The Gristolian Empire has expanded all across the globe. From the warm and temperate beaches of the Jewel of the South, Serkonos, to the harsh and cold world of Tyvia, the Empire has lain claim to the entirety of the Isles. Whale oil has industrialised the Isles, bringing forth incredible technologies thought to have been centuries away, from massive whaling ships to rail transport that abandoned the raw strength of animals and took up the unique power of electricity to carry its passengers across cities in mere minutes.
But not all is well throughout the Empire. In Morley, tensions have erupted due to public outcry over the exploitation of the Morleyian people by the wealthy and mercantile families. Upset over the Empire's occupation, the people of Morley have fermented rebellion. Attacks on the citizens of the Empire have forced the Empress' hand, and the deployment of the Empire's troops to the island to take back the Throne's claim from the rebellion.
It is the duty of the Loyalists of Morley, the Army of Tyvia, the Navy of Gristol and the Grand Guard of Serkonos to intervene on the behalf of the Crown, and take back what rightfully belongs to the Empire.
Apperance: Stands at about 1.88 metres, and has a medium build. A very white and angular face, with a blackened goatee—contrasting blondish hair and silver eyes.
Equipment: Tyvian Army uniform, Tyvian Rifle and Bayonet.
Biography: Makar Skovilin was born during the Month of Ice, to an industrial family outside of Dabokva. Makar worked at a young age in the whale oil factories, and grew a resentment of the Tyvian government and its organisation, as he viewed it unfavourably because of how oppressive and cruel they were to it's own citizens. Makar grew hopeful that the Princes of Tyvia might one day return, and overthrow the Council. When local Operators discovered his sentiment, they apprehended and sentenced Makar to freedom. This led to years of hard labour in Utyrka, extracting Tyvian Ore and salt day and night. But when rebellion formented in Morley, Makar's sentence of freedom became a sentence of service; told that he would be released from freedom, should he crush the aspirations of it in the spirits of the Morleyians. Taking this opportunity to escape the mines, Makar accepted the invintation and has been removed from Utyrka.
(Just finished my second playthrough (technically my 2.5th) of Dishonoured 2. Funnily enough, I've played 1 day and 22 hours already, and I only got it one week ago today. That means I've spent about 2/7ths of my time in the last week (including sleep) playing Dishonoured 2. Life well spent!)
Name: Benedict Moradi
Appearance: Benedict is a tall, lean man with black hair, graying at the sides. He has no facial hair. Though few ever see him without his mask, his face has begun to show the signs of aging, with the beginnings of wrinkles forming. He has a scar above his left cheekbone, one of many reminders of the danger of allowing your guard to slip.
Rank: Warfare Overseer
Equipment: Overseer Sword, Standard Pistol, Overseer Mask and a Wolfhound.
Summary: Benedict is an authoritative Overseer with decades of experience, which have earned him a respectable standing as a senior, high-ranking Overseer. He has pledged unwavering devotion to the Abbey of the Everyman, and has very little tolerance for anything deemed heretical. He does have a softer side, which he displays only to those he truly respects and trusts, among them his brother.
Biography: Benedict was born in Cullero, though he and his family moved to Karnaca when he was only 4, and he has no memories of his hometown. Raised by a family steadfastly faithful to the Abbey of the Everyman, he was encouraged to read and recite the Seven Strictures from the moment he was literate. Ultimately, this culminated in an extremely devout follower of the Abbey.
When he was just seventeen, he went, alone, on a pilgrimage to Whitecliff, where the Abbey had been founded. Here, he was spotted by the local Vice Overseer, who found his wholehearted devotion impressive, and offered him induction into the Overseers, despite the fact that he was nearing the upper limit of the age range. Gladly accepting the proposal, Benedict wrote home to his family to inform them that he would likely never be returning.
Eventually, after completing the Trials of Aptitude and spending five years in Whitecliff, he took up residence in Dunwall, where the Office of the High Overseer was located. Since then, he has reunited with his brother Jacob, now an Overseer also, who sought him out to inform him of the death of their parents at the hands of a Bloodfly infestation. From then on, the pair served with the Overseers in Dunwall, directly subordinate to the High Overseer himself.
(And my second character...)
Name: Jacob Moradi
Appearance: About as tall as his brother, Jacob is only six years younger than his elder brother, but looks as if he is far more so. He has pitch black hair. His stature is that of an able, healthy young man. More inexperienced than his elder brother, Jacob has been involved in fewer conflicts and hence has few signs of lasting injury on his body.
Rank: Warfare Overseer
Equipment: Overseer Sword, Standard Pistol and Overseer Mask
Summary: Despite being more open-minded and curious than his brother, Jacob is nonetheless extremely devout to the Abbey. He also occupies a senior role within the Abbey, but is subservient to his brother. Of the two, he is known as the more friendly and approachable when compared to his strict brother.
Biography: Born in Karnaca, Jacob has lived most of his early life in the shadow of his brother Benedict, although there was little lasting conflict, due to their common ground, religion; like his brother, Jacob was raised on the preachings and became faithful to the Abbey of the Everyman. He was just eleven when his brother set out to Whitecliff. Unbeknownst to him at the time, he wouldn't ever see his brother again for over a decade.
Despite his devotion to the Abbey, Jacob's original dream was to become a renowned swordsman and gain the Duke's favour. After two years of toiling within the Grand Guard's ranks failed to earn him any notice whatsoever, Jacob entered a sword-fighting competition with the hopes of gaining the Duke's attention. He performed excellently, easily making it to the final round. However, he was ultimately defeated by another swordsman whom Jacob suspected of sorcery due to his unnaturally fast reaction times, and a mysterious marking embossed on the back of his left hand.
Disheartened, Jacob turned to the Abbey, who welcomed him into their ranks, making an exception to the rules on the basis of his experience within the Grand Guard and the fact he was known to them as a devout follower of the Abbey. His first move once he'd completed the Trials of Aptitude was to accuse his opponent in the final round the tournament of heresy, a claim of which the swordsman was found guilty and subsequently killed. Though he tells himself that his suspicions were correct since his opponent was found guilty, Jacob still harbors great guilt over his actions.
Eventually, his choice did come back to haunt him, though not until years later. When he was 25, Jacob returned home to find his house infested with Bloodflies, his parents dead and infected with Bloodfly larvae and the same strange mark from his opponent's hand, scratched into the floor.
In fear of what may happen if he stayed, he traveled to Dunwall to inform his brother of their parent's deaths. Due to his brother's position in the Abbey, he was allowed to stay and continue his occupation as an Overseer. Although many would accuse Benedict of nepotism due to he and his brother's close relationship, this was in fact the only time Benedict actually exerted his power to favour Jacob.
Though the Abbey does not typically engage in politics, Benedict, Jacob and a third Overseer named Oscar Ellsworth (NPC) have been assigned a task force of Warfare Overseers, with which to aid the Empire of the Isles in quelling the Morley Insurrection. The reason for this is threefold: the High Overseer is seeking to gain the Empress' favour; the insurrectionists had declared that they would, if successful in the rebellion, forsake the Abbey (which was a foreign religion forced upon them, in their eyes) and finally there were rumours of an occult, Outsider-worshipping group supporting the rebels.
(Sorry for the text walls, got a little carried away :P )
(I am just going to start the RP. If anyone wants to join, they may.)
Dunwall, Gristol... 12th Month of Rain, 1801...
The long Tyvian sailing vessel slowly approached by the portside, Kingsparrows Island, as a heavy rain poured onto the deck of the ship. A crack of lightning lightened the scene momentarily, as the faint shape of a whale was seen submerging its tail. Despite the rain, a single uniformed soldier stood on the deck, under a single whale oil lamp.
"We're approaching the port!" A voice announced, as the single soldier shifted his feet, "Get in line, and prepare for inspection!"
Appearance: An older gentleman with graying hair, a thick, full beard and pale blue eyes. Stands at about 1.9 meters, with a thin build. Between his left nostril and upper lip, there's a distinct scar left from a past expedition.
Equipment: Gristolian Naval Uniform, Standard Pistol, Officer's Sword
Biography: A man of age and class, Alan was born and bred for military life. Born into the Month of Clans, Alan was groomed from an early age to become yet another fine addition to the Imperial Navy. Such were all members of his family, either being proud officers or devoted followers of the Abbey of the Everyman. At a young age, he entered into service with the Imperial Navy, and easily became noteworthy in his exploits. Such exploits ranged from hunting down infamous pirates, or taking part in several expeditions to the Far Continent, or even his personal role in apprehending an Outsider cult. While his tales may be great and his life long, Alan has begun to wither in his old age. No longer as young as he used to be, many of his triumphs are far behind him. His many years of service have left him jaded of the view of the world, but still believing that there was yet a fight to be had in him. He now captains a ship called the "Rumsley Tide", and sails for Kingsparrow Island, in light of the recent rumors of an insurrection from Morley.
With Kingsparrow Island in sight, the vessel called Rumsley Tide began its approach. Lightning cracked across the sky, darting between clouds or illuminating the silhouettes of distant whaling ships on the horizon. Rain pattered across the ship deck, with crewmates shouting and operating the various mechanisms meant to bring it home. At the helm was the ship’s captain, who guided the vessel towards its ultimate destination; the nearest port of the island.
Appearance: Adrian is a rather slim young adult, with a handsome yet pale face, despite his slim and weak appearance his body ripples with lean muscle from years of survival in dunwalls slums and sewer system, his hair hanging in front of his face in long black bangs, his light grey eyes being his most notable feature. On his left wrist is an ornate rose tattoo that wraps around his wrist and blossoms at the top of his hand. Standing at 6 feet tall, his apparel consists of a more form fitting guardsman outfit with a personal embellishment in the shape of an anchor.
Attire: enlistee guardman outfit.
Equipment: Standard issue sword , standard issue pistol, small chunk of a rune for prayer.
Biography: Born and raised in the slums of dunwall, Adrian had to be a sneaky child, both of his parents abandoned him at the age of 7, so they didn't have to feed another mouth. The youngest of 4 brothers, he survived by killing and eating rats in the sewers of dunwalls slums, where he hid from gangers and other threats. Somewhere along his 17th birthday, he discovered a chunk of whalebone along the edge of a entrance of a sewer grate he used to get to and from his ramshackle home. Upon picking it up he heard a faint whisper in his head, the voice called itself the Outsider and told the child that he would be watching him intently in the future. Adrian didn't know what this meant, but he did know the name of the outsider, spoken in hushed whispers across the city for fear of being convicted of heresy. taking the rune he began to pray every day and night to the Outsider, becoming a devout cultist in his name, and when he was found by the guards. Being found guilty of thievery for stealing bread from a local market, instead of sending him to prison to rot, they had him drafted into the guard. Sent to fight in the Morley insurrection, an almost certain death in his eyes, but with his faith in the Outsider, he wouldn't go down without a fight. He would affect the lives of hundreds, thousands even to gain the notice of his God, and thus his story begins.
The single soldier filed in one of three lines, comprised of fifteen individuals each. The sailing vessel rolled, as the storms beat across the soldiers. One in the single's line fell and began to vomit, obviously troubled by seasickness. But an Officer strolled over with a club, and beat the man relentlessly.
"We will not show weakness!" The officer shouted, "We are Tyvians! The most resilient of the Empire! We will impress her majesty, or you will suffer freedom in Utyrka!"
The single soldier stiffened, and stood still after hearing this.
-Adrian stood looking over the deck of the Rumsley Tide, his sword hanging loosely in its hilt by his side, his pistol in his hand held close to his face. He examined the thing with an almost childlike curiosity, he had never held such a thing before and was now expected to fight a war he cared nothing about? With a sigh he stared out at the open sea past kingsparrow island, saying a prayer to the Outsider in his head before leaning back and walking away from the rails. His hair was matted to his face because of the rain, but took solace in the fact that he had a piece of his rune to pray to at night. Under his breath he muttered.- "Outsider damn this cursed war" -at that he holstered his pistol and waited for landfall.-
Jacob stood to attention between his brother Benedict and their lieutenant, Oscar Ellsworth, on the concrete pier of Kingsparrow Port, awaiting the arrival of Rumsley Tide which was to be their transportation to the front lines of the Insurrection. Behind them stood a total of 75 Warfare Overseers, all motionless and arranged in five rows. Not a single Overseer deviated from the attention stance, save for those on the front row, who each held a wolfhound's lead in their right hand. Though the rain was heavy, it pattered harmlessly off of their masks and armour, having no effect on their composure. To an onlooking occultist, Jacob thought, they must have looked like death incarnate.
