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07.11.15 - Or perhaps he's wondering why someone would shoot a man before throwing him out of the plane.

I'm Gotham's reckoning. It'll end the ball of damns you've all been living on. A necessary evil.

05.11.15 - You fight like a younger man, there's nothing held back. It's admirable, but mistaken. I am the League of Shadows.

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Brawling is a multiversal language
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#1
Arjay prided himself on running a respectable establishment. His guests didn’t trash the rooms, his drunks didn’t trash the bar, and the somewhat-legitimate merchants he let use his back rooms didn’t screw anyone over on his watch, thus not drawing in any unwanted attention in the form of broken tables and scorched walls. He enforced these rules strictly, keeping it a safe place to gather, to drink, to stay, and to do business. Unfortunately, when you said you enforced those rules, it meant that occasionally, you needed to actually do it, because inevitably, someone was going to be an idiot and think they could do whatever they wanted.

Today, those someones were six humans, all dressed in leather, a sort of disparate band of miscreants that he judged had been gathered from across different worlds. Three of them seemed to fit in rather well with the sort of world Steve came from, while one of them seemed to have his outfit augmented with makeshift armor and weapons, hearkening to some sort of wasteland world where people scavenged for everything they had, one had some sort of contraption over his eyes that made Arjay judge that he came from a world of even more advanced technology, while the last… well, he would probably have been more at home in Arjay’s world. The six had come in, one had gotten uproariously drunk, and the others had decided to start taking liberties with his staff members in manners that Arjay simply wouldn’t allow. He’d offered them the chance to leave once, and they hadn’t taken it, and so, with a very brave barmaid throwing the door open, he’d summoned a gust of wind from nowhere, blowing them bodily out the door.

The men lay in a heap in front of the bar, glaring angrily up at it as they disentangled themselves. “I told you,” Arjay said slowly, drawing the slender, elegant sword from his waist, feeling the pulse of cold anger from the blade as it agreed with the lesson he was about to deal out, “To leave. I say who stays, I say who goes. No one damages my bar, and no on,” he added, holding the sword out at his side as he glared down at them, taking the steps slowly, “Lays a hand upon my staff.” He gave them a mocking smile as he saw them reach for the various weapons they carried on their persons. “Yes, yes, I’m sure you’re big brave men. I’ve seen bigger and scarier, and I’m still here to tell the tale. They aren’t. This is your last chance to walk away.”

That ‘last chance’ was a very brief thing, just a second, really, before he was down the stairs, taking one of them across the face with the flat of his blade. He made a slashing gesture with his hand and a clap of thunder boomed into the space between the men, causing a couple of them to reel, holding their ears. The others, ears bleeding, glared at the elf. One reached for one of those ‘pistols’ that all of the worlds that didn’t use swords seemed so fond of, one had a length of chain (the apocalyptic scavenger, of course, and Arjay had to admit that it looked like the most serviceable weapon in his scavenged gear), and one… well, Arjay wasn’t sure what the last one was reaching for, he still didn’t know technology that well, but it didn’t look friendly, and he wasn’t going to give them a chance to show him what they did. He was a Bladesinger of Evermeet, he wasn’t about to let bar rabble get the best of him, was he?
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#2
Queth had been having what was becoming a common thing for her and going on an afternoon walk when she happened across the fight breaking out. Or- ah. Ending if she read the situation correctly. When one of the idiots fell back into her though that made it something she had to have a say about. Besides- it sounded like she'd actually be on the right side of morality for once which was a change of pace. She grabbed his arm and twisted it before using her strength to toss him flat on his back. Moving on to the next fellow she jammed an elbow into his side before sweeping her leg against the back of his knees to let him crumple on the ground.

For the most part she was content to kick the pistols away but when she came across one of the people from her own world She growled. Stomping over she held him up by his throat and started reading him the riot act- though more accurately, bombarding his vr specs with angry messages in the matrix. Made her seem less like a concerned mother- and more like she was too annoyed to make words and thus ready to kill him. Dropping his weapon on the ground, Queth gave him a long hard look before commenting "This is what you get for ignoring the sign you fragging Goronit." and dropping her strengthened foot onto the weapon, flattening it instantly.

For good measure she dropped him on his ass and spat at the destroyed tool. She had put the sign up out of genuine interest of maintaining the peace. To prevent her world's slots from turning everything to drek- and to prevent the other world's buffoons from getting their heads caved in.

An image that Queth found less displeasing than she probably ought to- but she was just a much a being of her world as any others- and only less likely to save someone's head in since it wasn't her style.

Still, coming back to her senses as her combat adrenaline faded, Queth realized that she had sort of stepped in on someone else's battle. An elf- if the ears meant the same thing in his dimension as hers- but much shorter. He was a good eight inches shorter than her- so perhaps not an elf. He was too tall for a dwarf though.... Perhaps in his world the elves were just actually that similar to humans?

