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Walker

The Steampunk Series

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Click here for the OOC thread.

 

~Welcome to Magical Mechanics~

 

The land is full of rumors, and this is just one of many wonders you have heard tell of. Magical Mechanics. A shop on the lips of the gentleman in their parlors, the thieves in the alleyways, the cursing sailors at the air ship docks. Apparently it is the premier place to come. To come for what, you ask? For anything that your heart could desire. If you can imagine it, the master at Magical Mechanics can build it for you. The fastest air ship ever to be built? Done. An automaton with the intelligence of a human? Easy. An alchemy set that actually works? Of course.

 

Well, okay. Now that you find yourself in the store, you can see that is a little bit of an exaggeration, but it is still impressive. Ladies with parasols and sweeping gowns glide between the shelves, glancing at intricately wrought trinkets and toys. Men in grey wool jackets and caps crowd around display air ships near the back. So many people, so many objects, so much to see. However, every piece of merchandise is made of gleaming bronze and copper, mechanical in nature. The ticking of the beautiful clocks on the wall is so loud you almost can't hear the customers chattering excitedly to each other.

 

There's only one problem. Where is the master of the shop? You've heard of him, too, and that is the reason you have come. Apparently, he is the most amazing wonder of all, and you're determined to see him for yourself. Still, no one has told you why he is so fascinating, and all the rumors you've heard are unbelievable and exaggerated.

 

Maybe the master is busy in the back of the shop? You turn to examine an automaton bird perched at the entrance of the shop as you wait. The long, elegant tail feathers and bright eyes flickering like fire mark it as modeled after a phoenix, perhaps the most beautiful creation in the room. As you watch it, it leans over to a container embedded in the wall and snaps up a clump of coal. There is a wisp of steam curling from its mouth as it swallows the clump of coal whole.

 

And then, out of nowhere, it turns to look at you, as if aware you are watching it. You jump back, startled at the sudden gesture. Your astonishment only grows when the creature's plating begins to peel away and move. Soon, the mechanical bird has changed shape to a small humanoid, hanging from its perch by its long, spindly fingers.

 

"I take it you're looking for the master of the shop. You have that confused look about you," it sneers.

 

"Uh... yes?"

 

The small creature suddenly drops to the ground, landing gracefully on its feet, before walking over to meet you. Its bearing is as regal and refined as any gentleman you have laid eyes on. It even gives you a stiff bow before it continues to speak.

 

"You need look no further. I am he, Master Volar of Magical Mechanics, here to help a valued customer. What can I do for you? Are you an adventurer seeking a custom-built airship, perhaps? We've had quite a few of those through here of late, especially with the news of the new continent being discovered overseas," Volar offered. As it... he? As he spoke, the small creature leads you towards the back of the shop. When you are near the doors at the back that lead to the workroom beyond, he reaches out and grabs a pair of tiny, brass goggles from a peg near your knee, putting them over his eyes.

 

You stifle a laugh. The automaton looks beyond ridiculous, but he seems to sense your derision, and when his glowing, orange eyes turn to glare at you you think better of your amusement. Too much of a gentleman to acknowledge your slip up, instead Volar reaches out and grabs a pair of larger goggles from another peg near your knee, holding them upwards towards you.

 

"Take this, sir. You'll need it," he says.

 

How can that deep of a voice come from a 2'6" automaton? But you take the offered goggles anyways. You want to see more wonders.

 

~Setting~

 

Armore is a city of fantastic marvels and misadventures alike. On the outside, it gleams like polished copper, and yet underneath it all is a forgotten class of the poorest poor who must steal and slave away in the industrial district in order to survive. The industrial district belches a constant stream of thick, black smoke that blocks out the sun on the worst of days. The copper and bronze decor of the upper districts rarely shines in the sun.

 

Even the upper classes have a dark side. Living in their strange, spiraling houses, the leisure class spends their days reading literature that stresses the importance of conservative values. Women are strangled by their corsets and men are choked by their bow ties while served by semi-sentient automatons with glowing, orange eyes, powered by furnaces and flames that never die. The strict, stiff formality of the gentry allows for little self expression or movement.

 

But not everything is so lusterless. The air ship docks are alive with a thousand different languages; people from all over the continent travel to this beautiful city to trade and sight-see. Adventurers bring news of great wonders and discoveries. New products and materials are constantly streaming into the markets, and even the poorest of people can afford a trinket from some faraway country or place.

 

If only the same could be said for the food stalls.

 

In the mercantile district, tinkerers and inventors continue to build and construct new and better machinery. The strange mixture of magic and mechanics unique to this world allows for the oddest and most brilliant of devices to be made. Armore is considered the capital of industry and mechanics. While strolling the streets, one will see the occasional automaton servant darting through the crowds on some errand of their master's.

 

Most important of all, Armore is what your imagination makes it to be. It is set in a Victorian-esque world and the conventions of Steampunk do apply, but I encourage you to be inventive and unique with what your character sees and experiences.

 

~Plot~

 

Armore is a world full of wonders, and it also a world full of so many potential plots. I'm not going to limit you guys to only one plot line. Some important events to take note of are the discovery of a new continent across the seas, a growing sense of unrest among the lower classes and automaton slaves at their treatment, and inventors creating illegal and dangerous war machinery in the safety of their own workshops.

 

Perhaps you will chose to be an adventurer seeking the new world beyond Armore, one you hope will be free of the rust and decay of the industrial mecha where you find yourself. Perhaps you'll be a trader selling your wares in the thriving market when you find your most precious possession stolen by a thief trying to scrape out a living. Perhaps you are one of the few, rare fully-sentient automatons waiting for an opportunity to run away and try to start your own life away from the masters who commissioned you. Perhaps you're an aspiring inventor coming to the city to apprentice yourself to one of the famous workshops scattered all throughout the mercantile district.

 

One thing you do know, Armore is a city where anything can happen.

 

~Rules~

 

1. Sentient automaton characters are limited. They can only be constructed by Master Inventors and only at a great price. They're usually commissioned by upper class families as servants. Semi-sentient automatons are much more common and employed by both the middle-class and upper-classes alike.

