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No title.
(2013-03-31 - Now)
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Ophelia The Dias Plains are an unremarkable collection of flat stretches of grassy land broken by only by the occasional gentle hill that rises from the horizon like the waves on a beach. Small batches of rugged shrubbery break the wavering long grass as one draws closer to the mountains to the west but no trees are visible for miles until one casts their eyes to the north towards Mysidia. A vertible wall of verdant green forest blocks the path to the fabled city of magic but here and there gaps can be found with winding trails to guide travelers along.

As if in stark contrast to this, the eastern section of the plain quickly turns to muddy and grostesque swamplands. Gnarled ancient trees jut from the sodden grass and murky pools, interlaced with the occasional new growth that holds its leafy branches up high overhead as if in defiance of the death that saturates this place.

Rumors of ghosts, warlocks, and even more diabolical creatures run rampant in regards to the Tramdine Fens. Few people ever venture there for fear of the angry dead, or barring belief in such things, the treacherous terrain provides dozens of ways for the unwary to fall to a slow and unpleasant doom beneath the fetid pools. Ofcourse, there's always someone who defies conventional wisdom.

Ophelia grimaces for atleast the fourth time in as many minutes as she tries to wipe some of the muck and grime from the surface of her ornate armor. The young woman sits on a small rock around a small campsite. Her gear has been removed and sits in a circle around her in various states of filth and use, leaving her with only her smallclothes covering her lithe body as she works to rid herself of the last traces of her adventure into the swamp, a process that seems to be absorbing a great deal of her time and patience.

It had been a great surprise to discover that a small part of her homeland had wound up in this new world. Naturally, her master had failed to mention that it was quite possibly the most undesirable part of the entire country until they arrived upon the borders of the nasty swamp. For the last few days they had set about scouting the area for usable land, a potential piece of realestate upon which to place their new Foundation. The presence of the unnatural elements would provide several benefits, such as keeping away unwanted nosy neighbors, weeding out the weak who wished to apply, and supplying them with ample sources of foul creatures upon which to hone their skills.

Ofcourse, they had not quite anticipated the sheer number of the fallen souls which populated this dark corner of the continent. Obviously the fall into darkness had done little to help the land's mood. After three days she and Alexander were finally driven out by a lack of supplies and now they were making the trek back to Mullonde to keep up the appearance of her duties to the Church.

A small fire nearby casts an orange glow over the girl and her equipment, marking their location to anyone traveling for dozens of miles thanks to the flat landscape. Her mentor is no where to seen and she suspects that his silent foray into the brush served more of a purpose than simply searching for a few roots or berries to see to his nutritional needs. The man was quite frankly paranoid. Not that she could blame him.
Ophelia Ophelia continues to grumble to herself as she cleans away the hardened mud and slime from her gear, working on one of the spiked pauldrons now. The grime has gotten completely entrenched in the various grooves and slats between the overlapping plates and with a sigh she realizes she's going to have to take the whole thing apart to get at it.

Her fingers work at the various clasps that winch the parts together, but most of them are riveted in a way that will require special tools. She cleans what she can but her supply of fresh rags is beginning to dwindle. Glancing up between the pile of grungy bits of cloth and their small supply of water, she briefly contemplates how much pain Alexander would inflict upon her if she used it to clean them off and whether or not pain would be preferrable to the idea of walking another day in grimey armor.

Ultimately, she decides not to push her luck. While she doubts he would actually do anything particularly nasty to her her master had a way of getting back at her when she least expected it and he knew exactly how to make her squirm. She shudders involuntarily as the memory of his last prank, when he had filled her coffin with thousands of tiny biting insects. It had taken days for the itching from the hundreds of wounds to stop.

As she looks up, the subtle tingle of her sixth sense alerts her to the presence approaching from behind. The glow of the lantern and the rumbling voice confirms her suspicions but after a moment she turns and peers with squinted eyes into the brightness of the glow. "Artyom?" Her question comes at the same moment as him own and recognition spreads across her face.

"Well, this is certainly a pleasant surprise. You wouldn't happen to be stalking me now, would you?" She makes a show of covering herself though the coy smile on her face betrays her amusement with the situation.
Ophelia Ophelia tilts her head to the side when she notices his gaze drifting down her exposed body and shifts to actually give him a better view though she does so subtely, as if the timing were an accident. The embarrassed response is clearly not what she was looking for as her sudden frown is quick to show. However, with his back turned, Artyom is likely to miss the change.

