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Our Blood in Light
« on: September 12, 2018, 08:30:16 pm »
He found them on the streets of abandoned cities, dragging their tails through human dust and defeated dreams of civilization. Spines reflected in lights they couldn't see but his visor picked up. It was a broken piece of soft-glass, expensive and hard, covering half his face and one eye. He'd have to use metal mesh for the rest. It wasn't like he meant to take dragon-grade force to his head if he could help it, anyway. The soft-glass was for information, compatibility for all the different things he needed to oversee. He couldn't worry about how his rifle connected to his guiding system, so he'd rather use this shrapnel to tie it all together.

Keyzer had this childhood dream too. Grow up tough, hunt monsters, be a hero. Be like the old knights. Somewhere in the middle he'd hoped for better things, and then just-- something comfortable. But the libations he subscribed to and the creeping procrastination wall-papering the inside of his skull didn't let him stay on a good job for too long. Eventually even the most convinced do-gooder did their good in other directions.

He could fight though. And he was tenacious when things were physical. So Chaser it was. Little him would be so impressed.

They said there were Immortal Class dragons around the trees dwarfing the skeletons of skyscrapers around here, and he believed them. But he'd probably have to join a party for that, or settle for failure and his own ash-cloud, shot into the fog-lands. Nobody would read his rune. Keyzer was here for smaller fare, a quick payout. The old human haunts crawled with Krill Class. He wanted something worth the trek, something to fuck up the suspension of his rover. There were a handful of pings out tonight, which meant there were at least double that hunting, since people still thought they had to be incog to poach off others. Keyzer at least had the decency to be potential backup if something gnarly came around. His ping was bright pink, because fancy.

He saw a blue shadow and it didn't see him. The gun on his back pressed against an old wall. Looking around the corner at the sauntering beast, he frowned. A bit ambitious for just one Chaser. Heavy body, about four times his own not counting the tail. Long legs meant agility and the neck was nimble. This one probably fed off larger things. It meant its blood was bombastic, though, and he could probably use the payday. Yellow eyes rolled behind mesh and crimson glass.

He followed it for two blocks, weighing the grenade in his hand. It was meant to stun big, soft prey, but he supposed it could flip something with scales like this one, too. How the fuck was this krill class? Would the wire in his scooter even hold up for the ride home? He'd like at least one sniper on this. Keyzer shook his head when a good hideout came along, and the dragon positioned itself perfectly. He didn't want to do this.

He threw the fat cylinder and it rolled with its dulled metallic ruckus under the animal. The long head looked around. Keyzer grinned and ducked under the provided dumpster while the sound of air swallowing itself spread for most of the city remains, if anyone was listening. He jumped ontop of the metal box just in time to see the beast thrown, tail up and belly showing. In the air it couldn't possibly avoid his shot. He pulled the rife and shot when the sticks lined-up on his glass. The ballistic ammo was powerful, but the compensating charge to keep him level cost some of the firepower. He still hit it dead center. The explosion was orange and green, and it sent the already suspended dragon into the building with spewing smoke.

Keyzer vaulted off the trash-bin, sinew and flesh in his legs saturated with dragon blood infusions. he landed running. He kept shooting charges as he advanced on the still settling mayhem - electric attacks were easier on his shoulder, and he also really liked the sound the rifle made. Before he could arrive at what should have been an opened belly and rent for months, the long head shot out from the mushroom dust, and bit at him. He cussed, he was sure, and pushed his weapon in front of him, sacrificing it to the teeth that were part of the outer shell of its head.

While the whine of metal was disheartening, it stopped his march into its mouth, and he was able to play at roughhousing to get it back before he let go and launched himself to the side. He was sure sipping into the building was a mistake, but he was hunting spura-krill class alone, so maybe that's just how things were going tonight. The beast ran after him, and he exited through the nearest gaping window, leaving the beast to destroy the interior of the old shop while he rolled to a stop on a knee, having drawn his sword and knife during the fleeing tumble. He breathed with some excitement and some doom and cut open one of the pouches on his vest, a bit of jerky stuck on the knife's useful end. He nestled the treat underneath the guard of his helmet, and pinched it between his teeth while the dragon discovered which way he'd gone.

It was like chewing a running generator, and it made lighting between his molars, but it would provide him the strength to fell this unholy, ugly acquaintance, or the juice to die properly. When his lips shut, the light surges continued beneath his skin, giving away the outlines of his cranium with every crush. The monster stuck its head out.

