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Victoria and gang undertakes a job.

2nd of Ymiden 716

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Victoria Krome
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[Hangwood] Precious Cargo

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2nd Ymiden 716
The sound of swords clashing could both be heard before seen in the grass fields just outside the city as two mercenaries sparred openly and competitively with one another. One was male, the other female, and the pair seemed evenly matched, fending off each other’s attacks with relative ease. The thrusts and slashes were met with parries of their own or dodged all together. Victoria was one of the fighters sparring and the young noble was only too keen to brush up on her combat skills. Darren, a good friend and fellow mercenary was her opponent today, just like many other similar days.

The pair had worked up quite a sweat, and perspiration could been flowing down their neck easily. During the spar, no words were exchanged between the two. Nothing needed to be said, as Darren was a man of few words, and Victoria wasn’t exactly the talkative sort either. Having known each other since she had arrived to Krome many arcs ago, the pair understood each other quite a fair bit. They were here to spar and so they sparred. The older man knew of the woman’s hatred for small talk and he was not the type to antagonise people by annoying them with things they had a dislike for.

Victoria was just about to return a strike towards her opponent when a familiar figure approached them. “Thought I’d find you two here.” The man spoke. He was none other than Gunther, another mercenary, in their merry band of three. He was a man much older than Darren with hair starting to show signs of grey. With the attention now drawn towards the older man, the lass was the first to answer. “Hey Gunther. Is something up?”

“As a matter of fact, there is.” The older man spoke, closing the distance between him and his comrades as he did so. “I’ve found a job for us. A distraught merchant came to us for help this morning, pleading for assistance and insisting that he’ll pay any amount of sum to retrieve a precious cargo of his when his horse got spooked and threw him off, taking the cart with it into the forested areas of Hang Woods.”

Caressing his beard as he continued, “The poor merchant attempted to follow the tracks into the woods, but sounds of cheers and the rumours of bandits lurking about the area were reason enough for him to hightail it back to the city.”Victoria and Darren was soon briefed by their fellow mercenary that the three of them would be taking the job. Gunther as usual had seen fit to take up a job without discussing it with the two of them first. She shook her head as she wondered who he thought was the leader of the their band.

The three of them will be tasked to track down the merchant’s cart and secure the cargo. In the case of bandits, they were more than do what was necessary for their own survival. As Gunther left, Victoria left to get ready. They were due to meet in thirty bits, and she needed to wash up and get prepared and ready to move out.
word count: 541
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Aelius Callistus
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[Hangwood] Precious Cargo

With Ashan giving way for Ymiden, Aelius knew that the date celebrating his birth would be soon approaching. He was unsure whether or not he was going to celebrate this year. Whereas before he had the Seekers to celebrate with, his tutor always making time for his birthday, Aelius didn’t have that now. He was an Acolyte now, no longer a Neophyte, and therefore was basically on his own in advancing himself through the ranks of the Seekers and in life in general. While he was sure his tutor would make time for him again, should he ask, he wasn’t sure if he wanted that this year. This year, he felt he hadn’t done enough to be worthy of a break, even if it was just a few hours set aside on the day of his birth.

It was what he thought about as he made his way further towards the Hangwood. In the town nearby a merchant was overheard complaining about a lost shipment, some form of precious cargo misplaced because of a spooked horse. At the time of overhearing, the merchant was searching for someone or someones capable of retrieving the horse and the cargo. Aelius didn’t take the job vocally, deciding to satiate his own curiosity by going off on his own towards the Hangwood. Perhaps it wasn’t a smart choice for an Eidisi, but it was possible the merchant wasn’t telling the whole story in his somber excitement. Aelius wondered what just spooked the horse, causing him to dislodge the merchant in the first place?

The question was writhe with possibilities out here. Aelius himself was on a quest to further his knowledge in his chosen Arcana, Gravitation, meaning he was leaping on any and every opportunity that came his way, whether or not he knew the whole story explaining what he was potentially walking into. The half-Eidisi was simply dressed on that day, surveying the outskirts of a thicket leading deeper into the Hangwood. He stood in the tall growing grass donned in a simple shirt and pants that were tucked into leather boots. On his hands were fingerless leather gloves, but the thing that may have caught one’s attention more so than anything was the unique trinket latched to his hip on his belt, his conduit.