"Oh? What a shame," she says, shrugging and gets to her feet. She stretches her legs and arms casually after several minutes of sitting and scrubbing away, then moves over behind him to run her fingers along his arm. "Are you unaccustomed to seeing a lady in her evening gown, Artyom? I should think a large strapping man such as yourself has seen many young ladies in various states of undress, non?"

Clearly teasing him to get another reaction, Ophelia turns away and stalks back over to the fireside, taking her seat on the rock once more. "I am afraid I have nothing else to wear at the moment. As you can see my gear is in dire need of cleaning and I have already worked my fingers raw trying to get this awful mud out."
Ophelia "Suit yourself. As you can see, there is a fire present, Artyom," she gestures at the small campfire though the light it provides is rather sparse. "Feel free to partake of its illumination." Should he turn around he will find her leaning back on her makeshift chair with her legs crossed. The silk negligee she is wearing drapes down about her hips providing the hint of something risque but not actually allowing him to see anything. It almost looks like she arranged it that way on purpose when his back was turned.

A small pile of extra wood is laying nearby though it is insufficient to signficantly increase the size of the flames for better light. The open plains are rather lacking in trees as well and only the occasional shrub looks to be even worth the effort of collecting for further fuel. Alexander probably went out to remedy this while he was scouting around, she muses, but watching her new guard run around doing errands for her is more amusing than just telling him to wait for a little while. Also it is entirely possible that the old man will spend the entire night out searching for threats. He almost seemed part monster himself sometimes.

"To answer your previous question, I was informed of an infestation in the nearby swamps. Unfortunately, it proved to be a little more challenging than I anticipated and now I am returning to gather fresh supplies."
Artyom W. Valodjn "I see," Artyom murmurs. On one hand, this is an excellent opportunity- in more than one way! On the other, Artyom has this inexplicable feeling, like he was being... watched by some kind of ancient predator. The chill running up his spine and the odd shadows cast in the firelight have him only slightly unsettled.

Only slightly.

He turns, then, and catches sight of his employer draped across a slab of weathered stone, her legs bare and-- No, it's unwise to stare. Don't stare, Artyom. The Titan pulls his massive weapon from its sheath and sets it aside. Sitting down with the damn thing on his back can be rather difficult when he's not had the opportunity to properly reorient it. So instead, it's set aside.

His lantern is set down, too, but its light is only extinguished when he piles on another chunk of wood onto the fire. It blazes higher, glowing with renewed life. He adds a few handfuls of dried grass, pulled from the land nearby too. Little need to waste wood when there is fine grass around.

He pulls up closer to the growing flames, warming his hands briefly in the glow of the blaze, before reaching over to collect the woman's armor. He... Tries to not draw his eyes across her as he pulls back. Artyom frowns, investigating the filth gathered in the tiny nooks and crannies- dirt in the small spaces where the plates meet, dirt where the threads are woven into the lamellar. It is very... fancy, Artyom thinks. Very decorative.

He glances briefly upward. It does seem like something she would wear.

But, work. Yes, work is to be done. "Mmn. Swamps. Would explain all the mud. Very hard to remove normally- stains most fabric, thread, etcetera. Needs a creative solution." Artyom murmurs, idly removing a small quartz stylus from his travelling pack. He draws into the earth a small, only slightly irregular circle inscribing inside of it a ring.

"So. Swamps are infested with monsters. That's problematic. Maybe proper expedition is required. Or maybe I could assist you, the next time. Mmn?"
Ophelia The vampire watches her minion with subdued amusement, keeping her eyes off into the distance as if bored but the constant glances in her direction she catches from the corner of her eyes give her a strong sense of satisfaction. She's never had trouble drawing prey in, whether it be rugged soldiers hardened by war and age, frightened young girls who hardly know how to dress in a pleasing manner, or simple villagers who are likely to scream monster at their own shadow.

