Empire of Remanus

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Drifter, Apr 4, 2015.

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  1. Even in the dim lighting, Valens could make out every smoothly cut edge that came together to form the lavish mosaic that spread across Gaius Horatius' floor. His villa was modest, and the tactician knew from experience that this was the most impressive room in the entire estate. Gaius was far from rich, but he still liked to conduct business like he might have been. Valens understood the pressures that came with being a country dweller in a position of power, so he always let the old consul parade around like he owned all of Remanus proper.

    He had been here for months, stripped from the field in order to work patrols around the city, guarding the bounty board, breaking up street brawls, and generally making politicians feel safe in their urban estates. It was not the sort of work he had signed up for all those years ago, and he itched desperately to get back to the border, fighting off the enemies of Remanus. Yet, he stood and waited. Gaius was a good patron and he didn't send the dark haired man off on fool's errands. He respected his time, and for him to call Valens in like this probably meant that he had something in mind.

    "Caecio," the white haired man said, carelessly, forgetting just how much the cognomen made the younger man wince, "Do you remember that bounty I posted a week ago?"

    It took him a few moments to cast his mind back. He had run all sorts of errands through the forum over the past seven days that he wasn't entirely sure he could call to mind the specific notice he'd posted. However, he ventured a guess, "Something to do with Aesernia, right?" It was a safe bet, as the man hailed from that backwater, and had always been known to do favors for those in the community.

    The consul stopped his pacing and approached the solider, nodding slowly. Valens was never entirely sure whether the old man was caught up in a rare moment of contemplation or simply drifting off to sleep when he nodded like that, but he always gave a respectful pause and let the man gather his thoughts.

    "I need you to collect it. Take it down and head out there yourself. The sooner the better, I'm afraid," Gaius' tone was noncommittal, but his face was as grave as Valens had ever seen it. Immediately, he offered a slight bow and went to remove himself from the stuffy room. He knew better than to ask questions. In fact, the monetary reward was being offered of his own coffers. If Gaius knew of several adventurers all dead set on claiming those denarii, then he probably just wanted to limit his losses. It was not unusual for privately-posted bounties to vanish overnight, after all.
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    Ianuaria stood at the board, chipped bow slung over her back and a traveling cloak drawn about her shoulders. Her eyes darted from notice to notice, realizing that so many of them were simply too bland for words. Pest control problems, retrieve banners from a local battlefield for a memorial, follow a trail to see if there's a nest... but do not engage the monsters within. The only one that stood out was the bounty put out for a creature stalking the countryside, as it had killed countless animals and even a human being. Sure, she probably wasn't ready to slay something like that, but it still piqued her interest.

    Just at the same moment as she reached out to bring it a little closer, hoping to better read the contact's name, she saw a hand dart out and grab it away, followed by a tearing sound. Turning over her shoulder, hair bouncing almost comically as her head whipped around, she saw a tall man dressed in dark brown military garb. He had torn the bounty neatly in two and was beginning to walk away when she called out, "I hadn't quite finished with that, you ass!"

    His brows quirked upwards, lips pressing together in an understated scowl, but he replied coolly, "Consul Horatius asked that the bounty be removed. He had word that several able-bodied men were already on the task." His emphasis was clear, as his gaze seemed to linger on her curled horns, and the faun rolled her eyes in contempt.

    "I'm good with a bow and arrow, and in the worst case scenario, I can set a poison trap for the beast. Just point me in the direction of..." she paused for a second, trying to remember the name of the place, "Aesernia, and I'm sure I'll get there before any of the others."

    Valens rubbed the bridge of his nose, but finally relented, "From what I hear, they have a few hours' head start on you. You'd better start running." Another glance down, this time towards her cloven hooves. Ianuaria was determined not to let this dissuade her, and she took off towards the gates of Remanus. Once it became clear to her that the soldier was following her, she began to speak, but he cut her off, "I was sent by the consul to kill the creature. He doesn't think it was right to ask untrained citizens to risk their lives for money against an unknown threat. It's damn decent of him, honestly. Too many people turn to bounties to help scrape by, and it really cuts down on the work that trained soldiers could be doing for the empire." He never stopped in his persistent stride, quickly overtaking the shorter young woman and led her out towards the path.

