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Thread LXXXI:
Made a good choice in postponing, winds yesterday were such that I was without internet for the better part of the day. Seems to have died down for now though, so without further ado, lets get to it.

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Lamia%20Legacy%20Quest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LamiaLegacy
Opening Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCQmQwKEEOM
Story Thus Far: https://pastebin.com/hZuLRbdW
Season: Early Spring

Money: 725
New Backpack - (Sealed)
Kozak Bladesx2
Repeater - Unupgraded

Sasha: Skill list
Ranching +4
Scholar +3
Marksmanship +6
Natural Ability (Lamia) +3
Intrigue +4
Casting (Draconic+4 Roc+3 Leviathan+3 Troll+1 Elemental+1)
Falconry +1

Waking from your slumber, you trudge down from your hotel room to the main lobby. Whoever was watching you yesterday did not leave much of a trail to follow. Or rather they did, but complications arose. Handing off the basket to Lady Wu, you and the beastfolk captain followed Marie to where she figured the would be assassin had dropped off the roof. Wu then proceeded to try and track the individual by scent. That worked up until you reached the main square as someone, presumably your quarry, had scattered pure peppermint on the ground. With the high foot traffic one trail became hundreds, and you spent the rest of the day on a wild goose chase. When you finally returned empty handed to the hotel, Wu retired early one hand rubbing her temple. Feeling a migraine of your own coming on, you had a quick dinner and retired to your room.
Sliding through the main lobby, you can see Tai and the others already digging in to breakfast. You take your seat and begin digging in to the selection of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and sausages that the hotel has provided. Marie, situated on the far side of the table next to the beastfolk, looks up from her own meal. "I've been thinking about the killer or spy or whatever it was Miss Masterson." She says through a mouthful of food, scooting off to the side as a recovered Lady Wu grabs some more food from the center of the table and wolfs it down. "How'd they know to drop that scent bomb?"

"Presumably, to stop Wu from following, yeah? I mean it worked." You say, digging in to your own meal.

"That's the thing, how'd they know? I didn't know that the wolf-folk or whatever had a good sense of smell until yesterday."

"I knew, but only through my father's writings." Tai says, "Marie has the right of it, whoever it was is familiar with the beastfolk and is planning accordingly."

"Well, we know who it is, the Phoenix Empire put the bounty on my head, they of all people would know about Zhou's kin and their weakness."

"That's the thing. It's just a bounty." Marie says, noticing your grimace she elaborates, "I mean in the sense that a bounty is a 'set and hope someone claims' sort of deal. Its not a priority, just good to happen. For their goals that is. In any case, this person is either familiar with the beastfolk themselves and is hoping to claim the bounty or maybe their government has decided to take a more active role?"

"Well, what does that change?" You ask, setting your fork down as your appetite dwindles.

"Nothing really. Just wondering the motivation. Thirty thousand suggests you pissed someone off, royally. Nitor might boost their guard on you though if they figure it out."

You sigh. Two bodyguards in uniform is cause for suspicion. A whole security detail? Well, the three days left until the sale cannot come fast enough.

>Plan for today?
Looks like you got fucked by a slow Sunday. I'd contribute, but I'm not caught up yet so I have no idea what's going on.
No worries, if we have anything on this board, it is time.
See if we can make some further inquiries regarding buyers. We chummed the water with our previous sale, so we might be able to make some headway now. When is the dinner supposed to be again?
Did we not already sell all of out cattle?
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Rolled 8, 2 = 10 (2d20)

Even if the the herd is, on paper, sold to Flynn's Meat Packing, you figure you may as well try to set up some connections to make the next cattle run a far less painful experience. Finishing breakfast, you go get changed and head out once more into the bustle of Riverport with your pair of Nitor minders. First stop is the butchers, you're eager to find out how the mayoral dinner went, it having slipped your mind during your search for the assassin. Your just about to enter the store when the owner spots you and rushes out to greet you personally frantically shaking your hand and thanking you for your cattle. With all activity on the street halted after such a display the man hurriedly beckons you inside, offering platitudes to your bristling Nitor guards. "I take it things went well, then?" You say, trying to collect yourself after the sudden onslaught.

"Better than well, I've all but secured catering rights for this year, something I've not been able to do for the last five." He says, visibly ecstatic, "I made sure to put in a good word, like we agreed, but soirees of that caliber don't extend to street level all that much, and street level is where rumors breed. Figured it's the least I could do."

"So that's why you risked rushing the bodyguards?"

His response is to wink. Theatrics aside, he mentions an interest in keeping your cattle on retainer. Perplexed, you ask him what he means by this and he breaks it down. Apparently, his predecessor invested a good amount of money in what was basically an ice wagon, something that would let them transport fresh meat from ranch to shop without the hassle of the cattle drive. It wasn't very large, only big enough for three to five cattle at a time, but the impression was that he wanted to secure the market on quality meats at any time, not just during the drives. Theoretically, one could place an order a few days in advance and a crew would go to the ranch and field dress and skin an animal on site, and let it hang in the wagon as they came back with a minimum of jostling, allowing for properly aged beef on demand. From the sounds of things, the previous owner bankrupted himself building the wagon and the current owner picked both it and the store itself up for a pittance.

You point out that your herd isn't particularly large, and a constant drain on the number of animals could might not be sustainable. The butcher explains that it'd be at most three cattle a month, all ordered in advance and charged a premium of which you'd be entitled to a share similar to the previous deal, but subject to change depending just how high the demand for the cattle are. Checking mentally, you figure that might actually be sustainable and, the way the man talks, there's a feeling that this demand could spike very high indeed.