She coughed slightly as she uncurled her fists. "Ah- Sorry to cut in there. " She paused quietly. "I overheard mention of this being a bar?" Queth queried awkwardly. This whole hub thing had required much more social interaction than she was used to. In the barrens, all she had to do was a few jobs and wait for word of mouth to start getting her work. Here she was back to the starting grounds and had to actually connect with people. Find out things they might be looking for. Find a way to offer that.

Perhaps a bar would be a good place to start though- she could learn the movers and shakers of the hub- and what their universes offered or lacked. Was it impolite to pump a bartender for rumours? And was she becoming a cliche by going into a bar for rumours?

Yes- Queth decided. About the latter question. Not that it was terribly relevant, but it gave her sub-processors something to contemplate while she awaited a reply.
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#3
Did Arjay need help? No, he didn’t. He was, in his world, a recognized and accomplished swordsman, and while that didn’t always translate well to certain fights (he’d heard the phrase ‘bringing a sword to a gunfight’ on several occasions since he’d come here), magic made up for the rest of it. He didn’t want to kill the men, that was the biggest point against him right now when you got down to it. These men looked strong and fairly durable, but could they stand up against an onslaught of lightning and magical power while he was accosting them? No, they couldn’t. If he didn’t need to hold back, though, things would never have taken this long, and… well, when you got down to it? Admittedly, he was enjoying this.

Still, the distraction that the woman provided was a welcome thing. It gave him a few moments to cast a spell, to weave an illusion while the other men were looking at her beating on their companion. From under the staircase to the inn, a hulking, sharp-toothed, angry looking bear lumbered, growling in the direction of the men that had apparently caused it to wake up. Arjay held out a hand to it, though, as if ordering it to stay back as he surged forward again at the few men still fighting. A spell surged into place, balls of light spinning into being around him, darting out at the other men, striking them… and really doing nothing but making them flinch. That was enough of an opening for him to beat a couple of them back farther, and between his swordplay, the threat of magic, and the bear looming behind him, they appeared to have had enough. As they started scampering away, he pointed at the one that seemed to be straggling, sending a beam of freezing energy to strike him in the arse, causing him to howl, grasping at the frigid extremity, and hurrying to pass his companions.

He regarded the other woman once he was sure they were out of sight, and was surprised to notice, not visibly, but just by the telltale sensation of magic, that she was an elf as well. Well, sort of, at least… there was something off about his sense of her, like something was trying to block his spirit from sensing hers, but it was there, regardless, even if he couldn’t see her ears and she was huge for one of the People. And apparently there was more to her than met the eye. He picked up the discarded weapon that she’d destroyed, eyeing it a moment before shooting her a curious, amused look. “Impressive,” he said. “It’s quite all right… If they’d gotten any braver I’d have had to actually harm them, and that’s really as bad for business as letting them stay and cause trouble.” He hung onto the damaged weapon- one of the merchants that was set up in the back room was likely to want a look at it to see if he could salvage any parts from it- and turned to the bar and the bear still glowering at the street. “Easy, now,” he told it, making a placating gesture. “No need for that now, why don’t you go back to sleep…” He seemed to urge the bear back under the stairs before he dismissed the illusion. It really never paid to let everyone on the street see that your bluff was a bluff, you never knew when you’d need to pull it out again.

That done, he turned to address her rather reasonable query. “It is, as a matter of fact. Lodging, food, drink, everything that a good wanderer might need for the night, provided they can behave themselves while they’re here,” he added, giving a demonstrative wave in the direction the men had run off to. “Speaking of which, I believe I owe you a drink at least for the convenient assistance you provided,” he added, gesturing an offering hand toward the door. “If you’re so inclined, that is. We can always come up with some other means to even the score if you’re not.”
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#4
Her after battle cooldown involved being seriously impressed by the other elf's moves. He had some serious magic mojo- the kind that some of her friends would've loved to had. He had control over it that connected with his moves- which were likewise impressive.

Even though his bear seemed- seemed not there. A phrase that Queth hated for it's lack of description. Alas- neither her eye nor her ear could really identify why it seemed like it wasn't there- something about the sound wasn't right. And the thermal read in a way that seemed very off- neither painted a picture that made sense.

Not that it mattered- whatever secret it was was obviously not something this fellow was in a hurry to share. She shrugged mentally- she carried secrets with her so it wasn't like she begrudged others having theirs.

She ducked her head in acknowledgement of his reply even as he offered her a drink. Made her perk up a little- seems that some kinds of people were the same across worlds, no matter the differences in factors. She smirked slightly at the offer. "I was hoping you might- not my intentions for intervening but you know." Queth bared her teeth. "I'd never turn down a drink after all."

