Crusade (Invite)

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Kai
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Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:54 pm

To think, I assumed it was just some isolated street brawl, Joachim mused.

They'd never seen him coming, too caught up in watching for armed Nekojin to worry about some passing tourist. Joachim didn't think that the poor frightened servants had seen him, either. What was he supposed to do, just walk by? He'd tried to break up the fight, but it had escalated and... well, and then there were more people leaping into the fray and the two green-skinned men had been mobbed.

Not wishing to get mixed up with Nekojin nobility again, Joachim had left for for a drink. Plum wine had always been too sweet for him, but now all that mattered was the smell. The big sandy-haired halberdier had been staring down into his glass when Nakano-san's mincing little Nekojin manservant had summoned him back. These attacks, these sudden vicious brawls, were a regular occurrence. Someone ought to do something about it. Would Joachim be so kind?

How did Joachim always end up in these situations? It seemed like there was always somebody who needed something important, something they didn't seem to think they could trust anybody else with, something he'd have felt terrible refusing. No matter what he thought of Nakano himself, there was Nakano's family to think of. Couldn't have them all being hounded to death by a seemingly-endless tide of raging Orcs.

Irksome as it was, it was probably the right thing to do. He still hadn't worked up the nerve to track down that Doman seamstress, and Nekonia was about as close as he could come to that road without actually committing to it. While he was here... he might as well make himself useful to someone. Nobody ever said it had to be anything more complicated than that.

He put his glass down. The local guard had asked him to come check out the only Orc they'd managed to capture, verify that he had indeed been a party to the attack. Seemed simple enough. They knew he'd been there, that he'd assisted, and now they just wanted to finalize whatever insane bureaucratic procedures went into an arrest around these parts. Joachim laid a few coins on the bar and tipped the grey longhaired Nekojin tender a brief salute as thanks and a goodbye.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:45 pm

Tarou was somewhere between frustration and unconsciousness. Though he had told the orc he was sharing a cell with differently, he'd been in this cell for a few days now; Thievery had been added to his vagrancy charge when Doman coin had been found amongst his possessions, and now he was in here for a while, so they could contact the other nation's government about outstanding warrants for him. Ignoring the blatant injustice, and the irony of the two charges taken together, he wasn't particularly worried: He knew he wasn't a thief, they would have to release him eventually.

What was frustrating was that the orc he was sharing a cell with was a well spoken gentleman in shiny armor, just about as big as Tarou himself was and apparently an intellectual in his spare time between false arrests. So very tasty looking, fairly clever, well mannered, and pretty obviously not interested in Tarou's polite but less than subtle advance. He was a good sport about it, at least. Tarou's disappointment was blunted someone by his second irritation, caused by the first: Kobakk had been allowed to hold onto a Nekonian Philosophy book to pass the time while he was in here. They did not, however, leave him his glasses, and the print was pretty fine. Tarou had volunteered to read it for Kobakk, and the orc had accepted. Tarou liked to think he had turned over a new leaf years back and was far more cerebral these days, but his eyes were rolling and if he wasn't careful he was going to fall straight to sleep. He'd been reading for over an hour now. He paused to look over, and see if his cell mate was faring any better through Tarou's deep, droning voice. As he looked over, it occured to him that Kobakk might have thought he was joking earlier. Too early to try again, though. Unless something happened to change matters significantly, he had a few days at least before he was getting out, and he doubted Kobakk would get to leave any sooner.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:19 pm

Kobakk had a thought, as he listened to his new associate speak on Mervin's theories on the nature of the mind. What was it, essentially? The mind? Was it a construct of society, moulded like clay by external forces of society and circumstance, or was it born, whole-formed, responding to stimuli in the way it always was intended to? It was a deep question, pitting nature against nurture, personal choice against destiny, and your place in the universe against your ability to make the universe in your image.

It was then that Kobakk realized he was not thinking... he was dreaming. A germ of a dream, an infant... but a dream nonetheless. Reaching out from the veil of sleep, he opened his real eyelids, drew in breath sharply, and reassociated himself with the world around him. The cage was there, the cell... Tarou, his cellmate and orator... and the book that started his descent into slumber.

"Mm!" he said, shaking the cobwebs from his mind. "My apologies, Tarou... I suppose your voice is more somnetic than I first guessed... don't worry, though. I didn't miss a thing.

