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Post by Camulous Smithson on

Camulous rarely walked casually. His face was not grim, but he was far from smiles and sunshine. The city was going through hard times security wise, and he was sick and tired of politicians and mages. Politicians making his work harder than it had to be, and mages being the problem in general.

Two had been caught, and two had escaped from Justice Hall itself. One of them the sort of character who made the hairs on Camulous' neck crawl. Not at all the kind of foe he wanted to deal with, and far more the purview of the battlemages. Their failures were becoming his problems, and the Judges refused to call them all to arms. It was "not a state of emergency."

If Camulous knew anything about his city, it was inches from such a state.

He wore his helmet this day but kept the visor up. Full gear. Pistol, sword, shield and all. Oslun agreed with the Judges, but there was nothing stopping the captain from taking things into his own hands.

It also gave him a good way to test and train his new hulk of a rookie. The man was huge, his early morning shadow big enough to be a tree. Camulous was not small, and was used to ordering around men nearly twice his size, but this one dwarfed them all. His armor had to be custom made just to be wearable. Even if he turned out to be completely incompetent, he would be good to have around.

"If they're here, they'll be easy to spot. You see anyone who isn't a gnome or looks like a worker, go ahead and stop them."

He had a hunch about the industrial district. The real fugitives, the ones who knew the city well enough, came here. The shanty town was too obvious a hold out and Camulous had eyes all over the place. Downtown was heavily patrolled, but there was plenty of space here. Room for shelter, room to hide. It's where he would go.

"They've got hovels in here, places I haven't found."

Post by Xyon_of_Calhoun on

Xyon walked alongside his new boss, wearing the custom-made armour of the guard with pride. Inohen lay in her scabbard, ready at a moments notice, although Xyon had spent many hours the night before burning the idea into his head - You draw the sword. Don't let her do it herself. It was the sort of thing that could get him fired, or worse, killed.

Still, Camulous had taken him on with a single glance, and put him through a few tests - seven feet of Xenetian muscle tends to be an announcement to power anyway, and Xyon couldn't help but think that he was a bodyguard more than a trainee.

Still, he wore his armour proudly, and in that aspect, he was a guardsman in every sense. The Quartermaster had tried to insist upon Xyon that a helmet was part of the uniform, and therefore required kit.

He had failed.

Xyon's primary argument had been that, tall as he was, very few attacks were going to hit his head. Add to that his sheer size, and the Quartermaster had, perhaps wisely, decided not to pursue the argument, and the helmet, left untaken, had been put back on the shelves.

The same obfusication had been met when the man tried to suggest that Xyon wield a "more appropriate" weapon than Inohen.

Xyon had flatly refused.

The Quartermaster hadn't pursued it.

Camulous Smithson wrote:"If they're here, they'll be easy to spot. You see anyone who isn't a gnome or looks like a worker, go ahead and stop them."

Xyon listened intently, doing his best to fit into Camulous' guard regimes. The Calhoun guard had operated very differently, although Xyon mused Calhoun hadn't had any places like this. The guard function around the city, not the other way around.

Still, learning was an interactive process, so he said, "Easy to spot is a relative term. I can see over everyone's head though, which is useful. Erm... if I stop someone, I'm to ask them... what was it...?"

Xyon faltered, not really wanting to say what he'd been going to, in case it was the wrong thing. He knew the names of the people they were looking for, of course, and had seen the pictures in the guardhouse.

Camulous Smithson wrote:"They've got hovels in here, places I haven't found."

That looks likely, Xyon thought. You could probably search for years and not find them all, however hard you looked. Aloud, he said, "It looks like a rabbit warren, sir. An uncountable number of entrances to perhaps a few less places of criminal activity."

Remembering Calhoun, he added, "Most people here aren't going to like being stopped, sir. From what I heard before I signed up, we aren't exactly popular around here."

As an afterthought, so as not to offend his superior, he added, "Still, we aren't here to be popular, of course. Didn't you say the men we're looking for escaped from Justice Hall? It sounds like an impressive feat, sir. Although it does raise the issue of where we are to put them when we catch them, lest they get out again."

When we catch them, he complemented himself, not if. Things are more definite that way - we will catch them sir, have faith.

