The Passing Earth

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by KamrenReed, Jul 22, 2015.

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  1. (( OOC: plot description and discussions --> ))

    The old harbor of Portsmouth had been lost to the ocean. As if by an act of the gods, a murderous wave had struck down the seaside walls and flooded the city years ago. Even after the water receded the tides never quite returned to normal. Most of the lower district was submerged, taller buildings now serving to dock and store boats much like one of the sunken wharfs would have. Personal rafts and a few longboats were anchored as well as the occasional cog. The city once boasted a few galleys of their own but there was no place for them now, and no new harbor had been built. A lot of hope had been lost in that one disaster. A lot of lives and homes. The city fell to pieces, now a scrap pile for the rats and Portsmouth's underbelly was ready to take advantage of it. With the majority of it's wealth and business gone, now all that remained was a seedy hub of criminal activity.

    The tide lapped up and down one of the lower district's paths. It was easy to imagine oneself walking further down that road, under the waves, and into the watery city below. A drowned wasteland. What kind of ghostly vision lay beneath the waves?

    Mythas took in the sight of the city and mused to himself. He had never been through Portsmouth before but was aware of its widespread infamy. Walking down it's streets he could feel the stares of the locals. It was no subtle thing. Strangers eyeballed him while hunched over their chores or chewing on tobacco. Filthy looking children had crowded the streets to beg or sell jewelry made of cheap stone and twine. One had tried a go at his purse but was still too young and a clumsy pickpocket. He had caught the girls wrist but turned her loose when she tried to scream. She slipped back into the throng and out of sight. It wasn't worth trying to follow. Not long before he had caught a glimpse of a reedy looking man caressing a knife on his belt, tongue pressed to his teeth, and well hunkered in the shadows. If it hadn't been midday Mythas reasoned the man may have attempted to mug him.

    He did stand out and that was partly Mythas' own fault. Mostly due to the instrument case strapped to his back and his choice of attire. Some of his appearance wasn't so strange however. He looked like any ordinary fellow, if a bit long. His brown hair reached to his shoulders, some pieces braided, and his green eyes didn't look outright unusual. But unlike the local rabble his clothes were clean and well kept. His choice in material vibrant and less practical. His boots were also fine and new. Some may have wagered his purse was plenty fuller than it actually was by his presentation alone.
    He took a moment to tip a feathered cap at a stranger. He had nearly ran the poor fellow over when he had watched the girl flee. Beneath his hat Mythas was wearing a secondary cap that reached passed his ears, an odd coif with beaded tie strings. He added a small sweep of his violet cloak and a bow of the head to the stranger. “Apologies, my good man.” He offered genially.
    The local glared at him before he spat at Mythas' feet and hurried into the crowd.

    Charming city.” Mythas tried with some humor, “You left The Westlands for this. Mythas you have the brightest ideas.”
    After a sigh he patted his instrument case fondly. Though not a welcoming crowd they may have coin or a good meal to offer a decent bard. He may get a free stay in one of the less seedy areas, if one existed here. Somehow he doubted that. Even so he had other business before worrying over lodging.
  2. The wind has strengthened. Among the crowd of Portsmouth can one with careful observation spot a rather eccentric man seemingly investigating the streets while chewing on not chewing tobacco, but something else. He is dressed in a tattered leather armor and boots, which have seen many battles, yet the man himself looks the least like a fighter. He is short, with a skin darker than of the average man, yet 'light'. His long, dark hair is bound with a string into a ponytail and he has a full beard. There is a magnifying glass attached to a headband over his right eye, making it look enormous. Stranger still, his eyes are of different colors: left cobalt blue or sort of blue-green and the right yellow. There seemed to be a strange aura around the man or, rather, the armor he was wearing, as it emanates a subtle glow. He has a short sword on his belt probably for self-defense, which is equally well used and emanates the same glow. Who is this rather queer individual?

