Ashnabis session 47
Session date: February 14, 2021
Fair Cycle date:
<AshnabisNarrator> Abasse akh! Abasse akh! Rise, ancestors, rise!
<AshnabisNarrator> The children run throughout the streets of Kaskind on this, the Abas Feast, the holiest of days of the Corps, in advance of their elders, strewing flowers and crying out the call. Their elders, in turn, toss them copper coins and candied berries, which they gather up eagerly.
<AshnabisNarrator> On this day, in both the Ombesh and Aummesh custom, the lineages gather to proceed throughout the town, bearing the artifacts and clothing of their most honored and beloved Ancestors!
<AshnabisNarrator> Among the Aummesh, it is not unheard of to remove the entire body of an Ancestor for public display in the years immediately after death. These recent dead are carried in their reliquaries along the Colony Road, borne by brightly garmented bubun who strike great drums.
<AshnabisNarrator> Abasse vel! Abasse vel! Walk, ancestors, walk!
<AshnabisNarrator> As the ancestors instruct us on our correct path, so too do we venerate their authority and recognize that their personhood extends even beyond death. The Abas Feast marks the passage of the seasons, the awakening of the new year, and the continuation of life.
<AshnabisNarrator> For those with great lineages, it is a day for the resolution of disputes, setting aside old grudges, and celebrating with one's ifti, one's kin. For those newcomers, or with no kin, it is nonetheless a day of joy, feasting, the forgiveness of debts, and general merriment.
<AshnabisNarrator> Since you all have the day off, you might expect to find yourselves doing the same - and indeed, later, that is exactly what you plan to do.
<AshnabisNarrator> For now, though, you have weightier business at hand. For some time now, you and the other agents of the land registry have begun to think about your assigned roles, and to question whether you are truly doing what you have been assigned - or even what you ought to do.
<AshnabisNarrator> The office is tense, and your counterparts sometimes seem as worried as you that the job is not what they thought it would be.
<AshnabisNarrator> So you have gathered all the agents of the Registry aboard the Menagerie for a mid-morning conclave, to discern your next steps, or at least to find out where everyone stands.
<AshnabisNarrator> Abasse lai! Abasse lai! Speak, ancestors, speak!
<AshnabisNarrator> Each of you reflects on your own ancestors and kin as you head below decks, hoping for some wisdom on this holiest of days.
The group meet with their fellow land registry agents to discuss working conditions and concerns
<AshnabisNarrator> The Menagerie is tightly-packed, even with Washteppo and the dogs abovedecks. There's enough room for the eleven of you to fit, as long as you don't mind squeezing onto bunks or sitting on crates.
<AshnabisNarrator> In addition to the six of you, the five members of your counterpart team are sitting around anxiously - they know why they're here at least in general, and you know at least some of them share some concerns - but it's not like you're all good friends.
<AshnabisNarrator> Sharei Aanilaus is a kind of leader for their group. By her lineage, of course, she is of high Aummesh birth, kin to Thelef.
* Sharei is a tall, slender woman just at the end of her youth, with long dark brown hair tied in careful braids. She is wearing a complex dashi with her clan's symbols along the sleeves, and looks about as if she has somewhere more important to be.
<AshnabisNarrator> Mepla Meglaar sits next to her - perhaps in her forties, you know she has decades of knowledge of the swamp, more than any of you by far.
* Mepla looks bored, and pulls something from the belt around her waist that cinches her plain brown dashi. It's some thin reeds that she is braiding into some sort of pattern. Short and wiry, she has medium-length brown hair tied in a short ponytail.
<AshnabisNarrator> Sulidein sits directly on the deck. The corpseborn seems perfectly comfortable there, even if you are not.
* Sulidein is short, with curly black hair, and wears a dashi woven with a pattern of brown and green stripes. He has a hat slung about his neck to put on in case it rains later.
<AshnabisNarrator> The hithkindred, Selisaeth, sits quietly, somewhat apart from her compatriots. She seems pensive.
* Selisaeth is wearing more traditional Aummesh garb than she would ordinarily wear, a blue dashi and a yellow cap, with a small lithus pendant the only sign that she is huwhi.
<AshnabisNarrator> Lastly, the manifest, Idasti Sumnai, is the only Ombesh member of the other team, some sort of minor Choradani nobility, you believe. She seems eager to get started.
* Idasti is a tiny, wiry fair-skinned woman with green eyes and light brown hair. She is wearing what you presume must be the Sumnai lineage colours in a complex woven vest, over a black dashi.
<Sharei> So. We're here. You want to talk, let's talk.
* Daifan looks around to see if anyone else is going to start
<Idasti> I think you, like us, have had some ... problems in your assignments?
<Jimba> I'd say with, more than in.
* Daifan will sit on the floor with Moss, partly for space, but in a comfortable lounge on a cushion they acquired form somewhere
<Jimba> I mean, we always have problems to deal with in our assignments.
<Daifan> That part *is* the job
* Jimba nods.
* Sharei frowns.
<Daifan> but we're supposed to be surveyors
<Mepla> Some of you are pretty bad surveyors, that's for sure.
<Mepla> But I don't hold that against you.
<Jimba> Well, we don't actually get a lot of practice these days.
* Daifan waves their hand dismissively at the comment
<Katenzhi> Yeah, but the problem is we're even worse spies.
<Jimba> Given that we've been running around doing a bunch of things that aren't, you know, surveying.
* Llillilli is waiting for a more talky type to start...?
<Sharei> I don't see what the problem is.
<Jimba> In that you're getting similar assignments and you're okay with that, or in that you're not getting the same sorts of assignments?
<Idasti> well - the problem, as I see it, is that if we're going to be tasked with doing things that aren't surveying, we should have suitable pay and equipment and authority to do those things.
* Jimba nods at that.
<Idasti> not doing them as a kind of ... secret second job we have to do alongside the other.
<Llillilli> That's one point to consider
<Mepla> I'm for more pay.
<Idasti> What kinds of things have you been asked to do?
* Idasti asks you guys
<Idasti> I mean, that are ... atypical. Outside the ordinary line of things.
<Llillilli> Spy on what was happening on Pfaeshes.
<Jimba> Uh, hmm, save a village from pirates, spy on our northern neighbors...
<Daifan> Make nice at Charadip...
<Daifan> Even some of the places they have sent us to Survey for the fort - they tell us it is for one thing, but... no.
* Sulidein nods to that.
<Llillilli> It's garbage and I've had enough of being moved around like a game piece with no agency
<Sulidein> We have the same type of issues - sometimes it seems like we're not given full information and what they ask us to do is not what they really want done.
* Daifan nods to both
* Jimba nods.
* Jimba looks to the other people in Sulidein's group to judge their reaction.
<Selisaeth> There have been some cases we've handled that I've been unhappy with.
* Selisaeth adds quietly.
<Selisaeth> Those squatters, remember? The family from the Imperial City. We were out there surveying to make sure there were no locals or dangers. They were there on the land, barely scraping by, hungry and tired, had to farm yams just to have enough to eat, not even any fos.
<Selisaeth> They could have made their claim, easily. But two weeks later, that asshole from Daligash came in. And we got reprimanded for even suggesting to the family that they could get in there first.
* Llillilli scowls.
