• Graded • Did you miss me?

Zippo

With the escalation of hostilities between Etzos and Rhakros, a series of small walled towns is being established as a network of early warnings and defenses against Rhakros' reprisals. Only the very bravest and most formidable of characters should risk themselves on the Witches' Wilds frontier.

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Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:47 am

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Vhalar 117 Arc 717
Foster's Bay

A thud resounded through the seafaring vessel as the hull made contact with the hard stone of the docks. The inside shook upon impact, the shock felt throughout. For many bits, there was the sound of movement outside. The crew was moving, preparing.

“We’ve arrived, lass,”
a sailor spoke, sticking his head through the half-open door to her cabin. Yana nodded, having made preparations to go on land for several breaks. All her belongings she’d cared to bring had been neatly folded away and tucked into a rucksack, a couple extra weapons she didn’t feel like carrying on her person were wrapped into sailcloth, and secured to the sack.

She packed light this time. She was, after all, a fugitive of Etzos. Exodus was the first possible thing on her mind if the going went bad.

Yet still she found a purpose great enough to return to the city that had sauntioned her death for simply demanding knowledge.

She clapped the notebook shut and stuffed it into an inner pocket of her coat. Above deck commotion was audible, the crew busy securing the ship and preparing for unloading the cargo. The Yludih rose to her feet, stretching her body for a brief moment before heading to the upper deck.The stink of Fosters entered her nose the moment she stepped into open air, replacing the salty scent of the sea with the smell of sweaty and unwashed Fosters scum. She definitely hadn’t missed this at all, not even for a trill.

With a nod to the captain did Yana descend down the gangplank, spotting a familiar face among the people on the docks. Their gazes met, and Yana could see the spark of recognition in the other’s eyes. She changed course to make her way towards her Etzori contact, pushing through the passing seamen, sailors, and dockworkers.

“Fiona,” she spoke, almost a greeting, but not quite, “you needn’t have bothered to come pick me up.”
Last edited by Yanahalqah on Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:13 pm

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“Eye insist.” the girl -woman now- said. She was taller now, more filled out in every sense of the word, the Yludih noted privately. There was a subtle difference to the way she carried herself: more intensity, more confidence, more of that dead, blank stare that she thought she could hide behind the bluster and the slurs and that tiny smile. The barely restrained agitation that had once been the hallmark of young Fiona Zippomaria O’Connor was gone.

She was incredibly sure that was somehow not a good thing.

“Hmpf,” Yana grunted in a ‘whatever’ kind of way, taking a moment to scrutinize the younger woman’s form. “You’ve grown,” she noticed, their heights identical now. Well, as long as Yana remained in her human guise, of course. Though the woman hadn’t only grown taller, the Yludih could only hope that she’d grown out of her coarse behavior, like a moth leaving its coccoonish husk behind. “You changed your job, I hear? Black guard now, eh? Did you get tired of being pushed around, and decide to push others around instead?”

“You’ve aged.” Fiona said caustically, continuing to scrutinize her with that dead, blank stare, before looking out at the sea again. She was never the warmest of sorts, but this greeting was uncharacteristic even for her. “Not a bad thing, yeah? Not a bad fuckin’ thing at all. Lots of things get better as they age: Wine, antiques.” She turned back to stare Yana in the eye. “Bounty inflations.”

“They still haven’t given up then? Good thing I suspected as much.” Her once auburn locks were now black, and her skin more toned or lightly tanned. Not the best of disguises for sure, but enough to make people searching for someone fitting the description on her bounty poster overlook her. She did not even respond to the small taunt with anything other than a slight smile. If she wanted to, Yana could look younger -and much much more attractive- than Fiona, or older than Vuda’s deceased grandmother if it suited her, one of the benefits of Yludih’s shapeshifting.



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Last edited by Zipper on Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:32 pm

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“You’re valued at a whooping solid 600 golden nels, red.” Fiona clapped. “They really took what you did to Larry quite personally.”

Yana frowned. “Larry? Who’s Larry?” She did not remember a Larry at all. Other than Fiona, she hadn’t really beaten down anyone during her escape, and even then the favor had been returned with interest.

“Larry from Outsourced Special Acquisitions.”

