Dreadlords To the Ends of the Earth

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Alistair barked out a laugh as he overheard the conversation. Great, that was just perfect. Forget just tricking a king, now let's go and try and fool an entire court. They weren't prepared for something like this at all. The only redeeming part about this turn of events was the fact that now Ral and Ed had to get all dressed up too.

"Hope you brought your dancing shoes Edric."

He reached over and grabbed the pouch of gold they still had for the event. It should be enough...just barely. The other bonus was that if they could convince the king not to kill them as soon as he took a look at them then at least they may be able to make some connections with other people.

Edric Ralene
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"I can't control the wills of a King, Madame, but... keep payin at the same rate and I'm more than happy to get all three of you the best tailoring this fine city has to offer."​

The Herald offered Ralene a fine wide grin.

Edric only leaned back against the wall he had been near, pinching the bridge of his nose and letting out an exasperated sigh. Couldn't anything go easy? Couldn't they just get over this whole fucking ordeal with one quick word?

At this rate things were going to take months. "I didn't bring shit."

Edric complained, his head shaking.

"Whats the chance our friend gets invited to this party?" He mused quietly to Alistair. "That might speed things along."

Though it would certainly skirt the 'no violence' rule this city had.
"Myself and my partner will not be needing tailoring," Ralene replied, "we are merely here to protect the livelihood of My Lord. Some clean, black uniforms will do."

She gave a glance back into the room at the boys before nodding to the Herald, "We will meet you out front of the Inn at noon. You will be well compensated for your discretion and your time."

Without waiting for the man to respond, she closed the door and locked it. Turning her back to lean against it, Ral's gaze fell upon Alistair, "My Lord I hope you have brushed up on your dancing skills. I'd hate for you to trip in front of the King."

Ironic. Ralene couldn't dance at all. She'd been away on mission when the other Initiates had been given lessons for their first annual ball.
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Alistair pouted overhearing the description that Ralene gave the herald for the uniforms that were to be bought for her and Edric. "That's not fair. My loyal guards can't be a bit more...regal? What if we added some purple capes?" He asked jokingly as he made himself another drink.

Oh, no. He would need to dance? They did not teach Dreadlords how to dance...Don't be ridiculous. Of course, he knew how to dance. He was not about to embarrass himself at some noble gathering, and then have people think he was from some backwater country estate.

Dancing was actually easy if you listened to the rhythm. It was all just footwork, anyways.

"You know, they say dancing and swordplay are a lot alike. Thankfully, I am proficient in both."

Ralene Edric
"Me too." Edric remarked almost absently, though didn't elaborate any further.

"We'll have to be more careful." Obviously, that could have gone without saying. "But this might work in our favor."

It was a stretch, and undoubtedly more difficult. "We don't know much about this city, but we'll be able to glean a lot from the servants at that party."

A fact which may help them in the long term. A fact he'd learned back in Oban.

If they couldn't talk the King into...dealing with their issue, then they would at least have more to go on. The whole thing was a balancing act, there was no denying that. But Edric was almost entirely positive they could pull it off.
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"I am not wearing a cape," Ralene refuted with a scowl before eyeing Edric. Since when could he dance?

It didn't matter either way. They were guards, not guests. There'd be no need for them to dance. So long as Alistair could put on a good show and not break character or story, they wouldn't have a problem. Ral crossed the room to take up the seat at the table across from Al, the humor having dissipated from her gaze.

"Ed's right. We're getting access to the entire King's court, not just the King himself. If we play our cards right-" she lifted a brow at Al, "might be able to get an invitation from the King to stay in the palace. He probably has no intention of talking business with you at the gala - he's more likely scoping you out. Seeing who you really are."

Her eyes moved to Ed, "This could be our in. So tomorrow night we focus on impressing the King and giving him a reason to trust us and bring us in."
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"Great, can't wait for him to realize that I am the heir to a disgraced noble house that has been trained to be a lethal killer. He will get a real kick out of that." Alistair replied sarcastically, but it was clear he was getting worried again.

He poured himself an early morning alcoholic beverage. As much as he was worrying, Alistair understood his role and he knew how to do it properly, as long as there were no unforeseen consequences.

"Since our story is that we are chasing down a stolen treasure, does that mean my cover can be really badass and impressive?" Alistair said hopefully.

He looked to Edric, and had to admit he was surprised to hear he could dance. He looked at Ralene with a worried look realizing she was the only one that could not.

"I know my part is important, but you two should be ready to put on the charm if the chance presents itself."

Edric Ralene
"Your cover just needs to be believable." Edric remarked, and briefly he wondered just how much Tyrians knew about Vel Anir. They were an entire globe away from home. There was no telling what information had reached these people.

