475 Mocai: Intro to the Thieves Guild

    Wind banked his Daiken in an attempt to match the speed of Nix's mount.  The Inferno Leader's mount was a Shadow Daiken, slightly larger and faster than the normal Daiken that the rest of Inferno had.

    /Alpha: Wind: Can't you slow that thing down a bit?

    /Alpha: Nix: I'm flying with the brakes on as it is.

    /Alpha: Semmi: So...  What happened at the Nix ranch last night?

    /Alpha: Nix:  Nothing really... Why do you ask?

    /Alpha: Semmi:  No reason; Raine seemed a bit out of sorts when we picked you up.

    /Alpha: Nix: I made her breakfast, perhaps she didn't like it.

    /Alpha: Wind:  Did Pon opt-out of this mission?

    /Alpha: Semmi: No, stealth isn't his thing. Besides, he's going to scout out potential temple acquisitions with Junie.

    /Alpha: Nix: Just the five of us.

    /Alpha: Wind: Five?  Who else is coming?  Fajii?

    /Alpha: Nix: Del and Soup.

    Soup stared out at the vast expanse of sky that was visible from her spot on Nix's shoulder.  Her shadow sphinx form was ideal for this sort of mission.

    /Alpha: Wind: Woah... That's a lot of white.

    The capital of the Mocai province was aptly named Mocai City. It was a sprawling white city that was completely enclosed by a thirty-foot stone wall.  Surprisingly enough, the safest city in Everspire was also the home of the Thieves Guild.

    Nix shook his head at the distant view of the city.  It looked like someone had taken a white paintbrush to everything.  The buildings, sidewalks, and streets were nearly all the same shade of white.  "It's a bit horrifying, right, Soup?"

    The tiny Sphinx didn't answer, other than to close her eyes against the glare.

    /Alpha: Semmi: So this Mayor Huelix is asking for the support of the Thieves Guild?  Any idea why?

    /Alpha: Nix: I'm not concerned about why. My interest is in what we need to do for the guild.

    /Alpha: Semmi: We'll find out in a bit; the northern area of the city is where we can land our mounts.  Our contact's name is Pearl.  She's going to meet us at the serpent statue.

    /Alpha: Wind: I bet we'll be going in a sewer.  That's always the case with these things.

    /Alpha: Semmi: Underground for sure, hopefully not a sewer.  Best place to hide something like that.

    The group landed their Daiken's and quickly unsummoned them while dozens of curious onlookers watched.  Nix opened up a breach from Haven and waited while a large black panther padded through.

    Del Tali has joined Alpha.

    /Alpha: Semmi: Welcome, Del.

    /Alpha: Wind: Nice to have you.

    /Alpha: Del: Thanks.

    The black cat fell in beside Nix, shadowing his movements as he headed toward the market area.  Unable to help himself, he reached down and scratched her ears.

    They found the Serpent statue on the edge of the market square.  It was actually three serpents entwined together, with the three heads facing in opposing directions.

    Semmi admired the statue for a moment; it had a very ominous feel to it.  "I'd have nightmares if I lived next to that thing."

    /Alpha: Wind: Um... Found the Thieves Guild.

    /Alpha: Nix: Really?

    Wind pointed to a round building with an abundance of windows.  There was a large sign on the front that read 'Thieves Guild.'  "Just a guess, but perhaps that's it."

    /Alpha: Semmi: Seriously?

    A bell rang loudly from somewhere nearby when they opened the door to the building.  A grandmotherly-looking woman looked up from a ledger she was writing in.  She was dressed entirely in black cloth, seemingly a direct contradiction to her appearance.

    "Greetings, customers.  My name is Pearl.  How may I help you?"  The woman continued talking, not waiting for a reply.  "We specialize in stealing items, recovering stolen items, and information. Keep in mind that we don't recover items that we've stolen and vice versa."

    Nix gave her a deadpan expression.  "You have a storefront in the Market place?"

    Pearl nodded and took a moment to push a stray strand of white hair behind her ear.  "Why not?  We pay taxes like everyone else."

    /Alpha: Semmi: Sweet.  So no sewers?

    /Alpha: Wind: Fucking odd.  Lamest Thieves Guild ever.

    Nix smiled like her words sounded reasonable.  "We've been sent by Mayor Huelix, we are from the Inferno Guild."

    The older woman stared at him for a moment.  "That jackass from Free Trader City?  What does he want?"  Her dark eyes darted toward Del.  "That your cat?   How much?"

    Nix shrugged slightly.  "Free.  Take her."

