JayM: Okay so, quick recap:
JayM: You all got woke up Extra Early before the sun had risen because the Grand Carronade was about to fire.
JayM: You got there in time, found the guard camp mostly deserted, made your way up the cannon's barrel from the inside and ended up meeting Alcor halfway up.
JayM: Y'all fought him while he finally talked about his reasons for doing what he does and eventually after defeating him after he went super mode he just vanishes and it seems like someone heard the request for the cannon to stop it's firing sequence because it just stopped
JayM: Harriet proceeded to rig it with explosives which should destroy it's inner works, but very unlikely to damage the outer casing due to it's construction
JayM: Okay so I got everyone here
Slowly, ever so slowly, the sun rises in the horizon. The glint of the sunlight brightens first the tip of the cannon, it's obsidian-black metal shining as if it was ready to fire…
With the thundering noise of a gigantic explosion there is a muzzle flash, a torrent of blue flame erupts from the cannon!
Yet the sky is tranquil, and the deafening shockwave was the herald only of the destruction of the cannon itself as Harriet's explosives destroy it from the inside. Still, it's frame was built to withstand forces much great, and it seems as intact as it was a moment ago
Harriet: "Ha! It worked!"
Serenity: "Of course."
Hughbert: "That was some quality pyrotechnics, as usual, Harriet. It must have been quite exhilarating to go all-out on that one."
Harriet: "Yeah, it's not often I find something with a sturdy enough shell that I can cascade so much force without levelling everything around it."
Amal: "Hehehehe. That's WAY better than the alternatives."
Serenity: "Hope they weren't using that vein for anything important. … Actually they almost definitely weren't, hence the cannon."
Serenity: "Anyway."
Serenity: "NOW we're done here right…?"
It doesn't take much longer until something else shows up… A few cars- The luxury car you've been brought here in, which has proven to be a lot sturdier and readier for a rough tumble than it looks like it should be, a converted cargo truck that seems to have had it's back section transformed into a passenger transport and… Surprisingly a Silvarant Knight Mobile Palisade, all neatly folded up on itself
Sanger stops the caravan and steps out of the front car, looking up at the cannon "I thought it had fired for an instant, there"
Harriet: "Psh. Not with Harriet Babbage on the case!"
Amal: "I mean, it did. Technically."
Serenity: "Wow those things look EVEN DUMBER out in a wide open field and not on a mountian hilltop."
Ignis also steps out of the car, obviously the luxury one. He claps his hands, it's honest "Wonderful, wonderful. I knew you were the right people for the job"
Ignis: "Now, are you ready for a reception at the palace? You've more than earned it"
Harriet: "More people to recognise my genius? Absolutely." Beat. "Oh, and the diplomacy junk, I guess. Gotta do that."
Harriet: "Just tell me they'll have coffee. You woke us up in the middle of the night!"
Ignis smiles "Oh but I wouldn't subject you to that, no, it will mostly be pleasure, I promise"
Hughbert: "It will not be completing its intended purpose, thankfully." Hughbert pauses a moment, thinking. "I… Suppose we can certainly afford the luxury of a celebration at this time. We'd be glad to come with."
Sanger: "And by 'mostly' he means he wants you there just in case something like an assassination attempt happens. But celebration nontheless"
Sanger waves you to the car "Come on, then, let's go. And" he points to the car "You'll like what's in there, Harriet"
Serenity: "I thought that was literally your job, though."
Serenity‘ climbs into the car.
Hughbert takes a seat and buckles up.
JayM: You remember how this car kind of had a small fridge and such things?
JayM: The ’such things' includes an interesting machine that makes coffee all on it's own! It's perhaps 78% good coffee, it clearly needs adjustments, which is why it has two dials and a slider on it- All, sadly, unlabelled
Amal: "Hey. Sometimes you want fatebreaker backup when it comes to something important!"
Ignis: "Hrm… Normally, Sanger would be more than enough. But with the opponent we're against, never hurts to be readier than normal"
Harriet hops on in, and examines the machine. "Oooh! Very nice! Nothing I couldn't make /better/, mind you, but…" She sets to making herself come coffee, first.
