The Ashlanders - Chapter 6: The Blind Man's Last Gambit (Closed, Started)

Dogmatic99

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Florian carried on down the hallway, giving Warren a curt nod. "Warren." The two of them had been with the crew long enough that they had to at least try and be civil around each other... at least when the ship was busy with preparations. Florian's main concern was how to handle the two nobles they had in their care right now. It wasn't going to be easy.
 

Fappy

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Sprout waved Ruffles off as he left, "I'mma be down there a lil' later!"

I have me some business to get done here first, though.

"... Stole it from a magazine or something, true story, just, you know, keep doing what you're doing."

Lilith's head sank further as Sprout moved his hands up her neck, pressing her vertebrae between his thumbs. Too confident for his own good, he decided to strike up a conversation, "Everyone 'round here always tells me 'bout all the pussy'ther lockn' in all the time. Why's it you never share yer own tales about mount'n some, uh... smoken' meat?" He cringed at his own words. "I'm sorry, that was uh... kinda vulgar, huh?"

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"I see no reason to wrinkle your nose with my presence any longer than necessary, so I guess I'll see you when the job's done."

Dio nodded to them as the pair left, followed by the majority of remaining hunters. The woman who had run her mouth didn't linger either.

"Best hunters on the planet' mean we should ignore that? Cause I still just want to get this over with. I'll assume Pixie uses a gun, has a ship?"

Dio looked up at the man from behind his desk and titled his head inquisitively, "Why yes, a large ship and several guns. I do not wish to sound rude, but have I seen you somewhere before?" Of course, Dio already knew exactly who it was he was dealing with. He had run thorough background checks on the lot of them. This one was an interesting case to be sure. Despite that Dio decided it best to lead him on. A wise man always holds on to his cards until the right time.

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Dante had spent the better part of his day catching up on the train robbery. It was high profile shit and considering the big guns Dio had brought in to handle it... well, let's just say he'd have to be completely insane to pass up this opportunity, "Yeah, yeah brotha, I gotcha." Dante shifted the corded phone from one shoulder onto the other as he fingered his jacket pocket for another cigarette. "Uh huh. Yep. Fuck son, really? You know he's gonna get a fuck-ton of heat from Pixie, right? Like shit, what da' fuck's dat sucka thinkn'?! Fer real? That info's out already? Well if she's send'n some sucka's to deal with him in Boomhower he's as good as fucked. Not sure the Banditos'er gonna do much good there."

He lit his cigarette and took a log drag as his informant continued on, "Cool, cool. Here in Feroxi? Well that old fuck Bart's lucky to be gettn' outta dis' alive. Fer real. Yeah, I think I can make some stones off this shit. Thanks again fer the info. It's some premium shit. 'Aight, later brotha'."

Dantes hung up the phone and started for the door. He'd heard an old acquaintance of his was in town for the Basilio job. She'd be more than happy to pay for the information he'd come across.
 
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"I'm sorry, that was uh... kinda vulgar, huh?"

Lilith cradled her forehead in one hand, shaking her head gently and chuckling.

"You gotta stop talkin' like that slag you call a mother..." She took a long drag from her cigarette, contemplating the boy's question. "It's been about six months since I last mount'd some smoken' meat." She said, imitating Meredith's accent. "Some guy in a bar somewhere, I can't even remember his name or where we even were. It was during some down time between a job, and I was drunk. Quite drunk." She furrowed her brow, "I don't know, I don't really think about that kind of thing very often, I mean, I never really seek it out, it just... happens, you know?" She paused for a second, "What am I saying? Of course you don't know."

She sighed and reached up to her shoulders, placing her hands on his, tapping them gently. "Don't worry, you're a handsome boy, in the right circumstances, the birds will be crawling all over ya. If only I were 5 years younger..." She grinned, leaving him with that thought.
 

Ruedyn

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Kayneth

"Why yes, a large ship and several guns. I do not wish to sound rude, but have I seen you somewhere before?"

"I meant her personally." Kayneth sighed, then raised an eyebrow. Had he ever actually met the guy, or was that just his brother? Probably both... Red didn't like talking to people too much. Especially not other lords, they were too important for him to muck up the business end.

"Er, yeah. Probably. Met my brother, Aeron? Aeron Vance?" Red shifted uncomfortably on his feet, hoping to get going soon.
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Warren

Warren tried not to look disappointed, the priest didn't offer anything fun. Tit for tat was one of the best ways to spend time on a ship, until eventually the crew got too tired of your shit. Then apologies and cake! Or bloodletting, both had happened in the past. Some people were simply too sensitive...

"Fuck it, think I'll visit the prisoners." Warren growled to himself, heading off to that direction.
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Vergil

"Close the door." Vergil commanded, looking up from his book long enough to see who it was visiting him. No appointment, how rude, but it was part of the original crew. A lieutenant named.... Lucy? Lucy, probably. He offered a false smile, returning to his book as she spoke.

"Meeting in 30. Our 'leader' demands it." she reminded him, with a wink. Vergil waved her off, hopping to his feet on the hardwood floor. The Orphanage had a decent library, he made damned sure of that much at least. All his personal revenue went into improving the kids home, probably till the end of time. But at this time, no more distractions, he had to have a Q&A.

Vergil loved his boots. He had made sure that they were soft sole, to make as little noise with each step as possible. With some effort, he was all but silent, like a wolf hunting. He made his way through the orphanage to the back room, a warehouse they blasted a hole into. Covered it with a brilliant bit of art from one of their secretly talented pickpockets.

