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

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"I haven't."
There was a pause before she realised she needed to respond.
"I'm the vessel.
There are a few breaks, and some burns."

She began to sign. Softly the red glow builds on her hands as she rubbed the effected regions.

"I'll be popping a joint back in it will hurt a little."
She barley even stopped singing as she spoke, somehow doing her own back up.
Actually it hurt a lot.

"Now you'll need to rest for a while but I've done most of the work."

She stopped singing abruptly once the work was done no need to keep going.
Not only that but she'd gained some more aggressive energy just in case.

image Vergil Crawford - ???? - Grim

It was roughly an hour later when Vergil had woken up from his sleep, he turned to his wrist blade, although it gave bad memories of the night before, it was something of a constant. He picked it up, and re did the straps that attached it to his arm, afterwards he tested it a few times to see if anything had been damaged in the explosion.

Part of the aesthetics were damaged, but they could be easily replaced or repaired, despite there being some dust in the internal mechanisms, it was still operational, but it took a bit longer to respond. 'That can be easily cleaned' Vergil thought to himself as he tightened the final strap. He turned round to see that Scarlett was talking to the man and woman from last night.

He thought that it would be a good idea to join them, seeing as though they were willing to come here and hear the explanation as to what caused the events to happen.

The vessel looked up seeing one of the strangers wake up.
She considered her next move.
"Do you have any injuries? I might be able to see to them."
The more opportunities to get energy the better after all.
She looked down at her last charge. The woman had dozed off in her arms; the vessel gently moved her to somewhere she wouldn't fall. No need to wake her.

image Vergil Crawford - ???? - Grim

"No, only some minor ones, no need for healing magic". Vergil replied to the woman as he saw her put Scarlett in a safe place.

"Listen, sorry for raising my voice last night, I've just been through some stuff, stuff I'd prefer to keep to myself. But thank you for the offer." He kindly told the woman as he sat down at the table.

"I don't do healing magic." There was slight disharmony at the end a discordant twang that didn't fit with her normal patterns of speech.
"Anyway I'm still willing to help you. It won't take anything beyond normal medicine. You don't want your wounds getting infected after all I should be able to make up some raps to speed up healing and disinfect them."

image Vergil Crawford - ???? - Grim

"If you think that will help, I happen to have a couple on the right arm". Vergil gladly replied to her, rolling up the shirt sleeve to show two fairly long, but quite shallow cuts. These were obviously from the impact with the cart he had landed in.

Preparing the raps didn't take longs. They were mostly cloth with just a few simple ingredients.
She rapped them around his arms.
"It will sting a little" (Actually a lot) "it's pretty effect at warding off the infection and shouldn't speed up healing."
A green glow built up on the wraps. It bubbled up before finding its way to the vessel's hand and joining with the blood drop drawn there.

image Vergil Crawford - ???? - Grim

"Thanks." Vergil replied as he felt the bubbling mixture hit the cut, whilst he did feel a slight a stinging sensation, it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. He looked to the woman briefly before returning to his arm.

"I guess what they say is right, adrenaline makes for a good anaesthetic." Vergil remarked.

"I've heard it can be. Of course it would be impractical to apply it en mass in most cases. But yes I'd assume you're right.
So what are you?"
Little abrupt wasn't it? Oh well that was her.

imageScarlett Verneer - ???? - Grim

The healing was soothing, even if painful at times, but Scarlett was too exhausted to care and closed her heavy eyelids intending to just take a quick nap, but she was far too tired and fell into a deep and dreaming sleep.

Summer was different now. The magic used during the war had terrible effects on not just the people, killing numbers beyond count, but the environment too. The whole world had changed. Scarlett stood on the edge of the cliff and opened her canteen, taking a generous sip of the cool water within, and looked out across the jungle. It was from here the effects of that war could still be seen in the scars of the land. What had been once ground level was now a high plateau of flat land, carved in it by blasts of powerful magic were deep gorges and wide valleys too numerous to count. The tropical jungle ran all the way through to the jagged line of mountains on the horizon and even far beyond that to the barren deserts of the northern lands. Under the intense heat of the midmorning sun, blazing in a blue sky devoid of any cloud, the green foliage of the tree canopies glistened and shone. It was a breathtaking sight. Hard to believe that this had all been once, long ago, the middle district of the City.

Scarlett turned and walked to the waterfall re-filling her canteen before heading up the river to the village. It had taken nineteen days to travel from the mountains and she was now only a few hours away from her destination. The relief was overwhelming. Comprised of colourful tents and fluttering flags in a clearing from the jungle, the small village of Riveara was picturesque and a perfect place to spend the night before the ten day hike to what was once the Upper City. Scarlett noticed the ruins of a building peaking out from the tree line and wondered if once, long ago, she had passed that building. Arriving at the village she was greeted by an elder woman who decided to take her in for the night in exchange for a few tradable items. She thought the tattoo of fully open raven wings on her back and arms, the wings themselves outstretched down the back of her arms, was rather pretty.

Scarlett bolted upright, waking up to see Vergil been healed. Resting back in the chair she decided her mind was too active to sleep and pondered the meaning of the dream.

image Vergil Crawford - ???? - Grim

"The name is Vergil Crawford, master thief, but also part time assassin". Vergil replied to the woman. He could sense something negative from her, so he decided to quickly reply before she did something dangerous.

