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The Tenth Title [ IC / Accepting ]


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#1
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"So many people are vying for the title."

 

The Embassy's iconic decagon table was occupied.  Eight pairs of eyes studied each other person.  One pair sat closed.  The seat nearest to the door remained empty.  As it had been for months.

 

The man who sat facing the Tyrant's seat spoke up again.  "We may have made an error in judgment.  We cannot sit in a perpetual standstill while our countries deteriorate around us."

 

"With all due respect, Mr. Speaker." another voice interrupted, simultaneously muffled and drawling, "You hold no say in this matter.  We have been through this a dozen times now and we've already come to a voted decision."  The voice paused and the woman lifted her head off the table, opening her eyes. She yawned.  "Besides," she continued, "I have a feeling that the seat will be filled before we have to take drastic measures."  She grinned at the Speaker who was looking disapproving, "as you said, many people want the title."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

If Makoplos made up the heart of Carth, its capital city of Manae was the heart of hearts.  A relatively small capital, it was known for its architecture that were often covered in artistic symbols of many of the ancient cultures that used to exist on Carth.  Before, Manae used to be a simple tourist spot for many peoples of the other nations.  For the past few months though, the city was booked to overcapacity.

 

Rodyn loved it though.  His tavern hadn't had so much business in years.  Not only was money flowing, but there was always gossip to keep even the most starved information broker fed for weeks.  Ah, it's a good time to be alive, he thought as he fished a few bronze coins out of the bottom of a mug.


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#2
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        A busy tavern. They'd been told to look for one in Manae. They were told the owners name was Rodyn. It took them two days of searching, they could have found it sooner if it weren't for their "unique" appearance. It seemed recently more people had begun seeking out Immortals and their secrets, for Sol this was an issue; as long as they had lived, and it has been quite a long time, they've been mistaken for that very thing. Mages would attempt to drain them for power or study them to discover the long lost secret, all were disappointed, most would become violent. They too were disappointed by their circumstances. Sol should have been an Immortal and yet something about them was wrong. That is why they were here. Searching all of Manae. Searching for a tavern owned by Rodyn. A busy tavern.

 

    Sol ducked into an alley near by; they wanted to be sure no one saw them enter. Checking their reflection in a dirty puddle on the ground they adjusted the wrappings that covered their face and analyzed their cloak. Sure nothing was revealed they confidently walked to the dilapidated brick building, noting the squeaking of the not-quite-properly-hinged door, and approached the bar. They decided to start by speaking a language everyone seemed to understand and slammed a silver coin on the counter with their gloved hand. Not for a drink of course, the idea of a drink costing that much in such a run down hole was foolish, Sol was shopping for information.


Insanity.


#3
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What a run down hovel I've ended up in.

That was all Ethoeth could think as he wandered the cobbled streets of Manae, his bare souls cold and hard as the street itself. All around him he heard the buzz of secrets like flies on manure, so pungent and yet precious. He came here because he knew that if it was information he wanted, the heart of the manipulators' nation was sure to have it. The question was, where? And what does a secret dealer look like?

As Ethoeth pondered these questions, his eyes rested upon a cloaked figure in a shaded alley about a block off. He seemed to dart through shadow like a mist, and with direction and purpose. "Secrets where cloaks it seems..."

Keeping out of sight, Ethoeth trails the cloak into a... tavern? How strange for a tavern to not have a sign outside. Now, where was the menu... Wait, that wasn't right. Ethoeth had come here for knowledge, not beverage. Leering around once more he sees the familiar cloak resting a coin on the counter. He pulls up beside them and lays down two more silver coins.

"Your finest, sir."

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#4
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    "Your finest sir" a man had approached the bar and, like Sol had done, placed down silver coins.

 

    They turned and examined the man. He was barefoot it seemed, an uncommon but not particularly unusual choice, most common among beggars they'd come to know; however based on his dress, fine material, it was expensive; not a speck of dirt, it was cleaned regularly; and no holes, it was well kept; They were sure he was no poor commoner. considering his choice in payment along with his well kept self Sol determined he was either moderately wealthy or a fairly decent mage in his own right. Either way someone they might be able to communicate with.

 

    Deciding to take the chance, perhaps hoping they'd come for the same type of information, Sol spun around on their stool and pulled their arms out from their cloak with a single fluid motion, a bit of a flourish even to catch his attention, and signed to him a single word spelled out "I-M-M-O-R-T-A-L" followed by a gesture that signaled it was a question. It was a risky move considering curious peoples tendency to wonder what lied beneath their cloth but after analyzing the crowd Sol was sure they'd be able to evade this man if need be.


Insanity.


