Open Chronicles Vampires in the House up the Way

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Scythe and Nyght

Drunken table dancing.

You run the idea by a sober person, and they're liable to say, What the hell is wrong with you? That's where the beer, ale, mead, wine, or--in this case--rum comes in. Then, you don't care if you look like an idiot. Hell, get a few other idiots to join you and convince the local bard to play some appropriately raucous and festive music on that big ass lute of his and you've got the whole tavern in on the fun. And the bartender don't give a shit 'cause the drinks are being bought nonstop.

Welcome to the goddamn Lute and Lager, folks, Alliria at its finest. Scythe and Nyght were having a great time being the evening's entertainment, them and the few other lads who stepped up to take a turn on a table. The hair on both their bodies an absolute mess, stuck to the sheen of sweat on their faces in some places and blown out from wild tousling during their dancing in others.

They had their coats off. Folded and thrown over the counter at the bar by their stools, their crossbows leaning up against it. Their fine white shirts and colorful vests also soaked with sweat in places. They each panted and leaned against the counter as the crowd of patrons behind them cheered the latest two lads (and lady, hey) who had stepped up onto the tables.

"Must've been a good job," said Hulgrim, the dwarven barkeep, as he set down their refilled glasses of rum on the counter. They didn't know him as well as Yemen from The Mangled Rat, but he seemed like a swell enough fellow.

"You kidding?" said Scythe.
"It was a shit job," said Nyght.
"Who the hell wants to fight mutated deer?"
"And that wasn't even the damn job. Just an obstacle."
"Damn I really gotta take a piss."

Hulgrim pointed down the hallway next to the stairs leading to the upstairs inn rooms. "Outhouse is that way. Don't piss all over me floor."

Scythe: "Don't worry, I'm sure you could bottle it up and sell it as knockoff beer."
Nyght: "Somebody out there has a fetish for that. Think of all the coin, Hulgrim. Imagine!"
Scythe: "Shit. I better go. I don't know if that's sweat or piss. Don't let the bard start the next song without me."
Nyght: "Then get your ass moving, honey dearest."
Scythe: "I am moving it, honey dearest! And I mean it! Don't let 'em!"

They did that a lot. Pretended. Made on like they were two separate people. It wasn't hard to do, since they had been just that for most of their lives. Now they were one. Thanks to the gift of mind-merging by the old enchanter. And they never had to be without each other ever again.

Even as Scythe stumbled out of the tavern and into the outhouse and Nyght saw through his eyes how his body just sprayed everything in there. Hilariously missing his mark despite their best effort to--quite honestly--not make a godawful mess. Scythe's body laughed in frustration out there, and Nyght's body laughed as she was trying to drink more rum and spit it out and back into the glass and down onto the counter, some dribbling off of her lip.

"Oh, for the gods' sake, girl," said Hulgrim as he grabbed a rag and set about to wiping it up.

"Sorry, sorry," she said as she ran a hand across her face. "It's just that fucking feeling when you can't hit a bullseye to save your goddamn--"

She burst into laughing again as she tried to say 'life' and her glass tipped forward and the last of the rum spilled out and landed squarely on the top of the dwarf's bald head.

Hulgrim's anger admirably contained, he said, "You're lucky you're a lass."

"I mean, you could still punch me," Nyght said with a goofy smile.

"Have it your way."

And he punched her. She flopped off of the stool and fell to the floor giggling as Scythe's body recoiled from the punch as well out in the outhouse and the spray hit the little wooden ceiling of it. Look at it, just dripping down like a foul, yellow rain. Nyght's body, back in the tavern, stood up and flashed Hulgrim a sloppy, bloody grin, a nice cut on her bottom lip.

"We good?" she said.

"We're good," Hulgrim said.

Scythe's body stumbled back into the tavern from the side door and haphazardly he made his way through the hallway and back to his stool.

"What'd I miss?" he said.

And Nyght's body punched him and dropped him to the floor, even though her body felt it too.

"That," she said.

They had to put on a nice little show for Hulgrim. The comedic timing and opportunity was just too good to pass up. And hell, you always wanted to make a good impression on all the barkeeps you ran across as merc. They were your go-to. The butter to your bread. A beautiful and time-honored relationship between merc and barkeep, just like between raider and caravan.

The bard finished his current song and cleared his throat and announced, "Alright, ladies and gentlemen, a classic. I know all of you love it. This, my friends, is 'The Little Lady in Ravishing Red Rides Again!'"

A racy howl spread through the tavern. Gods, Scythe and Nyght fucking loved that song. The mere mention of it guaran--damn--teed that somebody was getting bedded tonight. They were exhausted and sweaty messes each of them, but damn if they didn't have one more ridiculous table dance left for this one.

But, just as they were about to leap up onto a pair of tables, the door to the tavern was flung open roughly. A man in plate armor stood in the doorway. Shouted with authority, "Samuel and Samantha Blair."

The crowd quieted some.

Scythe: "Fuck."
Nyght: "That's us."

They knew him. Not his name, but his face. Seen him around the Philanthropist's manor on several occasions. One of the permanent payroll guards, like most nobles in the Inner City had.

