Take it a Step Further [ Jack & Laggy ]

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  1. To say that his home was "off the beaten track" was perhaps the greatest understatement he would ever know. It was hidden well away from anything remotely resembling a village, tucked into a vast, mountainous region that was better known for its wild setting and death count than it was for its human population. Granted, that wouldn't have been difficult even if there were more than a single family of people living there, but the reputation stood. Even hidden away in the farthest reach of the country where to die was more likely than to live, however, his family still had no choice but to withstand a bimonthly visitor.

    At least twice each month and sometimes several times more--especially when some tragedy struck in some far off kingdom--a knight in shining armor would clamor his way up the mountain, squeeze his heavy set steed through the slim openings of the canyon-like channel that was their entry way, and drop to his feet with a haughty harrumph in front of their humble abode. He would stand there all cocky and sure, but steadily the same look of alarm and disbelief would spread upon his face as his eyes passed the messily put together front of the home and went up to where the house had steadily grown into the mountain face with each generation adding on their own little touch. At the moment there were a good six different "house fronts" built into the stone, but a dozen more were sprawled inside the tunnels they had carved, and at least four--there were debates on the fifth as it was more of a statue than a home--curled around the side where the light hit only in the morning.

    No home was particularly more special the others, none baring the royal look of a castle or the richly made home of a duke, but the sheer strangeness of homes stacked upon homes was always somewhat shocking to newcomers. Most reacted with disbelief and a bit of wariness, treating its inhabitants more like witches than anything else, but the occasional knight or warrior would come who would look upon it and seem to think that it only made their reputation more believable. That reputation, of course, was as blacksmiths. Well, not just any kind of blacksmiths; they weren't particularly interested in forging horse shoes or troughs or plows or anything remotely resembling a scythe, but they were exceptionally good at weaponry. So good, in fact, that their name sounded out in kingdoms a country away, a quiet whisper in circles of knights of enchanted swords and Kings who ruled with a blade of fire. Many of those myths were somewhat exaggerated, but the Alaisdair family came awfully close, infusing each sword, dagger, mace, shield, club or what have you with true magical flair. Admittedly mostly they were nothing stronger than charms, but sometimes...something more powerful was in order.

    "I am not going to make you a sword that turns into a dragon." Shawney outright rolled his eyes this time, turning fully away from the knight who had run up this morning, all gangly limbs and not-quite-there muscle that told of a rich man's son, and instead turned his attention back to the axe he was making, tuning out the young man's complaints with the rhythmical banging of work.

    "--it wouldn't even be a large dragon, just scaly and toothy and FIRE!" Sparks flew as Shawney changed the angle of his hit, moving out of the way as a sizable ember shot out off of his workstation and fizzled inches away from the knight's face. He screeched and backpedaled quickly, and Shawney lifted a brow, lips quirking in mild amusement at the client's expression before he hefted up the battle axe and gave it a blow before dunking it into specially prepared spring water. Thick, twisting steam with a hint of purple billowed up and Shawney narrowed his eyes at it thoughtfully as he spoke.
    "Embers make you jump. I would be reluctant to let you run around with a torch--you will not be getting anything fiery. In fact, I do believe you are overestimating our abilities somewhat. Have you ever heard of a sword turning into anything at all? I certainly have not." A bit of a lie actually--just last month he had carved a walking cane for an elderly gentleman that could turn into a snake, but that was for defense and the man had long since deserved such a thing. This young man was unproven and would get nothing of the sort from them. Although...he had come very far and at the very least he was true of heart even if he'd come from daddy's pocket and not power of his own.

    As the boy sputtered, fright being quickly replaced with embarrassment and anger, Shawney pulled the axe free of the water and set it aside, making certain that the gelatinous goop that had formed around the blade was hardening efficiently before turning fully to the boy. "I will not forge a thing for you, but I will allow you to leave with one of our older blades. If you want anything from us you will live, breath, and fight with this blade for ten years." He held up a hand, the iron grey of his eyes firm as the golden rings of the Alaisdair line caught the light and gleamed around his pupils, and the boy shut his mouth, keeping back the comment on his tongue, "Ten. Years. Not a year less, not a year more. If you have shown promise by then, I will reconsider. But keep in mind it is the sword that will tell me your deeds, not your mouth. Are we in agreement?"

