Split Worlds - Session 13
The road ahead is long, and difficult. But there is nothing better to calm one's mind and body after delving into a Dead Ruin than a leisurely stroll through the woods, since that is mostly what the first two thirds of this trip is like. The trek towards the Black Iron Fortress is safe and easy for the most part, the visage of the Blockage always to your left and the mountains to your
JayM: right might be a little daunting, but nothing gets in your way for a while.
Jnezdie takes a deep, deep breath every now and then, and then raises his fists in a silent victory pose, also every now and then.
Argent had opted to take the lead, forging onward along the apparently-clear path towards the Black Iron Fortress. With their current objective blocked off anyway, that seemed like the better option than being an open target or risking her sanity
That is, until you hit… Mud underfoot, and not the normal sort of mud you're used to, but the sort of mud that has a large amount of water over it. As you start heading further towards the direction of the Fortress, you can see it from here a gigantic structure made of stone and metal (did it always have this much metal?) encompassing the majority of the passage leading through the
JayM: mountains, you start to delve into the Lirtran Swamp. Here the roots of the trees are wide and high, the ground turns to mud you can swim through as if the ground was a river, and the smell, an unusual and unexpected sweet smell of cooked milk and sap candy.
Argent: "Alright, watch your footing everyone."
Gavriel tromps forward, silently. Tail and ears still limp, feet sinking into the mud, more and more as they walk onward.
Jnezdie: "Don't worry. I've got -plenty- of socks. (I know you were worried.)"
Jack‘ lets out a yawn as they slowly make their way through.
And you finally reach it, the massive frontal doorway of the Black Iron Fortress. The walls are tall, easily five stories high, there are towers atop which cannons of a design unlike you’ve never seen before rest. Black, polished metal, circular but with none of the normal triggers on them, bolted on the ground. The doorways of fortresses leading towards the Ethereal Kingdom are always
JayM: like this, enormous and heavy, numerous small doorways by it's side, paths through which a large force with warmachines can march out without trouble. None is here, however, or seems to be here.
Argent: "I said footing, not footwear, idiot."
Sarah looks up at the fortress's towers, closing her eyes "This fortress…" she chuckles "It has a guardian spirit… With a soul of steel…" she stifles some laugher, something apparently only she understood
Jnezdie: "And -I- said: 'we went through a swamp, and it's good to have extra pairs of socks just in case!'"
Jnezdie then walks right up to the largest door, and knocks twice.
Gavriel glances towards Sarah briefly, halfheartedly. Something in her tone… but he's not sure.
The doorway clangs, and clangs. And suddenly, at the walls, various sounds of metal sliding, and small slits open up, arrows, bolts and barrels trained at you. Although it's a considerably polite voice that answer, masculine but somewhat high-pitched "Generally people don't knock this lightly on this wall. Who might you be?"
JayM: It echoes from behind the large door
Jnezdie: "Tired, weary, and wet. Also- Jnezdie. How ya' doin'?"
Argent: "Mercenaries, with one K-Art in our company."
You hear some rustling behind, some words exchanged "Nice guys for once. I like this change of pace. Over there-" a moment wherein the speaker realizes that nobody can see him "To your right, second door. I'll unlock it for you"
Jnezdie: "Sure thing, pal." He nods to the slit and casually turns, strolling to the door.
Gavriel nods, wearily. That was a little bit easier than he'd been expecting. He's not even sure what he was expecting, if he'd strung together enough conscious thought to be prepared for -any- occurrences, let alone all. He can't afford to not snap out of his, and he knows it, but…
Gavriel shrugs, and follows Jnezdie.
Argent: "/me likewise approaches the door.
The door is closed, although unlocked. As you head in, two dwarves in heavy armor holding spears carefully keep you in sight and ready to strike while an elvaan man clad in light chain armor appraises you for a moment. When you try to speak he just holds a hand up, and after a few moments nods to the dwarves "Well, okay, you're description of yourselves is quite correct. Please, please,
JayM: do come in, but don't leave the green corridors until you're out in the city proper " he waves you all in with a smile. The dwarves lower their lances and one of them shrugs
Argent: "Understood." Argent nods as she starts on her way in.
Jnezdie: "Not a problem." He nods goodnaturedly to the dwarves before continuing.
As you make your way in you are first led to a corridor with green lines painted on the floor. Following them you notice it branches into stairways and rooms, the hissing and clanging of metal on metal and pistons and gears accompanies you all the way, and for Argent, a distinct, yet distant and almost-fading hissing like steam can be heard. The assigned path, however, eventually leads
JayM: you to the outside- Straight into a bustling town
Gavriel follows the assigned path. Even in a funk, he understands protocol and limitation of information being necessary for the war effort, and some part of him internally commends the security at this fortress; they're doing a good job.
Jnezdie takes another deep breath and raises his fists in silent victory.
Buildings structured in unusual geometric shapes, designed to make the best possible usage of space for as many people as possible, although there's your fair share of empty ones showing this fortress is hardly full to the brim. If you've an eye for it you realize there are alleys and pathways which would make perfectly defensable positions. However, this part is hardly what you'd call
JayM: a military institution, it's full of civilians, townspeople, farmers and shopkeeps, families. There are inns and bazaars, offices and whatnot. A city inside the fortress
Argent: "…well, damn. I never would've expected thisokay you can stop that you've been doing that for the last few hours."
Jnezdie: "Sorry Arge, just in too good a mood, ya' know?"
Jnezdie: "Like every little thing, every lil' step towards the comforts o' life is somethin' I missed for what felt like an eternity."
Gavriel glares at Argent, dimly, out his good eye. Sieze what victory comes to you, don't diminish that of others… (He's been surreptitiously glancing towards Jnezdie every single fistpump most of the way here.)
And in the middle of one particular busy street, an unusual sight. Eight chocobos attached for a veritably monstrous metallic cart with eight jet-black wheels. The birds are, however, relaxing and there are at least a dozen men in a uniform clothes, probably engineers, working on it. The reason they're workingo n it is the metal titan right above the cart, one of the famous Overruners,
JayM: it is not entirely above the cart, a tiny bit of it's right side is just out of the cart and the men are attempting to shove it back into place, but it is seriously not working. The townspeople don't seem to care, though often someone shows up to attempt to help, to still not much luck
Argent quirks an eyebrow, looking at the anti-Evoker weapon in question
Jnezdie: "Business first, though. By which I mean inns. Rooms. Beds. Soft, fluffy pillows."
JayM: No more than ten meters away from all this! An inn with a bright green banner, in it a silvery-feathered chocobo. "Silverfowl Inn" is the name
Argent: "Reserving rooms, sure. I'm not up to relaxing here while we have a countdown to the next Ethereal offensive, however."
The Overruner is a beautiful piece of machinery if you like such things. Built with straight shapes and instead of wheels it has threads. It looks rather square in it's base, it's top can spin from the looks of it, there are two very long barrels on it facing forward, and on the back of the base pointing upwards there is a small rectangular box, entirely closed although the front and back
JayM: are made of cloth
Gavriel glances over the weapon, appraisingly. (He is, of course, a Knight-Artificer; this more or less qualifies him for 'if you like such things' right out the bat, it's just that he's not paying enough attention to -anything-, at the moment.)
Jack‘ rubs ta his chin, glancing at the overrunning thorugh narrows and appraising eyes as they walk past it, but he seems to still be too tired for commentry.
The inn is, perhaps, a little bit on hard on your coin purses (200 Gil each), but they do make a point that they also help support the fortress (100 of that goes to the fortress supply funds!) and you’re free not to pay it if you wish, they're still boarding you.
JayM: And it's sadly not a price per room, but person
JayM: (singles or doubles avaiable, up to you)
Argent offers to pay hers anyway. Single, unless Sarah insists on a double
Sarah is very okay with a single!