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2018, 10:30:08 am »
The carriage jostled under mounting speed, zipping through the deep forest enroute to the grand city of glass and steal. The carriage itself was sleek black metal, sculpted with curling corners and the shapes of faces in the gleaming surface. Air rippled around the large human container, propelled forward, hovering over the ground with a driver sitting at the front, masked and hooded to withstand the winds, gloved hands pushing at levers.

“At this rate we’ll arrive days early…” Emerald said in his usual low voice, lean body leaned into one corner of the carriage seat. He had his arms folded across his chest, head back and eyes closed. If he didn’t speak, he might look like he slept.

“We did leave a day early…” Margo added timidly from the other bench, chewing her lip.

Agatha looked out the window at the smears of forest rushing by. “It wouldn’t be an inquisition if we didn’t surprise them,” she said. There were rumors going around about the grand city of Florian. Rumors of burned bodies, half-eaten. Rumors of sudden heat waves and rumbles but no dragon in sight. No, there had not been a dragon in Florian in a century. But Agatha knew that not all dragons came scaled from birth. That was a rumor too, wasn’t it? Every few centuries humans gave birth to what became new dragons. Every few centuries, they seeded the fall of a city without even realizing it.

Somewhere out here, in the thick of the wild trees, was a city like that—one taken by monsters and abandoned by humanity. They had been sent from the capital to make sure Florian did not meet the same fate—that the last great city in this forest did not fall to fire.

Something loud cracked through the trees. The carriage rocked sideways before the driver brought it to a stop on the rough road.

Margo eeped in her seat, brown eyes going huge and hands clutching her stack of books and tablet to her chest. “Is it a dragon?”

Emerald’s red mouth pulled into a grin, eyes still closed. “How can you be afraid of them still?”

“How can you not be?” she shot back in a seething whisper.

Agatha pushed the carriage door open and stepped out. The driver leaned over to look down at her, his beaked leather mask pointing at her. “It’s the dragon city, Lady. Chasers hunt bounty there.”

She looked off into the trees. A silver light circled the air around one eye, growing into a rune that spun as her vision searched beyond foliage. The witch tech was expensive, subtle and hard to temper. Her parents had been decided on her life path early on. Witch Hunter had sounded like something exciting when she was a child. She’d thought she’d be hunting actual witches—not a witch hunting snakes in human skin.

“Agatha?” Margo whispered, poking her head out of the carriage. Her big brown curls were barely pulled back from her heart-shaped face. Everything about Margo was soft and round. Even her voice. She was a keeper of information, dedicated to logging history and not much else.

“Wait here,” Agatha barely said before vanishing from the road. It looked like vanishing to Margo anyway. She rolled her arm through the air, sparking circles of runes and slipping through them, folding space and popping out further along into the forest. One. Two. Three. She was in the city. Another boom. Clouds of smoke ahead, barreling out of a building half crumbling. Out of the rising smoke came the body of a dragon. Not Immortal but not something to sneer at either. She expected to see the group of Chasers pushing it back, but when she came to a stop, she spotted only one.

She crouched at the edge of a low rooftop, already slanted in decay with a tree growing out one side. He lit up from within and the monster roared, baring toward him in a charge. Agatha touched the curved blade tucked against her ribs, gloved fingers ready to pull it, but hesitating. Was he in trouble? Or was this glory? It was hard to tell with heroes. The best triumph came when death was near. She’d been raised on legends just like everyone else. Her body leaned forward, ready to tip right off the edge and leap that last distance.

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2018, 02:05:45 am »
The dragon seemed apprehensive about the drawn weapons and it made Keyser roll his eyes in his helmet. So this one had seen a lot of action. That was about to make this that more interesting, and that much harder. He checked his knees and rolled his shoulders. Everything was in place - he was in perfect condition to take on an animal that hadn't been slowed down by his grenade. Another ping on the soft-glass. He supposed they were optimistic about his chances too, if they thought they could poach.

The dragon tried to circle him, to get around the blades, but the dragon meat in his system was letting him understand its initiative. With his fairly recent transfusions, he was connecting pretty well with the expensive morsel. Maybe this adversary was picking up on that too. Eventually, as the human in scavenged armor moved back while the beast tried to get behind him, Keyser touched the dull spines of his back-brace to brick. He hummed in some frustration, but it was through the teeth of his grin. The lighting was spreading to the veins of his eyes. He and the dragon were kin now.

