Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.



Zilia sat in her room flipping through her chronicle and making additional notes, at this point she had a feeling she’d need a whole book just to write all of this down. Her eyes moved to a certain entry and a small smile found its way onto her face. It wasn’t anything necessarily fancy, a simple entry in the midst of all this chaos but it was one she was proud of, and one she’d have to ask Kadi to make notes in at some point. Taking a moment to reflect on the small things did help stave insanity from the mind on occasion.

Before

Zilia had decided to be on the search team not comfortable just sitting on the ship waiting for information. Nikos had apparently joined the search team as well and set out onto one of the other islands, not alone since Lina said he might run. He had offered a warning before leaving that since Renegades were in the area, unless one was comfortable in their skill it wasn’t a good idea to wander alone. With that in mind Zilia requested Kadi to accompany her on her trek to one of the islands. She wasn’t entirely sure what she was looking for but Kadi was good at navigating the seas and finding things, maybe there was a chance he was good at finding Luro’s.

“The fact that’s a genuine idea shows how bad this situation is,” Zilia thought dropping rope into the boat. With that in mind she waited on one of the dinghy’s for the navigator to join her so they could make their way to one of the abandoned Havens.

“I would imagine you’d be innoculated to bad situations by now, Zilla,” the Navigator said, jumping into the dinghy, making it rock slightly. “Truth be told, two ships with crew and passengers mysteriously all dead sounds like a normal tuesday for us as of late. World’s gone mad nowadays, it seems. I’m fine as long as there are no halves of horses running around in panic over the fact all their guts are spilling out. Had enough of that in Zarogarazgil. Doubt that will happen here, though. All we need to follow is the trail of sharks, barracudas and quite completely dead bodies, eh?” he said, and grinned at Zilla reassuringly. “Though I did hear dragons live on these remote islands. How about that?”

“The moment you recognize it as normal, is the moment your own sanity comes into question Kadi, but I did try to think like Luro for a second so I might be worse than I thought,” Zilia responded handing the oars to him. “I’m sorry to ask but I can’t row and talk at the same time like yourself.”Taking a seat Zilia turned and looked back towards the island, she was glad he at the very least found this easy to deal with, but she worried for the future. It wasn’t just the fact that ill was going on it was that too much ill was going on at once.

“Well, I suppose so. At the end of the day, the only laws that truly bind and guide us are those the Universe imparts on itself. Anything else is just philosophical ballast attached by humans to make us feel better about being horrible creatures. I mean, think about it. We eat everything, for example. And if it is inedible, we call it delicacy and the restaurant charges more. Imagine being a hot pepper plant. You develop this chemical that just scares away any sort of parasite, and then scary alien creature shows up. The chemical makes them feel pain too, yes? And what do they do? They _like_ the way it hurts. We consciously seek pain and misery to make our limited days seem to flow slower. Luro’s just honest about being Luro. Maybe he’s the only sane person alive, and we all are insane instead.”

“If dragons do show up I’m going to be mad Kadi. I don’t trust circumstance right now.”

Normally they’d be presented a problem, would deal with it and move on, but the more they dug into Luro’s past, the more trouble came after them, almost like it was trying to push them away. Knowing Luro was the leader only made it worse, if he was the cause of all this that raised even further questions. “Also never tell me about Zarogarazgil.”

“Then I shall tell you about the dragons instead!” he said as he started to row. “They actually do live there, but do not breath fire. They are large lizards, long as a man is tall, and devilishly fast on their four legs. There are small pigmy deers on these islands, those big enough to have trees and forests, anyway. The bite of the dragon is deadly, they say. If the power behind the bite doesn’t kill you, the venom in their teeth will. It acts slow, and spreads illness through your body, until it reaches heart or brain. After that, you fall into fitful half asleep state, filled with hallucinations and mad schizophrenia. Then you die.”

Once they made it to the island Zilia climbed out of the boat and made a motion to Kadi as thanks for rowing before pointing further into the island. “What’s your take on all this anyway? You three have known Luro longer than us. Does he normally go off on his own and practice Genocide. You said it was normal nowadays, is this a reoccurring thing, is this something I have to become accustomed too?”

The Navigator pulled the boat onto the beach and tied it to a nearby palm tree. “Well, Zill, I would say noone truly knows Luro. Especially Luro, and I imagine he just learned to take being him in step and not worry about it. No need to worry if you’re always the one who lives through it, no matter what. Part of that, understanding what sort of… thing Luro is, sadly, lies in Zaborazilog. Or rather, what happened to Luro while he dreamed in the pools of Drowned King. Would you like to know more? While we walk around, looking for mutilated corpses arranged to make smiley faces on the ground?”

Zilia remembered why she didn’t have conversation with Kadi, that wasn’t to say they weren’t interesting, even she took notes on the supposed Dragon’s, especially hearing they hurt their victims through venom that was so common with other creatures, did the creatures they know evolve from them? Such conversations were interesting, but then she remembered the other reason, this man willingly peers into the abyss of things most are better off not knowing, and the longer the conversation the more of that forbidden knowledge starts to show. Ignorance is bliss is a phrase she applied to both Luro and Kadi, both their musings delve way to deep into the people and the world around them, though Kadi’s are more understandable it almost felt like a conversation with Luro for a moment, same headache.

“The fact I have no reasonable dispute against my own sanity is discomforting. That aside…I would actually like to know from another perspective. Luro spouted off about multiple Luro’s and shiny things in his normal matter…thinking about it no one really knows anything about him. I would really like to know what happened. I want to understand Kadi…something about all this doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe I’m being paranoid…maybe the answer is simple…but this whole thing doesn’t sit right with me. Too much wrong is happening, too much and too frequent almost like it’s calculated…it bothers me. Perhaps what happened back then will shed some light now.”

"Well, everything is connected with everything. Universe is one giant opera of causality. Every action can be seen as a sum of actions that preceded it, yes?” the Navigator answered, walking next to her, rifle trained at the bushline. He wasn't sure if it would be of any use against Luro. On one side, he wasn't entirely sure if he wanted to shoot to kill, on the other such indecisivity would not be present with Luro if he'd see an armed person aiming at him.

Zilia took in a deep breath and let it out, almost as if she needed a breath for the words she had just written, scribbling something else down she jumped however noticing a corpse hanging jupside down from a nearby tree. It acted almost like a sign pointing them in the right direction though it was clear the man had been dead for some time. Zilia blinked a bit and walking up to him folded her hands and lowered her head for a moment before getting to work. She took a moment to look over the body turning the body around here and there before taking a small step away and returning to Kadi.

Reaching up she tapped the back of her head.

“Whoever got him, got him pretty good in the back of the head. Normally I’d question if Luro did it but ‘Luro was here’ was carved into his back so we’re on the right track. If we really find smiley faces I’m not going out on expeditions with you anymore.”

The Navigator poked the dead body with the end of his rifle, in vain attempt to check for slightest signs of life. The body was quite dead, however. “Zil, anyone can carve ‘Luro was here’ into a dead body. Can you see if he was killed before it was carved? People think they know how to pretend to be psychos, but few are willing to walk the full five miles to make a believable impression. Luro's the kind of guy who will have method in the madness,” he said. He set the rifle into the sand, and started casually rummaging through the corpse's pockets, like as if he was looking for socks in a full drawer.

Zilia looked over at Kadi and offering a small nod walked back over and examined the body, she was silent for a moment walking around the motionless form. Her face was determined eyes narrowed as she eyed the markings on his back but she kept her attention on the body making absolutely sure. It took her a few minutes but after a second she stopped and wrote in her notebook holding it out to Kadi.

“He hasn’t been dead for too long, and the carving was made with something hot. It was clear it was done to him while he was still alive. Though it’s on skin I’m also pretty sure it’s Luro’s handwriting as well,”
Zilia held up her notebook motioning to a page which Luro had taken from Zilia and written stuff in, putting it up to the carved words there was a similarity to them.
Lowering the notebook she sighed and put it away.
“I am glad I doubled checked though, if it was done after his dead then it probably wasn’t Luro. Pretty sure he’s the ‘enjoy their screams’ type.”
Kadi’s insightfulness was useful in times like these, she had to remember that past his musings the man was quite intelligent though as she watched him dig through the man’s pockets she watched as a journal fell out of it. Blinking a few times she leaned down and picked it up and started flipping through it. Her eyebrows arched stopping on a certain page.
“Good find Kadi! This guy was a scout...let’s see...there’s information about us in here...I can’t read all of it though...it’s...written weird.”
She handed it to Kadi so he could read it, which would be faster than having her explain it.

The scout had been watching Stardusk for the past few days, there were entries of their general day to day activities at least that’s what it seemed like. The actual entries were written in a strange matter, there were mentions of Stardusk, and names and actions but they didn’t all fit together, it was clear he had been watching them though from the scattered sentences. Anything else was unintelligible and couldn’t be used, there was a recent entry however but like the rest it was encoded, though it seemed this scout got lazy with trying to hide it and just wrote a number code for himself. There were a series of sentences with a single number under them, aside from that large numbers were written below that.
The numbers were written 5=Ur, 8=Re, 9=I, 1=S, 6=O, 4=L 3=He. Below that were a scrambled bunch of large numbers written 14593, 86, 456, 567, 325, 75 and 7892
Zilia stared at Kadi for a moment figuring he had come to the same conclusion that she had.

The Navigator gave Zilla a flat, unamused look. “Frankly, a git like this who writes code next to the ciphered text deserves what happened to him. Now… SLUrIHe ReO LUrO UrO? He?Ur ?Ur and ?ReI?... Hm, few numbers are missing, hm…” he murmured as went went into a long spell of silence.
“Well,” he said after some time. “I would say that speaks for itself, doesn’t it.”

Zilia gave a small nod at Kadi’s words, that was what she thought at first but after a moment she came to a conclusion and judging by Kadi’s comment they were on the same page.
Judging by the carving in the man’s back Luro had already come and gone, which meant there was little need to stay on this island anymore. Giving Kadi a small pat on the shoulder they turned and made their way back to the ship.
“By the way...at some point we need to talk about the Undersea...in detail.”
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.




The city of Gavera, that was where the ship was heading. It was a vibrant town at one point, divided into eight districts it was a popular stopping place for most ships in between voyages. It was a place made for travelers, two of the districts were set aside for the actual inhabitants of the island, divided depending on one’s budget but the remainder of the town was made for outsiders. A vast market district filled with goods, mainly marine as that was a large part of the town but ultimately it wasn’t a bad place to visit, a multitude of taverns, inns for weary travelers and a large square near the clocktower where most people gathered, for festivals and other such events. At the very least that’s what it used to be, years ago a cloaked figure and a blonde haired woman came to the town and slaughtered every person there, setting fire to a majority of the town in the process. The place was abandoned for a bit after that but apparently the Ravens had moved in and taken over, rebuilding most of the town. Three of the districts were still destroyed but ultimately the town was almost back to its former glory. Zilia didn’t need to dig too deep to find this information and who ultimately destroyed the town...she knew that before she became a Stardusk.

Walking out onto the deck of the ship Zilia checked ahead of them, sure enough Gavera was in sight and she could see from here that the Red Messengers were patiently waiting for them, just a little past the docks. She could see multiple paths leading into the city, but since they were standing directly in the path of the center one she had a feeling Lina was down that one.

A low rumble filled the sky and Zilia raised her head to see dark clouds were starting to roll in, her eyes narrowed a bit at the sight as another rumble followed. Stormy weather was probably the last thing they needed right now and she hated rain, it made it pretty much impossible for her to talk.
She glanced back towards the rum room, Luro still hadn’t come out, she figured he wouldn’t show his face until the ship actually stopped, she wanted to knock and inform him they were here but decided against it, right now she wanted to focus on the group ahead, especially since a few of them seemed different.
Nikos was standing at the head, but there was only a single sword on his waist, it seemed a bit longer than the other swords he carried, the sheath was a dark purple with red words engraved onto the side, the hilt of the sword had black bandages wrapped around it, and seeing the Stardusk ship he seemed to grip the sword mumbling something to himself. There was also a pair of pince-nez resting on his nose.
Nina had apparently changed into a pair of pants accompanied by a shirt and dark vest, her swords were missing but there was a rope wrapped around her waist with something silver poking out from her behind her, but she couldn’t see what it was.
Tari was dressed the same but her giant sword wasn’t on her person, Kaim and Ria looked the same but she could feel something was different with them, she couldn’t tell what exactly. Kara...looked exactly the same, even offering a smile and wave to Stardusk.

For most of the trip Runali had stayed in one spot, waiting for the island to approach. At one point, she thanked the navigator for steering them through this… adventure. Her ring blades were resting against the side of the ship next to her feet, but they were soon at her sides when the island approached. CP sat next to her, occasionally chirping or making other sounds. The captain wasn’t sure why, but the break in silence every now and then was nice, so she offered a head pat every time she did.

As the island approached, Runali whistled to get her crew’s attention from wherever they were around the ship. She could see the figures waiting for them, but not in detail. Though, when she counted she frowned a little when she realized one was missing. No doubt Lina.

Runali waited until she heard all the footsteps of her crew before speaking. “No more of this... cat and mouse chase. No more threats. No more-” She ran fingers through her hair and straightened up to face them. “Of this. They want a fight, so we give them a fight. Just remember,” She glanced over at Alicia and Zilia. “They’re fighting to kill.” She let the words hang in the air, deciding that that was enough. The crew, confused or not, had been through the exact same thing she did so there was no need to explain. When the ship was docked, Runali looked down at the Messengers below and then back at her crew, raising a brow. “Try not to give Z too much work to do after.” With that, she lead them off the ship, patting the wood. “Can’t wait to get this over with.” She mumbled to herself as she stepped to the Ravens.
“Nice of you to wait up. I think we can cut the pleasantries short this time, don’t you think, birds?”

Z was all for Runali’s suggestion preferring everyone avoided as much harm as possible but at the same time she preferred to treat living patients than dead ones. Just as she was about to leap off the ship a familiar figure passed her, her eyes moved to Luro catching his gaze for a moment causing her to flinch. A part of her had hoped he would pop out of the rum room, with the same bright smile and grin but his demeanor hadn’t shifted in the slightest, still the same cold empty look in his eyes as he leapt off the side of the ship landing next to Runali.

“For once we’re in agreement Scum,” Nikos responded resting his hand on his sword.
His gaze moved to Luro as he took a few steps towards the gathered Messengers, meeting eyes with Nikos.
“Lina is waiting ahead in front of the Clock Tower,” Nikos said motioning towards the large tower in the distance. “We’ll keep your friends entertained you go on ahead.”

Luro gave a small nod to indicate he understood but made no attempt to move, Nikos arched a brow at this watching as Luro turned back halfway, staring at his crewmates with a blank stare. Zilia looked at the others before focusing back on Luro as he shut his eyes.
“I have no right to ask you for a favor,” Luro said with a shake of his head. “Especially after all I’ve put you through but…”
Luro opened his eyes and motioned to the Messengers behind him.
“I would really appreciate it if you didn’t kill them.”
Nikos and Zilia’s body seemed to flinch at the same time their eyes moving to Luro wondering if he was serious, he continued to stare at Stardusk making it clear he wasn’t messing around only lowering his arm when Nikos suddenly raised a hand to the man.
“Hold on…you understand we’re trying to kill your friends right?” Nikos said motioning to everyone. “You’re asking them to hold back against us…to put their lives in more danger.”
“No,” Luro said looking back at Nikos. “I want them to fight you with everything they have so they come back alive…I’m just asking them if they have a choice in the matter…not to kill you.”
Nikos looked at Stardusk than back at Luro narrowing his eyes at the man.
“Why?”
“Because they’re better than me.”

Nikos tilted his head a bit at Luro as his eyes moved back to the others.
“Don’t kill unless you need too…I always liked that rule of the Captain’s. We’re not exactly normal pirates but I care about each one of them and I want them to come back safe…I think you feel the same.”
Luro looked back over at Nikos with Kara, Ria and Kaim looking over as well at Luro’s words.
“You guys have your death rule and fight to the end and all that…but you want them to come back too. I’m sure you don’t tell them to come back alive so it’s not a distraction, so they can fight as hard as they can and come back safely. That’s what I’d do if I was in your place.”
Nikos eyes twitched a bit and Luro sighed rubbing the back of his head.
“I’m tired,” Luro said. “Tired of killing, tired of people getting killed because of this mess that I started. I don’t want my friends to bloody their hands more than they have to because I was stupid. My friends have done nothing to you to warrant a death sentence and the same can be said for you. You’ve hurt none of their friends or family and you’re clearly fine. So we’re fighting over something silly, something not tangible that we’ve made up between one another. I don’t want my friends killing perfectly good people over something that has no real shape and changes according to whoever ‘holding’ it.”
Luro turned back to look at Stardusk a small weak smile finding its way onto his face.
“…also I’m sorry Captain but I have to decline your order. I don’t intend on killing my sister. I apologize for my selfishness but she is my blood. The only remnant of what I had…and I made a promise to protect her. I dirtied my own future so she could choose her own…it doesn’t make sense to rob her of that when all I wanted was for her to live a life of her own choosing.”
Luro lowered his head slightly as an additional apology before raising it.
“I’m going to fix what I messed up. She’ll probably shoot at me, and I’ll do the same. We’ll beat the tar out of each other and get the last few years out of our system…then I’m going to bring her back. That’s what Makachi’s do…what family does. She did have the option to just put a bullet through my head after all and end this…I know my sister.”
Luro turned his back to the others and his eyes moving up to the clock tower.
“I’m not going to change what I am because I can’t confront things as myself,” Luro said with a small smile. “I’ll fight things my way. I don’t doubt for a moment you’ll make it through if you guys do the same.”

Runali gave Nikos an almost eager grin, happy he was eager to skip the introductions as well. Her armament started to go up her arm as Nikos placed his hand on his sword. “Flattering, really.” She started to take a step forward, only to pause when Luro spoke. Her expression dropped and so did her haki and replacing it was a much more confused one. Nikos beat her to the questioning though and for what it was worth, Runali was glad he did. It made her take a step back and give her full attention to the redheaded giant in front of them. Her arms crossed and she could only stare at Luro. There were plenty of words she wanted to say. And plenty of words she knew she shouldn’t say. When Luro brought up her own rule in the matter, the captain would have bit her tongue had she been talking.

Runali waited until he was done before closing her eyes as if she was in thought. She heaved a sigh and looked up at him. “You sure love to make things difficult, don’t you?” Runali pushed her hair behind ears. “I can’t promise the rest of the Stardusk won’t, but,” She gave a judgemental look over at Nikos. “I guess I can give you this favor too.” The anger radiating off her from before seemed to disappear. Of course, she did still sound a little reluctant. “We’ll see how it goes.” She didn’t take the time to acknowledge his comment about Lina, instead turning away from the crew and the Messengers, starting to walk along the island.
“C’mon Phoenix we’ve got scores to settle and I don’t wanna be in anyone else’s line of fire.” Her hands went to the back of her head and she undid her eyepatch, stuffing it in her pocket.

A small chuckle escaped from Luro and he gave a small nod to the Captain.
“Thanks Captain…that’s all I ask,” Luro said before walking forward. “I’m going ahead guys.”
Luro stopped and turning back to his crewmates raised a hand to them, he smiled but it was clear he wasn’t fully back to his old self yet, but he tried at the very least to offer something.
“I’ll meet you guys at the Clock Tower…and sorry for putting you through this. If we survive first rounds on me…I’ll even get Alicia some new tea.”
With a turn Luro walked ahead past Nikos the two men glancing at each other before his attention went to his people. Raising one hand he made a few motions with his fingers, the Messenger’s eyes seemed to widen for a moment but they eventually returned to normal only offering a nod.

Zilia watched Luro fade into the distance before she turned and made her way over to Kara, that had to be one of the most selfish things he’s asked for lately. Under normal circumstances she’d decline and go about her business, letting this end in such a matter wasn’t a feasible option. For some strange reason though they tended to make things that were generally impossible come true, and Luro’s trust in them was still painful…she had little faith she could end this without a death especially considering how much stronger Kara was…but she wholly intended on collecting on that favor if she did.
 

Arcadius

Bunch of neurons riding a meat mech
Anticipation was the polite way of describing Nina’s attitude as the Stardusk ship approached, it took everything in her to stay still seeing the ship slowly get closer to Gavera. Nikos had given them the order she had been waiting for, permission to kill. Arcadius was on that ship, and soon she’d be able to finish what she had started, to fully end this constant cycle of hate and despair in one moment. She would take away everything, just as it was taken from her. Her body felt like it was on fire, burning her from the inside out, a warmth surrounding her being, her eyes moist her palms sweaty, she wanted to fight him, she wanted to kill him, and she could feel her heartbeat just a little quicker at the idea of spilling his blood.

When the crew departed her eyes focused immediately on Arcadius. How many times had she stared at that face, that expression waiting for this day to finally come. A part of her wondering if the gentle tickle of the wind was real or a fabrication she had replayed a thousand times over. Nina only looked away to view Nikos’ signal, she offered a nod to show she was listening before looking back at her target, she was shaking a little with anticipation, pleased though it didn’t show on her expression when it was finally time to finish things.

“Come with me Arcadius, our place is a bit of a walk,” Nina said turning and making her way down the path. There were two silver hooks tied by a black chain behind her as she walked, making slight noises as she walked.

Here it was, then, it seemed. There was certain bitterness or sourness inside Kadi, as if he didn't want to do this, didn't want to spend time with this woman. It wasn't the same as first time, and the affair dragged on for a longer time it was destined to. Still, it would be uncouth to not respond, and so he followed after Nina. He could sense her tension and how she was overcrowded with emotions. On the other side, he was an island of thinly veiled indifference. And what was with those chains and hooks, anyway? Flashy and impractical weapons. If she wanted reach, spear was the wise choice.

Their destination was the new residential district, passing the towering buildings they made their way to the ‘noble’ district as it was commonly referred. Houses lined the pathway alongside them stretching far into the distance; there were a multitude of gaps between the houses revealing more rows that stretched almost infinitely past them. The houses themselves were empty, and didn’t tower over the other buildings but it was clear even small these houses belonged to those with a bit of means.


The Clock Tower stood a fair distance away behind them, and they seemed to move further and further away from it until Nina came to a stop near two dilapidated homes. The houses beyond her unlike the ones they were passed were broken down or half finished.

“Arcadius,” Nina said as she turned to face him. “Why are you here? Besides to see me…why did you willingly come to a place knowing your life could be taken?”

He sighed, shook his shoulders and looked around. “I suppose good manners. Can't help it. I always end up with some femme fatale who ends pulling me ‘round into deathly danger. Got used to it as years passed.” He crossed his arms, looked on the cobblestones under his feet and grimaced at them. “Listen, this town must have at least one semidecent café. Ain't you bit tired of the bloodlust and all? Can't we talk this over, then move it to a tavern, then to a bed? Wake with horrible hangover tomorrow that'll make us want to die so much we won't be physically capable of killing each other? Do actual stupid stuff?”

Nina remained silent at Kadi’s answer, she supposed he was to a degree a gentleman so that made a bit of sense. Keeping a lady waiting wasn’t a proper thing to do after all, though as he continued to speak Nina blinked a few times, her eyes narrowing slightly as confusion played across her features. For a moment she stared at him, almost as if he had spoken in a whole other language and she had to take a moment to read between what little lines there were.

She gave a small shake of her head to his suggestion before motioning to him with a small wave of her hand. “…there’s no point,” Nina said. “You don’t exist anyway.” She spoke the words as if they were common knowledge, with nary a moment’s hesitation and crossed her arms under her chest. “From the moment I saw you over two years ago…I knew you weren’t real. I could feel it. You fought hard to be the person you are today Arcadius. Went through a mess of turmoil to regain yourself…I respect that…and that’s why I’m going to kill you.”

As a being sorely dependant on his existence, he felt the need to oppose such nonsensical slander. “Makes sense to me, I suppose. All those dead bodies, just to make me the person you'll kill today,” he said, and left a pause at the end, to let those words form up properly, and show the absurdity of her statement.

Nina lowered her arms undoing the rope around her waist, two grappling hooks fell to the ground with a loud clunk and she grabbed the black chain around her waist swinging the makeshift weapons around until both were in her hands.
“…no bloodlust. No hatred. None of that. You don’t exist so I’m going to kill you and fix what…’this’ is,” Nina said staring at him. “Destroying your existence…is all I live for Arcadius…I had hoped to do so before you…changed but I was forced to wait. Now your scent is different, the look in your eyes altered…I’ll end this façade. If you’re friends mourn your passing…then I shall properly apologize…for your existence carried enough weight to be properly tangible.”

Nina raised her grappling hook and pointed it at him. “I can’t bring death to you…but I can cease the breathing fabrication in front of me…and that’s enough.”

“So…” he started, realizing he wanted to say five things at the same time, with only single mouth. Starting with pointing out he didn't really had plural eyes anymore. Marguela's work, and a reminder that he could very well be brought death. “That's a lot of feelings and sentiments for a man who didn't even know your name a month ago. I do believe in love at first sight, but I also sort of feel I must insist on explaining how did you get included in my life without my knowledge of the fact. Not to mention the authority under which you demand right to judge my existence, I find that highly questionable as well,” said the Navigator.

As he spoke, his left hand undid the holster of the Brass Cape style revolver he took from Marghuela as a repay for his lost eye, a heavy piece of masterfully crafted black iron and shiny brass. His palm wrapped around the grip and gently pulled the gun from the leather, the weight comfortably reassuring. The massive barrel was solid enough to stop a sword, and had a small knife bayonet on the bottom. Together, the front of the gun formed a Y, shaped so it could be used for catching and breaking blades.

His right hand reached for Seasong. He slowly pulled the sword from its filigreed scabbard, showing the motifs of raging sea etched on the blade, but there was also something new present. The sword radiated with an eldritch, otherworldly and wrong color that did not belong on the surface of any earth. The daylight was struggling to vanish the violet-ish Irrigo, the color of forgotten and misplaced memories. Just looking at the blade made one feel like being freshly woken from a dream and grasping to recall what was crystal clear just moments ago.

“On the other hand, if you wish to skip the diplomacy and just die fighting a dream monster, we aim to please,” said the Pathfinder.

Nina’s hands gripped her hooks, her stance shifting a bit seeing he was drawing his weapons, her eyes remained focused on him still, making it clear she was paying attention to him and his words, but the look in her eyes made it clear that whatever message lied in those words was lost on her, she almost seemed to peer through him her fingers tracing along the hooks as he brought up judgment to her.

Nina merely looked at one of the hooks in her grasp with a small sigh, she had forgotten the last time she had to use this against an opponent. She generally pulled them out to deal with some Devil Fruits but Kadi was a special exception, her hand moving to the chain she gripped it tightly, armament coating the chains, as she casually swung one next to her raising her gaze back to Kadi as he drew the sword. Her eyes moved to the sword, her head tilting at it’s strange design, it was for a brief moment but there was a small glimmer in her eye, but it faded as fast it came her eyes moving back to Kadi.

“No judgments…no dreams. Just an end to you,” Nina said tossing the other hook into her hand. “My involvement with you doesn’t matter anymore…if you’ve forgotten…than my existence ended as well.” Nina turned to face Kadi wet streaks falling down the side of her face as she lowered her body. “We’ll erase each other…just like before Arcadius.”
 
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Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.


The moment the ship appeared on the horizon Tari’s eyes moved over to Nikos. It had been a long time since she had seen him so focused, the others seemed the same as well. She was surprised to find that her own hands were shaking, a part of her wished it was fear, that would be more acceptable than what it actually was. She wanted to ignore the feeling welling up inside her, pretend it was something else but the moment Stardusk stepped on the docks she had little choice but to accept it. Bringing her hands to her side and stopping the trembling she had to stare at Stardusk and accept the fact that this feeling was anticipation.

She wanted to kill Alicia Tashigi, and the very idea of it excited her. She hated that she had allowed this to become personal, it was against their laws and she knew that...but at this point it was hard not to call it personal. Her eyes moving to the woman she couldn’t lie to herself, she wanted to kill her, not for honor or because it was her job, it was her desire, pure and simple and she felt terrible about it.
Her very presence bothered her, she could feel disgust welling up inside her as she laid eyes on her, she wanted to look away, focus on something else to keep herself from glaring but she had orders, focus forward until it was time to move. So she did her utmost not to show hatred in her expression, her eyes betrayed her malice but she kept her face stern, eventually she closed her eyes realizing that she was starting to shake in anger just looking at her.

She opened her eyes moving them to Luro when he spoke her brows arching at his strange request, similar to the other Ravens she looked over at Nikos. Seeing the signal he gave them she only offered a small nod. The fate of Luro wasn’t her concern, at the end of the day this was all a means to an end, and she stared at Alicia silently waiting for the man to finish. When he walked on and she noticed the other Messengers were leading their charges away she spoke to Alicia.
“W-Whenever...y-you’re ready...w-w-we’ll...g-go...T-Tashigi.”

Silence came easy to Alicia, it was something that had accompanied her for the majority of her life. But today of all days it was difficult to remain so quiet, not because she desired to sate a lust for conversation but simply because of the plethora of questions that'd risen from the previous few days. But still silence radiated from the swordswoman as her eyes watched the island expand till their ship sailed upon its doorstep. She'd tied her hair back with her usual black bow, donning her usual attire of light Fein blues and whites, Shusui tied at her waist, it's saya reflecting a dull strip of light in the wake of the gloomy weather.

She followed up to the left side of Runali and folded her arms, regarding the messengers as her eyes swept over them. Her gaze lingered on Kara for a moment, feeling a small pit of sadness due to their previous conversation on board the ship. However her attention was soon stolen away as Luro made his appearance, causing her to frown at first, perking an eyebrow before her other brow followed when he gave his request. She closed her eyes, sighing and shaking her head slightly before regarding him with a small smile. The idiot was difficult to remain angry at, though it didn't mean he was off the hook for what happened before. "Just concentrate on making it back Luro".

One by one each of them would be lead away by their opponent and it seemed it was her turn as Tari spoke up to gain her attention, pulling her gaze towards her. She recalled what Kara had told her before in the moment she met her gaze, but if Alicia was contemplating something no one would have ever known. "Lead the way" she replied simply, waiting for Tari to take them to wherever it was which would make their arena for their duel. There once was a time where she'd be nervous about such a situation, the thought of one day being your last enough to prick against the back of her mind. But she wasn't nervous, and that perhaps worried her even more.

Alicia seemed the same as always, at least from first glance. She wasn’t pleased at her eyeing Kara the fact the two had a conversation at all was an irritating thought. The comment towards Luro however was far more upsetting than anything. Someone willing to say such words to a traitor, who had stabbed them in the back long before a body could even turn cold shouldn’t exist in this world anymore. Thinking on it she could even forgive the comment, optional ignorance was their own burden but the smile on that woman’s face always bothered her, her eye twitched at it and she had to make herself look away, though their gazes ultimately met once more.
Since Alicia seemed ready she turned and walked down one of the paths leading the two of them to their destination.

Tari kept her eyes forward during the short walk, the streets seemed to converge for a bit before splitting off in random directions. Their path was a straight one ultimately leading to one of the squares of Gavera. A large fountain rested in the center of the large yet mostly empty area. Black ash rested on the statue, like old scars across the once pristine fountain; from first glance it seemed to be three people holding jugs and pouring it into the pool below, but the heads had been removed leaving the identity of the models a mystery. The fountain itself stood out as everything else in the area was pristine, the buildings surrounding them were all rebuilt, the cobblestone at their feet replaced with nary a scuff on them.

The Clock Tower rested directly in front of them, blocked by the rows of buildings but stretched far above them in the distance. The area itself was a large circle easily the size of a town itself, with two paths, one lead to what seemed to be a market place judging by the stands, the other was unknown as it was blocked by a large wall but both paths were clean and clearly freshly made. Tari raised her foot and brought it down; when she did a wall came up blocking the marketplace from view as well.
“I-I-I a-asked f-f-for t-t-the l-l-large s-s-section,” Tari said coming to a stop. “S-s-so t-t-there’s n-n-no i-i-interruptions.”
She turned and faced Alicia, her eyes narrowing slightly at her as her hands gripped the edges of her dress.
“W-w-why a-a-are y-y-you h-h-here? I d-d-doubt it’s t-t-to f-finish w-w-what w-we started.”
Tari tensed a bit but she released her grip and managed to straighten up.
“K-K-knowing w-w-we w-w-want y-y-your l-l-life….w-w-why wi-wi-willingly c-c-come?”

Alicia swept her gaze around the large open area, the space reminding her of some kind of arena built for sport. It had an eerie presence to it that made the swordswoman feel slightly uncomfortable, made worse when Tari placed her foot down seemingly summoning a wall to block off one of the adjacent paths. Requiring such a space for their duel made her question what kind of fight this would become. Alicia knew she had fierce destructive power easily able to level buildings at a time, but perhaps she wasn’t the only one to possess such power at this very moment.
She took in a deep breath, exhaling through her nose as she felt the cool air lick against her cheek a little, returning her attention to her opponent when she asked her two reasonable questions. “Does it really matter?” she replied softly. She held Tari’s gaze for a moment before she let out a small sigh, deciding to answer her anyway. “It is not in my nature to run, but even if it was you would eventually find me and we’d be right back here again. I don’t feel like spending the next few years looking over my shoulder and I’m sure you have better things to do than chase me across the world” she replied with a small smile. “But the real reason why I’m here is simply because my friends are here. I owe them a debt that a lifetime cannot repay and if following them means I meet my end then so be it”.
Alicia was gentle in her tone, speaking softly and casually as if she’d answered this many times before. However once she’d answered her smile faded and her brow furrowed slightly, “What about you Tari… why are you here?” she asked curiously, folding her arms once more as she observed the girl before her, awaiting her response.

Tari reached up and squeezed the bridge of her nose as Alicia brought up the need for the question; she always liked stating the obvious didn’t she? It was moments like this when she didn’t just answer things without adding a second opinion that bothered her; it wasn’t that hard to answer a question without adding to it. She lowered her hand when Alicia finally provided an answer to her question, it was an answer she expected, she was here because of Camaraderie, the reason she was always doing things like this.
“…p-predicable…but d-d-decent r-r-response,” Tari stuttered with a small sigh.
She was a woman of patterns, to a point it was easy to see what she was going to do next. That was the problem with doing things a certain way and not branching out, it made it really easy to learn about habits and little nuances, Tari showed no surprise at the answer but she had asked anyway, just to confirm.
She shut her eyes as the question was posed back on her, she expected that and she offered a small shrug to Alicia, there was little point in not telling her. She intended on doing everything in her power to kill this woman if it came down to it.
“Same.”

Tari opened her eyes to Alicia, holding her hand out she closed it into a fist, a long rod forming in her hand, a metal staff with crimson engravings along the side, easily taller than its wielder. With a small spin Tari set the tip of the staff on the ground her eyes moving to Alicia.
“A debt I can never repay to my friends is why I’m here,” Tari said.
Her demeanor had changed once more, her trembling coming to a stop and her stance firm and straight as she moved a hand to her hip.
“At least that’s partially it,” Tari said with a nod. “I expected you not to run, to come here with your friends to repay your debt even if it cost you your own life. That’s just how you are. I just want to kill you. You’re pretty much right the reason doesn’t matter…but I asked anyway…expecting something more…but you are you aren’t you?”
Tari gave a small shrug signaling that was the end of that.
“I can’t exist in this world with you Alicia Tashigi. Not someone like you. So ready whenever you are.”

Alicia simply shrugged, "It's all I'll ever be... the adventure with my friends is also a nice bonus" she replied before she reached for the hilt of Shusui, withdrawing the blade to her side with a small flick that caused a small explosion of air to disperse and plume out against the cobblestone. "As for existing, that may not be your choice to make" her tone was firm and carried a lot in it's implications, though Alicia didn't expand on it more. Interestingly enough the swordswoman didn't activate her power, there was no fiery glow from her eye nor was there any sign of readying a devastating attack, instead she took her swords hilt in both her hands, bringing the sword up to her shoulder in a combat stance she'd never been seen to use before. Despite her silence Alicia had been observing and listening throughout this entire adventure and if it was true that these messengers had endeavoured to learn about them, she would have to bring more than her usual methods of swordsmanship. "I do have one request however" her brow furrowed slightly, "If I die today, ensure this sword finds my sister... I'm sure you're already aware of who she is". Some would say this was the mentality of someone planning to lose or lacked confidence to win, but the passing of swords in both her culture and her family was an important tradition and if there was a way she could leave her little sister with something, it would be the instrument that served her and her mother before them. "The first move is yours".

“…yeah that’s why your existence will always be a pain,” Tari mumbled.
She rubbed her forehead wondering why she even bothered talking to her, hearing her voice just irritated her. She started to bring her other around deciding to just attack her when she noticed Alicia draw her sword and take an unfamiliar stance. Her brow arched a bit at the sudden shift, unlike last time she wasn’t throwing a bunch of stuff at her from the get go, granted she hadn’t threatened anyone close to her this time. New stance or not this woman was one of patterns, a small shift meant very little, she would fall into her routine soon enough, she relied on it, it was what she was comfortable with. Stepping outside the comfort zone against an unknown opponent was a foolish move for a swordsman, Alicia was smarter than that.
Tari only scoffed at Alicia’s comment and spreading her legs shoulder width apart pointed the tip of her staff at Alicia, her hands gripping the staff, her right hand sliding up slightly, her eyes narrowing as she took a formal stance against the woman.
Just as she was about to move forward however she paused as Alicia spoke to her, she blinked a few times at the strange request. She was silent as she watched her but after a brief moment she straightened her body again and pulling up her sleeve revealed the Raven tattoo on her wrist before bringing her arm to her chest and giving a small bow with her eyes closed.
“You have my word your sword will be brought to Satia Tashigi.”
Tari said little more pulling her sleeve back down and returning to her stance, there was no trace of deceit in her words, her expression was serious and from the act it seemed to be a promise.
She held an infinite hatred for Alicia Tashigi, but that hatred wasn’t allowed to spill out elsewhere, that was shameful for a Raven. It was shameful enough she couldn’t face her devoid of emotion the least she could do was prevent shaming herself further.
“How polite,” Tari said with lowered lids. “Very well then.”

False Saint VS. Maiden of Misery.
Those who fall from grace carry but one burden.



Tari grip tightened around her staff her eyes narrowing as the storm grew closer to them, lightning crashing in the sky above as Tari watched Alicia with a firm but narrowed gaze. A single droplet fell from above splashing on the ground beneath the two, and in the next moment Tari was in front Alicia, her foot slamming into the earth near Alicia’s feet, causing the earth to cave in slightly, cobblestone flying up as Tari’s staff came around in the next moment towards the side of Alicia’s head away from her blade.

“Good” was the last word Alicia spoke before she steeled herself and prepared for the imminent fight, inhaling measured breaths as her eyes trained on Tari. The staff was… unexpected, she’d expected her to wield the long blade she’d seen during their first engagement, but she supposed that was perhaps intentional. If Alicia had spent her time training to match against a sword that it’d all have been for nothing, thankfully the ashen haired swordswoman had undertaken various other methods of preparation instead.

She didn’t move as Tari closed the gap between them in moments, the world beneath her detonating upwards. Alicia firmed her grip around the hilt of Shusui before quickly moving her hands to invert on the hilt, twisting and rolling the blade to slam against the incoming staff with seemingly tremendous strength causing a shockwave that obliterated the debris into dust. She didn’t blink away, or bring forward a flurry of speed against Tari, this was something entirely different. Providing Tari could withstood the strength behind the blow, Alicia would follow through to power the staffs tip to the ground, gritting her teeth before twisting Shusui so that the flat of the blade rested against it with it’s dark edge facing up towards Tari. Alicia took a single step towards Tari and moved to glide the black blade up the polearm towards Tari in a violent slash that aimed to decapitate her head from her shoulders.

Tari’s feet dug into the ground at the block expecting little else from the woman. The ground gave away slightly as she dug her heels in moments from moving away when her weapon was forced to the ground. With a glare her hand quickly shifted around the staff and she lowered her body at the attack, releasing the staff she put her hand against Alicia’s chest as the sword moved overhead of her and shifting her footing pushed the woman away with immense force catching her staff before it hit the ground as she straightened her body.