>Take the deal?
>What next?
>Take the deal
Holy SHIT that's good for us! So long as we manage to maintain equal quality cattle, we can get a lot of money from this, and on a regular basis, too.

>wat do
If we really want to, we could keep going around to see if anyone else wants to buy the bulk herd for more than Flynn's next year, otherwise, I would go and tell the rest of the crew the good news on this deal.
You're not one to stand in the way of someone who's liable to corner a market, especially when said person is going to cut you in on some of the profit. With a handshake and a promise to get the necessary paperwork on your desk in a timely manner, you agree to his proposition. With the day starting out on a high note, you leave the butcher's shop and try to capitalize on the goodwill you've earned. With how wildly the cattle market tends to fluctuate locking in a price on the next herd is a bit premature, but you do notice that many of the smaller buyers are more agreeable. You figure the next time you do a run, Flynn or the other major buyers will be hard pressed to get the leftovers of your herd.

Weaving your way through the city you pick up some news on the state of Lemero Fisheries. Apparently the nitor cutter had arrived at one of the outlying merfolk villages and found survivors. Accounts of how many, their condition, and what happened to the barge vary wildly depending on the sobriety of the person telling the story. The general consensus, however, is that the nitor found something in regards to it, and is heading back to port with all speed. Outside of that, you the success of the mayoral ball seems to be the story of everyones lips and you get no small satisfaction on being at least a part of why it went so well, even if you don't rightly know what happened.

It's near midday when you head back to the cattle paddocks to put help out, the pair of nitor bodyguards meeting their relief force and switching off. Marie, Lady Wu, and the younger beastfolk are on duty, and you note that Marie has taken to doing her lazy orbit around the herd, probably looking for your spy. Figuring her in the air is a deterrent enough, you plan your next move.

As far as I know, there is nothing we really need to be doing right now. We could get some lead and molds made for the bullets that the Pheonix guns use, but I wouldn't want to spend too much on that. If we really need too, we could make the molds ourselves from wood or stone if we get better at fine manipulation of earth magics. After that, it would be re-using the spent casings and getting new powder and prim- are they rim-fire or center-fire cartridges?
Percussion cap muzzle loaders and flintlocks.
Oh. I thought that they were some sort of single-shot breach-loaders and that the Nitor rifles were the muzzle loaders.
This is because you specifically said that they were in a weird caliber that wasn't in use by us.
If they're muzzle loaders then it doesn't matter if they have a slightly different caliber because every gun would have a unique caliber due to them being hand-made. We just need to get a bullet mold clamp for the guns if they're muzzle loaders.
They are in a weird caliber that wasn't in UFK use, as such a mold clamp would have to be custom forged. Luckily the rifle purchase came with caps, balls, and powder so making a mold should be easy enough and you can expect McCain would be on top of that.

The specific intention is that that they are well due for modernization and were to act as an outdated stopgap option for the time being, proper rifles being at a premium due to the phoenix incursion not being completely resolved yet.
I was talking about the rifles that we looted after the raid.
Also, just for clarity, what action are you wanting to take right now?
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>As far as I know, there is nothing we really need to be doing right now.
>We could get some lead

Otherwise, we could just chill out, help with the cattle, or dick around town until it's time to officially get rid of our cattle. If we're dicking around, I say that we try to figure out what happened with the Lemero Fisheries barge

But, yeah. I thought that the small number of guns that we salvaged were something like pic related
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Not wanting to stay too open, lest yesterdays events repeat themselves, you part ways with your ranchhands for the time being. Heading back into town, you look around one of the few scattered 'personal defense' shops trying to find the less common weapon supplies. Gun oil, maintenance tools, ramrods, other things of that nature. Having not actually had a chance to inventory your surplus purchase from the Nitor, you stick to the most general of supplies. While muzzleloaders have long since gone out of style, the more remote ranches and villages having at least on family who has an 'ol Betsy' that's probably older than the house whose fireplace she hangs over. Therefore, while sparse, muzzleloading supplies aren't completely nonexistent. Picking up the odds and ends, you pay for them out of some of the money you had set aside for such things and stash them in the pack wagon.

That taken care of, you grab a quick dinner with the rest of the crew and announce the special deal the butcher offered. A general mood of good cheer sweeps through the group only increased by the appearance of a raspberry covered cheesecake. You take a slice and retire to your hotel room, hoping to get ahead of the paperwork that is no doubt accruing.. On the top of the stack is the paperwork from the butcher. It's all fairly straightforward, we provide animals and they field dress it on site. There's even an amicable separation clause in it should you not be able to keep up with demand. You sign what needs to be signed and set it in your out bin. Beneath that is another letter from the butcher, apparently he'd sent you a thank you card and mentioned the offer in it, but you went straight there anyway. Everything else is older paperwork, pay stubs, and all the necessary filing needed to run a business. While the necessity of such things was drilled into your head at a young age, you can't help but grimace as you dive in to the monotonous work.

>Give me two 1d20 rolls.
Rolled 14 (1d20)

Rolled 19 (1d20)

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You slog through the paperwork, dotting and crossing the relevant letters in your best 'official' handwriting. Working swiftly, you macerate your way through as much as possible, working to, if not get ahead of the inexorable tide. Eventually, you figure you've done enough damage leaning back in your chair and giving your sore hands a satisfying crack. Rolling a shoulder, you glance out the window. In the distance, near one of the other rooftops, you can catch the glint of a lens reflecting in the sunset. Acting as if you haven't seen it, you make to put your papers away and hazard another glance that way. The lens is still there, shifting slightly. Slowly moving closer to the door, you suddenly drop flat as the window shatters and a round tears into the back wall.

