Rousseau’s is an institution in Saren’s Rest. It’s part bar, part pawn shop and the perfect place to pick up work since Rousseau himself – a bald elf-like D-Bee with somewhat aristocratic features – seems to have an in with The Dragon.
You know, the one who runs the place. The one whose name graces the little Boomtown here.
It’s also the perfect place to unwind after picking up work which is what Hunter is doing this evening. The sun has gone down, the lights have come on – Vanished Point still amazingly has power to many sections, ah the marvels of Golden Age automation and engineering – and the evening festivities are in full swing. There’s usually //some// kind of action here at night. Tonight it’s poker. The grey wolfen isn’t participating. He’s nusing an imported Dogwood malt beer and watching the proceedings from a table off to the side.
Ardul has come to talk to Rosseau. It’s been some time since he asked her and Tessa to do a job for him and it’s time to start. The woman, 6′ tall with great grey wings on her back, takes the offered mug of ale with a stern smile before turning to the Wolfen. “Ho, Hunter. Not going to try your luck?”
For once, the woman isn’t in her armour having eschewed it for a pair of trousers, boots, shirt and coat. The clothing doesn’t do much to disguise her bearing. Everything about her screams … Soldier.
Truthfully, a place like this is as close to home as Elpida can get… which is, to say, not at all close. But the ruins of the city, horribly infested as they are, /look/ at least a little more like something she’d expect out of the future rather than what she’s got, so here she is, just arriving after /staring/ for a considerably long time at the ruins that rest beyond the Point and finding herself numbly sliding into a seat. Even her snakes are a bit droopier than uual.Saren’s Rest is full of all manner of D-Bee so Elpida gets less looks than she might ordinarily. Not no looks. A woman with snakes for hair raises eyebrows even among people who don’t know what a Gorgon is. Which is most of them, because most of the inhabitants of Saren’s Rest aren’t from around these parts and have never heard of Greeks, much less their bedtime stories.
Elpida certainly gets an interested look from Hunter, a tall grey furred D-Bee resembling a bipedal wolf. With a cybernetic arm. And an armored vest under his long coat. One other thing about Saren’s Rest is that it’s small enough of a place that one tends to get to know the regulars after a while. So he’s thinking she might be new here.
“No, not going to play cards with the potential cheats.” Hunter replies dryly. “Long day, Miss?” She certainly looks it, droopy snakes and all.
Putting her mug on the table, Ardul takes a seat next to Hunter … making herself at home as she smirks at the Wolfen. “Smart Wolf…” she murmurs, grey resting on Elpida as she sits.
“It looks like it’s been one of those days…” the blonde says quietly “I think … weren’t you at the checkpoint up near Richmond a week or so ago?” You know when there was a bomb in a cart.”
“Yes! I was on my way back into town. You were both there, actually, I think. And I’ve seen you a few times now,” she points at them both, then ltes out a berath. “And yes, long day. Reminiscing.” She’s not used to the stares, that much is obvious, but she’s dealing with it. She just has the look about her that indicates that she’s perfectly aware of how she must look to everyone else. The snakes keep moving. Even droopy they’re never /still/.“Don’t look like you’re particularly reminiscing about anything pleasant.” Hunter observes, nodding to Ardul as she comments. Yes. That was her at the checkpoint. The day the bomb came through. Eventful day, that.
“Care to talk about it? Why don’t you pull up a seat here. I’ll buy you a drink.” The wolfen kicks a chair of the table out a bit as an offer.
“It’s possible you have…” Ardul answers. “We both do a bit of contract work around here and Vesper.” Even sometimes together. “Hunter got me hooked up with the right groups for that. I’m Ardul, by the way …” the moving of snakes draws her eyes for a moment but they soon return to the other womans face.
Not being from around here, the winged warrior has no idea of the significance of the hair do. “It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? It’s very different to my home …” She says that like she’s new to Earth.
“And mine,” agrees Elpida with Ardul as she moves oer to have a seat. “I’m not sure how much for conversation I am but I’ll sure as hell take a drink. I’m Elpida,” she says with a wan smile on her face as she drops into the chair. The magic word was ‘I’ll buy you a drink’. Because of course it was. Even hr snakes perked back into activity there.Hunter signals for a drink for Elpdia. It’s gonna be either Wine or Beer most likely. It’s hard to find drinks around here that are not that. The global alcohol trade is… not so global anymore.
