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The Brass Tap
Posted: Posted February 25th, 2016 by Dalure

It's a cool summer evening in the industrial city of Lyden. Lyden is a city known for it's smiths. It sits at the intersection of the trade roads and the foothills of the Tyr Mountains. Easy access to the mining camps has brought all manner of metals to Lyden, and no city in the known world can boast to have better steel.

The sun has gone down, the many forges slowly cool, and the peddlers have retired to their homes or to the local tavern. The smell of molten steel has been replaced by that of hearth fires and home-cooked meals. Our heroes make their way to The Brass Tap, and inn mostly frequented by wealthier members of the city of Lyden. This is an inn where merchants go to complain about the high price of taxes, the price of iron ore, and the ever present difficult in "finding good help."

The inn itself is two stories, there's a large bar with stools on the bottom floor with a small kitchen hidden behind it. Manning the bar is an innkeeper with a large well groomed beard obsessively watching over every aspect of his business. A few barmaids run back and forth between the bar, the kitchen, and the tables serving The Brass Tap's clientele. There are tables in the middle of the room with booths along the sides. Towards the back a wooden staircase leads up to the second floor where one can rent a room for the night to sleep, or a few private dining rooms for special events.

Our adventurers from their various contacts, have been offered a job from a Mr. Dren. They have been given instructions to ask for Mr. Dren's room on the second floor from the innkeeper Francis. The job has been described to them as possibly very lucrative. In this situation appearances are very important, specifically meaning that appearing competent is extremely important. Mr. Dren is known in the community as a successful merchant who brings in no small amount of the raw materials used in Lyden's forges.

There are 27 Replies

((Growlithe here))

Jacob gazed in amazement, in bizarre wonder. He struggled to take it all in, his mind could not make sense of it all. He was staring down what seemed to be a hallway, and on either side were raised platforms, or were they rooms? He could not see into them but he could see their shape through nonexistant walls. In the background, small creatures shuffled about almost out of sight. At the end of the hallway, another platform was raised, higher than all the rest, and atop it stood a lady dressed in blue. Circling around her were what appeared to be playing cards, she was manipulating them as if by magic. How long had he been here, he wondered, as the lady pushed her hand forward and one of the cards, whose face was a King with his sword piercing his own head, approached Jacob. As it did so, it's size grew exponentially until it was as tall as he was. It stood directly in front of him for three seconds, before falling flat and flying off out of sight. Looking back to the Lady in Blue, she had conjured up what he assumed to be green dice. However, they were not three dimensional, they appeared to behave as if they were hypercubes instead of physical dice. She threw them down the hallway and they rolled around in strange patterns before melting into the floor. Then suddenly, the Lady glided down the hallway and put her hands on Jacob's face, her left on his right cheek and her right on his forhead, pulling back his skin and forcing his eyelids open. He stared into her deep blue eyes, as her head swayed back and forth like a snake, examining him, as if to ask, What sort of creature are you?

Suddenly, he opened his eyes and was back in Marco's house. He looked over to his friend.

How long was I out?

About 12 minutes?

That's all?!? I swear it felt like I'd been gone for months.

Hahaha, I told you man, it's some crazy shit.

True... Hey man I appreciate it, here's the cash

Jacob pulled out twenty gold pieces from his purse and put them in Marco's hand. He walked over to the corner of the room and grabbed his bastard sword, which he slung across his chest such that it rested comfortably behind him with the hilt facing upwards. He grabbed the two Sai on the desk next to him and attached them on either side of his belt.

Hey dude, it was good seeing you. I've got to meet someone so I need to be heading out. I'll catch you after a while

Yeah man, hit me up anytime.

And with that Jacob pulled his hood up over his head, and pulled his black scarf up over his nose such that only his eyes were visible behind the hood. Then he opened up the door and set out into the night. Passing several shops on the lantern-lit street, everything was remarkably... solid. It was going to take him a few minutes to readjust to this world. He did manage that before he finally arrived at The Brass Tap. He pushed open the door to find himself. The bar wasn't overcrowded, looked like the usual crowd. But he didn't look like his usual self, he was certain no one would recognize him. A few people called out "Argo!" to try to get his attention, but no one was aware that he was really just that drug crazed kid who's always building things in his shed. He walked up to the bar, and waited for Francis to approach him. Didn't take long, he already knew why he was here. Argo was a rather popular Mercenary, and there were only three people who knew his true identity. Marco, and his two brothers. His parents, gods rest their souls, were killed in a house fire seven years ago, and Jacob had been in charge of taking care of his brothers ever since. They were 5 and 7 at the time, Jacob was 12. Now they were 12, 14 and 19 respectively. Marco tends to be the one who watches over them while Jacob is out doing mercenary work.

It's up the stairs, all the way in the back away from the other rooms, you can't miss it.

Argo acknowledged Francis with a nod of the head and made his way up the stairs and back to the room. He reached for the doorknob and found it unlocked. Pushing the door open he discovered who he assumed was Mr. Dren. Argo shut the door behind him and approached the affluent man. He put his right hand across his belly and bowed towards the man.

Argo, at your service.