She started towards the door with a small nod to imply that she would follow behind him so he ought to lead the way.
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#5
And lead the way he did. As he led her into the tavern, he made a detour to the back of the room, leaning through a door that wasn’t visible from the entrance. Inside, there were merchants of various varieties. Today, one of them seemed to be an obvious fence (not that Arjay cared, as long as actual stolen merchandise wasn’t brought in here) whose clothes were left intentionally vague so as not to let on to what sort of world he came from, one was sitting at a table piled high with all sorts of technology that Arjay couldn’t identify (not surprisingly), and another was, apparently, a talking rabbit with a magic wand. Arjay held up the damaged weapon for them to see, then tossed it to the first one who expressed an interest. “Usual finder’s fee and commission. I’ll check in with you later.” He might have waited around, gotten an estimate of the value, but the weapon was destroyed. He didn’t nitpick over scrap value. If he found out that he’d been ripped off… well, that would be an interesting day.

Business dealt with, he led Quethadia up to the bar, sitting down as the enthusiastic bartender headed over to them. “Surprise me, Sascha,” he told the man, then gestured to Quethadia, “And give the lady a drink on the house. She just helped dispose of those idiots who were pawing at the girls. What’s your drink? If it’s alcoholic, I probably have it or something very similar.” The drinks handled, he nodded to the good barkeep, glancing past him for just a moment. “And tell them to get dinner on? Yesterday we had people waiting longer than I like for meals to start.”

The bartender gone, Arjay saw no reason to maintain the polite habits that Elves kept up around other races, such as speaking Common. His attention on his new guest, he switched to elven, the melodic words feeling much easier on his tongue. “I will admit, I am surprised. I haven’t yet met one of our People from a world with the higher technology, but from your outfit and your gear, you certainly seem to be from such a place.
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#6
Queth followed along, slowing her pace to match the other pointy-eared fellow. She found the length of his stride to be annoyingly short- though to be fair that could just be due to her expectations regarding her own species. She supposed she ought to give him some leeway since it wasn't fair to expect people to walk at her speed.

She quirked an eyebrow at his treatment of the scrap gun. It looked like a shit weapon to her- but for all she knew, some of those looking at it weren't from worlds where such metals were easily achieved.

Pulling up a seat at the bar, she raised both eyebrows as the extent of her expressed pleasure. She firmly approved of free drinks- and even more of people who didn't presume what she wanted based on her gender. "Scotch." The smuggler requested with a nod at the bartender. "Single Malt, if you've got it." She added, though she was distracted by her companion's business acumen.

A distraction that became a full blown focus when he started speaking in Sperethiel. Her brain offered the words, even as her tongue struggled to roll them into sounds. Queth bit back a stream of curses about how she had let the language fall out of practice. "Likewise, I have not met one of our kind from such a low tech world, also inferred from your clothing. My true surprise stems from you speaking a language from our people in my world- though it is clear that some of the words must not be mutual seeing as I used a colloquial term for barbarian during the fight and you didn't seem to recognize it."

Queth rolled her tongue in her mouth with a mildly pleased smirk as her lips started to form the words more clearly. She supposed it was likely similar to riding a bicycle- another skill she had happily thrown by the wayside. She swiped her tongue across her teeth as she realized she had let a little of her bubbling enjoyment loose. This man still seemed more jovial than her so it hardly seemed like it would be an issue.
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#7
Arjay could easily enough wave off the differences in their language. They were, after all, from different worlds, which had developed much differently. [i]”Languages evolve with the cultures, particularly the languages of people surrounded and mixing with other disparate people. We’ve several separate dialects on my own world by itself, it doesn’t surprise me that there will be some differences when speaking to someone from a different world altogether.”

He paused, gesturing for Sascha to hurry and set their drinks down. He studied the glass that she was given for a moment, but he wasn’t even going to begin to guess the brand. “We take bottles in trade from people, so long as the quality is there, but I’ll admit that I don’t know enough about scotch to guess where that one came from. He knows his drinks well enough that I’m sure he picked you a good one, though.” He took a drink from the glass of wine that was set down in front of him, pondering the drink for a moment. “I met someone who claimed to have been to a world where the vast majority spend their lives entirely inebriated… amusingly, the drinks he brought back from that place, if his story was true, were absolute swill. It just may prove that when one gets drunk enough, anything tastes good.”

“So… does that mean that you’ve met more of our kind from other higher technology worlds? It’s an interesting situation, if so. The history of our people’s spreading to and abandoning various worlds often follows the rise and ebb of magic on those worlds. We thrive where magic is strongest, and begin to starve when there isn’t enough of it, and generally technology is a sign of the decline of magic. That is, of course, a generalization, I’ve already come across a small subset where magic remains strong alongside technology.”
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#8
Queth acquiesced the point. "Yes. I suppose your dialect likely had less input from trolls and their unpleasant language." She said with a flap of her hand. She knew parts of her language were less than pleasant (and she was more than happy to blame that on others.)