As the prow of the Rumsley finally emerged through the shrouding of the thick rain, the three Overseer leaders stepped forward, Benedict pulling his wolfhound with him by the collar, and prepared to greet its captain.
The Rumsley Tide made its final approach towards the port, with the sizable vessel finally docking. A heavy anchor dropped, splashing into the sea to settle the ship, and crewmates quickly shoved off to tie the ship down. It was akin to a bee hive, with how efficient they were.
Mere seconds after the gangplank was thrown out, the Captain of the Rumsley descended down on it. He looked to be a proud man, old but with attire of the most decorated Imperial captain. Overtop his head was a wide-brimmed hat, which caught the rain that hammered upon the island. To greet his landing was the face of the Abbey; the Overseers.
"Ah. These must be the lads going off to war. Fancy that." He remarked, with a sense of pride lingering in that gruff voice of his.
-Adrian stared at the overseers as they walked to meet the captain of the ship, his stomach turning in knots at the very sight of those wretches zealots. Placing a hand in his pocket, he gently squeezed the chunk of tune he had brought with him for religious purposes. Turning away from the overseers, he unsheathed his sword to test its sharpness, gently pressing his finger against the edge, a thin trail of blood trickled down his finger and onto the blood. Witha satisfied grin he sheathed his blade, deciding to follow the overseers so he could meet the captain of the ship as well.
"Captain Bittersby, I presume?" Benedict began. "I'm Benedict Moradi, beside me is my younger brother Jacob, and my lieutenant Oscar Ellsworth. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance." He then paused, allowing his brother to get a word in.
"Quite a vessel you have there, Captain," Jacob said, hoping to capitalise on the well known pride of a sailor in his ship. "I believe she is to be transporting us to our destination, Wynnedown?"
As his brother spoke, Benedict gripped his wolfhound's collar tightly. The beast had become restless as soon as the Rumsley had laid anchor. "I must apologise for my dog, Captain. She is rather young and inexperienced." That final part was a lie; his hound had served him well for almost four years, but he was confident that her restlessness was a coincidence. The High Overseer had assured him that each crew member on board the Rumsley had been adequately checked for any heretical activities before the ship had been assigned to them.
-Adrian stopped as soon as he saw the wolfhound becoming restless, he had run ins with such beasts in the past whenever overseers deigned to search the slums of dunwall. He had many bad experiences with wolf hounds and their zealot masters, barely avoiding capture many times in his past. Gritting his teeth, he backed away from the overseers as quietly and nonchalantly as possible, wiping his matted hair away from his eyes so he could see. Leaning over the rails of the ship, he stared at the roiling and disturbed water and smiled, spitting into the water before speaking to himself quietly.- "great leviathan I hope you are watching..." -sighing, he shook his head and listened to the rain patter hard on the hull of the ship."
As the Tyvian sailing ship took port, similarly the Captain had laid down the gangplank. The beaten soldier was carried off by two officers, taken to some undisclosed place as another crack of thunder convinently covered the flash made by a pistol being fired. The lone solider watched as the body was tossed on the board facing away from the Overseers.
"Line up for inspection!" The officer yelled, as he holstered his Tyvian pistol. "When the Overseers are satisfied, you will be selected by an Overseer and handled under their watch!"
"Aye, aye. Captain Alan Bittersby, at your humble service." The Captain took a short bow. "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Moradi. Same to the rest of your ilk, I'd reckon." He tipped his hat.
The Rumsley Tide was a big vessel, fit for shipping a decent lot of an army, if necessary. Her mighty masts scaled into the sky, illuminated by consistent flashes of lightning that streaked through the dreary gray clouds.
"Aye, Wynnedown and beyond, if the journey calls for it." He nodded, after stroking his digits through the thick fibers of his graying beard. Although he would have enjoyed continued talking to Mr. Moradi, something certain caught the good captain's eye.
"Oi, Mr. Grimsley! Shape up, lad! Stop looking so suspicious!" Captain Bitterbys shouted. He turned back to Mr. Moradi. "I'm terribly sorry about that. Mr. Grimsley is our newest recruit. Imperial Guard says he did something bad, but I didn't care to learn. We're all equals to the eyes of the sea."
-Adrian looked over his shoulder at the captain and straightened his back in accordance, raising his hand into the air to give a thumbs up to the aging captain.- "aye aye captain, apologies captain...common slum rat like myself isn't used to things like this" - walking as close as he can without gaining the attention of the hound he explained his reason for being there.- "aye, I was convicted of several counts of thievery, I was scheduled to be sent to colderide prison, but was given the choice of service or life in prison." -chuckling he eyed the overseers for a moment before looking at the captain.- "apologies for the lollygagging, living in the slums makes you used to solid ground."
Captain Bittersby gave Mr. Grimsley a big slap on the back, moreso of a jolly sort, though he was always a bad judge of his own strength.
"Aye, lad. Don't be sweating it none, you hear? We're all here to squash those damn Morleyians. A rotten lot, they are." Captain Bittersby let out a rather hearty laughter, enough to overpower the sound of thunder.
The Captain personally took to examine the line-up of Overseers that were here for inspection, and the eventual voyage off towards Wynnedown or beyond, as the dear Captain had put it before.
-lurching forward at the force of the captain, he feigned a chuckle, as he straightened himself up, stiffening his back in the presence of the overseers, highly expecting them to make him recite the seven scrictures.- "so captain, you have a hell of a right arm, I assume you keep yourself in decent shape to have an arm like that." -chuckling, he sighed and went back over to the railing to take at the expanse of sea before them, the storm calming his nerves quite a bit.-
Seeing Bittersby inspecting the Overseers, Benedict said "I assure you, Captain, these men are the best Overseers there are. Each knows the Seven Strictures like the back of their hand and is well versed in enforcing them. We hand-picked each of them for the job. I'm told that the Imperial Navy did the same with your own crew, so I think there's no need for inspections. The soldiers on the other hand..."
-Adrian turned his head and stared at the overseers, with a barely checked animosity towards them, they were the antithesis to the worship of the Outsider, everything they believed was to stop the great leviathan and his worshipered. Chuckling Adrian straightened his back and turned around to watch the captain inspect the overseers.- "I'll give the abbey one thing...they are a disciplined force, all scricture thumpers...but disciplined."
Suspicious of the unfavourable glances he and his men were receiving from Adrian, Jacob turned to Oscar, while his brother had the Captain distracted with talk.
"Have an Overseer watch that one," he ordered the lieutenant in a hushed voice, so that any onlookers couldn't overhear. "He's done nothing but give us sideways glances since he arrived. I suspect he is hiding something."
Oscar gave a discreet nod, barely perceptible to anyone but Jacob, who then added "Don't let the Captain realise we're onto his crewmate, either. Best not to get off on the wrong foot with our gracious host."
With that, Jacob turned back to face the Captain, hoping that his surreptitious conversation would go unnoticed.
"Aye, lad. I believe it. Though never seeing any of these men a day in my life, it pays to be thorough, you hear?" Bittersby concluded his inspection and stood straight, hands behind his back.
"Hmm." Bittersby made an odd, contemplative grumble, briefly musing over what Mr. Moradi had to say. "Aye, those Tyvians hardly look the shape to be fighting. I trust that they know what they're up about."
"The best of the Abbey, Mr. Grimsley! We'll crush those insurrectionists in no time at all." After his small speech, the Captain paced back up the gangplank. Whatever side conversation that went on with the other Overseers went unheard by the Captain.
-Adrian chuckled to himself and mentally said a prayer to the Outsider, in terms of devotion to his god, he was nearly as fanatical as the overseers were. But he was smart, he wouldn't be stupid enough to say prayers out in the open, he knew all to well what happened to heretics, he'd witnessed witch burnings and stonings plenty of times.- "aye captain, the abbey will watch over us in these troubled times, I've heard tale of the prowess of the overseers, can't say I wasn't impressed." -feigning a grin, he turned his head to the two overseers he had been giving glances and ugly looks.- "it will be a pleasure to work along side such skilled men, im undeserving of such an honor."
The Tyvian Captain stepped off his own ship, before he approached the line of Overseers. He approached the head of the line carefully, as a few of his own officers followed him in a uniform march. They approached who they made out to be a lead Overseer.
The Captain looked over Jacob, not daring to intrude on their conversation, but when it appeared to stop, he spoke: "Good eve, Overseer. We have been ordered to this port for inspection for your Order. This lot is to be divided among your order."
If one were to look at the small Tyvian vessel, they would notice that it wasn't large enough to carry the soldiers and crew it apparently boasted. Even the name of the ship was scratched off, hiding it's previous use. It could have been deduced easily that it wasn't a Tyvian warship, rather a Tyvian sailing ship.
"Ah, the Tyvian men! About bloody time!" Captain Bittersby shouted from the deck of his ship. Though it went unheard for the time, the Captain seemed to order one of his crewmembers off to complete some task, and the crewmate rushed off seconds later. Captain Bittersby descended the gangplank again, joining with the ranks of his fellows.
"Now then, how many of you will I be shipping off? Can't say I'll be able to ferry all of you lot. The Rumsley Tide is a big girl, but I can't say she's that big. She always gets angry when I call her plump." Captain Bittersby laughed, before taking a brief overview of the Tyvian forces. They certainly looked the part of a military force.
It also had come to Bittersby's attention that their ship was a bit of an oddity. The Captain, being a long-standing veteran of the Imperial Navy, always had a certain expertise on ships and the like. It didn't take him much to notice the Tyvian's ship wasn't even a warship. Either they weren't taking the Insurrection seriously, or their soldiers weren't soldiers at all. Bittersby scratched at his scruff in thought, though by all means he remained unassuming in his idleness.
"That's 44, then," Benedict replied. "We'll have eleven squads of five men, each with an Overseer leader and four soldiers. Jacob, Oscar, take nine other Overseers (those without Wolfhounds) and assemble the squads."
Jacob nodded, before he and Oscar departed from Benedict's side and set out to pick nine from their ranks.
Satisfied, Benedict turned back to the Tyvian Captain. "I'll also be expecting a report on the death of the 45th soldier, Captain."
The Tyvian Captain shrugged, "Of course, Overseer."
The sole soldier watched as the Overseers moved. He knew that they would board the ship soon, for inspection and selection. The two officers responsible for the execution used cloths which they cleaned with, taking up the blood before throwing them over the side of the ship.
"Ah, death. What a proper shame. Never is easy to break the bad news to the family. Aw hell, they knew what they were in for." Captain Bittersby shook his head. He remained at the front of his vessel, awaiting whatever duties these men needed to complete.
"Do whatever it is you lads feel you need to do. We'll be shipping off once the storm passes through." The Captain commented, resting his hands upon his hips.
As Jacob left for the Tyvian ship with several Overseers in tow, Benedict turned to his remaining Overseers. "Alright, the rest of you will be organised into eleven squads of six. Jacob, Oscar and I will decide which of you will be squad leaders once we are underway. Until then, you are dismissed - go and make yourselves comfortable on-board."
Grateful, the Overseers abandoned their rigid lines, and filed aboard the ship, talking amongst themselves.
"Shall we gather for whiskey and cigars tonight?" One Overseer asked another, as he passed, while Benedict turned to Captain Bittersby and gave an answer to his earlier question: "I believe the arrangement is that the Overseers will travel on the Rumsley while the Tyvians will make the journey in their own ship."
Meanwhile, on-board the other ship, the Overseers had just completed their inspection of the soldiers provided by Tyvia. Being the most senior Overseer present, Jacob had the first pick of his squad. He wasted little time, taking only a moment to think before pointing at three soldiers in quick succession, selecting only the healthiest and ablest-looking Tyvians available.
"You, you, you, and..." then paused for a moment, during which he spotted and pointed at a tall, blonde-haired Tyvian with silver eyes. "You. What is your name, soldier?"
The Tyvian Captain shook his head, "Not an option for this lot. The Judges and the Empress had a deal, they go on your ship. If you don't have enough rooms, just toss them in a storage or even in the brig. That is where the majority of them belong, after all."
The sole soldier looked at Jacob, as he replied in a low and direct tone: "Makar Skovilin."
He was obviously reserved, as if life had been drained from him. He didn't seem tired, but rather as if he had seen all he ever needed to see.
-grimsley watched the overseers choosing and filing into place, chuckling to himself he looked to the sky.- "they must lead boring, boring existences. At least a war spices up my rather droll life." -at that grimsley wondered when he would be ordered to remove himself from the rumsley, after all, this was his final stop by all accounts.-
"Ah. T'would make sense. Be it men of the Abbey to feel most comfortable aboard an Imperial vessel." Bittersby commented, tilting his broad hat just a few degrees sideways, enough to cause rainwater to spill forth from it.
