Dire

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INVESTIGATION: SOMETHING IN THE WATER
 →  Investigate The Hinterlands.






HOW TO PLAY


  • ELIGIBILITY: A maximum of 5 CHARACTERS AT A TIME can join this Investigation. Regardless of how many are present by SATURDAY THE 11TH, the prompts will start updating accordingly. HOWEVER, characters can continue to enter throughout until max capacity.
  • POSTING: An Investigation is driven entirely by character actions. Therefore, the prompt with update with every significant action a character makes (i.e inspecting an item, smelling something for more information, taking a look at surroundings, traveling deeper into an area, speaking to an NPC, etc) even if it is just to tell them more about the scene. To make sure your actions are seen, either bold the relevant ones in your post or put it at the bottom in a summary. Lastly, tag the @Event Mod role and your fellow participants in the server. Tags that do not change the current prompt will be replied to with "pass," which means that the next character can continue with their post.

  • QUEST TYPE: Investigation. The direction of an Investigation is largely dependent on the sights, sounds, smells, and interactions made by participating characters. Prompts will update in accordance to what characters make of their environments, and the choices they make. They typically have several ways they may end, and are freeform enough that characters can carve their own paths to reach those convergent endings.
  • JOINING: No Sign-Up necessary. Characters simply join IC for this quest.
  • REWARD

    Human Species | ???

  • Accepting the word of a madman was not exactly how Algernon pictured things happening. There was something in the way the Rogue said it, however, that even beyond the harsh gleam in his eye the wolf believed some aspects of the insanity he spewed. In any case, even if the man was simply Mad and just giving them a bunch of bullshit Algernon felt compelled to double check the claims anyhow. He could be playing at being Mad to get out of a more harsh sentence, but judging how jittery he looked and how there was a fluctuating distance in his gaze he was inclined to believe the Mad part. If people were still stowed away at some remote location of the Hinterlands, if they were locked up and going to rot away… Algernon knew he should at least attempt to find them regardless of the truth of it.

    The water… t-take a drink,’ the man said then, Algernon’s blue eyes practically rolling on their way to find him. Distinctly chains rattled with his rocking in the chair as much as his restraints would allow. ‘It made me do it. It made me do… it. I say, it-’ The words were cut off beyond the door as he slammed it shut, letting the constable of the small Svalbardian town take over. For the past hour the eximius just kept repeating a string of the same thoughts, hardly helpful outside of vague gestures to the map and half-baked explanations of what had caused such a break in mental state. Algernon pushed his hair back into place, sighing and with the map folded up under his arm he collected his belongings from the back of one of the chairs. He didn’t like this one bit, but they’d been on their way back from a different sort of investigation that was a dead end. Much like this one likely was to be.

    The dire hardly spared the eximius a look, knowing where he was in the casual and lazy way he patiently waited at one of the desks. Nowhere he belonged, as per the usual. Algernon didn’t snap at him, and really just barely acknowledged him. “We’re going to the Hinterlands,” he said flatly, straightening out his overcoat, “so get up.” Algernon looked to the exi then, just a brief glaring glance, then was out the door.

    They would take the carriage prepared for them waiting for them to pick a destination and start going. Algernon climbed in first, settling further in from the doors in one of the corners where he could be by one of the windows and hopefully the furthest from the eximius who accompanied him at the same time. Actively he filtered out anything the man said, not caring to hear it at the moment when there were bigger things to be concerned with. The ride there would be brief, but it would also be long enough to ponder what they’d figured out. Sure it had been a dead end, but even those made backtracking easier once you knew which channel was worthless. Algernon flipped through it in his head, then as the treeline of the apparently innocuous Hinterlands forests came into view he found his thoughts drifting. As did his eyes towards Mercer where he sat.

    Algernon had heard the rumors plenty, just as anyone did with half a brain and functional ears. He thought it might be a bad idea to take the eximius here, of all places, especially when he suspected him Mad already. To himself he huffed in tasteless humor, bitter and indignant, and peeled his attention back to the outside world. When they finally came to a firm stop Algernon wasted no time in pushing himself up, eager to be out of the smaller space and in the open where his back straightened and his chin lifted. The wolf didn’t wait up for his partner, heading into the trees with the map at his disposal and his own sense of direction. Going off of a madman’s word. His father would be absolutely thrilled to hear it.

