Calder Muireadach

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Everything posted by Calder Muireadach

  1. Spare Me Over Another Year

    He listened a moment, studying... the emotions that ran across her face, the words that seemed unsure and unclear as she tried to untie the knot. It had occurred to him that there may be those he would ferry that were so beaten and battered they might not even understand what it was they needed, or even where they were going. The thought was as painful as watching her struggle. Sigh soft, his features followed suit, arms unfolding and working to untie the knot gently to leave her to her own devices. "C'mon below, I have some food and warm dry clothes you can change into." Eyes gave a last scan over the horizon and darkness that was starting to haze over the depths of water. He knew it was only a matter of time before he started running into push back from his excursions. Mostly so far, just overzealous bigots chasing after those that were different. Now, it seemed more that just that- not that before was any more dangerous. These seemed stronger. Magus. Dipping his toe into the smuggling of the persecuted had eventually tangled with something bigger. What, he wasn't quite sure of yet. He led the way below deck to pull some things out for her. "Then you can tell me what you need, or get a good night's sleep if you prefer and we can talk about where you want to go."
  2. Walking without moving

    He squinted at a flickering TV, cheek stuffed with the most amazing mashed potatoes that existed. Didn’t even really know what the damn things were even ten years into this crazy trip, but he knew they were amazing. What wasn’t great though was the island didn’t have anything more than grainy static television reruns of something. Head cocked slightly to try and figure out what the hell he was watching between drinks from his mug. TV was fascinating and odd at the same time. Slightly annoyed gaze slid over his shoulder at the guy who’d wandered in. He was used to hearing that kind of talk from bars on the slips of New York, the more “progressive” city in the rehabbed world still had tolerance for its naysayers, but here it was just damn dangerous. His friend at the bar glanced at him slightly and he nodded back. That kind of talk had to be met with violence, because… everywhere else did. If they made an exception here, it would mean disaster. He felt bad for the chap, finishing up his meal faster than he wanted to and nodding to Les when he was finished. Bag was picked up, seems he wasn’t staying after all if his gut was right and he had to be relatively fast about it. People that came in were often times being tailed, sometimes at great length, more often close behind. He had to follow his instinct more than intel. The guy got beaten up and thrown out, if he left him out there long he might stumble away into a “real” intolerant pub and end up with a knife in his throat; anyone he brought along was at risk. Odd enough he would put himself in that position by being drunk… …could be a set up. He stepped out onto the sidewalk, squinting up at the dark sky that had stopped its gloomy drizzling momentarily. The world was now a glut of hazy fog. Could be a good thing, could be a bad one. Sure enough, he was on the curb. Now, a guy on the curb in the grand scheme of things could be there for a lot of reasons. Inside, his pub knew why they threw him out, there was no choice. Outside, they knew he was thrown out but not what he’d said. He’d draw attention eventually, eyes moving nonchalantly across the dark streets while he reached into his bag and pulled out a handkerchief he kept for his hair… of all things. Boots stopped moving quietly behind Will and the handkerchief was held over his shoulder for the man’s nose, glancing at his companion. Rucksack plopped on the toe of his boot to rest a moment until he figured this out. “Need to find a place to sleep it off mate. Streets are for shit this time of night.” Seemed innocent enough. Drunk boyfriend, girlfriend trying to figure out what to do. Best case scenario, he would be on the water in moments with a drunk duo heading to New York and cleaning up his decks until they sobered up. Worst case scenario, was unthinkable. He was pausing longer than he should. Contact was hours late. So many variables. Could have left because he was late. The understanding was always to loop back if there wasn’t an immediate threat and leave word with Les. There was no sign of him. Immediate threat, or his contact was dead. “Of all nights…” he said quietly. There was no choice, about to nod and leave them to it when the girl’s eyes flicked around her and he caught the sheen of red. Shit. She obviously was not 'normal', and those eyes were a death sentence here. Her companion? Not sure. Didn't have time to sort it out. “Come with me,” he said under his breath, sleeve of his coat pulled up momentarily to reveal a luminous line of sea green "ink" writing on his forearm. It seemed to have it's own gentle light source, reminiscent of flickering sunlight into the depths of clear waters. Flashing it had worked before on many occasions when time was a concern. He didn't look much like an Outworlder, except that one bit of home... “If you can’t keep up you’re going to die.” No need to sugarcoat. If they were here on purpose, they knew that was a definite possibility. Rucksack was shrugged onto his shoulder and started to make his way back to the docks.
  3. Birth of the Underground Network

    … most certainly not of anger. But loss of control is vulgar. “Seemed controlled to me.” He knew that wasn’t entirely what the man was talking about, but it still was true nonetheless. Lack of emotional control sometimes was the only thing that separated those that kept others alive from those that couldn’t. He had passion and loyalty, which was rare from what he’d seen in this place over a decade. People were too quick to jump to a side that would keep them safe, even if that meant betraying someone that was a protector previously. This felt without honor more often than not. It’s why he stayed aloof. No ties, nobody that needed trusting, saved him the trouble of having to sort it all out- or making ties. This was potentially a tie down. Even the serenity of contemplation somehow suddenly turned all to hell. THIS was what he was worried about. Doing a favor and getting burned. Or being leaned on and not being able to save them. Brow unconsciously furled at the realization, his body already in motion. … and then it was over. He had intended to get up and retake the helm, but didn’t quite make it further than that. Lying there for a long moment- eyes focused on a stationary cloud, reminding him that the boat was still moving lazily in its circle. Side eyes glanced to the elf at his smile, his brows quirking as they went back to the cloud. You do know, I did not need a display of talent to make a decision. A decidedly annoyed cocked brow returned to the elf that somehow ended in an amused eye roll. This was how bromances started. Exactly how. Hands folded on his chest. You are the right man. You know this to be true. “No I’m not.” This time he was able to roll upward smoothly to his feet. Hand ran along the grazed railing. That would need repair. He also needed to check his hull to make sure he wasn’t taking water. He swiftly picked up the unusual blade, naturally spinning it through his fingers as he looked down at it a moment before padding downstairs to return it to the mount. Bare feet then found the railing to walk along like a tightrope artist as he surveyed the sit of the boat in the water. “And if I’m ripped from this world tomorrow, what happens to them then? Same thing that happened to those I was responsible for in my own. Leaderless death.” Slowly the details could be put together in that vague man’s puzzle. His quiet, casual exterior was something so much more dynamic in his own world. Warrior. Leader. Loyal. Fearless. A demeanor that screamed he wasn’t just a battle brute. Never ending guilt that he’d done something to anger the universe and dump him here. When he couldn’t be counted on, he couldn’t let anyone down, which made his next works hard to spit out. The man would be insistent that he was some savior… “I wouldn’t have let you drown you know.” He spider-monkeyed to the spot over where his hull had been repaired. “Be right back.” Step to the side sluiced his form into the water once more to swim around the entirety over the vessel to check. After a few moments, hand appeared on the railing before climbing back up. He squeezed the water from his hair, shirt pulled off to squeeze over the edge and pull back on. Cargo shorts would dry well on their own. “Towels in the apartment if you need them.” They were nice towels. Everything about what he had was nice. Meticulously well-kept though often not the luxury he was used to in his own world. It was hard to replicate metals that looked like gemstones here, or fabric so fine it clung to skin like a second one. Things just didn’t work here like home. So, nice cotton towels it was. Back to the helm, the motor sputtered a moment to start, then hummed to life. He’d probably pissed the guy off, wasted his time. He didn’t seem like the type to like their time wasted. Maybe he was the right man for the job, but part of that was whether or not he wanted the job. He really didn’t feel like not being able to save everyone. He knew that was an unreasonable hope, but was he ready to put himself in a position of have someone trust his strength, and not being able to follow through? That was the rub. “Ocean City,” he said quietly. “Be there a bit after I drop you off. Have to find a new anchor.”
  4. Spare Me Over Another Year