    The youth bobbled his head quickly, eyes lit up, and Shawney snorted out a breath, smirking nonetheless as he moved to another section of the building, slipping into a room set off from the rest. The knight waited outside it as he shuffled around for the sword he was looking for, giving his father a light grin when the man offered the weapon in question from his position cleaning a blade that had recently returned to them. They shared an amused look over the schooling sword--all dented and ugly when first given--before Shawney's eyes fell to the sorrowful weapon in his father's care and he leaned forward to brush the pads of his fingers over the hilt. A sword well used and well loved always mourned at the loss of its wielder.

    Shawney returned to the main room with the blade slipped into a hilt he thought would fit the scrawny knight now but be large enough to fit him in the next decade as well. He offered it to him and turned away the money, shooing the excited youth off to his steed with a light word of encouragement and another stern warning. The man watched the gangly movements of the young horse as rider and steed ambled off, and snorted to himself. Chances were the pair would not live long enough for that sword to bloom into something he could forge with magic, but...there was always a chance. Pleased with himself and confident they would not be getting any more visitors today, he ran a hand through his messy mop of deep brown hair and strode back to his work with a grin, setting into the complicated procedure of enchanting the axe while the sun dipped towards its afternoon road.
  2. A figure paced long the dirt path, stone and earth crunching underfoot. Its gait was steady, rhythmic. It seemed practised, almost, like it was something he'd been doing all its life. It did not seem to care what it trod upon. A jagged stone, a branch with a particularly sharp twig poking out of it. He registered it all the way an elephant would regard gnat. A mere annoyance, something to be brushed off and forgotten about. Of course, none of this would be a bother if he had decided to wear shoes, but to this man, there wasn't really a point.

    He looked up, and pulled back his hood, to regard his destination, in all its forged and molten glory. While he had never taken to blacksmithing, or many crafts in general, he admired how a blacksmith worked. Shaping a weapon seemed to be as much an artform as sculpting or painting. It just required a different kind of intricacy, attention to other details. It wasn't all molten metal, hammers and anvils, he knew that much. He had seen enough to know that a man's blade was his soul, his life - and any blacksmith worth his salt would forge it as such.

    Ironically, he did not wish to have a blade to live by. No, this was a blade he was to die by. It could not be steel though - no steel would be able to end him. Orichalcum would not let him end it all. Not even Mythril, enchanted by a mage of legendary calibre, could drain the life from him. No - he needed something special, something specific, something that would rock him to the very core. blade that would alter him. A blade that could shatter even the condition that afflicted him, and break the curse that plagued him.

    The list of ingredients he needed was not especially long, nor was it especially short. If it had listed normal ingredients, this would have been a standard order anyone trained in forging weaponry could fill. However, these were, by no means, ordinary items. These were the sorts of things you expected to see on a museum shelf, or in an emperor's treasure collection, not gathering dust in a blacksmith's supply stash. Nevertheless, this place was famed for its smiths, so he lived in hope, that eh could at least gather the ingredients. He didn't care how much it cost him - after all, he didn't need money. Not in his state.

    Though hesitant, he decided to ask the first blacksmith he came across if he could help him. He hoped that, if his request could not be fulfilled - which was entirely likely - he would at least be pointed in the right direction.
    "Excuse me," he asked, pacing over to Shawney, "Might I trouble you for a request?"
    While he appeared young, to the average passer-by, closer inspection would reveal that he seemed like an old man in a young man's body. Eyes, heavy with the things no man should see. A sagging posture, greying hair. He didn't very well at all.
    Still he was paying customer, with a comfortably-sized list in hand.
    "I need a blade made out of these materials. I don't mind what blade you choose - I just need it out of those materials." He said, handing over the parchment.
  3. Shawney didn't think he was so involved in his work to be caught off guard, but when a man spoke up near his side he very nearly jumped, muscles stiffening as he straightened up faster than he'd intended, looking at the newcomer with surprised eyes. "Ah, sorry. You startled me." The shock quickly passed into an easy smile, the smith flashing a canine as he brushed a hand over the axe, clearing away some of the bits of metal that had gathered while he engraved around the blade. He settled the weapon into a more stable position and gave the visitor a better look over, brows knitting slightly at the clash between body type and language. He worked his tongue against his teeth with a tsk before he gave the other his full, albeit wary, attention and reached out to take the parchment.

