RP:Leader of the Survivors
This RP is part of the Great Reformation arc.
Synopsis: Two of the district leaders - charged with guiding Croix, Ahab, and their charitable wagon of goods - lead the way to the survivor city. At the gates of the makeshift fortress, the survivor's city leader, Jakec (pronounced Jack), greets them. The exchange is awkward and leaves much to be desired, but Croix maintains her diplomatic composure and tries her best to establish a positive impression. Jakec accepts her deal, but perhaps more so out of necessity than a desire to do so.
Characters: Ahab, Croix, and Jakec
Location: Entry Point of the Ruins, East Ankou Ennis
Note: Jakec is played by a different player in later RPs, so the writing style and characterization after this RP will be different.
Entry Point of the Ruins
If the scrap-built wall does not give away the ruins for what it is, the armed guard of volunteer scavengers at the gate certainly does. Despite all the death, a few survivors remain, and at the prospect of trade for much needed supplies, they may be willing to let others in. Those passing through might feel more than the eyes of the visible watch upon them, however. It is more than a little likely that the gate is more heavily guarded than looks let on. Causing trouble here may be worse for one's health than taking on the zombies, if the grim look set in the eyes of the warders are anything to go by.
Croix, Ahab, and the two district leaders, Kit and Dax, managed to make it to the gates of the city in one piece with the wagon and horses in tact. The ride had been bumpy and difficult, but that had been expected of the East. Mara and Danny had stayed behind for some business, and though Croix was curious about it, she hadn't turned to either of the other two district leaders to try to find out what they were up to. She had chosen to take the ride mostly in silence, answering whatever questions the district leaders posed to her and initiating them only to ask them for guidance toward the city. She was sure neither of them had ever driven a wagon pulled by horses, and so what little conversation she did offer had to do with how to guide the horses, speed them up, slow them down, change their direction, and so on. Kit was perhaps more interested of the two, but Dax could have just been feigning apathy, which was a thing Croix was all too familiar with doing herself. The click and thud of hooves along crumbling roads was the theme of most of the ride, and it was to Croix's relief when they pulled up to the gates. There, the wagon slowed to a stop and the guards there stared at them wary, confused, and intrigued.
Ahab was rather quiet the whole ride as well, keeping a wary eye out for any infected. None had approached the cart, however, thanks to the skilled efforts of Florian and Patches. He saw them occasionally on the horizon. An infected would pop up, only to suddenly be pounced by a shadowy figure...and silence. It made him smile. At least the two of them were efficient. They knew quite well to keep their distance however, and as they pulled up to the gate Ahab hopped off the side of the wagon to make sure everything was still in place and that nothing had been lost. Patting the blanket covering the once, he looked to Croix and spoke. "We're good." That was when he turned his eyes to the guards, raising an eyebrow. "...they had no idea we were comin', did they."
Jakec stood with the guards; he was just another man, poorly equipped with their boots just as ready to turn for the wall as they were to stand their ground, but unlike the grizzled faces with unsure and unsteady gazes, his eyes were open wide, though his smile was wider. "Look there, boys! Great beasts of old! If nothing else, we'll be eating good tonight, hey?" Whether he got a laugh was of no consequence; he patted the shoulders of the nearest guards in camaraderie before making his way up to the wagon. "Heaps and heaps, yes. A good haul indeed." His assessment was quick, a few glances at Croix, at the covered cargo, the oddly clothed Ahab, and everyone else who were present. "A good haul, indeed. Now, which one of you penned this letter." He stood alongside a team, his question tossed at the horses, even though his smile was turned fully to Croix.
Croix's eyes trailed after the man in silent regard. Whether he was just a clown or a higher-ranking official, she would express no opinion through her coal black, almond-shaped eyes. There was no laughter from her when he talked of eating the horses, but when he asked who authored the letter, she spoke up. "Ah did," she offered, dismounting the wagon to stand at a short five feet and three inches and meet his gaze. Her weathered captain's coat hung past her waist and to her knees, left unbuttoned to reveal what was considered more casual wear in the West. However casual it might have been, it would appear to be quite unusual clothes to anyone from the East who'd never seen the modern fashion of high-ranking seafarers. Her hair, though picked up, had stray wisps along her hairline. Beneath her coat, she was armed to the nines, but the only thing visible might've been the hilt of her rapier. Her demeanor was regal, her posture straight, and her expression diplomatic. "Ah wouldn't recommend eatin' the horses, though," she offered with a tilt of her head toward the beasts. "They cost me a pretty penny, and Ah ain't buyin' you anothah one." She smiled: a jest.
