Arduls been busy since the trip into Dinosaur Swamp. Patrols and other freelance work, keeping her busy.
To say that trip had been tense would be an understatement but then, so had that entire mission.
There’s still the issue of the Wolfen vessel they’d found and the Saurians had chased them from. But she’s not sought out Hunter to discuss that further. Perhaps she’s chosen to let … sleeping dogs lie … so to speak.
The tall blonde is currently wandering the Market in Sarens Rest, talking to Vendors and arranging work. She’s distinctive in her gleaming silver armour as she moves through the crowd stopping at one stall to speak to the proprietor. They’re a regular supplier of work for the Winged Warrior.Hunter is already there, already talking to the merchant though it’s not clear if he’s trolling for work, buying or selling. His back is to Ardul and he hasn’t seen her approach but she could make out that red long coat anywhere. Or… very likely so anyway. not many people have something like that and even fewer of them are wolfen.
It does mean, though, if she wants to hit up her contact for work she’s going to have to deal on some level with Hunter.
Seeing the long red coat has the Valkyr pausing a moment and glancing at the next merchant, considering moving on and coming back this way later. But she decides against it and steps up beside the Wolfen, offering a smile to the draconic looking D-Bee, Grant, waiting to see if he’s dealing with Hunter or free to engage with her.
“Well met, Grant. Hello Hunter.” She’s not been avoiding the Wolfen, really! She’s just been busy.“… And some of the strongest RDF equipment you can scrounge up. I don’t care how heavy it is.” Hunter is finishing up as Ardul approaches. He looks over, ears flicking a little. “Hello Ardul. Been a little while.”
Seems like the wolfen noticed. But then he would. He’d been working with the winged woman for a while.
“It has, Hunter. Had a few contracts that have been keeping me busy. How about you?” Ardul noted the ears and offers a smile to the Wolfen. The mention of RDF equipment has her eyebrows rising but she won’t ask, not just yet. She’s aware of Hunters private project but she’s not sure how many others are.
“Sure thing, Hunter. I’ve got a unit out the back and if you need more, it’ll take me a couple of days.” Grant answers “Is that alright?”
Flicking his slitted eyes over Ardul he gives her a repitillian grin “And ain’t you a sight for sore eyes, Ardul. If you’re looking for work, there’s a party after assistance, leaving tomorrow. Right up your alley and the pays good. You too, Hunter.” He pauses a moment as he studies the blonde “Been someone asking around about you, though. New to town, they are. Don’t seem to be the recruiting type either.”“I have been a bit busy as well.” Hunter never lacks for things to do that Ardul has observed. He’s got a lot of work he can contract with that bot. It’s in high demand. And his private project seems to have a lot of loose threads to chase down.
“Should be fine Grant. So long as I get it before the end of next week.”
The news that someone’s been asking around Ardul gets a quirk of the brow. He knows of some people who might. The wolfen returns the winged woman’s smile… but a bit more muted than hers. A bit.
“Sounds interesting, Grant.” Ardul nods at the work. “Give me the details. I’m in.” She needs the work if she wants to eat. And a woman like, Ardul? She likes to eat. “What’s this about someone looking for me?” Hunter muted smile almost gets a smirk from the Valkyr, but she nods instead at his answer “So I figured. I trust your negotiations with the Armsmen in Vesper were satisfactory?”
Her payout from the job had been … unexpected. Much more than she’d anticipated. Which was nice.
“Can do, Hunter. Before the end of the next of week. You not carrying about the weight makes that possible.” Seeing Hunters quirked eyebrow, the lizard casts a glance at the blonde just as she asks her question “Yeah. Was sniffing around here a few days ago asking about a blonde with wings and silver armour. Described your armour to a tee, he did, Ardul.” He frowns at her gauntlet “Right down the marking on your gauntlet there.”
The marking that identifies her as advisor to the Princep Iyesgarth. Unless someone has been close to her, it’s not likely they’d know what it looks like.
“What did he look like, Grant?”
“Nothing much, Ardul. About five foot ten inches, dark haired. Human or human heritage.” beat “Let me get that unit for Hunter and I’ll be back.” And off he goes, leaving the pair of them together.
