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  1. #11
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Wiatt Faulk



    Inside the Diamond Saloon...


    Wiatt raises an eyebrow at the Marshall, as the older man hopes the drunk gave good advice.

    "I assure you, sir, my advice 's always perfect," Wiatt slurs. He leans most of his unsteady weight upon the bar. "If it isn't perfect now, time will make it so."

    Wiatt's attention is soon stolen away by Liza's arrival. He grin's a crooked smile as she tries to entice his earnings away from him. Wiatt removes his hat and sets it down on the bar. It's an old fashioned gesture, to remove ones hat when a lady enters the room. Wiatt only seems to perform this gesture on rare occasions. Usually, when Liza appears to offer companionship.

    The man's grin parts into a wide opened mouth as Liza's whispers shocks and amuses the seer. He replies with a low, soft chuckling before leaning to her ear to whisper back.


    "Oh, honey, you don't need any of these coins," he whispers to her. "Luelle's getting a cut of her boy's winnings. All he has to do is bet big in the next hand and bluff. His cards are crap, but everyone will have a bad hand, so they won't call his bluff. Especially if he bets everything he has. He'll win big, she'll get a big cut, and you can share that cut because you gave her such helpful advice. Then, later, you can show me how grateful you are for my helping you."

    Wiatt leans his back against the bar with his elbows propped up on the bars edge. He flashes Liza a smile born of recent fortune and alcohol-fueled confidence. The drunk has been forbidden to set foot near the gaming portion of the saloon, as he had the habit of muttering the outcome of games before they happened. Normally, space and a few wards cast onto the gambling tables is enough to prevent Wiatt from disrupting the games being played. However, on rare occasions when the visions are flowing and Liza is around to properly motivate him, Wiatt can gain some useful insight.

    Now it's up to Liza and the other ladies to figure out how to get that information to Luelle, all without Castillo realizing they're manipulating his games, or anyone else at the table getting suspicious. Wiatt knows they're talented ladies, they have their ways of doing such things.

    Wiatt turns around to face the bar. His unbalanced form almost threatens to fall over at least once before he settles into leaning lazily on the bar. He pulls a few coins from his pouch and slides them across the bar and to Castillo. The drunken oracle does bring people into the bar, they come seeking out his visions, but often times stay for a drink or a show. This small boost in customers has granted Wiatt with a surprisingly generous bar tab. Though, he might never be able to fully pay off the tab created through professional drinking, Wiatt does try to give Castillo a small cut of his profits. So far, between the added customers and this cut, having a drunken oracle in the saloon has benefitted Castillo quite nicely.

    Wiatt gestures to Castillo to pour him another drink.


    "So long, Marshall," Wiatt calls out to Artore, as the lawman leaves the saloon. He then mutters softly, despite the other man no longer being close enough to hear, "Good luck with'em bandits."

  2. #12
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Ingall



    Outside of the Diamond Saloon...


    Ingall expected some resistance to his offer. While growing up, Ingall had heard all kinds of tales of Shamaa women. It's said that these Shamaa women are so stubborn that their men allow them to do whatever they want. Ingall isn't sure if that is a sign of weakness in their men, or the foolish pigheadedness in their women.

    He chuckles at Silenha's counter offer of doing whatever 'mucking stalls' might be. The term is unknown to Ingall, but he's certain it sounds wretched. It sounds like work that's perfect for those young paupers Silenha has working on her ranch.


    "Please, Silenha, I'm a professional," Ingall replies with the slickness of a desert snake trying to slither its way into a bedroll. "I honor my contracts. You don't need loyalty when you have a contract."

    Ingall takes a step closer to Silenha. He seems entirely unaware of how Silanha's Qirin is reacting to his presence. To Ingall, the animal is beneath notice. Only the woman deserves his attention. He stands as straight and tall as his frame can manage, while proudly sticking out his chest. He's very much the vision of the glories promised by the Maginus military, except Ingall is ever so slightly worn looking due to life out and around the desert.

    "We both know you don't need another lowly worker," he tells her in a tone that tries to be as intimate as it is oily. "Workers won't save your animals from those filthy bandits.

    "My magic can save you from those savages. I have ancient power in my blood."

    Ingall glances around, as if to make sure no one else is listening in as he grants the woman some deep, guarded secret.

    "I am the last of the ancient Kuhrson family. All of my bloodline was killed off by cowardly Taroc barbarians and jealous Maginus sorcerers, all because of they feared the power we have. Only I survive, and in me that power lives on. I am offering that power to you. Enough power to keep your beasts safe. All of the power you could ever desire."

  3. #13
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Xal Qwaring



    The Mines...


    Three automatons crouch beside a fourth. The fourth machine sits on the carpeted floor of the illusionary library. Its head hangs down so that its metal chin rests against its chest. The three other automatons have the fourth's back maintenance hatch opened, and are doing something to the inner workings.

    Xal stares in disbelief. Why would these mining machines be doing this? They only have enough of a mind to process commands, not to open up one of their own and do something to its internal mechanisms. Did someone tell them to do this? Did they misunderstand an order given to them by a miner?

    Xal tries to sort through what he knows. These automatons shouldn't even be here. Only one machine was assigned to this area. These other three aren't supposed to be here.


