Now its true that Harry was well known for his easy going charm. He was not a big fellow, being around 5'5" and a bit bow legged.
" Forgive my ignorance, Miss Yuzuki is... Japanese ? and a warrior from that country's past from my perspective ? In my time, Japan was a welcome ally in the Great War. Your country was in conflict with them during your time Benjie ? You are probably a good deal more modern than the rest of us. The name of Anne Bonney is known to me since I was a child. Romantic tales of pirates in the Caribbean.
I cannot give you much advice Benjie, but it seems we have or maybe I have a number of choices here. One: Stick together and fight in what ways we can against those we consider our enemies. Two: retreat to some quiet part of this world and hide. "
He turned in his seat to look carefully at Benjie and Anne.
"All of you are warriors. Fighting enemies one of your primary skills. I however, am an entertainer. As such I dont have much to add to this endeavor. I have no skill at strategy or tactics. I have been in my time thought clever by some though. I have with you three skilled warriors quite an advantage I think. You Benjie, know tge kind of war these people will fight, what kind of fellow this Hitler was. You are clearly passionate, tenacious and intelligent.
Stories about Anne are still being told hundreds of years after her passing. Yuzuki too is a skilled warrior by the way she holds herself. I think there must be some reason for us to be here. For us to be together in this strange fairy circle world we find ourselves in. I will help on any way I can of course. But as warriors I will depend on you as will the natives here to be more than warriors. There, I have said my peace. "
With that, He sits back in his Carriage seat. His hands folded behind his head, he closes his eyes.
That look, it's familiar to Anne. A man whose seen a lot of death and hardship. Anne imagines she gets that same look in her eyes, when she's not sloshed. She doesn't like that idea. Suddenly she really wanted another drink.
“Huh. I will ask her 'bout that bloke.” Anne says in reference to this man Yuzuki had 'let go' in Benjie's opinion. She'd been occupied with other things and not seen these instances happen as he had. The woman looks over when she sees Yuzuki coming closer to the carriage on Nij. She listens to Yuzuki saying her piece, smiles and shrugs at her rationalizing that she followed Anne because the Barbin considered her their leader. She did feel the need to correct her on the terminology though.
“They don' call me 'master' they call me Mother Anne. Don't rightly know why, besides cause of Mary....” Anne trails off a moment thinking about Mary again. Her eyes have a far-off look to them She snaps out of it quickly when Harry speaks up. The pirate smiles, reaches over and pats him on the shoulder. “Ah don' you worry Harry my boy. I'll keep ya in one piece, or at least make sure ya keep the pieces you like.” She puts her hand over his right eye, closes her own and laughs “Fact I think if ya lost an eye, make ya more...rugged, distinguished. Wouldn't be the worst thing to happen.”
The carriage stops at an intersection of roads to allow others to pass by. They happen to stop beside a group of people gathered around a young man giving an impassioned speech.
“How can the King keep us safe? I was there just now, and so were you, and you!” He points at various people in the crowd. “In fact!” He raises his hand with one finger extended. “I even saw, the King and Queen themselves were attacked! And they might be dead this day, were they not surrounded by guards and Strangers to protect them! Now what does that say?” He asks and lets the question hang a few moments before saying. “I say, it means the King and Queen can only protect themselves! And they will, at the risk of the rest of us!”
It isn’t that Yuzuki doesn’t want further interaction with those within the carriage. She knows Benjie has a sever dislike of her. She doesn’t know why… more than that she doesn’t know why it bothers her so. She was brought to this world against her will (well she never actually had a choice), she was thrown in with this lot. She has done the best she can in the situation presented. But this short time she has been here… has been far more complicated than the whole of her life in Japan. She wants to do the best for those around her, just as she said, but things are starting to catch up with her. As she rides atop the unicorn, her head bows down a little, her eyes falling partially closed.
She just wants to make things right. But she doesn’t know what things… she doesn’t know what’s right.
With a soft neigh Niji comes to a slow stop when the carriage does, rearing up a little to show her objection to stopping. Yuzuki could feel the unicorn tensing a little, and so she knew to lean forward on her saddle and grasp the reins harder. Yes, it is just like riding a horse. She can even tell when Niji is about to go off the beaten track (so to speak). Like now… when then unicorn once more trots a little closer to the carriage, closing the distance between herself and her rider with the carriage. Yuzuki would force her away, but her own attention is drawn elsewhere. She stares at the young man yelling into the crowd, and she finds she doesn’t like his tone. Or words. So rider and mount have 2 different minds as to what to do at this moment. Yuzuki slides off of her saddle and lands on the ground next to Niji. She strides towards the crowd, her swords clacking softly together in her sash. And as for Niji… she helps herself to poke her head into the cabin through the open door window and nudges Harry with her snout. Her horn coursely scratches the roof of the carriage, but she doesn’t seem to notice. Or maybe she doesn’t care, either or. She snorts as she nudges Harry with her snout, and then Anne. It’s as if she’s looking for something. Surely one of them has something to give her, some kind of snack. That’s part of their jobs as her humans. And as she tries to get something from Anne or Harry, her neck almost rests on Benjie’s lap. She is… way to big to be doing this. But again… it doesn’t matter to her. If these humans had been smart, they would have given her the snacks outside of the carriage. And now she has to take matters into her own hands.