2. Magic. Yes, this world has it, but I do not want this world to become one of sorcery. No one has magic strong enough to take over the world, mostly only simple spells. The spells that give automatons full sentience, or even semi-sentience, require dozens of people casting together. The most I want any single individual doing is summoning a flame or something like that. No calling on lightning to strike someone down where they stand or something ridiculous like that.

3. Either paragraph or character sheet introductions are allowed. Please PM characters to me for approval and don't post them in the thread.

4. All DC rules apply to this thread.

5. :| Let's not have all teenager characters, please? If I start getting too many, I'll cut it off. Adults are fun, too.

6. For any characters under 18, I'd really prefer not to have them romancing. It edges too close to some US laws. If you take on a teenager or younger, be aware I may ask you to hold the reins if they do more than crushing. Beyond that, be free to romance whoever you wish (and however many you wish) as long as it doesn't become the center of the plot. Fade-out scenes, please.

7. If I ever go MIA, roleplayers have my permission to make decisions about the rp (such as elect a new leader and reject/accept applications) and continue rping. What they may not do without my permission is remake the rp in a new thread, though. (Feel free to ask a mod to clear this topic for you, though! Including the reserved post so you have a place to post for yourself).

8. I'm not going to be too picky about post length. Do the section's lowest limit if you really want to as long as you give me something to reply to. Please don't ask someone to make their posts shorter or longer for you. It's perfectly fine for someone who writes five paragraphs to roleplay with someone who does four sentences. Everyone has their own speed and I'm not going to enforce a set 'style.' I tend to even out around two to three paragraphs myself.

9. Telepathic characters are a no-no. It takes control out of the creator's hands to determine what other characters know about their character's past/motives/thoughts. I don't dig it. I might make an exception about this rule if you PM me and ask (and handle the character in a responsible manner).

10. Characters should have weaknesses. No arguing. It can be physical or mental, but make sure there is at least one or two.

~Character Sheets (Optional. Paragraph intros are allowed).~

 

[b]Username:[/b]
[b]Character Name:[/b]
[b]Age:[/b]
[b]Gender (If applicable):[/b]
[b]Appearance:[/b]
[b]Personality:[/b]
[b]History:[/b]
[b]Other:[/b]

Edited by Walker

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~Characters~

 

Username: Walker

Character Name: Volar. It really strokes his ego if you call him Master Volar, though. It's a way to get on his good side.

Age: 56

Gender (If applicable): N/A, goes by male pronoun.

Appearance: Click here. Please do not save/copy/use this image in any manner. I paid for it to be commissioned and I really don't want other people using my character. Volar is tiny and stands around 2'6".

Personality: Proud, arrogant, fierce, fiery. Volar is more than powered by fire; he is made of it. He is very proud of how far he has come in his life and he isn't going to hide it. Most people around him know not to insult or slight him, even though it is common practice to deride automatons because of prejudice and racial assumptions. He'll let you slip by the first time (with a harsh glare for a warning). He knows people need to get used to the idea that an automaton can be their equal, but the second time around be prepared for biting, swift revenge. It usually comes in the form of a thinly-veiled insult in front of as many people as possible, but if your slight is insulting and thoughtless enough he is known to spit sparks at people.

 

He's stiff with strangers, hiding behind perfect manners as long as they treat him with the proper respect. Becoming friends with him and breaking down the walls of stiff formality can be difficult, though. If there is one thing he does not trust, it is people that he does not know. After having so many objects stolen from his shop and being stolen himself when he was newly built, almost everyone is viewed as a potential thief. If he determines they are not a thief, there is still the risk of them being a mannerless, racist cur. Prove that you're not going to steal his wares and that you'll treat him with the due respect deserved because of his station in life and he will eventually come to like you. Hopefully. Probably. Don't count that as a promise.

History: Volar was one of the first fully-sentient automatons to be constructed. His builder and his master was known as Master King, and first owner of the workshop Magical Mechanics. At the time of his construction, fully-sentient automatons were considered to be on the verge of miraculous (considering that they were newly discovered). Volar was the pride and joy of his master, and as such he was spoiled to no end. He became the mascot of the workshop, and even decades later the workmanship put into his construction was considered superior and one of the best examples around. These early years proved to be what fostered Volar's vain side and made him convinced of his own greatness.

 

Of course, times change. Even though Volar was lucky enough to always be loved by his master, the same could not be said of the other sentient automatons as more and more were constructed. They soon went from a novelty to almost-expected among the most elite (lower elite and middle class had to settle for semi-sentient analogues). Eventually, their status declined to the role of a servant. Volar remained forever perched at the entrance of Magical Mechanics, but his master could not stop hateful customers insulting him and trying to command him to fetch things like a servant. The automaton was determined to prove his own worth.

 

Long years spent observing his master at work had one advantage. He had picked up the basics of mechanical construction long ago, and he began to tinker and create in his own time. Volar was aware that Master Inventors, the most elite of inventors (and a title only earned after someone constructed their first fully-sentient automaton), enjoyed a privileged place place in society. His path was clear. He had to prove that the created was equal to the creator by becoming the creator, too.

 

Indulgent Master King allowed Volar to study under him and improve his skills. Volar was actually no natural talent, but long decades of consistent work is enough to make anyone a genius. After so long working, his work began to rival his master's, and eventually he reached the point where he even began to surpass him. Master King was becoming feeble in his old age and his work/fame suffered for it. One day, the inevitable occurred and his master passed away; everyone was startled to realize that Master King had left the shop to the automaton in his will.

 

It caused an uproar among distant relatives who had hoped to inherit the profitable business, but they were silenced when Volar took the final step. Working long and hard for nearly a whole week, Volar created his first fully-sentient automaton with the help of the workers in the shop that had once been loyal to his former master. No one could deny at that point that he had earned the coveted title and place of Master Inventor.

 

That's not to say that Volar's very existence isn't still hotly debated. There have been countless kidnapping and assassination attempts on the small automaton, but somehow luck has stayed with him and he remains as one of the few automatons in an elite position.