“Where is home if you don’t mind my asking?” The wolfen seems quite comfortable here and that’s because for all that his people aren’t native, he is. Born and raised on Earth, fifth generation. His folks come from somewhere else, he’s heard the stories, but earth is his home.
Sort of. Bit complex there.
“Can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone quite like you around here before.” He gestures at his head by way of indcating Elpida’s mane of snakes.
“Neither have I…” Ardul adds, watching as Rosseau organises the extra drink. “… but then again Iyesgarth seems to be … remote compared to here. Visitors were few and far between.” Noting the way the snakes perk up, she cants her head, wings flexing slightly even though they’re mostly folded against her back.r
“Seems they like the idea of a drink.” she adds, the hard lines to her face softening in a small smile. She’s clearly interested in the story there…
The wings get Elpida to stare for a moment longer. She’s seen them before, sure, but there’s definitely a little envy there. Flight is way cooler than having snakes on your head, it seems, so far as she’s concerned.
“Ah… To be honest, it’s a pretty zany place in its own right.” She’s not entirel sure how much to say and there’s obviously some caution entering her expression. One can hardly blame her. “Suffice to say, though, findign a way back is pretty impossible. I’m one of a kind there too. I wouldn’t want to step foot in it like this.” She gestures towards herself, adding, “…and I like booze, okay?” A small grin directed at Ardul. “Sooooo. Yeah. I just sort of stumbled through and it was waaaaay less blown up than this place is.”Hunter chuckles. “Well most things are to be honest. Though this place is remarkably well held togather for how much fighting has gone on in it. I think- oh hello. Look who we have here…”
Ardul had after all come to talk to Rousseau and the bald elf is making his way over. He’s wearing, as always, a shirt and vest matching polished shoes and fine pants that he probably had made in Vesper. Also a string tie.
“Miss Ardul. Mister Greymane. I don’t believe I’ve met you, Miss…” That last is to Elpida.
Arduls used to people peering at her wings. Even here, with winged D-Bee’s, she’s still a bit of an oddity here. At least no one has tried to ‘clip her wings’. “Hunters correct. In Vanished Point, there are many buildings still intact. Which is why there’s so much work here… But I’m curious, where are you fr—”
Looking up as Rousseau approaches, the blonde inclines her head to the elf “Mister Rousseau, it’s good to see business so good for you…” Waiting politely for Elpida to introduce herself.
“El, please,” says Elpida to Rosseau at his arrival. “Yeah, I’ve noticed the intact buildings,” she adds, “It’s one of hte reasons I came by. I was curious to see what it looked like, you know? Something more together. I mean,” she continues, “I’ve seen a lot of buildings and their ruins back around Vesper, but this place is /wild/.” She’s distracted from her eyeballing of Ardul’s wings, though, by his arrival. She is soon returnign to them becasue /wings/, man. They’re cool.
Also, because staring at the wolf might be a little less welcome. Because wolf. “Why is it called Vanished Point?”“Well partly because it vanished and reappeared but partly because someone found it on a sign shortly after Sarenthon opened the place up to regular folk.” Hunter says leaning back a bit, nodding to Elpida and eying Rousseau.
“Yes that’s true.” Rousseau offers. “Deputy Carlyle I think it was. Well, before he was a deputy. Found an old, faded sign out in the sun that said ‘Vanished Point’. Figured it was a fitting name for the place.”
The elf nods to Elpida. “Welcome to my shop. Are you part of Ardul’s team?” That may come as a bit of a surprise to Elpida. Team? It certainly comes as a surprise to Hunter who gives the winged woman a look.
“Is that so?” Ardul raises an eyebrow at Hunter at that piece of information. “I didn’t realise that…” she nods to Rousseau as he adds the extra information. “Guess you learn something new every day.”
“Uh ….” the blonde is momentarily at a loss for words. “I, uh, don’t have a team, Mister Rousseau.” Hunter gets a quelling look from the woman. “Tessa and I met on a job. But I work with people as it’s needed.” She could, she supposes, form a team.
