their intentions, a smile plays on Tatsuo's face, and he flicks a wrist. A small bowl he spotted earlier floats toward Rana's hands. "Or I could make a small contribution toward your lovely ladies' creature comforts." As if in demonstration, pure, clean water conjures out of nowhere to fill the bowl. It takes sharp or studied senses to spot the subtle gestures and incantations from the smiling courtier.

 
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:01 PM
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Sayyida is lost somewhere. She is exhausted. When Rana begins speaking about a bath, Sayyida shakes her head. Whatever is decided, there is no reason for her to be That clean, but she agrees anyway.

"Whoever we decide to be," Sayyida says to Tatsuo. "We can not have come by small boat. We must pretend to have arrived by land. None could manage those boats any distance in such a storm and the pirates will know that for a lie. We would not plan to row here from anyplace."

Stepping around the table, she waits for Rana to join her. She watches Tatsuo create water. It is all a haze that floats around her.

"And we don't have to use the woman's body," Sayyida says in a distracted way. "We could easily have come across things in the snow those escaping would discard while battling against the storm. Swords. Bloody armor. The goblin's satchel. Extra gear that proved too heavy to continue to carry under the difficulty of the cold."

Sayyida is not against using the woman's dead flesh as a ruse, but she isn't sure it is really necessary. They could achieve the same ends with a small number of gear and possessions they pretend to find left in the snow by the escaping nobles. They'd try to find other evidence but the storm will have obliterated any tracks and buried any other discarded items by the time any search could begin.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:57 PM
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RanaRana looks to the two men with a slight smile upon her face and takes Sayyida's hand as she starts to go upstairs. But Tatsuo, adding in a gallant gesture already offers for her a filled bowl of water for her to use. She bows her head, "Thank you, you are too kind."

Even on the way out they are still discussing the issue. Rana softly adds in, "We are using the woman's body to barter. We have evidence of the plot in the letter and we can say that we have seen the nine leave by way of one boat. Perhaps one of those rowboats needs to disappear to add to this illusion." She then looks at her cousin, then back at Pacho and Tatsuo, "If you would excuse me for a moment or two, we shall come down to discuss watch shifts if need be, but as long as this storm lasts, I don't want to risk waiting out in the snow."

 

OOCThings to do before rest
1. Craft accessories for disguise
2. Aid Tatsuo in dressing up Sayyida so she looks unlike the bounty sheet
3. Agree on a plan, or alternatively in disagreement and stubborn sensibilities Rana will vow to stay in the fort and wait for either pirates or L.o.S.
4. Spellbook stuff
5. Crafting her vigilante identity

 
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Old 10-11-2018, 01:27 AM
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Pacho “Gypsies are just a cover I have used in the past. They are common most anywhere and raise few questions. You are correct though they do not give us the penetration we need.” Pacho said putting his idea to rest, his gazing darting towards the Sayyida amused by her trick.



“I do agree about our friends persuasive style.”
Pacho piped up at the mention of Rene, picking what is likely brains out of his armor then changing the topic quickly hoping not to be berated on his own questionable tactics.


“The plan is about as sound as we can make given the circumstances.” the cutthroat nods in agreement to the ruse, his tone slightly stained with uncertainty.

“Sink all but one of the boats. Take the last one out and scuttle it on the shore with Rita’s corpse. We double back to the fort. Then we appear, mercenaries looking for our cut of the pie. Using the Goblin’s note we can chastise the pirates incompetence and offer our services.” Pacho said each sentences with a pause to make sure he understood the plan.

“The corpse offers us too much benefit. Not only did everyone get away but they executed one of the prisoners. Anyone who lays eyes on that woman’s corpses knows she was executed. I doubt the legion will believe her fellow captives the cause of such a brutal act. ” Pacho said as he stood up and began looking for things to aid in his disguise.

"The pirates are brutal thugs, we need to offer the services of collected professionals who can get the job accomplished silent and clean." As he talked Pacho looked for clothing of different colors and layers, preparing himself in case he need to change disguise on the fly.

Last edited by gotha; 10-11-2018 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 10-11-2018, 09:58 PM
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Rana's hand is soft and smaller than her own. While keeping most of her fingers curled around Rana's, Sayyida straightens her first finger. Her skin color is dirty compared to Rana and her hands rough and used. As Rana talks, Sayyida absently rolls her wrist and traces the edge of Rana's small soft hand with that one outstretched finger. It is an odd moment.