    The faun stood at a distance, "You said they had a head start? Then we should be going through the woods. It's a straight line over the foothills, rather than snaking around through the middle of rural nowhere." She took off at a jaunty pace, leaving the grimacing tactician behind to collect himself, ready to hunch through the woods, getting nicked by thorns all the while during the four hour walk to the small farming village, dotted with huts and, it seemed, an unspeakable terror.
     
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    [​IMG]Tiberius was busy practicing at the Remanus Army Building. He had been practicing his skills in combat and war tactics. Tiberius wanted to make his father proud. Most of the army men showed Tiberius the utmost respect, which came with his godly heritage. There was one man, an older man who didn't so call "kiss up" to Tiberius.
    This man knew who Tiberius was, but he hated Tiberius' father because of the things Mars did to the his mother. So he would take his anger out on Tiberius. The man walked over to Tiberius. "Hey! Red Wolf, you think your so hot and amazing. I bet you can't take me on, one on one." Tiberius was not looking to fight, but the man was relentless. "You wanna fight? Then come on!"
    The man charged at Tiberius, he was a big muscular man. He would be a challenge, either way. Tiberius went under him and clocked him with an uppercut to the jaw. The man went stumbling back, but he didn't give up. Tiberius gave respect to the man, he didn't stand down at all. They fought for a few minutes, until Tiberius flipped him over and threw him on the ground.
    "Now...are you done fooling around?" Tiberius went to help the man up, but he just pushed him out of the way. He just stared at Tiberius and walked off. Tiberius just smirked and started to clean off his armor. Tiberius heard some of the other army men, talking about some bounty or what not.
    He walked over to them. "What's this about, some monster terrorizing Aesernia?" The men, told Tiberius all about the bounty and everything. Tiberius, he didn't really care for the reward. He just wanted to kill the beast. Maybe this would be the way to prove to his father, that he was worthy of being The Son Of Mars.
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    Getting everything he needed, Tiberius started his journey towards Aesernia. Some of the other army men, volunteered to go with him, but he refused. He didn't want them to get hurt or anything. They didn't all have a God looking down on them for protection.
    Once Tiberius made it to the village, he could see that there was danger roaming. People were too frighten to leave their homes, this beast must be a real treacherous one. Tiberius would find the beast and slay it. He would take the head back to Remanus and show everyone his victory.
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  3. Aestus Marum
    Aesernia


    "Hail, sir! I'm Aes-"

    SLAM!

    "Greetings! I'm looking for th-"

    SLAM!

    "My name is Aestus Marum andIamhuntingth-"

    SLAM! SLAM! SLAM!

    Aestus kicked the heavy door in frustration. What the hell?! He wasn't exactly attractive, with his ragged tunic and mud-caked sandals and all, but Aestus never thought he looked that ugly. Not enough for half the town to shove a door in his face, anyway. Bad breath? He took a whiff; Not much worse than normal. Although... those with a steady income, even one like farming, probably had higher standards of "normal" than he did. Marum's personal hygiene had really taken a hit, after his few weeks of living off the land (or, more accurately, the sea), but his quality of life had rapidly improved since he'd discovered these damn bounties from travelers. Now he could afford, like, a tunic! And a canteen! Living the high life over here. It was starting to become a burden, actually; The job required use of his arena gear, after all, which was all quite a load on its own. Maybe a bigger satchel was in his future. Or lighter armor.

    "Hello, I'm Ae- Don't slam that door, you piece of shit."

    A farmer on the interior froze mid-slam, a look of terror spreading across his pudgy face. Just inside the doorway, he seemed to hold a rusty pitchfork with a shaking grip and, presumably, very sweaty palms. "M... M... Mo..."

    "Good! Glad to see someone in this town doesn't run at the sight of me. Is it the fish smell? My looks, maybe? I guess you wouldn't know, since you don't seem to mind it much. Damn. Anyway, I'm hunting a-"

    "MOOOOOONSTER!" he yelled, taking a wild jab. Poor guy lasted all of three seconds before being thrown to his own dirt floor.

    "Yes, a monster! Very good. Any idea where I could find it?"

    "What are... Get away from this place! And... stop stealing our flocks, you animal! Vile creature! Gaius Horatiī's put a bounty on your savage head! Your days are numbered! Justice and the law will come down upon y-"

    SLAM!

