Ms0 12

E.MCG SALVAGE CORPORATION HEADQUARTERS, JUST OFF THE DOCKS IN LEVIATHAN.

An old warehouse. The floor is littered with piles upon piles of rusted, broken metal and odd wood shapes. The remains of many a sunken ship and their contents. A few men are inside with wielding torches, cutting the larger parts of metal hull into smaller, more manageable pieces. At the far end of the warehouse is single, small room, with the words "ACCOUNTING OFFICE" written in front of it.
Inside: a single desk, free from any and all paper work, and half a pot of coffee set to the side upon it. The driftin woman sitting behind the desk is leaning over it, scribbling onto a piece of paper.
"Do ya feel better now, with that outa tha way?" She mumbles, to the other person in the room.

Elbereth smiles. "Of course, Lady Mcgunnery. It was a bit awkward to serve the guests when you had the entire desk covered."

"If y'say so."

"How do you feel about the turnout so far? I don't recall you ever mentioning how many you expected to find."

"Ideally probably want about ten. Enough to cycle through if people get tired or hurt." Elizabeth relies.
"Countin' the dolls combined as like, half a person and not two, obviously."

Elbereth nods with an understanding expression. "Of course."
"As I'm sure you've noticed though, Kit and Kat are one of your only applicants who can patch everyone up."

"Mmhm."

There's the sound of footsteps, with the odd thump on the floor as staff hits it. Folis makes her way to the desk, where the lights were on and people were chattering. She grins, despite looking like she just clawed herself out of hell not too long ago. Hastily applied bandages cover thankfully fading scrapes and bruises, and she's dressed in what appears to be makeshift clothing made from ship's canvas. She gently taps her staff down on the floor twice, announcing her presence.

"Y'know how it is though, semi competent healer's are always in demand." Elizabeth replies to Elbereth.
"…See?"

"Yeah, uh… forgive all the mess."
"I'm about as castaway as you can get."
"ANYWAY!" Folis beams.

Lady Elizabeth waves dismissively. "No worried. Can I help ya with somethin'?"

"You guys are lookin' for workers?" Folis asks.

Elbereth pulls out a seat before gesturing to Folis. "Please, take a seat. You look like you've been through a lot."

Lady Elizabeth pauses, then nods. "Oh, fer the expedition. Yeah."

Folis leans against her staff for a moment, then thankfully takes that seat with a little 'whump'. "Right, expeditioners!"

"An' I take it yer seekin' to come along?"

"Honestly it doesn't matter what it is, seeing as I've not had a lot of choice comin' up here and I ain't even got proper clothing to call my own yet."
"But honestly, from what little I've heard it all sounds mysterious and fun." Folis explains.

Elbereth nods before making her way to the trolley. She rolls it over to the table and places a bowl with some orange and pear slices in front of their guest. "Tea, Coffee or Rum, Miss?"

Folis looks dumbfounded for a moment. "What, really? Can I get a coffee with rum then?"

"Mm. Y'give as good as y'got?" Elizabeth nods her head towards Folis' bandages.

"Best I can 'gainst steel cages and the bottomless blue."
"I've had my share of tussles with knights, knaves, and beasts, but that was before I got dragged into this, uh, marvelous vacation." Folis shrugs haplessly.

Lady Elizabeth blinks, flicking an ear forward. "Bottomless Blue? Ain't familiar with that ship…"

"I meant the sea." Folis responds.

Elbereth nods with a smile. "If that is what you wish. I am here to serve all residents and guests of our humble city, Leviathan." She pours some coffee into a saucer before pouring some rum. She shakes it a bit without stirring and slides it to Folis.

Folis chuckles.

"…Oh! Sounds like you've got yerself quite a tale to tell, perhaps?" Elizabeth leans back into her chair.

Folis takes a swig of the coffee-rum, and her entire demeanor seems to brighten and grow warmer. If this was anime, it'd have the goofy glow-and-flowers effect.
"Well."
"Makin' this as short as I can so I don't get too much into personal grievances and such."

"'Course."

Elbereth makes her way over to Elizabeths side of the table to refill her coffee. She then takes a seat at the side of the desk.

"I come from a village of outcasts, way 'cross… uh…" Folis vaguely waves out in a direction that is seaward. "There. Lived with a fair amount of Driftin, Hundred, the odd other kinda folks what didn't have a place to call home anymore. Either 'cause of the Imperials, or aught else. Long story short, of bloody course the place ends up gettin' kicked over by the bastards, helmed by th' knight I once called friend. I dunno if it was THE knight, or someone that was armored a lot like 'em, but… "
Folis claps her hands together, as if slamming a door shut.
"BAM. I get hauled up, placed into a metal coffin, as did many of my other comrades from that down. Somethin' about burial at sea 'cause they didn't want our bodies tainting the land. And couldn't be arsed building a pyre or something. Hell if I know."
"REGARDLESS!"