The Plate Man said, "Your presence is requested urgently." And he glanced about the tavern, "And if there are any other sellswords or mercenaries present, opportunity may be had by coming with us. This is a matter concerning the well-being of Alliria and her peoples, and the generous Nathaniel Barr will reward those who lend their swordarm to the task."

Damn it. Way to ruin a night of burning money and turn it into a night of earning it.

Scythe and Nyght begrudgingly grabbed their coats from the counter and their crossbows and carefully--each teetering under the sway of drunkenness in their bellies and in their heads--toward the Plate Man.

And the Plate Man, getting a look at the absolute state of them, just grimaced.


Smiling One
 
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Smiling One

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The Goblins blood began seeping through the brown bag. "Ah shit," Willis said adjusting the bag a bit so it won't spill on to the floor. Compared to many Goblins this one was hard to kill. he practiced magic which caught Willis off guard. Thankfully he sucked at performing spells and ended up blowing off his arm while preparing a fireball spell. Willis was more than happy than to take the dying creature's head off.

Now the young man was on his way to the Lute and Lager to earn his pay. Willis couldn't wait to receive his coin so he can spend it on drinks and getting more supplies. Perhaps he could coerce a tavern waitress to warm his belly, nothing like sleeping with a woman after a long and deadly fight. Those thoughts made Willis smile "I definitely can't wait," he said. As he approached the inn, Willis eagerly opened the door. "All right Fred!" Willis shouted. "I've killed the Goblin, now pay me so I can drink, dance and sleep with the most beautiful Tavern waitress you got!"

The smile on Willis' face began to slowly fade as he saw the crowd focus on a mysterious man talking who appeared to be twins. "Oh shit," Willis said feeling very awkward now.

OOC: Sorry It's short! I'll make the next post longer!
 
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TheScarletDastard

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Aaaaaaand there went the party.

Just when the evening's finale had been shaping up nicely, the generous Nathaniel Barr had stepped all over Ravishing Red. The remaining patrons, upon hearing the solemn proclamation, (and watching the king and queen of the festivities stumble to the door,) had sobered up immediately. Well, perhaps not in actual level of intoxication, but at least in demeanor. No one seemed to be in a hurry to start the dancing back up, anyway.

Taking a swig of cold water from a questionably clean tankard, the resident bard watched the Blairs leave. They didn't look to be in any condition to work; reputation aside, they looked like they were going to get themselves killed. His throat sore from half singing, half shouting over the din, Dez sighed. They had been good for business. Happy drunkards were generous tippers, and those two made folk happy. Only fair he watch their backs now. The well-being of Alliria…. of course, that was probably Barr blowing hot air. And if he didn't finish the set, Hulgrim wouldn't give him his extra.... but a morose crowd wouldn't tip scuppers. On the other hand, his voice was really sore....

The young bard plucked at the A string of his lute distractedly. Ah, to the pits with it...

Snatching up the coin he'd made and throwing on his cloak, Dez buckled his longsword to his waist and tossed his lute's strap over one shoulder. This place smelled like piss and feet, anyway. Time to have some fun. The Blairs at their best would never even think of an amateur like Dez, but maybe drunk as waves they'd have some use for him. Besides, Mr. Barr had called away Dez's main source of income; it was only natural that he supply the young bard with a new one. And, Dez thought, grinning, he'll pay a little extra for what he did to Ravishing Red.

Feeling Hulgrim's evil eye on his back, the night's lute guiltily slunk out of the Lute and Lager, into the clear night air.

Some patron with incredible aim, (probably an elf,) noticed the entertainment leaving early and threw something in derision, which struck the back of Dez's head. Wincing, he turned to see what had just fallen to the ground.

Just an apple core? Huh. This place really was classier than The Mangled Rat.
 
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Scythe and Nyght

"Is it something that can wait?" said Scythe.

"No," said the Plate man flatly. "What do you think I meant when I said 'urgently'?"

"What if we paid you?" said Nyght.

"That wouldn't make the urgency of the matter any different, now would it?"

"How 'bout a blowjob instead?" said Scythe.

"What? No. No! Offering money and carnal favors to me isn't going to--"

"Would you settle for a handjob?" said Nyght.

"Stop! This is insensible and frivolous! Just keep yourselves upright and walking long enough to reach Barr's estate. You'll sober up on the way to the job. And for the love of the Gods keep your indecent offers to yourselves."

The Plate Man turned to go. And he noticed the dark-skinned man there. Regarded him as he shouted to a man named Fred. Eyed the dripping brown bag in his hand. Scythe and Nyght swayed to the left in tandem. Corrected their balance. Then started slowly teetering to their right together.

The Plate Man said to the dark-skinned man, "You there. Bounty hunter, are you? Mercenary? Collect your reward here swiftly and come with me, I implore you. I don't know if you heard me saying so earlier, but Nathaniel Barr seeks men and women of your skill and manner for a task. It will be worth your time, I assure you."

"What if I blew him?" said Scythe.
"Or what if I blew him?" said Nyght
"What if we both blew him?"
"Then could it wait?"
"Yeah, then could it wait?"

