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Back Alive or Maybe Dead [Quest]

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  • Imposter all the way


    • I want the Opportunist, but looks like I'm outvoted. Let's see what story the Imposter has to tell.


      • They were the Impostor, a man who was not what he claimed to be. He raised his hand to his weatherbeaten hat in an approximation of a salute and smiled. "Marshal Tepet Serge, ma'am. You want to bring in an outlaw, I'm your man." He had a confident swagger, and the Marshal's shield on his chest looked real enough, but Ash could tell right away that there was something... off... about how he carried himself.

        He was a rugged-looking man in his early adulthood who looked like he'd been on the trail for months and probably never bathed in that time. He wore a mud-spattered coat over a loose shirt and trousers that were held in place with a rope. He face was shaved, but crudely, and his short hair was ragged at the edges. His bare hands were calloused all over. His boots, by contrast, looked new and expensive, and the shield-badge pinned to his coat was polished to a mirror shine.

        "Serge? That's an unusual name," she remarked.

        Serge frowned. "It's just what my da called me. Now, what's the split on the bounty for Stitch-Eyes?"

        Ash gave Seres a sideways glance. "Well, seven hundred split five ways... that's one forty each, I reckon. Basic arithmetic."

        "Of course, of course... wait, hold up. Just five? You, me, the kid, and two more?"

        "That's right. I reckon that's all we need."

        A mix of emotions played over Serge's face. Finally, he said, "I guess you're right. The shares are bigger with fewer people, anyway. So when are we setting off, and where to?"

        "We'll be leavin' as soon as we've got all our supplies and people together. The group is stayin' at the Lazy Rooster. By the way, you wouldn't happen to know Marshal Eicus, would you?"

        Serge shrugged. "He's a distant cousin. So distant, I don't think we've ever spoken. We're a big family. Why'd you ask?"

        "No reason, just curious," Ash lied. "Say, if you've got to get supplies for the trip, you'd better get goin'. Sorry to say, we're all coverin' our own expenses on this adventure."

        Serge waved a hand. "Nevermind. All I need is my horse and what I'm wearing."

        "Well, good. Why don't you go on ahead to the hostel? Me and the kid'll catch up soon."

        Serge smiled confidently and started walking away. Ash watched him go, then turned to Seres.

        "Seres, where'd you find this man?"

        Seres tilted her head and looked at the notice board. "He turned up a while after you left to look at the board. I saw his badge and started chattin' 'em up. Once I told 'em what we were doin', he volunteered to come along."

        "You know he's fake, don't you?"

        Seres set her jaw and crossed her arms. "What makes you think so?"

        "Well, let's see." Ash started checking off reasons on her fingers. "First, he asked about money. Most marshals wouldn't care about that, a hundred dinars more or less is nothin' to 'em. Second, he could've tried to deputize us, but he didn't even try to take charge. Third, he's huntin' on another marshal's turf and he says they ain't met. That's mighty strange, don't you think? And fourth, he says he's a Tepet, but he doesn't look like he comes from privilege."

        Seres raised an eyebrow. "Do I?"

        Ash shook her head. "No, but then again you ain't pretendin' to be a marshal."

        Seres let out a breath. "I take your point, but I reckon that badge is real."

        "The shield might be real, but that doesn't mean the man is."

        "' he can turn his skin to rock."

        Ash gave Seres a funny look. "Run that by me again?"

        "I saw the same as you did, Ash, so I asked 'em what 'is aspect was. He said 'earth,' and turned all stony to prove it. Dared me to hit 'em. Sure 'nuff, it was like punchin' granite."

        Ash paused to consider this. "Well then. Real or not, I suppose he could be handy."

        "Yup!" Seres smiled. "So, you went off for a while. Find anythin'?"

        Ash sighed. "Nothin' useful. Just old stories." She chose not to elaborate further.

        Seres looked at her askance. "OK... So, what do we do now?"

        "Well, we got to find you a ride," said Ash. Seres could probably ride with her on King, but the sand-dragon could get cranky and disobedient when he was overloaded. "How much cash do you have on you?"

        Seres expression changed from suspicion to glee in an instant. She pulled off her bag and started rummaging through it. The shuffle of paper and clink of coin was soft, but clear enough. "I guess... Three quarters an' an eighth?"

        Ash pursed her lips. "I've got one and a half. Between us, that buys a cheap horse, but we're gonna need a lot more than that. Still need supplies for a long trip, and I expect we'll be spending more along the way."

        Seres was crestfallen. "How do we get the money, then?"

        Ash tucked back her hair and considered her options. After much deliberation, she decided...
        • gamble for what she needed.
        • put on a show.
        • rob a bank.
        • Something else?

        OOC Commentary
        Serge is loosely based on Toshiro Mifune's character from Seven Samurai.
        Last edited by semicasual; 06-26-2017, 01:05 PM.