JayM: That'll sum up something between 1000 and 500 Gil, depending if you want to contribute or not
Argent: 400 between her and Sarah's reservations
Jnezdie contributes (200 gil0, why the hell not. Single too, because you don't -know- what kind of craziness is gonna be goin' on in there!! (Likely a trail of clothes to the bed and a passed out elvaan.)
Jack‘ doesn’t really need a lot fo gil yeah so sure.
Gavriel pays up. They're taking advantage of the fortress' protection - and he's still impressed by their operational security.
And the period of rest is, thus, had. It's refreshing, the beds are fluffy and soft, so are the pillows. It's a very good inn for the price in the end. You notice that most of the people around here in this inn are mercenaries, rather than traders, although none of them looks the disreputable sort.
As you head down for breakfast, there is fruit and coffee, and also a different, strange, jet-black steaming hot drink you've never seen before. Apparently that's served only to whoever asks and somewhat of a secret item in the menu. You mostly figure it out because Sarah prods the mess hall keeper until he coughs it up, because she found it out by the smell. She's happily drinking hers.
JayM: Jnezdie gets an odd- Sense of union in this place, a sense of union he haven't felt anywhere before. He's not sure why, but this place just seems nice. Not just the inn, but the whole town as you look through the window
Argent: "…Oi, Sarah, what's that you're drinking??"
Jack: "So," Jack says inbetween shoving slices of orange into his mouth, "What is it?"
Jnezdie stands in the doorway of the breakfast hall, deep inhlation of breath, fists in the air again. He heads over to the party's table.
Argent sips some coffee herself
Jnezdie: "I am feeling -too good- to turn down any challenge right now. I don't even care -what- it is, I want some>"
[OOC] Jnezdie: *some.
Sarah takes another sip "Hehee…" and another "Remember that ruin where we got those Apfels? Well, this is a kind of coffee taken from that sort of ruin"
Argent: "Huh."
JayM: Odd, you're used to coffee being a near-black violet-ish color
Jack: "Hrmrmrmrm."
Jnezdie: "No kiddin', huh?"
Argent quirks an eye at Sarah's drink, before sipping her own coffee some more
Jnezdie: "Awesome. I'm gonna pester a guy until things happen and there's two mugs of that."
JayM: Another thing to be noticed outside the window, is the warmachine still stuck where it was yesterpass. A couple of soldiers have been left standing guard around it, though by now they've gotten some pretty large steam-powered pneumatic contraptions to help lift it into place. A tiny group of people has stopped to admire
JayM: Comes with the breakfast, Nez! It tastes like coffee! Although slightly more earthy and a bit sweeter
Jack: "Ah, the siren song of the unknown-but-familiar."
Gavriel frowns pointedly at the stuck warmachine - blinks down in surprise at the coffee. It, after everything, seems to finally get through to him - he's got a Varg-sized mug of the stuff.
Argent quirks an eyebrow at the mug in question. "And I thought I had trouble waking up."
Jnezdie nods towards the window. "Jeez, I could watch these guys mess with that thing all day. Who knows what they're gonna attach to it next."
Jack: "Mayhaps something that might make it move."
A very, very loud sound of hissing steam- A sharp sound of metal hitting metal hard- And the titanic Overruner is shoved upwards by the steam pistons and makes a noising landing on the cart that seems that is about to falter for a moment, but does not.
There is some rejoycing among the men working to get it back in place, and they spur the birds, blue-feathered ones now that you are not as tired, to move the machine onwards.
Jack‘ tilts his head to the side as he glances out the window. "Hah, close enough!"
Jnezdie: "Oh hey, there goes the morning show."
Sarah: "That was kind of scary… Aren’t they afraid that kind of impact would damage it?"
Argent: And Argent slams the mug to the table as her hands go up to her hat. "Yes, pity there's no distractions left. Anyway, you guys do whatever, once I'm finished here I'm going to check to see what I can do around here to give us a better chance at punching through the Ethereal offense."
Jack: "Apparently not!"
Jnezdie shrugs. "Getting the job done, with a resounding 'clang' sounds pretty satisfying though!"
Argent: "if it's anything like one of those turrets, I wouldn't really worry about damage from moving it."
About now a young moogle comes up to your table, he runs on quick steps, flittering lightly above the ground now and then, he wears cloth uniform of the army and his beret has a pin with the symbol of a wing on it "Kupo!" he carries a sealed letter in his right hand "Did you arrive recently?"
Argent nods. "Indeed. What do you need?"
Jnezdie: "We're new but we've been around, don't worry. What's up?"
Moogle: "Just to confirm, you came through the kupo gate? Er- I mean the north gate?"
Jack: "Aye aye!"
Moogle: "Good-kupo!" he hands over to whoever picks it up the letter "For you"
Argent snatches and opens the letter in what seems almost like one quick action
The letter is written with beautiful script, and simple. It is also written in simple terms, but structured like a standard business letter. It asks you to pay a visit to the Knight-Commander in charge of this fortress at your leisure. There is really no hurry
Argent: "Right, looks like we've got an open appointment with the K-Com"
Jack: "With the who?"
Jnezdie raises an eyebrow, and gestures for the letter.
Argent slides the letter over
JayM: She signed herself. Knight-Commander Inventor Grade Kaela Jortunis
Jnezdie picks it up, reads…
Gavriel glances up. "Knight-Commander. Officer in charge of the fortress."
Gavriel glances back down again, finishes his mug of coffee. His voice was still fairly weak and scratchy, but stronger than it was before they rested.
Jnezdie: "Kaela Jortunis. Real casual-like even. Don't expect that from military types too often, you know what I mean?"
Jack: "Hrmrmrmm."
Jnezdie folds up the letter, hands it to anyone else who wants to read it.
Gavriel nods at Jnezdie. "…you'd be surprised. Especially this far outfield."
Jnezdie: "Aw, I meant present-company excluded. Included. Whatever- you're cool, Gav."
Argent: "Meh." Argent downs the rest of her coffee. "I'd rather get this out of the way first, see what she wants."
Gavriel glances up at Jnezdie, comes the closest to a smile he's come in some time. "Best not to keep her waiting." He stands.
Jack: "Righty-o!"
Argent: "Oi, Sarah, you coming?"
Jnezdie: "Yeah, not a problem. This whole place has been really nice."
Jnezdie: "Almost if the ol' TT wasn't so chill and the Kingdoms not at each others throats, it'd be home away from home."
Gavriel: "Hn."
As you head outside, you feel the light breeze passing by. Taking a breath and moving on you're all but ambushed by a lithe Varg woman, wearing a light robe. She looks eager and grinning, she quickly approaches the group and gives a light punch in Gavriel's arm "Hail, friend!" she looks anxious! "Nice to see a new face! Say, wanna got at it, man?" she looks right out of her teens
Argent: "…who are you exactly?"
Jack‘ rubs at his chin. "Everyone is always so friend with our playboy!"
Jnezdie: "It’s the armor, man."
She crosses her arms, as she does that motion you see she has a pair of retractable katars attached to her wrists "Call me Sel!"
Gavriel lifts one arm to block her punch - there's not much force behind it, though, and he glances in her direction, faintly amused. "…I'm just passing through, unfortunately, and won't be here long."
Sel: "Aww, damn. Was looking to have a new partner"
Gavriel manages to ignore Jack and Jnezdie's comments, at least visibly, and motions for Argent to stand down. "Perhaps if our stay is longer, on the way back. Gavriel Martim Gurutz. It's good to meet you."
Sel nods "Alright!" she waves, moving about her way
Argent: "…Not even going to ask." Argent comments as she waits for Sel to pass by before continuing on her own way
Jack: "Hmm, you think?"
Jnezdie waits until Sel leaves. "Don't worry Gav, I wouldn't have told her that you were already scheduled for a date."
Gavriel chuffs softly, calls after her: "Good hunting, Sel!" A moment later, another quiet chuff. "It's just… how we are, Argent."
Argent: "I see."