The conduit was relaxed there on his hip, a flattened disk with a pale violet and gleaming gemstone anchored in the middle by tiny iron chains. It fluttered though, as his hand hovered over it, the sounds of grass shifting underfoot catching his attention. Aelius turned to face the new arrivals, setting his milky white and ethereal gaze on those gathered before him. It wasn’t something he was expecting to see, the people, but it should have been given the merchant was actively searching for a party of able bodied persons to find his lost cargo.

Aelius, silently, brought a hand up to wave in greeting to those who approached the scene. The other hand remained hovering over his conduit, ready to defend himself if necessary. At first glance he wasn’t sure whether or not those approaching him meant harm, the world was full of dangers, of which he had faced firsthand. He didn’t want to take chances out here, not alone when he shouldn’t have been alone away from the town in the first place.

“Hello,” he said, his voice hiding the unease slowly creeping into his being. "My name is Aelius, I've come investigating the merchant's misplaced cargo." He figured he would introduce himself and state his reason for being there, just in case it would aid in any negotiation that may start to commence.
word count: 623
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Victoria Krome
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[Hangwood] Precious Cargo

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As the trio began to set foot into forested regions of Hangwood, they spotted a rather peculiar sight. A man was there. Well, he looked like a blind man, white eyes and all. Victoria didn’t have much experience with blind men, but everyone knew what blind men were. They couldn’t see. A quick gaze around saw her companions equally skeptical and intrigued in equal amounts. What was a blind man doing out here was the question. Maybe he wasn’t blind after all? Darren brought her thoughts to an end as he spoke out loud. “Well, look at what we have here. A blind man?”

Gunther then replied “I reckon he’s not blind. I know the eyes of an Edisi when I see one. A halfblood this one must be.” Any words of Victoria trying to say something was interrupted as the stranger spoke, announcing his intent on searching for the merchant lost cargo as well. He was tall and lithely built. His hair is closely shaved and not much of it sticks out for attention. His white eyes capture all the attention already, anyhow.

“Looks like we have ourselves some competition!” Darren then announced. “Doesn’t need to be.” Victoria answered. “What’s your goals for doing this? Money or Fame? Not like there’s much of any fame to get from doing this. We're in it for the money. Well, those two are, for me it's mostly for fun. The money simply a bonus.” Gunther then added. "Feisty lass that one, wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her do you?"

With the momentary attraction of his milky white eyes over, the lass finally noticed the ornament-looking object hanging on his belt. The man was dressed simply enough, looking like he was heading for a stroll in the park as opposed to a hunt in a bandit-infested forest. She smirked. “I hope you can fight if you know what’s good for you.”
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Aelius Callistus
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[Hangwood] Precious Cargo

Aelius’ unease turned to piquing irritation as one of the men immediately called him blind. He had to somber himself, had to understand that these humans, by the looks of it, were probably ignorant of what he truly was, half-Eidisi or not. The next man who spoke got it right, calling him by his race, halfblood or not. From their distance it may have been difficult to tell just who Aelius was looking at, which was an advantage on the halfblood’s part. Aelius set his sights on the lone woman of the group, noticing her fair skin and bright eyes. Upon telling them his own intentions, Aelius was met with enthusiasm and the mention of competition that was quickly shut down by the woman he had his eyes on. Questions were posed, giving Aelius pause as he thought.

“Not money, nor fame,” Aelius answered, “just experience, satiating curiosity. Money would be a fair…exchange of services. Though, I suspect you were commissioned for this job whereas I was not, no?”

The half-Eidisi’s eyes flicked back to the second man who spoke, Gunther, before lazing back over to Victoria, considering what Gunther had asked. With a tilt of his head he examined Victoria all the more, looking her up and down before nodding slowly in agreement with Gunther’s words.

