The night slowly falls, and the shine of the moon guides your way away from Factory Two. You've already broke through the city the factories were based on, and hit the wilds. The soft breeze of the night would be a refreshing experience- If the engine weren't making the most terrifying noise
Harriet: "Oh, Goddess, it's happening."
The armored transport you've so hastily built seems like it had one singular flaw: It's batteries weren't fully charged, nor had you time to do so. And as the charge dies down the engine makes a terrible clattering noise as it's moving parts fall out of synch as the battery's output turns unstable. And soon, the clattering ends as the engine finally dies out. Thankfully, noise aside, this was the engine of a weapon of war and meant to take abuse
Serenity: "Now the real question how much further do we need to wlak from this point."
Harriet gets out, and goes to have a look under the hood to see what she can do.
JayM: There is nothing at all to be done, sadly. Clatter just came from pistons hitting too hard against their casings due to the dieing battery's unstable output, but the battery's dead with no recourse
Amal: "More steps than we want to, probably."
Ignis: "Or perhaps" you then see something approach beside you- It's a civilian car, although it runs completely and utterly silent to the degree you did not see hear or see it approach. It's larger than average, enough to carry about a dozen people- It's also a luxury model from the looks of it "Less than you would think"
Amal: "…woah. NICE wheels."
There is a skylight in the car, so fancy it is, and Ignis has opened it and is sitting on the roof
Harriet: "Oh, come on!"
Serenity: "Going to be mildly creeped out if your timing is ACTUALLY that good and this isn't just a case of Anton slipping you a note in advance."
Harriet: "I totally could have fixed it," Harriet grumbles, but she gets out from under the hood anyway. (She does retrieve the tools she stole from the boot, though. Those are important!)
Hughbert: "What do you think, Harriet?" He then looks over, raising an eyebrow. "Ah… I suppose we don't need to worry about maintenance, then. Mind if we come in?"
Serenity: "You could have fixed a dead car battery." Serenity climbs out and heads towards the limo.
Harriet: "Uh, yeah? Easy as replacing the batteries?"
Harriet: "Well, jury rig a power converter and then replace the batteries."
Ignis grins "I would like to say I have just such a great timing. I would love even more to say I share Anton's gift- But to your disappointment, I simply had an informant in the Reinford factories that warned me once you broke out" he hops back in, and opens the door for you. The car is nice, really nice, including a minibar which is something you haven't seen before on a car
Amal: "Hehehe, a spy is fine too."
Ignis: "Hopefully with the ongoing chaos her mother can regain control of her enterprise"
Serenity: "Oh yeah, for all those spare Akavir car batteries you keep in your pouch."
Harriet: "Nah, I'd just use some of my gear's batteries."
Harriet: "Hence the power converter."
Once you're all inside, it's a pretty spacious car so you can all comfortably fit in, the car starts up "I'd like to say i'm surprised your operation went so smoothly" says the driver, the voice of Sanger "But it's already expected at this point"
Hughbert takes his seat and helps himself to a glass of water. "Those machines were quite interesting in there. A shame we couldn't study them in detail before we sabotaged them."
Amal: "I bet they've got the schematics for 'em somewhere."
Amal: "Just think of it as one more reason to look forward to being at peace!"
Harriet: "Yeah, I would've loved to get a look at them. But at least I got these!" Harriet holds up one of the tools she stole from the facility. "I'm keeping these, by the way. They're mine now."
Ignis: "Feel free to, i'm certain you can put them to much better use"
Ignis: "And now, then, we head to a nice little place where I can give you ladies and gentlemen a fitting reward"
Serenity: "Is the reward agreeing to whatever demands whatshertits made when she offered our help."
You hear Sanger sigh from the driver's seat "By that he means we're going to a hidden imperial villa we've been using as a base so we can plan how to deal with the Grand Carronade"
Serenity: "Mmm yeah, destroying one factory would have been too easy I guess."
