Diablotin 3 session 57

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Diablotin 3 session logs
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Summary

Session

Session date: July 23, 2017
Diablotin date: Ninth-month

Prologue

<DiablotinNarrator> With the death of Emperor Marl, the city - and the rest of the Empire - are at a standstill. His reign lasted for 34 years, and brought with it many changes to Aveyrone.

<DiablotinNarrator> The development of new technologies, shifts in the governmental system to add elected representatives to the Great Council rather than it being composed solely of nobles, the Empire coming to the breaking point with Psyra only to win it back on the battlefield... changes for good and for ill, depending on your point of view.

<DiablotinNarrator> While few were close personally to the Emperor - he was not a warm or approachable ruler - nevertheless he was a source of stability. He was intelligent, competent, and devoted to the Empire, and for those reasons his death is mourned by many.

<DiablotinNarrator> The cause of his death is reported as a sudden heart attack. His family and close allies gather at the palace in the hours following his death to mourn and prepare for his state funeral.

<DiablotinNarrator> Businesses and schools are closed, and on the day following the Emperor's death, the customary ceremony of the Dissolution takes place - the distribution of the contents of the Emperor's wine cellars to the public.

Gen invites everyone to her home to discuss the Kaorti

<DiablotinNarrator> As many public places are closed, you all have a day off of work (except maybe Denise ;) and can perhaps gather at someone's home to talk about what's going on, recent discoveries, etc.

  • Genevriel will stay home the day of the Dissolution and research zygominds to keep her away from alcohol. If Madds is around she won't do *quite* as much research. ;)
  • Genevriel invites you to her place if Madds is okay with it!

<DiablotinNarrator> Gen and Dorien, I assume you'll be organizing this - is there anyone else you specifically want to ask to be there?

  • Dorien will invite Nedezde if there is going to be a group meeting to share what she knows

<DiablotinNarrator> yes, Madds is fine with that

<Dorien> Also Misery, of course

  • Genevriel (and Madds? does he bake? ;) ) will have baked some treats for her (their?) guests.

<DiablotinNarrator> (he can assist with baking, he's good at following orders ;)

<Denise> Denise would need reassurances from her boss that she isn't immedistely needed -_-

<Genevriel> (He's supposed to give orders! ;D)

<DiablotinNarrator> On the immediate day after Marl's death, yeah, Ander (or more likely Ralf) can tell you Ander's taking a day off and is just chilling at home today.

<DiablotinNarrator> so Denise should be good to go if she wants :)

<Denise> (good)

  • Hugonel will wear his finest mourning scarf

<Genevriel> (Julia: since I had said at the last session that I wanted to research zygominds a little more in-depth, should I just assume she knows what the monster description says about them?)

<DiablotinNarrator> Yes, that would make sense

<Genevriel> (k, thanks :) )

  • Nedezde will go, a bit warily since she doesn't know all these people
  • Genevriel is a little nervous about having people over so she has probably cleaned and re-cleaned and dusted and re-dusted imaginary dust to channel that energy.

<Argent> (who is Nedezde?)

<DiablotinNarrator> Dorien's Cozovode ex who has re-showed up in town and is researching the Cyst

<Dorien> (Dorien's ex girlfriend from Cozovode)

<Dorien> (Yeah, that)

  • Genevriel welcomes each of you as you arrive and shows you to the sitting room, where there are trays of sweets. She will also offer you your choice of tea or coffee.
  • Denise investigates the snacks :3
  • Dorien will have a cup of tea, thanks :)

<Genevriel> (Lemon squares, ginger cookies, oatmeal cookies, that sort of stuff.)

  • Argent will politely decline the snacks for now as well as the offer of drink

<Dorien> It's funny. I used to hate tea before I was a bird.

  • Nedezde glances at you with an odd look

<Denise> weird

<Genevriel> Extra funny since birds aren't exactly tea drinkers, usually.

  • Dorien shrugs.

<Dorien> Long story.

<Denise> coffee is better though :3

  • Denise gets some for herself and her aunt

<Genevriel> So, how has everyone been? It feels like so long since I've seen any of you.

<Dorien> Busy. Spending most of my time at the lab.

<Genevriel> I know how that feels.

<Dorien> How is the farm?

<Genevriel> It's er... how shall I put it? Interesting might not cover it. But that's one of the things I wanted to tell you all about today.

<Genevriel> (Are we all here now, or waiting for a few more other than Aubrienne who isn't coming?)

<Argent> wait Gen, please....

  • Argent looks at Nedezde

<Argent> While it is nice to meet you, why are you here?

<Dorien> I invited her. She's been researching the same creatures we are. Apparently they're cropping up in Cozovode too.

<Dorien> I thought we might be able to pool resources.

  • Nedezde nods

<Argent> a private researcher? Are you working for someone?

<Nedezde> I hope I can be of some assistance, and perhaps gain insights into the reason my father died.

<Hugonel> Who was your father, and how did he come to die?

<Nedezde> No... it's a personal matter for me. Actually my family and most of my people would not have wished me to be here.

<Nedezde> My father was Namorith, a diplomat who was assigned here for some years.

  • Denise has never seena real Elf before :3

<Nedezde> I believe that during that time, he became controlled by a being of what I understand you call the Cyst.

<Nedezde> After our return to our homeland, he was a changed person. Eventually he... took his own life.

<Denise> :/

<Dorien> She came here to try to research them more. She's been working in the Castalia library on it.

<Hugonel> Hmm ...

<Argent> (SM: honest or holding back?)

<Nedezde> (you can roll)

<Argent> !roll 1d20+29

  • Denise rolls for Argent: [ 1d20+29 ] getting [ 17 ] which, after the modifier [ 29 ] totals [ 46 ].

<Dorien> (Damn son)

  • Nedezde is telling the truth as she believes it. She is probably still holding back some info because she doesn't fully know/trust you all yet, but she isn't being deceptive.

<Argent> based on that, I can understand why Dorien wanted you to meet with us

  • Dorien smiles at Nedezde reassuringly

<Argent> and that you have at least some understanding on the danger involved

  • Nedezde nods

<Hugonel> I apologize for the need for some caution, but I hope you understand that all of us are putting ourselves at some risk ... especially now.

<Argent> Do you believe the Cyst was still in possession of your father before he died, or do you think his behavior was a result of the trauma of the event?

<Nedezde> I understand.

<Argent> I hate to ask, but I'm sure you can understand why

<Nedezde> I think... what I would like to believe, at least... is that he regained some measure of control, and ended his life to likewise end its life.

<Denise> how do uyou now he'd got one in him? :o

<Denise> did he say?

<Denise> an, I mean, I'm real sorry about your da' :/

<Nedezde> I found him as he was dying. He told me that... at last he was free. I didn't know what that meant at first, but later I came to understand.

  • Nedezde says quietly

<Nedezde> Thank you...

<Dorien> Neddie... Nedezde, I never asked you the other day. How did you come to know about the creatures?

<Hettienne> :(

<Genevriel> ...

  • Denise will offer her a hug
  • Nedezde accepts it, a bit awkwardly.

<Denise> :3

<Nedezde> I saw certain... changes... take place once he was dead. It was in researching those that I came to learn about the Kaorti.

<Genevriel> What sort of changes?

  • Genevriel is terribly curious.

<Argent> We've learned about some of the changes that take place when they are in control... has Dorien mentioned those to you?

<Nedezde> You refer to the aversion to daylight?

<Argent> yes, and the memory loss

<Dorien> And stilted speech.

<Nedezde> There were changes in temperament, in interests, in behaviour. My father no longer seemed like himself.

<Nedezde> After his death, my father's body became rapidly dehydrated, almost ...shriveled. As though he was drained.

<Genevriel> That must have been shocking. I am sorry.

<Denise> :/

  • Nedezde nods

<Dorien> I'm sorry we have to bring all this up...

<Nedezde> I understand.

<Argent> I suppose it's useful information to confirm is someone has been possessed for a long time.

<Argent> I can't picture it happening quickly, or else more strange bodies would have showed up

<Dorien> That depends on how many there are in the first place

<Dorien> And how many have died

<Nedezde> It's possible they sometimes take control of people more briefly - I think my father was controlled for a longer period. I don't know if a shorter time would have the same effects.

<Dorien> But if her father really did contract one while here, that means they've been in Diablotin for at least... ten years now.

<Argent> Its been longer than that

<Argent> I think the first one was encountered three decades ago about

  • Argent tries to do some quick math
  • Argent tries a little harder

<Argent> yeah about that

<Hugonel> Really, that long ago?

  • Denise waits for argent to elucidate

<Argent> yeah... something near the start of Marl's reign... so yeah about then

<Argent> although they kinda thought it was a one off thing

<Hugonel> Who was that?

