A Tale of Mask and Sword - IC
High Chancellor Artemis Falkland leaned over a stained glass window at the top of the Audumsburg Cathedral's tallest spire, staring out at the city as the setting sun bathed it in a red-orange glow. His eyebrows were furrowed, and his thin lips were creased into a frown. "It looks so peaceful," he sighed to the man who stood some distance behind him. "And yet, I fear that it will all change soon. Audumsburg is about to feel the hands of change once again mold its face to a new shape. The Oracle hasn't seen anything, but he agrees." Artemis turned away from the window and looked into the eyes of the other man, who hadn't moved or spoken the whole time they had been in the spire. "Do you think it will work? Do you think that they will be able to stop the crisis before it happens?" Artemis asked the man. Finally the man shifted, shoulders as wide as a barrel arching back, and replied, "No one can tell for sure, Artemis. Not even the Oracle. What happens in the days to come will rest in the hands of the gods."
"I suppose you're right, Michael," Artemis said, and after a pause, "... You know, I'll need you to test them. Each is a master of their own unique talent, but we need to know how they'll work as a team. If they don't function, it's back to the drawing boards. If they succeed, then we may have just discovered the greatest force the world has seen since the days of the Angels." Michael nodded his agreement, and said, "Don't worry, Artemis. By the time I've tested them, we'll know if they're capable." As the man named Michael concluded his statement, the two men shook hands, and departed from the cathedral. When they exited, they made sure that they did not leave at the same time, each taking a different path out of the building. Chancellor Falkland strode towards the palace, Michael into the alleys, each preparing for the arduous road that lay ahead.
Meanwhile, amongst the hustle and bustle of carriages, pedestrians, and the very occasional automobile, the men and women that Chancellor Falkland spoke of went on with their daily lives. Some of them had already been recruited by Falkland. The rest were about to be. None of them realized that their lives were about to change forever. Within a few days, they would meet together for the first time, on a secret quest to save Audumsburg. Few would know of the crisis, and fewer still would know of their mission to stop it. As the Chancellor entered the palace's front entrance, all of his thoughts and prayers went to the success of they who would soon be known as the Guiding Light; the saviors of Audumsburg.
The pub was crowded with a great many people this evening, all of whom Sin did not recognize. She had decided to move towards the center of the city as the outskirts were beginning to provide less and less work, especially near the docks as many ship captains had begun hiring their own forms of protection. She had heard that the people closer to the center were becoming more wary with the rumors of dogs and a group calling themselves the Whispermen. Although these rumors were worrisome for the general population, for someone in Sin's field it meant promise of money and in this area it was rich money. However, despite all of this no one here in this pub knew of Sin and she wasn't about to run around screaming to all that would hear that she was a person for hire. She had a feeling that the guards would not be very happy with that sort of thing. She would have to make herself known over time, starting small and eventually growing bigger. She had a name in the slums, but here she was nobody. Normally she would start a fight, find a way to win and earn respect through violence but she had already deciphered that something like that in this area would land her very quickly in jail. Here people didn't fight for themselves, they called for the Guard and had it dealt that way.
An irritated 'tsk' escaped Sin's lips as she brought her lager to her lips, drinking nearly half of it before placing the glass back down. She had her work cut out for her and she was already wondering if she should return back to the slums. She kept getting this nagging feeling, however, that she belonged here and that she needed to stick it out until things got better for her. Yet, her thoughts were interrupted as a drunk slammed down into the chair across from her. He was a guard for somewhere, wearing the stereotypical armor with the colors of the Kingdom. It was clear that he had recently gotten off duty as he stank of body odor mixed with his horrible breath of alcohol. Sin, however, did her best to not make a face as he began to speak.
"I've never seen you around 'ere before," he began, eyeing her as he spoke, "You've gots a mighty fine sword there for a lady. Where'd you get it?"
"It was my father's," she began as she finished her lager and stood up, "Now if you'll excuse me, I think it's best I go."
The man quickly stood up, grabbing her arm to prevent her from leaving. Irritation quickly began to fill her as she gave him a warning look, but he didn't seem to notice as he began again. "I don't think...you get how this works. See, I find myself a lady and they come with me. I also think you stole that sword of yours, so I think it's best you come with me."
Although the man managed to sound more sober as he spoke, Sin was not impressed. "I'm going to give you one chance to let go of me or you won't be walking for quite some time."
The guard responded with a laugh, tightening his grip around her arm. It was clear that he was still keen on taking her away. With a quick movement Sin hit the man in the side in the space between two of his ribs and in his moment of shock she ripped her arm out of his grip. Before he could react, she slammed the side of her hand into his face and swung a leg to kick against the back of his legs in one movement. The man fell back into his chair and was holding his now bleeding nose in shock. Sin, realizing her stay was not welcome anymore as silence overcame the pub, quickly gathered her things and began to make her way towards the door. Yet, it didn't look as though it would be quite easy for her as it appeared to show that the guard she had just dispatched had come to the pub with his four co-workers who were now blocking the door.
She didn't have time to explain herself as the first one started for her. She quickly side stepped at the last moment and brought her leg up, crashing her foot into his cod piece before spinning and bringing her other foot into his back, sending him flying forward into a big brute of a man who seemed as though he was itching to fight himself as he responded by punching the guard in the face. There were still three other guards and as she turned back around to face them, she was met with a fist straight to her face. She stumbled backwards, holding her face for a moment before bringing her hands away just in time to dodge another fist coming towards her. She swung down underneath the arm of the man and kicked him in the side, sending him stumbling to the ground. The remaining two came up behind her, grabbing each of her arms and holding them in place as the one on the ground began to stand up. She quickly jumped up and managed to spin her body up and over, using the two guards as she pushed her arms down into them for extra momentum. The movement caused them to lose balance and luckily for her they both let go of her.
She didn't waste any time to quickly run out of the pub and quickly disappear into an alleyway. The off-duty guards ran out after her, but when they couldn't see where she had gone they gave up the search quite quickly. Sin let out a sigh of relief and began to treat her now bleeding nose, tilting her head back to dab a handkerchief at the blood until it finally stopped. She cursed and put the handkerchief away, leaning against the wall as she began to run through options in her head as to where to stay as it was clear she would not be offered one of the rooms above the pub at this point. Not only that but she just managed to start a fight with the guards, the last people she wanted recognizing her. At least it was quiet in the dark stinking alleyway behind the pub. Other than the rats she was alone to deal with her frustrations.
"Good job, Sin, you've managed to piss off the one group you didn't want to become acquainted with and now you've got no where to stay and the sun is disappearing," she grumbled, running a hand through her hair in agitation, "Should have just stayed at home..."