She is about to drop Rana's hand and take Pacho out to do what needs to be done - to sink the boats, to scuttle and place the woman's body - but she does not. It needs to be done. Soon. Anything could happen on such an excursion and she and Pacho needed extra time to make sure it was done right and then return with enough time before morning. But she does not drop her cousin's hand and, instead, she does something unlike her. She lets the others lead for the moment. Lets them decide. She is content for the moment to just breath.

 

Taking the steps by two to return to the main room, Sayyida yells for Pacho before finding the woman's body and slinging it over one shoulder.

"We've some work to do first," she says once finding Pacho. "Let's get it done and worry about disguises once we are finished. No sense getting all made up and ruining it with labor eh."
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Old 10-12-2018, 02:41 PM
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Rana
 

After Sayyida leaves, she spends an hour reflecting upon her spellbook, filling four pages with inspiration that she received and needed. Though it was a shame she could not find a pouch of components so she can use each spell in her knowledge, but she had to make due.

With little further interaction with the others, she got dressed and left the room that she turned into a hotbox for the time being, the luxury air of the sauna felt great but the contrast of the cold air outside was like knives threatening to pierce to the bone. From one of the corpses she stole a poorer quality dagger before she descended downstairs to collect some wood. She spent some time whittling, going outside to collect sap and looking around inside for nails and such where she could. Once the mask was complete, she took a few additional scraps of clothing and disappeared upstairs where Rita's body had been since removed by her fellows.

It would likely be another hour of uninterrupted work before she descended downstairs again, asking, "Am I needed for something? Who takes first watch?"

 
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Old 10-14-2018, 02:37 AM
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Tatsuo, Plotting to Con a Secret SocietyThe comrades hash out the details of a plan together, and it seems to satisfy most. The girls leave the boys to some pampering of some sort. After some work on sorting his arms, the courtier spy looks up the stairs. Cocking a brow, he has an odd feeling about the long time they are taking. Glancing toward the chemist spy with him, a feeling from earlier brings an uneasy shiver before pushing it aside. "I'll find a convenient tower to watch for the pirate ship and anyone else approaching." Getting up, Tatsuo walks off into another room.

It didn't take long to find a convenient observation point. After relaying it to Pacho, Tatsuo sits down with a dark bowl. He fills it with water for a makeshift mirror. Using the materials at hand, he works on mundane adjustments to his winter wear to make it unrecognizable from the pirate's stock, exchanging accessories, dulling some of the colors with soot. The Celesyan symbol makes a fine prop to complete the picture. Once satisfied, Tatsuo plies his deceptive magics over his visage. He keeps trying out different variations, tweaking eyes, shaping nose. His mother's heritage is eclipsed from his face, and a faint shadow of facial hair & a lightened Darakyan complexion veil the rest. He studies the look and feel of the illusion to memorize it.


After Sayyida descends to work with Pacho, Tatsuo returns to keeping watch over the pirates to the east. Fortunately, the work is not long for the pair, and he is soon relieved so he can get to work on getting the fencer's disguise up to standard. Sitting her down, he forewarns her, "Excuse my forwardness in advance, my lady, but we only get one chance at this." Glancing between the description in the letter and her face, the courtier scrutinizes every curve with a rare intensity. "The trick for an alter ego disguise is subtle changes, reframed face here, a darkened complexion there." While he hasn't a proper disguise kit, the spy conjures some magical guidance and makes do with what he has. With a dagger, he shortens her hair to lay differently round her face and lay just a bit over her eyes. A light layer of soot darkens her complexion. A scarf tucks around the lower half of her face. "Between the hair bangs and the scarf, we want your face uninteresting and unmemorable. Rather, they need something else to draw their eyes." His hands and attention move toward Sayyida's winter wear. While reminiscent of what a dress fitting might be like, the spy's hands on her feel entirely professional. Some straps are tightened; more of the cloak is loosened. Even under the heavy winter layers, the shapely femme fatale becomes more prominent. Stepping back, Tatsuo regards her studiously again before Take 10 on Disguise: 28 for a disguise via minor changes and with Guidance orison.nodding approvingly. "Yes, definitely drawing eyes," though you couldn't tell from his expression.

After an hour, Tatsuo looks up at the descending Rana. The spy shrugs nonchalantly. "I can take the first watch, m'lady, ... if you approve of your kinswoman's makeover," flashing a teasing smirk.

 
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Old 10-14-2018, 10:47 AM
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The frigid weather that Sayyida and Pacho trudge through to sink some boats and scuttle Rita's body is unrelenting. Sayyida speaks little as they labor not just because the storm steals away every word that leaves her lips but because she is still dazed by a warmth inside that can not be taken entirely away by the ice and snow. Returning to the prison, breathing heavy and shaking snow from her cloak, she looks around the main room but doesn't find what she is seeks and instead pretends that Tatsuo is the object of her attention.

