The Idealist and The Tyrant (Aiden;Sakuro)


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"I'll find my prey one way or another." Suika said with a grin. "The choice is yours regardless. I'll gladly take in the feast if you put yourself on m plate." she said with a voracious giggle, heading off, either with Aiden following her, or with him walking his separate path, chosen by him, or by wherever fate chose him to be.
 

Sakuro

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A hand rose and Aiden waved fairwell to the kitsune without another word. He'd just been banished from the only home he ever knew, unlikely to see family or friends again. He wasn't in the mood for sex, which was unusual for him. Aiden didn't pause or wait. He gathered up some materials to camouflage himself and mask his scent. It may be difficult to hide from wild predatory mamono, but he needed to try lest he end up a caged meal for some less than kind creature. With his camouflage prepared, Aiden set off on his trek into the wilderness away from the city. His destination: the nearest friendly human settlement not occupied by the Order.
 

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Moving into the wilderness, Aiden would be mostly successful in keeping other mamono off of his trail. Otherwise, when discovered, he'd be able to avoid or escape them as he would make his way to the nearest known village. It had affiliations with the Magi, but at least they were not the Order. The Magi could play the part of normal, rational human beings when they wanted to. It was mostly a town for researchers to stay and gather information to send back to their HQ, so while it was guarded, it wasn't a focus, allowing Aiden and even mamono to pass by while the latter would only be stared at mostly.

Making his way through the forest, Aiden would find himself spotted by a sentry patrolling the woods. It was a woman dressed much like the mysterious Magi. "Fancy seeing another human here," the woman announced upon seeing Aiden. She tilted her head for a moment, before Aiden would realize she was examining him quickly with magic. "Not an incubi, so that's good. You're free to come and go within our town of Hearthfire. Just be careful not to bother various Magi researchers if you want to avoid problems." she announced. "And if I might add, and man like yourself would best not travel alone during these times. If you'd like, I'll escort you the rest of the way to town." she offered.
 

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Aiden was rather surprised at how much ground he managed to cover. Or maybe he had just misjudged the distance to the town of Hearthfire. Though he may have heard of it, and knew it's location, he'd never been there. In fact he hadn't traveled all that far from his hometown until very recently. It felt good to stretch his legs. To see new things places, and even as frightening as Mamono could be, he was ever curious about them.

When he was spotted Aiden stopped walking and studied the sentry, trying to gauge her disposition. When she didn't prove hostile the though shrugged off a cloak of leaves and foliage he had constructed to help conceal himself amidst the vegetation of the forest. After a moment of regarding the sentry, and having listened to her greeting, he raised a hand to wave to her.

"I wouldn't mind the company. Perhaps you'd tell me about the town, and research going on there while we walk."

Resuming his stride Aiden began his advance on the town. As he drew closer his smell grew more noticeable. Animal and musky. In order to mask his scent he'd have to employ so odors that were both strong and would in no way be associated with a human male. Reaching out his hands he collected moisture from leaves, then brought his hands to his face and cleaned some of camouflage from his skin while walking.

"... and I'll need a place to clean up."
 

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"You can rent a room in our guest center." The woman replied simply. "A bath and the like obviously comes with it, so you can wash up there on your own time." she said, before turning and leading the way. "There isn't much to say about the town. We're unfortunately not very social. Most who come to this town do so for research, so it's filled with visitors to the point where mostly only the guards come to recognize and know each other as time goes on. As for the research itself, seems the sky's the limit. Two stories I've heard from researchers babbling in the mess hall were quite bizarre. First was a woman investigating how immune a man might be who has no interest in women. She simply came to find out that Alps target such men, looking much like boys themselves and able to maintain the important bits. So not even those who swing for the same team are safe." the guard chuckled.

"The second was of a pair of two women who were researching the effects of intimate bodily contact with a mamono. Men apparently lose all their strength when their genitals make contact with a mamono. I believe they were set on developing a countermeasure to that, because when a stray breaks out from the lab and face plants into the male guard's groin, he might as well be incapacitated. Even weaker mamono seem to carry this power, so someone like yourself should be on their guard." she advised, before the town came into view. Various well-dressed folk were about, and sentry guards were in front of nearly every building, with a minimum of two armed guards. Many of said guards were also dressed a bit differently, perhaps mercenaries contracted into protecting a certain researcher's important files and equipment.
 