But what's more, it was a door.

A burlier gentleman opened the door, Vergil ducked under the painting giving a quick thanks as he went. He was known as the top lieutenant, and was given easily some of the worst gear they had. A butterfly knife as a personal weapon? Might as well be asking for death, most scoffed. Wasn't his fault they couldn't see the flair and use of the weapon... The fireworks also added a certain something to his performance.

The warehouse was a giant cube shaped building, with a single office up a small flight of stairs that hung out of the wall, overlooking the whole place. Lights hung on strings, dropped from the ceiling and had a collection of wires that led into the office, and the boxes were stacked high. There were several people, of all ages, sitting on them and conversing.

How long ago had it been 5 orphans and an understanding old woman?

Almost like it was yesterday...

A voice resounded through the room, inhuman, mechanic, untraceable. Vergil furrowed his brow, listening closely to the words, some slowed some sped up. It was difficult to tell if he even had the colony accent, English or some such earth thing. Others piped up to answer the voice as it gave orders and directions, jobs for agents and the names of those who could help.

It enthralled everyone else, but Vergil found himself more checking over pronunciation. It was important, after all, to get these dramatic speeches right. Only once in a life time you got all the big players in the gangs together, and even that was solely to make sure they knew each others faces vaguely. The sojourn over was usually looked over, but location was everything. The warehouse was built over the sewer system, and had several exits for quick escape.

"And yoou, MIstER Vergil..."

"Yes?" He answered, a cocky smile on his face.

"You willll stay after, for A... SEcReT posting." Vergil nodded towards the office, and the voice cut out, with a small motto of theirs.

"May the shadows cover you all." The people stayed still for a second, before they all started to leave. It was 3 in the morning, they were all likely heading off to bed now. Hopefully no one would notice the influx and report it.

The sheriff was just leaving, in fact. Vergil gave a small salute as he passed, heading towards the stairs. He hated the stairs, they made loud noises as he ascended... He pushed the door open, and walked inside. A few moments and a few words with the individual inside, and he was on his way out again, with his report. Rumors, heresay, but a posting for mercs was put out. Iron Maiden didn't enter the crosshairs of the Alley Shadows too often, and neither did kidnapping victims.

But add both them with a dash of Dio, and you have quite the interesting hook. Study the files, find contacts, find the ship. The teenager sneered, this'd be an easy enough job. Infiltration would be the hard part, but he could pull it off. He ducked under the painting again, too busy reading to note who held it for him. He nearly finished by the time he found his library again, then he'd have to start proofreading. It'd be another pleasantly long night for him.
 

Evrant-Knight

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Information. That is what Viola would need to acquire, if she was going to make any sort of headway in the search for the Iron Maidens and the kidnapped Lady Elizabeth. Problem was, she had very few leads to work with here, but there was one man in the city who could help her, Dante. The two had known each other for about three to four years; ever since Viola disposed of some gangsters who had been chasing down Dante, in retaliation for him selling them out to the long arm of the law.

Relationship wise, they were somewhere between acquaintance and friend; not knowing anything personal about one another, but enough to know when they might be able to help each other out in times of need. And right now was one of those times, all she had to do was wait, and eventually he'd find her. For the time being, she was sitting at a table outside a large cafe, having a drink, and letting the world pass.

"Let's pray you've been keeping an ear to the ground Dante, and know about the current events." Viola thought as she took a sip of her drink.
 

NinjaDeathSlap

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"You could at least offer us something to eat before you drown us in your words. We haven't had a thing to eat since yesterday."

"Quite right." The Gentleman agreed, before turning back to the door. As luck would have it, the sight of Warren making his way down towards the room where the two captives were being held met him when he looked outside.

"Could we possibly get a pot of tea, and perhaps a plate of jam sandwiches. Our guests are becoming rather famished." He asked politely, before turning back to Elizabeth and Josephine.

"The tea is ghastly stuff, I'll warn you now, but I suppose we all must make do in times of hardship."
 

Ruedyn

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"Could we possibly get a pot of tea, and perhaps a plate of jam sandwiches. Our guests are becoming rather famished."

"Get Sprout to do it." Smiles replied, amicably and not breaking stride. Though it seemed the Gentleman had returned to talking to their guests, badmouthing their tea... had he ever seen anyone but Lilith drink that crap? Smiles raised the scarf over his scarf over his scars as he entered into view.

"The tea is ghastly stuff, I'll warn you now, but I suppose we all must make do in times of hardship."

"Some more hardship than others. In the captains cabin one day, prisoners quarter the next?" Warren shrugged, looking over their prisoners for the first time. Two noble women, not exactly in their best condition. They both also looked more annoyed than scared. Warren placed his gun by the door, and did a mock bow to the nobility.

"Prisoners aren't my thing, but I think uncomfortable is how we want em."
 

Dogmatic99

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Vasa sat alone at his table, slowly cutting into his steak with the thick knife provided. he'd requested for some music to be played while he was eating, there was no one else in the restaurant and the serving staff kept a respectful distance. It didn't really leave him a lot of people to converse with; besides the sound of gunfire and explosions was giving him a headache today. He poured some more gravy on his potatoes.

An explosion sounded off in a building to the east, rattling the poorly constructed windows. The waiter boy flinched and fidgeted over in his side of the room. Vasa turned his head over, hearing the boy's audible fright. He looked the lad over plainly and casually tutted, shaking his head in disapproval of his fear. "Tsk tsk tsk."