Other: Volar consumes coal in order to fuel the furnace that powers him. He has the ability to shift into the form of a phoenix, but he cannot fly in this form so it serves little purpose other than decoration. The reason he was constructed with it was for his master to show off the intricacy of his designs and workmanship. The phoenix was the symbol of Magical Mechanics even before Volar was first constructed.

 

 

Username: Tiga

Character Name: Liska

Age: 4

Gender (If applicable): No Gender, referred to as a 'she'.

Appearance: Liska is about the size of a full grown husky.

Personality: Liska is quick tempered and full of pride. She basks in her beauty and attention and is fast to judge someone or thing without the facts. She doesn't care about any machine nor human, except for her creator and master, Volar. Make a bad impression, you're going to see her bad side for a long time. First time meeting her, make sure you are polite and nice to her. Liska hates seeing other Sentient Automatons being treated better than her or getting all the glory and attention. She makes sure that she is the one in the spotlight.

 

She always visions herself to either be in the store and become one of the most loved Sentient Automatons in it or be with a human owner who spoils her. Liska is already happy, but is always demanding for attention and boastful. She takes pride in her looks, and she knows that she is beautiful. However, she lacks the ability to listen or give someone her attention, and usually, she will ignore you and wander off.

History: Liska is one of Volar's relatively newer inventions. She was constructed to show off in his store, to show that he has amazing skills. And he does. Many humans captivated by her sleek metal designs, many have asked to but her, and many have failed. She refuses to go with anyone she doesn't like. And she has a very strict list of who can go home with her.

 

She usually just strolls around the store, serving no real purpose other than to show off to the buyers. Liska has no need to eat, she gains energy through her paws that emit a soft, aqua green glow that when placed on the right kind of surface, can charge her up so she can stay moving for five days.

 

Despite being the kind who won't get her metal paws dirty, she will occasionally lash out to ones who harm her, or the ones who anger her. Her voice is soft and quite high, like a song note, but when angered will drop down to a low harsh scraping noise.

 

Liska has had one major achievement in her time. Once she was built, she was treated like a servant by those in the store, constantly being ordered around and used. But one man did see her as not as a servant, but an intelligent sentient automaton. Liska was once just a humble little machine, but since that man spoke with her, she grew up to be more confident. And so did her ego. Instead of getting ordered about, she was snap back and soon after a few days, no one would order her around any more. Except for those too curious or too lazy, but they get what they deserve. And she still receives the occasional order from a human who isn't fazed by her.

Other: Nothing really.

 

 

 

Username: Lore_Master

Character Name: Orion Lezurn/Ryan Dalt

Age: 25

Gender (If applicable): Male

Appearance: Ryan, caught during his 'casual inventing' time.

Personality: Ryan can be accurately described as someone who works hard, and plays hard.  When he's on the clock, he is a very serious and slightly apathetic person.  Don't have the proper documents?  Too bad, now move out and let the other ships in.  He is a bit of an omni-linguist, and can speak a variety of languages.  Mostly this is used when he has to yell at his co-workers or get the captain to sign the shipping manifest.  He tends to be a bit of a hard ass, and doesn't allow mistakes to go unpunished.

 

However, when he's not on the clock, he becomes a lot more carefree and friendly.  He likes treating his men to a round at the local tavern after a hard day's work, and tends to become very touchy-feely when drunk.  When off-duty, and not drinking, he likes to read and work on some of his inventions.

 

History: Orion was the first born child for Lucia and Artos Lezurn.  The Lezurn family was among the wealthiest and most prestigious families in Armore.  This was due to their extensive trading connections, as well as ownership of several prominent mines. From as far back as he could remember, he was pampered extensively.  That toy he saw within the market?  That was hand-delivered by the shop-owner the next day.  He wanted Roasted Pheasant for dinner?  He got it.  However, this didn't make up for the fact he barely saw his parents.  His father was often gone for months at a time, overseeing mining operations.  His mother was arguably even worse, choosing social events and wine-tasting over caring for her son.  Even when the two of them were home, they never talked much.

 

As a result, he was practically raised by tutors and servants.  Eventually his childish 'wants' vanished, along with any sort of positive emotions he had.  Every smile a servant gave him was met with a cold, uncaring glare.  Deep down, he felt alone and a bit unloved.  When he was ten, his parents purchased a sentient automaton.  To them, it was just for appearance sakes, to keep up with the latest trends.  But it sparked a massive interest for Orion.  He had never seen something like it before, a metal creature with the intelligence of a man.  While his parents saw it as a servant, Orion saw him as a wonder.  Over the course of several years, Orion formed a close bond with the automaton.  For the first time since he was a child, he was smiling and laughing.  Orion considered the automaton his first, true friend.

 

During his teen years, Orion learned how to act rebellious without drawing attention.  When his parents were busy, he often snuck out of the noble quarter and explored the city.  During the summer, he took swordsmanship from an out-of work mercenary.  During the winter, he tried his hand at being an apprentice to a small-time inventor.  His most memorable experiences were at the docks.  The sounds of multiple languages flying around, the way the dock workers jumped around from ship to ship.  Those experiences helped turned Orion from a emotionally stinted boy into a confident young man.

 

However, his father eventually noticed his son's behaviour and tried everything he could to 'correct' it.  Naturally, this was met with resistance by Orion.  However, the straw that broke the camel's back was when his father introduced him to his fiancée, a woman he had only met twice before, several years apart.  The household was soon filled with loud yelling and the breaking of objects.  His father called Orion 'ungrateful' and 'a waste of time and resources'.  In countenance, Orion let out sixteen years of pent up emotions, calling his father 'apathetic' and 'a man who only cares about himself.'  Eventually, Orion punched his father, breaking his nose and knocking him out.

 

It was then and there he had to pack what he needed and flee.  He wasn't going to be a Lezurn if it just meant being an unloved convenience.  With a tearful goodbye between Orion and the Automatron, he left under the cover of night.  With nothing more then his clothing, some food and a sack of money, Orion quickly secured himself a small shack near the docks.  At the age of sixteen, he no longer considered himself Orion Lezurn.  He was now Ryan Dalt, a dock worker.  Over the course of several years, Ryan worked hard and tried his best.  Overtime, he learned how to speak several of the languages commonly spoken.  It wasn't until a month after his twenty-fifth birthday when he was promoted as an overseer, something he took immense pride in.