    Mood was sour, the steady thump of water dripping from his clothes breaking his stern silence. One eye was on the dark water ahead of them, the other was on the presences they were leaving behind them. It seemed if not for the swords he’d set on display, they would not have left them alone. He didn’t think this was simply an Outworlder thing. If it was, they would not have backed off. This was a HER thing, and it was beyond his wheelhouse, at least for the moment. Boat slowly moving forward away from danger, footsteps were quiet toward his charge. He didn’t expect her to trust him at his word, so the struggling was expected. Seemed everyone had secrets to tell and he needed to figure out exactly what he was getting into if it wasn’t Outworlder… "I don't like being tied up, I mean I REALLY don't like it." Blade was pulled from the wood, an austere expression watching her a moment. “I don’t like being caught in the middle of something, or sabotaged when I’m trying to do the right thing.” He was quiet. “If I untie you are you going to take a header off the side of the ship again?” Brow quirked and he disappeared to put away his fun toys, returning to lean on the rail and squeeze the water from his hair and re-plait it. Arms crossed finally. He really did feel like chucking her over the edge. “Or do I just kick you off here? Either way you better start talking…”
  5. Birth of the Underground Network

    So many are and no one is caring…. no one is helping…. He was helping, sort of he guessed. Was this guy helping by helping himself? Not sure yet… Some yes… if they choose so. Others merely live on my lands, working it for their own sustenance alone. That choice is theirs… I just offer a place to escape this world. Did they know they had a choice? That was a question that would need to be answered. He wouldn’t “deliver” anyone anywhere until they fully understood that they could step off the boat and disappear forever without feeling any responsibility to “work” their debt off. Let them COME… Eyes flicked to him. Throughout the entire display, his expression never changed. He had to admit, his thoughts were selfish. Why couldn’t he do this? If this man was an Outworlder as he claimed to be, then why had he held onto his abilities, while the boatman had not? “Why are you ashamed to be angry?” the candid thought tumbled off his lips really before he could stop it as the elf seemed to sullen. It was clear at that moment that he'd been comfortable with the same fury, the same outburst of power enough to not feel threatened by it… actually the opposite. The boatman held formidable power in his hands, or at least once had. Enough, to not be afraid of anger, or death. I help them tap into what they think they have lost. They have spent so much time hiding they have suffocated what they were born with. Power blossoms where one feels safe, yet challenged. This world is not so dead as they often believe. Power blossoms where one feels safe. “That’s not true.” He didn’t elaborate. He felt safe, and yet his power was impotent. Bitter, thumb tapped on the button impatiently but not pushing it as his eyes scanned the horizon. Head cocked slightly, listening to the water. Which is why I approach you. The fearful cannot be led, cannot be helped…. by the fearful. Not afraid, yet strangely so? Mine was a world of mountains and streams…lush green that shot trees hundreds of feet into the sky. “I moved oceans,” he said quietly, pausing a moment before speaking one more time into the radio. Not surprising he wasn’t being answered. Not many made the trip south. Past New Jersey there just wasn’t much there, and the water in between was dangerous, even deadly. Pirates, submerged drag, who knew what else. Receiver was snapped back into the radio as he stood and padded over to the side. He could feel the damn thing, feel the currents against it, the vibration against his boat speaking to him like Morse Code, but he was no closer to knowing where it was than he was five minutes ago. At one time he could part the water to take a look, swirl the tide to push the unwanted hunk of metal out of the ocean like a splinter in skin. It just was not fair. Hands held the railing tight for a moment, sigh quick before he eyed the elf. Fearless it was. He let loose the anchor, he wasn’t expecting to set it hard anywhere, but it would keep the boat from going too far as he explored a bit to make sure the path was clear. They could move in closer to the shore, but in truth it was more dangerous. Sandbars, more wrecks. Navigating the waters now truly was a deathwish. The clang he was not expecting, immediately halting and reversing the winch to a groan on the boat. All foul words in his language were brought to the tip of his tongue only to be silenced by the dash of his feet over the side, slicing into the water like a Navy diver to the one thing he didn’t want to see lurking in the darkness fifty feet down. Forty feet to port and they had a clear path, but directly under was the mangled bridge of the empty tanker, and directly in front of them was over a football field of beast teetering on its bilge keel, almost on its side from what he could tell. If he could dislodge the anchor from the buckled radar mast, they would be okay and on their way. But the groaning he’d heard was still peppering the darkness, it was starting to roll over, even just shifting ten feet it would drag his ship under or tear the winch out. Both would sink him. Try to dislodge or cut it loose. He didn’t want to lose his boat, and didn’t know if the elf could swim. The split second decision was helped along by the anchor line snapping taught. Downward. It wasn't just the drift of his boat. It was going down. No time. Adrenaline surged and so did he, hand launching out from the deep to catch a cleat on the stern, propelling him onto the deck only to leap over sections as the boat itself began to turn from the line. It seemed all in one motion, blade not of this world suddenly in hand, there would be no time to do it proper; the boat was already tugging downward, the rope threatening to shear off anything above deck as it forced the vessel to turn. Blade decisive, the snap was audible, momentum of the boatman tackling the elf to the deck as the rope furled free like a whip and cracked before getting sucked under, burning a clear scar into the rail that would have been flesh after sweeping both of them off the deck or pinning them to the rail as the boat went down. The ruckus underwater was heard and felt, but his boat merely bobbed and completed the turn it had been forced to start. Letting go of the elf and rolling onto his back, his unique blade was released with a clunk to the deck, the back of his skull following suit. “I think I know where the freighter is. Let’s get you to Ocean City,” dark humor was apparent as he rolled up to take the helm again. He was definitely the man for the job.
  6. Spare Me Over Another Year

    He hovered in the depth, waiting. This was his playground, one he rarely got to play in anymore. It was as if for a moment he’d been pulled back through to his own world, and he was a one-man army waiting for a fleet of ships to cross his threshold. So much blood, violence, battle... with the power of a sea god to swallow anything that stood in his path. He could feel the vibration of the speedster, hear the groan on the boat as the anchor held firm against magic. They would rip the boat apart before that chain would break and the woman would end up in the water with him, which was really the safest place she could be, except for that pesky human breathing part- if she was human. Then, silence. He waited a moment, kicking once to glide to the surface. He didn’t tread water, he didn’t need to, watching for a second before reaching up to the cleat and pulling smoothly from the water. Bare feet again balanced on the stern like a diver, blades and his sides, pointing one bluish shining weapon at the crew on the dock and then driving it into the wood at his feet. The other twirled once in his hand and he stepped off and back to the helm. “You’re fine,” he quipped, rather darkly as he passed his passenger. “When we’re safely away, I’ll untie you.” His other blade sunk into the railing of the helm and he started the engine, pushing the throttle forward and pulling the slack on the anchor. If it didn’t release he would have to dive and unlatch it, pulling slightly past, it dislodged with a quiet jerk and he pulled it up, pushing the throttle forward to remove themselves from the harbor. Sullen... reminded quietly from the lap of waves on the hull he no longer could control them like a sea god, and it didn't sit well with him.
  7. Birth of the Underground Network

