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[P]  Prime Time for Gold

Offline Alexander Jul 8 2020, 8:09 PM
#1
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 31
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Civilian
  • Total Posts: 11
  • Played by: KittyKookiez
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IC Date: October 6th, 1476.

Alex took a sip from his canister, the rays of the sun blanketing his body in a thin layer of heat. It wasn't too bad, though. A cool breeze occasionally relieved him of this unwelcome blanket, the task made easier by his thin grey wool shirt and airy pants. The stallion was managing; it was certainly used to traveling in these semiarid climates, and didn't fuss so long as they stopped for a break every once in a while. The man was headed West from Stadarfall, intending to go back to Kheim for a time in order to make coin protecting those who wanted entry into the capital. The last man he was hired to help had decided to end their travel abruptly, deciding instead to pay the man in part and go on a different course the mercenary was not used to. Well, he tried to pay in part. The man wasn't about to travel the rest of the way without the full coin he was promised. It didn't take much to intimidate the newbie traveler into giving Alex the rest of what he owed.

It was late in the afternoon, almost the evening. Alex kept an eye out for anything looking to make a meal out of him or his stallion. One could never know what dangers lurked in the underbrush, even if that underbrush was only the occasional bush, dead tree, or rock. His eyes eventually made contact with another lifeform that wasn't of reptilian origin scuttling in the underbrush. It was...a woman. Hmm. What was she doing out here? He steered his horse to walk towards her, curious to see what her face looked like.

@Hati
------

Assume Alexander is speaking English, unless otherwise specified.
Offline Hati Jul 9 2020, 12:36 AM
#2
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 22
  • Gender: Female
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Queen
  • Total Posts: 19
  • Played by: Onii
315 Mana · View All Items?
The wind rushed easily through the dilapidated Highway in a way it hadn't before the war, whistling through the shattered corridor that had once been airtight save the high windows carved into stone. Shielded from the elements once, a roadway where travelers had walked in excess in the midst of trained Svalbardian sentries and thousands of merchants setting up temporary shops along the way to sustain the voyagers. Now the stone had crumbled sporadically across the Highway, buried in moss and vine and mold. Animals slipped through the large cave-ins, and Rogues hid in the husk of stone laying in wait for the sound of footsteps.

So...why was she there?

There was no entourage. There was no assortment of Imperial Knights and powerful Mages, no barrage of hooves follow every graceful step of the ebony Thoroughbred dressed in royal blue tack. She was "alone," for all the n a k e d e y e could see. Pale, nearly glistening in the sun like a porcelain doll, or a ghost you could see right through. Tall. Lanky. Unforgettable. Her long, dark raven hair was pulled back loosely in a lower curled bun, with long tendrils slipping partially out and creating wider loops. She'd forgone the long gowns of Stadarfell, the ones tailored to her form with the express intention to hide it. Flowing, with long trains, leaving much to a modest imagination. Instead, she was dressed for mobility...both a rare sight, and an unsettling one. She'd ridden many times in her Queen apparel, with the long trains of her dark dressed draping over her steed and flowing about them. Whatever the change was for wasn't because of a horse. Her inventory made that quite clear. A long black bow tipped with steel and forged of light carbon was clutched in her left hand, and a dark still-full quiver of arrows was strapped across her back.

They heard them before they came into view. Even further, she knew he was there even before he was near enough to be heard. The minute cuts of a sharp hunting knife against the curve of her wrist bone was how she'd done it; a periodic release, blips of Omniscience born with every drop of blood. Sacrifice to her Blood Magic in exchange for astral information. A third eye, and he'd crossed into her vision not long ago. So, she wasn't surprised. If even she could express such an unscripted emotion.

Both the raven and the Thoroughbred turned in unison, giving just their gazes and a turn of the head to greet him. For the horse it seemed so natural, but her... it was as though only the bones in her neck were able to move. The rest of her, solid without joints.

