The womanizer’s guide to Axiom is the result of a one on one texted based game between myself and Mark Bell. It takes place on the fantasy world of Axiom and follows a spoiled merchants son as he gets in over his head!
Titus began to trudge through the wet humid jungle with a grimace. This was not the kind of thing he enjoyed. There were plenty of adventurers out there who like the idea of a quest and a story to tell.
They could have it.
Titus preferred dry clothes, good drink and better women but desperate times.
Not to say the two women weren’t attractive, They were. No death defying chase would keep him from noticing that. The Imbube was more brutish then he was used too but she had still had an animal appeal to her, and after all he had never been with one before. Might be interesting to be the one thrown around for a change.
The thought made him grin.
The large puddle his entire shoe became enclosed in returned his face to a scowl. Muttering angrily as his boot started squishing uncomfortably, he pulled the amulet out to look at it again. He hadn’t really spent much time studying it last night, while Gael was wearing it, he was otherwise occupied.
After examination Titus could not understand the fuss over the amulet. It was an interesting piece to say the least but worth all this insanity? He thought not. It was unlikely this small poor island held anything so relevant. He gathered that it was old, more than a few hundred years. The eye itself fluttered memories from school about an Immortal sailor named ‘Cogstania’, but he couldn’t quite recall the story in full just pieces.
He gathered that given the amulet’s age, history, and make, that it would probably fetch him anywhere from 10 silver to a gold Vex, certainly an expensive item but nothing worth bloodshed of this magnitude. He was convinced there was more to it but he wasn’t grasping it.
Up ahead he heard voices, the thief and the Imbube, “How’s that?”
“It’s good, it will hold for now.” The Imbube gruffly responded.
Titus could see them now, the Thief had bandaged the Imbube’s shoulder and she was testing it out. Quickly, he stuffed the amulet back in his pocket, then casually strolled towards them. “Ah, my ladies, I am so glad to see that you both are alive. It would have slain my heart to think you had perished. And, before you ask, while I am quite all right, the other dastardly pirate is, regrettably, not. I made quite certain of that.”
The two women perked up. They had been unaware of Titus’s presence until he began to speak. The thief immediately drew her gun leveling it at Titus, “that’s close enough”
In the light of day Titus noted the singer was in much more restrained attire then when she was on stage, leather knickers to her feet, light running shoes and a light white top with a brown vest over it, her midnight black hair back in a high ponytail. Her dark eyes showed no mercy and had a hardness to them.
His hands half raised, he stopped several feet from them. “Oh, come now – after last night, I’d say we were at least comrades in arms. I do regret deeply not having the time to properly introduce myself. I am Titus Petronius, layabout and ne’er-do-well.” He turned to the Imbube woman. “Please, dear lady, what is your name? Your skilled driving kept us out of reach of most of those ruffians, and your payment was a deep wound to your person.”
He conveyed his dismay over her wound with his deep, regretful eyes. The Imbube smiled a good natured smile then gently placed her hand on top of the thieves gun lowering it, “come now Savë, no need for that.”
She frowned back at her, “don’t use my name! And we don’t know him, hell he could be after Cogstania’s tomb as well!”
She shook her head, “he helped us.”
“He didn’t have a choice.” Savë grumbled but Titus’s impassioned plea had an effect on her too and she did not raise the weapon again.
The Imbube stepped forward,” I am Asyi bologun. It is a pleasure to meet you Titus.”
Titus took her hand and very lightly kissed her knuckles, bowing formally with just a hint of flourish. Thank goodness. “It is a great pleasure to meet you as well, Asyi.” He smiled very warmly at her, then turned to Savë. “And you as well, Savë.”
He extended his hand, smiling just as warmly. That bit about Cogstania he quickly filed away. Was that in regard to the amulet? Savë was not trusting, just a hard person in general, Titus had met them before his charms were less effective against them…But by no means useless.
Asyi smiled with mischief in her eyes and a gleam that denoted a trusting person, “so formal pretty boy, I am embarrassed.”
Savë sighed so audibly it was like a groan. Asyi frowned over her shoulder at Savë, “don’t mind her, she doesn’t know how to have fun.”
Asyi stood almost two feet taller than Titus, and had arms and abs like a wall, which was more than a little intimidating. Nevertheless her dark skin contrasted against the deep blonde mane that stretched down her cheeks and back into a ponytail, coupled with her bright green cat eyes, she had an exotic look that was alluring.
