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Nero

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About Nero

  • Rank
    Carbide Warrior
  • Birthday 12/31/1868

RP Related

  • Main Character
    Ashur Vaye
  • Server
    Balmung

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  1. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur squinted, trying to recall what details he could about his chocobo. Were they still taking care of it in the stables? Perhaps he'd been assigned to another knight? Ashur could only hope. Could chocobos be considered heretics? "I don't remember much about him, actually." Now that Ashur thought about it, his chocobo was unusually calm. If a chocobo was capable of being taciturn, Arrow would certainly fit the description. "We got along...well enough, I suppose? He wasn't wild or excitable. If anything, he was probably too calm as a bird. I never had the time or the occasion to be around him all that much. I'm willing to bet by now he's more familiar with the stablehands than he was with me." Maybe when Ashur returned to Ishgard, he should check the stables. It'd certainly beat having to go everywhere on foot. So far, Othard was considerably less threatening than Eorzea was. Other than that incident with the pirates, the wildlife had been relatively absent, and there wasn't a bandit problem like there was in the Shroud, or a beastman problem like there was everywhere else. The path was turning noticeably hilly. How far away were they from their destination? There was no way to tell. "If the opportunity comes to us on the Steppe, I'll take your recommendation," Ashur noted. His thoughts again turned towards his task. Did he actually have a plan? If this keystone was important to the Xaela then the possibility that they would trade for it is rather unlikely. But then, Ashur still didn't know what it did. He simply didn't have enough information. "What will you do when you find her? The woman you're looking for," Ashur said idly. Conversation was not exactly his forte either, but if there was something Roen knew that he didn't, it wouldn't do to find out at the last second. Maybe some rapport would be necessary.
  2. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur raised a skeptical eyebrow but said nothing. She only knew one member of the tribe? Either the tribe was small, this particular member was talkative, or Roen didn't know as much about these Xaela as Ashur thought she did. Still, all things considered that was one link, and more than Ashur had. He'd more or less planned to spend a week questioning every Xaela in Reunion before striking out on the Steppes by himself, which was a volatile plan to say the least. Roen said she called this particular Xaela a friend, but Ashur couldn't help but wonder if that sentiment was returned. He pushed his thoughts to the side as his companion tried to make conversation. He merely shrugged. "No, I've never been on a horse. The kn--my upbringing didn't have that kind of exotic luxury. It's only been chocobos for me." Almost unconsciously, Ashur's lips split into a wry grin. Even in Ishgard he was never given much reason to wear his spurs. As a full-fledged Temple Knight he'd only ridden his chocobo a handful of times; the majority of his experience was drawn from his initial training and service as a squire. Ser Praihaux had a tumultuous relationship with his bird and would constantly leave the chocobo in Ashur's unwilling care. That seemed like a lifetime ago. "I did see a few in Kugane. Noble-looking beasts. Though not quite as broad, I think." Ashur glanced up to measure the sky; the sun was approaching its zenith, indicating that midday would soon be upon them. Luckily, the weather this close to the coastline was comfortable. "And I've heard that the Xaela deal in horses, though I'm not sure how necessary new transportation will be." The trail was giving way to denser foliage and getting harder to see. Ashur swore under his breath as he nearly tripped over a particularly intrusive stone on the path. "What about you? Animal person? Don't tell me you have ridden a horse before." The Hyur was careful to keep his tone light.
  3. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur frowned. "I haven't," he admitted. Thus far his travels had been restricted to Eorzea, and even then he avoided Coerthas and the Shroud whenever it was practical to do so. "So if nothing else, at least getting lost will be a shared experience. The way forward seems relatively straightforward, though." He unfurled a chart from one of his pouches and stared at it. The cartographer's calligraphy was messy, but just barely legible. The Hyur glanced at the horizon. "If that village ahead is Isari, then we just need to head north through the hills and we should eventually end up at Reunion." He'd done his best to educate himself before embarking, but Ashur didn't know much about the Xaela. They had idiosyncratic tribal structures not unlike beastmen, but Ashur found himself feeling oddly prepared. Immersing himself in the mercenary lifestyle almost immediately after leaving Ishgard had meant adapting quickly to strange practices. In fact, he was a little doubtful that there would be any practices that would truly make him feel out of place. Maybe. The dinghy bumped onto the makeshift jetty of the village, and Ashur was quick to hop up and lash the vessel to the dock. "I'll assume those pirates can get their little vessel back themselves," he said disdainfully, tossing the oar away, glancing northward. Sure enough, off in the distance there was a slight but visible trail ascending into Othard's hills. "I don't know how long it'll take to get there, but let's hope there'll be at least some place to make a camp." He cocked an eye at Roen. "You know who to look for when we do get to Reunion, yes?"
  4. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur couldn't help but notice, with a not-insignificant degree of coldness, that Roen had dodged his question. He didn't expect a simple answer, for indeed it wasn't exactly a simple situation, but he had expected...something. Something other than the answer she gave. Finding out what what the keystone did was all well and good, but not what he was asking. Her noncommittal deflection told him that enough to rekindle his suspicion. She was awfully adamant on Ashur not disturbing this tribe of Xaela, but she was never willing to give him substantial info. Ashur exhaled slowly. Well, he said it wasn't simple, and maybe to someone else it wouldn't be, but right now Ashur was weighing his mother, his life, and his status, against a group of people he didn't know. That was not a dilemma that demanded much complexity from him. He wasn't sure in what way Roen would lean. As for his clients...they were mysterious, and likely powerful, but they had to be doing things this way for a reason. Ashur was lacking in concrete details, but he knew enough that it was the Church that had deemed him a heretic. He'd had time to mull over these suspicions since leaving Ishgard. The cloak and dagger wouldn't be necessary if the same ones who hired him were the same ones who framed him; they'd have all the leverage they needed to get what they wanted from him. There'd be no need to hide if Ashur was the only one they were hiding from. "As long as I'm marked the way I am, they're threatened, and I can't return." Ashur said vaguely, with some disgruntlement. He didn't particularly want to answer Roen's questions after not getting his answer to his own, and so some evasiveness of his own would do. "I suppose we'll just see when we meet them, hm?"
  5. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur felt his lips tighten. He had an inkling of suspicion that the circumstances would be something like this. After all, if his clients were willing to spend an inordinate amount of money and manpower to find this 'keystone' then naturally it must be valued by people other than them. His brow furrowed. At this very moment, he was laser-focused on his goal. These Xaela were people half a world away. But there was no telling how that might change. "You sound impressed by them," Ashur couldn't help commenting. Indeed, Roen seemed...insistent that these Xaela remain untouched, for one reason or another. Ashur could only suspect how much they apparently meant to her. "I don't want to harm anyone if I don't have to," the Hyur said quietly. "But it's not as if I can just give up and go home. This is the only way I can save someone important to me. I don't have the power to erase my supposed crime on my own." If it was only Ashur at stake, it wouldn't be much of an issue; living as a mercenary had taught him how to deal with the exile lifestyle. Whether or not he could live with that lifestyle being permanent was a question he would answer later. But there was no way he would let his status affect his mother...if she was even still alive. "I suppose I'll see this tribe for myself, in time," Ashur huffed, gazing across the Ruby Sea. Ishgard was far indeed. "Though, what would you do in my situation? Would you simply turn around and leave them be?"
  6. Nero