Now, The Wolfer Queen was a strange creature. As anyone with her...specific attributes. Like a machine, or more particularly a marionette guided by unseen strings in an uncanny way. It was no longer possible to assume her sentiment by a look in her eyes, by the way she moves, by anything that she did not intentionally give you. Her silver eyes bore through him, beautiful like a fire might be. And slowly, as he met her stare with his own, the carbon bow slowly raised with an arrow poised at the string, her 3-fingered hands coming together fluidly to aim the weapon and pull the strong cord taught. Mechanical, without a shake in her hold, the head of the arrow poised between his eyes. Her eyes were pinned to his face like a cat playing with a mouse, watching what it will do in response to a swat of a paw and a little c h o m p. All the while, no indication that she saw him in terms of her expression--ethereal and still, but her eyes were electrifying all the same as they remained engaged into his own.

Rather than words to introduce herself...some manner of an unrecognizable ice breaker, some manner of a greeting, some manner of j o k e.
Despite all that she appeared to be, Queen Hati had an i m p e c c a b l e sense of humor.
Even if you don't get it.
Offline Alexander Jul 9 2020, 11:39 AM
#3
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 31
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Civilian
  • Total Posts: 11
  • Played by: KittyKookiez
120 Mana · View All Items?
The horse made its way steadily and slowly towards the woman, its actions guided by the rope around its head. Alexander's eyes remained focused on the woman, her details becoming clear with each hoof that came closer. She looked pale and lifeless, her skin devoid of any color and face devoid of any emotions. It reminded him, vaguely, of a ghost. Or perhaps of a vampire, their skin drained of the essence of life, barren of the blood that brings about the beauty of human flesh. Her look was certainly not what he anticipated. It was off-putting, but more prominently, it was a let-down.

The stallion is commanded to stop with a simple, light tug on the rope. It obeys without delay, its beading eyes looking ever so mundanely at its surroundings. It is unaware of what is happening, unaware of the possible danger it is in when a steel-tipped arrow is aimed at its owner's head. He remains motionless, watching her with narrowed eyes and an unwavering stance upon his horse. The situation has gotten serious quick, and he finds himself thinking quickly on how to get out of this situation unscathed. Shame on me for trying to get some company from a lady. A dismal thought.

The scene feels tense, yet somehow not at the same time. There is no one around except him, her, and his stallion--or so he thinks. It is silent, the only sound heard being the winds hushed travel from one place to another. Even the horse is silent, for no particular reason. It makes him acutely more aware of the things happening around him; the feel of the woven pouch bag resting on his back, the feel of his soles rubbing against the bottom of his boots, the thin layer of sweat emphasizing the sandy textures of his face.

His voice is even, bereft of the fear he kept within, breaking the silence with a casual tone meant not to bring humor, but to diffuse, "I was hoping for some company, along my travels," he invites, head rising ever so slightly in a show of unwavering confidence. Once narrowed eyes now look unabashedly at the ghost-like woman, taking in her odd features and choice of clothing meanwhile, "Do you speak English?" talk, perhaps, to still whatever thoughts she was having. A chance to buy time, to think of something better.
------

Assume Alexander is speaking English, unless otherwise specified.
Offline Hati Jul 9 2020, 8:55 PM
#4
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 22
  • Gender: Female
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Queen
  • Total Posts: 19
  • Played by: Onii
315 Mana · View All Items?
Every move he makes, the woman's bow trains just a touch to keep its target between his eyes. It's as though this tiny bead of vulnerability is all she sees in him. It seemed that, at some point, he rightly figures that the pedestal was his to speak on, and so he does. "I was hoping for some company, along my travels," It's a simple desire. The slightest narrow of her eyes, temporary in nature like a small pulse of motion that quickly eases away, a twitch that's hardly visible but yet causes a glint to pass across her silver eyes. "Do you speak English?"

It's impossible to know what she thought of the comment or the question for that matter. And impossible to know what she especially thought of a man who'd had an arrow poised to his face, and yet was still speaking of company. Hati has a knack for acting without need for a thought, an impulse, or any explicit desire. Like a marionette dancing to the tune of a higher god. But the slight tilt of her head was perceivable, a ghost of a motion, testing or taunting or curious of him.