She wasted little time closing the distance between them, her staff spinning in her right hand, with each step the earth below her shifted chunks of the street coming up which Tari would smack with her staff sending it flying at Alicia as she moved towards her. The moment she was in range she brought her staff down feinting at attack at Alicia’s feet only for the staff to touch the earth inches away, Tari using the momentum to propel herself towards Alicia’s stomach with a kick.

After the black blade of Shusui glided over Tari’s head, it sliced the air into a fine cut which traveled, cleaving the fountain in half horizontally. Alicia gritted her teeth feeling the forceful shove, throwing herself into a nimble backwards cartwheel to recompose quickly from the hit before raising in time to cut and deflect the chunks of debris while taking steps backwards to give herself time and space to execute each deflection.
With the chunks of debris obscuring her vision she didn’t anticipate the follow up, nimbly bringing her sword up to deflect the overhead blow before suddenly it fell short and as consequence she received the kick to her chest causing her to fly backwards across the ground, rolling a few times before coming to a stop as she once again rolled up onto one knee into a semi recomposed stance holding her sword out to her side, wincing just a little from the blow.

Her brow furrowed slightly as she stood up and straightened herself again, her left eye bursting into a blue fiery aura as she raised her sword above her head before slamming it into the ground in front of her. Suddenly a maelstrom of wind would begin to swirl around Alicia, picking up speed and strength rapidly as it began to suck in the chunks of debris, small at first before the bigger chunks began to be pulled towards her. Even Tari would soon find herself being pulled towards her as the wind began to gain speed and strength.
Soon the maelstrom of wind formed into a dome of swirling air and debris with only the singular glowing eye visible from beyond the violent air current. The sound was loud now, blocking out everything before suddenly everything would fall dead silent moments before a thunderous boom followed in the wake of the dome exploding outwards as it expanded, tearing up the ground and destroying everything caught in its path.

Tari spun her staff in her hand lowering her body to follow up but she paused mid step seeing the familiar glow coming from Alicia. Gritting her teeth she moved both hands to her staff, her eyes watching for any movement from the woman, knowing one wrong response here would end their engagement. The wind suddenly started to pick up, Tari’s clothing fluttering violently as her eyes narrowed seeing it was all flowing towards the swordswoman. A piece of debris hit the back of her head causing her to roll forward, she stabbed her staff into the earth keeping herself stable as she watched Alicia vanish into the dome. The moment the calm came Tari clicked her tongue as the explosion came forth.

Hurling her staff into the air Tari gripped her right wrist, a rose colored spark flowed off her body for a moment and with gritted teeth a glow soon enveloped her hand moving to her upper arm. Her hand twitched before she closed it into fist making the faded glow surrounding it tangible, the edges sparking outwards as her gaze moved back to the enclosing dome. Tari sprinted towards the approaching attack and placing her foot firm brought her fist forward, slamming it directly into the approaching devastation. For a moment the air shifted around Tari a pillar of rose colored energy filling the area around her, the dome and energy mixing together into a rotating swirl around the woman concealing her as it spiraled toward the sky. The pillar faded as the woman slammed her foot down, the glow slowly leaving her arm as she let out a breath. Small rips were on the right side of her clothes near her waist and black marks rested on her knuckles, she gave her hand a small shake before raising it and catching the falling staff.

Tari raised her hand towards one of the buildings next to her and closing her hand into a claw quickly made a pulling motion, the building shifting slightly before moving towards Alicia. Tari did the same motion the buildings behind her sliding towards Alicia as if possessed. Tari leapt into the air to one of the approaching buildings landing on the roof as the remaining buildings around them started to swirl around the area, Tari raising her hand conducting the movement as the buildings slid one after another towards the swordswoman, Tari redirecting any that manage to miss her as she watched the woman with a steady gaze.

Alicia pulled her sword from the ground and nimbly flicked it to her side as she watched the wave of destruction gnaw at the world around them, eyes narrowing when she saw the pillar or rose energy pierce the wall and halt it's advance. This was already becoming more than she'd been expecting, her thoughts only validated more when she saw Tari start to manipulate the environment further by moving entire buildings from the outskirts of their arena before jumping up onto one of them. Such an attack could easily smash her to pieces if she wasn't careful, she needed a plan and needed one fast.

The swordswoman quickly brought Shusui in front of her, holding the hilt with both hands before the blade ignited in bright spirit energy that engulfed the blade for a moment. Her hands began to pull apart till she held her sword in her right hand and what appeared to be a spirit replica of Shusui in her other, holding both blades to her sides as she slid one of her feet forwards, causing debris, dust and ash to exhale across the broken ground. She twirled both blades to her right side and bent her knees before suddenly she burst into a flurry of impossibly fast strikes, her outline warping with the appearance of multiple Alicia's flashing momentarily from her corporeal form.

The cuts generated from the blades decimated the first few buildings, cutting them apart and almost exploding them as they crumbled into pieces. However once more started to seek her out Alicia suddenly kicked backwards from the ground as she ran away from Tari, moving at staggering speed towards the wall of their arena before she began to wall run around the edge of the circular space, a trail of blue energy tailing her from the ethereal blade clutched in her left hand as she moved. For a moment it was seemed she was moving to avoid the buildings, but a moment later would reveal a flurry of cuts unleashed from Alicia towards Tari. Projectile after projectile of sharp arcs of air seeking to decimate everything inside the large circle.

Tari’s eyes narrowed as she watched Alicia cut through the buildings, she continued to move them towards her, armament flowing into her staff as she watched her movements. She took a small step forward until Alicia raised her sword, she slid her foot back as she noticed the energy surround the blade lowering her body as she braced for whatever was coming. She watched Alicia move her eyes barely catching the woman’s movements as she cut apart the approaching buildings, Tari only reached back pulling more in the distance though she stopped seeing Alicia create distance between them.

Her eyes moved to the approaching projectiles and taking a few steps back she fell off the roof the arcs destroying the building she was on. Tari sprinted along the ground sliding on the wet earth throwing up water as she spun her blackened staff in front of her destroying the projectiles that approached her. Bits of the energy ripped part her clothes causing her eyes to twitch as some hit flesh. She swung in a wide arc destroying a row of them that drew too close, the armament leaving the staff afterwards. She came to a firm stop and brought both her hands back before pulling them forward chunks of the remaining buildings being pulled from their homes and slamming into the wall directly behind Alicia, the stone projectiles drawing closer and closer as Tari continued moving her hands.

“Enough!”
Tari exclaimed and hurled one directly in front of Alicia destroying a chunk of the wall.
Raising her staff up she slammed it into the ground, a low rumble forming beneath them before the earth started to shift and move, the ground rising and falling around them moving and twisting as stone hills would rise and fall until eventually the entire earth under them suddenly started rising, the ground beneath them moved towards the sky, climbing over the few remaining decimated buildings, rising high enough until it was at the top of the Clock Tower coming to a slow stop. Parts of the land rose up around their new battleground, chunks of the streets surrounding them a little ways down creating makeshift islands around the now towering landmass.
“You can’t just die normally Tashigi,” Tari said bringing her staff to her side. “I made you abandon your honor in anger! I pulled out the worst in you! Yet…yet! Damn it! Every time I peer into that gaze of yours it infuriates me!”
Tari’s grip tightened around her staff, her whole body trembling in anger as rose colored sparks started to appear around her body, bits of lightning surrounding her trembling form almost matching what echoed above them. It slowly grew in strength, her power breaking apart the falling rain, as if she was physically pushing it away from herself, each breath she took an invisible force would push the falling drops, each time her chest heaved bits of rose filled her eyes only to fade. She grit her teeth and straightened her body the rose energy fading from her as she twisted her staff, medium sized blades poked out of each end of it and with a small spin she got back into stance.
“People like you…people like you deserve the worst kind of end!”
Tari sprinted forward her staff swinging at Alicia as the woman turned and twisted her body, a flow of kicks and slashes coming from her as she attacked Alicia from every angle, her legs sweeping for her legs, her staff aiming towards her chest, shifting to her arms, a constant flow of attacks aimed at any exposed section of the woman.

She could hear the loud crashes as debris collided with the wall behind her, looking over her shoulder before picking up her speed to stay ahead of them. She was about to consider her next move when suddenly she heard Tari shout before the wall in front of her exploded, causing her to halt and quickly kick from the wall to the ground, rolling back to her feet into stance. She'd raised her swords expecting the woman to close the gap to her again before she lowered them slightly as the ground began to quake and move causing Alicia to crouch as she was soon thrust into the air upon elevated ground along with her opponent. Alicia breathed steadily, her clothes also slightly torn from the fighting, her brow furrowed as she listened to Tari's angry outburst.

Once again she twirled her blades dexterously before meeting Tari head on as she closed in again, blocking, parrying and countering as both her spiritual and corporeal blade met with her staff. The two were moving with such speed that each impact caused shock waves which pushed the raindrops around them into various shapes. After minutes of exchanging blow upon blow, Alicia would cross her blades against Tari's staff, locking it in place before slamming her knee against her thigh to weaken her stance and dissuade more of her kicks. "There is no shame in anger! as long as you learn from it!" she replied firmly before using the hilt of Shusui to sucker punch Tari just enough to stagger her before Alicia would jump and deliver a spinning back kick with enough force to throw her back to create some distance.
The swordswoman raised her black blade, pointing it towards Tari as she spoke. "You speak as if you have me all figured out as some kind of monster, as though I've wronged you on a personal level" Alicia's gaze never left Tari the entire time she spoke, walking to the side slowly as if she were sizing her up. "I'll ask you again... why are you here! for what reason do you carry such hate for me!" she raised her voice as if demanding an explanation from her, the fiery aura in her eye burning brightly as she stopped her slow walk and turned towards Tari directly expecting an answer.

The world seemed to slip away as she clashed with Alicia, the distant rain fall, the roar of the thunder and her own screams melting away replaced with the clashing metal. Her response only fueled her anger further, all her rage poured into each strike, sparks flying between the two of them and each attack, each narrow end to their fight only fueled Tari’s anger, again and again their blades would clash until finally they locked weapons Tari bringing her face closer to Alicia’s, glaring with every ounce of her hate.
The following blows staggered her and she barely had time to register them before distance was forced between them once more. She kept her head lowered her feet sliding dangerously close to the edge before coming to a slow stop. She raised her head to see Alicia’s blade pointed at her and rotating her shoulders she turned her body walking sideways with Alicia, her knuckles turning white as she gripped her staff, annoyed such a question was asked of her.

“That…things like that. Long as you learn from it…humility…all that nonsense you spout as if it has true meaning,” Tari said stopping and facing her fully.
“Holding onto your honor as if it’s precious, lessons as if they carry any meaning to you...but ultimately you’re just twisting them to suit your own whims. For something so precious you cast them aside pretty easily, the supposed teachings and disciplines from your mother and father, used through every aspect of your life, thrown away when it was no longer convenient! I can deal with Yula Fei, I respect their approach to the world, I can respect warriors with a shred of honor, even we want to look our opponent in the eye when we fight them…but you…I can’t stand when you pretend to hold it.”
Tari said this spitting to the side as her face twisted into one of disgust, scowling at Alicia.
“All I wanted was to make you throw it away, the things you cling so heavily too, all I desired was to see you throw it aside when you needed to hold onto it all the tighter…and I did that on Iurin. Just to show how little it matters, to show just how corrupt you are. I can deal with the other Stardusk at least their honest…but you…you’re a filthy liar clinging to such things as if they’re a part of you…but they’re not…they’re just excuses…that I can’t stand. Everything that you supposedly follow Alicia Tashigi…disgusts me to my core.”
Tari gripped her staff tighter, drops of red falling from her hand as her nails dug into her skin.
“I’m going to rip it out of you,”
Small circular orbs started to hover around Tari, slowly expanding around her form, an bright aura slowly making its way up her body.
“I’m going to throw everything I have at you…I’m going to force that darkness out of you. Make you show your true self, and then I’m going to kill you.”
Tari raised her hand to her face and closed it as the energy fully covered her whole body, the rain seemed to avoid her as the aura pushed away the drops, as if her entire being was repelling the very presences around her. The earth around them broke apart as Tari lowered her body her other hand slowly wrapping around the staff as she brought it to her side. Her foot slid back slightly as her torso learned forward the woman inches away from rushing at Alicia.
“I refuse to lose to a fake like you.”
The rosy energy exploded off the woman’s body as her eyes slowly lost their light, blank orbs replacing her angered look as chunks of the earth around her started breaking apart, her power starting to reach out destroying anything within reach, narrowly missing Alicia on a few occasions as it ripped apart at the air.
“…in the end it doesn’t matter though…talk all we want…our actions will determine who’s right. If what you have is real…than stopping me as you are…shouldn’t be that hard.”

Alicia could feel her own temper rise in her chest as she listened to Tari accuse her of forsaking everything she'd been raised to believe since she was a young girl. The words spoken by Tari carried incredible offence with what they implied, accusing her of putting them aside when it was convenient. She furrowed her brow as she watched her, trying to recall a time when she might have gone against her own beliefs before shaking her head. "You're a fool and you'll die a fool" she replied as Tari began to empower herself further. "True that my people value honor highly in our society, but we all interpret it differently in accordance to our personal sense of morality!" Alicia took a step forwards, "Who are you so righteous to decide who has forsaken their honor when you can barely comprehend it!" she shouted. "Even now you are self made hypocrite by allowing your personal feelings for me to get in the way of your duty... tell me Tari, was it convenient for you!" Alicia's eye burned brightly and furiously as she shouted.

The swordswoman shook her head as the ground around her was disintegrated by Tari's power. "... So be it" she finished as the fiery aura in her eye faded away, the spiritual blade in her left hand dissolving in her hand before she slid Shusui into it's Saya. She faced Tari as she gripped the Saya in her left hand, pushing her thumb against the guard of the blade which gave a small audible 'clink' as she prepared to end this duel once and for all. She bent her knees, tilting forwards as her right hand gripped the hilt of the black blade, waiting for her opponent to move before she would burst forwards causing the the raised earth behind her to shatter. Alicia exhaled all the air from her lungs as the two passed each other in the blink of an eye, the dark blade of Shusui outstretched in front of her as the world around them fell silent, as if nature itself held its breath for the outcome of this chaotic battle. A soft breeze blew through, causing their hair and clothing to gently sway as grass leaned to one side and dust swirled and dissolved into the air.

Everything seemed to pass in a moment, Tari with her staff firmly in front of her, and the slow passing of time as a single breath passed between the two of them. The aura faded from Tari’s body as she fell forward, her body crashing against the earth as her staff rolled away from her. The weapon splitting in two after it left its owners hand.
The risen earth slowly descended as a pool of red formed under Tari, her body motionless and her eyes shut. The land lowered until it was returned to its normal state returning the two women to their now decimated dueling grounds.

“…unngh.”
A groan came from Tari her shaking hand reaching towards her broken staff, she gripped one half of it and slowly brought her legs up, forcing her shaking body upwards. She managed to reach her knees almost falling forward again as she fought against herself. She turned towards Alicia, barely managing to climb to her feet, her legs trembled, blood dripped off her but she raised her foot and with unsteady steps tried to get closer to her hated enemy. Her eyes narrowed as she dragged her broken weapon, using every ounce of what was left in her to finish Alicia.
She barely made a few steps however before she was on her knees once again, the metal falling from her hand once more.
“Personal sense of morality…what garbage...it’s just an excuse…like everything else,” Tari muttered looking up at her. “People like you…”
Something ran down the side of woman’s face, whether it was the rain or her own weakness showing remained unknown, her pained yet angry expression making it hard to tell.
“Aren’t allowed to exist…not in a world like this.”
Tari lowered her head, and with a tired sigh rested her hands on her knees.
“…well go ahead…I don’t expect someone like you to keep your promise…besides…I’ll never accept someone like you, leaving me alive is foolish. Get it over with.”
Tari shut her eyes.
“…I’m sorry I couldn’t follow your last order Nikos,” Tari mumbled as she patiently awaited the finishing blow.

Alicia took in a steadying breath as she stood straight, passing the black blade over the mouth of it's saya till the tip rested at the edge, sliding it back into the sheath at her side. Droplets of rain ran down the curvatures of her face, her clothes wet and torn in places from where Tari's powerful attacks had almost claimed her. She didn't turn to face her as she struggled to regain her footing, looking out over the dull grey buildings before closing her eyes as Tari spoke. She thought back to every time she'd drawn her sword over the years, the many fights she'd had to overcome in order to survive and keep moving forward. Of all of them, she hated this one the most.

"You're right" she eventually replied, turning towards Tari as they descended towards the ground. "Finishing you off would be the smart decision" she looked down at her, the sky flashing as lightning flashed above the dark clouds above them. For a split second she could have looked like her mother before the light faded in the wake of thunders roar. "You are young, stubborn and ignorant... much like I was when I was your age. Life has taught me many lessons over the years and even now I'm still learning, we grow as people from the experiences we share Tari, but ultimately it's the choices we make that define the people we become".

Alicia exhaled recalling when Shouta broke her sword and punished the crew for her actions, a hard lesson learned and probably one of the key moments in her becoming a Stardusk. "Your story doesn't end yet... not today and not by me" she looked down at her with a small frown, having made up her mind to spare her life. She took a few steps forward before taking one of Tari's arms over her shoulder, holding her wrist with her other hand before putting her arm around Tari's waist to lift her to her feet. In Feian culture they were taught as children that all life was sacred and should be protected where possible, but that wasn't why she spared her, nor was it Luro or her conversation with Kara. This was simply who Alicia was.

Tari gripped her torn clothing, almost ripping it more as Alicia spoke to her. She couldn’t just stab her and be done with it, she had to sit and give her a life lesson with all this. This was a horrible way to die the worst possible way, being taught a lesson by this woman of all people.
She felt Alicia’s shadow fall over her and she patiently waited for the end, apologizing to the Messengers in her mind. When the blow didn’t come and Alicia spoke to her once more she raised her head only to notice she was being helped to her feet. Tari looked over at her, confusion lining her features but her form too weak to really resist the help. She bit her lip turning her face from her as she was helped to her feet.

“…you’re still young and stubborn,” Tari said taking an unsteady step away from her. “…I can stand.”
Tari reached over and held her side letting out a small breath. She stared at Alicia for a long moment, her brows still furrowed but she seemed more irritated than angry. Her eyes seemed to search for something in Alicia’s own, but she ultimately closed them, more than likely not liking the answer she received and with a heavy sigh she raised a hand and pointed towards the Clock Tower.
“Hurry and go to your friend…before I get my strength back.”
Tari lowered her arm and bending down picked up part of her staff the item shrinking in her hand before she moved it to a small pouch on her waist.
“…we’ll finish this another day…next time I’m going to spout annoying nonsense at you when you’re on your knees.”
Tari turned and walked away from Alicia making her way down the once blocked path.
“Until then don’t die.”

Alicia watched as Tari steadied herself and took a step back from her, noticing how the staff item shrunk and wondered if within that pouch was the sword she'd seen her wield before. She met Tari's gaze before looking off towards the clock tower, her brow furrowing as she recalled that was the direction Luro had headed to find his sister. She was about to turn and offer her thanks for the information when she noticed Tari walking away from her, hearing her words which caused her to let out a short small sigh. "Count on it" she replied simply before turning and heading in the opposite direction towards the clock tower. 'Hopefully by then you'll realise it wasn't nonsense after all' she thought to herself, tilting forwards slightly before the air around her distorted and exploded as Alicia headed towards the clock tower at impossible speed.
 

SilentxChaos

Vivid Imaginings
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Jack’s thought process on their trip here had been of one depressed resolution. The captain and crew were sailing into this conclusion with death on the mind, and he understood he could not escape that. A tinge of shame bothered him on how he acted, preferring to retreat inwards than focusing on his crew and Luro. But if he didn’t….would he be able to focus on what’s to come?

They stepped into Gavera and he could feel at once the destruction seared into the dirt. He knew what a rebuilt town looked like; for more reasons than he cared to think on. The cook’s face set into emotionless stone as they reunited with the Messengers. It was funny, really, if thought about in the right light. All the time he spent trying to decipher their motives only led him to actually liking them, and not once enlightening him to the true nature of this whole tragedy. His eyes found Ria and his face twitched. Something between a smile and grimace, as he recalled their adventure on Lady Luck. He decided then he couldn’t kill her…. but now, it appeared he had no choice--

Eyes widened and his head snapped to Luro. His lips parted, revealing the extent of his shock when Luro made his request. It was like an answer to his dilemma that came too late. How much of this is even in your hands anymore, Luro? he thought. A sharp scoff escaped him. Raising a hand, Jack smoothed the top of his hair and contemplated the request. The darkness within him began to fade.

His lips twitched into a smile as the giant raised a hand, nodding slightly in acknowledgement, before returning his full focus onto Ria. He cocked his head. “Well? Would you like to lead the way?”


Ria remained silent when Stardusk approached, she was focused but somehow her gaze was distant, more than usual. Her hand went to rest on her sickles, her finger tracing along the top of it with a small content sigh. The kill order was still active the only difference is the owner became Lina instead of Nura. She cared little for such differences, Nikos had informed them it was still active and that was enough for her, but for some reason she still felt a strange hesitation, a desire to still kill Jack but something else was there pulling at her. Not having a word for this feeling bothered her more than anything else. Her gaze met Jack’s and she offered the same blank expression she always carried, her eyes did twitch seeing the expression on his face.

She moved her attention to Luro as he spoke, her brow arching slightly at his strange request. Her eyes moved to Nikos, when he raised his hand and made the motions a strange bit of life coming back to her face, her eyes widening slightly before she offered a small nod same as the others, closing her eyes afterwards. That was a very specific order, one she expected from her leader her face returning to normal she looked back at Jack.
“…follow me…”

Ria led Jack down one of the paths, passing a few buildings in mid construction, from the looks of it one was a doctor’s office and the other an old bakery. The area straight ahead of them had been cleaned up with a bit more effort than the places adjacent to them. An assortment of stands rested in a large circle around an open area, Ria walking through the gaps in the abandoned stalls continuing forward. To the east of them was another area with a large fountain in it, and to the west of them was what looked like a residential district judging by the houses. The clock tower was south west of them, only viewable due to its height since rows of building rested behind them leaving only the west and eastern paths. The buildings around them weren’t completely finished, some half done with tools still left on some of the wooden platforms.
“My apologies it’s not as open as the others…I drew the short straw,” Ria said turning to face Jack. “…I expected you’d come…but I am curious why…you know we’re going to kill you…is it confidence you’ll survive…or something else…”

Ria spoke to Jack in the same tone she always did, though her hands made no real motion to her weapons, and her stance showed no real hostility, far as she was concerned they were having a light conversation. Granted she constantly looked like that even when she was fighting.


Jack followed her quietly, taking in their surroundings as they approached the open are.

“We couldn’t fight outside the town?” he asked, looking around. He didn’t like the idea of wrecking what these people worked so hard to rebuild. His frown deepened at the sight of the houses to the west. Reaching into his waist belt, he nonchalantly pulled out a cigarillo and lit it. He walked the edge of the clearing towards the east, where the fountain could be seen, while contemplating her question. His eyes moved up to her. She was much the same, seemingly, the latest events not bothering her.

“I don’t mind if I die but I’d be lying if I said I was ready to kill you, too,” he spoke evenly. “This crew is… all I have left. I can’t go home; I can’t go back to those I care for. I was, quite lost, until Stardusk came along. And while I can’t say I’m gung-ho for every adventure we’ve been…. It’s been a long, long time since I felt this kind of comradery. Like I belong.”

He paused to draw on his smoke. “Do you feel the same? With the Messengers?”


Ria gave a small shake of her head at Jack’s inquiry, she made a motion with her hand towards the broken buildings.
“…place is taken,” Ria said simply. “Any mess made here will be cleaned by the Ravens…it was our place first anyway…till the incident.”
Ria remained silent remaining in the same spot as Jack walked away, she made no attempt to close the distance, she was in no particular rush to start their fight. They had all the time in the world, and she knew Jack wasn’t going to go anywhere. She only stared back at him when his gaze moved to her shifting her weight to her other leg as she patiently waited for him, she was curious about the answer to her question. When Jack did answer Ria straightened her body bringing a hand to her chin at his response, she gave a small nod a little surprised he was being so honest but it was rather refreshing.

Jack had a place where he belonged, they were there to take that place away, it made sense that he would come to protect it. She was a tad surprised to hear he didn’t want to kill her however, that was a strange thing to announce to an opponent that was after your life. Ria wasn’t entirely sure where this strange trust was coming from, but she didn’t know how to respond to it.
The question he posed on her however she easily had an answer for.

“Almost exactly…” Ria said with a small nod of her head. “My home…the one I went home too…it’s all gone. If not for Nikos…I more than likely would have ended my own life…I found purpose…a home…people who care for me…a place where I can be…”
Ria stared at her right hand, her eyes twitching slightly as she brought a hand to her head.
“Two birds in the sky, four clouds red everywhere, seven bodies, three in pieces, a desk slightly askew to the left with four papers, a lamp and a picture of a blonde woman on it. A brown stain on the carpet five feet from the grandfather clock.”
Ria’s eyes twitched and she slowly lowered her hand from her head, a small sigh escaping from her.
“…I’m happy to hear that Jack…I don’t want to kill you for a silly reason…that’s something good to fight for…”
Ria said this glancing over at Jack before she held up three fingers.
“…do you not worry you’ll hurt them though…there are three people you would prefer not to meet again due to your old sins.”
Ria lowered one of her fingers giving a small shake of her head.
“…my apologies. One of them is supposedly dead so two…do you not worry you will do the same to Stardusk…you must have a lot of faith in your friends.”


Inhaling his smoke, he closed his eyes and listened. The soft auburn hair was something he thought of on occasion- who’s hair was it? What was she to Ria? Wasn’t even hair, maybe fur?- because it clearly meant something to Ria, and no matter their circumstances, Jack’s desire to understand this woman never wavered. He stood constructing the scene she laid out in clear fragmented detail until he felt the stickiness of drying blood on his cheek, the wretched smell of copper and piss assaulting his nose, the ground so soaked with violence it could’ve been an animal attack but really, it was--

He opened his eyes, watching her with empathetic curiosity. He started to smile with faint twisted amusement that she wouldn’t kill him over some silly reason.

Then she held up three fingers.

Jack’s teeth clenched into his cigarillo. Rancid, half-burnt grounded tobacco leaves seared his tongue with heat and revolting mushed concoction. Jack gagged. He immediately doubled over and spat it out, shoving fingers into his mouth to dig out the remaining black grinds threatening to dissolve on his tongue and plague him with the most wretched taste he ever knew. He held up a hand to Ria to stop her from approaching- whether she’d made a move or not- and rubbed his eyes as they stung at the bitterness in his mouth. He looked up at her. Eyes tinted red, inflaming pale gold irises, he scowled at her with constrained emotions he barely attempted to disguise. A writhing roil behind a mask of thin porcelain.

“Which one?” he coughed. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and tried again. “Which one is supposedly dead? Do you know?” His voice rose. “Ria, do you know?”


Ria remained still only lowering her hand at Jack’s response. It was a natural one, one to be expected. There was a trace of darkness in each person’s past, a darkness best forgotten by time or force, staring at Jack now she wondered how he had managed to forget. Pulling at the hidden depth, reaching into the depths of a person with words and ripping out the very thing they choose not to speak themselves was her job, it was what the Ravens did.

She offered only a nod seeing Jack’s hand, she wouldn’t attack him while he was like this, she would fight him on fair ground, she would kill him when he stood on his own two feet and ready, there was no point otherwise. That look on his face, the one he tried to conceal…it was honesty in its purest form and she found great pleasure in watching his expression.

Ria closed her eyes at his question, reaching behind her she took out a small notebook flipping it open. Her eyes moving to the pages, she glanced at Jack for a moment and put the book away.

“…there’s no point telling you...”

Ria said this turning fully to face Jack, her eyelids lowered slightly, a strange gleam forming in her eyes as her arms dangled at her side. Her hands tracing over the sickles at her waist causing the chains to respond to the slight brush, a warning to all close enough to hear.

“…I’m going to take everything away…so those feelings won’t matter anymore…”

Ria’s generally monotone voice seemed to shift slightly, there was a strange edge to her voice.

Her tone was resolute and firm, she spoke honeyed words with a viper’s stare and she raised her hand holding it out to Jack.

“…there’s no answers anymore Jack…no questions…just you…me…and a memory best forgotten…one I’ll help you forget…”

Ria’s eyes widened slightly and a small smile formed on her face.

“…I’m going to help you…Jack.”


Jack pressed his fingers to his eyes. Of course… of course that was her answer. Teasing him like that was a cruel joke. A single, off-handed mention of his past and worry threatened to engulf at the simple what-if notion she’d planted. Was that her plan? No. She made no move to attack. She was waiting for him to collect himself. He released a haggard breath. Remember… remember that those you love, can take care of themselves.

Jack straightened. Reaching to his back, he unsheathed a single butterfly knife. A hand rested on the bandolier across his chest. “No,” he said softly, “No, Ria, you can’t help me. My past- those memories- I will carry them to hell with me.”

His feet shifted and he stared at her. The rear of pain that retreated from his features; a look of old fear dissolved into cold anger, before giving way to a pinched and tired expression. Only his eyes, the most honest part of him, showed a grim resolution. “I’m not going to kill you. I never wanted to, and now that Luro’s asked, I refuse to.” Jack stated firmly as he settled into a readied stance. “But I know your kill order prevents you from giving me the same luxury. So you’re welcome to try and prove me wrong, Ria.”


Ria stared silent at Jack slowly lowering her hand at his words, though the small smile didn’t leave her face. She expected a response similar to this, the pain Jack endured, the memories that plagued him, she refused to allow such things to torment a good person. Ria’s eyes moved to the palm of her hand as Jack drew his knives, her eyes narrowing slightly as the smile slowly left her face.
“…I never wanted to kill you either,” Ria said sighing. “…it’s the only way to help you…so this is no longer because of the kill order…I will help you Jack.”
Ria’s eyes glanced up at him as the air seemed to shift around the woman, traces of white mist started to circle the woman’s body, tracing along her form, a small glow emanated from her body slowly running down her arm until it circled around her hand. Her gaze fixated on Jack as the mist quickly dispersed from her body, exploding outwards filling the area around them in a light fog, a white mask formed in her hands and her gaze moved to the formed object in her hand.
“I don’t mind if you resist…that’s what we all should do…but I’m going to take your burdens…and if you will not give them to me…”
Ria’s eyes moved back to Jack.
“I’ll take them from you.”
Ria brought the mask to her face, the white glow flowing out of her body glowing brighter as the mask attached to her face the mist around them suddenly pulling back towards the woman flowing back into her body as she took in a deep breath, gripping the mask with her hand.
“Mask Mask no Mi…”
Dreadlocks burst out of the top of the mask falling over Ria’s back, she slowly straightened her form, hollow eyes and a sadistic grin staring back at Jack, the expression of the woman underneath hidden but from the faint glowing gloves poking out of the holes, there was clear joy coming from her, wide glowing eyes peering at Jack.
“Reflection,”
The voice that came from Ria wasn’t her own…but Jack’s.
Flexing her hands two butterfly knives fell into her grip and she shifted her position taking Jacks’ exact stance down to the smallest detail, faint droplets tapped the earth as rain started falling from the sky, Ria spinning the knives in her hands as she turned fully to Jack.
“Your burdens…are already mine Jack.”


The Engimatic Maiden VS. The Tenebrous Bodhisattva
Twin liars and one truth! Who will find it?



Ria walked towards Jack bringing a hand to her mask before the water shifted in front of Jack, Ria appearing in front of him, her gaze moving to his eyes as her foot slid back, her knife slashing in a wide arc at his neck, she shifted her stance to follow him with a kick to his stomach, expecting a response from him. Jack flinched away from the arching knife, bending backwards, their eyes meeting in that brief second. His own widened as he beheld a mirror. It wasn’t perfect but hearing his own voice talk back to him sent unnerving shivers down his spine. He gritted his teeth… and the corners of his mouth turned up.

Her foot connected with haki. Snaking an arm around her leg, Jack pulled her forward, throwing off her balance. He used that momentum to toss her over his hip, aiming a swipe of his butterfly knife in the opposite hand down her back as she fell.


Ria felt her body pulled forward and braced herself tossing the dagger in her hand up in the air, she quickly placed her hands down, pushing off the moment she touched the ground forcing distance between the two of them and narrowly dodging the slash at her back. She flipped through the air, hurling multiple armament coated knives at Jack as she slowly descended towards the earth away from him. She hit the ground moving and sprinted back at him without hesitation catching the falling knife in her hand as she passed it, spinning the knife she stabbed at his shoulder, her feet touching one of the knives she had hurled into the ground.

Knives met knives midair as Jack danced away and blocked her throws with his own. They clashed and fell, embedding hilt-deep into stone before the Armament faded. He backflipped then reversed his motion, meeting her head on as she returned. Teeth bared as her knife aimed for the same shoulder she’d injured during their first fight, only this time Jack’s armament haki remained intact. Her weapon grated with an ear-racking shriek that vibrated in his muscles. Shifting his power to his forearms, Jack dropped into a crouch and flung out his arm to her stomach in an attempt to push her away.


Ria’s body moved with Jack in perfect tandem, her form spinning, feet moving as her knives sliced through the air with his own. The two engaged in a mirrored dance before moving away, Ria hurled her knife watching as Jack stopped it with his own, she rushed forward catching one of the fallen knives and continued her attacks with little hesitation, stepping over their embedded knives as went after him once more. Her eyes narrowed slightly seeing Jack’s Armament hold up against her, her eyes lowering seeing him drop. Raising her leg she let armament flow into her knee blocking Jack’s attack before she raised her foot forcing his arm down. She turned her body and bringing her other leg forward she slammed it into him forcing him away.

Her arms twitched and knives fell in between her fingers, coating each one with armament she immediately flung them at Jack as he flew backwards, repeating the process a few times until a barrage of knives flew at the man. She sprinted forward at her last barrage grabbing one of her fallen knives from the ground, her fingers running over the blade as she ran in between her thrown knives eyes focused on Jack, her grip tightening on the dagger as she ran to meet him head on once more.


Jack threw up his arms to block her attacks, but one cut his cheek, and, two others sliced his pant legs. This isn’t working. The thought flashed through just as Ria launched her last knives before charging. They’d been evenly matched before. Now she used his own fighting style against him. Jack judged he wasn’t losing yet, but battles can change at any moment, and he didn’t wish to stake his life on luck of the throw. How does one fight against one’s self?

Easy. Stop being yourself.

Jack reacted on instinct. Throwing his last knives, he forced the smallest misdirection from Ria. Then he turned on his heel and bolted between the stalls. He disappeared into the back alleys behind the old bakery, sheathing his knives and reaching for the small of his back.


Ria brought her hand back as she got closer only to flinch when Jack hurled his knives at her leg, she jumped slowing her approach only to see her knives miss their marks and Jack no longer in sight. Ria was silent taking a quick look around before she knelt down and started picking a few of the fallen knives up, a small sigh escaping from her as she turned and made her way into the alley. She wasn’t expecting him to up and run from their fight…that was cowardly.

She supposed it was an option, and one she had considered but she figured fighting for his friends he’d at least face her head on until the end, she was almost a little disappointed.

“Jack!” Ria called out as she walked through the alley. “Why are you running…Jack!”

Ria ran her knives along the wall, scraping the metal against the building as she walked with a slow careful steps her gaze moving from shadow to shadow as she searched for Jack with a meticulous gaze. Her fingers traced along the other side of the wall, the noise from her weapon announcing her presence as her steps remained light and silent.

“Jack! Why do you keep fighting? I’ll take your burdens, I’ll bear your suffering, stop prolonging your pain Jack…just let me help you.”

Ria slammed her fist into the building breaking the wall in the process, she stared into the darkness her eyes glowing through the mask as her she twirled the knife in her hand.

“…not here…Jack come out! The pain will only last for a moment!”

Click.

The sound of a pistol’s hammer locking into place came directly behind Ria. Jack stood in the rain, pointing a pistol painted with haki in one hand towards her center mass. Between the alleyways, the rain was louder, masking his heavy breathing only visible by the lift of his shoulders. A trace of blood leaked down his cheek. His eyes glinted in the darkness. “You don’t get to be the one to decide if my sins are washed away!” he gasped. “They’re mine alone to bear, and those who were there with me. I...I made a mistake Ria.”

He didn’t lower the weapon, but obvious pain flashed across his face. The pistol trembled in his hand. He placed his free palm on it to keep it steady. The way he gripped it spoke experience of handling the weapon, but his very body tilted away like he was repulsed. “Killing me won’t stop what I’ve done, Ria. It only passes it to someone else. Others I care for...killing me, it’s pointless. It won’t solve anything. So please,” he begged, “can’t this end now? With both of us walking away?”


Ria came to a stop as the sound reached her ears, she kept her attention forward her body straight and relaxed. She didn’t need to turn to know who was behind her, though she was a little surprised to see him with a gun. She remained silent at his words, raising her hand to eye the dagger in her hand. She slowly turned to face him her eyes moving to the trembling gun in his hand, but he wasted little time steadying it. Ria stared at him through the mask but as he spoke of the meaninglessness of his death, Ria tilted her head at him.

A request to walk away, a chance to bring an end to this without any further bloodshed. Ria reached up and gripped the mask around her face, the dreads quickly sunk back into the mask as she pulled it off her face. A sigh escaped from her as her eyes moved to the still glowing mask in her hand, she eyed it with a distant gaze, it was subtle in her blank expression but there was a tinge of sadness in her look before the mask vanished from her hand.
“…I understand…more than I care to say…” Ria said looking back at Jack. “I have no right to judge your sins, no right to carry your burdens...I know that…”

Ria stared at her now empty hand slowly closing it into a fist as her brows narrowed slightly.

“I’m not sure how to explain it...I care very much about your future, even though I’m here to end it. It’s not love, nor is it hate…. I want your happiness yet I’m here to bring you despair. It’s a strange feeling... one that is almost foreign to me. I am aware of one thing however, your pained face and your face when you’re serious…I seek that more than anything else. Resist my actions... to the best of your ability…because it makes me care about you even more.”

Ria’s gaze moved over to Jack her hand gripping the knife in her hand tighter.

“…that’s exactly why I can’t stop. Your struggle...shows me just how sincere you truly are Jack…”
Armament covered the knife and Ria stepped forward stabbing the knife towards Jack’s chest.
She was haphazard, rushing straight at him with little regard for the pistol pointed directly at her, it was almost desperate what lay behind her eyes.


He shouldn’t have, but he made a choice. Jack wouldn’t kill her. That decision fueled a moment’s hesitation as she closed the gap between. Damn it! He stepped back and fired the gun. A clash like two boulders hitting each other resounded through the alleyway. Ria felt something hard nick her shoulder, misdirecting her attack as she fell into Jack. He twisted, grabbing her wrist, and used her momentum to drag them both down. Sharp agony jabbed through his side as they hit the ground. He threw an arm over them and gritted his teeth as the bakery collapsed in on itself, showering the combatants with debris and dust.

This is why I hate guns, Jack thought.

The moment he pulled the trigger, the armament-coated mechanisms clashed together with a force of equally matched haki users, pushing an armament-bullet through its barrel at twice the speed than normal. That speed, for brief seconds, carried the bullet coated by hardening, even though it was no longer in direct contact with Jack. It ripped through everything in its path with a far greater, dramatic effect, than a sword that cuts stone like butter, or a staff that creates craters in the ground with just a tap. When the horrible cacophony finally settled, Jack looked up ever so slightly to see how much damage was wrought. The bakery was all rubble, a large hole splintering its two floors. He saw wall hangings shredded, a mattress piece that slowly teetered on the edge of splintered floorboards before giving into gravity. It crashed into the kitchen’s oven, a small poof of ash shooting up. He looked up, past the bakery, to the building directly behind it...and the building behind that...four total ruined, the last gouged by fist-sized splinters peppering its outer wall and interior. All of this, Jack observed in a blink. He couldn’t help a sense of nausea clenching his throat even though he expected this kind of damage; anticipated it. He wanted the distraction to get close to Ria. Her wrist remained in an iron, haki-laced grip of Jack’s, still connected to her knife. Her blade disappeared through his waistcoat and into his abdomen, their fall redirecting her strike from his chest to his gut.

