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  1. #31
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Walking around.
    Xal Qwaring

    The Diamond Saloon...

    There are times Xal wonders if he would blunder into these sort of situations if he had grown up in Astral. If he had been allowed to develop in a society that embraces situations like this with people like this. A culture that is defined by the sensual and pushing the social boundaries of other provinces.

    Surely, that version of Xalidus would gracefully dance his way through this situation. He would have immediately identified these women for what they were, and engaged them with infinite confidence and charm. However, that version would not be here.

    Xal has heard the stories of other Astral children that were born with the abilities of other provinces. They're extremely rare, but enough to make up a handful of cautionary tales. Those that don't get the training they need to master their power almost always end up achieving nothing. They have no mystical abilities of use. Their true potential will entirely evade them. They become cultural dead-ends for their family. They're shunned and never amount to more than someone to be pitied or occasionally offered some small amount of charity from the more compassionate members of Astral society.

    Instead, Xal is a master of his magical talents. He's an expert in his field of study. He has the job he wished to have. True, he has had to ignore many of his Astralian traits, to the point of them atrophying. He has had to avoid being an Astral man, with their grace, confidence, and charm, but that allowed him to survive life in Taroc. He might be a bit na´ve, and at times awkward, but Xal feels it's better than any of the alternatives life has offered him.

    It is while Cas is explaining the Taroc cherry bomb that Xal plucks up the first glass and begins to drink deeply from it. Xal has never been much of a drinker, but he does know that a drink or two can take the edge off of an awkward situation. It can also make things worse, which is why he only rarely indulges. Right now, Xal is wiling to take the risk.

    It's when he is halfway through the second glass that Tess begins whispering promises of what her special talents can offer to any man with the desire and money needed to partake in her attention. The whispers causes the latest gulp to go down wrong. Xal begins coughing and choking.

    "Uh- I- " he stammers between coughs. "I'm flattered by the attention, but I think I'd rather have a more quiet time on my first night here. A couple- er- three drinks, maybe a little socializing, then I need to go unpack my things and get some rest. Alone.

    "You know, I had the train ride, and then most of a day in the mines. I fell down that elevator shaft. Almost died there. I think a quiet night, with no more extraneous activity involved, is what I need right now."

    Xal would continue his rambling, but a group of miners bumps into him on their way to the bar. The group is too involved in loudly talking and laughing with the miner in the midst of their gathering to notice the mechanic they bump past. The miner of interest, the stout, rust haired Gabe, holds a bag in his tree trunk arms. He deposits the bag onto the bar, as he leans over it. A joyous smile stretches out between reddened cheeks.

    Xal turns his interest towards the group of miners and the bag now sitting on the bar, as it's a much needed distraction.

    "Cass, take a look at this beauty," Gabe proudly says. He pulls the bag away revealing a foot and half tall toy soldier. It's an intricately crafted creation of tin and brass. It's in the shape of an Astral legionnaire in full armor and armed with a sword and shield. Any who has spent any amount of time around Gabe will imagine this is a lot like Gabe would have looked back when he fought with the legion in one of the endless supply of war stories he is always happy to share with anyone that will listen to him.

    The one story he hardly ever tells, except for him most trusted friends and on occasion a bartender with the sympathetic ear, is how his time in an Astral legion came to an end. When a his entire squad was taken out by Maginus bombardment. Captain Gabrialus Blossius Ventor was the only survivor, but the head wound he suffered from the explosion had caused too much brain damage for him to continue fighting for Astral. He found focusing on crafting spells or performing complex battle strategies slip away into a fog that lingers about his thoughts.

    Eventually the War ended and Gabrialus decided to leave Astral, where his injuries and impairment only reminded others of the horrors of a war their entire society sought to forget and ignore. He wandered for years, making a living off of whatever manual labor would pay him a living wage. Eventually, he arrived at Harmony Point. Here he's found a place where his lack of magic isn't a hindrance, and great strength has earned him a comfortable life. Here he found a woman to love and marry. Here they have a son that listens to every tale of his father's former life as a noble protector of a faraway land. Here where everyone calls him Gabe, and knows him as a good, honest man that would gladly lift the entire mountain upon his shoulders if he thought that would earn his family the happiness and safety he wants to give to them.

    "I got this beauty at that auto-toy shop," Gabe beams. He picks up and holds out the toy, as if it were a miraculous gift from the gods themselves. In reality it is one of the many robotic toys offered at the local toy shop. It's a thing of metal, gears, a spark of alchemy to power it, and a magical enchantment to make it invulnerable to the constant abuse suffered by anything that exists entirely to be a child's plaything.