Moving to grab your rifle, you see your door open as the Nitor burst in, weapons at ready. Gesturing to get down, the comply quickly as another round zips through the room and almost clips them.

Tell the Nitor how far away the glint was, if we could tell, and start moving. Never stay in one spot if you have a sniper on your ass. Get Mari into the air as well. Hitting a bird with a normal rifle is fucking hard to do, and more so when they can to aerial acrobatics and stab you in the kidneys.
Rolled 7, 19, 8 = 34 (3d20)

Give me a 1d20 roll if you would. Next update will prolly be in the morning however. Flagging hard here.
Rolled 10 (1d20)

Righto, captain Chem.
Rolled 2 (1d20)

Let's co-ordinate with the Nitor. How good are our eyes? Are there any holes in the walls outside of the windows that we could get access to?
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"Sniper. Third rooftop on the left. The one with the windows in the side of the roof." You shout as you try to keep in motion and out of the line of fire. You manage to get into the hallway without getting perforated as you hear the nitor being to return fire, you imagine they are taking care to avoid collateral damage. From your viewpoint, you can see the clear hole punched through the inside wall and realize it kept going through and entered the room across yours. You know that there's at least three more rooms like yours on that wall that have windows with sight lines on where the shooter is. You're tempted to engage them when you finally hear the screams down below which makes your decision for you.

You make your way downstairs, hearing the clamor of panicked patrons diving for cover. Over in the corner, you see Marie, Tai, and the beastfolk crouching down behind the bar. Tai's minding the youths while the rest have their weapons out. Shouting out what you know, you see the familiar murderous glint in Marie's eye as she barrels out the front door on the far side from the shooter. Seeing an escape, the civillians caught in the crossfire being to flood their way out, and soon the stampede recedes leaving the building all but deserted. From the safety of the bar, Tai and the rest look up at you expectantly.

Tai and the young beastmen will stay here. Lady Wu will come with us, and we're following Mari. On the way, we should try to recruit at least one other Nitor to help us, as our guards are busy shooting with our would-be assassin. Tai can tell them where we went.
You motion for them to follow, but hold up a hand when Tai moves to join and point and the kids. Understanding your meaning, he shepherds them back into a safe area. With the beastfolk in tow, you head out into the street after your harpy ranch hand. From out here, it seems there's more than one person firing back at the nitor as a staccato of gunshots are intermingled with the paired volleys of your bodyguards. At the end of the road you catch a flash of red as Marie swoops around a curve. Following as best you can, you figure that the harpy is using the streets to build up speed before she makes her presence known. Moving down the deserted street, you make a wide circle in the hopes you can flank your would be assassins. In the distance you can hear someone ringing an alarm bell, likely at the nitor posting.

Reaching an intersection, you see Marie climbing into the air on the right, with a larger building between her and the sniper nest. On the left you can see an easy access to the rooftops that you and your retinue could make use of. It's also between the firefight and the nitor posting so any reinforcements are headed that way. Either way has you crossing open ground which may give away your position.

>Right and follow Marie
>Left and access the roofs
and another 1d20 roll if you would.
Rolled 3 (1d20)

>left and access the roofs
Rolled 5, 5, 7, 13, 14 = 44 (5d20)

You pause before you break for the left path, the beastfolk following hot on your trail. Halfway across you hear the ricochet of lead off pavement telling you that your movement has been detected. Diving for a stone wall, you take cover as the the second shot dusts your head. The beastfolk follow and take positions of their own firing their weapons towards the muzzle flash. Four more shots ring out in quick succession as the assailants realize their target nearly slipped the net. You haven't heard the paired volley of the nitor in some time, and you wonder if that's because they've moved themselves or something else has happened.

Faintly, you can hear the sound of drilled footsteps to your back, which you guess is the rest of the nitor moving to respond to the threat. You wonder, darkly, if they'll be able to figure out you're not the bad guys if they run into you first.

Is there a vantage point from which to take a shot from without exposure from above? We can move in an unusual way, so might be able to reposition without exposure
We need to make sure that the Nito don't shoot at US too, so that's one thing. Beyond that, getting unpinned is paramount. After we break the suppression, then we need to return with accurate fire.

I agree with this sentiment.
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Give me a 1d20+4 roll for that.
Rolled 20 + 4 (1d20 + 4)

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Nice. I got a nat 20.
With the prospect of catching a bullet the instant you poke your head up above this wall you keep belly down and move along it. Looking for some, hell, any way of getting out from under their gaze you sidle along into a shrubbery. Thankful that your lower half is a muted green and not a violent black and yellow like Liama has you disengage from the fight and into an narrow alley. You see your Lady Wu and company popping out from cover to unload a shot before dropping back and reloading with startling efficiency. That said, given the positioning it's only a matter of time before they get unlucky.

Looking up at the narrow alley, you can just barely reach the tip of the farther roof if you stretched to your full height, but would be unable to pull up. Undeterred you latch on and edge your lower half to the far wall and begin easing up it in the reverse, pushing against yourself as you inch up it ignoring the gun battle on your right. Probing with an exploratory tail, you push open a window and begin slithering. From behind you can hear a scream but ignore it, now having purchase to properly heave yourself onto the roof. Once on top, you bridge the gap once more and get onto the other roof with significantly lest strain. Below you can hear the window you opened slam shut, but that's not important, from this point you've got a clear view of the snipers nest and you can see upwards of five guys battling it out on all sides heedless to you, and the red speck above that is Marie.