Titus was fully alert. Again. For the third time in as many days… if he counted the barmaid, which was borderline. This statuesque beauty was simply ravishing. “No need to apologize, some people take things much more seriously than needed. What city are you from, Asyi? I have, I am now quite sad to say, very rarely traveled to the Imbube lands, so I don’t know many places there.”
Savë could be a grouch all she liked, it sounded like Asyi at least knew how to have fun. His questions were merely a continued probing tactic, the more you knew about your quarry, the better the hunt would go. There was a tinge of sadness to her now, “I am not….I do not talk about Izwe.”
The slight pull away tinges Titus, a rare misstep, but he would recover he just needed to-
Savë cut him off, “sorry to interrupt but myself and Asyi are on a schedule so unless you have seen the amulet I lifted last night around, we need to bid you ado.”
Asyi nodded, “yes time is short before more pirates arrive, this jungle will be infested before long.”
Close one, Titus thought. That was apparently a minefield. Easy enough to avoid, of course.
“Oh, right, did I forget to mention? I did see that amulet, just before I was ambushed.”
The words get both the woman’s full attention of Titus. Savë closed, “where?”
‘Right about….. now,’ Titus thought. He smiled, turning the charm on to about half intensity. The stubborn ones needed to be worked on gradually. “Back there, where I got attacked. It must have fallen not far from where we all fell.” Before they started moving, he continued. “And yes, of course I picked it up. Now then, shall we get out of here before more pirates come looking? I’d like to discuss our next move somewhere a little less…..” He glanced around meaningfully, “…. exposed.” He started walking around her, expecting her to make a grab for his pockets.
There was an obvious unhappiness with the situation from Savë, Titus immediately picked up on this but she could not argue the logic of keeping moving. They moved into the jungle in the direction of the Settlement, “And what makes you think we are going to let you keep that amulet?”
“Keep it? Whatever makes you think I want to keep it?” Titus’ voice was full of genuine surprise. “This thing is dreadful, I couldn’t give it away. No, I figure since I’m part of this expedition of yours now, we should discuss my percentage.”
Somehow this seemed to upset her more, “your percentage?!”
She had to physically restrain herself from yelling, “your percentage? You almost completely botched the robbery! We were chased into the woods and lost our cart and almost our lives because of you, and now you want to talk about a percentage? How about you consider that I haven’t had Asyi club you and leave you in the jungle as your payment.”
Titus smiled at Asyi, then turned back to Savë. The name was tickling something in his mind, but he wasn’t sure what. “Come now, Savë, that’s unfair. Not only has the fair Asyi injured her shoulder, I would be rendered helpless by her lovely countenance before she had cause strike me.”
Smiling, his voice took on a harder edge. “Honestly, those pirates couldn’t care less about me, I don’t have anything that one-eyed woman wants that badly. Well, as far as she knows.” He chuckled. “Anyways, you need me, and you know it. I’m surprised you haven’t wandered right back to port, I’m pretty sure you guys have no idea where you’re going.”
Suddenly her name finally clicked. Her family crest was just barely visible on her wrist, so he hadn’t noticed it until now. “May I lead on, Ms. Corsair?”
She hadn’t given her full name, but it all fit together. She must be trying to finish her crazy old man’s last quest. The corsair comment was like a shot to the face. Verbally she stumbled, “how did you…”
She stopped herself and turned to Asyi who just shrugged, “I like the pretty boy.”
This got an eye roll of epic proportions, “alright… Fair enough you are in. I can cut you in for ten percent.”
Titus shrugged. Now it was just negotiation. “Ten for the amulet, ten for finding the way, and ten for incapacitating Gael so you could lift the amulet? Sure, thirty percent sounds about right. I’m not greedy.”
She was shocked, “thirty percent you must be joking!”
Asyi touched her shoulder, “a small price to pay, Savë. We would have had to hire a guide anyway.”
Savë recognized that she was beaten here and with a sigh and a shoulder drop Titus knew he had won. Thirty percent was his… Though a worrying question shot through his mind, thirty percent of what?
“Alright, thirty percent.” She grumbled as the group continued on, the settlement almost upon them now.
Titus contemplated the pair as they walked. The two were about as different as he’d ever met, but they were partners. He wondered if Savë had some kind of hold on Asyi, some reason she had to work with her or was she just a mercenary along for the payday.
Titus never had much time for friends, so the idea that the women might actually just like each other never occurred to him. “Once we find a place with some food, we can start talking details.”
The Last Tea Shop. A solo TTRPG playthrough. Written by Ash Alder and narrated by Zachariah Van Sluyters
Chapter 8 drops next week!!!