And as Niji antics her antics, Yuzuki stops outside of the crowd. She could barely be seen over the crowd, since she’s one of the shorter ones there.
Now Yuzuki hasn’t known the King and Queen for terribly long at all. But she has witnessed much of what they stand for. She knows the secrets of the King, she knows the thoughts and passions of the Queen. She knows of the missing daughter. But more than that… she is now in service to the Royal family. And so when someone badmouths them… well Yuzuki was raised to be utterly loyal to her lords. She is loyal to Anne, and she is loyal to the Royal Court of Gatecia. And to her, being loyal means speaking up when someone says things that are negative. Hell she has even killed a man once for such a thing. “King Richard serves Gatecia, and the people of Gatecia serve the King! He would risk his life for his people, and his people should want to risk their lives for him!” She now starts to push through the crowd, and continues to shout as she locks eyes with the young man. Some move out of her way, some are shoved out of her way.
And the moment Yuzuki speaks, Niji pulls her head from the carriage, her ears perked up as she looks in the direction of the crowd, dark eyes wide.
“King Richard works every day to keep this Kingdom and her people safe from those that align themselves against YOU.” She looks around as she continues to shout passionately. “All of you. Those that attempted to assassinate YOUR King were Strangers also. Of course he would employ whomever he could to keep his family safe.” She now stops just before the young man, staring into his eyes, only a foot or so away. “King Richard has made all of your lives better, and he continues to do so every day. Show respect to your King, to our King. Call him coward again in my presence, and you would learn just how effective his guard is.” The last part almost sounds like a threat, doesn’t it? Yuzuki, from what the others might have seen up to this point, isn’t exactly acting within her character. Or… maybe this is exactly who she is, and has not had opportunity to show this side of herself.
Ben was tired. This world was quite interesting to be sure but it proved to be equally frustrating as well. Perhaps getting drunk wouldn’t be so bad right about now. The resistance fighter quietly considered. Truth be told not everything he lived through back on Earth had been horrible. Benjie just wish he could focus more on the better memories instead of the hellish ones.
Not to mention the Filipino didn’t know what do if somehow he survives this next war. So far he can tell there was no countrymen nor family here. The authorities in this kngidom had been more or less accompanying but Ben couldn’t help but feel like a pawn in their whatever agenda they have. Of course he never entertain any idea of joining Hitler’s band nor follow anyone similar for that matter.
Fortunately being here wasn’t all doom and gloom. Strangely enough he found himself befriending a pirate of all people. It’s true she was crooked yes but not a complete monster like some of the tales made her out to be. The famed escape artist seemed a decent enough guy but they just met. Of course the samurai remained an issue, however. Despite appearing to be concerned with all of her well-being Ben didn’t had the heart to trust her fully.
I did that before and it cost me everything. Ben thought in reminder just when the carriage stopped and the unicorn Neiji proceeded to stick her horned head into the open widow. Soon enough her neck was resting on his lap, causing him to grimance remarked with amusement. Having been around horses long enoug he had a pretty good guess what Neiji wanted. Petting the neck he commented affectionately
“You love a lot of attention don’t you babae.” Turning to the others he added. “She’s hungry, I don’t have anything on me to feed, do any of you?”
Regardless if they did or not Ben would soon heard the speech by panic rouser outside. He swore under his breath, knowing all too well the kind of damage this kind of talk can generate. Looking out Ben next saw Yuzuki make her way to the speaker. Ben watched the confrontation with a wary eye. As much as he didn’t appreciate what the man was doing the sergeant wasn’t so sure what Yuzuki was doing was the right move given the strong anti-stranger sentiment they were told about. Also way the swordswoman threatened the offender, gave cause for concern, bearing a somewhat resemblance to the enemies he longed fought.
Question is how will she respond in the face of defiance? The last thing we need is her cutting off the man’s head for speaking out of turn. We’ve have a riot on our hands if that happens.
Harry felt comfortable in Anne's presence. it was odd in a way, with her being so different from himself and almost anyone he had ever known. His thoughts of the lady pirate are interrupted by the friendly unicorn. Of course, Harry gives her attention, sadly he doesn't have any food for her either.
"No, I've very little on my person I'm afraid, food least of all. I seem to have a couple of Cigars if we find ourselves in a position to celebrate something. "
He could here the soapbox guy ranting on the street corner. Then, worse, he could see the warrior woman approaching the street corner rabble in a fierce manner. He thought to himself, here is a spot perhaps he could be of some use. He could talk to people, with a bit of luck he could defuse this before she felt she had to act to protect her King's honor.
"Anne, I think I can be of some help here. !"
Fearless, Harry was always a man of charisma, easy going and easy to talk to, or listen to. He hopped out of the carriage and while people's attentions were on the warrior woman and the loudmouth, Harry climbed up onto a wall to address the crowd.