Perhaps they should have spent more time figuring that out.

Lips thinned for a brief moment, and he noted down in his head that perhaps some of the time before the gala should be spent figuring out exactly that. What lies could they tell, what truths needed to still slip by.

"It's likely that nobody has ever heard of House Krixus here." Edric remarked.

That could be interpreted how he pleased.

For a brief second though Edric only stared at Alistair. "Charm is really my specialty."

The words were so thick with sarcasm that he nearly choked on them.

Charming truly was the last descriptor anyone would ever use for Edric. He was a brick wall, an anvil, not a conversationalist and not anyone's idea of a good time. Except perhaps certain Orc women, but their standards tended to be quite different than most others.

"I can talk to the other Guards." He compromised after a few seconds.
Charm is really my specialty.

Ralene snorted.

"Guards aren't charming and aren't expected to be," she refuted Alistair's point, "they're Guards for a reason. If we start stepping out of that role it will look suspicious. The less we say and the less we interact, the better. We'll be your eyes and ears, but otherwise... the charm remains with you, Al," the smile she afforded him was definitely not a reassuring one, but Ralene had played this role with Al a few times already and she knew he was capable.

Talking to the other Guards wasn't out of role and to that notion Ral nodded. It wasn't a bad idea, they just had to take care not to ask too many questions or it might raise some eyebrows.

"But we need to all be on the same page when it comes to your cover, so let's get that down before we head out."
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This argument had been made to Alistair every time he and Ralene tried this little gambit. Oh, guards don't have any charm at all? What if some girl thought Edric was cute, or a man really liked being put in his place so he talked with Ral? The least they could do is learn a little bit.

If you asked him, saying guards had no charmed always felt like an excuse for Alistair having to do all the work.

He rolled his eyes at Edric, "Yes, you are absolutely dripping in it."

Another long drawn-out sigh escaped his lips as gave in.

"Ok, I get it. I have to be the wondering prince charming and whatnot. Who knows? Maybe there is a princess waiting for me to sweep her off her feet, but alas, we can never be together. She has her life and I have mine."

Alistair said beginning to ramble.

Edric Ralene
"Three Kings." Edric remarked dryly, then glanced at Ralene. "Better chance of a Princess."

A shrug rolled over his shoulders, though from his tone it was difficult to tell whether or not Edric was actually joking. His expression might as well having been a mask. After a few moments he gestured to the other two, and the three of them began to get to work.

The next few hours were filled with the crafting of lies.

A story was told, and each of them memorized it to an extent that most would dub excessive. Even managed to cram every little note into his mind. Ultimately they had decided that the truth would be best, or at least most of it.

Alistair was a Noble of a Minor House in Vel Anir, though one of great substance and influence. Not to mention wealth. A thief had stolen what was his, and he'd hired Edric and Ralene to help him retrieve it. Their goal in Tyr was nothing more, and if assistance would be rendered then a reward would come.

One that would mostly be created through trade and knowledge of ocean routes. "Well, that should be enough."

He said. "As long as no one there is from Vel Anir."

But what were the chances of that?
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"We can find out the likelihood of that from our Herald, maybe," Ral mused, "speaking of which, we're due to meet him out front. Let's go."

They spent that afternoon spending coin on new wardrobes. Their Herald took them on a tour of the merchant district, stopping at the finest armorers and tailors they could afford. After insisting for a second time that both herself and Edric should, in fact, look like the Guards they were and not be getting primped and pomped like their Lord, the Herald took them to a leather tailor who fitted them both into matching uniforms.

"You can't arrive in just any old armor," the Herald said, "you'll still need to be presentable for the King and his Court. A Lord's retinue reflects his station."

Ralene hated capes, but she hated them less than she hated dresses, so she didn't complain about the half-cape he'd had draped over her left shoulder.

"Now since you speak for your Lord, you'll need to be presented on his left and you'll need this pin," said the Herald as he affixed a golden pin in the shape of a bird to her front.

"You will present at his right," he said to Edric while setting his half-cape over his right shoulder.
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"You two look great. Very dashing."

Alistair said, not really looking at either of them, instead looking at himself in a mirror. They had already picked up some clothes for him. He was busy admiring himself in the mirror with a look of thoughtfulness on his face.

Unlike some of the others at the Academy, Alistair did enjoy fashion as he understood the importance of looking at the part. He had chosen to go with his family colors of black, dark blue, purple, and some gold trim. He corrected a small strand of hair that he did not like the way it was sitting on his head.

"Well, I think we certainly look the part now. Every good noble needs to stalwart guards that look like they could kill you with a glance." Hell, in this case, Edric could.

"Do they let nobles carry basic weaponry here?"