#5
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Whether it be wine or wit I get out of this, I'm sure it will be good

That's what he thought as a flourish of cloth passed Ethoeth's ears. It seems the cloak he followed took notice of him. Their hands moved in a mild flurry towards him and rested as if expecting a reply. A mute cloak would keep the most secrets, I suppose. "No tongue eh? Suppose you want something of me. Fine, I suppose I can speak with you some way."

Ethoeth produced two small pebbles, smooth rocks tumbled by the sea, and tossed them in his hand. His fingers glowed faintly with power as the stones took the enchantment. He set them on the counter gently and raised his hand once more, his hearty fingers spread. "Barkeep, two glasses and a bottle. The clearer the better, come now."

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#6
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Rodyn looked at the pair.  He wasn't one of those barkeeps with the best memories of people's faces, but he was fairly certain he'd remember an unusual pair like this one.  He grunted as he raised himself from his leaning position and scooped up the coins, pocketing them as he turned and grabbed a bottle from the upper shelf.  Filling up a tankard until the foam raised an inch off the brim, Rodyn slapped the drink down in front of the hefty man and leaned on the counter.  There wasn't much else to do anyway.

 

"You don't often see people orderin' a drink this early." He said.  Scratching his beard, he grinned.  An old white scar became more prominent on his face.  "You two together?"

 

 

 

As the barkeep chatted with the two strangers, another hooded figure watched the duo with interest.  The figure's eyes glowed purple and they smiled.  A brown aura and a green aura.  How... interesting.  The figure went back to picking at the charred flatbread and eggs.  Hopefully those two would stay for a bit...


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#7
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"You don't often see people orderin' a drink this early. You two together?" The scraggly beard of the barkeep muffled his speech, but nonetheless he spoke as he set down the drink. "Just getting to know one another over some liquid bread." Ethoeth replied, stretching his hand out in a friendly manner. Then in one swift movement he snatched the bottle from the bartender with his mannered hand and turned to his cloaked companion. "Now, where were we..."

He plunked one of the stones into the bottle and, as the stone sunk in the hazel-brown liquid, a pair of ethereal legs popped out, followed by a pair of arms. A quick salute to Ethoeth made the new being's loyalty clear. "Interpret, 5 minutes. Be discrete." Ethoeth instructed, pointing a finger at the cloak seated beside him. The bottle saluted him once more and did a wobbly march over to its target. It faced the cloak and held a hand cupped outward onto the bottle neck to signal its intent to listen. "There, a messenger. Speak how you do."

Ethoeth turned to the barkeep once more. "I can pay for the bottle and keep it or you can have it back once my stone is gone, hawk it as an elixer maybe." Ethoeth smiled as he folded his hands onto the bar.

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    Sol stared in amusement at the bottle-made familiar, examining it's little appendages with intrigue and wondering how it's translation would work. deciding to test it out they signed a few random words "Mystic, portable, interchangeability" Satisfied with the result they returned their attention to their potential informant "You seek Immortal secret like many other mage?"

 

    Sol paused and looked around the bar. sure no one was looking their way they pulled a scroll and enchanted quill from their cloak. Placing the quill on the bar before Ethoeth they unwound the scroll just enough to reveal the title "The Immortal Question, a wittily named collection of notes on the synthesis & study of Immortals and Immortal-like beings"

 

    "Contribute" they signed "and you may read." Sol quick stashed the scroll back in their cloak, leaving the quill for him to consider their offer.

 

    It was a dangerous move no doubt, the chance that this man was willing to steal all of their work was very real, especially if their guess about his interest in Immortals was wrong, but Sol had been at this for who knows how long and the increase in interest on the subject of Immortals had only decreased their patience over the last few months. There were many a mage in the world unwilling to share their secrets with others, some have even killed to ensure none learned their finely crafted spells. If someone were to discover the secret before Sol, and if that person wasn't particularly fond of sharing, their hopes for completion would be dashed in an instant.


Insanity.


#9
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Rodyn leaned over the bar a bit to read the title of the scroll.  "Immortals?" he said with a grin, a little too loudly.  "Yeah, I dunno much about 'em myself, but you did come to the right place."  The barkeep pushed his stomach off the bar and caught the eye of the hooded figure in the corner and winked.

 

"Listen," he said, fishing up the silver coin and flicking it back to Sol, "I'd love to keep this, but if ya aren't here for food and drink I wouldn't feel right keepin' this from ya.  I'm a fair man.  If it's info ya want, you can pay the information brok--, uh, information connoisseur directly.  I just host 'em."