" Gentle people ! why do you listen to such nonsense. Surely this young fellow has only the desire to tear down what has been beneficial all these years. Perhaps he works for the enemy, causing you to doubt that which stands between yourselves and those who would harm your kingdom, harm you..."
However, Harry knew his carriage was going to leave soon, with a bow, hopping off the wall, behind it, hoping to sneak back into the carriage before it left him behind.
"Oi..." Anne sighs and rubs the bridge of her nose when she sees Yuzuki dismount and run over to confront the rabble-rouser while Niji pokes her head inside to press them all for what she assumes is a treat. Anne is likewise without anything for the young unicorn, so she just reaches over and pets her face as she looks out behind her at the scene until Niji pulls her head out at the sound of Yuzuki giving her indignant rebuttal. Hearing Yuzuki's somewhat veiled threat, Anne groans and almost rises to get out and deal with the situation, but then Houdini takes the initiative so she leans back and stays with Benji, for now to watch this unfold.
The young man meets Yuzuki's eyes and doesn't look away like the rest of the crowd when Harry makes his ploy to diffuse and disperse his rapt audience. The crowd is swayed somewhat by the man, and one asks "He's right! How do we know you're not with those people who attacked the plaza?" and others chime in with their agreement.
The young man holds steady as he says "I'm not with the enemy. I'm just a cobbler by trade, but I'm not afraid of this Stranger. I'm not afraid to speak my mind!" He looks down at her waist, at the swords there, and tilts his head up, exposing his neck. "King Richard and King Edward have made life better, yes. But they are peaceful men unfit to lead when war will eventually rear it's ugly head. They have their councils of nobles to advise, but what of the true will of the common people?!" He raises his hands and looks around "Do we not deserve a seat at their council?! We the people who farm, make boots, cook and clean, who truly make this nation?!" A ripple of affirmation goes through the crowd as a series of "Yes!" and "We deserve a seat!" and the like.
Inside the carriage Anne thinks aloud "Seems only right to me. How we run a ship, and seems to work fine to give everyone a voice and a vote." Anne says this matter-of-factly.
The young man then says, to Yuzuki with his neck still exposed. "King Richard is a good man. But he is still a coward afraid of what the commoner will do if he allows us more power."
The next few actions Yuzuki would take… well they may seem like she is jumping the gun a bit. As if she is actually yearning for a fight. Perhaps in the eyes of Anne, Benjie and Harry… she is way off kilter here. But there is context here…
One must remember… Yuzuki was born in 1620. Into a world that is so vastly removed from the sort of world her companions have ever lived in. To most of them, words are just words. They carry only the weight you allow them to carry. And for the most part the same could be said for young Yuzuki. But she is also a warrior of her people. She serves her lord and master with ultimate fealty. That is the basis for most of the things she does in her life. Serving her lord and his agenda, as well as advancing his power. So to disrespect someone she has come to call her master… that just doesn’t sit well with Yuzuki. To say the least.
She looks over her shoulder towards Harry as he tries to dismantle the situation, and she does appreciate his efforts. It’s true this boy could be part of the enemy ensemble, but that doesn’t feel right. Her eyes draw back to the man as he continues to address the crowd, as he exclaims the common folk deserve a seat at some council. There’s a council? She was only aware of the King and Queen, really. But when he tilts his head up, Yuzuki narrows her eyes at him. Now he’s challenging her directly, as if daring her to do him harm. And when he once more calls King Richard a coward, Yuzuki lets out a short “Kih.”
She turns slowly, and her hand whips out in front of her. Her fingers grasp one of the scabbards at her hip, the one with her original sword within. Aki no Ken. She draws the scabbard from the sash around her waist, and she holds it out to the young man, offering it to him. She motions to it with her head as she speaks. “You disrespect my lord… and therefore disrespect me… right to my face. Please, take this. Use it to defend yourself against me. I’ve no want to kill an unarmed man.” She isn’t joking, she is utterly sincere. She wholly intends to kill this young man for (what she sees as) utter disrespect and even treasonous talk.
The tension in the air was thick. Before Bennie was watching something that seemed pretty familiar. To insult a Japanese’s leader or ideals to brings disgrace in the eyes of the former. He briefly lowered his head, remembering too many examples when how the oppressors of his homeland dealt with people even for the slightest offense toward them. Next thing he knew Harry bolted out of the carriage and climbed the wall like a madman.
Guess there is truth in the stories about him after all. He thought while the showman addressed the people, accusing the speaker of being with the enemy. It was a possibility in Ben’s mind until the fellow replied, explaining who he is exactly, and his grievances which were shared many in the crowd. Like Anne, the resistance fighter believed in freedom like that of choice and became more sympathetic. However, the speaker went on to call the king a coward again, even offering his neck to be chopped off by Yuzuki.
To the Filipino’s surprise Yuzuki instead of obliging offered to give the offender a weapon so they can duel one another. The whole thing made him exclaimed with frustration. “Enough of this.” Discarding his weaponry and leaving them with Anne and the returning Harry, the islander exited out of the carriage and rushed toward the crowd. Jumping inbetween Yuzuki and the cobbler, Ben raised each open palmed hand at the two. Looking back and forth at them all he shouted.