Edited February 28th, 2016 by Argo
Carpe Diem
Et Nocte

The boundary of the city has no strict definitions, though it can be said that the choicest, most livable real estate tends towards the center and front. The best-known ironworkers crowd the main plaza, where street traders also gather during the day, and foot traffic in the wide adjacent roads bustles and thrives. Markets and restaurants are permanently stocked, and public houses do not see want of drink. Beautifully architected estates populate the central boulevards, and smaller but just as comfortable homes provide residence to budding families. Businesses become more modest moving toward the city's back edges, and houses shrink in size. The space between structures becomes greater near the outer limits, until its small, neglected edifices peter out, marking Lyden's unofficial border. Among these fringes abide ramshackle shops and dirty, pieced-together shelters, as well as the unreliable networks of shadier trafficking.

A derelict from one such septic slum lifted his head to watch the amble of an unfamiliar face. The stranger passed close to him, meeting his gaze with hazel-green eyes, before stepping around a crippled facade and disappearing from view. His walking had no apparent direction, meandering over the dusty pathways at an easy pace. His stature was not formidable, him possessing an averagely tall frame, hardened but slight, and a posture as relaxed as his gait. His garments were visibly well-worn. He had come from outside the city, just a short ways farther up the foothills, where he lived.

The evening light was fast fading. At the base of the Tyr Mountains, nights were brisk during even the most temperate season. The young man pulled his dark blue cloak tightly around him, but didn't raise the hood. He gave the sky a lazy glance and changed his direction, heading towards the inner city. Just as darkness took the farthest edges of the sky, he stepped onto a lighted, sleepy side-street. He paused for a moment and looked both directions, then turned to his left and sauntered forward. He knew this city well; he'd been born and raised here.

His name was Corner Hatch. He was sure that his spurning parents had given him this name on the basis of some practical joke. Nevertheless, he took it, a skill of patience and internalization he'd learned while growing up. And it was the name that had been called upon by the prosperous Mr. Dren. After a series of stepping onto ever-larger streets, Corner could almost make out the sign and logo of The Brass Trap. It hung from a post some hundred paces in front of him. Before long, he reached the door.

Stepping a few paces inside, Corner came to a slow halt and surveyed the tavern. His eyes landed finally on the innkeeper, who looked up and made eye contact. Corner walked towards him, stopping as he reached the bar. He didn't say anything at first, tilting his head slightly as he appraised the man in front of him. The innkeeper raised an eyebrow briefly then continued with his task of cleaning out a keg. "Can I help you?" he asked, hardly paying Corner attention.

Corner was quiet another moment, then responded. "I think so. Are you Francis?"

Francis finished with his polishing and set the vessel aside, resting his arms on the bar's flat surface and looking at the young man in front of him. "Are you looking for Mr. Dren? What's your name?"

"Corner. Corner Hatch."

Francis instructed him to Dren's room. Corner climbed the stairs, feeling an inexplicable sigh rise and then deflate in his chest. He reached the top of the flight, then wandered down a small corridor until he found the door with the number Francis had told him. Without much hesitancy, he pushed it open and stepped inside. Two men were in the room. Corner closed the door and walked towards them. He recognized Mr. Dren, though the second man he was fairly certain he had not seen before.

Meeting each of their eyes in turn, Corner became suddenly aware of his own appearance. His cloak had fallen into disheveled folds, its hood haphazardly-asymmetrically laid across his shoulders, and the fabric was wrinkled and cheap. His wisps of sandy hair were sticking up untidily in the back and on one side, while falling over the top of his eye on the other. He raised a hand to brush them away from his forehead, but they fell back into place as he gave each man a slight bow. He rested his eyes on Mr. Dren. "Sir," he said, laconically, though with a polite nod. "My name is Corner Hatch. It's an privilege to meet you." Quickly, his eyes scanned the room, falling for a moment on the thin, pointed blades strapped to the other man's hip. He blinked and looked back to Dren, expression indifferent.

Edited February 29th, 2016 by Cetasaurus
AKA: Kyogre

Inside the small meeting room, or "the second door on the left," as Francis refers to it, there are a two large windows staring out into the night, a rectangular table large enough to accommodate about eight, and a few sparse decorations here and there. The room is lit by a few wall sconces with candles and a large candelabra in the center of the table. Mr. Dren sits at the head of the table furthest away from the door. There are three chairs on either side of the table, and no chair at the other head. Next to Mr. Dren is a small pile of scrolls, and Mr. Dren is writing something down hastily with a quill.

Mr. Dren is a middle-aged man with a hawkish face, and a gray widow's peak cut short and smart. He is slight of build, but looks hardened by age and experience. Everything about his demeanor seems to exude professionalism. His clothes are neat and clean and of course conservative in style. His face is completely hairless, as Mr. Dren ensures that he shaves with a straight razor every morning. He has a small pair of spectacles that rest on the bridge of his nose. He is very fond of looking over these glasses as he does so as Argo enters the room.

When Argo enters the room, Mr. Dren looks him up and down quickly. Argo's reputation having preceded him, Mr. Dren nods in acknowledgement and gestures with an out-stretched arm to one of the chairs at the table.

"Please have a seat."

Mr. Dren then goes back to writing. After a brief period of time he folds up the paper, and seals it with a large red wax seal. At this time Corner Hatch enters the room. After entering the room, and listening to his brief introduction, Mr. Dren responds dryly with, "Likewise," while gesturing to an open chair.

Following behind Mr. Dren a young women in with stringy brown hair in a brand new cloak and a pack overloaded with supplies enters. As she walks she looks around at Argo and Corner Hatch nodding politely while smiling at each. She seems frazzled and out of place. Her hands are soft and unaccustomed to hard work and her fingernails are stained with ink. Her face is pale from spending too much time indoors. As she walks, the gear in her pack clatter and bang together. She has the definite look of a scribe, a clerk, or maybe even some type of academic.