    Mmm. It felt good to be the one slamming the door. Kind of awkward from the outside, sure, but definitely worth silencing that rant. Wait, hold that- Never mind. The man, not discouraged in the slightest, had moved to his window to point and yell obscenities at his visitor. Rural folk were the best.

    What'd he say about a bounty from Guile Whore-Rations? Aestus pulled the job request from his pack, webbing closing around the stiff parchment. Flocks... Dead grass... Aesernia... Aha! Gaius Horatiī must be the old fart paying big denarii for his mission! Nailed it. First try, too. Had the farmer really thought that the kind, charming, blue young man at his door was an evil monster terrorizing the village? Ouch. Even for a human, he was surprisingly bigoted. Hopefully no one else would make the same mistake.

    Aestus, heaving a sigh, brushed the grime from his small fins. Must not be his breath, then. Or his outfit. Maybe, by some miracle, the next house would welcome an Oceanid with open arms.

    "Hi! Have you hea-"

    SLAM!

    ...This town sucked.
     
  4. Aquilla paid the courier his fee and took the message from him. The young man grimaced at the measly sum, but mounted his horse and rode back up the road without complaint. Find better work if you're so unsatisfied, kid. Aquilla turned the rough roll of parchment over and examined the seal. An owl clutching a quill in it's talons. The seal belonged to the house of Lucius Statius Frontalis, Aquilla's most trusted friend and financial caretaker. Aquilla retreated out of the muck, back into the dim comfort of the Crow's Nest, a roadside inn he frequented whenever traveling south, or returning north. He took a seat at one of the alcove tables, broke the seal and ordered a loaf of bread to eat while he read.

    Aquilla, I hope this letter finds you in high spirits. If not, then rejoice my friend, for I have good news. There is a small settlement called Aesernia southeast of Remanus Proper that has been having issues recently due to some unknown entity. Many livestock animals and at least one villager have been slaughtered in gruesome fashion, ripped to shreds from what I've heard. In addition there have been reports of dead vegetation in the areas surrounding the killings. I'm sure you will have finished with your work in the southern provinces by the time this letter reaches you, so why not take a detour on your way home and earn a little extra money. It's only two days north of that that dingy little dive you frequent in the south. The pay is 150 denari, less than what you're used to I know, but pickings have been slim lately. Plus you need all the money you can get to pay off your debt to The Bull, otherwise he might come and snap my neck, and what would you do without me buddy? Once you've dispatched the beast, bring proof of your victory to Gaius Horatius in Remanus Proper to collect the fee. Good luck.

    Aquilla couldn't help but chuckle at Lucius's grim humor, but he was right. It would be best to pay back his debt a quickly as possible. He would rather not have to deal with The Bull and his enforcers. Aquilla wasn't afraid of scum like them, but such unpleasantness would undoubtedly draw unwanted attention to himself. He had grown quite fond of the little bit of home he had built for himself, and he wasn't about to uproot his entire life again because of some bloody dispute over a debt. Aquilla lit the parchment by the flame of a candle, and let it burn up on his now empty plate. He gathered his things from his room, making sure nothing had been stolen, and set out to the north.
     
  5. The ride to Aesernia was uneventful and Vitellia even arrived a little earlier then she had expected to. She stepped out of her carriage and motioned for her escorts to stay where they were, She knew others were coming and it seemed one other had even arrived before her, though he seemed to be either terrifying or angering everyone he went near. She rolled her eyes at the Oceanids attempts to interact with the populace and wondered if he might get himself killed, but that wasn't her problem.

    She looked around the town and sighed. It wasn't what she was used to, mostly farms and smaller dwellings with few people. This place would have held no interest for her were there not a monster harassing the locals. Normally she wasn't one for direct conflict but she had begun to feel a little bored at home and had decided to try something a little different. On top of that was the fact that her reputation would be boosted by simply being involved in a monster hunt which always helped.

    As she moved through the town, looking for something of interest to busy herself with before the others arrived and they began their planning and hunting. If it were night time she would more than likely become a bat or something to scope out the area in a few moments, but with it only being late afternoon she was limited to her human form. She noticed a few of the locals starring at her a little, no doubt wondering what someone like her was doing out here and so far from her escorts. She offered them a smile, both to ease any concerns they had and confuse them a little.

