Expanse: The City Reboot (Dark Fantasy Epic) Main Thread (Open, Started)

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imageScarlett Verneer - Eternal Mist - Grim

"I think it is you who misunderstand me, boy. I don't all that much care for your idealistic crusade against the nobles, or your meet with the Dean of the North. What I care about is the fact that you have seen me. Here. In this place. And should you be captured and talk to the people after you then what you can tell them about me is something I don't want revealed. Don't think for a moment that I am looking out for anyone but me here." Scarlett paused letting her message sink in. "If you want to come with me then wait here, you too Vessel. Gather anybody else who wishes to come North. We'll do this properly and hopefully we'll avoid any more problems from amateur hour over here." Scarlett waved her hand at Lorel, Itsuka and Velen.

Scarlett looked at the three new faces and shook her head in anger.

Vincent - Mage Hunter Base - Grim

"We'll be leaving shortly then. Get your things together and we'll head out as soon as we're both ready." Vincent said, turning around and exiting the vault. He left Lucian to get his things ready, and walked out into the courtyard of the Hunter base, feeling the fresh air and hearing the sounds of the city. The sounds of metal ringing on metal echoed around the courtyard, mixing in with the sounds of arrows being fired and laughter.

The courtyard was large, and accounted for a large majority of the Hunter's base. The ground was covered in stone, and it appeared that it was used often. Around the courtyard there were smaller buildings, some on the ground level and others built onto the sides of the walls and supported by beams that stuck out of the ground. Staircases led up to the higher buildings which appeared to be living quarters. Many more important buildings decorated the ground level of the courtyard, buildings such as: a blacksmith, a stable, and a barracks.

Vincent ignored the other hunters who were milling around with bored expressions on their faces. Vince sighed, and made his way in between the stone pillars that guarded the blacksmith's from wind and rain.

Inside, it was like a sauna, even without a closed off room it was much hotter than outside. A man sat on a stool, hammering away at a hot piece of metal, his eyes never straying from what he was doing, not even when Vincent picked up a sword and noisily began examining it.

"You do nice work blacksmith. Very sharp." Vincent said, running his finger down the edge of the blade and slicing it open.

"Of course I do." The blacksmith said gruffly, still hammering away.

"Then I need you to make me some more bolts, I've used quite a few recently and I think that restocking now would be for the best." Vincent said, crossing his arms and waiting as the blacksmith snorted and set aside the sword he had been working on.

"You better pay well." He said with a smirk.

Vincent said nothing, but a small smile could be seen under the hood of his cloak.

I'm beginning to like this man.

image Lorel Ion - Eternal Mist - Grim

Velen was sick of her already. "We don't need you, in fact any of you to get to the North. I have already been there, taking the long cold trails through the Mountains through snow and rock. Probably as you have. And that's just it. Plus, "What I care about is the fact that you have seen me" is bullshit. I couldn't careless who you're or what your past is. Itsuka, Lorel, I think we can leave these folks by themselves."

Lucian Grey - Mage Hunters Base - Grim

Lucian was standing amidst the swell of his thoughts at the centre of the vault. The only stolen objects were the signature amulets that each hunter adorned when active, clearly someone was after information on how the Hunters tracked down their targets.

"A black haired, red eyed arsonist. This is definitely turning out to be an interesting tale." Lucian chirped in the silence of the demolished vault. He ran a spindly finger against the cold, sleek metal of the vault door, revealing a faint black powder stained against his pale skin. Lucian knew nothing of explosives other than how to detonate the few that had crossed his path and even then he was merely following instructions. Coming to the conclusion that the chamber would reveal no more secrets, Lucian opted to prepare for their journey through the streets of Grim.

Marching through the stone floored halls of the Mage Hunters base he came to a store just east of the courtyard they had entered through. Inside was a myriad of leather-works, clothes and concoctions. Fastened by silver buckles and belts to mannequins we're blackened hide armours, draped over prongs and emblazoning on busts were hoods, cowls and scarves ranging from cottons to velvets and sealed behind transparent masks of glass were bottles, vials and flasks of ichors in various hues.

You after anything, or are you just wasting time echoed a feminine voice from behind the counter, the words seductive but venomous all the same.

"Exploring, I'm familiar with the training grounds and the medical ward but little else." replied Lucian, he didn't particularly care whether or not the woman wanted him here or not, she's to supply the Mage Hunters and it's what she'll do.

"So, wasting time." the womanly pleasantry of her voice all but absent this time around.