<Argent> Not sure who specifically it was in, not someone real important, but the Spokesmen questioned it and dealt with it, was what I was told... regretably too quickly

<Denise> :/

<Argent> the impression I had was the Spokesmen didnt feel it was immenent threat kinda thing, just more evil oustiders slipping in to be dealt with

<Argent> not so much now

<Dorien> Unfortunately it seems much more deliberate and organized than that. That may have just been an advanced scout.

<Genevriel> Well, we do know some members of the Church are involved and probably possessed themselves.

<Argent> yeah

<Genevriel> So it isn't a stretch to think someone high in the Spokesmen may be disseminating false information to protect the Cyst.

<Dorien> The problem is knowing who to trust.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Dorien> If we could get ahold of one I might be able to figure out a way to detect them, but until then I have no way to test anything I come up with.

<Argent> Nedezde... if we keep talking about this, you're gonna hear some stuff that will could put you in danger... well probably more than you are in from your research.

  • Nedezde nods

<Nedezde> I understand. It's a risk I'm willing to take, if it means being able to stop them.

<Genevriel> So, the farm...

<Argent> yes

<Genevriel> There are some high security labs that are off-limits to most of us, as well a barn that draws an immense amount of electricity for lights and heat; I assume they are growing some sort of plant in there that they don't want anyone to be able to see through your more traditional glass greenhouse. I'm not sure what is in there yet.

<Genevriel> However, I have been able to determine that they are growing a zygomind in one of the secure labs... Do you know what that is?

<Dorien> It doesn't sound good, whatever it is.

<Dorien> That is not the name you give to something that's all cuddles.

<Genevriel> It's a fungus that can grow to an immense size - up to 500 feet according to my research.

<Genevriel> It's shaped like a cage and is able to lure people closer to it; if they get close enough it encloses them in the cage and feeds off of them until they become mindless husks.

<Denise> that's a big mushroom :3

<Dorien> huh...

<Genevriel> Mindless husks that it can control to lure more people in, and make more mindless husks.

<Hugonel> How big is the one they are growing?

<Dorien> Or mindless husks they can stick more Kaori in.

<Denise> :/

<Genevriel> Small still but quite capable of feeding on prey the size of a person. It nearly got my source but Mme. Calondres rescued her in time.

<Denise> :/

<Genevriel> There is a lot of meat being delivered to the farm. I suspect they use it to feed something they're growing in the secure labs or the barn.

<Dorien> On the plus side, if it tried to eat your source's mind, that probably means we can trust them.

<Genevriel> Possibly just the zygomind, but possibly more.

<Genevriel> It really is a lot of meat.

<Genevriel> And I've seen a number of Clerics, not just of Cat, coming and going.

  • Dorien sighs and slouches in his chair. "Ugh... why can't things ever just be simple..."

<Denise> :/

<Genevriel> Claar came by to tour the farm shortly after I began work there. She... knew my parents, apparently, and when she learned who they were she offered sort of to take me under her wing. An offer I have not taken her up on.

<Argent> thats one of the problems... its hard to figure out who is being controlled directly by the Cyst and who is just helping them out via their influence from the people they control.

<Genevriel> Largely because I'd rather not find myself in a situation where I'm being forced to accept a Cyst entity. But, if you think it could produce useful information for me to get as close to her as I can, I would do it.

  • Madds gives you a bit of a Look at that

<Dorien> I don't know. I'm already nervous with how close you are. I don't want to see you get hurt.

<Hugonel> I agree. You're at enough risk already.

<Denise> is there somethin we could do so she *couldn't* be possessed?

<Argent> and she travels away from the city. It bad enough you being on your own in that farm, but if you were miles away...

  • Genevriel nods.

<Argent> There is probably some magics that would work, but its hard to make those magics themselves undetectable, especially to someone with Claar's knowledge and skill

<Dorien> Again, if we had one captured I might be able to work something up, but...

<Argent> I can think of a few people we suspect are carrying one, but getting to them would not be simple.

<Genevriel> Well, I can try to get to know the priests who have been coming and going. Presumably they are possessed by Kaorti. Armed with their identities, it may be possible to arrange a kidnapping, provided you are all comfortable with that.

<Denise> we need some way of, like, seein' 'em

<Dorien> Even if we did, we don't yet now how they spread. If we don't kep them confined right we could all end up possessed.

<Denise> you thikn all o 'em are?

<Denise> maybe look for ones who cover up more in the lighth :3

<Denise> :/

<Genevriel> I can do that, certainly.

  • Genevriel smiles grimly.

<Hugonel> Given the political instability, it may either be the worst time to think along those lines, or, just maybe, the ideal time.

<Dorien> You know... it strikes me that now would also be the ideal time for them to get someone posessed on the throne.

<Hettienne> Ugh.

<Argent> or someone they can easily influence

<Denise> :|

<Genevriel> Yes... but I'm not sure what we can do to prevent a Kaorti from ascending to the Imperial Throne, when we can't even identify who is one without long-term surveillance.

<Denise> well din't they gotta go through the arch?

<Denise> Would the arch let somethin like that be in charge?

<Denise> Maybe it would just like.... zap them out

<Hettienne> Can they infest the arch?

<Hugonel> I can't help but wonder whether Marl's death is related somehow.

<Hettienne> yeah

<Hettienne> he seemed real healthy to me

  • Denise looks at Argent

<Denise> would Margaux know?

<Denise> she used to be Guardian...

<Denise> abotu the arch I mean

<Denise> not Marl

<Denise> or channel Sylvia...

<Argent> she probably knows if the Arch could be influenced by the Cyst

<Genevriel> !roll 1d20+19

  • Denise rolls for Genevriel: [ 1d20+19 ] getting [ 17 ] which, after the modifier [ 19 ] totals [ 36 ].
  • Denise thinks

<Denise> they couldn't use the *arch* to come here could they? :o

<Denise> loke they tried with the tree?

<DiablotinNarrator> Gen, you can be aware that it is one theory at least that the Arch entity was (is?) consuming parts of souls, and that this is why some candidates die or go mad as a result. I say "was" because there haven't been enough instances of recent examples to know what's still going on.

<Genevriel> I'd be cautious in placing all my hopes in the Arch's good intentions towards us...

<DiablotinNarrator> I mean it hasn't been used in 34 years, and even then Marl's passage through the Arch was irregular.

<Genevriel> There is one school of thought that whatever is in the Arch was eating souls, or parts of them, and that's why some Imperial Candidates die or go mad from passing through it.

<Denise> (Also the chuch has been in control of it >.>)

<Genevriel> So, it might not care about Kaorti as long as it's getting tasty soul to eat.

<Dorien> That sounds pleasant.

<Hettienne> That sounds *crazy*

<Hettienne> why would they keep using it if that was true

<Dorien> People do lots of stupid things in the name of tradition.

<Dorien> :/

<Argent> We have a means of learning one way or the other. I'll talk to Margaux

  • Denise nods

<Genevriel> I know Channel Silvia and would be willing to speak with her about it, unless some of you from House Rat would prefer that honour?

<Hugonel> That sounds fine. As for me, I think that once the Dissolution is over and everyone recovers from their hangovers, I'll poke around a bit into who the likely candidates are, and who their supporters might be. It will be complicated this time - people have been saying for decades that Owl might lose its turn.

<Madds> I know that there's some debate over how they'll use the Arch, if they use it at all, in choosing the next Emperor.

<Denise> oh yeah?

<Denise> :/me bites her lip

<Denise> I mean...

  • Genevriel turns to Madds with interest. He's been so quiet.

<Denise> I might know about..someone... who mught be thinkin' a standing up for it >.>

<Dorien> Who?

<Denise> well it aint my place to say, but someone real swell

<Denise> an someone I seen outside in the sun plenty

  • Genevriel raises an eyebrow.

<Dorien> ...Your boss?

<Genevriel> Ander?

  • Denise gves you both looks liek you're crazy

<Denise> no.

<Hugonel> No offense, but 'real swell' is frequently seen as a disqualifying attribute for the job.

<Denise> I mean, he ain't even a nob

<Denise> pftt

<Dorien> Oh. Huh.

  • Denise gives Hugo a look like he doens't know *anything*

<Hugonel> I'm just saying that people in power tend to pick people who like power, and who will sustain their own power.

<Hugonel> Nothing against your friend, whoever he may be.

<Genevriel> It could be a she.

<Denise> It *coul*, an just 'cause *I* think she's swell don't mean she ain't also a proper person for it :p

<Madds> Well, the Great Council has had the chance to choose an emperor and they won't likely want to give up that power. It's possible that they'll choose between candidates and either dispense with the Arch entirely, or only pass their chosen candidate through.