And then, you manage to make your way to where the K-Com should be. It takes a little while, but the place has proper directions, at least the civilian portion of the place. Turns out the fortress seems to have four sectors, called Huis, Lemmet, Leven and Bewaker. Currently you're in Leven and you should head to Bewaker, that seems to encompass the primary castle and outer walls
Once you make your ways to the castle (That itself is nameless, but people refer to it as 'The Castle' or 'Dragon Castle') it gets a bit more… Confusing. The place is still well marked as to where one can go and not and where what is what, however, it's not CLEARLY marked. That is, if you don't serve here for a while. Gavriel can discern somewhat quickly what some of the color coding
JayM: in the signs means, and where not to go, but not what the codes in them do mean. However, showing your letter to someone will get you aimed at in the correct direction.
Argent: "Hm. Still only authorized for Green, I take it?"
Gavriel leads the party - he's able to follow the colours to the nearest place where they can find someone to tell them where to go, at the very least.
You're pointed towards what is the topmost room of the castle. There is a large wooden door, the walls, ceiling and floor in this area are all reinforced with obsidian-black metal. As you knock on the door, as is polite to do, the door opens, unlocked and ajar it was. There is a fairly large room that probably doubles as CIC and office, there is a large table with a map with various
JayM: chairs.
Jnezdie follows Gavriel, being all smiley and friendly to people they pass, giving them the time of day.
Argent doesn't really bother with the people she passes by here, just following Gavriel through the castle
Gavriel enters, salutes at the threshhold.
All around on the walls are tubes, running inside the walls but sometimes angle outside, the room is full of bells and whistles, literally, connected to the tubes. At the far end there is a simple office table, although not really that simple. There are silvery strands that come from the ceiling that connect to something on the table, a pair of metal gloves bolted to the table, each strand
JayM: of silver connecting to one finger. There you can see an Elvaan at the far end wearing very light clothing and also sitting on the opposite side of the table is a Creimire in heavy armor, the two are discussing something when you show up
Jack: "Ah… twas an open invintation."
Argent quirks an eyebrow, steps in, feeling no need to salute
The Creimire turns around to look at you, nods at the Elvaan, and stands up goes to the side
Jnezdie glances to Gavriel to make the first move, but smiles broadly nonetheless.
Argent: "Kaela, I take it?"
The Elvaan is a woman, she is wearing the fabled 'Elvaan Issue' uniform, it consists of nothing more than something that looks like a strip of cloth turned into an impromptu sports bra, a pair of shorts just long enough to reach right above her knees. All that in white with gold trimming, she has a jet-black belt and combat boots on. She nods to you, her beret, an old faded red almost
JayM: pink by now, tilts lightly. In her right shoulder a shoulderpad with her rank. In her beret two pins, one with a chessboard and a queen piece and the other a fountain pen and a scroll.
JayM: Odd combination, Gavriel. Top ranking strategist, and specialized in law.
Jnezdie STILL BEING POLITE, but a subtle tilt of the head is easily understood.
JayM: Jnezdie, you can see- Just about everything in her. The very fact she wears those clothes means something, she is straightforward and true, hates lieing and likes to play in an even field. She is sure of her skills and she is good at what she does. She will never tell a lie if she can help it, if she can't, believe me she'll lie with the best of them. She is dutybound as it can ever be,
JayM: extremely attached to her duty- However, her private life is just as important, but she will never admit it. She's tired.
Jack: "(…open invitation, indeed.)"
Gavriel steps forward after saluting and waiting for acknowledgement. Even if it's an open invitation, there's a protocol that must be fol- that Gavriel must follow. "Knight-Artificer Gavriel Martim Gurutz and companions. We recieved your note, ma'am."
Kaela: "Good, good. Knight-Commander Kaela Jortunis…" she trails off slightly as she looks at Gavriel "Ah, Dead-Eye shooter, nice to see you in person for the first time"
JayM: Her smile says she's got some story with that name, even though you never met her
Kaela: "Please, take a seat. I hate to be rude." there are in fact enough seats "Please, now. We've been rather isolated here in the swamps, what best we know is what ends up thrown at us, would you mind indulging me a little in your stories, travellers?"
Jnezdie: "Got a thousand of 'em. Working on making a thousand more. Thanks for inviting us in!"
Argent: "Right. Should we start with before or after the forest."
The Creimire moves around to stand behind her, a stiff expression and posture.
Jack‘ sets himself down into a seat.
Jnezdie slips inside and takes a seat close up.
Gavriel quirks one ear up, unconsciously curious. "It’s good to be here." He heads over to a seat once one is suggested, sits down.
Kaela: "Whatever you feel like telling, just seeing if there's anything important you might've seen"
Jack: "Hrmmm…"
Argent: "After, then."
Jack‘ crosses his arms over themselves, then puts a hand to his chin, musing to himself. "Well, it wouldn’t do to offer a sneak peak of s cript still in progress, I should think. Too many variables that could still be adjusted!"
Argent: "We got roped into an investigation on one of the fallen border fortresses. Turns out there was a Water Elemental that went about its business there. Naturally, we ran. Ended up in a borderline town."
Argent: "Dealt with a lynch mob, went ruin-diving, then the barrier went up."
Argent: "And now we came here."
Kaela nods "Hrm, good, nice and quick" she turns back to looks at the Creimire "That's a lot worse than we expected but explains it, right, Ranel?"
Jack‘ makes a face. "You’ll have to forgive her for her woefully ineptitude in storytelling, she has no love of the arts."
The Creimire nods "Pretty much"
Argent: "We're not here to embelish on what happened, merely give it straight."
Kaela looks at you all "Now, now, I just wanted a quick summary. I'll be sure to keep watch for your book in the near future"
Kaela: "At least I hope it's a book, that i'll have the time to read. A play, not so much"
Jnezdie: "Book, play, we're gonna get it all covered."
She nods, with a smile (tired)
Jack: "Ah, but there is a thing as too diret! " dealt with a lynch mob " indeed! Not even a mention to to what it t'was about! Not the content of the ruins, and you din't even mention one was a dead ruin!"
Kaela raises an eyebrow "Dead ruin? My, that's one hell of a tale"
Jack: "Quite certainly!"
Jnezdie: "Yeah, that last part is why we wandered up looking like chocobos that've been run through mud."
Gavriel leans back in his chair, a little. It's all a bit of a blur. "Knight Lanzo was maintaining his station well under pressure." He glances up, though - curious about what needed to be explained with their testimony, unwilling to pry.
Jack: "The dear also left out mention of that fellow, what was his name again, he was so theatrical…"
Argent eyerolls
Jack‘ makes a vague, rolling gesture in the air with his hand.
Argent: "Enough with the theatrics."
Jnezdie: "Other than Jack?"
Jack: "Correct. The fellow with the flute."
Jack: "If that isn’t a character the military wants to take note of, I don't know what is!"
Jnezdie: "-Right-. That was pre-forest, so we sort of skimmed over it."
Ranel: "Ah… We've lost an undercover supply caravan near the exit of the forest recently"
Gavriel glances between Argent and Jnezdie. That was far too much like agreement between the two of them. But… "…he is a threat, yes."
Jack: "Ultima's Heir…?"
Jack: "Hmm he's going to be terrible unset none of us remembered his title, ha!"
Jnezdie: "Heir of Ultima, that's the ticket."
Kaela: "Fellow with a flute. Who is this mysterious and rhyming friend of yo-" she stops "You've met the Heir? Now that's a story. What's his latest position?"
Jnezdie: "No clue. Sorry."
Argent: "Last-known whereabouts were somewhere on the other side of that thrice-damned Viera Forest."
Jack: "He made a bit of a crater out of a group of soldier then parted ways with us as we saw to medical duties, you know!" Jack pauses, "Oh, but don't make to big of a mention of this outside of the proper channels of course. We don't want any spoilers leaking to the public before we even enter preproduction, you know!"