The Plate Man smacked the visor of his helm with his hand and shouted, "ENOUGH! WITH THE VULGAR CHATTER! Get outside! Both of you!"

"Sorry, papa bear," said Nyght as she slipped past him.
"Didn't mean to make you upset, papa bear," said Scythe as he slipped past him.

"I'm not your damned father! Or a bear! Stop calling me that!"

Scythe and Nyght stumbled out the door of the Lute and Lager, somehow remembering that it was customary for Nyght's body to go first whenever they went through doorways. Important, that. Or else they fucked up and each smacked right into the wall. Like they did on that job with Captain Aeyliea. That was embarrassing.

But they weren't as embarrassed as the Plate Man had to be feeling right now! Ha, ha! One of those all-business, stuck-up, prudish, serious types. Perfect guard material. Perfect harassing material. Scythe and Nyght had just a couple of opportunities to do it before, and it was pure gold every time. Damn was it fun fucking around with that prick, whatever-his-name-was. Maybe they could convince the Philanthropist that they needed to be chaperoned by him for this job. Mess with him from beginning to end. Every day. Poke, poke, poke.

Hey, look, it was the bard.

They almost stumbled right into him when they saw him step outside. Scythe and Nyght both grinned. Scythe put his hand on the bard's left shoulder, Nyght put her hand on the bard's right.

"Hey. Hey, bard," said Nyght
"You play a mean lute," said Scythe
"What he means to say is you...play a mean lute."
"What she means to say is you...play a mean lute."
"You play a fuckin' mean lute."

And they both started giggling.
 

Smiling One

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Willis just stood there stunned at what transpired. The man who yelled at the twins just offered Willis a job by some man named Nathaniel Barr. "Fuck," Willis thought "Why I am always caught in these zany situations?"

On one hand, Willis could just tell the man to piss off so he can party hard and sleep with a tavern waitress. On the other hand, it seems that this Nathaniel Barr guy is desperately seeking muscle for this job that may mean more coin involved. "Ah shit," Willis said tossing Fred the bag that contains the head of the Goblin while nicking his coin purse from his back pocket before he can react. "Here we go again."

The twins were a bit strange to Willis, they speak almost simultaneously from one another. It was almost as though they were reading each other's thoughts or something. "Only the pretty woman is allowed to blow me," Willis said winking at the sister. "Do know I have a long rod. I'm sure you'll be very satisfied."

The twins were then talking to a blond-haired man who looked scrawny and confused. "Hey kid," Willis said shrugging as the twins giggled. "Yeah, I'm confused as fuck over this whole thing. The only reason I'm in this at all is the hope that they'll pay me."

Willis turned to the man. "Speaking of which," he said. "Let's discuss my fee."
 

TheScarletDastard

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Dez already wished he'd stayed behind and finished his set. Alcohol was heavy on the Blairs' collective breath, and it took some willpower to keep from gagging as they grinned their sideways grins at him.

"Um... thanks guys," he laughed, patting their hands before getting them off his shoulders. "Glad you liked the show."

The stranger with a bloody mystery bag was talking to Dez now, and.... what was happening? The twins were one thing, they were drunk as a pair of wine cellar rats. But between their jabs at the plated courier, and the way this fellow with the wide smile talked....

The Little Lady in Ravishing Red Rides Again was a number that had seen many a minstrel thrown from a respectable establishment. But the song was downright appropriate for children, compared to the way these three talked.

It should be noted that Desmonthenes had learned Ravishing Red at an age where he hadn't understood many of the.... lewder lyrical references. Now at 19, he was fairly certain he knew what everything in the song meant. At the very least, he knew "Rides Again" in the title did not necessarily mean the Little Lady had owned a horse.

Even working in alehouses and taverns as often as he did, Dez couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at the way his new compatriots spoke, especially remembering the way Ravishing Red had been received in Big Portshaw.... namely, an entire day in the stocks being pelted with rotten fish. He supposed, wincing at the memory, that everything was relative.

The poor courier was striding away, (probably anxious to escape the Blairs,) with the smiley guy hounding after him, asking after his compensation. Dez huffed. "Calls me a kid..."

With a steadying hand on each of the assassins' backs, he attempted to steer the inebriated duo after Barr's representative. "Alright, guys, let's catch up. We've got work to do."
 
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Scythe and Nyght

Yeah. They liked the show. They fuckin' loved it. Maybe when the Philanthropist's godsdamned so-important-it-can't-wait job was over they could come back to the Lute and Lager together and actually finish what they started.

The bard pushed their hands away. And they rocked back unsteadily on their feet together, righting themselves just before they took a spill on the ground.

The Plate Man came outside the tavern with the dark-skinned man. Huh. How 'bout that? Seems like he got someone else to join in the job. Excellent. The more the merrier. Just like those other few jobs. With Grel. With Ol' Mad Eye Toby and Sash Girl and Roof-lurker Tian. And those turned out alright. Messy, but alright.

And Scythe and Nyght liked this merc already. What a lad. And they caught the Plate Man scrunching his brow behind that visor even in the dark of night when he heard the merc's response to them. Ah, it was great.

