Steel strings and arc welders. These are the sounds of a workshop in which Hunter is repairing a robot. Saren’s Rest has a number of them – the best one being Meg’s – and while the technicians are there for the work it’s possible just to rent space and tools. Which is what Hunter has done.
Space, tools, and a music player which is currently blaring out a twangy melody hundreds of years old over the sound of hot gas welding metal.
It’s all the same. Only the names will change. Every day, it seems we’re wastin’ away.
Another place where the faces are so cold. I travel nights just to get back home.
I’m a cowboy. On a steel horse I ride. I’m wanted, dead or alive.
A winged blonde wearing gleaming silver armour, that’s not so gleaming at the moment, comes through the door of Meg’s. The armour is streaked in grime, blood and dirt and the blonde’s hair is plastered to the side of her face. One of her wings hangs at an angle and the edges of both are tattered and frayed.
“Interesting song, Hunter.” she calls over the sounds “It’s kind of how I feel, but shouldn’t that be a steel robot?”
Wanted. Dead or Alive. She is, more or less. At the moment, it seems the Iyesgarthians want her alive but that could well change.
“How’s the wolfbot?”
Yaren knows nothing about robots and even the most basic machinery is still a complete puzzle to him. His world is nature, his interests, the creatures that roam these foreign lands, swim in its waters, and fly through its skies. Today the last of these is especially punctuated for the fact that the hat-wearing figure has several small birds that have decided to tag along with him, flitting along in his wake, a few landing on the edge of his hat or on his shoulder- the one not occupied by one silvery winged snake who currently pretends to be a fancy pauldron.
Violet eyes look somewhat conflicted as he glances towards the shop where he knows at least one of his friends might be at. Just his luck to find that both his oldest acquaintances in this world are indeed here, but what is that noise? Some of the birds seem to object to the sounds coming from the shop, and as Yaren decides to continue his approach, his tiny flock dwindles to perhaps only three, the last of them finally taking off once he comes within range of Ardul and Hunter. He sighs quietly as he turns his head to watch them go off before looking back to his friends, raising a hand in greeting.
It’s the music that draws her, sensitive ears catching the sounds from some distance away and pulling her towards it in curiosity and faint sense of wonder. It’s familiar, she thinks. Perhaps. Something from a time and place so long ago that there’s never more than wispy fragments, ever vague and fleeting.
One thing she knows, this city is new. It wasn’t here the last time she’d been in these parts, so the native american has come to explore and see what she might learn. Long straight shiny black hair descends down her back to her waist and she’s nearly but not quite six feet tall. Slender and muscled instead of soft and curvy, wearing a sleeves white leather top, matching skirt and boots and silver and turquoise jewelery. A long denim coat, open and reaching her knees, trimmed with white and black fur and a more than generally necessary amount of knives complete the ensemble.
Her nose twitches as she enters the place, catching blood and dirt and metal, oil and male and female and something else undefinable, just after entering she turns and looks watching Yaren’s approach with interest. “Heyla.” She greets the strangers, making her way towards the music and stopping near to listen.
Hunter is hanging from some kind of harness halfway up the bot replacing what looks like a hip actuator. He glances down, flipping his welding mask up to tilt his head.
“Hello Yaren. Bring a friend did we?” He most certainly did not mean the birds, which he did not see. No. He means the odd being standing by his stereo. Don’t damage the stereo.
“Bot’s okay Ardul. Just routine maintenance.”
“‘Lo Yaren.” Ardul says wearily, placing her helmet carefully on a chair in the corner. For a few minutes she’s preoccupied with removing her chest plate and finding a rag to clean it. “They’re interesting companions, been flying with them?” She knows a bit about his powers, but not much.
The arrival of the woman, nearly as tall as herself, has the blondes hand moving to the cylinder on her hip. “Hello. Can we help you?” she says slowly, grey eyes cutting to her companion working on the wolf bot.
The stranger doesn’t answer until the song finishes though she’s aware of the movement and the weapon the other women carries. “You already have. Thank you.” She turns and smiles, then ducks her head at the stereo. “Long time since I heard that last.”
Now free of the music’s hold she studies the people in the shop, her eyes lingering for a long moment on Yaren’s purple ones, studying Ardul’s wings and then raising an amused brow at Hunter. A wolfen with a.. what did she call it?