    The man scratches off something from a wall and gathers it in a tiny jar. A sample of moss. Next he gathers a sample of a vine. "Oh", he says and starts coughing violently. After that, he saunters to the apothecary, then comes out chewing on something again. His voice is a little raspy, but the something he chews on seems to help it. The coughs seem to subside as well. A passer-by pushes him, telling him to watch where he's going. He's used to it. That's how the folk is here.

    His inquisitive vision suddenly spotted someone: an individual not from around here, perhaps? At least it looked like it, but the man knew better than to judge by appearance. After all, investigation is the key to the door of the truth. The wild-eyed man approaches the non-local. He seemed like a poet, someone with a good tale to share, perhaps? He was well-dressed and carried a case for an instrument.

    "Well met, traveler! I am known as Galen, a researcher in Portsmouth", speaks the eccentric man in excitement. "Who might you be? An artist? Don't be fooled by anyone, for in these bleak times even you are needed. You don't seem to be from around here. What is you name?"
  3. Mythas was taken by surprise by the aggressively forward approach, but was quickly pleased by this strange but jovial fellow. Galen was the first friendly face he had met that day. It was a refreshing change. The bard looked the other over taking in his odd appearance and noting what must have been enchantments. Very strange to go trudging through the streets in enchanted armor. But Mythas' thoughts went back to that reedy man in the shadows.
    Perhaps not unwise. Not in Portsmouth.
    He also said he was a researcher. That could be useful, depending on how knowledgeable he was on certain history and artifacts. Mythas wasn't only here to play music after all. Though the somber crowd could use some.
    He removed his hat and gave a deep bow. “Mythas, and yes an artist. A bard if you will. “ He straightened. “Entertainer and musician at your service. ” With a grin down at the fellow, he reached into a belt pocket and retrieved a small wooden ball which he spun on fingertip. Then went on talking as if it were the most casual thing to do, “You are a researcher here? You live locally I take it?”

  4. Down the sweaty throngs of miserable people away from the newcomer and the man who'd gone to greet him, there were some stalls and blankets laid out and more miserable people at them. Most of them were selling all manner of junk, but a few were selling goods; A wrinkled oldster sitting on his blanket surrounded by pottery, A herbalist peddling teas and cures and incense, and a girl with a big sopping wet basket at a beat-up old stall.
    She was young, not as young as the grubby begging children but too smooth-faced to be very old. Her chubby cheeks were free of wrinkles or sun spots though not free of dirt. She had a brazier on the table and she was busy turning skewers packed with little silvery fish. She seemed very focused on her cooking, though whenever someone walked close to her stall she was quick to try and sell her goods. Offering the cooked fish or reaching into the basket to show off the live fish wriggling within.

    The smell of cooking meat wafted up with the smoke. It swirled about the stalls and blended with the other city smells. Flesh, earth, tobacco, and refuse.
  5. "Oh, you must be thinking what on earth would a researcher be doing in what is now a mere outpost, half of it lost to the sea", said Galen. "Allow me to elaborate. I am investigating the rather queer occurrences that are for some reason plaguing this now barren land: earthquakes, floods, disease, storms, freezing winters yet scathing summers. Not natural, I say! I have lived here for years now trying to find an answer to all of my questions", he explained. "However, we have to be careful for all the eyes and ears following us, two vastly different people from the common man", warned Galen, looking around swiftly. "My house is not far. It is one of the few buildings mostly unscathed by the unnatural disasters. You must need a place to stay and something to eat for now and you seem like the honest type, so why not come with me?" he offered and without waiting for a response started walking towards the streets.

    All of a sudden, however, researcher Galen spun around and started coughing rather violently. His coughing was so powerful that it bent the short, bearded man in half. He raised a finger to Mythas while still facing away, gesturing that he was okay while he gasped for air. Galen reached for something in his pocket and threw two of the weird things from earlier into his mouth to suck on. The coughing weakened and was gone in a moment as a refreshing scent of herbs rose. He stood up, turned around and bowed to Mythas.