Both of them flashed the merc sloppy, drunken grins. Putting on their sophisticated voices for the moment.

Nyght, bringing a hand up to her cheek: "Oh, I'm so very flattered, sir! I do love long rods!"
Scythe, bringing a hand up to his cheek: "I could become a pretty lady too. It is a talent of mine."
Nyght: "I can hardly say I believe you! Do tell how you'd accomplish such a feat!"
Scythe: "Absolutely, madame. You need only allow me but a moment to shave and don a wig and slip into a lovely dress."
Nyght: "My word! The transformation would be magnificent and stunning!"

The Plate Man just groaned. The sound reverberating some inside his helm. He let the merc confer with the bard, and tried his best to ignore the inane commentary from Samuel and Samantha. He nodded to the merc, then turned and started walking along the street.

And he said, "Then come, and we shall all speak with Nathaniel Barr. It is but a short walk to the Inner City, and a short walk therein to his estate. My Lord is known for his generosity, as you shall no doubt see for yourself. He will explain the manner of the contract, and the sum to which you will be paid. And what is your name, mercenary?"

Scythe and Nyght stumbled along with the bard's help. Damn it was cold out here tonight. Sure, it didn't help that each of their bodies had worked up a hell of a sweat with all that table dancing; hard enough to make a dance fun and raunchy without having to worry about tumbling off of a rickety tavern table, but that was the challenge, wasn't it? Tavern was full of warm bodies and hot air too, thanks to the hearth. Yeah. Fuckin' cold alright. All long rods were in full retreat out here. Scythe's body knew. What a cryin' ass shame.

A true buzz kill. And fun kill. The damn Plate Man must love this kind of weather.

"Hey!" said Scythe to the Plate Man.
"Hey!" said Nyght to the Plate Man.

The Plate Man looked over his shoulder as he walked. "What is it now?"

"We found a bard," said Nyght.
"May we keep him?" said Scythe.

Another groan. They lived for that noise. Music to their ears. Like Ravishing Red. Fun came in all shapes and sizes and annoying the living hell out of the Plate Man and people like him was one of their absolute favorites.

And the Plate Man said, "Neither of you 'found' him. Neither of you is anyone's keeper, many thanks to the gods. He is his own man and may come of his own free will and daring for adventure."

See. Right there. Daring for adventure. Who the fuck talked like that? Not to mention his little speeches earlier to the merc and the couple before that. No wonder he didn't want a blowjob, he was too busy blowing himself.

All of sudden their disheveled appearances each seemed like a hidden blessing from the Gods of Good Times. It was going to be a cinch to convince the Philanthropist to loan him out for the job. Surely.

Scythe and Nyght glanced back at the bard. Carefully. Each had to worry not only about the dizziness in their own head, but also feeling a replica of the dizziness in the other's head as well. Mind-merging was a bitch sometimes.

"Thanks, bard," said Scythe, "Would've fallen on my ass by now."
"Yeah," said Nyght, "My ass has taken enough abuse tonight."
"Has it?"
"I got punched by a dwarf."
"You did ask for it."
"Fair enough."

Whoops. Curtains slipped a bit on the "We're different people, honest" show. Technically Scythe's body wouldn't know that, the asking for it part anyway, but...

Fuck it. Whatever. Try covering it up.

"Hey. Hey, bard," said Scythe.
"What's your name, bard?" said Nyght.
 

TheScarletDastard

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There was something.... funny about the way these two talked. And funny could be used in either sense of the word, here.

"Don't mention it," Dez managed, trying to watch three people's footing in the dark at once. "I'm Desmonth- sober people have a hard enough time with that name. Just, call me Dez, yeh?"

The well-lit Inner City made watching where you were going a little easier, and Dez was able to turn his attention to the conversation in front of him- Barr's courier had asked the smiley guy his name, which would be a useful thing to know if they'd be working together.

Something the twins had said was bothering Dez. Actually, most of what they'd been saying bothered him in one way or another, but this had stuck in his mind. "Actually you two, I'm not technically a bard.... bards know their own kind of magic. They can change a man's shape, put a beast to sleep, make their friends braver...."

It was hard to keep the longing out of his voice as he thought of all the incredible feats of real Bards he'd heard recounted at hearthsides. "There are men and women who can weave magic with the sound of their harp, the strum of their lute, the cry of their voice. I'm a minstrel. I just.... play well."

Dez was already looking at the ground, trying not to trip, so he was saved the trouble. It was rather embarrassing telling a pair of very famous, (more like infamous,) very drunk assassins that you weren't near as useful as you seemed, which was not much to begin with.
 
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Smiling One

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It seemed that the twins loved Willis' flirtation maybe a little too much. They began to come a little too close for the young man's liking. Willis stepped back a bit weirded out of it all "apparently you two come in a package," he asked laughing nervously. "I appreciate it but for now my eyes lie on the woman who mentions that she likes long rods. What's your name sweetheart?"

Willis' problem is that while he is loyal to his contract (provided that it doesn't break his code of morals) sometimes there's that pretty woman who would distract him from his job. "Name is Willis Reede," he said to the woman.