    "Old Gabe's bought himself a new pal," One of the miners laughs as he takes a mug of beer that is floated to him.

    "Maybe it'll help him push them ore carts faster," another miner says with a chuckle. Gabe laughs along, and gives the miner a playful shove in retaliation.

    "Nah, boys," Gabe distantly replies as he continues to marvel at the toy. "This is what my Andy has been asking for ever since he saw it in the shop window months ago. I've been breaking my back pushing ore around so I could get that big bonus and afford this little guy."

    Gabe sets down the metal soldier and takes the mug of beer that is floated to him.

    "Andy says he wants to play out some of the stories I've been telling him," Gabe tells everyone. "Because he said 'a legionnaire is nothing without another legionnaire to watch his back'. Just like I always told him. He's a smart one, that kid of mine."

    Gabe won't need to explain to Cas why this toy now stands on the bar. It's here for safekeeping. Many will walk into the bar with something of value on them. Things that they don't want to have trampled by a miner that has had too much to drink, risk being lost in a game of chance, stained by a spilled drink, or simply to prevent them from forgetting this treasured item and leaving it behind after a few mugs of beer washes away their ability to recall such simple matters. Cas offers the safety of his bar for his regular customers. Leave your treasure here and Cas will ensure you walk out with it intact. It's what loyal and regular patronage earns the miners of the town.

    Xal stares at the metal soldier. It's a thing of wonder. Mechanical, but much of its clockwork is masterfully hidden beneath the sculpted form of an Astral soldier. Xal can almost smell the spark of alchemical energy that beats inside of the toy. The internal mechanics implies that this toy is able to move on its own, possibly perform preprogrammed actions. However, the way it moves in the miner's hand makes it appear as if the toy is flexible enough to be moved by others. Xalidus can't guess how the rigidity of self locomotion could be accomplished along with the flexibility and pliability required in something that is meant to be manipulated by a child.

    As Xalidus is soon lost in fascinated interest in how this mechanism could possibly function, he begins to absentmindedly sip at his third drink.

    Meanwhile, a few of the group of miners begin to shift their attention away from celebrating Gabe's new purchase, with cheerful words or good natured jokes, and focus on the pair of lovely ladies that sit next to the suddenly inattentive mechanic. This attention gradually becomes more pronounced and obvious in the few of the group who have had the more enriching day spent in the cold, lonely mines. These men have bonuses of extra gold coins, and lurid ideas for how they'd like use their good fortune this night.

  2. #32
    Harmony Point: The East Entrance of Town, at the Post Office

    Silenha Mak'ato and Shonard Brummel, Post Master General

    "There is nothing? Still?"

    It was an odd mixture of two worlds: a woman dressed like a Shamaa native in the airs of the towns Provincial Post Office. Silenha kept her glaive sheathed. The first time she'd worn it into the Post Office, the first time she'd stepped inside she'd nearly caused the entire building to go into a panic. A woman of her type had not been seen in Harmony Point, not in a very long time. She and the Post Master had come to know each other on good terms, but now, when she entered, his face wilted as it had done the past several months. She knew already, before it was her turn at the counter, that there was no mail from Mirian. There had been no communication with the town in months.

    "I'm sorry, Miss Mak'ato-"

    "Shonard... It's Silenha."

    The Master General offered her a smiled that was wrapped in kindness beneath the exuberance of his mustache.

    "Silenha" he said gently, apologetically "Mirian has been out of communication for months now."

    "I know, Shon."

    "Maybe Neelix has anything he's sorting through? Nelix!"

    The Town Carrier's balding head popped out from the sorting room. Nelix had been a member of this office far longer than Rynan had been its Master General, but he'd insisted he didn't have the smarts for clerk work. He was older now, getting on in years, but there was no life left for him outside of Harmony Point. He had a son who'd gone off back to Taroc decades ago. He'd received letters. He'd met a pretty girl, red head. They'd had children who were nearly grown by now. He kept his most recent holo-picture of them tucked inside the brim of his hat. The image shifted from his son' family to a picture of he and his wife on their first date. She'd passed some years back. He was too old to travel now.

    "Aye, Shon?"

    "Anything from Mirian today?"

    The Post Master lifted his bushy eyebrows to the brim of his hat of office. Neelix leaned further around the doorframe and smiled a pleasant smile- for having fewer teeth than was common- at the Shamaa woman waiting hopefully beyond the front desk.

    "Ah, Silenha! Good eve to you, fair one. How's the children doing?"

    "They're well, Neelix. Growing like weeds of the grasslands."

