• Closed • At A Rate Of Knots

Almund is a thriving township with a dark side. With houses made from the wooden bodies of decommissioned ships, there are many opportunities here, coupled with many dangers.

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At A Rate Of Knots

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Arc 721, 76th of Zi'da
The early morning fog had cleared, the white blanket rising to reveal the island of Scalvoris. It was never truly concealed, a dark shadow looming behind the mist, but Darius always preferred the clarity of an unhindered coastline.

Even so, its rising - and the subsequent appearance of Almund - brought a cry from one of the sailors.

"Almund ho!" came the yell in an over-the-top tone of boredom, and a chorus of laughter followed.

Darius, standing at the bow of the Libertalia as it moved across the Hollow Sea, turned to the brunette beside him and offered her a wry grin.

"I'm not sure if you've noticed it, but there's a bit of rivalry between the different towns of Scalv," he explained. "The crew are from Scalv-Town - as am I - so they like to tease Almundians for the sake of it. It's good-natured banter, mostly."

The brunette in question was his Videnese friend Elisabeth Angelus, who had agreed to accompany him on the journey. Darius wanted to return a sword knot to who he believed was its rightful owner: Liathen the Guardian. He knew his fellow settlement leader was researching pirates, so when he heard the rumour that the Pirate Lords were returning, it only made sense that he invite her.

"I know it's not quite the relaxing harbour cruise we originally had in mind," he added, "but I'm glad I finally got you onto the Libertalia one way or another!"

When the pair had first met, Darius had offered to take the brunette out on his ship. A brief journey from Hopetoun to Almund probably wasn't what either of them had in mind.

Gulls cried out overhead as the brig drew close to the Almund docks, and the sailors readied the lines.

By the time the ship had pulled alongside and was bound to the moorings, Darius had gathered his things - including his longsword, with the sword knot attached - and was ready to disembark. With him came a few of the followers he had acquired in recent times. He didn't like the idea of making a scene, and so he told them to keep their distance unless he requested their aid.

As he stepped off the gangway, he turned to Elisabeth and offered her a hand to step down.

"So," he said, "where does one go to investigate piracy rumours, do you think?"
Last edited by Darius Baer Bottom on Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 427
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Re: At A Rate Of Knots


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Arc 721, 76 Zi'da


The Libertalia was a beautiful ship, and when Darius had contacted her regarding a trip to Almund, Elisabeth snapped up the opportunity. Besides, pirate lords? That was a part of Scalvoris' history that she had delved into on occasion. Haven's leader didn't often get the chance to flex her academic side, but it was still a part of her, and if she could help her friend at the same time, the mage was doubly blessed.

Standing next to him as they approached Almund, she reflected on the quick journey, immensely enjoying it. Getting to know the crew was one of the trip's highlights, and she had made sure to take extra time to talk to as many people as she could. Astra was a particular delight to talk to, and Elisabeth had taken to her immediately.

Something else had caught the young woman's attention as well – the looks between Astra and Darius. Interesting. Very interesting. She thought to say something to her friend but decided, in the end, to let the matter rest for the time being. Darius would tell her when the time was right if there was something to tell.

Speaking of news, Elisabeth did have something to tell Darius of, but before she could, he began informing her about the rivalry between Scalv-Town and Almund. While she knew he was telling her as an aside, it was good to know. Tucking the information into the back of her mind, she gave him a quick smile. "I have to say that I'm inclined to side with Scalv-Town on the matter. My first visit to Almund wasn't pleasant, although that's not really Almund's fault." Darius knew, of course, of her and Balthazar's arrest there, and while life had gone on, the experience left a lasting imprint.

When he mentioned being glad she was finally on board, her smile turned into a bit of a soft laugh. "It did take long enough, Ox, but it was worth the wait. I could get used to traveling like this." It wasn't as though Elisabeth hadn't been on a ship before, but something about the Libertalia comforted the young woman. It was a relaxing place where she could get lost in her thoughts for a while, watching the water rush past as the ship sliced through the waves.

Before she knew it, they were moored and getting ready to disembark. Going below decks, Elisabeth changed her overcoat, opting for a heavier black ensemble with silver clasps. It was longer in the back, draping dramatically against her leather leggings, but cut in the front for ease of movement and the placement of her weapons.

