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Angelcynn: The Myrcian Conflict - Act 4

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After meeting the wizard, Malaphar, Owen and his group entered an uneasy alliance. However, after witnessing Malaphar's blatant disregard for human life and how he manipulated those around him, Owen finally demanded answers. However, this resulted in conflict, causing Malaphar to take Owen and some of his allies to his strange world. Escaping with only Baron Nelon injured, Owen had learned Malaphar's desire to see society fall, and the threat he posed to the continent.

Stopping in a village called Magon, Owen's group took their time to rest and evaluate their choices. However, the loss of Javier had affect Scuttle too much, bringing out her darker side, Susan. Attempting to kill Claire and claim the vial, Susan was stopped by Cass and her allies. Meanwhile, Owen and Adele were able to talk to the ghost of Jeeves, learning that both he and Javier were one and the same. Owen also learned that Malaphar had opposed his father also. Later on, Cass and Owen were able to learn their father still lived... but for how much longer they could not tell.

Leaving Magon, Scuttle had escaped the group, struggling with her own internal conflict. A new group of enemies attacked Owen's party, claiming to be under the command of Malaphar. With the help of a wyvern squad claiming to be the Reliants, Owen was able to repel the threat. However, upon learning that Ywein had been slain, Laudine, their leader, demanded retribution. Things were made more complicated as Marcus, a griffon rider from Toulouse, had come with the Rhongomiant and news of Deira's invasion of Wyke.

After much heated debate, Laudine's group had left, although not before a member threw a spear intended for Serge... but had killed Emily instead. Cass had decided to use the vial to attempt to revive Emily, much to Emmet's disdain. With the appearance of Apellon and Arteria, Emmet attempted to betray the group in the search of immortality, but was met with a death sentence from Prince Owen.

16th April 812

It had been nearly a week since their last battle, but thankfully Owen's group had not faced any more adversity in the remainder of their journey. Leaving the savage lands of Magonsaete behind them, the plains and hills of Raewald were almost a welcome sight. Without threats of bandit attacks, it was far easier to progress. However, Emily had not stirred, her body remaining cold and lifeless throughout their journey. However, there were no signs of death or decay otherwise, it was as if she had entered an incredibly deep sleep.

The walls around Tytila were vast, easily fifty feet tall, made from a sturdy stone and complete with multiple guard towers. As they approached the city, Owen's group were immediately hailed by the guards, a group of men clad in a dark grey armour. "Prince Owen of Wyke! It is an honour to welcome you to Raewald! Please, allow us to assist you! Her Highness, Queen Ethel, has instructed us to guide you until she is free to meet with you." one called out, dropping down to one knee as he spoke. The other guards joined him in his gesture. "Open the gates, Prince Owen of Wyke has arrived!"

The gates to the city were as large as the walls, although made from a dark iron rather than stone. Opening slowly, the gates revealed the bustling city of Tytila. Even after a first glance, it became very clear that the city was far larger than Hull. The stalls and buildings went on beyond the eye could see, and the grand tower of Tytila castle was very visible in the background. Packed with people, the crowd had a life of its own, the busy city life keeping everyone moving. One of the guards passed Owen a small piece of paper, depicting a map of the area.

"Prince Owen, I hope that Tytila has all that you would wish for. If there is anything that you cannot acquire, Queen Ethel has requested that you ask at the castle, and she will see to it personally." he added, his men aiding Sebastian with unloading the group's supplies. "Queen Ethel should be available to meet with you in the afternoon at the castle. She has requested that you only take a handful of your most trusted advisers with you, she has said that she is not usually one for large gatherings. Otherwise, you and your subjects are free to explore Tytila as you wish until then. Mr Sebastian has said that he will be more than happy to deal with unpacking and moving your supplies, but we will do all we can to assist him."

The entire party is free to post! Please explore Tytila as you see fit! Remember, this isn't Wyke, you need to behave!

TYTILA SHEET

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Serge had gathered the remaining mercenaries off into a corner, away from the rest of the group. He wanted to keep the conversation private. It had been a long time since they had the chance to sit down and talk, and Serge wished to do it in a safer place, which is why he waited til Raewald to bring anything up. It was time for an ultimatum.

"It's been 24 days since I was made the leader of this group of mercenaries, and so much has happened since then. And I'll admit...not all of it was good. ...We've lost two of our members on the same day; one of whom was the result of an execution for betrayal. I..." Serge didn't really know what to say to them. What could he say? That things were going to get better? That couldn't be farther from the truth and he knew it. "...I'm going to be frank with you all. I've gotten you all into something far more dangerous than I could have ever imagined. We're dealing with lies and deceit that could lead to kingdoms falling on top of each other. Conspiracies that could lead to the deaths of thousands. And we're caught up in the middle of it." He paused, taking a look around at all four of them. He could tell at least that Larissa and Morganna were incredibly uneasy.

"Up until now, I've thought that I've kept your best interests in mind, but now I feel as though I've been neglectful to your well being. And so...I've come to a conclusion. Prince Owen is going to be paying us soon, and after that, I'm giving you all a choice to make. Wyke has been invaded, and we're so far in that I don't think sailing back to your previous lives is an option. And for that...I can't tell you how sorry I am. But I'm not going to force you any longer to work for me. If you want out, now is the time. Raewald is a nice place, and I'm sure that you can find less life-risking jobs here. I'll be sure to put in a good word and help you with any issues as long as the princes group stays. But I'm done dragging you around without giving you an option. And I'm not gonna mince words...Lady Herman isn't at liberty to pay us now that Wyke is occupied by Deira. So, I'll say it again. After Owen pays us, and I give you all your share...if you want out, I won't stop you." He looked around, again, not expecting them to say anything at this point. "I've asked...far too much of you. Especially without pay. And I've made many promises to you that I unfortunately am not sure I can keep. But know that I want your happiness and your safety above all else. You've all been such great friends, as well as coworkers. Much more than I could ever ask for, or deserve." He stood up. "If you can't make a decision now, that's fine. I'll give you some time to decide. But I want you to make it before we have to leave Raewald. Because I can't promise you that we'll be in a safe place from here on out." The pain in Serge's eyes could be apparent to anyone. It wasn't an easy decision for him to make, giving them the option to leave the guild. They had been like a family to him, and now, should they leave, he would probably never see them again. Could he sleep at night only knowing that they would no longer be threatened by those that were attempting to pursue them? Serge wasn't entirely sure.