"Relax, what I do is purely from hired work, that hasn't been a day were I stole something or killed someone purely because I felt like it. Anyway, I owe you and your travelling companion an explanation in regards to the events of the previous evening. So settle down, and I'll tell you."

He turned his head to see that Scarlett had woken from her slumber.

"Ah, I see that the sleeper has awakened, you may want to listen in on this, it will help bring you and them up to speed". He then began his tale.

"Anyway, this whole mess actually started roughly... five years ago. I had received a contract via a contact from a woman named Sera. She had asked me to kill a woman by the name of Scarlett Verneer." He stopped momentarily and gestured towards Scarlett, then he shifted his focus back to the man and woman.

"I had spent at least a couple of weeks trying to find her. Unfortunately, the information that my contacts had given me either lead to dead ends, or false hopes. So I decided to pack that in, thinking that, she's either been killed by someone else, or disappeared to some far corner of the continent, never to be seen again."

"Jump ahead to roughly three days ago, I was in Smo, and had recently accepted another job to acquire some of those amulets that the Mage Hunters wear. It was about mid-afternoon, and I was heading across the rooftops of the buildings, making my way towards Grim, when I heard the screams of a man in pain. So I leapt down and his name was Aaron... Dunn, he had been set upon a bunch of thugs led by none other than Sera. It seems she had intercepted a contract that Scarlett had accepted earlier in the day to kill Harold Nehelem, he made mention of Sera planning on killing Scarlett, reasons unknown at the time and to his knowledge. So after extracting some information about Sera and Scarlett's identities, I decided to put on hold the contract I had received earlier temporarily on hold to purse a Cold Case as it were".

"Jump ahead to mid-day yesterday, and I arrived at my safe-house here in Grim, an inn that goes by the name of The Eternal Mist. It was there that I met in person the woman who had hired me, Sera. After a brief discussion, and settling on a price, she had left to make plans for the evening."

"It was 9:00PM, and a noble by the name of Alto D'Escartes, had been secretly listening in on a conversation between me and Sera. After a brief bit of verbal duelling, we had settled on a duel in the gardens. It was a tiring affair, let's just say it involved him summoning a giant out of shadows, Sera and Tear...". He paused for a moment, that name bringing a slight pain in his heart. He regathered his thoughts, and carried on.

"... defeating it with a combination of sword attacks and powerful light magic, and then me stabbing Alto in the heart, killing him of course".

"It was after that, Sera and I had headed up to the master bedroom, where the trap was, whilst Tear attended to her duties. These duties could be loosely transcribed as killing a bunch of Nobles. Meanwhile, in the bedroom, I was lying in wait inside a wardrobe, it was then that Scarlett came in and realised that Sera was still alive. But I'll let her fill you in on their troubled past. I came out of the wardrobe and stood by Sera's side. I then introduced myself officially to Scarlett, giving a slight wink to her."

"I proceeded to walk over to Scarlett, who at this point suffered a few blows from Sera, and was about to kill Scarlett, then I turned round, showing my true colours, and threw a few throwing knives at Sera, pinning her to the floor, at that point I leapt to her and killed her with my hidden wrist blade". He stopped momentarily to show the device in question.

"I guess you two know what happened afterwards".

"But, let's just say I made the wrong choice, or more correctly, right choice, but with an unintended outcome, and I'm going to be paying for it, don't know where, don't know when."

imageScarlett Verneer - ???? - Grim

Scarlett didn't seem particularly interested in the two new arrivals and gazed at the stone wall throughout Vergil's explanation of the events, absorbing the information. She felt a pang of sympathy for her contact, the old man Aaron, and briefly looked down at the floor with a glint of sadness in her eye as she realised she was actually going to miss the old man. Scarlett shook her head and pushed the thoughts of death from her mind and focused on the name Tear. Did Sera take a new apprentice? If so, it's likely the Magic Arte Sigil had gone to her. And what had been the point of all those deaths at the party? Scarlett decided to tell her side of the story after Vergil finished and work out the details at a later point.

"A long time ago, I was apprenticed to a woman named Sera in the Red Stain. She was at the time considered the best, and brightest, hope for the future of the faction and revered by all. Well, much like myself now, Sera decided she was getting too old to maintain her crown and chose me to train up as her replacement. Having no parents to speak off I took to Sera like a mother, and she in return took to me like a daughter. I learned everything I know now from her and she was the wisest, most practical person I had ever met. When I was twenty two I had become the new Sera, or so the Red Stain suggested, and Sera, proud of her apprentice, decided it was time to retire and lead a calm and peaceful life somewhere in the city." Scarlett paused looking around the room.

"However, Sera was approached unofficially by a high ranking member of the Mage Hunters, who where at the time loosing badly in a war against the Mages. This individual had led a raid against a faction of Mages hiding in the sewers of the Upper District and discovered their attempts to use an ancient and powerful magic, know only as Sigil Arte. So this individual suggested that the texts found in the hideaway could be used to apply Sigil Arte to Sera's body in order to create a powerful and new magic weapon."

Scarlett took a sip of water. "For those of you in the dark Sigil Arte is the power of magic symbols, it is believed to have been left behind by the first born on this world as a gift from the old gods to mankind. I won't discuss the history of the City but I'm sure you are at least aware that large parts, both on the surface and underground, where built long before our people ever arrived. Anyway, Sigil Arte is the only way, as far a I understand, that magic can be artificially applied to a non-magic user. In fact multiple symbols can be 'burned into' a single user to create an even more powerful magic. Sera was given at least thirteen of these symbols which formed a tattoo of raven wings on her back. This is how she channels the magic, the tattoo is a living magic symbol and uses her own stamina to create this artificial magic for Sera's use. The wings themselves move up her back depending on Sera's connection to the symbols. The higher the wings the more power the user has. It is extremely powerful even when the wings remain in a closed state. More so than any natural magic user."