<Madds> Rather than putting four or five people through at once and seeing who comes out the winner.

<Genevriel> What happens if their chosen candidate comes out insane or dead?

<Argent> pick another?

<Madds> I assume they'd go to choice #2.

<Hugonel> Wouldn't be the first crazy person on the throne, either.

<Madds> Yes, but I think we generally try to avoid that >.> it hasn't typically turned out well.

  • Dorien looks over at Nedezde to make sure she's doing ok with all this coming at her.

<Hugonel> Gods rest ye, Great-Grandpa.

<Genevriel> (Madds/his family wouldn't be on the Great Council, would he/they? ^-^)

<Madds> (I'm sure someone in his family is? I mean all title holders are. I guess that would be his father, probably?)

<Madds> (or uncle? I forget where the title is in his family)

<Madds> (but yes - by default everyone with a noble title is on the Great Council, so they get a say)

<Genevriel> (uncle)

<Madds> (*nod*)

<Argent> There is little we can do over what the Grand Council decides, other than watching for suspicious influence peddling, unless were going to figure out a way to unveil the Cyst before that.

<Genevriel> I don't suppose you can tag along with your uncle to find out who's putting themselves forward and who the Council favours...?

  • Genevriel asks Madds.

<Madds> I can find out.

<Genevriel> I mean, if we are truly concerned about the new Emperor being possessed, it would be good to know who the candidates are, and who supports whom most vehemently.

<Madds> I'm sure the candidates will be in the news, but I can try to get some inside information if possible about who the Council's favouring, or if they've decided how they're going to do this.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> It would be good to have an ally present for the Council meetings, I think.

<Hugonel> I'm sure I'll have a chance to talk to Loick soon.

<Genevriel> Might help us figure out who's possessed.

<Genevriel> Not just among the candidates, but among the Council.

<Hugonel> And he does have a sense of what's going on. I'd be interested in knowing who the Warlord is supporting, for one.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> About the farm... Do you think we ought to let this zygomind grow for a while and I continue to collect information as I can, or do we try to destroy it before it gets too big?

<Argent> that is a good question

<Dorien> Well, how's the security there, first of all?

<Genevriel> It's good.

<Denise> maybe there's some way to, like, poison it?

<Dorien> Maybe... we don't need to actually get on the farm. If that meat is going to feed it, all we need is accesss to the meat truck and some of my defoliant.

<Dorien> Exactly

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> (Julia, is the meat always delivered by the same person/business?)

<Hugonel> I should let everyone know ... I've done some introspective research and determined a way to affect plant and fungus creatures with mind-affecting spells.

<DiablotinNarrator> (I'll say yes)

<Argent> Good news and well timed, I would say

  • Dorien nods to Hugo.

<Dorien> We could throw another wrench in the works if we could somehow cut off their electricity.

<Dorien> Whatever is drawing that much power probably cant last long without it

<Dorien> Although I'm hesitant to do that before we know more about what it is

<Denise> well, but like.... what if it's keepin' somethin' in? D:

<Dorien> Yeah

<Denise> yaeah...

<Genevriel> More good news is that the meat is always delivered by the same business. Their lorry has a logo. It should be possible to infiltrate the business or at least study its delivery schedule and hijack the delivery on its way to the farm.

<Argent> If this is something we decide to do, I don't think poisoning meat is going to cut it.

<Dorien> Why not?

<Argent> although the meat truck is an easy way in

<Denise> I dunno, why not?

<Argent> it depends on them not spotting the poison, it getting fed enough to kill it outright, before they can figure out whats wrong, and end up stopping it.

<Dorien> I think it's worth a shot.

<Argent> and once they find the meat poisoned once, it will be three times as hard to do it again, and they'll be tipped off that someone knows about the thing that they don't want to.

<Denise> well we just gotta do ti right first

<Denise> that's all

<Denise> can you figue out how much they're feedin' it?

<Genevriel> I'm doubtful that I can without having access to the secure labs myself - like I said, it's a lot of meat, so I think it's likely they are feeding more than one carnivorous organism.

<Denise> that does make it harder :

<Denise> :/

<Genevriel> Access to the secure labs might happen eventually, but it will take time.

  • Genevriel sighs

<Dorien> Well, the defoliant I have shouldn't affect anything that isn't a plant, so if we just dose all the meat...

<Genevriel> Unless, of course, I do let Claar make me her protege.

<Genevriel> That might fast-track things.

<Genevriel> But as we discussed previously, might also end up with me dead or possessed much sooner.

<Denise> fast track you getiin; a cyst in you :/

<Argent> were not there yet Gen so best you stay where you are for now, it has been a big help.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> The business is called "Beefcakes".

  • Denise snickers

<Denise> well... maybe someone coudl get a job with 'em

<Denise> ?

<Denise> an seei how things go

<Denise> I dunno wh though

<Argent> labourer, butcher

<Hettienne> Beefcakes... doesn't sound like my kinda gig

  • Denise snickers

<Genevriel> Butchery is a skill... Madds and I are both pretty good at it because we used to hunt. So, if training is needed, we can do that.

<Genevriel> Or, well, I can.

  • Genevriel glances at Madds apologetically for volunteering him. ;)
  • Denise snickers again and looks at Madds

<Genevriel> He can if he wants.

<Denise> YOu wanna go work at Beefcakes? :V

<Madds> I'm not sure I'd fit in...

<Genevriel> I meant we could train your agent.

  • Genevriel smiles.

<Genevriel> If required.

<Denise> well... dependin' on how things go with the boss's campaign... maybe I could go

<Denise> I mean if he 'ain't gonna keep runnin, I moght have time

<Denise> but I don't know yet

<Denise> if he does, I prolly ain't got time... plus I don't like lettin' 'im go out alone anyway >.>

<Argent> I'll check the place out and see if its worth the effort

  • Denise nods

<Argent> so does anyone know of any possible Cyst candidates... I mean besides the well placed people we already suspect?

  • Denise shakes her head

<Nedezde> I'm pursuing some possible leads - I'll keep you informed if my research turns up anything useful.

<Dorien> If you need any help...

<Nedezde> thank you

<DiablotinNarrator> People can go on their way, then.

Denise asks Hettie for help with a wedding outfit

  • Denise will head hme with Hettie after the meeting
  • Denise will make more coffee after we put our bikes away :3

<Hettienne> well that was a whole lotta I didn't need to be there

<Denise> oh?

<Hettienne> I coulda just got the rundown, I dunno

<Hettienne> and it seems like nobody decided nothin'

<Denise> I figured that *was* the rundown

<Hettienne> I guess

  • Hettienne shrugs

<Denise> it's hard to figure what we can do, or ought to do

<Denise> These folsk, lik the church folks an all... what can we do about them.... I keep meanin to ask the boss if there's things

<Denise> like you know, how you do when maybe there's some factory owner who ain't treain' folkd right >.>

<Denise> there's gotta be... ways...

  • Denise says vaguely

<Denise> of makin' things hard for nobs an messin' up thei stuff

<Denise> but like, he were in the middle of a speech yesterday when the bell started rining and now he's got all sorts of stuff to sort out so I ain't had time >.>

<Hettienne> Well...

  • Denise listens

<Hettienne> I'm just gonna say, folk are gonna care more when it's nobs you're messin' with, than if it's slingers

<Hettienne> That goes 2 ways

<Hettienne> So just like, mind yourself.

  • Denise nods

<Hettienne> I ain't gonna sit here an tell you not to do somethin' I did myself.

<Denise> I know

<Hettienne> But don't be dumb. :p

<Denise> :3

<Denise> I'll try :)

<Denise> I got losta folks around who can do the bits where you think things through first, an I know that

<Denise> like you :3

<Hettienne> Heh.

<Hettienne> I try

<Denise> Um...

<Denise> speakin' a asking you about things though.....

<Denise> I been tryin' to figure out what to do, about the weddin' :/

<Denise> like, what to wear

<Denise> an I don't know. I don't wanna wear a dress, I don't think....

<Denise> An I know you're too busy to prolly *make* somethin

<Denise> but maybe you could help me figure on somethign and then i.... or maybe mam an I... coudl ptu ti together :3

<Hettienne> Aw honey :3

<Hettienne> Of course I can

<Denise> I just don't know how to be pretty, is all

<Denise> but like just for the weddin...

<Denise> girls ought to eb pretty on their weddin' day

<Hettienne> Sweetie, you're pretty

<Hettienne> :p

<Denise> I dunno.... I ain't really the right shape an my face is all plain for pretty

<Denise> it's okay, I mostly don't need to be

<Hettienne> What kinda thing you thinkin?

<Denise> I dunno.... somethin' with pants though

<Hettienne> Pants huh...