She accepted her drink with a nod of appreciation, sipping it and rolling it along her tongue like someone might judge fine wine. Content that it was worth drinking, Queth took another drink. She smirked at the bar owner's remark. "It's not made from soy or other artificial flavours like the things in my world often are so I'd probably enjoy it any way but this is wonderful thank you."

She shrugged regarding others of their species. "Not personally and I don't know that they consider themselves elven but yes I've heard of some long lived folk with pointy ears in other high technology worlds." Queth stated, withholding that she hadn't even done more than talk business with any other elves in at least ten years.

"And that's a fair point. With the exception of one pardi colour-" Queth pouted. Apparently the language wouldn't come back so easily as she had hoped. "Particular group, elves in my world disappeared and only returned 66 years ago. The same time magic surged back into the world." The smuggler offered, knowing that her world's history was hard to grasp by the people who lived there- she imagined it was worse for those from other worlds.

"I admit though I've gotten quite used to magic and technology side by side. The species change tends to throw most people for a bit of a loop but after that it becomes almost easy to forget magic wasn't always there." She added with a nostalgic look on her face. " Besides. Becoming an elf means you live longer- much easier than my orc friends whose lifespans were cut in half. I assume magic has always been strong in your world?"
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#9
There were so many things that Quethadia said that made Arjay think ‘wait, what?’ Trollish influence on Elvish language? Orc friends? ‘Change’? There were so many things that conflicted with his worldview, that the only thing he could do was latch onto the least strange thing she’d said and start there. “What’s soy?” he asked, hoping that it, at least, tasted good. Was she from a world with only one crop or foodsource? That… that sounded terrible, really.

“I think… that perhaps some explanations are in order? I can understand our People leaving a world if magic is vanishing, that’s like air becoming scarce to us, but returning? There are very long odds on them doing that accidentally. If a world is hostile, why return to it when it starts to become less hostile, unless there was some reason for them to return or be brought back. But… Species change?” He looked at her, waiting for an explanation on that one, his mind rushing through the various types of magic that might have been in play on that world. What if, he had to make himself think, there was some reason that they could not abandon that world when magic began to die? What if, perhaps, magic died too quickly for them to cast a Seeking, and not enough left to support it? What if more desperate measures needed to be taken? Obviously, the specifics she’d give him would tell much, but this sounded like he was dealing with some much different form of abandoning a world than he’d heard of in the limited history of his people’s migration from other places.
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#10
Queth did her best to stifle her laughter at the look on his face. "It's a foodstuff that is very healthy for people- and as the other types of food became more expensive- the scientists of my world found ways to make soy into almost anything. You can only tell the difference between real meat and soy meat if you are eating them side by side. Or so I've been told."

She shrugged slightly. "Like many of our kind in my world, I do not eat meat." Queth added as an afterthought. She supposed what was normal and a day to day thing for her was abnormal and strange for this elf.

Something that was driven home when he started trying to make sense of her comments. Sipping her drink to leave a moment for him to think, she took a deep breath before starting into it. "First you must understand that some of this is very ancient history- and only the immortal elves can verify it. They often have their own agendas however so that doesn't mean much."

"Long ago- at the end of the second magic surge- most people found themselves abruptly human. Their magic stopped working- and their shape changed unexpectedly. After adjusting to that- they turned towards science."
Queth explained as she peeled back her sleeve to show her prosthetic arm. "Two thousand years later and- Not ten years after my birth, children started being born- strange. In the less educated parts of the world there was panic, even in some incredibly affluent areas, people were afraid it was a disease. Then people started being able to use magic."

Queth sipped her drink again before shaking her head. It was a hell of a long story. "Another ten years pass- and suddenly about two thirds of the world is not human. It literally just happened one day- I woke up with pointed ears, and a foot taller. And that's all." Queth shrugged and took another drink, content to let that set in. She wasn't usually so talkative but it was the least she could do for a free drink of this quality.
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#11
The implications of what Quethadia was describing were… immense.