"How are you enjoying it, I wonder?" he asked. "I realize this can be dry material..."

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:25 pm

Tarou's narrative pause lengthened after Kobakk had finished speaking.

"Som... netic? The word's not familiar. I guess you mean I made you sleepy? I'm pretty close to..." He yawned. "passing out myself. I think I can keep going for a little bit, though."

If uninterrupted, he would return to reading.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:43 pm

Big quiet guy, that's what they all thought. Man of few words. Strong, silent type. The kind of stereotypes that one would think ought to get Joachim laid so often he'd barely have time to eat or sleep.

Mostly, though, it was just inconvenient. A guy could get a long way on hai or ie, but they weren't usually very interesting conversations.

"You a citizen?"

"Ie."

"Name?"

"Imai Yoakimu," the Human answered. If the "y" came out more as a glottal stop than a proper consonant, and the "k" was squished down in the back of his throat a little, it didn't matter. They were expecting him.

"Here to identify that green-skinned murderer?"

Uncomfortable with the tone of the question, Joachim answered with little more than a grunt in the affirmative. "...un."

Frowning at the rather rude reply, the jailer nonetheless accepted it. "All right. This way, Imai-san."

With his hands in his pockets, Joachim followed the black-and-white Nekojin with the ripped ear down to the cells. Placidly he stood behind the petty local jailer, and gazed into the cell. Some Nekojin, and--as promised--an Orc.

"This one look familiar?"

"...un," he answered, nodding. He'd certainly seen him before.

"What'd you see him doing during the fight, Imai-san?"

Joachim paused, puzzling. That wasn't going to be an easy one to answer.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:00 pm

Tarou was indeed interrupted. Their jailer was joined by a tall human this time, who spoke the language of the land. Or, at least, UNDERSTOOD it... "un" wasn't any Nekonian word he recognized. Though "oruku" was... he'd been called it many a time on his way to his cell. Since he was now being looked at and now being gestured to, he hoped he was being identified... as someone NOT involved in the brawl.

"Excuse me?" he said to the human, assuming he knew Common. "Can you please tell these nice Nekonians I'm not one of the ones they want? I tried to explain I'm a Baronian knight, but they seem to have made their mind up... can you please change their minds on this?"

Thank Indari, a mediator, he thought. I should be out of this little debacle soon...

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:06 pm

Tarou stopped reading Philosophy for a minute, and listened to the exchange. The more he listened to the various speakers, the more he got the feeling that he was the only one present and interested that understood everyone else.
Last edited by Besyanteo on Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:15 pm

Ah! This was going to be much easier.

It was indeed true that Joachim didn't think this was one of the Orcs they were trying to apprehend. His memory of people he slugged in the face or cut down with a halberd was not always perfect--they did tend to blend together a bit--and he wasn't a great judge of Orcs, either. Didn't know enough of them to tell them apart terribly well.

Still. This guy didn't seem like he fit with those others, and Joachim would indeed like to clarify this to the Nekojin jailer. Thankfully, Kobakk had spoken first.

Joachim snapped his fingers to draw attention both to himself, and to his finger as he pointed to Kobakk. He nodded his agreement, and pointed again in a "what he said," motion.

"He's been saying that all day," the Nekojin explained, evidently exhausted with the reptition. "Can you verify the truth of it?"

Joachim shrugged.

"So you don't know whether this is one of the Orcs you saw?"

Joachim extended one hand, sweeping his index finger back and forth to negate the Nekojin's words. Not so fast, you, he thought.

"Well, then, who is he?"

Joachim shrugged. Wasn't his business.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:26 pm

Ok, so, there were a few possibilities. The first was that the man was an idiot. Tarou was, unfortunately, all too familiar with that. The other was that he didn't speak Nekonian well, which... didn't mesh as well as it could with the fact that he seemed to understand well enough. The third possibility was that he he didn't speak it well, wanted to cover it up and was choosing to do so by acting like an idiot. He might not be being very charitable, but he couldn't think of an alternative possibility right now, without more information. The guard's tone and line of questioning made it apparent that he'd reached some decision, he just wanted someone to back him up. He really didn't need that if Kobakk was just going to be cooling his heels here for a while. No reason not to get involved, plenty of reason to do so. Well then! In Nekonian:

"You don't speak the language. You understand it at least pretty well, but you aren't confident that you can say it back. Is that about right, mister?"