Rolling onto his knees, Jack aimed a punch at her face to stun her. Then he pulled out something from his sleeve and stabbed her in the side. The piece was a branch. A long, devilish splinter he’d stolen from the forest floor in a moment of fear and worry, hidden up his sleeve this entire time.


The explosion that followed didn’t stop Ria, her eyes focused fully on Jack but the aftereffects were hard to ignore, especially after her attack was stopped. It was faint but for a moment something flashed in her mind at the destruction, her eyes twitching as she was brought to the ground. She gripped her skull with one hand realizing quickly that she couldn’t move her wrist. Her eyes moved to the hold on her and before she had time to pull herself back to reality she felt a blow strike her, the world spinning for a moment before she tried to move away from Jack. It wasn’t fast enough however as she felt something sharp hit her side, gritting her teeth she slammed her foot into Jack forcing him away before climbing back to her feet, she put her hand against the not destroyed building next to her, her eyes moving to the sharpened stick.

For a moment she stared at it surprised to see something sticking out of her, with a small sigh she reached down and gripping the stick ripped it out of her, without nary an eye twitch. She spun the stick and peered at the red now coating the sharpened side.

“…I see,” Ria said dropping the stick. “Until the very end…you’re going to show me something beautiful.”

Ria eyes went to her hand as a familiar glow surrounded it, but she didn’t look at Jack this time as the energy swirled around her, something started to push away the surroundings as her energy started flowing out of her body, a bright white glow surrounding her form and repeatedly pulsating with each passing moment. This force pushed against Jack and pushed the nearby rubble away each time it flared. The glow slowly started to darken until it turned black, the energy forming around her hand flared before her hand gripped the mask that formed. The mask itself was different from the others, it seemed made of bone, contorted like the skull of a fallen unknown creature. Ria raised the mask to her face, the pressure increasing to a point it was starting to damage her surroundings, cracks forming in the streets and the building next to her.

“…Mask Mask no Mi…”

Ria muttered the words before placing the mask on her face

“…Gravekeeper.”


Her darkened Haki exploded outwards, the buildings close to her breaking into pieces, as Ria’s whole body was consumed by the growing shadows. Her mouth hung agape black saliva pouring down the side of her mouth before she her hands moved to her head, a bloodcurdling scream escaping from her before she was completely consumed by the swirling torrent of Haki. The energy lashed out at everything, the buildings around her crumbling into the dust, the street under her breaking apart cobblestone succumbing to the energy as if it was paper to flame.

It pushed away everything around it as if it was trying to cleanse anything in its path and Ria’s screaming didn’t cease as the energy grew higher and higher. The rain itself seemed to avoid the woman as her painful cries filled the area.

“JaCk.”

A voice came from the swirling energy, distorted echoing and low. Six people seemed to address Jack at once, venom and something desperate in the voice that seemed to reach out towards him with clawed fingers.

The torrent flared once more before quickly dissipating, little black spheres filling the air, blinking in and out of existence like black fireflies. The alley and most of the surrounding area was stained with black scorch marks, nothing left of the building or alley the two had been in moments before.



A long figured stood where the torrent had been, a woman gripping two sickles tightly as her body leaned to and fro. The person adorned with the stone mask wore a long black outfit that stopped just short of the ankles, bits of it dragging along the ground. The clothing seemed alive flickering like a flame even in the rain, bits of it breaking off only to repair itself moments later. The sleeves on the outfit was torn slightly, revealing a bit of the persons arm, but as with the rest of it, the sleeves would always repair itself even though it remained in tatters.

Long black hair fell down the person’s back, fluttering similar to the clothes.

The owner of the mask was clearly Ria but there was little trace of the woman, her skin had grown paler, the upper part of her face completely covered, her mouth opened slightly as her gaze slowly moved over to Jack.

With bare feet she took a single step forward and the building behind Jack broke into pieces, shattered by some invisible force. With each step she made more of the environment around them break apart, craters formed in the earth around her as she slowly walked towards Jack, her sickles dragging along the ground. The rain refused to touch her, breaking apart the moment it neared her and a strange intense heat filled the air even though the chill of the rain should be present. Ria however paid little mind to this and kept moving slowly inching closer and closer to Jack, a distorted giggle escaping from her.

“JAaCCkKK…JaAAcCKk! i’Ll tAke yOUr PAiN ToO!”

Ria’s sickles immediately lashed out at Jack snaking through the air towards him as if they were alive, and trying to bite into his torso.


Gasping, the cook fell backwards from Ria’s kick, clutching the knife in his stomach as pain shot through. He gritted his teeth and yanked out the knife. His haki covered the wound, acting as a temporary seal, though it wouldn’t last long. Jack rolled onto his side with a groan, faintly aware of Ria standing several feet away, speaking, but as he concentrated getting on his knees what she said hit unconcerned ears until he felt an energy pushing against him. His head snapped up when she uttered her mask’s incantation.

The blast of energy knocked him off his knees. He yelled and tumbled until his back slammed against the remnants of the building, knocking the wind out of him. Jack slapped a hand to the ground to keep himself from falling over. Sitting, unable to move, he watched with mounting horror as Ria’s transformation took place. It rendering him immobile. The last time he experienced this level of fear, he’d stared down the eye of a monster, consumed in the infesting darkness of the Undersea. Her screams peeled the air and he gripped his ears to shut them out, but he couldn’t look away. He watched shadows and darkness consume her, enveloping her like a loving embrace, a mask of bone and death covering her face in place of his own that was once there. A reaper was born, crying his name. In that moment, Ria became everything Jack dreaded.

Welcome...to your final grave…

He didn’t move until the Gravekeeper took her first step towards him and the building at his back splintered. He yelled a wordless cry, not even aware it was his own voice as he instinctively rolled away. His primal instincts kicked in, washing every coherent thought from his mind. He staggered to his feet.


The sickles sang towards him. Jack skipped back, butterfly swords released from their sheath, as he dashed the metal snakes aside. He began a defensive dance, dodging and deflecting, his movements reminiscent of the Stardusk captain as he escaped Ria’s attacks. He lacked Runali’s grace, however, and before long nicks and cuts started appearing as the sickles grazed their mark. Blood from under his waistcoat started seeping through as his concentration fractured. He would have to change his tactics, and quick, before Ria landed a deathly blow.

Ria’s sickles slithered through the air, tearing apart anything they touched as they danced widely in the air around them. The earth shattering at their touch, buildings torn asunder as they past, the rain parting at their approach. Each movement Ria made the sicles twisted towards Jack trying to tear him apart, scraping against the earth scarring it as the Haki continued to rip through anything it touched.

Ria’s body flickered in and out of existence, her laughter filling the air as her weapons continued to lash out, distorted laughter escaping from her as she continued destroying everything around them. Lashing out at the very world to kill the man in front of her, her hands extending towards him causing the sickles to rush straight towards him, sliding along the ground cobblestone disintegrating at their touch.

“jAcK.”

The voice came in a whisper Ria appearing directly in front of her Jack, her hands gripped his face, her faces inches from his own. Her whole body felt as if it was aflame, heat coming from her touch alone, akin to the muzzle of a recently fired gun. She peered at him through the darkness of her mask as if peering into his very being.

“JuST a TAstE.”

Ria faded away from him as the sickles reached their destination slashing upwards at his body, Ria rested on her knees a few feet in front of him gripping her skull as she muttered his name watching her weapons lash out at him once more.


Jack saw her approach a half second before she was there, in front of him, small yet searing hands grabbing his face. It was like she wanted to pull him into her mask’s soulless eyes, into their gaping depths and be lost. Jack flinched. His blades moved into a crisscross cut aimed for her chest but Ria already retreated. They instead met her sickle once more, luck deterring its course to cleave him in two. His feet shifted as he let the chain pass him by. Without thinking, Jack lashed out and grabbed the chain of the sickle before it could retreat again. A fire burned into his palm, through the hardening haki, and Jack bit back a yell of pain. Yanking the chain to the ground, he embedded his sword between the links, trapping it. He let go-- then reached forward again and gave it a powerful tug to yank Ria off her knees. Another distraction, another moment gained.

Jack’s last attack was swift. Taking the knives left on his bandolier, he throw them in the air- mimicking Ria- and ran at her. As the the knives fell, he caught them, jabbing them into the sickle’s chain to keep it immobile. The other butterfly sword retained, blocked the one remaining sickle, before he managed to grab its chain too and repeated the process. He jabbed in his last butterfly sword, pinning both her weapons, and leaving himself with a single throwing knife. He didn’t pause, knowing his trap wouldn’t hold, and launched himself at Ria. He closed the distance and threw his knife at her. Then he threw himself at her. He tackled her to the ground, fingers desperately grasping at the mask on her face, trying to yank it off.


Ria eyes raised as she felt a tug on her chains, she started to climb back to her feet her gaze moving to the smoke coming off Jack’s hand as she gripped her sickles. Feeling the tug on her body Ria stumbled forward, placing her feet down to try and steady herself as she noticed her chains weren’t responding to her movements anymore. Her eyes moved to the pinned chains as the knife flew at her, Ria raised her hand up catching the knife by its handle, as she freed her chain with one quick flick. What she didn’t expect was for Jack to run straight at her however, the tackle knocking a bit of wind out of her as the two hit the ground.

A wide smile came onto Ria’s face as she reached up wrapping her finger around Jack’s neck as his hands reached towards her, the sickles flew up into the air behind them turning towards the two of them before quickly descending. She finally had him, her grip tightened around his throat, the world for a moment slowing as her sickle descended upon Jack’s exposed back, black tears running down the side of her face as her nails started digging into his flesh.

All her joy faded however when she touched his mask and she realized what he wanted. By then it was too late to do anything.

The moment the mask was ripped off the black Haki exploded outwards throwing Jack and everything around her away as Ria screamed, the torrent consuming her once more. The mask in Jack’s grip crumbled to nothing, little more than dust without its owner. The Haki flared bright once more and faded in one final burst.

Ria in her normal garb, save for a few extra tears laid motionless on the ground. The Armament slowly faded off her sickles until it was completely gone. She remained dead still until one of her hands twitched, her body eventually starting to move. With a groan she placed her hand down trying to lift herself up only to fall back down on the ground once more. She coughed a few times, something black coming out of her body and splattering on the ground. With gritted teeth she tried to climb to her feet again, coughing up what looked like black ink as she slowly and painfully got back to her feet.

She grabbed her chains slowly pulling them back towards her. A twitch came from her on occasion, her body trembling, legs shaking but she pulled the sickles back to her person eventually returning them to her hands. She raised her gaze to Jack, dark bags resting under her eyes, dried black saliva resting on her face, and the edges of her eyes darkened, her gaze bloodshot and barely focused.

“…why.”

Her face showed the pain she was in, no longer a plain expression her eyes were narrowed twitching as she struggled to stay awake. She slowly started to move forward, one foot in front of the other making her way towards Jack.

“…why…do you…resist.”

She stumbled a bit, catching herself on a nearly destroyed wall. She coughed again pushing herself off and continuing her slow trek but eventually she came to a stop a few feet in front of Jack.

“…I’m not allowed to continue…” Ria fell to her knees the sickles falling against the ground. “It’s not fair…”

Ria raised her arms hugging herself, she leaned forward gritting her teeth, sniffling and trying to hold back what was trying to come out of her.

“…kill me…it’s over…nothing will remain after this….”


The burst power from the mask’s removal caused Jack to fall hard, and he momentarily blacked out. When he came to, he nearly shook as his eyes rested upon Ria’s lifeless body. All this fighting and promises, did he really…. A wave of relief met the twitch of her fingers. He could have collapsed then but Ria forced herself up. He watched warily, unmoving, as she made her approach. Jack didn’t respond, at first. He picked himself up gingerly and watched her with a blank face as she shuffled closer, blackness spilling out, fighting for a battle that already ended. He closed his eyes at her request.

It was slow, but he got himself to his feet. The Stardusk cook limped those last remaining feet and dropped next to the girl who wanted to kill him so badly. As he did, he started unbuttoning his waistcoat. He shrugged it off with a painful grimace, revealing beneath the blood-stained linen shirt. He carefully removed the golden elephant pin and pocketed it, then proceeded to rip up his waistcoat into two long strips. He folded one carefully and pressed it against Ria’s bleeding side.

“You don’t want to bleed out,” he rasped. He winced, a hand fluttering up to his bruised throat. He held the cloth to her side until she replaced his hands with her own then released a soft sigh. “Why, Ria?” he asked in a tired voice. “Why me? Why is it my burdens you wish to have so badly?”


Ria waited for the end to come, eyes shut trying to push away the faces of the Messengers as she prepared herself to join the few that had come before her. Hearing the ripping noise, she opened her eyes and looked at Jack seeing him rip his waistcoat; she flinched a bit at the sudden touch, and watched Jack for a moment before reaching over and holding it in place herself.

Her eyes went to his throat and she looked at her other hand opening and closing it, the heat was gone replaced by the cold once more but she could imagine how much it hurt. She wasn’t entirely sure what to do right now, killing Jack was important…but Nikos face flashed in her head causing her to push that thought aside. She was too tired to hold her sickle much less swing it anyway.


At Jack’s questions Ria glanced back at him, her normal expressionless face returning once more. She blinked a few times at him before turning her attention forward. A small glow formed in her hand before a masked appeared in it; unlike the rest of them she summoned it easily with minimal effort and without any real influx of energy. The mask was a little different from others, there were flowers along the side of its design and as Ria stared at the Mask her expression softened slightly.

“…only one person…used to like me…someone…very precious…” Ria said speaking softly. “I was little more than a piece of trash to all who knew me…except her…Aria.”

Ria shut her eyes pushing back something before she continued speaking looking at the mask once more.

“…I gained this power…I learned to make masks…I could become someone else….mimic anyone I wanted…people liked me…they loved what I could become…but Aria…she always made me remove the mask…she always preferred the real me…the only one who did back then…”

Ria’s hand gripped the mask and she bit her lip, her body shaking as the memories forced themselves back into her head, replaying as if they were happening in front of her.

“…I made a mistake….and she died…” Ria said. “…I…lost myself in despair…and anger…Nikos found me…gave me a home…people who love me…a place to belong…”

Ria looked over at Jack.

“…you know what it’s like…to wear a mask…I wanted to find the real you…show you that I could accept it too…that there was no need to wear one…”

A small smile found its way onto her face, a weak almost broken smile but a genuine.

“…I was beaten to it though…you already know there’s no need any more…but still…I wanted to show you…at least one more person wants to know…the real you.”


He smiled back. A small one, but his eyes spoke his emotions. They filmed with watery clearness as he blinked and looked away. Finally, he understood. He pressed the other half of his waistcoat to his own wound, and it was several moments before he spoke.

“I had a mother, once, her name was Lily and- more than anything in the world, she wished for a daughter of her own. To teach how to braid her hair, paint her nails, care for flowers. But...when it finally happened...she suffered a miscarriage.” Jack paused, in that way people did when talking of old and sobering memories. “I was only eight at the time, and didn’t fully understand what was wrong. I only knew she was sick, and devastated, and I wanted nothing more to than to help her. One day, she asks if I could wear a red wig. Just for a bit. Just to see…” Jack chuckled. It quickly turned to a hiss of pain as his wounds made themselves known. “I can’t tell you the embarrassment I felt for wearing that wig, and having painted pink nails. I got teased quite a bit. But... it made her smile again.

“It’s been...many years since I thought about it. That is, until you came aboard.”

Turning to Ria, he grinned at her. “I don’t know if that was the real you...but I appreciate that day, more than I can say. I’ve had plenty of people come for my life over the the years… it’s nice to know at least one person, did it because they wanted to care. Heh, even if that is odd to say aloud.”

Jack gave a faint nod. A truth for a truth then. His piece, he carefully picked himself up and on his feet, moaning. The cuts and stabs were starting to burn as the adrenaline finally wore off. He worried most about the bleeding in his gut; he could feel it draining his energy as it soaked through the cloth. His eyes set on the clock tower. No matter what, he’d make it there. One painful step at a time.

He began limping away before pausing again. “Ria,” he said without looking over his shoulder, “what you said...about the three people. Do you have an answer about the one?”


Ravens were generally taught how to find everything about a person, to read their movements, their little ticks the things they tried to hide and make it obvious. Staring at the mask and listening as Jack told her of his past, Ria was happy that they didn’t know everything.

She dismissed the mask bringing a hand to her chest, being told something that carried such weight…she was glad she didn’t dig in his past for that, she couldn’t help but smile a little at the image a bit.

“…Thank you for telling me…”


Seeing Jack start to move Ria was reminded that she had to return to the others, she climbed to her feet holding in the gasp that almost escaped her as she slowly climbed to her feet. People to go back too…it was easy to take that kind of thing for granted, especially in their own line of business. A part of her hoped that the rest of Stardusk had a kind heart like Jack, shutting her eyes and taking a moment to adjust to the pain she started to walk away. Hearing Jack she stopped and turned to him at his question.

“…No…I’m sorry…the information…was given to me…I didn’t find it…the source…was never revealed…I would tell you…if I knew…if I ever find out…I’ll tell you…in the end…I’ll continue… trying to understand you…my own way…”

With a smile Ria turned her back to Jack and started to walk away.

“…Oh…and Jack…”

Ria spoke continuing her slow pace away from him.

“There hasn’t been a moment…where I haven’t shown you the real me…I like you better….as a cook…than spy.”

Ria chuckled only to flinch a bit and continue walking.

Jack nodded to her. He expected as much, and an odd relief settled over him. At her last comment, he smiled with agreement, the corners of his eyes crinkling as he continued and disappeared around a ruined building.

Thank you, Ria.
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
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A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
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Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
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Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
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Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.


Nikos wasted little time leading Runali to their destination; the two were in agreement that resolving this matter timely was important. He said nothing as he walked weaving through the streets and alleyways towards their place. He made no attempt to look behind him to see if she was following he could feel her presence, and he knew she wouldn’t run, not when her comrades were fighting as well, he knew that feeling. It was a bit of a walk but the two finally made it to their destination, directly behind the Clock Tower. Nikos had taken the long way for obvious reasons, and what wasn’t blocked by buildings, a large wall blocked entry to the front of the Clock Tower, the square where Luro and Lina currently were. Nikos pointed upwards and opening a door to the tower started a climb up the tall structure.
“Forgive the walk, but I felt this place would be the perfect,” Nikos said simply as he climbed the stairs.

Walking up a countless spiral with countless gears spinning around them Nikos finally came to a stop and pushed open a door before walking forward, the man stepping onto a large circular platform attached to the side of the tower. The floating arena easily extended out 60 meters providing the two ample room to walk around the platform which Nikos did as he tapped it with his boot a content nod coming from him as he turned to Runali and made a motion to the town below.

From their height it was easy to see the entire town, and allowed for them both to see the others around them. Luro and Lina stood almost directly below them, though the two were too high to hear the conversation going on between them. Jack and Ria were clearly visible in the market district, Nina and Kadi stood in the residential district, Tari and Alicia near the old fountain district, Kaim and Sara in the new ‘gardens’, and Zilia and Kara in the old market.
Nikos stared over the edges at his people a small sigh escaping from him.
“…we said we wouldn’t make it personal…but it’s too late for that,” Nikos said. “Allow me one question before we begin Captain Lev, since there’s no guarantee either of us will return from this. Knowing you would not only be putting your life but your crews lives on the line if you came here. Why did you come? Was it a simple reason to just finish things or something more?”

During the walk, Runali quietly mumbled a tune. ”He’s sworn his life, a Stardusk through strife. Here comes the scion of…” Her half lidded expression turned into a more curious one when they finally reached their destination. She was quiet while she inspected their new arena. It took a few longer seconds, but when she realized she could see the entire town and make out where the others were fighting, the faintest smirk was on her face. “Oh Nikos, you spoil me.” Runali knew she wouldn’t be able to keep up with all their fights while she was busy with her own, but the idea that she could see them still made her all the more proud.

Finally, Runali stood, stretching out her legs similar to what she did when they first faced off. At first, when Nikos questioned her, she debated actually answering and opted to continue stretching. But eventually, as she took the ring blades off her hips to twirl them around, Runali finally did answer. “Are you suggesting that you wouldn’t help one of your own when they obviously need it?” She tested the ground under her by stabbing one of the ring blades into it. The blade was strong, but it didn’t dig deep into the structure. So it went back on her hip. The other, remained in her hand to twirl around. “Looking out for our own. I think we have that in common, don’t you think? I lead my crew where I know they can follow.” She let out a soft laugh and gave an oddly genuine smile. “Besides, you all didn’t give us much choice did you? Played all your cards up to this point, yeah?” She scratched a line in front of her with her ring blade. “If we left too soon, you’d be chasing us again. And this game got boring a while ago.” Runali gave a lazy shrug, positioning her feet in a ready stance. “Gotta admit, I’m curious too.” She gestured towards Nikos. “I see you’ve got a new look going.” She pointed to her eyes, indicating his glasses. “And a new toy too.” She pointed towards his sword. “Don’t think you’re getting outta this easy since I’m doing Luro a favor. I still meant what I said before. If you can’t kill me, well,” Her voice trailed off and she shrugged again, giving a devious grin. “Ready when you are, Phoenix.”

Nikos quietly inspected his sword as he waited for Runali’s answer, he decided to ignore her earlier comment on spoiling her. The two of them were leaders there was a pride in seeing their own confronting what was in front of him, he could look over the edge and see the determination in his crew, neither giving nary an inch as they stared their opponents down, just like proper Ravens, it was good incentive for the both of them and that’s all he truly wanted.
When Runali answered he glanced sideways at her, he remained silent wondering if it was a rhetorical question, hearing her continue he figured as much and turned to fully face her, giving his full attention as he moved his sword back to his waist. His hands folded behind his back his eyebrows arching slightly, her answer was very…Runali.

“All our cards…Captain Lev I think you forget that the Messengers are only the first trial,” Nikos said with a small smile. “We haven’t even gotten started yet. Though…Makachi has the potential to end it here…I’m curious if he can honestly.”
Nikos reached up pushing his pince-nez back onto his nose with a small smile his hand gripping the top of his sheath as he spread his legs slightly and lowered his body a bit, his other hand hovering inches from the handle of his sword. Those were the very words he wanted to hear, he had waited a long time for this moment.
“My eyesight is terrible you see. I can’t see things unless they’re inches from my face. Due to that I basically fight my opponent blind…to give them a fair chance…thus throwing sand in my eyes on that beach was meaningless.”
Nikos sighed a bit not pleased at getting that out later.
“I expect you to come at me full force, I brought my new…’toys’ to do the same. I won’t hold back, favor or not I wholly intend on killing you today. Not out of any honor…or even because I’m a Raven. I’m here because you fight at your hardest when everything is on the line. That’s what leaders do…what friends do and I know what you have to lose here if you fail. One wrong move here and neither of us will have anything left at the end. I want you to show me the woman who has come this far, I want to see the tenacity that allowed you to make Worst Gen. Show me the Captain who supposedly will become the future Pirate Lord. If you can’t beat someone like me…that dream dies here.”
A smile formed on his face as the rain started to fall, this was the arena he would end Runali Lev in, this was the fight he had been waiting for. A struggle until the very end, with everything at their backs, no pride, no hatred only purpose would move their bodies in this fight.
“Also…it really pisses me off we have something in common.”
Nikos slid his foot forward slightly his hand moving ever closer to the hilt of his sword.
“Struggle until the end…Runali Lev!”

Phoenix VS Reaper​

To those immune to death who will be left standing?​






Nikos fingers twitched near his weapon and a shockwave exploded from the man, the rain seeming to part away from him forming a horizontal line that pushed through the rain approaching Runali at a fast pace, aimed directly at her neck, though his sword remained seemingly in its sheath Nikos was already sprinting forward the faint glint of silver revealing itself as his hand lingered near his hilt while he worked close the distance between the two of them.

For once, Runali didn’t respond. Instead, she watched Nikos’ movements, taking a few side steps before planting her feet firm on the ground. It was clear she was paying attention. The moment Nikos told her he was practically blind, both Runali’s eyes widened in intrigue. She didn’t have her eyepatch on for one reason or the other, so it was easy to tell she was amused. The idea that throwing sand at him didn’t work only made her snicker, and yet she still didn’t say a word. There was something about the way he moved- or didn’t- that had Runali’s attention and kept her quiet. Every word made her devious grin grow wider. She was waiting for this moment. She’d been deprived of a fight since they first ‘officially’ met the Ravens. There had been far too many times she wanted to yell and to fight, but she kept it to herself in order to keep her crew at some sort of peace. It was obvious she was giddy with anticipation.

Runali was focused enough to see the slight hand movements from Nikos and his foot move forward and she raised the arm holding the ring blade, only to raise a brow when the shockwave came at her. “Ooh, that’s new.” She ducked under the attack, and when she straightened up again, Nikos was already closing the distance. This made Runali grin. She was glad to see he wasn’t joking about holding back. But she still wanted to be sure. After all, the last time they were in this situation, Nikos ran off before they could end the fight.

“Has your crew ever mentioned how dramatic you are?” Unlike before, she didn’t immediately rush at him. Nikos was playing a different game, so she decided to test it out. Normally, him being so close would have made it easier for her to attack, but instead, she used her speed to dodge to the side, making him change his course. “I hate ta break it to ya Nikos but the sand in your face was more for amusement than blinding.” It was a little of both, but she wasn’t going to admit that. “So it sure did mean something to me.”

The Stardusk captain tested how fast Nikos was compared to their first fight. If he wasn’t going to hold back, she decided to see how long he’d keep that calm facade of his until he really started to fight. It was obvious that even though the fight had only just began, Runali was messing with him. If she was going to show him mercy, Runali figured she’d drag this on as long as she wanted- or could for that matter. “Being upset that you’re no better than I am, doesn’t mean ya gotta be… death and demise about it.”

A large horizontal scar showed on the clock tower after Runali ducked revealing the source of the shockwave as Nikos came to a sudden stop when Runali moved to the side and out of the way. His hand resting on his sheath as he straightened his body up glancing sideways at Runali seeing the new distance between them.

“Yes,” was his only response to her first question.
He closed his eyes turning his body to fully face her and with a small rotation of his shoulders opened his eyes to look back at her.
“You seem to misunderstand something Runali Lev,” Nikos said.
Nikos visage appeared next to Runali, a trace of silver following as he drew the sword from his sheath; however the one next to her slipped away as he hit Runali in the chest with his pommel forcing distance between them and pushing her to the edge of the arena. Nikos stood sword still outstretched slowly lowering it.
“I am better than you,” he said simply.

Nikos stared at Runali making a motion with his head to move away from the edge, he wasn’t going to end this fight so soon by returning her to the earth. She seemed to be testing something with him, and the fact that attack wasn’t done with his armament but his own strength hopefully was enough to get the point across. Pushing up his glasses with a sigh he tapped his foot against the ground.
"You dodged my first draw; you won’t be a disappointment after all.”
Nikos hand moved to his sword and he walked towards Runali closing the distance between them. He went to draw his blade, his hand making a single movement his body tensing as something slashed at Runali, the blade moved through the air towards her parting the rain with each attack as he forced just enough distance between the two of them, keeping her in his sword reach but not enough to allow Runali a chance to use her hands. From a distant perspective Nikos seemed to be walking towards Runali his sword still in its sheath, though the cut marks forming in the arena proved otherwise. He kept a slow gait, his expression calm as he continued to attack relentlessly his hand constantly near his sword but never gripping it.

Runali could list off a myriad of things she wasn’t sure about when it came to the Ravens, but there was one thing she was sure about: Nikos always meant what he said. So it didn’t surprise her that Nikos was already at her side and ready to strike. The sudden hit to her chest sent her sliding several feet back, but she remained steady on her feet, taking a deep breath from getting the wind knocked out of her. She could feel her heels reaching the edge of the platform, so when Nikos gestured for her to move, she gave a curt nod before making a quick escape to a safer location. Runali was almost immediately put on the defensive as each shockwave was sent her way. At first, dodging them didn’t seem to be all that much of a problem. All she had to was move. She dodged strikes all the time, so her motions were fluid enough that the strikes would only breeze past her, causing her hair to ruffle about.

That was until a slight misstep caused one of the strikes to cut a deep enough gash in her side to effectively draw first blood. Her hand pressed against the new wound, almost cautiously, as if she didn’t recognize the sharp pain it caused. She inspected the blood on her hand with a peculiar look, as if it was an unfamiliar sight. “Hm.” Was the only sound she made, before flicking the blood off and once more readied to defend herself. The ring blade that was still in her hand, got idly tossed back and forth between her hands. “Y’know Nikos, you’re not allowed to say silly things like that.”
During his onslaught of ‘air strikes’, she noticed something, counting moments to herself each time she was attacked. She watched Nikos’ hands, every time she could see them, noticing one was never too far from the sword, despite it never leaving the sheath. At least, from what she could see. With a quickly timed dodge and an even faster sprint, she ran full speed at Nikos. It was an odd maneuver, dodging one attack and practically running into another right as he moved, but it allowed her to close the distance and throw a punch straight to his gut. Her armament flashed when she reeled her arm back, but when she threw the punch it disappeared. Part of her mentally cursed for accepting Luro’s favor so easily and the other part of her knew Nikos would get frustrated because she was ‘holding back’. The latter won her over, for more than enough reasons. Most of them being: Annoy Nikos and test her fate.

“Yeah buddy, you don’t get to say those kinds of things till I’m dead. Cause frankly, if you were better than me, you wouldn’t be dealing with me right now.” She gave a wink. It was odd how quickly she went from deadly serious, ready to murder one of the people that gave her and her crew so much trouble, to now, being playful during a fight as life threatening as this. However, despite it, Runali’s movements were always careful and cautious. Every dodge between strikes and every advance forward was sought out with a precision that rivaled the carefree and playful attitude she showed.

Nikos continued to casually continue his assault, taking large steps if the distance ever got tot large, keeping her on the defensive was the point after all. Runali was quick but she couldn’t dodge everything, he felt one of his attacks connect, the slightest difference in weight from one of his blows resonating in his hand and up his arm.
The sudden shift in Runali’s movements caused Nikos’ eyes to twitch, feeling a blow hit his stomach he grit his teeth and leaned forward, displeased he opened himself up getting one strike in. He felt too much joy drawing blood from Runali and it dulled his senses for a moment.
The moment her fist reared back his hand moved to his sword again his eyes moving to her fist waiting for it to come, when her armament faded however his eyes twitched and his body slid away from Runali dodging the attack. He came to a stop a few feet to her right his body straightened as he immediately retaliated the air shifting vertically near Runali for a moment as Nikos attacked.
“I’m only dealing with you now because of my orders. This would have ended on the beach if it was a kill order in the first place,” Nikos said.
He moved away from Runali choosing not to follow up with another attack.
“Keeping such a silly promise with Makachi will get you killed,” Nikos said sighing. “I also believe I told you I wouldn’t be holding back, that was a warning and a suggestion.”

Nikos rushed forward approaching Runali, though as he got closer two Nikos suddenly appeared in front of Runali both with their hands near their swords. Both slashed at an angle towards her body at the same time, only for another Nikos to appear next to her moments later, the rain splitting horizontally near her stomach. Over and over again Nikos would attack Runali from multiple sides; one behind her bringing their sword down, one to her right slashing at her legs, multiple Nikos attacked her, long scars forming in the arena simultaneously with each strike showing that the attacks were far from being illusions. Nikos eyes were narrowed slightly as he attacked, he would use every ounce of his speed, from every angle until he tore Runali Lev apart. Three Nikos appeared, one in front two on the side all slashing at her simultaneously, the rain parting with each of their strikes as Nikos continued his relentless movements.

Runali ignored his retort back, opting to leave it be for now. Instead, she focused on his movements. He had stopped for the time being to speak, and his comment made Runali laugh. “Oh. Yeah, I’m aware.” It was difficult to tell if she was acknowledging the fact that she could get killed over a promise or if she was aware of his ‘warning’. The moment she responded, Nikos was once again attacking, this time much faster than before and once again she was left with the only option of defending herself. “As if I wasn’t tired of seeing one of you.” Some of the attacks hit their mark, creating nicks and cuts across Runali’s body, but she refused to fall or acknowledge the injuries. Her focus was trained on Nikos while he attacked, with Runali making no effort to try and advance forward. At some point, more on instinct, she used armament haki to block a few of the attacks head on. With ‘three’ of them around her, Runali was backed into a metaphorical corner- that or the option of stepping back until she fell off the platform.

Unfortunately Runali had to admit Nikos was right about one thing; if she wanted to win she’d have to stop playing so nice. Her arms made an ‘X’ across herself to deflect the strikes and her eyes shut tight. ’One… Two…’ She had been counting the rhythm of Nikos’ strikes and listening to his steps, and when she finally got it, Runali was suddenly low to the ground with one of the ring blades gripped in her hand. With a quick spin, she scraped metal against metal causing a shrill and piercing noise to echo through the tower. She steeled herself for the terrible noise to seem unphased and followed the dissonance by tossing the ring blade at the illusion on her blind side, angling it enough for it to boomerang back into her hand. She was aware which Nikos was the real one, but she cautiously wanted to disrupt the illusions as well.

The unfortunate thing about being ‘serious’ in a fight like this was that she had no time to gush about how cool it was that she finally managed to get the blade to circle back to her. With a fight like this, everything had to be in the moment. Each movement she made needed to be seconds apart so Nikos didn’t have room to react.
He was fast.
But Runali was determined to be faster.

Just like on the beach she shot towards Nikos at full speed, this time aiming to hit him in the jaw. And this time, she was sure to have her haki enforced to pack a punch. This time, she didn’t plan on relenting. Nikos had gotten his fair share of ‘free’ strikes in, but now that she created the brief opening to get close, she didn’t plan to give it up so easily.

Nikos eyes twitched as the loud sound reached his ears but compared to Kaim it was a minor nuisance and he had no intention of relenting. Runali was keeping up with his attacks but she was on the defensive and with each attack he got closer and closer to finding opening in her stance. He started to attack again when she hurled her ring blade out, he hesitated as he was just about to shift in that direction, in that momentary hesitation his attacks slowed and he grit his teeth as Runali quickly rushed at him.
“You think I’m falling for that twice!” Nikos yelled firmly gripping the hilt of his sword.
Just as he was about to draw and try to stop Runali he felt the arena shift under his feet, his eyes widened and in that brief moment the blow struck, Nikos head turned as the attack connected his body flying back at the force of the punch. He let out a low grunt his feet slamming down onto the arena though due to the rain he still slid backwards, he drew his sword slashing at the air in front of him a few times to keep Runali at a distance before he stabbed his hilt into the ground stopping himself from going over the edge by a hair.
“…all right…I’m killing you extra hard for that one,” Nikos said looking at Runali. “That wasn’t bad.”
A small smile rested on his face and he brushed his cheek off.
“You really piss me off Runali Lev. It’s been a bit since I’ve actually enjoyed a fight. I acknowledge you as a proper opponent….so I’ll show you my blade out of respect.”

Nikos started to grab his sword when the arena under them shifted, his eyes moved behind Runali to what was holding it up, and his eyes twitched seeing a few of his marks on it from his sword, but what’s more he was sure the builder used older materials against his orders from the clear wear and tear on it.
The ground under them shifted once more and Nikos stumbled a bit as the whole arena started shifting from side to side, it came to a stop for a moment a bolt breaking apart and flying overhead before landing in the spot between the two of them, rolling a bit before coming to a stop.
"…if Emil is still alive I’m going to kill him,” Nikos said with a small sigh.
The platform let out one last creak before breaking off the tower sideways plummeting towards the streets below, Nikos stabbed his hilt into it as they fell to keep from sliding off the edge as it quickly approached the earth below. The platform crashed hard into a few of the rebuilt buildings destroying part of the street in the process.
Nikos landed on a roof a few feet away looking over at the platform before brushing himself off.
“…right,” he said. “Now where is Runali Lev so I can kill her…she has a habit of not dying easily after all.”

Her stance adjusted when she realized she didn’t have time to rush at him again. She skidded to a halt and scrambled back, trying not to slip and fall thanks to the rain. “Keep on telling yourself that Phoenix.” There was a laugh in her voice. “I can’t grant you the honor of agreeing. My fight with the Nova Captain was a lot more fun. You can be a close second though.” She wasn’t really interested in seeing his sword, even though he probably meant it as a threat and not quite a literal invitation and the raised brow she gave showed that. “It’s not Alicia’s sword so I can assure you I’m not- What are you staring at?”

Almost instantly, Runali’s question was answered, not by Nikos, but by how the platform under them began to quake. She glanced over her shoulder to asses the damage only to roll her eyes and take a step back. “Oh, nice going.” As it began to tilt, she scurried to the very edge, barely making it as suddenly it was collapsing completely. “This would be kinda fun if it wasn’t life threatening.” Realizing the crash itself would have been a lot more painful, she allowed herself to slide off. Somehow, with a few hops Runali managed to land inside a now mostly destroyed building, not without spotting Nikos landing on the roof above. Her eyesight may have been bad, but that red hair was easy to spot. Around her was nothing but debris and dust. The gaping hole she jumped through made the building less stable than it was when the platform crashed into it, giving her an idea. “Time to bring him him down to my level.”

From a distance, the building seemed to explode within itself. The walls crumbled and the rest of the building caved in and crumbled to the ground. The impact itself, caused the building near it to crumble as well. In front of the falling debris, Runali was shaking her fist, feeling the slight sting of levelling a building. “Oh man, hope you aren’t dead Nikos. What’ll it look like if a captain can’t keep her promise?”
“Luro was more interesting.”
Nikos spoke a few feet away from Runali, he was standing on the handle of two knives embedded in one of the buildings, his arms crossed over his chest before his eyes moved over to the now destroyed building. With a sigh he hopped of the knives and landing on the ground brushed a bit of dirt off of his outfit.
“At the very least he was creative with his destruction.”
Nikos moved his hand to his sheath and spreading his legs started to attack Runali again, his hand went to his sword but after a small moment he straightened his body again. He stared at Runali with a blank expression remaining silent as he seemed to contemplate something. His eyes moved to his sword than to Runali, his gaze moved over the cuts he had made and looked at his own outfit. After a brief observation he leaned against one of the buildings and crossed his arms.
“This is…pointless.”

Nikos spoke his eyes narrowing a bit as he was surprised himself at what he was saying.
“…you…are an annoying child with terrible quips whose presence is one of the most annoying I have endured in some time,” Nikos said closing his eyes. “Which makes it really annoying that you’re stronger than me.”
Nikos opened his eyes at this tapping a finger on his arm.
“I’m not foolish…I can measure up my opponent in the first move. My Haki even allows me to tell the difference between myself and another. I knew you were stronger the moment I laid eyes on you, I’ve stepped over countless people with your kind of power…but you are incredibly stubborn...and this feels more like rough babysitting than an actual fight.”
Nikos leaned off the wall and shoving a hand in his pocket walked towards Runali, there was no aggression in his stance or movements, he seemed…done. Just tired of all this back and forth between them, he came to a stop a few feet in front of her.
“You are single handedly the most unnerving, simple-minded yet complex pirate I’ve ever met…and I hate everything about you.”
With a sigh Nikos pulled his hand out of his pocket and opening his hand revealed a coin.
“Now I was going to use the rest of my Haki against you but I’m tired, our arena is broken and I’m just not feeling it anymore. So how about this we’re going to keep this simple.”

