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OmniPotent; RP TOPIC, Title May Change
Topic Started: June 25, 2018, 7:04 pm (182 Views)
Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
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Norwich
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North East Port Town

Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild



Though it had won the war, the kingdom of Viskard had not returned to peace. Razed fields did not regrow in time for the harvest, and the burnt out husks of many a town or fortress littered the countryside. Its roughly four-and-a-half million citizens had been cut by a third. Was it because of the war? Or because of the starvation and sickness caused by wartime conditions? Scholars seemed to think it was about a fifty-fifty split. With a lesser harvest, the price of food went up; so did the desperation of the peasantry, and now banditry and violent crimes rose as well. Viskard had chosen to shelter their Elven neighbors who no longer felt safe in the forests. But that benevolence now seemed misplaced. How could the kingdom help them, when it could barely find enough for its own? On top of all this, the enemy's forces had not ceased their attacks despite the fact that their army had been shattered. Indeed, the united monsters now pockmarked the kingdom like a weak and ineffectual disease. But armies moved and made decisions based on strategy and logistics. Even in the Demon King's army, soldiers followed generals. And generals followed their ruler. When the Demon King fell, this cohesive structure fell apart. Now, Orcs raided settlements when and wherever they pleased. Lizardmen rode the waters, and made off with their ill-gotten booty before first light. Greater beasts, freed from chains and riders, hunted the roads with ravenous appetites. The Royal Army spread itself thin. Soldiers secured the borders and aided recovery but could do little else. The monsters were done and away with their wicked deeds before a regiment could even start a march.

No, Viskard had not yet won its peace. But it had not lost its hope either. If the local militia couldn't handle a problem, or the army couldn't spare the time, there was one more option. The Adventurer's Guild. Sure, they were just fancy mercenaries. These were not story times, and gone were the naive days of doing something out of the goodness of one's heart. But they would do the job if the coin was good and they were able. The Hero himself, now called Prince, had come from the Adventurer's Guild in the beginning. Many soldiers had joined their ranks recently, as their service had ended yet their homes were little more than ash. Many young men looking for something to fill their empty purses joined as well. It beat highway robbery, after all. If anyone had gotten some sort of profit from all this, it was the Guild's due collectors.

And so it was that the Norwich Guild had come to be full of Adventurers. It was rather small as guild halls went, meant to be more of an outpost here in this small port town. But there were so many now, they didn't even bother to turn and look at every mysterious newcomer who entered. Nor did they all go silent every time someone let the swinging doors clatter behind them as they passed. So, despite his striking aura, the man with golden hair and eyes strode to one of the counters unmolested.

"...So this is it?" the young man said, turning the metal plate over in his gloved hands. It was about the size of a playing card, smooth and dark gray. He handed it back to the cheery, if plain looking woman in Guild uniform.

"Yes sir!" she chirped. "After we've received the fee, we'll inscribe your information and update it at any time. When you pressed your thumb to it earlier, it absorbed your distinct magic signature--"

The young man bristled, but the woman didn't notice.

"--so if it is ever lost or stolen the Guild can, for another fee of course, use its Scryers to find it."

"And to find me, if I should for any reason violate Guild laws or those of any kingdom in which I reside." He narrowed his eyes, and the woman smiled despite her knees shaking behind the counter. Every so often they got these scary types. People who thought that fighting for a living meant they could do anything they pleased. The rather dangerous looking great-sword on his back didn't do anything to help. ((Refer to the largest blade of the Mass Produced Arms.))

"Well, it c-can also f-f-find you should you go missing on a quest...and we d-d-don't make a habit of spying on anyone, certainly..."

"Fine." He placed the coins on the counter and slid them across to her. The clerk hesitated, so as not to touch his hand. He seemed to sense this, and did not uncover the coins for several long, awkward seconds. He gave the poor woman an amused smirk, then stepped back.

"Very good, Mister..." she looked down at the paperwork he had filled out, "Grayson. Once your card is ready you'll be an official member of the Guild. Please, have a seat and something to drink or browse the bulletin board at your leisure!" And she scurried off like the mousy thing she was.

Grayson's face returned to a grim but neutral expression. He turned and started towards the old cork board covered in posters and notices. A couple of the regulars had, despite not noticing earlier, picked him out as a newcomer by this point. He could feel their judgmental gazes, but most were smart and recognized him as being fully capable of handling himself.

One of them was not that smart.

A burly man with a big beard, a rusty hauberk, and an axe resting against his table made a show of stretching his legs out. One of them crossed Grayson's path just as the man was mid-stride. The burly man smirked at his friend across the table and--

Crack!

The bearded fellow shrieked as his leg went one way and the rest of him another. He spun out of his seat and hit the hardwood floor ass first. He clutched his shin as his face reddened, and several other patrons burst out in laughter. The big man's friend, however, shot up and reached out to grab Grayson's shoulder. The newcomer barely noticed the man, and kept going at his nonchalant pace. He practically dragged the man, who was also quite brawny with a square, clean shaven jaw.