    "Hey," Xal calls out. It's not much of a plan, but he can't think of anything else to say to these machines. He then begins to approach them. He continues to silently count his steps as he moves. He reaches up to the lamp on his helmet and clicks the switch three times. The books and shelves around them flicker and fade for a moment. Hints of mine walls swirl about under the violet glow of the lamp light. The four automatons remain as visible as ever. They're real.

    The three crouching automatons look towards Xal. Their empty window-like eyes emote nothing.


    "Come here," Xal orders them. He also clicks his lamp again, returning it to normal light. He's finally decided to gather up these possibly lost or confused automatons, and take them to the foreman. Surely, the gravel-voiced man will want to know where these three pieces of equipment have wandered off to.

    The three automatons look at each other. Seconds later they all rise up from the floor and begin running. One of the fleeing automatons picks up the fourth and carries it off as it runs.


    "Hey!" Xal shouts before he gives chase. He's not sure what he'll do if he catches up to them. This situation is entirely too bizarre for any kind of plan to form. He simply knows it's his job to maintain these machines, and so he follows them.

    He silently counts out his steps, compensating his calculations for his running strides. The three machines sprint through the side of a filled bookshelf, piercing the surface with a puff of multicolored mist to mark their passing through the illusionary matter. Xal closes his eyes and leaps through the shelf. He involuntarily flinches as he passes through the phantom shelf and books. He opens his eyes to see a pickaxe swinging directly at him.

    Xal ducks his head. The pick strikes Xal right in his helmet lamp, smashing it. The library around Xal goes dark, as if someone had impossibly shut down the Central Library for the night.

    Xal stumbles and falls. He turns around, swinging his hands out, trying to find something in this dark, illusion-filled world.

    He hears footsteps. Running, metal, and heavy. They're running away. Xal pulls up his mental map. He's not exactly sure where he is on the map. He fell. The footsteps are to his left. What's down that way?

    Xal pulls a heavy wrench out of his bag and begins running towards the sound of metallic footfalls. He's struggling to figure out where he is. How many steps did he take? How many is he taking now? His heart is beating in his ears, throwing off his silent count. He starts muttering the numbers between labored breaths.

    Xal isn't sure why he's doing this. He should find his way back up to the surface, and report this. Report what? That maybe there are robots acting weird? Isn't it his job to fix that kind of thing? They attacked him! Or someone did. Xal only saw the pickax, and not who was swinging it. All of this could easily be explained away as illusions. Xal knows it's all real, but there's no one to back him up.

    And he simply needs to know what's happening. There's a flaw in the grand mechanism of this mine, Xal's instincts push him towards discovering the nature of that flaw and fixing it.

    He thinks he's catching up to the running machines. They're bigger and stronger and will never tire, but they're slower. They were designed for mine work, not outracing a person. How many paces has it been? Sixty-seven. Is this really the correct tunnel he's predicting? It must be, he can feel it. Why can't he hear the other footsteps anymore? What's seventy-two paces, compensated for running strides, down this tunnel?

    The elevator!

    Xal's final step sinks through the illusionary floor of a dark library, as he runs at full speed into the opened elevator shaft. His map tells him there will be eight levels of falling before he hits the bottom.
    Last edited by Qwaring's clone#1; 11-29-2017 at 05:05 PM.

  4. #14
    Harmony Point: Outside The Diamond Saloon

    Attachment 2271

    Silenha, Head of Mankato Ranch



    Her thick, hand-made blanket had been adjusted and re-adjusted enough times to cover seven Qirin. She sighed a bit more irritably than when she'd left the saloon. Her business in own was done. She just wanted to get back to her ranch. The children would be letting out from school soon.

    It was with subtlety that her Qirin let her know of his approach. Silenha's hazel eyes flew up to Ingall with dangerous accuracy and held. Nastalane shifted and she put a calming hand to its body. His glistening, golden eyes flare open with the proximity of this stranger that made him feel so uneasy. Silenha's eyes narrow. Her left hand released the reigns of her Qirin and slide slowly and quietly behind her back to the hilt of her Shamaa glaive. She tilts her face slightly away from Ingall, as if the intimate tone of his words disgusts her. A second sigh was afforded to the mercenary.

    "I see subtlety is not your strong suit, Mr. Kuhrson, so I will be blunt."

    Deliberately allowing him to see her, she slid her glaive from its spot on her back. The silver tip of the bottom of the long hilt thudded heavily on the old wood of the walkway in front of the Diamond Saloon. She kept a hand on Natsalane. The beasts golden eyes rested entirely on Ingall. It's stance had become very still.

    "My answer is no."

    There was well-masked anger in her face now. Her grip on the hilt of her blade was strong.

    "I don't know much about Maginus, but I can truly speak to how much I hate their view of everyone but themselves as being savages or barbarians, just as much as I hate these Da'Jinn raiders for killing my Qirin."

    It was well known among the town that she did not kill the raiders to her ranch. Wounded, yes, captured, yes, but never killed. It was the only thing that was left of her Astral heritage, the only thing that clashed with her Shamaa upbringing.

    "I have no desire for power. Your or anyone's. My ranch is on Maginus and Da'Jinn land. Both have more claim to it than I do, but the Qirin are under my guardianship."