  • Hettienne thinks

<Hettienne> Lemme noodle it

<Denise> that don't make me look like I'm wearin' a sparkly bag with string on it :p

<Hettienne> Heh.

<Denise> I dunno if I want like, a white suit.... I guess i could dye it after maybe?

<Hettienne> Yeah, that's easy enough

  • Denise nods

<Denise> but like... fancy? I dunno. @_@

<Hettienne> It's all in how you cut it, girlie

  • Denise nods

<Denise> I don't know 'bout that stuff as well as you

<Denise> but if you can help me, than we can sort it out and I know I'll look real swell :3

<Denise> which is *good* no matter who says different :p

<Hettienne> *snort*

<Hettienne> Hugo don't know nothin

<Hettienne> those stupid scarves he's always wearin'...

<Denise> right!

Hugo finds out that Loick is quite familiar with the Cyst

<DiablotinNarrator> Hugo, you wanted to talk to Loick?

<Hugonel> (sure)

<DiablotinNarrator> all right - any specific location/circumstances?

<Hugonel> (preferably at his home / someplace private where he's alone and not being spied upon)

<Hugonel> (it can be in the later evening, maybe?)

  • Hugonel heads over, having avoided the temptation to drink Imperial wine too heavily.
  • Loick does have to go home eventually, although like you said it'll be in the late evening most likely. he's had a busy 24 hours.

<Loick> Hugo... gods.

  • Loick sort of collapses into his chair.

<Hugonel> Uncle. I'm so sorry.

<Loick> it's just so sudden. I didn't think it would be... like this. I don't know what I did expect, really, but...

<Hugonel> None of us had any sign he was in ill health.

  • Loick nods

<Hugonel> They are treating it presumptively as a natural death, then?

<Loick> They're looking into all avenues.

  • Loick says noncommittally

<Hugonel> Hmm, yes, of course.

<Hugonel> So strange ... Marl is the only Emperor of whom I have any memory.

<Loick> I'm sure that's the case for many people.

<Hugonel> I suppose people must already be building new alliances and scrambling to shore up old ones ... the day must have been very chaotic for you.

<Loick> Yes... well, it's been a difficult day.

<Loick> I hate to be rude, but ... what do you want, Hugo? if there's something I can help you with, I'm willing, but otherwise I'd much rather be in bed.

<Hugonel> Right. Well ... as you know, my colleagues and I have been working on some rather delicate matters over the past few months. Now, with the Emperor's death, we are concerned that this is an opportunity for certain factions to try to get a candidate on the throne who is compromised ... perhaps even controlled.

<Loick> Controlled?

<Hugonel> How much do you know about the Cyst?

<Loick> More than I would prefer.

<Hugonel> Right. Well, the idea that the people who are working on that research might seek to put a candidate on the throne who is controlled by the Cyst is not implausible to me. Nor should it be to you, I would think. I know that, when it comes to the Grand Council, you are just one man with one vote. And of course, no ethical person is going to knowingly vote for someone who is compromised.

  • Loick nods

<Hugonel> I know that the pool of potential candidates is so much larger than in the past. People of many ranks, from many houses, may be advanced as candidates. Even Marl's selection was odd, as I understand it, but at least it was of the proper house.

  • Loick sort of smiles at that

<Loick> You do recall that even then, I was considered a possible candidate. The cycle of rulers is not immutable - I continue to believe that it needs to change to accomodate new ways of doing things.

<Hugonel> Right, I'm not arguing for any position here, just that this would be the first time that someone out of sequence was chosen, if indeed that is what happens.

<Loick> We should choose the best candidate, regardless of their house or rank.

<Hugonel> Too early yet to know any front-runners?

<Loick> I expect that they'll start declaring their intentions tomorrow. The first day after the Emperor's death would be ... a bit unseemly.

<Hugonel> Indeed.

<Hugonel> Is there anything I can do to be of assistance to you, Uncle, in this trying time?

<Loick> I can tell you that one part of the process of choosing the Emperor will remain that they must hold the Disenchanter's Stone. I believe that this would allow them to speak freely and without mind control or other effects.

<Loick> It would - if I am correct - also eliminate the prospect of a Cyst-controlled person gaining the throne without detection.

<Hugonel> I have heard it said that with the changing of times, that some of the old traditions would give way, perhaps even including the Arch itself. But you think that that one will be maintained?

<Loick> I think trying to dispense with that particular custom would be extremely poorly judged. There are a great many reasons, not only concerns about the Cyst, to want to ensure that candidates are there of their own free will and not under any external magical influence or enhancements.

<Hugonel> Of course.

  • Loick sighs wearily.

<Loick> Hugo, there's something I ought to tell you - as concerns the Cyst. It's not something I enjoy discussing, but I do have first-hand knowledge of these entities.

<Hugonel> All right ...

<Loick> When I met your aunt Madelen, she was possessed by one of them. I aided in driving it out of her.

  • Hugonel takes a moment to take that in.

<Hugonel> You ... did?

<Loick> Yes, I'm sure if you were so inclined you could go and dig up tabloids about the Duke of Brissarthe keeping a woman chained up in his bedroom. Not... entirely accurate.

<Loick> It was my second best bedroom.

  • Hugonel laughs uncomfortably.

<Hugonel> I appreciate you telling me this. I don't ... quite know how to respond.

<Loick> I'm sure you can see why it isn't something I like to discuss. She was used by one of these creatures to gather information, for purposes I still don't fully understand. It is... monstrous. And I love her, and I have no wish to see her hurt or come under suspicion.

<Hugonel> But you know to a certainty that it was a Cyst entity, as opposed to ... something else?

<Loick> Yes.

<Loick> I saw it when it was driven out of her.

<Hugonel> Who else was responsible for ... removing it?

<Loick> Reverend Mother Alma, her husband Danyel, Princess Ilphere, Professor Sanadhil Orecalo, and my assistant Dozilva.

<Hugonel> Well ... that is an esteemed collection of the Empire's luminaries.

  • Loick nods

<Loick> It was an issue that greatly concerned us then, and continues to do so.

<Loick> If it would be of aid to you, I can let you know the process that was used then to drive out the entity. They may have changed their tactics since then, but perhaps it would still be helpful.

<Hugonel> That might be extremely useful indeed.

  • Loick can detail it, then.

<Loick> (basically it involves using some means to prevent it from shifting dimensions - like dimensional shackles when you have a girl chained up in your second-best bedroom - and then using Banishment to push it out)

<Hugonel> I'm no abjurer, but that's useful to know.

<Loick> Once it was pushed out, it was in an ethereal form, but with means to attack it in that form, we dealt with it quickly.

<Hugonel> Thank you for telling me.

<Loick> Please... don't mention it to your aunt. It would upset her.

<Hugonel> Right, of course.

<Hugonel> I should let you rest. You have another long day tomorrow.

<Loick> Yes.. thank you. I appreciate your concerns.

<Hugonel> Let me know if you need anything. The Cabaret is closed for a time while Titania, and the Empire, are in mourning.

  • Loick nods

<Loick> Thank you - I will.

Denise finds out that Ander has received a proposal from Janelle Rionet

<DiablotinNarrator> Denise, that evening you'll get a request from Ander to give him and Ralf a drive.

<Denise> be right there, boss!

<Denise> (from home I assume?)

<DiablotinNarrator> (yes)

<Denise> hey Boss, hwy Ralf :3

<Ander> Hey Dee, how was your day off?

<Denise> where're we goin'  :3

<Denise> well, I was our with Enver lst mnight helpin', and then I met wth folks to talk about all the stuff with the... cyst stuff >.>

<Denise> things. whatever.

  • Ander nods

<Ander> Sounds like maybe not much of a day off after all, huh?

<Denise> but mostly there's no new ideas on what to do now..., so Aunt Hettie helped me figure out my weddin' suit some :3

<Ander> oh, hey, that's good :)

<Denise> how 'bout you? :3

<Denise> Ralf said you were takin' the day off too.... :3

<Ander> Yeah, I didn't get much sleep last night, so I took it easy today.

<Ralf> Kinda.

<Denise> kinda?

<Ralf> Well, like, you try gettin' him to rest :p

<Denise> oh yeah, I get ya ^_^

<Denise> you get figured out what you're gonna do yet?

<Ralf> "Oh but I gotta write a speech, I should be over at the Cellar keepin' an eye on things, maybe I could just read 18 books an' run a marathon"

<Denise> with the election?

  • Denise snickers
  • Denise gives ander a critical eye

<Denise> well... *most* of those I'd believe

  • Ander seems tired and stressed, mostly ;)

<Ander> Well anyway, we're goin' to Janelle's place.