 

Other: He knows a single spell, all it does is conjure the dock's seal of approval.

 

 

Username: Mousia

Character Name: Mercy Steele

Age: Twenty-five

Gender: Female

Appearance: This young lady usually wears clothing much like a man's, but tailored for a feminine figure, like this or this. She is about five feet tall and built in an average manner for women of the time. Mercy has dark brown hair, brown eyes, and fair skin.

Personality: Rebellious, spontaneous, and curious. Not really typical traits for people in that time. Though the bustling trade and rumors of prosperity in the new world have made abstract thinking more acceptable for men in Armore, women and automatons are stifled on that front. As a subject of this unfair distribution of freedoms, Mercy's goal in life has become breaking the chains that hold both automatons and women to meaningless and dreary lives.

History: Mercy is a modestly successful entertainer. She's been there, done that, and got the T-shirt as far as crowd-pleasing goes. She's even been on street corners getting money for things that no parent would be proud of. Even still, she's decided to clean up her act, so to speak, and begin using magic to become a street performer. It's mostly just conjuring flames, spraying the crowd with water, or calling on a slight charge to make people's small hairs stand on end. But not all is rosy. There are more than a few who have tried to stop, harm, or kill Mercy because of her flagrant disregard for social law. Women aren't typically seen so bluntly disregarding gender roles and performing for the masses, especially not where children can see her doing such acts of...of...civil treason. Breaking the rules and being one's own person in those stiff societal constraints is not commonplace, but there are already talks of the automatons breaking free from their slave-like statuses. Why shouldn't Mercy?

Other: Miss Steele frequents Magical Mechanics to buy props for her street show. Often these are merely intricately-wrought decorations for her to wear or simple mechanical trinkets (without sentience) to add to the show. She also purchases a custom metal cane from time to time, just because she likes to give the good automaton business.

 

 

Username: RainDash

Character Name: Ashen "Ashe" Coraline

Age: 28

Gender (If applicable): Female

Appearance: Ashe, on duty.

Personality:

Shoot first, and if they still aren't listening, shoot them again. Ashe isn't the type to be ignored, and her rise to a Law Enforcer is nothing less than astonishing. She's intelligent enough to analyze crime scenes all by herself, but ruthless enough to kill those whom she deems criminals. Ashe tends to get cocky over small things, and ignore those people that she sees as dull and uninspired.

 

Her flagrant disregard of social law has given her a reputation as a detective who only kills and doesn't care about the law at all. However, Ashe cares about rules, but to a certain extent she ignores them, picking and choosing which should apply to her and which shouldn't. She does whatever she knows in her moral code to be right, and while some see her as cold and distant, she can be very open to people she decides are on her level of genius. She has a quick temper and a short patience if she doesn't see a point to doing something.

 

History:

Ashe was the second and final child of the Coraline family. Her family was wealthy, but still needed prestige, and so they betrothed Ashe to a son  of another noble family when she was barely five years old. She was not pampered, but taught how to be a lady, where the proper forks should go and how to hold your fan. She was told to never speak unless spoken to, and so she was silent until she was ten years old, never speaking to anyone as her mother had told her that no one expected her to say anything.

 

Her tutors were boring, and one day, while exploring the house while  her mother was out, she stumbled across her elder brother practicing with a gun. Unaware of the implications, he taught ten year old Ashe how to fire a gun. She smiled for the first time in a long time, and requested that he show her more. Her brother obliged, and until she was fifteen, he taught her fisticuffs, swordsmanship, and how to fix various machines around the house. These times caused her to think outside of her tutor's classes and beyond the brainwashing her mother had used on her.

 

Then came her fifteenth birthday when she asked for a gun of her own. Her mother nearly expelled her tea in shock, and struck her daughter in disgust. Ashe never revealed who had taught her how to use a weapon, but her brother was still in trouble for having been suspected of doing so. However, instead of being grounded or cut off, they were informed that speaking to Ashe was forbidden, and if she saw them talking to her they were to be whipped. Ashe never knew about her mother's new orders, but realized that she was connected somehow. She later went to her father, only to be ignored by him. She yelled and screamed, but he did not flinch or speak until her brother came into his study, when he greeted them and ignored her or any attempts to be brought into the conversation.

 

She later saw the papers her father had been working on. Shipping documents with tiny handwriting that added illegal drugs and other contraband to the sheets. With further exploration, she found her father's supply, and instead of revealing her knowledge, she did nothing. She now had a revenge plan, and could not afford to let the illegal activities show on her family's record.

 

Rather than run away or force her brothers to continue their lessons, she instead decided to take the money she had stashed away and bribe people into teaching her. When she was eighteen, she was punished for her insolence, and was told tomorrow was the day she would be wed to a man she'd never met. Ashe said nothing, but offered to pour tea for her mother and father.

 

Her parents met their end in their beds the next night, and it was widely accepted that it had been a peaceful passing. Ashe, now free from her mother and father's corruptive influences, asked her brother for advice. He had none, and he often said that she had earned the right to the money more than himself. She became the head of the household, directing her brother to do various tasks such as burning the proof that her family had ever broken the law. She also managed to make sure that all her family's business was legal thereafter. However, that grew boring. At the age of twenty four, she strode into the Law Enforcement Office -armed to the teeth- and dropped money on the head Officer's desk. She informed him that she had come to become an Enforcer, and if he didn't accept her entrance fee and offer, she'd become a vigilante.

 

Other: She can tinker some gadgets for herself, but her short patience usually means she goes to Magical Mechanics for her equipment.

Edited by Walker

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"Ouch, ouch, ouch!" the messenger shouted as he hopped around on one foot, trying to bat out the flame on his pants. Volar watched his display with smoldering eyes, still too enraged by the news he had received to react. He didn't need to, thankfully. The messenger managed to bat out the flames before they became worse, but now the air was filled with the smell of roasted leather.

 

Disgusting. But not nearly as disgusting as thieves. That was something that Volar had no tolerance for, especially after being nearly stolen himself long ago.

