The water lapped upon the sand like the tongue of a lazy lesbian with her lover. Waves rolled and broke just before shore much to the delight of the kids playing in the surf. There were only a few kids playing today; there were only a few kids playing most days recently. The man who tended the foodstand remembered when these beaches were swarming with people and his line stretched as far as he could see. Now only tourists frequented the beach and he barely made enough to pay off the RiftRaffers’ “protection” fees. He stared across the skyline of the city remembering when the skyscrapers were built. Large buildings that towered above the city walls standing 30 or 40 feet in height Altondale’s business offices and laboratories were quite a sight; something the poor merchant had never seen anywhere else. They were the reason he’d decided to stay. When he rode into the port aboard the Islet, a ship he’d bought a year before arrival, the metal docks resisting rust and wave had impressed him, but it was the Trolley Train that circled the skyscrapers and the buildings themselves that convinced him this is where fortunes were made. At first everything seemed to be glamorous but then the gangs moved in and it seemed to the poor man that a day didn’t go by without a crier telling the tale of a murder or a robbery.
Just off the port, with its stainless steel docks capable of mooring 30 ships at a time, a ship sank below the waves riddled with pirate cannon fire. Its treasure taken and its captain strung from the mast like a gruesome flag warning nearby ships to pay the “toll” or never do business in these waters again. The coast guard attempted to save as many survivors as they could while the Locker’s Supplier captained by the pirate Ramsey sailed away.
In the alleys of Market square, an expanse of 200 square kilometers, a woman met her final moments in a struggle to keep her jewels. The police would find the body in a matter of hours, and likely never catch the mugger, or perhaps they would pick up a homeless man and frame him for it. People didn’t like unsolved murders.
By the city gate a house burned. The people said the resident was still inside. They couldn’t remember his name, Robert perhaps, he was a gnome that had refused to give the local thieves guild his latest discovery. Had even dared to threaten the thugs should they come around again. The smell of burnt gnome is not as delectable as that of bacon.
Standing on the 36th floor of a building very near the center of Altondale a man sipped his spirits. Like the liquid in his glass the man’s spirit was getting low. He was the Master of the Guard and he feared corruption in its ranks. He feared inefficiency in its policies. He feared he had lost the city he once loved. And he feared there was nothing he could do about it. This city with its rampant crime and over powered gangs, was mostly made of good people. He was sure of it. Good people who were powerless against the evil forces that were strangling them. Powerless because they had lives to live, bills to pay, families to take care of. So much to lose and the forces which crowded the streets had no problem taking everything away from anyone who stood up to them. Everytime he tried to enact any sort of strong measures to clean up the street he met red tape. He sighed as he watched an ogre he knew was guilty of a whole slew of things walk out the doors of the justice halls. With all the redtape he simply couldn’t get the evidence to lock the slime away. Small fry. That’s all that was ever caught these days, and the streets just got deadlier by the day. Perhaps it was time to do something outside of the law he’d lovingly served for five decades. He pressed a button alerting his secretary he wished to see her.
“Yes sir?” The secretary asked. I think it’s time the people had heroes he signed to her. A few weeks ago she’d approached him over dinner with a plan to hire a team of heroes to help clean up the street. He’d rejected the idea. Vigilantes were as much a danger as Mafia bosses. A lack of rules often led to chaos. But watching Mr. Plo walk out those doors… It was time for a little chaos.
“Yes sir” The secretary said simply. She had a few people in mind, but she wasn’t going to tell any names. The less people knew anything the less likely the heroes would be caught or killed. She hoped.
In several houses people came home from their long days. Coming home was supposed to be a moment to relax. To destress. And on most days it was. On this day though coming home was a realization of violation. Someone had broken in. Checking the home nothing was discovered missing. Instead the only discovery was a note laid upon their pillow. The city of AltonDale was once safe and law-abiding. The crime rate was low and the trade was high. The prosperity made it a hub of research, experimental technologies, and trade. The City Guard proudly kept the citizens safe. However as is inevitable in a growing city crime soon became more than the guard could handle. The various gangs and crime related guilds quickly gained advantages over the law enforcing agencies. And the agencies themselves proved only to vulnerable to corruption.
Now the City Guard is over spread and under manned. The Crime Lords make the rules and the innocent civilian lives in fear of getting caught in a gang war or simply looking like an easy mark. Enough is enough. I need a team that is brave and strong enough to fight back, and end this dark age. I need a team of Heroes, not held to the bounds which have made the law enforcement impotent. I need you, and I am willing to pay. I will pay 20 gold a week for your services as a vigilante. If interested meet at the Luck of Shinara.