The path of action is obvious, you unsling your rifle and sight down the scope into the nest itself and one man with a large rifle. Sighting on him, you wait for him to provide a clear shot and fire. You're rewarded with two sets of screams, one cut short as the man crumples, and another longer wailing one as the person behind him is clipped. Ducking back down beneath the facade of your building you hold until the gunfire begins again, from the lull of the surprise attack, none of which seems to be directed your way.

Rolled 19 (1d20)

Move to a new location and take another shot.
Ok, time to make tracks. Set up a shooting spot with good hard cover and a sight line on the firing positions and egress routes.

As a side note, I didn't think our rifle had a scope? People are pretty lazy about shooting these days. A person of mediocre faculties with a rifle can make 700 yard shots on irons on man size targets with full power service rifles with some reliability.
OH! Even better, set up on an egress route with cover or concealment from our present location. They are probably going to bolt. Hit em like a ton of bricks when they do!
We made a scope out of magic and a crystal a while back, and it would have been a waste of effort to not keep using it.

I like the idea of drop-bearing them.
Rolled 8, 1, 4, 13, 9 = 35 (5d20)

Forgot to roll a thing.
You developed an illusory scope through working with Veles on Phoenix magic.
Right, sorry.
No worries, I've a hard enough time keeping up with my own notes and I've got the full story sitting in a .txt I just ctrl-f through to reference

Also, just as a heads up this will likely be the last update for the night. Been fighting a headache all day and it's redoubling its efforts.. So I'm going to TRY and sleep it off once I get an update out.
It's fine, Chem.
You reposition just in case they try to make a break from the building, but they don't seem to be inclined to do so. Instead you see one move out onto the balcony in an attempt to fire down on your beastfolk. You're lining up the shot when a streak of red flashed out of the sky and into him. Marie, having apparently seen the move as well went into a dive into him. You see her winging off around another alley as the remaining people try to fire at her. Her target wasn't so lucky, and from your vantage point you can see she's given him a second smile from ear to ear. He staggers a bit before collapsing against the railing.
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Ignoring the partially decapitated soldier, you look back at where you're beastfolk are. On the far side of the street you can also see the nitor bodyguards, who apparently realized their charge disappeared, and with them is the cavalry. A score or more nitor soldiers, led by the unmistakable bulk of Sergeant Armstrong have taken up position. With a word, you hear a deafening roar as the Nitor let loose a volley, smashing into the side of the house. As the first rank fall back to reload, the second rank pop out of their own cover and hit it again.

Seven volleys later the building is a bullet riddled mess, and you finally see one of the assailants fleeing, lining up the shot you aim for the fleeing mans back, only to think better of it an aim lower. Firing, you watch with satisfaction as the mans leg gives way from under him, your bullet having torn into the muscle of the thigh. Aside from the groans and curses that are unmistakable in the phoenix tongue of that stricken man, the main building is silent.

>Retrieve our still living prey
>Meet up with Sgt Armstrong
?Apologize to our guards for not telling them that we were moving.
>Compliment Mari on her work
This, though keep our rifle trained on the house.
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With the threat dealt with, you decide to go retrieve the runner you winged. Negociating your way off the rooftop, you land in the alley and move into the street, your beastfolk following in your wake with a nonchalance suggesting that they were used to this sort of business. You spy armstrong and his contingent approaching the nest and he beckons you to him. Holding up a hand, you head off towards the escape route to grab your captive with the exasperated sergeant following. Rounding a corner you see the runner convulsing on the ground. Approaching, rifle up, you can see the man foaming at the mouth leaving a trail of blackened spittle on the cobblestones. With one last choked gasp the man goes still, and a hesitant prod with the tip of your rifle suggests that it is permanent.

"I heard the bastards used a slow poison when they'd go off on assassinations." Marie says winging down onto your left. "If only so they'd be fully committed, and that they'd get the antidote on their return."

"And that's never been proven or exhibited." You hear Armstrong say, huffing slightly as he slowly catches up with you. "Good work, I should be yelling at you for ditching your guard, but its fairly apparent that it all worked out for the best. Anyway, given their behavior, I doubt they were expecting to escape."

"Then what's all this?" You ask, gesturing to the corpse.

"A team setting up in a building and causing this much mayhem with a flimsy escape route in the middle of a city firmly held by their enemy. Likely a suicide tactic. Besides, we've seen that poison before, very recently." Armstrong says, "The lemero barge ran into it, gases beneath the earth sometimes find an exit. Luckily the barge was empty and the mer have seen the phenomenon before. They call it Leviathan's Breath for some reason. Horribly toxic, but also tend to lower water density which causes ships to founder. Luckily the merfolk recognized it and bailed when they did, only a few cases of limited exposure in the few non-mer employees they had. Seems this bugger got the full dose, and recently too."

You see the several Nitor soldiers, clad in heavy leathers, carring out bodies in a similar condition. After thanking Marie for the good job, and sending her off to tell Tai the good news you turn back to Armstrong. "That a fairly common occurance out on the seas?"

"According to the schola no, but they've got more than a few people of the aquatic persuasion who've kept mer history. The Lemero event is the first of its kind in recent memory, I'll bet anything these poor bastards were caught in the same event." He says, before excusing himself to direct the soldiers dealing with the contaminated bodies.

>What now?
What time is it? Fucking 10 or so? After we get a room that isn't filled with bullets we sleep.

If there're only a few large beds available, then we can just split up and have boys with boys and girls with girls. The perfect excuse to cuddle with Mari!
Having had far more excitement for one day than your cared to deal with, you beat a hasty retreat to the hotel to see if about the damages. Since most of the fighting was localized entirely upon your room the rest of the hotel is remarkably pristine. That isn't to say there weren't casualties however, as the panicked stampede out of the building had caused a whole different set of injuries. After negotiating with a very visibly distressed hotel manager, you manage to swing the penthouse suite, the original occupant having cancelled his contract after this evenings disturbance. The staff give it a quick once over, and you see about moving your things up another flight of stairs. Gathering up the paperwork you had been working on, you smooth out some of the crumples, and hope that your employees won't mind the visible bullet hole that punched through the stack of pay stubs. With that sorted, it is near midnight when you finally collapse into the sinfully soft bed of the master suite.

You wake up the next day, not as rested as you would care to be, namely due to the early morning sounds of carpentry. Dragging yourself downstairs you see that work has already begun on fixing your abused former lodging. The manager offers his apologies but explains that in light of the 'security' issue literally everyone but your group had checked out of the hotel early. One upside of this, for you anyway, is that the hotel has a veritable feast for breakfast that would have gone to waste, one that you can see your ranch hands partaking in alongside the hotel employees. Picking through the spread, you load your plate to near spillage and bring the mountain of food over to the rest.

>What to do today?
I guess we lay low for a bit. That, or go and dick around in town some more. We don't have any books, so we may as well slither around. Exercise is good n' stuff.
Lie low, perhaps clean our rifle. We have it a fair workout.
With two days left before you can leave this place and all the attempts on your life behind, you figure that your best bet is to take it easy. However, the nitor seems to have tripled your guard relaxing is far easier said than done so you opt to go out once more. As expected, the crowds make themselves scarce with the sight of you approaching but you aren't positive if it is your reputation or the half dozen armed soldiers behind you. Not wanting to deal with the hassle, you head back into the hotel and up into the penthouse. With all the action you've had to deal with on what was supposed to be a routine cattle drive, you've not had much time to give your rifle some tender love and care. Disassembling it on the table, you get to work as the nitor soldiers take up positions both inside the room and out on the balcony of the penthouse.

In the distance you can see work being done on the Lemero barge, and given that the workmen are slipping in and out of the water it seems the Lemero merfolk have wasted no time in getting back to work. On the horizon, you see the Nitor mirror ship turned patrol bote Light Shining in Darkness providing a screen just in case the assault was the prelude to another invasion. After disassembling your rifle you thoroughly oil and clean everything and give the thing a quick rub down with the shammy cloth you used to not damage the table you're working on. With that taken care of, you wonder how to best make use of your remaining time in the unusual circumstances you find yourself in.

>Head to the Nitor posting, it should be safe and they might know more about this mess.
>Head into town, nobody would be that dumb to try something after how badly the last attack went
>Help out with the cattle, a ranchers work is never done after all.
>Try and find something in the hotel to do.
>Head to the Nitor Posting
It's not even about it being safe, I just want to see if they've found anything else.
Help out with the cattle. We need to keep an eye on our bread and butter. All of the mortal combat has been a major distraction from making money and starting a business empire.
Besides, it seems we have kind of foisted greater duties upon our hands then we hired then for
Kek says that this is as it should be, so I'll agree with it.
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You briefly consider going to the nitor post to see if they've ascertained anything new regarding the attempt on your life. However, you decide against it given the short amount of time since the last attack. As nice as it it would be to finally deal with the bastards and get business operating without the threat of all out war spoiling your plans, you've got your own accounts to settle. Feeling a tad guilty about the responsibilities that your ranch hands have had take on you head over to the cattle paddocks to relieve them. It's a bit of a comical sight having six nitor guardsmen follow you around as you run water and hay to your animals, but it's clearly a welcome reprieve to your employees.

The relief shift arrives around noon, bringing with it Tai, Lady Wu, and the younger beastfolk who got to sleep in after the excitement last night. That said, Marie and the original shift seem in no hurry to return to the hotel and appear to rather prefer to sit in the shade of the nearby barns and continue to rest off their breakfast. You see Wu say something to Tai in her usual stoic manner, causing him to smirk as he responds. Noticing your questioning look he says, "She say that she is surprised that one with such a price on their head is so unconcerned with the prospect of catching a bullet."

You cock your head, "Why, does she suspect anything happening?"

"Not as such, Miss Sasha, I told her how you felt that it was unfair to us and wanted to make up for the unexpected complications, like you said earlier."


"She's confused as to why you felt it was necessary given your own problems. In any case, she is keeping her eyes open in case of problems."

"Well, give her my thanks." You say with a sigh before digging into your lunch. One way or another you should probably see about bridging that language barrier between the beastfolk and yourself, it'd make things a lot simpler at the very least.

>It's Noon and you've spent the morning tending to the cattle, now what?

(Apologies for the delays, for some reason the firefox profile decided it was no longer gonna store solved captchas so I could not post. Purged everything and we seem to be fine again. In any case we'll hopefully resume PROPERLY in the morning.)
Perhaps start helping with language lessons for our beastfolk subjects. It would be nice if they had the language skills to find new employment, if they are so inclined.
Agreed. We need to learn their language and they need to learn ours.

