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Private The Circle Complete

Smell that in the air.

Scent of fear, of sweat and bile, too much chemicals trickling down the walls. See one drug den, see 'em all, aye? Well, say whatcha want about one Archibald Sult, but he had seen them. If not all, then most. This was better in his opinion. No regrets. No doubt or worries. Just him. Archie. Sult. A shotgun in hand as he kicked down the door. The first man rising up caught iron spread in the throat. Clean off. The screams felt good, because they droned out any residual screaming in his head. Oh, the other one was still in there. Trying to get out. Which ... you know? Archibald didn't really understand. Why would you want to keep hurting yourself like that? The world was a cruel place. It made victims of them all.

Archie here was giving him a chance to be free.

A grunt there, as the butt of the shotgun came down against a fleeing mook. This was only room one. Most of the druggies were still cowering in the corners. High as feth. It wouldn't surprise Arch if he could slit their throats and they wouldn't even realize it. Not even while choking to death. He left the room behind. Slipped back into the corridor. Winding and winding around, corner after corner. The pulse of the music getting harder. That pulse was only pumping up his own heart beat.

There would be more in the main room.

Much more, but wasn't that part of the fun?

Archie smiled his smile. Leg came up and kicked. Door splintered. Next go round.

Sam Rodarch Sam Rodarch
 

Sam Rodarch

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Character
This was awful.

White knuckle fists kept her irritation on a tight leash as pounding bass rendered the ability to have coherent thought at a minimum. Too sober for this shet. How do people even enjoy this? A tightly strung jaw twitched as she observed the room from the corner, keeping well out of the sprawl of intoxicated bodies littered around her.

She saw the uppers, twitching frenetically close to the speakers, each new swift thrum of bass causing another jerky spasm, like heavily malfunctioning droids. Their jaws practically unhinged as they gurned and licked lips in spice-frenzied ticks.

The downers didn't even hear the music, scattered about the room in various states of sloth. Hooded eyelids and engorged pupils staring out blankly as poisoned smiles were left etched on their faces.

It was disgusting.

Perhaps hypocritical of Samantha Rodarch to judge these addicts, but in her defence, the woman did think that she was using genuine stims at the time. She hadn't gone out to get high like these wasters, just got tricked instead. If it weren't for Soloman she might have...

Thinking about it still made teeth grit until it hurt.

The only people in the room beside her not caught up in the haze of addiction were sat at a table, still very much high but of a different kind. Loud. Chatty. Aggressive. Counting credits and weighing out their next batches of shet to peddle to those too helpless to say no. She avoided them more-so than the junky thralls. Mostly because the Mandalorian wanted to deck them herself and that wasn't her task today.

A modest bounty. Archibald Sult. Had been knocking off dealers across Nar Shaddaa like a man on a mission and honestly, Sam respected that mission but credits were more important, lest she continued to be given the mantle of freeloader.

Tip-off brought her here, and the shet-peddlers let her clenched form hang-out under the pretence that she would be protecting them. So imagine their dismay when the door was kicked in and Rodarch immediately ducked behind a dilapidated sofa to wait out the carnage.

Didn't have to imagine, that's what happened.

Archibald Sult Archibald Sult
 
It was over quickly because of that.

They had been expecting Rodarch to do the heavy lifting. Have her draw fire, then they'd take any threat out, while it was focused elsewhere. Instead that scatter gun went up an' roaring. The first dealer only got halfway off the seat, before the spread caught him in the chest. Straight through. Send him flying backwards, the table turning over. All the stims and chits scattering around the ground and on the barely-present druggies.

Well.

Barely-present, until the stims were noticed. There ain't anything better to get their attention than another hit. The uppers went screeching for them. Two breaths later it was a whole mess. The dealers tried to return fire, but mostly the hail of bullets ripped through the addicts.

Sult didn't want for anyone to wisen up. He vaulted over a couch, kicked a chair straight in the face of a second dealer and lashed out with his rifle. It hit the last dealer in the face. Scrambling down to the ground.

All around them the addicts (the ones still remaining anyway) were still scrambling for the meds. Fighting each other for the hit.