The crew of the Rumsley Tide continued shifting about, never ceasing in their motions. Some carried things up the gangplank, resupplying with materials provided by the higher-ups of the Navy. Morley was quite a long trip away, though Bittersby was eager to get back on the sea.
Jacob frowned. Skovilin's apparent inexperience cast further doubt on the quality of the 'soldiers' provided by Tyvia. Troubled, Jacob explained, "You are part of my squad now. When we arrive in Morley, you will be accompanying me in battle, yes."
While Oscar began to select his squad, Jacob said to his own: "You're all dismissed for now, although I will expect you to be prepared for battle when we reunite in Wynnedown." As his squad disassembled, Jacob spoke directly to Makar, deciding to pry further, "Mr Skovilin, a moment, if I may?"
At last, it seemed as though the storm had finally passed through. The dark clouds lightened and revealed a dark blue sky, speckled with stars and a full moon. Realizing this, Captain Bittersby wasted no time with barking orders to his crew.
"Awright lads, kick it into high gear! We're to be off to the sea in just an hour's more? Come on, put your backs into it! No lollygagging!" The old captain certainly had a commanding tone to him, able to be heard among the rest of the isles' armies. "Aye, aye, cap'n!" The crew shouted in an uproarous unison, immediately picking up their paces. They shifted towards and from the ship, carrying crates of varying sizes.
"When did you do and your regiment do basic training?" Jacob asked. "And where? Just out of interest." Jacob had nothing against Makar in particular, but he wanted to find out just how inexperienced his brothers in arms were to be. The Empress would certainly be recieving a rather annoyed letter from him either way, detailing Tyvia's half-hearted offering to the war effort.
Makar remained silent for a while, not looking as if he even considered the question. "Two years, for me. I practiced in freedom."
To the Serkonan, the phrase freedom would have meant utterly nothing. Serkonos culture varied dramatically from Tyvian culture, and so the phrase might have been interpreted as regular life, instead of life at living hell.
"Freedom is what you make it to be, sir." Makar replied, "I..."
Makar paused seemingly incabable of saying the rest himself, as if something haunted him. The Captain of the Tyvian ship boarded the sailing vessel, looking at the group before he said: "You are loading out, and boarding the Rumsely Tide."
The Captain turned instantly, and focused on Jacob: "How do you find this vessel, Overseer?"
"I apologise if I've caused you any displeasure, Mr Skovilin," Jacob nodded towards the Tyvian as a farewell, before turning to greet the Captain. "She seems to be in very good shape, sir," he replied. "Although I gather that she was not always a military vessel, and is actually a retrofitted civilian ship - a ferry, perhaps?"
"Indeed." The Captain replied, "Not a ferry, but a ship owned by an aristocrat. Unfortunately, Tyvia doesn't really have a Navy. We depend on Gristol for that. But we do have an Army, and very loyal citizens. Hence why this ship is serving us today."
Makar nodded his head, before he stepped down the gangplank. He kept his rifle slung around his shoulder as he walked across the port, and glanced across the bow of the Rumsley Tide.
"Ah, I see," Jacob said in reply. "When I was younger in Karnaca, I would often watch the ocean horizon when I was without anything to do. The Tyvian merchant vessels were always the most beautiful, especially when compared with the ugly utilitarian hulks from Morley and Gristol. This ship is no different. Nice to see something other than whaling ships in Dunwall for a change."
"I've lived in Dunwall for decades," Jacob explained. "Moved here when the last of my family in Serkonos passed, to seek out my brother who'd gone on a pilgrimage and never returned. As for what led me to be an Overseer, given that I was brought up as a devout follower of the Abbey's teachings, it just felt like the natural course of events - that is, after my childhood dream of becoming a world-renowned swordsman fell though," Jacob chuckled at the trip down memory lane. He remembered those days fondly, even though hindsight had revealed to him his youthful naivete. "What about yourself?"
"Grew up in Alexin, worked until I reached the age to join our Army." The Captain replied, "Have done that ever since. Patrolled the streets of Dabokva, fought bandits and rebels. Guarded my fair share of labour camps, and became an officer. Eventually found myself with a note from the Judges to pilot this ship to help in our little problem."
(Just noticed that we were stating our destination was Dabokva, when in fact it was meant to be Morley's capital, Wynnedown. I've gone through and corrected the error in every post it appeared.)
"I'm glad of it," Jacob replied. "Despite our reputation, I don't think most Overseers would last long in a warzone without ample reinforcements." He still had his reservations about Tyvia's warriors, but they were better than nothing, he supposed. A moment of silence ensued. "Anyway, Captain, I must take my leave. Duty calls."
The crew of the Rumsley Tide finished with packing the ship full of all necessary supplies: food, ammo, the like. Captain Bittersby manned the helm of the darling vessel, and called out towards his own crew, the Overseers and the Tyvian lads. "Awright, everyone board the ship! Last call, last call! We're heading out in 30! Count your blessins' until then, cause it'll sure as hell be a bumpy trip there!"
-grimsley heard the shouts of the captain, telling the crew to board up, as he walked to do as his captain had ordered he began reciting prayers to himself and seeking aid from the Outsider in these troubled times for strength.- "bones of the great leviathan protect me in these times of strife, grant me strength, so I may live to impress upon you my worth and loyalty to you, the Outsider, who walks the void." -placing his hands in his pockets casually to avoid suspicion, he gripped the piece of rune he brought with him, and ended his prayers with a few whispered words.- "the Outsider walks among us, visiting our dreams, and greeting us in the void when we die."
While Captain Bittersby continued to bark his orders, there came a voice to touch upon Grimsley's ears. One that only he could hear, and that spoke in hushed tones, like something that echoed from the Void itself.
"You must think of yourself a fool to invoke my presence near the men of the Abbey."
The voice could send chills down Grimsley's spine.
"But, I admire your tenacity. Hold that rune close, and perhaps we will hear of each other again soon."
The voice only spoke those two lines, and that was it. Back to Bittersby's barking.
-grimsley listened intently, drinking in the words the Outsider had spoken to him, a wide smile had formed on his face that could only Ben described as chilling. To avoid suspicion from everybody, he began to recite the seven strictures in their entirety out loud, finishing with an errant mind.- "aye aye captain! We're gonna show these Morley bastards what it means to fuck with the empire and gristol!"
Makar looked around the Rumsley Tide as he boarded it, his hands in the pockets of his greatcoat. He stood on the deck of the vessel, as the rain pattered across his army hat. He withdrew a whale-oil lighter, as he lit it.
He stared at the blue light for a while, before removing a Tyvian bitter cigar. Makar lit it, as he bit the end of the cigar and breathed in.
"Men, lift the anchor! Hoist those sails! Get ready to ship off!" Bittersby continued to shout out his orders, intent on shipping off for Morley soon. Two crewmates ran over to the hoist crank and began turning the thing, which drew the anchor back up. The sound of water rushing off the surface of the anchor was loud and noticable.
(Just gonna say this: I strongly disagree with the idea that the Outsider is interested in Grimsley. The Outsider is more like a sadistic mad scientist than a god. He's usually interested in giving power to those who've been wronged and seeing how they react now that they have the upper hand - whether they seek violent revenge or if they decide to be the better person (case in point: Corvo, Emily, lonely rat boy, Delilah). I imagine he'd treat those who religiously follow him with the same indifference he shows to Sokolov (who also was in awe of him) and the Abbey (who zealously hate him). In that respect, I don't imagine the Outsider would be at all interested in any of our characters (or at least not yet).
Although, yes, I agree that the Outsider should be an NPC.)
( More or less, I decided upon using the Outsider because Grimsley didn't know what to do in the story, so having the Outsider guide him might just be an occasional occurance. In Grimsley's case, he very well might have been wronged, being nothing more than a slum boy and a known worshiper of the Outsider, so he's likely been abused plenty by Gristolian nobles or the Overseers. It was just a few couple lines indicating that the Outsider has a somewhat small interest for the time, though likely way down the line, that interest may or may not grow depending on the course of events.
(Honestly, it would be better spent saying that the rune was whispering. Not the Outsider. Because as Dab has said, religious zealots for the Outsider barely gain any attention from him. Until our characters are in the position where they have opportunity to abuse the powers the Outsider might potentially give them, we shouldn't really have any contact with him. He does only consider those who have the power to change history, it seems.)
Makar listened to the sound of the anchor as it lifted, the Tyvian standing idly by as the ship motioned forward, no longer bound by the heavy weight that held it down. He glanced over his shoulder toward a group of Overseers, who appeared to be focused on the lone Tyvian. Makar took a drag on his cigar, as he waited for one of them to approach him. He knew that they would, and sure enough--one approached.
( I'll just say it was the rune, then. Anyways, story progression time. Hopefully, everyone is aboard by now. )
The sails unfurled and the anchor withdrew, and the crew cut the mooring lines. Thick rope snapped, retreating back into the water, weak and loose. With the Overseers and whatever Tyvians decided to board were on the Rumsley Tide, it took off from Kingsparrow Island.
(Don't worry about it. It's nobody's fault - just a misunderstanding.)
Jacob was the last to board the Rumsley before it left port. With nothing to do, he leant on the railing, peering down into the inky black water as slowly the world began to accelerate around the ship. Foam was spat out as the whale-oil engine began churning the water.
Quietly and idly, he recited the strictures in a low voice. He was soon interrupted as he overheard several Overseers laughing. Upon turning his head to the side, he saw that one of his Overseers was making fun out of a Tyvian soldier.
"May I remind you that I have personally inspected each and every Tyvian currently on-board this ship," Jacob called over, while striding toward them. The laughing stopped quickly. "Unless you have grounds to believe that Mr Skovilin has connections to the occult, I see no reason why you should need to question him."
"You have my apologies, sir," the Overseer hastily replied.
"I'm sure I do," Jacob continued. "When I boarded this ship, I told its Captain that you were the best Overseers there were. On duty or not, you are Overseers representing the best of the Abbey. I expect you to act like it, not like schoolchildren."
As the group of Overseers rapidly dispersed, Jacob turned to Makar. "I apologise for that... unprofessionalism."
By then, the Rumsley Tide pulled away from Dunwall's harbor, and made head long into the open oceans beyond. T'was quite a sight, with a brilliant ball of light in the sky shining rays into the murky depths, obscured with filth and whatever else roamed about the watery abyss. Off the port side, one could witness a whaling ship hoisting a whale from the waters, bleeding the majestic beast dry.
"All men on deck! Forward ho!" Bittersby shouted, and his crew shouted in unison. With that, the Rumsley sailed for Wynnedown.
"First mate Brennard! Man the helm while I'm away. Keep 'er straight all the way to Morley." Bittersby slapped his first mate over the back, who promptly saluted the old captain. Bittersby then descended the steps onto the main deck, to join the ranks of the Overseers and Tyvians.
"Aye, mate. About a week or so until Wynnedown, should the oceans be fair to us. I see a fine wind in our fortune, indeed." Bittersby had just strolled by as Makar and Jacob were having their little conversation.
"It is a revolution. Of course it would be necessary, sir." Makar replied, before he remained quiet. It seemed as if he was considering something, but then he shook his head. "How long have you been on the Rumsley Tide?"
"But of course, lad. The ocean is my home, though just as much the Navy." Where it was needed, the Imperial Navy would be there. In such harsh times as these, it was now more than ever. "About 30 years, give or take. She's an old lass, but she still has some fight left in her."
-grimsley looked out at the horizon and chuckled, the world was beautiful, but not as beautiful as it should or could be. Beneath the waves, his mind played tricks on him by showing the faces of the drowned, sighing softly, he spoke to himself.- "beneath all the prosperity, is mangled limbs and treacherous waters."
"Aye, t'was a bit of a sad sight to see those mammoth beasts cry out in fright as they were hoisted from the ocean. I would like to say that I've grown used to it, but I couldn't say for sure." Captain Bittersby shifted himself over towards the ship's port side, and leaned against the outer railing. Just nearby, he could see Grimsley muttering some random words to himself.
Jacob nodded in agreement. "I didn't experience it first-hand, but since then it seems like every ship I see is one of those ugly whaling ships, hauling the carcass of a leviathan to be bled dry at one of those horrible butcheries."
He sighed. "I suppose it must be worth it, given how far it's taken our civilization..."
"She has been sailing for as long as I have been alive, then." Makar replied. The Tyvian listened to Bittersby and Jacob talk, speaking about the Whale Oil revolution. Makar had worked in a refinement factory at one point of his life, so he knew the process quite well. He never had an admiration for the whales.