    Sugar. It was the one thing on this planet he couldn’t get enough of. Come to think of it, it was probably going to kill him at some point. He picked up the water bottle next to him and took a long swig, wishing it was a soda. Maybe… the water was different here. Maybe that was why he couldn’t do what he’d always been able to do… Maybe.. He found himself loathing the lack of kin here and New Jersey all in one breath. I loathe all things this way. The stench of what the humans have made, of what they are so proud of, it offends the world they don’t even notice. Was that it? He couldn’t “speak” to the water anymore? He could still swim in it. And you are wrong…..in this world that never wanted us…… we are the only kin we have….. Lost single souls that have none but eachother. Brow rose slightly and he took another drink before twisting the top on and setting it in the holder. That was a bit presumptuous. A wannabe pied piper for every orphan sucked through the black hole into this world was making a huge assumption that every one of them wanted kin, or to be associated with all other Outworlders for that matter. He really didn’t feel a pull for the others, he just wanted to find someone from his own world. Hell, he really didn’t know what he wanted. Why the hell was he risking his neck to bring ‘fugitives’ to safety anyway? It did help pay for things sometimes, but most of the trips he provided free passage, so it wasn’t that. “You’ve assumed everyone is lost, wants to be found, or even wants to be lumped into that category.” Hand patted his pocket and found the regular knife that he had been eating an apple with only a short time ago and had then found its way into someone’s throat shortly after. It was tossed into the other cup holder next to his precious water bottle. Mundane kitchen knife able to do something so skillful in a set of hands that knew how to use it. Even he, without the substantial bulk of his powers, survived here. Granted, he was somewhat normal looking by earth standards, but even an idiot could look at his tattoos, or his eyes for that matter and figure out fairly quickly he was not ‘normal’. And if you came down to Camopi, I could show you more…..and just what my business is. “Too hot,” he said rather absently, sandy colored strands whipping around his cheeks, a concealed annoyed sideglance cast to the man that kept talking. He didn’t know why he was annoyed…maybe because he was being forced to think about what his purpose was now. I have in my lands… fairies that had their wings ripped off….. elves whose ears have been sliced apart…. in one of my coffee fields…. a centaur works who was castrated by those…..filthy … humans…. Wow. There was a lot of shit being slung. He knew a lot of humans that wouldn’t even think of doing such a thing, he also knew those that would. Every race it seemed had cruel pockets. Hand picked up a set of binoculars. There was another reason he hated New Jersey… shit ton of freighters left to rot, run aground and capsize. He was looking for a buoy, slowing a bit a scanning the horizon. I offer them haven..... and a chance to feel worth again..... “By working for your business.” It was blunt, and full of implications, eyes still through the binoculars. The man was here obviously to sell him something, a new purpose, a noble cause. He needed to do better than delivering banged up Outworlders to work for the guy who made the cash. He seemed distant, almost standoffish, in actuality he was listening intently with the composure of someone in a high social position had been taught. Normally… he was understated and quiet, staying off the radar. Radar didn’t apply here. “Say you did gather up all these wayward and tortured lambs, and your coffee empire is brimming with Outworlders, what’s to keep your wingless fairies and castrated centaurs from being slaughtered if the tidal wave brimming in Ireland comes crashing over you?” It was a legitimate question. “If they can’t keep from being tortured, how will they defend themselves when the devil finally comes to their door again?” Boat was slowed again almost to a stop, radio picked up. “Maybe they should instead learn how to kill their attackers with a kitchen knife.” Thumb clicked down on the radio and he spoke quickly, listening for a response as he watched the elf. Coordinates. He didn’t want to rip his hull out again. Eyes went back to the binoculars, scanning for change of wave structure, oil slick, something. There should have been a buoy. Sometimes the answers didn’t come quick. He radioed again, sitting for a moment, the boat drifting slightly with the tide as he continued to watch the sleek passenger, the guy probably didn’t know what the hell he’d stopped for. “If they’ve lost the ability to live openly, then they need to learn how to take it back.” Was he really doing this? Is that what it was? Trying to pick a fight with the natives of this spinning blue orb by collecting outcasts? “Waiting for coordinates of a recent freighter wreck in the lane, really don’t want to drag the hull,” he said quietly, looking out over the water. He used to be able to speak to the water, create his own path. Realizing how bitter his expression had become, eyes glanced at the radio in his hand, now he depended on things like this. “If people want to run, and you want to give them a haven, that’s admirable. Just don’t sell that it’s safe. Nothing is ever safe. No haven in the world. They need freedom, you only gain freedom by not being afraid. Teach them to navigate the world without being afraid." He was giving himself advice too. Radio was returned to its cradle. "I've been flying blind out here for ten years after being ripped from a world of shores," inhale and exhale was long, eyes closing a moment. Come on... talk to him. Where was it? ...a goliath in the deep just waiting to tear his boat apart. He didn't think the elf understood to what length he still felt like a bug on a sidewalk. "I am still not afraid."
  8. Birth of the Underground Network

    Down the coast…. if you don’t mind. I have no desire to go further north when everything I seek is south. Nod was soft, eyes still scanning every movement in the harbor. He’d sent people on a wild goose chase, but they’d known enough to come to him. This was a slip he wouldn’t be able to frequent again for a while. He disagreed though, everything north reminded him of what he remembered of his own home. It felt the most, like home. To each their own. Safely away, he reached behind and squeezed the water from his hair with soft thumps, lifting a leather thong from his back khaki pocket and winding it around the topknot he’d created on the top of his skull. Someone had called it a man-bun before. What the fuck was a man-bun? Did men not also use braids and ponytails? Why were knots so frowned on…. I would say Camopi but I don’t think that is practical at the moment. Ocean City I believe is not too far from here? Holy hell, New Jersey. He hated New Jersey, but it was relatively not well travelled so it was a decent idea for a drop-off. Give us a chance to talk about helping our kin survive this world…. He throttled up gently toward New Jersey. “I have no kin here.” It wasn’t sarcastic or angry, just… the truth, a melancholy realism to his words. Why was he doing this? He’d asked himself that often. Because maybe by helping those like him he wouldn’t feel so lost? That maybe some of them would have the secrets of how to get back home? It also spoke volumes with only a few words. He wasn't intimidated or compulsory to the obviously refined and high-born thinking elf. He in fact, was exactly the same. Not arrogance, expectation. His voice was important, so was his presence, and one could feel it in the boatman's words. Bare toes wiggled slightly on the deck. “I hate New Jersey, for the record. It reeks of machines and bent nature. The water groans.” Voice was calmer, perhaps to lighten his sullen mood. He didn’t like that he was drawing attention, and he didn’t like that somebody was trying to box him in to some kind of scheduled agreement of sorts. Maybe he wasn’t. Transportation had to flow, it was a feeling, like political movements. Times were right, and wrong. They couldn’t be rushed or counted on sometimes. “North, I would have more to show you but I’m not sure if I like you or your business yet, so New Jersey will have to do.” He was talking about the Draugr. He’d thought about using it for the trips… but unlike his modern boat, it wasn’t as comfortable to passengers as this one was even though the Draugr was much safer. Perhaps in time.
  9. Spare Me Over Another Year

    He felt the groan on the boat. Telekinetic? Had to be one hell of a telekinetic to fight the weight of his boat AND the momentum… something different then. A speedster as well, and from the look of the woman suddenly making the beeline toward the edge of the boat, a mentalist, or his passenger might just be completely fucking crazy. Was he the target? Doubtful based on everything up to this point. She had trusted him to help whatever she needed help with; he would not betray that trust, especially if she was trying to get out of Ireland. Uncharacteristic anger bubbled onto his features, this was his fight just as much as any. Three against one, not fair. Three against two now with him in the mix? He’d brought down armies before. He’d tried to avoid being overly physical until this point, just brushing it off and riding into the sunset. Obviously trying to get her in the water to try again? Fine. Throttle slammed in reverse, letting out cable before dropping the anchor and cutting the engine, a sharp jerk backward as the anchor set against the sea floor. The boat wasn’t moving backward any more, still several hundred yards out from the dock, unless someone cut the cable. Sliding down the rails instead of stepping on the stairs, strides across the deck were purposeful, rope in his hand and the intricate knot wound through his expert fingers and then looped around her waist and tied off on a cleat. If oblivious zombie girl had the wits to shimmy out of it, he could still go after her, but the knot he’d tied on both ends was an expert one… the time it took someone to figure it out he’d have broken their neck. The speedster stepped on his boat again, he would die. He ducked under into the cabin and pulled a set of blades off the walls, returning upward and kicking off his shoes. Step up on the back of the boat was swift, balancing on the edge of his toes with the grace of a diver as the boat still pitched from the force of the reverse. Blades flicked out at both sides, their curved silver reminiscent of katanas, the blue etching along the hair and elegantly jagged muna hinting they weren’t anything of this world. He balanced fluidly with the rock of the boat, waiting for the speedster, watching the two on the dock. Goading. Daring. He ended up in the water with any of them, they were going to die. Anyone set foot on the ship, they were going to die. Fingers tightened on the hilts for them to make their choice, stepping forward and dropping like a knife into the water to disappear into the black.
  10. Birth of the Underground Network

    It is neither labor nor goods I seek you to handle. Nor is it smuggling. Spit it out. Oh yes…. of course… why had I not thought of such a thing…. and that way they can be more easily slaughtered as they answer the ad? Spit it out. He was about to ask about the ‘they’ when he spoke again. Chewing slowed. As I said… I am not looking for a smuggler…. I need a rescuer. Of course. He had thrown off that vibe from the moment the elf stepped into his cabin, either the man was just that good at reading, or word of his work had gotten that far. A little of both perhaps. The prince was definitely interested to see how much he actually knew. If much, he would have to tell his passengers to be a bit more careful. There was no way he could actually try to “hold back” when someone was attempting to keep a passenger from getting on the boat. They noticed the ‘intruder’ at the same time. Noted. He wasn’t necessarily getting rid of the man for the elf, but it seemed mutually beneficial. Of course he could turn the guy in, but it would do nothing to get whomever this was off his tail. An elf was in his cabin, they were here to sniff around, if that wasn’t a bullseye on his back… Vanguard most likely. The man was cordial enough, the Haugbui hopping deftly from his boat to the dock without the aid of the gangplank. Handshake was strong, the stuffy suit seemed… nice? Overly chatty. He knew what would be said without even having to listen to it, paying more attention to what was going on around them. He could listen without hearing, see without watching. He was being watched, listened to. It wasn’t just the stuffy, pretty elf in his cabin, it was from several directions. An extra car or two in the parking areas near the docks, more joggers than normal maybe. The bohemian boatman with the braid seemed just happy go lucky to listen to the man and finish his apple. He looked at his shoe and adjusted it a few times. “I don’t think I… I’m what you’re looking for. I mean,” he scratched the back of his neck. “I do take people back and forth with my cargo sometimes... we all do, pay isn’t that good but it’s company you know. Sometimes they’re helpful on the trip. Are you looking to transport people from a company or something’?” He rubbed his neck again. He played well. They were either fishing for identities of his passengers, or they wanted him to be a prison ferry. Either were unacceptable. Or to kill him. That would make his day more exciting. “You know I hear there’s a guy… Joe, John maybe? He comes and goes from the dock, not real chatty, keeps to himself. Heard he makes runs back and forth to Ireland? Galway I think.” He finished his apple, holding the core and pointing with the same hand, “that boat over there with the gangplank down. He’s there right now.” Lie. Lie lie lie. The boat was for sale, and nobody was on it. Mr. Stevens seemed delighted, thanking him for his help, shaking his hand and walking off toward the far end of the dock by the end of the pier as he flipped out a phone. He jumped back on his boat, pulling all the lines but one, and trotted down into the cabin. Shoes were kicked off as he opened the side window, core tossed into the trash across the room. “Stay here,” he hissed, knife now in his teeth from somewhere, smoothly pulling himself through the window and dropping into the water without a splash. Honestly… he hated swimming underwater out toward the pier. Muck and debris, engines overhead until he slid up alongside the boat he was looking for and boarded silently from the side facing the ocean. Eyes scanned the harbor, and he slipped in. Several moments later, slipped out and back under the water. He was just as quiet climbing back into the boat, not saying a word to the elf for a moment as he dusted water off himself with a towel and slid on his shoes. “I’ll drop you off up the coast. If you leave now, everything you’ve asked for is compromised, and they'll probably try to kill me. Sorry for the inconvenience,” he didn’t wait for an answer because there was no discussion, trotting up from the cabin and wrapping the last line before hopping up to the bridge and slowly pulling away from the dock. Not any hurry, leaving calmly with the rest of the boats constantly trailing in and out. Lever forward and he opened up into the bay like the others, effectively disappearing and leaving his deed behind. Satisfied after almost fifteen minutes, he coasted to a stop. “Well Mr. Caranthir, where to?” he called down to the cabin, buoy bell chiming in the distance over the span of water. Hands pulled his hair from the plait and squeezed it out, this time just a ponytail. He had made no decisions, but he wasn't about to sell this guy out to the Vanguard. He shook the silver coffee mug. Empty. “Since everyone’s great timing effectively has blacklisted me from that harbor permanently, I need to know where to go.”
  11. Spare Me Over Another Year

