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17th of Vhalar 721

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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Woe
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Have You Buried Anyone Alive Lately?



17th of Vhalar 721

It'd come to Woe's attention after arriving in Almund again, that there were people who had an eye out for him. He understood this, being a keen observer of human behavior. The reasons for their observing him might've run the gamut of political rivals, to admirers, to potential webspinner contacts. He didn't know, but had every intention of distinguishing and separating the wheat from the chaff, when it came to those who were merely curious, to those who had a purpose in observing him.

Skimming a pool of people for the scum among them often began with a simple approach for Woe. Thankfully, he'd recently acquired a new power, the ability to go unknown and unnoticed by anyone who knew him. He could at will become nobody, and all his fame and renown wouldn't follow him into that obscured cloud of anonymity. Woe was only beginning to skim the surface of this power, its limitations, its parameters. Could one draw conclusions based on the person he presented himself as? Details such as hair color, eye color, height, and approximate build? What were the limits of this new ability? So he invoked his ability to assume anonymity. Shortly after assuming his disguise of Robert Sanderling, a sandy-haired, gray and white clad nobody, these eyes shifted away from him. This gave him an opportunity to approach the eyes from the flank or the rear, where their eyes weren't trained.

More importantly, was Woe of strong enough moral fiber that he wouldn't let it go to his head? Probably not, but he would try. And it'd be a waste to scoff at such a boon, as the ability to go unknown at will.

So he poked around Almund, in the days that would lead up to the party he'd been invited to between Scalvoristown and Scaltoth, a lakeside mansion. He'd already chosen the disguise he would wear there, but first had a mind to try his hand at becoming someone else. While his disguise was based on the man he knew, Magpie, Llyr Llywelyn, he of course couldn't hope to fill those shoes however he tried. So it was he made a new identity. A simple name, Robert Sanderling. Assuming another name would grant him both knowledge of how his anonymity carried an assumed identity forward, and to what extent it could obscure his actual hand wherever it got involved.

Woe had sent word to Natalia that he would try and meet her in Almund if she was still about after the 15th of Vhalar. But what he hadn't said, is that she wouldn't be able to identify him as Woe.

Woe was already scantly aware of some of the abilities of the mortalborn daughter of Chamadarst. That she could sense thoughts to an extent, and that she knew the composition of things. These were the things he wished to test his own ability against, all while serving an ulterior purpose.

That of flushing out members of the Cell of Webspinners that had taken up on the Island, in an effort to keep their eyes upon him. He didn't know but suspected that Natalia may well be a target of such elements.

So as he shadowed her, and her companion, who Woe understood to be a cousin of hers on her mother's side, he did so with blithe disregard for being seen. He knew well enough that none would recognize him, let alone bother him. He'd established an aura of isolation around himself.

Yet, for all that he expected to be unnoticed, he remembered that the mortalborn daughter of Chamadarst would sense that a marked man of her father was nearby. It was this connection that he saw as his inroads to testing the depths of his ability to remain anonymous. She may know he was marked by her father, but a connection to Woe would be impossible to ascertain if his ability worked as it should.



Powers in effect as of this posting

Sought after Isolation: There are times when the Sombran desires to be isolated. This ability allows them to fulfill that desire at will, making them isolated no matter how many people there are around them. While this ability is active, others will tend to go around the Blessed, feeling that their presence is not wanted by the bearer of Sombran. Those who have a specific desire to speak to or see the Sombran will be able to ignore this ability, but even they will feel as if they should not be bothering the Blessed.

Agent Unknown II: At will, Woe can become completely unrecognizable, even to those who know him well. This does not change any aspect of his appearance by itself. Any identifying features he currently possesses can of course be noted and remembered, but his identity will be obscured and unknowable while utilizing this ability. The main exception to this ability is that Immortals, Dragons, Induks, and beings that are bonded to his soul will recognize him. Otherwise, he's effectively a nobody while using this ability. He can turn this ability on and off twice a trial. There's no limit to the duration, otherwise.

For characters bearing Bellinos' power Eidetic memory, they'll know him if they have memories of who he was. In Gwelliph's case, they'll be able, to tell the truth of things easier, but won't be able to associate what Woe does until such time as he switches the power off.