"Mr. Dren, I have it all here. I've had it all cleared with the Mining Guild. Once we stake a claim, we should be set." She says all this while handing over various pieces of paper that Mr. Dren goes over carefully. Satisfied, he turns and gestures towards the adventurers.

"Sofia, these two men are Argo and Corner Hatch. Argo and Corner Hatch, this is Sofia. You will be working together on this job. They both come highly recommended for this kind of work."

He turns toward the adventured and states grimly. "Once everyone arrives we'll get started with the briefing. One thing I will note is that secrecy and swiftness are very important in this matter. No word of what you hear here can leave these four walls. If all goes well, you will be significantly rewarded."

Posted February 29th, 2016 by Dalure

Cilicia's heels slowly digged into the soft earth under her feet. She had been to this place more than once but the... griminess of its aesthetic still surprised her. While industrial seemed to be synonymous with smoke and soot, Cilicia would never dream of running her factories in such a manner.

Despite the coolness of the air, Cilicia could not break her habit. She fanned her light brown skin with a black lace fan, her head held high as she walked through the crowd. In her other hand, she held a matching black parasol. The throng of people ahead of her slowly split apart as she made her way to the Brass Tap. Normally, she wouldn't accept to work under someone but under her circumstances a bit of adventure and a vacation sounded just up her alley.

Walking into the Brass Tap, the air in the room quickly changed for many reasons. 1. It was hot as hell in here. 2. There was a large, thick cloud of smoke creating a layer of sticky soot on the ceiling. 3. Cilicia was definitely the odd one out. While many of the people within the building were still in work clothes, there were many who wore the only pieces of clothes they owned. Rags. Cilicia was a looming figure over them, especially standing at an even 6". She wore a long, black dress with a rather full petticoat underneath. The dress extended up her neck, ending in frills. The attention to detail upon the dress made it obvious that this dress was expensive. Cilicia figure was rather flat, however, her waist was cinched in with a black corset. Lips painted a bright red, they held a constant mischievous smirk. Her hair was cut into an undercut; the top portion of her hair was in many braids and pulled into a bun. Her left eye was covered with a eyepatch and layers of silver jewelry rested upon her neck.

Stepping into the bar, she followed that familiar route. Heading towards the stairs, she titled her head towards the barkeep. "Hello Francis." It took a moment for Francis to realize who had said his name, but she had already made her way up the stairs and placed her hand around the doorknob. She was late. She knew she was. Mr. Dren should have expected her to be fashionably late either way. As she entered the room, she surveyed the room with her one good hazel eye. Two young men she had never seen before, Mr. Dren of course, and- .... Sophia. She blinked a few times before saying anything to the girl.

"Oh Sophia, darling, what have I told you? You can't continue to walk around looking like this." She attempted to smooth down her hair, straighten her posture.... however, once Cilicia realized it was all a lost cause, she patted Sophia softly on the shoulder. Walking towards Mr. Dren, Cilicia extended her hand. "My, it's been a while Mr. Dren... I can't even remember how long it's been exactly. Definitely before my dear Howard was taken from me."

Edited February 29th, 2016 by Cilicia Stone
Cilicia Stone

Mr. Dren stands as Cilicia enters the room wearing what was no doubt meant to be a warm smile on his face. Instead his face is distorted into a something that is no longer a frown or a grimace and has all the friendliness of a cactus and the warmth of a wet fish. There doesn't seem to be any malice behind the almost macabre appearance of Mr. Dren. It is simply that Mr. Dren rarely has the need to express any warm sentiment, and the act of doing so is completely outside of his area of expertise.

As Cilicia begins to try to fix up the appearance of Sophia, Sophia sheepishly tries to follow her instructions she blushes nervously. Attempting to straighten her posture, her hair, and her appearance in general she turns back to look at Cilicia her eyes desperately seeking some small grain of approval and says. "Good evening, Mrs. Stone."

As Cilicia offers Mr. Dren her hand, he quickly takes it in both hands and shakes it awkwardly. "Good Evening, Cilicia, it has been far too long indeed. I was sorry to hear about your loss. You have my condolences." He then reaches over to pull a chair out for Cilicia before asking. "Please have a seat."

After she sits down, Mr. Dren sits down as well reaching into his pile of scrolls to unroll what appears to be a large map of the Tyr Mountains. His face quickly returns to its natural stern, businesslike manner. "Ladies and Gentlemen, we have before us a significant opportunity, and it all revolves around this." Mr. Dren pulls a small hunk of some strange type of rock with a dull greenish color to it. He sets it on the table in front of them.

"This ore was discovered three days ago by a lunatic prospector panning the Red River for gold. Now we all know there's no gold in the Red River or any mountains it trickles from, but he did find this. He wasn't familiar with the ore, so he came to me to sell it. Not knowing this ore myself, we we did some tests on it, and found it to be extremely hard but malleable and more interestingly, very light. Now, I don't know where exactly this ore came from before being washed down the Red River, but I intend to discover just that."

"I want you to escort Sophia as she follows the course of the Red River to find the source of this ore. Once you find it, I need you to stake a proper claim until I can send a proper crew up to begin mining in earnest. The further reaches of the Tyr Mountains can be a dangerous. Not just due to the mountain folk and the beasts. The treacherous climbing conditions along with the threat of creatures who may live in the mountains themselves. It's been a long time since we beat back the goblin tribes, and it's likely that some still roam the mountains."