Serenity‘ curls up into her jacket after taking a seat. "Anton how awake for this thing do I need to be?"
Anton: "I’ll poke you when we get by the Imperial Castle."
Anton: "You'll like that, trust me." He grins.
Serenity‘ almost looks like she’s going to respond, but decides it's not worth it.
It actually takes a good few hours until you reach the imperial capital
As you approach, you see the city grow in the distance… Built of stone and almost no metal in a classical style, colors of red and stone-grey in it's building materials make the city seem and feel vibrant as you approach but the roads are built differently- The caravan takes to the main road and the bricks are made of a strange ashen-blue brick that looks as ancient as the oldest buildings you've known. Even a superficial inspection from the moving car reveals what the strangeness of the bricks is, the tiniest flakes of ragnite that seem to be integral to the ancient flagstones. Strange is the road that seems to ancient but is perfectly flat and bumpless- Stranger still that the city did not seem to grow beyond the limits of the ancient roads either
Serenity: "What a waste."
Anton: "Oh?"
Serenity: "Though I guess before they knew how to refine it, looking pretty would have been its best use."
Anton: "I don't think it's all that pretty given the big hole, but…"
Serenity: "Huh?"
But even within the confines of the ancient roads the city is still gigantic, six times larger than Masharas, and there is a strange sort of… Divide as you drive by. You enter from the east main road, and the buildings are tall, compact and dense, like houses built on top of houses and under houses. As you pass by you see that the city also extends downwards, easily three floors down in a maze- The people you watch here don't seem terribly bad off, but neither do they look well off either, the shops you see are and small and probably family-run.
Anton scratches his head before scrunching up his face. "Am I mixing up timelines again? Or did we not pass that yet…? Sorry. I've been looking at what could be a lot lately."
Serenity: "I was talking about the fucked up ragnite flakes in the road stone,"
Serenity: "The hell were you talking about?"
Harriet: "Really looks like they're running out of space, here… I wonder why they haven't just expanded out?"
But soon you enter the giant central hub of the city- A giant, wide road that runs in a circle against a giant space. Across from the space you see the other half of the city, large buildings, small palaces taking up far too much space for far too few people
Anton: "The imperial castle has a giant hole in it!"
But you don't have time to watch them as the entire caravan stops as you enter the central hub- Because the space is overtaken by the largest building in the entire city: The Imperial Castle
Amal: "There's a pattern to the roads."
And true to Anton's words, though the castle is great with a central spire of twenty floors up in the sky and four smaller ones to it's sides- It's quite clear something smashes right across the rightmost spire and drove a giant hole through it, smashing across the castle and deep into the ground as the dirt and rock erupted around and still gather as debris all around you
Armed guards, dressed in red, form a defensive perimeter around the castle. Sanger and Ignis step out of the car and run ahead to the entrance
Harriet: "That… cannot be structurally sound."
Amal: "…huh, that's actually really cool. I wonder what they were trying to do."
Anton: "… huh. So it was just about to happen, then? The closer we get to the point of no return… I've been having a bit of trouble lately, let's just say!"
Serenity‘ leans over and ruffle’s Anton's hair while giving Amal a questioning look.
Anton pulls out his notebook and starts to jot something down with a dopey smile on his face.
JayM: This definitely looks recent, yes
Amal: "They were… trying to do something. World-class magic, weaving reality on their own by means of these roads. They're like… I bet if you could see the city from above it'd be a sigil or something like that. Didn't -work-, probably never -could-, but it was a cool idea."
Serenity: "Ooh."
Serenity: "I guess that would explain why it feels wrong."
Amal: "Oh man I bet it SUPER does, yeah."
Serenity: "It's more like, barely itchy on the part of your back just barely out of reach rather than super bad or anything, but."
Harriet: "Is that why there's ragnite on everything, then?"
Amal: "Yeah."
Anton tears off a piece of paper before balling it up and passing it to Amal.
Harriet: "Well, I guess it's better than it just being decorative…"
Amal looks at the paper.
