• Closed • Behind closed doors

Rising from the stony plateau overlooking the rivers and plains of the western continent, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from this same rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence, eagerly spreading its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the different factions set aside their agendas long enough to see this through?

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• Closed • Behind closed doors

Postby Ryder » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:59 pm

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65th Zi'da

Sat in the small building under the ground, Ryder let out a small sigh, looking down at a knuckle duster. As focused as he seemed on his weapon, his head was in other places as some of the other Mercenary's laughed and talked, while Ryder sat in the corner. He thought of the caravan raid that had happened to his friends, how none of them had survived as far as he knew while he just ran. He had let his friends die without even fighting for their sake, after they had protected him from a man twice his size that pretended to be a caring father while beating Ryder behind closed doors.
Most people would have been upset, perhaps even hurt. But Ryder wasn't either, he was angry. Angry at his father for making them need to run, angry at the man riding the caravan for not hiring any Mercenaries to protect it, angry at his friends for not fighting harder - and angry at himself for running. It was a bitter anger, one that made him feel a sharp burning pain in his chest.

Snapping him out of his thoughts was a hand on his shoulder, shaking it with some force. He glanced up at the man and recognized him immediately as the man that had reassured him when he joined this group. It was just a small act, patting a man on the shoulder, but it had meant something to Ryder. It meant that he had some confidence in this group he was joining. Being a team was incredibly important, and should they all have shunned Ryder for once being an enemy he'd have been dead in days. It would mean nobody would care enough to protect him.
"You're an ugly little fuck when you're upset, y'know that?" he chuckled, patting Ryder on the back. Ryder let out a small smirk, shaking his head and looking to the guy. "And you're always an ugly fuck, but I don't make comments" he jabbed at the man, playfully. Both gave a small grin, before the man sat down beside Ryder and gestured behind them.

"So..." the man started, clearing his throat. "One of the boys suggested we give you a little initiation in to our group. Just a small little thing we do to the new guys for a laugh. I figured now is a better time than any" he said, giving a somewhat hesitant look to Ryder. For whatever reason, people seemed to hold Ryder with some kind of discomfort, so the idea of them asking him to an initiation scared a few - but Ryder never noticed.
"It's just a small brawl we do, put the new guy against someone in a friendly scrap, see who wins" he finally admitted, seeming to emphasize the friendly aspect of the fight. Ryder then felt another hand grip his shoulder, glancing back to see one of the more charismatic of the mercenaries. All held him high regard, making him the ringleader when none of the actual bosses were around.

"You ain't scared Ryder, are ya?" he smirked, with a slightly mocking tone. A few of the men behind him laughed, making Ryder twitch a little. He felt something in him starting to boil, but he tried his best to control it. It wouldn't make a good impression to snap on his own allies, and he was outnumbered. However, Ryder's reasonable thoughts were quickly being replaced with angry ones.
As Ryder went to speak, a presence entering the room made everyone turn and fall quiet, causing Ryder to turn back and look
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Zi'da PH

Postby Kovic » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:00 pm

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Maws stood at the entrance, his friendly smile as deadly as a poisoned blade. Against the darkness of the cave, and the rugged nature of the ruffians, Maws did not fit such scenary. A dark cloak hung around him, a dark suit beneath it. In spite of the snowflakes that still clung to the fabrics, the dark textiles were as clean as preserved as they could be. Even his dressing shoes, recently waxed, offered their immaculate shine. Blue eyes fixed on Ryder, they would finally leave to lay upon each individual gathered around the fire, a polite smile offered to each and every last one of them. Nobody spoke. They waited, instead, for Maws’ words. It took awhile for the refined and almost delicate male to finally do so.
“Gentlemen,” would be his greeting. His voice, a soft tenor, was as gentle as silk. One could wonder how thugs like these had not yet beaten and raped such an apparently weak specimen. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

It moved now, taking a few steps closer. The bearded man moved with such swan-like grace it was difficult to truly brand him a man, even if lacking the requirements for a woman. Regardless, even in his somewhat feminine mannerisms, the men showed respect by keeping quiet. Those blue eyes landed on Ryder once more, a smile being offered once again; an exclusive one, meant for the newcomer alone.
“You must be new. I imagine it was Mongrel who recruited you, correct?” It was more of a rhetorical question than anything else. Nobody else was allowed to recruit without a founder’s approval. Noth had recruited them all, personally, and Maws had recruited none. That caused a conflict for the faction members, who knew nothing of the suited man, and yet he held the same power as the ireful Noth.