Looking around, though, Xyon saw only a few gnomish heads, going about their business in a desolate, deserted looking region. They neither looked up nor approached the two as they passed.

Friendly bunch, He thought, at least there won't be many people in the way.
I have to jump.

For even if I fall, for a moment, I will fly.

Post by Camulous Smithson on

"It doesn't matter what you ask them. If you see deception in their eyes, they're worth interrogating. Ask them what they're doing here, if they've seen Chrishton or Dennison, or anything suspicious. If I don't like their answers, we'll put them in a cell for the night. I'm through dealing with liars."

He turned right, took them straight north, into the center of the district. The drumming and hissing of machines drifted through the air, broken by a squeak and groan of metal like clockwork every few beats. The smelter was running, though only two of the five smokestacks were active.

"From what I heard before I signed up, we aren't exactly popular around here... Still, we aren't here to be popular, of course."

"You heard wrong. The good ones are on our side. I don't want anyone who isn't in my city. They know that too."

"it does raise the issue of where we are to put them when we catch them, lest they get out again."

Camulous slowed his pace, frowned, looked darker than before.

"In the ground, Xyon." He looked over at the giant.

His expression visibly softened then, while he looked at Xyon. It was the trusting look of a comrade who was lightening the mood for their mutual benefit, while the paternal look of a captain passing judgment was always there somehow.

He gave him a rough slap on the upper arm, though it could nary be felt through the armor.

"Good way to train your first day. Who needs backup? Not us. Observe."

The captain approached the first man he saw, a lone human in heavy overalls, heading into the smelter with a rucksack slung over one shoulder. As soon as the man saw Camulous approach, he stopped moving, looked around to see what might be going on.

"Citizen." The captain greeted.

"Eh, 'ello mr. Camulous." The man was curious, bordering on suspicious, but he knew the captain's reputation and wasn't particularly worried.

He got straight to business, as was his way. "Everything in order around here?"

"I ain't seen nothin'..." The man glanced at Xyon briefly.

"I see. Your name?"

"Corder, sir."

"You keep your eyes open, Corder. I'm looking for a pair of men, I think they might be here. You'll know them when you see them. Let us know, and stay away from them."

Still puzzled, Corder nodded. The warning to stay away from the two men was cryptic, but he knew exactly what it meant. Anyone caught with them was in trouble. The captain looked satisfied and jerked his head in the direction of the smelter. Corder glanced once more at Xyon, and then started off to work.

Once Corder was out of earshot, the captain spoke up. "He wasn't hiding anything. We should head on."

Post by Xyon_of_Calhoun on

Camulous Smithson wrote:"You heard wrong. The good ones are on our side. I don't want anyone who isn't in my city. They know that too."

Xyon's spine chilled slightly as he caught the captain's tone, realised what he'd said. He swallowed, hard, although with being so tall above Camulous it was probable the captain wouldn't notice.

He poked around his mind for a little while, bringing up a few memories from the Calhoun guard - patrolling the streets, him and his brother walking side-by-side in their armour, laughing and joking as the other side of the city burned - the fallens, swooping down, slitting his brother from ear to ear - his brother's facial expression as he fell to his knees, then pitched down in the dust...

He closed his eyes, briefly, and quelled the tide of flashbacks, forcing himself to focus on the task in hand. Swallowing again, he blinked several times to hold back the tears as he remembered his brother.

I will speak with him tonight, he thought to himself, just let me work for now.

Shaking his head briefly, Xyon looked down at his CO, his eyes shimmering with nostalgia and respect for the man at his side. As his mind raced, millions of possible responses flooded his thoughts, but the one he chose was this:

"Of course, sir. It makes sense."

With a sigh, Xyon turned back to face front, and scanned the district as they walked slowly past. Nobody seemed to notice them, initially, although as he watched a few people started trying to act a lot less suspiciously than they had been previously.

Camulous Smithson wrote:"In the ground, Xyon."

Xyon stopped dead, stared at Camulous' face, and a shiver flew up his spine all over again. Written on the captain's face was determination, anger, and a whole host of other things Xyon could only imagine about.

