You'll Never Catch Me! (Open Ended)

Out in the Erast Forests on the routes to Whiteridge, big carriage treks along the pathway. To anyone passing by it, which was no one, there was one man at the reins of an ox carrying heavy cargo of cut wood. It wouldn’t stay on that route for long in this scene, as the rider soon goes completely off route and off into the forest. It was bumpy, but he was careful when navigating through the woods. Moreover, he was near Whiterige on that route, but because of the detour he was now heading away from the town, and soon he would begin to curve his path around the town, but far enough away that he was hidden among the trees.

When the rider got a good distance along this route, he slowed the carriage to to a stop and made sure his ox was tightly put in place, tied with a lead near one of the trees. Then, off he went into Whiteridge. He looked like the least suspicious man one could see, so he was let in with no questioning. As he walked through the city, heading towards the areas of the town where people were gathered in the biggest groups–the marketing districts, the lanes with the most popular stores and shops, ect.–he reached into his clothing and pulled out a hefty stack of parchment papers, all with very fancy writing on it, though unreadable from the angle he held them. As he walked through the city seemingly normally, he began to quickly pinned up the parchments one by one on many different walls. He also made sure he wasn’t seen as he did so, putting each parchment up with quick, albeit hastily, sleight of hand, and moving onto the next.

They were seen by everyone very quickly, and the man moved throughout the city quickly enough to where they were being put up just as hastily. They were soon seen as a small detail that kept showing up every once in a while to everyone going through the city, to where you can’t really ignore it when it shows up in your view one too many times. Because of that, many different people of Whiteridge saw the parchments, and every one of them were disgusted. Disgusted enough to where, a little while after the first poster was put up, the authorities of Whiteridge began to look at the posters themselves. At first it was just one or two guards here and there, but soon a small battalion of soldiers began to move around the city, taking down any of the parchments they see. But by that point it was basically all over the town, at least in the heavily populated areas. There were even crowds around posters at certain parts where people just read through what it said in disbelief, all with disgusted or shocked look on their faces. This clearly wasn’t something pleasant, and it was too out of the ordinary to ignore.

//ooc: why are the people disgusted at what the parchment papers have on them?

((Hmm, guess I should have added that detail as well. Here it is))

The posters’ contents would match the looks they were all getting. The posters were blatantly and non-subtly advertising a slave trade. Saying that tens of people will be sold off to new owners and masters via auction, to “whatever demands their new owner desires to give”. “Come one come all!” in big bold text is at the top of the parchments, as if it were entertainment. What’s more, it gave an exact time and location that it would take place in. “By first appearance of the full moon until sunrise, within the forests along the coast, of the Realm of Froqua, between Wyewich and Dandlestone Fortress.” Finally, at the bottom of the posters, it gives a taunt, “The authorities shall not catch us! We will be gone like the wind before you know it, guaranteed!” The sun was already setting, and they were advertising to people in a town that’s a small ocean body away from where the auction would take place, so it wouldn’t be the easiest place to get to overnight, even for the authorities.

((Here’s an image of where the auction would be taking place relative to Whiteridge Auction location - Album on Imgur ))

One of the people who saw the posters was the undead gunslinger Emile. He nabbed a poster before anyone was sent to take them down and read it at his leisure. “Guess even in this weird new world people still act the same. I should probably head over. Might find a job there if anything.” He mumbled to himself.

The “soldiers” were simple farmers who took up guard duty, a militia, as the town was far too small to have a city guard or a garrison from the King, even with the refugees and the mechanical people. The city Mayor Jasid Shunnid was a large enough man, but not very imposing. He saw what was going on and was incensed… This would not happen in his town, he gave orders to the militia to throw anyone putting up a poster like these out of town, they were not welcome there. The Mayor was absolutely disgusted.