 

"I'm sorry for that. My anger got the better of me, and sometimes..." Volar waved a hand dismissively. Sometimes he spit sparks when he was angry, couldn't help it. He hadn't meant to catch his pants on fire. Now back to the important topic. "You are certain the shipment is stolen? You didn't just misplace it by storing it on the wrong deck of the ship or something?" he demanded.

 

The messenger was still shaking like a leaf. He glanced anxiously at the small automaton and took a huge step back. Volar's face crumpled in disgust at the unintentional insult. Yes, he had just burned his pants. But really? Was that necessary?

 

"I'm c-certain. The person who sent me to deliver it seemed very concer-" Volar cut off the messenger with a flick of his hand, tossing him a coin that would have paid for a hundred messages to be delivered.

 

"Your assistance is appreciated. Now, go buy yourself a new pair of pants."

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Liska has walked everything happen between Volar and the messenger. A small smile appeared on her delicated features as she continued to watch wtih glee. As long as she was the one silently laughing and not the one being spat at.

 

She continued to watch, and once the whole ordeal was over, she strode across the store confindently. A man stood in her way, awe sparkling in his eyes.

 

Yes, yes, I know I am beautiful. But there is no need to stare at me like that, Liska inwardly sighed with the thought. She walked around the human to reach her master and her creator. Before she had gone closer, she stopped and turned her head in disgust with the smell of the burnt leather.

 

"It seems that one automaton is very angry. Angry enough to spit out sparks," she mocked, turning back to face Volar. "What's wrong?" she added after, her voice soft and gentle mixed with mock concern.

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"MULLIGAN, YOU DAFT IDIOT!" Ryan shouted above the hustle and bustle of the docks. Around him, the sounds of a dozen languages passed through his ears. Three of them he could understand, though one of the speakers was rather colourful with his choice of words. His face was right in front of a young man, couldn't have been more then a week past eighteen. Ryan's eyes were cold and direct, never moving from the young man's line of sight. Nearby was a heavy wooden crate, with a giant seal printed on top.

 

The seals itself was one of several used during the second stage of transportation. When the ships unloaded their cargo, they were brought into one of several holding areas. There, seals were stamped on based on the contents, and where they were going according to the shipping manifest records.

 

The design of the seal was simple, but eye-catching. A grey, circular gear with several smoke stacks popping out at every direction, not unlike a compass. This seal was given to cargo destined for the industrial sector, usually either spare parts or raw materials. Every part of the city had centres where they could re-sort through the cargo and deliver it to the places they needed to go. For the main dock workers, their jobs were twofold. First, they made sure all the ships were secure and have proper documentation. Second was unloading the cargo, sorting through it and shipping it to the different sectors of the city. Ryan wasn't berating the man for giving the cargo the wrong seal. After all, they were designed so that the lower-class could easily identify and sort the cargo. No, there was another reason...

 

"DO YOU KNOW WHAT'S INSIDE THE BOX BOY!?" Ryan yelled as he motioned directly to the cargo with his free hand. In his right hand was a clipboard, with several documents and a shipping manifest. The young man nodded his head with slight fear, he knew all too well what happened if Ryan saw you messing up.

 

"DO YOU NOW BOY!? I DON'T THINK YOU DO! THIS HERE IS FIRITE. IF YOU DON'T REMEMBER WHAT THAT DOES, IT'S LIKE COAL'S BIGGER, MEANER BROTHER. HOWEVER, IF IMPROPERLY HANDLED, IT CAN IGNITE AND MAKE ENOUGH HEAT TO MELT STEEL WITHIN TWENTY SECONDS!" Ryan explained at the top of his lungs, the sounds around here weren't getting quieter.

 

"THIS IS TWICE I HAD TO TELL YOU TO BE CAREFUL THIS MONTH! ONE MORE MISTAKE AND I'M GOING TO FIND SOMEONE WHO WON'T MAKE THEM, ARE WE CLEAR!?" He asked, the cold, hard look didn't fade away. Somehow, the young man straightened up and yelled "YES SIR!"

 

With a slightly warm smirk on his face, he patted the boy's shoulder once and pushed him slightly towards the cargo. His boys were idiots, at least in Ryan's mind. But they were his idiots, and he personally liked everyone of them. There was still the matter of the stolen shipment meant for Magical Mechanics. According to the order forms, this was meant to be delivered directly to the store as soon at it reached dock side. Ryan had planned on personally overseeing the deliverly, but it disappeared before it even got a chance to see it. But he knew that his men wouldn't steal the shipment, that didn't rule out the rest of the dockworkers however...

 

"This is a right mess..." He thought as he looked at the giant clock that hanged on the ceiling of the massive cargo bay. It was about two in the afternoon. In a few more hours the relief crew would take over, and then he and his boys could drink. Until then, he needed to track down the shipment. With a sigh, he walked over to the main office, there had to be records regarding the shipment somewhere.

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"Step riiiiiiiight up, folks! Come one, come all! There be wonders for young and old, man, woman and automaton!" Reaching her right hand up in an elegant gesture, her gaze followed it. The crowd looked up expectantly and began to grow with suspense and excitement. When she drew her hand down, there floated an orb of water, approximately six inches in diameter.

 

"How did you do that?!"

"Mama, I want to do that when I'm older!"

"Can you teach me how to do that?"

"Whoa..."

 

Those were the types of things she heard from almost every crowd. It was commonplace and nothing she needed to reply to. Just to continue on with her act. The more amazed people were, the more they paid. And with the extra cash, she could afford to buy that flaming metal bird she was talking about commissioning with Volar last week. It would probably make her enough money to buy more than her standard bread, tomato, and leaf of lettuce for the day. She could conjure her own drinking water for free, though. It probably saved her a fair sum of coin, since merchants often took advantage of her in that way. But those thought would only hinder her performance, which was still incomplete.

