Stead Bound

JP between Bandorchu, GM, and LucianNepreen

Sir Zane sighed and took another swig of ale, concluding that the artifact, whatever it was, didn't seem to be especially significant at this point if the Duke was so quick to dismiss it. Besides, there really wasn't any time for that kind of expedition and now they were down two ships.

"Well then... let's focus on readying ourselves for the battle to come..." he advised, his usual stern expression briefly softening, revealing a man who, though perhaps resigned to his daunting fate, was determined to face it with courage. "Inform the quartermaster of your needs to arm and armor yourselves. Consider it a provision for your service."

Tarmen felt this was an unofficial end to the conversation, once again finding a stubborn admiration in Zane's resolve against the odds. He momentarily wondered if the knight could be further trusted, but soundly quashed the thought. He was strategic, not trustworthy.
There was a part of him that wanted to use this opportunity to search the Keep and try and find any secrets, but he was tired. Drained more like. He made sure to give a half-hearted salute to Zane before preparing to leave.

“Appreciated, though if Greyriver will stand for it, I would like to feel a dry floor under my head for a few hours first.”

“Sure thing.”
Alexis easily agreed, feeling the strain of much more than just this evening as much as Tarmen did.

“Thank you, Sir Zane.”
She nodded her goodbyes to the old knight and joined Tarmen’s side to leave.

Sir Eudon Zane offered a nod of dismissal, scratching his grey-bearded chin thoughtfully as he considered his own next moves. Tarmen and Alexis were free to spend the rest of the evening in whatever manner they saw fit. (edited)
April 6, 2024

“It’s a long way back to the Steading, but I am gonna make it anyway.”

Alexis quietly told Tarmen after leaving the room.

“You wanna come or claim your pillow around the Keep?”

Personally, she’d prefer to have as much distance as possible to the high and mighty, and also bring their friends up to speed. But if Tarmen still wanted to ‘look around’, he might be able to profit from his contract for once.

“Would rather sleep in the woods than under the Duke’s nose.”

Tarmen said it with his usual sass, but there was a slight melancholy to his tone. The chat with Zane only further pressed the issues in his mind and also raised yet another question. How were they to help defend Ostiarium, when they were barely surviving themselves?

“We need to talk to the others and get a plan of action, one that doesn’t involve us dyin’ ‘in the name of the Empire.’”

“A plan would be nice.”

Alexis sighed. Not dying in the coming battle seemed… rather unlikely. But she kept that to herself.

“But you are right, let’s get back and let them know what’s up.”

She led the way back to their horses.

While the quiet was substantial for a portion of the ride, Tarmen had yet to feel alone in it. Even in the shitstorm they were in, he felt a closeness with the others that he hadn't felt with other groups he had been a part of. It didn't help them with their problems, but it was a comfort he was still getting used to. He ended the quiet to get her opinion on things, something else he was learning to value more.

"What do you think of the Duke's newest ally, 'The Corpse' as Zane put it?"

“The Purger… man. Guy can lower the temperature in the room just by being there.”

Alexis shook her head as intense red eyes were conjured from her memories.

“If that’s an alliance, it’s an uncomfortable one. Duke wasn’t amused having his thunder stolen from him.”

"Indeed. Rather unnervin' sort of fellow. You think he buys our story?"

“Otho? Not sure he really cares. If so let us hope it stays that way. Not an errant list I want to end up on. That casual interest was already enough to give me the creeps.“

‘Something else’ about her, the Inquisitor had said. Yeah… as much as she wanted to deny it, there was ‘something’, wasn’t there.
She looked to her companion, realising that the same could be said about Tarmen, or Voah, hell, all of them. Arcadia had left their mark on each and everyone.

“Zane on the other hand seems to know pretty damn well that there is more, but somewhat satisfied as far as ‘relevant’ information goes.” (edited)

Tarmen snorted, knowing just as Alexis did that Zane was on to them. Between Otho and the Duke, Zane was truly the devil he preferred.

"Just have to make sure we keep it that way then. As much of a prick as he is, he seems to be the only one truly worried about the cities safety."

He let the silence hold for a bit before speaking a deeper thought, one he felt was better said between the two of them.

"We still stickin' around here? If even Zane is wary of our involvement with Voah, it seems risky keepin' her so close."

“Yes it is.”

Alexis agreed solemnly.

“But the alternative would be, what? Run and hide?”

She slightly shook her head. Seriously, she wouldn’t fault anyone who did just that, not with what was coming. It was a question of survival. But as for herself… no. Her survival instincts just seemed to be at least partially faulty.

She had a hunch Voah’s might be, too. She said as much.

“I… don’t think Voah is going to do that. Still. She needs to know the chase is very much still on, and that the Purger has even more strings he can pull than when she left.”

“Runnin’ is out of the plan for sure, but we have no way to Sentinel through Ostiarium.”

Tarmen straightened sharply, finally cracking a rather bothersome knot of tension in his back.

“Not even sure if they would let us go even if this attack failed.”

The conversation quickly faltered after this, between overall fatigue and things that would need everyone's input. Returning to the quiet, Tarmen tried to enjoy what would probably be his last chance to hear it.

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