EXPANSE: The City V3 (Fantasy Epic) - Main Thread

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ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 21st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Academy - Arena (Concourse) - 8:10 PM

"Good to know he's doing well though, it's getting late and I think we have to start heading to our hotel. It was nice to meet you though." Marco said as he turned to the gentleman next to him. "Come Kain, we have to go." Waving goodbye to both Aleister and Sebastian, Marco and Kain left the arena, heading towards a procession of carriages that were waiting outside.

"Have a safe journey you two, and may we meet under less crowded circumstances." Aleister said in a friendly manner. He waited for them to be out of earshot, before turning to Sebastian.

"An interesting pair wouldn't you agree? Though there is something about them which fills me with concern. When we return to the house, I want you to commission some of our agents stationed here to go on a little information gathering assignment, find out what we can about these two. Have the file penned the title of 'Kain and Marco'." Aleister said with a commanding presence, slipping back for a moment into his true role as a Director of S.I.N.

"Of course sir, that shall be my first duty upon our return. May I also make the recommendation that we send a copy of the completed file to our Northern Archives back home; our agents there may be able to find more information for us."

"That my dear Sebastian is a very wise idea. Anyway, let us be off, we don't want to be standing around the rain all evening." Aleister said, putting up his umbrella, and then the pair of them walked off to retire for the night.

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Crawford Residence - 9:55 AM

The rays of early morning sunlight pierced the gloom that was Aleister's bedroom, still shrouded in darkness amidst the curtains. Aleister was busy getting himself dressed when Sebastian came into the room, placed a tray with breakfast and the morning paper on a table beside his master; then proceeded to pull back the curtains to let in more sunlight.

"Good morning sir, I trust you slept well?"

"Indeed, a most refreshing slumber. Yourself?"

"You forget sir, being that I am a familiar born from magic, I am not bound by the normal human requirements such as rest. But since you asked, I had a peaceful respite. Been spending the last couple of hours tending to the duties of the other servants." As Sebastian talked, Aleister was busy eating the breakfast that was prepared before him, when he happened to look over the newspaper, and nearly spat out the juice when he saw the headline.

Attack On Ion Estate! Family Murdered! No Sign Of Lorel Ion!

"Sebastian, please tell me that this is not true." Aleister said, still in shock over what he just read.

"I am afraid so sir. Appears that the House of Ion, has been destroyed. However, one of our agents happened upon something last night whilst travelling through the area. A group of unknown individuals hauling something or someone away from the estate. They tried to track them, but without any distinguishing marks sir, they soon became lost."

"Right." Aleister said, regaining his composure. "We shall travel to the Ion estate, see if we can make heads or tails of this situation." He then added. The pair of them soon got ready, and headed out of the house.

SVETLANA POLZIN

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Volsta - Foelview Hotel - 10:30 AM

A new day dawned and the old woman rose up with a groan and placed her feet onto the thick wooden floorboards. They hadn't lied about this place. The log cabin theme worked well. Comfy beds, warm rugs... It was almost nostalgic. Only the sound of boats and children playing by the water reminded her that this was one of her previous homes. Still, she liked the place. It was quiet here, peaceful. Far from the chaos of the Lower Districts. Though, Svetlana did admit to herself that she was forged in that fire and if she had grown up in a different home, she would probably have ended up as some housewife. Fully dressed, she grinned as she descended downstairs for breakfast. Sure she should be eating more healthy in her old age, but she did like bacon. Svetlana then sighed when she reminded that the appointment was a few hours away and he would probably expect more gold to be throw after him. Soon enough, she would be throwing good money after bad. Well, at least she could afford a good hotel and a good breakfast for now.

SCARLETT WINTER

April 22nd, 6267

She could feel the warmth of the sunlight on her face. The cool kiss of the morning air that drifted through the open window. The night seemed like a bad memory, terrible and distant. Scarlett smiled in her sleep as she turned over in the bed, groaning a little from the pain flaring across her body. The Mage girl had woken early - sleeping in the adjacent bed - and pulled back the thin, laced curtain to reveal the grandeur of the morning. The district basking in the sunlight. She had also woken Scarlett, who moaned, surprised the Mage was awake for all the screaming she had done the past night.