 

Bringing her other hand level to the one that 'held' the orb, it slowly split in two and one orb floated above each hand. Throwing both high in the air, she waited until they were both a second from crashing into the ground before using her hands to command them to rise, and then split into hundreds of tiny droplets of water that quivered slightly with the gentle breeze. Then she drew her right arm to the right, dragging the water droplets behind it. After a few drag finger and hand movements, she'd created a dragon of the water droplets. Then, with her left hand, she created a flame-like shape that looked appropriate for her dragon to spit. Then she drew them together so the dragon did seem to be spitting the flame-shaped water and made it rise up above the crowd. Dropping her arms once it was where she wanted it, she just smiled at them for a second, then entire mass of people completely silent. Then she looked up and spat. But she did not spit saliva. No. She spat flame, which traveled up to the dragon and collided with it, creating steam. That steam quickly cooled and the droplets fell on the cloud like a light rain.

 

Smiling at the crowd again, she took off her top hat and bowed to them in another act of graciousness, even though she knew just have to play the masses so they'd give her money. The trick was getting kids to watch. As long as she had them for an audience, she'd get some turnout. When the last of the crowd had dispersed, she looked in her hat, pocketed the coin, and set back atop her head again.

 

After a pleasant walk over to Magical Mechanics, she passed a scared-looking messenger with a burned spot on his pants. Chuckling slightly, she took off her hat upon entering and held it under her arm like most gentlemen her age. Approaching Volar without fear but without an overabundance of familiarity, she noticed that Liska, another sentient automaton, had already began to speak to him. "Excuse me for intruding. I simply came to discuss a trinket I would need to commission from you. Please do not feel rushed to speak to me, though. Since your shipment of firite was supposed to come in today, you should have enough supplies for me and some others to commission things that require it." Bowing slightly, she smiled and waited to be sent away by either of them, for it was rude to simply leave without giving the other party a chance to reply.

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Volar was still too focused on his own thoughts to notice the newcomer until Liska had spoken up. The small automaton jumped and swiveled around to face his worker. Flaring the feather crest on his head, he began to explain the situation to his creation. "It seems that an important shipment has been misplaced, Liska. I was just planning to head down to the docks and intervene in the situation personally," he said. His eyes narrowed as his spoke, his frustration increasing by the moment.

 

This set so many of his plans back, and now he would have to explain to his customers why their orders weren't finished on time. Was it really that difficult to not lose a crate? He certainly had his share of questions for the air ship captain who had been transporting his shipment.

 

He reached out a small hand to give the feline automaton an indulgent pat on the head before he continued to speak. "Can you watch the shop for me while I'm gone, Liska? I believe you can handle it, but please do be careful. I've already lost enough for one day." The metallic feathers that made up his cape ruffled due to his agitation, making him look twice his normal size.

 

Just when he was about to turn to leave however, one of his more regular customers entered. Habit overcame even irritation and he gave a deep bow to Mercy. One of only a few whose company he actually did enjoy. Once she was done explaining the reason for her visit, he smiled apologetically. "It is good to see you again, Miss Mercy, but I believe you've caught me at a difficult time. Something has come up that demands my attention, but I hope you do not mind addressing your order to Liska in my absence," he said in a rushed tone before gesturing to the feline automaton.

 

With that, he took a step back and began to rush to to the back workrooms. Unlike the front of the shop, which was bustling with finished works and customers, the back rooms were lighted by the dull glow of furnaces. Workers, both automaton and human alike, scurried about in coveralls with arms loaded down with gears and tools. Soot streaked many a face and arms. Turning to one that seemed less occupied than the rest, Volar gestured a middle-aged man with black hair forwards.

 

"Master Volar, sir? What can I do for you?" he asked.

 

"Please, send a messenger ahead to the dock authorities and let them know I am coming," Volar explained. The worker nodded and jumped off to do as commanded.

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The office was nice enough, though it still felt weird for Ryan to be sitting on the other side of the desk. The room had hardwood flooring, with a shaggy carpet on top. The desk was made out of mahogany, with a nice dark polish. On the desk was an oil lamp, but it was still bright out, so he didn't feel the need to turn it on. Across the desk were papers, mostly related to his search. When the owner of Magical Mechanics ordered the shipment, it was shipped along with a variety of goods. According to the manifest, the shipment was brought by the ship 'Heaven-bound'

 

Heaven-bound didn't belong to any company or country, nor was it a merchant ship. Instead it was one of the ever increasing amount of 'freelance' cargo ships. They were strictly neutral, and would do business with anyone, regardless of the reputation. They were becoming more popular due to the increasing amount of piracy in the sky. But the ship didn't carry anything illegal, and had all the documentations, so it was approved to unload.

 

The manifest was stamped, so that meant everything had been unloaded onto the dock. Ryan could safely rule out that the ship captain had taken it, she even checked the cargo bay to ensure everything was taken out. So that meant in the time it was unloaded, and the time it was to send it into the city, it was taken. That had to be during processing, he knew two of his boys were part of the processing crew that day, out of a crew of ten. He wasn't the only overseer with a crew, each dock had several crews, each run by an overseer. The overseers were watched by the dock master.

 

To his left was a device capable to sending his voice across the whole dock, it was rather amazing. Now he didn't have to find the person to yell at him, he could just do it from the office. Picking up the appendage from the box, he placed it near his mouth and spoke.

 

"STEVEN AND MITHUS, REPORT TO THE MAIN OFFICES AT ONCE!" He said, his voice was quickly projected across the whole of the dock. It would take them a few minutes, depending on where they were. Just then, a young boy burst into his office, huffing and puffing.

 

"Oi lad, don't you know you're not supposed to be here?" He asked with a raised eyebrow. He crouched down to met him at eye level, normally he didn't find kids running around the docks.

 

"I knows that mister, but I gots a message for you." He answered, slowly trying to catch his breath. The boy was covered in soot, with greasy black hair and dirty overalls. He was probably one of the child workers that factories often liked to employ. Ryan didn't like the idea, but he didn't have the influence to argue, not any more at least.

 

"Master Volar is coming, to personally check up on the stolen shipment." The boy said, which caused Ryan to mentally curse. That was all he needed, as if he wasn't getting breathed down his neck enough. He flipped a coin over to the boy as thanks for the message. Taking off his hat, he bowed slightly before running off.

 

All he could do now was wait for his boys to arrive and explain what the hell happened.