"Aye, I would suppose whale oil has done wonders for our race, but... being a man of the sea meself, I can't help but feel bad for the big ol' whales. As ugly as those buggers are." Bittersby nodded in a somber gesture.
When the Tyvian spoke up, Bittersby was eager to reply. "That be right, Tyvian. The Rumsley's been through quite a heck of trouble, I'll tell you. Even once took a trip to the Far Continent. Wouldn't recommend it. Beautiful place but one lick of a fish up there and you'll be seizing on the floor." Bittersby did not remember his trip fondly.
"A group of Overseers once made an expedition to the Pandyssian Continent," Jacob said, remembering an account of the events that was contained in the archives in the Office of the High Overseer. "Half of them barely made it off the ship before they'd been killed, and the remaining crew by the end was hardly enough to pilot the ship home. That place truly is a twisted creation of the Outsider. Why so many aristocrats enjoy holidaying there is a mystery to me."
"It must be the thrill of things." Bittersby remarked. "Hardly a man out there who could say they braved the new world. Imagine what people would say when a high-born survived a trip up there. Must think they're a loon for even attempting it."
"T'is the way of the world, lad. If you aren't a working lad or a military man, you're a slum-dweller or some prissy noble looking for ways to bolster your own ego." Bittersby tipped his hat down slightly, providing shade for his wrinkly eyes.
"I guess some solace can be taken in the fact that such people may live comfortable lives, but they will be forgotten by history as quickly as they came," Jacob said. "The only great men are those who leave their mark on history: Holger, Roseburrow, Sokolov..."
"Aye well, it's their life to live, I would suppose. Some lads prefer to exist, blissfully unaware of the horrors that might lay just outside their door. Then we have the scholars, the industrialists, the scientists, the sailors, all sorts in every corner, lad. It is truly a wild world." Bittersby seemed to chuckle a bit at that last line.
"I suppose that's why I'm here today. A captain in service of the Isles. T'wouldn't be a better place for me elsewhere, I reckon."
Makar remained silent, as he looked back on the now far lights of Dunwall, watching them grow further and further. The Tyvian lowered his head, as he removed the whale oil lighter once more. He lit it for a bit, looking at the blue flame before he spoke: "I would just like to know what the horrors of our time will produce later."
"No way of knowin'." Bittersby commented, pushing himself away from the side of the ship. He leaned slight on his right leg, left hand placed at the hilt of his sword. "I'd say, you lads better get yourselves settled in. It'll be a rather long voyage."
"Who can say what the future holds?" Jacob asked, in agreement with Bittersby. "I suppose all we can do is wait to find out ourselves." After Bittersby's suggestion of getting settled in, Jacob replied "Very well. I will see you later, gentlemen." Jacob stood up straight, nodded to the two men and left, to find his brother.
"Only time would know." Bittersby parted, only to return to the helm of the ship.
The Rumsley Tide continued upon its journey towards Wynnedown. Gentle, yet murky dark waves lapped across the metal hull of the large vessel, and whatever light was available in the heavens sparkled down its gaze into the ocean. It was a relatively peaceful journey, free of roaming pirates or rogue waves; certainly, it had probably been the most peace the Rumsley had seen in years.
(Are we going to plot a timeskip, or something else?)
Makar nodded his head, as he watched Jacob and Captain Bittersby part. He looked back at the blue flame he held in his hand, as if he almost pondered its warmth. The rain was beginning to pass as the Rumsley Tide departed from the port of Gristol. The Tyvian eventually flicked off the lighter, as he placed it carefully into his pouch and headed for a dryer spot on the ship.
Fair breezes and cold nights greeted the crew of the Rumsley Tide, as an overcast day drifted into a clear night. Bittersby hung about the helm of the ship, accompanied by his first mate, Vincent Brennard. Mr. Brennard kept the vessel at a steady course, due forth in the proper direction. Navigation wasn't a necessity, as Bittersby had taken the journey a few times before. Nevertheless, it was important to stay the course.
A week later... approaching the shores of Wynnedown...
A thick fog covered the immediate path of the Rumsley Tide as it slowly crept across the waters. It was obviously day, at the fog wasn't a figment of the darkness, but it rendered farsight worthless. Makar stood outside, smoking yet another cigar as its black smoke drifted in the fog. He squinted, in an attempt to spot the land that should be there.
( I guess Black had other business to attend to or he just forgot about this. He'll be back, I'm sure. And Bittersby has a bit of combat experience, he won't just stay on the ship. )
"Easy does it, lads! Fog ahead, watch the rocks!" Bittersby shouted. The crew hurriedly eased up the sails, lessening the speed of the Rumsley Tide for ease of navigation. The fog was thick but Bittersby knew that they were closing in on Wynnedown now. First mate Brennard was still manning the helm, carefully turning the vessel in and around a field of rocks in dense fog. It was near impossible to do this, leading to numerous close calls.
Makar watched the fog carefully, as the ship sailed carefully toward its destination. Soon enough, a flat shape on the water soon appeared, as the Tyvian focused in on it. It wasn't a natural rock formation from any regards, and seemed to be a small skiff. A figure shifted in the fog, as Makar was quick to drop his cigar and shoulder his rifle.
"Lo! Off the starboard!" Makar called out, as he placed his cheek against the stock of the rifle.
"Watch it, watch it!" Bittersby shouted. A strange vessel had begun a slow approach from the starboard side, but the thick fog rendered the crew unable to tell it friend from foe. Thus entered a sort of uncomfortable lull of action; the Rumsley Tide kept its approach towards Wynnedown, yet this other skiff remained just within sight, but just out of it as well.
Few of the Captain's crew scattered unto cover, hands full of common pistols and whatever effective weaponry they could possess in such short a time. Silence fell. The only noises were birds above, and the sounds of Whale Oil engine running the Rumsley.
After spotting what everybody was staring at, an Overseer who had been relaxing on the deck quickly sprinted down into the bowels of the ship.
"...and then we should be in a position to reinforce the Imperial Army forces at-" Benedict was interrupted when a soaking-wet Overseer burst into the cabin.
He was about to chastise the Overseer for his rudeness, but the Overseer got in the first word: "Overseer Moradi, sir, there's an unidentified skiff keeping pace with us just outside of weapon range," the Overseer exclaimed. "Probably with hostile intent."
Oscar and Jacob jumped to their feet, and quickly followed the Overseer back to the deck, while Benedict, more calmly, strode behind them.
"Hold your fire, I beg of you!" The figure yelled with a thick Morleyian accent. Makar kept his rifle raised, as the figure then lifted up his arms. There was a faint glow of several whale oil canisters. "I got my family on board! Please!"
-grimsley drew his sword and pistol, just in case things turned ugly, held his sword with a familar grip, having taught himself the craft by being in many fights, and reading many books and practicing in his hovel. Growling under his breath. calming down he sighed.- "I feel we should let this one pass..I know I'm a lowly conscript, but do we want to become slick with blood like their people? Just as tainted to preserve the bloodlust." -grimsley knew he was speaking out of line, but he always had a habit of speaking his mind.
The lad aboard the skiff was definitely of Morleyian heritage, but spoke of "Refugees, more like it." Bittersby commented, gesturing for his crew to lower their arms. The old captain still held his doubts about the Morleyian's reason for being out in the fog. As a keen eye would have noticed, there was a bunch of whale oil canisters stacked aboard their skiff; more than enough to power such a small ship.
"Oi, stranger. Trying to get away from the fighting, aye? Where you off to?" Bittersby shouted, trying to make conversation. Given that whale oil was explosive, it would be a bad idea to turn their back on the skiff. Bittersby had plenty of experience with seemingly regular folks feigning innocence.
"That is right, sir! Wynnedown is in flames! Got to get my family away!" The Morleyian responded. The ship could only be made out by the shape, along with the figures in it, and the faint glow of whale oil. Makar kept his rifle pointed at the Morleyian, as he felt uneasy to allow them so close to the ship.
"Trying to get down to Arran, safer than Wynnedown! Not as many rebels or soldiers!" He yelled again.
"I don't trust them." Makar whispered, as to not alert the Morleyian. "That much whale oil? Could be a fire ship."
"Oi, well. You leave Wynnedown to us, good sir. You have a safe trip to Arran, then!" If the Morleyian was truly part of the Insurrectionists, then Bittersby was just going to play it safe but smart. He would allow the skiff to pass them, but the captain descended from the helm to give his crew, the Tyvians and the Overseers his proper orders.
"That skiff be carrying way too much whale oil for such a small boat." Bittersby whispered, merely concuring with Makar's suspicions. "We'll let 'em pass, but if you see them charging, open fire."
"That's a lot of whale oil for one skiff," Jacob noted.
"Aye, well it's a long journey for one skiff," the Morleyian replied.
A short silence ensured, during which neither party did anything.
"Bring your ship in closer so we may inspect you," Benedict, not satisfied with their alibi, ordered after a moment of contemplation. "But be warned: any act of agression, even the slightest hint of it, will earn you a bullet between the eyes from my good friend Makar here, who is an excellent marksman."
The skiff began to cautiously approach, its pilot taking care not to make any sudden movements.
"That's enough," he said, once the vehicle was within eyesight but out of range for the whale oil to do any real damage to the Rumsley. "Halt there."
As the skiff sailed closer, the shapes of four individuals were made out. Right as the skiff stopped, Makar adjusted his aim to be sighted directly upon the man piloting the skiff. One was a woman, and two were children. The Tyvian was tempted to lower his rifle upon seeing them all, but he resisted the urge and kept his aim true.
"I see you lot have Overseers," the woman said, "Mind if we part with a blessing?"
T'was true, the Morleyian didn't lie; he did have a family with 'em. Problem was, it could have easily just been another made-up thing. Bittersby eased himself back and had his men keep their aim down, but still at the ready in case of any trouble. The old Captain still held his doubts about the Morleyians' intentions, but it seemed like his shipmates shared the same sentiments.
"Aye, in but a moment, if they're feeling it. Just keep yer distance and let these good folk finish their inspection." Bittersby replied.
Benedict surveyed the ship several times. As far as he could tell, it was just a normal skiff (perhaps with a few more whale oil canisters than needed) and each of its occupants seemed to be who they said they were.
"Alright, you may pass," Benedict said. "I apologise for our hostility; sadly, it is a necessity in times such as these. Oscar, will you please give these good folks a blessing before they part ways? In the meantime, could you folks tell us everything you know about the state of the Insurrection in Wynnedown? Our latest information was delivered to Dabokva by boat shortly before we left port there four days ago, so naturally it is somewhat outdated."
As asked, they began recounting some shaky details of the Insurrection, with little certainty due to them (at least claiming) being uninvolved civilians. Oscar listened intently, trying his best to glean the useful information from the mass of ambiguous descriptions they were giving.
After this, Benedict turned to Jacob and Bittersby, and quietly said: "I don't think they're a fire ship, but they could be spies. Tell them nothing true, but ensure the lies line up. Also, make sure that all those below deck remain down there, so our numbers remain hidden."
(Just a reminder: if anyone wants to use Oscar, they can. He's an NPC, remember.)
Benedict concluded his inspection, giving passage to the good ( or not so good ) folk aboard the skiff. Bittersby still felt uneasy about the situation, for it was easy for them to be caught by surprise in such thick fog. Still, the inspection brought nothing conclusive, and they couldn't hold them on doubt alone.
"Aye... be it the old man to keep the lie. Not a problem, lad." Bittersby whispered. He agreed that their numbers should be concealed, and he briefly stepped towards one of his crew and relayed the order in hushed tones. Among his crew, only a handful were on the deck, plus his first mate. The nameless crew member paced down below deck, to tell everyone to remain below.
-grimsley watched the men and women on board the skiff, his hand still close to his holster in case anything happened. Mentally he spoke to the rune in his pocket, and by extension the Outsider. He knew he'd get no reply. But for mental solace he asked why would they have so much whale oil on their skiff? Whispering beneath his breath he spoke.- "this seems odd..too much of a coincidence."
"Wynnedown is in flames," the man replied, "they've locked down the docks, the Tyvians. I don't know who is worse, the Tyvians or the rebels."
Makar kept his rifle concentrated on the Morleyian, as the man dropped his hands out of sight. The Tyvian was very suspicious of the man's actions, it was almost as if he was trying to hide his actions from the group.
"Hah!" Bittersby laughed briefly. "I am rather impressed here, lad. Bit of a harsh place to be in, that Wynnedown, aye? Must have been right impossible to go through the streets. Let alone escaping a city in high alert by boat, when the docks are locked down." Their story was starting to not add up. Bittersby patted Makar over the shoulder, encouraging the lad to keep his aim up.
