P’king. P’king. P’king. P’P’P’king!
It’s an old trick for gunfighters. Shoot a can. It flies up. See how well you can keep it in the air doing nothing but… shooting it more. Hunter is agood at this. Naturally. He’s good at a lot of things but he’s really good at shooting cans.
The poor container that had previously been employed to hold shelf stable beef stew lands on the ground with twelve smoking holes in it. Hunter smirks and starts to reload.
The alley behind the tower he lives in, in Saren’s Rest, is good for this kind of thing. No one bothers him, for one. Well, no one he doesn’t want to bother him. It’s so seldom used he has his own make shift firing range back here.
No one bothers Hunter except his companion who makes a habit of keeping the Wolfen on his toes. Or claws.
“Are you having fun?” Comes the low voice from behind Hunter, a hand running down his cybernetic as Ardul joins him. She’d been watching the display for several minutes and is smirking as well. “I have to wonder what the can ever did to you….”
Ardul Trasinger is dressed in a tunic and leggings, boots strapped to her knees. Over the top she’s wearing a wool lined cloaked and her giant grey/black wings are furled against her back. Even without her gleaming silver armour, there’s no mistaking her bearing. She’s a soldier and the hard planes of her face are stern.
“The stew asn’t that good.” Hunter smirks. His trade mark red coat blows in the wind as he reloads. He steps slightly to the side to look at the winged woman. “Decided to come out into the cold did you?”
Iyesgarth seems to be a gold world but the winged blonde doesn’t seem to like it.
“How are you feeling? Been sick the last few days?” The cylender of his weapon spins as he snaps it shut.
“I suppose you ate it first though …” Ardul says dryly, reaching up to place a kiss on Hunters cheek. She rather likes that red coat, even if it has a couple of holes in it – she’s been meaning to take it to Vesper for repairs. “I decided I wanted your company… The cold isn’t so bad and I wanted to show off the cloak…”
It’s a nice cloak, with a wool trimmed collar that sits high under her ears. “I’m … alright. Now. Bit tired still. Not sure what came over me, I haven’t been that sick since I was fledgling.”
“How about yourself? Any signs? I was worried I might infect you with it…”
“Of course. That’s how I know it wasn’t that good.” The wolfen returns the kiss on the cheek and settles down on a fence post.
“The company is quite welcome. And no I don’t think you’ve gotten me sick. I just didn’t want to sit in the house anymore.” He is a wolf who needs action occasionally.
A shadow passes over the alley. A winged shadow. There’s generally only one thing that large with wings. Only one thing that can cast that kind of shadow. Hunter looks up to see a large black dragon.
Ardul settles next to Hunter giving him a tired smile. “I’m surprised you didn’t take a contract in Vanished Point while I was sick. I would have been … alright.” Maybe. It was a bit touch and go there for a little bit.
Resting against him, looking at the can that now is more holes that metal, the blonde considers but whatever she was going to say is way laid as the shadow falls over them. She looks up. “Don’t see Sarenthon out often. Have you heard of anything that might call him out?” The last time she’d seen him, he was breaking up a fight between two aquatic behemoths.
“I haven’t, no. Is it my imagination or is he circling downwards?” Hunter is still watching.
He is. The dragon gets nearer and nearer and nearer until they lose sight of him amid the buildings. A moment later there’s a huge rush of wind outside the alley and the sound of flapping. Then nothing.
A minute later a man with a killer smirk and a red shirt appears.
“Good afternoon you two. Nice day for some trick shooting isn’t it?”
Ardul straightens, still keeping her shoulder against Hunter and watches, eyes narrowed as the Dragon circles. “Not your imagination, no.” Her hand drops to hip reflexively, not that she’ll use the cylinder there but old habits die hard. “Wonder where he’s goin—-”
As the red shirted man with the killer smile walks towards them, Ardul grins at Hunter “I might just trade you in … ” the words are sotte voce and said in a very teasing way. “Good afternoon to you too, Sarenthon. It is indeed a nice day for trick shooting and Hunter is very good at it.” She … can shoot. She just prefers her energy sword and punching things. “Lovely afternoon for a … walk too. To what do we owe the pleasure of your … visit?”