Edited by Lore_Master

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The feline automaton sat down gently on the polished floor. Her tail curled up in pleasure as Volar petted her head. Her smooth metal outing moved as she turned her head to face !ercy. "Of course, Master Volar," she spoke sweetly.

 

Liska's amber orbs were locked onto Mercy as Volar left. Once he was out of sight, as strode forward to face Mercy straight on.

 

"Greetings, Miss Steele," she began softly, dipping her head in her version of a bow. She leaped up onto an empty table where she sat back on her haunches. "Is it a trinket you need? I'm afraid we only have little left. Our lastest shipmint was stolen, or disappeared. That is the reason why Master Volar had to make a hasty retreat," she explained carefully. She continued to eye the human, cautiously. Even if Volar trusted her, she clearly didn't. Maybe it was her who stole the shipment.

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((Slight time skip on my part to save time.))

 

There was something about being at the docks. All the sights and sounds of people working, speaking in dozens of different tongues, carrying oddities imported from all across the world. Volar hated it. Out here, people stared at him openly and unabashedly. At Magical Mechanics, he could own the space and be a king, but out here he was mistaken for a house servant half of the time.

 

The other half people stared at him with open animosity, realizing who he was. How dare you be so presumptuous. That is what their gazes said. And the only thing he could do to fight back was flare his plating and walk on by, keeping his bearing regal and ignoring their ignorant and childish displays.

 

And there were the practical concerns of reaching up only to the height of an average man's waist. It was easy for someone not to notice him and accidentally jostle or push him over. The docks were simply too loud and crude for Volar's 'refined' tastes.

 

He was on his way to where the air ship who had carried his cargo was docked when another sailor in a rush bumped into him, sending the tiny automaton tumbling to the ground. Volar squawked in protest, loud enough that the worker actually noticed. For once. Some kept about their merry way and ignored him when he toppled (quite on purpose, he supposed).

 

"Oh! Sorry about that , little guy! You se-" he began to say.

 

"The name is Volar. Master Volar, if it please you. Now, can you take me to whoever is in charge?" Volar demanded, his tone so cross that the worker jumped to obey.

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Has the ticking of the clock always made Ryan uneasy? Was it the fact he was pacing around? Hell, it was probably both. Not even two months into his promotion, and he already had a problem on his hands. Losing a shipment was not looked upon very well, it was even worse when the recipient got involved. Still, hopefully his men could provide the lead, otherwise he could kiss his job goodbye.

 

It was around this time Ryan heard the door open, causing him to turn his attention towards the sound. It was there he saw Steven and Mithus, the two dockworkers who were working a processing shift when the package was stole. Steven was roughly a few years younger then him, but he looked to be in his early thirties. Dried out skin and a few scars would do that to you. Mithus on the other hand was older then him. From what Ryan gathered, they knew he was going to be a hardass on the clock, but they didn't hold it against him. Thank the gods for that.

 

"OI, THERE YOU ARE! MIND TELLING ME HO-" Ryan yelled as he walked up to them. It was then he noticed the waist-high automaton standing between them. The bird-like claws and talons, mixed with the regal cape and better-then-thou appearance could only belong to one automaton.

 

"M-Master V-Volar! Forgive me for not noticing you earlier." Ryan said, back peddling a bit towards the desk. Once he regained his senses, he cursed mentally. He hoped that there was more time for him to talk to his men. Now that Volar was here, things were going to be a bit more rigid. He heard about Volar during his first few years working on the docks. He was the center of a 'scandal' where the previous Master Inventor died, and left him the shop. The family was very upset, but Ryan thought it was a good way to stick it to them.

The two dockworkers merely looked at each other with a smirk, it wasn't everyday that they got to see their boss like this.

"Stif it you two." Ryan growled slightly as he looked at them. Turning his attention back to Volar, he bowed slightly. Everything he still bothered remembering about noble mannerisms was going to be used here.

 

"I wish we could have met under more... pleasant circumstances. The two men who accompanied you were just about to tell me what happened. You see, they were part of the processing crew on the day your shipment was stolen." He explained as he looked at his men once more.

"We were hoping to have this mess sorted out before involving you or the watch, no offence meant to you of course." He added.

 

((Figured I let you get a post in, hopefully I gave you enough to work with. :<))

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"Good day, Liska," she responded brightly.

 

When the feline-shaped machine went on, she nodded along to show she was listening."Oh," she responded simply before her mind's gears whirred to formulated a more elaborate appropriate response. "I see. Well, I just came in to commission a little metal bird, but it seems you might not have any supplies to construct it yet. Do you have any idea of when I might be able to do so in the future?"

 

Even though her voice was sweet and bright like it normally was, the automaton's obvious distrust for her threw her off a little. It was common for her to face adversity from the aristocrats who profited from the oppression of those weaker, but she'd spent a good chunk of her life fighting the discrimination. She didn't know why Liska wouldn't trust her. Maybe it was her naivete, but she and the sentient machines were considered to be on the same team from her view.

 

Her gleaming brown eyes sparkled with just a flash of hurt before she recovered and switched her cane from one hand to the other to distract her thoughts from Liska's unease about her. While most humans would have taken it easily due to the stigma against automatons, the advocate took what others thought of her very seriously outside of work and had a hard time getting over negative comments. One would think that someone of her profession would develop a thick skin, but it only went so far.

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Liska shook her sleek head. "When we can make another? I'm not so confident about the answer, perhaps once we get a new shipment and the supplies then yes, we can make a new one. But, there are always other things here that you can buy, that are already made," she continued, lifting a paw to gesture to the store and turning her head to follow it.

 

She faced to human again, blinking as she saw her eyes change a bit. "Anything you may like, Miss Mercy?" Liska added, her amber orbs following every move that she made.

 

The feline automaton rested her glowing gaze on Mercy. She could tell that she was troubled, most likely from her. She inwardly smiled. Mercy might be wanting to be trusted by her, but most certainly her trust was not easily given out to strangers. Especially when the shipment was stolen.

