• Graded • Three Idiots at a Bar

Rob & Zip & Gan

With the escalation of hostilities between Etzos and Rhakros, a series of small walled towns is being established as a network of early warnings and defenses against Rhakros' reprisals. Only the very bravest and most formidable of characters should risk themselves on the Witches' Wilds frontier.

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• Graded • Three Idiots at a Bar

Postby Robin Stark » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:20 am

(Note: we allowed god-modding. Also, Robin's writer left months ago and left me his password. )

24th Vhalar 717

Robin only cared that there wasn’t any earth.

He sat, on a decrepit chair, by a rotting table, with a half-melted candle without its wick. There was an empty hearth and the mead was too heavy with liquor to sing. People chatted in the rouge of twilight, their cheeks and tongues warmed from drink. Robin sat with a frown, the chair opposite him empty.

Robin hated the buildings in Foster’s.

At least in Etzos they had the decency to build with stone.

He sighed audibly. He rested his chin on his hands, rough with callouses. He wore his blacks and he wore his weapons. Zipper stressed professionalism - except when it came to her filthy, filthy abomination of a mouth. Robin had learned more Ithession slurs than he did any other word thanks to her unintentional tutelage. But digressions aside, Robin just didn’t care to make the locals comfortable. The earth sighed with him, in the under. The wind howled outside. And yet inside, he was alone.

What exactly did he get out of his relationship with Hans? Bitterness, longing, and a whim of a journey that took him a thousand miles away to a city that held no gods.

The floorboards of the dockside local creaked behind the table Robin sat. Noisey metal slowly drowned out the rotting planks that passed as flooring. A tall and looming shadow cast its gaze upon the man who sat alone. Looking up, Robin would see none other than Gangui, the mercenary dog, whom the boss-lady had hired the previous trial. Draped upon the man’s wide shoulders, a tabard still lined with the creases from the tailor’s shop. Upon the gray canvas was the red silhouette of a … turkey? The blue cobalt armor covered the entirely of his body; the chain coif strapped, revealing a pair of icy-blue eyes and nothing else. The hard iron cage he was encased in was softened by a single red lily, still in bloom, pinned upon his finned helm.

And this was the man Zipper had hired to protect them. Or her. Mostly her. Actually, he was absolutely sure she mentioned something to the tune of “If he so much as saves you from a stubbed toe, you owe me nel, you element whoring cunt” She’d explained their contract, but Robin hadn’t been listening for the most part. The wind had held his attention for the better part of the day. A port wind, heavy with drunken laughter and sailor breath, it had blown ships out into the sea. It had tousled his hair, his clothes, investigating his pockets for secrets to be scattered.

But Hans was his to keep.

Sitting down at the table next to Robin, the barbarous man placed his sword on the table, resting one gauntleted hand on the hilt of the weapon, with the other he untied his coif to speak, “Where’s Zippomaria?”

He had spent the entire afternoon the day before preparing to fulfill his contract and the eccentric woman was nowhere to be seen. The wildman had bathed for the fifth time in his life, purchased 10 new tabards (a clean one for each day), and even -- it pained him greatly to do this -- shaved his moustache. All that to conform to the stupid presentation-obsessed ideals of the wretched woman. Despite these unpleasant caterings on his part, getting the black stricken off his ledger with the Guard was worth it.
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Three Idiots at a Bar

Postby Gangui » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:22 am

“You’re her apprentice, right?” Gangui asked twice, clearly showing his impatience.

He was what she described. Dirt-stained uniform. Uncombed hair. Freckles, all shades of brown and black, covered Robin. His hands, naked and laced, broken nails because he chewed them. His eyes, clear amber, gave the turkey knight a once-over. “Zipper, you mean,” he crossed his arms, relaxing into the chair, it’s legs quaking under his weight. “And no. Slave, I think, is the word she probably used,” he said this bored.

“Zippomaria, huh?” The man chewed his tongue. “That’s why she goes by Zipper? No wonder she’s pissed all the time. Figured it was a city thing.” Robin shrugged, crossing one leg over the other. He wasn’t wearing shoes and the soles of his feet were stained black. Soot or soil or worse.