Signed Lord Brown.
The Luck of Shinara was a bar on the portside of the city. It was very nearly on the docks and often bunked a rough crowd. It was the first bar a sailor came to hopping off ship, and so was loud and always full. Tonight an arm-wrestling match seemed to draw most attention, while a scrawny tired looking dancer twirled probably drunk on stage along the east wall of the tavern her colorful outfit carefully tailored to show more skin than hide it. Just off stage a band played out of tune though no one seemed to notice. All tables were taken except one in the western corner nearest the bar. This table had a reserved sign placed upon it.
Earlier in the day “… If interested meet at the Luck of Shinara.
Signed, Lord Brown
“Lord Brown,” Dak muttered the name under his breath as he scratched absently at one whisker-stubbled cheek and his gaze swept apprehensively around his tiny room, “I don’t know that I’ve heard that name before.”
His scowl deepened but, somehow, at the same time, his demeanor eased when he realized that, aside from the neatly folded letter he’d just found on his pillow, nothing else was amiss. The gear he’d left behind prior to last night’s ranging and the fattish coinpurse he kept secreted away in the false bottom of a drawer in the bedside table were both undisturbed, and, in fact, had it not been for the letter, he might not have known that anyone had been here, at all. He watched Dog as, nose to the floorboards, she sniffed a circle about the bed, to the door and back, and then, tail wagging, jumped onto the bed and curled herself up at it’s foot and stared up at him.
“Kai, eh,” the ranger’s scowl morphed into something more like a smile as he reached out a hand to scratch the animal between her ears and his green eyes regarded the note in his other hand, once more, “but, something, still…”
He folded the letter, relegated it to one of the small pouches that hung from his belt, and, his gaze still suspiciously scanning the room, sat on the edge of the bed next to Dog.
“…Something, indeed, uma?” The dog grumbled and rested her head in the half-elf’s lap, prompting his one hand to join the other in the scratching of her head. Her tail wagged with a bit more enthusiasm at that, beating out a soft thump-thump-thump against the bedclothes as Dak continued; “Something of more than a little interest, I think, don’t you? Twenty gold a week isn’t a sorry sum to offer us, especially considering we’ve already been doing the same thing for free… And, if nothing else, I’d like to meet this man who so easily and, it seems, invisibly, gained access to our home.
What say you, Dog,” the ranger asked, his gaze now dropping to meet that of his companion’s, “Do we go to The Luck of Shinara and meet with this Lord Brown?”
A soft bark and chuff was Dog’s answer and Dak nodded in acknowledgement. “Precisely my thoughts,” he said, tousling the fur between her ears before abandoning the scratching altogether.
“Come,” he said, getting to his feet and moving to gather the remainder of his gear, “Let’s go and see what Shinara’s Luck reveals about this benefactor.”
Later, at The Luck of Shinara
The Luck was as boisterous and seedy as it ever was when Dak and Dog slipped inside that evening. Just inside the door, the ranger’s emerald eyes skimmed the crowd, making note of the placement and preoccupations of patrons and staff alike, before he committed another step. Dog whimpered faintly at the discordant music that scarcely rose above the din of the place and Dak’s hand reached out to pat her head in consolation. “Sinta’amin,” the ranger murmured, eyeing the waifish dancer for a moment before, finally, moving for the lone empty table in the place, “not the highest caliber of entertainment in the city, girl, but this is not why we’re here.”
Dog chuffed, nuzzled the ranger’s hand, and followed at his heel as he weaved through the crowd. When they reached the empty table, she sat and glanced back toward the door as Dak regarded the ‘Reserved’ sign for a fraction of an instant and, then, settled himself into one of the chairs behind the thing. She twitched her tail rather than wagged it and, as her ranger friend settled into his chosen spot, she curled up at his feet, resting her muzzle on her paws, and kept watch on the door.
((OOC: Elvish to English translations: Kai = Nothing; uma= yes; sinta'amin = I know))
Posted on 2015-09-14 at 07:39:41.
Edited on 2015-09-15 at 13:40:26 by Eol Fefalas
Alex slowly walked home at the end of a long day of training at the mage gym. Feeling the soreness from the sparring matches, they say use 10% of your power though it feels more like 70%. He walked inside hung his robe and noticed an envelope on his bed quickly he looked around his small apartment but found everything in its rightful place. Carefully he picked up the envelope unsure what to make of it. He opened it expecting some sort of trap but nope it was just a letter guess people cant just use a mailbox. Reading the letter his reaction changed realizing this would be a good mission to put all he has learned to the real test. Grabbing his robe he went back out the door hoping he wouldn't be late.