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Ashe hated the fact that she had to knock and follow orders more so than the other Enforcers. Thankfully, she could ditch her partner easily, partially because he was unobservant and easy to fool when freshly baked pretzels were involved. She slid up to the door to her suspect's house, gun in hand, and knocked. "Police." She waited three seconds, letting the suspect shuffle around to either open the door or escape. Judging from the clatter of objects, Ashe guessed it was escape. Ashe quickly dashed around the back, gun out and ready to fire. The suspect dashed down the grimy alleyway behind his house, Ashe fired, and missed.

 

"Either stay in place or be shot, your call!" she yelled, as if hoping the suspect would stop. When he didn't, she rolled her eyes and aimed carefully at his knee. A quick squeeze of the trigger and he was down, clutching his knee and crying. "I warned you, now we're gonna take you downtown. Any more resistance will be matched with more aggression, because frankly, I don't have the job of keeping you in line. My job is to solve crimes, and don't think you'll get away with your crime either. I might just be the only morally correct Enforcer you'll meet." She grabbed him by his arm and hauled him over her shoulders, firefighter style. "Now, come on. It's a long drive to the station, and I don't want much blood all over the back seat of my partner's car."

 

Her partner was less than impressed by her lack of mercy in the suspect. "The knee, Ashe? He's liable to never walk again!"

 

Ashe ignored him, as per usual, and stared out the window as they drove down the road. When they passed the docks, Ashe finally spoke, "There's a commotion at he docks. I'll handle it and you can deal with the suspect."

 

Her partner groaned, but stopped anyway. It wasn't like he had much of a choice. If Ashe wanted to go somewhere, she'd go. He'd learned that the hard way. Ashe had once tried to walk of a car while it was moving. Sure, they weren't going fast, but that didn't mean that he wanted to run her over either. "Just make sure to call-" he stopped himself when he realized she was already in the crowd outside the car.

 

Ashe tracked an automaton through the crowd. She recognized this one, it was Master Volar. Which was strange because she'd seen him only in Magical Mechanics. Why would he be here unless… stolen shipment? Yes, he was angry and he didn't seem the type to enjoy being pointed and mocked openly. He walked with some dock hands to what had to be man in charge, and she stopped there. She had two options the way she saw it, she could eavesdrop or offer to her solve the missing shipment. The latter might mean preferred treatment, but the former meant that got to know if the case was mildly interesting or not first. Ashe decided to eavesdrop, not point in wasting her time on a common crook, now was there?

 

[Hi, let me know if I did anything wrong. I meant to post earlier, but I wanted to make it a decent length first…]

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Hanging on Liska's every word, Mercy decided she would get nowhere by simply giving her the same simple courtesy and transparency that she gave Master Volar. He was more sensible, she concluded, and thusly earned more respect from her. But Liska would need to be handled differently. She would have to deal with her from a distance, offering her no more than she herself was given.

 

"Well I'd have to ask you for advice on this matter. Something that would fit in here, mayhaps," she began, removing her hat from under her arm to show Liska how much space was in it. "And definitely something that would shine in the sun, because those in the backs of crowds still need to see what's going on for me to make a profit. Birds and other trinkets modeled after creatures with the capability of flight are usually the ones that bring in the most profit, but now I think the masses are beginning to shift to wanting more serpentine things. Do you think you have anything that fits that description? If not, I'll just wait until you have enough supplies to commission something. It's not anything I can't synthesize with magic, after all."

 

Shoving past Mercy roughly, a man who stank of booze, vomit, and urine began to attempt a sentence aimed at Liska. "I wanna thinkin' autowhozit fo' m' girl. She always c'plainin' 'at I ain't home no mo'. Ye make a sack o' bolts 'at looks like me an' I'll even pay ya!" And then he laughed loud, as if he thought abusing automatons that had done nothing but service the humans was funny.

"Excuse me, sir..."

"SHUT IT, WOMAN!"

"Sir, this is a store for-"

"I dun' 'member askin' ya t' say a damn thin'." And with that, he collapsed on the ground, out cold.

 

Shrugging, Mercy crouched down and grabbed both his arms, slowly dragging his from the store. "Please forgive me, but I feel this man being left on the floor as he was would be too much of a distraction. I shall return so we may continue our conversation with this man outside." Once she'd dragged the drunkard (careful not to let him touch her with his filthy extremities) out onto the sidewalk and left him leaning against the wall of a tavern that wouldn't suffer from his touch, she bought a handkerchief and wiped her hands on it before disposing of it. When all that was done, she felt ready to reenter and did so, taking a second to remove her hat, as per usual. Smiling a calm smile, she resumed her conversation as if nothing had happened. "Now that that's done, we may resume our conversation from before, yes?"

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Liska carefully lifted her head the highest it would allow her to examine the hat. She stood back on fours after measuring and with a regal nod to her words, she begin to search the store.

 

"We do indeed have serpentine modelled trinkets, and there is one with wings, although the size is definitely not going to fit in that hat of yours," she began to speak, lifting up a small trinket which curled up one of her legs. The snake like machine lifted its hooded head and gave a strange hissing sound, like water being splashed on burning embers.

 

When the drunken man came in, Liska recoiled, the snake racing up to her shoulder. She gave a loud hiss herself, the sound harsh and horrible, like someone bashing two metal pans together.

 

"Get out! We don't serve drunken garbage piles like you!" Liska tried to refrain herself from letting her real anger show. But it showed, her voice was halfway between loud and scraping and her soft, normal voice. "And no, we don't sell a pile of bolts that just look at you!" She added indignantly. The man then crumbled down at her metal paws.

 

"Goodness," she muttered, kicking him to make sure that he was knocked out properly. Liska took a few steps back as Mercy took the half dead man out and she waited patiently. That one action had changed the feline's opinion about Mercy.

 

When she had returned, her amber eyes were somehow more kinder. "Thank you, Miss Steele for kindly disposing the rubbish of a man," she spoke with genuine gratitude. "Yes, we may. Now, I think this is what ypu are looking for," she added. Liska jerked her head swiftly and the small snake lifted off her neck and branched off Liska onto Mercy's hat.

 

"Hand movements or gestures, voice or sound commands, the snake will respond," Liska instructed as the snake began to climb and curl around the edge of the hat.

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