"Shiiiit."

"That kind of thing was like… my moon-distance shot out of that hellscape the Imperials were turnin' the land into. I didn't want anything t'do with that if they're knockin' over even a little town in the sticks with the nobodiest folk you could imagine."

"How'd ya get outa the coffin?" Elizabeth asks.

"So I get shipped out into the sea, yeah? When it comes down for my turn, knight cracks open my coffin, tells me to my face they knew I wasn't dead. Was about to execute me personally, 'fore I flipped fingers and dove into the ocean. Stuck a fair bit down a bit with a smuggled aspirant, until the ship was some distance away. Picked a direction and kept going and… that's the last thing I remember from then."

Elbereth glances at Elizabeth. "That's two applicants now that were sent to sea in a coffin of sorts. At least this guest was not underwater for hundreds of years… Unless you are an If-Ys taking the shape of a Driftin…?"

Lady Elizabeth glances at Elbereth. "Well."
"Sounds like yer no stranger to danger and gettin' yerself outa it, at least."

"Naw, I promise you from the bottom of m'heart that I am one hundred percent driftin'."
"And Driftin, too."
Folis cackles at her own joke.

"Fer what it's worth, Driftin' are common as all get out here, so."

"Neat!"

"The applicant just before you had been trapped in the ocean for at least a thousand years, so the story reminded me of them a bit." Elbereth explains.

"… Yeah, I think if I was stuck there for that long, I'd-"
Folis freezes a moment. "Prrrrrrobably ask myself how I managed to live that long?"
"But nevermind that!"
"I don't know a damnfool thing about where I am, and this place seemed like the most above board or at least on-level place I could get."
"I'm good with spells, and can do reasonably okay with weapons."

Elbereth chuckles. "More importantly, to what do we refer to you as, Miss? I am Elbereth, a caretaker to all that set foot in Leviathan."

"Wait." Folis takes a swig.

"Leviathan, couple days south of Ecafa." Elizabeth adds.

"You mean I've been nattering away and I haven't even introduced myself yet?"
"Hells."
Folis nods politely to Lady Elizabeth and Elbereth. "Call me Folis, if y'would."
"My friend used to say, it was because once the enemy had fallen, I was foe-less, yeah?"

Lady Elizabeth opens her mouth, then pauses, thinking.
Lady Elizabeth then squints at Folis, before leaning forward and pulling the bandages from her head to give her a closer look.

Folis blinks on surprise. "Rah?"

"As you wish, Miss Folis. Should you need any assistance during your stay here, feel free to ask. I am no stranger to the refugees that enter our city. I too was one many a year ago." Elbereth says, as though nothing is amiss.

Lady Elizabeth shakes her head, before leaning back into her seat.

Folis looks… normal underneath? Yup, just scrapes and bruises.
"Am I suspicious?"

Lady Elizabeth shakes her head. "Weird question but: y'know some lil dolls called Kit and Cat?"

"Kit and Kat." Elbereth corrects.

"That's what I said."

"Y'what." Folis boggles.
"How in the hell did they get here?"

"I'll take that as a yes, then. Came over on one'a the refugee ships, I guess." Elizabeth shrugs.

"Those are- were- my familiars, the first radically successful craftin' I did back on the mainland."

"Ran into 'em yesterday."

"They applied to the position just yesterday. I escorted them to the table in that model boat on display." Elbereth gestures to the left.

"Hell."
"Hell."
"I guess it's not gonna be so lonely here after all."
"Maybe I didn't lose everything."
"Small kindnesses, eh?" Folis smiles.

"Fate seems to be workin' in mysterous ways, least." Elizabeth says.

Elbereth adds, "Hopefully not a short reunion with the Imperials on the way now."

"Oh, speakin' of."
"You got, like… an artificer or appraiser in your crew?"
"Maybe even yourself?" Folis inquires.

Lady Elizabeth nods. "I'm not too bad at it, yeah."

"Right. I'm gonna stick above-board if I'm joining, so I'm getting this out of the way right now so y'don't think I'm hiding treasure or some shite."
Folis digs through a very beat up looking pouch to find the coin she had washed up with. It was golden, octagonal, and quite heavy looking. Wild, unknown symbols covered one side of the coin, and the other bore the likeness of a lamia.
"This is, y'know, the wildest and most unlikely thing ever, but I washed up with this."
"I didn't even get a chance to snatch anything up aboard the death-ship I was on, so y'got me where it came from."

Elbereth blinks.

Lady Elizabeth flicks her ears forward, before picking it up and inspecting it curiously. "Ain't never seen currency like this before."

"I mean, it's the kinda thing that you dig out of ruins, aye? Except… I wasn't even in one yet." Folis shrugs.

"Look familiar to you at all, Beth?" Elizabeth asks.

