47Haven

Tomboy Enthusiast
Original poster
Invitation Status
,
Posting Speed
One post per day, 1-3 posts per week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
Male, Female, Futanari, Primarily Prefer Female
Genres
Fantasy, yuri, slice-of-life, war romance, action oriented, organized crime, star-crossed lover (like a mafia and a police kind of thing)
Name (& pronunciation): Born Vixis Nytokuna, adopted the name Vincent Strauss, nicknamed Vince
Date of Birth (& age): Donard 17th, Tempen, 19 y/o
Place of Birth: Nearby Laedry
Gender: Male
Species/Racial Origin: Mix between a Nyss father and human mother
Social Class/Community Status: Street urchin who got bad rumors swirling around him. Slightly more respected as a guild worker and mercenary, but generally people wouldn't get close to him unless they're really desperate.
Language: Cygnaran (self-taught. Mostly spotty, but understandable), Llaelese (native), barely literate as well, self-taught himself how to read Caspian, enough to understand his job description, but not enough to read actual books
Family/Friends/Pets/Etc: None. Father disappeared, mother passed away from overworking, and not everyone wants to get close to someone with such bad omen regarding his birth situation. Some of the people, namely the guild master, the bartender of a bar he frequents, and the landlord, does tolerate his presence, but it's mostly on a business standpoint, as he does do what he said he'd do, but none would get into a personal level with him.

Both Gasteau and Elodie is the only one that has been able to tolerate his presence, and even get closer to him on a more personal bond as well. While Vincent does make some connection through his jobs, and some even through direct request, he always treated it as business only, so he never really had a chance to further their relationship apart from being a client. However, these people does hold the same contempt to Vincent as Gasteau and Elodie does, it's just that Vincent never really further this connection since he's already too used to being shunned.

Physical Description
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 57 kg
Hair: Scruffy medium length dark blue with slight white highlight on the bangs. Similar to this one, he's mostly seen with a ponytail as well
Eyes: Dark green, his right eye glows red when he uses magic
Limb Dexterity: Ambidexterous, prefers right hand
Detailed Physical Description: Vince has a pale gray skin and pointy ears, thanks to his Nyss ancestry, but his general bone structure resembles more of a human. He has a medium length hair that he purposely left unkempt, as he doesn't care about his outward appearance. He often leave his hair in a ponytail, as he gets stuffy often. He's quite underweight for his height, due to the fact that he needs to cut on spending, but while he may look rather scrawny, the only fat and meat that he has on his bone is mostly turned into muscle, thanks to his physically demanding jobs. He got a long Nyssian traditional tattoo starting from his right shoulder to the back of his right hand, one that he always covers with apparels. Vince also carries several scars throughout his body, notably one on the edge of his left eye, spanning from the temple, one on the bridge of his nose, another on the right side of his lips, some smaller cuts and scratches on both arms, and one large gnash on his left shoulder. He also suffered several burn scars on his hands and legs, discoloring those areas forever. His right ear is slightly chipped as well, due to a work accident, but it made people think he was some slave. He has a permanent eye bags, as he rarely sleeps more than 5 hours per day, and his teeth are visibly sharper than most.
B/W/H: 88/72/90, packing average size

Typical Clothing/Equipment:
Those are what Vince usually wears, as it's the only battle-ready gear that he has. After a few close call, Vince opted to put some armors on his body as well, covering the chest areas, part of his stomach, and his whole right hand, fashioned from some scraps. On top of that, he also worn a dark grey scarf on his neck, which he often pulls up if he wants to be less recognizable, and if the situations requires going to a less breathable space, he uses a plague doctor mask (the actual thing looks more asymmetrical and rough) fashioned from scraps that he found. His coat also have some grey fur around the hood part. Vince mostly kept his hood up to covers his ears, so to not draw too much attention, and in cases that he doesn't uses the long coat, he wore an aviator hat, or an oversized newsboy cap where he can slip his ears under the cap, depending on the temperature. While travelling, Vince would opt to wear an extra brown coat on top of his usual apparel.

When he's not doing anything dangerous, or requires combat, he'd forgo the coat and armor, and instead opted for a disheveled grey shirt, black tie, and dark grey cargo pants. He would still wear his black scarf, and choices of his two hats. When only wearing shirt, he'd roll up his left sleeve, while letting the right sleeve be. He also often wears a brown battered leather bag, where he mostly keeps his documents and stuff.

No matter the situation, he always worn his utility belt, which also extends as his weapon holster, and plain grey boots. Under his clothes as well, Vince would wear black skintight long-sleeved shirt and leggings to cover the tattoos and scars. On most cases as well, Vince is often seen wearing a dark grey fingerless gloves which he often changes to black work gloves when touching anything that's not supposed to touch the skin. He also had these kind of earrings on his left ear

His array of weapons includes a long ranged sniper rifle that he pilfered from one of the dead solider he encountered while going to his job, a pair of standard issue revolvers that he also pilfered from the dead, which he then modified with detachable blades (imagine this, but the tip would be longer to facilitate stabbing, and it having a small handle when detached), which is his main attack method. For actual one to one combat, where a short blade wouldn't suffice, Vince uses a collapsible spear that he made himself using some scraps. The handle itself is telescopic, but the tip is bladeless, so Vince has to manually attach the blades from the revolver to the spear before using, else he'll be using it as a bo staff. To be as inconspicuous as possible, Vince often leave his rifle and spear back in his room, only carrying the revolver and the dagger. His utility belt is also filled with tools for sabotaging, thieving, and repairing, although not as effective if he brought the whole toolbox.

Personality/Attributes

Personality/Attitude: Vince is mostly an apathetic guy, being brought up in the harsh world with a lot of prejudices laid upon him. From early age, he faces a lot of disgust and aversion, making his life significantly harder than it already is, having to live as a homeless orphan who inherited his mother's debts, which she uses to take care of him ironically. As such, from his childhood, he already learned to put a wall around himself, not trusting anyone but himself, not even the deities. He's almost totally cold and calculating when doing his work, showing little to no empathy when killing others.

Under this apathetic mask however, lies a kind soul who felt joy when the client genuinely thanked him, one that would risk his life for someone he genuinely cared about, like his mother for example, one that wouldn't even hurt a fly, but the unforgiving world has taught him that all these traits is just a hindrance on his survival, so he merely channeled his hatred from being so repressed to cover these kind traits, which does helps with his works, which often times includes stealing, and sometimes even killing. He still retains part of this kindness, although it's mostly directed towards flora and faunas. Perhaps this is his ancestry in play, perhaps it's just his nature. He would also try to not hurt any child or females, unless he saw with his own eyes that they deserve the business end of his guns.

Although initially seems uninterested in most thing, he actually hold quite the interest regarding machinery, especially the warjacks. He rarely talks about it, as he rarely has someone to talk to about it, but when the conversation arose, he's often seen hanging around the corner listening to the conversation. When he does finally get to work on machinery, or even warjacks on some occassion, his eyes would lit up like a kid on his birthday. Once he got into this mode, he can rarely be disturbed, as he will spend his whole attention towards the machinery at hand. While his face wouldn't show too much smile, anyone can see that he's clearly the happiest when he's tinkering. This also extends to his own weapons, modding it, repairing, maintaining it, all of things that involves machining all brings him joy. He's also naturally curious about these, often spending time dismantling scraps and junks just to learn about the inner working of it.

The more time he spent with Elodie and Gasteau, the more the ice melts, as he'd smile more often, talks more freely with the two, and sometimes would even joke with them. He's a huge fan of puns though, so it's not always greeted with a laugh, but any reaction from the two is good enough. He has started to regard the d'Trouvé as a second family, but as he really doesn't want to bother anyone else, thinking that spending time with a 'freak' like him would bring the d'Trouvé name down, Vince rarely acts like he's already a really close person to them, often masking it as a strictly-job purpose, even though he knew that Elodie could tell. He still avoids too much affection as well though.

Skills/Talents: Slight knowledge of alchemy, quite skillful with repairing warjacks and other machinery, relatively good at being stealthy, quite the crackshot with guns. Due to his ancestry, he does have some innate magic power of life controlling, which he can use to heal by absorbing life from other thing. He rarely wants to use this magic though, since if anyone found out about this, he'd be even more shunned, he can only apply the healing in a very small radius, only as far as his palm can cover, and he has yet to gain full control of the amount of life that he can transfer, which may result in insignificant amount of healing, or totally draining the source, which would then in turn drain his own life.
Favorites/Likes: Machine, Warjacks, weapons, silence, the forest, the winter
Most Hated/Dislikes: Most living being other than the d'Trouvé, floras, and faunas. Some Vince only acts wary around, some he loathes with his whole being. The latter includes people who treats anyone lower than them like trash, liars and corrupt individuals, those who treats flora, faunas, and machines like disposable, disrespectful ones, and most loathed of them all, those who judges people by appearance alone. Recently he also finds distaste in people who pushes their belief to other people, and strong hate towards fanatics.
Goals/Ambitions: Currently none, other than surviving another day. He does dreams of getting his own Warjacks and owning his own workshop, but with the pace he gains money and his living condition, those are merely just fleeting dreams
Strengths: Quite the professional, as he will try his darnest to finish any job he took, has quite the creative mind in regards of problem solving, able to stay calm in most situation, able to do quick decision making, willing to try anything, quite deft and nimble with his limbs, rather agile for his size.
Weaknesses: Rather weak in direct combat, both strength and defense wise, which is why he chose the spear, as he could keep his distance with it, making him extremely reliant on his tools of trades to be useful. Is really socially awkward and too distrusting of new people. Rarely cares about what others thinks, often works alone, and often fails to comprehend that the other can't do what he does with certain stuff.
Fears: Betrayal and backstabbers, death of someone close to him, not being able to control his magic
Hobbies/Interests: Junk diving for scraps, dismantling stuff to understand how they work, watching Warjacks, modding, repairing, maintaining, and tweaking his weapons. If he could actually read, he'd also be reading a lot of books regarding machine, but he can't.