    Curiosity peaked he unrolled it with careful hands, never quite letting his attention drift from the other man even as his eyes made quick work of the list, his expression moving from expected to something more surprised. He looked up from the paper to give the man a look, brows fully knit now and eyes slightly narrowed as he worked his jaw uncomfortably, "This isn't your typical sword." He supplied helpfully, cocking his head to the side and meeting the other's gaze, "We barely have a quarter of these ingredients and each one of those are worth more than a king's ransom." He didn't mention how startling it was that he had any that list--it was at the very least inferred.

    Shawney rolled the parchment back up and offered it back to the other, not needing to look at it again to have it memorized, and turned back to the axe, clearly in deep thought as he returned to his engraving. He didn't speak for a long moment, calculating the weights and ingredients to determine exactly what was being asked of him, but when he finally opened his mouth again he did not look up from his work, "Why do you need a weapon like that? Money and time aside...that's not something to play around with. Something I would expect from wizards up to no good and the hoards of ancient kings; not as a request." He glanced up from his piece, not needing to look as he continued the engraving and punctuated his words with a twisted swirl at the end of a foreign word.
  4. He stared down Shawney, his expression never changing form its blank, slightly sorrowful state. While this was an inconvenient development, he would have been lying if he had said that he hadn't expected such questions to pop up. A man in ragged clothes that looked as if he'd been dragged through the wilderness, as opposed to dragging himself through it, asking for the kind of sword that was used to fell mighty beasts? Something was definitely amiss. From the looks of it, it didn't even look like he had the kind of money to purchase one of the items on the list, let lone all of them, or the services needed for aking the sword itself.

    Making sure nobody was around, he pulled a pouch the size out from under his cloak, and handed it to Shawney. Clinking could be herd from within it - and it looked heavy. Something was up with the pouch. He opened it, and inside, was what he intended to pay with. Several gemstones, each the size of a man's fist, beautifully cut and polished. Each one was likely worth more than Shwney could make in a year, and a stranger had just walked in and brandished them like it was no big deal.
    "Verify them if you like," he said, "I wouldn't blame you if you did."

    "But back to business. If you can't forge the sword, I'll happily buy what materials you have. I can't pay you in gold, but those gems should fetch a tidy sum if you talk to the right people."
    Something told him that money wasn't the issue, though. This was a powerful weapon that was to be made, and he didn't exactly look like someone you'd trust with that kind of power. Nevertheless, he wanted to at lest try and get as far as he could. Worst case scenario, he learnt how to do it, and once he was good enough, he forged his own.
  5. A frown crossed the young man's expression at the pouch, but he didn't move to pick it up until he had given the axe a careful look over for flaws, letting it rest on the workstation as he moved withing reach and took the bag, opening it with deft fingers and narrowing his eyes at the contents. He only pulled one out, rolling it comfortably in his fingers, and moved to hold it to a light thoughtfully. "I don't have to verify them." He muttered after a moment, returning the gem back to the pouch, "These are high enough quality to buy a kingdom easily." His frown grew and he set the pouch on a nearby table, pushing it towards the visitor, "I don't know how much you know about my family, but the more money we're offered the more suspicious we become. You can't buy our services and for you to get here with a list like that, I'm sure you know that."

    He stood fully facing the other now, his feet spread and his arms crossed over a wide chest as he eyed the other distrustfully, working his jaw in an uncomfortable tic. "Didn't say I couldn't forge it. My family's the only ones who could forge something like that." He gestured towards where the man had the list with one hand, relaxing slightly, "Three of those ingredients are all but incompatible. I doubt anyone else knows how to handle them properly together and you need a certain..." He shook his head from side to side and shrugged, "Its just something that runs in the family."

    Shawney worked his jaw again, looking the other up and down a final time, and sighed, turning away from him to gather up the axe. "Tell me what you need it for." He rumbled as he brushed off the engravings again, moving towards a spot of light and letting it bounce off the blade. The engravings caught the light without reflecting it, glowing a soothing shade of yellow, and the smith hummed in approval before moving to a nearby workstation to begin sharpening the double-sided blade. "And to what extents you're willing to go for the ingredients." Iron and gold flashed as Shawney lifted his eyes to the man, the grinding stone a comfortable weight in his palm and his actions smooth and practiced as he worked the blade, "This isn't going to be a run through any market. I only know where to find a few of them and it won't be easy so if this is a passing fancy you'd be better off letting pass. I need to know you're not going to get bored of it if a month passes by with no results."
  6. He didn't want to have to do it. He really didn't - but he had little choice.
    "Fine. You want to know why I want that sword? Take a look at this."
    He took a dagger from his belt, and held it against his heart. It looked to be something simple - steel, not viciously sharp, but enough to get the job done. With almost no hesitation, he pushed the dagger into his chest, right up to the hilt, without even flinching. He even managed to stare Shawney dead in the eyes while he did it, letting the blood drip down his arm as he did so.