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:31 pm

Joachim grinned. It was occasionally kind of nice to have at least one person around who understood how to work around his... issue.

Still... this stranger's observation wasn't entirely on target. He replied, "Eh..." and wobbled his hand in the air to indicate that Tarou was so-so correct, but not perfectly so. Joachim understood Nekonian perfectly well, and the communication barrier was indeed in speaking it back.

He held up a finger so that Tarou would hold off on immediately replying. He then laid his hand over his own mouth to symbolically silence himself, then removed it and shrugged apologetically. The problem wasn't in speaking Nekonian. It was with speaking at all.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:41 pm

He understood the hand wobble immediately; Part way right. Ok. He opened his mouth... shut it. The man gestured for quiet. He waited, looking miffed. Covered his mouth... put his hand down and shrugged. What? Ok, think. He obviously understood, got the nuances that he wasn't necessarily being insulted. But he spoke in syllables and half sounds, and filled in with hand gestures and body language all over the place.

Was he mute? Well, damn. He couldn't do much in the way of translation for a mute. Ok, he stopped to consider. He'd understood what Kobakk had said, or it looked like he had. Kobakk needed an advocate, the man needed someone to talk for him, apparently. He decided it was time to double check that he was on the same page with everyone.

"Ok. So you and I both understand Nekonian and Common, but you don't talk much of anything. Kobakk here speaks only common, and you" he pointed to the jailer "Don't speak common. Otherwise Kobakk could be his own advocate, the man here could have simply confirmed his story by now and he'd be on his way out. Is that all right or close to?"

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:59 pm

"I understand Common perfectly well, you flea-bitten stray," the jailer snapped back in Nekonian. Joachim blinked at the sudden rancor. "But I have no reason to believe what some lying barbarian and some..." He sneered. "Some vagabond have to say about an assault on one of our most respected families."

Joachim snapped his fingers again twice, drawing eyes to him. He pointed to himself and shrugged. What about him?

"Do you say that you saw this Orc during the fight?"

Joachim shook his head. "Ie."

"You're certain," came the incredulous reply.

He crossed his arms over his broad chest, holding back an impatient sigh. He nodded.

"You," the Nekojin addressed Kobakk in Common for once. "This man says he did not see you at the fight. Because Imai-san fought to restore the supremacy of our Empress over the territory of New Nekonia, I will believe him. Next time you may not get so lucky."

Joachim winced, but did not argue. In fact, he shoved his hands back in his pockets. Considering how frequently he relied on his hands to speak, the gesture effectively removed him from the conversation. He really didn't want to talk about his record right now. That whole situation had been terrible.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:20 am

Kobakk thought back to his "mediator" comment. Eh. Close enough. His freedom was more important than the means by which he attained it, within reason. Anyways, soon the gates would be open, and he would be free...

... but not alone, if he could help it.

Bowing to his "gracious" host, he replied, "The people of Baron thank you for this act of mercy, Warden. But, I was hoping," he said, looking to his cellmate, "that you could extend the mercy to one other?"

He looked to his lionous cohort. Not having money should not be a crime, and Tarou had been so gracious to him when they cohabitated, if only for a short moment. He would see his freedom, come hell, high water, or the bigotry of any man of power.

"My lord," (they always liked being called My lord) "my friend here... his only sin is forgetting his coinpurse at home when he took a walk. Surely this should not warrant his incarceration... could you also grant clemency for this minor mistake, for which he is surely sorry?"

This is on the assumption that he has both a home and a coinpurse, thought Kobakk. Don't make a liar of me, my friend...

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:37 am

The warden was digging at his waist for the key to the cell when Kobakk addressed him. He didn't immediately dismiss Kobakk, since groveling and flattery were a far better way to get heard than impatience and offense--however justified. As such, Kobakk actually got an answer.

"This is not the first time we've had him in here, Sir Knight," the Nekojin replied, stressing Kobakk's self-described title almost enough to be sarcastic, but not quite enough to be certainly so. "I strongly doubt that he's a productive resident of our city. I'm quite certain any coinpurse we find on Sato would be stolen."

