RP Pirates of the Hard Nox 2

Argent’s eyebrow raised slightly as the crippled woman took the Nox girl’s hand and was scooped up with less exertion than he expected from the waif. Though she seemed at death’s door she seemed comfortable enough with the burden, and so Argent scooped up the other woman’s crutch with a sigh and jogged ahead after the retreating fairies.

He would have been happier to have both hands free, the reason behind their hasty escape at the forefront of his mind as he expected the Nox’s chaos to sweep them up. Though the jaunt was short Argent’s head was on a swivel, expecting a squadron of guards to intercept him and his new cohorts with bristling spears all the way onto the ship’s deck. Even as he waited for the Nox girl and her cargo he scanned the docks for sign of threat.

The second helped both the one-legged woman and her taxi onto the deck, though Argent kept his distance until she left. Eventually he would have to clear the air with the fairy woman, but the bustling ship had far more important tasks to attend to. The deathly girl provided support until Alys was away, and Argent made his way toward them in her absence.

He thrust the crutch toward the pair, though he studied the working crew and didn’t look at them. It was a surprisingly well oiled machine, practiced hands at practiced tasks as the ship’s sails billowed beneath her Captain’s commands. Argent wondered, briefly, how much of the crew’s ability reflected on O’cain, or whether it had more to do with his predecessor.

”May the Goddess protect us,” he said softly, though perhaps it had been meant for the other newcomer’s ears.
There were footsteps coming down the stairs. Pris knew that some of the crew knew exactly who was coming just by the way they sounded, but she definitely didn't. She'd have expected Mr. Emryk to be really loud because he was so big, but he really wasn't. She looked up to see who it was, but it was just Miss Alys. She didn't know who she'd been looking for, really.

At least it was clean down here now. It hadn't really bothered her, the cleaning parts. She was used to that sort of thing. Things got messy, with Mr. King. It helped to think of the leftovers as just that - parts. Not people, not any more.

But then she'd found Mr. Leo's necklace, and that had been hard. She hadn't really known what to do with it, because maybe you were supposed to give it to someone, but she didn't know who it was supposed to go to, so in the end she'd just washed it off and slipped it on. It was too long on her, but she didn't know if she wanted to shorted the loop or not. That would be changing it, and she wasn't sure if that was right or not.

She could think about that for a little while, she supposed. After all, it wasn't like she was going anywhere. Maybe the ship was going somewhere, but that was fine. It wasn't a bad ship.

"Hi, Miss Alys. Did you have a good meeting?"
Nothing, not one single ship left the harbor after them. Caleb should be grateful for it but it felt insulting in a way; there was a huge bounty on all of their heads, for fuck's sake. Leimor was a weird place, populated by weird people.

“Keep heading east.” He told the helmsman, stepping out of his station. They had a meeting to attend in armadilla in three weeks, and it’d take them at least one and a half to cross the ocean to the other side.

His mouth was still dry from the wine, and his head slightly airy on his way down the stairs, and as much as Caleb wished to cross that threshold, he had captain duties that required he stayed at least a little bit sober. He needed to know what exactly had happened, and when he encountered Juniper and Hester he asked:

“I heard there was a fight. Did someone die?”


Nessa’s shoulder wasn’t needed for long, thanks to Argent who offered her crutch back. Summer smiled at him, an adrenaline filled giggle escaping her lips.

“Thank you,” she said to both of them, returning her attention to Nessa.
“You don’t happen to have a tinkerer who can build me a leg, do you? This thing sucks.”
"How did you have time to make all of these? What do they do?"
Hester bristled--but no, it wasn't an accusation or a threat; it was just curiosity. Small-talk. Normal people stuff. You used to do it all the time before you left home, right?

"Well, it's my job," she said. A little lamely, in retrospect. "They--just make things go faster, mostly. They can't fully automate things--at least, not without more infrastructure, and I haven't found time to talk with the construct about that yet--but..."


Oh, Caleb was crossing into the chamber, now! Lovely.

"No. No deaths. Not that I know of. Juniper, did anyone die?"
The blood and gore was gone, transferred to a bucket that housed the watered-down remains. A gruesome job for a young girl; a girl who remained as polite as ever. She donned a familiar necklace; the colour was dull within the dark chamber, though beneath the sunlight, Alys knew it'd shine. She had her own, elaborately made from tiny pieces of Allegrian sea glass, stuffed into the deepest corner of her wooden chest.