"Also I have reason to believe that some other mining interests may be sending out their own parties to search for the source of this ore. We have a head start on this groups, but who knows how much of one. Out there in the mountains, there is no law, and control of this new resource will be worth a significant amount of money. You can expect some groups would be willing to resort to violence for control of this ore. So I would prepare yourselves for that eventuality."

"If you are successful in this endeavor, I am willing to compensate each of you with five hundred gold pieces. Also if you find a particularly rich source of this ore, I'm sure I could throw in a weapon or a tool made by one of the finest smiths this city has to offer made out of this unique ore."

Mr. Dren leans forward in his chair, his eyes slowly scanning everyone in the room waiting for a response.

Posted March 2nd, 2016 by Dalure

Argo had been sitting, back straight, in the chair he had been designated with his right hand resting on his left, which was lying flat on the table in front of him. He watched silently with his face wrapped up as Mr. Dren pulled out the large map and unrolled it onto the table in front of them. He blinked as dust erupted up into the air as it unravelled on the table. Mr. Dren had begun speaking immediately about the job, and Argo watched as the man's mouth formed the words and waited for him to finish. When he did, Mr. Dren seemed eager for a response. Argo spoke from behind his scarf.

An escort mission, down the Red River. Should be simple enough. 500 gold pieces seems a bit light however. If it were just me, I'd turn to walk out the door, but seeing as you've hired three of us for this mission, I'd say there's something you're not telling us. However.

Argo's head turned towards Corner Hatch

He needs a weapon. Unless he's hiding something under those clothes of his, I'd say you should be giving us gear for arming him upfront. As I'm sure you've heard, I typically do not settle for less than 1000 gold. And, I'm sure you cannot afford to lose even one of us otherwise you would not have hired all three of us. I will take the 500 you have offered, but we will need him to be armed with more than a civilian's weapon, and he needs to be dressed for the part too. 500 gold upfront, to be spent on upgrading our friend here. Otherwise, I walk

Posted March 2nd, 2016 by Argo
Carpe Diem
Et Nocte

Corner's eyes flicked towards the chair that Mr. Dren had gestured at, and he moved to seat himself. Shortly after, the door swung open again. A young woman, whom Dren would address as Sofia, entered the room. Watching her, Corner leaned into the back of his chair, bemused at how her loaded rucksack clattered with her frantic mannerisms. She smiled and nodded his way, and Corner returned the greeting out of courtesy. Sofia approached Mr. Dren, preoccupied with the presentation of her report and her papers. Corner, folding his arms onto the table, leaned forward to try to make them out – though unsuccessfully. He looked up with a half-smile and raised a casual hand when Dren introduced Sofia to him and Argo. So, Argo was the other man's name.

Though it was past the hour that Mr. Dren had specified as a meeting time, the room's door opened once more. A woman, dressed in a lavish black dress and fine silver jewelry, strode inside. As she began to fuss with Sofia's clothing, Corner turned his eyes to Mr. Dren, who now was standing. Corner tilted his head in interest, watching the man struggle through his awkward attempt at friendliness, which made salient his private bubble of enthusiasm.

Listening to the two exchange greetings, Corner looked back to the woman, who'd been addressed as Mrs. Stone. Her name sounded almost familiar, and Corner searched his memory to see if a Howard Stone – her apparent late-husband – would trigger any recollection. Nothing in particular came to mind, and he turned his attention back to the Mrs. Stone standing before him. After she took her seat, a map unfurled across the table's flat surface. Corner looked to Mr. Dren, who had settled easily back into professionalism and now addressed the room. The strange rock he brought out was unremarkable in appearance, but Corner scrutinized it as he listened to Dren's story and proposition.

Argo was the first to reply, and began to address the price. Corner gave a soundless sigh and returned his focus to the greenish stone, mostly tuning the other man out. It took Corner a moment to notice once he was made the subject of Argo's complaint. At this point, he peered up attentively, then leaned back in his chair and shifted his posture towards the scarfed man to listen. With Argo's firm conclusion, Corner looked at Mr. Dren. "Don't worry about me," he said simply, and turned his head toward Sofia, indicating with his wordless appraisal of her clunky pack and light skin where his own concerns lay.

Posted March 2nd, 2016 by Cetasaurus
AKA: Kyogre

Cilicia couldn’t help but smile at the feeble thing in front of her. “Good evening. You look very well, my pet.” As Mr. Dren shook her hand, Cilicia had completely forgotten how… awkward the man was. Nervously laughing, she tried desperately to figure out how to discreetly remove her hand from the shake long before it was actually over. That idea proved to be a failure. “Thank you for your kind words. We seemed to plan everything for him, though I suppose you can never plan to prepare yourself against a murder… His birthday was yesterday. The poor dear would have been fifty.” The details of her marriage always seemed to make people feel very unsettled. Perhaps it was because of their 24 year age difference. Perhaps it was because her hand was promised to him at the rather young age of 12 when she caught his eye, when she began to learn how to be a proper lady to a very wealthy man. That of course didn’t stop her rebellious stage; Cilicia went on various adventures, many of them for the man sitting right in front of her. This caused her and Howard to not be married until her 18th birthday. Now she was head of all the business he had left behind, making her a very rich 26 year old.

Taking a seat, Cilicia took one final look at the two men sitting in the room behind her. Folding her fan into her lap, her eyes scanned over the map. Yes, she was very familiar with these mountains; she had to trek those formidable trails many a time. Needless to say, Cilicia wasn’t particularly looking forward to having to do it again. Good thing she brought traveling clothes with her…

Her posture instantly stiffed when the bright green ore was placed in front of them. Despite the fact that she had been up and down the Tyr Mountains, Cilicia had never the pleasure of setting her eyes on such a peculiar stone. Yes… how magnificent a bullet made from this ore would be… The curve of it! The power. She listened with newfound interest, lightly fanning herself once again. The mission was simple enough; Cilicia had been on more difficult quests. However, she knew that trouble would show its ugly head sooner or later. Her life had been rather boring as of late… the thought of being in a life or death situation was actually rather exciting. Her lips parted as she was about to say something, but she was beat by the odd, scarfed man. Her eyebrows furrowed as he continued to talk… and talk… and talk. At the end of his monologue, she scoffed.

”Obviously, you know nothing about the intricacies of Mr. Dren’s work… If you’re chosen by him, you most likely won’t be a person who is unprepared for the work that is before you. Don’t be childish.” Her fan snapped closed in her hand as she closed her eyes. When she opened them, they were landed perfectly upon Mr. Dren’s face. ”This is the type of help that’s out there? No wonder you called me…”

Edited March 3rd, 2016 by Cilicia Stone
Cilicia Stone

Argo scoffed silently under his scarf, if they wanted to be given a penance for an obviously dangerous mission, that was their choice. Argo was not having it, he had a family with hungry mouths and his equipment would need repairing after this mission. Accepting 500 gold would make him, on average, only about 50 pieces after expenses were paid for. He was willing to deal with this hardship for the betterment of the boy he had some strange fondness for - perhaps it was that the boy looked lower class, being needy throughout most of his life he could relate. Perhaps it was his nervous boyish demeaner, he couldn't tell. Regardless, the boy was quick to reject his charity and that would not be forgotten quickly. Anger flashed in his eyes at Cilia's backhanded comment and he considered for a brief moment sliding one of his thin blades into her glistening skin on her neck, puncturing her trachea and leaving her to drown in her own blood. He did not act on his fiery wishes though and turned back to Mr. Dren. If he didn't have two younger brothers this would be different. He shook his head and opened his mouth.

Very well, then these are my terms. I simply cannot accept less than 750 gold pieces. Doing this mission for what you have offered, simply put, barely covers my overhead

Edited March 3rd, 2016 by Argo
Carpe Diem
Et Nocte

Mr. Dren simply sits back and listens as everyone says their piece. His eyes dart back and forth over his spectacles as he listens to what each has to say. Then when they finish he leans back in his chair, and slowly brings his fingers together as if ruminating over all that has been said. There is a brief silence and Sofia looks back at Mr. Dren anxiously twirling her hair nervously. Any of the awkwardness that Mr. Dren had earlier quickly fades into a cold, calculating persona. Then a predatory grin appears on Mr. Dren's face, and he leans forward in his chair and says in a quiet measured tone. "If the money is what you want, then I may offer a bit of a deal that may suit you."

His voice grows a bit louder and more serious as he states, "1000 gold pieces for each is not a price I am unwilling to pay for a job done right. You get what you pay for after all, and I am willing to pay for quality in this manner." Then he brings his hand down hard on the table as he stands. "I do expect the job to be done right. I need you to ensure that I have complete control of this valuable resource and that my claim is uncontested! Other mining companies may be sending out their own teams to secure claims of their own. They may need to be... persuaded of our right to the source of this ore. If any of this is wondrous mineral is mined out of this source, it needs to go through me!"

Mr. Dren straightens back his hair and regains his composure calmly. He then turns to Cilicia and says. "Of course, Mrs. Stone, if you would like to wave your initial compensation for a Preferred Customer status giving your company sole purchasing rights for one month in regards to this metal including a 5% discount on whatever you purchase from my company for a year. I would also find that deal quite satisfactory."

He then turns to the group and general and says. "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know if you realize that magnitude of this discovery. If you successfully complete this mission, you may find steady work with me for years to come. Also you will find that I am willing to pay for professional work, and that my compensation can be quite generous."

Mr. Dren then calmly sits back in his chair and says, "What do you say to these terms?"

Posted March 3rd, 2016 by Dalure

Argo listened to Mr. Dren. He could tell that he was a reasonable man and that this would indeed be a job worth doing. He was surprised at his offer of 1000 gold per person, he'd not even considered doubling the offered amount 100%. But he was glad for being compensated appropriately for his work. Listening to Mr. Dren, he heard the meaning behind the man's words and was in approval.

I will ensure that you have your stake of this ore, and I will make sure that the other prospectors... see reason. I will do this, or I will die trying

Argo looked around at his two companions-to-be without moving his head, curious as to how they would respond. He knew Cilia was wealthy, but he had not suspected her to be quite so affluent.

Posted March 4th, 2016 by Argo
Carpe Diem
Et Nocte

OOC: I'ma wait for KM8 to reply

Posted March 5th, 2016 by Cilicia Stone
Cilicia Stone

((Yeah, I was thinking I've been the first to comment a bit too much, I'll let one of y'all have a turn at that next go round))

Posted March 5th, 2016 by Growlithe

((Ack I was gonna reply last night after I saw Cicilia's OOC and then I fell asleep and forgot, sorry!))