For magic to return so suddenly like that, and for people to change like that, first to human, then generations down the line their descendents (presumably) turning back… This was a phenomenon that Arjay hadn’t heard of before. He could see a few different possibilities, of course. The first, obviously, was that there simply was a mechanic in play on that world that hadn’t been heard of before. Some sort of cycle that was unique to this world, and really, why not? Why shouldn’t it have some strange feature like that? The suddenness she described, though, made him consider another possibility, of course. In the natural course of things, if a world were losing its magic, if it were ceasing to provide an elf with the magical presence that all the People needed to survive, they would abandon it for a new world. There would, of course, first be measures taken to try to correct the problem without uprooting an entire civilization from their homes. What if they ran out of time, and there was not enough magic left to support the seeking spells that would carry them to new world? Or, just as likely, if they simply did not wish to leave? He supposed that they could, at great cost, create a spell that would turn the world’s population to completely human, transforming the dwarves, orcs, and trolls along with them, apparently. Such a spell would require a great deal of magic… possibly all that was left in a dying-magic world. What would the result be, then, though? Perhaps there was something they had put in place to make magic regrow over centuries, until it reached a point where it could reassert itself and return elves (and the other races) to the world.

He was going to have to press this question to the magical minds he knew back in Faerun when he was next home. This was, unfortunately, a matter that was beyond his knowledge to work out past the bare basics. He could, however, see how the story fit together. There were even still some elves living from the original time, possibly to trigger the return, and possibly… “Oh, everyone has an agenda of their own… but they don’t claim to know of any cause?” That wouldn’t surprise him, honestly. If you were part responsible for throwing a huge change onto the world that was, obviously, highly disruptive, you probably weren’t going to want to admit it. “Still, the language survived, so I would hope that at least some of their culture survived as well?” His mind was thrown back to the times he’d met elves who had been orphaned and raised by humans, the appalling lack of appreciation for their own culture that they had. Imagining an entire planet of them, was… well, it was disturbing to say the least. Perhaps he’d found another world that needed settlers from his world to help guide them back into their path. “I must admit, I’ve heard quite a few strange tales since I’ve come to this place, but none quite as strange as this.” Still, in this case, ‘strange’ didn’t seem to mean that he didn’t believe what she was telling him. That was something, right?
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#12
Queth shrugged intelligibly. "To be fair- a number of them weren't alive for the first magic surge- and they really only have one example. It could be any number of things for all they know. Maybe a monkey threw a particularly shaped set of feces. Even if they have a theory- there's no way to prove it. And with them all spread all over the world until recently- few of them can corroborate the other's stories." It occurred to her that it might be a rather entertaining task to chart the movements of one of the immortal elves- try and figure out what was and wasn't true about what they said. "Plus you know people like to exaggerate or fudge details when telling stories."

Queth winced slightly- feeling like it was a bit of a dig at her language skills. So help her if she could connect to the matrix better at that very moment, she would have just downloaded a sperethiel linguasoft and show him up. "Oh certainly. We have our own country, with our own nobility- we're tended to be considered very- ah- 'Nature like.' " She said with a snort. " 'Course I am a firm believer in punching anyone in the face who calls me a daisy eater. There are certain practices though that many elves take to doing- And we have a few styles that are incapable of being replicated."

She grinned. "For example- if you were to ask me or some of my old special forces friends to dance- We could do so and kill you at the same time." Queth offered, with a shrug. "Called Carromeleg. It's our martial art- Can be similar appearing to Capoeira- but a little more deadly. I'd be happy to teach you a few moves at some point- it only seems right to make that knowledge available to elves in other worlds."

With a shrug, Queth removed and tossed the knife she kept in her sleeve upwards before taking a drink. Setting her drink down, she caught the knife handle first as the tip reached her hair. Flipping it like a baton and switching hands with the sharp weapon spinning in her hand, she put the tool back in her sleeve. Having finished her display of knife skills she smirked slightly again. " 'Course the knife skills are all me. Carromeleg is of course mostly unarmed."

Queth snorted at the comment. "Excellent understatement." She went to add his name to the statement before laughing at herself. "Forgive me- it seems I was so caught up in discussion with another of our species that I didn't think to introduce myself nor ask for your name. I am Quethadia Nyx- though I tend to use Queth more often."
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#13
Heh… fudging details. “It all depends on how well they tell the tale when they do it,” Arjay said, a cocky smile starting to turn up the corners of his lips again. “With some, we would have to call it embellishing, or even lying. With others?” He spread his hands in a ‘what can you do?’ gesture. “If it sounds good, we just call it good storytelling.” Lord knew that he’d made up or left out a detail or two here and there in tales he’d told of things he’d seen – never things that really made a difference, of course, never anything important, but sometimes the smallest details could make a story that much more riveting. A well-timed clap of thunder (even though it had really come five minutes earlier), the shine of the sun off of a blade as it struck (even though the day had actually been overcast), little things. Now, when you started changing ‘little’ things like who had done something, assigning actions to, say, yourself? That was fairly unforgivable and should get you run out of whatever tavern you were trying to entertain with your tale.