While the crew of the Rumsley looked on with suspicion and doubt as they tried to unravel the truth behind the clearly falsified story being spun by the Morleyian, none noticed a second smaller skiff pull up on the opposite side of the Rumsley. A dark figure began to climb on-board the Rumsley from this skiff, but suddenly vanished in a cloud of ash, reappearing on the roof of the ship's bridge.
After surveying those on deck, the figure then blinked again, toward an opening to the interior of the ship that was unguarded by anyone, and disappeared into it, with everybody on deck none the wiser.
"Aye, aye, surely." Bittersby grumbled and nodded. It seemed like the Morleyian deflected his question, or rather gave too simple an answer for his liking. The good captain had been on the seas too long and knew enough about typical protocol. It bothered him immensely, but he refused to show it.
Makar kept his rifle concentrated on the Morelyian. The Morleyian stood upright, holding something in his hands now. It wasn't clear what he removed, but the eyes of the others in the skiff turned toward him.
"A word of warning," the Morleyian said, "for the sake of the Everyman: do not trust them."
"Them, lad? What ever do you mean?" Bittersby asked. The Morleyian seemed to have something in his grasp, though the thick fog made it impossible to identify what exactly it was. Things had become... somewhat foreboding. It left a sick feeling in the captain's stomach. He felt as though something bad was going to happen.
"You're standing with them, Captain." The Morleyian replied. In a swift movement, the Morleyian raised the object he held, as the explosive sound of a whale oil pistol sounded. One in the crowd fell, as the children cried out in surprise. The skiff lurched forward, in an attempt to charge the Rumsley.
Makar swore, as he took aim and fired. The Morleyian's chest exploded, as did the canister behind him as the skiff exploded in a blue light as the flames flickered past the faces of many of the crew onboard.
In one swift and unanimous action, the Morleyian threw his hands up and a pistol was fired off. Their skiff now attempted to ram the Rumsley, but such an effort would not last. Makar was first to fire, rupturing the Morleyian's chest with a well-placed shot, which ripped through and detonated a whale oil canister just behind him. The entire skiff was ignited in flames, consuming the cries of the few beings still aboard.
What lurched forth now was an empty ship, containing charred, misshapen corpses. Brennard steered the Rumsley Tide out of the way, and the skiff merely continued moving with the tide, burning like a brazier.
Captain Bittersby lifted off his hat and held it to his chest, a bit startled by how fast things had escalated. "Ay, geezus. Making an old man's heart race here. Proper quick thinking, Makar."
"Something's not right," Jacob frowned. "If they were a fire ship, why load it with passengers and then stop to talk? If they were spies, then why reveal themselves when we would otherwise have allowed them to pass?"
Makar lowered his rifle, as a vapour emitted from the barrel of the weapon. He checked to ensure the cock was kept inplace, as he raised the rifle upward to be pointed away from anyone else. The Tyvian seemed barely affected by what just happened, despite having effectively been the cause of the death of two children, presumably innocent.
"They are insurrectionists." Makar said in response to Jacob, "Their tactics are meant to confuse."
"Aye, Makar is right. T'wouldn't be a proper insurrection if they didn't use such dirty tactics. T'is a sad thing to see. Honorless dogs." Bittersby lifted his hat from his chest, and placing it back upon his balding scalp. "Nevertheless, it would seem something is certainly afoul in Wynnedown. We best take care moving forth, aye lads?"
Captain Bittersby swaggered off, heading back up towards the helm. He directed his first mate, Brennard, to steer the vessel back towards the port. Most assuredly, they were being expected.
"I expected honourless tactics," Benedict muttered, musing to himself. "But even such methods are still logical. Sacrificing multiple men in one suicide attack is not logical. Neither is a spy attacking when he could easily have escaped alive with useful information. Something seems off... Could there have been another reason for their odd behaviour?"
Makar wondered silently. A grimace marked his face temporarily, almost as if something very unpleasant fell upon his memory. The Tyvian turned toward Benedict, before he spoke lowly: "Could be a distraction. But for what?"
"If I were a honorless dog..." Bittersby began speaking, upon his return from the helm. He stood by the likes of Benedict and Makar. "... I would have most certainly used the cover of the fog, plus the distraction to sneak up on m'dear Rumsley. With whatever numbers they had, they could have launched an attack... or let someone sneak aboard."
Makar remained silent as Bittersby spoke, as he considered what the Captain said. He didn't think it possible for anyone to sneak up on the Rumsley. The Tyvian just supposed that the skiff they met wasn't entirely sure what it was doing.
"Indeed." He said, "Best not to dwell on it. Let us see the port."
"Aye. Brennard! Bring us up to port!" Bittersby shouted towards his first mate.
The Rumsley completed it's voyage, reaching upon the empty harbor of Wynnedown. Not a ship lie anchored there, with many having fled the anarchy post-haste. The fog had lessened as they reached aground, and one could see the flames rising high over the city. The crew dropped anchor, letting the heavy metal object splash down into the ocean below.
The crew scrambled about, getting preparations underway for the disembarking. Likely, considering how high of a state of chaos Wynnedown was in, the Rumsley Tide would keep their crew aboard to defend it from any would-be scoundrels.
As the crew top-side continued with preparations, Bittersby briefly mused upon what Benedict suggested. He was quick to come to a conclusion. "Aye. If someone did sneak aboard my ship, I would be awfully cross with myself for allowin' it."
"Norman! Theodore!" Two of Bittersby's crew members rushed over, both dressed the part of the Imperial Navy.
"Take a bit of the crew and go investigate, would you? Would be mighty appreciated, lads." The two crew members nodded, and gathered up some other members of the crew to escort the Moradi brothers below deck.
As the Rumsley Tide approached the empty harbour, it seemed almost as if it was abandoned. But figures quickly appeared out of the fog, their weapons lowered as they watched the crew of the ship prepare to dock. Makar looked at them, almost tempted to raise his rifle, but since they didn't seem aggressive with theirs, he decided against it.
"Captain," Makar said, "I think our scoundrel was right."
The figures wore the greatcoats that signified Tyvian alliegance, as they walked along the cobbled stone-made pier. Whale oil lamps showed a presence of cannons and watch towers, that would have otherwise been hidden by the fog.
As the figures emerged from the fog, Bittersby made about with a quick gesture and silenced the ramblings and swift movements of his crew. The good captain scratched at his chin, seeing what in the distance that Makar had made note of.
"Aye... poor lad might have had some truth to his words," Bittersby replied.
They were Tyvian soldiers, or merely played the part. Lamps swung back and forth in the low breeze, discerning the presence of fortifications and cannon placements, among other things not visible through the fog.
-grimsley ran the edge of his blade against his thumb, letting a thin trail of blood trickle down his hand and onto the rumsley tides floor. Walking to where the captain was and leaning over the rails, his medium length black hair matted to his eyes.- "this is war captain, this ain't the open ocean or flushing out worshiped of some foul cult, this is a bloody war where nobody walks away with their hands clean." -grimsley turned his head to look at the captain.- "you are smart to not have a good feeling about it, i learned young that you need to be paranoid of everything and everybody, show mercy to those who deserve it..and brutality to those who don't." -almost absent mindedly, he rolled up his sleeve, revealing a tattoo marking him as an associate of the hatters gang, more of a brand in honesty. With a glossy look in his eyes, he spoke.- "slums teach you things, teach you how to be smart, clever, strong...but most of all, how to hide from things you don't want seeing you. Streets have eyes and ears everywhere, even if you don't see them, be careful what is said...lest informants rat you out, just the words of a slummer, meanin no disrespect or nothin sir."
As the Rumsley tide came to a halt, a platform was lowered from the high pier to the deck of the ship. This was done without permission from Captain Bittersby, as the Tyvian soldiers merely marched on to the ship without discretion. Makar watched, nearly unmoved by the actions of his fellow Tyvians as they seemingly searched the crew. One intentionally bumped into Grimsley, as they pushed on further.
A group of three Tyvians approached the group, as they ignored the Overseers and Makar and spoke directly to Bittersby: "Where has this ship departed from?"
"I'm but an old, humble captain, Mr. Grimsley. I've seen my fair share of war. Better me know what sort of hells await us." The Captain observed as Grimsley lifted up his sleeve, revealing a mark associated with the Hatters. Bittersby had a better understand of why Grimsley had been conscripted. "No disrespect taken, lad. With the chaos this city is in, it may prove useful to have a slummer's eyes, aye?"
Bittersby finished his conversation with Grimsley, as the Tyvians boarded the Rumsley without permission. The way they moved about just bothered the good Captain. Anyone could see they lacked the proper decorum of the soldier, though to his defense, Bittersby wasn't entirely familar with the Tyvian Army.
Some group of Tyvians approached Bittersby directly, ignoring Makar, the Moradi brothers and Grimsley entirely. Though Bittersby wasn't keen on telling them the truth, it wouldn't have been hard for them to figure out. There was only so many places an Imperial vessel could sail out from. "Ah, straight from Dunwall, lad. What seems to be the issue? Were we not being expected?"
"Just a quick search of the ship should suffice," Benedict explained to Theodore, whom Bittersby had assigned to help check for any possible intruder. "We've no evidence that the skiff was a distraction, but we'd be inviting trouble if we did not check for sure. Shall we search the deck first?"
There were few hiding spots on the deck, so it didn't take long to verify that nothing was amiss. However, as they were about to proceed below deck, Jacob happened to lean on the railing of the ship to peer at the waves below. Rather than waves, he saw a small skiff moored to the Rumsley with rope.
"Definitely have someone on-board!" he called out. "There's an abandoned skiff here."
"Good thing we insisted upon checking, then," Benedict replied before calling out to Bittersby, ignoring the Tyvians. "Captain, we do have a stowaway!"
"Not a problem, Mr. Benedict, sir. It is my duty to assist you in any way I can." Theodore responded. Theodore, Benedict, Jacob and other crew members descended below deck to see if anything was amiss. Immediately, nothing was to be seen but soon, they did witness the sight of an abandoned skiff tied to the Rumsley.
Bittersby could hear Benedict calling out from above deck, even as he was being interrogated by the Tyvians. "Oh, blast it. Search the ship! I won't allow any lads to take free rides aboard my vessel."
"I haven't the slightest, gentlemen. Some honorless scoundrels attempted to blow our ship, and I would suppose..." Bittersby paused in his speech, arms crossed as he gazed over the small skiff. "... someone snuck aboard. Rest assured, whatever lad or lass is aboard now will be dealt with swiftly."
Benedict led Jacob and the two crewmen below deck. As the he passed, one of the Tyvians attempted to open dialogue, angry at them for bringing a possible spy into their midst. However, his shouting did not even cause Benedict to turn his head or break his stride. As a group of four Overseers passed, he ordered them to fall in line and join the search, which they did without hesitation.
"Oscar and I will check the engine room," Jacob said, heading off in that direction.
"Very good," Benedict replied, as the two Overseers strode off down the corridor. He then proceeded to assign each of the remaining people under his command to an area. "We need to find our stowaway ASAP! Get to it."
"Not sure what you think you are dealing with." The Tyvian said, "Best to burn the ship. If that blackened bastard is here, then we have trouble. The General will want to speak to you, Captain. Shouldn't keep him waiting."
Makar turned to the Tyvian soldiers, as they looked toward the Overseers as they marched to follow them. There was a screaming aboard the pier, as his attention suddenly shifted toward it. Gunshots followed, as sounds of splashing water then echoed throughout the harbour.
No matter how much the Moradi brothers scoured the Rumsley Tide, it seemed that they could not locate the stowaway. Every corner of the ship lie empty, suggesting that the stowaway could have just vanished. Was that even possible?
Elsewhere, Bittersby remained above on the deck, being ordered by the Tyvians. He still felt ill of the situation, though not much could quell his uneasy feelings. "Aye, take me to your general, then. We'll have a chat." Bittersby kept a hand to his officer's saber, keen on following the Tyvian soldiers down to wherever their outpost was.
Screaming suddenly rung out, followed by gunshots and a splash. Bittersby caught a brief glimpse of a body falling into the briney depths.
As soon as the scream rang out through the Rumsley, Jacob sprinted to its point of origin, or at least where he estimated it to be. He burst through the double doors onto the deck with his pistol drawn. On the far end of the deck was a figure shrouded in cloth with almost all features indiscernible, holding a blood-stained sword. The figure spun round at the sound of Jacob's entrance.
Without hesitation, Jacob raised his pistol and fired, but just as pulled the trigger, the figure blinked towards him, kicking Jacob in the stomach as he did so. The momentum behind the kick launched Jacob down the stairs he'd just ascended. Jacob struggled in an attempt to stand up as the assassin closed in to finish the job.