Philosophy of Life: "Do it yourself, don't rely on anybody else, and if you really need to rely on somebody else, then you already screwed up something"
"Machines, Warjacks, flora, faunas, I can understand them. People? Not so much, and I don't plan to"
Religion/Beliefs: None, used to believe in both Nyssor and Morrow, his parent's patron saint, but has became disillusioned due to the amount of unanswered prayer, both from himself, and from others. Lately however, has been showing some form of interest towards Cyriss, as her uncaring attitude pretty much fits with what he already learned.
Fetishes/Strange Behaviors: Likes being dominated, really loves skin-tights outfits, has certain attraction to nape and armpit, prefers hairless body, and has certain love towards contraptions. He likes gnawing on something, and likes to chew and crunch anything that is edible, but is supposed to be sucked. Really wants to be pampered and head-patted.
Most Instructive/Painful/Memorable Experience: The death of his mother. After a lot of struggling, during which his mother had forced himself to work, his mother finally collapsed from exhaustion, yet despite his best effort, Vince couldn't find anyone who'd be willing to help a penniless street urchin. So his mother passed away, and he hadn't even given her a proper burial when a group of men barged in and demanded Vince to pay for the debts that his mother owed. Of course, not having any money or jobs, the group resorted to selling him to a travelling act. He was never able to properly bury his mother, who died in Laedry, and when he finally broke free and went back to Laedry, he found that his old home has been torched down. No one knows where his mother's body ended up. Vince took solace in believing that at least her mother's body was cremated along with the house.

His escape, and his first kill, is also another one of his instructive one. The ringmaster abuses a lot of his performers, forcing them to overwork themselves, giving barely subpar meal, and forcing them to live in a cage. One night, the ringmaster came barging in, took one of the girl, who's around his age, and proceeded to rape her. This was the last straw, and Vince took his first life that night. However, the girl committed suicide later on, and the other performers turned Vince in to the authority, taking reward and freedom for themselves, as if they escaped with Vince, they'll be hunted down as well, while Vince got thrown into jail. This taught him that nobody is trustworthy, even the one that he shared pain with. He served his sentence though, which is relatively light for the crime committed, thanks to the allegations towards the ringmaster as well, and he got out of prison at the age of 14, after serving a 5 year sentences.

His more positive memorable experience was the first proper meal he had in a decade, which was given to him by the d'Trouvé. Gasteau bumped into him when he was wandering the streets, looking for scraps, and gave him some of the bread he was buying. Of course, Vince wanted to repay him, but Gasteau denied. He persisted quite a bit, and then decided to gave him some jobs to repay for that bread, which was just simple lawn mowing and home cleaning. This is when Vince and Elodie first met. Elodie then invited Vince for some meal, as it was nearing dinnertime, which Vince rejected immediately, and excuses himself. After several days of bumping into the two, some more jobs and chores, and some push though, Vince reluctantly agreed to join them. That night, he almost cried as he shove the food into his mouth. Tears did form, but he didn't cry. He however, did cry silently when he got back home.
Name (& pronunciation): Elodie d'Trouvé (elodí deTrúb)
Date of Birth (& age): Malleus 13th, Doloven 560 AR (Calendar - Iron Kingdoms)
Place of Birth: Leryn
Gender: Female
Species/Racial Origin: Rynysh fater, Umbrean mother
Social Class/Community Status: Upper working class (merchant). Father was a minor military noble (non hereditary knighthood)
Language: Rynysh, Llaelese (native), Umbrean (all of these might look like the same), Rhulic and Cygnaran.
Family/Friends/Pets/Etc:
Familly: Son (Gasteau -Gastó) and his Fianceé Meline (Melín), Mother (Michelle -Mishel-), Father (François -Franzuá-), various uncles and aunts, a handful of cousins and some other familly she's not close with but keeps in contact (probably via letter 2 or 3 times a year).

Friends: Remi (-rremí- the big and strong owner of a warehouse of building materials just across the main plaza in front of her shop. He's tried to court her for years, and he's a great guy, but he was close to her ex-husband and would have her inside home as a good housewife and she can't stand that. They have romantic encounters every now and then, but that doesn't go further since she's not interested. He has a 15 YO daughter, Anette -anét- that she has always loved)
Guy (-güí- A career guardsman, he's her loyal childhood friend. They have a long history and probably more stories shared than they dare tell. He's an upstart supporter of finding a new king and considers prime minister Deyar Glabrin a suicide traitor to the country. He's also a duel aficionado and loves to see duels and sometimes vents getting his ass wooped in the royal arena.
He is unable to make an edible dish, so he almost always buys the ingredients and they eat together, so he lives half his day in the barracks and half at Elodie's).
Séverine (-Severín- a master swordswoman, known to defend other nobles as champion for coin. She's an outgoing person with a wry smile always on her face and a lovely voice, but also a vocal thamarite advocate with aspirations on turning into the next scion.
Elodie and Severine met in the Dark Ascention Night, as Elodie was partying with her unit and some friends for her birthday. Severine was in the middle of the rites of the evening but got catched up in a fistfight with one of Elodie's companions, which Elodie stopped inviting Severine to partake on her birthday celebration. Since then, the inicial interest Severine had in Elodie became a sincere friendship and Severine guided Elodie in the discovery of her faith. Since then, their relation has grown and flourished).
Lisette (Elodie's best friend. She's a nurse in the general hospital,

Physical Description
Height: 1,73m
Weight: 110kg
Hair: Fair amber blonde with waves, long to half her back and usually braided to the side.
Eyes: Auburn
Limb Dexterity: not what it used to be, but mainly need to rust of her exercises.
Detailed Physical Description: She's tall and brawny but not muscular. Her auburn eyes are intense and many people that look into her eyes end up staring trying to make out whether red or brown. She uses a pair of metal framed glasses with a hook to her ears.
Her mouth is beefy and she's starting to develop wrinkles when she smiles, wich is often. Her nose is tall and noble, and her cheeks are raised nicely accentuatingboth her smile and her eyes.
The hair is blonde, long and wavy, but she usually wears a side braid to keep it out of the way.
She has big breasts and a wide back, but her legs are also sturdy and her hips form a femenine hourglass shape, although her waist is not particularly narrow. Rather, if she dropped a few pounds she'd live a marked abdomen showing, but as she thinks that's too masculine, she does her best to not over-exercise (Although masculine looks are sometimes of her liking to wear).
Her hands are strong but well cared, and more nimble than you could expect of such long fingers.
B/W/H: 116cm / 80cm / 130cm (Body Visualizer Sizing Demo)
FaceClaim (Nahir, a friend of mine)


Typical Clothing/Equipment: Usually uses trousers, a short smock just over the knee and boots. Always carries a Goedendag as a club to "soften" any would be robbers before the autorities arrive. Over all, she usually uses a dirty and thick leather apron.


Personality/Attributes

Personality/Attitude: Tends to be outgoing and open, and to never let her opinions be known, but open a posibility and explore it even when convinced of the other way around. She's also well read and usually chats with anyone that has something interesting to say.

Skills/Talents: a KILLER business woman, always gets more than she gives, able to read people in an instant, easily fools anyone, would with violence in any form, knowledgeable in most any subject, learning some Telgesh and sorcery.
Favorites/Likes: Adventure, travel, outgoing travelers and Dhunian lore.
Most Hated/Dislikes: Pretentious people, be given commands, needless violence, abuse of power.
Goals/Ambitions: To start making something different of her life and finding a way of worship that she's good at.
Strengths: Strong mind and not affraid to get her hands dirty. Often a practical thinker and open minded. Organized and backhanded. Excelent shot and pretty brutal hand to hand.
Weaknesses: Devoted and doubtful, hates to take risks, not adaptable at all.
Fears: Not find her way, being unable to change.
Hobbies/Interests: Magic, mechanika, theology, reading and writing.

Philosophy of Life: "A civilization is built on what is required of men, not on that which is provided for them. Man is, above all else, a creator. Kinship exists only between those who work together."
"One man that has a mind and knows it can always beat ten men who haven't and don't."
"Where all men think alike, no one thinks very much."
Religion/Beliefs: Thamarite
Fetishes/Strange Behaviors: Groups, bigger men, fake-forcing
Most Instructive/Painful/Memorable Experience:

6:52 PM, Vendarl 2nd, Trineus 5xx AR

"Goddammit, can't this train go any faster"
Vince mumbled to himself, checking his pocket watch as he lowered his head braced for the pressure as the tunnel is nearing. This particular story starts with a man named Vincent Strauss, who’s now currently hanging on top of a steam train that’s headed towards Llael’s Leryn. Why is he hanging on top of the steam train, you might wonder, and why is he in such a hurry? To find that out, we must go back in time.