    Remnants

    "Call it my personal failing," Ashur said, grunting as he pulled his oar across the water. "If you ask me, diplomacy is reserved for the people willing to abide by its rules. Anyone willing to cross that line, particularly for their own personal gain, gets a well-deserved target on their back. Or their head" Yes, there was little more Ashur hated than being cheated. It was bad enough when the powers that be saw fit to abuse those thin boundaries--the kings, the rulers, the wealthy--but it was somehow worse when people not beholden to such responsibilities believed they had room to be just as dishonest. His brow twitched. Yes, one could say that lack of integrity was the entire reason why he was here. Ashur huffed, forcing himself to calm down. There'll be others like that in his life, to be sure. It wouldn't do to get steamed at the mere thought of them. "I'll tolerate what's reasonable, but being crossed like that isn't one of them." They were distressingly far from the shoreline, and while they'd covered a great deal of ground--well, water--it was a stroke of fortune that a favourable current seemed to aid them. Ashur untied the dinghy's little sail and lashed it to the mast, giving them a brief respite from their labour. "As it stands, I won't have any reason to be...forceful with the Xaela unless they give me that kind of reason." He cocked his eye at Roen. "Will they? What do you know of them? Their practices?"
  7. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur's foot started tapping the deck. "Don't forget that it was the Kozakuras who brokered this deal for the Confederacy. Hingashi's not stirring trouble on the Ruby Sea because they can get what they want, but as soon as they hear that errant captains like yourselves are breaking deals, do you think they're going to take that laying down? And while you might be happy to swindle people, I doubt every captain or your leaders share your view." He uncrossed his arms but placed his right on his hip; in one smooth motion he could reach up, grab the handgun, and fire a shot if he needed to. Tsura seemed to consider this. "Just take the gil and we'll take the ferry to the mainland," Ashur insisted. The Roegadyn finally seemed to shrug with relent. "Leave your tithes here. Leave the dinghy on the shore," Tsura grunted. Ashur did his best to keep from rolling his eyes, and with a sigh of resignation, untied his gil pouch and dumped it on the deck of the ship. He made a mental note to find out whoever it was that convinced the pirates to detain them and put a few rounds through their heads. This was not an annoyance Ashur needed. The dinghy was lowered into the water and a length of rope--not even a ladder--unceremoniously dropped down. The Hyur quickly rappelled down just in time to catch two oars thrown at his face. There was a small mast and a makeshift sail on the dinghy, but the wind had died. "I suppose we'd better get to rowing," Ashur sighed. "I suppose we'll find another way to cross when we get back. Were you prepared to fight if I had actually started something back there?"
  8. Nero