In desperation, Jacob searched for purchase with which to pull himself up. His hand landed on the crank of a discarded Overseer music box. Looking back at his would-be killer, he cranked the device frantically while mounting it to his chest. Unaware of what the Ancient Music did, the assassin chuckled at what he perceived as Jacob's feeble attempt at saving himself. He then flexed his fingers as if to blink, but was taken aback when the mark emblazoned on the back of his hand simply spluttered energy.
"Your dependence upon the Outsider's 'gifts' has rendered you weak!" Jacob said. "Reject his lies!"
The scream and splash gathered much attention. One of the Moradi brothers had rushed forward to investigate. Bittersby felt the need to ignore the Tyvians, as they too took noticed to the ongoings. Jacob had engaged with the stowaway, who undoubtably carried the Outsider's Mark.
Bittersby rushed downstairs, flanked by some of his crewmates. Jacob was on the floor, utilizing an old Overseer's music box to disable his assailant. Though only disabling the Outsider's powers would not stop the assassin, Bittersby wasn't too keen on allowing a guest of his ship to die. His crewmates ran in to deal with the powerless assassin.
"Get in there! Surround him!" One of the crewmates shouted. Bittersby's crew came armed with swords common in the Imperial navy; narrow and sharp, perfect for stabbing and slicing. They engaged the assassin, attempting to overwhelm with numbers. Meanwhile, the captain pulled a pistol away from his belt.
Makar followed right behind Bittersby, as he removed his rifle and stood back in the room where Jacob had cornered the assassin. He concentrated his aim on the assassin, as he rested his cheek on the stock and looked down the iron sights. The assassin looked at the group that had gathered, seemingly shocked with how fast they grew in size.
Thanks to the time bought for him by Bittersby's reinforcements, Jacob finally was able to pull himself to his feet, while still winding the music box. Unable to attack due to the music box mounted to his chest, he turned to his allies.
"We should execute this intruder now. Too dangerous to imprison him; one break in the music would allow him to escape with ease," Jacob asked. "Unless you disagree, Captain, I suggest we do so right now."
Bittersby mused upon the thought for a little while. They could interrogate the assassin, but many of their ilk were immune to such things. There would no amount of pain they could give to loosen the man's tongue. So now he stood there, surrounded by the captain's crew, powerless because of Jacob's music box.
Bittersby gave his answer by lifting his pistol, short sights aimed. His finger edged the trigger and pulled, with the loud boom escorting the ejection of the bullet. He placed a shot right between the assassin's eyes; blood spurted in impact, and the heavy thump of a body against the Rumsley's deck. Considering how distracted the assassin was, even someone so trained couldn't avoid the shot.
"Aye lad. Consider the sentiments shared." Bittersby responded, holstering his pistol.
"Excellent shot," Jacob complemented Bittersby's aim, before ordering two of the Overseers present to take the body for examination.
Benedict strode in with Oscar in tow moments after Bittersby had done the deed. After a moment to survey the scene, he spoke. "Our hosts on the port cannot be very competent if we, upon our first arrival, have already killed the assassin they hunted for months. Shall we go and inform them your success, Captain?"
"Aye, I haven't lost my touch, it seems." Bittersby placed his hands on his hips, watching a couple of masked Overseers hauling away the assassin's body.
"We shall, Mr. Moradi." The captain nodded towards his crewmates, who provided ample distraction and allowed Bittersby to take his shot. They both holstered their swords and passed on, returning to the deck above. Bittersby soon joined them, eager to make sense of the assassin's motives, as well as what the Tyvian element knew about the situation in Wynnedown.
-grimsleys eyes followed the overseers carrying the body of the gifted assassin away and sighed, reaching into his pocket to grip the tune chunk he had Stowed away. Not being able to hide a look of mourning or pity on his face ASS they carried him away. Whispering inaudible under his breath.- "I wish to attain such power someday, yet become more successful than he was today." -chucking to himself, grimsley released the chunk and jogged over to the captain.- "sir I felt I may, ive encountered many outsider worshipers in my time in the slums, I doubt I could provide much assistance but..I did find something that the assassin had dropped in all of the commotion." -seeing this as the perfect oppurtunity to ditch any evidence of him being a worshiper himself, he presented the captain the chunk of tune he had kept on his person.- "he dropped this sir, I thought you should take it for examination."
As Benedict and Bittersby left to speak with the Tyvians, Jacob took hold of the chunk of whalebone held out by Grimsley. "Thank you, Mr Grimsley," he said, inspecting the engraving of the Outsider's Mark on the rune. "We've seen these before. Probably the second most common type of occult artifact, after 'bonecharms'. We believe they are used to hone their owner's supernatural powers. I doubt we will be able to glean any useful information from this one, but we will try, and then we will dispose of it properly. Thank you."
The Tyvians guided Benedict and Bittersby off the dock of the ship and onto the stone pier. As they ascended, they saw plenty more Tyvians, execution posts, weapons and watch towers. It almost didn't seem like a counter-insurgent force, it almost felt like a occupation.
As the three passed a certain Tyvian, Benedict and Bittersby could easily take note of the thick black soot that covered his uniform, as they explained: "When we first arrived, the Morleyian weaponised their whale oil refinement plants. Blew them, and left the city to burn. In many districts, it is near impossible to see and breathe. We lose more men to the smoke and the fires, than we do to bullets or blade."
Eventually, they reached what appeared to be a warehouse on the pier. There were several guards that surrounded it, as the Tyvians led on into the facility. Eventually, they reached a room with a large desk and chair. Two Tyvian officers stood on his side, as the General himself looked something out of a nightmare. Scars covered his face, and took his left eye. His left hand was missing, and was instead replaced with a stub, and his right hand was equally scarred. His hair seemed timid with age.
The General looked up, and with a low and gravely tone asked: "I assume the journey went well, Gentlemen."
"Ah, accursed thing. Better that our Overseer friends deal with that sort of sorcery." Bittersby commented, still walking away however.
He stepped forth onto the ship's deck once more, led out onto the pier by Tyvian soldiers. Bittersby and company were guided into a nearby warehouse, likely subverted and fortitifed by the Tyvian milita. It was here that they were greeted by what was assumed to be their commander; a tough and grizzled oldd man, scarred and damaged from battle. Bittersby supposed they had that in common.
"Aye, general. Besides the insurrectionists and the assassin, t'was a fair enough voyage." Bittersby said.
When the General seemed unaware of the events, Benedict explained it to him in great detail, ending with: "In summary, the fire-ship was most likely a distraction to allow the assassin to sneak on-board, probably to reconnoiter our numbers, given that he did not take any action against us. Luckily, my brother insisted on searching the ship, and we found the assassin, who the Captain here then killed."
The General was quiet for the explaination, before he spoke: "Good. But that doesn't mean much."
The General stood from his desk, as he hobbled over to the front of the desk. His right leg was missing, instead replaced with a peg leg. He looked over the features of the Overseer and Captain, before he spoke: "Doesn't matter at all, when our prized lies beyond the Burn."
-grimsley walked away from the group after handing them the chunk of rune he had. Lowering his head, he sighed deeply and shook his head, he had just given his only source of worship to his god. Soon he began to chuckle and think to himself.- ~any connection to me being a cultist of the Outsider have been expunged, now...I must prove to my lord that I am worthy of his attention, these
insurrectionists...they seem to have somebody with such divine favor, I must seek him out.~ -nodding to himself, he smiled and began to make his plan, but for the time being he was going to side with his current companions until he can clarify that these men would be worth his time.-
"Aye, what the Abbey man here speaks is true. Hardly a dull moment once we arrived here in Wynnedown." Bittersby added, stroking at the thin fibers that composed his steely beard. The General moved around to reveal his peg leg; certainly, he was a veteran of many battles. Bittersby grumbled something, before lowering his hand.
"Well, regardless of that trip, t'would be worth to trade information. I would not send my men into hell blindly. Have you any news of the situation in Wynnedown, sire? We best move immediately to squash these honorless dogs in their dens."
"Before we proceed, one moment if I may?" Benedict, who had been thinking to himself (as he often did) while Bittersby spoke, interrupted. "Earlier, General, you said that it didn't mean much that we had slain the assassin. What did you mean by that? Have we not just dealt with the entire problem by killing him?"
"Unless the assassin can change shapes," the General replied, "No. You have not."
He then turned to Bittersby, "Wynnedown is in flames. The Insurrection typically battles out of sight in the smoke. The clean air districts are refuges, oasis' for the battered and the displaced. Both sides have an understanding of that, but from time to time there are attacks. The Insurrectionists also are keen to set up traps in the Burn. We also have reason to believe they use the sewers as accessways, but this can never be confirmed. It is a maze down there, after all. I would recommend that if you are to go out, that you collect a mask and move with an experienced patrol."
"Aye, I saw that much from the sea." Bittersby proclaimed, placing his hands to his hips and standing tall, more worthy of his Captain status. The General went on to explain how much of the city was already engulfed in smoke and fire, with some districts having clear air and acting as safe havens. When he mentioned that they might have the sewers under control, it made sense. If the sewers did possess some kind of labyrinthine architecture, it would have made it easier for those unknowing of the layout to get lost.
"Would suppose that all depends on my fellows here. We should get to weeding out these Insurrectionists forthwith, howeva. Can we rely on you, General?"
The General nodded his head, "It is my duty, Captain."
He looked back to Benedict: "Not sure how well recieved the Overseers will be here. The Abbey of the Everyman headquarters here was one of the first buildings burnt. Even among the civilians."
Makar watched the odd behaviour of Grimsley as he then turned his head to the massive flame that swept over Wynnedown. The Tyvian turned toward Jacob and Oscar, before he spoke: "Ever seen anything like this?"
Oscar shook his head, "Looks like the work of the Outsider himself."
"They will have no choice but to accept our presence, General," Benedict replied. "The Abbey of the Everyman is a central part of the Empire of the Isles, which they are and will continue to be part of, whether they like it or not."
After a pause, he continued. "General, considering we are well versed in dealing with the occult, might I suggest that you allow us to handle the assassin? If you can provide us with all the information you have on him, my lieutenants and I can begin formulating a plan while my Overseers accustom themselves to the city. We will, of course, consult with you every step of the way..."
"Such a sorry sight," Jacob commented. "I'm told Wynnedown was once a beautiful city. Now, it's reduced to a wreck at the whim of a few greedy rebels." He sighed.
"Most excellent. We should organize our forces immediately. Couldn't let these dogs get away with what they're planning." Bittersby tipped his hat towards the General, with a level of respect from one war veteran to another. More likely than not, their efforts would see them journey into the sewers, and if earlier had been any indication, it was possible they might encounter a lot of Outsider worshipers. It was a rare occasion, made even rarer as the Overseers did their job so well.
"No doubt, the Overseers will be indispensible during this operation." Bittersby commented on Benedict's words.
"I can see to it that reports are compiled." The General said, "But the lead they might provide, not too sure. These assassins operate in the Burn, hide themselves in the smoke. If you would like to get started, I recommend to collect one of these."
The General hobbled over to a crate, where once opened, revealed a series of industrial gas masks. He picked one up with his real hand as he showed the leather-bound mask to Bittersby and Benedict. "Take as many as you need. But supplies here are running low. The insurrection loot our soldiers bodies for these masks as soon as they die. You may need to find filters out in the field. I can only spare one."
Makar nodded his head, "That appears to be the course of most rebellions. We can only hope this ends quick, and it is restored to former glory."
The Tyvian seemed to freeze up as he said this, as if remembering something himself. He muttered out loud, "We at least know what to do for a rebellion."
"Such a clever little ploy." Bittersby commented, referring to how the assassins hid themselves away in the smoke. Were that true, they tread in places that no other would dare to. A perfect place for an assassin to strike. Perhaps their initial assailant had been foolish to attack them head-on; or maybe, it was a warning.
Bittersby moved over towards the crate, and liffed one of the masks into his grasp. The craftwork was shoddy, mass-produced but still effective. Even then, the General had said they were already running low, as many soldiers already succumbed to death in the field. Bittersby removed his hat and replaced it with the gas mask, fitting snugly over a scalp of greying hairs.
"They have the Devil's Mark about them." He was, of course refering to the Outsider's Mark. "Would sleep safer knowing I 'ave men of the Abbey watching my back." After testing how well the gas mask fit, Bittersby removed it, clipped it to his belt and replaced his captain's hat upon his head.
"I should say, I was quite the young scavanger back in my day." Bittersby began talking. "You lads best watch and learn, aha." The good captain nodded towards the General, before promptly turning face to leave. He would have to address his crew on proper protocol, while their captain was away on land business. Normally, he wasn't one to deal with said land business, much preferring the open ocean; their enemy took both battlefields in account of their strategy.