After a while, you hear the noise of someone coming closer. You hear Ignis' voice outside "Fatebreakers, come on, let me show you someone"
Amal blushes, grins, and then makes a heart shape with their hands at Anton and then gives him a thumbs-up, then eats the paper. NOBODY ELSE GETS TO SEE.
Harriet: "So weird…" Harriet shakes her head, puts down her coffee-cup and gets out of the car.
Once you've decided to step out, you'll see Ignis and Sanger there, as well as four others, it's quite clearly the royal family given their striking resemblance to Ignis. A man that is both tall and wide (or so looks due to the cloak he wears, probably on purpose), golden hair and sapphire blue eyes "So you are the Fatebreakers I have heard about. I am King Demeter, and I am thankful for you assistance to my son"
Serenity: "No problem, we wanted to break most of that stuff anyway."
Amal bows! He can be proper sometimes!
[OOC] Amal: *they
Hughbert salutes! He introduces himself, name and rank. "At your service."
The woman with them has perhaps the most fragile and soft features you have seen- But from her clothing to her makeup it all seems deeply purposeful, strangely enough she bears the same general physical features (color of hair, eyes, general shape) as the king. Two younger children accompany her, a young boy that seems almost like a younger version of Ignis, his right arm firmly tied by a cast, and a younger girl that is just as obviously a part of the family, hair as long as the floor and despite the bandages that clearly show on what you can see of her shoulder and which hide under her hair on the right side seems to show no sign of exhaustion by what happened
Harriet looks around at everyone bowing and saluting, and tries a curtsy. It's not very good, but she tried.
King Demeter: "It seems we've become embroiled in something a little beyond our reach… And as always you've come to our rescue, and I am grateful for that"
Amal: "Everyone who's alive right now is tangled up in something bigger than just themself or their country. It's okay, we're here to help!"
Serenity: "So what actually happened here? I don't THINK this was Alcor related since we were busy with him at the time this likely happened…"
The queen smiles at Harriet "You can call me simply Denise if you so wish, I think we do owe you at least the courtesy of not making you uncomfortable, Harriet, so don't feel pressured"
Harriet: "Oh good, I'm rubbish at that stuff."
The king turns around to look at the castle, then up at the sky. He pulls out a scrap of paper that has clearly been smashed and re-straightened at least once "It is. 'Call them to the audience chambers. I have never liked him, he's like me, except he believes his own lies' he wrote" he hands the paper to Serenity, and taht is what is written in it
King Demeter: "I expected him to attempt to assassinate the chancellor… I did not expect him to destroy half the castle in the process"
Serenity: "Are you fucking kidding me?" Serenity glances back over her shoulder at Anton.
Anton: "It's legit…" He shrugs.
Hughbert tilts his head. "Alcor?"
Serenity: "Oh my fucking goddess what is even the point of cutting this meeting up into smaller chunks, what an idiot."
Amal: "Sooooo extra."
Serenity‘ hands the note off to whomever wants it.
Amal: "So, wait, he tried to kill the chancellor? I thought… huh."
King Demeter: "He succeeded in it, at least. Which will be a… Problem"
Serenity: "I can’t imagine how, dude was bad news."
Ignis: "After I went through all the trouble of taking away all of his support, he just does my job for me? I think I can handle the fallout"
Harriet reads over someone's shoulder! "Geez, that's a mess."
King Demeter: "The problem, Serenity, is that a leader taken down this… Messily. Certainly leaves a follower that could be better, or worse."
Anton: "Alcor set up this strike 2 weeks ago, around the time we fought with him and Lola."
Ignis: "Couldn't be worse… Right now there's only one other person who'd stand up to his level on the political stage, father"
Serenity: "I mean, speaking as someone that had a continent obliterating cannon just aimed at them by the guy, it's hard to imagine someone worse taking his spot."
The king crosses his arms, in thought. He seems to ignore Ignis and looks at Anton "Two weeks ago? Do Oracles really have this capacity for setting up? I suppose I should really have taken to heart the old knowledge"
Serenity: "Then again this IS akavir so…"
Amal: "Generally speaking, taking the old knowledge to heart is a good plan, yeah."