"It was... a meeting," she responded with a sigh, frustration from the day still seeping through her words.

After a brief moment, she continued, moving towards the bucket - it'd need to be emptied. "Thank you for cleaning up."
It was a meeting? Pris wasn't exactly sure what to make of that statement. It sounded like one of the sorts of answers that left a lot out. Usually those meant she wasn't supposed to ask any more questions. Miss Alys wasn't really the don't ask questions sort, so maybe she just didn't want to talk about it, whatever it was. Pris looked at Lady Fingers, to see if she had any ideas about how to handle this one, but she didn't - because she was a skeleton hand and asking her for advice was kind of silly.

At least she knew what to do about the second part of what Miss Alys said. "You're welcome. It's not so bad, you know? And I'd rather do the cleaning up part than the other part." Mr. Leo had said I can clean and I can kill, and Pris supposed she could too, at least, if someone told her where to stand and what part of the spell she was supposed to be doing - but she didn't really like it. It didn't usually make anything better, or if it did make things better, it was still messy. And then you had to clean up afterwards anyway.

Cleaning was easier. And it was useful, and when you did it people said thank you and didn't look at you funny. No one ever said thank you after the death rituals, but maybe that was just Mr. King. He did a lot of things differently.

"I felt the ship start moving again. Do you know where it's going this time?"
The handle was thin and dug into her palm when she lifted it. "Yes - we're going across the sea." Across the desert too, though that'd take time. They'd need to stop at some point; gather supplies and probably more men before setting off for Armadilla. Fortunately, there were plenty of coastal cities to choose from.

"Come on then, you've been down here long enough," Alys said, walking towards the door. "Have you been across the sea before?" Of course she had - King's travels spanned the whole continent. Though she wondered if the girl had actually set foot in any of the ports, or seen what life looked like beyond the Teller.
"I've been a lot of places, I guess," Pris answered, with uncertainty in her tone. "Mostly I don't look, though. I don't like the sky. There's just... I don't know. There's a lot of it. I went up for a little bit in the ice lands, just to the top deck. But usually I don't."

She didn't really know how to explain it, the feeling of the sky and the sea and the land going on and on forever and ever and ever. It made her feel funny in her stomach, like she'd eaten something she shouldn't have.

"I can do it a little, as long as I know I can stay on the ship. But I don't want to leave the ship." She'd been on a different ship before, Mr. King's ship, but she'd kind of come straight across to this one without any intermediate steps. Going off of a ship was terrifying - ships were all she knew.

She followed along with Miss Alys, though, because there really wasn't anything else to do down here besides cry about it, and she'd done enough of that already, on her own, when there wasn't anyone watching. She'd learned not to do that in front of people, early on. They weren't usually kind about it. And she was almost twelve now, so it was really time to be acting like she was grown up, wasn't it?
As they worked, Juniper listened. Maybe not as intently as one should when they asked a question, but they felt they got the gist of it. Making things easier, making things faster- it made sense. Juniper'd seen some of them moving about the ship, but only rarely, and only on occasion- the most familiar they'd gotten was the one they'd seen Hester wearing around her wrist, the one she'd momentarily lost back in the Ice Lands.

Thinking about it, they realized they never really understood what had happened there, along with the very embarrassing realization they never actually helped Hester to search for it. They felt their face turn flush, and they looked to the necromancer. "Oh, uh, sorry about-"

They were promptly interrupted by one of the handful of people they very much did not want to see for the next several hours, paired with the familiar lurch of the Nox taking to the sky. Their leaving made sense, but Caleb being here? A very unwelcome surprise.

Their tone was entirely different when they replied to Hester, and they did hope that she knew it wasn't because of anything she'd said. "No, I don't think so. Lucien would've, if we didn't get between them. Emryk still might. They both went through the side of the ship, might want to get Mal working on that, or it's going to get very cold in the Navigator's quarters." Very deliberately, they set their eyes back on disassembling a construct, careful to not even spare so much as a glance at the current captain of the Nox.
It was clear the disappointment in his face when he heard Lucien didn’t die. Emer’s name wasn’t brought up which was a relief, considering his request to her might have instigated the fight. The captain thought quietly about it, processing what Juniper had said, including the part where the ship needed amendment.