Elbereth nods. "I saw this currency in the treasury of the Tiqin Empire, they had a variety of nations in it. I could not say where it came from though and I am afraid you are a century too late to ask my brethren."
"If nothing else, I can verify that it is old. I have not seen such a piece in at least a hundred years."

"That sucks." Folis responds.
"… Well, I wanted to let y'two know about it, at least. I'm going to hang onto it, I'm gettin' weird whispers that it's not meant for me t'get rid of it yet."

Lady Elizabeth sets it back down on the table, before pulling out a small bag with a magnifying glass, a couple unmarked vials and a few other hard to identify tools inside it. "Y'mind if I…?"

Folis nudged the coin over. "By all means."

Lady Elizabeth nods as a pulls a few things out and begins to experiment about with it.
"Right then."
"Back on topic though, I can't really think of any reason ta say no to ya, so I suppose yer welcome to come aboard with us."

"Killer." Folis extended a partially-bandaged hand.

Lady Elizabeth nods her head in Elbereth's direction at the ended hand, given she's got a vial in one hand and some odd jewel encrusted tool in the other at the moment.

"… Oh!" Folis turna to Elbereth.

"For the voyage I will be stocking Ssuseva, an Acid cooked fish that is popular here, Salted Pork, Spice Biscuits and Ecafa Oranges. Coffee and Tea will be available as fresh water lasts, but we will have a large supply of rum. If you do not think you can sustain yourself on that palette I can attempt to make some adjustments." Elbereth shakes Folis's hand.
"Lady Mcgunnery will be departing in six days time. The voyage will be for three days."

"Listen, I'll eat just about anything if it keeps me 'live." Folis chuckles to herself.
"I washed up here, I'm hardly picky; but the luxuries would be all the more divine, still."

"Well."
"For a week technically, with three days spent investigatin' the sight, to be specific." Elizabeth corrects, "Filios' 'bout two days out from here."
"…Hm…"
"…Y'said you just woke up on a shore some where holdin' this thing?"

Elbereth nods. "You will be paid a flat rate of 100g for the expedition. Any treasures you wish to keep will be deducted off of your salary."

"Correct." Folis answers,

Lady Elizabeth mumbles half to herself, "That's interesting. I wonder if it activatin' is how you got there in the first place…"

"Wait, it's enchanted?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Doesn't that just beat all."
"What's it do?"

Lady Elizabeth returns one of the vials to the case, takes out another and pours a drop on the coin, before rotating the jewels on the other tool and leaning in, squinting.
"Ta be perfectly honest I'm not a hundred percent sure, would need a lot more time and waaay better tools to figure out that. It's come some MAJOR fuckin' magic hooked into it, though."

"Gee…"

"Kinda feels like it might be some kinda portal device, possible a key… or maybe an engine of some kind?"
"Inactive at the moment though, an' I'm not seein' a way to get it goin', as it were."
"Then again I don't know too much outside of combat enchantments or stuff related to boats."

"I'm definitely holding onto it, then."
"I mean, you never know! It could open up something while we're exploring!"
Folis looks more thrilled than might be sensible about this idea.

"What I CAN tell ya, though, is with the right fence ya would make a small fortune sellin' this sucker." Elizabeth adds.

"Cool."
"I'll keep that in considerin'."

Lady Elizabeth sits back up, giving her head a shake to clear out her mind while returning the vial and tool to the case.

Elbereth then speaks back up, "If I may ask, how long ago did you end up here on Leviathan, Miss Folis?"

"Uhhhhhhh…"
"Right fucked if I know. Couldn't be longer than a week, or I'd have stolen myself some better clothes."

"Yeah I would."
"Definitely look into gettin' real clothes." Elizabeth agrees.

"The crap I came here in got ruined by the sea, and I couldn't find an armorer in time, and well…" Folis shrugs.

"If you require some assistance with that I should be able to accomodate. I am quite the seamstress and I am afraid that the techniques I use are not all that common nowadays." Elbereth gestures to her outfit, not a single seam is visible on it which is a stark difference to clothing today.

"… That's fascinating. And terrifyin'."
"I'll see what I can do in short order. Maybe get somethin' at a bargain and get it patched up."
"… Honestly, I can't thank the pair of you enough."

"Heh. Figure, even if I told ya it was worthless ya wouldn't've handed it over anyway…" Elizabeth grins slightly as she shrugs

Folis scoops up the coin and re-pouches it.

"To be frank, I feel like we cannot do enough to ease the pain of all those who have come here under the most dire of circumstances. The docks have been piling up night by night and there is not enough work to go around, this dangerous death-trap expedition withstanding." Elbereth sighs.

"I mean. I don't mind deathtraps. I miracled my way out of the biggest deathtrap in the world." Folis replies.
"I'm really honored, considerin'."