Nikos turned the coin over to show it had two sides and wasn’t a trick before continuing.
“My mentor taught me a long time ago that sometimes a simple end is best. For the first time I’m going to listen to that advice. I’m going to flip this coin, you call it in the air. If you win I will concede, if I win we keep fighting until one of us drops. I dislike using my Haki to gain an advantage, it feels cheap to me. I’ve fought you with only my own skill and it’s not enough...by that merit you’re stronger, ending a fight with my Haki...never feels like a win so I don’t want to use it. However I can’t just concede either, that’s against my own code. This puts me in quite the dilemma, winning against you by using Haki is meaningless, but surrendering without reason is unacceptable. So why not see who fate prefers, we’ve both made it this far on our own merit and willpower along with the aid and support of those around us. Why not test to see who chance prefers...or we can go back to trying and kill each other again...either way this is ending.”

“Ah great. Predictable too.” Runali spun on her heel, only to snort. “Yeah, Luro’s a lot more interesting than you, you’re right. The only redhead I like actually.” She smiled pleasantly, still widening her stance to prepare for yet another attack from him. “Well, if ya haven’t noticed. I’m not exactly the red headed giant. Mass destruction isn’t usually my thing.” Her actions mimicked Nikos’, relaxing her stance when he did. It was out of curiosity mostly, but she was aware of her surroundings, knowing that there were now plenty of places to duck and disappear into. It was a perfect landscape- for her at least. With a knack for always playing on the defensive, the platform itself didn’t give her much room to do anything besides attack or be attacked. But now, now-
...They weren’t fighting?

Despite the insults, Runali’s pleasant smile turned into a smug grin. Her hands went behind her back, and she leaned forward a little, obviously more than amused by his words. It didn’t help that she was stifling her snickering. Both of her eyes were trained on Nikos, the clouded left one seeming a lot more focused and clear than usual. As he continued, Runali’s grin became much more calm and she straightened up to her full height.

“Mentors are mentors for a reason.” When she answered, her voice didn’t have the typical playfulness as before. It was something more attuned to her look. Her fingers ran over the scar on her blind eye. “You’re a… smart man Phoenix. It’s a shame you don’t use it often.” She rubbed her shoulder, dulling the stiffness of it. “I s’pose it wasn’t very fair of me to play around so much huh? Especially after all you guys’ve been through, huh? I forget, not everyone likes the mercy.” Reaching into her pocket, she took out the eyepatch and placed it back over her eye. “Y’know, my own mentor taught me something similar.” She chuckled. “Don’t get too caught up in the flair of a fight especially if you don’t have an audience. It’s a waste of breath… Hah, you should follow that rule more often.” She gave a light hearted shrug before continuing. “But I was also taught civility. Lives are important. Shouldn’t go murdering without purpose- y’know all that stuff you think I don’t know… I don’t really think you hate me. Hate’s reserved for people you plan to kill. For people that don’t get chances. Hate’s much too strong of a word for you to use, especially with such ridiculous reasons.” She took a few steps forward, nodding her head towards the coin. “Our paths may be different, but we’re not enemies. A nuisance to each other, yes. But you do this out of order and I do it out of- I guess you can call it survival.” Runali rocked on her toes for a moment. “There’s no real need for me to kill you, honestly. You’ve done nothing real bad save for sending us on a wild goose chase- and riling up my carpenter. You hunt pirates with bounties based off a moral code. You do the job the Navy’s bad at. Hah, I think Luro already knew I didn’t plan on killing you. He’s a smart guy too...”

Runali continued laughing, pressing the side that still had the more costly injury. She took a seat on a nearby chunk of debris. “Go ahead Phoenix. Let’s test fate. I haven’t done that in awhile so I’m curious to see if they’re tired of me yet.” With her head in her hand she watched Nikos flip the coin into the air.

“Tails.”

Nikos sighed as every time this woman talked he could always feel a headache coming on, but as he stared at Runali watching her put her eye patch on he couldn’t help but smile a little. This was a such a strange relationship, if it could even be called that. It was really hard to tell where they stood with one another, she wasn’t wrong that calling themselves enemies wasn’t the right word, it didn’t really fit them.

“Well you’re wrong on multiple fronts,” Nikos said moving the coin to his thumb. “Regretfully this isn’t an order. That order died when Lina took over, she said ‘fight for whatever reason you want’ like she wasn’t our boss. So sadly this fight is a tad selfish. Secondly I’m well aware Stardusk aren’t murderous scum. That’s why we chose you.”
Nikos glanced over at Runali arching a brow at her with a small smirk.
“You are right though, I don’t hate you but I still can’t stand your company.”
Nikos said this flipping the coin high into the air his hand moving to his hips as the coin vanished high into the sky, he raised his hand moving it over his eyes seeing it vanish into the darkened sky. He might have put a too much into that.
“…our mentors probably would have gotten along…really glad I didn’t meet you when you weren’t a pirate we might have been friends. I’m extremely delighted I have a reason to dislike you.”
Nikos said this with the smallest smile on his face, after a brief moment the coin fell back towards the ground and Nikos took a step back. The coin hit the ground bouncing in the air with a small flip before Nikos slammed his boot down on it stopping it and concealing it from the both of them.
“Just in case it’s heads…I’ll tell you now. I fought you to see what change it would bring…I dislike that it came from me.”
With that Nikos raised his foot his eyes staring down at the coin; he made no attempt to reach for his weapon or get into a stance. Nikos knew firsthand that fate was cruel, and it was cold sometimes…but this woman had the luck of Jones on her side, fate didn’t matter to people like her.

“Tails,” Nikos said. “Hah…somehow I knew it.”
Nikos turned and sat down on a piece of rubble with a sigh, though he didn’t seem necessarily upset, more tired than irritated. Resting his hand on his cheek he raised his eyes to Runali.
“I Nikos the Fallen Phoenix of the Red Ravens concede this battle,” Nikos said. “I know you believe life is precious but now’s a good chance to finish me off. Who knows what’ll happen in the future, I can only get stronger and I’ll come after you again especially after this shame…you could stop that right now if you wanted.”

“Always gotta be right... You should work on that too.” She smiled at the idea of them being friends only to shrug her shoulders. As the coin came back to earth, and Nikos spoke, she chuckled. “Better you than me, don't you think?” A smirk pulled at her lips. “Means you might have a chance to surpass me one day… Maybe at least. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.” The smirk turned into a huff when the coin was revealed. “Huh, guess they're still lookin’ out.” She shrugged, though still definitely curious about it… But it was something to deal with later.

When he conceded, she picked a ring blade off her side and twirled it around. “I could, you're absolutely right. Probably would be easy too.” She walked towards him, looking down at the blade. “It would definitely put an ease to a good chunk of stress. But,” Runali continued forward, walking up to his side. “that's not what I want.” She couldn't help but lightly punch his arm in a playful manner, much like a close friend. “You're pretty tough. But what's the fun of that if you die?” Runali looked over her shoulder at him. “You’d waste all that talent trying to get yourself killed like that. So, you're gonna get stronger and we'll meet up sometime later, okay?” She began to walk off, putting the blade on her hip and her hands behind her head. “I hope you know that's an order Nikos.” Her laugh echoed a little. “My promise to Luro only stands for this fight. What happens after that will be up to you, so you better make it count or I'm gonna be disappointed… Besides, I'm sure you've got a crew to attend to as well.”

Nikos wasn’t a person who believed heavily in fate, if one was forced to walk down a certain path than they had the option to move off that path if they so wished. If there was such a thing as destiny than determination and willpower could help another overcome it, such things were excuses to him not to take immediate action, because some unseen handed guided the actions of the ‘victim’. It was moments like this however that even he had trouble denying that perhaps one of the gods found pleasure in manipulating events such as these. Perhaps one of the three tricksters made it so he’d meet this woman, who knew anymore.
“That’s about what I expected…not that I’m displeased,” Nikos said glancing over at Runali when she passed him. “Even when you’re nice you seem sarcastic.”
Nikos stood up brushing off his bottom with a small chuckle.
“You’re faith in me is also oh so appreciated,” Nikos said turning his back to her.

He didn’t move however only glancing back slightly at Runali as she spoke to him once more, with an eye twitch he turned fully to face her.
“I don’t take orders from you Runali and next time we’ll settle it properly,” Nikos said before turning and walking away from her. “I expect you to get even stronger and rise higher.”
With a small sigh he reached up and rotated his shoulder trying to ignore the cricks in his body, he figured he should go see Tari first, he felt her power flare during their fight which meant she was silly and didn’t follow the order.
“…took you that damn long to say my name,” Nikos said with a sigh. “Now…how am I going to explain this one.”

Runali heard the man, but at this point she decided to let him have the last word, giving him a final wave of goodbye. They could spout witty comebacks and insults all day, and Runali thought it was amusing. But she wanted the last words to him to actually be remembered. She meant what she said.

And just as he did, Runali had her own crew to look for. “Bah, I shoulda remembered where they-” Her eye went over to the clock tower they had mentioned before. “Right. Gotta fetch that one first.” Fortunately, despite the destruction both she and Nikos caused, the tower wasn’t too far away. The farther she went towards it, the more solemn she grew. Sure, she was playful and cheery before, but when it came to her crew she couldn’t help but feel a little more serious about their well being than her own.
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.


Luro walked down the path towards the main square, his eyes focused straight ahead as he drew ever closer to his destination. His hand moved to his left wrist rubbing it a few times as he walked, hundreds of scenarios played in his mind, his body only moving out of habit than intention. What would he say? What would he do? Would there even be time to talk? Over and over again questions filled his thoughts, and with no real answers he swallowed hard as the Clock Tower slowly got closer and closer. He gave a small shake of his head and smacked his cheeks, he wasn’t the thinking type anyway, he’d just do what felt natural when the time came to it, that was all he really could do.

Eventually the square came into view, Lina standing at the far end of it, arms crossed and directly in front of the tower. The square itself was completely empty save for the two of them, there were no other paths save the one that was now behind him. Luro knew this square, remembered the half destroyed buildings and the red he smeared on the walls, he remembered the crying child, the woman’s body hanging halfway outside the window and how he laughed when he gently nudged someone off the top of the Clock Tower. For a moment even the flames returned surrounding him on all sides, but looking at it now, all of that seemed like an old dream.
Luro came to a stop a few feet in front of Lina, he felt a few droplets land on him but he didn’t break his gaze from his sister. She stared back at him and with a small sigh Luro narrowed his eyes closing his hands into fists, he had to try at the very least.
“I don’t want to fight you Lina.”
Lina’s eyes narrowed at Luro’s comment but seeing her lower her arms he figured at the very least she was receptive to listening.
“…you’re my sister. I know I messed up and caused all this trouble…but I don’t want to fight you. I just want to talk it-”
Lina raised her pistol and fired it, a pistol flew out of Luro’s grip his eyes glancing over at his now empty hand. Lina glared at him keeping the smoking gun pointed at him, Luro flexed his hands a few times before a toothy grin slowly found its way onto his expression.
“Ah you know me so well Lina,” Luro said lowering his hand. “Can’t fool you.”
Honestly Lina barely had time to react; she didn’t like that she almost let her guard down completely, thankfully she knew to be on guard around Luro…no matter how he was.
“Those tricks don’t work on me. I know how you are.”
Luro brought a hand to his chin and gave a firm nod as he turned and started to pace around Lina, smiling seeing she kept her eyes on him as he did so.
“Yeah you’re pretty smart…everyone else is really stupid though. I think some of them actually fell for that I’m going to ‘save her’ nonsense. I mean when I do kill you I gotta make it look good, like I didn’t want it you know. How could I not though?! Taking away the life of someone so precious…I can’t help but feel a little giddy. The amount of pain it’ll bring me to see you die is…titillating honestly.”

Lina turned her gaze from him trying to hide the disgust on her face, he’d only enjoy seeing a look like that.
“I can understand trying to trick me but doing that to your friends is a bit far,” Lina said.
“Eh I’m gonna kill em anyway so it doesn’t matter,” Luro said smiling. “Still you playing the bad guy Lina…I really like that. With the Captain that close to me I wanted to shoot her so badly…you saw me reaching for my gun though didn’t you? That made you look soooo bad though. It took everything in me to hold in my laughter the looks they gave you.”

Luro came to a stop in front of her the grin on his face filled with malice, a crazed look in his eyes as he spread his arms out his eyes moving to the sky as the rain started to fall. He opened his mouth holding his tongue out as he spun in the rain, laughing as Lina narrowed his eyes at him, leaping about in the rain like a child while murderous intent flowed off him in waves, that was her brother.
“I’m going to kill everyone!” Luro exclaimed with a wide smile. “Kill everything! Stardusk! The Ravens and anyone I want! I’ll control the Ravens first though! That’s the most important part than I’ll kill them once they’re not useful anymore! Now I’ll just kill you, be all sad and then everything goes back to normal.”
“…I’ll wake you up Brother.”
“Huh,” Luro said turning to face Lina. “You say something.”
“You’re the same twisted person…the same manipulative monster…you feel no shame at betraying the trust of others...all the faith they have…you just ignore it and do whatever you want. Your friends are probably worried about you, wishing for your safe return and yet you say such things…make someone else the bad guy while you watch with a smile.”
Lina tossed her gun to the side and drew another from her waist leveling it at Luro.
“I’m going to end this right now…and protect them from you.”

Luro laughed bringing a hand to his head as he spread his legs holding his free arm out, that expression on her face was the best, it filled him with so much joy. Her desire to protect those that hated her brought him so much happiness, the tragedy, the futility it was all so beautiful!
“Killing me will only make them hate you more! You lose not matter what happens. You can’t protect anyone! At the end of it all you’ll end up hated! Just like me! Hahahahaha!”
“That’s fine with me…killing a fake like you and ending this…I’ll take all their hate if need be. I am a Raven…and I will protect Stardusk from you…Impersonating Imposter.”


Impersonating Imposter VS. Gunpowder Princess.

Lies that gods cannot see and truths lost to delusion, those without fates clash one last time.



Elsewhere



Zilia followed behind Kara in silence, her eyes moving to the humming woman in front of her.
She wasn’t sure how to respond to anything that was going on, she was following someone who wanted to kill her, willingly traveling a few feet behind her towards their destination. She questioned when she started making such terrible decisions. Though she lamented this situation she couldn’t walk away from it either, the Captain was right that this needed to come to an end.
Her hands gripped her pants as she thought back to Luro’s words.
“…it’s not just your fault…”

Kara came to a stop in a large area with broken down wood stands surrounding them, she could see chunks of wood here and there. Her eyes moved to the buildings around them, most of them were half repaired, and she could tell the ones that weren’t completely destroyed were clearly older. Faded paint, cracks in the fountain that stretched along the building like veins, they were clearly in an older part of the town.

“This was the old market,” Kara said turning to face Zilia. “This will be where we fight.”
Zilia’s eyes narrowed at the woman but she gave a small nod before holding a note out to her.
“…you really want to do this…I know you dislike me but killing me because you dislike me as a doctor…”
Kara read the note and a small chuckle escaped from her before she gave a small shake of her head.
“You like stories right Zilia?” Kara said. “I do too…I especially like stories with good and bad guys…I think everyone likes stories like that….can you think of a reason why?”
Zilia brought a hand to her chin but ultimately shrugged at Kara following her as she made a beckoning motion with her hand.
“I think it’s because good and evil are clear. You know who the root for in that situation. It’s sadly not that simple in reality, it’s grey and sometimes it’s hard to tell who the good people are.”
Kara came to a stop and turned to Zilia with a smile.
“If you had to choose who the bad person is in this situation…who would you choose?”
Zilia stared at Kara, she wasn’t sure if this was some kind of test or if she was just messing with her. The same smile rested on her face and it was hard to tell what she was trying to get at.
“Most of the time we’ll say we’re the good guys, that we’re doing the right things. Especially being doctors…or jobs are to help others after all. Someone who does that can’t possibly be a bad person…normally anyway.”

Kara’s eyes narrowed slightly at Zilia and she leaned forward a bit.
“I don’t think either of us can really call ourselves the good guys. By all means I’m here to kill you so I’m clearly not good…but someone who lies to her friends is bad too.”
Zilia’s eyes twitched and her hands closed into fists.
“Zilia Vilimar didn’t seem too surprised to know who the Ravens were,” Kara said folding her hands behind her back. “Zilia already knew how to find Red Ravens. Zilia has known about us for some time…because of who she is.”
Kara raised her hand and with a small chuckle pointed at her.
“You’re a filthy liar who refuses to admit that our presence here…could easily be your fault.”
Zilia took a step forward glaring at Kara causing the woman to hold her hands up, Zilia’s hands trembled and she bit her lip and straightened herself turning her head from her as she tried to calm down.
“I’m sure you wouldn’t mind dying here…than you wouldn’t have to tell them the truth,” Kara said. “Ultimately though…we both have something to lose in this fight.”
Kara reached behind her and took out a small slightly curved dagger; spinning it in her hand she folded one arm behind her back.
“We both have places to go back too…and we can’t have an exchange where two people are the bad guys…that’s just boring right isn’t it…Scarlet Saint.”


Scarlet Saint?/Ashen Philosopher VS. Mild Executioner

Words twisted and lies spoken, evil exists in the hearts of all but where does good lie?

Kara took a small step forward and Zilia blinked only to see the woman in front of her, she barely had time to dodge the cut at her throat. She raised her foot towards the woman only to feel a blow to her side sending her tumbling along the ground into the distant stands, Kara lowered her foot with a smile and walked towards Zilia humming to herself as she spun the dagger in her hand.

Bits of wood flew at Kara, her hand moving up and cutting it apart as it approached, she blinked seeing Zilia fly at her foot extended, stepping to the side her fist slammed into her chest stopping her, Zilia coughed before crossing her hands in front of her as Kara’s foot slammed her back down into the earth.
“Zilia you have to do better than that,” Kara said kicking her in the side.
Zilia flew into one of the nearby buildings as Kara sighed and started to approach her again, but seeing Zilia run towards her she smiled and come to a stop. Her body leaned out of the way of the woman’s kicks, raising her hand and pushing away whatever got close humming to herself as Zilia launched a flurry of attacks at her.
The knife slashed at her causing her to stop attacking and move away, rips formed in her clothing as they attacks got close, each time she went to respond Kara was attacking her again, forcing her to move away. Their exchange continued this way, the dagger narrowly missing parts of her body and Kara keeping fending off her assault with one hand. Zilia went for the woman’s legs, Kara leaping before a foot slammed into Zilia’s chest sending her sliding backwards. She stopped herself and moved only for the dagger to stab into her shoulder, she grit her teeth and tried to grab Kara’s wrist.

The blow that followed knocked the wind out of her, Kara grinning as her knee slammed into her stomach, the dagger ripped out of her shoulder before she was flung by the back of her neck into the building behind them.
Kara brushed off the front of her outfit and made her way back to Zilia.
“Perhaps this is Karma for the all the lives you’ve helped destroy,” Kara said as she stepped over the rubble. “I know just how strong you are, no Haki, no special abilities. You’ve survived by using others…hiding behind the strong. That’s not an option anymore.”
Zilia pushed the rubble out of her way and climbing to her feet punched at Kara, the woman moved between her punches, Zilia grabbed her causing Kara to do the same, the two spun in the room, Kara flipping the knife under Zilia’s arm slamming her elbow into her face before kicking her into the wall. Catching the dagger Kara hurled it at Zilia who moved out of the way, barely dodging the punch that slammed into the wall afterwards. Grabbing the dagger Kara kicked a chair at Zilia, which Zilia stopped with her foot only for Kara to kick her knocking her over a table and the chairs behind it. Kara fell into the seat crossing one leg over the other and smiling at her as she rested her cheek on her hand as she watched Zilia cough glaring at her through the blood now running down her face.
“Stop fighting to survive and fight to kill me like a proper Raven.”


Elsewhere

Gunshots resonated throughout the square, bright lights breaking through the darkness as the two siblings weaved between the gunfire, neither moving more than three feet from the other. They circled each other firing shot after shot, bullets tracing the edges of their skin with each pull of the trigger. Luro took pistols off Lina's belt with each movement, a bright grin forming on his face as he raised a pistol firing at Lina, her head leaning to the side as a bullet took off a tuft of hair. Lina raised her own gun pressing it against Luro’s head, his hand smacking the gun to the side at the last moment forcing the shot to miss, the smell of gunpowder filling his nose and a ringing in his ears before he kicked Lina forcing more distance between them.

Lina grit her teeth and reached for a gun only to notice most of hers were gone, she looked up seeing Luro spinning one of the pistols on his hand and raising his rifle. A laugh escaped from Luro as he fired Lina firing at the same time stopping the bullet with her own.
“Hahahaha! Perfect! Perfect Lina I knew this would be fun!” Luro said lodging another bullet as Lina grabbed another pistol. “I haven’t fought a good shot in a long time…I’m having so much fun right now!”
Lina’s eyes narrowed a bit at Luro as the two started to circle each other, she disliked it but in terms of gunmanship she was equal to Luro. She had forced them close so he couldn’t use his rifle but he just used her own pistols against her making that effort fruitless, and ranged he had the advantage. She couldn’t allow him to walk away from this fight…the reason why he killed, why he made others suffer, why he lied, why he became Luro Makachi in the first place...it was all her fault and she had to fix that today or he was just going to hurt more people. She couldn’t let Stardusk be another victim; they trusted too easily, had too much faith in their friend and that was all he needed to ruin everything. So long as he was an Imposter he would just manipulate them and kill them like he did all the others.
“I will protect them!” Lina exclaimed pounding her gun against her chest.
“Stop talking and shoot me!” Luro yelled raising his rifle.


Lina rushed forward quickly moving to the right as she fired, however she leapt back as a bullet narrowly missed her foot, she raised her pistol firing at Luro the bullet hitting his side. The man didn’t flinch however the rain exploding outwards from him as a blue mist erupted from his gun.
He rushed towards Lina, she responded placing her foot down hurling her pistols at him, Luro knocked them away mid slide and brought his rifle back, his swing missed however as Lina lowered her body slamming her foot into his stomach sending him backwards crashing into the distant building.
Lina lowered her foot only to see Luro burst out of the building his rifle pointed at her, she grabbed her own pistol before a loud whir filled the air, the L.A.S.S. building power. Lina’s eyes twitched as a large burst of force exploded from the rifle, tearing through the falling rain and street, creating a vortex of destruction. Raising her own gun she fired at the approaching force, armament fueling her shot as she met his force with her own, the two colliding blowing the square and the surrounding buildings apart.

Lina raised a hand to her face knocking away a piece of cobblestone as she stared out at the street, parts of it splintered around them, a large crater formed in the dead center. She barely had time to take in the change when Luro sprinted at her.
Lina ducked behind one of the created slopes and Luro turned around it a kick slamming into his wrist, his gun dropped and he lashed out his fist slamming into Lina, the guns falling from her hands. Luro grinned only for a blow to meet his cheek causing him to step back.
He eyed Lina who raised her fists up making a beckoning motion with his hand.
Luro grinned at her and brought his own fists up as the two ran at each other.


Elsewhere


Everything hurt.

Each time Zilia tried to move a part of her body pain coursed through her body. It was hard to believe she was lying face down in a puddle, the rain washing away the blood that was still coming off her body, but the cold was real just as much as the pain. Zilia took a long unsteady breath as she heard Kara’s footsteps a few feet away, the woman humming as she twirled the knife in her hand. She was killing her slowly, purposely missing anywhere lethal, cutting in places that allowed her to move, but just deep enough that it hurt to do so. She was like a surgeon operating on her while she was still conscious with rusted tools. She did her best to ignore the pain in her body and tried to climb to at least her knees.
“No.”
A Haki laden foot slammed against her stomach sending her sliding a few feet away, her body screaming at her not to move, but she had no choice in the matter at this point.
“Stay on the ground please.”
She was tired, the cold felt nice against her aching body. She just wanted to close her eyes and let sleep come, she was tired of feeling the pain, tired of everything. She could feel Kara was close but she didn’t care anymore.
“…that’s it then,” Kara said resting on the balls of her feet. “You’re done?”
Kara reached forward grabbing Zilia by her hair and forcing her to look at her.
“You’re okay with dying here…”
Kara stared into the girl’s eyes but found no answer, just an empty stare.
“I can’t blame you honestly…forced into this situation by them.”
“Yes…I didn’t want this…”
“Fighting a battle you lost the first time…having to endure all this pain because of one person’s mistake not your own.”
“I’m sorry Captain…everyone…but I can’t…I just can’t…”
“…I really do feel for you. I’ll stop playing around and end it quickly.”
Kara raised her dagger and closing her eyes she took a moment for the life she was going to end before bringing the dagger down. Red splattered onto the wet ground washing away with the rest of Zilia’s blood.
Though the blood didn’t belong to her.

Kara stumbled back holding her now bleeding nose, Zilia fist extended towards the woman before she put her hands back on the ground and climbed back to her feet. Kara grit her teeth and snapped her nose back in place.
“Fine. I’ll just get back to it then.”
Kara took a step forward only for something to fly at her skull, she quickly moved to the side as a dart flew past her, before quickly returning to its owner. Zilia stood feet firmly planted on the ground, a long rope coming out of her sleeve which she had wrapped around her arm, and a dart which she spun at her side her eyes narrowing at the woman in front of her.
“…where did that thing come from,” Kara said getting back into stance. “You were fighting without that weapon this whole time.”
Zilia only offered a small nod towards her continuing to spin the dart next to her body.
“I don’t understand why you keep fighting but I doubt you’re going to do much in that state.”
Zilia offered another nod, she was barely standing as it was and surviving was highly unlikely.
Kara’s eyes twitched and she started to move forward again only to lean back as the dart narrowly missed her eyes; she blinked a few times as it returned to Zilia who remained in the same spot.
“Zilia’s just keeping me from getting close…buying time until someone comes to help her…I have to end this.”
Kara rushed forward throwing up water as she rushed towards Zilia, she aimed her dagger at her Zilia stepping out of the way of the attack, Kara placed her foot down and immediately redirected the attack only for rope to wrap around her arm.
“Wha-” Was all she managed to get it out before Zilia threw her over her shoulder slamming the woman into the ground.

Kara quickly climbed to her feet rushing Zilia, her blows narrowly missing the woman as Zilia wrapped her rope around her with each attack, Kara having to rotate her arm to escape only for another part of her body to get wrapped up. She threw a kick only to have the other swept out from under her. Gritting her teeth she swung at Zilia, the rope circling her arm. She spent more time escaping Zilia’s bindings than actually attacking. No matter how she moved Zilia would step out of the way and bind a part of her body keeping her from doing anything else, stepping on her foot whenever she tried to raise it, cutting off any attack she tried to throw. She tried to move away to get her bearings but looking down she noticed her leg was wrapped. Zilia gave it a yank her body pulled into two different directions her head slamming hard against the earth.

Kara let out a loud yell and pulled herself free before climbing back to her feet holding her skull, Zilia spun the dart raising her foot and letting it wrap around her leg, Kara lowered her gaze to it only for the weapon to shoot at her, she leaned out the way, Zilia pulling the rope back turning her body hurling the dart at her again. Her movements were slight, the dart constantly moving around her body only to fly out at a different angle, Kara’s eyes tried to trace the object but it forced her to pull away from Zilia.

Letting it wrap around her neck she spun her body hurling it at Kara, the woman stepped out of the way but seeing Zilia knelt down in front of her, she barely had time to register the kick that slammed into her chin; she felt her feet leave the ground and she cursed herself for not paying attention. Zilia hurled the rope up wrapping it around Kara’s leg, she gave a hard tug slamming the woman back down into the earth, a scream echoing from Kara as the earth parted at the collision.

Zilia stared down at the now motionless Kara and giving the rope dart a small shake pulled it towards her before stowing it back in her sleeve.
“I don’t intend on losing to a doctor who selective of her patients,” Zilia thought as she walked up to her woman. “More than that you touched my hair…and I’m not dying until I beat the living daylights out of Luro…still…I’m sorry we didn’t have another option here Kara.”
Zilia knelt down to the unconscious Kara checking the back of her head; pulling the woman into one of the buildings she set her up against the wall. Grabbing a nearby tablecloth she covered her with it before brushing off her hands with a small nod.
She was too soft of a person; old words echoing in her head as she stared at Kara’s sleeping form, the grin of that ‘woman’ flashing in her mind.
“How does the name…Scarlet Saint sound? Let’s paint this world together…partner.”
Zilia closed her eyes.
“I will keep my promise…and if I can win then I’m sure the others are fine.”
Zilia started to walk but stopped as the pain hit her full force and she fell face first to the ground, she remained motionless for a moment before turning her head, staring at a broken case full of pies. A low growl came from her stomach and realizing her body had enough energy to yell at her for nourishment she was probably going to be fine.
“…I’ll head to the Clock Tower after I treat these wounds…rather not die on the walk there…Luro…you’d better not die…because I’m going to kill you first.”
 

Arcadius

Bunch of neurons riding a meat mech
Dark Goddess VS. The Pathfinder
“The darkened path is always one more traveled.”
Nina let the spinning hook fall from her grip, black covering the makeshift weapon, as she turned her body swinging it in a large arc towards Kadi. The hook collided with the houses nearby, ripping through them with relative ease as it continued on its path towards the Navigator’s skull. Nina let the weapon continue in its’ arc, the chain wrapping around her arm as she ran towards Kadi, her hand tightly gripping the other hook. Armament flowing into it, she approached intending on beating the arcing weapon.

The true meaning of her words still eluded him. He couldn’t possibly recall where has she met him, or what gave her existence. Where has he erased her? What horrible thing he could’ve done to her? Did it even happen, or did he perhaps done something so wretched and vile he wiped it from his memory? No. No, Kadi. You ain’t that kind of man. No forgetfulness and no forgiveness, that’s why you still keep having that dream. No pain is so great to warrant just snuffing it. No pain… or absolute lack of it.

Click.
BOOM!
In one fluid motion, Arcadius dropped the lax posture and fell into a dueling stance, pistol aimed forward and sword in lower guard, facing her by his side. He fired a single shot directly at Nina’s chest to stop her, or at least break her balance and let him evade her opening move. He could feel those hooks with his unnatural senses, the sheer amount of force woken inside them just pushing space around. He had to keep her from disarming it. Whatever she was, whatever wrong thing fueling and pushing her forwards, he could still stop this. Just get close, and let the Irigo do its work. Make her forget just enough to not remember why this fight even started.

Nina’s eyes twitched the moment she saw Kadi take a stance, her hand gripped the chain and with a flick the hook fell to the ground with a heavy slam cutting off its momentum. She quickly put her foot down to slow herself the area around her chest turning black as she hardened her Haki. Nina took the bullet head on letting her Armament protect her before hurling the other hook in her hand directly at Kadi’s torso, jumping backwards as she did to force more distance between them.

She pulled the other hook in her hand back eyes narrowing at the man in front of her. She wasted little time bringing the hook down towards Kadi in a large arc, aiming to hit him from above in her attempt to push him back into her second attack. Her instincts had screamed at her not to get close, the moment he took a firm stance an alarm went off in her head, much as she disliked it she had a feeling keeping her distance was a good idea.

The bullet probed her defences admirably, showing her skilled use of Armanent Haki. The shot made no clear harm, but it did made her stop in order to focus. No damage, aye, but he now knew he had five more chances to stagger her, perhaps for long enough to get close.

Assuming he would not get de-brained by the heavy hooks flying around. He sidestepped the first one that made a direct lunge towards him, and jumped out of the splash zone the second one’s slam produced after shattering the cobblestones. The chains were, so far, proving quite effective at keeping him at range, and Nina would have easy time creating a zone around her that would be difficult to traverse quick enough. The pistol shot would help, but it was not enough.

“One would expect that this town has seen enough property damage, no?” he shouted as he got to his feet, eyes and other senses on the hooks and chains. All he had to do was to avoid them long enough for her to get winded and start making errors. He was light at his feet this time around. No bandoliers full of pistols or hidden holsters. He needed to keep her aggressive, though, and on the assault. “So far, you seem like the monster here! How many homes will your pointless rampage destroy, eh? And for what, pointless misguided hunt for me? You sure that’s the legacy you wish to impart on the world, Nina?!”

Nina pulled the hooks back the weapon swinging wildly around her, the woman straightening her form as the hooks continued to fly through the air tearing apart everything in their way. A torrent of metal surrounded Nina creating a sphere of black and silver around her, her relaxed form in the center of it constantly moving the hooks as her eyes fixated on Kadi as he spoke to her.
“It’s not pointless.”

Nina responded to his question simply, Armament running up his arms as she took a calm step forward the circle of chains and hooks continuing to flourish around her, the constantly swirling dome soon become little more than a blur around her, the rain surrounding them hovered just outside the dome, keeping Nina relatively dry as her foot slammed down into the earth.

“I have a name…and a goal. I care not what the world thinks of me or what legacy I leave behind. My history will become shrouded…just as yours has, hidden within a myriad of lies and falsehood crafted by traitors of the old blood. History means little to me, my future means nothing…all that matters to me…is the fact that you still breathe in the present…Mikchail Arcadius!”

A flurry of hooks flew in Kadi’s direction, a barrage of metal tearing at the earth around him, Nina dragging the hooks in every direction flinging the weapons every which way towards him, trying to hit him anywhere she was able, she kept her slow gait her eyes focused on him, watching for the slightest betrayal in his movement. Her movements seemed a tad sharper than their previous engagement, more than likely because she wasn’t being weighed down by a mess of swords, she had little difficult keeping the hooks in a constant flow towards Kadi.

“Guess we share more than I thought. Now where have you been my whole life, eh?” he muttered for himself as he dodged another hook shot. The situation was getting rather levelled against him. She had both reach and flexibility, and he had no reliable way of harming her, while all she needed was to land one hit with those damned hooks. Worse, he was starting to run out of square to back into, realizing too slow he got pushed into a corner. Damn it all.

On the other hand, her goals were single minded and openly stated, while his were… more flexible. He was left two strategic options: ruses and distraction. And distraction seemed to be failing him as well.

“Then what are you waiting for? How about you show me some real skill, instead of all of this flailing, hah! Show you are actually up to the task!” he shouted. He raised the pistol and fired the second of six rounds he had, gently guiding the bullet through the chainstorm to strike at her forehead, while retreating more and more into the corner of the square.re.
Nina pulled on her hooks the weapons falling back into her hands, her eyes narrowing at Kadi’s words. Raising her hook she swung it in an arc stopping the bullet before her arms and legs turned completely back as she concentrated her Haki. She took a step the ground breaking apart as she she lowered her body and sprinted towards Arcadius. Her hands moving in front of her face as she prepared to throw her hooks and repeat their cycle once more.

Just as the hooks were about to leave her hands however gentle music came off the woman, her eyes widened and putting her feet down she slid to a stop a few feet from Arcadius. Holding up a finger to him she moved her hooks back to her waist and digging into her pocket pulled out a small cylinder object. A small crank rotated causing the item to play a soft melody which echoed through the partially destroyed neighborhood, Nina blinked at the strange noise looking up at Arcadius then back at the box.

“...that’s it,” Nina said stopping the song. “I’m out of time.”
With a small sigh Nina put the box away her gaze moving back to Kadi.
“...I’m not allowed to fight you anymore...I...think that means you win,” Nina said bringing a hand to her chin. “If you want to kill me that’s fine, to avoid destroying too much I was asked to stop fighting after a few minutes passed...so...I can’t fight anymore.”
Nina blinked and stared at Arcadius tilting her head at him as she awaited his response.

Arcadius frowned. This seemed like a ruse, a ruse to counter ruse his ruse. Problem was, his plan assumed she would continue to attack him. He sheathed Seasond, and decocked and holstered Marguela’s revolver. “Nah,” he grunted. “I don’t kill slaves unless I have to.”
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.




Luro stumbled back breathing heavily as Lina shook off her fist, the two eyeing each other bruises lining the two’s body and faces. Though Luro was far worse off than Lina, on the good side he knew how much armament hurt when hit head on by it. Luro’s gaze moved to a pistol resting a few feet away, Lina’s moving to Luro’s rifle. The two looked back at each other before quickly running sideways grabbing the firearms. Turning towards one another they hurled the weapons at each other, each catching their weapons before pointing them at each other.
Luro grinned at Lina as the two ready their guns keeping their eyes focused on the other.
“So we just end it like this,” Luro said grinning at Lina. “I didn’t really mind not coming back, so long as I got to enjoy this last moment.”
Lina remained silent staring into Luro’s eyes, though he had the same crazed look on his face a small smile found its way onto her face.
“...you finally woke up.”
“Let’s end it Lina!”
Luro and Lina put their fingers on their triggers, two gunshots ringing through the area. Luro stared at Lina with a wide grin smoking coming from the edge of his gun, his attack hit dead center but his smile faded seeing the smile on Lina’s face...and her smoking gun pointed upwards.
Her body fell to the ground and Luro’s eyes twitched, his rifle slipping from his grip as he stared at his sister’s motionless body. Something inside him...snapped. His eyes cleared up, light returning to them and his gaze focused before worry quickly took over his features. He ran forward kneeling down and pulled Lina into his arms.
“No...no no no no...Lina...Lina!” Luro screamed shaking Lina. “...what did I do? W-why did I...why did I pull the trigger?!”
Luro screamed the question to himself flinching a bit as he heard footsteps approach.

Runali climbed over debris, taking her time and glancing behind herself every now and then to see if she could spot her crew heading towards the Clock Tower as well. However she didn’t, so she only kept going. It wasn’t until she heard the scream did she pick up her pace, taking more hurried steps until she finally reached past the Clock Tower and into the clearing where Luro was destined to be.

She stopped in her tracks at the far edge of the makeshift arena, waiting for her eyes to stop playing tricks on her. The scream didn’t sound like it could have came from Luro, but when she realized how the two were positioned, her heart sank a little. And for a moment more, Runali still didn’t move. Instead she watched Luro a little cautiously, judging to see what her best action should have been. It didn’t last long because Luro had obviously noticed her, so she took steps forward, still keeping a few feet of distance. It was hard to read Luro now more than ever and the last thing she wanted to do was misstep while he was grieving despite how much she wanted to help. Lina wasn’t moving, and from what she could see, it didn’t look like she was breathing either. Runali gave a sympathetic look but waited for Luro to speak or do anything.





Zilia put a hand on the Captain’s shoulder breathing heavily as she caught up to the woman, she had noticed her running ahead at the scream. Looking past her she felt her blood run cold at the sight, her eyes moving to the hole in Lina’s chest.
“…it’s all my fault. I…I…”
“Stardusk…”
Lina opened one of her eyes as a cough escaped from her, Luro flinched a bit but relief clearly showed on his face as Lina looked over at Stardusk, a small smile escaped from her and though she wanted too it was hard to hide the weakness in her own voice.
“…I’ve caused you a lot of trouble…I know an apology isn’t much…but I am sorry….had to play the bad guy to the end…Your bounties are already removed…I took care of it before you got here…”
She offered a grin to them but only flinched moving her hand to the hole with a weak chuckle.
“…I’m pretty pathetic though…choose now of all times to hold back.”
“Lina…Lina why didn’t you shoot me?
Lina glanced over at Luro offering shrug to his question with a small smirk.
“Don’t really know…just didn’t feel right….you took your time waking up though.”
“W-what…no now’s not the time Z please!”
Luro looked at Zilia pleading with his eyes, but Zilia made no effort to step forward, her eyes moved to the wound and she hugged herself not sure how to explain. When she didn’t move Luro started to yell again.
“Stop,” Lina said grabbing his wrist. “None of that…you’re not helping me. You pulled the trigger, isn’t this what you wanted? Where’s that smile of yours...you look terrible right now.”
Luro sniffed trying to hold back, doing everything in his power not to show how much he was falling apart, but it wasn’t working, the more he pulled back, the more his body shook, the more it showed.
“No…I would never want this. I just…I just wanted…”
Lina laughed her eyes meeting the doctor’s and she slowly shook her head, in the end Zilia could do little for the woman now anyway, one didn’t need to be a doctor to know a wound like that was fatal, so she could only clench her fists at the sight.
“Really? Is all you can do cry.”
“Shut up…I don’t want too…”
Luro pulled Lina closer to him, the woman shaking her head at putting a hand on his chest to move him at least a little bit away.
“You know Brother… I hate you,” Lina said forcing Luro’s gaze back to her. “I hate your weakness…I hate what you called strength…I hate all of it…so I wonder why I couldn’t pull the trigger?”
A weak chuckle came from her and she slowly raised her hand resting it on Luro’s cheek, a small smile, a familiar one that pulled something from Luro causing his grip to tighten around Lina. The rain had already stolen her warmth away, and her eyes no matter how much he yelled for them to stay open slowly shut.
“…maybe I’m not good at being honest either.”
Lina’s body relaxed against his and her hand slipped from his cheek as her eyes fully shut, the same smile resting on her face as Luro pulled Lina closer to him, burying his face into her shoulder.

