7th Sea: the Fragments of Theus (Game Thread - Closed, Started)

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"Esposito? Would you happen to be related at all to a former Merchant Prince by the name of Antonio Esposito?

The question puzzled Erasmo, what was so important about this former Merchant Prince? Personally, the man had never heard of a 'Antonio Esposito'. His face betrayed his puzzlement and curiosity, 'There is a story behind this, of that much I can be sure, but the witch simply drawing my attention away from the injured man?' He had be careful, Erasmo could be sure of that as well. He began to pick up the pace, after all, that could just be explained away as a means of getting the patient to the shelter as quickly as possible. There wasn't long until he would arrive in the centre of the city - where the Francescans made their home. Still, if he shared his story, perhaps Beatrice would share her own, and how she was connection to Antonio Esposito.

He craned his head back to her again, "I do not think so, Signorina Fausti. I am a son of a farmer, a simple peasant. Why?"

~Beatrice~

She had to admit, his reaction to her question was both amusing, thanks to the expression on his face, but exasperating thanks to the fact that there was some clear suspicion. It took him awhile to finally reply, and he had picked up his pace before he spoke.

"I do not think so, Signorina Fausti. I am a son of a farmer, a simple peasant. Why?".

She nodded, and had her hands not been full, would've waved it off. "No particular reason beyond the shared surname. Though, I do wonder why someone so young is already a man of the cloth.", she said, giving him a rather charming smile as she continued to follow him.

The Guild of San Marcos

"I dearly hope you aren't threatening this man. As you probably know, the vows of a Knight of the Rose and Cross would demand I kill you for such an action. And indeed, that young man appears to be a student of the Yael style of fighting. Between the two of us, I'm not sure there'd be enough left of you three to bury. As such, I would recommend you find someone else to attempt to intimidate, friend." Rosemonde said to the Vodacce man who merely shrugged his shoulders and stared back.

Then, turning to one of the men behind him he asked "Did you hear any threats?". The man shook his head no, prompting the smaller Vodacce man to turn to the other man. "Did you?" he asked, once again returning a no. At once he turned to the self-proclaimed Knight and said "No one's been threatening anyone. I merely offered a... business opportunity and telling him to be careful."; a wide, lop-sided smile on his face. "Now, if you're done being nosy, I'm trying to make a deal." he finished, then returned to the Crescent.

The men behind him however put their hands on their swords - just in case.

"Where did you learn your Crescent? It's quite good..." the man asked, to which the crescent replied "Where any Vodacce learns it - The Crescent Empire." Immediately, not distracted by the man's question, he asked again. "So... what do you think of my proposal? I promise it's a... very safe investment."

Before another word could be said however, a gasp erupted from the crowd. Ernesto Villones had, in one terrible stroke, succeeded in his duel with "Big Bill" Davis, made evident by the blade through the chest of the latter man's torso. The gasps quieted as the man was led away by the Castillian guards; though the smile on his face was evident.

It took a few minutes to clear the body away and get the crowd settled, but once it was the judge called the next two participants - Safan and Eginardo Paretti. Just before Safan moved toward the stage, the Vodacce man from before called out "Remember my deal" in Crescent; earning him a few dirty looks.

El Paseo Largo

Between the actions of the Inquisition and the City Guards; the brawl was contained, but the horses were still antsy. The quick moves of a Montaigne Mercenary and a little bit of good luck had stopped the worst of it, but the horses were still afraid. Worse, they were now near the center of a square, surrounded by people. It would only take another spark to set the blaze off again.

"Coming?"

"Coming." He answered, leaving the cafe and taking another look around. Much more contained, if anything it was almost sort of dull. No dashing heroics for the great Reyes, no sir. Though the horses looked scared, and the Inquisition were roaming and likely out for blood. Or maybe Reyes just thought that from previous proven patterns. Crazy of him to think like that, should stop it.

"Well, this is just disappointing. It seems it's back to calm and festivities." Reyes frowned, looking at the horse. 'Bet I could steal that. What's one more crime to my name, really?' The Mist Dog began stalking towards it, letting out a bit of fog and keeping his face hidden as best he could without being suspicious looking.

Rosemonde failed, twice in quick succession. The Cathay had not needed her help, and the fighter had. Another paid the price for her indecision.
Prioritize, Rosemonde. You can't do it all. she repeated. Her master had told her that, often. Had needed to tell her often, both for combat and for trying to help people. One thing at a time. If you don't have time, Theus forbid, you can honestly say you did you best. Not so if you were running around trying to do everything and accomplishing nothing.
She went back to the stands and sat heavily. Where was Reyes? Things were much easier when he was around. He always had some scheme to try. She just had to keep it from blowing up in his face. She smiled, wanely.
She would watch one last fight before going to track down Reyes. Failing that, she would head back to their inn.
Either way, she would make sure that Vodacce didn't try anything fishy against the Cathay. Hopefully she would avoid bungling it this time.