Spying the dagger, she again remembered what she needed to tell Darius. Grabbing her pack, she swiftly made her way to the top deck again and joined Darius to disembark the ship.

As he offered his hand to help her down, Elisabeth accepted and opened her mouth to tell him her news but was again distracted when he asked her for advice on investigative strategy.

"Well, I have a thought on that. Legends and stories start by being passed on through oral tradition. Usually, that means older people. My instinct tells me that we should find the oldest sailor here and ask them what they know of things. Either they will be able to give us information, or at least point us in the right direction."

Oh! The news! Placing her hand gently on Darius' arm, she stopped him for a second. "I have a few other ideas too, but first, I need to tell you something important, Darius."

Smiling brightly, she paused a beat to let him catch up before blurting it out. "Balthazar asked me to marry him, and I accepted."

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Re: At A Rate Of Knots

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Darius chuckled when Elisabeth agreed that Almund was the lesser town.

"You have to side with Scalv-Town," he grinned, "or Astra will throw you overboard!"

"Hey!"

Evidently, the half-biqaj was not out of earshot, and Darius sent her a guilty glance across the deck. But he saw mirth stretching across her freckled features.

"The Libertalia is a Scalv-Town ship!"

There was an acknowledgement from Darius at Elisabeth's appreciation for their mode of transport.

"Aye, it isn't the fastest way to get places, but I've never felt more free than when I'm on the water."

As he tried to do with every expedition, Darius had taken great care to ensure that he was prepared for every possible eventuality. His father Josef had taught him many arcs earlier that failing to prepare was akin to preparing to fail, and as such, he had an ever evolving mental checklist that he ran through as he prepared to disembark the Libertalia.

That meant ensuring he had his equipment, his companions, and a plan.

Elisabeth shared her initial thoughts on who they might talk to. Darius nodded at her suggestion. Salty sea dogs were renowned for having tales to tell, and he was willing to wager that a couple of them might even be true.

"Aye, good thinking," he acknowledged. "I'm sure there's a tavern near the docks where we can find a few lips that can be loosened with some alcohol."

It was only as Darius went to step towards the shore that he discovered just how unprepared he was.

That was because Elisabeth announced her news. For a few trills, Darius just stared at her, his eyes wide, attempting to catch his breath. It was indubitably good news, but such was his shock that he wondered if she had told him as he descended the gangway, if he might have lost his balance and tumbled into the Hollow Sea. His followers mingled around rather awkwardly as they watched their leader hug the Videnese.

"Congratulations!" he beamed a few moments later as he broke the embrace. "When will you...? Where?"

And in that distracted moment, Darius had forgotten about the Pirate Lords and their rumoured return to Scalvoris.
Last edited by Darius Baer Bottom on Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 381
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Re: At A Rate Of Knots


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Arc 721, 76 Zi'da


Grinning as Astra took amused exception to Darius’ comment, Elisabeth simply arched her eyebrow at the man. “Hey, I’m on Astra’s side. If she says Scalv-Town, Scalv-Town it is.” The young woman enjoyed the light-hearted banter between the two, and besides, it seemed they were all in agreement as to which city was the superior one.

As previous experience had proven, Darius and Elisabeth were an excellent team in many ways. Planning their approach to the issue was intelligent and logical, and both were keen to get the best start to their adventure as they could. Quickly enough, they moved on to discuss their plans, and it appeared the blond sailor agreed with her approach.

As they disembarked, Elisabeth dropped her news on the man, then quickly wrapped up in a warm hug. Laughing softly, she embraced him back, and as the hug broke, his questions came. “Thank you! Ashan 100. We didn’t want to wait too long, considering all the things that tend to happen around here. The wedding will be in Haven. Invitations will be sent, of course. Vri wants us to build a chapel in Haven, so we are going to do that before the wedding so we can have the wedding there.”

In true Elisabeth fashion, she wasn’t done with the news. Poor Darius. The man always had to deal with her dropping information on him, but hopefully, it was a bit different this time. She and Balthazar had talked, and they had something to ask of Darius.