He entered the bar packed as always he didn't like being on the port side of town but what do you do. He noticed one table with only 1 man sitting at it with a dog curled at his feet, perhaps this was the man who so stealthily walked into his apartment. he made his way through the crowd to the table, pulled out a chair and sat next to him "So are you this Mr. Brown?
It hadn’t been long, at all, after Dak arrived, that a frazzled serving girl found her way to the table. She offered an accommodating, if somewhat tired, smile when his eyes met hers. “Oh,” she said, a faint recognition lighting her eyes, “h’lo, Dak. Haven’t seen you here in a while.”
The ranger returned the smile and offered a faint shrug along with it; “Been elsewhere of late, arwenamin.”
“Good to see you, all the same,” she said, “The usual?”
Dak nodded and the serving girl beamed as she skittered away to fetch a mug of mulled cider and, perhaps, a bone or some other scraps for Dog. She had yet to return when the ranger caught sight of another person approaching the table… A mage of some sort by the looks of him, Dak surmised, as this newcomer drew up to the table and took a seat.
“So,” the mage said, settling in the chair he’d selected, “are you this Mr. Brown?”
“No,” the ranger answered, “but I had thought to ask the same of you until just now.” He extended a hand in greeting; “Dak Whisperfoot,” he said by way of introduction, “mae govannen.”
((OOC: Elvish to English translation: arwenamin = m'lady; mae govannen = well met ))
Posted on 2015-09-14 at 11:04:44.
Edited on 2015-09-15 at 13:42:32 by Eol Fefalas
Pyrus padded toward her smallish room and paused just shy of entering the door, smelling something foreign. She had picked a decrepit inn along the docks, one that wouldn't look too closely at her appearance so land as she paid hard coin. Long ears perked forward under the hooded cowl she always wore, causing the fabric to twitch slightly as she listened for anything unusual. The bawdy noises of dockhands and cheap whores rattled around the building and she stepped into the room with a half drawn dagger. She didn't like surprises unless she was the one doing the surprising. Nose twitching to pick up the unfamiliar scent and her eyes locked onto a neatly pressed letter laying incongruously atop her disheveled and unkempt small pallet. Pyrus darted a swift glance at the rest of the room before snatching the paper from her bed, curiosity winning over every other sense as she scanned the document enclosed. The small cape she wore moved with a swish as the tail hidden beneath it jerked in an excited movement. This Lord Brown had an interesting way of enlistment and she hurriedly swept out of the small room toward the Luck of Shinara.
Pyrus darted into the raucous inn, bubbling with curiosity and made her way past the legs of patrons much taller than herself. She spotted the lone quiet table and noticed the 'reserved' sign and slowed to a stop at sight of the dog. Since her transformation, canines hadn't been overly fond of her and she tried hard to avoid them. She skirted around the table to approach it from the farthest edge away from the dog and overheard the one man ask the other... "So are you this Mr. Brown?" and kept her silence as she wanted the answer herself as she peered up at the strangers from behind. She piped up in her high pitched voice at hearing the answer
"Looks like we've all been summoned by a ghost" She jested and climbed onto a chair in order to introduce herself closer to the men's height, making a small wave with a paw-like hand. "Pyrus Ashcoat, eagerly awaiting this Lord Brown too"
*shakes hands with dak* "hi I'm Alex Bertrand". I nod my head to the talking fox now sitting with us. Thinking to myself hopefully this lord brown shows up soon otherwise were about to start drawing attention being 3 nonsailors at a sailors bar.
After spending much of the day downstairs in the kitchen, Heironymus Enjolras Myriel made his way up the stairs towards his room. He was tired, both physically and spiritually. Somehow this day, so like so many others recently, had seemed harder than those before. He'd worked in the shelter's kitchen and cooked and served food for the helpless and homeless. He'd listened to stories of tough luck and offered encouragement.
But all to often it wasn't just tough luck, it was something far worse. People were being ground down by other people - by those who simply didn't care about the lives of those around them. Petty criminals, gangs, crime bosses and even government officials gone bad. These were ugly times and Heironymus was struggling to figure out what to do about it. His vision of himself was as a person who helped those who needed a little help getting on their feet. It wasn't a grand role, but it was his and it gave meaning to his life. But recently he'd felt more like Sisyphus pushing his stone uphill than anything else. Did the city need more than a little assistance? Did it need a clean sweep? Did it need revolution? Who even needed to get swept out first? The crime bosses? Or the city elders who would do nothing to stop another set of crime bosses from stepping in?