    Aware that Mercer was following, he kept to what paths were there before them. Not so much out of distinct creation, but just the frequent foot traffic that prevented the overgrowth of the dense forests. It was too much for the carriage to make it through, and no doubt it would be taken further towards the town they’d left just to be safe. Over time it was less necessary and honestly useless to use any sort of maps. The deeper they went the more they had to rely on their sight and their hearing. Which, as they traversed, Algernon grew unsettled at the lack of noise. There was the rustle of the leaves higher up when the wind brushed across them, and their own boots stepping over forest debris, but hardly anything else. No birds, no squirrels, and certainly nothing bigger.

    No whispers were heard either, and no shadowy figures at the corners of his eyes. Algernon didn’t like it nonetheless, and once they heard the familiar trickle of flowing water it seemed they had found at least a portion of their destination. The source of the Rogue’s evident Madness, or at least something that urged it along, came into sight when they pushed through a rough patch of thicket. Algernon almost grumbled to himself, feeling sweaty in some areas he would rather he didn’t, and stiffly brushed off some burs and little sticks that decided to cling to him.

    Pulling his palms against one another Algernon paused at the stench that hit his nose first. The bridge of it wrinkled when nostrils flared, and it was clear the instant disgust. He couldn’t even really place the scent for what it was, though the closer they got to the water as it pooled the stronger it got. Algernon eyed the water, a furrow in his brow when he saw how dark it was. He felt eyes upon them before too long, and with the shift of winds the dire looked around them subtly to see a few faces hovering in the treeline. Some were higher up while others hunkered down below, all watching and whispering amongst themselves. Luckily none were attacking, but Algernon’s hand subconsciously drifted to rest at the pommel of his sword. Mercer was crouched beside the water, and Algernon started to move closer. Playfully his knee shoved against the exi’s back when he stepped around him, as if he were hoping to kick him into the murky depths. “What do you make of it?” he asked curtly, the side of his foot scraping a stone loose from the dirt to actually cast that beyond the riverbank into the strange water.

    Action: He kick da rock into the water to see what it do
    She wanted water. It was no surprised, no need or desire that was unusual to be found when moving- being watching, hunting. Travelling alone- they wanted eyes on the rogues. She has water already, but she wants it fresh, in its skin it tastes like vinegar. A familiar want, like food. When she was far from even the more rural and more humble villages of Svalbard but there was something here that was just wrong. Very wrong. Especially by way of how she had last found it- none of the animals, birds or smaller critters had led her here when she had followed, and none remained there in the vicinity. Often around a water supply she knew the intervals when a mammal would wish to drink but there were simply gone-. Besides the flowing stream, the forest itself silent.

    Branwen has seen eyes on her when passing, when she has come closer and neared the river’s edge. That sensation is not one unfamiliar- being watched. Although she holds on tighter on her instruments, she holds in much expression or sign of relief that they do not approach her. Their eyes hold interest, but it appears to be on the water itself. A strange thing, very much indeed. Leaving her be. She’s curious about the water now, though, and the strange stench that seems to rise from it.

    She would not have showed up- presenting herself and making herself so near to them while there were so many faces if the behavior of the animals and the matter of the water itself were not present and dire as it appeared. It affected her after all… and it would affect the locals in the villagers that the river would run all the way down to, to meet. And if there is anything that she is sure she would be a fool for, it is for the many. A small always strangled, reaching life for the raw potential and goodness that she did not possess. Not that she wants to die or plays the fool for them now- the rogues, the lost and unguided as she seems to walk ahead. She is instead aware of them, always. A straightness of her spine. A woman on edge. And as she soon suddenly stops in the middle of the field, near where a lone tree stands, she takes the time to not obviously so, but listens and waits- as if she is tuning into her surroundings. Although she does not turn to stare and gaze back at them, she knows there is always a bit of a feeling that rises up in her just before something hits or danger really makes itself known. And it is perhaps only for that reason that she starts to lower herself down, not reaching over but lightly squatting, to grab at a big stick that had obviously caught her eye.

    Good for probing, she thinks. And she might need it. Good for hitting or poking into someone too, perhaps. And so, the small woman with a large stick, and a knife (and bow and quiver at her back), previously just another set of eyes, joins the two. “What’s here at the river?” she asks somewhat ominously in a voice that’s lightly haunting in the hollowed slightly deeper way she speaks. Of someone that expects (or has seen) the macabre, or is somewhat unlearned with people, or wary of them- likely it is a combination of the three. She keeps her distance, aware of their position to her as strangers, and of her being the same for them. If there is anywhere to trust someone- it is not the Hinterlands. Although there is no hostility in the way she regards them, they are curious and concerned about the water also. A precious and sometimes delicately corruptible resource. And she appreciates that, they are the proactive sort that are here in the midst of the trouble instead of the others that watch from a safe distance far behind.