To begin with, Vince is a mercenary, but rather than just a mercenary, he’s more of a handyman, and he sells himself as such. He’d go to the local guild, take up the available jobs there, however mundane and weird it is, finish the job, get the payment, and survive another day. He’d usually go to Leryn’s guild, as his charter is given by the Llael’s official, but one day, rather than a job request, Vincent was greeted by a recruitment request, by a Khadoran official, recruiting any able-bodied mechanics and repairman, contract lasting for a minimum of five years. The pay itself wasn’t that bad, and the job even grants daily provision of soup and bread, and to top it all off, it’s a job that he would do even if it’s unpaid labor. Of course, there’s several fine print, like inhumane work hour, no lodgings given, and the like, but he’s way too excited to care about that. Perhaps the apathetic Maiden herself took small interest in the boy, but Vincent himself knew that it’s mostly just by pure chances. Soon after that, the boy packed up his stuff, and said goodbye to the one and the only person he’s close to, the d'Trouvé.

Vincent’s and the d’Trové’s goes for quite a while back, at least a good three to four years back. That is a story for another time, of course, but the gist of it is that they’re quite close, so close in fact that Vincent often regards them as a second family, even though he doesn’t always show it. The farewell was quite a bit of an emotional journey, for both Vincent and Elodie. Vince never quite caught it before, but during that farewell, something was clear to Vince: Elodie regards him as one of her children, and Gasteau also regards him as his little brother. Of course, while both d’Trouvé was rather emotional, Vince himself was couldn’t reach that level of emotion. He did shed a tear or two, by the end of the day, but he’s didn’t go full blown crying, even though did want to. As most farewell goes, Vince promised that he’d send some letters, come visit if possible, and as soon as he’s done with the work, would visit and celebrate it with them. The d’Trouvé also packed his bag with some memento, some medicines and snacks, that kind of stuff. With that, the train took Vincent to Volningrad, with him waving his hand promising that he’ll keep his promises.

Except he rarely did. While Vincent really does enjoy his works of repairing and maintaining machines, and sometimes even Warjacks, the fine print wasn’t lying when it says inhumane. The mechanics were all working upward of 20 hours, and while they do get some food breaks, which is just some plain soup with sawdust fillings and stale bread, they do not get any place to sleep, and the nearest inn lies at least a good one hour walk from the workshop, so most chose to just sleep where they stand. Worse still, they do not get paid by the hours, days, weeks, months, or even years. They got paid by the end of the contract, and the provided provision is just a loophole used to ensure the workers doesn’t die, even without any pay. However, Vincent doesn’t mind, as he loves working with the gears so much that he sometimes even forgot to eat. For someone who’s already used to living in poverty, this living condition is not that different than the one he lived in Rynyr, and is in fact, already much better, since he gets free food, and gets to work with machines and warjacks every day.

This blind devotion however, only lasted for a year, for after that one year, Vincent started to realize that something is off. Before, he was really happy that he got to work with machine every day, but now, he’s started to wonder ‘why’ was there always a machine to work on every day. Machine does break down every so often, but Warjacks? Vince was under the impression that the beauty lasted at least a month before needing maintenance, and even longer in peaceful situation, but Vince would receive one or two Warjacks that needs to be repaired, every month. Again, he adores the jacks, but now that he spent some time thinking about it, the circumstances of the repair were rather unusual. The parts that he needed to repair shown battle damage, scratches, cuts, indentation, all of which doesn’t show signs of work hazard. At first, he ignored the signs, then he just thought that there’s a monthly sparring or something, which, since he’s not too familiar with Khadoran culture, he assumes that it’s just their culture. Now that more people are quitting, some even dying, Vincent’s workload was increased, and now, he’s receiving upward of ten Warjacks a month, which raises his suspicion even more.

The suspicion finally mounted when after almost two years working in the workshop, as a reward for his extreme efficiency and work ethics, got promoted to a junior engineer, specifically Warjacks engineer. Of course, Vince was quite elated at the news, but this joy diminishes as soon as he found out what he’d be working on. He would be modifying, maintaining, repairing, and retrofitting Warjacks with weapons of wars. The higher up did not tell him this of course, but it doesn’t take a genius to understand that a peaceful country wouldn’t be installing Warjacks with heavy machineguns, rocket launchers, cannons, war hammer, or even need a heavy warjacks in the first place. Of course, since Vincent doesn’t understand Khadoran, he couldn’t confirm nor deny the intention behind this development, nor could he talk it with someone else. The final straw was one day, during his sanctioned break, Vince visited the guild to find out more information, and there he found a job listing, for mercenaries around Khador, to go and raid Llael. Of course, it was written in Khadoran, but the officials were kind enough to include images of a raid, with the map pointing at Llael.

In his panic though, Vince thought that this was a military recruitment, and thought that the time of the invasion is nigh, so without hesitating, Vince gathered all of his stuff, without a care for his money or his contract, and slipped under the cover of the night to the nearby train station. He has no money of course, so since he can’t board it properly, Vincent used his expertise to temporarily disable the security around the station, and hitched a ride upon one of the train that were headed to Llael. Once on top, he also had to disable the sensors and the security system in place, but once he’s done that, he could safely hitch a ride for free until he arrives at Llael. That’s not to say that it’s a safe or pleasant ride though, as the harsh winter of Khador was worsened by the wind and the speed of the train, and the curved roof of the train would also mean that Vince has to be completely awake and holding onto something the whole journey, not to forget the occasional steam discharge that would fly directly to his face, but he doesn’t care. The only thing that he got in his mind right now, is that he can get to Llael quickly, and warn the d’Trouvé about this.

3:44 AM, Vendarl 3rd, Trineus 5xx AR, Eve of Day of Markus

Now we're back in the present, with an almost exhausted Vincent, holding onto the top of the trains still. "*pant*...*pant*... Not long now..." Vince mumbled, as he saw the night lights of Leryn in the distance. Vince didn't care that he's almost freezing, damp from snow, and covered in soot, all would be worth it if he could warn the d'Trouvé. As soon as the station comes into view, Vince immediately got onto his feet, and tumbled towards the side of the still moving train, falling off it, and landing on the softer grass below. Vincent sustained some bruising and scratches, bleeding from those scratches as well, but he's not worse for wear yet. Once he got his bearing again, he immediately darted towards the housing district, his coat flowing behind him. 'Curses, why must it be before dawnbreak' he thought, as he forces his feet to run towards d'Trouvé's house. It took him around 30 minutes from the station to to the d'Trouvé's residence, thanks to him having to catch his breath and drink, but after almost literally dragging his body there, Vincent finally reached their house. He knew that they most likely would still be sleeping, but Vincent's mind is filled with the fear of that invasion.

So once he stood in front of the door, he started banging it, along with pressing the doorbell multiple times. Vince would've shouted, but his throat is already completely parched, and the exhaustion has started seeping in, as his banging got weaker by each passing minute. His vision was already getting quite blurry, so when the door is finally opened, Vincent couldn't even see who was it that opened the door. He just quickly placed his hand on their shoulder, and managed to made out some coherent words.

"*pant*....*COUGH*... They're....*cough COUGH*...coming....*pant*...Please...*COUGH*...escape..." Vincent forced out the words, as he slowly drifts unconscious.
 
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Lithël Aelfwine

A Blade in the Dark
Invitation Status
,
Posting Speed
Speed of Light, Multiple posts per day, 1-3 posts per day, One post per day
Online Availability
Every day, every time
Writing Levels
Give-No-Fucks, Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Adaptable
Preferred Character Gender
Male, Female, No Preferences
Genres
Fantasy, apocallyptic, horror/dark, adventures, Historical, swordplay,
When Alodie heard the banging on the door, she actually thought the guard had some issue with her. It was winter so she slept under various pounds of leather and cloth, and naked as that was the best way to heat the bed. She dressed up and opened the door silently, with her Godendag in hand in case anything happened... but no. There was a young man almost naked, covered in blood that started rambling about the comming of something terrible.

The kid was almost dead, malnourished and his hands were frostbitten. He looked like a horror story, but then the long ears made apparent that his blue skin tone was not only frostbite... Vinny? Kid, what are you doing here? She asked, knowing he had been working for more than a year in Khador. But worse than that, he was bloodied and needed to be taken care of. She took him upon her armas trying to drag him by the arms, after letting go of her weapon... but he was least than a third as heavy as he should have been Sweet mistress... she explaimed as she lifted the half elf as a ragdoll... He sould have been heavier. Elodie took him and put him in bed, naking him until he was left in his undergardments, and bringing a boiled waterskin for his limbs.

When there was no more she could do for him, she took off and ran to Lisette's home, wich was not that far away. When both women came back, the usual jovial demeanor of the nurse took on a face of pure pragmatism You've helped, but aside from the cold... he's famelic, obviously, dehydrated, it's probably concused and i fear his arm is broken or at least dislocated. The good part is he's not in life threatening danger unless the cold and his general weakness causes a heart attack, but it probably won't if it hasn't already. The other woman said, cleaning his wounds.

Now Elodie could see why he was so bloodied: his body was covered in bruises. Some were due to the cold, and the flesh becoming more stiff while it needed to be flexible to withstand the frixion. He had many parts of the back where the cold air and the ice opened gashes, but also he had several old wounds that looked inflicted by violence. His arm had been displaced when he landed, and his chest was scratched until raw flesh showed underneath, like a man that had dragged himself up here.