    It was an odd feeling, first peppering his skin and then pulling breath from his body. He’d felt it before, someone was manipulating the mana pool. He didn’t quite understand what exactly the mystical thing was that drove this world’s sorcery. For his people, it was innate, a part of them like breathing. Some were stronger than others as it was normal to be unique in one’s own right. To have his ripped away… even years later he was still disoriented. He tried to focus on the magnetic pull, with Outworlder hate he couldn’t just ask how it was done and how he could tap into it- so moments like this were coveted. Of course, there was immediate danger; it was secondary at the moment. If he could just… How could they tap it and he couldn’t, how could they have an incredible power and he left with something he could not control? He didn’t miss the run, before feet had hit the deck he was sliding down the rails to the deck. A speedster. Words were ignored, eyes at a narrowed state, sliding back to the dock. The edges of his vision were flickering so brightly. He could see it! Why couldn’t he tap into it?! "Now, now, you really don't want to start a fight do-" Blink followed the woman’s sudden assault on the invader, and he was now in the middle of the mess being manipulated from the dock that most definitely wasn’t a good thing. Mana… glittering at the edges of his vision. It was hot, drying. It was hurting his eyes… "She's got a bit of an attitude about things." Eyes moved from the dock to the speedster, heels of his hands pressing his temples briefly before a snarl and flicker of muscle pushed his palms downward toward the deck. Water thrummed around the boat, bouncing and peppering like an invisible hailstorm. The crackling lights on the edges of his vision disappeared, and his boat shuddered, moving forward faster than the engines were set. A tug of war, and he refused to lose. The man wasn’t fast enough to walk on water, he’d needed help to get to the boat. Unfortunate. “Hold on to something,” he said quietly to Mack, eyes still on the man. His speed, was blinding as well. Trained. Rehearsed a thousand times. It was evident immediately he was a fighter, first instinct to kill, but it wouldn’t give the dock crew a reason to leave them alone. Instead, a wind knocking kick struck the speedster square in the chest and flipped him off the starboard into the water. He could have left it at that, but a surviving swimmer wasn’t an urgency and his boat and passenger would still be the focus of ire. Rope wound around his forearm and a knife pulled, he dove in after and under, yanking the guy down into the dark water. Not to the bottom like he wanted to, only deep enough that he couldn’t get his head above water, slamming the knife through a clutch of clothing to pin him underwater to the pier before the slack of the rope ran out. Fist tightened to hold on as the rope snapped taught, pulling the boatman away from the drowning speedster into the darkness. So fast. He was dangerously fast in the water. The cards were their’s now. Chase after them, or save their drowning friend. They’d better run. It was straining, but his swimming helped, pulling himself back onto the boat that was still moving forward and practically launching himself to the bridge; vaulting over the railing and cutting the wheel hard to port, pushing the shift lever forward. There was an inlet within a half mile, the turn had to be sharp, dangerously close to the cement slab breakwall and they would disappear behind the rubble of the lighthouse. Lights were snapped off to help as they went straight into the darkness and away from the twilight. He was silent, water still running in rivulets down his neck and clothes. They were going to have to hunker down and wait until trying to cross again to New York. On one hand, he was annoyed, strangely excited on the other. It was a challenge, it was a fight, and he was a fighter. What had happened when the boat broke free from whatever was encapsulating it? That, he had no idea- but a lot of hope.
  12. Small delay, traveling.  Back online tomorrow!

  13. Small delay, traveling.  Back online tomorrow!

  14. Spare Me Over Another Year

    The jump was met with indifference. He’d seen everything, all manner of conditions as they fought their way to his promise of passage. Injured, emaciated, it was as if the whole world was against them and he couldn’t figure out why. Why would it be anybody’s concern what world they were from? They were here, they contributed to a world that had come apart, and were helping to rebuild The same old prejudices it seemed… he was as guilty of that on his own world as any. The difference was what they had done, not who they were. Countenance was unmoving as she explained she had nothing. “I don’t need a thing.” Hand was insistent. “I'm here to get you where you need to go. I travel to New York, make two stops for fuel. If you’d like to work while on the boat, that’s up to you., but I have food, extra clothes, everything you need. From there, I make other ferry trips if you need to travel further.” As soon as she was on, the gangplank was raised and locked into place. “Head below deck, there’s food. We need to hit open water as soon as possible. The first hour is crucial to make sure nobody is following.” He worked quickly on the moor lines, securing them before pulling himself up to the bridge to start the engine. “Name’s Calder. If you need anything, let me know.” With that the engine fired up, and they were moving. He didn't babysit his passengers... the last thing they needed on their travel to freedom was someone breathing down their neck. Sun was setting, and they would soon be in the vastness of darkness in the middle of the ocean where very few dared to go.
  15. Spare Me Over Another Year

    He sat in the captain’s chair, boot up on the rest and the other on the floor… comfortable in his relaxed slouch. Elbow was nonchalantly on the armrest, every now and then pulling the long pipe from his teeth errantly. He was watching the harbor from his slip, comings, goings, setting everything to memory. Galway was dangerous, more so every day. He was a regular, shipping all sorts of fun things back and forth. They knew his face. But he had to keep a staggered schedule. A pattern only those that knew his dealings could follow. Otherwise, he was just a regular looking to trade for whatever he could gather up enough of to make a trip. Nobody had come this time, and it concerned him. He couldn’t stay much longer. Outworlders aside, the hooded eyes had been watching someone for the last half hour, working closer and closer to his boat. Unsure exactly what her goal was. Worse for wear, wandering as if she wanted something but not interacting with anyone enough to give him a clue of what she was searching for… ready to jump in after her if she found her way off the end of the dock. The closer she got... she was asking for passage somewhere, or asking for him by name. Then again, she could just be asking for money. It was a risk. A ferry bound Outworlder out of sorts could jeopardize his entire operation. Someone so damaged that they talked along the way… what did his father always tell him, the needs of many and all that. It was something he didn’t find always applicable in this world. His had been brutal, unforgiving. Earth too, was just that, yet different. People kept sticking fingers in light sockets to help each other even after they knew it hurt like hell. It was something with humans that he’d never been able to quite understand, the self-sacrifice, and he’d come to respect it and even practice it on occasion. This, he wasn’t sure, still… eyes flicked to the horizon and the setting sun. He had to leave or he would miss his window. Foot hit the floor and he tapped the pipe on the carved stone tray before resting it there and pulling on a long sleeved shirt. He wasn’t immortal, and ropes left burns even to the most experienced. Gloves on, he slid down the ladder to the deck and lowered the gangplank in the growing darkness. His boat was starting to light up like a beacon, fiddling with his gloves until she came close, then held out a hand without a word to takes hers and welcome her aboard.
  16. Birth of the Underground Network

    Mr Stevens? Most assuredly not. And I would recommend caution if this was the individual that came in the late noon hour yesterday. My contact advised there was a good chance he was a Vanguard representative. Contacts, Vanguard and covert dealings. He was deep in it now. There was no outward response, or change of expression. The Vanguard didn’t bother him, by the time they caught up with him he could be somewhere else completely, or sitting on a boat in front of them and they wouldn’t notice. He. Lived. The. Sea. If he didn’t know better, it was his blood. Anyone that challenged him on it would lose. Overconfidence, maybe, but he refused to believe that with the loss of his powers he wasn’t a formidable force. The niceties were what they were; small talk. He never tipped his cards. The “prince” had grown up in politics and negotiation, this world was barely different in that regard. Noting the elf asked or requested nothing, he pulled an apple from his small fridge and sat on a carved wooden stool by the table. Small knife from the block was retrieved with a stretch. Not looking for mass freight. That I already have. Far too "visible" for the task at hand. The coffee you are brewing comes from my lands. I recognize its scent easily… and your "friends" now all work for me. It was why they "wanted to go" to the southern continent in the first place. It was one of them that let me know of your…. work. Picking up his mug again, he listened, the apple and knife held in the other hand. Mug clicked quietly on the table, one foot hitching up on a rung. I am looking for someone to regularly bring more "friends" to the southern continent… specifically from the Ireland region at the moment. Crack of the apple’s skin snapped in punctuation of his final statement, the slice of flesh balanced on the knife brought to his lips to eat. He chewed a moment, lips pursing. “I don’t smuggle, labor or goods, if that’s what you’re asking. I’m truly sorry if any passengers I’ve ferried led you to believe that. I’m not sure what could have given them that impression.” It was a simple answer. He wasn’t playing games, he was the game. A man that wanted something didn’t beat around the bush. Mr. Vanguard had beat around the bush. This man was doing it too, but was clearly stating his needs in veiled fashion. Mr. Vanguard just thought he was an idiot and would fall for the “make some money” line. Not everyone was in it for money, and he most certainly didn’t need it to survive regardless of what he’d broadcasted to the man. The elf wanted it so badly, he had to come out and ask. He was alluding… From Mr. Caranthir’s business proposition at face value, it sounded like he wanted labor for his coffee business. Specialized labor, how did he know that the man wasn’t feeding off Outworlders and the gifted to work for him? He didn’t. The guy would have to tell him more. He would have to have the balls to ask him outright. “If you need workers, why don’t you just advertise for them and a fair wage. I’m sure people need work and would be willing to travel to assist you. I’d be happy to transport if they need it. From Ireland, New York… anywhere.” Another slice was cut, entirely too easy from the finger motion in a single hand. He chewed a moment again… brow quirking. Eyes were watching the line of windows just above the elf’s head facing the dock. The knife in his hand disappeared, and the apple spun on his palm before he took a bite out of it. Feet slipped out of his shoes and he made his way silently up the steps to the deck. Well then… he was entirely enjoying this covert conversation until now. “You might want to stay here, Outworlder,” voice was quiet before he opened the door and stepped out. The simple statement was enough to confess everything, it was time to. He heard those that he ferried talk, he didn't ask questions, all he had to do was listen. The man admitted the coffee was his. From South America. They'd wanted to travel there. They worked for him. This was the man they were seeking for protection, not a labor trader. "I’ll get rid of him.” Well, that cat was out of the bag. “Mr. Stevens,” he greeted, padding across the deck and picking up a bucket of paint as he made his way over.
  17. Birth of the Underground Network