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:54 am

He fumed. The man was just spouting lies now. Did he answer to no one at the end of the day? He must, Nekonia wasn't lacking a government. He probably figured that no one who ended up in here was likely to be listened to by anyone who mattered. He didn't rise to the bait, exactly, but he did look at Kobakk and this other fellow earnestly.

"He's lying. He's never seen me before putting me in here, and neither have any of his subordinates. The coins he's talking about -are- mine."

He just doesn't want miss a chance to make someone's time here more miserable. These people don't know me, though. I wouldn't fault them for leaving without getting involved further.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:14 am

This really didn't involve Joachim, beyond him coming here and vouching for the fact that Kobakk had nothing to do with the situation which now was his business. He ought to go pick up Paco from the temple's stable, go get on his patrol for the next attack against the Nakano.

Instead, he was standing here witnessing a heated argument between a prisoner and his warden, and now the prisoner was looking at him.

There was something Joachim was learning about himself, through a series of truly bizarre occurrances. He had a soft spot for the incarcerated. This was more than a few instances--counting the first--when it had occurred to him that people should maybe not have other people under their control. It just--

It just made them go bad somehow.

Like this Nekojin. Probably he was nice to his wife, if he had one. Might have a fish at home with a name and immense importance to his children or something equally silly as far as Joachim knew. Just a person. But stick him in charge of people with no supervision and... well... look at him.

"We have no reason to believe that," the jailer answered. "And neither does anyone else."

Joachim shifted his jaw thoughtfully, pondering how to interject. "He owe Mrr?" he asked in Common, both so that he wouldn't be excluding Kobakk and so that he could use the easier Common vocabulary.

"And if he does?" the warden replied.

Having made his decision, Joachim shrugged. "Maybe I pay." He raised his eyebrows expectantly, predicting a challenge.

"It's quite a bit," the Nekojin ventured.

Joachim looked at the offense on the prisoner's face, and back to the jailer. He jerked his head once sideways in a terse negative. "Ie," he said simply. His gaze was steady and unperturbed. He wasn't going to pay some silly exorbitant bribe, but... he'd be willing to pay a minor one.

"Well..." came the reply from a somewhat-flustered jailer who saw an opportunity for a few quick coins rapidly disappearing. "I suppose if you were to pay for some of it, we could release him for now."

Silence. Joachim just stared at him.

"And... of course, provided he gets in no more trouble... we could forget about this whole thing entirely."

"Hm," Joachim grunted. "Maybe."

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:22 am

Kobakk smirked. He was in the presence of a decent fellow. If he had known a greased palm was all that was needed to secure his friend's release, he would have done it already. But this large human, who apparently knew Nekonians far better than he did, had put money towards the release of someone he'd known for all of five minutes, and that made him a shining star in his books.

This day was starting to look up.

"Well!" he exclaimed, "now that that's all resolved, I suggest we all make our way to the exit." As quickly as possible...

"Sir Jailer," he said, with one more bow, "it has been an honour."

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:39 am

With the jailer paid and everyone eager for the trio to leave, they did exactly that. A not insubstantial part of Tarou wanted to berate the jailer, tell him exactly who and what he was... but he throttled it down. He was out, Kobakk was out, and they both retrieved their various belongings. They were free! Once they got out the door, Tarou meant to thank Joachim... Who saluted and then started to head off before he could say anything. He should probably let it go, and be glad for the help, but he couldn't. It didn't feel right. He started after Joachim, while calling back after Kobakk:

"Coming?"

Tarou was a fairly quick fellow, and it didn't take him long to catch up to Joachim.

"Hey, where's the fire?"

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:50 pm

Joachim paid the jailer some sum of money--he wasn't sure how much it was, if the exchange rate were not equivalent between New Nekonia and Nekonia--so that the Nekojin prisoner could leave along with the Orc, and was glad to be done with the whole messy business.

It wasn't necessarily that Joachim had any hard feelings toward the strangers for giving him a reason to spend money; he'd chosen to do that, and didn't resent this Sato for it. Joachim just... didn't like talking in front of people, and he wasn't entirely comfortable hanging around with people who'd expect him to do it.

Ought to just go pick up Paco, head over to that Daimyo's place, and just hang around for the evening to drive off whoever caused trouble that night. Just him, and his mount.