    Remnants

    "We're not paying them twice," Ashur snapped testily, folding his arms. He glared at the Roegadyn. This is why he hated pirates. "We already had to give your croney his share of this extortion. As far as I'm concerned, we've already paid our dues, but now you're looking for more. A real oathbreaker, this one." The other pirates seemed to tense up at this presumed insult to their 'honour', but Ashur was fully ready to start blasting heads. The last thing he needed getting in his way was avaricious vagrants who didn't know any better. He didn't bring any explosives, but a handful of flash powder should buy them a couple seconds. Enough, anyway. Tsura's gaze swivelled to Roen. "I'll be happy to take your tithe, but I owe a favour and I intend on repaying it. Which means you will be staying here. Whether you want to or not. And if you and your wild friend here are looking to make trouble on my ship, then you'd best accept the consequences." Ashur's voice dropped low, enough so that only Roen could hear him. "They're not going to let us past. If you've got some silver words for them, you'd best use them now before I start shooting. I'm not going to be stopped here."
  9. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur's hand twitched, resisting an instinct to withdraw his handgun. He didn't really have any intention of using it--yet--but it still did not suit him at all to be coerced like this. Threatening violence in Limsa Lominsa had a way of working by making cheating Ashur more trouble than it was worth, but it seemed that there was such a monopoly in the Far East that such tactics would get him nowhere. He rubbed the back of his head before depositing a number of gil coins into another pouch and throwing it at the ferryman. Ferry pirate? "That'll cover us both, I expect, unless your greed is getting the best of you," Ashur said disdainfully, his voice taking on an annoyed edge. Roen would need to save her coins for whatever Tsura would demand. Perhaps Ashur would need to save them too if Tsura was planning on pulling the same trick. Damn these pirates. The rat-faced Midlander nodded in satisfaction and the two of them were quickly on their way to the Confederacy ship. Of course, the troubles couldn't have ended there. "You've already paid your tithe," Tsura said. Unlike his rodent-like subordinate, the Hellsguard Roegadyn was rather imposing. "The problem is someone else did too. Someone else willing to pay me enough to detain you and others like you from reaching the mainland, for a time." Ashur snorted. How mercenary. Judging from the pirate's language, it was one of the competitors looking to keep other foreigners out of Othard for as long as possible. That wouldn't do at all; his reflex was to simply fight his way out or at least jump off the ship and swim if he had to, but he glanced at Roen nonetheless.
  10. Nero