Until Lisette ended, Elodie remained by the bed, sitting in silence, and as she rubbed his hands to heat them, she started thinking about his words, that loomed in her memory as bad bad omens. He came in this state... and told me "They are comming... please scape". She commented to Lizette as she sat across the bed, sweating, trying to dry her furrow. I can't imagine what manner of power would force him to do something like this. To endure so much... The rumors are finally true? Could he have faced all this to avoid Cryx? They said there have been undead this far north... clous it be... the phrase, with all it's imposibility, sounded dangerously plausible at this time in the night.
 

47Haven

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Vince’s situation is definitely nothing to be scoffed at. While he did survive the initial situation, if he didn’t get the proper treatment, he’d definitely be in a way worse situation. Vince is no stranger to pain, thanks to his job description, and most of the time, he’s able to weather the worst away thanks to his Nyssian gift. He’s not a huge fan of relying on his magic, but between death and doing something despicable, the choice is pretty clear for him. However, some situation doesn’t give him the chance to do that, either because he’s too debilitated to properly do what’s needed, or there’s no source, so to say, for his magic to work. This time, it’s the former, as he lost consciousness before he could do anything. Of course, he could’ve done the procedure right after he dismounted the train, since there are some trees that he could’ve used for source, but Vince mind was dead set on reaching d’Trouvé’s household before anything else. Thankfully, both Lisette and Elodie managed to prevent the worst from happening, especially due to the cold weather making the time constraint worse than it already is. It does hinder the infection, but it doesn’t help the slightest in maintaining his body temperature.



It took Vince quite the amount of willpower to force himself to wake up as well. He was barely unconscious before, and while he couldn’t respond or move, he is aware of the situation at hand. He had no time to think about the fact that he’s getting undressed, or that the wounds stings like hell from the treatment, all that goes in his mind is that he needs to wake up, finish his warning, before he could finally properly pass out in a more peaceful state of mind, knowing that he has warned the d’Trouvé. It has been proven to be way harder than just waking up in the morning though, as every fiber of his being just wanted to sleep at this point, after that long unsleeping journey on top of a train, and the warmth of both Elodie’s house and the waterskin gave him the reassurance that he won’t be dying from frostbite when he did fall asleep. The main problem of course lies on the fact that the Khadoran wouldn’t just wait until he’s recovered, which could range from a few hour of rest, to a few days, or even weeks, considering that this is the first time in years that Vince laid on a proper bed as well.



“….*COUGH*” Vince coughed himself awake around an hour later, as he abruptly sat up. Of course, this doesn’t end up quite well, as he opened up wounds that has been treated, hurts both his bruised chest and dislocated arm. His expression is one of worry, yet when he opened his mouth to speak, only more coughing came out, as he’s still really parched. “…..*cough* Water *cough* please…” Vince forced out the words again, as he assessed the damage to his body as well.
 

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Being around 5am, Elodie brought a couch to the room and both Lizette and herself passed out there, intent in not opening the next day. So when Vince coughed they were ready, Lisette getting him down with a "Have a little self respect and stay down!" While Elodie took the warm waterskin and helped him drink a bit. "Shh kid, short sips, or you'll throw up." she said as she helped him drink laying in bed.

They both seemed to be genuinely caring for him, and so they waited for him to stabilize a bit until Elodie sat beside him in bed and started caressing and rumbling his hair "Oh Vince, i'm at a loss of words... what are you doing here? What happened to you? Weren't you in Volningrad? You never sent a letter so i didn't have an adress to mail you anything... that clothes you were wearing were the same you left with! She had been genuenly distressed by the state he showed up, and she remembered what he was wearing. That day they split was a painful one for her, and she wept all she had not wept when her ex husband left. It felt like the end of the road for so many things, and now all that emotions she thought were dead and buried came back up as a geiser.
 
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47Haven

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Now that Vince got a better grip on reality, he can now see who’s the other person who has been taking care of him, Lissette, the nurse from nearby hospital. Vince had the displeasure of meeting her several times before, as he learned how it felt to be on the receiving end of swift pragmatism. While Vince considers himself quite pragmatic in term of his works, Lissette is way more efficient in that regards, since for her, the best way to avoid pain is to swiftly deal with the source, even it means a high amount of pain in a short burst, compared to a dull long-lasting pain. Thanks to her though, Vince did learn some useful first aid tricks, even if he has to bear some lectures for it. Vincent prefers taking the shorter route, even if it means putting himself at risk, and thanks to his lineage and magic, he could afford scratches and injuries. Not to Lissette though, as she insists on proper care for anyone’s health, and would beat you over the head with it until you understand. He definitely can’t just do all those medical precautions though, due to the nature of his line of work, so every single time he went for treatment for those minor injuries, or sometimes diseases, he’d get berated for it. Vince knew it’s because Lissette cares about her patients, but he’d be lying if he said that their relationship is as cheery as Lissette’s non-working mood.



His relation with the other woman in the room is definitely way cheerier though. Vince bowed, hurting his ribs in the process, before he placed his lips on the waterskin and drank from it. The water tasted delicious, but then again anything would after a 12-hours trip on top of a train without resting. As expected, he drank a bit too much at first, as his whole body craves moistures, but thankfully he didn’t choke on it. Vince coughed some of it away, away from his wounds so that he doesn’t get his ears chewed off by Lissette, before drinking more of the water, a bit slowly this time. It took around a minute until he got enough water to frees up his throat from that dry spell, all the while he enjoyed the head pat that Elodie gave. It felt rather nostalgic when you take this situation out of context, as she had patted his head sometimes before, sometimes when he’s a bit sick as well. It might only be the fact that they haven’t met for a really long while though that pretty much amplifies that feeling. Still, it’s a human warmth, not one of machine, and one from the person that he cared deeply.



Vince would savor this warmth a bit longer, but he remembered the purpose of his visit. “*cough**cough*…One at a time, ma’am” Vince took a deep breath, as he pushed the waterskin aside. “Sorry for the trouble though” Vince bowed slightly again, not too much that he puts too much pressure on his ribs though. “First of all, we need to inform the city guard. I saw a job posting on the Volningrad guild indicating that they’re gathering an army to attack Llael” Vince explained, panic seeping to his voice. “I’ll skip most of the details, but I work as a mechanic in Volningrad, repairing all sorts of stuff, even warjacks!” Vince continued, unable to not sound excited when he mentioned warjacks. “Long work hour, sawdust soup and stale bread, and there’s no lodgings, so most of us slept in the workshop, so I don’t really have too much time to send anything, really sorry for that, ma’am” Vincent continued, as he started feeling slight pain from his dislocated arm. “At any rate, there’s a lot of weapons and warjacks being repaired, which was quite odd, since we’re mostly at peace, and once I did get promoted, I saw that their factory is producing weapons, both for infantry and for the warjacks- *cough* Uh, sorry” Vince coughed as he grabbed the waterskin again to drink more.



“I don’t really know the whole story, but I had a suspicion that those warjacks, weapons, and machine, was used for sparring practices, as their damages mostly consist of battle damages, not from wear or from working hazard. Then I saw that job posting on the guild. I can’t read Khadoran, but there’s a helpful illustration of an army with arrow pointing at Llael! I guess they’re not just recruiting Khadorans but also all the willing mercenaries as well” Vince concluded, as he drank again, emptying the waterskin. “And so, please, ma’ams, we need to warn the others, and then escape! If the amount of warjacks that I’ve repaired is any indicator, then the Khadoran already had enough warjacks to wage actual war” Vincent desperately pleaded, as he ignored his pain to bow properly this time.
 

Lithël Aelfwine

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Elodie chuckled at his stupid little sense of humor. In a way made her feel a lot less afraid and understand he was out of danger. But as he talked she grew worried first and foremost for the horrible work conditions the khadorans imposed and then by their nefarious plans. "I had heard some rumours about a war effort being funded. I buy most of my hardware to travelling khadorans or cygnarites and they both have been very clear about war approaching... I suppose that is not strange. Probably there will be some attacks on roads and the like to prevent the Cygnarite military that's right here to go back home. If Khador seizes the chance to attack Cygnar now that they're in war with the Protectorate, they won't want to have a contingent at their backs, or the Llaelese to join Cygnar. Commented Elodie, rumbling and thinking on the importance of this developments.
But i suppose we'd be alright. We're really far away from Khador, and not even the Orgoth took the city. I don't belive war will get here. Maybe a little sabotage, but not all out war. Elodie relaxed a little, like if her own words make her feel a little safer. You made all this trip just to warn me, Vince? She asked as she realized he had almost died to warn her, and she smiled warmly.

After the worst of the scare wore off, she hugged his face and trembled, just relieved he was alright and it was nothing of import. Vince... I'm sorry you were so scared! I should have taught you! I had no idea! She muttered under her breath as she cursed herself silently for being so naive. Of course he had no education, and didn't know how to read. He had no mother to care for him so nobody did, and she felt he was his charge, she had always. Why then did she never try even to help him get educated, never borrowed him books or found him a mentor? I... i... Don't want you to go again. We'll find you a mentor, alright? And you'll learn. You won't be like that never again. She promised almost secretly, talking to him only in a protective and intimate manner.

