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Jul 05, 2020 6:35 AM
an Eelesia is the summoned hero
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Eefina dashes forward and catches the woman with a hand to her shoulder, trying to be comforting even as she asks, "Who are they?"

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"-Rotula Guard! They're after me for - taxes-"

The figures are starting to resolve now. Not humans, but humans riding some huge four-legged beast, tall and muscled with a grotesque looking head. They're carrying swords, and spur their mounts into a charge.

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Eefina is only academically familiar with the concept of taxes, but charging someone down with spears on some kind of riding beast seems excessive no matter how much money this woman owes them.

What do they do if she just stands in the middle of the bridge, directly in their path. Are they willing to trample an innocent bystander?

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The woman resumes running away.

The bridge is wide enough that they could go around her, but a strange outfit and strange confidence is not something to disregard, even if she's not carrying a badge like the local Adventurer's Guild uses. And she's not going to outrun them. They pull to a stop.

"Stranger, we are duly appointed officers of the state of Rotula Omali! This bridge and the lands surrounding it are under our authority, and we're pursuing a fugitive, troublemaker, and thief! Who are you to stand in our way?"

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"Someone who prefers to prevent violence where possible. If I capture her for you gently can you promise she won't be harmed?"

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"...If you gently capture her, we will take her to a jail cell in the city to await trial."

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"Is she accused of a crime other than not having enough money? Unless she is an unrepentant murderer, I would feel quite betrayed if I captured her for you and later learned she was executed or otherwise disproportionately punished."

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"She's suspected in several thefts and one possible arson. My orders are to bring her in. I don't know who you are or where you're from, but you'll find it hard to make a living in Rotula if you stand in the way of the law."

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"I suppose that's true. Consider this a matter of curiosity then. Is punishing her for her crimes important enough to justify going through an innocent to get to her?"

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"The only reason we're not going around you is because I'm not sure if you're secretly an A-rank adventurer or something. I'm starting to suspect you're not."

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Eefina glances behind her, at the still fleeing figure of the tax-evading woman.

She stares at the lead guard for a long moment, then shrugs. "Very well."

She turns, and mirror-smooth chrome metal flows like water out of the right sleeve of her dress. In less than a second, it forms up into a discus shape, and Eefina leaps, whirling around in the air to fling the discus with considerable force. It screams down the bridge with a disconcertingly friendly 'shweee' noise, and then, just when it looks like its about to slice the woman's head from her shoulders, it melts into a blob and swallows her head with a dull splat-glorp.

Blinded, deafened, and suffocating, the woman isn't going to get much further.

"After you," Eefina says to the guards.

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...This is definitely getting reported to someone with enough Librarian levels that they've probably heard of whatever-the-fuck-that-is.

They brought a spare horse. They tie her to it in a stable position, and tie the spare horse to the lead man's horse.

He makes a judgement call on the general principle of maintaining the goodwill of powerful strangers.

"Thank you for your assistance. We were likely going to catch her anyway, but you saved us from taking a swim and the risk that someone would accidentally drown. There is still a reward for assisting the Guard in the apprehension of criminals. I can take a Sign registration of you, so you can claim it later."

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Eefina calls Cupil back to her. It is briefly a melon-sized chrome sphere that looks like someone drew a cute cartoon face on it, before it melts back into a coil under Eefina's sleeve.

"That would be lovely."

Eefina does want to follow them anyway, just to make sure their captive is handled humanely if nothing else.

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"I'm Sergeant Forsul, by the way. May the dawn shine on our meeting."

Sergeant Forsul brings out a small black stone with a finger-sized depression in it, a sturdy metal rectangle with some kind of swirly symbol on it, and a very small knife, and presents the knife to her, then holds out the stone and card.

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"I'm called Eefina, or 'Fina if you have trouble pronouncing that."

Eefina studies the three items briefly, and thinks she's figured out what she's supposed to do with them, but did Tea Lady actually say that secrecy was one of her mission parameters? No, she didn't. This isn't Arcadia and she isn't the scion of a lost civilization, here.

"I'm guessing I'm supposed to prick my finger and put it on the stone, right?"

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"Yes, exactly, and then I 'tune the card to you. You've never used one before? Islander?"

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"Spacer, actually."

This language doesn't have that word, but she's quick enough to invent it based on the construction of 'islander' and the word for 'absence'. Still probably sounds like nonsense to them, though.

She pricks her finger and presses her blood into the divot without complaint.

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They look at her strangely. It's not clear if she guessed correctly on the construction.

The little card acquires a dull coppery coloring and a long string of numbers.

"Excellent, that's all set. In case you're not aware, it's customary but not, technically, required for adventurers to register with the Guild and openly wear Guild badges. You will have trouble accessing many common adventurer services without one. And if you have any trouble entering the city or don't wish to buy an entry permit, we can have the reward brought out to you with a bit of delay."

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"Do adventurers need entry permits?"

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"Officially registered adventurers still need to declare their entry and pay tariffs if applicable, but the badge acts as a permit, yes."

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"Then I suppose I would probably like to register with this Guild. For now, I'll accompany you, so there's no confusion."

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"Well, we're already off our usual patrol for her. If you can keep up with horses at the trot, you're welcome to follow us."

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...that's a little daunting.

"I can. I'd rather ride with one of you, but I won't insist on it."

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One of the other riders speaks up. "We've no more spare horses - and there's being polite, and there's riding two to a saddle." ('two to a saddle' has vague sexual implications in this language).

The sergeant shoots a halfhearted glare at him. "We'll make a quick stop at the Guild branch outside city walls to give your description and let them know you helped the Guard," the captain assures her.

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The implication is hard to miss. Eefina giggles nervously, visibly blushing. "Be that as it may, my dignity should survive it and my legs will thank me for it later, so on balance I think I'd still prefer it... but as I said, I won't insist."

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