Her list of victims stretches over thirty years though she's almost never actually killed anyone in the process of feeding. The few times she's slipped and gone too far the bodies had to be destroyed before they could turn and people started to ask questions when their loved ones simply disappeared into the night. Strangers in small communities fall prey to wanton fantasies and rumors that make it difficult for one such as herself to remain hidden. Amusingly enough their claims are often even more outlandish than the truth but the result is the same.

Ophelia preferrs city life, in any case. The luxuries afforded to her by the proximity of a good bathhouse or a well-stocked trade port far outweighed the threat of discovery. Nothing beats a good bottle of wine or a freshly cooked steak - rare ofcourse, and even her coffin, filled with the dirt taken from her city of birth, was lined with velvet and silk pillows. She is a child of wealthy upbringing and it shows even in her choice of protective gear.

Naturally, her mentor was the exact opposite. He reveled in sleeping under the open expanse of the sky with little more than a soft patch of earth and a warm fire to comfort him. This tended to put the two of them at odds on several occasions, Ophelia wanting to spend more time in the small outlying villages that they passed than he felt prudent and he wanting to avoid attention where she practically required it. They were an odd pair brought together by chance of fate.

"Mmm, perhaps you could at that. It depends on how you feel about evil spirits. Ghosts, goblins, foul sorcerers and fell beasts, the usual sort to inhabit the dark corners of the world where man fears to tread."
Artyom W. Valodjn Growing up along the slopes of the great mountain was an interesting life. While one might imagine that Titan would be inhospitable, in the days that preceded the fall of Galianda, those who called its slopes home had made it very comfortable indeed. The cities of Titan did not grow into the skies, but outward- horizontally- from the mountain slopes. They were massive, simply colossal. Great towers of stone and glass and steel, extending from deep in the mountain. Tiers of the Titanic cities were linked by great, cocentric rings, each one serving as the hub for its particular layer. Titanic engineers, over many years, had perfected the art of mountain construction.

The wildernesses of Titan, though, were still as beautiful as they were when the First Earth had become the Great Mountain.

Though Artyom was born in the cities, his family was one that made its fortune on the minerals deep within their mountain home. His childhood was often spent away from the cities, or deep beneath the earth. Artyom's manner is urban in a number of ways- but his knowledge of the land is not simply academic.

It's clear, though, that his employers- /both/ of them, in fact- are very much... City-folk.

Not that he's staring as he makes this judgment. Nope. It's not like he can write a rune circle without looking at it. Though he could probably afford to glance away every so often.

With one last etch, the circle is complete, and Artyom shifts the mound of metal and cloth into the ring. Huge palms clasp together, then gently touch the mystical ring. A golden glow filters up from the writing in the earth, draining away into the splotches and persistant layers of grime buried in between layers of plate and lamellar. Earth is drawn away from water and pulled back into the land. Droplets of moisture pool at the surface of metal before, slowly, sliding away.

The process is... slow, however.

"Mmn, there. It will be clean in a short while," Artyom rumbles, satisfied. "The next time you travel to the swamps, I will accompany you. Ghosts, goblins, beasts- we had these things in my homeland, as well. Though they haunted sewers, tunnels and towers more often than swamps."
Ophelia The magic circle draws Ophelia's gaze back to the small camp as it lights up. She gives an appreciative smile as the mud begins to drain away and silently wishes the geomancer had chosen to wander into camp about an hour previous. Her fingers would be less sore and her supply of fancy wash cloths would be less in need of being tossed into the fire. Some of those stains would likely never come out and she isn't about to carry around soiled handkerchiefs after all.

"You know I could get used to having someone as useful as you around," she says after a few moments. "You could carry my luggage, clean my gear... hmm, I don't suppose you know how to cook, do you?"

"Something wrong with /my/ cooking, you little scamp?" The voice that cracks out of the darkness behind her shoots Ophelia to her feet in a whirlwind of motion, one of the half dozen or so katana lying scattered at her feet snatched up in the same movement. The blade is halfway out of the sheath by the time she turns but the aged and craggy features that greet her stops her dead in her tracks.

Alexander quirks an eyebrow at the girl before stepping past her into the fightlight. He towers over Ophelia by atleast half a foot though he is not quite of the massive stature that Artyom possesses. Instead of bulging muscles and wide shoulders the old man is rough and wirey beneath his dusty leather jacket and worn clothes. A wide-brimmed hat adorns his head, tilted slightly forward so that his scar-crossed features are cast into shadow in the dimness.