    In other instances of strange occurrences with water she had often seen and found weird types of plants- of algae. But she had almost expected a body, or a few- or a beast, with the audience that had gathered. Something obvious, but grim. There is neither, at least immediately that strikes her eye. But the water is darker than usual, unnaturally so. Not red.

    Poisoned? The lark wonders to herself, before she bending softly at the knee with legs somewhat apart she skewers the stick through the water and brings it up again to see if it catches and pulls up at anything that might be seemingly transparent. If it is a thing that coats and corrupts the river that they- whoever had the resources, might be able to pluck or filter out.

    ALGERNON'S ACTION





    • → The rock drifts slowly, with barely a plunge against the tense surface, down into the murky depths. It cannot be seen after a certain point in descent.






    BRANWEN'S ACTION





    • → The portion of the stick that has been submerged comes back weak, waterlogged, and as though it's rapidly aged.

      → Nothing is pulled up from the water.



    Dee this, Dee that, Dee waah waah waah. For a well-oiled machine it sure was making a lot of fucking noise of the squealing variety. Chief was a straightforward (hard to be anything else when you have a steel beam the size of a cockatrice up your ass, pun intended) enough and D could respect the hustle. But as always, and even Tig (especially Tig, bless) can attest, D is an assassin by profession and an antagonist by passion. He was also a man with his priorities set straight and pride was at a all time low. Too dead inside to give a shit about image and too addicted to getting under people's skin, D does whatever makes you the most uncomfortable. By now they'd all know that but knowing is only half the battle. 


    So while he COULD be defiant to someone like Chief, instead he's sickly sweet to the point where it makes even the most NATURALLY obedient detectives uncomfortable. Every "yes you Highness" and fluid curtsey, every offer to "fetch him the jester" (it can be assumed that this is referring to Algernon), every bat of the lashes and applause and just general "up his ass 24/7" aesthetic the moment he existed in a room was designed to get on as many nerves as possible. He made sure to create some splash damage to affect onlookers of course--he wasn't The (Rogue) White Diamond for shoddy work. He's good at parsing out the tiniest details in personalities and figuring out how to get them obviously, except in this instance the end goal (as far as we can know) is to make their work lives hell.


    You might think, "why would a heavily prolific assassin and forced-to-be weapon against criminal minds continue to push his luck with the law?" And D would give you a gruff run-on "what are they gonna do put me in a cell for the rest or my life or put a bullet in my brain because honestly either one sounds like sweet relief" and forget you exist. 


    So anyway, our antihero gets dragged outside and hisses theatrically when the sun hits his face. Not only is he admitting to being a lazy fuck but he's also genuinely not used to being out during the day. Some jobs have called for it of course, and recon (especially if he's had to play a character to get close to or interact with the target/target's social circle) was typically done before nightfall because honestly he's got a pretty face and knows how to use it. He'd seen people who KNEW they had a hit out on them come out of their shells the moment he or another operative of his with nice legs came out to play. Ride and die, he guessed. Even still, he was the most alive at night and that was when the beautiful deed was usually always done. At this point it was simply signature and nothing to do with opportunity--sometimes it was even HARDER to do at night but, hey, the man had a reputation to uphold. It's go hard or go home in this household and right now D really wants to fucking go home but the Asshole won't let him.


    Viper turned Wolfhound. Fucking tragic. 


    Aside from being generally antagonistic, D is known for his very...peculiar quirks. When he's in control of his space and has the ability to discharge building stimulus at will (by deflecting and increasing the amount of assholery) everything is a minor annoyance, worth a snapping or some act that he deems is equal to what he's had to deal with, but… The Hinterlands was like hitting a wall of spider silk and having to force his way through. Millions of strings of SOMETHING BUT NOTHING TOUCHING HIM and he was periodically flicking his flinty blue eyes over his biceps and glancing down at his shined black shoes as if he'd see the strands contrasting there. 