"No particular reason beyond the shared surname. Though, I do wonder why someone so young is already a man of the cloth."

There was no success in getting a more detailed answer out of her, but Beatrice herself would have to make do with an answer of silence for now. As they approached the shelter, Erasmo quickened his pace yet again and his face settled back into a more business-like expression. He walked over to the door and knocked. "Another one that requires our assistance." He said solemnly to the old man who answered the door. The senior of the two nodded and when back inside only to emerge with two assistants that carried a stretcher. Erasmo inclined his head to them and led them to Beatrice.

"These two will take it from here." He stated, "Do you wish for me to escort you back? Or will we part ways here just as we are about to with this injured man?"

~Beatrice~

A raised brow was the only reaction she had to his lack of an answer, and the young Erasmo seemed to pick up the pace a little more before they reached what she assumed was their destination. It didn't stand out from the other buildings on either side, but she could see as Erasmo knocked, he was answered by, what she assumed, was an older priest by the look of him.

They spoke briefly, and before long, the older man and two younger assistants came out with a stretcher.

"These two will take it from here.".

Beatrice simply nodded as she placed the still-unconscious drunkard on the stretcher, then stepped back and looked at Erasmo as he continued.

"Do you wish for me to escort you back? Or will we part ways here just as we are about to with this injured man?".

She smiled, and there was just a flash of a wicked glint in her eyes. "Why, an escort would be lovely! We can take the time on the way back to the tavern to get to know each other a little better.", she said teasingly as she offered her arm, and gave him a none-too-subtle wink.

"Why, an escort would be lovely! We can take the time on the way back to the tavern to get to know each other a little better."

The teasing statement only confirmed his mis-trust of her. The assistants silently carried the drunkard away with bowed heads and smirked as they heard the woman's response. The old priest joined with the fun and joked with Erasmo, covering his shook, "My, my - found a wife already?" Erasmo stopped himself from thinking negative thoughts and replaced those with a simple statement, 'Just for now, I will shake her off somehow...' He didn't shift from his business-like stance. In short, his face was but a stone faįade. He bowed his head to the assistants and the old priest, then walked up to Beatrice.

Erasmo figured it was best to humour her, rather than refusing and earning a Sorte Witch's ire. But then she would have a future priest of the Vaticine Church literally in her arms! If they found out... Well, that would the end of his dreams. Erasmo quickly decided that his dreams were worth more than her approval. Besides, it wasn't a question of if, with an audience of fellow priests, his superiors would know about the affair soon enough. Then he would be questioned, and forced to confess. He told himself that Beatrice probably knew the situation as well, with her witching ways, hence her teasing.

He bowed his head to her, as if in the matter of a servant, "Very well, I will lead the way." After that, Erasmo began strolling at a leisurely pace, going back the way they came.

~Beatrice~

She laughed lightly as the old priest decided to tease Erasmo in turn, and she smiled at the man. "Don't worry, Father, I'll make sure he's back before it gets too late, but wife may be speaking too soon.", she joked, before she turned back to Erasmo and grinned.

She wasn't entirely sure why she felt the urge to torment the poor priest, but since he made such an easy target, she couldn't resist. Besides, she believed in making your own entertainment when it was otherwise scarce.

"Very well, I will lead the way.".

"Oh, don't be like that, Erasmo, I'm only teasing.", she said easily as she followed behind him.

"Besides, you shouldn't be so uncomfortable. I don't bite, and I've no intention of meddling with you.", Beatrice added, hoping he would interpret her implication regarding her magic.

As it was, for now she had no reason to use her Sorte on him. So far, he seemed honorable, and honest, though circumstances could always change. For the moment, however, she was perfectly content in simply amusing herself.

"So, tell me about yourself, Father Esposito.", she prompted.

Surfan heard the man but did not appreciate his sentiment. He had no thought into throwing a fight simply for money and Surfan had every intent on winning this fight for his stay in Altamaria. He needed to find the truth and getting lodging here was the first step in finding it.

He stepped out on stage to odd looks as he has always been greeted with. The people here weren't really kind to outsiders but neither was his people as well. From what he understood, the Crescent hated just about everybody else and vice versa. He barely understood why but he got the idea of it when he first walked into an tavern on the border of Castille. To cut to the chase, the tavern keeper wasn't exactly keen on having a Crescent in his place of business.

Surfan analyzed his enemy, wondering what his fighting style was. Wassif always taught him to be wary of his opponent's style as it was the key to their demeanor in the fight. But just to be safe, Surfan drew his swords first and stood in a defensive stance until his enemy made a move. Surfan didn't want to risk losing the fight just because of a reckless charge.

"...So, tell me about yourself, Father Esposito."