With such thoughts coursing through his mind the young cleric tread heavily up the stairs and opened his door. And there he stopped. His room was sparse. He had very few possessions and his room had a bit of the look of a monks cell. It wasn't quite that sparse as the gear from his adventuring days was stored in a trunk, but there was little else. Which made the note's presence glaring. He was tempted to sigh as thoughts of local crimes sped through his mind. But this was different. Thieves didn't leave notes.
His curiosity peaked, Heironymus moved to the bed, claimed the envelope, opened it, and read.
"Lord Brown?" Did he know that name? He didn't think so. Vigilantes? It was an interesting proposition. In a just world the authorities would do this job. In a proper world vigilantes were not only not needed, but they were undesirable. But his home city was anything but a just world at this moment. Had he not just been thinking that it needed a cleansing? Perhaps this could be a start. Or perhaps it would provide him with the connections and information for something bigger and more useful. Or maybe it would simply allow him to claim 20gp a week for his efforts - taking money from the thieves to help those they stole from. That earned a little smile.
The cleric moved quickly as the fatigue of just a few steps earlier fell off of him. He would give this group a shot. He would see what Lord Brown had to offer. And so he unlocked his trunk and put on the armor that had sat unused since he had returned to the city. If he was going to such a meeting, he would go prepared. The armor was covered by his cloak, but would be noticeable to those who knew what to look for. But this was probably what Mr. Brown was attempting to hire. He would see.
And so prepared he quickly moved portside. The Luck of Shinara was not a tavern he frequented, nor one his father would have gone near in the old days. But he knew where it was and quickly arrived at his destination. Wondering what fate had in store, he entered the loud establishment.
The note had been vague on time and any specifics about the meeting, but the table of vigilantes seemed obvious at a glance. A small group sat at the table. A half-elf fighter of some sort, a human mage and a fox-kin. And a dog, don't forget the dog, he told himself. You never knew. None of them seemed to be what he expected of a "Lord Brown," although he vaguely hoped it was the foxkin. That would certainly make things interesting.
Heironymus moved towards the table and greeted those already seated. "Lord Brown's City Sweepers, I presume?" Getting enough of a reaction to know that he had, indeed, guessed correctly, he added, "I am Heironymus Enjolras Myriel. May I sit and join you?"
“…I’m Alex Bertrand,” the mage said, clasping Dak’s hand in greeting.
The ranger offered a welcoming nod and, then, like the mage, turned eyes to the curious little creature that had recently scampered into the bar and joined them at the table. Under the table, Dog growled a bit at the foxkin’s arrival… “Tsk, dinalle,” Dak admonished, nudging Dog with a toe.
“Looks like we’ve all been summoned by a ghost,” the little fox-lady japed as she climbed into a chair and waved a paw-like hand in greeting. “Pyrus Ashcoat,” she continued by way of introducing herself, “eagerly awaiting this lord Brown, too.”
“Vedui’, Pyrus,” the ranger nodded, “I am Dak,” he gestured at the mage next to him, then, “this is Alex.”
It was then that yet another approached the table; a tall, somewhat imposing man that had the look of a fighter about him but, at the same time, presented an air of compassion that often went amiss in hardened warrior-types… A war priest? Dak wondered…
“Lord Brown’s City Sweepers, I presume?” the man queried, drawing a wry smile and a faint nod from the ranger, “I am Heironymus Enjolras Myriel. May I sit and join you?”
“Please,” Dak said, gesturing to one of the few remaining chairs surrounding the table, “Hama sinome.”
The serving girl returned, then, bringing with her a large tankard of mulled cider and a wooden bowl containing a soup-bone and a few scraps of meat and fatty gristle, both of which she placed in front of Dak. The ranger nodded his thanks and, as the girl offered her welcoming yet weary smile to the others who had joined him, slipped the bowl under the table to Dog.
“Looks like your table’s filling fast, Dak,” the girl grinned, her eyes ticking from one face to the next…
“Mmhmm,” Dak acknowledged as he took a long pull from the tankard.
“…What can I get for you folks,” she asked…
((OOC: Elvish to English: dinalle = Shush (as used in this case - can also translate to Shut up, be quiet/silent, etc); Vedui = Greetings; Hama sinome = Have a seat ))
Posted on 2015-09-15 at 07:48:30.