    "My apologies, my good man, but do not fret, for my condition is far from lethal. It is barely a nuisance alleviated by a brilliant invention of mine! Mountain salt, birch sugar and local herbs packed in tight cubes. The herbs relax your thoracic diaphragm and widen your bronchi and trachea. The birch sugar refreshes your breath and prevents tooth decay. The mountain salt covers the otherwise foul taste of the herbs. Genius, if I say so myself! I sold my invention to the local apothecary for a pouch of them free of charge every time I run out. Now my invention helps everyone in this town and the apothecary is bustling." Galen reached into his pocket and took out a pouch. "Might you perhaps be interested in trying one?" he offered.
  6. This man was chatty.
    It had been difficult to get a word in edgewise with Galen but Mythas was plenty happy to let the man talk as long as it was going in an agreeable direction. Food and lodging were now in order. Check. The researcher was also interested in the curse of Anlem. Double check. But there was one thing that had made Mythas sore, though he deliberately made sure to mask it. Galen hadn't given any amusement at his trick. Worse it went without acknowledgment at all, and that trick in particular took him months to nail.

    Perhaps balancing another ball atop the initial spinning sphere would have been noteworthy...

    Before he could reach for another, the first spinning ball faltered when Galen started hacking. It had given the bard a fright and Mythas' cheery countenance vanished. He fumbled the ball away even as the researcher was happily offering him his curious looking remedy. Galen looked to have recovered well enough but the bard's returning smile was all but forced. He couldn't help but wonder what ailed the man and a guilty part feared it being catching.
    A kind gesture, lad. Perhaps another time.” He patted the others shoulder, and made an attempt to steer him while pointing towards some of the local vendors, “Before we talk we can eat. I haven't had a decent meal in days.”
  7. "Ah, splendid!" exclaimed researcher Galen. "I am feeling rather fishy today, so why not have some fish?" he offered with a bump to the side of his companion with his elbow and a chuckle as the two started marching down the street.

    There were many stands down the streets eager to peddle their goods to people; a potter selling pots, a herbalist selling herbs. Many stands were selling baubles and other forms of junk. Anything to scrape up a living. Galen was quick to chatter with the townies, thanking the herbalist for providing the herbs for his concoction in his pouch and buying some more. After that he was eyeing necklaces apparently as a gift for his granddaughter, but none in particular piqued his interests. "Sorry to bother you!" he apologized joyously to the vendor, who responded with a slight smile and wave. Eventually they approach a girl frying her fish. "What do you think, Mythas? The finest in town, I say! The go to stand for fish", he chattered some more to Mythas.
  8. The girl looked up seeing as how some potential customers had arrived.
    She was a plump sort of girl, not particularly fat, but thick in bone and body with a round childish face. Oddly for the style common in the area, her black hair was cropped short.

    Blue eyes traced them over quickly and with no small amount of suspicion... One seemed too well dressed to be in this part of town or at such a poor stall. The other, she really couldn't say, the armor was not new but armor never came cheap either.
    Nonetheless she smiled at them and reached into the wet basket and pulled out a long writhing creature with a maw full of pointed teeth.

    "Freshest lamprey you'll find in the whole of Portsmouth." She held it up so they could see how very much alive it was.
    It was more work to haul that oiled basket up here to the market but no one could ever argue her fish were anything but fresh.
    The little silver ones... Less so... But no one needed to know that. And she salted them anyway. The extra work had given her a favorable reputation in town and her little stall gave her just enough coin to live off of.

    She lay it the wriggling lamprey down on the table and made short work of it with a small knife before laying the flesh scale-side-down on the brazier. It sizzled over the hot coals.
    "What'll you have?"
  9. Sora watched and observed the other beings talk, he had no voice and it scared him to no end that if something bad were to happen to him nobody would know until his body was discovered, he slowly crept towards the people. His jet black hair was hidden under a hood of rags and his slim black tail swished in the light. Silently he approached locking his hand around a dagger praying that neither of the men would attack him but he knew neither of them so he had to be cautious and not make too hasty of a decision. He stopped and waited. they had walked further into the streets making it hard for him to follow unnoticed so he quickly climbed up the wall of a building and kept pace with them as he leapt from roof top to roof top making sure that no one spotted him, when the two men eventually stopped the odd scholar man seemed to be wanting fish, he sat a moment and thought about how he could get some cash from these people with out being directly out in the open.