“RDF equipment, Hunter? Have you found another signal that you’re trying to trace?” the blonde is frowning as she asks that, the Wolfen can probably guess what she’s frowning at.“Yes. Probably. Maybe.” Hunter isn’t horribly specific. “I don’t know quite where though. Hence the RDF gear. The more sensitive the better.”
The grey furred wolfen steps away from the stall and sighs. “He didn’t mention wings, so probably not your assassins mmm?” He also didn’t mention what they wanted, just that they’d been asking around for Ardul. There are any number of reasons why one might do that. But… you usually want mercenaries to be able to find you if you want to imply them.
The inspecific answer does get a smirk from the blonde, even as she raises an eyebrow. “I see.” As much as she’d like to offer to go with him, she doesn’t. He hadn’t been particularly happy with their last mission, after all. Though Hunter can probably see her start to say something and then stop.
“Too short apart from no mention of wings.” The blonde follows the Wolfen, positioning herself so she can see when Grant returns. “The cyborgs are my height, if not taller. And they aren’t generally programmed to interact like that. They really are seek and destroy units.” She’s still frowning, her grey eyes meeting the Wolfens. It’s possible the Cyborgs could be reprogrammed, but would they have the capability to interact to that degree? From what Hunter’s seen, they’re ‘interpersonal’ range has been rather limited.
Running a finger over the relief on her gauntlet, Ardul sighs again “Describing my armour, I could put down to people talking. Describing the Princeps sigil? I don’t like it.”
There’s a clatter and some rather creative cursing from the back of the stall as they’re talking which has Arduls frown lessening for just a moment “Doesn’t sound like Grants got his equipment tidied up yet…” It always seems to be that way when she comes to see him.“What do you mean ‘yet’?” Hunter looks in the direction of the noise but doesn’t move. Noises like that are pretty common in the market and especially common from Grant’s stall. One does not simply barge into the back of one because someone dropped a drive coil or something like that.
“The sigil isn’t… large. Prominent. You’d have to get quite close to describe it in detail. So either they had it described to them or you’ve been under close observation.”
“Alright… ever.” Ardul allows, squinting as Grant begins to describe the parentage of a storage unit in … quite some detail. Loudly. “How he ever finds anything, I’ll never know.” She’s not moving in that direction either. It sounds like every day at Grants stall.
Looking down at the gauntlet, the blonde nods slowly. “Yeah. You only saw it because you had the gauntlet in your hand. I’m thinking the same thing. Either option I don’t like.” Why keep her under close observation – and it has to be close to get that sort of detail?
Taking a long moment to study the Wolfen, the Valkyr lets out a sigh “Look Hunter, I know the last mission was tense and I wa—-”
There’s sound of metal grating, like someones dragging a chest or barrel, and Grant appears not long after that, lugging a piece of equipment that gets placed, solidly, on the table at the front of the stall. “There you go, Hunter. If this meets with your approval, you can pick up when you’re done here today.” He gestures, encouraging Hunter to look it over.
Whatever the blonde was going to saying, is going to have to wait.Hunter opens one of the panels to check the electrics. He moves with a simple, easy familiarity. Like he’s handled this kind of equipment before. Maybe he has. The wolfen prods one piece likes its a bit suspect but doesn’t really press the issue. “It’ll do.” He may have to fix it up a little but that’s pretty common with the salvage and scrap merchents around here.
Ardul gets another quirked brow. He knows what she was going to say. Well he knows the start of it anyway. And given that she hasn’t left she might just get the chance to say it again.
Grant eyes Hunter as he looks the equipment over but, wisely, remains silent. Hunters dealt with him enough for him to know to do that. When the Wolfen accepts it, perhaps a bit grudgingly, a grin splits his lizard like face. “Excellent. It’ll be here when you’re ready to collect it.” beat “Oh Ardul, in case you’re wondering, I got how to contact that guy. You know, just in case I saw someone meeting your description.”
Grant it seems, isn’t stupid.
“Thanks Grant.” Ardul smiles, after quirking an eyebrow in response to Hunters. That wasn’t awkward, not at all. It doesn’t take long for the Draconic D-Bee to give her the details before turning his attention to other customers.
Leaving her and Hunter … alone. More or less. As alone as they can be in the crowded market.