    "As you can see here," he said, taking his hand off of the blade like it was a dinner knife just left on the plate, "I can't die. As in, nothing kills me. I've been burnt, shot, stabbed, torn apart, beheaded - you name it, I should've died because of it. You're welcome to take a swing yourself, if you like. It doesn't even hurt now, I've gotten that desensitised to pain."
    He withdrew the dagger, and immediately held some cloth to the wound to soak up any errant blood spurts. Almost instantly, the wound began repairing itself, eventually leaving no evidence whatsoever on his body that he was stabbed, bar the dried blood.

    "I'm going to be frank, here. I want to die. Immortality's not fun. I've spent the best part of two-hundred years wandering to find a way to stop it. And this is where my research has led me. I need you to make me a sword that is capable of killing me. I've spent too long living. I will do anything in my power to remedy that. Money, ingredients, anything - I'll get what you need, no matter the journey."
    The look in his eyes was all that was needed to confirm the truth. His body and voice never wavered, but the steely determination and sheer conviction in his eyes was clearly evident.
  7. A thick brow arched as Shawney caught sight of the dagger, already breaking it down to a generalized weapon and not particularly worth his attention and so why exactly it was being shown was--he cut off his own thought process with a quick inhale, nostrils flared in surprise but to his own credit he didn't move much more than that, tensing up in distaste but making no sudden motions as he watched with tight lips. The smith stood still through the other's speech, not opening his mouth to comment, and when the immortal was done Shawney clucked his tongue, tsking it loudly against his teeth as he cursed under his breath and turned away from the other entirely, stalking across the room.

    Strong fingers gripped the edge of one of his workstation's with a death grip, his knuckles white as he leaned on that hand, crossing one leg over the other and running his free hand through his hair in a repetitive sweep of his arm. "You're insane, you realize that?" He boomed, voice loud and rumbling with his aggravation, "Spent all this damn time figuring out how to die? Oh if my granddad could get a hold of that he would be rolling in his grave laughing." He huffed out a short breath, shaking his head lightly at first--as though in fond memory--before shaking it in a more vigorous, annoyed gesture. Usually Shawney was a smooth, graceful mover, but he turned jerkily now, not bothering to glance the other's way as he stalked through the forge with the amble of anger barely contained, ranting and cursing under his breath as he did.

    Various items were beginning to pile up on the only clean table that was in the forge, Shawney's father actually poking a head in with a strange expression on his face as his son wandered in and out of the extensive rooms of the forge, bringing back a whatsit and a whosit to sit on the table before shooting off into another area. The elder Alaisdair finally moved out of his own area with a bemused smile as his son nearly bowled him over in his attempts to grab what very much looked like a miniature anvil from a shelf. The older man's eyes were nearly solid gold in his age, rings of a warm brown filtered between the wide metallic belts, and he gave the immortal a contemplative stare before grabbing Shawney's arm as the man swung by, pausing him long enough to whisper something in a foreign tongue before wandering out of the forge and to the houses.

    Shawney stared after him for a moment, letting out a loud curse before he wheeled on the immortal, eyes fierce even as he approached with what looked like the typical leather bags for a horse's saddle but had come from a very locked chest inside another locked room. He set the bags onto the table quietly, eyes never leaving the other, but as he started to put stuff away he finally spoke, breaking his gaze as he piled in his whatsits and whosits in a very particular order, "You never told me your name. Gonna need that. I assume you can write? We'll need your signature and the gems stay here with my father." He hefted the anvil up and away it went to, along with what looked suspiciously like a tiny forge and a pile of embellished wood that really shouldn't have been able to fit into that pouch...especially with all the other things inside it. A two foot tall pile of objects completely stored into the bags, Shawney hefted them as though they weighed no more than usual, carrying them comfortably over one shoulder as he gave the other a look, gestured with his head, and left the forge.