The blond boy thankfully pulled Willis out from his admittedly embarrassing flirting by introducing himself as Desmoth. "Nice to meet you Dez," Willis smiled giving him a slap on the back. The boy mentioned about the abilities of Bards and how their voices were like magic. "I've heard of such abilities during my travels," he replied. "There's a Bard College somewhere in Ebion."

Dez looked nervous and jumpy looking at the ground presumably out of embarrassment. Well, when a mercenary carrying a head of a Goblin, twin rogues and an armored man all converge on you it might be embarrassing. The armored man explained that this Nathianel Barr will explain everything once they reached his place. Willis heard that song and dance before usually, the servant would come into a tavern and hype up a contract that would be too good to pass up only to realize that the pay is terrible.

"I'll go," Willis said. "But I expect to be paid in 200 gold coins you ruined my night of debauchery and If this guy as desperate as he sounds he should cough up the dough."
 
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Scythe and Nyght

Introductions all around as they walked. That worked out well enough. Smoothed over that slip-up. For the time being. No telling when their loose tongues would waggle a bit too much again.

"Desmouth?" said Scythe.
"Desmoff?" said Nyght.
"Desmond?"
"Desmint? Oo, I like mint."
"Desmothin?"

Then, together, after he said to just call him Dez. "Dez!"

The merc's turn next. Well, he had a thing for Nyght's body. Awww, and he called her a sweetheart. Ain't that lovely? Her body's turn to have the fun this contract. Things just evened out like that. Last job was balanced, sure, what with Sash Girl's namesake move that left her delightfully exposed for Scythe's body (not to mention the way Captain Aeyliea stalked through that grass), and teasing the hell out of the young sailor with the peachfuzz beard for Nyght's body. But the job before that it was all Scythe's body. Little side job. Required two 'women'. A talent, alright. And it almost worked that time. Almost.

The Gods of Good Times spread the fun all around. Fair as fair could be.

Willis Reede. That was the merc's name.

Nyght grinned and cupped her cheeks with both hands this time. Made an exaggerated downward wave with her right hand. Trying her best to look playful and coy while she had a busted lip and sweat-stained clothes and was teetering forward as if her body was chasing the hand that waved. She righted herself, but her folded coat slipped off of her shoulder, and the strap of her crossbow slid down to her elbow and the butt of the crossbow banged into the side of her knee. Nyght swore, Scythe tried to hide the wince after feeling a mirrored whack against his body's own knee, and Nyght crouched down without bending at the waist (very important trick to learn when drunk, that) to pick up her coat and throw it back over her shoulder and kept walking.

"I'm Samantha Blair," said Nyght. And, adding in a sing-song way, "The pleasure is all miiii~nnnne!"
"I'm Samuel Blair," said Scythe. And, adding in a sing-song way, "And don't you miiii~nnnnd...me."
"Just an incredible coincidence, that. Why, I've never seen him before in my life!"
"Imagine that! That we should just so happen to have the same surname and get drunk together tonight!"
"Absurd! Ha, ha, ha, ha! The world's gone mad, I say!"

Dez had a confession. He wasn't a bard? Huh. Well goddamn, consider them fooled. Wait, bards could do what? Change a man's shape? Excuse them? Holy shit, they needed to get Dez trained. As soon as possible. Hire him to follow them around for a bit. Willis knew what was up. Told him about some College for Bards in Elbion. Yes! Fuck yes! That was it. The one thing they've been missing. All this time, they just needed a bard.

And they could finally pull off a switcheroo. It was one of those things they always dreamed about. The hilarity of it. Damn same-sex twins had it so easy. Literal copies of one another. Scythe and Nyght were close, but it was the little differences that got them caught on every attempt.

Scythe: "Hey. Hey, Dez."
Nyght: "You're a bard to me, Dez."
Scythe: "And you're a bard to me too, Dez."
Nyght: "Gonna need you to learn that magic, Dez."
Scythe: "No particular reason, Dez. Just learn that magic, Dez."
Nyght: "It's all part of the plan, Dez."

* * * * *​

They didn't even notice the change between the Outer City and the Inner City. True, the Lute and Lager was right there on the divide between the two districts and it wouldn't have taken long, but...damn they were drunk and distracted.

Two different worlds. The Outer City and the Inner. Sure would be nice to have a house in here, but what merc made that kind of coin? And, furthermore, didn't blow it at a place like the Lute and Lager? Shit, didn't all the old lads in their former raider band want to end up living this kind of life? Sure did. And they never got close. That's just how it worked. Let those dreams stay dreams and spend what ya got before you weren't spending anything anymore.

Houses. Big goddamn houses. Manors. Whatever. Passing by them all as they walked and talked and introduced themselves.

And the Plate Man stood before the gates of Barr's walled estate soon enough. The guard on the other side of the metal nodded to him and opened one.

The Plate Man looked to Willis, saying before stepping through, "Two hundred gold, you say? Yes, my Lord will be quite pleased with the skill such a price demands."