Honestly, it wasn't as if this kind of thing was uncommon. Gunfire peppered the air in bursts. Attackers and responding fire barked back at one another like raging animals. The tell tell scream of a rifle going full auto blared up. I certainly hope that isn't one of mine. Vasa took another bite of his rare steak. Some of the returning fire had begun to dwindle. One by one, their guns and their voices fell quiet. Slowly at first so that their absence wasn't missed but battle casualties are like dominoes; all it took was for men to see one of their peers cut down and the rest ended up following like cattle. Until only a handful were left and their gunshots popped out like the barks of defiant little lapdogs yapping as they were surrounded by wolves.

Finally silence fell and the sounds of soldiers calling out to the squads and consolidating the ground they had taken. This didn't take long of course, the victors were organised and fast acting. Why, they were done just as Vasa was finishing off the last of his meal. He lifted his glass to the waiter, motioning for a refill. The boy stepped to it quickly while a trio dressed in kevlar and carrying a variety of weapons stomped into the room, lining up in front of Vasa's table, though still keeping a respectable distance.

"Are we all finished then?" Vasa asked them casually.

"Yes, Sir. The ambush went off without a hitch." The first one said. He was the tallest and the oldest of the three. He had a face like an attack dog, his stern grey eyes looking straight at the man sat in front of him. Though he looked as if he was looking straight into the space between them instead like some perfect solider standing to attention.

"And the territory?"

"Active enemy presence has been pushed out, sir. My men are mopping up any resistance." Said the second. She was the only woman of the group and also the shortest (though not by much). She might have been described as good looking or cute depending on who you asked but time and her lifestyle were doing their best to undermine her looks. Ash and dirt dotted her face and her nose had clearly been broken in the past and not been set properly. Her eyes were still a bright crystal blue though, they shone with their own brand of defiance. In all this male company it didn't take a genius to figure out that she had fought fiercely to rise as high as she had.

"Casualties?" Asked Vasa, taking a sip of water.

"Minimal, no one worth mentioning, a few injuries too but we're not hurting. My guys are taking prisoners now." The third was a nasty thing. A smirking jackal of a man. He wore the most armour of the three and a bandoleer of ammunition and carried the most weapons on him. He was the only one of the three that had managed to work up a sweat in the mounting cold outside. his beady eyes were glistening with life, he clearly enjoyed his work.

"Well then... it sounds as if we have all had a good day." Vasa slowly rose to his feet with a quiet groan and tucked his chair neatly under the table. Vasa slipped on his coat, put on his gloves and rummaged in his pocket for some small pieces of carbon. He placed them down on the table, leaving enough for a tip for the young waiter. He swooped up his cane and left the restaurant in a limping saunter. The oldest of the three soldiers held the door open for him.

The streets of Frostfall were littered with rubble and empty bullet casings. At least the streets in a three block radius were. This neighborhood had seen a lot of violence recently as the fighting had intensified. Most people in the immediate area had cleared out. Others just tried to carry on the best they could. As said before it wasn't like this was new. Frostfall had been in a state of open civil war for nearly four years now. Ever since the dome's nobles had decided that Vasa and his family syndicate had grown too powerful and foolishly moved against them openly. They had fired the first shot but Vasa and his family (The Hussars as most called them) had kept them on the back foot ever since. With every victory more people were trying to join the family, more young men were seen wearing bright red scarves showing their black wings proudly. e few remaining families (which had long ago capitulated to Vasa and now served as vassals under The Hussars anyway) barely mattered anymore.

Vasa took the arm of female lieutenant as she offered his some support. "Thank you my dear." He gave her a smile so warm it could cut through the bitter cold in the air. his people heard his cane tapping the street before they saw him, rank and file men stood up bolt right as Vasa walked past. It made for a ragged looking honour march, their red scarves serving as the only uniform. None of them made direct eye contact with him.

"This makes the last of the south quarter. Add that to the rest of our territory and we've got just under half the dome in our control. Maybe we can start getting back to business soon."

"Hmm." Went Vasa, his tone totally neutral.

"Do you think this will ever end?" She asked him, her voice heavy.

"Some day it will be. When the nobles are all dead and their ivory towers are in ruins." He stopped and turned to her and looked at her in a way that could make this battle hardened warrior feel like a little girl standing before her father. Vasa placed a hand on her cheek, his other hand still holding the strange grip of his cane like a talon. For a moment it seemed like he was looking straight through her. "Blood for blood." He said the words as if they should be of some great comfort. "Now come, I will go see my wife."
 

roushutsu

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"The tea is ghastly stuff, I'll warn you now, but I suppose we all must make do in times of hardship."

"More ghastly than the ale?" Josephine asked. Just the mere mention of it put that awful taste back in her mouth. The other man whom the Gentleman spoke to bowed to them, not out of respect but of jest.

"Prisoners aren't my thing, but I think uncomfortable is how we want em."

"Soft, thou would'st care for Lady Maribel's wounds, only to shun her hunger?" Maybe the captain did not speak to her underlings about Elizabeth. That seemed to be the only explanation for why they would take care of her one day, only to ignore her the next. "Hark, Lady Maribel needs her strength after your treatment last night."
 

NinjaDeathSlap

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"Prisoners aren't my thing, but I think uncomfortable is how we want em."