“That makes you her -- what, exactly? Bodyguard? Translator? Lover?” He asked, a quiet smile creeping onto his lips, a vine sneaking onto a tree.

Unmoved in his posture Gangui, waited a long moment before responding. Without his moustache to hide his expressions, the look of annoyance was revealed in his face, “Bodyguard and Champion. Also, there are no slaves in Etzos. Only the Immortals have slaves!” He was dead serious.

Robin laughed, an easy sound, all summer winds and bumbling brooks. “I didn’t know the Immortals had slaves,” his smile warmed.

“Any man who serves an Immortal or their states are slaves, even if they do not know it,” Gangui quickly responded.

“Point, I guess, for you,” Robin replied, his eyes finding themselves on the turkey icon. “And that?” he pointed with his chin, “She didn’t say anything about a turkey. Your mascot?”

The mercenary sighed, easing the tension in his shoulders a little, “It is the insignia of my newly formed company. Zippom--”

“So we’re sticking with that, right? Zipper’s dead and Zippomaria forever?” The man with the patchwork clothes grinned. His honeyed eyes glinted with sweetness and trouble.

Gangui looked up remembering something. He shifted in his seat, “No, no, we best call her Zipper, she does not like her birth name. It won’t be good for battle should we need to take a stand during our mission,”

The barbarian had never seen such sparkly eyes, such jeweled marbles full of life. He wandered if the little-guy had ever fought battles or suffered the trials and tribulations of living in the wilds. He guessed not, for any apprentice to Zipper was surely of the same noble origins.

“What is our mission? I am eager to get started,” Gangui didn’t want to talk about the turkey anymore, nor Zipper’s preferences of names. Though, he had yet to hear of the euphemism: you catch more flies with honey. The warrior’s piercing eyes pressed down on the lad, slightly trembling and demanding quick answers. His gauntleted fist closed down tighter on the hilt.

The brown-haired man yawned and stretched. “I dunno why we’re here. She told me to wait for you and I did.” Robin offered Gangui a wider smile still, white teeth and pink gums. “We must wait for the most honorable Lady Zippomaria. She is our captain, sir,” His tone was crisp and clear, but his lips curved into a smirk.

Gangui scoffed, metal creaking as he shifted again, impatient at the situation, “No wonder you’re an apprentice still, you don’t know fucking shit!”
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Three Idiots at a Bar

Postby Zipper » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:23 am

“Truer words have never been spoken,” Zipper said, striding in like she owned the place.

The armored bodyguard looked over his shoulder to see his client waltzing, “Zipper!” Gangui stood up to greet her, leaving the sword on the table absentmindedly. He motioned to his new, clean outfit. My hygiene better be up to par as described in our contract...

Robin clamored up, purposely knocking over a chair, she suspected. “My heart! The fair lady Zippomaria,” he took his time, careful with each syllable, “Please do not punish me, your grace! I have forgotten to bathe.” He offered his hands, palms up, like a child.

She stared at him with a look that screamed murder, considered doing to him what Torvyn had denied her in their first encounter, then reconsidered. The less magic Gangui saw from either of them, the better.

“You’re looking,” Zipper said, turning to her new retainer, looking him up and down, trying to find the exact word for it. “Acceptable, Mister Gangui.” As much as she wanted to, she could not produce the complement.

Robin kicked up the chair, louder still. He fell into it’s thatched seat, and the floor groaned. “And me, your highness? Please, I beg your criticism!” The idiot was rude and loudmouthed. She was sorely tempted to tell Gangui to slice him from balls to non-existent brain, to see whether his word was truly as good as his bond. Instead she did nothing, so he simply waited, hands on hips, watching silently. Licking the top row of his teeth, his eyes darted between Robin and Zipper.

“Mister Stark,” she said with a small, uncertain smile. Even the honorific sounded too good for him. “I enjoy your banter,” Hahahaha was the sound of the mental vomit she puked. “But we have some business to attend to.”

Robin groaned, collapsing further into the chair, his neck lolling on the back. “Just kill me.”

Gangui spoke up, “Someone will…” Clearly sarcastic.