“No,” he trailed quietly yet loud enough for them to hear, “I wouldn’t want to cross her. She looks quite… capable.” A small smile spread across Aelius’ lips as he commented her.

It seemed the woman was no longer enchanted by his milky gaze, her own bright one going over him before a smirk appeared on her face. Aelius’ smile faded as her words came, his gaze falling downward as he took in his conduit. He had forgotten to grab his cloak, forgotten to conceal his Seeker’s nature. The woman didn’t seem uneased though, it was as if she was amused by the way she spoke, fiery like Gunther had said. Aelius nodded, saying he could fight if it came to it.

Turning on his heel, the half-Eidisi looked into the thicket leading deeper into the woods. He whistled sharply in the direction before taking on an air of patience. In time, a feline’s body snaked its way out of the woods at them, its sharp eyes taking in Aelius and the three other people behind the halfblood. A meow came from it as it approached Aelius, curling around his legs with its tail in the air. If any of them had seen a feline like this one before they’d know it to be a caracal, and it clearly belonged to him.

“A while ago I heard the sounds of a horse from deep in there,” Aelius said, turning back towards the three gathered. He crouched down onto one knee, one hand petting over his caracal’s smoothed head. “The sounds stopped, but I think what horse was pulling the merchant’s cart is dead, slain by whatever lay in the forest.” Aelius stroked the length of the caracal, the cat arching its back as the halfblood’s caramel hand smoothed over its body.

He rose again and stood tall, taking a half-step in the direction of the woods. “Shall we go?” he asked of the strangers, checking before taking another full step, ready to lead if the three weren’t going to come up to his side.
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Victoria Krome
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Not money or fame, but experience.

Experience and curiosity was what the lone stranger here was looking for. That was rather peculiar, a lone man wandering about the regions of Hangwood looking for experience. She didn’t about how capable he may be with fighting, but if he wasn’t any good, the only experience he would be getting is a one way trip to death. Gunther then let out a guffaw. “This lad here is looking for experience, you two. Let’s help him out, won’t you guys?” Ignoring her old friend, Victoria spoke. “Yeah, we may have been commissioned for the job, but if you help us, I’m sure something can be arranged. After all, experience is your payment, yeah?” She smirked as he agreed with Gunther’s previous words and indicated that she did indeed seemed capable to her.

A hint of a smile appeared on her lips just as his appeared. As Aelius turned to face the woods, the lass began to usher the group forwards when their newest companion let out a sharp piercing whistle. Gunther exclaimed in mortified shock, “Did you really had to announce our presence to those in the woods? Here’s your first lesson. It’s easier to sneak and move around undetected when nobody knows your coming. Anyone with half a decent hearing would have heard that. Noises travel far in these woods. Don’t ask me how, it just does.” Victoria nodded, affirming her friend had just said.

A big cat then came out of the woods and nearly startled the rest of them. Darren was near close to drawing his sword, and she’d instinctively placed a hand on the grip of her longsword. At the sign of the false alarm, Gunther sighed. Looks like it would be a long day, this one. Victoria moved forward, commencing the hunt for the merchant’s cart. They had cargo to find, and they had to do it before night fell.

“Come on, daylight’s burning. We best get a move on.”
Last edited by Victoria Krome on Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 343
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Aelius Callistus
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[Hangwood] Precious Cargo

Aelius did the same as Victoria when Gunther spoke, ignored him. It wasn’t the first time the Eidisi had been teased because of his motivations. He learned to simply believe those who made fun of him didn’t understand the value of experience over gold or fame. Knowledge trumped all things and lasted longer than any wealth or ounce of celebrity could, Aelius knew this and decided that the man, Gunther, did not. Aelius took more interest in what Victoria had to say, nodding along with her words and believed she did not seek to tease or mock him, but to understand, if only a little.

Upon his whistling Gunther had more to say, asking a question Aelius thought mightily foolish, though his disdain didn’t show on his face. The Eidisi remained pensive, making his milky gaze settle on Gunther once more as he waited for his feline companion to join them from out of the woods. Aelius thought it humorous that Gunther was attempting to teach him a lesson, if anything he believed the man should teach himself one first. Even more so, it was funny Gunther mentioned a confidently stated fact yet had no evidence to back it up, which seemed foolish in Aelius’ mind.

