[Duncan] Men of Avarice

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Alistair
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Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:50 am

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He stared blankly as Duncan revealed to him the blood leaking from his nose. There was a lot. The man and woman both punched him enough to stun him for a moment, and even now he could feel the onset of slight dizziness. He had sustained more than enough damage, and had lost enough blood, for the functionality of his body to reduce. His gaze flickered between perfect vision and a blur, and his thoughts raced. He needed to calm down. Focus. Talking could help; contrary to normal, maintaining silence for him enabled an onset of worry. He looked to Duncan and nodded his head.

"The nose bleed isn't the real issue," he replied. "In fact, despite my current state of weakness, I don't believe my body is in danger. I bandaged my hand and the flow of blood exiting my body has been reduced to naught. What I worry about is this entire thing. This scheme." The man retrieved his medical kit and allowed Duncan to help him up and towards the door, leaning on the man for assistance. He could walk. His legs hadn't been harmed in any way, nor his torso. "I can," he said. "You don't need to carry me. That'll be quite the weight." Going across Andaris with a man who weighed at least almost as much as him in his arms would be difficult. He wouldn't put that laborious task onto him. Instead, the man had something else in mind. There was something more important than his current physical condition, as he mentioned moments prior.

He noticed it not long after entering the home, but by the time it clicked he was already being wrestled to the ground. "I can smell something familair in there," he told him. "You might have noticed. The smell of corpses. It was resonating from what must have been upstairs." That put his suspicions forward as factual; they must have murdered the previous owners and began using this house as a base of operations. But they hadn't been disposed of yet - that was not a coincidence. There had to be a reason they'd left the corpses lying around despite the fact that it could potentially raise alarm. "There's a dead family here in this home, Duncan. An affluent family. We cannot leave yet." He tapped Duncan's back to gesture that he could let go. Alistair would close the door before anyone saw them, shutting them inside and locking the door.

"An investigation will pursue. If this assassin is as skilled as he could be, this 'Axton', we must ensure he left nothing that would link me to this crime. The bandits might have letters - things relating to me. The corpses of the family, even. We can't abandon this home until we scour it out." He winced. Pain from his hand. Another spell of dizziness coming about. But there was so much more to do. "Can you find the corpses of the family members? I'll investigate the bodies of the dead bandits. There must be something pertaining to this . . . insanity." He was worried - almost paranoid, despite his aversion to needless fear. But this was something real, not an illusion; not him crying wolf to a dangerous plot. This was the second assassination attempt on him in the past few months, with the last claiming the life of his slave Alaric. This was no coincidence - and he had a feeling that these attempts would only multiply in their velocity over time. A clue needed to be found, and something to absolve him of his connection to this massacre.

"Please. I know this is too much to ask, but I can't do this without your help." He frowned. He was very clearly in a desperate situation. As much as he wanted Duncan to merely carry him home, there was no future in which that was the wise decision. "When we're done, we can leave under the cover of the night. And perhaps I'll have toughened up a bit by then. I'm not getting any worse. We should take our time."
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Duncan Oisin
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Mon Aug 22, 2016 2:21 pm

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As soon as Alistair had named the scent in the house, it became instantly recognizable. Frowning, Duncan regarded Alistair for a moment, taking a moment to consider what the man had said. "Corpses are a familiar scent for you?" He questioned, taking a step away from Alistair so that the man could stand on his own. "You think they were trying to frame you for this? Isn't it enough that they wanted you dead?" He asked, watching Alistair carefully as he locked the door behind them. Duncan listened carefully, his brows raised, hardly able to believe what his day was unfolding into.

Running a hand through his hair, Duncan blew out a slow breath. He wanted to help Alistair, partially for the simple reason that the man was paying him, and partially because he felt invested by this point. He'd already killed a man for Alistair, and the whole situation, while crazy, was drawing him in. Why not go on a treasure hunt for a dead family. Duncan thought to himself. You've got nothing else to do today.