Lucian decided not to even bother answering the calls of the flaming haired siren. Through the extensive powers of his investigative abilities that he had honed over the course of years of Mage Hunting, he was able to deduce one outstanding, defining thing about this woman. She was a bitch.

"I think I'll take one of these." Lucian raptured while pulling a long piece of clothing from beneath a pile of fabric head wears. It was a long scarf, grey in texture made from a heavy but surprisingly comfortable material. He threw the elongated piece of cloth around his neck leaving two tails hanging over the front of his attire.

"Here, word of advice; you might want to work on your people skills" Lucian dropped a bag of coins, containing the exact measure of wealth that was cursored on a loose tag, onto the wooden counter before leaving the store. He couldn't help but chuckle as he caught a glimpse of the woman scowling in the corner of his eye.

Having wasted enough time cooped up in the compound, Lucian made his way to stable to await his partner and descend into the city.

image Vergil Crawford - The Eternal Mist - Grim

From the bickering he could hear outside, Vergil deduced that Velen and Scarlett were having a difference of opinion on how best to get to the North, and whether or not Scarlett and the others should come with. He decided it was best not to enter the debate, lest he cause more problems.

After gathering some equipment, including fresh knives, bombs, his wrist blade which he had taken off earlier, and his katanas, he made his way downstairs. Vergil also made sure to grab the Assassin's Journal before he left, for there was some schematics in there he wanted, plus in contained other valuable knowledge.

He briefly made a stop to talk to Tobias.

"When you get the chance, use one of the spare doors to block up the window I broke, until you get the chance to replace it."
"I shall make note of it Vergil, I take it you are off with the others?" Tobias enquired.
"Far from it, I shall make my own way there, I happen to know a few people who can get me over the borders, plus I'm going to take the back entrance, avoid them lot all together."
"Very well then, see you, if and should you return." Tobias added, showing a small level of concern about Vergil.

Vergil exited The Eternal Mist from the back door entrance, and headed into Grim. A while later he found himself outside a tavern name The Raven's Claw, he decided it was best to relax here for a while, where he could better plan his future actions.

imageScarlett Verneer - Eternal Mist - Grim

Velen had just finished talking when Scarlett did something unexpected. She laughed in his face.

"Clearly you don't need any of us to help you, so goodbye, be on your way. But if I was you I would stay clear of the official trails through the mountains. It's likely every Red Stain, north to south, will be looking for you anyway. Try not to die." Scarlett remarked dryly.

It was a likely scenario that someone from the Risenforth Court, officially or otherwise, was offering a large reward for their deaths, and right now Scarlett would take the job just out of spite. Especially given the Red Stain's ties with the Nobles. It wouldn't be difficult. She might even have a little fun along the way and kill the Dean of the North just as they where due to meet with him and frame them for a murder they never committed. She smiled inside and filed away all the information these kids had told her. Right now her priorities where elsewhere.

Walking into the Eternal Mist she walked over to Tobias drawing a knife behind her back.

He knows too much. I should... no, at least wait until I am leaving. Vergil will never realise then.

Slipping her knife away Scarlett turned around and walked outside and down the street.

Time to find the 'Road'. The secret road North.

Tobias Belmont (Innkeeper) - The Eternal Mist

"Ah, Miss Scarlett, good luck to you on your journey. Should you be needing Vergil, I'm afraid he is already gone, I believe he may have mentioned the North Section as his intended destination. Good day to you." He told Scarlett cheerily, sensing a brief level of intrigue.

The vessel looked at the bar keep. Clearly this wasn't the first fight he'd seen.
"This should handle the breakages."
She sung for a second, it was short and simple but it something about it worked. It waved between a few notes each expertly picked.
He had several injuries and while she lacked the energy to fully removes any she at least sped the process along.
With that the vessel had left (well after that she'd picked up a little meat for the road).
She didn't want to look desperate (which she wasn't) but she'd appreciate the company.
She didn't run so much but she was walking fairly quickly to catch up with Scarlett.

"So did that go good? I mean did we get much accomplished?"
She held out he leg of some animal, delicious.

image Lorel Ion - Eternal Mist - Grim

Velen spoke once more as she came back outside. "If you think we're scared of some pussy Red Stains. Then you truly are foolish. I have fought and killed things you can only imagine in your nightmares."

Telnor- Grim

Telnor pushed pushed past Velen roughly. "You talk big but have fun getting over the borders," Telnor sneered at Velen, "And maybe you might want to think about an attitude check because they way you've been talking no one is really going to want to help you."