  • Denise tries to imagine how he would seem if he *hadn't* got a day off

<Denise> Okay

<Ander> An' as for the election, I dunno - that's one of the things to talk with her about.

<Denise> is she gonna try an be empress for real? :3

  • Ander says as they get in the car

<Ander> Yeah, she is.

<Denise> :3 :3 :3

<Denise> she'd be so swell!

<Ander> Well, I think so. It'll depend on what other folks think, though.

<Denise> an' you can;t vote for her 'cause you aint elected yet :/

<Ander> right

  • Denise will take us up towards the pav (I think?), driving carefully because ther are so many drunks around @_@

<Ander> (the grand)

<Denise> an then she can't help you anymore 'cause she's too busy....

<Denise> so hyou gotta figure out that, right?

<Ander> well... sorta, yeah. It's complicated.

<Denise> no kiddin' @_@

  • Ander kind of gives Ralf a Look and shrugs
  • Ralf shrugs back

<Denise> what?

<Ander> Well. It's complicated for a bunch of reasons, including on account of she asked me to marry her.

<Denise> @_@

  • Denise tried not to do somethign dumb while driving

<Denise> what?

<Ander> I ain't said yes.

  • Ander clarifies.
  • Denise looks entirely confused'well.... no!

<Denise> well... no!

<Denise> I mean...

  • Denise looks at Ralf
  • Ralf looks... kind of annoyed/resigned/unimpressed, but not entirely pissed off? like he's got complicated feelings about that ;p
  • Denise too @_@

<Denise> why'd she do that @_@

<Ander> I guess 'cause she wants to marry me. 'Cause she thinks we'd make a good team to take on all this shit that's goin' on.

<Denise> well...

<Denise> I mean... okay.... but like... you already got Ralf!

<Ander> Yeah. That ain't changin'.

  • Ander takes Ralf's hand.
  • Denise looks more confused

<Denise> okay, good....

<Ander> I dunno what we're gonna decide, Dee. We gotta talk it over with her an' see.

  • Denise nods

<Denise> OKay....

<Denise> Just like...

<Ander> But it'd be a way to get a lot of what we want done, done. Without goin' through all this election crap.

<Denise> you think?

<Denise> I mean I guess you'd be like... Emperor @_@

<Denise> well if she gets picked...

<Ander> Yeah, well... even if she didn't win, she's still gonna be a Duchess one day.

<Denise> what if she don't though?

<Ander> That's still pretty important

<Denise> it all sounds...real fancy

<Ander> yeah...

  • Denise says, maybe a bit uncertainly
  • Ander doesn't sound entirely certain about it himself

<Ander> I dunno how I'd do at all that.

<Denise> well *you*'d do great, boss

<Ander> heh

<Ander> well thanks

<Denise> if you want to....

<Denise> I mena...

  • Denise bites her lip

<Denise> gosh though, emperor @_@

<Ander> like, Consort.. whatever.

<Ander> she's gonna do it either way, I think. she just... wants some backup, I guess.

  • Denise nods slowly

<Denise> but married?

<Ander> yeah, that's one of the bits I ain't sure about whether it's a good idea or not.

  • Denise nods

<Ander> I'd be willin' to help her anyway. Don't need to get married for that.

<Denise> right...

<Denise> okay, well... I know you'll figure out what's best.

<Ander> I hope so, Dee.

<Ander> Prolly when you drop us off, you ain't gotta worry 'bout pickin' us up til morning. I think we're gonna have a lot of talkin' to do.

<Denise> okay....

<Denise> I'll be home, an you can call if you need.

<Ander> Thanks

  • Denise will drop them off at Janelle's then? @_@

<DiablotinNarrator> okay!

Denise tells Nycki about Janelle's proposal

<DiablotinNarrator> Denise, you want to talk to Hettie some more when you get home? ;)

<Denise> maybe, if hazel is up for it @_@

<Denise> I din't know though, she might not want to say anything

<DiablotinNarrator> okay

<DiablotinNarrator> well, if you don't think she'd talk about it, we can move ahead to the next day

<Denise> I mean, she might be obviously concerned abotu something, and she might spill if poked

<Denise> but that would be up to Hettie (or Nycki I guess)

<Hettienne> uhhh i don't know?

<DiablotinNarrator> we could start with having Nycki be up when you get home and if Hazel wants, Hettie can wander in?

<Denise> (okay)

  • Denise makes herself a coffee when she gets home, seeming a bit spooked
  • Nycki is grabbing an evening snack when you get back

<Denise> hey Nycki....

<Nycki> Hey, what's the matter? You okay?

<Denise> Oh... yeah...

<Denise> Just worried I guess

<Nycki> Worried 'bout what?

<Denise> mmmm... I dunno even, not really :/

<Nycki> well... there's a lotta changes happenin', I guess it's enough to make anyone worried.

<Denise> yeah, no kiddin @_@

  • Denise bites her lip

<Denise> The boss might call late, I guess... maybe... I dunno

<Nycki> oh yeah?

<Nycki> we'll let you get the phone if it rings at two in the mornin' then

<Denise> He said in he mornin' but maybe if things don't go okay he might call afore that >.>

  • Denise nods
  • Nycki looks a bit curious at that

<Denise> >_>

<Denise> they're just.... sortin stuff out, an... I dunno

<Nycki> they who?

<Denise> Ander an' Ralf

  • Nycki puzzles over that for a moment

<Nycki> Why'd they need a drive if they're sortin' stuff out, like, they can't do that at home?

<Denise> oh...

<Denise> Oh.

<Denise> Um.

<Denise> I mean, sortin' stuff out with Mlle. Rionet.

<Nycki> oh yeah?

<Denise> well... lots a stuff I guess

<Nycki> 'bout the election?

<Denise> that an, like, she's gonna run for emperor...esss

<Nycki> huh

<Denise> I figure Hettie woulda told you :3

<Nycki> well, I guess I knew she was thinkin' on it, but it's for sure now?

  • Denise nods

<Nycki> good luck to her, then

<Nycki> she's gonna need it

<Denise> yeah...

  • Denise bites her lip

<Denise> I guess she wants Ander to...help...her >.>

  • Nycki looks puzzled

<Nycki> he ain't gonna bump off another candidate or somethin', is he?

<Denise> no!

<Nycki> 'cause I'd have to do somethin' about that

<Denise> an I mean... don't make it a work thing, please dont mke it a work thing -_-

<Denise> I emn, I guess everything's a work thing.

<Nycki> I don't wanna, but like... you got me worried now

<Denise> It ain't like that

<Denise> Well 'cept it's the boss

<Nycki> there's a lotta folks won't wanna see a Rat Empress - we ain't gotta make things worse by havin' her go about it all wrong

<Denise> she' ain't

<Nycki> she's gotta do it straight up or not at all

<Denise> but folks'll see he's ther an;' they'll think it anyway won't they

<Nycki> maybe

<Denise> (hes there)

<Nycki> they're gonna know she's been workin' with him - if they look into it much at all

  • Denise nods

<Denise> ugh now I don't even know if I sood say nothin'... prolly I shouldn't cept I'm all worried :/

<Nycki> Dee... you can tell me, okay? I ain't gonna make it a work thing if it ain't one.

<Nycki> I'd like to see her get this if she can - so if I can help, or put your mind at ease, I will.

<Denise> okay....

<Denise> She want him to ... *marry* her @_@

<Nycki> ...

<Denise> right!?

<Nycki> uh... so, I got about twenty questions 'bout how that'd work

<Denise> RIGHT!?

<Denise> so I guess they're up there answerin' them

<Nycki> startin' with, ain't he not into girls?

<Denise> :p

<Denise> well he said he's stain with Ralf so...

<Denise> I dont' know @_@

<Denise> like... I just want ;em to be happy

<Denise> they didn't seem real happy, I guess, but like, they were still thinkin' about it serious...

<Denise> but like then he'd be *emperor* right?

<Denise> well, kinda, you know

<Nycki> He'd be like the consort, yeah. if she won.

<Denise> an I guess she's gonna be a fancy nob anyway

<Nycki> right...

<Denise> he said it be a way fto do they stuff they wanna do *without* the election

<Denise> an I guess...

<Denise> he could prolly help all sorts a people

<Nycki> maybe, but like... the election's important too. Havin' folks *pick* a Rat for the council, that ain't nothin' - this'd be sorta ... back doorin' it in.

<Nycki> not that there ain't a long tradition of that anyway...

<Denise> he was supposed to get picked so's he could vote for her, but like, he said he still cares 'bout alla that too, so.... I still dunno

<Nycki> maybe, yeah. I dunno what the rules are on nobles runnin' for election, but, like... maybe he still could?

<Denise> Maybe?