"Hey, where's the fire?" came a voice from behind him.

Deep voice, but animated. That Nekojin, Sato. Joachim stopped, turned, and lifted his hand in a wave. "Work," he answered.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:24 pm

Work, huh? He'd feel crappy stalking the guy as he went about his day at some vendor's stand or other profession where he was just trying to interact with the locals to make a few coins, but he was pretty sure this fellow didn't do that kind of work. It was the middle of the day now, and he had trouble speaking. Customer service type stuff didn't make sense. That left a lot of open territory, but it felt like he should pursue this. If Tarou had stopped to think about it for any real length of time, he might be troubled by his inability to define why he felt this way. However, he didn't. Instead, he replied:

"Work, huh? Anything I can help with?"

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:39 pm

Joachim lifted one hand, thoughtfully digging his fingers through his sandy-colored hair. He noted idly that he'd have to tie it back before tonight; didn't need some raider getting a handful of it.

This guy seemed earnest enough, and Joachim didn't question his intentions--though he likely should have. Just wasn't his style. Doubt in Sato wasn't the problem at all. It wasn't hard for Joachim to find people trustworthy enough to watch his back in a fight. Anybody with a care for their own safety would give a comrade that much.

Joachim just wasn't sure he was ready to work with a team again. Last time had worked out all right, in the end--for most of them--but then there was Tristan, Glen's friend. There was Sevrah, who'd nearly died for someone else's crimes. And there'd been Maeve herself, who--

Things weren't simple when people started working together, when everybody's goals started getting all tangled up and in each other's way. Joachim liked things to be simple. Still... being alone forever was hardly the best solution, either--however tempting it might be at the moment.

"Mm. Maybe," the Human answered. He started to say something else, and then hit himself in the forehead with one palm in astonishment. He'd forgotten to give this guy his name. "Joachim," he said, pointing his thumb at his own chest. He gave a bow at the waist, and then pointed to the Nekojin. "You?"

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:53 pm

He looked at Joachim oddly when he smacked himself in the face... but understood when he introduced himself a minute later. They'd been too busy dealing with the asshole jailer before to do any proper introductions.

"I'm Tarou. Traveller, mercenary, hunter and cook when there's some decent woods around."

He looked back to see if Kobakk had followed. He was kind of hoping to keep hanging out with him, but he felt more indebted to Joachim at the moment."

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:03 pm

The orc was indeed not too far away. Joachim had left too quickly to be thanked possibly, though he had not taken the rapid pace Tarou had undertaken. It increased, however, once he started to feel the stares one gave a hated enemy who just emerged from a prison (instead of being ferried into one... or taken out in chains). Catching up with the halberdier, he declared, "You move too quickly, my friend... I was just about to thank you for all you've done!"

Hearing Tarou's introduction, he offered, "Kobakk Dorland, by the way... care for me to pay for lunch?"

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:23 pm

Mercenary! Really! That might be a useful thing. If he needed some work, maybe Joachim could be of help. Seemed like a better idea than not offering, at least. While he was trying to figure out how to articulate this, the Orc caught up.

Kobakk. Tarou and Kobakk. Force of habit led Joachim to silently test the names, feeling out how best to pronounce them. Kobakk was easy. Tarou was... doable, given a very light touch on a back-of-the-throat "k." It'd feel different, but from outside Joachim's mouth it would sound almost the same.

Joachim began the word "can't," but dropped it in the middle, leaving the last consonants unspoken in favor of a mere sharp stop. A shake of his head clarified it. He looked up to the sky, estimating the time by the position of the sun. "Hour?" he asked.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:46 pm

Can-kh. Hour. kArou. He obviously couldn't get out a T. Hour didn't make sense by itself, unles he wanted to know the-

"You don't have time; You're on your way somewhere. You mentioned work earlier, too. So whatever it is is pressing. Yeah?"

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:55 pm

Joachim nodded, but added the 'you're almost there' hand-wobble. It was true that he had something else he needed to do before lunch, but it wasn't vital. He just wanted to make sure his mount was fed and happy and not lonely, and he wanted to do it before he himself went to eat.

He held up a finger and patted his pockets. Didn't have any paper with him. Drat. He shrugged, and waved it off. This would be so much easier if he could just write them a quick note and let them know he'd meet up with them later. But... eh. No sense fretting over it.