"Hey, you kicked my pal! You better not've broke his--"

Grayson's eyes, sharp and wolflike, stared the man down. Somehow, despite being about the same height, the bald man felt like he was looking up at a giant.

"Yeah, I kicked the shit out of him. Like sweeping a dead cockroach out of my way. What the fuck are you going do about it?" Baldy's mouth moved but nothing was coming out, and he stumbled onto the table as he backed away. Grayson's hand came down with a heavy thump on the wooden surface. "Are we done with the newbie hazing ritual? Has my dominance been established?" He leaned in, mouth set like stone. A wordless nod from the heckler, who sat down like a whipped child. More laughter from the peanut gallery.

"The rest of you can shut the fuck up too. That you tolerate dregs like this as part of your order is a disgrace. The Adventurer's Guild that spawned the Hero..." Grayson hissed and shook his head. Most of them went silent. A few who knew what they were about met Grayson's eyes. Not everyone here was some bumpkin looking for Goblin bounties, or a glorified bodyguard. But as competent as these few were, they were also experienced enough to see the threat in that yellow glare. And the worn marks upon the grip of that great blade that spoke of long and deadly use.

Grayson looked at the cork board in peace for a time, then sat down at a table with his back to the wall, face towards the door. A waitress offered him a drink, and he waved her away. Truth be told, the membership fee had taken all but a few of his coins. He sighed. How had he fallen so far..?
Edited by Onime No Ryu, June 26, 2018, 7:15 pm.
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Sin
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Slow and steady...
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Norwich ~ North East Port Town
Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild


She had lost track of how much time she had spent at this place. Deaestra's goal was a simple: to find someone very dear to her, her sister Lieri. She had began her search nearly a decade ago, doing whatever it took to put her closer to the only family she knew and while initially, she was lead along a very dark path by her sister's supposed captors, Deaestra was 'saved' and set on the right course. It turned out that the men who were controlling her kept the young woman doing their deeds with an ever-out-of-reach promise that she would see her sister again so long as she did what was asked of her. But, that all proved to be false and this fact was shown to her by a Hero that had since left to continue along his own path. As such, before he'd gone, he brought Deaestra to the Adventurer's Guild, a place where she would find many others like himself that would help set her on the right course.

So here she would stay, working to support herself but keeping her eyes on her one and only goal. Deaestra lived at the Guild, her small room little larger than a closet containing a bed, a small dresser and a cabinet. A small window next to her bed gave her a glimpse of the outside world, something she had taken for granted during her time as little more than a slave.

On this particular day, it was a morning like any other. She had awoken and proceeded downstairs where she fetched herself a simple cup of tea, her favourite beverage. Deaestra was not a woman who favoured breakfast and as a matter of fact, ate very little, mostly just enough to sustain herself; a trait she had picked up during her previous life. The somber silence of the morning was broken however when a man entered the hall, dressed as closely to a stereotypical warrior as one possible could be. The only aspect of his person that stuck out to her initially was his long blonde hair. There was something about him that was dark... a menacing trait and a very intimidating one at that. The room felt so much heavier almost as soon as he walked in and Deaestra could tell from the moment he opened his mouth that his foreboding personality likely wouldn't mesh very well with many people here. He was assertive, rash and arrogant and while these can be good traits to possess if you can walk the walk, the fact that he was coming into a place like this told her that he might not have been as skilled as his demeanour seemed to portray.

As he finished with the woman at the counter, he immediately entered into an altercation with some of the others who worked for the Guild. The confrontation was brief and ended with the new fish addressing the entire room with a warning. Deaestra frowned and rose from her chair, leaving what little remained of her tea and heading outside. This man had soured what small modicum of a good mood she had awoken with and she wanted to get away from him.
Edited by Sin, June 28, 2018, 8:06 pm.
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Norwich
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North East Port Town

Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild



As Deaestra stood from her seat and left the Guild, the man she wished to get away from glanced her way for just a moment. He didn’t seem particularly interested, rather, his look seemed more like a reflexive action towards anything that moved. Even before she had reached the doors he had turned his attention back to the Quest Counter. The mousy little attendant hadn’t returned from the back rooms yet.

The Celestial girl walked through the saloon-style swinging doors, and onto a cobblestone street still dark in places with moisture from the chilly ocean breeze. It was the middle of summer, and Norwich wasn’t far from the blistering desert heat over the Viskard-Ashyra border, but with the sea so close by the air was always wetter and cooler. This morning, as the sun was just climbing up over the rooftops, the temperature was fairly nippy.

They had constructed the Guild upon a corner of the town, near the docks and an intersection leading to the various crafting halls, merchant stalls, and other places the Adventurers would be likely to do business. The Guild Hall sat facing another road straight ahead, with side roads between every building on Deaestra’s left, and the wooden piers with all varieties of boat in the open harbor on her right. Also along her right, another road went down another row of shops. The entire corner made an upside down L shape, or at least it would if one could see it from above.