<Denise> that'd be neat, but like.... a lotta work

<Denise> not that he coudln't

<Denise> or she couldn't, but maybe they'd have enough to do :p

  • Nycki nods

<Nycki> He's got that whole Wastelord thing goin' on... that's a lot for anyone to handle, let alone throwin' all this on top of it.

<Denise> yeah.... bu that too - like maybe it's be good for him to be emperor..

<Denise> but like....

<Denise> folks are *already* tryin' to off 'im for that >.>

<Denise> I don't fgure they'd like it more if he were ...consort ro whatever

<Nycki> maybe not, but we'd be able to do a lot more to protect him

<Nycki> if he's just some guy in the Shambles, we can't really put a bunch of folks on him

  • Denise nods

<Denise> I guess

<Denise> an then like.... an this is just bein' selfinsh like... what am I gonna do :/

<Nycki> it ain't a bad idea... I mean, from that angle, anyway. Maybe from the angle of like... does he actually wanna marry her, though.

<Denise> it ain't like he's gonna have a real long time to figure it out, neither...

<Nycki> oh... honey. If there's one thing I know 'bout Ander, it's that he looks out for his own. He wouldn't do this an' just ditch you.

<Denise> well I guess he could wain an se if she gets in, but he ain't like that :p

<Denise> I know he wouldn't, but stilll what am I gonna do at the Palace 'cept look a fool

<Nycki> pft... they got plenty of those anyway :p

<Denise> welll... I guess :3

  • Nycki puts a hand on her belly

<Nycki> dunno what it'd mean for this little one. nothin' I guess, if we don't tell no one.

<Denise> yeah :3

<Denise> Like you said though, he'll take care if you wanted :3

<Nycki> yeah but... I don't wanna make these kids' life more messed up than it's already gonna be.

  • Denise nods

<Denise> yeah, only if you wanted

<Nycki> well I'd haveta talk it over with Hettie I guess - I don't think we wanna have him bein' like... their dad or nothin', but he did say he'd like to at least have the chance to know them.

  • Denise nods

<Denise> :3

<Denise> I can't wait to meet 'em :3

<Denise> They're gonna be so cute :3

<Nycki> me neither :)

<Nycki> besides, then this one can get off my fuckin' bladder :p

<Denise> heh

<Denise> Did Hettie tell you mam is gonna have another? :3

<Nycki> yeah, I heard that :o That's somethin' all right.

<Denise> I got so much knittin' to do @_@

<Nycki> heh

<Nycki> at least it's little stuff, it goes fast

<Denise> yeah..

<Nycki> c'mon, you oughta get some sleep - especially if you might get woke up in the middle of the night

<Denise> okay :3

<Denise> thanks....

<Denise> an g'night!

<Nycki> g'night, Dee

  • Denise will go to bed @_@

Epilogue

<DiablotinNarrator> So, the following day, the candidates will begin to make themselves known.

<DiablotinNarrator> It'll be in the newspapers (they'll put out special editions I'm sure) so those of you who don't have an immediate source of info can still find out.

  • Denise will listen on the radio prolly

<DiablotinNarrator> *nod*

<DiablotinNarrator> The candidates are:

<DiablotinNarrator> Bryson Arguelles (Owl, age 31) - Lieutenant Colonel, war veteran, the son of Patric Arguelles (Count of Childress, gentleman in waiting to the Emperor), has a Psyrene wife he met during the war when she was a badass guerilla leader/local count's daughter

<DiablotinNarrator> Revelyne Fourre (Owl, age 27) - daughter of a high-ranking priest in the Order of the Owl, part of a minor noble family, married with no children (her husband is a Spokesman)

<DiablotinNarrator> Tavar Estournel (Owl, age 35) - son of the owner of Falcon Motors (his mother is of noble birth, but a less important family), married with 2 children. Extremely rich, strong business credentials, but probably not a lot of noble support.

<DiablotinNarrator> Maryvonne Hartzell (Wolf/Owl, age 21) - daughter of Fredericia Hartzell, the current Warlord, and her husband, General Cesar de Beziers, unmarried.

<DiablotinNarrator> Janelle Rionet (Rat, age 32) - daughter of Guillame Rionet, the current Lord Chancellor, high ranking Channel, unmarried (currently...)

<DiablotinNarrator> (and probably there are others who have even less chance so we won't worry about them ;)

<DiablotinNarrator> Anyway, that's where we'll leave it for today. Tune in next time for Wheel Of Emperors :p

Solos

Argent asks Margaux about the Arch's potential vulnerability to the Cyst

<Argent> (I will catch up with her at her place, or mine... whatever is easier... I kinda assumed she may have gotten herself a nicer place with her reward money)

  • Margaux is easy to find time to talk to, at least :) you can get her attention anytime. And yes, I assume she has a nicer place now - certainly more private than yours, at least.
  • Argent blew all his cash on magic items and a motorcycle, like a responsible adult.

<Margaux> (hah)

<Denise> (and denise was envious ;p)

<Argent> Every time I walk in here, I'm reminded how not nice my place is.

  • Argent smiles

<Margaux> aw.... you know, you could move in here. if you wanted. there's plenty of room :)

<Argent> very tempting offer, it is, and I hope to take you up on it, once things are a little more settled in the city.

  • Margaux nods

<Argent> And I did want to learn from your experiences with one of these pesky city things, the Arch.

<Argent> which has become a topic of possible concern with the death of Marl.

<Margaux> oh... all right.

<Margaux> what did you want to know?

<Argent> Well the Cyst tried to use the Irminsul... that tree portal... to get access to this plane

  • Margaux nods, listening

<Argent> there is a worry that with the emperor dead, they may try to manipulate things to get access to the Arch to do something similar

<Argent> I really don't know if that is possible, or if the Arch would even allow it.

<Argent> but I thought you might have a better idea

  • Margaux looks pensive

<Margaux> Well... I don't think it's impossible. But it would be challenging.

<Argent> can you explain how it would be challenging?

<Margaux> The Arch joins the planes together. If someone who knew how to manipulate its power gained access to it and was strong enough to bend it to their will, they could use it as a portal between worlds.

<Margaux> But there are obstacles put in place that would - or should - make that difficult for them.

<Argent> obstacles from the Arch itself, or like defenses?

<Margaux> Both.

  • Argent nods

<Margaux> The church protects physical access to the Arch, and the guardian - someone like me - protects it, ah, metaphysically?

<Argent> spiritually like? A soul defender?

<Margaux> They are in communion with the Arch at all times. They can learn from it and convey information to it in return. It's a very intimate bond.

  • Margaux says a bit wistfully.

<Margaux> The Arch doesn't have ah... senses here. It perceives through its Guardian's eyes and ears.

<Argent> ok

<Margaux> I'm sorry. It's hard to explain... sometimes it's hard to even remember entirely what it was like. It works on children because they're more malleable. They can withstand the strangeness and the presence in their minds.

<Argent> I can appreciate this not being easy to explain, and I think your doing a great job of trying to convey what you need to convey

  • Margaux blushes a little, smiling

<Margaux> the priests always said we were trying to hide things from them, but it isn't that

<Margaux> it's just really hard to make them understand what it's like

<Argent> unfortunately, what you've told me doesnt fill me with confidence that the Arch isnt at risk or is a risk.

<Margaux> you think someone who's going to go through as a candidate will try to use it from within?

<Argent> I'm almost... no completely certain that the Church higher echelon has be infiltrated or is being manipulated by the Cyst

<Margaux> oh... that's much worse.

<Margaux> But if that's the case, why haven't they done it already? They have the most access to the Arch of anyone.

<Argent> Its not all of them... such a bold move may leave them to open to obvious discovery

<Argent> but it could be thier master stroke, or contingency

<Argent> I really dont know

  • Margaux frowns

<Margaux> do you think it's something we need to talk to the current guardian about?

<Argent> but if there was a time for more people to get access to the Arch without arousing alarm, sending a new Emperor through seems like an ample opportunity

<Argent> Its probably a good idea

<Margaux> I can try to get in to speak to her.

<Argent> is that something you normally have done?

<Margaux> well... when I lived at the temple, sometimes.

<Margaux> she's probably getting old for the role.. it might be almost the end of her service there. I wonder if when the guardian switches, they might try to do something then.

<Argent> I never considered that, especially if its soon

<Argent> would it be too unusual if I went with you to meet her? Who is she, if I may ask?

<Margaux> well I'm not sure... it varies from person to person. but she's an unusual case too, because she's not fully human, like me. well not exactly like me. but I'm not sure how her aging works.

<Margaux> Oh - well, her name is Chalniss. She's half-shadar kai. It was quite... unexpected for the church, but it's not as though they have any say over it.