Is there a park or some shit? If we're not going to keep working, then we may as well go relax or some shit.
Not a park, as such. There's the mayoral gardens where that gala was held, but that's firmly within the walls of the mayor's estate. It's a bit of a tourists attraction so you could possibly try to check that out if you felt like it.
We could try, at least. It's not the worst of ideas.
I'd go with, ask politely, but don't push. Also, we wouldn't be upset if we were turned away. We know that we're not likely to be admitted entrance.
With the majority of the work done for the day, you figure it is best to get some relaxation of your own in. Meandering through the town you amble your way towards the center where the Mayoral Mansion sits. Originally a home for one of the richer prefects of the Phoenix colony, the mayoral mansion was turned into the county seat by the UFK after the liberation. The multi story villa sits on higher ground than the rest of the city, raised up above most of the buildings Most of the ground level consists of administrative offices where the day to day running of the city occurs. Above that, are the three floors of the mayoral residence, with grand sweeping balconies that let the elected official view his domain. It's a cushy position, and from what you understand the current mayor is a venerable old sort who's won the election each year as far back as you can remember.

Approaching the building, you see the walled off gate with the a token guard overseeing the line of people waiting to visit the garden behind the building. Waiting in line, still with the six bodyguards on either side of you, you eventually make it to the gate where a person is handing out tickets. With some careful negotiation, helped in small part by your armed coterie, you manage to gain access to the gardens. Inside you can see that outside of maintenance, the gardens do not appear to have changed since the phoenix empire built them with sprawling ponds weaving around the intricate stone paths and wooden bridges. Inside the waters themselves you can see massive red and orange carp swimming among the lilies and reeds.

The sight is only marred by the people. More than you'd care to count have all bought a ticket and are milling about inside. You expect that the reason the banquet was so successful is that they close this damn thing down and let movers and shakers look through it without the press of bodies trying to see it as well. With the crowds moving through the main garden, you can hear gossip and rumor fly as you crane your neck around to get a feel for the area. On one side you can see the steps to the mansion with a small crowd talking to someone. On the other you can see one of the very UFK additions to the garden, a giant hedge maze.

Let's see who the crowd is talking too. Hedge mazes are still mazes, and should thus be avoided when you aren't really bored.
You approach the figure, trying to hear what he's saying. As you and your little group politely muscle your way through the crowd you can just make out what the man is saying. "And I assure you, that those responsible for smuggling the phoenix insurgents into our town will be caught, tried, and hanged for their treason. We have both the aide of the nitor and our own law enforcement. The sheriff has authorized deputiziation to anyone who wishes to contribute to the effort. Contact him for more information." The elderly man gestures your way, "As you can see, the Nitor are here to help us as well."

"They ain't helpin' us." A voice from the back calls, "They're just guarding their own. Why else would one person have six guards?"

"I'm certain they have their reasons." The man, who you presume is the mayor says.

"What reasons?" Another voice asks to a chorus of Yeahs and That's Rights.

"Well, I'm certain they'd be able to shed some light on it, now that they are here." The mayor says, expertly deflecting the questions towards your bodyguards who shift uncertainly.

The crowd stares at them, and by extension you, expectantly.

>What do?
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"I have six guards because the Pheonix put a bounty on my head after they couldn't take my land and I blew up one of their ships. They've been attacking ranches all over [the south continent] and I seem to be the only ranch head to fend them off or strike back.
From what I've found, they're after something, and they think that whatever it is is on my land. I'm not letting them have it."
If anyone wants to add to or modify this, I'm open to suggestions.
"I have six guards because the Phoenix put a bounty on my head after they couldn't take my land and I blew up one of their ships. They've been attacking ranches all over the southern continent and I seem to be the only ranch head to fend them off or strike back. From what I've found, they're after something, and they think that whatever it is is on my land. I'm not letting them have it."

"And what is that something?" One of the me-tooers asks.

"I couldn't rightly say." You say, causing the murmur through the crowd to return.

"Alright." Comes a booming voice from the back of the crowd bellows. "That's about enough of that." You catch sight of Sergeant Armstrong stomping in with a few soldiers and Captain Keel of all people. Holding up a hand and motioning to the exit he bellows once more. "Colonel Braun and Captain Keel have came in all the way from the Snake's Landing once news of the Phoenix bastards appearing came out, if'n you got any questions security matters, you can talk to the Colonel, he's at the posting on the edge of town. If you're just here to enjoy the garden, I'd ask you give the mayor, myself, and this poor lass be. Thank you."

Watching the crowd disperse with considerable grumbling, with the more dire looking 'concerned citizens' all but marching towards the cordon outpost, Keel sidles up to you. "Been quite busy since you've been out from the ranch, have we?"

"If you call nearly dying almost every day for the last week busy, yeah." You grumble.

He nods, "I'm gonna be busy discussing matters of state and acting as the go-between for Braun and the Riverport administration. You free later? I could use a firsthand account on what's going on."

I can give you the run-down, yeah.
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"I can give you the run-down, yeah." You say with a nod. He gives you a tired looking smile before turning and greeting the mayor. You watch the two walk up the steps as Sergeant Armstrong does his damndnest to funnel the crowd. With the gardens vacated, you take an private tour through the rest of the garden before finally heading out. Giving Armstrong a wave as you leave, you note that not once in the hour you spent after the crowd was broken up did Keel appear out of the mayors office. Letting your minders know you're headed back to the hotel, you weave your way once more through the afternoon streets of Riverport. Approaching the hotel, you can see the giant hole in the side has been reframed and sided leaving an unpainted square on the side of the building with a small inset for a window that hasn't arrived yet. Heading inside, you figure its a bit too early for a proper dinner so just grab a snack before you head up to the penthouse.

Inside, you toss your belongings onto one of the plush upholstered chairs and lean back onto the bed. You can feel the toll the last twenty four hours has taken on you as you decide to catch a nap. You're woke later in the darkness by one of the nitor soldiers gently shaking your shoulder. "The captains here, if you're still willing to met with him." Yawning, you agree and hastily straighten your clothes. Looking at the large grandfather clock in the corner, you figure its half past midnight.