Anton: "You have NO idea. I'm still waiting for the gambit Cor set up to go off and that's 6 months in the making now…"
Queen Denise: "I doubt there would be someone as power-hungry and bloodthirsty as him left among his followers" she looks at the king "My liege…"
Hughbert: "I think I understand why you are worried about hidden assailants now." Hughbert seems to be peeking at the shadows every few moments.
The king sighs… He looks at Hughbert "Lieutenant, send the message to the Pope that my son will attend to the peace talks"
Harriet: "Sweet!"
Serenity: "Anton can we NOT go into the safety hazard without anything dumb happening?" '
Hughbert salutes. "Yes, sir. You'll be happy to find that the table for the peace talks will be full of ears ready to listen and minds ready to think."
Anton: "Between Amal and I we can take a look at least!"
Amal: "Mmhmm!"
Amal: "Be sure the chancellor's followers don't do anything crazy now that he's toast and you should be fine."
Ignis: "That's the plan, at the very least"
Anton glances at Serenity. "If I can be serious for a moment, though? If we don't go in the world as I know it will end and I'll have to start scrying from scratch because we'll be on a new worldline."
Serenity‘ opens her mouth, pauses, purses her lips.
Anton pauses before grinning. "Just kidding. Nothing changes at all. It’s not even that important."
Amal: "That's pretty impressive."
Harriet: "Yeah, but aren't you guys even a little bit curious?"
Serenity‘ punches Anton in the stomach.
Anton keels over.
Harriet: "… ouch."
JayM: Ow
Serenity: "Anyway."
Serenity: "Honestly not really."
Amal heroically does not laugh at Anton’s plight.
Serenity: "Alcor never has anything of value to say."
Serenity: "Doubly so if he felt the need to cut the conversation up into bite sized chunks."
Hughbert kneels down and helps pick Anton up. "While it is normally considered ill manners to faint in the presence of a king, I believe none present would dare blame you."
Harriet: "Oh yeah, Alcor's a dweeb, I'm just curious about the weapon used there."
Serenity: "I would assume he actually fired that giant ass arbalest for once."
Serenity: "Likely with a juiced up bolt."
Anton nods to Hughbert and then Serenity. "A single crystalline bolt fell from the heavens."
Harriet: "Oh, okay, mystery solved."
Serenity‘ shakes her head before turning back to the King. "Anyway if you don’t listen to anything he says or feed him any ragnite or lost technology he should run off on his own. Act as if you would with any rabid stray animal."
The king allows himself to chuckle "Ah, yes, clearly. Although I am not inclied to work with him, either way"
King Demeter: "Well, I cannot offer you the hospitality of my home, as you can see. But I can assure you that my people will treat you well until you decide to leave, as for now…" "
Queen Denise: "We certainly need to see to our duties, this is quite the mess to resolve"
JayM: The queen seems a little giddy, though
Serenity: "Yeah no doubt."
Harriet: "Have fun fixing all those problems!" Harriet does not appear sarcastic.
Hughbert: "We should not hold you up, then. Best of luck to you."
The king nods to you, and readies to leave.
The queen and her children do the same
Ignis sighs "Yet he would ignore me, but that is as good as it is going to get"
Ignis: "Feel free to stay at the Hearthflame, i've stayed there a few times myself, when the castle was too overbearing. And once again, I am thankful for your aid"
Harriet: "Hey, it's what we do!"
Serenity: "Don't worry about it, we'll be counting on your to make your country not act like a pile of shit for once."
Amal: "Hey. None of this would have happened without you."
Ignis: "You have such high hopes for me! I'll be sure to not disappoint"
Harriet: "You'll be fine, just grab someone ethical to hang around you and remind you when you're being too evil or whatever."
JayM: Thus, you have a chance to rest here. The Hearthflame is in fact an amazing hotel, and in fact a hotel rather than an inn, with fluffy beds, personal bathrooms, room service and the works.
JayM: But soon enough it will be time to leave
Harriet is definitely having a bath, being on the road for so long is the worst.
Amal seems to be taking a lot of time to prepare, like they're meditating or something, and they're a little late, but eventually they show up.