Wolfbot. Different than the ones she knows but then, not all of the People eschew technology either. “I am Jesana.” She offers her name, since it’s the friendly thing to do and at the moment she is in a friendly mood.
“This one had thought to bring a few, but they did not seem to agree with the noise of Hunter’s work,” Yaren replies, glad at least that he doesn’t have to compete against the sound. The music is another thing, of course. Strange music, if ever he had heard it, but such is another thing that the spectral being can claim to be an expert of. Of course, the implication that the Wolfen had made of the woman who had apparently come in after completely goes over his figurative head.
He nods at Ardul, his eyes seeming to smile, and indeed that’s really all that can be seen even when one grabs a good look at where his face should be, beneath the shadows of the wide-brimmed, tricorn cap he wears. His coat and cloak are tattered at the edges, and had probably at one point been some color or another but now generally appears more or less a neutral shade tending between gray and brown. When he steps, he hardly makes a sound, at least not enough for one as tall as he.
“This one had not meant to get attached to them. It is just as well that they have gone. They must be on their journey before the colder weather.”
Slowly Yaren looks towards the woman that had spoken up then, as Ardul addresses her. She’s no one he’s ever seen before, but then even spending his time here in Saren’s Rest, it usually isn’t among people. He’s not certain he understands the answer to the question that Ardul had given her, but he offers a nod. At least she does not appear to mean any harm.
Hunter works the catch on the harness and lowers himself to the floor to unclip himself. He’s a tall wolfen, grey fur, cybernetic left hand. Even here, working in Saren’s Rest, there’s a pistol strapped to his side. Of course there would be. Saren’s Rest is safer than rest of Vanished Point but that’s a long, long way from being safe. It is not safe here, unless one has a weapon and is willing to use it.
Or is an animate pile of clothes, take your pick.
“I don’t think I caught your name miss…?” The wolfen is wiping grease off his hands now. There’s quite a bit of it inside that shiny, silver, wolf shaped robot. “Yaren, I hope everything’s okay? Just a social call? Or…?”
“We have, have we?” Ardul cocks her head and puts the chest piece down, moving to Hunters side as he reaches the floor. “… Jesana. She said her name was Jesana.” The blonde says quietly, turning grey eyes to the dark haired woman.
Her positioning with the Wolfen is clear, to the side and slightly behind him. A protector? Or just protective? Take your pick. Her wing is still held at a funny angle – clearly she’d found herself in an altercation against something. Likely in Vanished Point.
“At least it wasn’t the music, if you can call it that, that scared them off.” she’s teasing Hunters choice of music. Back to Jesana “And how have we helped you, exactly?”
“It may have been the… music? This one cannot say exactly.”
Yaren’s attention returns towards Hunter, to whom he gives a nod. “Yes. This one has not spoken to nor heard from either of you since his return. Are things…well?” He’s not quite sure if ‘well’ is the right word for it, especially considering what he’d been asked to investigate for them. …and then there’s the fact that the winged warrior woman looks like a mess.
“Ardul, what happened?” Concern colors his tone, about the only evidence of emotion he can convey save for the slightest change of shape to his glowing eyes.
At least she doesn’t seem too worried herself, seeing as how she’s carrying on in conversation with the newcomer.
Jesana grins, white teeth flashing as notes Ardul’s body language. She finds it funny. “It was a good song, isn’t often I hear something that seems familiar.” The lean woman nods at Yaren. Definitely the music that brought her but now they seem to have caught her interest.
She considers an assurance that she means no harm but well, that could always change. Indeed, Jesana is curious how she could fight Yaren if it came to it. Would she win? Her warrior’s mind likes the idea of challenge. The wolfen would be fun too and the valkerie like woman is.. is… another hint of memory? Something.. that word. Valkerie..no. She doesn’t remember. Not right now. It distracts her from thoughts of fighting though and Jesana shakes her head as if to clear it and eyes Ardul again. “You need a healer or something? Not sure if there any good ones about here but then, I haven’t been here long.”
Hunter glances to Ardul. What had happened? He’ll leave her to explain that. For now he’s just watching this odd woman who has showed up and is now in the workshop. Mostly he’s making sure she doesn’t make off with the tools. She might just be there to chat, but on Rifts Earth it pays to keep an eye on expensive things like plasma arc welders.