Lisette in the mean time started gathering her equipment to give them some space. He was out of danger, and she didn't live so far from their house so it was not dangerous to leave the young half elf with Elodie. Clearly they had much to talk about and the was one too many in their familly reunion. Ok, Baby, i'm coming back home to sleep a little. I'll come back if anything happens, but i'll come back tomorrow afternoon to check him out, alright? Lisette said in a softer voice for her friend. Take care Kiddo, no fast moves, alright? She asked before leaving
 

47Haven

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Vince wasn’t quite sure how to feel about how Elodie seems to be taking the news. She doesn’t seem to have the same urgency that Vincent had, but at the same time, Vince could be overreacting as well, as he doesn’t have a solid proof that Llael is the main target of the invasion specifically. He can’t read, so there’s a huge chance that the single piece of job posting that he saw was just a small raid, recruitment for Llael’s troops, or even just a supply run to Llael. Thanks to his panic as well, Vince couldn’t remember the payout amount, so he can’t really deduce whether it was a high importance or just a small errand. Vince just couldn’t get rid of that hunch however, that the job was a sign of a war, or at least a big problem coming to Llael. Elodie’s explanation does bring some form of relief to Vince, it’s still easier for the Khadoran to invade Llael than to invade Cygnar, as they would need to go through the marshes or the Thornwood forest, or through the Ordic territory, while the only thing Llael has is their neutrality that would make anyone who attacked Llael a national enemy.



Before he could do anything however, Vincent was immediately hugged by Elodie, burying his face on her chest. It’s definitely a habit that Vincent missed, even though it always is quite embarrassing for him to be suddenly this close to someone else, let alone one from the opposite gender. This also made Vince realize how long has he’s gone without a contact with other human being as well, as his time in Volningrad was mostly spent in the company of machines and warjacks. While he wouldn’t complain, just as he pretty much enjoyed the majority of his time there, being suddenly hugged like this does made him feel emotional. It also highlights how much Vincent loves being pampered like this as well, making him feel all nostalgic and mushy, despite usually being quite the antisocial person. The warmth, along with the fact that Elodie is pretty much stifling his breathing, almost made Vince forget about why he came here in the first place. Still, as much as Vince wanted to ensure the safety of the d’Trouvé, his fatigue is starting to catch up with him.



As Lisette approached the door, Vince struggled a bit from Elodie’s hug, to at least free his face to properly thank Lisette, because if there’s one thing that he’s not too keen on, is to appear ungrateful. “U-Uh, thank you so much, auntie Lisette. Really sorry for the trouble! I’ll try to not force it!” Vince thanked Lisette, as the nurse exited the room, leaving the two alone. As soon as they’re alone, Vince immediately tightly hugged Elodie back with his good hand, now resting his head on Elodie’s shoulder. “I miss you too, miss Elodie” Vince whispered, as he felt emotions rushing through him. He doesn’t show it in his face, and even if he does, there’s a reason why he hid his face. Their relation was, and still is, a complicated one. Vince doesn't show it, but he does regard Elodie as his step-mother, or at least close aunt, even though he never admits to it. Although, Vince does have a hunch that Elodie also regards him as a step-son, or at least know about his attraction, as the amount of memento and how emotional their parting was would suggest, and the fact that Vince often risked his life for them, including this time. “We’ll deal with my illiteracy later on, it’s really not the most important thing right now" Vince assured, as he still kept the hug.

After a bit, Vincent finally loosened his grip, as he pulled back from the hug as well. "I know that this isn't the best situation for a reunion, but we still need to alert the guard. I admit that I might be jumping to conclusion, but I still don't like how the situation looked" Vince restated, as she gingerly wiped a drop of tears from his face. "The timing was a bit too convenient. The mass production, the job listing, and the fact that today is the Day of Markus. At the very least, we should tell the watch to make sure that there will always be guard posted" Vince explained further, as his uneasiness did not dissipate even slightly. "....And yeah, I did make all that trip...." Vince scratches his cheek, feeling embarrassed.
 
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Lithël Aelfwine

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Lisette, for all of her overprotective and aggresive behaviour, knew when someone had gone over a lot, and had a lot more to pass before really resting, and her beaming smile at the boy made the whole room a little warmer Good to have you back, Vince. At least now we can check up on you if we worry. She said, feeling the "auntie" thing was more than the boy had given her in the long years she had been close to Elodie.
As they were left alone, Elodie smiled at the love the kid showed her and wept little tears of emotion. "It's the hearth sweating the excercise, when you cry for all the emotions" her mother used to say. She chuckled out of nowhere at that thought as she always did when her mother told her that. The shopkeep remained there, feeling how her boy was now more of a man, with wiry muscles under the broken skin. She continued to caress the back of his head with her fingers running down his long hair. Oh Vince, you had me so worried... my boy, you must have been so scared! She exclaimed more for herself than to anyone.

Shhhh baby, i know. She said smiling and wiping the tears from her eyes. You can tell everything to Guy tomorrow over lunch or dinner. He's respected and he's a guard so probably will be heard. She asured him. I don't belive i'm getting any more sleep, though. But you should rest a little, i suppose i'll get to making a proper breakfast With that, Elodie tucked him in and got up, but as she left for the kitchen she left the door open so he could talk to her if he wanted.

Some hours later, the city woke up to the fanfare of the Llaelese army outside the door. In the dining room was all set and they could have been siting to have all the delicious home made food... but Elodie had to open, even if it was never her intention for that day. AS she opened the door, Captain Vayne di Brascio of the Loyal Order of the Amethyst Rose entered her humble business. He wore a stark expression and an all black attire, one that the order had worn for years in mourning for their king. Even though, he was a gentleman and kissed her hand as he entered escolted by two more of the gun mages of the order. Good day to you, my lady He opened, taking his hat off and making a quick reverence I've come in the name of our first minister, Deyar Glabryn, to buy goods. I was told yours is one of the biggest providers of arms in the city, yes? He asked, but he needed not ask. It was the only shop that had a full warehouse and her items were in general, not costly and of high quality, although not always readilly available.
My, my! Thank you dear lord. Yes, please, would you like to take a seat while we speak? She asked bringing three stacked chairs from behind the counter for him and his companions to seat. I don't know if i can provide an army... but i sure will try. Doesn't our army have enough stock? Elodie asked frowning as she drew a little black booklet from her apron.
I'm in fact looking for some special items. I was told that if the Order of the Golden Crucible had already made them, you would sell it. And as they have been rather inaccesible as of late, i came to see you. Captain Di Brascio sat in the stool and looked at the shopkeep intently in the eye with a severe expression in his aristocratic features For you, this could be the beginning of a profitable trade relationship with the crown. Now, can you keep up, and can we trust you? The gunmage's eyes were levelled at Elodie's, and she maintained the gaze Well, my lord, i know i can find it, or fashion them if you want them quickly. I have a helper that is really handy with that, and just last night... She paused, looking for the words exactly I belive we can make it happen. But before you can fill me in, i belive you need to hear this, my good sir. Vince, baby, i want you to meet someone! She rose and bellowed to Vincent, although a little too loudly for the fine company she was entertaining. She excused herself and went to help Vince get where the soldier was. Di Brascio did not say anything, intrigued by what the random luck could have brought him.
You should tell him what you told me, kid. The order is trustworthy.
 
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47Haven

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Thinking back, Vince should’ve at least tried to send some letter to the d’Trouvé, especially since he wouldn’t even be able to do all those stuff if it wasn’t for them picking him out of the gutter. It’s a bit hopeful to think that they’d just understand his situation, where Vince was just too engrossed into the machinery that he forgotten everything around him. Gasteau might understand, since while both of them has seen Vincent’s unusual interest towards machinery, only he that understand how Vince’s male brain work. Even before he went to Volningrad, Gasteau was the one that took his side when Elodie went a bit too motherly and tried to control his sleeping schedule. Then again, Vince hasn’t slept for two days when he got hold of his first scrapped Warjacks. Recalling those memories reminded Vince how protective Elodie was back when he was just odd jobs around town. Vince thought that she was nosy at first, just like any other people that try to force themselves into his life, but gradually, he started to open up to that nosiness of hers. Nowadays, after seeing the extent of what Elodie would do for him, Vince no longer considers Elodie’s antics as nosy. More motherly, and that’s not really an emotion that Vince wanted to recognize.

“…Well, I was quite afraid, but not for myself” Vince smiled, as his fatigue slowly crept up to his eyes again “I can take care of myself, but I’m not too keen on the idea of Llael being blindsided with an invasion”. Elodie’s assurance does lift some burden off his mind, since now he knew that Elodie trust his story. Even before Vince left, he knew that Elodie is also well trusted in her circle, which includes well-trusted people in the community, so now it’s a matter of warning the right people, and waiting. Vince would pray if he believed in a deity that cared, but now he can only hope that the Khadoran wouldn’t arrive this soon. “Yeah…I think I’ll just do that…Hopefully Guy relay the info fast enough” Vince said, as he lets out a huge yawn. In any other situation, Vince wouldn’t let Elodie, or anyone, tuck him in, but the combination of the fatigue and his utter lack of social interaction just shut his mouth shut for now. “Thanks, miss Elodie… If anything happens, please wake me up, I don’t want you to get hurt while I’m asleep after all” Vincent said, as he mumbles the latter part of his sentence, as he drifted asleep.

Usually, when he’s this tired, Vince wouldn’t dream too much, but this time, he did dream, and not only that, dreamt of his mother. It wasn’t anything notable, it was just their daily life in the woods, hunting foods and foraging, and there’s no twist. It did however, managed to make Vince mumble in his sleep, mumbling the word ‘mom’ several times as he floated in his dreamland. Normally as well, when he’s this tired, he won’t be woken up until he at least got around 18 hours sleep, but the smell of Elodie’s cooking was just way too much for Vince to resist this time. Can you blame him? Vince spent the last two years malnourished and in state of permanent hunger, only eating sawdust soup and moldy bread, so the fact that there’s a proper home cooked meal near him is enough to wake him up from his sleep. He did get around 3 hour of sleep, which is his usual normal day sleep, so if anything happens, he’d be healthy enough to face it, but not on his prime. When he woke up though, Elodie was nowhere to be seen, but the bustling streets indicates that she’s probably in the store front, or on the streets.