        On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

        Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz


        • Put on a show! Let's see what Ash can do!

          I write things.


          • Why, put on a show, of course! If there's one thing Ash is better at than anything, it's showing off.

            (I do hope we get the opportunity to "rob" a Guild caravan-train at some point.)

            I'm feeling bluuuueeeee~


            • Rob a bank?!?! Let's put on a show instead.


              • Suggested lore: Caravan-trains.

                Yeddim are ubiquitous across the entirety of Creation, so it's no surprise that the Frontier has its fair share of the furry brutes. What is surprising is the Frontier variants' peculiar trait: speed.

                The Frontier yeddim is rapidly gaining fame for its incredible swiftness, evolved for moving rapidly across the vast plains and deserts of the region. They may be slow starting out, but once they build up a head of speed, the colossal animals are practically unstoppable.

                The enterprising pioneers have, of course, devised a means to take advantage of this shockingly mobile creature: a team of plains yeddim harnessed to an armored wheeled car, pulling wheeled cars behind it on a sturdy steel track. These "caravan trains" move goods, resources and people across the Frontier in record time, indispensable to organizations such as the Guild.

                There are two limitations to the caravan train. The first: the necessity of a track, without which the train would careen out of control from the incredible power of the multi-ton lightning bolts pulling it across the land. The second: the plains yeddim's extremely odd hunger for burning coal, a unique mutation many believe was brought on by the creatures' proximity to a fire demesne or the Elemental Pole of Fire.

                The image of a hungry yeddim pulling back from its team to run alongside its armored car, barreling at full speed while one of the conductors shovels burning coals into its waiting mouth, is a sight no one is likely to forget in their lifetime.
                Last edited by Prometheus878; 11-09-2016, 09:28 PM.

                I'm feeling bluuuueeeee~


                • I know I'm outvoted out of the gate, but I love me a good gamble so that's my vote.

                  I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
                  I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero


                  • Originally posted by Prometheus878 View Post
                    Suggested lore: Caravan-trains.
                    OOC Commentary:
                    I like it. And now, Roca Roja has a Caravan Train Station, which is a major contributor to its comparative size and prosperity.

                    Ash rarely makes use of caravan trains for transport, mostly because it's both difficult and expensive to wrangle King onto a train.

                    On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                    Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz


                    • I wanna see a show, perhaps with legerdemain and pyrotechnics thrown in. Maybe a feat of endurance from our new imposter friend?


                      • After much deliberation, she decided to put on a show.

                        "Hey, Seres," she said, with a slowly growing smile. "Want to see how I became famous?"

                        Seres looked at her quizzically. "...Yes?"

                        "Then prepare to be amazed." Ash put two fingers to her lips and gave a long, loud whistle. Moments later, a commotion began in the street behind her. King was running down the road on his hind legs, looming over everyone, scattering passersby as he wove through traffic. The sand-dragon fell onto his forelegs as he came close. He slowed only slightly and kicked up even more dust. Ash ran to him and swung herself up onto his back. Then she let out a hearty whoop and seized his reigns. At Ash's urging, King ran across the square and climbed up on top of the gallows. Ash whooped again and hauled back on the reigns. King reared up and hissed.

                        Folks all around the square were gawking, trying to determine what the fuss was all about. Ash pulled off her hat and waved it at the gathering crowd.

                        "Now, hear this!" she shouted for the whole town to hear. "I'm Swifthand Ash, and tomorrow evening I'm puttin' on a performance at the Speartip!" she went on, naming a local landmark. The Speartip was a great, lopsided, wedge-shaped rock formation on the south end of town. Ash figured it would be a fine place for people to gather, partly because the Speartip was tall enough for scores of people to gather around and partly because nobody owned it - Ash could play there for free. "Feats of marksmanship, ridin', and athletics the likes of which you'll only see once in your lifetime! Come out tomorrow night, and see what a real legend of the frontier is!"

                        Ash whooped one more time for good measure and prodded King with her heels. The sand-dragon thumped down on the impromptu stage and then promptly hopped off. Once again the lizard scattered everyone as he rushed across the square to the street beyond. Ash made sure to steer close to Seres as she rode by, so she could grab the girl's arm and haul her up behind Ash in the saddle. Seres was surprised, but she had the presence of mind to balance herself and hold tight to Ash while King sprinted along.

                        Together, they galloped down a road becoming busier with the evening traffic. Only Ash's expert steering prevented them from becoming a public menace. As it was, King's startling appearance and Ash's hollering drew plenty of attention. That was the point - by the time Ash and company had reached the edge of Roca Roja and finally slowed down, they'd given everyone in town something to talk about.

                        They came to stop not too far from the Speartip. Ash could see the giant red stone rising over the surrounding desert. King turned his head and hissed at Ash.

                        "Alright, that means its time for you to get down," Ash remarked.