<Idasti> That's part of the job, at least. An unpleasant part, but still...
<Jimba> Why? And should it be?
<Llillilli> What, giving preferential treatment to rich people?
* Llillilli makes a disgusted face.
* Jimba points to Llillilli and nods.
<Idasti> At least it was actually surveying and dealing with a land claim. I mean, we've had much stranger jobs.
<Idasti> Like, out by Hapaan, the ambush site.
<Jimba> Like what?
<Jimba> Ambush site?
* Mepla laughs.
<Mepla> That was good fun.
<Idasti> Up there on the lake, you know, there are a lot of the riverfolk who waylay boats coming one way or another, north and south. We were told we were going to survey for fos but when we got there, it was these folks instead.
* Selisaeth nods
<Selisaeth> You want someone to roust out troublemakers, that's fine, but don't pay me to be a land registrar and then make me your secret police.
<Sharei> They didn't know - how could they? No one knew the riverfolk were there.
<Mepla> Ombesh don't know anything about what's on the lake.
<Mepla> That's why they need us to help them.
<Selisaeth> They know more than what they say, sometimes...
* Selisaeth grumbles.
<Llillilli> I agree with that
<Sharei> They definitely step into lineage business when they should leave well enough alone.
<Sharei> The Tsauters and the Yetsners, remember them?
* Sharei looks to her compatriots.
* Idasti and the others nod.
<Sharei> We were called in to find out about some lands west of the Kaskos, which it wasn't clear on the map which lineage claimed them. Turns out it was both, and we found ourselves in the middle of a land dispute.
<Jimba> So what happened?
<Sharei> Instead of letting the local reckoners take care of it, we got tasked with mapping it out and trying to resolve how the error happened in the first place. Which wouldn't have been so bad if one of them hadn't been allied with the Cormorant Fleet and the others the Black Stork!
<Sharei> I'm not saying that Utus isn't an idiot sometimes.
<Sharei> But imagine how much worse that would have been if the Sentinels had been in charge of it.
<Junan> does sound like quite a mess
<Jimba> Did they say why they didn't just let the reckoners handle it?
* Sharei shrugs.
<Sharei> Couldn't say.
<Sharei> Look. This is one of the only jobs where the Fort hires good local folk, folk like Mepla here, to really make a difference.
<Idasti> Maybe they thought they would be biased... I don't know.
<Sharei> You want to make a difference, you get your hands dirty.
<Jimba> Mepla, do you feel you're making a positive difference with this job?
<Llillilli> I'd rather get to decide for myself what dirt I want to get into
<Mepla> Sure. I get paid very well.
* Jimba smiles.
<Jimba> Fair enough.
<Sulidein> What about on Wurein, the little boy. That, I can never unsee....
<Daifan> They hire locals to appeal to locals - But that doenst explain me and Sulidein
* Mepla shudders.
<Mepla> That was a nasty business.
<Daifan> what happened?
<Sharei> You know, Wurein, the isle at the mouth of the Kaskos. Our young folks go to play there sometimes. I certainly did, when I was young. But a place like that has dangers.
<Sharei> There was a haunt there, just a boy, lost in the swamp, leading us astray.
* Veznara looks concerned
<Sulidein> We barely got away, with no priest to guide us. And to make it worse, when the child led us to a long-forgotten ancient sword, the one that killed him, we had to turn it over to the fort.
<Mepla> That was a good sword, I admit. But lots of other times, we kept things, no questions asked.
<Idasti> That's what I mean about being properly equipped and prepared. We weren't ready for that - some of us could have died.
<Veznara> What happened to the haunt? Was it pacified by your bringing back the sword?
<Jimba> Were you sent specifically to deal with that haunt?
* Daifan remembers back to their first mission, where they nearly died
<Sharei> No, but everyone knows that place is haunted.
<Selisaeth> I just want to not be asked to hunt murderers and thieves. They know what they're doing sometimes when they send us out there, I'm sure.
* Daifan nods
<Selisaeth> We ended up tracking this one man hiding out in the swamp by the river. We were told he was a squatter. Turns out he'd killed three people including a sentinel, which they must have known. They just don't know enough about the swamp to avoid getting lost out there, so in we go.
<Daifan> I think it is interesting - we have no locals on our team, but we get sent to places that, mmm, have special interest ot people who are
<Sharei> If you don't want to work there anymore, I have all kinds of cousins who will take your place.
<Daifan> like that temple, the first time, or even when we were attacked by those urun
<Idasti> What temple?
<Llillilli> That cursed place, with the persimmons...
<Jimba> That wouldn't address the issue, Sharei.
<Katenzhi> Fucking Persimmons.
* Veznara frowns
<Idasti> cursed how?
* Idasti inquires, curious
<Daifan> people had visions when we went in
<Llillilli> Horrible things.
<Daifan> but it wasn't a haunt
<Jimba> And outside of it.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> yes when we stayed the night outside too
<Daifan> it was half sunk into the swamp, but people had been tending it
<Daifan> I think they knew *something* was there when they sent us, if maybe not what
<Katenzhi> That's a word for it.
<Idasti> I mean, I'm sure it was awful.
<Sulidein> I don't want to lose this job - it's not like there are a lot of other good options out there for people like me. But... I think we are in a position where we could ask for some changes.
* Daifan nods to him
<Mepla> All right, changes. Starting with more money?
<Jimba> I'm definitely for that.
<Katenzhi> Starting with more information going in, I say.
<Mepla> That's assuming they have it.
<Jimba> Maybe we could demand they make more of an effort in that regard.
<Llillilli> And if they refuse?
<Idasti> Both of those would be good. And - if they expect us to carry out the duties of police, I think we need the authority and backup that comes with that.
<Idasti> Hire more of us, and train them if necessary.
<Llillilli> ...I don't want to be a police. That is not what I signed up for
<Selisaeth> Me neither.
<Selisaeth> If they refuse, then... I think we have to be ready to quit.
* Selisaeth says, a bit reluctantly.
* Jimba nods.
<Llillilli> I'm ready now.
<Sulidein> So... we bring our demands to Utus, and see what he says?
<Jimba> Selisaeth is right. Sharei, you said if we quit you have cousins who would take our place, but do you want to through them out there into things like we've all run into, without experience?
<Sharei> I think a well-trained body of local folk, Aummesh willing to knock heads, is sorely needed.
<Sharei> They know the land and the people.
<Jimba> I agree. I think we need more of an attempt to bring together all the local parties.
<Sharei> This is a chance for those folk to show that they can serve this colony as well as, probably better than, any newcomer.
<Selisaeth> I think all of us are well-qualified and experienced - we'll land on our feet if we can't do this job anymore.
<Sharei> I mean ... the three of you are basically local, despite the name. You speak the tongue well enough.
* Sharei waves at Jimba, Llillilli, and Katenzhi.
* Llillilli does not like where this conversation is going :x
<Jimba> That's the thing.
<Jimba> We're not.
<Jimba> We're outsiders, but that gives us perspective.
<Jimba> Maybe this is beyond the Land Registry.
<Jimba> But...I think there is a way for this colony to benefit everyone.
<Jimba> And, right now, that's far from what's happening.
<Sharei> Maybe we need a local person in place of Utus, you're saying?
<Jimba> With this job, we're seeing the friction points, but we have no authority or mandate to do anything about them.
<Jimba> Maybe so.
<Daifan> I don't think Utus is the problem
<Daifan> I thnk if it wasnt for him, wel... we wouldn't have jobs
<Jimba> Beyond that, we need...some place for everyone to bring their issues. A way to let everyone's voices be heard.
<Daifan> it might be worse. And Choradan woudl never agree to that - not for the parts that arent about surveying land.
<Sulidein> At least, I think he'll hear us out and take our issues seriously. Whether he can do anything about them, I don't know.
<Mepla> Sure, he hires your people. I get that you're loyal to him.
<Jimba> It's a start. Would you all be willing to join us in this?
<Daifan> It goes beyond just us.
<Selisaeth> I am. Strength in numbers, and all that.
* Sulidein nods
<Daifan> he knows it is horsesit, too.
<Sharei> We haven't heard from the priestess or the envoy. Do they speak?
* Daifan smiles a Junan
<Llillilli> . o O (usually we can't shut her up)
<Junan> Oh, Im just enjoying the debate.
* Jimba smirks.
<Jimba> Care to add to it?
<Junan> Sure I'll stick with you, if that's what's decided
<Junan> Utus has failings, but I'm not sure a replacement would be better
<Jimba> That's fair. But we should at least bring our concerns to him.
<Jimba> To start with.
* Idasti nods in agreement
<Idasti> It's only fair if we give him a chance to address the issues.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> First thing after the holiday?
* Sharei scowls.
<Sulidein> And if it doens't work out... well, are you hiring?
* Sulidein asks Jimba
<Jimba> We're always looking for good workers. :)
* Llillilli smiles at Sulidein.
<Mepla> See, that's the thing. You have something else going on. For some of us, this is the best job we can ever hope to have.
* Jimba nods.
<Mepla> I don't have any problem asking for more money, or equipment, or whatever.
<Junan> So we talk without burning bridges.
<Mepla> Or just to make sure that they know what they're sending us into.
<Junan> It can be done
<Mepla> But some of you sound like you're already out the door.
* Jimba nods towards Junan.
<Llillilli> What if we did start our own surveying, guiding outfit?
<Llillilli> Is that so far fetched?
<Katenzhi> We know this territory better than most around here.
<Llillilli> And we are capable of taking care of ourselves.
<Katenzhi> Speak for yourself.
<Llillilli> We could do what we actually wanted to do when we signed on,
<Selisaeth> I do think there is a market for guides. Newcomers are always looking for someone to show them where the good plots of land are, or make sure they get their equipment delivered safely - that kind of thing.
* Llillilli nods.
<Jimba> Guiding...we could do that. Surveying might be more difficult with out the official backing of the land registry, which would leave us *less
* empowered to try to keep things fair.
<Llillilli> But we know the procedures.
<Llillilli> We could advise people how to work their system.
<Sharei> And you think they'll just ... let you do that?
* Sharei scoffs.
<Jimba> It's not illegal, so far as I know.
<Llillilli> I would like to see them try and stop me. >:|
* Jimba tries to shoot Llillilli a mollifying look.
<Idasti> Let's worry about that after we see what they say. If they make enough changes to the current system, maybe we don't need to look for new work.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> Best case scenario, I would think.
* Sharei says, sounding not fine.
<Jimba> Right. Great.
* Jimba smiles big.
<Idasti> As you said - we'll go after the holiday.
<Jimba> So we're all in agreement to talk to Utus about our concerns?
* Idasti nods, and the others as well, with more or less degrees of enthusiasm.
<Mepla> Who is going to do it then?
<Jimba> I think we all should, same as we did here.
* Daifan looks to Junan
* Daifan nod to Jimba though
<Selisaeth> If we all go together, we show we're serious. But maybe one or two of us should do most of the talking, so we don't overwhelm him.
<Daifan> Yes, I agree
* Jimba nods.
<Llillilli> Clearly my brither is well suited.
<Jimba> Oh, heh. I was going to say Junan is probably the most eloquent and official of our team... >.>
<Daifan> Someone from each team, maybe?
<Junan> It would be good to have someone from your team as well
<Jimba> And Sharei seems to speak for you guys?
<Sharei> I wouldn't say that.
<Idasti> I can speak for us.
* Sharei looks over at Idasti.
<Sharei> All right.
<Jimba> Sounds good to me.
<Junan> Its good its you two. I can advise or mediate if needed
<Jimba> If you think so.
<Daifan> That seems reasonable to me
<Junan> less... confrontational... from an envoy's point of view.
<Jimba> I guess that makes sense.
* Veznara approaches Sharei after the meeting
* Sharei will turn to see what you want as yo approach her.
<Veznara> Hello, Sharei. Do you have a moment?
<Sharei> I suppose. What is it?
<Veznara> That story of the haunt... naturally it concerns me.
<Sharei> It concerned us too - especially since it damn near killed some of us.
<Veznara> Of course. You're right: your team should have a priest or priestess with you. If you're willing.
<Sharei> It'd have to be the right person, of course, but I don't think we'd say no to that.
<Veznara> I do have someone in mind... but I'd have to ask them first.
<Sharei> Hand, or Voice?
<Sharei> Are they local? I don't mean disrespect to you, of course, but most of our team are Aummesh, and they'd probably fit in better.
<Veznara> Yes, as a matter of fact.
<Sharei> Well... I can't speak for everyone, or for that matter, for Utus, but if this priest is interested in joining up, I think we'd have plenty of work for him.
* Veznara nods
<Sharei> But, uh... why is he looking for new work? Something happen with his temple or whatever he was doing before?
<Sharei> I would have thought of all people, priests have good job security.
<Veznara> Well, *I*'m here. And as I say, perhaps he wouldn't be interested. I'll discuss it with him. I just wanted to check with you first.
* Sharei nods
<Sharei> It'd be useful to have a priest around, to be sure.
<Veznara> We've found many haunts out there too, which is definitely a concern.
<Veznara> I don't think anybody answered my question earlier - did the boy haunt you mentioned find peace?
<Sharei> I don't know. Not sure how we would know, really. He disappeared after we found the sword, but maybe he just went off to wherever haunts go when they're not haunting.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> Well, I'm certainly glad you all got away from him. I do hope he was pacified, but that's the most important thing.
* Sharei nods
<Veznara> Well, thank you, Sharei. I'll see whether this person is interested; and if so, we can take it from there.
<Sharei> Sounds good.
* Veznara smiles
<Veznara> Talk to you later, then!
Veznara speaks with Bitsaar about a possible job opportunity
* Bitsaar is staying at an inn in Timiil, so you can either visit him there, or send a messenger to ask him to come see you.
* Veznara goes to see him
* Bitsaar is drowning his sorrows in the tavern when you find him.
<Bitsaar> Ah.. Hand Veznara. How kind of you to visit me here!
<Veznara> (How drunk does he look?)
* Bitsaar has had a couple of drinks, but he isn't drunk-drunk. Mildly tipsy maybe.
<Veznara> (More presentable than he was the last time I saw him? Not starving, better dressed?)
* Bitsaar is clean and relatively presentable, at least.
<Veznara> Bitsaar. How have you been?
<Bitsaar> Oh, as well as can be expected. At least I've had a roof over my head and some warm meals, thanks to you.
<Veznara> I.. don't deserve any great credit for that, I'm afraid. I do want to help.
<Bitsaar> Help how?
<Veznara> You know I work at the Land Registry, of course.
* Bitsaar nods
<Veznara> I'm with one of the teams there; but there are actually two.
<Veznara> The second one doesn't have a member of the Corps with them. That can be a problem; in their work they sometimes come across haunts, and have no-one who is able to deal with them appropriately.
<Veznara> I don't know whether the Registry is able to hire a new agent; but if so, would that interest you?
<Bitsaar> Ah... well, the Voice aren't necessarily best to deal with haunts, but I guess it's better than nothing.
<Bitsaar> I mean, I could certainly try.
* Veznara nods
<Bitsaar> What else would the work involve?
<Veznara> I'm sure you would be a great help to them, if this works out.
<Veznara> Well, the Registry itself is undergoing changes, at the moment. Many of the agents are making requests; I don't know how that's going to turn out.
<Veznara> If it goes well, I'm hoping there'd be a place for you there. If it goes badly... well, some agents may end up leaving.
<Veznara> Anyway: to answer your question, in theory we go around surveying the area.
<Veznara> That means we travel a great deal, often into areas that are uncharted and unexplored
<Bitsaar> Uncharted by the fort, you mean...
<Bitsaar> It's not as if I have a lot of other options before me right now. How would I apply for such a position, just go to the land registry office?
<Veznara> I already approached one of the other team members to ask whether they'd be interested - without mentioning your name - and the response was positive.
<Veznara> It was Sharei Aanilaus - I imagine you may know her, or of her?
<Bitsaar> I know the lineage, anyway.
<Bitsaar> I'll see what they say, if I present myself.
<Veznara> I should warn you that she did express some surprise at the idea that one of the Voice might be interested in such a position. I pointed out that *I* work for the Registry, but there might still be some questions.
* Bitsaar nods
<Veznara> I don't think anybody knows, of course. But she is well-connected, so if she gets very curious she may well be able to find out things.
<Veznara> I don't have any reason to think she would, but it's best to keep it in mind.
<Bitsaar> I expect people will ask questions. I understand.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> If that sounds good, then, I'll give your name to her and encourage her to ask the Commissioner to add you to their team. After they've had a chance to meet and interview you, of course.
<Bitsaar> All right. That seems good to me.
* Veznara smiles
<Veznara> Good. I'm glad.
<Veznara> In the meantime, are you alright here?
<Bitsaar> I'm getting by for now.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> If you need more, please don't hesitate to let me know. I'm... I'm very sorry, Bitsaar.
<Veznara> I fear I can never make it up to you completely. But I will do what I can.
<Veznara> I'll go talk to Shirei again right away.
<Bitsaar> All right. Thank you, Veznara... I appreciate you thinking of me.
* Bitsaar smiles
* Veznara smiles back, and gets up. At the door she waves to him, then leaves.
They present their case to Utus
* Utus is seated in his office, going over some paperwork, when you arrive to speak to him.
* Utus looks a little surprised to see so many of you here at once.
<Utus> Good morning, everyone. Is everything all right?
* Jimba makes a noncommittal noise.
<Jimba> We were hoping for a few minutes of your time.
<Utus> Of course.
<Utus> I'd ask you to have a seat, but well... I don't have that many chairs.
* Jimba smiles.
<Utus> So, make yourselves comfortable, and we can talk.
* Jimba will take a seat if possible, though, so he's not literally talking down to Utus.
<AshnabisGM> (yeah I assume he has like 4-5 chairs, just not 11 :)
* Llillilli will stand behind Jimba :)
* Idasti will take one of the other seats.
* Junan lounges casually while leaning against the wall
* Katenzhi is happy in her normal spot, leaning against the wall at the back.
<Utus> I'm listening. What's on your mind?
<Jimba> The survey teams were wanting to talk to you about a few concerns.
* Utus nods
* Daifan can take up their usual corner spot, unless they need to fight Moss for it ;)
* Idasti glances over at Jimba to see who wants to start.
<Jimba> We understand we might be called upon, in the course of our regular duties, to handle some unusual circumstances. But we feel that, more and more, we've been asked to go well beyond any reasonable interpretation of the job as it was described at the start.
* Idasti nods in agreement.
<Idasti> Assignments where we don't feel we were adequately briefed or prepared - where what we were expected to do went far outside the bounds of land surveying.
* Jimba nods at that.
<Mepla> We need to be paid for all that extra work.
<Idasti> Better pair and equipped, for starters.
<Jimba> And equipped not just materially.
<Jimba> Some of the things we've handled...we think we would be better able to effect positive outcomes with more official authority and information.
<Selisaeth> Ahh ... we shouldn't be asked to serve as police.
<Jimba> Or, if that's what the fort wants, it should be a separate position from land surveying.
<Jimba> One with clearly delineated powers and oversight.
<Idasti> Right - if we are expected to do things like deal with criminals and enemies of the state, we should have the proper authority to do that, or for those of us who aren't willing to do that, maybe a different position needs to be created.
* Llillilli frowns
<Jimba> The current ad hoc system isn't serving anyone well.
<Mepla> Some of us are more willing to do the dirty work than others.
<Idasti> It causes tension within our group, and between us and locals, when our purpose isn't clear.
* Jimba nods.
* Utus listens attentively.
<Utus> I see. I appreciate your honesty - and I can understand your concerns. Thank you for being so open about this.
<Utus> Let me be sure I understand. You ask that your teams be better prepared, and better compensated, but also you wish that there was a clearer demarcation of the purpose of this office.
* Daifan nods
<Katenzhi> In a nutshell.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> The two go hand in hand.
<Idasti> With the understanding, of course, that land surveying in unknown territory can bring unexpected risks and problems. We don't dispute that. But we want a clearer mandate to deal with those problems, if that is what we're being asked to do.
<Jimba> If we were only asked to do actual surveying, we wouldn't need the same degree of preparation. If we're asked to do more than that, we require the authority and tools to do so.
<Utus> I see. I'm sure you understand this isn't a decision I can make by myself. I need to bring this to a higher authority, to see what they say.
<Sharei> Of course.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> Absolutely. But you're our supervisor, so we brought these concerns to youl.
* Utus nods
<Utus> Give me a few days to talk this over with my superiors and see if there is any possible solution they can offer.
<Llillilli> Who would those be?
<Utus> Well, ultimately, the General, but I don't know if I will be meeting with her personally, or with her associates.
<Jimba> We really appreciate it.
<Katenzhi> Yeah, thanks Utus.
<Utus> I'll do what I can.
<Jimba> Thank you.
<Utus> I'll let you know what they say, as soon as I can.
* Junan smiles and shrugs at Utus
<Daifan> pleas also - make clr to them that we are *all* in agreement about this
* Jimba nods.
<Utus> I see what you're saying. I'll emphasize that without some kind of changes, they may lose many experienced people.
Junan receives a counter-offer from the General
<AshnabisNarrator> A couple of days later, Junan, you get a note from one of the local envoys, one of the Aummesh kids the kelta has been training. She pops by and drops a note with you, waiting expectantly for a coin.
* Junan tosses her a coin and checks the message
<AshnabisNarrator> Looking at the letter you see that it has a plain unmarked seal, but the writing on the outside is in a strong professional hand - this is no casual request for a tryst.
<AshnabisNarrator> It reads as follows: Come in plain garb to the southeast gate of the Fort, tonight at dusk. Present this letter to the guard. Tell no one else of your arrival. It will be well worth your time. Ghurtai.
<AshnabisNarrator> The inside of the letter does bear what you believe to be General Ghurtai's own seal.
* Junan will give it a good once over to make sure its as authentic as I can determine
<AshnabisNarrator> It seems to be authentic as far as you can tell.
<Junan> Well then, it looks like I've gotten myself in a mess
* Junan will do as the letter says then.
<AshnabisNarrator> The southeast gate is one you've never used before. It's a bit out of the way, mostly used by workers and bubun. But it is guarded by a single officer, a tall, thickly built sentinel in her twenties. You would have expected two.
* Junan will approach the sturdy fellow
<AshnabisNarrator> (sturdy lady)
<Junan> (lady then)
<Junan> Must be lonely work all by yourself
* Junan smiles
<Guard> State your business.
* Junan produces the letter from his dashi
<Junan> I believe this states it for me
* Guard looks at your letter, then at you, as if she already expected this and is simply confirming that you are the right person. She then escorts you inside, locking the gate behind you, leaving it unattended otherwise.
<Guard> This way.
<Junan> Why thank you
<AshnabisNarrator> The guard leads you up a flight of stairs and down a hallway into a room, where General Ghurtai is sitting. She waits for you to enter the room, then closes the door, leaving you alone with the general.
* Ghurtai is a muscular, stocky woman, dark-skinned, with short-cropped black hair, just entering her middle years. She is wearing a brown tunic and trousers, with a black sash across her chest. Her ancient khazkamma sits on a table beside her, and there are two comfortable chairs nearby.
<Ghurtai> Junan Ghez. It's good to see you again. When last we spoke, I believe I was sending you and your team to Ruur to help prevent a war.
<Ghurtai> Come, sit.
<Junan> That was the intention yes
<Ghurtai> You have my thanks for that, and for your other services to the Fort over the past year or more. You and your team have been truly excellent.
<Junan> Things never play out perfect when things are that messy
* Ghurtai nods.
<Ghurtai> But handled very ably.
<Junan> It would be impolite to refuse
* Ghurtai stands and goes over to a side table, pouring both you and her a glass of amber liquid from a tall ceramic flask.
<Ghurtai> I also have heard of your excellent work at the Conclave of envoys, and at the negotiations with the mystics of Zhardif where you stood in ably for my own man Kikhash.
* Ghurtai says, handing you the drink, and taking a sip of her own.
<Junan> There is much that is murky about that whole situation, but I'm sure you are kept well informed. I did what I could
* Ghurtai nods.
<Ghurtai> Both Kikhash, and my good friend Senator Rumordi, speak very highly of you as someone destined for great things.
* Sizhif is now known as Bitsaar
<Junan> 'Great things' can carry an ominous tone at times
* Ghurtai laughs.
<Ghurtai> Well, that's fair. There's always risk.
<Ghurtai> Your own birth, it is fairly modest, is it not? Tell me, who are the Ghez?
<Junan> Oh my father would bristle a little at being called modest.
<Junan> It's true our lineage is not of high nobility, but in Daligash, the Ghez trading and merchant consortium is quite wealthy
<Ghurtai> What brought you here, then? You have no family to speak of here.
<Junan> I wanted to get away from the shadow of the family. Strike out on my own. See more of the world.
* Ghurtai nods in understanding.
<Ghurtai> A familiar story, among Sentinels as well. Not so different from my own.
* Ghurtai reaches over and pulls her sword over to her, passing it to you as if offering for you to inspect it.
* Junan will accept it and glance it over
<Ghurtai> You see this? This is the Letiri khazkamma. There are only forty-nine of these. Forty-nine blades from those sentinels who fought at the battle of Endazh, now five centuries ago, long before my ancestors or yours were anything of note. Made from a fragment of a fallen star, by techniques now long forgotten.
<Junan> It is quite an impressive blade. I'm sure it carries a heavy legacy with it.
<Ghurtai> I know you were responsible for helping to find the Tertizhi, and getting it back into proper hands. Dezren has it, for now, and I do not begrudge him it. His ancestor once bore it well.
<Junan> you give me too much credit there. I had little to do with that situation.
* Ghurtai shrugs.
* Junan will return the blade to her
<Ghurtai> Although he wears the sash as I do, Dezren has not the skill or the merit to warrant keeping it. He will, in time, turn it over to my Order, and for that he will enjoy great prestige and honour for all his life, and that of his descendants. He will be remembered for that, if nothing else.
* Ghurtai handles it gracefully and sets it back on the table.
<Ghurtai> It will go to a true warrior, to one who has earned it. A khazkamma is not given, or inherited, but bestowed. On the basis of merit, not of rank. I bear the Letiri sword though I have no right to it by birth. But I have done the work, and I have earned the blade.
<Junan> One does not achieve your position, General, without having done the work.
<Ghurtai> Indeed. And I wonder to myself, who in my colony has merit? Who has done the work? And what honours can I bestow on those of talent?
* Ghurtai takes a long drink, then looks at you intently.
<Ghurtai> I have heard that there is some distress, among the agents of the land registry, over the tasks you are being asked to perform. That some of you are considering leaving your posts, even.
<Junan> The tasks have stretched the intent of the post.
<Ghurtai> I will admit, it has made my life easier, to have someone not wearing a red uniform to undertake tasks for the good of the colony. Like on Ruur, but not only there.
<Ghurtai> But I understand. I am not paying you to be my spies or my secret police.
<Ghurtai> If I were, though - would that be of interest to you?
<Junan> I don't think I have the shoulders to be a policing type... subtlety is more my home.
<Ghurtai> That's what I'm looking for - subtlety. Exactly.
<Ghurtai> I have hundreds of strong arms. I don't need another one.
<Ghurtai> My people tell me that you are possessed of a keen mind, a silver tongue, and discretion enough to keep your mind from wandering or your tongue from flowing. Those are talents in short supply.
<Junan> The job you would be asking of me is a heavy burden.
<Ghurtai> It would be, yes.
<Ghurtai> But it would come with great authority and reward.
<Ghurtai> I would offer you the chance to develop a team - within reason, of your own choosing, to serve in those various ways that I need such aid.
<Junan> I see where this wind is blowing
<Ghurtai> Your salary would be four times what it is now. For your second in command, three times, and for any others you choose to employ, twice. I am not known for my generosity but in this, I am prepared to pay for what I get.
<Junan> Placing some high expectations on me, I see.
<Junan> I'll need a 'purpose' to support recruiting
<Junan> an honest one will work better
<Ghurtai> Well, one possibility is to keep you in your current position at least nominally.
<Ghurtai> As you have seen, there are many opportunities to do work outside the normal bounds. You would seem to report to Utus, but you would in fact report to me.
<Ghurtai> Of course, you understand that this new role would come with great responsibility. And no whining about the challenges of the task being beyond your purview.
<Junan> considering I manipulated the team to be sent on some of those tasks, its hard for me to whine about them
* Ghurtai nods.
<Ghurtai> So ... are you interested?
<Junan> I am interested yes
<Junan> but like I said, I need a goal, even if its lofty and shorter term
<Ghurtai> All right ... do you have an idea to propose?
<Junan> digging up those responisible in souring Hith relations? Tracking down potential war profitiers?
<Junan> I mean those could be just a suggestion
<Ghurtai> Hmm. Yes. Well ... depending on who you were recruiting, you might need to use any or all of those rationales.
<Ghurtai> I would leave it in your hands to best judge how to frame your work. Because ultimately, my goals are more ... general-purpose.
<Junan> Knowing those would help too
<Ghurtai> It's very clear that the Fort's authority here is ... inherently limited. We can't take military action against either colonists or locals. But there are many groups - profiteers, as you say, and riverfolk, and many others, who would undermine our ability to maintain control.
<Ghurtai> And make no mistake, my charge here is to remain in control.
<Ghurtai> So it has become clear that I need a gentler touch. A deft hand willing to act where I cannot, directly.
* Junan nods
<Junan> So I'm in and I'll feel out some potential recruits. Are there any hard 'No's that I should be aware of up front?
<Ghurtai> In terms of individuals? That's hard to say. Sometimes those with good ties to suspect groups - like the hith or the pirates - may in fact be the most useful to you.
<Ghurtai> So - I want you to take on the weight of this role, knowing that your choices will have consequences, but no, there is no one I explicitly forbid you from recruiting.
* Junan nods
<Ghurtai> You should of course be ... circumspect. They should be people you know well enough to trust their discretion.
<Junan> that is without saying
<Ghurtai> And of course, as you can see, there has been enough discretion in this evening's conversation that any ... idle chat by your compatriots will be eminently deniable.
<Ghurtai> So you will be able to emphasize to them that they, too, should be discreet.
* Junan nods
<Ghurtai> Thank you for your time, Junan. I look forward to your response.
Junan presents the team with this new opportunity
* Junan will get everyone back together on the boat
* Daifan will lounge in the usual spot
<Daifan> (is this everyone from both teams again?)
<Junan> (just us for now)
<AshnabisNarrator> (no i presume not!)
<AshnabisNarrator> (Katenzhi will also be presumed to be here but very quiet)
<Junan> I know Utus hasn't gotten back to us yet, but the discussion with his brought attention
<Junan> The General's
* Llillilli makes a sour face.
<Junan> I was asked to meet with her discretely, so I did.
* Jimba raises an eyebrow.
<Jimba> You do have friends in high places.
<Junan> She knows that Utus and the Land Registry has been giving us tasks that stretch outside the normal mandate
<Veznara> She should - most of them have been at her request.
* Jimba nods.
<Junan> there are times that things need to be looked into that cant be handled by a bunch of Sentinels with swords.
<Llillilli> And in those times, you trick someone else into doing it at their own peril?
* Llillilli crosses her arms, with an indignant look.
* Jimba gives look like "She has a point."
<Junan> some of the things we've done needed someone to do them, and we've done well.
<Daifan> So what does she want now?
<Llillilli> That doesn't justify the lying to us.
* Jimba listens.
<Junan> to officially 'unofficially' recruit us... more pay, more control... thats the offer.
* Llillilli snorts.
<Llillilli> She can go suck a snail.
<Veznara> What does "more pay, more control" mean? Specifically.
<Jimba> What does more control mean?
* Veznara nods
<Junan> it means we get to be in the know on things.
<Junan> or at least have better know up front
<Daifan> it could also mean we have more direct contol,
<Llillilli> They have lied to us up to this point, why would you trust now?They will just lie differently.
<Jimba> Wouldn't we be even more beholden to the fort and its policies?
<Llillilli> Yes, that.
<Veznara> But potentially in a better position to affect those policies.
* Llillilli snorts.
<Llillilli> You're a fool if you believe that
<Jimba> Despite being outside their actual chain of command?
<Daifan> I don't thik she is wrong - if they are asking us to get them information about situations, then we decide what is useful and important to them to decide with
* Veznara nods
<Junan> how anything gets done would be our choice
<Llillilli> I will not work for that woman. I won't.
<Daifan> no, not the *how*.... but we woudl have influence
<Daifan> YOu don't have to
<Veznara> There's the official chain of command... and there are other methods of influence.
<Llillilli> Then I don't need to be here
<Veznara> Don't you want to be the person that the General turns to for advice on the Hith, for example?
* Daifan says, with understanding
<Jimba> Llillilli, there is a fair point to be made here that this does give us more chance to affect how things are going. You can't advocate for the People if you leave.
<Llillilli> They will never listen. THey will never understand the people.
<Llillilli> Don't try to guilt me into this filthy work.
<Jimba> Like the People have been understanding of you?
<Jimba> Or the rest of the hithkindred?
* Llillilli 's eyes blaze.
<Llillilli> THat is not your place to scold me over.
* Llillilli spins on her heel and storms toward the gangplank.
* Jimba sighs.
<Llillilli> MY RESPECT FOR THE PEOPLE DOES NOT HINGE ON HOW NICE THEY ARE TO ME
* Llillilli yells before leaving the deck
<Jimba> Nor does mine!
* Jimba walks after her.
* Llillilli is heading to Thelef's
<Jimba> (in Hithaeli, following Llillilli) Don't walk away from me.
* Daifan eyes the twins but will let them sort them this out between them, or not >.>
Jimba and Llillilli have a heated discussion
<Llillilli> DOn't tell me what to do, little brother.
<Jimba> (H) Please.
<Jimba> (H) You're missing the point of what I'm saying.
<Llillilli> (h) How dare you rub that in my face in front of all the others. How dare you?
<Jimba> (Assume this conversation in in Hithaeli unless stated otherwise)
<Jimba> I'm not rubbing anything in your face. I'm just saying you hold humans and the People to different standards, and it's unfair.
<Jimba> You can help the People.
<Jimba> I'm not trying to guilt you.
<Jimba> I'm stating fact.
<Llillilli> I don't need humans to tell me how to help the People.
<Jimba> So you hold me in less regard, too, then.
* Llillilli glares
<Llillilli> That is NOT what I said.
<Jimba> Is that not what you're saying right now? That I'm not allowed to have a say about what might aid the People?
<Jimba> Simply because I'm human?
<Llillilli> You don't understand them.
<Llillilli> I barely understand them.
<Jimba> You idealize them.
<Llillilli> Maybe once.
<Jimba> They're the People, but they're also *people.
* Good and bad.
<Llillilli> Do you think I'm *simple*?
<Jimba> No. But I think you want things to be.
<Llillilli> Right and wrong is simple. Truth and lies, that's simple.
<Jimba> Whose right?
<Llillilli> I won't throw in with someone who has lied to us and manipulated us, and trust that *now
* they will listen and deal honestly.
<Jimba> I'm not sold on it, either.
<Jimba> But there *might* be something here.
<Jimba> A chance to do good.
<Llillilli> What I know in my heart is right.
<Llillilli> And wrong.
<Jimba> That's...awfully convenient.
<Llillilli> And working for the general feels wrong.
<Llillilli> I don't have to justify my feelings to you Jimba.
<Jimba> No, you don't.
* Jimba looks sad.
<Jimba> All right. What's your plan?