When one of the throws of its tail was contemplative rather than vengeful and hungry, the human dragon shot forward with grand speed - it was as much of an advantage as he could expect. His launch surprised it, and there wasn't enough time for it to duck away, given his advance. When he sliced at its head from the far side and it couldn't twist away fast enough, it opened its mouth to let the blade pass. He cussed against the metal mesh and continued lancing the air between them to find his purchase. The dragon that was not Krill was startled, but its reflective eyes was starting to find that predatory calm again.

His arm, full of borrowed, instinctual strength, was halted in its expert cuts when the dragon bit down on the flying blade. Keyser struggled with getting the sword back from the infernal teeth, but noticed very little give in the vice-lock. Some kind of pride and sense of retaliation kept the animal at the sword instead of directing its effort at the man. Keyser thought it was a good thing until its head started tossing and turning to free his foremost weapon. At the cost of great pain he held on, whipped high in the air. The dragon meat kept him focused enough to wait for a good swing-back that let him collide with the muzzle, during which he activated his ballistic dagger and punched it into the dragon head. The blade's inherent trauma transferred from the bolt-clip into the beast and had it wail and release him high on its toss.

It of course flung the Chaser into the wall that had stopped him before, and it hurt as much as flesh against stone with the medium of padded ceramic alloys should. He bounced off the crumbling surface, but as he ragdolled his way through the air, he saw someone staring at him from the edge of a building. Safe, unharmed. Keyser frowned and threw his arms out at the figure while careening, asking it what the fuck it was doing - the new ping, surely - before he had to prepare for the fast approaching asphalt. His legs took it well, and while he'd lost the dagger and its three remaining charges, he still had his long blade.

The beast was swaying, which was the least it could do considering the cost of a clip. Keyser moved forward again, right at it, and when it parted its jaws to greet him, he veered off from its mouth and avoided the first clap of its teeth. When the rows of jagged spears opened again, he'd gotten far enough to sink his sword into the corner seam that held the jaws together on one side, and he used his speed to make the creature smile crooked. Despite its macabre smirk, the dragon wasn't grateful, and threw its skull into the Chaser, who was sent rolling and vaulting down the street to the determent of his armor and bones.

He stopped against something hard when most of his momentum had been eaten by, well, being scraped up against a broken road, and he stood quickly, with most of his sclera overtaken by the blue light of the dragon meat he'd used. The handgun he managed to pair his sword with did little to slow the oncomoing train of a beast, but at least it blinded it enough to open up a new building without him in the way. He sighed at the unwelcome opportunity when the thick neck was caught in the resulting cavern, and its legs struggled with pulling it free.

Keyser ran at the creature from the side, concentrating the fire from the handgun on a soft looking part of its ribs. It seemed the damage was heating the hard surface rather than breaking it, which was a good clue as to how this dragon had evaded death or capture in a place littered with Chasers. He kicked harder at the ground and slid his sword through the glowing skin he'd hit repeatedly, and while it was a fucking task to get in, he managed to burry the blade guard-deep.

The commitment had him shouldering the body, and eventually threw him back when it reacted to the intrusion. It was a merciful fall, and he only rolled twice before kneeing himself upright again. The handle stuck out from where he left it, and he put a new magazine in the handgun and pulled out its slightly larger counterpart from his left thigh. A Deliverer, which could shoot just about anything, but he only had a fair caliber of stopping-caps at most, and raylight shockers for the little gun. He aimed for the eyes when the beast moved toward him again, and shot two caps to make yellow fireworks against the sleek head. It's distress did not match loosing an eyeball.

He walked back slowly, since the dragon no longer seemed in a hurry, but he wasn't sure what he had left warranted its caution.

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2018, 11:24:05 pm »
Margo continued to lean out the window of the carriage, eyes narrowed on trees she couldn’t see through. “Did you hear that?” she said in a sharp whisper. It wasn’t the first booming sound or shake of the ground since Agatha left.

“No. I can’t hear anything over your heavy breathing and stupid gasps.” Emerald had not moved, eyes still closed to the world and head tipped back into his corner, legs crossed like his arms as though he were a strange corpse laid out for viewing. She wished he was a corpse sometimes…

“What if she needs help?” Agatha pressed.