Ignis: "Oh, yes, that much is a given Serenity. Me and the Pope are of like mind, it doesn't takes future sight to see the doom in our future-" Ignis sighs "But yes, as my dear love has said we have two more steps before the end, sadly"
Ignis: "We certainly need to stop the Grand Carronade, a feat now possible due to the information you have acquired, as it allowed us to discover it's location"
Amal: "Hehehe. Let's just take those steps one at a time, then!"
Hughbert: "Ah, you were able to locate it. Very good."
Ignis: "After, though it would shame me to request this, I would have to remain in the imperial demesne for a few days to ensure no violent attempt at a coup happens as we drive the chancellor into a corner"
Amal: "Hey, whatever we gotta do to ensure a peaceful solution."
Sanger: "That we have, thanks to those walls. It seems like the rissani engineers the chancellor's advisor hired decided to, after they fnished the construction of the Carronade, build a variety of blast walls in certain cities, all poitning towards the Carronade"
Harriet: "Well, yeah."
Serenity: "That's funny."
Sanger: "That, combined with the coordinates for material delivery in the documents you've found let us find it's location, quite centrally located in akaviri territory"
Sanger: "Should take us another half hour before we're at the villa. I'll discuss the battle plans better once I can show you the maps but up front: The Carronade relies on seven large generators and a local ragnite vein to fire, we're getting some friends to assault the generators and draw the defensive forces out while you strike the Carronade itself"
Amal: "Ahahahaha. YESSS."
Harriet: "Oh man, I bet she's all mopey about fueling the death cannon."
True to his word, it takes around half an hour until you see it in the distance. It's an older building, there is something of familiar in it's style but it is still distinctively akaviri style, made of a type of red stone you're not quite familiar with. Around three floors (they seem to have uneven heights so hard to tell if three or four) and rather unadorned and simple for a retreat of the imperial family
Amal: "Wouln't you be? …actually no you'd probably be hype." They laugh.
As you arrive something sort of draws your attention: The entryway is adorned with red flowers, and the roadway is paved in stone etched with flame patterns. And those two details are ever present, red color and flame patterns are the motif that decorates this place, the inside is decorated similarly and the central living room's aesthetic is such to invoke the feeling of being within a raging fire
Harriet: "I - yeah, yeah, fair cop."
Serenity: "I mean I realize your country is a hell hole but do you really need to put flames all over your shit as a reminder…?"
Harriet: "Maybe the flames are just to make it go faster."
You hear some noise from the second floor, voices, other people. Either way you're first directed to the dining room: Decoration follows the same motif but the table has been set, the food is both appealing to the palate and to the eye, beautifully arranged in the dishes are ham and goose accompanied by rice, mayonnaise salad and green salad. For drink a variety of juices
Ignis: "Hrm… The flames are a reminder to the imperial family, of our original sin"
Amal: "Oh? Now I'm curious."
Ignis takes a seat, pulling to him a cup of grape juice "Hrm… I wonder, show I tell? Tradition says only the royal family is allowed to hold this knowledge"
Ignis: "Then again, didn't tradition take us to where we are now?"
Amal: "Ooooh, so it's a SECRET motif."
Amal: "Well, we already know what the flames mean. And that there's a super dark secret."
Sanger: "It surprises me your people haven't learned the truth of it already"
Amal: "Or somethin'. And we're not gonna judge anyone in Akavir harder than we already are."
Amal: "So this is the best time to get it off your chest!"
Sanger: "Then again… It was by Masharas' orders that this secret was kept"
Ignis chuckles "Well. Then let me welcome you to Akavir, the administrative capital of the Divine Protectorate of Masharas. Or so it is told, in the stories we share only by word of mouth"
Serenity: "I have no idea what that means."