Unfortunatley, Xyon had a good imagination, and thus he was immensly relieved when Cam's face took on a softer tone, and slapped him on the arm in a friendly fashion. Few men could command Xyon's respect these days, especially here, in Marn. Camulous was one of those few.

Camulous Smithson wrote:"Good way to train your first day. Who needs backup? Not us. Observe."

Xyon followed as Camulous wandered over to a worker, who was busy minding his own, and watched the whole exchange unfold. Aside from a few tentative glances at the giant before him, the man seemed merely curious, a man doing his best to cooperate, and yet wanting to get away at the same time.

Eventually, Camulous let him go with a warning about the men they were chasing, and once the man was safely gone, conversation resumed.

Camulous Smithson wrote:"He wasn't hiding anything. We should head on."

With a satisfied look on his captain's face, Xyon knew without words that the next one would be his domain. Training with different forces wa always different, but the structure remained: I do one, you copy, we learn from each other.

Xyon was grateful for the time the captain was taking to train him, and especially enjoyed seeing Camulous in action. No, that wasn't it. Xyon enjoyed seeing good police work being done. Camulous' work was just that, if he was any judge.

Setting off in a random direction, Xyon walked around a little, getting a feel for the district itself. The sun burning down on him caused him to sweat a little, and he'd forgotten how uncomfortable plate armour could be. Nevertheless, the stuff Camulous had issued him with, although being generally heavier than the usual guard armour, was exceptionally light, and allowed for good freedom of movement.

THe sun caught his armour, and glistened off the sweat on his brow, although it wasn't hard to tell he was sweating, since his fringe was soaked in the stuff. As he walked around, he noticed a group of three humans, almost huddled together, eating lunch in a small circle of friends.

As he approached, they stood up to greet him, raising their food as if it were proof of innocence of any crimes.

"Morning." he said, authoritatively, commanding respect in the very tone of the word.

"Morning officer." they replied, almost as one, not exactly enthusiastic.

"Everything in order here?" he asked, echoing Camulous earlier.

"Yessir, everythin's hunky dory round here today, officer." one of the men replied, having elected himself a sort of spokesperson for the group.

"Good, that's good to hear," Xyon continued, "Your name is...?" he let his voice trail off, not quite asking, not quite demanding... more... stating that he was to be told.

"Derver, sir. This ere's me mates Frell and Sarven. We're just out on our lunch, as yea see sir," here Derver held up what could have been the remnants of a loaf of bread that they'd split between them. He carried on, "Nothin' out of the ordinary here, boss."

"Very good. Well just keep your eyes open," Xyon commanded, again parroting Camulous whenever he faltered, "We're looking for two men we think are around here somewhere. You'd know them instantly if you saw them. If you do, let me know. Oh, and stay away from them."

"We'll do tha', officer. Thankee' for the kind warnin', " Derver answered, ever the helpful citizen. "Mind if we get back to our lunch now, sir? Onny' it's gonna go cold an' all... " he trailed off, letting the full implication of a cold lunch burrow into Xyon's conciousness.

"Of course," Xyon replied, "Thank you for your time." He turned, making his way back to the captain, who he hoped had been watching. Once he reached Camulous' side, he waited for some input from his CO.
I have to jump.

For even if I fall, for a moment, I will fly.

Post by Camulous Smithson on

Standing back to watch, Camulous let the new recruit take the lead. The man showed good initiative, someone he wasn't going to have to coddle and baby all the way to the bathroom. He knew how to learn, and knew how to make the impression of loyalty. It was going to take more than impressions to gain the captain's trust, but it was a good start.

The group that Xyon approached saw Camulous standing nearby, and that no doubt affected their disposition, but a man as big as that didn't need anyone standing around to back him up. He went through the motions the same way he was shown. By the book, the way it was supposed to be done.

When he returned, Camulous gifted him with his usual liberal dosage of wordy feedback and talkative banter: "Good."

He started walking again, heading northwest and deeper into the industrial district.

"Do not be afraid to exercise your authority if they do anything but cooperate. You can cope with the sheep, but can you handle the wolves... Without bringing the pack down on you?
There are a number of criminals we leave alone provided they operate within some regulations, usually in the shanty town near the old ruins. I don't recommend going in there once people know who you are. You will never be asked to patrol there."