    Algernon plays with fire from here forward, but fortunately D was distracted or disoriented or both at the water's edge when he was "touched" by him. If he'd still been a viper he would have bitten him. Instead, he makes use of his growly sense of humor, saying "say..do Dire like swimming is that a cultural thing are you into that or what" and that was it as far as warnings went. WD skipped a glance sideways across the water to watch the way the rock fell into the water. No splash. A heavy surface tension. 


    “What do you make of it?” Oh he exists again, I guess. Dee pushed his palms on his spread knees and forced himself up from his crouch to his full, foreboding height. A woman further down caught his periphery and somehow deepened that signature scowl of his, but it wasn't enough to draw his attention from the scene itself. She was keeping her distance well enough. His stony stare idled over the landscape ahead of him, the imagery discarded in lieu of all else. "...Not sure. Not getting paid to sniff out an oil spill but I AM on the clock so make sure Chief knows that shit." despite the sentiment (as usual, because D likes being difficult on principle) however, shortly after he retreated into himself, shut his eyes and gave himself to the heighten of his senses. 



    _____




    ACTION: WD examines the air quality/scent by taking a long inhale.

    WD'S ACTION





    • → Even with heightened senses it's difficult to pinpoint any true source of the terrible smell being near to the water with how pungent it is. The air quality seems fair and not overly polluted where you are. There is the decay of autumn beginning to lead into winter and other earthly smells as well. Being closer to Branwen you pick up the scent of provisions underlying it, and vaguely of stale bread that is still sweet. The longer you try to focus in the harder it becomes, but you are also able to pick up a faint aroma of essential oils associated with aftershave. Nothing really stands apart aside from that in the immediate vicinity as it starts to blend together.



    For someone nearly as avoidant and cowardly as Jin, it was a wonder as to his proclivity for the dangerous unknown. That though he would rather spend his nomadic days in peace, he chose instead the path of knives – sharp edges that dug into the skin of his feet and cut away flesh to the bones of his ankles. There would come a day when he would be without legs to walk, but even that would not be enough for he had still hands to crawl with, and when those were gone, he would use his teeth to drag his bloodied torso through. His desires were inexplicable, mismatched with the voice of reason that urged the Dire away from his occupational hazards. But how could he ignore a loss so deep as that of the Elders or the ache of Gil'ead as his home screamed with a voice no one could hear.

    So it was, the man found himself in the heart of the Hinterlands, following in the wake of rumors regarding polluted waters that not even the Mad dared touch. It was much of what his investigations consisted, piecemeal occurrences that didn't fit quite right no matter how deep the vein went. It was better than nothing though, and even if his efforts seemed fruitless, everything pointed to Svalbarð. Or so it seemed.

    Jin and Etro made for an unlikely pair as they trekked through the yet uncharted lands, lush with foliage but impossibly stripped of life. It was one of many culminating signs that they were nearing where the source of the rumors stemmed, as wild fauna seemed to dissipate with naught left but roving eyes of madness that haunted as phantoms did in the unclaimed. An unease settled bone-deep, evident in the way his draconian companion seemed to slow the more silent and stale the air about them became. Everything was wrong, turned upside-down so that instead of fearing the wildness born to the inhabitants of these lands, he shriveled at the quiet which sought to unnerve and warn the reckless from their pursuits. But he maintained his bearings and forged onward to the river where the too few, too curious lingered like moths to flame, drawn to that which would burn to the touch.

    Somehow, he was both thankful and terrified to know that he was not alone. Thankful in that if all hell broke loose, he could bank on the small hope that he was not the only living organism to fixate on. Yet still, the terror was unmistakable. Who else but the most unhinged or heroic would actively seek out chaos as the handful that had come to investigate these troubled waters? Where too did he fall in the mix? A deluge of questions flickered through his mind as he lifted a hand to run along his raptor's shoulder, signaling the beast to halt as he nodded his head toward the forested area. Soundlessly, Etro disappeared into the thick of shadow and leaves, needing no further instruction or encouragement to stay well away from the river.

    The towering Dire drifted closer, walking further along the bank to keep distance between the multiple parties collected by the water source while ascertaining if the opacity of the liquid remained consistent the further West he was from everyone else. After a while, Jin knelt down and peered closer at the darker surface, searching for the usual properties of what water was like to do in his reflection and deeper still beneath its murky depths. As he leaned forward, one of his long braids slid along the slopes of his shoulder, its duo-chromatic tip accidentally dipping into that which everyone sought to avoid. A yelp burst past his lips as the man tore back viciously, falling unceremoniously on his rear as he grabbed his hair to prevent it from touching the rest of his body. Panic was a sore understatement for the thundering beneath the concavities of his chest or the chill that seized him whole.