With a grumbling stomach, Vince stood up, stretches a bit, and walked towards the kitchen. Elodie did mentioned that she would be making breakfast, so he assumed that he’s also included in that portion count, just like any other day when Vince was staying nearby. It’s a simple breakfast, but compared to the stuff that he usually ate, it’s like a 5-stars hotel breakfast. It’s toast, scrambled eggs, wieners, with some mashed potatoes, simple stuff, but it’s good enough to make Vince tear up slightly as he wolfed down the breakfast, before getting seconds. To Vince, nothing signifies being back more than eating the food that he used to eat, which is what he deeply felt while eating, that he’s finally back. The circumstances definitely could be much better, but this homey food is enough to make Vince appreciate the moment thoroughly. Of course, no matter how much he loves the food, or how ugly his face is right now, Vincent still kept his table manner proper, as it’s what Elodie taught him before, and as long as he’s in her house, he made a promise to himself to never go against Elodie’s teaching.

It wasn’t long until he was called by a familiar voice, with a familiar pet name as well, which still isn’t something that sits well in his ears. “Coming” Vince exclaimed once he swallowed the foods with some coffee, placed the dish on the sink, and went towards the shopfront. It doesn’t take long for Elodie to come inside the house to hurry Vince up either, as his limbs is still rather tired. What awaited him in the storefront was not someone that Vince wanted to meet. He doesn’t know who the guy is, or what he did for living, but one thing that he knows, is that aristocrats, especially the Order, had misused their power to oppress before. Being a minority, and a bastard as well, made Vince instinctively wary around the new company that he just met. Vince didn’t show any hostility however, but his expression did tense up. However, no matter what he thought of the aristocrats and the Orders, he’s in Elodie’s business, and it seems that both Elodie and the Order is in good standings, or at the very least neutral, and since the Order is quite the powerful organization, making an enemy out of them is really bad for everyone around. Vince wouldn’t mind spiting the Order if he was alone and unaffiliated with Elodie, but Elodie’s business, and reputation, is at risk here, so Vince forced himself to behave.

“…A-Ah, okay then” Vince nodded, as he bowed to the Order peoples. “Uh, my name is Vincent Strauss, I used to work at a repair workshop in Volningrad” Vince introduced himself. He then retold his findings while he worked in the workshop, regarding the increased demand of warjacks and weapon repairs, the odd damages on both that couldn’t have come from work accident, the mass-production of new weapons, and then the job listing on the local guild. “-I know that I have no idea what the job listing said, but the circumstances are a bit too coincidental” Vince finished his recounting. “I have no idea when the supposed attack would happen, or if it could happen at all, but the fact that today is the Day of Markus, the one day where the defense could be lacking, leads me to believe that there’s a probability that there will be an attack today, mostly in the night” Vince concluded, as he glanced over to Elodie, slightly worried that he didn’t a good job explaining the situation.
 

Lithël Aelfwine

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“Thanks, miss Elodie… If anything happens, please wake me up, I don’t want you to get hurt while I’m asleep after all”
Elodie smiled and chuckled slightly at the notion. What could happen in a beautiful winter night like this?


Captain Vayne di Brascio.

The older gun mage picked at his greying mustache as a cartoonish villain, but his expression was not of cruel amusement. Instead, he looked worried, as did his companions when the captain looked at them. Monsieur Strauss, do you remember the location the arrow of attack was indicating? The man asked with a frown. Elodie answered as she remembered North. Near Old Umbrey. She said. The soldier considered for a minute and met both of their gazes as he talked We've been informed of at least 6 rhulic clans and twice as many mercenary companies are massing in the border. We come to buy specific equipment to prepare for an attack. first we thought it was Khadoran aggresion, then as their forces were not commited we dismissed, but you say their nobles could be preparing for something... The captain gained years in his expression as his tale was told, but he looked determined when he looked back at them Khador has a tendency to make lightning surprise attacks. They always do real damage, and guile serves them well.
If this is true, my compatriots, then i have just the mission for you two. If you'd accept, then you'd be doing work as a duty for your country. We've been having a couple of murders related with unknown mechanika and we need someone to look into it. SOmeone with expertise in arms and weapons, mechanika and that's not under surveillance. AS this is a fateful meeting, i think that's rather improbable.
Said Monsieur DiBrascio.

Gulping dry, Elodie looked with worry and uncertainty at Vince and he could see how she was worried by his state of health and how more danger in his state could not be beneficial. Vince is hurt, but i can help. I would never shy form duty when called to defend my country, Monsieur. I'd inform you directly? She asked with a voice filled with dread.
 
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47Haven

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Vincent was overly nervous when he’s talking to the captain, even though he shouldn’t have much reason to. His prejudice ironically made him unable to see the captain as someone who can be trusted, and to make matter worse, the captain does look the part of a schemer himself. Vincent himself did got into some skirmish with the Order and the aristocrats before, but he really doubts that it was major enough for them to remember him, but Vince remembers the thing that was done to him when he got caught. Thinking back to it, it was probably mostly business to them, as Vince broke the law, and they’re dispensing justice as a law enforcer would. While the punishment was deserved, the comments that was thrown at him, along with the severity of his punishment, wasn’t as deserved. Despite that hatred however, he knew that it wasn’t something that they can just change. They’re just born that way, rich, powerful, and influential, never knowing how life is like when you’re on the bottom, and they got their power fantasy fulfilled when they captured someone who can’t do anything to them. So why should he care about them either? That was Vince’s way of seeing the authority.

However, that viewpoint was shaken, a lot, when Vince started caring about the d’Trouvé, because they have a decent standing with the aristocrats, and judging from the looks of it, it only got even better while he was gone. Perhaps the fact that there’s no gossip about Elodie taking care of a homeless bastard was healthy to their business, especially with the snobby aristocrats who some of them wouldn’t even touch anything related to the bottom tier of society with a ten-foot pole. Perhaps with a ten-foot spear, but even then they’ll send their lackeys. However, two years is a long period of time, and even before Vince departed for Volningrad, he managed to keep himself under the watchful eyes of the law, so he doubted that anyone would even remember who he is, let alone have any prejudices. His skin color might be unusual, but other than his skin, he looks normal, since he is wearing his cap to hide his ears as well. The captain himself does look like a veteran himself, yet Vince could tell that this is the first time he saw someone like Vince, and therefore, has nothing to say against him, and Vince knew that, as his general demeanor doesn’t show any hostility.

Yet he just can’t dismiss that bad feeling stirring within him.

At any rate, the Order seems to believe his story for now, and in exchange, Vince also got a better context of the situation at hand. However, something doesn’t add up, as the captain did not mention anything about Khadoran forces, or warjacks. While the Rhulic clans possibly originates from within the Khadoran borders, Vincent knew that the Rhulic clans doesn’t do invasion or takeover, the same goes with the mercenaries. Vincent assumed that the posting was about drafting for the invasion, but as the current situation suggest, perhaps the posting was more about raids. If that is the case however, why was there a high number of warjacks repair, and the high amount of weapon production from Volningrad? The obvious answer to that, the answer that made Vince’s stomach sink, is that the Khadoran plan to weaken and tire the Llaelan’s troops first with the raids, and once they’re tired enough, the Warjacks and the main force would swoop in and obliterate any remaining troops. That’s the only logical conclusion that Vince could reach, considering that having raids would ruin the element of surprise, alerting the entire Llael that there’s an invasion brewing. Then again, Khadoran’s military would be strong enough to just occupy Llael through brute force.

Then the offer was brought to the table. While Vince doesn’t really want anything to do with the Order, or the land that has forsaken him, Llael is where the d’Trouvé lives, and whatever happened to the country directly impacted them. Elodie, however, had another idea, as she volunteered to the offer, after glancing worriedly at Vince. Knowing Elodie, she volunteered so that Vince doesn’t have to volunteer, considering that he’s still recovering from his wounds and fatigue. However, if Elodie knew Vince enough, she’d know that Vince wouldn’t just take it lying down, literally and figuratively. To his concern, he’s strong enough to walk, and as the offer is mostly about investigation, Vince wouldn’t need to exert too much effort to move around. If push comes to shove, and Vince need to defend himself, he still has that healing magic, one that he hasn’t shown to anyone yet. On top of it all, if there is a chance of that push comes to shove happening, then that’s one more reason to not let Elodie be too close to the scene of the fight. He didn’t just come all the way from Volningrad, ditching his 2 year wages, and almost died frozen on top of a train just to witness Elodie getting critically injured.

“With all due respect” Vincent cleared his throat, as he stepped forward. “I’ll do the job, captain di Brascio. I might not be as expert on weapons and arms as miss Elodie, but I worked on Volningrad repairing Warjacks for two years, and I have my own share of work experience with the mercenaries and the guild. If it’s just investigation work, I’m fit enough to handle it” Vincent explained, with a sterner voice than before. He might hate the whole world, but as long as it’s to keep his only remaining family alive and well, then he can handle working with the thing he hated. Funny how the situation turned out, considering that Vincent was completely aimless and goalless in life. He still is, but at least he has something that he can focus on every day. “However, I do have several demand before I do the work” Vince stated, which riled up the other gun mages in the room. Before things escalated however, the captain motioned for his squad to calm down, and they immediately did, even though their eyes are still trained on Vince, watching his every move.