    Two horses were waiting for them outside, one a younger, grumpy looking stallion with his ears pinned back and the bit loudly clanking in his mouth, and the other larger and more relaxed, but who seemed the teeniest bit ditsy. Shawney didn't hesitate wandering straight for the larger of the two, swinging the pouches over his tawny back and buckling the bags into place against the saddle while pushing away at the horse's snuffling head. Once the deed was done he rolled his eyes and pulled an apple from his pocket, shoving it into the horse's face and nearly losing a finger at the excited response. "You can use Butter. No, I did not name him and yes, he bites." He pointed to the smaller stallion, his pale yellow coloring clearly his namesake, and the horse cocked his head, looking to the both of them with as innocent an expression as he could manage. It was clearly a guise, if the twitchiness of his mouth was any indication.

    Shawney didn't wait for any response, however, and was moving quickly towards the house, gesturing that the immortal should follow. A parchment was laid out a table in the entryway, along with a quill and ink, and Shawney dipped his head towards it to indicate that the man should sign before he moved to the other side of the table where a second set of saddle bags was waiting. He peeked in with a grin and was about to snatch something out of it when he froze, cocking his head as though listening. The smith gave a harrumph of distaste and buckled the bag closed, turning away from it to the pair of ugly, rusted swords that were resting beside it. To say that they were abused and worthless looking was a bit of an understatement, but Shawney picked them up with familiarity, the weight seeming to be comfortable in his grip. They were oddly shaped, wide enough to be a broadsword but barely long enough to be considered a sword at all, with very unusual hilts that featured a couple branched off sections that would allow it to be held in a different position and hooked. The sound of them dragging was loud and heavy, but Shawney held them as though they were a very light, efficient weapon and one could see the influence of a foreign style in the way they could be held both forwards and backwards comfortably. He unsheathed them one at a time, the leather of their half-sheaths cracked and rotting, and gave them a look that was partly amused and partly annoyed. "Gonna put on a show, huh?" He muttered to them, as though they were being particularly naughty, before rolling his eyes and moving to hold them both in one hand, raking the fingers of his other hand from the bottom to the tip of the blade. As his fingers passed, rust flecked off of the metal in a smooth wave, hovering over the swords for a lingering moment before dropping to the floor as dust. A sweep of his foot and they were gone, leaving the swords gleaming as though freshly polished, their edges sharp and flashing.

    Whatever explanation he had for the weaponry he left unsaid, however, as he sheathed them both in suddenly healthy leather, buckling them to his hips after adding a second set of leather to their ends, turning the halfsheath into a full one. When not on a horse he would take those off again, allowing the blades to be drawn faster, but for now they were neccessary and he adjusted the whole set up slightly for balance before grabbing the saddlebags of food and--snagging a couple apples from the pile at the center of the table, he headed back outside, assuming that the immortal would follow. One of the apples went straight into Butter's mouth before Shawney buckled the supplies onto the hore's back, but he took a large bite out of the other one as he clambered up into his own horse's saddle, adjusting the stirrups as he waited for the other to mount. "I sincerely hope you're prepared for this." He chirruped as he clucked and horse and man headed down the road, "Its gonna be a long one."
  8. The wanderer shook his head - he seemed frustrated. Not quite angry, but he certainly wasn't pleased with how he was being talked to.
    "Boy," he growled, "I've been alive longer than your great-great-great-grandparent's have been dead. I think it's kind of a given that there's something wrong with me. If you'd seen the things that I'd seen in a century alone, you wouldn't be so quick to run your mouth."
    He could have gone on, but decided not to, for the sake of business. He needed someone who was able to forge him the sword he needed, and he wasn't going to get Shawney to do it by pissing him off.

    He watched the smith hurry to and fro, seeming disinterested all the while. Simply put, he just wanted to get on with things - he was a little more considerate, however, when he remembered that he was the only one coming along that didn't need to pack any survival gear. While eating and drinking was pleasant enough, he hadn't the need for either, and as he had all the time in the world to spare, he had never bothered with any way of getting anywhere, apart from ships or walking. That didn't make his waiting for Shawney any more enjoyable, however.

