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

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image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

After receiving the journal back from The Vessel, he had noticed she made a few alterations to the decoy formulae.

"Hmm, cute, whilst she has made the decoy formulae to be as correct as the real ones, they won't achieve the same effects. I'll mention it to her, later though." Vergil thought to himself, ending in a smile. He then placed the journal back into his coat.

"Certainly, I'll take a look." He replied to The Vessel's query. After receiving the note he began to read it. A short moment later he gave his opinion.

"Whilst this would give us a direct and safe route into the North, the air of uncertainty in your voice would suggest otherwise. Why, are you scared that something would happen, it is something in the note that you have said that raises concern?" He told her, showing concern in his voice, as he could see the beginnings of a tear to form. He then headed over to her, and hugged her briefly.

"Now, now don't you cry." He remarked, "Unfortunately, this, I feel, isn't my decision to make... it is yours I'm afraid. Sorry if that hasn't helped things along." He further added, feeling regret in the moment. As Vergil looked over Vessel's shoulder, he could see Velen, Itsuka, and Lorel approaching.

"Heads up guys!" He called to Scarlett and Telnor, "We got company", and pointed to the trio behind them.

image Lorel Ion - Eternal Mist - Grim

Lorel and Itsuka looked at each other and then back at Velen; they didn't know how to respond to the yelling fest that just took place. Velen calmed down, and began to think clearly again and then caught up with the rest of them. "I am sorry," he had to admit even if he was right. "I got a bit angry. We probably all should go to the North together as it will make things simpler. Plus if anymore guard's attacks it's better to have lots of us then less of us, no?"

Just then as Lorel looked up in the sky he noticed it was getting darker and then felt a drop on his forehead. "Rain... Again... Damn April, so depressive."

imageLucian Grey - Mage Hunter Base, Stables - Grim
imageVincent - Mage Hunter Base, Stables - Grim
Lucian was brushing his spindly, pale fingers through the silver mane of his steed. While Gilbert was prone to the violence that was normally associated with the various missions that Lucian would find himself enrolled in; the beast was often frightened at the idea of being tied to a stable. Gilbert was a destrier, a wild worse trained for war and as such; was not comfortable with being surrounded by people and even other steeds.

"Calm, we'll be off soon." Lucian cooed, casting his eyes to the black steed awaiting patiently for his masters return, its eyes cold as its master's. When his own horse ceased it's fretting, Lucian decided to inspect his partner's equine; Black as midnight with deep eyes, It was smaller than Gilbert,most horses were, but with a body more honed and disciplined; A clear reflection of it's master.

"Where's that stable-boy, the Smith said he'd have my bolts" echoed the voice of a young man, brash and veiling a hunter's wrath. Lucian recognised it the moment it reached his ears, Vincent. Turning to greet his partner he was taken aback by sight of a man, still burdened by cast and sling, garbed in buckles, blades and that monster of a crossbow the boy had fastened to his back.

"Someone's eager." Lucian chimed, his voice almost mocking in tone.

"I don't see why you didn't just take the contract. We could have simply killed this thief and made come coin doing it. The sound of footsteps grew steadily louder, their metronome rapid; someone was running. In the middle of the courtyard was a boy, roughly 15 winters, running towards the stables with a miniature quiver clutched firmly against his chest.

"A friend of yours?"

"About time." Vincent waved his free hand to the stable-boy, signalling the young lad to approach. He was dressed in a stained white tunic held tight around his waist by a coil of coarse rope and breathing heavily. The package clutched tight in his hands was a volley of black quarrels fitted individually into small pouching inside the quiver. The boy didn't even breath a word before the screams of a surely Blacksmith beaconed his return, turning on his heel, the panting boy ran, back through the courtyard.

"Need any help with that?" Lucian queried, he was well aware the lad would decline but he was interested in seeing how he would fasten a bolt cache with one arm.

Vincent ignored his companion and slung the quiver over his shoulder, the leather strap hooking neatly to a corresponding buckle emblazoned onto the Mage Hunter's armour. Once in place the rest was but a matter of positioning for comfort and access. Vincent was considering testing one of these new bolts on the grey haired geezer as he clapped mockingly at Vincent, but opted against it.