He held her searching for a warmth that would never return, quietly begging for a miracle in a shaking voice. Monsters didn’t get miracles however, especially ones like him and he screamed knowing such prayers would remain unheard.
Pained screams that served little purpose now, screams that did nothing, that would change nothing but had nowhere to go inside his being anymore, there was no place for them, Lina had taken that away, that was her gift to him. This was her brother, the one she had come searching for and she made it so that he had nowhere to hide, whose countless apologies would offer no comfort and then asked him the impossible, to smile a smile he never had.

The captain’s gaze fell on Zilia for a brief moment, only to turn back when she heard Lina’s strained words. The moment she began to speak made it clear to Runali that there wasn’t going to be a happy ending for her. Luro’s desperate plea made Runali flinch, but she straightened up immediately and set a comforting hand on Zilia’s shoulder when she turned away.

It was hard to figure out the right words to say to a dying person, and it was even harder to find words for the man obviously broken on the ground near her. A few words did echo in her head, ones from a time before she was a pirate, that seemed to only make sense now. And even though it made sense, it still felt cruel and unjust for the moment in front of them. ’Is it really better… to be hated for what you are compared to being loved for what you’re not’ Of course, the answer was yes and Runali knew that. But in that particular moment, even she wished she had known less that she had. If only she could keep the memory of the Lina she met before all of this had begun… But her thoughts were selfish. Right now, Luro was grieving and needed help.

“I’m-” The apology stopped in her throat. Runali removed her hand from Zilia’s shoulder as she took another step closer. She was still at an arm’s distance, slightly hesitant to kneel across from him. “...There’s-” It was obvious she was still trying to find the right words to say.
“Could you guys just…just head back to the ship.”
Luro spoke as he lay Lina on the ground, still knelt in front of her.
The rain was slowing to a stop and Luro was doing what he could to fight back at the pain, but he was losing, finding it hard to talk without his voice breaking. He looked at Runali, at his crewmates and just shook his head.
“Please just…give me a moment…I’ll catch up just…please leave me alone right now…okay…”
Luro looked back at Lina, at the serene smile on her expression and clutched at his chest.
“Please...”

When Runali was interrupted she looked away from Luro and down at Lina. She didn’t have to see his face to know the pain he was in. Being told to leave made her straighten up a bit. Her head turned to look at Zilia, letting her decide if she’d stay or leave before Runali stood to her feet and took a couple of steps back. However, she didn’t leave. Instead, she knelt back on to the ground. “Have… have you not been alone enough? You’ve endured enough pain to last through life…” She took a deep breath before continuing. “And death. You have a crew willing to help you if you just ask Luro…” Her voice came out soft and steady, almost careful even. There seemed to be more words behind the look she gave him, but Runnali opted to end it there. A myriad of emotions passed through her, sympathy, sadness, and even desperation to help him. But Runali stayed quiet and patient, waiting for Luro to speak again, fully expecting him to turn her away a second time.

“…I appreciate that Captain…more than I can ever put into words,” Luro said closing his eyes.
“…but I still have to ask you to leave.”
He looked back at Runali, his expression though still pained a bit more stern than it had been a moment ago, he moved his gaze back to Lina moving a bang from her face as he ran his thumb over her cheek.
“…I did this…I…I caused this. I need to deal with this…not as Luro…not as a Stardusk…but as her brother…as her family…I need to be alone right now.”
Luro gripped at his clothes as he pulled his hand away from her face.
“I’ll need your patience…I’ll need your understanding…especially after all I’ve done…but right now…I need this pain Captain. I want to engrave it into myself…so I never…I never make a stupid mistake like this again. So support isn’t what I need right now…I just need a moment to remember this pain…I can’t do that if you guys are here…so please leave.”
Zilia stared silently at Luro as he spoke, she took a small breath and offering a nod turned and walked away from the square and from the two of them. She said nothing and made no attempt to look in his direction. She understood what Luro wanted more than she ever wanted to admit.

Runali’s response was only to heave a sigh. She had a feeling she’d still end up leaving but it didn’t mean she would want to. Standing to her feet, the captain dusted off her pants, keeping her eyes to the ground. Her hand went out, she started to say something, but decided against her better judgement and turned around. “Take as much time as you need.” It was a whisper over her shoulder, before she followed Zilia towards the ship.
It didn’t take much to catch up to Zilia, but without looking in her direction Runali spoke. “Looks like you’ve seen better days.” She didn’t expect a response, nor did she feel she needed one. Words seemed to be a lot heavier with each one she said and even Runali knew it was better to remain silent.

Luro moved his arm under Lina’s legs with a small nod as he lifted her into his arms, Zilia gave a small tug to anyone still around. There was little they could provide in this moment that would be helpful, she tried to say that with her eyes before making her way down the long path.
Luro moved away from the square vanishing into the alley of the nearby buildings, he didn’t get very far when Mia stood in his way. The wheels in her hands the glare on her face speaking volumes to him. He closed his eyes making no attempt to move as the woman walked towards him.

Zilia held her hand out checking for any excess rain before she pulled out her notebook, catching the Captain’s words she only offered a nod to her. She wanted to say something back but her hands trembled and she felt there was little to say. When Stardusk made it back to the ship, Nikos was waiting, a few cloaked figures lying on the ground around him. The moment his eyes rested on Stardusk he narrowed his eyes at them. Zilia started to get into stance but he held his hand up.
“I was just defending your ship,” he said. “You spared my people…so we owe you a debt. I’ll ensure it’s repaid some day.”
Nikos looked among their group before closing his eyes.
“…He’s on the way so you should get ready to set sail…the renegades will be here soon…we’ll deal with the cleanup you guys have been through enough.”
Nikos gave a small nod before turning and making his way down the path, a few of the Messengers waiting for him among bodies of their own.

If the crew had been walking towards her, just as Zilia did, she silently turned them around to head to the ship. The look in her eye was enough to show that there was nothing she wanted to say at that moment, so the walk to the ship was quiet. Seeing Nikos again didn’t change her now tired expression. If anything, all it did was cement the fact that she didn’t have to explain he was still alive. And by the sound of it, so where the rest of them. When they got close enough to the ship to see the bodies lying there, Runali signalled for her crew to board, barely acknowledging Nikos’ words. It wasn’t until he began to walk away when she scoffed. “Debts are a ridiculous thing to have… Consider-” She stopped herself and shook her head. “Never mind.”

Runali climbed up onto Lady Luck, taking a moment to look over each of her crew, assessing the damage that had been done to them. When she was as satisfied as she could be, her eye fell to the deck and she heaved a sigh. “He killed her.” Her voice was matter of fact, but it was still soft like before. They needed to know and she figured it would be better to say it now before Luro returned. “I can’t imagine he’s making peace with himself, but he’s…” Her voice trailed off and she looked unsure. “At the very least, he’s alive.”

Luro stepped onto the deck of the ship, Mia alongside him as he adjusted the rifle on his back, the woman bringing it to him after the two had encountered each other. His eyes raised to the crew on the deck, his eyes red, his clothing a mess still stained with blood. Overall he looked like a wreck all over, but with a small sigh he took a few steps forward looking at everyone.
“…thank you for giving me a moment,” Luro said.
His voice betrayed his somewhat calm disposition but more than likely aware of it he continued.
“Captain…if it’s possible…I’d like to talk to everyone tonight. Right now…I can’t think of anything to say but thank you…and I’m sorry. I want to get myself in some kind of order…at least enough…enough to say what I want to say to you all.”
Luro gave a small shake of his head forcing himself to get the words out.
“I don’t trust myself right now…but I owe you guys a lot…and I want to be honest with you.”
Zilia looked over at the Captain at this, Luro seemed to be struggling, he would pause cutting himself off as if he was fighting with himself. Trying to tell everyone the truth in a conversation where he only wanted falsehood. Zilia wasn’t entirely sure but the man struggling in front of them right now…was probably Luro trying to tell the truth.
Mia handed Runali a letter during this waving a hand to her, she wasn’t going to hang around for too long.
“Read that later…it’ll clear up some things,” Mia said as she headed towards the edge of the ship. “This is a Stardusk matter so I’ll take my leave.”
Luro paid no mind to Mia looked at Runali.
“Would that…would that be okay Captain?"

Runali had propped herself onto a barrel and waited for Luro. She asked Jack to keep an eye out for Renegades, but for the time spent waiting she was quiet. The only time she did get up was to hunt for something to drink and when she sat down Luro and Mia were on the ship. Her trail of thoughts, wondering if tea would have been better for this moment had ceased and she held her hand out for the letter. Runali politely nodded to Mia as she walked away but her eyes were trained on Luro. It was obvious that he was having a hard time so she set the bottle down on a barrel in between them, one part as an offering and the other as a way to keep her attention on him.
“Take your time.”

“Thank you...I’ll see you all tonight.”
With that Luro turned and made his way into the rum room closing the door behind him.
Zilia looked over at the closed door before pulling out her notebook and holding it up to for everyone to see.
“I’m glad you’re all safe...I’ll come around to check on you so if you go to your room leave the doors open.”
With that Zilia walked away to go get her medical supplies, the ship was going to set sail soon and she was all too happy to get away from this place.
 

SilentxChaos

Vivid Imaginings
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Before Jack made his way to the clock tower, he slipped into the doctor's office, half-destroyed from his battle with Ria, and managed to scavenge silk bandages and gauze to cover his wound. It would be enough to staunch the blood, for now, and it was the only time he was willing to waste. The rest of his wounds would wait for Zilia's attention.

Then he made his way there. He was the last to arrive- between his stop, and the agonizingly slow pace set by his aching body- but he heard the final gunshot. The screams.

He arrived behind Zilia just as she was turning away. Their eyes met. He gave a faint nod. His glanced briefly at Luro and Lina behind them, then turned on his heel and followed her. Like her, he knew how this played out, the emotions torrented within their friend. There was nothing to do. Nothing wanted to be done.

When the crew returned to the ship, Jack stirred at the sight of Nikos and the presumably dead Renegades. He already grabbed a spyglass when Runali asked him to watch for more in pursuit. He did so gladly; it was a welcomed distraction. Painfully, he situated himself towards the rear end of the ship, nudging a barrel against a few crates and sitting with his back to them. He leaned back with a groan. Blood already soaking through his makeshift bandaging, Jack ignored it, or was unaware of it. He stared out to sea with the spyglass listlessly hanging in one hand, his mind utterly blank. He was tired. Spent. The aches covering his body deepened into a heavy blanket as he started to close his eyes, his body begging for rest after the torment endured.

Jack's fingers dug into his wound. Pain shocked him back into alertness and he grunted, making a face. I should have been more careful...could've gone without taking a page from Sara's book... he huffed, recalling the first time Sara and Alicia fought each other. The memory brought something of a smile as he settled back to watch the sea's horizons.

A hard flick hit the side of Jack’s wound as Zilia walked up to him, she stared at him with a half-lidded gaze making little attempt at her opinion of his state unknown. However as most of her own clothes were ripped and she was wrapped in bandages herself she left the matter at that. She took the glass from him and peered into the distance, after a moment she set it down and handed Jack a note.

“Sit there so I can take a look at that wound. You can stop watching for a few minutes and the Captain can yell at me if you get in trouble.”

She pat a crate that was a little lower and easier for her to reach before handing him another note.

“Doctor’s orders...or I’m going to keep flicking your wound while your keeping watch.”

Zilia could tell from a glance some of the others were way worse off, she had given Sara something for her cuts already and Alicia wasn’t too bad but she was basically inhuman so she’d be fine for a few minutes, that and unlike Jack she’d have to treat most of her wounds in private. She, Jack and Luro had taken quite a beating and since Luro was locked away and wouldn’t respond, she went right down the line….and something told her not to bother the Captain right now, though she had slipped her something for the pain earlier.

Zilia patted the crate again before before moving her thumb to her middle finger making a few flicking motions.

Shivers raked up Jack’s spine as he felt the shock of her hard flick. He doubled over slightly and couldn’t stop a glare as he looked at her. “Was that really necessary?”

His words died in his throat and he sighed, already suspecting what she’d say before she handed him the note. “Alright, alright. You have a point,” he consented after a glance over her writing. Wincing, he started lowering himself onto the lower crate when he paused, looking back at her. “This won’t require you taking my shirt off, will it?” he asked seriously. The wound in his stomach was the major concern, but not the only concern. Cuts on his legs and arms were seen, though long ago had clotted, not being deep or long to be of worry.

“I feel it’s easier to get the point across quickly,” Zilia held a note up in response to his necessary comment.

Once he was seated Zilia started digging in her pouch only stopping at Jack’s question, she turned her head to the others on the deck before looking back at Jack. She gave a small shake of her head and grabbing his shirt pulled it up slightly before pointing to it with her free hand as a silent indication to hold it for her.

“I’m just taking care of pressing wounds; I’ll take you and everyone else below deck for thorough examinations later. At that point I will ask you to remove your shirt and pants. You guys don’t take small wounds serious enough and we went up against people aware of different battle tactics, can’t be too safe.”

Zilia reached forward and got to work immediately, noticing Jack had at the very least tried to take care of it himself she gave a small nod to him for being careful before she got to work. It didn’t take her too necessarily long to treat the wound and rewrap it, and contrary to her earlier flick she made sure to be gentle so it would hurt as little as possible. Cleaning her hands with a small item in her pouch she made a motion with her hand that he could lower the shirt before handing him his spyglass.

“…the other wounds don’t look too bad but I’m still going to take closer look later. If you start feeling unwell tell me immediately.”

With that Zilia gave a small nod before looking back in the direction the Ravens had been.

Looking over at Jack she pulled her notebook back out before handing him another note.

“I noticed Ria was alive…I’m glad. She didn’t seem like a bad person…even if she and Nina slept in my books.”


Jack grew solemn at the prospect of a full examination later, but shook his and leaned back to allow the doctor to do her work. A problem for later. Despite her warning, he found himself looking back over the sea as she worked, but more out of contemplation than paranoia. He grew lost in thought until she announced her completion, nodding at her comments of his overall condition. He smiled softly when she commented on Ria. “I never wanted to kill her in the first place, honestly. I’m glad things settled as they did. You and Kara went at each other pretty hard,” he gave her a critical eye and plucked her sleeve, revealing a bit of the bandage underneath. “I got the sense she liked toying with you. You never did seem really surprised by them--” Jack stopped mid-sentence, suddenly aware of what he said. His head tilting to one side, he regarded their doctor with a curious, unguarded gaze. “Zilia. In the time I’ve known you, you handle surprises far worse than me. But if anything, you’ve reacted with...anger, maybe even understanding, more than shock or confusion by all that’s happened with the Ravens. The Messengers. Why is that?”


He spoke in a halting tone, thinking as he spoke. His tone remained light and his gaze unblinking.


Zilia could offer little response to his observation merely pulling her sleeve down a bit further, she offered a small nod at his comment, Kara took her time trying to kill her. She was pretty sure if she had been serious from the beginning she more than likely wouldn’t be here right now. She was honestly still confused about what the Messengers really wanted from them, she got a sense of hatred from Kara but there was something else in their conversation she couldn’t pick out. She wanted some answer to it but decided against thinking about it too much.



At Jack’s comment about her own surprise Zilia’s eyes twitched slightly before narrowing slightly. Jack seemed to drop the thought but as to be expected considering the circumstances he pressed the matter a bit further. Zilia glanced at him not exactly pleased she couldn’t argue back against her general response to things but that wasn’t the comment that really bothered her.

Jack asked a question Zilia had dreaded to hear from the moment they met the Ravens.



She stared at him with a blank expression, her gaze meeting his before she turned away from him and pulled out her notebook. She started writing, only for her hand to stop as she seemed to search for just the right words, she would repeat this until she finally seemed to form her thoughts.

“…I’ve known the Ravens for a little bit.”

After handing Jack the note she held up her notebook and let the pages flip back to earlier entries, she stopped it on a certain page where a Red Raven covered both of the pages, one similar to the tattoo that the group wore.

“I’d rather not get too into my relationship with them it’s not something I’m proud of…but most of what we were told wasn’t new to me….I just didn’t expect to hear the name again.”

Jack read it, then sat back. “I see.” A soft tap emanated against the floorboards from his foot as he looked back to the sea. He remained silent for several long moments. “Tell me,” he suddenly broke it, “what is your outlook on what has happened? Do you think it’s… over?” The look on his face at the latter suggested he found little truth in it’s hope, but he wanted to hear Zilia’s honest input. She may understand something he missed.

Zilia seemed to relax a bit her shoulders lowering slightly seeing Jack leave their conversation at that. She intended on telling everyone this eventually but with all the trouble they had caused and with how long she waited to say something it became incredibly hard to bring up the subject. A part of her was happy that Jack paid attention; she had wanted to tell someone for some time.

She was pulled from her thoughts when Jack spoke, asking a question she knew but didn’t like the answer too, judging by his face he probably already knew but…she’d asked the same question if it came to her mind.


“…No…I doubt it’s over,” Zilia said handing him the note. “The Ravens hunt people for years…their whole lives in some cases…the honorable Ravens will leave us alone…I get that feeling…but the Renegades will hunts us to the very end. They wasted little time trying to attack us earlier. It’s not over…not at all. There’s so much I’m still trying to piece together, all the way back to Nura and what happened on Iurin. There’s way to much that happened for it just….end.”

Zilia squeezed the bridge of her nose before handing Jack her notebook, on it was all the information Nura had given them. There was a small note on the bottom under all the writing.

“This information is a closely guarded secret…so why did Nura who wanted us dead share it?

Jack took her notebook with a nod, reading over it. Her tedious outlining was expected, though the note at the very bottom made him release a hard sigh. He handed the notes back. “It’s… unclear, if Nura wanted us dead in the first place. Or Lina for that matter.” He frowned and folded his arms with a wince. “I think Lina was right...the Ravens don’t want us dead. We’re just distractions, us and the Messengers. A series of battles to off-stage what happens at the center of them. The Renegades have been the only ones to attack first, willingly, and with killing intent.”

Sighing again, Jack pinched his nose, mimicking Zilia. “The more I try to puzzle it out, the more my head hurts. I don’t know if that story of False Leaders wanting power is true or not. Is Luro Ravens or Renegades? Both-- or neither? It’s not liked we saw the tattoo he’s supposed to have. Why would Lina tell us all this, if she wanted us dead? Her and Nura...played the exact same game, and we followed like pawns.”

His mouth thinned in irritation, his eyes narrowing. “I’m tired of being used,” he muttered under his breath with surprising venom.

Zilia took her notebook back with a nod looking back over the content herself. Jack was in the same place she was at; no matter how much they dug there just seemed to be more questions, speculation with no facts, riddles with no real answers. It was a constant spiral and she couldn’t deny it had brought her a fair share of headaches. Something about all that had happened bothered her, there was something in what she saw that pulled at her.

Her gaze raised to Jack catching the change in his voice, she gave a small nod not able to blame him for it. They had been led around, manipulated and forced into a conflict that had nothing to do with them. She had been furious in the beginning but there was something in the middle of all this that had bothered her the most. Pulling out her notebook she wrote a quick note before holding it out to Jack.


“…I can understand where you’re coming from myself. Let’s take a moment to think about this as calmly as possible. There was something that bothered me about this. The Ravens came after all of us because of Luro, that’s the general idea. Our involvement with Luro caused them to target all of us…at least that’s what we were told. Yet even if it was for some weird distraction…why did they include the whole of Stardusk. You, me and Sara are recent additions but they spent resources learning as much as possible about us, I’m sure they knew very sensitive things about you as well…if they were Renegades just trying to kill us trying …why take the time, the limited amount of time we were here to figure out how to push us that deep into a corner? Kara knew things about me that…frankly scared me. I felt like we were more than a distraction when I heard that. I feel like something else drew them to us.”

Zilia reached up fiddling with her bang for a moment, the Ravens and Renegades wanted them both dead but the Renegades didn’t play by the rules, they had no reason to learn that much about them. The Ravens were the ones who pulled at all of that, the Renegades just killed with any means necessary.

“I believe the Ravens aren’t our enemy, but the Renegades wouldn’t need all that information to kill us, not everything they had on us. That bothers me.”

Jack fidgeted, nodding at her comment, ashamed of letting his anger show through. It didn’t stem from on their recent events but now wasn’t the time to dwell in it. Working himself into a calmer state, he leaned forward to read what the doctor wrote. His brow knitted in the center of his forehead.

“You’re right.”

Leaning back, he dug out a smoke. He took the time lighting it to think. The Renegades must have equal information as the Ravens did on his crew. So many resources and time devoted to them...was it just thoroughness? Perhaps. Unlikely, considering the scope and prowess of the organization they faced. If they wanted Luro alone, they’d have no problem separating him from the rest of Stardusk and simply ferrying him off, or attempting to. And with Stardusk’s recent boost to 4th Gen notoriety, their prowess as a crew didn’t warrant the attention. Jack’s foot tapped incessantly as he brooded over this new concern. “We’re missing something…” an obvious comment, but anything to get the thoughts turning. He started talking as he thought, letting things spill out unchecked.

“Nura gave the Messengers our bounties. Nikos confirmed this when Lina explained everything. So that’s how that group got on our tails… but for the rest of them… you don’t suppose… it’s upon his request?” Jack glanced hesitantly around the deck, ensuring no one else was lingering nearby. He took his cigarillo between two fingers and blew out smoke. “Luro’s desire to fight us has never been undiminished; is it not, in part, what led us to that island? That moment he tried to shoot the captain?” His face fell into a brooding shadow. “Our bounty names are courtesy of him as well. And, dare I say it, much of the information the Messengers knew of us originated from him. Lina confirmed it...for the most part.”

Shaking his head, he hit the side of his temple with the heel of his palm. “I still don’t see the lines. The connections. None of their motives connects back to the Renegades, except they want Luro dead. Supposedly.” He recalled the island again, how the Renegades fell back with Lina. He saw a thin veil of endless shifting allegiances, but he felt it flawed and full of gaping holes. What was the endgame of involving Stardusk?

Zilia continued fiddling with her bang hating how they kept going in circles, Jack was absolutely right, they were missing something, obvious or not it was that something that kept things from falling into place. When Luro was brought up Zilia lowered her hand from her bang, much as she hated admitting it, Luro’s involvement in this couldn’t be ignored. He was clearly one of the mysteries surrounding the organization, and knowing next to nothing about him and what he’s done only made matters worse. From all that happened though she had a feeling even Luro had been manipulated in some sense.

“I don’t know what Luro’s done or his involvement, but it’s clear that even he was manipulated in some way…maybe…I don’t really know maybe he let it happen. There was his lead on the Leader, which led us right to the Messengers at Savera. So either Luro knew they were there or the Leader knew we’d go that way…both seem impossible but we watched it happen right in front of us. He looked at that from his notebook…an entry from years ago. It’s hard to believe a lot of what’s happened but I can’t deny Luro’s been at the center of it. The Messengers were even manipulated forced to run into us, everything falling into place just…a little too easily. Then there’s Lina and her comment about Luro being the Leader…and the Red Corax…I can confirm the Red Corax were real, I’ve read small entries about them during my travels…if that was real…than what else were we told real…and what was fake…it makes my head hurt.”

Jack nodded slowly, her words making sense. He placed the cigarillo back between his lips and picked up the spyglass. Wincing, he shimmied his way to his original position before Zilia arrived, offering his spot so they could continue talking. He looked out at the sea with the glass.

“Have we ever been lied to?” he asked her, relying on her memory as his attention was momentarily divided. “By Nura, the Ravens, Lina...any of them. Has there ever been a point where there’s been a blatant lie told?”

Zilia stood up taking a seat in Jack’s spot flinching a little herself, bending forward hurt a bit but she endured it. At Jack’s question she looked over at him and leaned against the side of the ship. She squeezed the bridge of her nose trying to recall everything they had been told. She wasn’t sure how to put it into words, it didn’t feel like they were told the truth…but at the same time it didn’t feel like a lie either.

She thought back to Nura giving them the information, the fight on the beach, the Messengers appearing to them, she replayed each moment before holding a note out to Jack.

“I feel like…they tried to tell us the truth…without words…and when we didn’t understand only lies were left behind,”

That was the best Zilia could make of her own thoughts, the Ravens weren’t their enemies, when they didn’t understand that every Raven seemed like their enemy. That’s what Zilia saw at the least, their words and actions conflicted, they were trying to tell them something, something they couldn’t say aloud but Stardusk couldn’t understand without words. Now they could never say it.

Jack lowered his spyglass. He couldn’t help recalling his fight with Ria, although it may not have been her, who left behind the lie. However they portray themselves...they are not without limits. He sighed. “It’s...quite possible, we’ll turn gray, long before we untangle the mess that’s Luro’s past and the Ravens.” A crooked smirk turned to Zilia. “Perhaps it’s best to wait for the night, and see what our friend has to tell us. He may have the answers. And if he doesn’t,” Jack shrugged, “I doubt we’ll be worse off. Either way, our fight with the Ravens has proven they only know so much, and they are beatable. I have confidence we’ll prevail if the Renegades show.”

Despite his best efforts, Jack remained in the dark to the true plots that led them all here, to this moment. He was ready to see and accept that. If only to take the first step forward, and break the circle they’d been walking since Nura appeared on their deck. His grip on the glass tightened slightly as he returned to the horizon. Worry creased his face in contradiction.

“I just hope… that Luro will be alright. Some day.” He knew she’d understand. He saw the look on her face when she turned from Luro; the same that reflected in his own. The same that echoed in the ruin plaza of the clock tower. Whatever they were blind to, there was no denying its painful truth.

Zilia gave a small tug at her hair with a small smile to indicate she was beating Jack in the grey department. Between worrying about Stardusk and trying to figure all this out, she was lucky this was its natural color. Zilia gave a nod in agreement to waiting for the night, in the end they were going in circles, but it felt good to at least talk and get it out in the open. Whatever followed they’d just have to deal with to the best of their ability.

Standing up she turned towards the rum room, she shared Jack’s concerns and her chest hurt as she replayed that scene in her mind. She closed her eyes forcing it down, for the time being they had to focus.
“Let’s take care of what we can do now, we’ll handle the rest as it comes,”
Handing Jack the note she walked over to door before giving it a small knock, when the door opened slightly she held a bandage out before she was let inside.
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.


Nikos stood on the deck of the ship, his eyes shut as he took in the night air. Mia had set the ship on a weird route but they were trying to cut off the Renegades so he couldn’t blame her, and they destroyed all the ships at Gavera to ensure no one could leave as they called for reinforcements. He supposed this place would continue serving as their second home for a moment, he figured it was for the best, Gavera remained prominent in his mind and someone else guiding the ship allowed him to get a little lost in his thoughts.
“Thinking about Runali?”
Nikos opened his eyes as Kaim walked up next to him, taking a bite out of a peeled apple.
“Thinking about Sara?” he responded.
Kaim gave him a small shrug but the grin on his face pretty much answered his question.
“…I’m glad you’re still alive…Nina.”
Nikos and Kaim glanced over at Nina and Ria, the former was reading a book, ignoring the arms currently draped over her shoulders. Nina grabbed a piece of candy from a small bag next to it and held it near her shoulder, Ria taking the treat in her mouth before turning the page.
“…I like this book…”
“Hm.”
Kaim elbowed Nikos with a smile.
“Those two are as close as ever…why don’t you and Tari try that?”
“…Tari’s arms are far too short for that and I wouldn’t care about the pace of the reading,” Nikos said arching a brow at him. “There’s also no reason for that manner of closeness, I’d let her read the book first.”
Kaim blinked a few times before running a hand through his hair deciding to just leave it at that.
“Besides Tari and Kara have retired to themselves for a bit.”
“…Ah yeah,” Kaim said bringing a hand to his chin. “Unlike the rest of us…those two aren’t too pleased about the outcome of their exchanges.”
“Well none of us are pleased about losing,” Nikos said. “Those two are just taking it harder…I can’t blame them….actually now that I think about it I never heard about your fight with Sara Masuma.”
“Oh I didn’t tell you. It was pretty casual really. I’ll tell you what happened.”

Past Gavera


Kaim couldn’t contain his excitement at the idea of seeing and fighting Sara. He felt a tad cheated since they didn’t even throw a punch in their first match. He really wanted to make the fight light, like a sparring match. Get a good feel for their patterns and general strength; everything he knew was from research, that wasn’t enough to him you really had to feel the punch of your opponent to understand them. Seeing the Stardusk ship Kaim had to resist pumping his fist in the air, they were in position and weren’t allowed to move, Nikos really liked doing stuff like this, it was a serious moment sure but he knew the older members had been waiting far longer than he had for this.

Kaim offered a small smile to Sara but couldn’t make any other movements choosing to focus his attention forward as he waited for everything to finish. Though he was supposed to stay in position he ended up breaking it at Luro’s strange request. He blinked a few times and rubbed the back of his head, his eyebrows lowering slightly as concern played across his features. He looked over at Nikos wondering how he felt about this, seeing his hand move and recognizing the order his eyes widened before a grin found its way onto his face. He gave a firm nod and slamming his hand into his fist looked over at Sara

“You’re with me Sara. Ours is a bit of walk so let’s get going. I know you’re all buddy buddy but try not to go looking for Alicia while we’re fighting, you ended up staring at their fight and we didn’t get our own.”
With a smile Kaim turned and made a motion with his hand making his way down one of the paths.
“Now I’m kind of required to actually do something if you don’t so fair warning ahead of time ya know.”

“Don’t worry, I’m right behind you.” The prospect of missing Alicia fight was quickly overshadowed by Sara’s growing excitement. It had been a long time since she felt like she had been let loose and was relishing in it. She followed alongside Kaim, only pausing to ask. “So… How far are we doing this? To first blood or all the way?”

Kaim gave her a small thumbs up hearing she was with him, he was excited too at having the chance to get things going. He had been waiting for a good fight for a bit and it was nice that he was going to get one. He walked with a slight pep in his step, the two of them heading north through the city, even past the Clock Tower though Kaim kept them away from the square since that was the other battleground. When Sara paused however he stopped and turned to her, he arched a brow at her question moving his hands behind his head.
“Oh ho you’re not going to acknowledge your friend’s request. How rebellious of you, here I thought ZZ was the rebel,” Kaim said bringing a hand to his mouth, mimicking a gossiping lass.
He turned back around continuing forward as he went to answer her question.
“There’s no capture rule anymore because of the Kill Order…so I’m pretty much going to come at you full force,” Kaim said holding up a finger. “After we warm up of course, it’s only fair since we couldn’t fight last time, just starting at you with everything would be bad.”
Kaim turned walking backwards as they continued on their way; he lowered his arms crossing them over his chest.
“It’s a brawl pretty much, once we really get the juices flowing the fight stops when the other person can’t fight anymore. Simple as that…if one of us accidentally dies than that’s just an unfortunate accident.”
Kaim said this with a firm nod before holding up a finger.

“Oh I won’t start trying to kill you from the get go of course, but yeah that’s pretty much the only stipulation. Aside from that do what you like, I can even have my people get you more weapons if you’d like. You can inspect them too, make sure you got everything you need to make this a fun engagement. I already got what I need after all so I just want to make sure your comfortable.”
With a grin Kaim turned back around and continued forward.

“The fight stops when the other person can’t fight anymore.” She echoed, remembering the last time she fought under the same rules, as she raised a hand to her scarred right side. Not the best of omens to start on, but she’ll push past it as always. All that mattered was the coming bout. “And no thanks.” She replied. “I have everything I need.” On her back was her spear and shield, and her gladius was sheathed on her left side. Additionally, she had the pistol Luro made for her concealed on her right hip. She deliberately stopped training with it once they came into contact with the pirate hunters and could potentially be her ace in the sleeve.

“Hm if you’re comfy than I’m comfy,” Kaim said raising a hand.
The walk was a rather long one, the rain had started fallen before they even reached their destination though Kaim happily led the way. He finally came to a stop at a strange part of the city. Unlike the rest of the town the place they were in was surrounding greenery, moss ran up most of the buildings, grass crunched under their feet as they walked. The entire area seemed like it had been abandoned for years, long before it was purposely abandoned years ago. The buildings remained and there was a half broken fountain near the center of their large arena but for the most part it seemed more a part of nature than the town.

“I really wanted us to have an arena…but Nikos said he wasn’t putting resources into that. Said the ‘ultimate arena is the world’ or something and put me here….pretty sure he was just being cheap.”
Kaim sighed a bit rubbing the side of his head and taking a few steps away from her, stretched his arms above his head. Kaim had no particular weapons on his person, he wore his normal baggy outfit with his long sleeves and long pants, his resemblance bearing the same as when they first met. Leaning to the side a bit he started doing some light stretches, small groans escaping from him as he rotated his shoulders pulled on his leg and rotated his body.
“Don’t wanna pull something you know,” Kaim said. “Anyway we can start whenever. Once we’re all warmed up we’ll get it going for real, let’s go ahead and get the rush started first.”
Kaim stretched his arms out in front of him before spreading his legs slightly, bringing one fist to his waist the other extended forward before lowering his body slightly.
“You ready?”

Like Kaim, Sara also started to stretch. Given that he had chosen this arena above all others seemed to suggest that there might be a few traps set or hidden weapons for Kaim to use, but somehow she doubted that was the case. He had been nothing but a perfect opponent up to this point, and that was something that she was grateful.
“Ready!” She cheerfully replied, embedding her spear into the ground taking out her gladius and shield. If he was confident enough to face her unarmed, then she had no choice but to oblige.
Seeing Sara so excited he grinned seeing her get ready, this was going to be all manners of fun.
A chance to go up against a proper opponent, being forced to hold back all this time and not fight anyone else in preparation of fighting Stardusk. He could feel his body trembling with excitement but he made himself calm down, focusing was important as he did still have somewhat of a job to do and he didn’t feel like getting yelled at.
“Let’s go then.”



Gentle Fiend VS. Fluffy-kin-Bun Bun Bottoms

Two who may shatter the world, look for truth in battle!



Kaim rotated his shoulder before he ran towards Sara a wide grin on his face as took his time getting close, he wasn’t going to rush and they were just getting started. The moment he got within striking range he put both his fist up and started throwing a flow of punches towards her torso to get a read on how she moved, his punches had a bit of speed to them but it was clear he was testing her own speed.

Sara didn’t raise her sword to strike back at him, nor did she make any form of attack. Instead, she held her shield up and let his fist kiss metal. She was curious as to how he would deal with her protection, whether he would try to go around it and therefore create an opening or do something that she had never seen before.

Kaim fist slammed into the shield and he grinned a bit seeing her go defensive, he continued to pound at her shield continuing to move forward to keep her from advancing, his attacks were constant a grin on his face as he watched her block his attacks. He even hummed to himself as he continued punching at her shield, making no effort to try to get around the shield.
However after a few moments of this he quickly shifted his footing and brought his fists sideways at the shield, unlike his other attacks he put a bit more force into this one and with a small twist pushed Sara away towards a row of trees.
He made no attempt to get around her shield as he just wanted to force her up against a wall, he sprinted forward after her, a fist at his side intending on trapping her and cutting off her movement, so he could really dig in.

It was obvious to see that he was penning her in and hoping to corner her. After seeing everything that she needed to, she switched to the offensive. She ducked under his punch to return with one of her own, a weighty hit to the belly as the gladius added more oomph to the blow. She pushed him back with her shield, driving him away until they were both back in the center of the arena. “Come on!” She taunted, raising her arms up. “Don’t tell me you’re still warming up.”

Kaim slid back with a grin at the sudden blow laughing a little as he straightened his body and rotated his arm once he stopped. This was going to be more fun than he thought, raising his hand he rubbed the back of his head and gave a small shake of his head.
“Haha I’m good now, I’ve got a good feel now.”
Kaim rolled up his sleeves revealing large black iron rings on his arms, with a small movement the rings all fell forward and Kaim tossed them to the side, the rings hit the ground throwing up dirt and dust as small craters formed in the earth around them. Kaim leaned down rolling up his pants legs, removing a few circular objects tossing them over his shoulder. Ignoring the loud crash that came from behind him as he hopped from foot to foot.
“Hm hm okay, now that those are off.”

Kaim looked over at Sara and smiled, he pointed at her chest before four of his fingers touched against her stomach the man wasting little time getting back into his striking range. With a grin he moved his body his hand closing into a fist pushing Sara back with a focused strike. He raised his hand above his eyebrow and leaned forward a bit at the new distance, he may as well have used a club with the force he was putting into his strikes now, flexing his hand he grinned.
“Oh yeah I’m warmed up we can get started now, you can come back at me whenever I’m ready.”

Training weights? They were fairly common among gladiators in Tilea, but only while training or sparring, not on a day-to-day basis that Sara now suspected Kaim did. It’ll mean that he’ll be faster but it shouldn’t make that much of a difference. About half a second later, she was knocked back, wheezing from the sudden blow. She dropped to a knee, coughing while she held her shield up. He was fast, but she still had an advantage. Standing back, she sheathed her gladius and turned around to take her embedded spear. She, once again, stood her in a defensive position now using her added reach to her advantage.

Kaim hopped from foot to foot before lowering his body, rushing towards Sara again, his body weaved in and out of sight each step blowing apart the art as he drew closer to Sara. Seeing her grab her spear he blinked a few times and with a grin jumped kicking off a tree propelling himself in the air. Spinning his form he quickly descended towards Sara bringing his leg up aiming an axe kick down at her as he fell towards her.

Sara, surprisingly, dropped both her spear and shield as he jumped in the air. She pivoted on the spot and reached up to grab Kaim’s descending leg. She latched onto it and heaved hard. She didn’t try to absorb the blow but rather she sought to translate it. Instead of the force focusing on his leg, now his momentum was on his face that was rapidly approaching the ground.

Seeing her drop her weapons a grin escaped from Kaim as he approached, the moment his leg was grabbed a loud laugh escaped from him. Feeling himself moving towards the ground he made a fist slamming it into the earth, creating a small crater in the process, wasting little time he used the bit of extra room to put his arms down and rolling forward used the extra momentum to throw Sara away from her weapons, rolling and climbing to his feet.
With a grin Kaim ran towards her jumping and sliding along the earth as he brought his fist back preparing to slam it into her body the moment she landed.

She staggered back and was knocked down, but as she fell she scooped up a handful of grit and sand and threw it at Kaim’s eyes. Rolling, she braced herself in a low crouching position and kicked down at his shins, taking advantage of his blindness.

His fist started to move forward the moment Sara landed before his vision went dark, a small groan escaped from him as he reached up to rub his eyes, he moaned a bit paying no mind to the attack coming, though his foot moved at the last second colliding with Sara’s leg stopping the attack as he held up a finger to her with a small grin. Moving away as he finally found sight again, he made motion towards her weapons in the distance before making a motion to himself.

“I can’t fight you if you don’t have your weapons. Go ahead and get them. I’ll wait,” Kaim said holding up a hand. “I’ll get the rest of this stuff out of my eyes while you do that. That was good attempt though, same thing I would have done.”

Sara had no mercy. When his arm extended to hold up a finger, she grabbed his wrist with both hands to pull to his body and roll him across her back. She slammed him into the ground, pinning his chest with one hand as she reached for the gladius that was still sheathed to her side.

Kaim felt his body hit the ground, and he kept his eyes shut not able to really see anyway a small sigh escaping from him. He supposed that reaction made sense, there was no need to be nice than. He rolled back wrapping legs around Sara’s neck before rolling forward slamming her into the earth mounting her the moment he was free. He brought his fist back and started punching her skull, his attacks steadily getting more forceful, one of his attacks slammed into the earth breaking it apart in the process. He brought his fist back again wholly prepared to break her skull since there was little need for formalities anymore.

