Open Chronicles Gild Your Steel, Strop Your Gold

A roleplay open for anyone to join

Gal

Low morals on high seas
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“Imagine this:

“Gray cliffs scabbed over with maquis. Becalmed sea lapping at the black tide-line. Seagulls flocking on every inch of rock, cawing and eating and shitting. Round the peak and there’s an inlet, hidden in the morning mist and the midday shadow and the twilight fog. When it’s night, it might well be a cavern, it gets so dark. There’s shoals left and right of it, only visible at low tide. You lose your helm a moment, or a gust forces you to lee… running aground there’s as easy as picking up the itch from a whore down in the Red quarter. And even if you make it past the sandbars, the firth itself’s so tight you have to catch the wind close hauled to get in on anything larger than a brigantine.

“Imagine all this, except you’re running afore the wind and a Royal reds’l is about to shove its bowsprit up your stern.”

A table full of scarred men and grizzled women leaned forward. Beer sloshed from tin tankards onto the rotting wood. Nobody said anything, but the ‘Well?’ hung loud in the humid air anyway.

Ardet Melris – who bore a passing resemblance to one Captain Eshan al-Kamah, lacking though he was in the notorious beard department – leaned back. Swiveled his tepid swill. Considered his audience as they teetered on the edge of their (admittedly) rackety chairs. If he left them waiting any longer, someone might actually topple over and scatter his teeth over the flagstones.

That would lead to a tavern brawl, which would in turn lead to guard intervention.

Mr. Melris, gold and silk merchant extraordinaire, wasn’t particularly keen on their attention. It would bring with unpleasant questions like ‘What is a rich trader doing in Lowdocks?’ or ‘Where are the bills of sale for these goods?’, and of course the all-time favorite ‘Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?’

It was enough to spoil anyone’s night out.

Thus he downed the remainder of the drink and gestured broadly to the smoky room.

“So we led the reds’l up through the shoals, then did a hard port tack along the cliffs. Near-to shaved off the foreyards that day. But,” and he chuckled there, eyes twinkling like diamonds in coal, “you should’ve seen the other ship.”

Kasim Areth
 
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Kasim Areth

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Gal

A heartbeat passed, and then the door to the Inn was slammed open with a loud thunk of wood crashing against wood. Some people jumped, others didn't even turn their heads, most of them at least regarded the entrance of the Inn and the figure that now stood there.

Dressed in a grand robe of blue and gray hewed from one animal or another stood Kasim Areth. Across his back was a satchel, on it's side was slung a harp. One of his hands stuck outward, clearly having flung open the door while the other ran through his hair, slicking it back for a moment before it seemingly sprang back up into it's proper place.

Yellow eyes scanned the inside of the Inn, soaking across the audience and then landing on the man in the middle of it all.

For a moment Kasim stared at the pirate, not knowing he was a pirate of course, and then simply smiled. There was no suggestion to the smile, only a pure sense of amusement. The expression faded almost in an instant as the Jester turned his attention towards the bar in the corner of the room, spotting the innkeeper standing behind it with an odd sort of expression of shock.

No time was wasted as Kasim walked across the creaky wooden floor, disregarding the slight annoyance from the gathered crowd.

He wasn't here to entertain, not these yokles anyway. "Inkeep. I need a room, and the name of the owner of that Manor down the street."

It was where he was going next.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn took a swig of his warm beer. With barely a thought he skimmed the Joy from one of the rapt audience. No real harm done. For the woman the mental image that played out to the words lost a little of its colour. For an Empath, the bar was the perfect place to renew the aspects he had used on his journey east. There was still a fresh red streak beneath one eye. The venomous spit of a naga did not heal easily. A few inches higher and he would have lost his vision.

A drink was spilled down the other end of a bar. Two men squared off. Then they sat down again and the offending party paid for another round by way of apology. A lone man in the corner stopped watching a young couple with jealousy. A lonely old women suddenly felt better about her day.