"N-no, please... I can get you any-" Barrel of the shotgun went roarin' and blew his head off. Archie grunted there, before looking around the place. Nostrils flaring at the display behind him. Half the crowd bleeding from claw marks, a quarter bleeding out from bullets, the rest out of their mind by the onslaught mixture of stims now coursing through their veins. "Could have sold those myself..." Archibald muttered with a sigh. That admission might make Sam Rodarch Sam Rodarch a bit less guilty about taking him out. Part of the problem, then. Not someone who was trying to make Nar Shaddaa a little better.

Free pass, eh?

Either way- Arch started to crouch down by the turned-over table. Gathering up the chits they had been counting.

Didn't even think to look over to find Sam creepin' either yet.
 

Sam Rodarch

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Character
Carnage.

One of the hallmarks of this guy, always made it look like some kind of brutal gang execution. Frankly, Sam didn't care how they died, simply content enough that they were dead and that their days of peddling despair were over.

It was still a little hard to get used to this aspect of bounty hunting, the amount of death that was often involved. Shockboxing had been different, yeah it was violent but nobody usually died. Feth, imagine that, a Mandalorian needing to process the concept of death. No wonder she was an outcast.

If it bore a weight upon her mind, such wasn't obvious as she remained crouched behind the sofa, listening to the ruckus of screams and gunshots behind her mesh alongside the still pounding-bass that thumped out of the room's speaker system. Just had to wait for it to all to die down. Sudden screams halting, no more shots fired, no more furniture trashed, just drug-addled groans.

It was time.


Still crouching, Rodarch crept out from behind her cover, her target more concerned with collecting the scattered credits. Stealth might have not been her speciality, but quite thankfully the music masked the sounds of careful boot steps.

There should have been more thought put into this, more planning. Here she was with fists and him with a big old boomstick. Thankfully, Sam seemed largely oblivious to the great sense of danger ever-looming.

Could die here, be mistakenly labelled as another dead dealer.

Already too committed to the hunt, the woman continued her stealthier approach before finally launching herself at his crouched form, her right arm aiming to wrap around his neck and choke the bastard out.

Archibald Sult Archibald Sult
 
Sam Rodarch Sam Rodarch

It was something like a sixth sense.

Lady Luck calling his name.

Maybe something entirely else. Either way- she would have slammed right into him, if not for a reflection in one of the chits. It didn't tell him what was about to happen. Just that a flurry of movement was quickly gaining on him. After that? Well, it's just semantics, if you are in a drug den covered in blood and sweat. He whirred around as quick as he could. The shotgun already dragging up.

Not fast enough.

She slammed into him anyway. The gun crashed out of his hands to the side. She was larger, heavier, any air still remaining in his lungs already pushed out by her tackle. A growl as Archie slammed his head into her face. Or tried anyway.

Elbows fighting, knees.

He was a dirty fighter... and right now Arch knew she had the advantage on him.
 

Sam Rodarch

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The shotgun came uncomfortably close to point-blank range but was fortunately knocked out of his hands in their collision. That was stealth straight out the window, not that Sam minded, in fact, this was preferable.

Call it stress relief.

His head smashed into hers, forehead cracking straight into the bridge of her nose, splitting skin and drawing first blood between them. Good. Nothing like blood to ramp up the adrenaline, there was something about it that gave Rodarch purpose.

Limbs flew from both parties as tears stung at the woman's eyes, the automatic bodily response from being smashed in the face. Locked so closely together it was difficult for either one to get a proper hit in, knees and elbows getting in small glancing blows but nothing properly devastating as to break them up.

As the crimson pissed out of her cut and down her face, Sam decided that in such closer quarters she would respond in kind. Throwing her head straight at his own face. If she would bleed, so would he.

Archibald Sult Archibald Sult
 
Sam Rodarch Sam Rodarch

Her head smashed into his.

Confusion.

Brightness in the head. Pure light. It sharpened and pierced into his being. "....Sam?" Elliot murmured confused. He recognized her. Had recognized her from the moment his leg kicked down the door this particular Drug Den room. Archie had never cared. It didn't mean his mind didn't catch up though. "What... are you.." And snap. Archie was back in control. It was that pain. The feeling of pure agony that invited him back in.

Anything else would have send him sleeping.

That was just the way of things.