Emerald huffed a little breath that could have been a laugh. “Well, if she dies I’ll get a promotion and since she hasn’t summoned me…” his voice trailed off as though this meant he should be napping and not talking.

-

The Chaser put on a show, though she wasn’t sure he intended to. A quick scan of the surrounding area confirmed that he had no team—fallen or lying in wait. Her head turned to follow his careen through the air, surprised when he looked back at her for a flicker of a second with the spread of arms as though to shout, “what the hell are you standing around for?”

Agatha grinned, eyes flaring with purple light. He didn’t have time to look at her again or yell whatever he might have in mind. She jumped down from her ledge and landed in a walk, following the trail of thick blood his dragon left. She didn’t step in it. She didn’t usually mind a mess, especially on a hunt, but she was still planning to make an entrance in the city today and upset the local officials and aristos. She’d like to save her bloodier image for when things became more serious and she knew exactly who she was looking to scare. As it stands, she hadn’t been to Florian since she was a child.

The beast made horrible sounds ahead, half inside a building, thrashing, claws digging up street.

Her witch tech lit up the dragon in thin gold lights, outlines brighter in open wounds. The Chaser was a darker blue, pulsing with his own gold, fainter where he had contaminated his muscles and brighter where he had consumed something for the boost. There were only two ways to kill monsters, dragon contamination or witch tech. Both could go terribly wrong for very different reasons. Both could make them into the monsters in the end—if they found themselves among the unlucky.

She hadn’t drawn a weapon, shoulders relaxed on her casual walk toward his kill. She pushed the hood of her jacket back when he made his way around the dragon and in her direction. Her hair was pale, white like her skin, and pulled back from her face into a braid. The edges of tattoos peeked up from her collar on the left side, reaching up her neck. “I would not have bet money in your favor,” she spoke first, stopping on the street beside a puddle of blood. “I would have lost. Do you stalk this area often?”

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2018, 06:23:03 pm »
Keyzer had planned on leaning against the big body for a while, singing curses and barking mockery at it. The dragonmeat was still potent in his system, which mean the after-sick would be worse whenever it wore off. It was worrisome as much as it was practical that he was so compatible with dragons these days. He frowned to himself when he saw the streak through the air. A pale tail, like a falling star planting itself too softly on the walk. The pace of the newcomer wasn't anything he recognize as hostile, and he had his guns up, anyway.

Eventually, he was back to his kill, and did push the Deliverer's mouth to kiss the mystifying fucking coat, so he could use the weapon to support himself while still looking somewhat cavalier. He stood close to the protruding sword, and poked the hilt with his sidearm. However badass this beast thought it was, it should react to the blade moving around if it was alive or conscious. The dragon did not break free from its brick collar to eat him. Keyzer huffed with some accomplishment.

And then she spoke, and the sustenance he'd taken tore his nerves in her direction, along with the handgun. She was pretty, even with a gun on her, and he tilted his firearm slightly, compromising aim to see her better. The nod of his helmet suggested correctly that he took her in, head to toe. He supposed it was marginally better that she was pleasant to look at. The vengeance powdered in his stomach and spread into his blood wanted to devour her, as dragons do women, but he wouldn't have brought the dried meat into this fight if he hadn't known how to control it, and deny it its most basic desires.

Keyzer instead put the Deliverer back and relaxed his other gun hand. He could still twitch and send the charge her way, but he liked to think he looked a lot less likely to in his new, amicable cadence. Perhaps the fact that he'd felled this motherfucker of a killer had shone some serious light on him for her, anyway. "Is that what you're looking for, Ivory, betting?" he asked as the metal net folded back into the bulk of the helmet, and the glass retreat up. Yellow eyes, bright, with azure veins over the sclera. She'd see his real colors when the spell of dragon strength had gone. His cheeks were hollow, as they become with athleticism, but his lips had stayed plump, somehow.

Keyzer dedicated a shot to the handle of the sword, and the conductor made the dead animal twitch enough to unsettle some brick around it, but the creature was dead. He put the handgun into its holster opposite the Deliverer's. If she was going to try and poach it off him, she was being rather polite about it. He pulled the sword out and swung it away from her to get rid of the rich blood. He'd already sacrificed the rifle, he wasn't about to walk away from the cutter, as well.