"Sorry, to intrude." Keel says, looking haggard, "The mayors is... verbose, at the best of times, and rambles when out of his element. He's concerned about his city and if there'll be more of these attacks. Until we've got all the facts though, well we can't rightly say in spite of our theories. That's why I'd like your statement on the last couple days. Not just the attack. If that's fine with you?"

"You have theories?"

"Some, there's been some arguements. Schola mostly, but Major Pavlovena of the reservists wants something she can swing the hammer at, and this is rapidly turning into a matter we need finesse for. In any case we're all largely in the dark here, Miss Masterson, so any suspicions or thoughts on the matter you might have would be welcome."

I'd say that the attacks should stop once I've gone back to the ranch. They want my head and my land. My head for the amount of damage that I've done, and my land for a Leviathan that lives underneath of it, as well as the passage to the Casimir lands, more likely than not. I'll be going back home once I've officially sold off my cattle, so unless they're going to try something tomorrow, I'm thinking that yesterday's attack could be the last.
As to the details of the attack:
[Insert full story of what happened.]"
Though, you know, if they REALLY want to just go shooting things, we could probably use them to go around and kill the half-troll abominations that are in the Casimir land. It would be a terrible idea on our part, as they'd probably piss someone over there off, but it's something.

Honestly, everyone's just lucky that I thought better of catching them all on fire like I normally would. Fires of that size are a bad thing in cities.
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"I'd say that the attacks should stop once I've gone back to the ranch. They want my head and my land. My head for the amount of damage that I've done, and my land for a Leviathan that lives underneath of it, as well as the passage to the Casimir lands, more likely than not. I'll be going back home once I've officially sold off my cattle, so unless they're going to try something tomorrow, I'm thinking that yesterday's attack could be the last." You fill him in on what transpired with the attack, and show him the paper with your description and the thirty thousand isen bounty and once finished add your own personal opinion on the matter. "Though, you know, if they REALLY want to just go shooting things, we could probably use them to go around and kill the half-troll abominations that are in the Casimir land. It would be a terrible idea on our part, as they'd probably piss someone over there off, but it's something. Honestly, everyone's just lucky that I thought better of catching them all on fire like I normally would. Fires of that size are a bad thing in cities."

Finishing your spiel, you see him looking at you, distracted. "Did you get all that?"

He shakes his head. "Yeah, yeah. I did, but one question. Leviathan living underneath your property. What makes you think that?"

"Veles. He said the mountains on the west side of my land were formed by a leviathan burrowing under the land. He insinuated that Tanak, the leviathans name, was his dad."

"Is he aware that the likely are trying to steal the leviathans power?"

"He puzzled it out before I did, said that even a sleeping leviathan posed a great risk with its biological defenses."

"You mean like the leviathan's breath?"

"The lemero incident? I thought that had a natural explanation."

He sighs, "With this new assertion, conjecture about rare phenomena can be subject to change. That and it should be readily apparent how obstinate the kingfisher and their people can be. I could be the lemero barge was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when they found a way to vent the gases."


"Oh is right, now listen, you're out of here what, tomorrow?"

"Day after, but yes."

"I'm gonna need to get a hold of the Colonel, the schola, and pretty much everyone on this. This is actionable intel on their motives. Even if they fail, if they wake a Leviathan... well, from best I can figure we won't have to worry about the southern continent anymore." He pauses once more, thinking. "I don't want to cause a panic or a flood of people trying to escape. We'll have to convene the meeting somewhere private. Do you mind if set up on your property, that is, if Gladhands and the schola decide this is a big a deal as I think it it?"

So long as my cattle and hands don't get harassed, and my land messed up too much, I don't mind. Though, if Earthworks are determined to be necessary, I suppose I won't mind that too much.
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"So long as my cattle and hands don't get harassed, and my land messed up too much, I don't mind. Though, if Earthworks are determined to be necessary, I suppose I won't mind that too much."

With that, he bids you farewell and heads out. With your meeting over you slip into your bedclothes and crawl back under the covers for some proper sleep. Later that morning you awaken to the sounds of construction. Heading downstairs, you see the telltale evidence of painters and glaziers putting their finishing touches on your own room. Thankful that you got a full, if interrupted nights sleep, you go and get a plate for breakfast from the hotel staff. In the little side room that you and yours have commandeered for meals the past week you see Tai reading out from a Phoenix/UFK translation book with Marie supervising. Looking up, he smiles. "Just trying to use Marie's technique for teaching our friends from across the mountain for Zhou's people. Zhou himself may not be here, but progress is progress right, Miss Sasha?"

You nod, and leave him to his work. Marie, on the other hand, has other ideas and heads over to you. "I saw Captain Keel all but running out of the building last night Miss Masterson, is there something wrong? Phoenix gonna try and hit us again?"

>Tell her about the meeting?
>Plan for your last day before the auction?
>tell her about the meeting
We trust Mari with our life, we trust her with our plans and problems.
>plan for last day before the auction
If there's not any paperwork, then go with the rest of them to work, unless Mari has other ideas.
Lowering your voice, you tell her about the meeting in full and she squawks in surprise when you get to the part about the leviathan. "You mean there's a real one Miss Masterson? Under the ranch?" She says in a hurried almost panicked whisper.

"Under the mountains, but yes. Why, you heard something about them?"

"Only that they are living continents and that just being near one is dangerous with the toxins they give off."

"Veles seemed to the think so to, but it seems that's what the phoenix are after."