The smile receded on her lips as the memory returned. With the look of surprise on the young girls face, at the time, Scarlett guessed she had never seen a healing scar return. The damage done from a cursed knife. Flesh cutting open slowly, as if by some invisible blade, to reappear on her skin. It might have been tolerable with only one or two, but Scarlett had hundreds, covering her body from the neck down. She had screamed her lungs out, writhing in agony through the long hours of the night. Soaking her sheets in blood as the faded scars slowly returned. The Mage had stayed by her side, confused, holding her hand and whispering kind words to get her through the pain. Scarlett had been grateful for that, though she did wonder what the others in the building thought.

She was about to swing out of bed, before realising that she was undressed. Weapons and clothes hanging on the bedside chair. Instead she propped her head up on her hand and offered a weak smile, watching the Mage gaze out of the window.

"Thank you. For trying. At least." It was all she could think of right now. Someday she would meet someone who could remove them.

Fran had had more than a few nights she'd not like to repeat but that last one she didn't think she could even if she'd needed to. That was more blood than she'd seen in one place or person in ages. The screaming you learnt to phase out after a while but it helped when your efforts accomplished something.

Then there was the weird collapse, like a hypnic jerk any energy she gained from helping the girl had decayed as the scars came back.

The night had been long as it had been sleepless, it looks like the girl was up again, that and the sun sneaking in through the window must mean it was over.

It was strange, Fran had half a mind to be sick and a younger her would have done so without question but this whole situation. The magical injuries that wouldn't stay healed, the mystery woman from her homeland.
It was all so...

Fascinating.

Her mind racing with theories and ideas and questions, she'd have to stick around, though ear plugs would be necessary.
She felt like she needed to say something, though what there was she could constructively contribute was debatable. So lacking something intelligent to say she fell back on her medical instincts.

"Don't give up yet, I've learnt so much already." Which was true, she'd been frantically taking notes all night, weird how the stress improved her hand writing.

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:45 AM

"War?" Marcus was surprised at the sudden shift in tone. Though, he probably shouldn't have been, given the Baron's usual taste for dramatics. "I know of it, history was always one of my favorite subjects, and of course the City Wars were always the more interesting topics of discussion."

Gerald nodded, taking his cup back up for another sip. "Then, you must be practiced in seeing wars coming, the patterns of conflict."

Marcus raised an eyebrow, wondering when the Baron would get to the point. "Hindsight is twenty-twenty, though I guess history can repeat itself."

Gerald sighed as he reached towards the center of the table for a scone. "The buildup of arms, it's a prelude to all major conflict. There always is a point where tensions are so high that both sides realize they need to prepare for the inevitable."

Marcus nodded, finally seeing what the pompous dwarf was getting at. "The contracts..."

"Exactly..." Gerald took another bite, "savoring" the taste before continuing. "...arms contracts, all of them. From the slums of the Middle Section to the obvious middlemen of the Upper District, weapons are being sold at a premium." Gerald waved a hand at the Ion Estate-turned crime scene. "This is simple proof that the factions have begun the final act, a new City War will start soon."

"A City War?!" Marcus had to restrain himself from standing and knocking over the table. "Are you serious?!" The man could remember his days under the many tutors he learned from. All of them spoke of the City Wars as such gruesome affairs, Marcus could never understand how anyone would be stupid enough to start one. A simple nod from Gerald simply added fuel to the fire. "And we're helping start another one!?"

The Baron, for all his credit, remained calm in the face of such aggression. "We're traders, Marcus. Ours is not to question the reasons our buyers requests items from us, only to supply them and receive payment. Our impartiality has always been the source of discontent, but would anyone really be better off if we stood by some agenda, beyond accelerating profit? I'm not deluded, boy, our existence is both a blessing an a curse upon the City."

Verbally parried, Marcus sulked back in his chair, breathing deeply as he thought about how to respond.

LOREL ION

"Amelia what are you-," he tried to speak just as the sound of her elbows hit the table and she clapped her hands
together stopped him.

"How long did you know?" She simply spoke.

Lorel was taken back, "What? Known what?"

"Stop bullshitting me and tell me!" Her accent was hardly suppressed now.

"How about you tell me why my parents are dead!"

She leaned back in her chair, 'Do you really not know?"

"Know what?"

She stood up from her chair, "That your parents were aiding the Steel Hearts, those terrorist that threaten all of us!?"

"No, that is a lie- no! Why are you telling me such lies!"

Amelia slammed her hand on the table as she got close to him, "Stop acting innocent and tell me- what were their plans? You may claim you don't know but I bet they trained you to act like this, yes- it's the only explanation."