"You ask a question only an English speaker could answer." It's said in the way most things were said: with her smooth, even tone, the volume neither raised nor lowered for him, standard to her being, ethereal and words well-spaced. The response was postured like a summary, a parroting of the events. Rhetorical, without need for an answer. Was she asking a question? Mocking him? Making a simple observation as all machines might do, without bias or personal involvement?
No one can say.

But after some time, and seemingly without any type of context that has warranted it, Hati lowers the bow with a seamless ease and loosens the tension against the arrow before flipping it over her shoulder and back into the waiting quiver. The Wolfer Queen did not settle much more attention on him than that, instead snapping her fingers to call over her black Thoroughbred at her side so that she might strap her bow back in place against the flank of the saddle. She worked diligently, precisely, despite having only 6 fingers to work with, the two furthermost from the thumbs whittled down into nubs. The remainder that survived her self mutilation were long and thin, draconic almost, skin tight to the sculpted bones. "If you are so lonely, I recommend.. a pet, of some kind. You also assume we travel the same way, doing the same things. .." Despite how she's momentarily turned away from him to situate her mount, Hati--like always--does not raise her voice to increase the ease at which someone can hear her. If they were listening, they would hear her. And if they could not, they should come closer. All that she speaks is pitted out into the open, both the seen and unseen ears, and should she miss the attention of the tangible company, the intangible ones that she can both see and hear tended to sit at attention every time.

But when she is finished she hauls herself up the side of her horse with a sure grip at the pommel, one boot over the side, a fluid single motion that spoke not just of years of riding, but of performative riding and perhaps some manner of dressage. Drifting down into her seat like a ghost without weight. The prime leather reigns were taken into her dominant left hand, her head held high and those eyes now staring back at him as both horses were facing each other. "..are we?" she finishes the thought, the slightest flavor of inflection denoting that it was a question. Whether or not she was expecting an answer, who could say, but the peculiar woman was soon twisting with her horse, giving him their back (without concern for the repercussion, because the consistent droplets of her blood still allows her to see him) and continuing along the way.

In any event, it appeared as though the answer to that was for him to find. The Wolfer Queen seldom had things to say on matters that were neither here nor there for her. An opportunist, similar in nature to a natural disaster or a disease, Hati was known for her ability to conform to something like the shape of water.
Or a liquid far thicker.
Offline Alexander Jul 10 2020, 3:05 PM
#5
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 31
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Civilian
  • Total Posts: 11
  • Played by: KittyKookiez
120 Mana · View All Items?
It was difficult to figure out what might be going on in the pale woman's head, her arrow still aimed squarely between his eyes as he hoped for something good to have. With words already spoken, the only thing the man could do was wait, watching in silence the subtle movements she made. The slight tilt of a head, some more silence, and then finally, words.

Well, English indeed. He opted for silence at her comment, not finding his own comment worth speaking of. We're getting somewhere, still cautious, but hopeful. Even still, no movement was made for a moment, his eyes still out the lookout. Waiting for a trick to happen, a surprise to come; the rising of the bow once more, its holder releasing the arrow in a sudden, fluid move.

It was somewhat reassuring to know that she understood him and could at least make a conversation. Eyes find themselves staring curiously at her fingers when she snaps them; or rather, the lack thereoft. Each hand seems to be missing a few, causing a mild look of concern to wash over his face. He looks at the paleness of her face once more, studying it, looking for emotion. Some clue as to what she might be feeling, what might have happened, but there is nothing to see in her almost undead eyes. For a moment he thinks maybe she had been captured, tortured. It would explain the stranger caution. But the lack of emotion anywhere makes him think that it might be something more than that. Especially since he'd seen the flash of red, the dark coloring a stark contract to her pale flesh, appearing in front of him and disappearing so fast that he half doubted whether it was even real.