Fracture Scar: A fracture scar forms down the middle of Woe's tongue, on the underside of it. Usually not visible when he's talking, unless he elevates his voice.
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Natalia Gregorios
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Re: Have You Buried Anyone Alive Lately?

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Arc 721, 17 Vhalar


Walking the streets of Almund was a daily exercise Grayson and Natalia underwent. The reasoning her cousin came up with was that the more she observed people's behaviors, the more she would learn how to note minor changes that could mean the difference between life and death. He was always such a dramatic fellow, but the young woman had no reason to argue the request.

That trial, the focus was on spotting young pickpockets. Some of the youths were wildly talented, dropping nary a tell-tale sign of their intention with sleight of hand, leaving people none the wiser of their misfortune. As Grayson explained it to her, pickpocketing was a skill that involved stealth and diversion, and both were things she needed to work on. She had countered that pickpocketing was a skill she needed to learn, or had an desire to learn, but he was insistent that observing the trade-craft involved would be beneficial.

Watching his cousin, Grayson smiled a bit, pleased at how quickly she took to things. He had begun training her a little over fifteen trials prior, and she was already showing signs of progress and growth. Gone were the moments where he thought she might stab herself with her dagger and the like. Even the clothing she wore was undergoing something of a transformation. Gone, mostly, were the dresses, replaced by more functional specimens of leather. She still had a habit of making sure everything was just so, but then again, he couldn't expect miracles overnight.

Natalia was less sure of her progress but admitted that she was harder on herself than anyone else could be. Her tutor was hitting several areas of her education hard – stealth, intelligence, blades, body conditioning to name a few – so it was understandably hard to make progress in any one of them quickly.

As her golden eyes watched a young man in front of her bump a passing woman, finely dressed, Natalia's eyes flickered immediately to where she knew his hands would be, already pulling the coin purse from the pocket of the mark. Grayson had explained the philosophy of the lift to her, often ambling off in philosophy or theory to her frustration.

One thing she found interesting was what Grayson called 'flow of terrain.' It was a stealth skill that people often employed to avoid natural detection. The idea behind the skill was that the eye naturally catches people or things that stop their vision flow. Those trying to be stealthy often continue moving to counter another's natural response to stop and focus on something that seemed out of place.

Grayson's voice broke her focus gently, bringing her back to him for the moment. "So, did you see what I saw?" Nodding, she began to answer. "A second pickpocket was going to attempt a diversion technique, waiting just a bit off, but there was no need. The original lift was successful in and of itself. And…" Suddenly, her voice trailed off.

Glancing around, she noted a sensation rise inside of her. It was hard to describe, but the young woman had felt it before. She most associated the phenomenon with Woe, being Chamadarst-marked, but he wasn't the only one and, in her travels, had felt it a time or two then as well.

Turning, she looked through the crowd for who she expected to see, but he wasn't there. Grayson, curiously peering at her, finally decided to ask about her unusual behavior. "Something vexing thee?" Chuckling, he waited for her response, eagerly anticipating an explanation.

Frowning, she turned to her cousin. "There's a marked of….my father's nearby."Natalia hadn't confided in her companion yet as to the identity of her Immortal father. It wasn't essential, and besides, the less she said about the matter, the safer Grayson would be. She had to consider his well-being, refusing to exclude him because he could handle himself.

Trilling came from the small bag she carried. As Natalia looked down and over at her hip, she noted several of Apollo's heads slinking out from underneath the flap. A curious little thing he was, but more likely than not, he was ready for some apple treats. Grinning softly, she gently grabbed a few pieces, offering them up to the small dragonet.

Last edited by Natalia Gregorios on Thu Dec 02, 2021 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 730
"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."


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Re: Have You Buried Anyone Alive Lately?



Woe didn't consider his presence here, his shadowing Natalia as an idle diversion or a simple exercise of his abilities. He had a real need to feel out the limits of his new ability. While it might've seemed simple to merely approach her and her cousin, and have a chat, Woe's design here in their meeting was convoluted and far from typical. Probably unnecessarily so. He had slipped some coin into the hands of a few ruffians earlier, when he discovered that Natalia would be in Almund. Once he'd tracked her down, and sussed out her usual routes, he arranged for a little 'happening' to occur in the streets. Far from byzantine or a work of ingenious plotting, t took little incentive for most thugs in Almund to take coin in exchange for violence against another. That was what Woe had commissioned them to undertake.