"You're captain would disagree." replied The Gentleman, a little coolly. " Captives they may be, but Meredith has made it clear in no uncertain terms that she considers these two ladies to be of great value; and should either of them suffer due to neglect at the hands of her crew, her displeasure would cause some discomfort for all involved."

Warren was one of those underlings whom it suited to pretend that they were masters of their own actions. The Gentleman had met his like before, and it made no matter. While rank may be a concept that Warren was unable of unwilling to respect, the matter of how strong captains deal with dissent was a simple enough contract to grasp. Even the so-called 'Mad Dogs' would follow orders same as other men, and nobody who served on the Iron Maiden went long without developing a healthy fear of its Matron.

"It's settled then." he continued, not waiting for Warren to retort. "We shall have matters of import to discuss to pass the time."
 

Fappy

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"We shall have matters of import to discuss to pass the time."

Elizabeth gritted her teeth. Her hunger forgotten, all that remained now was a blatant resentment for the men before her, "Then get on with it, would you? You're a man who doesn't bother with something lest he's working some kind of angle. You've got something to gain from this, am I correct? I may be naive to how the bandit world functions, but I know an opportunist when I see one."

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"Don't worry, you're a handsome boy, in the right circumstances, the birds will be crawling all over ya. If only I were 5 years younger..."

Sprout's efforts slowed as he pondered the possibilities. He really didn't know the first thing about having a girlfriend, but he imagined he'd do a lot of things like this. Lilith turned her head to see what was up, snapping him out of his daze. He picked up the pace once more, "Well... what would it be like if you were 5 years younger?"

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"Er, yeah. Probably. Met my brother, Aeron? Aeron Vance?"

Dio nodded, "Yes, that would be the one." Noticing the man's anxious behavior Dio waved him off. "Well, I don't want to hold you up. Your... colleagues have already begun the hunt. Wouldn't want you to fall behind."

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Viola had been right to wait her contact out. Dante was nothing if not consistent. After waiting outside the cafe for a long while she had taken a large sip to finish off her drink. By the time she'd placed it back on the table Dante had taken a seat across from her. A bright, white grin greeted her, "It's been awhile since I've seen you in the capitol. I hear you're workin' fer Dio now. Is that right?"
 
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"Well... what would it be like if you were 5 years younger?"

"Or if you were 5 years older." She grinned, "Nah, I'm just teasing ya." She waved a hand dismissively.

A few moments passed, a look of thoughtful contentment on her face. "I've known you since you were yay big" She held out a hand. "You're not my brother, because that would be weird, but you are my family..." She paused for a second, "Which still sounds creepy, okay, you're not family, but you're a very close friend, we grew up together, but at different stages of our childhood." Another few moments passed.

"There was a boy at the orphanage, you remind me of him, he was around your age, always getting himself into trouble, and getting into really deep trouble on a couple of occasions. He wasn't as sweet as you though"

She turned to him, looking him in the eyes and smiled gently "I've always had some dumb kid I've had to take care of, and I wouldn't have it any other way."
 

Evrant-Knight

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"It's been awhile since I've seen you in the capitol. I hear you're workin' fer Dio now. Is that right?" A voice asked Viola, turning around she saw Dante had taken the seat opposite her and flashing one of the biggest grins imaginable.

"Dante, it certainly has been a while since I was here last, a pleasure to meet you again. You would be right in that assumption that I am working for Lord Dio Basilio; though given a first impression and his overall attitude, suffice to say I dislike the man, can't see what Lady Elizabeth sees in him, but who am I to know about marriage between Nobles?" Viola said with a shrug before continuing.

"From what I gathered, he seems to have a grudge against the leader of the Iron Maidens, a Miss Pixie if I recall, that appears to be the focus of his attention." Viola said as she drummed her finger on the table briefly before steering the conversation back on course.

"Anyway, no doubt you have heard of the news surrounding the heist that the Maiden's pulled off the other day, along with the taking hostage of several Nobles, Lady Elizabeth being one of them. What I need is information Dante, anything that might point me in the direction of where to begin on this hunt. And I figured you'd be the sort of person to know such things, your clever like that."
 

The Funslinger

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Having walked into what must be the seediest bar in Feroxi, Duke flipped a weighty carbon stone to a doorman as he and Eddie moved to the door of a backroom. Instead of going in, Eddie nudged the door ajar, and peered through it. Seven men sat around a circular table, some still with yellowed old playing cards in their hands. Beard was one of those who had not folded. He was a gangly man, in a careworn grey leisure suit, with battered old pork pie hat and aviator sunglasses. But his most distinctive feature was the titular facial hair. The thick, curly beard was long enough to be tucked into his belt and was itself thickly greying.

The dealer put down the last card, and motioned for everyone to reveal their hands when it became clear everyone was either content with their wagers or else all in. A thickset man in suspenders and a greasy work shirt appeared to win the hand, taking in chips and even actual carbon into a mounting pile.

"Alright, B. Time t'pay up. Y'all're tapped, and ya know it."

Beard sipped at a chipped glass of scotch with a surprisingly convincing air of demureness, before speaking. When he spoke, it was in a voice made raspy and husky by years of smoke and whisky. "Well see, I ah... I don't have m'buy in money with me per se--" That was all he could say before the men around him were on their feet, and two of them had him by the shoulders. The man who had won backhanded Beard hard enough that he would have sprawled had he not been in the iron grip of two other men, who looked to be squeezing his arms into jelly. Meanwhile, the man who had dealt the round drew an ugly, stubby buck knife from inside a jacket pocket. "This is the last fucken straw, ya strung out old bastard. You can't pay money, y'can pay with yer last fucken meal."