“I’ll tell Mal.” He said, only then noticing the constructs surrounding them, making them look like two kids playing with toys. He looked at Hester. “I’ll need to talk to you later. When you’re done with… Whatever this is.”

He turned to leave, towards Mal’s workshop. They wouldn’t be happy to hear the news, surely.
"Of course." Hester watched him go, waiting for him to be out of earshot.

"'When you're done with... Whatever this is,'" she mimicked, deepening her voice past what would have been typical for a small whale. This performance was, of course, followed up by a storm of muttering. "Is it, perhaps, my profession you're wondering about, my beloved captain? The man doesn't know the first thing about necromancy, and yet he treats me like a bloody child. Probably half my age, too. 12. Or something. Lucky if he doesn't wake up with half a snake in bed with him tomorrow. Skulls and coffers, it's enough to make me miss the Truth Teller. At least they knew the value of a good exoskeletal rigging system..."

Oh, wait, she, uh. She wasn't alone, was she. Lost gods and corridors; her face was burning.

"Ahem. Sorry. Lost my temper. Last bit was an exaggeration, obviously; none of the crew have tried to murder me lately; that's, you know, worth putting up with a bit of inconvenience."

Only once Caleb turned to leave did Juniper raise their eyes, heart hammering in their chest, jaw clenched. It was almost as if he were doing it on purpose by this point, but they knew better. Doing this here, belowdecks, so close to the canons, would take everyone with him, instead of just him. Maybe if they caught him alone.

And then something unexpected happened. It was maybe the most Juniper had ever heard Hester speak at once, and it was funny. She started apologizing, and they replied with a smile and a giggle, which, as the frankly flawless impression ran through their head again, grew into full laughter. Through the laugh, they said, "No, it's fine! Better you than me, I think I was a half second from lighting his pants on fire."

They managed to calm theirself down, after a bit, and then they spoke again. They didn't think beforehand, they just spoke, changing their voice to imitate their young, rash captain, hoping to keep this light feeling a bit longer. "I'll need to talk to you later," they said, playing up the depth of the voice which was still strangely accurate in spite of their making fun of him. "Honestly, I don't know what's gotten into him lately, but he sure does think he's larger than life now."
Something about Pris, about speaking with her, it drew Alys in. For a moment, as they walked up the stairs, she forgot about all the politics and bullshit, about the unwanted comments and the distrust. Instead, despite the underlying horrors the girl had no doubt experienced, Alys found herself drawn to the sliver of innocence that remained.

Stopping outside the mess, the fairy turned towards the girl. "I can't get enough of looking at the sky. Especially at night time. That's when it's full of stories." She paused, then continued, albeit tentatively. "Would you and Lady Fingers come up and visit me sometime? Just long enough for a story?"
Ah, that makes things simple enough doesn’t it?” Nessa said as the man in question made his way over the side of the ship. She waited as Summer retrieved her cane, the young elf’s ears twitching as she heard his muttered words. She stared at him for a long moment, tilting her head with a moment’s thought before speaking. “May her Judgment find us fair.

With that Nessa returned her attention back to Summer. “A leg? Ah, we have a necromancer who could put something together. Oh, Mal could probably put something together from scrap for you if I ask ‘em to. Your choice.
Though he had followed the pirates of the Hard Nox readily enough, and though he had boarded the ship with ease, there was a shipload of trepidation laden within his mumbled prayer. It was something he had done subconsciously for so long that he had nearly started when the young Nox girl replied. It was familiar, yet so far in his past that he could hardly recall the words. The words he had spoken had lost whatever reverence he might have spoken them with as a child, but the pirate that Argent only now looked at with true curiosity had uttered the reply with the tones of faith.

He had already known of the necromancer, though he wouldn’t have thought to have recommend someone of such a profession for a prosthetic. He had seen men hobbled on wooden pegs, though, and that would take but a simple whittler. As those who’s trade dealt with the body, after a fashion, necromancers would be just as logical to approach as a carpenter.

