Despite the work she’s been getting in Vesper, Ardul still considers Sarens Rest her ‘home’. As ‘home’ as it’s going to be for the rifts displaced warrior.
Early morning in Sarens Rest see’s most contractors up early, scouring the marketplace for contracts for the day. The blonde was certainly up early this morning, beating most of the crowd, and is now making her way back towards the Holi Inn, the building where her apartment is. Making her way through the slowly crowding street, she deftly avoids people and D-Bee’s alike.
Just up ahead is a merchant that sells coffee, well something like it anyway and delicious, donut style pastries. That’s where she’s heading.Hunter rounds the corner in what looks like moisture wicking athletic shorts and a tee shirt. Time to train peacefully is a luxury in many places and while Saren’s Rest is wild and in some ways lawless, it’s safe enough for this. He slows when he sees Ardul and waves. He looks like he’s been running for a good long while. And that may well be the case. Wolfen are known for their ability in that department.
Ardul’s eyebrows rise as she sees the Wolfen and she raises her hand in greeting as she threads through the crowd in his direction. Well the direction of that coffee place that he’s come round the corner off. “Ho Hunter. Looking good.” she calls out and gestures to the shop as she nears. “Can I try and undo some of that good work?”
The crowd thins a bit here, being at the edge of the markets. There’s a couple of groups of three or four people, talking on the sides of the thoroughfares. Some of them look up as the Wolfen and Valkyr approach – they’re both a little unusual, even for here.“I could do with a cup of coffee at any rate.” Hunter says as he jogs over. His fur is sleek and matted in places. He’s been pushing himself hard. He may have been down in the underways for a bit. Saren’s Rest is much larger vertically than it is horizontally. That suits him fine. Climbing is better exercise for some things.
“What did you have in mind?”
“Coffee is good.” The blond answers as he joins her. He has the weave past two of the groups as he does. “Looks like you’ve been working hard. I’d say you’d been out for a few hours. Come across problems down there?” Arduls eyes run over the Wolfen noting the fur and the way it mats in places.
For herself, she’s still relatively fresh. She’d showered before leaving her apartment this morning. She’s not wearing her armour, just leggings and a tunic top, which probably means she hadn’t expected to be out long. Remnants of scratches can be seen on her neck and shoulders where the tunic top sits.
“Those pastries are a guilty pleasure, though. I was hoping you’d share some with me …” she smile she gives him softening the harsh, cold, lines of her face.
One of the groups consisits of two humans and a D-Bee, they’re several feet from where the pair have stopped. The group would be unremarkable except the dark haired human male keeps turning his attention to Hunter and Ardul. He’s watching them.“No. It’s safe as houses down there.” Hunter says. It’s an old earth expression and one that means ‘quite safe’. Exactly how safe houses are in this day and age is debateable but that’s still how the expression goes.
The wolfen sits down, not indulging in the pastries… yet… and not noticing the dark haired woman watching them. He gets a lot of watching.
“That’s a strange expression.” Ardul shakes her head and takes a seat opposite the Wolfen. Echoing his thoughts a degree. “I’m not sure anything is safe here but from what I can work out, that’s a saying from long ago. I’m not sure if we’d have something similar.” By we, she means the Iyesgarthian. “Do you think it’s Sarens wards that keep it safe down there? Vanished Point isn’t the nicest of places, after all.”
Hunters right though. He does get a lot of looking at. So does the winged woman. Whilst D-Bee’s are somewhat common in this place, D-Bee’s like these two aren’t so much, so they used to be looked at.
The dark haired man leaves the group that he’s with and moves in the pairs direction with purpose, coming from an angle that makes it difficult for Ardul to see him. Something appears from his sleeve into his hand as she bears down on the pair. Hunter might well get the scent from him – determined and scared.“So far as I know yes. Nothing is allowed to cross the ward line. Well, no demons anyway.” Hunter says as he picks up his coffee and sips at it. His ears perk the moment the scent of the area changes and he fluidly – ahem – turns and throws his hot drink right at the approaching man’s face.
Ardul senses the approach just as Hunter turns and tosses the contents of his mugs.
The man lets out a scream as the liquid makes contact, raising a hand to try and wipe it. He’s distracted but still clutching the cylindical device in his hand, he manages to launch himself at the Wolfen, trying to make contact with … whatever that is.
The blondes chair clatters backwards as she gets to her feet, wings flaring wide, preparing to launch herself at Hunters assailant.Hunter slides to the left, twisting his body as he does so. His arm comes down on the man’s wrist, the one with the device, and he levers it backward to deny him leverage. His muzzle is locked in an as yet unvoiced snarl. The wolfen is not pleased, oh no, not at all. His cybernetic hand cocks back to deliver a punch the man will likely not soon forget… if he’s able to remember it at all… if he survives.
The man is strong. Stronger than Hunter might have thought given he looks like a human, but he’s not as strong as Wolfen or Ardul. Still, it takes Hunter more effort to bend that wrist back and halt the mans progress.
The cybernetic hand connects with cartilage and bone, leaving the face a bloodied mess. The dark haired man staggers, held firm by Hunters grasp he can’t go far … he’s dazed, but amazingly not knocked out.