    - - -

    ACTION: stoopid here be tyrna figure out if the opacity of the water changes as he follows the river, and then kneels down to see if he can see his reflection or deeper beneath. As he does so, the tip of one of his two braids falls into the water and he yoinks back and falls on his heiney like an idget and is panicking and low-key ready to cut his hair off.

    JIN'S ACTION





    • → At first your reflection appears in the murky water, though it is rippling in unnatural ways. Then it disappears, like it had sunk beneath the waves of the slowly churning waters. You cannot see the bottom, or how deep it is. When the hair touches there is only a minor stir, sluggish and spinning. Then the hair begins to lose its color, no longer soft and full but looking aged and wiry. Most of it falls off, yet there are some strands that cling to it. Where the droplets touch the grass the blades start to blanch upon further inspection. Despite the fear there is something tantalizingly curious, beckoning even, about the disturbed water that calls to you silently. You are uncertain if it's your imagination or not.

      →As far as you can tell the effect does not spread beyond the point of submersion.



    Of course even here, out in the middle of absolutely nowhere and everywhere, the eximius would be a prick. One of those astronomically annoying ones that lingered no matter how hard you tried to dig it out. You swear you know exactly where it is digging into, and you can even touch it. But then you went to pluck it from the skin and it just wouldn't budge. That's exactly what Mercer existed as to him. To some degree he'd gotten used to it, but it never was enough. Algernon didn't bother gracing his weak, half-assed and stereotypical response that he knew was antagonistic with a response of his own. Well, outside of a soft tch. A click of the tongue and a flare of the nostrils, Algernon glaring down to where the assassin crouched to look into the water.

    Once the rock hit the surface it barely splashed. It also didn't sink down very easily like it should have. The water was viscous, and the wolf was keenly aware of a human woman prodding at the surface with a stick. Algernon squinted at it when she brought it up closer, hovering it above the river to ensure it didn't drip down. 'What’s here at the river?' Algernon scoffed at that. Once his arms had been crossed to grip his elbows, but a hand swept out around them with a dramatic flair. "Exactly what you're seeing, miss. The same as us," he replied shortly, eyeing the stranger and taking stock.

    Then Mercer pushed himself up, Algernon having to tilt his chin to find the way his glowing eyes were drifting out over the river and looking as vacant as they often did. An eyebrow lifted and his tongue poked into his cheek when the exi spoke next. "You are getting paid to sniff out an oil spill, if that is what this is, as it ties to murders in some way," he said bitingly, turning away from the two to present them with his back, "so yes, the Chief knows that shit. That stick looked more corroded when it came out. This doesn't seem like natural pollution with how everyone and everything is freaking out. Though I hope you would know that, what with how astute your observations are and all."

    Algernon stepped away from them, down the length of the river closer to one of the Rogues who stood further out in the open. Briefly his eyes flicked between them, watching them whisper amongst themselves in what sounded like a made-up language. A few even shrank back to disappear, all of them in this area acting like feral beasts despite Algernon knowing they were human. This man with the choppy brown hair and hardened almost black eyes didn't recoil. Algernon gave him some space, and kept himself looking as harmless as he could. "How long has this river been this way? Has anyone noticed anyone or anything… more unusual upstream at any point recently?" he asked, ready to use a different language should it not be one the man understood.

    Then there was a loud yelp further back where Algernon had come from, breaking the small pause and causing him to turn towards it out of reflex. There was a large dire reeling back from the waters, Algernon's hand also reflexive in gripping his sword. His eyes narrowed, but from this distance he couldn't see anything out of place. He thinks to venture over and ensure the dire isn't hurt if the Rogue does not interrupt him first.

    Action: Attempting to start a dialogue with a Rogue NPC which is bolded in dialogue quotes.

    ALGERNON'S ACTION





    • → The small group of Rogues become guarded when addressed, attention moving as a collective to the one that speaks. More whispers in an unfamiliar tongue are exchanged, the black-eyed man narrowing his gaze and choosing, initially, not to respond. Their demeanor as a whole is standoffish, poised to flee as they observe. It is not until Algernon turns to approach Jin that the Rogue finally replies. "Why the sudden concern, stranger?" Though he is answering a question with a question, he peers at everyone in the group--lingering on those that appear less contentious with their peers and reckless with their actions.