Yep. The Philanthropist's estate was still impressive. Big manor, courtyard, stables, servant's quarters, guardhouse. The works. Scythe and Nyght could hardly imagine being born into all that. But that was the nobility and the aristocracy for you.

The Plate Man led them across the courtyard and through the front doors of the manor. A foyer, this big ass room was called. Double staircase and smooth floors and rugs and chairs and walls painted a cream color and adorned with paintings and hallways leading every which way and the whole thing lit like a motherfucker. A foyer. Scythe and Nyght had never heard that word in their once lives and now life before their first contract with the Philanthropist and godsdamn if they'd forget it after seeing what it was with their own eyes.

"Make yourselves comfortable," the Plate Man said, mostly to Willis and Dez. "I will return with my Lord Nathaniel Barr."

And the Plate Man started off. Going up the staircase. An eager pep in his step.

Scythe and Nyght each collapsed into two of the nearby cushioned guest chairs. Each tossing their coats and their crossbows from their shoulders and to the floor next to the chairs. Each with their heads tilted back and resting against the tops of the chairs. And they let themselves sink into the cushions.

"Rum can be a real bitch sometimes," said Nyght.
"Damn right," said Scythe.
"Willis knows what we're talking about, don'tcha Willis?"
"Heh. Night of debauchery. What a lad."
"You'll get your chance, Willis."

Nyght rolled her head over to one side so she could wink at him. Scythe chuckled and kept staring up at the ceiling.
 

TheScarletDastard

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It was a really nice house.

Having been kicked out of the Allirian guard for disobeying orders, Dez was always worried that a more warlike Allirian noble would recognize him from his days of service. But no aspiring general-type would ever be caught dead with this color cream in his interior decorating. Paintings on the walls instead of antique weapons, papered walls, a plush sitting room... Barr was probably going to be the softer kind of noble. The kind who didn't even bother pretending like he enjoyed getting his hands dirty.

Standing behind the twins' chairs, his arms folded, Dez tried to look as professional as a 19 year old could manage. The Blairs were liable to fall asleep at any moment, (they were really soft chairs,) and Willis seemed a more.... abrasive personality. Certainly he let you know what he wanted, when he wanted it. There was something to be said for being blunt and uncompromising, but this job would be a hard enough sell with the infamous Scythe and Nyght cross-eyed and giggling. Dez could only hope Willis had a professional side.

Grinning at Nyght's comment about rum, Dez was grateful they'd found Willis just entering the Lute and Lager, rather than having been there for a drink or two. The inebriated outnumbering the sober was simply poor math for any job. Knowing the good impression would fall largely to him, the minstrel looked about in vain for a mirror. He'd just have to hope he wasn't completely filthy. Hadn't he just been thinking the Lute and Lager was a classy place? Because it was a pigsty compared to this place.

Dez decided he missed the warm, happy pigsty.
 

Smiling One

Heartbreaker and Life Taker
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Willis was a bit annoyed when the armored man didn't even specify the price. All he was promised was that the client will pay Willis handsomely. Said promise was a vague one at that but still, Willis was curious about this mission. The armored man already ruined his evening after all. The twins introduced themselves as Samuel and Samantha Blair, Willis found them fun-loving twins but he couldn't shake off the feeling that they were more deadly than they make themselves out to be. As Willis' old Pirate Captain Davis said: "Beware the silly one's lad! They'll rip you alive while you have your guard down!"

"He will be pleased," Willis said in regards to the armored man questioning his skill. "I always succeed in fulfilling my contract. The question is will your boss fill his end of the bargain?"

A bold thing to say but Willis was growing tired of being ripped off. Farmers he would understand (though he would still force them to pay up.) nobles were another story. Their sense of entitlement and superiority sometimes would turn Willis away. Dez was rather silent, almost somber. Willis saw that Dez had that homesick look on him and the last thing any of them needed was a partner not focused. "Hey Dez," Willis asked. "You any good in a fight?"

After about an hour of walking, the group arrived at the manor. It looked ominous but then again Willis heard too many ghost stories. Samantha mentioned that Willis would get his night of debauchery and winked at him causing the young man to smirk. "I'm looking forward to it Samantha," he smiled. "When I get paid, I know a place where we can unwind and get to know each other some more."
 
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Scythe and Nyght

Damn these chairs were comfy. All things relative, though. They were drunk as fuck, even the manor floor would be comfy right now. Funny though. For all their aspirations of making coin and moving up in society, they still longed for their old canvas tent out in the woods with the rest of their raider buddies. Just something about it that could never be matched by living the opulent Inner City life. Heh. Maybe they'd always have a rough edge. Fair enough. They liked it. But it was still fun to pretend otherwise every now and again.

Scythe and Nyght both arched their heads back just a bit more on the tops of the cushioned chairs to each look at Dez standing behind them.

"Yeah, Dez," said Scythe.
"You any good in a fight, Dez?" said Nyght.
"I mean, you could just kill everything out there."
"And we'll be moral support."
"Go, Dez, go. Don't stop choppin' til they start droppin'."