'So, she doesn't know? Still...' He thoughts as he tried to ignore Beatrice's almost apologetic remarks, but as soon as the word 'Father' escaped her lips, Erasmo stopped and turned around. "Please do not call me that," He declared, "I have not been ordained yet. To put it shortly, I am somewhat of a priest-in-training." His situation explained, he turned back around and resumed walking. Erasmo stayed silent for a while to let that sink in, but broke it quickly, as though nothing happened.

Nevertheless, his tone was still serious, "As I told you before, I am the son of a farmer. When I was about sixteen, there was fire. I was the only person who survived, but barely. A traveling monk of The Benefactine Order happened upon me and took me to the Francescans. They healed me, they saved my life and I realised my true path: that of the priesthood. As part of my test, I wander in search of those in need." He hoped that sentence would inform her that he was being watched, "And so here I am."

He left a brief gap of silence then returned the request, "What about you, Signorina Fausti?"

"Well, this is just disappointing. It seems it's back to calm and festivities."

The brawl had halted and the stampede had come to a stop, disharmony quickly became less disharmonious. Perhaps a Sorte witch had enchanted the two events to her whims rather than let fate take its course towards the natural destructive outcome? It was a funny thought, a Vodacce witch in Castille, the festival attracted all sorts of people. However, her bemused musing felt a bit foolish. What witch worth her salt would openly perform her magics so close to Inquisition forces. They would have the same idea as Yvonne. At least now they would be looking for a woman from Vodacce than an adventurer who just so happened, like many of her citizens from her homeland, to practise Porte from Montaigne. She was curious who the Vactcine would want to see speared on a pike first.

"Ugh...No fun!" She said slumping.

Although those horses did look fun, and still unclaimed.

The misty-mysterious Crescent man looked to have the same idea. What was that magic called again...She wondered. Something silly sounding. Yvonne cursed herself for her forgetfulness and if Cluadette was here she's no doubt jest about her usefulness as part of the Explorer's Society, what use she was if she couldn't remember one lost magic and tease her by calling her a thief with a taste for old stuff. She hated it when Cluadette did that.

"Dumen-something..." She thought out loud trying to remember the rest of it.

Losing patience with herself Yvonne followed the misty-man's lead.

Between the city guard and the Inquisition, the street brawl on the roads of the Long Walk had been quelled, with the rowdiest offenders either unconscious or in chains. The horses had seemed to settle down - at least for the moment - but they seemed liable to panic again at a moment's notice. Renault pulled on his horse's reins and directed it towards the nervous horses, preparing to rein them in.

Unfortunately for Renault, he was too late. Before he'd closed even half the distance, the horses gave another terrified bay and continued their rampage down the street - this time, towards a square filled with unsuspecting revelers.

'Grr... If they head into such an open space, I simply can't contain them on my own. I have to stop them, or at least slow them down. But how...' At the corner of Renault's eye, in the distance, he caught a glimpse of a precarious-looking merchant's stand. A large assortment of heavy goods, barrels, crates and the like, were secured to it by a length of rope. One well-timed shot could sever it... a difficult one, to say the least, especially on horseback.

It's a good thing he'd made harder in his sleep.

With a deft flourish, he brought the musket around his shoulders to his arms, and took a deep breath. The world about him seemed to mute as his focus gathered, shutting out the rest of the world - the cries of the horses, the clamor of the celebration, everything. All that existed was him, his gun, and the target. Releasing his breath, he pulled the trigger, and a single shot rang out across the street.

The shot ricochet off the stand and rocketed into the rope, severing it in an instant. The goods spilled into the street just as the horses were about to run by, causing them to bay back with alarm and scatter about the street, halting their advance.

"Ugh...No fun!"

"Mhm."

The fog had gotten thick, quickly. He was used to casting this minor version, the fangs and claws he wanted to keep hidden as long as possible. Even if it meant having Rose protect him; though she was arguably better at it than he was anyways. He wondered if the girl was still following him.

"Dumen-something..."

That was worth the raised eyebrow it got. Not many outside The Empire had heard of his magic. She had a surprise or two to share, it seemed. The following made thievery a bit awkward, but he was skilled enough to cope, or at least he thought as he slowed down a bit. Some people had trouble seeing through, and it helped make him almost completely silent. Win win.

"Duman'kir." Reyes said, pronouncing it slowly and correctly, in a low voice. "Mist dog, if you'd prefer... My name is Reyes, and you?" he asked, passing by confused citizens, closer to the horses. He'd move them away from the town square, probably take it to an alley and strip off any insignia's that were on it. Then he'd have a horse to call his own, like when he was a kid.

He approached one of the horses, seemed he bucked off his rider before he was corralled by the muskateer. Reyes stuck his left foot in the stirrup, quickly swinging his right leg over. He nearly slipped, but quickly gripped the pommel and caught himself, halfway off the animal. He corrected himself as it bucked, and began stampeding off, scared by who knows or cares.

The horse didn't stampede for long, Reyes made sure to get it under control fairly quickly by yanking back on the reigns and gripping the pommel till his knuckles turned white. A shot went off, delaying but startling the horses, and allowing Reyes to circle his horse around the back of them, in an attempt to box them in. Well trained horse, surprisingly.