Head smashed in. Bleeding. Pain. Then his knee kicked into her side. Kidney puncture. Nobody gave a chit this close-up. That's why his knife was out already. One hand not caring about the onslaught of punches she was giving him.

One stab.

That's all it took to take a human out. He just needed to wait for the opening.
 

Sam Rodarch

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Character
Her head ricocheted backwards after impact, sending thick droplets of blood spraying forth across the room. Headbutting somebody had a lot of drawbacks, but nothing sounded better than a good crack of skulls. Not a lot felt better either.

Wait, did he just say her name?

Vision was blurry with still-watering eyes, couldn't make out his face properly but that stopped being a priority the moment his knee clattered into her side, causing her to double over and lean into his body. That was a fething sore one. Rodarch was gonna be pissing blood later, that was for sure.

This is where grit came in handy, and also the stupidity. No wonder her face looked the way she did.

“How the...feth do you know my...name, huh?” Sam grunted, trying to wrestle her arm around the back of his head and catch the fecker in a front headlock.

If she were successful the Mandalorian would attempt to pull him forward by the neck and take their fight to the ground.

Archibald Sult Archibald Sult
 
Sam Rodarch Sam Rodarch

Every hit ... well ... hit.

He was about to knee her again, when her voiced sounded out. A pause there. Archie said... kill her. But every other fiber of him told him something else. That was the difficulty of just being a driver, rather than the owner. You had to contend with a lot of chit. Some of it was useless. At least Archie believed that. Why pause? He already had her where he needed her. Instead... Elliot Locke grabbed for the straw.

Sam?

Well, Sam did as she always did. Slowly. Choking. Him. One beat at a time. His hand slapping at her side.

"Elliot... fethin'..." He growls... "Locke..." As he was slowly passing out. Murmuring against her side. The time of taking her out was over. She got him. Archie growled, snapped. Hoping to get the advantage, but that was long gone.

This was all they got.

"We.... danced..." Whispered there as Sam chocked him out.
 

Sam Rodarch

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Character
That's it. Lock it in. Choke him out.

Preferring the act of the ground and pound in place of submission there was still something satisfying in a primal sense as her arm squeezed around his neck, breaking the flow of blood to his brain and oxygen to his lungs. His flailing lessening, landing blows getting softer. She could still get a few hits in when he was unco-

Aw shet.

“W-what!?”
Rodarch grunted once more, her hold around his neck loosening as the name Elliot fethin' Locke took its time to slowly reverberate around her thick skull.

She remembered. They did dance. She'd danced with a lot of people though and through the storm of concussions, it was hard to remember a single face. Sam remembered because he was nice to her. Not a lot of people out there that were. Hard to forget that.

“Shet,” she exclaimed under her breath, finally fully releasing the hold and pushing herself away from him.

“Why the feth are you here?” Sam asked, sitting up and wiping the blood and tears from her face with the back of her hand, “An' where the feth is Archibald Sult?”

She hadn't quite connected those dots yet.

Archibald Sult Archibald Sult
 
Sam Rodarch Sam Rodarch

Breath.

Oxygen.

That was better, yes. Part of him wanted to press that advantage. He could kill her right now. That voice behind him told him no though. It begged and pleaded. This was a friend of his. Yes, Archie remembered the dance. Why did that matter so much? You danced, then you killed. But apparently it was different this time around. He pushed back as she pushed back. Giving both of them some space there.

It took some willpower to ignore the scattergun to his side.

"Why the feth are you here?" Elliot asked in response, before coughing some more. He felt like sandpaper went down and up his throat. "Who? What?" Archie made sure he wasn't remembered this time around. Nothing personal, gov, it just made more sense.

"I am trying to kill some corruption here. What are YOU doing here?"

Curious as feth.

Elliot Locke didn't even recognize the chance here. Right now he had control, but that wouldn't last. It never did.
 

Sam Rodarch

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Character
This didn't clear anything up, and the frustrated befuddlement upon Rodarch's face only deepened as he levelled the Mandalorian's own question right back at her.

“Well, it's good an' fethin' dead, alright,” she grimaced as she laid a tender hand upon her kidneys, knowing full well that one hell of a bruise was well on its way, “not that I got a problem with that, karkin' lowlives.”