    She still felt drawn to this place, something she could not explain, but knew from her time in Shamaa that such an inner voice needed to be listened to. Something about this place held her here and she would not leave it until she felt drawn elsewhere. Natsalane's ears moved from Silenha to erect as it stared at Ingall. Its nostrils flared silently. The opalescent horn atop its furred and scaled head gleamed. The antlers were a prize among the Da'Jinn, something they could use to find water in the desert. They fashioned it into tools, jewelry, swords. They poached the Qirin and only took captives when they were caught too soon in their act. Their meat was too tough and they were untrainable to the harsh demands of Da'Jinn pack travel. The raiders only wanted them for one thing.

    "You cannot offer me what I need." she said coldly. "I think we are done here."
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 12-10-2017 at 01:52 PM.
    *The Golden Goddess|The Goddess of All Motherless Secundae*
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    \"You know me: everything detailed and long, blah blah blah.\" (Brath OOC)

  5. #15
    Harmony Point: The Diamond Saloon



    Castillo Rockwell, Tender and the Saloon Girls


    Liza's ruby red lips smile and a bit of color comes to her cheeks when Wiat removed his hat and set it atop the bar for her. A lot of the girls magikally enhanced their features with enchanted make-ups that changed subtly based on the person before them, to suit what pleased them. Liza's smile and blush were all genuine at the old fashioned gesture. Such things made her giggle and constantly brought her back to Wiat's side. The other girls didn't know what she saw in the drunk.

    Her impeccably dark eyes light up like dark pools amid the bright white ocean of her eyes and paleness of her skin. She smiled to Wiat and squeezed his arms.

    "I'll see what I can do" she whispered and leaned forward to kiss the Seer on the cheek. Cas came over and filled Wiat's glass. He slid the coin off the countertop and into the till and saluted the drunken oracle with two fingertips to his right eye. It was an old Taroc maneuver of respect among Seers.

    She gave him another kiss- "See you later, sugar"- and hopped down off the barstool. Her heeled boots could be heard clattering as she came stuttering to a stop at the edge of the gambling arena. Liza surveyed the table where Luelle was bent over and her scantily-clad, Da'Jinn styled outfit had her all but busting out of her top. Liza reached into her corset and pulled forth a black lace fan. It was hand-woven, a family heirloom form her mother's side. Runes were hand-stitched into the lace and, when waved lightly could be seen with an iridescent sheen against the ebony fabric. Liza snapped the fan open, a sound and sight that was trained to get a glance from the other girls. Her dark eyes focused on Luelle, so the others purposely lost interested in the gambling area. It was not hard to feign disinterest. Another of Cas's ladies had come off stage and was marching across the tabletop area toward the gathering of gals on break at the bar.

    As Jane came in hot, Liza began to flutter her fan lightly. The ancient runes flared to life and glistened like painted butterfly wings to Luelle. The bent over woman's enchanted eyes- amber colored today to match her outfit- locked onto Liza before looking back to the hand of the scruffy-faced man beside her. She glanced back up at Liza, winked and blew her a kiss with her lips. The amount of manicured fingernails she placed on the table as she stood up indicated how much of the cut she would give to Liza for the tip to her customer. Liza smiled in return and went over to lounge next to Tess again one of the saloon's support beams. She snuggled up against her and fanned them both from the smokey air of the room. The fans were on above, but the air seemed stagnant today. From beside the bar, Bess let out a laugh and shook her head.

    "Hey, Cas" she called out over her shoulder. "You might turn the fans up before mountain girl here melts on us."

    Cas, back to his girls as he mixed a large order of drinks, lifted a finger and pointed at the fans. They spun a little faster, but not enough to jostle the cards from the hands of the men at the tables.

    "You're a lifesaver, Cas!"

    Liza shot him a smile as Luelle bent and whispered something into her customer's ear. One of her hands ran like a snake over his thigh and between his legs. The man squirmed and side-glanced at Luelle. Liza could not see it, but she knew his smile deepened at whatever offer Luelle made. The man pushed in all his chips and sat slightly back in assurance. He arched forward slightly into Luelle's magikal hands. A moment later, he would win the hand and triple his winnings.

    But Jane, having stopped and waited for someone to give her some sort of attention, finally decided she'd waited long enough.

    "Deanna's Stars, Cas... What does a girl need to do to get a drink around here?"

    Cas looked over his shoulder at her for a long moment before deciding she was serious.

    "... Ask" he said and went back to his mixing. Jane looked to Bess's empty, upside down shot glass on the bartop.

    "We have to ask now? Whatever happened to knowing what your customers want?" She folded her arms under the pronounced cleavage her corset made. "You certainly seem to know what Bess wants."

    Cas's hands came to a halt. The bottle he'd tilted slammed back down on the counter. Cas looked up from his work and slowly over to Jane. Her eyes burned like hot coals as she stared at him. He was silent for a long moment. Cas made it very clear that he did not sleep with his girls. They were for hire and he didn't pay them. They paid him for room and board out of their own earnings. They brought in clientele to spend more money at his gambling tables or with other women. He never slept with any of them. To imply as much was an insult to the bar tender, one he did not take lightly.