“There’s no such thing, Fiona.”


“A bit of a merchant’s touch to bounty hunting profession.” Fiona smiled. Surprisingly, it reached her eyes. “He might have been a Barry or a Jim or a Nathaniel, and you escaped him fine - all thanks to my letter.”

“Your letter that arrived about a season too late? Yes, great help. Good thing I’ve never relied on your spotty information.”

“And yet here we are.”

Yana smirked. “You think I took your word for it? I’ve hired professionals to find out what I wanted to know just around the same time I wrote you. Second opinion and all. They found out easily enough there was a certain blackguard asking the same questions.” A shrug. “By the time I got the information from you, I was already making preparations to leave Rynmere.” Yana shook her head slightly, almost as if she was pitying the lack of skill the other woman possessed.

“I’m very happy to see you making new friends,” Fiona said, still smiling. She was too professional, too collected, too everything else to be the little mageling she knew. “I’m so glad your Waterstreet boys came through for you.”

Very little changed on Yana’s expression, though her mind was racing. Had she underestimated the prowess of her former colleague, or had she just made a lucky guess, based on the Yludih’s location? Waterstreet was quite famous for being able to provide customers with anything and everything they needed after all, be it physical and material or just spoken word. There was an equal chance of either, really, so Yana chose to let the remark fall by the wayside.

“I would like to imagine you have been doing the same the last few arcs, but I’m quite aware you are more likely to chase people off than to draw them too you. And even if the latter happens, those fools soon realize their mistake anyway.” She tilted her head a little sideways, one hand pushing a lock of hair back behind her ear. “You’re too antagonistic to get along with people, Phi, I’d be genuinely surprised if that had change-”

“I’ll be honest, I’ve been too busy trying to think of as many eye puns as possible to actually listen and respond proper.” Fiona said, her tone suggesting that a great burden had been suddenly lifted off her. “It’s all ‘iris my case’, ‘Eye see you’, ‘Don’t go all cornea on me’, and none of it is working, so let’s begin this anew. Here’s my sad re-introductory pitch: How’s the fuckin’ eye, bitch?”

“And here I thought your talent with words was only applicable to swears.” The sarcasm was strong with this one. “It’s quite alright, actua--”

Mid-sentence Yana rammed her crystal skull right into Fiona’s face, then hammered her in the eye with a right hook. She pulled no punches.
Last edited by Yanahalqah on Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:36 pm

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To her dissatisfaction, Fiona rallied quickly from the doubled impact, throwing her own punch over. She caught it by the wrist, then the second one too when Fiona went with her free hand. Fiona shot her own headbutt over, their heads crashing together with an impact that issued involuntary whimpers of pain from both of them. Even so, their hands warred and grappled for dominance. Both women strained against each other, face-to-face. She was very aware she was making a scene and what few people were there were starting to watch - and in the heat of the moment, she truly, truly didn’t care.

“It burned for the entire journey to Rynmere, and then half a season, if you’re curious,” Yana hissed in Fiona’s face. The eye was quite a bit of a sore point, really. Adjusting had taken a long, long time, and it had taken even longer for her to be able to stand the ugly scar when watching her mirror image. In truth, she would have liked to gouge Fiona’s out out of spite, but she could use the woman’s help. It would be foolish to turn an unfriendly ally into a threat.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Fiona said, sounding not at all sorry to hear that. “Just doing the job. Nothing personal at all.”

Bah.

She let go of the wrists with a huff. Fiona thankfully did not follow through.

“Anyway, I have things to take care of.”

“A boyfriend, for example.”

“He’s in Rynmere, so no.”

“Just an ordinary human living an ordinary human life in an ordinary human city.”

“Life finds a way. Unless you’re you. Then it finds a way to avoid you altogether.”

Fiona stared for a moment, and Yana wasn’t sure how she would respond. She was a half-solved puzzle to her now at best, a question half-answered; a shadow of old, aggressive, antagonistic behaviours and weird new ones. They say mages became more erratic as they grew in power, and Fiona Zippomaria O’Connor had been firing energy...whatever she called it… for a long, long time…

What she did not expect was for Fiona to smile, open up her hands, and gesture for a hug.