”What’s a Mal?” He had said it without thinking, gaze sort of distant as he considered the implications of a necromanced leg. It took his a few seconds to realize he had spoken aloud, expression momentarily puzzled. ”If it wouldn’t be a bother, perhaps you would be willing to give Miss… er-“ Argent struggled for a moment to recall words he hadn’t quite paid attention to. ”Miss Summer and I a tour of your ship? We can search for your necromancer or your Mal and kill two birds with a single trip.”
“Anything that’ll let me stand without this thing works fine.” She said, taking a step forward with her cane. Goddess, she missed her leg.

Miss Summer had a nice ring to it, coming out of Argent’s mouth. She knew his name was Argent, but she asked anyway.

“And what’s your name? You’re new here too, aren’t you?”


Someone had cleaned the brig, it was Caleb’s realization when he got to the bottom floor. Last night’s events flashed in his mind as if he could see it happening now, the bloody sole of Lucien’s boot, his claws around Leo’s heart. He remembered the good moments he’d spent with Leo, that one conversation they’d had. At one point, he thought maybe they could’ve been friends. He pushed the thought away, while pushing the door to enter Mal’s workshop.

“There’s a hole on the ship. Emryk sized.” He said.
There was a pause, in the little footsteps following Alys up the stairs. It only lasted a moment, half a missed beat, and then they continued onward. Still, there had been a pause. Pris reached up, touching her fingers to those of the skeletal hand atop her shoulder. The hand squeezed back, and she had moved on, and maybe it would be okay.

"You'd be there?"

It would be easier that way, she thought. Not being up there alone. Miss Alys was pretty strong. She could take on just about anything - even the sky. She was a fairy, though. They were probably the only ones who could really handle the whole sky.

"I... I'd try it. For a story." She liked stories. There never seemed to be enough of them, but they fascinated her. Sometimes, Miss Emer told stories. Sometimes some of the other crew members did, too - not always to her, but sometimes she listened anyway. She didn't always believe them, but sometimes there was nothing wrong with a story you didn't have to believe.

"As long as I can go down again. If I want to."
You'd be there?

Alys smiled gently and gave a slight nod. "No one's going to make you get off the ship. Not unless you want to," she replied, no, promised - but without actually saying the word. "But it'd make me happy if you tried."

A pause. "You know, if anyone ever gives you trouble, you find Hester. Or Emer, or Emryk, or me. Or the Captain. Have you met him?"
Nessa’s gaze slid back to the swordsman, her lips bending into a tight frown. She bit back an annoyed response, if only because it wouldn’t serve any real purpose other than to make things more of a pain in her neck, and in all honesty she was fairly certain Mal would not care if someone called them a what rather than a who, and if they did care then the offender would become part of that who in good time.

Mal is our carpenter.” Nessa said, which seemed like a fair way to describe their role on the ship. The follow up question asking for her to give them a tour was met first with a sigh followed by a wave of her hand. “Yeah, fine.” She said. Wasn’t like she had any plans this afternoon, Lucien and Emryk saw to that well enough.

Emer’s clinic is down on that end of the ship, and the officer’s quarters are on this end.” Nessa pointed as she spoke before motioning for the two to follow her. “Mal’s workshop is down in storage, Hester’s is in the bilge. I’ll show you the mess and the crew quarters before we go fully down.” Nessa turned on her heel as she spoke, leading the other two to the stairs leading down. She kept her pace a slower one for Summer, and offered a shoulder as they began the descent.
"I... know," Emer replied slowly. She dabbed her damp rag against the Baron's skin, not fully meeting his eye. "Caleb spoke with me about it. Asking for my help. He was afraid, Emryk. He did not know what to do."

She slid the rag down, letting it dangle in her hand, and swept over to the basin to wring it out. Back to Emryk, her shoulders slumped. She let out a long, slow sigh, air hissing through her teeth.

"I have something that can... hold him back, I think. Temper him. I do not know how it works - it is one of Hester's creations - but I am willing to try it, if it makes him less of a threat to us." She glanced at the vampire's unconscious, bloody body. "And to us. If we can mend this without any more death, I will gladly take that opportunity."

She wrung the rag again. The water was a deep pink by now, blood swirling in delicate circles.

"He is the only one who feels the way I do, Baron. Monster or not, he knows my pain."