    "They do that, young miss. Before you know it, they've flown your nest and have gone across the kingdom to make their fate or fortune."

    He ducked back into the sorting room. There was the sound of fast rummaging and letters shuffling and moving at an inhuman pace.

    "How about those beasties of yours?" he called out. "Still well under your care, I bet?"

    "As well as they can. We had another raid last night."

    A sharp tsking sound came from his room.

    "A shame, that. What's that, seven this month?"

    Silenha smiled sadly. She wondered what the Marshal would say if he were close enough to hear.

    "Something like that" she whispered.

    Neelix popped his head back out. He wore the same wilted look of sorrow as the Post Master General upon her arrival.

    "I'm sorry, Miss. There's nothing here from Mirian. I'll keep a weather eye out for it, though. Deliver it myself to that ranch of yours."

    She shook her head gently.

    "There's no need for that, Neelix. You know I'll just be back here tomorrow."

    Neelix offered her a toothless grin.

    "Alright, miss. Take care then! See you on the morrow."

    He disappeared back into the sorting room and the letters fluttering in their courses resumed their noisy journeys into their appointed slots. Silenha could not help the exhale of disappointment. She looked down and tried to hide it, but there was no hiding it.

    "I'm sorry" Shon said, truly meaning it. "For your little girl."

    Silenha nodded and smoothed back hair from her braid.

    "Is she not talking still?"

    "Not yet."

    The Post Master lifted a finger and wagged it approvingly at her.

    "That's what I like about you, Silenha. You've always got some form of hope about you, especially concerning your little ones."

    The smile she almost afforded him was a sweet one, kind.

    "She'll talk for you" he said. "When she's ready, she will talk."

    Silenha nodded and her voice became achingly quiet.

    "Thank you, Shon."

    "Be safe on your journey home, Silenha."

    When she exited the Post Office, Natsalane was waiting for her, staring at her with his intelligent eyes. To her Qirin's, she offered the rest of the smile she almost gave the Post Master. As they started out west, back down the Main Street, night had begun to fall on Harmony Point.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 04-08-2018 at 08:44 PM.
    *The Golden Goddess|The Goddess of All Motherless Secundae*
    *Dexter to the Core|Council of Guidance|Matriarch of Poetry*
    -Official #2 fan of Greg Land|#1 fan of Reesha Teramu & Nevole|#3 fan of Gareth|#4 fan of Arwyn
    1656OF56**Beeber Heads Unite!**4270

    \"You know me: everything detailed and long, blah blah blah.\" (Brath OOC)

  3. #33
    Harmony Point: The Diamond Saloon

    Castillo Rockwell, Tender and the Ladies of the Diamond Saloon: Tess, Liza, Jane, Luelle and Bess

    The tender and owner of the Diamond Saloon's deep brown eyes blink several times in astonishment and amazement as Xal down the first drink pf three poured for him. A part of him pouts just momentarily. Drinks such as the inviting mixture of Astralian lilac Liquor and Taroc Cherry Bomb were meant to be sipped and savored. At least there were two more glasses. Perhaps when the girls weren't digging their wanting nails into the poor fellow, he might actually enjoy the drink for what it was.

    The Taroc mechanic starts coughing and choking. Cas, having well kept the thoughts to himself, simply shook his head and returned to wiping down his bartop and the various mugs and glasses within. As he stutters a reply to the saloon girl who can foresee pleasures simply with a look, Cas tried- partially failed- to suppress a grin. He made his way a little farther down the bar to save the man some of his overflowing embarrassment.

    Tess, on the otherhand, laughed a genuine laugh and put a gloved hand to her chest. The second of her gloved hands went to Xal's hand, half to steady herself and half to reassure him.

    "Well, when you have your strength back I can-"

    The succulent offer is cut short of its true potential as a pile of miners bump and shove their way to the bar. Tess is squeezed out of her prize spot in front of Xal and buffered around to the side occupied by Liza. The annoyance and plight of Tess goes unnoticed as Cas is called over to the group before a complaint can be made. The tender raised a black eyebrow as he sets down the mug and rag in hand to investigate the so-called beauty brought in. The eyebrow is further arched at the sight of the toy. Cas, though not at all a thing of interest to him personally, he makes it an interest because it interests one of his customers. He came to a stop directly across the bartop from Gabe and set his hands apart on the ledge of to lean in and carefully observe the toy soldier brought in. Something sad touched the corners of Cas's eyes as he smiled at Gabe. he knew about Gabe's war stories. He knew them all, had commmited many to memory. He remembered the ones least told aloud the most right aside the ones most told. One of sadness the other of pride. He was a good, honest man. He'd often told the miner, over his heavy mug in his large hand, of what a good catch his wife had made in him.