Ignis: "As far as our stories tell… In ancient times the Divine Protectorate of Masharas, so called because it was the land protected by the goddess, ruled over the entire land"
Ignis: "It's administrative structure was centered on a city called Akavir- Which is now our very capital"
Ignis: "Until one day, the goddess decreed that were humankind to remain under her protection they would never grow, never be what she wished them to be. So she ordered them to forget her"
Ignis: "And so Masharas followed as the goddess said, they taught people she was naught but myth, they destroyed all evidence of what once was"
Ignis: "And it all begun with one terrible sin. An officer was charged with destroying their central library, the library was drenched with the goddess' own blood, the officer loaded a burning bolt in his crossbow and fired it, setting all of their knowledge and history ablaze"
Ignis: "To this day, Gastraphetes the Bookburner is the weapon symbol of the king of Akavir"
Harriet: "Soooo… if that's true, aren't you, like, directly disobeying the order of the Goddess by remembering all that?"
Ignis: "Indeed"
Ignis: "Treason runs in our blood"
Harriet: "Fight the power, I guess."
Serenity: "There's all kind of traces in Marshas though, not to mention the clergy still technically exists."
Harriet: "Yeah, I guess all of humanity is just really fucking bad at following orders."
Harriet: "Though, like, maybe that means the mission was successful?"
Sanger: "The Imperial Guard apparently begun with one person, a warrior charged with eventually silencing said officer. He was given a blade, the Galland-sharl, with which to punish anyone who would dare remember. I think I can safely say said warrior was not very willing to do their job either"
Ignis: "I'd say, given how fractured and completely lost most knowledge have become, the mission was essentially accomplished"
Amal: "…I don't think she had any business -demanding- that people forget her, in the first place, so… For what it's worth, I think the officer did the right thing, and I think you've done the right thing too, keeping that memory alive."
Harriet: "Yeah, like, it's not really the Goddess's business what we do or don't remember. Sorry," she waves a hand in a vague direction, "but it's true."
Serenity: "So if Akavir used to be the capital of Marshas, how come *we* inhereted the name Marshas?"
Ignis: "Hrm… I can only guess."
Ignis: "But i'd say… Presumably because it's where the main temple resided"
Ignis: "Akavir was the administrative capital, not the spiritual one I guess"
Serenity: "What's the difference?"
Amal: "Almost no culture on this continent at least puts all their eggs in one basket, one way or another."
Amal: "…bad things keep happening throughout history to people who do."
Serenity: "huh?"
Amal: "So they had a spiritual capital and an administrative capital!"
Serenity: "They're the same thing though."
Ignis: "Hrm… Oh, right. Probably makes less sense for you. But, imagine as if the person who leads the church is the boss of the person that makes the laws"
Ignis: "But they're different people, that work in different places"
Serenity: "That sounds really inefficient."
Ignis: "It's a matter of size, the larger an empire becomes more fragmented it's power structure has to become as a single person simply… Cannot hold all the power and duties without commiting an excess of errors"
Ignis: "Then again, all we know is that there was some separation. How it worked, why it was- All of that was lost"
Serenity: "Weird."
Amal: "…anyways, whoever made that decision made it for a reason."
Amal: "Don't… don't spend your lives trying to second-guess it or feel bad about it. We'll move forward with what we have, and hopefully… nothing like that will ever have to happen again, yeah?"
Serenity‘ glances at Amal, then at everyone else gathered here, then back to Amal.
Harriet: "This is one of those things where you know more than we do, isn’t it?"
Amal scuffles their feet really hard. "A- anyways, uh. So… the cannon thing. Carronade. Whatever."
Ignis has been staring at Amal with a glint in his eye duering this interlude "Yes, indeed! The greatest sin we're yet to commit, the Grand Carronade"
Amal: "Hey, it doesn't count if it hasn't happened yet, right? And we're gonna stop it?"
Sanger: "An anti-city artillery, from the looks of it it doesn't simply fires a gigantic shell, the very shell is explosive as well for additional destructive power. It's power requirements are so immense it requires seven powerful generators as well as consumes a great deal of the power of one of the largest ragnite veins in the country"
Serenity: "I don't know if I'd say the *greatest* but it's pretty high up there and definitely the most relevant."