    Pearl's old face showed the beginning of a smile.  "Really?"

    "No... I'll chew your old face off, Crone."  Del answer in a huff, absent of her usual politeness.

    Pearl laughed loudly, instantly reminding the group of Chiba.  "A Shifter?  Very convincing.  Go to the North Gate; my daughter will bring you to our Head Quarters."

    /Alpha: Semmi: Think Granny is the middle-man?

    /Alpha: Wind: Looks like it.

    After getting directions to the North Gate, the group slowly meandered through Mocai. Although somewhat smaller than Free Trader City, it had a wider variety of specialty shops.  Nix spotted a Taxidermist sign, but made a note of its location rather than entering.

    /Alpha: Semmi: We'll come back.  That bakery next store smells like Heaven.  Maybe they can teach me a baking skill.

    Wind shared a glance with Nix; neither of them dared a reply.

    /Alpha: Wind: I'm guessing our contact is that Ninja.

    /Alpha: Semmi:  Nothing says Thief like a Ninja costume.

    /Alpha: Del: Ninja?

    /Alpha: Nix: High-level fighter, specializing in stealth and nighttime assassination.

    A slim person dressed in a black uniform with a masked hood waited calmly next to the gate.  By the looks of things, she was chatting casually with the gate guard.  She noticed Alpha's approach and stepped forward to meet them.

    "Greetings customers.  I'm LuAnne, the person delegated to bring you in.  Please follow me out of town."  The suspected ninja headed through the gate at a trot, not bothering to check if Inferno was following.

    /Alpha: Wind: So we're running?

    /Alpha: Nix: Guess so.

    /Alpha: Del: Same person.

    /Alpha: Semmi: What?

    /Alpha: Del: Pearl and LuAnne are the same person.

    /Alpha: Nix: A disguise?  Like the one Chiba has?  Are you sure?

    /Alpha: Del: Yes.  They smell the same.

    /Alpha: Nix: Good enough for me, thanks for the heads-up.

    Mocai was surrounded by a fairly dense forest, within a few minutes of the city the trees started growing higher and thicker.  LuAnne stopped at the base of one of these.  "We have to climb up."

    She pulled loose a rope ladder that was tied down near the base, with cat-like agility she scampered upward.

    /Alpha: Nix: Can you get up this, Del?

    /Alpha: Del: Yes.  I don't need the ladder.

    They followed her straight up for nearly a minute before arriving at a spacious platform.  From there several buildings were visible in the trees.

    /Alpha: Wind: Okay, maybe not completely lame.

    They entered a round building with large open windows.  Tables and chairs were scattered haphazardly throughout the room.  LuAnne sat at one of the larger tables and then gestured for them to take a seat.

    "You've come here to help us with our problem?"  LuAnne focused her attention on Nix, although he hadn't said so, the other two obviously deferred to him.

    /Alpha: Nix: Anyone else in the building, Del?

    /Alpha: Del: Completely empty.  Been that way for a while, no other scents but hers and ours.

    "Who is us and what is your problem?" Nix glanced out of the glassless windows, a warm breeze circulated through the room, keeping the air fresh.

    "My daughter and I are all that's left of this branch of the Thieves Guild.  Unfortunately, we violated the pact and were forced to pay the price."  LuAnne continued when she noticed the clueless expressions.  "We have sworn a pact to commit not acts of murder.  During one of our group missions, one of our members killed the person we were robbing."

    "The Guild can steal whatever they like without worrying about the law, but killing is forbidden?"  Nix's tone said that he wasn't buying it.  "Going to take off that mask?  I like to see a person's face when they lie to me."

    "I've only told you the  truth."  LuAnne removed the hooded mask to show an attractive woman with short, dark hair.  "I'll tell you everything."

    /Alpha: Nix: Which is her real form?

    /Alpha: Del: No way to tell.

    /Alpha: Wind: Maybe she wears an old hag ring like Chiba.  I didn't notice if she had a ring on when we first met her.

    /Alpha: Nix: Me neither, disguises aren't limited to rings.  Suggestions?

    /Alpha: Wind: Let Ducky chat with her.

    /Alpha: Semmi: Agreed.  She's not being truthful, despite her claim.

    /Alpha: Del: Perhaps we could hear her out first, then decide.

    /Alpha: Nix: Good idea.  If we don't like her story, I'll bring Ducky in.

    Nix hesitated to bring in his spirit companion since she requested some free time to take care of a personal quest.  "We'll listen but if we aren't convinced then we are out of here."

    LuAnne favored the group with a slight smile.  "That's fair."
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