~Beatrice~

Erasmo's reaction the moment she called him 'Father' had her blinking, and he quickly explained that he wasn't a full priest, but instead a priest-in-training, and essentially as ordained as she was. After a moment, she simply smiled and shrugged.

"Fair enough, Erasmo.", she said, nodding with surprising respect.

"As I told you before, I am the son of a farmer. When I was about sixteen, there was fire. I was the only person who survived, but barely. A traveling monk of The Benefactine Order happened upon me and took me to the Francescans. They healed me, they saved my life and I realised my true path: that of the priesthood. As part of my test, I wander in search of those in need. And so here I am.".

Beatrice was quiet for a few moments after he told her his story, and even before she spoke, the only sound she made was a soft sigh. "Well, I'm sorry to hear that. Still, you seem to be doing well for yourself as far as I can tell.", she pointed out, before he asked about her.

"What about you, Signorina Fausti?".

"Me? Well, I grew up in a well-off family, nothing really special, but when I found out that I had a talent for my craft, my parents found me a particularly well-renowned teacher, and I became a natural at what I do. After awhile, though, I got bored, so I decided to see the world. And if you want to know more than that, you'll have to stand me to a drink.", she said, and she couldn't help the playful leer she gave him.

"And, since you aren't a priest yet, I'm willing to bet drinking isn't off the table.", she pointed out.

"...And, since you aren't a priest yet, I'm willing to bet drinking isn't off the table."

She told her story and left it intentionally vague, no doubt to lure him in. Nevertheless, Beatrice failed to realise, or didn't acknowledge the hidden meaning behind some of these words, or that Erasmo could break his world at any time. It would be simple, all that was needed was to slip away and tell the nearest Inquisitor. Then again, he did not have much to go on: 'Beatrice Fausti, Sorte Witch - olive skin, black hair in a long braid and an inch taller than me.' In the festival crowds, finding someone of that description would be easy, but would they find the right person? And of course, there was a possibly that with the favour of a Merchant Prince, if she had connections with anyone like that, she would have an easy escape.

No, it was useless. Besides, Erasmo had given his word, and if he broke that, what would his vows be worth? Erasmo was only saved from the bout of frantic thinking by a thought that pierced the cloud of chaos. After all, that option provided both cover and an opportunity. Erasmo almost laughed inside, if Beatrice thought that she would get free drink off a simple, yet-to-be ordained priest like him. While it was true that he enjoyed the taste of wine, it couldn't be said that Erasmo also enjoyed the effects alcohol had on both the body and the mind. Beatrice, in contrast, looked like a person who enjoyed various vices - smoking, drinking and who knew what else. Which didn't help Erasmo's view of magic-users one bit.

"I still have my vows, Signorina." He replied, "I have no coin but there is La Trinidad; I hear it is the place to be, both for conversation and drinks. Like El Aņo Nuevo, no expense has been spared in the wedding celebrations."

~Beatrice~

Once she was finished, she could tell that Erasmo was thoughtful, and she didn't think it was due to what she told him. But, her face was placid and pleasant, even as she waited for his reply. To his credit though, he wasn't so flustered now. Though, she couldn't be sure if it was because he was planning on betraying her, or was simply trying to find a way out of spending more time around her.

"I still have my vows, Signorina. I have no coin but there is La Trinidad; I hear it is the place to be, both for conversation and drinks. Like El Aņo Nuevo, no expense has been spared in the wedding celebrations.".

She gave him a sidelong glance, before deciding to sidle up to him and wrapped an arm around the priest-in-trainings shoulders. "I'm actually not too fond of weddings, particularly if I haven't been invited. Too many odd looks.", she said, before she leaned in close to whisper in his ear.

"Oh, and remember: If I find the Inquisition on my trail, and even suspect you of being the one to lead them to me, I'll make the rest of your short life seem like you went to hell early.", she said, and her tone didn't waver in the least: Her voice was still pleasant-as-can-be, and she didn't even try to sound threatening.

Of course, it wasn't a threat: It was a promise. She had every intention of evading the Inquisition at almost any cost. And, as vindictive as she could be, she would no doubt make the person who informed the Inquisition pay, and pay dearly.

But, after a moment, she pulled away and smiled at him cheerfully. "Why not a nice, cozy tavern, though? I was planning on hopping from one to another before that brawl broke out, and it'll even be my treat.", she told him.

"...Why not a nice, cozy tavern, though? I was planning on hopping from one to another before that brawl broke out, and it'll even be my treat."