That was when Eddie and Duke strode through the door. What happened next was a haze. Initially, they tried to talk down the gamblers with murder in their eyes, but one pulled a length of iron chain from under his seat and lashed at Eddie, who caught it with his plated hand, and yanked it hard enough to break a link. Sighing, he peeled off his gloves, revealing the plated left hand with the metal bones, although its unharmed fingers still flexed with dexterity. Then the six men came at them in a frenzy. Chairs flew, tipped, were swung and broke, as were various bones. A brown bottle was smashed on the edge of a table by someone for a weapon.

By the end of it, the large round table had lost three of its eight legs, and only two chairs were unharmed. One of which a surprisingly chirpy Beard was sat jauntily on, a cut under one eye, sipping from a fresh glass of scotch while Eddie and Duke stood before him with their arms folded. Duke was nursing a split lip and scowling over the left lense of his sunglasses being cracked, and though Eddie looked unharmed, he'd taken a few nasty bruises to the ribs. But all in all, injuries were minor. The other six men had come off far worse. Two were dead, three were unconscious with various broken bones, and the last had been whimpering on the floor for a few minutes while his blood stained the rug, before starting to drag himself uselessly towards the closed door. Eddie was no doctor, but he doubted the man would walk again. Grunting as he yanked his bowie knife from the gut of one of the deceased, he wiped it off on someone's shirt and sheathed it, then straightened up, tugging his gloves back on.

"So, Beard," he said conversationally.

 

Ruedyn

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Warren

"Then get on with it, would you? You're a man who doesn't bother with something lest he's working some kind of angle. You've got something to gain from this, am I correct? I may be naive to how the bandit world functions, but I know an opportunist when I see one."

"Heh, good one." Warren said, grinning widely and accidentally letting his scars poke out over his scarf. He raised it as he looked at the Gentleman. Interrupting a sentence was usually punished by savage beating, but he didn't feel murdering a guest of the Captain would be the greatest of ideas. No matter how much he seemed to be asking for it...

"Well." Warren began conversationally, sitting down opposite the prisoners. He slowly took his katana off his back, leaning on it. "I'd hate to leave you alone with him; I am supposed to make sure you're both safe, right?" Warren pulled his scarf up again, looking between the two.
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Kayneth

"Yes, that would be the one. Well, I don't want to hold you up. Your... colleagues have already begun the hunt. Wouldn't want you to fall behind."

The albino nodded, starting towards the door. "'S what I'll do," he said, pushing past the servant who probably couldn't see him over his nose. He didn't have many contacts, really. At least not here. He'd start around the tavern or some such, but he didn't truly care. He began wandering for a bit.
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Vergil

An informative reading session, though he only truly recognized a name. Plenty of cross checking though; seemed the world was truly rather small. Lilith could make a decent entry point to the ship (and it certainly wouldn't hurt seeing her again), or he could pick up the psycho's old 'friend', a dwarf bodyguard by the name of Tobin. Last but not least, a rival ship, with a crew that could attack as a distraction.

All had pros, all had cons. In the end, his heart and his head aligned on the first option; Attempt to sneak on and find Lilith. Then the work could begin. He brushed his hair out of his face, looking at his bandaged wrists as his hands blindly groped for a tape recorder. He had taken to wearing a wetsuit under his hoodie, but it always left his wrists exposed.

The two white X's... permanent reminders to never trust a noble. He shuddered with sudden rage, trying to supress it to get the orders done. How were the shadows to act without their leader, afterall?

Name: Tobin, ?Knee-Capper.?
Age: 27
Sex: Male
Profession: Bodyguard

Appearance: The most readily apparent thing is Tobin is a dwarf. He stands at 4?3, with a stocky but muscled build, with a surprisingly handsome and striking face. His straw colored hair is left in a mop, curled and usually falling over his forehead, and he has a rough and stubbly beard.
His uniform is a bowler cap, dirty black duster, with leather chest armor and a metal elbow plate, as well as black trousers and steel toed combat boots, all specially tailored for his stature. He uses an MP5K sub machine gun as his primary weapon, as well as a snub nosed 357. Revolver.

Personality: Tobin is a fairly easy going merc. He seems to only really pay full attention to any given situation when it?s about;
A- Gunfire and violence
B- His payment for completion of violence and gunfire.
He uses crude language and a bit of wit to go through day to day, and doesn?t seem to mind much when people point out his disability. His response to repeated slurs is a bullet to the knee caps, and he?s very much known for it. His loyalty is about as nebulous as most in his line of work, and although a rare occurrence, he has occasionally turned his gun on a bossy employer.

Biography: Tobin has led a strange life. He was born in a gang called the Blood Brotherhood, a crew that used child soldiers. He went along with it, though his deformity put people on edge. He wasn?t the best shot, that was some other kid, who frankly terrified Tobin. Warren or something.

All terrible things come to an end, luckily. That one ended when a man with a katana started carving their asses up with a katana. Tobin feigned death while the creepy kid shot the guy in the back and took his stuff, running off. Tobin did likewise, without the grave robbing naturally, finding civilization quickly.

Yet all was not yet perfect. He needed a job, and frankly a 6 year old with a gun wasn?t gonna get a job. He was taken in by a frankly unscrupulous character who didn?t mind the fact his partner was a kid and kinda fugly. Kid had a gun, let him shoot.