Fury, Avarice, Misery. Taking the negative emotions was too easy here. They would be put to better use in the coming troubles.

"Another drink?" asked the innkeeper. Raigryn suspected he knew. He was always given a low rate for a room and the bar was always a more calm place when Raigryn was here. Raigryn nodded but Jerome held a finger up and turned towards the newcomer at the door.

Raigryn raised an eyebrow at the question, but didn't turn to look over his shoulder. Someone was clearly here to look for work, but this didn't seem the right sort of crowd to boldly announce you were looking for it with the owner of a manor house. Perhaps the newcomer was a thief, Raigryn thought to himself in amusement.
 
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Gal

Low morals on high seas
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Gal emerged from the outhouse in the back just moments after the front door had slammed open. She lingered in the shadows behind the bar as the newcomer loudly declared his intentions to the whole inn.

Currently this included half a pirate crew, a couple bands of the worst back-alley brigands of Lowdocks, two sketchy peddlers, and a few dusty folk at the counter that had that dangerous air you get when you’ve travelled the world twice over and are still alive despite it.

Gal pursed her lips and arched her brows. Her eyes flickered over to al-Kamah, who had the same expression of pinched laughter on his face.

She’d bet a weeks’ deck scrubbing this guy was getting stabbed on his way to that manor.

With a one-shouldered shrug to the Capo, Gal slid over an empty stool and tapped one finger on the graying wood. It’d seen better days, just like the owner of the tavern.

Jerome ambled over and stuck a thumb towards the row of liquor behind him. “What’s your poison, southerner?”

“Rom. Doble.”

The amber drink was soon in her hand, and she two bronze coins lighter. Before the innkeep could retreat again, Gal caught his sleeve and tipped her head towards the loud human. “Know ‘im?”

“Can’t say I do, miss.”

She affected a pout and sauntered back to the storytelling corner. Capo had a look about him. Like he wanted to do commit some piracy on dry land.

That never ended well.
 

Kasim Areth

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Kasim smiled as the innkeeper waddled over towards him. He was a fat little man, his face pinched and his nose bigger than it had any right to actually be. There was something about him that told a story of a hard life, though one brought on by his own decisions more than anything else.

That was the story of most people in Allira.

Drumming his fingers against the counter-top of the bar Kasim waited for the fat little man to get in front of him. The Innkeeper wiped his hand son the dirty apron that hung around his waist, twirling his mustache end slightly as he looked Kasim up and down in a slow inspection.

"You'll have to pay."

The man stated as though it weren't already obvious. "Show me the room first."

Kasim insisted, his tone more quiet now. He was sure that half the people within the room were cuthroats of one nature or another, but he'd thought that long before he'd ever entered the room.

It was why he'd chosen this place.
 

Raigryn Vayd

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The glass was brought up quickly to cover a grin. There were only dregs in the bottom of the glass, but now he had to drink those too. He wondered what the man was going to expect to see in a room above a bar like this. Perhaps, Raigryn throught to himself, the man was frightened of rats.

He hoped there weren't rats in the rooms. He'd left Jason VII (or Jocelyn if he felt like admitting his mistake) in the room and there was a good chance she would try and eat them.

A few new emotions bubbled to the surface in the wake of the newcomer. Raigryn skimmed carefully from the top. Tomorrow he would need to head into the city and try and refresh the more positive aspects. An empath that drew from, and used, purely negative aspects was quickly thrown off balance and sent into a dark spiral.

"I can confirm that Jerome's rooms are very much rat free," Raigryn said. Mostly it was because he didn't want to wait until after this impromptu room inspection before getting another pint.
 
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Eobe

Mercenary / Amourer
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The door opened, a quiet whisper compared to the previous patron. Many of the drunkards did not hear the door and those who did looked up, then looked down. A Dwarf. He was almost as wide as the door yet half its height. He wore a red gambeson and brown trousers, brown boots and a bear pelt over his shoulders. A wooden shield as tall as he was strapped to his back and a bucket helm was hooked at his belt. A hammer was looped in leather and jostled with each step he took.