“Someone is tempted to,” Zipper mumbled under her breath, before saying in a louder voice: “In case my friend here has mangled his introduction, Mister Stark will be working with us.”
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Three Idiots at a Bar

Postby Robin Stark » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:25 am

Gangui was always one to speak his mind, it was both a gift and a curse. So far his respect for Zipper had taken a huge dive towards the bottom of the bay. The day before he almost feared her, even with the odd eccentric traits she portrayed. He thought this especially because her stoic stand during the negotiations of the contract.

“Zipper,” Gangui looked at the boy grimacing, “This insolent brat will get us killed on the battlefield, aren't you training Black Guard?”

Robin smirked at the ceiling, “Training is a loose word. I’ve been running blind for twenty-six arcs and I can’t imagine I change that now-”

“You’re twenty fuckin’ six?” Zipper’s head whipped around to stare incredulously at him. “You look like you’re seventeen and act like five.”

“The first twenty spent suckling your mother, don’t count,” Gangui blurted, agreeing with Zipper.

“I know, I know. I look really good don’t I,” he turned his head, grinning stupidly. “And I can’t say I ever knew my mother. Maybe that’s why I act this way.” He wondered to the air, stale with smoke and ale.

Gangui was starting to get sick of words without deeds to back them up. He preferred having a conversation through steel and right now he really wanted to talk to Robin in the only truth that he had come to rely upon on this world. Deep within his mind though a little voice begged to differ. It was the arrogant voice of the seductive mage from the wilds. The magic he had witnessed begged to differ, but he pushed that away for now, despite his inner pragmatism.

The retainer looked at his client, silently asking permission to punish Robin.
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Three Idiots at a Bar

Postby Zipper » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:26 am

Zipper considered all the downplayed ways she could tell Gangui that Robin, and by extension her, were mages. None of them included having Robin frying, burying, or eviscerating him as retribution for Gangui’s undoubtedly incredibly physical idea of discipline - if he even made it that far in the attempt. She shook her head once, then got back to the topic at hand.

“Let’s all play nice.” she said, four words she had never imagined she would say in her entire life. “Lay off the snark a little, Mister Stark. Professionalism.” She stressed the word, stressed Torvyn’s threat to them all those trials back.

She knew that look that crossed his face: The humiliation that came when the Master so easily nullified them, so easily tossed her against the wall and threatened him like a child. He remembered. Robin sighed, closed his eyes instead of rolling them and bit his tongue and crossed his arms.

Gangui nodded, acknowledging her words, then took a seat at the table, hand back on the hilt of the naked sword.

“Our cultural ambassador,” Robin said, leaning on the table between them. “Go on, then. Zipper told me the rumors. The great mage slayer, wasn’t it?” There was a curiosity in his voice, pointed like a dagger. Suspicion he was desperately trying to hide. Sarcasm was thicker, heavier and more obvious -- without it, his motives clearer.

“Nothing of that sort,” Gangui said.

“He’s a bit undisciplined,” she said. “Defiers tend to be a little wild.” Backlash coming in 3, 2, 1...

“Defier!?” Gangui eyes lit up a like the largest furnace at the Losten Foundry. Fear coursed through his veins like the bloody drugs Etzos was so famous for. Bouncing back to his feet with sword in hand, he readied himself for retaliation.

Everyone in the bar stopped. The music stopped. The noise slowly died down. The barmaids stopped. A single voice in the background trailed off, too drunk to understand what had happened. All eyes on them.

“Mister Gangui,” she said very slowly, very carefully, and very, very quietly “There’s no need for a din. You’ve been on the wrong end of magic before, now you get to see what it’s like having the arcane on your side. I assure you, his mouth aside, he’s a harmless thing. ”

Slowly, the warrior took his place back down at the table, listening to Zipper’s reasoning and relinquishing his grip on the blade. A few moments later, the bar returned to it’s usual self again. He closed his eyes briefly, seemingly trying to steel his nerves, “Yes…”
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Three Idiots at a Bar

Postby Gangui » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:31 am

A smirk crawled onto Robin’s lips, devilish and sharp. His eyes fell on Zipper. His eyes were daring, his expression embolden. “Alone. Yes, I’m harmless. That’s the thing, though, isn’t it, Zippomaria?” Robin paused, drama. “I’m never alone.” The wind swept up, dust and dirt and trash flying around them. It caught people with opens mouths, dock smells filling their mugs and sighing into the flimsy building. It tickled Robin, spinning clean air and summer around him.