It was perhaps a very roundabout way of testing his ability's limits, when a more straightforward process might've been better advised. Afterall, there was a risk of being fingered as one who'd set the thugs upon another citizen of Scalvoris. Especially if a blessed investigator or one arcanically enhanced got on his trail. Yet, Woe had confidence that his ability's potency was absolute. At least, he could always delete the memories of the events should his anonymity fail.

So as Woe shadowed the two, he remained nonchalant. He did notice words between Natalia and her cousin, as she seemed to sense something, and glanced around. This was the distraction that Woe needed in order to pull his plan into motion, as they'd already moved into the range of the thugs he'd hired.

Woe gave a signal to the man at the edge of the corner of an alley, and soon enough, ranks of about eight large men, wielding table-leg clubs, and various tools as weapons blocked the way forward for Natalia and her companion.

The largest of the thugs paced forward, tapping his open palm with a table-leg cudgel, spiked with nails and splinters at the business end of it. "Ey, 'ands off yer weapons and drop yer nels and jewels. Or we'll rough yer up."

Woe slide behind the corner of a nearby alleyway, and the rest of the street cleared out quickly as well, not wanting to get involved. This left Natalia and her companion to deal with the eight men. They had numbers on Natalia and her cousin, but Woe wanted to see how they'd deal with this situation.

If things got out of hand, he'd of course intervene. Yet for now, he would see what they could or would do.
ooc
Spending about 4 wp on hiring these flavor thugs. You may presume competent in one of either intimidation, weapon, or physical skill.
word count: 476
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Re: Have You Buried Anyone Alive Lately?

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Arc 721, 17 Vhalar


Natalia was uneasy with the situation but had been in Almund long enough to know how things generally were. Only when their path was blocked did the young woman consider there might be a more significant problem – eight of them.

Grayson took up a defensive position slightly in front of her, eyes glancing around, checking each aggressor for whatever clues he could as to what they were there for and what weaknesses he could exploit. Natalia did much the same thing but knew that any hesitation on their part could be misconstrued as weakness. She had stood in front of Vielkrontier and lived to tell the tale, and while she wasn’t one-hundred percent confident in her ability to dissuade those before her, the daughter of Chamadarst was going to try using the best weapon she had – people skills.

She had other skills, obviously, like the ability to not panic. Dealing with a dragon the size of a small mountain did that to a person. Still, the big, burly men were not to be taken lightly, and since it would have been less than optimal to fight their way out of the mess, a different, less visible, and attention-grabbing approach was desired.

Stepping in front of her cousin, who visibly stiffened as Natalia brushed past him, she arched her eyebrow at the one man’s threat. “No.” Smiling at the small group blocking their path, the young woman shook her head as if to reinforce what she had already said, using a flat tone to continue. “I think not. Pretty sure you are barking up the wrong tree, as it were. Do we have that all sorted? Good, now we can get down to business.” She didn’t elaborate on the ‘business,’ leaving something for their imaginations to chew.

One of a few things were happening, and Natalia didn’t like the implications of any of it. A large group setting upon people in Almund wasn’t unlikely, but there was usually a motivation. Neither Natalia nor Grayson projected wealth by intent and design, so it wasn’t that. What was their reason? Maybe asking was the proper channel for obtaining information. What was it going to hurt?

“Oh, before we get started with business, though, a question. Can I ask why you gentlemen all thought it a good idea to approach us? A professional query, I assure you. Gaining insight and all that.” Natalia’s breezy banter and attitude towards the situation was new, at least regarding people trying to do violence upon others, but she knew time was limited and needed information quickly. Whether they were inclined to respond to her question was obviously up to them.

At her side, Grayson was trying very hard not to disrupt whatever his cousin was trying to do. Both Natalia and he kept their hands off their weapons for the time being. Being a blades man, Grayson could do a lot of damage with his but settled for taking his cues off Natalia for the time being to see what she could manage for them.

word count: 520
"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."


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Re: Have You Buried Anyone Alive Lately?