“Hello there, Miss Vinheim!” called a chipper male voice. Coming up from the right side road, an older man waved at the girl as he approached. He had a full head of badger-gray hair, and a salt and pepper goatee, but his wrinkled face seemed full of energy. He was dressed for a day on the beach, with a light short sleeved shirt and old shorts with ragged hems. But he also had a number of messenger’s bags resting on each hip, their straps making a multi-layered X over his chest. Then there was a huge backpack sticking up over his shoulders, easily as much as one might put on a pack mule. Somehow he seemed to walk with no trouble, though he did have somewhat of a stoop to his back. This was the man everyone at the Guild called Crier Tom.

The Adventurer’s Guild did its business by first collecting information of all sorts from all over. If news of increasing monster activity from Sauraga came in one day, before the sun set you could bet the Guild would be sending offers to various members of local government or the mayors and elders of small towns, especially those in harm’s way. Once prices were agreed on, bounties would be set and the hunts would begin. But once that information was gathered, it had to be transmitted, and communication magic was still a new field even with the wartime economy driving its discovery. So the Guild employed Messengers like Tom, whose jobs were to go from hall to hall all over the lands and deliver, pickup, and transport the different wanted posters, bounties, quests, and so forth. Crier Tom--called such for his loud, official sounding voice when he stood up on the tables and announced the newest decrees from the Guild officials--was the Messenger in charge of delivering the mail to Norwich and several other towns in the region. He had been a common sight ever since Deaestra had begun working here, and had likely been around long before that. The man seemed to have an impeccable memory, given how little she spoke to anyone around her, but that was probably a good quality for one whose career relied on information.

“Just the lady I wanted to see, actually!” He stopped, and opened the flap of one of the bags. Tongue poking out in concentration, he began to shuffle through papers. “I had a report here, soon as I read it I thought, by golly, Miss Vinheim would wanna see that!” He squinted, adding even more wrinkles to his forehead. “Ah, here it is!”

He handed the piece of paper to the Celestial.

Guild Report
 
In the past year, there have been a number of disappearances in Norwich. The number and frequency of the occurences is higher than normal crime records would indicate even if the uprise in criminal activity after the war is taken into account. At four different times, there was a noticeable surge in these same activities under suspiciously similar circumstances.

The victims are all young, the majority being below the age of adulthood. The majority of the victims are male. However, of the minority portion of adult or older victims almost all are female. We believe the girls are being taken for sex-trafficking purposes, but this theory does not make as much sense when the boys are taken into account, and there is a lack of evidence to make conclusions for either gender or for the kidnappings overall.

This mission must be approved by a Guild official due to its sensitive nature. If you wish to join this investigation, bring this Quest Form to your local Guild’s Quest Counter and…


The rest was the typical wall of text detailing all of the legal mumbo jumbo the Guild had to abide by in order to not be seen as a threat to the authority of law enforcement, and to avoid being drafted as a militia without the option of refusing the Grand Marshall. But the first part was always the most important--lots of Quests would let just about anyone take them. Then there were some, like this, where you had to be approved as the right kind of person for the job. More often than not there were other stipulations, like the maximum number of applicants, or a number of days or weeks in which to complete the Quest. This was an ongoing investigation, it seemed, so there was no time limit...but in order to know what limitations it did demand, and in order to take this Quest officially and thus be protected by the Guild in the case that anything went wrong, Deaestra would have to go back to the Quest Counter inside the Guild.


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Norwich Guildhall
Quest Counter



Grayson scanned the room without moving his head or his eyes overmuch. His other senses did most of the work. Through the acrid haze of woodsmoke from the kitchen and the heady aroma of booze, the scent of oils and steel remained present enough. But the guildhall lacked the distinct odors of dirt, blood, and sweat. Most of the Adventurers here, he surmised, made their pay as guards on the merchant ships or gathering useful materials from the beaches and the nearby edges of Sauraga’s jungles. Perhaps occasionally they ganged up on some wandering monster that dared to cross the Ashyrian dunes, came out of the wilds, or just splashed up along the shores.

The sounds were sour nothings, just a constant undulating rabble of inane chatter. Braggarts, gossips, and idiots, the lot of them. There was no shortage of laughter, either, and Grayson exhaled sharply through his nose. What did these fools have to laugh about? Could they really afford to be this carefree? Amazing, how quickly they forgot what dire straits they had sailed just a few short months ago.

Across the hall, a girl stood from her seat. Grayson’s eyes darted towards her as she moved--she was a light thing, delicate but spry. What was more, he could feel a distinct magic from her. He didn’t consider himself a mage of any repute, but his own nature made him somewhat sensitive, at least in a closed in space like this. The girl’s energy didn’t feel quite like any of the other half-baked magi in the room--for one thing, it held only a single element. For another, it felt more...raw. Something more natural, an inborn talent, not something one gained by poring over books and training oneself to exhaustion.