He voice was loud and full of anger, "My parents were Nobles! Lineage of one of the founding members! They would never aid Steel Hearts!"

"But they did! We have evidence!" She pulled out what appeared to be a folder with paper flowing from the sides, she opened it and placed a paper on the table, "6260, a spy was found in Upper District, somehow a Steel Hearts operative got through the gates and when we interrogated him, he fessed up and stated that he had gained help from an anonymous "Elite"-class citizen."

She threw another paper on the table, "July 4th, 6261, upon raiding a Steel Hearts base in the Northern Middle District we found gear, armor, swords, all of that, and all of it Upper District authorized gear."

Another paper, "January 25th, 6262, we sent an envoy to Grim on official business, despite keeping his location under wraps, Steel Heart managed to find his secret location and kill him."

"August 3rd, 6262, we kidnapped a known Steel Hearts member in Middle District and extracted information, like the first spy, an unknown "Elite"-class citizen from Upper District gave them the information."

She continued on and on until the table was practically towering with papers, "And lastly, January 5th of this year, we intercepted a courier who had left the Ion estate, it was tough, it was in the night and they moved swiftly and hid in well found spots. But we found him and found the letter was meant for the Steel Hearts and it was more Intel."

Lorel was just shocked at the evidence against his family stacked up, "We stayed silent about this so your parents had no time to react. We made sure to cut them off from any more intelligence drops."

"This can't be true..." Lorel spoke solemnly.

"Oh but it is. Your family was Nobles- but traitors!"

She sat back down, "and so that leaves us with you. What do we do with you? Son of Traitors?"

SCARLETT WINTER

April 22nd, 6267

Scarlett laughed, pushing back her falling hair, frustration etched into her face. Her eyes fell down to the scars marking her arms, reaching down to brush them with her fingers.

"Easy for you to say. Hurts like hell everytime they come back, worse than childbi..."

She fell silent.

"Worse than that? Ouch." Clearly she didn't have a clue what she was talking about having no experience of either but at least she tried sympathy.

She turned back to the window, "there looks like a nice place to eat." She pointed at a tavern she could see no more than a few streets away. The dense building would be hard to negotiate at street level but that wasn't how Fran travelled.
She walked out onto the roof of a smaller section of the tavern. She'd washed and dressed before her friend woke up, preferring to do so as soon as possible considering the night the two had had.
Her golden hair billowed behind her ignited by the rising sun as she strode from roof to roof, she was no free runner but was the surest footed, architecture this far south was child's play.

She turned back, to her companion.

"Try to keep up." The city was still waking, the sounds of dawn drifted up to her, she didn't attract attention from up here, and it was another plus.

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:45 AM

Aleister and Sebastian arrived at the front of what was once the Ion estate some twenty minutes ago, and found that there were City Guard surrounding the serene and peaceful home, along with townsfolk surrounding the entrance, it made getting inside difficult, nay almost impossible.

They attempted to gain access, but the chief guard declared that under the orders of Lady Foel, no one was allowed to enter; this raised some suspicion, but there wasn't much they could do about it for the moment; so they retired to an upmarket cafe that would offer them a bird's eye view of the estate.

"Curses!" Aleister said in disgust as he looked down on the streets below.

"With all this security, we can't even get within five feet of the front door. Also, the Academy will think I'm running late."

"No need to panic sir, when I saw the morning paper, I realized that you would want to investigate this particular mystery, so I had a courier deliver a letter to the Academy saying that a personal affair involving family had come up at the last minute; so you wouldn't be able to hold classes today."

"Thank you Sebastian." Aleister said with a smile. "Glad to know you have my back covered."

"If I couldn't do this much at LEAST, well then what kind of a butler would I be to my master." Sebastian remarked with a subtle smirk and a low little chuckle, almost a little demonic sounding.

"You'd still be a damn good butler, just not as good as your are now. At least that is one problem sorted."

"By the way master, did Hongi and Kina ever tell you anything of their plans when you were last there?" Sebastian asked quietly, whilst gesturing towards the estate below.

"Not much I'm afraid. All I can remember them saying was that 'it would benefit everyone of every class'. I elected to remain out of their affairs, in case something like this were to happen."

Sebastian huffed, not in a manner that would show anger, more sadness than anything else.

"I see, in that case whatever they were doing has gone up in smoke."

"Don't discredit them yet, Lorel's parents were smart people; they would of made plans for this. Question is, where do we look?"