    "Is there something you need to settle with me, Jane?" he said with controlled calm. His hand was knuckle white on the bottle he held. Jane set her jaw and cocked her hip to one side. With her arms folded beneath her, the beautiful woman looked truly formidable, but Cas did not give her an inch to claim of him.

    "Well? I can add to your rent for each minute of my time you waste. Speak up!"

    Jane chewed on the inside of her lip and then looked away. She shook her head. Cas went back to his mixing and turned away from her.

    "You and Bess have five minutes before you're due back on" he said gruffly, in a foul mood now.

    "Can I at least get a drink?"

    "Glad you finally remembered your manners" Cas spat sourly. He motioned with his hand and a bottle of whiskey flew her way. She caught it with agile Astral reflexes. Her glared returned to white hot, but Cas didn't give her any more of his time. "Pour it yourself."

    Bess, Tess and Liza looked between each other and then down or away when Jane's hot gaze switched over to them. She bit the cork between her teeth, pulled it from the bottle and spat it on the ground. She glared at Cas, took a long pull of the almost empty bottle and took it with her as she went back to the stage.

    "I'm adding that to your rent!" Cas yelled at her as she left. He shook his head and finished his tray of drinks. He lifted the tray, whispered something to it and blew it gently in the direction of the patrons who ordered them. the tray obeyed and floated smoothly along, heeding whatever words the bartender told it. Free of his task, Cas turned, grabbed a bar rag to wipe down the countertop, and looked at the direction in which Jane went. He shook his head.

    "What's eating her?" he asked.

    Tess smiled smoothly and leaned closer to Liza.

    "Oh, Lady Jane?" she cooed knowingly. She tapped a fingernail to her cheek and puckered her lips thoughtfully. She then mouthed to Cas: "L-A-T-E."

    Liza squeaked and covered her mouth in both her hands. Bess's eyes went wide.

    "My five are about up. I'm going to go change..."

    She turned away from the group and started walking briskly back in the direction of the stage.

    Cas's bearded jaw dropped. He threw his bar rag onto the countertop, lifted the entry plank and let it slam back down loudly as he stalked off after Jane. A moment later, the table where Luelle stood erupted into words of outrage and a laugh of victory. Luelle turned and gave Liza an appreciative smile over her shoulder. It was short as the man she helped pulled her down onto his lap and settled his hands wantingly alongside her hips. She laughed and leaned in to kiss him heartily.

    "C'mon handsome" Luelle said once she was free of his kiss. "Let's take this party upstairs."

    She grabbed two bottles that floated their way down from the tall bar shelves and into her waiting hands. The girls were allotted some amount of alcohol for their pleasuring needs when with a customer. She linked a bottle-held arm with the now richer man and lead him up the stairs to her room up on the second floor balcony. As soon as the area had cleared out, Liza spun around and gripped the lapel of Tess's leathered jacket.

    "Tess!" she hissed in her high-pitched voice. "Jane's monthly isn't really late, is it?"

    Tess let out a breath of air and rolled her eyes.

    "No more than it normally is with how high-strung the Astral Princess runs" she said knowingly and then smiled to Liza. "But Cas doesn't know that."

    Far across the saloon, barely out of sight in a corner, Cas had pulled Jane aside and begun to lit into her. Cas made one thing very clear: the girls were to be very careful about unwanted pregnancies in his saloon. He had no time or coin to waste on a child and, really, the saloon was no place for a kid. Jane could be seen arguing back at Cas with her arms flung wide open defensively. Cas pointed a finger at her and stepped extremely close to her. Even from this distance, the girls could tell he'd dropped his voice to one of his deathly warning whispers. Liza's lips made a deep red 'O'.

    "Oh, Tess" she breathed on the verge of giddy gossip excitement. "You are just cruel."

    Tess laughed and hooked her arm with Liza's.

    "I had to preoccupy Cas so we could slip out."

    Liza looked at her in confusion. Again, Tess rolled her striking blue eyes.

    "Come on, Liza. Luelle said there's a new mechanic in town. Let's go have a glance at him, hmm?"

    Liza's face beamed and Tess pulled her hurriedly toward the exit. Before they could leave, Liza detached herself and went over to Wiat at the bar. Her lips kissed his cheek and remained close to him as she whispered into his ear.
    "We're going to have a look at the new mechanic. Just don't get jealous, kay? You'll always be my favorite."

    She kissed his cheek again and then she and Tess ran out the batwing doors before Cas caught them.

    -+-


    Harmony Point: Outside The Diamond Saloon

    Deputy Lucius Starling.jpg

    Artor Lawe, Rekōdo Marshall and Lucius Starling, Deputy


    Despite his best efforts, the midday sun hurt his eyes. The Marshall lifted a gloved hand to shield his blue eyes from the brightness as Lucius came out the batwing doors behind him and came to stand beside him.

    "It's too early for that much" he said quietly as he surveyed the main street and all the traffic before him. The Marshall grunted in acceptance of what he said. He wasn't going to argue with him because he was right. It was too early for all the scotch he'd drunk. If he didn't have to go out to the Mankato Ranch, he'd still be drinking. Consequently, it was the ranch's owner that caught Lucius's attention. The Deputy nudged the Marshall and then nodded in Silenha's direction. Her Shamaa glaive was outside its holder. She never took it out in town- her own choice, not a law- not unless there was trouble.