Post by Xyon_of_Calhoun on

Xyon turned to his CO in sheer disbelief.

"Sir... you mean to say there is actually a district of the city basically left alone by the guard?" The incredulous tone in his voice must have displayed his horror and astonishment at this news. "What about the people living there who aren't criminals? Don't they deserve protection from these criminals?"

Forgetting himself, Xyon rambled on about it for a little while, adding things like "Regulations? Criminals? How can you let this go on?"... then he stopped himself, remembered who he was talking to.

"Sorry sir. I guess I got carried away. New Recruit Syndrome. We used to see it a lot, back in Calhoun. People join the guard, wanna change the whole damn system... takes em a few months to realise, maybe, the system is there for a reason. I apologise. I was out of line."

Bowing his head towards Camulous, he waited for the man to speak.
I have to jump.

For even if I fall, for a moment, I will fly.

Post by Camulous Smithson on

"The market has its own justice. If they don't like it, they should leave. There will always be criminals, Xyon. By making friends with a few we can keep an eye on everyone, learn who is doing what and who is the real problem. As long as they keep it in line, we have more important issues to worry about than petty crimes.

"There will always be politicians too, and people with influence who cannot be touched. It is a precarious balance we achieve here. Your job is not to understand it, your job is to work within it and do what you're told. It has kept us well for over a century."

They continued walking though the district, encountering few people at all save for the odd patch of workers. The more they traveled without finding anyone, the more Camulous became convinced that he was getting closer to sniffing them out. His instincts told him to keep going. The area was too perfect to pass up and the patrols were light. They passed only one other guardsman, heading the other way with a curt nod.

He stopped approaching people and told Xyon not to bother anymore. Word that they were in the area asking questions would follow them anyway. He took a different approach, asserting his authority once more, and walked into one of the factories uninvited. It was a medium sized building that produced copper wires, lightbulbs and other bobbles for the electrical system that Camulous didn't understand.

He simply opened the door, walked in, and started pacing the isles while the few people doing work by hand carried on, albeit somewhat confused. They gawked when they had time, but their work kept them busy.

A fat gnome waddled up to him eventually, interrupting his path. It spoke in a childlike voice with a hint of indignation. "Something the matter, captain?"

"Not yet."

He stepped around the gnome, and carried on, heading toward the back.

Post by Xyon_of_Calhoun on

Xyon listened intently as Camulous spoke to him, thinking things that would best remain unsaid. So he didn't say them, and instead wandered after him as they traipsed around the district.

Here and there, Xyon noticed bits and pieces on the floor, perhaps significant of a struggle. he stopped, and stooped low to examine the pattern, leant over to say something to Cam...

Who hadn't noticed he'd stopped. His CO was several meters away, busying himself with talking to Xyon, even though Xyon was in no position to hear him. Standing, he flexed his long legs, and was able to catch up and fall into step, hoping Camulous hadn't noticed.

If he had, he hadn't shown it, though, as he'd just walked into a factory. Xyon smirked at the man's outrageousness - "Appointment? I've got an iron ball with spikes on?" "No, that's a morningstar, Nobby" his mind threw up, reciting quotes from a book he'd once read, long, long ago.

Catching up with his mind, he followed Cam into the factory, squinting as his eyes struggled slightly with the change of light. Xyon wasn't sure if the gnomes that worked here were staring at him, or at Camulous, just as he hadn't been earlier. Now, though, it didn't bother him. Perhaps it was a sign of him settling down with the job, or perhaps not, but he sauntered after his boss regardless, under the eyes of everyone.

Watching Camulous brush aside a particularly fat gnome's attempts at conversation, Xyon suppressed laughter, and instead followed him further into the factory. What Cam expected to find here, Xyon could only imagine.

As he passed, he noticed shelves stacked with various odds and ends, and he remembered someone saying about "Electrickkery", or something like that. Did they make that here? The parts certaintly lootked strange enough. Curved, thin metal, inside glass tubes, everywhere he looked there were fascinating devices of all types, just lying around.