Those blue eyes now set upon the male next to Ryder. Another smile.This one Maws recognized; he had shot an arrow through the Mortalborn’s chest not a few days back. After he had pulled that arrow out with a chunk of flesh, the cohort had gaped in awe how Maws rose, polite and unharmed. The teacher could see the fear in the man’s eyes.
“I believe you were about to test our newest member, correct? I approve of this,” Maws would say, looking around the room only to land his eyes on Ryder at the end of his sight’s sojourn. “In fact, I must insist it is done. Mongrel’s judgement may be enough to allow you into our group, but I have higher standards for my employees. Fight, please.”

Maws stood back, facing both Ryder and the male beside him, expectantly. Then, all of a sudden, he’d extract a hand out of his cloak, and point towards two other males. “You two as well. Four individuals, one winners. No weapons, and please, do not kill anyone.”

And with that, Maws took another step back and brought his hands together behind him, watching with a smile. What was such a specimen doing in this faction?
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Behind closed doors

Postby Ryder » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:23 am

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Ryder could feel the tension as the man entered the room, his power evident in how every man around reacted, waiting for his silence to break. Ryder wasn't one to ignore authority, ever, as was evident in how his body language changed. He no longer slouched, and he made sure his gaze followed the man in a non-threatening manner. If this man was as important as he seemed, a good impression was crucial if Ryder wanted to survive in this group.
When Maws initially spoke, Ryder didn't respond. He had no intention of interrupting, and none of it seemed directed at him. That was until he offered Ryder a smile, with eyes meeting. Ryder didn't smile, though it was clear he had no aggression. There was something else here, it was evident the man wasn't looking for a friendly talk. Men like this rarely did. It was just a case of finding out what.
Ryder answered the question with a small nod, not wanting to break the silence. He could only assume Mongrel was the name that was given to the man that had recruited him, though his nod was aimed at the fact he was new.

Ryder glanced to the man next to him and saw the fear, before averting his gaze back to Maws. Perhaps the man had tried to cause trouble before, Ryder thought. Or maybe he made it a habit of targeting the newer recruits and the suited man in front of him was growing tired of it. He didn't seem like the kind that would condone a fight happening among his own, or at all in fact. Fighting didn't look to be his thing.
Ryder immediately regretted that thought, as the man said he approved of the 'test' he was about to undergo. Again with the eye contact, but this time a shudder went through Ryder's spine. Something about this man was intimidating him. Despite his feminine demeanor and overdone look, all of the men in this room listened and did nothing but listen. That was a kind of power that was earned.

"As you wish" Ryder nodded, standing up from his seat. To his surprise, another two were dragged in to the fray. Then, once the rules were given, there was a moment of silence - people waiting to make the first move. But Ryder wasn't one to wait, and if this man was looking for a fair fight, he'd be thoroughly disappointed. As the man beside him turned to look at Ryder, he was met with a fist to the stomach, knocking the wind out of him.
As the other two turned on one another, Ryder wasn't done with the man in front of him. He'd been trying to show that Ryder was weak, but he was about to learn otherwise. To try and stop him from fighting, Ryder would have to take him to the floor. An idea came through Ryder's head, and in a flash he had his elbow ready to drop on the doubled over man, slamming it in to his back. It wasn't without regret, the pain shot through his arm, but it did the trick.