    Smile was in his eyes at the elf's confusion, but not on his lips, the relaxed visage more at home that he felt most of the time. He’d been raised to exude relaxed confidence even in the face of danger or certain death. Standing in front of an elf? Fae? …that was asking him questions of the sort he was reluctant to start answering out of the blue did actually fall into that category- as innocent as the conversation looked. The man really did look out of place on his dock. His slip wasn’t run down by any means, but suits were not the typical attire here. …Caranthir. He nodded, peering up through bleached frays that had fallen forward from his plait at the sun. He didn’t like the sun. He loved the winter, the ice in the water. He spent a lot of time in the water during the summer. This guy, Caranthir, was definitely proud of himself, which these days was a death sentence if one was in the wrong place. It was going to get him killed. Muireadach is it? “Mhm,” nod was soft again. First time though in this big blue spinning globe that someone had been even close to pronouncing it correctly. The gentleman yesterday had butchered it. One thing he really hated about this world, people butchered names when they couldn’t pronounce them and were never interested in learning the correct way- as if their inability superseded the right for someone to be called their given name. Interesting though. Two. Two visitors in as many days. Knew his name to boot. It didn’t sit well. The first was usually the jumpstart, hoping to catch someone’s attention in order to catch the business. The second was usually who he really wanted to talk to. He’d been in situations where it had been the opposite, but not often. He was on someone's radar, exactly where he didn't want to be. I have a long term business proposition for you. “Are you following up for Mr. Stevens from yesterday?” It was now apparent, that he himself also was not likely a native of New York; language cadence not quite Swedish… Norwegian… English… Russian… not quite anything, but he spoke and understood English as well as any native and was comfortable with that. A stray line caught his attention and he went to wind it on a clamp. Odd. Clean snap. There were no such things as clean snaps. Eyes began to follow all of his rigging. One I believe you will be interested in because I have reason to believe you are already doing what I would be asking for in your free time. Blink was slow, but the hazel that looked back to him as he was finishing off the tie line had darkened slightly. He yanked it tight and looked over the rest of the rigging within a few moments, enough length of silence to make most uncomfortable standing there. Mr. Stevens had been quite uncomfortable at the boatman's less than chatty interlude. Perhaps we can talk inside? He leaned on the gangplank, the small span of water between them separating their vast worlds, thump of water from his plait to the deck quiet and loud enough ironically to sound like a chiming bell. He’d been betrayed by others like him, whether this man was an Outworlder or merely a homegrown bastard he didn’t know. Long inhale preceded the metallic clank of the gangplank release, letting out the slow breath as metal lowered carefully and the surface of the water thrummed around the boat like heavy rainfall or sputtering surface fish for a mere moment. There it was, his elusive… power. Like a joke at all the wrong times. It was there, he knew it, just out of his reach. A puzzle he couldn't yet solve... a rope he was just inches from grabbing onto. The settle of the aluminum to the dock groaned slightly, and the weird cosmic hoodoo glitch was forgotten like it had never happened. Footsteps were quiet as he beckoned the man on and raised the gangplank again after he’d come aboard, clinking the pin. He didn’t like people just “popping in”. Nearly silent footsteps made their way below deck, the scent of truly scrumptious coffee still lingering from a pot he’d made this morning. The main cabin was quaint, but it was elegant and personalized. Dark smooth woods, clean lines, minimal except for a wall of exotic blades on display. Nestled slyly in the wall of exceptional specimens were his own. He still used them. He still needed them on occasion. He offered the elf a seat and stepped into the small kitchenette. He was brewing coffee, not from some machine contraption… the old fashioned way. “I don’t have free time, Mr. Caranthir. I ship things, that is my time. I picked this coffee up on a trip to South America. Wanted to see if I could actually make the trip, had a few friends that wanted to go, had some things to trade, it looked interesting. Ended up keeping it for myself… that happens sometimes. Want anything to drink, eat? I have an amazing coconut water I picked up south, Kilbeggan I picked up in Galway. Not a fan of the Kilbeggan. Anything from the Isles smells like turpentine to me.” He had a light palate. Dishes clinked quietly. “I would say then… I’m a trader of sorts. People want things, I go get them. People want to go somewhere, I take them there while delivering other things. I have a few regular routes, but mostly go where the business is. Not sure how that could be helpful to you since I'm not large enough for mass freight, but I do go where most won't, which has it's interesting applications.” He took a long drink of his fresh ground heaven in a Japanese coffee cup, no handle... amazing to see unbroken pottery on a ship. Seemingly chatty, it was anything but. Useless information, yet so telling… and definitely revealing of intent in whatever answers the man had for him. A verbal trap. He was good at those.
  18. Birth of the Underground Network

    His own brow cocked slightly as he peeled a gray t-shirt over his torso and found his worn boat shoes, the back of the heel having been pushed down flat so he could just slide them on... and off, if the need arose that he was in the water for some immediate purpose. There are no tires….. and why would I kick it if there was one here? Amused smirk lit his lips as he exhaled once through his nose and clicked the pin on his gangway, but he didn't answer. If a potential employer, he would probably want to see the boat. Not yet though, he didn’t make any move to extend it to the dock. Not the same as the suit yesterday, that was for sure. Of course you couldn’t be sure anymore if anyone that looked “normal” wasn’t. He wasn’t, which meant possible employment by the obvious altered. Or, bounty hunter. Traitor. Any number of things. He didn’t like either prospects. Come to think of it, he really didn’t trust anyone lately. He nodded toward the dark bumpers attached to the side of the old wharf that kept his boat from bouncing into the dock, hands sliding into still wet khaki pockets. They used to be tires, cut up for other purposes… somehow he knew it would be lost to the man… err… elf. Erm.. Nevermind. “What can I do for you.. Mr..?” Lean form stood for a moment and watched him calmly, then looked off toward another small “people mover” going out for the day. Nod was slight and his hand emerged to acknowledge the other captain. Good guy, ran people back and forth from Long Island to the mainland. Eyes moved back to the elf. Relaxed, the picture of composed. Inside? He was indeed ready to drag the man into the depths and drown him at the bottom if necessary. There were two types of people lately in New York… those that wanted his boat, and those that wanted to hire him for pennies and try to take his boat.
  19. Birth of the Underground Network