Lucian tucked his foot into the Iron and lifted himself into the black stained saddle resting aloft Gilbert's hide, the horse pulled a little as he always did but eventually came to a halt the moment the reins tightened. Following in his heel, Vincent cast himself atop his black stallion and awaited Lucian's first move.

"It's best we check some local inns or pubs. Any come to mind?"

What about our mission, we still haven't completed the final task?

"I left that in the capable hands of an old friend, He's a doctor so he'll be paying a visit to one of the noble families with the warning of a 'plague'. While there, he'll plant the evidence and we can peruse our own little adventure." Lucian summarised, the chipper smile of his emerging across his scar marked features.
.
"If that's the case, I think I know were we can start. A little place called The Eternal Mist."

Vincant flicked the reins of his obsidian horse with his one good hand and flew from the stables, into the courtyard and towards the destroyed entrance of the Mage Hunters Base. On his trail, riding aloft his golden eyed stallion was Lucian, grinning like a fool.

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

"You make a good point Velen, you know what they say, safety in numbers." Vergil remarked, then noticed that it started to rain.

"Its only a short walk to Mo, if we hurry, perhaps we can find some place to wait for this rain to pass, come on." He added.

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Tobias Belmont (Innkeeper) The Eternal Mist - Grim

He watched the others leave the area, and then started thinking on how to clear up this mess.

"I suppose I could just burn the bodies, simplest and one of the more effective methods, plus it helps brighten up the area, good for seeing if anyone else comes." It was roughly an hour later when two individuals on horseback arrived.

"Afternoon gentlemen." He greeted them with, putting his broom down afterwards.

"I would say welcome, but unfortunately, we're not open for business at the moment. As you can see, had a bit of a run in with some guards from the Risenforth Court, were looking to kill a couple of people, fortunately, there was more people here than they expected. Its going to take a couple of days for refurbishments, plus, I got call in someone to replace the window on the upper floor." Tobias explained to them, and pointing out the bodies, some of which were burning on a pyre.

"Anyway, enough about my problems, what can I do for you... Mage Hunters ?" He remarked, noticing the attire of the gentlemen, and the amulets they wore around their waist.

Telnor- Grim

"We can also be spotted more easily. It is easier to slip past guards when we have few numbers. If we are going to travel together I would recommend going underground. We can take the caves to get to the north. Or we use Ves's parents to get travel and say that she hired all of us as body guards. That is if it is ok with her," Telnor suggested.

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

"You too also make a good point Telnor, a large group would raise suspicion, however we can use that to our advantage. As you said earlier, we could use Vessel's parents for travel purposes, and claim that she hired all of us for bodyguard duty through the mountains. After all, the Northern Mountains are quite treasonous, and rather prone to bandit attacks, aren't they." Vergil said in a suggestive manner, and congratulated Telnor for his idea.

"It would justify the numbers, after all, it would be a shame if The Vessel got hurt on her way home, wouldn't it?" He further added, sounding rather sly when it came to those final words. "Anyway, we should get out of this rain first, that way we can plan a better strategy in some place warm."

The vessel had been struggling against the hug for a while now.
She pushed Vergil back. (Harder than she meant to actually).
"I wasn't crying."
She spoke slowly, like she thought he was special.
"Don't touch me ok.
It's just if I send it back, they'll know I'm alive.
And I'd rather you didn't make plans for me without my input."
She stood back and brushed herself down. Seeing a puddle nearby she jumped into it.
The splash was pretty impressive and covered some of the others.
"The rain won't bother me." She said totally dry.

imageScarlett Verneer - Roaming Around - Grim

Scarlett looked up at the darkening sky, she knew the time of year made the weather unpredictable and downright miserable at the worst but the prospect of more bad weather only served to make her more fed up. Fierce streaks of grey cloud had washed across the sky and looked threatening, ready to explode with rain at any moment.

"I am sorry too. I shouldn't let my emotion be such the driving force it is, but I agree with you. The more of that travel north together the safer we will be."

She listened to the group.

"That might work. I mean it is customary to hire protection, but so many of us? That might only bring more attention if they think the Vessel is somebody worth the Kiel to kidnap."