Scarlett moved, adjusting herself. "However, it was discovered some time later, only after a dissident section of the Mage Hunters, annoyed at the slow progress of the council, created twelve of these living weapons what kind of an effect this Sigil Arte has on the mind. Basically it is a corruption and drives the user slowly insane. By that time Sera had changed, into someone else..."

Scarlett looked sad. "Sera had got it into her mind. She claimed from a dream sent by the god Kali. That she could 'save' the City from it's stagnant state today and create a new society based upon fairness and equality for all. To do so required the complete destruction of the City and all the Noble families. With society been repopulated by the lower classes in a new democracy. Sera plotted a very clever scheme to achieve her goals but when I refused to join her she tried to kill me."

"Another long story short, I opposed Sera and finally fought a duel with her to save the City from the destruction Sera had planned, and won, stabbing her in the heart. I had thought the end of it until today when it was revealed to me she was still alive in Harold Nehelem's bedroom and re-planning to destroy the City. When Vergil killed Sera he released the Magic Arte Sigil, which I can only assume went to this Tear character, while the rest of the unreleased magic energy in her body exploded outwards. In fact we where all very lucky. If Sera had not been so drained from the fight with this Alto, another Magic Arte Sigil weapon, then the damage would have been much worse. I can only assume that Tear has absorbed Alto's power from his body before feeling the estate."

"Vergil." Scarlett remarked. "What does this Tear look like?"

image Vergil Crawford - ???? - Grim

"Quite bright purple hair, as for the eye colour, it was a sort of pale green. It is more likely that Tear absorbed Sera's Magic Arte Sigil, this raven tattoo that you speak of. And yes, Tear was Sera's new apprentice."

"As for Alto's Magic Arte Sigil, that didn't seem to make contact with anyone, who knows where that one has gone, and who would be the logical choice after him?" Vergil replied with, seemingly alot happier than previous, despite mentioning Tear's name.

Telnor-???- Grim
"By the sounds of it, these sigils drive the users insane. Not surprising though if they do imbeded the user with so much power." Telnor got up and walked to a window.

"Can these sigils be destroyed? Or contained? I know for myself I can't let something like that just float around the city like that. At any rate these Tear needs to be brought to justice." Telnor turned around.

"I know I'm going to go after her. So any extra information would be nice."

The Vessel glanced down at her hands, trying not to do so too overtly. No, completely different.
They wouldn't have. Couldn't have. Didn't.
Anyway back to now. They'd said a lot, might have been important. Should have paid more attention to it. But she couldn't think yet.
She looked back at the palm of her hand, probably less inconspicuously she'd have liked.
Strange they'd told all that to complete strangers. They better not expect such openness from her.
"I see." She didn't.
"So do you need me?" She expected they did.

image Vergil Crawford - ???? - Grim

"Unfortunately no, and I would advise not going against her. From what I have seen of her, she possess great skill in the art of swordplay, and with the powers she possesses now, she will be difficult to face in combat. Better to wait for the moment, and strike when she is weakest. But do not kill her, there has to be a way to remove the Sigils without them passing to another soul." Vergil replied to man.

"Anyway, enough about that, for the moment. I have another contract that needs fulfilling, and it is one where my talents are put to better use". Vergil remarked as he made his way to the door.

imageScarlett Verneer - ???? - Grim

Wait... They are actually buying into this rubbish?

Scarlett smiled inside. It was true. She really was a great lier.

"You will not find Tear if she has gone to ground." Scarlett remarked. "You'd be wasting your time looking. She'll surface again. Trust me. And when she does we'll be waiting to take the sigil from her... to destroy it, of course."

Scarlett stood up and walked to the window, ready to watch Vergil leave.

image Vergil Crawford - ???? - Grim

As he left the safe-house, Vergil turned to see Scarlett smiling.

'Strange, something doesn't feel quite right about that. I wonder what she's smiling about, could it be related to that story she told. Could it be a subtle clue to the fact that she is letting on more than she is telling us? Could that whole story have been a farce just to get us on side? I shall have to keep an eye on her.' Vergil remarked to himself. He then proceeded to head to the Mage Hunter outpost.

Telnor -???- Grim

"Fine." Telnor turned around and made for the door.

"If you ever need my services I can be found in the Middle District. Ask at the Red Hero or the Fire Glass ." Telnor left without turning back. He pulled the amulet he had taken from Jegme out of his pocket.

Time to turn this in. I could use the Kiel.

image Lorel Ion - Grim

"Correct, she should be near the Tower of Di. This if you look to your left, is hard to miss." Lorel turned his head left and saw the massive tower which casted a shadow down at the district. They began to head down the streets and as they did the tower loomed over their heads like if it was about to fall. When they reached its bottom, elegant brick stairs rose up, and various fountains and water coming from wholes around the tower spewed out into the trench below and then out to the various parts of the District. The Tower itself looked to be marble and very shiny.

Compared to other water, it was actually clean. No doubt to Magic. Though it was about the same in Upper District. They had to push through crowds of people, all of them looking busy and some worried. They walked up the stairs and two guards stopped them, as opposed to the ones guarding the District these ones wore less armor and seemed to be mages.