    The toy is held out proudly. As a general rule, Cas leans closer, but makes no move to touch the cherished object. The bar is a divider between he and his customers. Unless he comes out form behind it, he does not physically engage. It's a little-noticed thing by many, even some of his own call-girls. There were two who'd noticed and he'd dodged any conversation about the topic until one had dropped it. The other was smart enough to know not to ask when Cas so visually avoided a direct answer. He listens to their brotherly jests with a smile behind his mustache and beard. While the men talk, Cas motioned with his hands and several cleaned mugs clink lightly as they float down from their holding places and into hsi waiting hands. There is a gentle rush of hop-smell as the mugs are filled with foaming refreshment from taps lined up around the inner ring of the bar. When filled at precisely the right time, the mug is floated toward its drinker. Cas knows what each of them likes. There are hundreds of miners that work many varying shifts, but he knows them all and what they like best and when. There was a hint of orange glow around the edges of his dark brown irises as he listens while he completes his job.

    "You don't say?" Cas calls out to the miner when he mentions his son re-enacting his old stories.

    The toy on the bartop is given a glance. Cas opened his mouth to ask if the gift for his son needed to go behind the bar. If that was the need, he would handle the item with great care and deposit it behind the wards in place to ensure nothing was stolen, marred, or broken behind the bar top. It has to go behind the bar, that's the rule, otherwise Cas won't touch it. It has to be asked or told. But the music on the stage had stopped. The sudden lack of Bess's voice was replaced by Bess's shouts. There is a growing noise at the stage front, one that caught Cas's attention and took it away before he could ask if Gabe would like the treasure stowed behind the bar. The stage is designed and enchanted to project the voices of the singers atop it. The angry jaunts of the too-drunk miners piled there are also partially projected.

    "Cas!" Bess yelled as something was thrown her way. Whatever it was shattered on the backdrop of the stage behind it. Amber liquids dribbled down the hand-painted screens. "Cas! Get over here!"

    Bess's voice held an edge of panic. A voice was raised at her, something about getting the dark-skinned Da'Jinn girl off stage. A want for a proper Western girl instead and a whole bunch of political upchuck that belonged everywhere but in a saloon, the only saloon in town for that matter, owned by a Da'Jinn man. Cas allowed a growl to escape the corner of his mouth as he moved swiftly to the vertical door of the bartop, opened it and stepped out. He hesitated only to flip two fingers in a 'move' motion. Several more mugs floated down to the keg taps, self-filled and set themselves up to be drunk as needed.

    "Excuse me, gentlemen. Someone's had a little too much to drink" the Da'Jinn bartender growled and stalked over to the stage area of the saloon.

    It was only the beginning of the "Rowdy Time" as the Marshal joked dryly on occasion. The nights at the saloon were always the busiest, the loudest and the more rife with problems. As Cas sought to deal with, what would be the first of many incidents to surely come, the ladies of his saloon sought to work out their own as well. Miffed that she had been pushed aside what had once looked to be a promising score for the night, Tess had crossed her arms beneath her corseted chest and chewed on her ower lip. Liza tried to coax the new mechanic into another conversation, but when the large miner brought out the trinket for his son, she could not seem to rouse the mechanic from his fascination with the toy. Liza looked pitifully at the red-haired prospect beside her and then gently slipped her arm from his. The girls recognized a lost cause when they saw one.

    Across the bar, Jane's group let out a raucous set of laughs. When Tess looked over, Jane was atop the lap of one of the more eager men of the group. He was whispering at her ear, words Tess could imagine- having probably heard them herself a time or two- and the way one hand laid upon her hip only confirmed it. Jane laughed audibly, something the man before her most likely loved. Her eyes made their way over to Tess. She blew her co-worker a big kiss and then held out her hand. Already she had a palmful of gold coin for her attentiveness. The girls knew what to look for. The man made no effort to hide the small bag of coin tied to his belt. If he'd wanted to gamble it away, he'd be at the tables already. Tess rolled her eyes and looked for something to cheer herself up with. The rutkus by the stage had grown momentarily worse as Cas intervened in an effort to verbally talk the men into submission or leaving. If the other girls were here, they were engaged with the crowd or privately elsewhere.