    Wanderlust has taken the dire far from the new claims of home found off in the isles of Giruvaga. Not much keeping him there in terms of chains or bonds as the boy, in the time of his arrival, had merely sought to find reprieve from the tribulations he faced elsewhere and sought to avoid. It was a choice not easily made, pulling away from what was loved, but in the end it was the act that needed committed no matter the way it tore out his or another’s heart. However, such a heart still beat within his chest and it was with the life that Sterling would not still in one place for long. Mounted upon Bramble’s back, a sleek dark coated mare colored with twinges of copper and rust, carried him far till hooves touched down upon the soils of the mainland so many moons ago.

    Staying at the edges of smaller towns only to venture in as needs required it to did not leave him blind to the tales they sold one another of the surrounding wilderness as well as the cities further off. Monsters, fauna or man they did not often specify, waited for the unsuspecting to tear out their throats or corrupt them into a belief they once not held. They spoke of politics, of those who looked upon them from higher peaks than themselves, they compared life devoted to a nation to freedom. Stories upon stories, truth lost within their lies, yet as people do they continued to talk freely amongst those they had brought in near. Sterling, being invited or not, fed upon their words as the wolf’s sensitive ears picked upon every note in a hope it would send him towards a new goal.

    Still their tongues carried signs of a fall in sanity that only brought a twinge of a feeling that was suppressed within his chest, so he swallowed it down forcefully. Death was the fears that plagued their tongues as they spoke of the fable of rumors that swam about the waters of the Hinterlands that drove away even the fauna. Sterling’s attention wavered then as curious eyes looked towards where the mare had been left to graze a clipped note rose upon his tongue that drove her crown skyward. Ears alert as dark eyes bore into the boy before she made with an easy pace to his side as the dire began to approach as well. “We gotta look into somethin’, girl.” Words spoken softly as his hands braced themselves on her back to hoist himself up with a bit of a struggle around the large wings which adorn her crested form.

    A sense of understanding was seen in the reflective gleam of her eyes and it was as hands fed themselves into the reigns about her neck did the equine take action. Hooves hitting hard against the mixed gravel of the makeshift path as rather than take skyward the mare raced deeper into the twisting roads of the Hinterlands where earth shifted with the terrain and caved upon the softer edges of the brooks that fed the life further than the main source of it all. Yet this was where the problem lie as the sensation of unease crept up the mare’s limbs and her worries could only feed into Sterling’s own as the further they chased after rivers the worst it became. The lack of life told of fear and desperation to flee from whatever infection had come to pass here and it drew the dire’s teeth to chew at the inside of his lip before heels kicked at Bramble’s side to urge her on as the steps began to falter for the air has grown stiff.

    Briefly there is some reluctance to her steps as a curt whiny falls into her throat as the mare’s crown lifts high with an alertness as nostrils flared with a heavy breath. Wings tucked in close though she looked back towards her rider with a hopefulness that he would listen when she determined it was time to go. Animalistic fears of a prey animal’s drive wavered deep within her broad chest as they pushed on even as flecks of life became spattered along each of their senses and once more Bramble nickered as if to talk Sterling out of pressing further. Instead a hand pat against the thick muscling of her neck, “It’s okay,” though no sooner were the words spoken did a yelp sing out against the otherwise silent air. Already on alert Bramble’s form tensed though the dire’s chest seized with the implications of a cut off cry held though there were stranger’s voices lifting in murmurs upon his eardrums after it.

    Though direction was taken down the river’s branch a little ways towards the source of the sound as if that were the place to start apart from the crowd that proved the boy was late to the party. Yet the one who cried out was not alone, a creature heavy in his scent watched on, and it was with Bramble’s own undesired to press onward that Sterling stilled her enough to dismount. Steps cautious in his approach though still holding the naivety of a boy his age that sought to challenge what wait for them here. Still he lets his eyes trail upon the others, focus against their faces as the wolf began to pick them apart for what they were as their scents were the only life that lifted over the staleness of the pollution. Only in the end did his eyes fall back to the wolf who sat upon the ground, looking wary of his approach as well, even as he held tight to a braided length of hair as if it were diseased itself. “You okay?” Concern touching upon the vocals as the dire approaches and seeks to investigate the other.