Ralene Edric
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"No, not for foreigners." The Herald answered almost immediately and with just the slightest hint of panic in his tone. Head shaking as he continued. "The spilling of blood is very taboo in Tyr."

A fact which all of them had already been made aware of, but seeing the mans visceral reaction only cemented it in Edric's mind. "All Tyrians carry a blade, as do the Death Watch of course, but outsiders..."

The Dreadlord stared at the man, shifting the cape on his shoulder. "We're not to be trusted."

A smile flickered over the man's face, uneasy as it was.

"Indeed." It made sense. Edric still wasn't entirely sure why the Tyrians were so against the spilling of blood, but if it was what they sought to prevent then taking weaponry away from foreigners made sense. Especially around their King and other nobles.

"We'll make due." Edric said stepping up to Al and clapping him on the shoulder. "Don't worry. I'll keep you safe."

It was hard to tell from his voice whether or not he was jesting.
Made sense that outsiders wouldn't be trusted, but Ralene's thoughts trailed a similar path to Edric's. What had happened here to make it so? Whatever it was, it must have been bad.

"It's an interesting approach," Ral remarked as she adjusted the fit of her leathers, "though I will forever feel naked without a weapon." Even if her own body could effectively be used as one.

"It has kept our people safe for many years now," said the Herald.

"Do you get many outsiders here?" she pressed casually, "Sitting at the end of the world."

"Oh yes, our trade is quite healthy. We see merchants from many lands such as the northern tundras and the wilds across the broad straight. Peoples of the Empire to the far east, even Elbion, though we've not seen much from there lately. Just a month ago we had a representative from the Nagai Kingdom."

"What about Vel Anir?" Ral asked, "It's a long journey, can't imagine too many make it."
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"Not many, but there has been a small number...Your people tend to have trouble with the rules against violence."

That was probably underestimating the situation, Alistair guessed. He considered himself one of the more reasonable Anirians, and even he felt uncomfortable with no weapons on his person. He had been hoping to add a small dagger or something.

He still had the runes along his body and his magic, but without any sort of physical weapon, it all felt...just odd.

Alistair glanced over as Edric patted him on the shoulder and he smirked.

"I'm not worried. It's just an odd feeling. Besides, between you and Ral, I might be the safest individual in this whole city." Alistair replied with a light chuckle.
Edric frowned at the exchange between his peers and the Herald. Though he did not need a weapon, Edric usually carried a sword or some sort of blade. It did feel odd not having anything at all on him, a mark of the city they came from perhaps.

Did all Anirians feel this way? Or just Dreadlords. "You just might be."

He assured Alistair, smiling for a brief moment before returning to his own thoughts.

"The violence, kept in check by those Ogres?" Edric asked, turning towards the Herald. The man tipped his head in an immediate nod. "Will they be at the party?"

"The Death Watch. Yes, of course. All the Kings have their own assigned Guard, but with a party like this I would not be surprised if one of the Seneschall were in attendance."​

Edric gave him an inquisitive look.

"Captains of the Watch. Powerful Sorcerers and esteemed warriors. Well respected and considered minor Nobility due to their station!"​

He suppressed a quiet groan, wondering when the pile of things they had to worry about would start to get smaller instead of bigger.
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"Seneschall?" Ralene narrowed her eyes, brow pinching in recognition of the name, "Sounds familiar."

But why they did wasn't immediately leaping forth from memory. She made a noise of thought before looking to the boys - Edric about as dolled up as she'd ever seen him since she'd never witnessed him in a suit yet - and gave them both a wry smile.

"At least we won't be offending anyone with our wardrobe."

"You are most presentable for the occasion," agreed the Herald as he stepped back to admire his work.

"Anything else our Lord should know, proprietarily speaking?"

"Ah, you should expect to spend some time mingling with the Court. Should the King wish to have an audience with you, you will be invited. No one may approach the King without. It is customary as well for a traveler of import to present the King with an item of their land as a gift."

Edric Alistair Krixus
Great, just what they needed. This city's equivalent of the Dreadlords. He was sure they would not prove to be a problem...Yeah, right.

"They do have cool names. I'll give them that."

Alistair moved over to his bag and started to dig through it with a frown. A gift was rather annoying. He did not pack for Dreadlord missions with the idea that he would be bringing presents. He would offer a weapon to the king, but they weren't allowed to bring those in...

"I think I might have a book in here about the founding of Vel Anir...Light reading. Does anyone have anything better?"

He did not want to assume too much from his friends, but Edric was not the gift-giving type and all of Ralene's gifts would likely be classified as weapons.

Edric Ralene
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A long sigh escaped Edric's throat.