Jnezdie shakes his head and holds out his palms. "Look, all this dancin' around it is pretty weird: Viera Forest, we went through it, it went through us, we clear on that?"
Ranel: "I'll have to done by the next Rain"
Jack‘ mumbles under a rumbling in his throat, but shakes his head.
Kaela: "Bears asking… You have not lost anyone there, have you?"
Jack: "Nay.’
Jnezdie: "Hey, I'm just makin' sure there's no questions about it. And no, we're all here."
Argent: "Fortunately."
Kaela: "That is what is important"
Kaela: "Though, as useful as that was… I really requested you here for another reason. I'll be straight, I need a little bit of assistance from outside sources, and you're all trustworthy, or so my guts tell me."
Argent: "Figured as much. What's the situation?"
Jnezdie: "I can tell you too, so your gut is spot on."
Gavriel twitches an ear, once or twice, but glances up again, nods.
Kaela: "I'll need two favors. And i'm willing to give your group free lodging in Sector Huis and a little reward, because it'd feel cheap to have you do something for no rewards." she puts her elbows on the table "The first is the simplest. I keep an open door policy here, whoever needs can and will get my attention, strange exceptions might apply. However, there is one… Tiny… Little
JayM: problem, that can be postponed indefinitely. However, it is driving me mad "
Argent: "That is?"
Jnezdie: "Lay it on us."
Kaela: "I'd just need you to hang about this room for half a Wave or so, and keep me 'busy' so that nobody will actually interrupt me for a while. I could in fact ask for privacy, but it'd just feel wrong"
Kaela: "The problem itself, i'll deal with"
Jnezdie is -being polite-.
Jack: "Gahahah."
Argent: "Got it."
Jnezdie: "An entourage, eh?"
Kaela nods "I'll tell you the second issue as soon as I am back" she stands up "I am truly grateful for this" she goes over to the wall to her left and Ranel accompanies her. She puts a hand on the wall and pushes it, and it reveals a secret passage, they go in and the passage closes.
Jack: "How mysterious!"
Jnezdie turns his head back to the group. "Mysterious and cute. Sarah, what's your take on all this?"
Sarah: "Ahaha… Suspicious"
Sarah shakes her head
Argent: "Whatever it is, we're being given keep for it."
JayM: It- Takes a little bit longer than that! And during that time something does in fact happens. Someone comes running inside, a rather circular-looking Qu "Hrm? Where is the Knight Commander?"
Argent: "Busy."
Argent: "Come back in an hour."
Jnezdie: "It's like that time I donated 100 gil to
Jnezdie turns his head to the Qu. "Busy, yeah? She'll get back to you."
JayM: To make him go away without making yourselves and her suspicious, i'll ask a Grace [TN 4] check here
Gavriel half-turns in his chair. He may not have many social skills, but he can at least look intimidating. [no reels, lol]
Jnezdie smiles with his retort. [Lucky]
[OOC] Jnezdie: er no wait
Jnezdie smiles -really- well with his retort. [Dependable]
Jack‘ turns around to face the Qu and gives him a big, wide smile. "Ah, but we’ve not quite finished our report yet, good sir!" [Weighted, Lucky]
Jnezdie also [Lucky] dangit
Argent isn't good at being charming. Got to give her credit for that unamused poker face, though [No reels]
Jack‘ rolled d12 and got 7 ( Total: 7 ) for sugar is a whore
Also rolled 3#d8(1) and got 5 [Total: 5 (High), Avg: 5.00]
Also rolled 3#d8(2) and got 3 [Total: 3 (Low), Avg: 3.00]
Also rolled 3#d8(3) and got 4 [Total: 4 (Low), Avg: 4.00]
Total: 19, Avg: 4.75
JayM: Eh, that is enough already
JayM: [+2 AP/+2100]
[OOC] JayM: XP
The Qu tilts his head to the side, thinks, shrugs, and goes out
After a while more the Knight Commander and Ranel return from the secret passage "Thank you" she nods. Now for the other matter
Jnezdie wordlessly extends a fist to Jack.
JayM: Jnezdie notices she has a single strand of her hair looking out of place
Jack` fistbump
Jnezdie newtype flashes, taking a second to retract his fist.
Argent: "Yes?"
[OOC] Jack: ^525 XP
[OOC] JayM: My math function exploded
Kaela: "Recently, i’ve been having a little issue within my fortress. Rumors, badmouthing, gossiping. I am not even sure about the proper nature of the rumors, but someone is clearly aiming to weaken my capacity to command"
Kaela: "That, or i'm really not being a good commander, one of the two"
Jnezdie: "Aw, I wouldn't give rise to the second."
Kaela: "Either of them it is, I'd like you to find it out, and if the latter is the case, see if the complainers have solutions for the problems the found with my command, and maybe I can fix it"
Jnezdie: "Aha, I spoke too soon. A'int a problem either!"
Argent: "Understood."
Jack: "Hrrrrmmrmrmrmrmrmrmrm."
Argent stands up, turning to the rest of the party. "I figure we should split up in this case."
Jack: "Gahahaha."
Gavriel frowns. "…operational security on the way in was top-notch. I'd been meaning to mention it. You hold the fortress well, ma'am. We'll do everything we can." Maybe he's just been in Rorest or on the road too long? Despite his monosyllable to JJnezdie earlier, a place like this feels like home to him, too.
Kaela: "Whatever way you feel like going about this" she nods "Thank you, i've been striving to fix this place up ever since I got transferred"
Jnezdie: "Doin' a great job, yeah?"
Jnezdie: "We'll dance with the words on the street and tell you how the song goes."
She sincerely smiles (is tired, but somewhat brighter)
Argent nods. "We'll figure it out either way. Would we need any extra security clearance for this task?"
Kaela: "I hope to hear a beautiful song"
Kaela: "Hrm, if you ever feel like you really do need, check out with Ranel whenever the need arises. I'd rather not give you more clearance than strictly needed because I am trying to avoid this becoming an internal affairs issue"
Argent: "Understood."
Jnezdie: "Gotcha."
JayM: So, how do you go about this?
Jnezdie asides to the party. "Find out where people do their drinkin'. Get real friendly like. Complain about our jobs that we totally made up."
Jnezdie: "Get them to see if they complain about anything in particular, buy some rounds, make some friends. Yeah?"
Jack: "I'll drink to that!"
Jnezdie: "Could also talk to like, shopkeepers and business guys, I suppose."
Argent: "Was going to suggest finding off-duty soldiers, yes. I'd rather we not go in a group, and I'm not going to pose as anyone working here."
Jnezdie: "'cause one step above the workin' man is the…uh…guy that tells the working man what's goin' on."
Jnezdie: "Good point Arge."
Jnezdie: "I think I'll stick to being part of Troupe Estrela Prata."
Argent: "Uuuuuuuugh…" Cue facepalm. "Whatever you do, I'm not part of it."
JayM: Alright
Jack: "And yet you stick awfully close by. Hrrrrmrmrmrmmm mayhaps there be some dere beneeth the layer of tsun, as they say in the language of my people."
Jnezdie nods sagely.
Gavriel: "…hn." Gavriel thinks it's best to stay together - he can be the tall, stoic gun-juggler of the troupe. Wait, that makes no sense! It doesn't matter.
Jack: "Regardless! ONWARD AND AWAY: TO THE PUBS!"