They could feel it. Both their heads getting heavy and settled in. Oof. It was gonna be dicey standing up when the Philanthropist came around. Slow and careful. That'd be the name of the game. And, well, if they failed, maybe by some wild stroke of luck they'd end up painting the floor the same color as the walls. See? Did some housework. Free of charge. Might smell a little, but nevermind that.

Scythe's body stared up at the ceiling while Nyght's body rolled (carefully...carefully) her head over to one side again to look at Willis. A little swoosh-swoosh in her head. But it settled. Didn't keep spinning down into a vomit spiral. Might've, if Scythe's body had moved his too and they got stuck with some double-trouble in dizzy drunktown.

All the better. Scythe's body could relax for the moment and Nyght's could chat with Willis; a little dose of asymmetry. Just part of the show, lads. Better this way. Awkward questions were bad enough sober. They couldn't even remember any of their ready-made excuses right now.

"Ooo, look at you, Willis," said Nyght. "You sure do know how to butter my biscuits. Oh, tell me about this place, why don't ya? No. Wait! Keep it a surprise! I love surprises! Mmhmm. You bet. Well, maybe you can tease me a bit about it. But not too much! Lil' bit. Lil' bit. Keep a girl in suspense. Butter those biscuits. Love it."

"You gotta live first to see it," said Scythe, grinning up at the ceiling.

"YOU GOTTA LIVE FIRST!" said Nyght. And they both laughed. Pure drunken silliness. "But no seriously Willis actually has a reason to protect me, go fuck yourself, Samuel."

"Ow. You wound me," said Scythe.

A couple of servants walked by further down in the foyer. Casting odd glances toward the group and the sound of Nyght's yelling. They continued on and disappeared down one of the hallways.
 

TheScarletDastard

Desmonthenes “Dez” Oracion
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Working in taverns and inns as often as he did, Dez was no stranger to drunk flirtation. Something about it always unsettled him. Maybe the fact that Willis was making moves with her brother literally right there made it a little more awkward.

Rolling his eyes at the twins' added commentary to Willis's question, Dez shrugged. His left hand moved to rest on his longsword. "I know how to use it, if that's what you're asking. I'm not a minstrel because I lack the skills to be a sellsword. Music just has a lower mortality rate."

Hearing movement in the upper floors of the house, Dez hoped their employer was on his way. Best that Barr give them the job before the Blairs ruined his carpet.

Now that he thought back, Scythe's apparent ease at Nyght's flirting with a guy she'd met all of 20 minutes prior brought to mind some other strange incidents surrounding the siblings. Watching them in the tavern, the pattern of their speech.... maybe that was the strangeness of being twins?

But the Flerol sisters who'd lived down the road from where Desmonthenes had grown up had been twins. They didn't bicker in a tired, knowing fashion, as if they had a comeback ready for every line because they already knew, had already thought, of what the other would say....

Dez gave the pair a careful glance before staring determinedly at the floor. Past the tavern stench and the bad breath, something here.... smelled like magic.
 

Smiling One

Heartbreaker and Life Taker
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Willis stepped inside the client's large mansion. He observed multiple paintings some were striking and dynamic likely portraying a massive battle. He also saw servants and armored guards going about their business likely preparing for their lord's arrival. From the corner of his eye, Willis spotted furniture that was in next to the painted window. In front of them was a marble table with flowers in a glass jar.

The client has coin hopefully he doesn't bullshit Willis with his price. Samantha and Samuel drunkenly stared at the furniture at well both looking fatigued. It's strange seeing them both tired, then again they both were causing a ruckus back at the Lute and Luger. Dez explained to Willis that he can use magic but prefers to be a bard because it has a significantly less chance at dying.

"Hah!" Willis laughed. "Being a minstrel is just as high than a mercenary!" He explained. "Sing a song that a lord doesn't get you hung or have your tongue cut out!"

There seems to be a distaste towards Bards lately when Willis passed a village on his way to Alliria he saw an angry crowd stabbing a group of bards to death. He didn't know why they did it, he presumed that they sang a song that insulted the village elder's wife or something. When he reached the docks though, Wiills saw heads of Bards being placed on spikes the crier claim that the Bards were saying scandalous things against influential lords. Dez may not be as safe as he claims to be.

Samantha moved seductively towards Willis smiling at him. Willis chuckled and he began to caress her pale, freckled cheek he loved bold, assertive women. "Oh I'll do more than just butter your biscuits sweetheart" he whispered getting close to Samantha. "Don't worry Samantha I'll protect you and I'll survive this mission unscathed. I'm too pretty to die."
 
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Scythe and Nyght

Lower mortality rate. Fair enough. Now that they thought about it, that was a fair argument for why they turned to being mercs instead of raiders. Yeah, their stepmom Leona was a bitch and she was a merc, and Scythe and Nyght had a hell of a time with all their raider buddies, contradiction there, but those raider days were never meant to last. Honestly, it was amazing it did for so long. Raiders and bandits led a hard damn life. Mercs too, but they were slightly less acceptable targets. Everybody fucking hated raiders and bandits.