And, it seemed, some things would always be the same between worlds. “Ah, yes, those comments. I know them well. For example, to hear some oafs in my world, our People can’t have an appreciation of or respect for nature without, apparently, rutting with wildlife or trees. I’ve never really found that they would say things like that anywhere that we could draw our blades, though. Funny how that works, isn’t it?” he asked, smiling thinly. Personally, when he was challenged like that, he tended to level very strong proofs of his actual bedroom activity to their female companions, but he could get behind punching them as well.

Her description of Caromeleg made him grin and nod, getting into the sentiment here. “We’ve got a style quite the same on my world, only ours is a swordfighting style. Bladesong, we call it, taught only to our People, and only master to student. Anyone teaching it to an outsider would… well, it’s never happened, so I’m really not sure what consequence the outrage would bring down. Unarmed, though… that is an interesting twist. I suppose that carrying swords around isn’t quite as common on your world, though?” In that case, it would be understandable, after all. “I don’t suppose the style incorporates magic as well?” He could see strong cases either way. On one hand, elves were highly magical people. On the other, the world had gone for centuries without magic, and they’d had to learn to make do without. Perhaps that was something that needed time.

All the same, he really couldn’t come up with an excuse for not introducing himself, could he? “Arjay Lo’Ran, Bladesinger of the People, man of many callings, at your service,” he said, giving her a little bow and offering his hand. This one, he was sure, would shake it… he couldn’t see Queth really taking to having her hand kissed, now, could he?
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#14
Queth let a small chuckle loose, surprising even herself. Despite the wildly different world, Arjay had the same air and attitude about him as many of runners she had met. Though she had never been one for discussing her stories, Queth had a certain appreciation for the people who did.

Queth pouted slightly though when thinking about the names she and her people were sometimes calling before perking back up with a wicked grin. "A term used for our people in my world is 'knife ears.' When a group of human supremacists cut off my cousin's ear, he had it replaced with a Literal knife- just to stab them with. He had some ah strange haircuts though, because he'd wake up with less hair than when he went to bed." She said wistfully, she missed him.

She blinked in surprise at his description of Bladesong. "You'd be surprised how many still carry swords, especially now that we have magic again. The really interesting part though is that Carromeleg also used to focus on the use of blades. Smaller blades- more like my knife, but blades nonetheless. It was practiced for a long time before it went out of style to have a weapon." Adding in a grin she added. "But is an outsider someone outside of your species or out side of your species and world?" Queth wouldn't pretend not to want to learn a style titled something as cool as Bladesong. She knew she was predictable.

She wrinkled her nose slightly. "There are of course practitioners who combine it with magic, but as one of the people who is not magically adept- well I wouldn't be able to learn it if it did." She explained, withholding the clarification that yes she was adept- she just didn't have enough of a soul to cast magic.

When his hand stretched out she smiled. Careful to withhold her strength, she shook his hand carefully. "Pleasure to meet you Arjay."
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Knife ears. “Ah, so that one spans the universes,” he said dryly, smiling thinly. “I’ve heard that one many, many times, usually when the dwarves have served one too many kegs to the masses.” Amusingly, the humans from worlds without his people native to it never seemed to have problem… perhaps that was the benefit of being a novelty. Present anything in large enough quantities, and you were bound to deal with someone who decided to hate it for the sake of hating it. “I don’t think that anyone I know took quite that… literal a response to it. Generally, a brawl and a night shouting at each other from opposite cells in the town jail are in order. Perhaps a play for their women as a matter of principle after they’ve been beaten senseless, just to drive their shortcomings home…” He shrugged. He’d long since grown deaf to the jeers of humans and other races. Jeers from other elves, on the other hand…

He considered her question carefully, measuring his response as he gave it. “Outside the race would assuredly be an outsider. Even some of our People wouldn’t be taught, though. Bladesong is considered the melding of all things most elven: Sword, song, spells, all worked into one whole. Those who practice it are more than just warriors, they’re expected to be champions of our values as well. It is one of the reasons that the style is only taught singly, master to apprentice: so that the master has a chance to ensure that their pupil has the true appreciation of the culture they are promoting, and the values of the people who will hold them up as a champion.” He considered the thought a moment before admitting, “Of course, since there are so many ideas of how a true elven champion should behave, it’s more than likely possible to find a master to teach someone of any set of values, but you can generally count on someone from a known line of teachers to be of the same moral fiber.”

The revelation that she wasn’t magically inclined didn’t particularly surprise him. If someone could cast spells, why would they bother with artificial enhancements like she had? “Well, spellwork isn’t for everyone,” he said reasonably. At least she wasn’t going on about how spellswords weren’t ‘real’ swordsmen. He’d heard that whined from so many warriors in the past…
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Queth laughed quietly. She shook her head lightly while sipping at her drink. "Sounds like a rather reasonable way to handle the comments." She offered with a slight grin- Being around another Elf was- good. Which was rather strange for her since she hadn't felt that way in a while- but she supposed there was only so long you could live before you stopped sympathizing nearly so much with people in their twenties- though Queth would be unsurprised if this elf was four times her age.