As the man hit the floor, Ryder grabbed his hair and pulled his head back, standing in front of him with a vicious glare. For a trill he paused, then he visibly snapped, remembering the humility the man tried to make him feel. Ryder hated losing, and he hated being shown up - and refused for either to happen. With a loud growl, his knee rose, hitting the man square in the nose - knocking him unconscious.
As Ryder turned to see the others, he was met with a kick to the chest, knocking him back against the wall. It was him and one man left, and this man had hit him by surprise. With the kick to the chest and the pain in his elbow, Ryder felt sick, but he refused to give in to it. He stayed against the wall and watched as the man slowly approached. He had to win this, and it was a dirty fight these men wanted, it was one they would get.

Trying to avoid a lunge from the man, Ryder sidestepped, the man stumbling in to the wall. Turning around suddenly, he was met with a knee to the groin, causing him to let out a small cry of pain. He was clearly already weakened from his fight, which meant Ryder could make use of it. Now that he was in pain, it was the perfect chance. He rushed the man, startling him, causing him to lash out and hit Ryder in the chest with a weak hit. It hurt, but it wasn't enough to stop Ryder.
In the panic, Ryder grabbed the man by the throat and pulled his back to be against Ryder's chest. He used his arm to start suffocating the man, looking to Maws as he did, making direct eye contact and waiting for what came first - an order to stop or the man to pass out. Slowly, the man's struggles faded as the life was drained out of him. Ryder's eyes were different now, though. They were almost bestial, as if they combat had shown a new side of him - a vicious side.

Ryder gave a small smile to Maws as the man's struggling stopped, though some consciousness was still left in him.
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Postby Kovic » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:37 am

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Maws had not moved, being as stiff and cold as the stone around them. Those defeated tumbled about, rolling in their pains, moaning dourly. The men not involved in the fight stood by, waiting for a something, anything, that could be interpreted as an order. It did not came instantly. Instead, the chamber was allowed to be filled with the heaving and groaning of those wounded.
“Tend to the wounded,” Maws said, dead eyes finally leaving the proverbial brawler.

As it was done as it had been said. The men hurried to their wounded counterparts, patting them, whispering queries related to their physical status. Prideful men rejected pity but accepted a helpful hand that guided them back to the fire, sitting around it, hoping the warmth would calm their wounded pride and bruised bodies. Maws, on the other hand, remained a stone gargoyle wrapped in its dark cloak and branding that thin smile.
“Congratulations. May I know your moniker of choice?” Polite, business-like.

It was now that Maws finally took a moment to analyze the subject in question. Tall, rugged, masculine. Unkempt physique, and a clear attempt to portrait something that isn’t there. There seemed to be tension in his body, especially around his shoulders. The chest was risen, proudly so, yet forced to be in such a position. Psychologically, the man was unstable and clearly driven by emotion. This could be seen in the rather bombastic fight, which lacked the logical approach and, instead, was replaced by excessive force. He did not young, yet he lacked significantly deep wrinkles to confirm his status as a veteran of any sorts. Overall, the man seemed lost in the world, pretending to be something he wasn’t, motivated purely by some yet unknown emotion. Perhaps simple anger, or perhaps something else. There could be a use for someone like that.
“Come. Let’s allow your victims to recover.”

The male turned and made his way out of the building. He moved just enough into the cavernous headquarters for their next words to be heard only by his new follower. Once again those blue eyes turned and fixed themselves on the male, the torchlight gleaming in those charming eyes.
“I would like to give you special treatment,” he said. “I happen to need someone like you to work for me, primarily. This, of course, will be properly compensated. If you are interested, I will allow you to ask three questions, which I shall reply as honestly as I can. Does that seem reasonable?”
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Behind closed doors

Postby Ryder » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:05 am

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As Ryder let go of the man, unconscious in his arms, watching his body drop to the floor. His eyes kept on the man in front of him, watching every feature of him there was to watch. His smile, his stone cold gaze. What did a man like this want with mercenaries like these? Or more specifically, a mercenary like Ryder.
"Ryder" he spoke simply, his voice rough and rugged. He had no use for the mans congratulations, because he had no idea what he'd won aside from a match of pride and prowess, that which Ryder had proven. He might have also just made enemies in his own guild. Now that he'd calmed down a little, Ryder realized that this was no victory - and deserved no praise.