JayM: Let's solve this with a nice and smooth three-tiered Streetwise check. TN 4/5/6, each tier of success will hold different answers to you
Argent goes to hunt out any gambling dens, in fact…it's been a while since she's been able to let herself relax, and she didn't get a chance to do so in Rorest…all while she puts her knacks for info-gathering to the test…[Trick x2, Expertise]
Jack‘ isn’t so good at finding the seedy underbellow a a town, but you better believe he's goodt at drinking! Wait that's not what they're actually out to do. [Nothin']
Jnezdie is good at bullshitting and carryin' on with people! Drinking is involved! But uh… [No Reels]
Gavriel quietly, effectively backs Jack and Jnezdie up with his presence. (Plus, he knows how to talk to the military types! Or at least where to find 'em and what drinks to buy. [Trick] [Weighted Results] [Lucky]
Jack‘ rolled d12 and got 12 ( Total: 12 ) **
Also rolled 3#2d8(1) and got 7, 2 [Total: 9 (Avg), Avg: 4.50]
Also rolled 3#2d8(2) and got 6, 5 [Total: 11 (High), Avg: 5.50]
Also rolled 3#2d8(3) and got 1, 7 [Total: 8 (Low), Avg: 4.00]
Total: 40, Avg: 5.71
Jack` rolled 2#d8(1) and got 7 ( Total: 7 )
Also rolled 2#d8(2) and got 7 [Total: 7 (High), Avg: 7.00]
d6: 3 [Total: 3 (Low), Avg: 3.00]
Total: 17, Avg: 5.67**
It takes roughly a Pass to figure out what is going on, but you get various tidbits of information!
Argent herself ends up working mostly solo, and discover this place has an… Uncanny lack of actually seedy places, those that exist are suspiciously… Official, dangerous. There’s always this air, this presence that this little gambling den only exists because the Knight-Commander lets it so. As if everything was part of one big puzzle, good and bad, clean and dirt. Even so, specially
JayM: because of it perhaps, it's where most of the complainers end up at
There are talks about the Knight Ranel being in his post not because of his skill, or because he did some great feat, but because he had favors going for him. Some say he has actually used his charms to convince some higher ups and one man spoke of bribery. People also talk of the Knight-Commander in hushed tones, some say that she is as cold as steel and emotionless, some others say that
JayM: she is secretly a manipulator and abuser of power and likes to have her closest members of the chain of command very, very close (in literal chains in cases). This one man, slipped to you that she has some very sick and deviant habits… But he's hushed quickly by a friend.
Argent is fully willing to play a bit of the dice while listening in on the complaints in question.
Jack, Gavriel and Jnezdie end up dealing with the opposite side of the coin, the soldier hangouts and such. In the process they discover what Sector Huis is about, seems like the fortress has housing, actual houses, for the soldiers who serve here, after all it is in the middle of nowhere and, while it might have a town inside of it it also doesn't forces those transferred here to go and
JayM: hunt for housing in the town. That is where most of the interesting information comes from, all the military types are prim and proper, or at least very mindful of their words, in other sectors, not there, though.
They discover that previously the fortress had been a piece of hell on earth, in the middle of a bog, run-down and with a small town inside it that was full of nasty types. When Ranel assumed the position of advisor of the previous commander things started to get a bit better but were still pretty bad, but like the goddess this place was reborn from the ashes into a portion of heaven as
JayM: soon as Kaela was transferred. They say she was transferred to the middle of nowhere as punishment, during a trial about corruption in the ranks she was the only one to voice in favor of the one being tried, that got her 'burned' as they say and she was sent here.
She works so hard, every soldier, every officer, is thankful for her hard and almost inhuman work. She works herself to the bone and doesn't allows herself rest or kindness until everything is working perfect and everyone is happy, EVERYONE. There's gossip around lately, though! A couple of Knights have figured out that the Commander, as selfless as she is, is secretly a huge romantic
JayM: and dreams of one day being whisked away by a knight in shining armor away from all the worried of the world. One particularly eager girl Squire says she already found this man! There's a little innocent betting on where in the chain of command that man must be, they bet mostly that they're close to top, it's not like she'd have time to be affectionate with anyone that isn't almost always
JayM: at her side at work.
JayM: [_]
Jnezdie: "What a ride, yeah? Ultima's skirt, I missed civilization so much."
Jnezdie raises his fists high in the air!
Gavriel listens carefully, nods in all the right places, never pushes anyone past where they seem willing to go, but he gets more and more edgy about the whole thing, the longer they spend talking. (And more and more defensive of the Knight-Commander, even if he's careful not to say anything that'd get in the way of the investigation.)
Argent broke even that time, at least
Jnezdie drinks, drinks! Is merry!
Argent does think to herself, however: she needs to check into that secret passage
Gavriel glances at Jnezdie- "-if it's civilisation that's damning the Knight-Commander for doing her job admirably and having a heart beating in her chest, I'm not sure I-" -Gavriel clams up, looks away.
Jnezdie smiles slyly at Gavriel.
Jnezdie: "Hey, I'm not saying anything that everyone knows, in the recess of their mind, is somethin' completely fucked up."
Jack‘ slaps Gavriel on the back, then raises his glass into the air. "CLEARLY YOU NEED MORE DRINK IN YOU MY FRIEND!"
Jnezdie: "Yeah, man! Don’t think you gotta hold your growlyness back on account o' me!"
Argent thinks to herself all the same "(Something here is a bit off. Ranel's a suspect here, as is Kaela. Doubly so, the suspicion of abuse and manipulation. Not SO sure of the 'habits', but this takes looking into nonetheless.)"
Gavriel slowly turns towards Jack and barks out laughter. (Okay, okay, civilisation -is- helping him unwind a bit, from everything they've seen.) It's a short laugh, though- "-it's not right. It's… not the way this country is supposed to work. You sink or swim based on your strengths and your merits, and everyone can see that as plain as daylight."
Jnezdie: "-Any- country, Gav."
Jack: "She seems to be swimming quite high above this swamp, you grumpy guss!"
Jnezdie: "We were there, we helped those crazy kids out— suffice to say both worlds 're as crazy as doormice least in this par-tic-u-lar respect."
Jnezdie: "But I mean, other than that, Kaela's doin' real well by the place."
Jnezdie: "People just got their noses all up where it shouldn't be, or where they shouldn't be smellin' somethin' that stinks 'cause it don't and they need a right whip upside the" He cuts himself off by drinking!
Gavriel: "…nothing else should matter." He frowns. "Words are wind, but they can blow someone down into the dirt and mud just as easily-" -he glances at Jnezdie, nods. They've got to be doing /something/ right, where Jack and Jnezdie came from.
Jnezdie: "Damn, 's why I'm gonna need another drink 'fore this is all through."
Jnezdie: "'cause it's gonna hurt tellin' her what we found 'n all."
Argent: "(That passage is definitely at the core of it, nevermind. It sounds almost as if this place was a concession of sorts, if not used for something…)" Argent keeps on the lookout for any more complaints or suspicion, when she wagers a few hundred gil up at the table on her turn to roll the dice
Sarah had been, of course, hanging around Gavriel's portion. When Gavriel mentions the country not working how it as supposed to, she closes her eyes thinking "Nothing works like it's supposed to…" her voice sound as if that had more than one meaning "Well, we can do only what we can, right? If we can help that out, somehow…" she nods "Maybe we should find Argent first and see what
JayM: she found out? "
JayM: Nothing different, Argent
[OOC] JayM: the [_] means the end of the textwall and, thusly, the exposition
Jack‘ puts one hand on Gavriel’s head, one on Sarah's, then ruffles their hair. Well, not that Sarah has hair BUT THE GESTURE IS MADE.
Argent: "Heh. Breaking even all day." Argent comments to herself. "(Kind of puts my life in a new perspective.) Might as well quit while I'm ahead…" Argent comments to herself as she stands up, ready to leave the den and find the others. Hopefully they haven't set the place on fire.
Jnezdie: "Alright, we gotta come on back down to the ground now. Gotta find Ar~gent~."
Argent returns with 1 Gil more than she started
Gavriel: "…It only takes being chased out of a city once with a mob at your heels in order to take idle words spoken by fools seriously, Jnezdie." He glances towards Sarah- "…'can't simply accept that a thing doesn't work, if being able to reach out and fix it is at all within your grasp.'" Sounds like he's quoting something? In any event, he'll follow the others.