“Hasn’t there been enough death and suffering today?!”
Turning first toward Yuzuki, there was no scorn in his expression like before but steady resolve.
“If you truly believe in your new lord then he should be strong enough to handle these accusations himself. Killing one of his own subjects after losing many from the attack on the square even in a duel will not honor him. It would only bring shame.”
Hardly believing he just appealed to a samurai on her level Benjie then glanced over to the young man, addressing him next.
“While I’m a complete stranger with little to no knowledge of your lands yet believe it or not Cobbler I understand how you feel. You’re afraid because your home has been attacked and you’re frustrated with the leadership about it, along other reasons. Not to mention grieving for all those whom have been lost.”
He said the latter with emotions threatening to choke him for all the crowd to see. Swiftly as that grief came it was buried back down in Ben’s soul.
“However, please allow me to ask this. Will raising panic among your people here in a time of war bring about those dreams of reform? Will openly denouncing the king, the only form of authority available during this crisis, justified or not really help your country while the vicious bastards who attacked it in the first place are still on the loose? If that continues then they will be able to take full advantage of such division, making it easier for them to destroy everything you hold dear in this life.”
“Don’t be so hard on yerself Harry.” Anne reaches over and pats his shoulder assuringly. She again feels her strength lessen as Harry looks at her, but doesn’t put the two together. “Makes ya feel any better, don’t feel like myself lately either. Weaker somehow, though I still feel the grog in my gut.” She says patting her stomach and flexing her left arm. At his comment about this seeming too convenient, she is about to say something about how these things can just happen, or the like, but a driver behind their carriage yells and interrupts her.
“Move! I have deliveries to make!”
Anne groans, leans out the window towards Benji and Yuzuki. “Oi! We’re holding up the road! Benji you get back in, and Zuki you either leave the welp be or give him a damn good smack and be done with it! Captain’s orders! In the carriage, on yer unicorn!” She yells, breaking the tense moment. The driver, beside himself, waits silently for his other passenger to get in.
The young man is about to take the sword Yuzuki offers when Benji comes between them and Anne bursts into the moment. He steps back and appears to hear Benji out, his shoulders falling somewhat as he considers his recent actions, even looks away from him at the crowd that has slowly been growing, then back at Benji and Yuzuki. He huffs “You are right. I have been….insolent. I...lost a friend in one of the explosions. But she is not right.” He points at Yuzuki, still defiant to her “No Stranger who comes here and thinks they are outside the laws of the land are right or welcomed by the people. Even if The Kings have employed them.” The young man turns and walks away without another word, and the crowd that had gathered around him starts to disperse.
Anne still leans out the window, looking at Yuzuki and hoping if she tries to reignite tensions Benji can hold her back long enough for Anne to leap out and knock her out to put a full end to this situation.
Yuzuki narrows her eyes at Benjie as he puts himself in her direct line of sight. Benjie’s right, of course. There’s been enough bloodshed today, there’s been enough thoughtless, needless death to last a lifetime in just these few hours. But while Benjie might be right, so is Yuzuki.
Rather, Benjie would be right in his world. And Yuzuki would be right in her world. But here they are, in neither.
She feels her hand tighten upon the scabbard, she can almost feel herself as Benjie now presents himself to justify the disservice this cobbler has done. Everyone is judging her motivations and actions based on the morale system they have all grown up in. But Yuzuki is of a different breed. She suddenly steps right up to Benjie, her face just inches from his, her head tilted up just a little to stare him in the eyes as she hisses out. “You just scolded me for speaking ill to you, and now you justify the shame this man” she motions to the cobbler with her head as he stares up at Benjie “brings to me. And you would presume to dictate to me how I should deal with the question of my own honor. I have ha-” She cuts herself off as she hears Anne call her name… kind of… and she looks over her shoulder towards Anne. Captain’s orders…
Well to this point Yuzuki has been resolute in her ideals, she has done her best to stand for them. Even if they are unpopular with every single being around her. And part of those ideals is listening to commands from her superiors. She slowly looks back towards Benjie, and she truly looks like she wants to fight him right at this moment. Because she wants to fight him right at this moment. The cobbler addresses her, and she looks over Benjie’s shoulder towards him. She slides passed Benjie, and she addresses the cobbler once more as he moves away from the thinning crowd. Her tone is now even, calm. Sincere. “My genuine condolences to you, and to those you care for. We will do all we can to bring justice for your friend. For all that have fallen here today.”
She turns now and doesn’t look in Benjie’s direction, to her he’s done nothing but spoken to her with disrespect. Even if he’s justified in his thinking, so is she. She tucks her scabbard back into her sash as she moves back to Niji, who is anxiously watching from outside of the crowd. She pulls herself up into the saddle, saying nothing further as she frowns to herself.