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:50 AM

As Marcus collected his thoughts, he looked out to the grounds below the balcony where he and the Baron sat, and saw a familiar face. "Is that...Aleister?"

"What did you say, boy?" Gerald had been sipping his tea and hadn't heard Marcus mutter whom he had saw.

"Oh, nothing. I shall take what you have said to heart, Baron Gerald. In fact, I think I might just go back home and let this all blow over." Standing from the table, Marcus gave a courteous bow to the Baron and left.

After getting down a few flights of stairs, Marcus reached Aleister's table on a lower floor. Taking a breath to collect himself, Marcus presented himself to Aleister. "Hello again, Aleister. I guess you're here for the same reason as me?" Marcus took it upon himself to take an empty seat at the table.

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:50 AM

"Hello again, Aleister. I guess you're here for the same reason as me?" Someone asked, Aleister turning around saw that it was Marcus, who had invited himself to the table, taking the seat opposite Sebastian.

"Ah, good morning Marcus, didn't expect to see you here. And yes, I take it your here about the attack on the Ion Estate as well; tis a shame what happened, this incident was unjust and uncalled for, may they find peace in their slumber. It puzzles me why such an attack occurred. So, what manner of business did you have with Ion family then?"

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:50 AM

"Trade, the Ion Family maintained a contract that, from what I can tell, allowed water rations to be delivered to the poorer districts." Marcus grimaced as he thought about who would sell water now, not many had a claim on enough to actually trade it as a commodity.

After clearing his throat to mask his distaste, Marcus continued. "I saw you with Lorel Ion during the tournament, I assume you were good friends, then? Shameful thing for something like this to happen to someone so young."

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:50 AM

"Ah, quite the noble act of charity then. I tell you, out of all the families that rule here in the Middle, the Ion Family is, or rather was the one I respected the most; since they were really the only family that did good for those less fortunate than themselves. All the other families I find to be rather self-centered, only caring for their own interests." Aleister said with a hint of sadness in his voice. He then went quite to compose himself before continuing.

"And yes, I was very good friends with the Ion Family, had been for several years after I aided Lorel in dispelling a fight he was involved in back at the Academy some four or five years ago if I recall. Though, according to what I've read in the newspaper on the way here, is that there have been no confirmed reports as to Lorel's whereabouts; as he was never found at the estate. They think he has either escaped into hiding, or has been kidnapped by those who attacked. I dread to think what would happen if it was the latter."

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:51 AM

Marcus blinked when he heard it was apparently common knowledge that Lorel's whereabouts had yet to be confirmed. A useful tidbit Gerald seemed to miss, or maybe he thought I already knew. "Oh, I must admit, I didn't read the paper this morning." Marcus sighed, turning his head to look back at the Ion Estate. "I remember seeing the boy last night, our paths taking us in the same direc-...."

Marcus paused as he remembered what happened when he followed Lorel home, wanting to weasel his way into his father's house. Then, he remembered what happened before he broke off pursuit, the red-haired girl in the kimono. "That woman!"

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:50 AM

"I remember seeing the boy last night, our paths taking us in the same direc-...." Marcus said, then suddenly he stopped dead mid-sentence, his eyes still, as if a revelation came to him. "That woman!" Aleister had a look of confusion on his face, not knowing who Marcus was talking about; seemed as good as any to find out.

"What woman? Listen to me Marcus, I want you to tell me every single detail you can remember about that woman, whether it be how she looked to how she acted; this lady might prove vital into discovering what happened to Lorel." Aleister asked in a demanding, but considerate tone.

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:51 AM

"She had long, red hair, and a kimono that looked like it came from North Lian." Marcus closed his eyes as he tried to picture the woman in his mind, but he was having difficulty. "I think she had red eyes...but I'm not sure. It was dark, and I was a good distance behind them both when she appeared."

SCARLETT WINTER

April 22nd, 6267

Sunlight streaming through the window illuminated the girl with an angelic glow. Just the mention of food was enough to send Scarlett's stomach rumbling, she couldn't even remember the last time she had eaten. The girl turned and strode, with confidence, out of the window. She seemed unfazed and Scarlett took a guess that she might have done this once before.

"Try to keep up."

Scarlett grinned, snatching up her clothes and changed in a hurry, almost forgetting her knives. Sliding the blades into their concealed locations, Scarlett charged out of the window and onto the short, tiled roof. Some tiles cracked under her weight but she moved quickly and chased the young mage.