    Once again she saw the oceanid, a door being slammed in his face. She chuckled loud enough for him to hear, but kept walking. What did he expect in a place like this? Or any other for that matter? He was a monster to them, something they either didn't understand and feared him or knew exactly what he was and despised him. Granted she was a monster too, but one far less obvious and frankly, much better looking. She kept moving, finally finding something of some interest, a small tavern. Here she could easily gather information both about the monster and anything else of interest in the area as well as find some prey for when she got hungry later. She didn't worry about arousing suspicion, she wouldn't be there long and there were other non-humans in the area that the locals would suspect, primarily that fool still going door to door causing a ruckus. She doubted anyone here actually knew anything about monsters or she wouldn't be here. She ordered some wine and moved to a spot in the corner, looking for anyone of interest. She wouldn't have to wait long.
     
  6. Aulus Musca was having a uniformly miserable journey. All the inns on the way had been full of surly faces, watered-down wine and musty rushes. The roads were in disrepair, rough and broken, and the cart he rode was hard on his ass. He couldn't tell which was worse between the stink of the coachman's mules and the stink of the coachman, nor which was probably giving him lice. There might have been something good to say about the weather, if Musca hadn't been cursed with the worst hangover this side of a bacchanal and just barely able to squint against the blinding rays of the afternoon sun. To top everything off, he'd used the last of his spare coin to bribe the smelly old driver enough into taking him to Aesernia, lest he be forced to walk there like some rustic or slave.

    "Jus' about dere now," the driver drawled beside him. "Jus' as soon ya get off 'ere, if'n ya don't mind. Trouble 'round 'ere lately, 'n I dun' wanna risk Castor 'r Pollux ta whatever's the cause." He pulled on the reins and the mules came to a slow halt.

    Musca scowled, his pounding headache only making his temper all the shorter. "Are you bloody kidding me? I paid for a ride into town, old man, and I damn well better get it."

    "'R else what?" the coachman challenged.

    "Or else I decide not to bother hunting down and killing the terrible, deadly, fearsome thing causing trouble out in this backwater shithole. I'll leave it alone to prey on the likes of local travelers such as yourself." Musca glanced at the mules. "Not to mention this fine pair."

    "Or," he grabbed the man suddenly by his grubby tunic, "once I do find the beast, I break it, I starve it, and then I bring it looking for you."
    The driver recoiled, squirmed his way out of Musca's grasp. He shot back a look of resentment mingled with fear before grunting and wordlessly snapping the reins and whipping his mules back into action.

    A short while later, the thick country woodlands and distant foothills gave way to flat fields, second-rate domūs and drab insulae. Musca unceremoniously alighted from the cart with his things on the outskirts of town and the old driver was as unceremonious with the saliva he spat at Musca's feet before turning round back down the road. Musca shrugged the incident off as the storied 'rustic charm' one always heard about and ventured on foot into Aesernia's more populated center. He figured he could just as well ask any of the dull-witted provincials milling around about whatever creature had been plaguing them, but dealing with some sort of local official such as an aedile or a decurion was a better way of staking a claim on the bounty.

    When he caught sight of a curiously prestigious carriage with some attendants poised in waiting sitting not far from a taberna, Musca thought it best to first have some hair of the dog that had bit him... supposing someone else was paying. Playing the big hero come to save this piss-ant town could probably work. But, maybe there was another way...

    He approached the carriage escorts. "Who rides with you, slaves?"

    "We are in the service of the domina Vitellia Urbica," one of them replied haughtily. "She has left her life of luxury in Remanus behind for the time being to come and pursue the creature that has spilt blood in this place. It is her pleasure."

    "Well, I hope it is also her pleasure to have a bit of competition. Because she's got it."

    Musca smirked, leaving the attendant behind as he entered the tavern. Discreetly, he scanned the place for any sign of a woman fit for such a carriage as the one outside. Quick enough, his eyes fell upon the fine form of an aristocratic-looking lady sitting in a far corner, a cup of wine in hand.

    Fortune smiles on me at last.

    Musca proceeded to the front of the bar and nodded towards her. "The domina would like two more cups, if you please. She's expecting company." The barkeep grunted in understanding.

    That done, Musca wove through the crowd of patrons with all the arrogance of an earthborn bastard of Adonis and stood before Vitellia Urbica.