“That makes sense enough and what? No, I’m not on anyone’s team. I mean, aside from Catriona’s, I guess, sort of.” Elpida looks a little flustere dabout that, though she did pa atention to the information related to her by wolfen.
“…huh. Well, that’s interesting. Also weird. I’d ask how an entire city could up and vanish and then reappear but I suspect the answer comes down to ‘holy shit magic’, really.”“More or less.” Hunter nods. The city sits on a confluence of ley lines and the entire fabirc of reality around it is highly unstable. Something caused it to ‘pop’ out. When it popped back the city was still pristine… but all the people were gone. In their place was hordes of demons with more arriving every day through the rifts.
“Ah…” Rousseau nods at the explanation. “Well, perhaps this will be of interest to you anyway. I still need that job done. If Miss Ardul hasn’t recruited you yet, perhaps she may wish to. I heard a rumor that the person I wanted tracked down arrived in Richmond in a Horune ship and disappeared shortly thereafter.”
Which is intersting. Other rumors had it that the Armsmen had found the local Horune pirate hive and cleaned it out.
Ardul snorts softly at the use of Magic, looking … just a bit uncomfortable. “Magic doesn’t exist amongst my people.” Which might be true, or it might be that her race is technologically advanced enough that most magic has been explained. “But that’s what people say here and I’ve seen enough examples of magic that I’d believe it.” As much as she might not want to.
“I was coming to speak to you about that, Mister Rousseau” Ardul nods in his direction “I’m keen to assist you, if I can. Elpida is welcome to assist, should she wish. The more hands, the lighter the work, so to speak.” A glance to Elpida to see how that lands on her. “Didn’t the Armsmen from Vesper clear the local Horune hive out recently? I hope your friend wasn’t amongst them…”
“I’ll pretend some of that made sense to me. But if it pays, I’m happy to assist. I could use the cash. These snakes don’t feed themselves, you know?” She looks rueful, Elpida does, glancing back and forth between them.Hopefully the snakes have the good grace to look embarassed. Or not. Hunter does find himself wondering how much of a mind of their own those things have.
Rousseau nods and bows politely. “They did. And apparently she was not. I’ll leave you to work the details out.”
And then he’s headed back to the bar to take care of customers, leaving Hunter to glance at Elpida and then Ardul. “Wellllllll?” He suspects the serpent headed woman would like an explanation. He would.
“It pays, of course…” Ardul answers, eyeing the snakes with careful interest. “Um, do you mind if I ask? What do they eat?” She’s not sure if the woman was serious or not…
“Well that’s a good thing, Mister Rousseau and I’ll renew my efforts there.” she says to the elf as he moves away.
Hunters question has her looking at him “Mister Rousseau has a … friend… that he knew some two hundred years ago. He lost touch with her, but she’s shown up recently in the company of some Horune Pirates. He wants someone to find her and rescue her if she’s captive or stop her … doing something … if she’s not. I’ve got to go and look around in Vesper, see what I can find.”
“I could certainly use some help, Elpida. You too, Hunter.”
“…well, happy to help, like I said. I don’t know what good I can be but I’m more than happy to lend my hand to stopping some bad guys from doing bad things if that’s athing. I won’t abide the badness. You know?” Her tone is cautious as she speaks, but she does seem sincere enough about it, “So…two hundred years. Wow. That really is a long time.” THe snakes do not look embaressed. Because they’re snakes. Instead, sevearal of them hiss and snap at each other. Close enough.Hunter is kind of fascinated by those. So… they do kind of have a mind of their own. Note to self not to get too close to them. “Hope you don’t mind my asking but… are those things poisonous?”
Well, that’s probably neither here nor there. “Missing persons, mmm? Probably won’t want the bot for that. That’s fine.” He doesn’t mind her coming along at all. Especially if she wants to help.
“How did you wind up here, if you don’t mind my asking? And have you been by Vesper before?”
“Cautious is good…” Arduls picked up on Elpida’s retincence. That’s probably not surprising to Hunter, the winged warrior has said she was highly ranked at home so understanding her soliders comes naturally. “And so he told us. Two Hundred years. My people aren’t anywhere near so long lived but we’ve seen them from time to time.” She glances over to where Rousseau has gone.