    "Looks like trouble, Marshall."

    "When is there not trouble involving that woman?" he asked grouchily. He wanted time to sober up on the ride out of town to her ranch before having to face the Shamaa woman again. The Marshall sighed and checked to make sure his pistols were at his hip.

    "Come on" he said and lead the short walk over to where Silenha and Ingall stood. The mercenary had his back to the Marshall.

    "What seems to be the problem, Miss Mak'ato?" he asked in his low, gruff voice. He was close enough now for his delayed senses to catch up with him. He recognized the dirtied uniform. Lucius put a hand on his pistol. The Marshall pulled one of his free.

    "You" he said to Ingall. There was a clicking sound as the Marshall checked the chambers to make sure they were fully loaded. The filled tunnels clicked thickly around as he spun the chamber slowly. "If I recall correctly, there's a bounty for your head over at the mines. I didn't think you'd be brave enough to show your face here in daylight."

    Artor clicked the chamber shut and locked it back into the pistol. He looked up from his gun at Ingall with clarity.

    "Is there a good reason I shouldn't drag your body back to jail until your buddies can come pick you up?"
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 12-03-2017 at 09:15 PM.

  6. #16
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Roald, Mine Foreman




    The Mines...


    Roald. Foreman of the mines. He's a simple man. A man that sees value in a hard days work. Once he was a miner. Then the cave-in happened. He was pinned beneath tons of rock for several hours. His back was severely injured, and he lost both of his legs.

    The Mining Commission takes care of their own. Healers fixed Roald's back as best as they could. They even gave the man etheric prosthetic legs. However, his mining days were done. Roald was given an office job. Something small. Because he's a man that sees value in a hard days work, Roald quickly adapted to this new role and proved his new value to management. He quickly rose through the ranks and was eventually made foreman.

    On most days, the task of foreman is to set the mines into motion for the day, return to his tiny office to do paperwork and wait for some big emergency to pull him away from his desk. Every so often he has to meet with other members of management, or on rare occasions a representative of the Mining Commission.

    Today, Roald is startled when the new mechanic, Xal something or another, bursts into his office. The mechanic is covered in dirt and grime. His once pristine suit is a wreck of wrinkles and tatters. His gloved hands are wrapped up in crimson stained rags.

    The distressed mechanic charges at Roald's desk and leans his slightly trembling frame over it.



    Xal Qwaring




    "I was attacked!" Xal exclaims.

    "Uh- What do you mean attacked?" Roald asks. There's some embers of concern in the man's hardened features, but this soon fades as he reminds himself of the nature of these mines. When mining Desert Diamonds, it's best not to take a story at face value, because you never know what's really real, and what's an illusion.

    "I went to shaft sixteen and found four automatons there, and I think they tried to kill me," Xal begins to explain.

    "Try to kill?" Roald's replies. His tone is entirely dismissive. Roald reaches behind himself, rubbing at an aching spot on his back. "That's impossible!"


    Kilroy




    "Four?" a calm voice from behind Xal interrupts. The mechanic turns around to see an older man in an ebony suit standing in the office. Xal looks to Roald for some kind of explanation of this man.

    "There's only one unit assigned to that shaft," Roald dismissively tells Xal, offering no explanation for the man in the black suit. "What you saw was an illusion. I bet it spooked you and you ran into a wall or something."

    "Fell down an elevator shaft," Xal mutters, trying to further illustrate the severity of the dangers he had to face. "Those automatons weren't illusions. I shined my helmet's ghost light on them."

    "Fell down a shaft?!" Roald asks as he looks over Xal to make sure he's not as dead as a fall down an elevator shaft would make him.

    Xal holds up his bandaged hands and replies,
    "I was lucky that I caught the cable."

    What Xal means is that he's lucky his gloves protected his hands from the worst of having his hands run over several feet of cable before he could slow himself down to a stop.

    "What were these four automatons doing when you first found them?" the man in the black suit asks.

    "Who are you?" Xal replies with a question of his own.

    "This is Mr. Kilroy, Mining Commission agent," Roald answers Xal's question.

    Xal looks back at Roald and then at Kilroy. The commission is the power behind the mines. When is comes to the mines, their authority is second only to the crown. Xal suddenly realizes that he must look like a beaten down, dirt caked, mess of a man to this emissary of his employers. Trying to overcome what must be a blundered first impression with a potentially important person, Xal dutifully answers his question,
    "Three of the automatons were doing something to the inner workings of a fourth."

    "Which maintenance hatch were they accessing?" Kilroy asks.

    "The back, between it's shoulders," Xal said with a gesture towards his own back, as if to illustrate the place. "Why? Is there some significance?"

    "I want to assure you, Mr. Qwaring, the commission takes all matters of worker safety gravely serious," Kilroy says as he sidesteps Xal's question. "You should go to the infirmary, three buildings north of here. We'll send a clerk to meet you there. He will ask you questions and get a full report on this incident. Then you are free to go to town and get settled in at the apartment we have rented for you.

    "We will investigate this matter. Trust me, Mr. Qwaring, we will do everything in our power to uncover exactly what happened. In the meantime, I must ask you not to speak of this incident to anyone else. Rumors spread like wildfire in small towns, and can be just as destructive. It's company policy to keep these matters quiet until our investigations reveals the whole story.