    (Is this good enough?)
    #9 Neko-Sora999, Jul 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  10. If there were danger or a cutpurse nearby the bard's attention was far from it now. He could smell the little cooking fish and it reminded his stomach how badly he had neglected it that day. He had spent the better part of the morning traveling to Portsmouth and most of noonday acquainting himself with the cityscape itself.

    It may have gone to the rats, and half of it swallowed by the sea, but the view was gorgeous. The walls, even faded or peeling, still had color from their murals. The architecture alone was worth some appreciation. So much so he had poked around and not bothered to eat.

    But now Mythas perused the girls available catch with interest, though when she began to cut the still living fish before them he had to look away. It would not have been so bad if it hadn't still been wriggling, fresh or not.

    He quickly decided he could do without lamprey today.

    After clearing his throat Mythas turned back with a recovered smile, though his gaze stayed on the girls face. She was young, but not a child. Still too young in his opinion to have to struggle. A little over half his age at most.
    She must have been both a hard and honest worker to get by in a city like Portsmouth. Thinking of that a wild idea seized him. Hopefully it wasn't the effect of talking with Galen for the past few minutes. Could he have addled his mind so quickly?

    It didn't matter. This girl could prove just as useful to his cause as a Researcher.

    First he ordered food, “Three of the silver fish for me, and anything the good man wants.” He said with another hearty pat to Galen's shoulder. He then leaned onto the stall and crossed his fingers under his chin to inspect the female more closely. Clearly contemplating something.
  11. Sora slowly grabbed the edge of the building to get a better view of the man's coin purse before he decided that he was going to take the whole thing off of him. He climbed off of the rather large building and he stealthily approached the man ordering fish. He reached out and grabbed the coin purse then he swiftly cut the strings so it would fall into his hand and he began to run back up to the roof to count his treasure.
  12. "Oh, just a lamprey. Have it fried, with extra salt as usual", Galen ordered cheerily as he grabbed for his money pouch behind his armor, a surefire pickpocket-proof pocket as he preferred to say it. "How much, little girl? Mythas, if you don't mind, it's on me", he said as he gazed to the rooftops, fairly certain that something or someone was moving there just now. Oh dear, he thought, this day may not turn out well. Galen had lived in Portsmouth for many years now. He knew what five seconds of carelessness could do to a man here. Money pouch or keys gone, throat slit... honestly, you never even knew nowadays. A powerful black market was bustling under the town alongside other manifestations of organized crime. While there were still people in Portsmouth, crime would persist, whether it be pickpockets, murderers, whores, extortionists or, worst of all, slavery and human trafficking.
  13. Sora watched the researcher silently and he found a small ring in the coin purse he had stolen. He looked at the ring before slipping it onto his middle finger and he took the cash and began to sneak away from the roof top. His eyes were locked on the ground he stood upon. There were many guards that took bribes from dealers and they would occasionally rape the prostitutes after arresting them. This town made Sora sick to his stomach, he wanted a normal life but sadly after he had been orphaned he had to fend for himself. He inwardly sighed and climbed off the building with the coin pouch in his hand as he slowly approached the fish stand from a different side so he didn't look suspicious.
  14. The girl looked at the bearded man with a cocked eyebrow her smile fading into a petulant pout.
    "All I have is a brazier here, no oil and no pan. Never had oil or a pan for fryin' either." Then she shifted her gaze to the brightly dressed man. "And you can't have three off a skewer you can have one skewer full." Without waiting for retort she bent to retrieve more of the little wooden skewers.
    When she straightened she saw a figure dash back into the crowd. Odd that. But she tried not to become distracted by it. Maybe someone kicked a beggar.