<Llillilli> I don't know.
<Llillilli> Work with Thelef I suppose.
<Llillilli> Hopefully Laelaesi.
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> That...makes sense.
<Jimba> Llillilli, I...
<Jimba> I don't know what to say.
<Llillilli> That is a first
* Llillilli says not unkindly
<Jimba> You're my sister, and I love you.
<Jimba> I understand every point you've made, and your concerns. I just think yours is a voice that should be heard, and I think this is a way to accomplish that.
<Llillilli> I won't try to convince you to come with me. I don't have that gift.
<Jimba> You don't have to go. By which I mean, you don't have to leave, even if you quit the registry. You'll always have a place wherever Kat or I am.
<Llillilli> THe boat is getting very crowded/
* Jimba chuckles.
<Jimba> I'm hoping to upgrade someday soon.
<Jimba> But I take your point.
<Jimba> Look, just...
<Jimba> I think I'm going to do this. I think everyone else is, too. I'll let you know anything we do or learn concerning the People, I guess.
<Llillilli> Well. Enjoy your new job, I guess.
<Jimba> Give Thelef my best.
* Jimba looks down awkwardly.
<Llillilli> Goodbye, then.
* Llillilli says dully, and turns away
<Jimba> Goodbye, sister. Be safe.
<Llillilli> You too.
* Jimba watches her go for a bit, then turns and walks back to the Menagerie.
The rest of the group agree to the offer
* Daifan passes Kat the wine
* Daifan looks to the others
<Daifan> Should we.... adjourn for the moment Or wait? Or take soem time to consider
<Junan> I'm interested in everyone's thoughts
<Veznara> Junan, if we accept, does this mean that we could expect to be sent on even more non-standard missions?
<Junan> I would assume yes
<Veznara> And how does it fit in with the Registry? Would this apply to the other team as well, or just us?
<Daifan> mmm, ys - would this be a separate new job, or would we keep the old one as well?
<Junan> that's something we could decide for ourselves.
<Junan> We could stay with the land registry and use that a cover or go out on our own
<Veznara> And what about the other Registry team, though?
<Veznara> This offer is obviously a response to the demands we made. What if they aren't included?
<Junan> That's an honest stumbling point
<Veznara> We did make common cause with them. It would be, ah, *awkward
* for us to leave them in the lurch after pushing this.
<Junan> we don't know them well enough yet to bring them in, and I'm not sure how best to bridge that without placing unexpected risk on them
<Veznara> Do you know whether the General is considering at least some of their demands, then?
<Junan> I don't know, but I can speak with Utus and find out.
<Daifan> I thik - some of them don't care, and others will be happyb to be relieved of thr responsibilty of this other kind of work
<Veznara> I think it would be a very good idea, if it can be managed. A modest raise, hiring a few more people... and then if our team happens to be sent on the missions that turn out to be a bit more than regular surveying, well, no need for any comment.
<Veznara> Speaking of raises... how *much* more pay?
<Junan> I would venture that could probably be arranged.
<Veznara> Just out of curiosity.
<Junan> twice our current salary
* Daifan nods
<Junan> more if you want to be involved in the more clandestine aspects... late night meetings in dark cellars.
<Veznara> Ah. Well, I'm not sure I'm particularly suited for that.
<Junan> oh come on, a little ash powder to lighten your hair, a scruffy stained dashi, I could make it so nobody at the temple could recognize you.
* Junan winks
* Daifan smirks
<Veznara> Well, perhaps.
<Veznara> Would there be lots of clandestine meetings, though? Reporting to secret agents instead of Utus or the General?
<Daifan> I think e would be the secret agents
* Junan nods
* Jimba walks back up the gangplank looking a little shell-shocked.
<Jimba> What'd I miss?
<Veznara> Jimba? We were just discussing how this would affect the other team, mostly, if we go ahead.
<Jimba> I take it then the offer isn't extended to them?
<Junan> disguise tips for Veznara so she can slip out of the temple for discrete rendevous'
* Jimba gives a very small smile at that.
<Veznara> Ah, Junan, how do you know that I don't do that already?
* Veznara raises an eyebrow at him
* Jimba smirks a little brighter at that.
<Veznara> Anyway, no - I don't think the offer is extended to them. Not to start with, at least?
* AshnabisNarrator is now known as Thelef
<Jimba> What is the general looking for exactly, Junan?
<Junan> its at our discretion, really, but we don't know them well enough yet, at least that is my thought.
<Daifan> I know Sulidein
<Junan> people to deal with problems subtlely where a softer hand keeps tensions down
<Jimba> Veznara, this isn't going to be a conflict for you?
<Jimba> The fort and the Corps aren't always on the same side of things.
<Veznara> I can't think of any particular source of tension at the moment... I'm still bothered by some of the things we've discovered, of course.
* Jimba nods.
<Veznara> Is there anything in particular that you're thinking of?
<Jimba> No, nothing offhand.
<Jimba> Just...Llillilli's concerns relate to each of us having...other constituencies to manage.
* Veznara nods
<Veznara> That's true. But then, I'm sure that's part of what makes us valuable to the General.
<Veznara> I think she's smart enough to take that into consideration, and not create situations that would stretch those loyalties to the breaking point.
<Junan> very true... we weren't asked cause we are straight fort people
* Jimba nods.
<Jimba> I don't have any particular loyalty to the fort.
* Daifan shrugs at that
<Junan> and everyone is always divided, between family, friends, country and other obligations. its always a balance.
<Jimba> I'm just putting that out there.
<Jimba> That's why I'm willing to sign on.
<Veznara> Speaking of which, ah... is Llillilli perhaps thinking it over? Or has she decided?
<Jimba> She's decided.
<Jimba> She was already upset with everything.
* Veznara nods
<Daifan> I'm not surprised
<Jimba> This wasn't going to appeal to her.
<Junan> I really wanted her with us
<Jimba> Me too.
<Veznara> No, I suppose it wasn't. I'm sorry.
<Jimba> I really think the general needs to hear from her.
<Daifan> I hope we can still go to her for help and advice
<Daifan> thqt would be valuable
<Jimba> Needs to hear that perspective.
<Jimba> That's my plan.
* Daifan nods
<Daifan> I'd like to talk to her.... do you think I shoudl give her more time?
<Veznara> Well, you know her better. I'd be inclined to give her some time, but then she'd never listen to me anyway.
<Daifan> I was asking jimba
<Jimba> I'd...at least give her the evening.
<Jimba> This counter to her nature.
<Daifan> She's been a good friend to me
<Jimba> You know how direct she is, and this is a very roundabout way of approaching all of our concerns.
<Junan> I'll go talk with Utus and let you know what he says.
<Jimba> Thanks Junan.
* Junan hugs Daifan
<Junan> I'll catch up later
* Daifan hugs back :3
* Jimba smiles at that.
Thelef consoles Llillilli after her fight with Jimba
* Llillilli comes into the house looking stunned and unhappy
<Thelef> What's wrong?
<Llillilli> I... left the boat
<Thelef> You ... the Menagerie? What? Why?
<Llillilli> The General... she heard people were unhappy about how things were being done at the registry, and she made the team an offer to go do secret work for her, of some kind.
<Llillilli> Well, she made it to Junan.