                        Seres let out a breath and released her grip on Ash's body. The girl slid off King's back and stumbled away a few steps. She immediately bent over and started rubbing at her thighs.

                        "Ow..." she groaned. "I think my legs got skinned. Shit. That's not like ridin' a horse at all!"

                        Ash hopped off King too and gave the big lizard an appreciative head-rub. "Yeah, sorry about that. You really need chaps for a sand-dragon. But I didn't feel right, ridin' off without you, and time's short." Ash turned away from King, walked to Seres, and put a hand on her shoulder. "Alright, listen now. There's a trick I learned, might help a bit. Take in a deep breath..."

                        Seres straightened up and looked at Ash askance. "Hold up. What for?"

                        Ash took her hand away and shrugged. "To settle your nerves, push away the pain, let that special blood of yours get on with fixin' you up."

                        "What do you know about that?"

                        Ash sighed impatiently. "It's a long story. Now, will you do it or not?"

                        Seres frowned, but she did as she was told and inhaled.

                        "Alright. Now hold it for a count of five... Breathe out." At Ash's direction, Seres took several more breaths. Ash followed along until she was sure that Seres had the basic physical technique down. "Good. Next time you breathe in, I want you to think about something peaceful. Clouds maybe. A rolling river. A sunrise over the prairie. Whatever puts your mind at ease."

                        Seres breathed in.

                        "Now, really concentrate on that thing. Try to push everything else out of your head. Just focus on that one, peaceful thing, and every little detail about it. When you've got it, breathe out."

                        Seres breathed out.

                        "Now again. Same thing. Breathe in... peace... breathe out." Once more, Ash bade Seres repeat the exercise over and over, until finally she said, "Good. Now, stop. How do you feel?"

                        Seres blinked. "...Better. I hardly feel it now. Huh. That's not like what I was taught at all."

                        "Someone taught you different?"

                        "Yeah." Seres pulled her arm to one side, stretching out her shoulder. "My granny told me to hold the pain in an' put it in my punches. I didn't really start to get what she meant until..." She trailed off, winced, and started to work on her other shoulder.

                        "Well, don't get too proud of yourself, yet. The real test is doin' it when folks are shootin' at you." Ash looked back at the Speartip. The setting sun seemed to set the rock ablaze. "Come on. Let's get back to the Rooster. Tomorrow's goin' to be a long day."

                        King was still feeling irritable, so Ash and Seres walked back to the hostel on their own legs. They talked about the upcoming show, as Ash explained in broad strokes what she wanted to do and what materials would be needed. The goal was to raise as much money as possible, which meant bringing in all the spectators they could and spending little or nothing on props. Between the two of them, they worked out how to beg, steal, or borrow all the equipment Ash would need.

                        When the arrived, they found Bo still at their table, playing solitaire. Serge was at the bar, drinking and talking loudly.

                        Ash walked up to the bar and signaled the barman to move away from Serge for a bit. "Thank you for bein' a good sport, before," she said, somehow smug and apologetic at once. "Is that man paying his tab?"

                        The barman glanced at Serge. "Yes?"

                        "Well, pay him back. Here's a half." Ash handed the man a mid-sized silver coin. "That should cover rooms for me and my friends for a night, right?"

                        The barman looked at the coin and twirled it around his fingers. "...I suppose." He pointed towards the stairs in the back. "Rooms are up there. Take any that aren't locked."

                        Ash tipped her hat. "Thank you, sir."

                        "I'm beat," Seres declared. "I'm gonna hit the sack. See you in the mornin'?"

                        "Yup. G'night, Seres." Ash watched Seres climb the stairs, then glanced over her other companions.
                        • She walked across the room and grabbed a seat next to Serge. "Hi again," she said, putting her elbows on the bar. "I don't believe we've had a decent conversation as of yet. What's your poison?"
                        • She strode to the table and sat down accross from Bo. "Hey." she said, when Bo didn't look up. "Sorry to keep you waitin' all day. Did anyone come by?"
                        • She yawned and went up the stairs after Seres. She needed rest. It had been a long day, and she figured her group could take care of themselves for a while.
                        • Something else?
                        OOC Commentary
                        Sometimes the way these things flow takes me to unexpected places. I started this post thinking I would get right into the show, but then I thought "No, I need to describe some kind of advertising maneuvers first." And then once I had Ash pull her stunt, I couldn't just skip ahead because there were other things that needed explaining. Basically, the whole character-developing interaction with Seres was totally unplanned.
                        Last edited by semicasual; 11-22-2016, 03:05 PM.

                        On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                        Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz


                        • Serge. Need to figure out what this "imposter's" deal is.

                          I write things.


                          • Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
                            Serge. Need to figure out what this "imposter's" deal is.
                            Yeah this one.


                            • Let's suss out Serge. Why not have a drink too?


                              • I need 10 characters, but I'm voting for Serge.

                                I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
                                I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero