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Mina smiled confidently. The mission sounded rough, but someone of her caliber should be able to manage, besides she wasn't sure why exactly she had washed up on these foreign shores. Maybe she was destined to help this group out in their mission.

 

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"A code name you say... hmmm let's see...." Mina scratched her chin as she tried to come up with a code name. "Oh how about Mjölnir! would that work?"

 

 

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Shin gets sent tumbling to the ground by Tabitha's punch. "S-sorry.."

Briefly, a little intrusive thought entered Lizaveta's mind -- an inexplicable thought that somewhere, someone was getting scammed by the merchant class.   But she was on a battlefield, so s

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Justine looked after Kane as the man left. It was obvious the man was off balance, but she wasn't sure if she could do anything about it. She wasn't exactly balanced herself; worries about Ferdiad, her sister, her greater family had gnawed at the edge of her consciousness during the wait. 

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"Do you two actually know what joining this group entails? Kane has a point; this is not a small endeavor, and associating yourselves with us is to enrage half the continent."

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Arthur might have said anything— probably in response to Justine and how the whole thing wasn't exactly something to make a snappy decision about. However, before he could do that, he found himself vastly underestimating the muscle mass of his cousin.

 

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"Ngh- Godiva- Not in the middle of everyone-" Yet he wasn't exactly making any sudden movements to get out of the hug. "They were basically the first people I had since I got out of prison- well, they broke me out of prison, but I owed them a debt- as you can see, ultimately I'm finally going to be able to... take on Ruslan... you, er, don't know what... happened... do you...?"

 

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Lucy had been ready to space out, until Ferdiad approached her. She suddenly tensed up, avoiding eye contact— but then Ferdiad's words began to soothe her. Slowly, but surely, she was able to look him in the eyes... Not for too long, however.

 

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"You... You shouldn't. What... what my brother did to you... what War did to you... th-they don't know anything about it. They... They don't understand that... if you were to kill me, y... you would have been..." Lucy sniveled— hiccuping slightly as tears began to surface past her closed eyelids. "...completely... justified. I... I'm sorry... I'm sorry for everything we did to you..."

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“Sorry, sorry, it’s just been so long” Godiva replied, placing the prince back on his feet before taking a step back, smoothing out her coat as she let Arthur speak,

 

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“For the longest time, I had no idea. All I knew was that you vanished without a trace after… Well, two months ago. But what Siegmund said… I could barely believe it. How could Uncle Ruslan do such a thing?” a pained look crossed Godiva’s expression as she thought about the situation again, 

 

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“You’re… Actually planning on killing him, aren’t you? It's okay to tell me, I just want to hear it from you.”

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Arthur's feet met the ground, and he went quiet as Godiva talked. He mostly just responded in that aloof manner— with a few nods and an occasional 'yeah.' It wasn't until Godiva asked her question that made Arthur really stop and think.

 

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"...Honestly, I don't know what I want to do with him at this point. I loathe him... But everyone was so willing to let a complete scumbag like King Darcy rot in captivity..." Arthur let out a deep sigh. "...I wish I knew what'd make me happy. Sometimes it feels as if... nothing's going to make me happy."

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A whole bunch of new members before their biggest operation yet? Adelaida & Godiva he was alright with. They both at least have shown to everyone to be both competent and trustworthy. But these two newcomers dragged in by Mim & Shin, unsurprised it was these two who brought them, he was more than a little skeptical. He had a gut feeling that these two would be more than just a handful and hopefully he was wrong.

 

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However, suddenly Baldur's vision began to blur. He entire body felt heavy, his eye lids closing on him before.   .   .   .

 

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His eyes snapped back open as he catches himself before he completely collapsed. Holding his head up with his hand, standing on one knee he lets out a soft grunt before pushing himself back up. There were a lot more wounded down there than what he had hoped, and after the battle prior along with... the incident... it was no wonder his body felt exhausted. However, they still have a job to finish and he won't soon rest until it's completed. He just hopes no one saw that.

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Mina didn't seemed phased in the slightest by Justine's warning. This wasn't the first and certainly wouldn't be the last time she voluntarily joined up with a group fighting against the odds.

 

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"Only half? I have dealt with far worse in my travels already there is no need to worry about me, besides if this mission is as dangerous as you claim it is, you need all the help you can get"

 

The sage gave the group a reassuring smile. She didn't like the idea of backing off now, especially after hearing the group's plight, so there was no way they were going to talk her out of helping. 

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He's silent as Lucy stammers out his own justification for him, the justification he's repeated to himself for over a year. Of course, he doesn't need to hear it from her. And he's not going to refute her. As she curls up into a tighter, trembling ball, however, and her words begin to crack under the strain of incoming tears, his gaze slides away — down, off to the side — expression remaining unreadable.

 

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"War..." he starts, as if testing the name out. "She came earlier."

 

Behind Baldur rapidly draining of color, there stood another, flagrant red tresses unhooded; a strangely delicate face frozen in shock. )

 

He clears his throat and looks back to Lucy, has to school his tone into something less fierce than before, despite how much he wants answers. ( Any answers. To anything. )

 

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"You... worked together for some time. Who is she? Or, do you know where she came from?"

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“I see… I suppose that’s something we can only answer when we get to it” Godiva replied in a solemn tone, casting her eyes down for a moment before suddenly shaking her head, lifting it back up with a semi-forced smile,

 

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“Anyway, let’s not get too hung up on that right now, tell me about Virtuous. How many of them are your friends? What are they like?" she began, her cheerfulness become less and less forced as she went through the various questions in her mind. She had spent a lot of time thinking about Virtuous, and now all of her questions could finally be answered in the form of her cousin.

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Lizaveta found that, in the end, she didn't actually have the energy to get involved in the christening and greeting of the new members of the group. Actually, she really found that... it was hard to do much of anything. Maybe it was the strain of all that had happened that day, the fighting, the worry, and of course the agonizing poison that had paralyzed her and wracked her with pain. ...maybe it was something more familiar weighing her down, creeping back in around the edges of her frayed psyche after all this time. It was probably the latter. She didn't really know what to do with that information. So she sort of ended up... sitting down and leaning against something, silently watching people come in, mill around, and talk.

 

Shin looked disheveled - had something happened to him again? Lizaveta hoped not, but... well, he never was all that lucky, was he?

 

There was something else that caught her eye, too - Baldur seeming to be the most exhausted besides her and Shin, and nearly falling right to the floor. It was a little bit ironic, actually, Baldur ending up in a grouping that otherwise consisted of her and Shin. She kept her gaze on Baldur, and spoke a little distantly. Quietly, but as Baldur wasn't actually that far from her, probably not inaudibly to him.

 

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"...a little funny."

 

She didn't feel sadistic glee at his state, but she wasn't sure she really felt concern either. She wasn't quite sure what she felt... as usual, recently. Grim, maybe. Some sort of... mixture of... irony, and bitterness, and grimness, and... it was hard to pick apart. Everything was hard to pick apart, recently.

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"It's good to hear that you're prepared. We could use a smiling face or three; the events lately have exhausted at all." She glanced briefly at Baldur; his lapse hadn't gone unnoticed.

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Shin was still trying to recover from the.. great sage's impact from earlier. He didn't have the energy to do much explaining to the other, so he left it in the other's hands. Though, he did walk up to the tall, aloof looking woman.

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"Ey.. B0ss, was it? Would you like to store all that meat you have?" He says, pointing towards the pieces hung up. "It's probably not as cold here as it is where you're from.. so it might go bad if we don't put it away properly. I could help you with those, if you want..?"

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Realizing a bit too late that he was standing next the Scarlet Brat, Baldur side-eyed Lizaveta with a grimace. While he would LOVE to tear into her about her little mumblings, which he could only assume was aimed towards his little moment of exhaustion. Baldur wasn’t about to let himself cause a scene in front of new recruits in enemy territory.  .  . a second time. Clicking his tongue and puffing out a small puff of air from his mouth, he turn and walked away from the Scarlet Brat. Heading towards a separate room entirely. Though if one was watching closely, they could see him reach into his suit pocket and pulling out a canteen before the door shuts behind him.

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Lucy nodded vigorously in response to Ferdiad's first statement. She was silent for a brief moment on his second one.

 

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"We've... been really secretive about... who we were. But, I... I know that... all of us were unhappy with... our job, despite how hard we tried to keep our emotions in check. My brother only worked under our father to get to him, to... to get revenge. Famine and War, they... they came from outside of me and my brother's family. I don't even know their names... w-well, War's name, but I know Famine's now... I wish I knew more about War, but..."

 

Lucy felt a lump in her throat— shaking her head more vigorously. It was obvious that she was trying to hold everything together, as to avoid collapsing like a house of cards.

 

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Arthur nodded slowly... Clearly grateful that Godiva was willing to get off of the topic.

 

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"...Well, I suppose I owe them all a debt. Justine and Mim, they're..." Arthur looked over at Mim and Justine— noticing her concern for Mina and Boss with some relief. "...They're great, really. But... sometimes I just... wonder..." Arthur's eyes became glossy for a moment, before he shook his head. "...Never mind. Baldur, he's..." Arthur looked over at the silent argument between Baldur and Lizaveta. "...Well, he's difficult. But... There's a good person deep down past all of the rage. That's what... she always said to me, anyways. Erm... Shin's someone with a good heart, but... you might want to stay close to him." An awkward pause as Arthur looked at a few of the other members of Virtuous. "...I haven't really gotten to know the rest of them."

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"Not much left."
Boss has maybe one, two small parcels. One or two deer only give so much, even if she's been very resourceful with it. Vaughn takes a cut every time too.
"Could dry it. Do you have any salt?"
Salt is a precious commodity when you don't visit a village more than... maybe once a year or so. The longer they're in an area with game, the more she can prepare for a place that doesn't. All of this talking makes her head spin. It's been several summers since she's heard this much talking in one place.
In any case it's good to know that the disheveled-looking man is fine after the fall and doesn't have any hard feelings about it. She didn't think he'd get knocked off his horse.

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"I.. think we should? Um.. have some..."
It was hard to gauge what the woman before him was really feeling. She doesn't seem to talk much.. a thought went across Shin's mind that he might have already been annoying her. I mean he was used to someone straight up punching him upon greeting awhile back.

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"Actually, if there's not much left ..do we really need to if we.. Uh... cook it by tonight, or tomorrow ..or something?"
The usual sweats fall across his face as the conversation goes on. Here's hoping he doesn't immediately piss off someone he's just met. Again.

Also.
Also he kinda wants to try deer meat.
"..The others seem busy, so I could help with that right now if you're hungry too..?"

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"I see. Well, there's always more time to get to know them, for both you and me, Though, if I may ask, what do you mean by staying close to Shin? Does he get into trouble a lot? I know he got shot by a pretty bad poison arrow, but does that kind of stuff happen normally?"

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Of course. Gaze drifts disappointedly to the floor again, weariness of more than just the body seeping into his expression, the fall of his shoulders. No answers. Ceda, his exile, the Icons of Sin, War. Kane and the others insisted there were some answers, which he hears haltingly in Lucy's timorous voice now, too — the Icons of Sin with their own goals, her defection. But none of them feel like answers, as least not the ones he's seeking.

 

What is he seeking? What is this big why that keeps hanging over him, forever unsatisfied?

 

Yet another dead end. But as he exhales deeply through his nose and looks back up at Lucy who looks as though she's about to rattle apart at any moment, he knows that he can't rightfully depose those frustrations onto her — as tempting as it is, as resounding as they are bouncing off like echoes inside his skull.

 

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"... What did you all talk about?" he asks, out of the blue, born of an intrisic desire to soothe that's gone so unused in recent weeks. "You have said you all despised your job, so you must have commiserated about it. Though you all kept your origins secret, what were your days with them like?"

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Mina nodded enthusiastically at Shin's proposal

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"Great idea! Perhaps we could use this as an opportunity to get to know each other better. I for one would love to learn a bit more about this group!

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Shin, a little startled at Mina's sudden pop up, turns to her.

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"A-ah, of course! I think it'd be nice to get to know you two and Godiva better..! I still have to find a way to thank her for helping me with the poison from earlier.." 

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"I'm not hungry."
Boss doesn't even look at him. Despite how sharp her words might sound, the way she says them is utterly neutral--just stating facts.
"...We should finish it today though."

 

Something that might not be immediately obvious: Boss has spices, but she doesn't usually use more than a very small amount, and she reserves most of the salt personally. In a pinch you can live off of just a handful, which she's done before.

Vaughn trudges around in the grass somewhere nearby. Probably looking for mice or something.

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"If you want to help... you can start a fire."
Boss begins to cut the remaining meat into slices.

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"Ah.. yeah, I can do that.. we also should have some other things we can cook up too, I'll go get a fire going while I see what I can find.."
Shin then turns to Mina.

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"Anything else we're missing..?"

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"A-ah.. I guess you're right.. I go get some wood for a fire to get going.. I should be able to pick up some herbs and mushrooms while I'm at it..."
Despite his trembling disposition, he was actually getting fairly excited.

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"..."  Arthur internally debated whether or not he should avoid bringing up the other Death-related incident for the sake of Shin's integrity. Arthur looked over at Shin— saw how much nicer he looked, then looked back at Godiva. "He just tends to get unlucky from time to time. Said unluckiness tends to lead to him getting injured and he'll often insist he doesn't need the healing. He works great under pressure, but... make sure he doesn't get too hurt."

 

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Lucy shuddered for a moment as her eyes stayed closed and pensive— trying to recall the past. She spoke quietly, as if unsure of herself.

 

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"We started... wholly on business terms, but... Famine would bring us together to talk whether we liked it or not. I know my brother's motivations... um... Famine's never been one to, um, mince words. He'd outright say how much he hated his job, how he wanted to..." Lucy opened her mouth— then quickly closed it, acting as if she had said something even if no words came out. "...He'd always... say it in that usual tone of his voice though, so I was... never really certain if he was telling the truth... u-until I heard that new tone of his come out on the... the caravan mission," Lucy gulped. "War, she... she was much more distant, but she... she was the first one to want to go with my brother's plan to dethrone our father. Famine was okay with it, but War agreed even quicker than he did... she always seemed so- so tranquil, though."

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