“I wouldn’t think we need the bot, at least not in the first instance, Hunter. Just your … charm.” Is she teasing him a little? “Given she wasn’t with the nest the Armsmen cleared out recently, there’s a few places we can start investigating.” The snapping of snakes draws her eyes again and she frowns, Hunters question is a really good one.
“Where are you staying, may I ask, Elpida? I live here in Sarens Rest, unless I’m out on patrol … and then I lay my head whereever I can.”
“Yep,” answers Elpida, “Which is why I tell people to please keep their hands out of the ‘hair’. People sometimes think that because they’re attached to me, I must automatically like to have them pet.” She blinks her dark eyes once at Hunter before adding, “I’m staying at Gran’s. Catriona put me up. Dunno if you know her — ginger and a creepy pallor even by ginger standards?”“Sounds familiar, but the name doesn’t ring a bell off the tip of my ears.” Wolfen expression for ‘off the top of my head.’ The bot jockey drums his fingers and nods. “I have other business in the Richmond area anyway and I’m quite familiar with it.”
Hunter glances briefly to Ardul then looks Elpida up and down. “Not sure if you saw it coming through but Richmond can and does get rough. Are you going to need anything in the way of armor or supplies? I’m doing well enough that I can probably spot you.”
“People … want to pet them?” Ardul blinks at that and just shakes her head. “I… I’m not sure what to say about that. It seems … an invasion of your space to say the least.” beat “Grans? Out in Vesper, I know it. That’s good to know and no, I can’t say I’m familiar with Catriona though I might recognise her if I saw her…”
“You will need some supplies and some armour. If you would like assistance in selecting some, I can help. I’ve outfitted enough soldiers in my time and I’m getting to know the merchants here.”
“She’s hard to forget,” says Elpida, wryly. “I spend most of my time with her and the blue haired girl, ‘Tori,” mumbles Elpida.
“Yeah, uh. I don’t really know much about guns, but I’d love to not be without weaponry.” Turning everyone to stone is not /generally/ a good thing to do. For one, statues are utterly inconvenient to move after the fact. “So…yeah. I’ll take the help. I’m pretty tough, though.”“Her I remember. She flipped over a cart.” Hunter pauses. “And a goat.” Which she then unflipped. The wolfen takes a moment to wonder whether or not she kept it…
“Weapons can be had in abundance here. Ardul can walk you through the options. She’s had more than enough time to get used to them and in any case my idea of a decent gun involves a power loader and a ton and a half of ferrous ammunition.” Which is a slight exaggeration but… not much of one.
“Statues mmm? Is that an ability of your… kind?”
Ardul eyes Hunter at that but nods to the Gorgon “I can help there. Hunter is correct that I’ve a relatively good idea of the weapons of this dimension. And he’s used to the ones in his bot and his … arm. If you’ve time when we’re done here, we can get started…” It seems the winged woman doesn’t take much down time, does she.
“The blue haired woman was Tori?” Ardul remembers that too. “I wonder what happened to the goat…” she murmurs, echoing Hunters thoughts without realising. “Pretty tough?” That gets the soldiers attention “How so?”
“Sure. I’d like that. And, uh. Dunno. I’m pretty strong, though, and I heal quick,” answers Elpida. “When I got here, three of those demony things jumped me and I was able to deal with them and not die, sothere’s that.” She looks sheepish about it.That may be the first time Hunter has ever seen anyone look sheepish about not dying. And if that’s what does it, she may have quite a lot to look sheepish about in the future. Or at least… hopefully so.
“Well, I’ll let you two get started on that. We’ll see if we can wrangle some others up… might just have to do that as we go though. Sounds like Rousseau is getting impatient and if so I should check on my own supplies.”
The wolfen stands up. “Catch you two soon, then.”
“That’s a good thing…” Ardul says with a reassuring smile, although she’s stern. “And nothing to look sheepish or worried about. This is a hard, dangerous, world and staying alive is a skill on its own.”
“Let’s finish this drink and we’ll be on our way.” She nods as Hunter stands up. “Tessa, one of the bot pilots we’ve worked with, is keen to assist – if we can find her. Others will definitely be a good thing.” Tossing the last of her drink back, the blonde follows suit. “Well, come along then, Elpida. This might take a bit to achieve.”