 

As Rodyn talked, the hooded figure sidled up to the bar and sat on Sol's other side.  "But money makes the world go round, does it not Rodyn?" the figure said, voice sounding oddly hollow.  Rodyn laughed and nodded.  "So... you two are interested in immortals?"  The figure turned to the duo.  "My name is Sone.  I think I can help you."


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#10
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    "My name is Sone.  I think I can help you."

 

    It seemed Sol's informant was correct, while they'd wrongly assumed the entirety of the tavern would have the info they wanted, there was something of value to be found.

 

    "Can you now?" they added the gesture for "lie" to signify their disbelief "What exactly you want in return?" Sol took their returned coin from the counter, turning it back and forth as if to check if it was real before returning it to the mystery of their their cloak "More than just coin correct?"

 

    They once again pulled out their scroll, the document that contained every piece of information on Immortals they'd encountered, and showed it to their new potential informant, their grip tighter than any vice.

 

    "A fair trade? knowledge for knowledge."


Insanity.


#11
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It seems as if Ethoeth's stature has let the limelight drift from him. With the mouthy bartender spouting off about the cloak's scroll, another one slinks up, far more creepy than Ethoeth's original person of interest. And now it seems the secret vendor is selling to anyone who walks up to them. "Bottle, time's up." With a glowing snap, the remnants of the stone inside dissipated completely and rendered the bottle immobile and silent once more.

Ethoeth rose from his seat and approached the pair of shaded figures. Pressing the scroll back towards the original owner from behind his back, Ethoeth spoke. "My name is Ethoeth Betlot. My new friend," Ethoeth shot a friendly glance back at the cloak, with a dagger sharp urgency in his eyes to shut him up. "Isn't the best at language I'm afraid. Sone, was it? What's your fare for this information? I'm sure I could provide the proper coinage."

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He tossed a single gold coin lightly into the air, it's glamour fracturing the dim lighting of the tavern. "Perhaps a down payment?"

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#12
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"A fair trade? knowledge for knowledge."

 

Before Sone could respond, the man, looking a bit huffy, dissipated the magic that was in the bottle, rendering it immobile.

 

"Perhaps a down payment?"

 

"Ah, well, one offers knowledge and one offers coin.." Sone said, looking up to the ceiling.  Its skeletal grin widened.  "The city is an expensive place to live.  I could use the coin, but I think I've gained all I can from staying here."  Sone looked back at the duo and its voice deepened, "I am actually aiming to leave the city.  If you could provide me escort, I will give you all the information I know."

 

Rodyn snorted, "Heh, you've been askin' people to help ya leave for weeks Sone.  No one's dumb enough to trade their own hides for the possibility of information!" The tavern door opened and Rodyn slid away from the trio, his booming voice greeting what was probably a regular.

 

OOC


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#13
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"I am actually aiming to leave the city. If you could provide me escort, I will give you all the information I know." A chill ran through Ethoeth as the near-skeleton muttered the words. There wasn't enough money in the mint to make him want to do anything with that creep.

"Heh, you've been askin' people to help ya leave for weeks Sone. No one's dumb enough to trade their own hides for the possibility of information!" This seemed like the most sensible thing the barkeep has said since Ethoeth walked in behind the cloak. "I am inclined to agree with the help, Sone. I will be staying here... with my bottle." He turned away from the boney thing and returned to his seat at the bar, the bottle half way between him and the cloak with the scroll. He turned the offered gold over in his fingers once more, giving it a spark of magic. "Here," he said, tossing it sideways at the goggled figure. "I'm sure you'll find some way to use it. Off with you."

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    "I am inclined to agree with the help, Sone. I will be staying here... with my bottle."

 

    Sol observed the exchange between the two, the bottle mage seemed put off by their skeletal interrupter, and weighed their options. Without him to translate for them communicating with the new source of intel could be troublesome but the knowledge he offered was certainly desirable.

 

    "What form escort, protection?" Sol signed, deciding to inquire further in hopes the man could understand. If he was looking for a bodyguard of sorts, as is often the case, Sol wasn't sure they'd be able to accept. At least not without convincing the bottle mage to join them . . .

 

    "I'm sure you'll find some way to use it. Off with you."

 

    Sol was quickly pulled from their thoughts by the conversation at hand. It seemed their translator intended to leave, not something they'd like, while Sol loathed confrontation this man had taken away their ability to object to anything that was happening so it seemed a display of force would be necessary. quickly and carefully Sol constructed a Mana chain and attached it to them self and their now potential "unwilling helper". it was weak and somewhat thin as a result of the speed at which they'd made it but that didn't matter, it was more an attention grabber than a restraint.


Insanity.