There was a sensational confusion which came over Woe. He was no stranger to it, and it appeared not to have left him even after washing in Lovalus' redemptive waters, and the reforging. Afterall, he was still as hopeless as Magpie had told him. While it was perfectly acceptable to let her run on her way, he was tempted to remove the memory of himself from Natalia. Just as he'd been tempted with Magpie, and his wretched hired blade of a dwarf. He'd considered it strongly, and had yet to make up his mind.

His paranoia was running into overdrive, especially given the recent stirrings he’d picked up on, of strangers lingering by his doorstep for more moments than were reasonable. Taking dogs out for walks along his street, lingering to crane their necks while he was out for a walk. It was only a matter of time before they began targetting people that had gotten close to him, and even gotten him to divulge dangerous information. In the end, though, was it worth it to be forgotten by everyone who mattered. He'd stayed his hand when he was in a more vulnerable position with Magpie. Would he be able to repeat that choice?

Woe was a touch surprised at Natalia’s brash refusal to hand over nels for passage. The son of Sintra blinked his eyes several times, wondering if he’d counted his hired thugs wrong. Eight of them, two of the others. Perhaps the man with Natalia was skilled with a blade, and perhaps Natalia had picked up some skill of her own into the bargain. But a group of eight big guys could simply give them the jailyard rush.

Woe shook his head. He might have to intervene sooner than he thought necessary at first.

”No, you drop nels or… Business? Nels is business. You drop them, you can go.”

Now, it should be said that the eight brain jobs in front of Natalia and Grayson weren’t used to talking their way through situations. Most of them spent too much time building themselves up to be intimidating by virtue of their stature, that the finer points of intimidation eluded them.

”Uhh…” This was less than could be said of their ability to wrestle with the wordy question Natalia had posed to them.

”They aren’t after the talking business, I’m afraid. That’s where I come in. I thought a pair of clean-looking folks would be cleverer than that.” Woe came out from the shadow of Grayson and Natalia, taking up their rear flank. ”A bit of professional advice, always guard your retreat if you’re intending to rebuff a party that makes an entirely reasonable request.”

The thug puffed his chest out when he noticed the new arrival, and grimaced with an ugly grin, ”Ey guy…”

Woe glimpsed at the thug, for a moment, and then turned to the two that were caught between him and the eight. ”Now, a small token of respect for treading on our territory is all we ask. There’s no need to abandon your weapons, but I can assure you’ll find silver cheaper than spilled blood.”

As Woe said the last part, he said it in such a way that his meaning would be clear to the ones being held up. He wasn't here to rob them. But to deal with the ruffians who'd accosted them.
OOC
Woe is using stealth entendre, a socialization capstone that makes it so what he says has a separate meaning that is clear to one other person (in this case Natalia.). He's letting her know that he's on her side, and not the ruffians."
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Natalia Gregorios
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Arc 721, 17 Vhalar


The situation was…well, evolving - an apt word for it. Each moment gave Natalia that much more information. Her quick banter had seemingly caught the ruffians off-guard, although it appeared they wouldn’t be much help in the factual information department. Disappointing, but not unexpected.

Grayson kept his hand clear of his weapon, eyes flickering back and forth between his cousin and the men, trying to decide if she was suicidal, had a plan, or just plain crazy. It was a close call in his mind. Regardless of what he thought or of the eight hoodlums, Natalia stood her ground, an impassive look on her face as she appraised the situation.

It didn’t take a scholar to realize that the men had them beat in physical skill even before the fight began. Grayson could take out several, most likely, but a rush would end option quickly, and it wouldn’t be pretty. The young woman had a bit of skill with a dagger but precious little of the complementary abilities that would allow her any measure of success. She might get lucky and stab one, but that was pushing it. The bracelet she wore did give her a few more options, but there was hope it didn’t come to that. In her mind, it came down to her wits.

As her mouth opened to speak again, a new player disrupted the standoff. Grayson whipped around, hand inching closer to his weapon, but she remained calm. It was a bit of a struggle to do so with so many unknown factors running amok, but at least her expression didn’t betray any slips in discipline.