Taking one of his hands gently, Elisabeth got her friend’s attention, paying little mind to the sailor’s entourage. “Darius, the wedding will be Scalvorian, complete with all the Scalvorian bells and whistles. I’ve done my research, and Balthazar and I have spoken regarding the matter….” Biting her lip gently, a nervous Elisabeth tried to put words together in a way that made sense.

“We would be honored if you performed the ceremony.”
A Scalvorian wedding in a Scalvorian settlement. Who better than a born and raised Scalvorian, settlement leader, Baron, and most importantly, friend, to unite them?


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Re: At A Rate Of Knots

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As Elisabeth gently broke their embrace, Darius attempted to keep up with the flood of details. They came quickly, and he stood little chance of catching them all, but he did his best.

He caught the date, first of all - 100th of Ashan - and immediately attempted some calculations on the fly. He couldn't be certain, but he thought that equated to approximately 150 trials until the wedding.

He heard other minor details, too, like the fact that Elisabeth and Balthazar wanted to have their wedding in Haven. Darius realised this would probably be the first wedding on Faldrass since the eruption, and he liked the idea of the island playing host to an occasion of hope.

But it was the next piece of information - caught more easily by virtue of Elisabeth holding his hand and drawing his focus - that truly sent him reeling.

"You want me to perform the ceremony?"

He realised that echoing the brunette's question was perhaps not the most productive response, but he couldn't reclaim those words, so he pushed on.

"Da performed a wedding, once," he said, almost to distract from his earlier words.

Darius tried to stretch his mind back to the event. He had only been four and a half arcs old at the time, so it was difficult to remember details. Who were the couple who had been married that trial? Were they still married, all these arcs later? If they weren't, was that somehow his father's fault? All he could really remember from that wedding was everyone laughing at him.

Darius was flattered beyond measure, but he was also filled with doubt. He had only been to a handful of weddings and he certainly had never performed one. He didn't want to get it wrong. He didn't want to ruin his friends' special trial.

And that was why he had to accept the request. By refusing, how could the wedding be what Elisabeth and Balthazar wanted it to be?

"I would be honoured," he managed with a composed smile. "We can discuss what you have in mind on the journey back to Faldrass, perhaps?"

Darius was suddenly reminded of where they were, and why they were there, and Elisabeth's upcoming nuptials was the reason for neither.

"Now," he grinned, "as important as your wedding is, I'm willing to wager that if the Pirate Lords are returning, it wont be so they can attend. So we have some investigating to do."

Darius began to make his way off the dock and into the town, expecting Elisabeth and the others to follow.

"I haven't been to an Almundian tavern before," he admitted to Elisabeth, as he scanned the building for one such establishment, "but it's probably best if we don't mention our preferred town."

A light chuckle began at Darius' lips and rippled through his entourage. Even those who weren't from Scalvoris Town were loyal to the place by virtue of being loyal to him.

"There's no telling how alcohol might make a friendly rivalry a little less friendly!"
Last edited by Darius Baer Bottom on Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 527
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Re: At A Rate Of Knots


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Arc 721, 76 Zi'da


Elisabeth smiled as it struck home with Darius what she was asking him to do. She gave him a bit or two for everything to come together, but when he finally caught up with her, he asked for clarification.

Laughing gently, she nodded. "Of course, you. I'm not sure there is anyone more perfect for the task." The young woman was one for symbolization, equating them to links to important events or people in one's life. She wasn't quite sure when she became so mindful of such, but it was something she couldn't escape. Haven and Hopetoun were the two settlements of Faldrass, and he was the other settlement leader. Darius was a Baron von Smooglenuff, and the ring upon her ring from Cylus Dusk, binding her to Balthazar, had been a gift from Rodrigez von Smooglenuff. Forged, as she and Balthazar were, and an indigenous Scalvorian, Darius was above all else, their friend.

Call it stars aligned or the universe sending a sign, but it just felt right, Darius marrying them. She refused to ignore that.

Obviously, there were more immediate things to tend to, and as such, she nodded as he suggested they discuss the details of the return trip to Faldrass. However, Darius did manage to get a laugh out of her when he mentioned the Pirate Lords. "I assure you; they are not invited."