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At least the ordeal of the woods of Magonsaete was over, for the time being. No more bandits, no more Deirans... at least none that wouldn't be expected. If Raewald had been preparing for war, and Deira herself had truthfully launched an attack against Wyke, it was entirely likely that full-scale war would follow. The shock of it all had faded over the last week, leaving Adeltrudis somewhat muted over the whole affair. As much as she disliked it, it seemed that this was their life now, and glancing over at the map that Owen had been handed, she quickly scanned the paper for what she was looking for.

"I'm going to go and see what sort of equipment they sell here. Send someone for me if you need me." The Herman heiress noted, before moving to step away from the group and into the town proper.

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The journey to Tytila had been long and filled with obstacles, but they'd finally made it. While the events of the trip had shaken the group, the majority of them had made it here alive - although it seemed like Emily's status was still up in the air. A strange dream she'd had the previous night left her really kind of confused. Why would I even think something like that up? Seriously... She really had no idea, but it left her feeling a little bit awkward around a certain princess and wanted to make a quick getaway, at least for the moment.

While it wasn't Wihtwar, Claire knew that Raewald's mage community was much larger than Wyke's, and she intended to take advantage of the fact. She'd already spent plenty of time shut away in libraries in the past, but this one promised more. Whether it was a tome or some nugget of information that she could learn, she was still on the lookout for anything that could help them deal with the vial and their seemingly increasing list of enemies. There were bound to be other venues to explore, but this was a good place to start.

Claire goes to the Arcane Library

Edited by SB.

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"Ah, Tytila. How joyous..."

Joyous was unlikely the best word to describe Sidney's expression. Although she'd been hopeful at first to return, thoughts of the misfortunes that had already struck the party nagged at her mind. She glanced at the map Owen was handed, not to find something, but to point at one of the roads labeled. "There, on Gateway Avenue. That's where I live... well, where I used to... it's home. It's the long white house with a tiger statue and fountains, so it's hard to miss. Prince Owen, Princess Cassandra, you're both welcome there if you'd like. My mother dislikes visitors, but I doubt she'd refuse the royal Gaffney family, and perhaps she'll warm up to allowing a few others." Yeah, right. "There's always guards, so state your name at the gates if you come. I'll try to make sure they know, too."

Running her hands through her hair, Sidney walked her way through the streets of Raewald, always cautious of who she could be running into. I have to see father before I talk with anyone else... that much is clear. After what felt far too long, she stood near the white mansion she mentioned before. Avoiding the front entrance, she instead winded through the brushes to a gate at the side of the property, rummaging through a bag along the way and procuring a key. I knew asking Emmanuel for this all that time ago would pay off.

Sure enough, the side entrance opened, leading to the home's yard and pool, as she walked past towards the door. The house hadn't changed much on the outside, and when she walked in the stairs and lobby were as red as ever. She was a bit surprised to see a taller man with black hair and a white suit standing at the balcony. "... Good to see you again, father. I'm home."

 

Edited by Reinfleche
grammar

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In all honesty Marcus hadn't a clue what to do now. His whole life had been going from mission to mission, or studying to be a knight. Training seemed like a good idea, or at least, an idea, but where would he go for that? It's not like they had a barracks he could just waltz into. This sort of freedom left him uneasy...and something else? He wasn't truly sure what he felt about all this. Except about the woman he'd watched fall. The fact that she was still alive troubled him. He saw the blow as it struck, by all rights she should be dead, or at least at it's door. It wasn't that he was rooting for her death by any means, it helped lessen his guilt. He'd been trying to write it off as the Prince's healers being that good, but it still didn't set right with him. Something about the whole situation just felt...wrong.

Luckily Lady Herman had offered an easy way to spend his time. Shopping for equipment, just as a good knight should. He could use some armor, he was tired of being afraid of danger, "I-If you don't mind Lady Adeltrudis, I'd be interested in seeing the local wares as well." and like that, he had started to follow after her.

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Cass had been keeping her eyes on Emily the entire trip, between talks with Owen, Adele, and surprisingly Alain. No signs of life was worrying, but the girl wasn't decaying, despite all the time she'd been dead. It had to mean something was going on inside of her... Something. Perhaps nothing good, but this was their lot with experimental potions.

As they arrived in Tytila, Cass approached Sebastian, calmly looking back towards Emily. "Sebastian, I'm going to ask you to come and find me should something happen with Emily. Whether that be her awakening, or any form of decay starting to form on her. We must know if this vial is working or not." That was all she felt the butler needed, and there was more to discuss, with her brother.

The guards had mentioned and audience with the queen, one that Cass wished to sit on, but... "Brother, I would like to come with you to meet the queen, but..." Sidney had approached, offering them entrance to her house, and a place to stay, if they wished. "Oh, of course. We'll stop there at some point, I'm sure. I'd love to meet your family." She wouldn't actually love to meet them, but she was on good enough terms with Sidney now, that meeting her family couldn't hurt things. Back to the point...

"Right, brother... I-If you wish for me to remain away from the meeting, I understand. I can't have been making a great impression on you recently. I know I've conducted myself well in prior, proper meetings, but... The bar scene still haunts me a bit, and it must haunt you more. Let me know what you wish, before I head off into town. I must see a man about a ring, if possible." For Adele, of course. And one that was worth her, but not one that would cost their entire fund for being here. Speaking of, Cass caught her walking off-- but more importantly, caught the ribbon in her hair. It made her smile a bit, to know that it had meant that much to her; that it was still there. Perhaps our trip here will not be all bad.

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Reaching Raewald had been a blessing to Owen's confidence. After the punishing gauntlet that Magonsaete proved to be, the risk of more harm being brought to his group while in those lands was always testing his best mood. To feel that taking the rougher, faster path was only so much incompetent was... less of a blow than it could be, and that mattered. More aware than ever before of the chance the group he'd mustered could crumble, everything mattered.

The arrival at Tytila was better than he could have hoped for, the guards especially formal and friendly to him. "Yes, I am Prince Owen." A hand on his chest, the prince had a most content look, nodding and following along the guard's warm greeting. The Queen must have prepared them well. It feels good to be given such importance from the start. A map so soon would certainly quicken their arrival procedures, perhaps there would even be some time to see how well Raewald's capital fared. "I see... thank you. I take it Queen Ethel has already decided a place for me to stay, as well?"

Sidney's comment stole his attention for the moment. "Your home, if you're sure, I'd like to pay a visit." It didn't hit Owen that he would be meeting Sidney's parents so soon. What a situation. Normally, one would be anxious at those prospects, right? Hoping for the parent's acceptance and whatnot. On the other hand, he was the Prince of Wyke...