Jnezdie: "Well aware." He grins wickedly at Gavriel. "Why do you think I make a hobby of beatin' up fools?"
Jack: "Definitely not drinking enough." Jack signs dramatically, raising a hand into the air with a flourish, before grabbing his glass with the opposite and swifting draining its contents.
Gavriel smiles at Jnezdie's words, despite himself. (It's a bit of a Vargish sort of smile, all fangs and dangerous.)
Jnezdie: "Aw damn, I'm bein' all loud and stuff. Argent probably heard me from clear across the city. With her human ears and all."
Jack‘ then slams his hand down onto the countertop as a fist, as he moves to stand. "Party on, fair citizen of the pub. Party on!" Jack them spins on his heel, and heads out.
About now is when Argent meets up with the rest of the party, right there in the middle of the street. Maybe she wasn’t THAT far away in the end?
Argent ends up crossing paths with the rest of the group. "You're damn right I'm a human."
Jnezdie: "Damn right."
Jnezdie: "What's the score, yo?"
Jack: "Ppppfftttttahahahaha."
Argent: "…you're drunk off your ass, aren't you."
Jnezdie: "(Sssssssssssshut up Jack, hahaha, shut up
)" Goofily nudging him in the side.
Jack: "No, you just jest so wonderfully ever so often."
Jack: "And it's - so terribly - difficult not to laugh OH HERE I GO AGAIN GAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Jnezdie catches the bug, laughs with him, leaning against a wall.
Gavriel breathes. Calmly. (Is the corner of his good eye twitching up, a bit, though?)
Jack‘ slaps a hand against his thigh as he laughs uproariously for a few more moments, then recomposes himself.
Sarah puts a hand on her mouth, all ladylike, laugher is viral
Jack: "Anywho!"
Argent: "There’s no small number of complaints, but I'd rather bring them up outside of the public ear."
Jack: "Tee-hee, ears."
Jack‘ nods seriously.
Gavriel rolls his eye at ’no small number', nods. "I can imagine."
Jnezdie pauses, then goes "Pffffffffffffffffffff" at Jack's mumble of ears, but suppresses a full blown laugh.
JayM: Outside of public ear- Would be pretty much in Sector Huis, at least 80% of the housing there is abandoned (the fortress is kind of understaffed)
Jnezdie: "(She said 'ears,')" he whispers to Sarah, even if she got the joke.
Sarah is being polite, but the tip of her tail is twitching slightly
Argent leads them to Huis
Jack‘ follows along!
Argent finds a nice, unoccupied house (it’s well mantained) where they can talk in private
Jnezdie hops over the back of a couch, sits on it with arms stretched over the back, feet up on the coffee table.
Jnezdie: "Who's goin' first? Ain't gonna lie, it's an inspirational story."
Argent: "Right, I'll go first, and then it's your turn."
Jnezdie: "Go nuts."
Argent: "First off, I could tell just by the atmosphere of the place I went to, it's not exactly stable. Seems like the only places here that exist are those that are allowed to exist, just about, and if she wanted, Kaela'd have it shut down."
Gavriel: "…that's what a smart commander does. Gives their men some place to blow off steam within reason."
Argent: "Not quite the same."
Gavriel: "I'll just assume that certain of them wish they were stationed in Rorest." He grumbles. "Continue."
Argent: "Then there's the rumors of corruption everywhere. Ranel's rumored to not be in power due to any merits of his own, but pending on who says, due to favors, favoritism, or bribery. In addition, rumors that Kaela's probably just showing her nice side to us are abound, though whether they say she's power-mad, callous, or manipulative are up into the air."
Argent: "Lastly, there were the complaints that supposedly, she engaged in deviant activity on the side
pretty sure I know what's going on, but I'd rather verify a few things up in the castle first."
Gavriel: "…do they have any proof, or are they bitter because they were passed up on promotions?" Gav keeps his voice quiet, but he begins to stand and pace back and forth, fur bristling.
Jnezdie stares at Argent, and he -could- say something but -isn't- and is fishing for her to rephrase that.
Argent: "The last more being significant only because the one who broke that info to me was quickly silenced by his friend."
Jnezdie: "It a'int really important that we find out exactly that though, from what we gather."
Argent: "All I've got on this end are rumor and hearsay, so it could be either side."
Jnezdie: "Well, I'm just sayin' I can make some really good guesses but I'll let Gav cover what we got."
Gavriel: "Because that's what you do when your angry idiot of a friend is drunkenly babbling about what he'd like for-" -he turns around, tail lashing back and forth. "…this place was a shithole before she got here. Not much different from the mud and filth outside the walls. She cleaned everything up, made it a decent place to be."
Gavriel: "I'd wager that some of the dissidents had a stake in the filth, sold it out of a back-alley shack." He snarls, pacing. "She was assigned here on punishment, and… managed to clean the place up, which-" -which is something Gav couldn't do, in Rorest, no matter how hard he tried- "-works herself to the bone, because you'd have to."
Argent: "Interesting."
Gavriel: "And some squire spread a rumour that the Knight-Commander had found the knight in shining armour she'd always been looking for- because that's what squires -do-, they eat rumours instead of porridge- and of course, this person would have to be high in the chain of command, to be close enough to her to not 'draw suspicion'."
Argent: "Sounds like it could be either way, really. I'd still rather know what's right, what isn'tif this place was a dump like Rorest, yeah, they could just be bitterly pining for the old days. But I don't like making assumptions, and there's two more things that I'd like to verify with the Knight Commander."
Jnezdie chews his tongue, looks at Argent, looks at Gavriel…
Jack‘ shakes his head.
Jnezdie shakes his head in time.
Jnezdie: "They’re fucking, you know that, right?"
Jack‘ winces a little.
Sarah puts a hand gently on her temple "Well, it did bear to be made clear at a point, I guess"
Jnezdie: "I’m just sayin' before we go off half-cocked and start asking questions with obvious answers, we should do a little reality check."
Gavriel: me holds up a fist, stares at it. "There's a few things I'd like to verify with the mob you talked to, for that matter-" -he glances at Jnezdie, actually -blushes- under the fur (you might be able to see it, like, where he's got scars, or on his nose, or something.) "…she rose the fortress out of the ashes. The only reason someone would… fight against that…"
Argent: "That'd indeed qualify as what they'd complain about as 'deviant'. Not really going to jump to a conclusion, but yeah."
Gavriel: "…is if they felt threatened by her."
Jnezdie: "C'mon. What did you think we were doing in that office?"
Argent: "Right then. You check the place I was at, I'll ask the K-Com a few questions. Try not to start too big of a fight, disgruntled or not."
Jack: "That sounds like a positively horrid idea."
Jnezdie: "Gonna agree with Jack on this one."
Jack: "Subtly, my dear, is far from your strong point."
Jnezdie: "As well as empathy, tact, and gentleness."
Jack‘ nods sagely.
Gavriel looks away. "It happened to me in Rorest, before I fell in with Argent, and then the two of you. You fight against filth, it fights back with the only thing it knows, more filth. Twisting… something that needn’t be shouted about in public into a condemnation." He stares viciously at the wall.
Argent: "I'm not going to subject her to an interrogation, Jack."
Jack: "And our military man doesn't seem ready to have a calm, civilized debate with the bottom feeders either, hah!"
Jnezdie: "You honestly have no idea how you speak."
Gavriel: "…why do they feel threatened by her?"
Jnezdie: "Seriously- we report back to our side-employer, and since she has to live here, if she wants to make the call that we bust some heads, then we do it. And if she doesn't want that, we do it anyway, but give her fair warning first."
Gavriel: "The law is the stone foundation of the fortress, and I'd be wary of telling her to give way to the scum…"
Jack: "Gahaha, Gavriel, you already answered that question earlier."
Argent: "I am perfectly capable of speaking with her without insulting her."
Argent starts out, heading to the castle already.