Sara felt her body roll over and her vision suddenly filled with blood. Blinded and in pain, she lashed out with her gladius. She felt the blade connect and, with a sickening squelching noise, ripped it out of him.

Kaim looked down feeling the blade hit his shirt, he blinked a few times before he felt something rip out of him, he immediately climbed off Sara before his fist could connect and he stumbled backwards holding his side. An orange liquid decorated his hands and he dug into his sleeve and pulled out now useless oranges, he held his arm up looking at his now ripped sleeve.
“Ahhh you cut my oranges. I was saving those for later. The hell Sara,” Kaim exclaimed tossing the fruit aside.
Kaim looked at his now wet sleeve, the blade had clearly cut through it but there wasn’t a single mark on his skin, not even the sign of a cut, he shook his sleeve off with a content sigh.
“...you know you can’t cut me right?” Kaim said tossing the fruit aside. “That sword ain’t sharp enough.”
Kaim shoved a hand in his pocket.
“...you...haven’t been trying to kill me like a normal guy right? You know that I’ve been negating most of your attacks with my power right...please tell me you noticed…”

Sara rolled on to her feet and blinked. “Power?” She said. “What power?” She looked down at her sword and instead of the scarlet splash of blood that she was expecting, all that stained her blade was the sweet stickiness that was citrus juice. Her sword was Tilean Steel, some of the finest in the world, so how come it couldn’t punch through?

Kaim blinked at Sara’s comment and reaching up ruffled his hair with a small sigh, digging into his pocket he pulled out a small dagger. He disliked carrying weapons but he also had apples on him that he was going to peel later. He was actually thankful he kept it for later; it would probably help to explain the situation a bit easier now.
“Didn’t Zilia give you a lesson in this stuff…goodness I thought it was weird there wasn’t much kick to your attacks,” Kaim said twirling the dagger.
He stabbed himself in the heart without hesitation, though his shirt ripped his skin remained untouched, he even moved it around but no wound showed no matter how much he did it.
“My Armament stops attacks…you know that thing Jack uses.”
Kaim held his hand out his arm turning black as he let the armament coat his arm.
“I heard you guys knew about it so I thought you could use it too. I mean you fought in the arena after all, against all kinds of people, I figured you’d have at least some Haki experience…anyone can learn this stuff after all.”
Kaim let the Haki fade from his body and returned the dagger to his pocket.
“My Armament is especially powerful, Haki already forms and invisible armor around your body naturally, I don’t even have to concentrate to stop sword attacks, I’ve fought all kinds of people strengthening my Haki for years. Swords and the like can’t cut my skin, not without a little oomph to them. One of the reasons why I don’t use weapons I don’t consider it fair. That steel is really sharp though it cut my shirt, that only happens with good steel but it’s not going to do anything to my skin. Doesn’t matter how fine the steel is, you could cut my neck right now and it’d just cut right through without damaging me.”
Kaim smiled and folded his hands behind his back.
“Hehehe so summon your Armament so you can break through my defenses. Let’s really get started.”

Sara flatly, and somewhat awkwardly, stared at him. “I, uh, don’t have one.” Which was true, she still hadn’t mastered the Power of Destruction to the extent that she could use it in combat, but not for lack of trying.

Kaim’s jaw dropped at Sara’s response and reaching up he rubbed the side of his head. That was…a shock to say the least. He brought his hand down to his chin and looking back at Sara gave a small nod before holding his hands up.
“Kay I surrender then, you win,” Kaim said simply.
Taking a step back he sat on a nearby stone and rested his cheek on his fist, before offering a grin to Sara.
“You’re a pretty creative person, and you’re good at adapting. Like with those kitchen knives that one time,” Kaim said pointing at her. “This…doesn’t feel right to me though. It doesn’t seem fair to me…if we’re going to collide head on it should be comfortably, fighting as we always do.”

Kaim made a fist at this and with a small pump gave a firm nod before leaning forward resting his arms on his knees; he smiled a little before shrugging.
“Honestly we hard orders from Nikos to surrender if we couldn’t defeat you. Not to fight to the death…due to Luro’s earlier outbursts I imagine, so there was little need to come at you with the intent to kill in the first place.”
Kaim stood up and brushed off his bottom before holding his hand out.
“Even without Armament I could feel the blow of your attacks, and the way you moved spoke of your experience more than words ever could. If you’re able to achieve that much without Armament…then if you’d learn it…you’d be so much more fun to fight!”
Kaim grinned at this and held his hand out towards her more.
“Learn how to use Armament. I’m sure Jack and Runali could help. Zilia also seems to be studying it too. Grow even stronger than you are now…hell if you can take me out with something other than Armament I’d be even more impressed.”
There seemed to be a hidden inclination in his words but he didn’t let it linger too long.
“Until then stay alive and let’s fight each other again. I’ll get stronger too in preparation for that day. I’ll really go all out next time!”

“Wait… What?” Sara was confused, but she couldn’t exactly tell at what. “You’re surrendering? You were going to surrender? You never were intending to kill us? W-what was even the point of all this?!” She understood, and even related to. Kaim’s desire to fight an even opponent on an even battlefield with even weapons, but still felt foolish. He had his duty, so why was he hesitating?

Kaim pulled his hand back tilting his head at Sara seeing her confusion, but she wasn’t trying to stab him in the face so she probably understood where he was coming from…probably. Though as she asked her questions a small laugh escaped from him and he scratched his cheek, those were worthwhile questions, and it made sense figuring everything that had happened up to this point.
“Ah well…you see. You guys know we’re not fighting you for your bounties right? We’re all here to fight you for our own reasons. There’s something you guys…Stardusk can bring us, you give us something by meeting us like this full force. Something only you guys can provide.
I couldn’t tell you the point of all this. I’m pretty low on the ladder that stuff is for the big dogs to fight about, I’m just here for a fight, that’s it. If I win I win if I lose I lose, I’m not the person to ask for all that complex stuff.”

Kaim offered a grin at this and laughed a little moving his hands to his hips, he seemed a bit too proud of his position on the matter. Lowering his head he pounded his chest.
“The Messengers have a promise amongst each other…we don’t do anything that goes against our own code. Fighting you like this goes against how I do things, Nikos will understand that. However I do still have to try and kill you in the future or he’ll stab me for letting you go. Something about ‘shame’ or something like that. I don’t know and I don’t really care, I just want to fight you later and it falls into place like that so win-win for everyone.”
Kaim held his hand out again.
“Don’t gotta make it complicated. Just promise to fight me later and go find your friend.”

“Okay… That makes some sense, I guess…” It didn’t as the adrenaline gradually left her system,she felt dazed and confused, the blow to the head taking its toll. Her left eye was swollen shut and a cut on her forehead meant that she constantly had to wipe her vision clear with the back of her hand. “Tell me though…” As she looked around her immediate area. “...Where is he again?”


Present

“Then I pointed her in the direction of the Clock Tower and that was it,” Kaim said.
Kaim turned to Nikos before he jumped away as something moved through the air, looking at his cut bangs he could guess what almost hit him as he slid back a bit.
“Oi! You almost cut me.”
“Don’t be silly,” Nikos said turning fully to face him. “I attacked slowly so you’d dodge it.”
“You call this slow!” Kaim said pointing at his cut bangs.
Kaim took a small step back seeing the look in Nikos’ eyes, his face was calm but there was nothing but anger in his gaze.
“H-hey I thought you’d be proud of me here. I didn’t go against my own code.”
“I am pleased that you kept to your convictions yes…but you still let an enemy go and as your leader I must at least administer a punishment for that.”
“Seriously! Oi Nina Ria help me ou-”
Kaim looked over at Ria and Nina only to see the door to below deck slam shut.
“Traitors!”
“Now now Kaim hold still. I might hit a lethal point if you dodge me…that’d be unfortunate.”
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.


The pure white space again, two single wooden chairs sitting in front of each other. The same place devoid of any life, save one man who was holding his head and slowly rocking back and forth in one of the seats. Luro grit his teeth staring at what he could only consider the floor since he wasn’t falling and his boots were firmly planted.
“…it’s not my fault,” he mumbled. “It’s not my fault…I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“…it is our fault.”
Luro raised his head to see Cloaky sitting in the chair in front of him, he blinked a few times as he stared at the face of the other Luro, the only one that had his same features. The other ones were nowhere near, but what made him uncomfortable was the fact his voice sounded…louder.
“You’re not imagining it,” Cloaky said touching his chest. “I can speak again. It’s not just in your head…apparently I found my voice.
He lowered his hood with a small sigh and leaned forward resting his hands in his lap.
“We messed up…badly.”
“No I didn’t!” Luro said standing up knocking his chair down in the process. “I didn’t do anything! It was Lina! Lina’s the one who went and did all this I was just…I was just…”
“We pulled the trigger ourselves,” Cloaky said closing his eyes. “It’s my fault.”
“No you’re not to blame; it’s not your fault. We were manipulated, forced into thinking she was the enemy.”
“She told us she wasn’t.”
“She lied!”
Luro opened his eyes staring at the standing Cloaky in front of him, breathing heavily and pacing back and forth as he continued holding his head.
“…This is over,” Luro said standing up. “I’m done with this.”
Cloaky turned and looked over at him, a small laugh escaped from him and turning he walked up and put his hands on Luro’s shoulders.
“You’re kidding right….right?”
Luro shook his head and Cloaky took a few steps away from him, glaring at him he pointed at himself.
“You need me! A hell of a lot more than I need you! I make everything right. I am the better one!”
“…if you were Lina and Nura wouldn’t be dead.”
“Screw them! I did what you wanted.”
“I didn’t want this.”
“Does it even matter anymore!”
“It does…I’m telling everyone the truth.”

A small chuckle escaped from Cloaky before he broke out into laughter, he turned and grabbing his chair lifted it before hurling it at Luro, the chair flew past him shattering on the ground. Cloaky held his arms out a wide grin on his face as he met Luro’s calm expression.
“They don’t want you! I’m the fun one! I’m the one that makes them laugh! They don’t even know who you are! Masu prefers me, Jack likes my company, the Captain feels the most comfortable around me, Z enjoys my easygoing nature, Kadi trust me and wasn’t it Alicia who told me to never change? My friends want nothing to do with you. You’re basically a stranger forcing your way into my position!”
Luro stared at Cloaky who lowered his head with a sigh and rubbed the back of his head.
“…you’re right…I’ve lied…and they probably will be surprised at…me,” Cloaky said. “…I have faith in my friends though. That they’ll accept me, I believe them to be better than that.”
Luro stared at Cloaky who sighed and brought a hand to his head, offering him a smirk and a shrug.
“…fine…not like I can stop you at this point anyway,” Cloaky said. “In the end it doesn’t matter…cause I’ll always be here. Just waiting for you to give up again. When you want to forget…when you’re tired of everything…I’ll be in your back pocket…you call me whenever you want me again…which I imagine will be pretty soon.”
Cloaky’s body faded a low chuckle filling the area and Luro gripped his chest, closing his eyes. Opening them he found himself back in the rum room, his grip tightening on his shirt as he slowly rose from his chair. He was never sure how much of that was real but…he felt like himself at the very least. He couldn’t just ignore the pain anymore; with a sigh he looked at his freshly bandaged wounds courtesy of Zilia before he took a deep breath and made his way to the others.


The ship was quiet after they all separated. It gave each of them time to sit in whatever festering emotions they had, whether it was confusion or despair. A lot happened and even Runali had a hard time keeping up. The captain had slipped away into her cabin, after helping Kadi figure out a destination far, far from where they were. It would take a few weeks to get there, but it was a risk the captain was willing to take if it meant putting distance between them and all of the mess they had been through.
For awhile, Runali sunk into her hammock staring at the ceiling and trying to recollect her thoughts. She thanked Zilia for bandaging her up, idly making fun of her about having more injuries. “Can’t believe I was more careful than you.” Her joking was more of a reassurance to herself that things weren’t completely lost to chaos. For most of that time, Runali spent it carefully going over a few newspapers and other things she stored in her desk drawer, trying to keep herself busy, only wanting to focus on the future. It wasn’t until night had fully set in did she remember the note Mia had given her. So before she walked out to meet the rest of the crew and to hear what Luro had to say, she leaned against her door and read through what it said.




Captain Lev.

If you’re reading this than my brother is awake and back to his old self…but that also means that I’m no longer of this world. Firstly allow me to apologize for all the torment I’ve put you and your crew through. My selfish desire to gain my brother back caused you all far too much trouble.

I....don’t believe Luro will be able to read this letter immediately when he comes back…knowing him he’s blaming himself for my death, when about a day has passed and you have a chance show him this. Let him know I willingly chose this. I took away his reason to be Luro…our family history isn’t the best and Luro sacrificed his future so I could have one…I’m just giving it back to him. Though I honestly wished we could have lived it together…but so long as our promise remained…it was impossible for both of us to live at the same time and my brother isn’t the type to break promises sadly.

I’m sure you have plenty of questions with no answers…I wish I could give you all the answers you needed…you wanted but I’m afraid I can’t…I also lied to you. I’m not the leader of the Red Ravens…I work as one of his closest Hunters but that’s the extent of my power. Now that I’m gone Mia is the leader of the Lupus Noctis. You may consider them your ally if you like, I told Mia to hold no grudges no matter how this all ended and she is my most trusted friend and ally. If she’s given you this letter than she’s kept her word.

Captain Lev I have no right to ask a favor of you…especially after all the pain I’ve caused but you…Stardusk are the only people I can depend on for this...my brother can be a bit of a pain, he makes tons of mistakes, he’ll probably be rude a few times and offensive…but know that he cares for all you from the bottom of his heart…I can see it in the way he looks at you. Please don’t take away his home, the only one he has left. He’ll need a family now…another purpose. I believe in you, I think you’d let him stay anyway…but I can’t help but fear at the same time.

Nura and myself both wanted to save Luro…but you guys kind of beat us to it, we just reminded him of that. Take care of him and yourselves.

Lina.

P.S. I owe you a drink when you eventually make it to Jones. No rush though, become Pirate Captain first so I can brag a little that I know you. I won’t have too many friends down there.”



As she read the letter, she hadn’t realized she slid into a sitting position against the door. For some reason, it felt as if she was holding her breathe the entire time she was reading it because once she was done, she released a deep sigh. Her hand ran across her face, shifting the eyepatch out of place and ruffling her hair a little. For a moment, she didn’t know how to feel or what to say. She was just numb. Runali could read the letter a thousand times over and nothing would change what happened unfortunately.

“..Ugh.” Her head hit the door softly and she sighed a little louder. “Even in death, you’re killin’ me here.” Runali rubbed the back of her neck and mumbled. “And if you two don’t have anything besides the red hair in common, you sure know how to ask for dozens of favors…” It was supposed to be a grumbly complaint, but the words only came out as a tired exasperation. Pushing herself off the floor, Runali carefully folded the note back and tucked it safely in her desk. “At least it’s a favor I don’t mind doing.” With Lina’s… what Runali could consider ‘last words’ in mind, she made her way towards the kitchen, grabbing a drink not stashed away in the ship for once, and waited for the rest of the crew to eventually file in as well.

Luro walked into the room making his way to the head of the table, he glanced at the Captain and Zilia offering a small nod to both before calmly waiting for the others. Once everyone was there Luro stood up from his seat and clearing his throat gathered everyone’s attention. He took a deep breath in and out, silently saying something to himself. He seemed a tad out of sorts and it was pretty clear he was nervous as he took an extra moment to open his eyes and look at the crew.
“Everyone…thanks for lending me your attention,” Luro said.
He sounded like his usual self minus his jovial tone, he spoke normally and casually, his voice light but loud, he also spoke complete sentences as well sounding out his words and speaking bit more properly.

“First and foremost…” Luro said before lowering his head slightly. “I’m sorry for all the trouble I caused you. Because of my foolishness I put everyone in danger including those you care for. I’m really sorry for putting you all through that.”
Luro raised his head only to lower it again; he stayed that way for a moment before raising his head.
“…I’ve…lied to you guys about…well a lot of things. Not just with my words but actions. Creating a person who acted a certain way, said certain things and carried certain mannerisms, making myself into that person to be both more approachable and trusting…I can’t even call it a mask. I didn’t do it out of any survival or necessity; it was just me not being me. I was wholly aware of every action I’ve taken though and I did it willingly so I have no excuse for anything I’ve done.”
Luro lowered his head again before raising it and looking back at everyone.
“Due to that…I want to introduce myself again. Properly introduce myself…I don’t want to lie to you guys about myself anymore. So I want to fix that by doing this again and I wanted everyone her for it as you’re all a part of my life now…so…will you hear me out?”

The captain’s eyes fell closed as she waited. She heard the footsteps inside, but she decidedly hummed a soft and familiar tune. If they listened long enough, they’d be able to catch on to that it was Ray’s Stardusk song. It brought a sense of peace, especially considering Ray had always sang it after long and tiring adventures. It was a shame he couldn’t sing it now.
Her one eye opened as she heard Luro speak and she let her chair fall back onto all fours. Her arms were crossed, but she gave him a curious gaze, listening carefully to every word he said. It was odd at first. The Luro she knew was there, at least, it looked like it. But every word seemed almost foreign and not something that fit… for Luro.

But there he was, explaining just that. He wasn’t who he said he was. Or he was something- someone else. It made Runali lean on the table, resting her chin in her hand. She looked up at Luro again, the curiosity never leaving her eye. “No more lies? No more secret organizations angry at you and trying to kill us?” The last part was said with a bit of a teasing tone, but she continued, this time gesturing towards him. “Go on Luro, you called us here, say what you need to.”

“Well no more lies about me,” Luro said with a small nod. “I…can’t promise lies about what I’ve done the last few days. I mean I know Jack, Sara, Kadi and Alicia are going to be mad at me…so I kind of want to lie about what I did…but we’ll talk about that another time,” Luro said rubbing the back of his head.
“I’m pretty sure at least two more organizations want me dead but they shouldn’t bother us…one thinks I died four years ago and the other one we’re already enemies with so…no problem there.”
Luro took a deep breath and raised his hand before placing it on his chest.

“Everyone! It’s nice to meet you…uh again. My name is not Luro Makachi. Feel free to call me by that name though as I feel I have no right to go by my proper name right now anyway,” Luro started. “Uh…let’s see what is true about me. Oh I like drinking, that part was true. I enjoy a good drink, I’m partial to rum but I also don’t mind wine found in the west sea….uh…oh I like violence. That part was true too, I find it hard to find the right words so sometimes it’s easier just to show things. Because of that I’ve made a lot friends by punching them in the face. I mean…I ultimately killed them so…it was a short friendship.”
Luro lowered his hand and ran it through his hair realizing he probably shouldn’t have mentioned that part.
“Oh uh I’m fine with killing too. So no worries there Captain if you want someone dead, I won’t hesitate at all. I mean I didn’t enjoy it as much I made myself appear too but I have little issue pulling the trigger when need be.”
Luro brought a hand to his chin trying to think of something else.
“I have knowledge in gunsmithing, I even know basic metalworking too…I’m a Carpenter but you knew that already….”
Luro trailed off his eyebrows drawing down slightly before a small sigh escaped from him as he looked back at everyone.
“That’s…about it. I’ve been…well an imposter for a long time so I can’t confidently tell you anything else without it feeling like a lie…there’s a mess of things about myself I’m not sure about. I created fake desires, fake beliefs, fake…fake everything…and it’s at a point where I can’t tell what’s real and what…what I made up. So…those are the things I know are absolutely a fact. Anything else…I’m not sure about.”

Luro voice had dropped a bit there and he rubbed the side of his head, he was ashamed that was all he could really say about himself, though as he took a moment to think he turned back towards everyone.
“Ah but I do care about you guys. I know that. You guys really helped me out. You gave me way too many chances but I appreciate it. I can mess up sometimes; I’ll probably offend some of you but know that I’m trying my hardest to be myself…whatever that is. I’m just gonna do what feels right…and hope it’s not just another fabrication…but I feel like I can tell the difference. I won’t go back to being an imposter. Nura and Lina…and you guys helped me realize I can’t stay that way. So I’ll be who I am…as soon as I figure out how to do that, but this feels right.”

When Luro finished, the captain was once again leaning back in her chair. She wasn’t looking at him while he spoke. There was always something about looking into people’s eyes, searching for lies in the things they said, but Runali didn’t want to look. She had looked in Luro’s plenty of times, finding nothing but questions and mysteries. There were truths, she wouldn’t deny it, but over the years she had come to trust what she saw and now he was telling them all that even he didn’t really know who he was any more. “Well-” Runali started, only to remember Lina’s words. ’Take care of him.’ It made her realize what she wanted to say would have pushed the matter to the side, taking the easy way out. She wanted to simply nod and say okay and keep things moving, but that wasn’t how things worked. Not as a captain, and not as a friend. So, Runali straightened up and looked Luro in the eye with a softer expression.

“Well, Luro,” She paused for a brief moment. Hearing that his name wasn’t really Luro made the name a little odd to say, but she quickly got over it. “By the sounds of it, you have a lot more learning about yourself than we do.” Her fingers tapped on the table while she thought of what to say. “But that doesn’t mean I-” She looked at her crew, “-we, won’t be there to help you figure it out.” Runali gave a small shrug. “By the sound of it, most of what you said is not very new, but rather a confirmation of what I did know. Not saying you’re the same redhead… giant. But, at least it’s not too, too far from what we know now.” She slid the barely touched bottle of rum over to Luro and offered a smile. “So, to a new Luro then?”

Luro looked over at Runali blinking a few times as she spoke, his eyes slowly widened and his gaze fell over the rest of the table, a small smile on his face as he raised his sleeve to his face wiping at it as a small but light chuckle escaped from him. He seemed far more relaxed now to a point where he almost fell back into his chair.
“I don’t deserve friends like you…seriously,” Luro said lowering his arm. “Thanks for understanding…to a new Luro.”
Luro raised his bottle and took large drink from it, Zilia doing the same before setting hers down.
“Oh right since I’m being honest now,” Luro said digging into his sleeve. “Z catch.”
Zilia caught the bottle from Luro’s sleeve, noticing what it was her eyes narrowed and she looked up at him.
“I had been carefully measuring the doses you were giving everyone trying to figure out how much I could administer to keep them from moving but not enough to remove the pain. You know…for the torture,” Luro said. “Except Alicia I didn’t want to risk it so hers was quick, I already know her dosage…uh not that I’ll use it mind you.”
Zilia’s eyes twitched and Luro’s gaze moved around the table.
“Sara…Masu…I’ll stick with Masu if that’s okay. Clean your spear…just…clean it thoroughly. Trust me on this one.”
Luro’s attention moved over to Jack.

“Jack throw the nuts in the kitchen overboard please. They’re…highly volatile so no one should eat them. If you have eaten them…avoid large heat sources for a little bit. Till they digest fully.”
Luro brought a hand to his chin before pointing at Kadi.
“Kadi throw out your spare compass…don’t ask why just get rid of it. You don’t want it anymore.”
Luro tapped the side of his head motioning to Alicia.
“Alicia don’t drink any of the tea on your second shelf, throw it all out. I’m sorry if it was expensive just…get rid of it immediately.”
Luro looked over at Runali clearing his throat.

“Captain…throw out all your blue eye patches. I’m not sure which ones I…’messed’ with so to be safe get rid of them…oh and Z throw away the second edition of the book you have of the plants of the northern hemisphere or purify it with fire either or.”
Luro clapped his hands together with a small smile.
“I think that’s everything so yeah there you go.”
Zilia reached up and squeezed the bridge of her nose shaking her head slightly.
“…well I know one thing is true…he’s still not right in the head,” Zilia thought smiling a little.

The peace faded rather quickly when Runali responded, her brow furrowing a little. She knew he was… clearing the air- or his conscious- or whatever he wanted to call it but Runali couldn’t help but drag a hand down her face and sigh. “But the blue ones are for special occasions…” She grumbled but nodded. “You’re buying me another then.” She was starting to regret giving Luro her drink but decided to get up and grab another. “And you’re sure that’s it? You weren’t plotting against CP were you, because that’d just be cruel.” At the mention of the bird, CP cooed from her perch on the counter space, receiving a pet from Runali. “I s’pose I do appreciate the honesty though.” She waved it away. “Aye. So ‘new’ Luro,” She pointed to the symbol on his chest. “Old Stardusk. Or-” Runali slid back into her chair and set the drink down. Her brow furrowed again and she spoke a little softer. “Or does this new Luro come with a… new outlook on life too?” She didn’t want to ask nor would she ever directly ask if he wanted to leave, but she felt it was important to cover every base now that Luro was trying to figure out who he was. And the last thing she wanted to do was force him into being a Stardusk.

Luro raised a hand as confirmation at buying the Captain another, though at the mention of CP Luro’s gaze moved over to his friendly aviary companion. Staring at the bird he pat something in his sleeve letting out a nervous chuckle, it was pretty clear that he apparently had plans for their feathery companion as well.
“Only if she saw something,” Luro said. “I’ll get rid of it.”
“Why? It’s not like she can talk…I don’t get the logic.” Zilia thought putting the bottle back in her pocket.

Luro was about to sit down feeling he had interrupted enough but stopped when the Captain spoke to him once again, his eyes moved down to the Stardusk symbol on his chest. Running his fingers over it he remained silent, his brows lowering slightly as he seemed to hesitate at the answer. Though after a brief moment he smiled and lowered his hand.
“If not for Lina I probably wouldn’t know,” Luro said. “When she asked me to join her crew I hesitated. If I didn’t care about staying I wouldn’t have done that…she saw right through me.”
Luro smiled a little before moving his hands into his sleeves with a small shrug.
“I can say for certain I want to stay a Stardusk,” Luro said. “That and I’ve done horrible things to all kinds of people and committed countless crimes…I don’t really have any other options. You guys are also okay that I wanted to kill you so…seems like a good place to stay with no hard feelings.”
Zilia narrowed her eyes at Luro causing him to avert his gaze from her.
“…okay some hard feelings…but still I’m comfortable here…and I’m pretty sure no other crew would take a guy with my kind of baggage…and you stuck by me through this whole thing. Even if I don’t know myself that well…I know what you guys did for me and that’s enough.”

Runali couldn’t help the audible sigh of relief when he decided to stay. Sure, the fiasco with the Ravens was exhausting, but losing crew members always seemed to drain the captain beyond compare. At first, she only nodded in response, letting the crew take in what he said. And then she realized something. It made her stiffen a little and look down at the table. It made her frown a little too, but she closed her eyes and took a breath. “...Wait.” Runali looked at Luro and then at her crew. “As your friend… my thoughts and opinions… my trust in you has not changed-” She waved her hand back and forth and added, “for the most part. And I’m glad that you’re staying.” And then her arms crossed and she looked at the rest of her crew before mustering up a serious expression and looking at Luro. “But as your- as the captain of the Stardusk pirates… Not only have I made it my goal to keep everyone safe, I have to make it my mission that everyone… feels safe as well- or, safe as one can be under a pirate flag.” She refrained from looking as uneasy as she felt, knowing that she had responsibilities that she had to honor.

“Trust… is a finicky thing to have. Hard to gain, easy to lose… as unfortunate as that is.” Her fist clenched for a moment. “I can’t-” She could but it wouldn’t be fair. “I may be the captain but this crew has a say in what happens on this ship as well.” It looked like she was fighting for the right words to say, but ultimately she sighed. “You’re here to stay Luro. But you’ve got to earn that trust back.” She gestured over to the rest of the crew. “I may trust you, but there’s no guarantee that they do.” Despite it, Runali knew she was still being selfish. She wanted to give her crew the opportunity to voice their concerns with whether he stayed or left, but not only did Lina’s note echo in her mind, but her own conscious of the matter. The same Luro or not, they had been through hell and back together and she wasn’t- she couldn’t just kick him off her ship. Runali figured after all this time, threats and near death, it was crazy to just readily accept Luro once more but… she was the captain of the Stardusk and crazy was just starting to come with the job at this point.

Luro was starting to sit down again only to stop at the Captain’s request, Zilia seemed confused herself as well. Both noticed the Captain looked a tad uncomfortable. When she spoke Luro realized why she was hesitating a bit. He brought a hand to his face but offered a small nod to her to at least show he was listening. The Captain was in the end the Captain, he couldn’t blame her for asking that question. He had done a lot of ill to everyone and each person had a right to voice their opinion on the matter, just because he might have been accepted didn’t mean he necessarily had the right to stay either.

“I understand Captain,” Luro said offering a small but slightly sad smile. “I wouldn’t expect to just be trusted when all I’ve done is lied to you from the moment I’ve known you. I may not be smart but even I know that. I’d be lying if I said I’d be fine if I was treated like a complete stranger…but I wouldn’t be able to blame anyone either. I messed up, lied and betrayed your trust. I have no excuses…I’d hold nothing against any member of Stardusk if they didn’t trust me anymore. That’s why I chose to be honest in the first place; I have no right to expect any kind of trust in me if I can’t put mine in anyone else. So there’s no need to stress Captain. I mean worst case I’m voted off the ship. At that point I can point you to a good Carpenter who could keep the ship together.”

Zilia wasn’t wholly sure if Luro was serious but he didn’t seem to be joking, or at least it didn’t seem like it. Runali did raise a good point though, after all that happened could she honestly say she trusted Luro? Was she really thinking about it or just going with the flow right now, in this moment the Captain was asking an important question. Putting the Captain’s trust aside, Zilia looked at Luro and really had to ask if she trusted the man in front of her, the man who went by a false name, tried to kill them and had created this whole mess.
Luro smiled but unlike usual where she couldn’t tell what was behind it, she could clearly see the sadness, the fact he was trying not to worry the Captain or anyone else. It was so plain on his face it was a little painful.

In times like this, Runali was consciously aware of the facial expressions she made, mainly to keep them in check as to not give too much of what she felt away. Her eyes stayed on the table, but it was obvious she was listening, giving small nods here and there when Luro responded. She kept her mouth shut, knowing her own biases would come to play the moment she started talking again. This wasn’t just her decision, she had to remind herself. The idea of the worst case scenario made her think of the note again, and what followed was a speedy list of possible actions she would have to take if she wanted to keep both her crew and Luro’s sister at ease. Runali managed to reel in her thoughts for the time being, to focus on what the crew had to say first.
 

Winter

Queen of cold.
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After returning to the ship Alicia had spent the majority of her time in her room, not even making an appearance in her usual spot at the bow of the Lady Luck where she'd often be found meditating or performing one of her many other rituals. Instead she'd preferred to close the door and just be alone for a while, to think over the recent events and let her mind and body rest without interference from anyone else. She'd had to fold up her clothes she'd worn in her fight against Tari, the fabric town and in need of stitch work to make them decent again. Fortunately she had another set so it wasn't too big a deal.

The swordswoman wouldn't have been seen again till they were all summoned into the kitchen for a meeting, which wasn't too unusual albeit strange that it was at the request of Luro after everything that'd happened. With a small sigh she gathered herself, tying her white hair into it's usual position before grabbing her sword and making her way to the kitchen. She had to close her eyes for a moment and readied herself for his usual brand of strange weirdness, feeling that she might not be ready to handle it right now without having to restrain herself from snapping at him after everything that'd happened.

She would have arrived shortly after Runali, making her way to the back corner before she would opt to stand and let the others take the seats at the table. Then Luro began to speak and she was rather surprised to find he appeared as an entirely different person save for wearing the same features, although there was something different in his eyes that she was sure everyone could see. Her brow furrowed as he continued, critically watching him to see if this was just another trick or ruse to get them to let their guard down so that he could lead them into another false sense of security. But, it just didn't seem to be there.

In all the years she'd known Luro this was something she hadn't experienced with him before, well... sure enough Luro had engaged her on a serious-ish topic of conversation in the past but this was something different. When he mentioned the various items of their belongings he'd tempered with she felt her body tense, party because she was annoyed and partly because she was a little worried about how things could have gone. From the sounds of it though he hadn't planned on risking keeping her alive, which would probably have been a mercy if the 'old' Luro would have been their torturer. Still not a pleasant thought.

Her eyes moved to Runali as she spoke her responses, moving to the rest of the room before resting on Luro finally. "I suppose I will start" she eventually spoke, standing with her arms folded across her chest as she looked at Luro. "After everything that's happened I can't stand here and claim to still trust you" she paused trying to find the words, "But... I won't ask you to leave either. You will have to earn my trust back" she exhaled seeming to have made up her mind. It seemed like Alicia was finished but the Feian narrowed her eyes slightly before she continued, her features taking on a more serious expression.

"That being said, if I find this is another trick or you give me any reason to suspect you're going back to your old ways... Luro, I will kill you. Even if the consequence of that means I leave the crew permanently" there was nothing in Alicia at that moment that suggested she was even remotely playing around. She spoke it almost as a certainty that the event would come to pass should he revert back to who he claims he was. Her expression softened again as she sighed, "And that is where I stand, for now" she finished, tilting her head respectfully towards Runali to signify she was done.
 

SilentxChaos

Vivid Imaginings
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Jack watched the man named Luro Makachi with unreadable eyes. He leaned against the wall opposite of Alicia, now and again reaching up to stroke C.P.'s breast feathers with stiff motions. His attention never wavered from Luro Makachi. What they went through, Jack would be lying to himself if he said he knew how to feel towards the man that started it all. Started it, manipulated by it, ultimately fallen to it. The face Luro wore... Jack could tell, something broke inside. The contrite look he gave- the poorest attempt Jack ever witnessed to shield anxiety with calm- was also at the expense of not worrying his crew. It was the most honest expression he ever witnessed.

Jack couldn't look at it.

His gaze averted to the floorboards until the captain opened the conversation to the rest of them. Did they trust Luro Makachi? Jack's eyes closed. Such a loaded question to be aired in front of everyone. Alicia was brave to step up first and voice her feelings openly. He envied her resolution. He didn't know what to feel or how to act. The hell they just went through... why on earth would Luro deserve their trust?

The words he spoke to Ria echoed in his mind."This crew... is all I have left."

Inhaling, Jack pushed off the wall. He walked right up to the sitting giant, looking at him blankly. He stopped at the side of his chair, still staring, not sure what he wanted to do or say. His hands were stuffed in his trouser pockets; slowly, he removed one, and held it out to Luro.

"Luro Makachi? Nice to finally meet you," he gave a small smile. "A new introduction deserves a new greeting. Wouldn't you agree?"

Jack's face softened. "The way I see it, we all got burdens to bear. Yet a wise captain once told me that secrets revealed too soon, and actions taken prematurely, could lead to more harm than good," he glanced at Runali as he spoke, slipping her a sly smile. "And honest trust... isn't the kind I place my faith in.

"Alright. I accept you as you are, Luro Makachi, and who you may find yourself to be."

Waiting until Luro shook his hand, Jack gave a definitive nod before stepping back. "Now if you don't mind, I have tampered nuts to dispose of." Bending down, he snatched up a large sack, the first of three, and carefully slung them over his shoulder as he headed for the kitchen door. He paused long enough to throw a warning glare at the remaining crew. "Don't move anything. If you do, I'll crush what's left of these into your bowl and light a smoke next to you." He patted the sack and made a wide, easy grin.

The first to leave, the door shut sweetly behind him, placing a welcomed barrier between Jack and that honest face.
 

Eastwood

Too weird to live, too rare to die.
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High School



Sara was one of the first to limp her way to the clocktower, one of the first to finish on account of her short fight. Kaim had surrendered, but you would not have been able to tell by looking at Sara. Her left eye was swollen shut and her face was more purple with bruises than not. She kept rubbing her head, as if to soothe the dull pounding that radiated from within. Sara sat down, leaning against the wall of the tower, not willing, or not able, to climb the stairs up. She wanted to be alone for a little bit, to not see anyone.

The air in front of Sara distorted and sparked before Alicia seemingly burst into view, causing a torrent of wind to exhale outwards, pushing dust and debris away from where she stood. Her clothing was torn in places from her fight with Tari but she seemed unharmed with minor superficial injuries. Only her chest ached from where she’d taken a forceful kick and she wore scratches on parts of her exposed skin where flying debris had caught her during the fight. She cast her gaze towards Sara noticing her almost immediately and quickly making her way over.

“Sara!” she called to get her attention, taking a knee beside her to place a hand on her shoulder as she inspected her for injuries. From the look on Alicia’s face it was clear Sara didn’t look to be in good shape, “Are you alright?” she asked, concern heavy in her tone.

Sara flinched at the sudden pop that was Alicia suddenly and dramatically appearing out of nowhere. She was seemingly about to protest Alicia fussing over her but she stopped and deflated. “I’m fine.” Sara said, with a very heavy sigh, looking back down. “It looks worse than it feels.” She brought her knees close and hugged them. Alicia, nor had anyone else in the crew, had ever seen Sara look so depressed.

Alicia took a step back as Sara withdrew into herself a little, frowning with concern still as she remained on her knee in front of her. She looked around for a moment to check they were still alone before looking back to the troubled gladiator. “What happened?” she asked, tilting her head to the side a little to try and make eye contact. “Come on Sara you know you can speak to me” she said in a softer tone, a little bothered at seeing Sara so dejected when she was usually so bold and confident.

There was a small but distinct pause where Sara hesitated before beginning. “When Kaim and I fought, it was like how you and I duelled for the first time. I had my sword, shield, spear, and pistol and he had nothing. And yet, it was completely one-sided. I, literally, could not scratch him past his haki. Once it became clear that I could not hurt him, Kaim surrendered. He surrendered because I wasn’t good enough for him to kill me. He surrendered because I wasn’t exciting enough to fight. He surrendered, because he felt sorry for me . It was humiliating, having to stand there, unable to see out of one eye, and know that he was right. I just… feel so useless, especially when standing next to you.”



Alicia was silent for a few minutes as she listened, watching Sara as she explained how her fight with her messenger opponent had ended. “And sitting here feeling sorry for yourself is supposed to fix that?” Alicia asked rhetorically before overcoming her personal space issues enough to push Sara’s shoulder gently, “The Sara I know doesn’t accept defeat, the Sara I know was willing to spit in death's face and impale herself in order to find her victory” Alicia continued with a small smile. “So you found someone who was stronger than you” Alicia gave a light shrug, “It happens but that’s no reason to feel bad, it’s motivation to improve yourself and hone your talents till you can overcome it. You have real talent Sara, I’ve had the luxury of witnessing it and testing it for myself, you just need time that's all”.

The swordswoman thought back to a similar experience back when she was very new to the Stardusk before deciding to share it after a few minutes of silence. “Years ago, we met a man named Shouta at an Inn on this small but beautiful island called Utsukushī. Back then I was a little more… brash, and I ended up calling his attention to me. He challenged me and dared me to cut his arm” Alicia drew in a deep breath and exhaled recalling the moment, “I didn’t even scratch him, no matter how hard I tried. As punishment he snapped my sword and kept the blade before he broke a weapon owned by each of the crew. My actions brought shame to myself and my crew but I told myself two things after that moment, that I would restore honor to myself and the Stardusk… and that I would do whatever it takes to become stronger”.

“I don’t know if this is your moment to find that resolve… only you can find that within yourself. But whatever you decide, know that I’m here with you for the rest of the journey… we all are” she smiled.

“It’s just that…” Sara spoke again. “This was the first serious duel I’ve had since joining Stardusk. That was a year ago, and it feels like nothing has changed since then. I drive myself to train, to the point of feeling my bones crack, and I throw everything I have into learning the Power of Destruction. Whenever I’ve hit a wall, I always punched through it, I always endured, I always found a way. Now? Now it feels like I’ve hit my limit, like I found a wall that I just can’t break through. Maybe you were wrong about me Alicia, maybe I was wrong about myself.”

“So this is it then, you’re just going to give up?” Alicia replied, furrowing her brow as she looked at Sara. She let out a sigh and stood up, resting a hand on the hilt of her sword as she looked over into the distance at the rooftops of Gavera. “Maybe you’re right, perhaps you’re not who I thought you were” she continued without looking at her. “Twenty five years and the only person to have come close to killing me is throwing in the towel over losing a duel… “ she frowned seeming to talk herself before closing her eyes for a moment as she shook her head a little, opening them again to look down at Sara after a minute. “There are no shortcuts to greatness Sara, it takes blood, tears, hard work and heartbreak. Those in my family to have found it met their end because of it, if this is all you are… would it really be so bad?” she asked. “You have friends… no, a family who cares about you… isn’t that enough, what do you want that requires you to strive for such strength?” she asked.