"Okay." Duncan said finally, won over by Alistair's almost pleading words. "I'll help. But, I want to know everything you know about this. It doesn't have to be now, but if I'm going to help you do this, then I need to know what's going on." With that said, Duncan turned and made his way to the back of the room, where the staircase was tucked neatly away, out of sight of the entryway. "Yell if you need me, yeah?" He called over his shoulder, before taking the steps two at a time. The scent of death grew stronger every few steps and as he reached the landing it was almost as if he'd walked straight into a wall of the stench, the horrible smell of rotting flesh assaulting his nose and making his eye's water.

Coughing, Duncan tugged his shirt collar up and over the lower part of his face, trying his best not to gag as he made his way further down the hall, pausing each time he came across a door. It was a beautiful home for the most part, complete with its own private office and a small room full of books and glass instruments. It was safe to say that Duncan had never set foot into such a fine building in all his life. Half way down the hall, he paused, looking in at sitting room decorated with large, plush sofas. For the most part the room was pleasant and neat, decor mostly in place except for the rug. Half of the rug had been rucked up and bunched across the floor, and the other half was dark with blood. Ducking into the room, Duncan started by peering behind the sofas in search of a body, but came up empty. He took a brief moment to search the room, in search of any other clues that Alistair may find useful.

There was nothing much of interest, some books scattered over the little coffee table, a vase of daffodils overturned on the windowsill. A stack of half opened letters caught his eye, and Duncan made his way over to them, picking them up off of the floor. He turned them over in his hands, and opened them, scanning through them one by one. Most seemed to be nothing more than well wishes from family, a few from friends, and one other concerning a business agreement. Sighing he set down the letters, and made his way out of the room, continuing down the hall to the last two rooms.

The nearest to Duncan was a small closet, full of nothing but cleaning supplies and old, dusty furniture. Closing the door he moved on to the last room. He pushed the door, and it swung half way open, before coming to a stop. Duncan pushed it slightly as he squeezed into the room. The door didn't give, and once he was fully inside the room he could see why. The body of a middle aged man lay face down in front of the door in a pool of blood. Just from where he stood, Duncan could see two large wounds; one sliced through the back of the mans calf, and another piercing above his right hip. It was hard to tell the man's features, as his body was discolored and swollen, an ungodly scent emanating from him.

Duncan glanced up and around, taking in the rest of the room. It seemed to be the master bedroom, as evident by the massive fourposter bed that dominated the space. Draped across the bed was another body, with a third leant up against the foot end. The body on the bed was smaller than the other two, and Duncan averted his eyes quickly, realizing he was looking at the body of a young girl. The last body was of a similar size as the mans, and from the clothing, Duncan assumed it was the mother. The three were all dressed in bedclothes, and Duncan couldn't help but feel sorrowful for the family, murdered in their home, seemingly just to frame Alistair.

Duncan had a quick search of the room, eager to get out, as the smell of rotting flesh was thick in the air here. Each of the bodies had been stabbed to death, the child and woman bearing only one wound and a smaller patch of blood, while the man was surrounded by the largest puddle. From what he could tell, the father had been injured first in the sitting room, and then made his way to the bedroom, perhaps in an attempt to protect his family, before he'd been taken down. Duncan took a step back from the scene, and then with quick steps he made his was out of the room and down the hall, in desperate need of a break from the stench and the scene itself.

"Found 'em!" Duncan called down the stairs, tugging his shirt back down and descending quickly, eager to put some distance between himself and the family upstairs, at the same time eager to check on Alistair and see what the man was up to.
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"Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night,
and when you move fall like a thunderbolt"

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Alistair
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Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:02 pm

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The man didn't answer when Duncan questioned his familiarity to the stench of rotting bodies. No need to answer; the man could simply assume it was due to his profession as a doctor. That was partly the reason, at least, so it was a half-truth. His other question, the Necromancer had no fear in answering. He had already begun to piece this all together, based solely on the name. It was one he knew. But that was for later. "I'll tell you when you discover the family," he said. "It'll give me more time to formulate theories anyhow. I don't have a concrete answer for you - only an assumption based on the name she gave me."

Axton. He knew of that name. It was one attached to a charming face, one that had attempted previously to lure him in - and now he knew why.