Hunter snorts. “Try it.” It’s almost a challenge. Almost. Maybe not much of one truth be told.
“Well I saw your shooting prowess and I thought ‘you know, I could use someone with those skills…'” The man in the red shirt ambles toward the pair unhurriedly. “And of course the presence of such a severely beautiful creature as yourself couldn’t hurt things either. And I understand you’re quite capable to boot, which also has it’s uses. I wonder, are you two between jobs right now?”
Saren should know full well that they are. He hears most things… Well, most things that he cares about. Much of what goes on in the city is beneath his notice.
“Would you let me go that easily?” Hunters Companion smirks up at the challenge, correctly reading it for what it is.
“Nice to know I have my uses…” It’s Arduls turn to snort in response to Sarens comment. She’d rather strike fear into peoples heart for being competent than awe them with her beauty – if beauty it is. The question when it comes has her considering, giving time for Hunter to chime in if he will. “We are.” They’ve still got the issues with Xiticicks and Iyesgarthians to sort out, but they’ve hit a wall on that for the moment. “Did you need something?”
“Did I say that? I just said ‘try it’.” Maybe he wouldn’t let her go that easily. She has a certain… arm cuff from him. SHe’s wearing it right now and he touches it to remind her it’s there.
“I do as it happens, need something recovered. From someone in this city.”
That… means someone didn’t pay the dragon tax. Usually recovery is from the demon infested Point, which is dangerous for obvious reasons. Once the loot is here, the rule is that Saren gets a cut and he gets to pick what is cut is. People accept this because otherwise accessing Vanished Point would be near impossible. But every once in a while someone tries to dodge the tax.
Of course usually Saren has people for this, so it’s interesting that he’s coming to see them.
The beaten metal arm cuff circles Ardul wrist, engraved with wolves and wolfen symbols. She’s never without it, even when she’s wearing her armour. Hunters touch on the cuff and his words has her hand slipping into his and squeezing gently. “Maybe I will. See what response that brings …”
But this is serious and the Valkyr isn’t silly enough to play with … fire.
“I thought you had people for that?” The blonde asks directly, head canting slightly in question “We’re interested certainly, but I do wonder why you want us, in particular.” She’s careful. Hunter knows why.
“Normally I do.” The man in the red shirt plucks at his lapel. He looks up at Ardul and smiles the kind of smile that could probably melt steel.
His breath certainly can.
“Unfortunately they’ve yet to return and I believe the offender has fled into the undercity. So I need someone to fetch him back. He’s got a few things to answer for.”
Hunter quirks a brow. The undercity is a maze, parts of it are flooded and much of it is unpowered or at least needs the power switched back on.
“I see. I assume that pays well?” Hunter strokes Ardul’s arm again, smiling as she squeezes his hand. The one doing the stroking is his metal hand. He’s quite gentle with it… but it’s quite cold.
“You might say that.” Saren smiles again.
“What do you think Ardul?” They probably could refuse technically… it might not be a good idea but Hunter still wants Ardul’s opinion. Or her questions if she has those.
Ardul draws in a sharp breath at the smile. It’s compelling that’s for sure and she’s not unaffected. Good thing Hunter strokes her arm and his hand is cold. She shudders as her fingers flex around his.
“The undercity, hmmmm…” That’s tricky and to be quite honest, after being laid up she’s kind of keen to get back to it. “Is there anything we need to know about what we’re retrieving? Handling instructions or the like? I think we could do it, Hunter, if you agree.” It … might be fun.
Hunter chuckles. He knows what just happened. The smile wasn’t directed at him and it wouldn’t have done quite as much for him anyway.