But this distinction only held his interest for a moment. As soon as she left through the swinging doors, he turned back towards the counter. The mousy little attendant had not yet returned. He massaged one of his temples with a silent groan. All of the noise made his head hurt--in times like these he wished his senses weren’t quite so sharp.

Luckily he did not have to wait much longer. The doors in the back finally opened, and the timid Guild Girl made her return. She held the iron-gray plate in one hand, at arm’s length as if it might snap at her.

“M-mister G-Grayson?” she called out, scanning the room for him. He smirked as he saw the briefest glimmer of hope, before she spotted him and it all drained away. Nonchalantly he stood, and began walking back towards the Quest Counter...
Edited by Onime No Ryu, June 28, 2018, 7:02 pm.
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Sin
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Slow and steady...
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Norwich ~ North East Port Town
Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild


Deaestra had barely left the Guild Hall before she heard her name called out from nearby. She turned to see the familiar face of Tom standing not far from her, his usual get-up slung around his waist. Apparently, he had been looking for her and after rummaging through his bags, he eventually presented her with a slip of paper that had a job regarding abductions on it. These were jobs that she showed a particular interest in as people who were operating large kidnapping organizations or the like may very well know something about where Lieri is or was.

The young woman read through the contents of the letter and then raised her eyes to look at Tom again. "Thank you, Tom. I really appreciate it," she stated calmly.

She'd need to take the letter back into the Guild to get things moving and that was exactly what she moved to do.

Deaestra entered the structure once more and started toward the counter. The girl was there but she was currently speaking to the obnoxious man from just moments ago. With a quiet sigh, the violet-eyed girl stood behind him to wait her turn.
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Norwich
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North East Port Town

Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild



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Norwich Guildhall
Quest Counter



"You're very welcome, little lady. Maybe this one will be the big break, eh?" Crier Tom gave the girl a soft smile, then followed her inside. While she headed to the counter, though, he threaded his way between tables and chairs to the bulletin board. As he tacked up new quests, he glanced over at the counter. Deaestra stepped up behind a tall, broad shouldered fellow. Tom narrowed his eyes.

"Smells like trouble." His voice was quiet, but held a hard edge. No one sitting nearby heard him, however, and he went back to his task with none the wiser what he thought of the man.

As Deaestra quietly sighed, the blonde man with golden eyes spared her the barest turn of his head. He raised an eyebrow, but nothing more before he turned back to the counter. The mousy attendant held out his Guild Card with a shaking hand. But as she took a deep breath, at least she managed to speak without stuttering this time.

"Here you are, Mister Grayson! You are now certified as an Iron-rank member of the Guild!" she began, no doubt part of a rehearsed spiel. "Iron-rank members usually take the requests of lower difficulty--thief-catching, slaying small monsters like Goblins or dangerous animals, and security for local businesses. If you can find a group, we'll usually consider letting you take on higher risk jobs so long as every person is also a member of the Guild. Rank evaluations are available every--"

"What are the ranks?" His voice wasn't...cold, exactly. Nor was it angry or impatient, though the way he had cut her off certainly came off that way. Rather it was simply...a bit mechanical, perhaps.

"Oh! Well, Iron is actually the second rank, above Bronze. The card's readings indicate you're rather strong for a new recruit, you see...probably because you were a soldier?" Her tone of voice indicated she was clearly making a guess, just based on how he carried himself and the fact that his sword was one of a standard issue among the military.

"I was in an army, yes." Grayson held the card up and eyed it intensely. "How much information is on here?"

When he asked that question his own tone seemed to rapidly cool the temperature of the room.

"Oh, just um, a general idea of your physical health...and in most cases your magical affinities, though um..." She lowered her voice, though Deaestra could still hear her on account of how close she was, "Since you're a Void element, that doesn't show up on yours." The Void element was not a "real" element, like Fire, Water, Light, or Darkness. To be Void meant that a person possessed no magic whatsoever, which was different from saying one could not use magic. There were plenty of people--commoners, farmers, craftsmen--who could not use magic because they had never studied it or practiced it or developed it. But they might still have an untapped talent with Fire magic, or they might be capable of using an old wives' healing charm. But those who were Void had no magic at all, their bodies being completely devoid of it. Such people were often considered odd and to be avoided, much like someone with a physical deformity or a mental disability, because magic was considered to be closely tied to one's life force. Hence why even the Undead were magical in nature--the magic itself was what made their bodies to live again.

But when the guild girl pointed out his disability, Grayson's shoulders seemed to relax slightly. Had that been a smile? Or another teasing smirk?

"And the ranks?" he asked again. At that moment another Guild Girl, seeing that Deaestra was waiting and that Grayson likely had some more questions, stepped up alongside the mousy one and smiled to the Celestial.