"What is your business here?" Velen began to talk to the man as Lorel looked back out at the crowd. Many guards seem to be going, he wondered if that was normal. Velen tapped Lorel on his shoulder as the guards moved out of the way. "You may enter."

Velen and Lorel pushed through the large doors and entered the tower. "Velen, there were many guards pushing through the crowds, do you know why?"

"Can't say, the guards didn't mention anything."

Inside the tower was clearly marble, as they even reflected off of the ground, but the inside also seemed to be made of various stones which looked very upkeep. Various red and blue carpets scattered the floors and many stairs going up the tower spiraled in each direction. Almost made Lorel feel dizzy and want to fall over. The tower truly was magnificent.

Together Velen and Lorel made it to the front desk were a woman was working and had papers all surrounding her. Almost reminded Lorel of Maro a couple days ago. "May I help you?"

"Yes, I wish to speak to Itsuka Maen, is she in?" Velen asked very kindly, even smiling at the end.

The woman began to look through piles of paper until she found a particular one. "Sorry for taking a bit, everything is a mess right now. Ah, yes she is. This sheet claims she had signed in. In fact hadn't left the tower in days."

"What happened, last time I was here, everything seemed calm."

"Well, to shortly explain, many politicians and Upper-class citizens were found dead at the Harold Nehelem's Estate including Harold Nehelem. So everything is in a mess. They're looking for the killers, but without any witnesses we can't act on anything!"

Lorel didn't know whether to feel happy or sad, it was true they were in the same vein as the Nobles in Upper District, but he couldn't say whether or not they needed to die. They were still human. Velen felt about the same, but he didn't want to get involved in something else. "That is tragic. But onto business. Is Itsuka still in room 434?"

"Yes. Just knock on the door and she should answer."

434... This was going to be a long walk.

"434..." Lorel spoke as they walked away from the counter.

"Better get walking then." They walked up the spirals of stairs, by the time they reached only the 100 rooms, Lorel was already feeling faint. So they took a break and sat down at one of the café's on the various floors in the tower. Every 100 rooms there were a stop and a whole level of taverns and such. Small ones but high quality. After they took a break they continued on and eventually reached 434.

Lorel was breathing heavily. "Velen... If she isn't in there for any reason... I'm going to kill ya..."

Velen laughed and knocked on the plain brown door which had the number, 434 on it. A muffled voice came from the other side. "I am coming."

Lorel stood next to Velen and watched as the door opened. Itsuka, had black hair, which appeared to all ruffled as if she woke up. She wore a simple white shirt, and brown baggy pants. She had bright green eyes, and light skin. And lastly black gloves that were some form of linen. "Sorry, I just woke up. Velen is that you?"

"Yes, it is. May we come in?"

"Yes, yes. Come in." She opened the door all the way and they walked in. The room was very clean despite her appearance. Only one table was partially dirty and it had some leftover food and many books on it. It was a plain room, not as royal looking as he expected. The walls were actually wooden despite the outside appearance, and were just plain brown and there were just blue carpet on the ground. The furniture seemed like stuff you could find off the street.

Itsuka got a drink of milk, and sat down in a large chair, while Velen and Lorel sat down on a couch which made noises as if it was about to fall apart. Old furniture, clean room, and a person who looks like they couldn't give a damn, odd mixture.

"So Velen," she spoke as she took a sip. "What brings you do my abode."

Velen brought her up to speed as to what happened. From the death of Lorel's parents to him and Lorel going to Yias and then coming here. Itsuka's expression didn't change much but he felt that she did care. "So now you see what the situation is and we came to recruit you. You're a powerful mage, you could even give Lorel her some tips."

"Velen, have you even planned everything out? Were we supposed to go? What is our goal here?"
"Our goal is to bring down the Nobles and install a new set of Nobles will stricter rule, more open then they're now. Helping the rest of the districts."

"But still, where we supposed to go? How are we going to achieve this goal? Gather a bunch of people to fight? To gain the public's support?"

Velen smiled. "Exactly that. First we need to get the public on our side. Many already support Steel Hearts as did the Ion family so they will have our backs. But we also need to go to the North, and South, specifically Forest District within the South. They have many powerful Mages. In fact that's where we shall be going first."

"First? Are you daft? The North is right above us! Literally head over to Mo, pay the Guardians and there you're!"

"I just assumed that, with North being able to get our support will be easier. So we should go down to the South and get it first since it will be a longer trip and we can get it over with quicker if we go there first. Head over to Gallu and hitch a ride."

"I am not so sure. If you're so dead set on that, why not split up? Two of us go to the South, one goes to the North?"

"We can't risk it. Upper District already knows that were planning to overthrow them. They will stop at nothing to kill us. We need to stick together. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them know of our were about right here in Grim."

Itsuka finished her drink and then put her hands on her face and then put them down. "I guess that makes sense. But how do we know that South will be safer then? What if they fight us to Gallu? Only way I can think of losing them will to go through the Mountains."

Velen hadn't thought about that. "I shall admit I hadn't thought of that."

"I think we shall finish our discussion later. I need to think over this and finish things I have to do here in Grim before anything. Where will you guys stay? At an Inn here? You can stay here in my room. Would be safer then Upper goons attacking during the night."

Velen was pleased. "Well if you're going to offer that, then yes. Let's do that. We shall stay here. Me and Lorel will go and wonder the district for a bit. Stretch our legs and all of that."