Sanger raises his right hand and a map appears there, he moves some plates out of the way and spread it "Those are the locations, here is the Carronade" he points to the center "We have some people who will aid us"
Sanger: "We don't have too many allies, a small elite group, a… Hrm… Rather underprepared group we have mostly been utilizing as disaster relief and a contingent of the Silvarant Knights under employ of the Imperial Guard. We'll be utilizing them for hit-and-run strikes on the generators"
Sanger: "That should draw out the defensive forces stationed here" he points to the area around the Carronade "The majority of the Chancellor's forces are gathered here, with them distracted it should give you the chance to strike and disable the Carronade"
Ignis: "It would be prefferable if you could destroy it… But if you do attempt be careful with possible excess collateral"
Harriet: "What should we be looking to not destroy?"
Amal: "So… sabotage, more than out-and-out destruction. We don't want that ragnite vein to go up."
Harriet: "Well, yeah, obviously."
Serenity: "Point of order there is a small part of us that absolutely wants it to go up,"
Ignis: "The nearby cities"
Serenity: "But that is the stupid part we don't listen to yeah."
Ignis: "Fully powered that weapon can destroy cities, so just in case you think it might damage any nearby settlement when you destroy it, just avoid that"
Ignis: "… I don't like that the previous Divine Oracle helped build it. He directed the Chancellor into hiring the people that on their own are building walls to protect against it"
Ignis: "Something tells me this could very well be some great trap"
Serenity: "I'm not entirely convinced even Alcor knows what the fuck he's doing for what it's worth."
Ignis: "I'll leave that judgement to you, I do not know the man"
Hughbert: "A wise plan. Precision strikes should cause a large degree of confusion in their ranks, enough to allow us to slip in and do our job. Do you have information regarding what, exactly, is defending this installaton?"
Sanger: "If we expect the mobile forces to all move they have a fixed garrison comprised of around a hundred soldiers, mostly frontliners but with full support complements as well as three Sustenidos, two Staccatos and a Forte for armored vehicles"
Sanger: "If you get close enough the armored vehicles should not prove a problem, the Grand Carronade is a very large structure as well so you shouldn't face more than a cuople patrols at once"
Hughbert: "Are there any targets of note inside the installation that should prove particularly vulnerable?"
Amal: "Hmmm, okay. So get in fast and stay close, and then… are there weak spots, or- yeah."
Sanger: "From our analysis, there is only one weak point present two thirds of the way up the barrel"
Sanger: "It's the trigger system that executes the final firing procedure, responsible for unleashing the kinectic force that launches the shell. It would require being directly tampered with but all the power of the system eventually converges on that point"
Amal: "Ahahahaha, man, Harriet's gonna have -words- with whoever designed this."
Harriet: "That is such a blatant - how could they just - they knew that all the energy was going to - " Harriet gestures wildly, trying to find words for how stupid it is.
Harriet: "They're so dumb! That's so dumb!"
Serenity: "I don't know, *inside the barrel of a city obliterating cannon* seems like a great place to leave your only security vulnerability to me. Anyone climbs in, just do a test fire and blam."
Amal: "Maybe it's there on purpose. Maybe I know that you know that I know that etc. etc."
Amal: "…either way, it's where we gotta go, hehe."
Harriet: "Right, yeah, let's fuck it up."
Sanger: "So that'll be your target. We should be leaving tomorrow, i'll be taking you close by and dropping you off around two hours before the beginning of the operation"
Sanger: "I'll be with one of the strike teams for the nearest generator, so attack as soon as you believe it proper, i'll leave the timing up to you"
Ignis: "But since we yet have time, how about we enjoy the rest of the night?"
Ignis: "My humble little retreat may not have all the empire has to offer, but I assure you it's a great place for an unassuming night"
Serenity: "Alright."
Amal: "Sounds good to me!"
Harriet: "Sounds like a plan."
JayM: That definitely sounds like a plan
JayM: I wonder what delights the prince has saved up on his little retreat?
JayM: Not nearly as much as he implies, sadly.
JayM: Sadly, too, tomorrow is an early day for me (and will be so for the next week and the one after), so I will leave the excitement for the next session
JayM: I warn you: Be ready
JayM: Because this time, fate conspires against you
JayM: Thank you all for playing

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