    "The Commission takes care of its own, Mr. Qwaring."

    "Of course," Xal gladly replies.

    Feeling assured that someone of authority not only believes his story might be true, but is also willing to take action, Xal lets out a sigh of relief. He had worried this would all be dismissed as an illusion, and he would be fired for being unable to cope with menacing phantasms.


    "Thank you, Mr. Kilroy," Xal replies with a smile. He wants to reach out and shake the man's hand, but Xal recalls the bloodied and filthy state that grabbing and sliding down several feet of cable has left his bandaged hands, and decides against spreading dirt and blood to someone that is offering to help him. Instead, Xal exits the office and marches his way towards the infirmary.

    Kilroy looks out of a window and watches the mechanic walk away. He ponders the man with a gaze one might show to an ant that has just escaped being stepped on and is limping its way back to its anthill.


    "That's the third time this month," Roald mutters to Kilroy. The foreman opens a desk drawer, and pulls out a bottle of healers tonic. It's sold as a cure-all, it's said a spoonful will ease the suffering of the sick or injured. Really, it's a low grade numbing and energizing potion. Roald finds comfort in drinking a swig or two when he once again has to help cover up yet another mishap caused by the automatons acting strangely or even violently. Covering such horrors always summons old, stabbing pains to his back.

    "What do the alchemists have to say about their creations?" Roald aggressively asks. His frustration and anger immediately begins retreating away from the cold glare Kilroy casts at his demand.

    "The Commission will deal with this," Kilroy calmly assured the foreman. "We take care of our own."

    The lights in the office wink out for an instant, and when they turn back on Kilroy is gone. Roald takes another gulp of tonic. His back angrily aches at him.

  7. #17
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Qwaring's clone#1;249675]Xal Qwaring



    The Mines...


    The mine healers are able to fix Xal's hands. They assure him that he will be ready to return to work in a day or two, and that there should be no scarring. The clerk takes Xal's statement, writing down every detail. Once his wounds are treated and his story is recorded, the mechanic is allowed to leave.

    He eventually finds his trunk sitting on the same spot he left it. No one had been sent to move it. In fact, only a mule seems to have paid any attention to it, and decided to lay down on the large trunk. It takes a great deal of time and effort to convince the animal to abandon its new bed. The mule seems quite sad for the loss. Xal thinks he may have made an enemy this day.

    It's late afternoon by the time Xal reaches Harmony Point. He, and his now dented trunk, rides into town on the horse drawn wagon that conveys miners between town and the mines. The wagon is large, easily able to seat over a dozen men. These wagons tend to travel in groups of three, with a squad of mine mercenaries guarding over them.

    Xal is the last to get off of the wagon, as he needed the extra time to drag his trunk with him. He's trailing after the crowd of miners filtering into the town. Xal's face and hands have been cleaned, with his many wounds bandaged, but his clothes are still battered and covered in layers of dirt and dust. There's a general weariness to his bruised and scraped features as he slowly makes his way over the walkways of town. Earlier in the day he was eager to meet everyone he could, but right now he just wants to crawl his way to his apartment, draw a bath, wash away the day, and retreat into bed.

    He's studied maps of the town. Much like the mines, he has memorized as much of the town's layout that has been recorded in Rekōdo archives. Unlike the mines, a town such as this one is more difficult to predict and navigate. It's more of an organic growth, less of an orderly system. Plus it all looks so different than Xal thought it would. He already feels lost and turned around.

    After a few minutes of walking and dragging his trunk, Xal stops and begins looking around. He needs to get his bearings and find a landmark. The mechanic hurts too much right now to drag his belonging all over town. He needs to find his way to the hotel. In the hotel are several apartments that the Mining Commission maintains for housing new employees, until those employees can acquire homes for themselves.

  8. #18
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Ingall



    Outside of the Diamond Saloon...


    Ingall opens his mouth to continue speaking to Silenha, but the arrival of the Marshall and deputy mutes anything the Maginus man might have said. He turns around to face the lawmen. If Ingall had been a cat one would expect his back to arch and his fur to raise. Instead Ingall is a man that takes a step back from the marshal and Silenha, and struggles to maintain something of a relaxed and not intimidated exterior.

    "Now, Marshall, you know better than anyone not to trust baseless rumors," Ingall quickly replies to the possibility of a price on his head. "Any trouble I might have with the mines is between me and the mines. You and I both know that if the Commission wanted others involved they would post the bounty across every inch of this town."

    Ingall looks down at the weapon the Marshall holds. He tries to swallow nothing, as his mouth had gone dry the moment he heard the Marshall's voice.

    "I was simply offering the dear woman my assistance on her ranch," he offers to the Marshall, along with a smile that aspires to charm snakes. "Surely, there is work that a woman or urchins alone can't handle."

    Ingall takes another step back, stumbling slightly as he reaches the edge of the wooden walkway. He manages to regain his balance and step back off of the walkway and onto the dirt road.

    "Please, consider my offer, Silenha," Ingall tells the woman.

    A grey steed gallops its way up to Ingall. It's a majestic Maginus bred stallion. Charcoal grey fur, black leather saddle. A pale white handprint on its face, over its left eye. The left eye has been replaced with a dark blue gem. The gem eye sparkles strangely as the beast looks upon those Ingall has backed away from.