If it wasn't the fact that he now found Beatrice's arm wrapped around his, it would the almost cheerful threat that left him a bit flustered. 'Do I have to go along with this farce as well?' He thought to himself. It seemed that the priest-in-training was trapped, but Erasmo promised himself that he would find a way to slip away somehow. The whole thing had to be just another riddle from Theus, it had to be. Erasmo, out of desperation, beseeched the Prophets for guidance, 'Prophets, share your wisdom with me.' Not only had she threatened him, she had rejected his suggestion; Erasmo felt so powerless, but all he was doing was talking, right? They wouldn't look down on him for that? In a flash, he remembered the jeer of the old priest, and swore that he would make sure that none of his friends or the people he respected would find out. At least, they were a few miles from here.

"Very well," He asserted, another reply with a double meaning, "I appreciate your offer and your concern, but I do not plan on drinking much tonight, that way I can see to you and others least the worst happens."

~Beatrice~

Beatrice couldn't help but chuckle softly at the fact that he was flustered, though she did feel a little bad as to why. Erasmo seemed like a nice enough guy, regardless of how she felt about the Vaticine church. But, she couldn't help how the Vaticine church felt about people like her either, so she could completely let her guard down.

"Very well, I appreciate your offer and your concern, but I do not plan on drinking much tonight, that way I can see to you and others least the worst happens.".

She could read into what he was implying, and nodded, patting his shoulder. "Then you shouldn't have anything to worry about, Erasmo. Really, you shouldn't be so nervous around me, it's not attractive.", she added, her smile warming just a little in the hopes of making him relax a little.

But, before they managed to make it to the tavern she had her sights on, she looked further on down the street to where the scene had ensued earlier. And she saw the 'Mercenary' astride a horse with a literally smoking musket, along with another horse partially covered in a shrouding mist.

"... What are those idiots doing to those horses?", she asked.

"...What are those idiots doing to those horses?"

The witch seemed satisfied with that answer and went on about his nerves, his attractiveness and the inverse relationship between the two. Like he cared about that! Regardless, Erasmo turned to see what Beatrice was going on about. He frowned at the sight of what looked like a Vestenmannavnjar sailor who held a musket which had obviously been fired recently, along with the sight of a horse partially covered in mist, in which the silhouette of two figures could be seen. More troublemakers? Part of him wanted to step forward and warn them that even more trouble would not be appreciated.

But ever the conscientious peacemaker, he chose to stand back and comment quietly. Besides, nagging the ones with the nags would only provoke them, leading to more pandemonium. At least, that was what he told himself. In part, he felt like a hypocrite, 'Not stand by!? And here I am standing next to a Sorte Witch. Simply standing by as she makes a mockery of me as a future priest of the Vaticine Church!' The hand on his free arm screwed up into fist, but when limp soon afterwards. Erasmo saw no point letting wild emotions like anger out. Even as a pathetic puppet priest-to-be, he still had to set an example.

"Trying to ride away with them, I think." He muttered, and tried to restrain himself but failed. His previous train of thought when out the window. Erasmo would not simply stand there as crimes were being committed. "By Theus!" He called out, voice still sound and calm, "Hasn't there been enough trouble already?"

Whilst Garrett had enjoyed the fight between "Big Bill" Davis and Ernesto Villones, it wasn't as entertaining as he imagined, especially since Villones had killed the man rather than simply draw blood; which caused no small amount of nervous gasps from the audience. As the man was being lead away by the guards, from where he was sitting, Garrett could see a small smile on Villones lips; why he did that, Garrett did not think about, nor did he care. He soon left the Guild Hall, handing his glass back to the passing waiter. Outside, Garrett could see a small crowd in the direction of the center.

"What's happened here then?" Asked Garrett, curious to find out.

"Can't rightly tell, but I think some of the parade horses got spooked somehow, and have caused a bit of a ruckus. Both Guards and the Inquisition are trying to keep some people at bay." A random stranger responded with.

"The Inquisition huh? Must have run out of people to convict if they are stuck doing this." Garrett remarked sarcastically, this earned him a odd look from the stranger.

"That was a joke by the way." He then added, before taking off in the direction of the Docks, hoping that something interesting might occur there.

The Guild of San Marcos

Eginardo Paretti, seeing Safan take the defensive, smiled and drew his own blade - with his left hand. Already it seemed the fight would be a strange one as parrying would be much more difficult. Eginardo then, strangely, took a half step to his left such that he was directly across from the Crescent. The move was odd as it seemed to give no tactical advantage and only seemed to waste effort.

Safan hardly had a moment to consider the reasoning before the man slammed his foot into the ground hard. As a result, one of the boards that made up the makeshift stage pivoted up on a cross beam, with the other end crashing into Safan's chin. The blow was light however, only acting as a slight distraction. It did however offer him a chance to move forward and break into Safan's reach unmolested and attempt to take first blood (and the win)

El Paseo Largo

The Horses; suddenly surrounded by fog and caged in circled themselves in an attempt to protect themselves from harm The horse Reyes took seemed to want to join them, pulling on the reins. Eventually, the horse relented to the riders will however and settled; just in time for a priest to scream out "By Theus! Hasn't there been enough trouble already?"