Considering the fact Benjie left all his weapons back in the carriage there was nothing Ben could do if things turned for the worse. It had been a risk but one he is willing to pay. He said noting but remained outwardly calm as the samurai vented back at him. Honor and shame, those were words he heard too often from Yuzuki’s countrymen in his era. With those same expressions they justified every horror they inflicted on his loved ones and people. So for her to make such references now to him made Benjie want to spit in utter disgust.
Only when Anne calls out to them all prevented another outburst from Ben. Personally he was glad the pirate said something even in rebuke toward him and that the cobbler finally calmed down. While the Filipino could relate to these people’s frustrations but they had no idea the kind of enemy that’s out there. Inwardly Ben wished he could’ve slug the cobbler in the face for causing this whole incident grieving or not. Though such an act only enflame the locals’ resentment toward them all.
While the crowd began dispersing, Benjie moved back toward the carriage, overhearing Yuzuki’s offer of condolences to the cobbler and promised to avenge those who died today. His confusion about her only increased. First she wants to chop off the man’s head in single combat and now this! What’s the point of trying to understand her?
More weary than before the sergeant came back inside. Looking at Harry and Anne, he said.
“Apologies, but I couldn’t sit by and let a riot break out...not after what happen.” Shaking his head, Ben added with a cynic’s amusement. “If I had money would bet there’s a chance I’ll be put in chains or get challenged by her next. I mean for the part of letting a man who insult the reigning king get away without retaliation.” Considering Yuzuki’s new connection to the monarch, he wouldn’t be totally surprised if either case happens.
Harry reaches over to Benjie and pats him on the shoulder.
"I don't think it will come to that Ben, that King just send Dean to the dungeon with orders he not be harmed and Dean had tried to kill him. He would have gotten away too if he hadn't of tripped ! I don't know about you, but these kinds of politics are a bit out of my depth, my guess is his Majesty is better with these things than we are. None of us are politicians, or leaders of that type. I haven't figured out my place in this, but you three have higher things in store for you here. I find your actions Ben, very brave to get between an irate warrior and a stubborn cobbler, for the sake of both. "
He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a cigar and hands it to Benjie. An expensive Cuban brand in a little metal tube.
" I have two of these in my pocket, you might as well have one.. seems unlikely we'll find tobacco here doesn't it ! "
While Anne’s Crew have been dealing with the crowd and holding up traffic….
The Red Shield Caravan has reached one of the gates into York, and King Leonidas has been on his feet aside the wagons since first glimpsing the high white walls from afar, and stares up in awe. He’s seen fortresses, built a few in his time as King, but none like this.
“It is like Troy.” He says aloud to himself as he looks up with arms crossed over his chest. Genessa comes back from speaking with the guards to secure their passage, and seeing Leonidas comes up beside the old warrior with a small smile on her face. She seems a little paler under the morning light, but still doesn’t look terribly tired from the journey.
“Many people have that reaction.” She starts. “It wasn’t built by King Richard though, but his predecessors who were only interested in a stronghold. Most of the buildings you will see inside are new, remade from the barracks of the vast army which once lived here.” She leaves the King be as the large gates open for the train to pass, resuming her seat at the third wagon behind Grimm. Her expression drops, as she recalls her talk with the guards that only Burton, Grimm and their drivers would have overheard.
“Be aware, Senior Orlock, that the city has just been attacked. Were it not a standing order from King Richard himself to allow Red Shield in to meet with him I would not allow anyone, let alone this number of people, to pass these gates.” The guard had said.
“What? By who?” She’d inquired.
“We do not know anything more than a Stranger being involved. A very fast one who has been captured. That is why he is calling all Red Shield to his court.” was his reply before going to call for the gates to be opened. Genessa had then gone to all the drivers and informed them all they’d be going to the castle instead of the main guild hall as planned.
As the train enters York they find a city with a tangible tension in the air. People look out from their windows or balconies, or nearly skitter like frightened animals in its wake. Leonidas notices this as he follows beside the wagons along with other Red Shield, mainly their Field Operatives who want to stretch their legs. These Field Operatives were a different breed than the rest in the wagons. They walked with confidence, and wore leather armor with red berets. Their ages ranged from a seasoned older man, to a woman maybe even younger than Genessa.
Back with Anne’s Crew….
Anne blows a raspberry as an initial response to Benji thinking there would be some form of punishment for his recent actions. Harry conveys pretty much what she was going to say, in much finer words. One detail does trigger a thought in her hazy mind and she voices it. “Odd all it took was a trip to catch him. He looked real surprised about it too before I caught him by the hair.” Then another piece of the puzzle comes to her mind. “Ya know now that I think ‘bout it, my power been coming and going since….” She looks over at Harry with a raised brow “...you popped outta that box.” This line of thought is interrupted when the carriage again comes to a sudden stop. Which makes Anne groan and not just lean out the window to yell at the driver, but get on her knees on the seat to put her whole top half out. “Now what?!” She demands of the driver, but looking forward her question is answered.
The carriage and Niji make it within the shadow of the castle when they cross paths with a long train of covered wagons, and the driver stops to let it pass them first. They see some men and women in Red Shield uniforms walking alongside the wagons as they go.