Corner widened his eyes in a moment of offense at Mrs. Stone's remark to Dren, but he otherwise seemed unperturbed. Argo made another remark about covering his expenses, and then there was silence. Corner looked to Mr. Dren, watching the older man fall into such sharp composure that it was intimidating. The man then leaned forward and began to speak evenly, commanding attention, which Corner willfully gave as he straightened up slightly in his chair. He flinched back when Mr. Dren slammed the table and stood abruptly, but kept his eyes focused on him. Mr. Dren clearly knew how to control his subordinates, for in spite of his oft-disinterested self, Corner began to feel determined to do his job well in the hopes of gaining the businessman's approval. This approval-seeking, however, had long been his private weakness.

Mr. Dren seemed to regain his sense of cool, sitting back down and turning to Mrs. Stone. Corner turned to look at her too, gathering from Dren's offer that she too was a moneyed businesswoman, likely in the smithing trade. He wondered what her company was called, and what it specialized in producing.

Dren addressed the room again, speaking of the rock and their quest as if they were at the frontline of discovery. This made Corner smile to himself, eyes brightening at the prospect. Some boyish sense of adventure had clung to him through the years, and to his fortune thus far. Argo, as seemed to be the trend of their group, was the first to respond. His words seemed founded on loyalty and personal integrity, traits which Corner usually lacked. He turned briefly to Mrs. Stone, who was yet to speak, then replied to Mr. Dren, "I too can agree to these terms. Thank you, sir."

Posted March 5th, 2016 by Cetasaurus
AKA: Kyogre

As Mr. Dren spoke, Cilicia could feel the atmosphere in the room becoming particularly... stuffy. Her eyes turned away from Mr. Dren as he spoke, focusing on some strange stain upon the hideous, yellow wallpaper. As his hand slammed upon the desk, she snapped her fan back open, proceeding to fan herself once again out of irritation. She never liked being scolded, no matter how mild it was. Her eyes threw daggers towards Argo; this wouldn't have happened if he wasn't so... just so...

She was unable to find the words that perfectly described her dislike of the scarfed man before Mr. Dren began to speak to her once again. Her fan stopped for a moment, a bright smile spreading across her face. "Oh Mr. Dren, you know how to make a lady smile..." Cilicia leaned back in her chair, however, her posture was still perfect. "Make it six months and a 10% lifetime discount since we've been such good friends for quite a long time... and you will most certainly have your ore."

Posted March 7th, 2016 by Cilicia Stone
Cilicia Stone

Mr. Dren at first looks shocked at the terms Cilicia offers, but quickly regains his composure as if remembering something important. He clears his throat and straightens his spectacles before saying with a wolfish grin. "I can accept these terms... For the sake of our dear friendship." He adds hastily. As he says this Sophia squirms uncomfortably, and bursts in nervously.

"Well it's time to look at the map then!" She reaches over the map pointing with her finger from the town and drawing a quick trail to the Red River and then up into the mountains. "It's unlikely that wherever this ore came from is anywhere close by. People having been using the Red River for decades without anyone ever finding anything like this. I'd suspect that our source is much deeper in the mountains. In terms of getting their I'm not entirely sure, we could try simply following the river or even rowing up it... but it flows from the mountains so the current would be against us.... The Red River is pretty slow moving, and a couple tributaries flow into it, but most everything nearby get its water from the river... That could be bad to stay by the river... I'm guessing that the ore is coming from one of the tributaries, either the Mazalo, Rook, or Klein tributaries." Sophia says this while pointing to one tributary west of the river and two east. The river itself flows from the northwest down northeast just north of Lyden. Sophia continues confidently, seeming much happier to be talking about something that's a bit more her forte. "They each begin near some pretty mineral areas, and I'd stake good money that there's where our ore is from." Mr. Dren who had been watching intently cuts in and says.

"Each of these areas is likely to have their own dangers. We know little about these tributaries. It'd be expensive and dangerous to root out the wild men or beasts, so people have just let them be. When you find the source and send word to me, I'll send a steam barge up the river with enough men to ensure that we can secure a safe passage and relieve you of duty. Mobilizing the resources I need to do this may take time, so I've already started. By the time you send word to me, they will be ready. The question is how will you get up there?" After saying this Mr. Dren looks around the room at the three adventurers waiting for their answers.

Posted March 7th, 2016 by Dalure

Sophia's agitation, just as she switched everyone's attention to the maps, called an instinctive distrust to the surface of Corner's mind. For a moment his gaze remained fixed on Mr. Dren, even as Sophia began speaking. But slowly he lowered his eyes to the trails, which she traced with her finger, across the cartography. There's something you're not telling us. Argo's words from earlier, even as he thought he'd tuned them out, rose unbidden from Corner's memory. He blinked the impression away, attempting to focus on Sophia's discourse of the Tyr Mountains.

Corner leaned back and looked up once Mr. Dren concluded the discourse with his question. Yes, how would they get there? Three tributaries, three hired hands – splitting up was one option. The person that followed the correct tributary could signal the other two with a smoke beacon. But this did undermine Mr. Dren's emphasis on secrecy; a pillar of smoke was none too discreet. And, as Mr. Dren had pointed out, the tributaries marked unexplored territory; it could be dangerous, and there was strength in numbers. Not to mention, whatever information Mr. Dren was keeping from them hung in nebulous form over the whole mission, and the prospectors could benefit to develop a sense of solidarity.