"Ah yes, sorry! After Iron there's Steel, then Adamant, Silver, the three Gold ranks of Yellow, Red, and White, then finally Platinum. Each rank is..." The first attendant's explanation droned on as the second one spoke up for Deaestra.

"Good morning, Deaestra! How have you been?" she asked with a bright smile, bringing her hands together in front of her with a soft clap of her velvet white gloves. "What can I help you with today?"



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Sin
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Slow and steady...
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Norwich ~ North East Port Town
Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild


The man had questions about the card he was issued upon joining the Guild so Deaestra continued to wait while his questions were answered. While the woman behind the counter tried to keep quiet about it, she was able to hear that this man was a 'Void' element. Why anyone bothered to try and keep something like that a secret was beyond her. A soldier was a soldier, a fighter a fighter, a warrior a warrior. Whether they were capable of flinging fancy spells around or not shouldn't be of note.

Regardless, eventually a second woman came to the counter and addressed Deaestra, asking her how she'd been. The young woman walked over to where the second Guild attendant stood and handed her the slip that Tom had given her a few minutes ago. "I'm alright," she added as she handed the slip over. "I'd like to look into this if I can," she added as the Guild attendant began to look it over. "Tom gave it to me outside..."

While her demeanour was calm and collected, inwardly, Deaestra was extremely interested in this particular job and any other job like it. She had a feeling that continuously looking into organizations and groups conducting these types of crimes would be the fastest way of finding her sister.
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Norwich
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North East Port Town

Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild



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Norwich Guildhall
Quest Counter



"Oh...this one." The second Guild Girl took the Quest Form, and after a moment of reading it over frowned slightly. "Yes...this one's a bit dicey. You're probably a good fit for the job, Deaestra, given your...experience." She looked up at the Celestial with concern. "But it's dangerous, and somewhat information sensitive. I don't think we can allow you to do it alone, either--"

"I'll volunteer." The mousy haired first Guild Girl silenced herself with an "eep" before she had finished her explanation about the Adventurer's Ranks being determined by strength, skill, number of successful missions, etc. The blonde haired and golden eyed man who had spoken up crossed his arms and looked down at Deaestra--literally, because he was a foot taller than she was. Her head barely came up to his broad chest. But aside from that it didn't seem like he was actually "looking down" on her--his voice, much like before, was simply very matter of fact. "I need a job in any case, and with your--" He stopped, eyes flickering almost as if to see if someone had caught him--"I mean, if you use magic, I can keep enemies away while you cast."

"Ah, um, Mister...Grayson, was it?" The second Guild Girl, taller and sterner of expression than the first, kept the paper pressed to her chest where the warrior wouldn't be able to read its contents. She looked him over with a suspicious eye. "I'm afraid, as someone who just joined the Guild, I don't think I can recommend this Quest for you--or you for it. You're brand new, and--"

"Is it merely because I'm untested in the field?" Grayson did look down on the Guild Girl, and the air seemed to drop in temperature once more. "Or because you aren't sure you can trust me? If I heard right, this mission is information sensitive?" He put one elbow on the counter, leaning across it nonchalantly while he stared the attendant in the eye. "If you'd like, I'll swear my word not to speak of it, even if I end up turning the mission down."

"Your word?" The Guild Girl narrowed her eyes, but even though she didn't back down Deaestra could see from the other side of her that her legs were quivering. "Your word isn't worth much here, sir--"

"Perhaps not to you." Grayson turned to Deaestra. "Or to you, miss. But to me, my word is my honor, and my honor is worth everything."

"...Deaestra." The Guild Girl turned back to the Celestial with a sigh, rubbing her temple with one hand. "Since you'll be the principle Quest-Taker, I'll leave it to you. Do you think it's worth considering him?"

"If you'd like, I'll prove my worth in whatever trial you like." Grayson crossed his arms again and drew himself to his full height. "I may as well get it out of the way now--I don't intend to fight for scraps with rookies. New to the Guild I may be...but the battlefield and I are cradle companions."
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Sin
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Norwich ~ North East Port Town
Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild


She had no issue with allowing Deaestra to go on the quest but she had some concerns that the young girl alone wouldn't be sufficient. As such, the Guild girl recommended she get at least one other person to go with her. Much to her surprise though, the arrogant man at the counter alongside her volunteered to go as well. The Guild had issue with it however as he had just signed up and it was considered a higher tiered mission. Deaestra remained silent as the man effectively haggled his way into it. The Guild girl looked to Deaestra and asked if if she was okay with him accompanying her on the mission. Considering she wasn't allowed to go alone, she didn't really have a choice.

"Fine," she responded simply, not wanting to start a whole ordeal.

