Ms0 5

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, with a mountain of paperwork covering most of it. A small plattern of slices banana and oranges, and a pot of coffee take up what's left of it. A Driftin woman sits behind the desk, sipping at a cup of coffee, as she turns to a Dantali woman, sitting in one of the two chairs in front of the desk.
"…It's well past nine, Beth. Why the hell am I awake, again?"

"Have you seen this place, my lady? It's a wonder I've managed to make it look this good in an hour." Elbereth's pretty much been cleaning up the office since she got here. "You've had time to let the coffee sink in as well. It would do no one any good if you were to conduct an interview half asleep."

"Feh… as long as the filing drawers are in order, the rest of it doesn't really matter." Elizabeth waves a hand dismissively.

"I am starting to understand why you want to go into the arcolith now, though. The salvage you have on hand certainly did not meet expectations."

"Well… yeah. It's mostly just scrap. People tend to bring the more important or expensive valuable with 'em when they hit the life boats. Just like with treasure hunting, it's a lot less exciting in practice than it sounds."
"Most of tha time, anyway."

"This is the exception I hope. I did ham it up in the flyer quite a bit. Everyone wants to see a flying ship, after all."

A knock briefly sounds on the door to the office before it's opened, and in steps a woman clad in weathered dark gray armor - accented red and white - with silver hair and a shotgun that looks equally experienced, yet cared for. "Pardon my intrusion, the gentleman over there told me to let myself in. I'm here about your advertisement?"

"Yeah I uh. Seriously doubt there's gunna be anything like THAT inside, going off of what was in the oth -" Elizabeth cuts herself off as the newcomer enters the office. "Ah, yes."

Elbereth gives a small bow before pulling out a chair. "Please have a seat, my lady."

Lobelia places her gun by the door and takes the offered chair. She tilts her head at the elven maid, brow furrowed. She saves the question for later- "You may call me Lobelia. Lobelia Wintervine, a pleasure to meet you, Lady McGunnery." She reaches over the table for a handshake.

Lady_Elizabeth takes the offered hand, giving a firm shake before leaning back into her chair.
"So uh… can't help but notice y'came to an interview set up by some wharf maid fully armed. Take it yer some kind of mercenary by trade…?"

Elbereth makes her way to another room, no doubt to hide the refreshment preparation process. She wouldn't consider anywhere in this building suitable after all.

"Ah, I hope you don't mind. Until your expedition departs…" Lobelia holds up a stack of about 10 or 15 sheets of paper, with details of people's faces and some low monetary value on them. "I'm handling some busywork in town. Some refugees need to be reunited with friends and family, some opportunistic thugs must be taught a lesson… It's nothing nearly as exciting as an Arcolith expedition, of course."

"Ah, yeah. Not really a problem, just don't deal with too many of 'em m'self. What brings you to the Leviathan anyhow? I'd say it can't just be for work opportunities… but it seems like there's more than I'd figure." Elizabeth nods to the stack of papers.

"Some folks… don't settle down into any one place for long. When there's no exciting jobs left, only easy and boring ones…" Lobelia fans herself with her papers, "…then that usually means it's time for me to move on."

"Aha. Stands to reason, I suppose." Elizabeth takes a sip of her coffee, while looking Lobelia up and down.
"Wearin' the imperial colors is kind of an odd choice for a freelancer though."

Elbereth makes her way back into the room carrying a large platter. She refills Elizabeths cup with coffee and sets down a small bowl filled with sliced pear and orange slices before making her way to the guest setting down a similar bowl filled with fruit and an empty mug. Kettle in hand she fills it with hot water before gesturing to a selection of twelve different teas. "Any preference, my lady?"

Lobelia smiles to the maid- "I'll have the Ammas, if you would be so kind. Steep until there's just a hint of bitter, then mask it with a touch of honey. Thank you." Turning back to Elizabeth, she nods back to her gun and responds, "They may not have a very good reputation, but by all means, introduce me to someone who makes a more reliable gun, bayonet, and plate. I'll gladly furnish myself with a set."

Lady_Elizabeth glances over at Elbereth for a moment, before shrugging her shoulders. "Considering the ships that just came in… yeah not so popular at the moment. Guess it's easier to just leave the gear as is than trying to paint over it though."
"They don't hassle y'about that, though? I was under the impression they didn't take too kindly to anything that could be construed as someone impersonating a member of their military."