In a past not too long ago, Corner had practice in a number of tricks meant to swindle a crowd. This job was starting to feel like one of them. Three cups, one stone. Show the stone, place the stone under a cup, shuffle them around, ask a stranger to bet on which cup held the stone. The correct answer, of course, was none of them. During the shuffling, with proper technique, the stone could be flicked without notice from the rim of the cup to a waiting, well-timed open palm. If done correctly, the ruse was imperceptible. Corner sighed heavily and made eye-contact with Mr. Dren. He opted not to voice his suspicions, deciding instead to provide himself with some insurance in the case that their group was to travel separate paths. He opened his mouth and spoke with a tone that blended good-humor and dull-wittedness, "I don't know, but if you think we ought to split up, I'd like to volunteer to travel with Sophia. She looks like she might need some guidance out there."

He offered her a sheepish grin, disguising the uneasy churning of his thoughts. She looked like she'd had a complete lack of experience with traveling in the wilderness, defending herself, or taking on any sort of danger. This would make her a liability and a weight, but it would come with advantages. Principally, she had knowledge. She had knowledge of the mission, of Mr. Dren, of his business, of the region, and of the ore – and that was just what Corner had gathered about her so far. And, as far as her inexperience went, she didn't seem like the type to fold when faced with challenge. Corner hoped that however their plan unfolded, he'd have her as an asset.

Posted March 8th, 2016 by Cetasaurus
AKA: Kyogre

Argo stood there, listening patiently. He noticed the shock in Mr. Dren's face as Cilicia made her demands, although he tried to conceal it. And pondered the map as Sophia described their path. He was quiet now, which was not out of character, though it was in stark contrast to his earlier display. Of course, in business negotiations such as this, one must know the correct procedure in getting things done. Argo had always excelled at getting what he wanted, and he had gotten the sum of money he had originally expected. However, he did continually see the other mercenaries as lost causes. Truthfully, he'd never cared for Cilicia, but he did have a strange fondness for Corner Hatch. Well, at first he did, Corner seemed to be completely uninterested in Argo however and had made it apparent when he voiced his desire to travel with Sophia. He couldn't help but wonder who these two people were, Corner and Cilicia, truthfully he'd never seen them before in his life, though that could be due to his familiarity with the mines... He shook his head. If these two did not desire his company, he was definitely not heartbroken.

Acknowledging Mr. Dren's question, he finally spoke up.

I certainly have no qualms with traveling alone. No doubt these two...

His blue eyes shimmered with ice.

... would just slow me down anyways

Edited March 9th, 2016 by Argo
Carpe Diem
Et Nocte

((to clarify, Corner asked to travel with Sophia not Cilicia.))

Posted March 8th, 2016 by ceta

((I will make the necessary editions soon.))

Posted March 8th, 2016 by Growlithe

Cilicia brought her fan higher upon her face, concealing everything but her eyes. The slight change in Mr. Dren's composure had not slipped past her. She stared at him for a few moments more, even as Sophia tried to clear the air. Though the two had known each other for a very long time, Cilicia was not naive to the fact that humans tended to have ulterior motives hidden up their sleeve. She flicked her eye back to the map as Sophia began to speak. Many of these areas she had been to before. The terrain was uncivilized and contained no clear paths. Before she could even offer a solution to their problems, the two men began to speak. And of course, the only words coming out of their mouths were completely useless.

Sighing, she stood up and strolled towards the window. Cilicia had not noticed until that moment how dark it had become outside. The streets were illuminated by lamps that were so crooked, she was surprised that they had not collapsed from their own weight. A soft yellow glow shone on the filthy faces of a crowd of children standing under one. Once the background noise of Corner and Argo stopped emitting itself into her ears, she turned back towards the room. "You men and your filthy egos. It is a completely i]idiotic idea to travel alone. We shall all go as a group. It isn't proper for a lady to travel alone with a man, isn't my pet?" Her last sentence was directed towards Sophia.

Instead of returning back to her seat, she leaned her weight upon the window sill, trying to get any distance she could from the crowd. They were beginning to annoy her. "Now here's a real answer. We go by vehicle, of course. Trying to travel on foot is tiresome, and trying to travel by creature is bothersome. A vehicle with a continuous track as the standard wheel will not be useless to us..." She smiled to herself as she continued. "...And another one with drill attachment... And I know just where to get one."

Posted March 8th, 2016 by Cilicia Stone
Cilicia Stone

Argo shook his head. That was not quite the way he wished to travel, besides...

But Cilicia he said finally realizing that there was a second c in her name. That idea seems to draw away from his desire to have us make sure no one else gets there. I recognize that you're not used to working in the heat His words were full of poison but we do have a duty to Mr. Dren to ensure that he is the only claim holder to this mineral. If you want to travel in a carriage resigned from the outside world, I won't stop you. But if I must travel quickly, I will take a horse.

He was starting to understand this foul woman's mannerisms, and would use her privilege against her if the need came.

Posted March 9th, 2016 by Argo
Carpe Diem
Et Nocte

Mr. Dren looks to Sophia expectantly, and she leans over towards him while he whispers something in her ear. As she hears his words, she makes a small start and then turns nervously towards the mercenaries. Her tone is diplomatic and very respectful as if asking a favor. "Mr. Argo, I have every bit of confidence that you are quite skilled at your job, but this job may require us to stick together to survive. These lands are quite dangerous and besides that my education in minerals provides me with the ability to find this ore. Explorers have been in these mountains before without finding this ore. This is the primary reason why Mr. Dren is sending me on this mission. Also our survival, mine especially, may rely on our ability to work together as a team. I would ask if you could set aside any... unpleasantness that might have occurred aside for the time being if I could ask that favor from you."