At least the man seemed to genuinely want to participate. Whether it was to prove himself or just raw, unfiltered arrogance was yet to be seen. Regardless, Deaestra's first-time opinion of the man was not a positive one yet beggars couldn't be choosers. She needed to look into these disappearances and they wouldn't let her do it without help.
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Onime No Ryu
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I'll be your Undertaker this evening
Norwich
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North East Port Town

Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild



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Norwich Guildhall
Meeting Room



"...Very well. If you'll follow me..." The second Guild Girl led them back behind the counter, to a small meeting room. A wide coffee table sat upon a patterned rug, and two sturdy wooden chairs with plush cushions and armrests had been placed on either side of it. The rest of the room was very pleasant: a thick carpet that looked quite clean and smelled fresh, a couple of potted plants in the corners that gave the place some color and life, and warmly glowing scented candles upon wall-sconces made to look like curling vines of engraved metal. But there were no windows, and only two doors--one going back the way they had come, another going further into the Guild, likely where the Guildmaster and attendants' offices were.

"Ann, if you would, please bring some refreshments." The attendant held the door for Grayson and Deaestra, while the other mousy girl quickly nodded and disappeared through another door on the other side of the counter space. The taller and sterner girl entered the room with the two adventurers, and bid them to take a seat on one side while she took the other. Both of them waited patiently and in silence, Grayson leaning that large greatsword against the side of his chair, as the girl started off their meeting the same way most of these things probably started--an explanation that by accepting this quest, the Guild was not liable for any risk they would face or any injuries or deaths they would suffer; that by pledging to complete it they would be contractually bound to do their reasonable best to fulfill it; that if they broke laws or tried to cheat the Guild they would be apprehended by the authorities or else subject to "mercenary reclamation" teams hired by the Guild, and so on and so forth.

During the attendant's droning, Grayson took the time to observe his possible new "partner" in more detail. He didn't leer at her, but he didn't exactly hide the fact that he was looking her over, either. Leaning back in his chair comfortably, one ankle crossed over the other knee, he tapped his chin with a single finger in thought.

She certainly wasn't bad looking, but that hadn't concerned him to begin with. From her looks, however, he could deduce that she couldn't be entirely pureblooded human. Norwich was closer to the Ashyran border and was a trade city, so one would see a large variety of people, but most Viskardians didn't have skin tones that dark even if they tanned well. She could be Ashyran or of mixed heritage, but she didn't have some of the other features associated with the desert mongrels either. Her proportions were very slight; not just her height and her petite build, but there was just something about her that Grayson felt was "airy," or "light." And speaking of light, that was her magic as well.

Grayson did not actually have a "sense" for magic, the way some wizards might. With their spells or meditations they might be able to track a person's "signature" energy, or deduce more information about them. But Grayson's particular abilities were only suited for direct confrontation--she was in the same room with him, so the ambiance she gave off could be considered like a field around her that Grayson merely passed through. And he had seen enough magic over the years, from enough people, that he could tell what kind of "field" he was passing through. Beyond that he had no idea what her spells were like or what she could do--just a very rough estimate of how powerful she was, or how powerful the excess seeping out of her was at the least, and what her element was. Like before, he only sensed Light. This lent credence to her heritage. Most humans didn't entirely specialize in only one element of magic. Even if they chose to only actively use Fire for combat, or Earth for defense, they were still capable of using other elements and most would have studied the fundamentals enough to have a few cantrips of each style. But Deaestra, as she was called, only had Light.

But by her same light and airy qualities, Grayson could tell she was physically fragile. He felt that, if he were of the mind to do it, he might just reach out and give her a light squeeze about the throat, and that pretty little face would go slack in seconds with a sharp crack--But perhaps not? Physically fragile, yes. But the man had seen many a soldier's thousand yard stare, and many a dying man's countenance of despair. This little girl had been through something, something that had hardened her. The body was soft and delicate, but the will seemed strong. Hard. Iron.

Grayson allowed himself a smirk towards Deaestra, before he looked back at the Guild Girl.

She had finished her spiel just in time, and Ann re-entered with a small tray. She placed a steaming cup of black, thin-bodied and lightly colored tea in front of all three at the table, followed by a small plate with a slice of cake, a napkin, and a tiny fork upon it. It was a soft, freshly baked slice of angelfood with an icing made from sweet vanilla and thick cream, with fresh slices of juicy-looking strawberry on top. The tea's slightly fruity, floral aroma drifted on the air to tickle their noses. The more timid attendant gave a short bow, then hurried out of the room yet again.

"Feel free, I know these briefings are tedious." said the Guild Girl. "Now, Deaestra I am proud to say I've known for a while. And your name was...just Grayson?" The man nodded curtly and unfolded his leg, leaning forward slightly now that they were getting to the interesting part.

"Yes." He reached out and slid his plate of cake over towards Deaestra. "You may have that, miss. I'm afraid I don't fancy sweets much." He did, however, pick up the tea and quietly take a sip.

"And I am Lisa, a pleasure to meet you." Her smile didn't seem quite so genuine. She slid the Quest Report Deaestra had given her across the table for Grayson to read. "Now, as to the mission..."