"A pet might be too much work. I travel a lot, so whatever animal it'd be would have to be trained and good for endurance. And I'm headed West, to Kheim." She does not fear him, that much is clear in the way she so effortlessly turns her back on him. He could imagine such a display to be disrespectful, if she were a guy, a challenge he would have fully acknowledged and responded to. He steers his horse to head west, letting it walk slightly faster to align with her own. There was no benefit to being behind her, sure that whatever she may have up her sleeve could null the advantage, and he was under the impression that her choice of back-turning was not just a false show of confidence. Under the assumption that it turns out they're headed the same direction, he would let the relative silence, sound of whispered winds, and hoof beats be the dominating sounds. Not much time would pass before he inquires, "How did you get that cut?" tone still casual, eyes looking ahead of them for a moment before meeting her own, glancing and searching once more for a hint of emotion before pulling away again before his curiosity became too obvious.
------

Assume Alexander is speaking English, unless otherwise specified.
Offline Hati Jul 10 2020, 4:51 PM
#6
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 22
  • Gender: Female
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Queen
  • Total Posts: 19
  • Played by: Onii
315 Mana · View All Items?
The Wolfer Queen was...a strange figure, with a stranger background still. The last suitable Forseign to rule all that her bloodline had built, the rise of Svalbard and with it the rise of Magic and Science. With "The One War They Lost" came the death of her predecessor and, with that, her exile by a f o o l i s h man who took the throne by force. With the wilderness came her death at the bottom of a lake...and her subsequent rebirth.

She no longer remembers the sensation of being fully Human, and being fully alive, stripped of the voices and the Blood Magic that replaces the fluid in her veins. If ever she missed it, the natural concept of emotion and thoughts and even physical sensations (without actively choosing to focus on them), it was impossible to tell. It is neither here, nor there. She has no need for a face, no need for eyes, a mouth, features--like vestigial traits that no longer apply to her, and at times she forgets they are there.

When Hati decides she is done with something, she simply is. Like a machine losing its prompt, or the hands at the strings tied to her joints are abandoned by the force above. She has a presence about her that suggests no magnetism to anything, no draw to anything. If he does not follow, she will disappear like a passing ship, a wraith fading in the wind, a person suddenly alone like he'd never existed. In many cases, especially in The Unclaim like this, that seeming absentmindedness made her a decadent steal for Rogues along the defunct Highway, but...A mistake. It seems the Human man didn't intend on making that mistake, not that The Wolfer Queen was ever mulling over the chance of that. She mulls over nothing right now. Empty.

"A pet might be too much work. I travel a lot, so whatever animal it'd be would have to be trained and good for endurance. And I'm headed West, to Kheim." As usual, she does not answer right away. No part of her reacts as though she's been spoken to, in fact. Her stare still catches the path ahead, her sculpted chin high and level. Fitting posture not of royalty, but of something less alive. Rigid. When he settled in next to her, peripheral vision was enough for her while many would instinctively turn their heads to greet the company at the very least. In either case she knew he was there, and so no further identification was necessary. "..Then something large. Perhaps, something that can carry you," a deadpan pause, as always, and even some sliver of an unknown tense change in her stare, "If such an animal exists." And then she's quiet again, leaving the interpretation of that statement to the listener(s)...the intangible ones included.

Aside from her physical attributes and abnormal affect, The Wolfer Queen was very well known for her penchant for chess. Even when she was a child the Princess was historically known for her active preference and skill with the game. Fitting for any Svalbardian, and an heir at that, one could suppose. Now, the game had moved from the board to people, a suitable graduation for a crowned Queen. Only it went so far beyond politics and maneuvers for national stability and prosperity. Every conversation, every meeting, every interaction was, in some form, a game of chess with her. She played hands constantly, some plays intentionally subtle to draw attention and others intentionally obvious just to catch the other in a vice of some manner. Everything you say, everything you don't, every pause your make in between, all of it matters. The why she does this wasn't important; the why did not always exist. Does she have the concept of enjoyment anymore? Amusement, entertainment, simple baseless interest. Perhaps at the total expense of others, she's curious enough to find out.
Beware.