“First, report the situation to the higher ups as soon as possible. If the situation is really as predicted, then we’ll have an invasion sooner or later. We need some backups from other countries, and hopefully the fact that we’re allied with other countries would be a deterrent enough” Vince started, as the captain tilted his head. He’s not in any position to be demanding that to the higher ups, and the politics of the world is screwed enough that the Llael might not even have any leg to stand on within the Iron Kingdom, let alone get a military backing. “We’ll definitely report that to the higher ups. Don’t worry about that kid” Captain di Brasco assured, even though he knows that he can’t guarantee the rest of Vince’s demand. “Okay, then inform the rest of the guard, or the Orders to be on alert throughout the day. I know today is not the best day to enforce it, but we need to be on alert for raids, especially since there’s already an army amassing on the border” Vince continued. To the gun mages and the captain, it’s obvious that Vince has no understanding of how the chain of command work with the Order, as them and the city guards isn’t a single entity, and even then, Captain di Brascio do not have enough authority to just ensure a city wide alert.

Despite that, the captain still motioned the mages to stay put, and let him handle the situation. “Yes, we’ll spread the words as well, kid” Captain di Brascio added again, getting slightly restless, but he didn’t let that show to his face. To di Brascio, Vincent is a valuable asset to the current situation, as he literally has been behind the enemy line, and even worked for the enemy for a while. Not only that, according to his story, Vincent knew about warjacks enough that he can discern battle damages to work-related damages, which would be crucial to the current investigation. Of course, the captain understood how full of himself Vince is right now, demanding all the stuff, and while his intent is well placed, the method doesn’t seem to be right, even the tone doesn’t seem friendly. However, di Brascio can just tell what he wanted to hear, and let the higher ups deal with the information. They’re all just a pawn within the game after all, di Brascio just happens to have more standings compared to the nameless Vincent. For now, he’ll just nod along, and get him on board, let the logistic and bureaucratic nightmare get handled by the officials.

“And, lastly” Vincent spoke up again, hesitating a bit, glancing at Elodie, before he cleared his throat again. “Protection, for the d’Trouvé” Vince simply stated, as stating more would be incriminating himself, both to the Order, and to Elodie. That demand caught the Order by surprise, as they expected a more selfish demand from the already demanding nobody. “We still need her wares and her business, so it’s a given” the captain said, as he shut the silent snickering of his gun mages. “Would that be all, monsieur Strauss?” the captain asked, which was replied with a silent nod by Vince. “Good, if your story is true, then we probably won’t have too much time. Get your stuff, we’ll go to the scene as soon as possible” the captain ordered, as he started talking to his gun mages, out of Vince’s and Elodie’s earshot. One of the gun mages soon dashed out of the store, which Vince presumed to relay the information, like Vince demanded. Now Vince turned to Elodie, who still has that worried look on her face, perhaps even worse than before. Vince knew why, and he doesn’t even need to ask for any clarification as to why.

“D-Don’t worry miss Elodie, it’s just investigation work. I’ll be fine, and more importantly, you’d be safe as well” Vince explained, before he placed his hand on Elodie’s shoulder. “…I know what you’re going to say, but… Take that worry about me facing danger, and that’s how I feel about your safety… I’m not going to just ‘recover’ while you’re out facing danger, miss. I braved all that journey to make sure that you’re not in danger after all” Vince explained, as he led Elodie inside the house, so that the gun mages wouldn’t be able to listen in.
 

Lithël Aelfwine

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When the captain got to the side to talk to his charges, Elodie did the same with Vincent Are you crazy, VInce? You were half dead a couple of hours ago! You can't just waltz into a nest of spies! And the demands, are you dumb kid? Did the reds burn your brains in a boiler? She called to him in a a hushed screaming voice. She felt terrified for the situation, even though not even she understanded that. All she could think was how would he walk three times the city in that state. She looked at him intently, trying to wrap her head around their mission and the sudden danger that popped out of nowhere (in her opinion) and everything, but seeing Vince so determined and his childish demands softened a lot of her tension Baby, please, stay here. DO this old woman a favor and focus on getting better. She said looking at him in the eyes and with a hand holding his cheeks. Gasteau is in the army, i will do whatever is necessary to help his odds, but i can't have you both on the line. You understand, right?

The men came back shortly, and the captain took out a notebook and a pencil where he started to write some directions. If you're ready, let me tell you of our situation The man said writing the facts as he was telling them Two weeks ago, Brian Montesquieu was slain. His bodyguards told us of a shot from a nearby roof, but we couldn't find anyone, and no bullet was retrieved. This happened here in Laedry but we didn't allow the press to have acces to the information. Three days after, another woman was killed, Elisie Bordieau, she was alone, but she was found with her head blown off as if it had exploded a couple hours after the deed, in Merywyn. A week after the first assasination Rudolph Normans was murdered too in Elsinberg as he was going through it's main road. Disemboweled as if by a bullet. No one seemed to see or hear anything in his viccinity. After that, every two days he have had reports like that: Our most senior warcasters killed by ghost bullets in the middle of daily activities, and in different cities. In order: Sandro Lerfay, Esther Defayette, Conrad Willioms. In none of the cases the murderer was found, in none of the cases any evidence could be found. The only pattern was their proven experience and capability. Monsieur Mostesqieu was our better general, and the most veteran.
If this pattern keeps up, our next most senior warcaster officer is major Ashlynn D'elyse, Daughter to Lord Benoir D'elyse, one of the members of our royal guard. From a young age Ashlynn had a disregard for discipline and her own safety, and was unable to take seriously the consequences of her actions despite Lord Benoir's stern demeanour and low tolerance for nonsense. She glories in her skill, so we couldn't get her into hiding like all the other warcasters left, not that they are many. And in the onset of this probable agression, this looks like we're getting our military assets deffused...
As he talked, his voice trembled with rage, and he scanned both of their faces before speaking The only ones aware of our warcaster's position were in the high council. Prime minister and his assistant ministers. Some one has sold us, so you can't talk about this with anybody. The fact was, he couldn't either. This was all coming from his own private iniciative, since the army had it's own chain of command that had nothing to do with him. Even after the Prime Minister being aware of this, he had been assured measures would be taken. But they all knew what that mean: they'd leave de D'elyse girl get killed to take her insubordination out and screw everything else.
Your mission is simple, though. I need you to find the killer, capture if you can, kill them if not, and tell me how the hell they did they not leave a single trace. We can enter guns blazing and all if you find it impossible to topple them, but you'd have to point us directly to them. Is it fine for you?

Elodie gulped and stared at the two men. Widowmakers? We are civilians, this is not right... Elodie's logic was cut down quickly by both of their faces, beckoning her to Shut up and do the deed. It had been more than 10 years since she actually used something more sofisticated than a Club. She hoped old habits were something you could not forget, because if not... How many time do we have? She asked insecure, but afraid to talk anymore than she had already done. Two days, if this pattern keeps up. But it has fluctuated before, nothing says it can't change again. I can offer you a contract with the army as a provider, one of my men and a light jack to back you up if things go south.
 

47Haven

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Vince fully expected this reaction from Elodie, because this isn’t an exclusive behavior to Vince. Despite that, he can’t just let things happen without doing anything, all else he’d be coming here for nothing. Truth to be told as well, despite Vince putting a tough front right now, there’s nothing more that he’d like to do than just laying down and taking a long nap, because almost every muscle on his body aches. That being said, he can still move around, and his brain is fully functional, so if it’s really just some detective works, then he wouldn’t have too much trouble doing it, or at least that’s what he thought. The warmth of Elodie’s hand on his cheek did made his conviction wavers a bit, but ultimately, in his mind, he’s doing this so that this isn’t just a one-time thing; he need to make sure that Elodie survives. He has no doubt that the thing that worries Elodie is the same thing that Vince also worries about, the fact that there may be some trouble happening during the investigation, and therefore, would put them at risk. Still, in the end, Elodie’s demand still made more sense, because of how weak he is right now.

“Thanks for the concern, ma’am, but I’m still going” Vince stated with determination. “Again, it’s just investigation, I can manage it, and besides, I know the Khadoran’s armaments, if anything it would make the investigation faster if I’m on board” Vince tried to explain, but the expression Elodie wore pretty much said that he won’t be getting through to her. Nothing else but to be honest with his intent then. “…..Look, I-… I came back for Volningrad, abandoning all the paychecks there, for something- or rather, for someone” Vince said, as he averted his eyes somewhere else, unable to keep eye contacts. “…And I’m not coming back just to rest while ‘she’ risk her life” Vince added, with a bit more clarity. He’s still unable to just outright say his full intention, but given the context, it should be pretty clear about his own reason. Vince’s not too sure if his reasoning is enough to convince Elodie, but at the very least, it should make her understand that they’re both worrying about the same thing, so either they’ll both go together, or neither of them go, or at least that’s what Vince thought about the situation.

Before Elodie could respond however, the captain and his men came back to debrief the two with the situation. As it’s a good distraction while Vince get his emotions back in control, he turned to the captain, and listened intently. Apparently, the murderers has been targeting high value targets for the past weeks, mostly Warcasters as well, leading Vince to believe that this is done to sabotage the Llaelan’s army. Vince still doesn’t care much about the target and the victim, so he dedicated his processing power to go through the possibilities while the men rags on about the suspected target. The only similarity between the victims was that there’s no traces of the killer, and the status of the victim. Other than that, there’s almost no similarities, which lead Vince to think that the killer isn’t just a single person. The fact that there’s supposed to be a high ranking individuals leaking the information means that the enemy could well be already within the ranks. What makes things even more complicated, is that the fact that there’s no traces of bullets, fragments, or anything indicating the method of killing, and the fact that Llael is a hub town, meaning that many cultures and technologies blends within it, so they can’t just sniff the odd one out who’s carrying different arms.