    Remnants

    Now it was Ashur's turn to mostly dodge the question, though thankfully the ferry was just now cresting over the horizon, ending their conversation. "I've been framed. They claim they can make me un-framed," the Hyur said simply, reassembling the handgun and standing up. He couldn't help but snort at her assertion. Everyone's best interest, Roen said. Everyone's except for Ashur's, apparently. That was the thing about that phrase: despite having the word everyone in it, it was hardly inclusive. Whatever his ideals, Ashur had no intention of spending the rest of his life in ignominious exile. The ferry soon touched on the dock, and Ashur handed over the scroll given to him by the Kozakuras, while jabbing his thumb at Roen. "She's coming too," he said tersely. The boat ride itself was mostly uneventful. The problems started once they landed at the Ruby Price. A Confederacy ship was already waiting in the distance, but the pirate waiting for them had other ideas in mind. Ashur presented him with the other scroll, but the rat-faced Midlander squinted at it for a second before tossing it aside. "Bah. These Hingan lords of yours too uptight to pay with proper koban? Where's your tithe?" Ashur shifted from one leg to the next, crossing his arms in annoyance. "I was promised passage. I believe your Captain Tsura agreed. In fact, that's exactly what it says on that scroll you just threw away." The scrawny Confederate snorted. "The captain will get his dues. You're going to have to pay me to take you to the captain." The Confederate squinted at Roen. "Tithe?"
  11. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur raised a brow. He wasn't expecting her to be totally forthcoming, but he wasn't expecting Roen to be quite that terse either. So much for conversation. The Hyur shrugged. "And your only clue is someone purchased twenty years ago, as I recall. Not very good prospects. Though, that is nobly dutiful of you to pursue something so..." Ashur rubbed the back of his neck. Futile? Impossible? What was a polite word in this situation? "...distant," he finished. Something about Roen was starting to seem vaguely familiar to him. Ashur had a hint in his mind that maybe it was her hair colour; it wasn't especially rare but it wasn't that common either. Hadn't he seen someone like her before? Well, not that it mattered anyway. His left hand reached to his back to pull the handgun out of its holster when he paused for a moment. Ah. I forgot a buckler. A shield would have been handy, but it's not like he could risk going to Kogane Dori to get one. Vessels of all sorts were starting to pull into the harbour, many of them merchants or fishermen seeking nocturnal stock. It was only a matter of time until their vessel arrived. He took a cloth out of a pouch and started cleaning the handgun, though he'd cleaned it at least three times in the past two days. Its overall frame was still the double-barrelled prototype that Lantrenel had given Ashur from House Haillenarte's firearm designs, but the exterior had notches and scratches from those times Ashur had used it as an impromptu shield. The slick Ishgardian mechanisms had some slipshod-looking modifications attached to it by Limsan musketeers, and the wooden furniture had three tiny rows of scratches. Ashur peered at the horizon, wondering what was taking the ferry so long. "What's your goal in coming with me, anyway?" He wondered out loud, more to himself than to Roen. "I get the feeling you're not intending to give me an escort the entire way." No, judging from what she'd told him yesterday, Roen would step in sooner or later. It'd be best for Ashur to have an idea of when. Just in case.
  12. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur snorted. Yes, he'd encountered his share of pirates on Vylbrand and beyond, and did his best not to associate himself with them too much. An obsession with drunkenness, wenches, booty, and drunken wenches in possession of booty was pervasive enough that Ashur kept his work on land whenever he could afford to, and he was willing to say as much. "I'd still prefer to avoid them if I could. Lawlessness is hardly a virtue," he said disdainfully. Preachy words coming from the knight turned mercenary, he realized, but he at least tried to adhere to the law. Usually. He sighed, scratching his head. It was good that she had come prepared at least; that saved him from having to improvise a way around the tithe. "I have an arrangement with a Hingan family to do some trading for them. They're interested in some herbs or some such from the Steppe." From one of his pouches, Ashur pulled out a small wooden scroll case, popped out the scroll inside and unraveled it. "I'm assuming the traders at Reunion will at least know what I'm looking for if they don't have it in stock. In exchange I get passage to and from the mainland to Kugane." The ship was late. Ashur found himself crossing his arms and tapping his foot as the sun gradually climbed higher into the sky. "So what brings you to the East, anyhow?" he asked idly. Partly to make conversation and also because he still didn't quite trust her.
  13. Nero

    Remnants

    Ashur withdrew his hand from his handgun and folded his arms. If she was intending to cause trouble for him, she probably wouldn't do it here anyway. Still, it was best to keep her guessing. If push came to shove, Ashur was prepared to use his weapons, however reluctantly. "In a manner of speaking. We--well, I have been paid for. I have something figured out for you," he said nonchalantly. That was actually a complete lie. Only when Roen mentioned it did Ashur remember that only one foreigner, namely himself, had been guaranteed passage across the Ruby Sea. If he thought he could have gotten away with slapping himself in the forehead, he would have. He didn't actually think she'd agree to come along! Not that it mattered, because he'd completely forgotten about the tithe anyway. These damn pirates and their tolls. He raised a brow at her. "Though, I hope you weren't expecting me to handle your tithe. These pirates are strict, so I'm told." There, that would probably do the trick. At least if Roen herself forgot to bring payment then he wouldn't look like the more foolish of the two. Probably. "Dealt with them before, have you?"
  14. Nero