She was still confused.

“Not shockboxin' any more,” Sam had to explain rather loudly, gingerly getting back to her feet as the thrum of adrenaline wore off and the realisation that the stupid booming music was still playing, “lemme borrow this real quick,” she muttered, swiping his shotgun from the ground before firing a few furious rounds into the den's entertainment system, effectively killing any and all traces of pounding bass.

“Fethin' noise.”

She didn't drop his gun.

“Bounty huntin' now,” she admitted, actually able to think a little without violence or music to distract her limited mental capacity, “got a tip-off that this Archibald Sult fella was gonna come here an' rinse the place like he's been doin' all over.”

A shrug.

“Don't hate what he's doin' but gotta get paid, y'know?”

However, things weren't quite matching up in her head. Somebody had shown up. The modus operandi matched up with the bounty. Not the name, though. Not the person. Maybe Elliot knew. Could point her in the right direction.

“You know the guy?” she asked, offering Elliot a hand to his feet with her free hand, the other still in possession of his gun.

Archibald Sult Archibald Sult
 
Sam Rodarch Sam Rodarch

"Archibald Sult... weird arse name, more like from some kind of Dromund Kaasian play, eh?"

An internal Archie raised his eyebrows at that comment. That was just rude. "You sure you ain't been played here? You know where the bounty is from?" That could make sense. Why put up a bounty on a former SIS agent? When you could put it on a fake name. Spin a tale. Then send the bounty hunters flying. They were way more likely to hunt a thug like Sult, than an elite agent after all.

It was chit, of course, but right now? Elliot couldn't know Sult even if he wanted to.

Tracks covered.

Rubbing his face there though. It still hurt from the fight. In fact, everything hurt right now. Sam had always been a gorram boulder. "Good to hear you done with the boxing though. That chit is a nasty business an' dun' pay enough for the hurt it causes." Eyeing his shotgun as he accepted her hand. "Mind if I get that back, eh? Kinda attached to Lucia. She one o' a kind."
 

Sam Rodarch

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Character
A tilt of the head and a raise of eyebrows was all that she gave in in agreement that Archibald Sult was quite the strange name. It was the conflict between the inherent fanciness of Archibald and the bottom-dwelling nature of Sult that made it so odd.

“Fethin' better not be gettin' played,” she replied with gritted teeth, wiping the cut upon the bridge of her nose once more as the blood continued to dribble down her face. Rodarch was aware that she wasn't as smart as a lot of people around her, that her tendency to punch first and ask questions later was often seen as the mark of an idiot. The last thing that her pride wanted was for it to be true.

“Don't know much about it 'cept the name an' where they reckoned he would show up.”

Was it really some kind of wild goose chase? The thought of turning back up at Soloman's ship empty-handed made her blood boil.

“Oh right, here ya go,” Rodarch drawled, handing Elliot back his shotgun without a second thought, “yeah, turns out the fella gettin' me my stims was slippin' spice an shet in them. Planned on gettin' me addicted and inta debt with him. Almost pulled it off too.”

She had been oblivious to the entire thing, if she hadn't met Soloman Priest that day, well, best not to think about the life she might have been living instead.

“Bounty hunter helped me outta that sitch, even gunned down the fecker for me an' I've just been taggin' along with him since.”

Enough about the past, it couldn't fully distract from the present as oh-so-suddenly Sam suddenly lashed out, sticking a violent boot into the closest available corpse.

“Shet!”

Still needed to work on that anger management.

“I reckoned I had him, El! What am I 'sposed to do now?!”

Archibald Sult Archibald Sult
 
Sam Rodarch Sam Rodarch

His hand settled on the barrel of the shotgun.

Fingers tightened there.

Why was it suddenly so heavy? A moment ago it weighed nothing. Now? Now it took everything in his body to keep it lowered there. Not to raise it up. Hell, why did Elliot want to raise it here anyway? The fight was over. Nothing to kill anymore. Come to think of it, the fight was kinda fuzzy. Brows furrowed there as he slid the gun back into the holster. Weight left his shoulder, that felt better, yeah.

Good choice.