    "Looks like I'm not the only one desperate enough to take a job like this. Salve, lady, my name is Aulus Musca. I met your men outside and they filled me in on your little outing. May I join you?" He took a seat across from the woman. "Perhaps the two of us could share notes on what we know so far about this creature." With a grin, he added, "So far, I know nothing."
     
  7. Callidia Romula Procella
    The Approach to Aesernia

    The rough hay-strewn carriage rocks back and forth along the road as it hits the ruts in the path and its wheels knock against every stone. Callidia sits in the back, idly plucking at the strings of her lute as she gazes out across the rolling fields. “You really do not mind giving me passage?”

    The farmer chuckles, looking back into the cart for a moment, “Don’t mind none. Not only does it help a soul out, makes sure I make my way home safely, seeing how you’ll know how to use that spear of yours, I reckon.”

    Callidia shifts uncomfortably, trying to make herself appear smaller as her fingers miss the chord and the guts twang in an offensive manner to the ears. “Yeah, I suppose I do. You’re scared you wouldn’t make it home safe? It doesn’t look much like a prosperous route for brigands… Certainly not a warzone… What worries you?”

    He readjusts in his seat, looking back ahead and gripping the reigns a little more snugly. Callidia now notices the nervous way in which he scans the horizon and continues to hurry his mules faster. “There is a beast that has been preying upon the flocks around Aesernia, and of late, the people too,” he says nervously, adjusting a wide-brimmed hat to block the afternoon sun from shining into his eyes so intensely.

    Callidia frowns and raises her head, spying a patrol up ahead on the path. As the patrol continues along a divergent path, a runner of the patrol comes towards them, puffing as his armour clangs with each bound. “You should turn back now. There’s a deadly beast prowling these parts.”

    The farmer shakes his head, “I live in these parts and my family needs me.”

    Callidia scratches along her cheek, “I’ll make sure he makes it to his homestead safely. I must be on my way through, though. I’ve been directed to make my way to Remanus Proper. I’m in the middle of a transfer, you see…”

    The soldier looks between the two of them uncertainly, “Look, make sure he makes it home. Then, why don’t you just find a nice room at the tavern, stay for the night, and get on your way in the morning.”

    She shakes her head, “What can you tell me about this beast?”

    He sighs, “What’s there to say? It started with the livestock, then moved to people. At each of the attacks, there have been patches of dead grass. Look, I wouldn’t worry about it, though. Gaius Horatiī already posted a bounty upon the beast’s head, so there ought to be several takers about already, if one of the patrols don’t manage to fell the creature.”

    Callidia nods, “I’ll keep that well in mind. Thank you.”

    †††

    After ensuring the safety of the fellow who had so kindly given her a ride into the village, Callidia made her way to the tavern. On her way, she notices an Oceanid knocking on doors and getting nowhere and she wrinkles her nose, the wind picking up and drawing the particularly fishy scent along the air to her. She stops herself from gagging and tries to keep composed as she enters the tavern.

    Within, she slowly lumbers her way to the bar and tries to ignore the idle chitchat of the yokels. Instead, she moves to the counter and addresses the owner of the establishment, “A word please. Has there been any word about the whereabouts of where the beast makes its nest?”


    Iacis Apertius Ostius
    The Village of Aesernia

    Iacis hums and looks along the gardens set in the village's center, eyes alight with interest as he peeks back over his shoulder. Just eat a little of it, Janus whispers to Iacis. Iacis grins and plucks a few brightly coloured flowers from a bush outside a house and swallows them down, his tail bobbing in delight.

    A housewife comes stomping out, waving her arms, “Oi! You! SHOO SHOO! Quit eating my plants, you filthy faun!”

    Iacis blinks and looks up at her, taken aback and rightly offended, “Good woman! You say filthy as if it is a bad thing! The grit upon my brow, though, is but a mark of the trials I have forgone in the name of our god, Janus.” He sniffs and straightens himself up, smoothing out his shawl, “I’ll have you know, these fine flowers of yours went to a great cause.”

    “A cause being your belly! You wretched thing, sneaking up here and going on about the holy Janus and eating my garden up! Come now! Off with you, before I fetch my husband and he chases you off!” she threatens.