"No worries," she says to Tatsuo as he begins to work on her disguise. "I've had far rougher hands recently then yours. And at least I can get some enjoyment out of your groping."

She laughs some at her joke about her abuse by the pirates, hoping to make Tatsuo feel at ease, and shrugs at Pacho when he looks over. The pair of them, Pacho and herself, are oddly similar when there is work to be done; precise, thorough, and with little nonsense. She liked the man even if his smile was crooked and his eyes said things different than his lips.

Admiring Tatsuo's skill, she misses Rana's descent from the stairs. She doesn't hear what Tatsuo says. It takes effort to stay even when she finds Rana's eyes. She would let Rana decide what could be seen and what remained hidden. So long as something remained.

New waters were inherently treacherous. One never knew the way of the currents or how fickle the wind could be. So all a sailor could do was use what skill they had in such circumstances. And that's what Sayyida al'Hurra did while the world changed or, more importantly, how her breathing changed within it.
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Old 10-15-2018, 10:12 AM
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PachoAs the night went on and the discussion continued a plan slowly came to fruition. Pacho watched attentively the spy at work, the man was his father’s son, or at least a spitting image of the legend passed around secret service. With diplomats poise and an agents attention to the detail the man took the concerns and ideas from his fellow captives and hashed out a plan satisfactorily to all, the seed of which spawning from the one with the least experience in espionage. Just as she had done with the interrogation the woman had impressed Pacho with her natural inclination towards this type of work. Add in the deadly blade of the pirate princess and Pacho’s prior insecurities about the mission slowly faded. The small voice in his head wanting to flee and put distance between him and his troubles grew silent as his mind became preoccupied with details and action. He knew full well the escape he sought only offered the false facade of security, the only real security was in knowing his enemies and putting a blade across their throat.

Pacho kept his conversation strictly to business, a habit from working for years with people who did not enjoy being asked personal questions. Before he left with Sayyida to sink the boats he handed Tatsuo and Rana the goblin’s note, open to the page describing their identifying markings so that the two could best plan their disguise.

The sinking of the boats went quickly and efficiently, the woman knowing her way around about the rafts. There only conversation being quick corrections to Pacho on the proper way to scuttle the small vessels.

When Pacho returned he took a seat at the table and quietly join the others in preparing his disguise. Disguising was like lying, less is more, with truth being the best shield for deceit. His changes were minor, half shaving, soot to cover his tattoo and color hair, finally a touching himself with a shaggy enough appearance to hide the gruff. He rifled though the clothes for different colors and layers, things he could shed quickly if he needed to flee. Lastly he took his elixirs, hiding them though out his person, but always in reach.

" Do you mind if I take final watch, I enjoy the peace of the rising sun" Pacho said, the only honest thing to pass through his lips in a long while.

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Old 10-15-2018, 05:39 PM
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Rana
 

Descending down the stair an hour after she had disappeared seemed to bring some changes to the environment below. Rana glances over what Tatsuo had done with her cousin, face dirtied by soot, her pretty long hair shortened considerably and her eyes concealed by bangs. But of course the attractive features of a Matazulan body were apparent through the tightening of clothes here and there. Rana could only giggle to herself at the sight.

Rana approached her cousin, laying a hand upon her chin, raising her head and admiring the work, "Tatsuo, you have done some unrepentant things to discard what a beautiful work of art my cousin had become. But it could fool me if not for..." She glances down at the accentuated figure, "You cut her hair and dirty the face but the body that makes men slobbering dogs seems emboldened. For the most part the pirates are aware of our figures, as women of some beauty, I myself am taking on the guise of a man, it is unlikely to have much value in women that freeze to death out here doing muscle work. So if anything you should play down the features or stuffed her trousers so she looked like a man that packed some girth. Tie back her chest and she won't even be the same gender as the one the poster is looking for." She glances over at the document revealing such information on Sayyida after This is Rana adding a plus 2 to disguise via aid other, perfectly counters the minus for being another genderadding her input.

Toward the latter half of their conversation and work, Rana nodded at the accepted schedule, "I have little confidence in my skills, so I shall take the second watch. I have no trust in my own senses in the wild so perhaps my cousin could join me if we take long shifts like so. I have my own guise prepared, I will only need a minute to transform, and by the morning hour there is no need for me to be sitting in the entrance to introduce myself. I'll let them come to me if necessary." She smiles at Tatsuo and Pacho, "Your work is well done, hopefully my guise will be distracting enough to keep eyes off of any mistakes made maintaining your own, or my cousin's guises." She steps away from her cousin's side, "Let's off to sleep if the arrangements are fair, we have a big day on the morrow."