“Only because you were holding back…” Sara muttered darkly, more to herself than to Alicia. But, she sat quietly as she listened to Alicia speak and when she was asked why she kept striving for strength, she answered quietly.
“Because that’s who I am. As long as I can ever remember, I wanted to be better. Not from just those around me, but to be better than myself. To be more than a slave girl, to be more than a gladiatrix, and to be more than a pirate. I have good friends, that is why I don’t want to let them down. If Kaim, or you, were fighting seriously, I would’ve been utterly destroyed, along with most of the surrounding area. And if Kaim, or whoever else, decides to go after you or the rest of the crew, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself knowing I couldn’t stop them.”

Alicia remained silent and watched Sara as she replied, expression devoid of anything telling for what she might be thinking till Sara finished where she gave a soft smile. “Then it sounds to me like you can’t afford to give up, can you” she replied before extending her hand down towards Sara to help her up, despite that she’d probably not really be helping in the slightest as Sara was quite a lot stronger than her physically. “I can do what I can to help you and I’ll continue to do whatever I can even if it takes us years to get you there, but that’s only if you never give up and continue pushing yourself till you reach that goal. I know you can do it, but only if you get rid of this self doubt and start believing in yourself”.

Sara opened her mouth to protest but stopped when she realized that she had practically just convinced herself to not give up. Well, at least not on her own. Sara took her hand and pulled herself up, although trying not to drag her down to the dirt. She smiled as she stood opposite of Alicia, her expression brighter. “Thank you Alicia, that means a lot coming from you. You’re important to me, and I do appreciate everything you do for me, and for the crew.”

“You’re important to me too Sara… even if you do infuriate me from time to time” she replied with a small half serious smirk before noticing Runali in the distance with the others heading back towards the ship. “We better head back with the others, besides you need to have Zilia look at your eye. If you end up with an eyepatch people are going to start thinking it’s a Stardusk fashion statement, no?” she said with a grin.

Sara embraced Alicia suddenly, wrapping her arms around her body as Sara collapsed forwards. After a few shaky steps of steadying themselves, Sara said weakly into Alicia’s ear.
“Hey, I’m not feeling super hot. I think I’m going to have to lean on you on the way back.”

The Feian swordswoman tensed up before slowly relaxing a little once she realised the gladiator couldn’t support herself, turning herself to take Sara’s arm over her shoulder similar in how she’d supported Tari to her feet. “It’s ok, I’m here for you” she replied before starting to help Sara to the ship with the others, hopefully this was finally over and the others had survived their battles. Furrowing her brow a little recalling something she’d been told on the Minow, she decided not to think too much about it, instead choosing to trust her friends could handle themselves.
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.


Zilia remained still for a long moment after Luro spoke, making no attempt to reach for her notebook her gaze moved to the other members of Stardusk as they spoke. Some were harsh, some were kinder, both made sense in their own way. From what she could tell Luro had anticipated this as well, though judging from his surprise at the kindness he expected more responses like Alicia’s.
“That’s fair Alicia. If I go back I’ll find comfort knowing someone will kill me,” Luro said closing his eyes. “I’d deserve death at that point so I have no qualms with that. I know you won’t hesitate so I won’t give a warning about it.”
Luro’s gaze moved to the door Jack had walked out of, he couldn’t find the words to respond to Jack then, only stare wide eyed at the man as he shook his hand. He thought he understood Jack but in that moment he realized just how good of a man he was, it took a lot to forgive, much less accept someone who had wronged you. Luro closed his hand into a fist as he lowered his gaze back to the table; he owed Jack something especially after that.

Zilia picked up her notebook and wrote something in it, Luro glanced over at her his eyes resting on the doctor’s narrowed gaze as she wrote. He had a feeling what was on there wasn’t going to be good; he had endangered everyone’s lives, making Z’s job harder in the process. She disliked when they’re sparring got out of hand, he wasn’t expecting much good from sending a shadow organization with was basically an nation after them. Her hand eventually stopped moving and taking out the paper she set it face down continuing, Luro flinched a bit seeing she had so much to say.
Eventually and four pieces of paper later she handed Luro the first one making sure only he saw it.

Luro took it and read over it, his eyes widening for a moment before he looked over at her. She only closed her eyes in response to look offering a small nod to him. His body relaxed a little and he smiled as he read the note again.
“Z…thank you,” Luro said nodding at her.
He put the note in his sleeve and Zilia turned the other notes over content if they were seen by the others.
“You regret your actions and seek to change yourself and learn from your mistakes. For me there’s little reason to kick you off the ship. Besides…no lying person would try that hard. That aside let’s focus on the important things and that’s your beating.”
“Wait…my what?” Luro said looking at the note as it was slid on the table.
Zilia slid another one forward tapping it to draw attention to it.
“I believe you said in the Undersea that if someone upset the Captain we got a free hit right? Well the Captain was very upset and Kadi had to take his licks. You do too Luro…or are you not trying to own up to your mistakes?”
“Oh uh…no I mean…” Luro trailed off only to rub the side of his head. “All right…I-I get it…I guess I did say that at one point yes…I just wanted an excuse to hit Kadi though…so I lied about that.”
“Lie or not I kind of like that tradition and in the end Kadi had to take the punches. I think it’s a good rule as the Captain rarely gets upset. Later on be on the main deck and we’ll all get two hits on you. Since you also upset the Captain with her eye patches too isn’t that right Captain? So there you go-“
“You didn’t even wait for her response,” Luro added pointing at the note.
“I have to find some metal gauntlets so we’ll do it later. It’s a good fresh start too.”
“…you’re heartless Z,” Luro said bringing a hand to his face.
Zilia wrote something down before slamming it on the table a small smile on her face.
“Welcome to Stardusk Luro Makachi.”
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.



Luro stood on the main deck of Lady Luck his eyes moving to the starlit sky above. His eyes moved to the moon a small sigh escaping from him as he lowered his attention to the sea. His eyes watching the waves rise and fall in the distance, walking over to the edge of the ship he took his gun off his back flipping a small switch on it. He was reminded once again that everything he looked at seemed different, even the sea had a different charm to her. The way his thoughts came to him had shifted, the way he wrote down what came to mind, everything somehow felt foreign but somewhat familiar at the same time. He found himself asking for night watch often unable to sleep anyway. His eyes moved to his rifle, the one thing that didn’t feel like a complete stranger, but there were even parts of her that didn’t feel like his. He had lost track how many times he had taken his gun apart and put her back together the last few days, which he had mostly spent to himself, he kept building and rebuilding until it felt...right to hold her.
“...well no time like the present,” Luro said flipping another switch. “May as well see if it works.”

A small hum escaped from the rifle and Luro held it straight down in front of him pointing the barrel at the deck, the L.A.S.S. shifted falling back into the gun before another sphere showed itself, a periwinkle one. Luro seeing this spread his feet a bit before a burst of cold air exploded outwards from the gun, his eyes widening as the air around him suddenly chilled. A light blue mist started to pour out of the gun, slowly circling around Luro form, attaching itself to him but never directly touching his body. He watched the cold expand outwards slowly moving along the ship, only straying a few feet from him before coming to a stop.
His eyes moved to the deck as ice slowly started to form on it, slowly growing out of the ship like vegetation, he blinked a few times looking at his palm as the mist continued to rotate around his body, ice continuing to form on the deck, growing in size the longer the mist was allowed to roam freely.
“…perhaps it’s because its structure is different from normal ice,” Luro said. “Fascinating…this is such a big difference.”
He took a breath and blew at the mist on his hand, the mist expanding outwards freezing the deck and side of the ship directly in front of him, Luro looked back at the mist smiling a little as it continued to rotate around his body, chilling his fingers as it passed through them.
“Well this experiment was a success,” Luro said closing his hand into a fist. “That’s at least something.”
Lost in his experiment Luro wasn’t paying attention to the fact ship was slowly turning into another Yakone, ice starting to creep up towards the wheel and towards the door to the lower deck.

Sleeping usually wasn’t the hardest thing to do in a hammock out at sea- at least not for the captain. But tonight seemed to be to be a different, as sleep was the last thing her mind would let her have. So instead of sleeping, she decided to get up and get some fresh air. CP was in Runali’s room that night, so she abandoned trying to search for her eyepatch in effort not to wake the bird and opted to just sneak past and out the door and to the main deck. “Could’ve sworn it was warmer than th-” Her eyes opened much wider when she suddenly lost control of her footing and began to slide straight towards the mast of the ship. Before she could ungracefully slam into it, she reached for the nearest barrel and used it to steady herself. “Alright w-well now I’m definitely not sleepy.” It may have been dark and she may have been half blind but it didn’t take her long to realize that she wasn’t the only one on the deck of the ship. She pushed hair out of her eyes- not that she needed both- and stared at the figure in front of her. “Luro what-” She pulled away as the barrel she was holding onto froze under her hands. Her balance wasn’t the most steady, but she managed to stand in one spot and examine the scene. Sure enough, there was ice forming all around the ship and inching its way to cover the entirety of it. “Next time I’ll just stay in bed…” Runali sighed, watching her breath form in front of her. “Y’know, having the night watch usually means y’gotta alert the crew when weird things happen to the ship?” Her eyes narrowed a little as she thoroughly inspected the area. They were still at open sea with nothing around them and it was just Luro with- “Ah...well that also explains it.”

Luro was pulled from his observation when he heard a voice, he turned only to see the Captain slip on the gathering ice, which caused him to look around realizing what he was doing to the ship. He opened his mouth to try and explain but he couldn’t find the words to properly clear up what he was doing so he chose to just offer a small nod to her words. His attention pulled from the rifle the sphere started to spin and Luro noticing it quickly spun and pointing the gun towards the ocean pulled the trigger, a burst of ice exploded forth from the barrel freezing a long trail along the ocean attaching itself to the side of the ship. Though part of it broke off since the ship was still moving.

Luro looked at the newly floating path of ice flipping a small switch on the gun causing a red sphere to cycle into the rifle. He decided to leave that ice for nature to deal with instead focusing his attention on the ship since he had apparently been discovered. Rubbing the back of his neck a weak chuckle escaped from him as he pressed a button on the rifle.
“My apologies Captain,” he said.
Heat started to radiate from the rifle filling the surrounding area with a gentle warmth, the pulse of heat lasted for a few minutes melting the ice on the deck before Luro switched it off putting the rifle on his back.
“I’ll uh…clean up the water later,” he said before moving his hands behind his back standing at attention.
“Uh…nothing to report Captain. Minus almost turning the ship into Yakone. I’m not supposed to change with anyone anytime soon though? Did you need something?”
Luro realized he was at attention and tried to shift into a more relaxed stance, he tried to lean against the pole only to slip in the process and crash into nearby crates. A heavy sigh escaped from him as he decided to just sit and appear natural in the now broken wood. He still wasn’t sure how to really...talk to the Captain.


She watched the ice form out in the ocean with a similar expectant look, however, she did raise a curious brow when Luro made the ice melt as well. “That’s useful.” She evaded a few of the larger puddles and remaining ice chips until she found a relatively dry barrel. She didn’t respond at first, opting to simply nod towards his apology and his mention of cleaning. If he was lucky enough, the sun would just dry it up, but that would have been hours from now. She started to sit down, only to watch as Luro crashed into the crates across from her. Runali blinked a few times, giving the carpenter a confused look before a small chuckle escaped. “You don’t need to… uh, try so hard.” Her voice was barely above a whisper when she spoke, almost as if she didn’t want to bring attention to it. She decided to get a little more comfortable and leave the comment as it was and backtracked to his questions. “Ah, yeah, I switched with Jack earlier, but there’s still a few hours before that.” She looked over at Luro amongst the damaged crates, before closing her eyes and putting up her best playfully dramatic voice. “Nothing needed. The walls were just closing in on me in that cabin so I figured I’d escape before it was too late.” Runali opened her eyes, looking out at the moon’s reflection in the water and sighed. “Just wanted the fresh air is all. Wasn’t tired.” The latter was a lie she didn’t mean to tell, but once it was said she sat up a little to not appear as tired as she may have looked and quickly pushed it aside, adding, “But, uh is that a new thing L.A.S.S. can do?”

Luro cleared his throat a little but gave a small nod to the Captain, he climbed to his feet brushing off his outfit as he listened to the Captain. He was kind of glad she had switched with Jack, he wanted to talk with him about something but he wasn’t able to find the words and it was bringing him a bit of discomfort when their eyes did meet. At the same time he wasn’t sure what to say to the Captain either, thinking about it Jack was the easier one. He didn’t try to shoot Jack in the face a few days ago, he opened his mouth to say something to her but ultimately closed it choosing just to sit on the side of the ship and take the Captain’s advice.
He smiled a little seeing the Captain sit up a little, he had a feeling she was having a bit of trouble sleeping too but decided not to say anything.

“Hmm I did make modifications to the L.A.S.S. but that was one of the L.A.D.S,” Luro said taking his rifle off his back. “It’s a tentative name but it’s my new creation.”
Luro flipped a switched causing the periwinkle sphere to show itself again, he smiled a little.
“I always asked Ray to give me some of his ice so I could make a new creation. I would study the ice, find the differences between it and regular ice, like what it would melt at. I’d ask for it in varying shapes and inquire about its creation, see how easy it was to break off, all manners of tests. I could never find a way to utilize it though…but…I don’t know everything’s so much clearer now…like the fog in my head is gone. After that the answer seemed so obvious, perhaps it was the fact the ice was infused with Haki, the spirit of all things that gave it different properties, something only found in living things, I had other ideas too and tried them and well…today it worked. Fire was easy to do though, just need a proper container and a little knowledge. I’ve worked with it before in the forge.”

Luro chuckled a little and returned the rifle to his back quite content with his research so far.
“Ah sorry I didn’t mean to hold the gun, I wasn’t going to shoot you or anything…and I realize that saying I wasn’t going to shoot you probably isn’t helping.”
Luro fumbled over his own words reaching up and rubbing the side of his head as he tried to fix what had just come out of his mouth, but eventually he stopped and just lowered his head, keeping his hand on the side of it.
“…I’m sorry Captain. It’s…hard to find the words with you. I’ve caused you the most trouble after all. I just think of more and more things I’ve messed up since I joined, I’ve made your job harder as well…when I think of that I end up feeling nervous and it’s hard to…speak normally.”

Runali listened to his explanation, a little intrigued by the amount of work that could be put into one rifle. She was sure- no, she had seen him tear it apart a few times before just to put it back together again. But she had yet to see the outcome of all that work. “Fog or no fog… You’re definitely really talented.” She offered the compliment, though it trailed off when Luro started to fumble again. It fell into an awkward silence for a moment and Runali repositioned herself on the barrel she was sitting on so her blind side wasn’t completely to him. The silence was suddenly filled with her laughter, though soft, still managed to echo in the quiet. She couldn’t help but rub away the invisible tears in her ‘seeing eye’, before straightening up again. “Ah, that’s a little disappointing. And here I thought you were surely just intimidated by your captain. Fear doesn’t strike your heart as the ‘Melancholy Queen’ stalks onto deck at the dead of night?” She laughed again. “I guess I need to get better at that.”

When her giggling ceased, she sighed, a little more content than she was walking up to the deck. “Trust me Luro, I’m very much aware you aren’t planning on shooting me. You didn’t shoot me then, you’re not gonna shoot me now.” She realized the incredulity in her own words and hummed, rubbing her cheek in thought. Now she was the one that looked as if words were hard to find. “Without that fog you mention, it’s much easier to see- compared to before at least.” She didn’t look at him when she said this, opting to look at the still waters instead. “I can imagine, watching your words and trying to appear as less of a threat would be at least little difficult… I’ve seen you at varying stages of your worst and your best. My opinion of you has yet to change Luro.” She gave a simple shrug. “As I said, I have my own reasons for recruiting you all. I know it must seem like random spur of the moment decisions, but there’s… a method to the madness here.” She smirked a little. “I know what I’m doing sometimes, y’know.” She ceased her teasing at the awkward giant and looked at him in earnest. “It’ll pass. You’ll be able to walk around the ship with your head held high- figuratively since you tower over everyone. And, you’ll figure yourself out. And you know what? The Stardusk will be right with you when you do.” Her words came out as matter of fact, before she continued a little more solemn. “My… mentor once told me, focusing on all your bad deeds of the past is like digging your own grave.” She shrugged. “You make mistakes. You live with them. You do better. May not be easy, but dying is the cheap way out.” There was a moment of silence when she paused, only for her to wave her hand as if dismissing the thought with an almost nervous chuckle. “But... what do I know. The past is a little, uh, haunting at times.”

Luro stared ahead at the sea doing his utmost not to look at the Captain while he prepared a few different apologies, but catching her laughter he looked over at her arching his brows at what she thought was funny. He flinched a little when she brought up not being intimidated though he realized quickly that she was joking with him, a small smile came from him and he gave a small shrug to her. He was pretty sure there were a few people, especially to the north that would hide inside their houses if she strolled down the street.
He focused his attention back on the sea as the Captain spoke, her words were kind and he folded his hands together reminded how lucky he was to be a part of his crew. It was the very kindness the Captain showed him, the faith she put into him that reminded him what he had to lose if he acted on the words being spoken into his head. The Captain was good at finding her own way and going with what felt right, he envied being that natural and she was with everyone. It was the one trait he respected the most from her, no matter who it was on the crew she treated them the same as the others, and it wasn’t forced. There were no ‘favorites’ or ‘betters’ they were equal in her eyes, even someone who had tried to kill her, sitting right next to her and she was talking to them the same as she always did.

“Haha thanks Captain. Knowing you believe that does make it easier,” Luro said with a small nod. “I think those word have a good meaning. I don’t think it’s the meaning I’m looking for…but it’s really good advice.”
Luro gave a firm nod, for the time being he had to remember his bad deeds. Perhaps in the future that would change but the whispers hadn’t stopped and without that reminder he’d just end up hiding again.
“I don’t know if I agreed with the whole talented part though,” Luro said running his hand up his rifle. “I’ve done a lot of thinking about myself, and what I can do with what I have…and man Captain it’s not too much.”

Luro blinked a few times at this rubbing the back of his head.
“I mean I’m a good shot, if there’s a target there’s a really good chance I’m not going to miss,” Luro said. “We uh…we don’t do that too much though. Most of the time we’re right in the thick of it. I know enough to keep myself alive to get a shot in but…well let’s just say I’ve almost died in every close encounter we’ve had. I made it look fun but I’ve lost track how many times my lack of close combat prowess almost got me killed.
Luro set his rifle on his lap and rolled up his right sleeve, undoing a bit of the bandage he showed his arm to Runali, a myriad of scars and a few burn marks ran up the arm, they were old and somewhat faded by now but it showed how often Luro tended to get hit. Rolling the bandage back on he rolled his sleeve back down.
“I got those all over my body. A constant reminder of how many times I’ve almost died. That’s the only reason I know how to fend off weapons, I’ve been cut by them enough trying.”
Luro hung his head sighing a bit before raising it.

“You guys though…you guys are amazing. You and Jack got Armament Haki of all things and you’re skilled fighters. You can stop yourself from being cut by swords, and stop bullets with your skin. You guys have that ability, and you can increase the potency of your own attacks. Both of you are amazing. You’re a great Captain and I would have kidnapped Jack in the old days just for his food.”
Luro said this with a firm nod before motioning towards the door leading to below deck.
“Everyone on this ship astonishes me. Alicia has that power going for her and if people get close the fight’s pretty much over, she wants them close, and even if they’re far away she stops them by stopping the bullets! She can throw Wind Captain! Wind blades! Do you know how much research I had to do to figure out how to harness the wind? Years of research then I see Alicia again and she’s just throwing it out and cutting things. It was kind of depressing.”
Luro threw his hands up at this but there was a smile on his face.
“I seriously question why Masu felt inferior to Alicia, she’s amazing too. She so versatile she showed us that in her fight. Alicia is good at fighting her own way, but Masu’s is good at fighting in all kinds of ways and it showed in that Arena. Her ability to adapt and learn is astonishing, she even approached me to ask how to use a gun, she’s growing and pursuing more strength. She can fight anyone who gets close to her and has the ability to deal with farther targets…I mean I’d like it if she’d stop hiding during some of our fights and help minus with the Messengers of course…I mean sometimes it feels like she only fights Alicia. She just backs off when ‘boring’ opponents come…is that just me? I hope it is cause I’d love to be able to do the kind of damage she can do with two kitchen knives.”
Luro rubbed the side of his head at the very thought before he continued.
“Kadi hides it but he can fight too, I can tell. I’ve seen his guns and he knows how to use a sword. Close or far Kadi can handle himself and from what Z told me about what happened in the Undersea he has a few more tricks up his sleeves. The way he carries himself now is kind of different too, I got to see a different side of him. He doesn’t show it off but it is there, it’s why I make sure to pay attention when he does bring it out. He’s a great navigator and really intelligent too, if I had him I never would have gotten stranded, even if he wrote it down for me.”
Luro gave a firm nod at this before crossing his arms, a small sigh escaping from him as he thought of the last person.
“Then there’s Z. The moment we met her I could tell something was different. I could feel it from her. When she fought back at your home I realized what it was. Zilia is really good at beating people up when they get close. I’ve watched her train, I’m not an expert but even I can tell there’s strength in her attacks, and a clear sense of balance when she fights. She sometimes takes a moment to practice that balance too. She also has that other sharp thing on her, I’ve seen her clean it but never use it. If we get attacked Z will be fine, she just has to stop holding back so much. She’s always looking for a way to finish something quickly with little harm, and that desire leads to her doing all manners of research for us. She’s constantly trying to protect us, make her medicine better all for us. I remember how dejected she was not able to help Sara with her seasickness back in the day, she cares that much that not being able to help with something that small bothers her to no end.”

Luro smiled a little remembering Zilia pouring book over book right after they got back from Gavera, she wanted to learn more to avoid Stardusk being put in such a position again.
Thinking about that only reminded him how much trouble he had caused so he put the thought aside.
“I mean…put up against that Captain. The last thing I am is talented,” Luro said staring at his hand. “I made the L.A.S.S. so I could deal with things when they got close but I messed that up too and what I have pales compared to what’s here. Captain…I can shoot, create and fix the ship…that’s about all I can do. I’m proud of that…but you guys are the talented ones. It takes everything I have just to try and keep up with all of you.”

Runali’s expression swelled with pride as Luro began to gush about the crew. What he was saying, she already knew, and day after day they proved to be such a talented bunch. They were some of the coolest people she had ever met and if given the chance she’d talk about how great they were all the time. She would have even joined in had it not been for Luro downplaying her views of him. “Hah... well Luro at least you’re humble.” Her head tilted towards him and her brow raised. “You’re absolutely right. All of the crew are incredible in their own way. It’s insane how much they can do. I’m amazed every time!” At first it sounded as if she was reciprocating the excitement of it, but she calmed. “But, I mean what I say. When I say all of my crew I do mean all. You’re a better shot than any man I know- without hesitation I’d bet you could out shoot Jones himself. With the right stuff- had we stayed on Brass Cape longer who knows what you could have discovered and made. And yeah, you fix the ship. You know who else can do that? None of us. At least, not as well as you can. Had the chances been different, you probably would have fixed the Coral Pearl too.” She trailed off in thought, before dismissing it with a wave of her hand.

“I could go on and on about what’s so amazing about you, but I fear the idea of you getting an ego as big as Sara’s.” She smirked a little and shrugged. “None of us woke up one day being able to do what we can do now.” She tugged the top of her shirt down a little to reveal the bullet wound on her shoulder she got way back on Hara Island, their first ‘real’ adventure. Then she patted the scar on her side she got from Nikos. “From then to now. I’ve had my fair share of being shot and stabbed. It’s all a learning game. You screw up and almost die, so you… just don’t do that again.” She chuckled at the awful explanation, but carried on. “You’re not my navigator. You’re not the cook, the doctor, a swordsman, or a gladiator.” When she looked at Luro this time, she was a little more serious. “You’re the Stardusk carpenter, the shipwright, an inventor even. No need to focus on keeping up with them because they’re all doing the same thing you’re trying to do. Y’know, figuring themselves out and I dunno, being better than they were before. Finding even better ways to not get shot or stabbed and all.” Her words of advice started to falter in confidence as she realized she was rambling away, and unsure if she made any sense. With a sheepish laugh, Runali looked back out at the ocean and spoke with a softer voice. “You’re doing fine Luro. Don’t overthink things so much. You’re… just as valuable of a crew mate- as a friend, just like the rest.”

Luro smiled nodding as the Captain spoke of how great the others were, he wholeheartedly agreed, he could say it was never boring watching them do their own things every day. He had always been watching, even when he was pretending. When the Captain spoke well of him however his eyes widened a bit as his smile faded. He wasn’t sure what to say to someone speaking well of him; it was a bit of a foreign feeling. He knew how to respond to it as an imposter…but as himself he had no idea what to say.
He turned back towards the ocean as Runali continue to speak, her words carried a strange weight to them. Not only because of his respect for the Captain but the truth he could see in them, he did scratch his cheek at the idea of an ego bigger than Sara’s, he doubted he’d ever reach that point.

A small sigh escaped from Luro before a small chuckle escaped from him, he brought a hand to the back of his head smiling a little. He was valued…he tended to forget that on occasion.
“What you say makes sense Captain…back then if someone got close I couldn’t do anything but just take the blow…now I can actually stop it,” Luro said. “…guess my problem was I was only learning from certain mistakes…the easier ones.”
Luro lowered his hand and pet his rifle; he stared at it with a distant gaze and a hint of sadness in his smile.
“…I’ll figure myself out then do my best to be me,” Luro said. “…Lina gave her life to save me so she saw something in me…it’s a bit of an insult if I don’t respond to that in kind.”
Luro closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath in before opening his eyes, reaching up he slapped his cheeks a bit.
“Gah I have to stop thinking too much. I get all mopey apparently,” Luro said smiling a little. “Thanks for listening to me Runali it helped me out.”
Luro nodded to Runali before he blinked and brought a hand to his forehead.
“…nah Captain…Imma stick with calling you Captain. Once I figure myself out I’ll call you by your name, when you can call me by mine. Oh but Melancholy Queen is your alias I could call you Queen or something.”
Luro grinned a bit at this before moving his rifle back to his back; stretching his arms over his head he rested his hands on his knee.
“Oh right Captain I got a request for ya. Been thinking about it for a minute. I figure now is a good time as any.”

Her head was turned away a little as she sighed in relief, only to return his comments with nods. Runali figured he didn’t need to hear her agreements. At some point, she was sure she’d just start repeating herself. The captain had a lot of confidence in Luro, if it wasn’t obvious by then. Her brow raised when he heard her name from him. It wasn’t unfamiliar but she couldn’t help but think it was odd with how much he didn’t call her by name. It passed however and she cracked a smirk. “Oh how fitting. ‘Queen’. I could get used to that.” She chuckled and offered another nod. “What kind of captain would I be if I didn’t listen to my crew?” It was rhetorical, but it reminded her of the advice her father gave when they were back on Jaipur. Eventually, she’d send them a letter of her travels- if the newspapers didn’t beat her to it. She started to mention something about their change of nightwatch, but instead looked on in curiosity. “Oh? Yeah what’s up?”

Luro offered a nod appreciative that the Captain would hear him out, he also found it was a little easier to talk as well. He didn’t need to think about his words too much during their conversation, that gave him a little hope at their future interactions. For the time being however he just wanted to get out what was on his mind, if he thought about it too much he wouldn’t be able to say it. Clearing his throat Luro leaned forward a little, his eyes narrowing slightly as he looked at the Captain, a serious expression taking over his features as he met the Captain’s gaze.
“Captain would you marry me?”

She noticed him leaning a bit closer and offered to turn and acknowledge that she could, in fact see him, but paused seeing the sudden shift in expression. Runali stared at Luro, a blank expression on her face after hearing the question. At least she thought she heard the question. Because she was sure Luro had just asked to marry her.
Runali was motionless for several long seconds, and her blank expression slowly morphed into a squinty eyed look, both eyes trained on Luro. She looked like she was searching for the truth before her eyes closed and her hands clasped together. “I may be half blind… maybe a little more than half sometimes, but I’m not deaf. So I’m sure you just asked… of all the people on this ship… me to marry you.” Her eyes opened and it was obvious she was trying to control the flush in her cheeks. “And you’ve claimed plenty of mistresses so I’m almost positive you know the difference between a mistress and…” Her composure was steadily slipping as she tried to explain away the absurdity of what just happened. There had to be a reason. Maybe it was just late night and he needed to sleep. Maybe she was the one that needed the sleep. There were too many maybes and she was now even more rigid. Runali’s voice got an octave higher, the surprise settling in. “Are you sure you realize what you just asked me? ...What??

Luro’s face remained the same as he stared at Runali awaiting an answer to his question, folding his hands together as he watched her expression change realizing he was serious. When she spoke he offered nods indicating that he had asked her and that he was aware of the difference between a mistress and wife. He remained silent however knowing this wasn’t something to rush, it made sense there was a little confusion especially given the situation.
“I’m wholly aware of what I asked you,” Luro said closing his eyes. “There’s no one else on the ship I could ask Captain. That’s why I said it.”
Luro folded his hands together, he voice was calm and level, he made no attempt to push or rush anything, only answered her as best he could.
“I’ll say it again to ensure you understand. Runali Lev, Captain of the Stardusk Pirates and one of my dearest friends…will you marry me and allow me to stay by your side for as long as I’m able?”

The captain was on her feet with the barrel she was sitting on between them. It was an unnecessarily quick motion, and confusion and disbelief was etched on her face. “I’m-” She was leaning on the barrel, her grip a little tighter than necessary. “I’m confused. I’m actually a little more than confused.” Runali shook her head, trying to figure out what to ask first. “I hear you... I understand that phrase and those words.” She wasn’t sure why out of everything she had been through, that this was something that threw her for a loop. It made her thoughts run a mile a minute. Sure she was fond of all of her crew, but she never considered anything more than just fondness- not that she couldn’t see anything more. That particular thought made her frown in embarrassment. “Wh-” Runali huffed and looked down at the barrel in between them and then forced herself to relax. Slowly, she held up a finger, averting her gaze. “One: Surely there’s someone else on this ship you’d consider before me. You seem to enjoy Z’s company after all. Hell, Jack’s even. So… why me?” She added a second finger up. “Two… Is this a joke? I probably shoulda asked that first but it’s really hard to tell and I’m concerned you’ve got some sort of concussion or something or that my lack of sleep these past few days is actually getting to me.”

Luro’s eyes moved with Runali as she stood up, his eyebrows lowering slightly. He could see this was really affecting her, more than he had expected at the very least. Still he remained quiet letting her take a moment to get her own thoughts together, he wanted a sincere answer to his question and he’d wait till the sun came up if that’s what it came too. He turned placing both his feet on the ship as he watched her remaining seated not wanting to approach her or show any signs of impatience, far as he was concerned he had all the time in the world for an answer.
When Runali posed her question Luro leaned forward a little arching his brows at her.

“I guess I’ll answer the second one first. I’m serious...I’m not the greatest guy but I’d never ask a woman a question like this as a joke. I wanted to present a ring as well but I had difficulty finding your favorite kind of gem.”
Content that he had answered the question he went to answer her first one.
“I do think dearly of Z and if I was a lass…yeah I’d probably have asked Jack. Hell if I was a Lass I would have had a go with Kadi…actually I’m not a lass and I’d consider having a go with Jack,” Luro said with a shrug. “None of them however…managed to find the real me. On that island Captain, in my final moments I saw you as myself and something kept me from killing you all these years…and I’m pretty sure I know what the feeling was, that’s why it’s you Captain. There is no one on the ship, past, present or future that I can think to ask this except you.”

“You’re not-” She cut herself off, murmuring something in her native tongue before she finally went quiet completely. Runali was silent, her eyes had went back to Luro and she could only stare at him. She figured out one reason this was causing her such an outburst from her: He was incredibly calm. She had seen him calm before, but this was different… it was sincere. It was… soft. She was having a hard time believing it, but Luro was standing in front of her, sincere as ever- and absolutely serious. She couldn’t help but relax a little more, until she was comfortable enough to sit back down. It was quiet for a moment with Runali lost in thought. She absentmindedly pulled out the jade necklace her mother gave her. She didn’t wear it to bed, but it was always kept close by. The fact that she was even thinking of it being her favorite gem made her quickly put the necklace back. Runali didn’t think it was impossible to consider anyone having feelings for her, but it was a lot more surprising when those people were people she had known for years.

In a last ditch effort to ease her own tension, she mumbled. “...I don’t think Belen would appreciate you eyeing Kadi.” She smiled a little more. “But Jack, from what I know, is free game.” Runali stifled a laugh, only to look down at her lap until something made her turn to face him. “Wait, you mean to tell me, all this time the reason you didn’t want to kill me was because you had feelings?!” The ridiculousness of it made her swat at his head. “And here I thought-” Runali sat back down, blowing hair out of her face. “Y’know, I knew you were crazy but now I think you’re absolutely mad… But I suppose I can’t completely fault you for that… Completely.” Compared to before, she was a lot more relaxed and calm enough to make a joke or two. However, the question still hung in the air, and Runali had yet to answer. It made her arms cross and once again she averted her gaze. “I… want to give you an answer. I really do but…” She rubbed her cheek. “I didn’t think this was what Alton and Robin meant…” Realizing she was mumbling out loud she decided to explain, “I’m learning how much I put captain-ing and my crew before being… well, me. And this,” She gestured to Luro. “Is not something a captain can deal with.” She laughed nervously before sitting up and leaning towards him a bit. “How about… A favor for a favor.” With a slight hesitance, she patted his hand. “Give me… time. And then I can give you an answer.” She slowly started to pull away. “I want to make sure whatever answer I give you is… uh, earnest. Truthful. And however many other sincere words I can toss in there. I’ll try not to keep you waiting too long but… do you think you can be patient with me?”

Luro smiled a little seeing Runali joke with him, she seemed a bit more relaxed compared to before and he preferred this over anything else. He could tell she was still a little tense but she was clearly calmer, though as she brought up the other two prospects he chuckled a little and gave a small shake of his head.
“I’m not keen on fighting Belen and I don’t think I’m Jack’s type,” Luro said.
He laughed a little seeing her response to his hesitation all these years, he ran a hand through his hair giving a small nod to her.
“Yeah I know right, feelings of all things. Imagine how I felt when it became clear,” Luro said with a small chuckle.

The smile left his face however as Runali looked back at him, he folded his hands once more giving her his undivided attention, listening to her words with small nods to show he understood. His mouth twitched to the side a little at not being given a clear answer but he still nodded at her as she at least gave him some kind of answer, he was thankful for that. A part of him was worried she’d walk, he appreciated that she stayed by him even when she was clearly uncomfortable.
His eyes moved to her hand at the sudden touch but he raised his gaze back to Runali at her request. His hand went to his chest and he squeezed it his eyebrows twitching slightly. His eyes narrowed before grabbed Runali’s hand before she fully pulled away. He stared at her for a moment, something desperate behind his gaze but whatever it was faded quickly.
“Okay…I can do that,” Luro said offering a small smile to her. “I’m not going to go anywhere anyway.”
He was a little sad not to receive an answer, but he understood the need for time and he released his shirt taking the Captain’s hand in both his own.
“You’ve done so much for me Captain, something I can never repay in my lifetime. Still I want to stay by your side and give you back each day you gave me….and marriage as far as I know is the best commitment a man can offer. In the end I just want to stay by your side, and if I marry you that’s pretty much a promise to never leave so I’m fine waiting as long as need be.”

Hearing that he accepted her own favor made her smile in return. Runali felt bad for not giving him an immediate answer, but she knew she’d feel worse giving him the wrong one. She started to thank him, but quieted when he took her hand. Her face warmed as Luro spoke, for once unsure of what to say to the man she had known for this long. This was something entirely new to her. It made her wonder how many people tried to catch her attention while she was oblivious to it. Then again, did Luro even count considering he was oblivious to his own emotions? Even if it did, now Runali had to evaluate her own emotions- which, oddly enough was the one thing they had in common at the moment. Sort of. Realizing, she was staring up at Luro lost in thought, she squeezed his hand and offered quietly, “Well, you’re kinda stuck with me either way it goes.” She pulled her hand away to tap the Stardusk symbol on his chest. Realizing what she said, she cleared her throat and looked behind her. “W-Well, stuck with this crew at least… Ah, you should- probably get some rest. I’ve got the next watch anyway.”

“That’s the best part.”
Luro responded with a smile, being able to stay by her side was what he wanted after all though he nodded at being with the crew as well. He cared about everyone and cherished the time he spent with them, though it was still easier to talk to Runali. He was sure there were many reasons for that, but he didn’t have a real answer to it, for now he said what he wanted to say and was honest with her, that’s the best he could do.
Luro stood up adjusting the rifle on his shoulder at the idea of changing shifts, his hand running over of the cloth Daya had given him before he offered a smile to Runali.
“Don’t stay up too late and make sure to take a little bit of your own advice tonight,” Luro said before turning and making his way back to the rum room. He stopped with his hand near the handle however and glanced back.
“No matter what your answer Captain I’ll always be there if you need me. Promise.”
With a smile Luro opened the door and returned to his room, his shoulders feeling just a little bit lighter.
 

Mizos

*Insert quip here*
Roleplay Invitations
One on One Roleplays
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both are fine. I tend to be aggressive more though.
Favorite Genres
Modern Fantasy, Historical, Fantasy, adventure, romance, anime, action, etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
Depends on the story, not all that picky about it.






After their bout with the Ravens and Renegades and... whatever other ‘R’ name Runali felt like she was missing, she had studied the map and pointed Kadi far away from where they were. She suggested skipping several islands nearby and going to a smaller, more secluded one, just to have the peace and quiet or even the ideal of the island being small enough for them not to be known. It probably wouldn’t be the best place to restock, but that was a problem for later. After Lina accomodated for the extra guests, they had enough to survive for the month they were strictly sailing. The trip itself was a little quiet at first, the tension still very much there, but soon after it turned into something more quiet and a little awkward albeit. But it was better than everyone watching their backs every moment of the day. It was safe to say that things were… calmer. At least a little.
Runali had spent some time to herself during the beginning of the trip. Usually she’d happily prop herself somewhere on the deck, bother one of the crew, or even rest in the crow’s nest to enjoy the seas, but the during the first week she kept to her own cabin, sifting through papers and keeping herself occupied with things she decided to keep to herself. Her door was never fully closed, so the crew could come visit should they want or need to. And after that first, she was back to her usual self, sitting with the others or enjoying the time at sea.

Loud cawing made her look up from her position on the side of the ship to see a colony of seagulls flying overhead. “Oh… those news birds.” One of the many, sporting a white hat with a bag slung over its shoulder like the rest swooped down and landed next the captain. Right after, CP flew down next to the captain defensively. Runali patted the falcon’s head and shuffled through the seagull’s bag. “Let’s see, newspaper and wanted posters… same old same old… Oh?” She pulled out two letters addressed to her. When she was sure that was all, she let the crew check to see if there was mail for them as well.

The first letter was sealed with a familiar symbol that made her brow furrow and made her walk to her cabin, but when she got there, she decided not to open it and instead turned her attention the other.

“Dear Runali how ya doing. Oh right you have no idea who this is. I was among the people who tried to kill you...I wrote that realizing a lot of people have done that. Okay let me just say who I am.

“Ahem...It’s Mia!

Don’t throw away the letter! Listen I got some news for you guys. I can meet you in the next town, you guys were heading that way anyway right. We’re not that far behind you, I know trust might be...hard given what happened a few weeks back so you can choose the place. I’ll meet you there. I’d like to tell you what I want to talk about in the letter...but well...we know what happens when sensitive information is shared in Letters.
After you show this to your crew please burn the letter. I know it’s a lot to ask on ya but trust me...you’ll want to know what’s going on, no obligation to do anything just wanna talk.

