Outside the door, across the street stands a human woman dressed in tight blue jeans and a red, tight fitting button up blouse.  Her back is to the door as she seems to peer around the shuttered up windows of a nearby storefront.

Lyddmull Seamel lifts the visor of his helm, revealing the recent first-degree burns his face has suffered. He winces as the slightly acidic air hits him. Closing his eyes while still slightly shaky on his feet causes him to stumble and sway dangerously towards the shoulder of the woman.

Surprised by the man’s sudden presence at her shoulder Maria pulls away, trying to avoid the man’s touch, “Hey watch it!” she scolds, eyes fixed on Seamel as she takes a couple of quick steps back, trying to put distance between them.

Blinking in surprise the armored knight staggers a few steps in the other direction. “I do apologize, miss,” he manages, steadying himself, “Are you alright?”

There’s a moment where Maria seems to be measuring up the armored knight before she suddenly grimaces, “You ever look where you’re going?” she asks, stance shifting ever so slightly to favor her right leg.

“Most of the time,” Lyddmull replies, somewhat sheepishly, “Though I am typically not recovering from a recent roasting.” He gives the woman an appraising glance, noting the limp. “Know you where one can find a doctor less likely to cheat the injured?” he asks, “We can have them look at your leg.”

“I wouldn’t want to keep you,” she quickly replies.  “I mean.” She lifts her gaze. “I’m sure I can get myself to the doctor.” A slight hesitation. “Although..” She purposely pats at her pocket for a moment before shaking her head  a bit and making eye contact again. “I mean, I wouldn’t want you to have to pay my doctors bill.”

“I appreciate your concern,” the Fastheldian replies, a smile sending another wave of pain through his face, “But as you can see, I find myself in similar need. Taking you there would not even put me out of the way.”

Maria seems a bit put out by that answer. “You look like you’ll be all right.” she replies and takes a step forward, suddenly not seeming to limp quite so badly. “And I’ll be all right, I’m sure. Yeah.  Kora’s not exactly the place for doctors, ya know.”

“No, but it does seem to be exactly the place for injuries,” Lyddmull replies wryly. He takes a bit of a step back as she steps forward, keeping a wary eye on the seemingly unpredictable stranger.

Maria shrugs noncommittally, “It’s Kora.” Another pause, “Listen man…you don’t want to go to a doc here.” she says, tone ringing honest all of a sudden, “You’re not from around here,” she states matter of factly. “Whatever you’re doing here…you should probably get going.”

“Miss, every inch of me is painfully aware of what I *should* do,” the tall, dark-haired Baron says with a sigh, “Unfortunately, it runs in direct opposition to that which I *must* do. As it is, where I must go from here is far less hospitable.”

“What you must do?” Maria asks with a raised eyebrow, “Buddy, don’t know what they’ve told you…but there ain’t anything you’ve *got* to do when you’re in Tomin Kora…’cept maybe watch your back.”

“That much is known to me,” replies the Seamel, “And no one has told me anything. There is something I came here to do. It remains undone, and now my road takes me to realms far less forgiving than this. And yes, I am well aware that no one I have met or am likely to meet comprehends what I am speaking of.” He shakes his head in some frustration. “So I take it you are wholly unharmed?” he asks.

The woman suddenly takes a step back, cautious once more, “I’ll be fine.” she repeats.  “And where the hell is less forgiving than this place?” she asks.

“The Parallax,” Lyddmull says, not even caring about revealing his plans to a complete stranger at this point. He seems about to walk off before he turns back to the woman. “Do you live here?” he asks curiously.

“The Parallax,” the woman exclaims, shocked. She quickly steps towards him as he starts walking away, “You outta your mind?” she questions.  “And of course I live here.” She says as if that much should have been obvious.

“I might be,” Lyddmull admits, snorting with faint amusement, “Though I might ask you the same question. Why would one live here? Intentionally, anyway. There are a plethora of reasonably pleasant places where one can live and work. So, why here?”

“Born and raised on Kora.  Can’t think of a better place to be.” she replies with a shrug.  “So what’s in the Parallax?  What’re you going after?”

“I take it you have not been anywhere else,” the  knight replies wryly. After a moment’s thought, he comes up with no reason to hold back the answer she seeks. “A confused young man fleeing from the responsibilities of impending fatherhood,” he says, “Apparently, he was taken and sold as a slave to the Nall…”

“And there’s a bounty on him.” Maria replies knowingly.  “Must be a good bail for the risk. ”  She looks back over her shoulder before turning back to the knight, “You know…if he was sold to the Nall…he may not be alive anymore.  Might cost you more than you make.”

“There is no bounty, no bail,” the Knight replies with the tired voice and smile of one who has repeated the answer many times, “And I am well aware that he may be dead. I was half-expecting to find he had died here, but apparently, he survived longer than I thought he would.”

A look of utter confusion comes across Maria’s face.  “No bounty….no bail…then why in the world are you wasting your time on it?” A pause. “Look…if you got a death wish.” she says seriously, “I’ll point you in the right direction and it won’t cost you nearly half as much.”

“No, I rather prefer to be alive,” Lyddmull says, laughing quietly, “And it may well be a waste of time. But I gave my word to his wife, and his mother, that I would do everything I could to find him and convince him to return home. With the Light’s blessing, it may be that a moment of fear and cowardice need not leave his small family without a husband and father.”

Maria shakes her head. “You make absolutely no sense, you know that?” She starts walking in the same direction as the knight was previously walking, all signs of a limp now gone.  “How do you even plan on getting to Nall space?  You got a ship or something?”

“So I have been told,” Lyddmull mutters darkly as also lurches into motion through the occasional grimace of pain, “And given that I only just now became aware of the perilous direction my road would take, I confess that I have no plan whatever. I have some vague inkling that despots like the Nall must needs generate resistance in some form or fashion. Such people might be convinced to aid me on the chance I might at least prick their oppressors, however minutely.”

Maria shrugs noncommittally. “Sure they got enemies.  Who doesn’t.  But being an enemy and being willing to march up to their door.” she shrugs, “Sounds like a fool’s errand.” She casts a sidelong glance at the knight, “I know a doc…but you’ll need money.”

“I have enough for that at least,” the Seamel says with  a stiff-necked nod, “And I agree. It is all too likely that I will be doing the marching alone.”

“Only if you can’t find a way of making worth folks while,” Maria responds, taking him down a side street. “You find a way to do that…you’ll have no trouble finding yourself a crew here.” a pause, “No matter how crazy a mission…or how dumb your reason for undertaking it.”

The Seamel considers this, almost stopping in his tracks. “It is a polydenum mine…..” he finally says.

Maria comes to a sudden stop, looking back over her shoulder at Lyddmull. “Polydenum?” she asks before a grin spreads across her face, “Now THAT I’m sure we can work with.”

“I have no wish to encourage theft,” Lyddmull replies with a faint grin, “But if anyone deserves it, it would be Nall using slave labor.”

“Now THAT,” Maria says with a chuckle, “Is something I can get behind.”  She nods back in the direction they were walking. “Come on,” she says with some excitement, “let’s get you to the doctor.” And off she goes again, leading Lyddmull off through a network of alleys and side streets.

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By Brody

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