    "Hm? Oh, yes, very well."
    the stranger wandered leisurely over to the parchment, and signed his name. He committed a flourish at the end - he reserved that for when he needed to show off and look fancy, not for when he was signing an official document. Underneath, he wrote his name, as if for clarification of who he was. "I'm David. Just... David."
    No surname. A name that had only really become popular recently. Any person with an ounce of analytical skills would be able to tell that that wasn't his real name - but anyone with a logical train of thought would realise that he must have forgotten it long the way. His signature was genuine however, but that was mostly down to muscle memory.

    While David had many difficulties on his travels, and while he had acquired tools and methods to overcome many of them in a way that was practically cheating, there was one thing he could never do - instantly tame an animal. Butter was likely going to be a tough cookie. As he couldn't move as fast and as far as a horse, he resolved to at least try and keep the animal under control. If he couldn't, then tough luck for him - he'd just walk the rest of the way. he was used to it, after all. That, and it had been a while since he'd eaten horse meat.

    "I've been prepared for decades. Why do you think I came to you?"
    David mounted Butter - and did so without hesitation. He didn't know much about taming horses, and hadn't been one to learn about it. But he wasn't going to let some errant equine get the better of him - and if he had to assert dominance to do so, then he was willing to throw his weight around, so to speak.
  9. A lazy grin spread onto Shawney's face as he glanced over his shoulder at David, his stallion already striving to get going and move quickly, and the blacksmith laughed outloud, shaking his head. "Well you were right to do that, at least." He crowed, grin growing from ear to ear, "I can only expect you to be somewhat in the know if you came our way." He rumbled with a chuckle and he turned back to the front, urging his horse into a trot and then a canter, sending him rocketing down the road from his home and to where the pathway opened into open woods.

    Here he slowed, gently pulling the stallion down to an easy walk, and let the horse cool a bit as he ambled towards where the pathway would split. "So what do you intend to go after first? I only know some of the locations so if you know where a closer one is that might be better." He leaned back on his horse, resting a hand on the stallion's hindquarters and leaning on it to better see David as he approached. "These two are actually the horses we use for long-distance trading so they can go until the sun sets at a fairly quick pace. Take...." He tilted his head back and forth, estimating with a hum, "Maybe three days to get to the kingdom to the east? We'll need to give them a couple days rest every couple weeks though so we need to consider that in our calculations."
  10. Shawney taking off down the path was something David hadn't expected, but he accepted it without argument. If how he had been introduced to Butter was any indication, catching up to him was going to be a feat in itself. He tried to get the horse moving at a trot, but to no avail. It seemed a miracle that Butter was even moving forward in the first place. David sighed and shook his head.
    "Butter," he growled, unsure why he was using people-speak to talk to it, "Just go. You and I both know we don't have the time for this."

    Predictably, the end result was a total acceleration of nothing at all. It would have been quicker to walk, David felt, but going along on a horse gave him the opportunity to rest his feet, so there was always that.

    Eventually, he reached Shawney, though he had almost fallen asleep by that point. He considered the many possible routes they could take, eventually pulling out map he had drawn on, especially for the occasion.

    "Given our horses and the current time of year, I believe we should stop by the abandoned gem mines here, first. With any luck, we should be able to get a bucket or two of some of the more valuable stones. We can trade them for some Mythril at the eastern kingdom's high-end stores. Yes, I know the dangers of mines, but I'd rather be facing cave lizards and giant spiders, as opposed to a dragon hoarding a stash of precious metals. Of course, there's the Mythril mine about a day from the gems, but last I heard, not even a group of Orcs were willing to stay there for long."
  11. As David finally maneuvered up to him, Shawney gave a lopsided sort of grin, glancing over at Butter with thinly veiled amusement. He didn't say anything as he steered his own horse a bit closer, leaning over into the other man's space to get a better look at the map. A quiet rumble sounded in his chest as he hummed, scrunching up his face in thought before he traded the reins from his right hand to his left and reached over, poking at the map.

    "I'm not entirely sure we'd have much luck in this mine anymore." He murmured, frowning slightly, "A man came through here a few months ago--said he stopped there but came back empty. Unless we want to venture in deeper than a day's worth of walking, I'm afraid it might be drained." His frown grew and he straightened slightly, keeping his eyes on the map as he mussed up his hair, scratching his nails absently against the back of his head. His horse shifted beneath him, chomping loudly at his bit, and Shawney turned back towards the path, biting his bottom lip, "On the other hand...orcs are pretty dumb. If they're running from something, it can't be good."