Turning to set her eyes on the stranger, Natalia inclined her head gently, showing respect for someone that seemed to have a brain. “Noted, although I dispute your categorization of ‘reasonable request.’ “

Something in the way the stranger said his words caught the young woman off guard. They weren’t familiar, nor was the voice, but something poked at the back of her mind, making her feel as though things weren’t as they appeared. Natalia acknowledged that his presence should, at least, make her uncomfortable, but it didn’t. Something unusual was going on, but she felt compelled to run with it and see where things went.

Stepping away, she positioned herself to see both the ruffians and the stranger, keeping them both in front of her as Natalia swiftly moved to the edge of the alley. It was only a few steps and could easily be interpreted as simply turning to attend to both groups, as it were.

Grayson didn’t have the same confidence in the strange man – Natalia could see that – so she used a quick, discreet wave-off gesture to let him know she needed a bit more time. Whatever she was going to do, needed to happen quickly. She wouldn’t be able to contain him forever, especially if he sensed danger.

Before she could speak again, a trill came from her bag, followed by a few heads poking out of the leather accessory. Apollo, it seemed, had woken from his nap and wanted to see what was going on. With her heart racing a bit, she tried to shift the bag quickly to divert attention away from the dragonet, but Apollo was rather insistent on being a part of the situation. Perhaps she could use that to her advantage.

Turning to look at the mob of men, Natalia gave a dramatic sigh, shaking her head. "Well, now you've all done it. Woken the vicious beast of Voldermon! I was trying to save you. Don't you know how dangerous it is to wake them? There are some other bad things too, like feeding them after midnight. What was the other one? Oh, getting them wet, but really, it's the waking up that is the real problem." 'Voldermon,' of course, was a nonsense name, but the only one she could think of at a moment's notice and presentation was everything. She had to put her focus there.

For his part, Apollo continued looking like his oh-so-adorable self, all six heads gazing up at his mistress, but then one of the heads turned to look at the strange men and quickly sounded off an angry trill, which got the attention of the others. Six heads, issuing warning trills to the mob, apparently not liking the looks of them any more than Natalia did.

word count: 754
"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."


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Re: Have You Buried Anyone Alive Lately?



It occurred to Woe at several points in this dialogue, and even before when he'd hired the ruffians to intercept Natalia and her companion, that he might've just about lost his mind. Sometimes, even he kind of 'winged it', and did things for the hell of it. Perhaps it was the intoxication of anonymity. Or else the promise of the thrill of combat that he hadn't felt for a few seasons. Whatever the case, he was here, in the moment, and ready to meet it at the backs of Natalia and her friend.

Woe contemplated letting the anonymity of his disguise slip just slightly. But that might've been disastrous. The ruffians, for one, would be able to identify him, as well as any onlooker. Natalia would certainly know him, as probably would her companion. He was well known at this point, throughout the world. It was mixed curse, really, but mostly a curse to his mind. He had far less freedom when not indulging in anonymity.

But here, he felt the freedom of having no consequence for his actions or the things he said. But still, he was who he was. And he wouldn't let these ruffians take the conflict another step toward bloodshed. He didn't have a plan, but one was swiftly forming as he assessed the situation. He noted the appearance of a strange multi-headed creature... A dragonet!? Did Natalia meet a dragon as well? He would have to ask her when this was settled... but for now...

"Perhaps reasonable is the wrong modifier.
May I then present you with an offer you cannot refuse?
" Woe let those words hang on the air, and their meaning would hopefully be more or less clear to both Natalia and her companion. Although less so to the latter, as he wasn't as well acquainted with him. Woe smirked as the men began wavering, tapping their clubs more insistently, and showing signs of nerves as the talking continued. It was clear they weren't used to bandying words this much before just robbing people.

"I'd suggest you think twice before accosting one who bears the effigy of a dragon." Woe said, indicating Natalia to the street thugs. "You don't want to see how she looks when she's mildly threatened." Woe tried to tap their uncertainty, the sense of overwhelm of having to listen to so much talk. Some of them stopped tapping their clubs. The others grew meaner in the face, frowning at this swiftly devolving stand-off.