Sakuro

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Aiden observed the sensory as she shared her gossip. The latter story sounded a bit like propaganda. He hadn't felt totally sapped of strength when mamono had touched his privates. But maybe that was because they wanted him mobile enough to reciprocate the sexing. Thoughtfully he mused on this for a while before finally saying.

"That bit of information should help discourage men letting mamono touch their genitals."

In town Aiden paused to look around every so often. An effort being made to mentally map out the town. At length he offered his escort a mild smile, as well as a hand to shake goodbye.

"Thank you for walking with me. I should be able to make it to the guest center without incident, if you'd tell me where it is."
 

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The woman chuckled at Aiden's comment. "You'd be surprised. Mamono have a talent for being devious in finding ways to make men lose themselves. Contrary to popular belief, men with a dominant attitude are the most common victims of mamono attacks, either because a mamono plays into their desire and falsely allows herself to be dominated, or by pretending to be a meek human girl. Men should always be cautious of their sexuality. Even men who swing the other way somehow get attacked..."

Once at the town, the woman turned and nodded at Aiden. "If you ever need me or just want to talk, I'll be at the mess hall at noon and in the evening during lunch and dinner. My name's Erika, by the way." she offered. Evening seemed to be on it's way, if Aiden cared to observe that. She shook his hand, and made off to depart back into the open woods. "Be safe." she said.

If Aiden went into the guest center, he'd find a handsome man over the counter inside what appeared to be a casual common room. Behind the man were many keys to available rooms. There were a few men and women dressed in white coats on top of various casual wear who were discussing science and observations as well as theories. The man at the counter focused on Aiden. "Hello, sir. Are you a guest on official business, or a traveler?" he inquired with a business smile.
 

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"Aiden."

The youth had responded when the sentry gave her name, then proceeded to shake her hand firmly. After parting ways with Erika he followed the directions she had given him to the guest center. Pausing near the door, though stepping out of the way so as not to bar anyone passage through it, Aiden took the time to inspect the interior of the building and the other occupants. At length he made his way to the counter to speak with the name there.

"I'm a traveler. How much would a room for the night cost?"

Thinking about money, he realized he didn't have a great deal of it. Soon he'd need to find a way to generate more if he wanted to visit towns like this. Maybe he could do some hunting and trapping here before he moved on. Surely meat and pelts would sell. While pondering this Aiden decided to see what was actually in demand.

"Do you happen to know of any short term job opportunities in the area?"
 

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The currency of the world was a simple one. With copper, silver, and gold made into coins to represent value. Gold coins were called Crowns, silver coins were called daggers, and copper coins were usually called coppers, though their own nickname was 'pieces'. With this knowledge in mind, Aiden would understand what the man was asking for when he said, "A room for one night is forty coppers."

The trade-in value for each of the currency went in hundreds. So, with a hundred copper coins, one could acquire a single silver. And with a hundred silver, one golden crown. Aiden wasn't broke by any means, possessing a fair two silver and some copper, but it wouldn't carry him too far in a society.

"I don't know of any job openings myself, sir. It might be best that you ask around town and see if anyone could hire you." The clerk suggested, before waiting to be paid so he could give Aiden his key. A room on the highest floor, thusly the cheapest since no one wishes to ascend flights of stairs to leave their room or come back to it.
 

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While the clerk spoke Aiden shrugged off his travel pack and fished around inside it. Finding the pouch he kept his coins in he counted out enough to pay for the room and placed the disks on the counter. After he received the room key he looked at the number on it, and slipped one strap of his pack on his shoulder before trudging on. Find the stairs. Climb the stair. Find the room.

Aiden didn't bother storing away any of his belongings. Best to keep things compact and easy for a quick exit. But he did set about preparing a bath. He wanted to take a look around town before leaving. It didn't seem like a place he wanted to say long at first glance. There appeared to be too much of an imbalance between Mamono, who were experimented on from the sound of things, and the Magi researchers.

During his bath Aiden took the opportunity to clean his dirt clothes, and set them up to dry in his rented room. Dressing in a spare set he walked to the room's window and opened it up to take a look outside. The top floor. Lets see what kind of view it had. Maybe he could see more of the town from up here and plan his outing before leaving.
 

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Outside of the window, Aiden would see humans in loose coats with quills and tablets and mamono in servitude. Harpies with magical collars carrying scroll messages of private conversations, and holstaurus made to pull wagons while their human masters shamelessly use their abilities as if that was merely what was expected of the creatures. Each mamono performing various labor had a collar each, and none seemed too happy to have one. They seemed happy not to be needed, mostly. Others seemed to look at their male owners with a distance glance of longing, as if still thinking romantic thoughts despite their treatment as a simple means to an end.