  • Margaux says with a shrug

<Argent> Yeah, I have no clue how long a shadar kai, let alone a half shadar-kai reaches adulthood... although for the half, I'm pretty sure its similar to humans and us

<Argent> so thats more than no clue I guess

  • Argent shrugs

<Margaux> probably your friend Denise's friend must have known her... I think almost all the half-shadar kai in the city know each other.

<Argent> I'm pretty sure Mireva knows half the city

  • Margaux nods

<Argent> and the half shadar-kai, from what she told me are all raised together

<Margaux> right

<Argent> (unless I'm remembering it wrong)

<Margaux> (no, that's true, with a few exceptions who were raised with families, but mostly communally)

<Margaux> well anyway - I'm pretty sure I can get myself in to talk to her - I can try bringing you and see what happens. I suppose the worst that happens is they won't let you in. And then they know you're interested. And... actually I suppose that could be pretty bad.

<Argent> Yeah...

<Argent> Don't suppose there is a way I could sneak in with you

<Margaux> well... there are possible ways.

<Argent> the one aspect of my training im regretting not working these days is disguise

  • Margaux smiles a little at that

<Argent> so did you have an idea?

<Margaux> the Church doesn't know all the ways around under the temple... we could try sneaking in from below.

<Argent> I have friends who know lots about the tunnels under the city

  • Margaux nods

<Margaux> do you want to bring them?

<Argent> so if it all works out, we get to talk to Chalniss with the church none the wiser

<Argent> and the worst outcome, is we get caught and I lie that I'm investigating a threat to the church and get exposed, but you all are in the free

<Argent> and the people with the Cyst know were worried about the Arch, but I think its worth the risk

<Margaux> all right

<Margaux> I assume we need to do it soon, before they choose a new Emperor?

<Argent> I'll talk to Denise and Enver and see if its something they can help with... if yes we bring them.

  • Argent nods

<Margaux> okay. just let me know when, and we'll go.

<Argent> ... maybe Hettie too in case there are locks and such

<Argent> I have my magic, but it may not be enough

<Argent> give me a day or so to organize

  • Margaux nods
  • Margaux squeezes your hand

<Margaux> if we can warn her, it's like warning the Arch

<Margaux> it can be prepared

<Argent> which is a good thing

  • Margaux nods

<Argent> Hey... I've been a jumping into things lately... the hospital, rescuing Jonas, taking down Servan, and this.... I hope your not bothered by any of it

<Argent> what I do is dangerous

<Margaux> Hey... part of the reason I love you is that you take on dangerous missions to try and help people.

<Margaux> That and you have a really cute ass.

<Margaux> I wouldn't ask you to stop having a cute ass, so I won't ask you to stop doing what you do. they're both part of you.

<Argent> I'm glad that you understand. I love you too... I just worry that I was being unfair to you to have me jumping headlong into danger all the time.

<Margaux> well... we'll do this one together :)

<Argent> And we have Good on our side. Well do fine.

  • Margaux nods

<Argent> (I'm good with that... you?)

<Margaux> (sounds good to me!)

Gen seeks some emotional and psychological support from Madds

  • Genevriel has just finished taking a shower one evening in the lead-up to visiting Madds' parents for tea. From the bathroom, she calls in a somewhat wavery voice.

<Genevriel> Madds, I need your help. Can you come here for a moment?

  • Madds comes to the door

<Madds> What's wrong?

  • Genevriel swings the door open to allow him entry.
  • Genevriel is standing awkwardly in front of the mirror, staring at her reflection rather forlornly. It looks like she had donned her bathrobe, only to let it slip off her shoulders again. Her burnt forearms are lost in the sleeves of the robe.

<Genevriel> When you look at me, what do you see?

<Genevriel> I only see ugliness. But you don't; you see something different. I can see it in your eyes when you look at me. And so, I... thought... maybe if I knew what you see, I might start seeing it, too?

<Madds> ... is this a trick question?

<Genevriel> No, it's a very serious one.

<Genevriel> I hope that I could start looking at myself the way you look at me, at least a little.

  • Madds comes over and stands behind you, looking over your shoulder into the mirror
  • Genevriel makes room for him and waits, uncertain what to hope for.

<Madds> When I look at you, I see a strong, courageous, thoughtful, kind-hearted woman.

<Genevriel> Okay... but what about how I *look*?

<Madds> I see your beautiful eyes, your hair like flames, your tender lips... your strong muscles and your soft skin... You are beautiful to me, Genevriel.

<Genevriel> Do I look like a man?

<Genevriel> Everyone always takes me for one until I speak.

<Madds> You're taller and stronger than many women, but I don't think you look like a man - if someone mistakes you for one, they aren't very observant.

<Genevriel> They used to call me "Man-thing" during the war.

<Genevriel> It's true, I don't have curves, or any breasts to speak of.

<Madds> They were idiots, then.

<Madds> Maybe you aren't delicate or fragile like they expect, but you don't have to be conventional in order to be a woman.

  • Genevriel pulls her bathrobe up over her shoulders again and turns to face you.

<Genevriel> I always feel like... you could do so much better than me.

  • Madds puts his arms around your waist

<Genevriel> That's part of why I am so anxious about spending time with your family. Because I feel like they will see it too, eventually.

<Genevriel> And then you will.

<Madds> What my family thinks is best for me is irrelevant. My family would also prefer to see me living at home so that they can take care of me, their poor crippled son. I haven't paid attention to what they think on that, and I wouldn't even if they did think I could do better than you - which they haven't said, by the way.

  • Genevriel looks surprised and rather concerned.

<Genevriel> Really? They think you can't take care of yourself?

<Madds> Either that or it makes a better story for them to tell their friends.

  • Madds says with a shrug

<Madds> As for what I think... I don't think I can do better than you, Gen. You make me happy - you make me feel safe and comfortable and loved, and you give me hope for the future, which was something I struggled to find for a long time.

  • Genevriel smiles a little and slips her arms around your waist.

<Genevriel> You do the same for me.

<Madds> Good.

<Genevriel> Do you think I could ever... maybe... pull off wearing a dress?

<Genevriel> Or makeup? Or would I look like a pig wearing lipstick?

  • Genevriel frowns slightly.

<Genevriel> Who am I kidding... I don't know the first thing about applying makeup.

<Madds> I think you should wear whatever you want, as long as you're comfortable in it. I don't think there's any reason why you couldn't wear a dress or makeup, if you want to. I'm no expert on those things, but maybe you could find a friend who knows something about it and ask them?

  • Genevriel tries to think of who she could ask.

<Madds> After working at Tits', there have to be some glamorous ladies who could give you some advice :)

<Genevriel> Denise doesn't really wear any... Zola tends to wear a lot, more than I'd be comfortable with, I think, but she does always look beautiful.

<Genevriel> (I don't know if Aubrienne and Hettie really wear any?)

<Madds> (I assume Aubrienne must wear some when she's working, at least - probably not over the top makeup, but at least some basic stuff so she shows up well on stage?)

<Genevriel> (Or Lathra, but Ian will be hard to do a scene with until further notice, I think.)

<Genevriel> Aubrienne or Zola, maybe...

  • Madds nods

<Madds> (Hettie might be better to help with clothes, and Aubrienne with makeup, at a guess :)

<Genevriel> (hee)

<Genevriel> I'm going to be self-deprecating again: fair warning. I just... you are so gorgeous. I would love to feel, once at least, that I don't look like some ugly giantess beside you. It's shallow and all... but for once in my life, I think I would like everyone to be jealous that I'm with you.

<Genevriel> That must sound horrible...

  • Madds smiles a little

<Madds> Well I'm very flattered, at least :)

  • Genevriel smiles a little guiltily back. It is a rather shallow thing to want.

<Genevriel> It's not flattery if it's the truth.

<Madds> I don't think wanting to look more... hmm, conventionally beautiful? is a bad thing to want. But I also want you to know that I think you're beautiful already, and if you do change how you look, all that'll mean is that other people notice what I already know.

  • Genevriel nods slightly, eyes brimming a little.

<Genevriel> I... love you, Madds.

<Madds> I love you too, Genny.

<Genevriel> (This is actually the first time she has said it in game, and I'm gonna say, out of game too. She's had hang ups about it.)

<Madds> (aww)

<Madds> Besides, who else would I debate philosophy or complain about theology or ramble on about weird old books with, if I didn't have you?

  • Genevriel giggles, flattered. (Giggling is a rare sound for her to make, as well.)
  • Madds smiles

<Genevriel> I don't know. But it is a good thing you do enjoy doing those things, Major Madds, because I never would have fallen for you if you didn't.

<Madds> Lucky me, then.

  • Madds gives you a kiss.
  • Genevriel happily kisses him back.