Woe knew which of the thugs was the bag man, the one holding the coin. The treasurer that held Woe's silver for the purposes of this ambush. For him, he had a message, but for the rest, it would sound quite a bit different. "
Now, let's talk about our options. You can back away, and find easier, less armed quarry. After all, you are only armed with table legs, while we hold forged steel...
"

word count: 503
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Arc 721, 17 Vhalar


In the world of shakedowns, the encounter Natalia and Grayson were involved in was undoubtedly one of the more imaginative scenarios the young woman could conjure up. What made it even more interesting was the mysterious gentleman with a unique gift to say one thing and mean another.

Due to her actions, or those of their companion, or most likly a combination of efforts, the meeting unfolded like an odd chess match. Circumstances looked slightly dicey and precarious a few bits prior, but Natalia got the sense that things were looking up even without the man's message. Apparently, the burly ruffians were getting antsy – a good sign meaning that they were out of their comfort zone. They just needed a tiny bit more pushing…

Grayson was a bit bewildered at what Natalia and the stranger were doing, but his faith was with her, knowing his cousin wouldn't risk the situation going sideways. If she were engaged and talking, he'd watch and remain alert, allowing the pair latitude with whatever foolery they were involved in. The moment a single soul flinched, however, he'd move in.

Glancing at her, the man had suggested an offer, and while the brunette knew it was a stalling tactic, she inclined her head gently, indicating for the sake of appearances that she was willing to listen.

Natalia's ploy with Apollo seemed to have the desired effect, although their companion added fuel to that fire by claiming she bore a dragon's effigy. How did he know that Apollo was of dragons, and what the beneath was an effigy? She'd need to ask those two outstanding questions another time, for the whole situation still balanced on a knife's edge, and the bullies required a bit more convincing. "I mean, he's not wrong, my friends. I've been generous to this point, but you woke the beast of Voldermon, and there's only so much I can do at this point to assist the situation." Her intention was breezy, light banter reinforcing what was already said, even if she didn't understand part of it, which wasn't an immediate requirement.

Natalia leveled her gaze at the uneasy troop in front of them, arching an eyebrow curiously, waiting to see who flinched. Apollo, for his part, trilled angrily, emitting a brightly colored purple mist from his mouth. Flicking her eyes to the group, she gave them one more push, hoping to ensure their rapid retreat. "You have about thirty thrills before things get much worse. I'd run if I were you before the mist reaches you. Then again, if your lives mean that little to you. I'm immune from it. Are you?" The comment was a ruse - the tiny creature's mist did absolutely nothing - but the ruffians didn't know that, and she wanted to allow their minds to make up whatever 'it' was, giving them a vague sense of danger. It was a bit of a game, using her persuasion techniques for deceptive means, but her opponents were not the sharpest tools in the shed. It was a gamble, but one worth taking.

Shrugging lightly to complete the effect, the young woman allowed her gaze to flit from face to face, curious to see how things would play out.

word count: 557
"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."


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Woe thought he had them at that, it would've gone fine. He had the seeds of disunion beginning to blossom, with the bagman ready to bolt for safety, and the rest in uncertainty over their chances against these three. He was fairly confident that the situation was handled, and that he'd even get his money back. He delivered the stealthy message to the one man holding the coin, and that would be that. He saw the man's grip on his table-leg loosening, as he prepared to make the move...

But then, she began talking. Making wild claims that were so terrifyingly contrived and false, that Woe couldn't imagine she'd even fool the dumb thugs before them. Indeed, rather than dishearten them, the thugs gave each other a look when Natalia began bluffing about some sort of 'mist'. Woe suppressed the urge to slap his face. He hoped she had something, and wasn't merely bluffing. Perhaps that dragonet turned into a full-blown dragonling?

At any rate, the thugs began pushing forward. The bag man hesitated for only a moment, but then followed his fellows. Afterall, as the intellectual giant among the thugs suggested next, "That thing ain't got a turd's ounce of power to it. Look, it's just a pet. I say we grind their bones to dust, and take it for pawning off to some rich folk looking for a pet! We'll make a fortune!"

There rang some laughter among the other men. "Yeah, show us where this mist is at dollface. There's eight of us to you three. Ain't no mist coming to steal you away, or harm us..."

They settled down rather swiftly, and Woe stood up to their line, determined to take a stand against the thugs. However, his attempts to intimidate the rest were compromised by the failed bluff. The tipping point had been passed, and the momentum wouldn't be swinging the other way without some serious violence. Woe hated it, and it smelled like the thugs were serious about doing some damage, a smell that occurred to him through his Ezere mark.