When he reached the age of a teenager, life started to give him a break. His partner in crime had taught him practical skills, rather than all murder all the time. Lockpicking, pick pocketing, things that earned money outside a job. He used these instead for a while, and only got caught a few times, getting away every time with both hands intact.

He decided to go a bit more straight of a life, and found his old partner. Working a body guard job, he managed to get lil? Tobin on the team too. He got a reputation for effectiveness, as well as punishing a few particular pricks, and found a permanent place on the Vance family.

Notes: Tobin is widely considered one of the best shots in the Ashlands. He offers no comment, but plenty of smirk.

Name: Aquila Kozlav
Age: 16
Sex: Female
Profession: (Poison Thorn) Bandit

Appearance: Aquila is a pretty girl, a dying breed in the Ashland?s. She has a thin build, high cheekbones, and pleasant face. She has vivid blue eyes and hair that seems almost like gold, worn short and brushed out of her face.
She has a simple but varied wardrobe, the only things ever really staying the same are her bandit family scarf (navy, with violet trim and a purple rose insignia) and a silver cross underneath. She has a standard mask. She uses a sniper rifle, a Mosin Nagant with a fancy scope.

Personality: Aquila could be said to not have any sort of personality, unless crippling self worth issue's constitute character. She?s a robot who only follows the orders of the bandit family head, or her mother Sage. Most of the orders simply being ?shoot the things.? The only time she shows anything but unending loyalty is when she brags about her shooting, though she craves acceptance. She is seemingly unaware of her appearance, though she has unintentionally used it as a weapon before. Like her mom, she has some knowledge of first aid, though she?d never compare herself to Sage.

Biography: Aquila was born without name or true parent. She was raised by the ship, and put through grueling training. She had a single friend, a boy named Nero, son of the Captain of the crew, though he bullied her more than a bit. Still, it was clear she was more skilled than him, and could?ve easily kicked his ass. Loyalty kept her boots on the ground, rather than straight up his arse.

On her 9th birthday, she was given a name. On her 10th, a drunk Captain told her about the truth of her mom. She didn?t react to it for several years, though it was noted she tried harder in first aid rather than shooting.

When the second captain died (shot through the heart by an enemy), Nero took the title and stopped hanging around her. She had no friends, and looked for approval in her mother, working as her sword arm, and occasionally assassin.

Notes: Though she is loyal to Sage, if anyone were to treat her nicely she?d likely join them in a heartbeat.

Name: Vergil, ?Master of Secrets?, ?Prophet?
Age: 16
Sex: Male
Profession: Thief/Gang leader

Appearance: Nothing terribly impressive about him. He?s a tad short for his age, with a face gaunt that makes him looks slightly older but otherwise bland. He has a slender, lithe build, with long fingers. His platinum blonde- almost white- hair is kept short and neat, but constantly has to be swept out of his eyes. He has no beard or scruff.
His clothing is about what you?d expect. A dark and dirty gray hoodie, the wrist and most of the forearm intricately wrapped down to his hands, and blue jeans. Underneath, he wears a full body wet suit, the cuts off on his arms at his elbows, and covers most his neck. He wears boots, like most everyone else on the planet, though his are soft soled. He carries a satchel where he keeps his tools; a butterfly knife, fireworks, and a lock picking set.

Personality: A bit of a Robin Hood complex to him, he steals from the nobles in his town and gives to the poor. The poor, in turn, look to him as a leader. Normally this means nothing, but a small orphan army of thieves an potential cut throats makes him seem a bit more powerful. Add in a few soldiers, farmers, and the ears of a few bandit families, and he?s outright terrifying. He goes to great lengths to keep his face unknown, though in person he?s charismatic and brave, if a bit power mad. He constantly

Biography: Vergil was born an orphan, like so many on the planet. He grew up a thief, but always wanted something? more. He started a pick pocket gang called ?Alley Shadows? when he was 8, and did mostly petty crime... but he always gave his share to others. Eventually, his crew began doing the same.

The Robin Hood complex only grew one day, when he robbed the wrong target. A traveling noble who had no qualms about cutting open the wrists of those brave enough to attempt taking his pocket change. He was left in the gutter, bleeding slowly until a fellow orphan helped him out. She was allowed within the gang, though she doesn't seem to know or care about her status as a Shadow.

They only got bolder as time went on, and their activities became talk of the town. They were invisible, ghosts who wanted to punish the nobility! They did nothing to discredit this, and the reputation only grew. People even started joining, thinking they were more important and intimidating than they actually were. They didn?t turn ?em down, they just became more ears and eyes.

Eventually, the nobility was forced to start cracking down. They made only one mistake, they sent a bunch of men not paid nearly enough to hunt something they had no idea about. They quickly started spying on them, and bribed the ones who seemed weaker of will. A few people were arrested without trial, mostly unimportant people, and all for the greater good.

The Alley Shadows only grew, and became more and more legendary in the neighboring towns. Mercs and bandits made their way to sign on or make alliances. It amazed Faust how all one needed was silence and skill to make a legend.

They continue on, under his leadership. He?s known as his lieutenant rather than the leader, which works well for him. He?s heard rumblings of something big going down, and has set out to find the ?Iron Maiden?, a ship at the center of a shit storm.

Notes: Vergil is very much a genius, with more than minor skill in knife fighting. Still, he abhors violence, and prefers to sneak around, or use words.
 

NinjaDeathSlap

Leaf on the wind
Feb 20, 2011
4,474
0
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"I am supposed to make sure you're both safe, right?"