Xyon presumed that they were pretty mundane things to the gnomes, since they didn't seem to give them that much mind as they threw them about. Still, they fascinated him so much it was several seconds before he realised the captain had gotten away from him again.

With a sigh, Xyon put down the glass thing and set off after Camulous, catching up relatively easily, and falling back into step. Again, he mused at what the captain hoped to find here. Kamar? Chrishton? Electrikkery? The list was endless.
I have to jump.

For even if I fall, for a moment, I will fly.

Post by Camulous Smithson on

The fat gnome watched them carefully, following behind Xyon as if the two weren't supposed to be there, which they were not. Camulous was bending the rules a bit, entering a place without introducing himself or explaining his intentions. There was no need for a warrant of any kind, such things did not exist in Marn, and he knew there was nothing the gnome could do.

He found nothing in the back room but more of the same parts Xyon was playing with in storage. Crates and crates of parts, giant spools of wires, wood, metal beams, pipes... Nothing of any real interest. What interested Camulous was the amount of space the place had. It was one of the larger warehouses, and had enough room to hide a few dozen people. The piles of junk and discarded inventions would allow two people to hide from even the workers. It was unlikely, but quite possible.

He paced the isles, looking down the length of each one. The gnome ran up to him again. "If you tell me what you're looking for..."

"If you saw what I'm looking for, you would have reported it already."

The gnome huffed, but started to become suspicious himself, glancing around. The captain's eyes were already on the ceiling, looking for any possible place people could hide. There were many. He paced more, getting an angle to check out what he could. A catwalk ran around the perimeter of the place, leading to ventilation shafts, and large pipes that were used for god knows what.

It was tedious work, but with no leads to follow, there was nothing else to do. His eyes returned to the floor, checking for clues of any kind. He saw none that were obvious. The place was such a mess anyway.

Post by Xyon_of_Calhoun on

Xyon followed his boss, casually glancing around as the fat gnome that was scuttling after them began to get ever more agitated. Camulous seemed to be ignoring him, potentially for his own amusement, possibly not. Xyon couldn't tell.

Still, he followed suit, ignoring the pathetic creature who was puffing and panting in his efforts to follow them. Perhaps to make sure they didn't break any elektrikkery, or whatever.

Noticing Camulous' gaze, he looked up, the glow from his eyes touching several interesting angles, and changing the shadows slightly. Even shadows were no place to hide from a man with glowing eyes. Sweeping his glance around the room they were in, the purple light played with the odd items he'd played with moments ago, twinkling off various glass tubes and sparkling in the sheen of several different pieces of metal.

Shrugging, he turned to Camulous.

"Sir, do you really think they're here?" he asked quietly, almost afraid to disturb the man.
I have to jump.

For even if I fall, for a moment, I will fly.

Post by Camulous Smithson on

(( Xyon, I need to use Cam so since you're unable to post I'm going to have to write you out of this until you get your internet back. ))

Camulous shook his head in silent reply to Xyon. They weren't there. The odds of stumbling across them without any real leads was incredibly slim. In his mind he expected it to get them nowhere, but something in his gut maintained hope that he would luck out.

He also needed an excuse to examine the new recruit. So far so good. For an outsider, Xyon was trustworthy and capable enough to please the captain.

"Until I get a lead, it's all hunches." He sighed, standing in the center of the storage block, staring at nothing in particular while he though of what to try next. "It's either here, the woods, or the ruins. I'm going to check the ruins out. Stay in this area, I'll bring you some more men."

With Xyon in tow, he walked out of the factory without saying another word to the gnome, who remained desperate for an explanation but unable to muster the nerve to protest with anything more than exacerbated gesticulations.

Post by Xyon_of_Calhoun on

(( That's fine. I just thought it might look better if we cleaned up the end a little. ))

As they hit the fresh air, Xyon mused to himself if this personal training from the captain of the entire guard force would really continue for that long. After all, it wasn't exactly an orthodox technique, was it? He didn't know.

"Sir, i have a question," he said, deciding it best to ask. Stooping down so that he and Cam were at eye level, he continued, "What happens now? I mean, do we keep wandering around, or... " he trailed off, not wanting to ask the rest - have you got something better to be doing?
I have to jump.

For even if I fall, for a moment, I will fly.

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