May 18, 2021 3:03 AM
PI / Fixer gets dropped into a brewing war between Valdemar and its enemies
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“I must send you to another world, Vir. A world on the verge of crisis. You must intervene in order to prevent the decimation of its people and the utter ruin of its reality.”

Vir visibly rolls his eyes. “Listen portalsnake —“

“It is Lord Cicerone,” spits the portalsnake.

“Yeah that. So 1., isn’t it like, a tautology that a shitload of other worlds are constantly on the doomy brink of doom? And 2., corollary: why should I care?”

Ol’ Portalsnake grinds his teeth like he’s deciding whether to lecture Vir or rip him in half. “Infinities do not work the way you think they do, mortal. And yet... your unique skills, such as they are, may be enough to turn the tide for the wizards of Velgarth.”

Vir leans back in his chair and puts his feet up on his desk, with a weighing, not seeing the profit here kind of look.

“Besides which, I am still owed 300,000 arcane as a result of your last failure.” Snakeman unhinges his jaw. “Consider this a form of settling up.”

And then the portalsnake just friggin’ swallows Vir whole.

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He finds himself in what appears to be a tavern. It's smoky and dimly-candlelit, full of people – mostly men, some women – in vaguely-medieval-styled clothing, clearly dressed for fighting, all of them visibly armed with swords or daggers.

A barmaid in a long dress jumps back, giving him a startled look. 

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A tall, muscular woman in a dark blue military-ish uniform leaps up from her table, her hand flying to the sheathed sword at her belt. "Where did you come from?" 

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“Ever heard of Brooklyn? Or Earth, sometimes saying Earth helps.”

Noting the ratio of sharp things : his internal organs, Vir slowly raises his hands and avoids making any sudden movements.

Vir tries to stop himself from checking out the military woman’s chest, but fails.

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This just gets him a confused and suspicious look.

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A portly older man rises from his seat opposite the military woman’s vacated bench. His eyes slide up and down, examining Vir.

“Huh. Got to say, you’re an odd specimen of a mercenary. Looking for work?” His thumb jerks in the woman’s direction. “She’s hiring.”

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The woman rolls her eyes slightly, but nods.

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(Vir imagines how Mr. Portly would look with a walrus mustache, and it seems like a fit.)

“You know... yeah, actually.” He musters up some respect and looks Captain Doesn’t-Take-Shit in the eyes. “I heard there’s a... bad... situation developing? And I would love to be part of the solution. To that. Uh, for money.”

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She gives him a piercing look. "What's your fighting experience like?" 

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“Mostly hand-to-hand, of the you should see the other guy variety. But I’m a quick study, I’ve been known to punch above my weight class, and I’m just now realizing I’m speaking entirely in idioms.”

Vir takes a breath, and ticks off his fingers: “Ex-guard. Ex-soldier. Daggers. Pikes. Swords, shields. Ballistas, if you’ve got ‘em.”

This is all bullshit, Vir doesn’t know shit about medieval weaponry.

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This earns her a mildly dubious look, but the woman nods. "I see. By the way, I'm General Lissa Ashkevron, of Valdemar. And you are...?" 

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Vir glances around and sees however many of the tavern-goers are still watching this interaction. He clears his throat, and gestures for permission to either join her at her table or sit down together in a less conspicuous corner somewhere.

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Lissa reclaims her seat and pats the empty spot on the bench next to her. "Care for a drink?" 

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Vir sits down. He winces and brings a thumb and finger to his forehead for a moment. With his adrenaline settling down, a very rude headache slowly throbs its way into awareness.

“I’d kill for a drink.” Opens his eyes, looks up from the table. “Name’s Vir Falchionbane, of Brooklyn. It’s — it’s just a lyn next to a brook.”

 

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"I see." Lissa says this in a tone that indicates she does not see at all, but isn't going to press it. "What brings you to Mournedealth?" She absently raises a hand to flag down the barmaid. 

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”Do I need the coin?” Vir shrugs artfully. “I have my debts. Am I a lonely road warrior looking to test my mettle? Some might say so.”

Vir steeples his fingers, looks around, lowers his voice conspiratorially. “But ultimately, I’m here because if the situation gets too out of hand, there might not be a Mournedealth anymore.”

He furrows his brow. “And there is a situation, isn’t there, General?”

 

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Lissa's eyebrows almost vanish into her hair. "- Why exactly do you think that?" 

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“Well for one thing, when a general starts hiring up mercenaries, it’s not because she’s planning a surprise party and couldn’t find any strippers or clowns.”

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"Were you looking for me in particular, then? I can't think that I've advertised this as far away as, er, wherever your 'Brooklyn' is." 

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“It’s more of a...” — Vir waves a hand — “winds of fate kind of deal. You know, this is where I needed to be, you’re who I needed to meet, that sort of thing.”

He sighs. The headache pounds harder.

“I can’t say I fully understand how it all works. But I promise you this: give me a chance, keep me close, and I will do everything in my power to keep Mournedealth, Valdemar, and Velgarth from falling into catastrophe.” (And pay off that damn portalsnake while I’m at it.)

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Surprisingly, this gets him a scowl. "You've got to be goddamned kidding me. Great. More destiny. You're a Foreseer, then?" 

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“Always have been, always will be.”

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Lissa rolls her eyes. "Well. Sure. Guess I'll take that explanation. You came here by yourself, then?" 

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He nods gravely. “Just me and the shirt on my back.”

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"Well, I have to say that your choices are baffling to me, but for now I'm not complaining." 

The barmaid returns with two brimming tankards of ale and sets them down on the table. Lissa nudges Vir's across to him. 

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Vir nurses his ale and his headache, hoping the one will go some way to treating the other.

He’s feeling pretty secure that this “mercenary-foreseer” play is going to give him a long leash with the Generalissima. So he’s not inclined to push things too fast or too brashly right now.

He makes some small talk with Lissa, Mr. Portly, and anyone else at the table.

 

 

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