#15
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The shuffling between the two was amusing, but Sone sensed that there was a potential anchor with the ...quiet one.  That said, Sone thought things wouldn't be easy if they couldn't communicate with me.

 

Sone spun off its stool quickly and reached out an arm to tap Ethoeth, careful to keep its cloak up as much as possible.  Sone couldn't be scaring of Rodyn's customers.  Again.

 

"I understand your hesitation," Sone said, hollow words tumbling out in a rush, "The barkeep was exaggerating.  The escort is less a matter of protection, and more a matter of... well..."  Sone looked down.  It crushed a tiny ant that was skittering across the floor.  "I don't want to explain everything now but I... I become immobile under certain conditions.  All I really need is a companion so that that doesn't happen."

 

Sone backed away from Ethoeth.  "I can understand if you still do not want to escort me, but if... your friend... is interested, I would like to ask if I can borrow one of those familiars of yours.  You know, for communication.  I'd be extremely grateful."


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#16
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Ethoeth stared at his cup as the chain formed around him, and continued to stare while the boney one spoke. It was all a buzz like a gnat too close to the ear to ignore. Yet his cup stood there like a rock on a calm sea, and he didn't want to look away. "Fine then," he said, raising his chain-sided hand above his head. With a dull flash, his hand struck down through the chain, glowing with the power of the earth.

"I'll give you a translator," he murmured, raising his stoney hand to the counter. His hand relaxed as the magic waxed and waned into the second stone resting on the counter. "They're not tough and they're not smart, but a bottle works wonders." Producing a bottle from his belt, Ethoeth dropped the newly powered stone in. A familiar set of arms and legs emerged, and saluted Ethoeth as he held it by the neck. "Translate." He pointed at the now-semi-familiar cloak as he instructed the bottle.

"You should have enough magic for a day, give or take. Just don't break it or drink it, unless you want to be coughing up mud and whatever fluids you had in you." With a wave of his hand, he was done. "I'm staying here. Go where you want, but please cease with you're sensless haggling."

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#17
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    Sol was a little shaken by the way he'd broken their chain, they'd hoped he wouldn't notice it and would simply trip when he tried to get up. None the less he was reasonable enough to provide them with what they needed and, as a bonus, the skeletal figure had said protection wasn't quite what he was after.

 

    "When would you like go?" they signed to their new employer after lifting up the translating bottle-familiar and placing it on what one might call their shoulder, almost like some sort of pet.

 

    While they waited for a response Sol thought about the curious bottle mage. he had seemed interested in their research and yet when given the opportunity to examine it and possibly gain additional info from another source he'd refused. surely if he believed it was some sort of trap he'd insist Sol not go as well, not out of any care for their health but for the information they had offered; if he'd thought it dangerous it seemed all the more strange, he was adept in at least Earth and possibly Water magic based on his use of his bottles. Perhaps he wasn't well versed in anything offensive? certainly a strange one.

 

    As a last minute thought Sol grabbed a piece of paper from within their cloak, imbuing it with their mana before ripping it in half and losing about half a centimeter of height in the process. Sol handed one of the halves to Ethoeth and signed to him "Contact after. Unfinished business."


Insanity.


#18
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"Thank you" Sone said to the portly man.  He may have been a bit stuffy, a bit rough around the edges, but it seemed as though this Ethoeth fellow wasn't bad at heart.  That said, now that Sone had a companion...

 

Sone moved back over to the right side of his new friend and regained his seat.

 

"When would you like go?" the little bottle familiar squeeked.  It had a cute voice for a bottle.

 

"The sooner the better.  There's still daylight today, but we can wait until tomorrow if you want a fresh start.  Been stuck here for a couple months, another night wouldn't kill me." Sone chuckled "I wouldn't want to rush you out of the city if you've just gotten here though.  You could see some sights, gather some info..."  Sone paused for a moment, "You know, I don't think I got your name?"

 

*******

 

With his regular now boisterously chatting with a few other patrons, Rodyn slid back down the bar.  He'd seen a bit of commotion out of the corner of his eye, but it seemed as though the two cloaked figures had hit it off.  The rich guy on the other hand looked annoyed.

 

Rodyn grinned.  He hadn't become a self-proclaimed expert information roundsman without learning a few tricks to loosen angry lips.  He filled another tankard and slid it toward Eth... Ethan?  Ethyl?  Whatever.

 

"On the house," Rodyn boomed.  He then leaned down conspiratorially and said, "Listen, I think ya made a good choice not mixin' up with Sone.  Sorry I tossed 'im at you two." Rodyn scratched his chin. "If you're still interested in info, there's a few professors at the Institute who come by here in the evenings.  They'll probably show up in a few hours.  I can put ya up in a room until they get here."


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