Ophelia quickly returns her weapon to its place and takes a seat on her rock, sitting up straight and proper in a much more demure fashion than she was before. Alexander lets a bundle of dried out sticks fall to the ground from under his arm as well as a few dead rabbits strung together by their ears. He turns his gaze upon Artyom for several seconds, sizing the man up quietly before he moves to take his own place across the fire from both him and Ophelia.

"Supper," he says, nudging the rabbits with a mud-coated boot. A sizable knife is withdrawn from his jacket and tossed over to the inquisitor who reluctantly begins to clean and field-dress the conies. A pipe is produced and in short order the old man is puffing away, leaning against a rock while he eyes the both of them.

"Alexander," he finally offers to Artyom. "I trust you already known my troublesome pupil."
Artyom W. Valodjn "It's nothing," Artyom replies, gesturing dismissively toward the armor in the magic circle. "When I was younger, I would do this sort of thing for an old friend of mine. Upper class. Expensive clothes. Sometimes they would get dirty, and so I would clean them, before anyone important found out." The Titan chuckles, reminiscing on a more peaceful time. A time when his home wasn't drowning in chaos and shadow.

"I know a few recipes," he rumbles, setting his travelling pack onto the ground at his side. It settles with a heavy sound of cloth and the rattling of... Whatever it is he has in there. There's quite a bit. "Haven't had a proper kitchen in a very long time--"

There's a sound and a rush of movement. Something spooked the lady, and sends Artyom into motion. He moves, faster than someone of his size aught to be capable of. Instinct takes over as his hand finds its way around his weapon's hilt, and then--

An old guy?

A /really/ old guy.

The Titanic watches curiously as this strange old man's mere presence somehow convinces his employer, normally so domineering, to lapse into a much more obedient state. He arches a brow, watching the two curiously as they go about their business. Rabbit-cooking, he notes. Artyom settles after a few moments pass, resting his weapon back onto the ground.

It becomes overwhelmingly clear after a few moments just why it is that Ophelia is so subdued by this man's presence.

Or, rather, it's a pretty good reason, Artyom thinks.

"Your pupil," Artyom rumbles, his gaze flitting between the two. "I see. I apologize, I saw her move and reacted. My name is Artyom, a Geomancer under the employ of Lady Ophelia. It is an honor to meet your acquaintance, Teacher-Of-My-Employer. Sir."
Ophelia "Lady? Pteh." Alexander turns his head and spits into the fire which causes it to hiss and spit back at him for a moment. "That girl is as much a lady as I am red-bellied albatross."

Ophelia wrinkles her nose at the crude display, giving him an indignant look at his accusation. "Master! Have some manners." She jabs the knife in his direction, now covered in the fresh blood of the first rabbit which she has started to empty of its internal organs in preparation for cooking, but he pays it no mind and just gives her a gruff grunt in return.

"No need to be so formal, boy, I'm not gonna bite. Though she might," he adds with a grin, as if that were funnier than it should be. "I see she's well along in the process of gettin' you trained if you're jumpin' at her commands already." His gaze goes down to the pile of gear being cleaned by the magic circle and nudges it with his foot. "Hmph. Not a bad little trick you got there. Might get you to take a look at /my/ undergarments when you're done. They aren't quite as fancy as hers but they got some pretty awful stains that could use some attention."


"Well then put some damn clothes on, girl."
Artyom W. Valodjn Hunting and cleaning animals is a bitter necessity when you travel along for long stretches of time. You don't want to risk any of the bacteria inside the digestive tract infecting the meat, after all. It'd probably taste pretty awful, besides. Artyom watches for now, though. After all, he has his own chores.

Also, a few loaves of trenchman's bread. Stuff'll keep forever if it's made right. Unfortunately, it often also tastes like dirt.

"Mmn. I don't try to be this formal," Artyom breathes a sigh, his legs crossing underneath him. "It just sort of happens, sir. I suppose it's my upbringing." Really, it's not that /Ophelia/ in particular has him trained! When you're the retainer to a noble family, you tend to pick up the proper mannerisms. "It's only proper to be polite to a lady, and an employer besides. So it'd follow that it's proper to be polite to her teacher as well, mmn? Though I may draw the line at washing your shorts, sir. With all due respect, that seems like something one's pupil should do for her master."