Mia.

P.S. Could Jack bring something to snack on? I’ll explain once you guys get there.”


Runali simply sighed and walked out her room and called everyone into the kitchen. It was nearing lunch anyway so she figured that was a better time than any to discuss the letter. There weren’t many possible things she could have wanted to talk about considering they met under the guise of… well, the Stardusk being threatened. Which only gave Runali a bad feeling when one of the ‘ghosts of their past’ were showing up again and so soon.

“So we could ignore it and call it a day. Maybe burn it out of respect,” The captain started once the crew had gathered completely. She stood at the head of the table, pushing the letter in the middle to let them get their own looks after she had read it aloud. “Or we can go see what she wants. I s’pose there was never clarity of whether the information was good or bad… And even if we do decide to keep moving, she did say they weren’t too far behind us so who knows how easily they’ll catch up.” Her brow raised and she looked at the rest of the crew. “Mia is…” She hadn’t spoken of Lina’s letter to the rest of the crew as of yet, not out of secrecy, but figuring there would be a better time to. Well, now was better than ever. “Before we left, Mia gave me a letter… Lina wrote. The short version is, well, Mia’s the new captain of their ship, Lupus Noctis and can be considered an ally. As confusing as it may be… The long version, well,” She glanced over at Luro. “I’ll... show you the letter later. Since it’s… about you.” She gave a nod before looking at the rest of her crew again. “So, I don’t see a reason she would go against the… late captain of the Lupus Noctis. But that’s why I’m telling you all. I figured we’d go and face whatever it is now rather than wait till it comes sneaking up on us… or, unless you all want to keep moving, we go and keep sailing.”

Zilia sat in the room fiddling with her bang after Runali revealed to them the letter.
She replayed it in her head a few times remembering Mia, even in a letter she couldn’t get a real read on the woman. Though what bothered her more was the idea of the Raven’s coming back into their lives; barely a month has passed and their names were already coming back up. Her gaze moved over to Luro who was sitting next to her with his arms crossed, he stared at the table with narrowed eyes, it was pretty clear he wanted to see her. The wounds hadn’t closed, in both cases for some of them but she could see he was staying quiet for a reason.

It was strange how much she had learned in the last few weeks, she was surprised how an honest person like Luro managed to lie for that long, his emotions were clearly written on his face now. If he was bothered he looked it, if he was happy it showed and now he was staring at the table to avoid looking into the eyes of the others. The shame of what he did still etched into his being and his desire to go even after all that had occurred, he grit his teeth feeling ashamed at his own selfishness. He bit his tongue already knowing what his answer was but hated the idea of forcing everyone back into a problem he had caused.
“I vote for going,”
Zilia slid the note into the center alongside the letter.
Luro looked up at Zilia who kept her attention focused forward on the others, she didn’t want to deal with the Ravens, especially with the relationship she had with them. Something she still had to explain to the others save Jack, but running away from it wasn’t going to fix anything.
“I’ll…withhold my vote,” Luro said.
“Luro wants to go as well,”
Zilia slid the note forward.
“What the- Z!” Luro said before a note was shoved into his face.
“You clearly want to go. You can be a little selfish here.”
“…hah,” Luro said as Zilia lowered the note. “My selfishness caused the problem in the first place. I mean I do want to go but I’m okay if we don’t go, I’d understand why.”
Luro crossed his arms at this relaxing a little bit as he stared at the others.
“Thank you for informing me of the letter Captain,” Luro said simply. “Please show it to me later.”

The captain read Zilia’s first note and gave a nod in acknowledgement, only to give a curious look towards the back and forth between her and Luro. When Luro settled his vote, once more, she nodded. “S’pose it’s not necessary to say you didn’t really have the option to not vote.” Runali chuckled and then looked between the four left. “Alright, that’s two votes for we go. Whaddya say?”

Mia stood at the bow of the ship hands folded behind her back as she stared at sea ahead of them. They’d reach the nearest town relatively soon, do a bit of light restocking and get right to work.
The crew worked hard behind her and she had been helping them for a moment but they had shooed her off informing her they needed something to do to keep themselves busy. One of the women walked up to her holding an open book but Mia kept her back to her.
“Captain-”
“Mia.”
“…Mia what do we do if Stardusk chooses not to help?”
“We continue as planned, everything is already prepared so it’d be a waste not to at least try,” Mia said glancing back at her. “I’m not sure what Runali will say…but we just have to hope they’ll assist us in this endeavor.”
The woman nodded and turning went to return to her duties, Mia turned her attention forward again a small sigh escaping from her. The ship was running fine, everything was going well but all of this still didn’t feel real. Lina was gone she had buried the woman herself, next to her mother’s grave at her request. She didn’t want Luro to make the long journey to their home for that. She merely acted as always, the only difference being she was in control of everything; being Captain of the Zyurniava was still a shock to her. She settled in and kept a firm position for the crew but they had known each other long enough to know how strange this felt, at least from what Mia could see. She couldn’t get past being called Captain as well, but the others did it out of respect, she had to stop hesitating but a part of her still shivered whenever she was called it.
“Captain.”
Mia’s eyes twitched but she turned to the approaching crewmate.
“Mia and what’s going on?”
“The Dead Fish is walking,” the man said.
Mia stared at him for a moment before reaching up and squeezing the bridge of his nose.
“..I still can’t believe he goes by that name but thank you.”
Mia watched the crew member leave and she turned her attention forward, digging into her pocket she pulled out a letter address to her in Lina’s handwriting.
“…I really hope you come Stardusk. You of all people deserve the truth.”

The town came into view almost too quickly after their discussion, it was a small town and from where they were they could clearly see the other side, but it would serve as a temporary stop to get supplies. Looking at the other ships at the docks no Man O War was there so it seemed they had arrived ahead of them. Zilia had dug up a bit of information on the town and confirmed there was a tavern; using the spyglass Luro could see it along the main path, along with a few other shops. Right after he got a bit of drink he decided to stop by the tailor, he had a few request to make with them.
“The town’s coming into view!” Luro exclaimed setting the spyglass down.

Hearing Luro’s call, Runali stretched her hands over her head and jumped to her feet. “Allllright! Let’s get this over with.” She moved past them to see as well, only to realize she couldn’t, so she gestured for the spyglass from Luro. “So,” She started and looked at the crew. “No real plan here… save for meeting up with Mia and y’know, hoping we’re not falling into some trap of sorts… Again.” She gave a sheepish chuckle and shrugged. It wasn’t the best idea, but the alternative of things sneaking up on them later seemed like it’d be a worse option. “I s’pose if anything, we’ll be ready regardless. So, stick close. And, y’know, we’ll stop by the tavern or something. Drinks on me.” They docked the ship and as captain, she led the crew into town. “If anything goes wrong, head to the ship and we leave. No fuss, no mess.”

Her hands were behind her head as she led them through the island. There wasn’t much to see, nor were there that many people either, which Runali was fine with. This had been the first time in weeks that they had touched land and she needed to stretch her legs and with their new titles, it was a little more difficult to take it easy in more populated islands. “Keep an eye out for them, should they be hiding out. I’m not sure how secluded we can get on an island like this, but I also don’t know how serious this news is.” Despite how pressing this situation could have been, Runali decided to make the most of it and lead them right into the only tavern she saw. It wasn’t very crowded so the group managed to grab a table and pull up the extra chairs needed. “We’ll try for shopping on the next island we get to. This one looks a little empty.” She spoke to Alicia and Jack in particular, considering they were the ones who got most of the ship’s necessities.

Luro rubbed his wrist as they made their way through the town, he couldn’t deny being a little nervous at the idea of meeting with Mia. He appreciated the opportunity but generally anything involving the Ravens could go in any direction. The Captain’s mention of a trap caused Luro to sigh a little, he was pretty sure they had five traps already in place just in case things went wrong, and an armada on standby. Walking through the town his gaze moved to the people first, his eyes moving to their left wrist trying to see if anyone was making any extra effort to hide it.
Dealing with them for years there was no real way to find them save that tattoo, they were good at hiding in plain sight, the man reading a newspaper, the woman sweeping her porch, the children playing in the park, a Raven could be any or all these things and be gone the moment one looked away.
“Let me handle the first round Captain. If I recall correctly I owe everyone that at the very least. You can have the second,” Luro said looking over at Runali. “Also..no one near us has their mark...unless they’re spies for them we’re in the clear.”

Once they made it to a tavern Zilia took a seat watching as Luro took a look around the tavern though there weren’t too many people inside. More than likely because the town was small and it was pretty early, but after a moment Luro took a seat with everyone else listening to the Captain with a small nod at the idea of stocking up somewhere else.
“Please order whatever you’d like. I made sure to bring extra,” Luro said. “Also we’re fine here as well.”
“Oh really I’ll have a drink then.”
Luro turned towards the voice to see Mia sitting next to Kadi a hand on her cheek as she smiled at Stardusk. Zilia’s eyes twitched as she was pretty sure the woman wasn’t there a moment ago but before she could reach for her notebook Mia held a finger up to stop any extra voices. Folding her hands on the table she looked over at Runali.
“Now before I say anything further,” Mia said. “Is this us running into each other or are we here to have a discussion?”
Mia looked at the faces of each member before her gaze fell back on Runali, it seemed to be her way of seeing if they were invested in their discussion. Once she shared the information there would be no coming back at that point after all.
“That’ll ultimately depend if I’m joining you for drinks.”

“You’re too kind Luro. Don’t have to tell me twice.” She leaned back in her chair, starting to get comfortable, only to raise a brow when Luro told them they were in the clear. “Noted.” Was her only reply to it.
She was just about to call over the bartender, but the new voice made her pull her chair back into its flat position and look over across the table. “Sheesh woman, you need a bell on you or something.” Runali’s head rested in her hands and she gave a polite smile. “What a surprise seeing you here Patches.” She moved one hand from under her head to give a mock salute, obviously not shocked at all by the woman’s presence. “I wouldn’t call it running into, no. Inconvenient? Well... I s’pose we’ll find that one out during drinks, yeah?” Runali gave a nod of affirmation, before turning her attention to do just that. Once the bartender was off, after collecting orders from everyone, Runali once again leaned back in her chair, getting comfortable. “Please, do start with the bad news first. Y’know, gives something to drink about and all.”

Mia only offered a grin to Runali’s mention of a bell, she could say that wasn’t the only time she heard it. At being called by her own name she smiled and returned the salute, her gaze moving over to Luro seeing he had relaxed a bit, though Zilia was still clearly tense. With a smile she lowered her hand before listening as Runali gave her answer. The woman closed her eye seeming to take a moment to herself before smiling and opening it again.
“Thank you,” Mia said. “The bad news is everyone is angry and you, your loved ones and all your future loved ones are now in serious danger.”
“Define future loved ones,” Luro asked arching his brows.
“You weren’t part of Stardusk when we started hunting you,” Mia responded.
“…point made,” Luro said leaving it at that.

Runali raised a curious brow when she spoke and then tilted her head a little. She had half a mind to comment about the future loved ones as well, but decided on a better question. “So… does that mean there’s worse news? Should I have asked for that instead? Because, if you hadn’t noticed- and I’m sure you have since it’s been in the papers, but uh we’re pirates. That’s a threat the navy uses often.” She waved a finger at Luro. “Though maybe not the future loved ones part. That one’s new. What does that even mean anyway-” Runali put her hand up before Mia could answer the question. “Sorry, off track. Please continue, I’m not sure I follow the why we’re here part.”

Mia tilted her head at Runali before smiling at her and resting her fist on her cheek giving a small nod to her question; it was a feasible one to say the least.
“That is true, being a pirate that is a common threat from the Navy,” Mia said with a nod. “I mean the Navy would absolutely blow up an entire town, killing all the innocents to ensure one person died, set fire to a majority of Tilea to ensure that everyone in one particular brothel goes ‘missing’ especially the Madame. Oh and poison the water supply of a certain village killing most of the people and animals. Yep the navy loves pulling stuff like that and killing whole communities in the process.”
Mia shrugged and raised her head from her cheek.

“That’s part of why you’re here,” Mia said. “The last few weeks I’ve been rooting out these causes. Because the Renegades want you and everything you care about dead, and they don’t care how many innocent bodies they have to step over to get there. We had…a surprising amount of spies in each place. I mean they’re dead now but let’s just say probably…a majority of your neighbors are gone now.”
Mia gave a small shrug at this.
“I mean Emil is basically Hanako’s bodyguard at this point; that young lady is so kind and innocent she didn’t see half the attempts on her life. I’ve managed to stop all the recent attempts over the last few weeks, water poisoning included, but the problem is…they’re not going to stop…and eventually they succeed. Unlike with Luro there’s nothing stopping them from doing this for years and learning from it….they should really get a hobby, I’ve taken up gardening.”
“…you seem pretty calm about the repeated attempts of the destruction of entire towns,” Luro said.
“Do I?” Mia said arching a brow at him. “I do try not to stress too much over things. Though the Good News is actually the reason why you’re here and why I’m in such a good mood.”
“What’s the Good News?”
Mia smiled and clapped her hands together as she did someone walked out of the shadows and up to the Stardusk table.
“My wonderful partner in crime here helped me to find out some very particular information which he’ll share.”
Luro blinked a few times as the person came into the light, his eyes widened as the man reached up pushing a pair of pince-nez back onto his nose.
“Nikos.”
Nikos stared at the members of Stardusk with his normal stern expression before speaking.
“We’ve located the Leader of the Red Ravens.”

Runali’s brow furrowed at the news. It was… bad, yes. And she knew the more she thought about it, the more her stomach would sink with worse and worse ideas coming to mind. “Well that’s… unpleasant.” Was the only thing she could offer towards it. So, she took a moment to sigh and then look on as Mia continued, still cheery as before. Worry turned into curiosity and then curiosity quickly turned into something more of… amusement almost. “You sure make it hard for a person to miss you if you’re just gonna keep showing up like this.” She grinned and offered him a mock salute as well. “At least, this time you’re being useful.” Looking between the two, and then her crew, she straightened up. “I guess that is good news. But what, you find where he is and all of a sudden we’re storming the front entrance?” She shrugged. “I’m not against it that idea. I’m always up for raising hell for people that deserve it. And taking out the leader sounds like a happier ending for all of us.”

Nikos sighed but gave a nod to Runali as a sign of acknowledgement; she had too much energy today he was exhausted having just returned from his own affairs. Mia on the other hand grinned as Nikos folded his hands behind his back, choosing not to sit with everyone. He looked over at Mia to continue talking but the woman only arched her brows at him repeatedly, which seemed to be her indication that he should tell them.

“I’d be on the other side of the world if it was an option,” Nikos said sighing. “Also no…we have a plan. One that will go better with all of you, since that seems to be the case please finish your business in town at your own pace and the two of us will meet you on the Lady Luck. We’ll discuss everything there.”
Nikos gazed moved over to Luro for a moment before focusing back on Runali.
“The Leader is the cause of all these problems, once he’s dealt with the Ravens will cease to be a problem.”
“What about-”
“Please save any questions until later,” Nikos said cutting off Luro. “The other one has answers too…but you’ll meet him soon enough.”


 

SilentxChaos

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There appears to be a trend evolving, Jack thought as everyone, once again, congregated in his working space. He pushed aside the small annoyance; besides the crew's quarters or the deck, this was the best place to gather. And it was lunch time. Less work for the cook in the long run.

Quietly, he set bowls in front of everyone as Runali opened her reasoning for calling them. Jack kept his eyes trained on his crewmates' faces as everything was explained. The smallest frown set in as he pondered the news, retreating to a stool in the corner and blowing on his stew. After his talk with Zilia when they left Gavera, he'd been expecting something like this. Things felt unsettled with the Ravens. Whether it'd been a day, a week, a year, it was just a matter of time before they returned. So through their quiet few weeks Jack dwelled on it for a time, until Luro asked to speak with him. After that... he let it go. He wasn't sure quite sure why or how the shift occurred. Maybe the fight with the Messengers relieved his concern of facing other Ravens. Maybe airing out truths calmed his endless fears. Either way, Jack immersed in the welcoming calm during the last few weeks and paid no extra thoughts to what may come.

He placed the bowl down when Runali finished speaking. A small smile met Zilia's answer and Luro's half-hearted interaction. "My vote's in," he said from the back. His arms crossed and his foot tapped the stool. He didn't elaborate on his vote, but thoughts turned as he considered this development. If Mia is contacting us, then doubtless there's development on the Ravens or Renegades. Both.

I, for one, wouldn't mind raising them alil hell for all they've done.

****
When they finally arrived at the tavern, Jack politely declined a drink, not wanting to feel hazy in case things went south upon Mia's arrival. He instead rolled up a cigarillo and reclined between Kadi and Sara. The Lupis Noctis captain's sudden appearance garnered a raised eyebrow and finger grazing along a hidden blade. He tilted back his chair and calmly observed the conversation unfold until Mia brought up the Tilean brothel. The chair set forward as Jack frowned. He twisted the cigarillo between his lips and worry nagged him. The idea of Ravens going after their loved ones didn't surprise him. The information they possessed, and the fact a Messenger was hovering over Alicia's sister, always alluded that possibility. But these attacks concerned him.

Jack glanced at Nikos when he mentioned an "other" but the conversation clearly had concluded. He decided to hold off his musings until they regrouped on the ship, but it made his brow twitch. As usual, their talks were ever enlightening.

Once they were readying to leave, he walked over to Nikos. "There's one thing I don't understand," he said, looking at the Messenger with a cocked head. Despite himself, he oddly liked Nikos' little group, even when they were trying to kill his crew. "Why are you helping us? Even if your leader is corrupt, he still heads the organization of the Code you so zealously cling to. Why risk it? What will happen to your Messengers if we succeed?" The smallest crease furrowed in Jack's brow as he gazed at Nikos with a serious face, waiting for an answer.
 

Mizos

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Once everyone was back on the ship, Nikos and Mia made their way on board from the Zyurniava, Mia waving at them before pointing below deck. Once they were inside Nikos asked to borrow a large table before setting a large map down on it. Taking a few pieces out he placed them on the map, the pieces seemed to represent their ship, Stardusk’s ship, and individual pieces that seemed to represent other ships currently set to the side. Once everything was set up Nikos looked over at Mia before she cleared her throat.
“Right...before we get into the plan there are some things we should clear up first and foremost,” Mia said. “That is mainly who the enemy is in all of this.”
Mia tapped the map which showed a few pieces of land and the wide open sea, she tapped one of the ships.
“Which we will discuss as soon as-”
Mia stopped talking as a laugh escaped from outside, she turned towards the door and gave a small nod.
“Ah he’s here.”

The door to the room opened and a tall man walked into the room, his fingers wrapped around the top of a cane, a glass of wine in his free hand and a small smile on his face as his eyes moved to the faces around the room. It wouldn’t be difficult to confuse the man for a passing curious noble off his attire alone, but from Mia’s stare it seemed he was the person they were waiting for. The man gave a small bow to the residents of the ship before he raised his body and set the wine on the table, moving a strand of hair behind his ear before taking a spot next to the Ravens.
“This is Rasian Talias Makenhein the second,” Mia said. “We just call him Rasa.”
“Pleasure to make your acquaintance formally Stardusk.”
“He’s one of the False Leaders and the reason you’ve only been attacked by a few ships.”
Rasa gave a small nod before setting a silver knight on the map.
“Rasa no,” Nikos said picking the piece up.
“Nikos we agreed. I have been a knight in shining armor...so I get to use the piece,” Rasa said tapping the spot.
“It’s unnecessarily fancy, we’re going into battle not discussing roles in a play.”
“Gentleman,” Mia said holding up a hand. “Nikos it’s fine, more important matters at hand.”
Nikos glared at the man but put the knight back on the table as Rasa picked his wine back up.
“That aside Stardusk you remember when you were informed that Raven’s were not your enemies correct? That’s kind of important right now.”
Nikos glanced over at Jack after saying this.
“I will also answer your question in just a moment Jack.”

Runali wasn’t a fan of strangers on the ship, even if they weren’t considered strangers at this point, but she kept her mouth closed and followed along with her crew. The less she complained, the easier things went and hopefully, the faster as well. The captain studied the map and all its pieces scattered around, trying to make sense of it all. Fortunately the two pointed it out. A question lingered on her tongue, only for her attention to be pulled by a new stranger that walked in. Unannounced.
The captain’s eye narrowed a bit while she eyed him over, but ultimately found no immediate danger. However, his theatrics didn’t ease Runali’s already suspicious look. “Hmm…” Her hum was soft and more of a grumble, unsure of whether to greet Rasa or just accept the fact that he was there and...probably useful.

Nikos’ question made Runali raise a brow. “S’a little hard to keep up with all the double crossing and lies that were given, you’ll have to forgive my memory.” Her comment was followed with a nod however, to show she at least knew what he was talking about- more or less. She wasn’t lying when she said there was a whole lot going on. “What about it?”

Nikos looked over at Mia at this and with a nod the woman stepped forward setting two pieces on the map, one was a Raven, the other a letter and the last one a person. She tapped the Raven with her finger before she began talking.
“All right now play close attention cause this part is complicated,” Mia said. “...well not that it wasn’t already but here goes.”
Rasa grinned at the figures but remained silent as Mia began her explanation.
“The Red Ravens follow a strict code of honor, one of those things is not harming innocents. You know this already. It’s important though cause the Renegades don’t follow this code, they make their own rules, in short they’re no better than the criminals we chased. The rule breakers were called Renegades, and the Renegades called us Clipped. I’ll tell you this just to help you identify us easier.”
“It’s an old reference, essentially our wings are clipped by rules thus we can’t soar….I won’t get into how incorrect of a reference it is,” Nikos added.
“Right anyway the Renegades are the ones who want you dead, while the Clipped want you alive,” Mia said. “Lina, Nura and myself were the Clipped, but we were posing as Renegades to gather information. We were surrounded by Renegades so we couldn’t exactly say ‘hey we’re on your side’ so we chose to give you a warning.”
“The Raven’s are not your enemies,” Nikos said.
“Exactly but...we don’t think you got it and probably just regarded all Ravens as enemies...which was to be expected.”
“The False Leaders were brought up to you as well, Lina was a false leader as was I but we’re not Renegades we’re Clipped. Our job was to ensure your survival,” Rasa added.
Mia gave a small nod at this before looking back at Stardusk.
“Did you get all that? The Clipped or essentially us were by your side trying to steer away the Renegades and protect you while the Renegades want you dead. I figure it’s best you first get that down.”

The captain’s eyes stayed on the pieces as they explained what ‘the truth’ was and what was really going on- or supposed to be going on at least. For more reasons than Runali cared to admit, she didn’t really care for the sum up of this scenario being ‘poor communication’. Everything seemed unnecessarily complicated for that to be poor communication. There were also a lot of weapons pointed at them and that just seemed like ill intent so how was she supposed to know. Her brow was furrowed and her attention was still on all the pieces, letting her crew answer if they understood or not, before she finally rubbed her cheek. “Masquerading as one ‘bad guy’ and being another ‘bad guy’ then also expecting the guys that were dragged into it without warning to figure out your secret codes while also pointing weapons at them...” As she rambled out their ‘plans’ from before, she had a confused expression and her hands were gesturing back and forth as she straightened out the ‘mystery’. She shook her head before adding, “Y’know, not the best plan really. A bit overkill if you ask me. Who expects people not to get defensive when you aim a sword at them...?”

Her gaze was still on the map and she nudged a piece over from where it sat. “...But, the past is the past. And you guys aren’t trying to kill us-” Her eye loomed over to Nikos and Rasa for a moment before looking at the map again. “Currently. Maybe… Anyway, aye Patches I follow you. Keep going.”

“I’m glad you get it but that is the worst part Captain,” Mia said. “No matter what we did, we’re still pointing weapons at you, it’s to be expected you’ll be confused.”
Mia gave a small shrug at this before folding her hands behind her back.
“The bigger problem was the fact that the Renegades were telling you that we were the Renegades, so you wouldn’t pay attention to the weapons they had pointed at you, and would look at the weapons we had pointed at you.”
Rasa reached over and grabbed the person before putting it next to the letter.
“That was the general issue, the Renegades you were told about weren’t the true Renegades, they were the Clipped but as you said, it’s hard to believe people when they have weapons pointed at you…but there was no way to tell you we weren’t your enemy without lowering our weapons,” Rasa said. “If we did four of you would either be dead or have dead family members.”
Rasa said this glancing at Mia who gave a small nod and picked up the raven figure.
“The only reason the Renegades didn’t act more violently…was because you were in the dark. There was no need for a ‘last resort’ because you were still being manipulated.”
“Their actions now are a last resort,” Nikos said. “You’re aware of the enemy and they’re exposed thus they’re throwing everything they have at you.”
“Thankfully I took care of the ten ships approaching Yula Fei. I’m sure they would have handled it but I’m sure the country doesn’t need more problems,” Rasa said taking a sip from his glass. “Granted they’ll just send twenty in a few days...but one thing at time.”

Mia gave a small nod to the two before picking up the letter and balancing it on her finger, a small smile resting on her face.
“The Messengers were being manipulated by the Renegades; thankfully Nikos here picked up on the weird movements of the organization. Especially Lina’s sudden appearance, I’m sure a few of you thought it was just a little…too convenient for her to show up then,” Mia said smiling.
“The Messengers were sent after you as we still followed the code,” Nikos said sighing. “There are…very few hunters left who follow the rules. Essentially Nura and Lina could manipulate us to ensure your safety and the Renegades would believe you were being handled.”
“All went well…except for Gavera,” Mia said crossing her arms. “That…that wasn’t supposed to happen.”
Mia closed her eye for a moment tapping her finger on her arm, giving a small shake of her head the smile returned to her face.
“We’ll make the leader pay for that one too though,” Mia said looking back at the map. “I’m gonna make sure his death is real slow for forcing that one on us.”
Luro glanced over at Mia at this, her eye narrowed slightly but whatever else she was going to say she left alone. They were moving too far away from the focus of this entire meeting; Mia looked over at Nikos at this.
“Anyway that…is pretty much a sum up of what we’re dealing with. We won’t stop you from considering us your enemy…can’t blame you actually,” Mia said shrugging. “I made a promise though so I won’t stab you and Nikos is no longer a Raven so any problem he has with you all isn’t bound by them.”
Luro’s eyes widened at this and Nikos ran a hand through his hair at this before moving the pieces on the map.
“You’re not a Raven anymore?”
“…No…I left…well more precisely my crew and I left…even though I told them they didn’t have to join me,” Nikos said crossing his arms. “Now we’re Renegades.”
Mia put her arm around Nikos shoulder and grinned at him before poking his cheek.
“He has on a scowl but he’s secretly happy all his friends want to stay with him. They intend on working as mercenaries, even got a name for themselves it’s so cute.”

Nikos swatted the woman away with his hand ignoring her grin as she focused back on the map.
“If I’m being honest we still have a score to settle with you Stardusk…however it was our information that helped put you and your loved ones in danger. We’re here to fix that, Emil is protecting Hanako and we’ll destroy the Ravens and keep them from attacking you and your loved ones. We aided in this problem so it only makes sense we help fix it. This is a temporary alliance; we can put our bad blood aside for this matter. I’ve told my people to behave as well. Once this matter is resolved however I make no promises.”
“…are you sure we’re not friends Nikos?” Luro asked looking over at him. “At least you and me?”
“We’re not friends. We’ve never been friends,” Nikos said glancing at Luro.
“Really? I’ve been taking some time to look inward a bit and at my relationships and I think about the two of us often.”
“…that’s creepy don’t do that,” Nikos said taking step away from him.
“I think we’re pretty close, I mean we’ve known each other for a long time.”
“The only reason I’m not stabbing you right now is because we have to work together.”
“…are you sure it’s not a strange secret friendship because it does bother me a little.”
“You are my misfortune made flesh and bone. Your presence is a constant reminder that some facet of humanity should be disregarded and expunged from this world.”
“…is that a no?”
Mia clapped her hands together and smiled deciding to cut the two off.
“Okay so…if you don’t have any other questions…we can get started on discussing the plan? Any further questions bring it up now?”

At this point, Runali was rubbing her temples. She held a stressed expression for a moment before complaining, “You gotta stop saying Renegade. It sounds like you said it four times in one sentence. That name’s awful now.” Grant it, they were the ones really to blame for everything so their names were awful to begin with. “Kadi, you’re gonna be in charge of remembering which names are good and bad, so I don’t have to. It’s gonna give me a headache trying to figure out Messengers and Ravens and Renegades and the risky responses of those ready to… ruin our… relaxed… livelihoods? Alright I’m done.” Her tongue stuck out after the odd word play before she sighed. The idea that these enemies were now aiming to attack their homes made her hand go up to the jade necklace she was wearing.

Her curiosity did peak when Nikos mentioned he and his crew taking a step down from the group of misfits he was with. It made her crack a small smirk. There was a snide comment, a playful remark, dancing on the tip of her tongue, but Luro beat her to the punch. The idea of them being friends made her laugh a little. “Luro… I can assure you there’s plenty of people that would be better friends than him.”

Getting back on topic, she turned her attention on Rasa, Nikos, and then Mia. “You’re not our enemies. For now at least. We can determine where you all stand after we deal with the bigger issue here.” She gestured towards the pieces on the map. “Let’s get it done...as quick as we can and worry about the future when we get to it. Sound fair?”

“The sooner they’re dealt with the sooner we can stop hearing Renegades,” Mia said sighing. “We’ve been here a few minutes. That has been my last few weeks…I was so happy to hear we were low on food just because it was something different.”
Nikos sighed a little and looked over at Runali before he moved most of the pieces into the center of the map, reaching over he pointed to an empty spot on the map before continuing. “There’s a reason why the Leader hasn’t been seen in sometime,” Nikos said. “I don’t know how or when but he’s on some man made island right here. Well it’s more of a fortress given the cannons and the like that are attached to it but that’s for later. The area is known for being a dangerous one, the storms around it are generally terrible, and most ships don’t make it through, so it’s not surprising for ships to vanish there.”
Nikos straightened up a bit and looked over Rasa who nodded and set a letter on the table, Lina’s signature on the top of it.
“No navigator worth their salt would willingly head in that area. There’s little to be gained going that way and due to the Ravens, it’s essentially a ship graveyard,” Nikos said.
Rasa stepped in tapping the letter on the table.
“Lina however sent me a letter informing me to check the area thoroughly. Though I received this rather recently. Two years ago when you all were at Cerula, Nura sent Lina a message and I was ordered to start gathering up as many people and ships as possible.”

Rasa went onto explain that they’ve spent the last two years preparing for a formal exchange with the Raven Leader. The only problem was finding him, which Lina and Nura managed to get information on, Nikos and Mia using what connections they had confirmed the information and with Rasa’s help managed to pinpoint the location of the leader.
“I lost some good people for this information so let’s use this properly,” Nikos said. “The Fortress is constantly on alert, with guard shifting periodically. Essentially…we can’t approach it without it them seeing us.”
Mia nodded at this and tapped the Raven symbol her gaze moving to each member of Stardusk.
“They have people with Observation as well so they’d pick up on us even if we approached from different angles. Someone tried to swim underwater and approach and were found immediately,” Mia said lowering her gaze back to the map. “That was one of Nikos’ old troops too but he confirmed our suspicion.”

Nikos seemed to take a moment closing his eyes out of respect for the man he sent before speaking again.
“So we’re going in full force, Rasa is pulling every ship he can and we’re going to assault the fortress with a head on attack. Our objective is just to get the Lady Luck close enough all of us to board. We’ll take out the defenses and Rasa’s remaining ships will approach and offer reinforcements…but we’ll be on our own until they catch up.”
Rasa made a circle around the empty area a small smile on his face.
“We’ll be attacking it from all angles, so we’ll absolutely get close. We just have to watch out for any extra tricks they may have,” Rasa said.

Luro stared at the map noticing that very few pieces actually surrounded Lady Luck, the larger part of the forces were pretty far away from Stardusk with another ship in the center.
“...our ship isn’t protected as much,” Luro said pointing down. “I’m guessing there’s a reason for that?”
“The formation was made that way purposely, this ship will be used as a decoy,” Nikos said tapping it. “We surrounded it to draw enemy fire, they’ll focus on the guarded ship, especially if they think it's Lady Luck. They’ll know we’re coming and they’re going to aim at killing you all first and foremost. Their fire will be directed here, that doesn’t mean we’ll be safe but we’ll be able to avoid the full force of it until we get close and they can properly identify. By then we have a much higher chance of making it.”
Nikos said this before raising his gaze and looking up at Stardusk.
“My crew have spent the last few weeks memorizing the fortress; we’ll be coming with you on the Lady Luck. From there I recommend teams of two, one of mine and one of yours to divide and take out the fortress defenses, mainly so we can guide you. Once that’s done, the remaining of Rasa’s forces will come and back us up.”
Luro looked over at Nikos at this as he picked the letter off the table, Mia glanced at Luro before speaking again.
“The place is basically a country filled with high class hunters so...we’ll need a little help. The bigger problem is the Five Quills. They’re the top dogs of the Ravens. If they get involved…well they’ll probably just destroy the fortress and everything in the vicinity causing us all to drown.”

Though Mia offered a shrug at this Nikos shook his head and decided to explain.
“They’re the top Hunters. For comparison since some of you might want to punch them anyway. We were classified as Third Tier Hunters, but our strength was recognized as second tier. Some of us were First Tier; they’re about…four steps above that.”
“In short if they get sent out islands start going missing,” Mia said grinning. “Most of them are power users and the leader probably has one nearby….I hope it’s not the nice one.”
“Our objective is simple, get on the fortress, find the leader, kill them, Stardusk escapes then full retreat. Simple as that.”

Runali’s hands were on the table and her gaze was steadily on the map while everyone spoke. “Hm..” Her fingers tapped on the table. “Get there, kill the leader, get out…” Her words were soft and aimed to herself, being lost in thought about what was going on. There were a lot of what ifs to this plan that she went over. Luro’s mention of Lady’s lack of defense concerned her, but it mainly brought up the question, “How do we know our ship won’t be harmed when we get to the island?” And then the mention of “higher ranked hunters” would be their challenge before encountering the leader. It made her sigh and mumble, “There’s always someone that’s gotta be in the way…” She tapped the table again, speaking a little louder this time. “Consider they do show up,” She looked directly at Nikos. “Do you think, with some help from my crew, yours can hold the five off long enough for a few of us to slip through?” She straightened up a bit. “And by a few, I really only mean you, me, and maybe Mia if she’s not held up.” Before he could answer, she added. “No use putting all our energy on those five, plus the other pests littered around. Sure, full frontal attack to raise hell, but what’s the use of that if we get tired by the time we get to this ‘leader’.”

Her attention turned to her own crew. “I don’t suppose you’re up for an actual challenge, yeah?” She cracked a small smile. “If you aren’t, you’ve at least got the extra back up. They’ve proven to hold their own after all.”

The three ex-ravens stared at Runali as she spoke the group looking at each other before a smile formed on Mia’s face at the Captain’s suggestion, she looked down at the map and Nikos moved a few of the extra pieces around and gave a small nod before looking over at Rasa. With a small sigh the man dug in his pocket and dropped a few coins into the outstretched hands of Nikos and Mia.
“I told you they wouldn’t care about the Quills,” Mia said.
“They have a habit of overestimating their own abilities, thankfully it’s predictable,” Nikos said counting the coin.
“Oh Nikos it’s just having faith in themselves, I like it.”
“That was a joke, I wouldn’t have recommended them if I considered them weak. Just as you say Captain you all have proven you can hold your own.”
“I care about the Quills…” Zilia thought shaking her head at the three.

Nikos looked over at Rasa as he was the one that would be able to address most of the Captain’s questions, clearing his throat Rasa grinned and tapped his cane on the ground.
“I’ll be hanging back and protecting your ships. I have to signal and direct the other ships anyway,” Rasa said. “Since the Prophet’s uh…Nikos’ group and Mia will be infiltrating with you I’ll be on guard duty to ensure we have a way home.”
Rasa offered a grin to the others giving a small bow to them.
“I will ensure no harms come to the fine Lady.”
“I can vouch for Rasa’s strength, he used to be a Quill alongside Lina,” Mia added.
Luro’s eyes widened at this and Mia looked at him before giving a small shrug.
“They’re the right hand of the Leader, she had to rise to that position to get this info. One of the few to do so without a Devil Fruit. She met Rasa and the two started planning this then.”
Rasa waved his hand in front of his face clearly wanting to change the subject; his time with the Ravens was another matter after all. Nikos seemed more than happy to focus back on the plan moving the pieces together and making a circle with his finger around them.
“That plan seems sufficient enough Lev, we’re not sure how many are there but my people can handle it without the help,” Nikos said. “With assistance keeping them busy should be easy enough. Just remember that most have powers and will come at you from the get go with everything they have.”
With a small nod Mia pointed at the pieces.
“While we’re dealing with the defenses the Quill’s will be trying to regain order from the assault. That chaos is the only time we have to break through and get the rest of our forces. Once they realize there’s nothing holding off the other ships, they’ll probably fall back to protect the leader.”
“Which my people will aid in keeping them occupied, while we break through,” Nikos said. “If you manage to stop them meet us there…the leader….I don’t know how strong they are but if they have power wielding people bending to their will I doubt they’re weak.”

Luro slammed his hand into his fist at this narrowing his eyes at the pieces.
“No if’s…I want to look him in the face and get some proper answers,” Luro said. “With Nikos helping me break in it’ll all be okay.”
“I’m not helping you,” Nikos said picking up the Raven.
“Wha-why not?” Luro questioned looking at him.
“Mia will be accompanying you for destroying the defenses. The rest of Stardusk may choose which of my people they want to accompany them. Since we’ll be slipping through the Quill’s first I’ll accompany Lev.”
“…that’s not fair.”
“It is fair. To the rest of you, feel free to choose whoever you wish when they come aboard. You’ll need one of us to guide you to the defenses. Unfortunately we can’t teach you what to look out for especially since most of it is code and we’d have to teach the code…so choose who you wish to come with you. I’ve told them all to behave so they won’t stab you in the back.”
“What about the front,” Zilia said holding up a note.
Nikos stared at it his eyes narrowing slightly before he offered a nod to Zilia.
“I will remind Kara, Tari and Nina not to stab you in anyway,” Nikos said. “They won’t attack…even though they’ll really want too. They do feel responsible for putting you and your loved ones lives in danger. That comes first.”

Nikos straightened up and put his knuckles on the map before raising his head to the others. Luro and Zilia stared at him, Mia and Rasa arching a brow at his strange action. Nikos stared at the rest of the crew his eyes twitching as confusion and realization slowly starting to sink in.
“You…don’t know this?” Nikos questioned.
“Know what?” Luro questioned staring at his hand.
Nikos removed his knuckles from the table and cleared his throat before pushing up on his pince-nez.
“Never mind then, it’s generally a gesture of… well it’s not important, will that suffice Lev? Stardusk? Of course I’ll answer any additional questions you have. You need only approach me. We set out tonight, my people will come on board sometime this evening.”

The idea of them betting on her predictability made her roll her eyes. “Well no reason to waste time gambling if you knew. S’pose it’s easy money though. Anyway,” She waved past it and continued on. “You’re mistaken. I do care about these ‘Quills’ and their abilities. But I’m not overestimating my crew. I know what they’re capable of.” She left it at that and carried on and looked at Rasa. She stared at him skeptically for a moment before nodding. “Alright Rasa. You’ll keep Lady safe.” She brushed past the extra information of him being apart of the very organization they planned to take down. Though, she did offer a unamused, “Not surprising.”

“Good.” She didn’t look at Luro when she addressed him. Instead, she nodded at Nikos to let him know she was fine with the plan. “Nikos is right for once. I need you guys to get the ground level clear. And the more of you down there, the faster it gets done. And the faster it gets done, the quicker you can get to where the leader is and help. For now, stick with Patches.” Her hands clasped together and she looked at her crew. “Alright! Ask your questions and get ready! No more wasting time!”