He'd had enough of noble decorum for one lifetime when he'd ventured into their games with Elspeth Sirl. Now it seemed to be creeping into every other mission the Academy sent him on. "No."

Edric answered candidly.

"I didn't bring anything past what we would need." They hadn't been sent here to attend Galas or any of that nonsense. Though a brief frown flickered over his features as an idea sparked through his mind. "We could go through Eli and Drastus' shit."

The fancy noble boy might have something. "Not like they're here to object."

A shrug rolled over his shoulders. Though the herald spoke up.

"A book would not be the worst gift...though would hardly make waves."​
"We could go through Eli and Drastus' shit. Not like they're here to object."

She bristled at the idea. Ral knew Eli better than most and was well aware he didn't carry interesting or valuable things around with him. He wouldn't even have weapons - he barely used them. As for Drastus? Well, considering the guy carried a skeleton around in his bag she found it hard to believe he'd have anything less than the positively macabre to give.

"A book would not be the worst gift...though would hardly make waves."

"We aren't here to make waves," Ralene imparted upon the Herald, "we're here for an audience with the King. If a book will do, so be it." She had a few of her own with her, those she'd rather not part with given the choice, but Ral would do so if it meant it would bring them closer to accomplishing their mission.

"What interest do the Kings have in foreign magic, alchemy?"

"Oh, quite a bit of interest to be sure," replied the Herald, "if you think you can provide them with something new it would be very well received and highly valued."

Ral shifted a pointed look to Alistair.
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Yeah, just like he suspected, most of his teammates were useless in this regard. He sighed and was more than ready to hand over his book, but the conversation kept unfolding and...He did not like where it was going.

Ral fixed him with that look and he did his best not to meet her eyes.

"What? You just think I have books on advancements in alchemy lying around?"

Dammit, of course, he did. However, he had just got his book on Newtonian Alchemical Potions written by Jerry Thomas. He had not even gotten to read much of it, only the first few chapters.

He made the mistake of glancing back at Ral and when they locked eyes he could not look away before frowning.

"The history book would be fine, right?... I just got the other one."

He knew he sounded like a child, but his new book was signed by the author with even a few handwritten notes on the inside.

Ralene Edric
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Edric looked over at Alistair. "I think she was suggesting you make something."

From what he understood the two of them had done it before, though he'd never paid much attention to that sort of nonsense. His own magic didn't exactly give him a gift in any sort of craftsmanship, and the idea hadn't ever appealed to him either.

He would leave it to the two of them.

"A history book would work fine!"​

The Herald chipped in helpfully, though it was clear at this point he was simply trying to stave off any awkwardness that might linger in the air.

"Whatever." Edric said flippantly. "We don't need the guy to ask you to fuck his daughter."

The herald sputtered as though someone had just been slapped in the face, but Edric ignored him. He knew how nobles did things. "Just need him to like us enough to point our way towards our thief."
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What? You just think I have books on advancements in alchemy lying around?

Ralene stared at him pointedly and slowly drew her arms up to fold them at her front. Why yes, she did. The fresh leather squeaked in protest over her shifting brawn.

I think she was suggesting you make something.

A sideglance, brow raise, and facial shrug at the suggestion. Wasn't a bad idea, but they didn't really have the time for anything of good quality or value.

Whatever. Edric said flippantly. We dont need the guy to ask you to fuck his daughter.

The herald sputtered as though someone had just been slapped in the face, but Edric ignored him. He knew how nobles did things. Just need him to like us enough to point our way towards our thief.

"History book it is, then," Ral rolled her eyes. Gods forbid he sacrifice a bauble. "Are we done here, Herald?"

"Yes, I believe you have everything you'll need for the event."

"Accompany us, keep yourself useful to our Lord," Ral paid the man his dues and then moved to pay the tailor at the desk, "and your purse will be full."

"Happy to be of service to the esteemed Lord Krixus and his valiant guardians."
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Alistair looked absolutely appalled at Edric's suggestion that he make something for the King. Who did he think he was, some common peddler on the streets near the dock? Alistair did not have to make something of true quality, and he would never get the king something that was just...passable. His pride would not let him.

Alistair handed the book over to the Herald and readjusted his cape one last time, no more reason to push these things off.

"Let's get going...With any look, I will be unnecessarily fucking the King's daughter." Alistair said with a completely straight face as he stepped to the door with a confident step.

He was forcefully changing himself from the sporadic rune nerd into the calm and charming noble that would be needed for this mission, and it was a noticeable change. His entire demeanor seemed to relax, but he stood up a bit straighter. His eyes no longer darting about.

Alistair was aware that he could be high-strung when he got excited, so as long as he could remind himself, then that meant he could be the opposite if he had too.

Edric Ralene
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