“Been missing you, Red,” she said. “Really been. C’mere, yeah?”

“I haven’t,” came the retort, though the Yludih did not object when Fiona wrapped her arms around her. For about two trills, then Yana forced herself out of it, feeling mostly awkward. She wasn’t a hugger, certainly not with Fiona. It was odd that she of all people would want one, from Yana, no less. Either her growth as a mage had cracked her in the head, or being part of the Black Guard had driven her insane. Could be both.

Could be worse: could be that she actually meant it.

“So,” Fiona was chortling a little now, as if this had all been some big joke. For someone as cleanliness-obsessed as Fiona, who would rather stand than let her soft and delicate butt touch a smudged seat, who would die before initiating bare, physical contact, she… If that was her idea of throwing her off, it was a weak, not to mention, dumb attempt. If it wasn’t… the magic must have finally gotten to her, driven her mad. Well, madder. Or worse: gave her an actual sense of humor… okay, maybe it wasn’t so awful at attempt at throwing her off if she actually put some thought into this. “Let’s go through the needless formalities then: hey, good friend, my name is Fiona O’Connor. I’ll be your guide through this magical adventure. Pray tell, what brings you to our sunny Foster’s?”



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Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:37 pm

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Yana was not a fan of this little game. Not a fan at all. They both knew, so why even voice it, let alone dress it up in such an annoyingly silly way. But, she’d humor her, for now. “There is scum to track down, information to be tortured out of them, and a whole ocean to dump their remains in.” She eyed Fiona with her only visible eyebrow raised. “You want to come with?”

“Sure, why not.” Fiona said. “It’s not like I have anything better to do.”

She’d become a marginally better liar. Marginally. But her Waterstreet boys, as Fiona called them, helped her do a little digging on her old wingmate too. She’d been a busy, busy little bee.

No, not a bee. Bees took in pollen from flowers in exchange for spreading their seeds. Bees contributed to society in a way that would never be appreciated. Most of all, Bees worked in colonies.

If there was an insect she had to liken her old Fiona O’Connor to, it would be a wasp.

Angry and vicious even when unprovoked, liable to sting you with a paralytic and drag you into her burrow to lay eggs into you, and almost convinced she could pass herself of as a bee. Also she probably ate paper and regurgitated them to make herself a personal hive suspended from some poor sap’s ceiling. She’ve never seen her eat before, after all. Every Wing gossiped about the mages assigned to them, and the biggest rumour attached to Fiona, aside from the fact that she might possibly be perpetually stuck at that time of the month due to her magic, was that she didn’t seem to eat.

Her stomach probably gave up filling the empty void inside her by now.

“If you say so.”

The two women walked in silence down the pier for a bit: Fiona oddly chipper… or as chipper as she would ever get, and Yana follow

ing her stride with a mix of caution and bemusement. The silence didn’t last long, of course, despite neither of the two ever having been too keep on smalltalk. This trial an exception could be made, apparently.

“How have you been holding up, Fiona?” Yana asked, the other woman’s behavior making her suspect she just might have gone madder than before somewhere in the last couple seasons.

“Never better.” Fiona said, not looking at Yana. “But let’s not pretend you came back with an empty book, Ramsey. Why don’t you tell me how I’ve been doing.”

“Hell if I know. I have better things to do than to send people to spy on you. The only thing I’ve heard is that you have some manchild tottering behind you like some overly attached dog.” The Yludih had been rather surprised when she’d caught wind of that. It didn’t sound like something Fiona would be willing to put up with.

“A dog? You know how I feel about animals.”

“Mhmm. They feel the same, which makes it all the more surprising.”

“Ya know, I’m starting to feel really proud about that eye.”

So predictable, so Fiona. Always going back to the eye if she couldn’t think of anything else to say. It got real old, real fast, and Yana was building up an immunity because of it. So instead of responding, she simply ignored it, and continued on.