"I know a few joints in Florian if you'd like." he suggested as he pretended to look over the catch to see how he might get it away from there with his scooter. He grinned to himself at what she said next. "As often as I can. How about you? Why are you here? Just to pick up a warm body?" His amusement wavered at the dire situation with the dragon. "Because me too, it seems. You wouldn't have come here on something stronger than a scooter, did you? Mine's industrial, but I'm pretty sure I'll attract all the wildlife from here to Florian if I drag it." He sighed and put his hands on his hips, finally coming closer. He was a large thing in his armor, even if he was lengthier than hulking. "There'll be some gold in it for you, if you're reasonable."

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2018, 02:12:58 pm »
Agatha smiled easily when he didn’t recognize her for a witch hunter. They were far from the capitol city and Florian had never undergone a purge. She supposed there had only been a handful of witch hunters to pay it visit over the last century—standing on ceremony mostly. It was considered an honor to aristo families to be greeted by a witch hunter, some source of proof that they’re bloodlines have been looked upon with approval by the capitol.

“I’m afraid I’m new to the area,” she admitted. “I heard stories about this city—taken by the dragons and swarming with them—and thought I’d take a look before going on to Florian.” It was true enough. Most of the stories involved giant beasts setting upon the city long ago. The ones she’d read about though told of the insidious presence of dragons that weren’t completely formed—something between human and dragon—something more dangerous than either.

“I might be able to help get it back to the city, if that’s where you’re going?” she smiled because unless he kept a shed out here in the woods and liked to decorate it with rotting bodies, there wasn’t anywhere else he could be going. “I’m sure you’ll be paid well for that beast, but I’d rather have a guide. As I said, I’ve never been to Florian and wouldn’t mind hearing about it from a local.”

She took the handful of steps left between them and offered her hand. It was gloved, the crest of the capitol city in the palm of soft black leather. “My name is Agatha. I can get your dragon to the city in exchange for some local gossip on the way?”

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2018, 07:48:40 pm »
She was friendly, which he preferred. He could work with that. His brows raised when she spoke and he leaned in closer. He looked around when she said her bit about the hunting grounds. "Yeah. If you had a sword and a mirror shield you could clean up in this place." Classical fairy-tale references. He laughed so she'd know it was a joke. His shoulders dropped further, relaxed, when she bartered for his knowledge instead of his gold. Keyzer smirked and nodded quickly, helmet knowing to unlatch and drop off his head into the waiting hook of his arm while his other hand caught hers.

"You drive a hard bargain, Agatha." he said as he kept her hand. She was well shaped, and he wanted her to know by the way he was noticing. Then he let go and laughed. "You're in luck though." he added and turned to perch his boot on the beast he'd felled. By some measure, it looked like a victory pose. "I've got my hand on the pulse of Florian. It's a good place for almost anything, if you know where to look." And he believed that. Done with his charades, Keyzer put his boot back on the ground and walked past her. "You go get your vehicle then. I'll meet you here with my scooter. Should take you no time, right, Hopper?" he winked at her and her ability before jogging off.

Her car was more than enough to lug his yet-to-be classified dragon, and the wire from his scooter did well in pulling the carcass up on the roof of her ride. It was secured soon enough and he was eager to get inside. Even with the remainder of his arsenal - rest in peace, rifle - he'd rather be in a veritable tank than pulling the meat around for other dragons to follow. After getting their catch, Chasers weren't very keen on seeing others of their prey. He opened the door for her as though she was the one getting a ride, and hurried in himself.

Whatever assumptions he'd had between his wrung out muscles and her noticeable hips, he reconsidered upon seeing their company. He smiled and looked them over, putting his helmet on the floor. The lanky fellow with the bright mouth seemed like less of a combatant than himself, armored, but he'd learned that cleaver lips could precede more bodies than swords and bullets. So he leaned down to the brunette instead, in no small part because she seemed weary of him already. "Look at you." he said and stole her hand. "You into book learning?" he joked and nodded to her stack. He looked over his shoulder to see if Agatha reacted in an overly protective manner before he turned to shorter the girl again. "I got all my dragon knowledge out there."

And then he had to address the clever looking thing in the corner. He did it with well-meaning smile and a flip of two fingers off the top of his head, mess of black hair and all. He sat down next to the softer looking girl and sighed with some comfort. It was harder to seem likable with his armor on, and all his available weapons showing, but it would have been strange to come in here unscathed from dragon territory without some kind of armament. "So, Agatha tell me you're going to Florian. What for?" he asked and turned his eyes to his hostess, grinning knowingly.