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

Vergil quickly sidestepped the puddle after he was pushed by The Vessel, he was sent backward a bit, but didn't fall over.

"Well sorry Vessel, it looked like a tear. Anyway, why do you not want your parents to know that your alive. Don't answer that actually, I can already picture your response, it feels negative. Plus I was only trying to be kind, if you didn't want my help, you shouldn't have asked."

"Since you asked, what do you want to do then?" He remarked to Vessel, he then turned to Scarlett.

"You raise an interesting point Scarlett, maybe if we go into two seperate groups, but stay in close proximity, so that should The Vessel's carriage be attacked, the other group can come in to support, if that is okay with you Vessel." Vergil exclaimed.

"We are not going to make any decisions like that if Vessel is not comfortable with it. We are merely making suggestions on the best way to proceed without notice. At any rate we would need better clothing up north." Telnor started pacing
"If We could also stick together and take the Guardian Passages. Final option if no one likes the cave is that we split up into two groups and meet up at predetermined points and mix the groups up each time. Again we," Telnor looked at everyone, "need better clothes. Standard clothes, discrete clothes that are warm. Nothing that stands out. "

"Sorry, but in future could you tell me before you touch me like that. It just feels, I don't know weird.
And if they know I'm alive, they'll want to get involved. Like they always do.
But of course you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs."
She moved to place the two seals together, but she flinched at the last moment.
"I could do it so easily. I could tell them exactly where I was, I could pretty much order the teleport for all of us.
I could do it thousands of times over."
Then why haven't I?

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

"Maybe its because of something lingering at the inner most levels of your mind. Something that your afraid of. It could be that you have never felt some level of affection from, lets face it a total stranger before, the concept is unfamiliar to you, maybe it will develop over time, being around the company of strangers that is." Vergil pondered to The Vessel's first query.

"That is a simplified version of what I suggested earlier. We go in two groups, we leave sufficient enough time between one another so not to raise suspicion, but we remain close enough so that should something go wrong, whoever is in the second team can assist. It is a plan, whilst not perfect, can suit whatever method we use to travel, so it is relatively flexible to a certain extent." He replied to Telnor, after which he started to walk towards him.

"I take it by clothing Telnor, you mean something that is suitable for the Northern climate?" Vergil enquired.

The Vessel really wasn't sure how she should respond to that.
"I'd rather you didn't diagnose me like that. It could just be someone I barely knew randomly hugging me really tight without proper warning."
She looked down at the note again.
"So do I do it?"
She didn't ask anyone in particular but she'd have appreciated input from anyone.

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

"Sorry, I didn't mean to act like a doctor, but in all honest opinion, on whether or not you should send it, I would say go for it. But be careful, I have a feeling something unexpected might happen. Well that's my two cents on the matter" He exclaimed to her behind his back.

image Lorel Ion - Grim

"My clothes shall be fine. I will use my fire magic to warm myself," Lorel noted to the whole group. "Guardians on the pathways to the North don't mind magic. So I will be fine."

Velen then spoke. "We also won't need to split up. If we go to Mo and take that way up to the North, our numbers will be small compared to the many that go through the Mountain passes. Many times groups of ten's or twenties and sometimes thirties will travel. So a group of seven won't stand out much. Plus if simple Bandits attack us. I think if we can take them out easily. Plus the Elite Guardian Warriors who will be traveling with us."

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

"Of course, I completely forgot about the Guardians, then again, I haven't travelled to the North in quite awhile, so one tends to forget things. Good point Velen." He remarked in a kind tone.

imageScarlett Verneer - Roaming Around - Grim

"It has been many years since I was last home, wait Lorel, what's this about Elite Guardian Warriors?" Scarlett asked realising her mind had drifted of elsewhere.

image Lorel Ion - Grim

While Velen had mentioned them, since Scarlett asked Lorel he decided to answer with the best of his knowledge. "The Elite Guardian Warriors. Simply put, to counter Bandits and such they patrol the Mountain passes at various checkpoints and also walk with people as they make their ways through the passes."