Sam's trust was repaid... for now. "Yeah, wow, that sounds like a tough situa-" Suddenly Rodarch erupted. Hard enough that he took two steps back, hand already on the shotgun again. Instinctive reaction. This whole situation was so weird.

"Hey, Rodarch, look. It will be fine." Eyes darting around the room and nodding to himself. "Take half of what I got, eh? Ain't much but should patch it up a bit." A shrug there. It would hurt his own pocket, sure. But something told him it was better to put Sam at ease right now. Not make her ... think too much. He wasn't sure why. Wasn't sure where that little slick voice in the back of his head was coming from.

Just knew it was worth listening to.

"Hunts go wrong all the time. Maybe ya will get 'im next time, eh?"
 

Sam Rodarch

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“Ah, the creds ain't the point,” she spat, inwardly somewhat grateful that upon Nar Shaddaa she had a friend that would somewhat happily split his own gains with her but outwardly full of piss and rancour.

She crouched, tucking her head between her legs and drawing her arms up to clutch at the back of her neck. Sam had never managed to find a tried and tested solution for her constant frustration, each small setback in life often triggering some form of violence or yelling. The only reason the Mandalorian dropped down like that was to prevent any further physical outburst.

“I'm shet at this, El,” came the muffled mutter, as a sigh echoed out from between her thighs, “I'm shet at everythin' that ain't punchin'.”

That did not feel nice to say out loud.

“How am I 'sposed to turn up again empty-handed, huh?”

If only she had a friend that might have been able to help her with this hunt. Oh, but isn't pride such a tricky little thing. Hell of a bitter pill to swallow, but hey they'd danced. They'd even talked some. She even told Elliot about her secret fondness for jigsaw puzzles.

She could.

Still crouched (which, by the way, wasn't pleasant on the poor kidney) Rodarch looked up at him, seemingly less like a brutish warrior and more like a lost little soul.

“Keep your creds, El,” Sam spoke quietly, eyebrows knotted by conflict and inner-frustrations, as the trickle from her nose started to slow, “I jus'...y'know...”

Just say it.

“Can ya help me?”

Archibald Sult Archibald Sult
 
Waving his hand weakly there.

"Ya ain't, Rodarch, I told ya. Chit like this happens all the time." It felt awkward to say though. Sure, easy enough to help a friend, when they were feeling down. Thing was... they barely really knew each other. Sure. Did a dance or two, flirted a bit, shared some closer stuff. And then? Years had passed since. Elliot was a different man now. Well. He always was a different man, depending on the situation, but the still.

His hands were shaky.

Face was older and more tired than back then. He had aches on parts of his body he didn't even know he owned. The drink was heavy on him. The only reason Sam didn't notice was because of where they were. Chemicals everywhere, sweat, stale alcohol in the air. The blood fresh scenting the rest.

A pause there however.

It wasn't often someone turned down free money. Brows wrinkled there .... and there you had it. She needed his help. Tracking someone down. Archibald... Sult. Why did that feel so amusing? Why was there mirth somewhere deep inside welling up? Barely suppressed? It was entirely inappropriate. He cared about Sam (weirdly enough). "Well... been years since I was in that business. Tracking people, but."

Brows wrinkled even further, before nodding once. "Feth it, why not? I still got some contacts on 'Shaddaa, I am sure. I will help you find this guy." Extending his hand to her. It was for a shake, but also to pull her up. Metaphorically and physically.

Get back on her feet.

That was always the first step when healing.

Sam Rodarch Sam Rodarch
 

Sam Rodarch

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Character
With his help Sam got back to her feet, and for a few awkward moments the woman's grasp upon his hand didn't shift.

This kind of thing was unfamiliar territory, having somebody there. Soloman didn't count, felt more like a gruff mentor than a friend. Was Elliot a friend? The great friendless lump that Rodarch was seemed to think so. An outsider's perspective would have certainly differed.

Did he want to help her because she let him keep the money or...?

“Thanks,” Sam replied, finally letting go of his hands, her usual boisterous tones not yet returning just yet, “I owe ya one.”

Enough of the soppy crap. Man up.

Turning away from Elliot Rodarch craned her neck, trying to drag the rest of her psyche out of the gutter of self-depreciation and back onto the hunt. She wouldn't want to look at him for a little while, not so soon after having her small meltdown and having to ask for his assistance.