“Not what, I suspect. The loot has likely been hidden somewhere. It’s who at this point and it’s a Brodkil.”
Hunter groans. Brodkil are… subdemons. They’re belligerant, sadistic and aggressive and that’s on a good day. He’s not surprised that one decided to try to put one over on Saren.
They’re not often renowned for being particularly bright.
“We can look for him, I think.”
“Wonderful. Let Rousseau if there’s anything you need before you set out.” Saren directs one more smile at Ardul and turns to walk away.
“Oh, yes, if he //does// have anything on him try not to fiddle with it. Might be dangeorus.”
Ardul gives Hunter a sidelong look at the chuckle and squeezes his hand again. He might … be made to pay for that … later.
“A Brodkil. I hate Brodkil.” she mutters but nods “We’ll find him and return him to you.” Maybe they could convince him to lead them to the goods anyway. “We’ll do it.” She shivers again at the smile, sighing slightly – she knows the Dragon knows the effect he has. Doesn’t mean she’s not affected though and Hunter is likely to laugh. Again.
“Looks like we have work…” she murmurs once Saren disappears from sight. She turns to face the Wolfen, resting her arms on his shoulders. “… strange he can to us… ” she still wonders at that, but work is work, after all.
“Looks like…” Hunter shifts slightly so he can loop his meet arm around Ardul. This means letting go of her hand, unfortunately.
“Sounds like the Brodkil took out his usuals. He may be just looking for someone expendable to send. Then again…”
Hunter is really good with a gun. And Ardul is pretty good with a sword. They’ve made runs into the Point before and it wouldn’t be too arrogant to assume that maybe Saren just wanted someone he thought could do the job.
“Biggest problem is the undercity is so huge. We’re gonna need to talk to Rousseau. Figure out where the Brodkil might have gone so we know where to look. Are you going to be up to this?” She has been sick after all.
“It does and it does…” Ardul smiles as Hunter wraps his arm around her and she settles there for the moment. “… but we’ve made a name for ourselves, so there’s that. Rousseau might have recommended us, he knows where to find us. Not that it matters, we just need to be a little careful. Never know what might be waiting for you, with … my other troubles.”
The question when it comes, isn’t unexpected and the blonde leans forward to drop a kiss on his muzzle “I think so. We recover quickly and it’s work, isn’t it? Keeps food on the table and all that.” Watching his eyes, her head cants a little “Are you concerned that I might not be?”
“We can talk to Rousseau tonight, if you like. You’re taking out to dinner, after all.” She just decided that.
“You were asking me to find you chocolate yesterday.” Hunter chuckles. “I just want to make sure. Did you want to dress up for dinner?”
Rousseau’s isn’t that kind of place and by dress up Hunter means ‘get into her armor’. It helps project a certain kind of image. It also means that you’re better protected from brawls and stabbings. The law here in Saren’s Rest is very… loose. And doesn’t really care what people do to one another so long as they don’t burn the place down.
“Did I have you worried with my cravings?” Ardul teases. “I’ll be fine. Another day and I’ll be back up to fighting strength.
“Dress up is probably a good idea. People expect it, I think.” There are times that the blonde misses the banquets at the castle and the ability to dress up in more than armour. That … doesn’t happen here. Here, in Sarens Rest and Vesper, life is hard and her armour is … the best she can wear.
“Did you want to play with your can a bit longer?”
“No…” Hunter pulls his weapon, flips it and hands it to her butt first. “I want you to play with it. You could use the practice anyway and I could use a laugh.”
He’s teasing but it’s a challenge. She’s not near as good a shot as he is. But can she come close? Can she impress him?
He knows Ardul loves a challenge.
Ardul’s … competent with a gun but that’s as far as she’d go. She’s much rather punch or wrestle something. Even here. Still, she takes the weapon, grey eyes meeting his “You’re a beast, you know that don’t you.” Cause she won’t back down from a challenge.
They might be at this for a while.