Suddenly, a knock would come to the door. On the other side, a female's voice resounded. "Room service, sir." she rang. There were sounds of clinking glass behind the door, as well as wheels rolling along the wood, apparently a cart of sorts. "Food and drink, for your pleasure," she continued, though it became apparent that she was knocking at another door, apparently trying to do her rounds and ask everyone if they were hungry or thirsty as they worked on formulas and diagrams for weaving.

Should Aiden open the door, he'd see on the other side was an elf dressed in a maid's outfit, complete with a headdress and collar around her neck. "one copper for a drink and five for a meal, sir." she's announce, showing off some basic food that doesn't go back when left to cool, including sandwiches and cheese, luxury items as it were, though cheese was on a separate tray, offered by the maid for an additional price.

Diligent as she was, she looked miserable. Her expression was sour and if the building burned down, it seemed as if she would be the number one suspect. Elves were a proud species, and reduced to doing such work was likely an extreme humiliation.
 

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Looking outside, at the collared mamono, Aiden couldn't help but see them as people. Monsters, different from humanity, but people all the same. His vision unfocused as he thought of the kitsune prisoner mentioned by the Orc captive he'd spoken with. From there his thoughts became reflective. Ambling over stories from before the change in mamono, when they sought to kill humans rather possess them. Monsters. They weren't a powerful at that point in time. People could fight then and win more often. The stories almost made it seem like heroes were more common then too.

The memories of those stories soon had Aiden day dreaming. Fanciful, idealistic, and optimistic. Not at all how he felt at the moment. He imagined he was one of those heroes of old. But instead of slaying the old man killer monsters he rescued that poor kitsune he had heard about from the Orcs. Though she was in reality likely to be a broken or at least ill tempered wrathful beast, he imagined her vibrant and noble. When he told her about other's enslaved, he inspired her to help free them. Together they came to places like this town, as well as mamono communities that held humans captive, and they freed them both. In his imaginings Aiden's words and deeds rallied the former slaves and they spread across the island in a crusade of liberation until all humans and mamono were free. Human and mamono lived together mostly content, if not all happy.

Though Aiden admired those who chose service. It spoke volumes of both parties when someone chose, out of their own desire not coercion, to take up another's cause. On that note there came a rapping at the door and a voice. Aiden's day dream faded as his conscious mind pulled away from fantasy to confront reality. Walking to the door he opened it up and peered outside, then down the hall to see the collared Elf maid. A brief flicker of his day dream came back to him. He wasn't that hero ... and he needed to leave this town before he did something stupid.

Looking over his shoulder, Aiden's eyes went to his travel pack. After a brief pause he slipped back inside his room and collected the pack. Slinging it over his left shoulder the youth departed from the rented room. He left the boarding house, and took to the streets. Following a route he'd marked from his room Aiden approached what he had thought to be a carpenter's workshop, and looked around for the owner. When he found someone he raised his voice to enquire.

"Would it be possible for me to rent some of your tools for the day? I found a nice burl on my trek into town. If I fetch it, would you take that in barter?"
 
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Aiden's walk would take him to a rather open building. It had no doors, only large square openings that let air flow freely through the shop. Inside, there was a pretty boy at work with a metal attachment on his back that strapped around his upper torso, acting as a base for four arachnid legs that each seemed to have a mind of it's own, interacting with the metal plate that was in front of him, cutting it with red beams to slowly form some kind of insignia Aiden wouldn't recognize.

Upon closer inspection, the pretty boy also had a collar, so he wasn't a boy at all. He also had tiny bat wings, evidently an Alp, a man who happened to be feminine enough to interact with the corruption. He stopped his work, or she did, and the metallic spider legs retracted until they were completely flat along his back, conveniently out of the way. "Sorry, sir, we don't accept materials from anyone but our trusted suppliers. There's a law that was passed so as to prevent banditry when mankind needs work together against the mutant scourge." She spoke as if reciting from a page. No passion behind it, likely due to the alp being a mamono, and thus apart of this 'scourge' that humanity must stand up against.
 

Sakuro

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Aiden looked for the source of the voice and when his eyes fell on their source he stared. He openly, unabashedly stared at the demonic cyborg arachnid fem-boy. That wasn't something he expected to find in a carpentry shop. Or ... ever. Momentarily ignoring the words spoken about laws and only trading with trusted suppliers, the young man's curiosity got the better of him.

"What is that thing strapped to you? Something one of the researchers came up with?"