“You can’t hear it, the groan of bored earth. The buildings of mortals stiffen it, like a coat too small,” He looked at Gangui (who stared), at Zipper (who was clearly trying very hard not to bitch at him), his spell falling into the ground, the wind suddenly still. “It wouldn’t --,” a tremor, slight and small, a few of the older tables collapsing and beer splashing on the wooden floor, “Take much to encourage what’s only coming. This town’ll last a few more years at best before the elements steal it back.”

Gangui scoffed at the display, clearly knowing full well that tremors were not natural to this area, “And you call yourself a Blackguard…” He cast his eyes back at his sword.

“He does, unfortunately.” Zipper said, throwing an annoyed look at Robin. “Stark’s a drama queen, but he’s alright.” For a moment, she looked like she had tasted something incredibly bitter. It brought Robin no small amount of joy that defending him probably shaved off arcs of her life from the sheer distaste of it. ”And barring kowtowing to errant godlings, magic is the only answer to magic and not all of us are flinging fireballs and turning into beasts of the land,” Zipper said, another attempt at a reassuring smile on her face. “Sometimes it’s something small like knowing your sword is enchanted.”

Gangui grimaced looking at the duo, “Get on with the plan, Miss Zipper, I am here to do a job not to exchange opinions,”
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Three Idiots at a Bar

Postby Zipper » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:32 am

“That you are,” Zipper said. She was… she was stuck with a Defier that, while technically subordinate to her, was going to give her verbal hell to the last, and a mercenary who was honorable in all the wrong ways for her. Both of them had serious problems with discretion - Robin was barely holding his magic in on his best behaviour, and Gangui seemed to have no issue bringing the entire bar into what should have been a private conversation when he felt the need to.

Cock-driven fuck baskets that didn’t know their place.

Yet, she needed them both: Robin for the sheer, often literal firepower he could bring to the table, and Gangui’s lay of the land.

“As we all know,” Zipper began, sneaking a quick look at Robin to pay attention. She knew that Robin was completely clueless about the happenings of the seasons past. “It has been some time since Padfoot’s carnival has passed through our proud city. He inflicted upon us a plague that turned men into monsters, women into beasts. The bulk of his spawn have been killed neutered, captured, and loads of other synonyms. Point is, the dangerous ones have been neutered.” And the really curious ones carted off to the Tower to be experimented on, probably. Or employed as weapons. She had other urgent matters to attend to at the time, but the incredibly quick turnover rate for the truly exceptional mutants had not escaped her. Disappearing into the woodwork, after all. “Whatever, but we believe one of the last of the big ones came down here to hunt.”

She pulled out a piece of parchment and laid it on the table. It was an old, faded out bounty poster that had one hell of a hefty sum. The image on the thing… it was hard to believe it was the same breed as some of the comparatively milder mutations they’ve seen these past seasons. It was a messed up clusterfuck of panther, some foreign breed of dog, and a fox-like beast. A tangle of limbs that shouldn’t be and too many eyes.

“Gentlemen, I’ve been told the artist has not done the beast justice.”

Robin took a peek at the poster. “That’s a Ne'haer Guard Hound in there somewhere,” he said. “Felicia brought one of them back up once.” Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, Zipper thought. Stop bringing up your far-off necromancer of a sister. “Those biceps reaching out from the head? Lotharro. Nothing else could be that huge.”

“A Lotharro?” Zipper asked.
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Three Idiots at a Bar

Postby Robin Stark » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:33 am

Staying focused was one of the warrior’s strong points, even in mentally and physically strenuous situations. But the knowledge that Robin was a mage made him lose focus on the task at hand, pondering if he could truly trust the Defier with even the simplest of oaths. He didn’t look like a man to make a valiant last stand or bound into danger, much less offer a sacrifice to Etzos’ cause -- the human plight. Nay. But, perhaps he was Zippomaria’s minion. Her magical man-at-arms.

How did she control him though? The thought that his most honorable client used magic herself did not come into his thought process just yet.