The Gentleman gave Warren his coldest smile.

"Surely you do not think me so monstrous as that?" he asked "Though rest assured, should I ever conspire to harm our guests, your presence would be most welcome... And you wrong me, my lady." he said, turning back to Elizabeth. "I grow sentimental in my old age, and so I have been drawn to this fit of gallantry."

The Gentleman let the statement hang there for a moment, drinking in the disbelief and suspicion, before chuckling to himself.

"Oh, very well. I see that your naivety only extends so far after all. Allow me to be frank then..." The Gentleman's change in tone was subtle. As courteous as ever, but also with a stern, businesslike edge. It was a tiny transformation, almost invisible to those who did not know to look for it, and yet all of a sudden the man seemed 5 years younger, and 10 times more menacing.

"My angle is quite simple. I have just invested rather a lot in the continued health and welfare of this ship and its crew, for the near-future anyway; and as we speak your husband to be is exploring every resource within his considerable reach to try and have us all killed. If I was one for taking things personally, I would be insulted that I wasn't his first port of call. Perhaps Dio is willing to sacrifice expertise in exchange for the security of being the cleverest man in the bargain? Regardless, I intend to disappoint him. For that, I may need your help; help the likes of which I will not receive as long as you continue to believe that Dio Basilio has an ounce of chivalry within those freakishly large bones of his."
 

The Funslinger

Corporate Splooge
Sep 12, 2010
6,150
0
0
Ruffles meandered down the hall, with a tin tray in his hands. After leaving Sprout to his fondling, he'd checked around and nobody had any idea whether anybody had fed the prisoners. The tray was loaded up with a few slices of brown bread, some rashers of bacon (lukewarm at this point, but oh well) and a couple of rather small apples, as well as a small jug of water and two tin cups. Best he could do on short notice.

He backed through the door into the cell, and turned to see the Gentleman and Warren stood over the two women. "Hope I'm not interrupting a double date here, guys." Giving Elizabeth and Jo a casual grin, he nodded at the two men. "I always said Genty n' Warren would make a cute couple." He set the tray down between the two women, and straightened up. He thought they might be a little disappointed with the paltry meal, so he added with a glance at Elizabeth, "remember, an apple a day keeps the me away."

========================================================

"So yer wantin' to know about them there pirates what lifted those ivory lassies, eh? Well, what makes ya think a dried up ol' bastard like me knows anything?"

"Because you hear everything, you two-faced old asshole," replied Eddie casually. "You're like a fly on the wall in every possible way. Now fess up, or we'll be off. And might be we'll tell the men out front why their backroom's all fucked to hell."

Beard knocked back his drink, and smacked his lips theatrically. "Yar. Might be I know the rough area where their ship's at. But, uh... my memory's a little hazy. Hard to concentrate with that empty feeling in my pockets, ya know?"

Duke snorted. "We save your goddamn life, and you expect us to pay?"

"Hey, I din' ask you to get yerselves involved. And don't think I didn't see ya peakin' in. If y'all can't live without my witty an' engaging repartee, that's yer problem. My problem is keeping food on my plate and liquor in my gut. So gimme."

The next several minutes were spent in the partially silent haggling of men who have long conducted business with each other and know each other's demands, and drag it out more for ritual than expectation of a better deal. Still, for such sensitive and immediately useful information, Eddie had to fork over most of the contents of the pouch of carbon he had lifted from the drug runners, to the point where he just gave over the bag after skimming a few stones and returning them to a jeans pocket.

"Alrighty then," said Beard cheerfully. Producing a grease stained scrap of paper and a pencil from a burlap sack under the table (the stench of raw spirits marked it as his as easily as if he'd sewn his name into the thing) he began drawing freehand, gabbling as he talked. It wasn't idle chatter, but rather actual information, and after several minutes, he gave over the piece of paper, containing a map of an area that looked to have been drawn by a skilled cartographer. Because that was what Beard had been before he'd become a rum smelling sponge, dispensing information to the highest bidder. Above the small map was a string of coordinates.

Eddie pocketed the map. He'd worked Beard long enough to know he needn't question the validity of the information, but still he asked, "how is it you know where the Maiden's at, anyhow?"

Beard spread his hands theatrically, and boomed in a voice far too loud for the room they were in, "I know all and see all!" Then he got to his feet. "Now if that's all you two fine, upstanding sellers of men's freedoms need from me, I'd best be off." Pausing to rifle unconscious or dead men's pockets, taking a few stones and even a snub nosed revolver which he stowed into the burlap sack, he went to the door, stepping heavily on the crippled, bleeding man's back (the man had drifted into unconsciousness long before any sensitive information had been disclosed, but he still whimpered in his sleep) and disappeared out into the common room.

The two bounty hunters waited a couple of minutes, and then went out too, moving towards their two quads. "Alright, then. The Cave."

===============================================================

"Usual rate, hon," said Whiskey, smiling at the young man over her drink. The elderly woman, the young noble's mother and wife to the hostage being discussed peered owlishly at Whiskey when she thought she couldn't see. No doubt the probability about her dear sonny boy having impure thoughts about what she saw as some filthy half breed was a real thorn in her foot, and so that was the reason for the flirtatious edge to Whiskey's tone. Not that the boy was bad looking, but he was Noble. Egh.

The young man stammered slightly, then picked up. "And... what was that rate again, ma'am?"

"One half kilo. Half of which now, and half again when your dried up old daddy is safely back smoking his pipe and talking down to ya."