    His ears droop down as he raises a hand to his chest, “I’m hurt, lady. I was so taken aback by the sight of your lovely garden I just had to stop and take in their beauty. It was then that Janus whispered unto me that it was his wish that I partake of your flowers. Now, I am not one to refuse our god, for He knows when things must come to a beginning and end. For this, he has decided your flowers must come to an end. I am sorry if it has left you indisposed, but I am merely following the—” he yelps out as a pan is tossed at his direction and he barely ducks out of the way “—Hey now, there is no need for violence! I will be on my way! Don’t you worry, lady. I will leave you and your flowers to your own.”

    As Iacis begins to hop and skip away with a bleat of terror, dodging flying pots and other thrown instruments. A stream of insults about his mental state follows in his wake accompanied by a wash of telling him to shoo and be away and never come back. A stray pan manages to check him upside the back of the head on the way off and he goes stumbling forward in his mad scurry.

    Finally away from the mad-housewide, Iacis stops and looks up to the sky, chuckling and shaking his head, “Ah, you really do love getting me in trouble, now, don’t you?”

    Silence meets him.
     
  8. Being awoken was something that had become a fact of life for Achillia. As a handmaiden, she'd been woken before dawn to attend her owner's child; she had been only a child herself so waking up so early led to more beatings than her owner would have liked. As she'd grown from child to young adult, the nights grew longer, as did her rest. However, now she was lucky to sleep more than an hour or two as a full adult and gladiatrix. Her blood raged at night, unfettered by the constraints of a human's sense of decency and order. The beast within her demanded the same freedom as she enjoyed during the day; oftentimes she let it have such freedom.

    Today, however, even the beast understood the importance of keeping her head. These...country folk were suspicious of everyone and everything that broke the mold of their lives. The infelix had resigned herself to the fact that she was one of those mold breaking subjects. She didn't need to have the most expensive education to know that these people had it figured that she was the beast that terrorized them. While she couldn't fault them that logic, since she's killed many a human; beast; and magical being alike; the timing was unspeakably unfortunate for their suspicions. She hadn't bothered to explain it to the tavern owner when she bought a room the day prior, she had her own suspicion that her words would've fallen on deaf ears.

    Now, the sun was high in the sky, and the noise had grown too great for the infelix to remain in solitude. As much as she didn't want to go on this bounty mission, she knew that her battle experience with monsters and man alike, could prove valuable. Word would spread of her bravery and ferocity against the beast would travel quickly; with her upcoming match against her patron's newest slave champion, this would be quite the boost to her reputation on the sands.

    With one last check to her armor, she sheathed her semispathae in her shield sheath, fastened her hoplon to her right arm and held her trident in the right hand as she made her way to the main tavern.

    She made her way over to the bar and laid out enough coin for a hearty lunch and some water. The owner nodded, though he seemed to shrink beneath the heavy gaze of the tall woman. Many patrons had scrambled out of her way, lest they be trodden under her foot. She paid them no mind however, and instead gave them a small smirk of thanks.

    Once she had her meal, she opted to take it herself, found an empty table that would accommodate her best, and sat down to eat. Though she'd been a slave, she ate with an air of dignity as she let her eyes scan over the patrons as they came and went.

    As time passed, she set her trident on the wall behind her and to her let for ease of use should she need it. She'd managed to glean a few nuggets about the beast, but it was all that she'd heard before from her patron. It was only a few minutes more when she gazed upon a creature she never would have believed she'd see: Vitellia Urbica. Her exploits were known and were discussed often in her patron's company. When even a happily married, devoted man spoke about a woman in such a reverent way about a woman, she would have to be a legend indeed. She was as beautiful as the stories recounted, but her mind drifted as to what she would possibly be doing in a place such as this town. Maybe visiting a relative? Whatever her reasoning, it was of no concern to the infelix. Such worries were above her station, and really had no place in her own life.

    Achillia removed her galae and set it on the table, then removed her hoplon to lean it against her leg, but the sword pointed upwards so she could draw it easily. She was thankful when she did so, as a man had helped himself to the courtesan's table and company. She had to admit...she was curious as to what would happen.

    Her attention was drawn away briefly by the sight of a strangely tall woman entering the establishment. She felt a growl rise in her chest, but swallowed it down. The woman's posture, her voice, they were all indicators of a non-threat. She was confident that the other would not make trouble. With that set in her mind, she returned her gaze to the courtesan's table amidst the other curious gazes of the commoners.
     
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