Gavriel: "…I suppose I did, Jack."
Jnezdie: "Can someone who isn't Jack or myself back me up on this one?"
Jack: "Now that is the best joke I've heard all day!"
Jack‘ pushes off of the wall he’d been leaning against and heads on out after her, pulling his lute aorund and fiddlign with it as he walks.
JayM: You guys splitting up?
Argent: Argent's heading to speak with the K-Com again
[OOC] Jnezdie: Hell no, I'm going straight to Kaela
Gavriel holds up a paw, heading after Argent, catching up with her. "…Argent."
Argent: "Hm?"
Argent replies, but keeps walking
Gavriel: "…she has done nothing worthy of censure. There's no need to bring any more suffering to her doorstep. Simply… report what we've found, along with Jack and Jnezdie. You understand…" -his gaze flits to Argent's hat- "-the reasons why someone might want to leave a thing unspoken."
You soon enough make your way back up to Kaela's office. The pathway is clear, although at a moment you need to take a light detour, because they're fixing something on the wall, they've removed some pieces of stone and are repairing- Wires, silver colored, like strings on a guitar, that run behind the stone (thick stone)
Argent: "I was simply going to ask a few questions, nothing more."
However, when you reach the CIC you see that it is, pretty much how it's been before, with the exception of a large stack of papers on the central table, there is also a map there with various little figurines indicating troops, Ranel seems to be poking and prodding at them, thinking tactics, it's a small-scale map, an engagement no bigger than a single unit. He seems to have hit a tactical
JayM: roadblock. Kaela is busy with the large stack of papers
JayM: HAve you seen a 15Kg legal process, Gavriel? Aren't those fun?
Argent: "We're back."
Jnezdie: "Don't get up, wouldn't want to have these papers fall all over due to a mishap."
Gavriel makes sure that the four enter the room at the same time, at the very least- flicks his eyes up at the papers, winces in sympathy.
The two of them look up, and nod in unison. She waves you to come with her, and returns to her office desk. "It's safer over here"
Argent is suddenly -very- thankful that she's only a mercenary
Jack: "Hola!"
Kaela: "Well, now, did you find anything interesting?"
Jnezdie: "Yeah, probably better over there. Anyway."
Ranel assumes his position behind her, to her left, a stern and stiff stance
Jack: "Sit for a spell, as Jnezdie spins you a tale!" Jack strums a few chords lightly.
Jnezdie: "Soldiers love drinkin', and they love talkin', and things in general for the common soldiery is really thankful."
Argent: "I'd rather not wrap the complaints and accusations in theatrics, Jnezdie."
Jnezdie: "Like, the rank and file got stars in their eyes for you. Not like -that- but you get the idea."
Jnezdie: "I would, shit. I haven't even gotten to the bad part."
Jnezdie: "(There's a bad part. Sorry you had to find out this way.)"
Jnezdie: "But, I mean- the lil' guy sees you as a workaholic who wants to please -everyone- and how you turned this pit around to a really, -really- nice pit. Not even gonna lie here- settlin' here would be mighty nice."
Kaela smiles slightly "(Always is a bad part) And hey, any Elvaan can appreciate a little theatrics. It's not any different from anyone else that comes through that door"
Jnezdie: "Someday in the far off future when they're singin' my praises amongst the Angels, I'd definately at least place the Black Fortress somewhere around 'summer home.'"
Gavriel curls his lip, maintains his composure. Baseless complaints and accusations, governed by fear and brought forth in ignorance.
Argent facepalms, groans in frustration. "Can't anything with this group -ever- be straight and to the point?"
Kaela: "Happy to know i'm apparently doing a good job"
Jnezdie: "Everything I've said is stuff we've found out! See, she's glad to know people appreciate her."
Jnezdie: "But the thing about being so visible and public is that people get romantic notions in their head and want to be nosin' about in your business."
Ranel: "Argent, that is expecting too much out of a man who carries an instrument with him. No offense."
Jack‘ shakes his head, sighing exaguratedly. "(This is straight and to the point. You’re both so moody anytime we enter a city.)"
Jnezdie nods solmnly. "Personal kind, ya' know."
Jnezdie: "What was the most grandiose way we heard Jack
a brilliant white chocobo steed and shining armor, glittering shield and sparkling sword and all?"
Kaela sighs, just for emphasis "What you get, for being public"
Jnezdie: "That you were lookin' for that kinda person, or the ideal of that person."
Jack: "Visor just slightly askew, revealing brilliant blue eyes but no clue as to the bearer's face!"
Jnezdie notices Ranel's tail twitch ever so slightly, just the tip of it, curling around his own leg
Gavriel: "(…squires' star-speckled fantasies.)"
Jnezdie: "There's a bettin' pool going on. Nothin' malicious amongst -them-, but uh…"
Kaela taps a finger in another just once, waiting for Jnezdie to continue
Jnezdie reluctantly looks to Argent.
Argent sighs. "Long story short, a subset of people apparently resent you for turning the place around and are looking for accusations. Some are saying bribery, some are saying corruption, some favoritism, some deviancy."
Argent: "They're also suspecting Ranel of not having earned his rank."
Kaela takes half of a moment too long "I see…"
Kaela: "I have formed an opinion of my own. But i'd value your unbiased opinion, what do you make of this, and a proposed solution?"
Gavriel: "…I'd place gil on the dissent being built up by some officer who missed the promotion he so felt he deserved. I… saw the same in Rorest."
Jnezdie glances to Gavriel, and after he replies, looks back to Kaela.
Jnezdie: "Fuck 'em. Beat 'em in the face."
Jnezdie: "I'm a simple guy like that."
Kaela: "Ranel?"
Ranel: "…"
Gavriel growls, under his breath. "…The Law is the stone foundation of the Fortress. They are… being insubordinate, it is within the Law to…" -he trails off.
Argent: "I'm not going to suspect a cause. (If there is something going on between you two, I will hold my tongue on that, but) I would suggest something be done to prevent a mutiny from developing. There's already the threat of the Etheralites to deal with, and we need as much manpower as possible."
Kaela: "that might solve the problem with the dissents… But what of those starry-eyed youths?"
Kaela: "I believe I see what happened in here… A little something from one side, filtered into the other. Which led to disaster"
Gavriel: "Frankly, ma'am, they were looking for a reason."
Kaela nods
Jnezdie nods. "Any little ol' thing, no matter whether it's their business or not, or if'n they should be all up in arms like that?"
Jnezdie pounds a fist into a palm.
Jnezdie: "A'int abidin' by it."
She puts a hand in one of the metal gloves in her desk, and moves two fingers slightly, and removes her hand "Dealt with. We should see the results in a little less than a pass"
Jnezdie cocks his head, openly putting a curious look on his face.
Kaela stands up. Every tension of her muscles tells Jnezdie a tale, she is conflicted, relieved? Unsure, also at as high a stress level as she can get. She might do something stupid, she might do something very smart "Do you believe you can round up the innocent gossipers for me?"
Argent: "I can attempt to do so."
Jnezdie: "A'int a thing, we just tell 'em we're buying the first round…"
Gavriel quirks an eyebrow. "Two things are easy prey to lure, mice and starry-eyed squires."
Kaela nods "Training hall two, if you would. If you want a place less formal, the Cirvantes residence in Sector Huis"
Jnezdie: "Probably have better luck with the latter, considerin' we're. Well, three-fourths of us aren't military."
Jack: "Hrrrmmm!"
Argent: "Hm. The latter might be more agreeable for those that I witnessed in the gambling den."
Jnezdie: "Nah those aren't the innocent ones, Arge."
Kaela nods "Very well. Meet me there" she heads out of the room
Argent: "Understood."
Jnezdie: "Sure thing."