"Actually, sister, I'd like for you to go with me." He looked at his sister honestly, sure, the bar happened, but the moment at the seer also did. He was rather glad to not be alone in caring for the country, even if his sister felt less affinity for it than he did. "You've been with me in important decisions before, I would appreciate your presence." It would be very unlikely they would be under the influence of mead or the like during an important meeting at all, so his sister's concern, while reminding of a scar, was harmless enough to make the prince smirk.

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Adele stopped for a moment as she was approached from behind by their newest addition, the Toulousean... whatever exactly that thing was rider that had supposedly been sent to them by her father. When he asked to tag along, the Herman heiress couldn't see any problem with it, simply shrugging her shoulders in response and allowing the man to catch up.

"Marcus, was it? I don't mind, really. But I implore you to just call me Adele, at least when my father isn't within earshot. I don't see much use for such frivolity and foppish wordplay." She replied, continuing along until they reached the armoury.

"This is my first stop, at any rate." She noted to the man, before stepping inside to browse the selection.

Adele enters the armoury!

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"Oh... You do?" Cass was surprised! Truly and fully. She thought she'd thrown away her chance, at least for a while, at political meets with that drunken display, but perhaps her other discussions hadn't gone so poorly. "Alright! Wonderful~ I'll make sure to meet up with you before the meeting, then. Now, about that ring..." Cass began to walk off with a smile on her face, and Adele's hands on her mind. I'd like to think I've spent enough time with her to know how large they are... About the size of mine, I believe. That won't be so difficult to fit...

Cass heads to the market!

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Just call her Adele? The thought didn't make much sense to Marcus, she was above him, why wouldn't she want him to use her title? Between the casual nature of the group, and the freedom this mission granted him he was well and truly out of his element. It's not like he could decline either, that would be disrespectful. He looked awkwardly towards Scarlet, but she seemed amused by his predicament. Scarlet herself thought that Marcus could loosen up, but Toulouse had always required him to be at his most formal. She wanted to see him relax, and that's exactly what this new lady was asking for. A gesture that was confusing and foreign to Marcus, was endearing and appreciated by Scarlet. It was a shame that Scarlet was six and a half foot tall gryffon, if she weren't she might have thanked Adele.

"I-if you insist A-A-A-," It was simply too hard for Marcus to let go of his formality. His training as a Gryffon Knight left him nearly as much of an accountant, or a lawyer as a knight. Trying to go against his studies, and not use legal formalities was far too much for him to bear. Instead he finished, "Lady Adele." a compromise between her request and his mindset. As well as the best he could manage. 

Marcus enters the armory.

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Relation

The surviving Reliants had gathered with Serge, all of them desperate to know what he had to say. The group had taken a hit to their numbers, the deaths of Emily and Emmet were still very fresh in all their minds. Listening intently to Serge's words, Serge could see the contemplation in their eyes. It was no easy decision to make for them, despite having no part in international politics, they had all been wrapped up in it in their own way.

Morganna was the first to speak, she could barely look Serge in the eye, her hands trembling as she spoke. "I'm... sorry, Commander. I can't continue like this. I knew that our lives were at risk when we took this job, but I can't keep up with everyone else. I'm not brave like Hans and Lars or passionate like Emily was." she cried, her eyes welling up with tears. "All I can see is that spear impaling itself into her middle, the crazy bard scheming to kill us all... it's too much for me. My knowledge of magic isn't good enough to survive in a job like this... forgive me."

Running out of the door as soon as she had finished, the remaining trio looked at each other, the two axe brothers nodding in unison. "Boss, we know we ain't the best fighters, in fact... we're pretty shoddy compared to you and the likes of them nobles... but yer always believed in us." Lars affirmed, clenching his fist.

"I feel the same, boss." Hans added, his brother giving him space to speak. "We were just a pair of woodcutters than nobody could tell apart, but yer thought we were worth keeping around. It ain't easy to be in charge of people's lives, but we don't think yer would ever make a bad call intentionally. Me and Lars, we're sticking with you... don't worry about money, once things settle down we can talk things through. Yer were decent to pay us when we were hired, figure you're decent enough to pay us at the end too."

That had left Larissa, who had kept relatively low key for the duration of the conversation. Slipping forwards between Hans and Lars, she took a deep breath. "Commander, I never imagined that I'd be in a situation like this. My plan was originally to squeeze as much money from Doug before escaping to another city." she laughed, smiling gently. "If I'd done that, I would have gotten caught up in the invasion anyway... and I really wasn't doing much, just wandering from bar to bar, getting enough money to survive. You've shown me there's more to the world, and I think I'm going to stay for a little longer."

"Just another thing boss." Lars added in, having one more thing to get off his chest. "How about you give us a new name? The Reliants sound pretty shitty to me. Either they're a bunch of preaching flying psychos or they're a group of cowards who run off with other people's money. Doesn't sound like the chains mean anything no more."

Morganna leaves the party!

Armoury

It wasn't difficult for Adele and Marcus to find the blacksmith, mostly because of the large sign with blacksmith written on it, but the trio of musclar men hammering away at various anvils outside only confirmed it. The one closest to the door was a powerhouse, easily six feet tall and his impressive physique glistening with sweat from his labour. Giving them a firm nod as they passed through the door, it was difficult to tell whether he were smiling or scowling through his walrus-like mustache.

The interior was something else entirely. Another titan of a man stood behind a counter, surrounded by a vast array of weaponry. All the walls were lined with blades and axes of various sorts, chained to their displays to deter any "free samples".

"Welcome to the Armstrong Blacksmith, if there's something that can be forged, then we can forge it better than anyone else." he boasted, gesturing around at all the wares on display. "Weapons from the smallest of daggers to the grandest of axes. If you got something special that needs managing, we can get it done!"

Blacksmith wares are revealed!

Book Looker

The Arcane Library was tucked rather out of the way, behind a corner near the main market square. The interior was a rather dimly lit collection of shelves, the only light present was filtering through the solitary window. There was also an unsettling smell, somewhere between a damp pair of trousers and an old man who had fallen asleep in his armchair. A few other scholars appeared to minding their own business, browsing the shelves and barely acknowledging Claire's entrance. At the far desk sat an unsettling man, one with sleak black hair and an impressive pair of eyebrows, complete with a handlebar mustache. Giving Claire a polite wave, he stayed sat at the desk, twiddling his thumbs as he stared directly at her.

Arcane Library wares revealed!