"Alright, just stay safe and from preying eyes." Lorel and Velen walked back down the tower to Lorel's dismay but once they were outside in the sun he was happy.

"Alright, what shall we do now?"

The Vessel, ??? (little bit rundown and no staff 2 stars)

And then there were two.
The vessel look up at her Friend?.
"So you're an assassin? I've work with the stains once or twice. "
Hopefully she didn't notice marks on her hands.
The vessel had founds a few promising looking jars in the cupboards and was working; there was quite a range of chemicals.

There was a strong burst of an unfriendly looking gas, it was pretty harmless but would be great for impressing gullible idiots. She made notes of the ingredients.

What was much more interesting however was the greenish liquid an unfortunate spoon was chosen as test subject and it dissolves fairly quickly. That was going to be much more useful.

imageScarlett Verneer - ???? - Grim

So, Sera had a new apprentice then... Tear. This is bad. I wonder if she intends to carry on her masters legacy? She must have sigil...

Scarlett stood at the window like a haunting spectre. She watched Vergil disappear around the corner and vanish from sight. Somehow she had the feeling he would be trouble. Closing her eyes she let out an audible sigh at the days events and rubbed her temple with the thumb and forefinger of her right hand. Nursing the beginnings of a headache building up in the back of her mind. It had been a long and eventful couple of days.

"So you're an assassin? I've work with the stains once or twice." The Vessel remarked.

"Really?" Scarlett remarked. "What... are you doing?"

The green gas burst up catching Scarlett's eye.

image Vergil Crawford - Outside Mage Hunter Base - Grim

It was in the early hours of the morning, around 9:00AM by the time Vergil had arrived at the location. He had stopped back at the The Eternal Mist for few hours, not only to rest and recover, but also to restock on supplies for the job. He had refilled his throwing knife belts, and brought along some new bomb types for him to try. They were a 'Flash Bomb', which when detonated would deliver a blinding white light, the 'Decoy Bomb', that would detonate with a small plume of smoke, perfect for drawing a guards attention, and finally there was 'Sleeper Bomb', which would render anyone within the effect radius unconscious for a while.

Vergil had also brought with him some other equipment, a lock pick, a blackjack, which was a wooden club with metal studs so he could knock out guards, a bandanna, so he wouldn't fall foul of his own Poison Bombs, and a pair of Google which would provide some level of protection against the blinding effects of his Flash Bombs.

He was on a high rooftop, overlooking the open courtyard of the Mage Hunters Base, but he made sure he was out of sight of any guards positioned on the battlements, whilst there were a couple, they weren't a major threat. Additional information contained within the contract had stated that the amulets were often held with a small underground complex, where they would be given the effect which allowed them to detect Mages. Vergil had decided not to question as to how this information was obtained.

Making sure the coast was clear, he jumped down from the building, and proceeded to climb the outer wall of the building. Just before he clambered onto the walls, he checked to see if there were any nearby guards. Fortunately, there was only one in his immediate vicinity, as the guard got closer, Vergil put on the goggles, and tossed a Flash Bomb onto the battlements. It seems as if the guard had noticed it.

"What is that?" The guard wondered, inspecting the strange device. The bomb suddenly detonated giving off a slight noise and blinding the guard. Vergil then climbed onto the battlements and quickly silenced the guard before anyone else noticed with his blackjack. He then dragged the unconscious man into a nearby guard tower, he would be at least out of the way, for a while. Vergil was now inside.


Vergil Crawford - Inside Mage Hunter Base - Grim

After exiting the guard tower, Vergil made a more accurate survey of the scene. There were three additional guard positioned on the outpost's battlements, one for each wall excluding the one he was on. There was a small group of guards in the courtyard; but they were mainly drinking and sparing against one another, so they would be distracted for the most part.

He proceeded to knock-out each of the other guards on the battlements, making his escape a bit easier. Afterwards he found a relatively shady spot in the courtyard, and jumped down into it, making sure he wasn't spotted as he fell. Hiding himself behind some crates he caught a bit of the conversation between guards.

"Here Godfrey! Did you hear about what happened at Harold Nehelem's Estate last night?"
"Yeah, apparently a load of elite class citizens were killed, Harold himself, and it all ended with a large explosion." Godfrey replied.
"What do you think caused such a calamity?" The first guard asked.
"I don't know Tobias, from what I heard, there was magic afoot."
"You see why now that being a Mage Hunter is an important task. It helps keep the public safe, and rids the world of the dangerous menace that are Mages". Tobias finished with, after taking a sip of what looked like ale. The two guards then continued sparing.

"Apart from those two drunk idiots, and the guards on both the doors, I'm in relative safety." Vergil thought to himself. He quietly moved around the outside of the courtyard, sticking to the shadows, and carefully moving amongst the pillars to avoid detection. He arrived at a corner that was near to the door to the underground complex. The two guards there, whilst not a match for his blades, would definitely make noise if he engaged them directly. He managed to end them quickly by carefully using his throwing knives. The first two caused rather deep wounds in their necks, the second pair went straight into them, killing them in an instant.

"It's a wonder that wasn't noticed by the two on the opposite side, they must be too busy watching the sparring match to notice two of their colleagues go down without much of a fight.", Vergil asked himself as he dragged the two guards to a nearby well, whilst their armour did make scratching sounds, the clash of the swords had drowned them out. He tossed the two guards into the well; but not before reclaiming his throwing knives. The sound of guard's bodies hitting the water definitely made an audible sound, albeit a quiet one.