    Shawney gave an annoyed groan and his grin came back in full force as he shook himself free of his worry, leaning back against his horse's haunches with one palm resting on the stallion's back end. "Still! I'm a bit rusty with fighting, but I'm not completely useless. If you're up to it, we could poke our heads in and maybe skip the middle man."
  12. David regarded Shawney with a look that was somehow a mix of him string daggers, and complete blankness. His slightly-lopsided riding position and his ruffled hair seemed to be indicative of how the ride had been for him thus far.
    "I hope you're happy with yourself." He thought, glancing momentarily at Butter.

    Butter just stood there, seemingly glad that it didn't have to move any more.

    David mulled the decisions over, um-ing and aah-ing every now and again. He really didn't fancy going deeper into a mine than was absolutely necessary, given that the monsters deep down were avoided for a reason. It wasn't as if he had anything to worry about - he was more than willing to just waltz in and grab what he needed. He had to take Shawney into consideration, though.

    With that in mind, he made his decision.
    "Let's go to the Mythril mines, then. With any luck, we might be able to outsmart whatever got the Orcs. Not that that's a particularly impressive feat, but still."

    The map was rolled back up, and put back into its pouch. He was about to set off, but turned to Shawney once more before he did so.
    "Just out of curiosity... Is there any way to make Turtle here move any faster? At this rate, I'd probably be better off walking."
  13. [[ First off, so sorry about the delay! I had a nasty fall off of my draft mix and wrenched my right ring finger pretty badly. All in all I've been feeling hurt and unmotivated, but I'm starting to feel better so. ;] Thank you for being patient! ]]

    While being able to fight and handle himself in the areas where he could find rare ingredients was a necessity for his job, Shawney didn't deny that he was relieved to not be going to the gem mines, much more happy to go straight for the Mythril and not face what he already knew was a cave of...well it sure as hell wasn't a cave of wonders. He cracked a grin at the other's decision and nodded his agreement, sitting back in his saddle with the ease of comfort. "I'll take orc-trumper over a cave of devils any day." He chirped obligingly, turning his attention to the path they would take.

    He was already moving his mount along when David spoke again and he glanced over his shoulder in wide eyed confusion, cocking his head to the side questioningly before his eyes drifted down to Butters...and the droll expression the horse was maintaining. The blacksmith barely held in a laugh, but the snorting snicker of contained amusement easily gave him away as he twisted in his saddle, bracing himself with one hand splayed against his stallion's hindquarters. "I recommend asking him nicely." He laughed at last, eyes crinkling in cheer as he clucked and turned his horse, leaning comfortably back as he gestured at Butter, "He's doing an exceptional impersonation of a log, but he's not exactly your average horse. He's probably just mad that you aren't a dainty lady whose skirt he can pull up." The blacksmith grinned, wiggling his brow suggestively, and looked down to Butters, meeting the horse's eye with a smug expression, "Of course, if he wants to play dumb you could always give him a really really hard kick."

    Shawney laughed and turned his draft back around, the amicable stallion moving obligingly, if not so gracefully, "At the very least the kick will get him to yell at you and stop playing pretend!"
  14. "Mind you, we could be facing something worse. What is it they say about this sort of thing? Out of the boiling pot, and into the fire? Well, whatever it is, this is one escort mission where you won't have to worry about the client. You know - the whole 'immortality' thing."
    Despite his apparent hatred of not being able to die, David was still capable of mentioning it in jest. He was no humourless old coot, after all. For many people, humour seemed to be one of the few things that helped them deal with life - and he was no exception.

    David looked down at Butter upon being told to try and ask him nicely. Or to just kick him. Despite knowing which of the two options would be more satisfying, he held back, and spoke lightly to it.
    "Come on, Butter. We need to get moving. Let#s get going."
    As humiliating as being forced into humility by a stubborn animal was, David had more pressing matters to attend to. Not that Butter seemed to care. In fact, the horse seemed more interested in following Shawney, than following its rider's orders. David resigned himself to this, knowing it was likely the best he was going to get out of it for the time being.

    As Butter ambled lazily along, David couldn't help but feel bored. It was strange, to him. He'd travelled on his own for so long, and for as far back as he could remember, he hadn't felt bored in such situations. Lonely, maybe. But never bored. But now that he was with somebody, the quiet tedium of the journey began settling in. So he made conversation to break the awkwardness.
    "So, is Butter just a young horse, or an old one with a stubborn streak?"
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