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2018, 11:40:05 am »
Margo hugged her books and tablet to her chest, eyes bulging when the man got into their carriage. She wedged herself into the corner, back straight and gaze running up and down him, seeming to bulge more with every bit of grime and blood she took in.

“This is Margo, my personal library of sorts,” Agatha introduced flippantly, settling into her seat. The carriage whirred to life, rising a little off the ground before starting forward on the path again. “And Emerald.” She gestured to the lithe bodied man beside her. He was dressed much like her, somewhere between practical and formal, all black with firm layers and fine tailoring.

Margo pressed her plush mouth into a tight scowl at the other woman. She wanted to snap at her, to accuse her of endangering them by inviting strange murderous riffraff onto the carriage—but she couldn’t exactly do that without saying it out loud in front of said riffraff.

She eeped in alarm when the man spoke to her. “Book learning?” she sputtered. “Out there? Oh, well, that’s wonderful. Then you may know as much as the beasts…”

Agatha’s upper lip pulled up to hiss at the woman warningly. “He comes from Florian and likely knows more of the city than you do.”

Emerald lifted heavy lashes, eyes like the stone he was named for glinting out, made brighter with a bit of that witch tech woven into his retina. His red lips pulled at one side into a little smile at Margo’s discomfort before considering the stranger. He’d worked for Agatha long enough to stop being surprised by her whims. He sat up a little taller, arms sliding from the firm cross against his chest while he slept down into a casual collapse in his lap. “Business,” he answered first and stretched out one arm, offering his hand. “Your name was? Agatha has enough fortune not to care about manners, but I would be remiss to go a whole carriage ride with a man I didn’t properly meet.”

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2018, 09:00:45 pm »
Something in Keyzer's spine charged, like a spring, when Margo treated him to her performance. Even by her logic, did he look like a book thief? She seemed too soft to be riding in this vehicle, but everyone here looked like the softer counterpart of what they would have been, in the real world. Her little yelp was startlingly engaging, and it was hard not to sit and antagonize her for the rest of their way to Florian. He tilted his head at the insult, and laughed, delighted as he closed his eyes and fell back over the back of his seat.

His gravity returned when he whipped his face close to hers again. There was no threat in his expression, but the abruptness should be enough to faze her, at their null distance. "Beasts have good knowledge, Margo." he said with a low voice. His flicked a finger at the treasure of information she was holding on to with both arms. "You don't think something has been lost between the breathing, bleeding thing and your pages?" he posed before touching his nose with that finger. "Field-studies, madam. It's part of the curriculum, isn't it?"

The other male was a little easier to meet. He took the hand, and stood for the shake before settling down again. "Keyzer." he replied and smiled like they were sharing a joke. It was a skill he had, making jokes of everything. "And Florian really is the place for such things." Business. "You're not trading on the dragon market, I surmise." Their vessel wasn't really packed with parts, and Agatha hadn't been interested in his catch, or any other animal in the overrun city. "But there'll be plenty of need for whatever you're selling, I'm sure."

Keyzer tried the inside of his mouth with his busy tongue, settling in. This was a nice ride. He should have figured sooner. He threw an eye at Agatha. "Yeah, I can get you into any kind of deal if you want. I'm mostly stationed at wholesale." his thumb jabbed upward at the cargo that was his fee for information. "But I can also tell you where to get cute men with firm buttocks." he looked at Margo then, winking slowly. "Or libations, gall of the Crackle King" a common medium sized dragon "is especially in season, since they're coming in to rest from the great storms. I take it in my eye, but whatever's your preferred method." he was rambling on, and he was sure this wasn't exactly what they were hoping for.

"Then again, I heard there is an undercurrent of Dragon Born, too." he leaned closer to Margo again, figuring she'd be the easiest to read when he hit the right subject. The vehicle jumped once, which probably meant a big bump, given its steady propulsion system. "Trouble though, if you want to investigate that kind of thing." He sat up better. "There's this clan, rampant in Florian. Mirror Guild. They're kind of a religion thinking the dragon born will be the saviors of our generation. That kind of thing." his head dropped to the side, looking at Agatha. "So. What's your poison, madame?" He was mostly watching her, too, to see if this rouse interest, in which case he'd peg the for what they truly were.