Telnor made his way to Scarlet and Vessel. "I'm coming with you two as well," he announced to them. He pointed at Scarlet, "I do not like you very much nor do I really trust you but we both have the same goal. Kill Tear," pointing at Vessel, " I trust you and I would rather travel with at least one person I trusted."

imageScarlett Verneer - Eternal Mist - Grim

Something in Scarlett snapped. She stopped still in the street and sighed to her herself. "Okay. Boy. You might not be afraid of the Red Stains but what about your friends? Or your families? How will you feel when a blade slices them open in their sleep? Your heading North. As fugitives. How can you protect them?"

image Lorel Ion - Eternal Mist - Grim

Velen laughed. "You clearly don't know who you're working for if you think they would. Your Red Stain leader, Jinshia, yes I know her name. Did you know that she is part of our Deathly Continuation Operation to bring down Upper? So having Red Stain's kill our families, that is if you can even find them, would be disobeying their orders. So go ahead, hire Red Stains to kill us, and our families, see what happens to you afterwards."

imageScarlett Verneer - Eternal Mist - Grim

Scarlett looked at Telnor. "Fine. Whatever. But expect to make yourself useful."

Scarlett clapped her hands and looked at Lorel, Itsuka and Velen. "Thank you. Really. You've been wonderful at providing me with everything I wanted to know."

They had just been played.

Scarlett turned to the Vessel and replied to her earlier question. "Yes. We found out that these three are planning to take down the Nobles. We know their names, their destination, their contact, who they are working with and who is trying to kill them. All of which, extremely valuable information. Amazing what people will say when you put them on the defensive or work them up to anger."

image Lorel Ion - Eternal Mist - Grim

"What, that we spoke about the Operation? I couldn't care less. I think we shall leave now as you seem to have some emo problem about people seeing you. Probably because you don't want them to find out that your such a bitch."

The Vessel had to smile at what Tenor had said. She wouldn't like to admit that he was 50% of her friends and even less that that might be an underestimate but that didn't make either less true.
Anyway she turned back to Lorel. Reaching for her harp it was soon drawn again.
She gave him a look, not angry or patronising. Just a deep look.
She casually played, well casually for her, for anyone else this was some intense playing. The notes blurred together, picking out an individual one was almost impossible it was subtle but also massive. It was deeply unnerving.
She spoke softly her voice barely matching the tone of the music.
"Then I look forward to seeing you in the north and I'm sure you endeavour will be successful."
The juxtaposition only made her words more effecting this was sarcasm for smart people.

image Vergil Crawford - The Raven's Claw Tavern - Grim

After ordering a tankard of ale from the bar woman, a person of beauty, which had midnight blue hair that went past her shoulders, Vergil found a table in a quiet corner of The Raven's Claw, and started to look through the Assassin's Journal. The journal contained a variety of information, from weapon schematics, to paragraphs of a somewhat philosophical nature. One page in particular caught Vergil's attention.

"Hmm, interesting, it seems they had created a means in which to deliver poison through the blade. It required the use of a thin hollow needle, that sat within the blade, whilst it would be tempting to try hollowing the blade myself, I risk breaking the blade in the process, to decrease the possibility, I shall construct it on a second gauntlet of similar design to the one I already possess, but lacking the main blade... for now. It seems that they have noted that the alchemy formulae needed to create the most effective types of poison, ranging from a lethal concoction to something more akin to a sleeping draught." He thought to himself, remembering that in order to see the correct calculations, he activated Hidden Sight to see the invisible text.

"What an intelligent group of people, the stuff in here is more advanced than most of the things we possess in our time now that aren't magic based. How did they come up with these ideas? Did they just think them up, did they have something more primitive, and then improve it as time went, or was there another force as work. I guess we will never know." He further mused as he noted down the poison formulae on some parchment he had brought with him. Despite his actions, he wasn't drawing attention to himself.

imageScarlett Verneer - Eternal Mist - Grim

"I am a bitch." Scarlett smiled mockingly. "I don't think anybody here is going to be surprised at that. Then again I suppose it's better than been a spoiled little, arrogant, asshole like you. Now why don't you run along and play your little games with your friends elsewhere. Who knows, you might even pull your head out of backside in the process, and wake up in the real world?"

image Lorel Ion - Eternal Mist - Grim

Velen wanted to stop it all, but he couldn't let it go. "Spoiled little arrogant asshole? WAKE UP. You filthy bitch whore. You seem to believe that everything revolves around you. I have woken up to reality. I have saved districts, I have seen friends die in front of me, I have put my life on the line man times, and I have stared death right in the face. You seem to don't understand anything. I have seen many like you die because they believe they're above everyone. Scarlett as you have shown the only way you think you can stop people is by killing them! Ha. That's extremely immature and clearly shows that you have no idea how to handle things that don't go your way. Now who's the spoiled little arrogant asshole now?"