Dense was the word.

Shifting eyes and the task at hand brought the retainer back into focus, “Lotharro, you say?” He hoped the two would sit down with him instead of standing around restlessly, “I’ve fought them before in the wildlands during my youth. Brutes. Strong as three or four men,”

More like twenty men. He would never admit the earth shattering strength of the Lotharro Fridgar though, lest he look weak in front of his new companions.

“Savage even in comparison to the plains tribes and hill nomads west of the Westguard. They don’t come this way often,” Gangui snorted some snot and almost spat if not for the glare of his most esteemed client, “And if they do, they are pacified or killed. Anyways, what does it matter what race he is?” He patted the hilt of his sword, a smile visible on his clean-shaven face for once, “They all die the same way,”

Robin smiled. A quick three toned hum escaped him and the wind sang in delirious repetition. “Yes, I mean, we all die the same way. The difference is --,” he pointed, a thin finger landing dead center of the drawn monstrosity, “Size. Also, it is literally something created to kill. I’m guessing.” He shrugged, his tune fading away in the breeze. He propped his elbows on his table and caught his head in his hands. His eyebrows furrowed in thought. “What do you think? It isn’t built for speed. It’ll just smash us, won’t it?”

“It killed a Defier,” Zipper added, sending a look Robin’s way. “Fire mage. They say he had some business with Padfoot’s. Sought him out personally.”

“Well, like the knight said. We all die the same way.”

Gangui realized that he had missed an important part of the conversation with the words spoken by the mage. He felt foolish for losing focus, but the two didn’t seem to notice he didn’t notice the wanted poster. After peering at the picture of the monstrous amalgam, he was reminded of his battle with a similarly shaped creature, in which the outcome was favorable to the warrior. His eye-balls shifted to his sword then to Robin. He could simply tell him about the magic sword and be done with it, using magical properties to slay the beast in conjunction with the sharp steel blade.

Any man who muttered sideways curses towards Etzos or the Landing was not the be trusted. He even second guessed Zipper again at this moment.

“We need to draw the creature to us,” He jabbed a steely finger in the air at Robin, “Make a portal in the wild and put magic on the other side to lure him, then we will teleport him to a favorable location,”

Cringeworthy to say the least. Gangui had no concept of the different types of magic or how it all worked. But he knew one thing though: Vuda and Alistair had consistently used Rupture around him.

“I can’t do that,” Robin smirked lazily, eyes glancing towards Zipper. “You know anyone?” He asked, his smile widening. Always there, her little magical secret, threatening to jump from his tongue.

The retainer went to go stroke his moustache, only to be disappointed at the fact it was not there anymore. Before Zipper had a chance to respond, Gangui blurted out in a condescending tone, “You can’t do that!? What type of mage are you?”

Little did he know, that single question would eventually lead down a rabbit hole he wasn’t ready to start traversing quite yet.
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Three Idiots at a Bar

Postby Gangui » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:38 am

Robin laughed, “Not a good one, by your standards.” He’d seen the space magic. The sudden ripping in the quietness in the between. A violent magic. He shivered. “So what else has it done? Are we assuming we can kill it by ourselves? Or are we....” he paused, his fingers tracing the outline of the creature, “Recruiting?”

The ever blatant and coarse mannerism of Gangui came into full effect when he interrupted the flow of conversation. Still caught up on the whole magic thing, Robi “Hold on, before we continue,” His constant hand gestures seemed to be a routine, “What magic can you do? If we are to develop a strategy, we need to lay out on the table all our weapons,”

The three, the defier, the witch, and the knight, sat in silence. The wind cradle the table, weak and broken, and Robin was tempted to let the thing collapse into early retirement. It would, at the very the least, provide them with better conversation. “Who? Me or her?” He asked, bored and unwilling to play pretend for Zipper any longer.

“He can move the earth,” Zipper said first, “A farmer’s magic. Moving water, summoning heat, generating wind.”

“What a description,” he rolled his eyes. “And she,” Robin pointed with his chin, “makes things go boom.”

“With some difficulty,” she added. “He’s the combat mage, I mostly just touch things and---”

And Robin laughed, his stomach tightening as his cheeks reddened because he couldn’t breathe. “Want her to touch you, Gangui? It’s her job.”