“There’s a difference between listening and hearing,” Aelius replied. “You can hear but not know what you’re listening for, so my whistle may be mistaken for the wind passing through the leaves or narrow tree trunks bunched closely together. Our talking, however, is undeniable. Perhaps we should shush and continue on?”

At Victoria’s urging, reinforcing Aelius’ own, the Eidisi took steps into the woods, passing through the thicket and going further in. At his side was the caracal cat, walking near silently along the forest floor. It seemed Gunther was the only one talking and Aelius naturally assumed him to be a loudmouth, a chatterbox, someone who had a lot to say but not a lot to do. Wisely, the assumption remained in his mind, not to be spoken lest he provoke the talkative man. Aelius’ was truthfully more interested in Victoria herself, how she said little and smirked when he complimented her. He hoped her woman’s mind made her more intelligible than Gunther or Darren. That remained to be seen.

Aelius looked down at his cat underfoot, meeting its feline gaze with his own. He flicked his finger vaguely towards his front, leading the cat, Flavia, to speed up into a trot, taking point in leading the party deeper into the woods. He looked to the trio, nodding in the direction Flavia was trotting towards. “She’ll lead us to the cart, I’d stay on my toes if I were you though,” he said, turning to face front again. His hand hovered over his conduit steadily, eyes scanning the brush for anything that may scream danger at him. He trusted those with him could hold their own, they had taken the commission after all and were questioning his own ability to fight. Maybe, he thought, they thought they had to protect him, perhaps he would be dead weight in their eyes?
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Victoria Krome
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Victoria gave an inaudible sigh as Gunther and Aelius argued over the noises they were making. It was just like the old man to start being a loudmouth as usual, riling someone up like he always used to. Why she and Darren tolerated him all these years, she had no clue. It was pretty much a love-hate relationship they had with the buffoon. Despite his loud and overbearing self, one thing they both agreed on was that he was a great fighter.

Perhaps that is why that kept him around? She half-sniggered as that thought came to her, catching the sound before it escaped her lips. As their small little group trekked through the woods, led by the half-Edisi’s cat, she kept a watchful eye out for anything that could pose a danger to them all. These were the woods that were notorious for being bandit-ridden after all. Victoria was sure that the cat could possibly be good at tracking, but at the same time, she wanted to maintain an eye out for the tracks of the cart. The ground was soft and muddy, filled with the decaying undergrowth layered above. There was no doubt that a cart of that size would leave visible tracks unless the bandits were clever enough to bother removing the cart. She honestly doubt so. These was no organised criminals

After wandering and trekking deeper into the depths of the woods, Victoria finally chanced upon first signs of the cart. It was highly peculiar how the tracks seemed to start from here. It was as though the bandits had wiped the tracks off their earlier parts of the trail before giving up. Maybe they thought that whoever was pursuing would be afraid to go too deep into the Hangwoods. Getting the attention of the group and calling for them to stop for a moment, she informed them of the revelation.

Once they were all informed, she moved on, taking the lead, morale boosted by the discovery, knowing that they were making progress in the hunt. It was not more than ten bits after the first discovery of the tracks that brought them to an area filled with watery marshes. This was bad. Any visible tracks would be lost in the water. Swivelling her head around for any sign of clues, Victoria spotted a mound of something in the distance. Rushing over to it, she discovered that the mound of something turned out to be the carcass of the horse. There were several arrows sticking out on its side that clearly indicated that it had been shot to death. The cargo was still missing.
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Aelius Callistus
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[Hangwood] Precious Cargo

The party was quiet as they trekked further into the Hangwood. The quiet didn’t bother Aelius, it allowed him to stick to his other senses, his sight and his hearing, in order to detect what may be amiss. Oddly enough, however, nothing came up. Flavia was leading on towards the last sound of the now silent horse, sniffing out the trail it took. Aelius was forced to truly trust his companion because he, like Victoria, could not detect the cart wheel trails that should have been present in the ground they stepped over. However, any trail whatsoever was not there, or was invisible to all five of their eyes. Flavia led on, quietly.