She nodded along with this explanation- wincing slightly as she thought of her own synthetic vocal cords- what she did really didn't count as singing anymore. Rachel had been an untrained singer- but Queth cheated- it was all programming now, so of course her voice was pitched perfectly. In fact she had a hard time remembering to sing in her own tone, instead of just repeating the lyrics in the original singer's voice. "I would love to have a demonstration if you'd be willing. I will admit I'm uncertain how one would go about introducing song to sword play. Does it involve carved channels in your blade?" Queth asked thoughtfully. "I've heard of people making singing blades in such a manner- swords that produce beautiful songs as they are swung through the air."

Her own weapons were of course, built to be so aerodynamic that they barely split the air- leaving little to no sound in their wake.

She shrugged again at the mention of magic. "It is incredibly powerful so I wish that I could- but I am not ah 'alive' enough to use it. A friend of mine had a napalm spell that was very entertaining however- she tied her spells to glass beads she used as fetishes- she had them braided in her hair." Queth quirked a grin. "Deadliest hairstyle I've ever seen considering I know what half of those spells did and few of them were nice. There was the orgasm spell but I think she mostly just found that one fun." She continued, nostalgically. Queth had never been the recipient of said magic what with her lack of soul but they had a few entertaining run ins where the mage had used it in surprisingly helpful moments.
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“Well, I can’t say it was always popular among everyone, I know quite a few who have all the charms of a drunken elk, and they couldn’t try to ply that method if their honor depended on it, but it was certainly an enjoyable way to deal with those particularly closed minds,” he joked, grinning back at her. Was he humble about his exploits? No… no, he rather wasn’t, and he had, indeed, had quite a long life to let them add up.

When she took the subject to song, she shifted the conversation more toward subjects that Arjay could expound upon at length, if he were allowed. Would she allow him? Who knew, all he could do was answer, he supposed. “Many methods,” he admitted. “There are a very few, myself included, who often sing our spells, though this is more our own flourish than a real part of the bladesong. Most often, there are war chants that are sung as we fight, very rhythmic, although sounds are sung more than words, if that makes sense. The chant helps set the pace of the footwork, and the footwork is, as we’ve already said, like dancing.” He took another sip of his wine, letting the sharp tang of it wet his mouth before he continued. “There are some blades used like what you describe, I have one myself, though not among the blades I brought to this world. Some use the air to cut a melody, some are made to ring like bells when struck together just right. Those, generally, are used for sword-dance performances instead of fighting, though a true master of the wind-singers can be a very deadly thing to behold if he’s pressed into battle. Some blades are enchanted to sing as well, for various reasons, but that has little to do with the style of the wielder.”

He missed quite a bit of what she said next, because his head latched onto her assertation that she wasn’t ‘alive’ enough to use it. He supposed that he could see what she meant, somewhat. Magic was something that required life, so he wasn’t sure if her mechanical limbs would be capable of channeling magical energy. There wasn’t much that could be done for that, really, but ‘not alive’ enough? That was an odd way to put it… but at the same time it wasn’t. He frowned, considering the way her presence had felt muted to him, something that he’d thought had been a result of her world’s magic having only just returned, and started letting his mind follow the subject to its logical conclusion. “Now there’s something I hadn’t considered,” he admitted, waving a hand as he cast a spell, sensing the magic auras around them. “That… I suppose makes sense. Can you even sense me?” he asked, that slipping out as the question he didn’t hold back rather than others. Did she sleep, or did she enter reverie? Could she feel the pull of the gods? Her spirit… it was something about the mechanical parts of her, he was sure, something in the placement of them that… divided her, he supposed.
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#18
Queth snorted slightly before raising her glass slightly. "I'll drink to that." She added with a small smile curling at the corners of her lips- Even with her scars she was considering 'pretty' and with them concealed she was easily passable as ethereal. Not that the smuggler tried to play that up- it was hard to be forgettable if you looked like you belonged in a movie. "It is a stereotype in my world that our kind are rather becoming- but I've met a number of exceptions to that."

She hummed a low note that did little more than vibrate against her lips as he began to speak about music. Queth had found little did more to endear someone to you than indulging them in a conversation they cared about. "That makes perfect sense." She said with feigned interest as he described the chants. "You have some of these blades? Are you trained in Sword-Dance as well?" The cyborg offered to continue the conversation in a direction where she would be required to do little of the talking. She certainly knew plenty about styles of fighting and weaponry- but she was at her most charming when she was laying it on thick- or not speaking at all.