Ardul sighs again and meets the Wolfen’s eyes “… I … just wanted to clear the air between us.” He had been … angry … at everyone when they left. Even her, she thinks. “… I thought we worked together fairly well before that last mission.”“We did.” Hunter says. He looks at Ardul very carefully. “You acted to keep the peace, such as it was, on that mission. But you let two utter neophytes alter the contract and put everyone’s lives at risk. And that’s aside from their interference in my personal business.” So no, he’s not horribly happy and while he understands the position she was in, he doesn’t agree with the call.
“So we don’t now?” The blonde lets out a sigh and brushes her hair behind her ear. Her helmet must be in her apartment.
“We discussed your personal business and how I felt about it.” She won’t remind him that she stood back to back prepared to fight if he pushed the issue. She might not have liked it, but it’s what you do … for squad mates.
Not once during that mission had Ardul shown any signs of fatigue at having to balance to the situation between the parties. Now she does, which says a lot for how she sees Hunter.
“I made a decision you didn’t agree with. We aren’t always going to agree on a course of action or see eye to eye. Our experiences are very different. If that diminishes me and my capabilities in your eyes, then that’s what it does. If that changes how you view me …” She sounds tired, it hadn’t been an easy mission, not at all.“Didn’t say that.” Hunter says evenly, looking Ardul over. “What I want to know is why. What made you think that was the right thing to do.” Because apparently that matters. Hunter doesn’t agree that much is clear. He’s not asking her to apologise. He’s wanting to know understand.
Then he can make whatever decisions he needs to make.
The blonde rubs her temple, returning the look and taking her time to answer. “I didn’t know. But Felipe and Pegi were already distressed about the whole situation and we had to get moving. I could have just done it, killed them as we’d discussed.” Her hand moves down to her neck and starts to rub at the scars that are visible over the edge her armour. It’s clear she’s not aware that she’s doing that. “But then I would have to worry about the other two and getting them to cooperate.”
Those cool grey eyes meet Hunters, but they’re anything but cool at the moment “Besides, they yielded. They laid down their weapons and gave themselves into our custody. And … that means something to me.”Hunter shakes his head. “Had you fallen into their power, they would not have been so considerate. There are no rules here on this world Ardul. There are no conventions on what makes acceptable conflict. There’s only what you have the strength to do and what they have the strength to do.”
The wolfen sticks both hands in his pockets and just watches. “So what now, then?”
Ardul keeps rubbing at those scars, if anything it gets more vigorous as Hunter makes his observation and she snorts derisively “I know that, Hunter. I’ve more than enough experience to know how I’ll be treated should I fall into the wrong hands.” She takes a deep breath, closing her eyes and gathering herself.
“But I’m not them and my strength often lies in other places. You know that I’ve never hesitated when we are fighting and I never will. I’ll put whoever comes at me down and make sure they don’t get up.” He’s seen that on any number of occassions. She’ll hit first and ask questions later, maybe. If she can.
As to what now? The blonde returns the look again and drops her hand to her side “That’s up to you to decide if you can work with me again. For myself, I’ve contracts to fulfill and someones looking for me.” Someone who can describe some very personal details …The wolfen flicks his ears. “We can work together, yes. But I will expect that you won’t alter the contract like that again.” That doesn’t exactly sound like a request. More like a condition.
“I understand why you did that, Ardul. And I know it wasn’t an easy decision. But mercenaries like me never look kindly upon those who put our lives at more risk than necessary. Had that been anyone but me with you, you’d probably have wound up short an escort.”
He had already told Ardul he was expecting to leave, that night when they had spoken. Why he had stayed, she doesn’t know and she’s not going to ask either.
“I will do my best, Hunter but you’re more than aware that plans never survive first encounter.” She draws herself up, eyes still stormy, the only indication in her demeanour that she’s not comfortable. “And I’m well aware that was a possibility of my decision.”
That she had even raised the issue speaks volumes as to the regard she pays him.
“If that’s all then?” She’s got someone to go and find.“That’s all, yes.” Hunter half turns back to Grant’s stall and then pauses and looks over his shoulder. “See you later.”
At least that’s an acknowledgement that he will. That things will, probably, eventually be okay.