Eobe studied the room and eyed the bar. A wide smile broke through the hair of his mustache and beard. The vagabond Dwarf ambled over to the closest stool and climbed the tall chair and sat himself down. His meaty hands fell upon the bar with a thud, pulling his gauntlets and gloves off. When he smiled he did so with a missing tooth, adding a measure of charm to his thick accent, "Ah, what 'ave ye go' for meh?"
 

Gal

Low morals on high seas
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While Mr. Melris dryly wove yet another tall tale, Gal kept a subtle eye on the rest of the tavern. A double-wardrobe walked through the door next, but the dwarf was so comically quiet she almost missed him. Not that difficult, considering he was three heads shorter than the rest of the inn. And they were sitting.

Gal grinned and nudged Mahto under the ribs. His curious eyes flicked over, following her gesture when she tipped her chin at the stocky man. He’d pushed his way to the bar and was scaling a chair meant for people twice his size. His climbing efforts provided much amusement to the rest of the crew, who hid their grins in their tankards of shitty beer with shaking shoulders.

Kreeling leaned over Mahto and tugged the sleeve of her white tunic. Well, a tunic that remembered what it meant to be white, anyway. “Mi pensa qe elo e prim’ per allegger d’su cosi, ne?”

“Is tu erly, Kreel,” she said and shoved him back into his seat. When his mouth curled in that way that meant trouble, Gal sent a sharp glance his way. He blew out an annoyed breath and flopped down on the bench. “And tu many folk ‘ere. Pazienza, ne?”

He grumbled under his breath – nothing she hadn’t heard before – but stayed put.

For now.
 
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Kasim Areth

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Kasim perked an eyebrow, frowned at the man who had spoken and then glanced at the Innkeeper. The man seemed to freeze for a second, as if waiting for the Jester to say something. After a moment he simply sighed. "Fine, just the name then."

The Innkeeper shot a small smile at the man who had spoken before, likely appreciative of being vouched for. He then leaned in and whispered the name of the owner of the Manor to Kasim, likely wanting to keep it from the rest of the rabble that surrounded them. The Jester couldn't blame him.

This place was probably filled with thieves.

"Keys." Kasim said as he slid the requisite coin across the bar.

The further he got from these mongrels the better.
 
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Theoderic Wanderfoot pulled his thick wooden hood over his head and his cloak tighter around his shoulders as the rain intensified. The muddy track he, atop his pony, had been plodding on for what felt like days had slowly turned to mush, rivulets forming in the soft mud and gathering in deep pools that he gingerly lead his mount around. In the distance, lights of a city could be seen, he wasn't sure if this was his destination, being too afraid to pull his map book out in the deluge for fear of damaging its contents, but silently he hoped it was Alliria. He put his head down and carried on, thinking of the warm fire and soft beds that awaited him.

Some time later, he climbed down from his miniature pony and tried her up in the stables of a tavern. The place had no sign, strangely, however the sound...and the smell was unmistakable. Every now and again the door would fly open and a figure or two would stumble out, the sounds of music and conversation and the smells of people, meat and mead wafted out. Lucking his lips, Theoderic left the stable and pushed hard on the taverns door, feeling the warmth of the inside wash over him satisfyingly.

Walking over to the bar, he threw a copper coin on the counter and tapped his foot impatiently...a moment later the barkeep leant over and his eyed widened in mocking surprise. "Its been a while since we 'ad 'alfling folks around 'ere. What'll you be 'avin little sir?"

"A pint of your good ale for now landlord, and a bed for later. Send one of your wenches to warm it for me and you will be paid in full before the night is out."

"Right you are Mr..uhh?"

"Wanderfoot. Theodoric Wanderfoot is my name." He handling stated, shrugging the large rucksack off his shoulders and leaning it against the bar. "Very well, you just say when you're ready to retire and one of mine will show you do yer room," the barkeep said, leaning down over the counter to pass the halfling a large frothy tankard. Theoderic took a sip, nodded slightly to himself and walked over to the roaring fireplace where he unbuttoned his hooded cloak, hung it up to dry (with some difficulty) and held his hands near the flames, rubbing them to get the feeling back.
 
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Maz the Shadow

This place was probably filled with thieves.

And so the door opened once more, and the swarthy form of Maz entered the tavern. He wore his typical attire, studded leather armor, wollen trews, and a hooded mantle, that pointedly marked him as odd considering the skin tone marking him as a typically far less clad Nazrani. The hood of his mantle was down, showing his locked, medium length hair piled atop his head.

His movements were controlled, it didn't do to always move like a predator, and though he was armed, he wasn't here for a mission. He was here for a drink, and to lose himself in the mass of people that frequented taverns. It'd been nearly a decade since he had fled his people, and some days the memories of that night were worse than others.

The empath in the room likely could pick up on his feelings of guilt and residual anger, though his form seemed calm enough as he took a seat at the bar.

Once the barkeep came by, Maz leaned forward and passed a coin across. Moments later a steel cup full of liquid was slid to Maz and the rogue turned to eye the other patrons of the bar.
 
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Gal

Low morals on high seas
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Maz the Shadow

The rogue turned to eye the other patrons of the bar… and immediately met the charcoal gaze of the only other Nazrani in the smoky tavern. Gal was unabashedly staring at the newcomer, assessing everything from his gait to his posture in the chair. It wasn’t hard to infer what he did for a living when she considered the few weapons visible on his person and the armor he was wearing.

Wasn’t like their people found many welcoming employers on the mainland. The seedy underbelly was, at the very least, less concerned about race and creed. In many ways, the weight of coin made men the picture of tolerance.

Her ruby mouth split to show a pointy grin as she mouthed ‘Join me?’ in Narra. If he was a hunter worth his salt, he’d be able to read her lips across the inn. If not, she’d best not waste her time with the man anyway.
 
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Maz the Shadow

Gal

Maz's nostrils flared as he gazed into the eyes of the Nazrani corsair across the room. The rarity of his people on the mainland had lulled him to not expecting to see another Nazrani. His pulse picked up for a moment, the fight or flight response as he automatically assumed any Nazrani he saw would be hunting him for his crimes.

However, the ruby smile, and the words that smile mouthed, pointed to this being just a lucky crossing of two Nazrani.

His own lips quirked into a smile, and the empath in the room likely felt the lowering of his previous negative feelings.

Maz slid from the chair with languid grace, and he and his cup of liquor slid through the crowd between the bar and Gal. He slid onto a chair that was almost directly across the table from Gal. Interestingly, his back was to the door. If a hunter could pay another hunter any compliment in such a setting, it was sitting in the most vulnerable spot at the table.

Mind you, a gifted hunter didn't need to have visual confirmation of what their ears, nose, and general sense of their surroundings told them.

As he sat, Maz raised his cup and took a drink, his eyes never leaving the charcoal gaze.

"Well met." He replied to the invitation in Narra, once he had sipped his drink. "It's not common to see another Nazrani away from the Isles."
 
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Gal

Low morals on high seas
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Gal watched his approach with an insouciant curl to her figure – a cat basking in the afternoon sun. Her reciprocal smile was deceptively lazy as she greeted the man proper, black eyes a rake up and down his figure.

She shoved a nosy Kreeling back into his seat as he leaned close. The words would mean nothing to him – to everyone, really – but it didn’t mean he wouldn’t try to eavesdrop regardless. Even sober he wasn’t the most sensible man, and tonight he was anything but.

“No, it is not,” she agreed, leaning against the scarred backrest of the bench. “So what are you doing here, stranger? I haven’t seen you in Jerome’s before.”

Maz the Shadow
 
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Maz the Shadow

Continuing to keep Gal's gaze, he took another sip of his drink, then put the half full cup on the table between them. He propped his foot on the leg of the table and tipped the chair back a bit.

"I had work in town. I don't stay long in any one port. This seemed as good a place as any to rest before I left again." He replied. His eyes darted to the creeping Kreeling, but returned to the dark gaze of the lady Nazrani. "What of yourself, stranger? What brings you here?"

His accent would have slipped a bit, as he hasn't had much opportunity to speak his mother tongue in the past long while. As for the type of work he does, that would likely be obvious to Gal, as she appeared to be familiar with the opportunities available to Nazrani in this foreign land.

Gal
 
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Gal

Low morals on high seas
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Maz the Shadow

She shrugged, crossing her hands behind her head. It made an already impressive cleavage even deeper, and she knew it. A shameless smile curled her lips to starboard as she watched him take in the situation. Gal was in no hurry. Surrounded by mates and crew, in a familiar city, in an inn she knew well… even if this little encounter went south fast, she’d have the upper hand.

She draped an arm over the backrest and tipped some of her own tepid beer down her throat. Her smile was slow to spread, like blood from a slit neck. “Just dropped anchor this afternoon. Shore leave after selling our goods… another day or two, and then it’s back to Cortosi for me.”

No need to mention that these goods carried no bill of sell, nor was their port of call of any consequence to her Captain. Details best left unsaid.

“So to answer your question – fair winds.”

And coin. Precious, sweet coin.
 
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Maz the Shadow

Maz knew the game. Years in the underworlds of the major cities of the world gave him enough experience to know when he was being bated. She was quite masterful at it, but he knew how to navigate these waters.

His eyes never left her gaze, though glancing down was becoming far more tempting. He knew that this woman was far more dangerous than she appeared, and therefore deserved utmost respect. So long as he maintained that respect, he wasn't concerned about her comrades. He didn't recognize her, she didn't seem to recognize him, and he had no intentions of letting the situation devolve into violence.

He reached forward languidly and took up his cup, not taking the opportunity to look away from her eyes, even as he drained the rest of his drink.

"It has been quite some time since I have felt fair winds on a...free ship." He finally replied, resting the steel cup on his right knee that was barely cresting the tabletop. "I have taken to work on the land, and only the journeys between have allowed me to feel the sweet kiss of the sea." His normally quiet, discerning demeanor was upended by the mere appearance of a countrywoman. Part of him wanted to disengage, leave the tavern, and hope he never saw another Nazrani. A different part of him yearned for a connection to his past through her.

Gal
 
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Gal

Low morals on high seas
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A graceless chuckle escaped her as she rolled her black eyes. She rolled forward like a wave, chin coming to rest on her palm. “Silly man. No ship is free. We are all of us bound to the sea.” The corner of her mouth curled up to reveal a sharp smile. “And if you think her kiss is sweet… the time has been quite too long for you.”

Gal slunk back, easy as retreating foam on the shore, and glinting the same gold. The piercing in her chin danced as she bit on her lower lip.

“I could help remind you, but—” and her bare foot snaked out to caress the dagger stuck into his boot, “remember… salt also stings.”
 
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Maz the Shadow

"No ship is free, but a Captain is beholden only to her whim so long as the crew is happy." He replied with a grin. "Pain and pleasure are not so far removed from one another. Whether storm or calm water, things are clearer under sail."

“I could help remind you, but—” and her bare foot snaked out to caress the dagger stuck into his boot, “remember… salt also stings.”

"And isn't that sting the sweetest kiss of all?" He returned. He shifted slightly, moving where the pressure of the chair was pushing on. His mind sharply brought back to the dagger peacetied in the sheath at the small of his back, and the reason he took to the sting of the sea rather than remain with their people. "Do you have room for crew on your ship?" He asked, his tone more sober now, though the true reason for the slight change in demeanor wouldn't be overt.

Gal
 
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Gal

Low morals on high seas
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“Is it?” Mirth and challenge danced in her black eyes as she leaned back and finished off her tankard. She tipped it onto its side, toying with the uneven balance of the beaten tin cup.