    She cared little for the toy that was being ogled. She did care for the hungry way she was being looked at once the excitement over it died down. Immediately, Tess's spirits brightened and she straightened with a knowing look to her eyes. Her blue-green eyes locked with one of the men who had the confident want that accompanied the coin to spend it on. Tess slid herself next to his and slid an arm low and around his back, brushing him with just enough tease to entice. Liza followed immediately after, finding another two from the group to put on either side of her. Immediately, they engaged the workers with questions about their day, praise for their hard work, worry for how hard they worked, all smattered with delicate touches, giggles, large eyes and promises whispered into increasingly intoxicated ears for a night's worth of fun and relief for the right amount of coin.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 05-20-2018 at 08:14 PM.

  4. #34
    Northeast of Town: The Mankato Ranch House

    Cammi and Red McClure and the Children

    Their evening chores were done before the sun had set completely behind the mountains to the west. The Great Swells in the Province of Maginus robbed Harmony Point of precious daylight at the end of their day, whole the dunes to the east in Da'Jinn tried to hog the morning light for themselves. It seemed both lands wanted their piece of something from the little town, in sunlight and in other things. Normally, Cammi would have complained that they'd rushed through their work, which was unfair to the Qirin, but considering last night's raid on their ranch, the younger McClure twin would not hold it against them.

    The children, normally hard to get inside for the night even after the last light of the sun had disappeared, had retreated to the common areas between their respected rooms. Sil's orca had long since gone, in whatever way was normal for Animal Spirits, to its human. In mother-like fashion, Saradi was tending to Ginnevy in an adorable show of caring. Though younger, the much more talkative Da'Jinn girl cared for the mute Taroc girl as if she were just short of helpless. Cammi wanted to put a stop to it, but Silenha had quietly had her observe it not from the sometimes tiresome angle of Saradi's non-stop locomotion, but from the quiet appreciative angle of Ginnevy. The hazel-eyed girl occasionally smiled when Saradi was not looking, though still talking away, in silent appreciation for the younger one's caring heart. Saradi even went so far as to try to teach her mute counterpart Da'Jinn from her textbook or as she tried to decipher and question Ginnevy on the runes she was studying. She never did get answers ot attempts from the other, but the bond was there, one Cammi now did not try to break. The older children, Isilia and the brothers Darin and Albern, sat in the Commons and talked.

    None of them had eaten. None of them wanted to without Silenha home, though food had been in a slow-cook for most of the day. The ready smells wafted around the house and out into the near reaches of the open night air.

    Cammi stood on the wrap-around porch of the Ranch House and looked out into the open lands of the Man'kato Ranch. Even in the growing loss of daylight, she could see the glint of opalescent horns and bumps of the male and female Qirin as they openly grazed in the lush pasturelands without the harshness of the sun to beat down on their semi-scaled hides. She leaned against the railing with her arms crossed atop it and gazed outward with her brown eyes. Each spot of movement was noted, catalogued as human or beast, familiar or a potential danger. Not a one of them was her brother. Red had not returned from his patrol of the fences yet. There was a gentle, but dry breeze blowing off the western, faraway mountains.

    A soft sound she knew to be the cloven, padded hooves of a Qirin came around the far side of the house from where she stood. As if sensing her concern, her brother came trotting around the corner. His lightly muscled frame bounded with ease right ins stride with his ride. His red hair was wind-swept and there was dirt on his face.

    "Just checking in. I knew you'd be out here." he said to her as slowed to a stop before her. Red bent to adjust the specialty bridle on his Qirin. "Everything looks alright along the northwest and eastern fence-line. I still need to check the south."

    Cammi's brown eyes looked east and south from where she leaned against the porch rail. Worry painted the freckles scattered across her face. Red's rustling grew quiet. He sat back up in his saddle.


    She took her eyes from the horizon or glowing starlight and backdrop of dark, sandy dunes. No man-made lights. Just stars.

    "I need you here tonight" she said in her own quiet, stern way.

    Red's face hardened. The Qirin beneath him shifted with his shift in mood.

    "I will be here."


    "Do I need to pinky promise?"

    Cammi closed her mouth. She looked down a moment.

    "I'm not just asking for me, Red. The kids need you here. They feel safer when you are. We all do and we are stronger when we're together."

    Red's Qirin shifted again as its rider's lips pursed. he looked down now and patted the animal gently. It stilled under his touch.

    "Yea. I know" he muttered and guided his ride around to the east. "I need to finish my patrol."


    "I'll be back before-"


    He sighed loudly and reigned in his ride. He looked over his shoulder at her. He made sure his eyes locked with her's.

    "I'll be here" he exasperated. Cammi took her turn to purse her lips. She nodded quietly.

    "Alright. Don't be long."