The General watched as Bittersby moved on, followed by the Overseers. The Tyvian stroked his horribly scarred chin with his equally scarred hand, as he looked to one of his Lieutenants. The Lieutenant nodded, seemingly as if he understood what the General wanted him to do. Lifting up a pistol from a table, the Lieutenant walked out of the room, following the Overseers and the Captain as he holstered it.
Makar unfroze, as he looked back to Jacob. What he said was obviously odd, and likely concerning for the Overseer. He quickly talked, seemingly nervous for the first time about the prospect of something: "The place where I worked saw constant rebel groups. They always needed the Whale Oil, either they stole it or they tried to bargain."
Benedict followed Bittersby out of the room, saying goodbye to the General and giving him his thanks.
"I imagine a highly-explosive substance that is a valuable commodity for rebels," Jacob replied. "They're used to power pretty much every Sokolov technology. That, and they blow sky-high at the slightest touch..."
The crew of the Rumsley Tide seemed to cheer when Bittersby returned, perhaps filled with pride to see their Captain coming back. Surely, the sudden cheer of the crew would have brought the attention of Jacob and Makar. Bittersby carefully ascended the gangplank, and returned to the deck of his ship.
"All right, lads. Listen up! I'm putting my first mate in charge while I'm ashore. You give those honorless dogs every last ounce of fight in ye and then some, you hear?" Surely, the Tyvians and Overseers would need a weathered and experienced man such as him in their ventures. Brennard had plenty of naval experience himself, and would prove to be an excellent stand-in captain.
"Aye aye, captain!" The crew shouted in response, accepting his orders. Likely, they would head back to sea and stop any Insurrectionist vessels from trying to flee Wynnedown.
"They dealt with the lives of children." Makar spoke, "They would take families away sometimes. Tried to force us to work in a certain way. But if we did, then it was..."
The Tyvian stopped, before he looked to the return of Bittersby. The Captain's crew cheered for his orders, as they merrily went around to conduct their business. The Tyvian Armyman, confident from prior engagements with the Captain stepped forward.
"What about us? What did the General say about Wynnedown?"
After Bittersby addressed the crew and they went about their way, Bittersby turned towards Makar. "Aye, you'll be accompanying us into Wynnedown. The whole place is up in smoke. General says the best way to navigate is with one of these." Bittersby patted the gas mask at his hip. "Those dogs are likely hiding themselves down in the flames. Or the sewers, as well."
Makar nodded his head, before he removed the satchel that all the Tyvian Army seemed equipped with. He removed the leather-bound gas mask, as he adjusted the straps at the back. Removing his army hat, he placed on the gasmask before he secured it with the straps and pulled on the hat again. The mask naturally plugged the user's nose, so that they could only breathe with their mouth with the filter.
"In a manner of speaking," Benedict replied. "The General himself had no orders for us, but instead gave Captain Bittersby, my lieutenants and I full control over the forces we have brought with us, provided we confer with him often, of course." He paused for a moment. "Given that Overseers are more accustomed to dealing with the occult than to fighting wars, our main priority will be eliminating the supernatural assassins. They seem to be the lynchpin holding this rebellion together; without them, the Imperial Army would have no problem crushing the remaining insurgents. However, it's not as easy as simply storming in with the Ancient Music and a loaded pistol. The location of their hideout isn't known, and they keep it well hidden by utilizing the sewers and smoke to traverse unseen, as well as whatever abilities the accursed Outsider has granted them. More urgently, we require specially-designed filters for the gas masks to be able to move through the smoke unhindered. These, I think, should be our first priority."
"Aye, lad. You put it to words better than I do." Bittersby patted his first mate over the shoulder; Brennard quickly ran to the helm, and began shouting orders to the crew. Benedict explained how the Overseers were primarily invested with dealing with the devil worshippers, and had less experience dealing with normal folk. Bittersby nodded in agreeance, believing that the Army, both whatever forces he could muster and the Tyvians, could easily mop up the Insurrectionists, once the assassins had been dealt with. "Aye, lad. With all this smoke up and about, and resources scarce, the environment be just as much of an enemy as the Insurrectionists are. We best be about ourselves carefully. Who knows when they ought strike again." Bittersby tossed away his captain's hat to a nearby sailor, before venturing back down the gangplank once again.
"You'll need direction." The Tyvian Lieutenant said, from off the ship on the dock. The Lieutenant didn't barge onto the ship like the others, but instead seemed to be respectful of the Captain's domain.
Oscar tilted his head, "I suppose you'll guide us?"
"It is my duty. The Burn isn't an easy place to navigate, but I shall guide you to the first refuge." The Lieutenant replied, "Come. The smoke gets worse as the day moves on, and the costal winds intensify."
"Aye, directions would be nice." Bittersby responded. He eased upon his feet as he touched the docks once more; the foul stench of smoke and flesh filled the air, plus what seemed to be a smell of rotting fish. Like it as not, Wynnedown had been inhabited shortly before their arrival.
"Sun's moving down as we speak. Best you be guiding us along then there, Lieutenant." Though Bittersby had been around the world, he had never been the Wynnedown before. He didn't know the lay of the land, and if anything, it'd take someone with a sharper eye and a good navigational sense to guide them through to the Burn.
Makar stepped through the ever growing veil of smoke, his filter pushing away the smoke as a sickening fresh air was pulled into his lungs. He held his rifle tight as they moved through the stoney streets, as glimpses of light were occassionally seen.
Bittersby followed from the rear, one hand at his sword hilt, ever at the ready. The air was blinding and impossible to see far in, even with the gas masks on. Bittersby could only wonder what sort of hell those still trapped in the Burn had to go through; he imagined not much, as they choked on the smoke and ash and died quick. "Aye. Best be on the look out for any extras." Bittersby quipped, stepping over cobblestone pathways lain with a fresh layer of soot.
"How far until the first refuge?" Jacob asked their guide. "I don't like being so vulnerable."
"Mmm," Benedict expressed his agreement with his brother. "If I were planning an ambush, this would be the first place I'd choose: unfamiliar terrain, limited visibility, little cover. Moreover, if they know we killed one of their own, they'll be out for blood. We'd best be on our guard.
"Watch your footing, lads. Can't see a lick of space in this dreadful air." Bittersby said, as they walked through the streets of Wynnedown. Insurrectionists could have been anywhere, hiding in the smoke.
"Ah, aye. Terrible lot, they are. Wouldn't doubt it if they were keeping the smokescreen up somewhere. Would make it a lot more easy for them to navigate unseen."
(I have personal contact with him. I'll ask him if he wants to continue this rp, but he's been having a rough time lately, so he might not be willing.)
"Aye, lad. Sounds like quite the plan. It would do wonders to clear up this smoke, no doubt." If they managed to find the source of the smoke generation and stop it, it could make navigating Wynnedown a lot easier. But first, they actually had to find their way through the damn place.
"That would be after we deal with these occult assassins, though," Jacob said. "Afterall, that's where our talents lie, being Overseers."
"We should stop talking tactics out here," Benedict interrupted. "Anyone could be-" He suddenly stopped speaking as he spotted a small grey object where he had been about to place his foot. He quickly inspected it closer. "Springrazor!" he announced in a loud voice. "Careful, there will definitely be more that just one about."
(Yes, I hope he is alright. Very unfortunate to hear that.)
"One cannot simply state how horrible whale oil fires are." Makar stated, knowing from experience: "The substance sticks to every surface, and is thick in natural form. This isn't refined oil, comrades."
Almost upon order Makar stopped all movement instantly, as he scanned the ground carefully to ensure there wasn't a trap. He puffed through his filter, before he turned his rifle toward an object that he could have sworn moved in his field of vision. The Tyvian spoke again: "We might not be alone anymore."
In a low but urgent voice, Benedict ordered the Overseers under his command: "If it's hostiles, we can't engage them in the middle of a minefield. Pull back to the archway we passed through a few moments ago. And watch your step."
He then straightened his back, raising himself from his hunched stance to display the full extent of his imposing stature. "Who goes there?" he demanded in a booming voice, while pulling out his whale oil pistol. "Identify yourself!"
A faint and muffled voice replied mockingly "I'm Empress Larisa Olaskir!" Another quickly added "And I'm Esmond Roseburrow!"
Benedict swiftly responded with a bullet in the direction of the voices' origin. "It is ill advised to play such games with Overseers," Benedict warned. "Make yourself known to us now."
(Ok, first things first, who actually wants their one of their characters to recieve the Mark? I'll put Jacob forward, because I think it could be interesting for an Overseer to come into contact with all that he hates.)
(Yes, the irony of an Overseer recieving the mark could be pretty interesting to see.)
As it became known to his traveling companions, they were no longer alone in their journey. From out of the smoke came a couple of voices, though sounding snobbish like royalty or nobility. Meanwhile, Bittersby had to keep a mental note of watching his step, lest he have his leg torn off by a springrazor.
"This ain't the proper spot for a laze! What are you folk doing out here?" Bittersby said, shortly after Benedict spoke to them. The likely scenario was that they had feared for their lives, as they were put into just as much danger as the rest of them. Though, the voice said she was empress. Perhaps there was more to tell. Regardless, Bittersby had his hand resting on his pistol, just in case things got out of hand.
(I don't think it would be fit for Makar to recieve the Mark. He isn't interesting enough. I am fine with whoever, really.)
Makar kept his rifle pointed in the direction, barely flinching as Benedict fired a shot. He waited for a response, as a third mocking voice joined them: "I'm one of Tyvia's lost Princes!"
The Tyvian growled, as he seemed on edge to pull the trigger, but he relented. Makar sighed through his filter, before he muttered: "Whoever they are, they have filters. And with it being a minefield of fire and rasor, I don't think they are civilians."
"Are you really?" Jacob called back, sarcastically.
Ignoring his brother, Benedict stopped to think. "They take us for fools," he soon concluded, speaking in a low voice inaudiable to the owners of the three voices. "This is exactly the trick they used on the Rumsley; create a distraction while someone else sneaks up on us. They expect us to fall for the same trick twice..."
(What about you, Das? Also, given that he hasn't posted, I take it blackrose won't rejoining us, at least not for the time being?)
(I don't think Bittersby would be worthy of it. And he'll be back. I spoke to him about it.)
"What a bunch of louts." Bittersby murmured. The citizens felt intent to toy with them, or they weren't citizens at all, but rather members of the insurrection. Or, they simply hated those not of their own city. It wasn't too dissimilar to how the family on the boat acted. Given that they possessed those past experiences, it was best to stay wary, regardless of how strangers might have shown their intentions.
What's about grimsley? He is the only one of the group to worship the outsider.)
-grimsley followed close behind the group, hand resting on the pommel of his sword, his eyes glaring at everybody around them. He had nothing to say of the situation so far, but decided to make an analogy to his own life.- "Reminds me of the slums...nobody trusts nobody, only the strong and smart survived, the rest? Playthings to the powers that be if you catch what I mean."
( While Grimsley seems like the most able canadite to recieve the mark, the Outsider has been known to ignore his own followers entirely. I think that the Outsider would more be interested in gifting his Mark to an Overseer, loyal to the Abbey, and see how he would deal with the insurrection, plus the potential fallout from his own religion that might come afterwards. )
"Aye, good thoughts, Grimsley. These lot would more likely be out for themselves, especially in these conditions." Bittersby commented, as he rubbed away the collected ash that obscured the sight from his mask lenses. The insurrectionists openly mocked the joint army of the Imperials and the Tyvians, using the thick smog to their advantage. With their upper hand came hubris, thinking themselves free from danger.
"So, gentlemen," Benedict called out, pretending to continue the smalltalk, while he pulled one of two grenades from his ammo pouch, primed it and hurled it in the general direction of the voices. "Who wants to make the first move? Or are we going to remain in this stalemate all evening?"
He then simply listened, anticipating the detonation, while also hoping that they would take the bait.
"Well, Oversee-" the owner of the first voice began, before being cut off by the explosion, emitting a pained yelp and a very loud curse.
"Oh, you've done it now, scum!" the third voice sounded enraged. "I'm gonna kill every last one of you!"
"What a stalemate indeed." Bittersby commented, after Benedict had lobbed his grenade. The explosive device sailed through the smoke, and it detonated mere seconds later. Given that it had caused one of the men to silence themselves and yelp, either it had hit a mark, or at least brought injury.
"Bring me, lad. I would rain hell down upon your head before you could even realize which was it was coming from." Bittersby taunted the man.