Instead, Joachim decided to extend an invitation. Even if he was still ambivalent about bringing them along for his sentry work, there was no harm in enjoying their company on the way to the temple where he'd stabled his mount. He pointed to Kobakk, and to Tarou, and then curved his fingers downward, tempering the beckoning motion with a questioning shrug. He started to turn, and then halted midway to see if they were interested in following.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:02 pm

Tarou hadn't seen that particular finger gesture in a long while; Not from a man, anyway. He got the message, though; Follow along, it'll be faster than explaining. Or don't. How ambivalent. He followed, curious where this was going...

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KingOfDoma
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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:06 pm

Kobakk had been following the "conversation" patiently. He wasn't sure of all that was being said, but the "follow me" motion came through loud and clear. Perhaps some clarification on what was being said would come soon...

"You're fairly good at pantomime," Kobakk remarked. "You must KILL at charades..."

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:26 pm

Joachim chuckled. "Mmhm," he replied. What else could he say?

A year ago he might have broken Kobakk's jaw--or as near as he could come with a guy almost his own size--for making light of the whole thing, but now... well, now he didn't really care so much. It took a lot to get Joachim angry about anything these days, even his inability to speak.

He led them through the streets toward a block that had a few temples set up. Most were to Nekogami, of course, but there was one to his own god. In a sea of cat faces and cat eyes and cat ears and cat whiskers, there was one structure where Fideleo was master, and that was where Joachim was headed.

He led them past a row of food bowls left out for stray dogs, beneath a superficially-Nekonian archway of red varnished wood, and into the temple. Just inside the doorway, the roof soared upward into a high domed ceiling, letting the daytime sun reflect off of gleaming white stone. Images of armored knights with the long muzzles and keen gaze of la Gente were painted around the walls, and the floor was covered with carpets and cushions instead of chairs.

In one corner of the room, three black-furred puppies rolled and growled and chewed on each other's ears. Joachim looked around, nodded in silent satisfaction, and pressed onward to a ginger-furred Inustani priest with ears that hung soft and flat against his face, giving him a sleepy expression.

He looked up at Joachim, and the halberdier simply pointed down into the ledger in front of the priest. There was written a name, a service, and a price. The Human produced a few coins, and the priest exclaimed, "Ah! Joachim, yes. That will cover him until tomorrow."

Joachim tilted his head toward the back door, gesturing in its direction with one hand for good measure.

"You can go that way, yes. Will your friends be going with you?"

Joachim turned, grinned at them, and said only, "Paco."

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:50 pm

Tarou looked mildly uncomfortable here, glancing around the temple. The people weren't unfriendly, and he was polite enough when it came up.

"Paco."

"Oh, ah, yes. Thank you."

He followed after Joachim.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:09 pm

Kobakk examined the architecture around him. The Inustani origins were unmistakeable. For such a... confined community, such a place stuck out like a sore thumb. It made him wonder... who did they hate more? The alien outsiders, or the "neighbors" who they were forced to cohabitate with?

... it was probably a toss-up. Hate was hate.

"Very nice temple," he marveled. He nearly asked how it could manage to be built in such a town, but he stopped himself. He was quickly learning better than to tax the abilities of his new ally. He simply substituted it with, "Stayed here long?"

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Kai
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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:19 am

Joachim nodded. "I have."

This was the first place he'd felt immediately welcome here, even though the Nekonians themselves had been courteous enough to a Human with plenty of money and a good command of the language. Wasn't about them, really. He just happened to have spent months fighting in a rebellion against power-hungry Nekojin, and was not entirely on board with being surrounded by them again.

Here was good, though. Here was mainly for la Gente, and few in numbers as they were... Joachim got on fine with them. Also, they let him board his mount in addition to himself, which made a difference. Paco tended to make people a little nervous the way a very large dog will which only has patience for its master.

He passed through the normal stable, holding the door for the others, and took them through to a rather ordinary-looking barn. It was unseasonably warm in the barn, however, and might have been kept heated with magic. Quite probably it was intended to hold breeding chocobo or other mounts which could not fit easily in normal stable stalls. A long tail emerged from a pile of straw, thick and covered in scales of mostly dark green and a sheen of blue, with the odd isolated scale of a deeper purple. Judging by its size, the owner of the tail might be twice the size of a Human man.