    She lifted up off the porch and, taking the signal that they were done here, Red spurred his ride forward. Cammi watched him ride off for a long moment, due east, before taking a long walk around the porch to the main entrance by the long, dirt drive that lead back to town. There were man-made lights on this side of the house. The night-life of the town was beginning to alight into the early stages of its fervor. There was no sign of Sil, her Spirit Animal or Natsalane. Cammi crossed her arms under her chest against the slight bite of the mountain air and desert cold. She waited a moment more before turning in to check on the children under her charge in Silenha's absence.

  5. #35
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Walking around.
    Xal Qwaring

    The Diamond Saloon...

    The unwanted dramas on and around the stage draws everyone's attention. Those that have had too much drink and little to no sense can often provide an entertaining show for the other patrons.

    The only one not turning to look at, or moving towards, the stage is Xal. He seems not to notice the halted song and the raised voices. Instead, Xal is focused entirely on the mechanical soldier toy. It feels like he's trying to understand this small contraption through a thick, heavy haze. If he thought about it a moment, he might realize that two quickly downed drinks on an entirely empty stomach has brought him to a swift and deep state of intoxication. He doesn't think about it. Instead his passion for understanding and mastering technology is in full command of his remaining senses.

    This is always how it is when Xal gets drunk. His inhibitions fall away and his instincts to understand everything mechanical becomes a full obsession. A sober Xal can contain this desire. A drunk Xal is a slave to it.

    The toy is surprisingly light. It weighs no more than one of the mugs floating around the bar. Xal expected a machine-filled tin toy to weigh a bit more than that. Maybe it contains more magic than Xal would think. The cogs inside are unexpectedly small. Xal guesses they must be difficult to work with. Though, these small gears and bits are incredibly resilient. Xal assumes they must be alchemically treated to resist a great deal of wear and tear.

    Ah! And then there is this power supply. A small glowing marble in the heart of this tin soldier. It's alight with a spark of mystical power, swirling in a tiny soup of alchemical potentiality. It's a masterfully designed melding of two different cosmic forces. The mining automatons have a similar heart. It's the size of a ripe cantaloupe and can power those titanic machines for decades. Xal guesses that this smaller version will give this toy five years of life.

    Then there's the programming cylinder inside of this mechanical soldier. A plate of copper rolled up around a crudely enchanted crystal. The crystal resonates in a frequency to match the words of the one playing with the toy, this signal then bleeds out into the cylinder to generate a specific series of electrical jolts to send the various systems of the toy into action. It's all so simple, built from already developed technologies, but it's all been miniaturized by some act of engineering genius.

    "What?" Gabe croaks in horror as he turns around to see Xal has most of the toy disassembled and scattered out on the bar in front of him. The large miner, like almost everyone else, had been watching the events unfolding around the stage. Only now does he see the prized gift being pulled to pieces.

    Rational thought slips away from Gabe. Red rage fills every part of him as he roars savagely and leaps upon the drunk mechanic.

    Xal is startled as the enraged miner takes hold of the Xal's jacket. Gabe lifts Xal up from his stool. Clockworks from the disassembled toy spill out of Xal's hands and rain down onto the barroom floor. Various miners turn away from the stage and look towards Gabe and the man he is lifting up over the ground. None here have ever heard the gentle hearted Gabe utter any sound out of hate. His growls and shouts are entirely alien to them.

    Xal is slammed down into a table, which collapses beneath the man's weight and the force that Gabe is swinging him around with. All breath flies free from Xal's chest, leaving the intoxicated man confused and gasping. He hurts everywhere.

    "YOU BROKE IT!" Gabe savagely shouts as he lifts Xal back up and slams him into the bar.

    Gabe's friends eventually begin to figure out the source of the large man's rage, and look at the pieces of the dismantled toy. A wave of anger washes over these men. A great crime has been committed against one of their own. These men are like brothers. When one is hurt by an outsider they all retaliate as one.

    Soon a dozen angry miners are by Gabe's side. They take hold of Xal's limbs. The mechanic tries to say something, anything, to defend himself. Something to explain to them all that there's no need to attack him. That the toy can easily be put back together. He didn't mean any harm. Unfortunately the mingling of intoxication and having his head slammed into a table and a bar leaves him unable to summon the words his coughing, gasping lungs couldn't grant him anyway.

    "It's that new mechanic," one of the enraged miners growls.

    "Ease up, Gabe," another miner tries to reign in his friend, before the large man does something he'll regret. "We'll deal with this $#!*head together."

    "Let's teach him he can't mess with us," another rages.

    Gabe begins to nod his head to the other miners. They're right. There are traditions for dealing with outsiders that try to hurt the miners. A punishment. Gabe never gave such things any thought, and often thought it was needlessly cruel, but right now he can only see how much this mechanic deserves such treatment.