“Looks like there’s more of them Red Shield in town.” Anne says still half out of the carriage window. “And they’re headed to the castle as well.”
As they look on, they see one man walking beside the wagons that is clearly a Stranger like themselves: An older man with a greying beard, wearing a red cape, leather skirt type clothing with his scarred chest bared, and he carries a large bronze shield that nearly covers his entire body. He looks up and around in wonder, as he’s never seen a city like this before. He even fails to see Yuzuki on her unicorn he is so focused on taking in the architecture. Anne catches sight of this man, and makes a long whistle of impression as he passes.
“Now….that be a man.” She says in almost an air of arousal. Anne brings herself back into the carriage fully, adjusting her trousers that had been pulled slightly down by her sudden action. “Looks like we’ll be meeting even more people, gents.” She says to the two men.
They all pass through the castle gates and find the main courtyard is full of these wagons and more Red Shield have disembarked. Many stretch, rub their eyes and mill about waiting for further instructions. Some look up in awe with Leonidas standing at the center of the courtyard to take in the opulence of the royal castle.
Genessa steps off from the wagon and looks over at the carriage coming up behind them. While she feels most everyone is distracted and looking elsewhere or at somebody else, she takes something from the inner pocket of her uniform and drinks it, then places it back in the pocket. She looks around, expecting soon her fellow Seniors would be coming to meet up with her.
Anne opens the door and is the first to get out. More jumps out. She adjusts her hat and goes right to Leonidas, whose eyes fall upon her immediately with a look of incredulity. Anne sees the amulet sitting on his chest, and since it looks like Yuzuki’s assumes it functions the same.
“Ahoy! Anne Bonny, ‘nother Stranger like yerself.” She puts her hand out to him.
The old King smiles and shakes it. “King Leonidas of Sparta.”
“Oh...a King.” Anne says impressed. “I’m something of a leader myself. There be my crew.” She points over at the carriage. He looks over in time to watch the other two get out of the carriage, but his eyes fall on Yuzuki while still amount Niji and he appears totally enraptured. He walks over, leaving Anne to look after him with a look of surprise and indignation. “Too old fer me anyway…” She grumbles quietly.
Leonidas approaches Yuzuki and Niji, looking more at the woman than even the creature of myth she rides. Like he’s never seen anyone like her, and is amazed. “Who are you? What are you?” He asks her.
As Niji follows along side the carriage, Yuzuki seems to be in a different place. Her head is tipped down, her hands loosely grasping the reins of her mount. Every once in a while she would glance towards the carriage out of the corner of her eyes, as if only to make sure she was keeping up with them.
Her mind lingers on the whole incident, of the attempted assassination of the King. Perhaps not that as much. In her mind, she was just doing her job. It’s the after that lingers in her thoughts. The crowd of seeming traitors trying to rouse more anger in those around them. She thinks about how Benjie tried to stop her… how both he and Anne seemed fine with the disrespect that was shown to her. In some degree it even angers her. She just can’t wrap her head around why Anne wouldn’t allow her to duel the man. After the way he addressed her.. and the King… it just doesn’t make sense. If someone had repeatedly spoken ill of Anne or even of Benjie.. she would be obligated to interject. To duel for the honor that had been smeared. She isn’t pleased, and her body language speaks to that. But she won’t say anything. It isn’t her place to question such things.
As the carriage stops, Niji lets out a loud whinny in protest, rearing up a little. Luckily Yuzuki is at least paying enough attention to feel the sudden shift in Niji’s body, an she sits up in the saddle to grasp the reins more firmly. With wide eyes she looks ahead of them, Niji’s front hooves now prancing up and down in place to show her objection to having to stop. “Ay ay ay” Yuzuki says softly as Niji lets out another impatient neigh, and Yuzuki reaches up with one of her hands to pat Niji’s neck reassuringly. Yuzuki looks towards Anne as she speaks, and then back towards the caravan they had allowed to pass. And just as Anne’s does, Yuzuki’s eyes fall upon the King moving with the caravan. One of her thin brows perk up, and she utters to herself. “Uwa.” With a tone of being impressed. Yuzuki now slides down off of her saddle, wrapping one of the reins around her wrist. Anne rushes passed her, heading right towards the pretty man. And Yuzuki rolls her eyes a little, looking away. Of course that’s what Anne would do. She now takes one of the scabbards from her sash, and she tucks into a small loop on the side of Niji’s saddle. She makes sure it’s secure before nodding. No need to carry both of her swords at this moment. At least she hopes.
Yuzuki’s attention moves to Niji suddenly as the unicorn exhales sharply from her nose, her head flicking up. She looks in the direction Niji is staring, seeing the very muscular man moving towards her.
Yes, that is a man.
Discretely she looks around Leonidas, seeing Anne standing there. Did he just walk away from her? Why would he do that?