Makar kept his rifle concentrated on a shape he recognised, as it tried to move through the smoke. The keen-eyed Tyvian squeezed the trigger of his rifle, as the whale oil detonated and hit one in the crowd. They cried in pain as they fell through the smoke, as Makar worked to load in another bullet.
Joining with his fellow soldiers, Bittersby unholstered his pistol and began firing blind into the smog. He was forced to rely on other senses, as sight was mostly useless. All he could see, or thought he saw, were crude figures that quickly danced around his peripheral vision, like raving lunatics in the alley.
Surely, most shots would miss; some would only hit a wall, and others would hit nothing at all, merely flying off into the open air. It would surely spell disaster if they remained outside with little cover.
Makar finally finished loading his rifle, as he lifted his rifle again toward where he heard the voices. They were loudly yelling and taunting now, as the Tyvian fired his rifle into the smoke again. There was a shout of anger that followed, before the blast of a pistol was heard from the other side of the smoke.
Jacob fired at the origin of the muzzle flash from the pistol fired at Makar. This time, his bullet struck flesh and he was rewarded with a yelp. Realising that someone could now do the same to him, he dived onto the floor, moments before several shots struck the wall he had just been standing in front.
It wasn't long until the insurrectionists returned fire, and the smoke-filled street became filled with the sounds of gunshots. Bittersby acted surprised as if not expecting a retaliation, but he quickly shoved himself behind a doorway, just to be sure that he wasn't shot. He much prefered to stay living.
"Yes lad, I can see that!" Bittersby exclaimed. He inched his aim from his cover, taking blind shots in the rough direction of their attackers.
Makar dropped to the ground, as he hid behind a collection of rubble. Suddenly the shape of a body dropped: the Tyvian Lieutenant who had been guiding them to the closest refuge. The Lieutenant's chest was bleeding, the flesh and bone broken as he struggled to breathe. Makar edged closer to the Lieutenant, as he tried to maintain the officer's consciousness.
"T-there is a hill..." The Lieutenant spat, "descends below the smoke. I-it's the first trail to our..."
Silence, as the Lieutenant fell limp and died. Makar cursed, before he drew up his rifle and aimed it at the muzzle flashes through the smoke as he pulled the trigger. One of the Insurrectionists screamed, followed by a higher pitched scream: the obvious sound of a child.
As it seemed now, they entered a pitched battle with the insurrectionists, and one that would surely see no definied victor. Before them was an indeterminate amount of insurrectionists, and an unknown amount of springrazors across the ground. Certainly, they had trapped the ground and left traversal a large chore.
"We've got to do something other than just exchange shots with them," Oscar said. "They know the terrain better and have their numbers well hidden. It's only a matter of time before they kill us all."
"What would you suggest?" Benedict asked, convinced that they had no other options. "Sprint through a minefield while being fired upon, in the general direction of a safe haven that we think is that way?"
"Possibly!" Jacob shouted, while ducking behind a pile of rubble that once was a brick wall. Several shots struck the assorted bricks, before the shooters gave up and turned their attention to other targets.
Now, the smog remained thick and gunfire continued to fill the air. The insurrectionists possessed limitless ammo, or it seemed to be that way, anyhow. If their company were to remain in the streets any longer, they would surely be turned into minced meat. Thus, Bittersby quickly sought a way out. He need only look to his left to find a temporary haven.
He had been standing in a doorway, and there laid a door right next to him. Rather than waste any more ammo on the insurrectionists, he turned his pistol to the door's lock, and blasted it off. Quickly shoving his shoulder to the door, the thing was thrown open and granted their company a way out. "Come on, lads! Over here!" Bittersby shouted, as he ran into the ill-lit corridor of an abandoned residental housing.
"Excellent thinking," Benedict commented as he ran through the doorway. He stopped beside it once he was through ushering his Overseers through, and counting them as he did so.
Jacob followed him in and quickly followed his first instinct: to sweep the building. It didn't seem like the building was boobytrapped, but it didn't hurt to check. After a quick run-through of the house, he announced: "Building's safe!"
Meanwhile, the last of the Overseers and Tyvians passed through the door. Benedict slammed it behind them. "We're down three Overseers," he said, regretfully.
Makar fired one more rifle shot into the crowd before he retreated into the door where the rest took shelter. He crouched and loaded another bullet into his rifle, as Makar gently brushed soot off from it. The Tyvian turned his head toward Benedict: "We lost our guide."
Makar looked across the shapes of the other Tyvians, noticing there was only one left. He swore, before he looked back up and said: "All he told me is that there is a hill, makes it's way below the smoke. Our refuge is there."
The building appeared to be a common home for Wynnedown civillians, though properly abandoned when the thick of the fighting came. Most of the interior seemed ransacked, either by citizens rushing out in a hurry or the insurrectionists hoping to make easy supplies. For the time being, it was safe.
"Aye, and we would." Bittersby replied to Makar. "If we could make it through the damned smoke." Realizing that they were safe for the moment, Bittersby holstered his pistol and began to walk away from the door. He saw the state of the housing, how even some of the wood had been charred black from being burned. "It puts a right knot in my stomach, thinking about what they plan to do."
"That's why we're all here," Benedict reminded Bittersby. "We'll put a stop to it."
"It won't be long before they figure out where we've gone," Oscar pointed out. "We'd better get a move on. Makar, did the guide say anything before he died? Anything that may help us get to the next safe haven?"
"No, he didn't." Makar replied. As he glanced around the interior of the building. The Tyvian quickly gained a thought as he recognised this as a residential building, before he spoke: "But perhaps there is a map in here?"
"Aye." Bittersby concured with Benedict. "That's why we're here." Despite being old and world-weary, he never quite got used to seeing what man could do to his fellow man. It was easier for him to consider them animals, rather than men.
"Should take a look about the house. There ought to be something of use." Bittersby moved away from his company, passing upwards onto a staircase that led up to the second floor.
Jacob, still wary of traps, began searching through the house, along with everyone else. He entered what he assumed once was the bathroom, to find its floor collapsed in, and the stench of sewage slowly rising from the pit.
"Careful in the bathroom," Jacob called out a warning. "The entire floor has collapsed into what I assume is the sewer..."
Makar simply looked around the walls of the hallway, knowing that usually maps were posted in residential halls for convenience. The Tyvian turned his head toward the direction where Jacob spoke from, before saying: "I wouldn't be as worried about going into sewers as I would the things that may come out."
As Bittersby paced up the stairway, surely enough, the second floor bathroom had collapsed entirely, moving through the first floor bathroom and into the sewers. A gaping hole led into the sewers, with a stench so awful that it almost penetrated Bittersby's gas mask. "Aye, sure is dark down there." Bittersby shouted down to Jacob. It was pitch black, with just a smidge of light reflecting off the sewer water.
"Things...?" Jacob asked, puzzled. In his head, he debated the viability of animals living in the sewer despite the harsh climate, until he realised what the Tyvian's words actually meant. "Wait, Makar, you could be on to something. If I were leading these rebels, the sewers would be my first choice for transportation. They go everywhere in the city, and aren't often monitored."
Benedict came to the doorway of the bathroom, and inspected the pit. "Come to think of it, this collapse doesn't look like it happened naturally at all. Look there, those look to be like shovel or pickaxe marks..."
"This likely would be their way about the city. Must not give a care about selling like shit." Bittersby commented. Seeing how there was nothing worthy of note on the second floor, the captain hurriedly returned to the first floor, to return to the company of the men. "Who knows how long they've been having their way with this place."
"Indeed." Makar replied, before he stepped behind the two Overseers, glancing down into the hole, "It will be a maze for us down there... dark... also smells absolutely horrid. But I am wagering a few are under our feet right now."
"Agreed," Jacob said. "Anyway, there doesn't look to be anything of use down here, and I'm not going to go any further in without a torch of some kind - it's as black as the Void down here - so if someone could hoist-"
He was interrupted by a loud bang. The makeshift fortification of furniture a pair of Overseers had been building behind the front door shook violently.
Benedict briefly broke his stoic façade and cursed under his breath, as another loud bang struck the front door.
"Either we trudge through the sewers, or trudge through the honorless dogs outside. I'm not keen on taking any bullets today." With an air of disgust held in his voice, Bittersby jumped down into the sewers below them. Sewage splashed up over the flaps of his coat, causing Bittersby to voice a loud grunt of distress. "Oh gods, it's even worse down here. Toss me a torch or something, will you lads?"
"We really just going to wander around down here?" Makar asked, still atop the edge of the hole. The Tyvian looked around, before finding some chalk resting near a toilet. He picked it up, before he dropped down in the hole. Hitting the floor, Makar made a quick chalk mark on the side of the tunnel.
Bittersby stood in the sewerways, cringing in disgust as the faint aroma of sewage evaded his nostrils by a minute amount. He turned back and accepted the torch from Benedict, using it to light the way ahead of them. It was pitch-black in the depths of the sewer, but at least now they wouldn't be going in entirely blind. "Best we get some distance, then." Bittersby commented on Jacob's statement.
"We haven't much of a choice, lad. Now cast your doubt out before those louts break in and slaughter us." Bittersby slowly trudged through the ankle-high sewer water, waving the torch around to make sure that it was safe. It was, for now.
"The Captain's right," Jacob agreed. "We can't take them on in their home turf. We'd be picked off one-by-one. Our only option is to get back into friendly territory."
"Keep your voices low," Benedict hissed. "Or better yet, stay silent while we're down here. And move as quietly as you can. These tunnels are echoey, and will carry our sounds for miles. I'd rather not draw them - and whatever other Insurrectionists may be down here - right to us."
Oscar nodded, before whispering: "And if you hear any nearby sounds that weren't caused by one of us, switch the lights off immediately."
"They'd scalp us if we did. Bloody savages." Bittersby commented, as he held the whale-oil lantern a foot or so above his head. It illuminated a brief distance down the dim passage of the sewers, though there was no telling what was waiting for them deeper inside. Bittersby began to move, slow and cautious in his advances. Benedict was right, however; the sewers did seem to carry sound quite a ways. If their company found themselves being too loud, it would have surely alerted anyone, or anything hiding out in the sewers.
A loud bang followed by a crash reverberated through the tunnels behind the group, signifying that their pursuers had broken through the barricade. Shouting and the clamour of several footfalls soon followed, as the Insurrectionists flooded into the house.
“They’re not here…” one voice travelled through the sewers.
“You sure this is the right house?” another asked.
“Definitely,” the first voice replied. “They must be using the sewers!”
"You speak too soon, Captain..." Makar muttered, before he lifted his rifle in the direction where they just came. It seemed as if the entire environment was working against his senses, the darkness barely quelled by Bitterby's lamp. The Tyvian kept concentrated, taking careful steps back before he turned his head toward Benedict: "Any idea what we should do?"
"Proper shame, that is." Bittersby lamented. "Come, let us make some distance." Bittersby hid the light of his lamp, allowing guidance only by splashing water and voice alone. The insurrectionists had just breached the house, and would likely search for them in the sewers soon. The party had to try their best to make some distance before that happened. "I see little options." Bittersby whispered. "We must keep going. Hopefully, there might be something down here we could use."
Bittersby and company managed to pass through a curved point in the sewer, thus obscuring themselves from their entrypoint. It was well and good that this happened; water splashed as the insurrectionists descended into the sewers, intending to disallow their quarry the chance to escape. It was to their benefit that they knew the sewers better; they would likely try to corner them or ambush them.
An Overseer near the front of the group stepped over a clump of something which he didn't care to inspect further in the sewage, taking care to tread quietly. He placed his foot on a slanted brick floor towards the edge of the tunnel. However, the surface didn't provide the friction he'd expected, and his foot slipped just as he placed his weight on it. He fell with a loud crash into the water below.
Everyone in the group froze, waiting to see if the rebels would hear and identify the sound. The fallen Overseer gradually pulled himself to his feet, as silently as he could, but he knew it may already be too late.
"They're down here!" the voice of one of the Insurrectionists who'd mocked them earlier echoed through the tunnels, confirming the Overseers' fears.
Much to the possible horror of the rest of their party, an Overseer lost their footing, creating a loud splash to accompany his failure. This of course, alerted the Insurrectionists. Stealth was no longer an option. "Oh, proper hells. So much for that." Bittersby noted now how the footsteps behind them grew closer and louder, so there was no choice left but to run and hope to find an exit.
Makar cursed as he kept his rifle angled toward where he heard the rebels shout from. Running might cause them to fall over more, the way the Tyvian saw it: they needed to stand their ground. He looked back to the rest for but a moment: "If we flee, we risk slipping more and that ruins progress! Either we stand our ground, or we go through slow! We have the bottleneck!"