    She recovered a less peevish expression and continued, "For both of you it'll be be three silvers." She said, looking back at bearded fellow. She glanced at the crowd then back at Galen then back at the crowd as something had caught her eye.
    That figure in rags was back. This time not running away. Her mouth twitched. He didn't look like he was browsing the way he was looking over at her, or not her, at her customers.
    Maybe not a beggar after all.
  15. Mythas straightened when Galen insisted on paying. The bard drew back some of his cloak with intentions to grab his purse. He had yet to realize it was gone, or that the thief was swiftly approaching again for a second go. Before reaching for the missing bag he paused.

    Are you sure, Galen? That's incredibly generous of you. Already you are offering me room in your house. I'm still hardly more than a stranger.”
    He was only being polite, but if the Researcher had coin to spare he would allow it. It was the last thing Mythas would mind.

    When The girl told him he had to buy an entire skewer of fish he simply shrugged and turned back to lean on the stand once more, chin back to being cradled on the tops of his fingers. “ Very well, an entire skewer then, er...what is your name?”
  16. The thief noticed that the other put his money in his armor so it wouldn't be stolen and the boy sighed, deep down he hoped this woman wouldn't recognize him even though she had given him a free fish weeks before because the boy was asking for food and she was the only person to help him.
  17. She looked back at Galen. But he didn't respond right away... It seemed the other fellow was talking. Something about generosity. A rare trait in Portsmouth. And a stupid one really. She looked up again at the ragged stranger. He was so familiar. She had probably given him leftovers. She did that sometimes.

    She told herself it wasn't much, and maybe it wasn't, just old dried out fish no one bought. But she could have taken it home... dried it out over smoke for jerky, made soup. Something. Something for herself. It was not as if any one of the beggars she'd fed ever did her any favors. She grimaced in spite of herself.
    It was hard to regret helping other people. Even if it wasn't for any sort of reward.

    Her gaze flickered back to her customers. The man in the bright clothes was talking to her. What was he saying? She blinked dumbly a moment, not hearing at first before it all came to her at once.

    "What? Oh. It's Leto."
  18. The girl's gaze kept slipping past him into the crowd behind. Mythas looked back briefly but found nothing unusual there in that quick glance. Only the lively street. and it was likely nothing.
    His attention was turned fully on the merchant now. Galen was forgotten for a time and if he had said anything Mythas did not hear it.

    Ah, Leto.” He tested the sound before commenting “Beautiful name. Mine would be Mythas.” his tone was cordial enough even when he said unexpectedly, “Give me your hand.”

    The bard had offered his own gloved hand, splayed palm up and waiting. His green eyes, more emerald this close, were moving over Leto's face. He was contemplating something under his casual demeanor. From a third part perspective, Mythas was showing unusual interest in what seemed an arbitrary stall and owner.
    He cleared his throat, realizing how unabashedly foreword that was, “Apologies. May I have your hand, please?”
  19. Sora looked at the woman selling fish and bit his lip hoping that everything would go by calmly and he wouldn't have to deal with anyone telling the guards that he stole the money he has in possession and he truly wished to repay the man one day but right now he need some coin and normally he got kicked around which led to him becoming a pick pocket.
  20. Rymiden

    Suddenly someone snatched the cloth at the nape of Sora's neck. That hold wasn't shy about yanking him backward, as the offending man leaned in to whisper into the kid's ear with a hiss.
    "You idiot! Come with me if you wan't real coin."

    Rymiden was a local thief. More prolific than some of the other rabble but not all that better off. His clothes were simple, drab, and worn. He was a tall skinny man with pointed features and a down turned hawk of a nose. His brown hair fell as a mess just past his shoulders and violet eyes darted among the streets to make sure he wasn't creating too much of a scene. "Move it! You wanna be caught?" He insisted, retreating back down into a narrow alley between buildings. He didn't bother to look back to see if the ragged pickpocket was following, but Rymiden intended to use the kid to pull off something that would be more profitable than winning petty change.
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