Things that could, you know, hide under a denim coat.
“Mmmm?” Ardul looks to Yaren and then down at herself “Oh. I was on escort duty in Vanished Point. Zigged when I should have Zagged. There’s something nasty in there at the moment, though – causing parties all sorts of problems.” That should answer at least some of it.
“And no, I don’t need a Healer. I heal quickly enough and Hunter is well versed in tending to my wings …” beat “What brings you by, then?”
He’s naive in many things, but observation is his strongest point, and indeed, he’s been in Saren’s Rest for quite a while that he knows it’s best to be wary of strangers. With Ardul’s explanation and reassurance that she’d be all right, Yaren nods, trusting the winged woman to know herself best in such circumstances. He’s no healer himself, but if she needed someone, he wouldn’t hesitate to go search for one if she requested it.
Currently it’s more curiosity than caution that he exhibits as he turns to face Jesana. He’d noted both Hunter and Ardul’s stances, and they’ve been here much longer than he. But that doesn’t mean he can’t wonder where this new person has come from as he looks her over.
Jesana grins to herself. She did not miss Hunter’s glance at the.. whatever it is. She might not be above a bit of thievery but has no use for that thing. Unless perhaps to sell or trade but.. “Don’t worry. I’ve got some horses I’m planning on selling in the human city before continuing on to where I want to winter. It’ll keep me comfortable til spring hits and I decide what I want to do.”
It also means she won’t have to work unless she feels like it. The native american is a bit excited about wintering in Vesper. It should turn out to be very interesting. Her eyes go between Hunter and Ardul. “Are you his mate then?” She’s seen stranger things honestly. “Vanished Point.. that is where the demons lie, I have heard. True? It’s a long time since I was in these parts last. This place wasn’t here then. Just looking for some news really and you lot are the friendliest I’ve met since I got here.” She seems amused by this.
“The demons lie everywhere.” Hunter mutters, using the other meaning of the word lie. “But there are demons here yes. Quite a few of them. And actually, Yaren, if you care to accompany us I’m going in again tomorrow. There’s some… things in there that people want. Medical supplies again. Can never have too many of those and they fetch a good price.”
Hunter has absolutely no idea if Yaren needs money, or housing or food or indeed anything like that but as the little… man… has been helpful he’ll offer the chance to get in on what should be a good and relatively easy thing.
“Going into the demon part of the place? She’s not worried about going alone but it would be more interesting with company. She could see some things, learn some things.. definitely get into a fight.. “If you want another, I’m not looking for pay. Just a good challenge. If not, well, I ain’t worried about it. Just sounds fun.” She may have a strange idea of fun compared to some others.
Besides, Jesana isn’t opposed to helping random strangers and she knows the necessity of medical supplies. Especially in a wild and mostly lawless place like this. Also she wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few of the demons recognize her as something other than the human she appears and wants to challenge or test her. Might as well get it out of the way.
“It is one place, yes.” Ardul answers, glancing at Hunter as he gives another answer. “I’ll be going in as well and it would be good to have you with us, Yaren.”
Jesana’s question gets a quirk of the blondes brow, on her right wrist is a beaten metal cuff with a Wolfen motif “I am his Companion.” is all she says. “Horses? I hadn’t thought to see any on this world. Might I see them before you sell them?”
It’s been some time since Yaren’s last been to the Vanished Point. He’s long since sold the medical supplies that he’d found the very first time he’d ever gone out with the two, although it was more like he’d given them away. The people who had received it needed it despite having an inability to pay, and it did Yaren no good otherwise. All things considered, he could last much longer without currency of some kind than those folks could without treatment.
“This one would very much like to accompany the both of you,” he replies, nodding at them. He’s always happy to assist them, and the Vanished Point has always been a curiosity, dangerous as it’s reputed to be.
“Horses…?” he echoes, glancing between Ardul and Jesana who had first brought them up. The term is unfamiliar to him.
“Mmmmm. Gonna sell any of them to Rousseau? I love horse meat…” No seriously he does. He’s had it before. They’re an animal. He’s a predator. It’s a thing.