Both of them.
"You realise this argument gets you know here right? I'm sure you'll both have ample chance to prove yourselves, but until then I'd much rather you didn't speak with such empty words.
It's doesn't impress them, or me.
They're barely even paying attention."
She'd been bored for ages now the argument had been getting old for just as long. It probably wouldn't be so bad if they did more than just repeat themselves.

imageScarlett Verneer - Eternal Mist - Grim

Scarlett took a deep breath calming herself and sighed, she could feel her frustration itching to escape, more so because a small part of her knew that Velen was right. Scarlett had seen more than her fair share of death over the years, she had watched friends bleed out in her arms on the cold ground, seen lovers leave in sunlit mornings never to return and every time it happened it just hurt more and more. Eventually, subconsciously, Scarlett made the choice to shut everybody else out. Over the past few days that decision had come back to haunt her.

The Vessel was right, this little spat was getting everybody nowhere and fast. Backing away she turned around and spoke.

"Let's go. We should find Vergil. The Innkeeper suggested he was heading to the North Section."

The vessel was happy to be away from all this.
"Now all we have to do is cross miles and miles of city and mountains."
The Vessel took a piece of paper from her pocket.
She raised it to her mouth and spoke. Putting on her best helpless little girl voice.
"Mum, dad I'm scared. I want to come home. Some stuffs happened and I don't think I can handle it on my own.
I just want to be with you again. I think maybe it was a bad idea not to join you; I'd like to try at being a mage again.
I guess what I'm really saying is.
You were right.
And I need you."
In a single movement the letter was resealed.
"Ok that's our travel plans handled."
Maybe I should have pulsed oned? (Well plus twoed).

image Vergil Crawford - The Raven's Claw Tavern - Grim

After decrypting the journal's pages on the subject of poison, Vergil had thought is best to leave now, and make his way to the North Section. He then pulled out a map of the Middle Section to see which path would be best to take.

"Whilst Dojeran is the most direct route, taking me straight into the North, Mo has the closet path in proximity to Grim, and is likely to be the route that the others will take, I should probably wait for Scarlett, The Vessel, and Telnor before I set off." Vergil thought as he put the map away, and got out of his seat. As he passed the counter, he tossed a handful of Kiel on to it.

"That pays for the ale." Vergil remarked, but received no reply from the bar woman, who was busy chatting up some local merchant, judging by the man's attire. He then carried on towards the gate into Mo.

The Vessel was now walking with her friends. She was sure her parents would have travel sorted out soon enough so right now was pretty much empty time.
Then she noticed him. She sort of recognised him from the safe house but couldn't place the name.
"Oh hello."
Ver something.

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

Vergil was somewhat startled when he heard a familiar voice.

"Oh, Vessel, Scarlett, Telnor, you gave me a slight shock, and its Vergil by the way". He replied with, and gave The Vessel his name.

"I take it by the fact your here, Scarlett and Velen had finished their little spat." He remarked, adding a slight chuckle towards the end.

"For now at least."
She joined in with the small laugh.
"And I was getting there, just because I don't get your name right away doesn't mean I've forgotten it." But of course it did.
She wasn't quite sure is he knew what she could do or not. She didn't like to ask but, we it was the sort of thing she needed to know.

image Vincent - Mage Hunter's Base, Smith - Grim

Vincent stared into the swirling flames the engulfed the furnace, every mismatched minute a sputter would occur with a flare reaching out from the spit and dying just as rapidly as it spawned. The sight of this contained inferno resurfaced the memories of their recent battle. The image of a well furnished coach toppled into a broken against desolate stone building flicked through the mind's eye. The familiar thrumming of the crimson fluent flowing through the veins, pumping around his body; filling his muscles and mind with fury and bloodlust.

"Come out, come out, and play." He whispered without words, his lips mimicking movements but a breath that carried no words. The burning orange glow of molten metal poured into bolt shaped moulds, their hue the same as the faint streams of light that seeped from the wooden planks of the toppled transportation. The gradual rise in temperature all to similar to the resounding force that had forced Vincent into this limited condition.

"Boy, you just going to stand there and scowl? Because I charge extra for unpleasantries." The gruff smith master's words returning the buckle bound hunter to reality. With a quick glance at his cast and sling, Vincent locked eye's with the smith, cold eye's filled with malice and hate.