Noting his attention caught about her state of being she smiled slightly, reaching up to her rest to unhook the synthetic flesh from her hand. Twisting her unmistakably robotic fingers for him to view she took a moment to peal the mask from her face long enough for Arjay to have a chance to see the scars that stretched from the top of her forehead to the point where the mask was replaced with another layer of synthetic flesh at her neck. Scrunching up her nose slightly she reveled in the freedom of movement for a moment before she laid the prostheses back against her skin where it seamlessly blended into her unblemished flesh. "I do not know whether it is true in other worlds where magic and technology exist side by side- but in my world, to sacrifice your physical form to artificial replacements is a form of destroying your essence. I had little choice in the matter." Sipping her drink, she tried not to wince as her fingers clicked against the cup- part of her instantly screeching to put her facade back on to retain the illusion she worked so hard for.

"But no- I cannot sense you. It is a wonder you can sense me. In astral- I should hardly register. A term used for a person such as myself in my world is 'toaster,' indicating that I have as much magical presence as an appliance."
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“Generalizations are often defined by those who defy them,” Arjay said, shrugging. “It’s also said that we’re benevolent and virtuous, but that’s proven wrong even more often than the idea that we’re all graceful and comely.” He shrugged, knowing what she meant… but really, it wasn’t his looks that got him into so many beds. A person could be radiantly beautiful and still have the personality of a troll, which would defeat any efforts they might make toward romantic inclinations. Saying so, though, would be indirectly bragging, and so he just kept quiet. No one liked a braggart, particularly when those boasts were about their ability to make sexual conquests and the one hearing it was one you might care to make one of those conquests.

When she inquired about the sword dancing, Arjay hesitated. “I’m trained in it, yes, and I can use them well enough, but it’s merely for show. A pretty, impressive dance to put on at festivals and fairs. As far as actual combat, my fighting is much more traditional, as are the style of my blades. Some can use a sword like that and not make their movements too predictable to get inside an enemy’s guard, but sadly I’m not one of them.”

As she showed him the cause of all of her fractured essence, particularly with the explanation she gave, Arjay grew more inwardly alarmed. This, he knew, was the result of a world where magic had not fully taken hold again, particularly if the gods had not made their presence known. Still… she now wasn’t limited to that world now, was she? “It… makes sense,” he admitted as he took in her explanation. He tried to gather how much of her had been replaced by… machinery, and realized, after she’d shown him the hidden nature of some of it, that he really had no way of knowing how much of her was real, how much was replaced. It made his heart sink a bit, all the more for the fact that she didn’t seem to even realize how much she’d lost in the process, not really. “I’m… let’s say, particularly sensitive in those matters,” he said to her surprise that he could sense her. “I may also be getting assistance, but I can’t speak to that for sure. You know…” He paused, considering her and the offer he was about to make before he continued, “While the magic might not have been available in your world, I could undo some of the damage that was done.” Hell, maybe all of it, but he had experience with some of these tech-enhanced people in the Hub. They tended to like their ‘upgrades’ as they called them. “It might not be a quick process, but it can be done.”
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#20
Queth winced at that comment. "That- is uh- not a stereotype in my world. Other Metas- that is to say, other folks like myself whose species has changed- look down on elves because we can pass as human and it gives us an 'advantage' in the way we're treated." She snorted around her air quotes. "And humans still hate us because we're metas. Because we're prettier, have longer lifespans, faster, more magical etc- Doesn't matter which ones of those are true and which aren't- The round ears don't take kindly to people who are more 'special' than them." The smuggler finished explaining with a sigh. "Elves are a pretty insular group- and a pretty stuck up one at that. Not so Benevolent or Virtuous."

She smiled at his explanation. "I've found that people not seeing where you're attacking from can be pretty helpful in that process." Queth offered, tapping the side of her face beside her eyes in demonstration- before pausing. "Uh- In case you don't- the elves in my world have excellent vision in low light." She said with a wrinkle of her nose- Queth was not fond of having inaccurate information- so it would ruffle her feathers to find out that there were notable differences between their variants of the species.

She winced at his offer. "While I wouldn't turn down the chance to have a full set of working organs again-" She said with a rap of her knuckles across the partially false ribcage- the fabric softened the noise- but not making it any less clear that both parts of the collision were not flesh. "At least in my world- it would still take me decades of meditation for my soul to begin to regrow." Bringing her drink up to her lips, Queth added to herself 'And with less emotion comes less pain.' The woman knew she needed better coping methods- but that didn't mean she had them- or even knew what to do to start that process.

Tossing back the last dregs of the cup in her hands, she sighed again. "But thank you for offering. For what it's worth, you'd be unlikely to help me much anyways with such a thing- Losing your essence doesn't just make it nigh impossible to use magic- it also makes it incredibly hard to have magic used on you."
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