As the party gathers outside, there's a car waiting for them, ready to take them to the trainstation. As they head out a light breeze spins up, picking up the petals of the flowers on windowsills and spiralling them around the party
Serenity‘ feels weird being in a car and not driving or being asleep.
The trip isn’t long, barely fifteen minutes across the city. It leads you through the richer parts of the city, where there are mansions that take more space than they need, with beautiful gardens and dozens of rooms used by nobody. The shops are sparser here, but mostly high class goods such as jewelery or clothing. The one interesting shop is a watchmaker, that seems to also work on toys.
You finally reach the train station, however. The station is in fact a beautiful place, decorated with golden inlays. Inside there's also a few shops, and a café as well. But most importantly, one entire station has been taken over by a great crimson train, it's rather short being only four cars long including the engine but it looks quite sleek and quite luxurious in fact
Amal: "Wowwww. I really like the aesthetic."
Harriet: "Trains are so cool."
Serenity: "Try not to crash it this time."
And taht is the train you're directed to. You meet the engineer waiting for you at the entrance to the passenger cabin "Sounds like the king likes you, this the Carmine, the imperial personal high speed transport. We're heading straight to closest station to Masharas, which is in the Orsis border"
Serenity: "Right on."
Harriet: "Oooh, can we see the engine room?"
The engineer raises an eyebrow at Harriet "You must be Harriet, then? Sure, just don't… Touch anything while it's operating, alright"
Harriet grins and claps her hands together. "Of course not!"
Hughbert: "Please, Harriet." Hughbert nods, but stays back and doesn't chaperone. She's earned it. Hughbert, meanwhile, settles into a comfortable chair in the cabin with some reading he picked up on Akaviri history.
The passenger car for those who wish to use it is in fact amazing, comfortable seating, tables, the second car has four bedrooms, in fact! And the final car is a slightly bit more spartan, but only just. The service car has a quite well equipped kitchen, plus a guard room where the security detail (which isn't present right now) would stay and store their gear
Harriet doesn't touch anything, true to her word. She does ask a lot of questions, though.
Harrier can accompany the engineer to the engine, and boy is it quite the engine. The most impressive part is the large amount of sensors the train seems to have, including relative air speed, current speed, engine status, status of the other cars. In fact, the entire engine car appears to be covered in mobile plats that can adjust to change how the wind interacts with it to make curves easier or help with braking
Not to say the engine, the engine itself is a monster, it's sized for something easily ten times the size of this train, but the series of fine controls and regulators it has makes it so you can control the output to an incredibly fine level
Harriet: "Ingenious! The amount of fine control you must have over this is simply
Harriet: "- marvellous!"
And when the train starts… Not a single noise. It runs almost noiselessly and you can't even quite explain how, at the very least the sound of the wheels on the rail should be there, right? Well, it is, but only in the engine car. Turns out the other cars are soundproof.
It's only a couple of hours when you finally reach the orsis station. What a poetic arrival, it's the same station you left from
But this time, someone awaits you. There's a car waiting for you, somewhat simpler than the limo of Ignis', it's a rather simple civilian car indeed but it's familiar: It's definitely of Masharas make, that's made even more obvious by who is waiting by the car for you- Even with the decorated hood and cloak it's quite obvious that you're meeting Cor
Serenity: "I really hope this wasn't the grand six month plan you were talking about."
Cor Caroli: "Felt like welcoming you in person this time. If memory serves me right, every time you returned previously something was happening or happened shortly after. Figured it'd be safer to be on site this time"
Harriet: "And I almost can't believe how efficient the - wait hang on is that Cor," Harriet cuts off her excited summary to the others once they're on the station.
Hughbert bookmarks his place in his book and exits the train, saluting to Cor once he approaches the car. "Reporting in."
Harriet: "Hi, Cor! We didn't blow up Akavir!"
Cor Caroli: "So I witnessed, Harriet. I honestly expected much more impressive collateral, but as expected, you are very good at your jobs"
Cor Caroli: "But come, we can talk on the way"
JayM: For it is time to leave.
JayM: Because I absolutely cannot allow the next stretch to begi nwithout logs
JayM: And Harriet, get ready
JayM: Next session is 100% going to be about you and your new invention

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