    He was hovering in silence, near darkness. The bustle of the world, random noises, voices, yelling, stink of the air- was all gone. Ears could hear the rustle of water- if that was even possible, feel the vibration on his skin from the thrum on waves on hulls; weightless, arms floating out from his sides as he remained suspended in a solitary world. Current brushed the loose tendrils of his hair against his arms every so often, the sensation free, welcomed. Eyes open slightly, having felt vibration on his dock, looking upward at the spindles of light trickling down from the surface. A shadow near his boat, then the thump like a knocking on his door, whomever it was unaware that eyes were upon them from the deep. A creature that this world had never known lurking beneath the depths. Hands pushed downward slightly, ascending his body several feet. He could see the man from behind, waiting patiently. Two in as many days? Well dressed, looking for him. Thus far, all he’d ferried came to New York. It wasn’t illegal, technically he’d done nothing wrong. It had occurred to him that someone would have issue with it eventually, most likely from Gallaway. Moments ticked by as he watched, patience of a saint. Hands slid across the posts under the dock, weapons intact, before moving under his boat toward the ladder near the stern- hovering there for a moment. Thumb ran along the patch in the hull. It had been in dry dock for less than a week. They’d done a good job. Unless you knew it was there.... Now the mysterious visitor. Hand reached up from the darkness to grab a rung and pull himself up, hair twisting and tailing down his spine in a rush of water. Bare feet hit the deck. “Kicking tires?” Towel was whisked over his torso, reaching behind him to plait his hair. It would take only a few moments to figure out if this string of visitors was going to become a problem. He would solve it quietly.
  20. Birth of the Underground Network

    The heat wave annoyed him. He could tolerate it, being on the water helped a bit, but the sun. Khakis were the only thing he could bear to put on, hair tied on top of his head in a knot. He’d tried braiding it, but the constant slide of the plait against sweating skin was irritating. Strands loose in a ponytail made him itch. It all had to be piled on top. Knees bumped the side of the hull every so often when the boat undulated under waves rifled up from incoming ships into the docks. Fresh coat of paint was almost halfway done, the boatman sitting on a suspended scaffold. It reminded him of an old rope swing, but it did the job. Forearm wiped over his cheek to rid himself of the paint spatter, resulting in more of a smear. Damn it. Eyes peering up at the late afternoon sun, it was almost time for a break anyway. He’d finish this square foot section and grab a drink. *npc* “Calder, Calder Muireadach right?” Glance cast over his shoulder. “Yah?” Demeanor was nonchalant as he continued to paint the deep blue. Of course, a man standing on a working dock in a business suit was more than alarming. Maybe he’d finally caught the attention of some shipping interests. Maybe they were there to arrest him. The guy was too pretty to be a cop. Shipping. *npc* “Do you have a moment?” “Yah.” He finished the section with a final stroke and stood up on the scaffold, hoisting himself back up to put the bucket and brushes on the deck. Unapologetic about his paint stained skin, he rifled around in his cooler for a soda and cracked it open, he loved Mountain Dew. It was harder to get than holy Hell, but damn he loved the stuff. After a long swig, he wiped the can sweat off his hand and offered it to shake. “Calder, but you already know that.” The man nodded, *npc* “Richard Stevens. You are a small freight ship.” “Yah.” Obvious. *npc* “I’ve heard you’ve been successful in runs to what’s left of Britain, tried a South American run.” “Not tried, have done. Round trip in twenty two days. Thought there might be some interest in freight transport but with air travel a bit more lucrative to South America I haven’t gotten much more response for water transport. More profitable for me to the Isles. Dragons tend to not like planes. Water seems to be the only way in and out. Not easy to fight pilots that want to fly up there.” He took another swig *npc* “Would you consider talking with my employer about a potential transport opportunity?” He shrugged slightly, money was money. A small transport? Was this a smuggling bid? It would probably piss the guy off if he said so. “As long as it’s on the up and up I’ll hear out anything that can bring in money to keep my boat painted.” The man smiled and nodded once. *npc* “Is this where we find you?” “Few more days at least, until I finish painting.” *npc* “We’ll be in touch, Mr. Muirdeach.” He nodded, watching the man walk off, finishing his soda. It wasn’t the first time he’d been approached on the dock, he had a reputation for making trips nobody else seemed to want to try. But, it didn’t always bring in the most reputable business. He was interested to see how this one played out. Tossing the can into the basket next to the cooler, he stretched a moment, then was back on the scaffold. Boat wasn’t going to paint itself.
  21. Walking without moving

    Quiet. Cold either made sounds exceptionally sharp, or muted. Tonight, the world seemed hushed… holding its breath maybe? It set off instincts that were impossible to turn off. Others may have been wary, his honed to pinpoints under the guise of apathy. Curls from a long pipe floated stark against the darkness, lighting up every so often with a glow from the lantern on the dock as the wisps passed in front of it. Lean form sat in his captain’s chair, feet crossed, watching the horizon beyond, pondering the heightened attentiveness that the quiet was pulling from his bones. People were hunting tonight. Agitated. Lips pursed in thought, a thin stream of air making the smoke dance a little faster in its light trek toward the sky. Sigh long, feet dropped to the floor and he tipped the pipe on the heavy carved stone plate, tapping out the ash and leaving it there for later. Rucksack gathered up, a few bits of dried jerky, some water in an aluminum “bottle”. There were some things in this world he thought were oddly beautiful… of course everything being a new sight to him brought a great sense of dysphoric wonder, but it was the simple things that he found so intriguing. Tiny, delicate china teacups. Porcelain figurines with fingers so slight he was afraid to touch them. Then there was his water bottle. Shiny, simple, mesmerizing. It was a stupid thing, but he thought it was oddly beautiful, devastated when it had taken a header off his table and clunked onto to the floor some time ago. The dent was now obvious; it reminded him of something he’d seen in a book… steel drum? Caribbean? Bootfalls onto the wooden dock pulled him from errant thoughts, armed in a way only he could be. He had to leave the boat to investigate what was holding everything up, raucous nightlife spilling in some places into the streets in a way only a small city could muster. New York… made everything else seem so pale in comparison. Maybe he would come back to a boarded and rustled boat, maybe not. It seemed as his face was seen around the place more often, the less they messed with him. Signal came half way to the local flophouse. Most stayed on their boats, those departing on those boats stopped here on their last night out. *npc* "Finally here, late." It was a familiar face as he stepped in and brushed the drizzle off his coat. “Dragged a wreck a mile out. Had to repair the hull. Hungry,” he muttered quietly. Always food. “Salted and dried is fine on the water, when there’s prospect of a good hot meal it makes it almost inedible.” He smiled and swung his bag off his shoulder, dropping it to the floor as he took a seat at the counter. It was a pub, straight up, no fanciness or pretentiousness about it. Dark wood, glinting bottles, worn tables. *npc* Yah, lot of people been hitting that damn cruise ship... it went down a month or so ago. Couple people tried to drag it out further before it went down. Bangers? He nodded, he'd buoy-ed it, rifling through his back pocket under the pea coat to pull out the favored currency for this part of the world. That was another annoyance. Currency. A mug of beer, hot bangers and mash with extra gravy as he waited for his contact. A heart attack waiting to happen, but what a great last meal. "Hope I didn't miss anything being late?" Or anyone? Les shook his head. *npc* "Nope, seems the night to be late." That didn't bode well. The restless feeling he'd picked up, people were definitely hunting tonight... and the rabbits were having a hard time coming out of their holes. That, he couldn't assist with. He was a courier, if they couldn't get to the rendezvous point he couldn't help that. It bothered him, but so did wandering so far away from his boat it got snagged. Maybe in time he'd build enough contacts to have someone watch the ship, for now... it was all he could do.
  22. Walking without moving