Elbereth reaches into one of her pockets on her apron before pulling out a vial of honey. Before serving the drink she waves her hand over it, a single flake falling into the cup. No doubt to bring it below scalding hot. She places the mug on a saucer with a spoon before making her way to Elizabeths side of the table and taking a seat. She immediately starts to write some things down. Transcribing perhaps?

"Ah, sorry, that part's not paint." Lobelia pulls out a rag and cleans off a speck of red left over from an earlier fight this morning. She responds with a smile. "I've had people ask me if I was a deserter, since my plate's got a few too many dents. They say I'd get a beating if I wore this into an actual battle. Should anyone try to drag me back to an imaginary post, rest assured I will 'negotiate' my swift release from such unjust custody."

"Aha."
Lady_Elizabeth picks up a pear slice and chews on it thoughtfully.
"So… by in large, it mostly just want to come on the expedition because it sounds fun… and aren't particularly adverse to any potential dangers in the arcolith?"

"In short? Yes, it's sure to be a thrilling diversion, isn't it." Lobelia takes a sip of her tea, and her smile melts into one that's quite a bit more sincere. "My goodness. This is just how old Munroe used to make it. I see you've earned that maid uniform, miss…?"

"Elbereth, my lady. I am glad that you enjoy it. It has been quite a while since I served someone of such status. Much can be said from a person based on what they wish to drink."

Elizabeth gives a curious glance between Lobelia and Elbereth. "…What does some weird foreign tea say, exactly?"

Lobelia clears her throat loudly. "My status… Should you wish you have me, will be nothing more than a hired hand under your command, my Lady. What do you say?"

"To be honest I don't really give half a rats ass who y'are, as long as yer not an imperial spy. Just kinda curious that you caught Elbereth's attention."

"Pay it no mind, Lady Mcgunnery. I did not mean to pry. A wealthy background means little in places such as the Arcolith." Elbereth adds.

Lady_Elizabeth rolls a shrug. "Y'seem up for any potential fights we might get into with whatever defenses they left behind though, which is good enough for me."

Lobelia kinda looks at her armor and shrugs. "If I so easily drew that question to mind, would I not be the sorriest spy you ever saw?"

Lady_Elizabeth laughs.
"Maybe… or perhaps one of the best! There's often many layers to a lie, and it's always hard figuring which layer is best to go with to work over any given person…"
"In a place like the Leviathan… in a time like this… perhaps intentionally looking out of place, such that 'there's no way they'd be that stupid…' is the first thing that comes to mind… might be the best way to go about it?"

"At the minimum, my Lady, I can promise you that, should we find anyone who truly IS an Imperial spy in your crew's midst…" Lobelia nods back to her shotgun. "You may confide in me, and I shall see to it that they trouble you no more."

"Heh. That's good to know."
"Out of curiosity, 'ave y'ever been inside an Arcolith? I've heard rumors of Storgei and uh…. Fe… …what was the other one, Elbereth?" Elizabeth tilts her head back towards the Dantali woman.

"Pheros, my lady. Currently under Imperial control as of eighty years ago." Elbereth answers.

"Oh. … Probably not that one then. But I've heard the two of 'em got cracked open at some point."

"I would be hard pressed to say any have not been cracked open, Lady Mcgunnery. Asides from the one you currently hold the key to, that is. To the public, however…"

"They got the fourth one too??"

"No one has reported on it, at least. But neither the imperials nor eager treasure hunters are ones to share secrets so easily."

"Hmm. I guess that's a fair point. I never paid much attention to it since it's… supposed to be land locked, I think, which was kinda far outside of my field of expertise." Elizabeth nods slightly, mostly to herself.

Lobelia sips her tea some more, snacking on the fruit as well. "I have not had the chance to explore one before, no. If anyone in your crew has, I'd quite like to hear more stories about it, before we begin."

Lady_Elizabeth shakes her head. "Naw. Not as far as I'm aware of anyway."

"Given this one has been under lock and key for over a century, I would be very surprised to find one among us who has set foot in Filios in particular." Elbereth adds.

"Well uh. Hm. … I don't think there's anything else in particular I really need to ask then…" Elizabeth shoots a look to Elbereth.

Lobelia finishes her tea and sets down her mug. "…I remember now, don't you work in the tavern, miss Elbereth? And somewhere else… And for her, too?" Her eyes and her smile get a bit wider, "Do you… work everywhere, miss Elbereth?"

"Did you require my services as well, my lady?"
"As much as I wish I could be everywhere, I am afraid my services are only available to those on the Leviathan."

Lady_Elizabeth opens her mouth to make a joke, then remembers she's technically working and shoves another pear slice into it instead.