Jakec wasn't impressed with all the royalty and regalness of Croix's mannerism, nor was he impressed with the pomp and flash of her attire. His eyes were accustomed to seeing the utility of things: he saw garb to keep out the rain and in the body heat and nothing more, though he did take quite a bit of stock in all of the weapons that were visible. He looked at her arms and her shoulders, and then he dropped down to his haunches to examine her legs, if either of those could be gleaned from her attire. He eyed her over as though she were one of the beasts she brought, as though -he- was a buyer. He hummed to himself. Was it a noise of approval? Was it one that forbade something was lacking? Whichever it was was left up to those who heard it, the only reaction a smile as he rose. "Come, come. Let's talk while we look." He motioned for Croix to turn and follow him to start of the cache. "So you bought the horses yourself, you say? And what of the other goods? Are those also bought by your own coin?" His eyes darted between Ahab and the others, heralding orders and discussions that were to come when he and the benefactor arrived fully.
Croix didn't flinch as he scrutinized everything about her. She simply trailed his movements with her eyes, expression unchanged as she watched him. Though her posture was regal, her attire necessarily wasn't. The coat shielded her from the brutal elements at sea and was useful in much a similar way in the East, but the practicality of her coat wouldn't be apparent to a man who'd come from a long line of women and men who wore the clothes of the women and men before them, all because they didn't have the materials or tools to manufacture themselves new clothing. Croix hoped to change that, though. It was true that her coat would seem unnecessarily flashy to him, but it was perhaps one of the least so in the West. It would be a judgment she would have to deal with. "Ah'm a trade ship captain, so it's easy t'pull the excess imports that usually go t'waste toward a more useful cause. About a third of our imports are put aside fah no reason, left t'spoil. The people who pay fah the imports don't undahstand the economics of risin' and fallin' prices of othah islands' goods, so when Ah bring in less goods fah highah costs, they don't look into it very much. It's a cheap way of me puttin' the West's tax money to some good use for a change, since the govuhnment can't spend their own money wisely to benefit themselves and everyone else. That's wah Ah offer these goods fah free t'you. That said, Ah'm pretty curious about how your people will go about distributin' the wealth." Looking to the supplies inside the wagon, she said, "It's a lot, but it ain't enough fah everyone in there." She turned her gaze to him, curious to hear his answer.
Ahab leaned against the wagon after Kit had had her fill, now entirely focused on the conversation at hand. The man didn't have anything to add considering he hadn't been addressed. Besides, this was Croix's part of the show. Diplomacy, negotiation, niceties, all that stuff he wasn't so good at. He was just an Easterner looking to make things a bit better.
Jakec listened to Croix's heavily drawled explanation and came to a conclusion on the spot: even if he had heard everything without such a heavy inflection, it would have made little more sense. He nodded his head with each point, and he continued to nod even as he turned to look at what seemed to be a gilded bounty before him. He nodded along until she asked her question. "Gifts not so freely given," he said to Ahab, to Kit, to all of the Easterners present. It dampened his smile, but that resurged when he turned back to Croix. "We will distribute the goods as any civilized people would. We will have slaves built a pit, and fight one another to the death for the goods." -That- was a jest, one that gave with a serious look that was already cracking at the seams due to the traitorous smile! "Distribution will take time. First, we will have to go through all of your gifts and assess what we have. Then, the district leaders and I will determine who is in the direst of need." A nod was given to Dax and Kit, a friendly, reassuring gesture. "That will take the most time, but I am sure we are up to the task. District leaders, will you see to procuring a building near the gate and look to seeing what we have been given?" The question ended with that familiar, and already old, smile. "As for you and your crew, be welcome in our city. Let's continue our discussion over a drink. Our water is a lovely brown hue this time of year." Whether that was a jest or not would have to be seen later on. For now, the man held an arm out towards the gates. The gesture sent the guards scurrying.
Croix's composed expression held. She laughed softly at his joke and smiled charmingly. "Funny," she said with that lingering smile. She wondered if his joke implied more that civilized societies were corrupt or that his people were uncivilized, and then she wondered which was worse. She nodded her understanding. "Ah can catalog the goods beforehand from now on fah you. We already have t'do it when we import, so it wouldn't be much trouble t'pass the infahmation along." She didn't need to explain that it would speed the process of distribution along, and truth be told, she should've thought of it herself. Her mistake for not thinking carefully enough. Croix didn't know whether to be disgusted or laugh at his joke, and so her expression was a mixture of appreciated humor and disgust. "Ah'll hold off on that watah until we get that taken care of," she offered with a sardonic smile, already backing toward the gate. "Y'all be careful with the horses," she offered to Kit and Dax. "They spook easily." Kit seemed the most eager to get behind the reigns, whereas Dax left to gather men to clear a storage space for the goods. "Ah've got a lot Ah'd lahke t'talk to you about, but we'll wait until we're settled inside," she said to Jack. She looked to Ahab. "Make sure Florian and Patches are alright, will ya?" she asked him, pausing to wait for his answer. Before, she might have dismissed him immediately, expecting him to do as directed, but it seemed Croix was affording Ahab more consideration these days.
Ahab kept a close eye on the two of them, musing to himself what his life might have been like if he'd been in the city. Mm. At Croix's request, he offered a half-assed salute. "Y'got it, Croix." With that, and a pat to one of the horses, he was on his merry way, already waving off in the distance, before lowering into a sprint...and he was gone.