Ryder watched as he was analyzed, evidently, as the stone cold eyes looked over him. He waited patiently, watching in return. As much as he had no interest in what had just happened, he had no choice. This man was important, he'd already realized that. Ryder was in no position to defy him, and with the silence he had made when he entered the room then it was evident he earned that position of power somehow.
When told to walk, Ryder just nodded simply, walking alongside the man. He took one last glance to the men he'd beaten down, and that had wanted to fight him, and memorized their faces. Chances were, they'd pay him a visit again soon - and Ryder would be ready. He wasn't going to intimidated or scared by what were once petty thugs, and he was above that. He was better than they would ever be and he knew it. Pride was Ryder's specialty, as was beating away the pride of others.

Ryder turned himself to the man in front of him, leaning back against the wall. He hid it moderately well, but the injuries he'd taken had hurt him. They were painful enough that walking was uncomfortable, and he felt sick from them, but he had no intention of showing that to anyone - especially this man. Something about him made Ryder's pride flare, as if he had something to prove. Perhaps it was the air of importance he carried with him, or the way he gave orders despite how Ryder had never met him before.
Ryder raised an eyebrow, confused. Special treatment sounded like something he could go for, and it was evident this man wasn't poor. If gold was involve, on top of the gold he was already getting, then there was no way in hell Ryder would say no. Unless there was a catch. Being part of this faction, Ryder thought he was already working for this man. So what would the difference be?

"Yeah, I'm interested" Ryder spoke, after a few trills of considering it in silence. Then he pondered his questions, carefully, before finally bringing himself to ask them. His mind was on the gold, the money he could earn doing this. Loyalty was nothing to Ryder right now, he hadn't had a reason to give his to anyone. Even the monstrous bird creature that had recruited him. There was small loyalty there, but that could be bought away just as easy as it was gained.
"What 'special treatment' would I be gettin', firstly?" he started, showing where his priorities were. "An' what would it entail me doing precisely? I ain't the best at much other than fightin' people."

After a few trills pause, Ryder spoke again. "Last question - who are you?"
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Postby Kovic » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:01 am

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The supple body of the suited male offered no reason for daunting its physical capabilities, but, as Ryder well felt, Maws’ authority came from something else. Maybe it was his rank. Maybe it was the way he carried himself. Regardless of the authority he seemed to have, the blue-eyed individual did little effort in trying to enhance such qualities. When he spoke, he smiled. When he listened, he smiled. His eyes were full of light, and only rarely they gleamed in malice. This refusal to be anything but perfect, social wise, was perhaps the biggest mistake the mortalborn made. When Ryder had thought about the questions and gave them voice, Maws smiled, of course. They were relatively stupid questions, although the brawler lacked background to ask, say, whether Maws was the creature hiding in the closet.

After a moment of reflection and careful planning of his words, Maws provided the answers.
“I am Maws. I am the second Hand of this organization. That’s our name for our leadership, in case nobody has told you about our ranks.” A chuckle full of mirth. “Our feathered friend and I formed this organization almost an arc ago. My involvement has been minimal, although it is obvious that our one-winged fiend requires assistance in the management of this... colorful group.”

Strangely enough, a hand came forth for a handshake. Since when do bosses shake their employees hands, especially when those hands were tainted red? Maws’ grip was lacking. Imagining this male engaging in combat was as likely as a swan gouging out Delroth’s eyes.

“As for the special treatment, that would involve you working directly for me, which will exponentially increase your chances at promotion, with the subsequent increase in wages. This, of course, will wield its rewards over time, but you’ll find that, once you’ve associated with us, like you have already, you’ll get few chances of ever… abandoning, our cause. Thus, it is in your convenience to accept.” Pause, in which Maws hoped Ryder would take in his words. “Realize that we have men that have lost a hand or an arm due to their work with us, and yet even those cripples have more standing than you currently do, being a newcomer that has just assaulted his superiors. I imagine our scowling leader would find this to be a failure of discipline, and I shudder to imagine the punishment he might have for you.”