 

Last edited by Vaerdis; 10-15-2018 at 08:33 PM. Reason: removed the Vixen comment
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:37 AM
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Tatsuo, Plotting to Con a Secret SocietyTatsuo snorts at her jest. "Normally, I take someone to dinner first before that sort of enjoyment," quips the courtier dryly.

The spy quirks a brow over Rana's suggestion, looking between her and his de facto dress up doll. Settling his scrutinizing gaze over Sayyida, he traces her shape up and down before exhaling. "The distracting appearance was somewhat the point. ... But I suppose I can discard the rest of her allure. Sayyida, doff your coat & layers down to your leather jerkin. Leave the straps loose," he rattles off clinically. Slicing off a broad strip of padded cloth from one of the spare outfits, Tatsuo waves a hand to make the strip float. Gauging her proportions, he ties it snugly about her thin waist. "This will tickle." With a gesture, it slides beneath her jerkin, tickling as it brushes along her skin. It is far more uncomfortable as the cloth stretches over her chest area but hardly unexpected. Before she can so much as stretch or inhale, the spy busies with strapping her leather jerkin tightly about her torso. He replaces the extra layers and coat on her, leaving them far looser on her. "The tight armor should hide your more prominent curves. The baggy clothes should veil the rest." Taking his dagger, he slices at her hair a little more unevenly. With a tussle, it gains a more shaggy look while still veiling her eyes. He slips a small cloth roll in between pants layers down the front before wrapping the scarf back around her face and stepping back to look her over.

With Rana's feedback, Tatsuo nods his Take 10 on Disguise: 23 for a disguise with sex change, Rana aid, and Guidance orison.satisfaction. "There. Keep words few & simple. Adequate, friends?"

The nonchalance creeps back into eyes and lips to veil the clinical professional. "I think I found a nice out of the way room to lay down, yet close enough to the lookout tower for a quick alarm." A brief look of concentration lingers before his form shimmers to reveal a Darakyan acolyte of a sea goddess. Bearing a mischievous smirk, he makes a sweeping flourish to gesture to all his fellow conartists, a preface to a simple question. "Names?" a hint of the Darakyan accent more noticeable. They are going to need everything sorted before they turn in for the night.

 
OOCPacho & Sayyida languages?
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:57 AM
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To Sayyida, her curves were no more or less than they had been. But she can not really appreciate Tatsuo's work without a proper mirror and aside from the soft bulge between her legs she felt no different. It was so cold she doubted her form would really matter under the girth of thick gear. And even if the gambit worked and they embarked upon the Orphan or the Legion's ship, it would be no warmer out on the water under sail. They'd sleep in as many layers as possible and count themselves lucky not to freeze to death in the passage. And they sure wouldn't be keen on bathing or even a sailor's cleansing. After a few days, they'd stink but be the only ones who'd notice when it occasionally stole past the layers heaped upon their bodies.

"Hawaiian/Aquan : I am woman no more,"ʻAʻole wau he wahine," she says in a dialect of the sea. Her grandfather made her learn it, telling her that if she planned to make her life as a sailor 'she should know the language of the things that lived within it'. It is a fluid tongue, full of flowing vowels and rounded consonants. Soft even thru a man's lips.

With dreadful speed, Sayyida draws her rapier and moves through three or four forms, testing her bindings and alterations. Despite the sinuous nature of her swordplay, there is nothing that indicates she is a woman, that she is anything else than a trained killer. It should work if she did her part.

"Sa Odoshi," she says quickly while sheathing the rapier when Tatsuo asks her name. It is a combination of two names she knows, two pirates that worked an archipelago off the tips of Vastyrya and Imadyr. One she killed. One she let live. Something she won't forget as it reminds her of the cost of her mistakes.

Turning back to Tatsuo as he changes, Sayyida smiles. It breaks her disguise and she is recognizable to any again. Bowing with one hand on her heart and
the other on her forehead, she acknowledges Tatsuo's aclolyte as any sailor who does not wish to anger a Goddess of the Sea would, or at least, any Darakyan sailor. Sayyida knows all but the most obscure gods and goddesses of the sea.

"Wind and WaterO ka makani a me ka wai," Sayyida says to Tatsuo's acolyte. Rising, she lets Tatsuo lead them to the place to sleep, eyes momentarily finding Rana's face when her cousin is not watching.

 
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Last edited by GeneT; 10-16-2018 at 11:30 AM.
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