Docks

Adrianna had wandered down to he docks after the encounter at the Swordsman's Guild. She mostly just wanted to find somewhere quiet. For a few minutes it seemed to work. Aside from some drunk sailors and some Inquisitors stuck protecting the docks, it was quiet. However, after a few minutes the situation changed. A dozen of sailors made their way over. This wouldn't have been strange were it not for the fact that four of them were in gagged and in chains.

She hardly had a moment to react before they were upon her - ready to add another press-ganged sailor to their mix.

As Garrett arrived in the Docks District, he was greeted by the almost lifeless nature of the nearly empty streets, the signs of life emanating from the third rate drinking parlors along the water front. The stonework style of the two story buildings had a quaint charm to them. He could see several ships were docked along the harbor front; and what few people were out, were pirates. However, as Garrett got closer, a group in front caught his attention; making sure he wasn't spotted, he hid in a small alleyway and peered out.

From what he could make out, it was a group of roughly a dozen or so men, but what he thought was odd was that some were in chains and gagged, then it suddenly hit him; they were a press gang!

"Great, just what we need on New Year's, a roving squad of abductors who force you into service on-board their ship. And with almost everyone will be out celebrating, leaving those who remain at their mercy. Wait, whose is that amongst them?" Garrett asked, as he could make out a woman in amongst the group, from the looks of it, she was trying her hardest to fight back, it looked as though one or two may have been knocked down, but he couldn't see under the dark conditions. Regardless, it was a losing battle. What caught his attention was the lady's outfit, he had seen it earlier. It took him a moment to see who it was.

"No, it can't be... so it is. Well well well Adrianna, I did not think your timid form held a more feisty side." Garrett then left the alleyway and back onto the main street, approaching the press gang with a hand resting on one of his words.

"You lot, unhand that lady at once! Unless you wish to taste steel this evening."

Surfan shook off the attack and focused on Paretti who managed to close the distance using his trick. It was unorthodox but the man did get close to him. The other thing he noticed right away was his left hand drawing the sword. Wassif warned him of left-handed swordsmen as they always had a trick up their sleeve. Paretti was a tricky one at that so Surfan decided to cut to the chase.

With Paretti so close, Surfan quickly took a step back and made a fast downwards swipe with his left blade to Paretti's sword to disarm him and with his right blade, he jabs at Paletti but nowhere fatal. He didn't wish to kill the man unless he was forced to and this duel was to first blood not to the last man standing although the last contestants didn't exactly follow that notion.

Docks

"You lot, unhand that lady at once! Unless you wish to taste steel this evening." a voice called out from behind them. They all turned to look at the source of the noise, which was a mistake of the one currently in reach of Adrianna. Using the distraction, she pommeled the side of the man's head, tossing him into the sea. The others - quick to learn from their mistake either turned to face Adrianna in earnest or redirected their attention to Garrett.

Adrianna took note of the man's appearance, but didn't have the time to focus on it - she had more pressing concerns.

The Guild of San Marcos

As Safan's sword came down, Paretti tilted his blade such that the blade was deflected downward; leaving his own sword unaffected. The second blade proved a greater concern as Paretti narrowly dodged out of the way; the blade itself clipping through his shirt but not his skin.

Never one to back down, Paretti continued the momentum of his dodge, bringing the pommel of his blade up and around - seeking to hit the man with it and thereby end the fight.

Surfan brought up his left blade, bringing his arm up to block the attack. A nasty impact was heard as the two blades collided exchanged a hit. But Surfan brought his right blade to bear and following through so that his left block would slightly give way. He readjusted his footing, channeling his momentum to the swing of his right blade.

Paretti was knocked off balance from the hit but luckily for him, Surfan used the dull side of his scimitar to leave a bruise on the man's body. As Paretti hit the floor, Surfan moved up and parried a last ditch jab by Paretti who was sprawled on the stage. Surfan wasted no time and stabbed his left scimitar to the side of Paretti's head. He hit the stage with a sharp thud but the blade drew blood from Paretti's cheek. From another perspective, it would look like Surfan had stabbed his sword into Paretti himself.

The judge ruled Surfan victorious and a applause was heard from the crowd. He stepped away from the man and sheathed his right sword while he still had his left sword ready in case Paretti was still ill about the loss. With his right hand he offered Paretti a hand in getting up.

"Good duel, sir." Surfan said in his most courteous voice. "May I help you up?"

The horses had seemed to settle down, at least for now. While they still ran about, skittish and nervous in posture, they had regained enough composure to keep themselves from running rampant. His job done, Renault dismounted from his borrowed horse. It wasn't long before he heard a not-so-familiar voice call out from his back.

"By Theus! Hasn't there been enough trouble already?"

From the tone, he pegged its owner as a short man wearing the paraphernalia associated with members of the Vaticine Church. A deacon, if he had to guess, and probably a member of a specific sect if the fancy robes were anything to go by. Slinging his musket back onto his back, Renault pulled his cloak back over his head and walked back over to the priest. "Indeed. That's why I did something about it."