Dark eyes moved from the metal contraption, to the tiny wings, then the face of the Alp. From what he recalled that species of mamono required spirit energy for sustenance. Which was siphoned from men through sex. It was unlikely any of the locals would risk the corruption willingly. Right? Though perhaps some alternate means was discovered the Magi. Still, he was left with the question, which he voiced.

"How do they feed you?"
 

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"Yes, sir." The alp nodded, looking back to the metallic legs. It seemed their only purpose was to fire forth the beams Aiden saw before, as they were too small for anything else. "It is a device for cutting metal." he explained simply.

When it came to how he was fed, the alp blinked for a moment. "It is not my place to say, sir. Are you here to shop? I can sell things to you in my master's stead." he announced.
 

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After the Alp's explanation Aiden looked past her ... him ... Aiden wasn't sure which gender to assign the mamono. Maybe both was appropriate. Why not? He'd met a kitsune that was both. Looking past the she-he Aiden eyed the metal plate with the insignia cut into it. Legs that produced light. Light that cut metal. The idea seemed to intrigue him. Then when the Alp failed to supply a real answer to his question about how he was supplied 'food' the young traveler shook his head.

"I'm interested in temporary use of some tools, and I can only barter for their use."

At that Aiden paused to think. He'd hoped to use his down time here, in a relatively secure settlement, to make a serviceable hunting bow. It was still possible but without shop space and proper tools it'd be more difficult and time consuming. After a while Aiden realized he was staring into space saying nothing.

"I'll leave you to your work."

Taking a step back he turned and started the trek back to his room. Normally Aiden would like to do some sight seeing upon reaching anew place. Get a feel for the town and it's people. Learn about them. But this place didn't lend itself to any of that. People were polite enough, though he got the feeling that asking questions and looking too deeply would be bad. So Aiden rested up in his room. He started a fire and cooked a couple rodents he'd killed in the woods.

While the meal cooked he planned out the crafting of his. It was supposed to become his bow. He could start carving it down with his knife, though he'd have to get creative when it came to working it's natural bend. The carving would keep him busy tonight though, and in the morning he'd be heading out. It was likely he could work something out in the woods where there were raw materials he could make use of. Not that that was going be to be safe.
 

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Presumably not starting a fire inside of his very wooden and very flammable room, Aiden would enjoy his cooked rodent meat in relative peace just as well as he would while carving his bow.

Whenever he'd head out into the woods to find some raw ingredients to use, Aiden would find himself running into Erika once more. Spotted from about a hundred feet away, she waved him down and headed towards him. "Hello again, Aiden." she greeted him. She was in the same uniform as before, so it was apparent that she was on duty. "What are you up to?" she inquired with a small smile.
 

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I thought there might be a fireplace in the room.

He had been trimming down a thin straight shaft of a branch with his knife when Erika found him. When he noticed her Aiden raised his knife hand and, fanning out his fingers, waved a greeting to the woman, then returned to cutting tiny leafy branches from his future arrow shaft.

"No good."

Was his response to the sentry's question. He returned her smile before sliding the trimmed down stick into an opening left in his pack where other similar stick protruded from. In contrast with their initial meeting Aiden no longer smelled liked he'd slept on a pile of forest critters and it looked as though he'd taken a bath with water, instead of mud.

"See anything noteworthy on patrol?"
 

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"I usually don't see more than just a few stray mamono passing or flying by. So long as it isn't one of the hostile breed, I just ignore it. Being so close to the mountains, we fear orc attacks most of all, though they haven't given us issues as of late." said Erika. "Do you like our town? Plan on staying a little longer?" she inquired. "I can show you a lot of great views of the desert, ocean, and forest around here." she offered.
 

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When Erika mentioned Orcs, Aiden recalled his recent encounter with them. The attack on his city, and the fight he'd been in against some. After staring into space for a couple minutes he blinked his way out of the memory to comment.

"Another settlement, close by, was attacked by them not long ago. I had a chance to speak with an Orc too. Sounded like they're preparing for war."

Aiden wasn't stationary as he talked, but rather continued his wonderings. He moved here and there collecting bits of nature. Finding a few nails someone had dropped he stooped down to pick them u. Inspecting them a bit he hummed thoughtfully to himself before tucking the nails into his pack.

"Good idea."

He said to himself while putting the nails away. Standing he looked at Erika as she went on, asking about how he liked the town and offering to show him some sights.

"I seen some collared Mamono in town. Are they slaves or indentured servants?"