It does not takes much trouble to round up the innocent gossipers. Turns out it's quite a big bunch, but not nearly as much as you'd expect in a fortress this big. Given the amount of residences, too, you wonder how do they man all the walls… Maybe they don't. The group is gathered in front of said residence, Kaela there is looking impassive, staring at them all. She looks more like a
JayM: stern mother than an angered officer
She looks at the assembled group "You people… Are starting to fall out of line. You've started a rumor about me, and you know I hate deals behind my back. Give it to me straight, WHAT have you been talking about?"
The entire group is… Slightly unsettled, nobody really seems willing to say anything
Gavriel coughs, slightly.
Then after a while, a little Taru, way out there in the back, shouts "Are you and Ranel dating, ma'am?" it shouts rather squeakly
Everyone is taken aback by that, very surprised
Jack‘ puts his face into both of his hands.
Jnezdie has ceased all idle movement, stuck in time.
Kaela takes a deep breath… Ranel takes a step forward, he was going to say something, but that didn’t occur because Kaela literally grabs him by the collar, drags him over quickly flipping his helmet off his face and plants a kiss to his snout right there and then. A second later, the little crowd starts to cheer as she's done with it
Jack: "(Why in the world are people in the kingdoms so bloody bad at don't ask, don't tell…?)"
She then lets go of Kanel, who's surprised, but regains his composture quickly "Yes, I am. Enough for you?" she says horribly seriously
Argent looks more surprised at the crowd -cheering-, halfway expecting to have had to deal with a rioting pissed-off mob. Yeah, it's a look of shock, in fact
Jnezdie slowly looks over to the kissing couple, then shouts louder to cheer them on!
Gavriel raises an eyebrow at Jack. "(I wouldn't pin you of all people as the sort to want to keep anything that dramatic quiet.)"
Everyone than just- Starts to laugh, and suddenly explode into chatter- Someone won a bet, someone lost a bet! The Taru got smacked upside the head before he asks an ACTUALLY PERSONAL question, that was prying enough! says his Yeti friend
Jack: "(Hardly. Not all details need be known to all audiences, least terrible sequels telling stories that need not be told be invited.)"
One of the men in front of the group, a Human that has a distinguishedly thin, nearly useless, shield with a dragon emblazed on it strapped to his back, shakes his head and sighs "Commander… You're weird"
Argent: "(…okay, level with me here Gav, why haven't we been forced to deal with a rampaging mob yet.)"
Kaela: "Says the biggest freak of the fortress"
Jnezdie: "Oh, you don't say?"
Gavriel is… grinning, outright grinning, at the group. (A little, almost inaudible over the carrying-on, quiet little sigh escapes, somewhere.) "(Hm. When you put it that way… but isn't it better to live without hiding things?)" -his eye dodges towards Sarah, involuntarily.
Sarah is smiling, definitely
Gavriel grins at Argent, peacefully. "Because sometimes things -do- work the way they're supposed to, Argent."
Human: "Want that a secret, or do you trust the people of the Fortress to do what they've always been doing?"
Jack‘ folds his arms over his chest, shrugging slightly. "There’s drama… and then there's drama." Jack lets out a breath, shakes his head, then swings the lute and begins to idly pluck at it.
Kaela: "One thing at a time, one at a time"
Argent: "That is more of a case of how the public is acting the -opposite- of normal expectations."
Jnezdie: "Doesn't that burn you up, to have to say that?"
Jnezdie: "Like it's a vile thing that you can't believe came out of your own lungs— that what we espouse here is -outside of normal-?"
Kaela: "For now, care all of you people to shut up and not give cause to an unplanned rumor mill?"
Jnezdie takes a deep breath, raises both fists high, in a victory pose!!
Everyone stands to attention and salutes "Yes ma'am!" she nods and waves "Dismissed!" and people, slowly, disperse and scatter
Argent: "But it is, is it not?"
Gavriel: "Sometimes normal's broken, Argent." And… he (hesitatingly, probably looking -terribly- goofy while so doing) raises a fist mirroring Jnezdie!
Jnezdie: "Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwrong!"
Kaela looks at the party, smiling wide, grinning. (Jnezdie, her smile is relaxed, tiredless) "Finally, for Phoenix's sake FINALLY I could say that out loud. It was getting tiresome to keep it a secret"
Jnezdie: "It is not outside of normal, nor is it broken!" He steps up to the couch, then takes another step onto the backing of the couch.
Ranel walks over to Argent, his helmet in hand "Argent. If it helps you, think of it as normalcy being different here, than outside. The people have grown used to the legend that named this fort"
Jack‘ shakes his head.
Argent: "Hn. Duly noted."
Argent pointedly glares at Jnezdie, before turning to Gavriel. "Perhaps normal is broken, but it can’t exactly be changed so easily."
Sarah shakes her head "Normal is broken, has been since ever"
Jnezdie: "Glare all you like, but to stand in the way of love"
Sarah: "It isn't being changed, just fixed"
Jnezdie draws his katana and stands in a pose!
Gavriel: "Baby steps, Argent. And… places like this." A deep breath. "Laws -do- change, over time. So do traditions. And… aren't you proof that a person can go against the nature you'd assume them to have?" He smiles, amiably.
Jnezdie: "
is somethin' -I'm- gonna break!"
Argent: "(Not. In. PUBLIC.)"
Jnezdie steps down from the couch and sheathes.
Jnezdie: "On the side, that is."
Jnezdie: "Got a bigger job to do first, if you can believe it."
Jnezdie: "Also that isn't -even- the most saucy thing bein' done in public in the last Pass."
Gavriel shrugs. "Just meant that humans like to party and walk on the wild side, that's all."
Jnezdie half nods jokingly to Kaela and Ranel. "You can assume I was also just talking about either one of you if you like, I don't care."
Kaela grins, Ranel takes a moment to interfere "I'll assume so"
Argent: "Anyway, sounds like the resentment is likely from troops stationed here after the changes in such a case."
Kaela shakes her head "Well, that's that"
Jnezdie: "Can I be even more of a nosy-nu'mou and ask somethin', though?"
Kaela: "Sure"
Jnezdie: "Is the thing with the…" He mimics the small movement that Kaela did with her two fingers in those metal gloves.
Jnezdie: "Is…is that gonna turn out alright, or should be on watch or something?"
Kaela: "Ah, no. If Michael was here, then it's been dealt with accordingly. That little gadget is… Very interesting. Conveys my orvers very fast, very clear. And my men are efficient"
Argent: "Aha."
Jnezdie: "Yeah, I was curious as all get-out about that. Thanks for indulgin'."
Kaela nods "Also, feel free to use the Shiei residence, i'll have the rest of the furniture delivered and the water tuned back on soon enough. Stay for as long as you want to. And if you feel like it, and you're around waiting for something. I might have one odd job or another, it's very useful to have someone outside my chain of command to go around the red tape when something needs done
JayM: fast "
Gavriel nods! He'd be happy to, at any rate. (And… it's nice to have a place, even for a little while, where they can rest, and feel at ease.)
Kaela: "And if you need any further assistance. I owe you"
Sarah: "I think we're staying for a while"
Jack: "Hrmrmrm, so noted."
Jnezdie: "You got it."
Sarah: "I want to meet the guardian spirit of this fortress…"
Argent quirks an eyebrow
Argent: "(So you're thinking it's another one of those ruin entities?)"
Kaela and Ranel look at Sarah, and she just tilts her head slightly to the side and smiles. Kaela does a dismissive motion- Jnezdie is aware that Kaela knows something, and Sarah probably knows it too. He can't be sure wether she judges that dangerous or not, but she lacks no goodwill towards you.
Sarah: "(Something else entirely, and something you've already met)"
Sarah: "(A guardian spirit, with a heart of steel)"
Gavriel grins a little. (That's their Sarah!)
Sarah then makes her way towards the house you've been told you can stay on, as she hums a song
JayM: Logend!
JayM: There was a TN6 check I forgot to give prizes for, a moment
JayM: 812 Exp each and 4 AP!

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