While the Mayor was doing this, a young woman was also disgusted at the posters, it made her so angry she would rip these posters off when she saw them in a rage. The young woman, now 22, had lived in the town for a few years now. She still had a room at the inn and had replaced her fine clothes with homespun and worked on the farms nearby doing needed chores. She liked it, she liked the people, they were so nice to her now. Still Arianna Belle wanted more, she felt deep down that there was more to life than this. As enjoyable as this was, taking care of babies and other children to give mothers a break, preparing food for some of the elderly farmers whose sons worked the fields but were unmarried… She even enjoyed some of the proposals she’d get, though she had a secret flame for the one who had found her… Sunn Duskwalker had found her those 2 years ago with no memory… He was the first person in her new life here and she carried a bit of a torch, not that he knew it of course. That would have been far too embarrassing for words.

While all this panic and disgust was going around, a young adult man in a white sailor like tunic and brown trousers, had pulled one of the pinned papers from where he found it, and carefully read the paper, folded it up and put it in a pouch pocket, he continued walking along quietly, he did keep an eye on some of the others, particularly the reaction of the mayor and the young woman who practically ripped up the paper. He felt like a bit of piracy, soon, perhaps this little paper would be the perfect way to have a fun little adventure, he wasn’t really one for the slave trade anyway. A slight smile appeared on his face, as he walked near her, it was important that she hear what he was going to say next.

“I cannot believe it! The Slave Trade in these lands! that’s just wrong! They say they can’t be caught, I’d like to see them try to not get caught in a barrage of Cannon fire!” He made sure to sound outraged, which wasn’t hard because to a point he was, and he had full intents to sail over and let loose the cannons on their little market, after sneaking in and getting some people out of there after all the slaves were better off running free than owned by some lowlife.

Arianna is startled by this man, having not heard his voice before, after a slight jump she turns to look at him, “Oh, yes… Yes it is… Makes me so mad, how can people do that to each other!?” She smiles, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to raise my voice at you. It’s just really upsetting.” She runs her hands through her hair a bit timidly and looks down for a moment.

He gives her a kind and charming smile, “I wouldn’t worry about it miss, just means your passionate about it, nothing wrong with that” He pauses, “well, I guess I better go see this market for myself, should be an interesting adventure, you’re welcome to come along, someone as passionate as yourself should be involved in shutting this down.”

Emile looked over at the loudmouth being dramatic then to the mayor. He decided to let the still breathing spaz talk to the lady while he walked over to the mayor hoping this was an opportunity to earn some more coin. “Good day sir mayor, do you think that the idiots plastering these parchments everywhere have bounties on their heads?” His voice was low and raspy.

Sunn Duskwalker was in the town as well, and as he caught on to the posters fairly quickly. He looked at one of them and what it said as he gave a simple “tch” in response. He went on about his business, simply looking around at what he can buy for dinner, as he wasn’t anticipating going to an entire realm over, let alone in one night. While he was doing this he just so happened to be near the man who was putting up all the posters making his escape out of the town. Sunn wasn’t nearby him, nor was anyone else, but he did hear him climb the town’s walls as his exit ever so faintly in the distance, so he went to check on where he thinks he heard it.

By the time he got to where the man was, he was long gone, but Sunn decided to investigate more. The sun was still out enough to where he could make it back to a shop or tavern before they stopped serving people food. This was just too bizarre of circumstances to ignore, and he had a suspicion they were connected. Sunn easily got over the walls himself, simply grappling up and over it with vines he created, and over he saw… nothing. But his hearing picked up another noise, that of the man’s carriage and ox beginning to trek through the bumpy, unpaved forest floor, and that was something that really intrigued him. He decided to investigate, from a distance.