Edited on 2015-09-15 at 13:47:41 by Eol Fefalas
Over the rim of his tankard, Dak Whisperfoot’s eyes scanned a slow circuit around the place, travelling the length of the bar, past the band and the bedraggled dancer, skimming by the crowd that was enthusiastically gathered about the table where the arm wrestling competition continued into yet another round, and skipping from table to table thereafter. He leaned back a bit in his chair as his gaze completed that circuit, swallowed the mouthful of cider, and rested his tankard on the table before him. He had only been vaguely paying attention to the chatter at his own table in these past seconds as it consisted mainly of his new compatriots’ orders for the tavern girl. When Alex broached a topic beyond the realm of food and drink, though…
“I'm a professional fighter in the mixed magic arena. What do you guys do, if I may ask?”
…That simple question seemed to echo in his ears more times than it had been spoken aloud and the ranger’s brow furrowed as he struggled to find an answer. Alex said he was a professional fighter in the mixed magic arena. Simple enough and straight forward enough that one could fairly well enough imagine how the man spent his days and nights. He was a Battlemage. Okay… Dak reached for his tankard again, his gaze ticking to regard Dog, happily gnawing at her bone, then lifting to begin a fresh scan of the circuit around the bar, again. He tipped the cider to his lips as he repeated the scan of the room and thought about Alex’s question.
When the sip and scan had completed, this time, the best Dak could do was offer a faint shrug and a half-grin; “I… uh… find people.”
Surely, that's the best way to explain it, isn't it?
Posted on 2015-09-15 at 10:44:03.
Edited on 2015-09-15 at 10:48:44 by Eol Fefalas
"Verdui Dak...and Alex" Pyrus gave them each a polite nod in greeting when another joined them. She at once noticed the bulky stature of the cloaked man and at hearing his name she placed her hands on the tabletop and leaned over it to look at this Heironymus, ears perking forward at his blunt admission about himself. She had been living among the slums of the city and had heard this mans name touted as a self righteous do-gooder. Though from what she has experienced in this place, he needed an army to make any sort of change.
Her attention shifted to the server and she called out for bread, honey, and the darkest ale the place had available. She began to relax down on the chair, kneeling to keep her head and shoulders above the table and watched the arm wrestling even curiously, tail moving slightly under her cloak as she thought about maybe finding out what those burly men kept in their pouches...not that she wanted to steal anything per say she was genuinely curious. You can tell a lot about a man by the contents of his purse. But it was the ranger's vague answer that truly caught her attention back to the table and she huffed in amusement.
Across the table, Pyrus huffed in amusement. “Have that dog of yours sniff them out, do you?” she quipped.
Dak blinked at the little foxkin, and then smiled a little. “No, she mostly just tags along. Doesn’t often do much beyond provide company and, every once and again, gets a nip of an ankle or elbow,” he winked, “She’s gotten pretty fair at playing fetch, too.”
Pyrus' eyes widened in mock terror "Keep that hound from my elbows!" her arms snatched up and folded, hands covering opposing elbows protectively only moving again to take a peek at the dog under the table to make sure it was occupied. Arrival of her requested food silenced her completely, tearing into the almost fresh bread and dipping it in the honey. She popped the chunk in her mouth and spoke around the glob, unable to be silent long.
"So, has anyone heard of this mysterious Lord Brown? He's not familiar to these ears"
My cider arrives I take a big swig of it feeling refreshed now, since I didn't even get a chance to sit down at home. "No, I can't say I know a Lord Brown, though he sure was busy rounding us all up and very good at hiding his tracks. I wonder what he is waiting on or if there are still more people."
Dak couldn’t help but chuckle at Pyrus’ frenetic humor. Shaking his head a bit, he tipped his tankard again and reached under the table to pat Dog’s head.
“So,” the little foxkin said through a mouthful of bread and honey, “has anyone heard of this mysterious Lord Brown? He’s not familiar to these ears.”
“No,” Alex answered first, after swallowing a mouthful of his own beverage, “I can’t say I know of Lord Brown… Though he sure was busy rounding us all up and very good at hiding his tracks. I wonder what he is waiting on, or if there are still more people.”
Dak shrugged; “Today is the first I’ve heard of Lord Brown, at least as far as I can recall.” He leaned back in his seat again and allowed his eyes to track, yet again, around the bar as he continued; “And, mellon Alex, I imagine, judging by the number of chairs left our table, that we await at least one more guest to this party before our mysterious benefactor shows himself.”
((OOC: mellon = friend))
Posted on 2015-09-15 at 18:01:26.
Edited on 2015-09-15 at 18:02:17 by Eol Fefalas