"The disappearances are not just limited to Norwich, but other nearby towns and settlements. However, all of those who were taken were here at the last time they were seen. Specifically, they were at the docks." she began, sipping her own tea. "Based on the times at which the kidnappings occurred, we believe they were of course taken by a slaving ship. Four times in the past year means roughly every three months, and based on that schedule we have narrowed the list down to a handful of ships that pass through the bay regularly. Of that list, only one is currently in port right now, which is why Tom probably hurried to get this Quest Form here early. However, it is an Ashyran ship."

"So that's the reason for secrecy. You're worried about it being an international incident." Grayson spoke up. He looked at Deaestra to see if she would have anything to add.

"Essentially yes, but not only that." Lisa continued, after swallowing a mouthful of her cake and daintily dabbing her chin with her napkin. "The Guild is actually protected in most such cases because we are a separate entity from Viskard's government or military. We have branches in other nations and can operate freely anywhere so long as we do not violate the laws of the nation in which the activity occurs. Kidnapping is illegal within Viskard, and the slave-trade is highly regulated by law. We are well within our rights to take this request."

"So the other reason must be...you think it's not isolated?" The man sipped his own tea again, closing his eyes and apparently savoring the strong, bitter flavor.

"Yes. Plus, as I'm sure you've deduced," Lisa seemed fairly impressed with his intelligence thus far, but still looked far from trusting, "If word were to get out that the Guild were doing this, the kidnappers would no doubt make a run for it and we don't know what would happen to the victims. So subtlety is key to this mission, at least until you have the victims under your protection."

"Hm...So do we want to try and capture one?" Grayson asked. "Bring him back alive so he can tell us how far up the chain this thing goes?"

"If possible. But it's not a priority right now. The lives of the children and girls are." Lisa looked this time at Deaestra. "It's one ship, and we estimate the crew to be between a dozen and twenty individuals. We don't think they're highly trained or militant combatants, but nonetheless you'll be outnumbered. Are you sure you can handle it?"

Grayson snorted as if he found something humorous.
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Sin
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Slow and steady...
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Norwich ~ North East Port Town
Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild


The two were lead into the back to a small meeting room. Deaestra hadn't been here too many times before as they typically only used this particular room if the mission was serious enough to garner a briefing or foreword. The girl gestured toward a pair of chairs and Deaestra in turn took a seat. Grayson sat as well after removing his sword and turned his eyes toward her, looking her up and down to size the younger girl up. His gaze made her uncomfortable, but she didn't show it and instead, kept her eyes looking straight ahead. He soon smirked at her and then looked toward the Guild girl.

Another entered the room again as she had been dispatched before to bring back refreshments. The group was giving a cup of tea and a slice of cake; both of which Deaestra set into, consuming both as if a member of some type of aristocracy. It appeared Grayson didn't want his as he slid his plate toward her, explaining that he wasn't much for sweets. Deaestra eye'd the plate for a moment before extending her hand to pull it closer to herself.

Lisa began to explain the details of what they would be doing. It seemed that there had been some disappearances down at the docks, leading the Guild to believe that perhaps they were taking people out of the city on ships. The suspect ships had been narrowed down and there was currently only one of them remaining in the dock. They had no idea when it would leave or even for how long it would be there so this request was likely time-sensitive. The fact that it was an Ashyran ship made things trickier, but this was a fact that Deaestra cared little about and as such, remained silent.

They would need to keep things dark until everyone aboard the ship against their will was secure. The two were given a rough estimate of how many antagonists might be aboard the ship before being asked if they were ready, more or less.

"It shouldn't be an issue," Deaestra responded as she finished off Grayson's piece of cake as well as her own. "I'd like to get going though," she added, anxiousness more than evident in her antsy body language.
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Kazemitsu
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Assassin
Norwich Guildhall
Meeting Room

Rafael stroked his chin with a shadowed hand while he looked over the job boards in the Guild. He had been a long time member and had almost any pick of job he wished. But his perusal was interrupted by one of the Guild Girls approaching him. "Excuse me, Rafael. A mission with your expertise is about to start." The woman said as she looked up at the man.

Rafael tilted his head slightly before his eyes flashed. "Ah, finally getting that mission underway, eh? About time..." He stated before following the girl to the back meeting rooms. The girl knocked before opening the door after Lisa had explained things to the other two and the one with the greatsword had given his own input.

"Sorry to interrupt, Lisa. I brought Rafael since he had been on the log for this mission and he was actually here." The girl said, stepping aside to let Rafael in. Ducking into the room he looked down at the two seated people. They could only see the dull red glow of his eyes since he was fully covered in a cloak.