Shit. Counterpoint from Willis on the mortality bit. Yeah. Fuck Lords. Cut their damn tongues out for ruining a good party. Hell, the Lute and Lager wouldn't have been as riotous as it was without Dez. Some fuckin' Lord would try and stomp out the fun of the common folk. And that, friends, is where the constant supply of said raiders and bandits usually came from. That, or being left for dead by your bitch stepmom. Whichever.

"Good thing everybody loves Ravishing Red, huh, Dez?" said Scythe.
"Lord tries hanging you for that one, he'll have a revolt on his hands," said Nyght.

And they sat there. Heads still on the backs of the cushioned chairs. Weighed down by the toll of rum. Nobody ever said the price of a good time was always up front. Hell, they preferred it this way. Why be hungover on your own time when you could be hungover on the job? Of course, if this shit the Philanthropist wanted done was in Alliria they were gonna have a rough go of it, but hey it wouldn't be all that different from drunken table dancing: Purposefully challenging. Yeah.

Willis touched Nyght's cheek. Stroked it. Scythe's body felt the same motion on his own cheek, a ghostly copy of it. Everything was copied like that. Everything shared; just like Hulgrim's punch. Only difference being one just felt more tangible than the other, and it was by that distinguishing they knew which body was actually being touched.

That sure as fuck took some getting used to in the first few days of their mind-merging. But they figured it out quick. Two consciousnesses come together, they each bring all their past experiences to the table. No separation anymore. Unified thought or some shit. The old enchanter explained it all far better in person than they could remember now. Rest in peace, old man.

Magic mumbo jumbo made short, their shared sensations made a lot of things way more interesting.

And Nyght's body giggled. Scythe's body was made to hold it in for a couple of seconds, then he too giggled. Some good ol' asymmetry. Her giggling made him giggle. That's the story and they were sticking to it.

"Mreow. Make me some breakfast, Willis," said Nyght. Drunkenly batting her eyes at him.
"That supposed to be sexy or something?" said Scythe.
"Don't be jealous."
"Of what?"
"The fact that Willis and I are the only ones here too pretty to die."
"Sorry, Dez, she's an asshole. Look, we shitters gotta stick together, you hear me?"

And they laughed. Slapping at each other with minimal effort.

* * * * *​

Ser Waldenwerth informed him that Samuel and Samantha Blair, along with two additional mercenaries by the names of Willis Reede and Desmonth, were waiting down in the foyer. Good. Excellent timing. His chamber servant was just putting the finishing touches on cutting and grooming his blonde hair.

Nathaniel Barr rose from the chair in the upstairs lounge and the servant set about sweeping up the bits of hair from the floor. He brushed off a few loose hairs and made sure all of them were gone off of his expensive and ornate robes. And, Ser Waldenwerth dutifully walking along at his left side, Barr walked from the lounge and down the hallway and to the upstairs landing of the foyer and saw them down there by the guest chairs. Barr casually stepped down the stairs and crossed the distance of the lower foyer and approached them.

Scythe and Nyght stood up from their chairs as he came close. And they looked like absolute shit. At least the other two seemed more in order. A bit young for the boy with the straw-colored hair--Desmonth, Waldenwerth had said--but he would do. Die, perhaps, if his reach exceeded his grasp in taking on this job. But pawns and fodder were necessary. Armies were made up of them, were they not? And armies were an extension of a powerful man's will. The same applied here, only on a smaller scale.

All that mattered was the job being done. Favors were worth far more than gold.

Barr stopped just short of the collection of mercenaries. Regarded them all with a cordial smile and hands folded behind his back. Ser Waldenwerth still to his left.

Barr eyed Scythe and Nyght. Said flatly, "An eventful night, I presume?"

They both stood there. Looking like they wanted to say something. But then came the price of their wanton inebriation, and they both doubled over, hands on knees, and vomited on his floor in a synchronized motion. Fascinating to watch, the effects of the enchantment placed upon them, their so-called 'mind-merging'. Barr could never imagine why anyone would ever want such a thing willingly, but so long as it continued to make them useful and fairly reliable sellswords then it was of no immense concern. An understanding, between Barr and the twins. All business. No personal questions or moral judgments. A very agreeable arrangement for an ambitious man who had no time for scruples.

Barr snapped his fingers without looking at Ser Waldenwerth. And Waldenwerth sharply replied, "Yes, My Lord."

And Waldenwerth quickly set off across the foyer and disappeared down a hallway to grab some house servants to clean up the mess.

Barr turned his attention to Willis. Said, "Two hundred gold. That was your asking price, correct?" And he looked to Desmonth then and said, "Is that sum agreeable for you as well?"

Scythe and Nyght stayed doubled over. Panting and swearing.

Barr didn't really care if they had told Willis or Desmonth their precious raider names yet. Said them anyway. "Scythe. Nyght. You two are fortunate. The job is two day's worth of travel east into the Reach. Quite enough time to come to your fighting senses, is it not?"

"Plenty...of time...boss..." said Scythe between breaths.
"Tell me...its rescuing...a cat...outta tree," said Nyght between breaths.

"Shipment recovery. Simple."

And Barr looked to Willis and Desmonth. Gauging the expressions on their faces.