“Looking for a challenge?” There are two ways that goes. Most commonly the one looking for a challenge gets themselves killed doing something dumb. Less commonly, they turn out to be fairly good demon hunters. It’s merely a question of how bad that gets for everyone else.
“Could probably use the fourth man. Er, woman. Whatever.” Some beings on Rifts earth don’t have genders so Hunter isn’t too concerned about it, clearly.
“Sure.” Jesana nods at Ardul. “They’re still around in some places. The Peoples keep them, most of them are to the west though and you can find them in the wild still but not often. Lotta things that eat horses.” Companion? Interesting. A challenge? Maybe. Been awhile since the last challenge in that area. She’s a little foggy on the details but recalls an angry preacher and the scatter of buckshot across her rear.
She looks at Yaren and blinks once. If she were to cast a small illusion to show him would ..eh. Best not upset the winged woman with a sudden display of power. She doesn’t recognize that weapon thing at Ardul’s hip. Besides she’s being ordinary human now…even if it might not fool the wolfen. “Four legged animal that likes to run. We use them as mounts and sentinels and loyal companions.” Most her kind would not find Hunter’s question about the horses amusing but Jesana laughs. “They are meant for mounts..sorry.”
It might have occurred to her that she could be putting them in more danger but she either seems unconcerned or curious how they handle themselves. A brow raises and she glances down at herself and snorts. “Good. It oughta be fun.”
“Rosseau is the Elf that owns the local tavern come Pawn Shop. He’s a good man and open to a deal, no matter what it looks like.” Ardul fills in the blanks and glances at Yaren. Clearly she’s not worried that Hunter wants to eat them, judging by the lack of response he gets from her.
“Horses, yes. Mammals, equines in fact, that are used for riding and transport mostly. They traverse the sky with the greatest of ease.” Jesana’s might not though, but Ardul doesn’t know that. “I don’t know who these Peoples are you speak of though.
It’s unsurprising that Hunter might find these horse things delicious. He’s quite obviously a carnivore. Yaren at least isn’t one to object to animal slaughter for purpose of food. Such is the way of life even in the world he’d ventured from.
The look that Jesana casts him is met with the light tilt of his hatted ‘head’ before he nods as she tries to describe what exactly these horses look like. “Ah. This one thinks he understands. But then there are many four-legged creatures that run and are used for transportation by sentients. …do these have two trunks and curved tusks?” ….case in point.
“Uh..not. Mine don’t fly. The rest of that is right though. The First Peoples. The ones who lived and walked and hunted this land long long before any others came. White men call us Indians or Native Americans. At least, they used to.”
“Two trunks? ..Elephants have one and the tusks but..” What. That actually sounds neat. She wonders if it would taste good. She is also a carnivore, she just doesn’t eat horse. For one thing, her secret form cannot carry her travel gear and hauling it all around on her back like this is a pain in the ass and only lets her have the bare minimum. Kinda frowned upon to eat your friends too.
Ardul just stares at Jesana and shakes her head. So much of what the woman is speaking is lost Lore. Lost to the passage of time and the Rifts when they came. No one really thinks in terms of ‘white men’ anymore. Now, it’s Mages and D-Bee’s and Humans, depending on where you are. Vanished Point and Saren’s Rest doesn’t show such discrimination though – if you can pay or you can fight, that’s all that matters.
“They do not, Yaren, but perhaps you can accompany me to see Jesana’s horses.” the winged blonde frowns at the darker skin woman “They don’t fly? Interesting…”
“If you’re going to come into Vanished Point with us, you’ll need armour and weapons. There’s places in the bazaar that you can pick them up.” She’s trying to be helpful, really she is. At least her posture has relaxed a little and her hand isn’t on that cylinder at her hip.
Yaren can’t say that he’s familiar with the other terms that Jesana uses. White men? Did that mean that the purple and green men got along with these people the woman associated herself with?
Neither of the two women seem to be familiar with what he refers to either, but that also is unsurprising. He nods at Ardul’s proposal, pleased at the invitation. But why wouldn’t he be? Animals!
White men? Hunter doesn’t really know what that means either. There’s fifty kinds of D-Bee that are fifty shades of white. Color is much less a thing now. Species and magical ability, those tend to be the dividing lines.