Arduls flight stopped even before it began and the blondes face is hard “That’s the one that was asking about me…” a glance to Wolfen “… I guess the streets aren’t as safe as houses. Are you alright?” She makes her way to his side after righting her chair.Hunter doesn’t answer. Instead he just hits the man again. And then a third time. He means to knock him out rather definitively and here he’s not worried about any intervention by the law. At worst the man’s friends might intervene but after the display here he doubts it. If they do they’re very brave and powerful enough to think they’ve got a shot against him. Which is possible. Just not normal.
Ardul just stares at Hunter as he keeps punching, moving past the Wolfen to catch the man as he collapses and collect the tube from the ground where it’s fallen. “Hunter.” The blonde says quietly but intently, trying to get his attention, grey eyes fixing on him. “He’s out. You can stop now. I… was hoping to question him.”
They probably still can. The law’s not likely to intervene and the pair have a good reputation in general.
As to the mans friends? That group has gone. Disappeared like smoke on the wind.
“Are you with me … ”As the man goes limp and falls – and Ardul catches him – Hunter relieves him of that cylender and peers at it. He has more than half a mind to simply press it to the man and see what it does but there’s a small chance that will prove fatal and he’s not willing to go that far quite yet.
After all, questioning him would be nice.
“Yeah, I’m here.” Hunter growls, trying to work out this device.
The device is made from a material similar to Arduls armour and energy sword. There’s some depressions on the ‘handle’ and when Hunters claws close over them, a hypodermic needle extends from it. If Hunter was familiar with a time from before the Golden Ages, he might say it was similar to a microchipping needle.
Ardul watches as she lets the man gently to the pavement and hisses. Hunters never heard that from her before.
Bending to the downed man, she rips his shirt open and turns him over. There, at the junction between his neck and back is a small puncture that is almost healed.
“Lovi Echipa” the winged woman spits, shaking her head and looking at the Wolfen. “Programmed. You could say converted. I thought that technology destroyed…” she’s not happy. Distraught might be a word that comes to mind, except she’s so controlled. “And … he was going to use that on you…”“If you’re familiar with it, I take it it’s from your world?” Hunter doesn’t bother with how it would have worked or even //if// it would have worked. To an extent it’s immaterial. The intent was there and that’s really all he needs to know about. They meant to harm him in a very disturbing way.
“Yes.” The word is bitten out in answer to Hunters question as Ardul stares at the device in his hand. “Nanites, I think they’re called here, or close enough to them.” She gestures to the healing wound on the mans neck “He was injected.”
She looks at the device in the Wolfens hand and turns concerned grey eyes to him “And I think they mean to try and subvert you.” Would it have worked on the Wolfen? Ardul has certainly proven that her world was rather sheltered. Could the nanites have taken root in the Wolfen’s psyche and turned him to … whatever they wanted?
Not withstanding all that, the question is //why//. Why take all this effort on an exile? Even one sentenced to death. What threat could she possible pose now?Hunter cants his head slightly, still clearly considering injecting the man with it. Then he squeezes the device in his cybernetic hand and crushes it.
“Will he give us anything useful?” Which is a slightly indirect way of asking if there is a reason to keep him alive. Certainly Hunter is not insensible to the more tender and humane reasons for mercy but he’s also very much a product of his environment.
“And if he won’t?” Ardul straightens watching the device being crushed in the Wolfens hand. Injecting him wouldn’t have much of an effect. Probably just reinforcing the programming the poor soul has already endured.
The blonde considers the Wolfen as he cants his head, thinking how much like a canid he really looks. A very dangerous canid at the moment.
“I don’t know. This technology was outlawed before I was born. From what I’ve read, it’s subtle and he might be able to tell us how he came to be programmed, if we ask the right questions. Well, who or what he saw. Right now, that would be helpful.” The last, Ardul admits grudgingly. She’d told him that they would come for those closest to her and who closer, than this Wolfen?
Whatever happens, it’s unlikely that this ‘host’ will survive. Either Hunter disposes of him now or Ardul will later.“Then we’ll keep him alive.” Though Hunter’s already beat him half to death so maybe alive is a technical term. The wolfen leans down to haul the man up by his shirt. He’s still limp. He turns and cants his head again in that very lupine way. “Did you want to get some pastry to go?”
“Your place then?” Ardul raises a pale eyebrow, not questioning Hunters judgment. “I was going to move my stuff this afternoon, if that’s still ok.” Glancing around at the ruined pastries on the table, the blonde nods.
“Yes, I do. I suspect we’ll be rather hungry when we’re done.” It will take her a few moments, but she’ll have them. Maybe she should start running with the Wolfen if she’s going to being eating like this.“My place, yes. And yes it is.” Hunter glances outside. “I’ll wait for you there. No reason to ruin everyone’s breakfast.”
There’s a dragging sound as he hauls the man out. It’s going to be some long and probably thirsty work getting what he knows and Hunter isn’t a professional interrogator. What he lacks in training though he more than makes up for in drive.
Having someone try to subvert you does that.