"How did you get that cut?" A not-so-subtle pry. She doesn't turn her head from the road, but her eyes slowly roll to their corners, far until it feels like the muscles holding them will snap, and catches sight of him before steering back to the partially-wooded path ahead. "We are in The Unclaim," in case a reminder was needed, "wounds are implied here, are they not?" It was a nonanswer, and yet an answer all the same. "Sacrifices must be made when hunting. ..I would expect a traveler to know this." Whatever she'd been hunting, it was clear by the bare hide of her Thoroughbred, where an animal would likely be lain, that she'd not yet caught it.
Not yet.
Offline Alexander Jul 16 2020, 9:33 AM
#7
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 31
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Civilian
  • Total Posts: 11
  • Played by: KittyKookiez
120 Mana · View All Items?
She is was strange, that much was obvious. Unsettling and, in a way, barely there. It gave off the impression that she was too busy being lost in her own mind, or like she was not there at all. If he weren't so cautious about the fact that she is and she can be seen and heard, this trip wouldn't be much different. He tried to focus less on her strangeness and more on what she said, but even the way she speaks is uncanny, no emotion in the words at all. No inflection, or shift in tone--it reminded him a little of Eximius. Ugly false humans.

"Like a gryphon, maybe," he smiles just a bit, imagining himself riding a wild gryphon as it bucked, flapped, and screeched in defiance, feathers flying, "Or a thunderbird," this causes a small chuckle to form. A thunderbird, ha! He looks at her face for yet another reaction, but he doesn't expect one. The joke was more for him, anyway.

Her answer to his query is, decidedly, intentionally vague, yet still an answer. The man makes no further prods, understanding that she is vague for a reason. Despite his unwavering curiosity, he knows he cannot simply coerce or force her to tell. She has secrets she would like to keep. Or maybe, what she said was true. There is silence before he responds, "So uh, what brings you to Kheim?" it is no assumption, however much he phrases it like so. He wants the accusation confirmed or denied.

OOC: So I had this done save for like 3 sentences 3 days ago, and then I had to go to the store and never got back to this XD I am so sorry for the wait!
------

Assume Alexander is speaking English, unless otherwise specified.
Offline Hati Jul 22 2020, 1:01 AM
#8
  • Svalbard
  • Age: 22
  • Gender: Female
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Queen
  • Total Posts: 19
  • Played by: Onii
315 Mana · View All Items?
If there was any love lost with the fact that he'd seemingly not caught the intention of her words, surely again there was no physical indication to corroborate that. There was no physical indication to corroborate that she could be burdened with any ray of emotion, really. She was unchanged, even by his barrage of fantastical ideas, seemingly no more intrigued here than she was for anything. Listening, learning, either stowing useful information or repressing the useless: from an outside perspective her days consisted only of these four things.

"So uh, what brings you to Kheim?" There's a point in time where she's extremely not there, a sensory void of where she should be sitting. The tense moment when it was clear that someone was either diligently sifting through thoughts or shut down, waiting for a prompt in their heads to update. She doesn't answer right away, but when she does her tone is the same as always. Deceptively, it's the same as always. "..I never said I was headed to Kheim," she responds simply, and despite how there could be a notable agitation as belonging to anyone who felt they were being blatantly ignored by the man, there was none in her tone of voice. "I believe that "hunting" was the word I specifically used." tracking her prey long distances after it had slipped away. The moment she'd spot its tracks, she would be gone just as easily as she'd come. Without remorse.

After some amount of thought, Hati turned slightly in her saddle to get a genuine look at him. Despite this, she was still bereft of emotion, and still unaccommodating in the way her silver gaze bore through him. Her chin was still high, and she gave no indication that she was about to speak. Nevertheless, "..I see that you are a talker, and not a very good listener." It was blatant, without the bells and whistles one would expect of a higher class Svalbardian looking to strike a foe in some clever, obscured way that couldn't be countered (without losing one's own appearances). It was scathing in a way, challenging in another, all built on basic fact. This response was the result of her assessment of him that had begun at the moment she'd seen him cross into her view. Silence then, but she didn't dismiss him in favor for the road just yet. Her moonlight eyes were staring back at him, bated, waiting.