The straw in one corner of the room was stained with blood, and Joachim began forking it into a pile to dispose of it. He pointed toward the exposed tail. "Paco." He whistled twice, two low notes. The straw began to shift as the creature stirred.

From the straw next to the tail emerged a flat, pointed head with scales of the same color. It flicked out a long pink tongue with a fork on the end, and shambled on muscular legs with long, curved toes toward the tall halberdier. It was indeed at least twice Joachim's size, not counting the tail. Periodically it swiveled its head toward the Orc and the Nekojin, curiously testing the air in their direction with a couple of quick "hff" noises. Joachim made a couple of quick kiss noises to get the lizard's attention back on him.

Joachim dropped to one knee, running a hand over the lizard's head, checking its eyes, its nose, its scales. "Ah, Paco," he said, grinning like a little boy. He reached into his pocket and pulled out an ordinary chicken egg. The lizard started toward it, keenly interested, and Joachim held one hand palm out in a "stay" command.

"Ah, ah." The lizard halted. Joachim tossed the egg toward him, and Paco's flat, slit-like mouth opened to bare rows of backward-facing teeth like a snake. Paco snapped the egg out of the air, smashing it in his mouth and eating both gooey inside and crunchy shell. "Aw, g'boy," Joachim told him.

It was for all the world like watching a child with his favorite puppy, except that it was a grown man in chain mail with some kind of enormous trained lizard.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby KingOfDoma » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:37 am

If Joachim was a child with his puppy, Kobakk was the kid down the street who didn't have a dog. He was in awe of the beast, this Paco, as if he'd not yet known about ice cream until someone took him to a shop with 100 flavours. Approaching slowly, but still keeping his distance (he didn't want to spook him), he praised beast and owner.

"He's beautiful..." he remarked, appreciating Paco from tip to tail. "Where on Gaera did you find him? I've never seen a creature like this before..."

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby ChristianC » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:08 pm

Alistair's butt hurt.

Up until now, his visit to the big lands had been... fairly pleasant. Lots of people, lots of food, lots of fun and plenty of women and men more than happy to have a good time involving the other things mostly.

But riding to Nekonia on a chocobo... frankly, he was on the verge of just... going back to Doma and bury himself in the nearest inn, remain drunk and happy until his poor derrière healed and then get on his ship and go back home.

But, now he was here, in this strange land with people that apparently looked kind of like him (he'd met a few people on the road, but frankly he didn't much see the resemblance) and when he'd finally arrived, no one spoke his language! And despite having spent weeks to master the common language of whatever it was called, it seemed impossible to get his claws on anyone who actually understood it over here.

He stepped off the large bird gingerly and winced as soon as his clawed toes touched the ground, the contact made the fur on his legs, arms and waist stand at an end and with a pained grimace he put down his other foot, holding the bird by the reins.

At least he'd not have to ride anywhere for a while longer, and once he could find a stable for the rented bird, he could get on with... uh... whatever it was he needed to do here. Possibly establish trading agreements and socializing with the upper class. He'd let the whole situation in Doma simmer a little until he went back there.

Stepping up to the nearest stable he could find, he knocked loudly on the large, wooden door that kept whatever animals inside from becoming animals outside, and pressed his legs tightly together in a vain attempt to make the pain go away. It didn't work. His poor, crooked tail made a few awkward swings, but even that made him grind his teeth. He was not a happy kitty right now.

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Besyanteo » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:13 pm

Tarou had been awfully quiet so far. In fact, too quiet. In fact, if either Kobakk or Joachim were to happen to look, they'd find he was missing. Well, missing might be an overstatement: Looking more carefully would reveal a pair of eyes and a tuft of black hair peeking around the edge of the stables door from the temple proper, looking at the giant lizard inside in terror. If Joachim were a kid with a puppy, and a Kobakk the kid down the road without a dog, then Taour would be the kid on the other side of the road who thought that dogs were the spawn of Nikumu and a Demon made of rabid bears who were themselves on fire that shot lightning from it's eyes. He didn't have a reason, exactly, but looking at the beast was immediately terrifying.