“Stark.” One word. Just one word infused with every ounce of suppressed rage.

“Wait,” Gangui said with furled eyebrows and thin lips, “Zipper, you are a mage as well?” He looked at Robin once more, “And, you move the elements,” He turned back once again towards the woman, “And, you make things go boom?” He guffawed in disbelief, “Well this should be a clinch then!”

“It’s not so simple,” Zipper said. “Well, it is for him.” She threw a dirty look at Robin. “I was an Attuner back in the army, until-”

“She blew someone up,” Robin blurted out dowfully. “Terrible stuff. They only had her nose to give her family and some poor sod in the front got the tale end of it and wouldn’t talk for seasons after.” He offered her an insincere look of sympathy. His lips threatened a grin.

“Murder? Or battle?” Apparently the distinction was important to the Knight, who suddenly sat uneasy in the wooden chair.

“Gangui, I’ll like to add two extra clauses to the contract. Verbal ones,” Zipper said “Firstly, discount everything Stark says. He got his sorry arse kicked by a lass and he’s venting it the only way he can: like an unprofessional slob-”

“You didn’t win.”

“-Secondly, if he speaks out of turn again, you may strike him as if you see fit.”

Robin answered her with a smile for Gangui. “Doubt I’ll pose much of a challenge,” he shrugged, sweet words riding on a warm breeze.

Gangui leaned back aghast and silent for a moment amidst the din. Finally, he decided, “I have agreed to be your champion, I shall fight Robin, simply say the word, but otherwise no deal,”

“Short version: I lost my sight -the sixth sense of Attunement in the jungle.” she said. An oversimplification but it would do. “I’m not going to say what happened, but it happened. I’ve retain other gifts, but unlike this esteemed gentleman,” She threw another dirty look at Robin, who waved, “I’m not too big on the flash these days.”

Looking back and forth between the two characters, he threw out proffered words, “We all have made mistakes, but one day you two will kill each other, mark my words. I know not magic, but I’ve seen people speak underhanded remarks and vile words at each other well enough to know what path this leads down,”

“Oh, look, a fortune telle-”
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Three Idiots at a Bar

Postby Zipper » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:39 am

“I didn’t choose him,” Zipper said. “But I did choose you, Mister Gangui: your expertise, your standing, your code. One of the magics still known to me is the ability to,” she tried to phrase it right. “Heal swords. Detect magic. It’s how I know your sword has an arcane component to it, Mister Gangui. If you don’t mind, I could make a demonstration to ease your thoughts. You’ve had bad experiences with magic, but those mages you fought were not representative of Etzos.”

She gestured towards the sword on the table. “If I may?”

The retainers eyes narrowed and perspiration started to form on his brow. He simply nodded his head, obviously uneasy with the whole affair, but allowing her to do her thing. His eyes dashed towards Robin as well.

She reached out to touch the length of the blade, caressing it with a gentleness that Robin was clearly baffled to see. She had shown more care for the blade in 3 trills than she did for anyone in the half a season he had known her. Removing her hand, she said, “It’s a pretty old blade, but the Miraclesmith’s magic has kept it strong. It can store magic and reflect it, I believe. Am I correct?”

“Try me,” Gangui whispered hoarsely with a fire burning behind his dull eyes. A gauntleted hand gripped the handle.

“Perhaps in a less crowded area and time,” Zipper said. “I just ask you to keep an open mind until then.”

“Open mind? All that’s apparent to me now is you know everything about me and I clearly know very little about you,” Gangui shook his head, “Aye, well, let’s get on with it, how do we bag this mutant?”

“I mean, we kill it, right?” Robin said. “Go all out. Everything, burn it, stab it, and whatever Zip is going to pretend to do as she watches from the far side.”

The Knight’s eyes widened and he mocked his tone of voice, “Lead the way then buddy!”

Nothing.

“That’s right,” Gangui said, “All the magic in the world and you don’t know where to start, we need a plan…”

“This is what we have so far…”
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Zipper
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Bitch
 
Posts: 642
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 5:14 am
Race: Human
Profession: Professional Scowler
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