"You would be more than welcome to ask one of my quintuplet sisters for assistance in neighboring countries however." Elbereth speaks seriously, but common sense indicates this can't be true.

Lobelia opens her mouth, then closes it, looks at the empty tea mug, then back to Elbereth. "You won't be coming with on the voyage…? I haven't had a cup of tea like that in years." She sighs. "Ah well, I'll just have to remember the tavern that you are working at and request another. It will be something to look forward to when we return from the Arcolith." She nods appreciatively, like she fully intends to find them.

"Lady Mcgunnery has been reluctant to let me come. With her approval I would be more than willing to accomodate. Together with your good graces I'm certain we can change her mind." Elbereth smiles.

"I was under the impression y'weren't givin any consideration to my desire to not bring ya along." Elizabeth sourly mumbles in the maid's direction.

Lobelia crosses her arms, then turns back to Elizabeth and nods. "Are you worried she will get hurt? I give you my word, I will protect her."

Lady_Elizabeth sighs, rubbing at her face. "…Are y'goin to do this with everyone we talk to ta make it that much harder to ditch ya, Beth?"

Lobelia suppresses a laugh. "You had best hope the next person you interview doesn't appreciate good tea as much as I do, if your heart is already wavering."

"Certainly not. I simply intend to do my utmost best to accomodate the crew of your ship and make their lives easier on this journey. It would truly be unfortunate if they grew accustomed to these living conditions and they were suddenly stripped away. Awful for morale." Elbereth is still all smiles.

Lady_Elizabeth rolls her eyes. "We already had this big thing 'bout this and ya won, pull it back a bit."

Elbereth nods with a smirk on her face. "As you wish, Lady Mcgunnery."

Elizabeth shakes her head. "…Anyway. We're settin' out in a week, and got enough supplies for a week. Gunna do some initial scouting around, see what we can salvage in three days, then head back to Leviathan and figure out how to proceed from there."

"Lady Wintervine, we have been asking most of the questions tonight. Do you have any of your own?" Elbereth inquires.

Lobelia nods. "I already asked if you were coming on the voyage, of course. I do believe it's uncommon to be hiring a new crew from scratch for such an expedition… What of your usual scavenging crew?" The first comment, directed at Elbereth. The second, to Elizabeth.

Elizabeth responds: "Shore leave. Most of 'em are in sore need of some R&R after our last, uh, treasure hunt. There was a mindflayer involved."

"A mindflayer. Yes, I can see how most would need extensive rest after that. You pick some interesting battles, Lady McGunnery." Lobelia smiles, and extends a hand over the table. "As long as this expedition is at least equally as interesting, joining your crew will be my pleasure."

Lady_Elizabeth leans forward, shaking Lobelia's hand again.
"We weren't exactly expecting it, ta be fair… but yeah."

Elbereth gives a slight bow to Lobelia. "Safe travels with your other work, Lady Wintervine. You may be hard pressed to provide escorts to anyone without a ship here, but there are many crooks who are eager to prey on the desperates coin."

Lobelia pops the last of her fruit bowl into her mouth. "And to you, as well. Until next week, then, Captain. It was a pleasure to meet you both." She curties to both, the plates on her skirt clanking against one another awkwardly, before she picks up her weapon and heads back out to handle the rest of her daily odd-jobs.


After allowing a few moments to pass, Elizabeth turns back to Elbereth. "…So… that was definitely A Choice for the first potential candidate."

Elbereth smiles. "Just wait until you see the others we have lined up today."

"Uugh, hirin' crew is the worst."
"I gotta ask though, earlier. Where y'implyin' she actually was some kind of high class defector, or…?"


Just outside the shop, Lobelia presses her plated knuckles onto the sides of her head and yowls quietly to herself. "(You have GOT to acquire a taste for coffee one of these days, dammit! That maid obviously read you like a book! aaaaaaaa)"

Elbereth gets up and places the guest plates on to her trolley. "Not at all, my lady. She simply came from a wealthy family. Her admiration for imperial tea could just as easily be an import. I had over a dozen on hand, after all."

"…Hmm… alright, then." Elizabeth sighs. "Maybe I'm just being paranoid, it's not like word's even been on the street for more than a day or two and they don't really have much of a presence in the city… yet…"

"For a band of treasure hunters, I am rather surprised that none of the applicants thus far have discussed how spoils will be distributed."

"Well, she seemed more interested in the trip itself than any potential rewards at least."

"Something I can relate to, certainly. She seems to know her way around in a fight if her attire is any indication."

"Yeah. Ah well, lets get on with the next one then."

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