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:51 AM

"She had long, red hair, and a kimono that looked like it came from North Lian... It was dark, and I was a good distance behind them both when she appeared." Marcus said as he had his eyes closed trying desperately to remember every detail about this mysterious girl.

"Fascinating, there can't be many women who are wearing a kimono around these parts; which might make it easier to track her down, or some people might not have a clue what we are talking about. Have you got this all written down Sebastian?"

"Of course sir, I have been taking dictation since Marcus was talking." Sebastian said as he was busy writing down notes in a black notebook he always carried with him; it had proven useful many times when both he and Aleister went investigating. Whilst this was going on, Aleister was distracted by the faint sight of some figures off in the distance, coming ever so steadily towards them across the rooftops.

"Can anyone else see that?" Aleister asked, pointing out the strange individuals.

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:51 AM

Marcus followed Aleister's gaze and saw the approaching figures. Squinting to get a better look, Marcus was at a loss. "Uh...I think it's safe to say that people strolling on the rooftops are usually up to no good."

YIAS LOVE

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - 10:51 AM

Yias stood in an alley and next to her a man in his early thirties, short brown hair and tan skin, one blue eye and the other covered with an eye patch. Also wearing heavy armor and an almost turtle neck, at his waist two swords.
"Have you located him yet Velen?" She asked the man.

Velen nodded, "I am almost certain where he is."

Yias smiled at that, "So my suspicion was correct, Amelia wouldn't have him killed."

"No doubt she will attempt to get information from him despite how futile it will be."

Yias almost leaned against the wall but then remembered the outfit she was wearing, it wasn't a kimono like last night but a black Cheongsam which gave her a bit better movement, her hair was also now bundled up. It wouldn't be wise to put her back against a dirty wall.

She turned to go out of the alley, "I will go and check out the estate, you continue to keep tabs on him. We can't do much until Amelia makes her first move."

Velen nodded, "Keep safe."

"You too."

They both left the alley from the different sides. She made her way to the Ion Estate, to which no surprise that there were guards outside and all over the estate and much murmuring of the citizens who pass by and stand about.

Everything was going as they had planned, as bad as that sounded, even the Ion family knew this was going to happen. She and Velen, being just two of the very few allies in this district wouldn't have been enough. In the Steel Hearts community, the Ion family became a martyr. It was the only way to push their cause further...

Worst of all, it was the Ion family who suggested it even though there were people like Kron who wished to prevent it...

Kain Whitestroke and Marco Peloski-Middle Section-Upper District-Knight's Inn

Kain was very rudely awaken by Marco at about 9:40 in the morning after the night in the Arena. "Get up! Take a look at this!" Marco practically shoved the morning newspaper into his face. Attack On Ion Estate! Family Murdered! No Sign Of Lorel Ion! "Get dressed now and meet me down at the carriage, it'll take a bit to get there so hurry!" Marco barked.

10:40 AM

"No one's allowed inside sir, Miss Foel's orders." The guard had informed them almost the second they took two steps toward the front gate.

Marco raised a suspicious eye brow at this comment, "What? Not even investigators to find out who did this? You think this would require the assistance of anyone who steps up." The guard still refused and the two found themselves standing a good distance from the gate but with a good view of the house. K

ain was keeping an incredibly sharp eye out for anything important. "So thoughts Marco?" Kain asked, "It must have taken experts to brazenly walk up to the house and just murder the whole Ion family."

Marco nodded, "It was Amelia I think, it's the only angle I think of that works."

He whispered, "A while ago there was a worry that Steel Hearts had inside help from within the Upper District government after some envoy to Grim was killed. This must have been about five years ago. I was only briefed a small bit on need to know information. We tracked a Steel Hearts spy down and he confessed to having help from an Elite Class citizen, I informed them about the information and I just assumed they had tracked the citizen down and had them killed quietly but this makes me wonder."

He continued, "I could easily be wrong, but a slaughter of this magnitude, so deep in the heart of the City? An elite squad did this, No doubt about it. Of course I could easily be wrong and the Ions did something else entirely, but the Ions are nice people and I could easily see them helping the Steel Heats."

Kain felt he had to offer up other scapegoats, "What if the Steel Hearts themselves did this? Or Red Stain?"