"I'm sure we can trust them, they wouldn't ever hurt me."
She was slightly offended but she was sure she hid it well.
"They're not dangerous or anything, but they often interfere.
I did my best to stop them being interested but it didn't work.
Would you do it? If you were me?"

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

"With this next statement, I do not mean offence towards you Vessel. Since I haven't not known you long enough, it would be difficult for me to formulate a response to that question. But to hazard a guess, and considering you put trust in your parents, whereas I hardly knew mine, if fact I didn't know them at all, I'd probably send it." Vergil stated to her.

image
Wandering around Grim.
"Oh, sorry."
She sounded genuinely sorry about it and knowing her faking sympathy wasn't possible for her.
"Thanks."
She looked towards her hands again.
She closed it with a simple movement. There was a puff of smoke and fire.
She sighed.
"Ok now that's done. I wonder what they'll send back to us."

image Vergil Crawford - Roaming Around - Grim

"That's okay Vessel, its not often I talk about my past. There are things about it that even I don't understand. It is a complex series of events, maybe it is the cause of my differing personality. Anyway, I am going off track, it will be interesting to see what arrives." He remarked to The Vessel, doffing his imaginary hat towards her.

"Now then, what is the next course of action?" He questioned the group.

Risenforth Guards - Risenforth, Tower of Di - Grim

The surviving guards ran as fast as they could to the Tower of Di. When they arrived they ran up to the top of the toper where there was just Deysin. "Guards... That blood. What happened?"

"Sire! Lorel Ion and Velen Majl were found! Friends as they appeared where with them, they took out most of our unit! They're near the Eternal Mist!"

"I see... Send Mosione Squad... They will know what to do."

"Yes Sire!"

imageScarlett Verneer - Somewhere in Grim - Grim

Scarlett looked at the group, Vergil and the Vessel seemed to be working their way further into awkward territory every time they spoke to each other. She decided not to get involved and wondered instead if a certain young woman was going to make an appearance on the long journey north. It seemed logical, Scarlett herself would be feverishly tracking this group if the roles had been reversed and she was seeking revenge.

"For a start I need to buy some winter clothing. I actually can't remember which safe house I left mine in and it would take weeks to go through each one in the near by districts and we don't have that kind of time to waste. And as for the Guardians... nevermind... let's just not go shouting out I'm Red Stain."

image
Vincent - Eternal Mists - Grim

"We're looking for someone who has unwisely crossed the Hunters, and I know they passed this way. This man was probably looking to sell some very important amulets, and we'd be willing to pay for any information you can give us of this man's whereabouts." Vincent said, reaching into his pocket and retrieving a handful of kiel that he would hand to the man if he decided to tell them. If not, every man had a breaking point, and torture was the next thing that crossed Vincent's mind.

His horse whinnied behind him, but Vincent paid no heed to it, instead choosing to glance over at the bodies piled up and set ablaze as a monument to the people who had fallen here. Vincent was curious as to what had happened here, but for now he would take thing's one step at a time.

Tobias Belmont (Innkeeper) - The Eternal Mist - Grim

"My my, hasn't the order fallen since I was last in its company, resorting to bribery to accomplish its goals. there was once a time where the mere presence of a Mage Hunter, forced people to co-operate, but that is a different story, for a different time." Tobias remarked to the pair, potentially hinting towards a previous life, he then quickly changed the subject.

"In any case, if you want to know where Vergil is, if you promise not to kill him, I'll give you a rough estimation of his whereabouts for only 500 Kiel." He further added to the pair that stood before him, acting sly in the process.

Lucian ignored the barkeep's announcement that the fine establishment was closed and proceeded to approach the inferno of bodies. The tower of flames, fuelled by blood, flesh and bone, burned bright at the back of of the Inn, the pungent stench of ash and cooked meat radiated from the macabre monument. Rising above the crackles and pops of human muscle bubbling and the idle chit-chat of his companion was a sharp whistle cutting the air from Lucian's pursed lips.

"You've got a fair few corpses back hear, I'd say around seven, maybe eight." Lucian knelt down on one knee to inspect a pile of blackened bones just on the fringes of the flame, knuckles. He cast his hand swiftly through the fires and grabbed a handful of the remains with just enough haste to stave off the burns. After sifting through the ash he brought three of the bones to his hidden, golden eye's; inspecting, dissecting.