To the man's side was the woman he'd met earlier. Now, Renault was no fool - a Vodacce woman happens to disappear just as trouble starts, and not a moment later fate itself seems to bend in her favor? This one was obviously a Sorte witch. Her cards weren't immediately obvious, but that wouldn't put her above suspicion with people as paranoid as Inquisition agents. They no doubt noticed the strange behavior the horses exhibited, and it would be a shame to let such a valuable asset go to waste. If he had to disappear, he might as well do so with some help.

"And I thank whatever convinced those horses to keep calm. My work would have been much more difficult if they kept panicking, wouldn't you agree, madame?"

~Beatrice~

The Witch only spared a quick glance at the priest-in-training, and noticed him clench a fist at his side before relaxing, but only just.

"Trying to ride away with them, I think.".

Looking back at the forms astride the horses, she recognized the one she knew was a person. It was the 'mercenary', and she was certain by this point that he was anything but. As for the mist, she had no idea what it was so she couldn't be certain if it was just a freak occurrence, or something more sinister. But, she shook her head and placed a gentle hand on Erasmo's shoulder.

"Now isn't the time to rush forward. The guards and Inquisition should be able to handle it on their own, and I think we've both interfered enough.", she said, giving him a meaningful look, just before he called out.

"By Theus! Hasn't there been enough trouble already?".

She sighed and shook her head, and was about to tell him to not spook the horses when the 'mercenary', strode up and spoke instead.

"Indeed. That's why I did something about it.".

Then, he turned to her.

"And I thank whatever convinced those horses to keep calm. My work would have been much more difficult if they kept panicking, wouldn't you agree, madame?".

A sly smile spread across her lips as she nodded. Apparently they were both aware that the other wasn't what they seemed. "I would certainly say so. In fact, why don't we all discuss this over a nice, private drink?", she asked.

"By Theus! Hasn't there been enough trouble already?"

'That towards me, the muskateer, or the horses...' Reyes looked around, he could see through his fog easily after all. Even if he weren't head and shoulders above it, from sitting on the horse. Though it had dissipated considerably, which was nice.

He could see a priest looking man with some woman, he assumed it was him but he wasn't sure. The Muskateer (probably a mercenary) walked up to them, and struck up a conversation. The mist began giving way as he rode the horse over to the group, also keeping an eye out for the girl he arrived with. The horse all but took off without her, he felt bad about it.

"-In fact, why don't we all discuss this over a nice, private drink?"

"Care to let me in on that? I can buy. I kinda want to know how you made that shot." Reyes said, riding up and smiling amicably at them. He leaned on the head of the horse, looking down on them all. An odd group, but fun looking, probably plenty of stories between them. And Reyes did not see any more chances at adventurous heroics around anywhere.

"Duman'kir." Reyes said, pronouncing it slowly and correctly, in a low voice. "Mist dog, if you'd prefer... My name is Reyes, and you?"

"Duman'kir." She repeated the word to herself to make sure she did not forget it and went on to reply to his question. "Yv-" Before she could get the second syllable of her name out the misty man had ridden away on one of the horses he had poached. Well at least now he wasn't so mysterious, although a terrible pun had come to mind before he had told her his name.

The stray horses had been corralled by a well armed man in a Vestenmannavnjar get up who had made and impossible shot blocking the horses from causes any harm to those that might have dawdled too long in the square. Perhaps the Sorte witch had struck again and given him the luck he needed to make the shot, or it was Theus himself intervening, a funny thought.

Yvonne mounted one of the horsed that were still close by and trotted over to where Reyes had stopped. He was talking to a Vodacce woman and a Vatcicine priest.

"I thought a priest had to take certain vows once he had taken the cloth" She teased, eyeing the pair up, "Maybe they're not so pious as they'd have us believe."

Erasmo flashed a look back at the Sorte Witch. Not a stern look, but one that might be seen on a father in reply to a mother's lecturing about scolding her children. One that said, "It had to be done." Nevertheless, Erasmo broke his stare and looked straight ahead. His shouting got their attention all right, the troublemakers walked over to him and Beatrice, spouting various remarks. Though, they didn't look like a gang up close. One was cloaked, one wore a smile that reminiscent of Beatrice's, and one was... a Crescent? Erasmo briefly wondered what his story was, but his attention soon turned to the mysterious mist. 'More Sorcery?' The festival was full of all-sorts, wasn't it? The robed man then addressed them, in turn.

"Indeed. That's why I did something about it." Said the cloaked one, who smelt of gunpowder.