Dog Day

Sidney's father looked across from the balcony, placing a pipe to his lips as he processed his daughter's entrance. "Ah, Charlotte, so good of you to visit, I was starting to wonder if you had tired of Wyke. I can't imagine it's terribly hospitable there, although I doubt prison was either." he lectured sternly, beckoning her closer. "I take it you did not use the main entrance? I'm sure your mother would have spotted you otherwise... and believe me, she's got nearly a year's worth of critical words for you."

Walking back into the manor, he gave her a smile and a chuckle. "But I'm glad you've returned home. We've heard the news of Wyke. As much of a learning experience it must have been, no father can say he'd be happy for his daughter to be caught up in a Deiran invasion. Come sit with me, tell me of what you've been up to, your mother can have you for herself afterwards."

Mark it

The marketplace dwarfed Hull's own, much like the rest of Tytila did to Cass' home city. The vast array of stalls was almost daunting, with the crowds swarming in between them like insects. Many of the stalls were selling simple trinkets, nothing that Cass probably had in mind. However, towards the northern end of the market, there appeared to be a rather ornate building. It was almost gaudy, the building's frames were lined with either gold or a suitably fake alternative. The patrons leaving it appeared to be aristocrats, so at least it suggested the establishment was intended for the wealthy.

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"I suppose that will have to do..." Adele replied, as Marcus gave his best effort to acquiesce to her request. Coming up to the smithy, the sight of the smiths forging their metal was impressive to behold, Adeltrudis pausing for a moment before stepping inside. As expected from a smithy in the Capital of Raewald, they had some impressive items on display, to be certain. One immediately caught her eye, that being an ornate, and clearly well made axe on the wall. The price tag was reasonable, as well.

"Good day to you... I certainly must say, you do not jest at your claim of the grandest axes... this is quite the piece. I believe I will take it. Though as you mention something special... I was wondering what you would estimate the cost of repairing a piece for me." Adele replied, pointing out the Silver Axe on the wall, before placing her Nacht on the counter for inspection. Even with her own lack of knowledge on the forging of weapons, it was plain for even Adele to see that her Nacht was battle-worn. It still had some life in it yet, but if she kept making use of it, well, it was only a matter of time before it's longevity was used up.

 

Adele purchases the Silver Axe from the Blacksmith, using 1600 of her own personal funds, and 400 convoy funds! Adele sends Hammer to convoy to make room, and inquires about forging Nacht!

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Serge watched Morganna as she ran out. She didn't even wait for her own pay. That was disheartening for him, but it appeared she was the only one who decided to leave. Lars spoke up first, speaking to him about how they were compared to the likes of Cassandra and Adele. Then Hans spoke, talking about what they were before all of this, and how Serge had given them the time of day. He nodded. "I chose you two not because you were the best fighters, or you had the biggest muscles. That didn't matter to me. No, what mattered to me was that you had heart. You both had the will to go forward, and I knew that would take you farther than any old mercenary in it for coin." If there was one piece of the mantra he would keep, is that he would accept anyone willing, anyone with the burning passion to do what must be done. That being said, in these trying times, Serge knew heart wasn't going to be enough to keep them going. He would need to think of some sort of training for them.

 

It was Larissa's turn to speak up, and she...had decided to stay as well. It made Serge smile. Even laugh a little. "I figured you had some plan about money in the first place. Doug was rich, like that. But...I'm glad you're staying, too. It means a lot." He looked around at the group. "You've all been invaluable. I couldn't have gotten this far without you. And frankly, I don't think I deserve the kindness you've given me back."

 

And then a suggestion came up, and Serge nodded back. "You're right, Lars. I think we do need a new name. One that's more fitting of us. One that we deserve." But...what to call themselves? That was the big million gold piece question, and Serge did not have an answer for them at that moment. Placing his chin in between his thumb and forefinger, he closed his eyes and began to think, leaning back against a wall. He tried thinking of what made them stand out from the rest of the mercenary guilds out there. They certainly weren't the best one out there, but Serge hoped that they would put every ounce of heart into it. They would take in anyone, so long as they had the heart to push forward, and the burning passion to see it through. Serge opened his eyes. "This...may not be the best name but...how about 'The Hearthfire Crew'. We'll put our heart and soul into the jobs we take, and we have the burning passion to see it through to the end. ...What do you guys think?"

Edited by Dandragon

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What a whimsical feeling this was, to be trapped on all sides by the hustle and bustle of what was truly a giant city. Stalls and shops all around her, the talk of sales and the exchange of goods. Even the odd argument sprung up around her over costs, perhaps business dealings going well, but then some were replaced with laughter, perhaps old friends finishing a heated discussion with a proper deal. It was refreshing! So refreshing. To be able to walk through a city, no doubt rife with its own issues, but to be able to feel safe in an area like this. No worries of some plotting noble aiming for her back, no screams of friends heard in the distance, no insane twins out to kill her...

Just a real, fantastically big city. She took in a deep breath, and continued her jaunty stroll, the... Gauche building at the end of the market seeming like a decent place to start on something like a ring. Who else would line their building with gold? Or paint it like that... It fits in just fine here either way. I suppose it's honestly not that bad, the more I look at it. Tacky, if nothing else, but the citizens seem to be enjoying their time in there... The ones walking out, at least. Well, why not? You miss all of the opportunities you don't take, after all~ With almost a spring in her step, Cass peeked into the store, hoping to find, perhaps, just what she was looking for.

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"Wyke was perfectly fine- I visited the castle. King Oswald was gracious enough to allow me a room there." Sidney strolled up the stairs to the main room's upper level, sitting at the desk across from her father and bowing her head meekly. "Yes, I wanted to see you first. Sorry... I did use a key, though, not a lockpick! I know it was wrong to have escaped when I did, but now... I've gotten a lot more responsibilities in my travels, meeting with much better people than before, and I'd like to think I've grown up a good amount," she explained herself, her tone not as boastful as she would be before many but still proud. "I even have a boyfriend now! I'm sure you're thrilled to know that with how resistant I used to be. Owen is very charming and well mannered- I hope it wasn't presumptuous that I invited him and his sister to visit when they want, but I'm sure you'll like him, and I doubt you'd refuse a visit from a prince and princess."

Her sly grin faded rather quickly at the mention of the war. "The invasion... I only just heard about it along the way here. Being caught up in a serious war is something I'd like to avoid as long as I can, but... I've made some promises to Owen, and I don't intend to break them. What do you know of it, father? From what I heard, it was partly related to the upcoming meeting between Queen Ethel and Owen, but I wasn't really sure."