"Just the memory of a dead man" Vincent, scoffed at his own words. "If you call a mage,' a man'."

The blacksmith kicked a peddle that suspended the moulds above a sloshing trough, the metal bolts, still molten, fell into the casket of water with a miasma of steam rising in its wake.

"You'd best be off, leave the money and my stableboy will bring these to you in a moment" Vincent dropped a purse of coins on the counter, wafted through the sauna of a room and exited from once he came. His mind still recounting the battle that had taken place in the district of cloth and coin.

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

"Sorry about that then, just trying to help". Vergil replied to The Vessel. Realising he still had the Assassin's Journal in his hands, he quickly returned it to his jacket.

"Anyway, I take it you three have decided on a route through the mountains to reach the North then? Because there are two options available; the first is in neighbouring Mo, whilst it may not be the most direct route, it is the closest to us. The other is in Dejorean, whilst it is further away, it will take us straight into the North. These are the options most readily available, unless you have pre-planned alternatives." He added in an acquiring tone.

imageScarlett Verneer - Roaming Around - Grim

Scarlett ignored the comments and laughing at the little spat that had occurred earlier and waited for it to finish. She held her tongue and stared at the ground patiently. Scarlett was more interested in the book Vergil was too keen to hide, it seemed nondescript, like a journal or diary and so her interest passed quickly.

"Hello Vergil, it's nice to see you again. Vessel, what where doing... it seemed like you where talking to yourself?"

The vessel held out the letter it was simple paper but the red stamp was elaborate and glowed with a little magic.
"It's something my parents cooked up. They are in experimental magic, the letter rights it's self you just speak into it. And if you touch the seal together it'll disappear back to them."
She wasn't actively hiding the words, in fact she was fairly proud of them but she didn't want to make her pride obvious either.

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

"Well, this is certainly a different Scarlett to the one I saw earlier. Has that little disagreement with Velen opened a door to an a changed woman, I suppose only time will tell". Vergil spoke in both a surprised and curious manner, he then noticed that Scarlett had briefly seen the journal.

"What this what you were looking at?" He asked her, before taking it out again and tossing it too her. "Go ahead, take a look; however to see its true secrets, you must look at it with a different perspective." He told her, folding his arms in the process.

imageScarlett Verneer - Roaming Around - Grim

Scarlett looked a little subdued, as if some force had reached down and sapped all the energy from her. Gazing through the ground she seemed distant and lost.

"He... he hit a nerve." Scarlett really didn't want to talk about it and so her words stalled. She caught the book Vergil had tossed at her and flicked through it hardly paying any attention to the words and diagrams. "Right... neat magic though Vessel."

Scarlett handed the book back and slowly walked on ahead in silence.

The vessel eyed the book now back in Vergil's hands.
"What exactly is in that?"
She was completely taken aback by the effect it had had on her friend. Her voice reflected the panic and confusion.
Her hand reached out for it.
"Can I see?"

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

"Certainly Vessel." Vergil replied with as he passed the book to her, he then turned to Scarlett.

"Scarlett, wait!". Vergil said as he caught up to her, he could sense that he had upset her in some way. He then held her hand as he whispered to her in a caring tone of voice.

"Look, I'm sorry if I said anything to offend or upset you. It just that, you usually have a tough girl personality, someone who will stop at nothing to accomplish a goal. That is a good characteristic trait to have. The sudden change just came as a shock, you could say I wasn't prepared, and I acted inappropriately. I won't mention it again."

"Anyway, I take it that you have a route in mind?" He asked, his voice changing back to his usual cheerful demeanour.

The vessel had already absent maidenly made a correction or two, the stain were good killers but they weren't really scientist. That her alterations were everlasting didn't really bother her, it was with they were wrong.
There was a lot of interesting things in there, even the bad chemistry had its charms (not that that speared it the correction).
She looked up again, realising she'd for just a second forgotten the other two.
Since he asked.
"Vergil you may want to look at this." She handed over the magical note for both of them to read.
"This should get us there...
I'm not sure if I should send it."

imageScarlett Verneer - Roaming Around - Grim

Scarlett felt a little embarrassed she had let her emotion slip out, she smiled at Vergil.

"It's ok, really, with everything that has gone in these last couple of days I just feel... well, a little overwhelmed." She smiled wider. " I don't think I was prepared for it either."

...Or the memories it all brought back. I've tried so hard to forget the past."

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