Marco shook his head, "I spent some time in the Steel Hearts during my youth, it's not their style and if it was them the investigation would be a little more open. I can't see a Red Stain member taking on a job of this magnitude and performing it this well but I'm open to that. Right now the best theory is it being a hit squad."

"Could we have someone look for Lorel?" Kain asked.

"Doubtful," Marco stated, "Too much time has past but if my theory is right and it is Upper...Where could they take Lorel to that is both close by and a good hiding place."

Marco looked as though he had several ideas and sat in quiet for a few more minutes while Kain took notice of activity far away on the roofs.

"No ideas sir?" He questioned but Marco actually shook his head, "No, I got ideas but it's risky to go to any of them, I want to be absolutely sure and if I'm wrong on the Foel theory, I could be executed for going to any of these places."

Kain decided now would be a good opportunity, "Sir, what about that over there on the roof.?"

Marco glanced up. He seemed interested and told Kain to keep watching while he continued to throw around theories, but it was looking like there was nothing more to do with the information he had. The information being almost non-existent and based off a while hunch.

MARCUS TARSEN

April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:55 AM

Marcus, pondering the intentions of the pair running along the rooftops, let his eyes drift back down to the streets. Blankly staring, something caught his eye. A dot of red moving through the crowd, bundled up behind someone's head, it looked...familiar.

Marcus stood up and walked to the edge of the balcony to get a better look, and, with a passing glance over the woman's shoulder, he caught a glimpse of her face. "It's her!" Marcus stepped back an waved Aleister over to see, pointing at the girl in the crowd. "There's her, down there, the woman I saw!"

ALEISTER CRAWFORD

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 10:55 AM

"Uh...I think it's safe to say that people strolling on the rooftops are usually up to no good." Marcus said with a slight inflection of confusion in his voice. He then stood up from his chair and headed over to the balcony, taking a look at the business down below.

"Either that Marcus, or they are simply wanting to avoid the foot traffic down below, can't say I wouldn't blame them for at least trying." Aleister remarked with a nonchalant gesture before leaning back in this chair to try and think of a way to find the girl. But it seemed that luck was on their side.

"It's her!" Marcus called out, waving Aleister over to look over the balcony, pointing to a girl in the crowd. "There's her, down there, the woman I saw!" Aleister soon joined the excited merchant at the balcony, and followed his gaze towards one red haired woman in particular. She was wearing a dress of a similar fashion to the kimono that Marcus described, and her hair was neatly tied together.

"Well isn't that a stroke of luck everyone. At the moment, she is our only lead towards finding Lorel. Tricky part will be attracting her attention, given the crowd. Any suggestions?"

Telnor Ghest
April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Lakeside Inn 8:00 AM

Telnor rolled out of bed and fell flat on his face. Groaning he picked himself up, rubbing his sore head. He had far too much to drink the night before and his head was hurting more from the hangover than anything else. Telnor tried to stand up but the entire room was spinning and he fell back down on his butt. Telnor waited a few minutes before he tried to stand up again. This time successful, he gathered his stuff and made his way downstairs, slowly.

Once on the main floor he threw himself into the nearest chair and ordered himself a large plate of eggs, toast and his own personal pot of coffee. After he finished devouring his breakfast, not without a few looks of disgust from the other patrons, he threw a couple of coins on the table, leaving a generous tip and left the Lakeside Inn. There was a lot of commotion outside but Telnor ignored most of it, as people raced back and forth and around in circles.

It wasn't until a lose newspaper attacked Telnor that he knew what was happening. The offending newspaper had come flying out of nowhere and slapped Telnor in face. Grabbing the page by both hands, Telnor tried to pull it off but it refused to come off and Telnor ended up tripping over his feet and falling down on his behind once again. Finally he managed to separate the paper from his face. Curious to what it said Telnor took a look the largest headline

The Towers topple against The Ants in 250-6 loss

With little interest in sports Telnor tossed the paper aside as someone ran by yelling about an attack at the Ion's estate. Curious Telnor picked himself up and struggled against the crowds that were making their way to also see what had happened. Forcing himself to the front, he got himself a face of guard pushing him back into the crowd. Dejected, Telnor made his way back to the back of the crowd only to spot a beautiful woman in a Cheongsam with amazing red hair, staring at the estate. Smiling to himself, Telnor slicked back his hair and strolled over to her.

"Shame isn't it? To bad the guards won't let us in. Say. How about you and I try to break in to see what happened?"