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Tytila at last. With all that had happened, it had started to feel like he'd been away from his homeland for years, not weeks. Just seeing the iron-gates of the city was cause enough for a wave of relief to wash over him. It was likely the Queen, or one of her representatives would want to speak with him at some point for a progress report, so he'd have to be careful not to lose track of time. By the week's end he hoped to get some time to return home and spend some time with his family. He was especially keen on telling his brother about everything that had happened thus far. 

But for now he decided it would be best to relax a little and ease the weariness of travel. No princes, no princesses, no kings, no queens, no sirs, no ladies, no wizards, no executions, and no diplomatic duty. Every now and again he liked to remind himself of where he came from. He wasn't born into nobility. He'd been plucked from the heart of poverty and worked relentlessly thereafter to make sure he was up to par. He had moved on since then, but he wouldn't allow himself to forget. Alain the Ragamuffin was every bit a part of him as Sir Alain Duhamel had become.

First Stop, THE TEA STORE.   

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Finally, after what seemed like endless heartache: the towering capitol Tytila. If Pappy's old rule about buildings and ego held any weight here, Angus would need to take great care to not step on the wrong toes... or shit on them, if his cub didn't get a diaper soon. The boy himself might have been a ragged mess (worse than the rest, even), but at least that was expected. Angus had a lot of work ahead if he hoped to represent Owen with any dignity, and this conundrum puzzled Angus as he absently readied for his shopping. [Big thing will be keepin' Geoffrey close an' clean, I think? The rest should be simple enough--keep dressed, don' make a fool of yourself, don' open your mouth 'round any stuffed shirts. I'll have t'take extra care when I--]

*BUMP*

Angus starts to attention, prompted by the jolt to his shoulder. On a reflex, he reaches out to steady whomever (someone shorter?) he'd clumsily slammed, hand finding purchase. A split second later, the mooncalf's eyes catch up to his body, finding a dreadfully familiar face. [Oh, God.] A silent prayer for mercy as Angus yanked his own hand back, already flushing red. "Ehp. Uhh..." Such a classy young man would have no troubles in court! Angus dove through the tide of memories that collision brought forward, dipping to Geoffrey's height for any hope of finding the right words.

"He, uh... needs a nappy. Come with?"
"R-r-r-r-r-r-r!"

That trilling li'l maw found better words than the Kearney did.

Angus retrieves Mace from Convoy!
Angus takes Geoffrey to the Market!
Angus invites Morta along! Nothing could go wrong!

Edited by Terrador

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Claire wrinkled her nose slightly as she stepped inside the library. Did the smell really not bother anyone else in here? Or had they just grown used to it? It seemed like she would have to put up with it either way, because the shelves were crammed full of books. Something here was bound to be useful. She waved back at what she assumed to be the librarian briefly, before moving further into the room. 

Where to start? She wasn't so sure at first. Malaphar wasn't exactly a known name, and his magic was hardly common enough that she expected it to appear in a book. Maybe there was some kind of countermeasure to his magic she could come up with, but for now, she was still uncertain. That left the elephant in the room - the fountain. While perhaps it wasn't conventional, there was bound to be something in here on it. She decided to look on her own at first - considering what had happened the last time someone else found out about it, she didn't want to draw attention to herself.

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Fit for a King

"Queen Ethel has provided accommodation for yourself and Princess Cassandra in the royal palace, Prince Owen. She said it would be considered rude not to offer the best to another nation's royalty." the guard replied, one of the others passing him a bundle of papers. "Of course, any nobility that are present with yourself are very welcome to reside in the wards we have for visiting aristocrats. Many of Raewald's own nobles use them for their stays in the capital."

Hammer Arm

The man at the counter appeared content with Adele's offer for purchase, walking over to remove the weapon from display. "You have good taste, young lady. If you're looking for something powerful, you can't go wrong with this." he affirmed, returning to the counter and placing the weapon down. Nacht intrigued him far more though, he couldn't help but raise the weapon in his own hands to admire it. 

"Now this... this is a superbly crafted weapon. I can only think of a few blacksmiths on the continent who would manage something like this." he marvelled, examining the axe's head intently. "It's taken a good beating, any other axe would have dulled or cracked by now. Fixing this up might be tricky, might actually be easier to just start over and make a new one. Tell yer what, if you give me a week, I'll make another one of these for you. Probably going to cost somewhere in the grand an' a half range, maybe two tops. If you want to leave it with me, I can get my old man to try and get the design down to a tee. Who knows, we might even make it better!"

Adele sends Hammer to Convoy!
Adele buys the Silver Axe for 2000G!

Camping Buddies

Larissa and the axe brothers seemed content with their rebranding, or at least they were not showing any major objections. "Sounds better than the Reliants, I'll say that, boss." Lars replied, relieved they wouldn't have any further mix-ups. "None of that chain rubbish, we just gotta put in the effort to get the job done."

There was one other matter of business though, one that Larissa was about to bring up. "Commander... as much as we're happy to stay with you, we're a little short on numbers." she remarked grimly, looking down at the floor. "We've lost three people in the space of a week, it might be an idea to try and pick up a few people... I have a feeling that it might be more expensive than it was in Wyke... maybe we should talk to Lady Herman about some additional funding?"

Golden Wind

Cass could already see the glimmer of gold inside the building as she peeked through the door, the counters all contained neat lines of jewelry, gold and silver treasures that were probably worth more than all of Dougistan combined. The clientele were almost a caricature for the wealthy nobility. Bloated middle aged men and women, dressed finely and embellished with more jewelry than they probably had sense, Cass appeared to have found perhaps the most expensive place she'd seen in her life.

Two burly guards stood either side of the store's interior, watching Cass carefully as she approached the building. Among the nobles visiting the store stood a man, wearing what appeared to be a golden tunic and pants. The moment he spotted Cass, he couldn't help but hurry over to her, beckoning her in. 

"Welcome to Aurum's Inventory, my fine young lady." he charmed, his white-blond eyebrows wriggling like caterpillars. "Commoners wait for sales on goods, but people flock from across the continent to make purchases here! Luxury before practicality, that is our motto!"

Princely Partner

Sidney's father paced in the lobby briefly, sitting himself down on one of the armchairs. "I would have hoped that you would have picked up some manners if you've spent so much time among Wyke's royalty." he mused, tapping his pipe on a nearby ash tray. "Prince Owen has a reputation for being meek and mild mannered, even in Raewald's noble court. He sounds rather different from King Oswald. Back when you were young, I'd actually met his father, it was only briefly in a diplomatic meeting. He was a man with a real presence... he took command of the entire room, but at the same time I couldn't help but feel that we were safe with him present... tell me more about Prince Owen. It is not every day that your daughter wants to bring a prince home with her."