"Lady Mcgunnery is a proud captain, rest assured she will not leave a crew member behind unless it is her only option."

Lady Elizabeth flicks an ear towards Elbereth.

Folis claps her hands together, staving off what looked like a wavering expression. "So! I might need a little time to prepare and get myself expedition ready, but given that I will be up and available in short order."

Elbereth glances at Elizabeth with a 'what?' expression on her face.

"Yeah ya got a few days, anyway."
Lady Elizabeth shakes her head.

"Right. Are the lodgin's around here, or…?" Folis wonders.

"…Would anything even be open still…?" Elizabeth glances back towards Elbereth.

"The Bard and Boar may have a room or two available. I am afraid that it costs some gold, though. I gave my room to an If-Ys for free who had lost everything since I was going to be here helping Lady Mcgunnery over the course of this week."

"Hey, that's fine by me. I do have a bit of coin I've found chasin' blind alleys." Folis states.

"I happen to work the bar and do housecleaning there as well. It is not what I would call high end, but it gets the job done." Elbereth says

"Suspect anything's better than a beach." Elizabeth rolls a shrugs

"Right!" Says Folis, agreeing.

"True enough, Lady Mcgunnery."

"Havin' a roof over my head would be rather comforting." Folis is happy with whatever she can get, honestly.

"I don't believe I asked, Miss Folis. What is your reason for joining this expedition in particular? It was all that was available at the moment?" Elbereth asks.

"Because…" Folis starts,
"Uh…"
"Well, t'be honest…"
"Some of that…"
"And a whole heap of things I want to forget. If I have something to work toward, it means I leave those things behind."
"A whole lot better than moping about, at the very least."
"And also… y'know. Adventure."

Elbereth chuckles. "We don't take offense. Work is hard to find now with the refugee ships coming in. We'll be happy to have you aboard regardless of circumstances."
"Just for formalities sake, I was also requested by one of our applicants to ask this question to everyone. It was their stipulation for joining."
"Are you an imperial spy?"

"Nah. I don't have the patience to play mole while gettin' the hell kicked out of me by both sides." Folis answers.
"Also… a lady's gotta have principles."

Lady Elizabeth smiles slightly.

Elbereth nods before getting up. "Thank you for your time, Miss Folis. I look forward to working with you and hope that you can find a moment of peace here in our humble Leviathan."

Folis stood also, leaning on her staff idly a few moments. She positively beamed at the pair of them. Less foolhardy, and something far more genuine. "Aye. You two are doin' good work even if you don't know it. You've got me started down the path to hope again."

"With the arcolith cracked open and a refugee ship already sunk no doubt the Imperials will be here within the month. Before that happens I hope you explore the city to your hearts content." Elbereth says.
"And perhaps you too can find something you want to protect, much like I have."

"Here's hopin' everything goes well, then." Elizabeth nods towards Folis.

Folis pauses to think a moment.
"Suppose I'll have to find my flame and my steel again. Somethin'll work out."
Folis nods politely, then starts heading outward. Walk walk thump. Walk walk thump. Back to the Bard and Boar, which she had seen many a time while skittering about.

Elbereth makes her way to the door to escort the guest out. She gives a small curtsie before offering them another orange on the way out. "Safe travels."


Lady Elizabeth stretches out over her desk once the door is closed with a quiet yowl. "Small… fortune…"

Elbereth makes her way back to the desk. "Is something wrong, Lady Mcgunnery?"

"Naw not really, just wishin' I'd been the one that found that lil dodad, hah."
"Also… the heck were you doin' in the Tiqin vault, missy?" Elizabeth turns her head with a raises eyebrow.

"I am rather interested in how they acquired such a trinket. One hundred years ago that was a unique treasure in the Tiqin Vault. But with the fall of the capital who knows what happened to it."

"Ya double as a master thief at some point in yer life too??"

"You are aware I was the next Empress's attendant, Lady Mcgunnery? She loved to look at treasure which should come as no surprise considering she ran off with a pirate."

"Didn't figure they'd let ya in anyway… But I guess that checks out."

"At the very least, that applicant seemed to have more combat experience than the last few."

"Mmhm."

"What were your plans for the rest of the day, Lady Mcgunnery?"

"Didn't have any in particular."

"I can't imagine you intend to sit in your office all day when we don't have any applicants booked?"

"Why? If you want me to do somethin' annoyin' I totally got plans though." Elizabeth quickly adds.

"I would be a rather lousy maid if I asked you to do such things, my lady. That said, seeing as I am not officially on your payroll at the moment I believe it is time for me to return to my real job."

"Oh, alright."

Elbereth smiles. "You are welcome to come visit at night as you often do."

"Yeah okay."

Elbereth bows. "Until next time, then. Give my best wishes to Herald."

"Will do."

Elbereth makes her way out of the office before walking on to the streets of Leviathan.

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