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2018, 01:08:04 pm »
Margo had been holding her breath from the moment he stuck his face close to hers until he said Dragon Born. She blinked, big brown eyes, fingers flexing against her bundle of knowledge against her chest and plump body wedged into corset, tights, and layers of skirts, actually leaned toward him. “Dragon Born? Really? There have been rumors, of course, but it’s been ages since anyone’s seen one. Have they found any or just victims? Do you think the bodies are still available for examination?”

Emerald grinned wide at that. “Terrified of everything living but not dead things,” he noted about the short woman across from him.

Margo ignored him, her lip curling at the mention of a cult.

Agatha listened carefully, managing to hold back a hunter’s grin at mention of trouble. A guild. It gleamed in her eyes though, meeting his gaze when it slid to her. Her poison? “Traitors,” she said. “My poison is traitors and rooting them out.” Why be coy when she hoped to get information? She had an edict from the capitol, the mark of a Witch Hunter, and the authority to save Florian from itself. “The Capitol has heard about Florian’s Dragon Born and seen fit to send Miss Adden,” she nodded to Margo. “to take a look.” It was the tip of an iceberg. Margo was to document and to testify when it was done—whatever happened next. Witch Hunters were rare, but they had quite the legend—not always heroic but definitely feared and their status aloud them to turn their inquest on even the highest officials of a city.

She doubted the princes of Florian would be happy to see them, though most smiled toothily and tried to direct the investigation. They’d spent four months in Catori only to find that the supposed Dragon Born was a hunter who had lost his mind on the blood, blacking out in the night and savagely murdering people in the streets with a set of false dragon teeth. It had been quite the disappointment.

“More often than not, Dragon Born are just stories,” Agatha assured. “But, as I said, we wouldn’t mind a guide. We’re supposed to be staying with a Prince—”

“Allys,” Margo inserted the name before Agatha even had to falter.

“Heard of him?” Agatha continued.

“Or her…” Margo reminded. Prince was just a title after all, a throwback to fairytales.

Verse

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2018, 09:17:30 pm »
Keyzer almost lost it when the tightly wound woman blossomed into something much more approachable when she revealed her true interest. He threw Emerald a look, since they both knew she'd spilled. It wasn't that much of a secret, it seemed, but Keyzer was still happy to have found the common point from which to approach Margo. It was appropriate that they had a chronicler. He'd befriended them in the past. While usually shit fighters, the scribes were wealthy in information, and if he had the same to trade, he could get away with wealth that might multiply.

While the bookworm had questions, Agatha provided the real tidbits. Traitors. That was the term, wasn't it? He supposed the cult would consider Agatha and her ilk betrayers in their own right. He was at the beginning of a little war, and that made him grin. "Our Guild believes Florian will be the cradle for the new dragon born." he answered Margo. "Their religion is divided, but there's been... miracles." he said with an outward wave of his fingers. "But all their fractions take responsibility." Vehicles deformed with dragon jaw strength, but with human accuracy, artistry. "Things no one can do, even on the blood. Enough people go missing in Florian to feed a Born that our crime rate is no indication. Besides, people would gladly lay down for such appetites in the Guild."

He relaxed and shook out his head to one side. It was exaggerated, and to the two others it was a clear indication he had some kind of plan. He assumed Margo wouldn't be armed with such battle-wit. His arms came out suddenly, snapping hers up and bringing her over to sit on his lap, books be damned, this floor looked clean enough for them. He made sure the other's didn't take offence, and if they did he'd let her go, hands up, but if they knew he was teasing, he'd keep her there against him, embraced, like he was telling a sweet girl a rousing story.

"One of their fractions worship eggs. Translucent shells, and I have to admit by the pictures I've seen, some of the forming animals in there look like they're human, while some just look like wyrms. Their altar is littered with possible Born." He took a breath. "And then there's the ones who follow a vat. It's said their messiah is deformed in such a way that it needs to be gathered, and they prey to the unfinished life form in the mucky, gory pool of their holy room." he laughed a little. "I think it's just a hurt or mutated sea dragon, and that they should end its misery."

He turned to Agatha, hand on Margo's shoulder, at the mention of the prince. "Allyseus is decidedly male. He would invite you, because there's been a flood of activity to Florian lately, made it a bigger trade landing than usual, because of the wealthy cult." he shook his head with a sigh. He was sure they knew that if a powerful enough Born had its seat in Florian, the political importance would shift from their capitol. He didn't care so much about things like that, unless if affect the prices of his wares.