He didn't move throughout Joachim and Kobakk's exchange, but he did jump when there was a knock at the door from the other side of the stable.

"W-w-w-one of you should g-get that."

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Reiks » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:23 pm

An Inujin of indeterminate breeding opened the door for Alistair. He was young, probably a teenager, but the large gash down his left eye and scars on his hands made him look a little out of place in a stable run by Fideleon priests. Furthermore, the gashed eye seemed to wiggle a little ominously as though it had a mind of its own but as it would start dancing around the boy would blink and it would settle down. The boy stepped aside to let Alistair in and when he spoke his voice was soft and low.

"You have journeyed far and you look to be in need of rest,"he nearly murmured. "Enter please and I will help to find your comfort and peace for you."

He motioned to a boy half his age, a silver tabby nekojin, to run off and fetch things to ease the traveler. The way the boy skittered off made half his brain want to give chase, pin the boy down, and dismember him. But nothing in his outward demeanor conveyed this, except for the way his one eye darted frantically until he reminded himself that killing innocent people was not something he should be doing and the rage subsided.

"Pardon my rudeness", he said ushering Alistair into the temple, "Traveler, but I am known as Brother Canal. Please honor me with your name, so that we can be truly like family and speak without the cage of strangeness and rigidity."

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby ChristianC » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:26 am

Alistair stepped inside and watched with bemused puzzlement how the younger child was ushered away, his tail swaying to and fro a little more as the worst pains began to subside for a slow, dull and throbbing ache like a tooth rotten to the core. And like a tooth, the slightest provocation would result in mind-numbing, white-hot agony.

Still though, this was a pretty nifty place! And, he was welcome!

"Ah, merci friend Canal. It is indeed true, that I have traveled here under, how would you say, hard conditions. I am named Alistair Hancock, and I come from Septíle, far across the, ah, ocean to come here." He vigorously shook the hand of the inujin and looked around.

"And I have not much interest in cages, so we shall have none of that, non?"

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Reiks » Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:12 pm

Canal regarded the warm fuzzy hand in his for a small moment before nodding. "You've traveled far and you must rest if you're not in a hurry. We can have your mount stabled here and we have extra rooms, if you don't mind the sound of chanting in the early morning." He smiled and looked up as if he could see something above them. "Most find they can sleep easily through our chants but I'm sure if they listened they'd find themselves a little more at peace..." He sighed at his words and directed them to a sitting area with pillows before a decorated alcove.

Inside the alcove was a long silk scroll with a serene ink painting of a waterfall. On either side, in vases with long thin necks but round bodies were flowers indicative of the season. Hang from the roof with on copper wriring was a luminescent crystal that bathed the sitting area in a pale glow like moonlight. It was certainly a place designed to inspire tranquility and peace.

"How long will you be staying, Brother Alistair?"

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Kai
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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby Kai » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:49 pm

Joachim couldn't easily pronounce any of the words in "New Nekonian enemy lizard cavalry," so he didn't even try. He stood up away from his mount, and approached a saddle hanging on the wall. He dug in a pocket for a piece of charcoal and a slip of paper, and quickly scrawled in Common:

stole him from enemy cavalry

He handed Kobakk the note, and peered over to Tarou. The big Nekojin had fled about as far as he could get from Paco while still being within shouting distance. He didn't directly answer Tarou, but he looked to the Orc and then gestured questioningly toward Tarou.

What in the world? Is he all right?

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Re: Crusade (Invite)

Unread postby ChristianC » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:09 am

"Chanting? Oh non non, it is much good, yes? This is... church?" Alistair, albeit tired, seemed to only be gaining speed and energy once he was talking to someone again. Evidently, though, he wasn't that socially apt, because he continuously glanced towards the weird eye of Canal as they spoke.

"The... bird... yellow bird can stay wherever, thank you. I can sleep anyway, yes, and I think I will stay for a bit, mhm." he looked at the vases and flowers with wide eyes, then walked up to them. then he poked the crystal, and then he gawked at the painting, until finally he sat down with a loud wince on the pillows, having clean forgotten, it would seem, that his body was in pain.

"This is fantastic, you have flowers in pots?" he smiled brightly at Canal, rubbing his backside, "They must grow well, but using them is difficult, non? Much easier with larger hole, and long neck makes cleaning hard."

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