The old woman spluttered. "A half kilo? Why, that's as much as we could possibly hope to pay for the ransom alone! You can't be serious!"

"Oh but I am. And don't you piss around. You know who I am, so you know I been working this business since when you weren't entirely dry down there, so don't try to take me for a dumbass. You could afford to pay way, waaaay more than that for ransom with just what your dear hubby makes in one afternoon and still have enough to buy a fucking house. Be thankful I'm not deciding to line my own pockets further."

"Well we have our own men and are quite capable--"

"Oh I'm sure you are, deary. Except if I wasn't worthwhile, you wouldn't be lowering your crusty old ass to talk with me now, would you?" She gave the young man a wink. "Trust me, hon, I'm worth every penny." In the actual serious sense it was meant, this was true. Whiskey was experienced at sniffing out deception and traps during hostage exchanges and negotiation, and the good graces she held with various nobles, not to mention, more importantly the Rock's various crime families meant few were likely to gyp her in their dealings. If anyone could guarantee the safe return of anyone, it was Whiskey Fifer.

After more sounds of indignation from the elder noble had subsided, Whiskey continued. "So, do we have an accord?"

"... I suppose we do."

"Shake on it?"

After some hesitation, the woman put out her hand with a look on her face as though she were about to handle dung. Just for that, Whiskey spat in her palm before shaking the hand, and fancied with amusement she could feel the old *****'s skin crawl. "Deal."

Whiskey Fifer (Whiskey is actually her first name)

Age: 27
Sex: Female
Profession: Intermediary bodyguard for Nobles, originating from the Families

Appearance: Coming up to 6', with a fairly rangy build. Whiskey is Eurasian. She has long Auburn hair that might be called copper red in some lights. She dresses pragmatically, generally going for tank tops and pants, occasionally with a heavy black jacket with little epaulet tabs on the shoulders. A swirl patterned grey and black scarf hides her filter mask.

Personality: Whiskey is a very blunt and on the nose person. She is generally quite rude to everyone, scaling it back only a little for the Nobles who hire her. Her sense of humor among friends is quite rough, in typical fashion of her upbringing.

Biography: The bastard daughter of a Noble, Raymond Fifer, who forced himself onto one of his servants, an Asian woman, resulting in Whiskey's mixed heritage. Under blackmail not to cause any trouble, her mother took the newborn unnamed girl that would be Whiskey to one of the Families, whom Fifer had had some small contact with. She convinced them to take her, and she grew up among them. At this point, she was given the name Whiskey, because her red-brown hair was reminiscent of a good bottle of the stuff. After some years, she became semi-independent, having some liaison experience with various families, and Nobles. She is reachable as an impartial bodyguard for them via the Families, which makes for fairly decent living, though she is occasionally drafted for special work by the Family who took her in. Some Nobles are ignorant to her heritage, and some aren't. Many know her for her services, by name if not by face. Her past and personal life, however, are shrouded in mystery.

Notes: Though she often uses a variety of weapons and whatever lies to hand, she keeps three that she tends with extreme care. A pair chrome 10mm Colt Super Elite with ivory grips she calls Tim and Jim, and a lever action shotgun she calls The Persuader. Along with this, she keeps a small sheath knife in each boot.
 

Fappy

\[T]/
May 1, 2020
12,010
0
0
Country
United States
"I've always had some dumb kid I've had to take care of, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

Sprout blushed a bit and looked about the room as he continued the massage. The rest of the crew was far too hungover to pay them any mind, "Hey, I can be smart when I wanna be! Besides, ain't I the one take'n care of you right now?"

**********************************************************************************************************************************************************

"What I need is information Dante, anything that might point me in the direction of where to begin on this hunt. And I figured you'd be the sort of person to know such things, your clever like that."

Dante's grin grew larger, "I may know a few things... for the right price. I'll tell you straight up I don't know where the Maiden's at, but I do know where some of her crew's gonna be. For my standard rate I may be able to divulge who and where."

Unfortunately Dante's contact hadn't given him everything. Truth was he didn't have the ability to pay top-dollar for the premium intel, but what he did have was good enough. He could offer her an approach few others wouldn't think to take.

Now all she had to do was fork over the cash.

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************

"... For that, I may need your help; help the likes of which I will not receive as long as you continue to believe that Dio Basilio has an ounce of chivalry within those freakishly large bones of his."

Elizabeth marched towards the Gentleman, clenching her fists in rage, "Don't talk such rot!" She stopped a few paces from him, her golden eyes burning holes into his. "What do you know of my betrothed? He is an honest and valiant man! He---"

"Hope I'm not interrupting a double date here, guys."

Elizabeth stared at the Gentleman a few moments longer and turned back to sit next to Josephine. It appeared food had finally arrived.

"... remember, an apple a day keeps the me away."

"What happened to the boy? He said he'd return with bread for us."
 
Dec 14, 2009
15,528
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"Hey, I can be smart when I wanna be! Besides, ain't I the one take'n care of you right now?"

"I ain't gonna thank you for what you should be doing anyway." Lilith pouted, "Nobody takes care of me, it's about damn time I was pampered like the delicate flower I am" She stretched her arms out in front of her, cracking her laced fingers outward, releasing a rather pathetic belch. A few seconds passed with a mock nervous smile on her face. "That was s'posed to be far more impressive."

She looked around the canteen, it was quite a bit more full than when she entered.

The latest victims of last night's celebration.