For now, he separated from the mercenary as they each moved on to their assigned tasks. Duncan was to discover the family and investigate the upper floor, while Alistair was to uncover potential secrets attached to the freshly laid corpses. The man had no quarrels in doing so, as examining corpses was certainly his forte. The only question was - would they leave something linking Alistair directly to the murder, or perhaps - more beneficially - would they possess information about their employer on their personage?

The Venora moved to examine their corpses. The agile man was cut down handily by Duncan, and by now his blood had practically painted the floor a new shade. On his body was a leather satchel, which Alistair assumed would be most likely to contain any information related to this madness. He scoured through the contents of his bag and found a letter indeed, grimacing as he read.

To my dearest Layna of Clara,

I cannot wait a moment longer to see you. After I have finished this task, I shall come to you, and-


He rolled the letter back into a cylindrical form. No need to try and self-justify this man's barbaric tendencies for what was merely a youthful romance. This was no message to him that all people were indeed people regardless of their crimes. This man - and woman too - were both damned for their crimes.

Just as Alistair was.

There was nothing else of use in the satchel. The man was as poor as the quality of his undergarments, in both wealth and information. Alistair moved on to the next - the woman, whose face looked absolutely horrendous. Not quite like a face at all, really. The Necromancer's corrosion had grown quite potent.

Her belongings hung around her waist, with small little bags lining corner upon corner of her attire and each storing a compartment of trinkets and baubles that she surely found useful. Poisons, reagents, things that Alistair wouldn't touch for fear of their negative reaction with him. Indeed though, in one of her pockets along her left hip, he found a letter as well - high quality paper with a picture drawn at the top - of a vulture picking its beak at a mound of gold. Odd.

Lady Rothwood,

The mark is here in the city. I saw him upon the eve of the 2nd of Ashan, exiting a conversation with the one and only Peake Andaris. Then again later, searching for patients via the Rynmere Gazette in a public park, and finally today - the seventh of Saun - through the eyes of one of my agents. A beggar who asked the "Lord" for surgical assistance and was refused despite assisting him. No matter. The man was not a beggar, but one of my own.

And there is another. I send this message with due haste. The plan must change to account for the possibility of an assistant, a Mercenary or something of the like. He could be arriving at this false estate at any due moment, and I can't have you mucking this up.

And Ali, if you find this letter - perhaps off the corpse of the dire Lady Rothwood - I'm very sorry for the inconvenience. You were very gallant when I first came across you, and truly piqued my interest. Unfortunately a client wants you dead, and I have a reputation to uphold.

- Ic


That confirmed it. Ic. Icarus Axton, the man he'd met previously in the library . . . the very same one who'd assisted him in stabilizing the man who'd been dying from his blunt wound. The one who'd asked him to attend fanciful evenings, balls, theatrical shows and all sorts of things on many occasions. Now he knew why, at least. He was an assassin. And Alistair knew where he laid his head to rest - for he'd researched him thoroughly after his many successive attempts. He lived in the town of Bayern, within Northern Andaris, near the border to Venora.

As Duncan descended and declared that he'd found the family, Alistair stood up and greeted him with an immediate nod. "Valiant effort," he said, almost as if making fun. In reality, he was simply bad at congratulating. "I found a letter. It pieces together my theory - Icarus Axton. That's the name of the man trying to kill me. I've met him on several previous occasions, his appearances in my life essentially constant since Ashan. He practically posed as a suitor of sorts. I think he got the idea from the unfortunate rumors in the paper about my . . . lack of interest in the opposite sex." The man rolled his eyes. They were all true, but god were they annoying.

He wasn't sure how to approach this, though. He had no knowledge of how dangerous Icarus was himself, and going to the heart of opposition was quite the opposite of avoiding it. This was distinct from Alistair's normal way of handling things; dispatching a group of Venoran knights to slaughter the thorns in his side. But Icarus could have known things - it was dangerous to approach him indirectly.

"Regardless, he wrote that he'd been employed to kill me. Clearly one of my political opponents, very possibly relating to this current rebellion. A supporter of Veljorn has every reason to kill me, as I actively oppose his false claim to the throne. Doing so would consolidate Venora to supporting Veljorn and as a result this rebellion would be greatly augmented in strength. Now, that's only a theory. There are many other possibilities. Zvezdana is a traitor, Andraska has a poor public reputation due to his dalliances, and my mother is too old to produce another child. If I were to die, the house of Venora could be in jeopardy. One of our vassals might wish for this. There are many potential paths." He paused, calming himself; his mind was racing in a dozen different directions.