    He’d not stopped moving since the uptick in violence… some might think it asinine, heading straight out into the sea alone, again. Spring made the trip dangerous, it was a shitty time to make such a daring trek. Icebergs… and more icebergs. Freezing temperatures. Squalls. But, the news was dire, and in the spirit of knowing he would be needed he made the effort to cross the pond sooner than he should have. Adventure, a death wish, the need to save those like him- he hadn’t been disappointed. Almost into port, the groan caught his ear, something lurching beneath the tossing waves. Tearing metal had mandated a repaired hull after dragging on something he’d determined had been some kind of vessel at one time or another. It put him back a day. Just meant he’d have to make more room on the small freight… a day’s more worth of people gathered at the weigh station. Supplies. Always under the guise of supplies. One last turn and the engines powered down to put the vessel into its all too familiar spot in the harbor docks. Bridge lights turned off, the familiar blue glow of the downlights sent the signal that he had arrived to those that were looking for the right things. He slid down the ladder and started to tie off in the darkness, a swinging lantern every so often creaking its echo against lapping water. It wasn’t the most friendly place at the moment, weighing the option of staying on the boat for the night and going out in the morning or heading into port now in the middle of the night. Either way he was probably going to get boarded, it would be better if he was here to protect his ship. He looked normal enough, not one lick of anyone had any idea he was anything but just a guy and a boat trying to make a living- the pied piper waiting for the meet-up signal from inland to load his “cargo” and be off back to New York before hopping again to the next stop to South America. Planes out this way were a bad idea, so boats it was. They liked him. They trusted him. He was one of “the guys”. That’s all anyone needed to know. …and all he had to do was wait for the signal.
  23. Silent Maelstrom

    New York Harbor Late Afternoon 1/26/2020 It felt like sand pelting his cheek, only cold with the smell of the sea. Eyes turned skyward, lit with the brightness above him he could only describe as ethereal. Earth, could be breathtaking. Sky a brilliant and throbbing blue one moment, glittering crystals of snow and sea spray winking at him. The next, filled with freezing "rain" that he could only describe as a descending cloud, obscuring the sky above him into a bright blizzard white. It dusted over his features, bringing an uptick on the corners of his lips. He could imagine, if only for a moment, it was his doing. The honk of a boat that passed him in greeting brought him back to the grit of life and dark water of the bay. He'd spent almost a day out with his dragon, where the melting metal beast had first woke him from his descent into this hell. Out before dawn, back by late afternoon. Cruising up the coast had its dangers, it was going into uninhabited territory, and the ocean shoreline was wrought with sunken freighters. Some, like his landmark were easy to see as they died into obscurity. Others, were icebergs just under the surface waiting to rip an unsuspecting hull open. It had taken years of trips, and hull repairs, to clear a path enough for him to safely navigate a boat to the small harbor- and the dragon out of it. It seemed whatever storm or weather disaster that most likely accompanied the Resonance had washed stray ships into a pile only to roll over each other like sea glass... freighters were massive things, but the sea was their god. Some died and lay at the bottom, some survived but died on the beach. Others still lurked in their anger only to drag others down with them. It was a miracle his dragon had beached itself unscathed. He steered left to make the corner into his bay, always vigilant someone may have followed. A boat going well out of bounds could do it discretely for a time, but eventually someone was bound to notice. That alibi he hadn't figured out yet.
  24. Silent Maelstrom

    Knuckle on his forefinger tapped on his forehead as he held the radio in the same hand. It was the closest thing to a facepalm… This could get worse, but not by much. Eyes looked up just as a boat erupted from the squall, dangerously close. Yes, it could get worse. His first instinct was an outstretched palm. It was habit, ingrained, meant to engage the sea and push the vessel back. It managed to punch a tunnel in the snow of the tempest- fueled this time by adrenaline, drive and surprise, not just an errant attempt to “check-in” on powers he hoped had rekindled without his knowledge. He blinked a moment, the other boat clear for a snapshot before disappearing again as it turned hardtop starboard to avoid him "How many in your crew? Over." He’d almost forgotten about the radio in his hand. Just myself. Over. …and the feeling of impending antagonism, made more pronounced by the next transmission. "I need to weather this storm. Over." Of course he did. A lot of things were spinning through his head. When the squall was over, he would have a lot of explaining to do. It was a maze to get into this place, a maze that to anyone able to pick through it would see as a deliberate clearing of wreckage. How would someone know how to clear it? Navigate underwater to be able to hook and dredge? The worst part? Harbor Patrol. He was no stranger to killing to protect his secrets… Harbor Patrol would be missed. In this storm though, maybe not. He’d never seen them out here this far in a storm… he had the advantage at the moment, at least until things started to clear. The front hull of the Dragon would be visible at that point. Just a boat, he could explain it away as a hobby. A boat that cast its own camouflage when it touched the water. Shit. Shit didn’t seem strong enough to sum up his gauged panic. He should say something. It had been entirely too long. Settle in, plenty of room. Over. Radio was slammed into the cradle as he started to move, grabbing the handrails and sliding down the bridge ladder. There was a plan. It was a crappy plan, but it was a plan. He could winch the Dragon completely onto the shore, but was unsure if the trees the winch were lashed to would hold the weight. Or, he could wait out the storm… see if Mr. Harbor patrol really gave a crap about his interesting boat, then find a new place to hide it after he was gone. Or, brain lurched forward as he snapped the rigging knife into its belt clip and glanced at the boat hook, he could take care of this now and send Harbor Patrol’s boat to the bottom. He balanced precariously on the gunwale, keeping his balance as the boat undulated with the water. Shore, or the other boat. He had to make a decision. The water was his to play with; he could hit the water and make it to either location even in this weather. If he left the man alive, he would still have to explain how he got on shore. What a raging clusterfuck; last thoughts to himself as his body sluiced into the freezing black with barely a splash.
  25. Silent Maelstrom

    He felt it before he saw it. Shadows in the squall, the gatekeepers shifting slightly as if in warning. Someday they would collapse, he was hoping he would be gone by then. A false hope maybe. In his calm little bay, he was anchored close to the Dragon to wait it out. The otherworldly thing was slid up onto the beach, the safest place for it at the moment… almost half completely flickered out of mind’s eyes, the hull that touched the seafloor and beach however looked a relic of Earth history. Storms like this, he protected it, watched over it until he knew it was safe. He couldn’t moor it anywhere else without it being seen or realized. With all the hate floating about lately, it was a flurry of questions he wanted to avoid. If it accidentally worked its way loose and somehow floated into a weak walled capsized freighter hull to be crushed,… or gods forbid lost into the ocean… he would never recover. Arms calmly folded, he watched the wall of white through the windows as his small work boat undulated lazily beneath him. Shadows again. Door opened, climbing out carefully to get a better look away from the snow that was beginning to stick to his windows. Eyes cast behind him, the visible parts of Dragon were beginning to disappear into the wall of white, something was moving into his small bay, into his world. Shit. English was an interesting language. In his, there were few curses, in theirs… there was so much to choose from. He hopped back toward the small bridge, picking up the radio. “Vessel inbound, vessel inbound, this is the Ormen Lange on channel 16. I am anchored in your direct collision path just off your port bow in shallows. Please alter course and stop, over.” Thumb clicked off, the curse coming from his lips this time much sharper in his own tongue. Fingers reached to turn on the engine, just in case, a light tap on his horn and light up to signal location. If the boat kept moving at the pace he thought it was, it was going to run aground, after pushing him into it.