The mention of a war turned the conversation to a more grim tone, Sidney's father needed a few moments before he could continue. "I fear that Wyke is unlikely to stand a chance against Deira, the difference in size and power is simply too great. The last reports I heard were that Hull was under siege. My belief is that Queen Ethel may be willing to ally with Wyke in order to fend off Deira... but I shall leave any formalities to Prince Owen and Queen Ethel. I am truly glad that you were able to leave before getting caught up in it all. If they were to find you with Prince Owen... I fear it would not have been something I wish to imagine."

Tea Total

Alain knew from his own experiences that the tea shop was located in a rather dodgy section of the city, not too far from where the lowlife of Tytila tended to gather. Passing the beggars on the street, Alain was soon at the tea shop, a small little cafe which barely stood out from the buildings around it. Sporting only three tables and one counter, the tea shop was entirely empty and devoid of any life - aside from a rather grim looking fellow manning the store. 

Spitting into a tea cup and wiping it with an old rag, he glanced over at Alain, giving a toothless grin. "How can I 'elp yer, sir? Need a cup of tea? We even deliver if yer got someone who's mighty... thirsty."

Tea Store wares revealed!

Third Wheel

Possibly to Angus' surprise, Morta had actually agreed to go diaper shopping for Geoffrey, as outrageous at the concept would seem. However, she had given one condition on coming along - she was taking Nelon with her.

The marketplace seemed very aware of Angus and his pet, people were actively making space for him as the trio passed through, Geoffrey present in case he were to get lose whilst Angus were away. Nelon was painfully aware of how unusual it was to carry a bear cub in public, although Morta's grumpy poker face was as difficult to read as ever - as in it wasn't entirely clear what she was annoyed at currently.

"Baron Kearney?" Nelon asked, glancing about as small groups of people began to whisper. "I fully understand that you want to ensure your pet is safe whilst you make your purchases but I would recommend being more discreet. Wyke would be perhaps more permissive of such a... unique occurrence, but we must ensure our behaviour is suitable as visitors."

Morta nodded in agreement. "You should listen to Baron Nelon more, Angus." Morta huffed, partly baffled by Angus' thought process. "Couldn't you have just asked someone else to get some cloth for you? Even Esclabor would have done it if he'd known you'd do this."

Old Book Smell

Claire's search was initially proving fruitless, whilst more than she'd been able to find in Wyke but most of it was magical theory. However, one tome had come up that had proved at least somewhat relevant. 

Illusions.

The theory was very much beyond her, but the book appeared to be describing something very similar to Morganna's own magic. The chances were she'd need to sit down properly and read it properly, but the dusty pages even began to mention the ability to alter how the world appeared around them - an ability that undoubtedly sounded terrifying familiar. However, it was perhaps only part of the closing words, and the author had left some note about a second volume - one that didn't appear to be present on the shelves.

Edited by Shin

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The response hadn't been quite what Adele had expected... forge a new Nacht rather than repairing the current one? She had assumed that it would be more difficult to do as such, but perhaps starting from scratch and allowing the man to forge it his own way the whole way through was more effective. She pondered it for a moment, the price he had given seemed fair, considering the uniqueness of the weapon itself.

"Yes, it is a superb weapon, and has served me well in my travels. If you believe you can do so, the price you tout is fair. I'd love to take you up on that offer... it would ease my worries to know that I'll have it close at hand for longer still."

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Alain recoiled at the sight of the shop and it's keeper, almost turning back the way he'd came. But he powered through his aversion and stepped inside, if only to appease his conscience. He was the only customer it seemed. I can't imagine why... "Just give me whatever's cheap--with milk," he sighed, picking a table at his leisure and seating himself. "And it better be tea, not 'tea'," he clarified, pulling his hood up. 

He took a moment to look around the store. It was dirty, mangy, unkempt and worn-down in every corner that he looked. "You seem like a swell guy, you got a missus? How often do you make deliveries? ...Any recent orders?" he inquired. He thought about asking about repeat customers, but he knew well enough how these places worked. Ratting out a patron was a surefire way to either lose ones business, or lose ones life. 

Edited by Vestige

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"You've met the King of Wyke?" Sidney asked with surprise. As soon as she spoke the words, however, a reason came to her mind. "Oh- probably for King Edwin, right? That would make sense. His health is not the best anymore, sadly, so Owen is currently the regent. If Hull is under siege, then I hope the king survives, but... in his current state, that could unfortunately be very difficult. From what I know, a group of Wykian nobles were secretly messaging with the Queen and some of Deira's messengers were waylaid, which drew Deiran ire. But Owen never ordered that, so they'd be acting without any sort of permission from him if it's true. In that case, there may be some conspirators that need to be rooted out..." Sidney grimaced as the gravity of the information from a week ago plus the fact that Hull was already being attacked seemed to be more apparent. Who was shifty man who approached me in the halls? The court wizard? "Well, I'm at least as glad as you are that I'm not caught up in a city siege. Without knowing all of the information, seeing what is just or not seems so difficult to figure out. But I think that it would bode ill for us for Wyke to fall, so hopefully Prince Owen's meeting with Queen Ethel goes well."

She thought of what he asked to tell him more. "Owen is different, that's for sure... maybe those that don't know him in person would say he is meek, but I think a better descriptor is compassionate. He always tries to help those around him, and attempts to understand those who would oppose him. Even if he isn't always the best acquainted with every individual, to those he knows he tries to be the best person he can be. But he is not so timid as to fear taking action, or avoid making decisions." Usually... The thought troubled her a bit, but she shook her head. "He is caring and honest- maybe too much so, but he's learning. I've never felt like he was trying to mislead me, and even knowing what I've done he respects me for who I am now, and he does that for others, too. His character is strong, and he is a skilled swordfighter, too, staying alongside his allies rather than just delegating people. Maybe I didn't describe him that well, but... you'll know when you meet him what I mean. There's a certain charisma he has that's hard to deny."

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It had been a while since Claire had found herself stumped on magical theory. Wyke's community for mages was small, and as a result their magic tended to be more on the conventional side. But still, she could decipher enough of it to make the connection. So Malaphar's world is some sort of advanced illusion? In a way, it kind of made sense. It certainly wasn't anywhere in Angelcynn, and the whole place seemed to bend to the whims of the wizard. But then were they just in the same place but hidden? She couldn't get her head around it. It certainly felt like they'd been travelling the first time, unless that was just another trick used to fool them?