Of course, Maws failed to mention he had ordered the fight. It seemed clear that he was willing to fail mentioning it again to Mongrel.
“However, if you are to choose to accept this offer, I’ll see that you’re promoted if you perform adequately. You’d be then safe to do as you please, and you’ll get to boss individuals such as those you’ve bested, and I’ll even offer a special gift to you. Until then, and please don’t feel insulted, you’re nothing. Let me offer you a way to realize this.” Maws stepped back, and snapped a finger as he pointed to the ground. “Kneel and kiss the ground, or else I’ll castrate you.” Pause. “This is no test. You’ll do as I’ve ordered, and when you realize just how little choice you’ve got in the matter, you’ll appreciate the weight of my offer.”

Were Maws uncaring about his body substances being enough to mutate a living creature, he would’ve spit on said ground. It was always a gamble to tinker with proud men’s pride, and there was always the risk of a violent outburst. However, loyalty and discipline had to be instilled somehow. Perhaps a wet kiss with the damp rock would be sufficient. Men like Ryder cared nothing about violence against them. The harder you’d beat him, the taller he’d stand. Strip that pride of theirs, and they’d find themselves powerless. Maws knew this, and so he watched as the torchlight illuminated the scene, his eyes fixed on Ryder, and, of course, a smile present in his lips.

This smile brought no comfort.
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Postby Ryder » Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:27 am

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Ryder listened carefully, back still against the wall. Maws, so the man called himself. It made sense, however, that this man was the second Hand. Fear was not uncommon among mercenaries when someone more powerful than them entered the room, but the second leader of the faction entering was a different kind of fear. Fear that their pride was suddenly torn from them as someone with more to be proud of entered the room.
Ryder shook the man's hand, trying not to give it a second thought. He felt the physical weakness, but Ryder wasn't fooled. He'd seen weaker man take down strong ones any day. Ryder's handshake was firm, showing his strength, but that didn't in any way mean Ryder was actually stronger in combat.

It didn't take long for Ryder to realize what was going on. This man, although working for the faction all the same, had his own motives. He wanted Ryder to be his, not the factions. If that meant working for the faction for a while, then so be it, but Ryder was this man's should he accept. But it was soon clear that 'should he accept' wasn't a luxury he had the choice of.
The threat being made showed two things to Ryder, the first being his lack of choice. Now, and for what he imagined could be a fairly long time, he was the newcomer. Lower than the rest. Should he not take this offer, he would die, or wish he'd died in the process. But what it also showed was the true fear lied with the one-winged beast that had recruited him - Mongrel. He was the weapon, and behind closed doors, Maws might just be the wielder.

Then the promise of power. Ryder had seen this before. Make the persons weakness clear, before offering them a strength, that should they refuse will lead to their demise. It left Ryder with two simple choices. An easy life, or a painful death. That was it, simple as it could be. He had the choice of keeping the life he enjoyed so dearly, or losing it to people much more powerful than him. Fortunately, Ryder treasured his life enough that nothing could get in the way of it. Whatever it took to live, he'd do it.
That didn't, however, stop his pride from hurting at the order he was given. He didn't show much aside from an inhale as the man looked to him expectantly, after ordering him to kiss the ground. It was symbolic, Ryder on his knees and the man above him, humiliating him. If one thing could hit Ryder hard, it was being humiliated. He'd avoided it in the bar, but he couldn't avoid it now, even if nobody else saw but this man.

After a trill of pausing, Ryder let himself exhale, and smiled back politely. "Offer appreciated" he nodded, maintaining the polite smile as he knelt down, his chest aching as he did from both pain and pride. As ordered, Ryder put his head down and kissed the ground, before glancing back up to the man, staying on his knees. He used his sleeve to wipe his face, maintaining the same smile and eye contact.

Ryder would remember this.
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