Niji leans her head closer towards Leonidas as he gets closer, exhaling once more, her wide dark eyes staring at him. But her eyes lower a little, determing that Leonidas doesn’t mean any direct danger yet. Yuzuki faces the King as he approaches, her head having to tilt waaay up since he’s so friggin tall. She doesn’t smile or anything towards him.. as she doesn’t yet know his intentions. Usually at times like this, young Yuzuki is more about business. But when he speaks to her… she is suddenly befuddled. What is she? What’s that supposed to mean? She glances down at herself, making sure there are currently no extra arms or anything growing out of her. She looks back up to his eyes and speaks in a firm tone, wanting to show she isn’t intimidated by his size (she’s literally beaten down bigger men), posture or dumb questions. “I am Yuzuki Date. I am a Stranger. A samurai.” Samurai is what she says, but that might not be what he hears. She keeps her free hand clear of her sword’s hilt, not wanting to give the wrong impression. “You are Stranger also, yes?”
Ben chuckled at himself, realizing Houdini was right. He nodded in appreciation to the performer when given a Cuban cigar. ”Good stuff. I save it for a special occasion later.” Said the Filipino, in a tone obviously pleased with the gift, stuffing the cigar in one of his pockets.
When the topic shifted over back about how Dean was caught and the strange fact that Anne’s powers kept turning off, Benjie raised an eyebrow.
Looking at Harry, he began theorizing of what the escape artist’s power could actually be. Perhaps we now have an advantage of our own. Before the segreant could air this thought their carriage stopped and Anne mentioned a convoy of Red Shield members. It appears King Richard isn’t taking any chances. A wise decision in Ben’s point of view, given all that has happened.
From the open windows like the others Benjie saw the man with the cape and shield in hand, staring in awe at the surroundings. Silent amusement was displayed on his face at Anne’s interest for the new stranger before she sprang out from their ride to greet him once in the courtyard. Shrugging his shoulders toward Harry, the resistance fighter soon followed, coming out. With a trained eye he observed the wagons and personal all over. Only a few stood out to him as veterans with many others seemed pretty much like greenhorns.
Well I was the same way before the invasion in nineteen forty one.
Thinking so Benjie heard the warrior with greying beard introduced himself to the extremely interested Anne. From Ben’s view the man was speaking Tagalog, his native tongue. Briefly noticing the medallion on him, realization suddenly struck Benjie as the name replayed in the back of his mind. Leonidas! The same ancient king who fought that last stand at Thermopylae?!
Considering everyone else he has ran into so far, it shouldn’t be much of a shock anymore but Ben nonetheless, was amazed. It ended when the Spartan walked over to Yuzuki and her unicorn. Rolling his eyes in annoyance and not wanting to be around the samurai right now Ben looked away and spotted another pair of strangers(Gands
). With his carbine slung over the shoulder and pistol now holstered at the hip Benjie approached them. With a warm smile he offered each man one of his hands to shake and, said in English with an accent.
“Hello, fellow strangers. My name is Benjie Delfino from the Philippine islands. May I know your names?”
During the carriage ride to York, Grimm had run into a dilemma. His bag full of Manticore innards and the severed head were starting to smell quite fierce even to Grimm's desensitized nose. After consulting the carriage driver, Grimm decided he had no choice but to dump the quickly deteriorating innards. But the stubborn hunter refused to dispose of his first trophy from the successful hunt. After some scrounging around while the caravan had taken a short break, Grimm was able to procure some cloth that had been soaked in pleasent smelling herbs. Originally the cloth was going to be used for some healers but the poor woman in charge of holding onto the cloth quickly relented to Grimm's insistence. Upon entering the city gates, Grimm put the now thoroughly wrapped manticore head in his bag should anyone try to take it from him.
Like Leonidas, Grimm was awestruck at the sheer size and scale of the fortress city. It made Doren look like a small town in comparison, causing Grimm to wonder just how long it took to build such an incredible city. Upon entering the courtyard, Grimm was shaken out of his reverie by the realization that he was very clearly in close proximity to the kind of people he hated with a passion, royalty. Grimacing in disgust, Grimm hopped off the cart and meandered over to Burton, standing next to the well-mannered gentleman. If anyone with a delicate nose came within close proximity to the grizzled hunter, it would be very clear he had not washed off any of the remnants from his latest hunt. A mix of sweat, dried blood, and rotting meat. Of course Grimm barely noticed, being used to going weeks without any kind of bath.
Looking around, Grimm nearly fell down in shock upon realizing the strange looking horse was an actual unicorn! He was about to rush over but Leonidas had already beaten him to it. Not wanting to look less manly next to the rugged and good looking spartan, Grimm simply huffed angrily and forced himself to look elsewhere. Though his sulking was quickly changed to curiosity when Benji walked over and introduced himself. Grimm had seen a man like Benji once before back when he was a boy, a merchant hailing from a distant land who had seemingly gotten lost. Though Benjie had a distinctly darker complexion and slightly shorter than the foreign merchant. Hesitantly reaching out, Grimm gave Benjie a quick handshake before looking him over. "You are very strange looking. You said islands? I do not know these...philly-pine islands. Are they beyond Moscovia?" Blunt and straight to the point as usual, Grimm eyed the carbine Benjie carried and pointed to it. "Is that a walking stick? It looks very unbalanced and strange."