Aelius’ milky gaze was looking for any sign of disturbance in the undergrowth as they walked deeper into the Hangwood. Sounds from outside on the outskirts were starting to die out, replaced almost entirely by the wilderness beginning to engulf them. Flavia seemed to slow though, and it was then that Victoria hushedly called for their full attention, pointing out the trail tracks that all of them had missed until then. With the new information they pressed on, Aelius’ eyes more on the ground in order to follow the winding trails readily. Victoria took the lead, causing Flavia to shrink up beside Aelius in order to avoid being in the woman’s way, though it was doubtful the feline would be in it in the first place.

Time passed still and deeper into the woods they tread. Eventually they came upon the horse that had drawn the cart. As Aelius predicted, it had been silenced and slain, murdered by the bandits who occupied the woodland the party was now invading. They all came to a stop, Flavia and Aelius tentatively approaching the carcass of the mare. He set his ethereal gaze on the arrows sticking out of the horse’s flank while Flavia pattered around the perimeter of the corpse. Silence still overtook the feline and it’s halfblood owner as they tried to find where the bandits went after downing the horse.

There was a problem though. He hadn’t noticed it until now, but they were surrounded by wetlands, making it near impossible for a consistent trail of tracks to be maintained. He licked over his plump lips and ran a hand over the dome of his head, letting out a soft stressed breath. Flavia’s gentle meow caught his attention, leading him over to where she stood over the beginnings of boot tracks. From what he could tell there were several pairs there, though his tracking skills were little to nonexistent. He was going off of common sense, knowledge brought on by simply existing in the world he did.

“Maybe they’re still close,” he said, attempting to alert the party to Flavia’s findings. He pointed to the tracks that led off into the thicket. The prints didn’t last long however, a trough of residual rain water making them disappear as suddenly as they appeared.

With the lack of tracks Aelius was uneased and growing tense. He was out of his element there in the woods and Flavia could feel that. As if trying to comfort him, she snaked her way between his legs, rubbing against his shin with her body and muzzle. It did the trick, letting him turn back to face the party.

“We could see if the tracks pick up further down or wait for another sign,” he said, giving his suggestions. “Do you have any ideas?”

Aelius looked expectantly to those gathered around him. He was at a loss, though that didn’t show on his face. He didn’t like it out there in the wood where he couldn’t see for far distances like he was used to in civilization, openness, and plains. He was limited and depending on others, something he didn’t usually do.
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[Hangwood] Precious Cargo

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Aelius


Points!:

Story: 2/5
Collaboration: 5/ 5
Structure: 5/ 5
Knowledge:

Location: The Hangwood
Tactics: It always pays to be prepared.
Negotiation: Giving your name breaks the ice.
Leadership: Taking charge often means being put in charge
Psychology: Ignoring mockery does not reinforce it
Stealth: Disguising noise allows for communication
Stealth: Sometimes, it's best to be quiet
Detection: Silence allows you to focus on sights and sounds
Investigation: Ground types makes a real difference to clues left behind.
Victoria: A fiery woman

Loot:
NA
Fame:
NA

Overview:

Victoria I can't review your part of this thread as your CS is not up to date / has not been amended to the new system and, specifically, your ledger isn't up to date. As and when you return, drop me or any of the mods a pm and we'll be happy to help you get back up to speed following the changes and also help with the CS if you need it - then this can be reviewed! I look forward to that happening.
General comments. Such a shame that this thread wasn't finished. I would have loved to see what happened there and if they caught the bandits. It's tricky, I understand, but it might have been good to try and do a "wrap up" of the thread if you could have? Maybe have Aelius hear something and peel away from the rest of the group for you to continue in a solo? But, either way, a good read!
Story Unfinished, so as per the peer review guide I gave it the 2 points. A shame, because I was really enjoying it!
Structure All good, no issues.

Please do PM me if you think I've missed anything or you have any questions!
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~~Red in hoof and claw... ~~


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