It’s way too random at this point, that Vince kept hitting roadblocks every time he tried to rack his brain. No bullets indicate magic, specifically wind magic or earth magic, flinging either compressed air or stones at high speed, but a shot being heard indicate a weapon. The head being blown off post-mortem however, indicates magic, perhaps a leftover magic, or a timed explosive kind of magic, meant to throw the investigation off the scent, but a disembowelment indicates that there’s no need to have any delayed explosion. There doesn’t seem to be any order within the assassination and the location either. The clues were all scattered and unconnected, which frustrates Vince, and it showed on his face as well. Then it hits him. “…There’s a high chance that this isn’t an organized assassination” Vince spoke, interrupting the captain’s explanation about the deadline. This of course, drew the attention of the whole rooms towards him, who just outed himself as the one who hasn’t been paying any attention to the explanation, clearly indicated by some of the gunmages’ expression.

Vince doesn’t care though, all he cares is that his preliminary deduction is spoken before he lost track of his train of thoughts. “The method of assassination, the location of their assassination, the target’s rank, the time of day, all of them differs from each assassination. The fact that there’s no evidence, no eyewitness, no suspect, nothing, indicates that the assassin did their homework, meaning that it can’t be just a single group of assassins moving from town to town to assassinate the target” Vince rambled on. The gunmages looks disapprovingly at Vince, but captain diBrascio seems interested in his hypothesis, so he let him continues. “….Which means there could no ‘pattern’ to the assassination. The assassination is carried out once the assassin learned about the target’s routine, and set up the scenario for the perfect crime” Vince concluded in slight horror. “…….The assassination, could happen at any moment. If the Khadoran really do want to invade, then they could simply just be waiting for the right amount of Warcasters left… Which mean the mercenaries on the border, could be there to raid the city… which causes chaos, the best cover for an assassination” Vince concluded. He’s not too sure about the accuracy of his deduction, but so far, it makes too much sense. Could just be his ad-hoc justification acting, but he can’t just shake this finding away.

“Captain diBrascio” Vince spoke up again, after a bit of silence of him racking his brain again. “This is just a preliminary deduction, but in the case that it is true, can you ask someone to advise the major, and to an extent, all other surviving Warcasters, to at least shuffle their routines? It is possible that major Ashlynn is just the red herring so that all the security will be posted to protect her, while the assassin took out another” Vince explained. ….I’ll relay the information, along with the advice, young man diBrascio responded, sounding much more concerned than before. “Do you also have a detailed autopsy of the victims, captain? From the looks of it, it doesn’t seem that the assassins use similar weapons, so they could just be bounty hunter, contracted from months ago with the information, and single target for each of them” Vince asked. “…And there’s high possibility that not all of the assassins is of Khadoran origins. There’s several weapons that came to mind with the information at hand. A magic rifle, one that shoots magic, straight up magic, like wind or earth magic, a harpoon, one that they can pull back, or simply a hook or claw, which they can pull back, which can also disembowel their target easily. There’s no telling what the next assassin would use for their weapon, or from where, so I need all the information that you have now, captain” Vince stated again.
 

Lithël Aelfwine

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The intensity of Vince's declaration took Elodie by surprise, and something of a veil was lifted from her eyes. She looked Vincent in shock, as if she was truly looking at him for the first time. And truly, she was now staring upon a man for the first time, and no longer just a boy. Something inside of her flipped and blood rushed to her cheeks, as she felt cared for and protected, wich was ridiculous given her protector was a famined boy in the brink of death. A long silence extended between them until the Captain talked again, wich broke the spell a little.

As her breath returned, the Captain made no comments on their most awkward faces, but probaly has now aware of a new layer of their relationship, developing just in front of his eyes. The situation he presented was bad. Dire, probably. Elodie could not think on a way the case could be harder, but at least they had a couple of clues. The weapon used had to be able to pierce a Warcaster's power shield, had to leave no trace, and be ranged. Sounds like some kind of heavy caliber rifle, maybe a Iosan model, or a heavy one. If they don't killed every one of them in the same day, or various per strike even, then probably it's a limited number of people armed like this... Elodie murmured for herself as she gave some thought to the case.
To Vincent thoughts, Elodie smiled You know? Maybe it's about that. Maybe different charters were charged with commiting each of the crimes. Then the style of everyone would keep us of track. If we assume there assasins are the same people in the border, maybe we can attach one crime per charter. She followed his logic. But the killing weapon is the one that i don't get. At least, all the other warcasters and possible objectives were locked away, hiding, so that probably put a crosshairs in D'elysse's head.

The weapon can't be an harpoon. Maybe a big enough bullet can do that, but.... Morrow's ballsack! She exclaimed looking at Vince Mechanika rifles. They provided not only the targets, but the killing weapon too! Elodie offered It's a mechanika rifle, it's not a bullet though... not a common one. We should see the corpses, but... if the ammo was alchemical? imagine a bullet frozen as ice, via alchemy. The bullet was there, we're just not seeing it. Maybe an efervescent bullet, made to augment the pressure of the corpse's head would make it explode without heat or burning, like it didn't explote. Maybe the disembowelment had something to do with acid? Not a bullet but a spray or a stream? What kind of weapon could use that kind of different loads?
 

47Haven

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It makes sense for Elodie to know about a lot more about weapons compared to Vince, but he just can’t help that something is missing from the equation. He can’t think of any reason why would the Khadoran hired several bounty hunters, instead of hiring a group of highly effective assassins instead. His deduction led him to the fact that Khadoran want to deal with the Llaelan as quick as possible, which is why they can’t afford waiting for the observation period that would be done one by one per target. Instead of that, getting a lot more people to spread out and tail each target would be much more momentum wise, but on the same token, there’s a bigger risk of failure due to the fact that not all of the hunters they hired would be that highly competent AND is willing to risk nation-wide treason. Then there’s the fact that despite the different state of the cadaver, their professionalism seems to be consistent enough, as there’s not even a clue as to what the assassin looked like. At this point, not even knowing the murder weapon would pinpoint the would be murderer now, as there hasn’t even been a single consistent killing blow.



Let’s focus on the task at hand, miss d’Trouvé the captain cleared his throat, in hope to distract Elodie. Our investigation doesn’t provide any proper information regarding the murder weapon for each of the victim diBrascio stated, before turning to Vince as he opened the list again As for the autopsy report, young man. *ahem* Brian Montesquieu, approximate time of death, 2 in the afternoon, cause of death, direct shot to the heart, wound suggest a bullet went through, yet no bullets were found, not in the body, nor the proximity. Elise Bordieau, approximate time of death, 7 in the evening, cause of death, unknown, as aside from the exploding head, her body remained unwounded. We have checked from poison on the proximity, yet no traces of poison could be found. We only knew that the explosion happened as the, remains of miss Bordieau’s head, along with the blood splatter, suggest that the explosion happens when she’s laying on the ground. Rudolph Normans, approximate time of death, 6 in the morning, cause of death, disembowelment, his stomach was cleanly taken out with something slightly bigger than a fist, implying that whatever shot through it was so powerful the impact took a whole part of his stomach, or something else, yet there was no witness hearing anything that could shoot anything that powerful



The captain took a brief break, drank some fluid from his canteen, before continuing. Sandro Lefray, 9 in the evening, completely disappeared while he was drinking in a bar and he went to the toilet, and is presumed dead, as even after a full lockdown and house search in guise of Day of Markus preparation, he was never found. Esther Defayette, 5 in the morning, shot in the head from behind while asleep, as we’re able to find powder burns on the back of her head. None of the housestaff noticed any break-ins, no windows or lock were broken, no bullet. None of the staff should be able to reach her, as her room is locked with miss Defayette holding the only key. Lastly, Conrad Willioms, 11 in the evening, riddled with bullets. This is the most baffling one, as the inaccuracy and the amount of bullet holes implies either a shotgun or a machine gun, yet still, no bullets, even on the proximity the captain concluded, as he stashed the document back in his bag, before saluting the two civilians, which Vince followed. I am afraid that we’ve spent way more time than we expected. We’re needed somewhere else, so we must depart soon. If you ever need anything, please produce this summons letter to the nearest barrack, or the morgue as we already moved the corpses there. They’ll know what to do diBrascio bowed, before he signaled the gunmages to move out. Best of luck to the two of you, and may the Gods bless your hunting



Once the Order is out of the shop, Vince let out a sigh of relief, before he slumped slightly due to his wounds. *sigh* “No rest for the wicked, ain’t it” Vince complained, as he rested his back on the sofa again. “Where do you think we should start, ma’am?” Vince asked, as he rubbed his head, trying to find out where to start, despite the already advancing time limit. “Lots of stuff to do, yet I don’t think I’d be able to move as fast as the situation demands” Vince chuckled grimly, as his head started pounding slightly. “….Ah! We also need to go to my, uh, old neighborhood… I need to get my gears back” Vince suggested as well, cringing slightly at the fact that he needs Elodie to accompany him back to his old living quarter, since he won’t be able to dig up the safe alone.