Because Artyom can sometimes make jokes. Sometimes.


"That said, if anyone were to bite me, she is certainly not a bad candidate," says the man who has no idea about this whole Vampire thing. "I'd like to avoid being bitten at all, preferably. I imagine I'd taste like dirt."
Ophelia Ophelia glares daggers at the younger man across the fire when he mentions the possibility of her being saddled with such a chore. It is only her years of training that keeps her eyes from flaring red with power, especially while she is handling fresh blood. The need to remain hidden has made keeping her powers in check almost second nature but it is also the presence of her imposing mentor that is keeping her particularly mindful of such things.

"My instructor is more than capable of handling his own soiled laundry." The sawing motion of her hands becomes a little more gruff in her frustration and Alexander gives her a dark sidelong glare. "Careful, girl. You ruin the meat and you'll be the one goin' hungry." Ophelia turns her nose up at him with a dismissive snort but she resumes carefully disecting the corpses.

"Atleast he knows how to show proper respect towards his employer," she throws in. The tone of her voice sounds like she was trying to mutter it under her breath but it is also clearly audible to both of them, likely on purpose. Alexander just grunts and spits in the fire again.

"He wants to pamper you, that's his business. Just don't go causin' either of us any more trouble, you hear?" The look he gives her is subtle but she knows the warning he is transmitting through it. She opens her mouth to say something beligerant but thinks better of it and just nods once. "Yes, master."
Artyom W. Valodjn "Well, of course," Artyom rumbles. "Acting properly towards one's employer is a fairly decent way of making business go as smoothly as possible." And also helps with the whole 'getting paid lots of money' thing. Not that Artyom's a yes-man or anything. "Though I imagine that Sir Alexander recognizes the value of proper respect."

Not quite a barb at his Vampire Boss. Not... Quite. It certainly didn't sound like a barb. Artyom's voice remains at its steady, even baseline. It isn't monotone- instead, it's reserved- maybe even deadpan.

"If my estimates are correct, Lady Lovett is of some high-class birth. Perhaps what I do can be considered pampering. It's certainly not the first time I've worked for the upper crust- maybe it's habit?" Habitually behaving like you could be thrown into a three piece suit and make a decent pass at being a butler, that is. It may be a bit more than habit, at that point.
Ophelia Alexander grunts and takes another few long puffs on his pipe, allowing the smoke to drift lazily out from his nostrils like some brooding dragon."I've certainly tried to instill some measure of respect in the girl but as you can see she's stubborn as a mule when she wants to be."

Ophelia snorts again which causes the old man to incline his head subtely in her direction with a look on his face at Artyom that seems to say 'You see?'.

"No.... no, she isn't nobility, much as she likes to put on airs and prance around in fancy attire. Her family was probably richer than most of the nobles though, on account of her uncle," Alexander says. "Can't say I cared for his business but he was a decent sort when it came to his family. Took care of the young miss even though her father was a foreigner. Like to have spoiled her rotten, I reckon, the way she acts."

By now Ophelia has made quick work of the three rabbits. Their skinless bodies sit in a row by the fire and she returns from having disposed of the bloody entrails somewhere away from the fire so that hungry predators will not be drawn by the scent. Taking one of the sticks from the fresh bundle, she skewers it through the meat and hands it to the old man. The smell of burning fat and roasting meat quickly fills the air as he hovers it over the flame, tossing some more wood on their campfire to get a little more heat.

Artyom receives the next one. Ophelia holds the meat out to him with a faint smile before attending to her own dinner in the same manner. "It is nothing fancy," she says. "But it will keep your belly from rumbling."
Artyom W. Valodjn Artyom produces a sound of understanding. His eyes find their way to his present employer. It's admittedly somewhat... Strange, seeing her like this. He never thought that she would have someone to answer to, herself. But thinking about it, it certainly does explain just how strict she is with all of her employees.

When you're a subordinate yourself, you often find yourself contemplating having little minions all to yourself, puppeting them like some kind of awful mastermind taskmaster. And thus does Artyom discover the terrible secret behind middle management.

It is a terrible one indeed.