There were many paths, as he said . . . "But there is only one to go down: we kill Icarus Axton. It is important to show your political opponents that your claws are sharper than theirs. And so I ask: in this matter, can I count on you to be my claw, Duncan?" His words carried a certain gravitas, and with his eyes he stared deeply into Duncan's. That was something particular to Alistair more than most - his eyes rung into you. They questioned you. His words demanded to be answered. He was a Lord, and asking another man to lay down his life for his own was as natural to him as the blowing of air, a midsummer breeze.
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Duncan Oisin
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Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:29 pm

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Duncan made his way over, listening with interest as Alistair explained what he had found and his suspicions. It made sense, especially considering his position as the future head of the Venora family. He hadn't leant much thought to what that might mean for him, considering he was now employed by a rather high profile figure. Part of him wished he'd put more thought into it all, as it was beginning to look as though his quiet life was going to change quite a lot.

Duncan set his hip against the table, a long sigh leaving him. It was a risky venture, he really had no idea what he was getting himself into, or what Axton was capable of, but it seemed Alistair was in much the same position. In the short time he'd had to get to know Alistair, he'd become interested in the odd man. He didn't act much like other nobles, nor did he act much like Duncan had ever met, and while Duncan liked to think of himself as a simple man, he knew he could be far too curious for his own good. He felt that way now, wanting nothing more than to get to the bottom of this whole situation, and to pick apart and understand Alistair while he was at it.

"Why not just figure out who it is that want's you dead?" Duncan asked, brows furrowed. "If Axton's been hired by them he'd likely leave you alone once his employer is out of the picture. Besides, who's to say they'd stop if we did kill Axton?" Duncan shrugged. "If it were me it'd only make me more frustrated and set to my path." Chewing on his lip, another thought occurred to him. "That said, I suppose going after a political opponent directly would cause a shit storm, huh?" He realized. It made sense to deal with the threat they knew about first, and then work their way up the chain once they had more information.

"I'll do it." He said finally, pushing himself back into a standing position. "You're lucky;" He continued, moving towards Alistair. "I never could say no to a pretty face." He smirked cheekily, his flirtatious manner back at full force now that they were no longer in any immediate danger. A part of him automatically revered to flirtation; partly because Alistair was an extremely attractive man, and partly because Duncan wanted to see how he would react. He held out his hand for Alistair to shake, face turning serious for only a moment. "I'll do whatever you need of me, whether it be your claws, your sword or your guard. I want to help you."
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and when you move fall like a thunderbolt"

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Alistair
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Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:52 am

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Duncan offered him a fairly wise suggestion, one that Alistair couldn't cast off. Find the source of the issue, rather than merely seeking out their hired assailants. Although he had no better lead on that individual than the assailants themselves, so it was likely that the proper path of action wouldn't present itself until the men in question were put to rest. "You're correct. The extremity of the assassins will only increase as time goes on. If Icarus is killed, another who is even more dangerous might take his place. I agree with you." But that didn't mean he had the power to do what was necessary. It all depended on who the source was. If they had the sort of sums to continuously engage in these plots, they were likely of some consequence. That was the only real hint he had.

Hearing that Duncan would assist him was a relief. If not Duncan, he would have to go to the Coven of Ellasin, and asking them for favors was sort of like making a contract with a dark entity. "Thank y-" he began. You're lucky, the other man said to him. He started to move closer, resulting in a quirked eyebrow from the Necromancer. I could never say no to a pretty face. The mercenary's expression was . . . almost disarming. He'd had tons of young women in his life attempt to allure him with smiles and flirtatious glances, whether from a meter or a ballroom away. Yet those were unlike that of Duncan's - the look he gave Alistair had a strange hint of sincerity in it, but also a hunger. It was all too fitting of the man's face, the look he gave him. The smiles he passed on that lit his cheeks with this budding energy.