    A sack is pulled over Xal's head. The mechanic tries to struggle against the miners, but there's too many of them, and they have all of the strength that years pushing ore have granted them. Xal's jacket is torn from him, and shreds of it is used as makeshift bindings to tie Xal's hands behind his back. As they bind and blind the mechanic, the horde of angry miners drag him out of the saloon. This angry mob of a dozen miners flows out into the street.

    Cruel punches and kicks are given to Xal as they drag him down the street. Xal struggles as best he can. He pleads with them to stop what they're doing and to release him. The miners reply to his words with more punches and kicks.

    They pull him through the gangway between buildings. Their vengeful gang emerges behind the row of buildings lining main street and drag their prisoner northward. They drag and beat Xal out of town and off towards the darkened wilderness beyond sight of Harmony Point. This is what they do to an outsider that's dumb enough to hurt any of the miners. They take them out of town, blind and helpless, and leave them out in the wilderness to fend for themselves and to find their way back to civilization. If they can't coexist with the miners of the town, then they should try surviving away from them, out in the desert where the animals or bandits will keep them company.

    Eventually, the angry men are satisfied they have dragged the mechanic far enough from town, and toss him into the dry desert ground. Xal lies gasping and senseless. They get a few more kicks in before turning away from the bound man, and walking back towards town. One of the miners uses his foot to sweep away at their tracks, leaving Xal with no hint of which way it is to town.

  6. #36
    Harmony Point: The Diamond Saloon

    Castillo Rockwell, Tender and the Ladies of the Diamond Saloon: Tess, Liza, Jane, Luelle and Bess

    There is a slow shift of focus from the stage to the entirely opposite side of the saloon by the bar. The progression is so curiously silent that the saloon's dutiful tender, elbow deep in arguing with an intoxicated patron, does not notice the audience's turn from one drama play to another until it is too late. It is Gabe's savage roar that alerted him. Cas shoved the intoxicated, slur-throwing man to the ground and shoved his way through the crowd. It grew impossibly thicker with each person he cleared as the patrons packed together to witness the outpouring of rage from the usually large, docile miner. Cas shouted and raised his hands for Gabe to stop, but his cries fall upon deaf ears. The volume swelled to proportions that matched the affronted miner's outrage. If something had been done to the normally gentle miner, then it must have been awful for him to bellow so. All of Cas's efforts moved him mere inches closer to the fray. Tess and Liza are shoved back by the miners that had accompanied Gabe to the saloon. They are immediately forgotten as Gabe's rage becomes their own. They are like an angered beehive: unstoppable and full of pain. The wood of the broken gambling table send shards of wood everywhere. Poker chips, broken bar mugs and decks of cards scatter across the floor and become part of the mess of clockwork and gears. Somewhere in the thick of the group, Liza screamed as the mechanic is used as the force to break the table. Tess pulled Liza close and buried her head into her shoulder so she does not witness him being bound, gagged and dragged out the door.

    Cas struggled to keep himself above the crowd as they surged toward the batwing doors of the saloon. His shouts for the miners to wait continued, but the crowd bottlenecked at the doors. There was nothing Cas could do for the new mechanic now.


    Harmony Point: Eastern End of Main Street

    Attachment 2276

    Artor Lawe, Rekōdo Marshal and Lucius Starling, Deputy

    The ride north on Harmony road was quiet. It usually was. As they came by the Town Hall and even larger Exchange House, Artur Lawe, Marshal, reigned in his dust-colored horse with a groan. The sun had long ago surrendered its light behind the mountains in Maginus. Liar'Adon's starry sky, made for his beloved and mortal-love, Deanna, was above them. The groan was not for the heavens above, but for the earthly goings on below. The Marshal ran a gloved hand over his bushy browed face. It was night time, the beginning of "Rowdy Time" when the miners got off the day shift and looked to drink away their laborious troubles. It and the occasional rabble-rouser in the wee morning hours, were the peak times for trouble in the town. The tan-skinned Deputy halted his ride beside the Marshal's.

    "I guess we're not making it to Silenha's for dinner" he muttered glumly.

    The Marshal eyed his Deputy from beneath the brim of his hat. His chin worked and shifted his beard and mustache as it worked.

    "Real disappointed about that, aren't you?"

    Lucius shrugged.

    "She makes good food, Artur. I always feel good after eating at the ranch."

    The Marshal let out a short, gruff laugh.

    "Well let's get this patrol over with then. We still need to head her way and make sure everything's all peaceful-like. Maybe she saved you a plate."