"Ah. I see. She could certainly have fooled me, with the manner with which she carries herself. Many of my old friends are 'new money,' as I believe the term is called. But she acts like a noble, and so I've been treating her like one." Artyom chuckles, "Though I suppose it's a bit late for me to revise my behavior. I will carry on, I suppose."

Brown nosing? No. Stubbornness!

As the rabbits are cooked and skewered, Artyom takes his share with a grateful smile and incline of his head. Hares were surprisingly common in Ramuh and along the flatter stretches of Titan- though goats and sheep were more popular on the great, old mountain. "Thank you, Lady Lovett," Artyom says, letting the meat cool for a few moments, "I'm surprised. I never thought I'd see you roasting rabbits in an open field."
Ophelia Ophelia sighs heavily as if shouldering a terrible burden and peers down at her own meal. Unlike Alexander, who has practically allowed his own dinner to be cooked to a cinder, the young Inquisitor's skewered meat still drips with traces of blood. "Tis a sad necessity of my duties. While dispatching the minions of darkness brings me great satisfaction, such villains are rarely of the mind to settle down somewhere proper. Always tis some blighted hole in the ground that festers with all manner of filth and putrefaction and never a decent tavern or hamlet to be found nearby."

She pauses to peel a slice of the moist flesh away with her fingers, taking great care to look dignified about it without the proper utensils. Alexander grunts at her mid-bite, his chin dripping with spittle and juice. "Damned girl just doesn't know a fine meal when she sees one, is all. No appreciation for nature or the elements. If she had her way we'd be holed up in some fancy inn for the rest of our lives, growin' fat and soft on silk pillows." He spits a bit of gristle into the fire which causes it to flare up with a sharp hiss.

Ophelia gives him a dismissive look. "And he would have us wallowing in the mud like pigs in a sty."
Artyom W. Valodjn It's actually kind of heartwarming, watching these two go at it like an old married couple. Or like a father and his rebellious daughter. Artyom is not a particularly emotional man, but he still finds it difficult to stifle a laugh. It's made easier by the fact that he has a skewered rabbit to eat.

Rabbits are great animals for eating. Their legs have all sorts of muscle on them, and the gristle isn't too thick in most wild hares. Roasting them for too long sees the loss of much of the flavor, though- so Artyom instead sears the outer layer of bunny, before cooking the rest through. Juices are sealed inside, and everything is well cooked and clean. He bites into the seared surface, rabbit-oil bursting between his teeth. Not bad at all.

Eating raw meat out here- not really such a great idea.

"I must say," Artyom allows himself a smile, "The two of you must be very close to bicker like this. It's very different from what I've seen of the lady among the churches in Mullonde. Much more pleasant this, I think."
Ophelia Both Ophelia and Alexander turn to stare at the large man in the same motion. Neither of them looks amused by such a remark. Two sets of eyes narrow on him, one delicate and subtle and the other decidedly the opposite.

"Now see here," Ophelia starts and at the same time Alexander grumbles, "You got the wrong idea," They stop mid-sentence and shift their scowls onto each other for a moment, having something of a staring contest. Eventually, Ophelia turns up her nose and looks away, focusing on her food again and the old man simply laughs.

"Hah! Suppose you might have a point, boy. She needs me around to keep that dainty little nose out of trouble." He stirs the fire with his toe, shifting some of the buried embers about to let them burn freshly.
Artyom W. Valodjn Artyom has a particular talent for saying things that might get him killed, but that are also never-the-less completely accurate about a given situation. Considering the looks he's getting, this might just be one of those times.

Fortunately, there's no incident brewing tonight, it seems. Or at least, not one he'll immediately regret.

"Mmn," Artyom smiles, "Well, I suppose that is the place of someone she calls 'master.' Though, you know, there is a time for laying about in a good bed, every so often." He rankles his nose briefly, before taking another bite of his rabbit. "But I suppose I'm not one to talk. I sleep with the cats."

Literally, with the cats.

"So, sir, do you have rank within the Church as well?"
Ophelia "It's true," Ophelia adds. "First time we met he was bedding down among the abandoned buildings in Traverse Town. Quite a few of his feline friends as well. The locals thought them ghosts."