He then returned to the locked door, and began using his lock pick. After a few tense moments, he quickly opened the door and entered the main body of the outpost.


Vergil Crawford - Underground Complex - Mage Hunter Base - Grim

As he entered the complex, Vergil removed his goggles, noticing that the inside was rather dark, the only light sources was given by a series of flickering candles that dotted the stairs downwards. Vergil engaged Hidden Sight so that the corridors were easier to navigate. After about ten minutes of scrambling amongst a series of dark corridors and staircases, he had arrived at a vault door. Vergil pondered for a moment as two how to open it. The lock pick would be useless, as there was no visible lock. He then realised he had packed some highly explosive bombs, which were coated in a resin, which would make them stick to metal. After planting the two charges, Vergil grabbed a candle, lit the fuses, and stood a distance back to avoid being hit. He then tossed the candle away, its weak flame being extinguished by a small, unseen puddle.

"Whilst those fools above won't hear much, if anyone is inside that room, I shall have to fight them, no way around that." Vergil reassuringly told himself.

The vault door hinges exploded with a loud metal boom, breaking them instantly. The door simply fell off after all three charges went off. Inside there was about five guards in the room, after the dust from the explosion cleared, they had drawn their weapons.

"Who the hell are you!". One guard, wielding a broadsword shouted.
"The name is Vergil Crawford, master thief, and I am here to claim those inert amulets in your possession". Vergil replied with, revealing a little smile at the end of his sentence.
"Well little thief". Another guard smirked, this one wielding a large hammer. "If you want these amulets, you'll have to kill us".
"Gladly." Vergil replied bluntly, drawing his katanas, swinging them around in a stylish fashion. "Let's dance!".

Vergil proceeded to charge into the guards, and with a few slashes, had instantly killed two of the group.

"What the... Get him!" The guard with the broadsword ordered, and then they all charged at Vergil at once. He quickly rolled out of the way from the guard with the hammer strike. Vergil quickly span around and stabbed both of his katanas into the guard's back, leaving him crippled on the floor, and flowing with blood. The last two guards were more cautious, but they were put down eventually. After stopping a moment to rest, Vergil sheathed his katanas and grabbed the amulets, three from the table at the back, and five more from the guards. He then made his way back outside.


Vergil Crawford - Courtyard - Mage Hunter Base - Grim

Vergil managed to get outside, but the other guards had been waiting for him.

"I can't be dealing with this". Vergil exclaimed, so he put the bandanna over his face, and chucked three Sleeper Bombs at the group. Whilst they remained unaffected for a moment, they eventually succumbed and lay in front of him. He then proceeded to climb out of the outpost, and then head straight to the drop-off point.

She had to stop herself saying the formula, it would have just caused questions the Vessel had no interest answering.
"It's nothing special. Just a little gas, barley evens an irritant. What's more interesting is the liquid it'll eat through plate metal given time and it can be produced fairly easily.
Also you're out of spoons." There was another satisfying fizz as the metal was eaten away. The vessel quickly opened a window. Just to be safe.
"You don't have any open flames around do you?" There was barely any concern in her voice but that was almost more worrying.
"But yes I've been with the stains once or twice. They paid me to make a thing or two for them.
You heard the song of exploding lord Harris?"

imageScarlett Verneer - ???? - Grim

"Only the candles on the wall." Scarlett shrugged. "Though I can't see how they would be a threat to you." She paused walking over to the table. "Can't say I have heard of this song either, then again, when you build up my kind of reputation you don't hang around the Red Stain very often. Or even at all. What's it about?"

"About a lord who explodes. "
She's already holding her harp.
It's a pretty graphic tale, full of greed, lust and violence. Topped off by several verses devoted to the lord being torn apart by the ignition of internal gasses.
She finished on a pretty jaunty asides and a bit of satire.
"I was quite proud of that one."
Weather she meant the song, the assassination or both wasn't clear.
She took a bow.
Then taking the candle held it other the liquid she was working on. There was a high pitch pop and a brief burst of fire.
"Not a threat anymore."

The Court of Risenforth - Tower of Di - Grim.

"Noble In'fal, we welcome you to Grim. Visiting us this time of year is unusual. So what brings you here that we had to bring the whole Court together?" A man stand up around the table spoke. The court room was large and at the top level of the Tower of Di, with large windows from top to bottom so there was no walls only glass so to see the whole District and all of those around it. A sort of an all seeing eye, with the sun raining down upon it.

In'fal was an older Noble, the Fourth and one of the oldest family lines to be part of the Nobles, next to the former Ions, and the current serving Foels. He wore a black tux, and bore many tired wore out marks on his face and his hair had turned all grey, but while he was older, he could still do many of the duties that Nobles do and most of the time better. He coughed to clear his throat and then began.

"As you probably were told beforehand, the Ion family has been discarded and killed. But the boy still lives. Lorel Ion still walks among the living, with the Majl family head, Velen on his side."

Many of the court members in the stands surrounding the table began to ramble about some in disgust. One yelled out. "Why did you let him live!"

In'fal faced the direction of the person who spoke but then turned his head to face everyone as he spoke. "Our Noble One, Amelia Foel, deemed him not worthy to kill. But that's why I have come here today! Lorel Ion and Velen Majl must be killed! I need the Courts support!"
The headman didn't know what to make of this. "What if Amelia found out? And why do you go so far as to come here to Grim to gain support? What is your goal?"