    That seemed to restore Lucius's spirits. The Marshal, though, grumbled deeply.

    "Alright then."

    The Marshal clicked his tongue on the roof of his mouth and his horse started forward. Lucius followed beside him. They did not need to travel far to see trouble ahead. A crowd had spilled out into the street from the Diamond Saloon. Dust was kicked up into the air and hovered foreboding above where they had gathered.

    "There" Lucius said and pointed.

    "Nothing if not predictable" came the Marshal's dry reply. He nudged his horse into a higher gait.

    Cas had finally made it out onto the street. He looked around. His normally pristine shirt and appearance was slightly disheveled. At the top of the steps leading down to the wide, dirt roadway, Liza gripped Tess's elbow. Behind them, many of Cas's girls had gathered into a group at the batwing doors. They all looked rattled. At the sound of hooves, the crowd turned. Several began as non-suspicious looking walk away as they could manage. Better to leave now and come back when things had died down. Some retreated back into the sanctity of the Saloon. Cas jerked around as the Marshal rode up to him. He had his pistol out and Lucius his rifle. Both he and his Deputy made quick work of scanning the surrounding area for weapons drawn or other immediate signs of trouble. Lucius holstered his weapon and drew a golden pocket watch from his breast pocket and flipped it open. The golden glow of it illumined his face as he searched both it and the surrounding area with his eyes.

    "Cas" the Marshal barked so hard that the Da'Jinn bartender jumped. Cas froze under the weight of his icy stare. The Marhsal's horse danced beneath him and he reigned it in. He never broke his eye contact with the man before him. "What happened?"


    North of Harmony Point: The Mankato Ranchlands

    Silenha Mak'ato

    She could not help but feel defeated on the long, slow ride home. She rode in silence with her eyes watching the golden scales of her Qirin glint in the moonlight. She was trying to find words that would only disappoint. She was trying to find the best words she could use even though all they would do was disappoint. What was wrong in Mirian that they could not communicate with the rest of the world? There was no news in or out. Even the squadrons from Maginus and Da'Jinn that came in for their weekly pick-up of Desert Diamonds were tight lipped on the matter. It was beyond frustrating, but much of what could be done was out of her hands.

    The gait of Natsalane changed and Silenha's hazel eyes looked up from their depressed contemplation. The moonlight struck the opalescent horn of her Qirin and reflected beautifully off it. Silenha slowed her Qirin to a stop. Something was off. She dismounted, walked several paces ahead of Natsalane and then crouched down on the ground. Elm Street has long ago whittled down to the dirt, backroad that ultimately lead to the Ranch's entryway and then looped south back toward town. As she crouched low, her eyes scanned the dirt. Then two fingertips reached out and traced over the dirt of the road. Her brow furrowed as she looked at the dirt ahead of her and then to her left where it went into the grass of the gently rolling plains.

    Something had been dragged across the road and into the fields. Her fields. Slowly, Silenha rose from her crouch and drew her glaive from behind her back. She stepped forward off the road and into the grass. Her boots made no sound as she blended in with the knee-high blades that whispered with the warm winds that swept up from the south and east. She ducked low as she traveled, sweeping lo along the ground with wide, carefully placed footsteps. The stars above her illumined the grasslands in a soft, white glow. She could see where the grasses had been righted to hide a path taken into her lands. Her hazel eyes were wide as they scanned the way in front of her. Every whisper of wind through the grass was like a story that only only had to be silent to hear. Behind her, at a reasonable pace away, she could hear the grasses brush against Natsalane's scaled sides and softer underbelly.

    Before her was a silence in the blowing grasses. She crouched a little lower as she approached what she heard as a hole in the symphony of stalks. She held her glaive lower so the moonlight would not catch it and when she came to where the grasses flattened out she parted them gently with a skillful move of quiet fingertips. There is a bound man lying in the grass. It was a sight Silenha had dealt with many times before. She'd taken it up with the mining commission itself, but received no such gratification in them doing a thing about it. Bar fights happened. Bar fights involving one emotionally-hurt miner and his back-up crew dragging an unfortunate soul out of town and dumping them on her lands...? It happened not often enough for any sort of legal intervention, but enough for it to irritate her.

    Silenha sighs and stands abruptly. She whistled lightly, like a nightingale, over her shoulder and Natsalane trotted forward. It's golden-blue eyes blinked at the moonlit sight before them. Silenha stepped into the matted space made by his unceremonious deposit. He's breathing. Good. She nudged the bound man with the butt of her glaive's long hilt.

    "You are trespassing."

    Not an untrue statement, but also not the kindest one.

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