"It's easy to find the castle, but I'll take you to see the real city. And where some of the cultists are." he offered and bounced Margo on his lap, unless she was at a distance, in which case he'd wink suggestively at her.

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2018, 04:21:56 pm »
Margo had been quite enthralled in his story until he snatched her up and pulled her onto his lap. Her round face pulled into a gasp of alarm and outrage, for a moment to surprised to even react more than that dropped jaw and wrinkled nose.

Emerald didn’t seem to notice, looking pleased instead by his news on the rising cult. “Well, as least Florian won’t be as dull of Catori proved to be,” he said, eyeing Agatha sideways though she ignored him. He had blamed her for agreeing to go to Catori—where there was nothing but murderers playing Born. At least cultists and princes would make for fun prey. No one ever died as enjoyably as the pious and the powerful. That look on their faces when they fell, surprised, like they didn’t know they too could die. If the greatest, oldest, dragons could fall—so could any man or woman. One of the best parts of being a Witch Hunter was the right to execute indiscriminately. It didn’t matter if the traitor was a baker or a prince—they were all subject to the discretion of a Hunter. Of course, not Emerald. Not yet. He was still indentured. The decision to execute would be Agatha’s. But, luckily for him, she had never been one for mercy.

Margo finally slapped her hand across the stranger’s cheek when he bounced her. It wasn’t a ferocious slap, her soft glove batting his cheek as she awkwardly pulled herself from him and pushed into her corner again. “Really!” she protested, cheeks red and eyes flashing to the other two as though they should have saved her. Emerald supposed she might think that, with some notion of chivalry at play. But both Hunters knew the difference between danger and teasing.

“Are you to be our guide?” Emerald asked.

“What a lovely idea,” Agatha added enthusiasm to his dry query.

“Hardly,” Margo mumbled, arms crossed and cheeks still bright red.

“Allyseus isn’t expecting us for another couple days. We could do a bit of sight seeing and still arrive uncomfortably early,” Agatha spoke as though negotiating, as though the other two didn’t belong to her in some way and weren’t subject to her unilateral decisions. She liked the illusion of democracy. “Where should we leave your dragon?” she asked Keyzer as though it had been decided.

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Re: Our Blood in Light
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2018, 07:47:48 pm »
He had great fun with Margo's reactions, and smiled with surprise into the slap, not even blinking when her palm found his face. His hand rode her back when she left him, and dangled disappointed when she was gone. He was somewhat happy she'd retreated when she did, because he would have hated to make the act even more sordid to test her. He'd rather not be construed as some kind of witless, pantless barbarian on first meet. It seemed that kind of impression was hard to wash Margo of now, though, but he supposed that had been his design all along.

"Catori isn't bad." he said and shrugged at Emerald. "But I think your chances to find the Born are much higher in Florian." He looked over at Margo then, to see if she'd be lured by the small promise of activity. He did nod at the offer of showing them around. Keyzer was friendly, and he was in a good mood since his next payday was secured and bumping along on this opportune vehicle. He would have hated having to cut it apart. Even searing the limbs with laser might have attracted beastly wildlife, or even more Chasers.

"So, Agatha, what's life like as Hunter?" he asked, picking the Deliverer apart, since he wanted to play with it, but also didn't like seeming threatening while trying to make friends. The weapon was made useless quickly as he laid the parts out on the table. It's chamber had sharp edges and teeth, and he tried them against his chin. It still cut clean, which meant he could probably put rocks in it, even. He smiled with some kind of approval as he blew on the other parts, charred from volatile charges.

"I would liken it to my trade, but I suppose you only have one buyer, yeah?" he mused while he looked through a spring. "And what would happen if you actually found someone with the right blood?"

The Hunters were famous enough. Their sigil went over almost anything. The Capitol itself was behind them. He had just learned to back off whenever he smelled them, the few he'd met. Never gotten into a skirmish. Keyzer liked new information, and if things went right with them, they could be his foot in. He could bet he'd need a few friends among their ranks one day, or maybe someone else with gold would. He started putting the Deliverer back together again.

"Guess we don't want what happened when they discovered The Lightner."

He had always assumed that incident many years ago with a true Born was the reason the Hunter program was so official today. Things were kept under wraps, but the death toll had been tremendous. He was kind of always poking Hunters about it, if he had the chance. Sometimes he doubted if even they knew much about it.