<Madds> (awww, so cute :3)

Gen and Madds have tea with Rosalie and Lionel Falgout

  • Madds will accompany you to his parents' house for tea some afternoon, then :)

<Genevriel> (A lovely Seventh Day afternoon outing.)

<Genevriel> (Do his parents go to church? I know Gen doesn't. And I'm guessing he doesn't, either.)

<Rosalie> (yes, they do)

  • Madds does not, you're correct

<Genevriel> (Good thing we are both House Wolf, then - they can't hold Houselessness against our pairing.  :) )

<Rosalie> (heh, indeed)

  • Genevriel dresses in a flowy pant suit suitable for afternoon tea.

<Genevriel> (Let's say it is something like this lovely number modeled by Phryne: miss-fisher-white-pant-suits-coat-1-350x500.jpg )

<Genevriel> (Easing into dress-like clothing)

<Madds> (nice!)

  • Rosalie welcomes you in

<Rosalie> Thank you for coming - what a lovely outfit, the colour suits you perfectly :)

  • Genevriel will have checked with Madds about whether to bring a hostess gift, and brought something suitable if he said yes, she needs to.

<Genevriel> Thank you, and thank you for inviting us.

  • Madds would say something small like some candies or a tin of cookies would be acceptable :)
  • Genevriel presents Rosalie with the gift, then.

<Rosalie> Oh, how thoughtful. Lionel loves this kind :)

  • Madds can of course have given you the inside scoop on what to get ;)
  • Genevriel smiles wryly, glancing at Madds. Of course she asked him what to get.

<Lionel> Hm, what do I love?

  • Lionel asks, emerging from his study

<Rosalie> It's a box of those lemon candies you like so much.

<Lionel> Oh, well :) yes, I confess they're a weakness of mine.

<Rosalie> Come in and have a seat, please, make yourself comfortable.

  • Rosalie says, gesturing towards the parlor.

<Genevriel> Thank you.

  • Rosalie accompanies you into the elegant sitting room, along with her husband and Madds of course.
  • Genevriel is careful not to gawp at anything and show what a country bumpkin she is.
  • Genevriel chooses a seat with space for Madds to sit next to her, if such is available.
  • Madds will sit next to you on a loveseat

<Rosalie> Would you care for some tea?

<Genevriel> Yes, please. Tea would be lovely.

  • Rosalie rings for tea, then, and a maid will bring in a tray with a pot of tea as well as some little sweets and pastries.
  • Genevriel smiles at the maid and thanks her before she leaves.
  • Rosalie does as well

<Rosalie> Do you take milk, sugar, lemon...?

  • Genevriel is glad that 'the help' is not treated as if they don't exist. She wasn't sure.

<Genevriel> Just a little lemon, thank you.

  • Rosalie adds a small slice to your teacup, and passes it over to you, then pours for her husband and son, for whom she presumably already knows how they take their tea.

<Genevriel> (Goat's milk probably would not taste as nice as cow's milk in tea, I'm thinking, so she probably grew up not putting milk in her tea.)

<Genevriel> Thank you.

<Rosalie> You're welcome.

<Rosalie> So, I understand your aunt and uncle are Sylvise and Gerard Voclain? How are they doing?

  • Genevriel sips carefully from the delicate bone china. Fortunately Sylvise has similar dishes. At home Gen's family probably just used stoneware or earthenware mugs.

<Genevriel> They're doing well, thank you. My uncle has had a rough year but he's much better now.

<Genevriel> (I think.)

<Rosalie> (yes, sounds about right)

  • Rosalie nods

<Rosalie> I'm glad to hear it. I had understood he was ill, but I'm pleased he's recovering.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> Tante Sylvise was able to take the summer off to help him recover, but she's back at the [girls' academy?] this month.

<Genevriel> (I assume)

<Rosalie> (yes she is back to teaching for the fall)

<Rosalie> And your cousins, are they also well?

<Genevriel> Yes! Dorien's alchemy business startup seems to be doing all right, and Lucette is continuing her work at the Castalia.

<Genevriel> And how are things at your mills - textiles, right?

<Rosalie> Yes, that's right. Things are going as well as can be expected - it's been a busy year, as we've been expanding some of our facilities.

<Genevriel> Oh? Do you produce cotton mainly, or a mix of fibres?

<Rosalie> We process wool as well as cotton. Different facilities, of course.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> Though I've often wondered what a cotton-wool blend would be like - combining the wicking ability of cotton with the warmth of wool.

  • Genevriel mentions offhandedly.

<Genevriel> We used to raise cashmere goats...

  • Genevriel reminisces fondly.

<Rosalie> Well! It's interesting you should say that, as it's something I've considered in the past.

<Genevriel> (House Wolf nerds, lol)

<Genevriel> ("Let's invent shit. It's stimulating.")

<Rosalie> We've tried some small scale tests - it's also much more resistant to shrinking, which is of course a big problem...

  • Genevriel nods.
  • Madds smiles at you nerding out with his mother

<Genevriel> I guess it wouldn't felt as much, either.

  • Genevriel muses.

<Genevriel> And would moths eat it still, or would it be moth-resistant?

<Rosalie> That's an interesting question, I'm not sure. We should test that :)

  • Genevriel smiles.

<Genevriel> I know a boarding house where you can get some clothes moths, if you need them.

  • Rosalie chuckles

<Rosalie> I might take you up on that!

<Lionel> Rosalie handles most of the technical side of things - I'm just the financial manager.

  • Genevriel sort of jokes, thinking of her first miserable place in Diablotin.

<Genevriel> Well, finances are terribly important, aren't they?

<Genevriel> I mean, our farm was much smaller than your factories, but there was still a lot of balancing the books to do.

<Genevriel> My mother used to handle most of that. She was fierce with numbers.

<Lionel> Well, I like to think it's at least slightly important :)

<Lionel> At least, I tell her whether or not we can afford whichever newfangled machine she's decided we need to have.

  • Genevriel smiles.

<Rosalie> Those 'newfangled machines' are what keep us competitive, my dear :) As well as adding safety features for the workers.

<Genevriel> How many people to you employ?

  • Genevriel asks curiously.

<Lionel> About five hundred, between the various facilities.

<Genevriel> Wow... That's... that's a lot.

  • Genevriel says, thinking of her farm run by four people.

<Lionel> Yes, we've grown a great deal since we started out.

<Genevriel> I can't imagine trying to keep track of that many people.

<Genevriel> I guess that's why I'm not a factory owner. Or an officer.

  • Genevriel smiles at Madds.
  • Madds smiles

<Lionel> Fortunately we have some excellent managers who oversee much of the day to day operations.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Lionel> We certainly couldn't do it all on our own.

  • Genevriel nods.

<Genevriel> Do you think... Would it be possible for me to visit one of your mills one of these days? It would be interesting to see the machines.

<Genevriel> We just hand-spun our fibre on spinning wheels.

<Genevriel> (We were such hippies.)

<Rosalie> Oh, I'd be delighted to take you on a tour :)

<Rosalie> If you grew up on a farm and raised goats, it must be a big change coming to the city.

<Genevriel> It was, certainly, at first. Still is, in some ways.

<Genevriel> But I get to work at a farm, so that's something somewhat familiar.

<Genevriel> And Madds has taken me out to his uncle's a couple of times, to spend some time with the horses.

<Genevriel> I think having animals is what I miss the most.

<Genevriel> But... well... Also just being part of a tight-knit family group, I guess. We all worked so hard to make the farm a success.

  • Rosalie nods sympathetically

<Genevriel> And then we lost it all.

<Rosalie> That must have been terrible. I'm so sorry.

  • Genevriel looks down briefly, then back up.

<Genevriel> No, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought it up.

<Genevriel> It isn't the nicest topic for conversation, is it.

<Rosalie> Perhaps not, but it's very important to you - and so it's important to us, as we learn more about you.

  • Genevriel smiles.

<Genevriel> Oh, you're very sweet. Is that something I shouldn't say? But thank you.

<Genevriel> It was... a good place to grow up. Let's leave it at that for now.

  • Rosalie nods

<Rosalie> Of course.

  • Genevriel reaches out to take Madds' hand.
  • Madds takes your hand
  • Rosalie can change the subject and make polite conversation about other subjects, then :)

<Madds> (anything else you'd like to add? I don't want to cut you off but I'm also getting a bit tired as it's late :)

<Genevriel> (I can't think of anything. Thanks.  :) )

<Madds> (okay! I will assume nothing else goes horribly wrong and you have a nice afternoon with them :)

<Genevriel> (Nothing did go horribly wrong, really.)

<Madds> (heh, no)

<Madds> (not horribly :)

<Genevriel> (I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop 'cause Madds seems to have some issues with them, but so far they have just been lovely to Gen. ;) )