His head tilted, which ruffled the hood of his cloak a bit. "They don't look like much...you sure these two are ready for this? He questioned both guild girls. He didn't have their magic cards nor magical abilities to see how strong someone was. The guild girl next to him palmed her face at his reaction to the pair who were going on the job.
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Onime No Ryu
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Norwich
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North East Port Town

Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild



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Norwich Guildhall
Meeting Room



Deaestra didn't seem to be intimidated by the fact that they were going to be outnumbered possibly ten to one. Of course, the blonde man had never batted an eye at that, but he was....well, himself. But towards Deaestra, Grayson raised an eyebrow. He had already deduced she had been here long enough to garner a bit of reputation, but now that he thought about it he didn't know what rank she had. Maybe this would be more interesting than it sounded.

Then a third Guild Girl, this one a bouncy--quite literally, looking at her chest--and enthusiastic personality compared to Ann's timid shyness and Lisa's prim and proper seriousness, entered to introduce another Adventurer. She said he had been on log for this mission, so Grayson assumed they must have picked him out from a list of people deemed suitable to the particulars before their Messenger had made the public announcement that the mission was on-board.

"Ah, good." said Lisa with a sigh of relief as the cloaked figure ducked into the room. Grayson's other eyebrow raised. So whoever this one was, they didn't have any doubts about his ability to handle ten-to-one odds. But if he had been picked out for this mission, which was somewhat sensitive...did that means his strengths lay in infiltration, possibly assassination? The warrior didn't get that feel from him, neither from his build nor his apparent personality.

"They don't look like much...you sure these two are ready for this?" Grayson's eyes now drew narrow. Something about this figure seemed...familiar. As did the odd...magic? The odd power around him. It didn't feel quite like regular magic. More like the physical presence of power. But there was no weapon present, and Grayson didn't get the refined sense of a martial artist from the man calling himself Rafael.

"Deaestra I have confidence in. Mr. Grayson, however, has only just joined. He did qualify for Iron rank right off the bat, but..."

"I guarantee there will be no issue." Grayson stood from his chair, and with one hand easily hefted the massive greatsword with a flourish like a baton. With the other hand he brushed his cape aside. The sword snapped into the leather loop on his back with a smooth movement, the kind that had clearly been practiced until it was muscle memory.

"And I hope your guarantee means something." Lisa turned her nose up as she stood, nodded to the third Guild Girl. The two of them stepped aside so the three adventurers could exit at their leisure. "Make whatever arrangements you need. From this moment on it's up to you. Good luck." She spoke moreso to Deaestra and Rafael. Grayson noted she didn't exactly seem quite so cheery with the latter as the former, but even if she wasn't friendly with the cloaked figure she seemed to trust him.

So that probably ruled out the scenario Grayson was playing out in his head. That this cloaked figure might have the same sort of history as himself. Still, it was evident Rafael wasn't a run-of-the-mill adventurer. This job would definitely be more interesting than it sounded.
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Sin
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Slow and steady...
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Norwich ~ North East Port Town
Local Branch of The Adventurer's Guild


Deaestra had assumed that it would be just herself and Grayson for this journey but the Guild would have it another way. The door creaked open and another Guild matron entered, a cloaked figure in tow. The petite girl turned her head to look at him and for a moment, didn't know who he was. It wasn't until he spoke did she realize that it was Rafael. They had had very little interaction, apparently so little that he didn't even know who she was, if his chosen words were to be believed. Still, she knew who he was if for no other reason than his unique appearance.

Deaestra stood up as everyone readied themselves to leave. Grayson wasn't overly fond of Rafael second-guessing his adeptness but the girl herself remained wordless and simply moved toward the door, Lisa's words of well-wishes being heard but not responded to either. They had a bit of time to ready themselves before moving out but Deaestra wanted to go right away. She promptly moved through the Guild and toward the entrance door, stepping outside and taking a seat on a stone bench to wait for the other two. The sooner they all got going, the sooner she'd be able to discover whether Lieri was involved with these people or not...
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Kazemitsu
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Norwich Guildhall
Meeting Room

Rafael shook his head when Lisa spoke. He didn't say anything but she should know by now that just because someone was new to the guild didn't mean they didn't have experience. He had joined with a good chunk of demon slaying under his belt as he moved from his homeland, which was followed by some bandit clearing. Either way it was just how Lisa was, wary until you proved yourself.

He watched Lisa and the other girl leave before he turned his attention back towards Daestra and Grayson. He recognized the girl but he had never been on a job with her. Their abilities tended to not mesh very well. Grayson was an unknown but had a familiarity to him. Shrugging his shoulders at the thoughts. "Guess we should get going before the ship decides to leave port. We'll need to find one of the crew members of it for me to work my 'magic' touch." Rafael stated while Daestra started moving.

Stepping aside he let her go first then he followed along, fully expecting Grayson to follow suit. They could walk and talk, the human brain was sophisticated enough for that. "If we can't find a crew member...we'll have to get on the ship from the water. If we do find a crew member, well you'll see." Rafael said as he moved. Despite his size he had an odd animalistic grace to what few movements the two could see through the cloak.
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