    Summary: tbh he just approaches Jin and is lookin at his hair while tryin to talk to him.
    They don’t seem to like each other. At least that is what she instinctually makes from it. Besides that, what she soon recognizes from the eyes- the luminous blue ones of Mercer, and then the mentioning from him of ‘dire’, that they are not human. Gauging at them and the familiar way they spoke to each other it probably ran deeper or a little more complicated then that. It could as easily be that they liked each other TOO much and this was how they expressed it.

    She doesn’t know what’s up exactly, but it’s fine, she doesn’t think it’s relevant. If they are distracted enough by the themselves and the river, it gives them less reason to pay any interest in her. And with all the rogues in the area, she is more grateful for less eyes – at least less that wander and linger. The rock hits the surface in an unorthodox matter, drifting more than falling.

    ‘Exactly what you're seeing, miss. The same as us,’ that was fair. It must have meant they had only just arrived, or had hardly still scratched the surface. She doesn’t say anything else to that to draw his attention. Nothing was offered to her, and she offers nothing in reply.

    When she pulls out the stick from the water it’s withered and aged, like it had seen some quick touch of death. An instinct from skills out in the wilderness pulls her to touch it with her fingertips or smell it but the strange sight of such an occurrence stuns her into silent stillness. Watching as the water that remains begins to leak down at the angle she holds it, she hesitates, and while not leaving the spot she stands in she hovers in place with the subtle energy of a hummingbird. Before she quickly tips it, the other way and sets it down with a meticulous gentleness on the ground, letting part that was in the water be consumed by it.

    She turns with almost a quickness, but it’s just from head and eyes that follow as she whips to make sure she keeps eyes again closely on the two – eximius and dire, that warrant it with their close proximity. The way her eyes linger on them before she steps back possibly suggests she’s anticipated the possibility of getting kicked in when she’s lowered the large stick in maybe too gently: or at least that she’s anticipating it now. Although from what they know, she could have easily just been a girl, a small woman afraid. She puts some extra space between the two, and the river, seemingly at the thought. Before her peripheral vision also catches in on more that are brought here, closer by curiosity. Or some reason that is curious- she sees Jin on the ground, and one approaching him. It has her puzzled too, but she does not fully evaluate it deciding to keep her sights not wholly engaged (the injured party is attended to after all) but wondering, wholly investigating even if it were on the surface level. Trying to see if she can sense any direction or general sense of danger that lingers in the water, or in the general vicinity. For she hasn’t seen anything similar before. At one moment her eyes lock with the rogue that was previously speaking to AI, as his eyes perturbate the party. And in that one instance she wonders if he is somehow the real danger or culprit in this.

    TL;DR: Puts stick down in water. Puts some distance between herself, river and the boys. Tries to sense where greatest sense of danger is coming from. Also looks at rogue leader/speaker for one moment because he be being creepy.

    STERLING'S ACTION





    • → The Rogues slink further back from the growing party as yet another arrives, though the brush trembles in a signal that they have yet to flee entirely.





    BRANWEN'S ACTION





    • → The stick sits upon the stagnant surface, withering before your very eyes as it sluggishly begins to sink until it is consumed by the viscous river water. Your sense of intuition is at a loss, here. A feeling of dread and wrong hangs in the air no matter which way you look, or who you inspect. All of the people that surround you are strangers, intentions unknown.




    It was honestly a LOT like giving a dog a treat for partaking in something that he would be beaten for if he didn't. Weird as hell, fucked up sure, and no one said Dee had to bend over ass up about it. For that reason, the antagonistic detective was largely mentally shooed off by the Eximius when he went on a diatribe about how the water was important. SURE the killer was wilding the fuck out about the water, SURE the water was eating through things, and SURE he was still looking right at the stuff as though it was staring back at him...but also, "So get someone with a degree to take a sample," he dismissed the idea of using HIS observational skills on something outside of his power, "I kill(ed) people, detective. If my credentials included "environmental scientist" I would have that on the business cards." The gruff and deadpan gravel of his voice didn't indicate to the naked ear that he was remotely interested in the investigation. It was dismissive, with a tinge of "I'm about to start walking the other way" to it. Despite that, he didn't yet move.

    Algernon was soon finally getting off his ass and heading off to who knows WHERE--Dee didn't actually turn to look. Instead he'd stood, and perhaps curious for his own purposes, he did utilize some heightened observational skills. There was nothing particularly special that his sense of smell had pulled back save a nearly-overstimulating mix of aftershave and death. Needless to say, it was enough to deter him.