Elisabeth had very little love for Almund, but she had grown since her difficulties there and wasn't the same person. No reason to dwell on the past.

Spotting a sailor at the edge of the dock, she fished out her coin purse and did what Elisabeth did best – talk. Soon enough, her pockets a few coins lighter, she knew where to go and who to talk to. Gesturing to Darius, the dark-haired woman gave him a mischievous little smile. "Follow me. I know who we should talk to."

The tavern wasn't far or sizable – more like a forgettable hole in the wall. Elisabeth considered a few things before entering, turning to her companion and making a quick suggestion. "Perhaps leave the others out here for the moment? Too much of a good thing and all that. It's a small place, and I'd imagine these types of people are particular about those that come in. You and I will stand out enough by virtue of smelling good alone."

Quickly checking her sword and dagger, she waited until Darius indicated he was ready to go in before pulling open the door.

The light was dim in the room, and the smell, well…rather ripe. Wrinkling her nose a bit, Elisabeth glanced around into the room as she stepped in. The people within were what some would consider 'old school' seafarers, which was precisely what she had asked after. They needed people that knew information most sailors had forgotten.

The entire room seemed to watch them as they moved into the space, sizing them up most likely, but Elisabeth didn't falter, making her way to the back of the bar. The sailor at the docks had said that Old Hawk was the best to speak to if they wanted information. A sailor of some renown in his own right, it was rumored that he knew all the old stories and far more about many things than he should have.

Old Hawk sat at his table, deep in the back of the building. He eyed them as they approached but made no move other than to wave away his companions, obviously understanding that there was some business to be done.

"I see I 'ave company. Sit, little light lady and young Baer." Gesturing at Elisabeth's light bands, which honestly the young woman tended to always forget about, he offered them seats, chuckling as he leaned over and filled his tumbler with ale. Older, dark hair and beard streaked with silver, the man wasn't exactly what she had expected, and he certainly seemed to know a lot about them already.

"I 'sually ask to know who I'm talkin' to, but don't be needing ya to tell me. What do two Forged want with me?" Taking a drink from his tumbler, he eyed the pair and waited to see what they had to say.


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Re: At A Rate Of Knots

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With Elisabeth having managed to nail down an important detail of her upcoming nuptials - and with Darius finding out what role he would play - the pair were able to lead their group off the dock and into Almund itself.

He took on a background role for much of what happened next. He was becoming recogniseable, and the handful of followers who were with him meant he Elwood only be drawing attention to himself if he was the one gathering information.

Elisabeth was impressive, he had to admit. The Videnese may have painted herself as an academic, but she had a way with people that put them at ease. Before long, the brunette had established who they should speak to and where they could find him.

Darius' followers were left to linger outside as he and Elisabeth stepped inside the tavern. The blond mariner tried to make a mental note of its name, but it was so small,and nondescript that it had no sign. He wagered that if Old Hawk had several people seeking him out, he probably enjoyed the small addition of the establishment's anonymity.

The building had seemed small from the outside, but it felt even smaller within. Their arrival had drawn the attention of almost every patron, and Darius felt a tension in the air. The hand that rested on the pommel of his longsword gripped it ever so slightly as he and his companion approached the back table.

Old Hawk invited them to sit, and then mentioned Darius by name.

"How do you know who I am?" the bearded blond asked quietly, half to himself.

"I know the docks of Almund, and when a baron of Faldrass arrives, I hear of it. Your ship is almost as famous as you are."

Darius said nothing as Old Hawk chuckled confidently and swirled the contents of his tumbler.

"Baer's Libertalia," the old mariner said, leaning forward. "I like the sea shanty."

Darius looked at Elisabeth, wondering what she made of the sailor's familiarity with them both. Old Hawk had focused on him so far, but he knew both of them were forged. It was a little unsettling, to know so little about him in return.

"So," Old Hawk continued, returning his tumbler to the table without having sampled any of its contents, "if you want information, it's free to ask. But receiving comes at a cost."

Darius looked at Elisabeth again, and this time he offered her a gentle nod before he turned back to the old mariner.