Either way, what she'd seen merited further reading - and perhaps a second pair of eyes to understand it. She'd been dismissive of Morganna's magic before, but it looked like Claire had been closer to the truth than she first realised. She'd have to ask about the second volume as well, since this clearly wasn't the end of it.

She approached the mustached man with her findings in hand, placing it in front of him on the desk. "Would I be able to borrow this?" she asked, brushing some of the dust from the cover as she spoke. She highly doubted that anyone would miss it. "And do you have the second volume anywhere? I've had a look around, but I haven't been able to spot it." Perhaps showing the book to Morganna would help her to understand - and if that wasn't an option, Claire would need time to work her way through it on her own.

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"Yeah...I'll talk to her as soon as I can." Serge looked back, in the direction where they were keeping Emily's body. What Larissa said was true, they were indeed down three people, but Serge wondered if he should bother hiring 3 more people. After all, Emily had been given the vial's liquid in the hopes that she would revive, and indeed her wounds did close, and no signs of decay had shown. It was unnatural, to say the least, and it was no wonder that Emmet had sought the source of that liquid. But it meant nothing if she never woke up, only that they would be carrying a body around for who knows how long, yet to bury her with the chance that she may wake up...it wasn't a pleasant thought.

Of course, there was also the issue of pay. On the way to Tytila, Serge had gotten a chance to ask Adele about money, and Adele had given him the unfortunate news. Adele had already paid Niko with the intent of having him use it for the Reliants, but Niko had run off with the money, and not a single piece of gold had been seen by Serge. What's more, that had been Duke Herman's money mostly, and that any money that was Adele's was in her bank back in Wyke, and with the invasion by Deira, it wasn't likely that the Hearthfire's would be receiving any money for a long while. Indeed, they were in a tough spot, with Prince Owen being their only source of income at this point. Things were not looking up.

"Well...As with the last town we were in, you're free to do what you wish, save for anything illegal. This isn't Wyke, so we have to represent not only ourselves, but the nobility we guard with our best behavior. As for any jobs," He said, pointing to the location of the Heroes Guild. "Looking at the posted notes in there would be the safest bet. As for locations, don't go into any dangerous or shady parts of town, even if you think you can handle it. If a job requires you to go there, than I want you to come to me about it, first." He took a deep breath. He had previously allowed his mercs to go anywhere they pleased, but with how big the city was, and how much had happened, he wanted to keep a somewhat tighter leash on them. "If there aren't any more questions, I'll go look for Lady Herman and Prince Owen, then make my way to the Heroes Guild for some new recruits. But, if you have any objections, then speak up now."

Spoiler

Evening of the 10th of April

Claire had taken it upon herself to light the camp fires that night. It was normally a joint effort between the mages, but she'd offered to do it alone. It wasn't an especially taxing ordeal, but considering Alain's collapse and the losses the Reliants had suffered, it seemed like the right thing to do. Perhaps the fires were a little smaller than usual, but they would do the job.

Speaking of the Reliants, she spotted Serge sat alone, barely illuminated by the light of the flame. She'd expected him to be with the rest of his company, but it looked like he was taking the losses hard. Emily was out of commission for now (she'd learned during the walk of Apellon's words, and had no reason to disbelieve them) and Emmet's fate was bound to have a lasting impact on him as well. 

With that in mind, Claire made the decision to approach him. Not only to check on him, but there was something she had to ask of him as well. "Hello Serge." She paused for a moment to make sure he'd noticed her, before continuing. "How are you feeling?" she asked, a touch of concern audible in her voice. She didn't know the mercenary very well (had they even had a sober conversation before?) but what had happened today was bound to have an impact on him.

 

Serge had been off in his own world before snapping back into reality. "Oh...Hello, Claire." He hadn't expected her to come to check up on her. In fact, he barely even knew her, save for that one time they talked in that bar. "I feel like...like it's all my fault." He looked back down at his hands. "I feel like if I hadn't even spoken up, Emily wouldn't have died horribly, and if I had better control Emmet wouldn't of..." He placed his hands in his hair as his shoulders stood on his legs and kept his head up. "I promised that I would protect them...And now look at where we are..."

 

Claire listened to the mercenary's woes quietly as she seated herself next to him, struggling to find the right words to respond with. She didn't really fully understand the situation with the Reliants and Laudine. It wasn't for the first time that she felt really out of the loop. But she understood Serge's guilt, and she understood Emmet perhaps better than his boss did. "I can't say I fully understood the situation with the wyvern riders," She sighed, before continuing. "But I did understand Emmet. I don't think it was your fault." She shook her head for emphasis.

"I've spent enough time with him to know what kind of person he was, and the vial held more influence over him than anyone else could." She'd seen the intensity of his obsession on the first night in Magon, but it seemed to be a well concealed secret. The princess hadn't understood when Claire had voiced her concerns to her, so she could understand if Serge didn't know either. "There was nothing any of us could do for him. I think... Owen made the right decision." There was a hint of hesitation as she spoke, but it was because of she her being concerned about how Serge would react, instead than being unsure of herself.

 

"Was it really right, Claire? I couldn't have been the only one that saw my merc's reactions to his death. And I know they worry about what would happen if they did something similar." He lifted his head from his hands as he placed his hands back on his knees. He looked over to Claire. "...Are we really in the right? After everything that's happened, I can't help but doubt everything we're doing. I mean, we just conversed with psychopaths like it was nothing! And then we decapitated one of our own!" He paused, then looked back down at his hands once again. "...Oh, who am I kidding. I let myself get so angry that I wanted him dead, too. I'm just as terrible of a person as I am a boss."

 

Claire frowned at Serge now. "Do you really think that we could let him go free? To let him go would be putting our entire group at risk. Perhaps we could've kept him as a prisoner, but..." Owen gave Emmet the choice of life and death, and he made his choice. "What would you do then, Serge? Take him prisoner and leave him to rot away in a cell?" The mage bit her lip. "Maybe that's a little harsh, but I don't see a better way. He was obviously dangerous, even if he was one of us, and we can't afford to be soft when we have so much going on." Malaphar, the twins, Deira... the list went on and on.