    Remnants

    There was still a part of Ashur that found comfort in heavy armour. The weight of Ishgardian chainmail had been burdensome at first, but over time became something of a relief, like a heavy blanket. Even now, Ashur found himself missing that sensation. For practical purposes, that had been shed for heavy padded clothing and reinforced leather. The aetherotransformer strapped to one side of his waist, the handgun on the other, and a shortsword on the small of his back. His pack held enough supplies for a month, and the various pouches had contingencies in them. Potions, tools, first-aid supplies, navigation tools, the like, though unfortunately the Hyur had found no way to take his explosives with him. He found himself standing on the docks before the sun had even risen; sleep had not been generous to him. He sat crosslegged in the dark, listening to the flow of the waves and the distant bustle of nightlife. Despite his claimed disinterest, he found his thoughts drifting towards Roen's words more and more. The freedom of everyone in Ishgard: apparently, whatever his patrons were doing would jeopardize that. Was that possible? Ashur had talked a big talk, but would he be able to stop them after they gave him his life back? Would they even give that much? The life of a mercenary had exposed him to many characters, most of them dishonest. Ashur knew that Roen knew more than she was letting on; he didn't trust her; not by a long shot. He had to say, however, that whatever her apparent faults, he still trusted her more than he trusted his mysterious clients. Time would tell if they would give their word. When dawn finally came and Ashur saw her striding toward him, he made a show of grasping the grip of the handgun. "Well, you've let me see you coming, so you've either agreed with me or you're very foolish about trying to stop me," he called aloud.
  15. Nero

    Remnants

    What did it matter if his patron was one more powermonger seeking an advantage that didn't exist? The Church would crush them. The dragons too, if that failed. Freedom. Ashur was careful now, given his last slip, but how he wanted to scoff at that notion. Chains upon chains upon chains. Class, status, family, the knights, the dragons, the Fury herself. Was anyone in Ishgard free, to a degree that mattered? Their lives weren't their own. One way or another, they belonged to someone else. They owed their lives to the nobles, to the lord commander, to the Archbishop to the city, to Halone. Ashur didn't consider himself a harsh man--yet--but even he could not prevent his eyes from narrowing in disdain for a brief moment. Stella would have known what to say. Stella would have some choice words regarding this woman's notion of "freedom". To Roen's credit, her question reminded him that this wasn't really about him, in a way: Ashur simply had to know if there was anything in Ishgard to go back to, after all that had happened. What mattered was that Emilia, his mother, was all alone. Alric was dead. To her knowledge, Ashur was also dead or at least branded a heretic, which was the same thing. He had no way of knowing if she was even still alive, or perhaps if she had been executed by the Inquisition. Did she manage to survive? Was she acquitted? If so, was she surviving? Did she hold out hope that Ashur was still alive, and innocent? Was she eating right, now that he wasn't there to prepare the meals for her? He could almost hear Alric behind him. If you're gone, at least Mother will have to learn to cook properly. An awful joke. But one that Al would have delivered with perfect humour. "No, I suppose not," Ashur said finally. "My life has never been worth much. I see no reason for that to change now. But even so, I can't give up. There is someone depending on me. Someone I have to save." Ashur's amber eyes glared somewhat. "And their life is worth enough to me. They mean more to me than my own. They are innocent and worth saving. If my 'employers' threaten them with this contract, then once they've given me what I need, I will kill them." Ashur took one last swig of rice wine, stood up, scattering a handful of gil on the table. Despite the fact that he and Roen had ostensibly traded favours, the Hyur had no intention of leaving any sign of a debt. "From what you've told me, you clearly know about the object I am looking for, and about the tribe that has it. Perhaps you already know what it does and where to find it. Consider my words: the only way you will have any control over how this ends is if you help me. My ship leaves for the Ruby Price tomorrow at dawn. If you change your mind, you can find me then. And if you want to try to stop me, then you'd better make sure I don't see you coming." It was equal parts challenge and threat; with that, he left the Hostelry to finish making his preparations.
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