    Without looking at the gem-eyed horse, Ingall takes hold of the saddle and lifts himself up onto it. He takes the reigns of the grey beast, but does nothing to guide it. Instead the horse seems to sense the wishes of its rider, and begins galloping away from the Marshall. As he rides away, Ingall gives one last glance to Silenha. A glance and a leering, knowing smile.

    Then the horse and rider are soon gone.

  9. #19
    Harmony Point: The Exchange House




    Tess & Liza, Ladies of the Diamond Saloon


    It was easy to spot the new mechanic as he rode into town for several reasons. The first and easiest was the sight of the transport wagons that ferried men from the mines back into town. They come in at the end of shifts or lunches, which the girls back at the saloon had memorized by heart. They specialized in such things. Which miners fancied which girl, what they fancied, the best time of day to collect business. The miners also looked wearier, dirtier. Give it time and the look of this town would wear on his fresh features too. It did for everyone.

    He also carried a large trunk with him, something no miner ever carried and something only someone new to town lugged around. He was the last to disembark the wagon because of it, which was fine for Tess because she got to have a really good look at him as he fumbled with it.

    "Looks like he's been in the thick of it some, eh Tess?"

    Liza lifted her head from where she had leaned it tiredly on Tess's shoulder. She twirled her parasol and cast movements of light and dark from its lace upon her face as she focused her dark eyes on the man with the trunk. The women of the Diamond Saloon were discouraged from entering the hotel for business, or any other building for that matter. It was the source of some quarrel a few years back. The walkway that connected the various buildings on like sides of the main road were property of Harmony Point itself and considered fair game. Tess leaned against one of the support beams of the overhang on the boardwalk. Liza was observant when she chose to be. His clothes, much too fancy for mining work, showed a bit of evidence to Liza's claim. As he drew closer, she can see his a bit scraped up. The only thing that matched the miners on this man was the general weariness that seemed to claim them as they disembarked from the large wagon.

    "So it seems" Tess mused thoughtfully with a twirl of her parasol. She stood up from the pillar where she casually watched the man struggle with his trunk. She laughed quietly to herself and leaned closer to Liza.
    "You know what the Taroc say about red heads?"

    Liza piqued a fine, blond eyebrow and shook her head. Tess grinned and dropped her voice to a sultry whisper

    "Crimson head, good in bed."

    Liza's laugh was like music that floated out over the boardwalk. She brought her gloved fingertips to her ruby lips to stifle it, but it was like dandelion seeds scattered on the wind: there was no reining them back in. The sound floated beautifully along the boardwalk toward the wearied new mechanic. Liza, a woman of Maginus, could see what dark things pleasured the Soul, which made her a perfect fit for her employment. Whether she meant to or not, the melodious sound of her laughter would trickle into Xalidus's weary ears like a siren song. Perhaps even Tess, with her ability to predict what pleasures her company would most enjoy, knew the gentle sound of a woman's laughter would catch his ears best? If that was the case, Tess declined to tell Liza the second half of the saying: "Crimson head, good in bed. Hair of yellow, avoid the fellow." Though it was sometimes wrong, men with blond hair were often of Maginus stock, and no proper woman of Taroc would bed a man from Maginus. Out here though, the pay was all that mattered.

    Tess twirled her crimson, lace parasol. Her intelligent, blue eyes settled on Xalidus. Liza was right beside her and her ruby lips were painted into an endearing smile. A rare breeze blew at Tess's spun back brown hair.

    "Rough day today, I take it?" she asked of Xalidus with a hint of her old, Eastern Taroc accent. It would mark her from the Palios region. "You seem lost."

    Liza's smile deepened and her cheeks blushed as if she were shy of meeting him. Tess's blue eyes had not left Xalidus yet.

    "I'm Tess. This is Liza."

    The fair-bobbed woman, clearly of Maginus descent, lifted her laced, tipless gloves in a shy, but alluring wave.

    "If you're looking for the Grand Palace Hotel, you're not far from it. This big brown building, here, is the Exchange House and bank. The Diamond Saloon is down this walk and the Hotel is just a ways more down and across the street. You can see it from here."

    "It's the big yellow one. If you keep heading the direction you're going, you cant miss it."

    Or them. They made his pathway to get through with his trunk a bit smaller than would be comfortable or appropriate. Liza offered him another smile. Tess finally took her eyes from the mechanic to survey the various scrapes and bruises she'd seen from afar.

    "Of course" she said much more gently this time, a very different tone to her voice. "We can offer you something a bit more gratifying than a lonely walk to the hotel."

    Liza's dark eyes drank the rusty-haired mechanic in.

    "The Saloon is a bit closer" she said in her high, yet delightful voice. "Why don't we stop there and get you back to the hotel after a bit of rest, hmm?"

    She twirled her umbrella giddily, the sound of her light laughter was like sweet bells echoing across the hills of Taroc from the temples far away.

    "What do you say?" she asked in a voice that seemed to shine like honey in sunlight.