Meanwhile with the man in sailor’s clothing and Arianna, a special figure came to their attention. A cloaked figure, showing nothing of what he looked like approched them, seemingly out of nowhere.
“You two wish to stop this auction? I can help you get there in time” he said low enough to where only they can hear him. His voice was sort of deep, definitely masculine sounding, but his voice was ethereal, echoing as if he were standing in an empty chamber. There was also a small and faint slash of lightning to his voice as he spoke, though there was nothing electrical around them. As he finished speaking he turned his head to look towards Emile, intrigued by what he asked as well. Though, he didn’t go ask him anything yet, as he was busy talking with the mayor. He turns back to the swashbuckler and Arianna for now

The mayor nodded, “Most likely, the slave trade is not something that has been legal for a good long time now, longer than I can remember, truly. Lords only know what the Realm of Froqua is coming to, to allow such injustices!” He calmed himself, "I believe they likely do. For them to post notices in such a small town as this, I would think they would have garnered quite hatred in other places.

Arianna looks, “Why yes, yes I would.” she says the a confidence only showing her naivety toward such a statement. She says it as a queen or royal would say it, as if she expected such a thing to happen just because she said it.

“My ship can bring us there…” he turns his attention to the cloaked figure. With a raised eyebrow, “If you know a good way by sea, we can get there quickly, and in a timely manner… however I am not one, to allow just anyone on my ship, So… lets do this properly, with name introductions, my name is Drake Lionsworth, a humble sailor, and you are?” He said looking at the hooded figure, and at the girl.

He nods st the words of the mayor. “Well I reckon I’ll be going to them slavers so I can collect on them. Oh and dont think things are going badly for the ones enforcing the law. In my experience idiots do things like this to show off with expected results.”

The hood turns to Drake and is silent for a bit, as a low white noise hum comes off of the figure, whatever is underneath the cloak.
“Excuse me for my unusual name. It’s Xan’Tanaas. And what I offer is instantaneous travel, no trek across sea necessary. Besides, your ship wouldn’t make it in time to the auction by the looks of things” he says as the cloak looks towards the setting sun. He then looks back at them, towards Arianna, as he kneels down to her and hands reaches into his cloak. “You sound very confident about stopping this, young lady” he brings his sleeved arm out to reveal a thorn rose, resting on the end of his sleeve, presumably where his hand was. He hands it to her, it had a lovely fragrance even from a distance, “You have a strong fire in your heart, I can tell. Especially for someone as innocent-looking as yourself”

Arianna is left completely speechless by this and takes the rose gently… All she can say is “Oh” quietly and blushes deeply.

The sailor, who called himself Drake, frowned, he wasn’t a fan of this stranger butting in, not that he was really planning on doing anything to the girl, he just found it interesting how passionate they were, however he had his suspicions about this. “How are we supposed to know you’re good for your word and won’t just be moving us from here, instantly into a pair of cages?” He rested his hand on his cutlass, not intending on doing anything at the moment, but not very pleased with this Xan’Tanaas, he reminded him of certain others he’s encountered, swashbuckling thieves the lot of them.

Emile steps towards the trio. “You can always tell a merchant by his promises. Do you really think they need to travel instantaneously when that event will delay to take into account people coming in from far off lands. I think a boat should be able to get you there on time without having to deal with the supposed generosity of that merchants deal.”

Arianna looks at everyone… “I think we should go by ship if there is enough time.” She said it decisively. As if once she said it the matter was settled. She looked at the merchant, “What method of travel would you offer, exactly?”

Xan’Tanaas looks to Emile now, his figure standing just a bit taller now, “Ah, I was hoping to negotiate with you, you have a drive to stop this as well. Now things are more convenient.” he says as he listens to what everyone has to say, and thinks things over for a bit.
"I think we should settle whether or not ship is a viable method of travel. I know how to do that, but first would you three be so kind as to follow me out of town? I will reveal much more to you all once we are alone” he says as he begins to walk towards one of the town’s exits which was more towards the Savage River. Though he would obviously not walk too far if anyone was hesitant to follow.

“Oh come on, what do you take me for? that’s an old trick, bait people out into an undefended area where your allies or buddies can then get the jump on them, then suddenly we’re in cages on our way to be sold” He gripped his cutlass, he didn’t like where this was going. “and besides, a man in a cloak? You’d have to be pretty gullible to follow a man blindly who wouldn’t be willing to show you his face”