YIAS LOVE

Yias turned to the man that had walked up to her, "My if that was a pick up line- I have heard much better. Anyway I see no point to sneaking in, I have no doubts the Nobles will make an announcement about this today. It's only a matter of time."

"And you'll trust it? Bah. Its bound to be some crockpot lie. All the nobles ever do is lie to us esser folks. Besides I'm willing to beat the Steel Hearts would pay good money for information about what really happened. If they weren't the ones behind this attack."

YIAS LOVE

She scoffed at the man, "As if I would believe the Nobles, however this- I wouldn't be surprised if they don't lie about it. Surely would garner more support for their cause... It's not just the Nobles who lie to you I can tell you that and the Steel Hearts will pay nothing for this."

LOREL ION

"You can't kill me for what my parents did! I have nothing to do with this! You must believe me!"
Amelia sat with her legs crossed, "I don't know, can I believe you?"

"Amelia..."

"We're still in the fallout of this situation, we have no idea just how much your parents leaked to their rebel friends. This could lead to the death of everyone here, all of your friends dead at the hands of rebels who think they know better. As if they know how to rule an entire section..."

Lorel just looked down, "Just please don't kill me."

"That will be yet to seen..." She spoke and stood up, "In the meantime, I think it's about time I make an official announcement." Amelia walked past Lorel and left the room leaving him in the dark with his head down.

"Really? Shame. Well if you aren't game for breaking in hows about we go get something to drink at that nearby cafe? Whats your poison? Coffee or Tea?"

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 11.00 AM
The sky line was always the best way to travel, even when the buildings were so bland. Travel was fast which was important when stopping too long would draw attention from the guards. The café is soon upon them, looks like a pretty neat place though not great. Fran quickly climbs down, landing with a jolt but nothing that bothered her, her decent was attracting some attention, but she seemed oblivious or ambivalent to the fact striding quickly over to the counter, and searching through her pockets, damn, she'd not got any local money on her. Then again, she was a dry blonde at a bar, evolution had made sure she never needed to pay for her own drinks; it was only a matter of time. She waited patiently.

Scarlett Winter

April 22nd, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District - Upper Crust Cafe - 11.00 AM

Something shifted beneath her feet and Scarlett found herself losing balance. Arms outstretched she managed to correct her balance at the expense of beating the mage to the cafe. Scarlett caught the sight of people watching them from below, not that it mattered, before jumping back down to street level and walking into the cafe.

She found the young mage waiting at the counter. She could only guess that she lacked the funds to actually buy anything. A voice caught her by suprise but the man moved through the cafe to the exit and she never did get the chance to see who it was or hear what was said. She smiled and turned back around, her mood drowned out suspicion, and for the first time in a long time Scarlett was feeling great. Then again anything was better than blinding pain of the scars.

"I'll have some Ferela tea, spiced." Scarlett annouced.

YIAS LOVE

"I am not much of a fan of either, but if you're willing to pay then who am I to refuse free drinks?" she stated to man and then gestured for him to lead the way.

Telnor Ghest
April 22st, 6267 - Middle Section - Upper District- Upper Crust - 11:00 AM

"I am not much of a fan of either, but if you're willing to pay then who am I to refuse free drinks?" she stated to man and then gestured for him to lead the way.

Telnor smiled at the girl,

"The name it Telnor. Yours is?" Telnor asked as he led the way to the Upper Crust and to the bar, where he spotted two more women, up against the bar. Deciding his odds were good even if he struck out with this woman.

"One Lian Tea and whatever the lady wants," Telnor said as he walked up to the bar.

YIAS LOVE

"Yias, it is nice to meet you Telnor," she responded as they walked up to the café, as he ordered the Lian Tea she also ordered, "I will have the same."

After receiving their tea Yias asked the question, "So Telnor, what brings you to Upper District?"

Telnor Ghests

"Well, I was doing some guard duty for one of those rich mages over at the academy but I quit. It was just too boring. We just sat around all day doing nothing. Not only that but he used us as his personal butlers. Not to mention he forced us to watch those boring mage tournaments. I got tired of it so I quit. Sure it was good money but there was just too much garbage going on there for me to stay. How about yourself?," their drinks arrived, Telnor gave the necessary kiel and lead to way to a free table out on the balcony, "What brings you to the Upper District?"

YIAS LOVE

She listened to Telnor tell her about his job, so for all intent and purpose he appeared to be some sort of mercenary, "I am here on... business. Afraid I can't speak much more about that."

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