Her shrug came late, betraying rumination that never took place. “We’re a windrunner, stranger, not a ferrier.” This time of year the storms weren’t quite at their worst yet, but autumn could fast tip into winter on the journey southward. The treacherous currents and white squalls that came howling from Kiva could dash even the best sailors against the sharp teeth crowning the cape of Liadain.

“But I can ask the Captain tomorrow. For a small price I’m sure he’ll let you empty your guts overboard to your heart’s content.”

Maz the Shadow
 
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Maz the Shadow

Maz met the challenge in her gaze with renewed humor in his.

"I wasn't looking to be ferried, I can earn my passage." He shrugged now, looking from her for the first time to look over her companions. "The type of work won't bother me, and you won't see me losing my stomach over the rail." He looked back to her eyes. "Before I left my island, I was to be a voyager for my tribe. My sea legs are assured." He chuckled now and shrugged again, putting his empty cup on the table once more. "You don't have to take my word for it. You can see if your Captain hires me, or not and we part ways after a very merry meeting."

Inside, he fought the path of thought that tried to bring his brother to the forefront of his mind. There was no need to think of him, though he was never very far from Maz.

Gal
 

Gal

Low morals on high seas
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“You meant to be a voyager… then you left, and didn’t become one?” Her brows climbed into a condescending arch. “Why’s that?”

She’d an inkling. It wasn’t hard to have one – just had to find the nearest mirror or glass-still water, and look hard enough. Nazrani rarely left of their own volition.

Often, there was encouragement involved. Or, rather, motivation. Of the deadly kind.

Her eyes flicked for a moment to Jerome behind the bar. He caught her gaze and allowed half a smile to quirk his lips. This was the song and dance of the Southern Wind crew whenever they docked in Alliria.

A pirate is a pirate, even on land.

And pirates steal.

“A merry meeting,” she echoed, black eyes softer for the flame of the candle that caught them in that moment. “And you’re good at merriment, are you?”

Maz the Shadow
 
M

Maz the Shadow

“You meant to be a voyager… then you left, and didn’t become one?” Her brows climbed into a condescending arch. “Why’s that?”

Maz's face changed imperceptibly. One moment, he was open and happy to be talking. The next he was closed off. His facial features still held the smile, but his eyes had turned to stone.

"A...an important man was killed by my hand, but not of my volition." He started, not entirely sure how much he was willing to share. "I did not assume my tribe would understand what had happened...to this day I don't know that I understand what happened myself. I left, and have never returned. You are the first Nazrani I have seen since that night."

He glanced at his cup a moment, silently cursing it's lack of drink, then looked back into Gal's eyes. The old him was back, just like that, he told a piece of his history, and was now wanting to move past it.

“A merry meeting,” she echoed, black eyes softer for the flame of the candle that caught them in that moment. “And you’re good at merriment, are you?”

"Merriment is the whole reason to live, isn't it?"
 
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Gal

Low morals on high seas
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Maz the Shadow

Her eyebrows stayed right where they were – high up. “He ran into your knife ten times?”

She’d judged the man an assassin, but now… then again, it wasn’t exactly regret twisting his features either. Perhaps it wasn’t the act that bothered him, but rather the victim.

Well, nothing a few drinks or a night of willful abandon couldn’t cure. Gal had honed the skill of erasing bothersome memories to an art.

A decade is a long time to learn how to forget.

Her red lips split into a pointy grin as she tilted her head towards the door that led upstairs. Jerome rolled his eyes behind the bar and made a show of picking a key from the board on the wall.

“A merry life and a short one, right?”
 
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Maz the Shadow

"Ten times..." He snorted, though whether in amusement or self-directed derision, it was hard to tell. "Even then, it only took a single strike from the blade. Then it was not entirely my skill that saw to the single strike ending the fight, but a man does learn when the gods show him what his path need be."

“A merry life and a short one, right?”

"So long as the rum flows, it will be truly merry!"

Gal
 
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