“Do you enjoy hanging out with such a problem child? Is it some masochistic streak to remind you of your orphanage trials? Or have you just been saddled with him and you can’t get him to leave? Can’t really imagine him enjoying your company either, to be honest, so I don’t know what to think.” She paused. “Except for something that kicks all logic out the window.” She turned her good eye towards the younger woman, a smug grin on her lips. “Love, perhaps?”
Last edited by Yanahalqah on Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:38 pm

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“Love’s a dupe’s game,” Fiona rebutted. Just as Yana ignored her earlier jibe, so too did Fiona ignore her gaze. “Babysitting’s babysitting - but you would know, wouldn’t you? Playing with pampered parasites up east.”

The Yludih made a face. “Tell me about it,” she sighed, rolling her one and only eye. “Nothing but trouble, those ones. Last time I got into a tussle with a Becomer because of it. Wasn’t my best trial for sure.”

“You do have a terrible win-lose ratio against mages.” Fiona nodded smugly.

Yana shrugged. “As long as I don’t die, I don’t lose.” Though it wasn’t entirely true. Losing bodyparts was as much a loss as dying, really. Not that she would tell Fiona that. If there was anything she could miss, it was giving the transmuter more arrows in the quiver for her venomous tongue.

“But back on the topic of the east, not-loser,” Zipper said, rolling her eyes with the last two words. “How do they survive? I hear tales of rampant incest-”

“True.”

“An entire nation submitting to the will of a untrained boy king who saw his first glimpse of magic and ran screaming for every mage in his own constitution to be charred at the stake. They say the Becomer that provoked this scare was the very same one that terrorized our streets but seasons ago.”

“Possibly.” She considered it for a moment, thinking back to all instances of the King having been attacked or in the vicinity of an attack. There had been that one guy who threw a door at her… “Big guy? Hairy? Walking mountain of muscle? Mental capabilities of a toddler?”

“Sounds like all Becomers. Last big one dropped an entire epidemic on us…. by accident, if some of the more outlandish rumours can be believed.”

“Doesn’t sound like him. Ours didn’t spread disease, at least.”

“You sure? Doesn’t sound like the washing type.”
“There weren’t any plagues I can recall. We’ve had civil wars, mage hunts, some failed coup, and the Boy King marrying a woman probably twice his age, but no epidemics.”

“That whole plot of land IS an epidemic. How do they get anything done?”

“Rynmere is more than its King. The advisors take care of most things. Parasites they might be, but at least they are good for something.” It was better than having a fifteen arc old make important decisions on matters he knew nothing about.

“I’ll take your word for it.” Fiona said. “You miss this place?”

“Not really. It was always a bit too … zealous for me.”

“What about your parents?”

“What do you know about my parents?” As far as she recalled, she had not shared very much about them. Mostly because Rayna had no actual parents living in Etzos...or anywhere for that matter.

“Only that you have a pair now.” Fiona said with a wink.

Yana did not speak for a couple moments, instead looking at her boots as they took step after step after step. “Every trial,” she responded.

In a surprisingly, almost miraculous show of empathy, Fiona simply nodded, and the silence continued all the way into town.

No, it didn’t.

It lasted about 30 trills before Fiona said:

“Have you considered a monocle instead?”



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Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:09 pm

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Yana

Knowledges:
Deception: changing your appearance a bit to avoid being recognized
Deception: keep talking, then suddenly strike
Deception: body language to imply sadness
Unarmed combat: Hook to the face
Unarmed combat: headbutt
Tactics: Catch the opponent off guard
Strength: grappling with an opponent
Intelligence: recruiting the help of an old comrade

Loot: None
Injuries/Overstepping: Maybe a tad of a headache? That headbutt!
Fame: -3 Brawling in public, you savage!
Points: 15, no magic

Zipper

Knowledges:
Discipline: Withholding physical retaliation
Endurance: Enduring the backlash of a sloppy headbutt
Endurance: Taking a headbutt
Endurance: Taking a right hook to the eye
Unarmed Combat: Headbutt
Unarmed Combat: Throwing a retaliatory punch
Unarmed Combat: Stand-up grappling
Strength: Straining against an opponent

Loot: No
Injuries/Overstepping: No
Fame: -3 Brawling in public, I expected it from you.
Points: 15, no magic

Comments: Well well well. That was certainly some prickly banter. I loved this interaction between your two PCs. They’re both strong willed and their clash came across as natural. Very well written, not that that is surprising from you two.
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