And it was overwhelming. He had no idea of how to react. He could laugh it off and chastise him for his improper usage of the word 'pretty', but that was too evasive for his nature. No, Alistair didn't like to cower and laugh things off and avoid them. So he looked back at him, without the clear flirtatious expression, but rather instead a sincerity in his gaze. And he said . . .

"Then never say no to me," with a look so confident it could shame Kings. And with Duncan declaring loyalty to him, the expression upon his face lit up into a genuine smile, a rare thing considering the wilting wallflower he was. The stoic man, for but a brief moment, could actually be described as jovial, and he knew that his confidence was not entirely his own, but something that the presence of this man contributed to. Duncan was something else. He was immediately comfortable around him. "You're a good man, Duncan. I can see it in you. I think . . . this is going to be the start of an excellent relationship between us." He offered him a firm grip, a shake of the hand. Although not the terribly injured hand.

With all that they had done, Alistair and Duncan were hopefully absolved of connection to this crime. They would only need to wait for nightfall to come, and then they could slip away without ever being tied to this gruesome scene. And oh boy, when nightfall came. The Venora would have to hastily escape the presence of the mercenary - he couldn't allow himself to be sucked in. This man was . . . so dangerous. So charming.

So different. Different than all of the people he'd ever met, and yet he barely knew him. Now, all that was left was to see what kind of 'different' he really was.
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Faith
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Point Bank Thread

Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:11 pm

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Peer Reviewed: Rewards!
Alistair


Points!:

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/ 5
Structure: 5/ 5
Knowledge:

Basic
Location: Notice Board where jobs are posted.
Location: 1138 Selvora Lane
Duncan OIsin: Mercenary
Duncan Oisin: Prefers to use a gladius
Duncan Oisin: Not afraid of your station
Duncan Oisin: Thinks about his answers carefully
Duncan Oisin: Terms and conditions of employment
Duncan Oisin: Calls you 'Boss'
Ser Axton: Wants you dead
Ser Axton: Location: Bayern
Medicine: bandaging your own hand is hard
Storytelling: Facts make you more believable
Unarmed Combat: Don't grab daggers with your hands

Specialised
Detection: The unmistakeable smell of corpses
Storytelling: Facts can be a touch dull
Icarus Axton: hired to kill you
Tactics: Go to the crux of the matter


Loot:

Lossess
Please ensure that you deduct Ducan's wages
Injury: slice to the palm of your hand: will take 7 trials to heal and must be tended to carefully.
Injury: bruise on your cheek from the woman's punch
Injury: black eye from the man's punch

Fame:
-2 act of magic, +6 (x2 killing a bandit)
Duncan


Points!:

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/ 5
Structure: 5/ 5
Knowledge:

Basic
Madam Alessa: Runs the House of Roses
Lord Venora: Announces himself loudly
Alistair Venora: First son of Willow Venora
Alistair Venora: Heir to the Duchy of Roses
Alistair Venora: A bit brusque
Alistair Venora: Wants to employ you during Saun
Alistair Venora: A surgeon
Alistair Venora: Fell for an obvious trap
Icarus Axton: Trying to kill Alistair
Detection: Searching for clues; look for what's different in the room
Etiquette: when in a whore house / brothel: don't stare
Storytelling: sometimes, amending an existing story works
Storytelling: when amending an existing story - know when to stop
Bladed Combat: Gladius: Suited to close work
Tactics: Armour is an advantage

Specialised
Bladed Combat: Gladius: Short quick movements work well
Detection: The unmistakeable smell of corpses
Tactics: Go to the crux of the matter
Alistair: Opposes Velijorn

Loot:
You will be paid for this by Alistair.

Fame:
+6 (x2 killing a bandit)

Overview:

General comments. ~ this was a really interesting story to read and I look forward to finding out how the Saga of Icarus Axton ends! Lots of great stuff in here and kept my interest throughout. Lovely consideration of how the pc's start their relationship.
Story all good, well written and cohesive story. The pc's work well together from day 1 it seems!
Structure No issues - all great.

Please remember to mark this thread as "Reviewed" in the request for review thread.
Please record these in the "Skill Point Ledger" you have in your CS.
PM me if you've got any questions at all!
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