<Llillilli> That's not... that's not what I want to do.
* Thelef pauses, then frowns.
<Llillilli> I'm not a spy, or a sentinel, and I don't want to work for them...
<Thelef> And Jimba and Katenzhi do?
<Llillilli> BUt everyone else thinks it is marvellous.
<Llillilli> A wonderful opportunity to have their say in whatever, as if that will ever be the case.
<Thelef> I'm sorry.
<Llillilli> It is just a different way of manipulating.
<Llillilli> Jimba and I... fought
* Llillilli says miserably.
<Thelef> How bad?
<Llillilli> Maybe not the worst we ever had...
<Llillilli> But it feels different.
<Llillilli> Like we are... coming apart.
* Llillilli screws her eyes shut.
<Thelef> You're one spirit in two bodies. I don't believe Jimba would ever truly leave you.
<Llillilli> I only came here to watch over him.
<Llillilli> But he doesn't need me. Any more than the people do.
<Thelef> We only got married to solve a pragmatic problem. But that... that changed.
<Thelef> I think Jimba does still need you, though.
* Llillilli looks away sadly.
<Thelef> And Katenzhi.
<Llillilli> I don't know. She has her business, her lady friend... and Jimba
<Thelef> And you have me, and Shulilae, and you're the selleluf ... we all have those things. It doesn't change family.
<Thelef> Not really, not when it matters.
<Llillilli> I keep thinking about the dreams I had.
<Thelef> The dreams of war?
<Thelef> And your mother?
* Llillilli nods.
* Llillilli nods again,
<Llillilli> And Jimba's boat burning.
<Thelef> My love, I know far better than to tell you what to do. I know that much, at least.
<Thelef> But I also know that if Jimba were hurt and you were not there to help him ... that you would feel terrible.
<Llillilli> W... what?
* Llillilli 's lip trembles a little
<Thelef> I mean ... I am trying to figure out what I mean.
<Thelef> I mean ... when I began to serve King Whuthe as his advisor, my family did not understand.
<Thelef> They thought they would lose me, that I would be ... out of their lives.
<Thelef> And similarly, there are those at court, who see me as hopelessly compromised by the fact that I still use my clan-name, that I still honor my ancestors even though I serve the People.
<Thelef> To everyone, I am compromised.
<Thelef> Except to myself, and except to you.
<Llillilli> That is how I feel... I don't belong anywhere.
* Thelef nods.
<Thelef> But you do know you belong with Jimba. I know you do.
* Llillilli 's eyes well up but she tries to ignore it
<Thelef> You don't know or consort with his pirate friends. They murder, loot, pillage, all the time. You ... acknowledge and tolerate it.
<Thelef> Liraula is not a good person. No one supposes she is. Yet you stand by Jimba even as he works with her, every day.
<Llillilli> He isn't doing those things.
<Llillilli> You are right that I would not leave him even so....
<Thelef> No, and he won't be ... doing whatever shady things the General does.
<Thelef> I know this, because I know Jimba.
<Thelef> And so do you.
<Llillilli> I don't want to help her.
<Thelef> I know. I do.
<Llillilli> I wouldn't go around on Luraula's boat hurting people for profit, either
<Thelef> And neither would Jimba. He works for her, he helps her, he's done that for a long, long time, though.
<Thelef> How is this different?
<Llillilli> I... I don't know.
<Llillilli> You think I should go back.
<Llillilli> For Jimba.
<Thelef> To Jimba? Yes, of course.
<Thelef> For him? No. For yourself.
<Llillilli> I don't understand.
<Llillilli> This is the last thing I want for myself.
<Thelef> Without Jimba in your life, without his love, without him by your side, I know you would be embittered and angry. And in a sense, not whole. When I married you I knew that he would always play such a big role in your life. I knew in a sense, that I was marrying him too.
<Thelef> Not that you have anything to worry about there!
<Thelef> You need to go back to him, for yourself. Not for the General, not for the Colony, not even for me.
<Thelef> And then ... whatever it is that this new job entails ... I don't know about that.
<Thelef> Maybe there is some way.
<Llillilli> Well I just won't do it.
<Thelef> If you don't want to work for the General you don't have to.
<Thelef> You shouldn't.
* Llillilli says bitterly.
<Thelef> But nothing is worth sundering your relationship with Jimba.
* Llillilli nods slowly, unhappily.
* Llillilli wipes her face with the back of her arm
<Thelef> I'm sorry, my love. This is impossibly difficult.
* Llillilli nods again
<Llillilli> I'll go... I guess
* Thelef nods.
* Llillilli kind of hunches in onherself and leans against THelef.
<Thelef> For tonight, we have some leftover Abas Feast candy, if you like ... I know you don't like the bodies and that, but ... you do like candy, right?
* Llillilli nods and sniffs.
Daifan visits Llillilli the next day to check on her
* Daifan will stop by Thelef's house the next morning with a basket of fruit, and knock
* Thelef answers the door.
<Thelef> Oh ... Daifan.
<Thelef> You're here for Llillilli.
<Daifan> Yes, if she would like that
<Thelef> Ahh ... Daifan is here. I think I'm just going to ... go for a walk. I'll be back soon!
* Llillilli is sitting at the table with a mug of water.
* Thelef puts on a hat and heads out.
* Daifan nods at him and will come in
<Daifan> hey, Sunshine
<Llillilli> Are you here to tell me everyone reconsidered being stupid?
* Daifan puts the basket down and takes the cloth off it, and pushes im to her
<Daifan> no, we're incorrigible fools
<Llillilli> ... What's this?
<Daifan> because, you are my friend, and you were very upset yesterday, and I wanted to see how you are today.
<Daifan> I have never seen you and Jimba get into it like that
* Llillilli sighs and picks up a piece of fruit, turning it over absently in both hands
<Daifan> do you want to talk about it? YOu don't have to.
<Daifan> we can just have some nice fruit
<Daifan> well... okay fruit >.>
<Llillilli> What is there to say
<Daifan> it's harder for me to get the really nice stuff unles I take it of the trees >.>
<Llillilli> The thought of doing their dirty work makes my stomach turn. Makes me want to scrub off my skin.
<Llillilli> But I will go with Jimba.
* Daifan looks surprised
<Daifan> what do you mean?
<Llillilli> If something happened to him, because I wasn't there... I could never forgive myself.
* Daifan frowns
<Daifan> so are you saying.... you will stick with us and just... not do the shitty parts?
* Daifan is unclear
* Llillilli shrugs,
<Daifan> I don't likw the idea of my friend feeling like she is needs to scrub off her skin
<Daifan> I dn't think Jimba would like ti either
<Llillilli> It is what it is.
<Daifan> I know, you often see things as just - one way, or an other. I hope that.... if this is what you are choosing, we can figure out some way that you will not be *so
* uncomfortable :/
* Llillilli shrugs again.
<Daifan> But also I will be glad to have you around.
* Llillilli smiles a little.
<Daifan> and if I can help make things more bearable - let me know, okay?
<Daifan> even if you just need someone to yell at about how we are all fools and everything is terrrible
<Llillilli> I think I've done all of that for now.
* Daifan smiles
<Daifan> I'm sure it will come up again
<Daifan> do you want to go for a walk?
* Llillilli can probably be dragged out for that.