“Right, well I’ll contact you both then when we’re ready to do it. It’ll be tomorrow, starting early. Are you both staying in town?” Despite having known Yaren for some time Hunter has absolutely no idea where he goes when he’s not doing his thing. And this other woman… well, they just met.
Jesana just shrugs and kinda nods at Ardul. She is aware but.. well. She’s old. Far older than she looks. Damn. She’ll have to give it up, that she isn’t human. Ah well. It’s not like she’d have been able to hold that back if they get into a fight with the demons.
“Don’t need armor. I’m tough. I got weapons. Knives and a bow and.. some other things.” Jesana grins sharply. She never tells people about the immortality unless she has to. Hers is different than what most consider such a thing and it ruins the fun of seeing their reaction to her reappeance after they’ve seen her die. That just never gets old. It really doesn’t. Besides, she’s not planning on dying during this expedition. It’s not like it’s exactly fun. Still hurts like hell most of the time. People steal your stuff, sometimes they eat you or do weird shit to your body. It’s a total hassle.
“I’ll be in whatever inn or sleeping house I can find closest to here. She’s seen a lot of travelers here. Or at least vagranty looking characters. There’s got to be some kind of hostels or something. “Sounds good. I’ll be happy to show you the horses.” Jesana smiles at Yaren.
“Leave a message for us at Rosseau’s.” Ardul nods to Jesana, eyeing the woman carefully. Doesn’t need armour? That’s possible, she’s seen any number of D-Bee’s who don’t.
Yaren of course knows where they live, but she’s not going to offer those details to a stranger. Not with the troubles that are plaguing the two of them.
“I’ll help you finish up with the Wolfbot and we can eat at Rosseau’s if you like, Hunter. I’ll get you to reset my wing as well.” And she’s her armour to clean. Hunter, and possibly Yaren, will know that she doesn’t go anywhere until that’s done.
Well, it isn’t as though Yaren has directly told Hunter that he now fancies the abandoned grotto with its open-sea view that the Wolfen had shown him to so many months ago as much of a dwelling place as anywhere else. “Yes, this one does,” he replies to the taller of his two oldest friends. “If you would rather this one come to meet you somewhere, it will be of no trouble.”
Peering at Jesana, Yaren wonders how tough the woman makes herself out to be. Appearances are always deceiving, and even though she looks human, he has never held them all to certain expectations. They could conceal strange powers, or perhaps have skin as durable as steel! “Such is good to hear, Jesana. The demons and creatures in the Vanished Point come in different sizes and forms. It is better to be careful. This one can at least vouch that Hunter and Ardul are excellent of capabilities.” But the woman seems confident of her own abilities that he won’t question it. “…this one looks forward to seeing your horses,” he adds.
“Just by the standing stones in the morning. By the doctor’s. The Ward Line is as good a place to step off as anywhere else. Now if you’ll pardon me…” Hunter heads back to his harness.
“I’ve got an arm actuator to tune up. Unless you folks fancy getting hit by stray rail canon rounds.” Because as has been established, even gods fear railguns.
She can’t recall having seen someone like Yaren before. She’s so curious about him. It’s possible she has, there’s no way of knowing really, all that she has forgotten. Jesana is eager to learn more about him and the fact that she’d seen the birds with him and that he sounds eager to see the horses means he is probably good with or at least likes animals. That is always gains someone a bit of favor with her.
“Good.” Jesana nods again. If they are capable it shouldn’t be a bad outing at all and it’ll be interesting. She doesn’t need or want medical supplies or pay but this city, it reminds her of the past. It’ll be good to see more of it. A slight shudder goes through her at the mention of railguns. “Railguns are not a pleasant way to die.” Her voice may sound a little suspiciously fervent. And she nods at Wolfen and quickly head for the door, calling over one shoulder “Horses are this way.” She’ll show them, get some rest and be ready for the morrow.
“Hunter, you will have to pardon this one for the preference of seeing horses to the potential endangerment of your task,” Yaren deadpans. His eyes smile, however, and one might have to wonder when he’s started to get the hang of a sense of humor. …or is it sarcasm? Either way, it can be taught!
He turns, awaiting Ardul before he trails along after Jesana. They’ve still got most of the day ahead of them, and plenty of time for preparation, at least.
There's a new stranger in town with an air of the past, a look of mischief, and a company of horses.
October 26, 2410
Meg's, Saren's Rest