"These are cracked, but not split, meaning: It wasn't the flames that damaged them." Lucian dropped the knuckle bones back into the makeshift pyre and dusting his hands of the unholy ashes.

"These were the hands of fighters, people who aren't easily killed..."

Lucian, having seen all that he needed, decided to grace the barkeep once more. A friendly smile returned to the contours of the Hunter's lips as he lifted himself atop the counter taking a rather unconventional seat.

"Before we pay you, mind telling us how these poor chaps out back died?"

Tobias Belmont (Innkeeper) - The Eternal Mist - Grim

"Those poor fellows? Think fire killed them, fire from a Mage. Before you ask, no, Vergil ain't no Mage, there was one here at the time of the attack mind you, don't think I heard I name." Replied to the man sitting atop the desk, sounding quite calm as he spoke.

Lucian Grey - The Eternal Mist - Grim

Lucian ran his pale, spindly hand through the coarse silver strands of his hair, unknowingly revealing the sharp, serpentine eyes to the barkeep. He was unsure how to take this titbit of information, while the prospect of mages being involved in this whole endeavour added a whole new layer of intrigue, It also came with it's own complications; If their target had been involved with this mage, well...

"Interesting, one mage did all this?"

Tobias Belmont (Innkeeper) - The Eternal Mist - Grim

"In a way yes, fire magic was used to kill some, as for some of the others, it was merely used as a set-up for a swordsman to strike whilst the target was injured. T'was a elegant combination if I do say so myself, how the flames danced between each sword strike." Tobias replied, sounding mesmerised by how he described the combat.

"There were others in the foray, but of course, they aren't important to you are they, all you care about is the thief, and now the Mage." Tobias furthered added quite sternly.

Lucian Grey - The Eternal Mist - Grim

"And the swordsman!" Lucian interrupted before casting himself from the counter and landing gracefully atop the firm wooden boards that formed the Inn's base.

"It seems like we've established the necessary cast to spin a wonderful tale. The skilful thief with a penchant for explosives, the prodigal, flame wielding mage and the honed sellsword who dances with his blades" Lucian slipped his hands into the pockets, raised his head and stared wistfully towards the ceiling, his thoughts swirling in his mind.

"Which raises the question... Which part do we play in this little escapade? Are we the villains hunting down our prey, sworn by fate to inevitably fail? Are we the heroes chasing down vile foes and bringing them swift justice?" Lucian's eye's locked with the barkeeps, a sly smile creeping across his features.

"Or are we all key players in a story just in the genesis of it's telling?"

image
"You can borrow some of my clothes. I'm sure they'll fit."
Might be a little tight.
"I've got plenty of stuff I never use." She produced a key it was small and made of a pretty uninteresting metal; the head was the bull and bird symbol.
She tossed it to Scarlet.
"Catch."
Good catch.
"Just put that in any lock and turn it, then it will open into my closet. Take what you need."

imageScarlett Verneer - Walking around - Grim

Scarlett caught the key in one hand and examined it, the ornate decoration had lost some of its grandeur over the years but the bull and bird symbol engraved on the top was still visible. Scarlett had seen similar keys before but never one bearing this symbol. Symbology was usually a major player in the world of secret keys, and formed a major part of the design, although not all keys where physical objects. Some were made entirely out of magic and carried on the users skin.

"Thanks, I appreciate it." She smiled warmly. "I guess then we should get some provisions?"

Tobias Belmont (Innkeeper) - The Eternal Mist - Grim

"I believe that we are a mixture of characters, with various degrees of morality. Some fight on the side of justice, others to bring destruction; however, there are also those who muddle in the in-between, constantly fleeting between the two, they, are the most difficult to catch, since they are the most unpredictable. You good sir, and your associate have an important role to play in this tale, though you maybe facing it from the wrong angle, perhaps it is time for a change in beliefs, n'est-ce pas?" Tobias replied to the man's curious quandary, sounding equally as mystified.

"I can make most of what we'll need, and it will be a lot cheaper than it would be otherwise.
Actually thinking about it I should probably also restock my weapons. In case... well just in case."

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