    At that point, WD casually turned in place, his heels easing around one another as he took better stock of where Algernon was, where the Rogues were, and where the growing and disruptingly-chatty group of visitors were. A man as considerably antisocial as the White Diamond could only see them as burdens and potentially, what do they usually say, "contaminators of evidence?" That was Al's job to worry about though, not his. It was also Al's job to bother talking to people, as HE did a shit job at it because HE made sure to do the absolute most half-assed job despite how it was written all through his file that he charismatic...to a point. Just because he could didn't mean he would, a trend that the detectives were very familiar with by now.
    So essentially, he doesn't bother helping with Rogue interrogation. They weren't looking at dead body. It was a polluted river.
    The BEST way to find out what was wrong with it would be...

    WD found himself starting down the long neck of the river that seemed to stretch beyond how far he could see. A long vein of black, stretching eternal. He didn't notice at first that he was coasting down the uncharted waterline with a modest walk, the serpentine river leading him down the yawning landscape.


    _____





    ACTION: WD has begun idly walking down the river away from other individuals while scanning the landscape.
    More people were showing up and the Rogues were getting further agitated because of it. The yelp of the dire hadn’t been conducive to keeping them calm, either, and there was yet another who crouched beside him to try and assess the damage. Algernon deliberated with rising impatience, the irritation he felt strengthened by the assassin’s rebuke. Quick as a whip, unless he wasn’t paying attention. Which he appeared to do with how he stood staring off into space and not doing much else. Over the small span of time it’d become easier to not get lost in the immediate impulse to lash out anytime the eximius even so much as breathed in his general vicinity. Yet that didn’t stop it from being annoying. As always. Even with a tensing jaw and teeth pressed together the wolf tried to shove it from his mind to focus. If some people were truthfully stashed away somewhere around this river then the situation demanded of it. Nothing but the strange river had been discovered this far, though, and the response of the Rogues was an… interesting one. Some were bold and most were flighty, taking off into the trees to disappear from sight. Algernon took stock of each and every one, all of them becoming numbers to consider if this was to become something more than a few strangers poking around.

    That in and of itself was odd, as well.

    He was met with pointed and intentional silence, the detective leaning forward a bit on the tips of his toes as his eyebrows rose. His head tilted like he’d not heard something the Rogue intended, but it looked like the intention was never there to begin with. Algernon hadn’t expected much from the approach, merely attempting to cover his bases, and at this point with so many starting to pull from the treeline into the valley it was increasingly obvious this was not a good place to be. He stifled the scowl and began to turn when the Rogue spoke up finally. ‘Why the sudden concern, stranger?

    Instead of turning back towards him fully Algernon cast him a sideways look over his shoulder. A bit of a contentious look indeed. “Because you clearly aren’t very concerned, so someone has to be. Only trying to help,” he answered, a bit curtly even if it was genuine. Or at least he felt it was genuine. It took him a second when crossing over to where he’d been moments before to find where Mercer went, the exi breaking away from the others with his back retreating into the distance. His eyes hardened a bit with that annoyance again, not that he should have expected anything less with what he’d known of the man and learned. He was still partially responsible for him, according to the orders he’d been given a while back, considering he is a murderer. Algernon took in a breath, acclimating to the stench in a way he didn’t hope to be. It made it difficult to smell anything else.

    He glanced to the one who had cried out earlier, seeing the way they worried over some strands of braided hair. Fallen in the water perhaps, by the looks of it when he passed. Algernon didn’t say anything, though, because they appeared to be in their own minds. Luckily for Mercer he’d already had plans to travel upstream, otherwise he might just have to shove him into the water after all. A quick thought born of his own continuously seething anger, but it didn’t stick as anything he truthfully wanted to do. Just an imaginative thought and nothing more.

    Algernon kept some space between them as he often did, though matched his pace and eyed him while his attentions wandered. “Probably shouldn’t go wandering off like that,” he said flatly, not harping on it any more than he needed to. Perhaps a small portion of him was not keen on the idea of the exi perishing on his watch, but he would rather his tongue be ripped from his skull than admit that out loud. Turning away from Mercer he looked about the other side, across the grass and the distant trees to where the black river continued on.

    Action: Following WD on the same turn up the river, looking for anything (tracks, anything constructed in the trees or along the river, anything that doesn’t sit right for a more frequently traveled area) or anyone as he does. Keepin' a watch out.
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