"We've heard rumours that the Pirate Lords are returning to Scalv," Darius spoke, his gravelly voice quiet in the din of the tavern, one hand brushing against the sword knot beneath the table. "Is this true?"

It was the first time Old Hawk's confident visage cracked, and it only did so for the most fleeting of moments. The older sailor picked up his tumbler once more, and took a swig.

"Aye, I've 'eard that rumour," the senior seadog replied. "But I don't know if it's true. I've 'eard tell of someone trying to recruit sailors to join a Pirate Lord's crew, but I don't know which Pirate Lord it is."

Old Hawk paused, and Darius could have sworn he could see the man's thoughts bouncing around inside his head.

"Listen 'ere," the older man said. "Unconfirmed information is bad for business, so 'ow about you go find out if it's true. And if it's not, you can put an end to the rumours. If you're 'appy to agree to that, I'll accept that as payment and I'll tell you what I've 'eard about this new crew."

Old Hawk leant closer and his gaze hardened.

"But if you take my information and don't find out if this rumour is true, I'll make sure every tavern in Scalv knows that the Forged can't be trusted."
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Re: At A Rate Of Knots


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Arc 721, 76 Zi'da


Old Hawk seemed amused at Darius' questions. That much was clear to Elisabeth, who, for the moment, was simply watching the interaction between the two. People might know who she was, but Darius was a Baron and much more familiar with sailor circles. Part of knowing how to talk to people was understanding subtle dynamics. Elisabeth had been able to get information on who to speak to, but Darius would be the best to negotiate now that they were there. At least until she could see what Old Hawk was all about.

She remained standing as Darius sat, staying to the side of his chair, considering their conversation word for word, committing interesting aspects of it to memory, such as the workings of Almund docks and how information flowed. Who it flowed to was also of particular interest. Thought had never been given to how intelligence gathering worked in that manner, but it was intriguing, to say the least, especially if she ever wanted to go someplace and not be announced.

When Darius looked at her, he would see that there was no look of surprise on her face. Unsettling, sure. It was never good when unknown people had information on you, but surprised? No. Far too much had happened in the previous arcs for that emotion to surface with any regularity. Her relationship with Balthazar had taught her much about how information moved and was gathered. The Forged were well-known on Scalvoris. They weren't that far removed from those events – the memories were still fresh.

They got down to business, and the old sailor mentioned a cost to the information they needed. Elisabeth perked up at that, curious as to what he would ask. He had her full attention now. Darius looked again to her, prompting a quick smile from Elisabeth before her eyes turned to Old Hawk again, anticipating Darius' question and wishing to see how the man reacted.

Boom. No more had the words escaped her friend's mouth than did Old Hawk's expression change. It was only for a split second, but that was all Elisabeth needed – he didn't know. At least that's how she interpreted what she saw. A small amount of fear was wrapped up in that split second too, and luckily she had been paying attention.

What she hadn't seen was surprise. The old sailor was not surprised in the least at Darius' question. So his follow-up comment about hearing rumors did hold water – he was telling them the truth as far as Elisabeth could tell.

Elisabeth looked for certain tells that often guided how she dealt with people. Old Hawn was no fool and more intelligent than he let on. He was drinking, but not drunk. Not letting himself get into a where his mind would be inferior to another or put him at a disadvantage, yet continuing to drink. No, the old sailor wasn't to be underestimated. She just hoped Darius saw that too.

He wanted them to find out if the rumors were true about the Pirate Lords. Just how the beneath were they supposed to do that? Wasn't that why they had come to him in the first place? Not only that, he had given his offer a twist that could affect Darius and Elisabeth and the entirety of the Forged. That was not a risk she was willing to take.

Looking at Darius, Elisabeth knew he would agree – they usually did – so there was no hesitation on her part to speak. Old Hawk's offer was a dangerous trap, and she wouldn't allow them to be pulled in.

There was the only way to protect the reputation of the Forged. "Might I suggest a different approach? If my friend here agrees, we will do as you ask. First, and then you can impart the information on the new crew. That way, you know we are being honorable." They were being asked to do a relatively large task, so a little counteroffer seemed appropriate.

"But, in return, give us a place to begin looking."


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