She shakes her head, unsettled by the development. Trusting her to keep quiet, you go with the rest of the crew to work with the cattle once more. As you expected, there are no more attacks, spying, or even hints of activities with regard to the bounty on your head. It seems not too many folks relish going against a half dozen nitor, especially now that Keel's reinforcements have arrived at the cordon. You and Marie pick through your lunch as Tai and the beastfolk take over tending the cattle. The little harpy's mind clearly racing at the revelation this morning, but torn between wanting to wildly speculate and keeping her secrecy on what has occurred. The changing of the guard happens with little fanfare, and with a fresh set of guards, you find your shift over with several hours of daylight left.

As Mari was on the same shift as us, why don't we go around together? There isn't much that we really need to do, and there isn't really a whole awful lot that we can do while we have to be under guard. Sure, no-one's tried to kill us as often as otherwise likely, but they make it hard to do shit, and it makes the locals upset. Obviously, if Mari doesn't want to, then that's fine.
With armed guard in tow, you and Marie decide to try once more to see the sights of the city, since it'll be the last full day you are here. Keeping to the main streets you tour the city as best you can, hitting the areas away from the docks where you were jumped last time. Amidst the residential areas you can't help but note how many of these buildings seem to be in the phoenix architectural style but appear to have been built well after the UFK conquest of the city. From what Marie tells you, once the liberation occurred, the UFK was remarkably hands off on the populace, allowing them to build up their own little trading haven that, while beholding to the Free Kingdoms, was its own separate little fiefdom. This is also why the nitor have been relegated to a cordon on the outskirts instead of a fancy base like their headquarters at Snake's Landing. Stopping at one of the shops, you can see a selection of blades for sale. Inspecting them, you note Marie's nose wrinkle in disgust.

"Potmetal and pig iron, the lot of them. Jam one in a crack and twist sideways and I'll bet you anything they'll sheer off. Made to look fancy." She says, gesturing to the display.

Keeping your voice low so as to not provoke the shopkeeper trying to peddle the blades off to the other tourists, you ask, "What's a good blade, in your opinion?"

"Balance, durability, edge. Form helps, but different cutting surfaces can be useful in different ways. Like take Veles' little magic knife, he clearly uses it for nonmagical purposes, otherwise it wouldn't have the curve to it has. It's no fencing weapon, more an axe you can slice with. It's a good make though. Prolly one of the Casimiran made it, if those pair you picked up are anything to go by, Miss Masterson." She says.

"You think those blades I grabbed will sell well?"

"If you can find someone who recognizes, quality, yeah. For sure."

You spend the rest of the evening ambling through the shops looking for anything that catches your fancy to no avail. It seems that phoenix attack spooked a good number of merchants, who've decided to pack it in early in preparation for the hubbub of the cattle auction tomorrow. Heading back to the hotel, you crawl into the penthouse bed one last time.

Waking up the next day, you head downstairs to breakfast already set out for you, but nobody around. A quick look at the stables yield the crew packing away their things, heaving them in Tai's chuck wagon. If the phoenix man objects, he doesn't show it as he's helping them load the stuff up. Leaving them to their business, you sort out your own stuff before getting dressed in your best clothes for the big day.

>Check out the auction.
>Head to Flynn's and get paid.
>Head to Flynn's
We should probably leave quickly. It's easier on everyone that way.
Not seeing any wisdom in hanging around with the price on your head, you decide it is best for everyone concerned if you just go to finish your business in the city. Heading towards the docks, you approach the armored warehouse that forms the seat of Flynns business enterprises on the southern continent. After the lengthy entrance process you are greeted by the large man who earnestly shakes your hand once more. After the necessary pleasantries you let him know your intention to get paid and leave. He reacts with remarkable understanding, producing the papers needed to seal the deal and, once you sign on the dotted line, opens up a wall safe and begins counting out the payment in cash in front of you. Confident that he's got the amount right, you watch him sweep all of it into a burlap sack and tie it off, fobbing the heavy load off to one of the pair of athletic young assistants who provide a stark contrast between themselves and the almost 'healthily lived' Flynn himself. With an no better guard than a half dozen nitor, you, Flynn, and the man with the sack who turns out to be one of Flynn's sons, head back to the hotel to secure the money in the carriage's strongbox.

Instructing the beastfolk to keep an eye on the carriage, you then accompany them back to the paddocks where you point out your herd. The enthusiasm in the large man's voice is infectious, and you feel remarkably upbeat and, more importantly, flush with cash. All told, it's seven hundred isens profit after expenses which makes dealing with the bounty on your head almost worth it. Bidding the man farewell, you leave the herd in his hands and head back to the hotel to see about the return trip. You find everything squared away to satisfaction, and after doing one more sweep of the hotel to make sure you haven't forgotten anything, you have everyone pile on to both the carriage and the chuck wagon as Marie and Tai take the respective reigns. Trundling your tiny wagon train off through the streets, you just hear the gavel strike signaling the start of the auction as you reach the cordon. With the muted high speed ramblings in of the auctioneers in the background, you talk to Keel about the bodyguard situation. Agreeing that a foot patrol is superfluous at this point, Keel still insists that a vanguard and rearguard of cavalry scouts accompany you back home. Effectively swapping six soldiers for four with horses, you sigh at all the precautions, but nonetheless see no reason to object to his assessment. You set off underway and under guard back home for the first time in forever it seems.

(Since we are 'rapidly' approaching the edge of the board and having hit a nice little ending mark I figure it is best if we call the thread here. Apologies on the difficulties we had running back there, but as always, I hope folks enjoyed the thread and had a good time. Thanks for reading.)
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Thanks for running, Chem!

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