  10. #20
    Harmony Point: Outside The Diamond Saloon

    Attachment 2282 Attachment 2283

    Artor Lawe, Rekōdo Marshall, Lucius Starling, Deputy and Silenha, Head of Mankato Ranch


    Ingall is allowed to go. No chase is given by the Marshall or his Deputy. The simply watch him go and then further watch him as the dust his ride kicked eventually obscured his travel.

    " 'Dear woman' " the Marshall quoted gruffly and then looked down to check his pistol again. "I didn't realize you two were so close now."

    "We're not."

    Silenha's voice was dry of the humor Artur offered her. She sheathed her glaive back behind her and returned to her Qirin. Her hazel eyes watched Ingall's dust trail lift into the air and begin to dissipate. The wind had gone stagnant. The mid-afternoon heat would begin to settle down heavily on the town. It would lift again as the sun set and the cold air would recirculate the heat away. The skies were clear. What little rain had come had gone as quickly as it came.

    "You're not going after him?"

    There was a hint of judgment in her voice. The Marshall had disappointed her once already today, though why was not entirely his fault. The bushy-mustached man spit on the sandy ground just past the boardwalk, checked his pistol once more, and shoved it into his side holster.

    "Nope" he said simply. Silenha waited for more of an explanation. She got none from him.

    "The Merc's right" Lucius offered her sympathetically. "The Mining Commission hasn't put out a warrant for his arrest or a bounty on his head yet and we've already offered our assistance in apprehending him. There's nothing we can do unless he breaks a law outside the mines."

    "Harrassment doesn't count?" she countered as she adjusted Natsalane's back blanket again. She was still angry. They could hear it.

    "He offered to help you and your kids out on your ranch. Last I checked, that don't count as harassment." The Marshall paused and then added hurriedly. "Unless he is unrelenting to the point of discomfort in your daily life or his offer becomes inappropriate."

    The Marshall cleared his voice roughly and spat at the sand again. Lucius looked after the disappearing dust trail again. It was almost completely gone.

    "Everything else okay on your ranch, Silenha?"

    She paused in her adjustments to look at Lucius and then went back to her work again. The blanket was fine, had been fine, the nitpicking at it was stalling or hidden worry. The Marshall couldn't quite decide which. The woman was a hard puzzle to figure out.

    "That's kind of you to care" she said to Lucius quietly. "My raiding issue aside, we're fine."

    The Marshall looked up at her from beneath the brim of his hat. Silenha paused again, went back to the blanket and then shrugged something unseen off her shoulder.

    "Albern's having trouble at school again" she said in genuine concern. "His brother will be heading off to Maginus to continue his schooling soon. I don't think he's handling it well."

    The Marshall grunted.

    "I'll talk to him tonight when we come out to your place."

    "Tonight?"

    "Figured we'd give you some time to get your kids in order and fed before we interpose. We cna stop by the Doc's place before we head out to see if he's found anything. I doubt they'll make a show of themselves two nights in a row, but we'll be extra muscle just in case the raiders decide to ride onto your land again."

    And he can have some time to sober up. Sil considered his words and his offer. Albern did love it when the Marshall dropped by. He had mentioned something about wanting to be a Sheriff or Lawman of some kind when he was old enough. He already tried to dress the part. Plus, the younger ones would feel at ease with the Marshall on hand after last night. She nodded to Artur.

    "I'd appreciate that, Marshall" she finally said. Silenha mounted Natsalane as the animal danced beneath her, ready to ride and run after such a tense encounter. "The children should be out of school by now. Supper will be an hour before sunset. You're welcome to come by when you're ready."

    Lucius tipped his hat to Silenha.

    "Ma'am."

    The Marshall was looking back to the direction in which Ingall rode off.

    "Silenha" he said with a nod for the woman. Her Qirin turned and galloped off at a fast trot. Silenha bent and whispered something to her ride and patted its strong neck. The animal seemed to rear in its pace, but cantered with an energetic hop to its gait, as if waiting for the second they left town so it could run to its heart's desire.

    Lucius watched her go and spoke to the Marshall as he did.

    "Supper will be good tonight, I bet" he said casually. The Marshall grunted. Lucius looked at Artur, who was still trained on the spot where Ingall departed.

    "What're you thinking, Art?"

    The Marshall was silent a moment.

    "Something's not right" he said carefully. "The look he gave her. I don't think this was a one-time offer."

    He shook his head. That wasn't it. Something just didn't add up right. He could feel it like kidney stone in his gut.

    "Maybe it was the horse" he muttered. "That creepy eye-stone... Thing..."

    Be it that his own roots were from Maginus, the Sheriff was still put-off by the stone. He'd never seen something like that before. He wracked his memory from what little time he'd had in Maginus before he was given an appointment in Rekōdo City. He'd grown up there, in the shadow of the palace in a very Maginus-populated section of the city. He'd only ever gone there on official after being granted the title of Marshall, and that was on official business. Something about Ingall, or maybe it was his horse, just bothered him. He shook his head.

    "Ahh" he said in frustration and spat the dry, alcohol taste from his mouth. "We need to keep an eye on him, If he so much as looks at town, I want to know about it."

    Lucius nodded and took a golden pocket watch form his breast pocket. He pressed the switch and it popped open. His dark brown eyes watched the insides of the watch a moment, glowing a faint orange, before he snapped the lid to the watch shut.

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