Erasmo inclined his head, "Then you deserve my thanks and not my scorn. Forgive me." His soft voice masked his distrust. Still, the servant of Theus had a good reason to suspect the man: he was cloaked and carried a musket. A man concealed his identity did so because there was a need for it. Erasmo knew that; even though he was religious person, his head wasn't in the clouds all of the time. Next talk of drinks came up. With the somewhat friendly atmosphere, he could slip away and leave Beatrice to the other misfits. In fact, wasn't there something that he needed to do? Surely the witch wouldn't mind if he just went away for a minute on an errand? He smiled, who would assume at the little quip of priests and piety and said his piece.

"Maybe they're not so pious as they'd have us believe."

"Excuse me, but priests can marry," He countered, and then turned his face slightly in Beatrice's direction, "They also have pressing matters to attend to. Do not worry, I will return shortly." He bowed to all present and wriggled his way out of Beatrice's grip, in an attempt to escape. He needed to visit La Trinidad once more.

~Beatrice~

"Care to let me in on that? I can buy. I kinda want to know how you made that shot.".

Only just keeping herself from swearing inwardly, Beatrice glanced up at the newcomer. A horse thief, judging by the fact that the horse he was astride clearly belonged with the others meant for the parade. As if she didn't have enough potential for trouble as it is, simply being a Witch. Being around a horse thief would simply make her a possible target for run-of-the-mill guardsman too.

"That kind of defeats the purpose of it being 'private'.", she started, but she hesitated as what he said fully sank in.

If he was going to foot the bill, that was another story. "Though, if you're buying... I suppose.", she added, smirking just slightly.

It wasn't long before they were joined by what seemed to be yet another horse thief, but this time a woman.

"I thought a priest had to take certain vows once he had taken the cloth. Maybe they're not so pious as they'd have us believe.".

With a soft chuckle, she shook her head and motioned to Erasmo. "Priest-in-training, actually, though a firm believer in Theus. Though, I'm pretty sure he has no intention of actually drinking.", Beatrice told them, before Erasmo himself spoke, to her.

"Excuse me, but priests can marry. They also have pressing matters to attend to. Do not worry, I will return shortly.".

Then he promptly bowed, then broke away from her grip to get away from her and the others. Since he seemed to be a rather timid sort, she couldn't exactly blame him, but she wouldn't deny the fact that it was extremely funny.

"Well, you can find us in that tavern over there!", she called out, pointing to a bar farther down the road, and closer to the docks.

Beatrice turned to the others and smiled. "So, about those drinks.", she prompted.

"Well, you can find us in that tavern over there!"

Erasmo nodded and started walking at a brisk pace down the winding streets to the grand cathedral of Altamira. He didn't care if Beatrice or the others saw him as a bumbling toady of the Vaticine Church or a naīve young pup, even though he was neither of the two. He was one of firm belief in Theus, and that was the only thing that mattered. For once, Erasmo was glad to be alone with his thoughts, but they distracted him from the fact that while the cathedral's bells tolled for the wedding, the actual event was at the La Universidad de Arciniega. He cursed himself for that simple mistake and almost ran to the university. Seeing as the priest-in-training was not entirely sure about interrupting the nobles' small talk, he asked a servant instead.

With a simple hand gesture, he called one over and asked, "Is a Lord Eckart von Hoch present? I wish to speak with him."

Garrett's voice had drawn the attention away from some of the press-gangers trying to 'recruit' Adrianna. Speaking of the lady, she used the distraction to pommel one of them on the head, throwing them backwards into the sea. This act had the effect of splitting the party into two groups, with each half either facing down Garrett or Adrianna.

Sensing a fight was about to kick off, Garrett went in with swords drawn as he parried back the overhand strikes of the first two press-gangers that he was up against, before following up with a slash across the third; whilst this may have not hurt the ganger, it did push him back, giving Garrett some breathing room. Garrett ducked under the swing of one whilst delivering a thrust into the stomach of another with his Andrews rapier, then finished him off with a quick horizontal cut across the chest with his Soldano sword.

"Then you deserve my thanks and not my scorn. Forgive me." Renault couldn't help but frown at the priest's tone. Respectful as it was, he clearly didn't trust easily. Still, so long as he didn't go shouting his presence from the rooftops, Renault couldn't care less what a priest thought of him, so it didn't matter much in the grand scheme of things. The priest then excused himself with a polite bow and disappeared into the crowd.

"I would certainly say so. In fact, why don't we all discuss this over a nice, private drink?" This put a similar smile on Renault's face. A Sorte Witch on his side could end up being invaluable, and he was no stranger to dodging the Inquisition. That, and the opportunity to drink something without having to spend any Guilders was an appealing prospect. "Lead the way. My name is Renault, by the way." He bowed his head in greeting, dropping his previously defensive posture.

Before they could leave, however, they were accosted by several other faces from the crowd - one of which was still riding one of the horses from the parade. He'd do best to leave that be - nobles take little pleasure in having their property stolen, and Renault had no interest in helping him if he attracted any attention from the city guard. "Care to let me in on that? I can buy. I kinda want to know how you made that shot." Renault shrugged in response, his expression nonchalant. "Not much to say. I saw a shot, so I took it."

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