"Headman Deysin, I feel you're underestimating my powers of persuasion. She will know when the time is right. She is young, she is hot headed and too busy with matters to even know of this. With the operations you know that we're working on, we can't afford to make these two a threat to all of that. I want to make sure the reign of the Nobles is secure, one-hundred percent. Even if the chance they bring us down is .002, I cannot take that risk after everything we have built up!"

Many of the courters were nodded their heads in agreement and even Deysin was in agreement. "We shall have a vote, Noble In'fal. If the court agrees then we shall help you bring these two down. Every one of the Court, we shall have a vote now! Raise your hand in favor or keep your hand down. There will be no discussion once the decision is made!" His voice echoed throughout the chamber.

Without question the majority raised their hands and the conclusion was clear. Many knew that if Upper District was brought down, then the Tower of Di if not all of Grim was in trouble.

"The Vote is in In'fal. We shall prepare people to hunt these two down," Deysin called over a man who stood in the corner. "Begin to locate them, whatever district that maybe in."

"I can shorten down that list, Deysin. They're already in Grim."

Deysin eyes widen. "What luck. Well look through the district. Find them!" And with that the man was off.

"Now onto other matters, what shall we do about the Harold Nehelem's Estate Massacre? A couple of Court members were at that party. The public knows of it already."

Another Court member at the table snarled, the Court members around the table were the top dogs of the court. "Who cares for those Elites. Sure we lost some Court members but we can replace them easily."

Uproar consumed the court room over the man's words. "Court man Ussino, I would have hoped you would keep your mouth shut. I have already begun to make plans. We shall increase the security for all Elites here and Court Members alike. In following so, we double our efforts and look for those who are responsible for this. Once more the rules of voting are the same. What be it court?"

Like before the majority voted. "Then it shall be. The court is adjourned. We have no further things to discuss for now. You will be informed next time we meet. Pray, you still live to see that day."

Everyone left the court room leaving In'fal and Deysin. "Deysin, I will provide much support. I know this massacre event will set things back, but I urge you. Put top priority on the Lorel and Velen hunt."

"I shall... We shall." He corrected himself. "We know you Nobles provide much support for us, but I feel a dark cloud is starting to loom over us. Times are going to be changing. I fear that we both may not make it through the storm. With all the blood our hands are stained with."

"We shall. Now excuse me Headman Deysin. I must return to the Nobles."

image Vergil Crawford - Marketplace - Grim

The drop-off point for the amulets was only a short distance from the outpost, it was in the popular Helios Bazaar, a shopping area where despite its design and trappings being more suited towards the elite class, it was a place were something could be found at a reasonable price for many people who lived in the Middle Section. The person who Vergil had to deliever these too, was a blacksmith by the name of Samuel Thompson, a somewhat respectable man of the area, his works they say are of a exceptional quality.

Vergil located the correct shop and approached the man.

"Excuse me." Vergil said, catching Samuel's attention.
"Yeah?" He replied in a gruff tone.
"I hear you have an interest in magical amulets". Vergil told Samuel, placing emphasis on the word interest.
"What's it to you."
"Well, I just happen to have some, some that the Red Stain are dying to get their hands on." Samuel soon catched on to what Vergil was saying.
"You must be that thief that Silas told me about, let me seem them first."
"Certainly". Vergil replied with, handing over the pouch of amulets. Samuel then took a moment to study them, he then gave Vergil his response.
"Mighty fine pieces they are, and you got a good selection, some active, and some that can be more easily changed. I'll take 8,000 Kiel for the lot.
"Deal." Vergil exclaimed, as he recievied a modest pouch of Kiel.
"Thank you for your business Samuel replied "I'll make sure that the Stain get these." he carried on to say in a more pleasant tone.

"With that little job done, I'll head back to the safehouse". Vergil spoke to himself as he made his way back.

imageScarlett Verneer - ???? - Grim

Scarlett clapped as the Vessel finished her song and bowed to the room. "Now, if you excuse me I'm going to get some sleep. Do me a favour and try not to burn the house down." Scarlett nodded at the chemistry equipment on the table. "And take care of any guests." Walking up stairs Scarlett locked her bedroom door, all five bolts, and collapsed onto the bed falling fast asleep.

Vincent - Tabulath - Greycobble Fountain

Vincent sat in the silence of the abandoned building, the sun had finally set, bringing with it the darkness and the cold air that swept in through the windows of the building. The wind chilled Vincent, to which Vincent simply drew his cloak closer around his body. He sat in a chair, set up in a position from which he could see the street below and see if anyone was entering the plaza. The only other people he had seen during the day had been travelers and street urchins that wished for shelter from the cold stone streets.


It was morning before Vincent saw any signs of life, and he was alert the minute he heard approaching hoof-beats. Vincent checked quickly out the window to see who it was, and was relieved to see it was only Lucian finally arriving from his detour.

"Lucian, hurry up and get into your place. We probably don't have much more time until he gets here!" Vincent shouted out, ducking back into the building to make sure all of his equipment was ready.

Thin streaks of orange light pierced the veil of the morning clouds, striking the cracked cobblestone road that twisted and shifted along the streets of Tabulath; morning had come, and time was drawing near. As Lucian drew closer to that red, hastily drawn 'X' scrawled on the map, the the street began to grow, open, morphing into grey washed courtyard. At the centre, charming the gaze of all that would pass this way, was a dead monument that reached for the sky, it's beautiful display of aquatic propulsion coming to a halt many years ago, the Greycobble Fountain. Lucian' golden snake eyes scanned the decrepit foyer in search of a the black buckled man that had accompanied him on this journey from the capital of Ferela. However, it would be his ears that lead Grey to his companion.