Burton has had a long night. Concentrating on the road and possible problems kept him a bit on edge during the night.
Getting off of the wagon finally, he took several moments to stretch. He is dressed in the dark red outfit he purchased. It is very fashionable for the area, perhaps upper middle or merchant class. He is wearing his sword and his kukri knife. His hat alone is not going along with the rest of the outfit, English explorer. His big pistol is in fact holstered inside of outer jacket within easy reach. His boots are English military. He is a tall man for his time 6'2" and still well built for an older fellow.
Wandering into the center of the square, like the others he spends several moments admiring the royal fortress. Being well traveled, Burton has seen excellent fortress in his own world, but still finds this one a fine looking establishment. Grimm wanders over to him and Burton can't help wrinkling his nose a bit. But Sir Richard is a seasoned wilderness man and has smelled worse. He doesn't notice the Unicorn with Yuzuki riding it. He did stare for a few moments when finally he does notice, a grin slowly growing on his face.
"Better than those monsters in the woods eh Grimm?"
He studies the young woman by the exotic beast. Japanese he believes. He had read something about the nation years ago when the Americans went there. She is clearly a warrior. He remembers it being a class based culture. For a woman to be a warrior from there says something. There was also the young woman who ran across to speak with Leonidas, only to be disappointed. His eyes were on the exotic and not for the same reasons Anne's were on him. The young woman is wearing a tri-corner hat, He is familiar with it's origins and has an idea at least when the woman comes from .
Two men walk over, one at least partly east Asian and the other European. The Asian man introduces himself as being from the Philippine Islands. That in of itself is fascinating. A quick study makes Burton think he's seen quite a bit of battle. His weapons the holster of his pistol. Benjie is wearing local clothing so he's been here a bit. His English is well spoken though, he isn't wearing any amulets.
The other man introduces himself with a French name..but he doesn't look French, not a tall fellow, his accent seems mixed American. Burton catches a Star of David hanging from his neck. He looks like he came from some sort of formal affair, but his clothing shows signs of wear that it wasn't intended for.
" Gentlemen, I am Richard Francis Burton, This good man is called Grimm, he is an extremely talented hunter. For my part, I've been a soldier, a diplomat, a scholar and a writer. It is good to make your acquaintance Benjie and Harry"
Harry is mostly following Ben, but waves over to Anne to come and join them. More men for her over here after all !
Harry too is studying the other two strangers. Grimm is by Harry's standards, a barbarian. Not wishing to make any hasty judgments based on a difference in culture, Harry gets out his remaining cigar and puts it in his mouth, just so the tobacco smell can help fend off the Grimm Odor.
Burton is a study in contrasts, dressed mostly like a local, but Harry suspected there was a large time difference. He shakes Burton's hand of course. Harry is already curious about how everyone fits together.
The translation amulets on both Leonidas and Yuzuki interact as they talk, and for Leonidas the word ‘samurai’ is translated in the only manner he can truly understand what it means to Yuzuki: She is a born warrior from a line of warriors. This perplexes him, as mortal women were in his time not warriors, women of legend aside. Yes, Spartan women were also trained to fight to defend themselves, but they were not warriors like he could feel this woman was. Never mind that she rode this unicorn as one would a normal horse.
“I am what they call a Stranger, yes. From what I understand, from a time before the birth of even the grandfathers of most.” He replies to her and explains his fascination with her as he only knows how: bluntly. “I have never seen one like you, Yuzuki, though you say you are like me: A warrior from the womb. I have stared men from the East down, and their eyes were not like yours. Yours are stranger. I wonder what they look like when in a battle.” He looks around the relatively smaller woman, brow scrunching “And I wonder how you have survived a warrior’s life. You are small, look like I could pick you up and throw you like a spear.” He says this and chuckles, very amused at the prospect. He shifts his gaze from Yuzuki to Niji and reaches out with his free hand. “And what a wondrous mount. How did you tame such a thing? I had though only those born of the gods were able to ride an animal like this.”
Meanwhile, Anne has been looking over at Yuzuki and Leonidas having their conversation until Harry waves her over to another gathering of Stranger. Anne leaves the two (plus Niji) be for now and joins the others. The one she hears introduce himself as Richard is a handsome fellow she’d have to admit. The other rougher looking one, with bits of blood and gore still on him, doesn’t scare Anne at all/. But as she gets closer, her nose wrinkles at a stench she wasn’t ready for. Life on the sea with pirates meant being used to some key stenches: Dead fish, men who haven’t bathed in a month despite being surrounded by water, and of course seawater. This special musk Grimm is covered in was new and very unwelcome even to her nose. She pinches her nostrils shut.
“Oi, you...uh Grimm was it?” Anne asks, going by the name she’d overheard from the other man. “They got a waterfall in a house here, if you’d like to clean up.” She says this while holding her nose, making her sound a bit funny. She puts her hand out for the other man to shake, smiling. “Anne Bonny, leader of this crew of misfits and a band of cat people.”