Woe felt a strange feeling just then, however. A shadow flew overhead, and a piercing roar scratched the air. Unbidden, Soz felt the danger her master and the others were in. It landed on a nearby rooftop, and eyed the bullies for a moment, then cried ferociously at them. In a moment, the darkness fell upon the group of thugs, as it released its breath weapon.

"What the fuck!"

Woe turned to Natalia, and Grayson. "Best run now, and not show that little dragonet off to any other greedy thugs while you're at it... I'll take care of these men."

So saying, Woe rushed into the outer edges of the darkness that Soz had created, intent on drawing off their attention so the others could escape.

OOC
I based Natalia's failed bluff on the fact that she has very little deception skill, and acting for that matter. When I checked, I couldn't find a skill that might fit the bill, whether intimidation or anything else. Psychology is competent, but that's more useful for detection of deception than performing/purveying deception.
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Natalia Gregorios
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Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:27 am
Race: Mortal Born
Profession: Professional Nuisance Wrangler
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Re: Have You Buried Anyone Alive Lately?

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Arc 721, 17 Vhalar


She had been confident in her approach, but something had gone wrong. Natalia wasn't sure what, but based on her observations of the thugs, what she had said hadn't done what she wanted. That was unfortunate, but it didn't really change her approach all that much.

Holding her ground, the young woman peered at the approaching thugs. Pulling out a weapon wasn't the answer – it would only further inflame the situation. Regardless, she'd stand and protect Apollo as long as she could if the moment called for it, and Natalia had a weapon she didn't need to advertise to be effective.

Just then, a shadow crossed overhead, and the roar came. Best Natalia could tell, it was another dragonling, but not Ares – that was for sure. It wasn't evident if the appearance would help or hinder the situation, but the man's voice speaking to her interrupted her concentration.

Run? Not likely.

Grayson, the experienced mercenary with vastly more training than his cousin, had been content to stand on the sidelines and watch Natalia and the other play whatever game they did. She was supposed to be learning, which in part meant giving her enough room to find her way without constant interference. If there were mistakes to be made, she needed to learn about those too.

He had watched, waiting for the tell-tale sign or flinch from someone to indicate that she was in danger, and it finally came. As the man spoke to the pair, Grayson gave Natalia three trills to respond, already knowing her answer, but he had to provide her with the opportunity.

Turning to their companion, Natalia steeled her expression, shaking her head. "I'm not leaving you here. You were trying to help."

The very moment the words left her lips, Natalia felt a tug at her body. Apollo's dragonet bag was stripped from her, and before awareness registered, Grayson lifted her, plunking her down over his shoulder and moving them quickly away from the scene. His objective was clear.

Under protest was putting it mildly. Grayson's passenger didn't yell or cuss, but Natalia was a small, active little thing, and when whatever weight she had wiggled violently about, it made movement for him just that much harder, and she knew it.

The pair hadn't gotten more than a dozen steps from the fray before the dragonling landed, perching on the top of a nearby building and issuing another roar at the assembled group. Grayson slowed, keeping a firm hold of his charge but remarking all the same. "Nat, that's not Ares. There are more of them?"

Just then, another roar split the air, but not from the creature present. The sound was fainter, as if from a distance away, but very distinct. They both knew who that call belonged to.

"No," she replied. "But that is." Natalia's feet began swinging wildly as her fists pounded on his back, trying to convince him that it wasn't worth the trouble to continue to restrain her. "Grayson, put me down! Fine, you help the man. I need to deal with the dragonlings." Plural. She's hadn't seen Ares, but he was obviously in the area, and her priority was him and the other. Ares would figure out where she was, sooner or later, and the new addition, which wasn't bonded to her but regardless present. The young woman felt an intense need to protect them, although she suspected they could do the job well enough on their own.

Grayson reluctantly did what Natalia asked of him, setting her down and transferring Apollo back to her care. She had her bracelet and other weapons, so those were still options. Rapidly decreasing options, based on the increasingly chaotic activity in the area adjacent to the alley, but options.

word count: 651
"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."


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