Deep within the chambers of an abandoned building echoed a familiar voice, Vincent. He was positioned on the second floor of a run-down house that been deserted when the clothing district moved further south, a perfect vantage point to attack from a distance and an easy leap for a Mage Hunter of his calibre.

"Lucian, hurry up and get into your place. We probably don't have much more time until he gets here!"

Lucian pulled hard on the reins of his silver steed and directed Gilbert to a obscure stable just at the corner of the entrance, despite the rotting wood that held the stall doors flimsily together, the support pillars appeared to be perfectly stable, besides; Lucian had no doubt that the horse needed no confinements of a gate to remain loyal.

"I'm In position. Be on the lookout for a carriage of-" Lucian's shouts came to an abrupt halt as he felt the faint vibrations of an approaching coach radiant up his spine...

Just on time

Vincent - Tabulath - Greycobble Fountain

The sounds of a carriage rattling through the streets drew closer by the second as Vincent drew back a bolt in his crossbow and Lucian readied himself in the broken down stable. Vincent didn't even have time to make sure he was prepared before a carriage came clattering into the plaza, the horse whingeing in protest as the carriages driver whipped it's flank to increase the carriage speed. The windows were covered by drawn curtains, and the driver's face couldn't be seen behind the cloak he wore. The carriage maneuvered carefully around the run-down fountain in the center of the plaza, and only began picking up speed when there was a straight path again. That's when Vincent struck.

Vincent fired off his crossbow, a bolt landing neatly in the back of the horses neck, causing the horse to fall to the ground, and the carriage to lose control. The driver was thrown from his seat, sliding a few feet before coming to a stop just below the window Vincent had fired from. The carriage itself smashed into another building, the front part of the carriage and the driver's seat smashed apart on impact.

Vincent dropped down from his window, landing with a roll and loading another bolt into his crossbow.

"Come out, come out, and play." Vincent said maniacally, keeping his eye trained on the door to the carriage which was slowly opening.

A pulse from Vincent's amulet warned him that the Mage inside was very much conscious and ready to retaliate.

Lucian watched with great amusement as the a single bolt of blackened steel flew swiftly through the morning air and sunk into the chestnut coat of the large and powerful stallion. The scene only made more beautiful as the carriage toppled over the twitching corpse of the felled beast leading it to crash into a broken down building of slate bricks. While Lucian was enjoying the spectacle of carnage before him, he couldn't help but feel a little disappointed. The fight was practically over and he hadn't even the chance to spill some blood. Lucian casually sauntered towards the wreckage of Vincent's attack, hoping to get a better look at just what the hell was going on. He noticed his companion had already leapt from the second story of the building and approaching the carriage with his weapon drawn.

Oh? Good, we're not done yet. Lucian's train of thought was interrupted by a series of disjointed, painful gasps that came from behind the fountain. With his interest piqued, Lucian decided to forego the troubles of the mage and explore this new curiosity. He circled the monument at the centre of the courtyard in pursuit of the wheezing and shuffling sounds , only to be greeted by the mangled body of the driver, barely hanging onto life. The driver's clothes were bloody, his leg crumpled at a foul angle and an arm left limp and lifeless.

"Pl- Please... D-don't kill m-m-m...." The strangers words were cut short as Lucian's foot came crashing down on his neck.

"I'm terribly sorry, but I didn't quite catch what you were saying?" Lucian chimed cheerily as the muffled cries of pain croaked from the back of the dying man's throat, his eyes bulging from the sockets with bright red veins pulsating beneath the surface. A smile crept along Lucian's face as a loud crack resonated from beneath Lucian's foot; the foreign man's body went completely still and a single trickle of blood dripped from the left nostril.

"Well, I guess that's the end of tha-" Lucian put a premature end to his sadistic gloating and turned to face the source of discourse. The carriage was no more; nothing but raining pieces of burnt wood with a tower of flames in it's wake. Rolling along the cold stone ground at a surprising speed was a man clad in black and buckles, Vincent. As Lucian approached his companion all he could hear was the haunting flicker of flames the grumbling curses of a very pissed off Mage Hunter.

image Lorel Ion - Grim

Velen and Lorel left the Tower area and began to head down the streets, were many people walked up and down, buying and selling goods. But it was more civilized, people's goods were displayed through windows and some use of Magic to make things pop out, like words saying the stores name. Lorel's stomach began to growl as did Velen's.

They hadn't eaten anything in many hours. As they turned the corner of the street, they saw a Tavern where you could eat outside so they headed over to the Tavern and sat down at one of the tables. The menu was simple, steak, fruits, chicken, and some various other foods. But they went for the simple steak.

Vincent - Tabulath - Greycobble Fountain

Vincent finally rolled to a stop, his body aching. Vincent managed to push himself up off the ground, with no help from his left arm which appeared to be broken or at least dislocated. Vincent felt something wet and warm trickling down from one of his nostrils, which he wiped away to discover that it was blood. Footsteps beside him alerted Vincent to another person, Lucian.

"I'm fine, that bastard went and blew up the whole damn carriage. I'm lucky I had enough sense to stay back, otherwise I probably would have been blown sky high." Vincent said, grabbing his sword off the ground and advancing towards the pillar of flames.

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