“Let's get outta this shethole and see yer old contacts,"
she finally spoke, voice now regaining that gruff familiarity.

With arms now folded across her chest, like chains wrapped around the now-locked chest the woman began to leave the den and didn't look back. The Mandalorian didn't want silence to punctuate the air, however.

“What you been up to over these coupla' years, El? 'Sides from bumpin' off junkies.”


Archibald Sult Archibald Sult
 
Sam Rodarch Sam Rodarch

Pshaaah.

The sound escaped him, before he could cramp it down. By then it was too late not to continue with the course. "Don't owe me nuthin', Rodarch. Tho." A thought there. "Well, you can buy me a drink next time 'round... maybe a few drinks at that." Stretching out there. It was clear Sam needed a moment. Maybe more than one. So, what's a responsible man to do? That's easy. Slide your fingertips into your pocket. Drag out a cigarette. Don't make too much eye contact, because that would just be awkward for the both of them. After clutching one between his teeth Elliot offered one to her as well.

Non-committal by just dangling it in front of her without saying nuthin'.

"Yeah, leggo. There is a nice noodle bar around the corner from here." After hitting this job Locke had been planning on going there. Celebrate a bit. Steamy hot noodles were great after a kill or seven.

"We can wait there, while I poke around the Net. See who is around from the ol' days, yah?"

They set out. Locke casual, strolling, trail of smoke following him out. Once they were on the streets? Maybe then Sam would notice it. The whelm of alcohol following him. It stuck to him like a second skin. The way his hands shook, now that the adrenaline was over. The way he seemed just a bit off-center. "Oh you know. Jobs 'ere an' there." Flashes of pain. The memories nagged at the back of his head. He shook his head, dragging more from the cigarette. It calmed things down. "Once the Alliance burned down not much call for a guy like me."

A shrug there.

Serrated metal, heated and puncturing. Acid against his toes. Needles... so many needles.

Locke shook his head again. Sult laughed deep in his gut.

"What about ya? Bounty hunting a fun job for ya?" The noodle bar was already coming into view. It was one of those half-beat fancy things. Open in the street, you could see the cook frying things to a crisp. Meat hanging over the hooks. Smoke rising up into the sky. "Mm, nothing beats a good ol' noodle, eh?"
 

Sam Rodarch

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Character
Thankfully she hadn't been facing him when he suggested that he would buy him a drink, a stiff back was a better than the caustic snarl that gripped her lip. Fat fething chance of that.

The offer of a cigarette was waved away in silence as the relief of the noodle bar somewhat soothed her alcohol-related ire. Better than a karking cantina, a place that inevitably she always seemed to end up when in tow with Soloman, Hacks or just about anybody else. What a refreshing change of pace.

They hit the streets, leaving the stench of the spice den behind for the coroners, or more likely, an illicit clean-up crew. It should have been a relief but instead, her nostrils were hit by a sickeningly familiar smell. It was the stale scent of cowardice and despair that wrenched forth buried memories like bile. If she shut her eyes and kept walking it was if her dad was staggering alongside her.

Elliot reeked of him.

Like drink.

Her eyes stared ahead as they walked, everything about her being clenched. This wasn't the same as her current posse, they all drank in some way or another and while she disapproved in her typical surly manner it didn't fill her with the same disgust as Elliot did.

Another waster, turning himself yellow.

Almost everything he said fell on deaf ears as they reached the noodle bar, his last sentence the only thing managing to penetrate the silent seethe that bubbled within her. Not to remain silent for much longer.

“What happened to you?” Rodarch's voice struck out, both accusatory and bitter and turning any thought of good ol' noodles on its head.

Her father hadn't always been that way, a worthless alcoholic, no he was once a proud Mandalorian, a warrior, the strongest man in the world in the eyes of a boisterous child. When Clan Rodarch were exiled a part of him died. His pride, and its place he drowned it. Beer. Wine. Spirits. Even saw him drinking rubbing alcohol right before she decided to leave.

From her experience Sam could only assume that something had happened, but did she really know him that well? Perhaps Elliot Locke had always been this way.

Archibald Sult Archibald Sult
 
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