Alexander chuckles and refills his pipe from a small pouch, tapping the old ash out against his boot. "Aye, that I do. You could say the two of us are special cases. Our expertise in the realm of dealing with the unnatural gives us a fair bit of leeway with how we go about our business though. My apprentice tells me she's hired you on as an assistant in her work."

He squints at Artyom for a moment, glancing over to the massive 'sword' and then back at Ophelia. "I do hope she did so because of your skill at handling that big weapon of yours and not the one in your pants," he grins. Ophelia actually chokes on her food and spends the next few moments hacking it back out of her lungs which prevents her from throwing herself at the old man, much to her annoyance.
Artyom W. Valodjn Artyom does not quite choke. This is only because he had just swallowed a mouthful of rabbit when the old man spoke. Probably for the best. Rabbit in one's lungs could quickly become a rather hairy situation. He does, however, cough into a balled fist.

"I-" Artyom starts, then stops. This old man is dangerous. He quietly raises his mental assessment of the hunter's capabilities. It's right there under 'swarthy.' The note reads 'witty bastard.' "I assure you, sir, her use of my... 'capabilities' are not part of any contract I remember signing."


"Though contracts can always be revised if both parties have interest in doing so," Artyom deadpans. He deadpans most things- but the flatness in his tone, and the overwhelming neutrality of his expression suggests that this is /especially/ deadpan. "Don't be mistaken though, sir. My skill with my blade is top-notch. I've driven it into the heart of many a monster."

"This blade, I mean," Artyom adds, patting the massive stone weapon resting at his side.
Ophelia Alexander laughs in earnest at that. "You wouldn't be the first one to fall to her wiles, ma'boy. Aye, I've no doubt of your skills. Big strapping lad like you can probably make a right mess of whatever gets in your way." He puffs on the pipe thoughtfully for a moment. "Well, maybe just a little doubt but a pinch of doubt keeps the mind healthy."

Ophelia wipes her mouth with one of the last clean handkerchiefs left and glares at the old man. "I will ask to not besmirch my character in such a manner, master." Her gaze shifts over to Artyom and she gives him a quick wink. In the flickering firelight her exotic oriental features are highlighted in sharp comparison to their own. "Not that I would be opposed to a few little... contractual revisions, hmm?"

Alexander gives another muffled laugh then turns and lies down on his side, tilting his hat down further to block the light from his eyes. "Well, the hours grows late and this old man is weary. Try to keep any 'negotations' to a reasonable level, if you please."
Artyom W. Valodjn Is it 'besmirching her character' when she turns around and confirms the very thing she was denying? Artyom chuckles, his hand finding its way to the hilt of his colossal, stone blade. It makes a sound that vaguely resembles a small landslide as he pulls it a bit closer. "I've found very few things enjoy being run through by a weapon taller than they are. Though I've never hunted a dragon before."

Which, incidentally, he should get around to taking care of.

Artyom chuckles as he presses his hands toward the fire. It may be early spring, but the night still brings a hint of the winter's lingering chill. Artyom is one of the Titanic- cold is a familiar friend, but when warmth is available, it's only natural to prefer the latter to the former. "Perhaps terms could be met. Though I'm not sure how well your teacher would appreciate any discussion tonight, mmn?"
Ophelia Ophelia shrugs nonchalantly. "There are many fine things he fails to appreciate but that does not stop me from pursuing them. Life exists to be seized and enjoyed at every opportunity. It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."

The woman pushes to her feet and moves over to inspect her armor which by this point is practically shining from the lack of mud and grime. She discards her nightgown with no hint of shame and sets about reattaching the various bits of lamellar plate to her body. The intricate nature of the gear makes it a tedious process but within a few minutes she is dressed in the familiar fashion that Artyom is used to seeing.

Her blades are gathered up and slung across her back via a complicated leather harness that arrays them in a fanned-out fashion, each protruding over her shoulders within easy reach. The final two are belted about her waist and she turns to give Artyom another smile. "I shall keep watch during the night. I've always been inclined towards the moonlight myself. Feel free to rest, I shall ensure no harm befalls you."

Without waiting to see if he stays or leaves, Ophelia turns and stalks off into the grassy plains. Within moments she vanishes beyond the edge of the firelight, silent as a cat.

This scene contained 24 poses. The players who were present were: Artyom W. Valodjn, Ophelia