Avina Admin replied

89 weeks ago

Catrinia stood behind the bar at the eatery, drying glasses with a towel. Her shift was about to wrap up, and at this time of night, she wasn't expecting anymore patrons to wander in.

She looked up to the one guest who remained. A short, thin man with thick goggles strapped to his forhead and and short, black hair. Before him lay several blueprints and books. He occupied a whole table to himself.

The man leaned back in his chair, and stared ahead, his eyes slightly narrowed. Catrinia had observed that he would do this often during his work. He had explained to her previously that he was solving problems in his head, and that sometimes the tools in the physical world were too limiting. By retreating to his mind, he could fashion anything with enough thought.

Catrinia finished her work, and crossed the eatery to sit across from him. He was still staring ahead with his eyes narrowed… clearly thinking. Solving some sort of puzzle. Catrinia knew better than to interrupt him.

After a time, he emerged from his trance, and began to write something in his notebook. As he wrote, he spoke.


"Looks like it's going to be another late night for you."

"When is it isn't?" he looked up from his notebook at Catrinia, who frowned, and he checked his attitude. "It's a war, after all. And I've never known a Beastman to sleep."

The man paused, and dipped his quill into a bottle of ink, before continuing to write. He continued to speak. "You are well?"

"I'm… doing as best as anyone could, I imagine."

Garland made an affirmative "Mm." Little more than acknowledgement that he had heard what she had said. She decided to continue.

"I wasn't so here when I started. But I've gotten better. The soldiers can be a nice bunch, if you get to know them."

"They look greener every day," Garland says, leaning back, and folding his arms, now giving her his full attention.

Catrinia half frowns, have smiles. "At this point in the war, we're bound to see more greenhorns."

Garland looks away, in thought. Catrinia waits a moment, before continuing, "Ah…! Your petition, you received you answer, yes?"

Garland looked back at her. His stoic expression told her all. "I dd."

Catrinia frowned. "They denied you?"

Garland doesn't move, his expression distant. He waits a moment, and then exhales. "My work requires too much space and carries too much 'risk' to be brought into the Metalworks. So says our great leaders." He reaches into his pack and tosses a sheet of paper out in front of her… Catrinia picks it up and reads it. It's the rejection notice.

"They can't possibly mean to keep you in the Port… the whole area is practically defenseless…"

"Then I will build my own defenses," Garland said looking down towards the blueprints.

"Not if you get raided and killed first, Garland…"

Garland looks up at her. "Tell that to our fearless leaders."

"Garland…," Catrinia shakes her head, and looks up at him. "It's… I'm sure your talent could be used within our walls. You know, on something smaller? It's not worth the risk trying to see this project to finish if you end up dead…"

Garland looked across the table at her, his eyes locking onto her. "Not worth the risk…?"

"You are talking about operating in an area that could easily be attacked by the Sahagin again… and then what?"

Garland narrowed his eyes. "And what about *his* work? Abandon it?"

Catrinia shook her head. "That's not what I'm saying, Garland–"

"My brother, your fiancee… believed he could win this war. And it was not through building simple small arms. It was something… more."

Catrinia frowns, as Garland looks back down at the blueprints. He narrows his eyes, as if noticing something, and begins writing.

Garland speaks with determination. "I will find the answer."
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