Then Sophia turns towards Corner, and says in an appreciate tone. "Mr. Hatch, I do appreciate your offer of support. I have to admit that this is my first time doing anything like this. I may rely on your generosity in the future," as she says this a slight blush rises to her cheeks, "but I believe our chance of survival is higher if we work together."

Sophia then stands up and meekly walks over to the window where Cilicia stands. "I would love to ride in your vehicles someday! However, while the convenience and the efficiency of your vehicles do sound quite tempting, I wonder if it might not draw too much attention to us. We're trying to do this quietly without drawing too much attention. If we go into the mountains with two state-of-the-art vehicles one with a large drill, we may draw much attention to ourselves. The nomads and bandits may harry us relentlessly thinking that we are ripe targets." Sophia's voice then lowers to a dull whisper as she says. "I realize some of these men might seem a bit... rough around the edges, but they seem like men with their hearts in the right place. We may rely on them on this expedition. Would you be willing to do me a great favor, and try to get along with them? I wouldn't normally ask such a brazen request, but I feel that necessity may demand as much." Said by someone else such a thing may have sounded sarcastic, but when Cilicia looks into Sophia's eyes the sincerity is obvious.

Posted March 9th, 2016 by Dalure

Cilicia scoffed at Argo's words. Not used to the heat? There were days when she could still feel her dry, cracked skin bleeding from working in the fields all day wearing nothing but moth-eaten rags. Her childhood days when Death seemed to always be breathing at her parent's door were never too far from her mind. Sometimes she wished that they had went into smithing as opposed to agriculture: perhaps the dry heat of the ovens would have been a bit better. Perhaps they would have been able to earn a few more pennies a day to feed all those hungry mouths.

But she had nothing to prove to him. Cilicia had done her time and earned her keep. For now, she merely smiled and gazed out of the window. At this point, she was questioning if her business deal with Mr. Dren was worth it... Yes. For a chance at getting her hands upon a rare ore, she was willing to give almost anything. Almost.

She once again began to drown out their words, focusing on the few stragglers on the street. By this time, many of the workers were home in their beds, gathering what little strength they had left to awaken at the crack of dawn. The children that had previously been under the lamp had hurried off to their homes, ready to guzzle down whatever gruel their family could provide for them. Cilicia had never been particularly fond of children but she did not like to see them hurt either... if only the construction of her town would hurry up-

Movement was detected by her one good eye and she quickly realized that it was Sophia. As she spoke, Sophia completely had Cilicia's attention, however, her demeanor was everything but friendly. Her back was as straight as ever, her eyes getting a slight glaze to them. Once Sophia stopped speaking, Cilicia took a quick glance around the room before turning back towards the window. "We'll have a picnic after this, pet." She didn't address anything else that Sophia had said... however, she didn't argue against them either.

Posted March 10th, 2016 by Cilicia Stone
Cilicia Stone

Corner afforded Argo a disinterested glance when he made his icy remark towards himself and Mrs. Stone, and was otherwise unresponsive to the mercenary. This man was certainly quick to form a grudge.

Mrs. Stone spoke next, shooting a few insults of her own around the room, to which Corner held up his hands in mock defensiveness. "I may be idiotic," he said, "But I only wanted to offer a service." He gave Sophia an apologetic shrug.

Mrs. Stone was still speaking, and Corner listened attentively as she explained her transportation of choice. He made no comment, knowing Argo would. Corner looked down and chuckled softly to himself as the scarfed man began to spit venom at Cilicia. The man's petty anger was somehow amusing to him.

Corner almost didn't notice Mr. Dren whisper in Sophia's ear, looking up just as the man pulled away. Sophia began to speak, her tone clearly meant to placate the room. She addressed Argo first, then him. In response, Corner simply nodded her way with a reassuring half-smile.

Sophia then voiced the principle concerns Corner had about the vehicles, and shortly thereafter she began to appeal to Mrs. Stone for his and Argo's sakes. Corner tilted his head as he listened to the sincerity in her tone.

Cilicia spared her only a brusque response before turning away, then the room fell silent. Corner spanned each of the room's current habitants with an expectant gaze, then finally spoke. "So..." he paused hesitantly, "We still need a plan here." He stood up and leaned over the map. "We could hike a loop. Start on the east side of the river, knock out these two tributaries." He traced a line with his finger as he spoke, "Circle back across the river and check out the last one, if we need to." He sat back down. "We'd plot a course through the points of lowest elevation, of course. We don't really want to expend energy summiting mountains if we only need to get around them. Most of our upwards traveling should be reserved for following the tributaries to their sources." He glanced at the faces of whoever was listening, wondering how they'd respond and whether they'd have some other suggestions.

Edited March 10th, 2016 by Cetasaurus
AKA: Kyogre

Argo listened as Sophia made her request towards him, and responded with only a stare. After realizing that that stare was the only response she would be getting, she turned to Corner who also acknowledged her with Silence. Argo almost felt bad for her at this point, but then she turned and spoke with Cilicia, too softly for Argo to hear, but he assumed she was trying to broker peace with her as well. And just as well, Cilicia completely ignored her request and spoke of a picnic. Argo wasn't sure what to think of his new companions, but he had a job to do, and he would do it. He had a fierce loyalty to his contracts. If that included working with a few unpleasant people, then that's the cost. 1000 gold is 1000 gold after all. Just enough to feed his family for a month.

Posted March 11th, 2016 by Argo
Carpe Diem
Et Nocte

Argo yawns in anticipation.

Posted March 17th, 2016 by Argo
Carpe Diem
Et Nocte
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