"I'll be honest with you - I don't have a clue who Apellon and the other woman are, aside from the fact that they seem to have enough of the elixir to waste. But you need to calm down." she sighed. For a mercenary leader, he really didn't have a thick skin. "I don't think you're a horrible person for wishing that. Nobody does. Times are just... tough now, for all of us." It was an understatement. Even if the Claire had found the swordsman beating Emmet difficult to watch, it was a moment of weakness, wasn't it? And that was all. It didn't make him awful for it.

 

"...I guess...But I'd be lying if that was the only thing weighing on my mind." Reaching into his pocket, he produced the insignia of the Reliants, and looked at it for a good few seconds before speaking up again, with a vain smile on his face. "...Back in my hometown, in Myrcia, there would be an occasional bard that would show up, and gave us kids stories of hope. Stories about a famous Deiran guild that took on countless jobs and perilous activities, and always came out on top. The Reliants; a group that accepted not by talent or power, but by heart. They took in those who had the heart for it, no matter who you were. At least that's what the bard told us..." Serge clutched the trinket tighter, remembering the insane stories that he heard as a kid.

"I became such a big fan of them, and I wanted to be just like them when I grew up. That's...part of the reason why I chose to become a mercenary. So that one day I could join them." Serge looked back up into the night sky, watching the stars dance across the dark above them. "I was so happy when I got hired by Niko, back then. Finally, it was my big chance. I could show so many people what I could do. I could become a part of the guild of legends!" He looked back down at the crest, holding it for a few seconds before throwing it on the ground. "It's all a lie. The Reliants are dead. They've been dead, for who knows how long. And the ones that are left are a bunch of religious, self-righteous nut-jobs that only care about themselves. And I'm ashamed I even let myself take on their name." 

 

"So those were the Reliants that we just met?" Claire asked, to confirm that she'd kept up properly. It seemed that Serge was struggling to accept the way of things. He couldn't separate the stories he'd known as a child from the reality of the situation. "Maybe they just changed. I never spoke with Niko or Doug enough to know what they were like, but it either way, does it matter?" She offered a shrug. "If it really bothers you, can't you just change the name? If you didn't know, why should it bother you?" Claire understood why Serge was upset in some aspects, but this part seemed like he was making a mountain out of a molehill. "You're the leader now, so it's up to you to do things your way." The mage wasn't sure if this was just the stress getting to him or not, but she started to question why Niko chose to leave Serge of all people in charge. Could he really handle the leadership role?

 

"My way..." Serge wasn't sure of what to say. Up until now, that's what he had thought he had done. And up until now, everyone had come out without anything too bad. But after he did things like that, Emily was dead, and he was sitting around waiting for some magic liquid to take effect and bring her back to life. "I'm just not sure my way is the best way." He said back to Claire. He, too, was wondering why Niko left him in charge after he was gone. "Hmph...I guess I'm not much a leader if I'm questioning myself, am I?" He looked back up at the starry night sky, trying desperately to take his mind off of things. But everywhere he looked, he would connect the dots and see something resembling the events of today. To his left; Laudine pointing her spear down at him. In the center; Emily's dying face. To his right: Emmet's rolling head. He closed his eyes. "I just wish there was some way to get the answers I need."

 

You think you're short on answers? You have no idea... Claire mused. This did give her an opportunity to bring up what she'd wanted to say though. "Right... Well, would you be able to do me a favour Serge?" she asked. "When Emily wakes up, I'd like you to let me know if there's anything strange about her. Anything out of the ordinary." This was perhaps the best chance she had to get an understanding of how the elixir worked, and it was mutually beneficial too.

"As for the rest, you'll just have to grow into the role." she continued. "If you're new to all of this, you're bound to make mistakes." Claire was still making plenty herself, but Ceirch's words had stuck with her. She was just going to do her best and do what she thought was right. Couldn't Serge do the same?

 

That was an...interesting request. Granted, Serge wasn't one to judge about these types of things, but why did Claire suddenly have an interest in Emily. Though, from the wording of her question, it was most likely something to do with the vial. "Alright...You'll be the first to know if she acts weird, then." Though, considering what was normal by Emily's standards, it might be harder to spot something off than it would on someone else.

As for the rest of her words, Serge remained silent, pondering. It would be easy to say for someone who wasn't in charge of others lives to simply accept the mistakes you made and move on, but he considered this to be a bit more meaningful from Claire. One might accuse her of being a hypocrite, someone who has been at least partially responsible for the injury of Nelon or the death of Emily with her interference, calling her cavalier with the lives of others. And yet, here she was, trying to comfort Serge in her own way. And in his own way, Serge knew, even after only the second meeting, that Claire wasn't a bad person at heart. "...Claire, I thank you for your kind words. Really, I do. And you're right. I do need to grow into the role of a leader. ...But only if I'm deserving of that role." Serge looked up to the sky. "...I've made a decision. When we get to Tytila, and I receive my pay, I'm going to give the rest of the mercs a choice to either stay with me on this journey, or stay in the city and abandon the guild. And if any of them stay, then I'll rename the guild and start anew. But...should they all leave, then I'll abandon the guild as well, and do my work as a lone mercenary." He turned to face Claire once again. "You said that I need to do things my way. In that case, my way will not forcing them to do this any longer if they want out. That's the kind of leader I want to be."

 

Claire was relieved to hear that Serge agreed to her proposal. "I'll leave it to you, then." She smiled. There would be a lot to do when they reached the Raewalden capital, so the mage didn't have a lot of time to spend watching and waiting. Serge was bound to spend more time with her in general anyway, so this all worked out pretty well.

The mercenary's gratitude towards her was a little confusing at first. "Erm, don't worry about it?" she replied hesitantly Claire didn't even feel like she'd accomplished anything, but perhaps her words had more of an effect than she'd realised. It looked like Serge understood that he was out of his depth, but perhaps modesty here wasn't such a bad thing.

"It's going to be difficult," she warned, although her face softened slightly. "But maybe that's the best way - making sure that everyone is properly on board with you before continuing. Just..." The mage went quiet for a few moments, before shaking her head. "Never mind, actually." Claire was going to make a comment about not letting his feelings cloud his judgement, but she really was not the best person to preach that. 

Rising to her feet, she looked back towards the mercenary one last time. "Good luck then. I hope things work out for you." Claire was ready to leave Serge be for now and get some rest herself, unless he had any last words.

 

"Alright. Good night, then." Serge nodded at Claire one last time. He yawned. It definitely was time for bed. But it was his turn to watch guard for the night, so he had to stay for a bit longer. Watching Claire leave, he pondered once again. Emily...was this the right decision? Only time will tell, I suppose...

 

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